Lower Back Injuries – Causes and Treatment of Lower Back Injuries

Lower back injuries can occur anywhere, anytime and can result from a number of different activities, including work, sports, housework and gardening, as well as being a common injury following an automobile accident. Work-related lower lumbar injuries are the most prevalent and costly source of injury to American workers. In fact, back-related injuries are one of the most common reasons people see their doctor.

This type of injury can generally happen if your work requires difficult postures such as bending, twisting or overextending your body. Diagnosing the cause of a lower lumbar injury is quite difficult and challenging because multiple structures in the lower back region can cause pain. If you do not feel comfortable with the diagnosis do not hesitate to ask your doctor for a second opinion.

Lower lumbar injuries are extremely common, and healing an injured back can take a long time. A serious injury to the back can cause permanent damage that will involve years of rehabilitation and severe limitations on the type of work you can perform safely. Living with back spasms or any other type of lower back injury can drastically reduce the quality of life. Even if a lower back injury is not initially severe, torn discs or injured vertebrae can result in medical complications that make it difficult to work or engage in normal physical activity. The limitations brought about by an injury to the back can limit one's private and professional life, making work-related tasks and simple household chores the source of pain.

If an injury to the lower back is recent, you may need a day or two of bed rest, however rest for lower back pain is now known not to be a cure, as rest can cause the muscles to become stiff. Improper care and excessive rest of a back injury can compound an already existing problem and incite more pain, expense, missed work and reduced daily functioning with every minute that passes. A back injury can be devastating, but with patience you can overcome any disability it may have caused.

Prevention is the best medicine. Preventing an injury to the back is much easier than repairing one. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health believes that the most effective way to prevent back injury in the work place is to implement an ergonomics program that focuses on redesigning the work environment and work tasks to reduce the hazards of lifting. The ultimate aim in avoiding back injury is to identify and eliminate potential risks before any injury is sustained.

Types of scoliosis

SCOLIOSIS CLASSIFICATION

Scoliosis is not a disease, rather the word is a term used to describe any abnormal, sideways or lateral curvature of the spine. Viewed from the back, a typical spine is straight. The spine curves to either side as a single curve shaped like the letter C or “c-shaped scoliosis” or the spine has two curves and is shaped like the letter S or “s-shaped scoliosis”… rarely the curve can be a triple.

Curves are classified by many different components such as their location in the spine.They can occur in the upper back (cervical spine scoliosis), in the middle back (thoracic spine scoliosis) and in the lower back (lumbar spine scoliosis) in various combinations. Thoracolumbar scoliosis is curvature that includes vertebrae in both the lower thoracic and upper lumbar portion of the spine. Curves can also be defined as left thoracic or right thoracic.

Dextroscoliosis is a spinal curve to the right (“dextro” means right). Usually occurring in the thoracic spine, this is the most common type of curve. It can occur on its own (forming a c-curve) or with another curve bending the opposite way in the lower spine (forming a s-curve). The reason dextro is most common is that the body instinctively avoids the heart which is located to the left of the midline of the torso.

Levoscoliosis is a spinal curve to the left (“levo” means left). Common in the lumbar spine, the rare occurrence of levoscoliosis in the thoracic spine indicates a higher probability that the scoliosis may be secondary to a some kind of pathology such as a spinal cord tumor or chiari syndrome.

Kyphosis is a curve seen from the side in which the spine is bent forward. There is a normal kyphosis in the middle (thoracic) spine. Kyphoscoliosis is the abnormal curvature of the spine, both sideways and towards the upper back. Lordosis is a curve seen from the side in which the spine is bent backward. There is a normal lordosis in the upper (cervical) spine and the lower (lumbar) spine.

IDIOPATHIC SCOLIOSIS CLASSIFICATIONS

Idiopathic scoliosis occurs in approximately 4% the population. The term idiopathic means a condition or disease with no known cause. Idiopathic scoliosis is by far the most common cause of scoliosis. Idiopathic scoliosis rarely causes pain. Once scoliosis is detected it should be closely monitored by a scoliosis professional. That expert will initiate a proactive plan to ensure the curve does not progress, and if possible will be reduced and stabilized.

Idiopathic scoliosis is divided into three subgroups according to age: infantile (0-3 years), juvenile (4-10 years), and adolescent (11- maturity)
Infantile Idiopathic Scoliosis
Juvenile Idiopathic Scoliosis

Juvenile onset scoliosis is defined as spinal curves diagnosed between ages 3-10. It less common than adolescent scoliosis but still makes up one-fifth of scoliosis cases. Juvenile idiopathic scoliosis is very different from infantile and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Accurate diagnosis is essential.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis occurs in children age 10 to 18 years old, and comprises approximately 80% of all cases of idiopathic scoliosis. This age range is when rapid growth typically occurs, which is why the detection of a curve at this stage should be monitored closely for progression as the child’s skeleton develops.

Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis

Once skeletal maturity is reached, a patient with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is now said to have adult idiopathic scoliosis. A patient with Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis will still benefit from treatment for progression, but pain is a much more common indication for treatment. Normal degenerative changes of the spine may be accelerated by curvature and the patient may be at higher risk for skeletal pain or extremity pain due to nerve compression.

Adult Scoliosis

Not to be confused with adult idiopathic scoliosis, Adult Scoliosis or Adult Onset Scoliosis is a Degenerative scoliosis, or a side-to-side curvature of the spine caused by degeneration of the facet joints. Degenerative scoliosis occurs in older adults, most frequently in people over age 65 . Typically a C-shaped curve forms in the lumbar spine. It can occur due to arthritis in the spine, Spondylosis. Weakening of the normal ligaments and other soft tissues of the spine combined with abnormal bone spurs can lead to an abnormal curvature of the spine. The spine can also be affected by osteoporosis, vertebral compression fractures, and disc degeneration. Other potential causes include spine tumors such as osteoid osteoma, a benign tumor that can occur in the spine and cause pain. This pain causes people to lean to one side to reduce pressure on the tumor causing spinal deformity. Degenerative scoliosis is the most common form of scoliosis in adults.

Other types of Scoliosis Classifications

Nonstructural (Functional) scoliosis: a curve in the spine, without rotation, that is reversible because it is caused by a condition such as: pain or a muscle spasm or a difference in leg length. In this type of scoliosis the spine is normal, but an abnormal curve develops because of a problem somewhere else in the body.

Neuromuscular scoliosis: there is a problem when the bones of the spine are formed. Either the bones of the spine fail to form completely or they fail to separate from each other during fetal development. This type of scoliosis develops in people with other disorders, (i.e. birth defects, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or Marfan’s disease. People with these conditions often develop a long C-shaped curve and their muscles are unable to hold their spine straight. If the curve is present at birth, it is called Congenital Scoliosis This type of scoliosis is often much more severe and needs more aggressive treatment than other forms of scoliosis.

Compensatory scoliosis: is a spinal curve in the coronal plane which disappears when the patient sits. It may be caused by either a short leg or a pelvic tilt due to abduction or adduction contracture of the hip.
straighten significantly on side-bending and function to produce spinal balance. There is no underlying structural abnormality.

The location of the structural curve determines the classification of the scoliosis e.g. a structural curve in the thoracic spine with a lumbar compensatory curve is called thoracic adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Single curves, curves whose apex is at T12 or 11 may be defined as a Thoracolumbar curve , and curves with apices at 12 or 13 are defined as lumbar curves. Structural curves in both the thoracic and lumbar spine are called double major curves. The exact definition of the curve has implications for determining scoliosis progression and scoliosis treatment.
This is an explanation of just a few basic terms used to classify scoliosis. If it appears complicated, it is. If it doesn’t, don’t make the mistake of assuming you have enough understanding to self-diagnose. There are even more complicated classifications for scoliosis such as the King and Lenke Classification systems. It’s always best to consult your physician with any questions you may have about your scoliosis diagnosis.

Disclaimer:
Medicine is an ever-changing science. As new research and clinical experience broadens our knowledge, changes in treatment and drug therapy are required. The authors have checked with sources believed to be reliable in their efforts to provide information that is complete and generally in accord with the standards accepted at the time of publication. However, in view of the possibility of human error or changes in medical sciences, neither the authors any other party who has been involved in the preparation or publication of this article or the information it contains or refers to warrants that the information contained herein is in every respect accurate or complete, and they are not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information contained herein with other sources and consult with a professional about their personal needs.

2006 Jeep Commander: 7 Passenger Trail Trekker

Jeep has finally done it. A 7 passenger trail rated Jeep is now available at a dealer near you. Long a maker of manly SUVs, the Commander holds true to form as it can easily be taken off road as well as down the highway. Unlike more pedestrian models, the Commander looks every bit the rugged vehicle that it is. For Jeep fans who need the extra room the Commander offers space not available in any Jeep since the Wagoneer was retired a generation ago. Let's take a look at the 2006 Jeep Commander, the focus of this review.

So, why build a seven passenger Jeep? To give customers a choice, that's why. With existing models able to carry only five passengers or less, the Commander meets the demand for a larger model. Instead of losing sales to GM or Ford, Jeep is now able to offer a vehicle that will keep customers from leaving for bigger and roomier models.

The Commander looks a lot like the Cherokee, which was retired in 2001 after an 18 year run. The boxy Cherokee was a favorite with many and the Commander successfully incorporates the Cherokee's look and body style.

As it is, the Commander is not a huge beast. At just two inches longer than the Gran Cherokee, the Commander makes use of available space without adding a tremendous amount of bulk.

Key features of the Commander include:

  • 3 engine choices: a 3.7-Liter V6; 4.7-Liter V8 MPI; 5.7-Liter HEMI® Multi-Displacement
  • 2 transmission choices: a pair of five speed automatics
  • 3 four wheel drive systems
  • Anti-Lock 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • 3 Sound Systems: AM / FM Stereo with CD Player and Changer Controls; an AM / FM Stereo Radio w / In-Dash 6-Disc CD / MP3 Player; or a DVD-based GPS Navigation System with 6-CD / MP3 Changer
  • Leather trimmed or bucket seats
  • Supplemental Side Curtain Air Bags In All Rows
  • The usual accouterments including air conditioning, bucket seats, power everything, etc.

    Jeep gives owners the option of owning a traditional rear wheel drive Commander or 4×4 models. Base price for the entry level Commander starts at just over $ 28,000 while the fully loaded Commander Limited retails at just under forty thousand. Prices for the Commander are on par with those in its class.

    I like what Jeep has done with the Commander and think that you will too. I am, however, holding my breathe as Jeep prepares to introduce its first non-trail rated model [sacrilege] next year; in the meantime the Commander carries on the Jeep tradition with much distinction and aplomb.

  • Remedies For Agitated Nerve Pain – Pain Relief

    Causes of nerve pain are numerous but the main ones include:

    -Damaged and/or compressed nerves due to a traumatic event such as a fall,

    -Nerve damage following surgery,

    -Sciatica,

    -Plantar fasciitis or foot pain in general,

    -Fibromyalgia, pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons,

    -Nerve damage caused by drug abuse,

    -Post-herpetic Neuralgia (PHN), the onset pain from the Shingles Rash,

    -Diabetes, neuropathy and neuropathic pain.

    To get pain relief, you have several options, but none of them work all the time, and most are not without risk to your body one way or the other. The body has the unique ability to adjust to most medications, in that, over time given sustained use; it requires more and more of the same pain relief medicine to achieve the same level of pain relief.

    • The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney diseases reports that over the counter NSAIDS such as aspirin, ibuprofen and the like may temporarily ease your pain but their use is not without risk to other areas of your body.
    • Any product with capsaicin as an ingredient may offer temporary pain relief.
    • Certain depressants such as amitriptyline, imipramine, or nortriptyline are sometimes effective.
    • Clinical trials indicate that Mexiletine is effective in treating pain.
    • Codeine can be used for a short time to relieve pain, but it can be very addictive.
    • Homeopathic Drugs and Applications can be very effective.
    • Alternative medicines such as Menastil, EZ Pain Relief and Heartland are topically applied.
    • Other pain treatments…
      • Acupuncture
      • Electrical stimulation devices (TENS)
      • Hypnosis
      • Biofeedback

    Special Note: The American Medical Association does not accept homeopathy, but it doesn’t reject it either. “The AMA encourages doctors to become aware of alternative therapies and use them when and where appropriate,” says AMA spokesman Jim Fox. “Even professionals who practice homeopathy warn that nothing in medicine–either conventional or alternative–is absolute”, states Mr. Fox.

    The key to dealing with your pain is understanding the root cause of pain. ALL pain, is due to nerve damage agitation, no exceptions. The level of nerve agitation and resultant pain is directly related to the inflammation present in the painful area which reduces the level of blood and oxygen flow into the

    infected area.

    The most effective pain relief medications, cause the nerve ends to relax and allow the blood and oxygen to flow back into the infected area to effectively cut-off the signals to the spinal cord and therefore to the brain resulting in pain relief. You still have the problem, you just do not feel it as much.

    Non-narcotic, non-addictive, all natural pain relief medications are available from The Centre for Pain Relief. Check out their website to determine if one of their products can help you with your painful condition.

    Disorders of the Digestive System

    The digestive system is a group of organs responsible for the conversion of food into nutrients and energy needed by the body. In humans, the digestive system consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and small and large intestines. The digestive tube made up by these organs is known as the alimentary canal. Several glands—salivary glands, liver, gall bladder, and pancreas—also play a part in digestion. These glands secrete digestive juices containing enzymes that break down the food chemically into smaller molecules that are more easily absorbed by the body. The digestive system also separates and disposes of waste products ingested with the food.

    Food taken into the mouth is first broken down into smaller pieces by the teeth. The tongue then rolls these pieces into balls called boluses. Together, the sensations of sight, taste, and smell of the food cause the salivary glands, located in the mouth, to produce saliva. An enzyme in the saliva called amylase begins the breakdown of carbohydrates (starch) into simple sugars. The bolus, which is now a battered, moistened, and partially digested ball of food, is swallowed, moving to the pharynx (throat) at the back of the mouth. In the pharynx, rings of muscles force the food into the esophagus, the first part of the upper digestive tube. The esophagus extends from the bottom part of the throat to the upper part of the stomach. The esophagus does not take part in digestion. Its job is to move the bolus into the stomach. Food is moved through the esophagus (and other parts of the alimentary canal) by a wavelike muscular motion known as peristalsis. This motion consists of the alternate contraction and relaxation of the smooth muscles lining the tract.

    Chemical digestion begins in the stomach. The stomach is a large, hollow, pouched-shaped muscular organ. Food in the stomach is broken down by the action of gastric juice, which contains hydrochloric acid and pepsin (an enzyme that digests protein). The stomach begins its production of gastric juice while food is still in the mouth. Nerves from the cheeks and tongue are stimulated and send messages to the brain. The brain in turn sends messages to nerves in the stomach wall, stimulating the secretion of gastric juice before the arrival of food. The second signal for gastric juice production occurs when food arrives in the stomach and touches the lining. Gastric juice is secreted from the linings of the stomach walls, along with mucus that helps to protect the stomach lining from the action of the acid. Three layers of powerful stomach muscles churn food into a thick liquid called chyme. From time to time, chyme is passed through the pyloric sphincter, the opening between the stomach and the small intestine.

    The small intestine is a long, narrow tube running from the stomach to the large intestine. The small intestine is greatly coiled and twisted. Its full length is about 20 feet (6 meters). The small intestine is subdivided into three sections: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. The duodenum is about 10 inches (25 centimeters) long and connects with the lower portion of the stomach. When chyme reaches the duodenum, it is further broken down by intestinal juices and through the action of the pancreas and gall bladder. The pancreas is a large gland located below the stomach that secretes pancreatic juice into the duodenum through the pancreatic duct. There are three enzymes in pancreatic juice that break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The gall bladder, located next to the liver, stores bile produced by the liver. While bile does not contain enzymes, it contains bile salts that help to dissolve fats. The gall bladder empties bile into the duodenum when chyme enters that portion of the intestine. The jejunum is about 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) long. The digested carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and most of the vitamins, minerals, and iron are absorbed in this section. The inner lining of the small intestine is composed of up to five million tiny, fingerlike projections called villi. The villi increase the rate of absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream by greatly increasing the surface area of the small intestine. The ileum, the last section of the small intestine, is the longest, measuring 11 feet (3.4 meters). Certain vitamins and other nutrients are absorbed here.

    The large intestine is wider and heavier than the small intestine. However, it is much shorter—only about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long. It rises up on the right side of the body (the ascending colon), crosses over to the other side underneath the stomach (the transverse colon), descends on the left side, (the descending colon), then forms an s-shape (the sigmoid colon) before reaching the rectum and anus. The muscular rectum, about 6 inches (16 centimeters) long, expels feces (stool) through the anus, which has a large muscular sphincter that controls the passage of waste matter. The large intestine removes water from the waste products of digestion and returns some of it to the bloodstream. Fecal matter contains undigested food, bacteria, and cells from the walls of the digestive tract. Millions of bacteria in the large intestine help to produce certain B vitamins and vitamin K. These vitamins are absorbed into the bloodstream along with the water.

