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viruses

Everything You Need to Know about AIDS

Image result for what you need to know about aids

AIDS is caused by a virus called human immunodeficiency virus, also known as HIV. When a person contracts HIV through unprotected sex with an infected partner or by sharing needles with an infected person, it weakens their ability to fight off infections. Although HIV is the virus that initially attacks the body’s immune system (the T cells in particular), it eventually destroys so many cells that the body is no longer able to protect itself. HIV eventually progresses to AIDS within a short span of only a few years. Fortunately, there are medications available today that can suppress the effect of HIV on the body and help to delay the onset of AIDS.

Symptoms of HIV

Many people who have HIV don’t know it. This is why it is so important that you are tested regularly, especially if you have unprotected sex or share needles. No two people will have the same symptoms if they contract HIV. This is because everyone’s body is different. Within the first month of being infected, some people will suffer symptoms as a result of their body reacting to the disease and their body is working hard to fight it off. The symptoms are often flu-like symptoms and include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Swollen glands
  • Sore throat
  • Upset stomach
  • Body rash

When most people experience these symptoms, they just assume that they have the flu. The symptoms last usually for a week or two and then the person will start to feel better. This does not mean that the virus is gone. It can take years for the symptoms of AIDS to show up. During this time, the virus (HIV) is active and it is attacking all of the new cells created by the body.

Symptoms of AIDS

After 10 years or so, the HIV virus can cause AIDS. This occurs when the body is no longer able to fight off infections that are caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses. There are certain symptoms that a person will experience that is a sign that their infection has gone from HIV to AIDS.

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Frequent Diarrhea
  • High Fever
  • A persistent cough
  • Night sweats
  • Skin issues such as rashes and boils
  • Lesions in the mouth
  • Frequent infections
  • Development of serious illnesses and diseases
  • Development of pneumocystis pneumonia

Most people won’t experience all of the symptoms at once. These can also be signs of another disease or illness. Before a person assumes that they have AIDS, they should see a doctor to be tested.

Prognosis

Thanks to medical advances, the prognosis for someone living with HIV is very good. There are anti-retroviral drugs that can be taken that can greatly slow the process of the HIV virus. Most people can live a long, full life. Also, it is possible for women with HIV to have children without passing the disease on to them. This is not something that was possible 20 or 30 years ago. Back then, HIV/AIDS was considered a death sentence. When the virus develops into AIDS, the prognosis is worse. When the HIV virus causes AIDS, the person’s immune system is greatly weakened. This makes it impossible for the body to fight off illnesses and diseases that will eventually be fatal.

Preventing HIV/AIDS

Your best defense against HIV/AIDS is to know how to keep from getting it. There are a few ways to ensure your health.

  • Use a condom every time you have sex.
  • If you are an IV drug user, don’t share needles.
  • If you work in the medical field, follow proper protocol regarding needle disposal and working with infected patients.
  • Get tested every year for the HIV/AIDS virus.

Today, it is possible to live with the HIV virus. If you develop the virus and you catch it early, the medications available can keep you from developing AIDS for decades. Prevention and early diagnosis are the keys to good health.

 

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What Are Vaccines?

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When you hear the word “Vaccine,” you may get this word confused with two other words, “Vaccinations” and ” Immunizations.”

This article will explain simply and exactly what a “Vaccine” is and is not. First of all, a vaccine is administered one of three ways by needle injection, orally by mouth, or by a nasal spray, depending upon the vaccine administered.

There are different kinds of vaccines on the medical marketplace today. All vaccines contain a weakened organism or a killed organism. The vaccine’s purpose is to produce in your body a certain level of immunity against the organism of which its contents are made. Each vaccine’s purpose is to offer you protection against certain diseases or at least minimize the effects of the illness on your body.

Are Vaccines Safe?

Even since vaccines were born, there has been a controversy within the medical community and individuals alike as to the necessity and safety of certain vaccines. Many people do not believe the worth of these vaccines, while much more people know that vaccines lessen all kinds of disease processes and save lives.

