Champion Home Health Care in Stuart, FL
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Champion HHC Health Information Library

We have thousands of patient health information articles gathered here. All articles are easy to read, authoritatively sourced, and constantly updated. Please visit our website at any time to search for information that interests you.

Pancreatic Diseases

The pancreas is a gland behind your stomach and in front of your spine. It produces juices that help break down food and hormones that help control blood sugar levels. Problems with the pancreas can lead to many health problems. These include

  • Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas: This happens when digestive enzymes start digesting the pancreas itself
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder in which thick, sticky mucus can also block tubes in your pancreas

The pancreas also plays a role in diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas no longer make insulin because the body's immune system has attacked them. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas loses the ability to secrete enough insulin in response to meals.

Urinary Incontinence

What is urinary incontinence (UI)?

Urinary incontinence (UI) is the loss of bladder control, or being unable to control urination. It is a common condition. It can range from being a minor problem to something that greatly affects your daily life. In any case, it can get better with proper treatment.

What are the types of urinary incontinence (UI)?

There are several different types of UI. Each type has different symptoms and causes:

  • Stress incontinence happens when stress or pressure on your bladder causes you to leak urine. This could be due to coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting something heavy, or physical activity. Causes include weak pelvic floor muscles and the bladder being out of its normal position.
  • Urge, or urgency, incontinence happens when you have a strong urge (need) to urinate, and some urine leaks out before you can make it to the toilet. It is often related to an overactive bladder. Urge incontinence is most common in older people. It can sometimes be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). It can also happen in some neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries.
  • Overflow incontinence happens when your bladder doesn't empty all the way. This causes too much urine to stay in your bladder. Your bladder gets too full, and you leak urine. This form of UI is most common in men. Some of the causes include tumors, kidney stones, diabetes, and certain medicines.
  • Functional incontinence happens when a physical or mental disability, trouble speaking, or some other problem keeps you from getting to the toilet in time. For example, someone with arthritis may have trouble unbuttoning his or her pants, or a person with Alzheimer's disease may not realize they need to plan to use the toilet.
  • Mixed incontinence means that you have more than one type of incontinence. It's usually a combination of stress and urge incontinence.
  • Transient incontinence is urine leakage that is caused by a temporary (transient) situation such as an infection or new medicine. Once the cause is removed, the incontinence goes away.
  • Bedwetting refers to urine leakage during sleep. This is most common in children, but adults can also have it.
    • Bedwetting is normal for many children. It is more common in boys. Bedwetting is often not considered a health problem, especially when it runs in the family. But if it still happens often at age 5 and older, it may be because of a bladder control problem. This problem could be caused by slow physical development, an illness, making too much urine at night, or another problem. Sometimes there is more than one cause.
    • In adults, the causes include some medicines, caffeine, and alcohol. It can also be caused by certain health problems, such as diabetes insipidus, a urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney stones, enlarged prostate (BPH), and sleep apnea.
Who is at risk for urinary incontinence (UI)?

In adults, you are at higher risk of developing UI if you

  • Are female, especially after going through pregnancy, childbirth, and/or menopause
  • Are older. As you age, your urinary tract muscles weaken, making it harder to hold in urine.
  • Are a man with prostate problems
  • Have certain health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, or long-lasting constipation
  • Are a smoker
  • Have a birth defect that affects the structure of your urinary tract

In children, bedwetting is more common in younger children, boys, and those whose parents wet the bed when they were children.

How is urinary incontinence (UI) diagnosed?

Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:

  • A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms. Your provider may ask you to keep a bladder diary for a few days before your appointment. The bladder diary includes how much and when you drink liquids, when and how much you urinate, and whether you leak urine.
  • A physical exam, which can include a rectal exam. Women may also get a pelvic exam.
  • Urine and/or blood tests
  • Bladder function tests
  • Imaging tests
What are the treatments for urinary incontinence (UI)?

Treatment depends on the type and cause of your UI. You may need a combination of treatments. Your provider may first suggest self-care treatments, including

  • Lifestyle changes to reduce leaks:
    • Drinking the right amount of liquid at the right time
    • Being physically active
    • Staying at a healthy weigh
    • Avoiding constipation
    • Not smoking
  • Bladder training. This involves urinating according to a schedule. Your provider makes a schedule from you, based on information from your bladder diary. After you adjust to the schedule, you gradually wait a little longer between trips to the bathroom. This can help stretch your bladder so it can hold more urine.
  • Doing exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Strong pelvic floor muscles hold in urine better than weak muscles. The strengthening exercises are called Kegel exercises. They involve tightening and relaxing the muscles that control urine flow.

