CANCER GENERAL SYMPTOMS

Cancer symptoms vary depending on many factors, such as the cancer type, stage, size and location. The early stages of cancer may not produce noticeable symptoms. As the disease progresses, symptoms often become more apparent.
Some general symptoms of cancer include:
-Fatigue
-Unexplained weight loss/gain
-Fever
-Pain
-Change in appetite
-Nausea, vomiting
-Skin changes

Many symptoms share characteristics of other, non-cancerous conditions. If you experience any persistent symptoms or other changes in your health, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible.






THAT SCARY ANGINA!

Angina is a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle. Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease. Angina is typically described as squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in your chest.
Angina, also called angina pectoris, can be a recurring problem or a sudden, acute health concern.

Angina is relatively common but can be hard to distinguish from other types of chest pain, such as the pain or discomfort of indigestion. If you have unexplained chest pain, seek medical attention right away.
Angina symptoms include:
-Chest pain or discomfort
-Pain in your arms, neck, jaw, shoulder or back accompanying chest pain
-Nausea
-Fatigue
-Shortness of breath
-Sweating
-Dizziness

The chest pain and discomfort common with angina may be described as pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. Some people with angina symptoms describe angina as feeling like a vise is squeezing their chest or feeling like a heavy weight has been placed on their chest. For others, it may feel like indigestion.
————————————–
Video: Ischemia and Silent Ischemia






PERILS OF DEPRESSION AND PAIN

Pain and depression are closely related. Depression can cause pain — and pain can cause depression. Sometimes pain and depression create a vicious cycle in which pain worsens symptoms of depression, and then the resulting depression worsens feelings of pain.
In many people, depression causes unexplained physical symptoms such as back pain or headaches. This kind of pain may be the first or the only sign of depression.
Pain and the problems it causes can wear you down over time, and may begin to affect your mood. Chronic pain causes a number of problems that can lead to depression, such as trouble sleeping and stress. Disabling pain can cause low self-esteem due to work, legal or financial issues. Depression doesn’t just occur with pain resulting from an injury. It’s also common in people who have pain linked to a health condition such as diabetes or migraines.
To get symptoms of pain and depression under control, you may need separate treatment for each condition. However, some treatments may help with both:
-Antidepressant medications may relieve both pain and depression because of shared chemical messengers in the brain.
-Talk therapy, also called psychological counseling (psychotherapy), can be effective in treating both conditions.
-Stress-reduction techniques, physical activity, exercise, meditation, journaling and other strategies also may help.
-Pain rehabilitation programs provide a team approach to treatment, including medical and psychiatric aspects.
————————————–
Video: Stress Test






BE ALERT OF CLAUDICATION!

Claudication is pain caused by too little blood flow during exercise. Sometimes called intermittent claudication, this condition generally affects the blood vessels in the legs, but claudication can affect the arms, too.
At first, you’ll probably notice the pain only when you’re exercising, but as claudication worsens, the pain may affect you even when you’re at rest.
Although it’s sometimes considered a disease, claudication is technically a symptom of a disease. Most often, claudication is a symptom of peripheral artery disease, a potentially serious, but treatable circulation problem.
Fortunately, with treatment, you may be able to maintain an active lifestyle without pain.
Claudication symptoms include:
-Pain when exercising. You may feel pain or discomfort in your feet, calves, thighs, hips or buttocks depending on where you might have artery narrowing or damage. Claudication can also occur in your arms.
-Intermittent pain. Your pain may come and go as you do less-strenuous activities.
-Pain when at rest. As your condition progresses, you may feel pain in your legs even when you’re sitting or lying down.
-Discolored skin or ulcerations. If blood flow is severely reduced, your toes or fingers may look bluish or feel cold to the touch. You may also develop sores on your lower legs, feet, toes, arms or fingers.
Other possible symptoms include:
An aching or burning feeling
-Weakness