For you to understand the risks and benefits of any vaccine that is offered to you, you must that the responsibility of delving deeper into any information available and weigh the pros and cons to make an informed decision as to whether you or your family should take any vaccine. Discover how the medical community monitors and makes any vaccine safe, providing many more benefits to you.

Vaccines,

  • Prevent serious diseases, for example, polio, chicken pox, and German measles
  • Increases your immunity
  • Protect you and all those around you from spreading diseases
  • Eliminated certain diseases
  • Prevents disease outbreaks which in turn protect those who cannot be vaccinated for one reason or another
  • Decrease in deaths from different diseases

How Long Do Vaccines Last?

  • Some vaccines are given yearly such as the flu vaccine
  • Some vaccines have an active age limit such as five to ten years such as the tetanus vaccine
  • Some vaccines given as a child require a follow-up booster injection after several years.
  • Some vaccines that are given to you as a child remain in your system, protecting you for life

Side Effects

As with everything else in life you are unique. The way in which you may react to anything is unlike your neighbor. Individuals respond differently to vaccination.

For example, when receiving the flu vaccination, you may have no side effects. Another person may complain of generalized ill feelings. Someone else may complain of some flu symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

None of these side effects are long-lasting and are short-lived causing a bit of inconvenience.

In Conclusion

Making an informed decision regarding vaccinations is vital to you and your children’s health and well-being.

Research shows that some of the diseases that were called “Eliminated” due to this prevention process are now starting to rear their ugly heads.

This surge in some rarely seen diseases is because many people feel that vaccinations are not necessary or important in this day and age. People are refusing any protection that vaccinations offer them. Many parents are refusing to have their children vaccinated with routine childhood vaccinations due to possible side effects.

Each state has certain requirements as to what protection they require children and adults have as a resident of that state. Check with your state regarding the rules and regulations regarding vaccinations.

When traveling abroad, certain vaccinations are required before you can enter your chosen country. You must present documentation that you are protected by certain disease processes prevalent in that country.

 

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Different Types of Immunizations

ivImmunizations have helped safeguard young and old from potentially life-threatening diseases and the spread of harmful viruses for decades. Thousands of fatalities occur each year from infections that could have been prevented by vaccination. How can you stop the spread of intrusive and life-altering diseases from infiltrating your livelihood? Identifying the various diseases that strike frequently will ensure you know what to do next to keep infections from wreaking havoc on your peace of mind. And knowing what different types of immunizations are available can help you know what to expect.

How to Fight these:

Receiving vaccinations for any of the detrimental diseases listed below protects those most vulnerable to succumbing to infectious illnesses such as children, the elderly and those who suffer from weak immune systems.

  • Influenza
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Diptheria
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Pneumococcal
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Chicken Pox
  • Pertussis( known as a whooping cough)
  • Tetanus
  • Meningococcal
  • Hib
  • HPV

Types of Immunizations/Vaccines

  1. The Inactivated or Killed- This type is administered to prevent afflictions such as influenza, cholera, bubonic plague, and polio. Created from small pieces of bacterium or virus or protein.
  2. Live Virus or Attenuated- Applied to prevent yellow fever, measles, rubella, tuberculosis, and the mumps the live virus uses a weakened or modified form of the virus to trigger a better immunity response.
  3. Toxoids- Carrying a toxin or chemical created by viruses, these immunizations make you immune to the detrimental effects of diseases rather than the virus itself.
  4. Biosynthetic- Synthetic man-made substances found in this immunization type are very similar to portions of a bacteria or viruses. This vaccine prevents Hib viruses otherwise called the Haemophilus influenza type B.

Prevention with a Purpose

Why make sure vaccines or immunizations are up-to-date? Here are a few reasons that make sense to those who are trying to achieve a higher quality of living:

  • Vaccines are cost-effective. Millions of adults go to work every day, a virus can trigger illness that lasts weeks, and cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars in lost wages. Immunizations are the affordable way to prevent such untimely occurrences from happening.
  • Even the young and healthy can get sick. Ensure you stay that way with vaccines that protect your best interests.
  • Convenience is the bread and butter of society today. Vaccinations play to the need for convenient and logical solutions to any number of inevitable outcomes.
  • Stop the less serious curable illnesses before-hand to lower the likelihood of getting incurable diseases like cancer later on. Hepatitis B and HPV are some of the leading causes of cancer. How do you keep deadly infections away? You get vaccinated.

