Health Care News

Growth Disorders

Growth disorders are problems that can cause children to grow abnormally fast or slow. As a result, the child may be unusually tall or short for his or her age group. While some variations in normal growth patterns are not a cause for concern, others may be the result of underlying disorders that affect the production of the hormones required for growth and development.

Endocrine diseases are often the cause. The endocrine system is responsible for producing the hormones that are necessary in regulating the various systems of the body. When endocrine diseases exist, the body may produce too many or too few of the hormones needed for growth. The most common endocrine system problems in children are those that affect the pituitary gland, which is responsible for producing growth hormones. In many cases, a non-cancerous tumor on the pituitary gland is responsible for the overproduction of growth hormone that causes children to be taller than normal. The pituitary gland may also produce too little, resulting in short stature.

Type of Growth Disorders

Growth disorders may also be caused by other conditions such as Turner syndrome. This is one of the most common growth disorders, and it occurs in females as the result of an abnormal or missing X chromosome. Hypothyroidism can also cause growth disorders. Numerous tests are usually performed to detect growth disorders and to determine their exact cause.

Treating Growth Disorders

The treatment for growth disorders varies depending upon the cause and the nature of the disorder. When children are not growing as much as they should due to a lack of growth hormone or in cases of Turner syndrome, prescribed growth hormones are often used to stimulate growth. If a tumor exists on the pituitary gland, it may be treated with radiation or medications, or it may need to be removed surgically. In cases where a child's self-esteem is damaged due to abnormal growth, treatment by a mental health professional may be recommended.

Most growth disorders do not cause major problems. Some, however, may impair other aspects of a child's development. When detected and treated, the majority of disorders can be managed. Treatments like growth hormones are often successful in helping children catch up with others in their age group in terms of height, and they typically do not cause any problems. When left untreated, children may suffer from poor self-esteem and other social or emotional problems due to their height.

Heartburn

Heartburn is a common problem that affects millions of people. In fact, 10% of Americans experience the symptoms of heartburn at least once a week. It can be caused by a number of factors including food, stress, and certain medications. In most cases, it is mild, but sometimes it can lead to more severe problems. In some instances, it may also be a sign of a more serious medical condition.

Also known as acid indigestion, heartburn is a sensation of burning that occurs in the chest. In some cases, the burning sensation may rise up in the throat. It usually occurs when gastric acids are regurgitated. Gastric reflux is common on its own, but it could also be a symptom of gastroesophagal reflux disease. In some cases, however, it may also be a sign of heart disease. As a result, a proper diagnosis is important in cases of chronic heartburn.

Diagnosing Heartburn

When diagnosing heartburn and its cause, doctors may use a variety of tests. GERD can typically be diagnosed based upon symptoms including a distinct burning sensation that typically occurs shortly after a meal and at night. Worsening pain when the patient bends over or lies down is also a telltale sign of GERD. To rule out cardiac conditions, many doctors choose to perform additional tests. One of the most common includes the GI cocktail. In this test, the patient is given a mixture of antacid and lidocaine. If the symptoms begin to subside within five to ten minutes, the probability of a cardiac cause is greatly decreased. In some cases, other methods such as endoscopy may be used to closely examine the stomach and esophagus. If cancer or other serious problems are suspected, a biopsy may be taken.

Treating Heartburn

For most patients, treating heartburn simply requires prescription or over-the-counter antacids. These products are designed to reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces and are often effective methods of reducing gastric reflux. In an infection is present, patients may also be prescribed antibiotics. When heartburn is caused by cardiac problems or other underlying conditions, additional testing and further treatment by a specialist is usually required.

Prognosis

The prognosis for heartburn itself is generally good. For most patients, it can be managed through medication and does not cause any serious complications. When left untreated for extended periods of time or the exact cause is misdiagnosed, further complications may arise. Over time, acid reflux can cause damage to the esophagus and stomach lining that can lead to infections. When heartburn presents as a symptom of heart disease, the prognosis depends on the exact type of disease. As a result, it is important to see a doctor for persistent heartburn that does not respond well to over-the-counter treatments.



Vaccination

A vaccination is the administration of a vaccine, or antigenic. Antigens are substances that, when introduced to the body, trigger the immune system to produce antibodies that kill or neutralize the antigen because it is seen as a foreign threat. Through the administration of vaccines, the likelihood of contracting certain diseases or infections can be greatly reduced. In fact, vaccinations are considered to be the most effective ways of preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

Vaccinations have been performed on humans since the 1700s. It is likely that smallpox was the first disease people tried to prevent through vaccination. Using fluid take from mild cases of smallpox, people were able to reduce their chances of contracting a deadlier strain of the disease. Since the first use of vaccinations, the practice has been met with some controversy on religious, scientific, safety, and ethical grounds. Despite many cases of opposition, however, vaccinations are widely accepted and have been proven to prevent numerous infectious diseases.