ENDORPHINS: KEY TO NATURAL HAPPINESS

Scientists believe that endorphins and pain are connected because the body releases endorphins to help combat the effects of physical pain and stress. These neurotransmitters have an effect on the brain that is often compared to that of morphine or other opiate drugs, in that endorphins and opiate drugs affect the same receptors in the brain. Endorphins and pain are connected because pain can cause the release of endorphins in the brain, but other activities are also believed to release endorphins. Laughter, physical contact with loved ones, sex, childbirth, strenuous exercise, and eating certain foods are also believed to cause the release of endorphins. Experts believe that endorphins can help people bond with one another, overcome physical and mental fatigue, and cope with extreme pain.
Not everyone releases the same amounts of endorphins with the same amounts of stimulus. Of all possible stimuli for the release of these neurotransmitters, endorphins and pain are usually most strongly linked. It is believed that the primary function of endorphins is to attach themselves to the brain’s opioid receptors, dampening feelings of physical pain. At the same time, endorphins can also enhance feelings of well-being and pleasure. They typically do this by stifling neural activity in the cerebral cortex and thalamus regions of the brain. These regions of the brain are considered responsible for registering feelings of physical pain, so that when activity there is diminished, levels of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine rise in the area.
The brain’s release of endorphins can cause feelings of calm and euphoria. Immunity may be strengthened, appetite may change, and the hormones that regulate sex drive may become more balanced. The connection between endorphins and pain has been implicated in several well-known phenomena, including the mother’s ability to endure the pain of childbirth and the feelings of well-being one may experience after strenuous physical exercise.






ENDORPHINS VS. STRESS, PAIN AND MORE…

Endorphins are among the brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which function to transmit electrical signals within the nervous system. At least 20 types of endorphins have been demonstrated in humans. Endorphins can be found in the pituitary gland, in other parts of the brain, or distributed throughout the nervous system.
Stress and pain are the two most common factors leading to the release of endorphins. Endorphins interact with the opiate receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain and act similarly to drugs such as morphine and codeine. In contrast to the opiate drugs, however, activation of the opiate receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.
In addition to decreased feelings of pain, secretion of endorphins leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. Endorphins have been suggested as modulators of the so-called “runner’s high” that athletes achieve with prolonged exercise. While the role of endorphins and other compounds as potential triggers of this euphoric response has been debated extensively by doctors and scientists, it is at least known that the body does produce endorphins in response to prolonged, continuous exercise.
Endorphin release varies among individuals. This means that two people who exercise at the same level or suffer the same degree of pain will not necessarily produce similar levels of endorphins. Certain foods, such as chocolate or chili peppers, can also lead to enhanced secretion of endorphins. In the case of chili peppers, the spicier the pepper, the more endorphins are secreted. The release of endorphins upon ingestion of chocolate likely explains the comforting feelings that many people associate with this food and the craving for chocolate in times of stress.






PERIPHERAL NERVE DISORDERS

There are many types of peripheral neuropathy, often brought on by diabetes; genetic predispositions (hereditary causes); exposure to toxic chemicals, alcoholism, malnutrition, inflammation (infectious or autoimmune), injury, and nerve compression; and by taking certain medications such as those used to treat cancer and HIV/AIDS. Researchers are working toward earlier and better diagnosis and treatment, and ultimately prevention of these debilitating nerve diseases. The following are the major types of peripheral neuropathy:
-Neuropathy is the disease of the nervous system in which there is a disturbance in the function of a nerve or particular group of nerves. The three major forms of nerve damage are: peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, and mononeuropathy. The most common form is peripheral neuropathy, which mainly affects the feet and legs.
-Sciatica is pain, tingling, or numbness produced by an irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a pain in the leg due to irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica most commonly occurs when a branch of the sciatic nerve is compressed at the base of the spine.
-Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when tendons in the wrist become inflamed after being aggravated. Tendons can become aggravated when the carpals (a tunnel of bones) and the ligaments in the wrist narrow, pinching nerves that reach the fingers and the muscle at the base of the thumb.
-Polyneuropathy is any illness that attacks numerous nerves in the body, sometimes causing weakness and/or pain. It tends to be a systemic problem that affects more than one nerve group at a time. Polyneuropathies are relatively symmetric, often affecting sensory, motor, and vasomotor fibers simultaneously.
-Diabetic neuropathies are neuropathic disorders that are associated with diabetes mellitus. These conditions usually result from diabetic microvascular injury involving small blood vessels that supply nerves (vasa nervorum).
-Autonomic neuropathy is a group of symptoms caused by damage to nerves supplying the internal body structures that regulate functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, bowel and bladder emptying, and digestion.
-Postherpetic neuralgia is pain that persists after an episode of shingles (herpes zoster) has resolved, resulting from damaged nerve fibers from the shingles.






