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