Monday, July 2, 2012

Something You Should Know About Osteoporosis

Who Is At Risk For Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, meaning "porous bones", is a condition that causes bones to slowly thin and weaken, leaving them susceptible to fractures. With an aging population, osteoporosis becomes increasingly common in America. After age 50, 50% of women and 25% of men are at significant risk for osteoporosis.
In the U.S., more than 10 million men and women have osteoporosis. A further 34 million people have low bone mass and are at high risk of developing osteoporosis. About 1.5 million fractures take place every year because of osteoporosis.
Inflammation Accelerates Bone Loss
Osteoporosis, similar to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, is not an ordinary consequence of aging. Instead, chronic degenerative diseases usually arise from long-term nutritional, lifestyle, and environmental imbalances that lead to accumulation of inflammatory toxins.
Although the precise cause of osteoporosis is unknown, the process by which bone becomes porous is well known. Bone remodeling is controlled by a variety of hormones and inflammatory cytokines. When the body is exposed to inflammatory toxins, bone breakdown is overtaking bone buildup or bone resorption takes place at a faster speed than bone making. Both processes could lead to bone loss and osteoporosis.
Clinical studies have revealed that increased inflammatory cytokines are primary mediators of the enhanced bone loss at menopause. Different studies also confirm increases in the risk of developing osteoporosis in various inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), periodontitis, and multiple myeloma.
In periodontal disorder, oral inflammation results in destruction of oral bone and periodontal ligament, ultimately leading to tooth loss. Further evidence indicates that a variety of inflammatory cytokines stimulate osteoclasts, bone cells that take away the bone tissue and cause bone resorption.
Diabetes Drugs May Thin The Bones
A popular class of drugs for type 2 diabetes, i.e., thiazolidinediones (marketed as Avandia and Actos), had already been linked to heart problems. Recent study revealed that taking these diabetes drugs for more than a year thins the bones and increases the risk of fractures in women with type 2 diabetes, who are already at higher risk before taking the drugs.
Control Inflammation May Prevent Bone Loss
Besides calcium, vitamin D, and physical therapy, estrogen-containing hormone replacement therapy is very efficient in reversing the impact of menopause on bone density. But it is currently out of favor due to unwanted side effects, including increased risk of stroke, venous thrombosis and, possibly, dementia. Other treatments include anti-resorptive or anabolic medications.
Based on the findings that chronic inflammation promotes bone breakdown and suppresses bone buildup, control of inflammation is viewed as a new approach to preventing bone loss and osteoporosis.
By keeping inflammation under control, the new approach may:
-- Restore balanced growth and function of bone cells;
-- Promote bone formation with normal structure and strength;
-- Support healthy hormone balance for bone metabolism;
-- Remove or deactivate bone-destroying cells.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What Are Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMC)?

Peripheral blood mononuclear cells, which are also called PBMCs or PB-MNCs, are blood cells that have round nuclei. They are critical to immune system functioning; they fight infection and foreign intruders in the body. Lymphocytes, monocytes and phagocytes are three examples of peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
Lymphocytes are white blood cells found in the immune system of vertebrates, animals with spinal columns and backbones. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) image can reveal a division between large and small lymphocytes.
Large lymphocytes are known as natural killer cells or NK cells. These PBMCs are the first line of defense against infection. Small lymphocytes include B cells and T cells, which play important roles in both antibody and non-antibody response.
Like lymphocytes, monocytes are white blood cells found in the vertebrate immune system. They are present in humans, mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. These peripheral blood mononuclear cells have multiple roles in immune system functioning. They produce and replenish various immune cells, and they respond to inflammation and infection signals.
Monocytes are produced in the bone marrow. Half of these monocytes are stored within the spleen. Those that migrate from the bloodstream to other tissues mature into different cell types, including macrophages.
Macrophages are essentially cells that monocytes produce in the tissues. Both macrophages and monocytes are phagocytes, another type of white blood cells. They offer immune protection through the ingestion of bacteria, dying cells and foreign particles.
Phagocytes are highly developed in vertebrates, especially humans. One liter of human blood contains nearly six billion of these phagocytes. Similarly to other white blood cells, they are highly critical for fighting infection, removing dead cells and maintaining healthy tissue.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells have wide-ranging uses, from scientific research and clinical studies to cellular therapy. Healthy donors can give their blood cells for the testing of blood-borne pathogens. Donor cells are important to the study of HIV, Hepatitis B, syphilis and other infectious and auto-immune diseases. PBMCs are also used for vaccine development.
PBMCs are also vital to cellular therapy, a process that introduces new blood cells into damaged tissue to treat a particular disease. This type of therapy often focuses on hereditary diseases and may include gene therapy, stem cell treatments and cell replacement therapy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Path Towards Your Obstetrics Degree

