Tag Archives: disease

HEMOPHILIA: “A ROYAL DISEASE”

HEMOPHILIA is a rare blood disorder in which the patient’s blood does not clot normally because it lacks sufficient blood-clotting factors. An inherited disease, it is usually passed from mother to son. Because it was prevalent in European royal families, it is also known as “a royal disease.”

According to https://hemophilianewstoday.com/2017/05/24, it is believed that Victoria, Queen of England, was a carrier of hemophilia and that she passed the disease onto three of her children. Prince Leopold died at age 30 from a post-accident hemorrhage. Princess Alice and Princess Beatrice married royalty in other European countries.

Princess Alice, a hemophilia carrier, had a son who died from the disease in early childhood. One of her daughters, Irene, married Prince Henry of Prussia. She passed the gene to the German royal family. Alice had two sons, one of whom died at age 4. The other son died at age 56.

Alice’s second daughter, Alix, married Tsar Nikolas II of the Russian royal family. Tragically, all of their children were killed during the Russian revolution. The mutant gene ended there.

Princess Beatrice’s daughter, Victoria Eugenie, married King Alfonso XII of Spain. They had five children—one daughter and four sons. The daughter was a carrier of the hemophilia gene, but her children did not inherit the disease. Two of the four sons had hemophilia, but they died without having children.

It is interesting to note how the mutant gene, hemophilia, affected history. Today, hemophilia has affected people from all walks of life including actors, sports legends, and ordinary people. Richard Burton, the British actor and husband of Elizbeth Taylor, had hemophilia. In 1964, he and Elizabeth Taylor set up the Richard Burton Hemophilia Fund. He died in 1984 from a stroke at the age of 58.

Cyclist Barry Haarde is a hemophilia advocate who has cycled across the United States twice to raise awareness for the disease. He was infected with HIV and hepatitis C during a blood transfusion more than thirty years ago. He is the only man with HIV, hepatitis C, and hemophilia to have cycled across the country.

Ryan White was diagnosed with severe hemophilia A at three days old following extensive bleeding after his circumcision. During the 1980’s he contracted AIDS from unscreened blood transfusions, and he inadvertently became the poster boy for AIDS.

If you have a family member who suffers from hemophilia and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

LUPUS: “THE WOLF”

Forty years ago, a teacher at a Catholic elementary school invited the faculty members and their husbands and wives to a Christmas party in her home.  It was an opportunity to socialize, to have fun together.  The women wore their long dresses, and the men wore suits.  Everyone was excited to attend.

Since these faculty members worked together every day, they were at ease with each other.  As each couple arrived, the hostess and guests greeted them.  The house was filled with chatter and laughter.

When all guests had arrived, the hostess announced that she had a surprise for them.  She had enlisted the services of a palm reader, who would tell their futures.  Each person would meet individually with the palm reader in a separate room.  The palm reader would examine the individual’s hand life lines, love lines, and give a reading.  It was simply a party game.  What could go wrong?

Everyone was having a good time until Marie came out of her meeting with the palm reader.  Marie’s face was ashen.  She walked directly to her husband and whispered something to him.  The room became unnaturally quiet.  It was as if all of the air had gone out of a balloon.

Apparently, Marie had received bad news, very bad news.  The palm reader had told Marie that she had lupus, a fatal illness.  How would a palm reader know that?  And what is lupus?

According to WebMD, “Lupus is one of many disorders of the immune system known as autoimmune diseases.  The (patient’s) immune system turns against parts of the body it is designed to protect.  This results in inflammation and damage to various body tissues.  Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain.”

A National Resource Center on Lupus article at https://www.lupus.org/resources states that lupus was identified in the classical period (1230—1856).  The word lupus (Latin for “wolf”) is attributed to the thirteenth century physician Rogerius who used it to describe the erosive facial lesions which were reminiscent of a wolf’s bite.

If you have a family member who suffers from lupus and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501.  The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).  Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee.  American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission.  For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

DIAGNOSIS: RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS

Sandra was forty years old when she first noticed that the joints in her hands and toes were tender, warm, and swollen. In the mornings, the joints were stiff, and her body ached. She said she felt like she had been run over by a Mack Truck. She knew something was wrong so she made an appointment with her doctor.

