“What’s Not ADHD?&quot

Let’s look at five behavioral issues which are not ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). While these difficulties may be found along with ADHD, it doesn’t mean that they are symptoms of ADHD.

The five problems we’ll discuss are Anxiety, Depression, Disruptive Behavior, Learning Disabilities, and Sensory Integration Disorder. Please believe me – I don’t want to make your life more complicated! Yet if we wish to approach treatment and outcomes with a degree of scientific objectivity, an accurate understanding of a child’s behavior is essential. Unfortunately, we live in a time when all kinds of behavioral problems are herded under the umbrella of ADHD. But what if some attention problems have a different foundation, and what if psychostimulant medication isn’t always the best response to behavioral problems – even those that appear to involve hyperactivity?

1. Anxiety is a problem that may easily affect attention because a child can be preoccupied with internal thoughts or worries. As a consequence, he or she may appear to be zoning out. An important question to consider is whether your child is equally distracted when he or she is relaxed. If not, situational factors may be triggering anxiety and inattention. Sometimes children who do not know how to handle a worrisome situation, or who have difficulty expressing their feelings, “clam up.” Don’t you have a harder time concentrating on work if you’re nervous or worried about a personal situation? It can be much more difficult for a child to articulate his or her worries. A concern that seems trivial to adults can also cause great anxiety for a child, as well. For example, a preschool boy was very worried in school until it was discovered that he was having trouble handling his buckles and snaps at the bathroom break but was afraid to ask for help; a 7th grade girl couldn’t focus in her Language Arts class because she was seated next to a girl who had mocked her in gym.

Depression is a mood disorder which can impair executive thinking skills like working memory, cognitive flexibility, planning, and attention.

2. Depression turns our mind’s idle down, and as a result we can appear “out of it” – but the cause is not ADHD. Irritability, lack of initiation or interest, and inattention may be symptoms of depression or ADHD. Of course, most children can’t describe exactly what they feel, or whether a mood problem or poor focus came first. In such cases, it is critical to evaluate a child’s behavior in multiple contexts, and to determine if an improvement in mood helps focus. (Some dual-action antidepressants such as Effexor (TM), which effect norepinephrine, enhance executive thinking skills much better than other antidepressants. Please consult your doctor about possible advantages of dual-action antidepressants for children with both a low mood and executive dysfunction).

3. Disruptive Behavior is an especially prevalent problem in school. Some kids just won’t settle down and are a significant learning liability for other students. Sometimes, disruptive behavior is mistaken for hyperactivity. Indeed, hyperactivity may lead to disruptive behavior, but they are not the same thing. All kinds of kids can be disruptive, sometimes intentionally. A hyperactive child has trouble slowing down, even though he may wish to. An intentionally disruptive child may be feeling frustrated by classroom expectations, rebelling against authority, developing self-control at a slower rate than peers, or seeking attention. If a child is invested in gaining attention through mischief, loudness, or intrusion, a medicine such as Ritalin (TM) is not likely the best course of treatment.

4. Learning Disabilities may affect one or more subject areas, as well as social interaction. It stands to reason that if a child has a learning problem, in reading for example, he or she will be less attentive to that aspect of instruction. A learning disability can certainly be exacerbated by ADHD, but ADHD itself is better understood more as a learning liability than something like dyslexia – a specific learning disability.

5. Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) is a problem with either being oversensitive or undersensitive to sensory stimuli. These problems can make a child appear either hyperactive or inattentive. This disorder is often confused with ADHD, especially in preschool children whose sensory integration difficulties undermine “self-control.” A child with a sensory integration disorder may be distressed by loud noises, bright lights, rough textures, or smells; or conversely, may need to handle things, hang upside-down, or shout boisterously. For an excellent discussion of Sensory Integration Disorder, read Carol Stock Kranowitz’s book, The Out-of Sync Child.

Each of the disorders described above could potentially be found along with ADHD, in which case both disorders need to be treated. Without question, ADHD is major health epidemic facing children. The Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization have both affirmed this fact. In the midst of managing this crisis, we’ve got to work hard to resist “one size fits all” thinking. Let’s make sure children’s behavior is carefully evaluated and understood within a social and emotional context. If we were the person being treated, we wouldn’t expect or accept anything less!

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Where Is Facial Tumour Worst?

Devil Facial Tumour Disease (referred to as DFTD) is the name given to a fatal condition that is afflicting a significant portion of the native population of Tasmanian devils. The condition first becomes noticed as small lesions or lumps around the mouth that develops into large tumours predominantly around the face and neck, but sometimes in other parts of the body as well.

DFTD was first reported in the mid 1990’s and has now been confirmed in most areas throughout Tasmania except for north-west and west coast devil populations. It is having a major impact in areas with high-density populations, and is predominantly affecting the adult populations. The disease does not usually become apparent in devils until they are at least two years old. The cancers affect the capability of the devil to ingest food thereby weakening the animal and making it more difficult for it to compete with other animals for food. Evidence suggests that animals appear to die within three to five months of the lesions first appearing, from starvation and the breakdown of body functions.

There are three well-known types of malignant skin tumours. In all of them the ultraviolet rays from the sun plays a significant etiological role. The most common one is basal cell carcinoma or basaloma, which does not metastasize and is the more benign of the three types. Sometimes it grows very aggressively with a great tendency for recurrence, and destroys underlying tissue, bone, cartilage etc., with pronounced cosmetic and functional defects as a consequence.

A facial tumour disease is continuing to ravage Tasmania’s wild devils, with almost half of the devil population believed lost to the disease. Fears the disease is spreading have been realised, with 3 new cases discovered in the south of the state.

Malignant melanoma is the type of tumour presently increasing the most in incidence. It spreads both through lymphatic pathways and hematogenously, and in the long term has a bad prognosis, especially if the tumour is not discovered until it has grown deep into the skin. It is usually pigmented by the melanin in the melanocytes. This may not always be the case, as so-called amelanotic , i e not blue or brown colored, melanomas exist.

The disease has now spread across 65 per cent of the state, with 3 new cases discovered in southern Tasmania. The disease is across the eastern part of the state and extends as far west as the Cradle Valley, and also down into the south of the state. To date we haven’t recorded the disease on the west coast or in the far north-west, so it’s in the eastern parts of the state that the disease is having the greatest impact.

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Smokers, Death Benefit Arguments, and Poly-behavioral Addiction

Do Governments Save Money by Watching Smokers Die Prematurely?

This was the conclusion of a report, commissioned by Philip Morris, who looked at the cost of smoking in the Czech Republic in 1999. They concluded that tobacco can save a government millions of dollars in health care and pensions because many smokers die earlier. They reported that the government had benefited from savings on health care, pensions and housing for the elderly that totaled $30 million – the “indirect positive effects” of early deaths (Arthur D. Little International, 2000).

I was shocked to hear this “death benefit” argument for the first time, after making a presentation to a group of professionals – informing them that tobacco use is the chief avoidable cause of illness and premature death for over 430,000 Americans each year. It reminded me of the dialog in the movie, “Traffic,” when Michael Douglas playing a congressman/ drug czar asked a Mexican general (played by Tomas Milian), “How do you treat your drug addicts? And the general responded by saying, “We let our drug addicts treat themselves. They overdose and die, and then there is one less drug addict to worry about.”

Although the argument is immoral, unjustifiable, and factually inaccurate (National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids, 2001), it would appear that 46 States in the United States are indirectly supporting this dreadful argument as only 5% of the tobacco-settlement funds (of the $206 billion settlement for tobacco-related health costs that went to 46 States according to a National Conference of State Legislators study), are being spent on tobacco prevention and treatment programs.

Should the U.S. Federal Government be in the Tobacco Business?

Federal taxpayers are directly paying more than $340 million to tobacco farmers to make up for lost income because of low prices and tobacco litigation settlements. These direct payments are in addition to subsidies in the form of tobacco crop insurance, administrative costs for price supports, and non-recourse loans. This subsidy supports expanded tobacco production at the same time that the federal government is spending millions actively discouraging the use of tobacco for public health and safety reasons (Green Scissors, 2006).

These subsidies also occur at the same time that our political candidates accept millions of dollars in contributions from the tobacco industry. Tobacco companies are heavily invested in politics, contributing $36.8 million to federal candidates and political parties since 1989, the Winston-Salem Journal reported Oct.23, 2004.Observer, June 25, 2000.

Do Government Laws Prohibit Minors from Legally Smoking Cigarettes?

Federal law does not allow retailers to sell cigarettes, tobacco, or smokeless tobacco to anyone under the age of 18. Laws regarding the possession of tobacco are left up to the individual states. I wonder why it is legal for minors to smoke cigarettes in most States, but illegal for minors to buy cigarettes when there are approximately 1.23 million new smokers under the age of 18 each year (Gilpin, et al., 1999), and more than 6,000 children and adolescents try their first cigarette each day (CDC, 1998).

• More than 90% of first-time use of tobacco occurs before high school graduation. Because the average age at first use is 14.5 years, smoking prevention must start early.

• Approximately 40% of teenagers who smoke eventually become addicted to nicotine.

Hawaii presently has a bill before the Legislature that would prohibit the use of tobacco products by minors, with penalties including tobacco education, community service, fines and driver’s license suspension (Honolulu Advertizer, March 12, 2006). Why has it taken the 50th State – 50-plus years to propose this bill? And what are the other States doing with the other 95% of their settlement, if their not attempting to educate and treat smokers?

Children smoke 1.1 billion packs of cigarettes yearly. This accounts for more than $200 billion in future health care costs. The health consequences of this addiction are enormous. Tobacco smoking is responsible for 1 of every 5 deaths and is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

Should Governments Promote Life and Provide Treatment for Smokers?

Proponents of the “death benefit” argument would say that tobacco victims (46.5 million American smokers, CDC, 1997) deserve to die, because they have chosen to smoke and risk the consequences. Does this also include the 70% of smokers who want to quit (Health Education Authority, 1995), but find themselves physiologically, psychologically, and socially addicted to nicotine? In fact, less than 25% of smokers who try to quit succeed as long as a year (Stolerman, I.P. & Jarvis, M.J., 1995).

It does not appear that Governments are actively supporting treatment for smokers. In 2001, a survey of the federal-state Medicaid coverage for tobacco-dependence in the United States was conducted, and only 1 State in 50 (Oregon) provided for all the tobacco-dependence counseling and pharmacotherapy treatments recommended by the 2000 Public Health Service (PHS) guideline. Only 10 States in 2001, offered some form of tobacco-cessation counseling services to the 11.5 million federal-state Medicaid program patients that smoke (CDC, 2003). A lack of reimbursement for tobacco-cessation counseling services is also the most common complaint for private health insurance companies when inquiring about treatment for smokers.

If the death benefit argument was applied across the board to all areas, then these proponents would end all medical research directed at preventing and finding treatments for illnesses and diseases, and promote euthanasia for all unproductive people in society including the elderly, severely retarded, mentally ill, and physically handicapped. The answer is not in condemning victims of diseases, disorders, and addictions, but in providing effective prevention, education, assessment/ diagnosis, treatment, and aftercare programs for those in need.

Diagnosing Nicotine Dependence

Nicotine addiction is classified as a nicotine use disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV – TR, 2000). The criteria for the diagnosis of 305.1 – Nicotine Dependence – include any 3 of the following within a 1-year time span:

o Tolerance to nicotine with decreased effect and increasing dose to obtain same effect

o Withdrawal symptoms after cessation

o Smoking more than usual o Persistent desire to smoke despite efforts to decrease intake

o Extensive time spent smoking or purchasing tobacco

o Postponing work, social, or recreational events in order to smoke

o Continuing to smoke despite health hazards

Screening for Nicotine Dependence

Screening tools are available to assist counselors and therapists with diagnosing this condition – such as the Fagerstrom Tolerance Questionnaire (FTQ). Two items in the FTQ that are considered the key questions are as follows:

1. Do you smoke within 5 minutes of awakening? 2. Do you smoke greater than 25 cigarettes per day?

Individuals that answer – Yes to both questions are highly dependent on nicotine (Prochazka, 2000).

Note: If after reading the above, you started rationalizing to yourself, “Well it usually takes me 6-minutes to light-up after I get out of bed or I never smoke more than 20 – cigarettes per day, (As my old graduate professor use to say) STOP BULL-SH#%ting yourself and go see a therapist.

Co-morbidity & Nicotine Dependence

Addictions such as nicotine dependence and other addictions as a rule do not develop in isolation. Individuals can shift from one addiction to another or sustain multiple addictions at different times. The National Co-morbidity Survey (NCS) that sampled the entire U.S. population in 1994, found that among non-institutionalized American male and female adolescents and adults (ages 15-54), roughly 50% had a diagnosable Axis I mental disorder at some time in their lives. This survey’s results indicated that 35% of males will at some time in their lives have abused substances to the point of qualifying for a mental disorder diagnosis, and nearly 25% of women will have qualified for a serious mood disorder (mostly major depression). A significant finding of note from the NCS study was the widespread occurrence of co-morbidity among diagnosed disorders. It specifically found that 56% of the respondents with a history of at least one disorder also had two or more additional disorders. These persons with a history of three or more co-morbid disorders were estimated to be one-sixth of the U.S. population, or some 43 million people (Kessler, 1994).

Psychiatric disorders are more common among tobacco users than in the general population. Among patients seeking tobacco cessation services, as many as 30% of them may have a history of depression (Anda, et al, 1990) and 20% or more may have a history of dependence (Brandon, 1994). Most descriptive studies of alcohol abusers published in the past 20 years have reported tobacco use rates of at least 90%. (Bobo, 2000). More research and information is needed on the co-morbidity of nicotine dependence and behavioral addictions such as pathological gambling, eating disorders, and sexual addictions.

Poor Prognosis

We have come to realize today more than any other time in history that the treatment of lifestyle diseases and addictions are often a difficult and frustrating task for all concerned. As already noted, less than 25% of smokers who try to quit succeed as long as a year (Stolerman, I.P. & Jarvis, M.J., 1995). Repeated failures abound with all of the addictions, even with utilizing the most effective treatment strategies. But why do 47% of patients treated in private treatment programs (for example) relapse within the first year following treatment (Gorski,T., 2001)? Have addiction specialists become conditioned to accept failure as the norm? There are many reasons for this poor prognosis. Some would proclaim that addictions are psychosomatically – induced and maintained in a semi-balanced force field of driving and restraining multidimensional forces. Others would say that failures are due simply to a lack of self-motivation or will power. Most would agree that lifestyle behavioral addictions are serious health risks that deserve our attention, but could it possibly be that patients with multiple addictions are being under diagnosed (with a single dependence) simply due to a lack of diagnostic tools and resources that are incapable of resolving the complexity of assessing and treating a patient with multiple addictions?

New Proposed Diagnosis

Since successful treatment outcomes are dependent on thorough assessments, accurate diagnoses, and comprehensive individualized treatment planning, it is no wonder that repeated rehabilitation failures and low success rates are the norm instead of the exception in the addictions field. Treatment clinics need to have a treatment planning system and referral network that is equipped to thoroughly assess multiple addictive and mental health disorders and related treatment needs and comprehensively provide education/ awareness, prevention strategy groups, and/ or specific addictions treatment services for individuals diagnosed with multiple addictions. Written treatment goals and objectives should be specified for each separate addiction and dimension of an individuals’ life, and the desired performance outcome or completion criteria should be specifically stated, behaviorally based (a visible activity), and measurable.

To assist with resolving this problem a multidimensional diagnosis of “Poly-behavioral Addiction,” is proposed for more accurate diagnosis leading to more effective treatment planning. This diagnosis encompasses the broadest category of addictive disorders that would include an individual manifesting a combination of substance abuse addictions, and other obsessively-compulsive behavioral addictive behavioral patterns to pathological gambling, religion, and/ or sex / pornography, etc.). Behavioral addictions are just as damaging – psychologically and socially as alcohol and drug abuse. They are comparative to other life-style diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease in their behavioral manifestations, their etiologies, and their resistance to treatments. They are progressive disorders that involve obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviors. They are also characterized by a preoccupation with a continuous or periodic loss of control, and continuous irrational behavior in spite of adverse consequences.

Poly-behavioral addiction would be described as a state of periodic or chronic physical, mental, emotional, cultural, sexual and/ or spiritual/ religious intoxication. These various types of intoxication are produced by repeated obsessive thoughts and compulsive practices involved in pathological relationships to any mood-altering substance, person, organization, belief system, and/ or activity. The individual has an overpowering desire, need or compulsion with the presence of a tendency to intensify their adherence to these practices, and evidence of phenomena of tolerance, abstinence and withdrawal, in which there is always physical and/ or psychic dependence on the effects of this pathological relationship. In addition, there is a 12 – month period in which an individual is pathologically involved with three or more behavioral and/ or substance use addictions simultaneously, but the criteria are not met for dependence for any one addiction in particular (Slobodzien, J., 2005). In essence, Poly-behavioral addiction is the synergistically integrated chronic dependence on multiple physiologically addictive substances and behaviors (e.g., using/ abusing substances – nicotine, alcohol, & drugs, and/or acting impulsively or obsessively compulsive in regards to gambling, food binging, sex, and/ or religion, etc.) simultaneously.

