My Husband Will Die From End Stage Liver Disease Without He Can Get a Liver Transplant

Liver disease, is not talked about a lot in the societies of today very often. It is a quiet killer with many symptoms. Statistically, liver is rapidly increasing in today's world as a ruthless fatal disease due to our diets and lifestyles.

Liver disease can be caused by many different things. Some of which are drinking alcohol, abusing drugs, using too much Tylenol, hepatitis, obesity, and many other reasons.

Liver disease can kill you, if not treated early and properly. Regular blood work can show if the liver is functioning well or not. You should always ask your doctor to routinely check your liver function.

A very healthy diet, abstaining from drinking alcohol, and exercise promote good liver function.

Symptoms depend on the type and the extent of liver disease. In many cases, there may be no symptoms at all, or you may have some or all of these symptoms. Darkened urine, due to high bilirubin, nausea, loss of appetite, abnormal weight loss or gain gain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain in the upper right part of the stomach.

Other sympstoms are, a feeling of illness, enlarged blood vessels in the abdomen (portal hypertension), fatigue, or low blood sugar. Muscle aches and pains, loss of sex drive, jaundice, light coloration of stools, bloating and distention of the abdomen.

Symptoms of liver disease, as you can see, mimic a lot of other illnesses and diseases, and vice versa.

In Alcoholic liver disease, which is what my husband has, there are four stages. Stage one is a fatty liver, stage 2 is alcoholic hepatitis, stage 3 is liver fibrosis, and stage 4 is cirrhosis, and sometimes cancer of the liver.

My husband's symptoms of alcoholic liver disease were very subtle at first, and they had mimicked the flu, being tired, sleepiness, heart trouble, obesity, muscle pain and weakness upon exertion, and foggyness due to depression.

My husband was a heavy drinker for several years. He quit on his own after a doctor told him that he had moderate cirrhosis of the liver. The doctor warned him that he might die in a few years if he did not stop drinking. At that time he was diagnosed with fatty liver, Barrett's Esophagus, portal hypertension, and sluggish kidneys.

The specialist advised my husband to lose weight, to slow down the disease. He went from drinking too much alcohol, to overeating his favorite foods, which are hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and sweets. He seemed to replace his alcohol addiction with unhealthy food choices. We now know that his kind of food adds to the destruction of the liver as well.

Now it is three years later, and last week he was given the diagnosis of stage 4 cirrhosis. It came on so quickly!

He has been having some of the symptoms for the last few years and we really were not aware of how bad his disease had gotten. He had gradually begun gaining a lot of weight, and he became very swollen in his feet, legs, and abdomen. We just thought this had been due to his poor diet.

Then he suddenly developed symptoms of encephalopathy, (swelling of the brain due to toxins in the brain), a few weeks ago, and he was hospitalized just in time. It was very frightening to see him so very ill. He does not remember anything about the first twenty four hours of going there. He was talking out of critically ill. He became incoherent, and unaware of how sick he was. He stayed in the hospital for a few days until they stabilized him. Then he was sent home with medications and it was up to me to care for him without he became acute again.

At the hospital he was then referred to a new liver specialist as an out patient. When we saw the specialist, he was straight with us, and told us that John now had stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver. He informed us my husband would need to lose 100 lbs in 6 months to become qualified to get on the liver transplant list.

Now he has to try to lose weight, most of which is water, stay with a special, very strict liver diet. He is to take 7 1/2 water pills a day, and large doses of Lactulose, (a medicine to rid his body of high ammonia levels through the bowels), to help prevent the brain from swelling.

I was inspired to write such an article due to my husband getting this terrible disease from drinking heavily for many years. Warn your friends and loved ones to beware of the causes of liver disease, and also its many symptoms.

There are many sites to visit about these subjects on the internet.

Here are a couple: http://www.medicinenet.com/liver_disease/article.htm

http://www.webmd.com/search/search_results/default.aspx?query=liver%20disease&sourceType=undefined

Holy Basil – Amazing Herb for Home Treatments

Holy basil or Tulsi is a mark of holiness or piousness in Hindu society. Tulsi literally means a thing that can not be compared with anyone. It is a plant that grows thorough out India and is worshiped through. Mythologically, Tulsi or the holy basil is related to Lord Krishna and said that she was his most beloved wife

Tulsi is a shrub that grows in wild in the regions that are warm and moist. It is a medium height plant having annual life cycle. It has two varieties

(a) Shayam Tulsi- The Tulsi with black leaves. It possesses medicinal properties and is predominantly worshiped.

(b) Rama Tulsi- the Tulsi with light green colored leaves.

Tulsi is the herb that has been used since prehistoric times. Tulsi due to its diverse actions has been the part of human evolution and is very much responsible for maintaining the health of the people.

Following are the health benefits of Tulsi

(a) Immunity enhancer – Tulsi is very helpful in increasing the immunity of the body. It helps in promoting the production of antibodies, in case of any foreign invasion in the body. It also helps in increasing the production of T helper cells that fight infections and antigens.

(b) Nervine debility – it is a powerful nervine tonic. It strengthens the nervous system and helps in controlling all the activities of the body that is controlled by our nervous system. Disease like paralysis and Parkinson can be treated with the proper usage of this herb. It improves the functioning of brain and increases the mental concentration.

(c) Fever and cold – holy basil is helpful in maintaining the body temperature to the normal. It is also effective in treating the influence ie common cold. As we know that cold is caused due to infection in our body. It helps in avoiding the infection and also increases the internal strength of our body to tackle the infections to the fullest. Chewing Tulsi leaves is helpful in relieving from cold and flue.

(d) Cough – Tulsi or the holy basil is one of the most common herbs used in cough related remedies. It soothes the throat and also helps in curbing the infection in the throat and respiratory tract. It also very effective in treating the asthma and is know to provide good results in asthmatic conditions. It helps in expelling out the mucus to clean up the respiratory tract. It also helps in treating bronchitis and other respiratory disorders.

(e) Sore throat – Tulsi is also good in relieving from sore throat. Tulsi leaves boiled in water are very beneficial in treating sore throat.

(f) Respiratory disorder – Tulsi is just the drug of choice in respiratory disorders. Honey with Tulsi leaves is an excellent remedy to support the throat and respiratory disturbances.

(g) Kidney stones – holy basil is effective in stabilizing the renal disturbances. Holy basil juice is quite effective in treating the renal calculi and also helps in breaking up of the stone in the kidney. The broken calculi get expelled from urinary tract through urine.

(h) Heart problems – Tulsi is quite beneficial in heart related problems and tones up the heart muscle. It improves the blood circulation and reduces the cholesterol level in the body.

(i) Tensions and stress – it is one of the best Adaptogenic agents in that helps in relieving from stress. It also avoids the free radical formation in the body and a relives from stress on brain. It is one of the best anti-oxidant agents.

(j) Oral infection – it is also helpful in treating infections especially of the oral cavity. Tulsi not only curbs the infection in the body but also helps in toning up of gum and maintains the hygienic condition in the body. It is also helpful in relieving from mouth ulcers.

(k) Insect sting – it helps in relieving from the agony of the string bite and reduces the inflammation.

(l) Tooth problems – it strengthens the gums and avoids any cavity and plaque formation in them.

(m) Pain in head – it is a good analgesic and helps in relieving from conditions like migraine and head ache.

(n) Eyes related problems – it improves the vision and also helps in toning up of eyes. Holy basil contains the optimum level of vitamin A that is helpful in normal functioning of eyes. Juice of holy basil is also put into the eyes to avoid any infection in them.

How To Treat Breathing Problems In Cats – Treatments and Remedies

Cats are naturally finicky animals. It sees as if they can manage to have not only every single health problem a human being can have, but a wonderful mixture of their own ailments. And of course, trying to figure out what is wrong with the majestic little monsters is surely quite painful for most to deal with. When your cat has breathing problems, though, it may be time to sit down and figure out what is actually wrong. There are a number of different possibilities when it comes to cat breathing problems, and some are more different than others.

A Variety of Cat Breathing Problems

First to be diagnosed among most cat owners is the possibility of the cat having asthma. It is often best characterized by a cat opening its mouth wide as if having a hairball, but actually just struggling to get air in. The condition can actually be debilitating at times, and it can cause a major shift in quality of life for your animal. Be prepared to see a great deal of struggling with this condition, and occasional mucus expulsion.

Allergies are also quite a problem. Yes, the same general sort of problem often plagues the animal that causes so much distress to many human allergy sufferers. Anything from perfume to litter can cause a cat to have an allergic reaction, and removing the stressor from the environment can usually solve the problem. A good general rule of thumb when dealing with cat breathing problems is to first remove anything that cat may have an allergic reaction to from the space and to observe what happens. Allergies are one of the few cases in which going to see a vet may not be necessary.

Parasite infections, including heartworm, can also cause breathing problems among its other symptoms. Weight loss and vomiting are often indicative of heart worm, while the presence of ringworms in vomit or stool can usually give that particular parasite away. In any case, the possibility of such an infestation is a very good reason to get your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Upper respiratory infections can actually cause a great deal of breathing stress, along with coughing and general hoarseness. While an infection may not seem like a major problem, the breathing problems are merely one of the least severe symptoms. A cat with a respiratory infection could suffer from a number of sever conditions, and needs to see a vet as soon as possible. Wasting time trying to figure out the precise cause in such a case may lead to severe complications for your cat.

Cat breathing problems can be moderate or severe, but most do warrant a trip to the veterinarian's office. While the problem may be minor, too much can go wrong with the sheer variety of possible causes of the problems. As when a human is breathing badly, one should be quite concerned for an animal with any sort of respiratory problem. A simple medical visit can often be the difference between saving your cat's life and letting it suffer needlessly.

Eat to Live Or Live to Eat – A Vegetarian Perspective

I've heard that question posed a few times. I'm sure you have too. You may have even said that you lean more toward one or the other yourself. Particularly if you're a person who struggles with weight gain or who simply has a seemingly insatiable appetite for, we'll say, "goodies".

It's sort of a sad commentary on life in our society that we even have to posit the question. After all, should not we do both? I believe so. But in our society, a society that sees so drawn to the whole "body image" issue, there are people who only eat to live. That is to say, they eat what is absolutely necessary to sustain life and that is it. They stave off hunger (at times they do not even do that) by eating just enough to give them the strength they need to carry on through life's daily activities. Ever conscious of the calories they consume, they often forgo taking in the right amount of nutrients. They stay thin, but at what cost to their overall well-being?

There are also people who only live to eat. They love to eat. They crave food of any and every kind. They eat at every opportunity … a snack while driving in the car despite, three meals a day no matter what, along with whatever snack or "treat" they can fit in between meals. As long as they have something to eat – does not matter what – they are satisfied, until the next craving strikes.

As I said, should not we do both? Should not we eat to live but also live to eat? I guess what I'm asking is, should not we have balance? Of course, people who are at the extreme ends of the "diet" spectrum very often have mitigating factors that result in the eating behavior they display. Psycho-logical or emotional issues are often the root cause of their eating habits. Once those things are recognized, a person may be able to strike a balance after undergoing some type of treatment. But, I'm speaking in general terms, to the every-day you and me. Since I am not a psychologist or medical doctor and I do not play one on TV, I can not speak to those disorders. But speaking strictly from the perspective of someone who simply enjoys food and desires balance – feng shui, so to speak – I would address the issue of "live to eat, eat to live" from my own perspective.

Obviously I need to eat to live. We all do. I can vaguely remember a number of years ago, someone making the statement that he had discovered that one only needed water and air to sustain a healthy life. I think it showed up in one of those "news of the weird" segments somewhere. Anyways, he was going to prove it by only drinking water and "eating" air – deep breathing, for the rest of his life. To be honest, I do not even remember how that turned out but I can imagine someone seeing this wafer thin, emaciated body blowing down the street like a pile of Autumn leaves, never to be heard from again. We need to eat to live. And since we need to, then does not it make sense that we try to make it as healthy and nutritious as possible? Does not it also make sense that we try to make it as interesting, as diverse and as enjoyable as possible? When we do that then we both eat to live and live to eat.

The bottom line is this – try to be mindful of what you are eating. Think about getting a balance of nutrients. Speaking from a vegetarian standpoint, that means trying to get the right amount of vitamins, minerals and protein from the food you consume. It may also mean taking a supplement to make up for what you may not be getting enough of from your food sources – vitamin B12 comes to mind. But, you say, I can not possibly knowy through the grocery store or the farmer's market constantly thinking about which things have the right amount of nutrients. What should I buy? What should not I buy? No. You're right. You can not do that. But what you can do is take a small amount of time and do some research if you do not already know. Simply learn what foods are rich in certain vitamins, minerals and protein. You do not have to be "scientific" with it but simply have a rough idea about what different greens, root vegetables, legumes and so on have to offer. As an example, see the information at the end of this article. It outlines what some nutrition experts believe is the correlation between the color of food and it's nutritional merit. Shop for a variety of those colors. Then – and here's the word again – try to balance your meal planning. I've found it to be most helpful if my wife and I do actually take some time to plan a weekly menu. Of course, it makes it that much simpler when we are only here for one or two meals a day and there are only two of us. But having a meal plan seems to work really well. Then, before you even need to go to the market you can tweak the plan and decide what to eat and when to eat it. And, you can "balance" the nutritional aspect with the "creative" aspect of planning, shopping and preparing your meals.

The "creative" aspect is the fun part. It's also where the "live to eat" idea takes off! I enjoy cooking! I also enjoy experimenting. It's great fun to go through a number of cookbooks and plan the weekly menu while trying to be as diverse as possible. It's fun to try a dish you never tried before. Preparing it is fun and tasting the result is even more fun. If you like it, bookmark it for another time. If you do not – chalk it up to "practice" and cross it off your list. But, whatever you do, enjoy the experience. It's also fun to try to create your own recipes. Or take a time-tested recipe from your mom or grandma and change it to fit your needs – make it a vegetarian or vegan recipe by substituting the items in the recipe that contain non-plant-based ingredients with those you know are acceptable to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. You may come up with a dish that you would rather feed to the garbage disposal but you may also come up with a new and fun way to enjoy some of your "old favorites".

The Color of your Food *

Orange / Yellow food items contain vitamin C and betacryptoxanthin. These are thought to protect cells Some examples are oranges, tangerines, papayas and nectarines.

Orange food items such as carrots, mangoes, winter squash and sweet potatoes contain alpha and betacarotenes. Again, these serve to improve cell-to-cell communication and may slow cancer.

Other food colors include:

Yellow / Green – contain lutein and zeaxanthin – spinach and other greens, yellow corn, green peas and avocados – contrinute to eye health.
White / Green – have flavonoids – onions, garlic, celery, pears, white wine, endive and chives – protect cell membranes.
Green – sulforaphane, isothiocyanate and indoles – broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy and kale – stimulate liver genes to make compounds that break down cancer-causing chemicals.
Red / Purple – lycopene – grapes, red wine, blueberries, strawberries and red apples – may reduce risk of cancer.
Red – lycopene – tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit – may reduce risk of cancer.

* Source: What Color Is Your Diet? author David Heber, MD, PhD and founding director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.

Herbs Can Help Heal and Prevent Ulcers

In America, about 500,000 people are diagnosed with ulcers problems every year.

There are many types of ulcers that can be found in our body, and the most common is peptic ulcers.

Peptic ulcers are found in the lining of our stomach or upper small intestine (duodenum).

Ulcers develop when the intestine or stomach’s protective layer is broken down. When this happens, digestive juices can damage the stomach or intestine tissue and even the esophagus, the tube that connects our throat to our stomach.

However we don’t have to live with this problem as most ulcers can be treated, and symptoms go away quickly.

Common symptoms include:

·         A burning and aching, persistent pain between the breastbone and the navel. Some people also experience back pain. The pain can last from a few minutes to a few hours and may come and go for weeks or months.

·         Feeling of bloating after meals.

·         Nausea and Vomiting.

·         Loss of weight and appetite.

Different people have different symptoms, and some have no symptoms at all.

Treatment of ulcers include antibiotics, drugs and in serious cases, surgery.

For people who prefer a more natural alternative, herbs could be the answer.

Herbs can help in healing and prevention of ulcers.

There is a wealth of fauna and flora on our planet earth and many plant species possess exceptional medicinal properties!

Herbs that Help Heal Ulcers

·         Aloe vera: Soothing and anti-inflammatory

·         Astragalus: root of the Astragalus membranaceus plant used traditionally to treat ulcers

·         Oregon grape and barberry: Contain berberines, which have been shown to inhibit bacterial growth.

·         Cranberry: help prevent colonization and infection

·         Turmeric : Used by Chinese and Ayurvedic physicians to treat gastrointestinal disorders; may decrease acid production in the stomach. However, high doses can actually damage the stomach lining

·         Green arugula, or Eruca sativa: may also contain a number of antioxidants, which may help protect stomach cells from damage

·         Licorice root: soothes and coats the stomach lining; also increases gastric circulation and mucus production. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is recommended, as the native root causes fluid retention and hypertension

·         Cat’s claw (a woody vine): Decreases inflammation at ulcer sites

·         Slippery elm: the inner bark of a plant, high in mucilage content; thought to coat the stomach lining

·         Marshmallow : Another demulcent that help relieve pain and inflammation

·         Cabbage juice: High in glutamine, which has been shown to help heal ulcers;

·         Rhubarb: Rich in flavonoids, which may inhibit the growth of H. pylori, a type of bacteria

·         Dong quai (Angelica sinensis): Used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese medicine

·         Chamomile, calendula, cinnamon, agrimony, Indian basil, ginger, and capsaicin (found in hot peppers) have all been used in various ulcer formulations

Caution

No one single simple herbal treatment may heal ulcers, because the underlying causes of gastrointestinal problems are complex.

Herbs may interact with prescription drugs and can cause side effects for some people.  Only use herbs under the care of an herbalist, and inform your doctor of herbs that you are taking before a new prescription of medicine is given.

Pregnant women should avoid certain herbs commonly used to treat an ulcer. Check with a herbalist about safety and suitability.

 Lifestyle modifications that help heal Ulcers

·         Stop drinking alcohol which can inflame the stomach lining

·         Consume a diet rich in fiber, especially fruits and vegetables that are high in flavonoids

·         Consume 500 to 1000 mg of vitamin C everyday. Vitamin C appears to inhibit H. pylori’s growth in some people

·         Add probiotics (e.g., Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium) to your diet. These are live organisms commonly found in yogurt, cheese, wine and fermented food

·         Reduce intake of coffee and carbonated drinks. Even when decaffeinated, these beverages can increase stomach acid production

·         If you regularly take NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) discuss other options with your doctor

·         Stop smoking. Nicotine is extremely irritating to the stomach lining, and its use increases ulcer risk, slows ulcer healing, and increases recurrence rates

·         Manage and try to reduce your stress level.

Peptic ulcer disease is a common medical condition. Besides causing discomfort and inconvenience, its complications can seriously impair one’s quality of life. However herbs can be a good alternative to standard treatment regimens. If you wish to add herbal supplements to their medical treatment it is advisable to first consult your herbalist and doctor.

If you have any interesting stories or experiences in herbal treatment, you are welcome to share them with our readers. I would be pleased to hear your comments.

Ayurveda, India's Science of Life, Health and Longevity

Ayurveda is India's ancient science life, health, and longevity. It is thought of by many scholars to be the oldest form of health care in the world. It originated in India over 5000 years ago, and was taught for thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters to their disciples. The purpose of Ayurveda is to heal, to maintain a high quality of life, and to increase the longevity of the individual. It is an art of daily living that has evolved from practical, philosophical, and spiritual insight. Even though they have been used for thousands of years, Ayurvedic principals have never changed, since they derive from universal laws of nature that are eternally true.

In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means the "Science of Life." Life is the integration of body, mind and consciousness. Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through diet, lifestyle, yoga and meditation practice, the use of herbs, as well as cleansing and rejuvenating therapies (panchakarma, abhyanga, shirodhara, nadi swedana, etc.)

Ayurveda is a science of self-understanding. By understanding our own unique nature or constitution we can begin to understand how we interact with our environment and then make choices that will lead us toward greater health. Ayurveda defines disease as the natural end result of living out of harmony with our original constitution. Therefore, the Ayurvedic approach is very individualized, since the path to optimal health is different for each person, depending upon their unique constitution or prakruti.

The Ayurvedic system believes that the individual's constitution (prakruti) is recorded at the time of conception as a genetic code that can be expressed physically and mentally as disease proneness and emotional response. This constitution is determined by vata, pitta and kapha, which are the three main doshas, ​​or psycho-physiological functional principles in Ayurveda. They govern the individual's response to changes and they promote the disease process when out of balance.

