Colonoscopy

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A colonoscopy (koe-lun-OS-kuh-pee) is an exam used to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

During a colonoscopie, a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon.

If necessary, polyps or other types of abnormal tissue can be removed through the scope during a colonoscopie. Tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken during a colonoscopie as well.

Why it’s done

Your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy to:

  • Investigate intestinal signs and symptoms. A colonoscopy can help your doctor explore possible causes of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea and other intestinal problems.
  • Screen for colon cancer. If you’re age 50 or older and at average risk of colon cancer — you have no colon cancer risk factors other than age — your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years or sometimes sooner to screen for colon cancer. Colonoscopy is one option for colon cancer screening. Talk with your doctor about your options.
  • Look for more polyps. If you have had polyps before, your doctor may recommend a follow-up colonoscopy to look for and remove any additional polyps. This is done to reduce your risk of colon cancer.

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Whey protein

100% Real Whey Protein

Whey protein is one of the primary proteins found in dairy products. A byproduct of the cheese-making process, whey proteins provides substantial amounts of the essential amino acids that are needed to carry out the functions that proteins perform in the body.

Whey proteins — typically in the form of a powder — can be added to liquids or soft foods, such as applesauce, or blended with ice and fresh fruit to make a smoothie.

People commonly take whey proteins to improve athletic performance and address nutritional deficiencies or problems.

Evidence

Research on the use of whey proteins for specific conditions and activities shows:

  • Exercise training. While some evidence suggests that taking whey proteins as part of a strength training program increases muscle mass and strength, other studies show no benefits. Whey proteins might help speed muscle recovery after intense exercise.
  • Malnutrition. Whey proteins might help with weight gain in people who have trouble gaining and keeping on weight, such as older adults or those with HIV/AIDS.
  • Wound healing. Whey proteins has been shown to benefit people recovering from burns and those with chronic wounds.
  • Allergies. Hydrolyzed formula contains protein that’s been broken down into smaller sizes than are those in cow’s milk and soy-based formulas. Research shows that infants given a hydrolyzed form of whey protein have a lower risk of developing atopic dermatitis (eczema) than do infants who consume standard formula. Giving an infant formula containing whey hydrolysate appears to reduce the risk of allergic reactions in infants at risk of developing an allergy.
  • Generally safe

    Most people can get enough protein from a healthy, varied diet. However, if you’re having trouble meeting your daily protein needs due to a medical condition, ask your doctor if whey protein might be helpful. Don’t use whey protein if you have a dairy allergy.

    Safety and side effects

    When taken in appropriate amounts, whey proteins appears to be safe. Some research suggests that whey proteins might cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

    However, there’s limited data on the possible side effects of high protein intake from a combination of food and supplements.

    Don’t use whey proteins if you have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy products.

    Interactions

    Possible interactions include:

    • Albendazole (Albenza). Avoid using whey protein if you are taking this parasite-killing drug. The supplement might delay or hinder the drug’s effects.
    • Alendronate (Fosamax). Use of whey protein with this drug used to prevent or treat osteoporosis might decrease absorption of the drug.
    • Certain antibiotics. Use of whey protein with quinolone or tetracycline antibiotics might decrease your absorption of the drug.

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High potassium (hyperkalemia)

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Hyperkalemia is the medical term that describes a potassium level in your blood that’s higher than normal. Potassium is a chemical that is critical to the function of nerve and muscle cells, including those in your heart.

Your blood potassium level is normally 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). Having a blood potassium level higher than 6.0 mmol/L can be dangerous and usually requires immediate treatment.

What is high potassium, or hyperkalemia?

Everyone needs potassium to survive. Potassium is a mineral and an electrolyte. It helps your muscles work, including the muscles that control your heartbeat and breathing. Potassium comes from the food you eat.

Your body uses the potassium it needs. The extra potassium that your body does not need is removed from your blood by your kidneys. When you have kidney disease, your kidneys cannot remove extra potassium in the right way, and too much potassium can stay in your blood.

When you have too much potassium in your blood, it is called high potassium, or hyperkalemia. Having too much potassium in your blood can be dangerous. High potassium can even cause a heart attack or death! Unfortunately, many people do not feel symptoms of high potassium until it’s too late and their heart health worsens.