How Vaccinations Work

When a vaccine is administered, it primes the immune system with some type of immunogen. Immunization occurs when the immune system is stimulated through the exposure to some type of infectious agent. A vaccine may require the use of one or more immunogens, and they can be administered using different methods and at different times. Most vaccinations are administered directly into the bloodstream with a hypodermic needle, however some are given orally. Most vaccinations are preformed prior to a disease being contracted to prevent it, but in some cases, they may be given after a patient is exposed to an infectious disease.

Types of Vaccinations

All vaccinations prevent the spread of disease by intentionally presenting a foreign antigen to the body to trigger a response from the immune system. There are, however, numerous ways to do this. Presently there are four main types of vaccines that are regularly used. Inactivated vaccines are those that contain virus particles which are grown and then killed. The virus itself is destroyed and cannot reproduce, but it can still be recognized by the immune system. Because the virus cannot replicate, periodic booster shots are required to maintain a patient's immunity. Attenuated vaccinations contain weak live virus particles that reproduce slowly. Virus-like particle vaccines are made using viral proteins that come from an actual virus. The can resemble the actual virus and can trigger an immune response, but since they do not have viral nucleic acid, they are not infectious. Lastly, a subunit vaccine is one that presents an antigen without any viral particles. These can be created by producing specific proteins from viruses. Because they do not contain actual viral particles, they often result in weakened immune system responses when compared to other types of vaccines.



What a Doctor Can Do For Acne?

When acne does not respond to over-the-counter treatments, many individuals choose to see their primary care physician or a dermatologist. There are numerous prescription medications, treatments, and procedures that have proven to be successful even when other methods fail, and with their medical knowledge, doctors can recommend individualized acne treatments plans for any patient. Doctors have access to acne treatment methods that will clear up existing acne while preventing future breakouts and permanent scarring.

In most cases, the primary concern of a doctor or dermatologist when it comes to acne is the prevention of scarring. While treatments should improve the patient's overall appearance and complexion, long term scarring is generally of more importance than temporary blemishes. When treatment ensures the prevention of scarring, it is more likely that the patient will not experience any lasting effects of acne once the condition clears up entirely.

Treating Acne

The doctor's first course of action is often a topical antibiotic or antibacterial ointment. These products are prescription strength creams that are applied directly to the skin. They may contain a variety of ingredients, and they have been carefully formulated to kill the bacteria and infections that can make acne worse. Some of these products also contain strong concentrations of acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Retinoids that work to unclog the pores are also common topical treatments. When treating bacteria and infections, doctors may also prescribe oral antibiotics.

Other medications or treatments may also be prescribed when treating acne. When hormones are the suspected cause, sprionolactone may be prescribed to block hormone receptors. This medicine is most effective in women. Oral contraceptives are also prescribed in some cases to create improved hormone balance. Cortisone injections are often used to immediately treat cysts and large pimples. In cases of especially stubborn acne, isotretinoin may be prescribed. It is very effective but has many potential side effects, so it typically is only prescribed when other methods fail.

Other Acne Treatments

In addition to medications and creams, doctors may also advice patients to undergo certain procedures to improve acne. Laser treatments are safe, and they can effectively reduce the appearance of acne. Chemical peels are also effective for this purpose. These treatments typically do not provide long-lasting results, but they are very effective in treating occasional breakouts.

When other methods fail, visiting a doctor is the best way to get results. A doctor can assess a patient's needs and recommend the most effective treatment.



Hepatitis

The term hepatitis refers to swelling and inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by numerous things and can result in a variety of conditions. In some cases, it may be short term while in others it is a chronic problem. Chronic and severe acute hepatitis can lead to severe problems including liver damage, liver cancer, or liver failure. Health conditions associated with hepatitis are treated in numerous ways depending upon the nature and severity of the condition. Some cases can be treated or managed while others can cause irreparable damage to the liver that can lead to death.

Hepatitis is not a condition in itself, but the term is often used in describing a viral infection that is present in the liver. Common causes and types of hepatitis include alcoholic hepatitis, autoimmune hepatitis, drug-induced hepatitis, and hepatitis A, B, C, and D. It may also occur as the result of hereditary disorders like hemochromatosis or cystic fibrosis.

Symptoms of Hepatitis

The symptoms of hepatitis vary based upon the severity, but general signs include abdominal pain or distention, dark urine, fatigue, jaundice, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting. Many people do not notice any symptoms immediately after being infected with hepatitis B or C, but severe liver damage can still occur. As a result, those who are at risk for contracting such infections should be tested on a regular basis.

