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Macular Degeneration
Malaria
Measles
Melanoma
Meniere's Disease
Meningitis
Menorrhagia
Menstrual Disorders
Mesenteric Ischemia
Metatarsalgia
Middle Ear Infection
Migraine
Mitral Valve Stenosis
Moles
Mononucleosis
Morton's Neuroma
Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Mumps
Muscular Dystrophy (MD)
Myasthenia Gravis

Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a common eye disease that affects the center of the retina called the macula. This part of the eye makes acute, detailed vision possible. The cause of macular degeneration is unknown, but it is the leading cause of legal blindness among those 55 years of age or older. When the macula is damaged, many day-to-day activities such as driving and reading become difficult.

Two forms of age-related macular degeneration have been identified – dry and wet. The majority of those who suffer from this condition have the dry form of macular degeneration, which involves deteriorating macular tissues and changes in pigmentation. About 30 percent have the wet type, which may include bleeding, opaque deposits and scar tissue. The wet type of macular degeneration accounts for most cases of legal blindness. Non-age-related macular degeneration may be attributable to heredity, diabetes, injury and infection. Symptoms include:

  • Straight lines appear distorted
  • The center of the field of vision appears distorted
  • Color perception changes

Diagnosis of macular degeneration is usually noticed by the patient or by an ophthalmologist during a routine eye exam. Tests such as a dilated eye exam and visual acuity test can verify the suspicion of macular degeneration. Early detection may significantly reduce the severity of the disease.

Currently, a cure for macular degeneration does not exist, but treatment, which ranges from dietary changes to laser surgery, can help slow its progression.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Malaria
Malaria is a potentially fatal disease; however, the last major outbreak in North America was in the 1880s. Today, only about 1,200 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the US each year. Most of those cases are diagnosed in immigrants and those who are returning from areas where malaria is more common.

Malaria is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. And, while the disease is not as prevalent as it once was, it is becoming more difficult to control since the parasites that cause the disease are becoming resistant to drugs and mosquitoes are becoming more resistant to insecticides.

The parasites that enter the body as a result of the mosquito bite destroy red blood cells, which causes toxins to enter the blood stream. Symptoms of malaria include:

  • Violent chills
  • Shaking
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Jaundice
  • Kidney failure
  • Seizure
  • Confusion
  • Coma
  • Death

Malaria is usually diagnosed by blood tests that will detect the parasites. The disease is curable when treated with drugs that prevent the parasites from growing and reproducing. Quinine, chloroquine and antifolate drugs may all be used to treat malaria. A combination of these drugs may be used, but only in severe cases.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Measles
Other name: Rubeola

Measles is a viral disease that is highly contagious and causes a distinct rash, high fever, watery eyes (conjunctivitis), coughing and a runny nose. Measles is closely linked with rubella. Most people are immune to measles because they have had their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination. It is crucial to have this vaccine if you haven’t already, or if you do not have immunity (born prior to 1957 in most cases) because of the highly contagious nature of the disease. If you are a healthcare worker, college student, non-pregnant woman of childbearing age, traveler or teacher, you are in acute need of having the MMR vaccine. The development of the vaccine has contained measles to an extremely rare condition in the US.

Measles affects the respiratory system.

The symptoms of measles will appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus. The first symptoms to come include a cough, runny nose and watery eyes. The virus is contagious up to four days before the onset of these symptoms. The rash will not be present for up to 14 days after the symptoms begin. The measles rash looks like large, flat, reddish-brown spots. The rash begins at the hairline and will spread downward over the entire body. Sometimes, measles may become complicated and cause the development of other diseases including diarrhea, ear infections, encephalitis, seizures and, in rare cases, death.

Measles is present throughout the world, and is more widespread in countries that do not have access to a vaccination. The disease may easily be brought into the US through travelers who have not been vaccinated.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Melanoma
Other name: Skin cancer

A day of rest and relaxation on the beach may seem harmless enough, but sun-worshipers may want to think again. Your exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays while tanning can damage your skin and lead to melanoma or skin cancer.

The number of melanoma cases is increasing faster than many other forms of cancer. Unlike most cancers in which there is no known cause, researchers are fairly certain that exposure to UV radiation causes melanoma. The best prevention is to protect yourself and your family members from exposure to damaging UV radiation by limiting exposure and using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.

