Tag Archives: Symptom

Asthma

Definition:   Asthma is a common long term inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. These episodes may occur a few times a day or a few times per week. Depending on the person they may become worse at night or with exercise.

Asthma is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Environmental factors include exposure to air pollution and allergens. Other potential triggers include medications such as aspirin and beta blockers. Diagnosis is usually based on the pattern of symptoms, response to therapy over time, and spirometry. Asthma is classified according to the frequency of symptoms, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and peak expiratory flow rate. It may also be classified as atopic or non-atopic where atopy refers to a predisposition toward developing a type 1 hypersensitivity reaction…..CLICK & SEE 

There is no cure for asthma. Symptoms can be prevented by avoiding triggers, such as allergens and irritants, and by the use of inhaled corticosteroids. Long-acting beta agonists (LABA) or antileukotriene agents may be used in addition to inhaled corticosteroids if asthma symptoms remain uncontrolled. Treatment of rapidly worsening symptoms is usually with an inhaled short-acting beta-2 agonist such as salbutamol and corticosteroids taken by mouth. In very severe cases, interavenous corticosteroids, magnesium sulfate, and hospitalization may be required.
Symptoms:
Asthma symptoms vary from person to person. One may have infrequent asthma attacks, has symptoms only at certain times — such as when exercising — or have symptoms all the time.

Asthma signs and symptoms include:

*Shortness of breath
*Chest tightness or pain
*Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
*A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling (wheezing is a common sign of asthma in children)
*Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
Signs that your asthma is probably worsening include:

*Asthma signs and symptoms that are more frequent and bothersome
*Increasing difficulty breathing (measurable with a peak flow meter, a device used to check how well your lungs are working)
*The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often

For some people, asthma signs and symptoms flare up in certain situations:

*Exercise-induced asthma, which may be worse when the air is cold and dry
*Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases or dust
*Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by particular allergens, such as pet dander, cockroaches or pollen.

Causes:
Asthma is caused by a combination of complex and incompletely understood environmental and genetic interactions. These factors influence both its severity and its responsiveness to treatment. It is believed that the recent increased rates of asthma are due to changing epigenetics (heritable factors other than those related to the DNA sequence) and a changing living environment…..CLICK & SEE

Asthma triggers:

Exposure to various irritants and substances that trigger allergies (allergens) can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:

*Airborne allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, mold, cockroaches and dust mites
*Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
*Physical activity (exercise-induced asthma)
*Cold air
*Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
*Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
*Strong emotions and stress
*Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages, including shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine
*Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat.

Diagnosis:
While asthma is a well recognized condition, there is not one universal agreed upon definition. It is defined by the Global Initiative for Asthma as “a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways in which many cells and cellular elements play a role. The chronic inflammation is associated with airway hyper-responsiveness that leads to recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing particularly at night or in the early morning. These episodes are usually associated with widespread but variable airflow obstruction within the lung that is often reversible either spontaneously or with treatment”.

There is currently no precise test with the diagnosis typically based on the pattern of symptoms and response to therapy over time. A diagnosis of asthma should be suspected if there is a history of: recurrent wheezing, coughing or difficulty breathing and these symptoms occur or worsen due to exercise, viral infections, allergens or air pollution.
Physical exam:

To rule out other possible conditions — such as a respiratory infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your signs and symptoms and about any other health problems.

Tests to measure lung function

One may also be given lung (pulmonary) function tests to determine how much air moves in and out as you breathe. These tests may include:

*Spirometry. This test estimates the narrowing of your bronchial tubes by checking how much air you can exhale after a deep breath and how fast you can breathe out.

*Peak flow. A peak flow meter is a simple device that measures how hard you can breathe out. Lower than usual peak flow readings are a sign your lungs may not be working as well and that your asthma may be getting worse. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to track and deal with low peak flow readings.

Lung function tests often are done before and after taking a medication called a bronchodilator (brong-koh-DIE-lay-tur), such as albuterol, to open your airways. If your lung function improves with use of a bronchodilator, it’s likely you have asthma.

Other additional tests:

Other tests to diagnose asthma include:

*Methacholine challenge. Methacholine is a known asthma trigger that, when inhaled, will cause mild constriction of your airways. If you react to the methacholine, you likely have asthma. This test may be used even if your initial lung function test is normal.

*Nitric oxide test. This test, though not widely available, measures the amount of the gas, nitric oxide, that you have in your breath. When your airways are inflamed — a sign of asthma — you may have higher than normal nitric oxide levels.

*Imagingtest:   test:A chest X-ray and high-resolution computerized tomography (CT) scan of your lungs and nose cavities (sinuses) can identify any structural abnormalities or diseases (such as infection) that can cause or aggravate breathing problems.

*Allergy testing. : This can be performed by a skin test or blood test. Allergy tests can identify allergy to pets, dust, mold and pollen. If important allergy triggers are identified, this can lead to a recommendation for allergen immunotherapy.

*Sputum eosinophils. This test looks for certain white blood cells (eosinophils) in the mixture of saliva and mucus (sputum) you discharge during coughing. Eosinophils are present when symptoms develop and become visible when stained with a rose-colored dye (eosin).

*Provocative testing for exercise and cold-induced asthma. In these tests, your doctor measures your airway obstruction before and after you perform vigorous physical activity or take several breaths of cold air.

Risk Factors:
A number of factors are thought to increase your chances of developing asthma. These include:

*Having a blood relative (such as a parent or sibling) with asthma
*Having another allergic condition, such as atopic dermatitis or allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
*Being overweight
*Being a smoker
*Exposure to secondhand smoke
*Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
*Exposure to occupational triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, hairdressing and manufacturing

Complications:
Asthma complications include:

*Signs and symptoms that interfere with sleep, work or recreational activities
*Sick days from work or school during asthma flare-ups
*Permanent narrowing of the bronchial tubes (airway remodeling) that affects how well you can breathe
*Emergency room visits and hospitalizations for severe asthma attacks
*Side effects from long-term use of some medications used to stabilize severe asthma
*Proper treatment makes a big difference in preventing both short-term and long-term complications caused by asthma.

Treatment:
While there is no cure for asthma, symptoms can typically be improved. A specific, customized plan for proactively monitoring and managing symptoms should be created. This plan should include the reduction of exposure to allergens, testing to assess the severity of symptoms, and the usage of medications. The treatment plan should be written down and advise adjustments to treatment according to changes in symptoms.

The most effective treatment for asthma is identifying triggers, such as cigarette smoke, pets, or aspirin, and eliminating exposure to them. If trigger avoidance is insufficient, the use of medication is recommended. Pharmaceutical drugs are selected based on, among other things, the severity of illness and the frequency of symptoms. Specific medications for asthma are broadly classified into fast-acting and long-acting categories.

Bronchodilators are recommended for short-term relief of symptoms. In those with occasional attacks, no other medication is needed. If mild persistent disease is present (more than two attacks a week), low-dose inhaled corticosteroids or alternatively, an oral leukotriene antagonist or a mast cell stabilizer is recommended. For those who have daily attacks, a higher dose of inhaled corticosteroids is used. In a moderate or severe exacerbation, oral corticosteroids are added to these treatments.

