Tuesday, October 11, 2011



This week I am going to be writing about a strange disorder called pica. Pica is a pattern of eating non-food material. Pica is seen in young children rather than in adults, but observed in ethnic groups worldwide; and can occur at any age. Between 10 and 32% of children ages 1-6 have this strange disorder. This disorder can occur during pregnancy. In some cases of pica, due to lack of certain nutrients, may trigger the unusual cravings. Pica has been recognized and described since ancient times. The word “pica” comes from the Latin name for magpie; a bird known for its unusual eating habits. Pica has been observed in other animals, including the chimpanzee. The types of food that some people with this disorder may eat are;

Animal feces, Hairballs, Ice, Paint, Sand, Stone, Pebbles, Lead, Laundry starch, Vinyl gloves, Plastic, Pencil erasers, Fingernails, Paint chips, Chalk, Wood, Light bulbs, Needles, String, Cigarette butts

      There is a higher risk for a person to have pica with; pregnancy, developmental delay, mental retardation, autism, poor nutrition, and certain cultural or religious beliefs. Treatment for pica will often depend on the cause and type. Medical treatment may be appropriate in certain situations. Because most cases of pica do not have an obvious medical cause, treatment with counseling, education, and nutritional management are often more successful. Although consumptions of some items may be harmless, pica is considered to be a serious eating disorder, which can sometimes result in serious health problems, such as lead poisoning. When seen in children, pica behavior tends to lesson with age. However, individuals with a history of pica are more likely to experience it again. There are no known methods of preventing pica; but removing the particular substance from readily accessible areas can be helpful.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011



This week I am going to be talking about anorexia. Anorexia is an eating disorder where people starve themselves, however it is also a psychological disorder. Anorexia is a condition that goes beyond concern about obesity, or out-of-control-dieting. When being thin takes over a person's eating habits, thoughts, and life, it’s a sign of an eating disorder. When a person has anorexia, the desire to lose weight becomes more important than anything else. Thoughts about dieting, food, and their body may take up most of their day; leaving little time for friends, family, and other activities they used to enjoy. People with anorexia often deny having a problem. No matter how skinny a person with anorexia may become it seems to never be good enough. Some signs and symptoms of a person with this disorders appearance and body image may include; dramatic weight loss, feeling fat even though a person is underweight, fixation on body image, harshly critical appearance, and denial that they are too thin.
Some food behavior signs and symptoms are:
  • Dieting despite being thin – Following a severely restricted diet. Eating only certain low-calorie foods. Banning “bad” foods such as carbohydrates and fats.
  • Obsession with calories, fat grams, and nutrition – Reading food labels, measuring and weighing portions, keeping a food diary, reading diet books.
  • Pretending to eat or lying about eating – Hiding, playing with, or throwing away food to avoid eating. Making excuses to get out of meals (“I had a huge lunch” or “My stomach isn’t feeling good.”).
  • Preoccupation with food – Constantly thinking about food. Cooking for others, collecting recipes, reading food magazines, or making meal plans while eating very little.
  • Strange or secretive food rituals – Refusing to eat around others or in public places. Eating in rigid, ritualistic ways (e.g. cutting food “just so”, chewing food and spitting
Eating disorders often strike women between the ages of 14 and 35. Although there have been some cases of males with the disorder as well, this is typically a female issue. The stems of anorexia may occur when an individual is very young. The pressures that society places upon youth to be perfect specimens can really lead to a damaged self esteem, which can cause a case of anorexia to occur. Anorexia is curable in 80 percent of cases that are detected early and treated effectively. A person can cure this disorder by getting professional counseling, learning good eating habits, and  use steps to regain a healthy weight.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Trichotillomania is a hair pulling disorder. It is a mental disorder that involves an irresistible urge to pull out hair. This disorder is a type of impulse control disorder, impulse control disorders are a type of mental illness that involve the repeated failure to resist impulses, or urges to act in ways that can be dangerous or harmful. People with this disorder know that they can hurt themselves or others, but they cannot stop themselves. The most common areas for hair pulling are the scalp, eyelashes, and eyebrows, but may involve hair anywhere on the body. Constant hair pulling can cause abrasions and other damage, including infections to the skin on the scalp or the specific area they are pulling their hair from.
 Some signs and symptoms of this disorder are:
·         Inability to resist urges to pull out one’s hair
·         Mounting tension before pulling
·         Gratification and relaxation when pulling
·         A feeling of relief after pulling
·         Noticeable hair loss
·         Interference with everyday life
·         Chewing or eating pulled out hair
·         Playing with pulled out hair
Trichotillomania is a relatively rare illness, affecting more than 1% of the population. This disorder can affect people of all ages, but it appears to be more common in children and young adults rather than adults. Children or young adults may begin pulling hair after difficulty with family or problems with friends. People with this disorder may get some type of pleasure by pulling out their hair, but in the long run they usually feel frustrated and embarrassed. Most people with trichotillomania pull enough hair that they have bald spots on their heads. Others may be missing eyelashes or eyebrows, pubic, underarm, beard, and chest hair. Because of hair loss it may lead people to avoid swimming, haircuts, and windy weather. People with trichotillomania may wear wigs, style their hair to disguise bald patches, or wear false eyelashes. Eating hair may lead to a large matted hairball in the digestive tract. Over a period of years the hairball can cause weight loss, vomiting, intestinal obstruction, or even death.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