Diagnosing Hepatitis

Hepatitis is usually diagnosed through a physical examination and a series of laboratory and imaging tests. During a physical exam, doctors can detect common signs of liver disease including fluid in the abdomen, an enlarged liver, and yellowing of the skin. Simple blood tests are often performed to check for autoimmune blood markers and liver enzymes that determine liver function. An abdominal ultrasound may also be performed to give doctors a clear view of the liver itself. In some cases, a biopsy may be taken to check for liver damage or cancer.

Treating Hepatitis

The treatment options for hepatitis vary depending upon the cause and type. Patients with hepatitis A are typically able to recover on their own with out any further treatment. Many other types require medication to treat the infection. Some medications are given orally while others are given by injection. In cases where hepatitis is caused by drug or alcohol abuse, lifestyle changes are required to prevent further damage, and medications may be prescribed to treat existing damage. In extreme cases of hepatitis, a liver transplant may be required. This most commonly occurs in patients with hepatitis C. The general prognosis for hepatitis varies. When it is detected early and little damage is done, it can often be managed. In later stages, however, it can lead to fatal complications.



Heart Disease

Heart disease is classified as any disorder or disease that reduces the heart's ability to function normally. There are numerous causes and risk factors, and it is one of the leading causes of death around the world. Many conditions can be treated and managed when detected early, but others are fatal. The treatment options and prognosis can vary greatly depending upon the exact disease or disorder that is present.

In the majority of cases, the cause is a blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood the the heart muscle. This is known as coronary artery disease, and it can lead to numerous heart conditions. Some conditions are present from the time an individual is born. These are classed as congenital heart disease. Other possible causes include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, abnormal function of the heart valves, abnormal heartbeat rhythm, and cardiomyopathy, which is a weakening of the heart's ability to pump blood. Risk factors include poor diet, excess weight, lack of physical activity, smoking, stress, diabetes, age, and a family history of coronary disease.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

The symptoms of heart disease can vary depending upon the severity and the exact disease or disorder that is present. Some of the most common signs that point to heart disease include irregular heartbeat, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, sweating, and chest pain. Many patients mistake chest pain related to heart disease to heartburn or indigestion. If any of these symptoms are severe or on-going, they may be related to heart disease and should be evaluated by a medical professional immediately.

Doctors can diagnose heart disease through physical examinations and a number of tests and procedures. The first step in reaching a diagnosis is normally a complete physical examination and collection of family medical history. During the exam, doctors generally check heart rate and blood pressure. They will listen to the sound of the heart beat and measure its pulse. These simple tests can help doctors determine what other tests are needed. Additional testing may include an electrocardiogram, chest x-ray, stress test, echocardiogram, catherization, MRI, or CT scan. Using these tests, doctors are able to see whether or not the heart is functioning properly and determine a cause.

Treating Heart Disease

Treatment depends on the nature of the disorder. Many problems can be controlled with medication while others require surgery. Some conditions may be alleviated through lifestyle changes that lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Working with a doctor is essential when it comes to heart disease. Only a doctor can determine the course of treatment that will ensure the best possible prognosis for any heart condition.



Ulcer Pain

Ulcers, also known as peptic ulcers, are sores that can develop in the digestive tract. They commonly occur in the lining of the stomach, esophagus, or the upper part of the small intestine. The first and most common symptom of an ulcer is pain. The causes and treatment options for ulcers are numerous. In most cases, they can be treated without major problems. When left untreated, however, they can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening complications.Pain is the most common symptom of an ulcer. It can be felt anywhere between the breastbone and the navel and may be worse at night or when the stomach is empty. Some patients may experience temporary relief after eating certain foods or taking an acid reducing medication. Other symptoms may include blood in stools or vomit, nausea, and changes in appetite or weight. It is important to see a doctor if any of these symptoms persist or are severe.

Causes of Ulcers

Ulcers are often caused by bacteria, so doctors commonly test for the bacterium H. pylori. This may be done using a blood, breath, or stool test. Doctors may also perform endoscopic tests to examine the interior of the upper digestive system. Ulcers can also be detected by performing a series of X-rays after the patient swallows a liquid called barium that coats the digestive tract and makes ulcers visible.Since many ulcers are caused by bacteria, antibiotics are the most common form of treatment. Patients may also be prescribed medications that lower acid levels to encourage healing and reduce pain. If the ulcers are caused by another factor, different treatments are necessary. Medications that reduce acid production and promote healing are especially common. Patients may also need to stop taking certain medications that can cause stomach bleeding. Other prescription medications may be necessary depending upon the cause of the ulcer and any underlying conditions.

Treating Ulcers

In most cases, ulcers heal with prescription medication and lifestyle changes such as reducing the use of certain pain relievers or stopping smoking. Ulcers are also more likely to heal if the patient limits or avoids alcohol consumption. When left untreated, serious complications such as infection, internal bleeding, or an excessive buildup of scar tissue may occur. These problems can become life-threatening and often require hospitalization and surgical treatment. When traditional treatment fails, doctors may need to perform tests or surgical procedures to determine the cause and treat the ulcer.



Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are common problems that can be very painful. They are especially common in pregnant women and after delivering a child. They can affect men as well. Among individuals of both genders, the most common cause is straining during bowel movements. Hemorrhoids occur as the result of increased blood pressure in the veins in the rectum or anus. This pressure causes painful swelling.Though the most common causes of hemorrhoids are straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, and childbirth, there are numerous potential causes. Other possible causes include severe or chronic constipation, infections of the anal region, diseases like cirrhosis of the liver, or sitting for long periods of time. They may occur inside or outside of the body. External hemorrhoids develop at the anal opening while internal hemorrhoids are located just inside the anus. 

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

Pain in the anal region is the most common symptom of hemorrhoids.Other symptoms include itching, brightly colored blood in the stool, toilet bowel, or toilet tissue after a bowel movement, painful bowel movements, or hard lumps near the anus that are tender or painful.Doctors can usually detect hemorrhoids during an examination of the rectal region. Other tests may be performed to detect the presence of blood in the stool or to examine the internal parts of the anus and rectum. In many cases, hemorrhoids can be treated and managed with over-the-counter creams formulated to reduce painful swelling. In more severe cases, patients may require prescription creams with lidocaine to relieve pain. Stool softeners may also be recommended to reduce constipation and prevent straining during bowel movements.

 Treating Hemorrhoids

Heat treatments may be recommended to shrink hemorrhoids that do not improve. In many cases, these treatments are very effective and eliminate the need for further treatment. When hemorrhoids do not respond to traditional treatments or they are especially severe, they may need to be removed surgically. This usually is only needed when pain or bleeding is significant.The majority of hemorrhoids are minor, and they usually do not pose any serious risk. In limited cases, however, blood clots may develop in hemorrhoids and cause the death of the surrounding tissue. Some individuals also experience major rectal bleeding from hemorrhoids. When bleeding is severe, patients may develop complications as the result of extensive blood loss. Severe rectal bleeding may be caused by an underlying condition aside from hemorrhoids, so it is important to see a doctor for severe bleeding.



Polyps

Polyps are abnormal tissue growths that project from a mucus membrane. Typically they are attached by a narrow stalk, but in some cases, a stalk may not be present. The most common locations for polyps include the stomach, nose, sinuses, colon, uterus, and bladder. They can, however, occur anywhere in the body where mucus membranes exist.In many cases, polyps do not cause any major or noticeable symptoms. They are of concern, however, because they often put the patient at a higher risk of developing cancer. Colon polyps are of particular concern because they frequently become malignant. Due to their high likelihood of developing into colon cancer, adenomatous polyps located on the lining of the colon are classified as pre-malignant. Approximately 10% of all polyps are adenomatous polyps, and roughly 50% of adults over the age of 60 will experience one at some point. 

Women may develop endometrial polyps or cervical polyps. Endometrial polyps occur within the lining of the uterus. They are very common and may be experienced by as many as 10% of women. In many cases, these polyps do not cause any symptoms, and they often go undetected. Cervical polyps are common benign tumors that develop on the surface of the cervical canal. They may result in increased pain or irregular menstrual bleeding. Many women, however, do not experience any symptoms. Only about 1% of cervical polyps result in cancer. These polyps can usually be removed in a simple procedure, and in most cases, the prognosis is good.

Symptoms of Polyps

Many polyps do not cause symptoms, so they often go undetected. These rarely lead to cancer or other severe complications. When they are causing troublesome symptoms, they may need to be surgically removed. The type of procedure utilized in removing the polyp varies greatly depending upon the exact size and location of the growth. When removed early, polyps are often benign, and cancer can be avoided. The treatment and prognosis varies when a polyp becomes malignant. In some cases, it can be removed before the cancer spreads to other areas. In other cases, however, further cancer treatment may be needed.

Polyps Prognosis

Because the general prognosis for polyps can vary greatly depending upon the size and location, it is important to undergo routine screenings. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 40 and those with a family history of cancer. Early detection provides the best chance of a good prognosis.



Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome, commonly referred to as IBS, is a condition that causes changes in bowel movements, pain or cramping in the abdominal region, and other symptoms. Though they are often confused, irritable bowel syndrome is not the same as inflammatory bowel disease, also known as IBD. The primary difference between irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease is that in irritable bowel disease, the overall structure of the bowel is normal.

Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is presently unknown. While it often develops following an infection in the intestines, there are also other triggers. Because the intestine is connected to the brain, signals from the brain have an effect on the function of the bowels and can cause a multitude of symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome may develop when the nerves connecting the brain to the intestines become more active and cause the intestines to contract more frequently and become sensitive.

