Tag Archives: Conditions and Diseases

Straight, No Chaser: Bacterial Vaginosis – No, That’s Not a STD

BV1

I try to give you straight talk but never crudely. As I’ve discussed conditions involving the genitalia, I’ve been mindful of the reality that large numbers of you have been affected by sexual transmitted diseases/infections (aka STDs/STIs), and I will always be respectful of that consideration. That doesn’t mean I’m sugar-coating your information, it just means I am aware that you’re suffering and concerned by different scenarios.

bv anyone

One of those is bacterial vaginosis. There is an age after which women invariably start discovering that various things they do can disrupt the appearance, smell and content of their vaginal fluid. It’s certainly human nature to wonder if something has gone terribly wrong. Let’s pick up our Doctor-Couple conversation from earlier

Patient: Yep! I have this grayish/whitish discharge that only happens after sex. And sometimes it itches around there. And it burns when I pee! No rashes or that other stuff, though.

Doctor: Ok. Let’s examine you…

bv thrush

All humans have various microorganisms that normally reside inside us at relatively low levels; different microorganisms inhabit different parts of the body. They’ve set up a delicate balance (like an ecosystem, if you will) that, once settled doesn’t disturb us (their hosts) at all. If external or internal circumstances disturb that balance such that one set of organisms is disproportionately affected, overgrowth of the other organisms may occur. Many of you will recognize this as happening when you get a ‘yeast’ infection. It’s also what occurs when you develop bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is the most common vaginal infection in the U.S. It’s more likely to be seen when you start having unprotected sex with a new partner, have multiple sex partners, are pregnant or douche (therefore, women who are not sexually active can have BV also). By the way, you don’t get BV from toilet seats or swimming pools.

bv causes

The question everyone always has is “What’s the role of sex, especially sperm, in it?”. That’s asked because BV is often noticed after unprotected sex that includes ejaculation. Here’s where you learn the difference between ‘sexually transmitted’ and ‘sexually associated’. It is unclear what role sex has in the development of BV, but common thoughts include alterations in the pH of the vaginal fluid based on interactions with sperm/semen. It is known that the pH of women become more alkaline (less acidic) after exposure to semen, and that environment produces compounds causing the ‘fishy smell’. Yes, that’s real.  We even have a real thing call a ‘whiff test’ as part of making the diagnosis.

The good news is BV is easily treated. The bad news is it needs to be treated, and it can recur even if it’s treated. Remember, it’s just an overgrowth syndrome.  There are complications to not getting BV treated, especially if you’re pregnant. This makes it especially important that medication be taken to completion, even though you may feel better prior to that. Male partners do not need to be treated.

So this couple gets ‘off the hook’, even though they may decide to start using condoms.  Next we will focus on the risks of various sexual activities. Stay tuned.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Genital/Urinary, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Straight, No Chaser: Toxic Shock Syndrome

toxicShock1

Straight, No Chaser has addressed Staphylococcus (aka Staph) infections on several occasions; in fact, Staph is the microorganism that is responsible for all those MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staph Aureus) infections that the general public holds in such fear. Toxic shock syndrome is also primarily caused by Staph. The early take home message is you just don’t want to get this infection, and you would really do well to learn and practice preventive measures to avoid Staph infections. You may not have known it, but part of your big talks with your children about hygiene (e.g. feminine hygiene and keeping objects out of your body) occur with this in mind.

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a very serious disease combining fever, shock and dysfunction of several bodily organ systems. There was a time when TSS was a much bigger deal, back when extra absorbent tampon usage was very high. Tampon usage has declined as the dominant cause of TSS, but TSS cases are still around and are every bit as dangerous. The toxic part of the name refers to Staph (or in a similar syndrome, an organism called Streptococcus) releasing a toxin that travels through the body causing havoc. Picture a microorganism releasing a series of hand grenades into your blood stream, and you’ll get the picture.

Having an infection is not enough to develop toxic shock syndrome; not everyone with a Staph infection develops TSS. Here are risks for developing the disease.

 toxicshocksyndrome6

  • Burns
  • Menstruation
  • Presence of foreign bodies or packings (e.g. “lost” tampons, surgical tissues or any other objects in your body parts, nasal packings used to treat nosebleeds)
  • Recent childbirth
  • Staph infection
  • Surgery
  • Tampon use (especially if you leave one in for a long time)
  • Wound infection after surgery

 toxicshockhands

There’s not a lot of guesswork with a patient with toxic shock syndrome. The other meaning of toxic in the name is patients are very ill. By the time they come in for treatment, they tend to be confused with a low blood pressure. They may exhibit nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. High fever, chills, muscles, headaches and a violent-appearing rash resembling sunburn are to be expected. Untreated, the toxins can cause seizures and failure of multiple organ systems of the body.

Treatment of toxic shock syndrome is complicated and critical, addressing a critically ill patient in shock, preserving the body’s organ systems, treating an infection, removing any foreign objects found and draining any infections (such as a surgical wound). Patients with toxic shock syndrome often find themselves in intensive care units, and the mortality rate (those who die) approaches 50%.

Your best bet in avoiding toxic shock syndrome is practicing good hygiene and avoiding the use of highly absorbent tampons. If you do use tampons, change them frequently (as directed); it’s just not a good idea to leave them in for extra periods of time trying to be frugal. Similarly the presence of any other cloth material retained anywhere inside of you (e.g. objects broken off in the ear, certain types of vaginal or anal instrumentation) is to be avoided. If you ever receive a nasal packing for a nosebleed, you should be placed on antibiotics at the same time. Be diligent after surgery, looking for any signs of fever or infection at the surgical site. Get significant burns treated.

This is something you should think about. Your simple steps of prevention really can be life-saving. I welcome your questions.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Infectious Disease, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Straight, No Chaser: Irritable Bowel Syndrome

irritable_bowel11

The irony of the name “irritable bowel syndrome” (IBS) is found in the connection between stress (in some cases, irritability) and symptoms. This can become a vicious cycle. You care about this condition because once you or your loved ones become afflicted, the symptoms involved present an uncomfortable mix of physical and mental discomfort. As you read this Straight, No Chaser, do so with a mind toward overcoming the anxiety associated with and possibly causing symptoms.

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? 

IBS is a gastrointestinal (digestive tract) disorder. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract isn’t damaged but symptoms are caused by changes in how the GI tract works. It is important to note that IBS is a group of symptoms that occur together, not a disease. At different points in the past, IBS was called colitis, mucous colitis, spastic colon, nervous colon, and spastic bowel.

How frequent is IBS?

In most studies, estimates of the frequency of IBS range from 10-15 percent. IBS affects about twice as many women as men, and it is most often found in people younger than age 45.

ibs sx

What are the symptoms of IBS?

The most common symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, often described as cramping. This is typically accompanied with changes in bowel habits. Other symptoms of IBS may include bloating, constipation or diarrhea, passing mucus or feeling that a bowel movement is incomplete.

To specifically meet the criteria for a diagnosis of IBS, the pain or discomfort will be associated with at least two of the following three symptoms:

  • bowel movements that occur more or less often than usual
  • stool that appears less solid and more watery, or harder and more lumpy, than usual
  • bowel movements that improve the discomfort

What causes IBS?

The causes of IBS are not well understood. Current medical evidence points to a combination of physical and mental health problems.

ibs

How is IBS diagnosed?

There is no test to diagnose IBS; it’s not a disease. Your physician will make the diagnosis based on a complete history, a physical exam and exclusion of other diseases. Although some symptoms will have been present for at least six months, IBS is diagnosed when abdominal pain or discomfort has been present at least three times a month for three consecutive months without other disease or injury that could explain the pain.

IBS-STRESS-management

How is IBS treated?

Though IBS does not have a cure, the symptoms can be treated with changes in eating, diet, and nutrition, medications, probiotics and therapies for any mental health issues. Details on management of IBS can be obtained at http://www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Gastrointestinal

Straight, No Chaser: STDs – Syphilis, The Great Mimicker

Today, Straight, No Chaser will present two phrases that you may not have previously heard: The Great Mimicker and MSM, and that means we’re discussing what has historically been a devastating disease: syphilis. Historically, syphilis really is the most important sexually transmitted disease (For what it’s worth, it’s thought that Columbus’ crew spread the disease between the Americas and Europe.). The great mimicker nickname as applied to syphilis exists because syphilis has many general symptoms that resemble and are often confused with other diseases. MSM points to the fact that treatment in the early stages is so complete that syphilis had been rapidly in decline – until it’s reemergence in a specific population. It is estimated that well over 60% of reported early stage cases of syphilis occurs in men who have sex with men (MSM).

