Tag Archives: condition

What is Sarcoidosis?

April is Sarcoidosis Awareness Month, so we wanted to take a closer look at this widely unknown condition. Sarcoidosis is a multisystem condition whereby tiny granulomas (abnormal inflammatory tissues) grow in different parts of the body, most often affecting the lungs, eyes, skin and lymph nodes. Let’s check out some more facts:

  • The root of the condition is not yet fully understood, but medical research seems to suggest it stems from a problem with an over-reactive immune system.
  • Common symptoms include: fatigue, chronic cough, breathing problems, rashes or red bumps, joint problems (such as swelling or pain), enlarged lymph nodes, kidney stones, arrhythmias or other heart problems, psychiatric problems, seizures, vision problems or hearing problems.
  • Sarcoidosis can cause a serious skin condition called lupus pernio (also known as cutaneous sarcoidosis) that causes deep red or purple nodules and marks on the skin.
  • Approximately 1 in every 2500 Americans have some degree of sarcoidosis.
  • Sarcoidosis usually affects young adults and is more prevalent among African-American people than Caucasians. African-American women are most likely to develop the disease than any other demographic.
  • As with many conditions, if you have sarcoidosis, maintaining good health will help your chances of getting rid of the condition. This includes undergoing regular exercise, eating healthy, getting enough water and sleep, and avoiding smoking or excess drinking.
  • Unfortunately, up to 30% of people with sarcoidosis go on to develop some lung damage, so it is very important to follow up regularly with your specialist or doctor if you have the condition, so they can reassess which treatment avenues may be best for you to prevent further damage.
  • Treatment for sarcoidosis sometimes includes medications commonly prescribed for other painful autoimmune conditions including: prednisone, Plaquenil, methotrexate, or other DMARDs (disease modifying antirheumatic drugs).
  • Sarcoidosis is not easily diagnosed, as many of its symptoms can be attributed to other conditions, but if your doctor suspects you may have the condition he or she will examine you and your medical records and order certain tests to confirm such as x-rays or HRTC scans.
  • Causes of sarcoidosis are not fully understood, but the condition seems to stem sometimes from abnormal reaction to certain bacteria or viral strains, chemicals, or in some cases perhaps a hereditary predilection.
  • This condition can involve, or cause complications with the lungs, heart, kidneys, brain or eyes.
  • There is no cure for sarcoidosis but treatment helps most people, and nearly half of all cases resolve themselves or go into long remission stages without treatment. Some severe cases can become chronic and cause damage to organs.

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The Many Facets of Anemia

Anemia is a medical condition that occurs when your red blood cell (RBC) count drops too low, causing an insufficient amount of hemoglobin to be delivered to your tissues. Anemia has a variety of causes and can cause various symptoms and complications. Let’s take a closer look at some of the facts:

  • According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), anemia is the most common blood disorder, afflicting over 3 million Americans.
  • Symptoms of anemia include: weakness, dizziness, persistent headache, irregular heartbeat (such as tachycardia), chest pain, jaundice, shortness of breath, mood changes, discolored skin, cold extremities and extreme fatigue. It should be noted that many other conditions can cause similar symptoms as well.
  • There are different types of anemia such as sickle-cell anemia, malarial anemia and hemolytic, to name a few.
  • Anemia may develop if your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells (aplastic anemia), or because you bleed too much or too easily (haemophiliac), or perhaps your body is attacking its own red blood cells due to an underlying autoimmune condition such as Crohn’s.
  • An iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia as your body needs iron to produce hemoglobin (which is responsible for oxygen). Pregnancy, cancer, long-term aspirin use and heavy menstruation are all potential causes of iron-deficient anemia.
  • Vitamin deficiencies can also lead to anemia, most commonly, vitamin B12. If someone isn’t able to naturally metabolize B12 it can lead to a specific type of anemia labeled pernicious anemia. These people would likely require regular vitamin B12 shots.
  • Risk factors include: deficient diet (if your diet lacks certain important vitamins and minerals), autoimmune intestinal disorders or other types of chronic disorders, haemophilia or a similar blood disease, heavy menstruation, or family history.
  • Some kinds of anemia (primarily inherited types) can be fatal if the person loses too much blood and their red blood cell count drops dangerously low.
  • If a person’s blood test results show a hemoglobin level of less than 13.5gm/dl for a male or less than 12gm/dl for a woman a diagnosis of anemia will likely be made and steps will be taken to understand any underlying problems and help correct them.
  • Some types of anemia can be prevented through a healthy diet rich in meat and dairy (B12), citrus and veggies (sources of folate) and iron-rich foods like nuts. Several types of anemia (such as those inherited) cannot be prevented, but can be effectively treated.
  • In some cases, vitamin or iron supplements will be recommended. However, it is important to practice caution when it comes to dietary supplements. it is not advisable to just start taking a new supplement without first cross checking your medical conditions or medications with a doctor and asking his or her advice on your particular situation.
  • Treatment for anemia is dependent on the type you have. It often involves a combination of blood transfusions and case-specific medications.

We hope this article has helped you learn a little more about this common blood condition, thanks for visiting DocChat!

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulosis is an intestinal condition whereby diverticula (small pouches) form in weak spots lining the wall of the large intestine. Diverticulitis is a potentially serious complication of diverticulosis that occurs when these pouches become inflamed or infected.

