Anemia is one of the most common blood disorders in the United States and the entire world. Anemia is more prevalent in certain conditions that the patient may be exposed to; including genetics.
Anemia is the most common blood condition in the U.S. It affects about 3.5 million Americans. Women, young children, and people with chronic diseases are at increased risk of anemia. Important factors to remember are:
Certain forms of anemia are hereditary, and infants may be affected from the time of birth.
Women in the childbearing years are particularly susceptible to iron-deficiency anemia because of the blood loss from menstruation and the increased blood supply demands during pregnancy.
Older adults also may have a greater risk of developing anemia because of poor diet and other medical conditions
Genetics and inheritance have a role to play in the susceptibility of the patient to anemia. Some conditions such as chronic diseases increase the individual susceptibility to anemia.
Many people are at risk for anemia because of poor diet, intestinal disorders, chronic illnesses, infections, and other conditions. Women who are menstruating or pregnant and people with chronic medical conditions are most at risk for this disease. The risk of anemia increases, as people grow older. People who engage in vigorous athletic activities, such as jogging or basketball, may develop anemia because of red blood cells breaking down in the bloodstream.
If you have any of the following chronic conditions, you might be at greater risk for developing anemia:
Rheumatoid arthritis or another autoimmune disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis)
Chronic illnesses such as liver disease disrupt production of nascent erythrocytes, which means that plasma will have a low number of red blood cells leading to anemia. Some symptoms of anemia are essential, but in most cases, each type of anemia has a distinctive set of symptoms.
1.Anemia caused by iron deficiency:
Hunger or craving for strange substances such as paper, ice, or dirt (a condition called pica)
Upward curvature of the nails, referred to as koilonychia
Soreness of the mouth with cracks at the corners
A smooth or sore tongue
2.Anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency:
A tingling, “pins and needles” sensation in the hands or feet
Loss of sense of touch
An unsteady, wobbly gait and difficulty walking
Clumsiness and stiffness of the arms and legs
3.Anemia caused by chronic lead poisoning:
A blue-black line on the gums referred to as a lead line
Seizures in severe cases, especially in children
4.Anemia caused by chronic red blood cell destruction (hemolysis):
Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
Brown or red urine
Failure to thrive in infancy
Symptoms of gallstones
5.Anemia caused by sudden red blood cell destruction (hemolysis):
Brown or red urine
Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
Small bruises under the skin
Symptoms of kidney failure
6.Sickle cell anemia:
Susceptibility to infection
Delayed growth and development in children
Episodes of severe pain, especially in the joints, abdomen and limbs
Epilepsy is a neurodegenerative disease with an incidence of 150,000 persons yearly in the United States. Currently, epilepsy is mostly untreatable. However, continued scientific research has lead to better methods of control, prevention, and treatment. The following is a comprehensive list of treatments available to epileptics;
Surgery is most commonly done when tests show that your seizures originate in a small, distinct area of your brain that does not interfere with vital functions such as speech, language, motor function, vision or hearing. In surgery, your doctor removes the area of your brain that is causing the seizures.
If your seizures originate in an area of the brain that controls movement, speech and other functions, you may be awake during part of the surgery. Doctors will monitor you and ask you questions during the procedure.
If your seizures originate in a part of your brain that cannot be removed, your doctor may recommend a different type of surgery in which surgeons make several cuts in your brain (multiple subpial transections). These cuts are designed to prevent seizures from spreading to other parts of your brain.
2.Vagus nerve stimulation
In vagus nerve stimulation, doctors implant a device called a vagus nerve stimulator underneath the skin of your chest, similar to a heart pacemaker. Wires from the stimulator are connected to the vagus nerve in your neck.
The battery-powered device sends bursts of electrical energy through the vagus nerve and to your brain. It is not clear how this inhibits seizures, but the device can usually reduce seizures by 20 to 40 percent.
Most people still need to take anti-epileptic medication, although some people may be able to lower their medication dose. You may experience side effects from vagus nerve stimulation, such as throat pain, hoarse voice, shortness of breath or coughing.
Some children with epilepsy have been able to reduce their seizures by following a strict diet that is high in fats and low in carbohydrates.
In this diet, called a ketogenic diet, the body breaks down fats instead of carbohydrates for energy. After a few years, some children may be able to stop the ketogenic diet and remain seizure-free.
