All posts by carlooller

Plantar Fasciitis

What causes heel pain? 

— One of the most common causes of heel pain is a problem called “plantar fasciitis.”

Plantar fasciitis is the term doctors use when a part of the foot called the plantar fascia gets irritated or swollen. The plantar fascia is a tough band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes.

Heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis is very common. It often affects people who run, jump, or stand for long periods. Most people who get this type of heel pain get better within a year even if they do not get treated.

What are the symptoms of plantar fasciitis? 

— The most common symptom is pain under the heel and sole (bottom) of the foot. It commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your first steps in the morning. As you get up and move more, the pain normally decreases, but it might return after long periods of standing or after rising from sitting.

Plantar fasciitis pain can also be bad when you get up after being seated for some time.

What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Under normal circumstances, your plantar fascia acts like a shock-absorbing bowstring, supporting the arch in your foot. If tension and stress on that bowstring become too great, small tears can arise in the fascia. Repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed, though in many cases of plantar fasciitis, the cause isn’t clear.

What are the risk factors for the development of plantar fasciitis?

Though plantar fasciitis can arise without an obvious cause, factors that can increase your risk of developing plantar fasciitis include:

  • Age. Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Certain types of exercise. Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue — such as long-distance running, ballistic jumping activities, ballet dancing and aerobic dance — can contribute to an earlier onset of plantar fasciitis.
  • Foot mechanics. Being flat-footed, having a high arch or even having an abnormal pattern of walking can affect the way weight is distributed when you’re standing and put added stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Obesity. Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
  • Occupations that keep you on your feet. Factory workers, teachers and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage their plantar fascia.

Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better?

 — Yes, you can:

If you are overweight, loosing weight will help.

Rest – Give your foot a chance to heal by resting. But don’t completely stop being active. Doing that can lead to more pain and stiffness in the long run.

Ice your foot – Putting ice on your heel for 20 minutes up to 4 times a day might relieve pain. Icing and massaging your foot before exercise might also help.

Do special foot exercises – Certain exercises can help with heel pain. Do these exercises every day.

Take pain medicines – If your pain is severe, you can try taking pain medicines that you can get without a prescription. Examples include ibuprofen and naproxen . But if you have other medical conditions or already take other medicines, ask your doctor or nurse before taking new pain medicines.

Wear sturdy shoes – Sneakers with a lot of cushion and good arch and heel support are best. Shoes with rigid soles can also help. Adding padded or gel heel inserts to your shoes might help, too.

Wear splints at night – Some people feel better if they wear a splint while they sleep that keeps their foot straight. These splints are sold in drugstores and medical supply stores.

Is there a test for plantar fasciitis? 

— No, there is no test. But your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have it by learning about your symptoms and doing an exam. He or she might suggest an X-ray, or other tests to check whether your symptoms might be caused by something else.

Sometimes an X-ray shows a spur of bone projecting forward from the heel bone. In the past, these bone spurs were often blamed for heel pain and removed surgically. But many people who have bone spurs on their heels have no heel pain.

How is plantar fasciitis treated?

— The first step is to try the things you can do on your own. But if you do not get better, or your symptoms are severe, your doctor or nurse might suggest:

Athletic Tape – taping your foot in a special way that helps the support the foot

●Special shoe inserts, made to fit your foot

Shots (that go into your foot) of a medicine called a steroid, which can help with the pain. Multiple injections aren’t recommended because they can weaken your plantar fascia and possibly cause it to rupture. More recently, platelet-rich plasma has been used, under ultrasound guidance, to provide pain relief with less risk of tissue rupture.

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy. In this procedure, sound waves are directed at the area of heel pain to stimulate healing. It’s usually used for chronic plantar fasciitis that hasn’t responded to more-conservative treatments. This procedure might cause bruising, swelling, pain, numbness or tingling. Some studies show promising results, but it hasn’t been shown to be consistently effective.

Tenex procedure. This minimally invasive procedure removes the scar tissue of plantar fasciitis without surgery. This procedure allows you to get back to your regular routine in as little as 10 days.

●Putting a splint over your foot and ankle in a way that stretches your calf and the arch of your foot while you sleep. This holds the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight and facilitates stretching.

●Surgery (this is an option only in some cases that do not get better with other treatments)

Some doctors also suggest a treatment called “shock wave therapy.” This treatment is painful and has not been proven to work.

Is there anything I can do to keep from getting heel pain again? 

— Yes. To reduce the chances that your pain will come back:

●Wear shoes that fit well, have a lot of cushion, and support the heel and ankle

●Avoid wearing slippers, flip-flops, slip-ons, or poorly fitted shoes

●Avoid going barefoot

●Do not wear worn-out shoes

This content was written by

Dr. Carlo Oller

Board Certified Emergency Physician

Deep Vein Thrombosis

everything you need to know about DVT

Venous thrombosis is a condition in which a blood clot (thrombus) forms in a vein. This clot can limit blood flow through the vein, causing swelling and pain on the area distal to the clot. Most commonly, venous thrombosis occurs in the “deep veins” in the legs, thighs, or pelvis. This is called a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.

DVT is the most common type of venous thrombosis. However, a clot can form anywhere in the venous system. If a part or all of the blood clot in the vein breaks off from the site where it is formed, it can travel through the venous system; this is called an embolus. If the embolus lodges in the lung, it is called pulmonary embolism (PE), a serious condition that leads to over 50K deaths a year in the United States.

In this video I will discuss the risk factors, signs and symptoms, diagnostic process, and even the treatment of a DVT.


If a person is found to have a DVT and there is no known medical condition or recent surgery that could have caused the DVT, it is possible that an inherited / congenital condition is to blame. This is especially true in peopl who have a family history of DVT or PE. In these cases, testing for an inherited thrombophilia (a genetic problem that causes the blood to clot more easily than normal) may be recommended.

Medical conditions or medications 

— Some medical conditions and medications increase your risk of developing a blood clot:


●Immobilization (eg, due to hospitalization, recovery from injury, bedrest, or paralysis)

●Previous DVT or PE

●Increased age



●Certain medications (eg, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, tamoxifen, thalidomide, erythropoietin).

The risk of a blood clot is further increased in people who use one of these medications and also have other risk factors.


●Heart failure

●Kidney problems, such as nephrotic syndrome

Surgery and related conditions 

— Surgical procedures, especially those involving the hip, pelvis, or knee, increase a person’s risk of developing a blood clot. During the recovery period, prolonged inactivity can also increase the risk of developing a blood clot.

People diagnosed with a venous thromboembolism are occasionally found to have an inherited thrombophilia. Examples of inherited thrombophilia include factor V Leiden; the prothrombin gene mutation; and deficiencies of antithrombin, protein C, or protein S.

Acquired thrombophilia — Some types of thrombophilia are not inherited, but can still increase a person’s risk of developing a blood clot. Examples include:

●Certain disorders of the blood, such as polycythemia vera (too many red cells) or essential thrombocythemia (too many platelets)

●Antiphospholipid antibodies (antibodies in the blood that can affect the clotting process)

Elevated clotting factors — Having an increased level of one or more factors involved in blood clotting, such as factor VIII, increases the risk of a blood clot.


 Classic symptoms of DVT include swelling, pain, warmth, and redness in the involved leg.

Superficial phlebitis — Superficial phlebitis (SP) causes pain, tenderness, firmness, and/or redness in a vein due to inflammation, infection, and/or a blood clot (thrombus). It is most commonly seen in the inner part of the lower legs. SP differs from a deep vein thrombosis because the veins that are affected are near the surface of the skin. Superficial phlebitis is NOT a DVT, but…BUT… in up to 15% of cases if you have SP you can also have a DVT.


— If your history, symptoms, and physical exam suggest a DVT, you will get tests to confirm the diagnosis. Tests may include (1) a blood test called D-dimer and (2) compression ultrasonography of the legs and/or (3) other imaging tests.


— D-dimer is a substance in the blood that is often increased in people with DVT or PE. If the D-dimer test is negative and you have a low risk of DVT or PE based on your history and physical examination, DVT or PE are unlikely and further diagnostic testing may not be needed.

Compression ultrasonography 

— Compression ultrasonography uses sound waves to generate pictures of the structures inside the leg. For this type of exam, you lie on your back and then stomach as an ultrasound wand is applied to the leg. In most circumstances, compression ultrasonography is the test of choice for patients with suspected DVT.

Other imaging tests 

— Although no longer used widely used for diagnosis, in some cases (for example, if it is not possible to perform ultrasonography for some reason) another imaging test may done. These include MRI (which uses a strong magnet to produce detailed pictures of the inside of the body), and computed tomography (CT) scan.

Finding the cause of a blood clot 

— After confirming that DVT or PE is present, the healthcare provider will want to know what caused it. In many cases, there are obvious risk factors such as recent surgery or immobility. In other cases, the clinician may test for the presence of an inherited form of thrombophilia or for another medical condition associated with an increased risk for venous thrombosis (such as cancer).

People with some acquired or inherited abnormalities may require additional treatment or prevention measures to reduce the risk of another thrombosis. Some experts recommend that the family members of a person with an inherited thrombophilia be screened for the inherited condition if this information would affect their care as well.


— In treating DVT, the main goal is to prevent a PE. Other goals of treatment include preventing the clot from becoming larger, preventing new blood clots from forming, and preventing long-term complications.

The treatment of DVT and pulmonary embolism (PE) are similar. In both cases, the primary approach is anticoagulation. Other available treatments, which may be used in specific situations, include thrombolytic therapy or placing a filter in a major blood vessel (the inferior vena cava).


— Anticoagulants are medications that are commonly called “blood thinners.” They do not actually dissolve the clot, but rather help to prevent new blood clots from forming. There are several different medications that might be given

●Direct oral anticoagulants – These are available in pill form; Xarelto, EliquiS, Pradaxa.