In this review, I want to specifically address the symptoms, which are impressively and dramatically different depending on the stage.

syphilis1

Stage I – Primary Syphilis: Primary syphilis usually presents with the presence of a single, painless sore (a chancre), located wherever it was contracted. As pictured above, the head (glans) of the penis is a typical site. The sore disappears in 3-6 weeks (with or without treatment), and if treatment wasn’t received, the disease progresses. Herein lies the problems. Because it’s painless, you ignore it, perhaps thinking it was a friction sore, or you never gave it much of a thought. Because it went away on its own, you forget about it, thinking that it got better. So sad, so wrong…

syphilis2Syphilis-hands

Stage II – Secondary Syphilis: When syphilis returns days to weeks (more typically) after the primary infection, it does so quite dramatically. Rashes can appear everywhere, including across your back (as noted above) and chest to on your palms and soles, in your mouth, groin, vagina, anus, or armpits. The rash could be warts (condyloma lata) or flat. You should be scared, but you might not be because… the rash and the other symptoms again will disappear on its own. Despite what you may think intuitively, you really don’t want that to happen.

Latent Syphilis: Dormant syphilis can stay that way for decades after secondary syphilis has occurred. What you don’t know can hurt you. Syphilis can be transmitted during the earlier portion of latent phases, including to an unborn child.

Syphilis3

Tertiary Syphilis: Late stage syphilis is a disturbing thing to see (and obviously experience). The disease can result in death, causing damage to the brain, heart, liver, bones, joints, eyes, the nervous system and blood vessels. Before it kills you, it can result in blindness, paralysis, dementia and loss of motor control. If you don’t know how the research discovering all of this was conducted, for now I’ll just say it was one of the most shameful acts of medical history. I’ll blog on it later. The individuals in the above picture were alive when these pictures were taken, by the way.

A special note: The microorganism causing syphilis is rather aggressive, so much so that it can be transmitted by oral, anal or genital sexual contact. By oral, I also mean kissing. Pay attention to those oral sores. Furthermore, syphilis gets transmitted from mother to unborn child. This is a devastating occurrence – if untreated, a child may be born prematurely, with low birth weight or even stillborn. If untreated, once born, a child may suffer deafness, seizures and cataracts before death.

Prevention and Treatment Considerations: Advanced syphilis is especially disheartening because it is so easily treated and prevented. Prevention is as simple as always wearing condoms, being in a monogamous relationship with someone confirmed not to have it, checking your sexual partner prior to sex and not engaging in sex if any type of sore/ulcer is in the mouth, genitalia or anal region. Regarding treatment, syphilis once upon a time was quite the plague until penicillin was discovered; treating syphilis is how penicillin ‘made a name’ for itself. Treatment with penicillin easily kills syphilis but unfortunately does nothing for damage that has already occurred. Remember that treating syphilis at any point can prevent the most severe complications that lead to death.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness

Straight, No Chaser: STDs – Multidrug Resistant Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea threat

This post is the second of two discussing gonorrhea. Today we discuss multidrug resistant gonorrhea. That’s right. There are new strains of gonorrhea emerging and spreading, as if the existing strains weren’t devastating enough already.

The development of multidrug resistant gonorrhea has occurred. Gonorrhea has affected humans for centuries, and the organism causing it has been identified for over one hundred years. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 468,500 cases of gonorrhea in the U.S. alone in 2016. That represents an increase of 48.6% since the record low in 2009. (On a tangential note, this represents another significant cause of health care disparities; Blacks are 17 times more likely to be affected that Whites. This isn’t just due to behavioral patterns. In fact, it’s largely due to the asymptomatic nature of gonorrhea and the relative lack of access to care among Blacks, impacting ability to get treated).

