Degenerative Diseases

Managing Sciatica

Sciatica is one of the most underrated types of pain that 40% of people suffer from at some point in their life. It is important to know how to manage the pain when it starts effecting your everyday life.

What is Sciatica? Sciatica is when there is a pinched nerve in the lower back, the sciatic nerve, and causes pain that radiates from the lower back down through one or both of the legs.

What causes Sciatica? Some common causes of sciatica is damage done from degenerative disc disease, and lumbar spinal stenosis. Either of these diseases cause brittle and narrowing passages for the sciatic nerve, and will cause it to be pinched.

Symptoms of Sciatica? 

  • Pain that radiates from the lower back down through the leg(s)
  • Difficulty walking, sitting, moving
  • Leg and/or feet numbness

How to treat Sciatica?

  • Exercising and stretching
  • Medications (anti-inflammatory and pain medication)
  • Muscle Relaxants
  • Massages and physical therapy

On rare occasions, surgery needs to be performed to help relieve some of the pressure on the nerve. It is best to make sure with your doctor to see if there is anything they can do to help relieve the pain. Sciatica is not something that goes away completely, but it can be managed to help relieve some of the pain before it becomes too unbearable.

Managing Pre-Diabetes

About 84 million adult Americans have pre-diabetes, that is 1 out of 3 people. It’s important to know how to help manage pre-diabetes so it does not progress further into type 2 diabetes.

What is Pre-Diabetes? A condition where the blood sugar in your body is high, but not high enough yet to be type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of Pre-Diabetes? Many people do not experience any symptoms with pre-diabetes. Some may experience excessive hunger, excessive thirst, fatigue, frequent urination, or weight gain. It does require a medical diagnosis to be able to know for sure if it is pre-diabetes or not.

How to prevent the progression from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes:

  • Become more active. It is important to exercise and keep your blood glucose levels down. It is one of the best things to do to prevent type 2 diabetes.
  • Lower your body weight. Even just losing a couple of pounds of weight can drop the probability of it moving to type 2 diabetes.
  • Eat healthy foods. Watching what you eat can also help pre-diabetes from progressing. Avoid foods that are high in fats and carbohydrates. Strive to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • If you smoke, stop smoking.
  • Visit your doctor more often. Seeing your doctor to check up of the progression of it can also help it from moving to type 2 diabetes. They can also help advise you on what you can do next.

Pre-diabetes can happen to anyone. It is important to consult with your doctor and get regular check-ups if you feel as though you have it. Living a healthy lifestyle, and continuing that lifestyle, can help prevent pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Managing COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects 30 million American’s on average. Those living with this disease can be at risk for serious complications with their health, that could possibly be fatal. It’s important to be aware of the signs and how to manage COPD, before major loss of function to the lungs occur.

What is COPD? It is a term to describe progressive lung diseases, such as emphysema, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, chronic bronchitis, and some forms of bronchiectasis. It blocks the airflow, and makes it difficult to breathe.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased breathlessness
  • Tightness in chest
  • Wheezing
  • Frequent coughing (with and without sputum)
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Frequent fatigue

Many people do not notice the early symptoms of COPD, and believe it is a normal part of aging. It is important to acknowledge these symptoms, and get them checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

Causes of COPD. The most common cause in the United States is cigarette smoke. Other causes include lung damage due to premature birth, inherited genes (genetics), air pollution, and chemical/fume exposure.

Ways to Manage it. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for COPD. However, there are ways to help manage and treat the symptoms, and its progression can be delayed.

  • Exercise – Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  • Bronchodilator, Corticosteroids (inhalers)
  • Supplemental Oxygen
  • Surgery – Lung transplantation or lung volume reduction surgery

It is important to consult with a doctor to see which route is best for you.

How to be tested. It is a simple, non-invasive test to diagnose COPD. When taking the test, you will blow all of the air out of your lungs into a mouthpiece connected to a machine, called a spirometer, and it will calculate how much air you blow out of your lungs in a span of 6 seconds or more.

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