New Proposed Theory

The Addictions Recovery Measurement System’s (ARMS) theory is a nonlinear, dynamical, non-hierarchical model that focuses on interactions between multiple risk factors and situational determinants similar to catastrophe and chaos theories in predicting and explaining addictive behaviors and relapse. Multiple influences trigger and operate within high-risk situations and influence the global multidimensional functioning of an individual. The process of relapse incorporates the interaction between background factors (e.g., family history, social support, years of possible dependence, and co-morbid psychopathology), physiological states (e.g., physical withdrawal), cognitive processes (e.g., self-efficacy, cravings, motivation, the abstinence violation effect, outcome expectancies), and coping skills (Brownell et al., 1986; Marlatt & Gordon, 1985). To put it simply, small changes in an individual’s behavior can result in large qualitative changes at the global level and patterns at the global level of a system emerge solely from numerous little interactions.

The ARMS hypothesis purports that there is a multidimensional synergistically negative resistance that individual’s develop to any one form of treatment to a single dimension of their lives, because the effects of an individual’s addiction have dynamically interacted multi-dimensionally. Having the primary focus on one dimension is insufficient. Traditionally, addiction treatment programs have failed to accommodate for the multidimensional synergistically negative effects of an individual having multiple addictions, (e.g. nicotine, alcohol, and obesity, etc.). Behavioral addictions interact negatively with each other and with strategies to improve overall functioning. They tend to encourage the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, help increase violence, decrease functional capacity, and promote social isolation. Most treatment theories today involve assessing other dimensions to identify dual diagnosis or co-morbidity diagnoses, or to assess contributing factors that may play a role in the individual’s primary addiction. The ARMS’ theory proclaims that a multidimensional treatment plan must be devised addressing the possible multiple addictions identified for each one of an individual’s life dimensions in addition to developing specific goals and objectives for each dimension.

The ARMS acknowledges the complexity and unpredictable nature of lifestyle addictions following the commitment of an individual to accept assistance with changing their lifestyles. The Stages of Change model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1984) is supported as a model of motivation, incorporating five stages of readiness to change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. The ARMS theory supports the constructs of self-efficacy and social networking as outcome predictors of future behavior across a wide variety of lifestyle risk factors (Bandura, 1977). The Relapse Prevention cognitive-behavioral approach (Marlatt, 1985) with the goal of identifying and preventing high-risk situations for relapse is also supported within the ARMS theory.

Conclusions

The impact of nicotine dependence and poly-behavioral addictions is of course financially devastating. The estimated smoking attributable cost for medical care in the US in 1998 was more than $75 billion and the cost of lost productivity due to smoking-related disability was estimated at over 80 billion per year (CDC, 2003). But making life and death decisions based on a cost analysis is putting a price on life itself, which I believe no mortal man has the authority to do. Considering that addictions involve unbalanced life-styles operating within semi-stable equilibrium force fields, the ARMS philosophy promotes positive treatment effectiveness and successful outcomes that are the result of a synergistic relationship with “The Higher Power,” that spiritually elevates and connects an individuals’ multiple life functioning dimensions by reducing chaos and increasing resilience to bring an individual harmony, wellness, and productivity.

Partnerships and coordination among all service providers, government departments, and health insurance organizations in providing treatment programs are a necessity in addressing the multi-task solution to Nicotine Dependence and Poly-behavioral addictions. I encourage you to support the addiction programs in America, and hope that the (ARMS) resources can assist you to personally fight the War on nicotine dependence within poly-behavioral addiction.

For more info see: http://www.booklocker.com/books/1966.html

http://www.geocities.com/drslbdzn/Behavioral_Addictions.html

Poly-Behavioral Addiction and the Addictions Recovery Measurement System, By James Slobodzien, Psy.D., CSAC at:

James Slobodzien, Psy.D., CSAC, is a Hawaii licensed psychologist and certified substance abuse counselor who earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology. The National Registry of Health Service Providers in Psychology credentials Dr. Slobodzien. He has over 20-years of mental health experience primarily working in the fields of alcohol/ substance abuse and behavioral addictions in medical, correctional, and judicial settings. He is an adjunct professor of Psychology and also maintains a private practice as a mental health consultant.

References American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. 787 & p. 731. American Society of Addiction Medicine’s (2003), “Patient Placement Criteria for the Treatment of Substance-Related Disorders, 3rd Edition,. Retrieved, June 18, 2005, from:

http://www.asam.org/ Arthur D. Little International, Inc., Report to Phillip Morris, Public Finance Balance of Smoking in the Czech Republic, November 28, 2000, Http://tobaccofreekids.org/reports/phillipmorris. Bandura, A. (1977), Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215. Bobo, J.K., Sociocultural influences on smoking and drinking. Alcohol Res Health. 2000;24(4):225-32. Review. PMID: 15986717 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Brownell, K. D., Marlatt, G. A., Lichtenstein, E., & Wilson, G. T. (1986). Understanding and preventing relapse. American Psychologist, 41, 765-782. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrieved June 18, 2005, from: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/ Gorski, T. (2001), Relapse Prevention In The Managed Care Environment. GORSKI-CENAPS Web Greenscissors.org/news, Up in Smoke Tobacco Program – 840 Million, 2006. Healthy People 2010. Retrieved June 20, 2005, from: http://www.healthypeople.gov/ Publications. Retrieved June 20, 2005, from: www.tgorski.com Lienard, J. & Vamecq, J. (2004), Presse Med, Oct 23;33(18 Suppl):33-40. Marlatt, G. A. (1985). Relapse prevention: Theoretical rationale and overview of the model. In G. A. Marlatt & J. R. Gordon (Eds.), Relapse prevention (pp. 250-280). New York: Guilford Press. McGinnis JM, Foege WH (1994). Actual causes of death in the United States. US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC 20201 Humphreys, K.; Mankowski, E.S.; Moos, R.H.; and Finney, J.W (1999). Do enhanced friendship networks and active coping mediate the effect of self-help groups on substance abuse? Ann Behav Med 21(1):54-60. Kessler, R.C., McGonagle, K.A., Zhao, S., Nelson, C.B., Hughes, M., Eshleman, S., Wittchen, H. H,-U, & Kendler, K.S. (1994). Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders in the United States: Results from the national co morbidity survey. Arch. Gen. Psychiat., 51, 8-19. Legislative Bills, Honolulu Advertizer, March 12, 2006. Morgenstern, J.; Labouvie, E.; McCrady, B.S.; Kahler, C.W.; and Frey, R.M (1997). Affiliation with National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids, 2001 Alcoholics Anonymous after treatment: A study of its therapeutic effects and mechanisms of action. J Consult Clin Psychol 65(5):768-777. Nicotine Addiction, emedicine.com. 2004. Orford, J. (1985). Excessive appetites: A psychological view of addiction. New York: Wiley. Prochaska, J. O., & DiClemente, C. C. (1984). The transtheoretical approach: Crossing the boundaries of therapy. Malabar, FL: Krieger. Slobodzien, J. (2005). Poly-behavioral Addiction and the Addictions Recovery Measurement System (ARMS), Booklocker.com, Inc., p. 5. Whitlock, E.P. (1996). Evaluating Primary Care Behavioral Counseling Interventions: An Evidence-based Approach. Am J Prev Med 2002;22(4): 267-84.Williams & Wilkins. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services. 2nd ed. Alexandria, VA. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010 (Conference Edition). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2000.

James Slobodzien, Psy.D., CSAC, is a Hawaii licensed psychologist and certified substance abuse counselor who earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology. The National Registry of Health Service Providers in Psychology credentials Dr. Slobodzien. He has over 20-years of mental health experience primarily working in the fields of alcohol/ substance abuse and behavioral addictions in medical, correctional, and judicial settings. He is an adjunct professor of Psychology and also maintains a private practice as a mental health consultant.

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Psoriasis – Escape This Disease To Enjoy Fresh And Healthy Skin

Psoriasis is a usual skin disease that comes as lesions with white scales on the skin and also leads to weakening of skins and joints. It is a chronic disease that is characterized by red, silvery, thick and scaled patches on the skin. It is a poorly understood condition that affects the skin and also at times the nails whose symptoms include red inflamed skins covered by white scales, which flakes easily.

Psoriasis can appear all over the body and can be really itchy and irritating. It mostly happens on the arms [specially elbows], legs [knees], buttocks and trunk and rarely affects the face and scalp. Sometimes you will find psoriasis affecting your fingernails and toenails with symptoms like ridges down the nails, yellowish spots, white color pits and thickness to the nail’s edge.

Causes of psoriasis

The first cause of psoriasis is dry skin. When you are getting psoriasis, you will find irritations on your skin and find it covered with bright silvery scales. Not only does the disease affect knees, skin behind the ears or scalp, but it also affects the underarms and genital areas. The lesions vary in size from being minute papules to sheets covering larger parts of the body. The lesions are always dry and rarely become infected.

Psoriasis is basically an abnormality in the skin mechanism where the skin grows and replaces itself. The abnormality is due to the metabolism of amino acids, which are nature’s basic building blocks for the reproduction of cell tissues. Heredity plays a major role in the development of psoriasis. The factors that aggravate and precipitate the outbreak of psoriasis are physical and emotional stress, use of certain unwanted medicines, infections and change in diet.

Remedies for psoriasis

Psoriasis is a metabolic disease so it is very useful that you should follow a regular diet devoid of all spicy and disorderly food. More of fruits, fresh vegetables, fruit juices, boiled bitter gourds, and curd, are very useful.

Food remedies

Researchers have recommended beta-carotene, omega-3, fatty acids, folate and zinc to be nutritional factors for reducing psoriasis. Soluble fiber such as pectin, guar gum, and psyllium are very useful for binding toxins. However, you should also eat things like flaxseed oils, folic acids [present in Brussels, spinach, bok choy, beets, chick peas, turkey, peas, oranges], omega-3 [present in salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, sardines and herring.

Homeopathy remedies

There are some miraculous homeopathic medicines like arsenicum album, graphites, calcarea carbonica, mezereum, mercurius solubilis, sepia, staphysagria, sulphur and rhus toxicodendron that remedies psoriasis effectively within a very short time.

Other remedies

You can use essential oils like avocado oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, cashew nut oil, Vitmain E and buttermilk as homemade remedies to reduce psoriasis.

Provide remedies for psoriasis to enjoy a healthy skin.

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Dermatitis – Your Toothpaste May Cause Dermatitis Around Your Mouth

Dermatitis – what is perioral dermatitis?

Perioral dermatitis is a skin problem around the mouth. This may also appear on the nose and chin. This dermatitis resembles acne and rosacea, but is neither of them. This is a difficult to treat condition and your everyday toothpaste, skincare products and cosmetics may be causing it. Let us find out more about its prevention and treatment.

Perioral dermatitis – the symptoms

Perioral dermatitis appears around the mouth. Red rashes form around the mouth. That is why the name – perioral. Many times acne like pustules form on the red patches. The red patches look like rosacea skin and the pustules look like acne. The patch may itch. Sometimes the condition spreads below the eyes, on the nose and on the chin.

Perioral dermatitis – the cause-

Use of heavy steroid creams is one of the possible causes of perioral dermatitis. Some flavoring agents used in our daily toothpaste may cause perioral dermatitis. Use of heavy cosmetics and skin care products is another possible cause.  Every one of us has to find out why we got perioral dermatitis. If you have not used any heavy cosmetic, you can eliminate that as a reason and focus on the others. Similarly if you have not applied steroids, that reason will not apply to you. We have to discuss the possible reason with our doctor and eliminate that before getting treated. Otherwise the diseases will return.

Perioral dermatitis – treatment

Stopping use of heavy steroids is the first treatment. When you stop the heave steroids, you may get a rebound but that will subside after about a week. If you are not using steroids, you have to talk to your doctor about your toothpaste and use bland toothpaste. Stopping use of every skin care product and cosmetics will help heal faster. The common treatment for perioral dermatitis is antibiotics. Application of topical antibiotics may be prescribed. If the condition is severe, oral antibiotics may be given. Within some days the condition subsides. Please consult your doctor about the treatment when you get perioral dermatitis. Self-treatment with any OTC product will not help. To test your knowledge about this condition that can spoil your facial look for a long time, please try this quiz.

This article is only for informative purposes. This article is not intended to be a medical advise and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor for your medical concerns. Please follow any tip given in this article only after consulting your doctor. The author is not liable for any outcome or damage resulting from information obtained from this article.

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New Therapy Studied For Sickle Cell Anemia

Soon after her baby’s 6-month birthday, Wanda Gougis’ worst fears were confirmed. The doctor told her that her daughter, Juanita, had inherited what some other members of her family had – sickle cell anemia.

Instead of the normal cries for food or attention, Juanita cries out in pain. The infant faces repeated episodes of excruciating pain involving every joint and organ in the body.

The worst is that the mother has to stand by and watch her child go through this while having no treatment to offer. The medicines for sickle cell anemia that are given to adults have such horrible side effects that doctors do not want to treat children with them. So the future for this infant includes repeated pain crisis, stunted growth, frequent infections and many missed school days.

Sickle cell affects the structure of the hemoglobin in red blood cells by forming a sickle or crescent shape that has difficulty passing through small blood vessels. The disease occurs in about one in every 500 African-American births.

There are presently no completely safe and effective treatments for the 80,000 to 100,000 African-American people with the sickle cell disease. However, one promising treatment is on the horizon.

A young UCLA scientist, Dr. Yutaka Niihara, discovered that by placing the abnormal sickled red blood cells in a culture dish with the amino acid glutamine (a harmless substance that is in the body and commonly found in food), the sickled cells would open up and become the normal ball-like shape. Niihara gave this substance to a few patients who had at least one painful crisis a month.

The results were astonishing. The number of visits to the emergency room greatly diminished, and refills for pain medicine also dramatically decreased. The patients also noticed improvement in their activity level.

This potentially safe, effective treatment that could be given to infants, children and adults is currently undergoing trials that are supported and funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. The goal is drug approval by the FDA.

Individuals with sickle cell are being recruited for the study; the sooner the trials are finished, the sooner this treatment can be made available to everyone in the country who has this disease.

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What Is Lou Gehrig’s Disease And What Can Be Done To Prolong Quality Of Life

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease because the famous baseball player contracted it and ultimately died from it at age 37. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the spinal cord and nerve cells in the brain. After diagnosis, the expected life span of a patient suffering from the disease is less than five years. It is a progressive disease that eventually and inevitably leads to death.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for this fatal disease. Riluzole, however, has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for use in treating ALS. Although this drug does not repair damage already done, it does slow the decline, extending the life of the patient for several months. It also delays the time when life support means will be necessary. Riluzole decreases the release of glutamate, which will reduce damage to motor neurons. This new drug instills hope in ALS patients and their families that there may one day be a cure for the disease.

Other treatments for the disease are designed to improve the quality of life in an ALS patient. Because the muscles deteriorate until they no longer function and this happens at varying speeds, a physician will be able to develop a medical plan that is best suited for the individual. Each case should be evaluated for the progression and severity of symptoms at that period.

Drugs such as ibuprofen will relieve general pain and it is commonly used to enhance comfort levels. Baclofen or tizanadine will help reduce muscle spasms. Physical therapy is essential in maintaining flexibility and reducing risk of permanent muscle contractions. It will also help with pain management.

Proper nutrition is important to maintain as ALS patient need easy to swallow foods that build energy. Speech therapy may also be advised to enhance the ability to communicate verbally for as long as possible. As the disease progressives, life support mechanisms will need to be employed to sustain life. Feeding tubes and breathing machines will need to be used. Heart problems may also occur which will need treatment to prolong the life of the patient.

Lou Gehrig’s disease is fatal. At this time, there are no cures but there are treatments that will help prolong life and add to the quality of life. This disease is tragic and affects the lives of the patient and family.

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Critical Illness Insurance. Are Your Children Insured?

Cover for your children is the most undervalued aspect of critical illness insurance. But as most policies automatically provide the cover as a free extra, we suspect that some policyholders don’t even know they’ve got it!

Most policies automatically insure your children albeit at a lower level of benefits than the main policyholders cover. But this cover is invaluable, especially if your child becomes critically ill and you need to take time off work to provide care.

Critical Illness insurance pays out a tax free capital sum if the policyholder, or one of their children, suffers one of the very serious illnesses scheduled on their policy. The only rider is that the claimant must survive at least 28 days after the diagnosis.

Scottish Provident, one of the UK’s largest critical illness insurers has announced that claims for children is now its fourth-largest cause for a claim. Says Nick Kirwan, their Protection Marketing Director, “Work takes a back seat when your child becomes ill. You may need to cut your working hours or even stop working altogether”.

If your critical illness policy does insure your children, then a payout from the policy gives you the financial flexibility to do just that. So how much will they pay out?