●Low molecular weight (LMW) heparin, which is given as an injection under the skin – Lovenox, and Fragmin.

●Unfractionated heparin, which is given into a vein (intravenously) or as an injection under the skin – This may be the preferred choice in certain circumstances, such as if a person has severe kidney failure.

Initial anticoagulation usually consists of 5 to 10 days of treatment LMW heparin, or unfractionated heparin. After that, long-term anticoagulation is continued for 3 to 12 months.

The choice of anticoagulant depends upon multiple factors, including your preference, your doctor’s recommendation based on your situation and medical history, and cost considerations. Some of these medications are super expensive, so if money is an issue make sure you visit the manufacturer’s website which usually provide 1 month of FREE therapy.

Duration of treatment — Anticoagulation is recommended for a MINIMUM of three months in a patient with DVT.

●If you had a reversible risk factor contributing to your DVT, such as trauma, surgery, or being confined to bed for a prolonged period, you will likely be treated with anticoagulation for only three months or until the risk factor is resolved.

●Expert groups suggest that people who develop a DVT but do not have a known risk factor may need treatment with an anticoagulant for an indefinite period of time. However, if this is your situation, you should discuss the pros and cons with your doctor after three months of treatment. If the decision is made to continue anticoagulation, your doctor will continue to reassess on a regular basis. Some people prefer to continue the anticoagulant, which may carry an increased risk of bleeding, while others prefer to stop the anticoagulant at some point, which may carry an increased risk for repeat thrombosis.

● For people with two or more episodes of venous thrombosis or if a risk factor for clotting persists.

Walking during DVT treatment — It used to be that if we diagnosed you with a DVT we put you in the hospital under bed rest. As we were afraid that moving around would dislodge the clot and turn it into an embolism. However, once an anticoagulant has been started and symptoms (such as pain and swelling) are under control, you are strongly encouraged to get up and walk around periodically. Studies show that there is no increased risk of complications (eg, pulmonary embolus) in people who get up and walk, and walking may in fact help you feel better faster.

Thrombolytic therapy — In some severe life-threatening cases, a healthcare provider will recommend an intravenous medicine to dissolve blood clots (ie, a “clot-busting” medication). This is called thrombolytic therapy. This therapy is reserved for people who have serious complications related to DVT or PE, and who have a low risk of serious bleeding as a side effect of the therapy. The response to thrombolytic therapy is best when there is a short time between the diagnosis of DVT/PE and the start of thrombolytic therapy.

Inferior vena cava filter — An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is an umbrella-type device that blocks clots traveling in the bloodstream from reaching your heart. It is placed in the inferior vena cava (the large vein leading from the lower body to the heart).

An IVC filter may be recommended in people with venous thromboembolism who cannot use anticoagulants because of a very high bleeding risk. However, in the long term, IVC filters can actually increase the risk of developing blood clots.


During hospitalization — Some people who are in the hospital, either for surgery (especially bone or joint surgery and cancer surgery) or because of a serious medical illness, may be given anticoagulants to decrease the risk of blood clots. Anticoagulants may also be given to women at high risk for venous thrombosis during and after pregnancy.

In people who are hospitalized and have a moderate to low risk of blood clots, other preventive measures may be used. For example, some people are fitted with inflatable compression devices after surgery. These devices are worn around the legs during and immediately after surgery and periodically fill with air. These devices apply gentle pressure to improve circulation and help prevent clots. Another alternative is the use of compression stockings may also be recommended.

In all cases, walking as soon as possible after surgery can decrease the risk of a blood clot; it can also decrease the risk of chronic swelling in the legs from your DVT (also known as “post-thrombotic syndrome”).

Extended travel — Prolonged travel (for example, taking a long airplane flight or car ride…and by prolonged we mean 4 hours or more) appears to increase the risk of developing blood clots.


Risk of developing another clot — People being treated for venous thrombosis are at an increased risk for developing another blood clot, although this risk is significantly smaller when an anticoagulant is used. Watch for new leg pain, swelling, and/or redness; if any of these symptoms occur, call your doctor or seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Other symptoms may indicate that a clot in the leg has broken off and traveled to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism. These may include:

●New chest pain with difficulty breathing

●A rapid heart rate and/or a feeling of passing out

A PE can be life-threatening and requires immediate attention. If you have the above symptoms, call for help right away.

Bleeding risk — Anticoagulants such as heparin and warfarin can have serious side effects and should be taken exactly as directed. If you forget or miss a dose, call your healthcare provider or clinic for advice. Do not try to take an extra dose or change the dose yourself unless your doctor specifically tells you to. If you take warfarin, there are many other things you need to be aware of as well as its effect on anti-coagulation can be affected greatly by your diet and interactions with other medications.

You are more likely to bleed easily while taking anticoagulants. Bleeding may develop in many areas, such as the nose or gums, excessive menstrual bleeding in women, bleeding in the urine or feces, bleeding or excessive bruising in the skin, or vomiting material that is bright red or looks like coffee grounds.

Bleeding inside the body can cause you to feel faint, or have pain in the back or abdomen. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have these symptoms. It’s also important to call immediately if you have an injury that could cause internal bleeding, such as a fall or a car accident, even those that seem minor. I myself have seen many patients with significant brain bruises/hematomas with minor head injuries or even falls without direct head trauma.

Some simple modifications can reduce your risk of bleeding. For example, you can:

●Use a soft bristle toothbrush

●Shave with an electric razor rather than a blade

●Use caution when handling sharp objects (shaving razors, knives)

●Avoid activities that could result in injury (eg, contact sports)

●Use appropriate safety equipment (eg, helmets, padding) during physical activity

●Avoid aspirin or other non-steroidal antiinflammatory agents (NSAIDS) unless your healthcare provider tells you to take them. If you need to take something for pain, other non-prescription pain medications, such as acetaminophen, may be a safe alternative.

Wear an alert tag — While you are taking anticoagulants, wear a medical bracelet, necklace, or similar alert tag that includes the name of your anticoagulant at all times. If you end up needing treatment and are unable to explain your condition, the tag will alert responders that you are on an anticoagulant and at risk of excessive bleeding.

The alert tag should list your medical conditions as well as the name and phone number of an emergency contact. One device, Medic Alert, provides a toll-free number that emergency medical workers can call to find out your medical history, list of medications, family emergency contact numbers, and healthcare provider names and numbers.

  • Dr. Carlo Oller (emergency physician with has put together more than 1800 FREE patient education videos which can be found at
  • Please contact Dr. Carlo Oller at if you would like to use his videos in your own website, or educational materials. Or if you would like some more information or education on a title NOT available at this time.


What is psoriasis? 

— Psoriasis is a skin condition that makes your skin thick and red. It also often causes silver or white scales to form on the skin. Doctors do not know what causes psoriasis.

What are the symptoms of psoriasis?

 — The symptoms of psoriasis can include:

●Areas of skin that are dry or red, and that are usually covered with silvery or white scales

●Rashes on the scalp, genitals, or in skin folds (like the folds you have at the elbow)


●Nail changes that make the fingernails or toenails look pitted, crumbly, or different in color

Psoriasis has an emotional effect, too. People with the condition often feel embarrassed by their skin, and some get depressed or anxious. If you have these problems, mention them to your doctor or nurse. You might feel better with counseling or another type of mental health treatment.

Is there a test for psoriasis? 

— Your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have psoriasis by looking at your skin and by asking you questions. In rare cases, doctors take a small sample of skin to check if psoriasis is the problem.

What can I do to reduce my symptoms? 

— Use unscented thick moisturizing creams and ointments to keep the skin from getting too dry.

How is psoriasis treated? 

— There are treatments that can relieve the symptoms of psoriasis. But the condition cannot be cured.

Treatments for psoriasis come in creams and ointments, pills, or shots. There is also a form of light therapy that can help with psoriasis. All treatments for psoriasis work by slowing the growth of skin, controlling the immune response that causes psoriasis, or both. Most people need to try different treatments or combinations of treatments before they figure out what works best. The medicines that are used most often are called steroids. These medicines are applied to the skin.

People with psoriatic arthritis can take medicines to reduce pain and swelling. Exercise and physical therapy can also help. Plus, some of the same medicines that help with the skin problems caused by psoriasis also help with psoriatic arthritis.


What are nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs? 

— Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, also called “NSAIDs,” are medicines that relieve pain and reduce inflammation. They are one of the most commonly used kinds of medicines.

NSAIDs can help people who have conditions that cause ongoing pain, such as arthritis. They can also help people heal more quickly after an injury. But NSAIDs can cause problems of their own, so it’s important to take the lowest dose you need for the shortest time.

You can buy many NSAIDs without a prescription, including aspirin, ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (brand name: Aleve). These same NSAIDs can also be prescribed by a doctor, usually at a higher strength. Plus, there are many other prescription-strength NSAIDs.

Are all NSAIDs the same? 

— Yes and no. All NSAIDs work on the same chemical process in the body, but they do it in different ways. Some NSAIDs need to be taken more often during the day than others to work for certain kinds of pain. And some are more likely than others to cause certain side effects.

Are NSAIDs safe for everyone? 

— No. People with certain medical conditions should avoid NSAIDs or use them with care. Talk with your doctor if you use NSAIDs without a prescription (called “over-the-counter”) on a regular basis to be sure they are safe for you.

●If you have an ulcer in your stomach or intestine or you have ever had bleeding in the gut, ask your doctor if NSAIDs are safe for you. Your doctor might suggest that you take an NSAID along with a medicine that can protect your stomach and intestines. That’s because NSAIDs can damage your stomach or intestines.

