Activity by lizatorborg
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I recently heard about cartilage being used in knee joints. Last summer I was diagnosed with osteopenia, degenerative arthritis, moderate lateral compartment narrowing, and knee joint effusion in my right knee. I can no longer straighten it and have some swelling. Iâ€™ve had two injections, which helped with the pain for a time, but am wondering if cartilage would help in my situation.
ANSWER: Procedures to restore and repair cartilage are becoming more common. In situations like yours, however, where there is significant cartilage loss, these procedures typically are not successful. But there are other effective options for treating the symptoms associated with arthritis in your knee and the conditions accompanying it.
Your knee has two kinds of cartilage. The first is articular cartilage. It provides a smooth, lubricated surface within the joint. The second is the meniscus. It provides a cushion to the articular cartilage during weight-bearing activities.
The issues youâ€™re dealing with involve the articular cartilage. When problems arise in the articular cartilage, they are the result of a focal injury or defect, or they happen due to arthritis â€” a diffuse loss of cartilage. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My father is 64 and was diagnosed with Parkinsonâ€™s last year. So far his symptoms are very mild, but Iâ€™m wondering what the typical progression of the disease is like. I have read that deep brain stimulation is sometimes recommended. When is this type of treatment usually considered? Is it safe?
ANSWER: The symptoms of Parkinsonâ€™s disease, or PD, tend to begin very gradually and then become progressively more severe. The rate of progression is hard to predict and is different from one person to another. Treatment for PD includes a variety of options, such as exercise, medication and surgery. Deep brain stimulation is one surgical possibility for treating PD, but itâ€™s usually only considered in advanced cases when other treatments donâ€™t effectively control symptoms. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am 42 and training for my first marathon. During my longer runs I have pretty significant hip and knee pain. Some runner friends advise that I just stretch more, and others say I need to do exercises to strengthen my ITB. What can I do to alleviate the pain? Is it safe to run with these issues, or am I doing lasting damage by continuing to train?
ANSWER: It may be okay to keep running. But to avoid injury, itâ€™s important that you address the problems youâ€™re having on your long runs. Itâ€™s likely that stretching and strengthening will help to relieve the pain. It would also be valuable to have your footwear and running cadence assessed to see if they could be contributing to your discomfort.
Proper stretching is an important part of any exercise program. It can increase flexibility, improve your jointsâ€™ range of motion and reduce the risk of injury. For runners, stretching the quadriceps, hamstrings and iliotibial (ITB) is particularly important to help avoid the type of hip and knee pain youâ€™re experiencing. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Once or twice a week my legs feel â€śjumpy,â€ť to the point that I canâ€™t fall asleep. Is this normal, or could it be restless legs syndrome? Does having restless legs syndrome usually mean that something else is wrong?
ANSWER: If the sensation in your legs is making it hard for you to fall asleep, and itâ€™s happening on a regular basis, you may have restless legs syndrome, or RLS. You may hear it called Willis Ekbom disease, too, based on the names of the physicians who first described this condition. RLS doesnâ€™t lead to other health problems. But it can make it difficult to get a good nightâ€™s sleep. See your doctor to have your condition evaluated. Treatments are available that can often reduce or even eliminate RLS.
Restless legs syndrome is characterized by an unpleasant or uncomfortable urge to move your legs. Some people describe it as a crawling, pulling or burning sensation in the thighs, calves or feet. The sensation is temporarily relieved when you get up and move around or when you shift or stretch your legs. RLS symptoms typically begin in the evening or at night after you have been sitting or lying down for some time. [...]
ANSWER: Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that develops in some people who have psoriasis â€” a chronic skin condition characterized by thickened, reddish patches of skin that are often flecked with dry, white scales. It can cause painful, swollen joints â€” similar to rheumatoid arthritis. Any joint can be affected, and the pain can range from mild to severe. In both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, you may find that symptoms flare up, recede and then flare up again.
People with psoriatic arthritis often feel worn down by the chronic itching and pain that accompany the two diseases. Although thereâ€™s no cure, there are effective treatments that can help relieve the symptoms and even help prevent further joint damage. The sooner therapy is started, the less time the disease has to progress and cause permanent damage to your joints.Â [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I have several varicose veins in my legs that arenâ€™t bothering me other than how they look. My doctor said they are not harmful, but Iâ€™m concerned that they are going to get worse. Does having them mean I am at risk for other health problems? Whatâ€™s the best way to have them treated?
