How to Fight Hair Loss

Friday, January 30, 2009

What causes male hair loss?
Ninety-nine percent of men who lose their hair lose it from genetic causes. That means they've inherited the pattern from somebody in the family. There's not a one-to-one relationship: Your parents may have full heads of hair and you may be balding. Or, you may have a full head of hair and your father could be bald and your grandfather could be bald. It comes from both sides of the family, the male and female side, about equally — contrary to the common myth that you inherit it from your mother.

And female hair loss?
About 45% of women in their lifetime will end up having some form of hair loss, and it's mostly genetic in that 45%. The rest are related to a variety of medical conditions: iron deficiency, thyroid disease, changes in hormones. When a woman passes into menopause, for example, the estrogen, which supports hair, is withdrawn. You get some genetic holdover like a man would have, where the male hormones that are present in women without the estrogen counterbalance will cause hair loss.

What is the average age when men start losing their hair?
It starts in their twenties. And for the men who have the most severe hair loss, they have a very clear indication of that well before they're out of their twenties.

And the average age for women?
It's mostly post-menopausal. A small handful of women will have genetic hair loss in their late teens and early twenties or thirties. These women almost always have a mother and sister or grandmother who has a similar presentation.

How do you assess a patient's condition?
For a woman, you have to go through a very extensive evaluation, checking out the medicines she is on — birth control pills can induce hair loss. You also do a series of blood tests looking for thyroid disease, iron levels. Dietary causes are amazing causes of hair loss. So women who diet or are bulimic or very thin women who don't have much meat on their bones may very well be nutritionally deprived, vitamin deprived, and they will end up with hair loss as well.

If I see a man, I almost naturally fall into the mindset that this is male pattern balding. In a woman, I say, my goodness, of the plethora of things that can cause it, what is affecting the hair loss in this woman? It may be more than one thing at a time.

The pattern of loss is different in men and women, isn't it?
Right. In men, there's a wreath of hair around the side and back. We call that permanent hair. There is no such thing as completely bald unless they have a disease. That hair will literally last most of the lifetime of the man. Of course, the hair transplant business takes advantage of that. It moves that hair to other parts of the head and the hair continually will always grow no matter where you put it. If you put it on the edge of the nose, it will grow a ponytail.

Unfortunately, that same model doesn't exist with women. Women can end up with a diffuse hair loss, so the source of donor hair is not going to be there for women. Most women, eighty percent of women, don't have that wreath.

What's your opinion about toupees and wigs? Do those exacerbate the problem?
Well, they can. They are good solutions for some people — women who have had chemotherapy, for example. Some women with thinning hair will put on wefts or attachments. It does make the hair look fuller, but it also pulls on the existing hair. That pulling will produce [medical problems] and make a woman balder. So while getting the cosmetic benefits of the weft or attachment, they get the negative side, which is the pulling, and then the exacerbation of hair loss.

Are there any medicines that people commonly take that are factor in hair loss?
Birth control pills are commonly a cause of hair loss. Many psychiatric drugs have hair loss [side effects]. Prozac has that as a side effect. Almost every one of them, if you read the literature. Unfortunately, the amount of ignorance among physicians in dealing with hair loss is massive, so there are very few doctors who really understand the process and they tend to evade the questions that are posed to them.

Are there medicines one can take to help prevent hair loss?
Propecia [finasteride] is a DHT blocker. The body converts testosterone into DHT and it's DHT, when it's combined with the genetics of hair loss, that tends to produce balding. So if you can block the DHT, you can literally stop the hair loss as it's ongoing. In very young men, sometimes you can reverse it. That's a male-only drug.

Are there any natural remedies?
Not really... Minoxidil [Rogaine] is the only [over-the-counter] medicine that seems to work, and the only medicine really available for females. It does work. But the hair becomes very dependent upon the Minoxidil. If you stop, all the effects are lost.

Is transplant surgery becoming more popular?
Yes, I think it is. I think it's much more acceptable. You literally cannot tell a patient who has had a hair transplant today. Unlike fifteen years ago, [when] you could always tell because they looked like they had a doll's head or a cornrow on their head.

Who makes a good candidate for transplant surgery?
There is an issue of supply and demand. If patients have a supply of hair in the wreath, then they can get whatever they want. If they don't have the supply, then compromises are made. You'll end up with thinner hair than you would with a full head of hair. But if you're not balding very greatly, if you've only lost the first three inches of hair in the front, for example, that hair could almost always be put back.

Unfortunately, because the wreath of hair is not healthy in many women, there is no place to take normal hair from. So a transplant, for many women, just doesn't really cut it. Of every hundred women who come to my office with hair loss, less than twenty will be candidates for a hair transplant. It's almost discriminatory, unfortunately, because of the physiology.

source : Here

8 Tips for Reading Food Labels

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reading the label

Learning to read foods labels is the most important thing. Keep in mind that not all "100% natural" means organic.

1. 100 percent organic: means containing only organically produced ingredients.
2. Cage-free: means animals are not kept in cages, and the USDA has no regulation on what the animals are fed or time spend outside.
3. Farm fish: means fish raised in pen, and the USDA has no organic standards for seafood.
4. Free range: means the animals spend at least half of their lives outside and is regulated by the USDA.
5. Grass-fed: means farmers' food sources is grass, and not regulated by USDA.
6. Made with organic ingredients: means having at least 70 percent of organic ingredients.
7. Natural: means no artificial ingredients, or added colors.
8. Organic: has at least 95% organic ingredient.

Tips for Making the switch
If you are new to eating organic foods, start slowly. Read labels. If you don't recognize or can't pronounce ingredients, don't buy it, it is most likely not working for your health! One of the reasons manufacturer's put artificial ingredients in products is because it increases their shelf life. Unfortunately, this preservation has a different consequence in our bodies, essentially rusting us from the inside out. Making a gradual switch by adding a new organic food choice each week into your shopping routine will make the process simple and easy.

* Week 1: start with dairy products such as milk, cheese, and egg.
* Week 2: fruits, and vegetables.
* Week 3: meat, chicken, and nuts.
* Week 4: pasta, rice, and bread.
* Week 5: beverages.

Get inspired about healthy eating! Many people have this notion that eating healthy doesn't taste taste good, or taste as good, I promise I can help you find your inner chef. No bland or boring foods. Sign up for my free e-newsletter and learn to fall in love with healthy eating.

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The 5 Kinds of Headaches

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's critical to identify which type of headache you suffer from—tension, cluster, sinus, rebound, or migraine—so that the correct treatment can be prescribed. In one 2004 study, 80% of patients with a recent history of self-described or doctor-diagnosed sinus headache—but none of the signs of sinus infection—actually met the criteria for migraine. And two-thirds of those patients expressed dissatisfaction with the medications they were using to treat their headaches. Here's a cheat sheet to help you put a name to your pain.

Tension headaches
Tension headaches, the most common type, feel like a constant ache or pressure around the head, especially at the temples or back of the head and neck. Not as severe as migraines, they are not usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and they rarely stop someone from continuing their regular activities. Over-the-counter treatments, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen (Tylenol), are usually sufficient to treat tension headaches, which experts believe may be caused by contraction of neck and scalp muscles (including in response to stress), and possibly changes in brain chemicals.

Cluster headaches
Cluster headaches, which affect men more often than women, are recurring headaches that occur in groups or cycles. The headaches appear suddenly and are characterized by severe, debilitating pain on one side of the head often accompanied by a watery eye and nasal congestion or a runny nose on the same side of the face. During an attack, sufferers are often restless and unable to get comfortable and not likely to lay down the way someone with a migraine usually does. The cause of cluster headaches is unknown, but they may have some genetic component. There is no cure, but medications can reduce the frequency and duration of attacks.

