The Different Types of Arthritis And How Being Active Can Help

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arthritis includes more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect the joints and tissues that surround the joints.

Rheumatic conditions are classified by the pain and stiffness around one or more joints. Inflamed joints are red, swollen, and tender. According to the CDC, the most common form of arthritis is known as osteoarthritis, where the cartilage and bones within a joint start to break down. Osteoarthritis develops slowly and worsens over time.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:

• Aching or pain
• Less range of motion
• Redness
• Stiffness; and
• Swelling

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory disease. Inflammation occurs in many parts of the body as a result of the immune system attacking healthy cells. Many joints are attacked simultaneously and begin to inflame right away, resulting in long-term chronic pain. The CDC states that besides RA affecting the joints, it can also affect other parts of the body such as the lung, heart, and eyes.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis may include:

• Ache or pain in more than one joint
• Stiffness in more than one joint
• Fatigue
• Fever
• Swollen joints; and
• Weight loss

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that can affect the muscles and soft tissues of the body. It can occur on its own or in conjunction with other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia may include:

• Widespread muscle pain
• Tender areas
• Fatigue
• Depression
• Confusion, memory lapses, and trouble concentrating

Other types of arthritis include:

• Lupus
• Gout; and
• Childhood or juvenile arthritis

Non-modifiable risk factors for arthritis include age, gender, and genetics.

Modifiable risk factors include obesity or being overweight, infection, joint injuries, and occupation.

According to the CDC, treatments for arthritis may include:

• Medications
• Physical or occupational therapy
• Splints or joint assistive aids
• Weight loss; and
• Surgery

Furthermore, physical activity is strongly recommended for people with arthritis. According to the CDC, physical activity can reduce pain and improve function and mood for adults with many types of arthritis. Physical activity can even delay the onset of disability. Cardio and muscle strengthening activities are recommended and have been proven to work well. As long as the activity does not twist the joints too much, being active can help arthritis. Speak to a health care professional regarding what activities may be right for you.

The Grim Reality of Dementia

This is the grim reality of late-stage dementia. Once highly active and intelligent, now John Fenn is totally dependent on others. For his family it’s been hard to watch his progressive decline.

“He was driving my kids home who were all primary school age at that stage, back from their primary school, and was in the next village, just stopped the car and said to the kids, ‘I don’t know here I am’. Fortunately they were pretty with it, so they were able to say, ‘Grand-dad, this way, let’s get back home.'”

At a meeting of international experts, the prime minister said dementia stood alongside cancer as one of the enemies of humanity, with a big global push from government and scientists, effective treatments will be found.

“We have to fight to cure it, and I know some people will say that’s not possible, that we just have to accept this is just something that happens in all the life, but I am not prepared to take that defeatist attitude.”

But the pharmaceutical industry has shied away from investing the billions of pounds needed in developing new medicines.

So little is known about the disease, that the risk of failure is too high, and the new world dementia invoy says it is time to give the drug companies a break. “I think if there was a longer period where the drug can be sold exclusively, then pharma companies would be willing to invest more because there would be a bigger return. Now all those things are not without being contentious, I would freely admit that, I can’t think of a better way to kick-start this, because otherwise, I think if left to its own devices, it will be 2050 before we get as far as we want to get in the next ten years.”

The world’s biggest study of dementia will start shortly, with two million people in Britain taking part, and one hundred million pounds is being committed to finding drugs and testing them in patients sooner. Dementia still only receives a fifth of the money that goes into cancer research, yet there is greying optimism, that with global backing, scientists can find a treatment that delays grieve and cures the disease by 2025. “I’ve got a picture here, dad, you and mom on your wedding day.” For John’s family, it’s uncomfort that the terrible effect of dementia might soon be medical history.

Blood Test To Determine Likelihood of Alzheimer’s Disease

Vivian Hill’s mum Mary suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease for eight years before she died. It was a bereavement twice over. The disease took away the person she knew, and there was nothing doctors could do. A new test in the drugs that are likely to follow, could spare other families the despair.

“We knew that she was going to slowly deteriorate from a vibrant, happy woman, to somebody who was bedridden for the last three years of her life, who couldn’t talk, communicate, or do anything herself. It’s horrible, to know that once you’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s a slow, horrible journey.”

The new test developed at King’s College London detects Alzheimer’s Disease in its early stages, when there are changes in the brain, but there aren’t yet any debilitating symptoms. It screens for ten key proteins in the blood of patients with mild memory problems. Together, they predict with an accuracy of eighty-seven percent, which patients will go on to develop Alzheimer’s over the next year. And it will allow clinical trials of experimental drugs when they are most likely to be effective.

“A drug that worked in a pre-clinical phase, would feel like prevention, you go along to your doctor, you take a drug, and in effect, you would have the clinical symptoms prevented, even if the disease had already started in your brain.”

