Sia Opens up About EDS Diagnosis

October 16th, 2019

EDS ButtonFamed singer Sia opened up to fans about living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).

What is EDS?

On October 4, Sia discussed on Twitter that she is living and dealing with EDS.

EDS is a disorder that deals with the connective tissue. The disorder causes a severe defect in the production of collagen. Collagen is responsible for providing your muscles and skin with elasticity and firmness. When collagen degenerates or stops being produced properly, the body starts to resemble a “limp sack.” Collagen deficiency can lead to muscle and joint problems, as well as other skin mutations.

Those with EDS may experience the following symptoms:

  • Bruising easily: Caused by narrow blood vessels. Blood vessels are likely to be extremely delicate and require constant monitoring to ensure that the individual doesn’t rupture a vein or develop an aneurysm. 
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Dental crowding
  • Loose joints: Patients’ fingers and toes are likely to be extremely flexible. It is often paired with loose joints that are prone to breaking or sprains.
  • Osteoarthritis: Early onset osteoarthritis is a common problem.
  • Soft, spongy skin: Patients often have extremely soft, spongy skin. Their muscles are weak and undefined, and their skin may be easily pulled and “putty” like. Wounds may be difficult to heal, which will result in deep and obvious scarring.

It is an inherited syndrome and it cannot be passed on any other way.

Types of EDS

There are multiple forms of EDS, the most common are:

  1. Hypermobility: The most common form, this type of EDS makes your joints bend further than they should. This makes them more likely to be dislocated or sprained. Up to one in 1,000 people may have this form of EDS.
  2. Classical: In this type of EDS, your skin is smooth, extremely stretchy and fragile. People with this form of EDS often have scars over their knees and elbows and bruise easily. They are also likely to have sprains, dislocations, or conditions like flat feet as well as problems with a heart valve or artery. This form of EDS happens in about one in every 20,000 to 40,000 people.
  3. Vascular: About one person in 250,000 people is born with the vascular type of EDS. This type weakens the blood vessels and makes your organs more likely to have a tear.

There are other rare types of EDS:

  1. Kyphoscoliosis: About 60 cases of this type of EDS have been found worldwide. This is when babies are born with weak muscles and bones. They often have unusually long limbs or fingers and a curved spine that gets worse as they grow. They also often have eye problems, like shortsightedness or glaucoma.
  2. Arthrochalasia: Babies are born with their hip joints out of place. Their joints are extremely loose, and they have the same kind of curved spine as those with kyphoscoliosis. About 30 cases of this type have been diagnosed.
  3. Dermatosparaxis: Only about a dozen cases have been reported, making it the rarest type. People with this form have extremely soft, doughy skin that is easily bruised and scarred. They are also more likely to have hernias. 

What IAA has to Say

When a celebrity speaks out on their personal diagnosis and/or disorder, it allows for a better understanding of certain health conditions. Insurance Administrator of America wants you to have this information on certain diseases and conditions through these blog posts. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Like this blog post? Let IAA know by going to our Facebook page and clicking the Like button!

October is SIDS Awareness Month

October 10th, 2019

Pregant woman with heart hands over stomach Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of an infant younger than one year of age.

Causes of SIDS

SIDS is the leading cause of death in children between one month and one year of age. Although the cause is unknown, it appears that SIDS might be associated with defects in the portion of an infant’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.

A number of physical factors can make an infant more vulnerable to SIDS. These factors vary from child to child and include:

  1. Brain defects: Some infants are born with problems that make them more likely to die of SIDS. In many of these babies, the portion of the brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep hasn’t matured enough to work properly.
  2. Low birth weight: Premature birth or being part of a multiple birth increases the likelihood that a baby’s brain hasn’t matured completely, so he or she has less control over such automatic processes as breathing and heart rate.
  3. Respiratory infection: Many infants who die of SIDS had recently had a cold, which might contribute to breathing problems.

Researchers have identified several other factors that might increase a baby’s risk of SIDS:

  • Family history: Babies who had siblings or cousins die of SIDS are at a higher risk.
  • Gender: Boys are slightly more likely to die of SIDS.
  • Secondhand smoke: Babies who live with smokers have a higher risk.

Infants are most vulnerable between the second and fourth months of life.

SIDS Prevention

While there is no one certain cause, parents can help prevent SIDS by:

  1. Back to sleep: Place the baby to sleep on his or her back, rather than on the stomach or side, every time the baby is put to sleep for the first year of life. Stomach sleeping can increase “re-breathing,” when a baby breathes his or her own exhaled air. As the baby re-breathes exhaled air, the oxygen level in the body drops and the level of carbon dioxide rises.
  2. Keep the crib as bare as possible: Use a firm mattress and avoid placing the baby on fluffy padding. Don’t leave pillows, fluffy toys or stuffed animals in the crib. These can interfere with breathing if your baby’s face presses against them.
  3. Don’t overheat your baby: To keep your baby warm, try a sleep sack or other sleep clothing that doesn’t require additional covers. Don’t cover your baby’s head.
  4. Have your baby sleep in your room: Ideally, your baby should sleep in your room with you, but alone in a crib for at least six months. Adult beds aren’t safe for infants. A baby can become trapped and suffocate between the headboard slats, the space between the mattress and the bed frame, or the space between the mattress and the wall.
  5. Breastfeed your baby if possible: Breastfeeding for at least six months lowers the risk of SIDS.
  6. Don’t use baby monitors and other commercial devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS: The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of monitors and other devices because of ineffectiveness and safety issues.
  7. Offer a pacifier: Sucking on a pacifier without a strap or string at naptime and bedtime might reduce the risk of SIDS.

