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Monthly Archives: June 2018

Understanding Addiction

addictions

The word addiction originates from a Latin term meaning enslaved to or bound by, which is a very apt way to describe it. Addiction’s influence on the brain is very powerful, which is why it is so challenging for you to overcome it. It hijacks the brain in three distinct ways:

  • A strong craving for a particular substance or activity
  • Loss of control of it
  • Continuing with it despite negative consequences

Experts in the field of addiction believed for many years that the only source of addictions were alcohol and drugs. Advanced diagnostic studies of the human brain and subsequent studies have proven otherwise, however. Pleasurable activities such as gambling, shopping, sex, and food can also take over your brain.

A Common Problem

Many people experiment with drugs or alcohol or find themselves engaged in an activity that they have become addicted to. Nearly 23 million Americans, approximately one out of every ten people, are addicted to alcohol, drugs, or some other harmful activity. The reasons are vast. Some of them are:

  • Curiosity
  • Relieve stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Pain management
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Fit in with others
  • To have a good time.

Engaging in these activities does not automatically lead to addiction, however. Everyone is different. The way to determine an addiction has less to do with what or how much you are participating in it and more to do with the consequences of it.

If the chosen activity is causing problems in your relationships, or at work, home or school, you probably have an addiction.

The Pleasure Center

Your brain reacts to all pleasures the same way. It doesn’t matter whether we are engaging in addictive behavior or not. Technically, pleasurable behavior causes your brain to release something called dopamine. It originates from a cluster of nerve cells located in the cerebral cortex portion of your brain. This connection is so consistent that doctors actually refer to this portion of the brain as the pleasure center.

The result of addiction is that your brain actually goes through physical changes of structure and function. It begins with recognizing pleasure and ends with compulsive behavior. It is a chronic disease not unlike other diseases such as heart disease or diabetes where the heart or pancreas is physically affected and changed.

The Addict’s Brain

Recent research has indicated that the changes to your brain are rather complicated. Every time you participate in addictive behavior and your brain’s pleasure center is flooded with dopamine, it causes a chain reaction. A portion of your brain associated with memory records the activity and creates a rapid sense of satisfaction while another area of your brain creates a conditioned response to it. Addiction stimulates this circuit of your brain and then overloads it.

When the pleasure associated with your addiction subsides, the memory centers in your brain remember it and cause you to want to recreate it. There are certain environmental cues that trigger those memories, at which time an intense craving develops.

Are You Addicted?

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, it is time to seek a professional evaluation:

  • Are you using or indulging in the activity more than before?
  • Do you go through withdrawal symptoms without it?
  • Have you ever lied to anyone about it?

 

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Understanding Radiation Therapy

Radiation-Therapy

If there is one illness that many people are afraid of, it’s cancer. This is because cancer is one of the most fatal illnesses that is hard to treat. Moreover, there is really no definite treatment for it yet.

Although chemotherapy is the most popular treatment for cancer, there is still no guaranty it can cure all types of cancer. This is why another type of treatment has been developed to treat cancer. This treatment is called radiation therapy.

Radiation Therapy Explained

Radiation therapy is the use of radiation such as gamma rays and X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. This happens with the help of three types of radiation therapy such as:

  • External-Beam Radiation Therapy
  • Internal Radiation Therapy or Brachytherapy
  • Systemic Radiation

External-Beam Radiation Therapy

This type of radiation therapy is done with the use of a radiation machine. The machine is similar to the X-ray machine will release its charged particles through a beam radiation. The radiation will penetrate the cancer-infected area from outside the body.

Internal Radiation

Internal radiation, on the other hand, is the method of directly placing the radioactive materials in the area around cancer cells. The process is a bit complicated, but it can be more potent.

Systemic Radiation

Meanwhile, systemic radiation treatment is the use of radioactive substances that can move through the blood to reach the areas with cancer cells. This works like a regular medicine in the sense that the substances are absorbed into the blood stream. An example of a radioactive substance is radioactive iodine.