●If you have heart disease or ever had a stroke, ask your doctor if it is safe to take an NSAID. NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. This is especially true for people who already have heart disease or risk factors like high blood pressure. But if your doctor prescribes low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks or stroke, you should take it as directed. At low doses, aspirin can actually protect you from these problems.

●If you have kidney disease, heart failure, cirrhosis, or you take medicines called diuretics (also called “water pills”), avoid NSAIDs completely. NSAIDs can make heart failure, kidney disease, and cirrhosis worse. NSAIDs can also cause kidney problems in people taking diuretics or certain other medicines to control blood pressure. This can happen in people with very mild kidney disease or in older people.

●If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor if NSAIDs are safe for you. NSAIDs can raise blood pressure even in people who are taking medicine for high blood pressure. Experts recommend that people with high blood pressure who need NSAIDs take the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time.

●If you have any disorders that increase the risk of bleeding, ask your doctor if NSAIDs are safe for you.

●If you are having surgery, ask your doctor if you should stop taking NSAIDs. Most people need to stop NSAIDs, including aspirin, a week before surgery to lower the risk of bleeding.

●If you are pregnant, avoid NSAIDs during the last 3 months of pregnancy. They are probably safe to use when breastfeeding, but check with your doctor or nurse if you are breastfeeding.

●If you take any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, or you take any herbal medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist if NSAIDs are safe for you. This is especially important if you take:

•Blood thinners, such as warfarin (brand name: Coumadin) or heparin

•Phenytoin (brand names: Dilantin, Phenytek), a medicine used to prevent seizures

•Cyclosporine, a medicine given to people who have had an organ transplant

What side effects can NSAIDs cause? 

— In most cases, NSAIDs cause no side effects. The side effects they do cause can include:

Stomach upset, ulcers, and bleeding – NSAIDs can cause stomach upset. If you take them regularly for a long time, NSAIDs can also cause ulcers or bleeding in the stomach or intestines.

Liver damage – Long-term use of NSAIDs, especially at high doses, can harm the liver.

Kidney damage – Using NSAIDs, even for a short time, can harm the kidneys. They are especially risky in people who already have kidney disease.

Ringing in the ears – Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) is common in people who take high doses of aspirin. It can also happen in people who take other NSAIDs. The ringing usually goes away when they take a lower dose.

What happens if I take more than the recommended dose? 

— Taking more than the recommended dose of an NSAID might not cause serious problems. But it could make side effects much more likely without helping your symptoms very much. On the other hand, taking too much aspirin or acetaminophen (sample brand name: Tylenol) can be harmful or even cause death.

Anybody who takes too much of any medicine at once should call a doctor or the Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222). If the person is not breathing or is not conscious, call for an ambulance (in the US and Canada, dial 9-1-1).

  • Dr. Carlo Oller (emergency physician with has put together more than 1800 FREE patient education videos which can be found at
  • Please contact Dr. Carlo Oller at if you would like to use his videos in your own website, or educational materials. Or if you would like some more information or education on a title NOT available at this time.

Boxer’s Fracture

What is a boxer’s fracture?

 — A “fracture” is another word for a broken bone.

A boxer’s fracture is when a person breaks a specific part of one of the hand bones. The hand bones are also called the “metacarpals”. The hand bone involved in a boxer’s fracture is the bone between the little finger (pinky) and the wrist.

Even though this fracture is called a boxer’s fracture, it does not usually happen in boxers. Instead, it usually happens when people punch a wall or other hard object.

What are the symptoms of a boxer’s fracture? 

— Symptoms of a boxer’s fracture can include:

●Pain in the area of the fracture

●Swelling, usually on the back of the hand

●Bruising, usually on the palm of the hand

●The little finger or side of the hand looking like it’s bent in an abnormal position

Is there a test for a boxer’s fracture? 

— Yes. Your doctor or nurse will ask about your symptoms, do an exam, and order an X-ray of your hand.

How is a boxer’s fracture treated? 

— Treatment depends on how severe the fracture is.

If you have an open cut with your fracture, your doctor will wash the cut out well. He or she will also give you a tetanus shot if it’s been too many years since your last one.

For the first few days after your injury, your doctor will probably recommend one or more of the following:

●Resting your hand

●Keeping your hand up above the level of your heart (as much as possible) – This is helpful only for the first few days after an injury.

●Putting ice on your hand – You can put a cold gel pack, bag of ice, or bag of frozen vegetables on the area every 1 to 2 hours, for 15 minutes each time. Put a thin towel between the ice (or other cold object) and your skin. Use the ice (or other cold object) for at least 6 hours after the injury. Some people find it helpful to ice up to 2 days after the injury.

●Taking pain medicine – If you have a lot of pain or a severe fracture, your doctor will prescribe a strong pain medicine. If your fracture is mild, your doctor might recommend that you take an over-the-counter pain medicine. Over-the-counter pain medicines include acetaminophen (sample brand name: Tylenol), ibuprofen (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (sample brand name: Aleve).

●Wearing a splint – Wearing a splint keeps your hand bones in one position so that the fracture can heal. But before your doctor puts the splint on your hand, he or she will make sure your hand bones are in the correct position. If your bones are not in the correct position, he or she might need to do a procedure to put your bones back in the correct position.

Later on, you might need surgery to fix your hand bones. Whether you need surgery depends on your fracture.

You might also need to work with a physical therapist (exercise expert) after your fracture heals. The physical therapist will show you exercises and stretches to strengthen your hand and finger muscles and keep them from getting stiff.

How long does a boxer’s fracture take to heal? 

— A boxer’s fracture usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to heal, depending on the type of fracture.

Healing time also depends on the person. Healthy children usually heal much more quickly than older adults or adults with other medical problems.

Can I do anything to improve the healing process? 

— Yes. It’s important to follow all of your doctor’s instructions while your fracture is healing.

Plus, doctors usually recommend that people with a fracture:

●Eat a healthy diet that includes getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and protein

●Not damage their splint or get it wet

●Stop smoking – Fractures can take longer to heal if people smoke.

When should I call my doctor or nurse? 

— After treatment, your doctor or nurse will tell you when to call him or her. In general, you should call him or her if:

●You have severe pain, or your pain or swelling gets worse.

●You have numbness or tingling in your fingers, or your fingers look blue or purple.

●You damage your splint.

  • Dr. Carlo Oller (emergency physician with has put together more than 1800 FREE patient education videos which can be found at
  • Please contact Dr. Carlo Oller at if you would like to use his videos in your own website, or educational materials. Or if you would like some more information or education on a title NOT available at this time.

How to prevent another stroke?

Dr. Carlo Oller

— If you had an ischemic stroke – a stroke caused by a blocked artery in the brain – medicines and lifestyle changes can help to lower the chances of having another stroke. If you had a transient ischemic attack or “TIA,” these same things can help prevent a full-blown stroke.

Medicines and lifestyle changes work together to give the most benefit. It’s very important that you take all the medicines your doctor prescribes. It’s just as important to make the lifestyle changes your doctor recommends.

Medicines — If you had a stroke or TIA, your doctor or nurse will prescribe medicines to lower your risk of having another stroke. Some of these medicines work by “lowering your risk factors.” That means that they help lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. Other medicines help by keeping blood clots from forming. (Blood clots cause many strokes.)

Medicines that are especially important in preventing strokes include:

●Medicines to lower blood pressure

●Medicines called statins, which lower cholesterol

●Medicines to prevent blood clots, such aspirin or blood thinners

●Medicines that help to keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible (if you have diabetes)

Whatever medicines your doctor prescribes, make sure you take them every day as directed. If you cannot afford your medicines or if they cause side effects, talk to your doctor or nurse. There are often ways to deal with these problems.

Lifestyle changes 

— Lifestyle changes can do a lot to lower your risk of stroke. That’s partly because the right lifestyle choices can help control risk factors such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Besides, the lifestyle changes that help lower your risk of stroke can also help prevent lots of other health problems.

Here are the most important lifestyle changes:

●Stop smoking, if you smoke

●Get regular exercise (if your doctor says it’s safe) for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week

●Lose weight, if you are overweight

●Eat a “Mediterranean” diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, and low in meats, sweets, and refined grains (such as white bread or white rice)

●Eat less salt (sodium)

●Limit the amount of alcohol you drink

•If you are a woman, do not drink more than 1 drink a day

•If you are a man, do not drink more than 1 to 2 drinks a day

Help with quitting smoking — If you smoke, ask your doctor or nurse about how to quit. There are strategies and medicines that can improve your chances of success. Studies show that people are most successful at quitting if they take medicines to help them quit and work with a counselor. You might also have a better chance at success if you combine nicotine replacement with one of the prescription medicines that help people quit.

You can also get help from a free phone line (1-800-QUIT-NOW) or online at

  • Dr. Carlo Oller (emergency physician with has put together more than 1800 FREE patient education videos which can be found at
  • Please contact Dr. Carlo Oller at if you would like to use his videos in your own website, or educational materials. Or if you would like some more information or education on a title NOT available at this time.


— Stroke is the term doctors use when a part of the brain is damaged because of a problem with blood flow. Strokes can happen when:

●An artery going to the brain gets clogged or closes off, and part of the brain goes without blood for too long

●An artery breaks open and starts bleeding into or around the brain

How do strokes affect people? 

— The effects of a stroke depend on a lot of things, including:

●Which part and how much of the brain is affected

●How quickly the stroke is treated

Some people who have a stroke have no lasting effects. Others lose important brain functions. For example, some people become partly paralyzed or unable to speak. Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the world.

How can you tell if someone is having a stroke? — There is an easy way to remember the signs of a stroke. Just think of the word “FAST”. Each letter in the word stands for one of the things you should watch for:

Face – Does the person’s face look uneven or droop on one side?

Arm – Does the person have weakness or numbness in one or both arms? Does one arm drift down if the person tries to hold both arms out?

