Slogan: Life Enhancing Care Since 1995
Home Health and Hospice from Longview and Nacogdoches TX

LifeCare's Health Information Library

Search our database of hundreds of health information articles. They are current, constantly updated, and authoritatively sourced!

Medicines

Medicines can treat diseases and improve your health. If you are like most people, you need to take medicine at some point in your life. You may need to take medicine every day, or you may only need to take medicine once in a while. Either way, you want to make sure that your medicines are safe, and that they will help you get better. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration is in charge of ensuring that your prescription and over-the-counter medicines are safe and effective.

There are always risks to taking medicines. It is important to think about these risks before you take a medicine. Even safe medicines can cause unwanted side effects or interactions with food, alcohol, or other medicines you may be taking. Some medicines may not be safe during pregnancy. To reduce the risk of reactions and make sure that you get better, it is important for you to take your medicines correctly. You should also be careful when giving medicines to children, since they can be more vulnerable to the effects of medicines.

Environmental Health

Our environment affects our health. If parts of the environment, like the air, water, or soil become polluted, it can lead to health problems. For example, asthma pollutants and chemicals in the air or in the home can trigger asthma attacks.

Some environmental risks are a part of the natural world, like radon in the soil. Others are the result of human activities, like lead poisoning from paint, or exposure to asbestos or mercury from mining or industrial use.

NIH: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Health Statistics

Health statistics are numbers that summarize information related to health. Researchers and experts from government, private, and non-profit agencies and organizations collect health statistics. They use the statistics to learn about public health and health care. Some of the types of statistics include

  • How many people in the country have a disease or how many people got the disease within a certain period of time
  • How many people of a certain group have a disease. The groups could be based on location, race, ethnic group, sex, age, profession, income level, level of education. This can help identify health disparities.
  • Whether a treatment is safe and effective
  • How many people were born and died. These are known as vital statistics.
  • How many people have access to and use health care
  • The quality and efficiency of our health care system
  • Health care costs, including how much the government, employers, and individuals pay for health care. It could include how poor health can affect the country economically
  • The impact of government programs and policies on health
  • Risk factors for different diseases. An example would be how air pollution can raise your risk of lung diseases
  • Ways to lower risk for diseases, such as exercise and weight loss to lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes

Numbers on a graph or in a chart may seem straightforward, but that's not always the case. It's important to be critical and consider the source. If needed, ask questions to help you understand the statistics and what they are showing.

Bipolar Disorder

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that can cause intense mood swings:

  • Sometimes you may feel extremely "up," elated, irritable, or energized. This is called a manic episode.
  • Other times you may feel "down," sad, indifferent, or hopeless. This is called a depressive episode.
  • You may have both manic and depressive symptoms together. This is called a mixed episode.

Along with the mood swings, bipolar disorder causes changes in behavior, energy levels, and activity levels.

Bipolar disorder used to be called other names, including manic depression and manic-depressive disorder.

What are the types of bipolar disorder?

There are three main types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I disorder involves manic episodes that last at least 7 days or manic symptoms so severe that you need immediate hospital care. Depressive episodes are also common. Those often last at least two weeks. This type of bipolar disorder can also involve mixed episodes.
  • Bipolar II disorder involves depressive episodes. But instead of full-blown manic episodes, there are episodes of hypomania. Hypomania is a less severe version of mania.
  • Cyclothymic disorder, or cyclothymia, also involves hypomanic and depressive symptoms. But they are not as intense or as long-lasting as hypomanic or depressive episodes. The symptoms usually last for at least two years in adults and for one year in children and teenagers.

With any of these types, having four or more episodes of mania or depression in a year is called "rapid cycling."

What causes bipolar disorder?

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown. Several factors likely play a role in the disorder. They include genetics, brain structure and function, and your environment.

Who is at risk for bipolar disorder?

You are at higher risk for bipolar disorder if you have a close relative who has it. Going through trauma or stressful life events may raise this risk even more.

What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can vary. But they involve mood swings known as mood episodes:

  • The symptoms of a manic episode can include
    • Feeling very up, high, or elated
    • Feeling jumpy or wired, more active than usual
    • Having a very short temper or seeming extremely irritable
    • Having racing thoughts and talking very fast
    • Needing less sleep
    • Feeling like you are unusually important, talented, or powerful
    • Do risky things that show poor judgment, such as eating and drinking too much, spending or giving away a lot of money, or having reckless sex
  • The symptoms of a depressive episode can include
    • Feeling very sad, hopeless, or worthless
    • Feeling lonely or isolating yourself from others
    • Talking very slowly, feeling like you have nothing to say, or forgetting a lot
    • Having little energy
    • Sleeping too much
    • Eating too much or too little
    • Lack of interest in your usual activities and being unable to do even simple things
    • Thinking about death or suicide
  • The symptoms of a mixed episode include both manic and depressive symptoms together. For example, you may feel very sad, empty, or hopeless, while at the same time feeling extremely energized.

Some people with bipolar disorder may have milder symptoms. For example, you may have hypomania instead of mania. With hypomania, you may feel very good and find that you can get a lot done. You may not feel like anything is wrong. But your family and friends may notice your mood swings and changes in activity levels. They may realize that your behavior is unusual for you. After the hypomania, you might have severe depression.

Your mood episodes may last a week or two or sometimes longer. During an episode, symptoms usually occur every day for most of the day.

How is bipolar disorder diagnosed?

To diagnose bipolar disorder, your health care provider may use many tools:

  • A physical exam
  • A medical history, which will include asking about your symptoms, lifetime history, experiences, and family history
  • Medical tests to rule out other conditions
  • A mental health evaluation. Your provider may do the evaluation or may refer you to a mental health specialist to get one.
What are the treatments for bipolar disorder?

Treatment can help many people, including those with the most severe forms of bipolar disorder. The main treatments for bipolar disorder include medicines, psychotherapy, or both:

  • Medicines can help control the symptoms of bipolar disorder. You may need to try several different medicines to find which one works best for you. Some people need to take more than one medicine. It's important to take your medicine consistently. Don't stop taking it without first talking with your provider. Contact your provider if you have any concerns about side effects from the medicines.
  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy) can help you recognize and change troubling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It can give you and your family support, education, skills, and coping strategies. There are several different types of psychotherapy that may help with bipolar disorder.
  • Other treatment options include
    • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a brain stimulation procedure that can help relieve symptoms. ECT is most often used for severe bipolar disorder that is not getting better with other treatments. It may also be used when someone needs a treatment that will work more quickly than medicines. This might be when a person has a high risk of suicide or is catatonic (unresponsive).
    • Getting regular aerobic exercise may help with depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping
    • Keeping a life chart can help you and your provider track and treat your bipolar disorder. A life chart is a record of your daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events.

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness. But long-term, ongoing treatment can help manage your symptoms and enable you to live a healthy, successful life.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is an illness caused by a virus. This virus is a new coronavirus that has spread throughout the world. It is called SARS-CoV-2. There are two types of tests for this virus:

  • A viral test tells you if you have a current infection
  • An antibody (serology) test might tell you if you had a past infection

If you think that you need a COVID-19 test, contact your health care provider. You can also check your state or local health department's website for information on testing in your area.

Even if a test shows that you do not currently have COVID-19, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention