Tag Archives: Disease

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Parkinson's Awareness

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time.

As many as one million individuals in the US live with Parkinson’s disease. While approximately four percent of people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before the age of 50, incidence increases with age.

Its major symptoms vary from person to person, but can include tremor, slowness of movements, limb stiffness, and difficulties with gait and balance. The cause of the disease is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage the symptoms.

If you have questions about wheelchair accessible vehicles and are in the New England area give us a call @ 508-697-6006


January Is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is a very misunderstood disease. Often, people don’t realize the severity or who is affected.

Key Facts About Glaucoma

  • Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness
    Glaucoma can cause blindness if it is left untreated. And unfortunately approximately 10% of people with glaucoma who receive proper treatment still experience loss of vision.
  • There is no cure (yet) for glaucoma
    Glaucoma is not curable, and vision lost cannot be regained. With medication and/or surgery, it is possible to halt further loss of vision. Since open-angle glaucoma is a chronic condition, it must be monitored for life. Diagnosis is the first step to preserving your vision.
  • Everyone is at risk for glaucoma
    Everyone is at risk for glaucoma from babies to senior citizens. Older people are at a higher risk for glaucoma but babies can be born with glaucoma (approximately 1 out of every 10,000 babies born in the United States). Young adults can get glaucoma, too. African Americans in particular are susceptible at a younger age.
  • There may be no symptoms to warn you
    With open-angle glaucoma, the most common form, there are virtually no symptoms. Usually, no pain is associated with increased eye pressure. Vision loss begins with peripheral or side vision. You may compensate for this unconsciously by turning your head to the side, and may not notice anything until significant vision is lost. The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get tested. If you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.

Some Statistics About Glaucoma

  • It is estimated that over 2.2 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of those know they have it.
  • In the U.S., more than 120,000 are blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9% to 12% of all cases of blindness.
  • Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
  • After cataracts, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African Americans.
  • Blindness from glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.
  • African Americans are 15 times more likely to be visually impaired from glaucoma than Caucasians.
  • The most common form, open-angle glaucoma, accounts for 19% of all blindness among African Americans compared to 6% in Caucasians.
  • Other high-risk groups include: people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted.
  • Estimates put the total number of suspected cases of glaucoma at over 60 million worldwide.

Emphysema Awareness

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading cause of death in the U.S. and affects more than 12 million Americans.  COPD – which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis – is a term used to describe the obstruction of airflow.

COPD cannot be cured, but it can be treated. Early detection and diagnosis is the key to successful management of this chronic disease.

Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath due to over-inflation of the alveoli (air sacs in the lung). In people with emphysema, the lung tissue involved in exchange of gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) is impaired or destroyed. Emphysema is included in a group of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD (pulmonary refers to the lungs). Emphysema is called an obstructive lung disease because airflow on exhalation is slowed or stopped because over-inflated alveoli do not exchange gases when a person breaths due to little or no movement of gases out of the alveoli.

Emphysema changes the anatomy of the lung in several important ways. This is due to in part to the destruction of lung tissue around smaller airways. This tissue normally holds these small airways, called bronchioles, open, allowing air to leave the lungs on exhalation. When this tissue is damaged, these airways collapse, making it difficult for the lungs to empty and the air (gases) becomes trapped in the alveoli.

Normal lung tissue looks like a new sponge. Emphysematous lung looks like an old used sponge, with large holes and a dramatic loss of “springy-ness” or elasticity. When the lung is stretched during inflation (inhalation), the nature of the stretched tissue wants to relax to its resting state. In emphysema, this elastic function is impaired, resulting in air trapping in the lungs. Emphysema destroys this spongy tissue of the lung and also severely affects the small blood vessels (capillaries of the lung) and airways that run throughout the lung. Thus, not only is airflow affected but so is blood flow. This has dramatic impact on the ability for the lung not only to empty its air sacs called alveoli (pleural for alveolus) but also for blood to flow through the lungs to receive oxygen.

Muscle-Eye-Brain Disease

What is Muscle-Eye-Brain Disease?
Muscle-eye-brain disease (MEB) is an inherited condition causing a number of symptoms including muscle weakness, vision abnormalities, brain structure abnormalities, and severe mental disability.MEB causes congenital muscular dystrophy, a form of muscle weakness that is present from birth or develops shortly after birth. It causes an infant to feel floppy in all of his or her muscles, including those of the face. He or she may also exhibit involuntary muscle jerks or twitches.Eye problems associated with MEB include severe near-sightedness and glaucoma, among others.Another hallmark of MEB is a brain abnormality known as cobblestone lissencephaly (or type II lissencephaly). The brain develops a bumpy “cobblestone” appearance and lacks the normal folding structure. Other structural changes in the brain are also present. Children with MEB may have a buildup of fluid around the brain that can create a dangerous amount of pressure.The severity of symptoms can vary among people with MEB.