Many factors, both internal and external, can disturb this balance and bring about changes in the original constitution that may lead to disorders and disease. Some of these factors include emotional and physical stresses, improper food combinations and choices, physical trauma, or seasonal and weather changes. Once we understand how these factors affect us on a constitutional level, we can take appropriate actions to nullify or minimize their effects and eliminate the causes of imbalance. The aim is to understand the nature and structure of disorder, so we can re-establish order to gain control over our health and well being.

The science of understanding our constitution is the science of tridosha. Tridosha defines the three fundamental doshas or principles that govern the function of our bodies on the physical, mental, and emotional levels. Each individual has a unique balance of all three of these energies. These principles can be related to the basic biology of the body.

Energy is required to create movement so that fluids and nutrients get to the cells, enabling the body to function. Energy is also necessary to metabolize the nutrients in the cells and is utilized to lubricate and maintain cellular structure. Vata is the energy of movement; pitta is the energy of transformation, digestion or metabolism; and kapha is the energy of lubrication and structure. Everyone has the qualities of vata, pitta and kapha, but one is usually primary or predominant, one is secondary and the third is usually the least predominant.

Vata is the minority energy associated with movement. It governs respiration, circulation, and elimination, as well as the pulsation of the heart and motor neuron impulses. Vata is very much like the wind –it is light, cool, dry and mobile. People with a vata nature experience more of these qualities. Their bodies tend to be light, their bones thin, and their skin and hair dry. They often move and speak quickly. They tend to be talkative, enthusiastic, creative, flexible, and energetic. When aggravated, vata can cause confusion, insomnia, flatulence, constipation, weight loss, tremors, spasms, asthma, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, as well as many neurological and immunological problems.

Pitta represents the fire element in the body. It governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism, and body temperature. Pitta tends to be hot, sharp, and penetrating. It is also somewhat volatile and oily. People with a pitta nature reflect these qualities. They tend to feel warm, have somewhat oily skin, penetrating eyes, and sharp features. They tend to have moderate weight and good musculature. They tend to be highly focused, competitive, capable, courageous, energetic, and clear communicators who get right to the point. They can however become overly intense and speak with a sharp tongue. Pitta disorders include diarrhea, infections, hyperacidity, ulcers, skin eruptions, chronic fatigue, Crohn's disease, colitis, liver, spleen, and blood ailments, as well as numerous inflammatory problems.

Kapha is the energy that forms the body's structure and provides the cohesion that holds the cells together. Kapha supplies the water for all bodily parts and systems. It lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin, and maintains immunity. Kapha tends to be cool, moist, stable, and heavy. In the body these qualities manifest as dense, heavy bones; lustrous, supple skin; low metabolism and large, stocky frames. In addition, those with a kapha nature tend to feel cool. The heavy, stable nature of kapha reflects in a stable personality, not prone to quick fluctuations. When out of balance, kapha individuals are sooner to gaining weight and tend to accumulate mucous. Kapha can also cause obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, edema, asthma, tumors, and a variety of congestive problems.

Ayurveda also states that like increases like. For example, the summer has attributes similar to those of pitta –hot, liquid, light, mobile, and penetrating. Therefore, in the summer pitta in the body tend to be increased. Vata is light, subtle, dry, mobile, rough, and cold. So in the fall, which also exhibits these attributes, vata will tend to be increased in the body. Kapha is liquid, heavy, cold, sticky, and cloudy. In the winter, when these characteristics predominate in the external environment, internal kapha tends to be increased. The constitution of an individual is a dynamic force, and vata, pitta, and kapha are dynamic energies that will change and be affected by the environment and other factors in various ways. An Ayurvedic regime and lifestyle, along with dinacharya routines, will enable the individual to gain more awareness and control over how those factors can be eliminated or nullified, so as to improve and maintain optimal health and well being.

From the time of birth until death, the body is engaged in maintaining life. Vata, pitta and kapha play an important role in the maintenance of cellular health and longevity. Kapha maintains longevity on the cellular level. Pitta governs digestion and nutrition. Vata, which is closely related to the life energy (or prana), governs all life functions. Ayurveda offers different therapies that may support the individual's constitutional harmony at all levels, while promoting cellular rejuvenation and overall vitality and immunity. The key to optimal health is to help the body eliminate toxins and reestablish the constitutional balance of the doshas. For such purpose, Ayurveda offers diet and lifestyle guidelines, herbal preparations, and cleansing and rejuvenating programs such as panchakarma and vata management therapies.

Symptoms and Treatment of Acid Reflux in Babies

Acid reflux is the condition where the food and the stomach fluid flow back up into the esophagus after having meals. People of different ages can be a victim of this disease. Even infants can be affected by this. This is because of the weakly formed digestive system of the infants and children. Here are the common symptoms found

o Difficulty in Swallowing
o Sore throat
o Respiratory problems
o Sinus infections
o Drooling
o Vomiting
o Loss of Appetite
o Frequent hiccups
o Irritation while having food
o Crying frequently
o Sudden weight gain or weight loss

Treatment procedures:

The treatment depends on the physician. The doctor might even decide to left it untreated. Sometimes reflux vanishes away in the due course of time. In most cases, the problems will be rectified during the first year of child`s life. The advanced stages will demand more attention from the doctor and some lab tests have to be taken to analyze the seriousness of the problem. The doctors will advise some changes in the lifestyle as a part of treatment. Some of the remedies include

o Antacids – They help in neutralizing the stomach acid.
o Acid blockers – They block the secret of acids in the stomach.
o Acid suppressors – This will suppress the acid production in the abdomen region.

Acid reflux in babies is quite normal and there is nothing to panic about. It is common during the first 3 months of age. The treatment and remedies is dependent on the age of the child and it could possibly include lifestyle changes, diet plan and over the counter remedies.

Epstein Barr Syndrome Treatment

Epstein Barr Syndrome is caused by the Epstein Barr virus – the same virus that is responsible for mononucleosis (mono) or glandular fever.

EBV syndrome is transmitted by direct contact with virus-infected saliva, mainly through kissing, although it can be picked up from sharing drinks, eating utensils, lipsticks etc., or through blood transfusions. The syndrome is most common in teenagers. The majority of people have had it by age 40. Children can pick it up, and in these cases it can go undiagnosed or passed off as a cold or flu virus. When EBV occurs in patients over 40, the symptoms can be more debilitating and prolonged.

Typical EBV symptoms involve a sore throat, fever, swollen glands and tiredness. There may be other viral symptoms like headache, body aches, poor appetite, runny nose, cough, loose stools, sensitivity to light and enlargement of the liver and spleen. Complications of the EBV syndrome are rare but can include rupture of the spleen, pericarditis, hepatitis, anemia, nerve damage, a decrease in blood platelets, pneumonia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Symptoms usually appear 30-50 days after exposure to the virus, although in some cases the symptoms can take months to manifest. In most cases, the syndrome is self-limiting, lasting only a couple of weeks. However in some people the sickness can become recurrent or chronic, lasting months or years. In these cases the most common lingering complaint is fatigue.

