Japan and Obesity

Japanese food conjures up images of fish, rice, miso soup and tofu but recently fitness in the Land of the Rising Sun appears to be deteriorating. Unfortunately, an increasing number of Japanese are adopting unhealthy eating patterns and eating like Sumo wrestlers. The Japanese used to eat food high in protein, but over the past few decades there has been a shift towards eating more animal fat, and western fast food. Experts warn that Japanese children are leading increasingly sedentary lives, and foregoing tofu for burgers and instant noodles.

The Japanese are traditionally known for their restraint: their old adage is Hara Hachi bunme or “stop eating when your’re 80% full” . This restraint has led to it being the country that has had the world’s longest life expectancy: 86 years for women, 79 for men. The new trend of eating could one day jeopardize Japan’s status as the home of the world’s longest-living population. If eating habits change, life expectancy will shorten and this has already been made clear. According to the WHO, globally, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them obese. Obesity and overweight pose a major risk for chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer. The key causes are increased consumption of energy-dense foods high in saturated fats and sugars, and reduced physical activity.

While Japanese waistlines have a long way to go before they start to overtaking the Americans: about 24% of people aged 15 and over are considered overweight, compared with 65% in th US, this change in eating patterns has led to an alarming rise in obesity. As the country leaves behind traditional food habits people in all age groups have grown heavier in the past two decades. The highest rate is among men in their 40s: 34 percent were overweight in 2003, up from 23 percent in 1980, according to the National Health and Nutrition Survey. While older women are growing fatter, younger fashion-conscious women tend to be underweight. Among children, 8 percent were obese or at risk of obesity in 2004, compared with fewer than 6 percent in 1980. Diabetes is a leading concern. While the number of deaths from the disease has fallen in the past decade, more than 2 million people are being treated for it — an increase of about 53 percent from 15 years ago.The number treated for high blood pressure has also grown about 9 percent in the past 10 years, the Health Ministry says.

People in the Far East want to get anything American — including all the fast food chains, With their adoption of the Western diet, their plant food intake tends to go down while fat and animal protein intake has gone up.This rise should serve as a wake-up call for Americans and the Japanese to rediscover what helped make Japan lean and healthy in the first place. The Japanese government have released a new nutrition chart recently that encourages eating more carbohydrates — such as rice — and vegetables as main sources of energy, while cutting down on meat to reduce the intake of fat. The chart specifically targets overweight men, singles, and those raising children. The government has set aside about 72 million yen in the 2006-2007 budget to tackle child heft. The Health Ministry also plans to research the link between parents’ lifestyle and overweight children, and support selected towns to promote healthier eating habits.

Three Summer Skin Problems: Cold Sores, Hives and Rashes Due to Heat

As much as we look forward to the summer for relaxing days full of swimming, walks and trips to the park, some people find their skin problems increase this time of year. A few issues during the warm seasons include fever blisters, the prickly heat rash and
cases of hives.

For some people exposure to the sun on the face can result in a cold sore that erupts on the lip area. This can be quite painful and may take from six to eleven days to heal and resolve. Someone with a history of cold sores, recognizes the initial tingle and is aware of the way that this will play out. It is essential to apply a good sun protective factor on the face and lip and try to make it spf 30 or higher. Once you get one on your lip, it can easily return due to sun exposure, so be sure to always cover your lips when you are out even for a walk. Lysine is a good supplement to help prevent eruptions but it is not foolproof. If your immune system is weakened, you may get one. It is a virus that is in your body forever, so take care of yourself.

Prickly heat can lead to red eruptions due to the sweating and perspiration of the body. Moisture gets trapped and can lead to a rash that is annoying and itchy. Many people with a weight issue suffer from this and it can seem like a catch-22 due to the need for exercise. Try to exercise early in the mornings or in an air conditioned gym to reduce this problem. After exercising, be sure to take a shower and dry off. Corn starch is helpful for sweat rashes. Avoid nylon clothing and wear cotton.

Hives can be due to stress, heat or allergic reactions. In the summer, we often try different foods on vacation and this can lead to allergic reactions. Although the summer seems to offer us less stressful conditions due to not worrying about driving in snow or days of shivering, one can get very stressed out about one’s appearance, staying fit and compare oneself to others. Take time to meditate and keep your mind calm.

The summer is a time to relax and by keeping your eye on the causes of various skin problems you can help to control the eruptions.

How to Get Rid of a Cold Sore?

Cold sore is caused by herpes simplex virus and is highly contagious. Herpes simplex virus can be spread if a person touches the sore and then touches an area of the skin.

