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National Scleroderma Awareness Month

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Image is from Scleroderma Foundation

There are many awareness months you may observe, and one of these is National Scleroderma Awareness Month. This is observed every month of June and is usually led by organizations such as the Scleroderma Foundation. The month-long awareness campaign can be participated not only by scleroderma patients, but also by anyone who wishes to help.

What Is Scleroderma?

Scleroderma is a skin disease which makes it impossible for patients to move some parts of their body like hands, feet, neck, and so on. Sclero means “hard” and derma means “skin,” so scleroderma is the hardening of skin similar with leprosy, but different in a way that it does not decay. However, the disease stays forever as there is still no permanent cure for it.

So far, it’s not clear what causes scleroderma. It just appears to anyone without any signs. Moreover, many people wouldn’t know what kind of disease it is because it comes on suddenly. You will just find yourself unable to move your fingers, as though there is an outside force stopping you from moving them.

More and more people are suffering from scleroderma. Even so, this is still considered a rare disease. It is so rare that even some doctors are not familiar with it.

The problem with scleroderma is that it does not only attack the skin outside, but also inside our body, and such condition may affect our internal organs such as digestive system, kidneys, and even the heart.

Why is there a Campaign if the Disease is Rare?

It’s true that scleroderma is a very rare disease; however, the number of such cases is ever increasing. In the United States, there are 240 cases of scleroderma for every 1 million in the population, and while this number seems small, the disease should be recognized.

Although there are some studies being conducted to discover the cure for it, researchers find it difficult to gather information because of the lack of sources such as patient history and testimonials. This means that even some people who already suffer from scleroderma are not aware they already have it.

This is why there is a month-long awareness campaign that needs to be observed every month of June in order to encourage patients to share their experience and collaborate with organizations that propagate information about scleroderma.

If you don’t suffer from scleroderma, you can participate in the campaign to help others. You can learn about this disease and teach others about it, too. The information about scleroderma may be limited, but getting more people involved in this awareness campaign can surely contribute a lot in gathering more information.

What Is for Scleroderma Patients?

People who suffer from scleroderma feel helpless because of their condition, and need community support. If you are a scleroderma patient, you can’t go solo, as you need the help of others as it’s not good to feel isolated.

National Scleroderma Awareness Month is the best chance for you to meet other people with the same condition. In this way, you can share experience among one another and boost your confidence to move on with life. Moreover, scleroderma patients may get updates about the latest in scleroderma research, medicine, or technology.

Scleroderma is not a new disease as it so happens that this disease is unknown to many. This is why there is a need for awareness month such as National Scleroderma Awareness Month in order to educate many people about it.

 

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Types and Causes of Kidney Failure

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Image is from Medscape

Your kidneys are one of the most significant organs in the body. They are a pair of organs located towards your lower back and serve the purpose of filtering your blood to remove toxic and waste substances from the body. The toxic substances can be detrimental to your health if they are not removed out of the body.

What is a kidney failure?

Kidney failure is the condition where both of your kidneys or just one of them cannot serve their function to the required level of performance. This can be brought about by a myriad of factors that may interfere with the health and proper function of your kidney. Some of them include:

  • Kidney trauma
  • Some acute and chronic diseases
  • Toxic exposure to environmental pollutants
  • Severe dehydration

When your system is burdened with toxins and dangerous wastes resulting from a kidney failure, what follows are life threatening conditions that can be dangerous to your health. This is the reason why you should always seek the services of a doctor the moment you realize you have a kidney problem.

What causes kidney failure?

