Activity by lizatorborg
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: How soon can Alzheimer’s disease be diagnosed? What are the early symptoms to watch for?
ANSWER: There is no one test that can be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. But based on an assessment of symptoms, along with a variety of tests and exams, Alzheimer’s can often be identified in its earliest stages. Seeking medical attention as soon as Alzheimer’s symptoms become noticeable is key to a prompt diagnosis.
The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is forgetfulness. Distinguishing between memory loss that is due to aging and memory loss due to Alzheimer’s can be tricky, though.
As people get older, the number of cells, or neurons, in the brain goes down. That can make it harder to learn new things or to remember familiar words. Older adults may have difficulty coming up with names of acquaintances, for example, or they may have trouble finding reading glasses or car keys. In most cases, these memory lapses do not signal the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am 73 and just had a prostate biopsy that showed a malignant tumor with a Gleason score of 8. Is this an indication of an aggressive cancer and if so, what are my treatment options?
ANSWER: Gleason score indicates the grade of your prostate cancer. The higher the Gleason score, the more aggressive the cancer is likely to be. Of the factors related to prostate cancer that doctors take into consideration when deciding on treatment, Gleason score is probably the most important one. In most cases, treatment with radiation and hormonal therapy or with surgery is recommended based on a Gleason score of 8.
The Gleason score was developed in the 1960s by a pathologist named Donald Gleason. It has stood the test of time, and doctors now rely on it to predict how likely prostate cancer is to grow and spread.
For most kinds of cancer, tumor grade is determined by looking at individual cancer cells through a microscope using a high level of magnification to examine the details of those cells. Gleason score is different. With this method, a pathologist examines prostate tissue samples under a microscope using low magnification to observe the patterns of the cancer cells. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Eleven years ago I developed deep vein thrombosis, which led to a pulmonary embolism. A vena cava filter was put in place, and I’ve been on warfarin since that time. Will I ever be able to discontinue warfarin and take aspirin instead? Would changing my diet allow me to eventually stop taking warfarin?
ANSWER: This is a very common and important question for people in your situation. How long you need to continue to take warfarin depends on several factors. They include the circumstances surrounding the development of your deep vein thrombosis and whether you have had any recurrences since then. As you and your doctor consider your long-term treatment plan, your medical history and your preferences should be taken into consideration, too.
Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, happens when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. DVT is a serious condition because the blood clot can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and become stuck in your lungs, blocking blood flow. This condition, called a pulmonary embolism, can be life-threatening if it is not treated right away. When a DVT results in pulmonary embolism, it is known as venous thromboembolism. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What is the most effective way to stopping my smoking habit of 20 years? I’ve tried the gum and it helped the cravings for a while, but not enough to get me to quit smoking. Even though I’m worried about what smoking is doing to my health, I can’t seem to stop.
ANSWER: You are not alone in your experience. Many people try to quit smoking and are not successful right away. The nicotine found in cigarettes is very addictive. Breaking a smoking habit is hard, especially when you try to do it on your own. The best way to quit is to seek help from your doctor or from a counselor trained as a tobacco treatment specialist. He or she can guide you through behavioral therapy, as well as offer approved medication treatments that can help you stop smoking for good.
Behavioral therapy associated with quitting smoking can encompass a wide variety of activities in your day-to-day life. It often involves replacing old behaviors with new routines that are not associated with smoking. [...]
ANSWER: Although removing the pancreas is a possibility for people who have a strong family history of pancreatic cancer, it is used only rarely as a means of preventing the disease. That’s because there are significant health risks associated with not having a pancreas. No formal screening methods are in place for this type of cancer. But certain imaging exams may be able to detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages.
Your pancreas is located in your abdomen, behind the lower part of your stomach. One of its main jobs is to make insulin, a hormone that regulates the transfer of sugar, or glucose, from your bloodstream into your cells. The pancreas also makes enzymes that aid in your body’s digestion. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What could cause a person without diabetes to become hypoglycemic? Would keeping track of my blood levels throughout the day be beneficial?
ANSWER: Diabetes and the medications people take for it are by far the most common causes of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. There are other reasons your blood sugar may be low, however. Keeping track of your blood sugar at home can be a good step in some cases. But you should do so only after you have been evaluated for low blood sugar by an endocrinologist — a doctor who specializes in diabetes and other hormone-related disorders.
Hypoglycemia happens when you do not have enough sugar, or glucose, in your blood. People sometimes talk casually about having low blood sugar. True hypoglycemia is a serious condition that can lead to severe medical problems if left untreated. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Last year I had an allergic reaction (swollen lips and face, itching around the neck and jawline) after getting the flu shot. Since then I found out I am allergic to thimerosal. Is it safe for me to get the vaccine this year?
ANSWER: It is likely you can find a vaccine that you can take safely. There are influenza vaccines available that do not contain thimerosal. Before you get the vaccine again, make an appointment to see a doctor who specializes in allergies. That specialist can do tests to check your allergies and help you find an influenza vaccine that is safe for you.
Influenza, or the flu, is a viral infection that often causes fever, chills, coughing and headaches. In people who have other diseases or medical conditions, and in healthy people older than 50, the flu can lead to serious illness that may require hospitalization. Each year thousands of people die as a result of complications from the flu. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am scheduled to have surgery in the next month and am worried about the nausea and vomiting that I previously experienced after anesthesia. Is there anything that can be done to avoid post-surgery nausea?
ANSWER: It is normal to be concerned about postoperative nausea and vomiting. To address the concern, the anesthesia can be tailored to each person’s potential risk of these symptoms. Talk to your doctor about your concerns before surgery. Your health care team can take steps that may lessen the symptoms you previously experienced post-surgery.
Nausea and vomiting after surgery affect more than 30 percent of people. Postoperative nausea and vomiting also can lead to complications. These may include inhalation of stomach contents (aspiration), dehydration, imbalance of vital minerals (electrolytes) in blood and body fluids, and injury to the surgical site, such as torn stitches (sutures). [...]
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