Some individuals are more susceptible to the virus, and may have repeated breakouts. Cold sore is not only painful but embarrassing. If you are one of the sufferers who develop a cold sore each and every year, I assume you already know that it can be a most unpleasant experience. You might interest to know about how to get rid of a cold sore. What can be done when a cold sore appears to reduce the pain and discomfort causes by it?

One popular treatment is simply the application of ice on the affected area and some people claim it has prevented the blister from developing fully. Ice will give you pain relief and help prevent the sore worsening.

Tea bags: Another effective remedy is to apply a tea bag on the affected area. The tannic acid in the tea will fight against the virus. Another method is to apply a warm tea bag on the cold sore. Doing this for five days will usually stop the sores.

Stress can weaken your immune system and allow the dormant virus to resurface. Take your life a little easier! Be sure to get enough of sleep. This applies almost anytime you are sick, as the body needs to be rested to take care of the problem properly.

Over the counter remedy. It is recommended to have a chat with the professional pharmacist who will be able to advise you on the range of products they have.

If you have a weak immune system, it may take longer time to get rid of a cold sore. All of these treatment has worked. There is also other way of treating cold sores.

What is Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a condition that is caused by an inflammation of the skin. Scalp psoriasis occurs when the inflammation is on the scalp as well as other parts of the body. There is currently no cure for psoriasis, but there are a number of things that a person who is suffering from this condition can do.

The first thing that a person with scalp psoriasis can do is take a look at their diet. There is a great deal of information on the benefits of an anti inflammatory diet and the relief that it can provide for a number of conditions. Arthritis in an inflammatory condition just as scalp psoriasis is and both can find relief when the inflammation is kept under control in the body. There are a number of foods that can help with the inflammation in the body. Foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids can be very helpful to finding relief for inflammatory conditions.

There are also some topical medications that can be used to treat scalp psoriasis. The doctor can prescribe these medications or there are also some over the counter treatments that some people have found to be helpful in the treatment of psoriasis. Keep in mind that all psoriasis does not respond the same way to treatment. What may work for one patient may not necessarily work for another.

Ultraviolet light has also been used to treat psoriasis with some success. This is especially true when it is used in conjunction with other treatments such as topical medications. You should check with your doctor when you are using ultraviolet treatments for your psoriasis. Ultraviolet light can cause other problems with your skin and should be used with caution.

The doctor can prescribe systemic medications for treating your psoriasis. These medications are typically prescribed after other treatments have failed to produce results. If you are finding that your treatment plan for scalp psoriasis is not helping the condition, check with the doctor to find out if you are a good candidate for these types of medications.

Check online for other home remedies for scalp psoriasis. If you are planning to use any herbal treatments for your skin condition, make sure that you check with your doctor to find out if the treatment will affect any of your other medications. Your doctor should always be informed of any treatments that you are trying without their guidance.

Many people are able to find relief for their psoriasis from remedies that they can create in their own home. Ground gourd is one of the many remedies that have been tried for the treatment of psoriasis as well as garlic oil and Aloe Vera gel. These types of treatment might provide some relief for your scalp psoriasis as well.

Look for a holistic or alternative treatment for your psoriasis if you find that the traditional medicine approaches are not working. The condition will never be cured, but it can go into remission where you will not experience any of the symptoms for a period of time. This can continue for an unlimited amount of time.

Treatment of Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is made upward of small organisms that can taint fingernails and toenails. The nails of our fingers and toes are really efficient barriers. A nail fungal transmission may start as a light-colored or yellow place under the hint of your fingernail or toenail. As the nail fungus spreads deeper into your nail, it may induce your nail to discolor, thicken and produce crumbling edges – an ugly and possibly traumatic trouble. The nail provides a secure spot for the fungus and protects it while it grows, since fungus like blue and wet places. This is why it’s difficult to hit and halt nail fungus. Trimming the nails overly brief can ensue in tiny cuts allowing the fungus to infiltrate. Nail biting can too undermine nails and damage overprotective layers. Toenail fungus infections are often more popular than fingernail fungus, and are more hard to handle. This is because fungi flourish in blue, hot and damp environments.

The fungi that induce toenail fungus are really popular in wet national areas. Examples include national showers, locker rooms, and pools. Never walk barefoot in these areas. The nails frequently get yellowish, and can get light-colored patches. Sometimes the nails can move dark or brown. The nail provides the fungus with a powerful overprotective roadblock. This roadblock makes it hard for medications to destroy the fungus. For this cause, prevention is really significant. Nails can be really appealing. Women, more frequently than men, put a good trade of importance on how their nails seem and consume a substantial sum of moment and money on them. Nails reflect a person’s private and health habits – better or terrible. Nail fungus handling should start as shortly as potential. The longer you look, the worse the circumstance will get, and the more hard to handle.