Lifestyle modification:
Avoidance of triggers is a key component of improving control and preventing attacks. The most common triggers include allergens, smoke (tobacco and other), air pollution, non selective beta-blockers, and sulfite-containing foods. Cigarette smoking and second-hand smoke (passive smoke) may reduce the effectiveness of medications such as corticosteroids. Laws that limit smoking decrease the number of people hospitalized for asthma. Dust mite control measures, including air filtration, chemicals to kill mites, vacuuming, mattress covers and others methods had no effect on asthma symptoms.[48] Overall, exercise is beneficial in people with stable asthma.

Medications:
Medications used to treat asthma are divided into two general classes: quick-relief medications used to treat acute symptoms; and long-term control medications used to prevent further exacerbation.

*Short-acting beta2-adrenoceptor agonists (SABA), such as salbutamol (albuterol USAN) are the first line treatment for asthma symptoms. They are recommended before exercise in those with exercise induced symptoms.

*Anticholinergic medications, such as ipratropium bromide, provide additional benefit when used in combination with SABA in those with moderate or severe symptoms. Anticholinergic bronchodilators can also be used if a person cannot tolerate a SABA. If a child requires admission to hospital additional ipratropium does not appear to help over a SABA.

*Older, less selective adrenergic agonists, such as inhaled epinephrine, have similar efficacy to SABAs.[130] They are however not recommended due to concerns regarding excessive cardiac stimulation.

Long–term control:

Fluticasone propionate metered dose inhaler commonly used for long-term control.

*Corticosteroids are generally considered the most effective treatment available for long-term control. Inhaled forms such as beclomethasone are usually used except in the case of severe persistent disease, in which oral corticosteroids may be needed. It is usually recommended that inhaled formulations be used once or twice daily, depending on the severity of symptoms.

*Long-acting beta-adrenoceptor agonists (LABA) such as salmeterol and formoterol can improve asthma control, at least in adults, when given in combination with inhaled corticosteroids. In children this benefit is uncertain. When used without steroids they increase the risk of severe side-effects  and even with corticosteroids they may slightly increase the risk.

*Leukotriene receptor antagonists (such as montelukast and zafirlukast) may be used in addition to inhaled corticosteroids, typically also in conjunction with a LABA. Evidence is insufficient to support use in acute exacerbations. In children they appear to be of little benefit when added to inhaled steroids, and the same applies in adolescents and adults. They are useful by themselves. In those under five years of age, they were the preferred add-on therapy after inhaled corticosteroids by the British Thoracic Society in 2009. A similar class of drugs, 5-LOX inhibitors, may be used as an alternative in the chronic treatment of mild to moderate asthma among older children and adults. As of 2013 there is one medication in this family known as zileuton.

*Mast cell stabilizers (such as cromolyn sodium) are another non-preferred alternative to corticosteroids.

Alternative medicine:
Many people with asthma, like those with other chronic disorders, use alternative treatments; surveys show that roughly 50% use some form of unconventional therapy. There is little data to support the effectiveness of most of these therapies. Evidence is insufficient to support the usage of Vitamin C. There is tentative support for its use in exercise induced brochospasm.

Acupuncture is not recommended for the treatment as there is insufficient evidence to support its use. Air ionisers show no evidence that they improve asthma symptoms or benefit lung function; this applied equally to positive and negative ion generators.

Manual therapies, including osteopathic, chiropractic, physiotherapeutic and respiratory therapeutic maneuvers, have insufficient evidence to support their use in treating asthma. The Buteyko breathing technique for controlling hyperventilation may result in a reduction in medication use; however, the technique does not have any effect on lung function. Thus an expert panel felt that evidence was insufficient to support its use.

But regular Yoga with Pranayama (the breathing exercise) under the guideline of an expart shows lot of improvement among most asthma patients.

Some home remedies:

*Express the juice from garlic. Mix 10 to 15 drops in warm water and take internally for asthma relief.Mix, onion juice ¼ cup, honey 1 tablespoon and black pepper 1/8 tablespoon.Mix licorice and ginger together. Take ½ tablespoon in 1 cup of water for relief from asthma.

*Drink a glass of 2/3 carrot juice, 1/3 spinach juice, 3 times a day .

*Add 30-40 leaves of Basil in a liter of water, strain the leaves and drink the water throughout the day effective for asthma.

CLICK  &  READ  : Breathe in  & Breathe out

Prevention:

The evidence for the effectiveness of measures to prevent the development of asthma is weak. Some show promise including: limiting smoke exposure both in utero and after delivery, breastfeeding, and increased exposure to daycare or large families but none are well supported enough to be recommended for this indication. Early pet exposure may be useful. Results from exposure to pets at other times are inconclusive and it is only recommended that pets be removed from the home if a person has allergic symptoms to said pet. Dietary restrictions during pregnancy or when breast feeding have not been found to be effective and thus are not recommended. Reducing or eliminating compounds known to sensitive people from the work place may be effective. It is not clear if annual influenza vaccinations effects the risk of exacerbations. Immunization; however, is recommended by the World Health Organization. Smoking bans are effective in decreasing exacerbations of asthma

Progonosis:
The prognosis for asthma is generally good, especially for children with mild disease. Mortality has decreased over the last few decades due to better recognition and improvement in care. Globally it causes moderate or severe disability in 19.4 million people as of 2004 (16 million of which are in low and middle income countries). Of asthma diagnosed during childhood, half of cases will no longer carry the diagnosis after a decade. Airway remodeling is observed, but it is unknown whether these represent harmful or beneficial changes. Early treatment with corticosteroids seems to prevent or ameliorates a decline in lung function.

YOU MAY CLICK & READ
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/Asthma
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma

Advertisements

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

OTHER  NAMES: Acute cystitis or Bladder infection,

Definition:
A urinary tract infection (UTI), is an infection that affects part of the urinary tract.(kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.) Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra.When it affects the lower urinary tract it is known as a simple cystitis (a bladder infection) and when it affects the upper urinary tract it is known as pyelonephritis (a kidney infection). …..CLICK & SEE… :Female urinary system .……. Male urinary system 

Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than men are. Infection limited to your bladder can be painful and annoying. However, serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to kidneys.

CLICK &  SEE THE PICTURES

Doctors typically treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics. But you can take steps to reduce your chances of getting a UTI in the first place.

SIGN  &  SYMPTOMS:   
Urinary tract infections don’t always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do they may include:

*A strong, persistent urge to urinate
*A burning sensation when urinating
*Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
*Urine that appears cloudy
*Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored — a sign of blood in the urine
*Strong-smelling urine
*Pelvic pain, in women — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone

UTIs may be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions in older adults.

Types of urinary tract infection:

Each type of UTI may result in more-specific signs and symptoms, depending on which part of your urinary tract is infected.

These symptoms may vary from mild to severe and in healthy persons last an average of six days.

KIDNEYS (acute pyelonephritis):...CLICK & SEE
*Upper back and side (flank) pain
*High fever
*Shaking and chills
*Nausea
*Vomiting

BLADDER (cystitis): ….CLICK & SEE
*Pelvic pressure
*Lower abdomen discomfort (Some pain above the pubic bone or in the lower back may be present.)
*Frequent, painful urination
*Blood in urine (Rarely the urine may appear bloody  or contain visible pus in the urine.)

URETHRA (urethritis): …….CLICK & SEE
:Burning with urination
:Discharge

Children:
In young children, the only symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI) may be a fever. Because of the lack of more obvious symptoms, when females under the age of two or uncircumcised males less than a year exhibit a fever, a culture of the urine is recommended by many medical associations. Infants may feed poorly, vomit, sleep more, or show signs of jaundice. In older children, new onset urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control) may occur.

