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What is the Prognosis and Life Expectancy of a Hepatitis C Patient?

course-of-illness-hep-c

Hepatitis C is a very serious condition that not only affects the liver, but it is a powerful disease that can have other significant complications and problems within the body. Many people could be infected and living with it and not even know at first because the symptoms are initially mild. However, as Hepatitis C continues to grow and progress within the body it can lead to onset liver disease and cirrhosis. The important thing for anyone is to be able to understand not only what the disease is, but also how they can take precautions to protect against it.

Infection and Transmission

While there are always potential issues that could happen with respect to medical accidents, for the most part there are only two major reasons why anyone would come into contact with Hepatitis C. In the developed world there are issues with drug and needle sharing that could cause problems with respect to transfer of the disease itself. There are issues in the undeveloped world that could be a problem because of the lack of hospital controls and cleanliness or sanitary issues. In short, it is absolutely a blood problem and that is where you need to be aware. You cannot get Hepatitis C through casual contact, but through personal contact or contact of personal items you could see an infection.

Prognosis

The long term effects could be problems of the liver including liver failure and / or cirrhosis. There could also be drug treatments, but when you consider the fact that Hepatitis is not fully curable at this point there is little hope as of now that it will be. Consider the fact that it is also a virus, and there is no actual cureas of now that needs to be even considered because it is not feasible at this time. There are some trials and FDA approvals, but those are uncertain and unproven. Throw in the side effects which are common such as flu-like symptoms, hair loss, low blood count, fatigue, trouble thinking, nervousness, and even depression, and you can see why this is such a dangerous disease to live and cope with.

Prevention

While Hepatitis C is a very powerful disease, there are methods to avoid it. When you consider the main causes of infection and transmission can be protected against, the most important thing is simply being cautious. Not only are there a tremendous amount of screening and detection methods able to be performed so you know who is infected, but you will also want to go to extreme measures to ensure you are not putting yourself in harms way when it comes to risky behavior with infected people. When you also consider the potential of the disease being undetected early on, the consequences of risky behavior in general could still be problematic because you may not know who is infected and who isn’t.

Life Expectancy

Hepatitis C is not just a powerful disease, it is one that can take as many as fifteen years off of the back end of your life. This is assuming you don’t already have any other problems or conditions. When you think about the potential problems that can come about as additional complications, or the hardships you can face if you actually have other diseases or medical issues, and it can be a very powerful problem to try and deal with.

At the end of day, you need to continue to try and protect yourself from Hepatitis C. Even though you might be able to deal or cope with the disease, you do not want to risk 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?

Image result for oral cancer ad

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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Men’s Health Month

Premier-banner-mens-health

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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Understanding Colon Cancer

Colon_Cancer_infograph_3

Colon cancer is synonymous with the cancer of the large intestines, which is the lower region the digestive system. In the United States, over twelve thousand people are diagnosed with this form of cancer every year. The American Cancer Society released this data. Usually, the new cases of colon cancer start with small cell clumps then developing into dangerous cancer cells over time.

How does cancer come about?

Generally, cancer comes about when healthy body cells start to fight other cells within the body. Before the actual cancer cells have begun developing, you will often not notice any symptoms. For this reason, it is critical to get an early screening of the cancer cells as it is the only surest way of detecting the colon cancer and acting on it appropriately to terminate its growth and development.

What are the common signs and symptoms of colon cancer?

Cancer has a plethora of signs and symptoms which include:

  • Blood in stools
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Bloating and abdominal pain
  • Recurring cramping
  • Gas

While blood in stool can be indicative of cancer, it can also indicate some conditions such as hemorrhoids in the anal area. You should immediately visit a health center the moment you notice recurring blood in your stool.

Risk factors

There is a myriad of risk factors which may significantly increase your risk of being ill with colon cancer. They include

  • Age (fifty years or older are more predisposed)
  • A family history of colon cancer
  • Long-standing inflammatory infections of the colon

As well, colon cancer has been linked to dieting that has little fiber but high fat content as well as calories. In as much as scientists have not agreed on the effect of junks in relationship to cancer, it is general knowledge that junks have a lot of unhealthy fats which has been shown to affect a patient’s health negatively.

Couch potatoes stand a higher risk of getting colon cancer. As well, obesity, smoking, and consumption of large amounts of alcohol are all predisposing factors of colon cancer. It is, nevertheless, imperative to note that these pieces only increase the risk of getting cancer significantly and does not in any way mean that whoever smokes will get colon cancer.

Treatment of colon cancer

The standard treatment for cancer is surgery in all the stages of the colon cancer. There are three types of surgery which specialist can opt for to remove cancer. They include:

  • Local excision- this is mainly for cancer that is still in the early stages. The doctor will insert a tube into your rectum then push it through to the colon. He then cuts the cancerous section of the colon
  • Resection- doctors often opt for this method when cancer has grown significantly large. The doctor will make a careful incision into the abdomen and get rid of the affected part of the colon. As well, they will remove small sections of healthy tissues that surround the part of the bowel which is diseased.
  • Resection and colostomy- sometimes, the surgeon may find it difficult to sew the ends of the colon after the surgery together. In that instance, a whole will be made in the abdomen, and one end of the colon will be brought towards this hole. The patient will need to wear a bag over the opening to collect the waste being expelled from the colon. This is commonly referred to as colostomy.
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Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

Image result for Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness

Many people think that Alzheimer’s is just part getting older. Sometimes, it becomes comical when older people get forgetful. However, this is not funny because Alzheimer’s is not part of getting older. Instead, it’s a disease that needs to be prevented.

