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Asthma is a chronic lung condition affecting about 20 million people in the U.S. People with asthma have very sensitive airways and certain triggers cause the airways to become inflamed and swollen. This inflammation can lead to coughing, wheezing and other breathing difficulty. Asthma symptoms can range from a mild nuisance to life-threatening emergencies. There is no cure for asthma, but medication and other treatments can help keep symptoms under control.
A bleeding disorder is a condition that prevents the blood from clotting properly. There are several types of bleeding disorders, including hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, and other, very rare factor deficiencies. These disorders can range from mild to severe, and most are inherited at birth. Normally, there are several proteins or factors present in the body that work together during the blood-clotting process. In individuals with bleeding disorders, one or more of these factors are damaged or missing. This can lead to slow clotting after accident or injury, and increased blood loss. Bleeding disorders are most commonly treated by replacing the missing or damaged factor in the blood, also known as factor replacement therapy. People with bleeding disorders work with their doctors to determine the best course of therapy.
Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the digestive track. The symptoms often cycle between mild and severe, and may include loose stools, stomach pain and cramping, weight loss, rectal bleeding and ulcers. Over half a million Americans are living with Crohn's disease. Doctors believe that Crohn's disease can be caused by both family genetics and environmental factors like germs and cigarette smoking. There is no cure for Crohn's disease but the right treatment plan can help reduce inflammation and keep symptoms under control.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetically-inherited condition that causes mucus to be thick and sticky throughout the body. This mucus can build up in the lungs and other organs, often causing serious infections and poor health. Over time these infections can cause permanent damage to lungs. CF can cause respiratory-related symptoms like trouble breathing, coughing and mucus in the airways, and digestive issues like stomach pain, slowed growth and weight loss and nutritional deficiencies. There is no cure for CF, but many treatment options are available to prevent the disease from getting worse, keep patients as healthy as possible and prolong life.
Hepatitis C virus infects the liver, which results in inflammation (swelling) of the liver. Some people with Hepatitis C never experience serious complications, but up to 85% of those infected will develop chronic Hepatitis C. After years of infection, the liver often becomes scarred (know as cirrhosis), which can lead to liver failure and cancer in some patients. Over 3 million people in the U.S. are battling Hepatitis C with a high number of Baby Boomers (born 1945 - 1965) who have contracted the virus. There are medications that help fight the infection and prevent complications from Hepatitis C, but they can be challenging to use.
Patients with primary immunodeficiency disorders are unable to fight infection. Recurrent sinus and ear infections, pneumonia and other chronic infections are common. Patients are also more susceptible to life-threatening infections such as meningitis or sepsis. Lifelong therapy with immune globulin is aimed at preventing these infections and associated complications.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system sensory (i.e., touch, taste, smell) and motor (i.e., walking) functions. The condition becomes progressively worse over time if not effectively treated. There are several types of MS, but about 85% of those affected have Relapsing-Remitting MS. This means patients experience unpredictable, sudden attacks, followed by periods without symptoms getting worse. Symptoms of MS vary from mild symptoms, like numbness or fatigue to severe symptoms, like loss of vision or difficulty walking. There are about 400,000 people in the U.S. living with MS, with three times more women than men affected. The condition is typically diagnosed anywhere from age 20 to age 50. Although there is no cure, medications, can help reduce inflammation and lengthen periods between attacks.
Psoriasis is a chronic, recurring autoimmune condition affecting the skin. The condition causes rapid growth of skin cells resulting in thick, dry, discolored patches of skin. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of the condition. Plaques commonly form over knees and elbows, but can affect any area of the body. Severity varies from person to person and can improve or worsen over time. For some it is just an annoyance, and for others it can be painful, embarrassing and debilitating. There are over 7 million people living with psoriasis. While there is no cure, there are several medications meant to slow down the production of skin cells and reduce inflammation.
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) is a disease that affects the heart and lungs. PAH causes increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries that carry blood from your heart to your lungs. This increased pressure causes build up of oxygen in your lungs.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a very contagious infection of the lungs and breathing passages that affects small children. Almost all children contract RSV by the time they turn two, most of the time, symptoms are limited to those of the common cold. In premature babies and those with lung, heart or immune system conditions, RSV can be serious and require hospitalization until symptoms get better. There are medications that can help prevent RSV infection in high-risk children.
An organ transplant is replacing an organ that is not working properly with a healthier organ. The most common organs to be transplanted are the heart, lung, liver, pancreas, kidney and intestines. In some cases, the body sees the transplanted organ as a threat and rejects the new organ. This can happen at any time after the transplant. Transplant patients often take immunosuppressant drugs to reduce the immune system's reaction and help prevent transplant rejection.