    Among the several disorders that affect the digestive system are Esophagitis (heartburn) and ulcers. Esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus caused by gastric acids flowing back into the esophagus. Mild cases of this condition are usually treated with commercial antacids. Stomach ulcers are sores that form in the lining of the stomach. They may vary in size from a small sore to a deep cavity. Ulcers that form in the lining of the stomach and the duodenum are called peptic ulcers because they need stomach acid and the enzyme pepsin to form. Duodenal ulcers are the most common type. They tend to be smaller than stomach ulcers and heal more quickly. Any ulcer that heals leaves a scar. Until the early 1990s, the medical community generally believed that ulcers were caused by several factors, including stress and a poor diet. However, medical researchers soon came to believe that a certain bacterium that can live undetected in the mucous lining of the stomach was responsible. This bacterium irritated and weakened the lining, making it more susceptible to damage by stomach acids.

    Anabolic Steroid Side Effects

    The action of testosterone can be in ways both beneficial and detrimental to the body. On the plus side, this hormone has a direct impact on the growth of muscle tissues, the production of red blood cells and overall well being of the organism. But it may also negatively effect the production of skin oils, growth of body, facial and scalp hair, and the level of both “good” and “bad” cholesterol in the body [among other things]. In fact, men have a shorter average life span than women, which is believed to be largely due to the cardiovascular defects that this hormone may help bring about. Testosterone will also naturally convert to estrogen in the male body, a hormone with its own unique set of effects. As we have discussed earlier, raising the level of estrogen in men can increase the tendency to notice water retention, fat accumulation, and will often cause the development of female tissues in the breast [gynecomastia]. Clearly we see that most of the “bad” side effects from steroids are simply those actions of testosterone that we are not looking for when taking a steroid. Raising the level of testosterone in the body will simply enhance both its good and bad properties, but for the most part we are not having “toxic° reactions to these drugs. A notable exception to this is the possibility of liver damage, which is a worry isolated to the use of c17-alpha alkylated oral steroids. Unless the athlete is taking anabolic/androgenic steroids abusively for a very long duration, side effects rarely amount to little more than a nuisance. One could actually make a case that periodic steroid use might even be a healthy practice. Clearly a person physical shape can relate closely to one overall health and well being. Provided some common sense is paid to health checkups, drug choice, dosage and off-time, how can we say for certain that the user is worse off for doing so? This position is of course very difficult to publicly justify with steroid use being so deeply stigmatized. Since this can be a very lengthy discussion, we will save the full health, moral and legal arguments for another time. For now I would like to run down the list of popularly discussed side effects, and include any current treatment/avoidance advice where possible.

    Acne

    Rampant acne is one of the more obvious indicators of steroid use. As you know, teenage boys generally endure periods of irritating acne as their testosterone levels begin to peak, but this generally subsides with age. But when taking anabolic/androgenic steroids, an adult will commonly be confronted with this same problem. This is because the sebaceous glands, which secrete oils in the skin, are stimulated by androgens. Increasing the level of such hormones in the skin may therefore enhance the output of oils, often causing acne to develop on the back, shoulders, and face. The use of strongly androgenic steroids in particular can be very troublesome, in some instances resulting in very unsightly blemishes all over the skin. To treat acne, the athlete has a number of options. The most obvious of course is to be very diligent with washing and topical treatments, so as to remove much of the dirt and oil before the pores become clogged. If this proves insufficient, the prescription acne drug Accutaine might be a good option. This is a very effective medication that acts on the sebaceous glands, reducing the level of oil secreted. The athlete could also take the ancillary drug Proscar®/Propecia® [finasteride] during steroid treatment, which reduces the conversion of testosterone into DHT, lowering the tendency for androgenic side effects with this hormone. It is of note however that this drug is more effective at warding off hair loss than acne, as it more specifically effects DHT conversion in the prostate and hair follicles. It is also important to note that testosterone is the only steroid that really converts to dihydrotestosterone, and only a few others actually convert to more potent steroids via the 5a-reductase enzyme at all. Many steroids are also potent androgens in their own right, such as Anadrol 50® and Dianabol for example. As such they can exert strong androgenic activity in target tissues without 5a-reduction to a more potent compound, which makes Propecia® useless. Of course one can also simply take those steroids [anabolics] that are less androgenic. For sensitive individuals attempting to build mass, nandrolone would therefore be a much better option than testosterone.

    Aggression

    Aggressive behaviour can be one of the scarier sides to steroid use. Men are typically more aggressive than women because of testosterone, and likewise the use of steroids [especially androgens] can increase a person’s aggressive tendency. In some instances this can be a benefit, helping the athlete hit the weights more intensely or perform better in a competition. Many professional power lifters and bodybuilders take a particular liking to this effect. But on the other hand there is nothing more unsettling than a grown man, bloated with muscle mass, who cannot control his temper. A steroid user who displays an uncontrollable rage is clearly a danger to him and others. If an athlete is finding himself getting agitated at minor things during a steroid cycle, he should certainly find a means to keep this from getting out of hand. Remembering to take a couple of deep breaths at such times can Be very helpful. If such attempts prove to be ineffective, the offending steroids should be discontinued. The bottom line is that if you lack the maturity and self control to keep your anger in check, you should not be using steroids.

    Anaphylactic Shock

    Anaphylactic shock is an allergic reaction to the presence of a foreign protein in the body. It most commonly occurs when an individual has an allergy to things like a specific medication [such as penicillin], insect bites, industrial/household chemicals, foods [commonly nuts, shellfish, fruits] and food additives/preservatives [particularly sulfur]. With this sometimes-fatal disorder the smooth muscles are stimulated to contract, which may restrict a person breathing. Symptoms include wheezing, swelling, rash or hives, fever, a notable drop in blood pressure, dizziness, unconsciousness, convulsions or death. This reaction is not really seen with hormonal products like anabolic/androgenic steroids, but this may change with the rampant manufacture of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Being that there are no quality controls for black market producers, toxins might indeed find their way into some preparations [particularly injectable compounds]. My only advice would be to make every attempt to use only legitimately produced drug products, preferably of First World origin. When anaphylactic shock occurs, it is most commonly treated with an injection of epinephrine. Individuals very sensitive to certain insect bites are familiar with this procedure, many of who keep an allergy kit [for the self administration of epinephrine] close at hand.

    Birth Defects

    Anabolic/androgenic steroids can have a very pronounced impact on the development of an unborn fetus. Adrenal Genital Syndrome in particular is a very disturbing occurrence, in which a female fetus can develop male-like reproductive organs. Women who are, or plan to become pregnant soon, should never consider the use of anabolic steroids. It would also be the best advice to stay away from these drugs completely for a number of months prior to attempting the conception of a child, so as to ensure the mother has a normal hormonal chemistry. Although anabolic/androgenic steroids can reduce sperm count and male fertility, they are not linked to birth defects what taken by someone fathering a child.

    Blood Clotting Changes

    The use of anabolic/androgenic steroids is shown to increase prothrombin time, or the duration it will take for a blood clot to form. This basically means that while an individual is taking steroids, he/she may notice that it takes slightly longer than usual for a small cut or nosebleed to stop seeping blood. During the course of a normal day this is hardly cause for alarm, but it can lead to more serious trouble if a severe accident occurred, or an unexpected surgery was needed. Realistically the changes in clotting time are not extremely dramatic, so athletes are usually only concerned with this side effect if planning for a surgery. The clotting changes brought about by anabolic steroids are amplified with the use of medications like Aspirin, Tylenol and especially anticoagulants, so your doctor should be informed of their use [steroids] if undergoing any notable treatment with these types of drugs.

    Cancer

    Although it is a popular belief that steroids can give you cancer, this is actually a very rare phenomenon. Since anabolic/androgenic steroids are synthetic version of a natural hormone that your body can metabolize quite easily, they usually place a very low level of stress on the organs. In fact, many steroidal compounds are safe to administer to individuals with a diagnosed liver condition, with little adverse effect. The only real exception to this is with the use of C17 alpha alkylated compounds, which due to their chemical alteration are somewhat liver toxic. In a small number of cases [primarily with Anadrol 50®] this toxicity has lead to severe liver damage and subsequently cancer. But we are speaking of a statistically insignificant number in the face millions of athletes who use steroids. These cases also tended to be very ill patients, not athletes, who were using extremely large dosages for prolonged periods of time. Steroid opponents will sometimes point out the additional possibility of developing Wilms Tumor from steroid abuse, which is a very serious form of kidney cancer. Such cases are so rare however, that no direct link between anabolic/androgenic steroid use and this disease has been conclusively established. Provided the athlete is not overly abusing methylated oral substances, and is visiting a doctor during heavier cycles, cancer should not be much of a concern.

