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Finding the best way to help alleviate the problems caused by GVHD

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Bone marrow transplant surgery is often seen as one of the brightest lights in the dark cloud of cancer care. The procedure has been one of the most effective counter-measures to the spread of cancer throughout a body, and has the distinction of being one of the less time-consuming approaches to cancer treatment. However, recent studies and discoveries have shown that bone marrow transplant surgery may is not as rosy and shiny as once thought, with news of side effects and possible complications emerging from the woodwork. For one thing, the transplanted cells can occasionally attack the new host body, causing damage to cell structure, the skin, and internal organs.

This particular effect, known as Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD), has been known to strike several transplant patients every year. The frequency and the severity of the problem have given it the distinction of being the premier problem faced by people who undergo bone marrow transplant surgery. This occurs when the transplanted bone marrow carries active immune cells with it. These cells the proceed to attack the host body, believing it to be a foreign entity. There are procedures in place to help prevent the problem, but as with all surgical procedures involving transplants, the possibility of contamination is always present and can only be minimized.

The best known way to help alleviate the problems caused by this would be the use of a steroid known as prednisone, usually lasting for several weeks. The medication is designed specifically to suppress the immune cells and reduce the inflammation and damage that they can cause, usually just long enough for the cells to acclimate to the host body. The steroid is known to be effective in alleviating the problems caused by GVHD, but there are other factors to be considered. Long-term use of the drug has a list of known psychoactive effects, such as violent mood swings. There are also more severe side effects, such as possible muscle and bone deterioration, which can be fatal in certain situations. In such cases, doctors are often forced to prescribe other steroids to alleviate the effects of predsinone.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently passed a motion to prevent a drug called orBec from being released to the market. According to the manufacturers of the drug, it was designed as an alternative to predsinone, being that it could alleviate the problems caused by GVHD but did not have the same level of toxicity. However, the FDA apparently found something objectionable about the drug and decided to keep it from entering the market in lieu of further testing. The drug was redesigned from a steroid often used by asthma patients, allowing for alleviation of symptoms without suppressing the body’s immune system. However, the FDA has ruled that further testing needs to be conducted to determine whether or not there are any harmful side effects.

For the time being, there are several hospitals that have signed up to test the medication on their patients. Doctors are also reportedly quite eager to get their hands on the experimental drug, if only because it could ease the burdens of their patients. The constant prescribing of steroids due to GVHD can easily open up a new range of complications that the use of orBec might help avoid.

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The Start of Physical Therapy After ACL Reconstruction

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The 1st 2 weeks of recovery from ACL Reconstruction are a very sedentary period – there is much rest, much sleep, much discomfort and most likely quite a bit of pain. However, the beginning of physical therapy signals the first true step (pun intended) to recovery – it is where you will retrain yourself to walk on your repaired knee and where you will work to get your injured leg in a pre-surgery state. Even though your leg has only been immobile for 14 days – possibly less – you will most likely have at least some atrophy in the repaired knee that will need to be remedied via physical therapy.

The start of therapy will be exciting, at times grueling and quite possibly scary to go into. But, with a dedication and commitment to the mandate that you will help yourself heal, you will soon be back to your active lifestyle, even stronger than you were before surgery.

As you are about to enter your first therapy sessions, keep the following points in mind:

1. You need to trust yourself. You are soon going to be asking your newly repaired leg to do things that it hasn’t done in a couple of weeks – lifting, some bending, some kneecap exercises and maybe even a little bit on a stationary bike. Have faith in your healing process, and know that you can get through whatever lies ahead.

2. You need to trust your physical therapist. They are going to be asking you to do the activities listed above along with some others. Initially you may think that they are crazy to ask you to do such activities. However, keep in mind – they are professionally educated to help you recuperate, and they know what you need to do to have a successful recovery. Also – they may very well have some other ACL reconstruction patients in their current workload. In fact, take a look around your therapy room as you are doing your work – odds are you are going to see some other patients who are in If you have young children, prepare them for the fact that you are going to be immobile for a period of time and that they cannot rough-house around you while you are recovering. You will soon be doing some of the more advanced exercises that they are doing.

3. Concentrate on your form while you perform your exercises, and ensure that you follow the instructions of your therapist. Subtle changes to your form or a lack of concentration can greatly reduce the effectiveness of a particular routine.

4. Make sure to ice and elevate your knee. Much like in the first 2 weeks, it will be important that you have a good regimen of icing and elevating, especially after therapy sessions.

5. Don’t push yourself too hard. You may be tempted to overachieve, but it will be crucial that you listen to your therapist as to what you should and should not do.

6. Make sure to take your prescribed medications and over-the-counter medications as needed and as instructed. By taking the proper medication, you will continue to allow yourself to heal, will help maximize your comfort (and minimize your discomfort) and will allow you to go through physical therapy with a reduced level of pain.

7. Do your home exercises between therapy sessions as instructed by your physical therapist. I cannot stress how important this is. You will largely be trying to regain your flexibility and range of motion in the first month of therapy, and your home exercises will greatly contribute to a complete recovery.

8. Gauge the difference between good pain and bad pain. There will be times that you have feelings in your knee that you have never felt before. Make sure to keep your therapist abreast of any pains that feel stronger, more intense or sharper than expected.

9. Similar to your post-op period, ask your doctor if a stool softener would be appropriate for you. Some of the medicines that are prescribed to alleviate pain and swelling may cause constipation, and a stool softener will help counteract this possibility.