IBS is the most common intestinal problem that leads to patients being referred to a gastroenterologist. Approximately one in six Americans experiences the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. IBS can occur at any age, but they are more common in teenagers and young adults. The occurrence of IBS is two times more common in women than in men.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Patients with IBS may experience a multitude of symptoms that vary greatly in severity. The majority of patients have mild symptoms, but some may experience severe symptoms. The most common symptoms include pain in the abdominal region, bloating, and gas. These symptoms may improve temporarily following a bowel movement. Most patients also experience constipation, diarrhea, or both. The symptoms may change and become better or worse over time. Patients may also experience a loss of appetite.

Doctors can usually diagnose irritable bowel syndrome based on the patient's symptoms. There are currently no tests that detect the presence of the disease, but some tests may be used to rule out other potential causes. Blood tests and stool cultures are commonly performed. Doctors may also recommend a colonoscopy for patients who are over the age or 50 or are experiencing particularly troubling symptoms such as bloody stools, weight loss, or low blood counts.

Because there is no cure for IBS, treatment is geared toward relieving the symptoms. Patients may need to change their diet and avoid foods or drinks that cause worse symptoms. Doctors may also prescribe various medications to help relieve or prevent symptoms.



Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis refers to small bulging sacs that can develop in the inner lining of the intestine as the result of diverticulitis. They are most commonly located in the large intestine, and these sacs commonly become infected or inflamed. It is not understood what causes the sacs of diverticulosis to form, but it is likely that not getting enough fiber in one's diet is a likely cause. The symptoms vary depending upon the severity, as do the options for treatment. In most cases, the prognosis is generally good, and the condition can be managed without major symptoms.

What Causes Diverticulosis

Eating a diet that is low in fiber is recognized as one of the most likely causes of diverticulosis. Processed foods including white rice, white bread, pretzels, crackers, and many breakfast cereals are staples in the diets of many people, but they do not contain adequate amounts of fiber. Without enough fiber in one's diet, constipation and hard stools are common problems. This causes people to strain during bowel movements, increasing pressure in the intestines or colon. Diverticulosis pouches or sacs may form as the result of this.Diverticulosis is a very common condition that is present in more than half of the American population over the age of 60. In the majority of cases, diverticulosis does not progress into diverticulitis which occurs when small pieces of stool become trapped in the pouches or sacs. This can lead severe infections or inflammation.

Many people with diverticulosis experience no noticeable symptoms. When symptoms are present, they are generally mild and include cramping or bloating in the lower abdominal region or occasional blood in their stool or on the toilet tissue after a bowel movement. If diverticulitis develops, the symptoms are typically more severe and include tenderness in the abdomen, fever, nausea, loss of appetite, and bloating.

Diagnosing Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis may be diagnosed based upon the result of tests including CT scans and ultrasounds or x-rays of the abdomen. Blood tests may be performed to determine if an infection is present. There is no cure for diverticulosis, but there are steps patients can take to reduce their risk of developing diverticulitis or experiencing major symptoms. Dietary changes including increased fiber consumption and avoiding certain foods such as beans, nuts, or seeds may be necessary. Doctors may also advise patients to avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can make constipation worse. In most cases, diverticulosis can be managed. If diverticulitis develops, immediate medical attention is necessary to ensure the best possible prognosis.



Gastritis

Gastritis is a condition that occurs when the lining of the stomach becomes swollen or inflamed. In some cases, it lasts only a short period of time, while cases of chronic gastritis can last for months or even years. The causes of gastritis are numerous and typically determine the severity of the condition. In many cases, gastritis is minor and may not even cause any symptoms. Less often, however, the symptoms can be severe. The prognosis is generally good, but some of the underlying causes of gastritis may be severe.

Gastritis can occur in both men and women of all ages. Some of the most common causes include consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and infections of the stomach. Certain medications, including those that contain naproxen, ibuprofen, or aspirin, can also lead to gastritis when taken over an extended period of time. Less commonly, bile reflux, autoimmune disorders, extreme stress, viral infections, drug abuse, or the consumption of corrosive or caustic substances may also lead to gastritis. In some cases, sudden trauma or major illness can contribute to the condition as well.

Symptoms of Gastritis

In many cases, patients with gastritis do not experience any noticeable symptoms. Symptoms that may be noticed include nausea, vomiting, changes in appetite, weight loss, or pain in the upper region of the abdomen. In some situations, gastritis may cause bleeding from the lining in the stomach. When this happens, patients may also vomit blood or a material that resembles coffee grounds. Black or tarry stools are also common when bleeding in the stomach is present.

Doctors may perform numerous tests to diagnose gastritis. Complete blood counts are often performed to check for low blood count or anemia. Endoscopic procedures may be performed to examine the stomach, and stool samples may be checked for blood. Patients may also be tested for certain types of bacteria or infection.

