5 Things Lupus Sufferers Need To Know About Libman-Sacks Endocarditis

Lupus is a serious autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation throughout your body. This inflammation can damage a wide range of organs and tissues, including your heart. Heart disease is one of the major complications that people with lupus need to worry about. One of the many heart conditions that lupus sufferers are at risk of is Libman-Sacks endocarditis; here are five things you need to know about it.

What is Libman-Sacks endocarditis?

Libman-sacks endocarditis is characterized by the presence of verrucous (warty) lesions on the endocardium, as well as inflammation of this tissue. The endocardium is the tissue that lines the inside of your heart. This tissue is very important since it controls the function of your heart muscles, and when it’s inflamed, it can’t do its job as well. Your heart needs to work harder to pump blood around your body, which wears it out and can lead to heart failure.

What are the signs of Libman-Sacks endocarditis?

Usually, people with Libman-Sacks endocarditis either have no symptoms or have only minor functional limitations. Your doctor may notice abnormalities in your heart during a routine exam, such as a heart murmur, and follow-up testing such as echocardiography will diagnose the problem. Routine echocardiography may also be performed to ensure that asymptomatic heart issues are not developing.

Sometimes, symptoms are present. These symptoms may include the following:

  • Fever;
  • Tachycardia (a faster than normal heart rate);
  • Embolic phenomenon (blood clots);
  • Anemia.

If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to seek treatment right away. However, don’t assume that your heart is fine just because you don’t have any symptoms.

How does lupus cause this disease?

Doctors still aren’t sure how lupus leads to Libman-Sacks endocarditis. The current theory is that antiphospholipid antibodies play a role. Antiphospholipid antibodies are autoimmune cells that mistakenly target your blood, which can lead to blood clots. These antibodies have also been linked to abnormalities of the heart valves, and may contribute to the development of the verrucous lesions found in Libman-Sacks endocarditis.

However, not everyone has antiphospholipid antibodies. Lupus patients who don’t have them develop valvular disease at the same rate as people who have the antibodies. More research needs to be performed to figure out the role that these antibodies play and to identify other possible causes.

Is this disease a common complication of lupus?

Libman-Sacks endocarditis is common among people with lupus. One study used Doppler echocardiography to examine the hearts of 342 lupus patients, and 38 of them (11%) had Libman-Sacks endocarditis. The study found that both disease duration and activity were strongly associated with developing endocarditis, so if you’ve had lupus for a long time or if your disease is active, you may have a higher risk. 

How is Libman-Sacks endocarditis treated?

Libman-Sacks endocarditis can be treated with medications like vasodilators or beta blockers. Vasodilators dilate your blood vessels while beta blockers help to regular your heart rhythm, and both can be used to prevent the complications of this condition. Corticosteroids can also be used to reduce the inflammation in your endocardium, though corticosteroids also have side effects, like dysfunction of the heart valves.

If your valves are severely damaged by the lesions, you may need valve surgery. During this surgery, your diseased valves will be removed and replaced with mechanical prostheses. This surgery is very dangerous for people with lupus, and mortality rates are as high as 25%, so it tends to be a last-resort procedure. 

If you have lupus, stay alert for signs of heart disease and make sure to see your doctor regularly so that asymptomatic heart disease can be identified. For more information, talk to a doctor like Friedrich Tomas J MD.

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4 Cosmetic Issues Solved By Laser Treatment

When it comes to rectifying perceived issues with your body, whether they may be due to age, scarring or natural blemishes, laser treatment can do wonders for you. Laser treatment is an incredibly safe and relatively inexpensive way to go about receiving a cosmetic surgery. As opposed to invasive forms of surgery like plastic surgery, laser treatments only affect the epidermal layer of your skin, ensuring maximum safety, and you won’t have to worry about a physician messing around with the internal bits of your body. Included throughout the course of this brief article are 4 cosmetic issues that are easily resolved by way of laser treatment.