Most insurers will pay a proportion of total insured value if a child becomes critically ill. For example, Norwich Union will pay out 50% of the insured sum or Ј10,000 whichever is the lower – and this cover includes adopted children and step children. Standard Life and Legal & General also pay up to 50% with Standard setting the maximum payout at Ј25,000 and in L&G’s case it’s Ј15,000.

Cover never starts as soon as the child is born. With some policies cover starts up at 3 months but others wait as long as three years. Ideally, you want cover to start as early as possible.

Another other point to understand is that if the main policyholder has a claim, then the policy pays out and terminates – they can’t claim more than once. But if there is a claim for a child, the policy does not terminate – the cover for the policyholders continues unaffected. And if you start or add to your family after you’ve started the policy there’s no need to inform the insurer as the cover automatically covers all your children.

But not all insurers will insure your children. Neither the Halifax, National Westminster nor Nationwide Life include any cover for children. So if you have or intend to have a family, it’s vital that you tell your adviser and then he or she will ensure your policy includes the necessary cover.

And that brings us to the topic of professional advice. You can buy Critical Illness insurance online all by yourself but honestly it isn’t worth the risk. In our experience over 50 % of DIY buyers don’t get it exactly right. There is little standardisation within critical illness insurance so you’re unlikely to get your ideal policy if you buy on price alone. It’s one of those situations where a low price can turn out to be a costly mistake!

In order to get the ideal policy your adviser need to understand how much you can afford and what aspects of cover are most important to you. It’s then a matter of using experience and product knowledge to find the best options. If this sounds like a receipt of throwing your discounts down the drain, it isn’t.

Very few high street brokers will give you any discount but shop online with one of the specialist critical illness brokers and you’ll get full service and a discount.

How do you find them? Well actually, it’s really easy. Just type in “Critical illness insurance” into your favourite search engine – but ignore the web sites run by the insurers themselves – they just offer you their own policies and you really need a broker who can consider the whole market.

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Eczema Treatment

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a skin condition commonly known as dermatitis which can result in dry flaky skin which can be itchy and feel hot.  This sensation often leads to vigorous itching which in turn can damage the skin.

The word Eczema comes from the Greek words that mean “to boil over”.  The word Dermatitis comes from the Greek word for skin.  Both words refer to the same condition though.

There are four types of eczema, (atopic, varicose, discoid and contact/dermatitis).

Atopic Eczema is the most common form of Eczema. It is linked to hay fever and asthma.  There is a tendency for it to be inherited, but there are also environmental factors which are important as well.

Atopic means extra sensitivity to certain substances (allergens) e.g. dust mites, cat and dog fur etc.

It affects 15-20% of young children in the UK, however, in about 70% of these cases, it clears up.  If it doesn’t clear up, then it is likely that the condition will get worse as the patient gets older.

For some reason, the number of cases of Atopic eczema have increased in recent times.

Varicose Eczema affects the lower legs of patients.  It is associated with varicose veins and is often a pre-cursor to varicose vein problems.  It is also associated with poor circulation.  Unlike Atopic eczema, it tends to affect the middle aged and the elderly.

Contact/Dermatitis Eczema can be either an acute or chronic skin reaction where there is a sensitivity to a particular material.  This reaction may be an allergic or non-allergic reaction.  This condition is caused when the bodies immune system reacts with a particular substance.

Discoid Eczema can occur at any point in a persons life, however, it tends to appear at a later stage in life.  It tends to affect the lower legs and feet and shows itself as a distinct round patch of eczema.

What are the symptoms of Eczema?

Atopic

This type of Eczemas symptoms normally include red, dry, itchy skin.  There may also be some small water blisters which can weep on the hands and feet.  Scaly areas will develop as well where the skin has been continually scratched.

Varicose

The symptoms for Varicose Eczema start with a mild itchiness just above the ankle.  This will then become speckled and inflamed as well as becoming itchy.  On occasion, ulcers can form.

Contact/Dermatitis

This type of Eczema usually starts out with a  rash in the area where the trigger substance has come into contact with the skin.  Once the eczema has been triggered, then the eczema can spread through the body.

Discoid

Normally, one or a number of round patches of red skin appear.  They may be itchy and become blistered.  It is also quite common for these patches to be infected with bacteria.

What is the treatment for Eczema?

As with all conditions and diseases, it is usually best to talk to your doctor before embarking upon any course of treatment.  The information below is purely for information purposes only and I always recommend that you read the information below and then go and talk to a medical professional.

There doesn’t appear to be a cure for eczema, however, there are a number of treatments which can control the symptoms of this very uncomfortable condition.

There are a number of over the counter creams which will help to soothe your eczema of which there are two types.  These are emollients which are moisturisers which will soothe and hydrate the skin.  A good time to apply these creams is straight after a bath while your skin is still slightly moist.  There are also mild steroid creams.  These creams can calm flare ups of eczema by suppressing your bodys inflammatory response.  Even though these creams are available to anybody, it is wise to ask the pharmacists advice before using either emollients or mild steroid creams.

Your doctor may prescribe some prescription medicine if the emollients and mild steroid creams don’t work.

Your doctor may advise you to take anti-histamine drugs which will help you to sleep although they won’t directly relieve your eczema.

If your eczema is severe enough, it is possible you could have to go to hospital where the staff there will be able to keep you away from any trigger allergens and also to ensure that you take the medicine prescribed for you.

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Infant Eczema – Disease And Disorder Of The Skin

The word ‘eczema’ is derived from the Greek meaning to ‘boil over’, describing the bubbly and hot appearance of active eczema. The words eczema and dermatitis mean the same, referring to a particular type of skin inflammation, which has potentially multiple different causes.

More specifically, atopic eczema refers to a very characteristic itchy skin rash, which typically starts in infancy or childhood. It tends to affect different parts of the skin at different stages of the person’s development, but at some point usually involves the skin creases (flexures) of the arms and legs.

It is more common in those with a family history of atopic eczema, asthma or hay fever. Eczema is a complex disease and multiple factors contribute to its development. However, genetic factors play a big role and various environmental triggers (for example, the house dust mite, bacterial toxins, hard water, climatic factors, air-borne allergens and pollution) may aggravate it.

Eczema tends to follow a fluctuating course. You can expect the child’s eczema to flare at times when he/she is ‘stressed’, for example, by teething pain.

It may flare when they are unwell with viral or bacterial infections and after having vaccinations. Anything that tends to dry the skin, eg. soaps, shampoo, bubble baths, detergents or chlorine will aggravate eczema. Contact with wool, synthetic clothing and animal hair will also aggravate it. In teenagers eczema may flare at exam times.

Atopic eczema usually starts on the scalp or cheeks in infants. It may even start as cradle cap. It later spreads to the limbs and body and in some children may be widespread for a time. At the crawling stage it is usually worst on the backs of the elbows and the fronts of the knees.

When the child is a little older the eczema settles in its characteristic location at the skin creases of the arms and legs. In teenagers and adults it may be worst on the hands.

The first principle of eczema treatment is to avoid those things that make eczema worse. Irritants like soaps and bubble bath should be avoided and substituted with an oily or emollient alternative.

Allergens like dog dander must be minimised and measures taken to reduce the house dust mite in the child’s environment.

Clothing and bed covers should be 100% cotton if possible. Heat and perspiration may make the itch intolerable.

Therefore the child’s environment should be kept cool. In particular, the bedroom should be well ventilated.

Emollients are products that moisturise and soften the dry skin, which is the central problem in atopic eczema. This therapy is a crucial part of your treatment plan for your child. Emollients are safe and can be used frequently. There are many choices on the market at present.

In general, when the skin is very dry an oil-based emollient, for example emulsifying ointment or paraffin gel, will be the most efficient.

As the skin improves a cream like Silcock’s base may be used. Emollients should be considered in three situations.

Firstly, they should be used as a moisturiser applied twice or three times daily all over. Care should be taken to apply emollients gently in the direction of the hair (to avoid irritating the hair follicles).

Secondly, they should be used instead of soap. Finally, emollients should be used in the bath, ideally on a daily basis.

The aim of bathing is to both grease and cleanse the skin. An excellent emollient bath may be prepared by dissolving two spoonfuls (dessert spoonfuls for child, table spoonfuls for adult) of emulsifying ointment in very hot water, whisking it up and adding it to the bath water.

There are also very effective, liquid bath additives available which may be more convenient to use.

Some of these contain an antiseptic which will help reduce the

numbers of bugs on the skin. Regular bathing with emollients is essential to help reduce secondary bacterial infection, – a common problem in atopic eczema.

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Discover How Vitamin C And Vitamin E Can Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Vitamin C and Vitamin E are both antioxidants that are believed to play certain very important roles in our bodies. Very similar to one another, both vitamins help prevent free radical damage to our brains. It is believed that free radicals can cause damage to cell structures and other genetic material. The damage free radicals often produce is called oxidative stress, and oxidative stress in turn leads to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

The following paragraphs will discuss Alzheimer’s disease, and how adding both Vitamin C and Vitamin E to your diet can help prevent you from developing alzheimers.

Alzheimer’s disease is a common brain disorder that most often develops in older people, but can also occur in the young. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include loss of memory (short term and long term), inability to function normally in everyday living, loss of ability to take care of oneself, and ultimately death. The disease has no known cause at this time, but studies have show that it involves the abnormal breakdowns of acetylcholine in the brain. Some research studies have linked Alzheimer’s disease to high amounts of aluminum in the brain, but most studies indicate no link in the two.

Other research studies have been conducted regarding the effects of Vitamin C and Vitamin E in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

While most of the studies are inconclusive on just how beneficial the two vitamins used in conjunction can be for Alzheimer’s patients, they have shown some positive results. While some studies show dramatic reductions in cases of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in people who increase their Vitamins C and Vitamin E, others show very little effect. What most studies have shown is a degree of positive effects, even if they are small. It is clear that more studies need to be done, but this could be a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease prevention.

Multi vitamins should be an important part of everyone’s daily routine, but if you are trying to prevent Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, it can help to add additional Vitamin C and Vitamin E to your diet or supplements. Not only do these vitamins help prevent free radical damage to our brains, they also build our immune systems, and promote overall good health. These vitamins can also help by aiding in the blood and oxygen flow to the brain, keeping the brain healthy.

Foods rich in Vitamin E include:

• nuts

• leafy greens

• vegetable oils

• whole grains

Foods rich in Vitamin C include:

• oranges

• broccoli

• strawberries

• other fruits and vegetables

Other ways to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s are ginkgo biloba consumption and increasing zinc intake.

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The First Step To Preventing Colorectal Cancer

An estimated 90 million Americans are at risk of developing colorectal cancer, the second-leading cancer killer in the United States. About 145,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the disease this year-and 57,000 will die from it. In many cases, the cancerous tumors are discovered too late, mainly because screening was not taken seriously.

The fact is, screening can prevent many cases of this disease because most colorectal cancers evolve from benign adenomatous polyps that develop during a 10-year silent window. A single colonoscopy exam can remove polyps when they are still harmless and decrease the life-long risk of colon cancer death by 31 percent. And that’s just one exam. Repeating the exam every 10 years does much more.

Relatively few people, however, are properly screened for colon cancer. While roughly 80 percent of U.S. women are screened for breast cancer with mammography, fewer than 20 percent of Americans over age 50 have even had the least invasive colon cancer screening test-a fecal occult blood test-in the past five years.

According to experts, the barriers to proper screening for colon cancer involve misperceptions, money, manpower and mind-set. The misperceptions include the thought that this disease only strikes older men. The reality is, if you are male or female, age 50 or older, you’re well within striking distance. Another misperception: screening for colon cancer is terribly painful and uncomfortable. The reality: The bowel prep is somewhat annoying but quite manageable at home, and colonoscopy with light sedation is painless.

The expense of the tests can be a roadblock, but insurance companies are coming on board, as colonoscopy screenings for this cancer have been proven to be as cost effective as mammography for breast cancer. Manpower issues exist since special training is required to do colonoscopies, and a specially designed setting, equipment and sedation are all required, but ease and efficiency have greatly increased in the past decade.

The first step? Focus on baseline colonoscopy for everyone over age 50. If a polyp or tumor is detected, it can be addressed early and directly. If your exam is clean, you’re good for 10 years. All in all, it seems a relatively small price to pay. How many other bad cancers allow a 10-year window for detection? Fewer, still, have relatively painless detection technology and skilled clinicians already in place to ensure success.

Mike Magee, M.D., is a former Senior Fellow in the Humanities to the World Medical Association, director of the Pfizer Medical Humanities Initiative and host of the weekly Web cast “Health Politics with Dr. Mike Magee.”

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Knee Arthritis And How It Affects You

Arthritis, any of more than 100 different diseases causing pain, stiffness, and in most cases, swelling in the joints.Arthritis affects people of both sexes and of all races, socioeconomic levels, and geographic areas.Osteoarthritis is the most common type of knee arthritis.

Also called wear-and-tear arthritis or degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is characterized by progressive wearing away of the cartilage of the joint. As the protective cartilage is worn away by knee arthritis, bare bone is exposed within the joint.

Knee arthritis symptoms tend to progress as the condition worsens. What is interesting about knee arthritis is that symptoms do not always progress steadily with time. Often patients report good months and bad months or symptom changes with weather changes.

This is important to understand because comparing the symptoms of arthritis on one particular day may not accurately represent the overall progression of the condition.The most common symptoms of knee arthritis are:pain with activities, limited range of motion, stiffness of the knee, swelling of the joint, tenderness along the joint, a feeling the joint may “give out”, deformity of the joint (knock-knees or bow-legs).

Rheumatologists, physicians who diagnose and treat arthritis and related conditions, use a variety of diagnostic techniques. The first step is a thorough history and physical examination, during which the doctor questions the patient about symptoms and medical history to learn about potential exposure to infectious agents or a family history of arthritis.

The patient is examined to determine the pattern of joints affected. With this information, rheumatologists are usually able to make a diagnosis. Laboratory tests are used to help diagnose inflammatory arthritis.

For example, a blood test called erythrocyte sedimentation rate measures how quickly red blood cells cling together and fall to the bottom of a test tube. When there is inflammation in the body, red blood cells sink faster.

This test lets physicians evaluate how severe the inflammation is. Rheumatologists also test a patient’s blood or synovial fluid for the presence of specific antibodies—disease-fighting agents activated in the body by infections.

The presence of rheumatoid factor antibodies, for example, is an indication of rheumatoid arthritis, and antinuclear antibodies can be an indication of lupus. The presence of these antibodies along with clinical symptoms help establish the diagnosis. Physicians may also elect to test for the presence of specific genes, such as the HLA-B27 gene.

The primary goal of treatment is to reduce joint pain and inflammation and to maximize joint mobility. To this end, rheumatologists work closely with patients and their families to develop a treatment regimen incorporating exercise and rest as well as pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs, and in some types of arthritis, drugs that slow the progress of the disease.

Low impact, regular exercise is very important in maintaining muscle strength and joint mobility. One of the best forms of exercise for people with arthritis is swimming, an activity that lets participants use muscles with minimal joint strain.

Arthritis sufferers benefit from physical therapy programs specially tailored to their age level and degree of mobility. Stretching and hot showers before exercise and applying ice packs to muscles and joints after exercise minimize discomfort related to exercise.

Rest is another crucial element of arthritis treatment. In addition to recommending at least eight hours of sleep a night, rheumatologists may also advise patients to use a cane, splint, sling, or special footwear to rest or stabilize affected joints periodically during the day.

Almost all drugs used to treat arthritis can have side effects and may not work for all patients with arthritis. Researchers are investigating alternatives to traditional drug therapy and other treatment approaches.

If joint damage is severe, patients with arthritis may need to have surgical treatment. Total hip and total knee replacements can significantly relieve pain and improve joint function. In some cases, surgeons replace damaged or deteriorating joints with artificial stainless steel or plastic components in a procedure called arthroplasty.

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How to improve the Cholesterol levels naturally?

You have many ways to lower the Cholesterol levels naturally .Be away from the drugs that control the Cholesterol levels because they can be dangerous for you ,as they may cause liver and immune problems ,general weakness and weaken the muscles ,and also it may be cancer risk.

Here are the natural ways that lowers your Cholesterol:

1 – Lifestyle changes.

2 – Reducing stress.

3 – Exercise.

4 – Giving up smoking.

5 – Diet.

And a magic secret which is: Drinking more water.

How can you do that?

1 – Lifestyle changes:

·     You have to eat balanced food, like fresh fruits and vegetables.

·     Olive oil and Fish oil in your diet is very important and very useful for your health.

·     Be away from eating hydrogenated oil and processed food.

·     Fast food is very dangerous as it is full of bad fats and salts and with no calories.

·     Cookies, cakes, muffins contain sugar and unhealthy fats.

So you have to stay away from these poisons to improve your health. It may be inconvenient at the beginning but you have to adapt to this routine.

2-Reducing stress:

The good way to reduce the stress is by starting to add some beneficial tool to your arsenal, like bio-feedback, meditation and going out to have some time to relax as traveling at least one day.

Be away from caffeine especially in soda and coffee .As you have to remove the soda from your drinking habits.