Gonorrhea has proven itself to be especially wily. We’ve had access to effective antibiotics against it since the 1930s. Still, it continues to plague us. In the 1940s, the 1970s, and again in the 1990s, gonorrhea mutated and developed immunity to treatments that had been effective. In addition most cases of gonorrhea don’t cause symptoms, allowing itself to be spread in a “stealth” manner (Read: get checked).

 gonorrhea

Even more so than other instances of gonorrhea resistance, this instance poses especially concerning dangers. Treatment of multi-drug resistant gonorrhea infections (particularly those resistant to the standard of care medicine ceftriaxone) will be much more complicated that it had been previously. Specifically, there is no ready replacement on standby that can be administered in emergency rooms, offices and clinics as easily as a simple shot of ceftriaxone is. Our most recent magic bullet is going by the wayside. Other available treatments also have varying degrees of emerging resistance and thus are likely to be sporadically ineffective. Until on-site testing is put in place that allows determination of susceptibility to various treatment regimens, patients infected with gonorrhea will run the risk of receiving medicines that are no longer effective. Current and future treatment regimens will involve the use of more than one medicine and higher doses of medicine than had previously been effective.

 PHIL_3766

This brings to mind two important points. Gonorrhea is not just an infection that affects sexual organs. It produces devastating consequences throughout the body, including the facilitation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission (i.e. the presence of gonorrhea makes acquiring HIV easier). It also causes serious reproductive complications in women, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. It causes eye infections in newborns (they pick it up from mom) and infected persons who rub their eyes or otherwise place their fingers in their eyes without appropriate hand washing. Either failure to get treated or receiving ineffective treatment is a precarious situation.

 condom

Of course, this also creates and reinforces the urgency of practicing safe sexual behaviors. Straight, No Chaser has multiple postings on safe sex and best practices of preventing sexually transmitted infections. Here is a summary post for your review. Of course you can type any topic in the search engine for greater ability to explore these topics.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Genital/Urinary, Infectious Disease, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Straight, No Chaser: Public Health Has Saved More Lives Than Medical Care

healthweek

When I tell most people I have a degree in public health, the typical response involves an assumption that public health involves caring exclusively for the indigent. I guess if you watched the news you could get that impression as well. Public health is the discipline dedicated to optimizing care for populations. Over the course of my career, I’ve cared for a lot of patients as a physician, and I’ve actually saved a few lives. However, the work I’ve done as a public health professional has affected millions. The opportunity to work in public health is extremely gratifying.

public health

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the field of public health has been responsible for adding 25 years to the life expectancy of U.S. citizens over the 20th century. In this post I’d like to review the “Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century.” Hopefully, this will cause you to reflect on how these discoveries, innovations and habit promotion affect your life and provide you opportunities to live a healthier life. These are being presented in no particular order.

Top10AchievementsPH

  1. Control of infectious diseases: The combination of hand washing, improved sanitation and appropriate use of antibiotics has saved untold millions. Examples of once prominent diseases being much better controlled include cholera, tuberculosis and even sexually transmitted infections.
  2. Decrease in deaths from heart disease and stroke: The combination of risk modification, symptoms recognition and early treatment has contributed to a reduction in death rates by over 50% in the last four decades.
  3. Family planning and contraceptive services: Innovations include barrier contraception to prevent pregnancy and transmission of HIV and other STDs, pre-pregnancy screening and counseling, promotion of smaller family size, longer intervals between children and the development of prenatal assessment.
  4. Food safety and healthier food production: Food safety has involved reduction in contaminated food sources, better portion control, improvement of nutrition and appropriate components of meals. Fortification of foods has nearly eliminated once prominent diseases such as rickets, goiters and pellagra.
  5. Fluoridation of drinking water: Multiple benefits exists including better infectious control and prevention of tooth decay. It’s estimated to have reduced tooth decay and loss by 40-70% since its inception in the 1940s.
  6. Healthy mothers and babies: It is astounding that infant mortality rates dropped 90% and maternal mortality rates dropped 99% during the last century. The combination of better prenatal care, technological advances and better hygiene and nutrition all have played an important role.
  7. Motor vehicle safety: Seat belts, child safety seats, motorcycle helmets, speed limits, air bags, safer highways and reduction in drinking and driving have all led to substantial reductions in deaths from motor vehicle crashes.
  8. Recognition of tobacco as a health hazard: Today there are more former smokers than current smokers and untold million of lives have been saved since the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on the health risks of smoking.
  9. Vaccinations: It wasn’t long ago in history when epidemics of measles, polio and influenza were killing tens of thousands of people annually. Rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, Hemophilus and other diseases have been brought under control. Smallpox has been eradicated as a disease due to immunizations.
  10. Workplace safety: Elimination of workplace health hazards such as black lung (coal workers’ pneumoconiosis), silicosis, asbestos poisoning and reductions in injuries related to occupational hazards have reduced fatal occupational injuries by approximately 40% in the last 30 years.