Spider Veins

Laser treatment is especially good for varicose veins, typically referred to as “spider veins”. These are veins that are present just under the surface of the skin. A laser treatment is usually more than one session long, with each separate session usually scheduled 6 to 12 weeks apart. A highly concentrated blast of laser energy hits the areas of the skin effected by varicose veins, effectively pushing them further under the epidermal layer of the skin. Laser treatment doesn’t rid of you of said veins but rather makes the veins invisible to the naked eye. If the veins are present due to poor circulation, a larger “feeder” vein must receive the laser treatment as well.

Age Spots

Age spots can crop up on your visage for a number of reasons. As you grow older, the blood that travels just under your skin becomes more malleable and flows from one area to another with greater ease; in essence, as people grow older, their blood becomes “thinner”. Blood can get trapped just underneath the epidermal layer of the skin, creating the appearance of these “age spots” or “liver spots”. Age spots can easily be removed with the help of laser treatment. Since these pockets of blood exist underneath the epidermal layer, a highly concentrated laser can easily remove their presence.

Acne Scars

Acne scars are among the most common type of cosmetic laser treatments that people receive. Again, acne scars are a relatively easy phenomenon to remove due to their presence completely on the epidermal layer of the skin. A very highly concentrated laser is used on acne scars, which can cause the skin to become very sensitive and painful to touch for a few weeks. Acne scar removal is fairly complex as far as laser treatments go, as they do require several return visits over the course of a few weeks to completely remove the visual element of the acne scars and then additional healing time for the laser burns to heal.

Wrinkles

Another extremely common blemish, wrinkles can also be easily removed by the touch of a laser. Laser treatments for wrinkles work a bit differently than they do for acne scars as they do not burn the skin, nor do they merely push the phenomenon away like laser treatments do for age spots or spider veins. Rather, a laser treatment for wrinkles is a bit more complex. Such treatments seek to “smooth” the skin out. In other words, the laser pushes one area of the skin down and outward, effectively tightening up the skin and removing the appearance of wrinkles.

Laser treatment, especially for cosmetic concerns, is becoming increasingly common in this day and age. As an alternative to intrusive forms of surgery, laser surgery is quite good and, in addition doesn’t lighten the load of your pocket book in quite the way that intrusive surgery does. It is best to consult a physician, however, before receiving any sort of laser treatment and discuss any complications that may arise due to the nature of laser treatments. To learn more, check out a clinic like Premier Surgical Associates.

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Gym Teachers: Here’s Why Your Students Should Cover Their Warts During Sports

Do you teach physical education to school-aged children? Do those children often share sports equipment and gear? If so, they should be covering any visible warts on their skin each and every time they participate in your class. If this seems extreme, check out the below information about molluscum contagiosum. 

What Is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection characterized by mollusca, which are raised skin growths. Caused by the poxvirus, the growths resemble warts; they’re usually between 2 and 5 mm in diameter and can be white, pink, or the skin-colored. Once molluscum contagiosum has been contracted, mollusca can appear anywhere on the body, and although any number of them may appear, most people develop between 10 and 20 growths. Anybody can contract this condition, but it is most common in young children.

How Contagious Is It?

Molluscum contagiosum can spread quite rapidly in school settings. The infection can be transmitted to others as soon as mollusca appear on the skin, and the infected person remains contagious for the entire duration that mollusca are present. Direct contact is not necessary to spread this infection; it can be contracted through the sharing of objects, such as sports helmets and gym mats.

Mollusca can also spread to different parts of the body. For example, a child that starts out with a mollusca on their leg and scratches it may soon find that new mollusca have sprouted up on one of their hands or arms. The mollusca heal individually, with most of them taking between 2 to 3 months to diminish. However, a person is only cured of molluscum contagiosum once every single mollusca has healed. Generally, the condition lasts between 6 and 18 months in total, but a person can be infected for a period up to 4 years in length. 

New Rules Of Gym Class

If you currently don’t require your students to cover their warts when participating in gym class, it’s time to start doing so.  While moluscum contagiosum is relatively harmless to the health of those infected, students with the condition can develop painful secondary skin infections. Most clothing provides an ample barrier to protect against an infected student spreading molluscum contagiosum, but if the mollusca can’t be covered by clothing or the student’s clothing is especially light-weight, then a watertight bandage should be applied over the lesions.