Sinus headaches
When a sinus becomes inflamed, usually through an infection, it can cause pain. It usually comes with a fever, and can—if necessary—be diagnosed by MRI or CT scan (which can both detect changes in fluid levels), or by the presence of pus viewed through a fiber-optic scope. Headaches due to sinus infection can be treated with antibiotics, as well as antihistamines or decongestants.

Rebound headaches
Overuse of painkillers for headaches can, ironically, lead to rebound headaches. Culprits include over-the-counter medications like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), as well as prescription drugs.

"Most of the patients we see in a headache center with daily headache have medication-overuse, or rebound, headaches," says Stewart Tepper, MD, director of research at the Center for Headache and Pain at the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute.
"They are on a merry-go-round and they can't get off," says Dr. Tepper. "They keep taking more medicine, they keep having more headaches, and so the patient becomes more and more desperate. That's when they end up coming to headache specialists to kind of reset the whole system."

One theory is that too much medication can cause the brain to shift into an excited state, triggering more headaches. Another is that the headaches are a symptom of withdrawal as the level of medicine drops in the bloodstream.

Migraine headaches
Migraine headaches come from a neurological disorder that can run in families and are defined by certain criteria.

* At least five previous episodes of headaches
* Lasting between four hours and 72 hours
* Having at least two out of four of these features: one-sided pain, throbbing pain, moderate-to-severe pain, and pain that interferes with, is worsened by, or prohibits routine activity
* Having at least one associated feature: nausea and/or vomiting, or, if those are not present, then sensitivity to light and sound

An oncoming migraine attack may, for some, be foreshadowed by an aura, which can include visual distortions (such as wavy lines or blind spots) or numbness of a hand. It's estimated, though, that only 15% to 20% of migraineurs experience this.

source : Here

Assisted Living - Way to Stay Independent

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

As Time goes on, it leaves a lasting imprint on us, physically, if not mentally, only to wake and find one fine day, while the body is weak, the mind is only too willing! However, a willing mind is of little help, when we are no longer limber of body or nimble of foot. This then, is the cue for some seniors? care, the cue that it is time to look for assisted living accommodation. And, whether one is a resident of Florida or elsewhere, it is easy to find and book oneself into some excellent assisted living facilities in Florida.

Top of the range senior living in Florida is easy to come by, since the state boasts of some of the finest assisted living facilities in Florida and senior health care. You can be certain that Florida assisted living will allow you to look forward to a fine balance between residential livings, medical and recreational services, and assistance with day-to-day living activities.

Florida seniors care offers the same benefits as independent living, and at the same time provides basic help when faced with the personal challenges of an aging mind and body. Today?s fast paced world of nuclear families leave aged parents to fend for themselves, aged parents, who could be better of with Florida assisted living or Florida seniors care.

Times are a changing and high individualism means the elderly are left unattended, un-catered for. Situations arise when immediate medical help is required, with no one to provide it. And, you are most lucky if you decide on senior health care Florida, which is simply the best, one of the finest in the United States.

So, instead of facing the challenges of growing old and frail on your own, you would be wise to check out some senior living in Florida. Moving into assisted living accommodation in Florida means senior health care Florida provides physical and medical help daily, even as, one indulges in recreational activities in a wholesome, healthy, secure environment.

Why live dangerously on your own, when you can take advantage of Florida assisted living Or Florida seniors care! Enjoy your sunset years with assisted living Florida!

Assisted Living provides a balance of residential living, medical and recreational services, and assistance with day-to-day living activities. In reality, it offers residents many of the same benefits as independent living, while providing basic help in areas that may have become personally challenging.

source : Here

Alcohol and Weight Loss

Monday, January 26, 2009

Alcohol and weight loss are enemies, but an occasional drink can have a place in a healthy lifestyle. In fact, many experts note the health benefits of consuming a single drink per day, including a reduced risk for hypertension and high blood pressure. If, however, you are exceeding one drink daily, you might be sabotaging your weight loss plans.

Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and beverages. Under normal conditions, your body gets its energy from the calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins that need to be slowly digested in the stomach—but not when alcohol is present. When alcohol is consumed, it gets special privileges and needs no digestion. The alcohol molecules diffuse through the stomach wall as soon as they arrive and can reach the brain and liver in minutes. This reaction is slightly slowed when there is also food in your system, but as soon as the mixed contents enter the small intestine, the alcohol grabs first place and is absorbed quickly. The alcohol then arrives at the liver for processing. The liver places all of its attention on the alcohol. Therefore, the carbohydrates (glucose) and dietary fats are just changed into body fat, waiting to be carried away for permanent fat storage in the body.

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation.

Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and offers NO nutritional value. It only adds empty calories to your diet. Why not spend your calorie budget on something healthier?

Alcohol affects your body in other negative ways. Drinking might help induce sleep, but the sleep you get isn't very deep. Ultimately, as a result, you get less rest. Alcohol can also increase the amount of acid that your stomach produces, causing your stomach lining to become inflamed. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to serious health problems, including stomach ulcers, liver disease, and heart troubles.

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which is detrimental to your diet plans. Alcohol actually stimulates your appetite. While you might be full from a comparable amount of calories from food, several drinks might not fill you up. On top of that, research shows that if you drink before or during a meal, both your inhibitions and willpower are reduced. In this state, you are more likely to overeat—especially greasy or fried foods—which can add to your waistline. To avoid this, wait to order that drink until you're done with your meal.

Many foods that accompany drinking (peanuts, pretzels, chips) are salty, which can make you thirsty, encouraging you to drink even more. To avoid overdrinking, sip on a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage.

Skipping a meal to save your calories for drinks later is a bad idea. Many drinkers know they'll be having some alcohol later, whether going to a bar, party, or just kicking back at home. Knowing that drinking entails extra calories, it may be tempting to "bank" some calories by skipping a meal or two. This is a bad move. If you come to the bar hungry, you are even more likely to munch on the snacks, and drinking on an empty stomach enhances the negative effects of alcohol. If you're planning on drinking later, eat a healthy meal first. You'll feel fuller, which will stop you from overdrinking. If you are worried about a looming night out with friends, include an extra 30 minutes of exercise to balance your calories—instead of skipping a meal.

What are more important, calories or carbs? You might think that drinking liquor is more diet-friendly because it has no carbohydrates, while both wine and beer do contain carbs. But dieters need to watch calories, and liquor only has a few calories less than beer or wine. Plus, it is often mixed with other drinks, adding even more empty calories. Hard liquor contains around 100 calories per shot, so adding a mixer increases calories even more. If you are going to mix liquor with anything, opt for a diet or club soda, instead of fruit juice or regular soda. Sweeter drinks, whether liquor or wine, tend to have more sugar, and therefore more calories. In that respect, dry wines usually have fewer calories than sweet wines.

source : Here

Healing Touch (Hands, Hearts, Intentions)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What is a healing touch and who is the healer? Hands, Hearts, Intentions, focus on the judicious use of energy, applied with love and science equals healing and wholeness which is facilitated with the healer.

There are many traditions from ancient groups such as Maya, Hindu, Native American, Laplander and Chinese to the newly (re)discovered contemporary modalities such as Healing Touch, Terra Mater, Therapeutic Touch and Hands of Light that facilitate the healing of dis-ease.