From the day you figure out that you are pregnant until several weeks after the baby is born, you will need someone who is educated in obstetrics to monitor both the health of you and your baby. Most of them are also trained in gynecology as well and are usually referred to as OB/GYNs, and are trained to understand all other areas of a woman's reproductive health. The term "obstetrics" is anything that is related to the study and care of the reproductive system of a woman and the unborn baby during pregnancy, birth of the baby, and a few weeks after the baby is born.
The path to becoming an OB/GYN is a long road and is composed of several steps:
- The first step is getting your Bachelor's Degree and a 4 year premed degree unless you choose a school where the two are combined into one 6-7 year course instead of the usual 8 years.
- Next you need to attend medical school. Most medical school programs last 4 years. To get accepted into a reputable medical school you need to take the medical college admission test, submit your premed transcripts, write letters of intent to the school administration, and be interviewed by admissions.
- Then you will need to get your medical license by taking the United States Medical Licensing Examination. This test is required to enter residency.
- After you pass the examination, you will need to start a 4 year residency under other licensed obstetricians where you will get to learn many obstetric procedures through hands-on experience.
- Finally, you will need to become board certified. This is done with the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and will need to be renewed from time to time.
As you are studying and performing obstetrics during your residency, you should expect to learn how to perform an induction, where labor is chemically brought on early and is usually performed when the mother is experiencing health problems such as pre-eclampsia, placenta previa, or other problems. You will also learn the steps and process of labor. Whether it happens naturally or after being induced, you will monitor how labor progresses, sometimes help it along chemically, help provide relief for pain if requested, assist labor with forceps or suction if necessary, or performing a caesarean section if needed.
Finally you will help the mother heal after giving birth. This includes check ups for both mother and baby while still in the hospital as well as check ups at 1 week, 2 weeks, and 6 weeks after delivery to check patient's condition, bloodflow, and healing progress of any sutures that may have been necessary during birth.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Cure To Illness Is You

As of the year 2012 we are considered to be at the most advanced point in human history. At no time in our existence are we said to have had the technology that we possess today. The sciences are developing new theories daily as new entities are discovered in the universe. Progress in technology amazes us daily as we are introduced to new gadgets, with each subsequent version being smaller and more powerful than the last. Yet, in spite of these amazing advances, one thing seems not to be advancing, our health. Have you ever wondered why? If we are making all these advances in other fields, would you not expect advances to be made in the health industry?
As of this very moment, cancer has never been so prevalent amongst humanity. More and more people are dying of it every year, and that is not just because the population is increasing. More people are dying of the flu, but we are meant to have the best and most advanced vaccinations ever created. We seem to be advancing in other areas but are going backwards in health and medicine, why is that? "The cure is out there" the experts tell us, "we just haven't found it yet". The truth is, they will never find it, because the cure to illness is not outside of us, it is within us.
This is the missing link and is the reason why current medicine is making no real progress. Most people are taught from a very young age that colds are caught from others, that viruses are transferred from one person to the next and that certain illnesses are genetic. It is commonly thought that cancer and other life threatening illnesses are just random and there is currently no explanation as to why some people live through it and why some don't. In the eyes of most, illness is just random, and when one is afflicted with it they ask, "why me?" What a different world it would be if we all understood that we are not only the cause of our illnesses, but we are also the cure.
Admittedly, this can be a bit hard to swallow for most of us. The first impulse is to either reject it, or to jump on your own back and ask in despair, "So you mean it's my fault?" Firstly, it is not about fault. We live in a universe of perfect order where nothing is random. Every effect has a cause, and there is not an effect without a cause. Illness is always an effect, it is never the cause. There is always an underlying cause to any illness, which is what is currently missing from current medicine. Illness is only a symptom; it is not the cause itself. Illness is like the oil light on your car dashboard, it lights up to let you know that something is wrong in the engine; it is not the cause itself.
Current medical treatment can be compared to pulling out the fuse on the oil light, so that it can't be seen anymore. It does not deal with the real cause, which exists somewhere else. Current medicine alleviates the symptoms for a while, but it does not cure the cause. For some it may seem as healing has taken place, but it will always come back as the same thing or something else. We cannot cure something physical with something physical, as that is trying to cure effect with effect. We can only cure effect by being at cause.
You see, the mental and emotional levels are the level of CAUSE, whereas the physical level is only the level of EFFECT. Nothing physical is the cause of a physical effect. In other words, contrary to popular belief, nothing outside us (physical) can make us sick. Most people catch colds because of their belief in catching a cold. Do away with the belief (mental) and you do away with the illness (physical). This is how it works, always and in all ways.
The body acts as medium for the mental and emotional levels to express themselves. The physical level does not create anything; it merely reflects that which is created on the deeper levels. The problem is most of us are not aware of our thoughts and emotions. This is where illness comes in, as illness is our (physical) bodies attempt at helping us become aware of these underlying thoughts and emotions. Illness is a tap on the shoulder from the body, letting us know something is unbalanced within us.
When we are balanced and whole within, we are balanced and healthy without. In other words, when we perceive the world with a balanced perspective, we receive no feedback in our bodies. Conversely, when we have an unbalanced perspective, we receive feedback to let us know that we are no longer balanced and acting out of love. Again, this is because most of us are unconscious of what is going on within. In one way, illness is a tool to wake us up, to help us become conscious of our unconscious thoughts and emotions.
This is why being at the effect level does not get us anywhere. Until we realise and accept that we are both the cause and the cure, we will not make any real progress in medicine. All illness is actually a blessing, it is there to serve us and move us forward in life. In reality, illness is 100% positive in its intent and purpose. We can only see it as this once we move from the EFFECT level to the CAUSE level.
There is no cure outside us that we need; every cure to every illness exists within us already. The question is, are YOU ready to accept this? Is it time for you to move from effect to cause in your life? Living at effect gets us nowhere, being at cause gets us everywhere. Everything in life is either an expression of love, or a call to love. All illness is a call to love, are you ready to heed that call?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Making the Right Choice - Urgent Care or Emergency Room?