The following factors could predispose you to kidney failure

  • Loss of blood flow to the kidney

Kidney failure is often prompted by a sudden loss of blood flow to the kidneys. Some of the diseases and conditions that may lead to loss of blood flow to the kidneys include:

  • Heart attack
  • Severe burn
  • Dehydration
  • Liver failure
  • Allergic reactions
  • Urine elimination problem

When your body finds it difficult to eliminate urine from the system, there is a consequent build up and overloading of the kidneys. Certain cancers can lead to blockage of urine passageways. Such cancers include prostate cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer. Other conditions which that can interfere with urination include

  • Trauma on the nerves controlling urination
  • Blood clots within the urinary tract
  • Kidney stones
  • Enlarged prostate

Other causes

Certain diseases and conditions can lead to kidney failure. They include:

  • A clot of blood in the kidney
  • Drug and alcohol
  • Dyes used in certain imaging tests
  • Chemotherapy drugs (medications that treat autoimmune diseases and cancer)
  • Overload of toxins from heavy metals
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. (A disorder that causes blood clot in tiny vessels)

Types of kidney failure

Below are the types of kidney failure

Acute Prerenal kidney failure

Without enough flow of blood into the kidneys, the kidneys find it difficult to filter out the toxic wastes hence the occurrence of acute perennial kidney failure. This problem is usually solved once the problem leading to the low supply of blood has been determined.

Acute intrinsic kidney failure

Direct trauma causes this kind of kidney failure to either one of the kidneys or both of them. An accident or physical impact can lead to the trauma. Its causes are ischemia and toxic overload making it difficult for the kidney to perform its function in the right manner. Ischemia may be caused by

  • Obstruction of renal blood vessel
  • Shock
  • Severe bleeding
  • Glomerulonephritis

Chronic Prerenal kidney failure

This is the condition where the kidney begins to shrink thus losing its function. The primary cause of this is insufficient blood flowing into the kidneys.

Chronic intrinsic kidney failure

This usually occurs when there is a long-term damage to the kidneys as a result of intrinsic kidney diseases. Direct trauma causes these intrinsic kidney diseases to the kidneys like severe bleeding or insufficient oxygen.

Chronic post renal kidney failure

This is caused by a long-term blockage of the urinary tract thus hindering urination. The consequent is pressure which in turn cause kidney failure.

 

 

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Understanding Tuberculosis

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Image is from CDC

Tuberculosis, TB, is an airborne bacterial infection. While other organs and tissues may be involved, it normally affects the lungs first.

What You Need To Know

While most people who have TB are not contagious, the disease is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes, coughs, laughs, sings, or talks. If you are nearby and breath in those germs, there is a chance that you can become infected.

There is a difference between having active TB disease and being infected, known as latent TB. Latent TB is diagnosed when you have the TB germs in your body, but your immune system is strong enough to keep you from getting sick, and you are not contagious.

However, if you are diagnosed with active TB disease, you will have symptoms and you will be contagious. Therefore, it is critical to see a doctor right away.

Unfortunately, there are some forms of TB that are not eliminated with the usual medications prescribed. That means the TB germs in your body are resistant to them. These types of TB are classified as MDR TB and XDR TB.

MDR TB (multi-drug resistant) is resistant to the standard medication regime for active TB and is more serious. XDR TB is resistant to both standard and secondary drugs for treatment and any treatment rendered can be longer, expensive and more difficult. These forms of TB occur when medication is mismanaged or misused. For example:

  • If you do not complete the full course of treatment
  • If your doctor prescribes the wrong treatment, dose, or duration.
  • If medication is not available
  • If medication is of poor quality

It is more common in people who:

  • Do not take their medication regularly
  • Do not take medications for the full duration of treatment
  • Contract it a second time
  • Come from places where drug-resistant TB is more common
  • Have been around someone who has it

The good news is it is not easy to contract TB. You usually have to be close to someone infected for a long time. This is why it is often spread between family members, coworkers, and close friends.

What TB Does To Your Body

If you have a weakened immune system, you are at greater risk for developing TB. Some examples of conditions, treatments, and ages that cause weakened immunity are:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Leukemia
  • Viral Hepatitis
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Getting Chemotherapy
  • Elderly
  • Children under the age of 5

If you any of the above apply, the bacteria associated with TB is likely to settle in your lungs and start growing right away, because your immune system isn’t strong enough to fight it off. The disease will develop quickly, within days or weeks. If you are healthy and contract TB, it may take months, or even years to develop.