The test will be used for clinical trials at first, charities warn it needs further refinement, and isn’t ready to be used by GP’s to diagnose patients. “You have false positives which is where the test will say actually you have a condition or in this case, you are liable to get Alzheimer’s Disease, but in fact the test is wrong. If this was some benign condition, then one wouldn’t be bothered. But we know that a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease is the most feared diagnosis currently. So it’s really very important to understand that point.” Further, larger trials of the test are already underway, and it could be ready in as little as two years.

Eye Cancer Linked to Years of UV Exposure

They were seen as the healthy way to get a tan, a short burst of UV, safer than hours spent soaking up the sun, but Debbi Gibson blames sun beds for the cancer that’s now killing her, and which will soon leave her young daughter without a mother.

“One of the hardest things you have to do is tell your child that you’re dying. I don’t think a seven-year old child can really really understand that when I’m gone, I’m sort of gone forever.”

With dreams of modeling and acting, as a teenager, Debbi saved her paper round money, to buy her own sun bed. It was the beginning of twenty years of regular sun bed youth, often without goggles to protect her eyes.

“I’ve never even heard of eye cancer, I never knew it existed. It was two weeks before my forty-first birthday that they told me that I got a lump in my eye.”

Debbi is calling for sun beds to be banned, although there is conflicting evidence as to whether there is a link to the eye cancer she has, and UV exposure. It’s rare, with three-hundred and twenty people diagnosed in the U.K. every year, and twenty deaths. While there are thirteen-thousand new cases of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, that’s five times higher than it was in the nineteen-seventies.

“Our advice is not to use sun beds. There are no health benefits from using sun beds for any cosmetic purposes.” “The World Health Organization says sun beds can cause cancer, and rank alongside cigarettes and asbestos, in terms of the risks they present, but the association which represents tanning salons insists these machines are safe, if they are used properly.”

In a statement the Sun Bed Association says “Millions of people the world over use sunbeds safely and responsibly following correct usage guidance, which includes the wearing of protective eyewear … UV penetrates the skin, so it is insufficient either on a sunbed or when sunbathing to just close your eyes.” Debbi though, thinks regulations and safety measures, don’t go far enough. But she knows, she doesn’t have long, to get that message across.

Is It The Flu, Or Just A Cold?

According the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is a viral infection that affects the nose, throat, and lungs. The virus can range from mild to severe, and can even lead to death. During the colder season, flu viruses are more common; however, it can occur outside of flu season as well. Getting annual flu vaccines is the best way to prevent the flu.

Symptoms of the flu may include:

• Fever or chills
• Cough
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Headaches
• Muscle or body aches
• Fatigue; and
• Vomiting or diarrhea, which is found to be more common in children than adults
According to the CDC, most experts believe flu viruses spread through droplets made when people cough, sneeze, or talk. It is very possible to pass on flu symptoms to others up to 1 day before getting sick, as well as being able to pass on symptoms for up to 7 days after becoming sick.
Flu has its complications; including:
• Bacterial pneumonia
• Ear infections
• Dehydration
• Sinus infections; and
• Worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes

Anyone can be at risk for the flu; however, people over 65 years of age, people with chronic medical conditions, children, and pregnant women have a greater chance of becoming infected.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, check with your doctor or health care provider to get diagnosed. Laboratory tests such as the influenza diagnostic test can also be done to diagnose the flu.

If you get the flu, anti-viral drugs are a treatment option, and are only available through a prescription from your doctor. According to the CDC, the benefits of anti-viral drugs are that it can reduce symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by one or two days. It can also prevent pneumonia.

Getting a flu vaccination each year is strongly recommended in order to prevent the flu. Additionally, staying away from people who have the flu, frequent hand-washing and sanitizing can help keep germs from spreading and causing respiratory illnesses.

Allergies: What to Expect, And How to Manage Them

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. Over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.
The cause of an allergy derives from overreactions to substances by the immune system, in which other people are generally not affected. These allergens can cause sneezing, coughing, and itching. Some of the most common allergens include:

• Animal hair
• Dust and dust mites
• Foods
• Insect bites
• Latex
• Medicines
• Mold; and
• Pollen

Common symptoms of allergens include:

• sneezing
• watery and/or swollen eyes
• stuffy or runny nose
• itching
• a rash or hives
• stomach cramps; and
• diarrhea

The most severe allergic reaction is known as Anaphylaxis. According to the CDC, symptoms of Anaphylaxis include flush, tingling of the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, or lips, light-headedness, and chest-tightness. Anaphylaxis can result in death.

Allergies can range from slightly bothersome to severe and life-threatening. According to the CDC, anyone can develop an allergy at birth or at any age during their lifetime. There is no way to prevent allergies; however, research has shown that breastfed babies are less likely to get allergies and asthma.

Allergic reactions can be prevented by taking the necessary medication, staying away from certain foods, eliminating dander and dust mites, or staying inside according to the allergen.
It is important to know what necessary precautions to take for your allergies. If you think you may be allergic to a specific substance, schedule an allergy test with your health provider.