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Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is an essential oil

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comes Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is an essential oil that comes from steaming the leaves of the Australian tea tree.

When used topically, tea tree oil is believed to be antibacterial. Tea tree oil is commonly used to treat acne, athlete’s foot, lice, nail fungus and insect bites.

Tea tree oil is available as an oil and in many over-the-counter skin products, including soaps and lotions. However, tea tree oil should not be taken orally. If swallowed, it can cause serious symptoms.

Evidence

Research on tea tree oil use for specific conditions shows:

  • Acne. Research suggests that a treatment gel containing tea tree oil might be effective at relieving acne.
  • Dandruff. A tea tree oil shampoo used for four weeks has been shown to be effective at treating dandruff.
  • Athlete’s foot. A tea tree oil cream, applied twice daily for one month, has been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms of athlete’s foot.
  • Lice. When used in combination with lavender oil, tea tree oil has been shown to be effective at treating lice eggs.
  • Nail fungus. Research hasn’t shown tea tree oil used in its pure form or in combination with other antifungal therapies to be effective in treating toenail fungus.

Results might vary because there are no standardized methods for harvesting tea tree oil or creating products containing the oil.

Generally safe

When used topically, tea tree oil is generally safe and might be helpful in treating acne and other superficial skin infections.

Avoid oral use of tea tree oil, which is toxic when swallowed.

Safety and side effects

Most people can use tea tree oil topically with no problems. However, tea tree oil can cause:

  • Skin irritation
  • Allergic skin rash (dermatitis)
  • Itching
  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • Scaling
  • Redness
  • Dryness

Don’t use tea tree oil if you have eczema.

Tea tree oil is toxic when swallowed. Serious side effects can occur, including:

  • Confusion
  • A lack of muscle control or coordination of voluntary movements (ataxia)
  • Decreasing levels of consciousness

One study suggests that repeated exposure to lavender oil and tea tree oil might have led to the swelling of the breast tissue (gynecomastia) in young boys.

Interactions

Although tea tree oil is often used in combination with other drugs when treating bacterial or fungal skin conditions, there’s currently no evidence showing drug interactions.

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Results Hemodialysis

Results Hemodialysis

If you had sudden (acute) kidney injury, you may need hemodialysis only for a short time until your kidneys recover. If you had reduced kidney function before a sudden injury to your kidneys, the chances of full recovery back to independence from hemodialysis are lessened.

Although in-center, three-times-a-week hemodialysis is more common, some research suggests that home dialysis is linked to:

  • Better quality of life
  • Increased well-being
  • Reduced symptoms and less cramping, headaches and shortness of breath
  • Improved appetite, sleeping patterns, energy level and ability to concentrate

Your hemodialysis care team monitors your treatment to make sure you’re getting the right amount of hemodialysis to remove enough wastes from your blood. Your weight and blood pressure are monitored very closely before, during and after your treatment. About once a month, you’ll receive these tests:

  • Blood tests to measure urea reduction ratio (URR) and total urea clearance (Kt/V) to see how well your hemodialysis is removing waste from your body
  • Blood chemistry evaluation and assessment of blood counts
  • Measurements of the flow of blood through your access during hemodialysis

Your care team may adjust your hemodialysis intensity and frequency based, in part, on test results.

Between treatments

Between hemodialysis treatments you can help achieve the best possible results from your hemodialysis by:

  • Eating the right foods. Eating properly can improve your hemodialysis results and your overall health. While you’re receiving hemodialysis, you’ll need to carefully monitor your intake of fluids, protein, sodium, potassium and phosphorus. A dietitian can help you develop an individualized meal plan based on your weight, personal preferences, remaining kidney function and other medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Taking your medications as prescribed. Carefully follow the instructions from your health care team.
  • Allowing your team to assist you by discussing your concerns. Your health care team can present options to you and help you deal with any concerns.

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Acute coronary syndrome

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Acute coronary syndrome is a term used to describe a range of conditions associated with sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart.

One such condition is a heart attack (myocardial infarction)  when cell death results in damaged or destroyed heart tissue. Even when acute coronary syndrome causes no cell death, the reduced blood flow changes how your heart works and is a sign of a high risk of heart attack.