While TB attacks the lungs, it can also invade other parts of the body, such as:

  • Spine
  • Brain
  • Kidneys
  • Bones
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Skin

This is because the bacteria can move from the lungs through the blood and lymphatic systems. Symptoms of active disease include:

  • Cough
  • Weight Loss
  • Night Sweats
  • Fever
  • Chills

If other parts of the body are infected, symptoms specific to that area will occur. For example, if it has spread to your bones, you will have bone pain.

Despite what many people think, TB is not a disease of the past. About one third of the world’s population are infected. That is almost 2.5 billion people. Of those people 9.6 million have active TB. It is curable, however. Therefore it is important to recognize the symptoms, see a doctor right away, and follow the treatment ordered.

 

 

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How Does Amphetamines Increase Risk in Parkinson’s Disease

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Image from www.webmd.com

Amphetamines

This drug is a central nervous system stimulant. It stimulates the body by triggering certain chemicals in your brain. These nerves prove to make hyperactivity and impulse control worse.

Like any other drug on the market, prescribed or over the counter it carries with it many side effects. Some of these side effects show up immediately, and some side effects show up weeks, months, and even years later.

Amphetamines, considered a dangerous drug affects all your vital organs, the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, thyroid, and can cause sudden death.

Parkinson’s Disease

Know that Parkinson’s disease is chronic (ongoing) and gets progressively worse. This disease is a movement disorder with no known cure at this time. All you and your doctor can do is try to manage the effects of this illness through medication or surgery. According to long known news reports, Michael Fox has Parkinson’s disease.

Research finds that this illness short circuits vital nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. The study concluded that when these nerve cells die, they release a chemical in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine, typically released in the brain, assists in the sending of messages to the body affecting your movement and coordination.

Dopamine is what helps you get through your day as you utilize thousands of various voluntary actions that you do not give a second thought. When you have Parkinson’s the dopamine in the brain gradually starts to decrease, and you find you can no long control these everyday movements at an average level.

As your Parkinson’s Disease progresses, you experience some effects of this insidious disease. Everyone is different, and Parkinson’s affects each person differently. You may have one or all of the following. These effects may be severe or minor.

  • Tremors in the hands, jaw, face, arms, and legs
  • Your movements become slow in motion
  • Much of your body becomes stiff
  • You lose your balance and coordination
  • Possible gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Potential loss of sensory factors such as smell
  • Sleep disturbances

Amphetamines, Methamphetamines, Street Drugs, and Alcohol

New medical research finds that amphetamines trigger an addictive response in many people when this drug is taken long-term in excessive amounts.

Amphetamines target brain activity sector responsible for triggering a feeling of pleasure thus spawns feelings of euphoria even when doing everyday and basic daily living tasks such as eating. The constant level of happiness produces definitive brain changes.

People, in general, like to feel healthy, happy, and find pleasure in their day. However, these strange and ongoing feelings lead to substance abuse due to brain changes causing repeated sense of euphoria.

The research concludes that this constant euphoria alters the chemical in the brain called dopamine, responsible for voluntary body movements.

If you are taking amphetamines, you can develop symptoms of uncontrolled addiction, thus developing a stimulant use disorder.

Parkinson’s disease happens when the brain chemical, dopamine starts to decrease. Dopamine is the same chemical controlling your natural voluntary movements there are two known reasons why you may develop this disease.

  • DNA or genetic mutation in its rarest form
  • Exposure to environmental toxins

Researchers find, after an extensive survey, including hundreds of drug and alcohol abusers, amphetamine users, and those people who took neither, that those who took these drugs had a 200% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. Surprisingly, this study showed that women had a 400% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease, and it was not determined as yet why this huge increased risk for the women populace.

This study was conclusive enough to say that methamphetamine and amphetamine abuse was enough to raise risks for people developing Parkinson’s syndrome.

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