If a student has several wart-like growths visible on their body and covering them all up is not an option, the child should not participate in group sports activities until you can contact the parents and request that the child be seen by a dermatologist at a clinic like Dermatology Surgery Center. A dermatologist can determine if the growths are, indeed, mollusca, and he or she can discuss treatment options with the child’s parents. While treatment is not necessary for most cases of molluscum contagiosum, there are treatment methods that can be implemented when the sufferer poses great risk of infecting others.

You should also be disinfecting all gym equipment and gear thoroughly after each use. Use a disinfectant that is registered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be effective against poxviruses, and follow the amount, dilution, and drying time recommended by the manufacturer of the product. If you allow your students to bring their own sports gear from home to use during gym class, make sure that they don’t share their equipment with other students.

As a gym teacher, it’s up to you to create the safest possible environment for your students while they’re in your care. Make sure your gymnasium doesn’t become a breeding ground for mollusca by implementing the infection disease control methods discussed above.

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7 Ways To Cope With Arthritis

Arthritis is not an uncommon condition to have. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 52.5 million adults in the United States suffer from arthritis. In addition to pain in your joints, you may also experience fatigue, muscle weakness and stiffness. Although there is no cure for this disease, you can manage it. Here are seven effective ways to cope with arthritis:

Get Your Exercise

When your joints are aching, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. However, regular physical activity can actually have a positive effect on your arthritis. According to the American College of Rheumatology, exercise can strengthen your muscles, improve your balance and reduce stiffness in your joints. It is best to participate in low-impact exercises that do not hurt your joints, such as swimming, walking and bicycling. You should aim to exercise 150 minutes a week and take things slowly at first. If you are finding it difficult to get started, you should try exercising with a friend or family member.

Take a Warm Bath

Heat reduces inflammation, so taking a warm bath can help ease your arthritis pain. The next time your joints ache, just soak in your bathtub for at least 20 minutes or so. When you get out, your joints should feel a lot better.

Lose Weight

Being overweight doesn’t just increase your risk of several chronic diseases; it can also make your arthritis pain much worse. When you are carrying around extra pounds, it can put a lot of pressure on the joints in your back, knees and hips. Losing even a few pounds can take some of the stress off and lessen the pain. To lose weight safely, cut junk food out of your diet and eat more nutritious foods, like fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains.

Give Acupuncture a Chance

If you are looking for a natural way to ease your arthritis pain, you should think about acupuncture. During this ancient practice, thin needles will be inserted into certain parts of your body, reducing pain. Make sure you only have a licensed acupuncturist perform acupuncture on your body.

Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet

Another way you can manage your arthritis pain is to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation in your body, which can decrease arthritis pain. Besides fatty fish, you can find omega-3 fatty acids in olive oil, walnuts and flaxseed.

Try Meditation

When you start to feel pain in your joints, you should try meditating for 10 minutes. Meditation can relax your body and help you deal with the pain better. Just sit in a quiet room and focus your mind on one object in the room. Meditating can take the stress away and help you forget about the pain.

Use Assistive Devices

When you suffer from arthritis, there is no shame in using assistive devices. For example, if you have trouble walking around, you could use a cane or put braces on your legs. To make things easier in the kitchen, use an electric jar opener and use pans and pots that have handles on both sides. It is also a good idea to get a bedroom lamp that turns on and off by the sound of your voice.

Living with arthritis is certainly not easy all the time, but it does not have to be unbearable to live with. If you follow these helpful tips, coping with this condition will be much simpler. However, if the pain is still too intense, you should talk to your doctor, someone like Arthritis & Rheumatology Associates of South Jersey, about other options.

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6 Tips For Helping A Senior With Limited Mobility

If your senior loved one recently lost some or all of his mobility, you may be a loss at what to do. Whether the mobility problems are a result of a disease or accident, your family member likely feels sad and frustrated about the situation. While you might not be able to help your loved regain his mobility, you can make his life easier. Here are six helpful tips for helping a senior with limited mobility:

Make Necessary Adjustments to the Home

One of the first things you should do is make your senior family member’s home easier to get around in. Making a few adjustments can simplify your elderly loved one’s life and help him become much happier. For instance, according to Citizens Information, you should think about installing a stair chair lift so that he can get up the stairs easier. To prevent slips and falls in the bathroom, you should install grab bars in the shower and raise the toilet. You should also think about widening the doorways and installing ramps in the house.

