Tag Archives: health

8 Reasons Some People Bruise More Easily Than Others

There are many potential causes of easy bruising, some of which can be serious, but most are not a threat to your health. Let’s take a look at some of the potential reasons that people to bruise more easily:

  1. Advanced age – Aging causes your skin to produce less collagen. This leads to skin thinning and the protective fatty layer of your skin starts to slowly to break down.
  2. Your genetics – you may be predisposed to weaker, more easily damaged skin if a close relative also bruises easy.
  3. Nutritional deficiencies –Vitamin C deficiency can especially cause easy bruising because one of its main duties in the body is repairing damage and helping heal contusions. Other deficiencies that may contribute to delicate skin include: low iron, vitamin K or bioflavonoids.
  4. Too much sun – While some sun is essential for healthy vitamin D levels, too much can lead to less resilient skin which blemishes and bruises much easier than stronger, healthy skin.
  5. Medications – Certain medications can lead to easily bruised or blemished skin as well, such as blood thinners, NSAIDs (which also thin the blood), cancer treatments and long term use of corticosteroids (they can lead to skin thinning).
  6. Alcohol – speaking of blood thinners, alcohol also has this effect on the body because it causes vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels). This can cause blood vessels under the skin to break.
  7. Obesity – people who have high body fat percentages are at greater risk for easy bruising, partially because the skin is stretched thinner in some areas and this causes tiny blood vessels to stretch or break.
  8. Certain health conditions – those who suffer from certain diseases or conditions may bruise easier and worse than others, or heal much slower. Some of those conditions include:
  • Purpuric dermatosis
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Autoimmune conditions (such as lupus)
  • Haemophilia (and other blood-related conditions)
  • Some types of cancer such as leukemia (don’t panic – this is a very rare cause of easy bruising)

These are a few of the many reasons a person may experience easy bruising or slow healing. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

 

 

(QUIZ) Would You Recognize a Medical Emergency?

In a potential emergency situation, it can be difficult to make the call. You may wonder if you are overreacting by calling for help, or underreacting if you don’t. It is important to practice clear thinking and utilize common sense in a troublesome situation. Let’s take a look at some true or false statements about first aid below to see how you might do in an emergency today:

True or false:

  1. Medical emergencies are purely physical, such as an injury, and are almost always obvious to the naked eye.
  2. Fainting is considered to be a medical emergency.
  3. Suspected bones are painful, but do not constitute a medical emergency. You should just check in with your doctor as soon as you can get in to see him or her.
  4. If someone has an injury that leaves them severely mobility impaired (like an acute neck or back injury), you should move them to a comfortable location such as a stiff bed until help arrives.
  5. CPR stands for central practical recovery, and should be performed whether or not you’ve had training.
  6. If your child is exhibiting any odd signs such as clamminess, in combination with an unexplained change in demeanor, you should seek emergency medical treatment.
  7. While vomiting can potentially be an emergency, diarrhea is not a medical emergency. Just be sure to stay hydrated.
  8. An ‘emergency’ boils down to a subjective judgement call. If in doubt, always go to the ER.

 

 

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Answers

  1. FALSE. Suicidal thoughts or feelings are also a medical emergency. Changes in mental state such as unexplained confusion could also possibly indicate a medical emergency.
  2. TRUE. You don’t know why the person momentarily lost consciousness, therefor, it should be treated as an emergency so the attending medical team can determine if it is a crisis or if the person is okay.
  3. FALSE. Broken bones (or suspected broken bones) should be treated as an emergency and attended to as soon as possible.
  4. FALSE. If a person has serious mobility-impairing injuries you should not try to move them as that could cause much worse damage. You should try to make them comfortable where they are until help arrives.
  5. FALSE. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and generally should be performed by a person who knows the proper technique, as it can cause damage in some situations. However, if the person is not breathing you will have to try it regardless of whether or not you’ve been trained. See the proper technique for reference here.
  6. TRUE. A baby or small child cannot tell you what is wrong, and it is so easy for a child to get their hands on a poisonous substance around the house when your back is turned. If your child is violently ill all of a sudden, shaking, clammy or experiencing any other out-of-character signs, you should seek immediate treatment.
  7. FALSE. Severe or prolonged diarrhea or vomiting, especially that which contains blood, should be treated as a medical emergency as it could indicate any number of serious underlying conditions.
  8. TRUE. It can be very hard to tell if something is critical or just appears serious momentarily, but if you’re ever unsure, it is best to check it out before things make a turn for the worst.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Aim to get your First Aid training soon so you will be ready to save a life if need be!

