Sunday, September 25, 2011

Acute Bronchitis

Many people suffer from a variety of respiratory disorders. It is important that your respiratory system remains in a healthy condition. Many people ignore the early signs of a respiratory disorder, as a result of which they are unable to control a condition that can later becomes chronic and lead to disability. For example, acute bronchitis, when neglected, leads to chronic bronchitis, a condition that causes severe, irreversible damage to your respiratory system and leaves you disabled for life. Therefore, updating your knowledge about bronchitis and its various signs and symptoms is of utmost importance. Neglect of this condition could lead to a medical as well as a personal disaster.

What is Acute Bronchitis?
Acute bronchitis is a disease of the respiratory system caused due to viral infection of the bronchial tree. In some cases, the infecting agent is a fungus. Usually, people mistake this condition to be common cold and underestimate the seriousness of it. This is the common reason why most people tend to ignore bronchitis.

Children and infants are easy prey for this condition because their immune systems are still in the growing phase and are not that well-equipped to battle the virus. Bronchitis also affects tobacco smokers and those who reside in highly polluted cities.

Treatment for Bronchitis
If the condition is acute bronchitis caused by a virus, it does not require any special treatment. All that you need to do is rest and relax as much as possible and drink plenty of fluids such as water and the juices of fruits and vegetables. If you or someone at home is suffering from bronchitis, it is highly advisable that you use humidifiers to raise the humidity in the rooms. If this is not possible, place wet towels or blankets in different areas of the house. A humid condition is ideal for the recovery of a person suffering from bronchitis.

Acute bronchitis does not last more than 10-12 days if treated properly. Usually, it is closely followed by a flue or cold. You might also cough for 2-3 weeks, and you will continue to cough till your bronchioles are completely healed and free of infection. If the cough persists, it may be due to another condition. In this case, you need to consult your physician and get yourself checked for any other medical condition. It is very important to know that acute bronchitis, if left unattended to, can lead to a condition called chronic bronchitis. This can cause intense misery
and last from 3 months to two years. Moreover, it can permanently damage your respiratory system.

Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis
You know that you are in for acute bronchitis when you experience breathlessness, slight pain and tightness in the chest, light fever, chills, persistent cough that brings out a lot of mucus, wheezing, and headache. Now, this can easily be mistaken for a common cold. Only a doctor can make out the difference. So, as soon as you experience these symptoms, visit your family doctor and get a medical examination.

A number of tests are required to determine if you are suffering from acute bronchitis or just a common cold. A doctor will study your breathing pattern through a stethoscope. Chest X-rays will be taken. Laboratory tests will be conducted to examine your mucus in order to determine if the condition has been caused by bacteria, virus, or fungus.

Recovering from Bronchitis
If you are diagnosed with acute bronchitis, quit smoking immediately. Avoid cigarette smoke completely if you want a speedy recovery. Smoke is really bad for you, so is polluted air. Ensure than the air around you is perfectly clean. You can do so by installing an air purifier or two inside your house.

Prevention of Acute Bronchitis
You don't need to suffer from acute bronchitis. You can easily prevent it by taking a few precautions. It is important to avoid getting infected by virus, bacteria, and fungi that cause acute bronchitis, and you can do so by washing your hands regularly and giving up smoking. Share Health|Fitness
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hormonal Downfall of our Diet

The low-fat, high-carbohydrate, low-protein diets of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s have had wide-sweeping implications on our health. These diets have triggered high frequencies of degenerative diseases, unmanageable levels of stress and excessive weight gain. No attention was paid to the importance of hormonal balance or the nature of a functional hormonal axis.

Many nutritional researchers feel that accelerated aging, beginning from 35 to 50 years of age, is mainly due to hormonal dysfunction or hormonal miscommunication.The following four factors are the primary markers of accelerated aging—all of which stem from poor food choices and excess stress.

Excess Blood Glucose Levels: Excess glucose, from eating refined or processed food that is high in calories and sweeteners, can combine with proteins in our body to make advanced glycated end products (AGEs). AGEs represent a serious problem for our body. They are very sticky and quickly adhere to places they shouldn’t, causing accelerated biological damage to all cells. They accelerate the occlusion (opposing walls stick together) of blood vessels and capillaries that nurture the heart, eyes, kidneys and brain. This means we become more prone to heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure and stroke.

Excess sugar consumption (natural or synthetic sweeteners), from any source, elevates blood glucose levels. Part of the hypothalamus is responsible for sensing the amount of glucose in the blood and controlling the pancreas hormonally, to stabilize blood sugar levels using the hormone insulin. Chronic sugar consumption leads to constantly high blood glucose levels that wash over the hypothalamus in a glucose swell that causes glucose-induced toxicity in the hypothalamus that jams its switches on “off.” In this situation, insulin cannot do its job well and we become insulin resistant, a primary marker of aging.