How Does Radiation Therapy Work Against Cancer?

Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by damaging cell DNA. This also can happen by creating free radicals within the cells that kills the cancer as well.

Does Radiation Therapy Kill Other Cells?

The drawback in using radiation therapy is that it kills not only the cancer cells but also other cells nearby. This problem causes side effects depending on which cells are damaged as the result of killing cancer cells. Nevertheless, our tissues have a certain level of tolerance against radiation. It’s your doctor who will determine such levels before this treatment is performed.

Why Is Radiation Therapy Needed?

Radiation therapy is a powerful treatment against cancer. It’s so strong that other cells may also be sacrificed in the process. Nonetheless, the result is significant. It’s needed when the purpose is to completely eliminate the cancer. This means radiation therapy is used for curative intent, and it can also be used for palliative care to shrink tumors.

On the other hand, radiation therapy can also be applied along with chemotherapy. It can also be used for curative intent, control treatment, and palliative care at the same time.

How Is Radiation Therapy Scheduled?

Before radiation therapy is scheduled, your oncologist will ask you to undergo several tests such as CT scans, MRI, PET, and ultrasounds. All such tests will determine the location and the position of cancer infections inside the body. Once identified, radiation therapy will be applied in the target areas.

Conclusion

Radiation therapy may be much stronger than chemotherapy. However, there are risks involved as the radiation can also damage other non-cancer cells. Radiation therapy is ideal for curative intent as it requires patients to be much healthier and tolerant against certain radioactive materials and substances.

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What is Oral Cancer?

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Oral cancer is a persistent growth or sore inside the mouth that is caused by an uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage. It will not go away on its own. It includes the following surrounding tissues:

  • Throat
  • Tonsils
  • Sinuses
  • Hard and Soft Palate
  • Floor of the Mouth
  • Cheeks
  • Tongue
  • Lips

What are the Symptoms?

There are numerous symptoms associated with oral cancer. The most common ones are:

  • Any lesions or swelling on the lips, gums, or other areas inside your mouth
  • Unexplained oral bleeding
  • Unexplained numbness, tenderness, or pain in any areas of the mouth, face or neck
  • Persistent sores in the mouth or the neck and face that do not heal within two weeks.
  • Red, white, or red and white speckled patches in your mouth
  • A feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaw
  • Chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or change of voice
  • Earache
  • A change in your teeth or the way your dentures fit together
  • Large weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist or primary care physician as soon as possible.

Who is at Risk?

It is estimated that over 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Men face twice the risk than women, and men over the age of 50 face the greatest risk of all.

Oral cancer risk factors include:

  • Smoking. Whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe, you are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nonsmokers.
  • Using smokeless tobacco. Chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip makes you 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the lining of the lips, gums, or cheeks.
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol. You are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nondrinkers.
  • Family history of cancer. If cancer runs in your family, then you are more genetically predisposed.
  • Too much sun. If you have excessive exposure to the sun, especially when you are young, it increases your odds of contracting oral cancer.
  • If you have been diagnosed with HPV (Human Papillomavirus), some strains put you at a higher risk for contracting oral cancer.

It is important to note, however, that 25% of diagnosed cases of oral cancer do occur in nonsmokers and social drinkers.

What Can You Do to Prevent a Diagnosis?

There are some things you can do to lower your risk, such as:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, and do not smoke or use any tobacco products.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun, and when you are out in the sun, apply UV-A/B sun blocking products on your skin and lips.

Early Detection is Key

The earlier you see any symptoms, the greater the chance of successful treatment. You can also take an active role in early detection by doing the following:

  • Do a Self Exam Once per Month – Use a bright light and a mirror to examine all the surfaces of your mouth and lips. Feel for lumps and thoroughly look over every part of your mouth, throat, and gums. Check for enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. If you find anything suspicious, contact your health care professional immediately.
  • See your Dentist Regularly – No matter how thorough, you can’t always see everything, so ask your dentist to conduct an exam at your next visit.