Elderly:
Urinary tract symptoms are frequently lacking in the elderly. The presentations may be vague with incontinence, a change in mental status, or fatigue as the only symptoms, while some present to a health care provider with sepsis, an infection of the blood, as the first symptoms. Diagnosis can be complicated by the fact that many elderly people have preexisting incontinence or dementia.

It is reasonable to obtain a urine culture in those with signs of systemic infection that may be unable to report urinary symptoms, such as when advanced dementia is present. Systemic signs of infection include a fever or increase in temperature of more than 1.1 °C (2.0 °F) from usual, chills, and an increase white blood cell count.

CAUSES:    
Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, these defenses sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.

The most common UTIs occur mainly in women and affect the bladder and urethra.

E. coli is the cause of 80–85% of community-acquired urinary tract infections, with Staphylococcus saprophyticus being the cause in 5–10%. Rarely they may be due to viral or fungal infections. Healthcare-associated urinary tract infections (mostly related to urinary catheterization) involve a much broader range of pathogens including: E. coli (27%), Klebsiella (11%), Pseudomonas (11%), the fungal pathogen Candida albicans (9%), and Enterococcus (7%) among others. Urinary tract infections due to Staphylococcus aureus typically occur secondary to blood-borne infections. Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma genitalium can infect the urethra but not the bladder. These infections are usually classified as a urethritis rather than urinary tract infection

Sex:
In young sexually active women, sexual activity is the cause of 75–90% of bladder infections, with the risk of infection related to the frequency of sex. The term “honeymoon cystitis” has been applied to this phenomenon of frequent UTIs during early marriage. In post-menopausal women, sexual activity does not affect the risk of developing a UTI. Spermicide use, independent of sexual frequency, increases the risk of UTIs. Diaphragm use is also associated. Condom use without spermicide or use of birth control pills does not increase the risk of uncomplicated urinary tract infection.

Women are more prone to UTIs than men because, in females, the urethra is much shorter and closer to the anus. As a woman’s estrogen levels decrease with menopause, her risk of urinary tract infections increases due to the loss of protective vaginal flora. Additionally, vaginal atrophy that can sometimes occur after menopause is associated with recurrent urinary tract infections.

Chronic prostatitis may cause recurrent urinary tract infections in males. Risk of infections increases as males age. While bacteria is commonly present in the urine of older males this does not appear to affect the risk of urinary tract infections.

Urinary catheters:
Urinary catheterization increases the risk for urinary tract infections. The risk of bacteriuria (bacteria in the urine) is between three to six percent per day and prophylactic antibiotics are not effective in decreasing symptomatic infections. The risk of an associated infection can be decreased by catheterizing only when necessary, using aseptic technique for insertion, and maintaining unobstructed closed drainage of the catheter.

Male scuba divers utilizing condom catheters or the female divers utilizing external catching device for their dry suits are also susceptible to urinary tract infections.

Others:
A predisposition for bladder infections may run in families. Other risk factors include diabetes, being uncircumcised, and having a large prostate. Complicating factors are rather vague and include predisposing anatomic, functional, or metabolic abnormalities. In children UTIs are associated with vesicoureteral reflux (an abnormal movement of urine from the bladder into ureters or kidneys) and constipation.

Persons with spinal cord injury are at increased risk for urinary tract infection in part because of chronic use of catheter, and in part because of voiding dysfunction. It is the most common cause of infection in this population, as well as the most common cause of hospitalization. Additionally, use of cranberry juice or cranberry supplement appears to be ineffective in prevention and treatment in this population.

Pathogenesis:
The bacteria that cause urinary tract infections typically enter the bladder via the urethra. However, infection may also occur via the blood or lymph. It is believed that the bacteria are usually transmitted to the urethra from the bowel, with females at greater risk due to their anatomy. After gaining entry to the bladder, E. Coli are able to attach to the bladder wall and form a biofilm that resists the body’s immune response.

RISK FACTORS  &  COMPLICATIONS:
*Urinary tract abnormalities. Babies born with urinary tract abnormalities that don’t allow urine to leave the body normally or cause urine to back up in the urethra have an increased risk of UTIs.

*Blockages in the urinary tract. Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can trap urine in the bladder and increase the risk of UTIs.
A suppressed immune system. Diabetes and other diseases that impair the immune system — the body’s defense against germs — can increase the risk of UTIs.

*Catheter use. People who can’t urinate on their own and use a tube (catheter) to urinate have an increased risk of UTIs. This may include people who are hospitalized, people with neurological problems that make it difficult to control their ability to urinate and people who are paralyzed.

*A recent urinary procedure. Urinary surgery or an exam of your urinary tract that involves medical instruments can both increase your risk of developing a urinary tract infection.
When treated promptly and properly, lower urinary tract infections rarely lead to complications. But left untreated, a urinary tract infection can have serious consequences.

Complications of a UTI are as follows::

*Recurrent infections, especially in women who experience three or more UTIs.
*Permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI.
*Increased risk in pregnant women of delivering low birth weight or premature infants.
*Urethral narrowing (stricture) in men from recurrent urethritis, previously seen with gonococcal urethritis.
*Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, especially if the infection works its way up to urinary tract to the kidneys.

DIAGNOSIS:
In straightforward cases, a diagnosis may be made and treatment given based on symptoms alone without further laboratory confirmation. In complicated or questionable cases, it may be useful to confirm the diagnosis via urinalysis, looking for the presence of urinary nitrites, white blood cells (leukocytes), or leukocyte esterase. Another test, urine microscopy, looks for the presence of red blood cells, white blood cells, or bacteria. Urine culture is deemed positive if it shows a bacterial colony count of greater than or equal to 103 colony-forming units per mL of a typical urinary tract organism. Antibiotic sensitivity can also be tested with these cultures, making them useful in the selection of antibiotic treatment. However, women with negative cultures may still improve with antibiotic treatment. As symptoms can be vague and without reliable tests for urinary tract infections, diagnosis can be difficult in the elderly.

Classification:
A urinary tract infection may involve only the lower urinary tract, in which case it is known as a bladder infection. Alternatively, it may involve the upper urinary tract, in which case it is known as pyelonephritis. If the urine contains significant bacteria but there are no symptoms, the condition is known as asymptomatic bacteriuria. If a urinary tract infection involves the upper tract, and the person has diabetes mellitus, is pregnant, is male, or immunocompromised, it is considered complicated. Otherwise if a woman is healthy and premenopausal it is considered uncomplicated. In children when a urinary tract infection is associated with a fever, it is deemed to be an upper urinary tract infection.

Children:
To make the diagnosis of a urinary tract infection in children, a positive urinary culture is required. Contamination poses a frequent challenge depending on the method of collection used, thus a cutoff of 105 CFU/mL is used for a “clean-catch” mid stream sample, 104 CFU/mL is used for catheter-obtained specimens, and 102 CFU/mL is used for suprapubic aspirations (a sample drawn directly from the bladder with a needle). The use of “urine bags” to collect samples is discouraged by the World Health Organization due to the high rate of contamination when cultured, and catheterization is preferred in those not toilet trained. Some, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends renal ultrasound and voiding cystourethrogram (watching a person’s urethra and urinary bladder with real time x-rays while they urinate) in all children less than two years old who have had a urinary tract infection. However, because there is a lack of effective treatment if problems are found, others such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence only recommends routine imaging in those less than six months old or who have unusual findings.