Whatever type of immunization you or your family is considering, being informed allows you to make the best decisions for your life. Something as common as the flu can infiltrate your household. How you take action to prevent disaster from striking in the form of debilitating illness could change the outcome of your future. Find out how you can live better and longer when you decide that prevention is the practical answer to unwelcome disease.

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Understanding HIV

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Image is from scienceblog.com

What is HIV?

HIV is an ellipsis for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that provender in the human body fluids such as blood, breast milk, saliva and the sexual fluids. The virus prompts Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDs). The virus targets your immune system, therefore, weakening it and weakens the way your body would fight other common viruses, fungi, germs and other assailants causing diseases.

How HIV is spread

HIV is often spread by having unprotected sex with the folk who is infected with HIV. It is also spread through unsupervised childbirth, blood transfusion, and deep kissing. The researchers have identified that a person who is HIV-positive can pass the virus within the first week of infection throughout their lifetime. Once you contact the virus, it will multiply in your blood leading to what is referred to as ‘the viral load.’ This Viral load will reduce CD4 counts in your white blood cell hence weakening the strength of these cells in fighting the HIV together with other diseases which manifest into your body. If the Virus is not properly managed and no prior treatments are accorded, it will eventually lead to AIDS.

What Are the Stages of HIV Infection?

As indicated earlier, if you don’t treat the HIV, it will advance in various stages, taking control of your immune system and develops into AIDS. These stages are; acute HIV infection, clinical latency, and finally AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Acute HIV Infection Stage

The first stage of HIV infection is the Acute HIV. This is the period of two to four weeks of infection. During this period, many folks develop symptoms which are flu-like symptoms. Other Symptoms may include swollen glands, sore throat, fever, rashes, and pain in the joints and muscles, and most likely severe headache. This stage is sometimes referred to as acute retro-viral syndrome (ARS) or primary HIV infection. In this stage, the body is going under natural reaction to the virus. Medics advise that people who see these symptoms should seek medical attention right away since they can get the much-needed cure.

It is at this stage that a large amount of virus is produced. This virus load destroys the CD4 cells in the body. The white blood cell will respond by producing more CD4 cells, but it will not go back to the prior counts. Further, throughout this period, you are exposed to the risk of transmitting this infection to other people. Thus, you are advised to take appropriate medical steps to reduce this risk.

Clinical Latency Stage

Immediately after the acute retro-viral syndrome, the virus leads to the clinical latency stage. During this period, the virus will continue to reproduce in your body without necessarily showing any symptom. The virus may not be detected at this juncture even with the standard laboratory tests. People at this stage are still able to transmit the virus: however, the risk is significantly abridged.

AID is the last stage of HIV which severely destroys the immune system. If you are taking ART, you can live for many years without advancing into the AIDs. Those who are not on ART can still live to a maximum of 10 years. However, research shows that others may advance into AIDs faster. During the virus evolution, the viral load continues to increase leading to an ensuing diminution in the CD4 counts.

How do we prevent HIV transmission?

The perfect channel for Preventing and Controlling the transmission of HIV is by getting tested and revealing your status to the uninfected person. Using condoms for protected sex or simply abstaining is also recommended.

 

 

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Hepatitis Causes and Prevention

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Image is from National Hemophilia Foundation

Hepatitis means inflammation of a person’s liver cells due to an injury to the liver. There are different types of hepatitis you can get that can be determined through a laboratory test. Hepatitis can heal on its own without the need of treatment, but in some cases, treatment is necessary since the virus causes a chronic infection. The main types of hepatitis are A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A, B, and C cause the most liver damage.

Hepatitis can be a symptom of another disease, and it is mainly a symptom of autoimmune diseases. The hepatitis is a disease that is mainly caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis often starts as an acute disease but can progress and become chronic if not detected early. The disease can cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer to the patient.

Causes of Hepatitis

Hepatitis can be caused by toxins from drugs, alcohol or other sources of toxins. It can also be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the liver. However, the most known common cause of hepatitis is a virus.

Hepatitis A and E are short term viral infections that are mainly transmitted through water or food that is contaminated by human or animal waste. Other sources of these forms of hepatitis include under cooked food or raw food that has not been handled in a hygienic way.

Hepatitis B can be spread through having direct contact with infected blood. It can also be sexually transmitted or spread to a child during childbirth.

Hepatitis C can be spread through direct contact with infected blood. It is rare for the disease to be spread from mother to child during childbirth or during sexual intercourse.

Hepatitis D can also be spread through infected blood. However, you can only get hepatitis D if you were infected with hepatitis B. Those who are at the greatest risk of getting the infection include drug users since most share needles. Other at-risk groups include those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Prevention

New cases of hepatitis have been significantly reduced through vaccinations. There are vaccines available for prevention of hepatitis A and B. the vaccinations are effective in reducing the number of infections in children as well as adults.

Currently, there is no vaccine for hepatitis D. however; the disease can be prevented once you get immunized for hepatitis B.

Babies who are delivered to mothers suffering from hepatitis B should get the vaccine within 12 hours of birth to prevent them from getting infections.

Other things that can be done to prevent infection include the following:

  • Washing your hands and encouraging other people to do the same with water and soap after changing a diaper, after coming from using the bathroom and before handling any food.
  • Avoid eating raw foods from unknown places and always drink bottled, boiled or chemically treated water.
  • Practice safe sex. Using condoms goes a long way in preventing the spread of the infection.
  • Do not share sharp objects or toothbrushes.
  • When performing first aid, always wear gloves.
  • Disinfect all blood spills and wear gloves when cleaning up any body fluids.
  • Seek regular prenatal care when you are pregnant.

To reduce the risk of getting a non-viral type of hepatitis, avoid taking excessive alcohol. Also, consult a physician before starting a new prescription and on taking supplements. Hepatitis is a disease that needs to be taken seriously as it can cause severe damage to your liver.

 

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Hepatitis Types & Significance

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Hepatitis Types

Hepatitis in the inflammation of the liver and can be caused by many different conditions and illnesses. Hepatitis is caused by viruses that target the liver. There are different types of hepatitis viruses, and they can all cause acute hepatitis. There are several types of hepatitis viruses, and infections including A, B, C, D, E and G. Hepatitis A to E are the main types that have been discovered. Hepatitis G is a recent discovery and research is still being conducted to find out if there are other hepatitis viruses out there. Hepatitis viruses multiply in the liver and prevent it from carrying out its functions. Here is an overview of the hepatitis viruses.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A causes an acute illness that rarely becomes chronic. It can easily be spread among people just like other viral infections. The virus can be spread through ingestion of water or food from places where the conditions are unsanitary. It occurs in places where the water or food is contaminated with human waste that contains the virus. It can also be spread through sharing bodily fluids and spreads fast among people who do not observe good hygiene.

There are vaccines for preventing hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B was initially thought it only be spread through infected blood. However, it can also be spread through sexual intercourse. Hepatitis B can be spread through sharing piecing or cutting objects and also from infected mothers to their newborn babies.

Although it starts as an acute infection, hepatitis B can turn chronic and cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

There is a vaccine used for the prevention of hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C initially did not have a specific cause since it was different from A and B. it is spread through sharing needles and other piercing objects, blood transfusions, needle sticks and hemodialysis. Transmission through sexual intercourse is rare. The majority of people having an acute HCV infection develop a chronic infection and can continue infecting others as long as they have the virus.

Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D is also referred to as agent or delta virus. The reason is that the virus requires the presence of hepatitis B for it to survive and thrive. The mode of spreading is through direct contact with infected blood and also through sexual intercourse just like hepatitis B.