Encourage Exercise

Exercise might seem next to impossible to someone with limited mobility, but it can actually have a lot of benefits. Regular physical activity can increase your loved one’s strength and prevent weight gain. Suggest exercises that are low-impact and easy on the joints, such as swimming or walking. Even a short stroll around the block every day can have many advantages. If your senior family member seems reluctant about exercising, try working out with him.

Hire a Home Healthcare Aide

A busy work and family life can prevent you from giving your elderly loved one all of the help he needs. If this is the case, you should think about hiring a home healthcare aide to help your family member around the house. There are many tasks a home healthcare aide can help with, including doing the dishes, grocery shopping and vacuuming.

Suggest a Support Group

If your elderly loved one seems sad and alone about his limited mobility, you should encourage him to join a support group. During these support group meetings, your family member can meet other people who share the same struggles. Talking to others who knows what it is like to have limited mobility can help your family member not feel so alone.

Validate Your Lovde One’s Feelings

If your loved one comes up to you and tells you how upset and frustrated he feels about being immobile, it is very important to validate his feelings. Tell him it is understandable that he is upset over the situation and that you will always be there to support him. If your family member realizes that you sympathize with his immobility, he may feel more at ease.

Look for Signs of Depression

While it is normal to feel upset about being immobile sometimes, letting it consume your life is not healthy. If your elderly loved one seems hopeless and has lost interest in his regular activities, it is definitely time to intervene. Tell your family member that you are worried about him and that you do not want him to feel depressed all the time. Let him know that there is professional help out there and that you will take him to see a therapist.

Living with limited immobility is not always easy, but it does not have to be a complete struggle. If you follow these helpful tips, your elderly loved one will have fewer issues with his limited mobility. He will appreciate that you took the time to help him get through this difficult time in his life.

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Understanding Pediatric Cataracts

Eye problems can occur at any age. If they are not addressed early when they occur in children, they can have a direct impact on their physical and emotional development. The inability to be able to see clearly will often affect how your child learns to read, write and even speak. Unfortunately, pediatric cataracts can affect what your child sees. Luckily, when the cataracts are caught early, they can be addressed and corrected by a Pediatric Ophthalmologist. Once corrected, your child is often able to enjoy perfect vision.

What Are Pediatric Cataracts

When you think of cataracts, you think of the white film that you often see formed over an old person’s eye. Unfortunately, children can actually be born with cataracts, or develop them at a very early age.

Cataracts are any type of cloudiness or opacity that covers the lens of the eye, which should normally be crystal clear. When present, they impede the flow of light that enters the eye and is projected to the retina. This distorts the image that is formed on the retina and sent to the brain, which in turn affects the way your child will see.

When these form in children and are not addressed, they can lead to complete vision loss. It is estimated that infantile cataracts are seen in 3 out of every 10,000 births, and are responsible for up to 20% of blindness in children worldwide.

What Causes Pediatric Cataracts?

Pediatric cataracts often have no identifiable source, except those that are caused by a known trauma to the eye. Those that do have a source can often be traced back to one of several different sources. These include:

How Are Pediatric Cataracts Addressed?

Some cataracts in newborns are detected shortly after birth. If they are already advanced, your child’s lens may appear to be cloudy instead of clear. How developed, or advanced they are, as well as where they are located will indicate how soon you need to have these addressed. If they are small, or not affecting your child’s central vision, your doctor may advise you to have a Pediatric Ophthalmologist monitor them and address them later.

If the cataracts are large, or blocking your child’s central vision, your doctor may advise you to consult a Pediatric Ophthalmologist about having them removed. Even when detected at birth, many Ophthalmologists will recommend waiting a few weeks for your child to have cataract surgery. With the optimal time for surgery being when your child is between the ages of 6 weeks to 3 months

Once the cataract is removed, many doctors will implant an intraocular lens (IOL). This will allow your child’s vision to be corrected without the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. It will be really important that your child is followed by an ophthalmologist as they grow and develop, as this lens may need to be changed out as your child’s vision changes.