A transmission with nail fungus may be hard to handle, and infections may recur. But medications are accessible to assist exonerate upward nail fungus. Infected nails may too divide from the nail sheet, a circumstance called onycholysis. You may still look pain in your toes or fingertips and discover a somewhat nasty smell. Nail fungus is more popular among old adults for several reasons, including decreased blood circulation, much years of vulnerability to fungi and because nails may rise more slowly and thicken with aging, making them more vulnerable to transmission. The better handling of class is prevention. Keep your nails reduce directly across. If nails are difficult to reduce, weaken by soaking in salt water. Keep feet arid and easily ventilated. Be cautious with artificial nails and be exclusive about choosing your manicurist. Topical creams applied immediately to the infected place are frequently used for less severe infections.

Whenever your feet are damp for extended periods of time, the chances of getting the fungus increases. The nails can reveal a lot about the body’s internal health. Healthy nails are often a sign of good health, while bad nails are often a tip off to more serious problems. A high protein diet may help your nails grow stronger and healthier. There are many other options besides oral anti-fungal medications. Unfortunately, they are not very effective. The most effective topical medication is Ciclopirox lacquer. Combination therapy can help increase the effectiveness of the treatment. If you choose to take an oral medication, make sure you use a topical anti-fungal agent as well. Nail removal is also an option. Lamisil cream is a very effective anti fungal medicine used widely in order to treat ailments caused by fungal infection.

Allergy – Food Allergy Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Allergies stem from an inappropriate reaction of the immune system to certain proteins. These proteins are known as allergens, and they are usually common and harmless substances such as pollen, mold spores, animal dander, dust, various foods, insect venoms, or medicines.

Any substance that triggers an allergic reaction is called an allergen. There are many different types of allergens; three of the most common are pollen, dust mites and nuts. Allergens contain protein, which is found in all living organisms, and it is the protein that causes the reaction. Some drugs such as penicillin can also cause allergic reactions. They do not contain protein, but they can cause a reaction if they bind to proteins in the body.

Cause Of Allergy

An allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to an allergen, in this case a food protein.
•The white blood cells produce an antibody to this allergen, called immunoglobulin E or IgE.
•Any food has the potential to trigger an allergic reaction, but a few foods account for most food allergies.

Allergic reactions occur when the immune system misidentifies harmless foreign substances and reacts to them as if they were as harmful. These substances are called allergens. Common pollens, mold spores, house dust mites, cockroaches, and animal dander (shed skin, fur, or feathers) are among the allergens that most frequently cause problems. Allergic reactions to allergens such as insect venom, latex, and certain types of food or medications are more rare.

Symptoms Of Food Allergy

Reactions to foods are usually rapid, appearing within an hour (or sometimes even seconds) of consumption, although in some cases they may be delayed and appear up to four hours after eating.
Skin rashes, such as nettle rash (also called urticaria or hives) can appear which are generally short lived, disappearing within a few days. Longer lasting, chronic skin reactions (such as scaly patches) can also be experienced. Some of these longer lasting rashes are called atopic dermatitis.

The complex process of digestion affects the timing, location, and particular symptoms of an allergic reaction to food. All of the symptoms of food allergy occur within a few minutes to an hour of eating. A food allergy can initially be experienced as an itching in the mouth and difficulty swallowing and breathing. Then, during digestion of the food in the stomach and intestines, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain can start

You may also get some or all of the following symptoms:
• skin reactions, such as swelling and itching, eczema and flushing
• vomiting and/or diarrhoea
• coughing, wheezing or a runny nose
• swelling of the lips
• sore, red and itchy eyes

Home Treatment

• For localized hives or other mild skin reactions
• Take cool showers or apply cool compresses.
• Wear light clothing that doesn’t irritate your skin.
• Take it easy. Keep your activity level low.
• To relieve the itching, apply calamine lotion or take over-the-counter antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or the nonsedating antihistamine, loratadine (Claritin).

Magnesium Deficiency Signs And Symptoms

Magnesium, a very important and valuable mineral, is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is of great value to good health, being an important part for chemical reactions in the body. An enzyme system usually has three parts: a protein molecule, a smaller organic compound, often a vitamin such as Vitamin B6, and a charged mineral. Magnesium along with zinc, copper and manganese will be this charged mineral.

There are over 300 biochemical reactions in the body that requires magnesium. About 50 percent of this mineral in the body is found in the bone, and the remainder found in the body tissues and organs. The body also works very hard to keep a1% level of magnesium in the blood.

What are the functions of magnesium?

  • normal muscle and nerve function
  • to keep the heart rhythm steady
  • keep bones strong
  • supports the immune system
  • regulate blood sugars
  • promotes normal blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and arteries
  • may help prevent and manage hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes
  • helps metabolism

What are the symptoms of deficiency of Magnesium?

If the body is deficient of this mineral it can affect virtually every organ system of the body. It can affect the:

  • skeletal muscle with symptoms of cramps, twitches, muscle soreness, muscle tension
  • smooth muscles with symptoms of menstrual cramps, constipation,urinary spasms, difficulty swallowing
  • central nervous system presenting symptoms of insomnia, anxiety or panic attacks, hyperactivity, and premenstrual irritability
  • peripheral nervous system signs of deficiency are numbness, tingling and other abnormal sensations
  • cardiovascular system’s symptoms may include palpitations, heart arrhythmia, angina and high blood pressure

These are only symptoms and if you are experiencing one or more it does not necessarily mean that you are deficient of this mineral. Going to your doctor and discussing them and having testing done is the only way to diagnose the deficiency. 

To diagnosis this possible deficiency the doctor may order blood work to check the magnesium level in the red blood cells. Another method of testing is the magnesium loading test. This test involves the patient collecting a 24 hour urine specimen and the total magnesium is then measured. The patient is then administered an injection of a specific amount of magnesium and then repeats the 24 hour collection of urine sample. If the results show that the body has retained more than a certain amount of magnesium, it is concluded that the body is deficient of the mineral and is holding on to the magnesium that was injected. In some cases if the signs and symptoms strongly indicate a magnesium deficiency the doctor may just do a trial test and order the patient to take either oral or injected magnesium and see if there are any significant changes to the symptoms.

Food Sources that provide magnesium

The center of the chlorophyll molecule that gives green vegetables their color contains magnesium. This makes vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli good food choices.

Unrefined whole grains, legumes such as peas and beans, nuts and seeds contain this essential mineral. The importance of eating unrefined is that when whole grains are refined the magnesium content of the food is lost when the germ and bran are removed.

Tap water contains the mineral with varying amounts depending on the supply.

Other food sources are bananas, avocados, milk, potatoes, halibut, and raisins.

Depression: A Curable Hazard

It is very necessary to catch this disease at primary level to avoid serious damages. Initially patients do not accept the fact that they need psychological treatment, which proves very harmful to them. The symptoms of depression are also different in each case, so, analysis of the illness is difficult. Severity level of depression can drive the patients to suicide attempts. Change in behavior; negative thinking, unwillingness, sudden change in mood are some symptoms of depressive disorder.

Patients of depression cannot concentrate on a subject. It may affect their decision power too so such patients become upset. Self confidence is lost in such disorders. Low spirit, guilt complex, short tempered nature etc are common in all cases. If the illness is severe, patient can harm himself or commit suicide too.

Feeling of sadness without any reason is the common symptom of the illness. Feeling tiresome, lonely apathetic etc. can be easily found in these people.

Another sign of the disorder is loneliness. These patients run away from society and become extremely introverted by nature. Desire of food is also changed in these cases. It may be less or more than usual. Excessive nostalgic or sentimental nature is also common, so they become over emotional .such people cry a lot. Lack of Sexual desire can be found in this disorder.

Neglecting personal appearance, extreme laziness adds shabbiness to their personality.

Automatically it affects social status, performance at work, household discipline etc.

Mental disorder may cause physical illness like weakness, tiresome feeling, lack of sleep, restlessness headaches etc.

These symptoms may last for some days or even years. Some experts take initial and short term depression as a defense mechanism of human psychology. So, feeling depressed for a couple of days is very natural but if you feel in the same way more than a week you must help yourself come out of it. There is no point in diagnosing yourself so, consult a psychologist.

Sometimes depression can also be caused due to chemical imbalances inside a person’s brain. So, these are totally curable with mere medicines and do not deal with psychology. Some psychological disorders are hereditary. So, case history proves helpful to diagnose such cases.

Extreme stress, workload, emotional shocks, relationship troubles, serious loss etc. are a few reasons, which may cause depression. Social, educational and work environment is very important to build a balanced psychological nature of a person. Decision making ability, stress management, habits of self evaluation and meditation can help you to avoid ill- effects of stress.

Depression diagnosis usually includes study of case history, mental stress test, medication, psychotherapy according to the nature of the patients need. Generally, medication is used to treat the symptoms. So, psychotherapy is used in alternative manner with medication.  It is harmful to take depression pills without consultation so a good psychiatrist is very necessary to cure depression.

If you find out these symptoms inside you, immediately contact your psychologist. Remember, this disease is totally curable. So, help yourself to live life with full zest.

How To Stop Phobias

There are so many phobias from A-Z which can be so controlling. Phobias can really make our lives hell. It’s just not enough that you have to feel intense fear, over time you start worrying about having a phobic attack. To make matters worse, you might start even worrying about being embarrassed by others noticing you have a phobia of something you think is “silly!”

But the fact is, phobias are not genetic like eye colour. You learn to have phobias and can unlearn them if you are willing.

I help people to discover in their experience, not just intellectually, how to feel safe enough to face their fears and phobias. Then over time it is common to stop worrying so much and start living again.

Don’t think of phobias as something incurable. In fact, dont think of curing them either because there are not a disease! Phobias are learned usually when we are very young. I help people overcome phobias all the time.

Can you imagine now what your life would be like if you didnt have phobias? Have you lived phobia free before now? It is absolutely possible, even if you have tried other forms of therapy which haven’t worked. Contact me for help.

Combining counselling, psychotherapy, NLP, hypnotherapy and mindfulness meditation in a unique system enables you to learn how to stop worrying about having a phobic attack and then, reduce your fear intensity.

For more information visit our psychotherapy clinic for Melbourne Counselling Here

There is a list of common phobias and hypnosis mp3s to help you with your here. 

Panic Attacks Caused By Sleep Disorders – Tips To Relieve Insomnia

Sleep disorder is one of the major factors that cause panic attacks. If it has been confirmed that you are suffering from a sleep disorder, or if you suspect that you have one, it is to be understood that you are more prone to panic attacks.

Sometimes, it is the other way round; panic attack is the chief cause of insomnia. In truth, it is a vicious cycle. While lack of sleep causes panic attacks, a panic attack can also cause sleeplessness. If you have panic attacks caused by anxiety, you are more likely to be in an endless state of panic, worry, and anxiety, negative factors that will rob you of precious hours of sleep.

Importance of Sleep

Sleep is of paramount importance. We are all aware of how we feel when we can’t sleep. Insomnia leads to lack of control, irritability, irrationality, and lack of efficiency.

During sleep, your body recuperates after long hours of work. Your body needs this rest and goes through the various stages of sleep so that it can relax. If you don’t get sufficent sleep, you body will not be able to function.

During sleep, the mind tries to sort out the various problems of the day. You may have observed that your ability to solve problems increases after a good night’s sleep. This is because you have given your body and mind sufficient time to organize all the facts required to solve a particular problem.

Naturally, lack of sleep can directly lead to panic attacks. If you can’t sleep well, your body is constantly awake and continuously receives information, without getting the sufficient time to organize this information. The excess amount of unanalyzed information in your mind leads to stress, which in turn causes anxiety. When you are over-anxious, you will not be able to handle day-to-day activities effectively, paving the way for a panic attack.

Taking the Required Treatment

If you are prone to panic attacks, insufficient sleep can be a great problem for you. Irrespective of whether insomnia leads to panic attacks or panic attacks lead to insomnia, help is available for you.

Medication is available for people who suffer from insomnia due to panic attacks. It will help you deal with anxiety and depression too, and enable you to enjoy better sleep. You also have the choice of taking therapy for panic attacks. Therapy will equip you with the ability to deal with challenging day-to-day situations more effectively.

A doctor is in a position to pinpoint what has gone wrong with your sleeping pattern. Doctors may either prescribe medication for you or recommend a reputed sleep clinic. Therefore, find a good health care professional, whose care and advise will help you deal with erratic sleep patterns and, thereby, reduce the intensity of your panic attacks.

Insomnia and Poor Quality Sleep: Causes and Treatments

Insomnia is irregular wakefulness, inability to sleep or poor quality sleep. This problem might cause during daytime, like lack of energy, tiredness, irritability and difficulty concentrating. Some level of this problem is experienced by everyone. It is as simple as not able to fall asleep, as changes made in sleeping patterns or excitement of next day. A symptom of Night time eating syndrome may be Insomnia.

Different classifications of Insomnia are chronic, intermittent and transient. The short term insomnia is transient insomnia, which lasts from single night to couple of weeks. Insomnia which occurs on and off is Intermittent Insomnia. The constantly occurred insomnia is chronic insomnia.

This problem can be caused by different things. The people who are experiencing stress, extreme temperatures, change in surrounding environment, environmental noise, wake/sleep schedule problems like medication side effects is caused by intermittent and transient insomnia. The chronic insomnia cause is more complex than intermittent and transient insomnia causes. It results in the combination of factors which includes mental disorders or underlying physical. Chronic insomnia is most commonly caused by depression.

