Exercises for Air Travel

exercises for air travel

Travel often involves extended flights. Long periods of time seated in a cramped atmosphere can lead to reduced movement. In addition to general discomfort, this immobility can lead to dangerous health events.

Excessive sitting has the potential to cause blood clots in the legs. This condition is referred to as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), sometimes also called traveler’s thrombosis. When blood pools in the legs, these clots can form which may have varying degrees of size and effects on health. Small clots often go unnoticed. Moderately sized clots can cause swelling, stiffness and pain.

Unfortunately, large clots can have life threatening consequences. The clot can break off and transfer to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism, also termed a venous thromboembolism (VTE). The effects of a pulmonary embolism may not result until hours after it has occurred. The signs include chest pain and shortness of breath. In some cases it may cause sudden death.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently launched a project evaluating DVT and its relationship to air travel. The project, WHO Research Into Global Hazards of Travel (WRIGHT), is evaluating if higher risks of DVT and VTE are related to air travel versus other modes of transportation such as sitting in a car.

Preliminary research from the WRIGHT project indicates that the risk of VTE doubles for flights that last four hours or more. The risk increases as the flight time increases and can also be present in instances where travelers take several flights within a short time frame.

Move to Reduce Risk

Regular movement is advised during long flights to improve blood circulation. This can be done through standing and walking around the cabin every 60 to 90 minutes. Exercises performed in a seated position can also be beneficial in reducing the risks of DVT. Focus on the calf muscle may be related to increasing the blood flow in the legs and the prevention of clotting.

Many airlines provide suggestions and even explanations of exercises on their web-sites. Northwest Airlines provides a list of 10 possible movements complete with graphics for instruction.
A few examples of exercises that can improve blood flow include:

Ankle Circles

Slowly rotate the feet at the ankle in circles both clockwise and counter clockwise.

Seated Calf Raises

Start with the feet flat on the floor. Slowly raise the heels off the ground bringing the feet up on the toes. Lower the heels and press them into the floor and try to raise the toes off the ground.

Knee Raises

Lift the knees up towards the chest. This can be performed with both knees together or one at a time.

Reach

Raise the arms above the head and elongate the finger tips towards the ceiling, stretching the upper body.

Neck Stretch

Slowly drop the head to one side, almost to touch the shoulder. Circle the head to the front, chin to chest, and over to the other side.

More Tips

Travelers can incorporate additional practices during long flights for comfort and safety. Avoid tight fitting clothing when traveling. Garments should be loose and comfortable while seated. Also, increase leg room by removing items from under the seat in front. If there is no room in the overhead bin, pull the bag out and allow it to sit under the knees so that the legs can be stretched out. Air travel can be very dehydrating to the body. It is beneficial to regularly consume water and fruit juices throughout the duration of the flight.

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Beta Carotene and Vitamins A and E

beta carotene
In a recent press release, a Chicago study of 68 existing studies on Beta carotene and vitamins A and E have been found to increase the risk of death. The review consisted of studies on almost 250,000 people using these antioxidants.

According to critics, many of the study's participants were chronically ill before starting antioxidant treatments. Researchers have not found evidence of risks associated with natural antioxidants found in fruits or vegetables; only in synthetic supplements.

Synthetic supplements have higher concentrated levels of antioxidants and can therefore be more problematic. Antioxidants fight free radicals that can cause cell damage. The study explained that by wiping out the free radicals from our bodies, we are interrupting important defense mechanisms needed to fight disease.

According to the study, using antioxidants Beta carotene and vitamin A and E, can increase the chance of mortality by 5 %. Vitamin C, which is thought to increase longevity, was shown to have no real effect on longevity at all.

While the study may demonstrate that Beta carotene, vitamin A and B may not help you live longer it does not have the valid and reliable support needed to back the claim that antioxidants can actually increase your risk of death.

Check with you physician, especially if you are using anitoxidants as a form of treatment for a serious illness, and consult other surveys that contradict this latest study and recommend antioxidants.

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Acupuncture Treatments

Acupuncture has been practised in Asia for thousands of years and its use as a treatment for numerous illnesses have been well documented.

acupuncture treatments

What is Acupuncture?

A form of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture is an increasingly popular type of complementary/alternative medicine that uses needles to help stimulate different "meridians" in the body. It is based on the concept that the life-force energy of the body runs through various areas or pathways in the body. By inserting small needles into various points and depths, it's considered that a rebalancing of this life-force energy (called 'Qi') will promote good health and correct many ills. Currently there are over 400 known points on the body and each correspond to various bodily functions.

There are documented cases that have shown that acupuncture is effective in treating maladies such as nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy and chemotherapy, minor aches and pains, dental pain, headaches, migraines, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia to name a few. However, major diseases such as diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure do not tend to respond to this treatment, although it can be prescribed for help in symptoms associated with them.

While the treatment can help with the whole host of illnesses listed above, there is still some controversy which surrounds this treatment for the reduction of cravings. The results have been mixed, especially around the issue of smoking cessation. Although it may reduce withdrawal symptoms, it isn't being touted as an entirely reliable cure for this addiction.

In China, where the most extensive and comprehensive schooling is available, it can take 3 to 4 years to graduate. The needles must be placed in the correct spot, so it is essential that qualified individuals perform the procedure.

Interest in the West

Although Western medicine has embraced acupuncture as a treatment in recent years, many insurers still refuse to cover these treatments and repeat visits can be costly.

Yet just because the insurance company doesn't pay for it, its many benefits have been acknowledged by the medical community. In the US, the Mayo Clinic has had a full time staff for acupuncture since the 1970s and the National Institute of Health has recommended acupuncture for various treatments since 1997. It is generally accepted that acupuncture has its place and should be considered as an alternative, or in addition to, conventional treatments.

Ultimately, the best way to figure out which treatment is best for you is always to discuss your options with your physician and follow their recommendations.

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Causes of Hypoglycaemia

hypoglycaemia

Hypoglycaemia means that the glucose in the blood has dropped to a level that may cause harm if prolonged. This level is around 2.5mmols/litre in most people.

The most frequent reason for this is seen in diabetics due to the failure to adequately match insulin dose (or diabetic tablets) with food intake and energy expenditure – in effect, an insulin overdose. However it can occur in non-diabetics for a variety of reasons. As the effects of low blood glucose can be serious, rapid attention to the problem is paramount.

Control of Blood Glucose Level

Blood glucose is a prime source of energy for the muscles and organs of the body. Whereas many tissues can also utilise fat for their energy needs the brain can only use glucose, a fact that has considerable bearing on the consequences of hypoglycaemia.

The hormone insulin removes glucose from the blood and transports it into the muscles and the liver where it is stored. Glucagon, also a hormone, has the opposite effect and removes glucose from storage to enter the circulation.

Clearly fine control of these two hormones, and incidentally many other factors, is needed to maintain blood glucose at appropriate levels.