How Common is Muscle-Eye-Brain Disease?
MEB is very rare, although its exact prevalence is unknown.

How is Muscle-Eye-Brain Disease Treated?
There is no successful treatment or cure for MEB. Medical specialists can help treat specific symptoms, such as using medication to control seizures, physical and occupational therapy to aid in movement, and special eye glasses to help make the most of the child’s vision.

What is the Prognosis for a Person With Muscle-Eye-Brain Disease?
The prognosis for a person with MEB varies depending on the severity of the symptoms, but is generally poor. Studies have shown people with MEB typically die between the ages of 6 and 16.

Muscular Dystrophy Association
A non-profit organization that supports research into and education about neuromuscular diseases. It is best known for its annual telethon led by entertainer Jerry Lewis.

  • 3300 East Sunrise Drive
    Tucson, AZ 85718
  • Phone: (800) 572-1717
  • Secondary Phone: (520) 529-2000
  • mda@mdausa.org

Osteoporosis Awareness

General Facts

  • Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone that makes a person’s bones weak and more likely to break. Approximately 9 million Americans have osteoporosis and another 43 million have low bone density, placing them at increased risk.
  • This means that nearly 60% of adults age 50 and older are at risk of breaking a bone and should be concerned about bone health.
  • One in two women and up to one in four men will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis. For women, the incidence is greater than that of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.
  • There is no cure for osteoporosis, but there are steps you can take to prevent, slow or stop its progress. Diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle are keys to preventing and managing the disease.
  • NOF recommends five steps to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis:
    1. Get the calcium and vitamin D you need every day.
    2. Do regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.
    3. Don’t smoke and don’t drink too much alcohol.
    4. Talk to your healthcare provider about your chance of getting osteoporosis and ask when you should have a bone density test.
    5. Take an osteoporosis medication when it’s right for you.

About Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone.

  • Osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease” because you cannot feel your bones getting weaker.
  • You may not even know you have osteoporosis until after you break a bone.

Osteoporosis is serious, even deadly.

  • A woman’s risk of hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.
  • A man is more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than he is to get prostate cancer.
  • 24 percent of hip fracture patients age 50 and over die in the year following the fracture.
  • Six months after a hip fracture, only 15 percent of patients can walk across a room unaided.
  • Every year, of nearly 300,000 hip fracture patients, one-quarter end up in nursing homes and half never regain previous function

Osteoporosis is costly.

  • Osteoporosis-related bone breaks cost patients, their families and the healthcare system $19 billion annually.
  • By 2025, experts predict that osteoporosis will be responsible for three million fractures resulting in $25.3 billion in costs.

Osteoporosis is preventable.

  • About 85-90 percent of adult bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and 20 in boys.
  • Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence can help prevent osteoporosis later in life.
  • NOF recommends five steps to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis:
    1. Get the calcium and vitamin D you need every day.
    2. Do regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.
    3. Don’t smoke and don’t drink too much alcohol.
    4. Talk to your healthcare provider about your chance of getting osteoporosis and ask when you should have a bone density test.
    5. Take an osteoporosis medication when it’s right for you.

Osteoporosis is manageable.

  • Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, there are steps you can take to prevent, slow or stop its progress. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help slow or stop the loss of bone mass and help prevent fractures.
  • About half of osteoporosis-related repeat fractures can be prevented with appropriate treatment.
  • A bone density test is the best way to diagnose osteoporosis and determine a treatment plan. If your T-score is-2.5 or lower, indicating that you have osteoporosis, or if you have other significant risk factors for breaking a bone, talk to your healthcare provider about starting an osteoporosis treatment plan that includes taking an osteoporosis medicine.
  • In choosing an osteoporosis medication, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of all treatment options with your healthcare provider to determine which treatment plan is best for you.
  • In order for your medicine to work, it’s important to exercise regularly an make sure you get the recommended amount of calcium and vitamin D every day from food and supplements.
  • Once you start taking an osteoporosis medicine, your bone density test by central DXA should be repeated at least every two years to monitor its effects. After starting a new osteoporosis medicine, many healthcare providers will repeat a bone density test after one year.