Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system, which consists of the spinal cord, brain and optic nerves. MS occurs when the immune system attacks myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers, and the nerve fibers themselves.1 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that 400,000 people nationwide and 2.3 million people worldwide are affected by multiple sclerosis.2 MS can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are similar to other neurologic diseases. Symptoms include blurred vision, weak and stiff muscles, numbness, dizziness and bladder control problems.3
Fall has arrived along with fall allergies. With the cooler temperatures and color-changing leaves also comes mold and pollen. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 40-60 million people are affected by allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. Common symptoms include sneezing, itchy eyes and stuffy or runny nose. Doctors must prepare for the influx of patients they will treat during this season.
Vaccines can prevent many life threatening diseases. Pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants can administer immunizations in many places, including local pharmacies and retail clinics. Vaccines are generally very safe and can help eradicate some diseases. For instance, polio once caused paralysis and even death. Due to the administration of the injectable polio vaccine, there are now no reports of confirmed polio in the United States.
Flu season is upon us, and it’s important to know how to protect yourself. Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, is an acute viral infection caused by an influenza virus. Common symptoms include muscle and joint pain, high fever, sore throat and runny nose. The flu affects between 5 and 20 percent of Americans each year. Approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu-related symptoms, and anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 people die each year from flu-related causes.
Controversy surrounds dental amalgam, the material sometimes used to fill cavities, because about half of it is composed of elemental mercury. Amalgam is a mixture of metals consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of tin, copper and silver. Elemental mercury reacts with and binds together with the alloy particles to form an amalgam. These fillings are also referred to as “silver fillings” due to their silver appearance.1
Elemental mercury releases mercury vapor that is primarily absorbed through the lungs, harmfully affecting them. Coughing, difficulty breathing and headaches are just a few of the symptoms of inhaling mercury. It is also possible for mercury to be absorbed through the skin; however, it is a much slower process.2