Speech – Is the person having trouble speaking? Does his or her speech sound strange?

Time – If you notice any of these stroke signs, call for an ambulance (in the US and Canada, dial 9-1-1). You need to act FAST. The sooner treatment begins, the better the chances of recovery.

How are strokes treated?

 — The right treatment depends on what kind of stroke you are having. You need to get to the hospital very quickly to figure this out.

People whose strokes are caused by clogged arteries can:

●Get treatments that help reopen clogged arteries. These treatments can help you recover from the stroke.

●Get medicines that prevent new blood clots. These medicines also help prevent future strokes.

People whose strokes are caused by bleeding can:

●Have treatments that might reduce the damage caused by bleeding in or around the brain

●Stop taking medicines that increase bleeding, or take a lower dose

●Have surgery to repair the artery or stop the bleeding (this is not always possible to do)

Can strokes be prevented? 

— Many strokes can be prevented, though not all. You can greatly lower your chance of having a stroke by:

●Taking your medicines exactly as directed. Medicines that are especially important in preventing strokes include:

•Blood pressure medicines

•Medicines called statins, which lower cholesterol

•Medicines to prevent blood clots, such aspirin or blood thinners

•Medicines that help to keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible (if you have diabetes)

●Making lifestyle changes:

•Stop smoking, if you smoke

•Get regular exercise (if your doctor says it’s safe) for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week

•Lose weight, if you are overweight

•Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, and low in meats, sweets, and refined grains (such as white bread or white rice)

•Eat less salt (sodium)

•Limit the amount of alcohol you drink

-If you are a woman, do not drink more than 1 drink a day

-If you are a man, do not drink more than 2 drinks a day

Another way to prevent strokes is to have surgery to reopen clogged arteries in the neck. This surgery is appropriate for only a small group of people.

What is a “TIA”? 

— A TIA is like a stroke, but it does not damage the brain. TIAs happen when an artery in the brain gets clogged or closes off and then reopens on its own. This can happen if a blood clot forms and then moves away or dissolves. TIA stands for “transient ischemic attack.”

Even though TIAs do not cause lasting symptoms, they are serious. If you have a TIA, you are at high risk of having a stroke. It’s important that you see a doctor and take steps to prevent that from happening. Do not ignore the symptoms of a stroke even if they go away!

How to prevent strokes? (lick here for more information)

  • Dr. Carlo Oller (emergency physician with has put together more than 1800 FREE patient education videos which can be found at
  • Please contact Dr. Carlo Oller at if you would like to use his videos in your own website, or educational materials. Or if you would like some more information or education on a title NOT available at this time.


Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It most commonly affects the lungs, although it can affect other parts of the body. Medications are available to treat TB and must be taken as prescribed by your provider. Depending on the medication(s) prescribed, the duration can be from four months to nine months or more.

Worldwide, TB remains a leading cause of death. In the United States, TB is on the decline. In 2016, more than 9200 new TB cases were reported in the United States, with cases reported from every state. This is the lowest number of national cases since TB became a reportable disease in the 1950s.

TB can be fatal if not recognized and treated. It also can spread from person to person to infect others. However, TB is treatable and preventable. Identifying and treating those who are infected but who have not yet become ill with active TB can prevent the disease and thus eliminate the spread of TB in the community.


— The tuberculosis (TB) bacteria are spread through the air from a person who is ill with active TB that involves the lungs or airways. In these infectious individuals, bacteria are contained in small airborne droplets created by coughing or sneezing. Anyone who inhales these droplets is called a “contact.” A contact can be someone who spends a lot of time with the person who has infectious TB, such as a family member, friend, or coworker.

The contact person does not usually develop active TB immediately. In some cases, the person’s immune system is able to remove the bacteria and he/she does not develop the disease. In other cases, the person develops an immune response that controls the bacteria by containing it inside the body. This causes the bacteria to become “latent” (dormant, or asleep). The person does not develop active TB or become ill at this time but is said to have latent TB infection (LTBI). Up to one-third of the world’s population is infected with LTBI.

Latent TB — During this latent stage of TB, also called TB infection, the person is well and cannot spread the infection to others. If the person is treated at this stage, active TB can usually be prevented. Treatment is recommended for TB-infected individuals who are at increased risk for the development of active TB.

Active TB — Active TB may develop if latent infection is not fully treated. This is called reactivation TB, and it occurs in 5 to 10 percent of people with latent infection at a later time in their lives.

Reactivation TB may occur if the individual’s immune system becomes weakened and is no longer able to contain the latent bacteria. The bacteria then become active; they overwhelm the immune process and make the person sick with TB. This also is called TB disease.

The greatest risk for developing reactivation TB disease is within the first two years following the initial infection as a contact to a person with infectious TB. Reactivation can also occur more readily in people with HIV, diabetes mellitus, malnutrition, or those who take medications that weaken the immune system, such as medications for rheumatoid arthritis, steroids, or cancer chemotherapy. It can also occur with aging and weakening of the immune system. Reactivation may also occur for other unknown reasons.


— Latent tuberculosis (TB) infection (LTBI) can be diagnosed with a skin test or with a blood test, followed by a clinical evaluation and imaging (usually a chest X-ray) to make sure the tuberculosis is not active and causing disease. These tests recognize the immune system’s prior exposure and sensitization to the TB bacteria and result in a positive test after TB infection has occurred.

Skin testing — The TB skin test is known as the tuberculin skin test (sometimes also called a purified protein derivative test [PPD]) and is one method of detecting TB infection. In a person who is newly infected, the skin test usually becomes positive within 4 to 10 weeks after exposure to the person who is ill with TB.

TB skin tests are performed by injecting a small amount of PPD solution just beneath the surface of the skin, usually on the forearm. This solution contains an inactivated portion of the TB bacteria. Most individuals previously infected with TB develop a skin reaction (red or swollen) at this site.

Some reasons for skin testing — Tuberculin skin tests generally are performed for persons who are at risk of having TB infection:

●If the person is a healthcare or laboratory worker who may be a new employee to a healthcare facility or have contact with patients infected with TB.

●If the person knows he or she was exposed to someone with active TB. If the first test is negative, a second test usually will be performed 8 to 10 weeks later.

●If the person requires a medication that may weaken the immune system, such as steroids or medications for rheumatoid arthritis.

●If the person has HIV infection.

Interpreting the results — The skin test must be examined 48 to 72 hours after the PPD solution is injected under the skin. The skin is examined to determine if there is swelling (a reaction) at the injection site. The area may also be reddened, but redness should not be measured.

A trained healthcare provider (not the patient or a family member) interprets the test as positive or negative based on the size of the reaction and criteria for what size of reaction is considered positive in certain patient groups. Anyone who has a reaction larger than 15 mm is considered to have a positive test, and some people with a reaction that is 5 mm (eg, HIV, close contact to an active TB case) or 10 mm (eg, recent immigrant from a region with a high rate of TB) are considered to have a positive test if they are at higher risk for developing TB.

What does a positive TB skin test mean? 

— The TB skin test indicates that TB bacteria are in the body. It cannot determine if a person has active TB disease or LTBI; this requires further testing, usually a chest X-ray and a clinical examination. People who have active infectious TB usually have symptoms, such as a cough (usually persisting for several weeks), fevers, night sweats, and/or unexplained weight loss.

Skin testing after a positive test in the past 

— Anyone who has demonstrated a positive reaction to the TB skin test in the past usually will have a positive reaction in the future. Even after taking medication to treat TB, the reaction to the skin test will remain positive. Therefore, anyone who has a positive skin test does not need to have skin testing again. Repeat testing can rarely cause a large and painful skin reaction at the injection site and should be avoided.

BCG vaccine — A TB vaccine called Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is given in many countries to prevent infection with TB. It usually is given to infants, although it may be given again at other times. BCG offers protection against TB in young children but typically does not offer continuing protection. BCG is not routinely used to prevent TB in the United States.

This vaccine may or may not cause a positive skin test. In the United States, a positive reaction to a TB skin test is interpreted as positive, regardless of prior BCG vaccination. Previous BCG vaccination should NOT stop a person from obtaining a TB skin test unless the person had a positive TB skin test reaction in the past.

Two-step skin testing — In some people, the TB skin test is falsely negative because the immune system’s response to TB has weakened over time. This may occur in people who were exposed to TB many years before. If a first skin test is negative, a second skin test may be done one to two weeks later. Performing the first test may “boost” the immune system, allowing it to react on the repeat test if the person was previously exposed to TB.

If the person has two negative tests, this is considered a true negative. If the second test is positive, further testing will be done to determine if the person has active TB disease or LTBI.

Two-step testing establishes a baseline in people who will need skin testing at regular intervals in the future (eg, healthcare workers, employees and residents of institutions such as prisons or nursing homes).

Blood tests for TB — Blood tests, known as interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs), are available as another option for testing to identify TB infection. The blood test may be offered instead of, or in addition to, the TB skin test. Blood tests may simplify TB testing because they do not require the person to make a return trip to read the test reaction. In addition, blood test results for TB infection are not affected by prior immunization with BCG vaccine or by prior infection with harmless bacteria from the environment that might affect the TB skin test.

Further testing — If the TB skin test or blood test is positive, a healthcare provider will ask some specific questions, perform a physical examination, and obtain a chest X-ray to determine if person has active TB, either currently or in the past. In some cases, the person will be referred to a TB specialist for this evaluation.

If these tests indicate that the person has active TB rather than LTBI, the treatment regimen is different than that of someone with LTBI.


Treatment approach — Latent tuberculosis (TB) infection (LTBI) is treated with one or more medications to kill the latent bacteria. Treating LTBI greatly reduces the risk of the infection progressing to active TB later in life (ie, it is given to prevent reactivation TB disease). Prior to starting treatment, it’s important to review all current medications with your health care provider in order to avoid any possible medication interactions.

While undergoing treatment, it is important to avoid drinking alcohol and taking acetaminophen (Tylenol). Both of these substances can make the liver work harder, potentially increasing the risk of liver injury from the medications.

There are several different regimens available for treating LTBI:

●Rifampin daily for four months

●Isoniazid plus rifampin daily for three months

●Isoniazid plus rifapentine weekly for three months

●Isoniazid daily for six or nine months

The best regimen depends on potential medication interactions, concerns about side effects, and how likely the person is to take all of the medication. It’s important to finish the entire course of treatment.

If there are concerns that a person may not be able to reliably take their medication on schedule and/or report any side effects, the health care provider might suggest “directly observed therapy”. In other cases, the person can take his or her medication at home without direct observation.

Monitoring during treatment — People who are being treated for LTBI must be monitored by a healthcare provider at least once per month to monitor for any signs of medication toxicity, such as liver injury. Minority women in the postpartum period may be at higher risk for side effects. Signs of liver injury may include unexplained tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, dark-colored urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the white portion of the eye), fatigue, abdominal pain, or, rarely, unexplained bruises. Anyone who experiences one or more of these problems while taking any of these medications should stop their medication immediately and notify their healthcare provider.

In certain special cases, monthly monitoring may also include blood tests to monitor the function of the liver or blood counts.

ACTIVE TUBERCULOSIS — Active tuberculosis (TB) disease occurs when the TB bacteria become “active”; they overwhelm the immune system and cause a person to become ill. This usually occurs in the lung, although TB can affect any part of the body, including the lymph nodes, brain, kidneys, or bones.

If there is evidence on a chest X-ray or other signs that active pulmonary (lungs) TB is present, sputum cultures will be performed to culture (grow) the bacteria in the laboratory. This usually involves coughing up a “deep” specimen of phlegm from the chest. The phlegm is then sent to a laboratory and cultured to determine if TB bacteria are present. Other tests, such as a bronchoscopy or biopsy, may also be needed. A tissue biopsy may be performed to obtain specimens for culture if TB is suspected in other organs (such as lymph nodes or kidney).

While waiting for the results of the culture (some laboratory results are positive within a day or two, but it may take as long as two months for the bacteria to grow in the laboratory), treatment with several (usually four) TB drugs may be recommended. It is important to use more than one medicine and to take the medicines exactly as prescribed to reduce the risk of the bacteria becoming resistant to one (or more) of the medicines.

Infection caused by a strain of TB that has become resistant to standard TB drugs is more difficult to treat and may require four to six medications and a longer duration of treatment.

TUBERCULOSIS AND PUBLIC HEALTH — Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that can easily be spread through the air by anyone with active disease. As a result, laws in the United States require that anyone with active TB be reported to the health department. Health department staff will work with the patient’s healthcare provider and the patient to make sure that a safe and effective treatment regimen is completed.

Directly observed therapy (DOT) is a program used by public health departments to ensure that a patient safely takes his or her medication exactly as prescribed. Since there is daily interaction with a healthcare worker where symptoms and signs of an adverse reaction to the medication can be reviewed, DOT also minimizes the risk of serious side effects. With this program, a health worker watches a person swallow the TB medication every day. DOT may help to improve cure rates.

The health department can also help to identify people who have been in contact with a person with active TB. Contacts are advised to have TB testing and treatment if necessary.

Public health programs for TB are essential for several reasons:

●To reduce the number of new cases of TB (by identifying and treating people with LTBI in order to prevent disease from developing) and therefore

●To limit spread of the disease in the community (by monitoring and assuring safe, complete treatment of people with active TB).

  • Dr. Carlo Oller (emergency physician with has put together more than 1800 FREE patient education videos which can be found at
  • Please contact Dr. Carlo Oller at if you would like to use his videos in your own website, or educational materials. Or if you would like some more information or education on a title NOT available at this time.



— Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder that causes areas of thickened, inflamed, red skin, often covered with silvery scales. Children and adolescents can develop psoriasis, but it occurs primarily in adults. Women and men are equally affected. Psoriasis is not an infection, and it is not contagious.

The severity of psoriasis is determined by how much of the body’s surface is covered and how much it affects a person’s quality of life. Psoriasis is not curable, although many treatments are available to reduce the symptoms and appearance of the disease.


— Researchers have not identified the exact cause of psoriasis. However, the disease develops due to a combination of immune, genetic, and environmental factors.

Immune system 

— The immune system plays an important role in the skin changes that occur in psoriasis. Understanding the normal process of skin development is helpful for understanding why skin changes occur in people with psoriasis.

The skin is made up of several layers. The top layer is the epidermis, a layer of cells that divide and eventually die, covering the surface of the skin with a layer of dead cells called the stratum corneum. The middle layer is the dermis; this is the layer where collagen and blood vessels are found. The inner layer is the subcutaneous layer, a layer of fat underneath the skin. Every day, as cells in the epidermis die and become part of the stratum corneum, dead cells at the top of the stratum corneum also are shed. This balance prevents the dead skin layer from becoming too thick.

In skin affected by psoriasis, immune cells enter the skin through blood vessels and cause the epidermis to grow very rapidly and to stop shedding properly. This causes thickening of the skin as well as the scaly build-up composed of dead skin cells that is seen on areas affected by psoriasis. Dilated blood vessels in the dermis that feed the rapidly growing epidermis cause the red color of the skin.


— Genetic factors play a role in determining whether someone develops psoriasis. About 40 percent of people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis (a type of arthritis closely related to psoriasis) have family members with the disorder. Several genes have been identified that make people more susceptible to psoriasis, but there is no genetic test that can definitely tell whether an individual will develop the disease.

Environment and behavior 

— Certain environmental and behavioral factors seem to be linked to psoriasis. Bacterial and viral infections, alcohol consumption, and certain medications (including beta blockers, lithium, and antimalarial drugs) may affect a person’s risk of developing psoriasis or worsen symptoms. Smoking appears to increase the risk and severity of psoriasis, particularly for psoriasis of the palms and soles.


— Symptoms of psoriasis include:

●Areas of skin that are dry or red, usually covered with silvery-white scales, and sometimes with raised edges

●Rashes on the scalp, genitals, or in the skin folds

●Itching and skin pain

●Joint pain, swelling, or stiffness

●Nail abnormalities, such as pitted, discolored, or crumbly nails


— There are several common types of psoriasis:

Plaque psoriasis — Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis tends to affect young and middle aged adults, but can occur at any age. The individual skin plaques are usually between 0.4 and 4 inches (1 to 10 cm) wide but may be larger. Some of the most common areas for plaques are the scalp, elbows, knees, and back. The severity of plaque psoriasis varies widely. Plaque psoriasis may occur in just a few small areas or may cover a large portion of the body.

Guttate psoriasis — This type of psoriasis is sometimes linked to a recent streptococcal infection, usually pharyngitis (eg, strep throat). It often affects children or young adults with no past history of psoriasis, and causes a sudden eruption of small scaly papules on the trunk of the body (picture 2).

Pustular psoriasis — Pustular psoriasis can be a severe, and occasionally life-threatening, form of psoriasis. It develops quickly, with multiple small pustules that may join into larger areas (picture 3). Symptoms can include fever and abnormal blood levels of white blood cells and calcium. Pustular psoriasis can also cause pus-filled blisters on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. These blisters can crack, causing painful breaks in the skin, and can be disabling.

Inverse psoriasis — This type of psoriasis affects less visible body areas, such as the groin, armpits, buttocks, genitals, and the area under the breasts. Sometimes this is mistakenly diagnosed as a fungal or bacterial infection.

Nail psoriasis — Some people with psoriasis develop nail problems, including tiny pits over the surface of the nails. The pits look as if someone has taken a pin and pricked the nail several times (picture 5). In addition, nails may develop a tan-brown color (also known as “oil spots”) or may separate from the nail bed (also known as “onycholysis”) (picture 6). In more severe cases, people have thick, crumbling nails.

Treatment of nail psoriasis is difficult and may include injections of steroids into the nail bed or oral medications such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, or immunomodulatory drugs.

Psoriatic arthritis — Up to one-third of people with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis, a condition that causes joint pain and swelling. Skin signs usually develop first, although about 15 percent of patients develop arthritis (joint swelling and stiffness) before symptoms of psoriasis. People with psoriatic arthritis often have severe nail problems.

Other associated conditions — There is a higher than normal frequency of depression in people with psoriasis. Psoriasis also has been associated with obesity and an increased risk of heart disease.

PSORIASIS DISEASE COURSE — Psoriasis is usually a lifelong condition and is not currently curable, although the severity of the disease can improve or worsen over time and can be controlled with treatment.

In people with certain forms of the disease, itching or pain and stiffness is severe and disabling. Some people with visible psoriasis lesions have feelings of embarrassment about their appearance. Stress, anxiety, loneliness, and low self-esteem can occur as a result.

People with psoriasis have higher rates of depression compared with those without the condition. People who have depression often benefit from working with a psychologist, clinical social worker, or other therapist to discuss their illness and identify possible ways to cope. A number of organizations, such as the National Psoriasis Foundation (, are available to provide support to people with psoriasis and their families.


— Psoriasis can be diagnosed by examining the skin. Occasionally, a skin biopsy or scraping may be taken to rule out other disorders. There is no blood test that can definitively diagnose psoriasis.


— Psoriasis is not curable but many treatments are available that can reduce the bothersome symptoms and appearance of the disease. Treatment depends upon the severity of the disease, the cost and convenience of the treatment, and a person’s response to the treatment. A combination of therapies is often recommended.