3 – Exercise:

Exercise can help you to reduce the stress and it is one of the most important things to improve your health and lower your Cholesterol level, at least walking everyday, this will decrease the bad Cholesterol (LDL).

4 – Giving up smoking:

It is the most important thing you have to do for yourself and for the people you love, by giving up smoking, the good Cholesterol (HDL) will increase naturally.

5-Diet:

You have to follow your doctor instructions and orders about the balanced food like: vegetables and fresh fruits.

Some useful food is:

Good fats and oils like (Olive Oil ,Fish Oil).

Fresh vegetables and fruits.

Fish (mercury free).

Grapes and Orange juice.

Legumes.

Curry.

Avocados.

Garlic.

Blueberries (they are so useful, they are fruits but in a class by themselves).

Nuts and Seeds.

Oats and soluble fibers.

Be away from:

Caffeine.

Wheat.

Red meat.

Muffins.

Soda.

Alcohol.

Fast food.

Cookies.

Canned or prepared food.

Refined sugar.

Here are some supplements that can help in improving your health and lowers your Cholesterol:

B complex.

Vitamin C, E,D.

Coral Calcium.

Fish Oil.

Plant Sterols.

Policosanol.

Magnesium.

Don’t hesitate and make all these changes in your lifestyle to go through a positive way to improve your health without spending money on Cholesterol drugs.

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Americans Fear Alzheimer’s More Than Heart Disease, Diabetes or Stroke, But Few Prepare

Americans fear Alzheimer’s disease more than any illness other than cancer-and for older people, concerns about Alzheimer’s outrank even cancer. More than a third of all Americans know a family member or friend who has Alzheimer’s, and nearly two-thirds of Americans believe they will have to provide care someday for someone with Alzheimer’s.

These are just some of the results from a January 2006 MetLife Foundation/Harris Interactive poll of American adults. The survey, found in “MetLife Foundation Alzheimer’s Survey: What America Thinks,” included questions about how people view Alzheimer’s disease, what they know about it and what they are doing to plan for a future that may include the deadly illness.

A progressive brain disorder that science has yet to defeat, Alzheimer’s gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability to reason, communicate and function. Currently, 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that these numbers will grow to as many as 16 million Americans by 2050. Increasing age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s. One in 10 individuals over 65 and nearly half of those over 85 are affected. The Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging estimate that direct and indirect costs of current care are at least $100 billion annually.

The survey results underscore not only the fears that people have about this illness, but also the disturbing fact that few are prepared to face a future that may include Alzheimer’s.

Key findings from the poll, which was commissioned by MetLife Foundation, are summarized in a report available at www.metlife.org. They include:

- Americans fear Alzheimer’s disease. When people are asked to name the disease they are most afraid of getting from a list of illnesses, one out of five picks Alzheimer’s, while only 14 percent worry about heart disease and 13 percent are concerned about stroke. Only cancer tops Alzheimer’s. In fact, adults aged 55 and older fear getting Alzheimer’s even more than cancer.

- Americans know little or nothing about Alzheimer’s. While virtually all of those surveyed are aware of the disease (93 percent), almost three-quarters (74 percent) say they know only a little or nothing at all about Alzheimer’s.

- One-third of Americans say they have direct experience with Alzheimer’s disease. One in three Americans (35 percent) has a family member and/or friend with Alzheimer’s.

- Most Americans are concerned that they will be responsible at some point for caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. More than three out of five people worry that they will have to eventually provide or care for someone with the disease.

Most Americans recognize the need to create a plan to address the possibility of Alzheimer’s disease, but very few have taken steps to do so. More than eight out of 10 Americans think it is important to plan ahead for the possibility of getting Alzheimer’s disease. However, despite the overwhelming agreement that planning is important, almost no one has taken action. Nearly nine out of 10 Americans say they have made no comprehensive plans. The survey shows that Americans know enough about Alzheimer’s disease to fear its onset, but have not taken any steps to provide for the possibility of developing the disease.

Americans’ fears of Alzheimer’s are justified, given its increasing presence among a population that will live longer. As the population ages, it is essential to learn as much as possible about the disease and plan for the future.

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Are Allergies and Asthma Related?

When we hear of allergy and asthma studies, we often find them lumpted together.  Is there really a connection between allergies and asthma?  To get to the answer to this, we must first learn what allergies and asthma actually are.

Allergies are immune system reactions to things that others would find harmless.  Certain foods, pollen, even dust are all considered allergens that can trigger an allergic reaction.  The immune system produces antibodies that release chemicals

Asthma is a chronic lung condition, characterized by difficulty in breathing due to extra sensitive or hyper-responsive airways. During an asthma attack, the airways become irritated and react by narrowing and constructing, causing increased resistance to airflow, and obstructing the flow of air to and from the lungs. Common early warning signs of asthma include fatigue, coughing (especially at night), wheezing, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, runny nose, and itchy throat.

Allergies, on the other hand, are immune system reactions to things that most people would experience as harmless. Certain foods, dust, pollen … these are allergens that can trigger an allergy attack. When they’re encountered, the body’s immune system produces IgE antibodies to fight the allergen. These antibodies create the release of chemicals into the bloodstream, one of which (histamine) affects the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, and skin, causing the allergy’s symptoms.

So now that we have a better picture of how these two health conditions work, the question becomes … is there a relationship between allergies and asthma?

It’s true that those with certain allergies (usually allergies that affect the nose and eyes, such as dust mites, animal dander, mold or pollen) are more likely to develop asthma than say … those without allergies or those with allergies in other classifications, such as food allergies. But it’s also true that many of those with allergies never develop asthma at all.

In addition, there are other factors that can contribute to a person’s asthma. Unmonitored exercise, for example. Or other illnesses, such as colds or the flu.

Scientists aren’t sure what lies at the root cause of asthma. Various studies are looking at a variety of factors, including air pollution, obesity, and as strange as it might sound, even the lack of exposure to viruses and bacteria in childhood (which may prevent the immune system from growing stronger).

What we do know is that exposure to indoor allergens, pollen, animal dander, grass … in other words, allergy-related factors, are often found in asthmatics. Often, but not always. And it also appears that asthma tends to run in families. If both parents have asthma, there’s actually a 40% probability their children will develop the disease as well.

Current research efforts have been exploring the influence of environmental factors, genetics (as mentioned above), and even stress on asthma. This creates the potential to dramatically reduce a person’s asthma severity levels by altering his or her exposure to the aggravating factors. This can be particularly successful when the culprit is something that’s relatively easy to control. Dust, for instance. Or something only encountered in a work environment. Or, though it’s certainly much more difficult because of the emotional component, a family pet.

Unfortunately, the most common allergy that appears to have a direct influence on asthma is an allergy to dust mites. Eliminating these mites to the extent that it might make a difference in the severity of your asthma requires a major change in lifestyle and can often be quite expensive. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, only that it’s not as easy as simply staying indoors during the pollen season or switching to a less stressful job.

Of course, new treatments are coming along all the time, and considerable research is currently dedicated to finding ways to modify, abolish or diminish the affect allergies have on the body. It’s believed that with the successful control of allergies can come the successful control of asthma, particularly in younger sufferers.

In the meantime, here’s what we know … asthma can be triggered by allergic reactions, but it can also be triggered by nonallergic reactions. Most asthma attacks result from exposure to allergens such as pollen, household dust, and mold. These attacks can be influenced by indoor or outdoor environments. Because a majority of asthma sufferers are affected by some form of allergies, it’s worth the effor to work closely with your doctor to try to identify and control all potential allergens within your influence.

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Acid Reflux Disease

Commonly called ‘heart burn’, acid reflux disease is a condition in which the liquid content of the stomach regurgitates (backs up, or refluxes) into the esophagus.

It’s annoying and painful.

But you want to know the truth, the reflux of the stomach’s liquid contents into the esophagus occurs in most normal individuals. However, when heartburn becomes acid reflux disease or Gastro esophageal reflux disease, commonly referred to as GERD, it is s real problem. That is because with GERD, the acid is stronger and stays in the esophagus longer causing more discomfort.

Most often, you will experience this during the daytime when you are upright, sitting straight, or standing. You body handles this reflux by the fluid flowing back down into your stomach. You swallow more during the daytime therefore draining the acid back to where it belongs. Your salivary glands produce saliva that also contains bicarbonate that acts to neutralize the acid your stomach has kicked up.

At night though, you may have a greater problem when acid reflux disease occurs that is because while sleeping, gravity does not work as well lying down, your constant swallowing stops, and the production of saliva is reduced.

Certain conditions make a person more prone to acid reflux disease, this GERD. For example, while you are pregnant, this can be a serious problem. Elevated hormone levels of pregnancy probably cause reflux by lowering the pressure in that part of your body known as the lower esophageal sphincter. Also, the growing baby puts more pressure on the abdomen. Both of these effects of pregnancy tend to increase the risk of GERD.

If your acid reflux disease is a minor condition, then you should only experience minor symptoms. These would include primarily heartburn, regurgitation, and nausea. However, if the condition is complicated, then watch out for the following symptoms.

The liquid that comes back into the esophagus damages the lining of the esophagus. The body tries to protect itself from the acid reflux disease by ‘inflaming’ the esophagus. Trying to speed the healing process through the inflammation, the wall of the esophagus may form an ulcer. The ulcer is a break in the lining of the esophagus wall. Then what happens is that there may be bleeding. If the bleeding is very severe, patients might need a blood transfusion or even surgical treatment.

If your heartburn is severe or acute, happening very frequently, you need to see a doctor.

What can you do for yourself to help the condition? Try sleeping a pillow a night that raises your chest up slightly so that gravity can bring the acid back down more easily. Since this condition usually occurs on a full stomach, eat earlier and eat less to keep the stomach from being too full. Ease off on the chocolate, peppermint, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks. Reduce fatty foods and of course, cut down or quit smoking. Other foods may aggravate the conditions. Avoid spicy or acid-containing foods, like citrus juices, carbonated beverages, and tomato juice.

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Bird Flu: Fundamental Questions and Answers You Need To Know

Q – What is bird flu?

A – Bird flu is an infection of a flu virus known to affect birds, particularly migratory birds, ducks and chickens. Bird flu is also reportedly known to affect pigs and most recently, humans. Thought to affect all species, the virus does not adversely affect ducks. Ducks have developed antibodies against the virus and they only act as carriers of the disease without exhibiting any symptoms of bird flu infection.

Migratory birds are carriers of the bird flu virus and do not show symptoms of bird flu infection. This makes them a crucial factor in the spreading of the disease. Other known diseases are transmitted in one area or a few areas only with a small radius. However, in the case of bird flu, the virus can be transmitted over great distances – from one country to another – since migratory birds travel from continent to continent. Another factor that contributes to the spreading of the disease is the exportation and importation of infected birds in the international markets.

Q – How is bird flu transmitted?

A – Bird flu is transmitted through direct contact with infected poultry, particularly upon contact with infected skin, saliva, nasal secretions and feces. The virus also spreads through poultry feeds, water reservoirs and cages. When birds are packed closely together, such as in poultry farms, the avian influenza viruses spread very rapidly among them. Transmission of the virus from chickens to humans can occur through contact with equipment, vehicles and clothing that have secretions from infected poultry.

Bird flu virus is resilient. It can survive in contaminated manure at very low temperatures for at least three months. The virus can survive in water for up to four days in hot temperatures and up to 30 days in cold temperatures. However, heat and disinfectants such as formalin and other iodine compounds are able to kill the virus.

Q – Who are at risk?

A – Many people mistakenly believe that they can contract the bird flu virus if they eat cooked chicken and eggs. However, chickens cooked at 56 degrees Celsius for three hours or at 60 degrees Celsius for half an hour are safe. The only way that people can contract the virus is if they come in direct contact with secretions and feces of infected poultry. Poultry raisers and those who are in the poultry and livestock industry are highly susceptible to contracting the virus. Those who prepare chickens and eggs of infected poultry may also be infected if the virus is fresh enough to infect them.

Q – Is there a possibility of human to human transmission of the bird flu virus?

A – Fortunately, there is still no sign of the bird flu virus being transmitted from one human to another. There have been cases of humans being infected with the virus and dying from it, but these people acquired the infection directly from birds and not from another infected person. This needs to be emphasized because there are some who think that the disease could be contracted from an infected human similar to how ordinary flu is transmitted.

To date, there is no evidence of human to human transmission of the bird flu virus. However, many scientists believe that human to human transmission of the bird flu virus is highly possible because the virus is can easily mutate and is constantly evolving. Mutation of the virus may lead to human to human transmission and scientist say this can occur in two ways. One, the virus enters the human body and mutates within the body, and two, the virus combines with ordinary human flu in the body of humans or pigs, which are susceptible to both kinds of flu.

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Who Does Arthritis Affect?

The following paragraphs summarize the work of Arthritis experts who are completely familiar with all the aspects of Arthritis. Heed their advice to avoid any Arthritis surprises.

The answer to the question who does Arthritis affect? is very simple. It can affect anyone. Arthritis is not only found in the elderly, it can strike at any age.

Arthritis is not really one disease, it is a word that is used to cover over 100 medical conditions, relating to the joints of your body, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists , fingers, in fact anywhere that you have joints.

About 60% of Arthritis sufferers are actually of working age and of course, even the very young can suffer this debilitating disease.

The result of Arthritis can be stiffness in the joints, together with pain and it can bring on a feeling of everything being too difficult to do, or cope with on a daily basis.

The disease has no cure, and at this point in time there is no prediction of any cures in the near future. However, there are many things that can be done to manage the problems and even help to prevent further degeneration within your joints.

As with most medical conditions, early intervention is important, it is absolutely no use leaving the condition until it is too bad to do anything.

The important thing for sufferers to do, is to keep the joints supple and the muscles strong, it is no use resting the joint, the vital element is to keep it moving. Exercise is very important, Walking, swimming, gentle weight lifting, tai chi and yoga, are all very good for keeping the joints mobile and supple.

I realise that when you are in pain, you will feel that resting the joint is the best way to go. Wrong, research has proved that it is the worse thing you can do, as I said before, you must keep it moving.

Exercise is very beneficial, but you must not do high impact exercise, as this can do more harm than good to your joints.

I have previously written an article about Glucosamine and Chondroitin, this can be very useful in helping with pain and sometimes even helping to restore some of the tissue in the joints. Some Medical Practitioners are even recommending this to their patients, the main problem is, that Glucosmine is made from shellfish shells, and if you are allergic to shellfish, stay clear of it, though there is another type recently on the market, that is not made from shellfish, so people with shellfish allergies, please be aware of what type you are thinking of using.

You may not consider everything you just read to be crucial information about Arthritis. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself recalling and using this very information in the next few days.

There is another problem with Glucosamine capsules and that is from all reports, if you stop taking them, the pain and stiffness will return.

Glucosamine is excellent, but exercise is even better, usually when you exercise, you also lose some weight, this can improve the symptoms of Arthritis because your back and joints is being subjected to less strain.

Good quality food can help, plenty of fruit and fresh vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and beans, stay away from what is called junk food, the immune system is what controls all of your health, it is the system that you were given when you were born and medicine has not developed anything to compare with the way it performs. The important factor in the immune system, is that it must have a healthy natural nutrition to function efficiently, that means it must be fed correctly. If your immune system is functioning 100% efficiently, well you just would not have any health problems.

If you have any of these problems, Joints swelling, Stiffness in the morning that lasts for a while, Tenderness or pain in a joint, not able to move the joint properly, then you should consult with your normal physician, also you should consult with your physician before embarking on any exercise program, let the physician tell you what you can do, to improve your condition.

There is no doubt in my mind that all is not lost, you really can help yourself, but get professional advice first.

There are many Arthritis Information Center’s throughout the western world, just look in your telephone book, I am sure that there will be a number of listings under Arthritis.

To all sufferers of Arthritis (Worldwide many millions) I hope that you will get some benefit from reading this article, Please pass it on to anyone else that you know that also suffers this problem.

As your knowledge about Arthritis continues to grow, you will begin to see how Arthritis fits into the overall scheme of things. Knowing how something relates to the rest of the world is important too.

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New Insight-Transformation of Migraines Causes Fibromyalgia

Migraines are thought of as normal neurological functions interspersed with episodes of headaches.  At least 20% of migraineurs meeting the International Headache Society criteria have changed the pattern from episodes of migraine into patterns of chronic headache.  Chronic headache often does not return to normal neurological function.  This evolving process from episodic headache to chronic headache is called transformation.  In the population segment of chronic daily headache, migraine appears to be a progressive neurological disease.  The decline of normal neurological function between episodes of migraine greatly exacerbates the migraine syndrome.

Transformation is a process that occurs usually over years.  Usually the migraineur starts off having acute episodic migraines.  As someone continues to have migraines over time, the pain can occur more often and start merging together with a mixed headache pattern of lower severity migraines intermingled with more severe episodes.  The mixed headache pattern can further transform into chronic daily headache.  These transformed headaches can be caused by rebound phenomenon or can happen by reasons that are not fully understood at the present time.

