Friday, May 2, 2014

Dictionary of My Life

Let's face it, I live in a world of TLA's. That's Three Letter Acronyms ;) . I never have posted a comprehensive list of what these medical terms and TLA's I use so often mean. Many of those coming to my blog are familiar with some of these health issues, but not all, and certainly not all of the various treatments I'm on for everything. So, a big bad list of everything! Okay, it's not quite everything, but I'm going to try!

RSD/CRPS- A neurological disease in which the sympathetic nervous system gets caught in a pain loop and winds up basically burning itself out. This causes extreme pain (CRPS holds the dubious distinction of being the most painful non-terminal illness known to science), blood flow issues and skin discoloration (what I call the Zombie Effect, or purple and white mottling, and Neon Pink, or spots of bright, bright red, are the most common), temperature regulation issues in the affected region(s), skin, nail, and hair growth issues, hypersensitivity to all stimuli (also known as allodynia), a variety of other issues.
Fibro- Short for Fibromyalgia Syndrome, or FMS. A neurological disease in which the nervous systems become hypersensitive to all stimuli. The overactivity in the nerves causes widespread pain. Issues like headaches, IBS, tremors, myoclonic jerks (a type of nerve malfunction that causes major muscle spasms strong enough to move the entire body), and more can occur with fibro.
IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There are three types, C, D, and A, which is short for Constipation, Diarrhea, and Alternating, respectively. 
Tachycardia- Overly rapid pulse. An average adults resting pulse is about 60-70 bpm (beats per minute). 
AI- Stands for AutoImmune, a classification of health issue where the immune system attacks the body instead of just foreign invaders like germs. Diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Lupus, and more fall into this category. 
RA- Rheumatoid Arthritis. A form of autoimmune arthritis that causes joint destruction that can be rapid and severe. 
OA- Osteoarthritis. This is the standard form of arthritis that comes with aging. It is caused by wear and tear on your joints from overuse wearing down the cartilage, or padding, in the joint. It is commonly treated with oral anti inflammatories, most commonly NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug) like Celebrex, Naproxen, and Meloxicam. 
FD- Fibrous Dysplasia. A rare genetic skeletal disease that occurs in about 1 in 30,000 people. A genetic flaw in (a) bone(s) causes the good, hard bone tissue to break down and leave behind a honeycomb like structure. This can cause the affected bone(s) to bulge and/or break, which can result in severe disability depending on location and severity. There are two forms, Monostotic (MFD) which occurs in 1 bone, and Polyostotic (PFD) which occurs in multiple bones. FD most commonly affects the "long bones", which includes the large bones in your arms and legs, ribs, and the skull and facial bones. 

SCS- Spinal Cord Stimulator. This is an electrical device that is implanted into the spinal cord through an (usually) outpatient surgery. A small battery pack is implanted in the back, side, or stomach, in a fat pocket close to the skin, and wires are fed into the spine. An electrical pulse is fed through the wires to help control pain caused by CRPS, Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, other back issues, diabetic neuropathy, and more. Patients use a remote control to control the intensity of the stimulation. 
SNB- Sympathetic Nerve Block. A type of injection done on the nerves where they branch off from the spine in what's called a Ganglion Bundle. These Ganglion Bundles branch off on the spine between the spine and the internal organs. These injections involve using a long, flexible needle to reach the ganglion bundle, then a mixture of medications including a numbing agent and an anti-inflammatory are injected to reduce inflammation. This can help reduce symptoms for patients with CRPS.
SGB- Stellate Ganglion Block. These are basically a SNB but done in the neck region in order to get to the nerves that control the arms and hands. These can be done from both the back and the front and use a much smaller needle than SNBs, as the nerves are closer to the surface. 
PT- Physical Therapy. .. Need I actually define this one? 
WWPT- Warm Water PT. Done in a heated pool, usually heated to 86 degrees F or warmer. My local therapy center heats to 89, which is comfortable even with the CRPS. 
OT- Occupational Therapy. A type of therapy used to help people overcome and work within limitations caused by a disability or severe injury. While PT works on gross motor skills, OT works on more fine motor skills and tasks of daily living. 

Forearm Crutches- Also known as Lofstrand Crutches, these are the most commonly use variety of crutch in the UK and Europe. In the US and Canada, underarm crutches are more commonly used, especially in cases of short term injury, as they are considered to be more stable. Forearm crutches are easier to negotiate and are less likely to cause nerve damage in the upper body, however, which makes them popular with those with permanent disabilities. 

Immune Suppressant- these medications suppress various functions of the immune system in order reduce inflammation and damage to joints and organs in those with autoimmune diseases. Many of these drugs were originally created for use in chemotherapy.
Biologics- A class of immune suppression made using recombinant DNA. There are a variety of different mechanisms these drugs use, which means different patients respond to different ones. Because these meds are more fragile than most, they are given via injection or IV infusion. They are more expensive and there will not generics of these meds anytime soon (great explanation as to why here), but they provide excellent options for patients who do not respond to chemo-type immune suppressants. Remicade, which I receive infusions of every 6 weeks, falls into this class of med. 

Sooo... at this point, I'm sure I've left out something. Actually, more like multiple somethings. But this covers all of the tags I'm currently using and then some. But, if there's ever a term I use that you don't recognize, feel free to ask. I don't assume people know what all these crazy terms mean- quite the opposite, in fact. 

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