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A Healthy Prostate

Benign prostatic hyperplasia also called BPH is a condition that affects the prostate gland in men.  The prostate is a gland that is found between the bladder, where the urine is stored, and the urethra, where the urine passed through.  As men age, the prostate gland slowly enlarges.  This growth may press on the urethra and cause the flow of urine to be slower.  This enlargement typically isn’t caused by cancer or infection.

Most symptoms of BPH start gradually.  One symptom is the need to get up more often at night to urinate, and to empty the bladder often during the day.  Other symptoms include difficulty in starting the urine flow and dribbling after urination ends.  The size and the strength of the urine may also decrease.

Such symptoms can be caused by other things besides BPH.  They may be signs of more serious diseases, such as bladder infection or cancer.  Tell your doctor if you have these symptoms so they can evaluate your condition.

In order to know if you have BPH your doctor will perform a rectal exam, which will allow the doctor to feel the size of your prostate.  To ensure that the problem is benign the doctor may need to look a sample of the urine for signs of infection.  A blood test may also be in order.  An ultrasound or a biopsy of the prostate may help the doctor make the diagnosis.

Once the doctor is sure that the symptoms are caused by benign growth of the prostate gland, treatment can be recommended.  Surgery is considered the most effective treatment and is used in men with strong symptoms that persist after other treatments are tried.  Drug treatments are also available, which block a natural hormone that makes the prostate enlarge.  This medicine has side affects that have to do with sexual function.

Another medicine called alpha blockers, can also help the symptoms of BPH.  Alpha blockers have been used for a long time to treat high blood pressure, but they can also be used to help the symptoms of BPH, even in men with normal blood pressure.  These medicines may not work with all men.  The side affects include dizziness, fatigue, and lightheadedness.  The side affects go away once the medication is stopped.

If you are dealing with any of these symptoms, make an appointment today. Call 757-488-3333. Treatment is available.

~Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed

Posted in: Blog, Company News, Health Advice, Men's Health, News

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Now Offering – Home Sleep Study!

Family Medicine Healthcare is now offering our patients a home sleep study for those patients who qualify.  This is a low cost and extremely convenient option for people who find themselves extremely tired and suffering from fatigue. Those who qualify for a sleep study can enjoy the convenience of having the study done while they are at home, sleeping in their own bed.

So, how tired are you? Here is a Sleepiness Scale Self-Test (click here). Answer the questions to see how likely you are to doze off in normal, day to day, situations. These answers may show if you are possibly suffering from a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea.

You can also answer this simple questionnaire from ResMed, a leader in diagnosing and developing technology to help Sleep Apnea and Sleep Disorders.

ResMed Sleep Apnea Questionaire

 

If you have any of these symptoms, call our office today at 757-488-3333 to schedule an appointment with me. I would like to discuss this option with you, and see if you qualify for a Home Sleep Study.

Sleep is essential to your overall health. We want to ensure you are getting the sleep you need.

~Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed, MD

 

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What is Hyperparathyroidism?

Parathyroids are 4 pea sized glands behind a person’s thyroid gland at the front of the neck. These glands produce a hormone called parathyroid that keeps the proper levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body, which helps absorb calcium from food and keep the body from losing calcium through the urine. Hyperparathyroidism occurs when the parathyroid glands secrete too much parathyroid hormone (PTH). A growth on the parathyroid gland can cause them to make too much PTH. Other medical conditions can also cause the parathyroid glands to make too much PTH.

When you have your annual exam or physical, your family doctor may suggest getting some routine blood work done. Frequently, in this blood work, your thyroid levels will be checked, especially if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below. Hyperparathyroidism is most often suspected when a high level of calcium is found in blood on a routine blood test. The test result will help make the diagnosis even before symptoms may have developed.

Some of the symptoms of hyperparathyroidism include:

• Tired and weakness most of the time
• General aches and pains throughout the body
• Heartburn
• Nausea and vomiting
• Pain in the abdomen or constipation
• High Blood Pressure
• An increase in bone fractures or breaks
• Confusion and poor memory
• Kidney stones

Back and Neck Pain

Normally the amount of calcium being absorbed by the bones is the same as that being lost. Ultimately this makes the level of calcium in the body stay the same. With hyperparathyroidism, more calcium is coming out of the bones than going back in. As a result the bones become weak, brittle, and slower to heal.

The calcium from the bones enters the blood stream and causes high blood pressure. This also creates a risk of developing kidney stones, because kidneys are trying to filter out extra calcium. This can also create excessive thirst and an increased need for urination.

More women develop hyperparathyroidism than men. It is also more common in older people. Women over 65 have 2 in 1,000 chance of developing this disease. People who have a vitamin D deficiency also have an increased risk of developing
hyperparathyroidism.

