Champion HHC Health Information Library
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The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine. Colorectal cancer occurs when tumors form in the lining of the large intestine. It is common in both men and women. The risk of developing colorectal cancer rises after age 50. You're also more likely to get it if you have colorectal polyps, a family history of colorectal cancer, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, eat a diet high in fat, or smoke.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- A feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
- Blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
- Stools that are narrower than usual
- Frequent gas pains or cramps, or feeling full or bloated
- Weight loss with no known reason
- Nausea or vomiting
Because you may not have symptoms at first, it's important to have screening tests. Everyone over 50 should get screened. Tests include colonoscopy and tests for blood in the stool. Treatments for colorectal cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination. Surgery can usually cure it when it is found early.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative brain disorder. Symptoms usually start around age 60. Memory problems, behavior changes, vision problems, and poor muscle coordination progress quickly to dementia, coma, and death. Most patients die within a year.
The three main categories of CJD are :
- Sporadic CJD, which occurs for no known reason
- Hereditary CJD, which runs in families
- Acquired CJD, which occurs from contact with infected tissue, usually during a medical procedure
Cattle can get a disease related to CJD called bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or "mad cow disease." There is concern that people can get a variant of CJD from eating beef from an infected animal, but there is no direct proof to support this.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Computed tomography (CT) is a type of imaging. It uses special x-ray equipment to make cross-sectional pictures of your body.
Doctors use CT scans to look for:
- Fractures (broken bones)
- Blood clots
- Signs of heart disease
- Internal bleeding
During a CT scan, you lie still on a table. The table slowly passes through the center of a large X-ray machine. The test is painless. During some tests you receive a contrast dye, which makes parts of your body show up better in the image.
NIH: National Cancer Institute
E. Coli Infections
E. coli is the name of a type of bacteria that lives in your intestines. Most types of E. coli are harmless. However, some types can make you sick and cause diarrhea. One type causes travelers' diarrhea. The worst type of E. coli causes bloody diarrhea, and can sometimes cause kidney failure and even death. These problems are most likely to occur in children and in adults with weak immune systems.
You can get E. coli infections by eating foods containing the bacteria. Symptoms of infection include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Severe abdominal cramps
- Watery or very bloody diarrhea
To help avoid food poisoning and prevent infection, handle food safely. Cook meat well, wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them, and avoid unpasteurized milk and juices. You can also get the infection by swallowing water in a swimming pool contaminated with human waste.
Most cases of E. coli infection get better without treatment in 5 to 10 days.
What are eating disorders?
Eating disorders are serious mental health disorders. They involve severe problems with your thoughts about food and your eating behaviors. You may eat much less or much more than you need.
Eating disorders are medical conditions; they are not a lifestyle choice. They affect your body's ability to get proper nutrition. This can lead to health issues, such as heart and kidney problems, or sometimes even death. But there are treatments that can help.What are the types of eating disorders?
Common types of eating disorders include:
- Binge-eating, which is out-of-control eating. People with binge-eating disorder keep eating even after they are full. They often eat until they feel very uncomfortable. Afterward, they usually have feelings of guilt, shame, and distress. Eating too much too often can lead to weight gain and obesity. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.
- Bulimia nervosa. People with bulimia nervosa also have periods of binge-eating. But afterwards, they purge, by making themselves throw up or using laxatives. They may also over-exercise or fast. People with bulimia nervosa may be slightly underweight, normal weight, or overweight.
- Anorexia nervosa. People with anorexia nervosa avoid food, severely restrict food, or eat very small quantities of only certain foods. They may see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight. Anorexia nervosa is the least common of the three eating disorders, but it is often the most serious. It has the highest death rate of any mental disorder.
The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. Researchers believe that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of factors. These include genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors.Who is at risk for eating disorders?
Anyone can develop an eating disorder, but they are more common in women. Eating disorders frequently appear during the teen years or young adulthood. But people can also develop them during childhood or later in life.What are the symptoms of eating disorders?
The symptoms of eating disorders vary, depending on the disorder:
The symptoms of binge-eating include:
- Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as a 2-hour period
- Eating even when you're full or not hungry
- Eating fast during binge episodes
- Eating until you're uncomfortably full
- Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment
- Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about your eating
- Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss
The symptoms of bulimia nervosa include the same symptoms as binge-eating, plus trying to get rid of the food or weight after binging by:
- Purging, making yourself throw up or using laxatives or enemas to speed up the movement of food through your body
- Doing intensive and excessive exercise
Over time, bulimia nervosa can cause health problems such as:
- Chronically inflamed and sore throat
- Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area
- Worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth. This is caused by the exposure to stomach acid every time you throw up.
- GERD (acid reflux) and other gastrointestinal problems
- Severe dehydration from purging
- Electrolyte imbalance, which could be too low or too high levels of sodium, calcium, potassium and other minerals. This can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
The symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:
- Eating very little, to the point of starving yourself
- Intensive and excessive exercise
- Extreme thinness
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Distorted body image - seeing yourself as overweight even when you are severely underweight
Over time, anorexia nervosa can cause health problems such as:
- Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
- Mild anemia
- Muscle wasting and weakness
- Thin, brittle hair and nails
- Dry, blotchy, or yellowish skin
- Growth of fine hair all over the body
- Severe constipation
- Low blood pressure
- Slowed breathing and pulse
- Feeling cold all the time because of a drop in internal body temperature
- Feeling faint, dizzy, or weak
- Feeling tired all the time
- Damage to the structure and function of the heart
- Brain damage
- Multiorgan failure
Anorexia nervosa can be fatal. Some people with this disorder die of complications from starvation, and others die of suicide.
Some people with eating disorders may also have other mental disorders (such as depression or anxiety) or problems with substance use.How is eating disorders diagnosed?
Because eating disorders can be so serious, it is important to seek help if you or a loved one thinks that you might have a problem. Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:
- A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms. It is important to be honest about your eating and exercise behaviors so your provider can help you.
- A physical exam
- Blood or urine tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms
- Other tests to see whether you have any other health problems caused by the eating disorder. These can include kidney function tests and an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG).
Treatment plans for eating disorders are tailored to individual needs. You will likely have a team of providers helping you, including doctors, nutritionists, nurses, and therapists. The treatments may include:
- Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy. Individual therapy may include cognitive behavioral approaches, which help you to identify and change negative and unhelpful thoughts. It also helps you build coping skills and change behavioral patterns.
- Medical care and monitoring, including care for the complications that eating disorders can cause
- Nutrition counseling. Doctors, nurses, and counselors will help you eat healthy to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
- Medicines, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers, may help treat some eating disorders. The medicines can also help with the depression and anxiety symptoms that often go along with eating disorders.
Some people with serious eating disorders may need to be in a hospital or in a residential treatment program. Residential treatment programs combine housing and treatment services.
NIH: National Institute of Mental Health