Degenerative conditions affect a big percentage of the world population. From degenerative spine diseases to a variety of neurological conditions with a generative cause, millions of men and women all over the planet seek medical assistance.
Hundreds of such conditions have been discovered over the past centuries. The same number is likely to be unknown.
Degenerative conditions have a tendency to develop without symptoms for a long while before being diagnosed. Scientists all over the world are working hard to discover methods to diagnose some of the most complex degenerative conditions before symptoms become obvious enough for the patient to start worrying.
What Is a Degenerative Condition?
A degenerative condition is a disease, during the course of which the function or the structure of the affected parts of the body becomes worse over time.
Cancer, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease are the most common examples of such a condition. In some countries, degenerative conditions are considered one of the top causes of death.
When patients suffer from a degenerative condition, their tissues and/or organs deteriorate with time. Many of these disorders are associated with aging. Even though they may start when the person is still young, as time passes, the diseases progress and start causing problems.
When creating a simple degenerative condition definition, it’s possible to classify the diseases into three groups:
- Nervous system
When it comes to cardiovascular conditions, the most common of them are hypertension, myocardial function, and coronary disease.
The most common neoplastic disorder is cancer. Other types of tumors are also sometimes classified as a neoplastic disorder since they can have a deteriorating effect on tissues.
The most widespread nervous system degenerations are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
It’s hard to pinpoint the most common factors that cause degenerative disorders. Some of these diseases start when there is physical damage done to the body. Others are the result of regular wear and tear a body takes while aging. Others yet are induced by an unhealthy lifestyle and poor health maintenance. The causes for a few of them are yet to be discovered.
What Are The Causes of Degenerative Conditions?
Even though hundreds of degenerative conditions have been identified, the causes for some of them are still unclear. With technologies taking big steps forward every day in such niches as genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology, scientists have a chance of identifying the majority of causes in the nearest future.
What we know today is that several similarities exist between different degenerative conditions. All of the affected cells contain abnormal proteins.
- Cancer – caused by abnormal cells growing rapidly, multiplying, and spreading through the body. The reason why these abnormal cells appear is still mostly a mystery.
- Parkinson’s disease – abnormally functioning neurons lead to the loss of muscle control. However, the reason why neurons become abnormal is yet to be discovered.
- Alzheimer’s disease – impairs higher intellectual functions. However, the reasons and causes of its appearance are still unknown.
- Metabolic syndrome – a collection of different conditions, which cause cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. While the causes are mostly known, this degenerative condition still affects almost a quarter of the US population.
What Are the Symptoms of Degenerative Conditions?
Symptoms of degenerative conditions vary. Some of these diseases may not have any symptoms during the early stages of development, which makes them hard to diagnose. For example, malignant tumors often don’t produce any symptoms until growing too large to be treated.
- Cancer – headaches, fatigue, nausea, hard-to-heal sores, infections, persistent fever.
- Alzheimer’s disease – memory loss, problems with performing standard tasks, confusing time and locations, misplacing things, mood changes.
- Parkinson’s disease – this degenerative neurological condition causes rigid muscles, slow movements, problems with writing and speech, tremors, balance problems.
- Degenerative spinal condition – mostly known as a degenerative disc condition or degenerative condition of the vertebrae involves low-grade pain, which surrounds the affected disc. The slight, bearable pain can turn into a severe flare-up from time to time. Other symptoms are muscle pain, muscle spasm, pain reduction with the change of position, pain when doing activities that involve twisting the spine.
- Degenerative muscle condition – neuromuscular disorders include muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, spinal muscular atrophy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Common symptoms are muscle pain and stiffness, difficulty performing physical activities, behavioral problems, learning difficulties.
- Degenerative eye condition (macular degeneration) – blurred eyesight with a spot in the middle of the vision, decreased vision resolution, changed color perception, dark areas in the center of vision.
- Degenerative condition of the liver (fatty liver disease)– fatigue, pain on the right side of the abdomen, enlarged blood vessels right beneath the skin, yellowing of eyes and skin, red palms. A chronic degenerative condition of the liver can cause abdominal swelling and cirrhosis.
- Osteoporosis – this disease covers degenerative diseases of bones and joints. Highly common occurrences are degenerative hip conditions, degenerative knee conditions, and degenerative shoulder conditions. Other common body parts to suffer from osteoporosis are wrists and back. Symptoms include back pain, frequent fractures, and poor posture.
- Degenerative heart condition (congestive heart failure) – can be caused by the deterioration of the tissue. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, decreased exercise capacity.
- Metabolic Syndrome – high blood sugar, blurred vision, large waist circumference, fatigue, increased thirst and urination.
How Can You Treat A Degenerative Condition?
Not all degenerative conditions have a cure. The majority of symptoms have better chances of being eliminated or alleviated if the condition is discovered early. For example, some types of cancer can be cured. Meanwhile, the cure of neurological degenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is yet to be discovered.
If the condition can’t be cured, the treatment focuses on alleviating the symptoms and trying to improve the quality of the patient’s life as much as possible.
Treating degenerative conditions or managing their symptoms doesn’t always involve taking medications. Most people require a careful approach to lifestyle and diet changes. Patients who exercise regularly and switch to a healthier diet often experience improvements in their condition.
