Bulging Discs

Bulging discs are one of the most serious conditions a person could suffer with related to the spine. In fact, this condition can cause intense pain as well as disability. This article will discuss what a bulging disc is, what causes it, the most common symptoms associated with it, as well as the most effective treatments available.

In order for us to understand what bulging discs are, however, we must first discuss what a normal spinal disc is. The discs of the spine are cushions that separate each set of bones in the back. Each disc is composed of a strong outer covering called the annulus, as well as a soft jelly center called the nucleus.

When a person has a bulging disc, the outer covering tears for one reason or another (which we’ll discuss in just a moment), and the jelly begins to shift away from the center of the disc toward the weaker part of the disc. This results in a “bulge” in the wall of the disc, which is why the condition is referred to as a bulging disc.

The cause of this can vary, but most often this condition is caused by an injury (such as a car accident, a fall, or lifting something heavy). It may also be caused by a genetic weakness in the wall of the disc, as well as toxins building up in the body. Toxins, believe it or not, will weaken the walls of the spinal discs, predisposing you to developing bulging discs.

These toxins typically build up in the system because of poor dietary choices, not drinking enough water, smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, etc. All of these things make a big difference in the health of your spinal discs.

One thing you may find interesting about the discs of the spine is that they are designed to not feel pain sensations. Now, this may sound odd at first, because this condition can cause quite a bit of pain. However, if you think about it, it makes sense – the main job of the spinal discs is to absorb shock, and if you were able to feel this, you would be in pain all day!

So, if this is the case, why is this condition so painful? Well, the spinal nerves are located directly behind the discs of the spine, so if you develop bulging discs, the bulge will typically apply pressure to these nerves, which can be very painful.

Not only that, disability is often associated with bulging discs as well, simply because the nerves of the spine control everything in the body. If there is pressure applied to these nerves, they will stop working properly, and other problems will develop.

For example, bulging discs in the cervical spine (neck) will not only cause neck pain, but you may also experience headaches, shoulder, arm and hand pain, numbness or weakness, chest pain, thyroid problems (which could lead to weight problems), as well as ringing in the ears and blurred vision.

You may not have thought that these symptoms could come from a problem in the neck, but this is very common because these parts of the body are controlled by the nerves in the neck.

In the thoracic area (middle back, between the shoulder blades), bulging discs can lead to middle back pain, pain radiating around the rib cage, chest pain, heart palpitations (feeling like your heart is beating very strongly and quickly in your chest), difficulty breathing, and headaches.

And finally, bulging discs in the lumbar region of the spine (the low back) can lead to low back pain, pain traveling down the leg (this may also be experienced as a burning sensation or numbness), pain in the feet, bowel and bladder problems (constipation, diarrhea, problems controlling your bladder), as well as sexual organ dysfunction.

So, the question is, how do you deal with this condition? Unfortunately, the traditional treatment methods available are usually not very effective for this problem.

Most doctors will recommend medications (such as pain relievers and muscle relaxers), pain injections (such as cortisone or epidurals), physical therapy, and surgery (usually as a last resort, because the success rate of surgery for the spine is very low).

The reason these treatments are not very effective is because they are all designed for one thing – their goal is to numb the aggravated nerve and reduce the inflammation in the area (which is also primarily affecting the nerve).

While this goal sounds good since the source of the pain is the aggravated nerve, any relief you experience from these treatments is usually temporary because they do not heal the cause of the problem, which is the injured disc.

The problem with bulging discs is that the spinal discs do not receive very good blood flow. Blood is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to injured tissues for faster healing, and because the discs do not receive this blood supply, they tend to be very problematic when it comes to healing.

What are your options, then? There are alternative methods that are usually more effective for getting to the source of the problem, and actually encouraging the disc to heal which leads to longer-term relief.

For example, chiropractic is usually very helpful, as well as massage therapy, acupuncture, axial decompression therapy, and cold laser therapy.

However, after working with thousands of patients with this condition over the past 8 years, I can tell you from experience that it usually requires a specific combination of these treatments in order to achieve the best results.

If you would like to learn more about the combination of treatments that are most effective for healing bulging discs, please visit http://www.HealYourBulgingDisc.com.

Serrapeptase: The Amazing Enzyme From An Unexpected Source

“Humans are born gentle and supple.

At death, their bodies are brittle and hard.”

~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 76

Enzymes are the unsung heroes of health. They facilitate every chemical interaction in the body. Without them, none of our internal metabolic activities could ever happen.

Although enzymes do many things, today we’ll focus on a particular category of enzymes, called proteolytic (literally, “protein dissolving”) enzymes. One of the important functions of these substances is keeping our organs and tissues from becoming stiff and brittle as we age.

But before we talk about how we can use enzymes this way, it will help to understand where this tendency to become stiffer over time comes from.

As we experience injuries, inflammation and other stresses, the body repairs and protects itself by using a substance called fibrin. Fibrin heals damage and protects tissues from the effects of inflammation and oxidation. Think of it like a fine mesh that covers injured tissues to hold them together.

An example of the repair function of fibrin is the creation of scar tissue. Other examples include what happens in our arteries and other tissues when they are exposed to inflammation and damaging free radicals.

In fact, many diseases such as hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), ischemic strokes (strokes due to blood clots obstructing arteries in the brain), fibrocystic breast disease, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis have a component of hardened tissues related to fibrin.

Normally, the repair and protective effects of fibrin are a good thing. In fact, once healed from the injury, the healed tissue is actually stronger than it was originally.

