Heartburn or GERD can Kill

Heartburn is a common annoyance. The busy lifestyle, quick meals, fatty or spicy foods all contribute to the occasional need of a chewable pain reliever. The acceptance of heartburn as an inconvenient, but natural, part of the daily grind can blind you to the warning that a severe heartburn symptom can bring.

Heartburn as a Disorder

Heartburn can be a symptom as well as a disorder. Simple heartburn or GERD can be controlled and dealt with. However, heartburn can signal the presence of a much more serious problem. If it’s heartburn, you will have a burning sensation in the chest usually after eating. There may be a spread of the burning to the throat, sometimes accompanied by a bad taste, difficulty in swallowing, belching, coughing, hoarseness and/or wheezing.

It can become worse by lying down or bending over or by eating. Relief can come from an antacid. While the more severe heartburn symptoms may be mistaken for a heart attack, simple heartburn is usually not made worse by exercise. If there is any concern that the pain may signal a heart attack, get help quickly.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Treatment Options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

By Tom Nicholson

If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, you are most likely looking forward to getting treatment and being normal again. The tingling, numbness and pain associated with this problem can range from mildly annoying to extremely painful.

Because carpal tunnel syndrome can be related to other conditions, your doctor will likely run tests for conditions like low thyroid function, arthritis, and certain other problems. If you are diagnosed with one of these problems, you'll need to receive immediate treatment.

If you are suffering from inflammation of the tissues surrounding the affected area of your wrist, your doctor is likely to prescribe NSAIDS or other drugs to reduce the swelling. Sometimes this is sufficient to relieve your symptoms, since the nerve compression will not be as severe as the swelling goes down.

Your doctor will make a thorough examination to get to the root cause of your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. You can discuss with your doctor the activities you regularly perform in order to come up with a plan in case you need to make adjustments to your daily routine to let your wrist heal. You'll also learn prevention strategies to keep the problem from flaring up in the future.

It's important to treat the condition to avoid permanent nerve damage. If you have experienced a loss of muscle strength in your hand, you will be given an exercise regimen to help rebuild strength after you have gotten relief from your symptoms.

Some people only need to wear their brace at night, while others also find relief if they wear it during the day as well. Some people will receive injections of corticosteroids to relieve pain and swelling. While they can be very good for pain relief, if you have diabetes, you should be cautious not to have too many.

Corticosteroids can interfere with your insulin levels. You will be told to avoid some tasks that may be causing symptoms, or at least to take frequent breaks to let your wrists get some rest. After several weeks of this, you may be re-evaluated to see if you are getting any relief from the symptoms.

After you've been on your treatment routine for several weeks, your doctor may want to follow up with you to check on the progress of your symptoms. If you notice that your painful symptoms are diminishing, chances are you'll continue with the same treatment regimen. If you are getting worse, you may be referred for further testing; your doctor may want to discuss the possibility of surgery to correct the problem.

The surgical approach to this condition is called carpal tunnel release surgery. It works by cutting the ligament that makes up the top of the canal through which your median nerve runs. This relieves the pressure on the nerve to alleviate your symptoms. The surgery has a high success rate in relieving the pain, but if you have experienced permanent nerve damage, you may have some residual pain or numbness. You'll need to rest your wrist completely for several weeks after the surgery.

You may also want to see about physical therapy to treat the problem.

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