Differential diagnosis:
In women with cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix) or vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina) and in young men with UTI symptoms, a Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrheae infection may be the cause. These infections are typically classified as a urethritis rather than a urinary tract infection. Vaginitis may also be due to a yeast infection. Interstitial cystitis (chronic pain in the bladder) may be considered for people who experience multiple episodes of UTI symptoms but urine cultures remain negative and not improved with antibiotics. Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) may also be considered in the differential diagnosis.

Hemorrhagic cystitis, characterized by blood in the urine, can occur secondary to a number of causes including: infections, radiation therapy, underlying cancer, medications and toxins. Medications that commonly cause this problem include the chemotherapeutic agent cyclophosphamide with rates of 2 to 40%. Eosinophilic cystitis is a rare condition where eosinophiles are present in the bladder wall. Signs and symptoms are similar to a bladder infection. Its cause is not entirely clear; however, it may be linked to food allergies, infections, and medications among others.

TREATMENTS;
Medications:
For those with recurrent infections, taking a short course of antibiotics when each infection occurs is associated with the lowest antibiotic use. A prolonged course of daily antibiotics is also effective. Medications frequently used include nitrofurantoin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX). Methenamine is another agent used for this purpose as in the bladder where the acidity is low it produces formaldehyde to which resistance does not develop. Some recommend against prolonged use due to concerns of antibiotic resistance.

In cases where infections are related to intercourse, taking antibiotics afterwards may be useful. In post-menopausal women, topical vaginal estrogen has been found to reduce recurrence. As opposed to topical creams, the use of vaginal estrogen from pessaries has not been as useful as low dose antibiotics. Antibiotics following short term urinary catheterization decreases the subsequent risk of a bladder infection. A number of vaccines are in development as of 2011.

Children:
The evidence that preventative antibiotics decrease urinary tract infections in children is poor. However recurrent UTIs are a rare cause of further kidney problems if there are no underlying abnormalities of the kidneys, resulting in less than a third of a percent (0.33%) of chronic kidney disease in adults. Whether routine circumcisions prevents UTIs has not been well studied as of 2011.

Alternative medicine:
Some research suggests that cranberry (juice or capsules) may decrease the number of UTIs in those with frequent infections. A Cochrane review concluded that the benefit, if it exists, is small. Long-term tolerance is also an issue with gastrointestinal upset occurring in more than 30%. Cranberry juice is thus not currently recommended for this indication. As of 2011, intravaginal probiotics require further study to determine if they are beneficial.

Lifestyle and home remedies:

Urinary tract infections can be painful, but you can take steps to ease your discomfort until antibiotics treat the infection.
The following tips should be followed:

*Drink plenty of water. Water helps to dilute your urine and flush out bacteria.

*Avoid drinks that may irritate the bladder. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks containing citrus juices or caffeine until your infection has cleared. They can irritate the bladder and tend to aggravate frequent or urgent need to urinate.

*Use a heating pad. Apply a warm, but not hot, heating pad to your abdomen to minimize bladder pressure or discomfort.
PREVENTIONS:
The following steps can be taken to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections:

*Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Drinking water helps dilute your urine and ensures that you’ll urinate more frequently — allowing bacteria to be flushed from your urinary tract before an infection can begin.

*Drink cranberry juice. Although studies are not conclusive that cranberry juice prevents UTIs, it is likely not harmful.

*Wash  or  Wipe properly   from front to back. Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.

*Empty the bladder soon after intercourse. Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.

*Avoid potentially irritating feminine products. Using deodorant sprays or other feminine products, such as douches and powders, in the genital area can irritate the urethra.

*Change the birth control method. Diaphragms, or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms, can all contribute to bacterial growth.

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/Urinary_tract_infection
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/

Let’s Talk About Schizophrenia

People sometimes change inexplicably in their late teens – they behave bizarrely, argue unnecessarily with everyone, imagine events, become suspicious or withdraw into a shell. This is actually a disease called schizophrenia and these forms are classic, delusional, paranoid and catanonic. The word itself means “split mind ” in Greek as it was confused with a multiple personality disorder by earlier physicians. Today, these two illnesses are classified separately.
CLICK & SEE

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that is likely to affect one in 100 men and women (0.5-0.7 per cent respectively). It strikes people usually in their late teens and twenties. It is rare for schizophrenia to set in after the age of 40 and children are rarely diagnosed with it. They can, however, go on to develop it as adults if they have some other mental illness such as autism.

The onset of schizophrenia is so gradual that it mostly goes unrecognised and untreated, especially in developing countries with inadequate healthcare. In addition, people baulk at the idea of admitting they or a loved one is suffering from schizophrenia though no one has a problem saying they have an incurable chronic illness like diabetes or hypertension.

Schizophrenic patients may be delusional or hallucinate — that is see and hear things that are not real. Their speech may be disconnected, dressing and behaviour may be socially inappropriate and they may cry and laugh for no reason at all. Sometimes the person may be “catatonic” or unresponsive to any external stimulus.

Unreasonable behaviour and a quarrelsome nature may affect relations with friends, family and colleagues. The person may be unable to keep a job. Insomnia and morning drowsiness affect efficiency. The appetite may be poor.

The diagnosis of schizophrenia is difficult as the symptoms evolve gradually over a period of months or years. It is often difficult to pinpoint the exact date at which the changes were noticeable. The symptoms should be present for a month for schizophrenia to be suspected and remain for six months for the diagnosis to be established. The patient or a caretaker can report the symptoms. They should be substantiated by evaluation by a qualified medical professional.

PET scans also do not strictly conform to normal parameters. The brains in schizophrenics have smaller temporal and frontal lobes. The levels and ratios of certain brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and glutamine are altered.

The exact reason for these behaviour altering brain changes is not known. However, seven per cent of persons with schizophrenia have a family member who suffers from a similar disease. Many have been born to mothers who suffered several viral illnesses during pregnancy. Environmental factors also play a role — the incidence of the disease increases in persons who are financially insecure or from dysfunctional families with a history of childhood abuse.

Schizophrenics tend to gain weight because their lifestyle is sedentary. Patients also have a predilection for addiction — to tobacco products, alcohol and drugs like cannabis. They are often unwilling to check the addictions to control lifestyle diseases like diabetes or hypertension. Also, they do not adhere to diet modifications or medications needed to keep their disease in check; so this shortens lifespan. They eventually die 10-15 years earlier than their peers. They are also 15 per cent more likely to commit suicide.

Gone are the days when schizophrenics were locked up, immersed in cold baths or given electrical shock therapy. Today there are a plethora of drugs that can be used singly or in combination to control the symptoms of schizophrenia and help the person function fairly normally. These drugs act by correcting the enzyme and chemical imbalances in the brain. Response to medication may be slow and this may be frustrating for the patient as well as caregivers but medication can be increased only gradually to optimal levels. Drugs, combinations and dosages have to be individualised and vary from person to person.

The side effects of medication are weight gain, menstrual irregularities and drowsiness. Some people become very stiff and have abnormal smacking movements or grimaces but doctors are able to tackle this with other medications.