Immunizing your baby can also potentially help reduce the risk of SIDS.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to help spread the word on SIDS Awareness Month by sharing this blog post with friends and family. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Interested in reading more on this topic? Click here!

Death Toll From Rare Mosquito Born Virus Rises

October 3rd, 2019

Hand spraying bug sprayAt least 11 people have died from Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a rare disease spread by mosquitoes.

What is EEE?

Eastern equine encephalitis, commonly known as EEE, is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes. There are typically five to 10 human cases reported in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This year there has been an increase in the number of reported cases, nearly 30 among several states.

About 30 percent of all cases result in death. There have been four deaths in Massachusetts, four deaths in Michigan, two in Connecticut, and one in Rhode Island.

It takes four to 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito to develop symptoms of EEE. Severe cases of EEE (involving inflammation of the brain) begin with the sudden onset of the following symptoms:

  • Chills
  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Vomiting

The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures and coma.Many of those who survive have mild to severe brain damage.

Mosquito Bite Prevention

Protect yourself from EEE by preventing mosquito bites:

  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by empting standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels, and other containers
  • Have secure, intact screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out
  • Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus, on exposed skin and/or clothing
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits

EEE typically occurs from late spring to early fall.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America is here to remind you to take precautions when it comes to mosquitoes. IAA knows that their bite may be small, but they can have large consequences.

Interested in reading more on this topic? Click here and here!

Does DNA Determine “Handedness”?

September 25th, 2019

DNAFor the first time scientists have found four spots on DNA that might determine whether a person is left-handed. Left-handedness is a trait found in 10 percent of the population.

New Study

Scientists already know that genes play a role in determining handedness. Studies of twins suggest that genes account for 25 percent of the variations in handedness, but the genes had not been pinpointed.

Of the four regions the scientists found, three were associated with proteins involved in brain development and structure, according to a genetic analysis of about 400,000 people in the United Kingdom, including more than 38,000 left-handers.  

Specifically, the proteins were connected to microtubules, a component of cell “scaffolding” or the cytoskeleton. The cytoskeleton determines the structure of cells, as well as the way they operate within the body. 

The new study was conducted by scientists from the University of Oxford.

What Scientists Found

By analyzing brain imaging from about 10,000 of the people studied, researchers found that genetic variants related to left-handedness were associated with differences in the brain’s white matter tracts—in particular, the tracts that connect the areas of the brain associated with language.

The study found that in left-handed participants, the language areas of the left and right sides of the brain communicate with each other in a more coordinated way. This raises the possibility for future research that left-handers might have an advantage when it comes to performing verbal tasks.

The study also found links between the genetic regions involved in left-handedness and a very slightly reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, and a very slightly higher risk of schizophrenia. Studying these genetic links could help improve understanding of how these serious conditions develop, according to researchers.    

The findings were published in the journal “Brain.”

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to be aware of what is going on in the world of health. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Like this blog post? Let IAA know by going to our Facebook page and clicking the Like button!

Lung Disease Linked to Vaping

September 18th, 2019

LungsA severe lung disease linked to electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices is puzzling doctors across the country.

Investigation Still Leaves Questions

A seventh person in the United States has died from lung disease related to vaping, California health officials reported on September 16. The first death from lung illness linked to vaping in the U.S. was reported in Illinois in August.

There have been at least 380 possible cases of lung disease associated with e-cigarettes reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) across 34 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tested 120 product samples, and so far has been unable to identify any one brand, ingredient, or substance that can explain the illnesses. The FDA is testing the products for a range of chemicals, including nicotine, THC, additives, pesticides, opioids, poisons, and toxins.

The CDC is trying to match what its scientists are finding in tissue and fluid samples taken from patient’s lungs, with substances the FDA is identifying in the products used by sick patients. 

The investigation has been hindered by the need to rely on patients’ discussing exactly what they vaped.

A study reported on September 6 in “The New England Journal of Medicine” focused on 53 patients who had vaped within 90 days of their symptoms, typically within the previous week. The median age was 19 years of age and nearly a third were younger than 18 years of age. Among the 41 patients who were extensively interviewed, 80 percent reported using THC products, seven percent mentioned CBD products, and 17 percent said they vaped nicotine only.

Patients reported 14 brands of THC products and 13 brands of nicotine products, in a range of flavors, said researchers.  

Signs and Symptoms

Patients generally feel pretty lousy for a few days and tend to be misdiagnosed with either bronchitis or a viral illness. When treatment for these conditions fail, their symptoms worsen to the point where they have trouble breathing, forcing them to go to the emergency room.

Most patients experience:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting

All said they recently vaped either THC, nicotine or a combination.

The CDC recommends that people stay away from vaping devices until investigators can find out exactly what’s behind the illnesses.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants to keep you up-to-date on the world of health. Stay tuned to this blog to learn more. Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Like this blog post? Let IAA know by going to our Facebook page and clicking the Like button