Medical insurance and bill management can be among the most frustrating aspects of cancer care for you and your caregivers. Most hospitals and clinics will provide a patient services representative to assist you. Identify these individuals and seek their help whenever necessary. Here are some additional things you can do to help:
Get a copy of your insurance policy and find out exactly what your coverage includes. Your employer or insurance company can help you with this.
Call your health insurance provider to clarify any questions that you have. Also make sure you are aware of any possible coverage issues before you start treatment.
Talk to your health care team to request that insurance coverage of any procedure, test, or treatment be verified prior to your receiving them. If your health care team is unable to provide this service, they should be able to identify an alternative resource to assist you.
Keep careful records of all your covered expenses, claims, denials, and appeals throughout the claims process. Do not throw away any correspondence.
Take notes during your conversations with insurance representatives. Include their names and job titles. Keep these notes with your records. If you think the representative is wrong, ask to speak with his or her supervisor.
If you have a claim that has been denied, talk with your health insurance provider to find out what steps you can take to appeal.
Insurance terminology can be confusing, especially during a time when you are focused on your treatment and goals of therapy.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Medical insurance and bill management can be among the most frustrating aspects of cancer care for you and your caregivers. Most hospitals and clinics will provide a patient services representative to assist you. Identify these individuals and seek their help whenever necessary. Here are some additional things you can do to help:
Friday, November 30, 2007
It could be a reaction to incompetence, unfairness, and work overload. It could
be from a thousand daily cuts that bleed your enthusiasm for your job. It could
be one major incident — a layoff, a demotion or someone else’s promotion.
So you blow your top at work.
Wrath is one of the original seven deadly sins — but in today’s workplace, displaying anger is just not acceptable.
Being tagged as a screamer used to be a sign of macho, a signal that you were demanding better performance. Sadly, it worked. Who wants to bring up a controversial work issue with a colleague who has a reputation for exploding? That has radically changed. One of the key requirements for management candidates these days is an ability to stay calm and focused even in the most tumultuous circumstances. Anyone still yelling over daily work issues is considered a liability.
“More and more companies are recognizing how an angry person negatively affects their workplace,” said W Barry Nixon, executive director of the National Institute for the Prevention of Workplace Violence, USA. Studies show that people get angry once or twice a week on average, with men getting more intensely angry and women staying angry longer, according to W Doyle Gentry, author of Anger Management for Dummies.
And contrary to stereotypes, younger workers display more anger than older ones, because people have better control over their emotions as they age.
Know when to rein it in.If you don’t know quite why you are angry, you cannot get rid of the anger. And if work is making you angry, the situation is going to get worse, not better,
unless you take action. You need to uproot the sources of your anger, disable those triggers and then practice new patterns of behaviour that do not include exploding at others.
“How we deal with anger is a learned behaviour — it is not innate. Sometimes we need to ‘unlearn,’” Nixon said, adding, “If an individual has challenges, they ne-ed one-on-one coaching.”
You also need to beware of “righteous anger” — you may be right on a certain topic, but the effects of your outburst will linger long after everyone has forgotten the issue itself.
When you’re the target
Anger comes out in all different ways, including verbal abuse, bullying, sabotage and physical violence, all of which can affect your ability to do your job. Retaliation from you is only going to escalate the problem. Your company has a legal obligation to prevent a hostile workplace, so if going to your supervisor about a colleague’s anger doesn’t solve anything, go to your human resources department. “In a company that listens to employees and takes their concerns seriously, HR is the place to go to,” Nixon said.
know your anger:
• Sometimes anger is tied to a specific time — Monday morning, Thursday afternoon, tax season, back-to-school season. This is your subconscious at work — listen to it!
• Monday morning anger: You find no pleasure at work. Time to look for another job, another company or even another industry. Note: This is anger, not ordinary Monday-morning moodiness.
• Thursday afternoon anger: You dislike one major part of your job, which boils over at a certain time every week. Maybe there are ways this task can be done more efficiently, maybe it’s an impossible task to begin
with — or maybe someone else could do it, possibly better than you.
• Tax season, back-to-school time: You like your job but dislike its heavy-pressure moments. You cannot eliminate all of the last-minute stress, but more intensive preparations could make the time go smoother. — Agencies
Monday, November 26, 2007
Normal, healthy feet will not usually "catch" athlete's foot left in a shower by someone else. Our bodies have "good" bacteria that fight off "bad" bacteria. But, if you use antibacterial soap on your feet, many of the good bacteria are killed, allowing the bad bacteria of athlete's foot left in a shower to take hold on your feet. The more you use antibacterial soap, the more the athlete's foot will worsen. Instead, regular use of plain old soap and water will allow the good bacteria to remain so you never get athlete's foot from someone else - or allow the good bacteria to multiply more and more so they kill the athlete's foot you may have already. (Every time you use an antibacterial soap or cleaner, some of your germs mutate. Eventually, these germs will be mutated so much that the normally efficient antibiotics we have now will not kill them.)
To Cure Athlete's Foot
Tea Tree Essential Oil is very effective "medicine" for skin problems, including bacterial infections and fungus. Put a few drops of tea tree oil on the areas affected by athlete's foot four times a day. Once the problems seems to be all cleared up, continue treatment for another two to four weeks to be sure you've caught it all. You can also use this for treatment for nail fungus.
You can get a spray for easy application of tea tree oil, in several forms. One of these sprays is EO Lavender & Tea Tree FootSpray. The tea tree oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and soothes burning and itching. Lavender is excellent for relief and healing of pain and itch. Or you could use FOOTherapy Foot Lotion .
You can also soak your feet in tea. Fill a large bowl with a quart of boiling water and add six tea bags. After the tea has cooled enough to be comfortably warm, soak your feet for a half hour or an hour. The tannic acid in tea kills some of the fungus and is soothing for painful, itchy feet.
Or, soak the feet in warm salt water for ten minutes until the problem is under control, although this might hurt on cracked skin.
It is also helpful to pour natural apple cider vinegar on infected feet. After allowing the vinegar to dry, rinse the feet with water and dry them thoroughly.
Using baking soda as a powder on your feet and between your toes after you shower and dry your feet and toes thoroughly is helpful. These things should be done every day until the athlete's foot is gone and continued for at least a month afterward.
Acidophilus contains good bacteria. You can eat three servings of acidophilus yogurt (not just any yogurt) each day or taking acidophilus in supplement form. Some available are Acidophilus Tablets, Children's Chewable Acidophilus Tabletschewable acidophilus, Acidophilus Strawberry Liquid, and Children's Acidophilus Powder. Use the yogurt or supplements until the symptoms have been gone for two weeks. But, you can use either continuously as prevention.
After a shower or bath, dry off completely. Then use a hair dryer on low setting to dry your feet, especially between the toes. Any remaining moisture is enough to allow fungus to flourish.
Wash your socks in hot water to be sure the germs on them are killed. Or, you can "cook" your clean socks in the microwave oven for a few minutes.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Called The King Of Spices, Pepper has been around 4,000 years and has been causing problems for most of that time. Discovered in West India, it was a medium of exchange. It was a tribute paid to cool down people like Attila the Hun, but mostly it was responsible for opening up the world and starting the spice trade and creating empires like the British, the French, the Dutch...
Nomadic Arabs took it from Malabar Coast in South West India to the Phoenicians, who took pepper to the Western world. The Greeks came next when they discovered monsoon winds and cut the voyage from the Mediterranean to India from two years to one.
While the Greeks used pepper for medicinal purposes, the Romans went wild with pepper and a special market The Via Piperatica was opened.
With the crusades, pepper started coming into Europe with frequency through Venice and the Venetians could name
their price for the spice. Then came the turn of the Portuguese led by
Vasco da Gama and their pepper prices rivaled the Venetians.
Which is when everyone got into the act.
East India companies were formed. The Dutch East India company, The British East India company and The French East India company. The result? The price of pepper went down. But not enough.
Dock workers weren’t allowed to have pockets or cuffs to prevent them
from hiding a peppercorn or two. Rent could be paid in peppercorns and at times it was more precious than gold. Families put pepper
in their daughters dowry and down-on-their-luck nobles married beneath their class for pepper.
Christopher Columbus set off to find pepper in the New World and came back with chilies, which he and through him everyone called peppers, a confusion that exists to this day.
Pepper come in four colours depending on their maturity. Black pepper, whole red peppercorns sold dried — very strong and pungent. Green pepper, unripe peppercorns sold dried or pickled in vinegar or brine — less pungent and more fruity.
White pepper, ripe peppercorns with the outer husk, removed by rubbing in salt water — less spicy and particularly suitable for seasoning white sauces. Grey pepper, a mixture of black and white pepper.
Several dishes take their name and character from pepper — the steak au poivre or steak with pepper sauce, the German Pfefferkuchen (gingerbread, literally pepper cake) and the Dutch ‘pepper pot’ (a spicy ragout of mutton with onion). Whenever a recipe states ‘adjust the seasoning’, salt and pepper are added at the discretion of the cook.
