Making Sense of Cholesterol Ratios, Lipid Profiles and Your Heart Disease Risk Scores

It’s very possible your MD orders lab work and you have no idea what or why you’re having blood drawn. Well, let’s clear up the confusion when it comes to your cholesterol labs.

The terms “lipid panel”, “lipid profile”, and “lipoprotein profile” are used interchangeably to order the same set of labs. To make reading this easier, I’m going to use “lipid profile” from here on out.

“Lipid” is simply a medical term for “fat”. A lipid profile measures fatty substances in your blood. Cholesterol is one type of fat.

When you eat food containing cholesterol or when your body produces cholesterol and releases it into your bloodstream, the cholesterol will attach to a protein. This package of cholesterol plus a protein is called a lipoprotein (lipid or fat plus protein). A lipid profile measures lipoprotein levels in your blood.

Lipid profiles include five components:

LDL – “bad” cholesterol
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol carries mostly cholesterol, some protein, and minimal triglycerides throughout your circulation. LDL should be less than 130 mg/dL, ideally less than 100 mg/dL.

VLDL – “bad” cholesterol
VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol contains minimal protein and mainly transports triglycerides. VLDL should be less than 40 mg/dL.

Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood, not a type of cholesterol. Triglycerides are frequently used to estimate VLDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Here’s the calculation: triglycerides divided by 5 equals VLDL cholesterol. Triglycerides should be less than 200 mg/dL, ideally less than 150 mg/dL.

HDL – “good” cholesterol
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol removes cholesterol from your bloodstream and carries it back to the liver. I like to think of HDL as a vacuum cleaner, picking up cholesterol LDL leaves behind in your arteries, the more HDL the better. HDL should be greater than 40 mg/dL, ideally greater than 60 mg/dL.

Total cholesterol
Cholesterol is essential to bodily functions, such as building cells and producing hormones. However, too much cholesterol will build up on artery walls, form a plaque, and potentially “plug” the artery resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Total cholesterol is calculated from the above components (Total cholesterol = HDL + LDL + VLDL). Total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL.

Do you see how if you only know your total cholesterol, you only have one piece of the lipid profile?

Now, sometimes your results will include ratios or a risk score. Here’s an explanation of what those numbers mean.

Risk Score
A risk score is based on you lipid profile results, sex, age, family history, and various other risk factors. If you have a high risk score for heart disease, it’s best to speak with your MD to evaluate your risk score.

Cholesterol:HDL Ratio
You want a low ratio of cholesterol to HDL. A ratio lower than 4.5 is good, but 2 or 3 is best. You can calculate your cholesterol to HDL ratio by dividing total cholesterol by HDL. For example, your total cholesterol is 195 and your HDL is 55. 195 divided by 55 equals a ratio of 3.5.

It’s actually not your total cholesterol that has the greatest impact on your heart disease risk. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL is a critical factor. If your total cholesterol is less than 200, but your ratio is 5, you are still at increased risk for developing heart disease.

This ratio compares the amount of bad (LDL) cholesterol to your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. You want a ratio less than 3.5, ideally less than 2.5. To calculate your ratio, divide LDL by HDL. For example, your HDL is 55 and LDL is 100. 100 divided by 55 equals a ratio of 1.8.

Triglyceride:HDL Ratio
A low ratio of triglycerides to HDL is best, ideally less than 2. To calculate your triglyceride to HDL ratio, divide your triglycerides by your HDL. For example, your triglyceride level is 200 and your HDL is 55. 200 divided by 55 equals a ratio of 3.6.

Lipid profiles are commonly ordered to assess your heart disease risk. Your doctor or dietitian will use the results to determine the best treatment to reduce your risk.

A lipid profile is beneficial, because you know your “good” cholesterol level and “bad” cholesterol levels. The interventions that work best to raise HDL and lower LDL differ, so knowing all your numbers helps you make the most effective changes.

You’re probably wondering why a lipid profile isn’t always ordered versus simply checking your total cholesterol (and possibly HDL). Cost and time always play a part and if your risk for heart disease is low, then a quick and less expensive screening makes sense. If you are at increased risk, a more complete assessment (lipid profile) may be more appropriate. Everyone’s situation is unique, so it’s best to discuss what’s right for you with your MD.

Mother Teresa: Making the World a Better Place, Helping One Person at a Time

Born in Uskub, Ottoman Empire (which is today’s Skopje, Republic of Macedonia), Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu became a Catholic nun of both Albanian ethnicity as well as being an Indian citizen. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India and for over 45 years she made it her mission in life to touch the hearts and minds of people all over the worlds as well as minister to sick, poor, orphaned, and dying people throughout the world. Her work was so well known and so great that after she passed away, Pope John Paul II beatified her and she was then given the title of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

During the 1970’s, Mother Teresa was known internationally as a humanitarian and became a huge advocate for poor and helpless people all over the world. Her fame rose to an international level after a documentary and a book titled “Something Beautiful for God” released by an author named Malcolm Muggeridge. For her work with humanitarian issues throughout the world, she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 as well as India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna in 1980. Thanks to her hard work, her missions expanded throughout 123 countries around the world and operated over 600 different missions. These included hospices, homes for people with HIV/AIDS, homes for those with leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, family and children’s counseling programs, schools, and orphanages.

She began her long journey to becoming one of the most recognized figures in humanitarian aid and issues in 1946 while she was traveling to the Loreto convent in Darjeeling for her annual retreat. She felt that she was called to leave the convent and help the poor while she lived with them. She then began her missionary work in 1948. To do this, she replaced her traditional Loreto habit with a simple white cotton sari that was decorated with only a blue border, adopted an Indian citizenship, and then ventured out into the slums to help and minister to the poor people that lived among them. She experienced such difficulty throughout her first year, as she wrote in her diary that she had no income, no home, no food, and was forced to beg for food and supplies. She stated how hard things were for her and she had the comfort of God to help her, so she felt even worse for those poor that she was ministering to that did not have that rock in their lives.

In 1950, she gained permission from the Vatican to start the diocesan congregation that would soon become her Missionaries of Charity. The mission was to care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone”. She began with only 13 members whereas today it has over 4,000 nuns operating different missionaries throughout the world. In 1952, she opened her first Home for the Dying in Calcutta. Here, she gained help from Indian officials to convert an abandoned Hindu temple into the Kalighat Home For The Dying, which was a free hospice for the poor. She ministered to all different religions, from Catholics to Muslims; making sure that everyone felt loved and wanted in their last few hours on Earth.

But it wasn’t just those that were dying that touched Mother Teresa’s heart, she felt the need to create a home for all of the lost children throughout the area and the world. She opened the Nirmala Shishu Bhavan, the Children’s Home of the Immaculate Heart, as a haven for orphans and those that were homeless. For her works, she began to receive recruits and donations and by the 1960’s she had opened several different places all over India. It was her love for people and children that caught the hearts of those all over the world, and brought her into dangerous places to rescue children. One of the most known rescues was in 1982, during the height of the Siege of Beirut, where she brokered a temporary cease-fire between both sides so that she could rescue 37 children that were trapped in a front line hospital. With the help of the Red Cross, she traveled through the war torn area to help the young patients to safety.

These types of acts made her an international figure that was loved and known for her good will toward people of all races, religions, and nationalities. Mother Teresa’s quotes and spirit lives on in the many nuns and missions around the world that follow in her footsteps and help to take care of the poor that need help so desperately.

Maximizing the Process of Change – 10 Simple Steps to Go from Change to Growth

“If we look only to the past or the present, we are certain to miss the future.” John F. Kennedy is famous for having introduced the notion that we must embrace change and constantly look forward. Organizations that are constantly striving to keep one step ahead of their competition understand this very well. For business leaders, it is important to understand how to manage the process of change, maximize the process of change, and allow for change to positively impact business performance.

The bottom line is that growth and success in organizations cannot be accomplished without change. The key here is that we are talking about positive change, which is created through a proactive process, where trends have been identified; new visions presented, clarified, and implemented.

So, what’s so difficult about change anyway? Well, for systems and processes to change, people have to change. This is the tricky aspect of change management – both research and common sense tell us that change is a natural condition of life. Additionally, as humans we are programmed to naturally resist change! We like things to be in a constant state. Yet, many business leaders know all too well that for their continued success, they have to keep their organizations in a constant state of change. The challenge then is to overcome this natural resistance and get people excited about embracing change. Easier said than done, right?

I’d like to offer suggested guidelines for maximizing change in your organization. These guidelines are based on my work with organizations around the world that embrace change, maximize change, and benefit from continuous improvement.

1. Engage People. For more than 50 years research has shown that “resistance” is negatively correlated to the extent to which people are involved in the change decision. That means, then, that the single best strategy for making change work is to involve and engage the people who will be impacted by the change, where they create change themselves! People must be brought into the process of analyzing the need and rationale for any change; without a sound understanding of the purpose of change, successful implementation is difficult if not impossible to sustain.

Fully engaging people begins by focusing on possibilities rather than problems. It means taking the time to make trial runs and revise plans based on those trials. For this to happen, designated leaders must be readily accessible, share information widely, and allow ample time to plan and implement. While not everyone needs a reason to change, most people do, so make sure the reason is understood or that people have an incentive to change. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the only ones who can make sound decisions or understand the rationale are the senior management team! Engage people in all aspects of the change decision, planning and implementation. Give people a voice. Let them be heard.

2. Create a Clear Pathway for Success It continues to astound me how many times I ask a leader what “success” will look like, only to get a vague, undefined response. Before steps are taken, define success for yourself! Where will you be if you get where you’re going? What is it you really want to have happen? What is the desired future? What will success look like? And finally, how will you know when you get there?

We often find that a company’s desired future is too fuzzy for much of anything but confusion to take place. Clarify. Make the vision concrete. Make sure the people who will be impacted by the change have been active in shaping this vision of success. Conduct a future search or similar activity around whatever the issue, need or concern is. Equally important is having a clear sense of why the change is needed, and whether the purpose for the change has been fully communicated to others. Finally, do people have the information they need to understand why the change makes sense, and how it will fit within existing systems and processes? Don’t determine this simply by your own assumptions . . . find out! I always tell business leaders that what their people need more than any other thing is clarity: clarity of vision, clarity of purpose, clarity of direction, clarity of personal accountability, and clarity of personal reward. If business leaders can provide this or their people, the positive outcomes are dramatic in reducing resistance and increasing engagement.

3. Commit and Recommit. I find that it typically is not the front line people having the most trouble absorbing change, but the managers! Make sure that top leaders are fully committed to the vision and to the necessary changes. And make sure other designated leaders, managers and supervisors are equally committed to making things work. Commitment will filter downward in an organization.

Take into account the political realities. Change often means that some people lose something that may be important to them … some form of structure, a routine, an incentive, relationships, and so on. If nothing else, I can guarantee that at a minimum people are all losing one thing – “the way things used to be.” Make sure you assess who’s toes may be stepped on by this change. Address those needs, and make certain that those people are fully engaged in working with the change decision. Finally, make that commitment visible by allocating the necessary resources. Leaders need to be seen visibly supporting the change. Adequate resources must be provided. Learning opportunities may be needed. And don’t skimp on quality just to try to save a few dollars … what you’ll reap in the long-run will far outweigh what you had to shell out in the beginning.

4. Set Clear Expectations. Defining “success” is important, but don’t forget to define success also in terms of individual and group behaviors. Have the new standards and expectations been established, and have they been clearly communicated? Don’t make the mistake of thinking that since the memo went out or the poster posted, it means the expectations were clearly communicated! Different people receive and process information in different ways. Find out what people need, and check frequently with people to be sure the expectations are clear. Finally, make sure that designated leaders are indeed reinforcing the desired actions and making the change a priority. Far too often change fails to achieve the intended results because systems did not support the expectations.

5. Remove Obstacles. People impacted by a change must be involved in identifying obstacles. Who best knows what might make the new form, process or equipment unworkable within the existing system? That’s right … the people who use the existing system every day! Encourage people to share their doubts, raise questions, challenge the decision, and brainstorm solutions!

This can be as simple as keeping notepads around for people to quickly jot down problems, doubts, questions and concerns as they arise, or hanging large sheets on the walls for people to write their questions and frustrations. Establish a process for reviewing these comments on a daily or at least weekly basis. Don’t skimp on the feedback when questions are raise; the doubts and concerns must be clearly addressed . . . and in a timely way. If you don’t know, then tell people you simply don’t know . . . and let them know when you’ll get back to them with more information.

6. Reality Checks. Even transformational change occurs in some type of steps. Most change occurs in smaller increments. Knowing the progress steps and doing some reality testing will allow people to develop their self-efficacy and see that yes, the change will work. This leads to comfort and security.

People gain courage by taking one step, checking their progress, seeing their success, and then taking the next step. Be realistic and don’t make the steps too large at first. Document your progress, and mark the milestones for review (or simply to reassure people that progress is being made!). Are people watching for early warning signs of trouble? Small problems are much easier to deal with than waiting until they’re too large to handle.

Are communication channels to leaders open for all employees? During periods of significant change, managers and especially senior leaders must be seen walking around … talk with people, collect their ideas, and get feedback. Host weekly small group lunches or breakfasts where people can sit down informally with key leaders to raise problems or questions. Meet daily for 15 minutes with your work group to see what has gone well and what needs help. And keep those loops open for continuous reality checking.

7. Provide Feedback & Recognition. As time goes on, how well are people meeting the new expectations? More importantly, do they know how they are doing? For organizational learning and continuous improvement to occur, both formal and informal feedback systems must be present.

Make sure people aren’t somehow being punished for doing the right things, or rewarded for doing things wrong. Legitimize people’s ambivalence about change . . . it’s normal for people to be both anxious and exhilarated, and anxiety does not mean people are being resistant. Publicly recognize the challenges people are facing and the contributions and progress they are making. Then celebrate . . . even the small milestones!

8. Take Quality Action: A change is only as good as the quality actions and resources that support it. Do people have a chance to “try out” the change? Has there been some rehearsal before risk-taking? Can pilot tests be completed before involving a larger part of the system? Can people practice the new actions through role plays, simulations, or visualization? Are systems or task forces in place to frequently (formally and informally) review the change implementation, to revise, and to help people get the resources they need to make change work?

Taking quality action doesn’t demand a great investment in scarce funds … but it does demand an ability and willingness to pause now and then, to think critically about what is taking place, and giving people the chance to try out a new way of being or of conducting work.

9. Sustain Change. It’s tough to keep the momentum going once the motivational speaker has left and people have trudged through weeks of trial and error and more trial. Put procedures in place to review progress and give feedback to people. Set up temporary voluntary task forces to assess progress and help smooth out the bumps in the road. It doesn’t have to be elaborate … it could be a formal learning team in each department or simply that 15 minute start-of-the-day gathering where each person talks about what went well the previous day, what made things difficult, and what would help them be most effective today.

Remember to document and evaluate progress regularly, and be sure that report mechanisms are in place. Know the criteria for progress and for success, then celebrate and make some noise! Focus on what’s going well, and ways to make “going well” the norm. Make plans for the continued development of your internal change agents. Better yet, develop the systems so each person is a change agent, authorized with the knowledge, power, and resources to be successful! Finally, connect with external sources for support to help the organization maintain energy and excitement, and for an outsider’s view of the progress.

Some organizational change has minimal impact on people (changes that do not alter the rights, responsibilities and rewards of all groups). Other change will have a potentially severe impact (those that systematically restructure people’s power, roles, rights, rewards). Use a systems perspective and attend not simply to the change itself but also to how you facilitate and support change. In this way you can cultivate a social system for change that results in a remarkable level of commitment, spirit and energy to make change work!

10. Create a Culture of Growth. Enduring and sustainable positive change only results when systems are changed. I like to refer to this as second-order change. First-order change is simply when surface level policies and procedures change and is usually short term and induces minimal positive impact. Second-order change, on the other hand, creates long-term sustainable growth that changes how and why things are done, not just what is done.

When groups of people are engaged and mutually embrace change, it is very possible to create what we refer to as a culture of growth. In modern days, one of the greatest examples of this being created on a large-scale is the provider of iPods, iPhones, PowerBooks, and a variety of other popular high-tech products. Apple Inc. has always been at the forefront of innovation. They have been dubbed the “Kings of Creative” by those in the business world. Most would attribute that driving success to the mind of Steve Jobs, one of the original founders. His iconic presence for the company has created the constant expectation, “I wonder what Apple will do next?”

From computers, to media players, to phones – Apple is absolutely unrivaled for their ingenuity and vision. What Apple has succeeded at doing best however, is building the foundation for all of that innovation which comes from their culture of growth. People consider it one of the “coolest” places to work. Do you think that when Apple came out with the latest and greatest iPod, and then set out to work on the latest and greatest iPhone, that their employees said, “What? We’re changing? We just created that… can’t we just see how this goes for a while?” Apple has created the ultimate culture of growth from top to bottom. It affects everything they do, and is the underlying reason for their continued success.

Maximizing change is more that capitalizing on new growth platforms. It is about creating positive change for the organization, its employees, and customers. If implemented with structure and precision, change can maximize the potential of people and organizations.

The Growth Principles Company helps business leaders maximize change in their organizations through highly effective training and consulting programs complemented by a series of leadership development programs. We have a series of service offerings ranging from staff training programs to consulting models for mergers and acquisitions.

Excessive Thirst and Frequent Urination – Could Your Dog Have Cushings Disease?

Excessive thirst and frequent urination are signs of four serious canine medical problems, including diabetes, kidney problems, liver disease and Cushings Disease. Regrettably, not treating Cushings Disease could precipitate the others.

After running basic tests, your veterinarian has eliminated the first three, leaving Cushings Disease as the diagnosis.

What is Cushings Disease?

Cushings Disease or Cushings Syndrome as it is sometimes called, is also known as hyperadrenocorticism. Due to the fact older dogs are more prone to tumors, is most often found in middle age and senior dogs. That does not mean younger dogs are immune to it.

The disease is disease, caused by the over production of cortisol, a natural steroid hormone. It is normally released in response to stress or low levels of blood glucororiticoids. The primary functions are to increase blood sugar, metabolize fat, proteins, and carbohydrates and suppress your dog’s immune system.

This disease can be managed, but not cured.

There are three known origins Cushings. They are: tumors, lactrogenic or “veterinary induced Cushings” from the over use of glucorticoid drugs (steroids i.e. Prednisone, Prednisolone, Hydrocortisone, etc.) and Andrenocorticotophic hormone (ACTH) also produced by the pituitary gland.

The majority of time, the source of the disease is a hyperactive pituitary gland, which is found at the base of the brain. Approximately 85% of Cushings in dogs, is from a minute benign tumor on the pituitary gland.

In the other 15% of cases, it may be caused by a tumor on one or both of the adrenal glands, which are located in front of the kidneys. Approximately 50% of these tumors are benign.

Signs and Symptoms – What you should watch for.

There are more than a few signs and symptoms of Cushings Disease in dogs, including: extended belly, excessive thirst, frequent urination, accidental urination in the house, increased appetite, weight gain, excessive shedding, baldness, shortness of breath, lethargy, seeking cooler places to sleep, loss of muscle mass, hypertension, excessive panting, appears anxious/restless, delayed wound healing, thin skin, easy bruising, and mood swings. For some, they are reluctant to jump on or off furniture. Coat changes such as brittleness and dullness are also an indication.

Dogs suffering from Cushings are prone to ear, skin and urinary tract infections.

Who gets Cushings Syndrome?

All breeds and ages are at risk. Middle age and seniors more so.

Breeds that appear most predisposed are: Beagles, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Jack Russells, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles Scottish and Yorkshire Terriers.

It is believed females may be slightly more at risk to it. Spayed and neutered dogs are thought to be more inclined than intact animals.

Signs and symptoms frequently begins appearing when the animal is approximately 10 years or older. The sooner the owner suspects and acts, the better it is for their pet.

How is Cushings diagnosed?

Starting with basic blood tests used for a baseline, there are a number of tests that can be done to help diagnose the disease.

The ACTH Simulation Test uses the initial blood test as a baseline. Your dog is then injected with ACTH, andrenocorticotophic hormone, to stimulate the glands to release their hormones. A dog will have a greatly elevated level of cortisol. The elevated level of cortisol is then measured and compared to the baseline. This test cannot differentiate between pituitary and adrenal Cushings.

The Urine Cortisol/Creatinine Ratio Test can rule out Cushings.

The Low Dose Dexamethasone Suppression Test is the most recommended and has shown the best results to diagnose Cushings.

The High Dose Dexamthasone Suppression Test is used to differentiate which type, pituitary or adrenal Cushings.

MRIs and CAT Scans are also used to detect and check on the progress of this disease.

Is Cushings Treatable?

Yes, but be aware, there is no cure. There are options to help make your pet more comfortable and improve the quality of their life. They include:

1. If your dog is a senior, and suffers from arthritis, or other serious health issues, it may be best to leave them alone. At their age and in their condition, the treatments may be too stressful.

2. Chemotherapy can be used for both pituitary and adrenal tumors.

3. Radiation is most frequently used on pituitary tumors.

4. Surgery is most often used to remove adrenal tumors, as they are usually larger. Only experienced veterinary surgeons, should do this surgery.

5. Medications: Some have serious side effects for the dog. Caution should be used by you, when handling Lysodren!

Lysodren, the most common medication prescribed for pituitary tumors. Serious side effects have been known. Periodic ACTH Tests are needed when using this medication. Should not be handled by pregnant women. Surgical gloves should be worn when handling. Wash hand thoroughly!

Anipryl is a psychotropic drug, whose various side effects have been found to have some positive effects on Cushings.

Ketoconazole is an anti-fungal medication whose side effects have been found to have various positive effects on Cushings.

Vetoryl is an adrenosuppressant. The British have encouraging reports on its safety and effectiveness.

6. Gradually reducing and eliminating the amount of steroids your dog has been prescribed by your veterinarian, can treat Lactrogenic or “veterinary induced Cushings.” This allows the glands to return to their normal function.

What happens if Cushings is left untreated?

As mentioned, there is no cure for Cushings, but depending on the age and general health of your dog, it can be managed. If left untreated, your dog may develop diabetes, hypertension, seizures, congestive heart failure, blood clots, pancreatitis, liver and/or kidney failure.

Bottom line: Cushings Disease is serious. Considering the age and general health of your dog, as well as progression of the disease, plus sufficient research and talking not only to your veterinarian, but getting a second opinion, will aid you in making a responsible decision as to what you consider the best treatment for your pet. Knowing there is no cure, your conclusion will be focused on providing them with the finest quality of life, for whatever time you have to share together.

The Disadvantage of Using Proton Pump Inhibitors

Last year alone, millions upon millions of heartburn sufferers bought more than 25 billion dollars worth of proton pump inhibitors, making this product, one of the biggest pharmaceutical product sellers worldwide.

Although the medical communities are endorsing and promoting them as being a safe heaven for acid reflux and ulcer sufferers, recent reports have exposed some shocking revelation about the inducting side effects of these products.

People rapidly develop a dependency when taking (PPI’s) proton pump inhibitors, the major problem related to the negative side effect is sufferers are only supposed to use them for a short period of time. The prolong use of these drugs inhibits the production of acid in the stomach resulting in bacterial diseases.

Taken for a long period of time, PPI’s will adversely affect the natural process of digestion creating even more unwanted complication ranging from; Calcium deficiency, Diarrhea, pneumonia, bone fractures, C difficile.

Recent studies show some hospital patients using these drugs were at risk of developing C difficile, and pneumonia.

Research in regard to these types of drugs and C difficile suggested patient who’ve been administrated PPI’s are more susceptible to catching the disease due to the decrease of stomach gastric acidity.

Another reports discloses over dosage and long-term usage of these drugs may increase the risk of bone fracture, including hip, wrist and the spine. Wrist and hip fractures have been more predominant among Post menopause women.

In conclusion, proton pump inhibitors have a very high success rate among patient suffering from ulcers and acid reflux disease. Actually, 80% of hospital patients diagnosed with a mild case of ulcers, have been successfully treated by using these types of suppressors. However, the problem seems to depend on the way they are administrated. There is a need for stricter rules and treatments concerning prescription of anti- suppressors. Too many patients leaving the hospital still depends on these medications, and without proper surveillance, can develop serious side effects that could damage in the long run, the digestive system. Heartburn sufferers should take a closer look at what causes their problems instead of trying to fix them. Unhealthy eating habits like; junk, fatty, spicy and greasy foods are the primary reason why people stays stuck in the vicious circle of proton pump inhibitors. If people would just lay off these types of foods and eat more nutritional and natural aliments, they would stand a better chance of improving their lifestyle and become less addicted to pills.

How to Get Rid of a Dog’s Cold

Even dogs are susceptible to common cold. The two most common virus groups that cause colds among dogs are parainfluenza virus and coronavirus. However, even Type 2 adenovirus can also infect dogs resulting in colds. If you notice your dog having symptoms of cold, ensure that you treat it immediately. Otherwise, the cold can escalate to pneumonia or other chronic respiratory ailments.

Generally, cold in dogs is not serious, but it can be debilitating. Some of the common symptoms that dogs will have include runny nose, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, lack of appetite, congestion in the chest, and reduced levels of activity. Usually, dogs do not get fever when suffering from colds. In case fever is present along with the aforementioned symptoms, then in all probability the dog is suffering from influenza and should be taken to a vet.

While colds in dogs do not require medical intervention, you should still take measures to rid the dog of it. The cold will make the dog’s immune system weak, and this can be dangerous if the dog is a puppy or older dog. As the cold virus is contagious, it is best to isolate the dog to prevent it from spreading the infection to other house pets.

Here are some ways that you can get rid of a cold if your dog is suffering from one:

• Steam inhalation is an effective remedy to help with many symptoms of cold. It can help to drain out mucus, reduce coughing and ease the breathing. Just run some hot water in the bathroom and allow the steam to fill up the room. Keep the dog in the steamed bathroom for 10 minutes.

• Ensure that the dog is given a lot of fluids in the form of water and broth. This will help to dilute the mucus and keep the body hydrated.

• The lack of appetite can be tackled by ensuring that the dog is encouraged to eat its favorite food and treats. This will help in boosting the immune system and give the dog the ability to fight the infection. It will help speed the recovery process.

• Chest congestion is a common problem among dogs suffering from common cold. This makes it difficult for the dog to breathe. Keep a humidifier in the room to ease breathing difficulties and drainage of mucus.

• The cold can result in secondary lung infection. Hence, it is imperative to keep the dog warm. Do not expose the dog to cold air. Do not let the dog spend too much time outdoors.

• Feed the dog one teaspoon of colloidal silver to treat the cold. Generally, the amount of colloidal silver depends on the age and general health of the dog. Consult a vet if you are unsure.

If the above remedies do not ease the cold, then take your dog to the vet. The vet may prescribe antiviral medications, cough suppressants, decongestants and/or vitamin supplements to hasten the recovery.

Bronchitis Symptoms – Some Effective Home Remedies To Treat

Bronchitis symptoms may cause a lot of discomfort. People look out for the treatment of this respiratory disease via certain over the counter or prescription medicines available in various drug stores. However, most people are not aware of the fact that bronchitis symptoms can also be effectively treated via some home remedies.

Here are some of the most common and effective remedies for treating bronchitis symptoms:

a) Turmeric:

The use of turmeric powder is considered to be one of the most effective and helpful remedies for bronchitis symptoms. All you require to do is to take half a teaspoon of turmeric powder mixed with half a glass of milk daily twice or thrice in a day. The remedy works great on an empty stomach. You must try out this one.

b) Ginger:

Treatment of bronchitis symptoms can be done successfully with the help of ginger. Prepare a mixture of about half a teaspoon of ginger, cloves and pepper respectively three times in a day. You may lick the mixture with little honey. Also try taking this mixture with tea. The best part is that the mixture of all these three elements consist antipyretic characters. This is really helpful when it comes to reducing fever related to bronchitis. The remedy is also known to boost up the patient's metabolism.

c) Onion:

The treatment of bronchitis symptoms with onion has been regarded as an age-old remedy. In fact, it has been used to treat bronchitis for more than centuries. Onions have expectorant characteristics. These dissolve phlegm easily and useful in the bronchitis treatment. All you require to do is to take a teaspoonful of raw onion juice in the morning on an empty stomach. The treatment is effective.

d) Spinach:

Bronchitis can be easily treated with spinach. Just mix about 50 grams of fresh spinach leaves in about 250 ml of water and mix some ammonium chloride and a teaspoonful of honey. The mixture is also known to be a helpful expectorant and treats bronchitis well.

e) Sesame seeds:

Mix about a teaspoon of sesame seeds with a teaspoon of linseed and a pinch of common salt and one teaspoon of honey. The mixture can be taken at night once in a day. This is said to produce some miraculous effects and cures bronchitis.

f) Almond:

When suffering from sickness due to bronchitis, you need to take an emulsion of almonds. It is known to be really helpful. You can easily prepare this emulsion via creating a powder of seven parts of almonds and then mixing the powdered kernels in a cup of lemon or orange juice. You can take this mixture every day at night. This will definitely prove to be one of the most effective home remedies for bronchitis.

g) Chicory:

Chicory also known as endive is one of the most effective home remedies for bronchitis. You can easily take about half a teaspoon of the powder of the herb's dry root via mixing it with a teaspoonful of honey thrice a day. The remedy is known to be helpful in cases of chronic bronchitis.

Defining Our Healthy Identity

We are Iranian. What does it mean?  We live around the world, obtain citizenship in western countries, and identify ourselves with Western cultures.

What does it mean?

When our children ask: who are we, where do we belong, what is my true nationality, we usually have a silent sigh before we answer this hard question. Identity for people is what culture is for the sum of who we are. We have to identify ourselves with places, people, environment, and objects in order to find meaning for our lives. We Iranian lost our identity many years ago, however we are survivors and still we try to make sense of the pieces of our identity.

If we could put an advertisement in the wanted section of a newspaper we could formulate ourselves as: Healthy Identity is being sought more than ever or we buy healthy identify for any price. 

Trauma after trauma hits our true self. One disaster after another threatens our being and our becoming. We have an unconscious defence mechanism that helps us to survive; we as a nation have survived all these traumas.

That defence mechanism is our strong identity as being Iranian. Now, depending on our citizenship documents, we can add the newly obtained identity to the equation. I am an Iranian-Canadian-Swedish. How about that?

What do I mean by conversing about this topic? I am not questioning whether we have an identity or not. I am inquiring about how our sense of being could be healthy and how these healthy identities look like.

National Identity is not a noun, it is not a verb and it is definitely not an adjective. Identity is a discourse, a concept that pertain our essence, our source, our roots, and our belonging.  It also involves our style of life, our habits, our behaviours, and our coping mechanisms. 

Identity is about our past, present, and future. If we do not like to dig into the past, how are we able to focus on our becoming?  Once we were a kid, we were asked how we wanted to be when we grow up.  We would then name those ideas that were put into our mouth.  

We never could think of saying, I want to be myself, I want to be an Iranian, I want to belong to a group of people, or I want to feel happy about who I am.

What did we like to become or to be when we were a kid?  What did we want to become?  Identity follows our dreams to become and identity is part of our becoming.  

We are who we are now because we did not wish for anything better, not that our dreams or wishes could always come true. No. Neither we did have any contemplation about what a healthy identity could look like, nor did our parents.

We just wished to become doctors, engineers, pilots, lawyers, and all those high status positions that our parents wanted us to be. We were not told to become human being who could contribute to our communities and to improve our situations. 

We were not told that it is up to a community to raise a child and up to a community to build a notion of identity, a healthy one.  However, what happened to the true self that wanted to become something else?  What happened to our identity as not only as Iranian but also as a diverse group of people with numerous religious identities and cultural background?   

I guess the identity of being gay or having various sexuality preferences, are not even close to the Iranian version of our identities.  We are far behind this proclamation of rights, at least not that I can think of.

If it did not happen before, now it is time. We can not escape this reality. The question is now where do we find our identity? Where is it? What pattern it has? What colour would that be? What we recognize for sure is that we should proclaim our identity as who we and what groups we belong to.

What do I mean by proclaiming? I mean certainly to recognize our roots and to be proud of our diversities, to be able to find a common ground while respecting one another for the diverse backgrounds we have. We are getting better; still we have a long way to go.

We come from various beliefs, values and practices.  We have to appreciate the fact that we are this rich people with all the different style of life. We can not afford to censure ourselves more than we have done until now. We should learn to find our true identities, whatever we like to be or whatever source we realize we are part of. 

We need to prevent more harm, prejudice, racial biases and preconceived notion of who we are, by acknowledging our ethnicity and individual identity.

We should remember that our experiences are subjective, embodied, and real for us.  We have to realize that every single experience is important and make a difference. It has to be understood that the complex situation back home and the mass immigration of our Iranian people are indeed painful.

Today, we Iranian live in a more multicultural world, a reason for us being able to integrate and melt much easier. The other reality is that today people move easier than before which is another factor for us Iranian search for our dream life wherever we find it.

