Probiotics by Carlos Perez

Probiotics have been known to help the human body in many ways and they have become a popular supplement in recent years.  They are live bacteria and yeasts that can bolster your digestive system.  Probiotics may offer benefits and relief from minor to serious conditions such as diarrhea, constipation, vaginal and urinary tract infections, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Crohn's disease, and bladder cancer. Different stains of these live micro-organisms offer different health benefits from oral health to intestinal and weight gain prevention.

Antibiotics kill the "good" bacteria in your body.  It can be a helpful to consume probiotics when you are done with your medication to replenish the "good" bacteria to keep your body functioning properly.

Probiotics are in demand, and as a result, the price of these supplements have increased.  Although many different types of supplements are available, it’s significant to note that there are foods which contain natural forms of probiotics.  This is a cost-effective way to get a similar result without having to swallow a daily pill.  There are a variety of foods that contain probiotics to choose from such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, cottage cheese, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, kombucha, and pickles.

It is important to keep in mind that our bodies work differently; one type of probiotic which helps one person may not be as beneficial for another. Be sure to get informed and educated on which probiotic will be more beneficial for your needs. There are numerous brands available – a doctor can provide insightful knowledge to help you select a probiotic that will yield the most benefits for your health.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

Back to School Vaccines by Your Marque Team

As we approach the beginning of a new school year, we must consider California’s law requiring all students to show proof of certain vaccinations before enrolling in classes. This law applies to students of all ages from preschool to college.  Immunization requirements are intended to reduce the risk of spreading vaccine-preventable diseases.

By the definition, a vaccine is a suspension of organisms or a fraction of organisms used to induce immunity. There are two types of vaccines:

  • Attenuated vaccines which contain live organisms that are less virulent.

  • Inactivated vaccines which contain either inactive microbe, toxin, or a few proteins from the pathogen.


Most of vaccines have to be given multiple times in order to be fully effective, and some of them have to be repeated periodically. Based on statistics, since vaccines have become available, the spread of different diseases has dropped significantly. By vaccinating your children, you not only protect them from life-threatening illnesses but you also protect your whole family and friends.

The majority of vaccines are administered to newborn babies within the first two years of their life, in order to build up their immunity. By the time your child starts preschool he or she should receive:

  • 4 doses of Tdap. This vaccine protects from three different bacteria: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Each of them can lead to very serious diseases or even death. Tetanus enters the body through cuts or broken skin and causes severe muscle pain and "locking" of the jaw. The other two bacteria are airborne, spread by coughing or sneezing. Since the vaccine has been available, according to CDC, the spread of bacteria dropped as much as 90%. However, just last year more than 48,000 Americans suffered from whooping cough, caused by pertussis because they did not receive the vaccine.

  • 3 doses of Hepatitis B vaccine, given within a 6 month period. This vaccine protects from liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus. The number of individuals suffering from Hepatitis B disease drastically decreased since 1990, when the vaccine began being routinely administered to children.

  • 2 doses of MMR. Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) are airborne viruses that can cause rash, headache, muscle pain and may lead to seizures, brain damage or even death. All three diseases were very common among children before the vaccine became available.

  • 3 doses of Polio. This disease was very common before 1955, when Polio vaccine was introduced to the public. It is spread by direct contact with an infected person, and causes paralysis leading to permanent disability or death.

  • 1 dose of Varicella. This vaccine protects from chickenpox and it was approved for administration in 1995.

  • 3 doses of Hib (Haemophilus Influenzae type B) vaccine, which prevents meningitis, pneumonia, and throat infections.


Before you enroll your child in kindergarten, in addition to the vaccines listed above, he or she will need another dose of DTaP and Polio.

Middle school students must receive:

  • Tdap vaccine. This vaccine was approved for administration in 2005, in place of TD (Tetanus and Diphtheria). Children have to be vaccinated before they enter seventh grade because by this time the immunity that was induced by DTaP in earlier years has worn off.  In fact, Tdap and TD vaccines should be repeated every 10 years to be fully effective. Tdap should be also given to the individuals who work with children or have contact with newborn babies.

  • HPV vaccination, also known as Gardasil, is another recommended vaccine for middle school children, however, not required. According to the CDC, more than half of men and women in the United States, who are sexually active, have been infected with HPV - human papillomavirus. For the most part, the virus does not cause many severe symptoms and can self-resolve. However, it may lead to cervical cancer in women and throat cancer in both men and women. Therefore, in order to prevent those types of cancers, individuals should be given the HPV vaccine. The effectiveness of HPV immunization is much higher when administered at a younger age, before any sexual activity takes place. It is offered in three doses administered within a 6 month period.