Public_Health_Ounce

These efforts don’t occur by accident and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Public health is a clear example of important, appropriate and effective societal collaboration for the betterment of us all. Next time you see a public health professional, give her or him a pat on the back. More importantly, take the time to review the above listing and be sure you’ve incorporated the items into your life.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Public Health

Straight, No Chaser: The Spectrum and Specter of Autism

autism_month_moving

Autism. Small word. Big effects on families. Previously, we discussed the scope and recent explosion of autism diagnoses. Here we delve into the disorders. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) isn’t a disease as much as it is a range of disorders characterized by neurological effects affecting one’s development. These effects include communication difficulties, social impairments and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped behavioral patterns. There is a wide variation in the expression of ASD and cases may be mild or severe. ASD occurs in all ethnic, socioeconomic and age groups. You may have seen or heard of variations of ASD, particularly the following:

 ASD

  • Autistic disorder (aka autism, classical ASD): This is the most severe form of ASD.
  • Asperger syndrome: This diagnosis may be given to children with autistic behaviors who retain well-developed language skills.
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder: Childhood disintegrative disorder is diagnosed in children who had developed normally and then suddenly deteriorated (typically between three to 10 years old), showing marked autistic behaviors.
  • Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS): This is a diagnosis given to those children with some symptoms of an ASD but not enough to be diagnosed with classical autism.

Although the cause of ASD is not known, it’s likely that both genetics and environmental factors play a role. Brain abnormalities in those affected suggest that ASD could result from the disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development. This notion is supported by the consistent discovery of defects in genes that control brain growth and that regulate how brain cells communicate with each other. The presence of certain environmental factors can further influence the expression of the function of these genes.

It is important to note the theory that parental practices are responsible for ASD has long been disproved.

Furthermore, twin and family studies strongly suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition to autism.  Identical twin studies show that if one twin is affected, there is up to a 90% chance the other twin will be affected.  Evidence also suggests that certain emotional disorders (e.g., bipolar disorder) occur more frequently than average in the families of people with ASD.

Autism_awareness

Regarding symptoms, the hallmark feature of ASD is impaired social interaction, which may be manifested in several ways:

  • Babies with ASD may focus exclusively on one item for inordinately long periods of time, completely ignoring other people or objects.
  • A child with ASD may appear to have developed normally, then suddenly withdraw and become indifferent to social activity.
  • Children with ASD may fail to respond to their names and often avoid eye contact with other people.
  • Children with ASD often have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they can’t understand social cues (e.g., tone of voice or facial expressions) and don’t watch other people’s faces for clues about appropriate behavior.
  • Those with an ASD may lack empathy.

Other typical symptoms include the following:

  • Repetitive movements such as rocking or twirling
  • Self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging
  • Delayed speech
  • Speaking in a sing-song voice while limiting speech to a small group of favorite topics
  • Referring to self by name instead of “I” or “me”
  • Inability to play interactively with other children
  • Epilepsy (seizure disorder), seen in approximately 20-30% of children with ASD

Of course, you don’t want to wait long to get a child evaluated. Here is a laundry list of signs that an evaluation is necessary.

  • no babbling or pointing by age one
  • no single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by age two
  • no response to name
  • loss of language or social skills
  • poor eye contact
  • excessive lining up of toys or objects
  • no smiling or social responsiveness
  • impaired ability to make friends with peers
  • impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
  • absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
  • stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language
  • restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus
  • preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
  • inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals

If you have a loved one with suggestive symptoms, please arrange for early evaluation. The team involved will often have to address speed, psychiatric and neurological needs. Screening, early evaluation and treatment across the spectrum of symptoms offers the best opportunity for those affected to approximate a normal life.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Mental Health, Pediatrics/Kids Health