Dis-ease can manifest cellularly, energetically, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually in many combinations on the body or in the mind. This sometimes stimulates in the person in dis-ease to seek out a healer. The one who wants to be healed often arrives at the healers door from a path of equanimity to despair in search of an illusive wholeness after trying many approaches.What is it that the healer can facilitate? Who is the Healer?

The healer is one who has embarked upon a path that has required intention, courage, self awareness, skill levels, compassion, integrity and honesty to experience their own fears of limitation and encounter their own healing.

What does a healing session involve?

The healer listens with their whole being to the `voice' of the body and trusts that body's wisdom to heal. The healer centers themselves and gathers an energy into themselves and radiates it out to the healer in the form of a steady outflowing stream of radiant energy. This energy is a free circulation of force between the person to be healed, the healer, and facilitates relaxation, alleviates anxieties and promotes stimulation of the whole self to balance.

The healer must have the ability to keep the will in the background and send as a conductor the healing radiance out upon a stream of love-energy and not be invested in the outcome. The healer understands that love is energy and that it is a substance as dense as matter.

Often the recipient of this energy, while lying comfortably on a table or sitting upright in a chair fully clothed will experience body sensations. The sensations may be of temperature changes, joy, sadness, itching, unsolicited memories, see colors and shapes, deep rest or sleep. These body experiences are responses to the varieties of touch delivered by the individual healers modality and skill. The touch can be on or near the body and be very soft or deep. The session can be from 15 minutes to an hour.

Currently the NIH in The Alternative Medicine Department is finding 10 research projects in the efficacy of touch healing. There is much documented research on the benefits of therapeutic touch and it is currently being taught to nurses, physicians and physical therapists as a complement to many forms of medicine.

The reintroduction of the healer, the ancient art of a Healer's Touch to the mainstream is timely and much needed today. The co-joining of the many strands of "care" and medicine are symbolic, necessary and evidenced in the symbol of the caduceus. Two snakes , two branches of care entwined around a staff with wings. The symbol of bright health in balance, a holistic approach to well-being.

source : Here

Vitamin C Fact Sheet

Saturday, January 24, 2009

This fact sheet tells you everything you didn’t know about vitamin C!

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant; is essential for the production of collagen, the substance that forms the body’s connective tissues (bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments); and it may help to boost the immune system. The best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits and juices, papayas, hot chili peppers, bell peppers, broccoli, potatoes, kale, red cabbage, cauliflower, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Tomatoes are also a good source.

Vitamin C deficiencies
Scurvy is the most common disease that results from vitamin C deficiency. It affects most body tissues, particularly bones, teeth and blood vessels. Initial symptoms include tiredness, weakness, irritability, weight loss and vague muscle aches. Subsequent symptoms include bleeding gums, wounds that won’t heal, rough skin and wasting away of the muscles. Low dietary intake of vitamin C may also increase lead levels in the blood. Although vitamin C deficiency is uncommon in the US, a recent study suggested that many healthy middle-class Americans were deficient in vitamin C. Deficiencies may also be present in the elderly, alcoholics, cancer patients and those who adhere to some food fads. Additionally, high doses of aspirin taken over a long period of time can interfere with vitamin C absorption and may cause a deficiency.

Vitamin C toxicity
Adverse effects from vitamin C supplements are uncommon, but high doses (more than 1000 mg per day) may cause headaches and intestinal and urinary problems, including kidney stones. Studies have suggested that in doses of 500 mg or more, vitamin C may have pro-oxidant effects that can damage cells. Because ascorbic acid increases iron absorption, people with certain blood disorders, such as hemochromatosis, thalassemia, or sideroblastic anemia, should particularly avoid high doses. Large doses can also interfere with anticoagulant medications, and with blood tests used in diabetes and stool tests for diagnosing colon cancer. A condition called rebound scurvy is caused by abrupt withdrawal from long-term ingestion of large doses of the vitamin. In rare cases, infants of pregnant women who have taken large doses of vitamin C have been born with rebound scurvy.

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source : Here

10 Cheap Tips To Reduce Depression

Friday, January 23, 2009

The effects of depression can be be very harmful to those who suffer from it, not to mention those around them. Many times, depression may cause a person to spend less time with others, and to spend less time doing things that they once enjoyed doing. Depression is not good on your health! Those suffering from depression may face memory problems, sleep problems or a need to sleep excessively, a sense of hopelessness and an inability to join the rest of the world. As depressing as it may seem, there are around 19 million Americans who suffer from this. It could be due to a death of a loved one, a divorce, not being able to forgive someone, or just because you are overweight.

Some feel depression as a result of learning that they have a health condition such as breast cancer, Endometriosis, Diabetes, Myasthenia Gravis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Cystic Fibrosis, Fibromyalgia, or some other. College students can also feel depressed when classes are not going as they would like them to. Although there are ways to ease some symptoms of depression, sometimes medication therapy is needed for a person to fully enjoy a life without depression. However, there are some free tips that you can try if you have the blues.

Ten Tips To Reduce Depression

Talk to Someone: Marriage counselors, church patriarchs, school counselors, and life coaches can be very helpful. If you do not feel comfortable speaking with a counselor, talk to a close friend or write in a journal.

Exercise: Some daily exercise can really boost your mood and energy. Aerobic exercise will raise your heart rate, boost your metabolism, and allow the body to naturally release mood enhancing endorphins.

Eat Fresh Food: Eat plenty of fiber (fruits and vegetables) in order to cleanse your body from toxins and preservatives and junk from processed foods. Make sure that you consume colorful fruits and vegetables. When you are healthy, you feel more vibrant and full of energy!

Avoid Sugar: Sugar can cause serious problems, especially if your depression is combined with anxiety. Unlike essential sugars (glyconutrients), regular table sugar can increase your anxiety, give you a let down when you come down off of a sugar high and it can hinder your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. Frequent illnesses can contribute to depression.

Avoid caffeine: Caffeine brings you up - then drops you like a rock. Like sugar, it will also contribute to your anxiety and depression. Try drinking at least 8 glasses of water everyday.

Avoid nicotine: Nicotine is a stimulant. It acts in the body much like caffeine. It can make you feel better temporarily, but in the end it will only add to depression in several ways. The stimulant in nicotine can increase your anxiety. Smoking also tends to make a person more prone to upper respiratory illnesses and illness can increase you depression.

Meditation: Meditation has been used for thousands of years to help with depression. There are ways to medite, including conscious breathing methods and creative thoughts.

Sleep: Sleep deprivation can cause depression and anxiety. Too much sleep can also contribute to depression and anxiety. The average adult needs between six and nine hours of sleep a night. Each individual has different needs, but this is a good guideline.

Avoid more sitting: Use More Light Sitting or working in the dark will add to your depression. Natural light is better than artificial light too. So open the windows and shutters and replace small lights and light bulbs with bigger and brighter ones.

Adopt a Pet: Having a pet can substantially reduce your depression and anxiety. Just the act of stroking an animal can lower your blood pressure and calm you. If you have allergies, you can check out certain breeds of dogs, such as Chihuahuas that do not seem to irritate and incite allergic reactions.

source : Here

Breast Cancer Facts

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An estimated 182,800 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2000.

Approximately 42,200 deaths will occur in women from breast cancer in 2000.

One in eight women or 12.6% of all women will get breast cancer in her lifetime.

Breast cancer risk increases with age and every woman is at risk.

Every 13 minutes a woman dies of breast cancer.

Seventy-seven percent of women with breast cancer are over 50.

Approximately 1400 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in 2000 and 400 of those men will die.

More than 1.7 million women who have had breast cancer are still alive in the United States.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women between the ages of 15 and 54, and the second cause of cancer death in women 55 to 74.

