Please use the following information to learn more about common medical problems, conditions and the amazing treatments doctors can offer. If you have any questions, please consider one of "America's Best Physicians" for a consultation, examination and care.
Allergist/ Immunologist - Diagnoses allergic and immunologic diseases such as asthma and AIDS; also chemical, pollen and food allergies.
Anesthesiologist - Treats chronic pain syndromes; administers anesthesia and sedation for surgery.
Cardiologist - Heart & blood vessel diseases
Dermatologist - Skin rashes, syndromes and diseases
Emergency Medicine: Emergency room physician
Endocrinologist - Diabetes and other gland disorders
Geriatrics - Specializes in problems with older people
Gastroenterologist - Stomach and intestinal problems
Hematologist/Oncologist - Blood disorders including tumors and cancers.
Infectious Disease Specialist: Unusual or difficult infections
Internal Medicine Physician – Usually your primary provider or general practitioner.
Neonatologist: Problems with newborn children
Nephrologist -Kidney related diseases.
Neurologist – Brain and nervous system problems.
Neurosurgeon – Surgeon for brain and nervous system.
Obstetrician - Pregnancy and childbirth
Oncologist - Cancer specialist
Osteopathic Physician – Traditionally musculoskeletal and movement disorders. but may be any specialty
Gynecologist: Problems of the female genital & reproductive system.
Occupational Medicine Physician - Work-related diseases or injuries.
Ophthalmologist - Eye problems, diseases and injuries.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon –Surgery of the face, mouth, and jaws.
Orthopedic Surgeon – Broken bones and problems with the musculoskeletal system.
Otolaryngologist (ENT & Head and Neck Surgeon) - Diseases of the ear, nose, throat and head and neck surgery.
Pathologist – Checks biopsies for changes in body tissues and organs.
Pediatrician – Infants & children.
Plastic Surgeon – Corrects or improves appearance of body structures.
Podiatrist – Problems with feet.
Psychiatrist - Mental and emotional disorders.
Pulmonary Medicine: - Lung disorders.
Radiologist: Uses X-rays, sound waves and other scans to diagnose disease.
Rheumatologist – Joint pain and conditions associated with inflammation, soreness and stiffness.
Urologist - Urinary tract diseases and the male reproductive system
To find out if your doctor is certified by their medical board, you can call the following numbers. You can also go to the “Approved Medical Specialty Board” (ABMS) website at www.abms.org. If your doctor has a D.O. degree, you may also contact the American Osteopathic Association at (800) 621-1773 or visit the website, www.osteopathic.org for information.
The “Approved Medical Specialty Board” seeks to uphold the highest quality health care by setting rigorous professional standards for the education, evaluation and certification of medical specialists. The following is a list of board organizations (listed alphabetically) for those with MD degrees:
American Board of Allergy and Immunology-(866) 264-5568
American Board of Anesthesiology (919) 881-2570
American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery (734) 282-9400
American Board of Dermatology (313) 874-1088
American Board of Emergency Medicine (517) 332-4800
American Board of Family Practice (888) 995-5700
American Board of Internal Medicine (800) 441-ABIM
American Board of Allergy and Immunology (866) 264-5568
American Board of Anesthesiology (919) 881-2570
American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery(734) 282-9400
American Board of Dermatology (313) 874-1088
American Board of Emergency Medicine (517) 332-4800
American Board of Family Practice (888) 995-5700
American Board of Internal Medicine (800) 441-ABIM
American Board of Medical Genetics (301) 634-7315
American Board of Neurological Surgery (713) 441-6015
American Board of Nuclear Medicine (314) 367-2225
American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (214) 871-1619
American Board of Ophthalmology (610) 664-1175
American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (919) 929-7103
American Board of Otolaryngology (713) 850-0399
American Board of Pathology (813) 286-2444
American Board of Pediatrics (919) 929-0461
American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (507) 282-1776
American Board of Plastic Surgery (215) 587-9322
American Board of Preventive Medicine (312) 939-2276
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (847) 945-7900
American Board of Radiology (520) 790-2900
American Board of Surgery (215) 568-4000
American Board of Thoracic Surgery (312 202-5900
American Board of Urology (434) 979-0059
Cardiovascular disease impacts both men and women and is the leading killer of Americans each year…more than all types of cancer combined. The most common types of cardiovascular disease are:
The Impact of Cardiovascular Disease
One out of every 19 heart attacks and one out of every 8 strokes results in death. Cardiovascular disease may also lead to kidney disease. Among US adults of working age, stroke is a leading cause of death and permanent disability.
Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors
High blood pressure, high levels of blood cholesterol and diabetes also contribute to cardiovascular disease.
Call your doctor or 911 if you experience the following.
Other symptoms to be wary of:
Cancer occurs when the DNA in cells becomes damaged, and reproduce abnormal versions of themselves. When such cells grow into a mass, it is called a tumor. Tumors can grow slowly or at a rapid pace. Some tumors are benign, meaning that they’re not cancerous. A malignant tumor is cancerous, and the cancer cells can spread to other areas of the body.
Some cancers do not form tumors such as leukemia or cancers of the blood. The name of the type of cancer typically indicates the cell or part of the body where the abnormal cell growth first occurred.
Who does cancer impact?
Half of all men and a third of all women will receive a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. Women are significantly impacted by breast and colorectal cancers; men, by skin cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. More men and women die from lung cancer than from any other type. Cancer typically strikes middle-aged people, but it knows no age limits.
The Causes of Cancer
Family history can play a role, as can long-term exposure to carcinogens such as specific chemicals, tobacco, the sun, and radiation. Cancers caused by carcinogen exposure can take from 5 to 40 years to develop, called a latency period. This latency period can make it hard to isolate the cause of cancer in an individual.
Common Cancers in America:
Decreasing Cancer Risk
Stop smoking (or never start), participating in cancer screenings on a regular basis, eating healthy and using sunscreen are a few ways to lessen the risk of developing cancer. To learn more about the various types of cancer, causes, symptoms and treatment options, visit cancer.org, cancer.gov and other online cancer websites
The disease known as COPD (or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) may also be referred to as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. COPD damage airways and causes breathing difficulties and is the fourth leading cause of death in the US. COPD may impact as many as 24 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the death rate for women with COPD has been higher for women than men, the number of new cases of COPD in people aged 25-54 has dropped. This drop may be the result of a decrease in smoking over time.
COPD starts slowly and may not present symptoms for years. After the disease progresses, symptoms may include:
People who experience these symptoms should talk to a doctor. A breathing test that measures air intake and output can help determine a diagnosis of COPD.
The Causes of COPD
While it’s not possible to repair the lung damage caused by COPD, medications and other treatments can address symptoms and slow lung damage. Sufferers of severe COPD may require additional oxygen administered through a machine. If you have COPD, it is crucial to stop smoking and to refrain from being around second-hand smoke and other air pollutants. People who currently have or are at risk for developing COPD should get a yearly flu shot and discuss the benefits of the pneumonia vaccine with their doctors.
Strokes occur when the blood supply to your brain is reduced or interrupted, depriving your brain of oxygen and nutrients. This can cause brain cells to die. Strokes may be caused when a blood vessel leaks or bursts (hemorrhagic stroke) or when an artery is blocked. Blockage most often occurs as a result of atherosclerosis, when fatty deposits or plaque builds up in the arteries to the brain. A blood clot can also cause a blockage.
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
When there is only a temporary reduction of blood flow to the brain it is called a "transient ischemic attack". These typically last less than five minutes but are warning signs that you have a narrowed artery or blockage to your brain putting you at risk for a full blown stoke.
You can recognize when someone else may be having a stroke. Try to note when signs begin, as the length of time can help your doctor make treatment decisions. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for brain damage and disability.
Call 911 is you witness someone having trouble with:
Strokes may cause temporary or permanent disability depending on how long the brain experiences a lack of blood flow, and which portions of the brain are affected. Complications include:
Many factors that raise your risk of a stroke also increase your chances of having a heart attack. These include:
Studies show that automobile accidents are responsible for more fatal injuries for both women and men than any other trauma. Falls and poisoning are also included on the list of fatal accidents. Habits that lessen the risk of being injured or killed in an automobile include wearing a safety belt whether driving or riding, and never drinking or texting while driving.Reaction time dips considerably when you are overtired and a significant number of serious or fatal accidents occur as a result. Take breaks when driving long distances and pull over and rest, or stop driving, if you feel excessively tired.
Diabetes is at epidemic proportions and is currently the fastest growing chronic disease. It occurs when a person’s body fails to produce the hormone insulin, or uses insulin inefficiently. Insulin helps provide energy to the body by helping move sugar molecules (from the things we eat and drink) into our cells. When one has insufficient insulin, sugar builds-up in the blood stream. Excess blood glucose over extended periods of time can contribute to a variety of health issues, including
Symptoms & Diagnosing Diabetes:
Common symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, fatigue, irritability, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision and slow healing of bruises. Doctors use several tests to help diagnose diabetes such as:
If you suspect that you have diabetes, see your doctor. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, follow the advice of your healthcare provider to manage symptoms and minimize damage.
Common Complications of Diabetes:
1. Diabetic ketoacidosis:
When there is insufficient insulin, the body cannot utilize sugar (glucose) for fuel; so it uses fat instead. The byproducts of fat breakdown are called ketones. Excessive amounts of ketones is called ketoacidosis. Acidosis can lead to severe illness or death, especially in the elderly, and in people who fall into a coma if treatment is delayed. In acidosis, blood glucose may rise over 300, as the liver tries to compensate.
Symptoms of ketoacidosis include:
Treatment: Go to the emergency room or 911 for:
Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar (glucose) levels are too low.(Below 70). This occurs in diabetics most often when you take too much insulin or fail to eat properly after taking insulin.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include:
Hypoglycemia can be a medical emergency and cause seizures and brain damage. Call 911 or get to the emergency room for immediate medical assistance
3. Diabetic Feet:
Over time, diabetes can cause damage your nerves and blood vessels. Damage to the blood vessels interrupts proper blood and oxygen flow to cells so injuries cuts or sores fail to heal. Serious cases may even lead to amputation. Nerve damage can cause loss of feeling in feet as well. To help avoid foot problems, control your blood sugar levels. Excellent foot hygiene is also essential:
4. Diabetic Retinopathy-Eye Problems:
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the tiny blood vessels to your retina are damaged by diabetes. Those with diabetes should get complete eye exams every year. Early treatment may save your vision.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can include
5. Diabetic Nephropathy- Kidney Problems
Over time, increased blood sugar can damage the kidneys. In fact, diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States. Your kidneys serve as filters that clean your blood so that waste and fluids build-up in your blood instead of leaving your body. People with kidney failure will require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
An early sign of diabetic kidney disease is protein in the urine which can be detected with a urine test. Blood testing can also help determine how kidneys are working. Control blood sugar, blood pressure, maintain a low protein diet and take diabetic medication to help avoid kidney problems.
Each year, influenza proves fatal for many people. Pneumonia is one of the most common complications leading to death. People with compromised immune systems or the very young, elderly or sick suffer most from influenza. To decrease risk, talk to your doctor about yearly flu vaccines and whether the pneumonia vaccine is a good choice for you. Keep your hands clean by washing them as necessary to lessen the likelihood of transferring the flu virus to yourself and others.
The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease ranks as the fifth-leading cause of death in women. It’s the tenth leading killer of men. The symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease can come on slowly. Alzheimer’s disease changes the way a person behaves, causing disorientation. It negatively impacts thinking, memory, and judgment. It is a progressive disease that, in its later stages, severely compromises daily function.
Early-stage Alzheimer’s can cause mild memory loss, eventually progressing to the point where sufferers are unable to converse with others or respond to stimuli from their surroundings. The survival rate for Alzheimer’s disease can be from 4 to 20 years, depending on other factors associated with an individual. Typically, though, Alzheimer's sufferers’ life expectancy averages 8 years after symptoms are evident to those who interact with the individual.
The exact causes of Alzheimer's Disease are not currently known, although links between Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and head injuries are being investigated.
Dementia, though not considered a disease, negatively impacts attention span, problem-solving abilities, language, memory, physical functioning, and the ability to reason. The symptoms gradually worsen over time and may ultimately cause a person to be unable to recall the day of the week, recognize their surroundings, or identify people they know. Dementia can affect a person of any age, although it occurs more commonly in the older population.
Causes of Dementia
In addition to Alzheimer’s disease, causes of dementia include Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, and other forms of impairment.
Your kidneys perform several functions critical to survival. They cleanse the blood by removing waste products and extra fluid, maintain the balance of minerals and salt in your system and help regulate blood pressure. They also produce a substance necessary for bone health and an enzyme involved in red blood cell production. When kidneys fail, waste products and fluids may cause shortness of breath, vomiting, weakness, swelling in your ankles and eventually death. Kidney disease is the 9th cause of death for American men and women.
Acute Renal Failure:
Acute renal failure (ARF) is the loss of kidney function due to:
Chronic Kidney Disease:
Kidney damage or reduced function over 3 months is termed “Chronic Kidney Disease” (CKD). This condition may not produce symptoms until significant and sometimes untreatable kidney damage has occurred. High Blood Pressure and Diabetes are the most common causes of CKD. Other causes include:
Commonly known as blood poisoning, septicemia is a bacterial infection that often stems from another infection, such as those impacting the lungs and urinary tract. It is number 10 on the list of causes of death for females. Tactics to avoid contracting septicemia include keeping hands clean by washing them, using tampons with the appropriate absorbency level, changing tampons as recommended, and seeing a doctor if any signs of infection are present in the body.
What the Liver Does
The liver performs many functions including:
Cirrhosis is a term that describes permanent scarring of the liver when normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue that cannot perform proper liver functions.
Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol is toxic to liver cells and can cause severe liver inflammation called alcoholic hepatitis. Excessive alcohol consumption is the most common cause of liver disease in the U.S.
Hepatitis is a viral infection. Hepatitis A is usually spread when small amounts of infected fecal matter are accidentally ingested. This causes an acute liver inflammation that usually resolves. The vaccine for hepatitis A can prevent this infection. The best way to prevent hepatitis A is with thorough hand washing, especially when preparing food.
Hepatitis B and C are spread by exposure to bodily fluids such as contaminated blood, sexual contact and contaminated needles by drug abusers. It can cause acute infection or lead to a chronic illnesses such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. The Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent Hepatitis B but there is no vaccine against Hepatitis C.
Other microorganisms can cause liver infection or inflammation such as Mononucleosis Epstein Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, adenovirus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Asthma is a chronic, life-long lung disease in which the airways become blocked and inhibit breathing. An asthma attack can come on quickly and can vary in intensity from mild to severe and life-threatening. Asthma episodes may be sporadic, with no symptoms present between attacks.
Asthma Causes & Symptoms
The airways of asthma sufferers become sensitive, causing them to react to certain triggers by swelling, producing mucus, and making the surrounding muscles tighten and compress the airways. When the airway narrows, breathing becomes difficult.
Asthma triggers include:
Lessening or eliminating exposure to these triggers can result in improved lung function for asthma suffers and reduce the need to use medications to control asthma.
Symptoms of an asthma attack include:
All ages and races of people can suffer from asthma. It’s estimated that over 17 million Americans, both children and adults, have this chronic disease. Asthma can disrupt the home, school, and work life of its sufferers. In fact, asthma is responsible for more school absences than any other cause. Currently, no cure exists for asthma. With proper care, though, asthma can be controlled and even prevented.
If you have asthma:
Doctors typically prescribe the two types of medications (in pill form, liquid, or thru an inhaler or pump) to treat asthma:
This common, inherited disease disrupts the function of the mucous, sweat, and saliva glands. As mucous becomes sticky, it can plug openings in the body’s major organs, clog up the lungs, inhibit efficient food absorption, and permanently damage the liver. CF is caused by a gene mutation, with each parent contributing a defective gene. If only one parent carries the defective gene, CF will not occur.
Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms
Cystic Fibrosis Diagnosis & Treatment
A test that measures how much salt is contained in the sweat is the primary method of testing for CF. There’s currently no cure for CF, but treatment advances have improved the quality and length of life for CF sufferers. Treatments for CF are varied and are geared toward:
ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It’s typically referred to as "Lou Gehrig's disease" after the New York Yankees baseball player who contracted it in 1939. This progressive disease typically impacts adults aged 40 to 70, and it is estimated that 30,000 Americans struggle with the ailment. ALS prevents the brain from sending messages to the muscle fibers that tell the muscles to move. It does this by scarring or hardening, and thus destroying, brain and spinal cord nerve cells responsible for muscle control.
Any muscle group can be affected by ALS. Depending on the muscles and nerves impacted, symptoms may include:
Initially, only one side of the body may exhibit the effects of ALS. In time, the entire body is often compromised and paralysis occurs. Even though the body is severely impacted, brain function generally remains intact.
Many people suffer from arthritis pain. It inhibits daily function and prevents sufferers from leading full lives. The word “arthritis” is used to describe many conditions that impact the joints and adjacent tissues, including gout, tendinitis, osteoarthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Other joint-impacting conditions include:
Arthritis Risk Factors
Arthritis impacts more women than men, and the risk of developing arthritis increases with age. Carrying excess weight has been linked with gout in men and osteoarthritis in men and women.
Repetitive motions performed during sports or certain occupations can increase the risk of developing arthritis.
When to See a Doctor
See a doctor if you experience joint pain, a stiff or achy joint noticed with the last 30 days; and/or discomfort, achiness, and stiffness in a joint experienced for 3 months or longer.
Eating disorders affect both females and males, although more females suffer than males. Estimates suggest 5-10 million female and 1 million males suffer in the US, though this may be underreported due to the stigma associated with these ailments. People of all ethnicities and sizes are impacted by eating disorders.
Types of Eating Disorders
Many types of eating disorders exist. The 4 most common ones include:
Obesity: Today, more and more children are overweight or obese. It is the second preventable cause of death after tobacco use and may soon become the leading cause. It is estimated that the US spends $150 billion a year to address obesity and the problems it causes. Complications include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure and cholesterol and even different types of cancer. Obesity can contribute to a shorter life span, disability, a lower quality of life, and psychological conditions, such as low self-esteem and depression.
Factors to help prevent obesity include:
Treating Eating Disorders
If you suspect that you or someone you know has an eating disorder, a specialized clinician can perform an evaluation and recommend treatment options. Typical treatment includes therapy at the individual, group, or family level. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for success.
Studies show that poor oral health contributes to diminished overall health. Oral disease may affect birth weight, dental pain and infections, and digestive complications in the elderly, and affect nutrition in those suffering from chronic health problems.
The Costs of Poor Oral Health
Oral Healthcare during Pregnancy
Changes in oral health can occur during pregnancy due to hormone changes, so it is important for pregnant women to see the dentist if they are pregnant or planning a family. Expectant mothers can improve their children’s oral health by addressing their own dental problems before giving birth. For example, the bacteria that cause tooth decay can be transmitted from mothers to their babies.
Oral Healthcare During Infancy & Childhood
Most dental disease can be prevented but children often suffer needlessly from dental disease. This is due, in part, to a lack of proper home care and inaccessible dental services. Many dentists, as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recommend a first dental visit by the time a child is one year of age or within 6 months after the first tooth emerges. After that, regular checkups are suggested.
Oral Healthcare During the Adult & Senior Years
Dental checkups are necessary for people with their own natural teeth as well as those with prosthetic teeth, such as dentures. Caretakers of elderly people need to make sure that proper attention is paid to daily dental care.
Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms may include diarrhea, bloating, cramping, pain, fever, rectal bleeding., loss of appetite and weight loss. This disorder can also affect the joints, liver skin and eyes with fatigue.
Infection and deficiency of proteins, calories, or vitamins may also occur. Crohn's patients have an increased risk of colon cancer. Two-thirds or more patients with Crohn's disease will require surgery at some point when medications no longer control symptoms.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disorder. Its initial symptom is a progressive loosening of the stool, which is often bloody. Associated symptoms include cramping and severe urgency to have a bowel movement. Diarrhea can begin slowly or suddenly. Loss of appetite and weight loss and fatigue are common, When bleeding is severe, anemia can occur. Skin lesions, joint pain, eye inflammation, and liver problems may also occur. Children with the disorder can fail to develop or grow normally. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis tend to come and go, and significant periods between flare-ups can occur.
Diverticulosis occurs when small out-pouchs or diverticula develop in the muscular wall ina weakened area of the bowel. This is a common problem occurring in about 10% of people over age 40; and in 50% of those over age 60. Diverticulosis rarely causes symptoms but complications can include infection or inflammation (diverticulitis), bleeding, and obstruction. Treatment includes, increased fluids, special diet and antibiotics. Surgery is needed in about half of patients with complications.
Colon cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the U.S.. However, with a variety of screening tests, it is possible to prevent, detect, and treat the disease well before symptoms appear. Almost all colorectal cancers begin as polyps which are pre-cancerous growths in the lining the colon and rectum. Colorectal cancers can be caught early or prevented by screening people at average risk for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50
Constipation involves infrequent (less than 3x/week), incomplete or difficult passage of stools during bowel movements. It is commonly caused by inadequate fiber in the diet, or a interference of regular routine. If it results in someone forcing or straining, it can causes anal problems such as fissures and hemorrhoids, but is rarely a sign of serious medical conditions.
Treatment includes increasing the amount of fiber, exercising regularly, and moving your bowels when the urge occurs rather than resisting. Laxatives can be a temporary solution, but can actually aggravate symptoms in the long run.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome is also called nervous stomach, spastic colon or irritable colon where the colon muscles contracts too readily. Triggers may include emotional stress, certain foods or medications. Symptoms include abdominal pain, cramps, gas, bloating. People with IBS may have alternating constipation and diarrhea.
