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Sunday, August 02, 2015
  • Vein trouble leads to swollen legs
    Sunday, July 26, 2015 6:42 PM

    I’ve seen quite a few people lately suffering from swelling in their legs, most caused by problems with their veins.

    To understand how problems with the veins develop, I have to provide a brief anatomy and physiology lesson. Fresh blood that contains oxygen and nutrients is pumped from the heart via arteries to the legs. The blood then moves across very tiny blood vessels called capillaries – this is where the oxygen and nutrients move out of the blood into the surrounding tissues. Waste products and carbon dioxide then move from the tissues into the capillaries and then into veins for the trip up to eventually reach the lungs, liver and kidneys where the waste products are removed.

     
  • Sunday, July 19, 2015 11:24 PM

    Fall sports season is almost here and I’m anticipating seeing many athletes who will suffer concussions. Concussions have always been a part of sports, especially those involving high-energy collisions, most notably football, soccer, hockey and basketball. Intensive research, along with lawsuits like the NFL Players Association vs. the NFL is causing things to move rapidly to help us get a firmer grasp on how to prevent and manage concussed athletes.

     
  • Sunday, July 12, 2015 9:39 PM

    Last week I went over the two types and biology of diabetes. This week I would like to explore how it is diagnosed and treated.

    It’s estimated that seven million people the U.S. are going about their daily lives unaware that they are diabetic. Many have no symptoms and those who do often ignore them or are not aware they should be concerned. 

     
  • Sunday, July 05, 2015 9:11 PM

    Diabetes was first described in Egypt about 3,500 years ago. The name diabetes means “to pass through,” referring to the frequent urination that occurs in diabetics. The urine also contains glucose, a sugar, hence the name mellitus from the Latin mel which translates to honey. In fact, many physicians in years past diagnosed the disease by watching the attraction of insects, particularly ants, to a patient’s urine. Some bold physicians even went so far as to do a little taste test (thank goodness for the development of the urine dipstick)!

     
  • Sunday, June 28, 2015 10:50 PM

    I’ve received a request to write about thyroid gland problems. Thyroid problems are fairly common in a family medicine setting. For those who don’t know what a thyroid is or does, keep reading.

    The thyroid is an endocrine gland found in the neck. Endocrine glands produce hormones and secrete them into the bloodstream. The hormones then travel around the body and facilitate various biologic functions by interacting with cells in different tissues. Hormones are like microscopic fingers that flip switches on cells to make the cells perform particular functions.

     
  • Sunday, June 21, 2015 7:43 PM

    An adult patient has asked me to write about night terrors. While night terrors can be seen in adults, they are much more common in children. It’s hypothesized that this is due to their developing brains.

    Night terrors are a subclass of sleep disorders termed “parasomnias.” Rather than focus specifically on adults, I’ll also cover kids. People who exhibit parasomnias often have family members who suffer from them as well. Virtually all of these conditions go away with time.

     
  • Sunday, June 14, 2015 11:45 PM

    I received a request from a reader to address sciatica. She and some of her family members are suffering terribly from this condition. Rather than address just sciatica, I thought I would address the broader topic of neuropathic pain or “neuralgia.”

    Neuropathic pain is just that – pain that originates from the nerve itself. This pain is usually related to some type of physical injury to the nerve but sometimes the nerve can just malfunction and act like it’s been injured. Common causes of neuralgia other than physical trauma include diabetes, herpes virus infections (shingles or Zoster), nerve compression and cancer. Many cases are “idiopathic,” meaning there is no obvious cause.

     
  • Sunday, June 07, 2015 7:03 PM

    Believe it or not, kids are starting summer practices in preparation for fall sports. That means it’s time for another round of sports physicals. Many of our youth participate in some type of organized school sport. The IHSAA requires high school athletes to have a yearly Pre-Participation Examination (PPE). Many junior highs or middle schools and even elementary schools are now requiring them before allowing athletes on the field.

    Unfortunately, some athletes and families see the PPE a bothersome hurdle and want to get it over with as quickly as possible. This mind set has resulted in schools or other organizations setting up mass screenings for athletes. These cattle calls usually involve setting up multiple “stations” to complete the PPE. For example, one station might review the athlete’s medical history, another might do the blood pressure, another the heart and lung exam, etc.

     
  • Monday, June 01, 2015 12:25 AM

    I’ve seen a fair number of cases of swimmer’s ear in the last few weeks. We tend to see more cases of this in hot, humid weather, but it can also be brought on by other conditions.

    The medical term for swimmer’s ear is otitis externa, indicating inflammation of the external ear. This is in contrast to the more common otitis media, or inflammation of the middle ear (the part of the ear behind the ear drum).

    The number of people who suffer from swimmer’s ear is about four per 1,000 per year, or about three to five percent of the population. It afflicts males and females in equal numbers and tends to present between seven and twelve years of age.

     
  • Monday, May 18, 2015 2:08 AM

    I had a request to write about lupus. Lupus is the shortened name of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. It is an autoimmune disease first described by the physician Rogerius in the 12th Century. There are many opinions regarding the origin of the name “lupus.” One of the most popular is that the rash on the face of many lupus sufferers resembles a wolf’s face. Lupus is Latin for wolf.

    Autoimmune diseases are a group of illnesses caused by a person’s immune system attacking their own body. In the case of lupus, the immune system makes antibodies against proteins in the nuclei of cells, where the DNA is found. It is believed that people who develop lupus have an underlying genetic predisposition to the disease. There is no single “lupus gene.” It appears to involve problems with multiple genes.

     

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