Acute coronary syndrom often causes severe chest pain or discomfort. It is a medical emergency that requires prompt diagnosis and care. The goals of treatment include improving blood flow, treating complications and preventing future problems.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of acute coronary syndrome usually begin abruptly. They include:

  • Chest pain (angina) or discomfort, often described as aching, pressure, tightness or burning
  • Pain spreading from the chest to the shoulders, arms, upper abdomen, back, neck or jaw
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Sudden, heavy sweating (diaphoresis)
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
  • Unusual or unexplained fatigue
  • Feeling restless or apprehensive

Chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom. However, signs and symptoms may vary significantly depending on your age, sex and other medical conditions. You’re more likely to have signs and symptoms without chest pain or discomfort if you’re a woman, older adult or have diabetes.

When to see a doctor

Acute coronary syndrome is a medical emergency. Chest pain or discomfort can be a sign of any number of serious, life-threatening conditions. Get emergency help for a prompt diagnosis and appropriate care. Do not drive yourself to the hospital.

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Acanthosis nigricans

Acanthosis Nigricans Skin

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition characterized by areas of dark, velvety discoloration in body folds and creases. The affected skin can become thickened. Most often, acanthosis nigricans affects your armpits, groin and neck.

The skin changes of acanthosis nigricans (ak-an-THOE-sis NIE-grih-kuns) typically occur in people who are obese or have diabetes. Children who develop the condition are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Rarely, acanthosis nigricans can be a warning sign of a cancerous tumor in an internal organ, such as the stomach or liver.

No specific treatment is available for acanthosis nigricans. Treatment of underlying conditions may restore some of the normal color and texture to affected areas of skin.

Symptoms

Skin changes are the only signs of acanthosis nigricans. You’ll notice dark, thickened, velvety skin in body folds and creases — typically in your armpits, groin and back of the neck. The skin changes usually appear slowly. The affected skin may also have an odor or itch.

When to see a doctor

Consult your doctor if you notice changes in your skin — especially if the changes appear suddenly. You may have an underlying condition that needs treatment.

Causes

Acanthosis nigricans has been associated with:

  • Insulin resistance. Most people who have acanthosis nigricans have also become resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that allows your body to process sugar. Insulin resistance is what eventually causes type 2 diabetes.
  • Hormonal disorders. Acanthosis nigrican often occurs in people who have disorders such as ovarian cysts, underactive thyroids or problems with the adrenal glands.
  • Certain drugs and supplements. High-dose niacin, birth control pills, prednisone and other corticosteroids may cause acanthosis nigrican.
  • Cancer. Acanthosis nigrican also sometimes occurs with lymphoma or when a cancerous tumor begins growing in an internal organ, such as the stomach, colon or liver.

Risk factors

Acanthosis nigrican risk factors include:

  • Obesity. The heavier you are, the higher your risk of acanthosis nigrican.
  • Race. Studies show that in the United States, acanthosis nigrican is more common among Native Americans.
  • Family history. Some types of acanthosis nigrican appear to be hereditary.

Complications

People who have acanthosis nigrican are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

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Traumatic brain injury

The Long-Term Impacts of Traumatic Brain Injury

Diagnosis Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries are usually emergencies and consequences can worsen rapidly without treatment. Doctors usually need to assess the situation quickly.

Glasgow Coma Scale

This 15-point test helps a doctor or other emergency medical personnel assess the initial severity of a brain injury by checking a person’s ability to follow directions and move their eyes and limbs. The coherence of speech also provides important clues.

Abilities are scored from three to 15 in the Glasgow Coma Scale. Higher scores mean less severe injuries.

Information about the injury and symptoms

If you saw someone sustain an injury or arrived immediately after an injury, you may be able to provide medical personnel with information that’s useful in assessing the injured person’s condition.

Answers to the following questions may be beneficial in judging the severity of injury:

  • How did the injury occur?
  • Did the person lose consciousness?
  • How long was the person unconscious?
  • Did you observe any other changes in alertness, speaking, coordination or other signs of injury?
  • Where was the head or other parts of the body struck?
  • Can you provide any information about the force of the injury? For example, what hit the person’s head, how far did he or she fall, or was the person thrown from a vehicle?
  • Was the person’s body whipped around or severely jarred?

