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Showing posts from May, 2014

In the Spotlight: Autoimmune Hepatitis

Today's blog entry is written by our awesome summer intern, Jessica Naftaly.

Since we love spreading awareness about rare diseases, we decided to post an additional rare diseases blog this month. May is hepatitis awareness month! Many assume that the ONLY way to be diagnosed with hepatitis is through drugs, drinking too much alcohol, or having unprotected sexual intercourse. Additionally, it is sometimes assumed that all types of hepatitis are contagious. All of these assumptions are untrue. One type of hepatitis called autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) occurs when the body attacks the liver causing inflammation.

Snapshot: AIH is a chronic autoimmune liver condition in which healthy liver cells are mistaken for being foreign and are attacked. The body attacking itself leads to cirrhosis or inflammation of the liver. Overtime without treatment AIH can cause the need for a liver transplant due to liver failure. Although the cause of AIH is not researched well, other autoimmune diseases, en…

Chronic Illness Isn't a Competition

We see all sorts of illnesses in our practice.  I've talked with hundreds of people who struggle with daily symptoms of varying location and severity, sat with them as they cried with frustration, anger, or even joy.  I've heard horror stories that include the medical field, the workplace, marriages, and friendships.  If there's one common theme among these stories it's that, regardless of the diagnostic label the person has, everyone...EVERYONE...struggles.  So, please allow me to step onto my soapbox for a minute.

I operate from a biased sample because the people I see are seeking help from a therapist to cope with their current situation, so they may be more distressed than the average Joe (or just more willing to accept some help and put the social stigma of mental health aside).  But I also read a lot of message boards and blogs, watch patient videos, and conduct research all to better understand the perspectives of the patients I see.  Not to mention that I, too,…

In The Spotlight: Russell-Silver Syndrome

This month for our "Rare Diseases" topic, I'm blogging about Russell-Silver syndrome (RSS). I picked this disorder as I have a relative who has it, and wanted to learn more about it. Russell-Silver syndrome is one of 200 types of dwarfism and one of five types of primordial dwarfism. The disorder is usually called Russell-Silver syndrome in the United States and Silver-Russell syndrome in Europe. It was discovered in 1953 and 1954 by Dr. Henry Silver and Dr. Alexander Russell. 


RSS is a condition present at birth, that involves poor growth, low birth weight, short height, and size differences (asymmetry) in parts of the body. Other signs and symptoms may include poor appetite; low blood sugar as a result of feeding difficulties; lack of interest in eating; a large head relative to the body; a small, triangular face with a wide protruding forehead and small, narrow chin; down-turned corners of the mouth; high arched palate; delayed development; learning disabiliti…

The Art of Misdiagnosis - Revisited

Over the weekend, I had to put my dog to sleep.  He was 3 weeks shy of his 7th birthday, and while he was a boxer - a breed prone to certain health problems - he was healthy up until about 6 months ago.  However, I never thought within a matter of days of taking a bad turn he'd be gone.  What does this have to do with a chronic illness blog, you may be asking?  As you can imagine I've done a lot of thinking about what the hell exactly happened to my buddy and how it got out of hand so fast.  I've spent a lot of time blaming his vet, who missed the correct diagnosis back in December entirely.  But I have to lay some blame on myself for lack of follow-up until things got bad.  I do have my reasons, and they revolve around an inherent lack of trust in veterinarians based on past experiences.

Don't get me wrong, there are wonderful vets in the world who get it right and save pets' lives every day.  This isn't a post to bash the field.  But I also know I'm not a…