    Cardiovascular Disease

    As mentioned earlier, the use of anabolic/androgenic steroids may have an impact on the level of LDL [low density lipoprotein], HDL [high density lipoprotein] and total cholesterol values. As you probably know, HDL is considered the “good” cholesterol since it can act to remove cholesterol deposits from the arteries. LDL has the opposite effect, aiding in the buildup of cholesterol on the artery walls. The general pattern seen with steroid use is a lowering of HDL concentrations, while total and LDL cholesterol numbers increase. The ratio of HDL to LDL values is usually more important than one total cholesterol count, as these two substances seem to balance each other in the body. If these changes are exacerbated by the long-term use of steroidal compounds, it can clearly be detrimental to the cardiovascular system. This may be additionally heightened by a rise in blood pressure, which is common with the use of strongly aromatizable compounds.

    It is also important to note that due to their structure and form of administration, most 17 alpha alkylated oral steroids have a much stronger negative impact on these levels compared to injectable steroids. Using a milder drug like Winstrol® [stanozolol], in hopes HDL level changes will also be mild, may therefore not turn out to be the best option. One study comparing the effect of a weekly injection of 200mg testosterone enanthate vs. only a 6mg daily oral dose of Winstrol® makes this very clear. After only six weeks, stanozolol was shown to reduce HDL and HDL-2 [good] cholesterol by an average of 33% and 71% respectively. The HDL reduction [HDL-3 subfraction] with the testosterone group was only an average of 9%. LDL [bad] cholesterol also rose 29% with stanozolol, while it actually dropped 16% with the use of testosterone. Those concerned with cholesterol changes during steroid use may likewise wish to avoid oral steroids, and opt for the use of injectable compounds exclusively. We also must note that estrogens generally have a favorable impact on cholesterol profiles. Estrogen replacement therapy in postmenopausal women for example is regularly linked to a rise in HDL cholesterol and a reduction in LDL values. Likewise the aromatization of testosterone to estradiol may be beneficial in preventing a more dramatic change in serum cholesterol due to the presence of the hormone. A recent study investigated just this question by comparing the effects of testosterone alone [280 mg testosterone enanthate weekly], vs. the same dose combined with an aromatase inhibitor [250mg testolactone 4 times daily] Methyltestosterone was also tested in third group, at a dose of 20mg daily. The results were quite enlightening. The group using only testosterone enanthate showed no significant decrease in HDL cholesterol values over the course of the 12 week study. After only four weeks the group using testosterone plus an aromatase inhibitor displayed a reduction of 25% on average. The methyltestosterone group noted an HDL reduction of 35% by this point, and also noted an unfavourable rise in LDL cholesterol. This clearly should make us think a little more closely about estrogen maintenance during steroid therapy. Aside from deciding whether or not it is actually necessary in any given circumstance, drug choice may also be an important consideration. For example, the estrogen receptor antagonist Nolvadex® does not seem to exhibit ant estrogenic effects on cholesterol values, and in fact often raises HDL levels. Using this to combat the side effects of estrogen instead of an aromatase inhibitor such as Arimidex® or Cytadren® may therefore be a good idea, particularly for those who are using steroids for longer periods of time. Since heart disease is one of the top killers worldwide, steroid using athletes [particularly older individuals] should not ignore these risks. If nothing else it is a very good idea to have your blood pressure and cholesterol values measured during each heavy cycle, being sure to discontinue the drugs should a problem become evident. It is also advisable to limit the intake of foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol, which should help minimize the impact of steroid treatment. Since blood pressure and cholesterol levels will usually revert back to their pre-treated norms soon after steroids are withdrawn, long-term damage is not a common worry.

    Depression

    Steroid use will obviously have an impact on hormone levels in the body, which in turn may result in a change in ones general disposition or mood. On the one hand we might see very aggressive behaviour, but the other extreme of depression also exists. Depression usually occurs at times when an individual androgen/estrogen levels are significantly off balance. This is most common with male bodybuilders, at times when anabolic/androgenic steroids are discontinued. During this period estrogen levels may be markedly elevated [from the aromatization of steroids], which is often coupled with a deeply suppressed endogenous testosterone level. Once the steroids are no longer present in the body, the athlete may suffer with a low androgen level until the body catches up. Depression may also occur during the course of a steroid cycle, particularly with the sole use of anabolics. Although these compounds are mild in comparison to androgens, many can still suppress the endogenous Production of testosterone. If the testosterone level drops significantly during treatment, the administered anabolics may not provide enough of an androgen level to compensate, and a marked loss of motivation and sense of well-being may result. The best advice when looking to avoid cycle or post-cycle depression is to closely monitor drug intake and withdrawal. The use of a small weekly testosterone dose might prove very effective if added to a mild dieting/anabolic cycle, warding off feelings of boredom and apathy to training. And of course a strong steroid cycle should always be discontinued with the proper use of ancillary drugs [Nolvadex®, Arimidex®, HCG, Clomid® etc.]. Although tapering schedules are very common, they are not an effective way to restore endogenous testosterone levels.

    Gynecomastia

    Gynecomastia is the medical term for the development of female breast tissues in the male body. This occurs when the male is presented with unusually high level of estrogen, particularly with the use of strong aromatizing androgens such as testosterone and Dianabol. The excess estrogen can act upon receptors in the breast and stimulate the growth of mammary tissues. If left unchecked this can lead to an actual obvious and unsightly tissue growth under the nipple area, in many cases taking on a very feminine appearance. To fight this side effect during steroid therapy, many find it necessary the use some form of estrogen maintenance medication. This includes an estrogen antagonist such as Clomid® or Nolvadex®, which blocks estrogen from attaching to and activating receptors in the breast and other tissues, or an aromatase inhibitor such as Proviron®, Cytadren® or Arimidex©, which blocks the enzyme responsible for the conversion of androgens to estrogens. Arimidex® is currently the most effective option, but is also the most costly.

    It is worth noting however, that many believe a slightly elevated estrogen level may help the athlete achieve a more pronounced muscle mass gain during a cycle [see: Estrogen Aromatization]. With this in mind many athletes decide to use antiestrogens only when it is necessary to block gynecomastia. It is of course still a good idea to always keep an antiestrogen on-hand when administering an aromatizable steroid, so that it is readily accessible should trouble become evident. Puffiness or swelling under the nipple is one of the first signs of pending gynecomastia, which is often accompanied by pain or soreness in this region [an effect termed gynecodynea]. This is a clear indicator that some type of antiestrogen is needed. If the swelling progresses into small, marble like lumps, action absolutely must be taken immediately to treat it. Otherwise if the steroids are continued at this point without ancillary drug use, the user will likely be stuck with unsightly tissue growth that can only be removed with a surgical procedure.

    It is also important to mention that progestins seem to augment the stimulatory effect of estrogens on mammary tissue growth. There appears to be a strong synergy between these two hormones here, such that gynecomastia might even be able to occur with the help of progestins, without excessive estrogen levels being necessary. Since many anabolic steroids, particularly those derived from nandrolone, are known to have progestational activity, we must not be lulled into a false sense of security. Even a low estrogen producer like Deca can potentially cause gyno in certain cases, again fostering the need to keep anti-estrogens close at hand if you are very sensitive to this side effect.

    Hair loss

    The use of highly androgenic steroids can negatively impact the growth of scalp hair. In fact the most common form of male pattern hair loss is directly linked to the level of androgens in such tissues, most specifically the stronger DHT metabolite of testosterone. The technical term for this type of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, which refers to the interplay of both the male androgenic hormones and a genetic predisposition in bringing about this condition. Those who suffer from this disorder are shown to posses finer hair follicles and higher levels of DHT in comparison to a normal, hairy scalp. But since there is a genetic factor involved, many individuals will not ever see signs of this side-effect, even with very heavy steroid use. Clearly those individuals who are suffering from [or have a familial predisposition for] this type of hair loss should be very cautious when using the stronger drugs like testosterone, Anadrol 50®, Halotestin® and Dianabol.

    In many instances the renewal of lost hair can be very difficult, so avoiding this side effect before it occurs is the best advice. For those who need to worry, the decision should probably be made to either stick with the milder substances [Deca-Durabolin® most favoured], or to use the ancillary drug Propecia®/Proscar® [finasteride] when taking testosterone, methyltestosterone or Halotestin. Propecia® is a very effective hair loss medication, which inhibits the 5-alpha reductase enzyme specifically in the hair follicles and prostate. This item offers us little benefit with drugs that are highly androgenic without 5alpha reduction however, the most notable offenders being Anadrol 50® and Dianabol. We must also remember also that all anabolic/androgenic steroids activate the androgen receptor, and can likewise all promote hair loss given the right dosage and conditions.

