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QUOTE FOR MONDAY:

“Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg.”

MAYO Clinic

Part I What is sciatica nerve damage?

Sciatica is pain, tingling, or numbness produced by an irritation of the nerve roots that lead to the sciatica nerve. The sciatic nerve is formed by the nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord into the lower back. It goes down through the buttock, then its branches extend down the back of the leg to the ankle and foot. When something presses on the sciatica nerve, like a herniated disc, it presses on that nerve which causes the pain from the buttock that can radiate all the way down to the foot. The intensity of the pressure on the nerve and where its pressed decides if it goes to the foot or less. Other causes of sciatica nerve damage:

The most common cause -a bulging or ruptured disc in the spine pressing against the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve.

-Sciatica Nerve Damage can be a symptom of other conditions that affect

*Narrowing of the spinal canal due to spinal stenosis. This spinal canal narrowing pinches on the sciatica nerve.

*Bone spurs-they are growths that are small forming along joints caused by arthritis.

*Simply injury (like a car accident or fall) causing nerve root compression=again the same result-pinching the sciatica nerve.

*Pregnancy-not as common as a cause as the others listed.

*Rarely but also tumors could cause the problem also.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of sciatica include pain that begins in your back or buttock and moves down your leg and may move into your foot.

*Weakness, tingling, or numbness in the leg may also occur.

*At times a inconsistent stabbing feeling or pricking feeling in the ankle or foot

*Sitting, standing for a long time, and movements that cause the spine to flex (such asexercises using the knee to chest) which may make symptoms worse.

*Walking, lying down, and movements that extend the spine (such as press-ups) may relieve symptoms.

How is sciatica diagnosed?

Sciatica is diagnosed with a medical history and physical exam. Sometimes x-rays and other tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are done to help find the cause of the sciatica.

What are the Complications?

Although most people recover fully from sciatica, often without any specific treatment, sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:

-Loss of feeling in the affected leg

-Weakness in the affected leg

-Loss of bowel or bladder function

QUOTE FOR THE WEEKEND:

“Diet, exercise, and the right care team all can play an important part in helping people live well with Parkinson’s disease.”

Michael J. Fox (www.michaeljfox.org)

Parkinson Disease Awareness Month – What is this disease?

Parkinson's Disease1   Parkinson's Disease 2

 

Parkinson Disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Nearly one million people in the US are living with Parkinson’s disease. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms.

Parkinson’s involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Parkinson’s primarily affects neurons in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra. Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. As PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally.

There are three types of Parkinson’s disease and they are grouped by age of onset:

 1-Adult-Onset Parkinson’s Disease – This is the most common type of Parkinson’s disease. The average age of onset is approximately 60 years old. The incidence of adult onset PD rises noticeably as people advance in age into their 70’s and 80’s.

2-Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease – The age of onset is between 21-40 years old. Though the incidence of Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease is very high in Japan (approximately 40% of cases diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease), it is still relatively uncommon in the U.S., with estimates ranging from 5-10% of cases diagnosed.

3-Juvenile Parkinson’s Disease – The age of onset is before the age of 21. The incidence of Juvenile Parkinson’s Disease is very rare.

Parkinson’s disease can significantly impair quality of life not only for the patients but for their families as well, and especially for the primary caregivers. It is therefore important for caregivers and family members to educate themselves and become familiar with the course of Parkinson’s disease and the progression of symptoms so that they can be actively involved in communication with health care providers and in understanding all decisions regarding treatment of the patient.

According to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, there are approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. who suffer from Parkinson’s disease – approximately 1-2% of people over the age of 60 and 3-5% of the population over age 85. The incidence of PD ranges from 8.6-19 per 100,000 people. Approximately 50,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. annually. That number is expected to rise as the general population in the U.S. ages. Onset of Parkinson’s disease before the age of 40 is rare. All races and ethnic groups are affected.

Knowledge is Critical when Dealing with a Life-Altering Condition such as Parkinson’s Disease and being able to make the changes to last longer and at your optimal level of functioning! First step is accept you have it!

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it’s critical to learn everything you possibly can about this condition so that you can make informed decisions about your treatment. That’s why the Medifocus Guidebook on Parkinson’s Disease was developed, a comprehensive 170 page patient Guidebook that contains vital information about Parkinson’s disease and is so helpful.

The Medifocus Guidebook on Parkinson’s Disease starts out with a detailed overview of the condition and quickly imparts fundamentally important information about Parkinson’s disease, including:

 The theories regarding the underlying causes of Parkinson’s disease.