The following week she met with her doctor. Sandra described her current symptoms (pain, stiffness, tenderness, warm and swollen joints). The doctor examined each joint, looking for tenderness, swelling, warmth, and painful or limited motion. He noted that the joints on both sides of her body were affected. (Rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect joints on both sides of the body.)

Next, the doctor ordered blood tests to measure inflammation levels. The blood tests also look for biomarkers such as antibodies (blood proteins) linked with rheumatoid arthritis.

Finally, he ordered a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) to look for joint damage, such as loss of bone within the joint and narrowing of joint space. Note that the lack of joint damage does not rule out rheumatoid arthritis. It may mean that the disease is in an early stage and hasn’t yet damaged the joints.

While she waited for the results of the tests, Sandra researched osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis on her computer. She discovered that osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. According to https://www.everday health.com/rheumatoid-arthritis, it affects over 30 million adults in the United States. It is also known as degenerative arthritis, and it is also called wear-and-tear arthritis. Osteoarthritis typically occurs in older adults.

By contrast, rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune, inflammatory, systemic disease. The immune system attacks healthy cells in the body by mistake. This results in inflammation, pain, and swelling in affected body parts. Rheumatoid arthritis typically attacks several joints symmetrically. It may also affect organs such as the heart, lungs, and eyes.

The test results showed that Sandra did indeed have rheumatoid arthritis. What caused this? Doctors don’t know what causes rheumatoid arthritis. However, according to https://www.mayoclinic.org, the following risk factors have been identified:

  • Being female.
  • Your age. Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly begins between the ages of 40 to 60.
  • Family history. If a member of your family has rheumatoid arthritis, you may have an increased risk of getting the disease.
  • Smoking. Cigarette smoking increases your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Environmental exposure. Exposure to asbestos or silica may increase your risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Obesity. People who are overweight or obese appear to be at somewhat higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis, especially women diagnosed with the disease when they were 55 or younger.

If you have a family member who has a serious illness and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

A FORMIDABLE FOE: LEWY BODY DEMENTIA

Born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago on July 21, 1951, Robin Williams was the son of Robert Fitzgerald Williams, a senior executive in Ford Motor Company’s Lincoln-Mercury Division. His mother, Laurie McLaurin, was a former model from Jackson, Mississippi. During a television interview on Inside the Actors Studio in 2001, Williams credited his mother as an important early influence on his humor. He said he tried to make her laugh to gain attention.

Williams attended public elementary school at Gorton Elementary School in Lake Forest and middle school at Deer Path Junior High School. When he was twelve, his father was transferred to Detroit. When he was sixteen, his father took early retirement and the family moved to California.

He began performing stand-up comedy in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the 1970’s. He also starred in numerous films including Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) and the box office hit Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).

On August 11, 2014, the world learned that Williams had committed suicide by hanging himself in his California home. He was sixty-three years old. The autopsy report showed no alcohol or illegal drugs were involved. Prescription drugs in his system were at “therapeutic” levels. The final autopsy report noted that Williams had been suffering “a recent increase in paranoia.” An examination of his brain tissue suggested Williams suffered from “diffuse Lewy body dementia.”

According to a Mayo Clinic article “Lewy body dementia” at https://www.mayoclinic.org., “Lewy body dementia, also known as dementia with Lewy bodies, is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease dementia. Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop in nerve cells in the brain regions involved in thinking, memory and movement (motor control).

“Lewy body dementia causes a progressive decline in mental abilities. People with Lewy body dementia may experience visual hallucinations, and change in alertness and attention. Other effects include Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms such as rigid muscles, slow movement and tremors.”

If you have a family member who suffers from Lewy body dementia and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

LIVING WITH DIABETES

Checking Blood Sugar Levels

Sixty years ago, downtown Chicago was a destination for shopping, for the arts, and for business. It was a bustling town.

Marshall Field’s thirteen story building dominated the commercial area. Designed by Daniel Burnham and built in 1891-1892, it took up an entire city block bounded clockwise by State Street, Randolph Street, Wabash Avenue, and Washington Street. The interior featured a Louis Comfort Tiffany glass mosaic vaulted ceiling in the five-story balconied atrium in the southwest corner of the building.