Rehabilitation is important. Once the symptoms are controlled, patients can function in society and even hold down jobs. They need to be trained to handle money and in personal care and hygiene. Medication needs to be continued even when the symptoms have disappeared. The involvement of the whole family helps as the person is then more likely to follow medical treatment and less likely to relapse.

People often ask for a “miracle drug” — a single tablet to treat all diseases. The only universal ingredient to improve health in all diseases (even mental problems) is physical exercise. So go take a walk.

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tourette Syndrome

Alternative Names: Tourette’s syndrome, Tourette’s disorder, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, GTS or, more commonly, simply Tourette’s or TS

Definition:
Tourette syndrome  is an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic; these tics characteristically wax and wane. Tourette’s is defined as part of a spectrum of tic disorders, which includes transient and chronic tics.

click to see the pictures

Tourette’s was once considered a rare and bizarre syndrome, most often associated with the exclamation of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks (coprolalia), but this symptom is present in only a small minority of people with Tourette’s. Tourette’s is no longer considered a rare condition, but it may not always be correctly identified because most cases are classified as mild. Between 1 and 10 children per 1,000 have Tourette’s; as many as 10 per 1,000 people may have tic disorders, with the more common tics of eye blinking, coughing, throat clearing, sniffing, and facial movements. Tourette’s does not adversely affect intelligence or life expectancy. The severity of the tics decreases for most children as they pass through adolescence, and extreme Tourette’s in adulthood is a rarity. Notable individuals with Tourette’s are found in all walks of life.

Tourette syndrome can be a chronic condition with symptoms lasting a lifetime, most people with the condition experience their worst symptoms in their early teens, with improvement occurring in the late teens and continuing into adulthood.

Clacification
Tics are sudden, repetitive, stereotyped, nonrhythmic movements (motor tics) and utterances (phonic tics) that involve discrete muscle groups.[8] Motor tics are movement-based tics, while phonic tics are involuntary sounds produced by moving air through the nose, mouth, or throat.

Tourette’s is one of several tic disorders, which are classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) according to type (motor or phonic tics) and duration (transient or chronic). Transient tic disorder consists of multiple motor tics, phonic tics or both, with a duration between four weeks and twelve months. Chronic tic disorder is either single or multiple, motor or phonic tics (but not both), which are present for more than a year. Tourette’s is diagnosed when multiple motor tics, and at least one phonic tic, are present for more than a year. Tic disorders are defined similarly by the World Health Organization (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, ICD-10 codes).

Although Tourette’s is the more severe expression of the spectrum of tic disorders, most cases are mild. The severity of symptoms varies widely among people with Tourette’s, and mild cases may be undetected

Symptoms:
Tics — sudden, brief, intermittent movements or sounds — are the hallmark sign of Tourette syndrome. Symptoms range from mild to severe and debilitating.

Tics are classified as either:
*Simple tics, which are sudden, brief and repetitive and involve a limited number of muscle groups

*Complex tics, which are distinct, coordinated patterns of movements involving several muscle groups

Tics involving movement (motor tics) — often facial tics, such as blinking — usually begin before vocal tics do. But the spectrum of tics that people experience is diverse, and there’s no typical case.

Some of the more common tics seen in Tourette syndrome
Motor tics:-

Simple tics:
*Eye blinking
*Head jerking
*Shoulder shrugging
*Eye darting
*Finger flexing
*Sticking the tongue out

Complex tics :
*Touching the nose
*Touching other people
*Smelling objects
*Obscene gestures
*Flapping the arms
*Hopping

Vocal tics:-

Simple tics :
*Hiccuping
*Yelling
*Throat clearing
*Barking

Complex tics :
*Using different voice intonations
*Repeating one’s own words or phrases
*Repeating others’ words or phrases
*Using expletives

Tics can vary in type, frequency and severity over time. They may worsen during periods of stress and anxiety, fatigue, illness, or excitement. They can occur during sleep. You’ll likely experience an urge, called a premonitory urge, before the onset of motor or vocal tics. A premonitory urge is an uncomfortable bodily sensation, such as an itch, a tingle or tension. Expression of the tic brings relief.

Different tics may develop over time. Tourette symptoms are usually at their worst during the teenage years and sometimes improve during the transition to adulthood.

With great effort, some people with Tourette syndrome can sometimes temporarily stop a tic or hold back tics until they find a place where it’s less disruptive to express them.

 

Causes:
The exact cause of Tourette’s is unknown, but it is well established that both genetic and environmental factors are involved. Genetic studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of cases of Tourette’s are inherited, although the exact mode of inheritance is not yet known, and no gene has been identified. In some cases, Tourette’s is sporadic, that is, it is not inherited from parents. In other cases, tics are associated with disorders other than Tourette’s, a phenomenon known as tourettism.

A person with Tourette’s has about a 50% chance of passing the gene(s) to one of his or her children, but Tourette’s is a condition of variable expression and incomplete penetrance. Thus, not everyone who inherits the genetic vulnerability will show symptoms; even close family members may show different severities of symptoms, or no symptoms at all. The gene(s) may express as Tourette’s, as a milder tic disorder (transient or chronic tics), or as obsessive–compulsive symptoms without tics. Only a minority of the children who inherit the gene(s) have symptoms severe enough to require medical attention. Gender appears to have a role in the expression of the genetic vulnerability: males are more likely than females to express tics.

Non-genetic, environmental, infectious, or psychosocial factors—while not causing Tourette’s—can influence its severity. Autoimmune processes may affect tic onset and exacerbation in some cases. In 1998, a team at the US National Institute of Mental Health proposed a hypothesis that both obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorders may arise in a subset of children as a result of a poststreptococcal autoimmune process. Children who meet five diagnostic criteria are classified, according to the hypothesis, as having Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections (PANDAS).  This contentious hypothesis is the focus of clinical and laboratory research, but remains unproven.

The exact mechanism affecting the inherited vulnerability to Tourette’s has not been established, and the precise etiology is unknown. Tics are believed to result from dysfunction in cortical and subcortical regions, the thalamus, basal ganglia and frontal cortex. Neuroanatomic models implicate failures in circuits connecting the brain’s cortex and subcortex, and imaging techniques implicate the basal ganglia and frontal cortex.

Some forms of OCD may be genetically linked to Tourette’s. A subset of OCD is thought to be etiologically related to Tourette’s and may be a different expression of the same factors that are important for the expression of tics.   The genetic relationship of ADHD to Tourette syndrome, however, has not been fully established

Risk factors
Having a family history of Tourette syndrome or other tic disorders may increase the risk of developing Tourette syndrome.

Complication:
People with Tourette syndrome have a normal life span and often lead a healthy, active life. However, having Tourette syndrome may increase the risk of learning, behavioral and social challenges, which can mar self-image.

In addition, having Tourette syndrome means you’re likely to have other related conditions, such as:

*Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

*Obsessive-compulsive disorder

*Learning disabilities

*Sleep disorders

*Depression

*Anxiety disorders

Diagnosis:
According to the revised fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), Tourette’s may be diagnosed when a person exhibits both multiple motor and one or more vocal tics (although these do not need to be concurrent) over the period of a year, with no more than three consecutive tic-free months. The previous DSM-IV included a requirement for “marked distress or significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning”, but this requirement was removed in the most recent update of the manual, in recognition that clinicians see patients who meet all the other criteria for Tourette’s, but do not have distress or impairment.[44] The onset must have occurred before the age of 18, and cannot be attributed to the “direct physiological effects of a substance or a general medical condition”. Hence, other medical conditions that include tics or tic-like movements—such as autism or other causes of tourettism—must be ruled out before conferring a Tourette’s diagnosis.

