Autoimmune Disease

The human body’s immune system is essential in defending your body against diseases. Having a healthy immune system ensures that your body can effectively guard against virus and bacteria that are foreign to your body. In doing this, your immune system protects your body from getting ill.

However, a number of people face problems with their immune system that can tamper with the way their body and organs function. Having a weak or problematic immune system can affect the function of your body and can even cause the entry of major diseases. One such problem with the body’s immune system is called “autoimmune disease”.

What is an Autoimmune Disease?

An autoimmune disease occurs when your immune system itself fails to differentiate your healthy cells from foreign bodies. This results to your immune system attacking your healthy cells, affecting your body’s tissues. Because of an autoimmune disease, individuals experience changes in the functions of their organs. There are numerous types of autoimmune diseases and some even have similar symptoms. There are also instances when there is more than one autoimmune disease that occurs at the same time.

Here are some of the most common autoimmune diseases:

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This happens when the immune system creates antibodies that attack the linings of the joints which then cause swelling and inflammation. Severe rheumatoid arthritis can lead to permanent joint damage.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) happens when the immune system attacks the lining of the intestines that cause bowel movements, rectal bleeding, weight loss and severe abdominal pain. Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease are two of the major forms of IBD.

Multiple Sclerosis

This type of autoimmune disease involves the immune system attacking the nerve cells. Symptoms of this type of disease include weakness, muscles spasms, body pain and blindness.

psoriasisPsoriasis

Psoriasis is a form of autoimmune disease that causes an overactive immune system. Skin cells are produced at a faster rate than what is normally needed by the body, resulting to white scaly plaques on the skin. This commonly causes itchiness and scaling on the skin.

Grave’s Disease

This form of autoimmune disease causes the thyroid gland to produce huge amounts of thyroid or hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of this disease can be seen through weight loss, increase in heart rate, irritability, bulging eyes, and body weakness. This form of autoimmune disease can be done through the removal of the thyroid gland in cases of severe symptoms.

How to Treat Autoimmune Diseases?

For people who think they have autoimmune disease, it is best to consult a doctor right away. If this is in fact a disease, it is better to cure it at an early stage when your body is still strong. Since most of the autoimmune diseases have similar symptoms, looking for the root cause of your disease may take some time.

Some doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids to treat the symptoms while failing to address the causes of these. This is why it is very important to discuss with your doctor thoroughly any family records of this type of disease or any form of sickness that is commonly faced by your family. This makes it easier to understand the possible causes of your symptoms and find the best way to address them. In finding the root cause of your disease, the cause of your symptoms will be more effectively treated.

What Happens During Hip Replacement Surgery

A hip replacement or hip replacement surgery is a surgical operation to remove and replace damaged hip joint with an artificial one. There are many reasons for a person to undergo hip replacement surgery.

The most common people needing the surgery are those with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis takes place when the cartilage covering the ends of the bones where they meet to form joints become damaged or broken. This causes the bones of the joint to rub together causing pain and stiffness.

Hip damage may be due to injuries, fracture, rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis, and bone tumors. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis wherein the body’s immune system attacks the membrane that lines the joint causing pain, inflammation, and destruction of the joint. Osteonecrosis is a medical condition wherein the blood that supplies the bone is cut off and leads to the bone’s death.

Hip Replacement Surgical Procedure—What to Expect

Hip ReplacementAn orthopedic surgeon is the best person to recommend that you need the surgical procedure. Many factors will be considered by the surgeon like the occurrence and severity of pain, extent of the disability, and general health. Hip replacement is not for everyone. Those who have Parkinson’s disease and other conditions that cause severe muscle weakness should not undergo hip replacement. They will be useless because the medical conditions will only damage or dislocate the new hip. Those with high risk for infection or poor health condition are advised not to undergo the procedure as well.

Hip replacement surgery is an invasive procedure. However, with the advancement of research and technology, surgeons now use the minimally-invasive technique. The two procedures vary in the size of the cut or incision. With the traditional hip replacement surgery, the patient will be in general anesthesia. As an alternative, spinal anesthesia may be done to help prevent pain.

