March 30, 2010

Medical Edge Roundup


How to muffle snoring not linked to sleep apnea

Dear Mayo Clinic: Recently, my wife said my loud snoring has gotten worse and keeps her up at night. I was tested and thankfully do not have sleep apnea. What else could cause me to snore so loudly? Is there anything I can do to lessen the snoring?


Answer: Snoring has gotten a lot of attention in recent years due to its link to obstructive sleep apnea. Indeed, it's often recommended that loud, frequent snorers be tested to rule out this harmful problem. Unlike sleep apnea, in which you actually stop breathing, ordinary snoring doesn't appear to harm your health.


Orlando Sentinel, Medical Edge Column by Sean Caples, D.O., pulmonary and critical care, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., 3/30/2010



Many Options, but No Single Path to Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Dear Mayo Clinic:
I have had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for many years. My problem is not that I have diarrhea or constipation, but that I have bowel movements often — sometimes four to eight times a day. Usually, I have cramps from the foods I eat, bland or otherwise. At the moment I am on Librax, a medication to reduce stomach spasms, which I take when needed. Is there anything else I can do?

With irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), there are many options to manage symptoms — but, unfortunately, no single best approach that will work for everyone. You'll need to experiment to determine what might work better than your current strategy. For most people, diet and lifestyle changes can reduce troublesome symptoms. Other medication options might provide relief, too.  

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder of the large intestine, affecting as many as one in five adults. The cause isn't known, and symptoms vary. People with IBS might experience gas, diarrhea or constipation (sometimes alternating), or perhaps a feeling that they can't empty their bowels completely or bloating., Medical Edge Column by Yuri Saito, M.D., Gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn



Medical Edge: Safe treatments available for advanced carotid artery disease

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: One of my dearest friends has a grandmother who has 100 percent blockage in one of the arteries in her neck and 75 percent in the other. Her doctors have told her that there is nothing to be done for the 100 percent blocked artery. Is this true? What are her options?

The two arteries in the neck that supply most of the blood to the brain are called the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries can be affected by atherosclerosis that can lead to progressive narrowing (stenosis) and, in some instances, complete blockage (occlusion). In most cases of complete carotid artery occlusion, attempting to reopen the blocked artery isn't beneficial. Treatment options typically are focused on carotid arteries that are only partially blocked.

Atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries — also called carotid artery disease or atherosclerotic occlusive disease of the carotid arteries — develops when fatty deposits (plaque) clog those arteries. The buildup of plaque blocks the blood supply to the brain and increases a person's risk of stroke.


Post-Bulletin, Medical Edge Column by Kevin Barrett, M.D., Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.

Tags: carotid artery disease, D.O., IBS, Kevin Barrett, MD, Medical Edge, Sean Caples, sleep apnea, Yuri Saito

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