Epstein Barr Syndrome is diagnosed according to antibody blood tests, white blood cell levels plus a person's age, symptoms and a physical examination.

The conventional medical treatment is rest and fluids. Painkillers may be recommended if there is a lot of discomfort or disruption of sleep patterns. In some cases corticosteroids may be prescribed if there is compromised breathing or severe inflammation

The Epstein Barr virus is a member of the herpes virus so can recur when the body is run down or under stress. An Epstein Barr Syndrome cure is focused on eliminating symptoms and ensuring that the syndrome does not return. Fortunately alternative medicine has a lot to offer in terms of boosting the immune system, reducing symptoms and keeping the virus at bay in the long term.

Natural treatments for Epstein Barr Syndrome include high dose nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc, selenium, CoQ10, magnesium and the B complex. Herbs like echinacea, oregano, olive leaf extract and astragalus are commonly used to support the immune and lymphatic system. If the liver and spleen are affected then the herbs red root and milk thistle are traditionally used.

Diet for EBV is based around a high protein diet which is low in sugar, alcohol, coffee and processed foods. Anti-inflammatory foods like fish oils, garlic, ginger and turmeric are useful in relieving symptoms. Antioxidant foods including green leafy vegetables, fresh juices, green tea, berries and lemons are a useful addition to a healthy, immune-boosting diet.

In chronic Epstein Barr Syndrome, treatment needs to focus on cleansing the virus from the liver and lymphatic system. This approach requires the combination of a liver tonic or cleanser with a pure diet and plenty of fluids to flush the virus and toxins away from the body. People who have had the virus for months or years also need to work on their adrenal glands. In chronic Epstein Barr Syndrome the adrenals are often exhausted and need to be nurtured and revitalized through correct nutrition, stress management, graduated exercise and plenty of rest.

General Information About Edema

General Characteristics of Edema

Edema is the abnormal swelling of some part of the body due to the retention of fluid in body tissues. Most often, when physicians refer to edema, they are talking about swelling of the lower legs or ankles. Edema is not a disease itself. Rather, it is a sign that may be related to illness or injury or may simply be related to an inappropriate life style. To treat edema, the undering cause should be identified; appropriate treatment can then be initiated. While some of the causes of edema are minor, others may be life-threatening; therefore, any unusual swelling should be investigated by a doctor.

Simple Causes of Edema

Swollen feet and ankles are quite common in people who are on their feet a lot, such as dentists, casiers or barbers. The problem usually disappears with rest and an appropriate change in daily habits. If a job requires a good deal of standing, the employee should take hourly breaks to sit down and, if possible, raise the fee for a few minutes. This edema occurs when the veins in the lower extremities fail to keep pace with the arteries, the outgoing flow of blood lagging behind the inward flow. If the large veins of the lower extremities are actually diseased, the edema bought on by standing is likely to be very noticeable.

Swollen ankles also may be caused by tightness around the upper legs, such as caused by garters, rolled stockings or other constricting garments. In these instances, simply not wearing such garments should end the edema.

Weak leg muscles, particularly those in the calf, also cause edema. Older women, whose leg muscles may deteriorate with normal aging, are thus highly susceptible to edema. Deep varicose veins in the legs, another frequent complaint among older people, contribute to edema as well.

Many women experience some edema just before their menstrual periods, which may be noticeable in their breasts, legs and abdominal areas. It should disappear with the sunset of menstruation. Many of the hormonal changes surrounding menstruation, pregnancy and contraception can contribute to edema. It has been a troublesome problem for many women taking birth control pills. The higher the estrogen content of the pill, the more likely it is that the woman will develop edema. Reducing salt intake may help. In fact, excessive salt consumption also may be liable for edema, in both healthy people and those with special health problems. Since salt tends to hold water in the body, restricting salt intake is frequently advised – and sometimes vital – for those with edema problems.

Organic Disease

Edema also can be a sign of the insect of kidney, liver or heart disease. Repeated episodes of leg or ankle swapping, or any unexplained episode that lasts more than a day or two, should be reported to a physician.

A frequent cause of edema is congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart fails to pump as effectively as it should. When inadequate depths of blood are circulating, salt and water are retained by the body in the legs and, sometimes, the abdomen. The result can be a significant weight gain amount to 10 to 15 pounds or more.

Kidney and liver disorders are other common causes of edema. If the kidneys are unable to excrete the excess salt in the diet from the body, a buildup of body fluid may result. Edema associated with kidney disease is often first not diagnosed as a puffiness in the face. Liver disorders, particularly cirrhosis of the liver, may also lead to excess body fluids. Some drugs, such as the beta blockers used to treat high blood pressure, also may cause sodium retention and edema, unless they are given with a diuretic.

Depending on the cause of edema, the physician may recommend a variety of treatments. Those most often recommended are the restriction of salt intake and the use of diuretics. These are medicines that prevent the re-absorption of salt and water by the kidneys, thus decreasing edema and diminishing some of the symptoms of congestive heart failure.

Restricting Salt Intake

Salt is a natural component of most of the foods we eat, so we can not eliminate it entirely from our diet. However, careful monitoring of food and its preparation can eliminate much of the salt that is added during the commercial processing and the traditional cooking of foods. Remember, high quantities of salt are hidden in many foods, particularly canned soups and vegetables, TV dinners, preserved meats (such as hot dogs, ham, bacon and corned beef), cheeses and baked goods.

Summing Up

Edema is a warning sign that some normal body process has gone awry. Sometimes the problem may be localized, and a simple change in life style may eliminate the swelling. At other times, it is a symptom of a generalized disease that warrants treatment. Any recurrent swelling of the legs, or generalized body puffiness or unusual weight gain, should be investigated by a physician.

5 Things to Know About Panic Attacks

Are you suffering from symptoms of anxiety? Too much stress is not good for health and you need to understand that you need to have a balanced approach in life. Panic attacks can occur anywhere and is often a result of anxiety.

What Is a Panic Attack?
Some people have a sudden surge of uncontrollable anxiety and fear. Most of the time, it is a onetime occurrence, but there may be cases where panic attack is repeated. 5% of us can be expected to experience this attack at some point of our lives. For the first timers, it may all start with a chest pain, dizziness, excessive palpitation and numbness. If you are witnessing any of these symptoms, do know that you need immediate help. The attack starts normally and reaches its height within 10 minutes.

Diagnosis and Treatment
A qualified doctor or a mental health specialist can diagnose the anxiety disorder through Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders also known as (DSM-IV-TR). Cognitive behavioral theory is another effective treatment for these attacks. Exposure therapy is also done to some patients of attack where the person is exposed to the panicky sensations in a safe and controlled environment. Antidepressants and Benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs) are prescribed by some doctors. While antidepressants need weeks to work, the Benzodiazepines act within 30 minutes from its intake.

