To maintain optimal health, there are a couple of things that are of utmost importance to us human beings. A few of these are nourishing food, exercise, and a good amount of sleep. And by “good,” we mean 7-8 hours of sleep every day. However, in this busy day and age, it is indeed a struggle to find those hours for a restful night’s sleep. Apart from a busy schedule, the other factors that disrupt our sleep cycle are stress and disorders like sleep paralysis, sleep apnea, and insomnia.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s breathing is interrupted while he or she is asleep. If the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea go undetected or are left untreated, this condition could also pose to be fatal. This is because, during an episode of sleep apnea, a person’s breath may stop. This, in turn, can affect his or her blood pressure, sugar levels, and vital organs due to the lack of oxygen. While men are at a higher risk, sleep apnea also affects women. Moreover, studies have shown that about 80 percent of sleep apnea cases go undiagnosed. Here are a few signs and symptoms of sleep apnea you should watch out for.
This is known to be one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. Although snoring may be a symptom, it does not necessarily imply that you have this sleep disorder. However, if you or someone you know has been snoring frequently, getting tested for sleep apnea would be a wise idea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a kind of disorder in which the fatty tissues present in the throat and tongue relax while you are asleep and fall back into your airways, helping you breathe. This obstruction in the airway causes your breath to stop for a couple of seconds. While your brain wakes itself due to lack of oxygen when this happens, an event like this can easily happen 5-30 times in a single hour. Therefore not enough oxygen reaches your organs and this leaves you with an unrestful night’s sleep.
The constant interruption in your sleep due to sleep apnea deprives your body of sufficient rest and makes you perpetually tired. This is another important symptom of this disorder.
A person suffering from sleep apnea also suffers from frequent headaches. This is due to the lack of oxygen supply to the brain during an episode of sleep apnea. Therefore, if you happen to suffer from constant headaches, we suggest you get tested for sleep apnea.
Once again, due to the lack of oxygen at night, you may also suffer from high blood pressure. This is another significant symptom of sleep apnea you should watch out for.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, then we suggest getting yourself checked for sleep apnea at the earliest.
Managing and treating rheumatoid arthritis is difficult. A person suffering from rheumatoid arthritis undergoes joint pain in their hands, feet, knees, and shoulders on an everyday basis.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help control rheumatoid arthritis to some extent. Though chronic rheumatoid arthritis is not curable, doctors can prescribe administrative medications that control or minimize further damage to the joints.
Doctors may suggest a surgical intervention, therapy, and medication together, as the effective treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis. Once rheumatoid arthritis is detected, the doctor can prescribe Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) such as methotrexate, leflunomide, hydroxychloroquine, and sulfasalazine, which may gradually slow the onset of rheumatoid arthritis and also prevent other affected tissues from further damage.
The main and important objective for any doctor while treating rheumatoid arthritis is to ease the stiffness around joints and prevent any damage to the nerves. The treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis are DMARDs, Corticosteroids, Biologics, Analgesics, and Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
These are entry-level or basic treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatologists start with methotrexate drug to treat joint inflammation. Methotrexate can be used in combination with other medications like hydroxychloroquine and sulfasalazine for better results.
Biologics work through injection, Intravenous (IV) shots and pills. They help control your immune system and reduce inflammation as well. Your rheumatologist will decide which route works best for your immune system to avoid any potential side effects. When you are on biologics, you do not stand a chance for any infection. Biologics are a little more expensive than DMARDs. Some healthcare providers also offer discounts on biologics.
As the name suggests, this is a steroid drug, which is administered if the condition is severe. As this drug is powerful, it cannot be given in high dosages. Doctors give corticosteroids for a shorter duration, especially if a patient experiences sudden arthritis swelling or flare-up. This treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis comes with the risk of side effects such as weight gain, diabetes, osteoporosis, and infections.
Commonly used as a quick pain reliever worldwide, NSAIDs can also be used as a treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis. However, NSAIDs also come with their share of side effects, such as stomach ulcers, blood pressure, and heart diseases.
Analgesics are lighter versions of NSAIDs. At times, due to arthritis flare-up or intense swelling, the patient can experience stomach ulcers or have an upset stomach. In such cases, these analgesics act as short-term pain relievers to dull your pain.
This is the last resort if medications are causing side effects or majorly affecting your immunity. The most commonly performed surgery is hip or knee replacement.
Treating rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term goal and has to be started as soon as you experience a sign or symptom.
It is not easy to manage your day-to-day activities while suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. This chronic disease causes inflammation and swelling in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis not just causes discomfort to the body but also requires you to change your lifestyle accordingly. Everyday things, which you did regularly, such as taking long walks or exercising, may not be easily possible once you are diagnosed with this condition.