  • Meningococcal vaccine is also recommended for middle school students. It protects against meningitis which is an infection of the brain and spinal cord.


College students are required to show they have immunity to hepatitis B, MMR, and varicella (chickenpox). If immunization records from previous years are not available, a simple blood test can be ordered by the physician to check the levels for each of these vaccines. Also, students have to be up to date with the Tdap vaccine (it is good for 10 years), and they should receive a meningococcal booster.

In addition to the above mentioned immunizations, every child and adult should be given the flu vaccine annually. This vaccine protects against influenza virus which is very contagious. It is spread by cough and sneezing. Most common symptoms are: high fever, tachycardia (elevated heart rate), cough, and muscle aches, which usually go away on its own within few days. However, sometimes flu can turn into very severe illnesses, especially among patients with compromised immunity, or other health problems.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.
 

Cellulitis by Kristen Wheeler

What is cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a type of bacterial skin infection that affects the deep layers of our skin.   MRSA, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus are two common bacteria that can cause cellulitis.  Bacteria enters a tear in our skin resulting in infection.  Cellulitis can appear on any part of the body, but is usually found on arms, lower legs, and the face.

Symptoms

An example of symptoms can be redness of the area, warm to the touch, pain, skin dimpling, tenderness, swelling, fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes.  The affected area can spread to other areas.   Complications of cellulitis can include infection in the bloodstream or to other tissue.

Who’s at risk to get cellulitis?

Individuals with compromised immune systems with conditions like diabetes or HIV.  Any cut, fracture, burn or a scrape.  Bug bites, animal bites, open wounds, blisters, surgical incisions, athletes’ foot, dermatitis, eczema, lymphedema and more.  Even being overweight or obese increases your risk of cellulitis.

Prognosis

To get the appropriate prognosis, you must be evaluated by a physician.  Sometimes a skin, blood, puss, or tissue culture is done.

Treatment

Oral and intravenous antibiotics are used to treat cellulitis, but do not always kill the bacteria.  To name a few oral antibiotics like clindamycin, doxycycline, and cephalexin can be used to treat cellulitis.  Sometimes IV antibiotics are required.  If there is an abscess, sometimes the provider must cut it open and drain it.

Prevention

Wash your wound gently and daily with soap and water.  Apply protective ointment and cover the area with a bandage daily.  Keep it clean and dry.  Watch for signs of infection.  Trim your fingernails and toenails carefully, so the surrounding skin is not injured.  Moisturize your skin to prevent cracking and peeling.

Complication of cellulitis can be dangerous.  It can cause tissue damage or tissue death.  Cellulitis can also spread to the blood, bones, lymph system, heart, or nervous system.  Left untreated, these infections can turn into amputation, shock, or even death.

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/qa/what-is-cellulitis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellulitis

https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/skin-disorders/bacterial-skin-infections/cellulitis

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cellulitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20370762

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dehydration by Your Marque Team

Dehydration is a condition that occurs when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceed the amount that is taken in. We lose water every day in the form of water vapor in the breath we exhale and in our excreted sweat, urine, and stool. Along with the water, small amounts of salts are also lost. When we lose too much water, our bodies may become out of balance or dehydrated. Severe dehydration can lead to death.

Many conditions may cause rapid and continued fluid losses and lead to dehydration:

  • Fever, heat exposure, and too much exercise

  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and increased urination due to infection

  • Diseases such as diabetes

  • The inability to seek appropriate water and food (as in the case of a disabled person)

  • An impaired ability to drink (for instance, someone in a coma or on a respirator)

  • No access to safe drinking water

  • Significant injuries to skin, such as burns or mouth sores, or severe skin diseases or infections (water is lost through the damaged skin)


The signs and symptoms of dehydration range from minor to severe and include:

  • Increased thirst

  • Dry mouth and swollen tongue

  • Weakness

  • Dizziness

  • Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)

  • Confusion

  • Sluggishness fainting

  • Fainting

  • Inability to sweat

  • Decreased urine output


Try to get people who are dehydrated to take in fluids in the following ways:

  • Sipping small amounts of water

  • Drinking carbohydrate/electrolyte-containing drinks. Good choices are sports drinks such as Gatorade

  • Sucking on popsicles made from juices and sports drinks

  • Sucking on ice chips


The foremost treatment for dehydration is prevention. Anticipate the need for increased fluid intake.