Referral to a dermatologist (a doctor who specializes in skin conditions) may be needed if the diagnosis of psoriasis is uncertain, if the initial treatment does not improve symptoms, or if the disease is widespread or severe. People with psoriatic arthritis may need to see a rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in joint conditions).

Medicines applied to the skin — Many medications are available that can be rubbed onto the skin to treat psoriasis. Because psoriasis cannot be cured, continued use of medication is required to maintain improvement. For the best results, patients must use treatments as directed.

Emollients — Keeping skin soft and moist can minimize itching and tenderness. Over-the-counter moisturizers such as petroleum jelly or thick creams may be recommended; these should be applied immediately after bathing or showering.

Topical corticosteroids — Corticosteroids (sometimes called “steroids” but distinct from body building steroids) are applied to the skin to help to reduce inflammation. This is often done twice per day at the beginning of treatment. As a patient’s psoriasis improves, a doctor may recommend decreasing the frequency of treatment.

These cortisone-type creams and ointments are available in a variety of strengths (potencies); the least potent are available without a prescription (eg, hydrocortisone 1% cream) and are usually only effective in sensitive skin areas like the face and body folds. More potent formulations require a prescription. Other forms, such as solutions, gels, shampoo, lotion, foam, and spray, are available. Some people with psoriasis prefer these forms of medication over creams or ointments.

Side effects can include thinning of the skin and stretch marks (particularly when applied to normal skin). These effects are most likely to occur when topical corticosteroids are used for long periods of time. It is important to use these medications properly to reduce the risk for these side effects. A patient who notices these effects should contact his or her doctor.

Calcipotriene or calcitriol — Calcipotriene (sample brand names: Dovonex, Sorilux) and calcitriol (sample brand name: Vectical) are related to vitamin D and work by slowing the growth of skin cells in the epidermis. These medicines can be used instead of or in addition to topical corticosteroids. They are usually applied twice a day when used alone. The side effects are usually minimal, with skin irritation being the most common problem. These drugs do not cause thinning of the skin.

Other preparations (Taclonex, Enstilar) combine calcipotriene with a corticosteroid (betamethasone) in a once daily treatment. Although effective, combination products can be expensive.

Tar — Tar is a substance distilled from coal that has been used to treat psoriasis for many years. It is not completely clear how tar works, although it appears to inhibit the inflammation that leads to psoriasis. Tar preparations are available in shampoos, creams, oils, and lotions without a prescription, and are usually applied to the skin or scalp once or twice a day. Tar products do not cause serious side effects, although they can stain skin, hair, and clothing. Tar products are often used along with corticosteroids or with ultraviolet light treatments.

Tazarotene — Tazarotene (sample brand name: Tazorac) is a skin treatment derived from vitamin A that is available in a cream or gel. It is usually applied once per day, in the evening. It may also be applied for 20 minutes and then washed off if skin irritation develops. Improvement should be seen within two months of treatment.

Calcineurin inhibitors — Topical calcineurin inhibitors, including tacrolimus (brand name: Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel) creams, can be used to treat psoriasis, especially on the face and skin folds, such as in the armpits or under the breasts.

Anthralin — Anthralin is a treatment for psoriasis that has been used for psoriasis since the early 20th century. It is now used less commonly than many other medications because the treatment can cause temporary red-brown stains on skin and permanent stains on clothing. Because anthralin can be irritating, it is usually applied to the skin for only 10 to 60 minutes per day. Anthralin may be less effective than topical corticosteroid, topical calcipotriene, and topical calcitriol therapy.

Ultraviolet light — Exposure to ultraviolet light is another way to treat psoriasis. During the summer months, people with psoriasis often notice that their symptoms improve. Ultraviolet light treatment (from a dermatologist) may be recommended to treat psoriasis. However, it is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of ultraviolet light therapy before beginning treatment.

Before receiving ultraviolet light therapy, you may be asked to bathe and gently scrub areas affected by psoriasis, and then apply mineral oil to these areas; the oil allows the light to penetrate the skin more easily.

Although ultraviolet light therapy is effective for treating psoriasis, office treatment can be inconvenient and expensive, despite insurance coverage. Some dermatologists may recommend brief sun exposure or home light treatment (or use of a tanning bed if other options are not feasible) as alternatives to office treatment. Sometimes, an oral medication may be prescribed to sensitize the skin to the light treatment; when this is done, care must be taken to prevent severe burns from occurring.

Risks — Long-term ultraviolet light therapy may increase the risk for skin cancer. Ultraviolet light therapy is not recommended for people with a history of melanoma or other skin cancers.

Some clinicians also use lasers to treat psoriasis. The laser allows higher doses of ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation to be directed to the lesions while sparing normal skin; as a result, skin may heal with fewer treatments than with traditional ultraviolet light therapy. Laser treatment is most suitable for people who have small areas of psoriasis.

Oral medications

Methotrexate — Methotrexate treats psoriasis by suppressing the immune response that triggers the disease. This drug is often used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis. It is usually taken once per week, and it may be taken in oral (pill) form or as an injection.

Methotrexate can be used for long-term treatment of psoriasis, although it is important to have your liver monitored during treatment; methotrexate can affect liver function in some people. Patients should avoid drinking alcohol while on methotrexate because alcohol also hurts the liver. Improvement in psoriasis may not be seen until three months of methotrexate treatment are completed.

While taking methotrexate, many providers recommend taking folic acid 1 mg daily or leucovorin (also known as folinic acid) 5 mg weekly to reduce the risk of certain methotrexate side effects, such as upset stomach and a sore mouth.

Severe side effects can occur with methotrexate – including damage to the lungs, liver and bone marrow, and even death – so careful monitoring is essential. Serious interactions may occur with certain medications, particularly sulfa-type antibiotics. Methotrexate is not safe to take during pregnancy.

Retinoids — Retinoids are derived from vitamin A. An oral form called acitretin (brand name: Soriatane) may be recommended to people with severe forms of psoriasis. Improvement may be noticeable within one month, although the full effect of retinoids may take up to three to six months.

Side effects of retinoids include cracking and drying of the lips and skin, nosebleeds, trouble seeing in the dark, hair loss, joint pain, and depression. Acitretin may cause increased levels of triglycerides and liver enzymes in the blood; blood testing is usually recommended to monitor for these changes. Acitretin can cause severe birth defects and is only slowly removed from the body, so women should not get pregnant while taking acitretin or within three years after stopping the medication. Thus, for practical reasons, this medication is typically not prescribed to women who could get pregnant.

Apremilast — Apremilast (brand name: Otezla) is a newer oral medication for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis that works by reducing inflammation. Apremilast is usually taken twice daily. People with severe kidney problems typically take apremilast only once daily.

Improvement in psoriasis may begin within the first few weeks of apremilast treatment. The most common side effects of apremilast are diarrhea, nausea, upper respiratory tract infection, and headache. In addition, people taking apremilast should contact their health care providers if they notice the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts, or other mood changes while taking this medication.

Other drugs — Several medications that suppress the immune system can be used to treat severe psoriasis for a short period of time. These include cyclosporine, hydroxyurea, and azathioprine.

Injectable medications — Several injectable medications, known as “biologics,” target the overactive immune system and may be beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis. Medications include etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (sample brand name: Remicade), adalimumab (brand name: Humira), ustekinumab (brand name: Stelara), secukinumab (brand name: Cosentyx), ixekizumab (brand name: Taltz), brodalumab (brand name: Siliq), guselkumab (brand name: Tremfya), tildrakizumab (brand name: Ilumya), and certolizumab pegol (brand name: Cimzia).

Biologics can be highly effective for the treatment of psoriasis, with improvement in skin symptoms that usually begins within a few weeks of starting treatment. Because of their cost and potential side effects, biologics are generally reserved for people with moderate to severe psoriasis that has not responded to other treatments.

Like methotrexate and cyclosporine, biologics affect the immune system and should not be used in people with serious infections. Screening for tuberculosis (TB) is necessary before starting therapy since the risk of developing active TB infection is increased. If there is evidence of prior infection with tuberculosis, treatment to prevent reactivation of the infection is recommended. Testing for hepatitis B is also recommended.

Dietary changes — The role of dietary interventions in treating psoriasis has been unclear. Experts recommend that people with psoriasis who are overweight or obese reduce the number of calories they consume in order to try to lose weight. They also recommend a gluten-free diet for people with psoriasis who have been diagnosed with celiac disease or confirmed to have gluten sensitivity based on blood tests. Beyond this, there is no specific approach that has been proven to improve psoriasis symptoms; however, eating a nutritious, balanced diet (high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and low in unhealthy fats and added sugar) has many other health benefits.

  • Dr. Carlo Oller (emergency physician with has put together more than 1800 FREE patient education videos which can be found at
  • Please contact Dr. Carlo Oller at if you would like to use his videos in your own website, or educational materials. Or if you would like some more information or education on a title NOT available at this time.

Hiatal Hernia

Mr Ahmed R. Ahmed discusses hiatal hernias (often called hiatus hernias), what causes them, and how they can be treated. 

Any time an internal body part pushes into an area where it doesn’t belong, it’s called a hernia.

The hiatus is an opening in the diaphragm — the muscular wall separating the chest cavity from the abdomen. Normally, the esophagus (food pipe) goes through the hiatus and attaches to the stomach. In a hiatal hernia (also called hiatus hernia) the stomach bulges up into the chest through that opening.

There are two main types of hiatal hernias: sliding and paraesophageal (next to the esophagus).

In a sliding hiatal hernia, the stomach and the section of the esophagus that joins the stomach slide up into the chest through the hiatus. This is the more common type of hernia.

The paraesophageal hernia is less common, but is more cause for concern. The esophagus and stomach stay in their normal locations, but part of the stomach squeezes through the hiatus, landing it next to the esophagus. Although you can have this type of hernia without any symptoms, the danger is that the stomach can become “strangled,” or have its blood supply shut off.