Many times there are unbearable and overwhelming situations that many men and women from our communities are dealing with, all in all, leading to various aspects of psychological disturbances.

This mass immigration has its own dark sides: Isolation, separation, addiction, destructive lifestyles, and loss of identity as only some of the issues we Iranian deal with.  Deep down we are not happy about not living in our home country. We may be happy not having to deal with the inconsiderate and inconsistent reality back home. 

Still we always look back. It looks like that we have our eyes on our home land every single day. Now that the drums of war are being played, we are scared more than ever, at least those of us who care.

Dislocation is a heavy weight on our shoulders, heavier than the rainy sky, and heavier than our pains.


Sometimes we have to manipulate our thoughts to get back to the concept of here and now mood.

We Iranian have been persuaded for decades and centuries to be something we are not.  However we tend to have good grasp of our rights in the countries we live in.  Not forgetting that in our own home country we have no rights to claim, at least it is not easy to claim any rights back home.

Sense of community and social identity are two major concepts that rarely exceeding the cohort of family members, relatives and people from same community.

In our very recent years we are getting into some social groups, to talk, to breathe, to think, and to reflect our own situation. The life in migration means that people have to find companionship in social occasions while trying to maintain the contacts with the old group of acquaintances.

Psychology is becoming the topic of interest for many Iranian women and men out there in the world.  Identity and sense of belonging is certainly one of the areas that are reflected in all our literature, poems, songs, and entertainment industry.

Identity takes us a long way in life. We should have a good ride and enjoy the views. Once our children know who we are they have a bigger chance to integrate and succeed as a human being and as a citizen everywhere they are.

Note: using the pronoun we refers to we as Iranian, as human beings, as people who identify themselves with Iran. This notion of we is a discourse and it is a broad area where many people can identity themselves with.

Poran Poregbal Vancouver, B.C. July 11, 2008

Diamond Inclusions

A diamond responds to incident light in three different ways. It allows a portion of light to pass through itself; it reflects another portion and refracts yet another portion of the incident light within itself. This dispersion and refraction of light is what makes the diamond sparkle.

When the path or wavelength of incident light is obstructed or diverted, the play of light does not occur. Depending on the size and type of the obstruction, this can impart a dull and lifeless look to the diamond.

Such obstructions are caused by flaws of the diamond that may either be internal or external or both. External flaws occurring on the surface of the diamonds are called blemishes while internal faults occurring within the crystalline surface of the diamond are known as inclusions.

Inclusions are acquired naturally by diamonds during their formative years deep within the womb of mother earth and are akin to birthmarks. These flaws are created due to irregular crystallization of diamond during its formation process.

Blemishes can be man-inflicted during mining, cutting & polishing or they may also have been acquired naturally.

One must understand clearly that diamonds are formed deep within the earth in the crudest of environments under unimaginable conditions of temperatures and pressures. These conditions are far removed from those of a sterile laboratory.

As a result, it is normal for diamonds to have inclusions. Inclusions are present in diamonds as a rule rather than as exceptions.

Nevertheless, inclusions need not be looked upon with distaste, if they are small and have a negligible effect on the brilliance and clarity of a diamond. In fact, the inclusions present in individual diamonds are as unique as the human fingerprint and are recorded in detail in the diamond’s gradation report.

Most inclusions do not affect the beauty of a diamond and are considered to be identifying characteristics. They allow you to properly identify your own diamond in case it happens to get lost or stolen or mixed up with other diamonds when given for cleaning or appraisal.

However, if the inclusions are too dense or widespread, they can affect the properties of the diamond in many ways:

Diamond Brilliance:

An inclusion affects the diamond’s ability to scatter and transmit light as it obstructs the light passing through diamond. Consequently, it reduces the brilliance of diamond.


Inclusions can reduce the diamond’s resistance to fracture significantly.


Sizeable inclusions or colored inclusions mar the beauty of the diamond.


Value of the diamond decreases with increase in size and number of inclusions.

Some examples of internal flaws or Inclusions found in diamonds are as under:


‘Feather’ is a general term for fissures that might exist in a diamond. They are hairline cracks within the stone that resemble (as the name suggests) feathers. Small feathers do not usually threaten the diamond’s structure unless they rise to the surface on the top of the stone, where they are particularly prone to accidental blows.

Depending on the direction from which they are viewed, a feather may look shiny and white, glossy, or transparent. Some feathers capture the incident light and blink from transparent to bright when the stone is moved to and fro.

Compared to any other inclusion, feathers present a greater durability threat to the diamond because a hard knock can enlarge them at any time. Ultrasonic cleaning can further pry open and expand the feathers.

Included crystals or minerals:

Diamonds can get permeated with tiny crystals and minerals because of the extreme conditions they have to undergo during the course of their formative years. Very often these crystals are smaller diamond particles inside a larger diamond. These foreign particles obstruct the play of incident light and thus detract from the clarity, grade and value of the diamond.

But, there are times when the naturally implanted crystal can have a positive impact and add character to a diamond. For example, a diamond with a small garnet embedded in it would be a great personal choice for someone whose birthstone is a garnet.


Sometimes, an included diamond crystal sitting near the surface of the diamond reaches and opens to the surface during cutting and polishing and it is called a knot. It can give the diamond cutter lot of trouble while fashioning the diamond.

The knot is visible like a raised area on a facet. The boundary between the host diamond and the knot can be viewed under high magnification and proper lighting. You may also see the tell-tale trailing lines alongside the knot where tiny rubble of diamond had been inadvertently dragged across the surface by the polishing wheel.

Since the knot is an entirely different diamond crystal in itself, its growth pattern differs from that of the host diamond. Most of the times it is not feasible for the diamond cutter to polish the knot away.

Knots can greatly reduce the clarity and thus the value of a diamond.


Cavities are just what their name suggests. They are holes on the surface of the diamond. Cavities can be caused because of two reasons.

When a surface reaching crystal is forced out during polishing or if it simply drops out, it leaves behind a gaping hole called the cavity. Also, when a part of a feathering close to the diamond surface breaks off leaving behind a deep cleft-like opening, it is called a cavity. The tell-tale drag lines alongside the cavity where tiny rubble of diamond had been inadvertently dragged across the surface by the polishing wheel differentiate a cavity from a chip.

Cavities can crop up anywhere on a diamond, including the crown, pavilion or girdle. It can affect clarity just like an inclusion inside the diamond. But, a cavity has a more negative impact on the value of the stone since the cavity can turn dark with accumulated grime of everyday wear.

Twinning Wisps or Intergrowth:

The term Twinning Wisps or Intergrowth does not refer to a single inclusion but rather to a group of inclusions that have intertwined together in a twinning plane. This motley group consists of a mixture of inclusions such as pinpoint size diamond crystals, feathers, fractures, crystals, and clouds.

These are formed during the formative years of the stone when the diamond crystal is forming and growing. Typically, they are ribbon like bands stemming at the center of the diamond and look like white striping within the diamond similar to stretch marks on the belly skin of a pregnant woman.

Twinning wisps are more prevalent in fancy shape diamonds like heart shapes, pear shapes and triangles which are usually created from twinned crystals. Then again, twinning wisps can also be found in other diamond shapes too, based upon the quality of the rough diamond used to fashion out the stone.


Cleavage is a straight crack in a diamond (with no feathering) in its cleavage plane. The cleavage plane is a weak crystal direction along one or more of the diamond’s four octahedral planes.

A cleavage can make the diamond more brittle as it has the potential to crack the stone into two pieces. However the minute unnoticeable cracks do not affect the diamond’s build directly and tiny cracks that are invisible in a table-up (face up) position do not seriously affect clarity ratings of the diamond.

Bearding or Bearded Girdle or Girdle Fringes:

As evident from the name, Bearded Girdle or Girdle Fringes are beard-like hair streaks that appear around the girdle of the diamond.

This type of inclusion consists of minute feathers stretching from the girdle surface into the stone and is a result of hastiness in the bruting process when giving the diamond its initial shape in the cutting process.

A thinly bearded girdle has very few and very fine feathers sprinkled around the diamond’s border and might not devaluate the diamond quality.

A thickly bearded girdle has a multitude of feathers that together create a fuzzy gray fringe all the way around the stone. It should be removed or refined away by cutting the diamond again.


A chip is a shallow opening located on the surface of the diamond caused due to the chipping off or gouging out of a small piece of the diamond. The opening typically has a rounded outline and occurs on the edges of the girdle, culet or facet. (It should not be confused with the term “Diamond Chip” which refers to very small diamonds).