Excess Insulin Levels: Insulin is secreted by the pancreas in response to incoming calories (primarily processed carbohydrates). The fewer the calories consumed, the less insulin is secreted. As insulin levels go down, we lose excess fat and support the synthesis of hormones such as testosterone, DHEA and growth hormone and hormonal communication. High levels of insulin inhibit the release of the important brain-feeding hormone called glucagon. The stress hormone cortisol acts as a back-up system to raise blood sugar levels for the brain. Cortisol is able to make more glucose by cannibalizing existing body structures such as muscle. The problem is that even though cortisol may be trying to help the brain by raising blood sugar levels, elevated cortisol levels destroy the hippocampus portion of the hypothalamus.

Excess Cortisol Levels: Too little stress in our body is just as bad as too much stress. To be alert, keen and observant, we require small amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the body’s molecular mediator of stress, for short periods of time.

Cortisol output is governed by circadian rhythms. Levels are highest in the bloodstream between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., and then gradually decrease throughout the evening.

Excess cortisol has the capacity to kill at the cellular level. The thymus gland, the central control station of our immune system, is very sensitive to excess cortisol.
This is why the thymus shrinks with age and we experience a loss of immune function.
Excess cortisol also reduces brain longevity by directly destroying cortisolsensitive neurons in our body’s “control center”—the hypothalamus. Engaging in low levels of prolonged moderate exercise (like walking) and simply learning to relax can dramatically help us to lower cortisol levels.

Excess Free Radicals:
The mitochondria are the power generators, or furnaces,
in each of our 100 trillion cells. A well-conditioned muscle cell may contain 1,000 to 3,000 mitochondria. They burn glucose to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), or aerobic cellular energy. The constant biochemical functioning of mitochondria gives off a “smoke” called a free radical. These free radicals are destructive to our cell walls and cellular processes.

In short, the fewer free radicals you make, the longer you can live. Research shows that 90 percent of all free radicals are formed from the vast amounts of food we consume. Our body must do something with all of those incoming calories, after all. The bottom line is, the less food we take in and the fewer the calories we consume, the less energy is required to process incoming food, and hence, the fewer free radicals we make. The fewer the free radicals we make, the longer we live! In other words, unrestricted eating is the best way to accelerate aging.

The goal, therefore, is to eat enough food—good food—to maintain optimum mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health, but never too many calories. Consider, for example, that a commercial cinnamon bun contains 670 calories and virtually no essential nutrients, while a power protein shake has only 130 calories with 35 grams of protein and adequate amounts of immunesupportive nutrients. Share Health|Fitness
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Herbs ,Heat and Ice Treatment for Back Pain

Herbs for back pain
Current research suggests that depression and stressful events can make pain worse, meaning that chronic pain sufferers are likely to respond to depression or stress with more pain. Consequently, this research suggests that substances which can calm and soothe your nervous system will therefore also help to relieve your pain.

For this reason, herbs that can reduce your stress levels are likely to be highly effective aids in your fight against back pain. Included in this category would be skullcap, valerian, St John’s wort, poppy, willow bark, angelica, cayenne, wild yam, motherwort, rose and lavender.

In addition, the essential oils of peppermint,pine,rosemary,frankincense,ginger, cloves or juniper can be used as pain killers because every one of them has recognized analgesic qualities. Infuse one liquid ounce of a suitable carrier oil like olive or coconut oil with 10-12 drops of any of these essential oils, shake well and then rub the oil on the skin in the area of back pain. This will alleviate the pain and also reduce any swelling or inflammation.

If you have chronic back pain, try to drink a few cups of skullcap infusion every day, or alternatively take a dozen or so drops of skullcap tincture every day. Alternatively, a mixture of equal parts of the skullcap tincture, St John’s wort and oat straw is known to be particularly effective for calming the nerves, and that will have a knockon effect in helping to alleviate chronic back pain.

St John’s wort oil can be liberally rubbed into any area of your back in which you feel pain, and as it is a particularly effective treatment for muscular pain, this can be an extremely valuable antidote to chronic or acute muscular back pain.

Heat and ice treatment for back pain
Both heat and ice treatments can be used to deal with back pain from muscles, with the most suitable choice depending upon the reason for the pain.

If you have suffered some kind of back muscle injury, the first thing to ascertain is whether there is any swelling or inflammation. If there is no swelling, you are probably best advised to use heat to reduce the pain,because applying heat to a muscle increases its flexibility and elasticity.

Especially if activity is in the offing (even if it is only having to go to work), applying heat is probably more appropriate than applying an ice pack to your damaged muscles. In this way, you will encourage movement in your muscles, which is going to enable you to use them as and when it becomes necessary without suffering an undue degree of pain.