Remember, understanding what oral cancer is and how to detect it increases your chances of successful treatment.

 

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Cataract Awareness Month

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What is a Cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens that filters light in your eye. Cataracts can interfere with your vision and can slowly develop over time or can enlarge quite suddenly. Cataracts are often diagnosed on routine eye exams, but sudden changes in vision should be reported to an eye doctor.

Symptoms of a Cataract

Signs and symptoms of cataracts can vary depending on the size of the cataract and how far advanced at is. Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurry or clouded vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Problems with glares
  • Frequent eyeglass and contact lens prescription changes
  • Clouding of the middle part of the eye
  • Halo effect when looking at lights
  • Double vision in only one eye
  • Needing increased light to do activities such as reading, sewing, or puzzles

A cataract may start as a small spot of blurry vision in your eye and get noticeably worse as time goes on. Regular check-ups with your doctor will help to track the development of the cataract and come up with a proper treatment plan.

What Causes Cataracts?

While cataracts typically develop as you age, there are other issues that can lead to cataracts. Injuries to your eye or surgical procedures can damage the lens of your eye leading to cataracts later in life. Genetics and long-term medical conditions such as diabetes also increase your risk of developing cataracts.

Types of Cataracts

There are four different types of cataracts that you may be diagnosed with. These usually differ by how they develop as well as their location.

  •      Nuclear Cataracts

A nuclear cataract usually begins with a disturbance in your near-sighted vision. As the cataract develops, it will become yellow and more cloudy before becoming brown and will eventually cause a disturbance in both close and far vision.

  • Cortical Cataracts

Cortical cataracts will begin as white streaks throughout the lens that will eventually spread to the middle, causing more vision disturbance as more light is blocked.

  • Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

This type of cataract typically starts a small opaque area towards the back part of the lens that sits directly in the pathway of the light trying to come through. Posterior subcapsular cataracts will often spread quicker than most and tend to affect reading vision and vision in bright lights. It often creates halos and glare issues.

  • Congenital Cataracts

Congenital cataracts are ones that a child is born with or they develop sometime during their childhood. This can often be the result of genetics, infection in the uterus, trauma, or medical conditions such as rubella or myotonic dystrophy.

Cataract Surgery

If your cataracts begin to interfere with your ability to read, drive, or perform routine daily activities, cataract surgery may be the best option for you. During the cataract surgery, the doctor will remove your clouded lens and replace it with a new clear lens that will significantly improve your vision.

Cataract surgery is very safe and is an outpatient procedure that does not require a hospital stay. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits or surgery with you if it is the recommended course of action.

While cataracts can cause significant problems with everyday life, they are most often treatable with surgery. If you have any vision disturbance or think that you may have a cataract, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

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Quick Facts about AIDS

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One of the world’s most significant health problems today is HIV and AIDS. The epidemic is worse in low and middle-income countries, however, it is a problem all over the world. In 2017, there were an estimated 20.9 million people in the United States who were receiving treatment for the HIV virus. Over the last decade or so, progress has been made in preventing AIDS. People who are diagnosed with the HIV virus can start taking anti-retroviral medications that can slow down the progress of the AIDS virus. There are plenty of facts and data about this disease that everyone should know to prevent it and treat it.

#1 The Virus Was Not Always Called AIDS

In the late 70’s and early 80’s, doctors didn’t know what the AIDS virus was or what caused it. It was originally thought that only homosexual men could contract the virus. Because of this, it was called Gay Related Immune Deficiency (GRID). It wasn’t until heterosexual people were coming down with the disease that they realized that everyone was susceptible to the virus.

#2 HIV Infects The Immune System

The disease causes the immune system to deteriorate. This can make it difficult for the body to fend off infections and diseases. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV and there are over 20 infections and cancers that can occur during this stage.

#3 It Can Be Transmitted in a Variety of Ways

There are a few ways that this disease can be transmitted.