ANSWER: Most of the time, varicose veins are a cosmetic issue. They typically donâ€™t raise your risk for other medical problems. If youâ€™d like to get rid of varicose veins, treatments are available to close or remove them.
A veinâ€™s job is to return blood that has delivered oxygen to the tissues in your body back to your heart, so it can be resupplied with more oxygen and recirculated. Lack of oxygen in the blood within your veins gives veins the noticeable bluish tint that you see through your skin. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: What exactly is the MIND diet, and can it really help prevent dementia? Is it a healthy diet for everyone?
ANSWER: The MIND diet is a combination of two other healthy diets, so it is a healthy option. Results from a recent study show that, over time, older adults who followed the MIND diet appeared to have less cognitive decline, such as memory problems.Â The effect of food on cognitive health has been the subject of research for quite some time. The research has shown that certain foods â€” particularly plant foods, such as green leafy vegetables, nuts and berries â€” can help preserve brain function.
The MIND diet includes a variety of brain-friendly foods. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It includes aspects of a Mediterranean diet, as well as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet. A Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes, whole grains and fish. The DASH diet, often recommended for people who need to lower their blood pressure, emphasizes vegetables, fruit and low-fat dairy foods, along with moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I regularly have heartburn and my doctor is recommending I try a proton pump inhibitor. Can you tell me more about this medication? Are there any risks to taking it?
ANSWER: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are the most effective medications for the treatment of chronic acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) and peptic ulcer. They work by blocking the production of stomach acid â€” too much of which can cause a burning sensation in your chest or throat (heartburn) â€” and by giving damaged tissue in your esophagus time to heal.
Proton pump inhibitors come in prescription and nonprescription strengths. These medications are most commonly taken as a pill once a day, usually about an hour before breakfast. Proton pump inhibitors are generally safe when you use them as directed. But as with any medications, there are potential risks with taking them.
Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors has been associated with a greater risk of infections such as pneumonia and a form of antibiotic-associated diarrhea caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). However, whether proton pump inhibitors are directly responsible hasnâ€™t been proved. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Iâ€™ve developed waxy, brown spots on my skin. Are they potentially dangerous? Whatâ€™s the best way to get rid of them?
ANSWER: What you describe may be seborrheic keratoses â€” commonly referred to as aging spots. Seborrheic keratoses are some of the most common, noncancerous skin growths in older adults. Theyâ€™re not cancerous or precancerous.
Seborrheic keratoses usually appear as brown, black or light tan growths on the face, chest, shoulders or back. The growths have a waxy, scaly, â€śstuck onâ€ť appearance. Occasionally, they appear singly, but multiple growths are more common. Their cause is unclear.
Although they may sometimes be itchy, these growths are typically painless and donâ€™t require treatment. But if they become bothersome or irritated by clothing or you just donâ€™t like the way they look or feel, there are several ways a dermatologist can remove them. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I was recently diagnosed with a herniated disk in my back. Itâ€™s causing quite a bit of pain throughout one of my legs. My doctor says the disk is basically choking the nerves in my lumbar spine. Surgery has been recommended, but Iâ€™m not sure I want surgery. Iâ€™ve heard itâ€™s not always effective. Will my condition worsen without it?
ANSWER: A herniated disk often can be effectively treated without surgery. Medication and physical therapy typically ease the pain and discomfort caused by a herniated disk. But in some cases, particularly when the injured disk is compressing a nerve, surgery may be helpful.
Spinal disks are a special kind of joint located between the spine bones, called vertebrae, that stack up to create your spine. The disks serve as cushions between the vertebrae. They have a soft center wrapped within tougher exterior layers. A herniated disk happens when some of the softer material pushes out through a crack in the outer layers of the disk. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Iâ€™ve been on blood pressure medication for nine months. It has lowered my blood pressure, but Iâ€™m having trouble with side effects like dizziness. I eat a healthy diet and walk every day, but want to know if there are other ways to lower my blood pressure so that hopefully I can stop taking this medicine. I am only 57.
ANSWER: Youâ€™re on the right track. Eating well and staying active are two good ways to help control blood pressure. But there are more steps you can take that can make a difference and could eliminate your need for blood pressure medication.
Blood pressure is a measure of how much resistance there is to blood flow through your arteries. Itâ€™s recorded as two numbers: a top number and a bottom number. The top is called systolic pressure â€” the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number is diastolic pressure â€” the pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest between beats.
