Muscle Disorders

Your muscles help you move and help your body work. Different types of muscles have different jobs. There are many problems that can affect muscles. Muscle disorders can cause weakness, pain or even paralysis.

Causes of muscle disorders include

  • Injury or overuse, such as sprains or strains, cramps or tendinitis
  • A genetic disorder, such as muscular dystrophy
  • Some cancers
  • Inflammation, such as myositis
  • Diseases of nerves that affect muscles
  • Infections
  • Certain medicines

Sometimes the cause of muscle disorders is unknown.

Neurologic Diseases

The brain, spinal cord, and nerves make up the nervous system. Together they control all the workings of the body. When something goes wrong with a part of your nervous system, you can have trouble moving, speaking, swallowing, breathing, or learning. You can also have problems with your memory, senses, or mood.

There are more than 600 neurologic diseases. Major types include

  • Diseases caused by faulty genes, such as Huntington’s disease and muscular dystrophy
  • Problems with the way the nervous system develops, such as spina bifida
  • Degenerative diseases, where nerve cells are damaged or die, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Diseases of the blood vessels that supply the brain, such as stroke
  • Injuries to the spinal cord and brain
  • Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Cancer, such as brain tumors
  • infections, such as meningitis

Nursing Homes

A nursing home is a place for people who don’t need to be in a hospital but can’t be cared for at home. Most nursing homes have nursing aides and skilled nurses on hand 24 hours a day.

Some nursing homes are set up like a hospital. The staff provides medical care, as well as physical, speech and occupational therapy. There might be a nurses’ station on each floor. Other nursing homes try to be more like home. They try to have a neighborhood feel. Often, they don’t have a fixed day-to-day schedule, and kitchens might be open to residents. Staff members are encouraged to develop relationships with residents.

Some nursing homes have special care units for people with serious memory problems such as Alzheimer’s disease. Some will let couples live together. Nursing homes are not only for older adults, but for anyone who requires 24-hour care.

NIH: National Institute on Aging

Oxygen Therapy

What is oxygen?

Oxygen is a gas that your body needs to work properly. Your cells need oxygen to make energy. Your lungs absorb oxygen from the air you breathe. The oxygen enters your blood from your lungs and travels to your organs and body tissues.

Certain medical conditions can cause your blood oxygen levels to be too low. Low blood oxygen may make you feel short of breath, tired, or confused. It can also damage your body. Oxygen therapy can help you get more oxygen.What is oxygen therapy?

Oxygen therapy is a treatment that provides you with extra oxygen to breathe in. It is also called supplemental oxygen. It is only available through a prescription from your health care provider. You may get it in the hospital, another medical setting, or at home. Some people only need it for a short period of time. Others will need long-term oxygen therapy.

There are different types of devices that can give you oxygen. Some use tanks of liquid or gas oxygen. Others use an oxygen concentrator, which pulls oxygen out of the air. You will get the oxygen through a nose tube (cannula), a mask, or a tent. The extra oxygen is breathed in along with normal air.

There are portable versions of the tanks and oxygen concentrators. They can make it easier for you to move around while using your therapy.Who needs oxygen therapy?

You may need oxygen therapy if you have a condition that causes low blood oxygen, such as

  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Pneumonia
  • COVID-19
  • A severe asthma attack
  • Late-stage heart failure
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Sleep apnea

What are the risks of using oxygen therapy?

Oxygen therapy is generally safe, but it can cause side effects. They include a dry or bloody nose, tiredness, and morning headaches.

Oxygen poses a fire risk, so you should never smoke or use flammable materials when using oxygen. If you use oxygen tanks, make sure your tank is secured and stays upright. If it falls and cracks or the top breaks off, the tank can fly like a missile.What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a different type of oxygen therapy. It involves breathing oxygen in a pressurized chamber or tube. This allows your lungs to gather up to three times more oxygen than you would get by breathing oxygen at normal air pressure. The extra oxygen moves through your blood and to your organs and body tissues. HBOT is used to treat certain serious wounds, burns, injuries, and infections. It also treats air or gas embolisms (bubbles of air in your bloodstream), decompression sickness suffered by divers, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

But some treatment centers claim that HBOT can treat almost anything, including HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not cleared or approved the use of HBOT for these conditions. There are risks to using HBOT, so always check with your primary health care provider before you try it.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Paget’s Disease of Bone

What is Paget’s disease of bone?