Symptoms That You Need to Know
Accelerated heart rate, trembling, feeling of choking, chest pain, dizziness, hot or cold flashes, fear of losing self-control or fear or dying, numbness, feeling of unreality are all symptoms of panic attack. However, with fewer than four of the described symptoms can be considered as a case of limited-symptom panic attack.

Reasons for the Attack
Genetic predisposition is a major reason for the cause of panic attacks. A new workplace, or a new married life, severe stress, joblessness and similar stressful situations trigger a panic attack. There are certain physical conditions as well which may lead to panic attack like hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia, and uses of stimulants, mitral valve prolapse and sudden withdrawal from medication.

How to Avoid Further Attacks?
After one experiences the attack, caffeine should be avoided, which not only means coffee but fizzy drinks as well. Aerobic exercises are great to avoid further attacks as it dissipates the hormones through the body. Lastly, stressful situations should be avoided. Take slow breaths whenever there is a panicky situation. This is a great way to avoid having the attack.

Stroke And Its Prevention

1. Cerebral insufficiency or lack of blood supply to a specific part of the brain.

2. Cerebral infarction caused by a thrombus (a blood clot formed within the heart or a blood vessel, and is usually caused by a slowing of the circulation or some alteration in the walls of the blood vessels). Can also be caused by an embolism, which is a fragment of matter that originates in another part of the body and is circulated to the brain.

3. Cerebral hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm which is a widening or ballooning out of part of a blood vessel, possibly due to a congenital defect in a blood vessel in the brain. A sudden bursting of this aneurysm and the resultant hemorrhage causes the stroke.

Although stroke usually affects those age 50 and above, it can strike anyone at any age depending on the causative factors involved. A youngster with an unknown congenital aneurysm of a blood vessel in the brain is at risk during the exertion of playing sports. A young woman who uses contraception pills and is a smoker is also at risk. The risk factors for all will be discussed later in this article. Diagnosing the stroke patient is usually done according to symtomatology. Usually the patient has hypertensive (high blood pressure), a high cholesterol count causing atherosclerosis, causing a clogging of blood vessels, and may be a diabetic. Those cases in which there is a doubt, a CT scan or an arteriograph may be required before the diagnosis is definitive. A stroke can occur during sleep, or anytime during waking hours no matter if you are engaged in a sports activity, or sitting at the dinner table. There can be very minor strokes and may not be apparent to the patient at the time of occurrence. These "mini-strokes" are called "TIAs", or transient ischemic attacks. The patient can undergo several such attacks last 2-3 minutes or up to 30 minutes, on a daily basis, or have just a few over several years. At times a TIA can occur shortly before a complete stroke. Prevention of strokes is of course paramount in a healthy lifestyle. Knowing your body is of the utmost importance and adjusting your way of living to include the following can save your life:

1. Stop smoking and your risk of having a stroke drops almost immediately. The damage caused by smoking can be corrected in about 5 to 7 years.
2. Drink alcohol in moderation. No more than 2 drinks daily.
3. Reduce your salts. Sodium causes fluids to build up in the tissues.
4. Reduce eating too many fats, especially animal fats and many saturated fats found in dairy products and most junk foods.
5. Check and control your blood sugar.
6. If you are overweight, lose the excess pounds.
7. Check your blood pressure regularly. If you find it high for more than a week, be sure to have your physicist check it out.
8. Check your pulse regularly. If you find you have irregular heartbeats have it checked immediately. The irregular heartbeats are caused by atrial fibrillation. This causes blood to pool at the bottom of the atrium and can cause clots going up through the carotid artery into the brain.
9. Exercise regularly and stay active. Walk instead of driving if at all possible. Walk up and down the stairs instead of using the elevator whenever it is convenient.
Recognizing the signs of a stroke can save your life or someone else's life, and even prevent complete or partial paralysis. These are the signs to look for:

1. Sudden severe headache that can be excruciating.
2. A sudden blurring or reduced vision in one or both eyes, but usually in one eye only.
3. Sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, occurring usually on one side of the body.
4. Sudden loss of speech, slurred speech, or difficulty in understanding speech.
5. Sudden difficulty in walking or keeping your balance.
6. Difficulty coordinating an arm movement or holding an object in your hand without dropping it.

There is now a treatment to prevent the severe damage caused by the after effects of a stroke. There is only a 3-hour window of opportunity in which the treatment must be given, if the stroke is to be minimized. This treatment is usually given in emergency stroke centers. The treatment is an injection of a drug called "tPA". Therefore, upon recognizing the symptoms of a possible stroke, even if they seem to disappear, whether it is in yourself or anyone in your presence, CALL 911 immediately. When the "Para-Medics" arrive they will evaluate the patient and determine if the patient needs to be transported to an Emergency "Brain Attack" Center. The "Brain Attack" center team is composed of a Cardiologist, Neurologist, Radiologist (for Ct scan), Pharmacist, and a Nurse Technician. This team will determine if the patient has indeed suffered a blood clot stroke. If this is the case, they will administer the "tPA" drug by injection. If the patient has been more than 3 hours in getting to the center, the drug will not be administrated, because the window of opportunity has been passed and the drug will not be effective. You can see the importance of immediate action when the symptoms of stroke are present. Do not ignore them even if they seem to ease up or go away entirely. Getting the necessary treatment within the 3-hour window can save the patient untold misery and possibly death. The treatment will lessen the degree of paralysis and loss of speech and make recovery quicker and more complete.

Will a One Night Stand Give You a Heart Attack?

A recent study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that occasional sex can cause a heart attack. Really? Well, that's how some people are interpreting the data, drawing a connecting line between one night stands, casual sex and the risk of heart attack. That's a short line, but not necessarily one that you want to get into.

The report states that occasional sexual activity is more likely to cause a heart attack than if sex were normal, regular activity. The "science" behind it is that increased activity of the heart when it's not accredited to being revved up could put a person at risk of a heart attack. However, it must be noted that while a one night stand can certainly increase your heart rate, saying that the act of sex is solely the cause of concern is a bit simplistic.

What you may want to consider instead is that the report is saying that lack of activity, including sex, followed by a sudden outburst of activity causes stress to an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle.

A possible correction to this problem could be very simply to engage in more sex, more often, with more enthusiasm, whether it's by way of a one night stand or within a committed relationship.

Now that's a study we can get behind!

The bigger risk of a one night stand is by way of a heart-ache, not a heart attack. But this too can be avoided all together when it's approached with the proper attitude and care. Your heart is strong and you have the ability to build this very important muscle.

Remember to see a one night stand for what it is: a recreational activity between two people that have no desire or need to enter into a longer term, committed, exclusive relationship with each other. As long as you know the rules of the game and stock up on condoms and safe sex practices, you are in better shape both physically and emotionally than those lonely souls sitting at home mindlessly devouring donuts.

Your body is genetically engineered for activity. Your heart craves to be exercised so that it can stay in shape and keep on pumping for decades. Indulge your desires for sex and if a one night stand will fit the bill then go for it. Like a famous slogan for an athletic apparel and shoe company: Just Do It! It can do your heart, and your libido, good.

Diet and Natural Treatments for Atherosclerosis Heart Disease and Reversing Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis heart disease begins at your blood vessel's endothelia, which is thin cell sheets vulnerable to injury. From their cell membranes fatty acid metabolites are produced and coordinate vessel wall stability and help protect against atherosclerosis. Oxidation by products of the fatty foods we consume threaten endothelial integrity. Dietary fatty acids protected by dietary antioxidants can slow and help in reversing atherosclerosis.

High doses of any one of the 3, 6 or 9 essential fatty acids (EFAs) can create deficiencies of the others. As natural treatments for atherosclerosis heart disease and reversing atherosclerosis, a diversified intake of fatty acids should only be undertaken in conjuction with a large take of antioxidants. Uncontrolled free radical attacks tend to fuel pro-atherosclerotic tendencies, where as favorable fatty acid antioxidant interactions tend to retard atherosclerosis initiation and progress.

Vitamin E, a lipid soluble vitamin, is a potent antioxidant. Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated positive relationships between vitamin E intake and the prevention of atherosclerosis heart disease and reversing atherosclerosis.

Several botanicals, including Crataegus oxycantha, Terminalia arjuna, Inula racemosa, and Astragalus membranaceus, have been found to have therapeutic benefit for the treatment of atherosclerosis heart disease and reversing atherosclerosis. Crataegus or Hawthorn owes its physiological activity to its flavanoid content. Flavanoids have been shown to increase collagen cross-linking in the vascular endothelium, having potent antioxidant activity and strengthening blood vessels. The bark of the Terminalia arjuna tree has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 2500 years. The flavanoids and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) in Terminalia provide free radical antioxidant activity and vascular strengthening. Inula racemosa is another Ayurvedic botanical also known as Pushkarmoola. The constituents of alantolactone, isoalantolactone, dihydroantolactone and dihydroisoalantolactone in Inula are thought to be the reason why Inula is so beneficial in atherosclerosis heart disease and reversing atherosclerosis. Astragalus is a Chinese botanical proven to treat ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, and heart failure as well as supporting in vitro antioxidant activity. Astragalus has been found to inhibit lipid peroxidation by 40 percent, making it a potent arsenal in the fight against atherosclerosis heart disease and reversing atherosclerosis.

Low levels of selenium have been associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis. Selenium is a potent antioxidant that works in conjunction with vitamin E to protect vascular tissue from damage by toxins.

Vitamin C helps prevent atherosclerosis heart disease and aids in reversing atherosclerosis by directly promoting the breakdown of triglycerides and through its regulation of arterial wall integrity by way of its essential role in collagen formation. In addition vitamin C helps lower cholesterol.

Vitamin B6 prevents accumulation of high levels of homocysteine, which is one of the tissue-injuring amino acids initiating atherosclerosis. In addition, B6 is an important co-factor for numerous enzymes and minerals.

Pycnogenol is a potent bioflavanoid and antioxidant, thereby enhancing both the arterial and venous circulation in those suffering from atherosclerosis heart disease and those wishing to reverse atherosclerosis.

One of the most important supplements you can take for reversing atherosclerosis or preventing atherosclerosis heart disease is L-arginine, which synthesizes nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide regulates vascular tone, inhibits platelet aggregation and attachment, inhibits inflammatory cell attachment, inhibits the release of growth factors and inhibits the release of procoagulant factors. Through the synthesis of nitrous oxide, L-arginine prevents the progress of the inflammatory reaction in the endothelial cell wall. Nitrous oxide deficiency has been associated with hypertension,

As far as a diet for atherosclerosis, Omega-3-EPA oils reduce cholesterol and prevent platelet stickiness. Good dietary sources include rice bran, flax seed oil, evening primrose oil and oil of borage. Cayenne, Garlic and Onions are the next best thing to IV chelation. Not only do they lower cholesterol and triglycerides, but also prevent thrombus formation and inhibit platelet aggregation.

For truly reversing atherosclerosis or prevention of atherosclerosis heart disease, you will get the best results from taking a combination of the above-mentioned supplements, in addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise and eliminating stress as much as possible.

The Sanatoriums Method in Treating Tuberculosis

The age of Tuberculosis sanatoria began in 1849 when public health tested to isolate the sick persons from the healthy population. The fact that Tuberculosis is actually a contagious disease and can be transmitted from man to man was not yet known.

The idea of ​​Tuberculosis was a curable disease and not a death sentence was first expressed by doctor Brehmer in 1854 after he suffered from the disease himself. As a student he caught Tuberculosis and was sent by his doctor to change the climate and live a healthy life in the Himalaya Mountains. He returned home cured and wrote a debate about how Tuberculosis can be cured.

Brehmer built a sanatorium for his tuberculous patients where they could get food food, fresh air, sun shines and a high elevated life.

The Tuberculosis clinic Doctor Trudeau opened the most famous sanatorium in America, Saranac Lake, where he also conducted laboratory testing and investigation concerning the cure of Tuberculosis. Patients in his sanatorium were strictly supervised, had to stay in bed the whole first three months to rest, eat healthy and drink high amounts of milk. Trudeau continued Koch's studies of identifying the structure and physiology of Mycobacterium in order to understand how it could be killed.

All sanatoriums burned and disposed all the objects of the new income as it was proved the bacteria can for a period of time survive inside the clothes tissues, until it found a new host.

The sanatorium cure spread into entire Europe and America; it provided a dual action against Tuberculosis. Isolation of active cases from the healthy population made it possible to control the spreading of the disease. Secondly, sanatoriums provided the patients with regulated, hospital medical care and a better social and cultural environment.

Frequently, people were brought and interned in sanatorium against their will. Many persons could not understand the beneficial consequences of this kind of cure, or even felt depressed. In an age without any sort of chemical medication the self-control, autosuggestion and a good moral played a tremendous role in the healing process.

The era of sanatoriums was over when the first antibiotic against Tuberculosis was discovered. Streptomycin successfully treated the infection and enabled patients to be treated in hospitals or receive home treatment. In order to prevent the development of resistance to antibiotics, a combination of efficient drugs is used in the medication usually normally at least 6 months, even a whole year.

Organizational Culture Change – 6 Advantages to Enhance Performance

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there! What the rabbit said to Alice is also true when reversed. If you don’t know where you are now, you’ll never get where you want to be.

This is what happens to some managers and organizations. They’re working to achieve goals and enhance performance. But 80% of their endeavors generate 20% results or even less. That’s not because their goals aren’t properly set. They are. The only thing lacking is a precise bearing. Standing precisely here, what would be the most effective way to reach that future?

So, having your goals set and preparing to change, spend 15 minutes to assess your organizational culture. Why? Because culture is found to make the difference. It is why up to 70% of organizational culture change programs fail. Wouldn’t it be great to avoid just that? Make your change endeavors more effective, aiming for 20% endeavors generating 80% results, and take your current organizational culture into account. Learn the current potential and possible resistance right here, right now, before your feet. Knowing it is dealing with it. Overcome resistance and mobilize your organization’s potential. It is a powerful starting point for successful change. Leave no sooner than after you’ve done this!

