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Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis: Is Your Aging Parent at Risk?

September 6th, 2016

Elderly Care in Stuart FL

Elderly Care in Stuart FLLangerhans cell histiocytosis is a rare disorder, but can happen to anyone, including elderly adults. This serious health condition occurs when the body produces too many white blood cells that are used to fight off infections, known as Langerhans.

Although it is not a common disease, affecting 1-2 adults per million people, your elderly parent may become more prone to developing chronic diseases and illnesses. In light of Histiocytosis Awareness Month, below is some more detailed information on this health condition, as well as what you can do to help a loved one with this condition.
Symptoms

There is not just one part of the body that may be affected by this disorder; it can occur anywhere. Some adults may have symptoms and some may not. Here are some of the most common signs that your aging parent may have Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis.

  • Bone problems. The senior may have pain, lumps, spontaneous fractures, headaches, or swelling in the back bones, ribs, pelvis, skull, bones around the eyes, hands, fingers, toes, or feet. They may also experience a collapsed disc in the back and being unable to walk.
  • Skin problems. Hair loss, rashes, redness, oozing, ulcerations, or pain may occur on the vulva, armpits, groin, trunk, face, arms, legs, fingernails, and anal area. You or the elder may notice lesions on the skin that have a red and small appearance. Other skin issues that may happen include purplish-red spots, bleeding under the skin, scaly and greasy rashes, small abscesses, and ulcerations.
  • Lung problems. This includes a collapsed lung, shortness of breath, chest pain, weight loss, dry cough, loss of appetite, fatigue, night sweats, and coughing up blood.

This health condition can also affect the elder’s ears, bone marrow, teeth and gums, liver, central nervous system, and the gastrointestinal. If you fear your loved one has this condition, talk to their doctor in order to find out if they are at risk.
Diagnoses

A biopsy and microscopic examination may be needed to take a closer look at the affected tissue. If the test comes back positive, other tests may be needed to determine what treatment plan should be used. X-rays, blood tests, a bone scan, and urine tests are a few ways Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis can be diagnosed.
Treatments

Medication, known as “targeted therapies,” may be prescribed in order to block the gene’s activity with mutations. Older adults who smoke may increase their risk of this condition, so getting on a strict non-smoking plan and sticking to it will greatly reduce their risk level.

Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis can cause a wide range of health problems to occur. But, with the help of an elderly care professional, the senior can carefully monitor their skin and symptoms in order to determine if they may have this disease.

Source:
https://www.histio.org/page.aspx?pid=383#.V8jpWsUg1-Y
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Stuart, FL, contact the caring staff at BrightStar Care of Jupiter. Call today (561) 741-1200.