  • Plan ahead and take extra water to all outdoor events and work where increased sweating, activity, and heat stress will increase fluid losses. Encourage athletes and outdoor workers to replace fluids at a rate that equals the loss.

  • Avoid exercise and exposure during high heat index days. Listen to weather forecasts for high heat stress days, and plan events that must occur outside during times when temperatures are cooler.

  • Avoid alcohol consumption, especially when it is very warm, because alcohol increases water loss and impairs your ability to sense early signs associated with dehydration.

  • Wear light-colored and loose-fitting clothing if you must be outdoors when it is hot outside. Carry a personal fan or mister to cool yourself.


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

Infectious Mononucleosis by Milissa Payne

Mononucleosis, commonly referred to as “the kissing disease,” is an infectious disease typically caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. It can also be caused by other viruses. The most common signs and symptoms of mononucleosis are fatigue, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Mononucleosis is a contagious infection, spreading through the saliva of the infected persons, hence it’s nickname. The disease sometimes goes untreated, as it can be commonly mistaken for strep throat, the flu or fatigue. Symptoms may not show until four to six weeks after infection.

While it is highly contagious and can infect anyone, teenagers and young adults are more susceptible to Mono. College students are especially at risk due to close living situations dormitories. The infection can come with mild problems with serious complications arising in only severe cases. While the effects normally remain mild, Mono can leave a person feeling extremely tired and ill for several months.

A capillary blood test called the Monospot test is the most common way to detect the infection. In quite a few cases, the diagnosis can be made by the observation of clinical symptoms alone. There is no treatment or vaccine for Mono aside from bedrest, fluids, and traditional homecare. It is recommended that persons infected should not share food or drinks or come into close contact with others until symptoms resolve. Those who have Mono do not necessarily need to be quarantined, and many people are actually immune to the infection. Due to the possibility of an enlarged spleen, those diagnosed with Mono are recommended to limit physical activity to prevent rupturing.

Good nutrition, a clean-living environment, and proper hygiene standards are all effective ways to prevent the spread of Mononucleosis. Given its contagious nature and the fact that it is viral so antibiotics cannot be used to combat it, Mono will never be eradicated; however, through behavioral efforts including hygiene, the spread and effects of Mono can be reduced.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.
woman giving a man CPR on a rural road.

What You Need to Know About First Aid In 2019

 

In an emergency, there is no time to wait to be saved.


This is 2019. With natural disasters, shootings, and other acts of violence, there is much more to learn about first aid than the typical bloody nose or lightly cut finger.

There is also a growing demand for understanding mental health first aid. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

In 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide and there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts.

Understanding first aid properly, to prepare for not only the major disasters but the dangerous incidents that occur in the home, has never been more essential to our lives.

 

How To Help Yourself & Others In An Emergency


Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. While you may be with one or more individuals in an emergency, there are other circumstances when you are alone. It is not only important to know how to practice first aid on others, but be able to apply first aid on yourself.

Below are the top first-aid practices with strategies to help others in an emergency as well as yourself.

 




 

First Aid Best Practices


woman giving a man CPR on a rural road.


1) CPR: Practice makes perfect


According to CPR Certification HQ:

 

  • More than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States per year, out of which 70% happen inside homes.



  • Effective CPR provided by a bystander in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest can increase the chances of survival by 2x or 3x.



  • Less than 20 percent [of] Americans are equipped to perform CPR during a medical emergency situation. (AHA Study)


 

As stated above, understanding CPR is in high demand in many emergencies. While the Red Cross offers cpr certification classes all over the United States, here are the guidelines to help you get started.

 

CPR Guidelines according to Mayo Clinic:



  1. Check surroundings: make sure that the location is safe.

  2. Check to see if the individual is conscious; if he/she is NOT conscious, try to awaken the individual. This can be done by shaking them or speaking to them loudly.

  3. If possible, call 911.

  4. Lay individual down flat if the individual is not already in that position.

  5. Place both hands on the center of the individual’s chest in a fist-like manner with the palm of the bottom hand directly on the center of the chest. With both elbows straight and the upper body above the body, press chest 100x per minute with the width of the compression at 2”. Don’t continue to step 6 without previous CPR training. Continue this step until movement is noticed, or until medical assistance arrives

  6. After 30 chest compressions, tilt the individual’s head to ‘open the airway.’

  7. Pinch nose and give mouth-to-mouth breathing. After two breaths, perform 30 more chest compressions until movement is seen.