  • Unprotected sex with an infected partner (oral, anal, or vaginal)
  • Sharing needles with an infected person
  • Transfusion of contaminated blood
  • Between mother and baby during pregnancy
  • Use of contaminated surgical equipment

#4 HIV/AIDS Can Be Prevented

There are several ways that you can keep from contracting the HIV virus. These methods include:

  • Have protected sex by always using a condom. This includes when having oral sex.
  • IV drug users should only use clean, fresh needles and they should never share with others.
  • When getting a tattoo or a piercing, make sure the artist is always using fresh needles.
  • Ensure that any blood products you are given have been tested.

#5 Early Detection Can Save Your Life

It is important that people are tested for the HIV/AIDS virus regularly. If the virus is caught in the early stages, anti-retroviral drugs can be taken to prevent the HIV virus from progressing to AIDS. When the virus progresses this far, the prognosis is much worse. Expectant mothers should also be tested. If they do have HIV, they can take medication to keep from spreading it to their unborn child during delivery.

#6 There Is a Link Between HIV/AIDS and TB

According to a study performed by the World Health Organization (WHO), there is a link between HIV/AIDS and TB. In 2015, 10.4 million people developed TB. Of that number, 1.2 million or 11 percent of them were also HIV positive. That same year, 390,000 of the people who died of TB were also living with HIV. Of these deaths, 75 percent of them were people living in the African region.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is very serious. Knowledge and education are two of the best defenses that people have against contracting this virus. The more people understand about how the disease is transmitted and the more they know about how to avoid contracting it, the safer they will be. While there is currently no vaccination against the virus, scientists and researchers are working every day to develop one so that one day, HIV/AIDS will no longer exist.

 

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Men’s Health Month

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Join in June

Supported by a congressional health program, Men’s Health Month is an outreach movement that strives to touch the lives of men and any loved ones affected by trying health issues. Early detection, screenings, and other proactive solutions are all a part of what makes June the one month out of the year that educates and brings awareness to the many men’s health issues that plague men worldwide.

Here are a few of the ways Men’s Health Month is making a difference today:

  • It draws attention to the diseases that are harming men everywhere. Many of these diseases might be preventable if caught and treated early on.
  • The spotlight is given to men’s health issues and encourages those in government positions to address the various problems afflicting men of all ages through policy making and championing awareness.
  • Media and individuals use the month of June to show their own concerns and support for Men’s Health by participating in special interest pieces or by encouraging the younger and older generation to participate in medical screenings, physicals, and monthly check-ups.
  • Participation in the “Plan to Wear Blue” that is embraced during Men’s Health Month encourages people from all walks of life to wear blue in united support of Men’s Health. It also encourages those interested to request allowing a day to wear blue at their job sites or to begin various “Wear Blue” events or fundraisers to raise money for men’s health.

What to Know

For men the need to stay informed and up to date on the state of their personal health is imperative. So what are some of the largest health issues men deal with now? Check out this list and see if you are, have or know someone who has faced or still deal with some of these terribly common health issues that affect men’s quality of life:

  • Cardiovascular disease- Hypertension commonly afflicts young men and close to 3 million men suffer from a stroke every year. Those incidents emphasize why periodic heart monitoring checkups are a must for men.
  • Respiratory disease-While most cases of lung cancer can be contributed to smoking, occupational hazards like asbestos are also known to cause lung cancer in men.
  • Various Cancers- Colon, throat, mouth, liver, and esophagus cancers are a higher risk for men who drink alcohol. They are hospitalized more than women for severe cases of alcohol use. It triggers higher death rates for males than females.
  • Depression- While women are more likely to attempt suicide more men are likely to die by suicide. Men, by comparison, are less likely to acknowledge they are struggling with depression and many will not seek help for it.
  • Diabetes- This disease lowers testosterone levels, increases depression and anxiety when left untreated. It can lead to kidney damage, heart disease, and vision problems.