 

 

The Dangers of a Fatty Liver

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic fatty liver disease are two subtypes of a dangerous condition whereby a person’s liver is comprised of over 5-10% fat. While fatty liver disease is generally a reversible condition, if it is left unchecked, it can be fatal in its later stages.

What Are the Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease?

Fatty liver disease can be asymptomatic initially, or it may cause such symptoms as: fatigue, weight loss or loss of appetite, nausea, weakness, confusion or poor concentration. It may also cause an enlarged liver. Eventually, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can lead to cirrhosis (irreversible scarring) of the liver, which is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms of cirrhosis of the liver include:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Gynecomastia
  • An enlarged spleen
  • Enlarged blood vessels under the skin
  • Jaundice (yellowed skin)
  • Reddened palms

Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by exactly what its title suggests: consuming too much alcohol. It could be the result of long term alcoholism, or it could even be caused by one or two large-scale drinking binges. Some people have a genetic predisposition that may prevent their body from efficiently breaking down alcohol, making them more likely to develop alcoholic fatty liver disease. Luckily, many cases of alcoholic fatty liver disease are reversible if the person abstains from drinking more alcohol, but if it is left untreated and the person continues to drink, they are risking deadly liver complications.

Causes of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

While every case is different and the exact causes aren’t always pinpointed, some causes may include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Losing a large amount of weight too quickly
  • Certain medications
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Certain viruses
  • High triglyceride level in the blood or high cholesterol
  • A chronically poor, or high fat diet may contribute
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
  • Insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes is highly associated with fatty liver disease)
  • Those with diabetes, thyroid problems, polycystic ovarian syndrome or sleep apnea are at higher risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease than others.
  • Rarely, pregnancy can cause fat to build up in the liver

Diagnosis and Treatment

Fatty liver disease is typically diagnosed when routine blood test screening of the liver (such as the ALT or GTT test) shows abnormal readings. It can also be diagnosed if the liver feels enlarged during a physical examination or ultrasound test. The doctor will likely order further tests to confirm his or her suspicion of a fatty liver. Treatment for fatty liver disease usually focuses more on lifestyle modification and treating comorbid conditions such as hyperglycemia or high cholesterol. If the person has alcoholic fatty liver disease the primary objective is break the dependency and have the patient quit drinking completely. If the patient is overweight, a healthier diet would be implemented and weight loss of 5-10% of the person’s overall body weight would be recommended.

That concludes our look at fatty liver disease, thank-you for visiting DocChat!

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!

Thanks for visiting DocChat!

 

How Smoking Can Mess With Your Entire Body


Smoking causes nearly half a million deaths in the United States annually. And while most people know that smoking is a leading health hazard, many don’t realize just how many different ways it can adversely affect your health. Let’s take a look at how smoking affects the different systems in your body:

Your Head and Face:

  • Smoking increases your risk of developing oral Cancer. Chewing tobacco further increases this risk.
  • Smoking can lead to tooth loss and gum disease (periodontitis).
  • Increased stroke risk: Smoking can lead to a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, as well as greatly increase risk of blood clots. Both of these factors combined puts smokers in greater danger of having a stroke.
  • Smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts or blindness due to macular degeneration.

Your Lungs:

  • Lung cancer – According to the CDC, smoking causes over 90% of lung cancer deaths. Moreover, even more women are killed by lung cancer than breast cancer.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of life-threatening lung conditions primarily caused by smoking. 80% of COPD deaths are a result of smoking.
  • Smoking increases your risk of developing pneumonia when you catch a viral or bacterial lung infection because your lungs are already compromised by smoke toxins.
  • Smoking can cause general damage to your airways and alveoli because of the influx of harmful chemicals directly to the lungs.

Your Heart:

  • Heart Disease. Smokers have a 2-4 times higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than non-smokers.
  • Smoking puts you at an increased risk of developing an aneurysm or aortic rupture.
  • Smoking can contribute to blockages that can restrict blood flow to the extremities.
  • Smoking spikes adrenaline levels in your blood steam which can cause tachycardia, making your heart work harder than it has to.