Pepper is required in practically all savoury dishes, whether they are served hot or cold. Whole peppercorns are used in court-bouillons, marinades, and pickles: crushed pepper for grills, forcemeats, and hashes: and freshly ground pepper for salads and cooked dishes.
A ‘turn of the pepper mill’ produces a very spicy fresh seasoning whereas a ‘pinch of pepper’ gives a more
discreet flavour to sauces and stews. Green peppercorns are used in specific dishes, such as fish terrines and avocado salad.
A cautionary tale to end the pepper trail. Apicius, a well-known Roman gourmet, wrote 10 books on the art of cooking most of his recipes including desserts, ended with “Sprinkle with pepper and salt”. Apicius’ banquets drove him bankrupt and rather than not give parties, he committed suicide.
But even after 4,000 years, there is an imperfection.
I have yet to come across a pepper grinder or shaker that works for any length of time. Perhaps 4,000 years is not enough for pepper perfection.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
If you feel dizzy from heat and/or stop sweating, you are in trouble.
To Cure Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Quit all activity and get out of the sun fast. Drink cool, not cold, water with a teaspoon of natural apple cider vinegar in it. The vinegar helps to replace electrolytes and minerals like sports drinks do.
Drinking Raspberry Tea or Peppermint Tea produces a natural cooling effect on your overheated system.
Putting a washcloth wet with cool water onto the back of the neck and the fronts of the wrists will cool the body down quickly.
When possible, a bath or shower in cool water is even more helpful.
Potassium and magnesium can be lost through excessive sweating and replaced by Gatorade, Pedialyte, natural apple cider vinegar, leafy vegetables, bananas, whole grains, and nuts. Gatorade has a lot of sugar so it is not the best choice for diabetics. Even the healthiest people should not drink only Gatorade but drink it in addition to water.
Preventing Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Wearing a thin shirt and pants helps cool the body down more than bare skin. The clothing gets wet from sweat, and this moisture is what makes you feel cooler when exposed to air from a fan or a breeze. Clothing should be lightweight, and cotton is the best material. Polyester and rayon do not "breathe" as well and make you even hotter.
Sweating will help you be and feel cooler. Drinking liquids prevents dehydration and allow you to sweat. Avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine (soda or coffee) since they cause you to urinate more often instead of sweating.
Excess heat is released from your body through evaporation of sweat. Your sweat is less able to evaporate in high humidity, which is when a fan is very helpful.
Older people have less of a sensation of thirst and should drink more water even if they don't feel thirsty.
Opening windows on opposite sides of the room or house cool things down more than a fan with the windows shut. Those in an apartment with windows on only one side may join forces with their neighbors across the hall. Opening windows in both apartments and both entry doors can allow both apartments to receive cross ventilation.
Use an umbrella and a hand fan if you must go outside in the daytime. Walk slowly, resting often in the shade of a tree or building. To go more than a short distance, find someone to drive you.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Drinking robs your body of the B vitamins and causes dehydration. So, take Vitamin B Complex with a full glass of water before you go to bed to prevent most of the hangover symptoms. Besides being hydrating, water will give you a head start on diluting the alcohol.
Fructose helps your body burn the alcohol faster. Drinking vodka with orange juice can prevent some hangovers and lessen the severity of others. Drink fruit juice or swallow some honey when you get up in the morning to get rid of any remaining alcohol quicker.
Alcohol also causes your blood vessels to dilate, resulting in that nasty headache the morning after. Coffee in the morning will constrict the blood vessels and therefore reduce the pounding headache. A few strong cups of tea with honey will give you water, caffeine, and fructose all at once. Caffeine also acts as a diuretic, giving you an extra reason to take in a lot of fluids.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007
There are many things that go together to heal dry, cracking hands.
Be sure that you haven't eliminted too much fat from your diet.
Drink lots of water to moisturize from within.
Use glycerine soap.
Wash only the palms of your hands when possible, keeping the backs from getting wet.
Soak your hands in water for 10 minutes, then put on a light layer of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. After it soaks in, put on another layer of vaseline.
Take a Multi-Vitamin daily.
Use a Humidifier in the house.
Wear gloves outside in the cold or wind.
If you don't have vaseline handy, you can use Bag Balm Protective Ointment.
Polish lots of furniture with lemon oil furniture polish, and don't wash your hands when you're done. Just rub the lemon oil into your hands.
To stop the pain of a jellyfish sting, pour seawater over the affected area for ten minutes to deactivate any remaining toxins. (Fresh water releases remaining toxins instead of deactivating them, increasing the pain.) Then, soak the affected area in vinegar. Then apply ice.
If vinegar is not available, apply baking soda, rubbing alcohol, meat tenderizer, or diluted ammonia.
The old-fashioned cure for a jellyfish sting is one's own urine since it contains plenty of ammonia.
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Monday, November 12, 2007
To heal cuts and scrapes without using any chemicals and medicine, apply Lavender Essential Oil. Application usually causes no pain, and the pain from the wound should disappear quickly. Lavender also speeds healing immensely and kills germs.
Apply Colloidal Silver to the cuts and scrapes. The application causes no more pain than plain water, but colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic, germ killing, antiseptic that causes speedy healing. Or, you can get Bandages with Antibiotic.
Apply raw honey and cover with a bandage. With a small cut, the pain from the cut is gone after about 30 minutes, but leaving this on overnight is even better. Raw honey has been used for over 2,000 years to prevent and heal infections. (Raw honey is available in most grocery stores.)
Raw honey applied to a small cut that became infected was left on overnight. The pain and infection were gone in the morning.
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Sunday, October 7, 2007
Skin will continue to burn until cold water or ice is applied, so always cool down the burn first. Ice is good for most burns, but severe burns can only tolerate cold water.
Be wary of Sunburn sprays and creams from the drugstore - some of these contain lanolin, which actually causes increased pain once the cool cream or spray is warmed by the heat of your body. Aloe vera products are often just lanolin with a touch of aloe added, so caution should be taken before using these. Even pure aloe will not prevent peeling later.
Lavender Essential Oillavender essential oil is a miraculous cure for sunburn. You want to be careful getting the oil onto the burn because simply touching the burn will hurt. It is best to drip it on, then spread it (using very gentle pressure) with a piece of tissue. After about a half hour or less, the pain should be gone. The pain should not return unless you jump in the shower soon after application of the oil. You may need to reapply the oil in the morning. That's it. No more pain, no blistering, AND you get to keep the color. Even those of us who are pale as ghosts won't peel.
Make a pot of boiling water and steep many tea bags to a very strong tea in a large pot. Add ice until the tea is just slightly warm. Put a bath towel (preferably a brown one, as a white one will probably be "dyed" brown) into the pot and keep turning the towel until it has soaked up all of the tea. Have the sunburned person lie on the floor or bed on top of an old towel to catch drips. Place the wet towel over the sunburned area of the body. Leave the towel on for a half hour for a moderate burn and an hour for a strong burn. The slightly warm tea will actually feel very cool on burned skin, and cold water would be almost painfully too cold on the hot skin. The burned person immediately feels relief from the wet, getting cooler and cooler gradually, with the actual temperature of the skin also cooling.
If the sunburn is not localized to one area, you may want to soak in the tub instead. First, clean the tub with hydrogen peroxide or a small amount of bleach - and be sure to rinse the tub thoroughly. For this bath you will need tons of tea bags. Brew the tea with boiling water until it is very strong, and you can cool this down with half cold water. You should not get in until the water is no longer warm, and be sure to get out when the tea water gets too cold. You will need to either lie down in the tub or have the tub filled high enough to cover all the sunburned areas.
The tannic acid in the tea draws the burn out of the skin and heals it. After just one application, most sunburns are no longer painful and are much less red. However, this treatment will act on the pain but may not prevent peeling.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Debra Mohnen of UGA's Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, and Vijay Kumar, chief of research and development at the Veterans' Administration Medical Center in Augusta found that exposing prostate cancer cells to pectin reduced the number of cancerous cells by about 40%. Pectin destroys cells in a process known as apoptosis. Apoptosis is programmed cell death. In apoptosis cells bind with an outside substance that causes the cell to kill itself. Cancer cells self destruct once the complex structure of pectin binds to the receptors of the cell surface. Pectin does not bind with non-cancerous cells, and has no known affect on them.
Why Modified Pectins?
Chemical treatment of the FPP using base (alkali) in order to remove
the ester linkages of the pectin structure destroyed the ability of the
pectin to induce apoptosis, said the researchers, while treatment of
the pectin with pectinmethylesterase enzymes did not affect activity,
indicating that the base-sensitive linkages played an important role in
the apparent anti-cancer benefits.
# Both citrus pectin and the pH-modified citrus pectin had no effect on
the cancer cells, reported Jackson, but heat treatment of citrus pectin
resulted in significant levels of apoptosis comparable to FPP.
# Modified citrus pectin (MCP), also known as fractionated pectin, is a complex polysaccharide obtained from the peel and pulp of citrus fruits. Modified citrus pectin is rich in galactoside residues, giving it an affinity for certain types of cancer cells. Metastasis is one of the most life-threatening aspects of cancer and the lack of effective anti-metastatic therapies has prompted research on MCP's effectiveness in blocking metastasis of certain types of cancers, including melanomas, prostate, and breast cancers.
# Modified citrus pectin powder is produced from citrus pectin via pH and temperature modification that breaks it into shorter, non-branched, galactose-rich, carbohydrate chains. These shorter chains dissolve more readily in water and are better absorbed and utilized by the body than ordinary, long-chain pectins. It is believed the shorter polysaccharide units afford MCP its ability to access and bind tightly to galactose-binding lectins (galectins) on the surface of certain types of cancer cells.
How Modified Pectins act:
Research indicates that in order for metastasis to occur, cancerous cells must first clump together; galectins on their surface are thought to be responsible for much of this metastatic potential. Galactose-rich, modified citrus pectin has a binding affinity for galectins on the surface of cancer cells, resulting in an inhibition, or blocking, of cancer cell aggregation, adhesion, and metastasis. Due to the life-threatening nature of metastatic cancer, most research on anti-metastatic therapies has either been in in vitro cell cultures or in animal studies. Although it is still unclear exactly how these study results translate to humans, MCP studies are promising.
Pienta et al examined modified citrus pectin's effectiveness against prostate cancer metastasis in the Dunning rat model. Rats were injected with prostate adenocarcinoma cell lines and given drinking water containing various MCP concentrations. Oral MCP did not affect primary tumor growth, but significantly reduced metastases when compared to control animals. In one human study, Strum et al examined the effect of MCP on prostate specific antigen (PSA) doubling time in seven prostate cancer patients. PSA is an enzymatic tumor marker, and its doubling time reflects the speed at which the cancer is growing. Modified citrus pectin was administered orally at a dosage of 15 grams per day in three divided doses. Four of seven patients exhibited more than 30-percent lengthening of PSA doubling time. Lengthening of the doubling time represents a decrease in the cancer growth rate.
Safety and Side Effects
Because it is a soluble fiber, administration of modified citrus pectin is unlikely to result in gastric intolerance, even at high doses. No pattern of adverse reaction has been recorded in the scientific literature. As with any dietary fiber, MCP at high doses may result in mild cases of loose stool, but this is usually self-limiting and does not warrant discontinuing treatment.
Dosage and Administration
Modified citrus pectin dosages are usually expressed in grams, with a typical adult dosage ranging between 6-30 grams daily in divided doses. This may be modified by the practitioner depending on the patients clinical status, type of cancer involved, and degree of metastasis. The MCP powder is usually dissolved by blending in a small amount of water, then diluting with a juice of choice.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Yogurt, keffir, and butter milk are the richest foods with probiotics.
Probiotics-according to Wikipedia- are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.
The two most abundant friendly bacteria found in gastrointestinal tract are L.acidophylus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.
Researchers from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, states that
probiotics friendly bacteria with known benefits for intestinal health, may boost the number of bowel movements and relieve constipation. Based on the result of a pilot study investigated the potential of a probiotic mixture to alleviate the symptoms associated with childhood constipation- a condition that can affect 30 % of children in the Western World.
Another recent study by researchers from Imperial College,London, reported a 22 % drop in the number of cases of diarrhea if probiotics drink, were consumed by hospital- bound elderly patients receiving antibiotics.
There were some other trials some of which were published in The Lancet
about successful use of honey to treat diarrhea in children.
Here is a recipe that gathers the benefits of Yogurt,honey, and fruits
in treating such ailments.It is published by www.foodnetwork.com website.
Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey Vanilla Yogurt
2 cups plain yogurt
2 tablespoons good honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean, optional
1/2 orange, juiced
1 banana, sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 bunch seedless green grapes, halved
Combine the yogurt, honey, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds in a bowl and set aside. Combine the orange juice and banana slices in a separate bowl. Add the berries and grapes and gently mix the fruit mixture together. Spoon the fruit into serving bowls and top with the yogurt.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Cracked heels are caused by more than just overexposure and lack of moisturizing. Cracked heels are a sign that you are deficient in zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
Take 30 mg of zinc picolinate twice a day, 4 mg of Copper once a day, 400 IU of Vitamin E once a day, and 1 tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil (which contains omega-3 fatty acids) twice a day, and 15 grams of Pectinpectin for cracked heels per day.
If it is a callus that is cracking, it works best to get rid of the callus. You can file it down with a nail file or foot buffer. Do this when the skin is dry. Once you feel it, you have gone far enough. If you follow the directions properly, you could also use a foot shaver - when the foot is soft after a shower. But be very careful since this contains a blade and could hurt you if you use it incorrectly.
Signs of omega-3 deficiency: cracks in your heels, flaky skin, dry hair, split or brittle nails, or bumpy skin on the back of your arms.
A diet low in omega-3 leaves you feeling hungry again after 2 or 3 hours, instead of 5 or 8. So this also keeps you slim.
Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be made by your body, so you have to get it from food or supplements. Lack of Omega 3 has been linked to high cholesterol, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer, asthma, diabetes, insulin resistance, menstrual cramps, psoriasis, eczema, and stroke.
Elevations in blood sugar and cholesterol levels may occur in some people who take fish oil. The increase in blood sugar appears to be related in part to the amount of fish oil used. Some evidence suggests that taking Vitamin E with fish oil may prevent the fish-oil-induced increase in blood sugar levels. In other research, the impairment of sugar metabolism sometimes caused by supplementation with fish oil has been prevented by the addition of half an hour of moderate exercise three times a week.
People who took fish oil and who also took 15 grams of pectin per day were reported to have reductions in LDL cholesterol. This suggests that pectin may overcome the occasional problem of increased LDL cholesterol reported in people who supplement with fish oil. The LDL-cholesterol raising effect of omega-3 fatty acids has also been reported to be prevented by taking garlic supplements (or presumably including garlic in the diet) along omega-3 fatty acids.
Over-the-counter (OTC) supplements use in headaches, migraines, and fibromyalgia can be controversial, especially since they are not rigorously tested like prescription drugs. Nevertheless, there is a good deal of science behind some OTC supplements. I have my favorites that I like to recommend, and I will give them to you. Bear in mind, these are my recommendations as of today. As the science supporting supplements changes, my recommendations will change. An excellent example is Vitamin E and Beta Carotene. Both were highly recommended in the 1990’s, but now problems with both have been found. Currently I recommend neither beyond the amount of each that is found in a regular multivitamin.
Over the Counter Supplements
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 200-250 mg twice a day
Magnesium Capsules 250 mg two to three times a day (remember Milk of Magnesia is a form of magnesium and MOM is used to treat constipation; therefore, if you develop loose stools from taking a form of magnesium, you may need to reduce your dosage of magnesium capsules)
Feverfew 100 mg a day
--or-- Migrelief one pill twice a day is a good source of B2, Magnesium, and Feverfew.
--and add-- Co Q 10 150 mg two daily to above supplements
I have not started recommending Butterbur; however, there is science supporting its use. I do not usually recommend Omega-3 fish oil for migraineurs. Diabetic and metabolic syndrome patients can use 3000 mg of fish oil to help lower triglycerides, raise HDL cholesterol, and decrease clotting—all of which are very important in reducing cardiovascular complication. This is Dr. Castelli’s recommendation. He has been a world authority on cardiac risk factors, and I have great respect for him. For about 30 years, he was the medical director for the Framingham Heart Study looking at long-term risk factors.
I recommend avoiding ephedrine products because of side effects which may include headache, palpitations, heart attack, and worse. Products containing ephedrine are Chinese ephedra, ma huang, and epitonin. Neither do I recommend Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo mixed with certain foods or beverages can raise your blood pressure.
Prevention of migraines is very important. Continued migraine activity can lead to fibromyalgia, neck pain, sinus pain, TMJ syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, chest pain, palpitations, and panic attacks.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Obesity is increasing worldwide and is becoming the world’s biggest health problem. Obesity is no longer limited to adults only – the percentage of obesity amongst children is growing at alarming rates. The skinny on obesity or being overweight is that it is no longer just a cosmetic issue. Obesity or being overweight increases the risk of serious health problems such as diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, back and joint problems and discomfort, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, infertility, breathlessness, sleeping disorders, sweating among others.
AND … being overweight stops us from getting the very best out of life and shortens our life by years. A report by the National Audit Office in the UK, suggested that being overweight can take off up to 9years of our lives. There are many reasons for this, but in developed countries, the easier access to over-processed diets and a less-active lifestyle play a major role.
In this article I focus on a fun, interesting and self-educating way you can cut down the amount of fatty and sugary foods (2 of the main contributing factors to obesity) in your diet. Believe it or not – it is quite easy to do. Follow my quick and easy steps and you will have a head start on your weight, health and other shoppers.
Without going into the science of the labels, if you want to lose weight and live a healthy life this is what you need to be looking at each time you buy foods that are packaged in a box, packet or can. To do a quick lesson at home on how to read labels, take out any one product from your grocery closet right now. Look for the NUTRTION FACTS food label on the box or can. You will be able to tell if your product is healthy if:
It contains less than 4g of sugar per serving.
The ingredients do not include corn sugar or high fructose.
The ingredients do not include any enriched – flour products. All flours need to be wholegrain ones.
The ingredients do not include hydrogenated, saturated fat oils or the term “transfats”. If there are saturated oils, it should contain less than 4g of saturated fats per serving.
Test this on a couple more items in your pantry and determine how healthy your household is. If you are serious about losing weight and being healthy, throw away all those products that are causing harm every time you cook and eat them. Replace them with healthier options. Of course the healthiest option is to cook fresh produce only. But, if you do use processed foods, have fun with the simple food label test and read your way to weight loss. Over time it will show. It does make a difference to both your waistline and your health.
To summarize, when reading the food label on the can or box, check for the amount of sugar, fat and fiber per serving. Pay special attention to the amount of “transfats” in the product. Avoid foods that have higher than 4g or sugars or fats per serving, foods that contain corn syrup and foods that include enriched flours.
It's late in the evening, as you sit alone by the fireside, with not-so-pleasant memories flashing through your head. And suddenly you find yourself overwhelmed with sadness that soon leads to desperation. Tears roll down your eyes for no apparent reason and you feel like bidding adieu to this cruel world. A scary scenario, isn't it? You'd be surprised to know that almost ten million Americans are victims of depression each year. The bad news is one woman in five and one man in fifteen will face this profound sadness sometime or the other in their lives.
Depression in a normal person is usually caused by chemical imbalance in the brain. However, it can also be due to some serious medical conditions. Whatever be the cause, this mood disorder can negatively affect every aspect of your life. And contrary to the popular belief, it’s not confined to the elderly alone.
It affects all segments of the population, be they children, adults or the aged. Depression not only makes you sad, it controls the body, mind, behavior, emotional state and can even undermine your ability to maintain relationships. And it just cannot be wished away.
Symptoms of depression
If you experience any of these disorders, you're likely to be suffering from depression:
a. Constant feeling of sadness, irritability or tension.
b. Loss of energy, tiredness without activity, decreased interest in usual activities and hobbies.
c. Change of appetite leading to significant weight loss or gain.
d. Insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping.
e. Decreased interest in sex.
f. Difficulty in concentrating and making decisions.
g. Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt.
h. Thoughts of suicide or death.
Severe depression needs treatment, without which it may linger on with increasing severity and frequency. First timers, suffering from this condition, are fifty percent more prone to its recurrence. Though depression is a recognized problem, it remains one of the most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses.
Physicians are sometimes unable to get to the root of the problem and treat only the ailments associated with it, like loss of appetite, sleeplessness, headaches, and the like. However, the good news is depression is a treatable illness and you can take the option of depression herbal remedy, if you want to avoid the problems associated with over-the-counter drugs.
Depression home remedy
Depression remedy, whether it's natural postpartum remedy or depression holistic remedy, can effectively cure depression. Let’s have a look:
a. Diet: Many nutrition-oriented practitioners assert that if you stick to a specific diet, you can prevent depression. Small and frequent meals, low in sugar and refined carbohydrates can produce symptomatic relief in some depressed patients.
b. Exercise : Studies have shown that exercise is an effective way to get rid of depression. A physical workout increases circulation, which in turn helps improve the mood, preventing depression.
c. Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques, like meditation, breathing exercises and yoga can immensely help in keeping depression at bay.
d. St. John's wort: This unassuming plant with little yellow flowers, known as Hypericum perforatum, is probably the best known for healing depression. It’s an effective antidepressant, an antibiotic and anti-viral agent.
e. Ginkgo: Ginkgo biloba is a powerful antidepressant and antioxidant that increases blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body. It's not only used for major depression cases, but also for elderly patients resistant to standard anti-depression drug therapy.
f. Siberian Ginseng: Ginseng, in its various forms, stimulates the immune system and improves aerobic capacity. By regulating blood sugar levels, it also benefits depression cases.
Depression not only disrupts life, but can keep you on an edge and push you off it too, if not treated in time. So, if you consistently find yourself down in the dumps, take treatment immediately. However, to avoid side effects of prescription drugs, opt for natural remedy for depression under the supervision of your physician.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
The first Saturday in August is National Mustard Day in America, and there is also a mustard season in Nepal when the middle hills have terraces full of the golden plant: the terraces seem to lift to the heavens offering the gold to the gods. It is mustard time.
A time remembered from 2,500 years ago when a woman came to the Buddha with a dead child asking the boon of life. The Buddha told her to bring back a handful of mustard seed from a family that hasn’t suffered death. When she couldn’t find one, she realised that grief extended everywhere and was inevitable.
Jesus Christ had his parable of the mustard seed where he showed that smallest of seeds grow plants so big as to provide shelter for birds. In 1715, an Order of the Mustard Seed was found in Germany with the aim of being true to Christ, kind to all people and spreading the news of the Gospel to the world.
Not only do this two stories talk about mustard in different parts of the world, they talk about the spread of a spice that is second only to pepper in its use.
Said the writer Anatole France, “A tale without love is like meat without mustard; an insipid dish.”
The word mustard itself derives from the French word mout — a term used by wine makers. The mout is the grape juice for making wine, thus, the moutarde of France was the original liquid used in making mustard paste.
Once it was used as a medicine as well. You cured everything from colds to
spider attacks and it was recommended to make rigid sinews subtle by using it as massage oil.
And it is mustard oil that is used for cooking in the sub-continent. One of the more wondrous sights are the old mustard presses in the village of Thecho. These date back some 300 years and are in danger of disappearing.
Half of the world’s mustard comes from the Dijon region of France and it is the subject of gourmet writing. According to The New York Time Food Encyclopedia compiled by Craig Claiborne who says, “It is purely subjective, but I have my own theories that mustards vary from region to region, and that each mustard has special affinity for certain foods that, in general, are also regional.
“Such French mustard as that of Dijon or Meaux, bearing such names as Grey Poupon, Maille, Pikarome, Pommery, and so on, go especially well with such foods as roast leg of lamb, French meat specialties such as garlic sausages, French style, chitterling sausages, blood sausages. And it is present in mayonnaise sauces of French origin in Dijon.
“German mustards such as Dusseldorf are highly compatible with smoked German pork products. Creole mustard, notably Zatarain’s brand, made in New Orleans, has no peer as an ingredient for remoulade sauce. The bright yellow mustard, whose colour is due to the addition of turmeric, is made in America and it has no challengers when it comes to something to smear on hot dogs.
“In England, one of the most famous personages in mustard lore is a Mrs Clement of Durham (some say Lancashire). Although mustard paste had been used for many years, this 18th century woman produced a mustard made with a finer powder and a brighter appearance, and sold it from the back of wagon all over the country.
“The Chinese and the English have a preference for freshly made hot mustard, and it is as ideal as a side condiment for Chinese food as it is for rare roasts.”
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
The B12 vitamin is just one of the essential b vitamins that are needed to maintain a healthy body and mind. Cobalamin is the alternative name for the B12 vitamin. The body needs the B12 vitamin for a number of different processes including converting the fats, carbohydrates and proteins from all food that is consumed into energy (i.e.normal metabolism).
One of the most important processes that the B12 is essential for is to create healthy red blood cells. The prevention of heart disease relies on the production of healthy blood cells and therefore the B12 vitamin is vital, moreover vitamin B12 has an important role in reducing Homocysteine that plays a dangerous role in initiating the process of atherosclerosis.
The B12 vitamin is also vital for keeping the immune system functioning at its maximum efficiency. Not only this, but the B12 vitamin also works to form the protective covering of all the nerve cells in the body.
The production of red blood cells is not the only type of cells that the B12 vitamin is essential for. In fact, all of the cells in the body require the B12 vitamin, including white blood cells and nerve cells. The white blood cells are an important part of the immune system and without the B12 vitamin the effectiveness of the immunity of the body to germs and viruses is heavily reduced. The nerve cells need the B12 vitamin to create the fatty layer that will protect them from damage. The brain cells are particularly open to disease and damage if there is not enough B12 vitamin present to form this protective layer.
Even though the B12 vitamin is involved in so many essential processes the actual recommended daily amount that a body needs is quite small. The fact is that the majority of people consume much more of the B12 vitamin than their body actually requires. The only issue is that the body cannot absorb the B12 vitamin very easily and has to create its own aid to the process. The intrinsic factor that the body produces helps the body to absorb the B12 vitamin that it needs from food but this still amounts to only half of the total B12 vitamin available. A deficiency in the B12 is extremely rare in most people and is made even less likely because the body can recycle the B12 vitamin that it already has absorbed.