What Are the Possible Risk factors that can be a cause of Parkinson’s Disease?

 The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation notes even after decades of intense study, the causes of Parkinson’s disease are not really understood. However, many experts believe that the disease is caused by several genetic and environmental factors, which can vary in each person.

1-Genetic Factors

For some patients, genetic factors could be the primary cause; but in others, there could be something in the environment that led to the disease. Scientists have noted that aging is a key risk factor. There is a 2-4% risk for developing the disease for people over 60. That is compared to 1-2% risk in the general population.

2-Environmental Factors

Some scientists believe that PD can result from overexposure to environmental toxins, or injury. Research by epidemiologists has identified several factors that may be linked to PD. Some of these include living in rural areas, drinking well water, pesticides and manganese.

Some studies have indicated that long term exposure to some chemicals could cause a higher risk of PD. These include the insecticides permethrin and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta-HCH), the herbicides paraquat and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and the fungicide maneb. In 2009, the US Veterans Affairs Department stated that PD could be caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

We should remember that simple exposure to a single toxin in the environment is probably not enough to cause PD. Most people who are exposed to such toxins do not develop PD.

 

QUOTE FOR FRIDAY:

“There is no blood test that can accurately diagnose sarcoidosis. If you have a skin rash, sarcoidosis sometimes can be diagnosed by a biopsy – a skin specialist will remove a pinch of skin tissue and examine it under a microscope. Because infections can also cause granulomas that look similar to sarcoidosis, your doctor will test your lung or skin sample for infections such as tuberculosis to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.  As for as treatment the goal is remission, if needed.”

American Lung Association

Part III Sarcoidosis Awareness Month-Diagnosis, Staging, & Rx.

How Sarcoidosis can be diagnosed:

  • biopsy of the lungs, liver, skin, or other affected organs to check for granulomas
  • Blood tests, including complete blood counts, to check hormone levels and to test for other conditions that may cause sarcoidosis
  • Bronchoscopy, which may include rinsing an area of the lung to get cells or using a needle to take cells from the lymph nodes in the chest
  • Chest X-ray to look for granulomas in the lungs and heart and determine the stage of the disease. Often, sarcoidosis is found because a chest X-ray is performed for another reason.
  • Neurological tests, such as electromyography, evoked potentials, spinal taps, or nerve conduction tests, to detect problems with the nervous system caused by sarcoidosis
  • Eye exam to look for eye damage, which can occur without symptoms in a person with sarcoidosis
  • Gallium scan external link , which uses a radioactive material called gallium to look for inflammation, usually in the eyes or lymph nodes.
  • High-resolution computed tomography (CT) scan to look for granulomas
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to help find granulomas. Learn more in our Chest MRI Health Topic.
  • Positron electron tomography (PET) scan, a type of imaging that can help find granulomas
  • Pulmonary function tests to check whether you have breathing problems
  • Ultrasound to look for granulomas

There is a staging to Sarcoidosis:

Doctors use stages to describe the various imaging findings of sarcoidosis of the lung or lymph nodes of the chest. There are four stages of sarcoidosis, and they indicate where the granulomas are located. In each of the first three stages, sarcoidosis can range from mild to severe. This helps the doctor in deciding treatment for the patient.  Stage IV is the most severe and indicates permanent scarring in the lungs.

  • Stage I: Granulomas are located only in the lymph nodes.
  • Stage II: Granulomas are located in the lungs and lymph nodes.
  • Stage III: Granulomas are located in the lungs only.
  • Stage IV: Pulmonary fibrosis.

Treatment for Sarcoidosis:

Remember there is no cure.  The goal of treatment is remission, a state in which the condition is not causing problems. Not everyone who is diagnosed with sarcoidosis needs treatment. Sometimes the condition goes away on its own. Whether you need treatment—and what type you need—will depend on your signs and symptoms, which organs are affected, and whether those organs are working well; this is also where staging of the disease comes into play. Some people do not respond to treatment.

 

QUOTE FOR THURSDAY:

“Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease wherein the immune system goes into overdrive, causing cells to group together into clumps called granulomas. While more than 90 percent of cases affect the lungs and lymph nodes, sarcoidosis can affect any organ and interfere with the organ’s function.”

CHEST Foundation (chestnet.org)

Part II Sarcoidosis Awareness Month

Lung lesions – 95% Thoracic lymph nodes – 50% Skin lesions – 30%  Eyes – 30%

 

Inflammatory Disease- Sarcoidosis or Sarcoid is a inflammatory disease that consists of granuloma.

Wide Spread Disease- Disease is wide spread in multiple organs.

