Monthly Archives: February 2016

Healthy Cholesterol

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Heart of fruits and vegetables

Heart of fruits and vegetables

Cholesterol, despite its notorious reputation, is actually not always bad.

Cholesterol, the soft and fat-like matter, helps in the creation of new cells and production of hormones in addition to other biological functions.

Cholesterol becomes a major health problem when too much is already accumulated in the body due to careless intake of cholesterol-rich foods like dairy products, eggs, and meat products. It is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. High cholesterol levels cause the build-up of low density lipoprotein (LDL) or the “bad” cholesterol on the artery walls, causing them to thicken, harden, and narrow. This condition is called atherosclerosis that can gradually lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Hypercholesterolemic patients are thus advised to limit their intake of cholesterol, exercise regularly, and to take medications. Among those effective for lowering the LDL cholesterol levels is simvastatin, currently prescribed worldwide as medication for hypercholesterolemia. Simvastin is part of a group of drugs called statins. Statins work by inhibiting or interfering with an enzyme in the liver involved in the production of cholesterol. Statins are easy to administer, cause only a few drug-drug interactions, and have high patient acceptance.

Studies show that statins not only effectively lower the cholesterol level but also save lives of people because it significantly reduces the risk of a heart attack and stroke in patients with coronary heart disease. Some studies also indicate that regular intake of statins lowers the risk of getting colon cancer and prostate cancer. Long-term statin therapy is also believed to help treat multiple sclerosis and glaucoma.

However, statins and simvastatin cause a string of immediate side effects which include abdominal pain, gas, constipation, upset stomach, cramps and in extreme cases, liver toxicity. Thus, statins are not recommended for those with liver problems. It can also cause a severe muscle reaction and weakness termed as rhabdomyolysis.

With the fast development of technology in the field of medicine, there could be other options out there. Before making a sound decision, arm yourself with knowledge and consult your doctor first.


Understanding Asthma: Causes and Cure

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Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease where the bronchial tubes are inflamed, thus blocking or narrowing the airways and constricting breathing. If the inflammation, no matter how few the asthma episodes, is not treated immediately, this could lead to permanence in the change of the shape of the tubes therefore, ultimately impairing your lungs because of the loss of its right hand, so to speak, the bronchial tubes. This could also lead to fatality when another attack or flare-up.

Common Causes of Asthma

Asthma is generally acquired in childhood but it may also develop during the teenage years. It often lasts throughout a person’s life but there are cases when it dwindles as allergies or may be completely healed.

The cause of asthma is still not known although the leading theory is that the condition is inherited. For some people asthma is triggered by exposure to allergens such as smoke, dust mites, pollens, cockroaches and animal dander. Another school of thought states that asthma often develops from allergies. Still other scientists pose the hypothesis that asthma is caused by environmental factors. In developing countries, children are less exposed to bacteria and infections because of the prevalence of vaccine. The downside of this is that their immune systems were unable to develop cells vital in asthma prevention.

The first signs of a flare-up are chest tightness, shortness of breath or hyperventilation, coughing, rapid and shallow breathing, wheezing or difficulty in breathing.

Dealing with Asthma

If you have asthma, avoid or be wary of the following situations or elements: exercising if the air is too cold or humid, smoke and other air pollutants, strong chemicals, exposure to allergens, common colds and coughs, and medications which can induce your condition.

If you are not sure if your allergies and colds are signs of asthma, seek professional help. Doctors primarily make use of the method called spirometry. This test has for its purpose measuring the time you breathe in and out and how much air is moved to your lungs. They may also refer to your medical history; conduct their own physical examinations and laboratory exams such as a chest x-ray to find out if there are other diseases which cause the blockages. During your interview with the doctor, expect questions such as symptoms and what triggers such signs.

Treatment of asthma encompasses a plan during attacks. The first aid during a flare up is an inhaler which would help clear up your tubes. Changing your lifestyle will also greatly helps in preventing or decreasing asthma attacks.

On Allergies and Allergic Reactions

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Are you allergic to a particular food or substance? Are there specific instances that trigger your allergy? Then you should understand how allergies affect the body so you would know how to deal with your allergic reactions.

Understanding Allergies

Many people are allergic to a certain food or substance. In fact, in the United States, about seven million people are allergic to food. Common allergens include shellfish, nuts, milk, and wheat. Some cases of allergic reaction are so bad that some people end up being hospitalized. Worse, a few die from complications of allergy like anaphylactic shock, which has symptoms of swelling, gradual closure of air passageways, and a precipitous drop in blood pressure, due to extreme allergic reaction.