Causes of Hypoglycaemia

  • Reactive hypoglycaemia: probably caused by an overproduction of insulin following a high carbohydrate meal. The left over insulin mops up too much glucose from the blood.
  • Tumour: pancreatic tumours, which are usually benign, can secrete large amounts of insulin
  • Addison’s disease; a disease of the adrenal glands. Some of the hormones secreted by the adrenal have a marked effect on glucose metabolism
  • Reduced liver function; dysfunction of the liver can disturb the control of glucose storage.
  • Poor functioning pituitary gland.
  • Partial gastrectomy: when the stomach is made smaller food enters the small intestine quicker than it should. This stimulates overproduction of insulin leading to a reactive hypoglycaemia.
  • Cancer: many cancers can have a marked effect on the body’s energy metabolism.
  • Fasting or malnutrition
  • Excess alcohol

Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycaemia

Depending on the individual and degree of hypoglycaemia, some or all of those listed below may be experienced.
  • Pallor, trembling, perspiration
  • Hunger, agitation rapid heart beat
  • Feeling weak, irritability, fatigue
  • Poor concentration, blurred vision
  • Convulsions, loss of consciousness.

The last two – convulsions and loss of consciousness suggest that the brain is becoming impaired through lack of glucose. As indicated earlier the brain has no other energy supply to fall back on so permanent damage can occur unless action is taken rapidly.

Treatment

The important first step is to make sure your signs and symptoms really are due to low blood sugar. The only way to do this is to get it measured by your physician. If hypoglycaemia is occurring the cause needs be found and treated.

Reactive hypoglycaemia is treated by diet. The trick is to avoid large surges of insulin. This is best done by avoiding refined sugars and eating more complex carbohydrates. Essentially these are carbohydrates that require effort by the body to digest and assimilate ensuring slower entry of glucose into the blood stream. Wholemeal breads, particularly with grains in, whole fruits rather than smoothies are best. It’s also important to eat plenty of fresh vegetables as the presence of these in the gut will help ensure slower absorption of glucose.

This article is intended for information only. If you think you might be experiencing low blood glucose you should visit a health professional.

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Fractures of the Hip

fractures of the hip

Hip fractures are like any other broken bone in the body, but they are also distinctive. Such injuries can result in the inability to walk and lead to major functional disruptions. Fractures of the hip occur often in the elderly, a population that is prone to these fractures. Such reasons make hip fractures a commonly discussed condition.

The following is an overview of how these fractures occur and how they are managed.

Relevant Anatomy of the Hip

The hip joint consists of the femur, or thigh bone, and the pelvis. The head of the femur fits into the acetabulum, a round socket in the pelvis. The femoral head comes out of a narrow femoral neck, and below the neck are two bony prominences called the greater trochanter and lesser trochanter. These anatomic landmarks comprise the upper portion of the femur involved in hip fractures.

The blood circulation to the upper femur is also noteworthy. Of three arteries that carry blood to this region, about 90% of circulation comes from the lateral epiphyseal artery. Despite being a main vascular source, this artery carries more blood to specific areas of the femur than others, a characteristic that may worsen some hip fractures.

Types and Causes of Hip Fractures

Hip fractures involve the upper femur in one of three places: the femoral neck (femoral neck fractures), through the greater and lesser trochanters (intertrochanteric fractures), and below the greater and lesser trochanters (subtrochanteric fractures). They often occur secondary to trauma, which can involve high-energy impact but may also occur with falls and minor injuries in people with more brittle bones. Factors that may weaken the femur and make it susceptible to injury include but are not limited to age, osteoporosis, inactivity of thigh muscles, and deficiency in calcium and/or vitamin D.

Treatment of Hip Fractures

After evaluation of a hip fracture by x-ray, an orthopedic surgeon decides whether surgical correction of the fracture is appropriate. He or she takes several things into account, mainly the features of the hip fracture and the overall surgical risk of the patient. If operative treatment is planned, the surgeon performs a hip arthroplasty, repairing the femur using screws, plates, and other fixating devices.

As counterintuitive as it sounds, not all patients with hip fractures are treated surgically. Such patients are of high operative risk with multiple comorbid conditions, have hip fractures that are relatively minor in severity, or have insufficient bone mass for orthopedic fixating devices to function appropriately. Certain patients may be given a walker or cane for ambulation, provided that they bear as little weight as possible on the injured leg.

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Top 6 Fitness Myths

fitness myths

1. Women who lift weights will get bulky muscles:
Not true; lifting weights, doing cardio and eating right are all three essential for losing weight. If you just want to tone up, perform each exercise between 10 and 20 reps. So keep your reps high and don’t be scared of weights; after lifting your metabolism will speed up for the next 48 hours.

2. Spot reducing is possible:
False; let’s take the stomach for example. Everyone has a “six-pack” in there somewhere - it is just a matter of exercising in general and eating right that gets rid of the fat on top. The best abs in the gym belong to the people who do a variety of things, not just working one area. If all you do is 500 crunches a day for the next two months, you will have the strongest abs that Nobody Will Ever See!

3. No pain, No gain:
No Way! This myth often scares people away, so let’s replace it with the truth. No Consistency, No Gain; consistency is the most important part of exercise, without it you are swimming upstream. Pain is not part of a safe routine; find the difference between pain and discomfort. But be ready to suck it up and deal with some sweat and discomfort; you need to push yourself, just not to the point of injury.

4. Exercising requires a hefty time commitment:
Once again absolutely false; exercise requires a commitment to consistency, not a large amount of time. It is much more beneficial to work out just 10 minutes every day of the week, than to work out for 2 hours once a week. Take pride in exercising more often without the burden of time.

5. If you exercise you can eat what ever you want:
This sounds more like an excuse: still not true. Food plays a huge role in how we feel, perform and go about our everyday routines. If you fill your body with fats and sugars all day any amount of exercise can’t counteract the damage. Don’t make things too complicated, just eat healthy and have the treats in moderation; don’t ruin all your hard work at the dinner table.

6. There is a “magic bullet” or quick fix out there somewhere:
Not even close; there is no magic pill, no 8-min Abs, and no equipment you can use on your couch. It took time to gain that weight and it will take time to lose it. So don’t fool yourself, get up and get to the gym.

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Frozen Shoulder

frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder affects only about two percent of the population but can greatly impact day to day life events such as brushing hair, opening doors or reaching up to retrieve something from a top shelf. It is most common in people between the ages of 40 and 60, and, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, can also strike people with diabetes, thyroid problems, Parkinson's disease or cardiac disease.

Dr. Jennifer Solomon, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, which is well-known for its treatment of frozen shoulder, says, "It is also extremely common in perimenopausal women."

This suggests hormonal changes may cause joint stiffness associated with frozen shoulder.

The disorder often develops slowly, and in three stages.

Stage One: Pain increases with movement and is often worse at night. There is a progressive loss of motion with increasing pain. This stage lasts approximately 2 to 9 months.

Stage Two: Pain begins to diminish, and moving the arm is more comfortable. However, the range of motion is now much more limited, as much as 50 percent less than in the other arm. This stage may last 4 to 12 months.

Stage Three: The condition begins to resolve. Most patients experience a gradual restoration of motion over the next 12 to 42 months; surgery may be required to restore motion for some patients.

No one has yet to pinpoint the exact cause of frozen shoulder. However, it likely involves an underlying inflammatory process and can develop after leaving the shoulder immobile for any period of time, such as after surgery or an injury.

A medical history and physical exam, including X-rays can usually diagnose frozen shoulder. Treatment options include ibuprofen and cortisone injections. Steroids can significantly reduce inflammation and pain and increase range of motion.

