3 Syndromes to Take Seriously
What it is:A condition that occurs when the shoulder capsule (tissue around the joint) thickens, causing pain and limiting motion. It can worsen over weeks or months. Frozen shoulder is twice as common in women as in men and typically crops up between ages 40 and 65.
What causes it:Usually nothing in particular— it often happens out of the blue, says Stephania Bell, PT , an orthopedic clinical specialist and member of the American Physical Therapy Association. But it can be linked to diabetes, thyroid disease or a previous shoulder injury.
What helps:Physical therapy and exercises that stretch and strengthen your shoulder. Most people see significant improvement within one year, says Bell. You can find a physical therapist in your area at moveforwardpt.com.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS )
What it is:A neurological disorder that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs constantly, typically when you're resting. It's twice as common in women—and often occurs during pregnancy— but 10 percent of adults probably have it to some degree, says Mark Buchfuhrer, MD, a member of the advisory board at the RLS Foundation.
What causes it:No one knows for sure, but it may be due to a brain chemical (dopamine) imbalance or an iron deficiency. There's also a genetic component, as it tends to run in families.
What helps:A quick fix is to walk a lap around your house. Regularly exercising or upping your iron intake (discuss this with your doc first) can also help. For about 2 percent of the population, RLS seriously affects quality of life and requires prescription drug treatment.
What it is:Pretty much what it sounds like: Your mouth becomes very dry, almost as if you're chewing on cotton.
What causes it:A lack of saliva, which can be caused by an autoimmune disease, combining medications (such as antihistamines and antidepressants, which can affect your salivary glands) or simple dehydration, says Wanda Gonsalves, MD, associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. Dry mouth contributes to gum disease and cavities because saliva has plaque-fighting properties.
What helps:Try drinking more water, chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate saliva production. If that doesn't help after a few days, talk to your doctor. He may suggest switching your medications or screen you for an autoimmune disease.
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