 

*Here is more information on how to perform these steps in more detail as well as how to perform CPR on a child.

 

This procedure can ONLY be done by others and not on oneself. It is always wise to travel with others to make sure that the CPR procedure can be done if needed in an emergency.

 

 

2) Stop Heavy Bleeding: It’s all about elevation and pressure


With small cuts, cleaning the wound and applying some Neosporin and a band-aid should do the job. However, what happens when the cut is so deep that there is no quick blood clotting and no band-aid large enough to fix the problem? Elevation and direct pressure is required.

 

After calling 911, Harvard Health Publishing advises:
Elevate the wound above the heart and apply firm pressure with a clean compress (such as a clean, heavy gauze pad, washcloth, T-shirt, or sock) directly on the wound. Call out for someone to get help, or call 911 yourself. Do not remove a pad that is soaked through with blood; you will disturb any blood clots that have started to form to help stop the bleeding. If blood soaks through, place another pad on top of the soaked one and continue applying direct pressure.

Make sure to keep the direct pressure and elevation to stop severe bleeding until further help from medical assistance.

 

This method can be applied on oneself if in an emergency. After calling 911, follow the procedure stated above in a safe location until further assistance arrives.

 

 

3) Treating Broken Bones: Stabilize


Broken bones can be a critical result of an emergency. It is important to know what to do if you or someone you are with is injured in this way.

How do you know if there is a broken bone involved?

Healthline gives the following symptoms:

 

  • intense pain in the injured area that gets worse when you move it



  • numbness in the injured area



  • bluish color, swelling, or visible deformity in the injured area



  • bone protruding through the skin



  • heavy bleeding at the injury site


 

What to do if there is a broken bone:

  1. Contain bleeding, if there is any: Follow the instructions above to stop heavy bleeding before proceeding.

  2. Stabilize location of broken bone: This can be done with a simple sling for the arm created by a bandana, t-shirt, or cloth. If the broken bone is in the leg, use two firm structures such wooden sticks or boards, and tie them around the leg with a cloth or part of a t-shirt.

  3. Place something cold on the area to reduce the swelling. Don’t place directly on the area. Make sure it is underneath a cloth of some sort.

  4. If the individual is going through shock, lay them down and elevate legs.


 

This procedure can be done to oneself and to another person. Remember to always stay calm in the situation.

 

 

4) Treating Degree Burns


We all have dealt with some form of a degree burn in our lives. While some are minor and therefore require minor treatment, other burns can be deadly. It is critical to know what to do to successfully treat the minor burns as well as the major.

First-Degree Burn:


Most of these burns are caused when going out in the sun for too long without sunscreen. Sunburns are first-degree burns. They can be prevented by placing more sunscreen and can be treated by rubbing aloe vera on the burned area.



Second-Degree Burn:


Touching the stove, or touching a curling iron can cause a second-degree burn. These are called second-degree burns because they penetrate not only the first layer, but the second layer of skin as well. Treating these burns require cleaning the area and using antibiotic ointment and patiently letting it heal.



Third-Degree Burn:


These burns can be caused in more serious situations where the skin is burned past the second layer of skin through the nerves. Best Life illustrated the symptoms of third-degree burns on the skin as, “charred, leathery, or a waxy, white color.” It is critical to get medical assistance immediately and elevate the location of the injury.


 

Treating burns can be done on oneself and to others. It is important, however, to always seek medical assistance when there are deadly signs of the burn.

 

 

5) Heart Attacks


Heart attacks are very unexpected emergencies. It is crucial to be calm whether you or a loved one is in this situation.

The symptoms of a heart attack according to the Red Cross:


 

  • persistent, vice-like chest pain, which may spread to their arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach



  • breathlessness



  • feeling unwell



  • sweating


 

What to do if someone is having a heart attack:



  1. Call 911

  2. Take an Aspirin

  3. Apply CPR, if necessary. Use steps illustrated above for the procedure

  4. Apply AED, if available


 

Heart Attacks are impossible to treat by yourself. If you are dealing with a heart attack and no one is around, call 911 as soon as possible.

 




 

First Aid & Mental Health




Mental health first aid has risen in awareness in the past decade due to the increase in mental illness, such as depression and anxiety disorders. Suicide rates have also risen as stated in the beginning.

Here is what Mental Health First Aid has to say about what they do:
Mental Health First Aid at Work is a workplace mental health training program that teaches participants how to notice and support an individual who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use concern or crisis and connect them with the appropriate employee resources. Mental Health First Aid at Work is a skills-based, experiential and evidence-based practice.