There are no specific medical or screening tests that can be used in diagnosing Tourette’s; it is frequently misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed, partly because of the wide expression of severity, ranging from mild (the majority of cases) or moderate, to severe (the rare, but more widely-recognized and publicized cases). Coughing, eye blinking and tics that mimic asthma are commonly misdiagnosed.

The diagnosis is made based on observation of the individual’s symptoms and family history, and after ruling out secondary causes of tic disorders. In patients with a typical onset and a family history of tics or obsessive–compulsive disorder, a basic physical and neurological examination may be sufficient.

There is no requirement that other comorbid conditions (such as ADHD or OCD) be present, but if a physician believes that there may be another condition present that could explain tics, tests may be ordered as necessary to rule out that condition. An example of this is when diagnostic confusion between tics and seizure activity exists, which would call for an EEG, or if there are symptoms that indicate an MRI to rule out brain abnormalities.  TSH levels can be measured to rule out hypothyroidism, which can be a cause of tics. Brain imaging studies are not usually warranted. In teenagers and adults presenting with a sudden onset of tics and other behavioral symptoms, a urine drug screen for cocaine and stimulants might be necessary. If a family history of liver disease is present, serum copper and ceruloplasmin levels can rule out Wilson’s disease. Most cases are diagnosed by merely observing a history of tics.

Secondary causes of tics (not related to inherited Tourette syndrome) are commonly referred to as tourettism. Dystonias, choreas, other genetic conditions, and secondary causes of tics should be ruled out in the differential diagnosis for Tourette syndrome.  Other conditions that may manifest tics or stereotyped movements include developmental disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and stereotypic movement disorder;  Sydenham’s chorea; idiopathic dystonia; and genetic conditions such as Huntington’s disease, neuroacanthocytosis, Hallervorden-Spatz syndrome, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Wilson’s disease, and tuberous sclerosis. Other possibilities include chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome, XYY syndrome and fragile X syndrome. Acquired causes of tics include drug-induced tics, head trauma, encephalitis, stroke, and carbon monoxide poisoning. The symptoms of Lesch-Nyhan syndrome may also be confused with Tourette syndrome. Most of these conditions are rarer than tic disorders, and a thorough history and examination may be enough to rule them out, without medical or screening tests
Treatment:
There’s no cure for Tourette syndrome. Treatment is intended to help control tics that interfere with everyday activities and functioning. When tics aren’t severe, treatment may be unnecessary.

Medications:
No medication is helpful to everyone with Tourette syndrome, none completely eliminates symptoms, and they all have side effects to be weighed against the benefits. However, some medications can be used to help control or minimize tics or to control symptoms of related conditions, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These may include:

*Drugs that block or deplete the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain, such as fluphenazine or pimozide (Orap). Used to control tics, these medications may have side effects such as weight gain and a dulling of the mind.

*Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox) injections. For simple or vocal tics, an injection into the affected muscle may help relieve the tic.

*Stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin, others) and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, others). These are used to help increase attention and concentration for people with ADHD.

*Central adrenergic inhibitors, such as clonidine (Catapres) or guanfacine (Tenex). Typically prescribed for high blood pressure, these drugs may help control behavioral symptoms, such as impulse control problems and rage attacks. Side effects may include sleepiness.

*Antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, others). These may help control the symptoms of OCD.

Therapies
*Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy can be helpful for two reasons. It can help with accompanying problems, such as ADHD, obsessions, depression and anxiety. Therapy can also help people cope with Tourette syndrome.

*Deep brain stimulation. For debilitating tics that don’t respond to other treatment, deep brain stimulation (DBS) may help. DBS consists of implanting a battery-operated medical device (neurostimulator) in the brain to deliver electrical stimulation to targeted areas that control movement. Further research is needed to determine whether DBS is beneficial for people with Tourette syndrome.

 

Prognosis:
Tourette syndrome is a spectrum disorder—its severity ranges over a spectrum from mild to severe. The majority of cases are mild and require no treatment. In these cases, the impact of symptoms on the individual may be mild, to the extent that casual observers might not know of their condition. The overall prognosis is positive, but a minority of children with Tourette syndrome have severe symptoms that persist into adulthood. A study of 46 subjects at 19 years of age found that the symptoms of 80% had minimum to mild impact on their overall functioning, and that the other 20% experienced at least a moderate impact on their overall functioning. The rare minority of severe cases can inhibit or prevent individuals from holding a job or having a fulfilling social life. In a follow-up study of thirty-one adults with Tourette’s, all patients completed high school, 52% finished at least two years of college, and 71% were full-time employed or were pursuing higher education.

Regardless of symptom severity, individuals with Tourette’s have a normal life span. Although the symptoms may be lifelong and chronic for some, the condition is not degenerative or life-threatening. Intelligence is normal in those with Tourette’s, although there may be learning disabilities. Severity of tics early in life does not predict tic severity in later life, and prognosis is generally favorable, although there is no reliable means of predicting the outcome for a particular individual. The gene or genes associated with Tourette’s have not been identified, and there is no potential “cure”. A higher rate of migraines than the general population and sleep disturbances are reported.

Several studies have demonstrated that the condition in most children improves with maturity. Tics may be at their highest severity at the time that they are diagnosed, and often improve with understanding of the condition by individuals and their families and friends. The statistical age of highest tic severity is typically between eight and twelve, with most individuals experiencing steadily declining tic severity as they pass through adolescence. One study showed no correlation with tic severity and the onset of puberty, in contrast with the popular belief that tics increase at puberty. In many cases, a complete remission of tic symptoms occurs after adolescence. However, a study using videotape to record tics in adults found that, although tics diminished in comparison with childhood, and all measures of tic severity improved by adulthood, 90% of adults still had tics. Half of the adults who considered themselves tic-free still displayed evidence of tics.

It is not uncommon for the parents of affected children to be unaware that they, too, may have had tics as children. Because Tourette’s tends to subside with maturity, and because milder cases of Tourette’s are now more likely to be recognized, the first realization that a parent had tics as a child may not come until their offspring is diagnosed. It is not uncommon for several members of a family to be diagnosed together, as parents bringing children to a physician for an evaluation of tics become aware that they, too, had tics as a child.

Children with Tourette’s may suffer socially if their tics are viewed as “bizarre”. If a child has disabling tics, or tics that interfere with social or academic functioning, supportive psychotherapy or school accommodations can be helpful.  Because comorbid conditions (such as ADHD or OCD) can cause greater impact on overall functioning than tics, a thorough evaluation for comorbidity is called for when symptoms and impairment warrant.