As a matter of fact, even those who aren’t that old can suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Although this is not contagious nor inherited, it can still be epidemic in a way people are not aware how to avoid it. It is a lifestyle-based disease which can also be avoided by changing your lifestyle. There is more to teach about Alzheimer’s, and this is what Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Months strives to achieve every year in June.

Ways to Participate in Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Months

Learn About Alzheimer’s

The most important thing you should do in Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Months is to learn everything about Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders. You don’t have to wait for any scheduled seminar to do so. You can learn about it on your own for free by reading blogs, and other articles you can browse on the internet.

However, if there are some awareness seminars to be held in your local area, don’t hesitate to join and ask questions. You can also visit a specialist and ask about all that you need to know about Alzheimer’s disease.

Donate Cash

There are many organizations and associations that are actively helping people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and brain abnormalities. If you have some extra money, you can donate cash to any such organization. This is because most organizations that help and care for people with brain disorders depend upon the generosity of the public.

Teach Others About Alzheimer’s

If you are already knowledgeable about Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases, you can teach others in your own little way by telling your friends and relatives about the ways to prevent Alzheimer’s. You can also blog about it and share information to your social media following, so that more people will become curious and interested to learn about it, too.

Volunteer for Alzheimer’s Campaign

If you really want to go the extra mile in participating Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Months, you can volunteer for the campaign and work with organizations or associations that propagate information.

Usually, campaign work for awareness month such as this involves organizing a series of seminars and forums. You can volunteer in any related associations or movement and help them organize or schedule such events. Along the way, you can also teach people more about Alzheimer’s.

Go Purple

Purple is the color of Alzheimer’s awareness campaign. You can dress yourself up with anything purple and encourage others to do the same. You may also go purple on your Facebook account by changing your theme to purple color.

In this way, many people will become curious about the color. Not only does it catch attention, but it also leads to explaining what it is all about. Why not go purple together with your family and friends?

There are many things to be learned about Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases, and this can’t be discussed in just one sitting. This is why it should take a month to campaign for it.

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Men’s Health Month

june

Image is from Healthcare South

Wear the Blue!

The Friday before Father’s Day is approaching and on that day people dressed in blue will seek to bring awareness to Men’s Health. Do you have men in your life you care about? Support the cause and show your true colors when you don the blue. Even with all the medical advances that have emerged men are still struggling with chronic sicknesses and passing away earlier than women. Men’s Health Month seeks to provide tested health solutions to the men in everyone’s life!

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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Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Months

Map

Image is from Michigan House Republicans

Many people think that Alzheimer’s is just part getting older. Sometimes, it becomes comical when older people get forgetful. However, this is not funny because Alzheimer’s is not part of getting older. Instead, it’s a disease that needs to be prevented.

As a matter of fact, even those who aren’t that old can suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Although this is not contagious nor inherited, it can still be epidemic in a way people are not aware how to avoid it. It is a lifestyle-based disease which can also be avoided by changing your lifestyle. There is more to teach about Alzheimer’s, and this is what Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Months strives to achieve every year in June.

Ways to Participate in Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Months

Learn About Alzheimer’s

The most important thing you should do in Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Months is to learn everything about Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders. You don’t have to wait for any scheduled seminar to do so. You can learn about it on your own for free by reading blogs, and other articles you can browse on the internet.

However, if there are some awareness seminars to be held in your local area, don’t hesitate to join and ask questions. You can also visit a specialist and ask about all that you need to know about Alzheimer’s disease.

Donate Cash

There are many organizations and associations that are actively helping people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and brain abnormalities. If you have some extra money, you can donate cash to any such organization. This is because most organizations that help and care for people with brain disorders depend upon the generosity of the public.

Teach Others About Alzheimer’s

If you are already knowledgeable about Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases, you can teach others in your own little way by telling your friends and relatives about the ways to prevent Alzheimer’s. You can also blog about it and share information to your social media following, so that more people will become curious and interested to learn about it, too.

Volunteer for Alzheimer’s Campaign

If you really want to go the extra mile in participating Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Months, you can volunteer for the campaign and work with organizations or associations that propagate information.

Usually, campaign work for awareness month such as this involves organizing a series of seminars and forums. You can volunteer in any related associations or movement and help them organize or schedule such events. Along the way, you can also teach people more about Alzheimer’s.

Go Purple

Purple is the color of Alzheimer’s awareness campaign. You can dress yourself up with anything purple and encourage others to do the same. You may also go purple on your Facebook account by changing your theme to purple color.

In this way, many people will become curious about the color. Not only does it catch attention, but it also leads to explaining what it is all about. Why not go purple together with your family and friends?

There are many things to be learned about Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases, and this can’t be discussed in just one sitting. This is why it should take a month to campaign for it.

 

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National Neuropathy Awareness Week

nero

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

HIV-Vaccine-Awareness-Day-2015-header

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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