Physical therapy is also often recommended, and consists of stretching or range-of-motion exercises. Therapy can be conducted by a trained and licensed therapist or in the comfort of home without supervision. Surgery is seen as a last resort should conventional methods be unsuccessful.

The recently held 75th Annual Meeting Podium Presentations by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons concluded that frozen shoulder is often misdiagnosed when the real culprit to pain and loss of motion is a tumor localized inside the bone or in the scapular region. These surgeons cautioned that a misdiagnosis can cause a significant delay in treatment. Patients should ask their physicians to consider all options.

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Keep Viruses and Germs in Check

viruses and germs

Many believe that the way one catches a cold is through the air via small droplets that are sneezed or coughed out by an ill individual. This isn't quite accurate. Most colds are caught by way of touching a contaminated object (including any number of common ones like a doorknob or a shopping cart handle) covered with those droplets.

There are ways of preventing colds and making your home environment "cold free".

Wash up!

The best way to prevent colds from occurring is to wash one's hands thoroughly with warm water and soap. During cold season, you may want to do this a second and third time.

If possible, fingernails should be scrubbed by a scrub brush to remove all that's caught underneath. Fingernails tend to harbor not only dirt, but also bacteria and viruses. If using a washroom is impossible, consider carrying around sanitizing towellettes. These are a good substitute in lieu of washing when ouotside.

If you do need to cough or sneeze, do so into your arm or tissue. This will help to prevent the contamination of the area by you. Be also careful about touching your eye. Viruses can enter the eye easily and can cause myriad problems, not the least of which is conjunctivitis or "pink eye".

Breathe in...

Other methods of prevention include the breathing in hot steamy air, or even warm air for that fact. If you can find one at a local gym, a 20-minute sauna session is most helpful. The hot or warm air seems to kill the cold virus fairly well. If one doesn't have access to a sauna, just breathing in the air from a hair dryer may do the trick. (But take care!)

Or try filling up your sink with hot, boiling water, covering your head with a towel and breathing the steam, taking care not to get any hot water on your skin. You can also add a bit of Eucalyptus oil or something like Vicks Vapo-Rub to help clear out any congestion.

One can also help prevent colds by taking certain supplements. Vitamin C, Zinc and a herb called Andrographis can be helpful.
Getting a good night's sleep and decreasing one's stress can also aid in healing. Sleep boosts the immune system, while stress decreases it. Think positively or do activities that help to relax one's system. Exercise can also bolster immunity. Three days of moderate exercise should prove sufficient. But if you're very ill, rest is best.

Cleanliness is key

Another way to minimize colds is to decrease the amount of germs in your home. Clean the phones and doorknobs daily during cold season. Place tissue boxes out in your highest-trafficked part of your home. Consider leaving the window open a crack in the most populated rooms to help drive away germs. Lowering the temperature 5 degrees and keeping humidity at 50% will also help maintain a steady germ-free environment. Viruses thrive in the heat.

By keeping the temperature down, it will keep viruses at bay. Also heat tends to dry mucosal tissues in the nose, making them more prone to allow germs to gain entry here. Finally toothbrushes and towels should be changed reugularly, especially if someone just recovered from a cold, to help keep everyone healthy.

By following the above your chances of becoming ill will decrease. Your odds will improve that you'll escape unscathed during cold season.

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Effective Ways to Help Lower Hypertension

lower hypertension

According to the American Heart Association, one in three Americans has hypertension, with a third of those not knowing they have it. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder than needed and hardens the arterial walls. Hypertension can increase the risk for heart attack and stroke, which are the number one and three primary causes of death in the United States respectively. It can also lead to heart failure, kidney failure and blindness. High blood pressure can lack symptoms so many don’t know that they have it. The only way to find out is to have one’s blood pressure checked regularly. Luckily there are simple lifestyle changes that can help prevent or control hypertension.

Diet

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s DASH diet, is a good model to follow. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet basically is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, magnesium and potassium, which are all important for arterial health. Specific fruits and vegetables such as canteloupes, prunes, raisins, bananas and potatoes are especially high in potassium. Potassium helps regulate the body’s fluid and salt levels. This, in conjunction with decreasing salt intake to no more than 1500mg a day, can effectively lower blood pressure readings by 10 points. Other foods that help lower hypertension include oatmeal, soy, and dark chocolate. Some Vitamins and supplements that may aid in lowering blood pressure include magnesium, fish-oil supplements, garlic and hawthorn. Dosages and efficacy may vary from individual to individual. Checking with one’s physician prior to taking these supplements is a must.

Lifestyle changes

There are several life-style changes that can help reduce hypertension. These include limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, exercise and decreasing stress.

In some, alcohol raises blood pressure and heavy drinkers tend to have hypertension. Alcohol consumption should be limited to a drink a day. Smoking should be eliminated completely. Tobacco can include elements and compounds that contribute to the hardening of the arteries and the nicotine in cigarettes can cause blood vessels to contract, increasing the risks associated with high blood pressure.

Brisk exercise, consisting of thirty minutes a day, several times a week can help lower overall blood pressure. Although exercise can temporarily increase blood pressure during the activity, it does help lower overall resting blood pressure greatly. In addition, exercise promotes weight loss, reducing the amount of work that the heart has to perform. Checking with one’s physician prior to implementation of an exercise program is advised.

Stress can increase heart rate, which can lead to hypertension. Relaxation techniques and biofeedback methods are helpful to combat stress. These may include meditation, mind-body exercises, stress reduction training and things as simple as becoming involved with a hobby or getting a pet.

The numbers

Blood pressure consists of two numbers. The top number, systolic pressure measures blood flow at its highest pressure when the heart beats, while the lower number, diastolic pressure, measures blood flow when the heart is at rest. Although both numbers are important, the diastolic pressure reading is the one that concerns the most, because high pressure at rest can only go up when exertion is applied. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute maintains that a blood pressure of 120/80mg or lower is normal. Readings of 140/90mg or higher can indicate hypertension. It’s important to get checked regularly, not only by a physician, but also occasionally at home, by taking one’s own blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a silent killer. Regular checkups and home monitoring can diagnose this problem. Changes in lifestyle and diet can help control or lower hypertension. Consultation with one’s physician is necessary prior to exercise programs, vitamin supplement ingestion and the prescription of medications, if indicated.

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Incorrect Treatment For Lyme Disease

lyme disease
Delays in proper treatment, inhibition of our immune systems by tick and bacterial defenses, and development of resistance of Borrelia to common antibiotics allow the bacteria to escape eradication. Caught early enough, most cases are cured with a short series of oral antibiotics. There is even talk about a single dose of long-release doxycycline being sufficient if given early enough. Yet many people are being misdiagnosed, given insufficient treatments (Burrascano 2005), and not cured even after prolonged antibiotic administration.

The Physician Factor

Physicians who follow the guidelines of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) feel that the regime of antibiotics proscribed by IDSA is sufficient to eliminate Lyme disease. Thus, these doctors prescribe 14 days of doxycycline when they assume the patient has had the disease for less than a month, and 28 days when they feel there is neurological involvement.

When the patient symptoms are not relieved by this antibiotic regime, the doctor, following IDSA's guidelines, states the disease is cured, but now the patient is demonstrating “post Lyme disease syndrome”, and there is nothing further that can or will be done. The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) produced different guidelines. ILADS physicians understand that the disease has entered a “chronic Lyme disease” state, and more intense measures must be taken to eradicate the disease.

How Borrelia Escape the Immune System During Chronic Lyme Disease
Borrelia penetrate into the cells of various tissues where they become isolated from both antibodies and killer T-cells (phagocytes) that would eat them. The blood brain barrier prevents many antibiotics from entering the tissues of the brain and spinal cord. When Borrelia penetrate that barrier, they are isolated from most antibiotics and wreak mayhem inside our nervous system, causing major alterations in nerve function – breaking the synaptic network and even destroying nerve cells.

The bacteria also burrow into and kill T-lymphocytes, the very cells designed to trap and kill them. As they destroy lymphocytes, Borrelia can hide inside a stolen portion of the lymphocyte's membrane and move through the bloodstream and tissue fluids looking to the immune system like a lymphocyte. The bacteria leave the lymphocyte membrane for only a short time before they enter a new cell.

How Borrelia Escape Antibiotics

  • Once inside the host, the bacteria reproduce about once every two weeks. (E. coli can reproduce once every twenty minutes.) Since most antibiotics prevent the bacteria from reproducing, ILADS feels a two week antibiotic treatment is ineffective as the bacteria may not reproduce during the period of treatment.
  • Each spirochete releases hundreds of membrane covered blebs, from their outer surface, and it appears these blebs are in part responsible for causing the symptoms of LD. Some antibiotics destroy these blebs, although the bacteria escape the antibiotic. In this case, the antibiotic reduces the severity of the illness because, although the blebs are rapidly destroyed by the antibiotic, bacteria continue to make blebs, so a few blebs remain active during treatment. The patient feels “better” but is not cured. Once the antibiotic is stopped, the blebs increase to pre-antibiotic levels and the disease comes back in full force – often producing new and more serious symptoms.
  • Borrelia has the ability to change from a spirochete into two other cell forms and enter body cells (Alan B. MacDonald, MD, power point presentation entitled: “Borrelia and Alzheimer's Disease”, presented to the ILADS national meeting Oct 30, 2007).
  • The first is an inactive cystic form that is able to produce new spirochetes at a later time. MacDonald feels this form is responsible for resurging Lyme disease after periods of remission.
  • The second is an L-form or spheroid without a cell wall. This form is often found inside T-cells and neurons and appears to be responsible for damaging these tissues. Each of the three forms of Borrelia requires different antibiotics or medications to destroy (Burrascano 2005). If these different medications are not provided at the proper times, the disease may return. IDSA does not agree the cyclic and L-forms develop in humans – even though Dr. McDonald has been demonstrating this for years. Thus, IDSA does not provide for treating any form but the spirochetal one.
  • Bacteria can acquire genes for antibiotic resistance from resistant strains of other species. If a few Borrelia become resistant to an antibiotic, the sensitive forms are destroyed by it - effecting a temporary “cure.” When the resistant ones reproduce and form a resistant population, LD returns but now must be treated with a different antibiotic.

Patients May Need Several Medications

The key to treatment of LD is to have the treatment started as soon as you suspect you have the disease - before the bacterium transform, mutate, or obtains antibiotic resistance. Once the bacteria are altered, a single antibiotic can not treat all of its forms, but there are many antibiotics available. If a particular antibiotic fails, another one might be effective.

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Kidney Stones

kidney stones
Stones in the kidney or urinary tract (nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis, both synonymous) often present as a medical emergency. Those afflicted seek help because of excruciating pain and other complications. Though not common, there are various ways for these stones to form. The options for treatment, however, are generally the same.

Formation of Stones

Calcium stones, mainly calcium oxalate, are the most common type of renal calculus. They can form when one doesn't drink enough water, allowing calcium that would dissolve to instead precipitate and crystallize. They also form in association with conditions raising the blood calcium level, including hyperparathyroidism, cancer, vitamin D overdose, and sarcoidosis. Other factors involve oxalate and citrate. Too much dietary oxalate or conditions increasing intestinal absorption of oxalate can promote stone formation. Citrate plays a role when there is too little of it, because it normally binds calcium and prevents crystallization into stones.

Uric acid stones can form with excessive ingestion of purines, primarily from meats. In addition, urine that is more acidic allows uric acid to crystallize more easily. Other types of stones include struvite stones formed through urinary tract infections by urea-splitting bacteria (e.g., Proteus mirabilis), cysteine stones from a rare genetic condition resulting in high levels of blood cysteine, and drug-induced calculi from certain medications that can crystallize within the urinary tract (e.g., the anti-HIV drug indinavir).

Symptoms and Signs

A calculus within the urinary tract triggers intense pain. One may feel it in the flank if the stone resides in the kidney itself. If the stone advances down the ureter, pain is felt in the abdomen or groin depending on the stone's location. Trauma can cause bleeding seen in the urine itself (hematuria). If the stone reaches the urinary bladder and causes outflow obstruction, one may have pain in the lower abdomen and frequent urges to urinate. On occasion, the stone is a large irregularly shaped stone that fills the space within the kidney (staghorn calculus). As a result, one may have signs of infection, like fever and low blood pressure, rather than pain.

The prime imaging study to diagnose nephrolithiasis is a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis. Abdominal x-rays can detect calcium stones since they light up well, but not the other types of stones. Ultrasound of the kidneys can demonstrate urine backing up in the urinary tract (hydronephrosis), but it's not always seen, particularly when the stone is small and nonobstructing. Other tests for nephrolithiasis include urinalysis to detect blood, complete blood count to look for signs of infection, and serum chemistries to detect abnormalities in kidney function and electrolyte levels that may suggest a particular cause for the stone.

Treatments

The first step is to relieve any urinary obstruction. If the obstruction is in the bladder, a Foley catheter is inserted through the urethra to drain the urine. If obstruction involves the ureter and urine is backed up all the way to the kidneys, a nephrostomy tube is inserted directly through the skin and into the kidney to drain the urine.

As for the stone itself, treatment depends on its size. If it's small, like less than 5 mm, the patient may be given medications to help relax smooth muscle in the ureter and aid in passage of the stone (e.g., Hytrin, Flomax). For stones that are larger and are unable to pass, options include breaking the stone with shock waves (extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy or ESWL), inserting a tube through the urethra and all the way to the stone in the ureter in order to extract it with tools (ureteroscopy), and surgically opening the kidney (nephrolithotomy). The urgency of these urological procedures depends on the severity of symptoms. For the most part, they can be done at a urology follow-up appointment after hospitalization.

Once that is taken care of, analysis of the stone is done to determine its composition. From there, the underlying conditions that led to the stone are addressed.

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Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder

seasonal affective disorder

According to the Mayo Clinic online, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a cyclic, seasonal condition with signs and symptoms that reoccur around the same time each year. Usually, symptoms appear during late fall and progress on through the winter, only abating with the onset of longer and sunnier days.

Though, conversely, some people have developed the opposite pattern and become depressed with the onset of spring or summer, only feeling relief when that season wanes. But, in either case, SAD symptoms generally start out mild and progress in severity throughout the length of the season.

