Straight, No Chaser: Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)

 athletesfoot1

Athlete’s foot is one of those topics that everyone seems to know a little about but not enough to really understand. If your level of knowledge is “scaly, itchy rash on the feet = go to the pharmacy,” you need to empower yourself with some Straight, No Chaser answers to these frequently asked questions about athlete’s foot.

What puts me at risk for athlete’s foot?

athletes_foot_toe

  • If you frequently wear socks that are or become moist
  • If you frequently wear tight shoes
  • If you have diabetes, lupus, chronically take steroids or have another illness that lowers your immunity
  • If you’re male
  • If you’re with someone in the midst of a fungal infection and share bed sheets, carpeting, rugs, or shoes with them
  • If you’re barefoot while exposed in public areas such as showers, saunas or swimming pools

What causes athlete’s foot?

Tinea pedis (aka athlete’s foot) is a fungal infection. Tinea is the same family of fungi that produces the conditions known as jock itch and ringworm.

What are the symptoms of athlete’s foot?

Athletes foot-1

Look for a dry, scaly rash that most often is noticed between your toes. It produces itching and burning. It can progress to include blisters and/or ulcers.

Is athlete’s foot contagious? How is it spread?

athletesfootrisks

Athlete’s foot is very contagious and is usually spread by floors, clothes, towels, bed sheets or rugs. Your hands can play a role in spreading it as well. Picking at the lesions with your hands can infect them and further spread the fungus to your groin or your nails.

What should I do to prevent athlete’s foot? 

Try these simple tips.

  • Wear clean socks that you change regularly or anytime they become wet.
  • Keep your feet dry. Regarding prevention, barefoot and dry is infinitely better than covering your feet with sweaty socks.
  • Avoid vinyl or rubber shoes, as these retard ventilation and promote fungal growth.
  • Don’t wear the same shoes every day. They need to dry out.
  • Don’t share shoes.
  • Wear shower shoes or waterproof sandals in public places.

When should I see a doctor? How can athlete’s foot be treated?

athletes-foot1

Here are some principles to care for and treat athlete’s foot.

  • If you have diabetes or a lowered immunity, see a physician immediately upon onset of athlete’s foot.
  • If you have athlete’s foot and develop pronounced or prolonged redness, swelling, warmth, fever or drainage, you should see a physician as soon as possible.
  • If you have normal immunity, it is reasonable to try an over-the-counter medication; these come in lotions, ointments, powders or sprays.
  • If you have athlete’s foot resistant to self-help efforts after a few weeks, you should see a physician.

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

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

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.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under General Health and Wellness, Skin/Dermatology

Straight, No Chaser: Foot Corns and Calluses

Corns and callous 3

It’s really not my intention to be corny or callous here, but it’s almost in the name. This Straight, No Chaser looks at two very common problems of the feet.

First things first: even though “you know it when you see it,” let’s be clear what we’re describing, because although both corns and calluses can result from pressure and/or friction such as that occurring from tight-fitting shoes, loosely fitting high-heeled shoes or not wearing socks. However, there are differences between the two.

Corn

  • Corns are painful, smaller lesions that typically have a hard center with inflamed skin surrounding it. The presence of this inflamed skin suggests corns will hurt when pressure is applied. Corns usually aren’t seen on weight-bearing parts of the foot (although they can be), so if this is happening on the sides or toe of your toes, it is likely a corn.

Callus3-300x284

  • Calluses are typically larger and usually painless lesions, although they can have a range of sizes. They usually develop on the soles of your feet, especially under the heels or balls, on your palms, or on your knees. Calluses vary in size and shape and are often larger than corns.

In short, if your feet have any type of raised, hard lesion, any thickened, dry or scaly skin, or area of tenderness or pain with or without these symptoms should be a cause for concern.

Perhaps the most important considerations for you are to know what you can do to address these conditions yourself and when to see your physician.

Here are some self-help efforts you may attempt at home to prevent and address those corns and calluses. If you’re diabetic, you shouldn’t be attempting to treat these conditions on your own because of the increased incidence of infection and risks of amputation.