Other substances or medications may also cause insomnia like tobacco, caffeine, stimulants, alcohol, nicotine, sedatives, certain allergy, theophylline and cold medicines. The primary causes of insomnia include medical or emotional conditions. Some life changes can cause long term insomnia like changes in their work schedule, major life problems, emotional upsets like relationship break up, long lasting stress and Gastrointestinal disorders like heartburn.

The non-drug treatments of insomnia:

The treatment not only includes medications, but even behavioral modifications for long term results and sleep habitat. To manage insomnia, it is important to evaluate sleep habitats. In some cases changing sleep schedule might correct the problem without any medications.

The good sleep habitat includes a comfortable quite room at comfortable temperature and a comfortable bed, regular sleep times, appropriate lighting, regular exercises, not late in evenings or close to bed time, avoid naps during day time and relaxations techniques like breathing exercise.

The OTC (Over the Counter) medicines for insomnia are advisable only for short term and transient insomnia. The OTC drugs should not be used for short period conjunction, with having changes in sleeping habitats. These drugs when used for chronic results in dependence on them. Where it creates a problem, that sleep is not possible till the use of drug. Chromic insomnia should be evaluated by physicians.

The Antihistamines for insomnia:

Doxylamine (for e.g. Unisom) and Diphenhydramine (for e.g. Nytol, Sominex) are marketed as OTC drugs. Diphenhydramine is the agent which is considered to be effective and safe by drug and food administration. The effectiveness and safety of doxylamineis not adequately evaluated for FDA approval. The causes of Diphenhydramine include motion, allergy, cough suppression and sickness.

The drug interactions for insomnia:

Doxylamine and Diphenhydramine add medications which causes drowsiness and the tranquilizer of alcohol.          

The side effects for insomnia:

Doxylamine and Diphenhydramine also cause dry mouth, difficulty in urinating and constipation. Both the drugs worsen the symptoms of asthma, prostate gland enlargement, glaucoma and heart problems.

To Your Health!

The Dreaded Ingrown Toe Nail – How Does It Happen?

Toenails are generally pretty innocuous. They’re rarely threatening (except, of course, when toenail clippings fly across the room like tiny bits of organic shrapnel at slightly less than the speed of sound). Usually, toenails grow straight out, keeping a nice noninterference policy with the rest of the toe. There are times, however, when nails begin to turn on you. One or both of the sides or corners of the nail begin to curve downward into the toe, causing the skin around the nail to become irritated and painful. At times, the nail may even penetrate the skin, letting in bacteria that decide that the toe is a fabulous place to live (and these are guests you definitely don’t want to have around).

There are many possible causes or contributing factors for ingrown toenails. If you have a family history of malevolent nails, or if you have nails that already seem to curve down on the sides, you may be susceptible. Pressure on your toes from too-tight shoes or socks may also lead to ingrown toenails, as can trauma (like stubbing your toe on the corner of your bed in the middle of the night, dropping a brick on your foot, or kicking a soccer ball (or bowling ball, for that matter) a bit too hard). Certain nail conditions, such as fungal infections in your nail bed may also contribute.

Improper trimming of your toenails may also be a significant factor. Cutting nails too short (you should be able to get your fingernail under the sides and end of your newly trimmed toenail) or trimming down the sides of the nail (you should trim straight across) can lead to problems. Peeling or tearing the corners of the nail can also be harmful.

Oh. And keep in mind that, while ingrown toenails most commonly occur on the big toe, any toenail may be affected.

Your first clue that your nail has gone from friendly to malicious is inflammation around your toenail. This will manifest itself as pain, warmth, redness, and swelling. You may also develop a callus along the side of your nail in response to an increase in pressure from your ingrown toenail and the associated swelling. Or, it’s possible that you’ll just have a toenail that appears to go pretty deeply down into your skin. If an infection develops, things usually get a little more nasty. You may notice drainage accompanied by a bad smell, and there may be a collection of pus. (Yes. It’s pretty gross.)

At the first appearance of these signs you must go to your nearest podiatrist. Stay tuned for the next installment to discuss what you podiatrist will do to help.

Onychomycosis – What is Onychomycosis Infection?

Onychomycosis, also known as nail fungus, is one of the more common infections. It is common enough to say that almost anybody had Onychomycosis infection before. The way we use our hands and feet and how we take care of them can mean the difference between having fungal infection or not.

Onychomycosis cannot easily penetrate our nails. Our nails are the ultimate barrier against the infection. Even so, once our nails have been penetrated it won’t be long before infection sets in and eventually spread. Prevention is still the better choice.