Treatment includes increasing fiber in the diet, monitoring and avoiding foods that trigger IBS, avoiding caffeine, and learning ways to manage stress. Medication may be prescribed by your doctor..
Hemorrhoids, Anal fissures and Perianal Abscess:
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels around the anal opening caused by persistent diarrhea, pregnancy or other causes of continual excess pressure from straining during a bowel movement,.
Anal fissures are splits or cracks in the lining of the anal opening caused most commonly very hard or watery stools. Such cracks expose underlying muscles to stool or air and lead to intense burning pain, bleeding, or spasm after bowel movements. Treatment may includes pain medicine, fiber in the diet and special baths. In some cases surgery might be needed to end spasm in the sphincter muscle.
Perianal abscesses occur when anal glands become blocked and infected. When pus develops, treatment may involve draining of the abscess, usually with local anesthesia in the doctor's office.
Eczema is a term used for several conditions where skin is inflamed, dry, red, and itchy. It is not contagious. Flare-ups can be triggered by stress, climate, irritants such as soaps, or allergies. Eczema most often occurs in "bending" areas, such as inside the elbows or hands. Treatments include topical, oral medications and injections.
Shingles may begin with burning, tingling, or increased sensitivity of a certain area of the skin. It often starts with a rash which develops into painful blisters. In some cases, blisters last for about two weeks followed by recovery. However, in some cases pain, numbness or itching may linger for months or years. Shingles typically occurs on the buttocks or trunk, but can appear other areas as well. Treatment involves steroids, antiviral drugs, , antidepressants, and topical agents to provide relief.
Cold sores are painful, fluid-filled blisters that form on the lips, mouth or nose and last about 10 days. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus and very contagious. Triggers include stress, fever, hormonal changes (i.e. menstruation) and excessive sun exposure. Antiviral medications or creams are often used. Contact your doctor if you note pus, fever, spreading redness or irritation of the eyes.
Moles are raised areas that can are usually black or brown and may occur on any part of the body. Moles may change over time and become raised, develop hair, or change color gradually. Most moles are not cancerous, but contact your doctor if a mole develops an irregular border, becomes an unusual or uneven color, itches or bleeds.
Psoriasis appears as thick, red plaques that are covered with silvery or white scales. It most often affects the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back and is not contagious. Treatment includes topical medications, light therapy, and drugs that may be given orally, by infusion or by injection
Rosacea often begins as a tendency to flush easily with redness of the nose, cheeks, chin, forehead, or even eyes. If it worsens, patients may appear “ruddy” and blood vessels may become visible. Pus-filled pimples, thickened skin, or bumps may occur. Treatment includes medications, dermabrasion, laser therapy or electro-cautery.
Acne pimples occur when skin pores are clogged from oil or dead skin cells and is often associated with bacteria and hormonal changes. Keep skin clean and avoid squeezing pimples as infections can spread or scars may occur.
Athlete's Foot is a fungal infection characterized by peeling and itching; occasionally progressing to blisters or sores. It is contagious and passed by direct contact, such as walking barefoot in locker rooms, near pools or sharing shoes with an infected individual. Keep feet and shoes clean and dry during treatment. Medication includes topical antifungal lotions and oral medicines for more difficult infections.
Hives are welts that may be itchy, sting or burn. They may vary in size or merge together to form large areas. They may last as short as several minutes or continue for days. Infections like strep throat, drugs or medications, certain foods or additives, or temperature extremes can be associated with hives. Antihistamines may provide relief.
Common warts usually occur on the fingers or hands and are caused by the human papilloma virus. If you have a wart, avoid picking it, cover it with a bandage and keep it dry to help avoid spreading it to others. Warts typically are painless and heal on their own. If treatment is needed, topical medications, freezing, burning, chemicals, surgery or lasers may be employed.
Plastic Surgery Procedures
Botox for Cosmetic Use
Botox, which is a brand name, is an injectable substance used to decrease the appearance of wrinkles and lines on the forehead, around and between the eyes, near the lips, and around the mouth. It is derived from a toxin produced by the clostridium botulinum bacterium. Dysport and Xeomin are similar injectable medications. All prohibit muscle contraction by blocking nerve impulses. Eliminating muscle contraction results makes skin appear smoother, more relaxed and youthful. Botox does not work on lines and wrinkles caused by gravity or sun exposure.
People who should not receive Botox injections include women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and anyone diagnosed with a neurological disease.
Insurance does not typically cover Botox used for cosmetic purposes.
The Botox Procedure
Botox Side Effects
Surgery to make the breasts larger is called augmentation mammoplasty. Mastopexy, is the medical term for a breast lift. It may be done as a separate procedure or in conjunction with augmentation mammoplasty. A breast implant consists of an outer silicone shell containing saline solution or silicone gel.
Cosmetic breast enhancement surgery is not covered by insurance. Reconstructive surgery following breast cancer treatment is usually covered.
Reasons for Breast Augmentation and/or Breast Lift
Many women choose one or both of these surgical procedures in order to:
Procedures to augment and lift breasts typically take one to two hours, usually under general anesthesia. They are performed on an outpatient basis, although an overnight hospital stay may be required if complications arise.
The Breast Augmentation Process
The surgeon places the implant in the breast, either on top of the chest wall and underneath existing breast tissue or underneath the chest muscle, through an incision made in the armpit, underneath the breast in the crease, or along the edge of the nipple area. Stitches close the site of insertion following placement and adjustment.