  • Moisturize. Keeping your skin soft prevents much of the friction that can be at the root of corn and callus formation. Moisturizing also facilitates removal of thickened skin. This can involve soaking as well as using lotions.
  • Avoid tight shoes and wear comfortable socks. This will help you prevent and address corn or callus issues. Here’s a simple tip: your shoes are too tight if you can’t wiggle your toes.
  • Use pads. Simple over-the-counter pads can cushion the impact between shoes and your skin.
  • Thin affected areas. After bathing or other moisturizing efforts, tough skin can be removed with objects such as an emery board, nail file or pumice stone.

Corns_and_Calluses

Here are some cues that your corn or callus needs to be addressed.

  • If you have diabetes, vascular disease or have been otherwise told that you have poor blood flow
  • If your pain is beyond your ability to control it on your own

Medical treatment for corns and calluses will involve optimizing the preventive mentioned previously, use of shoe inserts and consideration of medicinal and surgical options. The medical and surgical options aren’t necessarily first-line thoughts, but they are more likely to be considered if additional foot issues exist. As is often the case, your best option is prevention.

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

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

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.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Leave a comment

Filed under General Health and Wellness

Straight, No Chaser: Ingrown Toenails

ingrown-nail

The overwhelming majority of cases of ingrown toenails I see come from people chewing on their toenails. So the really, really Quick Tip is keep your feet out of your mouth. If only it was that simple.

Ingrown toenails themselves aren’t the problem. The resulting skin infection and pain are what bring you in to the emergency room. The ingrown toenail is caused by the nail burrowing into the skin of the toe instead of growing out and over it. I’ve always found it interesting that people wait so long for such things, but in this instance, if you are going to wait, there actually are things you can do to potentially make it better. You’ll know you need to do this if you have a red, swollen, painful toe and especially short toenails.

  • Soak your feet two-three times a day for 15 minutes at a time.
  • Attempt to lift the nail by placing cotton or dental floss under the toenail after you soak. The goal is to get that nail corner above the skin.
  • Wear open-toed shoes. This is not the time when you’d want to have any pressure on your toes.
  • Place a topical antibiotic on the area.

ingrown_toenail

Have you ever seen a bad ingrown toenail get removed? If you have, you’ll likely agree that it’s a deterrent to having another one. Treatment usually involves lots of local anesthesia (i.e. needles) and partial manual removal of the toenail. It’s not a good day when this has to happen. By the way, the above picture is what your toe looks like after repair!

So, you can avoid this fate. Just follow a few simple steps to avoid it in the first place.

  • Don’t bite your nails. Doing so just adds the risk of really bad types of bacteria to the mix for when the infection occurs.
  • Don’t cut your toenail so short that you can’t see some of the white tips. Be sure to let the corners extend past the skin.
  • Don’t wear excessively tight shoes that literally smash your toes onto themselves.

Here’s a final note: if you’re diabetic or have another cause of a compromised immune system, these infections can spread rapidly and extend into the bone – these infections are very serious. In some cases this has led to amputated toes. If an ingrown toenail happens to you, I’d suggest getting seen sooner rather than later.

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

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

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.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Leave a comment

Filed under Infectious Disease, Skin/Dermatology

Straight No Chaser In The News: The Real Costs of the American Health Care Act

This blog strives to provide medical and public health information – not to serve a political agenda or display any other forms of bias. It is not a means of generating income or serving sponsors. It is with that in mind that I ask our tens of thousands of readers and supporters to consider the following five truisms you should think about deeper that the ongoing slogans would have you do. With a Congressional vote coming today, forget what you’ve heard about the American Health Care Act (AHCA) being Obamacare-light (aka Affordable Care Act, ACA). There are monumental differences between the two. This is literally your life (and how you’ll protect it) that is being placed at risk.