Seasonal Affective Disorder Facts and Causes

According to Mental Health America, formerly known as the National Mental Health Association (NMHA), SAD mimics many signs of depression, though it is actually a mood disorder that is related to the body's inability to adapt itself to varying amounts of sunlight.
The NMHA further offers the following facts about this serious and often misunderstood disorder.
  • A million people suffer from SAD every winter between September and April.
  • The “Winter Blues" may be a milder form of SAD and affect twice as many people.
  • Three out of four SAD sufferers are women.
  • The main onset of SAD occurs between the ages of 18 and 30.
  • SAD occurs in both the northern and southern hemispheres, though, oddly, it is rarely seen in those living within 30 degrees latitude of the equator.
  • The severity of the disorder depends on both a person’s vulnerability to light variance and his or her geographical location.

Evidently, just as sunlight affects the seasonal activities of animals (reproductive cycles and hibernation), it may too influence human behavior in similarly cyclical ways. As seasons change, there is a marked shift in the human “internal biological clock,” or circadian rhythm, due in part to patterns directly linked to varying levels of sunlight. The effect is an internal clock that is in step with the seasons but out of step with year-round daily schedules.

Also, SAD sufferers seem to more easily produce increased levels of melatonin, a sleep-related hormone that is naturally secreted by the brain. It seems that sufferers excrete heaps of the hormone during extended periods of darkness, so, when the days become shorter and darker, they begin to crave carbohydrates, require greater amounts of sleep, become irritable, and develop a severe disinclination to boogie.

Correctly Diagnosing and Identifying SAD

Of course, despite its pervasive grip on so many Americans, Seasonal Affective Disorder is notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat effectively due to its elusive and broad-ranging symptoms and almost entirely subjective level of suffering across those effected. Nevertheless, if the majority of the following symptoms listed below (from the Mayo Clinic on-line) are experienced, SAD may be the cause.
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of energy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Oversleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating and processing information

Notably, it is important to talk with your doctor regarding any concerns about mood instability or depression.
Particularly interesting are the symptoms of social withdrawal, appetite changes, and difficulty concentrating and processing information, as these symptoms do not necessarily point to long-term and pervasive suffering. The other interesting notation here is that there is currently no cure for SAD. Medication, light therapy, and weekly exercise regiment are only treatments for the disease.

Light Therapy and Medications for SAD Sufferers

Light therapy currently is the main treatment, and research is continuing to determine the most effective way to use it. There are two types of light therapy: bright light treatment, which makes use of a "light box" for a certain amount of time (usually in the morning), and dawn simulation, which takes place during the sleeping hours, utilizing a low-intensity light timed to go on in the early morning and get brighter with the waking hours.

It may take anywhere from three days to two weeks before a patient experiences positive effects from light therapy. However, discontinuing the routine will likely cause a relapse back into depression, as the goal of the light box is to reset the biological clock to a time of full sun, thereby triggering the brain to function at its highest levels of production.

Other treatments include the use of antidepressants, which may take as many as 6 to 8 weeks to become fully effective. Medication can be used with light therapy, but, as always, it is important to talk with a doctor before taking any medications.

Perhaps SAD is a little misunderstood, but it is very treatable if given proper time, attention, and understanding.

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Understanding Osler-Weber-Rendu Syndrome

osler weber rendu syndrome
Olser-Weber-Rendu syndrome (OWR), also known as Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT), is an inherited condition affecting the blood vessels. It affects approximately one person out of 10,000, or about 1.2 million people throughout the world.

Causes of Osler-Weber-Rendu Syndrome

Olser-Weber-Rendu syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by an abnormality in either the endoglin gene (ENG) on chromosome 9, or the activin receptor-like kinase 1 gene (ALK1) on chromosome 12. Both of these genes are involved in blood vessel formation. A mutation in either of these genes will result in similar OWR symptoms, and those who have the disorder generally only have an abnormality in one of the genes.

OWR syndrome has an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance, meaning only one copy of the abnormal gene is necessary to cause the disease and to pass it on. Each child of an individual who has the disorder has a 50% chance of inheriting it. The vast majority of those affected have a family history of the disorder.

Symptoms of Osler-Weber-Rendu Syndrome

Most symptoms of OWR syndrome are due to abnormal formation of capillaries, tiny vessels that normally connect arteries to veins. Abnormalities in capillary formation cause defects known as arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), fragile areas in the vessels that can easily rupture. AVMs may occur on the surface of the skin or in the lungs, brain, liver, stomach or gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms often begin to appear in affected people when they are between ten and twenty years old, and increase with age. Individuals with OWR will not necessarily have all of these symptoms.

  • Telangiectasias are small AVMs that may appear on the skin as red spots on the face, hands, lips, or inside the mouth. They may bleed spontaneously or from minor trauma.
  • Nosebleeds (epistaxis) usually begin to appear around 12 years of age, and are due to telangiectasias in the nose.
  • Anemia can be caused by blood loss from frequent nosebleeds or bleeding from AVMs elsewhere in the body.
  • Pulmonary AVMs cause bleeding in the lungs, increase the risk of bacterial infections by interfering with normal filtering processes, and cause low blood oxygen levels, migraine headaches, and can possibly lead to stroke.
  • Brain AVMs can cause headaches, seizures, paralysis or stroke.
  • Liver AVMs can interfere with normal circulation of the blood and lead to increased risk of heart failure.
  • Gastrointestinal AVMs can cause significant loss of blood, leading to anemia.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Osler-Weber-Rendu Syndrome

OWR syndrome is usually diagnosed by observation of symptoms such as frequent nosebleeds and telangiectasias, and whether there is a family history of the disorder. Blood tests can detect anemia and monitor blood oxygen levels; chest x-rays or EKGs can assess if lungs and heart are normal; ultrasound is used to find AVMs in the stomach or liver; MRIs are used to look for AVMs in the brain. Gastrointestinal bleeding can be detected by stool samples.

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition. Mild cases may require little or no treatment. Treatment for more severe symptoms may include iron supplements for anemia or laser therapy to seal telangiectasias. Chronic bleeding from the GI tract may require endoscopy and treatment by laser therapy or cauterization of AVMs. Pulmonary AVMs may be treated with embolization, which is insertion of a tube through a vein in the groin area that is used to place a balloon in the lung to block the bleeding artery. Brain AVMs may be treated by surgery, embolization, or stereotactic radiosurgery, which uses a focused beam of radiation.

Other treatments include hormone therapy with estrogen, or aminocaprioic acid, which improves clotting. In cases of severe blood loss, blood transfusions may be necessary. Many people who have Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome do not have severe symptoms, and require minimal treatment to manage the condition, but early screening and proper diagnosis are crucial.

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Recovering From Back Surgery – Healing Safely from Back Surgery

back surgery recovery
For a fast and safe recovery from back surgery, patients are given post operative care instructions. A back surgery patient should try to gradually engage in daily activities and religiously take prescribed medications. Once a patient starts to feel better, engaging in strengthening and mobility exercises is the next step.

Recover Fast From Back Surgery by Getting Back in Action

As part of a speedier recovery process, it is important for a back surgery patient to slowly get back into a daily routine. Immersing oneself in activities, even those as simple as getting out of bed without help, is a major step towards full recovery. Here are some more tips to easily get back in action.
  • Get in and out of bed safely without putting pressure on the back. This can be easily done through a log roll – a position where in an individual rolls on his side, swings legs to the floor and lifts the body using the arms.
  • Utilize special tools such as railings, a reacher and elevated seat to assist with day to day actions.
  • When in doubt on whether or not to perform a specific activity, such as driving or going to work, check with a doctor.
  • Refrain from being in one position for long periods of time to avoid cramps and spasms.