Because heat increases blood flow and skin temperature, you can apply an appropriate source of heat to your muscles for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. As moist heat is best, you could try using a hot towel or you could use a special athletic heat device or application on the injured area. There are also quite a few websites where you can buy natural heat applications like the National Allergy site.

Alternatively, there might be times when applying ice to your injury could be more appropriate. Although it is generally believed that applying an ‘ice pack’ of some description to any muscle injury is the best idea, heat works best for chronic pain.

If you are in the situation where your back pain is caused by an obvious injury where there may be swelling or inflammation, then application of an ice pack is likely to work better than applying a heat source. The application of ice acts as a vaso-constrictor, meaning that it will cause your blood vessels to narrow and that will limit internal bleeding and swelling.

Apply ice to the affected area (wrapped in a cloth or towel to prevent discomfort or ‘ice burn’) for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. After application, allow your skin temperature to return to normal before repeating the process as many times as necessary.

This is a process that you can repeat as many times as necessary for three or four days, but if after that, the problem still persists, you should seek appropriate medical advice.

If your back pain is caused by excess or unaccustomed physical activity or exercise, then the application of an ice pack may be the most Share Health|Fitness
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Medical treatments for Back Pain

Natural treatments for back problems, it should be obvious from the range of medical conditions that can cause back pain that natural treatments are not capable of curing every problem that might cause such pain. For example, anti-inflammatory drugs (more commonly known as nonspecific anti-inflammatory drugs) can sometimes be useful for reducing the pain in your back, and also bringing down any associated inflammation. However, like all pharmaceutical drugs, even NSAIDs can have side-effects such as an increased risk of gastro-intestinal bleeding.

Thus, they are not ideal for everyone who suffers from a back pain problem, and they should be taken for as short a period of time as possible. In addition, there are narcotic pain killers that will reduce the pain symptoms, but they can also be used only for a limited period of time with any degree of safety. Drug based muscle relaxants might also be prescribed by your medical attendant if the primary cause of your back pain problems is muscle spasms. In this case, however, muscle relaxants (such as Valium) are likely to make you drowsy, so once again, great care has to be applied if you intend to take such drugs.

If you are suffering from inflammation around the spinal nerves, your medical practitioner may recommend an epidural steroid injection that will reduce both the pain and the inflammation around the nerves at the same time. Steroids are another pharmaceutical drug that you should only take for a limited period of time, and most people who have had an epidural will tell you that it is no walk in the park!

The final solution is spinal surgery, but this actually only happens in a small number of cases. Spinal surgery only becomes necessary after trying all other treatments without success, hence it is most commonly used as a treatment of last resort.

Spinal surgery is only really effective for a limited number of conditions such as spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis or to remove a ruptured disc should that become necessary (which is unusual).

Most physicians will only consider surgery when they believe that the risk of not undertaking surgery is greater than the risk of doing so. For example, if after a considerable period of non-invasive treatment, a slipped or ruptured disc is not getting any better, it can quite easily start to get worse. In this situation, it is possible that spinal surgery will be considered.

Balanced against this, there is always a risk involved in such surgical procedures, specifically the risk of paralysis, because this is surgery undertaken in very close proximity to the individual patient’s spinal cord. Surgery is generally only considered when all else has failed and the situation is clearly deteriorating.

Beyond this short list of recognized medical treatments for various causes of back pain and associated problems, there are many natural treatments that you can apply to reduce the severity of your back pain, and to treat your condition at the same time.

Before starting to look at these natural treatments in greater detail, however, let me first set out what I would consider to be a sensible approach to consulting a qualified member of the medical profession about your back pain problem.

As suggested, the majority of back problems that most people suffer from are likely to be caused by muscle strains of one form or another. In this situation, it is unlikely that there will be any need for serious medical attention or treatment.

While not belittling the fact that back muscle strains can be very painful indeed, there is very little that your medical practitioner can do to help you in this situation other than prescribing painkillers and relieving creams or ointments. Unless you know that these are 100% natural, you may not want to take or use them in any event.

If you have a new case of back pain that you cannot explain, you may want to contact your medical practitioner for an evaluation.

However, there are certain situations where you should definitely seek medical attention for your back pain, because it may be that it is a symptom or an indication of something that might be more serious. In particular, make sure that you contact your doctor if:

• The pain lasts more than a week or so, and does not seem to be decreasing in severity;
• You have a back pain that is accompanied with an inability to properly control your bladder or bowels;
• You have chills, fevers. sweating, trembling or find that you feel alternately hot and cold. In this case, you have a fever as well as back pain, which clearly needs checking at the soonest opportunity;
• You notice any other unusual additional symptoms that would not normally be associated with a muscle strain or ligament sprain. Share Health|Fitness
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