Yeast Infection- Treating Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is the occurrence of white lesions inside the mouth including the tongue, inner cheeks and throat. The lesions may cause pains and difficulty swallowing. If not treated the infection may spread down to your esophagus causing more serious health issues. Before it becomes a chronic problem, you need to know the effective ways of treating oral thrush.

Oral thrush is one of the most common yeast infections suffered by most people. The Candida fungus which is normally present in our body is responsible for the occurrence of the infection. The fungus thrives in wet warm areas of the body like the mouth or oral cavity. When the balance around the oral cavity environment is disturbed, the fungus grows faster causing oral yeast infection. Treating oral thrush as early as possible is important to avoid other health concerns.

People who wear dentures are prone to oral thrush. The infection is also common to newborn babies. People who are taking antibiotics and those who have weak immune system are all at risk to oral thrush.

Here are some tips in treating oral thrush:

It is important that you seek medical or professional advice in treating oral thrush. Laboratory tests and analysis will be helpful to know the severity of your infection.
Stop the growth of Candida by starving the fungus. Sugar feeds the fungus so avoid sugar or sweetened foods. You should also avoid foods with yeast like bread, beer, etc. Eating raw garlic or garlic capsule can help stop the growth of the fungus because garlic has antifungal properties.

Good oral hygiene. It is important to have a good oral hygiene in treating oral thrush. Brush your teeth after meals and floss once a day. If you are smoking, this is the time to learn to quit smoking.

Antifungal medicines.  There are over the counter and prescription antifungal medicines in treating oral thrush. There are many types of antifungal medicines like creams, medicines taken by mouth and injections.

Improve your immune system. As mentioned above, those people with weak immune system are highly at risk to the infection. Boost your immune system by avoiding stress, getting enough sleep and eating the right kind of food.

Natural remedies. Natural remedies are gaining popularity now because they are safe, effective and inexpensive. If you have tried almost everything in treating oral thrush but failed to get rid of the infection for good then natural remedies is another option.

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Hepatitis Contagion in a Public Bathroom

For many people, the thought of using a public bathroom can be distressing and uncomfortable – and with good reason. Public bathrooms have a reputation for being one of the easiest places to pick up unwanted germs and viruses, and viral hepatitis is just one of many viruses to be aware of. Although there are valid reasons for concern, understanding how the virus is transmitted as well as learning how to take preventative measures may help ease your worries.

The three most common types of hepatitis are A, B and C. Fortunately there are vaccines to help prevent the transmission of Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. But a vaccine for Hepatitis C has yet to be discovered. Hepatitis A is spread through the fecal/oral route. This can be relatively easy to avoid by making sure you wash your hands thoroughly and properly with soap and warm water. Hepatitis B, for the most part, is transmitted through blood contact but has been found in other bodily fluids like sweat and saliva. The odds of contracting Hepatitis B while using a public bathroom are very slim considering that you would have to have open cuts on your body that were exposed directly to the virus from the toilet seat, door handles, etc. Lastly, Hepatitis C is only transmitted from blood to blood contact. It is next to impossible to contract or spread HCV by using public bathroom facilities.

Making a point to wash your hands after using the restroom as well as before you eat are always good habits to keep. This will help to prevent the spread of many illnesses as well as viral hepatitis. The more we know about the transmission of the virus the more we realize that there is very little reason to be concerned about transmitting the virus in a public bathroom.

Learn more about viral hepatitis today.

What is Ascites?

Ascites is the presence of excess fluid in the peritoneal cavity. It is a common clinical finding with a wide range of causes, but develops most frequently as a part of the decompensation of previously asymptomatic chronic liver disease. The symptoms of ascites vary from patient to patient and depend largely on the quantity of fluid. If trace ascites is present, the patient may be asymptomatic, and fluid is detected only on physical or radiologic examination. If a large amount of fluid is present, the patient may complain of abdominal fullness, early satiety, abdominal pain, or shortness of breath.

Ascites is detected on physical examination of the abdomen by visible bulging of the flanks in the reclining patient (“flank bulging”), “shifting dullness” (difference in percussion note in the flanks that shifts when the patient is turned on the side) or in massive ascites with a “fluid thrill” or “fluid wave” (tapping or pushing on one side will generate a wave-like effect through the fluid that can be felt in the opposite side of the abdomen).

Rapidly developing (acute) ascites can occur as a complication of trauma, perforated ulcer, appendicitis, or inflammation of the colon or other tube-shaped organ (diverticulitis). This condition can also develop when intestinal fluids, bile, pancreatic juices, or bacteria invade or inflame the smooth, transparent membrane that lines the inside of the abdomen (peritoneum). However, ascites is more often associated with liver disease and other long-lasting (chronic) conditions.

Ascitic fluid is derived from the vascular compartment subserving the hepatosplanchnic viscera. Two factors are important in the formation of ascites: an increased total body sodium and water, and increased sinusoidal portal pressure. In cirrhosis, hepatic dysfunction and sinusoidal portal pressure probably both send a message to the kidney to retain excess sodium and fluid, while the portal hypertension serves to localize excess fluid to the peritoneal cavity rather than the periphery.

The ascitic tube (drain) is usually inserted by a doctor and the procedure can be done at the bedside in the ward or in the outpatients clinic. Sometimes the drain may be inserted in the ultrasound department whilst scanning the abdomen. This helps the doctor find exactly where to put the drain, especially if the fluid appears to be in small pockets and cannot be drained all at once. You will be asked to lie on the bed while the skin in the area where the drain is to be inserted is cleaned with an antiseptic solution, which prevents it from becoming infected.

Many patients remain asymptomatic until decompensation occurs. Lack of symptoms and minor liver enzyme elevations are typical of HCV infection and cannot be taken as evidence of lack of progression. HCV RNA testing confirms the diagnosis. Liver biopsy helps assess disease activity and stage the severity of fibrosis and is recommended for most patients with hepatitis C. Once this information is obtained, a rational program for treatment and monitoring can be planned.