Many people with hiatal hernia have no symptoms, but others may have heartburn related to gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Although there appears to be a link, one condition does not seem to cause the other, because many people have a hiatal hernia without having GERD, and others have GERD without having a hiatal hernia.

People with heartburn may experience chest pain that can easily be confused with the pain of a heart attack. That’s why it’s so important to undergo testing and get properly diagnosed.

What Causes a Hiatal Hernia?

Most of the time, the cause is not known. A person may be born with a larger hiatal opening. Increased pressure in the abdomen such as from pregnancy, obesity, coughing, or straining during bowel movements may also play a role.

Who Is at Risk for Hiatal Hernia?

Hiatal hernias occur more often in women, people who are overweight, and people older than 50.

How Is a Hiatal Hernia Diagnosed?

A hiatal hernia can be diagnosed with a specialized X-ray (using a barium swallow) that allows a doctor to see the esophagus or with endoscopy.

How Are Hiatal Hernias Treated?

Most people do not experience any symptoms of their hiatal hernia so no treatment is necessary. However, the paraesophageal hernia (when part of the stomach squeezes through the hiatus) can sometimes cause the stomach to be strangled, so surgery is sometimes recommended. Other symptoms that may occur along with the hernia such as chest pain should be properly evaluated. Symptoms of GERD, such as heartburn, should be treated.

When Is Hiatal Hernia Surgery Necessary?

If the hiatal hernia is in danger of becoming constricted or strangulated (so that the blood supply is cut off), surgery may be needed to reduce the hernia, meaning put it back where it belongs.

Hiatal hernia surgery can often be performed as a laparoscopic, or “minimally invasive,” procedure. During this type of surgery, a few small (5 to 10 millimeter) incisions are made in the abdomen. The laparoscope that allows the surgeon to see inside the abdomen and surgical instruments are inserted through these incisions. The surgeon is guided by the laparoscope, which transmits a picture of the internal organs to a monitor. The advantages of laparoscopic surgery include smaller incisions, less risk of infection, less pain and scarring, and a more rapid recovery.

Many patients are able to walk around the day after hernia surgery. Generally, there are no dietary restrictions and the patient can resume his or her regular activities within a week. Complete recovery will take two to three weeks, and hard labor and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least three months after surgery. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee, even with surgery, that the hernia will not return.

When Should I Call the Doctor About a Hiatal Hernia?

If you have been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia and you develop severe pain in the chest or abdomen, become nauseated, are vomiting, or are unable to have a bowel movement or pass gas, you may have a strangulated hernia or an obstruction, which are medical emergencies. Call your doctor immediately.


What is a hernia? 

— A hernia is an area in a layer of tissue that is weak or torn. Often when there is a hernia, other tissues that are normally held in by the damaged layer bulge or stick out through the weak or torn spot.

Hernias can happen in different parts of the body. When they happen where the thigh and body meet (called the groin), they are called inguinal or femoral hernias. Inguinal hernias are a bit higher on the groin than femoral hernias. Either type of hernia can balloon out and form a sac. In some cases, the sac holds a loop of intestine or a piece of fat that is normally tucked inside the belly.

Groin hernias are more common in men than in women.

What are the symptoms of a groin hernia? 

— Groin hernias do not always cause symptoms. But when symptoms do occur, they can include:

●A heavy or tugging feeling in the groin area

●Dull pain that gets worse when straining, lifting, coughing, or otherwise using the muscles near the groin

●A bulge or lump at the groin

Hernias can be very painful and even dangerous if the tissue in the hernia becomes trapped and unable to slide back into the belly. When this happens, the tissue does not get enough blood, so it can get damaged or die. This is more likely with femoral hernias than with inguinal hernias.

Should I see a doctor or nurse? 

— Yes. See a doctor or nurse if you:

●Feel or see a bulge in your groin

●Feel a pulling sensation or pain in your groin even if you have no bulge

In most cases, doctors can diagnose a hernia just by doing an exam. During the exam, the doctor will ask you to cough while pressing on the bulge. This can be uncomfortable, but it is necessary to find the source of the problem.

Most of the time, the contents of the hernia can be “reduced,” or gently pushed back into the belly. Still, there are times when the hernia gets trapped and can’t be pushed back in. If that happens, the tissue that is trapped can get damaged.

If you develop pain around the bulge or feel sick, call your doctor or surgeon right away.

How are hernias treated?

 — Not all hernias need treatment right away. But many do need to be repaired with surgery. Femoral hernias, in particular, usually need repair. They are more likely than inguinal hernias to cause tissue damage.

Surgeons can repair groin hernias in 1 of 2 ways. The best surgery for you will depend on your preferences and your surgeon’s experience. It will also depend on the type and size of your hernia, whether this is the first time it is getting repaired, and your overall health.

The 2 types of surgery are:

Open surgery – During an open surgery, the surgeon makes one incision near the hernia. Then he or she gently pushes the bulging tissue back into place. Next, the surgeon sews the weak tissue layer back together, so that nothing can bulge through. In most cases, surgeons will also patch the area with a piece of mesh. Mesh takes the strain off the tissue wall. That way the hernia is not likely to happen again.

Laparoscopic surgery – During laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes several small incisions. Then he or she inserts long thin tools into the area near the hernia. One of the tools has a camera (called a “laparoscope”) on the end, which sends pictures to a TV screen. The surgeon can look at the picture on the screen to guide his or her movements. Then he or she uses the long tools to repair the hernia with mesh.

If your hernia has reduced the blood supply to a loop of intestine, your doctor might need to remove that piece of intestine and sew the 2 ends back together.

Varicose Veins – Varicose Vein Video by Nucleus Medical

La Jolla Vein Care specializes in vein conditions and offers a variety of treatment options. This educational video provides information on vein problems as well as a different treatment options available.

Vein disease happens when the veins in the legs do not work the right way. Normally, the veins in the legs carry blood from the legs back to the heart. The veins have valves inside them to help keep blood moving in only one direction (toward the heart). The valves open to let blood flow to the heart, and close to keep it from flowing back down the leg. Vein disease can happen when the valves are damaged or do not work well. This causes blood to collect in the legs. Blood is especially likely to collect in the legs when a person sits or stands for a long time without walking.

What conditions can cause vein disease? 

— Vein disease can be caused by:

●A blood clot in a leg vein

●Leg injury

●Being pregnant, especially more than once – This causes a change in hormone levels that can weaken vein walls.

●Weight gain

Vein disease can also run in families.

What are the symptoms of vein disease? 

— People with vein disease can have symptoms that include:

●Leg pain, or the leg feeling tired or heavy, especially at the end of the day.

●Swollen veins – “Spider veins” are small leg veins that are swollen. “Varicose veins” are larger leg veins that are swollen and twisted.

●Swelling in the lower legs or ankles

– People can have swelling at the end of the day or all the time.

●Skin color changes – The skin can turn red or red-brown. Skin color changes often happen first around the ankle.

●Open sores, also called “venous ulcers” – These are usually at the ankle and can be painful and ooze.

Is there a test for vein disease? 

— Yes. Your doctor or nurse will do an exam to look at your legs. He or she might also do a test called an ultrasound. An ultrasound can check how well the valves in the legs work. It can also see if any of the veins in the legs are blocked.

What can I do to reduce my symptoms? 

— To reduce swelling, you can:

●Walk around, and try not to sit or stand in one place for a long time

●Raise your legs up 3 or 4 times a day, for 30 minutes each time

●Do exercises to point your toes and feet down and up a few times each day

To treat dry or itchy skin, you can:

●Wash your legs each day with a gentle cleanser. Do not use regular soap, which can make skin more dry.

●Use an unscented moisturizing cream or ointment while your skin is still damp. Petroleum jelly works well. Ask your doctor or nurse before using any other type of cream or ointment, because some can cause a rash.

If your skin problems are severe, your doctor or nurse might suggest special ointment, medicine, or bandages.

How is vein disease treated? 

— Doctors can use different treatments to treat symptoms and reduce swelling. These can include:

●Special socks, bandages, or devices:

•”Compression stockings” are special socks that fit tightly over the ankle and leg. If your doctor or nurse recommends that you wear them, he or she will tell you which type to wear and how to put them on (figure 2 and table 1).

•”Compression bandages” are layers of bandages that wrap around a person’s leg.

•A “compression pump” is a device that fits around the leg and squeezes the leg every few minutes.

●Special coverings that are put on an open sore to help it heal

●Medicines – Doctors can use different types of medicines to treat different symptoms. For example, people who cannot use compression stockings or bandages might be able to try medicines that help the veins work better. People with a skin infection might need antibiotics. People with itchy skin might need a prescription cream or ointment.

●Procedures – Doctors can do procedures if other treatments do not work. A doctor can remove or destroy damaged veins so they can no longer fill with blood.

  • Dr. Carlo Oller (emergency physician with has put together more than 1800 FREE patient education videos which can be found at
  • Please contact Dr. Carlo Oller at if you would like to use his videos in your own website, or educational materials. Or if you would like some more information or education on a title NOT available at this time.

Hyperemesis Gravidum

video explains HG causes, symptoms, and treatment

What is hyperemesis gravidarum? 

— Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition that causes frequent vomiting (throwing up) in pregnant women. It is like morning sickness, except the symptoms are much more severe.

Morning sickness is the nausea and vomiting that many women have during pregnancy. Even though it is called “morning” sickness, symptoms can happen any time of day.

What are the symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum? 

— Women with hyperemesis gravidarum vomit every day, often many times a day. Women can lose weight and get dehydrated because they are vomiting so much.