Seventy-one percent of black women diagnosed with breast cancer experience a five-year survival rate, while eighty-six percent of white women experience five-year survival.

The first sign of breast cancer usually shows up on a woman's mammogram before it can be felt or any other symptoms are present.

Risks for breast cancer include a family history, atypical hyperplasia, delaying pregnancy until after age 30 or never becoming pregnant, early menstruation (before age 12), late menopause (after age 55), current use or use in the last ten years of oral contraceptives, and daily consumption of alcohol.

Early detection of breast cancer, through monthly breast self-exam and particularly yearly mammography after age 40, offers the best chance for survival.

Ninety-six percent of women who find and treat breast cancer early will be cancer-free after five years.

Over eighty percent of breast lumps are not cancerous, but benign such as fibrocystic breast disease.

Oral contraceptives may cause a slight increase in breast cancer risk; however 10 years after discontinuing use of oral contraceptives the risk is the same as for women who never used the pill.

Estrogen replacement therapy for over 5 years slightly increases breast cancer risk; however the increased risk appears to disappear 5-10 years after discontinuing the use of estrogen replacement therapy.

You are never too young to develop breast cancer! Breast Self-Exam should begin by the age of twenty.

source : Here

Keep Eyes Safe During Summer

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Summer just wouldn't be summer without spending some time in the sun or watching a great fireworks display on the Fourth of July. But without precaution and protection, these mainstays of summer can be harmful to your eyes.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) warns outdoor enthusiasts about photokeratitis - an eye condition much like sunburn to the skin. The symptoms cause the eyes to get red, tear excessively and have an uncomfortable sensation like that of something being in the eye. Photokeratitis is temporary and rarely causes permanent damage.

Long-term sun exposure can, however, cause more serious damage. Exposing eyes to the sun in small amounts over a period of years can increase the chances of developing cataracts and damage to the retina. These conditions are irreversible.

It is especially important for children, who may spend much of their summer vacation outdoors, to wear eye protection. Even the very young should have eye protection when outdoors.

Wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat or cap are excellent prescriptions for protecting one's eyes while soaking up the sunshine. AOA recommends that to be effective, sunglasses must:

* block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation;
* screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light; and
* be perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection.

Neutral gray lenses are the best for maintaining color perception.

Consumers should look for lenses that have been awarded the AOA Seal of Acceptance for Non-Prescription Sunglasses or Ultraviolet Absorbers/Blockers, providing substantial protection of the eye from naturally occurring environmental UV radiation.

AOA also suggests that friends and families stay away from private firework use and instead enjoy professional displays to protect and preserve eyesight.

Each year over the holiday, thousands of adults and children are seriously injured as a result of fireworks and pyrotechnic devices. Many burns and injuries affect eyesight, permanently damaging, and in some cases blinding, the victims.

From a special study of fireworks-related injuries covering the period of June 19 to July 19, 2004, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates there were 6,600 emergency room-treated injuries, most involving firecrackers, rockets and sparklers. In total during 2004, the CPSC estimates 9,600 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with fireworks. The CPSC estimates 1,400 fireworks injuries were to the eyes in 2004. Most of these eye injuries were contusions and lacerations.

About two-thirds of the fireworks-related injuries were burns, and most of the burns involved the hands, eyes and head or face. Almost 40 percent of the victims were under 15 years old, and three times as many males were injured as females.

Believe it or not, sparklers are the highest cause of fireworks injuries requiring trips to the emergency room. Sparklers can easily burn children since they heat up to 1800 degrees - hot enough to melt gold.

The sun and fireworks don't have to take the fun out of summer - just make sure your eyes and skin stay protected.

source : Here

Understanding Allergies

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

There is a common practice today among many physicians to stamp anything which they cannot successfully diagnose as an “allergy”. I am not saying that allergies do not exist, there certainly is a strange group of body reactions to which has been given the title allergy.

To explain it simply, allergies are the body's reactions to certain factors. Usually, these factors (animal fur, pollen, some foods, etc.) are harmless to people but, in other cases, a body sees them as harmful substances
To protect itself, the body will produce histamine, a kind of byproduct of the antibodies the body creates to help itself. This is what causes the symptoms of allergies: the sneezing, coughing, fever, hives, etc.

There are two main groups allergies can be divided into: (1) skin allergies, those which are located on the surface of the body; and (2) respiratory allergies, those which inhabit the chest, throat and nasal areas.

In the respiratory allergies group you would find such common conditions as hay fever, asthma, sinusitis, etc. These conditions are centered in the respiratory system, but some (particularly hay fever and sinus conditions) tend to spill over into other areas, as for instance the eyes, which may tear, redden and puff under a severe attack. These particular types of allergies have been linked to Vitamin C deficiency. Supplementing your diet with Vitamin C as well as the B complex will prove useful in the treating of this kind of allergies.

On the other hand, skin allergies, which can appear as hives and skin rashes, as an example, are in a great degree related to an over acid condition of the body. These acids are produced right within the body and consumed day in day out in the daily diet. For this type of allergy a well balanced diet consisting of foods in its most natural form will help control a hyper-acid condition in the body. Also, it will be necessary to start by cleansing the system completely. Daily natural baths with particular emphasis upon the area affected are also recommended.

It is also a good idea for skin allergy patients to soften the water they use for bathing with a cup of starch (one that does not require boiling to dissolve completely in water). Bicarbonate of soda should never be used to soften water for people with sensitive skin, since it is an alkali and will have a drying and destructive effect in time. Dry skin should not be bathed too frequently or for long periods of time. Baths should be quick affairs and olive oil may help to relieve the loss of natural skin oils.

source : Here


Sunday, January 18, 2009


Headaches may occur for any number of reasons including: sinus conditions, hypertension, allergies, tumors, hormonal changes, and most frequently, stress. They are not usually associated with problems related to the eyes.

Migraine headaches

Migraine, a type of headache that is often hereditary, usually first surfaces between the ages of 15 and 30. They are most common among women and are thought to be related to stress and some foods.

Migraine headaches may cause visual symptoms such as light flashes, temporary blind spots, and blurred vision. Migraines are thought to be caused by the dilation and constriction of arteries in the head. These headaches can be extremely painful. The pain is often limited to one side of the head, and may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

In many cases, migraines are believed to be brought on by stress. This "Friday night" headache often follows the stress relief of a frenetic week during which the blood vessels in the head relax and constrict. Certain foods and additives such as chocolate, alcohol, dairy, and MSG are also attributed to migraines. However, for many, the cause is variable and extremely difficult to pinpoint.

Eye-related headaches

Eye-related headaches typically occur after extended periods of reading, watching television, computer work, or other close work that requires intense concentration. This type of headache usually disappears after a period of rest. In some cases, headaches may be caused by eyestrain related to eyeglasses. A tendency for the eyes to cross or drift outward may also bring on headaches.

One eye problem known to cause an intense headache is angle-closure glaucoma. With this type of glaucoma, the headache is only part of the problem. Patients suffering from an angle-closure attack also may experience nausea, intense pain around the eye, blurred vision, and haloes around lights.

Headaches caused by eye disease are unique in their symptoms and types of pain. It is important to make detailed notes of your symptoms, type of pain, lifestyle and what you were doing when the headache began. This information is very helpful to the physician to diagnose the type and cause of the headache you are experiencing.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms from headaches can be extremely variable and depend on the underlying problem. Because of the scope of the various types and causes is so immense, the following the headaches are described with the typical symptoms as they relate to the eye.