A few groups of people may develop anaemia due to a lack of B12 vitamin in their diet. Young children often have a problem getting enough of the B12 vitamin because they may be extremely fussy eaters and it is important to encourage them to eat as wide a variety of foods as possible. This is not only the case with the B12 vitamin but is true for all essential vitamins and minerals.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Yeast Infection Remedies
If you're a woman of childbearing age, you're certainly more prone to yeast infection. And Candida albicans, a permanent inhabitant of your vagina, is generally the culprit. Little wonder almost eighty percent of the infection is caused by it. However, for the yeast to take ominous overtones, the acidic environment of your vagina, maintained by the bacterium Lactobacillus acidophilus, has to become imbalanced. This can occur due to various reasons.
However, what's most galling is whenever you get this infection your physician generally recommends over-the-counter medications. The problem is, these prescription medicines are not only strong and saddle you with some nasty side effects, they're also quick-fix solutions to your problems. Now, if you really want to root out your infection, there can be no better way than to opt for natural remedies for yeast infection. These have a long-lasting effect and are free of any side effects. In fact, apart from curing, these natural home remedies for yeast infection can be used daily to prevent recurrence of this infection.
Home remedies for yeast infection
There are a number of home remedies that had been in use for long. Let's see what they are:
a. Apple cider vinegar: Daubing apple cider vinegar on the infection sites on the body will help cure this infection. However, dilute the concentration of vinegar before use. In case, you're unable to get rid of itching, add some garlic.
b. Curds or yogurt: Regarded as one of the best home remedies, it’s a sure cure for this infection. This entails soaking a tampon into the curd and placing it in the infected region for an hour or so. This gives a chance to the healthy curd bacteria to replace the unhealthy yeast bacteria. This is to be repeated twice or thrice a day.
c. Buttermilk: This doesn't cure yeast infection, but reduces its probability. So, drink at least two glasses of buttermilk daily, whether infected or not. And also make curds a part of the daily diet.
d. Grapefruit seed extraction: Hailed as a magic cure, you can make it by mixing olive leaf extract and grapefruit seed extraction in a glass of water. This has proved a good curative tonic for yeast infection.
e. Garlic: Garlic is an effective natural remedy for vaginal yeast infection, because it contains natural antifungal substances that get rid of yeast. You’re required to insert a freshly peeled garlic clove into the vagina, after wrapping it in a gauze or cheesecloth. Keeping it overnight will help you get rid of the mild infection. Repeat the procedure for several nights for severe cases.
f. Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil also cures vaginal yeast infection. The method of applying is by coating the top half of a tampon with a lubricant, such as KY jelly and applying a few drops of pure tea tree oil to it. This is then inserted into the vagina. The lubricant keeps the tea tree oil from getting absorbed into the tampon.
g. Herbal douche: You can also use an herbal douche by combining equal amounts of sage, raspberry and comfrey with a quarter part goldenseal. This can be combined with cider vinegar.
h. Sugar intake: Those prone to this infection should decrease or eliminate sugar and sugary foods, since sugar promotes yeast growth. This means reduction in the consumption of fruit juices and sugar laden soda and drinks.
i. Pau d'arco (Tabebuia impestiginosa ):
The bark of this tree, also known as lapacho and taheebo, is used to treat a range of diseases, including yeast infection. The bark contains antifungal properties.
Those of you who're suffering from the ill effects of over-the-counter prescription drugs can explore the exciting possibilities offered by natural remedies for yeast infection. However, discuss these natural remedies with your physician before you start.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
High risk of Cerebrovascular Disease
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases are the Top 10 causes of death in high-income countries (#2), middle income countries (#1) and low-income countries (#5). With 5.5 million deaths due to these diseases in 2002, this is what WHO has to say regarding this (quoted from www.who.int):
Q: What is the number one cause of death throughout the world?
Cardiovascular diseases kill more people each year--in high, middle- and low-income countries alike--than any others. In 2002, 7.2 million people died of coronary heart disease, 5.5 million from stroke or another form of cerebrovascular disease.
What is Cerebrovascular Disease (CVD)?
So, what is this cerebrovascular disease that is killing millions worldwide?
Cerebrovascular refers to the blood vessels (arteries) that supply blood to the brain, and cerebrovascular disease, in simple terms, refers to an abnormality of the brain due to a disruption in this blood supply in some way. This causes the brain cells to be deprived of oxygen as the blood is responsible for carrying oxygen to all of our body cells. The brain cells will then die or be damaged under this condition.
The most common type of cerebrovascular disease is stroke, also known as cerebrovascular accident. Stroke is caused by either a clogged blood vessel in the brain, or when the blood vessel in the brain bursts or leaks. Other CVD include: transient ischemic attack (TIA), multi-infarct (arteriosclerotic) dementia and reversible ischemic neurologic deficit (RIND).
Roles of Nitric Oxide (NO)
Nitroglycerin and related vasodilating compounds increase the diameter of a blood vessel, and were found to act to release nitric oxide, an endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). Endothelium cells are cells that line the blood vessels and prevents the interaction of blood cells with the vessel walls.
The discovery of the role of nitric oxide in the human body was made by Robert F. Furchgott (hD), Louis J. Ignarro (PhD) and Ferid Murad (MD, PhD). This is one of the most important progress made in the study of cardiovascular medicine and the three were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1998.
Nitric Oxide is a small gaseous, signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system produced by healthy endothelial cells. Signaling molecules have the function of producing another substance, the second messenger. The second messenger transmit messages along signal pathways between cells.
When NO enters a cell, it activates an enzyme called guanylate cyclase, which produces the second messenger, cyclic GMP. This second messenger relaxes and dilates the blood vessels.
So how do nitric oxide prevent strokes and cerebrovascular diseases? Nitric oxide lowers blood pressure, a high risk factor for both stroke and heart attack. By relaxing and dilating the blood vessels, it promotes healthy blood circulation to the brain and heart. It also causes coronary arteries to widen to increase blood flow to the heart.
Other roles of NO includes keeping arteries flexible, reverses arterial plaque and suppresses atherosclerosis. By preventing platelets and white blood cells from sticking to the vessel wall, NO can prevent atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of deposits of fatty wax like materials, cholesterol, calcium, waste products, and other substances along the insides of the arteries.
In addition, nitric oxide can reduce the production of free radicals, which causes blood vessels to age rapidly, and suppress abnormal growth of vascular muscle cells to prevent blood vessels from thickening.
How important is nitric oxide to our body? Nitric oxide can form biological reactions with many compounds in our body, and have been found to play a role in a number of body system processes, including immune defense, regulation of cell death (apoptosis) and neurotransmission.
Source of Nitric Oxide
L-Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that stimulates the growth of nitric oxide within blood vessels. A semi-essential amino acid is one that can be produced by our body, or obtained from our diet.
Usually, a healthy person will have sufficient L-Arginine to produce the required amount of nitric oxide. Studies have shown that dietary supplements of L-Arginine will have little effect on people with healthy endothelium cells.
However, individuals with unhealthy endothelium cells are at risk of heart disease as their body cannot produce enough nitric oxide on their own. This is due to the presence of asymmetric dimethylarginine, a modified amino acid, that stops the production of nitric oxide. In such conditions, the human body requires dietary supplement to increase L-Arginine amounts. This will allows more NO to be produced naturally.
"... inappropriate coronary responses to sympathetic stimulation in people with coronary artery disease may be related to changes in the arginine-nitric oxide pathway and may be improved by increasing production of nitric oxide", says Joel Cellman, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University.
Therefore, dietary supplements of L-Arginine can help prevent coronary heart diseases and CVD in high risk persons.
span style="font-weight:bold;">Oh, not again, another cold sore breakout!
Unfortunately, when a bump or sore appears on the lip, it’s enough to make you feel like a social leper. Although a cold sore is not the end of the world and goes away on its own, it is also a highly contagious blister with an unmistakable appearance. What causes this condition? It is none other than a virus whose name will send shivers up and down your back.
What are Cold Sores?
A cold sore is a painful blister filled with fluid that makes an appearance on or around the lips. It is the herpes simplex virus infection that causes this undesirable visual, and is sometimes referred to as oral herpes, fever blisters, labial herpes, herpes labialis, and herpes febrilis. One of the most distinguishing characteristics associated with a cold sore is the high level of contagiousness they possess. Skin-to skin contact passes these little devils from one person to another. While the greatest chances of passing on the blisters occur when they are dry and crusted over, they may also pass on after they have healed 
Cold Sore vs Canker Sore
Another condition with similar symptoms to the cold sore is a canker sore, which both exhibit blister-like sores about the mouth. Canker sores keep to the inside of the mouth, often developing on the tongue or inside the cheeks, while cold sores stick to the lips. The only time a cold sore finds its way to the inside of the mouth is during the onset of an eruption.
Causes of Cold Sores
There are different kinds of herpes virus strands that cause cold sores to form. Often, it is the herpes simplex type 1 virus that is most responsible for this occurrence, although type 2 has been known to cause cold sores as well. The virus can be passed from person-to-person through an active sore. The condition is so contagious that sharing spoons, forks, razors and towels may also spread the infection. If you are prone to cold sores, a variety of triggers, such as fever, menstruation, stress and excessive sun exposure could lead to a reoccurrence .