10. Continue maintaining your fluid intake.

Once you advance in your stretching and range-of-motion exercise, you will be able to move onto the next stage of therapy – strengthening.

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or medical services. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor promptly.

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How to make the recovery process as quick and productive as possible?

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Going through ACL Reconstruction surgery is not easy for anyone. The pain, discomfort, swelling and foreignness of having an immobile limb will be quite a departure from the normalcy of a daily routine.

This especially holds true for the active adult who chooses to or needs to have ACL Reconstruction Surgery. One day you are at least able to move around on your own, and the next you are completely confined to a resting position. However, with some patience, hard work and dedication, you will be back to your active lifestyle, even stronger than you were before surgery.

The first month after surgery is difficult – you are largely confined to a bed except for hygiene purposes, the swelling in your leg and ankle may be heavy and the pain will ebb and flow as the day goes on. However, there are steps that you can take to make the recovery process as quick and productive as possible.

1. Prior to surgery, prepare the area where you will be resting after the surgery. Try to gather some reading materials (magazines, books, work materials), make sure that you have a wireless or cordless phone nearby and gather plenty of pillows so you can support and elevate the repaired leg. If you have one, make sure to bring your laptop and power cord to your recuperation area and ensure that your wireless internet (if applicable) is operational to help pass the time.

2. If you have young children, prepare them for the fact that you are going to be immobile for a period of time and that they cannot rough-house around you while you are recovering.

3. Take it easy for the period right after surgery and before your first physical therapy session. Give your whole body – mind, leg and spirit – time to heal. Remember – you have just gone through a major surgery and you need to have a recovery period from it.

4. Take your meds as instructed by your doctor! Your doctor has given them to you for a reason. Most likely your medications are not only to help alleviate pain, but to help reduce inflammation from the surgery.

5. Ice, ice, ice, ice and ice. Along with your medications, ice will help reduce inflammation, swelling and pain. Make sure to stick to your doctor’s recommendation as to the icing interval and frequency for your newly repaired knee.

6. Ask for help. You could probably go through the recovery process on your own, but rely on those who can and will help you wherever possible.

7. Ask your doctor if a stool softener would be appropriate during your recovery period. Some of the medicines that are prescribed to alleviate pain and swelling may cause constipation, and a stool softener will help counteract this possibility.

8. Stay hydrated. You may not feel like drinking water, but make sure to not deprive your body of it’s needed fluid intake.

9. Request that the limited area within your dwelling that you will be moving through be kept relatively orderly. You will need to be on crutches, and you do not need to be navigating through a sea of toys and laundry on the floor as you are trying to learn how to use them.

If you follow your doctor’s orders, be diligent about treating yourself right during your post-surgery recovery and give your body the rest it needs, you will soon be onto the next phase of your road to normalcy – the start of physical therapy.

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or medical services. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor promptly.

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How to fight sexual impotence?

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The words “mind over matter” are more than just three words randomly strung together to make something that sounds somewhat sensible. “Mind over matter” is more than just a myth, because there are times when a person’s state of mind has considerable effects on matters of the flesh. Performance anxiety can make someone do a sub-par job on physical activities, like missing critical free throws and over-extending left jabs. Mental health can have an effect on a person’s physical performance, with certain issues having more noticeable effects than others. As an example, there is the connection between depression and sexual impotence.

Impotence is one of those problems that an increasing number of men have difficulty coming to terms with. It takes a significant amount of courage to even consider talking to a physician about the possibility of a problem. It can even be harder to admit to others that the problem is there, whether they are undergoing treatment for it or not. Sexual impotence as seen as being highly damaging to the measure of a man, by modern socio-cultural standards. Fear of failure and extremely stressful situations can wear down a man’s ability to “get it up,” but very few can make the problem as long-term as depression can.

In what might be the worst possible case of “mind over matter” than any red-blooded male can imagine, depression can effectively cripple a man’s ability to function sexually. The emotional problems caused by depression can have serious effects on the hormones and biochemical transmitters that the body uses to signal or initiate an erection. Obviously, if a man can’t attain a proper erection – or has difficulty maintaining it long enough to be of any importance – then he’s going to be classified as impotent. Sadly, if the problem is left untreated long enough, there’s a very good chance that the condition would just worsen.

Once a man begins to believe he has entered a state of sexual impotence, he may actually become even more depressed. This is because of a psychological loss of gender identity as dictated by socio-cultural factors. With equal rights and women’s liberation, men have lost the part of “manliness” that involved being the sole provider for one’s family and loved ones, forcing a socio-psychological focus to rest on that other aspect that supposedly defines masculinity. Essentially, society has made men think that to be classified as men, they have to be virile and sexually potent. Once they lose that critical part of their gender identity, then life just starts to go downhill that bit faster for them on a psychological level. This, in turn, not only worsens his relationships but also makes it harder for him to overcome his impotence.

There are drugs to help fight impotence, but those drugs are often best suited to treating men who have problems rooted in the body. Lack of proper circulation, damage to muscle tissue, and a variety of other physical ailments can also cause impotence. Implants and corrective surgery can fix those issues, but they are likely to do little for a man with problems deeply rooted in his own mind. For that, physical repairs may have some appreciable change, but they won’t have the same impact that they normally do unless the mind is also given proper treatment and care.