But all by itself, this repair job tends to be rigid and hard. It’s as if the body creates a kind of armor plate to protect the area from any further damage. When this interferes with healthy functioning, it’s called fibrosis.

In a young, healthy body, the rigidity of these repairs is moderated by circulating proteolytic enzymes that soften them. This makes them more flexible and resilient.

The problem happens with age as our bodies make less enzymes. By the time we reach age 40 we are producing dramatically fewer enzymes than we did at age 20. It’s not a coincidence that with age we are affected by increasing stiffness in joints, organs and blood vessels. This progression is related to the stiffness caused by fibrosis.

That’s where we can take advantage of proteolytic enzymes.

There are many of these enzymes within the body. We also get them from food sources. Here’s a short list of the more common dietary ones:

  • Bromelain (from unripe pineapple)
  • Nattokinase (from natto, a fermented soy product)
  • Papain (from unripe papaya)

Another outstanding proteolytic enzyme is called serrapeptase.

Serrapeptase comes from silk worms. It is the enzyme that allows the silkworm to dissolve through it’s tough cocoon and emerge as the silkworm moth.

In the human body, serrapeptase has the unusual property of digesting hard, stiff non-living tissue without damaging live tissue. It also acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory.

The most common use for serrapeptase is in treating scar tissue, fibrosis, abnormal blood clotting (for example varicose veins) and arterial plaque. Other uses include breaking up congestion in the lungs such as in chronic bronchitis.

Serrapeptase is generally safe and effective for most people. However some people should not take it. People with bleeding disorders and those who are taking blood thinning drugs should avoid it. Also, if someone is on aspirin therapy or taking large amounts of vitamin E or fish oils, they should be cautious taking serrapeptase and do so only under medical supervision.

Because it is degraded by exposure to stomach acid, the best way to gain the benefits of serrapeptase is to take it in an enteric-coated form. Also, it’s best to take it separately from food.

I recommend working with a knowledgeable natural health practitioner when using serrapeptase.

Multiple Myeloma – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that begins in the bone marrow in the plasma cells. The disease is called multiple myeloma because it affects many bones. Although multiple myeloma affects the bones, it begins in the blood cells of the bone marrow, and is not a bone tumor. An age over 65, an origin of African-American race, and a personal history of monoclonal gammopathy, are risk factors for this condition. Common symptoms include bone pain, fractured bones, weakness, frequent infections and fevers, weight loss, nausea, constipation and frequent urination. Chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation and radiation therapy are the standard line of treatment for this disease.

The Ayurvedic treatment of multiple myeloma is aimed at treating the basic pathology of the disease and reducing or controlling the complications. Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Trayo-Dashang-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Arogya-Vardhini, Kanchnaar-Guggulu and Panch-Tikta-Ghrut are used in high doses to treat the dysfunctional bone marrow. Medicines which act on the ‘Majja’ dhatu (tissue) are useful in multiple myeloma. These include Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) and Musta (Cyperus rotundus). Medicines which act on the ‘Rakta’ dhatu of the body are also useful in this condition. These medicines include Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Patha (Cissampelos pareira) and Musta.

A special course of medicated enema called ‘Ksheer-Basti’ is used in multiple myeloma. This procedure is believed to act directly on the bone and bone marrow. Repeated courses of this procedure are effective in correcting the abnormal bone marrow and in reducing bone pain and fractures.

Multiple myeloma can lead to several complications which need to be treated separately. Anemia can be treated using Tapyadi-Loh and Punarnavadi-Mandur. Bone pain can be treated using Laxadi-Guggulu and Asthishrunkhala (Cissus quadrangularis). High levels of calcium in the blood, amyloidosis (protein accumulation) and kidney failure can be treated using Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Guduchi, Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Punarnavadi-Qadha, Gokshuradi-Guggulu and Chandraprabha-Vati.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Suvarna-Parpati, Ras-Parpati, Panchamrut-Parpati, Suvarna-Sutshekhar-Ras, Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Suvarna-Bhasma and Heerak-Bhasma are used to improve the immunity of the body. To prevent or reduce side effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy, medicines like Ashwagandha, Shankh-Vati, Laghu-Sutshekhar-Ras and Vishwa (Zinziber officinalis) are used.

Thus, Ayurvedic medicines can be used as additional therapy in multiple myeloma to bring about a faster response, to prevent recurrence, and improve quality of life and overall survival of the patient. It is important to note that all such patients should be under the regular care and supervision of an Oncology team.

Frontal Knee Pain

What is frontal knee pain?

Frontal knee pain is a pain people experience beneath the kneecap (additionally referred to as patella). It’s the most typical reason behind chronic pain related to the knee. It originates from deterioration of cartilage, which happens because of inferior position in the kneecap while it glides across the lower end in the quad cuboid bone (femur).

Indications of frontal knee pain!

Indicators of frontal knee pain are often some sort of fuzzy feeling inside the knee, irritated through action (running, mountaineering as well as climbing down a stairway) or simply by extended seating using legs in the twisted position (soreness and pain as a result of long time seating in the workplace for example). Some individuals furthermore record experiencing a weird sensation or firmness inside the knee. It may afflict a single as well as both legs. When continual signs are overlooked, losing quadriceps (upper leg) muscle tissue power causes leg to “give up”. Moreover an evident decrease in quadriceps muscle tissue and slight inflammation in the knee location might show up.

What is causing frontal knee pain?

The patella (kneecap) is normally pulled over the end of the femur in a straight line by the quadriceps (thigh) muscle. People experiencing this kind of pain typically have unnatural patellar “tracking” in the direction of the side (external) section in the femur. The following just a bit off the path glide permits that under surface patella grates alongside femur creating constant swelling together with pain. Some people are more likely to develop frontal knee pain than others(women, older people etc..), however it is usually the result of muscle weakness, which often will not put adequate tension with an individual’s kneecap to produce the ideal route for the kneecap. This problem is also well-known to individuals who participate in a number of sporting activities, both professionally or as a recreation. In these instances frontal knee pain is mainly a result of muscle imbalances.

How to get rid of frontal knee pain?

Stretching out together with strengthening of quadriceps and hamstring muscles is essential for long-lasting effect and efficient rehab. You must do the exercises and you must do them the right way. For instance executing weighted squats, lower leg pushes and training on leg extension machine can cause even bigger injury. Swimming might help reduce soreness; yet, in the majority of conditions it isn’t enough to take care of frontal knee pain completely.

The most frequent procedure is ice together with pain killers, though this is the improper strategy to use. The trouble with drugs is usually the following: when you stop taking them, the pain returns and you must take even more pills.. This way you’re not taking care of the problem itself; you’re simply eliminating the pain. Going this route you are closer and closer to knee surgery. If you carry out appropriate exercises you may be certain to prevent the knee surgery, which is usually the last phase in case damage is already too heavy.

In normal conditions, there’s a fast recovery and return to full functional level when quadriceps and surrounding muscles are finally normally developed and after reducing muscle imbalances.

Just keep in mind the following: the only method to build tougher knees, to eliminate frontal knee pain and to resume your regular way of life is to increase quadriceps muscle power and muscle coordination through executing the correct exercises the correct way.

Alcoholism – Causes and Effects

Alcoholism is the inability to control or ignore a strong craving for alcohol. People suffering from alcoholism often find that they need the aid of alcohol to feel good or normal. They often crave alcohol, but this craving is much stronger than the occasional craving people have for certain foods. The craving for alcohol experienced by those suffering from alcoholism is often so severe that the individual feels they need alcohol as if it were food or water. They do not feel they can go a day, or in some extreme cases, an hour, without consuming alcohol.

Alcoholism is not characterized by the type of alcohol consumed or how much alcohol is needed to satisfy the craving. Alcoholism is characterized mostly by the loss of control. Alcoholics often build up a tolerance to alcohol over time. This means they need more and more alcohol to satisfy their need for it. As they consume more and more alcohol, serious health problems manifest themselves. Alcoholism also affects the sufferer psychologically, as well as physically.

Alcoholism differs from alcohol abuse in that a person who abuses alcohol does not display a loss of control over their drinking. An individual who abuses alcohol may act irresponsibly while under the influence. They may also put themselves and others in danger by driving or operating machinery while drinking. Relationships may suffer, as with alcoholism and work performance may become careless. While alcohol abuse differs from alcoholism, it can be a serious problem and should not be ignored.

There are many symptoms of alcoholism. Many of the symptoms of alcohol abuse are also displayed by those suffering from alcoholism. Some symptoms include drinking alone or secretly (hiding the fact that they are drinking), memory loss (also known as “blacking out”), ritually drinking at certain times during the day and becoming irritable when this ritual is disturbed, feeling the need to drink to feel normal, loss of interest in relationships or activities that were once enjoyed, experiencing financial, marital, or legal problems caused by drinking, building a tolerance to alcohol or experiencing withdrawal symptoms if alcohol is not available. These symptoms are just a few of the possible symptoms that could be displayed by alcoholics.

Studies show that some individuals are more likely to experience alcoholism at some point in their lives than others. For example, genetics can play a role in whether or not a person is likely to be drawn to alcohol. Often the children of alcoholics will have a higher risk of one day becoming an alcoholic themselves. Psychological problems also increase the risk for alcoholism. Individuals suffering from depression, attention deficit disorder, bipolar disorder and many other psychological disorders often turn to alcohol to make them feel better or ease their suffering. This often turns into a dependency.

There are many health problems that are caused by alcoholism. Alcoholism depresses the central nervous system. Over time, alcoholism can cause fatigue, paralysis of the muscles surrounding the eyes and short-term memory loss. Other, more life-threatening health problems caused by alcoholism include cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, gastrointestinal problems, neurological disorders, sexual dysfunction and bone loss. Alcoholism also increases the risk of certain cancers, such as cancer of the esophagus, larynx, liver and colon. If left untreated, alcoholism can lead to death.

Acid Reflux, Sleep Apnea and Heart Palpitations

Acid reflux, sleep apnea and heart palpitations are serious problems that people have to look after; otherwise, problems that are more serious could result in untreated symptoms.

A person who suffers from sleep apnea may also complain of frequent headaches, dry mouth, and a sore throat in the morning, heart palpitations, urinating throughout the night, falling asleep while working or driving, and chronic fatigue and memory problems.

People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of hypertension, stroke, heart disease and accidents while driving or working.

If suffering from acid reflux, sleep apnea and or heart palpitations, you are strongly recommended to consult a doctor. It is common for people to have an occasional sleepless night but a lack of sleep on a regular basis is cause for concern. Insomnia can be the result of sleep apnea or even nighttime acid reflux. Insomnia will leave you feeling tired throughout the entire day. It will also cause psychological and physiological damage to your body.

When underlying ailments such as sleep apnea, lung disease, hot flashes and diabetes are treated the insomnia may be treated as well. Natural remedies available for insomnia include a change in lifestyle such as a better diet. Much of the food we eat is made up of toxins, which cause an imbalance in the body. The alkaline imbalance may be what triggers insomnia in some people.

Acid reflux, sleep apnea and heart palpitations can all be traced in some way to the food we eat. Hydrogenated fat, refined table salt, mono sodium glutamate, sugar, chocolate, corn syrup, refined oils, baking powder, fried foods, junk foods, carbonated soda and alcohol are all toxins that will cause problems in the human body. Replace these poor health choices with natural foods and you may begin to notice a change in your overall health and you may be able to sleep better at night. Fruits and vegetables have plenty of fiber and natural enzymes that balance the acid-alkaline ratio in the body.

Acid reflux can cause chest pain because stomach acid causes the esophagus to become inflamed and can lead to chest pain. This pain may feel quite similar to pain associated with angina, which is felt by people with coronary heart disease. Acid reflux does not directly cause heart palpitations but it may cause a person to feel extremely anxious which in turn may cause palpitations. Another scenario may be that the person may actually be experiencing a heart related attack of pain of some sort. In this case, the palpitations may be the result of a heart attack. Other symptoms of heart disease that could rule out acid reflux include nausea and shortness of breath.

Acid reflux, sleep apnea and heart palpitations are serious ailments that are linked to our lifestyle. If you are someone who is at risk for heart disease, it is important to rule out acid reflux disease before assuming it is responsible for the chest pains and heart palpitations. Even something that feels like a typical case of heartburn could be a sign of heart disease, so a careful history and evaluation of the patient is required.

Diabetes, Emotions and the C Type Personality Connection

So what do we know about Diabetes as a disease? Diabetes is the de-sensitisation of red blood cells to insulin, due to the high concentrations of glucose present in the blood serum. An increased amount of Insulin which is secreted form the pancreas is then needed for the breakdown of the blood glucose. The high saturation of Insulin then creates a downgrade of insulin receptors on the red blood cells which stops the excessive influx of insulin within the cells, creating insulin resistance, energy resistance, depression, anxiety, confusion and angry people suffering from constant highs and lows.

Some would argue that diabetes is the reason for the emotional upsets experienced from the dis-ease, although could it be that the diabetes is just the physical representation of the stress and emotional suppression on the inside. It is documented that when a person whom suffers insulin resistance and type II diabetes is stressed their blood glucose raises and often continues in an upward gradient until the emotional state returns to a base level. This state also increases Cortisol levels and affects adrenal exertion, kick starting the adrenal sympathetic response of fight or flight.

So what creates this emotional upset? To name a just a few; financial commitments, worries, relationship problems, children, work, traffic, pollution, lack of sleep, state of the economy, world affairs, etc. Often these situations are also associated with emotions of doom and gloom, devastation, lack of control, worthlessness, low self esteem, fear, anger, sadness, shame, guilt etc.

Dr. Linda Mundof (ND) and Dr Gabor Mate (Canadian physician) have studied the links between personality types and the onset of disease. A C personality type is someone who is at heightened risk for a slew of afflictions, immune suppression, asthma, cancer and diabetes. Type C is a contrast to that of the Type A person (who angers easily and has difficulty keeping feelings under wraps) and the Type B person (who has a healthier balance of emotional expressiveness). The Type C person is a suppressor, a stoic, a denier of feelings. He or she has a calm, outwardly rational, and unemotional demeanour, but also a tendency to conform to the wishes of others, a lack of assertiveness, and an inclination toward feelings of helplessness or hopelessness and low self esteem.

Type C’s tend to obsess over the emotions held within as they have difficulty expressing them outwards, leaving them chronically stressed, with increased blood pressure, fat gain, muscle loss, diabetes, heart problems, lowered immunity, digestive problems, increased appetite, fatigue, brain fog, memory loss, anxiety and depression. It also increases Cortisol which depresses DHEA levels, causing muscle wasting and premature aging.

Dr Mate also began to notice a pattern when studying Type C personalities: individuals who were unable to express anger or other emotions, who didn’t seem to recognize the primacy of their own needs appeared to be the ones most susceptible to a slew of other auto immune dis-eases where the immune system of the body actually starts attacking itself internally. These diseases included asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

So lets look at who tends to suffer type II diabetes, when we firstly think of the typical type two diabetic they tend to be overweight, middle aged, female between the ages of 25-44 and males between the age of 45-74 (National Diabetes register 1999-2005, http://www.aihw.gov.au). As a societal judgement one could say overweight people represent laziness, with a lack of motivation and self commitment and control, general emotional fragility although not forthright with their emotional status and someone that has possibly suffered a significant emotional event or trauma with numerous internal conflicts.

So what if we were to look at Diabetes as not a clinical disease but an emotional/mental dis-ease of the sufferer. This internal dis-ease moves the sufferer to a position of chronic stress where coping mechanisms are represented as repetitive behaviours either physically or emotionally, such as over eating to feel better mentally. This emotional eating leads itself to food that is generally high in sugar, creating an artificial stimulation of serotonin and dopamine. This stimulation temporarily improves mental status yet suppresses the represented state of turmoil within. This undealt with suppressed emotional status then imbalances the internal homeostasis of the body and here lies the mind, body connection.

So it could be hypothesised that your typical type II diabetic is someone that has a type C personality type, is emotionally reactive, chronically stressed, suffers from obsessive behavioural disorders and suppresses their emotions leading to fatigue, depression, anxiety, elevated blood pressure, blood glucose and Cortisol, with a higher prevalence of auto-immune disease all represented as the dis-ease commonly known as diabetes.

When we think about controlling our diabetes, we think of doing this with diet and exercise quite often combined with medication. Seldom do we even consider the fourth leg, emotional health.

Emotions and diabetes are a two-way street, a so called coexistent relationship. When our emotional status is positive, we can more easily control our physical triggers for the diabetes such as a reduction in stress and emotional eating and when we control our diabetes, we feel better with increased emotional stability, self-esteem and confidence.

The study published by the Annals of behavioural management (Katherine T Fortenberry M.S 2006), looked at fluctuations of positive and negative emotions toward daily tasking competency having a direct effect on blood glucose. This study involved sixty two adolescents with type one diabetes who were required to complete daily diaries for two weeks detailing their mood, emotions and average blood glucose levels, overall confidence in their ability to manage their diabetes, and their ability to manage daily diabetes tasks, such as eating healthy foods and taking insulin.

Teens which reported more positive feelings, such as happiness or excitement, self control and successful achievement tended to have lower, in fact near normal blood glucose levels. Those that reported having negative feelings such as anger, sadness, guilt and failure revealed a tendency toward higher blood glucose levels, concluding that emotions can affect blood glucose both positively and negatively.

Looking at the results from this study, would it not be a logical thought to support those with diabetes emotionally and deal with the underlying internal conflicts that kick started the stress response rather than masking the symptoms with pharmaceutical prescriptions?

Morbid Obesity – How to Overcome the Denial

In my late 30’s I began to have the vague understanding that I was morbidly obese. It would be there when I would try on pants that didn’t fit anymore, or a shirt that suddenly pulled against my bra in an unsightly manner. I would have this argument – oh my god, look how fat you are, now you don’t even fit into your size 18, 20, 22, 24 pants. You are really getting fat. Then would come the justifications: stop being so hard on yourself, you need to love yourself as you are, society is fatphobic, you are just a very strong woman.

After all, admitting that I had expanded beyond another wardrobe just wasn’t going to happen. Anyone who has ever been obese knows the embarrassment and humility we feel for our lack of self-discipline and willpower. So, to prove to myself that I was just a big strong woman, with immense willpower, I would go on a crash diet, working out furiously, ignoring the pain from my injured knees as I ran, or the hunger pains as I starved myself. I am not fat, I would argue to myself, just out of shape. You know the result – a sudden weight loss, redemption in my own eyes and back to the old habits. The weight would creep back on, and then some.

Only when I truly acknowledged I was obese, morbidly obese, and that I had done it to myself, was I even close to being able to change. I had to get beyond denial to acceptance of the reality of my condition. No more blaming it on genetic factors, for genes didn’t stuff a full bag of cookies into my mouth. Couldn’t justify it was an unhappy childhood, because parental disapproval from 30 years ago didn’t make me eat a whole gallon of ice cream at a sitting. I couldn’t blame it money, professional success or lack there of, romantic troubles – denial had to be dealt with for me to change my life.

Losing weight, is a challenge for everyone. Being obese only meant I have more to lose, that I had put myself further from my desired goal, than someone else. I suspect that if I had kept denying the reality of my obesity, I would be another 50 pounds HEAVIER than I was that day in August of my 40th birthday. That day, when I got on the doctor’s scale and emotionally blacked out because the slide had to be adjusted to a number above 290. I don’t actually know what weight I started at…I know it was over 290 and less than 300. I only knew that denial had the potential to kill me and I had to take my life back.

What the Vet Doesn’t Tell You About Neutering – Dog Health Care Help

There are many reasons why you might choose to have your male dog neutered, but there is still a lot of scepticism surrounding this and questions are being raised about whether or not it is worth having done. The neutering of male dogs is common practice in the US and UK, and it has been known to have many advantages. However, there are some pet owners that are concerned it can have an adverse effect on their pet pooch, and they quite simply want to know if is a worthwhile part of general dog health care.

Overactive Pets

For many dog owners, dog health care does involve neutering, because they are often advised by their veterinary clinic that it is the right thing to do. There are some male dogs which can get very hyper and they are not very territorial. However, it has been shown that neutering can make a real difference and make the dog much calmer. However, those against dog neutering would say that it actually makes the dog lazy. Admittedly, this can happen, but many owners prefer their pet to be lazy than hyperactive, as there are not enough minutes in the day to care for an overactive pet.

Skin Problems Could Be Linked To Neutering

Something a little more worrying is that neutering has been linked to skin conditions in pets. There are a small number of pet owners that have seen their dog start with skin rashes and suchlike after being neutered at a young puppy age, and owners fear that the two are linked. A previously healthy pet can soon start with skin conditions if their immune system isn?t strong enough to handle the large operation that neutering involves. The repercussions of neutering can take the form of many different ailments, and skin conditions is just one of them.

It is true that there may be a link between neutering and the future of your dog health care in general, but it is still felt that neutering can be positive. Once neutered, dogs become much more territorial and loyal, but if not neutered, they could be off scampering around the local bitches to see where they can plant their seed. More puppies on the block is not always a good thing, as there are not enough owners willing to take them in. This is when they end up at the dog shelter and this is definitely not a happy life for any pet. Neutering can cut down on the number of stray dogs and unwanted pets there are in the US and UK.

Feline Cancer-Squamous Cell Cancer Is Lethal When Unnoticed

While at the veterinarian you noticed that she studied your cats face, stroking its nose and gently rubbing its ears. Your vet was searching for tiny, scabby sores the could indicate feline cancer. Squamous cell cancer can rapidly spread when left untreated. Here’s how to prevent it and also signs of this feline cancer in your cat.

Squamous cells are flat, scale-like cells that are on the tissue that lines the external and internal surface of the organs in you cat. Their purpose is to protect the underlying tissue and to facilitate nutrient exchange.

Skin tumors in cats are the second most common feline cancer. Lymphoma is number one. Here is the list of most frequently diagnosed skin cancers in cats:

1. Basal cell tumors

2. Mast cell cancer

3. Fibrosarcoma

4. Squamous cell cancer(SCC)

While squamous cell cancer ranked fourth that doesn’t make it any less lethal than the others. Usually some kind of physical trauma provides a playing field for SCC. Burns and excessive exposure to sunlight are a common cause. The ultraviolet radiation from the sun damages your cat’s DNA, the cells divide and multiply and tumors result.

No surprise that lightly pigmented or white cats with areas that are sparsely haired are prone to SCC and basal cell cancer. When the disease begins you can find sores in several places on your cat: her temple area; the outer tips of her ears; the eyelids; lips and the end of her nose.

Sometimes feline cancer tumors in the oral cavity of your cat. It’s believed that these lesions are related to chronic dental disease.

Some times squamous cell cancer cells are found in your cat’s liver, lungs and other internal organs.Though not proven, the medical consensus is that this cancer is related to environmental carcinogens-secondary tobacco smoke. Some associate the cancer to exposure to chemicals in flea collars.

External SCC lesions are small and irregularly shaped with a hard border. The area aournd the sore may be pink and show hair loss. The sore may be oozing fluid. Sometimes this seems to disappear and then it comes back to the same area, but larger and more oozy. Eventually the cancerous cells will metastasize to a lymph node, from there spread to the rest of the body.

If your vet suspects squamous cell cancer she will confirm it with a biopsy. Sometimes the cancerous area is excised surgically or treated with radiation therapy. Some veterinarians use cryotherapy which destroys the cancerous cells by freezing them.

In more advanced cases, 3 weeks of aggressive radiation treatments may help. However, if the feline cancer has spread to internal organs there is little your vet can do. That’s why prevention and early recognition of squamous cell cancer in cats is vital.

Prevention Tips

1. Protect your cat from excessive exposure to sunlight;

2. Don’t use flea collars, instead opt for a natural alternative or a topical treatment from your vet;

3. If you must, do your smoking outside and avoid subjecting your cat to secondary smoke risks. She not only breaths in your smoke, but licks it off her fur;

4. Have you vet check your cat for dental problems;

5. Look for sores on your cat’s ears, eyelids, lips and nose. If you don’t know what caused them take her to the vet for a diagnosis.

6. If you cat develops bad breath, drools excessively, or shows weight loss get her to the vet.

You may also want to investigate a natural supplement that boosts your cat’s immunity to promote healing and helps her fight off illnesses. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t love her dearly and want to give her the best chances for a long life.

Can Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss?

Yesterday, I received a question on my blog where I was asked if psoriasis can be the cause of hair loss, thinning, or shedding.  The reader did not often find this condition listed as one that caused hair loss, but felt that the timing between the two was too coincidental to ignore.  I’ll tell you what I told her in the following article.

Psoriasis Is An Autoimmune Condition:  Many people mistakenly think that psoriasis is very similar to dandruff or other conditions that involve excess sebum or androgens.  In fact, this is an autoimmune condition in which excess skin production causes scaly patches that sometimes take on a silvery white appearance. You’ll often see areas like the elbows and knees affected, but the scalp is not at all off limits.

It’s pretty well known that there are many autoimmune conditions that cause hair loss including alopecia areata, lupus, and Hashimoto thyroiditis.  Many doctors are reluctant to place psoriasis in this category, but  I personally think that you can make this argument as the timing between the two will often suggest a connection. The treatment for these conditions vary.  But in terms of hair loss, there is a European study that has shown promise using and rotating specific essential oils rubbed into the scalp.

Other Theories On Hair Loss, Hair Thinning, Or Shedding Along With Psoriasis:  Many doctors will tell you that when this condition occurs on the scalp, the plaque and scales can choke out the hair follicles and keep healthy hair from growing (only while there is a flare in place.)  Often, this doesn’t not occur over the entire scalp.  There will more often be patches that you can clearly see being affected and that is where you’ll see the hair being compromised or thinning.  (This process is pretty hard to miss and is pretty obvious upon close inspection.) However, typically when the area heals, the hair will become normal again.

The other possibility is that a flare has placed stress upon the body.  The body in turn will often shut down some functions to conserve.  One of these function is the hair growth cycle and what you will get as the result is a condition called TE (or telogen effluvium.)  This happens when a large number of hairs move from the growth cycle to the rest cycle. This is followed by a shedding of the hair.  What you’ll see is a lot of hair falling out at one time all of a sudden.  This is the same thing that happens to women after they give birth.  Typically, the shedding will stop in a few weeks or months and as long as their are not scales or patches on the scalp, regrowth should be fine.

Stopping Hair Loss Related To This Condition: Obviously the best course of action to stop the loss is to effectively treat the condition.  Often this happens with trial and error with your doctor.  Some doctors use medications and some use a laser or alternative therapies.  However, some folks find that treating the symptoms isn’t doing anything for the hair.  In these cases, you may want to look at lessening the inflammation on and in stimulating your scalp to produce healthy regrowth.  Sometimes, you will have diffuse thinning that doesn’t really present like TE shedding and / or doesn’t occur in the effected areas.  In these cases, you may want to look at other possibilities. It’s not inconceivable that the hair situation does not relate to the psoriasis in some cases.