Allergic Reactions

As if things could not be worse, people allergic to a particular food or substance do not need to ingest these. For some, even touching food briefly or smelling it is enough. In a recent study published at the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Suzanne Teuber, it was revealed that people who were allergic to peanuts developed allergic reactions from kissing a person who had eaten nuts.

Most reactions Teuber recorded were mild: itching, swelling, and sneezing. However, allergies could have an additive effect; repeated exposures cause more intense allergic reactions. An implication of this is the possibility that mild rashes could soon worsen to breathing problems and even anaphylactic shock.

Another complicating factor behind allergies is the synergistic action of some substances in further fueling an allergic reaction. For example, ragweed and melons, share a protein that causes an allergy. Eating a melon could exacerbate allergic symptoms when one is exposed to ragweed.

How to Deal with Allergens

An important repercussion of this study is to take precaution against allergy-causing substances. For people with particularly sensitive systems, it goes a long way to ask others to avoid handling food you are allergic to. Reading food labels also helps. Being alert and observant of one’s symptoms, and immediately consulting a doctor once an allergic reaction starts also help in preventing shock and normalizing one’s condition.

Preventing Asthma in 3 Simple Ways

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Asthma affects over 200 million people worldwide. This ailment characterized by recurrent attacks of wheezing and shortness of breath can develop at any age but is generally more prevalent among children than among adults.

Why do so many people have asthma? For one, there are those who are genetically more prone to develop asthma. On the other hand, an increased exposure to the outdoors that heightens the possibility of one’s exposure to known allergens and irritants can also trigger asthma.

Asthma occurs when there is swelling of airways swell and production of mucus as a reaction to irritants. This reaction reduces the space through which air can pass. Attacks can vary in severity, from shortness of breath to life-threatening respiratory problems. Frequent asthma attacks are dangerous and can greatly affect the execution of everyday activities.

Asthma, however, can be controlled. Here are three basic tips on what asthmatics can do to prevent, control, and eventually cure them of asthma.

Avoid exposure to allergens and irritants. Identify which food, objects, or smells can trigger an asthma attack. Get rid of dust-gathering carpets, curtains, and mattresses. Avoid irritants such as smoke coming from tobacco or incense as well as perfumes, aerosol sprays, and vehicle emissions and exhausts.

Keep your medicine handy. Always be ready for possible attacks. Keep a dose of bronchodilator in your bag, in your home, as well as in your office in order to ensure immediate relief in case of an asthma attack. Following a consultation with your physician, one may also take a controller medication such as inhaled corticosteroids.

Exercise regularly. Controlling and overcoming asthma requires the maintenance of an exercise regimen that will help improve lung function and breathing. Practice deep breathing exercises. Swimming regularly helps develop strong lungs and controlled breathing.

It is important to remember not to panic and to keep one’s self relaxed during an asthma attack. Panic could speed up the heart rate, which could worsen shortness of breath. Instead, keep a clear mind and concentrate on taking slow easy breaths through the nose.

Taking control of your asthma is the primary key to taking control of your life. Asthma need not interfere with your work and daily routine and it need not put your life at risk.

How to Deal with Allergies

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Allergies are caused by irritants that make your body or a particular part of the body react as part of the body’s defense. Different types of allergies require different kind of prevention and cure. To be able to deal with your allergy effectively, you have to know and understand first the type of allergy you have.

Common Symptoms of Allergies

Remember first that even if what causes allergies to two people are one and the same allergen, it does not mean that they will exhibit the same reaction to it. But normally, there are recurring signs for certain kinds of allergic reactions, like for house dusts, reactions may be seen through the irritations caused to the person’s mucus lining in his respiratory tract, or in the conjunctiva in his eye. When the effect is itching or hives its cause may be eczema or dermatitis. When the bronchial tubes are inflamed and the person is wheezing a lot the cause may be asthma but if he experiences runny nose this means rhinitis.

When a person breaks into a rash after eating fish or prawns, he is allergic to seafood.

Treatment for Allergies

There is really no cure for allergies. The available medications are there simply to decrease the symptoms and the discomfort. There are many medications that may be used to ease the symptoms like nasal sprays and eye drops. Though most doctors discourage its prolonged use some also turn to corticosteroids.