Melanomas may occur anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the lower extremities of women and on the backs of men. Any unusual spot or sore on the body may be a sign of melanoma. Risk factors include having numerous moles on your body, a family history of melanoma, light skin, three or more severe sunburns in childhood and excessive use of UV beds. Symptoms include:

  • Oozing bumps
  • Scaly or crusty bumps
  • Abnormal moles
  • Moles that are a different color on one side than the other
  • Moles with an irregular border
  • A mole that has changed in color or diameter

Melanoma is very curable if detected early. Early melanomas may be surgically removed fairly simply, but if left untreated some forms can spread to other parts of the body and become potentially fatal. In fact, the death rate for melanomas is increasing faster than many other forms of cancer. Patients with more advanced melanomas may also receive chemotherapy or radiation.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends a complete skin examination every three years for those between the ages of 20 and 40 and annually for those older than 40. The ACS also recommends monthly self-exams.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Meniere’s Disease
Other name: Endolymphatic hydrops

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear disorder. Those who suffer from Meniere’s usually have symptoms for a long time, but some people have symptoms that come and go. The symptoms last 20 minutes to several hours and may affect either one ear or both. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease include:

  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Full feeling in the ear

Meniere’s disease is diagnosed based on a review of your symptoms and diagnostic tests, such as blood work and an MRI or CT scan, to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms.

Treatment requires lifestyle changes that include a diet low in salt to control the amount of fluid in the inner ear canals. Most physicians advise those with Meniere’s disease to limit caffeine and alcohol consumption and quit smoking. Medications to help control fluid levels and to help with dizziness and nausea may be prescribed. In some cases, surgery may be recommended.

During an attack, those with Meniere’s disease may find it helpful to lie flat and limit movement. Eyes should be focused on a fixed object, and you should limit the amount of food you eat and beverages you drink to reduce the likelihood of nausea or vomiting. When the symptoms subside, get up slowly. If you begin to vomit and continue to do so for more than 24 hours, see a physician.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Meningitis
Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. It may be caused by a number of factors, the most common of which is infection.

Viral meningitis is seldom fatal, and most patients make a full recovery. Bacterial meningitis may be fatal if not treated immediately. When bacterial meningitis occurs in children, there is concern that permanent damage such as hearing loss or learning disabilities may result.

Both types of meningitis are contagious. In some cases, meningitis may be caused by cancer or in response to chemotherapy. Symptoms of meningitis include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Stiff neck
  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures

Meningitis is diagnosed using a test called a spinal tap. A needle is inserted into the spinal cord and a sample of spinal fluid is removed. The spinal fluid is tested for the virus or bacteria.
Prompt treatment of meningitis is important regardless of whether it is viral or bacterial.

Untreated meningitis may lead to stroke, brain damage and death. Most physicians recommend prescription medication and home treatment for viral meningitis. Usually, patients recover from viral meningitis in a week or two. Treatment of bacterial meningitis requires antibiotics and may also require hospitalization.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Menorrhagia
Other name: Heavy periods

Menorrhagia occurs when women have very heavy or excessively long menstrual cycles that may be caused by other medical conditions or hormone imbalances. Menorrhagia affects many women, and it is sometimes difficult to determine why the heavy periods occur.

During a normal menstrual cycle, a balance exists between two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. A woman may experience menorrhagia when an imbalance between these two hormones occurs. This type of menorrhagia – called dysfunctional uterine bleeding – often occurs in adolescents and women nearing menopause. In other cases, an irritation such as fibroids or an IUD in the womb may cause menorrhagia.

Menorrhagia is common after sterilization and among women who are overweight. In some cases, menorrhagia may last so long that only a few days pass between periods. This may lead to anemia, fatigue and faintness. If this occurs, you should see your physician. For some, a heavy or prolonged period may be normal, and in some cases a particular cause cannot be identified.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Menstrual Disorders
A menstrual disorder occurs when something out of the ordinary occurs during a woman’s normal menstrual cycle. She may experience pain or unusually heavy or light bleeding. Or, she may have a late period or none at all.

During childbearing years, women usually menstruate every 28 days unless they are pregnant or nearing menopause. Almost every woman experiences some form of menstrual disorder during her life. Menstrual disorders include:

  • Amenorrhea, which indicates a lack of menstruation, may be categorized as primary or secondary. Primary amenorrhea occurs when a girl has reached the age of 16 and not begun to have a period. Secondary amenorrhea occurs when a woman who has had a normal period does not have one for at least three months.
  • Dysmenorrhea, or painful cramping, also may be categorized as primary or secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea affects most women to some extent. An estimated 10 percent of women have severe cramps that interfere with their daily lives. This type of cramp is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea, backache and headache. Secondary dysmenorrhea is usually caused by another medical condition.
  • Menorrhagia, which is heavy bleeding, usually occurs in the last few years prior to menopause or just after women begin menstruating. If affects an estimated 14 percent of all women.
  • Premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) occurs when a woman has five out of the 11 symptoms of this condition the week prior to her normal period. To be diagnosed with premenstrual syndrome or PMDD, a woman must have experienced these symptoms during most of her periods for the past year.

Menstrual disorders may be caused by a number of factors – from being underweight or overweight to conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids or a tipped uterus. If you experience unusual conditions relating to your menstrual cycle, see your gynecologist or family physician.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Mesenteric Ischemia
Mesenteric ischemia occurs when the three major arteries that supply blood to the stomach and intestines become blocked and make it difficult for the intestines to digest food properly. If blood flow is blocked severely enough, part or all of the intestines may die.

Mesenteric ischemia most often occurs among those with diseases of the arteries, those who smoke and those with high cholesterol.

The restricted blood flow may result from atherosclerosis or a blood clot. The latter presents a life-threatening situation since blood flow to the intestines may be completely blocked, causing the intestines tocease to function if not treated immediately. Symptoms, which may not be present until two of the three arteries are narrowed or blocked, include:

  • Severe abdominal pain after eating
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting

Mesenteric ischemia has symptoms similar to other conditions, so blood tests may be an important part of the diagnosis. Your physician may also recommend a CT scan or an arteriogram to show any narrow or blocked areas on an X-ray.

Treatment of mesenteric ischemia usually requires surgery to remove or bypass the blocked part of the arteries. With surgery and lifestyle changes, such as not smoking and following a healthy diet and exercise plan, most patients with mesenteric ischemia experience a full recovery.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Metatarsalgia
Metatarsalgia is a condition most often caused by uneven weight distribution on the ball of the foot, which is the area between the arch and toes. This area contains the ends of the bones that connect to the toes and the padding that cushions the foot. The pain occurs when the normal alignment of all these bones is disturbed and the weight distribution is uneven. Symptoms include:

  • Bruise-like pain in ball of foot
  • Thick, painful calluses
  • Pain that worsens when walking barefoot

Often, home care is all that is required to improve this condition. A particular pair of shoes may be causing the pain. Placing ice on the ball of the foot will help reduce inflammation. Wearing shoes that are not too worn and are the correct size and style for your foot will help to prevent metatarsalgia, and alleviate symptoms . Orthotics designed to relieve ball-of-foot pain also may be beneficial. If the pain persists, see your doctor.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Middle Ear Infection
Other name: Otitis media

Middle ear infections primarily affect young children, but may also affect adults. A middle ear infection, as its name implies, is an infection or inflammation of the middle ear. The middle ear is the part of the ear that transmits sound from the eardrum to the inner ear. A middle ear infection is generally bacterial or viral, caused by a cold and usually due to blocked eustachian tubes. Blocked eustachian tubes can fill with fluid and easily propagate viruses, bacteria and infection.

A middle ear infection is characterized by an earache and fever and could be accompanied by respiratory problems or other symptoms of a cold. In extreme cases, middle ear infections can lead to loss of hearing if left untreated.

Middle ear infections are easily diagnosed by examining the ear. Sometimes, hearing tests are recommended if the infection is particularly severe or if hearing seems to be affected.

A middle ear infection is treated easily with self care if there is no serious or imminent need for other treatment. Middle ear infections may be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare provider. Antibiotics are generally recommended only for severe ear infections.

Talk to your provider about specific treatment options if your child has a middle ear infection, and do not give your child aspirin or acetaminophen.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Migraine
Women are three times more likely than men to experience a migraine. A migraine is more than just a headache - sometimes it can be disabling. Not all migraines are the same. Symptoms, causes and recurrence of migraines vary greatly among people who experience them.

A migraine is characterized by severe, throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. It may be accompanied by nausea, blurred vision, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to sounds or light. A migraine can last up to 72 hours if left untreated. Some people experience recurring migraines, others have migraines as the direct result of stress or specific activities, and some people only experience a few migraines during a lifetime. Sometimes, a sensory trigger (called an aura) such as light flashes or tingling in the limbs will precede the migraine.

It is believed that migraines may be associated with chemical imbalances in the brain or blood flow, although there is no consensus on the exact cause of migraines. Causes of migraines include:

  • Hormones – Many women experience their first migraines during pregnancy or menopause, when hormone levels are irregular. Also, some women experience migraines due to their menstrual cycle, when hormone levels are either higher or lower than normal.
  • Stress – Sometimes several stressful days may trigger a migraine headache.
  • Environmental factors – Bright lights, weather changes, and even smells have been associated with migraines.
  • Food and drinks – In rare cases, alcoholic beverages, chocolate, some Asian food, fermented or pickled food and processed food cause migraines.
  • Medications – Before trying a new medicine, ask your doctor about its potential to cause migraines.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Mitral Valve Stenosis
Other name: Mitral valve obstruction

Mitral valve stenosis is a heart valve disorder that occurs when a mitral valve opening has become narrow and restricts the flow of blood from the upper left chamber of the heart to the lower left chamber. The restricted blood flow leads to an increase in blood pressure in the left atrium, which eventually may cause fluid to leak into the lungs. It also may disrupt the heart’s normal rhythm and cause it not to operate efficiently.

Mitral valve stenosis is most often caused by rheumatic fever, but it may be a condition that is present at birth. Newborns with mitral valve stenosis usually need to have the valve surgically repaired. Symptoms, which usually develop between the ages of 20 and 50, include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Swelling in feet and ankles
  • Red color in cheeks

Initially symptoms are only noticeable during times of physical exertion, but as the condition progresses they also become present during times of rest. In some cases, no symptoms are present.

Diagnosing mitral valve stenosis usually begins with a physician listening to the heart for a snapping sound that is followed by a murmur. Additional tests such as a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram or echocardiograph may confirm the diagnosis.

A variety of medications may be used to slow the heart rate or restore the heart’s normal rhythm. If these medications are not effective, surgical valve repair or replacement may be needed.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Moles
Other names: Nevi, dysplastic nevi

Moles are brown bumps that may appear anywhere on the skin and can be various sizes and shapes. Usually moles are harmless, but some may develop into a form of skin cancer called malignant melanoma, so it’s important to check on them from time to time to ensure they are not changing.

The brown color of moles is due to special cells that produce the pigment melanin. Moles may be tan, brown, pink or black. The color may get darker as one tans, begins to use birth control pills or becomes pregnant. Most moles begin flat and become more raised as time passes. Some may not change in size and shape at all.

Suspicious moles may change in shape or color, itch or bleed. A mole that develops after the age of 20 also is considered suspicious. If your physician thinks a mole may be cancerous, he or she will remove a sample or all of it and examine it under a microscope to determine if it is cancerous.

Some people also may want a mole removed that is in an area where it may be irritated by clothing or simply because it is unattractive. Your physician can remove a mole in his or her office with local anesthesia.

If you notice any change in the size, shape or color of your moles, you may want to get a physician to examine them as a precaution against possible cancerous growth.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Mononucleosis
Other name: Mono

Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, which most adults have already been infected with as a child. However, if you are first infected with the Epstein-Barr virus as an adult or older adolescent, you may develop mono. The most common age bracket for mono is from 15 to 24. Once infected with Epstein-Barr virus, the virus will remain dormant in your blood for life. Symptoms associated with mono include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes/glands
  • Fatigue

More severe symptoms require medical attention:

  • Liver inflammation
  • Spleen inflammation
  • Anemia
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Nerve damage

Mono is diagnosed through a monospot blood test which can identify the Epstein-Barr virus. Mono can’t be cured, only the symptoms can be treated. Rest is strongly recommended, as well as fluid consumption and proper nutrition. Antibiotics may be prescribed if other infections such as strep throat accompany mono. Mono usually takes at least a few weeks to heal, and it may take one or two months for a patient to fully recover from mono.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Morton’s Neuroma
Other name: Plantar neuroma

Morton’s neuroma is a common foot problem that results from a swollen nerve that causes pain in the ball of the foot between the third and fourth toes. Symptoms usually occur during or after significant pressure has been placed on the forefoot while walking, standing, jumping or running. Wearing constricting shoes (especially those with pointed toes or high heels) and flat feet can cause this condition. Symptoms include:

  • Sharp pain
  • Burning
  • Numbness or tingling in the foot
  • Cramping

The first step in treating Morton’s neuroma is wearing proper-fitting shoes. An insert placed in the shoe beneath the ball of the foot also will help relieve the pain and pressure. If the pain persists, see your physician.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects plasma cells, which are a certain type of white blood cells that help the body’s immune system fight infection and disease. When these cells become cancerous, begin to form abnormally and rapidly reproduce, they may crowd out red blood cells, decrease calcium levels in the bones and produce an abundance of proteins, which can affect the kidneys and cause renal failure.

Multiple myeloma tends to affect the middle-aged and elderly. It has no obvious symptoms in the early stages, but as the tumor increases in size, symptoms become more evident. Symptoms include:

  • Bone pain
  • Broken bones
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent infections
  • Anemia
  • Renal failure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Numbness in legs

Treatment strategies depend on how far the disease has progressed, symptoms, the person’s age and overall health. This disease is difficult to cure, and the median survival rate in the US is about three years. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be recommended by your physician to help control the development of the tumor and relieve pain.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that develops when the body’s immune system, which usually protects the body from foreign substances, mistakenly attacks the brain and spinal cord. As a result, the nerves in the protective covering of the brain become impaired and scar tissue or plaque builds up on the brain. The damaged tissue disrupts key electrical signals that are normally transmitted through the brain and spinal cord and causes the symptoms of MS.