The virus requires the presence of hepatitis B since there is a protein HBV makes that makes HDV have the ability to multiply in the liver cells.

A combination of HBV and HDV is difficult to treat and causes rapid liver cirrhosis. Those who have both develop a chronic infection rapidly.

You can acquire the two at the same time or acquire HDV when you already have HDV.

Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E is similar to HAV regarding symptoms and disease. However, HEV occurs mainly in Asia where it thrives in places where there is contaminated water.

Hepatitis G

Hepatitis G is similar to hepatitis C in many ways. It is abbreviated as HGV or GBV-C. It was recently discovered, and test are still being carried out for the virus. The role of the virus in causing an infection is still unclear although those who have the virus develop symptoms of Hepatitis C.

Non-infectious Hepatitis

Noninfectious hepatitis is not caused by viruses. However, this form of hepatitis can be caused by the following:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption that causes alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Bodily response to drugs or drug misuse/abuse
  • Auto immune response where the body’s immune system attacks the liver cells thinking it is a harmful object.

 

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National HIV Testing Day

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Image is from women

Every year, many people participate in the National HIV Testing Day, which takes place every June 27th. This is in line with the government’s HIV awareness campaign. The objective of this annual event is to identify people with HIV and educate them about various treatment procedures. This will also enable HIV patients to find community support to reduce the effect of the disease.

On the other hand, people with negative results should be aware about fighting HIV. The National HIV Testing Day is not just for HIV carriers but for all people who can make a difference.

Benefits of Participating the National HIV Testing Day

Know if You Have HIV

The ultimate benefit of participating in the National HIV Testing Day is, of course, to know whether or not you suffer from HIV. Most people usually would not initiate a move to visit a doctor for HIV diagnosis simply because it never occurs in their mind that they have HIV until they are suddenly or accidentally tested.

The National HIV Testing Day will help people find out whether or not they suffer from HIV. This will encourage not only those who suspect themselves to be carrying the disease, but also those who wish to ensure they are healthy all the time.

In the US, there an average of 45,000 people adding to the list of 1.2 million HIV patients every year. This shows that National HIV Testing Day helps discover more HIV carriers who even didn’t know they had HIV.

Know the Latest in HIV Treatments

In the past, there was virtually no treatment for HIV. Nowadays, there are a lot of medicines and procedures that can reduce the effects of the symptoms of HIV. Although there is no permanent cure yet for HIV, there are a lot of studies and research programs that are being undertaken to find the ultimate cure for HIV, and the National HIV Testing Day can be a proper way to get updates on them.

Most people think that having HIV is like the end of the world. However, if they are able to develop new technologies and treatment procedures for HIV, they will become more confident to move on with their lives and stay healthy.

Preventing HIV

The National HIV Testing Day aims to educate as many people as possible about the risk of HIV and how it can be prevented. Though some ideas about HIV prevention seem like common sense to many people, they can also serve as reminders, so they can give importance to HIV prevention.

However, there are also many people who are not even aware of the ways to prevent HIV. For instance, some people don’t know that blood transfusion may cause HIV if not handled properly. Another thing is that some people don’t know that they inherit HIV from their parents who don’t know they are suffering from such disease. The National HIV Testing Day is a chance to learn what to do in such cases.

Who Should Participate in the National HIV Testing Day?

Anyone between 13 years old and 64 years old. Male and female regardless of health conditions are encouraged to get tested. To participate, find a testing site near you or visit any organization that actively promotes HIV prevention.

Conclusion

The National HIV Testing Day is observed every year the way people observe a holiday. However, you don’t have to wait until June 27th just to get tested for HIV. You can do it anywhere it may be offered.

 

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National Neuropathy Awareness Week

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Image is from Arizona Brain & Spine Center

The AANEM, Your Source for Neuropathy Information

National Neuropathy Awareness Week is May 12th – 16th yearly to bring to the forefront challenging brain disorders that affect millions of people.

The AANEM or American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine plays a vital part in the lives of people who suffer from over 50 various chronic diseases of the muscles and nerves. You may have one of many different muscles and nerve diagnosis and not know it.