Headaches related to eye fatigue:


Headaches that begin after an extended period of reading, computer use, watching television, or close work

Burning eyes




Throbbing pain

Sensitivity to light and sound

Nausea and vomiting

Visual "aura" including: light flashes, jagged lights, missing areas of vision

Acute angle-closure glaucoma


Intense headache that is usually centralized over brow area

Nausea and vomiting

Glare or haloes around lights

Detection and Diagnosis

Your doctor will routinely obtain a complete history and perform a thorough physical exam to rule out systemic causes of the headache. Your ophthalmologist will verify that no eye-related problems are brining on the headache.


Stress relief, control of blood pressure, or medication to maintain appropriate hormonal levels may be necessary. New glasses or different work lighting may be prescribed by your doctor.

If you have persistent headaches, it is important to consult your medical doctor about them for a medical evaluation.

source : Here

Asthma in Teens and Adults

Is this topic for you?

This topic provides information about asthma in teens and adults. If you are looking for information about asthma in children age 12 and younger, see the topic Asthma in Children.
What is asthma?

Asthma causes swelling and inflammationClick here to see an illustration. in the airways that lead to your lungs. When asthma flares up, the airways tighten and become narrower. This keeps the air from passing through easily and makes it hard for you to breathe. These flare-ups are also called asthma attacks or exacerbations.

Asthma affects people in different ways. Some people only have asthma attacks during allergy season, or when they breathe in cold air, or when they exercise. Others have many bad attacks that send them to the doctor often.

Even if you have few asthma attacks, you still need to treat your asthma. The swelling and inflammation in your airways can lead to permanent changes in your airways and harm your lungs.

Many people with asthma live active, full lives. Even though asthma is a lifelong disease, treatment can control it and keep you healthy.
What causes asthma?

Experts do not know exactly what causes asthma. But there are some things we do know:

* Asthma runs in families.
* Asthma is much more common in people with allergies, though not everyone with allergies gets asthma. And not everyone with asthma has allergies.
* Pollution may cause asthma or make it worse.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of asthma can be mild or severe. You may have mild attacks now and then, or you may have severe symptoms every day, or you may have something in between. How often you have symptoms can also change. When you have asthma, you may:

* Wheeze, making a loud or soft whistling noise that occurs when you breathe in and out.
* Cough a lot.
* Feel tightness in your chest.
* Feel short of breath.
* Have trouble sleeping because of coughing or having a hard time breathing.
* Quickly get tired during exercise.

Your symptoms may be worse at night.

Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening and need emergency treatment.
How is asthma diagnosed?

Along with doing a physical exam and asking about your health, your doctor may order lung function tests. These tests include:

* Spirometry. Doctors use this test to diagnose and keep track of asthma. It measures how quickly you can move air in and out of your lungs and how much air you move.
* Peak expiratory flow (PEF). This shows how fast you can breathe out when you try your hardest.
* An exercise or inhalation challenge. This test measures how quickly you can breathe after exercise or after taking a medicine.
* A chest X-ray, to see if another disease is causing your symptoms.
* Allergy tests, if your doctor thinks your symptoms may be caused by allergies.

You will need routine checkups with your doctor to keep track of your asthma and decide on treatment.
How is it treated?

There are two parts to treating asthma. The goals are to:

* Control asthma over the long term. To do this, use a daily asthma treatment plan. This is a written plan that tells you which medicine to take. It also helps you track your symptoms and know how well the treatment is working. Many people take controller medicine—usually an inhaled corticosteroid—every day. Taking controller medicine every day helps to reduce the swelling of the airways and prevent attacks. Your doctor will show you how to use your inhaler correctly. This is very important so you get the right amount of medicine to help you breathe better.
* Treat asthma attacks when they occur. Use an asthma action plan, which tells you what to do when you have an asthma attack. It helps you identify triggers that can cause your attacks. You use rescue medicine, such as albuterol, during an attack.

If you need to use the rescue inhaler more often than usual, talk to your doctor. This is a sign that your asthma is not controlled and can cause problems.

Asthma attacks can be life-threatening, but you may be able to prevent them if you follow a plan. Your doctor can teach you the skills you need to use your asthma treatment and action plans.
How can you prevent asthma attacks?

You can prevent some asthma attacks by avoiding those things that cause them. These are called triggers. A trigger can be:

* Irritants in the air, such as cigarette smoke or other air pollution. Don't smoke, and try to avoid being around others when they smoke.
* Things you are allergic to, such as pet dander, dust mites, cockroaches, or pollen. When you can, avoid those things you are allergic to. It may also help to take certain kinds of allergy medicine.
* Exercise. Ask your doctor about using an inhaler before you exercise if this is a trigger for you.
* Other things like dry, cold air; an infection; or some medicines, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Try not to exercise outside when it is cold and dry. Talk to your doctor about vaccines to prevent some infections, and ask about what medicines you should avoid.

Sometimes you don't know what triggers an asthma attack. This is why it is important to have an asthma action plan that tells you what to do during an attack.

source : Here

Dangers of smoking

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Smoking is injurious to health"; this is the caution advice that we read on all cigarettes packets. Still we go ahead to take that puff of ecstasy. Why? Are we trying to be ignorant or is it something else.

Tobacco intake is the single most preventable cause of premature death in today’s times. Tobacco or nicotine is the chemical that narrows our blood vessels thereby reducing the life giving air that we intake, which in turn forces us to fight for that extra air.

Why we are drawn towards smoking

The younger generation of today’s times is the one, which is the most stricken by this deadly disease. The biggest reason for which is they are in a haste to prove them selves to be grownups and mature.

A 13 yr old boy standing in the streets with his friends puffing the circles of smoke in air, feels he is mature and big enough to take his decisions and thinks that now it is that he has broken free from the shackles of his parents boundations which say that "smoking is injurious to health". He does so in pure enjoyment and fun, not realizing that he is indeed letting the shackles of a deadly disease trap him and is not in fact breaking free from any. Hey! Boy, QUIT SMOKING, or else soon you will be in the clutches of the deadly disease.

Ill effects of smoking

It is smoking that triples the risk of dying from various heart diseases, bronchitis and emphysema. It is smoking that leads to asthma and lung cancer in many people. It is smoking that makes a person baffle for air 3 times more that a non-smoker. Smoking makes you weak and unfit for athletics and various other sports. Smoking makes people avoid you because it makes your hair and clothes stink. It stains your teeth and you have bad breath. Your lips are often cracked and you look pale.

Is that what you call looking mature. No. So quit smoking because it will do no good to you.

Smoking is a contagious disease because it not only weakens it victim but also those who are around him. This is better known as passive smoking where the smoke puffed out by a smoker does harm to the lungs and chest of the person who inhales that air. It is thus the need of the hour that we should take up the matter seriously and do something constructive to free our society from the grips of this deadly disease.

source : Here

Lower Your Cholesterol By Sowing Your Oats

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's an excellent time of life for baking your favorite high-fiber cookies. It may seem like a gustatory contradiction. How can a cookie taste delicious and be nutritionally high in dietary fiber? High fiber foods and high fiber diets have become part of our everyday language as we become more proactive in our everyday health. Fiberlady wants you to discover the benefits of high fiber menus with desserts that are full of high fiber an oat bran cookie.

More and more researchers are discovering the vital necessity of high fiber foods and their effectiveness in controlling high cholesterol levels. Oat bran offers you soluble fiber, specifically known as beta-glucan. Nutritional experts recommend 3 grams of beta-glucan daily for optimum health benefits. Research reveals 1/3 cup of dry oat bran contains 4 grams of fiber, and 1/3 cup of dry oatmeal has 2.7 grams. A couple of home-baked fiber-enriched cookies is a deliciously sweet way to help people who need to monitor their cholesterol.