The idea of fungal infection being contagious is not too far-fetched. People can pass on the infection by indiscriminate use of contaminated equipment. Not wearing the right size of shoes and overly tight socks can contribute to the growth of fungal infection. Having your fungal infection treated is not a walk in the park. The treatment itself last long and the recovery period for a nail may take over a year.

Preventing re-infection is of utmost importance while nearing the end of the recovery period of a nail. Just because your nail looks normal does not mean that you relax on your treatment. If ever a re-infection appears, you will have to undergo the same treatment again for a longer period than before.

3 Types of Onychomycosis Infection

There are 3 types of Onychomycosis infection depending on its appearance. One is the “Distal Subungual Onychomycosis”, the second is “Proximal Subungual Onychomycosis” and the third is the “White Superficial Onychomycosis”. The most common nail fungal infection is the first one. It is based on the point where the nail separates from the skin. The second one is based on the area where the nail is closer to the body of the person. The second type usually appears in people with weak immune systems. The third one is based on the upper part of the nail specifically the surface.

People with discolored nails may not be as showy with them as compared to normal ones. People have this idea that fungal infections are contagious and are a result of bad fingernail and toenail care.

3 Kinds of Fungi That Cause Onychomycosis

There are 3 kinds of fungi that cause Onychomycosis. These are dermatophytes, yeasts, and non-dermatophytes. Any of these 3 kinds can already be on your nails without any indication of pain or discoloration. The foul smell, by the way, comes from the debris that may collect under the nail. Talk about not clipping your nails. When you clip your nails, be sure to clean it also. You will be amazed at how neat your toenails or fingernails will look, if you clean it properly.

Since Onychomycosis is hard to cure, you might as well control it. There are medications solely for the control of this infection. Proper nutrition also plays a vital part in good nail health. A sufficient intake of proteins and minerals, avoiding sugar, alcohol, and caffeine will contribute to the well-being of your nails. There are herbal remedies for Onychomycosis. It is used to relieve, and not cure, some of the symptoms. Whatever medication you take, be it chemical creams or herbal, use it properly for it to be effective.

Don’t let a sprained ankle keep you out of the game

Mark J. Berkowitz, MD, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle conditions at Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle, presents a 4-part discussion on ankle sprains to help keep you and your ankles in top condition.

Part I will provide an introduction to ankle sprains and describe the initial treatment for this injury. Part II will describe the all-important process of rehabilitating the sprained ankle. Part III will examine the ankle sprain that doesn’t get better and discuss some of the causes. Finally, part IV will look at chronic ankle instability and describe several different surgical treatments for this condition.

Part I – An introduction to the sprained ankle

Virtually everyone has at one time or another sustained a twisting injury or sprain to one of their ankles. In fact, sprained ankles represent the most common athletic injury happening today. Despite being so common, the sprained ankle is often misunderstood and undertreated. So before you miss another basketball game, trail run, or triathlon because of an ankle sprain, let’s try to better understand how this injury occurs, how to recover from it, and how to prevent future sprains.

There are two major ligaments that provide stability to the outside part of the ankle. One is called the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL). The other is the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL). Under normal circumstances, these ligaments provide stability by resisting stresses that tend to invert the ankle or cause it to turn in. Thus, any cutting maneuver, change in direction, or walking or running on uneven ground is made possible by the ATFL and CFL. A sprain occurs when there is some degree of stretching or even tearing of these ligaments. This stretching of the ligament produces the characteristic swelling, bruising, and pain on the outside of the ankle. In general, these symptoms vary depending on the amount of stretching of the ligaments that has occurred. Physicians and trainers will frequently grade ankle sprains from I-III to describe how severe an ankle sprain is.

You may also hear of athletes sustaining what is called a “high ankle sprain”. This type of sprain is much less common. It occurs when the entire ankle and leg are twisted outward, unlike the more common ankle sprain which occurs when the ankle twists inward. The reason it is called a “high” ankle sprain is because the injured ligaments actually extend from the ankle all the way up the leg almost to the knee. Pain, swelling, and bruising may actually be worse on the inside of the foot and ankle. It is important to diagnosis a “high” ankle sprain because the recovery from it is generally much longer than for a standard ankle sprain.

Initial treatment for the sprained ankle

When a sprained ankle has occurred, it is important to distinguish it from a broken ankle. If there is any gross deformity to the ankle or if the injured person is completely unable to put any weight on the affected leg, then the injury should be evaluated by a physician or trainer. They are best able to determine if an X-Ray is needed. Once a sprain is diagnosed, treatment should begin as soon as possible. In most cases, an initial course of R.I.C.E. therapy is the best practice. R.I.C.E. stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

? “Rest” the foot by avoiding strenuous activity and limiting the amount of weight put on the injured ankle. When the ankle has been sprained, bearing weight on the ankle will not cause additional damage so light walking is encouraged. Although soreness is expected after a sprain, weight-bearing should be tolerable and shouldn’t cause significant pain. If weight-bearing is extremely painful, crutches may be used for a few days. However, if the pain and need for crutches persists beyond 3-7 days, an orthopedic surgeon should be consulted.

? “Ice” applied to the ankle for 15 minutes once per hour will also help by decreasing inflammation and swelling in the sprained ankle. This is best performed by placing a towel over the ankle then applying a plastic bag of ice or a commercial cold pack. Ice directly on the skin should be avoided and the duration of icing should be no more than 15 minutes to avoid damage to the skin. Don’t put ice directly on the skin (keep a thin piece of cloth such as a pillow case between the ice bag and the skin) and don’t ice more than 20 minutes at a time to avoid frost bite.

? “Compression” can also be quite helpful in controlling swelling. A simple ACE wrap can be applied to the injured ankle by gently but snugly rolling it onto the leg starting at the toes and proceeding toward the knee. Although the ACE wrap is probably the simplest technique for compression, medical compression stockings and stirrup-type inflatable ankle braces can also be extremely effective at decreasing swelling.

? “Elevate” the foot by propping it up on 1-2 pillows so that it is positioned above the waist or heart. Gravity is the enemy. Gravity makes it more difficult for swelling fluid to return to the heart. The more the foot hangs down, the more the fluid will accumulate, and the more the ankle will throb and hurt.

R.I.C.E. therapy is simple to do and will begin to decrease the pain, swelling, and bruising that occurs with sprained ankles. Two other treatments can also be quite effective in helping the acute sprained ankle. The first is to begin taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or another over-the-counter NSAID. These medications work to block the body’s inflammatory response to injury and can help to decrease pain as well as swelling. However, these types of medications aren’t for everyone, and you should confer with your primary doctor before beginning to take one of these medications. Another extremely helpful treatment for the sprained ankle is the ankle brace. Many individuals find that wearing a simple ankle brace such as those available at most sporting goods stores can make the ankle feel better during the first few days. An ankle brace can help the ankle feel more stable and make it easier to resume walking. It also provides protection from re-injury.

This concludes Part I of our discussion on ankle sprains. The next aspect of the discussion will describe the critical process of rehabilitating the sprained ankle.

Bruise Information and Treatment

Bruise also known contusion or a ecchymosis. Bruise are frequently caused by falls, damage of sports and car accidents. There are three forms of bruise include subcutaneous, intramuscular and periosteal. The contusions can last of the days in the months, with bone bruise of the most serious and painful being. Sometimes bruise can be serious, foremost to other more life threatening forms of hematoma, or can be related with serious injuries, involving fractures and internal bleeding. Minor bruises may be simply recognized, in people with light skin color, by their characteristic blue or purple advent in the days following the injury.

Bruising simply does not mean you have a sedate health problem, particularly if bruising is minimal or only appears once in a while. Older adults often bruise simply from minor damage, exceptionally injuries to the forearms, hands, legs, and feet. As a person ages, the skin becomes inferior pliable and thinner because there is less fat under the skin. The cushioning effect of the skin decreases as the fat under the skin diminishes. These changes, along with skin damage from exposure to the sun, cause blood vessels to smash simply. Women bruise more simply than men, especially from small injuries on the thighs, buttocks, and upper arms.

A tendency to bruise simply sometimes runs in families. The primary focus in the treatment of bruising is the diagnosis and management of any underlying medical condition. The best common and the most efficient method of bruises treatment is applying a cold compress to the injured area. A cold compress such as an icepack or a bag of frozen peas should be applied to the affected area for 20-30 minutes in order to speed healing and diminish swelling. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be taken for pain as informed on the bottle. Vitamin C helps bruising and flavonoids are usually recommended .

Drink plenty of fluids. Pure water, herbal teas, and soups are whole good choices. Avoid smoking since smoking may delay healing because it interferes with blood providly and collagen metabolism. Herbs that may be helpful for bruising. A compress or ointment of sweet clover is applied to bruises. Arnica is reflected by some practitioners to be among the excellent vulnerary herbs available. As a homeopathic remedy, arnica is frequently advised as both an internal and topical means to treat small injuries. Comfrey is also widely employed in traditional medicine as a topical application to assist heal wounds.