Side effects of a ketogenic diet may include dehydration, constipation, slowed growth because of nutritional deficiencies and buildup of uric acid in the blood, which can cause kidney stones. These side effects are uncommon if the diet is appropriately and medically supervised.
4.Extratemporal Cortical Resection
An extratemporal cortical resection is an operation to resect, or cut away, brain tissue that contains a seizure focus. Extratemporal means the tissue is located in an area of the brain other than the temporal lobe. The frontal lobe is the most common extratemporal site for seizures. In some cases, the tissue may be removed from more than one area/lobe of the brain.
The corpus callosum is a band of nerve fibers located deep in the brain that connects the two halves (hemispheres) of the brain. It helps the hemispheres share information, but it also contributes to the spread of seizure impulses from one side of the brain to the other. A corpus callosotomy is an operation that severs (cuts) the corpus callosum, interrupting the spread of seizures from hemisphere to hemisphere.
A corpus callosotomy, sometimes called split-brain surgery, may be performed in people with the most extreme and uncontrollable forms of epilepsy when frequent seizures affect both sides of the brain. People considered for corpus callosotomy are typically those who do not respond to treatment with antiseizure medications.
A lesionectomy is an operation to remove a lesion — a damaged or abnormally functioning area — in the brain. Brain lesions include tumors, scars from a head injury or infection, abnormal blood vessels, and hematomas (a swollen area filled with blood).
A lesion seems to cause seizures in about 20% to 30% of people with epilepsy who do not improve after taking medication; it is not known for certain if the lesion itself triggers the seizures, or if the seizures result from irritation to the brain Lesionectomy may be an option for people whose epilepsy is linked to a defined lesion and whose seizures are not controlled by medication. In addition, it must be possible to remove the lesion and surrounding brain.
The largest part of the brain, the cerebrum, can be divided down the middle lengthwise into two halves, called hemispheres. A deep groove splits the left and right hemispheres, which communicate through a thick band of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. Each hemisphere is further divided into four paired sections, called lobes — the frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes.
This procedure is used only for people with epilepsy who do not experience improvement in their condition after taking many different medications and who have severe, uncontrollable seizures. This type of epilepsy is more likely to be seen in young children who have an underlying disease, such as Rasmussen’s encephalitis or Sturge-Weber syndrome, which has damaged the hemisphere.
8.Multiple Subpial Transection
Sometimes, brain seizures begin in a vital area of the brain — for example, in areas that control movement, feeling, language, or memory. When this is the case, a relatively new epilepsy treatment called multiple subpial transections (MST) may be an option. MST stops the seizure impulses by cutting nerve fibers in the outer layers of the brain (gray matter), sparing the vital functions concentrated in the deeper layers of brain tissue (white matter).
Most people with epilepsy can control their seizures with medication. However, about 20% of people with epilepsy do not improve with drugs. In some cases, surgery to remove the part of the brain causing the seizures may be recommended.
MST may be an option for people who do not respond to medication and whose seizures begin in areas of the brain that cannot be safely removed.
Researchers are studying deep brain stimulation as a potential treatment for epilepsy. In deep brain stimulation, surgeons implant electrodes into a specific part of your brain. The electrodes are connected to a generator implanted in your chest or the skull that sends electrical pulses to your brain and may reduce your seizures.
Implantable, pacemaker-like devices that help prevent seizures are also under investigation. This responsive stimulation or “closed loop” devices analyze brain activity patterns to detect seizures before they happen and deliver an electrical charge or drug to stop the seizure.
Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disease in the United States. Unfortunately, most people have no clue on the types of seizures and symptoms present in epilepsy cases; it would help to understand better epileptic patients. The statistics are high, which means that at any given moment the chance of meeting an epileptic having an attack just out and about are high. It is best to be informed to help in such situations. It begins with understanding some of the symptoms of epilepsy;
Because epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in brain cells, seizures can affect any process your brain coordinates. Seizure signs and symptoms may include:
A staring spell
Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
Loss of consciousness or awareness
Symptoms vary depending on the type of seizure. In most cases, a person with epilepsy will tend to have the same kind of seizure each time so that the symptoms will be similar from episode to episode.