    Headaches

    Athletes sometimes report an increased frequency of headaches when using anabolic/androgenic steroids. This seems to be most common during heavier bulking cycles, when an individual is utilizing strongly estrogenic compounds. One should not simply take an aspirin and ignore this problem, as it is may indicate a more troubling side effect of steroid use, high blood pressure. Since high blood pressure invites with it a number of unwanted health risks, monitoring it on a regular schedule is important during heavy steroid use, especially if the individual is experiencing headaches. Some athletes choose to lower their blood pressure in such cases with a prescription medication like Catapres, but most find this an appropriate time to discontinue steroid use. Milder anabolics, which generally display little or no ability to convert to estrogen, are also more acceptable options for individuals sensitive to blood pressure increases. Less seriously, many headaches are due to simple strain on the neck and scalp muscles. The athlete may be lifting with much more intensity during a steroid cycle, and as a result may place added strain on these muscles. In this case a short break from training, and general rest, will often take care of the problem. Of course if anyone is experiencing a very serious or persistent headache, a visit to the doctor may be in order.

    High Blood Pressure/Hypertension

    Athletes using anabolic/androgenic steroids will commonly notice a rise in blood pressure during treatment. High blood pressure is most often associated with the use of steroids that have a high tendency for estrogen conversion, such as testosterone and Dianabol. As estrogen builds in the body, the level of water and salt retention will typically elevate (which will increase blood pressure). This may be further amplified by the added stress of intense weight training and rapid weight gain. Since hypertension [high blood pressure] can place a great deal of stress on the body, this side effect should not be ignored. If it is left untreated, high blood pressure can increase the likelihood for heart disease, stroke or kidney failure. Warning signs that one may be suffering from hypertension include an increased tendency to develop headaches, insomnia or breathing difficulties. In many instances these symptoms do not become evident until BP is seriously elevated, so a lack of these signs is no guarantee that the user is safe. Obtaining your blood pressure reading is a very quick and easy procedure [either at a doctors office, pharmacy or home]; steroid-using athletes should certainly be monitoring BP values during stronger cycles so as to avoid potential problems.

    If an individual blood pressure values are becoming notably elevated, some action should/must be taken to control it. The most obvious is to avoid the continued use of the offending steroids, or at least to substitute them with milder, non-aromatizing compounds. It is also of note that although aromatizing steroids are typically involved, nonaromatizing androgens like Halotestin® or trenbolone are occasionally also been linked to high blood pressure, so these are perhaps not the ideal alternatives in such a situation. The athlete also has the option of seeking the benefit of high blood pressure medications such as diuretics, which can dramatically lower water and salt retention. Catapres [clonidine HCL] is also a popular medication among athletes, because in addition to its blood pressure lowering properties it has also been documented to raise the body output of growth hormone.

    Immune System Changes

    The use of anabolic/androgenic steroids has been shown to produce changes in the body that may impact an individual immune system. These changes however can be both good and bad for the user. During steroid treatment for instance, many athletes find they are less susceptible to viral illnesses. New studies involving the use of compounds like oxandrolone and Deca-Durabolin® with HIV+ patients seem to back up this claim, clearly showing that these drugs can have a beneficial effect on the immune system. Such therapies are in fact catching on in recent years, and many doctors are now less reluctant to prescribe these drugs to their ill patients. But just as a person may be less apt to notice illness during steroid treatment, the discontinuance of steroids can produce a rebound effect in which the immune system is less able to fight off pathogens. This most likely coincides with the rebound activity/production of cortisol, a catabolic hormone in the body, which may act to suppress immune system functioning. When the administered steroids are withdrawn, an androgen deficient state is often endured until the body is able to rebalance hormone production. Since testosterone and cortisol seem counter each other activity in many ways, the absence of a normal androgen level may place cortisol in an unusually active state. During this period of imbalance, cortisol will not only be stripping the body of muscle mass, but it may also cause the athlete to be more susceptible to colds, flu etc. The proper use of ancillary drugs [antiestrogens, testosterone stimulating drugs] is the most common suggestion for helping to avoid this problem, which will hopefully allow the user to restore a proper balance of hormones once the steroids are removed.

    We also cannot ignore the other-hand possibility that steroids could actually increase cortisol levels in the body during treatment. Termed hypercortisolemia, this effect is a common occurrence with anabolic/androgenic steroid therapy. This is because anabolic/androgenic steroids may interfere with the ability for the body to clear corticosteroids from circulation, due to the fact that in their respective pathways of metabolism these hormones share certain enzymes. When overloaded with androgens competing for the same enzymes cortisol may be broken down at a slower rate, and levels of this hormone will in turn begin build. Due to their strong tendency to inhibit the activity of the 3beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzyme, oral c17 alpha alkylated orals may be particularly troublesome in regards to elevated cortisol levels, as again this is a common pathway for corticosteroid metabolism. Though an elevated cortisol level is not a common concern during most typical steroid cycles, problems can certainly become evident when these drugs are used at very high doses or for prolonged periods of time. This of course may lead to the athlete becoming “run-down” and more susceptible to illness, as well as foster a more over-trained and static [less anabolic] state of metabolism.

    Kidney Stress/Damage

    Since your kidneys are involved in the filtration and removal of byproducts from the body, the administration of steroidal compounds [which are largely excreted in the urine] may cause them some level of strain. Actual kidney damage is most likely to occur when the steroid user is suffering from severe high blood pressure, as this state can place an undue amount of stress on these organs. There is actually some evidence to suggest that steroid use can be linked to the onset of Wilms Tumor in adults, which is a rapidly growing kidney tumor normally seen in children and infants. Such cases are so rare however, that no conclusive link has been established. Obviously the kidneys are vital to ones heath, so the possibility of any kind of damage [although low] should not be ignored during heavy steroid treatment. If the user is noticing a darkening of color [in some cases a distinguishable amount of blood], or pain/difficulty when urinating, kidneys strain might be a legitimate concern. Other warning signs include pain in the lower back [particularly in the kidney areas], fever and edema [swelling]. If organ damage is feared, the administered steroidal compounds should be discontinued immediately, and the doctor paid a visit to rule out any serious trouble. Since kidney stress/damage is generally associated with the use of stronger aromatizing compounds such as testosterone and Dianabol [which often raise blood pressure], individuals sensitive to high blood pressure/kidney stress should such compounds until health concerns are safely avoided. If steroid use is still necessitated by the individual, it may be a good idea to avoid the stronger compounds and opt for one of the milder anabolics. Primobolan®, Anavar and Winstrol® for example do not convert to estrogen at all, and likewise may be acceptable options. Also favorable drugs in this regard are Deca-Durabolin® and Equipoise, which have only a low tendency to convert to estrogen.

    Liver Stress/Damage

    Liver stress/damage is not a side effect of steroid use in general, but is specifically associated with the use of c17 alpha alkylated compounds. As mentioned earlier, these structures contain chemical alterations that enable them to be administered orally. In surviving a first pass by the liver, these compounds place some level of stress on the organ. in some instances this has led to severe damage, even fatal liver cancer. The disease peliosis hepatitis is one worry, which is an often life threatening condition where the liver develops blood filled cysts. Liver cancer [hepatic carcinoma] has also been noted in certain cases. While these very serious complications have occurred on certain occasions where liver-toxic compounds were prescribed for extended periods, it is important to stress however that this is not very common with steroid using athletes. Most of the documented cases of liver cancer have in fact been in clinical situations, particularly with the use of the powerful oral androgen Anadrol 50® [oxymetholone]. This may be directly related to the high dosage of this preparation, as Anadrol 50® contains a whopping 50mg of active steroid per tablet. This is a considerable jump from other oral preparations, most of which contain 5mg or less of a substance. With one Anadrol 50® tablet, the liver will therefore have to process [roughly] the equivalent of 10 Dianabol tablets. This obvious stress is further amplified when we look at the unusually high dosage schedule for ill patients receiving this medication. With Anadrol 50®, the manufacturer recommendations may call for the use of as many as 8 or 10 tablets daily. This is of course a far greater amount than most athletes would ever think of consuming, with three or four tablets per day being considered the upper limit of safety. It is also important to note that the actual number of cases involving liver damage have been few, and have not been a significant enough of a problem to warrant discontinuing this compound. Methyltestosterone, this first steroid shown to cause liver trouble, is also still available as a prescription drug in this country. The average recreational steroid user who takes toxic orals at moderate dosages for relatively short periods is therefore very unlikely to face devastating liver damage.

    Although severe liver damage may occur before the onset of noticeable symptoms, it is most common to notice jaundice during the early stages of such injury. Jaundice is characterized by the buildup of bilirubin in the body, which in this case will usually result from the obstruction of bile ducts in the liver. The individual will typically notice a yellowing of the skin and eye whites as this colored substance builds in the body tissues, which is a clear sign to terminate the use of any c17 alpha alkylated steroids. In most instances the immediate withdrawal of these compounds is sufficient to reverse and prevent any further damage. Of course the athlete should avoid using orals for an extended period of time, if not indefinitely, should jaundice occur repeatedly during treatment. It is also a good idea to visit your physician during oral treatment in order to monitor liver enzyme values. Since liver stress will be reflected in your enzyme counts well before jaundice is noticed, this can remove much of the worry with oral steroid treatment.