Since the chip is the result of damage that occurs subsequent to cutting and polishing, it will not be flanked by trailing drag lines

Usually, most chips are too tiny to be of any significance and can be eliminated from the diamond surface, by re-cutting or polishing the gem with negligible loss in carat weight. On the other hand, bigger chips may perhaps require re-cutting of the entire diamond causing substantial loss of diamond weight.

Dark Spot:

This is a thin, flat inclusion or a small crystal inclusion that reflects light like a mirror. The inclusion could also appear like a metallic silvery reflector.


Are tiny crystals that appear like whitish dots (occasionally they can also be dark in color) inside a diamond and are difficult to see. They look like tiny dots at 10X magnification.

At times, the minute pinpoints can bunch together in clusters giving a hazy look to that area called a cloud. A cloud can negatively impact a diamond’s clarity.


As stated above, clusters of minute pinpoints causing blurry cloud like areas in the diamond are called ‘Clouds’. They create an ugly spot in the diamond and depreciate its clarity rating and value.

Individually, the pinpoints may perhaps be too small to be distinguished at 10X magnification, but crowded together they seem like wispy white or gray patches. Some clouds look like a light haze, while others are dense and almost opaque.

Laser Lines

Unlike most other diamond inclusions laser lines are man-made rather than natural. When a laser beam is used to eliminate dark inclusions present in a diamond, the beams leave behind vapor like trails called the laser lines.

The marks look like filaments stretching inward from the diamond’s table and stopping at the point where the inclusion was removed.

Laser Drill Hole:

Laser treatment is frequently used nowadays to make the inclusions in a diamond less visible as also to improve the aesthetics of the stone.

The laser drill-hole is a tiny tunnel produced by a laser beam. The tunnel extends from the surface to a dark included crystal (or to the spot from where such a crystal has been removed). After drilling, Sulfuric acid is introduced into the drill hole by immersing the diamond in the acid to dissolve or bleach the inclusion and make it less visible.

The fine bore holes are easily detectable under microscopic examination. They are whitish and straight, but may also change direction slightly. They are often described as having a ‘wrinkled’ appearance. In reflected light, the surface reaching holes can be spotted as dark circles opening through the diamond’s facets.

The Gemological Institute of America grades laser drilled diamonds since the holes are permanent features and the drilling aspect is noted under the comments section.

Growth or Grain Lines:

It is common knowledge that the metamorphosis of carbon into diamonds occurs in conditions that are far from ideal or sterile. Grain lines are created by irregular crystallization that takes place when a diamond is forming.

These can only be observed while slowly rotating the diamond under examination. They appear and disappear instantaneously and usually appear as groups.

Colorless grain lines do not usually affect diamond clarity unless they are present in large masses and can be seen from the crown side of the diamond.

Internal Graining

Internal graining is also caused by uneven crystal growth and can appear like lines, angles, or curves. It can be colored, whitish, or reflective. Internal graining can give part or all of the stone a hazy texture.

Fracture Filled

Surface reaching feathers and Laser drill holes are sometimes filled with substances like molten glass in a treatment called fracture filling. The filler makes the flaw less evident.

It can be difficult to detect, but the treatment leaves a telltale sign called the flash effect. It refers to the bright flashes of color seen when a fracture-filled diamond is rotated. The colors of these flashes range from electric blue or purple to orange or yellow, depending on lighting conditions. The flashes are best seen with the field of vision just about parallel to the plane of the filled fracture.

The Gemological Institute of America does not grade fracture filled diamonds because the treatment is not permanent.


A bruise is a tiny area of impact (minor chip or concussion on the stone) surrounded by small root-like feathers visible at 10X magnification. When viewed through an opposing facet, a bruise appears cottony in texture as it radiates into the diamond.

A bruise is sometimes called a percussion mark and is caused by a hard blow.

The presence of a tiny bruise can make the difference between an IF and a VVS1 grade.

Swimming And Its Tremendous Therapeutic Benefits

Swimming is actually a skill that has many therapeutic benefits from children with sensory impairments and teenagers suffering from depression to adults suffering from arthritis.

In order to achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle, one should eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep about 6 to 8 hours a day, and engage in physical activities.

Private and public pools have exercise programs that can help different conditions such as low back pain, arthritis, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, degenerative joint disease, and more.

Water aerobics is a good starting point for beginners then once you are confident in the water, you can engage in a more advanced exercise regime which will enhance your cardiovascular strength, endurance, and mobility.

Here are some tips to get the most benefits in swimming:

1) Use a wet suit especially if you tend to get cold easily

2) Wear goggles and bathing cap to help protect your eyes from your hair and water and to foster proper breathing techniques.

3) It’s easy to get carried away in the water. Think about what you are doing first so you can be coordinated. Your breathing, the movements of your arms and legs as well as your body position should all move towards the same direction.

4) Learn to relax and enjoy your swimming lessons.

Swimming requires the use of your lungs and your heart in order to meet the increased demands of oxygen to your body. It is indeed an excellent aerobic exercise that promotes muscular strength and flexibility.

Any aerobic activity helps lower your heart rate, increases the ability of your muscles to use oxygen, lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as increase the capacity of your blood to carry oxygen to all parts of your body.

Swimming thus improves your aerobic capacity in such manner that your heart muscles get stronger enabling it to pump more blood per beat which in return increases your blood circulation.

People who live a sedentary lifestyle are likely to develop diseases such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, heart problems, and joint problems.

People who are active in swimming, sports, and fitness programs are less likely to develop the above diseases and rather have better endurance, muscle strength, range of motion, and improved tome and posture.

Causes of Sleep Paralysis – Read This Helpful Guide and Sleep Better Starting Tonight

There are number of causes of sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis occurs when you are immediately woken from sleep whilst you are experiencing a dream. The paralysis sets in when the transition between the two states is not a smooth process as should be the case. The dream that you were experiencing becomes real for you and when you try and move you find that you are unable to.

This is because as far as the body is concerned you are still dreaming. So normally anything that will interfere with your normal sleep pattern will cause sleep paralyses. There are many things that interfere with the brain and bring it out of sleep. Light and sound are the two most common things.

When you go to sleep make sure the room is dark and there is no light filtering through to your face. After you've fallen asleep it is this same light that will cause you to be awoken suddenly. Most people also tend to go to sleep with the TV or radio on. The sounds produced by these appliances will definitely wake you before the period of normal sleep ends. Avoiding these two causes of sleep paralyses should decrease the episodes.

Other known causes are an inconsistent sleep patterns. It would really help a lot if you maintained regular sleeping hours. Make it a point to go to sleep and wake up the same times everyday. This way the body becomes conditioned to the routine.

Nicotine, alcohol and tobacco are known stimulants that interfere with your body's ability to stay asleep. Try and avoid them during night times. Make sure that you empty your bladder before you go sleep. As you can see there are many causes of sleep paralysis. There are also ways in which you can prevent it or avoid altogether.

Is There a Natural Remedy For Hiatal Hernia Symptoms?

Hiatal hernias can be caused by accident, injury, birth defect or by extra pressure caused by obesity or pregnancy. They are also common in people who have GERD. A hiatal hernia occurs when either part of the stomach and lower esophagus slide up through the hiatus in the diaphragm (the muscle wall separating the abdomen and chest cavity) or when part of the stomach pushes through the hiatus and becomes trapped next to the esophagus. In some cases patients will feel little or no symptoms, while others can have more severe and painful symptoms.

Symptoms Of Hiatal Hernia Include:

· Chest pain

· Heartburn

· Sore throat

· Hoarseness

· Regurgitation

Chest pain and heartburn are mainly due to the reflux of food and stomach acid into the esophagus that can cause a painful burning sensation, feeling a lump in the throat or chest and over a prolonged time can lead to asthma and erosion of the esophagus.

Fortunately symptoms can be treated successfully with homes cures and natural remedies in almost every instance. Alternative health remedies offer safe, low cost and easily available solutions compared to dangerous and expensive prescription medications.

Treatment For Symptoms Include:

· Proper diet to avoid triggering reflux

· Avoiding certain actions like bending over after meals – this helps prevent back flow.

· Eliminating bad habits such as consuming tobacco and alcohol

· Regular exercise

· In a few cases a doctor may recommend surgery although many risk factors can result in dangerous complications

In addition to a good diet and consistent exercise routine, natural remedies for acid reflux provide an effective, safe treatment and can even prevent further episodes.

Natural Remedies For Treatment Of Symptoms Of Hiatal Hernia Include:

· Herbs and spices that can either be used in cooking or by themselves including; ginger, basil, mint, licorice root and fennel seed.

· Honey. Honey can be used to combat symptoms of hiatal hernia either by itself or drinking it with herbal teas.

· Apple cider vinegar. This incredible remedy for symptoms of hiatal hernia has proven to work wonders for many. Normally a teaspoon or two can help for days and is readily available in most supermarkets. Make sure to buy a high quality brand.

· Baking soda and water drank after meals is also a natural remedy for symptoms of hiatal hernia.

· Aloe Vera Juice.

· Chewing gum after meals.

· Some swear by certain exercises or moves that can put the organs back in place.

· Staying hydrated with 6-10 glasses of water per day, but do not drink at meal times.

· Do not lay down right after a meal or do not eat close to bedtime. Keep your upper body elevate while sleeping.

Knowing About Diseases of the Spine

It provides support for your body as muscles are attached to it. Also, it provides the overall shape to your body. However, there are lots of people who face problems with their spine. Any type of pain that will be associated to your spine may be because of a serious disease of spine. So, you must never take this pain lightly as things can become worse if you will practice carelessness.

When it comes to spinal diseases, you can feel pain because of several reasons. For instance, if you are having a low back pain, then it may be because of lumbosacral muscle strain which can lead to disability in some cases. In this condition, a person will usually feel better with rest. However, low back pain may be because of other spinal conditions.

Lumbar disc herniation is another condition which may be contributing towards increasing your low back pain. If you will be having back pain because of lumbar disc herniation, you will feel more pain while sitting. Spinal stenosis is another reason behind the low back pain. When it comes to spinal stenosis, you can actually feel pain in different sections or regions of your spine. Actually, spinal stenosis is a situation where your nerves get pressed which means that you can feel pain in different parts of your body.

So, it can really be a confusing situation to deal with. As this pain is because of the pressure on nerves, so, you will feel a bit relieved while sitting as the space between the vertebrae becomes increased. It is bit different from herniated disk as there a disk will slip out of its place to press a nerve. Apart from these abovementioned problems, low back pain may be because of vertebral fracture, spondylolisthesis or because of simple inflammation.

Here, it is also essential to mention that pain in back or spine may be because of a tumor. Spinal cord tumors are caused by the high protein content. In most cases, this tumor can be removed, but, situation can get worse if you will not pay a sufficient attention to it. Speaking of spinal tumor, it is pertinent to mention that there are certain types of it. Bony tumors of the spinal column, Extra dural tumor, Intra dural extra medullary and Intra medullary tumors are the basic types of spinal tumors.

There are different methods that are used to deal with different tumors and spinal conditions. In most cases, people are treated with certain therapies. These therapies are used to remove pressure from certain nerves which get pressed because of different reasons. This can really help to relieve pain. However, the treatment will depend on the severity of the pain that you will be having. If its severity will be greater, then you may have to go for some surgical treatment to get out of the pain.

Top 10 Health Benefits Of Infrared Saunas

The traditional saunas of the past relied on maintaining very high temperatures by splashing water on hot stones. Today, modern saunas, better known as far infrared saunas, surround the user with far infrared heat panels. These panels are more effective at warming your core and can be plugged into any wall outlet at home. With less frequent trips to the doctor’s office and only an additional $4.00 a month to your electric bill, infrared saunas have fast become a standard option when purchasing a new home or upgrading to your existing home. The health benefits and research are growing daily. Here are the top 10 benefits our research has found:


Weight loss is one of the benefits of using an FIR (Far Infrared) sauna each day for only 20-40 minutes. Fat becomes water-soluble at a temperature of 100 F° before it begins to dissolve and enter the bloodstream to be removed from the body. In an FIR sauna, fat is removed through sweat. Many people who have unsuccessfully attempted weight loss through conventional dieting will be pleased with the fat-burning results of an FIR sauna. Often the inability to lose weight is associated with chemical toxicity. As these toxins are removed from the body while using the FIR sauna, weight loss naturally follows. FIR saunas are the ONLY natural, healthy way to burn calories without exercising.

Use of a FIR sauna has a cumulative effect on the body; that daily use magnifies its benefits. Your first experience in an FIR sauna will be a pleasant one. After several days and then weeks, detoxification, weight loss, immune building and other benefits will increase dramatically. One must experience this cumulative effect to understand it completely.

“Assuming one takes a 30 minute sauna, some interesting comparisons can be made. Two of the highest calorie output exercises are rowing and running marathons. Peak output on a rowing machine or during a marathon burns about 600 calories in 30 minutes. An infrared sauna may better this from “just slightly” up to 250 percent by burning 900 to 2400 calories in the same period of time. A single sauna session can simulate the consumption of energy equal to that expended in a 6-9 mile run.” ~Aaron M. Flickstein


Far Infrared strengthens the Cardiovascular System by causing an increase in your heart rate, cardiac output, and diastolic blood pressure decrease. Many people who are bound to a wheel chair have benefited greatly by getting a cardiovascular workout without ever leaving their home. Blood flow during a sauna session is reported to rise from a normal 5-7 quarts a minute to as many as 13 quarts a minute. This beneficial “heart workout” leads to the desired cardiovascular training and conditioning effects.

Medical research confirms the use of a sauna provides cardiovascular conditioning as the body works to cool itself. This results in substantial increases in heart rate, cardiac output and metabolic rate. Extensive research by NASA in the early 1980’s led to the conclusion that far infrared stimulation would be the ideal way to maintain cardiovascular conditioning in American astronauts during long space flight.


Far Infrared is excellent for detoxing your body, internally and externally. Scientists in Japan report that in the FIR treatment of clogged capillary vessels, heat expands the capillaries and then initiates the start of a process to dissolve hidden toxins. Far Infrared thereby promotes elimination of fats, chemicals and toxins from the blood: Poisons, carcinogenic heavy metals – toxic substances from food processing – lactic acid, free fatty acids, and subcutaneous fat associated with aging and fatigue – excess sodium associated with hypertension – and uric acid which causes pain. Furthermore, if sebaceous glands are activated, accumulated cosmetics in pores can be eliminated through the skin (sweat and oil glands) rather than by the kidneys.

Since infrared heat is able to penetrate your inside your body up to two inches, you will sweat up to three times more than with the traditional saunas of the past.

The Result: These nasty toxins inside your body that make you feel sick, tired, and cause you to take on weight are eliminated. With an infrared sauna up to 300% more carcinogenic heavy metals, sodium, cholesterol, nicotine, and alcohol are eliminated than with a standard type sauna.


Far Infrared strengthens immunity by stimulating increased production of white blood cells (leukocytes) by the bone marrow and killer T-cells by the thymus. This has been proven to increase the body’s ability to fight off bacteria, colds, flues, and other ailments.

Another way Far Infrared Saunas have a positive effect on increasing your immunity is by creating an “Artificial Fever”. Fever is a natural healing response of the body. The function of the immune system is increased naturally during a fever, while virus and bacterial growth is slowed, weakening its hold. This helps the body ward off invading organisms. A FIR heat treatment in the early stages of a cold or flu has been known to stop the disease before the symptoms occur. Many health practitioners use FIR as a method for removing immune killing toxins from the body.

“I just wanted to write you and give you an update on the sauna we purchased from you last Fall. You may remember I was experimenting chronic sinus infections for over 18 months. These infections were brought on by getting sick again and again. No matter how much Vitamin C I took, or Airborne I drank I just couldn’t seem to shake the “common cold”. The constant strain and stress on my body brought my immunity down to nothing and exposed me to almost everything out there. I have been using my Infrared Sauna for only six months, combined with a vegetable juicing daily. I would never have believed it if I hadn’t experienced it. Christmas came and went, my kids have been sick, my husband has been sick and I HAVE NOT. I feel my energy coming back and I am no longer worried about catching germs on the shopping cart or the public restroom. It has been six months and no cold. I just wanted to thank you; I wish I would have found your sauna store before all of my doctor visits.” God Bless – Heather Deevorse


A case study reported in Germany worked with a 72 year old woman who had a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis secondary to acute rheumatic fever. She had reached her toxic limit of gold injections and his Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) was still 126. After using an infrared sauna for less than 4 months, her ESR was down to 12.

A professional baseball player for the Yankees had to take himself out of the game after 2 innings due to arthritic pain. With a contract looming and the prospect of going from playing 2 innings to 0 his physical therapist put him on 60 minute a day infrared sauna sessions. Within 3 months he was able to complete 6 innings of pitching with minimal pain and without prescription drugs.


Cancer cannot survive in an environment of temperatures more than 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit). In addition to its detoxifying effects, far infrared heat actually helps kill cancer cells, increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy and reduce the side-effects of conventional therapies. At the same time, it boosts the body’s regenerative abilities and decreases pain by increasing circulation, which makes it beneficial in treating other condition such as arthritis, gout poor circulation. Neuralgia and abnormal nerve function.

In one cancer study by the European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology that examined 5 year survival rates of patients with malignant melanoma, 28 percent of those who underwent only radiation survived five years. Of those who combined radiation and infrared sauna therapy treatment once a day, 46 percent survived. Neither group did any other holistic therapies.

Another trial at St. George Hospital in Bad Aibling, Germany involved late-stage ovarian cancer patients who had previously undergone chemotherapy. Using a combination of chemotherapy and hyperthermia, 69 percent experienced positive improvements and 15.5 percent went into remission.


Far Infrared heat expands capillaries which stimulates increased blood flow, regeneration, circulation and oxygenation. Increased blood flow has been proven to improve hair, skin, erectile dysfunction, aid in the healing of injuries, recovery of muscles and joint stiffness.

Introducing heat deep into your muscles produces an increased blood flow and temperature rise similar to the levels measured during brisk exercise. Temperature elevation also produces an increased blood flow and dilation directly in capillaries, arterioles, and venules, probably through direct action on their smooth muscles. The release of bradykinin, released as a consequence of sweat-gland activity, also produces increased blood flow and vasodilatation.


Far Infrared heat increases blood circulation throughout your skin which is mandatory for glowing, beautiful, and youthful skin. Make up and concealers are just that, they are hiding the facts. Infrared heat penetrates deep into those facts pushing out these toxins while rejuvenating your skin. To truly slow the aging process it essential to push these pollutants out of your pores instead of trapping them with lotions and make up. There is no better feeling than a healthy sweat in a sauna while drinking fresh water. It’s like turning on the fire hose and flushing your whole body out.

Try this test the next time you take a sauna: Wash your face with your very best product you have before going into an infrared sauna. Make sure to bring a small white towel into the sauna with you, work up a good sweat and use this towel to wipe your face. You will be shocked at how much dirt you just wiped off your “clean face”. This is because the infrared heat is penetrating deep under your skin pushing out the toxins which have made a home deep into your pores.

Another benefit to infrared sauna therapy is the break down of cellulite. Cellulite is a gel-like substance made up of water, fat and wastes trapped deep in pockets under your skin. Many Dermatologists are now recommending the use of infrared saunas with any anti-cellulite program as the profuse sweating helps clear the unwanted debris from your body.

Here is a list of the most common reported benefits of infrared sauna therapy for the skin:

  • Nettle rash
  • Clogged pores are unplugged of cosmetics creating a skin texture and tone of unexcelled quality.
  • Poor skin tone is restored to a more youthful level
  • Scars and pain from burns or wounds are decreased in severity and extent. Infrared therapy is used routinely in burn units throughout Asia
  • Lacerations heal quicker and with less pain and scarring
  • Acne: Three or four infrared treatments may open pores that have not been functioning in years, forcing out clogging cosmetics and loosening dead outer skin. The sauna is thus a boon to teenage skin, clearing acne and blackheads
  • Body odor: by improving the function of the skin, the infrared treatments may eliminate the cause of offensive body odor. It definitely reduces body odor induced by occupational exposure to odorous chemicals
  • Eczema and Psoriasis: reported to have responded extremely well to infrared treatments
  • Sunburn: according to the 9th edition of Clayton’s Electrotherapy, “infrared is the only antidote to excessive ultraviolet radiation.”
  • Keloids forms at a reduced rate in those prone to their formation with infrared treatments and may be softened by use of infrared systems if they have form.


Far infrared saunas have been proven to reduce pain sensation by getting heat deep into both the free-nerve endings in tissues as well as on the peripheral nerves. Pain is often associated with a lack of blood supply to the injured area due to tension or spasms. The introduction of heat deep into these areas helps to eliminate further spasms which in turn alleviate the pain.

Far Infrared promotes rebuilding of injured tissue by having a positive effect on the fibroblasts (connective tissue cells necessary for the repair of injury). Furthermore, it increases growth of cells, DNA syntheses, and protein synthesis all necessary during tissue repair and regeneration.


Many home saunas now utilize Chromo therapy for added benefits. Chromo therapy, also called color therapy, is the use of color and light to gently bring about homeostasis. Color and light is applied to specific areas and accupoints on the body. Color and light have been used for healing since the beginning of recorded time. Ancient Egyptians built solarium-type rooms with colored panes of glass. The sun would shine through the glass and flood the patient with color. Some people use colored silk cloths which are placed on the body and then flooded with sunlight. Early color and light healers in the modern world used colored gels and sheets of glass to apply light to the body. Others used color infused water and color meditations to send healing rays to the person.

Today, there are many practitioners who use color and light in interesting ways. Some therapists have a box with a mechanism that flickers light into the eyes. They report success in speeding the recovery of stroke victims and those persons who experience chronic depression. All of our saunas come standard with the full spectrum of chromo therapy lighting

Is Good Posture Hurting Your Back?

Proper posture is supposed to help keep our backs healthy. Why, then, do some experience back pain when sitting or standing properly? If you are trying to relieve back pain by improving posture and experiencing more of it, don’t give up just yet.

Muscles learn behavior. Technically, “muscle memory” refers to the brain’s tendency to record repeated behaviors and make them automatic in the future. If your posture trains your muscles to be tense or lax, eventually the brain will send signals to those muscles that cause them to tense up or disengage automatically. This is why proper posture is difficult to perform; it is a retraining of your muscles and brain that takes time.

Slouching, characterized by stooped shoulders, rounded lower back and tucked pelvis, is the classic example of poor posture. Let’s analyze the ways in which this positioning and training affects muscles. Rounded, stooped shoulders cause muscles in the chest to tighten and shorten in length. The natural lumbar arch in the lower back is flattened out by slouching; this strains the lower back muscles. Muscles in the stomach are not allowed to engage in this position, causing further strain to the lower back muscles which must support the upper body by themselves. Muscles within the hip are shortened when sitting for prolonged periods of time, and if your pelvis is not neutral, they will become even tighter.

The many muscular changes that slouching causes do not simply go away when you sit up straight; the tight muscles in the chest and hips will resist lengthening while the overstretched, strained muscles in the back will not be sufficiently conditioned to perform their task. This is why, at first, good posture can actually cause back pain.

It is still important to correct posture; even if your back didn’t hurt before, poor posture will eventually cause pain. As the tug-of-war increases between imbalanced muscles, you may suffer chronic pain due to tenseness and strain. If the muscles of the back cannot sufficiently support the spine’s alignment, you run the risk of disc and vertebral problems. Finally, spinal joints will eventually be affected by poor posture. Correcting your alignment can prevent chronic pain conditions.

Helpful Tips

Though it is important to work through the pain, you should not simply force your muscles into new positions without a complementary plan. You will need to lengthen your tight muscles and build your weaker ones to make correct posture possible and, eventually, painless.

For many people, simple stretching will be enough to restore length to tensed muscles. See the interactive map of muscles at to learn many ways to stretch them.

After stretching tense muscles, the exercises you do will focus on core strength. Developing the abdominal, lower back, hip and buttocks muscles will allow you to hold your spine up. See the Mayo Clinic’s slideshow of balanced core exercises at

For some people, the damage done to the muscular system will require more than simple stretching and exercising. The help of a massage or physical therapist may be needed to relax tense muscles. Deep tissue massage or self-myofascial release can accomplish this. If postural dysfunction is severe, a physical therapist may need to guide you in exercise technique. Finally, if poor posture has caused your spine to become misaligned, you may require chiropractic care.

Another useful tip is to invest in a lumbar support cushion. While you work on developing a strong core, this type of cushion will help to support your upper body’s weight until your muscles are strong enough to do so without assistance.

If proper posture is causing you pain, this is a testament to the damage poor posture has done to your body. Your efforts can be assisted by stretching, exercising and using a lumbar cushion. If you are unable to correct your problem at home, don’t hesitate to seek out professional care. The future of your back may depend on it.