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Archive for the ‘Patients/Specific Diseases’ Category


Years ago I was a dialysis nurse and I could not believe what I learned about these little organs in your body and how they actually work.  First let’s note that these are bean-shaped and about the size of a fist.  The kidneys are located near the middle of the back, on each side of the spine.  Kidneys, if healthy, are working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; they are like a built-in water treatment plant!  Their main job is to filter the blood – to maintain a balance of water and chemicals.  Every day Read more…

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Good morning all!  By way of introduction, my name is Stephanie Shore Jewett, a proud nursing graduate of Mercy Medical Center (class of 1977), a registered nurse with Mercy for over 20 years, a mother of two great sons, ages 17 and 25 AND a new grandmother to Anson Jewett, age 5 months. Further, I am the great grand-daughter of F.E.V. Shore, the 4th Chief of Staff of Mercy, who was also instrumental in bringing Mercy to Des Moines, Iowa.  Both my grandfather, Gerald A. Jewett, Sr. and my father, Gerald A. Jewett, Jr. have been very active in serving on several of the Read more…

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        Diplopia is a very strange sensation! Commonly referred to as double vision, diplopia can actually have many causes.  It can be due to a diverse range of infectious, neurological, autoimmune, ophthalmologic and neoplastic causes.  Most of these include damage to the third, fourth or sixth cranial nerves (those which control eye movements), cancer, trauma, MS, botulism, Guillain-Barre syndrome, drunkenness, sinusitis, brain tumor abscess, orbital myositis, Read more…

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       There are numerous cardiac arrhythmias, but the most common is called atrial fibrillation, A-fib for short.  Any arrhythmia simply means you have an abnormal heart rate.  Approximately 0.4% of the population, increasing with age, will develop this cardiac problem.  It appears that A-fib involves an interplay between electrical triggering events and the myocardial substrate that permits propagation and maintenance of the aberrant electrical circuit.  The most popular focal trigger of A-fib is located between the cardiac muscle that extends into the pulmonary veins.

       Today atrial fibrillation accounts for 1/3 of the hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances.  The most common symptoms include Read more…

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I was getting my son’s physical for school the other day and the doctor talked to us about HPV.  What is it?  HPV, or humanpapilloma virus, is a very common sexually transmitted virus.  In fact, it is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States today.  More than half of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives.  The good news is that there is now Read more…

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Stomach cancer (also called gastric cancer) is the growth of cancer cells in the lining and wall of the stomach.  These two terms most often refer to stomach cancer that begins in the mucus-producing cells on the inside

Early Gastric Cancer

lining of the stomach (adenocarcinoma).  Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of stomach cancer.  For information purposes, it might be helpful to know that the body is made up of many types of cells.  Normally, cells grow, divide and then die.  Sometimes, cells change and begin to grow and divide more quickly than normal cells.  Rather than dying, these abnormal cells clump together to form tumors.  If these tumors are malignant (cancerous), they can invade and kill your body’s healthy tissues.  From these tumors, cancer cells can spread (metastasize) and form new tumors Read more…

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          I remember as a child, a friend of mine had a disorder called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.  It sounded so awful and I thought she was really sick.  However, she had the acute form that disappeared and she was fine.  The blood disorder, referred to most commonly as ITP, is characterized by an abnormal decrease in the number of platelets in the blood.  Platelets are cells in the blood that help stop bleeding.  So, an individual Read more…

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          Diverticulosis is a condition which affects your large intestine, more commonly referred to as the colon.  Nutrition is digested and food is absorbed in the 20 feet of your small intestine – the long, thin portion of the bowel that begins at the stomach and ends in the right, lower abdomen.  Following digestion, the liquid waste enters the 5 feet of the large intestine (colon) which ends in the rectum.  Just above the rectum, there is an s-shaped portion of the colon called the sigmoid colon, and this is where diverticulosis usually occurs.  A colon affected by diverticulosis has weak spots in the walls and these Read more…

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Invasive Thymoma

          The thymus gland is in the upper part of the mediastinum (chest) behind the sternum and extending upwards into the root of the neck.  It is a small organ (reaching its maximum weight of about 1 ounce during puberty) that slowly decreases in size during adulthood and is gradually replaced by fat tissue.  During fetal development and childhood, the thymus produces white blood cells, called lymphocytes, that travel to lymph nodes (bean-sized collections of immune system cells) throughout the body.  There they help the Read more…

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          Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a disorder characterized by massive systemic activation of coagulation with consumption of platelets and coagulation proteins.  Normally, when you are injured, certain proteins in the blood become activated and travel to the injury site to help stop bleeding.  However, in persons with DIC, these proteins become abnormally active.  The disorder presents in a very ill patient Read more…

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