Do you know someone who is struggling with tiresome and debilitating health issues? Are you? You are not alone. There is hope! Men’s Health Month is about giving men the ammunition they need to fight back against diseases that are destroying their quality of life.

 

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What to Avoid When You Have a Gluten Allergy

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Do you or a family member suffer from frequent or infrequent brain fog, lethargy, painful stomach maladies or a combination of each? The struggle is real. The acknowledgement of gluten allergies in the last decade has recently illuminated the often debilitating symptoms that affect upwards of 18 million people in the United States. One grain of wheat could make the difference between a better quality of life and barely getting by. So what can you do to stop something so seemingly insignificant from negatively impacting the way you live? Discover what to look for and what to avoid in your day-to-day routine to avoid needless pain and suffering.

Show Me The Ingredients

When going gluten-free, consummate foodies may find the “food lifestyle” change a little daunting. It doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ways you can satisfy your taste buds and avoid the dangers gluten allergies can bring to your everyday nutriments.

1. Be vigilant. It’s simple, read the nutritional information! Do this and at the very least you will be aware of the possibility of gluten in your food choices.

2. Don’t just read the ingredients, read by the asterisk. For gluten sensitive stomachs, cross contamination of food items in factories that also process nuts, soy and wheat products can affect the most sensitive of stomachs. Many packaged products have additional information marked by an asterisk at the beginning or end of their ingredient list. If the product is produced in the same building as wheat products, you may want to set the food item back on the shelf.

3. Know your trigger words. Dextrin, barley, bleached flour, bulgur, beer, brown flour, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, various malt products and yeast products in food can cause the troubling and debilitating symptoms of a gluten allergy attack. If you see any of these in the ingredients, it’s best to steer clear and opt for a clearly marked “gluten-free” substitution.

4. Stay positive and look for options. The more options you find to replace gluten-rich products with gluten-free delicious alternatives the less tempted you’ll be to indulge in that little bit of tainted decadence that can bring on fogginess, cramping, nausea or shooting pains.

5. It is best to abstain. If you can’t find the information you need to determine without a doubt that what you put in your mouth is untouched by gluten, don’t bite. If there is a snack you just can’t live without, do the research. With gluten allergy awareness quickly becoming a must-have for food-producing companies in the current market, food companies post gluten information on their websites for quick and easy answers.

6. Expect nothing. What you may think as naturally gluten free, may be contaminated in processing and packaging. Gluten-free products are not guaranteed to remain gluten-free. Some companies may change the ingredients they use at their own discretion. Many companies engage in their own comprehensive food-testing and may have discovered gluten contamination in the process. If you peruse the numerous gluten-free food lists online that are periodically updated online, what was once gluten free could now be off the list.

Gluten isn’t just found in various foods. Shampoos, cosmetic products, medications, vitamins and even stamps and envelopes may all contain a form of gluten. From hot dogs to precooked flour dusted French fries, gluten is an ingredient that continues to find its way into our lives, but it is possible to avoid it. Thankfully as awareness grows, so does the list of food alternatives. Protect yourself by never making assumptions and you’ll be able to exemplify what it means to live a gluten-free life!

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Signs to look for with Alzheimers

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Alzheimer’s is a very serious brain disease that can cause a slow decline in the patient’s cognitive skills. Over time, the patient’s memory, reasoning skills, and thinking can begin to decline. As the disease progresses, the disease can get so severe that the patient doesn’t recognize their family members and they don’t even know who they are. If you are caring for a loved one and you are concerned that they may be in early stages of the disease, you should know what symptoms to look for. It is important to understand that every person is different. The combination of symptoms can differ from person to person.

#1 Memory Loss That Effects Their Daily Life 

Forgetfulness is a normal sign of aging, however, if your loved one becomes especially forgetful, it could be cause for concern. There are certain memory issues that a person with Alzheimer’s will have that aren’t a normal part of aging.