Your Stomach:

  • Smoking can lead to different types of cancer of the digestive tract such as colorectal, esophageal or larynx cancers.
  • Smoking can worsen pre-existing gastrointestinal conditions such as GERD.
  • Smoking increases your risk of developing intestinal complications such as gallstones, ulcers or polyps.

Your Reproductive Organs:

  • Smoking can reduced fertility in both males and females.
  • It can also lead to impotence in men.
  • An Ectopic pregnancy can occur in women who were smokers around the time of getting pregnant or continue to smoke throughout the pregnancy.
  • Smoking can lead to a miscarriage or increased risk of SIDS death in babies exposed to smoke in the womb or to second hand smoke after birth.

Your Circulatory System:

  • Smoking can lead to thickened blood vessels, causing them to narrow so blood can’t flow efficiently. This can lead to hypertension or blood clots.
  • Smoking damages blood cells.

Your Immune System:

  • Smoking can cause decreased immune function and general inflammation in the body.
  • Smoking increases your risk of developing certain autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • You are more likely to develop Crohn’s disease if you are a smoker.

Your Pancreas:

  • Smoking is a lead contributor to type 2 diabetes and diabetes mellitus because it increases blood sugar levels, leading to insulin resistance.
  • Pancreatic cancer is more likely to develop in those who smoke.

Your Bones and Joints:

  • Smoking lowers estrogen levels in the body which can lead to early osteoporosis.
  • Smoking can weaken your bones in general, which can contribute to easy fractures.

These aren’t even all the problems smoking can cause. Second hand, or passive smoking, can cause many of these health problems as well. It is particularly dangerous to children and can lead to stunted growth, lung conditions and many more issues. So, do your health (and the health of those around you) a favor and quit smoking today!

Thanks for visiting DocChat!

 

 

Go Green or Go Home – 10 Benefits of Dark Green Veggies

Dark and leafy green veggies are some of the healthiest fuel you can put into your body. They contain a myriad of healthful goodies and help the body in countless ways. Let’s take a look at some of the many, many health benefits of stockpiling your green veggies:

  1. They help prevent glaucoma – A long-term study that was recently published in JAMA Ophthalmology has discovered a link between eating moderate to larger amounts of leafy greens and a 20-30% lower risk of developing glaucoma.
  2. They contribute to healthier blood – Leafy greens are a major source or vitamin K, which is responsible for helping blood clot correctly.
  3. Greens strengthen bones – Dark green veggies can really help the bones as well. Both calcium and vitamin K help prevent age-related problems such as osteoporosis. Many green veggies are rich in both calcium and vitamin K.
  4. They help your heart – More specifically, steamed kale can help nix bad cholesterol by emitting substances that bind bile acids, effectively decreasing the level of cholesterol in the body which will be good for your heart in the long run.
  5. Help reduce inflammation – Many dark greens have natural anti-inflammatory properties to help with chronic inflammation some diseases can cause, or counteract inflammation caused by other foods.
  6. Help fight cancer – as with many fruits and vegetables, green veggies contain a plethora of antioxidants (helpful substances that protect the body against oxidative stress and diseases). In particular, dark green veggies contain lutein, a carotenoid that has been proven to help fight color cancer.
  7. Add nutritional goodies – Dark green veggies contain countless nutritional goodies including: vitamins B, K, C and D, fiber, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, helpful phytochemicals and beta-carotene.
  8. Add essential fiber to your life – Dark green veggies are a rich source of dietary fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. Getting enough fiber can also aid in weight loss and maintenance.
  9. Fight obesity – Green veggies are low in calories and fat. By adding more veggies and less saturated fats or animal fats to your plate, you’ll be helping your waistline as well as the rest of your body.
  10. Protect your gut from the bad guysImmunology research has identified a gene, T-bet, that produce beneficial immune cells in the gut and help lower bad bacteria. It is activated by certain types of food (most namely, green veggies).

So, give the body what it needs – fill your grocery cart with green veggies! Thanks for visiting DocChat.

