Activity by lizatorborg
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am 43 and have started having trouble with my vision while reading. I know this is common for someone my age, and I do have “readers” that I sometimes use, but am hoping to put off regular glasses as long as possible. Am I doing harm by waiting? How often should I have my eyes checked?
ANSWER: It is true that the vision changes you are noticing are very common in people in their 40s. But you are not harming your eyes by waiting to get reading glasses. You may find it useful to get an eye exam now, though, to see if glasses could be helpful and to check for other eye problems. Regular eye exams are recommended for adults beginning at age 40.
As we age, our eyes gradually lose their ability to focus on objects nearby. The medical term for this process is presbyopia. It typically becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40s and continues to get worse through the mid-60s. Many people become aware of presbyopia when vision seems blurry at a normal reading distance, and they have to hold reading material farther away to see it clearly. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My daughter, 31, was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Do doctors know what causes the disease, especially at a young age? Will she need to be on medication for the rest of her life?
ANSWER: The precise cause of rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, remains unclear. However, both genetic and environmental factors appear to play a role in raising a person’s RA risk. Because we do not know the exact cause, we do not have a cure for RA. Most people with this disease do need long-term treatment.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a kind of disease known as an autoimmune disorder. These disorders happen when your immune system mistakenly attacks your body’s own tissues. In RA, the immune system attacks the lining of the membranes that surround your joints, called the synovium. That causes inflammation. The inflammation, in turn, thickens the synovium, which can eventually destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint. The tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together weaken and stretch. Gradually, the joint loses its shape and alignment. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I have osteoarthritis in my spine. About a month ago, I got a steroid shot in my lower back because my doctor said it might help with stiffness and pain in my back and legs. It worked wonderfully, and my symptoms are gone now. How does this medicine work? If the pain comes back, could another one of these shots take care of it again? Or is my arthritis gone?
How long the effects of a corticosteroid injection last can vary quite a bit, depending on your health and the severity of your symptoms. If your pain returns, you may be able to get another injection. Because of the possibility of serious side effects, though, the number of injections and how often you can receive them is limited. Unfortunately your arthritis is not gone, even if you are not currently having any symptoms. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Why do children need so many vaccines in their first two years of life? Isn’t it okay and even safer to wait until they are a bit older to give them the recommended vaccinations?
ANSWER: The current childhood vaccination schedule has been studied extensively. It is safe. It is also highly effective at preventing a variety of serious diseases. To offer the best protection against those diseases, I strongly urge you to have your child vaccinated on time, according to the recommended schedule.
Babies need multiple vaccines because infectious diseases can cause serious health problems in infants. For a short time after they are born, antibodies from their mothers help protect newborns from many diseases. But that immunity begins to fade quickly, with some immunity lasting only about one month after birth.
The vaccination schedule that is recommended now has been studied and found safe and effective against the diseases babies face at the time they are getting the vaccines. A delayed schedule is a delay in protection against some diseases that are very serious, and in many cases life-threatening. [...]
ANSWER: In many cases, pain and other symptoms caused by a herniated disk resolve with time and self-care measures. When medical treatment is required, therapy that doesn’t involve surgery often is all that’s needed to effectively treat herniated disk symptoms. However, if your symptoms significantly limit your day-to-day activities, if you have nerve damage due to a herniated disk, or if your symptoms cannot be controlled with other treatment, then spine surgery may be necessary.
Your spinal disks are the cushions between the individual bones, called vertebrae, that make up your spine. The disks have a soft center within a tougher exterior. A herniated disk happens when some of the center pushes out through a crack in the outer portion of the disk. A herniated disk may irritate or compress a nearby spinal nerve root. The result can be back pain, along with pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: How effective is surgery to treat scoliosis in adults? What does the surgery involve?
ANSWER: Fortunately for most adults who have scoliosis, the condition can be successfully managed without surgery. For some who suffer from an overly tilted or arthritic spine, though, surgery can be very effective at relieving symptoms. The surgery is a complex procedure and can include removing some spinal joints and connecting two or more of the bones in the spine together to properly balance the spine and improve quality of life.
Scoliosis is a three-dimensional change in the normal shape of the spine that leads to excessive sideways or forward curves. It most often develops in children during the growth spurt just before puberty. But some adults can suffer from scoliosis, too. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My husband, 48, was diagnosed last month with primary sclerosing cholangitis. Does this mean he will eventually need a liver transplant, or do some people with the disease never get to that point? He has had irritable bowel syndrome for years; are the two conditions related?
ANSWER: Primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC, is not associated with irritable bowel syndrome. But it can be related to another condition broadly termed inflammatory bowel disease, or more specifically, ulcerative colitis. Your husband should be tested for ulcerative colitis if that has not already been done. Many people who have PSC do eventually need a liver transplant. That is not the case for everyone, though. Regular monitoring and follow-up care can help manage symptoms and catch complications of PSC early.
PSC affects the ducts that carry the digestive liquid bile from your liver to your small intestine. In people who have PSC, inflammation causes scars within the bile ducts. The scars make the ducts hard and narrow. Over time, this can cause serious liver damage.
PSC often progresses slowly. As it advances, the disease may result in repeated infections and can lead to bile duct tumors or liver tumors. Eventually, PSC may cause the liver to fail. On average it takes about 10 years until most people with PSC need a liver transplant. However, the rate at which PSC progresses varies widely. Some people with this disease live a normal lifespan without every progressing to liver failure or needing a transplant. [...]
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. [...]