Nonspecific abdominal discomfort and dyspnea may occur with massive ascites, but lesser amounts are usually asymptomatic. The diagnosis is made clinically by detecting shifting dullness on abdominal percussion, though US or CT scan can detect much smaller amounts of fluid. In advanced cases the belly is taut, the umbilicus is flat or everted, and a fluid wave can be elicited. Differentiation from obesity, gaseous distention, pregnancy, or ovarian tumors and other intra-abdominal masses usually is easily made by clinical examination, but scanning techniques or diagnostic paracentesis may occasionally be required.

Uric Acid and Kidney Stones – Foods and Risk Factors Involved

Uric acid is one of the causes of kidney stones. Waste materials in the body if not completely dissolved in the urine will crystallize, hence, uric acid becomes kidney stones (calculi).

Hardened mineral deposits like uric acid, calcium oxalate, to name some, form in the kidney resulting to kidney stones. This has a medical term of nephrolithiasis or renal stone disease.

The kidney stones from the kidney if transferred to the bladder will cause pain in the lower back and branch out in the groin. A lodged stone in the flow of urine can cause pressure in the ureter and kidney resulting to severe pain.

Uric acid stones are also attributable to genetic factors. They account for 10% of patients whose parents have suffered the same disease. Luckily, this type of kidney stones can be dissolved with medication like sodium bicarbonate and potassium citrate.

Men are susceptible to this and uric acid stones account for 5 to 10 percent of all kidney stones.
Likewise, those who live in areas like gulfs and lakes have a high tendency of contacting renal stone disease.

In order to avoid possible kidney stones, one should also refrain from eating foods high in sodium, sugar, meat, fats, vegetable protein, unrefined carbohydrates, and potassium.

Moreover, increase your water consumption and avoid being dehydrated when performing daily routine exercises. It is also good to know food groups that are acidic and causes alkaline imbalances.

Aside from diet making the most important role in the formation of kidney stones, the following are also risk factors:

1. Arthritis- Inflammation in the joint area.

2. Colitis- The colon is inflamed that results to dehydration, diarrhea and chemical imbalance in the body.

3. Gout- There is so much uric acid in the blood resulting to high urinary uric acid levels.

4. Hypertension or High blood pressure.

5. Hyperparathyroidism- There is calcium loss in the bone brought about by excessive parathyroid hormone.

6. Medullary sponge kidney- A congenital kidney defect often linked to low urinary citrate levels, increased urinary calcium loss and urinary tract infections.

7. Renal tubular acidosis- This is inherited wherein the kidney cannot excrete acid.

If you experience symptoms of kidney stones like lower back pain, painful urination, urinary urgency or blood in the urine, visit a urologist or other healthcare professional.

When visiting your doctor for possible kidney stones treatment, make it a point to work with him for a successful treatment of uric acid kidney stones.

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Remedies For Foreign Objects Stuck In Throat

Throat obstructions due to swallowing of objects is a problem more common among children, though such instances do occur in adults as well. It may get stuck in your throat due to many unknown reasons. Children have a tendency to put everything in their mouth like small toys, coins, safety pins, buttons, bones, wood, glass, batteries or any other foreign objects. It takes 24 to 48 hours for the object to reach the digestive tract. But if the object gets stuck for a long time it can damage or tear the esophagus and cause infection.

– The most common places for objects to get stuck are

– On the same level of the collarbones (clavicles) – Center of the chest
– Near the bottom of the rib cage

– Some symptoms to notice

– Gagging
– High-pitched breathing
– Difficulty and pain while swallowing
– Vomiting
– Avoiding solid foods
– Increased drooling
– Pain in the neck, chest or abdomen
– Inability to speak
– Bluish skin color

– Some Causes of Choking

– Eating too fast without chewing can – Intoxication by alcohol
– In an unconscious state by inhaling certain materials
– Head or face injury (swelling or blood can cause choking)

– Tips to remember

-Try not to panic
-Do not make your child vomit
-Try to think positive and do not assume that surgery is the only option
-Do not remove the object if stuck in the chest instead cover the object with padding. Put a tape around the padding so to avoid any movement. Avoid any vigorous jerks.

– Home Remedies

Clear your throat by drinking liquids or swallowing bread. This may take approximately 30 to 60 minutes to work. If it does not work try other options or consult your doctor.

You can try the Heimlich maneuver. Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around his/her waist. Make a fist with one hand and place the thumb side of your fist just above the person’s navel, well below the breastbone. Grasp the fist with your other hand and make a quick, upward and inward thrust with your fist. Continue this till the object is removed.

For obese or pregnant people, wrap your arms around the person’s chest. Place your fist on the middle of the breastbone and make firm backwards thrusts.

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

Information on Botulism-causes of Food Poisoning

Botulism occurs worldwide and affects more adults than children. Recently, findings have shown that an infant’s GI tract can become colonized with C. botulinum from some unknown source, and then the exotoxin is produced within the infant’s intestine. Incidence had been declining, but the current trend toward home canning has resulted in an upswing in recent years. Wound botulism occurs when open areas are infected with C. botulinum that secretes the toxin.

Clostridium botulinum:

Clostridium botulinum is the name of a group of bacteria commonly found in soil. These rod-shaped organisms grow best in low oxygen conditions. The bacteria form spores which allow them to survive in a dormant state until exposed to conditions that can support their growth.

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are three main kinds of botulism. Foodborne botulism is caused by eating foods that contain the botulism toxin. Wound botulism is caused by toxin produced from a wound infected with Clostridium botulinum.

