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.