But now, there are plenty of drugs that can intervene in the different levels of a person’s immune reaction that cause the outward symptoms, such as, Antihistamines, anti-inflammatory drugs and decongestants. But for those with violent and more severe allergic symptoms, allergologists may recommend immunotherapy which would require allergy shots to be given to the person. But this would require knowledge on the specific allergens that cause his reactions. Identifying these allergens would require skin tests, which is one tedious and time consuming process. Hence, some alternative methods are suggested, like homeopathy, yoga, reiki and ayurveda.

Essentially, the best way to deal with allergies is to manage yourself properly. It will do you a lot of good to keep a logbook of your symptoms and your daily doings to see if there are patterns or there are deviations that may cause your allergies. This kind of monitoring may also give you insights into what you should be avoiding ans what you should be doing.

Although there may be instances that you would have to prohibit your child from doing some things that normal children like doing because of his allergies, be firm because in dealing with allergies you should remember that the medicines can only do so much, you also have to have a change in lifestyle so that he could cope better and he could avoid the symptoms. As a compromise, you may want to check on alternative physical activities for your kid that would not cause him allergies but would still entertain him and would still keep him happy.

Chiropractic Care and Other Ways to Take Care of Your Heart


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death of people in the U.S.A. This is due to a large extent to our modern lifestyles where poor nutritional habits, lack of regular physical activity, being overweight, and too much stress have become commonplace. People realize the importance of taking actions to prevent having cardiovascular disease and enjoy living a healthy life.

Together with lifestyles changes for a healthy heart, chiropractic care can significantly prevent heart diseases. It is a natural, more effective and a safer treatment method than the prescription medications and heart surgery we have previously known as being the only treatment options that work for cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiologists, chiropractors, and other health care professionals offer the following practical but effective advice to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease:

Be conscious of the numbers vital to your cardiovascular health. Certain tests will give you an insight into your personal risk for heart aliments. Monitor your blood pressure and note when it is out of your normal healthy range. Also be wary if your cholesterol levels, blood sugars through hemoglobin A1c test and inflammatory markers are beyond the acceptable levels. Discuss with your doctor the actions you should take should you find any of these numbers exceeding the safe threshold limits.

Watch what you eat. Many researches point to the many health benefits of a nutritious, well balanced diet. Particularly, having a diet high in vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains and olive oil, has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease by 30 percent. On the other hand, diets with high saturated fats and simple sugar can increase the incidence of heart disease by 30 percent. So, the choice between these two groups of diet with opposing consequences in your heart health is yours to make.

Keep your arteries healthy. Other foods you can indulge in to make you, particularly your arteries healthy are dark chocolate, berries, red wine and tea. They help in dilating your arteries, decreasing the blood pressure, preventing clotting and lowering cholesterol.

Exercise. Two and a half hours of exercise that can stimulate your cardiovascular system in a week is recommended by cardiologists. This number of hours of exercise should be broken down into several daily sessions, minimum of four days in a week, preferably. The risk of having heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity and many other health conditions are minimized with regular exercise.

Manage your stress. While you cannot totally avoid nor prevent stressful situations in your life, managing your stress is very helpful in decreasing the risk for heart disease. Stress summons the hormones in your body associated with the fight-or flight syndrome, which causes your heart rate and blood pressure to shoot up. It also increases the stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can cause inflammation. All these developments when you are stressed, lead to heart disease.

Always have a positive outlook. Positive emotions like being cheerful and optimistic are some of the ways by which you can drive stress away from your life and lower your risk of heart disease. They boost the immune system and lower blood pressure.

Watch out for signs of heart disease. Seek professional help when you are concerned that you may have symptoms of heart disease like shortness of breath, jaw pain, back pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, or sleep disturbances. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Get information on your family’s medical history. Although 80 to 90 percent of the factors that contribute to heart disease is lifestyle choices, it is helpful to know whether you mother and father had heart conditions especially when they were younger. You will have a better chance of changing your own lifestyle when necessary, the earlier you know these facts.

Be proactive. Submit yourself to screening tests if you have multiple risk factors for heart disease. Know your real risk of heart disease through these tests. You can initiate an immediate aggressive prevention or medication program once you determine that your risk is high.

Consider your pregnancy history if you are a woman. You are at a higher risk of heart disease if you had elevated blood pressure or high sugar level during your pregnancy.

Knowing what causes heart disease and taking the necessary actions to prevent it will empower yourself to determine the level of heart health and quality of life you want for your future.