Tag Archives: facts

Multiple Sclerosis Fast Facts

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, progressive disease of the nervous system that can cause severe, and sometimes debilitating, symptoms. Let’s take a look at some of the key facts to help gain a better understanding of this mysterious and devastating disease:

  • MS causes damage to the protective myelin sheaths surrounding the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. This causes interruptions in the nerve signals.
  • MS is classified as an autoimmune disease, because it is understood that the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin.
  • MS is relatively rare, afflicting an estimated 400,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million people worldwide.
  • People with other autoimmune conditions like type 1 diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease are more likely to develop MS.
  • Like many autoimmune diseases, MS is much more prevalent in women than men.
  • It is suspected that MS is caused or triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as certain viral infections or vitamin deficiencies.
  • MS usually follows a course that includes multiple flares followed by periods of better health (known as remissions).
  • There are different types of MS, but the most common type is relapsing-remitting, where symptoms sometimes recede with the help of certain medication.
  • Contrary to decades ago, there are many viable treatment options available today for MS including corticosteroid treatment and DMARD (disease modifying antirheumatic drug) options that can really help alter the trajectory of the disease.
  • MS can have widely varying symptoms ranging from mild to disabling. Some of the main symptoms include: fatigue, confusion or fogginess, depression, speech difficulty, dizziness, vision problems, numbness of the extremities, bowel or bladder dysfunction, inflammation, facial numbness and tingling, muscle spasms and pain.
  • When diagnoses is made and treatment starts early in the disease, there will more likely be a better outcome.
  • Even though some MS sufferers are wheelchair-bound, the majority of MS sufferers will not be significantly disabled.
  • MS appears to be most prevalent in more polar areas of the world (further north or south of the equator).
  • The diagnostic process of MS can be long and convoluted. It may involve years of testing and multiple different specialists. Some people get a quick, straightforward diagnosis but for many it can be a long, hard road.
  • MS is usually diagnosed in middle-adulthood but can occur or be discovered at any age.
  • MS is not a terminal condition, but it can cause many complications. People with MS live an average of 6-7 years less than the general population.
  • MS does not usually interfere with pregnancy, and pregnancy doesn’t usually impact the course of the disease either way.
  • There is currently no cure for MS, but medical researchers are still at work to find one.
  • As with many autoimmune diseases, a person can be suffering with a difficult case of MS but it may not be apparent to the average onlooker. So, always be kind, you never know what someone is going through!

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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!

Endometriosis Fast Facts

Endometriosis is a complex reproductive condition that causes endometrial tissue to grow outside the uterus in places like the ovaries, bowel or even the lungs. This abnormal overgrowth causes inflammation and pain. Some other facts about endometriosis include:

  • Approximately 5 million American women have endometriosis (nearly 1 in 10).
  • Endometriosis is most common amongst women in their 30’s and 40’s, but can occur any age between menses and menopause (sometimes even after menopause).
  • Endometriosis can adversely affect fertility. Some women have to undergo fertility treatment or adjust their medications to better chances of pregnancy.
  • Endometriosis can cause lesions or scar tissue that sometimes requires surgery to eradicate.
  • Symptoms of endometriosis include: pain during and after sex or during ovulation, heavy bleeding, fatigue. It can also significantly impact mental health.
  • Pregnancy or a hysterectomy can sometimes relieve symptoms but not in all cases.
  • Women with endometriosis may be at greater risk of developing certain types of cancer.
  • Endometriosis is not considered an autoimmune disease, despite the immunological abnormalities it causes.
  • Endometriosis can be a very frustrating condition as treatment isn’t effective for everyone and little is understood about it and doctors don’t all agree on all aspects about it.
  • It can be a very frustrating disorder fraught with treatments that don’t work well.
  • Synthetic hormone treatments may help some of the symptoms of endometrioses but they will not cure it long term.

There you have some fast facts about endometriosis There is so much we don’t yet know about the painful condition, but medical researchers are still hard at work to get more answers. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you stop by again soon.

What is Raynaud’s Phenomenon?