Blood pressure generally is considered too high when the top number is more than 140 or the bottom number is more than 85. High blood pressure can lead to serious medical problems, including kidney disorders, heart attack, stroke and heart failure, among others. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: How much sleep should teenagers be getting, and how does it affect their health if they are sleep deprived? My daughter is 16 and only sleeps about six hours each night during the week. She says she isnâ€™t tired and makes up for it by sleeping in on the weekends, but I am worried itâ€™s affecting her ability to concentrate at school.
ANSWER: Youâ€™re right. Your daughter needs more sleep. To be well-rested and to help them stay healthy, teenagers need about nine to nine-and-a-half hours of sleep each night.
Healthy sleep is important for many reasons. It can fight stress, improve mood and attitude, and provide energy. When teens are well-rested, they can concentrate, learn, listen and think better than when theyâ€™re tired. That can improve school participation and performance. Healthy sleep also contributes to a healthy body, helping it run the way it should.
Unfortunately, many teens donâ€™t get the sleep they need. One of the big reasons is that the bodyâ€™s internal clock shifts during the teen years. In the preteen years, the hormone melatonin, which signals to the body that itâ€™s time to sleep, is released into the bloodstream earlier in the evening. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis about 12 years ago. I havenâ€™t had many symptoms over the years, but about six months ago I started noticing increasing discomfort in my legs. Is surgery an option to treat spinal stenosis? If not, what else can I do? The leg pain is making it hard for me to walk.
ANSWER: Surgery usually isnâ€™t necessary to treat spinal stenosis. Often a combination of lifestyle changes, physical therapy and medication can effectively decrease the pain and discomfort caused by this common back problem.
Spinal stenosis occurs when the open space within your spine narrows, causing pressure and irritation to the nerve tissue. It can happen for a variety of reasons, but most of the time spinal stenosis is a result of aging and the buildup of arthritis. In some cases, spinal stenosis does not cause any symptoms and may be found during a medical test done for another reason. Spinal stenosis, and the nerve compression that is associated with it, tends to develop slowly. Over time, it can put pressure on your spinal cord and the nerves that travel through the spine to your arms and legs, and possibly cause symptoms.
If the nerves affected are in your neck â€” the part of your spine called the cervical spine â€” that may cause numbness, weakness or tingling in an arm or hand, or trouble with coordination in a leg or foot. It often causes problems with walking and balance. Nerves to your bladder or bowel can be affected, too. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Iâ€™m a 57 year-old woman and am so warm all the time that I donâ€™t even wear a coat in the winter, just a heavy sweater.Â I sweat so much that it drips off my nose sometimes, and if I do any kind of physical activity â€” even just a short walk â€” I start sweating. It is uncomfortable but it is also embarrassing, and I stay away from social situations because of it. Is there anything that can be done for this? I donâ€™t see other women having this problem.
ANSWER: Excessive sweating such as you describe is called hyperhidrosis. Rest assured, effective treatment is available. In order to decide on the best treatment options for you, you will need a thorough evaluation with your doctor to review your symptoms and check for an underlying medical condition that could be contributing to the problem.
The most common form of hyperhidrosis is called primary focal (or essential) hyperhidrosis. It happens when excess sweating is not triggered by a rise in temperature or physical activity. There is no medical cause for it and it tends to mainly affect the palms, face and soles of the feet, although in some cases it can involve the entire body.
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Iâ€™ve had heavy bleeding with bad cramps for almost two months and was recently diagnosed with uterine fibroids. My doctor prescribed hormone treatment, which helped with the bleeding for a couple weeks,
but when I stopped taking it due to negative side effects the bleeding started again. What are my other options for treatment? I am 31.
ANSWER: When uterine fibroids cause symptoms such as bleeding and cramping, treatment is either directed at managing the symptoms, as is the case with hormone therapy, or it is focused on shrinking or removing the fibroids themselves. Treatment choices are typically based on severity of symptoms, as well as the size and location of the fibroids.
Uterine fibroids are growths of the uterus that are not cancer. These firm masses can range from tiny and almost undetectable to large and bulky. Many women have uterine fibroids without knowing it because about 70 percent donâ€™t have any symptoms.