    Prostate Enlargement

    Prostate cancer is currently one of the most common forms of cancer in males. Benign prostate enlargement [a swelling of prostate tissues often interfering with urine flow] can precede/coincide this cancer, and is clearly an important medical concern for men who are aging. Prostate complications are believed to be primarily dependent on androgenic hormones, particularly the strong testosterone metabolite DHT in normal situations, much in the same way estrogen is linked to breast cancer in women. Although the connection between prostate enlargement/cancer and steroid use is not fully established, the use of steroids may theoretically aggravate such conditions by raising the level of androgens in the body. It is therefore a good idea for older athletes to limit/avoid the intake of strong 5-alpha reducible androgens like testosterone, methyltestosterone and Halotestin, or otherwise use Proscar® [finasteride], which was specifically designed to inhibit the 5-alpha reductase enzyme in scalp and prostate tissues. This may be an effective preventative measure for older athletes who insist on using these compounds. Drugs like Dianabol, Anadrol 50® and Proviron, which do not convert to DHT yet are still potent androgens, are not effected by its use however. It is also important to mention that not only androgens but also estrogens are necessary for the advancement of this condition. It appears that the two work synergistically to stimulate benign prostatic growth, such that one without the other would not be enough to cause it. It has therefore been suggested that non-aromatizable compounds may be better options for older men looking for androgen replacement than lowering androgenic activity in the prostate. It is easier to accomplish, and should be accompanied with less side effects. It would also be very sound advice, regardless of steroid use, for individuals over 40 to have a physician check the prostate on somewhat of a regular basis.

    Sexual Dysfunction

    The functioning of the male reproductive system depends greatly on the level of androgenic hormones in the body. The use of synthetic male hormones may therefore have a dramatic impact on an individual sexual wellness. On one extreme we may see a man libido and erection frequency become extremely heightened. This is most commonly seen with the use of strongly androgenic steroids, which seem to have the most dramatic stimulating impact on this system. In some instances this can reach the point of becoming a problem, although more often than not the athlete is simply much more active and aggressive sexually during the intake of steroids.

    On the other extreme we may also see a lack of sexual interest, possibly to the point of impotency. This occurs mainly when androgenic hormones are at a very low. This will often happen after a steroid cycle is discontinued, as the endogenous production of testosterone is commonly suppressed during the cycle. Removing the androgen [from an outside source] leaves the body with little natural testosterone until this imbalance is corrected. The loss of its metabolite DHT is particularly troubling, as this hormone may have a strong affect on the reproductive system that may not be apparent with other less androgenic hormones. It is therefore a very good idea to use testosterone-stimulating drugs like HCG and/or Clomid®/Nolvadex® when coming off of a strong cycle, so as to reduce the impact of steroid withdrawal. Impotency/sexual apathy may also occur during the course of a steroid cycle, particularly when it is based strictly on anabolic compounds. Since all “anabolics” can suppress the manufacture of testosterone in the body, the administered drugs may not be androgenic enough to properly compensate for the testosterone loss. In such a case the user might opt to include a small androgen dosage [perhaps a weekly testosterone injection], or again to reverse/prevent the androgen suppression with the use of medications like Clomid® or HCG.

    It is also interesting to note that it is not always simply an androgen vs. anabolic issue. People will often respond very differently to an equal dose of the same drug. While one individual may notice sexual disinterest or impotency, another may become extremely aggressive. It is therefore difficult to predict how someone will react to a particular drug before having used it.

    Stunted Growth

    Many anabolic/androgenic steroids have the potential to impact an individual stature if taken during adolescence. Specifically, steroids can stunt growth by stimulating the epiphyseal plates in a person long bones to prematurely fuse. Once these plates are fused, future liner growth is not possible. Even if the individual avoids steroid use subsequently, the damage is irreversible and he/she can be stuck at the same height forever. Not even the use of growth hormone can reverse this, as this powerful hormone can only thicken bones when used during adulthood. Interestingly enough it is not the steroids themselves, but the buildup of estrogen that causes the epiphyseal plates to fuse. Women are shorter than men on average because of this effect of estrogen, and likewise the use of steroids that readily convert to estrogen can prematurely suppress/halt a person growth. In fact, the use of steroids like Anavar, Winstrol® and Primobolan® [which do not convert to estrogen] can actually increase ones height if taken during adolescence, as their anabolic effects will promote the retention of calcium in the bones. This would also hold true for non-aromatizing androgens such as trenbolone, Proviron® and Halotestin®. It is of course still good common sense to advise adolescents to avoid steroid use, at least until their bodies are fully mature and steroid use will have a less dramatic impact.

    Testicular Atrophy

    The human body always prefers to remain in a very balanced hormonal state, a tendency known as homeostasis. When the administration of androgens from an outside source causes a surplus of hormone, it will cause the body to stop manufacturing its own testosterone. Specifically this happens via a feedback mechanism, where the hypothalamus detects a high level of sex steroids [including androgens, progestins and estrogens] and shuts off the release of GnRH [Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone, formerly referred to as luteinizing hormone releasing hormone]. This in turn causes the pituitary to stop releasing luteinizing hormone and FSH [follicle stimulating hormone], the two hormones [primarily LH] that stimulate the Leydig cells in the testes to release testosterone [negative feedback inhibition has been demonstrated at the pituitary level as well]. Without stimulation by LH and FSH the testes will be in a state of production limbo, and may shrink from inactivity. In extreme cases the steroid user can notice testicles that are unusually and frighteningly small. This effect is temporary however, and once the drugs are removed [and hormone levels rebalance] the testicles should return to their original size. Many regular steroid users find this side effect quite troubling, and use ancillary drugs like Clomid®/Nolvadex® or HCG during a steroid cycle in order to try to maintain testicular activity [and size] during treatment. The more estrogenic androgens [testosterone, Anadrol 50® and Dianabol] are of course most dramatic in this regard, and are therefore poor choices for individuals who seriously want to avoid testicle shrinkage. Non-aromatizing anabolics would be a better option, however be warned that all steroids should have an impact on the production of testosterone if taken at an anabolically effective dosage [yes, even Anavar and Primobolan®].

    Water and Salt Retention

    Many anabolic/androgenic steroids can increase the amount of water and sodium stored in body tissues. In some instances steroid induced water retention can bring about a very bloated appearance to the body [hands, arms, face etc.], which will also reduce the visibility of muscle features [loss of definition]. Athletes often ignore this side effect, particularly during bulking cycles when the excess water stored in the muscles, joints and connective tissues will help to improve an individual overall strength. With the use of many strong androgens, water retention can account for much of the initial strength and body weight gain during steroid treatment, with “water-weight” sometimes amounting to ten or more pounds. Although water retention may not be the most unwelcome side effect during a bulking cycle [greater strength and mass], it can lead to dangerous problems such as high blood pressure and kidney damage. The body is clearly under more strain when dealing with an unusually high level of water, so athletes should not simply ignore this. Water retention is most specifically associated with the presence of estrogen in the body, and is therefore common with the use of aromatizing compounds [such as testosterone and Dianabol]. If water retention becomes an obvious problem during a cycle, the use of an antiestrogen [Nolvadex®, Proviron®] may help minimize it. The antiaromatase Arimidex® is in fact the most effective option, which inhibits the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Sometimes the athlete will alternately option for a diuretic, which can rapidly shed the water so as to achieve a more comfortable/attractive physique in a very short time. This is a common practice when preparing for a competition, as diuretic use allows the user a great level of control over water stores. Of course discontinuing the offending compounds, or substituting them with a milder anabolic would be the simplest option for recreational steroid users.

    Virilization

    Since anabolic/androgenic steroids are synthetic male hormones, they can produce a number of undesirable changes when introduced into the female body. This includes the possibility of “virilization”, which refers to the tendency for women to develop masculine characteristics when taking these drugs. Virilization symptoms include a deepening or hoarseness of the voice, changes in skin texture, acne, menstrual irregularities, increased libido, hair loss [scalp], body/facial/pubic hair growth and an enlargement of the clitoris. In extreme cases the female genitalia can become very disfigured, and may actually take on a penis-like appearance. Women must clearly be very careful when considering the use of steroids, especially since most virilization symptoms are irreversible. The stronger androgenic compounds should obviously be off-limits, with cautious female athletes restricting themselves to the use of only mild anabolics such as Winstrol®, Primobolan®, Anavar and Durabolin® [the shorter acting nandrolone]. Nandrolone is actually the preferred hormone, as it displays the lowest level of androgenic to anabolic activity. Since even these milder anabolics have the potential to cause problems however, users should additionally remember to be conservative with drug dosages and duration of intake. After each cycle of course a notable break from treatment would be a good idea as well, so that the body has sufficient time to re-establish a hormonal balance.