Male Yeast Infection – Foreskin Symptoms

Male yeast infection foreskin symptoms are easy enough to spot. But they can be signs of things other than a penile yeast infection, e.g. a SDI (sexually transmitted disease) so you must always consult your doctor for a correct diagnosis. Never self-diagnose, always seek professional help.

In this short article, you’ll learn the signs and symptoms of penile yeast infection you should look out for, what causes it and how it is treated. You will also get directions to a totally natural relief program that thousands of people around the world are finding success with.

What are the symptoms of yeast infection of the penis?

The most common symptoms of this type of penile infection are: red and inflamed head (glans), blister-like spots on glans, dry /flaky skin at top of foreskin, severe / chronic itching, pain when you urinate, you might have an unusual discharge, you’ll be having pain / difficulty with having sex, and you might even become impotent.

What’s the cause of male yeast infection?

The cause is exactly the same as yeast infections in women, namely, a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans which particularly loves the warm, moist areas in all our bodies. So the area under your foreskin is, of course, absolutely ideal for this. However, the Candida fungus present is very much kept in check by your body’s wonderful friendly bacteria, so you normally don’t have any problems with these types of infections.

However, if the numbers of your good bacteria become sufficiently depleted, the Candida fungus can then begin to overgrow and spread, thus causing your horrible penile infection.

The levels of your good bacteria can be affected by things such as the overuse of antibiotics, taking steroids, poor nutrition (unhealthy diet), a lowered immune system, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, etc. And the Candida can be further encouraged by things such as consuming too much sugar in your diet, since this is a key source of nutrition for the fungus.

Does sex cause male yeast infection foreskin symptoms?

The answer to this is ‘technically no.’ But although having sex in itself doesn’t ’cause’ an infection, the sex act can actually ‘transfer’ the infection from one infected partner to the other.

Remember that the area behind the glans and under your foreskin is an ideal breeding ground for the Candida albicans fungus. Ideally, you should stop all sex until your infection has cleared up completely. Even wearing a condom isn’t 100% safe since some contain spermicides (especially nonoxynol-9) that can help to trigger a yeast infection in the vagina.

How do I treat my infection?

Normally you’d use over-the-counter or prescription topical creams for penile yeast infection. These can certainly help and normally you’d expect your symptoms to disappear in about a week or so.

But what many men are finding is that the symptoms can go away only to return again. This is down to these drug-based medications attacking the local symptoms rather than the underlying root cause. And the fact that the Candida albicans can become resistant to these drugs with repeated use. So the outcome for many men (and women for that matter) is recurring yeast infections.

So how do I get round this?

Well, more and more men (and women) are looking to 100% natural home-based remedies without all the downsides of expensive drug-based treatments.

This natural holistic approach uses herbs, fruits, vegetables, dietary improvements, natural supplements, lifestyle changes where necessary, and more.

And this approach is bringing fast, permanent relief from yeast infections to thousands of folks around the world, with some reports of relief within as little as 12 hours.

Latex and Condoms – The Allergic Reaction

Latex Allergies affect up to 1 in 13 consumers in the world. A very common allergic reaction, the extent of the reaction can range from mild skin irritation (dryness, itching, burning, scaling, and lesions of the skin) to more severe reactions like the above across a wider range of areas to extremely serious reactions. These serious reactions include hay fever-like symptoms, conjunctivitis (pink eye), cramps, hives, and severe itching. It is rare, but symptoms may progress to include rapid heartbeat, tremors, chest pain, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, anaphylactic shock, or potentially, death.

If you believe you have a latex allergy, the first step is to see a doctor to confirm the diagnosis. This can be conducted on an out-patient basis, but will help to rule out any other potential causes.

Once confirmed, the safer sex industry has produced a large variety of non-latex condoms. These condoms, produced from other substances than natural rubber will not cause an allergic reaction. Some of the most popular brands in this space include:

Lifestyles Skyn Condoms – the Lifestyles Skyn Condoms are the most popular non-latex condoms, using polyisoprene. With the strength of latex condoms and an extremely sensation, it is also the cheapest non-latex condom on the market. As a Polyisporene condom, only water based lubricants should be used to avoid damage and compromise of these condoms.

Durex Avanti Bare Condoms (Box of 36) – the Durex Avanti Condoms are also polyisoprene made condoms, introduced after the Lifestyles Skyn Condoms. With the backing of the popular Durex brand behind it, these condoms are specially shaped for a more comfortable fit. As a Polyisporene condom, only water based lubricants should be used to avoid damage and compromise of these condoms.

Trojan Supra Non-Latex Lubricated Condoms – The Trojan Supra Non-Latex condom is made of strong, ultra-thin micro sheer polyurethane to provide a high degree of comfort and an alternative.

Trojan NaturaLamb Lubricated Condoms – Lastly, perhaps the most expensive non-latex substitute, are the Trojan NaturaLamb condoms. Made from a natural memberange taken from lambs, they are treated with a unique jelly-type lubricant and rolled for your further comfort and convenience.

Should You Invest in Pre-Workout Supplements?

Those into body building and weight lifting are most definitely aware of the presence of different workout supplements in the market. From pre-workout supplements like Cellucor C4 Extreme to post-workout products like protein shakes and drinks, you surely won’t run out of options when it comes to using supplements to make the most of your training. With the high prevalence of such supplements in the market, you can’t blame a lot of people who easily fall for the advertised claims and benefits of different products. But are these products safe to use? Do the benefits outweigh the cons?