This implies changing the way you do your day-to-day activities, altering a few eating and sleeping patterns, and making other minor changes. Patients experiencing rheumatoid arthritis can ease their pain and discomfort by making the following simple changes.
Millions of Americans are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Joint pain makes it difficult to sleep in a comfortable position. Due to lack of sleep, arthritis pain may escalate. So, whenever possible, try to get adequate rest and sleep.
Keep moving is the mantra for managing life with rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have proved that mobility can improve your muscle flexibility. Small baby steps and few stretching exercises can keep you happy and allow you to sleep better. Rheumatologists recommend swimming, bicycling, and walking as effective ways to stay active and healthy too.
Diet recommended for rheumatoid arthritis patients varies as per the condition, age, and many other factors. Nevertheless, make sure you get enough calcium and vitamins from your food that helps with bone formation and prevent further damage. Nutritionists recommend eating a lot of green vegetables and omega-3 fatty acid foods to combat inflammation and swelling.
Whether you are on medication or have just been detected with rheumatoid arthritis, your main aim needs to be protecting your joints from further damage. Certain changes, such as using a warm electric blanket for sleeping or hot water bag for soothing inflammation, can go a long way in managing life with rheumatoid arthritis. Other factors that contribute to protecting your joints include wearing comfortable shoes that aid in walking and using a splint or walker to help you maintain balance while walking.
An arthritis patient will have to quit smoking as it poses a risk of plaque formation in the arteries. Especially when you are on medication, smoking dampens the body’s ability to respond to treatment. Find ways to distract yourself or engage in some hobbies whenever you feel like smoking. Managing life with rheumatoid arthritis also involves giving up habits such as smoking that can further damage your condition.
Your treatment will be effective and your body will respond positively if you develop a positive attitude. Managing life with rheumatoid arthritis is no easy feat. You may constantly be in pain and suffer from lack of sleep. Due to this, many Americans undergo depression, which can have an adverse effect on the treatment. Sorting out your priorities and practicing meditation can help you stay motivated and positive.
Apart from changing your lifestyle and making healthy improvements in your diet and other activities, managing life with rheumatoid arthritis can be easier with support from friends and family. Talk with other people and groups who have rheumatoid arthritis. Understand them, to figure out how they manage their life with arthritis efficiently.
Any joint pain or stiffness signals rheumatoid arthritis. The early symptoms that herald the onset of rheumatoid arthritis are stiffness in the joints of fingers and toes as well as unusual numbness or tingling sensation in the hands and fingers.
Although rheumatoid arthritis is mainly related to our body joints, 40 percent of patients even experience arthritis that affects the bone marrow, kidneys, heart, lungs, eyes, skin, and nerve tissue.
When the lining of our joints is attacked by our immune system, it causes rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured, but it can be controlled with treatment and exercise. Most of us do not notice, or sometimes even ignore, the early warning signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis that later escalate and become unbearable.
It is necessary to identify and recognize the early symptoms to effectively control and treat rheumatoid arthritis. Although it is easy to get misled by other signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
such as fatigue, weight loss, and low-grade fever, one cannot negate other important factors such as chronic pain, swelling and redness in hand, foot, and wrist.
Fatigue of an extreme nature, leading to tiredness, the inability to work, and carry out day-to-day tasks, is the first sign and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Sudden unexplained weight loss coupled with fatigue or exhaustion can signal arthritis.
Never ignore a fever, though it may be a low-grade fever, which is teamed with unexplained weight loss or fatigue.
The first sign that doctors look for in rheumatoid arthritis is any swelling or tenderness in hands, feet, and wrists. The swelling may be due to the fluid build-up in the joint cavity. The signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis vary for individuals of different ages.
Joint pain can occur due to a thickness of the joint lining tissue or excess fluid build-up, causing pain and inflammation in the area surrounding the joints.
Early morning stiffness in joints especially while bending or moving wrists, points to all factors that are responsible for rheumatoid arthritis.
This is a rare case of chronic rheumatoid arthritis. Deformity can happen in the later stages of arthritis, i.e., when early signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are ignored, leading to the erosion of cartilage and bone and causing joint deformity.
When a person limps, it is because the tissues surrounding the hips, knees, ankles, and feet are affected. Rheumatoid arthritis can even go to the extent of damaging one’s ability to walk comfortably on both feet.
While treating arthritis, rheumatologists look for any redness or warmth in the joint areas. The redness can be visible in single or multiple joints. This happens when the capillaries are widened as a result of inflammation surrounding other joints in the same area.
While these signs and symptoms lead to rheumatoid arthritis, the challenge lies in identifying them and getting them treated. As rheumatoid arthritis reaches to an advanced stage, pain and stiffness spread to the shoulders, knees, hips, and other parts of the body, causing extreme discomfort.
