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Health Questions & Answers #58 ~ [Issue 1104-4]  Wellness Weekly
 Nov 25, 2004 09:18 PST 

Q & A #1:
Is it dangerous to take antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta on a
long-term basis?

Antacids only have a short span of effectiveness by neutralizing the
gastric acid. They should not be taken together with other drugs as
they can interfere with their absorption. Taking high doses for a
long time may cause side effects due to the absorption of sodium,
calcium, magnesium, or aluminium salts present in these antacids
preparations. Some preparations cause constipation while others cause
diarrhea. Long-term usage in high doses is not recommendable: they
should be taken for pain relief in case of esophageal, gastric, and
duodenal ulcers for which another treatment has been set up.

Q & A #2:
What is Crohn's disease?

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the general
name for diseases that cause inflammation in the intestines. Crohn's
disease can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar
to other intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and to
another type of IBD called ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis
causes inflammation and ulcers in the top layer of the lining of the
large intestine. Crohn's disease causes inflammation in the small
intestine. Crohn's disease usually occurs in the lower part of the
small intestine, called the ileum, but it can affect any part of the
digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation extends
deep into the lining of the affected organ. The inflammation can
cause pain and can make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in
diarrhea. Crohn's disease affects men and women equally and seems to
run in some families. About 20 percent of people with Crohn's disease
have a blood relative with some form of IBD, most often a brother or
sister and sometimes a parent or child. Crohn's disease may also be
called ileitis or enteritis.

Q & A #3:
What causes Crohn's disease and what are its symptoms?

Theories about what causes Crohn's disease abound, but none has been
proven. The most popular theory is that the body's immune system
reacts to a virus or a bacterium by causing ongoing inflammation in
the intestine. People with Crohn's disease tend to have abnormalities
of the immune system, but doctors do not know whether these
abnormalities are a cause or result of the disease. Crohn's disease
is not caused by emotional distress. The most common symptoms of
Crohn's disease are abdominal pain, often in the lower right area,
and diarrhea. Rectal bleeding, weight loss, and fever may also occur.
Bleeding may be serious and persistent, leading to anemia. Children
with Crohn's disease may suffer delayed development and stunted growth.

Q & A #4:
Can Crohn's be passed from mother to child when the mother is
carrying the child?

Crohn's disease affects men and women equally and seems to run in
some families. About 20% of people with Crohn's disease have a blood
relative with some form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which
can include ulcerative colitis. Most often the relative is a brother
or sister and sometimes a parent or child. Most children born to
women with Crohn's disease are unaffected. The course of pregnancy
and delivery is not normally influenced by the disease. Crohn's
disease is usually diagnosed between the ages of fifteen and
thirty-five but people can develop Crohn's at any age.
	
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