Unfortunately accidents happen to everyone at some point in their lives and having an emergency room or urgent care clinic close by is a good thing when the pain is intense or there is bleeding involved.
Most of us think of both as being the same thing and can be used interchangeably. Both are necessary when the medical attention is needed immediately, such as if your child gets hurt at school, you cut yourself at home, or a co-worker collapses while on the job. In these situations the first thing we think of is the emergency room, however, recently you can have some of the same services that you could have done at the hospital performed in an urgent care clinic. There are some major differences between the two types of emergency care.
When you are comparing the situations in the previous paragraph, the person who collapsed at work would probably be served best by the care in the emergency room over urgent care as it could be a heart condition that led to his collapse and these should get immediate treatment by a cardiologist which would be available in most hospitals that are attached to the emergency room. However, if the emergency is a broken bone or cut that may need a few stitches, an urgent care facility may be the best in those situations.
One of the main differences between an emergency room and a private clinic is that the clinic is able to create its own hours because it is privately owned, unlike a hospital that is funded by the government. This way it is able to help a patient in an emergency situation when their regular doctor office is closed.
Another major difference between the urgent care clinic and the emergency room is the cost. Most hospitals are required to provide emergency attention to someone whether they can pay for it or not; therefore, the hospital often charges insured patients more so that they can recover some of their losses, which is why you may see a 200 dollar bandage, which may normally cost around 5.00 at the drug store.
Because the private clinic can refuse service to patients who do not have insurance, they are able to keep costs down. Often the physicians who choose to practice at these clinics will also charge less so that the bills won't be too shocking later. They will also only be handling one trauma situation at a time so your wait time will be less.
Depending on your emergency and your need, you can get the care you need right when you need it at your urgent care clinic.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Vein Removal for Venous Reflux Disease

If you are struggling with venous reflux disease, vein removal treatments may hold the solution to your issue. Normal veins work hard to make sure that the blood travels through the body to reach each and every organ and tissue. When they do not work properly or the valves are blocked, a person begins to experience a noticeable problem with the way they feel. Instead of leaving the situation untreated, there are laser options available.
What It Is
Varicose veins can sometimes be nothing more than an unsightly blemish on the legs. They don't look great but they don't cause any problems. Sometimes, they turn into venous reflux disease, also known as venous insufficiency. It is also possible for a patient to develop the disease without the presence of varicose veins. In either case, vein removal is an option.
The disease develops when the valves of the veins fail to function as a one-way form of travel for the blood. Instead of the blood moving forward, it travels backwards and goes back into the legs. As it is pushed into the legs, it lacks the necessary oxygenation. This causes the pain and discomfort for the patient.
As the blood flows backwards into the legs, all sorts of problems are created. The diseased valves often cause a patient to feel pain, throbbing, aches and in some cases, swelling and fatigue. This can easily limit a person's mobility and his or her ability to participate in everyday activities. Because of this, treatment should be sought out as soon as possible.
In the past, patient did not have the benefit of laser vein removal. Instead, they would go through a surgery that would attempt to reroute the blood flow to other veins. The surgery takes place on the veins near the groin area and they would be stripped. This was a major undertaking and patients would be out of commission for at least six to eight weeks. They would be wrapped up from the groin all the way to the ankles and mobility was severely limited.
Now, with the help of lasers, vein removal can be done in office without an extended recovery time. The laser obliteration of the veins works well for most patients. It is important to talk to a physician for an accurate diagnosis and to find out whether or no vein removal can help.
Whether you can already see the varicose veins developing or you are experiencing pain in your legs, make an appointment with your doctor. When left untreated, venous reflux disease can continue to cause complications and become more difficult to deal with