With standard hip replacement surgery, the surgeon will do one 8-10 inches cut along the side of the hip. In recent years where surgeons use minimally-invasive hip replacement, one or two incision of 2-5 inches long. As mentioned earlier, the two procedures only differ in the type of incisions. However, research shows that a surgeon must be highly skilled to perform minimally-invasive hip replacement surgery. Otherwise, serious outcomes may occur that may be more serious than negative outcomes usually undergone by traditional hip replacement failures. The small cuts in minimally-invasive hip replacement procedure are done to decrease blood loss, minimize pain post-surgery, reduce appearance of scar, shorten hospitalization after surgery, and speed up the healing process.

In traditional hip replacement, the anesthesiologist will prepare the patient to be in a temporary, deep sleep. The doctors will make an incision along the hip’s side and the hipbone will be exposed by moving the muscles connected to the thighbone’s topmost part. Using a saw, the ball (portion of the joint) will be removed by cutting the thighbone. A metal or plastic artificial joint will be attached to the thighbone. To keep the bone and artificial joint attached, a special material or cement is used.

On the surface of the hipbone, damaged cartilages will be removed. Then the surgeon attaches the socket part to the hipbone. The new ball and socket will be placed together. A drain will be placed to collect fluids. Muscles will be sutured and the incision closed.

After the surgery, you will be required to stay in the hospital. The length of your stay in the hospital will depend upon your physician and your participation in your healing and recovery. It is expected that after the surgical procedure, you will stay in the hospital for 4 to 6 days. You will stay in bed with a wedge-shaped cushion between your legs. This is done to keep your new hip joint in place. Your bladder will still be connected with a catheter for monitoring and until your physician will order to remove it.

Physical therapy begins a day after the surgery. In a couple of days, you can start walking again. First, you will be in an assistive device such as a walker. Then, you will be taught how to use clutches and a cane. Expect to continue therapy for weeks and months after your hip replacement surgery.

Exercises during the recovery time will depend upon your condition and your surgeon or physical therapist. Exercises are done to increase the strength and flexibility of your new hip. Exercising will also help prevent blood clots which can be harmful after surgery. MyHealth.Alberta.ca suggests you must begin your regular exercise after you had been seen by your surgeon and suggests 14 exercise routines “to help you get back to your normal everyday activities sooner”.

Hip replacement surgical procedure is the last resort for a painful and debilitating hip. Usually, the doctor will make you do some routine exercises for hip muscle strengthening. Walking aids and assistive device will be suggested to help you reduce stress and pain in your joint. Your doctor will also prescribe medicines for pain. Pain medications may include over the counter (OTC) drugs or if pain has inflammation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are recommended. If aspirin or ibuprofen does not relieve the pain, strong pain medications are prescribed such as corticosteroids and some topical pain products. Corticosteroids may be injected to relieve severe pain.

There are some alternative procedures to replace damaged or painful hip out there, which may include stem cell treatment, hip resurfacing surgery, osteotomy, among others. Whether or not a total hip replacement surgery is necessary must be discussed with your physician or surgeon and your family members. During recovery period, a support system is vital to a speedy, complications-free recovery.

How to Deal with Anxiety Disorder: 5 Key Treatment Options

someone with anxietyAnxiety is an everyday occurrence. A little anxiety is actually good as it can be a huge motivation booster. Anxiety over a new job leads to one putting more effort. Anxiety over driving in heavy traffic pushes someone to be a better driver. Apprehension over an exam causes one to study harder leading to a passing grade. However, when feelings of fear and worry become overwhelming and prevent someone from functioning normally, it is no longer normal anxiety but rather an anxiety disorder.

By definition, an anxiety disorder is a mental illness characterized by intense feelings of worry about the future and guttural fearful reactions towards current events, places and situations.

The cause of Anxiety Disorder

Experts and scientists agree that an anxiety disorder is mainly caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors.

  • Genetics: Studies done on various families established that in cases where a family had a history of anxiety disorder; the likelihood of subsequent generations suffering from the same was high.
  • Environmental factors: Childhood abuse, severe trauma for instance rape and prolonged exposure to trauma are examples of environmental factors that cause anxiety disorders.