The bacteria and spores themselves are harmless; the dangerous substance is the toxin the bacteria produce when they grow. These bacteria produce seven types of botulism toxin, designated by the letters A through G. However, only types A, B, E, and F cause botulism in humans. Botulinum toxin is the most poisonous substance known to exist.

In humans, botulinum toxin latches onto specific proteins in nerve endings and irreversibly destroys them. These proteins control the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates muscle cells. With acetylcholine release blocked, nerves are not able to stimulate muscles. Ironically, botulinum toxin has found a beneficial niche in the world of medicine due to this action.

How is Botulism Transmitted?

Cases of foodborne botulism often come from home-canned foods with low acid content, such as asparagus, green beans, beets, and corn. Clostridium botulinum bacteria is anaerobic, which means it can survive and grow with little or no oxygen. Therefore, it can survive very well in sealed containers.

Symptoms of botulism:

Symptoms of botulism can begin from six hours to 10 days after ingestion. However, the average length of time is 18 to 36 hours. The symptoms include include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. When infants are infected, they appear lethargic, feed poorly, are constipated, and have a weak cry and poor muscle tone.

Treatment of botulism:

If diagnosed early, food-borne and wound botulism can be treated with an antitoxin that blocks the action of neurotoxin circulating in the blood. The trivalent antitoxin (effective against three neurotoxins: A, B, and E) is dispensed from quarantine stations by the U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The antitoxin can prevent the disorder from worsening, but recovery still takes many weeks.

The importance of cleanliness

The other safety factor to keep in mind is cleanliness. All work surfaces should be kept clean during all stages of the canning process.
The food being preserved must itself be rinsed clean. It is particularly important to sterilize the jars and seals before use. To sterilize jars, boil them for 10 minutes.

Treatment for Peptic Ulcer – Helps to Improve Your Health

Diet is of utmost importance in the treatment of ulcer. The diet should be so arranged as to provide adequate nutrition to afford rest to the disturbed organs, to maintain continuous neutralization of the gastric acid, to inhibit the production of acid and to reduce mechanical and chemical irritation. Milk. cream, butter, fruits and fresh, raw and boiled vegetables, natural foods and natural vitamin supplements are the best diet for an ulcer patient.

Peptic ulcer disease is a constitutional disease that finds its local expression at the level of the digestive system. Being a constitutional disorder, it calls for constitutional approach towards treatment. Homoeopathic approach towards the management of Peptic ulcer disease involves the evaluation of the complaint in details while taking into account individual factors such as one’s personal and family history while planning a long-term treatment. Since the treatment targets the root cause, Homeopathy offers long-term cure instead of temporary relief. It treats at a deeper level of immunity and enhances the healing capacity of the body. Homeopathy can also help to prevent complications of Peptic ulcers.

Raw vegetables juices, particularly carrot and cabbage juices are beneficial in the treatment of peptic ulcers. Carrot juice may be taken either alone or in combination with spinach or beet and cucumber. The formula proportions in case of the first combination are 300 ml. of carrots and 200 ml. of spinach, and in case of the second combination, 300 ml. of carrots and three ounces each of beets and cucumbers to make half a litre of iuice.

Certain foods definitely do not agree in cases of gastric complaints and should be completely eliminated. These include fried and greasy foods which are always difficult to digest and require very efficient stomach and liver action; flesh foods which require a high amount of acid in the stomach for their digestion and acid causes more pain and flatulence in the sensitive stomach; condiments, preserves and sugar which are stomach irritants; and tea, coffee, tobacco and alcohol which create an acid reaction in the stomach.

Daily massages and deep breathing exercises also help. Above all, the patient must try to rid himself of worries and stay cheerful. He should also cultivate regularity in his habit be it work, exercise or rest. Asanas which are beneficial in the treatment of hyperacidity and ulcers are vajrasana, uttanpadasana, pavanarnuktasana, bhujangasana, paschimottanasana. Yogic kriyas like Jalneti and pranayamas tike anuloma-viloma, shitali and sitkari are also beneficial.

The medications may include one or more of the following:
· Antibiotics to kill Helicobacter pylori
· Acid blockers (like cimetidine, ranitidine, or famotidine)
· Proton pump inhibitors (such as omeprazole)
· Medications that protect the tissue lining (like sucralfate)

Choice of treatment depends on whether the ulcer is caused by infection with H pylori. Correct diagnosis is key to whether a treatment works or not. If the bacteria are the cause, treatment focuses on killing the infection. Regardless of whether the bacteria are the cause, reducing acid in the stomach is another important focus of treatment.
It is important that your health care provider check with you during your treatment to make sure that your ulcer is healing.

Shedding Light on Lupus

Lupus is a disease that attacks thousands of Americans yearly. Most of its victims are women of childbearing age.

“Lupus occurs more frequently in women than it does in men, though it isn’t clear why. Four types of lupus exist – systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), discoid lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus erythematosus and neonatal lupus. Of these, SLE is the most common and serious form of lupus,” said the Mayo Clinic.

The cause of SLE is unknown. Some say lupus is triggered by medication or a virus that lies dormant in the body until it is activated by sunlight, physical or mental stress, streptococcal or viral infections, pregnancy or certain chemicals.

“Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that instead of just attacking foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses, your immune system also turns against healthy tissue. This leads to inflammation and damage to various parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels and brain,” explained the Mayo Clinic.

The symptoms of SLE vary and include the following: non-deforming arthritis (pain and stiffness in the joints, especially the hands and feet), facial erythema (a butterfly-shaped rash that spreads across the nose and cheeks), sensitivity to light, oral or nasopharyngeal ulcerations, Raynaud’s phenomenon (fingers or toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods), shortness of breath, chest pain, anxiety, depression and memory loss.