  • The price of healthcare is going to continue to go up no matter what. Healthcare is an industry run by corporations, not the government. As such, corporations have a responsibility to their shareholders to generate as much profit as possible. This fact will remain the same under any plan that does not include a government-run consideration such as “Medicaid for all.”
  • The rate of rise of healthcare costs went down under the Affordable Care Act. One of the major goals and accomplishments of the ACA (aka Obamacare) is although costs continued to rise, it did so at the lowest rates in generations – this was by design. Consider this: according to FactCheck.org, during President Bush’s last six years in office, the average family insurance premiums increased 58% ($4,677). During President Obama, premiums went up by 33% ($4,154). Yes, costs went up (a lot), but the rate of rise slowed – and for what it’s worth, it’s amazing that no one ever seems to get much upset at insurance companies and other for-profit entities that actually are behind the increases in cost. The ACA never was insurance. It was an insurance marketplace where insurance companies agreed to provide insurance and compete for your business. You might as well be mad at the government for the cost of fast food. It’s a distraction.

  • A common refrain is “the costs of healthcare will go down!” Well, that’s government cost due to so many people losing their insurance. The cost of healthcare to you individually would skyrocket under the proposed AHCA (American Health Care Act). There are several reasons why. First of all, 24 million of you won’t have insurance, so you’ll be paying cash. Guess what? Cash rates are way higher than the rates charged to insurance companies. Also, those of you who don’t have insurance will be using the emergency rooms a lot. Well, the cost of ER visits is approximately seven times that of a family practice visit for the same presentations, and guess what? The cost of emergency services is one of the many items no longer to be covered under the AHCA. Also, those of you with insurance costs can expect it to skyrocket for two reasons: one, the law specifically eliminates customer protections (those nasty regulations) that fix insurance companies costs. Even if you believe in the free market’s ability to control costs, this is not that model. This will be a (not close to) free-for-all. Here’s one example: the ACA imposed a 3:1 limit on age rating, which restricted insurers from charging the elderly more than what younger citizens paid within the same area. Under the AHCA proposal; the limit will increase to 5:1. This is a huge reason why the AARP and other senior advocacy groups have come out against the AHCA. An AARP commissioned study concluded that for those over age 55 with a $25K annual income, the premium increase would be approximately $3,600/person, and a 64-year-old with the same income would see an increase of $7,000/person. If you’re 64 with an income of just $15K, your premium would cost $8,400 – more than half of your income. This is logic, math and greed. Remember the individual mandate that many seem to hate creates cost averaging. The more young, healthy people compelled to be in the ACA exchanges created a bigger pool to offset the increased costs of the elderly. With no mandate, there’s less money and no risk sharing.
  • The current conversation about healthcare is a nearly trillion-dollar tax cut in disguise (by eliminating the employer mandate), but what you really should be concerned about is the notion that the underlying “new normal” in play is Healthcare Is Not a Right. Folks, 24 million Americans are estimated to lose their insurance. That means many of you will immediately be placed in a situation in which you will have to decide whether to spend your disposable income on food or healthcare (including medicine). It means in many instances, whatever is wrong with you won’t be discovered until you’re in an emergency room and it’s too late, and/or the opportunity for a full recovery won’t be nearly what it would have been with primary care or preventive efforts. As if that’s not enough, the facade of insurance will become the norm. Your “new” AHCA insurance will not cover ER visits, hospitalizations, laboratory services, prescription drugs, maternity and newborn care, pediatric services (oral and vision care), preventive and wellness services, chronic disease management, mental health and substance use disorder services, rehabilitative services and devices. Get ready for personal bankruptcies to go through the roof.

  • There appears to be no airspace being given to the other fundamental healthcare option. As mentioned in the beginning, the narrative presuming that healthcare is not a right. The US stands alone among the civilized world in not providing universal health care. Once upon a time, the current President actually insisted that everyone needed to be covered. Where is the conversation regarding providing insurance or coverage for all in the same way police protection, education (for now) and a safety net for (some of) the most vulnerable? The goal of distraction is invariably to move away from the more important consideration.