Boost Your Brain With These 7 Foods

Dementia is a prevalent, devastating condition that has been on the rise in recent years. Approximately 5.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s alone, and over 47.5 million people suffer with dementia worldwide. What’s more, is that people are getting dementia earlier than ever before, even affecting people in their 40’s. So, what can you do to help protect your brain against this destructive disease? Aside from exercising regularly and avoiding smoking, you can help give your brain power by making the right food choices. In our last post, we checked out some of the worst foods for your brain, now let’s take a look at some of the best:

  1. Leafy green veggies are known for all kinds of health wonders, one of which is protecting the brain and promoting cognitive function as the brain ages. Lutein, a natural dark green pigment is one of the key veggie components responsible for boosting brain health.
  2. Red wine – While we know that drinking too much alcohol can lead to a myriad of diseases, according to the Memory Foundation, drinking small to moderate amounts of alcohol (specifically red wine) may reduce the risk of developing dementia by nearly 40%. Red wine is rich in antioxidants, specifically resveratrol, which is responsible for maintaining and protecting the health of your hippocampus, as well as helping to prevent blood vessel damage.
  3. Whole grains – help release a steady stream glucose (your body’s energy source) into the bloodstream and directly to the brain, which can help keep you alert and stave off mental fogginess for the long run.
  4. Fish, nuts and seeds are all rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids, namely DHA and EPA. Low levels of both of these forms of fatty acids have been linked to Alzheimer’s, as well as other conditions such as certain types of heart disease. So aim to get a couple servings of fish weekly, and plenty of nuts and seeds for snacks in between.
  5. Berries and certain fruits contain anthocyanins, the natural pigment of purple, dark red and dark blue fruits and veggies. Anthocyanins also happen to be powerful and protective antioxidant compounds that linked with brain (and body) health. They work to combat oxidative stress, in turn protecting the brain against degenerative disease.
  6. Coffee – While you may have heard some conflicting health-based arguments about coffee over the years, it certainly has its pros when it comes to health. Coffee is rich in helpful antioxidants that help protect the brain. Another pro to coffee is that caffeine plays with your neurotransmitters in an oddly beneficial way. It works to suppress adenosine in the brain, which leaves you more energetic and less lethargic, while simultaneously triggering the release of serotonin to boost your mood. Studies have shown that coffee can help promote better brain functioning.
  7. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)– While margarine isn’t so hot for the brain, polyunsaturated fatty oils like EVOO are just what the doctor ordered for brain health. Olive oil also contains natural anti-inflammatory properties that help combat disease.

There you have it! Some of the best and worst foods for your brain. So, what are you waiting for? Hit the grocery store! Thanks for visiting DocChat!

 

Decrease Your Risk of Dementia by Avoiding These 7 Foods

Dementia, one of the most devastating conditions to hit families, is on the rise in recent years. The number of people affected by the condition worldwide has spiked to 47.5 million people, according to the World Health Organization. What’s more, is that people are getting dementia earlier than ever before. Decades ago, ‘early onset dementia’ meant those in their 60’s were beginning to develop dementia. Now it could mean people as young as their 40’s are seeing signs of the disease. So, what can be done to help lower your risk? There are many factors such as genetic predisposition that you cannot control, but one that is in your power to change is your diet. Certain foods have been linked to increased dementia risk, while others have shown promise in helping to stave off the disease. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at 6 of the worst foods for your brain:

  1. Processed cheese – Highly processed foods are never fabulous for your body, but some are worse than others (especially when it comes to your brain). While real cheese may help raise helpful gluthathione levels which can be beneficial for the brain, processed cheese, on the other hand may have the opposite effect. Products such as cheese whiz appear to raise levels of certain proteins to the body that have been linked with Alzheimer’s.
  2. Processed meat – Similarly, processed meats have long been linked to many illnesses such as colorectal cancer, and dementia is no exception. Processed, smoked, and cured meats contain high levels of nitrosamines which can lead to a fatty liver and too many toxins in the brain. Try to consume your meat as close to organic as possible to steer clear of the risks associated with the processed variety. Beer also contains high levels of nitrates and should be consumed in moderation.
  3. Microwave popcorn and margarine both contain diacetyl, a toxic chemical compound used in simulated butter that can cause chronic lung problems and has been linked to other conditions such as cancer and dementia.
  4. White foods – White breads, sugar and pastas are responsible for spiking insulin levels in the body which in turn, sends toxins to the brain. Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s are highly linked, so it makes sense that the same foods negatively impact both conditions.
  5. Eating too much beef raises the iron levels in your brain, which can increase your risk of developing dementia disorders. Even though iron is essential, too little or too much can be bad news. Excess iron contributes to oxidative stress, which can be especially hard on the brain. Aside from that, red meat promotes inflammation within the body (and brain) which can also contribute to dementia.
  6. Fructose – For the same reason as white foods, fructose is also bad for the brain as it throws the body’s insulin levels out of whack.Stay tuned next, for 5 of the best foods for your brain! Thanks for visiting DocChat!

