Thinking Citizen Blog — “Benign” — Really? Think “Positive” Test Results…“Negative” Can Be Awesome!
Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care, Health Insurance and Global Health Policy Day
Today’s Topic: “Benign” — Really? Think “Positive” Test Results…“Negative” Can Be Awesome!
I used to think “benign” was a good thing. Not in medical lingo. In medicine, “benign” things can ruin your life. For example, BPH, “Benign prostate hyperplasia” can cause you to wake up 10 times per night. BPPV “Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo,” can make you so dizzy and nauseous you can’t get out of bed. And a “benign” adenoma could choke of blood supply to a vital organ and kill you. Trust me. You really don’t want to get BPH, BPPV, or an adenoma. Why dwell on these negatives? To remind the healthy out there that if you are healthy you are extra fortunate and have an extra reason to be grateful when you get up in the morning. If you are feeling down or sorry for yourself, do a little research on one, two, or three diseases you don’t have. Then write up the results. Perhaps your mood will pass.Today, a few more details on BPH, BPPV, and adenomas. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
BPPV — Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
1. Little fragments of stones in the part of your inner ear dedicated to balance (called the “vestibular” part) get dislodged and end up where they should not be. For example, in one of the semi-circular canals above rather than in the utricle or saccule where the belong. The stones are tiny calcium deposits — averaging 10 microns in size.
2. BPPV is a relatively common disease. A close friend who is a doctor told me she sees about one case per week. Symptoms are usually mild, but can be totally disabling.
3. The standard treatment for mild cases is the “home Epley maneuver” which is performed several times per day and involves positioning your head in three different (rather uncomfortable) positions in succession and holding them for 30 seconds each.
NB: Treatment for more severe cases escalates from there to extended physical therapy with a “vestibular rehabilitation therapist” to severing the vestibular-cochlear nerve. A less aggressive surgery is “posterior semicircular occlusion” (See third link)
BPH — Benign Prostate Hyperplasia — problem, complications, incidence
1. Expansion of the prostate presses on the urethra making it difficult to urinate. Can wake you 10X per night.
2. “Complications can include urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and chronic kidney problems.”
3. About 100 million men are affected worldwide. Half of males over 50. 90% of men over 80.
“BENIGN” TUMORS — eg. adenomas
1. The good news: they are not cancerous. Things could be worse.
2. The bad news: they can cause lots of pain and suffering.
3. “Adenomas are benign tumors in the epithelial cells of glands or a gland-like structure. The epithelial structure is the thin layer of tissue covering organs, glands and other structures.”
NB: A common type of adenooma is a polyp in the colon. Adenomas might also grow in the liver or the adrenal, the pituitary, or the thyroid gland.”
For the last four years of posts organized by theme:
Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.