Psoriasis is a commonly occurring skin condition. It is a chronic condition that accelerates the life cycle of skin cells. The cells build up rapidly on the skin surface. The excess cells create red patches and scales that cause pain, itch, and irritation.
Common symptoms of psoriasis include red patches or thick silvery scales on the skin, thickened nails, stiff and swollen joints, soreness, itching, burning sensation, small scaling spots, and cracked skin that may bleed.
Here’s an overview of the causes and diagnosis of psoriasis.
Psoriasis is known to occur due to an immune system issue with white blood cells like T cells and neutrophils.
T cells pass through the body and defend it from foreign substances like viruses and bacteria. However, during psoriasis, T cells mistakenly affect healthy skin cells in an attempt to fight an infection or heal a wound. Overactive T cells also produce healthy skin cells at a higher rate. These cells pass through the skin, reach its outermost layer, and lead to redness.
This becomes a regular cyclic process and starts building new skin cells in just a few days. The reason why T cells malfunction is unknown. A number of researchers believe that environmental and genetic factors play a role in this.
A few of the factors that initiate and trigger the symptoms of psoriasis are:
The following risk factors increase the chances of a person to develop psoriasis:
Diagnosis of psoriasis is quite simple. The doctor examines your skin, nails, and scalp, and checks your medical history to diagnose psoriasis.
If required, the doctor may then take a small sample of the skin for a biopsy. This happens only in rare cases. The patient is given local anesthesia and his skin is observed under a microscope. This helps the doctor to determine the exact type of psoriasis and eliminate other skin disorders.
Once psoriasis is diagnosed, it is important to consult a dermatologist. Discuss all the problems you are facing due to the symptoms. Give the complete medical history to the skin specialist and let the doctor guide you with the best treatment suitable for you.
In most patients, psoriasis often reoccurs at times and disappears. There is no specific cure for psoriasis. The treatment helps to stop the rapid growth of skin cells. It also aids in managing the symptoms.
Dry mouth is a condition where your body is unable to produce the required saliva. It often occurs due to a side effect from medicines, infections, or medical treatments. Saliva is essential to clean the mouth and prevent it from infections.
If you are suffering from dry mouth, it is important to treat it immediately. Here are some of the top remedies and treatments for chronic dry mouth and lips.
Dry mouth often happens due to dehydration. Increase your fluid intake and keep your mouth and body hydrated. Even if dehydration is not the cause of you, water will help to keep your mouth clean and away from bacteria.
Suck sugar-free candies. It enhances the saliva flow and also eases the symptoms. But ensure that you opt for sugar-free candies only, as sugar may aggravate the problem of dry mouth.
Breathing through the mouth increases the issue of dry mouth. Change your breathing habits and breathe through your nose even while resting.
A number of spices help to fight the problems of dry mouth and lips. You may use fennel seeds to fight bad breath and enhance the flow of saliva. Use cayenne seeds to strengthen your taste sensation and increase the production of saliva.
You should strictly avoid certain food and drinks when you are suffering from dry mouth. These include items that contain caffeine and sugar.
Follow healthy sleeping habits. Use a humidifier in your room. Do not wear dentures while sleeping. Use fluoride toothpaste and a mouthwash before you go to bed every night.
This method is known as oil pulling. Take a tablespoon of any household oil like olive, sesame, or coconut. Swish inside the mouth and spit it out. After this, rinse with warm water and brush your teeth.
When the home remedies do not work, it is advised to visit a doctor and get a suitable treatment. Some of the treatment options are as follows:
Consult your doctor and change the medicines that cause dry mouth. The doctor will help to adjust the dosage or switch the medicine.
Ask your medical practitioner to recommend a good product that will moisturize your mouth well for a better oral health. For instance, a dry mouth spray. Use it regularly. Such products will help to create artificial saliva and protect your mouth from any oral disease.
Your doctor may also prescribe some medicines that assist you to increase the production of saliva in your mouth. Some of these may be pilocarpine or cevimeline.
Your dentist may suggest some teeth protection methods to fight the problem of dry mouth and any oral health issues. The doctor may fill fluoride trays or ask you to use a chlorhexidine rinse every week to keep a check on cavities.
Pick the method that best suits you, and ensure to get your dry mouth and lips problems resolved at the earliest. If none of the above works for you, ask your medical practitioner for some more suggestions to ease your oral health problems.
Multiple myeloma is the cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow. These cells that are responsible for producing the antibodies for the body’s immunity stop functioning properly and instead produce an abnormal protein. This condition is known as multiple myeloma.
While it is common to find asymptomatic patients, there are a few signs and symptoms that start showing up when the cancer advances. Some of these signs and symptoms include bone problems, abnormal blood counts, and a number of infections. One needs to identify these for understanding the treatment options for multiple myeloma.