“Drug-induced lupus results from the long-term use of certain prescription drugs. Although many medications can potentially trigger lupus, examples of drugs most clearly linked with the disease include the antipsychotic chlorpromazine, high blood pressure medications such as hydralazine, the tuberculosis drug isoniazid and the heart medication procainamide, among others. It usually takes several months or years of therapy with these drugs before symptoms appear, and even then, only a small percentage of people will ever develop lupus,” revealed the Mayo Clinic.

Untreated, the inflammation caused by lupus can affect many parts of the body, damaging the blood vessels, kidneys, lungs, heart and bones.

About 50 percent of patients develop cardiopulmonary abnormalities like pericarditis and dyspnea (shortness of breath). Other complications are myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), endocarditis (inflammation of the valves or lining membrane of the heart) and pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs). Lupus can also affect the central nervous system and lead to emotional instability, psychoses, irritability and depression.

There is no way to prevent lupus but many drugs can relieve its symptoms. Treatment depends on the signs and symptoms. See a good doctor who will explain the advantages and risks of these drugs.

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Home Remedies For Edema Swelling – Treat This Problem Naturally

Edema is related with the symptoms of swelling. Usually water gets restored in the tissues which normally affect ankles, feet and legs and this particular problem is known as edema. The swelling in this problem may be caused due to several reasons like sitting for long time, consumption of salty food etc. sometimes this may be a symptom of pre menstruation. The problem of edema is related with different causes like liver disease, thyroid, anemia, malnutrition, starvation, heart failure, kidney disease etc. To all these problems there is only one solution that is home remedies for edema swelling.

One of the most common home remedies for edema is the use of mustard. You should gently rub the warm mustard oil over the affected area. It is very effective in reducing the swelling as well as also in relieving the pain. It is an effective home remedy for edema swelling. You can also do foot bathing with mustard seeds soaked in warm water at least for 25 minutes. It is an effective remedy and it also works like magic. Another home remedy for edema swelling is to wrap your swelled area with cabbage leaves. Sometimes you may suffer from the problem of edema due to insect bite and in this case the best and effective natural remedy for edema swelling is the application of a mixture of neem extract and tea tree oil on the area which is affected by this problem.

The problem of edema is related with your diet also. So if you want to cure the problem of edema, you may take balanced diet. You should take proper amount of protein, sufficient carbohydrates and also fat enriched food in sufficient quantity. Your diet should be full of castor oil soups, butter milk, radish, wheat, cloves and honey. All these things contribute great to give the effective result. You should avoid the intake of salt, yoghurt, rice and dry vegetables. One more effective natural remedy for edema swelling is to consume a mixture prepared by mixing 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. It is an effective home remedy for edema swelling and if taken on daily basis it will clear the formation of fluid in the kidney and in the liver.

Apart from all these home remedies for edema swelling, it is also necessary that you should do regular exercises as it will help in relieving the liquid retention in your body.

Why You Might Be Experiencing Chest Pain

Chest pain is one of the most frightening symptoms a person can have. It is sometimes difficult even for a doctor or other medical professional to tell what is causing chest pain and whether it is life-threatening.

Any part of the chest can be the cause of the pain including the heart, lungs, esophagus, muscle, bone, and skin. Because of the complex nerve distribution in the body, chest pain may actually originate from another part of the body. The stomach or other organs in the belly (abdomen), for example, can cause chest pain.

If you are having severe pain, crushing, squeezing, or pressure in your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or if the pain moves into your neck, left shoulder, arm, or jaw, go immediately to a hospital emergency department. Do not drive yourself. Call 911 for emergency transport.

Potentially life-threatening causes of chest pain are heart attack, angina, aortic dissection, pulmonary embolism, spontaneous pneumothorax, perforated viscus, or cocaine-induced chest pain.

Heart attack occurs when blood flow to the arteries that supply the heart (coronary arteries) becomes blocked. With decreased blood flow, the muscle of the heart does not receive enough oxygen. This can cause damage, deterioration, and death of the heart muscle. Treatment for a heart attack is aimed at increasing blood flow by opening arteries blocked or narrowed by a blood clot.

Medicines used to achieve this include aspirin, heparin, and clot-busting (thrombolytic) drugs. Other medications can be used to slow the heart rate, which decreases the workload of the heart and reduces pain. Angioplasty is a way of unblocking an artery.

Angiography is done first to locate narrowing or blockages. A very thin plastic tube called a catheter is inserted into the artery. A tiny balloon on the end of the catheter is inflated. This expands the artery, providing a wider passage for blood. The balloon is then deflated and removed. Sometimes a small metal scaffold called a stent is placed in the artery to keep it expanded.

Angina is chest pain related to an imbalance between the oxygen demand of the heart and the amount of oxygen delivered via the blood. It is caused by blockage or narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. Angina is different from a heart attack in that the arteries are not completely blocked, and it causes little or no permanent damage to the heart.

“Stable” angina occurs repetitively and predictably while exercising and goes away with rest. “Unstable” angina results in unusual and unpredictable pain not relieved totally by rest, or pain that actually occurs at rest.

Treatment of angina is directed at relieving chest pain that occurs as the result of reduced blood flow to the heart. The medication nitroglycerin is the most widely used treatment. Nitroglycerin dilates (widens) the coronary arteries. It is often taken under the tongue (sublingually).

People with known angina may be treated with nitroglycerin for three doses, five minutes apart. If the pain remains, nitroglycerin is given by IV, and the patient is admitted to the hospital and monitored to rule out a heart attack.

Long-term treatment after the first episode of angina focuses on reducing risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart disease.

The aorta is the main artery that supplies blood to the vital organs of the body, such as the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and intestines. Dissection means a tear in the inner lining of the aorta. This can cause massive internal bleeding and interrupt blood flow to the vital organs.

A pulmonary embolus is a blood clot in one of the major blood vessels that supplies the lungs. It is a potentially life-threatening cause of chest pain but is not associated with the heart.