Oral herpes is quite common and is often diagnosed through visual symptoms. Anyone from your family doctor to a dermatologist can diagnose the onset of cold sores. Physicians may analyze your symptoms by running lab tests. Viral cultures are sometimes taken, where a cotton swab is wiped across an open sore. The results of this test take anywhere from 2-10 days for review.
Natural Remedies for Cold Sores
Although cold sores typically heal on their own without treatment, there are many natural remedies to consider, which ease the symptoms and speed up healing time. While vitamins (like vitamin b12), mineral supplements, and changes to your diet can help treat cold sores, there are plenty of natural and homeopathic remedies, such as:
a) Witch Hazel: When applying witch hazel to cold sores, relief can be achieved.
b) Lemon Balm: This remedy helps to reduce the symptoms of cold sores, as well as speed up healing. Internally, drinking up to 5 cups per day of a lemon balm infusion will do the trick. Externally, combine 3 teaspoons of dried leaves or 1.5 tablespoons of fresh lemon balm to one cup of water and infuse for 10 minutes. Next, strain the mixture and place on blisters about 3-5 times a day.
c) Aloe Vera: Rubbing aloe vera gel or oil on blisters may ease the pain and increase healing time.
d) Echinacea: Taking echinacea tablets or capsules, as well as creating a tincture can treat cold sores.
e) St John’s Wort: Drinking up to one cup per day of an infusion of this herb will help.
f) Garlic: Eating 1-2 cloves of garlic can treat the virus.
g) Ginger: Eating 1-2 slices of fresh ginger per day will treat cold sores.
Cold Sore Prevention
Since there isn’t a cure or prevention approach for cold sores, individuals can reduce their chances of developing these oral irritations through a series of lifestyle changes. Below you will find ways to prevent the spread of or safeguard against cold sores:
a) Avoid Blister Contact: Since the virus passes easily from one person to another, coming into contact with bodily secretions is highly discouraged. This means refraining from kissing people with visible blisters and avoiding other skin contact.
b) Avoid Sharing: This is the one case where your mother won’t frown upon not sharing your things. Keep in mind that the virus easily attaches itself to utensils, towels and other items.
c) Keep Hands Clean: It is important to wash your hands before touching another person if you or they have a cold sore. Also, touching body parts during an active blister moment can pass the virus to other areas, such as the eyes and genitals.
d) Avoid Triggers: Keep in mind that cold and flu, sleep deprivation, and prolonged sun exposure has been known to bring about cold sores. Applying sunblock on the face and lips before entering the sun will help prevent the formation of cold sores. This is true for both the winter and summer season.
While cold sores are often confined to forming on the lips, they can actually appear on other parts of the body. On occasion, a cold sore has been known to take shape on the nostrils, chin, or fingers. In rare cases, they may even form on the gums or roof of the mouth.
The scary part about a cold sore is that the signs and symptoms usually do not show immediately after exposure to the herpes simplex virus. It could take up to 20 days to actually experience any symptoms, and often continues for about 7 to 10 days. Below you will find a few cold sore signs to be on the lookout for:
a) Blisters : The main symptom of cold sores is the formation of a blister, which is small, painful, and filled with fluid. The skin surrounding the blister often appears red, raised, and is also painful to the touch.
b) Prodrome: Pain or a tingling sensation often occurs 1-2 days before the visual sight of a blister.
c) Oozing: As the blisters continue to take shape, they may break and ooze fluid.
d) Crust: After blisters ooze, a yellow crust forms.
e) Discolored Skin: After the crusty part of a blister falls off, the skin may appear pinkish underneath, which heals without scarring.
f) Disrupted Swallowing: Sometimes, individuals may experience problems swallowing food or liquids.
g) Lip Irritation: Itching and swelling of the lips may occur.
h) Drooling: This symptom is sometimes seen among small children.
i) Additional Symptoms: Headaches, irritability, fever, and swollen lymph nodes may also occur.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Cholesterol is found in every cell in your body. This fat-like substance is an important component of cell membranes and a building block in the formation of some hormones. But your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Any cholesterol in your diet is extra — and it's up to no good.
When there's too much cholesterol in your blood, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Your heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke.
But there's good news. High blood cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) is largely preventable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and other lifestyle changes can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol. Sometimes medication is needed, too.
Signs and symptoms
High cholesterol has no symptoms. A blood test is the only way to detect high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is carried through your blood attached to proteins. The cholesterol-protein package is called a lipoprotein. The main types of lipoproteins are:
* Low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL, or "bad," cholesterol transports cholesterol throughout your body. LDL cholesterol builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow.
* High-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL, or "good," cholesterol picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.
Various factors within your control — such as inactivity, obesity and an unhealthy diet — contribute to high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol. Factors beyond your control may play a role, too. For example, your genetic makeup may keep cells from removing LDL cholesterol from your blood efficiently or cause your liver to produce too much cholesterol.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI - known in the US as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) is caused by a swelling of the tissue in or near the narrow passageway of the wrist, called the carpal tunnel. This swelling puts pressure on the median nerve, which causes the symptoms of pain, tingling, weakness or numbness associated with RSI.
Any repetitive hand movements, especially in awkward positions, that put direct pressure on the wrist can lead to RSI. This includes typing, using a mouse, operating machinery that vibrates, using a screwdriver, or participating in sports such as cycling.
However, many other factors increase the likelihood of developing RSI. Build-up of fluid (oedema) in the wrist is an indicator, which means that pregnant women or people with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes are at greater risk. Women taking birth control pills or going through menopause are also thought to be at risk. People who have diseases or illnesses that can cause arm pain, swelling in the joints and soft tissues in the arm, or reduce the blood flow to the hands, including obesity, lupus or thyroid disease, should also be careful.
The preventative measures listed below are simply a matter of changing a few habits. If you are already experiencing pain that could be attributed to RSI, these tips (with the exception of number seven) will help alleviate the symptoms. However, if the pain is severe or lasts longer than two weeks, you should see a doctor immediately. Untreated RSI can cause permanent nerve damage.
1. Stop any activity that you think may be causing finger, hand, or wrist numbness or pain.
2. Spread pressure and motion evenly throughout your hand and wrist.
• Keep your wrists straight or only slightly bent. Avoid activities that bend or twist the wrists for long periods of time.
• Try not to hold objects in the same position for long periods of time.
• Gripping with only the thumb and index finger can stress the wrist. Use your whole hand to grasp an object.
• Reduce the speed and force of repetitive hand movements. Type (or click that mouse) with a soft touch.
• When working with tools that vibrate, such as drills or sanders, use specially designed gloves that support the wrist and have vibration-absorbent padding.
3. Take frequent breaks from repetitive activities to stretch your hands and wrists.
4. Use correct posture.
• For activities such as
typing, keep your forearms parallel to the floor or slightly lowered.
• Position your keyboard so that you do not have to reach up to it.
• When your forearms are hanging by your side, keep your shoulders relaxed, not raised.
• Your wrists should be in line with your arms, not twisted or bent for long periods of time.
• Make sure your fingers are lower than your wrists when typing.
• Position your work at waist height or slightly lower if you have to exert force.
5. Avoid using too much salt if you tend to retain fluid.
6. Train yourself to use techniques that will minimise stress in your hand or wrist. In daily routines or hobbies, consider activities in which you make repeated finger, hand or wrist movements.
7. Do exercises to increase your wrist flexibility and strength.
If you are already experiencing RSI symptoms, use the tips listed above to eliminate the pain before attempting to exercise your wrists.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Alternative medication for sinus infection is a great way to avoid some of the side effects that prescription treatments tend to offer. When taking a sinus infection homeopathic approach towards treating the symptoms of this painful and often energy-zapping condition, there are many different herbal and natural remedies to choose from. Below are a few to consider:
a) Ground Ivy: The leaves of this sinus infection herb can dry out the bronchi and sinuses when used in an infusion or tincture.
b) Goldenseal: The root of the goldenseal plant is a powerful astringent and coolant, which comes in a powder capsule form. Take one or two 200 mg capsules or create a tincture, where 1 ml is taken for three times per day.
c) Bayberry: Bayberry bark is known to stimulate the circulatory system and also possesses warming properties that helps with nasal discharge, pain, and sinus tenderness. The powder can be used as snuff, or used to create a tincture. Add 5ml of tincture to 20ml of emulsifying ointment to make a substance that can be used for sinus massage.
d) Long Pepper: It is the fruit of this herb that is useful in treating sinus headaches and infection brought on by allergies. You may use the fruit to create a milk infusion or choose the capsule form (1-2 200mg powder capsule per dose).
e) Colloidal Silver: Sinus infections respond to this safe and non-toxic approach that has been known to treat more than 500 illnesses caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
f) Apple Cider Vinegar: An apple cider vinegar sinus infection treatment can be used to thin out mucous. You should add the vinegar to large glasses of water and drink throughout the day.
g) Oregano: The wild oil of oregano can be used as an effective sinus infection treatment that possesses powerful anti-bacterial properties. The capsule form is considered best when taking two every 3-4 hours.