Pre workout supplements are generally manufactured with different muscle-building and energy-enhancing nutrients, such as creatine, nitric oxide, as well as caffeine. Here are some of the benefits known to be provided by different bodybuilding supplements:

  • Boosts power, concentration, and endurance. Pre-workout supplements have energy-boosting ingredients that help body builders concentrate and keep going on their training. Of course, with increased power, this also results to a better workout performance since you can push yourself harder to train more.
  • Fast recovery. Studies also show that protein supplements taken before a physically strenuous activity helps minimize the tendency of muscle injury during training. Protein is also known to be helpful in muscle building, tissue repair, as well as faster body recovery.
  • Improved metabolism. Some supplements also consist of thermogenic ingredients that are effective fat-burners. These fat-burners can highly improve calorie burn, fat loss, and overall metabolism. Apart from helping build fat-free muscles, such supplements are also proven to be helpful in weight loss.

As for the disadvantages, here are some of the well-known cons of using pre-workout supplements:

  • Since many of the supplements available contain caffeine and other stimulants, excessive intake can lead to irritability, sleeplessness, as well as dependency. Heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, and mild hypertension are also known side effects. As you may notice, these disadvantages are also common side effects of taking coffee or any caffeinated products.
  • Some of the body building supplements containing creatine are said to cause dehydration, muscle and stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. These side effects, however, are reported to be experienced by those who overuse the supplement without being properly dehydrated.

Despite the many benefits of various bodybuilding supplements, everyone must be cautious when buying any type of health product. Every product that is effective is known to carry its own share of side effects. The level of danger involved in those side effects, however, vary from one person to another. You may have an existing medical condition that prohibits you to take a particular supplement, or the product’s ingredients may react negatively with your current medications or lifestyle. All in all, investing in workout supplements is ideal but must be taken carefully and in moderation. Overdosing and continued usage for a long period can cause different side effects, so make sure to follow recommended usage and professional advice.

Sadness, Depression After Weight Loss Surgery – The Serotonin Connection

It is my nature to be an annoying Pollyanna personality. I am a “look at the bright side, find the silver lining, zippity-do-da” kinda gal. But you know, 2010 is bringing me down with round-the-clock news of the global economic crisis, wars, poverty, natural and industrial disasters. Feelings of sadness or depression overwhelm me at times and I find myself in search of my old comfort food friends: pasta, crackers, sweets.

What I have learned is that there is a very real biological reason I crave those highly processed carbohydrates: My body wants to use them to create the feel-good hormone, serotonin, so that I will not feel overwhelmed with feelings of depression or sadness. In understanding this I can forgive my “weakness” and seek other means by which my body can do a biological balancing act to bring harmony to mood and mind. Today I share that knowledge with you in hopes that you too will understand these feelings and have a means to help your body help you.

It is common for new post-surgery bariatric patients to feel confusion over their emotional state. “I expected I would be happier,” they tell me, “but I feel consumed by an overall sadness. Just sadness. What’s wrong with me?” they ask. I remember feeling the same way in the early weeks and months out of surgery. And nobody had the answer back then, it was just a bump in the journey that we all needed to work past. Patients of all bariatric surgeries including gastric bypass, gastric lap-band, and gastric sleeve report similar experiences.

Ten years and a great deal of study and observation later I have a theory (my theory alone, and I’m not a medical professional) that there is a physiological reason for this post-surgery sadness. Prior to obesity surgery many of us consumed copious amounts of processed carbohydrates including sugar, refined flour, starches and grains. In the body carbohydrates meet up with the amino acid tryptophan and make serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone that stimulates the brain as a comforting mood enhancer. Macaroni & cheese is an American favorite comfort food, and for good reason. It combines enough tryptophan with enough high-carb pasta to produce sufficient serotonin, which relieves symptoms of depression and boosts feelings of contentment.

Enter weight loss surgery and the protein first, limited fat,and low carbohydrate diet. Suddenly the biological process of serotonin conversion is out of order. We no longer have the means to self-medicate our mood with foods that boost serotonin levels, yet we continue to have the cravings because our body is crying for help. It does not know any other way to manage mood. It just makes sense that this extreme dietary change results in an altered mood and in some cases, a state of biological panic or emotional depression

Dr. Judith Wurtman, author of The Serotonin PowerDiet, and former MIT scientist says, “If you’re on a weight loss diet that emphasizes boosting protein and cutting down extremely on carbohydrates, that might explain your craving for high-carb food. When carb cravers eat the high-carb food, they feel better in about 20 minutes.” But after weight loss surgery we cannot eat enough high-carbohydrate food to boost mood and doing so works against the surgical tool. Most researchers agree that an imbalance in serotonin levels may influence mood in a way that leads to depression.

A high protein diet is rich in amino acids including tryptophans. But when we eat a high protein meal there are so many amino acids competing for brain time that there is little opportunity for the tryptophan to enter the brain to trigger the serotonin conversion. On the other hand, a carbohydrate-rich meal triggers the release of insulin, which causes tryptophan in the bloodstream to rise and ultimately boost serotonin levels. Knowing this, it is easy to understand our carbohydrate cravings when we, by way of surgery, eliminate carbs from our diet.

This tells me that we are often sad or depressed because our body, following surgery, is in a state of biological confusion. Rather than suffering feelings of failure or inadequacy we are better served by knowing our body is in distress and seeking treatment options to facilitate healing and biological balance.