A supportive environment and family generally gives those with Tourette’s the skills to manage the disorder.  People with Tourette’s may learn to camouflage socially inappropriate tics or to channel the energy of their tics into a functional endeavor. Accomplished musicians, athletes, public speakers, and professionals from all walks of life are found among people with Tourette’s. Outcomes in adulthood are associated more with the perceived significance of having severe tics as a child than with the actual severity of the tics. A person who was misunderstood, punished, or teased at home or at school will fare worse than children who enjoyed an understanding and supportive environment

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;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourette_syndrome
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tourette-syndrome/DS00541

http://www.sfn.org/index.aspx?pagename=brainBriefings_tourette#full

Enhanced by Zemanta

Restless Legs Syndrome(RLS)

Alternative Name : Wittmaack–Ekbom syndrome

Definitipon:
Restless legs syndrome (RLS)  is a neurological disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move one’s body to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations.  It most commonly affects the legs, but can affect the arms, torso, and even phantom limbs.  Moving the affected body part modulates the sensations, providing temporary relief.
CLICK & SEE
RLS sensations can most closely be compared to an itching or tickling in the muscles, like “an itch you can’t scratch” or an unpleasant “tickle that won’t stop.” The sensations typically begin or intensify during quiet wakefulness, such as when relaxing, reading, studying, or trying to sleep.  In addition, most individuals with RLS have limb jerking during sleep, which is an objective physiologic marker of the disorder and is associated with sleep disruption. Some controversy surrounds the marketing of drug treatments for RLS. It is a “spectrum” disease with some people experiencing only a minor annoyance and others experiencing major disruption of sleep and significant impairments in quality of life

Restless legs syndrome can begin at any age and generally worsens as you get older. Women are more likely than men to develop this condition.

A number of simple self-care steps and lifestyle changes may help you. Medications also help many people with restless legs syndrome.

Symptoms:
Commonly described sensations
People typically describe restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms as unpleasant sensations in their calves, thighs, feet or arms, often expressed as:

*Crawling

*Tingling

*Cramping

*Creeping

*Pulling

*Painful

*Electric

*Tense

*Uncomfortable

*Itchy

*Tugging

*Gnawing

*Aching

*Burning

Sometimes the sensations seem to defy description. Affected people usually don’t describe the condition as a muscle cramp or numbness. They do, however, consistently describe the desire to move or handle their legs.

It’s common for symptoms to fluctuate in severity, and occasionally symptoms disappear for periods of time.

NIH criteria
In 2003, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) panel modified their criteria to include the following:

1.An urge to move the limbs with or without sensations.

2.Improvement with activity. Many patients find relief when moving and the relief continues while they are moving. In more severe RLS this relief of symptoms may not be complete or the symptoms may reappear when the movement ceases.

3.Worsening at rest. Patients may describe being the most affected when sitting for a long period of time, such as when traveling in a car or airplane, attending a meeting, or watching a performance. An increased level of mental awareness may help reduce these symptoms.

4.Worsening in the evening or night. Patients with mild or moderate RLS show a clear circadian rhythm to their symptoms, with an increase in sensory symptoms and restlessness in the evening and into the night.
RLS is either primary or secondary.

*Primary RLS is considered idiopathic or with no known cause. Primary RLS usually begins slowly, before approximately 40–45 years of age and may disappear for months or even years. It is often progressive and gets worse with age. RLS in children is often misdiagnosed as growing pains.

*Secondary RLS often has a sudden onset after age 40, and may be daily from the beginning. It is most associated with specific medical conditions or the use of certain drugs

Causes:
Disease mechanism
Most research on the disease mechanism of restless legs syndrome has focused on the dopamine and iron system.   These hypotheses are based on the observation that iron and levodopa, a pro-drug of dopamine that can cross the blood-brain barrier and is metabolized in the brain into dopamine (as well as other mono-amine neurotransmitters of the catecholamine class) can be used to treat RLS, levodopa being a medicine for treating hypodopaminergic (low dopamine) conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, and also on findings from functional brain imaging (such as positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging), autopsy series and animal experiments.  Differences in dopamine- and iron-related markers have also been demonstrated in the cerebrospinal fluid of individuals with RLS.  A connection between these two systems is demonstrated by the finding of low iron levels in the substantia nigra of RLS patients, although other areas may also be involved.

 

Heredity
RLS runs in families in up to half the people with RLS, especially if the condition started at an early age. Researchers have identified sites on the chromosomes where genes for RLS may be present.

Pregnancy
Pregnancy or hormonal changes may temporarily worsen RLS signs and symptoms. Some women experience RLS for the first time during pregnancy, especially during their last trimester. However, for most of these women, signs and symptoms usually disappear quickly after delivery.

Related conditions
For the most part, restless legs syndrome isn’t related to a serious underlying medical problem. However, RLS sometimes accompanies other conditions, such as:

*Peripheral neuropathy. This damage to the nerves in your hands and feet is sometimes due to chronic diseases such as diabetes and alcoholism.

*Iron deficiency. Even without anemia, iron deficiency can cause or worsen RLS. If you have a history of bleeding from your stomach or bowels, experience heavy menstrual periods or repeatedly donate blood, you may have iron deficiency.

* Kidney failure. If you have kidney failure, you may also have iron deficiency, often with anemia. When kidneys fail to function properly, iron stores in your blood can decrease. This, along with other changes in body chemistry, may cause or worsen RLS.

Risk Factors:
RLS can develop at any age, even during childhood. Many adults who have RLS can recall being told as a child that they had growing pains or can remember parents rubbing their legs to help them fall asleep. The disorder is more common with increasing age.

Complications:
Although RLS doesn’t lead to other serious conditions, symptoms can range from barely bothersome to incapacitating. Many people with RLS find it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep. Insomnia may lead to excessive daytime drowsiness, but RLS may prevent you from enjoying a daytime nap.

Diagnosis:
The diagnosis of RLS relies essentially on a good medical history and physical examination. Sleep registration in a laboratory (polysomnography) is not necessary for the diagnosis. Peripheral neuropathy, radiculopathy and leg cramps should be considered in the differential diagnosis; in these conditions, pain is often more pronounced than the urge to move. Akathisia, a side effect of several antipsychotics or antidepressants, is a more constant form of leg restlessness without discomfort. Doppler ultrasound evaluation of the vascular system is essential in all cases to rule out venous disorders which is a common etiology of RLS. A rare syndrome of painful legs and moving toes has been described, with no known cause.

 

Treatment:
Treatment of restless legs syndrome involves identifying the cause of symptoms when possible. The treatment process is designed to reduce symptoms, including decreasing the number of nights with RLS symptoms, the severity of RLS symptoms and nighttime awakenings. Improving the quality of life is another goal in treatment. This means improving overall quality of life, decreasing daytime somnolence, and improving the quality of sleep. All of these goals are taken care of through nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies. Pharmacotherapy involves dopamine agonists as first line drugs for daily restless legs syndrome; gabapentin (Horizant™) and opioids for treatment of resistant cases.

An algorithm created by Mayo Clinic researchers and endorsed by the RLS Foundation, provides guidance to the treating physician and patient, including non pharmacological and pharmacological treatments. Treatment of primary RLS should not be considered until possible precipitating medical conditions are ruled out, especially venous disorders. RLS Drug therapy is not curative and has side effects such as nausea, dizziness, hallucinations, orthostatic hypotension and daytime sleep attacks. In addition, it can be expensive (about $100–150 per month for life), and needs to be considered with caution.