Treating Gastritis

The treatment for gastritis depends upon the cause. In many cases, the problem can be treated through lifestyle changes such as avoiding certain medication and alcohol. Over-the-counter or prescription drugs may also be used to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach to promote healing. In the vast majority of cases, the prognosis for patients with gastritis is generally good. When it is caused by a severe underlying condition, however, the outlook may not be as good. Rarely, complications may occur as the result of blood loss. Patients with gastritis may also be more likely to develop gastric cancer.



What is a Dermatologist?

Dermatologists are medical practitioners who have chosen to focus their practice on skin care. Often referred to as skin doctors, these specialists are highly trained in the treatment and general care of human skin on all parts of the body. When problems with the skin arise, they are most often called upon to reach a diagnosis and prescribe a course of treatment. A dermatologist can also diagnose and treat disorders and ailments that affect the nails, hair, and scalp.

Conditions, Treatments and Procedures that a Dermatologist Performs

Skin disorders can range from common conditions like acne to more serious cases such as skin cancer. Other conditions that can be diagnosed and treated by dermatologists include rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, and numerous others. A dermatologist often is also responsible for helping patients with burns and scars from previous accidents or injuries. Cosmetic dermatologists typically work with patients to perform procedures such as tattoo removal, skin rejuvenation, and laser treatments. A limited number of doctors who practice cosmetic dermatology also perform more invasive procedures like facelifts and liposuction.

Many patients visit skin doctors for problems like acne and eczema that can be managed with prescribed topical treatments while others are referred to dermatologists by their regular doctor for afflictions that may be more severe. Biopsies are commonly performed to test patients for various forms of skin cancers. Other common treatments include cryosurgery to remove warts and skin cancer by freezing, laser therapy for the treatment of scars, birthmarks, and signs of aging, and cosmetic filler injections that are intended to fill fine lines and wrinkles and give patients a more youthful appearance. Dermatologists may also treat skin cancer patients with radiation or chemotherapy, but patients are most often referred to oncologists for these procedures.

Training, Educations and Certifications to become a Dermatologist

Medical students who have chosen to work primarily with the skin undergo extensive training beyond receiving a medical degree. After earning their degree and successfully completing a general internship with a hospital, they must undergo an additional three to four years of training to qualify as experts on the skin, hair, and nails.

While all skin specialists are highly trained in general dermatology, some choose to focus on a particular area of the field. These specialized sectors of the dermatology field include pediatrics, surgical procedures, and cosmetic dermatology. Dermapathology is another sub-specialty. Dermatologists working in this field specialize in the pathology, or study of disease, of the skin and have advanced training in both dermatology and pathology.

Wrinkles

Fine lines and wrinkles are some of the earliest signs of aging. With time, the skin loses its naturally elasticity and begins producing less collagen. This occurs as a natural part of the aging process, but wrinkles may be brought on prematurely by poor nutrition, excessive exposure to the sun or tanning lamps, and smoking. Today there are numerous methods of wrinkle reduction that have proven to be effective in reducing the appearance of fine lines, deep folds, and every type of wrinkle in between.

Treatments to Remove Wrinkles

Wrinkle reduction treatments vary greatly. Because there are so many options, most individuals are able to find a method that is appropriate for them. Often the first course of treatment involves topical creams designed to fill fine lines and wrinkles to reduce their appearance. Many of these products are available over the counter, but there are also prescription options.

There are also numerous wrinkle reduction treatments that can be performed in the office of a doctor or dermatologist. These treatments are very safe, effective, and minimally invasive. Many do not even require the use of any type of local or general anesthetic. These treatments include laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, and cosmetic injections like Botox or collagen. Laser treatments and microdermabrasion are designed to smooth the surface of the skin and stimulate collagen production while Botox injections are intended to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles by decreasing muscle movement. Collagen injections work to fill in lines and wrinkles to restore the skin's smoothness and elasticity.

In addition to creams and minimally invasive procedures, patients may also undergo cosmetic surgery procedures like face lifts or brow lifts. These procedures can provide patients with a much younger appearance, but they require extended healing time and have considerably more risks when compared to other methods. They do, however, typically provide the longest lasting and most drastic results.

Recovery from Wrinkle Treatments

Healing times vary depending on the nature of the procedure. Laser and skin resurfacing treatments heal within a few days, and the full results become apparent over the next several weeks. With these procedures, patients typically require little to no downtime. Major cosmetic surgery is painful and can take several weeks to heal, and complications like infection are common. Even after such procedures are performed, the aging process will still continue, and new wrinkles may form. As a result, many patients choose to have procedures repeated to maintain a youthful countenance.

What is a Urologist?

