Before the Needle Although many people have heard about Botox, few people know what it actually is. So, what are Botox injections? Many people would be surprised to learn that it actually is a drug derived from a neurotoxin created by a specific bacterium, the Clostridium botulinum. This is the same toxin that causes botulism, a life-threatening form of food poisoning. When ingested in its natural form, Botox can cause paralysis that spreads through the body until it eventually works its way to the breathing muscles, causing respiratory failure. This is why it is important to educate yourself before considering Botox injections. Why Do People Get Botox? Although this is a toxin, it is safe to use in small doses for medical use. Doctors often use the substance cosmetically. It is probably best known as an anti-wrinkle agent used to treat fine lines and signs of aging. Most commonly, it is used to treat wrinkles in the neck or face. Some people also get Botox injections to minimize their forehead lines. [youmaylike] In addition to smoothing skin to give it a more youthful appearance, it serves other medical purposes. Some patients use it to treat severe underarm sweating, migraines, uncontrollable blinking, overactive bladder and strabismus (misaligned eyes). How Does Botox Work? Botox causes paralysis. While this can be fatal in large, targeted doses, it is the property that helps with treatment. It acts locally, upon the injection site where it will weaken or paralyze targeted muscles. This is done as the neurotoxin attaches to nerve ending and blocks impulses from coming through. Instead of contracting as normal, the injected tissues will remain relatively frozen. Reducing the pulling of the skin is what makes the skin look more youthful. This signal-blocking property is also assisted with the other medical applications of Botox. It is important to realize that these are not the same as a filler. How Long Does Botox Last? The effects of Botox do not last forever. After a while, the signals will begin to pass through again. Procedures are expected to have a visual effect that lasts three to six months. Botox will not lose its effect overnight. Rather, you will experience a gradual decline in results as the muscles slowly regain their movement. The effects of your first session will wear off faster than the later sessions. Your first session is expected to last around three months where the later sessions will gradually last up to six months. Is Botox Safe? Under controlled medical environments, Botox injection procedures are considered low-risk. Most procedures are carried out safely and effectively with little side effects. The side effects one does experience are normally what is expected from any sort of injection procedure. This would be some temporary redness, bleeding or bruising at the injection site. In rare cases, one may experience a headache in the first two days after the procedure or temporary drooping. With this being said, there are certain situations where you should avoid getting Botox injections. You should not undergo treatments if you: Are 65 years of age or older, or under 18 years old. Have breathing problems. Have bleeding problems. Are allergic to or have sensitivities to Botox products. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any medications or supplements you are currently taking as there may be some interactions that could be dangerous. If you immediately experience signs of an allergic reaction upon the treatment, seek medical help immediately. To reduce any of the potential complications, it is important that you thoroughly research the performing physician. You need to make sure you are going to someone who knows what they are doing and has an adequate environment to perform hygienically and legally. It is not worth the risk to seek other methods. Does Botox Hurt? Botox procedures use very tiny needles. While injections are associated with some pain, the size of the needles keeps this pain at a minimum. Botox injections are generally preceded by some sort of anesthetic treatment to numb the pain. This is often done with a topical anesthetic cream or a cold pack. Most people report minimal to no pain at all. The Cost of Botox The cost of Botox will vary greatly depending on the specifications of your procedure. Some facilities will charge you by the area covered, but more often they charge you per unit of Botox used. On average, you will pay about $20 per unit. As the average treatment is about 20 to 60 units on average, you will likely pay between $500 and $800. The number of units used in a session will vary greatly depending on the space that you want to be covered. The bigger the area, the more units you will need to pay to achieve results. When it comes to cosmetic procedures, insurance will likely not pay for any of the costs. You can talk with your insurance provider to find out if they offer financial compensation for non-cosmetic procedures.
What is Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency?
Eating is a vital activity for all living things, including humans. Everything we ingest breaks down into important nutrients and energy to keep us active and healthy. Unfortunately, behaviors as instinctual as eating do not come easy to everyone. So, what is exocrine pancreatic insufficiency? Let's find out.