As a reminder (or in case you didn’t know), here’s the 11th hour reason there aren’t enough votes within the Republican caucus to carry the vote at this time. President Trump’s final offered deal – a concession to replace the ACA’s mandate that insurance plans provide even a minimal level of “essential” benefits – was deemed not good enough, because the more conservative members (the “Freedom Caucus”) wanted a complete repeal of all ACA regulations, including such things as mandatory coverage for preexisting conditions and the ability to stay on one’s parents’ insurance until age 26. For the record, recent negotiations in an effort to gain passage in the House of Delegates have revised financial projections (by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office) such that if passed, the AHCA is now expected to reduce the deficit by $150 billion over 10 years, a decrease from the $337 billion initially projected, while still forecasting a loss of insurance by 24 million people over a decade.

I really wonder if the population knowingly has empowered the Congress to completely obliterate its interests over whatever the perceived shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act are. I especially wonder if those in power actually believe they will get away with such a consequential redistribution of money to the rich and a complete destruction of the remnants of what passes for a healthcare system in this country.

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

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

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.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Leave a comment

Filed under General Health and Wellness

Straight, No Chaser: A Foot Glossary and Introduction to Conditions Affecting Your Feet

footproblems

We talk a lot about health in Straight, No Chaser. We also try to help you recognize potentially troubling signs and symptoms. It’s appropriate to do so from the bottom up because so much weight is placed on your feet (no pun intended). Also, many people take their feet for granted and allow different types of conditions to progress before doing anything about them.

Today’s blog, done in conjunction with the American Podiatric Medical Association, aims to give you a working knowledge of conditions that affect your feet. Over the next few weeks, please use the posts on some of the individual topics mentioned below as a starting point for understanding various entities, conditions and diseases that relate to your feet.

Arthritis

rheumatoid-arthritisfeet

Arthritis is inflammation of your joints, which are the spaces where various bones meet. The inflammation typically leads to pain, swelling, warmth and redness. As we age or as disease strikes, we are even more subject to arthritis in our feet, in the same way other joints are affected, because each foot has nearly three-dozen joints (33 to be exact). Straight, No Chaser has previously addressed the treatment of arthritis here.

Bone Spurs

 heel-bone-spur

Osteophytes (aka bone spurs) are bony projections that extend along the edges of bones. The main cause of bone spurs is the wear-and-tear damage associated with osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease).

Cardiovascular Disease

Pvdfeet

High Blood Pressure Your feet are especially susceptible to the effects of hypertension (aka high blood pressure), because they represent the most distant point from your heart. As your heart’s function worsens–a manifestation of hypertension–your feet suffer from the effects of poor circulation (e.g., receiving suboptimal amounts of the oxygen and nutrients supplied by healthy blood). Check here for the Straight, No Chaser review of high blood pressure.

Peripheral Arterial Disease When fatty deposits (i.e., plaques) partially or completely block our arteries, the blood supply to various organs is compromised. This becomes even worse as the arteries become hardened with prolonged exposure. With the feet’s location being as far from the heart as it is, they are at higher risk.

Diabetes

Diabetic Wound Care

DM foot ulcer

We have described diabetic foot ulcers here in Straight, No Chaser. You must be aware of the risks of losing limbs if you’re diabetic, as this occurs in approximately 15% of diabetics.

Diabetic (Peripheral) Neuropathy 
The effects of high blood glucose (sugar) levels include damage of our peripheral nerves, called peripheral neuropathy. This phenomenon is most prevalent in the fingers and toes.

Foot & Ankle Injuries

Sprains, Strains & Fractures
 These injuries compromise the ability of the feet to support and move the body.

calcaneal fracture

  • A sprain is an injury to the soft tissue of a structure such as the foot.
  • A strain (aka a pulled muscle) is an injury that results from excessive stretching and/or tearing of a structure’s supportive muscles.
  • A fracture is a disruption (e.g., break) in a bone.

Muscle & Tendon Problems

Haglund’s Deformity 

HaglundsDeformity


If you’ve ever heard the term “pump bump,” you know what Haglund’s Deformity is. This bony enlargement on the back of the heel often occurs in women who wear pumps. 

Heel Pain 
The heel bone (the calcaneus) is the largest of the 26 bones in the human foot. Due to size and stress, it is especially susceptible to injury.