Certification courses for mental health are offered here.

In the meantime, Mental Health First Aid offers the ALGEE Action Plan to aid someone who is dealing with substance abuse or a mental health issue.

 

APPROACHThis first step is all about acknowledging the problem and asking questions.


LISTENMental Health First Aid stresses that this step is all about listening without judgment.


GIVERelieve and assist with comfort and information that can help them.


ENCOURAGE: Persuade and encourage them to get professional assistance.


ENCOURAGE: Teach them coping mechanisms that can help them until they receive professional assistance.


 

These steps cannot only help those helping others, but it can also aid an individual when they are dealing with a challenge on their own depending on the severity. It is always better to talk and work through these steps with someone else.

 

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 
kids swimming in the pool

Pool Dangers and Drowning Prevention―When It’s Not Swimming Time by Colleen Kraft M.D.

Swimming pools can have a powerful pull on little children―even when it's not swimming time. Those glistening turquoise-blue ripples may look especially inviting to an active toddler or an overly confident preschooler.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends several ways parents can help keep children safe around home swimming pools and hot tubs―all year long―in your own backyard, your neighbor's, or on vacation.

Fact: Most drownings in kids 4 and under happen in home swimming pools.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) studied drownings among children age 4 and under in Arizona, California, and Florida, where pools are especially common. It found that nearly 70% of the children were not expected to be at or in the pool, yet they were found in the water. In fact, 46% of the children were last seen in the house.

kids swimming in the poolPool fences are for above-ground pools that are portable as well as those that are permanent, inground pools, and hot tubs.

Between 2013 and 2015, most (58%) drownings among children age 4 and under took place in a pool or spa at their own home. Most children drowned when they wander out of the house and fell into a swimming pool that was not fenced off from the house. They slipped out a door, climbed out a window, or even crawled through a doggy door to access the pool.

But, a family swimming pool isn't the only one a child can get into unnoticed. More than a quarter (27%) of drownings among children age 4 and under took place at the home of a friend, relative or neighbor. Only some individual states and municipalities have laws requiring pool safety fences; there is no national pool fence law. Whenever your child will be in someone else's home, always check for ways your child could access pools and other potential hazards.

Pool fencing recommendations:

  • 4 feet, 4 sides. The pool fence should be at least 4 feet high and completely surround the pool, separating it from the house and the rest of the yard.

  • Climb-proof. The fence shouldn't have any footholds, handholds, or objects such as lawn furniture or play equipment the child could use to climb over the fence. Chain-link fences are very easy to climb and are not recommended as pool fences. (If they are used, make sure openings are 1¾ inches or smaller in size).

  • Slat space. To ensure a small child can't squeeze through the fence, make sure vertical slats have no more than 4 inches of space between them. This will also help keep small pets safe, too.

  • Latch height. The fence should have a self-closing and self-latching gate that only opens out, away from the pool area. The latch should be out of a child's reach—at least 54 inches from the ground.

  • Gate locked, toy-free. When the pool is not in use, make sure the gate is locked. Keep toys out of the pool area when it is not in use.


Drowning is silent. Alarms break that silence.

  • Pool alarms. Children can drown within seconds, with barely a splash. Swimming pool alarms can detect waves on the water's surface and sound off to attract attention when someone has fallen into the pool.

  • Consider alarms on the pool fence gate and house doors. Door and gate alarms can be equipped with touchpads to let adults pass through without setting them off. House doors should be locked if a child could get to the pool through them.

  • Window guards. These can be especially helpful for windows on the house that face the pool.


What Else Can Parents Do?

Even with safety measures in place, parents should be prepared in case that their child gets into a swimming pool unseen. Some precautions that may help:

  • Life jackets: Put your child in a properly fitted US Coast Guard approved life jacket when around or near water, such as when visiting a home with a pool.

  • Swim lessons. The AAP recommends swim lessons as a layer of protection against drowning that can begin for many children starting at age 1. Learn more here.

  • CPR training. Parents, caregivers, and pool owners should know CPR and how to get emergency help. Keep equipment approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, such as life preservers and life jackets at poolside.

  • Check the water first. If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first. This is especially important if your child is prone to wandering.

  • Spread the word. Share this article on social media and with family, friends, and neighbors


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

 

Skin Exams and Early Detection of Melanoma by Alison Sims M.D.