Take Prescribed Medication for Fast Back Surgery Recovery

A doctor will prescribe medication for an effective pain management. Do not hesitate to ask questions pertaining to what the medicine is for and length of time it has to be taken. Never wait for pain to be intolerable before taking medication and make sure to take it on time. Also, if an individual has been on medication for a while, it is best to consult with a doctor before stopping medication.

Gain Strength Back After Back Surgery Through Exercising

Exercise programs are usually given after surgery to help a back surgery patient to heal faster. Exercising is also another way to reduce pain. Here are some strengthening exercises to try.
  • Walking – Walking is a great way to maintain the strength and flexibility of the muscles. Start with short walks on flat surfaces for a few minutes. For each day, add a minute or so.
  • Water Aerobics – This type of exercise is great in exercising muscles, while maintaining a minimum stress on the back. The doctor may recommend this exercise as soon as it is determined that the incision is safe to get wet.
  • Other exercises recommended by a physical therapist

Speed Up Back Surgery Recovery by Protecting the Back

Observing good body mechanics when performing day to day activity can speed up the recovery process. It can also prevent back injury in the future.
  • When lifting, follow the recommended weight limit set by the doctor. Also, remember to always lift using the legs and hold the object to be lifted close to the body.
  • Sit with a straight back; no slouching or slumping.
  • Use knees when bending and never bend from the waist.
  • Avoid any form of twisting or bending

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The Difference Between Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is caused by the depletion of both water and salt due to excessive sweating during periods of work or exercise. Athletes are particularly prone to heat exhaustion. Heat stroke is an extension of heat exhaustion, and it happens when the body's mechanisms responsible for temperature regulation fail. Both of these conditions should be treated as emergencies. Here's how to recognize when a person is afflicted with heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

How to Recognize and Treat Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion can affect anyone when the weather is hot, indoors or outdoors. Symptoms can begin after prolonged exposure to high temperatures without balancing the loss of electrolytes with adequate fluid intake. Weakness and confusion will follow. Sufferers of heat exhaustion will sweat more heavily than normal, and may have cool and clammy skin.

It's imperative to get the person to a cooler location; preferably an air-conditioned room. Call for medical assistance right away and give water or sports beverages to replace the salt that's been lost. Only allow the person to sip small amounts of liquid at regular intervals of 10 minutes. Remove as much clothing as possible and wrap the limbs with towels that have been drenched with cool water. The victim might complain of a throbbing headache but under no circumstances should pain medications be given.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke and How to Treat the Condition

A dangerously high body temperature of 104°F or 40°C is the main sign of heat stroke. Visible neurological indicators are seizures, difficulty understanding what others are saying, and hallucinations. Sufferers of heat stroke will produce little or no sweat, and the skin will turn bright red because the body tries to dilate blood vessels to try to release heat. What's happening is that the body is turning into an oven. Other symptoms are a rapid pulse, confusion, and unusually aggressive behavior.

It's vital to call emergency medical services immediately because heat stroke can be fatal. Before they arrive, take steps to cool the victim down. Move the person out of direct sunlight to a shady area. If possible, spray the victim with cool water from a hose. Placing ice packs behind the head, under the arms, and on the sides of the chest will help to bring the person's core temperature down. Do not give caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee and never leave the victim unattended.

How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion is the early stage of heat stroke. To reduce the likelihood of getting one and possibly both of these conditions, stay hydrated, wear loose clothing that reflects sunlight and take frequent breaks if you must work outside on hot days. Bring another person along in case an emergency does occur. At the first sign of heat exhaustion, all activities must be stopped, fluids must be replenished and the affected person should relax.

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UK Researchers Say Welfare Programme Cuts Affects Health

welfare programme

UK researchers have said that rates of heart disease and alcohol-related illnesses increases as a result of public spending being reduced.
A study carried out by an investigative team for the British Medical Journal concluded that a £70 reduction in social spending per person would spiral the alcohol illness upwards by 2.8% and heart disease by 1.2%.

Researchers collated data about government spending from 15 European countries including the UK from 1980 to 2005.

Trends Show Death Rates Increase as Public Spending Falls

Analysis revealed that as government spending was high, death rates fell and when social spending plummeted mortality rates grew.
Social circumstances were the strongest link to more cases of heart disease, and health deterioration was also connected with social spending on welfare independently of levels of health spending.

The most vulnerable groups likely to be affected are the long-term unemployed, disabled people and families and children.
Reductions in other areas of government spending such as in military spending or on prisons showed no such correlations with higher rates of death.

The study’s release comes after George Osborne revealed that his June 22 2011 emergency budget is to attack benefit payments
Government departments budgets will be slashed by 25% over the next four years apart from the protected areas of the National Health Service and international aid.

Attacks on benefit payments include a reduction in housing benefits from 2012 with a ceiling of £400 implemented, with the unemployed facing a 10% reduction from 2013 in their housing payments.

There will be more stringent tests for those who claim disability benefits from 2013, and the health in pregnancy grant is to be abolished from 2011 with the Sure Start maternity grant restricted to the first child.

Professor Says that Welfare Programme Spending is More Important than Health

The leader of the study, Dr. David Stuckler, a lecturer at the University of Oxford, believes that welfare spending may be a better use of resource than ring fenced health spending.

He also warned the coalition government that sharp attacks on the state will prove to have far reaching negative effects.

He told news.bbc.co.uk "So far the discussions around budget cuts have largely focused on economics. But social circumstances are crucial to people's health and our study shows there could be quite significant harms. If we want to promote a sustainable recovery in Britain, we must first ensure that we have taken care of people's most basic health needs."

In the UK there are currently an estimated 200,000 heart disease deaths every year and 9,000 fatalities from alcohol.

Dr Struckler concluded in his study that between 6,500 and 38,000 extra deaths would occur after putting through Osborne’s measures on a mathematical model.

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UK Study: More are Overweight and Alcohol-related Deaths Increase

overweight

The latest Social Trends report released by the Office National of Statistics has uncovered that alcohol-related deaths are on the increase but life expectancy is lengthening.

One in five men and one in seven women over the age of 16 consume more than double the daily allowance for alcohol once a week, increasing the amount of people who suffer from alcohol illness.

The ONS has been collating data since the 1970s on how people live in the UK and behavioural changes in society. Matthew Hughes, editor of Social Trends 40, told the telegraph.co.uk "The UK and the world are very different places now compared to 40 years ago. This book represents an overall picture of life in the UK today."

Life Expectancy is Higher for Women and Smoking Rates Fall

The report revealed that men are now expected to live to 77.8 years old 10 years older when compared to the '70s. Women are also living longer on average until 82 years old, a slightly less increase of seven years.

There was more encouraging health news over smoking rates as the number of heavy smokers has fallen considerably. In the last four decades male heavy smokers has decreased from 26 per cent to seven per cent. Women have also seen their rates of smoking fall with a drop of eight per cent down to just five per cent.

Social Changes Include Marriage and Communications

The ons.gov.uk also found that more people are living in single person households and do not feel the need to get married. Since 1971 there has been a doubling of single person households to 12 per cent. Two thirds of people over the age of 18 feel fulfilled enough in their lives not having a regular partner with more women putting off having children until later in life.