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Three Questions to Ask When Choosing a Medical Clinic

Healthcare is an important aspect to everyone's life. There is nothing that means more to the individual than his or her health. This being the case, it is of vital importance that you have all of the information you need when deciding which medical clinic to go to. The best way to accomplish this is to ask plenty of questions. This will allow you to make the best decision for your health and the health of your family. Be sure to find out whether or not the office you are considering accepts insurance, how long it takes to schedule an appointment, and what types of services they provide.
What Insurance Do You Accept?
Before making an appointment at a medical clinic, it is important to find out what type of insurance they accept. Health care can be extremely expensive, and if you don't have insurance the bills can pile up fast. Thus, it is important to make sure that the office you go to accepts your insurance. If you don't have health insurance, be sure to find out whether or not the office accepts Medicare, Medicaid, or if they offer any discounts for low income individuals.
How Long Before I Can Get an Appointment?
A medical clinic can, in many cases, have a very large patient pool. When this happens it can be difficult for you to schedule an appointment, and it is not uncommon for some clinics to have very long waiting lists. You should always find out if this is the case before choosing an office to go to. You do not want to find yourself in a situation in which you are waiting several weeks to receive care or medication that you need right away. Try your best to find out how many patients the prospective office services and how long you can expect to wait for an appointment.
What Services Do You Provide?
Finally, you will want to find out what sorts of services the medical clinic provides. If you have a family, make sure that they have a pediatric doctor that can treat and diagnose your children. You should also be careful to select an office that is equipped to handle any particular condition for which you might require treatment. You don't want to find yourself seeing a doctor that is unable to meet your needs.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Calcium - Killer or Saviour

The first data along these lines was from Prof Reid Auckland University here in New Zealand. Originally published in the prestigious British Medical Journal, it was a summary of a number of selected trials involving 27,000 participants. He claimed that those who took a calcium supplement were 25% more likely to have a heart attack than those that relied wholly on food as a calcium source. He postulated that a large spike in blood calcium after taking the supplement caused the problem. The second data set was from Swiss university researchers who looked at 24,000 participants aged from 35-65 years of age and found similar results with a doubling of the heart attack rate in those taking a simple calcium supplement, this was published in Heart. Then just recently a Denmark university hospital group looked at 8 clinical trials with over 1,000 participants aged over 70 years. Here they found a significant increase in life expectancy from those taking calcium supplements.
Another recent study of 11 clinical trials covering 31,000 people 65 years and over found that Vit D supplementation when taken at 800 International Units per day reduced the risk of hip fractures by 30%
How do we explain all this? Critics say the trials were.
  • Trials specially selected to say what the researchers wanted
  • Didn't include or show effect of Vit D in the calcium trials
  • Were almost all with calcium carbonate or similar simple calcium compound
  • Used calcium alone - not along with other minerals that are critical to calcium uptake and bone health
All of the above may be correct, but when you look at the numbers and the standing of the researchers involved, it means we have to look closely at the result and try to work out just what does it mean, in practical terms, to the average older person who has concerns on both their bone health and their heart health.
Given the scientific data on osteoporosis available, we now know that low bone density affects almost all women after menopause and most men over 65.
Also we know this group is also at risk of heart attacks.
In my view there is a likely danger in taking a large dose of a simple calcium supplement on a regular basis. Ideally we should get our full calcium requirement from our diet. This is what Prof Reid recommends. Milk is probably the best means to do this; it contains the calcium in a complex form and has other minerals and proteins for bone health in it. With this combination you are unlikely to get the dangerous calcium blood spike. The problem is you probably need 4 large glasses a day to get your full calcium requirement.
However that in practical terms is not possible for all of us. So what should we do if we do need to take a calcium supplement to improve bone strength and avoid a fracture?
My recommendation is as follows.
  • Do not use a simple calcium compound such as calcium carbonate
  • Make sure Vit D3 is included
  • Make sure the other critical bone health minerals that affect uptake are included
  • Spread dose rate as much as possible - if dose is two capsules take morning and night - 3 take at lunch as well
  • Always take with food
Following these recommendations should give you the benefits of improved bone strength without increasing the risk of heart attack and increase life expectancy.
To find the right supplement is not too difficult, but it is more expensive than taking a simple cheap calcium carbonate or similar calcium compound. There is a wide range that fit the above criteria available on the Internet.
The best way to get the right blend of minerals is to use calcium hydroxyapatite. This in simple terms is bone itself. This in many trials has shown greater bone strengthening ability to the simple calcium compounds. The cheapest form is finely ground beef bone, produced in New Zealand from animals certified free of Mad Cow disease and exported worldwide. This is really taking calcium as food with collagen (protein) and a full critical mineral range in a complex combination. This finely ground whole bone is often referred to as MCHA.
Another form of calcium hydroxyapatite available commercially is from deer antler taken at a special stage of growth. This contains a special bioactive that increases bone strength.
Research on Red Deer stags growing antlers show that at a certain growth stage 30% of the calcium in the deer skeleton is transferred to the antlers in a matter of days. Research has isolated that growth phase and a product developed from hard antler harvested at this stage patented.
This product is not only better than most supplements at increasing bone strength but safer as well. It is really taking calcium as a complex food in small portions not as a supplement.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Can A Chiropractor Help With A Slipped Disk?