If you opt for surgery to have breast implants placed, you can typically expect to undergo one or more additional surgeries over the long term.
The Breast Lift Process
Excess skin is removed to alleviate sagging and lift the breast, and the remaining skin is stitched together. Larger incisions are typically required for a breast lift than for a breast augmentation.
Risks of Breast Implants
As we age, skin sags and wrinkles. A face-lift, or Rhytidectomy, is a cosmetic surgical procedure to enhance the appearance of the face by eliminating or lessening the appearance of sagging skin and wrinkles. A plastic surgeon can tighten the skin and reposition it for a more esthetic appearance. A face lift does not halt the progression of aging, nor can it eliminate skin damage caused by sun exposure. However, a face lift can make a person’s face appear more youthful. A person’s satisfaction with a face lift hinges on realistic expectations, as well as the skill of the surgeon.
Face lifts are not covered by insurance.
The Face Lift Procedure
A face lift may be performed as an outpatient procedure, or it may require an overnight hospital stay. The actual surgery may take many hours to complete.
Following Face Lift Surgery
Risks of Face Lift Surgery
The surgical procedure to remove fat from certain areas of the body is called liposuction. Typically, liposuction is performed on the thighs, buttocks, hips, torso, and face. The focus of liposuction is usually on areas of fat that diet and exercise have not significantly reduced.
Candidates for liposuction should be in good health, maintain an average weight or be only slightly overweight, and should understand what liposuction can and cannot do. For example, it cannot remove cellulite. Additionally, candidates for liposuction should have skin that is elastic and firm. Liposuction performed on older individuals may not yield the desired results, although age is not considered a factor in determining whether a person is a candidate for liposuction.
Most insurance plants do not cover liposuction, as it is a cosmetic surgical procedure.
Talk to a Doctor
The two types of liposuction are:
Liposuction may be performed at a surgical center or in a doctor’s office. The location of the procedure will depend on the type of liposuction being performed. Usually, liposuction patients go home the same day as their surgery. An overnight stay at a hospital may be required following removal of a large area of fat.
The Liposuction Process
Risk is associated with all surgical procedures. The risks of liposuction are discoloration of the skin and infection. However, occurrence of these conditions is rare. Risk increases during liposuction in which an inordinate amount of fat is removed or during very long procedures.
Recovering from liposuction is typically quick, especially following outpatient liposuction. While you will likely resume working a few days following surgery, it is not uncommon to experience discomfort, swelling, and some bruising where the liposuction occurred. This may last for a few weeks. Two weeks post surgery; however, most liposuction patients are back to their typical routines. You may have to wear a compression garment for up to two months following your liposuction procedure.
Long-Term Results of Liposuction
You can still gain weight following liposuction. However, you will most likely not see fat accumulation in the area that was treated, as these cells were permanently removed. Exercising and eating right can help you maintain optimal results.
The nose is an important feature of the face. The appearance of the nose can be surgically altered with rhinoplasty, performed by a plastic surgeon or a doctor specializing in the ear, nose, and throat. Rhinoplasty can:
Additionally, rhinoplasty can be performed to improve breathing caused by problems with the structure of the nose.
It is advised not to perform rhinoplasty on females under the age of 16 and males under the age of 18, since the nose may not be fully developed until then. Performing surgery on a nose that has not completed development may result in complications or yield unexpected results.
Unless performed to remedy a problem with the way the nose functions or to resolve a problem sustained during injury or disease, rhinoplasty is typically not covered by insurance.
The Results of Rhinoplasty
As with any cosmetic surgery procedure, it is important to discuss the potential outcome with a qualified plastic surgeon so that you have realistic expectations about what rhinoplasty can and cannot do. Rhinoplasty results in permanent alteration of the nose.
The Rhinoplasty Process
Rhinoplasty is typically as an outpatient surgical procedure. An overnight stay at a surgical center or hospital may sometimes be necessary.
Abdominoplasty, commonly called tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure that removes skin or fat tissue in the abdomen and tightens the vertical muscles in the abdomen in order to flatten the stomach. A tummy tuck is not the same thing as liposuction.
Tummy Tuck Candidates
This procedure can be performed on both women and men. Candidates should have good overall health. Formerly obese people who want to remove extra skin and fat may opt for a tummy tuck, as well as women who want to firm the abdominal area following multiple pregnancies.
You should not get a tummy tuck if you are a women considering becoming pregnant or if you are embarking on a plan to lose weight.
Unless there is a medical reason to perform a tummy tuck, insurance companies typically do not cover this procedure, as it is deemed cosmetic.
Before Undergoing a Tummy Tuck
The Tummy Tuck Procedure
Two types of tummy tucks are performed:
Depending on the type of tummy tuck performed, surgery may take between one and five hours. An overnight stay at a hospital may be required. Expect to experience discomfort and swelling following surgery. Soreness, along with numbness, fatigue, and bruising, may remain for a period of up to several months. You will be bandaged with an elastic band that will stay on for a period of time after surgery. This bandage aids in the healing process.
Rigorous activity is prohibited or restricted following a tummy tuck for a period of up to six weeks. Many tummy tuck patients take time off work – up to a month – following surgery. Talk to your doctor about activity limitations during the healing process.
Tummy Tuck Risks
Long-Term Results of Tummy Tuck
A tummy tuck is a popular procedure, and patients are typically pleased with the results. To maintain the shape of your new abdomen, implement an exercise program and eat a healthy diet.