A urologist is a physician who specializes in the urinary tracts of men and women and on the reproductive systems of men. Doctors who specialize in urology are highly trained when it comes to diagnosing, treating, and managing patients who are experiencing urological disorders that can affect the kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands, urethra, and male reproductive organs including the penis, prostate, and testes.  Because urological disorders often overlap with other medical fields such as gynecology, oncology, neurology, or endocrinology, urologists commonly work with other medical specialists when reaching a diagnosis and determining a treatment plan. This is especially true when treating a patient who has a form of urological cancer. Chronic urological conditions and disorders can typically be managed by urologists.

Procedures, Tests and Conditions a Urologist Treats

Urologists diagnose and treat a large number of urological disorders and complications including incontinence, Parkinson's disease, kidney stones, testicular cancer, and male infertility. To diagnose such conditions, they perform a wide variety of tests and physical examinations. X-rays and fluoroscopes are often utilized to aid doctors in reaching a diagnosis. Urologists treat patients and manage disorders using medication, catheters, cystoscopes, and many other types of equipment. In some cases, urologists also perform surgical procedures such as vasectomies, stone surgeries, prostate surgeries, and kidney surgeries. Today many urological surgeons utilize minimally invasive procedures such as endourology and laparoscopy. These procedures cause less damage to the body and they heal faster than traditional open surgeries due to the use of smaller incisions.

Training, Education and Certification to become a Urologist

Like any student who is considering a career in medicine, those who are looking to become urologists should be prepared to spend more than a decade earning their post-secondary education. They must first complete a comprehensive fouryear undergraduate degree followed by four years of medical school. After graduating from medical school with a doctor of medicine degree, students must complete an internship and residency training in urology. During their residencies, students will work directly with patients under the supervision of a licensed urologist to diagnose and treat patients with a number of urological disorders.

Some urologists choose to further their education through fellowship training. Doing so allows them to specialize in a specific sub-specialty such as urological oncology, male infertility, urological reconstruction, andrology, urogynecology, or pediatric urology. Fellowships usually last one to two years. Upon completing their formal education, practicing urologists may still be required to participate in continuing education programs and pass exams to maintain their license and certification.

Affordable Health Insurance

The cost of going to a doctor or hospital is constantly on the rise. For someone who doesn't have insurance, even a simple illness or injury that requires medical attention can be an overwhelming expense. While finding affordable insurance can be difficult, doing so can save a great deal of money in the long run.

Insurance is often provided through an individual's employer. Because large businesses and corporations can get excellent group discounts on health insurance plans, they are able to pass on the savings to their employees. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer companies are providing their employees with good insurance with affordable premiums. Thankfully there are options for individuals who are unable to obtain insurance through their place of work.

Affordable Health Insurance for Low Income Families

Low-income families and those who fall into certain categories such as pregnant women and people with disabilities are often eligible for free or low-cost coverage through the government. Medicaid provides coverage for countless individuals who are unable to afford insurance. In addition, Medicare is available to those who are over the age of 65. People who are under 65 but permanently disabled may also qualify for Medicare benefits. The benefits offered through Medicaid and Medicare vary, but they make health care affordable to many who are unable to pay for health insurance.

Low-income families and individuals who do not qualify for government-funded health programs may still be able to qualify for income-based health insurance through private insurance providers. Many companies have strict plans that limit the number of doctor or hospital visits in a year. By limiting how many times patients can use their insurance per year, they are able to offer the coverage at a more affordable monthly premium.

Affordable Health Insurance for Healthy Adults

Many large insurance companies also affordable health insurance coverage. Most of these policies are designed for healthy adults. By limiting coverage for routine exams and preventative care, they can provide ample coverage for emergency situations at an affordable price. Some private health insurance plans offer reduced premiums for individuals based on their health, lifestyle, and activity level. Many companies also offer reduced cost plans for those who are only looking for routine and preventative care. They will not provide any coverage in the event of an emergency, but by ensuring patients undergo routine exams and screenings, they can prevent the chance of illness. While it is not always easy to find, affordable health insurance plans are available for most every situation.



Comparing Health Insurance

With the costs of medical care constantly rising, choosing the right health insurance plan is an important decision. Comparing health insurance plans and choosing the right one can be a daunting task, it is possible to find a suitable plan for any situation.

For many people, cost is a main concern when comparing health insurance policies. It is important to remember, though, that lower monthly premiums are not always a good thing. In addition to finding out the cost of coverage, be sure to look into deductibles, co-pays, and other potential out-of-pocket costs. Be sure to check the policy's lifetime limits as well.

Comparing Health Insurance - Check With Your Primary Physician

If you already have a primary care physician and are not looking to switch doctors, it is crucial to find out what types of insurance your doctor accepts. Many health insurance plans require patients to visit certain doctors, so visits to your current physician may not be covered by all plans. This is also important if you are currently seeing a specialist for a particular condition. In addition to finding out whether or not that specialist is covered, it is important to find out whether or not you will need to be referred by your primary care physician or if you are allowed to go directly to the specialist.