If these treatments do not work, your provider may suggest other options such as

  • Medicines, which can be used to
    • Relax the bladder muscles, to help prevent bladder spasms
    • Block nerve signals that cause urinary frequency and urgency
    • In men, shrink the prostate and improve urine flow
  • Medical devices, including
    • A catheter, which is a tube to carry urine out of the body. You might use one a few times a day or all the time.
    • For women, a ring or a tampon-like device inserted into the vagina. The devices pushes up against your urethra to help decrease leaks.
  • Bulking agents, which are injected into the bladder neck and urethra tissues to thicken them. This helps close your bladder opening so you have less leaking.
  • Electrical nerve stimulation, which involves changing your bladder's reflexes using pulses of electricity
  • Surgery to support the bladder in its normal position. This may be done with a sling that is attached to the pubic bone.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

American Indian and Alaska Native Health

Every racial or ethnic group has specific health concerns. Differences in the health of groups can result from:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors
  • Access to care
  • Cultural factors

On this page, you'll find links to health issues that affect American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Chronic Kidney Disease

You have two kidneys, each about the size of your fist. Their main job is to filter your blood. They remove wastes and extra water, which become urine. They also keep the body's chemicals balanced, help control blood pressure, and make hormones.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) means that your kidneys are damaged and can't filter blood as they should. This damage can cause wastes to build up in your body. It can also cause other problems that can harm your health. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of CKD.

The kidney damage occurs slowly over many years. Many people don't have any symptoms until their kidney disease is very advanced. Blood and urine tests are the only way to know if you have kidney disease.

Treatments cannot cure kidney disease, but they may slow kidney disease. They include medicines to lower blood pressure, control blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. CKD may still get worse over time. Sometimes it can lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplantation.

You can take steps to keep your kidneys healthier longer:

  • Choose foods with less salt (sodium)
  • Control your blood pressure; your health care provider can tell you what your blood pressure should be
  • Keep your blood sugar in the target range, if you have diabetes
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Choose foods that are healthy for your heart: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Be physically active
  • Don't smoke

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Hepatitis B

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Inflammation is swelling that happens when tissues of the body are injured or infected. It can damage your liver. This swelling and damage can affect how well your liver functions.

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a type of viral hepatitis. It can cause an acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) infection. People with an acute infection usually get better on their own without treatment. Some people with chronic hepatitis B will need treatment.

Thanks to a vaccine, hepatitis B is not very common in the United States. It is more common in certain parts of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.

What causes hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is caused by the hepatitis B virus. The virus spreads through contact with blood, semen, or other body fluids from a person who has the virus.

Who is at risk for hepatitis B?

Anyone can get hepatitis B, but the risk is higher in

  • Infants born to mothers who have hepatitis B
  • People who inject drugs or share needles, syringes, and other types of drug equipment
  • Sex partners of people with hepatitis B, especially if they are not using latex or polyurethane condoms during sex
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who live with someone who has hepatitis B, especially if they use the same razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
  • Health care and public-safety workers who are exposed to blood on the job
  • Hemodialysis patients
  • People who have lived in or traveled often to parts of the world where hepatitis B is common
  • Have diabetes, hepatitis C, or HIV
What are the symptoms of hepatitis B?

Often, people with hepatitis B don't have symptoms. Adults and children over 5 are more likely to have symptoms than younger children.

Some people with acute hepatitis B have symptoms 2 to 5 months after infection. These symptoms can include

  • Dark yellow urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Gray- or clay-colored stools
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Yellowish eyes and skin, called jaundice

If you have chronic hepatitis B, you may not have symptoms until complications develop. This could be decades after you were infected. For this reason, hepatitis B screening is important, even if you have no symptoms. Screening means that you are tested for a disease even though you don't have symptoms. If you are at high risk, your health care provider may suggest screening.

What other problems can hepatitis B cause?

In rare cases, acute hepatitis B can cause liver failure.

Chronic hepatitis B can develop into a serious disease that causes long-term health problems such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer, and liver failure.

If you have ever had hepatitis B, the virus may become active again, or reactivated, later in life. This could start to damage the liver and cause symptoms.

How is hepatitis B diagnosed?

To diagnose hepatitis B, your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:

  • A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms
  • A physical exam
  • Blood tests, including tests for viral hepatitis
What are the treatments for hepatitis B?

If you have acute hepatitis B, you probably don't need treatment. Some people with chronic hepatitis B don't need treatment. But if you have a chronic infection and blood tests show that hepatitis B could be damaging your liver, you may need to take antiviral medicines.

Can hepatitis B be prevented?

The best way to prevent hepatitis B is to get the hepatitis B vaccine.

You can also reduce your chance of hepatitis B infection by

  • Not sharing drug needles or other drug materials
  • Wearing gloves if you have to touch another person's blood or open sores
  • Making sure your tattoo artist or body piercer uses sterile tools
  • Not sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors, or nail clippers
  • Using a latex condom during sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.

If you think you have been in contact with the hepatitis B virus, see your health care provider right away. Your provider may give you a dose of the hepatitis B vaccine to prevent infection. In some cases, your provider may also give you a medicine called hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG). You need to get the vaccine and the HBIG (if needed) as soon as possible after coming into contact with the virus. It is best if you can get them within 24 hours.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases