Can Thyroid Dysfunction Affect Obesity?

Our human body is controlled by a series of hormonal functions. N fact it can also be said that hormones are the key to maintain a vital balance of the human body. They are produced in a very minimal quantity. Any kind of disturbance to it almost halts or misguides the bodily mechanisms. They are produced by the various parts of the brain like the pituitary, hypothalamus regions. One of the most prime hormones that is of great importance is the thyroid hormone. This hormone works in conjunction with the iodine supplement, since, iodine can not be produced by the human cells, and they have to be supplemented from external source in order to keep the thyroid hormone in action.

In addition to the hormonal control by the brain, many external factors also influence the secretion of the hormones. The factors are inclusive of the diet predominantly, life style, stress conditions. They tend to alter the hormonal secretion and maintaining them well with in the limits. Excessive thyroid production can lead to hyper thyroidism and in sufficient thyroid production leads to hypo thyroidism.

Surprisingly at least 20% of the women and 10% of the men are suffering from thyroid problems. Unfortunately, the black side is that they are not aware of the fact that they have such syndromes and so fail to take treatments in the initial stage. At latter stages, the treatments become either difficult to treat or sometimes to her disgrace, can not be treated at all or might take a very long time may be years to get cured completely. In order to avoid such hazards, it is required from the individual that he has to check his hormonal levels frequently from a medical firm.

The main hormone that helps to control the body metabolisms and weight are the thyroid hormones. They in fact are the key reasons for over weight people due to hormonal problems. Treating them can bring them back to their original state. Many toxins that are produced in the body from external source try to reduce the thyroid hormone level predominantly to help them to cause further damage to the body.

Thyroid mal functions may occur due to a list of known reasons like food allergies or intolerance to gluten. Other factor also includes Selenium, zinc and fatty acids deficiencies. The lack of the pro hormone called the thyroxin and iodine can also be one of the prime reasons for the hormone dysfunction.

Initially, the individual can identify the thyroid deficiency by a list of common symptoms which include fatigue, depression, slugginess, muscle cramps, constipation, hair loss, less sexual desires and menstrual problems. In some cases water retention also occurs. Dryness of the skin is also one of the common symptoms associated with thyroid deficiency.

Fortunately there are many ways to overcome this problem and in turn help to over come the obesity. Try to eliminate any foods that are allergic towards thyroid, exercise regularly, consume high iodine rich foods, foods rich in vitamin A and vitamin D along with sufficient zinc and selenium can help to fight obesity. Medications with in active T4 and T3 hormones also help to over come the deficiency. Drink sufficient water. When all these seem to be in effective, contact a doctor for analysing the cause and cure.

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Mood Disorders – Depression

The study results conclude that mood disorder and depression are two Faces of the same coin. We can call depression as a symptom of mood disorder. Feeling of hopelessness, apathy and low energy are indications of depression. Mood disorder is also characterized by failures and rejections in ones life. It is both a psychotic and a neurotic condition.

Depression is mainly because of the consequences of life such as the death of kin etc. Most of these kinds of depression (bipolar) fade away with the time and as one takes the new situation in his / her stride. It is not for nothing that they say time is the best healer. The chronic mood disorders (unipolar), in some cases genetic, require medical attention as they can be life threatening (suicides). The unipolar mood disorders are major types and clinical attention is necessary. No amount of love from kin, positive thinking or counseling can help. Medical assistance is imperative to cure the depression spread over sessions. Lack of treatment can result in permanent behavioral disorder.

Off late is believed that depression is connected to deficiency of norepinephrine and serotonin. Drug therapy uses various antidepressants. Caution needs to be exercised in administration of drug supplements in bipolar patients. Mood disorders or depressions of unipolar type has benefited from electroconvulsive therapy.

Psychologists have argued in recent years that the depression or the mood disorder is a result of learned helplessness when a person understands his actions have been useless and looses hope. It is also found that such people are emotionally dependent on others for morale boosting.

The most determinants of mood disorder are tackled even without medication. But non-negligence and timely diagnosis (initial diagnosis need not be even at the psychiatrist's site) can result preventing physical and physiological disorders and alcoholism etc.

Fears and Phobias Defined

Phobias are the most common psychiatric illness among women of all ages, and the second most common illness among men older than 25. Phobias are thought to be caused by a combination of biological factors and life events, much in the way other disorders (such as diabetes or heart disease) are influenced by a person's genes and lifestyle. Phobias are more than extreme fear, they are irrational fear.

Phobias are the most easily treated of all psychological issues, with successful treatment being achieved in some cases within a few hours. They are seen as maladaptive learned responses which are able to be corrected by learning new ways of responding. The general symptoms of phobias include the following: Feelings of panic, dread, horror, or terror; recognition that the fear goes beyond what is considered normal and is out of proportion to the actual threat of danger; reactions that are automatic and uncontrollable, and seem to take over the person's thoughts; rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, and an overwhelming desire to escape the situation. Extreme measures are often taken to avoid the feared object or situation.

Sometimes they start in childhood for no apparent reason; sometimes they emerge after a traumatic event; and sometimes the develop from an attempt to make sense of an unexpected and intense anxiety or panic (e. Some individuals can simply avoid the subject of their fear and suffer only relatively mild anxiety over that fear. When the anxiety has gone, remind yourself that you have survived, and have not gone mad, lost control or died. When and where to seek further help If your phobias are interfering with your ability to lead a full, normal life and you do not make any progress in challenging them yourself. If you are experiencing a lot of anxiety or distress, and you seem to be feeling like this often. If you are avoiding situations that matter or if you suffer from overwhelming blushing / trembling / sweating in social situations or feel that you lack social skills, you may be more prone. Studies have also shown that the occurrence or anticipation of stressful life events, anxiety in childhood, over-protective parental behaviour and substance abuse are common among people with panic disorder.

Treatment exists to help people with phobias and panic disorder, and research into new therapies and techniques continues. During therapy, a person can slowly learn to become comfortable with the situation or object through exposure treatment or reconditioning. If the object of fear is easy to avoid, people with phobias may not feel the need to seek treatment.

Most individuals understand that they are suffering from an irrational fear, but are powerless to override their initial panic reaction. Even professional entertainers can experience cold sweat, nausea, vomiting, and light-headedness when they step out in front of an audience. Group therapy has also been successful in providing social phobics with a supportive circle of people who can empathize with their experience and serve as a significant first rebellion against the very nature of the disease.

Psychologists have categorized as many as 500 phobias, and according to the estimates of some health professionals, as many as 50 million individuals in the United States suffer from some kind of phobia.

Glossophobia, a fear of public speaking, is one of the most common of phobias and one that must be overcome by many individuals who find themselves in the position of having to make a speech to a group of people for business, professional, or educational reasons .

Phobias are in fact a fear of being afraid and demonstrate the brain's ability to learn instantly, potentially a very effective survival mechanism. If you are interested in finding out more about phobias and what you can do to relieve them, they are listed alphabetically and indexed by their definitions on the website.

Anxiety – Where Does It Come From?

Anxiety in adult life originates in the early stages of our development. It re-surfaces when long-term personal and / or organisational structures begin to disintegrate into unfamiliar forms, and the painstakingly constructed defence systems of the personality appear to be in danger of being swept away. The root cause of this feeling is not difficult to explain. All that the human organism can do entirely on its own, for the first year or so of its life, is to breathe. For the fulfilment of all other needs, it depends utterly on the goodwill of others. Although the situation improves gradually as we learn how to act for ourselves, physical development is slow, and it is not until puberty, when mental and motor skills are sufficiently developed, that our basic individual needs can begin to be satisfied without outside help. For a very long period – fifteen years, at the very least – the over-riding need of the immature human organism is to be loved. Any withdrawal of affection implies that none of its other needs is going to be met. Every child will instinctively sense this threat to its survival; it forms the foundation on which adult feelings of panic and insecurity will be built. If it can not get itself loved unconditionally it will spend most of its energy building up a personality structure strong enough to permanently protect those bits of itself that it fears will be perceived as being unacceptable.

So you can begin to understand the core function of personal resistance to the process of individual and professional change. It perpetuates the task of helping a person to cope, in a world-view of the present derived from the personal past – a world in which he or she still feels inadequate, weak and powerless. Because of the child-like feeling that we are powerless in the grip of an external environment that to a greater or lesser extent has denied our basic, authentic needs, we mutilate ourselves to fit it. Deformity is the price we pay to avoid early abandonment. This resistance to authentic self-expression, in both its psychological and physical aspects, becomes an integral part of the individual in adult life. Although its origins lie in its function of protection against an infantile threat that has long ceased to exist, these long-denied feelings continue to be unavailable to the centres of logic and reason. The resistance to change has become internalised – incorporated into our selves.

The resistant process draws heavily on the current account of energy available for day-to-day adult existence. In extreme circumstances, it manifests in the world as unco-ordinated or 'self-conscious' movement, chronic stiffness or muscular spasm, and / or as the symptoms of psychosomatic or depressive illness. More often, it shows up in an organisational context as a lack of motivation, an inability to concentrate, or as a feeling of hopelessness. The physical or psychological suffering that goes with it is directly proportionate to the amount of energy used to repress and contain the catastrophic expectations.