The word “Progeria” comes from the Greek Progeros meaning “prematurely old.” Progeria is an extremely rare, fatal genetic condition. This disease happens only to children usually beginning in their first two years of life, it accelerates the process of aging to about eight times the normal rate.  The average life expectancy of a child with Progeria is about 13 years old, but some can die at a younger age or live up to 20 or even 40 years longer. As of right now there is no cure for Progeria, children with this disease are at high risk of a heart attack or stroke. Even though it is believed that Progeria is a genetic disease it is not considered to be inherited, some people believe it is caused by mutation during conception. According to other recourses, only about 1 in 8 million children have Progeria. Only 54 cases of Progeria have been reported worldwide, but believed that there are up to 150 more cases undocumented.

Some signs and symptoms of the disease Progeria are; 
·         slowed growth,
·         below average height and weight,
·         a narrowed face and beaked nose,
·         thin lips,
·         visible veins,
·          high pitched voice,
·          delayed and abnormal tooth formation,
·          large head size,
·          stiff joints,
·          hip dislocation,
·          arthritis,
·          irregular heart beat.
            Newborns with Progeria usually are born as normal babies, but they start to develop distinctive features very fast. There are two major types of Progeria. The first one is known as rare Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome and it is a very rare occurrence. It sets in early childhood. The second type is called Werner's syndrome. This condition sets in later in life. There is a third variety too, where Progeria occurs with Hallerman-Streiff-Fran├žois syndrome. In this type, dwarfism is a prominent feature. It is believed that Progeria can be the result of Lamin, a gene mutation, when its component cytosine is replaced by thyamine, this is the closest thing that could be one of the causes. Progeria is the rarest genetic disease to ever be discovered.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011



Elephantiasis is described as the gross (visible) enlargement of the legs, and genitals to elephantiod size (very large). Elephantiasis is mostly caused by three different types of round worms called, Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori, which are long threadlike worms that block the body’s lymphatic system -organs that helps maintain proper fluid levels in the body by draining lymph from tissues into the bloodstream. When these fluids are blocked they collect in the tissue, which can lead to great swelling, sometimes so huge it resembles an elephant’s leg in size, texture, and color.       
Elephantiasis is carried through the female mosquito and other blood sucking insects from tropical areas, when a mosquito carrying a round worm bites a person, the worm travels to their lymph nodes and starts breeding, over time the worms become more developed and cause swelling. This disease only causes acute pain, such as headache, fever, chills, vomiting, and exhaustion. A person can get rid of this disease by taking a choice of medication or surgery.
 Elephantiasis is commonly misspelled and pronounced as “Elephantitis.” Another name for Elephantiasis is Lymphatic Filariasis. Elephantiasis is commonly found in African nations. Surgery can be performed to reduce elephantiasis by removing excess fatty and fibrous tissue, draining the swelled area, and removing the dead worms. I personally have never met anyone with the disease Elephantiasis, but now that I know more about the disease I will be able to understand the person and how they got the disease. I find it amazing that a body part can actually get that huge, and I have always wondered why and how a persongot it. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I ever get the chance to visit a tropical island I will pack an entire suit case full of bug spray!