Virtually everyone has heard of a slipped disk. There is a severe amount of pain associated with one so for those who have ever experienced one, it is not something that you are likely to forget. It is also not something that you can allow to linger since it can cause extreme and permanent damage if the situation is not rectified in a timely manner. Fortunately, a chiropractor can work to alleviate the intensity and duration of the pain until the condition has been properly corrected.
What Is A Slipped Disk?
The label of having a "slipped disk" is incorrect since the disk has not actually "slipped". The disks of the spine are the pads that separate and provide a cushion between the bones that make up the spine itself. Disks are fixed in their positions and cannot be moved. However, the softer portion located in the center of the rings can become bulged and extend beyond the outer rings of the spine.
When these areas bulge, they impede on the surrounding tissue and, most importantly, the nerves. This is where the pain originates. Pain can also be caused by a tear.
Where They Can Occur
These types of injuries can occur anywhere within the spine. The most common areas associated with this type of injury are the lower back and the neck. Injuries are usually a result of over-exertion of physical activity or automobile accidents. Even a simple movement can catch the spine off guard and cause injury.
As we age, our bones naturally lose some of their density so this also increases the possibility of injury. Although women can also suffer from them, these types of injuries usually occur in men.
Since the spine is the central highway for nerves running throughout the body, an injury to it can produce discomfort that affects the surrounding area of the spine, the arms or legs and even major organs that are supplied by these specific nerves. The location of the pain depends on which disc has been injured.
Neck discs: The discomfort can manifest as a tingling or numbness, dull ache, a burning sensation or a dull or throbbing pain. Areas that will be affected include the neck, shoulder, upper back around the shoulder blades, arms, hands and/or fingers. There can also be muscle weakness.
Back discs: The same types of pain affecting the lower back, hips, legs and feet.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Best Fertility Diet For Males

Not all issues of infertility can be blamed to women. Mark Peloe of Georgia reproductive Specialists says that infertility is a 50/50 issue, wherein the male are also partially responsible with half of the case. According to survey, infertility in men accounts for 30% of couples' infertility problems. The varying factors that affect infertility account for another 20%.
Infertility in men is caused by a variety of factors, such as sperm abnormalities (i.e. low sperm count or oligospermia, poor sperm motility or athenospermia, and abnormal sperm morphology or teratospermia), genetic disorders, anatomical issues, and hormonal imbalances.
Many couples have been experiencing fertility problems in the past years. However, before opting to a medical treatment which can be expensive, most them first try to consider diet as one of the most significant steps to fertility. In fact, starting fertility diet at an early stage helps reduce the risk of infertility in men. A good fertility diet for males typically includes eating the right kinds of foods that boost up fertility.
Which foods to include?
- Oysters - Because of their high zinc content, oysters are considered as one of the best baby-making ingredients. Zinc is an essential nutrient that helps boost up sperm and testosterone production. You can also get zinc from beef, poultry, dairy, nuts, eggs, whole grains, and beans.
- Fruits and vegetables - Dried fruits, cranberries, and collard green are rich in anti-oxidants that help protect sperm from cellular damage and keep them strong and speedy. Also include the rich sources of Vitamin A and folic acid, such as the leafy greens, carrots, and apricots. For sperm motility, boost your Vitamin B supply by eating oranges, and tomatoes, grapefruit, and broccoli.
- Pomegranate juice - Pomegranate is also rich in anti-oxidants that help boost up sperm production.
- Pumpkin seeds - Rich in omega 3 and essential fatty acids, pumpkin seeds can stimulate blood flow to the sexual organs thus enhancing sexual functions while increasing the production of testosterone and quality sperm. Other foods such as flaxseed, almonds, salmons, and sardines are also rich in omega 3 and essential fatty acids.
Which foods to avoid?
- Junk or fast foods - Eating too much junk or fast foods increases the volume of fats and sugar in your body, which can impair the production of healthy and high quality sperm. Examples of junk and fast foods include those ready-to-eat foods, such as pizza, hamburgers, French fries, tacos, and other foods purchased in retail chains.
- High-mercury fish - Swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, tuna steak, and shark are known to have high mercury content and are link to a variety of fertility related problems in both men and women. They also increase the risk of birth defects and infant disorders in babies.
- Caffeine - Coffees, teas, and soft drinks are only few of the sources of caffeine that you should start minimizing today. As much as alcohol adversely affects the production of healthy sperm, caffeinated drinks also increase the risk of infertility. As per expert's advice it is good to limit caffeine intake to at least 2 cups a day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Our Liver - Its Function, Location, Disease and Treatment