A threshold can refer to a horizontal piece of building material beneath a doorway or window, but the meaning is different in medical jargon.  Threshold refers to the point at which stimulus or stimuli are of sufficient intensity to produce an effect.  The threshold for migraines can be lowered (migraines may happen more easily) by having repeated migraines.  Facilitation or kindling describe this phenomenon.  Migraines make the sensitive body more sensitive.  In other words, migraines breed migraines.  The lower threshold for migraines is made easier as though kindling were put on a fire.  Uncontrolled migraines not only cause more migraines but eventually cause transformed migraines.  A severe stimulus, injury, illness, or stress can provoke the nervous system to generate uncontrolled migraines.  The migraine pain changes over time.  This change is called transformation.  You can imagine one of your kid’s transformers changing from a robot to a plane or car, but can you imagine your migraines changing from a more classic presentation to chronic neck pain, sinus pain, or constant headache.  Well believe it or not, over time migraines do transform.  Usually a decade or more is necessary for transformation of episodic to chronic migraine.  One of the sincere goals of my new book, Doctor, Why Do I Feel This Way?, is to prevent transformation in migraineurs who have not reached this stage.

An example of severe stimulus is smoking.  The trigeminal nerve (sensation of the face) and the cervical (neck) nerves are adjacent to each other in the brain stem (the base of the brain).  What affects one affects the other.  Migraineurs who smoke usually will develop neck problems.  It is absolutely essential for the migraineur who smokes to abstain!  Smoke is a smell.  The sensitivity to the smell is the problem!  Also secondhand smoke, perfumes, and severe allergies are major problems.  Neck pain can be debilitating and frustrating.  The migraineur with neckaches can develop extreme sensitivity to stress and after years will frequently develop fibromyalgia.  To find out more, go to (www.migrainesyndrome.net>http://www.migrainesyndrome.net).

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OH!! THE PAIN

1 in 3 adults in the United States currently suffer from chronic joint symptoms or arthritis. Arthritis is a complex disorder that has more than 100 conditions, the common symptom – persistent joint pain and inflammation.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form. 21 million adults suffer with OA in the United States. It is associated with either an injury or unusual stress to that joint, usually from a work-related repetitive injury or physical trauma. Also known as “Wear and Tear”, OA is an erosion of the cartilage that normally envelops the ends of the bones in the joint; they begin to rub together causing pain.  Damaged joint tissue can cause the release of a substance called prostaglands, which also contributes to the pain and swelling.  As the cartilage wears away, the joint may lose its normal shape.  The bone ends thicken and the bone at the edge of the joint may grow outward and form bony spurs.  Fluid filled cysts may form in the bone near the joint and bits of bone or cartilage may float loosely in the joint space causing severe pain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) affects many joints and in some, other body parts as well, including the blood, lungs and heart. It can cause inflammation of the tear glands, salivary glands and the lining of the heart and lungs. You may also suffer with fatigue, occasional fevers, morning stiffness, muscle aches, loss of appetite and weakness. RA is an inflammation of the joint lining, called the synovium; the affected joint may lose its shape, resulting in the loss of normal movement.  RA affects 2.1 million Americans; the disease is 2 to 3 times more common in women than men, and younger children can develop RA as well. RA is an autoimmune disease; this means that the body’s natural immune system attacks healthy joint tissues, initiating a process of inflammation and joint damage. RA can cause joint destruction in as little as 1 to 2 years after the onset. The bones of the joint erode causing pain and deformity.  Tendons become inflamed and may tear apart.  With RA white blood cells that are part of the normal immune system travel to the synovium and cause it to become inflamed. During this inflammation, the cells of the synovium grow and divide abnormally. The abnormal cells begin to invade and destroy the cartilage and bone within the joint.  The surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons that support the joint become weak and unable to work normally.  All these effects lead to the pain and deformities seen in RA. Long-term joint inflammation will affect the ability to perform daily tasks. Early diagnosis can minimize pain and disability.

Scientists just recently found a common link between the major chronic diseases; they believe it to be low level chronic inflammation, they have not linked it to all diseases but a vast majority, such as, Arthritis, Diabetes, Heart disease, Cancer, Alzheimer’s and a long list of others.  Our bodies are brilliantly designed. When there is any type of injury, trauma or disease, no matter what the action is, there is a reaction from our body to protect and heal itself – inflammation. We need inflammation in order to heal, its basic function is to make the tiny vessels in our tissue become larger so the white blood cells, that normally don’t fit, can now squeeze into these small spaces and begin the healing process. Other cells help control the inflammation response and others stop any bleeding. Sometimes the inflammation response becomes angry and instead of helping the body it turns on itself creating chronic inflammation.  Inflammation starts with the COX 2 enzyme. COX 1 preserves platelet function (needed for blood clotting) and protects the stomach lining.  COX 2 causes inflammation and pain.  COX 2 has been found in brain and spinal cord tumors as well as in the brains of Alzheimer’s patents causing degeneration of the brain tissue from the inflammation. There are several forms of Arthritis such as, Bursitis, Gout, Fibromyalgia, Scleroderma and the many more.  They are all linked to inflammation and the COX 2 enzyme.

When the COX 2 enzyme was discovered, an inhibitor was needed, medications such as VIOXX (now off the market due to side effects) and Celebrex were created, Super aspirins with Super side effects.

What are the most common side effects of CELEBREX?

Indigestion, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

More serious side effects are; Chance of serious heart problems, such as heart attacks or strokes, which can lead to death. Stomach and intestinal problems, such as bleeding and ulcers, can occur without warning and may cause death.

The best solution is the discovery of a natural food source that inhibits the inflammation and pain problems that are associated with COX 2 without disturbing the COX 1 that is critical in protecting the stomach lining and the bloods ability to clot.

The South East Asians have been eating and using a fruit called Mangosteen for centuries to treat all types of aliments.  Scientists have been studying the mangosteen fruit for the last 20 years; they are in agreement with the South East Asian people that it heals without side effects. You can go to www.pubmed.gov and type in Mangosteen. The Mangosteen fruit decreases the level of COX 2 in your body, some inflammation occurs at the injury site but it is controlled and less severe. Mangosteen can aid in the healing process, it helps to ensure that the inflammation doesn’t turn into chronic inflammation which then leads to chronic disease.  Mangosteen can aid those people that are already suffering with chronic disease such as arthritis in much the same way.  Mangosteen can relieve the swelling of inflammation and inhibit the COX 2 enzyme that causes pain. How life would change without chronic pain!!!  How dose Mangosteen do this? One word –Xanthones.  Xanthones can only be found in nature.  They have been widely studied for their medicinal properties.  Xanthones support microbiological balance, sustain the immune system; improve joint movement and supports mental heath.  Xanthones are stable, super charged anti-oxidants. The Aloe Vera plant contains one Xanthone while the Mangosteen fruit contains to date, an identified 41, the number keeps growing as they are discovered and these Xanthones are diverse in their abilities to help heal the body.  The Mangosteen fruit contains the highest number of Xanthones ever found in one food. For more information you can call toll free 1-888-374-4148 and listen to a message about the Mangosteen fruit and its powerful healing abilities.

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Arthritis In The Knee & What To Expect

Arthritis, which is a condition that affects one in three adult Americans, is one that affects the bone joints in the body. Because there is no cure, many sufferers are forced to cope with it’s painful effects. Arthritis in the knee is one of the common ailments and can make it difficult to walk, bend the leg or even sleep at night.

Many people who develop arthritis in the knee may do so because of an injury or prolonged stress on the legs. Some examples may be playing sports, being involved in an auto accident, falling, etc. If the knee or leg is injured or strained, it will become more susceptible to developing arthritis in the knee. In some cases, arthritis in the knee may also be inherited and occurs naturally through genetics.

Some of the most common symptoms of arthritis in the knee are achy leg muscles and joints, swelling and tenderness around the knee area, a crackling sound when leg is bent or moved, stiffness and difficulty in movement. These symptoms may become increasingly worse during cold weather or when rain is predicted. Weather patterns greatly affect arthritis in the knee, as well as arthritis in other parts of the body.

As the weather changes, arthritis in the knee often worsens due to the fact that affected joints are believed to develop additional nerve endings in an effort to protect the joint from more damage. In addition, sufferers who cope with arthritis in the knee are thought to be more vulnerable in the morning and/or when any movement is initiated.

If arthritis in the knee is suspected, the best way to confirm a diagnosis is through the type of testing that only a physician can provide. During a typical office visit, doctors are likely to inquire about any additional symptoms or ailments that seem to be present with arthritis in the knee. This is important in the diagnosis of whether or not the patient actually suffers from arthritis in the knee or whether another problem is present.

Although there is no cure for arthritis in the knee, there are various treatment options available for sufferers. Among them, over the counter medications, prescription-based treatments, physical therapy, pain management and even surgery in extreme cases. In addition, numerous herbal therapies have been developed to help ease pain that is caused by arthritis in the knee.

The information in this article is to be used for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional medical advice. Anyone with questions regarding arthritis in the knee must consult their physician for further information.

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Diseases of the colon caused by Constipation

It was estimated that of all the people who died of cancer – colon, lung, prostate, and breast – in 1999 sixteen percent were attributed to colon cancer.  But, how many of these other cancers originated in your colon?  We do know that colon cancer is the second leading cause of deaths in the United States.

We don’t know what cancers originated in your colon because the medical profession treats symptoms not the causes.  Many doctors do not go looking for the cause of your problem.  They don’t have the time.  In fact, they normally will not tell you what you need to do to prevent your illness.  Sometimes the reason they will not tell you is they just do not know.

It is the nutritionist’s job to tell you what foods and supplements you need to prevent and to overcome specific illnesses and what to eat to eliminate or stop constipation.

Why is it that some many people are dying of various diseases at such an early age – at forty, at fifty, at sixty, even 30, or younger?  They die of heart diseases, blood diseases, cancers, autoimmune diseases and the list goes on.  It has been know for a longtime why diseases occur and what you can do to prevent it.

These death producing illnesses are a result of our life style – the foods we eat, the water we drink, the air pollution we breathe, the thoughts we think, the toxins we are exposed to at work, and the cleaning products we use at home.

What is it that causes us to behave in a way that is harmful to others or ourselves in ways that affect our health, our relationships, and our life?  Why do people smoke when they know it causes Cancer?  Why do people drink coffee when they know caffeine affects their adrenal gland, which eventually leads to exhaustion?  Why is it that people eat sugar when they know it has untold health effects beyond diabetes?  The answer is simple but difficult to accept.

All illness originates from repressed traumatic memories resulting from early life trauma.

Dr Arthur Janov explains this clearly in his book, 1996, Why You Get Sick How You Get Well.

“Over the last thirty years I have learned a great deal about humans and what drives them.  As trite as it may seem, what I have found is a single yet complex emotion called love.  Not the romantic love of novels, but a fundamental love – the love of a parent for a child.  When a child lacks love and nurturing, no matter how that lack is manifest, it creates pain, and if this pain is not “felt” or integrated into the system, it will in turn cause physical and emotional illness in later life.”

It takes disciple to change behavior, thought, and life style, which are good for health.  This is what is necessary to reduce or eliminate illness.  This is what is necessary to bring on a feeling of well-being way into your old age – at 80, at 90, at 100, and well beyond that. With the new anti-aging nutrients and supplements on the market, I can see people living well into 120 years provided they follow a good lifestyle.

How many people are willing to devote the time and money to start eating the right foods and change their lifestyle?  This is the first step in reducing or eliminating constipation.

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Rosacea – Treatment For Rosacea

What Is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a skin problem of the face. In this the facial skin gets a reddish tone forever. It may cause itching and also cause spider veins and acne like pimples. Rosacea gets flared with triggers such as sun, caffeine, alcohol, spiced food etc. Though there is no cure for rosacea, it can be controlled. Let us find out more.

Rosacea – treatment of spider veins and inflammation

Most of the doctors cut the very small spider veins that become red with a electric needle. Once these veins are destroyed the reddish hue on the facial skin decreases considerably. Laser is also used to treat these veins. Some anti inflammatory topical formulations can be prescribed that will reduce the color and the problem.

Rosacea – treatment of pustules

the pustules that appear in rosacea are not acne but can be treated with topical medications including  topical antibiotics.

Rosacea – triggers

Despite all the treatment you need to take care of the triggers. Whenever you get a flare up, please try to find out the trigger and make a list of your personal triggers. Avoid them.

This article is only for informative purposes. This article is not intended to be a medical advise and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor for your medical concerns. Please follow any tip given in this article only after consulting your doctor. The author is not liable for any outcome or damage resulting from information obtained from this article.

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What is Oral & Genital Herpes?

There are two types of herpes infections, oral herpes and genital herpes; both are contagious. The most insidious fact about herpes is that it can be an “invisible virus;” it is possible for a person to have and to spread either type of herpes virus and not even know that he or she has herpes.

The virus that infects a person with oral herpes is named “herpes simplex type 1.” The virus that infects a person with genital herpes is named “herpes simplex type 2.” Both types of herpes are spread by direct contact with an infected area or by contact with a body fluid from that area.

There is no known cure for either type of herpes; it is permanent, but not always active. A person with oral herpes or genital herpes may have one or several outbreaks in his or her life.

Oral Herpes and It’s Symptoms

Oral herpes symptoms include blisters or cold sores on the lips and in the mouth that can develop into painful ulcers. If the gums are infected they will become red and puffy. Oral herpes may also cause a fever, aching muscles and swollen glands in the neck. An initial outbreak may last from two to three weeks.

Oral herpes is very common among children. Children share each other’s straws and eating utensils and generally have a lot of physical contact with one another playing sports and just generally roughhousing. Children are also subject to being kissed by visiting close friends and relatives who are completely unaware that they have oral herpes.

Genital Herpes and It’s Symptoms

Genital herpes symptoms include blisters and pain in the genital areas. Blisters may appear on the penis, scrotum, vagina, in the cervix or on the thighs and buttocks. Initial symptoms include an itch or pain in an infected area, fever, headache, swollen glands in the groin, a painful or burning sensation during urination and possibly a thick, clear fluid discharge from the penis or vagina. The blisters may become painful sores. An initial episode of genital herpes may last from one to three weeks.

Preventing Herpes

It is possible to prevent a herpes infection by avoiding direct contact with blisters, sores or ulcers that appear on someone’s mouth or genitals. Keeping in mind that herpes can be an “invisible virus,” it is a good idea to avoid physical or intimate contact with anyone you suspect may carry either virus.

Teach your children that putting something in their mouth that has been in someone else’s mouth is never a good idea. They should also be warned that when someone has a cut or sore they should be very careful to avoid touching it because of the “germs” that they might catch.

Adults and teenagers who are sexually active should never have unprotected sex with someone who they even suspect may be infected by genital herpes. The use of a condom will provide some measure of protection but not complete protection. The only complete protection is abstinence.

A pregnant women who has ever had an outbreak of genital herpes should inform her obstetrician well before her due date, so the obstetrician can, if necessary, discuss and plan for a non-vaginal delivery.

Treating Herpes

It is worth mentioning again that all a doctor or a medication can do is treat symptoms of an outbreak of herpes with an antiviral medicine — there is no cure.

If your child has cold sores that do not disappear within ten days, or has a history of frequent cold sores, take him or her to a doctor.

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Bird Flu: The Threat of Animal to Human Transmission

When bird flu hit most Asian countries, it prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to urge China to test its wild birds, particularly geese that migrate from its waters during the harsh winter. The disease spread so fast from one bird to another that about 5,000 birds were killed in one season. People who have close or direct contact to infected poultry can contract the disease after coming in contact with bird secretions or feces.

Although many are divided on the possibility of direct human to human transmission of the virus, this possibility has not been ruled out. Viruses, in general, are known to mutate. In the case of bird flu, family members infected with it may show different severity of symptoms, prompting a misdiagnosis. Also, if a person who has the common flu becomes infected with bird flu at the same time, it can lead to the mutation of the bird flu virus.

At the University of Leicester in Great Britain, it was discovered that a full-blown bird flu pandemic could cause an 80% mortality rate. A team led by Karl Nicholson is developing the bird flu vaccine with the goal of decreasing the fatality should a fourth major pandemic occur. In the last century, there have been three recorded major pandemics: the Spanish Flu in 1918, the Asian Flu in 1957 and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968. In total, the three pandemics claimed at least 20 million people.

The bird flu virus, which can be transmitted through direct contact with a bird’s infected saliva, nasal secretions and feces, can survive for up to a week at 22 degrees Celsius. At freezing temperatures, the virus can survive indefinitely. It is no surprise that the bird flu virus tends to last in colder climates and is pronounced to be almost as deadly as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). In addition to the transmission of the disease from the migration of wild birds traveling great distances, the disease is also spread when contaminated birds are exported and imported in the international market.

In terms of safety in food handling and preparation, a cooking temperature of about 70 degrees Celsius is enough to kill the bird flu virus. It is important, however, to avoid raw birds and other raw markets meats from being contaminated. Cook eggs properly and check that the yolks are not runny. The simple act of washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling raw meats could spell the difference. Keep in mind that transmission of the bird flu virus to humans usually happens during the slaughtering process and handling of infected bird fluids. After slaughtering infected poultry, the virus typically stays in the intestinal and respiratory tracts, not in the meat itself. Cooking at right temperatures can help avoid the virus from spreading.

