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July 2017

 

Living with Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease is a digestive disorder characterized by a sensitivity to a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley. The protein is called gluten. When a person with the disease eats a gluten containing food, an immune response is triggered which causes inflammation and potential damage to the intestines. The damage may cause nutrient malabsorption, in which the body is unable to process important nutrients from the diet. Symptoms of the disorder can include bloating, diarrhea, and anemia.

Dietary supplements available over-the-counter can help correct nutrient deficiencies. To correct anemia and support healthy red blood cells, vitamin B9 (folic acid) may be beneficial. A calcium acetate supplement such as PhosLo may also be needed to help maintain strong bones. Iron is necessary to carry oxygen throughout all parts of the body. If iron deficiency is found to be a problem, an iron supplement such as Feosol may be used.


Managing Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia Gravis is a condition that affects the nervous system and can result in significant muscle weakness. It occurs when a substance called acetylcholine in the brain is destroyed by the bodyís own immune system. Acetylcholine is responsible for transmitting signals from the brain that control muscle movement. Other symptoms of the disease may include blurred vision and difficulty swallowing.

Prescription medications to treat the disorder include anticholinesterase agents such as pyridostigmine (Mestinon). These agents work by preventing the destruction of acetylcholine in the body and improve muscle strength and function. Treatment with corticosteroids such as prednisone (Deltasone) suppress the immune system and also may prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. If these therapies are unsuccessful, a surgical procedure to remove the thymus (thymectomy) can significantly reduce symptoms. The thymus is an organ that regulates the immune system and is often found to be abnormal in many individuals with myasthenia gravis.


Managing a Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the bodyís urinary system. The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters (tubes that connect the kidney to the bladder), bladder, and urethra. UTIs usually occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra, a tube that carries urine outside of the body from the bladder. Once the bacteria is in the urethra, it attaches itself and begins to multiply in the bladder. Symptoms of a UTI may include a strong urge to urinate or a burning sensation when urinating.

Medications that target bacteria and lower urinary pain may be used to treat a UTI. Antibiotics such as trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim), cephalexin (Keflex), or nitrofurantoin (Macrobid) work to kill the bacteria that commonly cause UTIs. Side effects may include rash or muscle pain. Phenazopyridine (Pyridium) works to decrease urinary pain and burning. Side effects may include rash or tiredness.


Living with Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a disorder that affects how the body gets rid of sugar, a natural source of energy. Type 2 diabetes usually occurs when the body rejects the effects of insulin, a hormone that controls the movement of sugar. It may also occur when the body doesnít make enough insulin to maintain a normal sugar level. Genetic factors, physical inactivity, and extra weight may increase the risk of having type 2 diabetes. Symptoms of this disorder may include increased thirst, increased hunger, and tiredness.

Medications that help control the movement of sugar may be used to treat type 2 diabetes. Metformin (Glucophage) works to help the body use insulin more effectively and lowers the amount of sugar that the body makes. Side effects include nausea and diarrhea. Glyburide (Glynase) and repaglinide (Prandin) work to help the body make more insulin. Side effects may include weight gain.


Living with Raynaudís Disease

Raynaudís disease is a condition that causes some areas of the body to feel numb and cold as a result of cold temperatures or stress. Areas of the body that might be affected are the fingers and toes. In Raynaudís disease, the small arteries that supply blood to the skin become narrower. This limits the flow of blood to affected areas. Raynaudís disease may be caused by smoking, carpal tunnel syndrome, or injuries to the hands or feet. Symptoms of Raynaudís disease may include cold fingers or cold toes.

Medications that help widen arteries and increase blood flow may be used to treat Raynaudís disease. Calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine (Norvasc) work to relax and open small arteries in the hands and feet. Side effects may include lightheadedness. Alpha blockers such as prazosin (Minipress) and vasodilators such as nitroglycerin cream also work to relax arteries. Side effects may include dizziness.

 

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