Are you ready? Just follow me!

Fifteen minutes will do for managers and staff to assess their organizational culture quickly, easily and reliably. The Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) is developed by professors Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn and is a validated research method. No wonder that the OCAI is currently used by over 10,000 companies worldwide. How come that this instrument takes only so little time and is still valid?

The Competing Values Framework

Cameron & Quinn learned from statistical analysis that out of a list of thirty-nine indicators of effectiveness for organizations, only two dimensions made the difference. So four quadrants were constructed, corresponding with four organizational culture types that differ strongly on these two dimensions:

  • Internal focus and integration VS External focus and differentiation
  • Stability and control VS Flexibility and discretion

Organizations in the two left quadrants are internally focused, like: What is important for us and how do we want to work? The two quadrants on the right consist of organizations that are externally focused on: What is important for the market, competitors and customers? The upper quadrants desire flexibility, while at the bottom organizations value stability and control.

In short, the four archetypes of culture are:

1. Clan Culture: A friendly, people-oriented working environment where colleagues have a lot in common, similar to a family. They value teamwork and consensus. Executives are seen as mentors or father figures. There is great involvement. Success is defined as addressing the needs of clients and caring for people.

2. Adhocracy Culture: A dynamic and creative working environment. Employees take initiatives and risks. Leaders are seen as innovators. Experiments, innovation and prominence are emphasized. Success is growth and creating new products or services.

3. Market Culture: A results-based organization that emphasizes finishing work and getting things done. People are competitive and focused on goals. Leaders are hard drivers, producers, and rivals at the same time. Market penetration and stock are the definitions of success.

4. Hierarchy Culture: A formalized and structured work environment. Procedures are leading. Leaders are efficiency-based coordinators. Keeping the organization functioning smoothly is most crucial. Reliable delivery, smooth planning and low costs define success.

Of course these descriptions are a bit short and therefore monochrome. They’re just meant to give you a quick glimpse of the four types. You can check a more extensive and nuanced explanation about the OCAI.

Six key features

To find your organization’s core values and thus the dominant culture type, you need to complete a short survey. Just assess the following six features of organizational culture:

  • dominant characteristics
  • organizational leadership
  • management of employees
  • organization glue
  • strategic emphases
  • criteria of success

The organizational culture assessment shows four statements for each of the above key features of culture. By dividing 100 points over these four descriptions, you’ll get a weighed assessment of the current culture mix.

Just like in reality you don’t need to choose just one culture type. Reality is ambivalent and so is organizational culture. The Competing Values Framework states that the values and the corresponding organizational cultures compete with each other. Organizations can spend their money, attention and time only once, so they tend to emphasize certain values. Quinn and Cameron found that flexible organizations are the most effective, which sometimes leads to contradictory behavior. Research shows that there is no single “best” culture type. The best mix of culture types depends on the situation. In a saturated market for instance, you could flourish with a competitive market culture, while this culture would produce opposite effects in a start up company that thrives on innovation, creativity and serving new developing markets.

You can find your unique culture mix of for instance, people-oriented clan culture and results-oriented market culture. Knowing your specific mix of internal focus and flexibility (clan culture) versus external focus and stability (market culture), you can prepare a successful pathway to the preferred situation.

In the assessment you also define the preferred situation. Just rate the six key aspects of organizational culture again, but this time you keep the preferred future in mind. You divide 100 points while you imagine it’s five years from now and the desired situation has come true.

The outcome!

Now you know where you stand and where you want to go! In just 15 minutes an entire team or organization can assess their starting point and their goal.

Before there was an automated version of the OCAI, it was a lot of work to calculate the profiles by hand. Nowadays, there’s an online automated OCAI tool available that is free for individual participants and at a very reasonable price for teams and organizations.

Using this online tool, every participant receives their personal profiles of current and preferred culture by email. A team of participants can discuss their personal profiles and create a joint profile as a basis for their change program.

In case of large corporations with a great number of participants, you can work with the collective profile, constructed by averaging all the individual results. This provides a clear, quantified starting point for change.

A culture profile gives a lot of quantified information:

  1. The dominant culture and its strength
  2. The difference between present and preferred culture
  3. The congruency of the six features
  4. Comparison with the average for the sector or industry group
  5. The developmental phase of the organization

ad 1: Imagine that you have a very dominant market culture (48 out of 100 points): this indicates that people experience a culture of competition and getting things done.

ad 2: For instance, you see that employees would prefer 10 points more of a people oriented clan culture. The difference between current and preferred profiles indicates your organization’s readiness to change (or their current discontent) and gives an impression what kind of change or approach would be motivating.

ad 3: Congruence means that the 6 key features of culture align, so that they all emphasize, for instance, market culture. Mostly this works smoothly, while incongruence means that there are inconsistencies that can take a lot of time, energy and so on.

ad 4 and 5: It’s interesting to compare your culture profile with your economic sector and see how mature your organization is. Cultures evolve over time from extreme flexibility to more stability and an external orientation.

Qualitative fine tuning

Once you have this quantified picture, you might color and detail it with some qualitative information. Instead of doing interviews through the organization, as some consultants tend to do, you could simply settle for an OCAI workshop. Interviews are not only a lot of work but also produce loads of information that is difficult to standardize or combine to a meaningful whole. Working with your results in an OCAI workshop is adding qualitative information, fine-tuning your profile, understanding it better and working on consensus about the current and preferred situation. When this is accomplished, you mobilize people’s readiness to change. That’s a lot of potential to work with. It’s great energy to start a change, I can tell from experience.

In my next article I will tell you how you can work with your results and start your change program effectively with the OCAI workshops.

6 Advantages to Performance

Conclusively, diagnosing and changing organizational culture can actually pay off if it’s done correctly. Don’t neglect culture since it’s such an important factor. Let culture work for you and enhance performance.

As a consultant guiding organizational change I got enthusiastic about using the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument. A discriminate factor for success that beforehand was considered “vague” and impossible to manage, was made easy to grasp and even utilize, mobilizing employees beyond their “normal” resistance to change.

The OCAI has 6 advantages that help organizations enhance performance:

  1. It’s focused: it measures the six key dimensions that were found to make a difference in organizational success.
  2. It’s timely: both assessing and developing a change strategy can be accomplished in a reasonable period.
  3. It’s involving: either by including all personnel or those who give direction and guide change.
  4. It’s quantitative: based on figures, completed by qualitative information when working with the results to establish the desired changes.
  5. It’s manageable: it can be implemented by a (management) team; outside consultants aren’t necessarily needed.
  6. It’s valid: the OCAI is validated and people recognize their outcomes.

So if you’re planning a roadmap to change, spend 15 minutes on your current position. Any traveler can tell what a big advantage you gain to take the best possible road, avoid roadblocks and actually reach your preferred future.Use these 6 advantages of the OCAI and enhance organizational performance.