Furthermore, drug abuse and certain medical conditions can also lead to anxiety disorders.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Though there are seven major types of anxiety disorder each with its set of unique symptoms, there are certain key symptoms that anyone suffering from an anxiety disorder is bound to exhibit:

  • A headache
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle spasms and tension
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Constant feelings of dread and fear
  • High level of stress
  • Jumpiness and hyper-awareness

Major types of Anxiety Disorders

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – Characterized by excessive worrying over everyday life.
  2. Phobias – Characterized by a strong reaction of fear to places, events, and situations.
  3. Panic Disorder – Characterized by short bursts of intense terror and apprehension.
  4. Social Anxiety Disorder – Characterized by intense fear and awkwardness in social situations.
  5. Agoraphobia – Characterized by fear of enclosed spaces.
  6. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Anxiety due to a traumatic event.
  7. Separation Anxiety – Characterized by fear of being separated from a person or place.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders, 18% of the United States population equivalent to about 40 million adults suffer from Anxiety disorders. A study commissioned by ADAA ” The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders” found that the U.S spends more than $42 billion a year on anxiety disorders. Clearly, Anxiety disorder is an illness that is here to stay and it needs to be tackled.

Though anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only a small percentage of those suffering seek and receive treatment. This is mostly due to the stigma, unbelief and shame commonly associated with anxiety disorders. This article is aimed at expounding five proven ways of dealing with an anxiety disorder. The information herein will start you on your journey towards mental health and well-being.

1. Reach out
Though it sounds simple, this might be the most difficult yet important step in learning how to deal with anxiety disorder. A mother of 3 in Idaho spent 15 years ravaged by panic attacks unable to even take her children to hospital when hurt because she could not leave the house. One day completely tired of her situation, she picked up a phone and called the No Panic helpline. She was introduced to a telephone help group. That was the beginning of a three-year journey.She is now completely free from panic attacks.

Reaching out cannot be emphasized enough.

a) Reaching out means you recognize your need for help and that is the first step towards recovery.

b) Reaching out opens up more avenues for obtaining help.

c) Reaching out connects you with like-minded individuals who encourage and challenge you.

Whatever you do, reach out, whether to a friend, clergy, professional or even an anonymous chat group, simply reach out.

2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is the most widely recognized method of dealing with anxiety disorders. The key thing, therefore, is finding a trusted therapist who is patient and willing to take you through the therapy with as many sessions as needed for complete recovery.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the practice experts use to treat anxiety disorders. It focuses on developing coping strategies that confront a particular anxiety. It may involve a confrontation with the source of fear that causes the excess anxiety. For example, a person with fear of a certain place might be taken to the place over and over again until the fear is dealt with.

3. Support Groups
The biggest hindrance to recovery by people suffering from an anxiety disorder is the shame and stigma associated with mental illness.

Support groups by their very nature provide support, acceptance and encouragement. It is always easier to defeat an adversary as a team instead of an individual.

Soldiers have reported big strides in their effort to deal with PTSD as a result of joining a support group. Joining a support group is, therefore, a must in one’s endeavor to deal with an anxiety disorder.

4. Medication
Medication is often used as an initial treatment when dealing with anxiety disorder. Though medication on its own cannot cure anxiety disorder, it treats the physical symptoms. Research has proven that a combination of medication and therapy often produces the best results when dealing with anxiety disorders.

Only a certified medical doctor, e.g., a psychiatrist can prescribe medication. Therefore, it is important to consult one’s primary caregiver who will either prescribe the medication or refer you to a trusted psychiatrist.

The medication often used to treat anxiety disorder include; anti-anxiety medications e.g. benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and beta-blockers e.g. atenolol.

5. Lifestyle changes and stress management strategies
Caffeine and illicit drugs exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety disorders and therefore avoiding them should go a long way towards helping deal with anxiety disorders.

Strategies such as yoga and exercise that calm the body and reduce stress can also be used in conjunction with therapy to deal with anxiety disorders.

An anxiety disorder can sneak in and completely derail your life. It can drive you insane, and frustrate you to the point of giving up. The thing to remember amidst all the pain and fear is that it is beatable.

Persistence is the word. Find the treatment option that works for you and persist until you beat the disorder. It is possible and doable.