  • Diverticulosis pouches are usually only a few millimetres big.
  • Most diverticulitis infections occur when partially digested food particles become trapped in a diverticulum.
  • The pouches commonly form in the sigmoid colon (in the lower section).
  • Most cases of diverticulosis do not cause symptoms, but when symptoms such as infection or inflammation do occur, the condition is called diverticulitis or diverticular disease.
  • Symptoms of diverticulitis include: stomach pain, perforation of the colon, infection or changes in bowel movements.
  • Bleeding can occur if a blood vessel located in the diverticular pouches burst.
  • Another complication of diverticulitis is the formation of an abscess, a painful infected sore that forms outside the intestinal wall that can cause severe pain and stomach sickness.
  • In rare cases, abnormal passages between the colon and bladder may develop. These are called fistulas.
  • Diverticulosis is common in older adults. Approximately 58% of adults older than 60 have the condition (the majority of these cases are asymptomatic).
  • According to the National Institute of Health, only around 5% of people with diverticulosis will go on to develop the problematic sub-condition diverticulitis.
  • About 200,000 Americans are hospitalized annually for complications of diverticular disease (such as intestinal bleeding).
  • Too much fiber may be problematic for some diverticulosis sufferers. If you have the condition, it is important to discuss fiber intake with your doctor.
  • Some contributing factors to diverticulosis include: advanced aged, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and genetics.
  • Treatment for diverticulitis usually includes antibiotics, pain relievers and a liquid diet. Sometimes a low fiber diet is suggested long-term.
  • Only about 6% of diverticulitis sufferers require surgery.


That concludes our look at diverticulosis and diverticulitis! Thanks for visiting DocChat. Remember, if you have any health concerns, our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365.

Unbelievable Medical Conditions (Part 1)

We often touch on common conditions such as diabetes or allergies, but in this post we wanted to delve into some of the lesser known and more mysterious medical conditions that exist. Awareness is necessary when it comes to all diseases, especially rare or misunderstood ones, as it promotes understanding and acceptance over ignorance. The first 4 conditions on our list are:

  1. Elephantiasis 

    This parasitic disease is caused by the filarial worm, which is most often transmitted to humans by carrier mosquitoes. It causes the lymphatic system to become blocked, leading to immense swelling of the limbs and sometimes other parts of the body such as the genitals. The disease is sometimes accompanied by feelings of general malaise. Elephantiasis affects approximately 120 million people worldwide, but luckily there is a medication that can kill the worms which usually helps resolve the condition.

  2. Musicogenic Epilepsy 

    A few unlucky people across the United States are afflicted by an unique epileptic condition whereby focal seizures are primarily triggered by playing or listening to music. Research suggests the music may induce a reaction from the mesial temporal and orbitofrontal areas of the brain, triggering seizures.

  3. Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva 

    This debilitating genetic condition gradually deforms and disables the body by growing excess bone through the muscles, ligaments, tendons and other tissues, virtually encasing the body in a second skeleton. There is no known cure or treatment for this mystifying condition. Surgical attempts to fix the growths have made cases worse, as it was discovered that the trauma of surgery causes more bone growth in response. Luckily, it is a very rare condition with only 265 confirmed cases in the United States.

  4. Brain-Eating Amoeba 

    Medically known as Naegleria fowleri, these microscopic amoebas are responsible for a handful of deaths each summer, most of which take place in the southern states. N. fowleri are found in untreated sources of warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, untreated pools, puddles, ponds, hot springs, aquariums or untreated tap water. They enter through the nose and travel to the brain, causing a disease called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Cases of PAM are rare but almost always fatal, with only 3 survivors out of more than 130 cases since the 1960’s.

That concludes our look at the first few rare and astounding medical conditions, keep an eye out for 4 more coming up next. Thanks for visiting DocChat, stay happy and healthy!


Hearing Loss and Disorder Facts

Hearing loss is a shockingly common problem in the United States that can have various causes and degrees of severity. Let’s take a look at some of the facts behind hearing loss:

  • Nearly 3 of every 1000 American children are born with varying degrees of hearing loss.
  • Parents of 90% of deaf children have no hearing problems themselves
  • There are 4 medically defined stages of hearing loss: mild, moderate, severe and profound.
  • Over 48 million America adults report some degree of hearing loss.
  • Approximately 4000 people suffer sudden hearing loss annually in the United States, and the cause is only found it 10-15% of these cases.
  • Some chronic diseases (namely heart diseases) can cause hearing loss by effecting how much blood is reaching the ears.
  • A trauma to the head can cause acute hearing loss (permanent or temporary).
  • About 5% of children have a disorder called Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) which prevents them from being able to distinguish some sounds from others. It causes confusion, inability to listen to instructions and noise intolerance.
  • Most hearing loss fades so gradually it is only detected when it is a significant issue.
  • According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), hearing loss is the third leading chronic physical condition after arthritis and heart disease.
  • Advanced age is the leading cause of hearing loss. Nearly half of adults aged 75 or order have disabling levels of hearing loss.
  • Unfortunately, hearing loss is often confused for dementia older persons because they may be confused, disoriented and off balance, symptoms that can correlate with cognitive decline. (Therefor, it is important for an older person’s hearing to be tested before looking into senility).
  • Some types of hearing loss can be treated with surgery, some can be helped with the use of a hearing aid, and some cases cannot be helped.
  • Genetics have a role to play in many cases of deafness and hearing loss.
  • Some cases of hearing loss are dependant on continuously noisy environments, for example 44% of carpenters develop early hearing loss.
  • Hearing problems and disorders are more prevalent among males than females.
  • Some medications such as antibiotics, blood thinners or chemotherapy medications can cause hearing loss.
  • Only 20% of those who can benefit from hearing aids actually utilize them. Many people find they change sound too much.
  • Sometimes ear infections can cause hearing loss, so if you have itchiness, clogged ears, swelling or other additional symptoms, have your doctor check for infection.

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