Insomnia – What Causes Insomnia And How Can I Treat It?

Insomnia in itself is not a disease. It is symptom of sleeplessness. Not getting proper sleep, not getting sleep immediately after retiring to bed, getting sleep but for shorter periods only, and unable to fall asleep after interruption are some of the symptoms of Insomnia.

Insomnia is divided in three main categories depending on duration of the symptoms. First among these categories is transient Insomnia which makes you sleepless for shorter period of one day to one week. Next is acute Insomnia which gives you sleepless nights for one to three weeks. Third is chronic Insomnia in which symptoms of sleeplessness continues for longer period ranging between one month to months together.

Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia is not a disease but a symptom of sleep disorders. Insomnia may be caused due to other problems apart from basic cause of brain and body relaxation like excessive intake of toxicants like caffeine, fear, medications, anxiety and stress or mental tension. Excessive physical work or pain may also cause Insomnia or sleep disorders. You may get Insomnia owing to various causes like medication, fear, mental stress, anxiety. It is very important to know the exact cause of Insomnia to treat it with suitable medication. Following guidelines will make you understand basic causes and effects of Insomnia.

o Interruption of breathing: This is termed as sleep apnea in medical terms. In this condition, you experience interruption in breathing. As a result of this interruption your sleep cycle is disturbed. This happens due to partial collapse of respiratory track muscle tone. The bigger problem about this condition is that person suffering from such condition does not remember what interrupted his sleep. However, he keeps drowsing throughout the day complaining sleeplessness. This type of Insomnia is attributable to congestive heart, sign of premature aging and cerebral vascular condition. The best way to get rid of such condition is that you must awake from the bed and resume breathing.

o The other type of Insomnia is noticed particularly in person taking frequent journeys. Your journey may have different time zones as such it becomes very difficult for you to adjust yourself with the changed sleeping habits. Your body is accustomed to a particular time schedule for sleep. Whenever there is change in this schedule you may experience symptom of sleeplessness. This cause is also applicable to people working in shifts.

o In another type of sleep disorder symptoms, person responds physically to the events he has seen in dreams. Violent behavior during sleep, nightmares and sleepwalking are examples of such responses.

o You may experience other symptoms like awaking in night due to unpleasant sensations. This sensation occurs due to flowing of acids upwards from stomach. This condition is termed as gastro-esophageal reflex.

Insomnia can be also caused by some other factors like dietary allergy, emotional upheaval, side effects of medications, physical or mental stress, depression etc. Early detection of causes will help your doctor in deciding line of treatment and provide you early relief from Insomnia.

Treatment of Insomnia

Sleeping medicines / sedatives can provide you required amount of sleep and help you in getting relief from Insomnia. You can also try herbal medicines such as chamomile, hops, valerian and lavender. Marijuana plant (scientifically known as cannabis sativa) also gives good results in inducing sleep. However, this herbal medicine, cannabis sativa, has been banned by many governments for use in treating Insomnia.

You can try following home remedies to get some relief from Insomnia:

o Drink warm milk before going to bed. Tryptophan present in the milk works as natural sedative and helps you in getting sleep.

o Exercise regularly. This will relax your body muscles and may give you relief from sleeplessness.

o You can try diet control method – having heavy lunch and maintaining three hours gap between dinner and bed time.

o Avoid mental stress, phobia, worrying while retiring to bed.

o Cultivate habit of getting up early and retiring to bed at decided time.

o Your sleep depends upon the relaxation your body and mind gets. Meditation may help you to get required relaxation and gain sleep.

o Use of oils (aromatherapy) for relaxing muscles may result in restfulness and inducing sleep.

However, it may be noted that above remedies do not have proven results but are based on the experiences of Insomniacs. These results may vary from individual to individual.

You may try other therapies like acupuncture for treating Insomnia. The best remedy will be the one prescribed by your health provider.

Ingrown Nails Got You Hanging?

If you have an ingrown toenail, you can relate when I say the pain and discomfort is beyond aggravating. Trying to find comfortable shoes is sometime impossible. But what do you do about an ingrown toenail? Do you try to cut it out with a toenail clipper? Will it be there forever?

Some people are scared to seek medical attention because they think they will have to get their nail removed. Though sometimes this is necessary, it is rare that it one will have to lose their entire nail. An ingrown toenail is a nail that digs into the skin and cause pain, swelling, redness, and sometimes infections. It can be cause by genetics, trauma, or improper trimming. Stubbing your toe or dropping an object on your toe may result in an ingrown toenail.

Many people cut their nails too short. This encourages the skin to surround the nail and the nail can then pinch the close confiding skin. When you first notice the problem, there are some at home treatments to reduce the inflammation and pain. Soaking your foot in lukewarm water with Epson salt may reduce some of the symptoms. Wearing wider shoes that decreases the pressure applied to the area will also help with the pain.

It is highly discouraged to try to remove the ingrown portion of the nail yourself. Continuously cutting the nail inappropriately will worsen the condition. These areas are highly susceptible to infection. Thus at-home surgeries of the nail can be very dangerous.

If you continuously feel discomfort from your toenail, it is recommended to see a foot and ankle doctor, also referred to as a podiatrist. A podiatric physician can do a simple in office procedure to remove the offending nail border. The nail will continuously grow to be ingrown unless the matrix or the root of the nail is destroyed. When only the outside border is causing problems, the doctor can remove that portion of the nail and only kill the root of that area of ​​the nail. Thus you will still have a nail but a small portion will be removed and will not grow back.

Those concerned with cosmetics will be happy to know that the removal of the border of a nail often goes unnoticed by others when the condition is minor. If there is a serious infection present, the root of the nail will not be killed due to the reaction of the chemicals used with the infectious tissue. The nail boarder is removed and the injury is allowed to heal until the tissue is healthy to undergo chemical insult. Though some need to undergo more invasive surgeries to remove the matrix, most have their problems solved by a simple 15 minute visit to the doctor.

The most important thing to do is to keep your hands off your toenails. Do not try to pick at it or cut it because a small problem can become a big problem if you do not remove of it correctly.

Fingernail Fungus Picture

Many people try to confirm their fears of nail fungus infection by comparing their nails to a fingernail fungus picture. While it can be very useful to do this, it is also somewhat dangerous: a photograph does not tell the whole story and other types of nail disease can look similar enough to nail fungus to cause considerable confusion. The best course of action is to have an unhealthy nail examined by a physician.

A physician brings years of experience and medical training to the task of diagnosing infections. He or she also knows something about other nail disorders that give a fingernail fungus picture, but are caused by something else. A physician can take samples and order laboratory tests to get the diagnosis confirmed, or refer you to a specialist if necessary. Your physician may well have pictures of fingernail fungus and other nail disorders that you can study and compare with his or her guidance.

Keeping in mind that a visit to your physician will provide you with information and resources that a fingernail fungus picture never can, you will find many excellent pictures of fingernail fungus on the internet just by typing "nail fungus photo" in the Google search bar. A good site to visit is the Hardin library for Health Sciences at []. Try to find photographs of other nail disorders as well, for comparison. (You should be able to find these at the Hardin Library as well.)

The fungi that cause nail infection break down the nail and sometimes spread to surrounding skin. When the skin is damaged by spreading fungus infection, or by other causes, the risk of other organisms, such as harmful bacteria, invading is also increased (think of any break in the skin and the necessity of keeping it clean so that it doesn ' t become infected). Even if invading bacteria are not causing a problem, they can change the fingernail fungus picture. Pseudomonas, for example, a bacteria that often colonizes nails, produces a green color, instead of the typical green or black of fungus. Stock pictures of fingernail fungus are unlikely to show such a combination.

So when it comes to pictures of fingernail fungus, a picture may speak a thousand words but it does not always speak the truth. Nail diseases can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. If you want to get rid of the problem in the least possible amount of time, do not rely on a fingernail fungus picture to tell you what is wrong. See your physician and get a proper diagnosis.

The Trapezius Muscle: A Cause of Upper Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain

The lower back gets a lot of attention as one of the leading causes of missed work days, disability and hospital visits per year. Although not as pervasive, upper back, neck and shoulder pain can be just as disruptive as lower back pain.

While sometimes a joint problem is responsible, the most common cause of pain in the neck, upper back and shoulder is muscular. There are a number of muscles in the upper back, the trapezius being the largest. It is triangular, stretching from the mid-spine up to the base of the skull and over to the scapula. Its unique shape makes it responsible for a variety of actions, including tilting the head, supporting the upper body, stabilizing the shoulder joints and serving as a base for arm movements. Since it is located in the neck, shoulder and upper back, the trapezius is a likely culprit for pain in these regions.

If you have injured your trapezius muscle, a number of movements will be painful, including shrugging your shoulders, rotating your shoulders and moving your neck. There are two common causes of neck, back and shoulder pain associated with the trapezius muscle.


Overuse injuries can occur to any part of the body. They are caused by repetitive motions that tax muscles, ligaments and tendons without giving them adequate rest time in between actions. Even light repetitive use of the trapezius can cause an overuse injury. If your job or other activities demand constant movement of a shoulder, the muscle will be contracting frequently without sufficient time to rest between contractions. Rest time is essential, since blood flow depends on a contraction/relaxation cycle. When a muscle becomes chronically tense due to overuse, it does not receive ample amounts of fresh nutrients and oxygen from blood. Chronically tense muscles can develop knots called trigger points that make it even hard for a muscle to relax.

The trapezius can suffer an overuse injury if you use a computer with a mouse throughout the day. Holding a phone between your head and shoulder is another way the muscle becomes chronically tight. If your upper back, neck and shoulder hurt on one side of your body, it is likely that something you do with that side of your body is causing an overuse injury. Being creative about your work station can resolve these types of injuries. For example, using a mouse with a roller ball or investing in a headset or ear bud for your phone would allow the muscle to relax.

You will need to undo the damage done to your trapezius by forcing it to relax. This can be done by self-myofascial release (SMR), trigger point massage or deep tissue massage. See the video at to learn more about SMR for your trapezius.

Postural Dysfunction

We’ve all been told as children to sit up straight, but how many of us practice proper posture at work, at home or on the road? The human body is not designed for prolonged sitting, yet modern life often encourages and demands it. Unless you have a very strong core and pay constant attention to your posture, you likely end up slouching part way through the day. This position entails hunched shoulder and a forward head.

Consider what happens to the muscles in the chest when held in this position. The pectoral muscles in the chest and the teres muscles in the armpit at the bottom of the shoulder blade are tight and shortened. Eventually, muscle memory develops to automatically tighten these muscles. Their shortened length and tension exert a pull on structures surrounding them, including the trapezius. The trapezius lengthens and weakens, and this tug-of-war further encourages stooped posture.

Overstretched muscles suffer tears that can cause pain. These muscles also react by attempting to tighten; this is to protect themselves from further tearing. An overstretched trapezius overworks to prevent further stretching, while it fails to perform its intended job of upper back and shoulder stability. Pain can be felt throughout the length of an overstretched trapezius.

Restoring proper length and strength to your muscle means relaxing the pectoral and teres muscles, then conditioning the upper back. SMR can be used on the chest muscles. You can stretch the pectorals by clasping your hands behind your back and pulling away from the body. The teres group may be stretched by lifting your arm above your head and bending to the opposite side. See for trapezius conditioning exercises.

Once balance has been restored to your upper body muscles, you can practice proper posture and prevent upper back pain from recurring.

Neck, shoulder and upper back pain are commonly caused by muscular problems related to overuse or posture. If your imbalance or injury is severe, you may need the assistance of a physical therapist. Otherwise, you can likely resolve the pain on your own with a little knowledge and motivation.

Home Remedies For Bruising – Natural Treatment to Treat Skin Injury

Bruises are the skin injury which occurs on your soft skin tissue. It occurs when tiny blood vessels are harmed due to a bump. Medically bruises are known as contusion. In this condition blood vessels are damaged and leave behind a black or blue mark. Usually among the kids it is very common phenomenon. Usually bruise is an injury to the tissue under the skin.

Bruises are caused during a rigorous exercise session especially among the athletes or weight lifters. It is also caused due to bumping and banging against something. The bruises among the elder people occur easily due to the fragile condition of the skin. Some unexplained bruises are caused due to a fall or getting hit during some sports activities.

The major symptoms of bruises are reddish color which afterwards changes to blue or purple in a short span of time. When the bruises turn to yellow or green then it takes few days to heal completely. Sometimes without having contact with any object bruises arise on the body leaving black and blue mark. Some individuals especially women are more susceptible to bruising. It increases with the growing age also.

Bruises disappear eventually over time when our body will reabsorb the blood which is associated with the bruise. If someone is interested for speedy recovery of the bruises or want instant relief then you may consider some of the home remedies for bruising.

1. To encourage speedy healing of the bruise you can soak a piece of cotton gauze in apple cider or white vinegar and then apply it on the affected skin for at least one hour. It is an effective remedy for bruise.

2. Intake of vitamin K is very helpful in reducing the problem of bruises. You must take vitamin K supplement to encourage the clotting of the blood. You can also take alfalfa as a substitute of vitamin K.

3. You can apply cold water to reduce the pain and it also subsides the swelling on the area.

4. You can also apply crushed parsley to the bruises. It is having great healing properties. It provides therapeutic relief to blue and black marks.

5. Tea is also very effective in reducing the problem of bruises. It not only reduces the pain of the bruises but also lessen the appearance of a bruise. You have to soak a cloth in comfrey tea and apply over the affected area.

Canine Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a clinical condition which is the final result of severe heart disease. It is usual that when a dog has heart failure, heart disease is also present in the body. However, it is true that in some cases, heart disease can be present, but never lead to congestive heart disease.