Raynaud’s is a blood vessel disorder that causes more rapid, responsive and extreme vasoconstriction when exposed to cold. It primarily targets the blood vessels in the fingertips and toes, often changing the color of the affected areas. There are two types of Raynaud’s: primary, which has no underlying condition triggering it and secondary Raynaud’s, which is linked to a larger underlying (usually autoimmune) condition. Let’s take a look at some facts about Raynaud’s:

  • The most common form, primary Raynaud’s, is usually milder and shows up earlier in life. It is referred to ask Raynaud’s disease.
  • Secondary Raynaud’s, more often referred to as Raynaud’s phenomenon is more severe as it is triggered by a comorbid disease and often comes on later in life.
  • Most Raynaud’s attacks are caused by exposure to cold temperatures or episodes of great stress.
  • Raynaud’s affected fingers and toes usually change color when exposed to cold because of decreased blood flow or vasospasm. Often the fingers or toes will turn white, then red or blue when starting to thaw. This is usually a highly unpleasant sensation.
  • Secondary Raynaud’s can be triggered by such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, lupus or other arthritic, autoimmune conditions.
  • Niacin (also known as vitamin B3) can help increase blood flow for those with Raynaud’s, but be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any supplements.
  • Symptoms include: pain, tingling, numbness, freezing, throbbing and discoloration.
  • Both types of Raynaud’s usually affect the hands and feet. Less commonly, Raynaud’s can affect the ears, nose, lips, nipples and knees.
  • Smoking and certain medications can cause or worsen Raynaud’s as well.
  • Attacks usually only last minutes, but can last several hours in extreme cases.
  • In serious cases (usually with secondary Raynaud’s) open sores can result from the vasospasms, potentially even leading to amputation.
  • Diagnosis of Raynaud’s can be made by ruling out other similar conditions via blood tests, or performing a nailfold capillaroscopy test (when the capillaries under the nails are examined via microscope), or a cold stimulation test whereby the doctor will attempt to induce an attack by intentionally exposing the patient’s hands to cold water.
  • Treatment of Raynaud’s mostly consists of prevention. Some of the key ways to prevent attacks are to: keep the hands and feet as warm as possible at all times, engage in stress management to reduce the number of stress attacks, quit smoking and to exercise regularly to help increase blood flow. These measures should help reduce frequency and severity of attacks which will help limit damage to the extremities.

If you have symptoms of Raynaud’s, be sure to see your doctor for further evaluation to rule out any serious underlying conditions as Raynaud’s is often the first symptom of a larger autoimmune disease. Thanks for visiting DocChat!




9 Neat Facts About Your Circulatory System

We’ve been taking a look at the inner workings of the body’s vital organs and systems, and while we looked at facts about the human heart, we wanted to delve deeper into the circulatory system next:

  1. Your blood vessels, if laid end to end, could wrap around the earth twice.
  2. There are over 5 million cells in just one drop of your blood!
  3. Tight squeeze – red blood cells must travel single file style because they are nearly as large as the capillaries they roam through!
  4. The average human has about 75 heartbeats a minute.
  5. Bradycardia is a condition whereby the heart beats much slower than average (it could potentially be dangerous).
  6. Tachycardia is the opposite condition whereby the heartrate is consistently elevated to around or above 100 beats per minute.
  7. It takes about 20 seconds for blood to complete a circulation around the body.
  8. Red blood cells make about 250,000 trips around the body before they die.
  9. Human blood has no color until hemoglobin does its thing.

Check out these interesting facts about your skin next! Thanks for visiting DocChat, remember our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to assist you with any of your medical inquiries!