Secondary RLS may be cured if precipitating medical conditions (anemia, venous disorder) are managed effectively. Secondary conditions causing RLS include iron deficiency, varicose veins, and thyroid problems. Karl-Axel Ekbom in his 1945 doctoral thesis on RLS suspected venous disease in about 12.5% of cases. But due to the unavailability of Doppler ultrasound imaging technology (the diagnostic tool detecting abnormal blood flow in the veins, “Venous Reflux”, the pathological basis for varicose veins) at that time, Ekbom may have underestimated the role of venous disease. In uncontrolled prospective series, improvement of RLS was achieved in a high percentage of patients presenting with a combination of RLS and venous disease and had sclerotherapy or other treatment for the correction of venous insufficiency.   In Nonpharmacologic treatments there are ways patients may be able to reduce the symptoms or decrease the severity of the symptoms. One thing that may worsen the symptoms is fatigue. Therefore using relaxation techniques, soaking in a warm bath or massaging the legs can all help aid in relaxation and relief of symptoms. Another technique is avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. Also exercising every day and maintaining a schedule of relaxation and avoiding heavy meals before bed will all help with relief of symptoms. These techniques can be used with medication or just by themselves for those who do not want medication. For symptoms that occur in the evening patients may find that activities that alert the mind like crossword puzzles, and video games may reduce symptoms. Many patients may also benefit from RLS support groups.

Stretching and shaking legs
Stretching the leg muscles can bring relief lasting from seconds to days.   Walking around brings relief also. Tiredness can be a factor and some sufferers may find going to bed usually stops the discomfort. Bouncing or shaking the legs/feet in an up and down motion, with the ball of the foot on the floor when sitting down may bring temporary relief.

Iron supplements
According to some guidelines, all people with RLS should have their serum ferritin level tested. The ferritin level, a measure of the body’s iron stores, should be at least 50 µg for those with RLS. Oral iron supplements, taken under a doctor’s care, can increase ferritin levels. For some people, increasing ferritin will eliminate or reduce RLS symptoms. A ferritin level of 50 µg is not sufficient for some sufferers and increasing the level to 80 µg may further reduce symptoms. However, at least 40% of people will not notice any improvement. Treatment with IV iron is being tested at the US Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Hospital. It is dangerous to take iron supplements without first having ferritin levels tested, as many people with RLS do not have low ferritin and taking iron when it is not called for can cause iron overload disorder, potentially a very dangerous condition

Medication therapy:
Several prescription medications, most of which were developed to treat other diseases, are available to reduce the restlessness in your legs. These include:

*Medications for Parkinson’s disease. These medications reduce the amount of motion in your legs by affecting the level of the chemical messenger dopamine in your brain. Two drugs, ropinirole (Requip) and pramipexole (Mirapex), are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of moderate to severe RLS.

Doctors commonly also use other Parkinson’s drugs to treat restless legs syndrome, such as a combination of carbidopa and levodopa (Sinemet). People with RLS are at no greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than are those without RLS. Side effects of Parkinson’s medications are usually mild and include nausea, lightheadedness and fatigue.

*Opioids. Narcotic medications can relieve mild to severe symptoms, but they may be addicting if used in too high doses. Some examples include codeine, oxycodone (Roxicodone), the combination medicine oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet), and the combination medicine hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Lortab, Vicodin).

*Muscle relaxants and sleep medications. This class of medications, known as benzodiazepines, helps you sleep better at night. But these medications don’t eliminate the leg sensations, and they may cause daytime drowsiness. Commonly used sedatives for RLS include clonazepam (Klonopin), triazolam (Halcion), eszopiclone (Lunesta), ramelteon (Rozerem), temazepam (Restoril), zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien).

*Medications for epilepsy. Certain epilepsy medications, such as gabapentin (Neurontin), may work for some people with RLS.It may take several trials for you and your doctor to find the right medication and dosage for you. A combination of medications may work best.

Caution about medications:
One thing to remember with drugs to treat RLS is that sometimes a medication that has worked for you for a while becomes ineffective. Or you notice your symptoms returning earlier in the day. For example, if you have been taking your medication at 8 p.m., your symptoms of RLS may start at 6 p.m. This is called augmentation. Your doctor may substitute another medication to combat the problem.

Most of the drugs prescribed to treat RLS aren’t recommended for pregnant women. Instead, your doctor may recommend self-care techniques to relieve symptoms. However, if the sensations are particularly bothersome during your last trimester, your doctor may approve the use of pain relievers.

Some medications may worsen symptoms of RLS. These include most antidepressants and some anti-nausea drugs. Your doctor may recommend that you avoid these medications if possible. However, should you need to take these medications, restless legs can still be controlled by adding drugs that manage the condition.

 

Lifestyle and home remedies

Making simple lifestyle changes can play an important role in alleviating symptoms of RLS. These steps may help reduce the extra activity in your legs:

*Take pain relievers. For very mild symptoms, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) when symptoms begin may relieve the twitching and the sensations.

*Try baths and massages. Soaking in a warm bath and massaging your legs can relax your muscles.

*Apply warm or cool packs. You may find that the use of heat or cold, or alternating use of the two, lessens the sensations in your limbs.

*Try relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga. Stress can aggravate RLS. Learn to relax, especially before going to bed at night.Establish good sleep hygiene. Fatigue tends to worsen symptoms of RLS, so it’s important that you practice good sleep hygiene. Ideally, sleep hygiene involves having a cool, quiet and comfortable sleeping environment, going to bed at the same time, rising at the same time, and getting enough sleep to feel well rested. Some people with RLS find that going to bed later and rising later in the day helps in getting enough sleep.

*Exercise. Getting moderate, regular exercise may relieve symptoms of RLS, but overdoing it at the gym or working out too late in the day may intensify symptoms.

*Avoid caffeine. Sometimes cutting back on caffeine may help restless legs. It’s worth trying to avoid caffeine-containing products, including chocolate and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soft drinks, for a few weeks to see if this helps.

*Cut back on alcohol and tobacco. These substances also may aggravate or trigger symptoms of RLS. Test to see whether avoiding them helps.

*Stay mentally alert in the evening. Boredom and drowsiness before bedtime may worsen RLS. Mentally stimulating activities such as video games or crossword puzzles can help you stay alert and may reduce symptoms of RLS.

Alternative Medication:
Because restless legs syndrome is sometimes due to an underlying nutritional deficiency, taking supplements to correct the deficiency may improve your symptoms. Your doctor can order blood tests to pinpoint nutritional deficiencies and give you a good sense of which supplements may help.

Doctor may also tell you whether certain dietary supplements can interfere with the way your prescription medications work or may pose health risks for you.

If blood tests show that you are deficient in any of the following nutrients, your doctor may recommend taking dietary supplements as part of your treatment plan:

*Iron
*Folic acid
*Vitamin B
*Magnesium

More research is needed to reliably establish the safety and effectiveness of all of these supplements in the treatment of RLS.

 

Prognosis:
RLS is generally a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. Symptoms may gradually worsen with age, though more slowly for those with the idiopathic form of RLS than for patients who also suffer from an associated medical condition. Nevertheless, current therapies can control the disorder, minimizing symptoms and increasing periods of restful sleep. In addition, some patients have remissions, periods in which symptoms decrease or disappear for days, weeks, or months, although symptoms usually eventually reappear. Being diagnosed with RLS does not indicate or foreshadow another neurological disease.

Prevention:
Other than preventing the  causes, no method of preventing RLS has yet been established or studied.

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:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/restless-legs-syndrome/DS00191
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restless_legs_syndrome
http://www.sleepdisordersguide.com/restless-leg-syndrome-causes.html

Restless Legs Syndrome

Enhanced by Zemanta