Imaging tests

  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan. This test is usually the first performed in an emergency room for a suspected traumatic brain injury. A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to create a detailed view of the brain. A CT scan can quickly visualize fractures and uncover evidence of bleeding in the brain (hemorrhage), blood clots (hematomas), bruised brain tissue (contusions), and brain tissue swelling.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses powerful radio waves and magnets to create a detailed view of the brain. This test may be used after the person’s condition stabilizes, or if symptoms don’t improve soon after the injury.

Intracranial pressure monitor

Tissue swelling from a traumatic brain injury can increase pressure inside the skull and cause additional damage to the brain. Doctors may insert a probe through the skull to monitor this pressure.

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Traumatic brain

Queensland Brain Institute - University of Queensland

Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object that penetrates brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury.

Mild traumatic brain injury may affect your brain cells temporarily. More-serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can result in long-term complications or death.

Why it’s done

IGRT is used to treat all types of cancer, but it’s particularly ideal for tumors and cancers located very close to sensitive structures and organs. IGRT is also useful for tumors that are likely to move during treatment or between treatments.

IGRT is used as part of radiation treatment plans because it offers:

Accurate delivery of radiation
Improved definition, localization and monitoring of tumor position, size and shape before and during treatment
The possibility of higher, targeted radiation dosage to improve tumor control
Decreased radiation exposure to normal tissue surrounding the tumor

What you can expect

If you undergo IGRT, your treatment team may choose one or more imaging types to precisely locate the tumor and sensitive organs. IGRT may involve a variety of 2-D, 3-D and 4-D imaging techniques to position your body and aim the radiation so that your treatment is carefully focused on the tumor in order to minimize harm to healthy cells and organs nearby.

During IGRT, imaging tests are done before, and sometimes during, each treatment session. Your radiation therapy team compares these images to ones taken previously to determine if your tumor has moved and adjust your body and your treatment to target your tumor more precisely.

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cardiac catheterization

What is cardiac catheterization?

cardiac catheter

Cardiac catheterization (cardiac cath or heart cath) is a procedure to examine how well your heart is working. A thin, hollow tube called a catheter is inserted into a large blood vessel that leads to your heart. View an illustration of cardiac catheterization(link opens in new window).

Quick facts

  • Cardiac cath is performed to find out if you have disease of the heart muscle, valves or coronary (heart) arteries.
  • During the procedure, the pressure and blood flow in your heart can be measured.
  • Coronary angiography (PDF) is done during cardiac catheterization. A contrast dye visible in X-rays is injected through the catheter. X-ray images show the dye as it flows through the heart arteries. This shows where arteries are blocked.
  • The chances that problems will develop during cardiac cath are low.

Why do people have cardiac catheterization?

A cardiac cath  provides information on how well your heart works, identifies problems and allows for procedures to open blocked arteries. For example, during cardiac cath your doctor may:

  • Take X-rays using contrast dye injected through the catheter to look for narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. This is called coronary angiography or coronary arteriography.
  • Perform a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) such as coronary angioplasty with stenting to open up narrowed or blocked segments of a coronary artery.
  • Check the pressure in the four chambers of your heart.
  • Take samples of blood to measure the oxygen content in the four chambers of your heart.
  • Evaluate the ability of the pumping chambers to contract.
  • Look for defects in the valves or chambers of your heart.
  • Remove a small piece of heart tissue to examine under a microscope (biopsy).

“It was amazing to be able to watch the entire procedure on a TV screen. I learned a lot about my heart.”  Roberta, 41

What are the risks of cardiac catheterization?

Cardiac cath is usually very safe. A small number of people have minor problems. Some develop bruises where the catheter had been inserted (puncture site). The contrast dye that makes the arteries show up on X-rays causes some people to feel sick to their stomachs, get itchy or develop hives.

How do I prepare for cardiac catheterization?

  • You will be given instructions about what to eat and drink during the 24 hours before the test.
  • Usually, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything for six to eight hours before the cath procedure.
  • Tell your doctor about any medicines (including over-the-counter, herbs and vitamins) you take. The doctor may ask you not to take them before your cath procedure. Don’t stop taking your medicine until your doctor tells you to.
  • Tell your doctor or nurse if you are allergic to anything, especially iodine, shellfish, latex or rubber products, medicines like penicillin, or X-ray dye.
  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after your procedure.
  • If you usually wear a hearing aid, wear it during your procedure. If you wear glasses, bring them to your appointment.

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