 

 

 

Are The Mumps Making a Comeback?

Do you remember seeing the pockets of hockey players becoming infected with the long-unheard-of mumps in the news recently? It’s true – according to the CDC, the mumps is making a vehement comeback, reaching a 10-year high. It is highly contagious and can spread through saliva or respiratory droplets. But if you were vaccinated against the mumps as a child, you have nothing to worry about, right? Not necessarily. Did you know the vaccine wears off after about 15 years? Therefor, it is important to go back and get that second one to ensure you keep this highly contagious illness at bay.

What Are the Symptoms to Look Out For?

Symptoms of the mumps include:

  • Aches and pains
  • A fever
  • A persistent headache
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the testicles or ovaries
  • The signature ‘chipmunk cheeks’ caused by swelling of the salivary glands.

The mumps often resolves itself after a period of significant discomfort, but sometimes there are unfortunate lasting effects such as infertility or deafness. It can also lead to an infection around the brain (meningitis), which can be deadly.

Who Is Primarily Affected by the Recent Outbreak, and Why?

The mumps can strike anyone (who isn’t already immune to the disease), but recent outbreaks appear to strike young adults more often. The reason? One of two. One: the infected young people weren’t vaccinated to begin with or, two: they happened to be born between the early 1970’s and 1994, before a second vaccination in adolescents became common practice. This age group comprised a small gap in the herd immunity that wouldn’t have received their second mumps vaccination. So, what’s the best way around this? To check out your medical record and see if you fell in the category of people who didn’t receive their second immunity shot, and if you did, go get yours today!

How Can the Mumps be Prevented?

Unlike some diseases, outbreaks can be rather silent and unpredictable because they are most contagious and spread quickly during their incubation period before symptoms even show up. So, how to protect yourself against an unpredictable disease? While the measles mumps vaccine isn’t 100% proof against the diseases, it does have a very high effectivity when both doses are taken appropriately. Therefor, getting yourself and your family vaccinated is simply the best protective measure you can take against diseases like the mumps or measles.

Thanks for visiting DocChat!

 

Tips to Lessen Back Pain (Part 2)

Back pain plagues millions of Americans every year, and is a major reason for doctor’s visits and ER trips around the country. Some think they have to live with the constant pain of a back on the fritz, but luckily, there are things that can be done to help relieve some of the discomfort. We looked at the first few in Tips to Lessen Back Pain (Part 1), now for the rest of our back-friendly tips:

 

  1. Eat right – by pursuing a healthier diet and loading up on anti-inflammatory foods, you’ll be doing your back (and the rest of your body) a huge favor. A healthier body will be less likely to submit to a back injury, and your diet really can have either a positive or negative impact on how much pain and inflammation you experience.
  2. Bring down your stress with meditation – In too many cases, perpetual stress is the real crux of a chronically bad back. Even if stress and tension aren’t the cause, they certainly make pain worse. If you suffer from a bad back, you should actively work on lowering your stress level. Meditation has proven effective for relieving back pain.
  3. Cuddle a pillow – Sleep on your back? Put a pillow under your knees. Sleep on your tummy? Put a small pillow under your lower tummy. Sleep on your side? Put a pillow between your knees. Making a pillow your bed-buddy will help relieve the stress on your spine and support your back’s natural curve, according to The University of Rochester Medical Center.
  4. Don’t let accessories weigh you down – sometimes when you have a bad back even carrying a heavy purse or sitting on a wallet can throw your back more out of whack. Go light with your accessories and make sure they aren’t compromising your gait or hanging too heavy.
  5. Stretch those hamstrings – Too-tight hamstring muscles can limit the range of motion of your pelvis which can cause strain on your back. If you want a better shot at less back pain, start adequately stretch out those upper legs to help loosen up the surrounding muscles.
  6. Lose extra weight – It is important if you’re experiencing any kind of chronic pain or other ailments, to try and aim for a healthy weight. Carrying around excess weight puts added pressure on your joints (and back) which can encourage more discomfort. By reaching a healthy weight for your height, you’ll be doing your back (and the rest of your bod) a definite favor.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope our tips help you work toward a better quality of life.