Anyone with a presumed or documented pulmonary embolism requires admission to the hospital. Treatment usually includes supplemental oxygen and medication to prevent further clotting of blood, typically heparin. If the embolism is very large, clot-busting medications are given in some situations to dissolve the clot.

Some people undergo surgery to place an umbrella-like filter in a blood vessel to prevent blood clots from the lower extremities from moving to the lungs. Spontaneous pneumothorax is often called a collapsed lung, this condition occurs when air enters the saclike space between the chest wall and the lung tissue.

Normally, negative pressure in the chest cavity allows the lungs to expand. When a spontaneous pneumothorax occurs, air enters the chest cavity. When the pressure balance is lost, the lung is unable to re-expand. This cuts off the normal oxygen supply in the body.

A pneumothorax without symptoms involves six hours of hospital observation and repeat chest x-rays. If the size of the pneumothorax remains unchanged, the patient is usually discharged with a follow-up appointment in 24 hours. If the patient develop symptoms or the pneumothorax enlarges, they will be admitted to the hospital.

The patient will undergo catheter aspiration or have a chest tube inserted to restore negative pressure in the lung sac.

A perforated viscus is a hole or tear in the wall of any area of the gastrointestinal tract. This allows air to enter the abdominal cavity, which irritates the diaphragm, and can cause chest pain. Any disruption or perforation of the intestinal tract (viscus) is a potentially life-threatening emergency. Immediate surgery may be required.

Lastly, cocaine causes the blood vessels in the body to constrict. This can decrease blood flow to the heart, causing chest pain. Cocaine also accelerates the progression of atherosclerosis, a risk factor for a heart attack.

Furthermore, causes of chest pain that are not immediately life-threatening include Acute pericarditis that is an inflammation of the pericardium, which is the sac that covers the heart. Similarly, mitral valve prolapse is an abnormality of one of the heart valves in which the “leaves” of the valve bulge into the upper heart chamber during contraction.

When this occurs, a small amount of blood flows backward in the heart. This is believed by some to be a cause of chest pain in certain people, although this has not been proven with certainty. Pneumonia can also cause chest pain. Pneumonia is an infection of the lung tissue. Chest pain occurs because of inflammation to the lining of the lungs. Pneumonia is treated with antibiotics, and pain medication is given for chest wall tenderness.

Additionally, chest pain from esophageal disorders can be an alarming symptom because it often mimics chest pain from a heart attack. The three major esophageal disorders that cause chest pain; 1) acid reflux (GERD), 2) esophagitis, and 3) esophageal spasm, are treated with antacid therapy; antibiotic, antiviral, or antifungal medication; medication to relax the muscles of the esophagus; or some combination of these.

Herpes zoster, also known as shingles, this is a reactivation of the viral infection that causes chickenpox. With shingles, a rash occurs, usually only on one small part of the body. The pain, often very severe, is usually confined to the area of the rash. The pain may precede the rash by 4-7 days. Risk factors include any condition in which the immune system is compromised, such as advanced age, HIV, or cancer.

Herpes zoster is highly contagious to people who have not had chickenpox or have not been vaccinated against chickenpox for the five days before and the five days after the appearance of the rash.

Costochondritis is an inflammation of the cartilage between the ribs. With this condition pain is typically located in the mid-chest, with intermittently dull and sharp pain that may be increased with deep breaths, movement, and deep touch.

Lastly, we would like to mention that no matter what the cause of chest pain, regular follow-up visits with your health care provider are important. This will help you remain as healthy as possible and prevent worsening of your condition.

Uses Of Herbs And Drug Interactions In Cardiovascular Patients

More and more consumers are taking herbal supplements as an alternative treatment for their diseases.  It is estimated that more than 15 million people in the US consume herbal remedies or high-dose vitamins, and the total number of visits to the complementary medicine providers far exceeds those to primary physicians.

Lack of efficacy and adverse effects associated with prescription medicines lead many patients to explore herbal medicines.  Uses of herbal medicines, however, are not without any risks.  Although most of these herbal medicines have good safety profile, some herbal medicines have not been shown to be efficacious.  Some even interact with western medicines, leading to life-threatening consequences. (Table 1)

The purpose of this paper is to equip cardiovascular patients with the latest uses of commonly used herbal medicines and the potential interaction of these herbal medicines with prescription medicines.  Patients are advised to inform their primary care physicians and their specialists of the herbal supplements they are taking and to limit the use of herbal medicines to a shorter time period.

A) Aconite

Uses

Traditional Chinese practitioners use aconite for pain relief caused by trigeminal and intercostal neuralgia, rheumatism, migraine, and general debilitation.

Drug interaction

Long term use might increase the risk of atrial or ventricular fibrillation. 

B) Black cohosh

Uses

Black cohosh has been used to relief symptoms of menopause, pre-menstrual tension and other gynecologic problems.

Drug interaction

Black cohosh should not be used with estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) since the combination of black cohosh and ERT has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular events and breast cancer.  Pregnant and lactating women should avoid taking black cohosh.

C) Danshen

Uses

Danshen is used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of coronary artery disease and menstrual abnormalities.

Drug interaction

Danshen reduces the elimination of warfarin and increases the bleeding risk associated with warfarin.  It also interferes with digoxin essay.

D) Echinacae

Uses

Echinacae is used to strengthen the immune system to prevent infections.  Side effects of Echinacae include nausea, dizziness, dyspnea, rash, and dermatitis.

Drug interaction

Long term use may increase the liver toxicity of other medications (e.g., statins(Zocor, Lipitor, Crestor), fibrates (Bezalip, Lopid and Tricor), niacins (niaspan), or amiodarone(codarone)).

E) Ginseng

Uses

Ginseng is advertised as an immune system stimulant that increases vigor, sexual potency and longevity.   It is also used to treat myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure (CHF), angina pectoris and hyperglycemia in diabetic patients. 

Drug interaction

Concomitant use of ginseng and warfarin results in an increase in bleeding time while use of ginseng and digoxin causes an increase in digoxin level.  Pregnant women or women receiving hormone replacement therapy are advised not to use Ginseng since ginseng contains ingredients similar to estrogen.  Also, long use of ginseng might result in reduced responsiveness to loop diuretics.

F) Ginkgo

Uses

Ginkgo is used for cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular or peripheral vascular insufficiency, importance, inner ear dysfunction, retinopathy, pre-menstrual syndrome, stress, depression, and dementia.

Drug interaction

The concurrent use of ginkgo with antiplatelet (aspirin, Plavix, Effient, Aggrrastat and ReoPro), anticoagulant (warfarin) or antithrombotic agents (Streptase) increases the risk of bleeding.  In clinical trials, ginkgo has also been shown to reduce the effectiveness of antihypertensive nicardipine (Cardene).

G) Garlic

Uses

Garlic has been used to treat infectious conditions since 1550 BC, due to its antimicrobial and immune-enhancing properties.  Garlic has also been promoted to prevent cardiovascular disease because of its cholesterol-lowering, antihypertensive, antiplatelet and fibrinolytic properties.

Drug Interaction

Patients taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet agents should avoid taking garlic supplements since garlic increase the risk of bleeding.  Patients taking aspirin, warfarin and garlic supplements are advised to discontinue the garlic supplements for at least 10 days before elective therapy

H) Grapefruit juice

Uses

Grapefruit juice is used as a dietary intervention to lose weight and to improve cardiovascular health. 

Drug interaction

Grapefruit juice increases the blood level of calcium-channel blockers (Norvasc, Plendil, Cardif and Cardene), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Cicloral and Gengraf), statins (Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor), midazolam (Dormicum, Versed and Hypnovel), estrogen and terazoin (Hytrin). 

I) Gynura 

Uses

Gynura is used widely in Chinese medicine to improves microcirculation and relieve pain. 

Drug interaction

Gynura interacts with angiotensin-converting enzyme drugs (e.g. Vasotec, Altace, Accupril, Zestril, Prinivil, Lotensin, Cozaar, Diovan, Benicar, Avapro and Micardis ).  Long term use has been associated with hepatic toxicity.

J) Hawthorn 

Uses

Hawthorn extract is used mostly to treat angina, CHF, bradyarrhythmia and cerebral insufficiency. 

Drug interaction

Hawthorn enhances the effect of digitalis (Digoxin) and increases the risk of bleeding in patients taking antiplatelet or anticoagulant agents.  Patients who take digitalis, antiplatelet, anticoagulant and Hawthorn need to monitor for potential toxic effects.

K) Licorice

Uses

Licorice is used as an expectorant.  Long term use might result in pseudoaldosteronism, hypokalemia, hypertension, ventricular arrhythmia, hyperglycemia and edema. 

Drug interaction

Licorice increases the effects of spironolactone (Aldactone) and digoxin.  It also interacts with antiplatelet, anticoagulant and antidiabetes agents (e.g. Lantus, Amaryl, Januvia, Metformin, Diamicron, Actos, Glucophage, Byetta and Advandia), rendering these agents less effective.

L) Motherwort 

Uses

Motherwort is use in both European and Asian traditional medicine to treat cardiac weakness, rapid heart beat, anxiety, insomnia, hypertension, amenorrhea, and edema. 

Drug interaction

When taken with benzodiazepines for insomnia, motherwort increases the sedative effect of benzodiazepines and might result in coma.

M) Saw Palmetto 

Uses

Saw Palmetto is used for the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), hypertension and urinary infections.

Drug interaction

Saw Palmetto increases the risk of bleeding in patients taking warfarin.  When use in long term, saw palmetto might increase in the risk of cholestatic hepatitis, acute pancreatitis and intro-operative floppy iris syndrome.

N) St. John’s wort 

Uses

St. John’s wort is typically used to treat depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, common cold, herpes, ulcerative colitis, pain and the human immunodeficiency virus.

Drug interaction

Since St. John’s wort decreases the prothrombin time of warfarin and increase the risk of stroke, people taking warfarin who have a history of stroke, thrombosis, atrial fibrillation or prosthetic cardiac valves should avoid the use of St. John’s wort.   

Also, patients who take ethinyl estradiol, indinavir (Crixivan), cyclosporine, statins and digoxin will have the level and efficacy of these drugs reduced. 

Lastly, patients who take antidiabetes agents and St. John’s wort should watch out for hypoglycemia since St. John’s wort potentiate the glycemic effects of antidiabetes agents.

O) Tetrandrine 

Uses

In Chinese medicine, tetrandrine is used to treat hypertension and angina. 

Drug interaction

Tetrandrine lower glucose level and might cause hypoglycemia in diabetic patients.  Long term use might cause hepatotoxicity and renal toxicity.

P) Yohimbine 

Uses

Yohimbine is used for the treatment of sexual disorders and exhaustion. 

Drug interaction

Yohimbine reduces the efficacy of antihypertensive and diuretics.  Yohimbine is contraindicated in patients with hypertension, angina, and renal impairment.

Conclusions

Use of herbal remedies is widespread and is increasing dramatically.  These remedies, however, are not subjected to the same regulations as prescription drugs.  Thus, the purity, efficacy and safety of herbal products are not always known and some products may not even contain the amount of active ingredients listed on the label.  Furthermore, some of these herbal remedies posses serious drug interaction with prescription medicines.  

Cardiovascular patients who are taking prescription medicines with narrow therapeutic index such as digoxin and warfarin are advised to consult their physicians before taking any herbal medicines and to take these herbal medicines for a short period of time.