Metabolic Syndrome: What To Watch Out For
Metabolic syndrome is a generative condition that is a combination of several diseases. About 47 million people in the USA suffer from it. Knowing what this syndrome is can help prevent it. The causes of this syndrome are widely known. By changing the lifestyle and watching out for metabolic syndrome symptoms, it’s possible to prevent such unfortunate consequences as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
What Is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome definition includes a description of several conditions that occur together to make up the above mentioned disease. In short, it’s a combination of diseases that increase the chances of suffering heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Metabolic syndrome ICD10 code is E88.81.
To identify and define the metabolic syndrome, the following conditions are monitored:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High blood sugar
- Excessive waist circumference (excess fat)
- Abnormal levels of cholesterol
- Abnormal triglyceride levels
One or two of the above conditions don’t make up metabolic syndrome. But the more of them a patient has, the more chances he or she would develop the syndrome.
Medical specialists have a few disagreements about criteria for metabolic syndrome to diagnose the condition. However, the most widely accepted way to perform metabolic syndrome diagnosis is to see if the patient has at least three of five parameters.
Metabolic Syndrome Criteria
- Excessive waist circumference (abdominal obesity). More than 40 inches for men and more than 35 inches for women
- Levels of triglycerides – more than 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (150 mg/dL)
- HDL (so-called “good”) cholesterol – less than 40 mg/dL for men, less than 50 mg/dL for women.
- Blood presser – more than or equal to 130/85 mmHg.
- Fasting glucose – more than or equal to 100 mg/dL
To diagnose the metabolic syndrome, it’s important to evaluate each of the parameters closely over a certain period of time.
Metabolic Syndrome Causes
The metabolic syndrome has several causes. Some of them can be controlled by patients.
Controllable metabolic syndrome causes are:
- Excessive weight (improper diet)
- Inactive lifestyle
- Insulin resistance
The uncontrollable factor, which accompanies the majority of degenerative conditions, is aging. It’s also impossible to control genetics.
For example, genetics could increase the risk of insulin resistance. A healthy person’s digestive system breaks food down into sugar. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to help sugar enter cells and become fuel. When people suffer from insulin resistance, their cells make it hard for insulin to enter. As a result, blood sugar levels rise as the body tries to produce more insulin to try to lower the blood sugar.
While today the majority of factors that cause the metabolic syndrome seem to be discovered, researchers are working on studying other causes, such as:
- Extra fat in the liver
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Sleep apnea and other problems with breathing during sleep.
Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors
While some of the causes can’t be controlled, it’s important to know the risk factors of metabolic syndrome to try and avoid the condition when possible:
- Age – the risk of developing metabolic syndrome increases as people age. This factor is uncontrollable.
- Ethnicity – the risk depends on the patient’s ethnicity. For example, ethnic Hispanic women have a higher risk of developing a syndrome so do ethnic Indians. Meanwhile, ethnic Chinese have the lowest prevalence.
- Excess weight – excessive weight, especially around the abdomen, increase the chances of developing the condition.
- Diabetes – patients with type 2 diabetes have a higher chance of developing metabolic syndrome.
- Other diseases – such problems as NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), sleep apnea, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Metabolic Syndrome Treatment
As the symptoms of metabolic syndrome are identified and the condition is diagnosed, an individual metabolic syndrome treatment can be developed for each sufferer.
The first recommendation each person with metabolic syndrome sufferer will get is changes in lifestyle. These changes are:
- Healthy diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Managing stress
- Introducing sufficient physical activity
- Quitting smoking
- Managing alcohol intake
The two key goals of treatment for metabolic syndrome is to reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease and to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
The treatment for the first goal includes lowering LDL cholesterol, managing diabetes and hypertension in case they are present. The treatment to achieve the second goal involves managing the blood pressure, improving the lifestyle, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and regular health monitoring.
If lifestyle changes don’t fight the metabolic syndrome symptoms, people can consider natural treatment solutions:.
- To control cholesterol
- To lower blood pressure
- To prevent blood clots
- To reduce the heart’s workload
All medications should be taken according to the doctor’s recommendations. Changing the dosage or skipping doses frequently could lead to unfortunate consequences.
It’s important to continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle even if the symptoms of metabolic syndrome disappear.
Metabolic Syndrome Diet
One of the key parts of the metabolic syndrome treatment is maintaining a healthy diet. The symptoms of metabolic syndrome often disappear when patients start paying due attention to what they eat.
While you can easily find general recommendations about the metabolic syndrome diet, it’s important to do special research to ensure healthy eating habits as well.
It’s easy to find information about which foods to eat if you want to reverse the metabolic syndrome symptoms. It’s much more important to know what you should avoid:
- Sugary food – these foods are filled with refined carbohydrates. They are often disguised under such names as sucrose, glucose, dextrose, maltose, fructose, and more. If a word ends with “ose”, it should raise a red flag. Sweets, white bread, baked goods, soda drinks, and fruit juices should be avoided.
- Artificial sweeteners – they could raise blood sugar levels and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These sweeteners are saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame.
- Trans fats – added to processed food to increase its shelf life. They raise cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of stroke.
- Sodium – removing or at least reducing sodium from your diet can help lower the blood pressure. Consuming too much of it increases blood pressure. A person should avoid eating more than ¼ teaspoon of salt per day. Processed foods and fast foods contain high amounts of sodium.
Metabolic syndrome and other degenerative conditions affect millions of people around the world. Some of them are hard to diagnose before they become tough to treat. It’s important to learn as much information as possible about these conditions. If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it’s vital to contact your physician immediately to prevent complications.