Activity by lizatorborg
ANSWER: Sinusitis is inflammation of the sinuses, which are the air-containing pockets in the skull and facial bones around your nose. Chronic sinusitis develops when inflammation lasts for more than 12 weeks. Testing involves a visit to an ear, nose and throat, or ENT, doctor who will examine your sinuses. Most chronic sinusitis can be managed with medical therapy. However, if your symptoms or the inflammation do not respond to medical therapy, surgery may be necessary. The goal of treatment is to restore sinus health and function.
Symptoms of chronic sinusitis often resemble a cold. A cold is usually caused by a viral infection and is often accompanied by a runny or stuffed-up nose, sneezing, sore throat, watery eyes and a fever. This kind of acute viral sinusitis usually lasts seven to 10 days.
In rare instances, you may get a bacterial infection as a result of a cold, resulting in acute bacterial sinusitis. If that happens, cold symptoms get worse after seven to 10 days. You also may have yellow or green nasal drainage, pain in your face or teeth, and a fever. Acute sinusitis lasts up to four weeks. When symptoms persist for more than 12 weeks, you may have chronic sinusitis. But some cases of chronic sinusitis can develop subtly, without a preceding viral infection. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am a 37-year-old man and have no health problems, but both of my parents have heart disease. My dad had his first heart attack at age 50. Are there things I can do now to prevent it, or is heart disease inevitable for me because of my family history?
ANSWER: Based on your family history, your risk for heart attacks is higher than the risk of a person without that kind of history. But that does not mean heart attacks are inevitable. A thorough medical evaluation can help determine your specific risk of developing heart problems. You can also take steps to help protect your heart health, no matter what your risk level.
A family history of heart attacks — especially one in a parent younger than 55, as in your father’s situation — is a major risk factor for the type of heart disease known as coronary artery disease, sometimes called CAD. Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients — your coronary arteries — become damaged or diseased. Cholesterol-containing deposits, or plaques, and inflammation in your arteries are usually the source of coronary artery disease. There are many factors that may cause coronary artery disease, including high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, smoking, obesity and high blood pressure, to mention some.
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My mother-in-law has had insomnia ever since her husband died (just over one year ago). She regularly takes over-the-counter sleep aids, but I am concerned she is also depressed. Is it true that the two conditions are related? Should I encourage her to see a therapist?
ANSWER: Insomnia can be a reflection of ongoing distress, and it is often associated with episodes of clinical depression following a period of grieving. But it is possible that your mother-in-law’s insomnia and the loss of her husband are not connected. It would be a good idea for her to make an appointment to see her primary care physician. That physician can assess your mother-in-law’s medical condition and, if needed, provide a referral to a mental health professional.
Insomnia is generally defined as the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep or both, despite the opportunity for adequate sleep. Occasional insomnia is a nuisance, but it usually does not present significant health concerns. When insomnia persists, however, it can become a clinical problem. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What does cardiac rehab involve? Do you recommend it for everyone who’s had a heart attack, or only in certain cases?
ANSWER: Cardiac rehabilitation is extremely beneficial for people with a variety of heart disorders. It involves a combination of medically supervised exercise, education and risk factor management.
The goals of cardiac rehabilitation are to reduce symptoms, improve physical and mental function, and prevent further heart problems. People who participate in cardiac rehabilitation are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital, and they enjoy a 25 to 45 percent improvement in survival rates compared with people who do not engage in cardiac rehabilitation.
Cardiac rehabilitation is definitely recommended for individuals with the following diagnoses: heart attack; percutaneous coronary intervention, including coronary angioplasty and stents; chronic stable angina; coronary bypass surgery; heart valve repair or valve replacement surgery; heart transplant; and systolic heart failure (impaired heart contraction). [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My daughter, who is in her early 20s, was diagnosed with narcolepsy nine months ago. Her primary care doctor prescribed stimulants, but they make her very jittery and don’t eliminate all of her symptoms. Is this the only treatment available? Should she see a specialist?
ANSWER: The sleep disorder narcolepsy is a lifelong condition often treated with potent medications. Because of that, it is essential that anyone suspected of having narcolepsy be carefully evaluated by a sleep medicine specialist to arrive at a diagnosis. I recommend your daughter seek testing with such a specialist. If her diagnosis of narcolepsy is confirmed, the sleep medicine specialist can work with her to create a treatment plan that best fits her needs.
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. About 70 percent of people with narcolepsy also experience a symptom known as cataplexy — sudden muscle weakness that follows a positive emotional reaction, especially laughter. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I’ve had ankylosing spondylitis for years, and could usually get relief by just taking over-the-counter pain medicine. But lately the flares seem to be more frequent and painful. Is this common for the condition to worsen over time? What treatment should I try next, and is surgery ever effective for someone in my situation?
ANSWER: Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis may get worse over time in some cases. But in others, they may improve with time or go away completely. These symptom changes often happen at irregular intervals, so they can be hard to predict. Medication typically is the most effective form of treatment. Most people with ankylosing spondylitis do not need surgery.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a disease that causes inflammation and leads to pain and stiffness. Many areas of the body can be affected by this disease. The most common include vertebrae in the lower back; the joints between the base of the spine and pelvis (called the sacroiliac joints); the hip and shoulder joints; and the cartilage between the breastbone and ribs. In some patients, the inflammation can affect other organs, including the eyes, leading to a condition called iritis or uveitis. [...]
ANSWER: You are correct that heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States. Many risk factors are the same for both genders. But there are some differences between men and women that can have an impact on an individual’s risk of heart disease.
One of most significant heart disease risk factors for both men and women is smoking. Nicotine can narrow your arteries, and carbon monoxide can damage their inner lining. That makes the vessels more likely to become thick and stiff, a condition known as arteriosclerosis. Eventually arteriosclerosis limits blood flow, increasing the risk of a heart attack. Because of this, heart attacks are more common in smokers than in nonsmokers. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I often hear about colon cancer, but not a lot about rectal cancer. How is it diagnosed, and is it treatable?
ANSWER: Rectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the last several inches of the colon, called the rectum. The primary treatment for rectal cancer is surgery and — depending on how advanced the cancer is — may also include radiation therapy and chemotherapy. If rectal cancer is caught early, the long-term survival rate is about 85 to 90 percent. Those numbers decline sharply if rectal cancer has spread to lymph nodes.
Most rectal cancers begin as small, noncancerous growths of cells called polyps. Removing polyps before they become cancerous can prevent rectal cancer. That’s why timely colon cancer screening with a colonoscopy is important. Guidelines generally recommend that screening should begin at age 50. Your doctor may recommend more-frequent or earlier colon cancer screening if you have other risk factors, such as a family history of colorectal cancer. [...]