MS is a life-long, progressive illness that usually becomes evident between the ages of 20 and 40. An estimated 350,000 Americans suffer from this disease. What causes the dysfunction in the immune system is not known. Initial symptoms of MS may be severe or so mild that a person isn’t even aware of them. Symptoms include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Loss of balance
  • Weakness in limbs
  • Vision problems
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Impaired thinking
  • Fatigue

MS may take several forms – relapsing-remitting, primary progressive, secondary progressive and progressive relapsing. Relapsing-remitting is characterized by sporadic acute episodes. Primary progressive is a gradual but steady progression without periods of remission. Secondary progressive begins as relapsing-remitting but becomes progressive. Progressive relapsing, the least common form of MS, is characterized by steady progression with acute attacks.

Diagnosis of MS is difficult, and no single test can be used to diagnose this disease. Diagnosis may involve an MRI, which provides images of plaque on the brain. Physicians may also examine cerebrospinal fluid for an antibody called immunoglobulin G.

The cause of MS is not known, and currently there is no cure. Several drugs have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to improve recovery, decrease the frequency and severity of attacks and halt progression. Most people with MS have a normal life expectancy and the majority are only mildly affected.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Mumps
Mumps is a viral infection that causes swelling of the parotid glands, which are located at the back of your cheeks and produce saliva for your mouth. The most obvious sign of the mumps is a swelling of these glands, which causes puffy cheeks and can be very painful. Mumps is highly contagious and can be easily spread through contact with an infected person’s saliva (i.e., sharing food or drink, sneezing and coughing). The virus can be spread before and after the symptoms appear. The best way to avoid mumps is to have your measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The vaccine has significantly reduced the number of cases of mumps in the US. Do not have the vaccine if you have a weak immune system or are pregnant.

Other symptoms, which vary on an individual basis and may not be present at all, include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing

Mumps cannot be treated with antibiotics, because it is caused by a virus. The best treatment is rest and time. To alleviate some of the symptoms, it’s usually recommended that a patient take an anti-inflammatory medication without steroids, such as acetaminophen.

Sometimes, mumps can progress into further complications, including meningitis, encephalitis, pancreatitis, hearing loss and inflammation of the ovaries or testicles. Mumps orchititis is a serious disease and may cause male infertility.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Muscular Dystrophy (MD)
Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of genetic diseases that cause progressive muscle weakness. The most common types of muscular dystrophy are Duchenne among children and myotonic among adults.

Muscle weakness is a common symptom among all types of muscular dystrophies, but the area of the body affected, the age at which the weakness is identified as a symptom and the way the disease progresses may vary.

In Duchenne muscular dystrophy, at pre-school ages the legs are typically affected as well as the diaphragm, which may make it difficult to breath. Scoliosis, a spinal curvature, also is common among children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

In myotonic muscular dystrophy, muscles most commonly affected include those in the face and legs. Other symptoms indicative of myotonic muscular dystrophy include heart problems, constipation, cataracts, vision problems, sleep apnea, insulin resistance and skin disorders.

Muscular dystrophy is diagnosed by a careful review of the patient’s medical history and a thorough physical exam. Lab tests may include blood work, a muscle biopsy and an ECG.

There is no cure for muscular dystrophy, and few drugs have any effect. Treatment tends to focus on physical and occupational therapy, and in some cases surgery to correct severely contracted muscles or to compensate for muscle weakness in areas such as the shoulders or eyelids.

How well those with MD manage the disease and their quality of life varies based on how quickly the disease is progressing and the type of MD the person has.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia gravis is a disease caused by abnormal transmission of nerve impulses to muscles, which causes weakness in some muscles. Muscles most often affected include the eye muscles, throat and facial muscles.

Myasthenia is usually a progressive disease in which the degree of weakness one experiences changes throughout the day. Weakness tends to be less severe in the morning and more severe in the evening. Symptoms of myasthenia gravis include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slurred speech

Myasthenia gravis is diagnosed through physical and neurological exams as well as diagnostic tests such as blood work. Experts often disagree on the best methods of treatment, but it frequently includes medications to increase muscle strength or to suppress the production of abnormal antibodies. Surgically removing the thymus gland cures some people and improves symptoms in others. In some cases the disease may improve or go into remission without any specific treatment.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)