The condition, which the AANEM focuses, plagues millions of people is neuropathy. The AANEM brings to light all of the early signs and symptoms of various illnesses and help people of all ages to deal with their brain diagnosis.

The AANEM states, “Neuropathy is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. Neuropathy is common, misunderstood, underdiagnosed, and misdiagnosed. Treatment for neuropathy is often inadequately treated.”

What is Neuropathy?

The human body’s nervous system contains the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. These two nervous systems are responsible for all voluntary and involuntary muscle movements. It is the peripheral nervous system that transmits signals to your median nerves, brain, spinal cord, and the remaining parts of your body.

If your nerves become damaged, they cannot send out the correct signals to muscle groups and vital organs for voluntary and involuntary movements. When your peripheral nerves become damaged, you may have peripheral neuropathy.

Neuropathy affects one or all of your sensory, autonomic, and motor nerve groups. Doctors can eliminate any of the over 50 brain disorders or slow the progression with early diagnosis and treatment.

Neuropathy Awareness

May 12th – 16th is the time where AANEM educates you and the public on neuropathy, signs, symptoms, risk factors, and treatments available. Currently, many people do not know about neuropathy, what it is, the symptoms, and treatments available.

The AANEM wants you to know that neuropathy is truly a debilitating disease process and is devoted to helping you, your doctor, medical providers, and the public tackle this problem during Neuropathy Awareness Month.

AANEM want you to know that researchers are working tirelessly in the battle against neuropathy through discovering new treatments, possible cures, and appropriate therapies.

A few common muscle and nerve disorders.

  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Low Back Pain
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Neck Pain
  • Pinched Nerve
  • Post-polio Syndrome
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Writer’s Cramp

You may develop neuropathy from infections, viruses, or by contacting bacteria. HIV, shingles, and Lyme disease are three of the six conditions where neuropathy develops.

Signs and Symptoms

If you experience in your lower extremities and hands, weakness, tingling, numbness, and pain

Do you have Neuropathy?

As soon as you identify these signs and symptoms, your doctor may order some tests such as an EDX, Needle EMG, Evoked potentials, Creatine Kinase Blood Test, or an Ischemic Exercise Test.

Performing these tests on several nerves in the body help the doctor to determine if you have neuropathy. It is vital to get high-quality testing done as soon as possible.

If your body functions properly, your nerves continue to send electrical impulses to your muscles. Properly functioning nerve signals to your muscles are how you move without even thinking about what has to happen in your body.

If you have a muscle or nerve disorder, your nerves are not sending the correct signals to your muscles to move you properly.

If your doctor suspects you have a muscle and nerve disease, the AANEM stands ready to help you through in-depth education, videos, reading materials, focus groups, support groups, and much more.

 

 

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HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

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Image is from www.iamicw.org

HIV vaccine awareness day occurs every year on May 18. This is a great day to learn more about why we need an HIV vaccine, how doctors are working to prevent HIV, and to take the time to appreciate those who are working hard to make it happen.

HIV Statistics

The good news is that HIV cases are declining. From 2005-2014, the number of HIV diagnosis declined by 19%, This is most likely due to education about how HIV is contracted. Many states also have needle exchange programs, which allow intravenous drug users to exchange dirty needles for clean ones. While these programs are controversial, sharing needles is one way that HIV is contracted.

Unfortunately, HIV cases among gay men continue to rise. Homosexual males make up 2% of the American population, yet they had 67% of the HIV diagnosis in 2014. Aids cases among homosexual males rose an average of 6% in the last decade, with the biggest increases seen in minorities.

Why We Need A Vaccine

Even though cases of HIV are going down in the U.S., it’s still a big problem. It’s also a problem in countries around the world. Many of these countries don’t have access to the same preventative measures that we do in the U.S., making finding a vaccine even more important.

Since the AIDS epidemic began, over 70 million people have contracted HIV, and 35 million have died from AIDS. To put it into context, there were 15 million deaths to soldiers and 45 million civilian deaths in World War Two. That’s 60 million casualties in total, and 10 million less than the amount of people who have contracted HIV.