Risk Factors for Erectile Dysfunction

As you get older, erections may take longer to develop and may not be as firm. You may need more direct touch to your penis to get and keep an erection. This isn’t a direct consequence of getting older. Usually it’s a result of underlying health problems or taking medications, which is more common as men age.
A variety of risk factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction. They include:
-Medical conditions, particularly diabetes or heart problems.
-Using tobacco, which restricts blood flow to veins and arteries. Over time tobacco use can cause chronic health problems that lead to erectile dysfunction.
-Being overweight, especially if you’re very overweight (obese).
-Certain medical treatments, such as prostate surgery or radiation treatment for cancer.
-Injuries, particularly if they damage the nerves that control erections.
-Medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines and medications to treat high blood pressure, pain or prostate cancer.
-Psychological conditions, such as stress, anxiety or depression.
-Drug and alcohol use, especially if you’re a long-term drug user or heavy drinker.
-Prolonged bicycling, which may compress nerves and affect blood flow to the penis, can lead to temporary erectile dysfunction.






PAD: Hidden Problem in Women

Women tend to develop symptoms of peripheral artery disease in their 60s and 70s—a decade later than men. By then, women may have other conditions like arthritis or nerve damage that can mask the symptoms and delay diagnosis until the disease is fairly far advanced. If you have any of the symptoms listed bellow ask your doctor if you should have a workup for peripheral artery disease. Early action can make you feel better, and keep your arms and legs functioning.
If ever a disease deserved a new name, peripheral artery disease is it. “Peripheral” smacks of something on the sidelines. Nothing could be further from the truth. Peripheral artery disease affects at least 12 million Americans, more than heart disease and stroke combined. It kills some, maims others, and makes life disagreeable or unbearable for countless more. The condition is often overlooked or misdiagnosed in women, according to Harvard Women’s Health Watch.
Although peripheral artery disease us ually affects the legs, it can also affect the arms. Symptoms include:
pain, cramping, or heaviness with exercise or movement that subsides with rest
painful, cold, numb, or tingling legs or hands
sores on the legs, feet, arms, or hands that don’t heal.

Any of these symptoms warrant a closer look. Peripheral artery disease is generally diagnosed with a test called the ankle-brachial index, which compares blood pressure in the arm with blood pressure at the ankle.
Lifestyle changes are often the first step in fighting peripheral artery disease. Exercise can help open arteries and improve blood flow. Managing cholesterol and blood pressure, and not smoking, are also important.






The Ischemic Foot

The term “ischemic foot” refers to a lack of adequate arterial blood flow from the heart to the foot. There are a wide variety of possible causes for poor arterial circulation into the foot including arterial blockage from cholesterol deposits, arterial blood clots, arterial spasm, or arterial injury. The ischemic foot is also referred to as having arterial insufficiency, meaning there is not enough blood reaching the foot to provide the oxygen and nutrient needs required for the cells to continue to function.
Diagnosis
The result of insufficient blood supply to the foot can manifest itself in a variety of ways depending upon how severe the impairment to circulation. Early symptoms may include cold feet, purple or red discoloration of the toes, or muscle cramping after walking short distances (intermittent claudication). Later findings may include a sore that won’t heal (ischemic ulcer), pain at night while resting in bed, or tissue death to part of the foot (gangrene).
The diagnosis of ischemia is made by reviewing the patient’s symptoms, examination of the foot, and special testing to evaluate the circulation. The examination should reveal cold skin temperature, and skin atrophy that causes the skin to appear shiny or paper thin with loss of normal hair on tops of the toes and on the lower leg. There is often a color change associated with ischemic feet.
Video: Ischemia