Paget’s disease of bone is a chronic bone disorder. Normally, there is a process in which your bones break down and then regrow. In Paget’s disease, this process is abnormal. There is excessive breakdown and regrowth of bone. Because the bones regrow too quickly, they are bigger and softer than normal. They may be misshapen and easily fractured (broken). Paget’s usually affects just one or a few bones.What causes Paget’s disease of bone?

Researchers do not know for sure what causes Paget’s disease. Environmental factors may play a role. In some cases, the disease runs in families, and several genes have been linked to the disease.Who is at risk for Paget’s disease of bone?

The disease is more common in older people and those of northern European heritage. If you have a close relative who has Paget’s, you are much more likely to have it.What are the symptoms of Paget’s disease of bone?

Many people do not know that they have Paget’s, because it often has no symptoms. When there are symptoms, they are similar to those of arthritis and other disorders. The symptoms include

  • Pain, which may be due to the disease or to arthritis, which can be a complication of Paget’s
  • Headaches and hearing loss, which can happen when Paget’s disease affects the skull
  • Pressure on the nerves, which can happen when Paget’s disease affects the skull or spine
  • Increased head size, bowing of a limb, or curvature of the spine. This can happen in advanced cases.
  • Hip pain, if Paget’s disease affects the pelvis or thighbone
  • Damage to the cartilage of your joints, which may lead to arthritis

Usually, Paget’s disease gets worse slowly over time. It does not spread to normal bones.What other problems can Paget’s disease of bone cause?

Paget’s disease can lead to other complications, such as

  • Arthritis, because the misshapen bones can cause increased pressure and more wear and tear on the joints
  • Heart failure. In severe Paget’s disease, the heart has to work harder to pump blood to affected bones. Heart failure is more likely if you also have hardening of the arteries.
  • Kidney stones, which can happen when the excessive breakdown of the bone leads to extra calcium in the body
  • Nervous system problems, since the bones can cause pressure on the brain, spinal cord, or nerves. There may also be reduced blood flow to the brain and spinal cord.
  • Osteosarcoma, cancer of the bone
  • Loose teeth, if Paget’s disease affects the facial bones
  • Vision loss, if Paget’s disease in the skull affects the nerves. This is rare.

How is Paget’s disease of bone diagnosed?

Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:

  • A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms
  • A physical exam
  • An x-ray of the affected bones. Paget’s disease is almost always diagnosed using x-rays.
  • An alkaline phosphatase blood test
  • A bone scan

Sometimes the disease is found by accident when one of these tests is done for another reason.What are the treatments for Paget’s disease of bone?

To avoid complications, it is important to find and treat Paget’s disease early. The treatments include

  • Medicines. There are several different medicines to treat Paget’s disease. The most common type is bisphosphonates. They help reduce bone pain and stop or slow down the progress of the disease.
  • Surgery is sometimes needed for certain complications of the disease. There are surgeries to
    • Allow fractures (broken bones) to heal in a better position
    • Replace joints such as the knee and hip when there is severe arthritis
    • Realign a deformed bone to reduce the pain in weight-bearing joints, especially the knees
    • Reduce pressure on a nerve, if enlargement of the skull or spine injuries effects the nervous system

Diet and exercise do not treat Paget’s, but they can help to keep your skeleton healthy. If you do not have kidney stones, you should make sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D through your diet and supplements. Besides keeping your skeleton healthy, exercise can prevent weight gain and maintain the mobility of your joints. Talk with your health care provider before you start a new exercise program. You need to make sure that the exercise does not put too much stress on the affected bones.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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