Relapse-

  • The Sarcoidosis disease tends to come and go all of a sudden.
  • Disease may progressively develop as a serious illness.
  • Patient may experience several relapse throughout the life.

Granulomas-

  • Sarcoidosis or Sarcoid is a gradual progressive disease.
  • Microscopic lumps called granulomas start to appear in the affected organs.1
  • In most of the cases, these granulomas tend to clear with or without treatments.
  • There are few instances where granuloma grows in size and continues to be a part of the organ.
  • Granuloma eventually ends up as fibrotic lump but may cause several complications.

Causes

Doctors don’t know the exact cause of sarcoidosis. Some people appear to have a genetic predisposition to develop the disease, which may be triggered by bacteria, viruses, dust or chemicals.

This triggers an overreaction of your immune system and immune cells begin to collect in a pattern of inflammation called granulomas. As granulomas build up in an organ, the function of that organ can be affected.

Risk factors

While anyone can develop sarcoidosis, factors that may increase your risk include:

  • Age and sex. Sarcoidosis often occurs between the ages of 20 and 40. Women are slightly more likely to develop the disease.
  • Race. African-Americans have a higher incidence of sarcoidosis than do white Americans. Also, sarcoidosis may be more severe and may be more likely to recur and cause lung problems in African-Americans.
  • Family history. If someone in your family has had sarcoidosis, you’re more likely to develop the disease.

Complications

For most people, sarcoidosis resolves on its own with no lasting consequences. But sometimes it causes long-term problems.

  • Lungs. Untreated pulmonary sarcoidosis can lead to permanent scarring in your lungs, making it difficult to breathe.
  • Eyes. Inflammation can affect almost any part of your eye and can eventually cause blindness. Rarely, sarcoidosis also can cause cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Kidneys. Sarcoidosis can affect how your body handles calcium, which can lead to kidney failure.
  • Heart. Granulomas in your heart can cause abnormal heart rhythms and other heart problems. In rare instances, this may lead to death.
  • Nervous system. A small number of people with sarcoidosis develop problems related to the central nervous system when granulomas form in the brain and spinal cord. Inflammation in the facial nerves, for example, can cause facial paralysis.

QUOTE FOR WEDNESDAY:

“Despite the best efforts of researchers for more than a century working to better understand the complexities of this disease, sarcoidosis remains difficult to diagnose with limited therapies.”

FSR Foundation of Sarcosis Research

Part I Sarcoidosis Awareness Month

Sarcoidosis (pronounced SAR-COY-DOE-SIS) is an inflammatory disease characterized by the formation of granulomas, tiny clumps of inflammatory cells, in one or more organs of the body. When the immune system goes into overdrive and too many of these clumps form, they can interfere with an organ’s structure and function. When left unchecked, chronic inflammation can lead to fibrosis, which is permanent thickening or scarring of organ tissue.

This disorder can affect almost any organ in the body, including the heart, skin, liver, kidneys, brain, sinuses, eyes, muscles, bones, and other areas. Sarcoidosis most commonly targets the lungs and the lymph nodes, which are an important part of the immune system. When it affects the lungs, it is called pulmonary sarcoidosis. Ninety percent or more of people diagnosed with the disease have lung involvement.

Doctors believe sarcoidosis results from the body’s immune system responding to an unknown substance, most likely something inhaled from the air.

There is no cure for sarcoidosis, but most people do very well with little or only modest treatment. In half of cases, sarcoidosis goes away on its own. In a few cases, however, sarcoidosis may last for years and may cause organ damage.

General symptoms

For many people, sarcoidosis begins with these symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss

Lung symptoms

Many patients with sarcoidosis experience lung problems, which may include:

  • Persistent dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain

Skin symptoms

Some people who have sarcoidosis develop skin problems, which may include:

  • A rash of red or reddish-purple bumps, usually located on the shins or ankles, which may be warm and tender to the touch
  • Disfiguring sores (lesions) on the nose, cheeks and ears
  • Areas of skin that are darker or lighter in color
  • Growths under the skin (nodules), particularly around scars or tattoos

Eye symptoms

Sarcoidosis can affect the eyes without causing any symptoms, so it’s important to have your eyes checked. When eye symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Severe redness
  • Sensitivity to light

Heart symptoms

Cardiac sarcoidosis: A heart under attack

Signs and symptoms related to cardiac sarcoidosis may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)
  • Rapid or fluttering heart beat (palpitations)
  • Swelling caused by excess fluid (edema)

Stay tune for Part II tomorrow on Sardcoidosis Awareness Month!