When high diastolic pressures in the heart build up into the veins and capillaries, then congestive heart failure can occur, which in turn causes a leakage of fluid out of those vessels.

Heart failure is the end result of many different cardiac and pericardial diseases. These include:

• Decreased myocardial contractibility. This is a weak heart muscle, which is commonly seen with dilated cardiomyopathy.

• Valvular regurgitation. This is a leak in one of the four heart valves, as seen with mitral and tricuspid regurgitation.

• Increased myocardial stiffness, which impairs the heart’s ability to fill with blood.

In the beginning, the signs of congestive heart failure can be quite mild and difficult to see. However the symptoms can become more severe in a short space of time. Some of the symptoms to look for are:

• Lack of energy – the dog becomes much less active and tires quickly during the later stages of congestive heart failure;

• Poor appetite;

• Weight loss;

• Heavy breathing – the dog can show signs of difficulty in breathing, panting and coughing whilst resting;

• Coughing;

• Swollen abdomen – the dogs’ stomach can enlarge as fluid accumulates in the liver and abdomen; and

• Change of mouth color – the color of the membranes of the mouth can be grayish rather than being a healthy pink color.

The first thing that is needs to be done though, is to manage the clinical signs of congestive heart failure by reducing the formation of edema and effusion and to increase the cardiac output, which is the delivery of blood to the tissues.

There are a wide variety of treatments available for Congestive Heart Failure, depending on the severity of the condition.

One of the most popular drugs used for this disease is Digitalis. This is a medication which belongs to a group called positive inotropic agents which help to increase the concentration of calcium in the heart muscle cells.

Diuretics are also another well known drug used for dogs with this condition. These drugs help to remove built up fluids that occur in the lungs and abdomen.

Monitor your dogs attitude and any changes in appearance when you spend time with your friend. It is essential to keep a diary of anything that varies from “the norm” so that you can show it to your vet. Check your dog on a daily basis for:

– breathing, see if it is heavy or labored;
– loss or reduction of appetite;
– restlessness;
– fainting; and
– profound lethargy.

However, it is important to remember, that canine congestive heart failure is a major disease and it is a necessity to have regular visits to your veterinarian to ensure that your dogs’ needs are being met.

Runner’s Health – What Is Piriformis Syndrome?

Not too many people know this, but I used to run on my high school’s track team. I wasn’t very good at it, so there’s really nothing to brag about. But the running was still good exercise. However it did come with a price.

Sure, I’d get a case of shin splints now and then, but the real killer for me was Piriformis Syndrome.

It came on fast and hard! Like a sharp and stabbing pain in my hip or buttocks. And first, I was convinced that it was a stress fracture, and I was afraid to see a doctor because I didn’t want to spend months in a cast. But after the pain just got worse and worse over the next few days, I figured I should seek out help.

The sports medicine doctor I saw tested the muscle strength in my legs asked me a few questions. Eventually he explained to me that I had Piriformis Syndrome.

There is a small muscle in your pelvis called the Piriformis that connects your leg to your hips. The Piriformis is responsible for the external rotation of your legs and helping you keep your balance while you’re moving (kind of important for runners).

But when this muscle becomes over worked, such as from a strenuous training, it can begin to spasm or become too tense. When this happens the Piriformis can begin to irritate the sciatic nerve, which runs right underneath it.

This is where all the pain starts. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back all the way down to your feet. Symptoms of an agitated sciatic nerve could be pain, numbness, or tingling anywhere from the lower back down to your toes. However, the most common symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome is pain in your buttocks.

I was relieved that I didn’t have a stress fracture. In fact, my problem was a lot simpler. The doctor gave me a few simple stretches to do every day and he told me to take some painkillers to help with inflammation.

It was sometimes difficult to find the time to do the stretches everyday, but I knew if I didn’t do them the pain would continue.

The best stretch I’ve found for Piriformis Syndrome is quite simple. The Piriformis is very deep in your buttocks, so it is difficult to stretch. But here is an easy one you can do at home.

Simply sit on the floor with both of your legs in front of you and your knees bent. Then cross your right leg over your left knee and pull your right knee toward your chest. You will feel a stretch in your right buttocks. This is your Piriformis muscle stretching on your right side. Hold this stretch for about 5 minutes or however long feels good to you.

After a few weeks, at the most, you will have relieved the tension in your Piriformis muscle and your pain should go away. If you ever start to feel that pain creeping back in, just do this stretch again from time to time.

The Juices of Digestion

When food reaches the small intestine and has been reduced by the action of chewing and digestion, it becomes "chyme". Chyme entering into the duodenum from the stomach is very acidic and contains a concentration of hydrochloric acid and enzymes which are required to further reduce the larger molecules so that absorption becomes easier and faster.