    Strep Throat – How To Tell

    If you notice a red, sore throat, with swollen neck lymph nodes, a fever, headache, and white spots on your tonsils, then you probably have what is known as strep throat. In childrens cases, it can cause abdominal pain, nausea, and even vomiting. Symptoms such as a stuffy nose, sneezing, and coughing, which are common for colds, are not generally seen in the case of strep throat.

    If harsh symptoms do not arise, and you are untreated, you could be infecting people in your surroundings for the first 2 to 3 weeks of contraction. After a treatment has begun, however, you are only contageous for the next 24 to 28 hours. Generally, you contract strep throat [http://www.throatspot.com] through a bacterium that is spread by close contact to an infected person. In some cases you can get the virus through contaminated food.

    How do you know for sure? The doctor of course! Your doctor will swab your throat to test for the bacterium culture, or for a rapid strep test. This process can be done in the doctors office, and only takes 5 to 10 minutes. If the original tests come back negative, then a second "follow – up culture" test may take place. This can take up to 2 days for results. If you are taking medication, and both tests are negative for strep, discontinue use of the antibiotics, as this may suggest that you have a viral infection and need to be treated properly.

    What Is Endocrinology and Metabolism?

    Endocrinology is a field of medicine that covers the endocrine system, which includes hormones. Metabolism is related to endocrinology in that the field covers secretions of chemicals that are related to metabolism. Before we get more into the relationship between the two, we'll go over what each of these terms means and how they relate to the human body.

    Endocrinology deals primarily with hormones. This is a wide area of ​​specialty, in that there is a lot of conditions and processes that fall under its umbrella. An endocrinologist may deal with patients who have conditions such as menopause, diabetes, thyroid disease, cholesterol problems, infertility, growth problems, as well as metabolic disorders. The endocrine system is comprised of various glands that make different hormones, which influence various functions and processes in the body. Hormones are active in reproduction, metabolism, growth, and development.

    Metabolism is the process of burning energy from foods and eliminating waste. You've probably heard people say that so and so has a fast or high metabolism. This means that their body burns their food quickly, as opposed to those with a slow metabolism whose body burns food slowly. Individuals with a high metabolism tend to be thinner than those with a slower metabolism, who tend to be heavier.

    If an individual is overweight, he or she may visit an endocrinologist because hormones may play a role in their obesity. Obesity may be the result of adrenal, pituitary, ovarian, or thyroid problems. They may treat various factors that may contribute to obesity to help patients lose weight. An imbalance of certain hormones may cause problems with metabolism and can contribute to weight problems. Examples of hormones that may affect weight control include thyroid hormone, pituitary hormones, and more.

    Reproductive hormones are the domain of the endocrinologist as well. Doctors may help those who are experiencing trouble getting pregnant and who believe they are suffering from infertility. They may provide hormone replacement therapy, and also deal with women going through menopause. Those with irregular periods, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), impotence, and premenstrual syndrome may find the assistance of an endocrinologist helpful in overcoming these conditions and / or becoming pregnant.

    Before you visit an endocrinologist, you may have to first consult with your primary care physician. If he or she determines that your condition-whether metabolic or otherwise-may be hormone-related, they may give you a referral to an endocrinologist in the area.

    Diabetes Control And Over The Counter Supplements

    I have been a pharmacist for 21 years and certified in diabetes management and I will tell you the issue of supplementation is very controversial and can be misleading to patients. I have encountered diabetics in deep trouble where their fasting blood sugar shot up to 300 and above because they dropped their medications because "they wanted to take natural products like cinnamon and others because they do not have side effects …." or for other reasons.

    First let me start by saying that almost all over the counter products are not FDA approved meaning they are not controlled for quality, safety and effectiveness. People are at the mercy of the manufacturer and believe me that the litteratture is full of documentations of products and manufacturers caught with having inadequate amounts of active ingredients or none at all.

    By law any manufacturer of over the counter products and supplements can claim anything they want on the package short of saying that this product
    "Prevents, Cures or diagnoses a disease". Next time you are at a store pick up any supplement and watch for terminology and I will bet you that you will not see these 3 terms used. They may say "This product" helps memory "or" this product is an aid for sugar metabolism "or" helps promote sugar metabolism … "or similar statements. These statements professionally speaking mean nothing but patients cling on to these terms, self diagnose and self treat their conditions and this is dangerous practice that has affected and is affecting a lot of people. Because you are in the media, you have a responsibility to relay the facts and alert people for correct practices.

    On the other hand all FDA approved prescription products have undergone a grewling 10 year approval process before they are released into the market and approved for various indications including diabetes. There are quality control procedures that are enforced on manufactures to submit data on quality control manufacturing practises on brand and generic brand names alike, safety and efficacy even after the product is released into the market.

    When a drug company claims for example that Actos "is indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in patients with type diabetes" then you can take that to the bank because it has been proven by large scale reliable studies that have been reviewed by experts at the FDA and other professional health organizations and that's what we professionals go by. Annecdotes on the internet do not mean technically much.

    Now I stay up to date with profeesional informations especially with topics of my interest mentioned on the bottom page. Here is my opinion on supplements that is based on the latest information released in professional pharmacy journals and drug information systems regarding the supplements in question:

    Vitamin D plays a vital role in calcium absorption and it's deficency causes a whole host of problems. About 10 minutes exposure to the sun daily helps the body produce enough amounts. People should get about 400 to 800 units a day. Many foods are rich in vitamin D such as fish, eggs and fortified milk. Women should supplement with one pill of 600 mg of calcium plus vitamin D. Evidence about It's use in Diabetes is definitely inconclusive.

    Chromium Picolinate: Has been studied in sprint athletes and has shown to improve sugar uptake to the muscles but has not been shown to be of any advantage in diabetes.

    Cinnamon: There has been a lot of talk about Cinnamon and recent data I reviewed in a professional pharmacy journal just last week states that Cinammon has not been shown to have any advantage in managing diabetes.

    Coccina .. follows the same path. No conclusive evidence.

    Magnesium: Is an essential mineral for a whole host of body processes including muscle function, relieving PMS, Energy breakdown and utilization, preventing migraines etc .. but no specific and credible information regarding additional supplementation to control diabetes. I recommend a multivitamin which includes enough magnesium. For Additional supplementation, even if magnesium is OTC, I would consult with a doctor for specific conditions.

    There will not be a substitute for diabetes control other than what the health organizations and US Hospitals and universities, such as ADA and The World Health Organization. I outlined all these steps CLEARLY in my book "Lifestyle Makeover for Diabetics" where I based my data from these respectable resources. It is written in very simple language for the average individual.

    Diabetes control is a combination of taking medications as prescribed, monitoring the various crucial parameters, lifestyle changes and losing weight by making favorable balanced food and activity choices and stress management, ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

    I hope I was able to help and all of these issues I discussed are covered much more extensively in simple format in my book mentioned below.

    Can Ovarian Cysts Rupture?

    Although ovarian cysts will develop without any symptoms and recede without any medical intervention in many women, there are potential and serious complications associated with this condition. These include ovarian cysts rupture, torsion or pressure on nearby organs. Ruptured ovarian cysts, apart from being painful may lead to other serious complications like twisting the ovary, because of its size and location. This may lead to potential infertility also. Leakage of cystic fluid into abdominal cavity may lead to sepsis or haemorrhagic complications. In the long run, a women who has experienced an ovarian cyst rupture may suffer from chronic pain syndrome.

    Ovarian cysts more than 4 cms in size, are likely to twist the ovary. Twisting, also referred to as torsion is more likely to occur if the cyst is accompanied by a tumor. The ovarian torsion restricts blood supply to the ovary causing death of the ovarian tissues, known as ovarian necrosis. Death of ovarian tissues will have effect of on your future fertility chances. Also, the inflammation caused, may lead to infection, septic shock and even death. There have been many cases of ovarian torsion leading to injury of the urinary tract as well as clotting in the ovarian blood vessels. Pulmonary emboli or blood clots in the lungs are considered secondary to blood clots in the ovarian tissues. The remedy for a twisted ovary is only an open-abdomen surgery rather than the laparoscopic method.

    Ovarian cysts rupture is often complicated by haemorrhage. Abdominal haemorrhage is different from haemorrhage from ruptured endometriomas. When endometriomas ruptures, the blood that leaks into the abdominal cavity is from the cyst itself. It has been clinically observed that the right ovary is often involved in ovarian cysts rupture and haemorrhagic complications than the left one. This is mainly because the left ovary is in part cushioned by the large bowel, preventing damage from trauma and twisting. The part of the bowel behind the right side ovary provides less cushioning support exposing the right ovary to twisting. An ovarian cyst rupture complicated by haemorrhage will require surgery to either stop bleeding or removal of the bleeding organ completely.