There are some individuals that suffer from conditions that interfere with their ability to properly digest food. While these diseases are rather rare, there are individuals who have exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI).
What is EPI?
EPI is a medical condition that causes digestive problems. EPI disrupts an individual’s natural ability to obtain nutrition from the food they eat. While the disease is not uncommon in dogs and cats, it is rather rare in humans.
What Causes Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency?
EPI is the result of pancreas malfunction. The pancreas is the organ responsible for producing chemicals, called enzymes, which are responsible for helping the body break down food. If your body produces too little of these chemicals, it cannot properly extract nutrients from the food you eat.
There are several different ways in which your pancreas can incur damage that results in EPI. Some more common explanations include the following:
- Chronic pancreatitis: When those enzymes start activating while they are still inside the pancreas, it can cause inflammation. When this happens too often, your pancreas is vulnerable to permanent damage. Some risk factors for chronic pancreatitis include having an immune system disorder or being a heavy drinker.
- Surgery: Some individuals experience EPI following surgical procedures on their pancreas, stomach, or intestines.
- Cystic Fibrosis: This condition forces the body to create large amounts of sticky mucus. Sometimes, this unusually thick substance can trap the enzymes in the pancreas, resulting in the enzymes activating inside of the pancreas.
- Schwachman-diamond syndrome: Those who suffer from Schwachman-diamond syndrome may not have the appropriate cells in their pancreas. Missing these vital cells means your pancreas simply can’t produce the enzymes at all.
- Diseases of the digestive system: Other diseases that may cause EPI are those which directly impact the digestive system. Although not everyone suffering from celiac disease or Crohn’s disease has EPI, these diseases may lead to EPI.
What are the Symptoms of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency?
Initially, individuals suffering from EPI may not notice anything out of the ordinary. It is only when the pancreas damage advances to a certain level that individuals may start exhibiting symptoms. These may be a direct result of pancreas damage or indirect effects of the inability to absorb certain vitamins.
Symptoms may include (but are not limited to):
- Stomach pain
- Foul-smelling stools
- Constant gas
- Feeling full
- Bone pain
- Weight loss
- Bleeding disorders
Treatment for Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
A major component of EPI treatment includes lifestyle changes. Everyone can stand to benefit from a balanced diet and an overall healthy lifestyle. Avoiding substances, like alcohol, is a must. Alcohol adds extra stress on your body and can further damage the pancreas.
Changes in eating behavior are also recommended. Try to replace the “tradition” three large meals with six smaller ones. Those with EPI may struggle with having large meals.
Another main treatment includes pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT). The goal of PERT is to replenish missing enzymes that your own pancreas no longer makes. These products are ingested orally, often in combination with an antacid, to prevent your stomach acid from breaking them down too early. Additional vitamins are also recommended to supplement vitamin deficiencies.
The FDA approved six prescription drugs for PERT treatment: Creon, Pancreaze, Pertzye, Ultresa, Viokace, and Zenpep.
Doctors may prescribe additional medications to treat pain. Often, over-the-counter pain killers are effective.
When to See a Doctor
Try to remember that exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is a very rare disease and troubling symptoms are likely due to another underlying condition. There are several tests that are conducted to diagnose an individual with EPI:
- Blood tests are performed to measure the levels of vitamins and enzymes in your body. These tests can also test for other diseases that put you at risk for EPI.
- Fecal tests are used to calculate levels of fat in bowel movements as well as the concentration of enzymes your pancreas is producing.
- Imaging tests, such as CT scans, MRIs, and endoscopic ultrasounds, may be performed to determine whether or not the pancreas is inflamed.
If diagnosed, your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan which works best for you.
It’s important that you discuss any worry symptoms with your primary care physician. Only they can offer the expert observation and testing needed to receive a concrete diagnosis.