A study conducted in Mexico had 66 men, ages 20 through 45, eat cookies made with oat bran, wheat bran or psyllium. The trial was to see which sample of fiber would be the most effective in lowering their "bad" cholesterol. These men were also advised to eat less red meat and were encouraged to reduce their daily fat intake.

Eight weeks later, it was evident that the men who ate the oat bran cookies reduced their LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels by 23 to 26 percent. The men who consumed the psyllium based cookies lowered their LDL levels by almost 23 percent. In the wheat bran group, there was only an 8 percent drop in their LDL levels. Other than fiber, their ways of eating had not significantly been altered. Obviously, high fiber cannot counteract the effects of high fat cheese enchiladas. Keeping fat consumption down is also an important key to lowering cholesterol levels. The findings were published in the December issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition(1998;17:601-608).

Research is a unique tool that brings awareness into people's lives. Now that you have some enlightenment about the positive effects of high fiber foods, you can feel more confident knowing there are high fiber snacks that taste good and heal good. Fiberlady found this delicious oat bran cookie recipe for you to enjoy. Now is the perfect time to sow your oats.

Oat Bran Oatmeal Cookies
yield: 28 cookies


3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups oat bran
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
raisins (optional) or nuts (optional)


1. Beat together oil through vanilla.
2. Add oats through baking soda and beat well.
3. Add raisins or nuts, if desired.
4. Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets.
5. Bake 12 minutes at 350.
6. Cool on wire rack.

Fiber: 1.7 grams in 1 cookie
Author Resource:- Stephanie Shank aka Fiberlady has studied nutrition for many healthy years which prompted her commitment to a high fiber lifestyle and the development of her informative website High Fiber Health.

source : Here

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)

Friday, January 9, 2009

What is autism?

Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication. Symptoms usually start before age three and can cause delays or problems in many different skills that develop from infancy to adulthood.

What is an autism spectrum disorder?

Different people with autism can have very different symptoms. Health care providers think of autism as a "spectrum" disorder, a group of disorders with similar features. One person may have mild symptoms, while another may have serious symptoms. But they both have an autism spectrum disorder.

Currently, the autism spectrum disorder category includes:

* Autistic disorder (also called "classic" autism)
* Asperger syndrome
* Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (or atypical autism)

In some cases, health care providers use a broader term, pervasive developmental disorder, to describe autism. This category includes the autism spectrum disorders above, plus Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Rett syndrome.

This Web site uses "autism spectrum disorder" and "autism" to mean the same thing.

What are the symptoms of autism?

The main signs and symptoms of autism involve problems in the following areas:

* Communication - both verbal (spoken) and non-verbal (unspoken, such as pointing, eye contact, and smiling)
* Social - such as sharing emotions, understanding how others think and feel, and holding a conversation
* Routines or repetitive behaviors (also called stereotyped behaviors) - such as repeating words or actions, obsessively following routines or schedules, and playing in repetitive ways

The symptoms of autism can usually be observed by 18 months of age.

There are many possible red flags for autism - behaviors that may be signs or symptoms of autism. Some features may mean a delay in one or more areas of development, while others may be more typical of autism spectrum disorders. If you think your child shows red flags for autism, talk to your health care provider.

What are the treatments for autism?

There is no cure for autism, nor is there one single treatment for autism spectrum disorders. But there are ways to help minimize the symptoms of autism and to maximize learning.

Behavioral therapy and other therapeutic options

* Behavior management therapy helps to reinforce wanted behaviors, and reduce unwanted behaviors. It is often based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
* Speech-language therapists can help people with autism improve their ability to communicate and interact with others.
* Occupational therapists can help people find ways to adjust tasks to match their needs and abilities.
* Physical therapists design activities and exercise to build motor control and improve posture and balance.

Educational and/or school-based options

* Public schools are required to provide free, appropriate public education from age 3 through high school or age 21, whichever comes first.
* Typically, a team of people, including the parents, teachers, caregivers, school psychologists, and other child development specialists work together to design an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to help guide the child’s school experiences.

Medication options

* Currently there are no medications that can cure autism spectrum disorders or all of the symptoms. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any medications specifically for the treatment of autism, but in many cases medication can treat some of the symptoms associated with autism.
* Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclics, psychoactive/anti-psychotics, stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs are among the medications that a health care provider might use to treat symptoms of autism spectrum disorders.
* Secretin—a hormone that helps digestion—is not recommended as a treatment for autism.

Is there a link between autism and vaccines?

There is no conclusive scientific evidence that any part of a vaccine or combination of vaccines causes autism, even though researchers have done many studies to answer this important question. There is also no proof that any material used to make or preserve the vaccine plays a role in causing autism.

Although there have been reports of studies that relate vaccines to autism, these findings have not held up under further investigation.

Is autism more common in certain groups of people?

Three groups are at higher-than-normal risk for autism spectrum disorders, including:

* Boys
* Siblings of those with autism
* People with certain other developmental disorders, such as Fragile X syndrome

source : Here

Healthy Snacks Okay Anytime

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Kids everywhere take note: Kathy Walsten says it's okay to play with your food. For that matter, she thinks eating between-meal snacks is a pretty good idea, too.

Hmmm...imagine that.

"Kids love to turn any eating occasion into an interactive experience," says Walsten, a nutrition educator with Kansas State University Research and Extension. "[Parents] may have a 'don't play with your food' rule at meal times, but I suggest relaxing the rule at snack time."

From a health standpoint, Walsten says the afternoon hours pose a problem for kids. When they get home from school, children may be tempted to rush into the kitchen and grab whatever is easy and available - typically soda pop, potato chips and sweets.

But Walsten says parents can encourage healthful eating by letting their children "construct their own snacks."

"Even those 'dreaded' good-for-you foods are a hit when cleverly disguised, like the carrot sticks that first were the masts for potato boats," Walsten said. "And, you never know, you might just be sparking a lifelong interest in cooking."

For times when they're not home, parents should designate a shelf in the refrigerator or pantry as a "snack shelf" for their children, with the understanding that it's okay to eat anything on the shelf without first asking permission.

Walsten says some good choices include canned foods (such as pineapple, mandarin oranges, applesauce cups or dried fruit), tuna, vegetable soup, nuts, peanut butter, pretzels, whole grain crackers, animal crackers, ginger snaps, bagels, pita bread and more. In the refrigerator or freezer, good choices include yogurt, cheese sticks, low-fat milk, and fruit juice pops. Or, designate air-tight snack containers for grapes, melon balls, berries or kiwi chunks.

"It's important for kids to have choices when it comes to snacking," Walsten said. "If all the choices you give them are reasonably nutritious ones, then everyone's happy because your kids get to choose their snacks and you get to ensure that they're eating healthfully."

Walsten also offers these snack-time tips for parents:

* Offer similar choices. For example, parents should not let children choose between ice cream and pretzels. Instead, offer them foods with similar nutrition value, such as ice cream or yogurt; graham crackers or soda crackers; apples or oranges. "When you offer foods that are dissimilar, you set the child up for a decision that may be in conflict with what you're really wanting them to choose," Walsten said.

* Limit portion sizes. Parents should allow children to have a certain number of crackers, rather than the whole box. Snacks should provide just enough nutrition to get kids to the next meal: "You want them to be hungry for the main meal," Walsten said.

* Set a good example. Parents who want their child to eat fruits and vegetables should do so themselves. "Different studies indicate that it really does make a difference for children to see adults eating healthy foods," Walsten said.