The liver is not only the largest internal organ but also the in the human body. The liver performs several important functions that are vital for our survival. This triangular shaped organ has four lobes, rests below the diaphragm, and weighs around 3.2 lb - 3.7 lb in a healthy adult. The liver is protected from injury by the rib cage.
Two very important blood vessels, namely the hepatic artery and the portal vein are connected to the liver. The latter carries blood enriched with nutrients collected from the digestive system. Both blood vessels supply oxygen to the liver.
Functions of the liver include -
· Carbohydrate metabolism
· Fat metabolism
· Removal of toxins, bilirubin, drugs, hormones, and alcohol
· Production of cholesterol; 80% of the cholesterol is produced in the liver
· Conversion of glucose into glycogen for storage
· Bile formation and excretion
· Storage of iron and hemoglobin processing
· Storage of vitamins A, D, K, and B12
The liver is susceptible to many diseases and conditions. Here are some of the conditions that the liver is susceptible to -
· Alcoholic liver disease - It is caused by overconsumption of alcohol. Conditions that characterize alcoholic liver disease include fatty liver, liver cirrhosis, and alcoholic hepatitis.
· Hepatitis - Characterized by inflammation of the liver and can be caused by viruses, alcohol and toxins. It can lead to jaundice and loss of appetite.
· Primary biliary cirrhosis - This is an autoimmune condition in which the bile ducts in the liver are progressively spifflicated. Symptoms include jaundice, ascites, fatigue, itchy skin, and fat deposits under the skin.
· Budd-Chiari syndrome - This is caused when there is a blockage in the hepatic veins. Thrombosis of the veins or a clot can cause blockage. Symptoms include pain in the abdomen and ascites. It is difficult to attribute a cause to this condition.
· Hereditary conditions - These include conditions such as hemochromatosis and Wilson's disease. The former leads to excess of iron in the body and the later causes an accumulation of copper.
Symptoms of liver disease include swelling in the ankles and feet because of lack of albumin. Pale stools, deep yellow colored urine, getting tired easily, nausea, appetite loss, weight loss, yellowing of skin due to jaundice, and easy bruising are some of the symptoms of liver disease

Monday, April 30, 2012

Food and IBS: Don't Blame What You Eat for Your IBS!

When it comes to food and IBS, a lot of people seem to get confused about a few things. Many people think that there is a connection between consumption of certain foods and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
People should know that when it comes to food and IBS, food has nothing to do with the condition. It is simple -- people cannot get an inflammatory bowel condition from eating. People also cannot cure their IBS by what they eat or don't eat. Many people believe that junk food can cause IBS and eating certain things, like organic foods, can cure IBS.
Those misconceptions are just the tip of the iceberg of all of the wives' tales that run rampant about food and IBS. Some people believe their IBS was caused by food poisoning that they had previously contracted. Others claim that their doctor told them to stay away from dairy and gluten foods, and think that if they stop eating these foods that their colitis will simply go away.
These are just a few examples of the erroneous information given out about food and IBS. Just in case you were wondering, neither of the above issues, food poisoning or eating dairy and gluten foods, causes IBS. And, IBS will not be cured by staying away from dairy and gluten foods. Those who have some form of IBS usually have a pre-existing condition that has nothing to do with food ingestion.
However, fiber-rich foods do have a connection. For example, if a person has a chronic gastrointestinal condition and they eat foods high in fiber, then a person's condition may become further aggravated. This person could up getting diarrhea, gas, bloating, or pain. This is really the only legitimate food and IBS connection. Remember, food is not responsible for your IBS but it may occasionally irritate the condition.
However, there is one food rule too keep in mind if you suffer from IBS. Eating a diet that is low in fiber can be beneficial until a person with IBS is healed. Once a person is healed, they will be able to consume whatever food that they desire. When trying to heal from IBS, try avoiding consumption of dairy and/or wheat, both of which have been known to aggravate the condition.
Bottom line - the consumption of certain foods cannot cause nor cure your irritable bowel condition. Food and IBS are remotely connected in terms of worsening your IBS symptoms, but don't blame food for your IBS condition.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Senior Health For Those Under 40 Years Old

