Elle, 12, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was eight years old. “I was really, really scared. I didn’t know how it would change my life at all,” she says. After years of persistent finger pricking, blood sugar monitoring and counting carbohydrates, Elle heard about a trial being conducted to test out an artificial pancreas.
“I didn’t have to test my blood sugar. I didn’t have to count carbs or give myself insulin. The bionic pancreas did that for me,” Elle explains.
“The trial for the artificial pancreas was truly inspirational,” Elle’s mother, Stefany, says.
• Learn the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
• Rock legend Bret Michaels on dealing with type 1 diabetes.
S.T.A.N.D. for Diabetes
“There are nearly 26 million people living with diabetes and over 7 million people who remain undiagnosed,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. Start Taking Action Now for Diabetes (S.T.A.N.D.) is a unique, social marketing initiative led by a leading not-for-profit diabetes education organization, Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD). S.T.A.N.D. aims to shift the perception of what it means to have diabetes, sparking greater national urgency about the condition and encouraging people living with diabetes to feel empowered to take control.
Tony award-winning actor and S.T.A.N.D. advocate Ben Vereen was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007 after experiencing dry mouth, fatigue, and frequent urination. He joins The Doctors to share his story and show how your best diabetes advocate is yourself.
Controlling Parkinson's Disease
At age 49, Suzanne noticed her thumb was twitching while she was watching television. She consulted her doctor and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease -- a nervous system disorder that affects the brain’s nerve cells and muscle function. The disease started progressing, causing uncontrollable shaking in Suzanne’s arms and legs, as well as occasional facial tremors.
“I’ve always been a very active person, [but] this disease makes you kind of want to hide in your own house,” she says.
• Learn more about deep-brain stimulation.
A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot that typically starts in the lower extremities as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, where it becomes lodged in the pulmonary artery. The condition can cause immediate heart failure or long-term health problems, such as pulmonary hypertension.
“The reason [a pulmonary embolism] can be so difficult to diagnose is [because] for some people the only symptom may be a fast heart rate, but typically you’ll have some chest pain,” Dr. Travis says. “Sometimes it will be worse if you take a deep breath. You’ll typically feel short of breath and this can all come on very suddenly.”
Lindy, 33, was the picture of health when she was suddenly stricken with chest pains and shortness of breath. A massive pulmonary embolism caused her to collapse and have a seizure. Lindy was rushed to the hospital and went into cardiac arrest eight times before surgeons remarkably saved her life using the EKOS ultrasonic catheter procedure.
“The vibrations [and] ultrasonic energy soften the clot, and this will allow the drug that dissolves the clot to act more efficiently and more quickly,” cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Tod C. Engelhardt explains.
Treating Troublesome Nose Veins
More than 80 million people in the United States suffer from spider veins or varicose veins – but are they harmful to your health? The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) estimates that 50 percent of women over 21 in the United States have spider veins.
Tania has been experiencing red and purple spider veins on her nose for over five years. Watch as plastic surgeon Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian uses a state-of-the-art laser treatment to eliminate the visible veins on Tania’s nose while leaving the surrounding tissue unaffected.
“Sometimes the veins [will] darken for a second or two, and that’s because they’ve been vaporized,” Dr. Karamanoukian explains. “You’ll see some redness in the skin and that will resolve in about 45 minutes. [It’s] a 10-second cure for a very difficult problem.”
• Asclera injection for spider veins
• Veinwave spider vein treatment
• Laser treatment for varicose veins
• Bulging varicose veins
Psoriasis = HIV Defense?
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disorder that develops on the skin. The body’s immune system mistakenly perceives the skin as a dangerous pathogen and mounts a defense against it. The result causes skin cells to rapidly build up on the surface and produce itchy, red, scaly patches.
“Studies have suggested that people with a genetic predisposition to psoriasis may actually have the ability to defend against HIV infection,” Dr. Travis says.
“Nobody is saying right now that if you have psoriasis [then] you’re protected against HIV,” OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson explains. “But for future research, it may actually help in detecting what causes autoimmune disorders like HIV.”
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when her periods permanently cease and the body goes through changes that no longer allow her to get pregnant. In particular, the decline of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause an array of symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain and mood swings.
“For most women, about [age] 51 is when their periods are going to stop, and officially [menopause] occurs when the periods have stopped for about a year,” Dr. Lisa explains.
Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Chief Medical Officer of Pfizer, joins The Doctors to provide tips on how to handle the symptoms and risks associated with menopause.
“It’s really important for women, if they haven’t been tested [for menopause], to test with their doctor to see if they’re, in fact, going through menopause. If they are, this is a great time to pause,” Dr. Lewis-Hall says. “If you don’t have good, healthy habits and if you haven’t been going for regular screenings, now is the time to get started.”
The risks for chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, increase significantly when a woman enters menopause.
“Because of a loss of estrogen – women start to lose bone very quickly. About half of the women over 50 will actually suffer a fracture of their hip, their spine or their wrist,” Dr. Lewis-Hall explains.
Bone mineral density tests are recommended so women can take the necessary steps to keep their bones healthy and strong.
“[Heart disease] remains the number one killer of women,” Dr. Lewis-Hall adds. “It’s important to do even some of the simple things to check your risk factors for heart disease, like have your cholesterol checked or make sure that your blood pressure has been regularly checked.”
“You do want to make sure this is menopause and not other disorders that can cause your period to be irregular, like thyroid [conditions],” Dr. Lisa says. “Once that happens, you can start the dialogue [with your doctor]. All of these things can be detected and discussed, and lead you to a better life in menopause.”
“Women these days are living a third of their life after menopause. We need to make that a good third, with really good health,” Dr. Lewis-Hall adds.
Tests to Confirm You Have Reached Menopause
Blood and urine tests can be used to look for changes in hormone levels.
- Estradiol among other things plays a role in the distribution of body fat in women – we know that new weight struggles are a common consequence of menopause. The E2 test measures the amount of the most important form of estrogen found in the body called Estradiol, which decreases during menopause.
- FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone, is also tested. FSH is a hormone that stimulates production of estradiol and the production of eggs. FSH levels rise with menopause.
- LH, or luteinizing hormone, helps to increase the amount of estrogen and causes ovulation. Greater than normal levels of LH also signal menopause.