Other doctors may choose not to use intraocular lens but may choose to use glasses or even contact lenses in lieu of IOLs to correct your child’s vision. Still other physicians may recommend using contacts for a period of time and implanting IOLs at a later time. Your ophthalmologist will discuss these options with you, as well as the pros and cons of each. 

Never take a chance when it comes to your child’s vision. As already stated, this is a critical sense for their complete and total development. If needed, know that a Pediatric Ophthalmologist will be a valued member of your child’s healthcare team, and they will do everything they can to ensure your child’s eye problems are addressed.

Visit a site like http://www.drgrantmdretinalspecialist.com for more information on local ophthalmologists. 

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2 Changes You Can Make In Your Life To Help You Lose Weight

Trying to lose weight can be frustrating and unsuccessful when you don’t go about it in the right manner. With a healthy diet and regular exercise, you can achieve weight loss. Here are two changes you can make in your life to help your weight loss efforts.

Add Natural Yeast into Your Diet

For 6,000 years, people on the earth used natural yeast to make their bread. After World War II, a synthetic dry yeast became available to buy and use in breads, followed by a rapid-rising yeast in 1984. This type of synthetic yeast makes baking quick and convenient, but it is foreign to your digestive system and can cause many types of problems, including weight gain. Synthetic yeast also does not have all the health benefits that original natural yeast has. 

When you use natural yeast to make your breads, waffles, tortillas, crackers, and other types of grains, it can prevent weight gain that normally occurs in your body when you eat these types of foods. The natural yeast breaks down harmful enzymes that are found in grains, and converts the wheat into a food that is easily digestible. This prevents your blood sugar from spiking and falling, which can cause you to eat more when you become hungry again after your blood sugar falls. Then, lactic acid and natural salts in bread made from natural yeast slows down digestion to make you feel full longer.

Besides helping with weight gain, using a natural yeast maximizes your bread’s natural vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help you get more nutrients while dieting exercising. If you suffer from gluten intolerances, natural yeast can help prevent and reverse this condition, and in some cases has helped reverse Celiac’s disease. Natural yeast is also pre-biotic and pro-biotic, which encourages growth of important beneficial bacteria in your body for healthy digestion.

When you use natural yeast to bake breads and other grain products, a little patience and planning is required. You need to allow time for the yeast to rise in the dough, which can be done overnight in some recipes, but the health benefits are definitely worth it. To start growing your own natural yeast, you can order a 200-year-old natural yeast start online or buy it at a local health food store.

Add Weight Resistance into Your Workout

It is well known that to lose weight you need to move more and burn more calories than you take in. So, if you are already doing a daily cardiovascular workout, but not seeing the weight loss you want, there is a way to increase the number of calories you burn during your workout, and all day long. The key is to build more muscle in your body through strength training exercises. 

Research has found that one pound of muscle will burn seven to ten calories per day, but one pound of fat will only burn two to three calories per day. Then, the more muscle you gain, the more calories you can burn. So, continue doing your cardiovascular workouts along with strength training to burn more muscle as your metabolism increases. With more muscle, your body will need more calories to move and to maintain itself. For example, your heart uses energy to pump blood through your body, your lungs use energy to breathe, and your body uses energy to grow new cells and repair itself. 

There are several ways you can incorporate strength training into your daily workouts. Push-ups and plank exercises are a good way to strengthen your body’s core muscles. You can begin by doing push-ups every day at home, increasing the number of push-ups each day. Plank exercises are also easy to do at home and can be completed by holding your body in a push-up position, resting your upper body on your forearms or the palms of your hands. You can also join a local gym and hire a personal trainer to help you learn strength training exercises. Or you can use the weight machines at your local gym, following the instruction diagrams on each weight machine. 

Make these two changes to your life to help in your weight loss efforts. For more information, contact a company like Chicago Weight Loss Clinic.

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