When uterine fibroids do cause symptoms, those youâ€™ve experienced â€” bleeding and cramping â€” are the most common. Uterine fibroids can also lead to increased urinary frequency, constipation and a feeling of pressure within the pelvic area. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My mother was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer a few weeks ago. She had surgery and is about to begin chemotherapy, and Iâ€™ve read that sometimes chemo is more effective if it is given directly in the abdomen.Â Is this commonly done, and should I ask her doctor about it? Also, why is radiation not part of her treatment plan?
ANSWER: Treatment for ovarian cancer at the stage of your motherâ€™s diagnosis typically includes a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy was used for ovarian cancer in the past, but today it is uncommon because the other two treatments have been shown to be more effective for this type of cancer.
Ovarian cancer is a rare cancer. About 22,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, compared to several hundred thousand cases of breast cancer. It begins in the ovaries â€” the two small organs on either side of the uterus that create eggs, or ova, and make the hormones progesterone and estrogen. Cancer that looks and behaves like ovarian cancer can also start in the fallopian tubes or the lining of the pelvis or abdomen, called the peritoneum. All three of these cancers are treated the same way â€” with surgery and chemotherapy â€” and they are all often referred to as "ovarian cancer." [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Six years ago, at age 37, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a lumpectomy. I remained cancer-free until nine months ago, when the cancer returned. This time I opted for a double mastectomy without reconstruction.
If I decide to have breast reconstruction down the road, are my options limited since I didnâ€™t have it done right away?Â What type of reconstruction would you recommend for someone like me?
ANSWER: In general, breast reconstruction surgery falls into two categories. The first involves using a womanâ€™s own tissue taken from another area of the body to form new breast mounds. This is called autologous breast reconstruction. The second uses breast implants to reshape the breasts.
If you decide to have breast reconstruction at some point, the standard treatment option based on your history would be autologous reconstruction. It would offer you the best chance for a successful outcome with the lowest risk of complications. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My daughter is 19 and was recently diagnosed with Crohnâ€™s disease. What is considered a flare-up? Her symptoms seem to be quite mild so far. Is it possible that this will continue, or do they usually worsen with time?
ANSWER: Crohnâ€™s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract lining. This inflammation can involve any part of the digestive tract, but itâ€™s most common in the lower portion of the small intestine and in the large intestine. Unlike ulcerative colitis (another inflammatory condition), Crohnâ€™s disease usually affects the entire thickness of the bowel wall.
People with Crohnâ€™s disease typically have intermittent symptoms due to active inflammation. These are called flares. The flares usually alternate with periods of remission when thereâ€™s no active inflammation or symptoms. A flare may happen if a person with Crohnâ€™s disease doesnâ€™t take medication as prescribed, develops certain infections, receives antibiotics, or takes pain medications, including aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Stress also may trigger a flare and result in symptoms of Crohnâ€™s disease becoming worse. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Why is it that so many kids these days have peanut allergies? I donâ€™t remember it being an issue even 20 years ago. Is it something most kids will grow out of? I have heard of children doing a peanut allergy study to â€ścureâ€ť them of their allergy. What does that involve?
ANSWER: Youâ€™re correct that the number of children with peanut allergies has increased significantly over the last several decades. Although researchers have several theories, at this time thereâ€™s no definitive explanation for the increase. A variety of studies are currently underway to better understand peanut allergies and to help find more effective ways of treating them.
Over the last several decades, the prevalence of peanut allergies in children in the United States has more than tripled. The reasons behind this dramatic increase are unclear. Lifestyle, diet choices and genetics all seem to play a role. [...]
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Every few weeks my toddler will develop a fever that lasts a couple of days but then goes away. Other than the fever, she doesnâ€™t have any other symptoms. Could it be periodic fever syndrome? How is that diagnosed, and is treatment for it different than treating a â€śnormalâ€ť fever in kids?
ANSWER: From your description, it sounds like your child could have periodic fever syndrome. Make an appointment with her doctor to have the condition evaluated. A diagnosis of periodic fever syndrome is based on symptoms. Effective treatment is available.
A fever is a rise in body temperature. Itâ€™s often a sign of infection, but not always. The fever itself generally doesnâ€™t cause any harm. In fact, it can act as a protective mechanism, helping to rid the body of bacteria, viruses and other causes of infection.
Average body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37 degrees Celsius. But normal body temperature can range from 97 F (36.1 C) to 99 F (37.2 C) or higher. Body temperature may change depending on a personâ€™s level of activity and the time of day. In general, younger people have higher normal body temperatures than older people. [...]