  • Forgetting recently learned information
  • Forgetting important dates or events
  • Relying on memory aids often such as notes or electronic devices
  • Asking to have the same information repeated again and again
  • Forgetting names or important dates but then remembering them later

#2 Problems With Planning and Problem Solving

It is not uncommon for a person with Alzheimer’s to suddenly have trouble making plans. Something simple like following a recipe or understanding the directions to a board game can become difficult. People with Alzheimer’s also struggle with numbers, therefore, paying bills and balancing their checkbook can become difficult. Finally, a person with Alzheimer’s may need to concentrate much longer to do things that were once easy for them.

#3 Familiar Tasks Suddenly Become Difficult

When a person is suffering from Alzheimer’s, familiar tasks that they have been doing for years can become difficult. This can include driving to a familiar location, remembering their daily routine, and forgetting how to use their household appliances.

#4 Confusion With Time or Place

People with Alzheimer’s often lose track of time. This doesn’t mean that they forget what day of the week it is. People who suffer from this disease will often forget what year and even what decade it is. Also, they might have trouble understanding if something is happening immediately. Finally, it is not uncommon for a person to go somewhere and forget how they got there.

#5 Difficulty Seeing and Understanding Visual Images

Many people who suffer from Alzheimer’s have problems with their vision. This doesn’t mean needing a pair of reading glasses. Alzheimer’s patients often have trouble judging distance. They also have trouble determining color or contrast. These vision changes can make it dangerous for a person with Alzheimer’s to drive a vehicle.

#6 Sudden Issues With Speaking

As a person gets older, it is not uncommon for them to have trouble finding the right word, however, if they are in the middle of a conversation and suddenly forget what they were talking about, it is a serious cause for concern. People with Alzheimer’s often repeat themselves because they forgot what they just said. Finally, many Alzheimer’s patients will call things by the wrong name because they cannot remember the correct one. For example, if the person says little clock instead of watch, it is cause for concern.

#7 Difficulty Retracing Steps

Alzheimer’s patients will often misplace things. While this is common for many people, Alzheimer’s will make it difficult for them to remember where they just were so that they can retrace their steps.

Some people confuse old age with Alzheimer’s, however, when it is Alzheimer’s, the symptoms are more serious and disruptive to their life.

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Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

`Your thyroid is a butterfly shape gland located at the base of your neck. The purpose of the thyroid is to produce hormones that regulate your weight, your body temperature, and your heart rate.

Although thyroid cancer is not the most common type of cancer in the United States, over the years, the rates have been increasing. The reason for this is because doctors use new technology that helps them catch thyroid cancer in the early stages. This technology wasn’t available before, therefore, it was not picked up in the past. The new technology helps doctors detect thyroid cancer early on, increasing the patients’ chances of survival.

Who Is At Risk For Thyroid Cancer?

The cause of thyroid cancer is unknown. While the causes are not clear, there a few risk factors that can put you at risk of developing thyroid cancer.

  • Exposure to radiation: If a person has been in contact with radiation, they are at risk of developing thyroid cancer. For example, if a person has undergone radiation treatment either as an adult or as a child, they are at risk. If a person works at a nuclear power plant, if they work doing weapons testing, or if there was an accident at a power plant, they could be at great risk.
  • Being a Female: If you are a woman, you are more at risk of developing thyroid cancer than a man. Thyroid cancer is twice as common in women than men.
  • Inherited genetic syndromes: If a person has a family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia, they are at risk of developing thyroid cancer.

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

There are various symptoms of thyroid cancer that a person should look for, especially if they have any of the thyroid cancer risk factors.

  • A lump in the neck: If you discover a lump in your neck, you should see a doctor. In some cases, the lump will grow rapidly.
  • Neck swelling: If you have noticed swelling in your neck and you were not injured, you should see a doctor.
  • Pain in the neck: Pain is a common symptom of thyroid cancer. The pain typically radiates in the front of the neck. In some cases, it can travel up to your ears.
  • Voice changes: If your voice changes or becomes hoarse and it doesn’t go away, it is a common symptom of thyroid cancer and it warrants a visit to the doctor.
  • A constant cough: If you are suffering from a constant cough that is not associated with a cold, you should make an appointment to see a doctor.
  • Trouble swallowing: Trouble swallowing is a common symptom in the later stages of thyroid cancer.
  • Difficulty breathing: Wheezing and trouble breathing are two symptoms that can occur in the later stages of thyroid cancer.

It is important to understand that each of these symptoms could be symptoms of other medical conditions. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it is not a guarantee that you have cancer. You should, however, make an appointment so that your doctor can order the appropriate test to determine they causes of the symptoms.

Fortunately, if thyroid cancer is caught early, it can be treated. Despite treatment, it is possible for thyroid cancer to return even if the thyroid has been removed. This can happen if microscopic cancer cells spread beyond the thyroid before the thyroidectomy. Your best chance at beating the cancer is knowing what symptoms to look for and seeking treatment as quickly as possible.

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Antiviral Drugs vs. Antibiotics

There is a wide difference between antiviral drugs and antibiotics, and you should know the effects of these two drug classifications on your body. The range of antiviral medications is narrow while the range of antibiotics is quite full.

Antiviral Drugs

The doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication for you if you suspect you recently were around someone displaying a viral illness such as flu symptoms. If you have good reason to believe you contacted a viral disease, but you are not yet showing signs and symptoms an antiviral medication may prevent you from coming down with that illness, or at least minimize the effect of that disease before it occurs.

An antiviral drug is effective, but only when administered at the first signs of contact or symptoms. An antiviral diminishes the development of the illness.

A few virus includes,

  • Standard coughs
  • Sore throats except for strep throat
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Flu

There are a few drugs in the antiviral category. These drugs used short-term, are not profitable for pharmaceutical companies to research or keep to a high supply.

The antiviral drugs used in the treatment of HIV are in high supply and demand, because of the many people using them and the fact that this particular antiviral drug takes the HIV infection and turns it into a chronic, not terminal condition you can manage.

HIV is not necessarily a life sentence since these antivirals came onto the drug market. Pharmaceutical companies need to put more research into a larger variety of medications to fight other viruses.

If you develop a secondary infection from a virus such as you have the flu, now you develop pneumonia is the flu many times does, you need an antibiotic to fight pneumonia.

Powerful Antibiotics

If you contact a bacterial infection on the outside or inside of the body, the doctor may prescribe for you an antibiotic. There is a broad range of antibiotics on the marketplace today, each offering different targets of healing. Antibiotics kill the bacteria in your body that is making you ill. Antibiotics also stop these bacteria from multiplying and growing.

Doctors today are taught to use extreme caution in ordering patients antibiotics because research is finding more and more people becoming resistive to the usefulness of appropriate antibiotics because people are taking too much of a particular antibiotic and building up a resistance, thus, the antibiotic becomes useless in fighting off bacterial infections for you.

You may go to the doctors when you have a bad case of the flu, and you feel you need an antibiotic. However, the doctor will not prescribe an antibiotic for you because it will not help you get over the flu and in the end, the antibiotic makes your body more harm.

There is an extensive list of reasons why your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic such as but not limited to,

  • Ear infections
  • Strep throat
  • Sinus infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Wound infections
  • Diverticulitis
  • Colitis
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia

Antibiotics also put up an invisible protective barrier between you and others around you once you have taken the antibiotic 24-48 hours.

Resistance to Antibiotics

  • Do not demand any antibiotics from your doctor if he or she feels you do not need them.
  • Never take antibiotics for viral infections.
  • Never demand an antibiotic every time you get the sniffles or a cough.

Antibiotics are powerful drugs and when used for the right reasons save lives. Take your antibiotic, according to your doctor’s orders. Never skip doses or incomplete an antibiotic because you feel better and think you are over the infection.

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