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,
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
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
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.