The symptoms of bird flu are very similar to human flu. However, the severity of a disease can sometimes give way to announcements of a pandemic, which can cause political issues. In Asia where the incidence and actual cases of human transmission of bird flu occurred, WHO and the United States immediately took precautionary measures. The British Medical Journal, on the other hand, declared that a pandemic is still far from happening.

No travel advisory has been issued restricting anyone from going to countries affected by bird flu although WHO has issued a warning to travelers. Travelers are advised against going to live poultry markets, getting close contact to any farms and having direct exposure to feathers, feces or droppings, eggs and poultry meat products. Travelers coming from afflicted countries are also not being screened. However, precautionary measures are in place, particularly in the media. Information is being disseminated in order to make people aware of the bird flu, its effects and what to do to avoid getting infected.

Viruses are constantly mutating and evolving. Health watchers, practitioners and scientists are concerned about this because if a pandemic occurs, there won’t be enough time to prepare and develop a vaccine. They fear that we are once again on the brink of another major pandemic threat. However, with the strides being made by technology every day, hopefully the casualty won’t be nearly as high as the casualty of the past three major pandemics that claimed at least 20 million lives worldwide.

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Alzheimers or Aging? The Signs You Need To Know

How do you know if that forgetfulness you’ve had is an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, or just normal aging?

You may forget the occasional name or sometimes have trouble thinking of the right word to use. Maybe you walk into another room and wonder what you were looking for. Is it Alzheimer’s, aging, or just plain being distracted, doing one thing while you’re thinking of another?

There are signs to look out for, signs that tell you it’s time to get to the specialist and get checked out. Treatments for Alzheimer’s disease work best in the early stages so it’s vitally important to get an early diagnosis. An early diagnosis and early treatment can give you more years of normal functioning, and save you and your family tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Warning Signs

Memory Loss:  We all forget things like appointments, names, and phone numbers occasionally, and that’s normal. Forgetting freshly learned information more often can be a warning sign though.

Communication Problems: Having trouble finding the right word is not unusual, but the Alzheimer’s sufferer often forgets simple words and may use unusual words or strange descriptions. A camera may become “that box that makes pictures”.

Problems with everyday tasks: A person with Alzheimer’s disease can start having trouble doing jobs or hobbies that they’ve had many years of experience with. For example, they may be halfway through their favourite recipe and forget how to finish it though they’ve done it many times before.

Misplacing Things: This isn’t the normal losing the car keys, but more like putting things in unusual places such as the ice-cream in the oven, or clothes in the dishwasher.

Disorientation: A person with Alzheimer’s disease can get lost in their own street or stay sitting at the bus station because they can’t remember where they were going. They may not remember how to get home.

Impaired Judgement: Wearing a thick jacket on a blazing hot day or a swimsuit in the middle of winter could be a sign of dementia. Having poor judgement with money can be a symptom too, such as spending big amounts of money with telemarketers or buying products that aren’t needed.

Trouble with Complex Tasks: Having trouble with tasks that require abstract thinking like balancing a check book or playing a favourite game can be difficult for the Alzheimer’s sufferer.

Mood Swings, and Personality Changes: Mood changes for no apparent reason can be another symptom. The sufferer could be happy and cheerful one minute, and then suddenly become extremely angry over something that is quite trivial, or that they have imagined. They can become clingy with a family member, or suspicious of the neighbours.

Loss of Initiative: We can all get tired of housework or our business activities sometimes. But someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can become quite passive, watching television for hours, not wanting to do their normal activities, or spending more time sleeping.

Many more people are worried that they may have Alzheimer’s disease than actually get the disease. However, if you are suffering from these symptoms, see a specialist.

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Recognizing Changing Symptoms In Parkinson’s Disease May Help Patients To Better Manage Their Condition

Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects about 1 million people in the United States and 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. As researchers learn more about the disease, improved treatment options are possible.

That’s good news for people like Paul Ramirez, a World War II veteran and avid dancer. He was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1999, after his wife saw him shuffling his feet during their daily neighborhood walks. Like many people with PD, Ramirez was treated with a traditional levodopa medication to manage his symptoms.

Levodopa is the most widely used symptomatic PD treatment and has remained the “gold standard” of care for nearly 40 years. The majority of people with PD eventually need levodopa treatment to control their symptoms, even if they begin their therapy with other medications. After several years of treatment with levodopa, however, people with PD may see changes in the way their medication controls their symptoms. Symptoms may return before it is time for the next dose of medication.

For Ramirez, the change in duration of his symptom control became increasingly noticeable after the first two to three years of levodopa treatment. Not only did he find that the onset of daily symptoms was becoming less predictable, he also found that his “off” time was increasing, meaning his motor symptoms, like freezing and slowness of movement, lasted for longer periods of time during each day.

Since Ramirez’s PD symptoms were not controlled as long as they could be, he needed to use a walker in order to maintain his balance, which severely limited his ability to participate in the activities that he enjoyed.

“I love to dance, but within a few years of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, I found that I not only couldn’t dance, but many times I was even too weak to walk. It was very frustrating,” says Ramirez.

The change in symptom control that he experienced is called “wearing off.” Symptoms associated with levodopa therapy “wearing off” can include both motor and nonmotor symptoms. Motor symptoms may include trembling or shaking and nonmotor symptoms may include anxiety or feeling restless. When levodopa medication “wears off,” it can make even basic daily activities, such as walking and dressing, difficult for the person with Parkinson’s disease.

Ramirez’s doctor, Kevin Callerame, M.D., staff Adult Neurologist at the NeuroMedical Center in Baton Rouge, La., says, “The good news is that the motor symptoms of ‘wearing off’ can be treated with newer levodopa medications that can help increase the time levodopa controls the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.”

When Dr. Callerame saw him in the summer of 2004, the physician noticed that he would have frequent freezing episodes.

Dr. Callerame began treating Ramirez with a Parkinson’s disease medication called Stalevo (carbidopa, levodopa and entacapone). Stalevo is an enhanced levodopa medication that combines levodopa with two other components to reduce its side effects and extend its benefits. Stalevo tablets are indicated for certain PD patients who have levodopa-related “wearing off” motor complications.

In the year since Ramirez’s medication has changed, Dr. Callerame says, “Ramirez’s symptoms have been controlled for four to five hours, versus one to two hours, following each dose of Stalevo.” For Ramirez, longer symptom control has enabled him to walk more easily, and that has given him the confidence to try other activities that he once enjoyed.

Dr. Callerame urges people with Parkinson’s disease to communicate openly with their doctors because different treatment options may be available. However, in order to treat “wearing off,” it must first be identified.

A new, free-of-charge information and resource kit is available for people with Parkinson’s disease that can help to identify the signs and symptoms of “wearing off.” The kit contains a diary card to track when symptoms come back between doses of medication.

To order a free StEP Kit, call 1-866-STEP-KIT (1-866-783-7548) toll-free or visit www.stepkit.net.

Ramirez’s story represents the successful treatment with Stalevo (carbidopa, levodopa and entacapone) of an actual patient with Parkinson’s disease and experiencing “wearing off.” Because every patient responds differently, results may vary. In a clinical trial, Stalevo provided, on average, 1.4 more hours a day of symptom relief than standard levodopa.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of “wearing off” can help you manage your Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

Important Information for Patients Regarding Stalevo: Stalevo (carbidopa, levodopa and entacapone) tablets are indicated for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Stalevo is a medicine that can be used instead of carbidopa/levodopa and Comtan (entacapone) by patients taking those medicines as separate tablets. Depending on levodopa dose and side effects, Stalevo can also be used to replace carbidopa/levodopa when the benefits of levodopa are wearing off. Please ask your health care professional if Stalevo is appropriate for you. Stalevo is supplied as tablets in three strengths: Stalevo 50, containing 12.5 mg carbidopa, 50 mg levodopa and 200 mg entacapone; Stalevo 100, containing 25 mg carbidopa, 100 mg levodopa and 200 mg entacapone; and Stalevo 150, containing 37.5 mg carbidopa, 150 mg levodopa and 200 mg entacapone. The most common side effects of Stalevo are unwanted or uncontrollable movements (known as dyskinesia); nausea; diarrhea; excessive muscle movements (known as hyperkinesia); harmless discoloration of urine, sweat and/or saliva; diminished or slow movements (known as hypokinesia); abdominal pain; dizziness; constipation; fatigue; pain; and hallucinations. Some of the more serious side effects may include severe diarrhea, severe dyskinesia, hallucinations, other mental disturbances, orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure), rhabdomyolysis (a muscle disease), and symptoms resembling neuroleptic malignant syndrome (a condition characterized by fever and muscle stiffness). Tell your health care professional if you have bothersome side effects. He or she can make adjustments that may reduce these effects. You should not quickly lower your Stalevo dose or suddenly stop it altogether. Drugs broken down by the COMT enzyme (e.g., isoproterenol, epinephrine) should be used with caution when taking Stalevo. If you take a nonselective monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor, you should not take Stalevo. Stalevo should not be taken with selegiline at doses higher than 10 mg/day. Because Stalevo contains entacapone, it should not be taken together with Comtan. Be careful using Stalevo if you have severe heart or lung disease; asthma; renal, hepatic or endocrine disease; or a history of heart attacks or ulcers. Do not take Stalevo if you have glaucoma, melanoma or other related medical disorders. Before you take Stalevo, talk to your doctor about any health problems you might have.

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Aortic Dissection: Are You At Risk?

Not all chest pain is alike. It may be mild and attributed to noncardiac problems, including heartburn or stress. Or it may be much more severe and life threatening, such as when it is due to an aortic dissection (tear in the large artery near the heart).

Because aortic dissections are frequently mistaken for other, less serious conditions, even in hospital emergency departments, it is crucial that people know if they are at risk and how to prevent a tragedy.

Aortic dissection is uncommon but not rare, with approximately 5,000 to 10,000 reported occurrences each year. Although the main symptom is usually severe, tearing or “ripping” pain in the chest or lower back, other symptoms include rapid pulse, sweating, nausea, weak or absent pulse and decreased sensation in the limbs. Aortic dissections require immediate medical attention, as they can result in massive internal bleeding and death.

People with hypertension, Turner syndrome (a chromosome disorder) and a family history of aortic disease are at high risk for aortic dissection. Additionally, people with Marfan syndrome are at up to 250 times increased risk because of the fragile connective tissue in their aorta. Many people who have Marfan syndrome, however, are not diagnosed and do not know they may suffer an early sudden death due to aortic dissection.

The National Marfan Foundation (NMF) urges those who display outward signs of the disorder-including a tall stature with disproportionately long arms and legs, indented or protruding chest bone, flat feet, long fingers and toes and eye problems-to be evaluated. Medications, surgery and lifestyle adaptations can help prevent a deadly dissection.

Diane Sixsmith, M.D., chair, Emergency Medicine Department, New York Hospital, Queens, advises people who are prone to aortic dissection to take extra precautions. “Early diagnosis and treatment are key to survival for those who are predisposed to aortic dissection,” she says. “If you are in a high-risk group, and especially if you have Marfan syndrome, don’t wait for a tragedy to find you. Patients who have regular echocardiograms and who take medicine to slow the heart rate and the pulse do very well, and preventive surgery (before the aorta dissects) has a greater than 98 percent success rate.”

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Think You Need New Glasses? You Might Have Cataracts

Many seniors think that new glasses and a stronger prescription are all they need to regain the vision of their youth. In fact, cataracts may be the cause for the decline in vision. The condition is the leading cause of vision loss among adults 55 and older. More than half the people over age 65 have some degree of cataract development.

If you think you might have cataracts, call EyeCare America’s Seniors EyeCare Program. This program offers eye exams and care to seniors who are without an ophthalmologist. To see if you, a loved one or a friend, 65 and older, is eligible to receive a referral for an eye exam and care, call 1-800 – 222-EYES (3937). The EyeCare America help line operates 24 hours a day, year-round.

“I was more than pleased with the care I received through EyeCare America. The first visit, the doctor found I had cataracts in both eyes and one would need immediate attention. Within a month, I was doing fine after surgery. Thank you, EyeCare America!” said EyeCare America patient, Hazel Dalton.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye, the part of the eye that focuses light and produces clear images. Inside of the eye, the lens is contained in a sealed bag or capsule. As old cells die they become trapped within the capsule. Over time, more cells die and accumulate, causing the lens to cloud, making images look blurred or fuzzy.

In the early stages, stronger lighting and eyeglasses may lessen vision problems caused by cataracts. At a certain point, however, surgery may be needed to improve vision. Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the U.S. More than 90 percent of the people who have cataract surgery regain useful vision.

Those who are eligible for the EyeCare America program receive a dilated medical exam and up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost. EyeCare America is able to provide this no-cost care through its network of 7,500 volunteer ophthalmologists who waive patient co-payments and accept Medicare as payment in full for their services. Patients without insurance are not charged.

The Seniors EyeCare Program is for people who:

- Are U.S. citizens or legal residents

- Are age 65 and older

- Have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years

- Do not belong to an HMO or the VA.

The Seniors EyeCare Program is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc. and Alcon.

“I was more than pleased with the care I received from EyeCare America.” Hazel Dalton, EyeCare America patient.

they want 1-800!

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Kidney Disease Risk Factors Go Unaddressed

Significant risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD) are not being addressed in the United States, according to a report of the National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF) Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP).

This report summarized health information of 37,000 individuals who are at risk for kidney disease. Risk factors include diabetes, hypertension or a family history of kidney disease. Half of the participants in the report had CKD, yet only two percent were aware of it. Those with the disease tend to have other serious health problems, such as obesity and anemia.

“Awareness of risk factors and the need for screening can go a long way toward early detection and prevention of kidney disease,” says Allan Collins, MD, president-elect of the NKF and director of the KEEP Data Coordinating Center.

“Ninety percent of KEEP participants reported visiting their doctors in the last 12 months,” continues Collins, “yet most were not aware that they could be at risk for chronic kidney disease.”

The right kind of screening is of critical importance, according to the NKF. Almost half of KEEP participants test positive for microalbuminuria, or trace amounts of protein in the urine, which is the earliest sign of kidney disease.

“The good news is that we appear to be having an effect on many populations that would advance to dialysis or kidney transplantation. Nearly 60 percent of KEEP participants provide post-screening follow-up information and many report consulting with their physicians regarding elevated blood pressure, anemia, and more because of information they learned through the screening,” says Collins.

“Ortho Biotech Products, L.P. [the primary sponsor of KEEP] is committed to working with national and local advocacy partners, health care providers and medical institutions to reach patient communities that are affected by chronic kidney disease,” said Dr. Marsha Wolfson, senior medical director, Ortho Biotech Clinical Affairs. “The KEEP program is a vital resource that raises awareness of risk factors and encourages early detection.”

“CKD is not just a ‘kidney problem.’ Kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins out of the body; if they’re damaged, the whole body suffers,” said Dr. Laura A. Williams, Global Project Head, Abbott, associate sponsor of KEEP. “Abbott supports KEEP and other early diagnosis efforts because, if CKD is recognized early, treatment options are available not only to slow the progression of kidney disease, but also to prevent additional injury to other vital organs and tissues, especially the heart and bones.”

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Acromegaly : Overgrowth condition in humans

Introduction :

Any Chemical released from the Pituitary gland induces physical activities or changes in the body. Pituitary gland is an endocrine gland present in the brain.

The release of chemical from the gland in a moderate quantity leads to correct growth of the human body. But if the release of the chemicals that induces the growth increases, then size of the bones increases and also results in the increase of the growth of soft tissues. This results to many abnormalities in the human body.

The hormone or chemical that induces growth is called as Growth Hormone or Somatotropin. Excess of release of this hormone from the pituitary gland will cause an alteration in the use of nutrients in the body. In children as the bones are still in the growing condition, these changes will cause more and more growth of the bones and this is called as Gigantism.

And in adults, after the bone formation has stopped, this change can cause an abnormality which is called as Acromegaly.

Description :

Acromegaly is a rare condition caused in a very few people i.e. one person per 20,000 people can experience this abnormality. This is common in males and females. The identification is not easy for middle aged people till extreme conditions are observed.

Cause of the Abnormality :

Pituitary gland is present at the base of the brain which release a number of chemicals that are responsible for many functional activities of the systems and organs of the body. The hormones are released and travel throughout the body and are mainly involved in the growth and reproductive activities.

A Gland called Hypothalamus which is present on the base of the brain regulates the secretion of the pituitary. It induces or stops the release of hormones from the pituitary by releasing hormones and sending to the pituitary gland. Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone(GHRH) is released from the hypothalamus which induces and also stops pituitary gland to release hormones.

In the liver, growth hormone produces IGF-1 called “Insulin-like Growth Factor-1″ which is responsible for the growth throughout the body. In the condition of Acromegaly, the pituitary refuses to stop the Growth hormone which leads to increase in the levels of IGF-1 andthe body now loses the capacity to produce and utilise the nutrients.

