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March is Blooming With Wellness—Recognizing MS, Colorectal Cancer, Kidney Disease and More!

March awareness is here— acknowledging Colorectal Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Kidney Disease, and more! To better support these causes, it’s significant to understand the course of these diseases. Read below to learn more on disease process, risk factors, signs & symptoms, treatment options, and famous people who have experienced these conditions. Let’s step into wellness this month, contributing to the lives of those individuals living with MS, Colorectal Cancer, and Kidney Disease!

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

What is Multiple Sclerosis? MS leads to degeneration of myelin sheaths, which are nerve coverings providing insulation and adequate electrical impulses to the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the body. WebMD shares more on MS stating, “With MS, the nerves of the brain and spinal cord are damaged by one's own immune system. Thus, the condition is called an autoimmune disease.” Basically, your own immune system attacks itself. 

Risk Factors: According to the Mayo Clinic, MS more commonly affects individuals between the ages of 20-40, people with a family history of the disease, women, previous exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus, and having other autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and thyroid disease.

Signs & Symptoms: Muscle weakness, blurred vision, heat sensitivity, fatigue, dizziness, and more. Visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for more details on commonly reported signs and symptoms.

Treatments & Medications: To date, there is no cure for MS. The progression of the disease can be controlled with prompt treatment options and medications. Physical and Occupational therapy may assist with muscle pain and weakness, also muscle relaxants like Lioresal and Zanaflex are prescribed for muscle spasticity. During exacerbating episodes, corticosteroids and plasma exchange may be ordered by the physician. 

Famous people with a history of Multiple Sclerosis: Montel Williams, Jack Osbourne, Richard Cohen, Ann Romney, and others.

Colorectal Cancer

What is Colorectal Cancer? It is cancer that originates in the colon or rectum— most frequently it develops as from a small polyp. Preventive measures can be taken such as routine examinations and removal of polyps upon detection.

Risk Factors: People with a history of inflammatory bowel disease, individuals over the age of 50, history of polyps, family history of colorectal cancer, and more. Visit the American Cancer Society to learn more about Colorectal Cancer.  

Facts: As noted by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “Colorectal is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it.” Colorectal cancer affects both men and women alike, and incidences increase as people age— particularly over the age of 50.

Signs & Symptoms: Changes in bowel movement, bloody stools, stomach pains, and weight loss. 

Treatments & Medications: Screening for colon cancer normally starts at age 50, which includes a colonoscopy and a stool blood assessment. For individuals at risk of developing colorectal cancer, earlier testing may be prompted. The goal of routine examinations is to detect polyps before becoming cancerous. It is also advised to limit fats in the diet and increase fiber intake. 

WebMD notes the following:

It has been proposed that aspirin may stop cancer cells from multiplying. In addition, other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as sulindac and cecloxib) may reduce the size of polyps in the colon and, therefore, the risk of colon cancer.

Famous people with a history of Colorectal Cancer: Ronald Reagan, Pope John II, Elizabeth Montgomery, Sharon Osbourne, and others.

Kidney Disease

What is Kidney Disease? The kidneys play an important role in the body. Some functions of the kidneys include: filtering the blood from waste products, removing excess fluid, and regulating blood pressure. With kidney damage, the physiological function of the kidneys is altered increasing blood pressure, fluid retention, and build-up of potential toxins with progression of the disease.

            WebMD comments on Kidney Disease:

When the kidneys become damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in the body, causing swelling in your ankles, vomiting, weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of breath. If left untreated, diseased kidneys may eventually stop functioning completely. Loss of kidney function is a serious -- and potentially fatal -- condition.

Risk Factors: The following information is provided by the Mayo Clinic: Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, African-Americans, Native Americans or Asian-Americans, a family history of kidney disease, and individuals 65 or older.

Facts: Trauma or excess bleeding can decrease blood flow to the kidney’s causing damage. Also, certain medications prescribed for high cholesterol (Zocor) and anti-microbials (Vancomycin) can be harmful to the kidneys. Consult with your doctor for proper dosing and drug selections. 

Signs & Symptoms: Sign & symptoms of kidney disease provided by the Mayo Clinic: swelling of ankles, feet & hands, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, confusion, decrease in appetite, nausea and vomiting, dry, itchy skin, and fatigue.

Treatments: Early treatment options include a low-protein diet; maintaining a healthy blood pressure through diet & medication regimen, daily weight assessment (recommend first thing in the morning), reporting substantial weight increases & any swelling of the hands, feet, and ankles. Dialysis may be recommended with more severe kidney damage.

Famous people with a history of Kidney Disease: George Lopez, Erma Bombeck, John Brockington, Kerry Packer, and others.

List of organizations supporting causes for MS, Colorectal Cancer, and Renal Disease: 

1. National Multiple Sclerosis Society: http://www.nationalmssociety.org

2. Multiple Sclerosis Foundation: http://www.msfocus.org

3. Colorectal Cancer Awareness: http://www.crcawareness.com

4. American Association for Cancer Research: http://www.aacr.org/home/survivors--advocates/cancer-resources-mdash;-organizations,-agencies-and-websites/support-and-advocacy-groups/us-and-canadian-groups-by-focus/colorectal-cancer.aspx

5. The National Kidney Foundation: http://www.kidney.org

6. The American Association of Kidney Patients: https://www.aakp.org

7. The American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org

 

* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions. 

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Yeneilyn is a Registered Nurse in the state of Florida since 2006. Her nursing practice began in the field of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Hospital and expanded to care for clients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She was provided the opportunity as LPN Instructor, which changed the course of her nursing career. She states, “Teaching nursing students expanded my view on positive influences nurses contribute beyond beside care. Nurses are central leaders in health education, client advocacy, and disease prevention.” Currently, Yeneilyn writes health articles and prepares Continuing Education (C.E.) courses for healthcare professionals. She continues her studies in the field of Nursing Education and evidenced-based nursing practice. In her free time she enjoys sharing time with family and friends.


For questions or topics of interest contact Nurse Yenny at: nurseyenny@gmail.com    


 


 


 

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