Tendinitis 
Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon prior to its disruption and represents one of the most common causes of foot or ankle pain.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar_Fasciitis1

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. This occurs when the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot is overstretched or overused. Plantar fasciitis is usually quite painful, and that pain makes walking difficult.

Skin Disorders

Athlete’s Foot 

toes+athletes+foot


This fungal infection is the result of conditions favorable to fungal growth: dark, warm and humid conditions. It itches and hurts, but treatment is readily available when preventative measures don’t control it.

Corns and Calluses

cornscalluses

Irritation to a part of the foot will prompt the body to form thicker skin to prevent irritation and injury. These present as corns and calluses.

Psoriasis 

psoriasis

We have discussed 
psoriasis here in Straight, No Chaser. It represents abnormally rapid production and replacement of skin cells. This causes a build up of dead cells on the surface that is recognized as scaly, dry and silver patches.

Skin Cancers of the Feet
 Although more common on exposed areas of the body, skin cancer can develop anywhere, including on the feet. Skin cancers of the feet tend to present as recurrent cracking, bleeding or ulceration more so than with pain.

Sweaty Feet 
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. This often presents on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

Warts 

Planters Warts

When warts present on the feet, they tend to be painful. These are fleshy manifestations of a virus infection.

Toe Joint & Nerve Disorders

bunion

Bunions
 Bunions occur at the base of the great toe and is an enlargement of the joint that forms when the bone or tissue actually moves out of place.

Hammer-Toe-3

Hammer Toes
 A hammer toe is a bending (contracture) of the toe at its first joint, (i.e., the proximal interphalangeal joint). This produces an appearance of an upside-down V.

Neuroma

Neuromas
 A neuroma (aka “pinched nerve”) is a non-cancerous growth of nerve tissue, most commonly located between the 3rd and 4th toes (the two next to your pinkie toes). Given that this involves growth of nerve tissue, it shouldn’t surprise you that neuromas are painful.

Toenail Problems

ingrown_toenail

Ingrown Toenails   Ingrown toenails represent the most common nail impairment and involve a condition when the corners of the nail dig painfully into your soft tissue, producing signs of infection and inflammation.

toenail-fungus

Toenail Fungus
 When you notice an ongoing change in the color and quality of your toenails, you should suspect toenail fungus. These infections occur under the nail’s surface and require antifungal medications.

Treatment Terms

orthotics

Shoe Inserts Inserts are simply foot supports that are placed inside your shoes. Shoe inserts don’t require a prescription.

Orthotics
 Orthotics are typically custom-designed and prescribed devices designed to support and comfort your feet.

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

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

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.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Leave a comment

Filed under Orthopedics/Bones

Straight, No Chaser: Understanding Asthma – Toothpicks and Snot (Part 2 of 2)

asthma_treatments_496958

As we move into discussing asthma treatment, remember that asthmatics die at an alarming rate.  I mentioned yesterday (and it bears repeating) that death rates have increased over 50% in the last few decades.  If you’re an asthmatic, avoid taking care of yourself at your own peril.  Your next asthma attack could be your last.

The other thing to remember is that asthma is a reversible disease – until it’s not.  At some point (beginning somewhere around age 35 or so), the ongoing inflammation and damage to the lungs will create some irreversible changes, and then the situation’s completely different, possibly predisposing asthmatics to other conditions such as chronic bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and lung cancer.  This simply reiterates the importance of identifying and removing those triggers.

Given that, let’s talk about asthma control as treatment.  Consider the following quick tips you might use to help you reduce or virtually eliminate asthma attacks:

asthmatriggers

  • Avoid cigarette smoke (including second hand smoke) like the plague!
  • Avoid long haired animals, especially cats.
  • Avoid shaggy carpets, window treatments or other household fixtures that retain dust.
  • If you’re spraying any kind of aerosol, if it’s allergy season, if you’re handling trash, or if you react to cold weather, wear a mask while you’re doing it.  It’s better to not look cool for a few moments than to have to look at an emergency room for a few hours or a hospital room for a few days.
  • Be careful to avoid colds and the flu.  Get that flu shot yearly.

If and when all of this fails, and you’re actually in the midst of an asthma attack, treatment options primarily center around two types of medications.