Common Eye Conditions
Amblyopia, often called “lazy eye” occurs when the central vision in one eye diminishes or does not develop as it should; so that the brain fails to recognize the image transmitted by the affected eye. Peripheral vision is not impacted, and the amblyopic eye is not considered void of sight. However, vision in the affected eye tends to worsen over time. Amblyopia cannot be corrected solely with glasses or contact lenses. The condition affects keen depth perception and limits an individual’s ability to participate in activities that require such perception.
Causes of Amblyopia
Amblyopia is typically seen in children under 8 years of age and may impact up to 4% of children. It is rare for an adult to develop amblyopia. The primary cause of this condition is inadequate development of vision. Low birth weight and premature birth are risk factors, as well. Amblyopia can also result or be associated with:
Typically, few symptoms are present with amblyopia, and the symptoms may not be easily noticed. A child may tend to look at things with one eye versus the other or bump into things on the side with the affected vision.
Diagnosing & Treating Amblyopia
A thorough examination by an ophthalmologist is needed to diagnose amblyopia. Most children are unaware they suffer from this condition. Therefore, children should attend eye exams at six months of age and three years of age in accordance with guidelines established by the American Optometric Association. Another check prior to a child entering school is recommended, as well.
Amblyopia will not resolve without treatment and will in fact worsen. The possibility of total recovery increases with early diagnosis and treatment. Intervention in pre-teen to adult years yields less beneficial results. Amblyopia treatment may include:
The condition called anterior uveitis occurs when the eye’s middle layer, containing the iris and the ciliary body, becomes inflamed. Swelling of the retina, cataract formation, or glaucoma can result and cause significant damage to the vision, including vision loss.
Generally, an underlying cause of anterior uveitis cannot be found. However, the following conditions may contribute to anterior uveitis:
Anterior uveitis symptoms can mimic those of other eye condition, so it is important to see an ophthalmologist for a thorough exam and diagnosis.
Treatment for anterior uveitis can consist of anti-inflammatory medication coupled with prescription eye drops for several days to many weeks.
Astigmatism is a condition when vision is blurred because of an abnormally shaped cornea or lens. The result is that light cannot focus correctly on the retina, causing fuzzy near and far vision. Astigmatism is a common condition that is often seen in tandem with nearsightedness or farsightedness. Because these conditions impact an eye’s ability to refract (bend) light, they are called refractive errors.
No treatment is needed for small degrees of astigmatism, as vision may not be significantly impacted. Higher degrees of astigmatism usually require care, to renew visual acuity or to alleviate headaches or eye discomfort that may occur.
Causes of Astigmatism
Typically, astigmatism is inherited or exists at birth. It can increase or decrease as time passes. Other factors that influence astigmatism include eye surgery, eye injury, and an uncommon corneal condition called keratoconus.
Diagnosing & Treating Astigmatism
A thorough vision test allows an ophthalmologist to determine a diagnosis of astigmatism. Components of the exam may include:
Treatment for astigmatism may include:
The lens sits behind the iris of the eye and focuses light on the retina. A cataract forms when the proteins and water that make up the lens change and cause clouding. Cataracts can impede vision – depending on where they are located and how big they are – by inhibiting the ability of the lens to properly focus light on the retina. Generally, cataracts form very slowly and affect both eyes, with one eye sometimes experiencing more negative symptoms of cataract than the other.
Cataracts typically impact people 55 years of age and older; however, young children and even infants can develop cataracts.
Types of Cataracts
Cataracts can form in the outer, middle, or inner layers of the lens. The location of the cataract determines its type.
Factors that May Contribute to Cataract Formation
A mother who develops an infection, such as rubella, during pregnancy can have a baby born with cataracts. Cataracts may also be inherited.
Diagnosing & Treating Cataracts
A comprehensive eye exam is conducted to determine a diagnosis of cataracts. Aspects of the exam typically include:
Treatment for cataracts includes:
Surgery may be performed to address cataracts that significantly impact vision and prevent a person from pursuing a normal routine. During cataract surgery, the lens of the eye is removed and an artificial lens put in its place. This new lens can replicate the focusing ability of a healthy eye. Considered one of the safest surgeries performed in the US, cataract surgery can be extremely effective, with 90% of recipients reporting improved vision. If a new lens cannot be placed in the eye, eyeglasses or contact lenses may remedy vision difficulties.
Types of cataract surgery include:
Risks of cataract surgery including bleeding, infection, and retinal detachment.
While it may not be completely possible to prevent cataracts, there are ways to reduce risk:
Diabetes can negatively impact the retina’s circulatory system. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood vessels in the retina leak causing swelling in the eye and cloudy vision. The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases with the length of time a person suffers from diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy typically impacts both eyes and can result in blindness, if not addressed.
Types of Diabetic Retinopathy
Who is at Risk:
Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
The specific treatment for an individual with diabetic retinopathy depends on the progression of the condition. Treatments include:
If you have diabetes, the American Optometric Association recommends a yearly comprehensive exam that includes eye dilation to detect diabetic retinopathy. When identified and treated in the early stage, significant loss of vision can be deterred.
Additionally, people with diabetes should:
Glaucoma is actually the name for a group of eye issues. It occurs when pressure builds up in the eye as a result of an inadequate drainage angle in the eye, although the exact cause of glaucoma is unknown. Glaucoma typically impacts people age 40 and over (although there is an infantile form of glaucoma) and is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. It is the primary cause of blindness among Hispanics. Glaucoma causes degenerative optic nerve damage. Because the optic nerve is responsible for sending signals to the brain from the eye, damage to the nerve from glaucoma ultimately causes vision loss.