Sinus Infection Prevention
When it comes to preventing a sinus infection, there are a few steps to take. To decrease the chances of developing an upper respiratory infection, you should avoid people who are dealing with colds or the flu. You should also receive your flu shot every year.
Washing your hands with soap and water as much as possible, especially before eating will help avoid the spread of infection. Sinus passages also stay clearer when using a humidifier; limiting alcohol and tobacco use; and avoiding polluted air.
What type of sinus infection do you have?
When the mucous membranes start to act up and cause you a great deal of discomfort, you are probably suffering from a sinus infection (also known as sinusitis). Besides feeling pretty crappy, it is the nose, throat, eyes, cheeks, and even your teeth, which may suffer during a sinus infection. Hopefully, you will experience an acute bout of the infection because long-term sinus problems (chronic sinus infection) can really slow you down and make things much harder to accomplish.
What is a Sinus Infection?
When an infection or inflammation affects the mucous membranes, sinusitis is the result. The affected areas of the face include the inside of the nose and the sinuses, which attacks around the eyes, cheeks and nose. When the mucous membranes become inflamed, swelling strikes, which blocks the normal drainage of fluid associated with the nose and throat. Pain and pressure occur, as well as a possible accumulation of bacteria and fungus .
There are two different kinds of sinus infections to consider:
a) Acute: This sinus infection is characterized by a sudden blow to the system, resulting in a wide-range of cold-like symptoms, which fade with time.
b) Chronic: This type of sinus infection lasts quite a bit longer, where sufferers exhibit sinusitis symptoms on a regular, longer basis.
As the sinuses become blocked during an infection, a wide range of symptoms that resemble a cold or flu will emerge. With sinusitis symptoms, the effects are longer and have a tendency to get worse after 7 days. They include:
a) Pain: Pain and pressure often occurs throughout the face during a sinus infection. The particular sinus that is affected at the time will determine where the pain lies.
b) Nose Symptoms: The nose may run or become stuffy during a sinus infection. People often have trouble breathing out of their noses.
c) Discharge: A discharge that is yellow or greenish in color may appear from the nose or in the back of the throat, which is called postnasal discharge.
d) Tenderness: Sinus infections have been known to create tenderness throughout the eyes, cheeks, nose, and forehead area.
e) Swelling: The eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead may swell during sinusitis.
f) Dental Pain: Sinus infections have been known to mimic the signs of a toothache.
g) Cold and Flu-Like Symptoms: A fever may appear during a sinus infection. An individual may also suffer from fatigue, nausea, sore throat, and coughing .
Causes of Sinus Infection
Sinus infections are instigated through an inflammation of the upper respiratory system. The nose, sinuses, throat, and pharynx all play a role in the development of this condition. The cause of the infection is quite often viral, but can also be caused by bacteria or fungus. Additional causes of sinus infection include:
a) Allergies: Allergies have been known to block the sinuses, which often leads to inflammation.
b) Deviated Nasal Septum: The septum is the wall located between the nostrils. When this becomes crooked (either during surgery or by injury), sinus passages may become restricted or blocked.
c) Nasal Polyps: Sometimes tissue growths can cause a nasal passage restriction.
d) Additional Medical Conditions: Individuals suffering from conditions, such as HIV, cystic fibrosis, or gastroesophageal reflux, have a higher chance of developing nasal blockage.
Monday, July 23, 2007
The spread of diabetes in America
Diabetes is a condition that affects much more than just your sugar habit. In the United States, the disease is running rampant among adults and increasing amounts of children. The disease is so common, that the American Diabetes Association claims that more than 6 million people have diabetes and don’t even know it. The statistics are disturbing, but with early detection and treatment, the disease can be managed.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes deals with the body’s response to blood glucose levels in regards to the production or utilization of insulin. The two main types of diabetes you or someone in your family may come in contact with, includes:
Type 1 Diabetes: Through the millions of diabetic patients in the United States, there is an estimated 5-10% that suffer from this form of the disease. While Type 1 can affect people of all ages, mostly children, adolescents and young adults develop this kind of diabetes. It is said that about one in every 500 children and adolescents in the United States already has or will have Type 1 diabetes in the future .
Type 2 Diabetes: This type of diabetes is chronic and hinders the way that the body metabolizes glucose (sugar). Through Type 2 diabetes, the body starts to reject the effects of insulin, which is a hormone needed for the regulation of sugar cell absorption. Some Type 2 diabetics might produce some insulin, but not enough to create a normal level of glucose . When this condition is left untreated, life-threatening results may occur.
There are many symptoms associated with diabetes, and depending on the type you suffer from, you may experience one or more of the following:
a) Excessive Thirst and Increased Urination: One of the most telling signs of diabetes is an urgency to keep drinking fluids. As your kidneys work overtime to filter and absorb the amount of sugar that builds up in the body, increased urination occurs. Through all of this, dehydration sets in, leading you into a vicious cycle of quenching your thirst, and the need to release yourself in the process.
b) Flu-Like Symptoms: The fatigue, weakness, and loss of appetite associated with the flu may also present itself with diabetes because your body is unable to utilize sugar in order to gain energy.
c) Weight Loss or Gain: Changes in weight often occur through the presence of diabetes. Weight loss occurs because as you lose sugar through frequent urination, you will also lose calories. The other side of the weight issue is gaining extra pounds because cells become deprived of nutrients, leading to a feeling of constant hunger. As you eat more to compensate, an increase of fatty tissue develops .
d) Blurred Vision: The eyes show signs of diabetes as high levels of blood sugar rob eye lenses of much-needed fluid. When ignored, blood vessels become damaged and can lead to dark spots, flashing lights or rings. Serious cases may also lead to blindness.
e) Slow-Healing: High levels of blood sugar can affect the natural healing process and the body’s defense against infections. Diabetes may also cause bladder or vaginal infections in women.
f) Tingling Hands and Feet: Nerve damage may develop as a result of diabetes, which leads to a tingling or loss of sensation in the hands or feet. Sometimes, a burning pain may attack the hands, arms, legs, and feet.
g) Gum Problems: Diabetes may cause gums to become red, swollen, and tender.
Causes of Diabetes
The causes of this condition depend on what type of diabetes you are suffering from. With Type 1 diabetes, the body has little to no insulin because the immune system attacks the cells responsible for producing the hormone. It is believed that heredity; diet and nutrition all contribute to the development of Type 1. With Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes some insulin, but either one or two issues arise: the muscles and body tissue may resist the presence of insulin or the pancreas simply doesn’t make enough. Researchers are unaware what makes the cells resistant to insulin, but weight, laziness, and fatty tissues contribute.
A random blood sugar test and a fasting blood glucose test both determine whether or not a person has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Blood is drawn from the arm to test your glucose levels at any given time (random) or after an overnight fast. In addition to the two blood tests, Type 2 diabetes is also made known through a glucose challenge test (often used for pregnant women) or a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test.
While the definite cause regarding Type 1 diabetes is not known, there are some details that increase the risk of developing the disease. This includes having a family member, such as a diabetic parent or sibling. People who are overweight, inactive, or depressed are more likely to suffer from Type 2 diabetes. Individuals over the age of 45 are also likely to develop the disease, but throughout the years, a higher number of children, adolescents and younger adults have been seen. Race also affects your chances of suffering from diabetes, where some ethnic groups are more prone to certain types than others.
Natural Remedies for Diabetes
Natural remedies allow individuals to find gentler, safer, and sometimes more effective treatment options for their condition. Below are a few natural approaches towards treating diabetes:
a) Fenugreek: This herb has been known to cut down sugar levels in urine by half. Making a decoction or taking 1 gram of powdered herb after meals treats mental confusion, weight loss, and excessive thirst.
b) Bilberry: The leaves of this herb are thought to increase the production of insulin when drinking an infusion before meals.
c) Goat’s Rue: The aerial parts of this herb react with the pancreas to encourage production of insulin. Preparing an infusion or tincture before meals can treat the symptoms of diabetes.
d) Mango: Boiling 15 fresh mango leaves in one glass of water will create a natural treatment for diabetes. After mixing the ingredients, leave the combination overnight. At the start of a new day, filter the water and drink first thing in the morning.
For many, diabetes is highly preventable. It really comes down to incorporating healthy habits and lifestyle changes to avoid the onset of this manageable, yet frustrating disease. Below you will find a few preventive measures to consider:
a) Lose Extra Pounds: Sometimes diabetes prevention is just as easy as keeping your weight to a healthy number. With every pound you lose, your health improves. Try making it a habit to eat better and exercise on a regular basis. When it comes to losing weight, avoiding fad diets is the healthiest approach towards preventing diabetes. Cooking foods with less fat, oil, and butter also help shed extra weight.
b) Fiber: Many reduce their risk of diabetes when they eat fiber-filled foods, which also decrease the chances of developing heart disease. Some of the foods to consider adding to your diet include vegetables, fruits, and other lean food items.
c) Whole Grains: When eating grains, it is the whole variety that contributes to the decrease in developing diabetes. A few eating habits to change include trading white bread for wheat, or consuming whole-grain pastas and cereals.
d) Increase Exercise: When you get the body moving around, not only is weight lost, but also the overall your overall health improves. Physical activity contributes to the lowering of blood sugar levels. Riding a bike, swimming laps, or walking for 30 minutes per day will increase your levels of exercise.
Menopause: Stop the hot flashes naturally.
If your irritability, mood swings, hot flashes and fatigue are becoming a problem for domestic harmony, it’s time to pause and take stock of the situation. You’ve entered the phase of life that almost four thousand women daily do. You have reached menopause. Had it not been for these annoying and exasperating symptoms, you’d have gladly welcomed this freedom from PMS, menstruation and birth control issues. However, not all is lost. If you take the correct medication, you can still have a time of your life.
What is menopause?
When a woman reaches her mid-thirties, hormone production in her ovaries declines. This continues in the forties too, when hormone levels may fluctuate. However, by the fifties, periods usually end completely. This causes a host of bodily changes that affects a woman physically, as well as, mentally in varying degrees.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Fluctuating hormone levels bring with it symptoms and problems that almost drives women up the wall. These symptoms generally include:
a. Hot flashes: Hot flashes usually occur for at least one year and up to five years before cessation of menstruation. These can annoy and disrupt your sleep and daily life. A hot flash induces increasing warmness, beginning in the chest and rising to your head. Hot flashes most commonly occur at night and can last from a few seconds to up to an hour.
b. Vaginal dryness: Decreasing hormones may result in vaginal dryness, which may compel you to use vaginal lubricant to keep your sex life active with minimal discomfort. However, in serious cases an estrogen cream may be recommended by your physician.
c. Other symptoms: Other symptoms may include difficulty in concentrating, headaches, fatigue, night sweats, depression and anxiety, sleep disorders, incontinence, and the like. This condition may also lead to osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases. Some women are known to gain weight too, especially around the waist.
Natural remedies menopause
Although, the most popular treatment for menopause is the Hormone Replacement Therapy, there are certain risks, like cancer, associated with it. If you don’t want to put your life on line by this line of treatment, there is a world of natural herbal remedies waiting to be explored! Let’s see what these menopause natural remedies are:
a. Diet: Your diet is important in controlling menopause natural remedy symptoms. Since, at this stage the body requires estrogens, the female hormone, increase the consumption of foods containing phytoestrogens, like soy, grains, oats, wheat, brown rice, tofu, almonds, cashews, fresh fruits and vegetables. However, cut down on caffeine, carbonated beverages, sugar, commercially raised meats, including beef, pork and chicken.
b. Exercise: It reduces the severity of menopausal symptoms. It also relieves stress, and often improves depression and anxiety symptoms. Routine exercise improves bone mass, as well.
c. Herbs: Herbs like black cohosh, dong quai, evening primrose oil, ginseng and vitex agnus castus can help many women manage menopause symptoms most effectively.
d. Red clover isoflavone: Promensil, containing red clover isoflavone, is an effective natural remedy for menopause hot flashes. This dietary supplement is available over-the-counter, without a prescription, at any retail grocery, drug and health food stores. It decreases the number of hot flashes and night sweats.
e. ‘Good’ bacteria:Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus are the ‘good’ bacteria in our intestines. They help in metabolism and utilization of estrogen during menopause. Good bacteria can be found in various nutritional formulas in the market.
f. Ayurveda: This ancient Indian science of holistic healing considers menopause as an ‘out of balance’ condition. It demands a lifestyle change, in which, you’d need to increase warm food and drinks, regular meals, early bedtime, oil massage, meditation, yoga, walking and spices, such as fennel and cumin.
Remember, the symptoms of menopause may vary from woman to woman. So, adopt whichever natural cure works best for you, but not without consulting your physician.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Use natural apple cider vinegarBragg's Apple Cider Vinegar (not the kind in grocery stores) to clear up acne. Start by using a dilution of one part apple cider vinegar to three parts water for a week. Next, make a mixture of one part vinegar to two parts water and use this for a week. You may want to continue with this strength. Some people will go on to use the apple cider vinegar straight, undiluted, but straight vinegar may be irritating to others. Apply the vinegar mixture to pimples with a cotton ball. This clears up the acne and helps to get rid of the red marks from past break-outs.
Teenagers can use diluted natural apple cider vinegarBragg's Apple Cider Vinegar (one part vinegar to three parts water) daily at the first sign of bumps to eliminate them before they become break-outs. This dilution is mild enough for most anyone's face, young or old. But, it should not be used on a man's face after shaving - using it before shaving will prevent stinging.
Natural apple cider vinegarBragg's Apple Cider Vinegar also comes in tablet form so you can easily gets its goodness inside your body as well as using the liquid directly on acne and scars.
Angelina has found that applying natural apple cider vinegarBragg's Apple Cider Vinegar to her face four or more times per day has cured her of a "very bad complexion." She applies it straight and says that, while it burns her skin a bit, it "works like a miracle!"
Cheryl says that her daughter developed a case of moderate acne. After trying a number of different things for over a year which helped very little or not at all, she started drinking two tablespoons of natural apple cider vinegarBragg's Apple Cider Vinegar three times a day and applying it topically once at night. She has been acne free for two months. It took about three weeks to clear up.
For the pain, put a cup of salt in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Use coarse salt and dump it into a thick sock. The sock is to prevent burns. Apply the sock to the painful ear and it draws fluid out of the ear.
Get a washcloth full of hot water and wring it out. Hold this onto the ear until it cools. The moist heat will increase the circulation in the ear, thereby reducing the swelling and pain.
For the infection, put a few drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide into each ear, one ear at a time. Keep the solution in for 10 minutes or until the bubbling stops.
Note: Do not put liquids into your ears if you have a ruptured ear drum.
Start with 1 tablespoon of Pure Almond Carrier Oilalmond oil and add 2 drops of Lavender Essential Oillavender essential oil, 2 drops of Chamomile Essential Oilchamomile essential oil, and 3 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oiltea tree essential oil. Mix this well, then warm the mixture. OR, another good mixture would be to start with 1 tablespoon of Pure Almond Carrier Oilalmond oil and add 2 drops of Lavender Essential Oillavender essential oil, 3 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oiltea tree essential oil, and 2 drops of Thyme Essential Oilthyme essential oil.
Two drops of this warm mixture can be put inside an infected ear three times a day (if the eardrum has never been punctured or perforated). A secondary method to further ease the pain and pressure, rub some of this mixture onto the inside and outside of the ear itself and on the affected side of the neck (the area of the lymph nodes). An even faster secondary method to relieve the pain and pressure is to get the mixture hot, add a few drops of this mixture to a little hot water, dip in a clean cloth, and use the cloth as a compress. Be careful that it is not hot enough to burn.
Note: 1) Red thyme pure essential oil is not suitable for children, epileptics or those who are prone to high blood pressure. 2) Thyme essential oil can induce a miscarriage or harm a fetus when taken internally and possibly when applied externally.
For a person who has had (ever) a perforated or punctured eardrum, follow the above procedures without adding drops inside the ear canal to achieve much of the healing and pain relief.
People that get a lot of ear infections might actually be allergic to dairy products, egg whites, wheat, peanuts or soy. Or, their intake of fatty foods may be too high.
To use these methods with babies, put one drop of the mixture into 1/4 cup of water for diluted strength, and use the diluted mixture as ear drops or for massaging.
Chewing gum that contains Xylitol (like Biotene Dry Mouth Gum, Arm & Hammer Dental Care Sugar Free Baking Soda Gum, or Altoids Chewing Gum) helps fight bacteria, cavities, plaque and gum disease, and helps whiten teeth. Gum chewing may help relieve pressure in the ear, and the pain from the pressure. Chewing Xylitol gum regularly has been shown to prevent inner ear infections by keeping the bacteria in the mouth from moving up into the nose and ears.
Recurring ear infections may be due to the overuse of antibiotics causing an overgrowth of candida (yeast). That is because the antibiotics kill also kill some good things in our body meant to keep out the bad things. The candida can cause a whole list of problems. In children it usually shows up as diaper rash (in women it is yeast infections), recurrent ear infections, asthma, and a host of other problems. Cutting out sugars and refined carbohydrates from the diet would help a lot, although this is not so easy with kids. So, replace the intestinal flora (a good thing) that was killed by the antibiotics. You do this with acidophilus, which comes in many forms: Acidophilus Tabletsacidophilus tablets, Children's Chewable Acidophilus Tabletschewable acidophilus, Acidophilus Strawberry Liquid, and Children's Acidophilus Powder.