Symptoms of dehydration include:

●Urinating less often than usual

●Having dark yellow urine

●Feeling dizzy when standing up

●Weight loss

Symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum usually start during the first 2 to 3 months of pregnancy. Most women feel better by the middle of their pregnancy. But some women feel sick until late in the pregnancy.

How can I find out if I have hyperemesis gravidarum? 

— Your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have hyperemesis gravidarum by learning about your symptoms and doing an exam.

Are there tests I should have? 

— Maybe. Your doctor or nurse might do tests to see if the vomiting is hurting your body and to make sure another condition isn’t causing your symptoms. These tests can include:

●Blood tests

●Urine tests

●An ultrasound to check your baby

Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better? 

— Yes. To feel better, you can try the following:

●Eat as soon as you feel hungry, or even before you feel hungry.

●Snack often and eat small meals. The best foods to eat are high in protein or carbohydrates, and low in fat. These include crackers, bread, pretzels, nuts, and low-fat yogurt.

●Avoid foods that are spicy, greasy, or acidic (such as oranges).

●Drink cold, clear beverages, such as sports drinks and ginger ale. Avoid coffee. Also, try to drink between meals, rather than with a meal.

●Suck on popsicles or ginger-flavored lollipops.

●Brush your teeth right after you eat.

●Avoid lying down right after you eat.

●Take your vitamins at bedtime with a snack, not in the morning

●Avoid things in your environment that upset your stomach, such as stuffy rooms, strong smells, hot places, or loud noises.

●Have someone make your meals for you.

●Wear “acupressure” bands on your wrists. These are special bands that can help with morning or motion sickness.

Should I see a doctor or nurse? 

— If you are pregnant, see your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of the symptoms listed above.

How is hyperemesis gravidarum treated? 

— Treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are. If you are dehydrated or have lost a lot of weight, you will probably need to be treated in the hospital with:

●Fluids that go into your vein through a tube called an “IV”

●Medicines to help stop your nausea and vomiting

If this treatment doesn’t work, your doctor can feed you through a tube that goes in your nose and down into your stomach or through a vein.

Can hyperemesis gravidarum be prevented? 

— Doctors strongly recommend that all women who might get pregnant or who are pregnant take vitamins. The vitamin should contain at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Taking vitamins before pregnancy and in early pregnancy might help prevent nausea and vomiting.

Will my baby be healthy? 

— Babies born to women with hyperemesis gravidarum for the entire pregnancy are a little more likely to be smaller than average. But otherwise, the condition doesn’t seem to cause problems. Taking medicines for nausea and vomiting during the pregnancy should not affect the baby either.

  • Dr. Carlo Oller (emergency physician with has put together more than 1800 FREE patient education videos which can be found at
  • Please contact Dr. Carlo Oller at if you would like to use his videos in your own website, or educational materials. Or if you would like some more information or education on a title NOT available at this time.

Peritoneal Dialysis

DaVita Kidney Care
Published on May 29, 2012

What is peritoneal dialysis? 

— Peritoneal dialysis is a treatment for kidney failure. Normally, the kidneys work to filter the blood and remove waste and excess salt and water. Kidney failure, also called “end-stage renal disease,” is when the kidneys stop working completely.

Peritoneal dialysis is a procedure that involves piping a special fluid into the belly. This fluid collects waste and excess salt and water from the blood. Then the used fluid drains out of the belly.

Where will I do peritoneal dialysis? 

— You will do peritoneal dialysis at your home. You will need to do it every day.

When will I start peritoneal dialysis? 

— You and your doctor will decide the right time for you to start. It will depend partly on how well your kidneys work, and on your symptoms and overall health. Your doctor will do blood tests to check how well your kidneys are working.

Before you start peritoneal dialysis, you need surgery to create a way for the fluid to get in and out of your belly. The doctor will put a thin tube (called a “catheter”) in your belly. One end of the tube stays in your belly. The other end stays outside your body. It takes about 2 weeks for your body to heal with the tube in it before you can start dialysis.

You will also need to learn how to do peritoneal dialysis. A nurse will teach you or a family member (if he or she will do it) how to set up and use the equipment.

What happens during peritoneal dialysis? 

— During peritoneal dialysis, you will hook up your belly tube to the dialysis tubing. You will pipe clean fluid into your belly. The fluid will stay there for a certain amount of time. When the fluid is in your belly, it’s called a “dwell.” During a dwell, your belly might feel full or bloated, but it shouldn’t hurt.

After the dwell, you will drain the used fluid out of your belly and throw it away. Then you will refill your belly with clean fluid. Each time you drain the used fluid and refill your belly with clean fluid, it’s called an “exchange.” It’s important to follow all your doctor’s instructions about each exchange and dwell.

How often will I do peritoneal dialysis and how long does it take? 

— Your schedule depends on the type of peritoneal dialysis you do. There are 2 types of peritoneal dialysis:

●Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) – CAPD is done all day and night. People do the exchanges themselves. People usually do 3 to 5 exchanges during the day and do a dwell overnight. Each daytime exchange takes about 30 to 40 minutes.

●Continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD) – For CCPD, a machine does the exchanges. CCPD is usually done overnight.

Most people can choose the type of peritoneal dialysis they have. Talk with your doctor about which type of peritoneal dialysis is best for you.

What problems can happen with peritoneal dialysis? — Problems that can happen with peritoneal dialysis include:

●An infection of the skin around the tube – An infection can cause the skin to become red, painful, or hard. Pus might also drain from the area. Treatment usually includes antibiotic medicines or creams.

●An infection inside the belly (called “peritonitis”) – Peritonitis can cause belly pain, fever, nausea, or diarrhea. It can also cause the used fluid to look cloudy. Treatment usually includes antibiotics that go into the belly with the dialysis fluid.

●A hernia – A hernia is when a belly muscle becomes weak. It causes an area of the belly to bulge out. It usually doesn’t hurt. A hernia is treated with surgery.

Call your doctor or nurse if:

●The skin around your tube gets red, painful, or hard, or pus drains from it.

●You have belly pain, fever, or the used dialysis fluid looks cloudy.

●A part of your belly bulges out.

Is there anything else I should do? — Yes, you will need to:

●Weigh yourself every day – You need to use your weight to figure out each day’s dialysis treatment.

●Take care of the skin around your tube – Every 1 to 2 days, wash the area carefully, pat it dry, and put an antibiotic cream on it. Keep the area covered with gauze and tape. Tell your doctor or nurse if you injure the area or if the tube moves out of place.

●Follow a special diet – You might need to limit the amount of fluids you drink and eat. You might also need to avoid foods with a lot of sodium, potassium, and phosphorous. These are minerals that can build up in your body if you have kidney problems.

This educational content was put together by Dr. Carlo Oller (Emergency Physician) as part of a project to accumulate quality patient education about different conditions under one website for free. You can find this, and many other educational content at


Published by
Emory Department of Medicine

What is hemodialysis? 

— Hemodialysis is a treatment for kidney failure. Normally, the kidneys work to filter the blood and remove waste and excess salt and water. Kidney failure, also called “end-stage renal disease,” is when the kidneys stop working completely.

With hemodialysis, a machine takes over the job of the kidneys. The machine pumps blood out of the body, filters it, and returns it to the body. People have hemodialysis at least 3 times a week.

When do I prepare for hemodialysis? 

— You will need to start preparing a few months before you begin hemodialysis treatment.

How do I prepare for hemodialysis? 

— You prepare for hemodialysis by talking with your doctor, making certain choices, and having surgery.

Before you start hemodialysis, you will need to choose where you have it. Most people can choose between having hemodialysis at a dialysis center (in a hospital or clinic) or at home. If you plan to have hemodialysis at home, you will need to get your home ready. You will need a dialysis machine and supplies. You might need to make changes to your home’s plumbing or electricity.

You also need to prepare your body for hemodialysis by having surgery ahead of time. Your doctor will create an “access,” which is a way for the blood to leave and return to your body during hemodialysis. An access is usually created under the skin in the lower part of the arm. An access needs time to heal before it can be used.

There are 3 different types of access:

●AV fistula – Most people get this type of access. To make this access, a doctor does surgery to connect an artery directly to a vein. An AV fistula needs to heal for 2 to 4 months or more before it can be used for dialysis.

●AV graft – To make this access, a doctor uses a rubber tube to connect an artery to a vein. An AV graft needs to heal for 2 weeks before it can be used for dialysis.

●Central venous catheter – To make this access, a doctor puts a tube in a large vein (usually in the neck). This access is usually used only short-term or if people don’t have any other access. It doesn’t work as well as an AV fistula or AV graft.

How do I take care of my access? 

— That depends on the type of access you have. If you have a central venous catheter, the dialysis nurse will cover the catheter site with a clean dressing and waterproof bandage each time you have dialysis. You should keep the dressing and bandage in place until the next dialysis session.

If you have an AV fistula or graft, here is what you should do:

●Wash it with soap and warm water every day and before each dialysis treatment.

●Check it every day to make sure that it’s working normally and blood is flowing through it. When your access is working normally, you should be able to feel a vibration (called a “thrill”) over the area.

●Be careful with the arm that has the fistula or graft. It’s important that you not get an injury on that arm.

●Do not scratch or pick at your access.

●Do not wear tight clothes or jewelry on the arm with the access.

●Do not sleep on the arm with the access.

●Do not let anyone take blood from or measure blood pressure in the arm with the access.

Problems can sometimes happen with an AV fistula or graft access. Call your doctor or nurse if:

●You don’t feel a vibration – This could mean that your access has stopped working or closed up.

●Your access is red or warm – This could mean that your access is infected.

●Your access bleeds a lot after hemodialysis.

This educational content was put together by Dr. Carlo Oller (Emergency Physician) as part of a project to accumulate quality patient education about different conditions under one website for free. You can find this, and many other educational content at