Conditions :

Induvidual’s hands and feets grows more than normal, and they become thicker.

The conditions on the face also change i.e. the nose, jaws become large and the teeth are spread more wider. Tongue also becomes larger. These changes on the face are called as “Coarsening”. the voice of that person becomes Deep and develop Snoring.

Symptoms :

-Profused sweating

-Skin becomes Oily

-Body hair increases

-Blood Pressure increases

-Calcium increases in the urine

-Risk of Gallstones increases

-Swelling of thyroid glands

-Patients often suffer from headache.

Important cause : In about 90% of the patients, it is seen that a non-cancerous tumuor occurs in the pituitary gland, it is called as Pituitary Adenoma. And it is a major factor that causes Acromegaly.

How Does Pituitary Adenoma cause Acromegaly :

The tumuor increases in size and presses the adjacent structures present in the brain which cause headache, and also effects the vision. This may damage the pituitary tissues and also brings changes in the production of the hormones and due to this, the Growth Hormones are released in excess. And so this results in Acromegaly.

Also due to this, the sexual drive in the males and females decreases and brings changes in menstrual cycle in the females.

The condition if not treated, can cause an early death of the person as this would effect lungs, heart, brain, and also cause Cancer in the large intestine.

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Crohns Disease & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Is There A Cure?

For the individuals who suffer from the mysterious symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), or the debilitating symptoms of Crohns Disease the question “Is there a cure?” weighs heavily on their lives.  The frustration that results from living with this non-specific illness serves to compound the never ending symptoms.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Crohn’s sufferers continue to battle the illness while researchers search for causes and cures.

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) describe Crohn’s as “Crohn’s disease is a chronic (ongoing) disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Although it can involve any area of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon.”

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is described as “A group of symptoms, of unknown cause, characterized by unexplained fatigue, weakness, muscle pain, feeling poorly, trouble thinking, and sometimes, fever and/or lymph node swelling.”

There is currently no cure for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Chron’s Disease.  There is no magic pill, no immunization, and no medication that can rid sufferers of the debilitating symptoms of CFS and CD.  However, individuals who suffer from CFS and CD can successfully manage their symptoms.  Using current interventions including prescription medications, alternative therapies, and a comprehensive nutritional plan, CFS and CD patients can find relief.

Upon receiving a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Crohns Disease, the patient is advised to seek as much information as possible from current and reputable sources.  Because little is still known about CFS and CD, information is limited but available.  Reliance on sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and the medical research departments of large universities will yield the best information.  CFS and CD patients are advised to beware of quack treatments or anyone offering a “cure”.  Armed with information, the CFS sufferer can assist in making the most viable choices for his or her treatment plan.

A reasonable treatment plan should include a combination of therapies.  By discussing a plan with a competent medical professional, the patient can assist in developing the best plan for him or her.  A medical professional may prescribe prescription drugs that may alleviate the constant fatigue or intestinal pain that accompanies CFS and CD.  In addition to prescription medications, seeking the help of a nutritionist will assist in managing the illness.  It is common knowledge that a good diet can assist in recovering successfully from many illnesses – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Crohns are no exception.  A reasonable nutritional plan may not only include a diet of whole foods, but may also include nutritional supplements.  Additionally, the CFS and Crohns sufferer may find relief with the assistance of alternative therapies.  Hypnosis, yoga, massage and other forms of relaxation can provide much needed relief from symptoms.

Although Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Crohns cannot yet be cured, sufferers can successfully manage their illness using a multi-pronged treatment approach.  Being among some of the most difficult illnesses to manage Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease management involves several major lifestyle changes.  Commitment to these lifestyle changes may well be the key to ending, or at least, minimizing the suffering.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

For those suffering from arthritis in the spine, palindromic arthritis, viral arthritis, and/or cervical arthritis, coping techniques are simply not the answer. Lumbar arthritis, shoulder arthritis, viral arthritis, and/or psoriasis arthritis sufferers, for example, desire permanent arthritis pain relief, arthritis treatment, new arthritis medication, and/or effective arthritis drugs.

What is shoulder arthritis, arthritis rheumatism, neck arthritis, infectious arthritis, and/or psoriatic arthritis pain? Foot arthritis pain, back arthritis pain, rheumatic arthritis pain, knee arthritis pain and other pains mean something is wrong in your body. Signs and symptoms of arthritis, signs of arthritis, or arthritis pain may begin as morning stiffness. And for millions of us, arthritis can become a crippling disease.

Alternative Treatments For Arthritis

Many arthritis sufferers have tried unusual and rather nasty ‘cures’ for their disease like enduring bee-stings or covering themselves in cow-manure. The benefits must have been rather less spectacular than the cures or else everyone else would have done the same.

One arthritis cure suggests that half a glass of raw potato juice followed by chewing two or three juniper berries will do the trick! While this may be so, many doctors and scientists researching arthritis have studied the benefits of taking nutritional substances like vitamins. In fact, studies have shown that people with arthritis are mostly deficient in the B group of vitamins, though whether this is due to the disease, or to the fact that taking aspirin depletes the bodies stores of this vitamin is not clear.

Vitamin C, E and beta-carotenes are powerful antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals. These oxygen-reactive free radical molecules are thought to contribute significantly to disease and tissue damage. It has been found that cells from damaged knee cartilage can release great amounts of free radicals. In fact, studies have shown that those who have a high Vitamin C intake have a two-thirds reduction in the risk of further damage to their knees. Well-known scientist Dr. Linus Pauling recommends 18 grams of V-C per day as an arthritis preventative measure.

Osteoarthritis can cause thinning of the bones, and so can prednisone, often given to treat it. It makes sense then to increase the amount of Vitamin D and calcium, both of which are bone-builders. As far back as 1974, British scientists found that lack of vitamin D contributed to bone fractures in the elderly with arthritis. Lack of sunlight and an unhealthy diet both contributed to the lack. The recommended daily dose of Vitamin D is 400 IU or 600 IU if for those over the age of 60. A daily dose of 1200 IU is the limit as this vitamin is toxic if too much is taken.

Vitamin E is also an antioxidant, working in a similar way to vitamin C. Studies in Germany have proven that it can help to reduce pain. Good sources of this vitamin can be found in wheat germ, sunflower seed, corn oil, legumes and whole grains.

While some people swear by the arthritis cure that their copper bracelet brought, there is no scientific link to copper as being an aid to arthritis. In fact the opposite is true. Those with RA often have higher levels of copper in their blood. Too much copper can make you sick.

Selenium deficiency can cause a particular type of arthritis called Kashin-Bek disease, but it is more common where the soil is deficient in selenium, though sufferers of RA have less in their blood than others. Fish, organ meats, whole grains, nuts and beans will provide selenium.

Zinc may help reduce pain, stiffness and swelling. Some trials showed this was true, though others gave conflicting results. Oysters, cheese and tofu are all good sources of zinc.

The pain of arthritis can also be relieved by hot-packs, deliberately focussing on something else like pleasant music, humor, gentle exercise and losing weight.

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New Laws Make Finding Allergy Treatments More Difficult

Pollen is in the air and a fierce allergy season is underway, affecting an estimated 36 million Americans with seasonal allergies. Many sufferers with stuffy noses or watery eyes will visit their pharmacies for relief, but this year they may not find their familiar medications on store shelves.

Many states have restricted access to some popular over-the-counter treatments for nasal congestion because they contain pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in decongestant medications that has been used to make illegal drugs.

As a decongestant, pseudoephedrine is safe and effective when used as directed, but the state laws mean allergy sufferers may have to ask for these treatments at the pharmacy counter, sign an official registry to monitor their purchases, or show photo identification before purchasing. And some states also have imposed limits on how much medicine a customer can buy.

In addition to state laws, the president recently signed federal restrictions on these decongestants, which will eventually lead to national regulations for pseudoephedrine at the pharmacy.

What’s an

Allergy Sufferer to Do?

These provisions make seeing a doctor even more important this season. A physician can properly diagnose allergies and prescribe the appropriate medications to treat symptoms. Combination antihistamine and decongestant treatments, such as CLARINEX-D 12 Hour (desloratadine 2.5 mg/pseudoephedrine sulfate, USP 120 mg) Extended Release Tablets, are available by prescription to help control both the nasal and non-nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis, also called “hay fever.” These treatments are not affected by the new restrictions and can be obtained at the pharmacy like any other prescription medication.

“It can be difficult for patients to find the right medication at the pharmacy, with an overwhelming number of different options on the shelves,” said Dr. Sandra Gawchik, co-director of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pa. “That’s why it’s important to work with a doctor, who can develop a treatment regimen tailored for the needs of each patient.”

Seasonal allergy symptoms, which are caused by pollen from trees and grass, may include any blend of nasal congestion, itchy or watery eyes, scratchy throat, a runny nose and sneezing.

“My patients often say their symptoms are the most severe in the morning, and that nasal congestion is their most bothersome one,” said Dr. Gawchik. “For these patients, I typically suggest an antihistamine and decongestant combination treatment, which will help alleviate their nasal congestion and also relieve their other symptoms.”

Tips to Manage

Allergy Symptoms

Dr. Gawchik recommends the following to help allergy sufferers reduce their exposure to pollen:

- Keep your windows closed while driving or at home.

- Change clothes or take a shower to remove pollen after returning from outside.

- Limit outdoor activities from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., when pollen counts are typically higher.

- Visit www.allergyrelief.com each day to check your local allergy forecast.

“It’s impossible to completely avoid symptom-causing pollen, but you don’t have to suffer,” said Dr. Gawchik. “By working with your doctor and taking your medication throughout the season, you can wake up each morning with your allergy symptoms under control.”

Twice daily CLARINEX-D 12 HOUR (desloratadine 2.5 mg and pseudoephedrine sulfate, USP 120 mg) Extended Release Tablets treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies, including nasal congestion, in patients 12 years and older. Due to its pseudoephedrine component, CLARINEX-D 12 HOUR Extended Release Tablets should not be taken by patients with narrow-angle glaucoma (abnormally high eye pressure), difficulty urinating, severe high blood pressure, or severe heart disease, or by patients who have taken a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor within the past fourteen (14) days. Patients with high blood pressure; diabetes; heart disease; increased intraocular pressure (eye pressure); thyroid, liver or kidney problems; or enlarged prostate should check with their healthcare provider before taking CLARINEX-D 12 HOUR Extended Release Tablets. Care should be used if CLARINEX-D 12 HOUR is taken with other antihistamines or decongestants because combined effects on the cardiovascular system may be harmful. The most commonly reported adverse events for CLARINEX-D 12 HOUR Extended Release Tablets were, insomnia, headache, dry mouth, fatigue, drowsiness, sore throat, and dizziness.

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Common Autism Treatments Reviewed

Autism is a developmental disability that affects both children and adults. The symptoms of autism are usually diagnosed within the first three years of the child’s life. These symptoms may be more pronounced in some than others and will often affect both the social and communication abilities of the individual. When diagnosed with autism, the individual can benefit from many of the different treatment programs and educational programs available.

Biomedical

While there is no special drug to cure the symptoms, professionals, as well as parents, have found that some drugs that are often used for other disorders will help to alleviate some of the behavioral symptoms of autism.

For example, Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors have been used to help treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety. Through research it is found that there are elevated levels of serotonin in as many as one-third of those diagnosed with autism. Drugs such as Anafranil, Lenox, and Prozac may be able to reverse some of the symptoms of having high levels of serotonin, such as repetitive behaviors, irritability, and aggressive behavior. Some researchers found that autistic children may show increased eye contact and may become more responsive to others when taking these drugs.

Your child’s physician may recommend other drugs, such as Ritalin, to help treat your child’s symptoms. The main issue in treating the symptoms of autism with drugs is the side effects that may come along with certain medications. As with any medication being taken, you want to fully inform your child’s physician about any side effects you may notice. It should also be stated that because children with autism may have a higher sensitivity to drugs, the dosages should be adjusted accordingly.

Vitamins

Many parents of autistic children and professionals feel that adjusting the child’s diet and adding vitamins will help to treat the symptoms associated with autism. Research has proven that taking an increased amount of Vitamin C will help reduce the severity of symptoms, while others have shown that vitamin B and magnesium will help with the behavioral problems, improve their eye contact, and improve the autistic child’s ability to pay attention. Professionals feel that due to malabsorption problems in those with autism, nutritional deficiencies may have an effect on how severe the symptoms are.

Before starting your child on a vitamin program, your child’s physician should do an assessment of nutrition. This will help them to find out what your child is missing in vitamins and minerals to help to determine what they need and how it may help them.

Dietary

Individuals that have been diagnosed with autism sometimes may have sensitivity to certain foods, as well. Some of these may also contribute to certain behaviors. There are times that when certain substances are taken from the child’s diet, it will alleviate some of these behaviors. One example of this is gluten. Researchers have found that if an autistic child has trouble breaking down the peptides of foods containing gluten and casein, found in diary products, wheat, oats, and rye, this may cause an upset of the biochemical and neurological processes of the brain. By removing these foods from the diet, it can reduce some of the autistic symptoms.

Behavioral

Due to the wide range of communication and behavioral symptoms that are associated with autism, there are a wide variety of behavioral treatments for individuals with autism. Many of these behavioral treatments for children with autism are based on the Applied Behavior Analysis.  This theory focuses on rewarding good behavior.

The main thing to consider in choosing a behavioral treatment program for your autistic child is to understand their learning style. If your child is more visual, you may want to make sure the program is set up to assist your child in the way he or she learns best.

These are only a few of the treatments available for individuals diagnosed with autism. Because autism is unique in the sense that the symptoms vary according to the extent and severity, you and your child’s physician will need to find a treatment program that works best for them. There are a lot of programs available for your child however, one program may be wrong for one child and perfect for another. Before starting your child in any program, seek the advice from your physician. He or she can test and assess your child to find out which treatments may help to alleviate some of your child’s autism symptoms.

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The Signs Of The Unexplainable Autism Disease

The brain is an infinite labyrinth. No one-despite the surmountable efforts of history and modern day’s great men-can truly decipher or describe how it ticks and how it works. Although it is considered as a powerful tool of any man who can utilize it to its maximum potential, the brain-or the mind-is not always designed for greatness.

Due to its inexplicable ticking, sometimes, the brain itself can be destructive to a person’s life. One of the cases in which the brain causes intolerable pain to the person affected and to the individuals that surround him is the Asperger’s Disorder or the Asperger’s Syndrome.

Together with Autism, Rett’s Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and PDD-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger’s Syndrome is considered as one of the five Pervasive Development Disorders or PDDs.

PDDs or the set of neurologically based disorders has been identified to show a distinctive range of delays in different developmental stages of an individual.

First described in 1940 by Hans Asperger, a Viennese pediatrician, the concept of Asperger’s Syndrome stemmed from the autistic-like behaviors of boys that have normal intelligence. Since the symptoms are like those in autism, many experts considered it as a “milder form of autism.”

Although they have almost the same characteristics, Asperger’s Disorder is comparably the less severe form of autism. This severity in the symptoms is mainly highlighted by the absence of language delays because children who are suffering for the illness are slightly affected when it comes to their communication skills.  More often than not, these kids do have good language and cognitive skills.

The disorder-that is also distinguished by the same kind of abnormalities of correlative social interaction like in autism-also embodies a restricted, conventional, incessant repertoire of activities and interests. But, unlike people who suffer from Autism, the people who are suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome do not experience a delay in cognitive development or retardation in language. And unlike autism, most individuals are of normal general intelligence. But since they are suffering from a neurological disorder, they exude extreme clumsiness. Unlike autistic children that are perceived as indifferent, children with Asperger’s are more than willing to fit and mingle-only, they just do not know how. Since they are clueless on how to interact with others, they are seen as socially awkward individuals that do not have the grasp of social norms. Due to absence of empathy, these people usually may have limited eye contact, seemingly not attentive in a conversation, and do not know how to use gestures.

One of the common symptoms of a child who has an Asperger’s Syndrome is his or her unusual speech pattern. Since they have generally good language skills, it is quite noticeable how the child he or she uses language in various ways that usually lack inflection or doing it in some sort of a singsong. When it comes to inclination of interests, a child suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome tends to be obsessive on a particular subject.

Although the case of Asperger’s Syndrome is slightly mild compared to Autism and any other PDD, the threat might be a little underrated or underestimated.  Most experts agree that there is indeed a strong inclination that the abnormalities will continue up the person’s later stage of life like in adolescence and adult life. It is also possible that that as the person suffering from the disorder get older, he or she would represent individual characteristics and occasionally disturbing psychotic episodes.

Aside from the autistic-like behaviors, it can be said that the person suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome is he or show symptoms of language impairment, social impairment marked by impaired social understanding, obvious peculiarities or behavioral “oddness” or mannerisms. Other symptoms of Asperger’s Disorder are social delays with non-verbal communication problems, lack of spontaneity, clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements, limited interests and/or unusual preoccupations, repetitive routines or rituals and preoccupation in their own world with their own agenda

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The Season When Asthma And Allergy Sufferers’ Thoughts Turn To…Runny Noses

Allergy and asthma sufferers may be the only ones who don’t look forward to spring. To them, the green season mostly means runny noses, constant sneezing and endless amounts of tissues.