Senior health, senior fitness and your lifestyle in your 60's, 70's, 80's and beyond - if you're in your 20's or 30's right now, you probably haven't even given these topics a passing thought yet, right? But while there's no need for you to dwell on fitness and exercise in your senior years yet, there are a number of reasons to at least do a bit of planning for your senior health already.
That may seem like a strange statement... After all, you're in top physical health right now, hormone production is at its peak and it's almost hard to believe you're not invincible. You've probably got more disposable income than you've ever had before, and you've never needed to concern yourself too much with what you eat, what you drink or how much sleep you get each night. Your energy levels are still at amazing levels, so why worry about 50 or 60 years from now?
Let's start with your body as it's the only one you'll have in this life. How long do you reasonably expect to live? With hundreds of thousands of people around the world already over 100 years old, it's not unreasonable to assume you'll live to 85 or 90, based on what you know now, correct? Well, if you're 30 now and expect to live to 90, you're planning to be here for another 60 years. But wait - what about any advances in health, nutrition, exercise, medications and disease eradication that will occur over the next 60 years? Unless you believe all medical and fitness advances will suddenly stop, that 60 years is a very conservative timeframe.
To put it in terms you can relate to, have you bought a car yet, or do you have access to the family car? Do you pay attention to the fuel you put in it? Do you change the oil or have it changed at least semi-regularly? Do you try to stay on top of the maintenance or are you just letting it start to fall apart? You even go so far as to wash and wax it at times, don't you?
You do all of that because you want your car to run well, to last you at least until the payments are finished and hopefully longer, and to keep it from letting you down when you need it most, from breaking down and leaving you stranded. You do all of that, yet you know you can replace it, that you'll own other cars over the years, and that only you can decide when it's worth fixing and when you want a new car.
You put all of that time, trouble and effort into a temporary possession, but you'll only ever have one body, and it has to last your whole life. Does it make sense to pay so much less attention to its well-being, its fuel and its longevity? Yes, so far your doctor might have been able to fix any problems you've had, much like your mechanic has done for your car. But one day a mechanic will tell you it's time to scrap that car - not a prognosis you want to hear from your doctor in 30 or 40 short years!
The good news is for most people your age, barring any major medical conditions it won't take radical changes to help protect your future senior health, but rather slight tweaks to your current habits. Steps like avoiding smoking or quitting if you've started, putting a bit more effort into healthy nutrition, getting enough exercise of any type and always maintaining a healthy weight will go a long way to keeping your one and only body healthy and responsive to your needs well into your 'sunset years'.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What Is Alcoholic Liver Disease?

Alcohol abuse leads to a condition known as alcoholic liver disease. The liver performs the important function of detoxification and that includes processing alcohol. Excessive consumption of alcohol is the leading cause of liver damage in the western world.
Factors that increase the risk for this condition include the average amount of alcohol consumed in a sitting over a period of time, drinking when not eating, gender, pre-existing conditions, etc. You don't have to drink yourself silly every time to be a candidate for this condition. And not every alcoholic gets alcoholic liver disease. Diet and nutrition play an important role; if you have a healthy diet you can probably keep the condition at bay. Diagnosis of alcoholic liver disease is done through blood tests, scans, and if required liver biopsy.
Symptoms of the condition include dryness in the mouth, tiredness, loss of appetite, weight loss, jaundice, and fluid accumulation in the legs. The skin may turn dark or pale; motions may be tarry due to blood in them; bleeding gums; and giddiness are other symptoms.
Alcoholic liver disease progresses in stages. The first stage is characterized by the condition known as fatty liver, followed by alcoholic hepatitis, and then cirrhosis. One in four alcoholics suffering from a fatty liver may get cirrhosis.
Fatty liver - In this condition, there is an accumulation of fat in the cells of the liver. Fortunately, this condition is not irreversible. FLD can happen from a number of causes but the most common cause is alcohol abuse. The condition can often pass unnoticed or is diagnosed when liver diagnosis is carried out for some other purpose. Early detection can enable reversing of the steatosis. If left till later, there are chances that cirrhosis may lead to heptocellular carcinoma.
Alcoholic hepatitis - Four out of ten heavy drinkers get alcoholic hepatitis. The condition is characterized by the inflammation of the liver. The condition may or may not lead to cirrhosis but with heavy drinkers the chances of liver cirrhosis following this condition are quite high. Symptoms include liver enzyme elevation, fluid in the abdomen cavity, and jaundice.
Cirrhosis - This is an irreversible condition that occurs from sustained heavy drinking for more than ten years or so. The condition is graded A, B, C based on severity. The prognosis for "C" is poor. Treatment for cirrhosis consists of trying to prevent further damage to the liver and if required, liver transplant. Hepatitis vaccines are given and certain medications such as NSAIDs are discouraged. Alcohol, of course, is a strict no-no.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chronic Indoor Allergens - 5 Common Irritants Found In Indoor Air