Drug Class and Brand Names

Angiotensin-converting enzyme drugs = Vasotec, Altace, Accupril, Zestril, Prinivil, Lotensin, Cozaar, Diovan, Benicar, Avapro and Micardis

Anticoagulant = warfarin

Antidiabetes agents = Lantus, Amaryl, Januvia, Metformin, Diamicron, Actos, Glucophage, Byetta and Advandia

Antiplatelet = aspirin, Plavix, Effient, Aggrrastat and ReoPro

Antithrombotic agents = Streptase

Calcium-channel blockers = Norvasc, Plendil, Cardif and Cardene

Cyclosporine = Sandimmune, Neoral, Cicloral and Gengraf

Digitalis = Digoxin = Lanoxin

Indinavir = Crixivan

Midazolam = Dormicum, Versed and Hypnovel

Spironolactone = Aldactone

Statins = Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor

Terazoin = Hytrin

Tachjian A et. al. JACC Vol. 55, No. 6, 2010

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Mediterranean Diet: Oranges Can Prevent Heart Attacks

Oranges have been from time immemorial a staple food in the Mediterranean countries. They have also been a major player in protecting the people of that region from heart disease. Thus, if you never thought of oranges as a “must” food for your heart, here are some good reasons to start doing so:

? Oranges and vitamin C
Oranges are very rich in vitamin C. This vitamin has the following effects in our body:

? It protects our arteries from free radicals, highly damaging molecules that cause our cells to oxidize.

? It helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol; oxidized cholesterol sticks to the walls of our arteries, building up plaque. Plaque can grow large enough to block blood flow in our blood vessels, causing a heart attack or a stroke.

? It helps recycle vitamin E, one of the most powerful antioxidants and the first line of defense when it comes to the oxidation of our cells.

? Oranges and Folate
Oranges are naturally rich in folate, or folic acid, a vitamin of the B group. One role of folate is to process the amino acid homocysteine in our body. When folate is lacking, homocysteine is not broken down, piles up in our blood vessels and becomes toxic even in small amounts. The accumulation of high levels of homocysteine in the blood may cause a heart attack even among people who have adequate cholesterol levels.

? Oranges and Minerals
? Sodium. Oranges are very low in sodium. When we eat foods containing a large amount of sodium (salt) we retain a large volume of fluid in our blood vessels that needs to be moved around by the heart. The result is we end up with high blood pressure.

? Potassium. Oranges are high in potassium, a mineral that plays a key role in heart functions and muscle contractions, making it an important nutrient for a healthy heart. It works with sodium to regulate the water balance in the body. Diets low in sodium and high in potassium lower blood pressure, reducing the risk for strokes.

? Calcium. Oranges contain a good amount of calcium, a mineral extremely important in maintaining normal blood pressure; it is required for nerve transmission and regulation of heart muscle contraction. Many studies have shown that as we increase the consumption of foods with a high content of calcium, the risk of high blood pressure decreases, especially if we maintain adequate intakes of magnesium.

? Magnesium. Oranges are also rich in magnesium; this mineral is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Having adequate amounts of magnesium in the body helps your heart maintain a steady rhythm and normal blood pressure.

? Oranges and Phytochemicals
The word “phyto” means “plant” in Greek. Phytochemicals are nonnutritive chemicals found in plant foods that protect their host plants from infections and microbial invasions. Through research we have learned that phytochemicals are also crucial in protecting humans against disease. Some phytochemicals found in oranges are:

? Flavonones, anthoctanins, hydroxycinnamic acids, polyphenols. These phytochemicals are one large family of protective antioxidants commonly seen in foods rich in vitamin C. In the body, they fight inflammation and free radicals; prevent platelets from sticking together; block certain molecules that raise blood pressure; and strengthen the small blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the body cell.

? Hesperidin. In animal studies, the flavonone hesperidin has been shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol as well as to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. This component is found in the peel and inner white pulp of the orange. To reap the full benefits of oranges, grate a tablespoon of the peel and use it to flavor tea, salads, yogurt, soups, and cereals.

? Oranges and Fiber
One orange contains about 3 grams of fiber: 60 percent is soluble fiber and 40 percent insoluble. Both types are important for our health, but soluble fiber is the one that lowers cholesterol. Pectin, the soluble fiber that’s found mainly in the skin around each orange section and in the peel, helps trap and eliminate cholesterol from the body. Try to eat a little of the white part of the orange peel; it contains half of the fruit’s pectin supply.

Vitamin C Supplements
Vitamin C supplements do not accomplish in our body what fresh oranges do; make an effort to get your vitamins from fresh foods. However, if you decide to continue taking vitamin C supplements, keep the following in mind:

? Do not exceed 2 grams of vitamin C a day because when quantities exceed the body needs, it can become a pro-oxidant.

? If you decide to discontinue your intake of large doses of vitamin C supplements, don’t stop all of the sudden; do it gradually to prevent a deficiency.

? Vitamin C supplements are dangerous for people with iron overload because it enhances iron absorption and releases iron from body stores. Free iron in the body causes the kind of cellular damage typical of free radicals.

Final Thoughts
I hope by now you are convinced you need to include oranges in your daily life to prevent or control heart disease. Remember: one orange a day keeps heart attacks away.
One orange contains all the vitamin C your body needs for the day. If you have a farmers market in your area, pay a visit to those local farmers and look for organic fresh oranges. They are delicious!

Note:
Oranges contain some oxalic acid and should be restricted for those with calcium-oxalate stones.

Definition of Heart Disease

Heart is a muscle that is about the size of your fist. It pumps blood around your body and beats approximately 70 times a minute. Heart disease is any disorder that affects the heart’s ability to function normally. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability. Almost 700,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. each year. That is about 29% of all U.S. deaths. Heart disease is a term that includes several more specific heart conditions. The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attack. Diseases affecting the heart may be structural or functional. Anything that damages the heart, makes it less efficient, reduces its ability to fill and pump, or decreases the heart’s supply of oxygen will disrupt the coordinated relationship between the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels. Angina affects about 1 in 50 people and, in the UK, there are an estimated 1.2 million people with the condition.