Zika Virus: What You Need To Know

The Zika Virus is caused primarily from the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. According to the World Health Organization, Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, and it is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually.
The World Health Organization also states that the amount of time from exposure to symptoms is likely to be a few days. The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, muscle and joint pain, conjunctivitis, and headache. These symptoms usually last about 2-7 days.

Zika virus can be diagnosed through symptoms and knowledge of recent travel history to an area with active Zika virus transmission. A proper diagnosis can only be made through laboratory tests on blood or other bodily fluids such as urine, saliva, or semen.

The Zika virus requires no specific treatment due to the disease being mild. People infected with Zika are should get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, and treat paint and fever with common medicines. Should symptoms get worse, seeking medical attention is strongly advisable.

The key to preventing Zika virus is through protecting against mosquito bites. According to the World Health Organization, one can do this through wearing light colored clothes that cover as much of the body as possible, closing doors and windows, sleeping under mosquito nets, and using plenty of insect repellant.

The World Health Organization states that sexual transmission of Zika has been documented in several countries. In order to prevent sexual transmission, both people who live in areas where Zika virus occurs should practice safer sex or abstain from sexual intercourse. People who are returning from traveling in areas where Zika occurs should abstain from sexual intercourse for at least 8 weeks after their return, even if no symptoms occur.

Diabetes 101

According to the World Health Organization, Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
Type 1 Diabetes is characterized by deficient insulin production, as a result of the immune system destroying cells in the pancreas. Due to the lack of insulin produced, a daily administration of insulin is required.

Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body’s production of insulin is ineffective. The World Health Organization states that type 2 diabetes comprises the majority of people diagnosed with diabetes around the world, and it is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. Over time, diabetes can affect the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

According to the World Health Organization, gestational diabetes is known as hyperglycemia, also known as high blood sugar. The blood glucose levels are above normal but not high enough as those with diabetes. Gestational diabetes also occurs during pregnancy, and it can cause complications during pregnancy and at delivery. A prenatal screening must be done to diagnose gestational diabetes, instead of through reported symptoms.

As stated by the World Health Organization,

• Adults with diabetes have an increased risk of getting heart attacks and strokes
• Diabetes can lead to kidney failure
• Nerve damage in the feet increases the risk of foot ulcers, infection, and eventual need for limb amputation; and
• 2.6% of global blindness can be attributed to diabetes

The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown and is currently not preventable.

According to the World Health Organization, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or the onset can be delayed with certain lifestyle measures, such as:
• Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight
• Being physically active and getting at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate activity on most days.
• Eating a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats intake; and
• Avoiding use of tobacco, as smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases

An early diagnosis can be accomplished through testing of blood sugar. Treatment of diabetes involves diet and physical activity, along with lowering blood glucose.
Interventions that can further aid in the treatment of diabetes include:

• Blood pressure control
• Foot care; and
• Blood glucose control in type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin, whereas people with type 2 diabetes can be treated with oral medication, but may also require insulin.

Symptoms and Risks of High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure is defined as a common condition in which the force of the blood against the wall of the arteries is so high that it can lead to heart disease and stroke. This condition is also known as hypertension. According to Mayo Clinic, one can determine blood pressure by the amount of blood the heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in the arteries. The more blood the heart pumps and the narrower the arteries are, the higher the blood pressure.

Most people do not experience symptoms with high blood pressure, even if their blood pressure levels are very high. Therefore, it is crucial that blood pressure readings are a part of your regular doctor checkups.

According to Mayo Clinic, some people with high blood pressure that do experience symptoms will have:
• Headaches
• Shortness of breath; and/or
• Nosebleeds

However, these symptoms are not specific and may not occur unless blood pressure is at a life-threatening stage.

High blood pressure that gradually occurs over time is known as primary hypertension. Secondary hypertension occurs suddenly and tends to cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension. Some causes for secondary hypertension may include:

• Obstructive sleep apnea
• Kidney problems
• Adrenal gland tumors
• Thyroid problems
• Certain medications such as birth control, over-the-counter pain relievers, some prescription drugs; and
• Alcohol abuse
There are several risk factors for high blood pressure. They may include:
• Age
• Race
• Family history
• Being overweight or physically inactive
• Tobacco use
• Alcohol abuse
• Diet high in sodium
• Diet low in potassium and Vitamin D
• Stress; and
• Certain chronic conditions
According to the Mayo Clinic, if high blood pressure remains uncontrolled, it may lead to:
• Heart attack or stroke
• Aneurysm
• Heart failure
• Weakened and narrow blood vessels in the kidneys
• Thickened, narrowed, or torn blood vessels in the eyes
• Metabolic syndrome; and
• Trouble with memory or understanding

If you feel you may be at risk for high blood pressure, see a doctor and get checked. It is never too late to make changes in your diet, become physically active, or quit smoking, in order to ameliorate your lifestyle.