If you see particles in your air, mostly likely you have those same particles in your lungs. Here are 5 of the most common irritants found in indoor air.
Dust Mites---These micron sized bugs are invisible to the human eye, but every indoor space has them. They make their homes in dark, moist, warm places and feed on dead flakes of skin both from humans and animals. They are typically found in upholstered pieces of furniture and in bedding.
If you are not sensitive to them you will probably live your whole life without ever knowing they are there. They do not bite. However, if you are allergic to the protein in their feces (which they leave everywhere) you will most probably experience congestion, watering eyes and other allergy symptoms.
Prolonged exposure to this allergen often triggers the onset of asthma particularly in children. The bugs as well as their droppings (yuck) are lightweight and can become airborne with normal activities such as making the bed, plopping down on the sofa, or even plumping the pillows. Since pets shed dander, pet bedding provides an excellent source of food and a haven for these mites as well.
Mold and Mildew Spores---These spores are nature's way of returning matter to its natural state. They do not become destructive unless they find moisture. It is impossible to keep them from coming indoors, but keeping typically moist areas (under kitchen and bathroom sinks, showers, and basements) dry can prevent their numbers from exploding and triggering allergy and asthma flare ups. Large amounts of mold can cause problems for those who have been previously healthy.
Pollen---These spores are the earth's way of replenishing trees, flowers, yes and even weeds! Tree pollen can start to fly as early as January, and weed pollen can last as late as November into early December.
These spores can travel on the wind for miles and the can attach to clothing, hair, packages, and pets and easily make their way into indoor air.
Pet Dander---If you're thinking you don't have pet dander because you don't have a pet, sit down before you continue reading. Many homes have dander left from a home that had pets previously.
Hanging your coat, sweater, or bags next to someone who has a dog or cat is often enough to transfer dander from their home to yours. So shaking out your sweater or coat can result in airborne dander, and all your precautions by not having a pet are literally up in the air.
Household Dust---A lot of this stuff can form dust bunnies that hide under the bed or in corners. It is a collection of many particles that are specific to your home. Generally it includes lint from fabrics, small pieces of paper, dirt from the outside, human and pet hair, and in many cases small shaving of metal from door hinges.
If you are doing any work on your interior add drywall and/or plaster dust and you've got enough particulates to start a dust storm. So many people are allergic to it because it contains so many allergens all in one place.
Cleaning regularly is a good way to reduce the number of allergens that are available to go airborne. Another pro-active, yet non-invasive way to eliminate particulates is to eliminate them while they are airborne.
High efficiency particle arresting filters are the best type for the job because they can take out particles as small as.3 microns in size. This will drastically reduce the amount available for you to breathe. And breathing easier is a good start to a healthier lifestyle.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Youth Drinking Trends and Ways to Encourage Healthy Habits

Alcohol doesn't necessarily carry the same stigmas associated with illegal drugs. However, studies reveal that more American youths die from alcohol abuse than from all other forms of drug abuse combined. With deteriorating affects on the brain, stomach, and liver, the affects of alcohol are highly damaging to the developing body of a teenager. Of course, there are long-term effects of alcohol abuse, but equally as dangerous are the immediate consequences of binge drinking. Binge drinking is a form of heavy, episodic drinking that has proven to be a trend among college-aged individuals. Recognizing the phenomenon, the National Advisory Council provided the following definition:
"A 'binge' is a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 gram-percent or above. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male), or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours."
When binge drinking, the body's defenses are overwhelmed by the depressant effects of alcohol resulting in impairments in speech and reflexes. Aside from the physical effects, the influence of alcohol will leave people unable to make rational decisions thus leading to unfortunate consequences. Studies reported by the national campaign, "Above the Influence" expose that approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking related incidents (with nearly 2,000 of the deaths due to car accidents.)
Another threat to underage drinking is alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning is a serious-sometimes lethal- condition resultant from binge drinking. The consequences of consuming large amounts of alcohol in brief periods of time can immediately affect one's heart rate and breathing and may eventually lead to coma or death.
When examining the trends in youth drinking, a direct correlation can be drawn between habits and environment. The pressure to drink irresponsibly is perpetuated by the atmosphere. In college, young adults are experiencing their first taste of independence (a sensation which is intoxicating in and of itself.) It can take time to develop healthy habits for self-governing and, in the meanwhile, young adults should be made aware of the possible consequences of their actions.
There have been multiple gestures made by governmental organizations to encourage self-promoting habits among the nation's youth. For one, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion employed April as "Alcohol Awareness Month" in an attempt to have a pro-active influence on future choice making. In correspondence with Alcohol Awareness Month, the National Health Information Center distributed a toolkit including strategies to cut back on or cease drinking altogether. Some of these strategies included:
* Keep track of your drinking and set a drinking limit.
* Try to avoid places where heavy drinking occurs.
* Ask for help from a doctor, family, or friends.
* If you keep alcohol in your home, keep only a limited supply.
Also in the April awareness toolkit were suggestions for spreading awareness throughout the media via social networking sites. By being informative and persistent, the organization hopes to inspire nation-wide awareness. These gestures, though seemingly humble, may save lives by encouraging America's youth to make smart, healthy choices.