Be sure to schedule your annual exam with your family doctor, so that your overall health can be checked. In these routine appointments, is where many underlying health problems, like hyperparathyroidism, are uncovered, leading to treatment and a higher quality of life.

~Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed, MD

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February: Heart Health Awareness Month!

In honor of this month’s focus on Heart Health Awareness, I wanted to share with you about a very damaging, yet common condition in America today.

Healthy Heart

It’s known as Arteriosclerosis (or Atherosclerosis).

You have seen commercials on television referring to Arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). This is a problem created in the body with the blood flow through the arteries. Arteries carry blood from the heart to various muscles and organs. When arteries become diseased they become narrowed or blocked this is called atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis. The most common complaint of people who have PAD is claudication.

Claudication is the pain in the calf or thigh muscle that occurs after walking. This pain may stop after a person rests for a while. Claudication occurs since not enough blood is flowing to a muscle because less blood is flowing through the artery that is supplying that particular muscle.

Claudication is also more likely with people who have atherosclerosis in other arteries. People with claudication may have had heart attacks or strokes. If you notice pain in your legs while walking please ask your doctor about your risk for PAD.

To check for claudication your doctor will check the pulses in the arteries or order testing in a lab. Another method of checking is to measure the blood pressure in the arms versus that in the legs. A drop in blood pressure may indicate a narrowing of the arteries. Surgery may also be an alternative to help treat symptoms of claudication.

Some of the risk factors linked to PAD include:

  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • cigarette smoking
  • older age

PAD and claudication are most easily treated with diet and exercise, and sometimes medicine. Stopping smoking is also recommended. A walking program is also very helpful. Walking 3 times per week for 30 or more minutes each time can help treat and prevent this disease. If you begin walking and the pain becomes too uncomfortable, stop and rest until the pain goes away; and then resume walking again until you have reached your goal.

Lifestyle changes can be tough to incorporate at first, as we all know “old habits die hard”. However, when you start to see and FEEL the drastic difference in you overall health, it will encourage you to keep at it!

~Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed

 

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The Pain of Fibromyalgia

Chances are you have heard about Fibromyalgia, but probably don’t know much about it.

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain in the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons; and is diagnosed by exclusion only. This means that all other conditions need to be excluded before a patient can be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. For this reason, many people are confused and unaware about this condition, and what it entails.

The pain of fibromyalgia occurs in areas called ‘tender points.’ Common tender points are the front of the knees, the elbows, the hip joints and found the neck. Fibromyalgia affects 2-5% of the US population, including children. This disorder might be hereditary, so you may have family members with similar symptoms.

Fibromyalgia Tender Points

 

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia are primarily increased sensitivity to pain and may also include:

  • Pain– The pain of fibromyalgia has no boundaries. People describe the pain as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting, and stabbing. Intense burning may also be present. Often the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning.
  • Fatigue– This symptom can be mild in some patients and incapacitating in others.
  • Sleep disorder– Most fibromyalgia patients have an associated sleep disorder called the alpha-EEG anomaly. Researchers have found that fibromyalgia patients could fall asleep with out much trouble, but their deep level sleep was constantly interrupted.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome– Constipation, diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain abdominal gas, and nausea represent symptoms found in 40 – 70% of fibromyalgia patients.
  • Chronic headaches– Recurrent migraine or tension-type headache are seen in 70% of the patients.
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ)– This syndrome causes tremendous jaw related face and head pain

You may also have feelings of numbness or tingling in parts of your body, or a feeling of poor blood flow in some areas. Many people are very sensitive to odors, bright lights, loud noises and medicines. In addition, you may have dry eyes or difficulty focusing on nearby objects. Problems with dizziness and balance may also occur. Some people have chest pain, and a rapid or irregular hear beat, or shortness of breath.

Although fibromyalgia causes symptoms that can be very uncomfortable this condition is not life threatening, but it is chronic. There is no cure, but you can do many things to help you feel better. Several medications can help relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia. Many of these medicines are taken before bedtime and improve sleep. Patients will begin to notice the benefits of the medications in about 6 – 8 weeks. One of the best things patients can do is low-impact aerobic exercise. This includes swimming or water exercise, stationary bicycling and exercising on ski type machines. Begin at very low level and continue to increase the length and frequency of exercise until it is at least 30 – 60 minutes at last 4 times / week. It is important to cut stress whenever possible and get as much sleep as needed. Avoid alcohol and caffeine that cause poor sleep.

 

 If you are experiencing these symptoms, call our office today and schedule an appointment, (757) 488-3333.

Treatment is available. Life was not meant to live in pain!

~Dr. Abdelshaheed

 

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