It is important to note that not all pressure changes in the eye cause glaucoma and that some people with normal eye pressure will be diagnosed with the condition. Glaucoma will occur when eye pressure increases beyond the degree a person’s optic nerve can withstand.
Glaucoma Risk Factors
Types of Glaucoma
Diagnosing & Treating Glaucoma
A thorough eye exam is needed to diagnose glaucoma. The doctor will look for alterations in the optic nerve, nerve tissue loss, and vision loss over a period of time.
Testing for glaucoma may include:
Glaucoma can be controlled and the risk of vision loss lessened by medication and other treatments; however, it cannot be prevented or cured. Annual eye dilation is recommended by the American Optometric Association to screen for glaucoma.
Glaucoma treatment may include:
Treatment for acute angle-closure glaucoma is considered an emergency and may consist of numerous medications along with laser surgery to relieve pressure.
Because there is no cure for glaucoma, treatment must continue for the remainder of a patient’s life. The degenerative affects of the disease may be halted or slowed through continued treatment and constant monitoring of eye pressure by a doctor.
The vision disorder known as keratoconus typically affects people who are in their late teens to early 20s. It is caused when the cornea thins and becomes cone shaped, distorting vision because light no longer focuses correctly on the cornea. The progression of keratoconus may last for up to 20 years and then slow. A person with keratoconus may experience different gradations of the condition in each eye. Early-stage symptoms include:
As the condition progresses, the cornea may bulge, which causes a decrease in vision. Rarely, corneal swelling can contribute to a dramatic decrease in vision. This is caused by a crack forming in the cornea due to the strain of swelling. Ultimately, the crack, which may last for months, is replaced with scar tissue. Eye drops can be used if this occurs, but they will only provide relief from symptoms and will not halt the progression of keratoconus. Additional treatments for keratoconus include:
Macular Degeneration, also called Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), describes a condition in which the macula of the eye changes and causes loss of central vision. The macula resides in the inside back layer of the eye and is part of the retina. AMD typically impacts adults over the age of 50 and is this age group’s leading cause of significant vision loss. There are two types of AMD: wet and dry.
AMD tends to strike women earlier than it does men, and the Caucasian race suffers from AMD at a greater rate than other races. Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that almost 2 million people suffer from AMD. An estimated 7.3 million people run the risk of incurring major loss of vision due to AMD.
Types of AMD
Diagnosis & Treating AMD
At the onset, AMD may not present symptoms. However, if any symptoms are experienced, it is important to see an ophthalmologist for an eye exam and test to determine a diagnosis. Vision lost to AMD cannot be restored, but an ophthalmologist can help to make the most of remaining vision.
Lessen the Risk of AMDTo lessen the risk of AMD and other eyes diseases, it may be beneficial to consume foods high in zinc, lutein/zeaxanthin, and vitamins E and C.
Ocular hypertension occurs when the pressure in the eyes increases beyond the normal range. This eye condition does not typically cause symptoms. However it can increase the risk of developing glaucoma, a damaging eye condition also characterized by elevated eye pressure. Therefore, patients with Ocular hypertension should receive regular eye exams to monitor the condition and lessen the risk of eye damage. No cure exists for ocular hypertension.
Who is at Risk?
Although ocular hypertension can impact all age ranges, the following groups are more frequently impacted by this condition:
An inherited eye disease, retinitis pigmentosa causes damage to the cones and rods in the retina. Cones contribute to central vision and ability to see colors. Rods are crucial to seeing at night and to peripheral vision. In retinitis pigmentosa, rods are impacted more than cones. While the progression of the disease is slow, ultimately loss of peripheral vision can occur. Many years may pass before the vision is significantly damaged.
Symptoms of this condition usually arise in childhood and the early teen years and include blindness at night, as well as a progressive loss of peripheral vision that results in tunnel vision.
Studies show that nutritional supplements containing lutein and vitamin A may slow the disease. Vision aids may also help compensate for the loss of side vision that occurs with this disease by maximizing existing vision.
The common term for strabismus is crossed eyes. This condition occurs when the eyes are not able to process or implement the directions sent by the brain telling them to work in tandem to focus on an object. One or both eyes can turn up, down, inward, or outward. Strabismus can occur as a constant condition, or it may occur occasionally as a result of fatigue, illness, or other circumstances.
A condition caused pseudo strabismus can make it seem as if a baby’s eyes are crossed. However, this is not true strabismus, as it is usually the result of a wide nasal bridge or excess skin covering the inner eye making it appear as if the eyes are crossed. The cross-eyed effect disappears as the child’s facial features grow.
True strabismus is typically noticed in children by the time they reach 3 years of age. However, strabismus can occur later, as a child matures and even in adulthood. Children do not outgrow strabismus, and the condition will only worsen if left untreated. Is it recommended that all children four months or older who exhibit signs of strabismus been seen by an eye doctor.
Causes of Strabismus
Types of Strabismus
The types of strabismus are classified according to the following:
The two most common types of this eye condition are:
Diagnosing & Treating Strabismus
Proper diagnosis and treatment of strabismus is important to maintain good vision. If strabismus goes untreated, the brain begins to disregard images transmitted by the impacted eye. This can result is diminished vision and development of amblyopia, also called lazy eye.
Diagnosing strabismus entails a thorough examination of the eyes, especially how the move and how they focus on objects. Other aspects of the exam include:
Caught early, the prognosis for overcoming strabismus is excellent. Strabismus treatments include:
Major Organs Illustrated
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