Hope For the Future

Scientists have been trying to come up with a vaccine for HIV for many years. However, they may be getting close to success. A new type of vaccine that is hoped to be effective for many different strains of the HIV virus is set to begin phase two human trials this year.

This vaccine works using a genetically modified form of the dead HIV virus. This is the same method that is used to create many of the vaccines that we have today, including polio, flu, and Hepatitis A.

This vaccine in combination with the cancer drug romidepsin has also allowed five people to stop taking Antiretroviral drugs. Fifteen people were given the treatment, and ten of them quickly had to go back on the antiretrovirals. However, one man has been off the drugs for seven months, suggesting the vaccine holds promise as a treatment as well as a preventative.

Prep For Now

Prep stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It’s a pill that those in groups at high risk for contracting HIV can take daily to prevent themselves from getting the HIV virus. The pill has been shown to be up to 92% effective at preventing HIV when it is taken properly. However, it quickly loses effectiveness if it isn’t taken daily. It’s also expensive and has possible side effects. For those at risk of developing HIV, it can be a lifesaver.

The People Who Make It Happen

Scientists may come up with vaccines, but they would never get anywhere without people willing to test them. Testing these vaccines requires the participation of those who aren’t infected with HIV, and they should be appreciated for their efforts.

We are closer than ever to finding an HIV vaccine. In the meantime, we should all be aware of the things we can do to prevent the spread of this disease.

 

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Lupus Symptoms

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Image is from Lupus Foundation of America

Millions of people suffer with the autoimmune disease known as Lupus. This chronic inflammatory disease affects a person’s immune system. Rather than fighting to protect your body from viruses and bacteria, the immune system actually attacks various organs and tissues. Since, Lupus can affect different parts of the body, its symptoms vary greatly from person to person. The intensity of these symptoms also varies greatly, but most people experience flares, which will worsen and improve randomly.

Below is a look at some of the main symptoms of Lupus.

  • Anemia – Characterized by lower than normal levels of red blood cells in the body’s blood.
  • Chest Pain – Chest pain that occurs when taking a deep breathe. This can be caused by an inflammation of the pleura membrane that surrounds the lungs, also referred to as Pleurisy.
  • Dry or Swollen Eyes – Lupus can cause dry eyes or even swelling and pain in the area surrounding the eyes.
  • Fatigue – Lupus oftentimes causes extreme fatigue that is typically more severe during and immediately after a flare.
  • Fever – Many patients experience unexplainable fevers.
  • Hair Loss – Depending on which organs and tissues are affected, Lupus may cause hair loss.
  • Headaches – Many Lupus patient complain of severe headaches, which may be accompanied by confusion or even memory loss.
  • Joint Pain – Lupus can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness of joints in the areas affected by the disease,
  • Photosensitivity – Some Lupus patients also experience a sensitivity to the sun and the light. In these cases, it is best to avoid direct sunlight when possible.
  • Rash – Many Lupus patients, but not all, experience a distinguishable rash on their face. This rash typically takes on a butterfly shape and spreads from the bridge of the nose outwards over both cheeks.
  • Raynaud’s Phenomenon – This phenomenon causes a person’s fingers and/or toes to turn a whitish or bluish color when subjected to intense stress or extreme colds.
  • Shortness of Breath – In addition to chest pain, Lupus patients may experience periods of shortness of breath.
  • Skin Lesions – These types of lesions are most common among those whose Lupus affects their skin. Overexposure to direct sunlight should be avoided because this can worsen the lesions.
  • Swelling – Lupus patients commonly show signs of swelling in their feet and legs.
  • Unusual Blood Clotting – When Lupus affect the blood cells, a person may experience unusual blood clotting.
  • Ulcers – Some people with Lupus also experience frequent ulcers in the nose and/or mouth.

Lupus is sometime referred to as “The Great Imitator” because its symptoms are very similar to several other medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems and fibromyalgia. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss these concerns.

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