A common question asked during any routine office visit at our urgent care is “by the way, doctor, could you also look at this spot on my skin and tell me if it is something to worry about?” I am happy that so many people are checking their skin for unusual spots. Early detection of skin cancer increases survival rates for those patients who are diagnosed with melanoma. I encourage prevention with sunscreen and clothing, and promote early detection by educating my patients on regular skin self-examinations.

Melanoma is the most feared and deadliest of the skin cancers. The incidence of melanoma has been rising worldwide for the past two decades and now it is the sixth most common cancer in North America. Living in Southern California our sun exposure is much higher, and the risk of melanoma is higher in geographical areas with strong sun. Other risk factors include a history of sunburns in childhood and teenage years, a tendency to freckle, a high number of moles, phototypes with lighter skin, hair and eye color, and a personal or family history in first-degree relatives of melanoma.

Most melanomas are detected by patients themselves, and the more you know about what to look for, the better off you are at protecting you and your loved ones. In the last 10 years the two most common checklists used for identifying suspicious lesions that should be further evaluated have been revised. These simple criteria will help you to distinguish between an ordinary harmless mole, and a potentially cancerous skin lesion.

Read these checklists carefully and maybe even post them somewhere in your bathroom as a reminder to check yourself head to toe when you are undressed.

ABCDE Rules

A = Asymmetry (if a lesion is bisected, one half is not identical to the other half)

B = Border irregularities

C  = Color variegation (a combination of brown, red, black, blue/gray, or white)

D  = Diameter greater than or equal to 6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser)

E  = Evolving: a lesion that is changing in size, shape, color, or a brand new lesion

(Source JAMA. 2004;292(22):2771)

Glasgow Seven-Point Checklist

MAJOR FEATURES (indications for referral to dermatologist):  

  • Change in size/new lesion

  • Change in shape

  • Change in color


MINOR FEATURES (reinforces that a referral is needed):

  • Diameter greater than or equal to 7mm

  • Inflammation

  • Crusting or bleeding


(Source Br J Dermatology. 2010;163(2):238)

If you are middle-aged and have a light complexion then it is recommended that you have a baseline skin exam by a physician and annual rechecks. In addition, skin self-examinations at home should be monthly, and ideally with a friend or family member so that the back of the body is examined. Use a bright light source and a magnifying lens if necessary, and be sure to check areas that are not sun exposed as well. Your exam should include the entire head, neck and scalp, all surfaces of the arms, legs, hands, feet, webs of fingers and toes, palms and soles, nail beds, back, buttocks, and even private parts. You should also know that suspicious lesions may not be dark in color as there are some rare melanomas that are called “amelanotic” and can be nonpigmented. Happy hunting and spread the word, melanoma can be detected early!

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

 

What to Know About Scoliosis by Alyssa Sota

Alyssa pulseWhat is scoliosis?

Scoliosis means that the spine curves somewhat from side to side rather than being straight down the back. The spine is made of bones called vertebrae that normally stack one on top of the other in a straight line. The bones in the upper back are called thoracic vertebrae. This is the most common place for scoliosis. The bones in the lower back are called lumbar vertebrae. Scoliosis develops gradually. It is usually noticed just before or during puberty when your child is going through a growth spurt. Girls get scoliosis more often than boys. Usually parents don’t notice the gradual changes caused by scoliosis. The curvature is usually discovered by a doctor or school nurse.

What is the cause?scoliosis

There are many causes of scoliosis. Sometimes vertebrae are incompletely formed or misshapen. Sometimes children who have legs of different lengths will develop a curvature of the spine. Other times, diseases cause scoliosis. However, in children and teens the cause is most often unknown. When a cause for the scoliosis cannot be found, it is called idiopathic scoliosis. In idiopathic scoliosis, some of the vertebrae are rotated. This causes the ribs on one side of the back to stick out more, causing a hump.

What are the symptoms?

At first, the symptoms are painless and not always easy to recognize. Someone with scoliosis may:

  • Have uneven shoulder or waist

  • Have a hump on one side of the back

  • Have one or both shoulder blades sticking out

  • Lean slightly to one side

  • Sometimes patients with scoliosis will have back pain


 

How is it treated?

Your provider will suggest the treatment based on your age, how much you are likely to grow, the degree and pattern of the curve and the type of scoliosis. You may be referred to a back specialist.

Source:

https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/scoliosis/scoliosis-what-you-need-know

https://www.clear-institute.org/learning-about-scoliosis/scoliosis-symptoms/?gclid=CJnVgomti9QCFRm2wAod9lcEDA

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.