One of the largest behavioural changes over the last 40 years has been communications due to the internet revolution. Internet connection has now risen to 66 per cent in households compared to to nine per cent -staggeringly over the last ten years only.

Hughes opined: "The statistics highlight some of the main social changes over the last four decades. We are now living longer, less of us get married, and household sizes are smaller.”

"More of us have cars, women are having babies later in life, and more of our household spending goes on housing, water and fuel."

Other significant changes are the amount of those progressing onto higher education with numbers rising since the 1970s by almost two million.
More passports are also needed in modern day Britain as more than 40 million foreign holidays are taken than four decades ago with Spain still tourist’s most popular destination.

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Dry Eye Syndrome in Young People

dry eye syndrome

It is common knowledge these days that older people are prone to illness and disease. Their bodies seem to shrink as they get older, their skin becomes wrinkly, and simple bodily functions cease to operate properly. One of these is vision and the condition of the eye. A lot of elderly people suffer from cataracts and impaired vision, which is mostly caused by a lifetime of unknown strain on the actual muscle of the eye. But what if this happens in younger people, especially those under the age of 40?

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Quite simply, this disorder is caused by a breakdown of functions in the eye. It is all connected to the tear film, a protective shield that covers the cornea (the centre of the eye) and stops grit or other foreign bodies from scratching it. This tear film is what gives the human eye its moisture, a constant watery layer to keep the eye clean and free from disease.

But dry eye syndrome is not only related to lack of tears. When this watery layer of protective mucus is damaged it can no longer shield the most sensitive part of the eye (cornea). The brain will automatically send messages to try and produce tears to make up for this dryness, and this will result in a stream of water coming from the tear ducts. So from having very dry, sore eyes, the person is now suffering very wet, sore eyes. Yet as soon as this water stream slows, it evaporates, and the eye is back to its usual dry, uncomfortable state.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome?

As well as a constant dry sensation, the patient of this syndrome will be sensitive to light. They may find even indoor electric lighting is too bright and that they feel more comfortable wearing sunglasses. When driving a vehicle at night it may seem as though all other drivers have their high-intensity beams on even when they don’t. It will be impossible to lift the head up on a sunny day because of the pain.

If the person blinks rapidly they will find no tears forming, and will instead feel sharp, stabbing pains, as though there were something in the eye that shouldn’t be there. It will feel hot, uncomfortable, and sometimes very sore. There will be a sensation of grit in the eye and sometimes a flaky texture around the eyelashes.

A feeling of tiredness is often associated with dry eye syndrome. Prolonged use of contact lenses can damage the eye’s protective layer and may result in dryness and difficulty producing tears. The skin around the eyes will feel puffy and taut and women will find it uncomfortable or painful to wear eye makeup because it sits too heavily on the eyelids and lashes.

How is Dry Eye Syndrome Caused?

In this modern age it is commonly believed that dry eye syndrome only affects elderly people. This is simply not true. Children are being raised on a diet of fast food, fizzy drinks, and playing computer consoles and watching large hi-tech television screens. As they move into the workplace they have to drive for several hours a week, sometimes more than two hours every day, and all of this takes its toll on the eye. The added dependency on computers means the eye is constantly under immense strain.

Exposure to bright lights, lack of natural minerals and vitamins, and even something as simple as not drinking enough water can exacerbate the condition. And even the simplest reaction, blinking the eye, is forgotten about while the person concentrates on the road ahead, or the document they are reading, or the game they are playing. They forget to blink and the eye becomes dry, and the tear film can no longer cope with the strain.

How do I treat Dry Eye Syndrome?

Once diagnosed by a doctor there is currently no known cure for dry eye syndrome. But as with all medical conditions, once a diagnosis is made, it is suddenly easier to deal with. Dry eye syndrome is no different. It can be eased with the aid of simple artificial tears. These are non-medicated eye drops, with no preservatives, that act as temporary lubrication for the eye. They can be readily obtained in a reputable pharmacy. A lubricating ointment can be a great help, especially if applied at night to soak in during sleep. This will stop the eyes from becoming sticky and crusty, and will also help ease dry skin.

It is important to maintain cleanliness around the eyes. They can be bathed in a solution of boiled, cooled water with salt mixed in, which will clean out impurities and foreign bodies. The traditional beauty care method of putting cucumber slices over the eyes can help reduce puffiness and will cool the discomfort, offering temporary relief.

Also the general environment needs to be adjusted. A sufferer of dry eye syndrome must get plenty of sleep to allow the body to heal itself from within. Try to reduce the hours spent in front of a computer screen or television, or at least take regular breaks and remember to blink frequently. Remove the need for air conditioning units where possible, and perhaps place a few humidifiers around the house or workplace. Small houseplants can act as natural humidifiers. And remember to eat good, healthy food and drink lots of water, to keep the body hydrated from within.

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Home Remedies for Back Pain

back pain
Back pain can take a toll on everyone — young and old. However, according to the book 1,801 Home Remedies by Reader's Digest, there are many ways you can help prevent, as well as relieve, back pain on your own.

Apply Ice and Heat

After you've experienced an injury, apply a bag of ice or frozen vegetables on the painful area. Ice is known not only to counteract against pain, but also reduce swelling.1,801 Home Remedies suggests that you keep ice on the injured area as frequently as possible during the first two days. After you've applied ice for 48 hours, place a heating paid on your back (specifically on the injured area). Consider repeating this three times a day, 20 minutes at a time, for about a week.

Massaging Pain Away

Ask your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend to rub your back. However, skip the lotions, especially if you're unsure of whether or not you have skin allergies. And if your partner gets a little tired while giving you a massage, ask him or her to try this: take a knee sock, add tennis balls inside and roll it up and down your back. Or visit your doctor, chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist and see what she recommends as massage tools.

Supplements From the Health Store

Visit your local health store and ask about bromelain supplements. Bromelain, says 1,801 Home Remedies, is known to "promote circulation" as well as decrease swelling. Just make sure you get clearance from a doctor first and read the bottles — pay attention to any contraindications stated on the label.

Change Your Posture When You're in Pain

If your back is in pain, don't force yourself to sit or lie in a certain way. Instead, look for a position that puts the least stress on the injured area. And if you're more comfortable sleeping on your back, place a pillow under your knees. This will help relieve pressure from your back.

Preventing Back Pain

Most of all, we must move around in order to prevent back pain — in fact, if one stops exercising, there's a higher likelihood of injuring the back even more! When your back hurts, gentle movement is recommended, as this will keep the back joints loose and flexible. Also, visit a gym class or personal trainer and get feedback on how you can strengthen your back through stretching and weight training.

Clearly, back pain can be a vicious cycle, however, you can take measures at home to treat, as well as prevent, it. Consider ice and heat, massage, nutritional supplements, changing your posture and preventative measures. In the long run, your body will thank you.

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How To Remove Excess Earwax in a Safe and Healthy Way

excess earwax
Earwax is a waxy substance in the ear meant to protect and clean the ear canal. Figuring out what earwax is is the first step to treating it. Earwax grows slowly, pushing dirt and other particles from the ear. It usually falls out on its own. Sometimes, however the earwax can build up and cause heavy feelings in the ear canal or hearing issues.

Is This Excess Earwax?

Earwax is an itchy substance, but it does have a purpose. Not only does it clean the ear, it provides lubrication. Often times, when people think they have excess earwax when in reality they have the typical amount. Sometimes, however, earwax does build up, and that requires medicinal attention. The trick is figuring out whether or not the ear wax is excessive.

If one is experiencing hearing loss or pain, this could be a sign of excess ear wax. Anything from a slight muffled sound to almost complete deafness can be a sign of hearing loss created by ear wax. If left untreated, it could cause permanent damage to the ear drum. Feeling pain inside the ear drum can also be a sign of excess ear wax. Check the symptoms and consult a doctor if needed.

Removing Earwax Safely

At home removal can help alleviate minor pain or discomfort, but it’s important to do it safely. Never ever use a cotton swab. As stated before, the ear wax is slowly emerging itself from the ear canal. Although a cotton swab will remove some of the ear wax, it will push the majority of the wax back down in the canal. This can cause damage to the ear drum.

Products for removing ear wax can be bought at the store, but it can also be done with household products. All one really needed is a dropper, some sort of oil such as baby oil, mineral oil or olive oil, and water. The oil should be warmed (but not hot). Fill the dropper (these can be purchased at a drug store) with some of the warm oil, and tilt the head to the side. Place several drops of the warm oil in the ear, and allow it to rest in there for several seconds. The heat will “melt” the wax. Tilt the head the other way, and catch the oil in a tissue of cloth. There should be some wax deposits on the tissue as well. If there are none, repeat the process. Afterwards, clean the ear out with water and dry completely.

Usually at home treatment works, but if the hearing loss and pain persist, medical treatment is advisable.

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Huge Study: Statins Associated with Cataracts, Not Dementia

statin drugs

Statin drugs are a family of medications known to reduce the risk of heart attack and death in people with cardiovascular disease. The drugs usually can be identified by the letters “statin” in their names. They include simvastatin, atorvastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, and rosuvastin.

Many have worried that statins might increase the risk of dementia, or cancer, or some other serious medical condition, and there have been studies that support those concerns. However, those studies are relatively small. A very large study would be necessary to truly understand the possible risks of taking statin drugs.

The British health care system provides the opportunity to gather huge amounts of data. Medical practices in England and Wales typically use electronic health records.

To look precisely at the issue of the risks of using statins, investigators collected data on almost two million people from over 300 general practices. About 225,000 people, about 10% of the subjects, were new users of one of the statin drugs. Data over five years were used.
The researchers presented their data mostly as relative risks. The five year risk of cataract in a person not using a statin was 0.0495. This means that for 100 people, about five would usually get cataract. Among people using a statin, the five year risk was about a third more, or between six and seven cases in 100 people. Put another way, treating 1000 people with a statin would produce about 19 “extra” cataract cases.

Meantime, the benefit would be a reduced risk of heart attack and sudden death. For every 100 users, about three people would be spared from a new cardiovascular event. Put another way, treating 1000 people with a statin would prevent 27 new cardiovascular cases.

Statin Use Did Not Affect Cancer Risk

There was no association with taking statin medications and the following cancers:
  • Colon cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer

Statin users had a slightly reduced risk of cancer of the esophagus.

Statin Use Associated with Liver, Kidney and Muscle Problems

A few medical conditions were associated with statin use, as previously known and expected. These were:
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Kidney failure
  • Myopathy (muscle inflammation)

Statin Use Not Associated with Osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, Blood Clots

Other conditions for which no association with statin use was found include: dementia, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporotic fractures, and rheumatoid arthritis. The risks and benefits of taking statin medications must be evaluated in light of personal goals and preferences, and in the context of frank discussion with the health care provider.

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How To Quit Smoking With Zyban

Stopping smoking can be extremely difficult for thousands of people who find willpower alone is simply not enough to get them off the dreaded weed for good.

Instead they invariably turn to the hundreds of so-called “miracle” fixes on the market, often paying substantial sums of money for very disappointing results.

zyban

Stop Smoking

However, the anti-depressant, Zyban, if used correctly and in consultation with a doctor, has delivered impressive results by training the brain to “forget” the cravings associated with smoking.

Zyban is the trade name of the drug "bupropion" and it was approved as a stop smoking aid in 1997. The same drug, was previously and still is known as an anti-depressant and is manufactured under the name of Wellbutrin.

The manufacture of Zyban began after smokers taking the anti-depressant medication Wellbutrin (another name for Zyban), reported that their nicotine dependence seemed to diminish, to the point where it was actually preferable to stop smoking rather than continue.

Zyban has been produced in the form of a pill, which is taken twice a day and is only available on prescription from a doctor. It cannot be bought over the counter at present.

How Does Zyban Work?

Zyban works on the brain by boosting two chemicals that release feelings of well being and enjoyment. This in turn reduces the severity of the withdrawal symptoms as well as reducing the urge to smoke at all.

The course begins one week before giving up smoking, so initially patients are taking Zyban whilst continuing to smoke. This is because it takes time for the Zyban to reach the necessary levels to be effective. However, some patients can start to feel “off cigarettes” within hours.
During the second week, a stop smoking date is selected and the medication continues for a further 7 - 11 weeks. If smoking doesn’t cease on the chosen date, a new one should be targeted, as close to the original as possible.

The tablet should be taken twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening, or with at least 8 hours between doses. The pill should be taken with water and swallowed whole. It should not be chewed, crushed or divided.

Each tablet is a 150 mg dose. For the first three days, only one dose is taken and then for the rest of the treatment course, this is increased to a dose of 300 mg. No more than 300 mg should be taken in any one day.

Quitting Smoking

Clinical studies have shown that withdrawal symptoms are reduced, especially feelings of irritability, anxiety, anger, poor concentration, restlessness and depression. Success rates in quitting smoking range between 15% and 25%, although one study did show the success rate to be more than double these figures. Another, from the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that almost one in three users of Zyban required no further stop smoking help.

Is Zyban Safe?

Zyban is relatively new and studies are still being carried out concerning the effects and safety of the drug. The main concern is that it may cause seizures or convulsions and certain people are more at risk than others. It has been estimated that one out of every thousand users will suffer a seizure whilst using Zyban. For this reason, the 150 mg single dose should never be exceeded.

Those taking the drug in the form of an anti-depressant (Wellbutrin) should never take Zyban at the same time. The same goes for people being treated for anorexia nervosa or bulimia, as they are at an increased risk of suffering seizures or convulsions.

Zyban will not be prescribed without a doctor's consent, and only after taking into account and adjusting any existing medication.

Never use Zyban if:

  • Taking Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR or any other medications that contain bupropion
  • Suffering from any eating disorders
  • Taking any form of medication for treatment of depression
  • Suffering chronic liver cirrhosis
  • Suffering from any seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Under18

Side Effects

The most common side effects reported with use of Zyban are sleeping disorders, dry mouth and headaches. The side effects are usually mild and disappear after a few weeks with continuous use.

Other common side effects are stomach pains, vivid dreams, changes in bowel movement, muscle and joint pain, coughing, lack of concentration, itchiness, sore throat and nausea.

If side effects persist, stop taking zyban and consult a doctor.

Smoking Facts

  • ted diseases cause an estimated 440,000 American deaths each year.
  • s the United States over $150 billion annually in health care costs.
  • A 2004 Study by the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion found that cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer

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