AsthmaHispanic

  • Short (and quick) acting bronchodilators (e.g. albuterol, ventolin, proventil, xopenex, alupent, maxair) functionally serve as props (‘toothpicks’, no not real ones, and don’t try to use toothpicks at home) to keep the airways open against the onslaught of mucous buildup inside the lungs combined with other inflammatory changes trying to clog the airways.  These medications do not treat the underlying condition.  They only buy you time and attempt to keep the airways open for…
  • Steroids (e.g. prednisone, prelone, orapred, solumedrol, decadron – none of which are the muscle building kind) are the mainstay of acute asthma treatment, as they combat the inflammatory reaction and other changes that cause the asthma attack.  One can functionally think of steroids as a dump truck moving in to scoop the snot out of the airways.  The only issue with the steroids is they take 2-4 hours to start working, so you have to both get them on board as early as possible while continuing to use the bronchodilators to stem the tide until the steroids kick in.

asthma-inhaler-techniques-15-638

If you are not successful in avoiding those triggers over the long term, you may need to be placed on ‘controller’ medications at home, which include lower doses of long-acting bronchodilators and steroids.

So in summary, the best treatment of asthma is management of its causes.  Avoid the triggers, thus reducing your acute attacks.  Become educated about signs of an attack.  When needed, get help sooner rather than later.  And always keep an inhaler on you.  It could be the difference between life and death.

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

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

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.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Medical Treatment, Respiratory/Lungs

Straight, No Chaser: Understanding Asthma – Toothpicks and Snot (Part 1 of 2)

asthmaBasics-enHD-AR1

Asthma concerns me. I’ve had many close friends and family suffer with the disease. In fact, a very good friend died of an attack while in medical school, because he didn’t have his inhaler with him. In other words, this is somewhat personal. I’ve probably given more lectures on asthma than any other topic over the years, and I can say without hesitation that relative to how much we know about its prevention and treatment, I can’t think of another disease where we underperform as much as with asthma management. According to data from the National Institutes of Health, over the last few decades the death rate has increased by over 55%. The prevalence rate has increased by 75%, and among African-Americans the hospitalization rate has increased over 35%. The good news is asthma can be controlled and effectively treated. In this primer, we’ll discuss quick tips to improve the health of the asthmatic in your life.

The encouraging thing about asthma is that if you understand what causes it, you understand how to treat it. Here’s what you need to know about what causes asthma. For the purposes of discussion I am simplifying matters for general consumption.

asthma

  • Asthma is a result of certain triggers, causing inflammation to your airways over a long period of time with the occurrence of attacks (intermittent exacerbations). These triggers can be thought of as allergens. Examples of these triggers include cigarette smoke, dust, aerosols, cold air, long-haired animals (especially cats), seasonal pollens, and exercise (in some).
  • These triggers create a state of inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in the lungs, leading to the excessive production of mucus within the lungs’ various airway branches. If bad enough this will lead to complete obstruction of the airways. In other words you’ll stop breathing, and you will die without assistance and/or reversal.
  • Exacerbation of asthma include breathlessness, chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing. Basically, because you have the functional equivalent of snot in your lungs, your airways are narrowed, and you’re having difficulty breathing. After all, it’s harder to breathe snot than air. Now imagine how your lungs feel when you’re adding cigarette smoke to that mix.

Asthma Symptoms Word Circle Concept with great terms such as coughing wheezing and more.

Let’s get logical. Asthma management is theoretically straightforward if you can pull it off. Prevention is treatment. I used to describe this as “Kill the Cat.” (This blog neither supports, advocates, nor is responsible for the harming of any animals resulting from this information.) In short, if you identify the triggers that precipitate your asthma attacks and then remove yourself from that environment, you will dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, your attacks. This is often described (incorrectly) in kids as “growing out of their asthma.” No one grows out of it, and you don’t cure asthma; asthmatics just stop having attacks because they’re not around the triggers.

In Part II, we discuss asthma management. In case you’re wondering, that’s where the toothpicks come in.

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

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

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.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Prevention, Respiratory/Lungs