The small intestine secretions contain bicarbonate, an alkaline substance which makes for a neutralization of the stomach acid. Special cells in the intestinal wall secrete these substances and are combined with juices flowing from the ball bladder (bile) and pancreatic juices which flow by way of the pancreatic duct into the duodenum.

Bile salts which are produced in the liver and stored in the gall bladder act like a detergent to emulsify the fatty acids and glycerides, making very small particles to be absorbed into the intestinal walls. By way of hormonal secretions, the small intestine is able to control the digestive processes.

How Absorption is Facilitated

The marvelous construction of the small intestine allows for efficient nutrient absorption. A large inner surface area is provided by the accordion-like folds of the intestinal wall. Lining the wall are finger-like structures called villi.

Villi project into the interior from all directions and the average adult has a small intestinal area of ​​approximately 200 square feet. The small molecular particles of the broken down food are able to pass into the cells lining the villi and are taken up by the tiny blood capillaries and eventually find their way into the hepatic portal vein where they are carried to the liver and reduced even further. From the liver, digested food substances are delivered to cells in the body that support life-sustaining body systems.

Marfan Syndrome – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

The Marfan syndrome is a connective tissue disorder. It can affect the heart, blood vessels, lungs, eyes, bones and ligaments. The disease is fully penetrant with marked interfamilial and intrafamilial variability. The disease may also affect numerous other structures and organs- including the lungs, eyes, heart, blood vessels, dural sac surrounding the spinal cord, and hard palate. The disorder results from molecular defects in the fibrillin gene that are responsible for the impaired structural integrity of the skeletal, ocular, and cardiovascular systems. However, up to 30% of cases have no family history and are so-called “sporadic” cases. Symptoms of Marfan syndrome may be mild or severe, and may be present at birth or appear in childhood or in adult life. In sporadic cases, Marfan syndrome is believed to result from a spontaneous new mutation. Cardinal features of the disorder include tall stature, ectopia lentis, mitral-valve prolapse, aortic-root dilatation, and aortic dissection. It is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. The disease is characterized by unusually long limbs, and is believed to have affected Abraham Lincoln.

The Marfan syndrome is inherited and affects many parts of the body. The disorder affects males and females from all racial and ethnic groups. The most significant of the defects in the syndrome are cardiovascular abnormalities, which may include enlargement (dilatation) of the base of the aorta (aortic root), with aortic regurgitation, and prolapse of the mitral valve. Marfan syndrome is associated with incomplete penetrance, therefore not all persons carrying the mutation develop the disease. It is one of the most common of the more than 100 inherited disorders of connective tissue (material that holds tissues of the body together). The primary purpose of connective tissue is to hold the body together and provide a framework for growth and development. In Marfan syndrome, the connective tissue is defective and does not act as it should. It is estimated that at least 1 in 5,000 people in the United States have the disorder. Beta blockers have been used to control some of the cardiovascular symptoms of Marfan syndrome; however, they are not effective against the skeletal and ocular problems, which can also be serious.

Causes of Marfan syndrome

The common causes and risk factor’s of Marfan syndrome include the following:

Marfan syndrome is caused by mutations in the gene fibrillin-1. Fibrillin-1 plays an important role as the scaffolding for elastic tissue in the body.

Having a parent with the disorder.

Mutations in fibrillin-1 also cause overgrowth of the long bones of the body, resulting in the tall stature and long limbs seen in Marfan patients.

Sometimes a new gene defect occurs during the formation of sperm or egg cells, but two unaffected parents have only a 1 in 10,000 chance of having a child with Marfan syndrome.

Symptoms of Marfan syndrome

Some sign and symptoms related to Marfan syndrome are as follows:

A high, arched palate and crowded teeth.

Long, lanky frame.

Armspan significantly greater than body height.

Micrognathia (small lower jaw).

Coloboma of iris.

Indented or protruding breastbone.

Long, spidery fingers (arachnodactyly).

Joint pain – some people experience joint pain.

Family history of Marfan syndrome.

Treatment of Marfan syndrome

Here is list of the methods for treating Marfan syndrome:

Medications: Beta blockers (for heart problems) reduce strain on the aorta and heart valves by lowering blood pressure and decreasing the force of heart beats. NSAIDs to relieve joint pain.

Eye (ophthalmic) examinations are also recommended to monitor the function of the eyes. Glasses or contact lenses may be prescribed.

Removable back brace – doctor may prescribe a brace to stabilize the spine.

Anticoagulant medications such as warfarin are needed after artificial heart-valve placement.

Physiotherapy, and sometimes surgery, can prove useful where Marfan syndrome affects the skeleton.