Here are some of the treatment options for multiple myeloma-
There are cases of solitary plasmacytomas that are mostly treated with radiation therapy. Surgery is also an option if the tumor is not in the bone. Doctors may advise the patients to undergo chemotherapy only at the occurrence of multiple myeloma.
A lot of patients with Stage 1 myeloma are many-a-times asymptomatic and do well for several years without any treatment. If a patient is diagnosed with this stage of myeloma, doctors prefer to observe the advancement rather than starting any therapies. The patients may be given medicines to care of any bone problems. The treatment options for multiple myeloma depend on the advancement of the cancer. This is checked by examining the plasma cells under a microscope.
Patients diagnosed with Stage 2 or higher advancement of cancer may start with therapy that only involves drugs. These drugs are prescribed depending on the health of the patient. A lot of patients’ kidneys get affected due to multiple myeloma and may need treatment for that too and sometimes even a transplant. These factors are also considered when prescribing the medicines. Depending on the patient’s symptoms, doctors may also advise for chemotherapy sessions.
Some patients may be required to undergo other supportive therapies like blood transfusions and/or stem cell transplant.
Depending on the cancer and the patient’s health, doctors may advise the patient to undergo consolidation treatment. Consolidation treatment is when the cycles of previous treatment are repeated to ensure that the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma do not return.
Some of the factors that can put an individual at a risk of developing multiple myeloma are as follows:
Individuals over the age of 35 years are at a higher risk of getting multiple myeloma than those below it.
Women have lesser chances of developing this form of cancer than men.
Multiple myeloma is more common in African Americans than in white Americans. The reason for this is, however, unknown.
Individuals who have been exposed to radiation from an atomic bomb blast too have a higher risk of developing multiple myeloma.
Apart from these factors, family history and having other plasma cell diseases also increase the risk of developing multiple myeloma.
The treatment options for multiple myeloma depend on the patient’s health and the stage of cancer. Getting more than one opinion is always a good thing to do before opting for any treatment. A doctor is the best to seek treatment advice from.
A migraine is a neurological condition that is characterized by multiple symptoms. No underlying cause for a migraine has been found yet but there are several theories on why migraine attacks occur. There are a few factors too that may trigger these attacks.
Migraine attacks affect over 25 million individuals in our country. Migraine attacks mostly start as a sudden throbbing pain on one side of the head, which may eventually spread to other parts of the head.
Let us discuss some of the common signs and symptoms of migraine.
Doctors assess whether or not an individual has migraine based on the patient’s’ history and the frequency of occurrence of these symptoms. The following are some of the early signs and symptoms of migraine that may be an indication of an impending migraine-
Some individuals with migraine may experience aura. This aura is characterized by uneasiness and problems with seeing and hearing. Most of the aura signs are visual problems, which include seeing strange shapes or flickering lines or light. This aura may occur before the migraine headaches set in or during the migraine attacks. It can last for a duration as less as five minutes to as long as 60 minutes or more. These visual symptoms are not always negative and sometimes may be positive as well.
Migraine attacks can be triggered by a number of factors. Some of them are-
When it comes to diagnosis, doctors look at the patient history to determine whether the headaches experienced are migraines. The signs and symptoms of migraines need to be present at least five times or more for the headaches to be classified as migraine.
There hasn’t been a cure so far that helps treat migraine; however, there are a number of medications that can be taken to alleviate the signs and symptoms of migraines and to avoid a major migraine attack.
If you experience migraines, there are a few lifestyle changes that you can adopt to help prevent them from occurring more often. These include adopting a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Make a note of what you feel in a diary about all the migraine episodes. This can help you understand what triggers it and what makes you feel better during the migraine headaches. It’s important to detect the early signs and seek advice from a doctor.
Multiple myeloma is cancer in the plasma cells of the bone marrow. These cells are a kind of white blood cells that are the protein-making cells. These cells make the different antibodies for the body to stay immune. In multiple myeloma, these plasma cells start making only one type of abnormal protein instead of the different kinds of antibodies that are required by the body. The abnormal type of protein cells is referred to as monoclonal or M protein.
While any definite cause for multiple myeloma is indefinite, there are some factors that can trigger the production of abnormal protein by the plasma cells. Some of these factors include harmful radiation, toxic chemicals, certain viruses, and immunity disorders. Genetic factors and family history are also important factors.
It is common to find asymptomatic patients with multiple myeloma with absolutely no signs or symptoms. But as the illness advances, there are a number of symptoms that show up. Here is an overview of the signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma.
It is important to note that all or some of these signs and symptoms are not always indicative of multiple myeloma and may be due to other medical conditions as well. The best way to know is by seeing a doctor to rule out the possibility of multiple myeloma.