"Just remember," she says, "that snack times should be planned as mini-meals emphasizing nutritious foods and beverages from the Food Guide Pyramid (established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture). Encourage kids to include at least two of the major food groups at every snack, such as cheese and crackers; animal cookies and milk; or granola bars and fruit."

source : Here

10 Simple Ways To Stay

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Active During The Holiday Season

Shopping, parties, baking, decorating, cooking, wrapping—the list of things to do to prepare for the holidays can appear endless. And working out never seems to make the list. You may think it's too hard to squeeze in a workout during the busy holiday season, but the benefits are worth it. So we present 10 fun, easy ways to help you stay active during the holidays. You might not even realize that you're actually exercising!

1. Put on holiday music and start dancing! Classic tunes such as Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells and Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree all have rhythm you (and your family) can move and groove to.

2. Chop down your own Christmas tree. You'll have to walk around to find the right tree, chop it down, and then drag it back to your car. That's a pretty complete workout—aerobic and strength training! Not to mention the fresh air that will energize the whole family.

3. Start a new holiday tradition by going on an after-dinner walk to check out the festive holiday lights and decorations. You'll burn off some dinner calories, bond as a family, and add experience some holiday festivity.

4. Call a friend and schedule a game of indoor tennis or racquetball. The pleasant conversation and energizing exercise will help reduce holiday stress.

5. Have holiday cleaning sprees: Set the timer for 15 minutes and do as much cleaning as quickly as you can. Fifteen minutes of brisk activity is a great way to get in a small workout, plus it helps keep the house in order when the family is spending more time indoors.

6. Don't forget the family's best friend. Throw a favorite toy and run with your dog to keep everyone moving. And be sure to take your dog for his daily walks. You'll both enjoy the fresh air and exercise.

7. Get the family involved in yard work and decorating outside. Rake up the last of the leaves and get in one last mow of the lawn. Hang holiday lights on the house plus bushes and trees in the yard.

8. Try some exercise while you're cooking and baking—squats, lunges, and bicep curls. Pump that can of pumpkin 10 times with each arm. Do 10 squats while mixing the cookie batter. You may feel silly, but we bet you'll feel better about enjoying those treats when they come out of the oven!

9. When shopping, wear comfortable clothes and shoes so you can power walk. Take an extra lap around the mall when you're finished shopping. Instead of circling for the best parking spot, park as far away as possible. All of the extra walking will add up!

10. Enjoy the great outdoors. Build a snowman or have a snowball fight. Go sledding—trekking up and down big hills is a great workout. You'll be burning calories and having a blast at the same time.

source : Here

5 Good Reasons to Use Mouth Guard Protection

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

There are many devices used to protect a person's teeth, gums and smile. One of these is known as the mouth guard. Mouth guards are usually thought to be worn only by boxers in the ring and football players on the field. Most people may not be aware that these mouth pieces are actually needed for many other purposes other than boxing and playing competitive football. In fact, without the use of mouth guards, there will be a huge sector of society with very damaged mouths, indeed.

One of the reasons mouth guards are important is because of people who grind their teeth, particularly at night in their sleep. This condition is known as bruxism. It is characterized by a person clenching their teeth and grinding them together, creating unnatural grating noises.

People who have bruxism tend to damage their teeth early on, giving them worn- down, damaged teeth and an unsightly smile. If they happen to wear dentures, bruxism will mean having to replace broken dentures more often than should be necessary. The cost of bruxim is great indeed, not only with the loss of confidence that comes with unattractive teeth, but the expense of having to get them repaired or to have new dentures made all the time.

The solution to this problem is to be fitted with a night mouth guard. People can buy this mouth piece over-the-counter, or have their dentist custom-fit them for one. Customized mouth guards are often a better choice because they fit better and are more comfortable.

Another reason mouth guards are important is to protect children who participate in competitive sports. Parents should always be vigilant about having mouth guards become one of the required sports equipment for their children who are active in athletics. Mouth guards are a safe choice that are highly recommended by the American Dental Association for sports like basketball, acrobatics, discus throwing, gymnastics, ice and field hockey, martial arts, rugby, lacrosse, and a host of other sporting events that involve forceful physical contact and exertion.

There are an estimated 39% of mouth and dental injuries each year, with 80% affecting the front teeth and with over 5 million teeth knocked out the mouths of children during practice and actual sports competitions. Mouth guards, therefore, will act as additional protection to prevent the occurrence of grave teeth injuries and other soft tissue (e.g., tongue, gums) damage.

Mouth guards are also important for drivers of vehicles who travel long-distance over rough terrain, or even cowboys who drive cattle across rugged environments. The bumpy rides of all-terrain vehicles and the horses can damage the riders' teeth. Mouth guards are one preventive measure to avoid potential mouth injury.

In some instances, people who have recently had dental surgery will also require the use of mouth guards to prevent dislodging sutures or irritating the wound. Mouth guards serve to protect areas of the mouth recently operated on from food, saliva and other irritants.

Mouth guards are also useful for people who wear braces. The protective barrier provided by mouth guards shields the more delicate tissues of the lips, tongue and gums from the metal of the braces.

source : Here

Allergic Rhinitis

Monday, January 5, 2009

What is allergic rhinitis?

Allergic rhinitis, often called allergies or hay fever, occurs when your immune system overreacts to particles in the air that you breathe—you are allergic to them. Your immune system attacks the particles in your body, causing symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. The particles are called allergens, which simply means they can cause an allergic reaction.

People with allergies usually have symptoms for many years. You may have symptoms often during the year, or just at certain times. You also may get other problems such as sinusitis and ear infections as a result of your allergies.

Over time, allergens may begin to affect you less, and your symptoms may not be as severe as they had been.
What are the symptoms of allergic rhinitis?

In most cases, when you have allergic rhinitis:

* You sneeze again and again, especially after you wake up in the morning.
* You have a runny nose and postnasal drip. The drainage from a runny nose caused by allergies is usually clear and thin. But it may become thicker and cloudy or yellowish if you get a nasal or sinus infection.
* Your eyes are watery and itchy.
* Your ears, nose, and throat are itchy.

Which allergens commonly cause allergic rhinitis?

You probably know that pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds cause allergic rhinitis. Many people have allergies to dust mites, animal dander, cockroaches, and mold as well. Things in the workplace, such as cereal grain, wood dust, chemicals, or lab animals, can also cause allergic rhinitis.

If you are allergic to pollens, you may have symptoms only at certain times of the year. If you are allergic to dust mites and indoor allergens, you may have symptoms all the time.
How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed?

To find out if you have allergies, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine you. Knowing what symptoms you have, when you get them, and what makes them worse or better can help your doctor know whether you have allergies or another problem.

If you have severe symptoms, you may need to have allergy tests to find out what you are allergic to.

* Your doctor may do a skin test. In this test your doctor puts a small amount of an allergen into your skin to see if it causes an allergic reaction.
* Your doctor may order lab tests. These tests can find substances in your blood or other fluids that may mean you have allergic rhinitis.

How is it treated?

There is no cure for allergic rhinitis. One of the best things you can do is to avoid the things that cause your allergies. You may need to clean your house often to get rid of dust, animal dander, or molds. Or you may need to stay indoors when pollen counts are high.

Unless you have another health problem, such as asthma, you may take over-the-counter medicines to treat your symptoms at home. If you do have another problem, talk to your doctor first. Others who also should talk to their doctor before starting self-treatment include older adults, children, and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.

If your allergies bother you a lot and you cannot avoid the things you are allergic to, you and your doctor can decide if you should get allergy shots (immunotherapy) to help control your symptoms. For allergy shots to work, you need to know what you are allergic to.