Children may actually have it the worst: According to the American Lung Association (ALA), while 35 million Americans have some kind of allergy, studies have shown that kids with asthma usually have significant allergies as well. Asthma is the most common chronic disorder of childhood, affecting more than 6.2 million children.

Fortunately, there are ways to manage the problem-from managing your medications online to reducing the allergens in your home.

“Allergy sufferers need to pay more attention to managing the indoor air quality in their homes to lessen the nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing and flu-like symptoms they often experience,” says Mike Tringale, director of marketing and communications for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Besides taking prescriptions as recommended, here are some cleaning tips for reducing symptoms:

- Wash sheets in hot water once a week.

- Vacuum with a double bag or HEPA-filter vacuum.

- Reduce the mold in your home by removing houseplants.

- Frequently clean shower curtains and indoor trash cans with water and chlorine bleach.К

- Don’t carpet damp rooms.

- To reduce dust mites, remove drapes, feather pillows, nonwashable comforters and soft toys.

- Replace carpets with linoleum, wood or tile. Damp mop often.

As far as prescriptions go, asthma and allergy sufferers can also save themselves time and money through Web sites such as the one run by Better Living Now, a full-service national provider of healthcare products and services.

Based in Hauppauge, New York, Better Living Now takes customer service one step further.

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New Resource For Information On Genetic Or Rare Diseases

An unexpected diagnosis of a serious illness often comes as a shock to people receiving the news, as well as their families and friends. When the disease is rare or genetic, information is hard to find and even harder to understand. Patients and their loved ones may waste hours sorting through outdated, unreliable information before finding anything useful.

To help in these situations, the National Institutes of Health has established the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD). Funded by the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute and the Office of Rare Diseases, the Center is staffed by information specialists, many of whom have experience in genetic counseling. They’ve provided up-to-date and accurate, personalized information about almost 4,000 genetic and rare diseases.

Since February 2002, GARD staff members have responded to more than 12,000 inquiries on rare and genetic diseases. These inquiries come from patients, their families and friends, health care professionals, teachers, researchers and others in either English or Spanish.

GARD’s impact can be measured by more than statistics. Many of those who have taken advantage of this free service have responded enthusiastically. For example, “…thank you very much for the time, energy and expertise that went into gathering these resources for me…,” a middle school counselor recently commented. “I have read through the material and have found it to be very helpful.”

Patients and their families often contact GARD seeking referrals to health care professionals or asking for recommendations for treatment or medical management. GARD, as an arm of the federal government, cannot provide this type of information. Instead, GARD information specialists direct inquirers to resources that give treatment information; e.g., journal articles or clinical trials. GARD also does not provide genetic counseling or diagnostic testing, but will point inquirers to information about such services.

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Bird Flu: A Global Outbreak, A Global Concern

In the 1330s, the bubonic plague killed millions of people. Transmitted by rats, the disease originated from China. It later spread to Europe when merchants came back from their long voyage from China. The disease was also spread by fleas that when passed on to humans, became fatal. The bubonic plague continued for years and took the lives of millions of people.

Seven centuries later, a new disease is threatening to kill many if precautions are not made. This new disease is avian influenza, more commonly known as bird flu. Instead of rodents, birds transmit this disease to humans. Birds carry the bird flu virus in their intestines when they migrate for the winter. The virus, which does not affect the carriers, is deadly to those who come in contact with birds carrying the virus. When chickens, birds or geese come in contact with a bird carrying the virus through the bird’s saliva, nasal secretions or feces, they can become infected, fall ill and die in 48 hours.

Humans infected with bird flu have symptoms similar to symptoms of human influenza: fever, sore throat or muscle pain. Because of this similarity, it is easy to mistakenly diagnose an actual bird flu as human influenza. However, humans infected with avian flu would have worse symptoms – eye infections and respiratory problems that could become life threatening.

Influenza in pandemic proportions is recorded to have happened three times during the 20th century. The Spanish Flu of 1918, the Asian Flu of 1957 and the Hong Kong Flu of 1968 claimed at least 20 million people worldwide.

It’s important to mention that humans will not usually get bird flu unless they have been in close contact with infected poultry. Since the number of people that has been infected with the disease is still low and confined to a few children and adults, there is no serious cause of alarm yet. However, scientists and the health community are concerned that the disease, which usually affects poultry livestock, may evolve into something that will adversely affect humans. In some scenarios, the bird flu virus may become airborne or transmitted from one human to another.

The bird flu virus has many subtypes, but the subtype that is proving to be fatal to humans is called the H5N1. To date, about 70 people in Asia are confirmed to have died from H5N1.

When a bird flu outbreak occurs, the entire livestock has to be destroyed. This is similar to what happened during the mad cow disease outbreak when cattle had to be slaughtered and burned in order to prevent the disease from spreading to nearby cattle areas. The slaughtering and burning of cattle were done in many countries in the Asian region as well as in some parts of Eastern Europe and Russia.

Antiviral medications such as amantadine and rimantadine, which are usually given to treat influenza, do not work on the bird flu virus. Drugs are being developed and temporarily used on patients who appear to have succumbed to the avian flu disease. Although they appear to be responding to treatment and are showing improvements, further tests need to be done to ensure the effectivity of these new drugs.

Centuries ago, particularly during the bubonic plague, medical science was not yet developed to cope with an epidemic of pandemic proportions. However, with the advances in technology today, scientists will be able to study the avian flu disease further. By closely watching the migratory patterns of birds and understanding the disease, scientists may help prevent bird flu from becoming another global outbreak.

With the help of the internet, information can be disseminated quickly to thousands of people around the world and a reaction force can be immediately deployed to stop the disease from spreading any further.

It is important for people to realize that the bird flu virus is not merely one country’s problem. It is a serious global problem that affects all countries and all peoples.

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Hearing Aids and Glasses: Leveling the Sensory Playing Field

Since time immemorial, people have referred to the eyes as “windows to the soul”, yet blind and deaf Helen Keller said “Hearing is the deepest, most philosophical sense man possesses.”

For centuries, sight impaired people have worn glasses without being labeled “mentally defective.”  Meanwhile, those with hearing impairment have suffered enormous prejudice. Labeled as “old”, “stupid”, “mentally ill”, or “selective listeners”, many hearing impaired people live in denial, or refuse to wear hearing aids because they are afraid of being branded.

For decades, quality eye glasses and contact lenses have been purchased for around 100 dollars but until recently, hearing aids were so expensive that only the wealthy could afford high quality corrective instruments.

Year upon year, eye glasses are fashionably designed in various shapes and colors to enhance physically attractiveness. Conversely, hearing aids are designed to be “discreet”, and manufactured in skin tones because they are deemed unsightly.

Every day, thousands of people submit their prescriptions for eye glasses and contacts lenses online. Orders are then shipped directly to them within 24 hours. At the same time, people seeking hearing correction call ahead for appointments, fight traffic, and look for parking to obtain help.

So how can we level the playing field?  First, we must acknowledge that hearing impairment does not signal old age or intellectual inferiority.  Admittedly, those who endure uncorrected sight impairment or hearing loss can be at a disadvantage, because they may be unable to decipher everyday sensory signals.   Fortunately, excellent solutions for the hearing impaired are now readily available.

With the advent of technology, full-featured 100% digital aids incorporating advanced noise canceling and sound amplification computer chips can be produced inexpensively. There is no need to pay thousands of dollars for comfortable, top-quality hearing aids to correct moderate to moderate-severe hearing loss and reduce sound feedback inside the ear.

Hearing aids can also be fashionable and fun. Colorful hearing aids incorporating gemstones can optimize individual attractiveness. Such hearing aid solutions maximize intimacy at home, and empower communication in the workplace. They signal pride, and are sported by those who stay in the game and keep their edge.  I have never met a woman who doesn’t like diamonds, and I believe that most men feel successful when they own the latest and the best.

After consulting with a physician to ensure a hearing aid will benefit them, hearing impaired clients can select the size, model, color, and stone they prefer, and input a current audiogram online. 100% digital hearing aids are custom programmed to meet their prescriptive correction requirements, and shipped within 24 hours. Clientele can take advantage of instructional videos, extended warranties, and a 45-day money back guarantee.

Hearing loss acts as a “silent thief”, robbing the individual of life’s pleasures.  While hearing correction restores vitality and self-esteem to the individual, spouses, family members, and coworkers also reap life-changing benefits. Instead of shouting and continually repeating themselves, they can relax, maximize the moment, and enjoy the playing field.

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Allergies And Clean Air

Allergies are caused by exposure to pollution of either a particulate form such as pollen or a chemical form such as polyvinylchloride. The results of exposure to a pollutant to which the body is allergic vary dramatically. Hayfever with a few sneezes in the morning is a mild reaction while Multiple Chemical Sensitivity can completely debilitate a sufferer. So, what can be done to reduce the symptoms from these allergies? The answer is a lot.

While this article addresses the use of portable air purifiers, the first layer in a plan to reduce allergic symptoms must be to eliminate the source of the pollution. An air purifier is typically not able to keep up with an active source. So, for instance, while a good home air purifier can reduce the smell and particulates from a cigar, it will not be effective while a cigar is being smoked. Secondly, surfaces and materials that might harbor the pollutant such as rugs, walls, light bulbs, drapery, and upholstery must be cleaned or eliminated from the environment. All of these items will continue to return the pollutant to the environment. Thirdly, if there is a forced air system in the home or office the filter must be changed regularly and duct cleaning should be considered in older homes and offices. Often these first steps remove the pollutant and the allergy sufferer finds relief without the use of an air purifier.

All of the effective air purifier technologies are simple. There is a box with a fan and some system, either electronic or mechanical, that removes pollutants from the airflow that is passing though the box. The real key to understanding how to use an air purifier is to remember that only the air that goes though the box gets cleaned. So, if you have a very long room you may be better with two small air purifiers at either end rather than one large unit in the middle. Think logically and remember how these devices work.

The technology that you should employ is determined by what type of pollutant you are trying to remove. Adsorption media such as activated carbon or zeolite will remove chemical pollutants, HEPA and electronic technologies will remove particulates, and UV technology will disable microorganisms. Typically these technologies are used in combination.

Pollen is a particulate pollutant and is best addressed with either a HEPA system or an electronic system. HEPA is highly effective but the filters must be changes on an interval that varies from 6-months to 5-years depending on the manufacturer. Electronic filter elements do not need to be changed but must be washed regularly to remain effective. Both of these technologies are usually combined with an activated carbon filter. These vary from pounds of media to a then mat. Since pollen is a particulate we do not need to worry about the activated carbon but do not expect much from the activated carbon mats. They do not offer enough exposure time to be effective at removing chemicals or odors.

Microorganisms are often a concern for those that have weak or damaged immune systems including the very young and elderly. The most effective way to address the spread of microorganisms is the use of UV light in the air purifier. This light affects the DNA of the organism and at least keeps it from reproducing but more often kills it. UV light is typically employed in conjunction with HEPA technology so that the air is clean of particulates that would shade the microorganisms from the UV radiation.

Chemicals are removed from the air via a process known as adsorption. A media is used such as activated carbon that has tremendous surface area. As the chemicals encounter the media they adhere to the media and coat it, thus removing the chemicals from the air. While activated carbon is a good general purpose media, there are other mixtures that have been created by the air purifier companies that address specific compounds. Therefore, if you know which compounds you are targeting for removal it is best to communicate this with the firm to get the proper mixture to address your issue. Much like UV, HEPA is usually used in combination with the adsorbing media. This assures that the media does not become clogged with particulate pollution and made less effective.

In summary, the first defense against airborne allergens to remove the source of the allergen and anything that will retain the allergen. Secondly, pick a technology that is effective with the specific allergen that is the issue. Thirdly apply air purifiers in such a way as to maximize the air that is going though the unit.

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Facts About Epilepsy

A neurological disorder that affects the nervous system, epilepsy is also known as ‘the seizure disorder.’ In fact, epilepsy is often diagnosed after a person has had 2-3 seizures that were not brought on by any known medical condition. A seizure refers to sudden high-voltage electrical activity in the brain, and it affects a person’s feelings or actions for a short span of time. Seizures can be so mild as to go unnoticed or be intensely disturbing in their ferocity. The cause of an epileptic seizure is not known. It may be the direct result of a brain injury or a heredity factor.

Anyone can develop epilepsy; it occurs across all ages and all races of people. Epilepsy is quite common, affecting 1 in every 120 adults in the US alone. Whether a person will be epileptic or not depends on his seizure threshold, (an individual’s resistance level to seizures). A low seizure threshold means the person is more prone to having seizures for no reason. Such a person can easily develop a seizure when an apparently mild outside event triggers it. A person with a high seizure threshold is likely to get a seizure due to a serious outside factor, like a head injury. This means that almost ANYONE CAN HAVE A SEIZURE IF THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE RIGHT. Often, a seizure may not immediately follow an injury. It may take place after 6-10 months, though there is no known cause for this delay.

Causes:

The causes of epilepsy can be classified into three groups. Each group is characterized by a different type of seizure.

Symptomatic epilepsy: In this kind of epilepsy, there is a known cause for the seizure. This may include a head injury, a stroke, or a scar on the brain. Infections like meningitis can also lead to an epileptic seizure. A scan often reveals the cause and treatment is started accordingly.

Idiopathic epilepsy: There is no known reason for this type of epileptic seizure, except a low seizure threshold. This person has no disabilities and leads a normal life. Response to treatment is fairly good among such patients.

Cryptogenic epilepsy: When a doctor rules out the previous two kinds of epilepsy, he or she may deduce that the seizure is cryptogenic. So, it is surmised that underlying physical reasons that need to be investigated are causing the seizures.

Making a diagnosis can be tricky because there are no obvious symptoms in epilepsy. The person having the seizure can remember little of what happens during that time. Therefore, it is helpful to get information from someone who has seen the seizure happening. Blood tests, EEG, CT scans, and MRI scans provide additional information.

New cases of epilepsy are most likely to occur in children during the first year of their lives. This tendency gradually declines until the child reaches 10 years, after which it stabilizes.

The people who are most vulnerable to an epileptic attack include:

-Underweight babies

-Babies with abnormal brain structures

-People who have suffered a bleeding into the brain

-People who have had a serious brain injury

-People with cerebral palsy

-People with mental handicaps

-Children who have had febrile seizures

-People with a family history of seizures

Treatment:

Around 70% of the people with epilepsy are treated with anti-epileptic drugs (AED’s). AED’s only prevent seizures; they do not cure epilepsy. The type of AED and the dosage needed depends on the type of seizure. Some people experience a decrease in the tendency towards seizures as they age. Sadly, there are people who never achieve control over their epilepsy in spite of receiving the most suitable treatment.

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Emphysema – Problem Caused To Your Lungs

It may be a fairly uncommon disease but emphysema is one of the most common reasons for the increasing number of death rates. It is a pulmonary disease which damages your lungs due to the toxic air we breathe. Some of the common chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases are bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. This condition takes place when the lung tissue loses it elasticity and finds it hard to maintain a normal breathing pattern. Many suffer through this disease and have lost their lives in this battle. Smoking is one of the common causes for this condition. The changing environmental conditions with increasing pollution and passive smokers fall victim to such condition.

Causes of Emphysema

- Smoking

- Lack of protein also known as alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) in your immune system makes you vulnerable for this disease

Symptoms of Emphysema

- A routine climb of stairs may cause shortness of breath

- Bouts of coughing

- Wheezing

- Hyperventilation

- Increasing production of mucus

- A slight bluish tint on the skin

- Loss of appetite

- Tiredness

Self-Care Measures

- Ban smoking for life

- Do not be around smokers as passive smoking is equally bad

- Take precautions for the increasing pollution level

- Install an air purifier in your home to remove dust and any other particles

- Stay away from allergens

Home remedies for Emphysema

- To get relief from the coughing you can drink garlic, fennel and rose hips tea as it heals your throat thoroughly

- Rubbing eucalyptus or garlic oil on the chest helps in clearing the congestion

- You can consume comfrey and fenugreek capsules to alleviate congested mucus trouble

- Have a healthy eating habit and that too in number of small meals by chewing it properly

- Have fresh fruits which have a good source of vitamin C such as citrus fruits, strawberries as well as vegetables like peppers and broccoli

- You can increase the beta-carotene intake by having sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and many others

- Having a good and fit body by swimming, cycling and many other exercises which does not exert your body but helps in emphysema condition

- You can have Chinese medicinal mushroom cordyceps which helps with chronic lung disease problem

- Consuming 800gms of magnesium per day helps in clearing air passages due to it antihistamine properties

- Take grape seed extract daily as it avoids cell damage because of its strong and useful antioxidant properties

- Drink eight to ten glasses of water as it helps in thinning the mucus to make coughing much easier

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.

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