In those people who are unable to take beta-blockers due to asthma or side-effects, a calcium channel blocker, such as verapamil, is recommended.

Psychological counseling is helpful for families coping with feelings of denial, anger, blame, depression, or guilt.

Colon Cleansing and Disease Prevention

Colon cancer has become the deadliest cancer in the United States. This is an especially striking phenomenon because proper colon health is something we can all practice and is neither expensive or time consuming. These are some of the most common diseases of the colon.

Diseases of the colon include colitis, colon cancer, constipation, diverticulosis diarrhea, and dysbiosis.

Colitis is a chronic digestive disease which is characterized by an inflammation of the colon affecting the tissues that line the gastrointestinal system. Treatment can include antibiotics, or other drugs to lower the inflammation. Extreme cases require surgical removal of the colon and bowel leaving a 'pouch' with part of the small intestine which performs the functions of the colon.

Colon cancer has become one of the largest killers in the US surpassing lung cancer and breast cancer in fatalities per year. It can take years to develop and early detection greatly improves chances of recovery. If caught early enough, cancerous polyps can simply be removed, the more advanced the tumors are, the more invasive and dangerous the procedures.

Constipation is responsible for at least $ 500 million dollar in sales of laxatives in the US Simply increasing the amount of fiber consumed on a regular basis has proven to be an effective treatment for chronic constipation.

Diverticular disease relates to the diverticula which are small sacs formed by areas of weakness on the colon wall. Only about 20% of people with diverticulosis (the presence of diverticula) develop diverticulitis, a condition of inflamed, perforated or impacted diverticula. As with constipation, a high fiber diet is recommended. Antibiotics may be needed in severe cases.

Diarrhea is sometimes considered a laughing matter but it can be extremely serious. It is often a symptom of a more serious disease like dysentery, cholera, botulism and Crohn's disease. For most cases, however, consuming adequate water to replace that which is lost (in addition to some electrolytes to replace salts and nutrients) will treat the condition. However, diarrhea in infants and children or if blood is present, medical supervision is required. Also, dangerous are cases that last over 48 hours or are associated with abdominal pain, weight loss or fever.

Dysbiosis refers to the dysfunction of the bacterial flora in the gastrointestinal tract. There are almost ten times as many bacteria in the human gut as there are cells in the rest of the body. If one or more of them begin acting in a parasitic manner, severe problems can erupt in the digestive tract. Major causes of dysbiosis include dietary stresses, malabsorption, increased general stress, intestinal infections and altered pH.

Menstruation Disorders – Dysmenorrhea – Blood Deficiency Tonic Herbs in a TCM Perspective

All women experience an irregular period sometimes during their child bearing years, before menopause. While Western medication has never viewed irregular menstruation as a problem of the women's reproductive system, traditional Chinese medicine looks at this problem seriously that if untreated it will disharmonize the women's ecosystem, leading to nervous tension and other health problems, including infertility.

Blood deficiency in dysmenorrhrea can be defined as a vague pain in the lower abdomen during or 1-2 days after menstruation. It may be caused by the liver's inability in blood formation, and / or the kidney and lung qi's inability to transport blood to the heart.

1. He shou wu (fleeceflower root)
He shou wu is a liver tonic herb. It promotes liver function in blood formation and increases the kidney qi in assisting the liver in transporting blood to the heart for circulation, thereby reducing the blood stagnation causes of deficiency. It also improves the kidney in urinary secretion, thus decreasing the risk of blood stagnation caused by fluid retention.

2. Shu Di Huang (Chinese foxglove root)
Shu di huang is a blood tonic herb. Besides improving the liver in blood formation, it also increases the liver's qi by boosting the circulatory system in transporting oxygen and nutrients to the body's cells thus reducing the risks of symptoms of dizziness, pallid complexion, palpitations, and scanty menstruation.

3. E Jiao (Donkey-Hide Glue)
E jiao is an important herb for improving the liver in blood formation and liver qi in regulating the blood circulation in the body thereby reducing the symptoms of dizziness, shallow complexion, and palpitations caused by blood deficiency.

4. Dang gui (Chinese angelica root)
Dang gui is best known for improving the liver's function in blood formation and regulating the function of the reproductive organs. It also harmonizes the production of hormones during the menstrual cycle, leading to reduced cramps and pain caused by blood deficiency and stagnation.

5. Bai shao (white peony root)
Bai shao plays an important role in nourishing the blood and regulatingmenstrual problems caused by blood deficiency. It also harmonizes the liver and spleen to prevent the rising of blood heat causes of headache and dizziness.

There are many more Chinese herbs that help to treat blood deficiency, make sure to work with your Chinese practitioner to find the underlining causes and to treat them effectively.