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LifeCare Health Knowledge Center

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Myelodysplastic Syndromes

Your bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside some of your bones, such as your hip and thigh bones. It contains immature cells, called stem cells. The stem cells can develop into the red blood cells that carry oxygen through your body, the white blood cells that fight infections, and the platelets that help with blood clotting. If you have a myelodysplastic syndrome, the stem cells do not mature into healthy blood cells. Many of them die in the bone marrow. This means that you do not have enough healthy cells, which can lead to infection, anemia, or easy bleeding.

Myelodysplastic syndromes often do not cause early symptoms and are sometimes found during a routine blood test. If you have symptoms, they may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness or feeling tired
  • Skin that is paler than usual
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Pinpoint spots under the skin caused by bleeding
  • Fever or frequent infections

Myelodysplastic syndromes are rare. People at higher risk are over 60, have had chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or have been exposed to certain chemicals. Treatment options include transfusions, drug therapy, chemotherapy, and blood or bone marrow stem cell transplants.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Pain Relievers

Pain relievers are medicines that reduce or relieve headaches, sore muscles, arthritis, or other aches and pains. There are many different pain medicines, and each one has advantages and risks. Some types of pain respond better to certain medicines than others. Each person may also have a slightly different response to a pain reliever.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are good for many types of pain. There are two main types of OTC pain medicines: acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin, naproxen (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) are examples of OTC NSAIDs.

If OTC medicines don't relieve your pain, your doctor may prescribe something stronger. Many NSAIDs are also available at higher prescription doses. The most powerful pain relievers are opioids. They are very effective, but they can sometimes have serious side effects. There is also a risk of opioids. Because of the risks, you must use them only under a doctor's supervision.

There are many things you can do to help ease pain. Pain relievers are just one part of a pain treatment plan.

Penis Disorders

Problems with the penis can cause pain and affect a man's sexual function and fertility. Penis disorders include:

  • Erectile dysfunction - inability to get or keep an erection
  • Priapism - a painful erection that does not go away
  • Peyronie's disease - bending of the penis during an erection due to a hard lump called a plaque
  • Balanitis - inflammation of the skin covering the head of the penis, most often in men and boys who have not been circumcised
  • Penile cancer - a rare form of cancer, highly curable when caught early

Pheochromocytoma

Pheochromocytoma is a rare tumor that usually starts in the cells of one of your adrenal glands. Although they are usually benign, pheochromocytomas often cause the adrenal gland to make too many hormones. This can lead to high blood pressure and cause symptoms such as :

  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Pounding of the heart
  • Being shaky
  • Being extremely pale

Sometimes pheochromocytoma is part of another condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome (MEN). People with MEN often have other cancers and other problems involving hormones.

Doctors use lab tests and imaging tests to diagnose it. Surgery is the most common treatment. Other options include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances that attack specific cancer cells with less harm to normal cells.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Pregnancy

You're going to have a baby! It's an exciting time, but it can also feel a bit overwhelming. You may have a lot of questions, including what you can do to give your baby a healthy start. To keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy, it is important to:

  • Have regular visits with your health care provider. These prenatal care visits help make sure that you and your baby are healthy. And if there are any health problems, your provider can find them early. Getting treatment right away can cure many problems and prevent others.
  • Eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Good nutrition during pregnancy includes eating a variety of:
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Whole grains
    • Lean meats or other protein sources
    • Low-fat dairy products
  • Take prenatal vitamins. During pregnancy, you need higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid and iron.
  • Be careful with medicines. Always check with your provider before you start or stop any medicine. This includes over-the-counter medicines and dietary or herbal supplements.
  • Stay active. Physical activity can help you stay strong, feel and sleep better, and prepare your body for birth. Check with your provider about which types of activities are right for you.
  • Avoid substances that could hurt your baby, including alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.

Your body will keep changing as your baby grows. It can be hard to know whether a new symptom is normal or could be a sign of a problem. Check with your provider if something is bothering or worrying you.

If you are thinking about hospice, palliative care, or home health, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions and even visit your home for a free consultation.


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