Fast Facts About Mononucleosis

Mononucleosis is an extremely common viral illness affecting close to 95% of people at some point during their lifetimes. Let’s take a closer look at mono:

  • Mononucleosis (mono) is a prevalent and highly contagious viral illness.
  • Mono generally resolves itself but it may take time, plenty of rest as well as home remedies and OTC medications to ease some of the symptoms.
  • Mono is caused by a common viral strain called Epstein-Barr (EPV) of the herpesvirus family.
  • EPV remains in your system forever, usually dormant but occasionally reactivating which makes it contagious to others again. You will only get mono once.
  • It is very contagious, often spread by saliva, mucus or tears.
  • Because it is most often spread through close contact, it has been dubbed the “kissing disease”.
  • Mono can also be passed by sharing things like cups or personal grooming utensils.
  • Mono is most common among adolescents.
  • Some of the symptoms of mono include: headache, night sweats, high fever, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, sore throat.
  • Rare but potentially life-threatening complications of mono include swelling of the liver or swelling (or even bursting) of the spleen. If you have mono and feel intense pain in the left part of your stomach, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Some other rare complications of mono include: inflammation around the heart, anemia, meningitis or Gullain-Barre.
  • Vigorous sports activity is not encouraged if you have mono as it could cause internal swelling.
  • To diagnose mono, your doctor may order certain blood work, physically examine you as well as take your symptoms into account.
  • Resting is very important to overcome mono as quickly and easily as possible.
  • Symptoms of mono begin showing between 1-2 months after becoming infected and may last weeks to a month before you feel back to normal.
  • Children sometimes contract mono, however, it is uncommon and usually very mild.
  • Mono can strike nearly anyone but those who are more likely to contract mono include: the immunocompromised, adolescents and people who frequently come in contact with many other people such as students or medical professionals.

Thus concludes our peep at mononucleosis, thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any medical concerns, our board-certified doctors are standing by 24/7/365.

10 Mind-Bending Facts About Your Heart

We’ve been looking at some of interesting facts about each of the body’s organs, up next is the amazing human heart:

  1. According to the Cleveland clinic, heart disease was found in 3,000-year-old mummies!
  2. The adult heart is nearly the size of two human fists.
  3. Every day your heart pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood through the body’s intricate vessel system!
  4. You’d have to let a water faucet running full force for about 45 years to equal the amount of blood pumped through your body over the course of your lifetime.
  5. If your heart was hooked up to oxygen, it could continue to pump even outside of your body! Cool…but creepy.
  6. The heart supplies blood to nearly 75 trillion cells (all except those in the cornea)!
  7. You’re statistically more likely to have a heart attack on a Monday morning than any other time!
  8. There really is possible to die of a “broken heart”, as extreme grieving upon losing a loved one can lead to extreme stress and a shock to your system, which has actually caused people to have a heart attack.
  9. The four chambers of the heart are: the left and right atria and the left and right ventricles.
  10. People aren’t joking when they say laughter is the best medicine – when you giggle, the lining in the walls of your blood vessels relax, which increases your blood flow for nearly an hour after your hearty laugh! So, laughing really is good for your heart.

Your heart is a complex, delicate organ, so take good care of it with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise! Thanks for visiting DocChat! Check feel free to check out our other amazing fact sheets on your lungs, liver, brain and skin next!


COPD – Get The Facts

COPD is a serious and misunderstood chronic lung condition. It is one of America’s stealthiest top killers, even though many people are hardly aware of the facts. COPD is serious business, and everyone should be aware of the early signs. Let’s take a gander at some of the facts:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a few progressive (and life-threatening) lung conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and refractory asthmatics (symptoms never go away).
  • People with COPD have a hard time breathing because their airways lose elasticity, scarring destroy airway walls, or too much mucus is produced which clogs the airways.
  • It is also a leading cause of disability.
  • At least 11 million Americans are afflicted with COPD (the numbers are likely much higher is it is underdiagnosed).
  • Every hour approximately 250,000 people worldwide will die of COPD.
  • More women die of COPD than men, largely because of misdiagnosis but it appears estrogen plays a role as well.
  • COPD often affects those in their 50’s and 60’s, but younger people can also have COPD.
  • Many people aren’t diagnosed until their disease is in the advanced stages. Know the early warning signs: chronic coughing, shortness of breath, blueish lips or fingernails, chronic wheezing, chest tightness, fatigue and frequent bouts of bronchitis.
  • While the main cause of COPD is smoking and inhaling smoke, not everyone who has the disease is a former smoker. Inhaling environment pollutants over a long term (such as at a hazardous job) and genetics can also cause COPD.
  • If you have COPD, ask your doctor to screen you for the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency AATD gene, as it may help shed light on how severe your lung disease is or will likely become.
  • The best way to prevent COPD is not to smoke or be around second hand smoke, and to quit if you are already a smoker.
  • There is no cure for COPD, but it is a highly treatable condition if it is caught early enough. Many of the same medications that asthmatics take help COPD sufferers, as well as corticosteroids or oxygen therapy.
  • Early screening can catch COPD before too much damage is done, so the condition can be treated to help slow its progression. Doctors can screen for COPD with a simple spirometry test in their office. Ask your doctor about COPD screening today.

If you have been experiencing some of the symptoms we listed, do not ignore them. Make an appointment today to see your doctor (of one of ours!) to get screened for COPD. Thanks for visiting, we hope you’ll be back again soon!

12 Amazing facts about the skin

The skin is made up of its outermost layer, epidermis, a deeper layer called dermis, as well as subcutaneous tissues. Weighing in at an average of 6 pounds, it is the body’s largest organ. Let’s check out some other neat facts about the body’s protective casing:

  1. If it were to be stretched out, the skin would span nearly 20 square feet.
  2. The thin skin covering your eyeballs is only about 02 millimetres thick!
  3. There are 4 major receptors in the skin that respond to different kinds of touch.
  4. The skin is largely responsible for regulating body temperature to keep you more comfortable.
  5. Skin cells that produce melanin are called melanocytes. They are responsible for skin (and eye) coloring.
  6. There is a disease called Vitiligo that causes the body to attack its own melanocytes, causing uneven skin coloring.
  7. Your skin sheds about 30,000 dead skin cells a minute!
  8. Your skin cells renew themselves approximately once a month.
  9. Certain types of skin bacteria that mix with sweat are actually to blame for body odor, not sweat itself.
  10. The moist environment provided by certain areas of your skin, such as your belly button, genitals, underarms and between your toes encourages countless types of fungi and bacteria to thrive.
  11. Over 1,000 species of bacteria reside on your skin – ewww!
  12. Fat deposits in the subcutaneous tissues lead to dimpled skin called cellulite.

Check out neat facts about the lungs next. Thanks for visiting DocChat! Hope to see you again soon.

15 Neat Facts About Your Lungs

The lungs are pretty amazing instruments. They are the two vital organs largely responsible for breathing, the most necessary function to sustain life. So let’s find out some interesting facts about these amazing organs:

  1. The lungs are the only internal organs that would float in water.
  2. A sneeze can reach the speed of 10mph.
  3. The total weight of both lungs is nearly 3 pounds.
  4. Your right lung is divided into 3 lobes, while the left is divided into 2. The left lung is smaller to accommodate your heart.
  5. It is possible to live (restrictedly) with only one lung.
  6. At birth, the lungs are pink in color but pollution begins to darken them almost immediately.
  7. At rest, we breath between 13-20 times a minute.
  8. You will inhale approximately 45 pounds of dust over your lifetime! Ewww! Bad news for allergy sufferers…
  9. You can’t breathe and swallow simultaneously.
  10. You will breathe about 5 million times this year alone!
  11. If they were to be unfolded, your airways would span about 1500 miles!
  12. When you breathe, your lungs take in oxygen and exhale carbon-dioxide, a process which produces some water.
  13. You actually exhale about 5 millilitres of water an hour, which is nearly 2 cups daily!
  14. There are various lung diseases, one of the most common is asthma. Asthma causes your airways to constrict when exposed to an irritant (like dust, scents or cold air). It also causes your lungs to produce excess mucus during an attack.
  15. Amazingly, your brain senses your blood-oxygen level and causes your lungs to breathe faster or slower according to these levels. Wow!

Now if those facts don’t prove just how incredible the human lungs are, we don’t know what to tell you. Thanks for visiting DocChat!