At Christmas time, at the street level there were ornate decorated window displays including thirteen themed windows. Upstairs in the Walnut Room, a three-story decorated Christmas tree was the focal point of the room. Families would stand in long lines waiting to be seated at the tables under the tree.

Jean worked in an office in the Loop, not far from Marshall Field’s. Her job was to calculate tariffs for freight on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe lines. This was an important but difficult job because all the calculations were made using pencil and paper. Computers had not yet been universally adopted for business use.

During lunch hour, she would often go to Marshall Field’s just to browse. It was a way to get away from the office for a few minutes. She enjoyed looking at the store’s merchandise and feeling the excitement of the shoppers. Occasionally, she would buy a piece of costume jewelry for herself or a gift for a family member.

In 1957, Jean developed diabetes. For years, she continued to work. She managed her diabetes with diet and with injections of insulin. She died of kidney failure in 1986.

What is diabetes? According to the American Diabetic Association website, www.diabetes.org, “Diabetes is a disease that occurs in several different types, with the main factor the inability to produce enough insulin in the pancreas to handle the demands of the foods and sugars that enter the body.” There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational.

According to the American Diabetic Association website, www.diabetes.org, “Nearly 30 million battle diabetes and every 23 seconds someone new is diagnosed. Diabetes causes more deaths per year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.”

If you have a family member who needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com. or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

LIVING WITH CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE

A hundred years ago, heart disease was America’s number one killer. People with heart disease were thought to require complete bed rest or they would face imminent death. “We were living in a time of almost unbelievable ignorance about heart disease,” said Paul Dudley White, one of six cardiologists who met on June 10, 1924 and founded the American Heart Association.

So much has happened since then. In 1957, the first pacemaker was implanted. In 1960, the first successful artificial heart valve replacement was performed. In 1961, American Heart Association funded research showed how CPR can save lives after cardiac arrest. In 2008, research funded by the American Heart Association showed that uninterrupted, high-quality chest compressions–without mouth-to-mouth respiration–can be used for adults needing CPR.

Still, so many challenges remain. One is congestive heart failure. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, tiredness, swelling of legs and ankles, weight gain, and a need to urinate more often. There is no cure, but medications can help lower blood pressure, relax blood vessels, and make the heart beat stronger. Lifestyle changes—like not smoking—can help, too.

What causes congestive heart failure? The following list appears at https://www.webmd.com:

- Diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart valve disease
- Congenital heart defects
- Coronary heart disease
- Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation
- Thyroid disease
- HIV and AIDS
- Alcohol or drug abuse

The American Heart Association has funded more than $3.5 billion in heart disease and stroke research during the past sixty-five years. Current fundraising events include Heart Walks, Wear Red Days, and Heart Balls.

If you have a family member who needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

SEARCHING FOR A CURE

Michael J. Fox

Do you remember a television show called “Family Ties” starring Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton? The show ran from 1982—1989 for a total of 176 episodes. During his seven years on “Family Ties,” he earned three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. Michael J. Fox also had the lead role of Mike Flaherty in the series “Spin City,” which ran from 1996-2001 for a total of 103 episodes. For a young actor, Fox was leading a charmed life.

What the world did not know is that Michael J. Fox, who was born in Canada in 1961, had been diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 29. He did not disclose his condition to the public for another seven years. Then, in January of 2000, he announced his retirement from “Spin City,” and he launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Since 2000, the Michael J. Fox Foundation has raised $750 million to fund Parkinson’s Disease Research. The money comes from individual contributions, galas, and activities of Team Fox. One headline read, “ ‘Funny Thing’ # Fox Gala raised $5.2 million and Brings Down the House with Music and Comedy.”

Ordinary individuals throughout the world have raised money for the foundation. Team Fox members have held pancake breakfasts, fashion shows, dance parties, comedy shows, the New York City Marathon, art auctions, and more. More than $70 million has been raised in this way.

It is estimated that 600,000 to one million people in the United States alone have Parkinson’s Disease. It is thought to be caused by genetic factors, environmental factors, and by head injury. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure.

If a member of your family has Parkinson’s Disease and requires private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com.

—By Karen Centowski


To see a video Michael J. Fox Life—Love + Parkinson’s Interview 2012 [HD] 7 – You Tube, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZQhp3yEgYM.