    A woman with a ruptured ovarian cyst may experience pain just prior to or just after the menstrual period. Other more generalized symptoms will be fever and nausea with vomiting. Women whose cyst has ruptured may experience weakness, dizziness or fainting. These symptoms are serious indications of internal bleeding. Although the symptoms of a ovarian cyst rupture are similar to those present when an ovarian cyst has not ruptured, one should not ignore these symptoms and wait for them to go away.

    Obesity Fact – 3 Causes Of Obesity

    How many causes of obesity you know? If you are the one who over-weight and trying to lose weight, then you should learn the causes of obesity so that you can be aware of it.

    Unhealthy eating combined with sustained lack of activity causes obesity. If food gives you more calories than you burn, your body turns on the storage program and puts on fat. This is the basic idea behind obesity.

    The top 3 causes of obesity

    1) Disorderly eating habit

    This is one of the top reasons for people become obese. With neither the time, nor the inclination to control the meals, it's no wonder we all get fat easily. Most people nowadays live in the sedentary lifestyle, where most trips are taken by car, as well as going to cinema instead of exercise in weekend. That's why we got our health situation out of control.

    2) Genetics

    Obesity can also be inherited from family members who suffered from it. If your family has a history of obesity, then you would do well to watch your weight. Never blame your family for this, it's your fate and let's find a way to lose the weight.

    3) Junk foods

    We all are busy in this modern life, but this does not mean that we have to visit the fast food restaurant all the time. For those who like to eat burger, did you know that a single burger is worth a whole meal? Unfortunately, your body does not judge the situation this way. Your stomach will never be filled by a regular burger thus, it will keep asking for more, despite the fact that your body does not need more burgers.

    What is the cause for you to become obese? You may have some ideas for it now. The if your lifestyle Changed it can help you to lose 's your unwanted fat , you must take care of your own health.

    Vaginal Thrush Cure – How to Cure a Vaginal Yeast Infection – Viy Aita

    Vaginitis impacts most women at one time or another. Using home remedies for yeast infection you can easily start vaginal thrush treatment. A healthy vagina normally has an acidic Ph balance and this prevents the candida organism from growing rapidly. Candida fungus is responsible for this infection. When the Ph balance gets disturbed, one or more of the microorganisms start multiplying rapidly. This results in pain, itching, discharge and irritation in the vagina.

    Click for 12 Hour Natural Cure For Yeast Infection

    The next important question that may come to mind is – how does the Ph balance get disturbed? You see this happens because of reasons like improper diet, poor lifestyle, use of antibiotics, birth control pills, sexual intercourse etc.

    You see, using home remedies for yeast infection can easily control many of the above factors. And once you know the exact methods that can help restore and maintain the ph balance in the vagina, you may not require any vaginal thrush treatment except for simple prevention steps.

    Here are some simple home remedies for yeast infection that you can start with:

    1) Since oral contraceptives or birth control pills disturb the ph balance of the vagina, avoid using these pills. You may go for other external contraceptives that are equally good.

    Click for 12 Hour Natural Cure For Yeast Infection

    2) Avoid taking antibiotics unless it is absolutely essential. Antibiotics not only kill the yeast organism, but they also destroy the good bacteria in the vagina. A good bacterium helps in maintaining proper Ph balance. Always check with your doctor about antibiotics before you take them. Following this simple rule will make vaginal thrush treatment easy.

    3) To get rid of yeast infection, your partner also needs to take treatment. Sexual intercourse can make the infection go back and forth between the partners. So make sure that both you and your partner take treatment. Alternately avoid sexual intercourse till you get cured completely.

    Following some of the above home remedies for yeast infection will be a good starting point for vaginal thrush treatment.

    Click for 12 Hour Natural Cure For Yeast Infection

    Skin Rash – A Chinese Herbal Prescription

    Skin rash is a common term used in Chinese medicine for acne, eczema and so on. It is considered a symptom only. Some cases last a few days but many will last for years. You'll never get to the roots if you use ointments or other skin applications. You must understand the characteristics of this problem: (a) The rash can spread or move from one location to another. (B) It flares up from time to time for various reasons. (C) What you eat or do can make it better or worse.

    Skin rash is deeper than what the skin shows. It's the blood that causes this as evidenced by the characteristics described above. The Chinese view points to the existence of "excess heat" in the blood, which means many things including: too much peppery / deep-fried / greasy food, too much shellfish consumed like crabs / clams / oysters, excessive toxins in the blood through eating or exposure, not enough rest, hot weather getting into you, etc.

    An effective prescription should aim to do four things:

    1) Reduce excess heat in body or blood

    Xuan Shen

    Lu Gen

    Gou Teng

    2) Cleanse toxins in blood

    Sheng Di Huang

    Bai Hua She Cao

    Huang Qin

    Zhi Mu

    3) Nourish and moisten the skin

    Mai Men Dong

    Yu Zhu

    Ze Xie

    4) Calm the liver which may be overactive

    Bai Shao

    Jin Yin Hua

    A combination of 12 herbs are recommended.

    Drink one to two cups (8 oz each) of herb tea a day. Your skin rash will not disappear overnight. Progress will show in many ways such as less frequent eruptions, less intensity when it erupts, rash areas becoming dry and new skin beginning to replace the old one. Skin rash usually take months to cure, if not years.

    You will never get better if you do not pay attention to the following:

    (A) Eat less greasy, peppery, deep-fried or barbecued food

    (B) Eat less shellfish such as crabs, clams, oysters, mussels, shrimps, etc.

    (C) Drink more water or fruit juice to moisturize your skin.

    (D) Eat more vegetables and juicy fruits.

    (E) Rest enough and avoid burning the midnight oil to calm your liver.

    This is just one formula with countless variations depending on the severity and nature of the rash, your lifestyle regarding eating and resting, and what kind of environment you are exposed to.

    Sores on Vagina From Yeast Infection

    There are many symptoms of the yeast infection and sores on vagina from yeast infection is one of the symptoms that come from yeast infections. Just as it may sound, sores on vagina from yeast infection does hurt, but there are ways to treat this yeast infection so it should not worry you.

    If you would like to treat your yeast infection and get rid of the sores on vagina from yeast infection, then there is great news for you. You do not have to pay through the nose for prescription pills or hurt your body by taking harmful medications that come with dangerous side effects.

    Instead, there are natural cures for the sores on vagina from yeast infection. This will cure your yeast infection so you no longer have the sores, and your health and well being will be much better when you know that you do not have the sores anymore.

    Not only will the natural cure remove the sores on vagina from yeast infection, but it will also remove the whole yeast infection, period. Yes that includes the sores and every other nasty symptom that comes with the yeast infection.

    Yeast infections can put you in a really bad mood. It also puts people in the state of depression. This is because it is something that bothers them and makes them feel uncomfortable. Just as anything else would, that can of course bother you. Which in result would put you in a really awful mood until the sores on your vagina went away.

    What Is Allergy? Why Does Allergy Cause Asthma?

    Asthma is a condition when the airways are inflamed leading to construction of the air passage. It is usually a chronic disease, and comes with acute exacerbation when being exposed to triggering factors.

    Asthma generally affects people of all ages. It presents with wheezing and shortness of breadth accompanied by coughing. Asthma has a very close relation to allergy. As a matter of fact, it would not be wrong to say that the two go hand in hand.

    Not all patients who are allergic may have asthma. Allergy means simple hypersensitivity. Allergy can be explained as the hypersensitive reaction of our body to any cause, or allergen. Have you ever wondered why you are allergic to certain things in the first place?

    Allergy is an immune response of our body. Normally it is a response to a very harmless substance like pollen or dust that triggers the reaction. The exposure of these factors sets onset of reaction within our blood to release histamine. Thus the release of histamine contributes to symptoms like inflammatory reaction and even constriction of the smooth muscles of the lungs. Inflammatory reaction causes swelling, and constriction causes narrowing. Can you escape asthma attack in the given pathological circumstances?

    With the airways constricted due to the, the passage of is restricted, both in and out of the lungs. Asthma patients present with the following symptoms-

    • Wheezing- this is a squeaky and whistling sound that is heard during breathing, since the airway is narrow.
    • Dyspnoea- (Also Spelt as Dyspnea) – shortness of breath, or difficulty in breathing.
    • Tightness in Chest
    • Coughing- occasionally accompanied with mucous secretion in the chest and so expectoration too.

    Sometimes, just keeping away from these allergies and its causative factor, a nebulizing and minimal medication helps resolve this temporary attack. When the attack is graver, hospitalization is better.