Charles E. Crutchfield III MD

Recent Articles

Eye floaters — when to ignore them, when to seek help

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Doctor: When I look at anything with a bright background or at the sky, I see wiggly, squiggly lines. What are those?  

Those are called harmless retinal floaters. Eye floaters are small wiggly lines or spots that appear and move around in your field of vision. As you mention, they may be seen most often when you look at anything bright/white or a blue sky. Eye floaters can be disturbing, but they usually don’t affect your vision. Continue Reading →

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That blood-red spot in your eye is most likely no cause for alarm

By Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD

 

Dear Doctor: This morning, when I looked in the mirror, I noticed I had a big, red bloodspot in the white part of my eye. I don’t remember injuring my eye. How did this happen?  

Most likely, you are suffering from a condition known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage. This is a surprisingly common occurrence. Fortunately, the vast majority are completely harmless. Continue Reading →

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What is endometriosis?

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Nathan Guimont

 

Endometriosis is a very common female condition and is defined as the presence of tissue that lines the uterus (or womb) in a location where it is not normally supposed to be. Normally during a woman’s monthly cycle, a mucus tissue (the endometrium) in a women’s uterus builds up and thickens in preparation for fertilization of an egg. When fertilization does not occur, the lining of the uterus breaks down and is discharged at the end of the cycle called menstruation or “period.”

This process is guided by female sex hormones. The endometrium tissue can also grow in other parts of the body, outside of the uterus, and when this occurs it is called endometriosis. The growths are benign but can respond to the hormones as well circulating in your body and guiding menstruation. Continue Reading →

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Eyelid twitching is common, usually harmless

But when might it call for a visit to your doctor?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor, my eyelids have been twitching lately. What’s going on?  

 

Small, uncontrolled eyelid twitches lasting just a few minutes are very common. The medical term for this is blepharospasm. For the most part, these involuntary eyelid twitches are harmless. Sometimes the twitching can occur, off and on, over several days. Blepharospasm of this type may be associated with fatigue, stress, lack of sleep, excessive caffeine intake, physical exertion, or any combination of these. 

Sometimes, but rarely, the twitching can last weeks or even months. Continue Reading →

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What are skin tags?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skin tags are extremely common. In fact, they likely affect 25-50 percent of people over the age of 40. They occur as small, soft bumps located most commonly under the arms, around the neck, on the eyelids, and sometimes in-between the legs on the upper thighs. Skin tags can also be darker in color with respect to the surrounding skin. Sometimes there are many lesions (50 or more) that can be present. Continue Reading →

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Why should I care about prediabetes?

 

 

 

 

 

 Prediabetes should be taken seriously because if it is not addressed, it can become diabetes in 10 years or much sooner. Almost everyone who develops type 2 diabetes will first have prediabetes. But, the good news about learning you have prediabetes is that you can make changes to prevent diabetes and bring your blood sugar levels back down to normal.  

What is prediabetes? Prediabetes means that your blood sugar is higher than the normal level, but it is not yet high enough to qualify as diabetes. Continue Reading →

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What is psoriasis and why should I care about it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psoriasis is an itchy skin condition that appears as patches and plaques of dry, scaly skin located most commonly on the elbows, knees and scalp. Psoriasis, however, can occur anywhere. Sometimes it can be very mild with just a couple of spots, and in other cases it can be quite severe and widespread. Psoriasis can also make your fingernails and toenails rough and discolored with small pits.  

Why should I care about psoriasis? Continue Reading →

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The ABCs of hepatitis

What is hepatitis? 

Hepatitis is the medical term for inflammation of the liver. The liver can become inflamed for many reasons. These include viral infections, toxic exposures such as alcohol and certain medications, industrial exposures and autoimmune disease. Hepatitis is divided into two classes: acute (meaning the symptoms of hepatitis last less than six months), and chronic (meaning the symptoms of hepatitis last longer than six months). Sometimes hepatitis will present with no symptoms, but commonly it presents with a yellowing of the skin and whites of eyes, decreased or poor appetite, feelings of fatigue, fever, muscle and joint discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Continue Reading →

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Doctor’s Advice: BEST OF 2013

 
Dr. Crutchfield asks that we rerun this column from our March 21 issue as his favorite of the year.Watch for continuing “Advice” columns on these pages and on the MSR website in 2014.  
 

 

Question: Dr. Crutchfield, my daughter has acne. Won’t she just outgrow it, or should we treat it?  

Why should anyone care about treating acne? 

Acne is a very common skin condition that affects over 90 percent of people in their lives. At a time when adolescents are developing a strong sense of self, self-worth, value and identity, acne not only contributes to low self-esteem, but can also cause long-term and permanent scars on the skin. Continue Reading →

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Graves’ disease: a common, treatable thyroid disorder

What is Graves’ disease? Graves’ disease is a disease of your thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland is located on the front of your neck, just above the level of your collarbone. In men it is just underneath the Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland regulates how your body uses energy. The thyroid is also involved in calcium regulation, which affects bone health. Continue Reading →

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