Archive for February, 2007

Thalassemia Treatment

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Treatment for Thalassemia depends on the form of thalassemia you have. If you have thalassemia minor and are simply a trait carrier, you will have no symptoms and no treatment is necessary. People with thalassemia intermedia may require red blood cell transfusions at varying levels of frequency, depending on the severity of their anemia. People with thalassemia major must receive red blood cell transfusions every two to three weeks.

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Different Kinds of Thalassemia

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Generally, Thalassaemia can be classified into two categories based on the globin molecule which is affected and these two categories are the alpha (a) thalassaemia and the beta (ß) thalassaemia.

The most severe form of alpha thalassemia results in fetal or newborn death. Most individuals with alpha thalassemia have milder forms of the disease, with varying degrees of anemia.

Beta thalassemias range from very severe to having no effect on health.

   – Thalassemia major, the most severe form, is also called Cooley’s anemia, named after the doctor who first described it in 1925.
   – Thalassemia intermedia is a mild Cooley’s anemia.
   – Thalassemia minor (also called thalassemia trait) may cause no symptoms, but changes in the blood do occur.

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Thalassemia : Symptoms

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Thalassemia symptoms depend on the degree of anemia associated with the underlying thalassemia. Mild thalassemia usually does not cause any symptoms. However, symptoms of anemia may develop in more severe forms of the condition and may include:

  • Weakness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Skin that looks paler than normal.
  • Jaundice (skin and whites of eyes appear yellow).
  • Dark urine.
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss (poor growth in a child).
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Shortness of breath during exercise.   

Sometimes people can develop an enlarged spleen with associated discomfort in the abdomen. Other symptoms of a thalassemia include gallstones, fractures, jaundice, and impaired growth.

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Thalassemia Overview

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Thalassemia is the name of a group of genetic blood disorders. It is a medical disease whereby there is genetic defect in a human body and therefore resulted in a synthesis of an abnormal hemoglobin molecule. With the synthesis of an abnormal hemoglobin molecule, the blood cells will become vulnerable to mechanical injuries and therefore, die easily. Low levels of hemoglobin may cause anemia, an illness that makes you feel weak and tired.

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Diagnosis of Narcolepsy

Monday, February 12th, 2007

For Narcolepsy diagnosis, in some cases a verbal history will be sufficient to diagnose the disorder. Careful questioning of the patient will usually dispel any doubts. Similar questioning of family members who have lived with the patient can provide further confirmation of the diagnosis. The presence of cataplexy is very highly suggestive of narcolepsy. The pervasive influence of the symptoms on all aspects of life make it extremely unlikely the patient and/or the family members could deceive or mislead a physician who has a clear understanding of the syndrome.

If doubts remain the patient should be refered to a sleep centre for polysomnographic testing by professionally trained specialists in the evaluation of sleep disorders. In the sleep centre patients will undergo tests to determine how rapidly they fall asleep. The type of sleep they enter into from consiousness will be recorded. Evidence that they pass directly into REM sleep (see ‘Causes’) is regarded as being positive for narcolepsy.

Testing for the tissue type associated with narcolepsy may be carried out. In the future it is possible that measurement of orexin (hypocretin) levels in the cerebrospinal fluid will become routine.

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Narcolepsy : Causes

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

Root cause of narcolepsy is still unknown. Currently, the general believe is that genetics accompanied by an environmental trigger of some sort—a virus, for example— may affect brain chemicals and contribute to the disorder.

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Narcolepsy: Treatment

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Although there is no known cure for narcolepsy, several medications help to control the symptoms. Stimulants are usually prescribed to treat EDS and sleep attacks, and usually control most other symptoms. In some cases certain anti-depressants taken at bedtime may be required to aid in control of cataplexy. Narcolepsy symptoms vary from person to person, as does response to medications; also both symptoms and response are likely to change at different times in life. The proper choice of medication and dosage requires careful attention to the person’s needs and responses, and close cooperation between patient and medical personnel. The medications used to control narcolepsy are usually very helpful but may cause some side effects.

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Narcolepsy Symptoms

Monday, February 5th, 2007

The principal symptoms of Narcolepsy are:

  • excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS),
  • cataplexy (loss of muscle tone),
  • hypnagogic hallucinations, sleep paralysis,
  • disrupted night-time sleep and automatic behaviour (being unaware of what you are doing).

A person suffering from narcolepsy may have some or all of these symptoms.

What is Narcolepsy

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

narcolepsy.jpgNarcolepsy is a chronic disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, and other auxiliary symptoms. Narcolepsy impairs the ability of the central nervous system to regulate sleep. With people having narcolepsy, the messages carried by central nervous system about when to be asleep or awake are misguided and don’t make it to their proper destination, thereby impairing the individual’s ability to stay awake.