Comparing Health Insurance - Emergency Care

Emergency care is another important aspect of any health insurance plan. While nearly all plans offer some type of coverage for emergency care and hospital visits, it is necessary to find out what hospital you are allowed to go to and whether or not you need to speak with your primary care provider prior to seeking emergency care. You should also be sure to understand what the policy defines as an “emergency”.

Comparing Health Insurance - Preventative Medicine

Routine health care, preventative screenings, and prescription drug coverage should also be considered when comparing health insurance policies. If you want to have access to these services, make sure to determine whether or not an insurer provides such coverage. The coverage for routine exams, preventative care, and prescription drugs varies widely among private insurance companies, so finding out the exact details is important when deciding whether or not a particular plan is right for you.

Lastly, carefully check for any exclusions on the policy. Many providers will not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions. There are also some conditions that are not covered by all health insurance companies. Additional services such as mental health care may also be excluded.



Health Insurance For Children

Health insurance for children is a primary concern for any parent. Whether the child is generally healthy or is in need of on-going medical care for a condition or disorder, many families find that insurance is a necessity when it comes to paying for health care. Children's health insurance is widely available, and recent law changes have made it more accessible than ever before.

Many adults are able to obtain health insurance through their place of work. In most cases, coverage can be extended to to the employee's family as well. These plans vary from business to business, but generally they provide adequate coverage that meets the needs of most parents and their children. Children can now be covered by their parent's health insurance plan until the age of 26 unless they are eligible for insurance through their own employer.

Health Insurance for Children From Your Employer

Health insurance for children is also available even if the parent's employer does not offer health insurance benefits or the family cannot afford coverage. Insuring children has become a primary concern for both federal and state governments. Many children from low-income families can be covered through Medicaid. In addition to providing access to routine and emergency care, Medicaid also helps cover medical expenses for kids with a variety of diseases or disorders and is available for free to qualifying families. Parents may also qualify for Medicaid.

Through the Children's Health Insurance Program, more commonly known as CHIP, children are eligible for health insurance coverage when the family does not qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford to pay for health insurance. CHIP offer a number of benefits including routine exams, emergency and hospital care, vaccinations, prescription medications, and dental, vision, and hearing care. Through the CHIP program, children and teens can be insured at little cost to the family.

Struggle with Health Insurance for Children

In the past, parents often struggled to obtain insurance for children with health problems due to insurance providers not providing coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions. Thanks to recent reforms in the field of health insurance, however, providers can no longer deny a child coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions. This ensures that kids will have access to potentially life-saving treatments that may not have been accessible in the past.

Insured children are less likely to become ill, and they are generally healthier throughout their lives. In addition, children with insurance typically perform better in school because of fewer absences due to illness.



Medicaid

In the United States, Medicaid is a health program designed to help low income families. The program is funded through both federal and state governments, but it is managed by each individual state. To qualify, individuals must been strict guidelines that are based on income, family size, or disability. Medicaid is currently the largest provider of funding for low income families in need of medical services.

Medicaid services are available in all 50 states even though participation is entirely voluntary. Because each state manages its own program, the name may vary. Some states use the Medicaid name while others use different names such as TennCare in Tennessee or MassHealth in Massachusetts. The programs may also be combined and managed by the same organizations that manage other programs like the Children's Health Insurance Program. Medicaid services are subcontracted to private health insurance providers in some areas while other states pay Medicaid benefits directly. While operations vary slightly among states, the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is responsible for monitoring each program. They also establish the criteria for eligibility, delivery of service, and funding for state-run Medicaid programs.

Medicaid Eligibility

Eligibility for Medicaid is primarily based on income. The program may provide coverage to low-income individuals such as pregnant women, children, parents of children who are eligible, individuals with permanent or temporary disabilities, and elderly people who are in need of nursing home care. The coverage is intended to help low-income people with little or no health insurance or to provide funding for nursing home costs. Although income is one factor in determining whether or not one is eligible for Medicaid coverage, it is not the only qualifier. Recipients must fall into certain defined categories in order to receive benefits.

What does Medicaid Cover

Medicaid insurance can be used to pay for routine health care, emergency services, and preventative tests and treatments. It also covers many prescription medications. In some states, eligible recipients may also qualify for vision and dental coverage through Medicaid. Any services funded by Medicaid must be deemed medically necessary. As a result, elective procedures and prescriptions are not covered.

Studies have shown that Medicaid programs have a positive impact on public health. In studies of low-income households, those who are on Medicaid are more likely to seek preventative care and undergo diagnostic testing. Medicaid recipients are also more likely to seek medical treatment when necessary and report their health as being “good” or better.

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