Epileptic persons are likely to have temporal confusion especially after and attack. A better understanding of the type of seizures can go a long way to taking care of such a person; whether a stranger or a relative.
Seizures that appear to involve all areas of the brain are called generalized seizures. Six types of generalized seizures exist.
Absence seizures.Absence seizures, previously known as petit mal seizures, often occur in children and are characterized by staring into space or subtle body movements such as eye blinking or lip smacking. These seizures may occur in clusters and cause a brief loss of awareness.
Tonic seizures. Tonic seizures cause stiffening of your muscles. These seizures usually affect muscles in your back, arms, and legs and may cause you to fall to the ground.
Atonic seizures. Atonic seizures, also known as drop seizures, cause a loss of muscle control, which may cause you to collapse suddenly or fall.
Clonic seizures. Clonic seizures are associated with repeated or rhythmic, jerking muscle movements. These seizures usually affect the neck, face and arms.
Myoclonic seizures. Myoclonic seizures usually appear as sudden brief jerks or twitches of your arms and legs.
Tonic-clonic seizures. Tonic-clonic seizures, previously known as grand mal seizures, are the most dramatic type of epileptic seizure and can cause an abrupt loss of consciousness, body stiffening and shaking, and sometimes loss of bladder control or biting your tongue.
When seizures appear to result from abnormal activity in just one area of your brain, they are called focal (partial) seizures. These seizures fall into two categories.
Focal seizures without loss of consciousness (simple partial seizures). These seizures do not cause a loss of consciousness. They may alter emotions or change the way things look, smell, feel, taste or sound. They may also result in involuntary jerking of a body part, such as an arm or leg, and spontaneous sensory symptoms such as tingling, dizziness, and flashing lights.
Focal dyscognitive seizures (complex partial seizures). These seizures involve a change or loss of consciousness or awareness. During a complex partial seizure, you may stare into space and not normally respond to your environment or perform repetitive movements, such as hand rubbing, chewing, swallowing or walking in circles.
The type of focal and generalized seizures differs depending on the patient. Scientists have studied to give a comprehensive list of factors that cause some people to be more predisposed to epilepsy than others.
Genetic influence. Some types of epilepsy, which are categorized by the type of seizure you experience or the part of the brain that is affected, run in families. In these cases, it is likely that there is a genetic influence.
Researchers have linked some types of epilepsy to specific genes though it is estimated that up to 500 genes could be tied to the condition. For most people, genes are only part of the cause of epilepsy. Certain genes may make a person more sensitive to environmental conditions that trigger seizures.
Head trauma. Head trauma because of a car accident or other traumatic injury can cause epilepsy.
Brain conditions. Brain conditions that cause damage to the brain, such as brain tumors or strokes, can cause epilepsy. Stroke is a leading cause of epilepsy in adults older than age 35.
Infectious diseases. Infectious diseases, such as meningitis, AIDS, and viral encephalitis, can cause epilepsy.
Prenatal injury. Before birth, babies are sensitive to brain damage that could be caused by several factors, such as an infection in the mother, poor nutrition or oxygen deficiencies. This brain damage can result in epilepsy or cerebral palsy.
Developmental disorders. Epilepsy can sometimes be associated with developmental disorders, such as autism and neurofibromatosis.
Age. The onset of epilepsy is most common during early childhood and after age 60, but the condition can occur at any age.
Family history. If you have a family history of epilepsy, you may be at an increased risk of developing a seizure disorder.
Head injuries. Head injuries are responsible for some cases of epilepsy. You can reduce your risk by wearing a seat belt while riding in a car and by wearing a helmet while bicycling, skiing, riding a motorcycle or engaging in other activities with a high risk of head injury.
Stroke and other vascular diseases. Stroke and other blood vessel (vascular) diseases can lead to brain damage that may trigger epilepsy. You can take some steps to reduce your risk of these diseases, including limiting your intake of alcohol and avoiding cigarettes, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
Dementia. Dementia can increase the risk of epilepsy in older adults.
Brain infections. Infections such as meningitis, which causes inflammation in your brain or spinal cord, can increase your risk.
Seizures in childhood. High fevers in childhood can sometimes be associated with seizures. Children who have seizures due to high fevers generally will not develop epilepsy, although the risk is higher if they have a long seizure, other nervous system conditions or a family history of epilepsy.