Sometimes it can be mild, and is mistaken for indigestion. Some people have a heart attack without experiencing pain. Cardiomyopathy literally means “heart muscle disease. It is the deterioration of the function of the myocardium for any reason. People with cardiomyopathy are often at risk of arrhythmia and/or sudden cardiac death. Cardiovascular disease is any of a number of specific diseases that affect the heart itself and/or the blood vessel system, especially the veins and arteries leading to and from the heart. Heart failure can occur in people with coronary heart disease. The heart becomes too weak to pump blood around the body which can cause fluid to build up in the lungs, making it increasingly difficult to breath. It affects men more than women. A heart attack occurs when one of the coronary arteries blocks completely. Heart failure can occur in people with coronary heart disease.

Heart Disease Treatment Tips

1. Many different medicines are used to treat coronary heart disease , Mostly aspirin and ‘clot-busting’ medication.

2. Blood clots in the coronary arteries are a major cause of heart attacks.

3. Anticoagulants, such as warfarin, are sometimes used to stop the blood clotting.

4. Beta blockers are often used to prevent angina, and treat high blood pressure.

5. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are commonly used to treat heart failure and high blood pressure.

6. Anti-arrhythmic medicine is sometimes used to control the rhythm of the heart. important that the correct dosage is taken.

7. Cardiac glycosides, such as digoxin, strengthen and slow the heartbeat.

8. Laser surgery is a technique that creates channels in the heart to allow blood to flow more easily.

Why Does Tuberculosis Spread so Quickly?

After the discovery of the BCG vaccine and of the antibiotic treatment of TB, the number of TB cases declined in the early 1980’s and experts thought that the disease would be eradicated by 2010. But between 1985 and 1991 more and more cases of TB were discovered in US, the level of infected people increasing by 20 percent.

Since 1992, in US, the number of reported cases declined continuously and so, in 2004 there was a 46% drop of reported cases from 12 years earlier.

In the entire world tuberculosis gain more and more terrain, and by 2005 TB had affected more than one third of the global population, at least once in their lives.

Once, before the milk was pasteurized children could get tuberculosis from it, due to the fact that the cows were affected by the TB germ.

One of the reason why tuberculosis has spread so quickly lately is the increased number of patients infected with HIV. HIV leads to a weakened immune system, and so, TB has a free way to develop, and passes quickly from the primarily stage to the secondary stage. Treatments like immunosuppressive drugs administered after an organ transplant could weaken the immune system and increase the risk of getting infected with tuberculosis.

Nowadays people have businesses to take care of, and they have to travel a lot. Tourism as well has developed and gained a lot of interested people in this activity. All these activities can lead to a contamination with the TB bacterium and its transportation back home where healthy people are.

Another factor that helps tuberculosis to spread is the fact that some patients do not finish their antibiotic treatment. This treatment must be followed a long period of time (6 to 9 months), and often, if patients feel better they interrupt the treatment, believing that they are cured, but this is only an illusion, because TB germ is still alive, can activate instantly and spread itself to other healthy people.

This could lead to the germ resistance to the antibiotic drugs, causing a limitation of possible methods of treatment. That is why uncooperative patients are hospitalized and monitorized, to make sure that they complete their treatment and regain their health.

Scientists are continuously searching for new treatment solutions, for a new vaccine, and even for a method of eradicating tuberculosis, using advanced molecular biology, and researching into the genetics of tuberculosis.

So, if you want to find more about tuberculosis or even about pulmonary-tuberculosis please click this link http://www.tuberculosis-center.com

The First Red Hydrangea that Blooms on New Growth! – Forever & Ever Red

2006 has had an incredible number of outstanding plant introductions and its only February. This week we are featuring yet another new plant sure to be a standout for years to come – Hydrangea Forever & Ever Red. A sport of the original Forever & Ever, this large mophead is the first red hydrangea that blooms on new growth! The brilliant red flowers top the burgundy stems and mature to wonderful shades of purple. The plant habit is compact, maturing to only 4 feet tall and wide.

Repeat Blooms on a Compact Plant

If you are a lover of the Endless Summer, this is a must have for your spring garden. Like it’s parent, the original Forever & Ever, Forever & Ever Red appears to have all of the qualities of the Endless Summer Hydrangea that gardeners have fallen in love with. It blooms repeatedly on both old and new wood, ensuring that your hydrangea will be covered in beautiful blooms throughout the season – proven reliably winter hardy to Zone 4 (minus 30 degrees) tested in Michigan. Also, Hydrangea Forever & Ever Red is reportedly unaffected by soil PH. The color should be red changing to purple in all soils. Being overly cautious, in really acid soils I suggest adding a couple of handfuls of lime when planting. From what we have seen and heard, Forever & Ever has many qualities that quite possibly may make it superior to Endless Summer (if that is possible!), including:

  • Larger blossom clusters
  • Larger individual florets with frilled petal edges
  • More compact growth habit by, about a foot
  • Waxy, leathery leaves

Planting and Care

  • For best results plant early Spring to late Summer
  • Perform best in moist, but not wet, soil. Add Soil Moist if you think the soil is too dry
  • Prefers an area with morning sun and afternoon shade
  • Plant so the top of the root ball is a half-inch below the surface of the soil
  • Mulch with two-three inches of organic mulch
  • Use a handful of Bulb-Tone fertilizer at planting and again in late November and early March
  • Can be cut back in Spring or Summer or die to the ground in Winter and still have many blooms the next season
  • Remove the spent blooms as they fade and watch the plant continue to bloom all summer long

Click here to view Forever & Ever Red on the Carroll Gardens website.