Finding the treatment that works best for you may take a little time

source : Here

Sleep Disorders: Sleep Apnea

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Often mis-perceived as a condition limited to the overweight, sleep apnea actually affects men and women of all ages and body types. Suffers of sleep apnea are troubled by disturbed sleep brought on by irregular breathing while they are at rest. This causes them to wake up many times a night (as often as twenty to thirty times every hour). These constant disturbances prevent the body from cycling through the necessary stages of sleep that provide them with the rest they need. This leads to a sense of chronic sleepiness, which in turn can impair judgment, hand-eye coordination, concentration, and can contribute to depression.

In more serious cases, sleep apnea can increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. About half of people diagnosed with sleep apnea have heart conditions. If there’s an underlying heart condition, repeated apnea episodes can trigger potentially lethal cardiac events.

There are two forms of sleep apnea:

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax. In regular breathing, as you inhale the throat passage narrows. During inhalation, relaxed muscles in the throat can cause the airway to close entirely, preventing air intake. This in turn lowers oxygen levels in the blood, which triggers a response in the brain to awaken the body to restore breathing. These awakenings are often so brief as not to be noticed by the sufferer who may awaken believing they slept peacefully, despite feeling tired in the morning.

Central sleep apnea is far less common than the obstructive variety. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain does not send the proper signals that control breathing. This often leads to awakening at night with either a shortness of breath or a headache. People with central sleep apnea are far more likely to recall waking up in the middle of the night.

Risk Factors Associated with Sleep Apnea

There are certain factors that increase your risk of suffering from sleep apnea. For obstructive sleep apnea these include:

* Being overweight
* A neck over seventeen inches in circumference.
* Being male
* Being over age 65
* Having a family history of sleep apnea
* Smoking
* Use of alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers

Central sleep apnea has its own set of characteristic risk factors. They are:

* Being male
* Heart Disorders – Atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure are conditions that increase the risk of central sleep apnea.
* Stroke or Brain Tumor – these can impair the brain’s ability to send proper signals to regulate breathing during sleep.
* Neuromuscular disorders – conditions like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and Muscular Dystrophy can impair the central nervous system and breathing function.


Physicians will use a number of methods to diagnose sleep disorders based on your signs and symptoms. These include Nocturnal Polysomnography, which tests your heart rate, leg movement, lung and brain activity, and blood oxygen levels while you are asleep, and Oximetry, which measures oxygen levels in the blood while you sleep. If you have sleep apnea, the doctor will see a dip in oxygen levels during apneas and a rise when you awaken.

If your doctor suspects that you have sleep apnea, he or she will likely recommend you visit a nose and throat doctor to rule out blockages, and a cardiologist or neurologist to look for signs of central sleep apnea.


Treatments for obstructive sleep apnea vary. Among the most common is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), in which air is delivered via a mask worn over the nose and mouth during sleep. If a CPAP machine proves uncomfortable to sleeping, some oral devices can be used to help keep the throat open during sleep. There are several surgical procedures aimed at removing excess tissue from the upper airway.

Options for treating central sleep apnea are more limited. Treatment usually consists of a CPAP machine or other oxygen delivery devices while sleeping.

In addition to medical treatment, if you suffer from sleep apnea you can take measures to manage the condition by losing excess weight, avoiding alcohol and nicotine, testing out different sleep positions to see which ones allow you to breathe normally, and keeping your nasal passage open at night using saline solutions (do not use decongestants or antihistamines without first consulting your doctor as these are generally for short-term use only).

source : Here

Sleep Hygiene

Friday, January 2, 2009

Good mattress hygiene can both contribute to a restful night’s sleep and save you some serious headaches, and it’s now more important than ever. These days mattresses are made with a lot of smart technology. They tend to last a long time, and it’s not unusual to get ten or more years out of a high-quality mattress. Because your mattress can have a long life span, it has a lot of time to gather dust, debris, mold, moisture, and other things that can create health hazards.

The ugly truth is that when you sleep, you can sweat off a lot of moisture (as much as a pint a night) and slough off a lot of hair and skin. If you make a habit of snacking in bed, then you add crumbs of food to the mix. Lastly, most homes are now climate controlled, and so bedrooms are at a comfortable temperature year-round– both for you and for small spores, molds, bacteria, and even insects.

Allergies and Dust Mites and Bed Bugs, Oh My!

Given the ideal environment your bed and mattress offer for sleep, what other residents are likely to take up residence in your bedroom and what impact can they have on your health?

Many people suffer from allergies – to pollen, to food, to animal dander, and to dust. Many allergies also stem from dust mites. Dust mites are very small insects that can be found in homes around the world. They are tiny relatives of spiders and ticks that have eight legs, no eyes, and are more or less just a stomach on legs. Dermatophagoides farinae is the scientific name for household dust mites. It’s unpleasant to think about, but dust mites eat the skin that falls off people every day (and night). They eat enough of it to produce twenty or so small pellets of fecal waste. Humans can breath in this waste and it can cause allergic reactions. These reactions in turn can make you feel tired, irritate respiratory function, and lead to a lousy night’s sleep.

There can be millions of dust mites in a single mattress. And dust mite infestation in homes is not uncommon- as many as 44 million American households are thought to have dust mite problems.

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are another unpleasant tenant in bedrooms with unhygienic sleeping conditions. Their name is cute - it even shows up in a nursery rhyme (‘good night, sleep tight…’) but dealing with them is far from cute.

They are small - usually just a fraction of an inch long - and nocturnal, hiding during the day. At night they come out and attach to human beings. They inject a coagulating agent and numbing substance and – not unlike a large mosquito – will suck the blood out of sleeping people. Most of the time people awaken with small itchy welts. Sometimes they can have allergic reactions leaving large hives and severe skin irritation. In extreme cases bed bug bites can cause anaphylactic shock in reaction to the substances they inject while feeding.
Treatment and Prevention.

Bed bug bites usually heal themselves and treatment with ointments (like cortisone) can minimize discomfort. If you have an allergic reaction, see your physician. Similarly, treatment of allergies due to dust mites is often over-the-counter symptom relief from antihistamine.

Once you’ve treated the symptoms, you should move on to eliminating any current infestations and preventing new ones. If you suspect you have bedbugs or dust mites, put your pajamas and bed sheets in the freezer for at least 24 hours. Then wash them in hot water. This should kill any organisms on your clothes and sheets.

Next give your bedroom (and house) a thorough cleaning. For bed bug infestations, consult an insect exterminator.

soure : Here

Heart Disease: One Among Millions

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What happens if you ignore the recommended healthy heart habits? Perhaps nothing. Many people live long lives without paying much attention to their heart. However, it is more likely that you will develop some form of heart disease. Millions of Americans suffer from some form of heart disease. The statistics are staggering. Commonly, people suffer from high blood pressure. Some suffer heart disease as a result of diabetes. Others develop an arrhythmia, murmur, or irregular heartbeat. Increasingly, women are becoming the greater percentage of heart disease sufferers.

Listen to a heart murmur.

How do you know if you have heart disease? Consult your doctor. If you don't, eventually your heart will let you know. A heart attack is the heart's way of letting you know that something is seriously wrong. Occasionally, the heart disease is so severe that doctors decide that surgery is necessary.

Hopefully, you'll decide to follow the recommended healthy heart habits. If you do, you won't have to worry much about heart disease. It's a decision worth making.

You may find Heart Disease Prevention Program and Cardiac Rehab and Prevention worth checking out.

source : Here