Another Perspective On Alcohol

As early as 10,000 BC, humans have already been drinking fermented beverages. Alcoholic drinks are common in many cultures and often reflect their heritage and religious practices as wells as geographical and sociological conditions. All through the centuries, there have been endless arguments about alcohol’s merits and demerits. To this date, the debate still simmers.

This article offers another perspective on alcohol based on scientific studies. It discusses the effects of alcohol on the body, its possible health benefits as well as risks. It is important to realize that alcohol has its dark side due to its addictive nature. If you are a regular drinker, balance your risks and benefits and drink responsibly. Also, know that there is something you can do and nutrients you can take to mitigate the damages caused by chronic alcohol consumption.

How Alcohol Affects You

The active ingredient in alcoholic beverages is a simple molecule called ethanol, which affects the body both positively and negatively. Studies showed that what makes the difference is the dosage of alcohol consumption.

In general, light to moderate drinking refers to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men. Heavy drinking is more than 3 drinks per day for women and 4 drinks for men. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol), 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor (40% alcohol).

Brain Function

Alcohol acts as a depressant to your central nervous system. That means when you drink, your brain cells communicate at a slower rate than normal.

  • The function of your brain’s limbic system, which controls emotions such as anxiety and fear, decreases. Your inhibitions may disappear and you become more outgoing and social.
  • The function of your prefrontal cortex, the brain region associated with reasoning and judgements, slows. You may be more impulsive, impairing your ability to make sensible judgements.
  • The function of your cerebellum, the brain area that plays a role in muscle activity, decreases. As you drink more, you may feel dizzy and lose your balance. Therefore, at this stage, you should definitely not attempt to drive.

If you drink too much, you may have a blackout, a phenomenon characterized by memory loss. These effects are only temporary, but chronic alcohol abuse may cause permanent changes in the brain, increasing the risk of dementia and causing brain shrinkage in middle-aged and elderly people.

During a very heavy drinking episode, the neurons in the brain that control your heart rate and breathing may slow down their communication to the point that your breathing stops completely. This is called alcohol poisoning and it may lead to death.

Women are more vulnerable to alcohol poisoning than men, in part because they have lower body water percentage. The average female has only 52% while the average male has 61%. Women also have less dehydrogenase, a liver enzyme designed to break down alcohol in the body, than men.

Drinking too much is definitely damaging to brain health. But recent studies found that moderate drinkers were 23% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia, than non-drinkers. Wine seemed to have more benefits than other alcoholic drinks, probably due to the presence of resveratrol, a type of polyphenol in wine that reduce inflammation.

Liver Health

One of the liver’s main functions is to neutralize all sorts of toxic substances we consume. Hence, the liver is particularly vulnerable to damage by excessive alcohol intake.

  • Since alcohol is metabolized and neutralized by the liver, drinking excessively can create an inflammatory response that leads to increased fat inside liver cells. Fatty liver is usually symptomless and may be fully reversible by making lifestyle changes.
  • Chronic binge drinking results in cirrhosis where liver cells die and get replaced with scar tissue. In general, binge drinking occurs when women consume over four or men consume over five alcoholic beverages in a two-hour period. Cirrhosis is very serious and is irreversible; getting a liver transplant may be the only option.

Gut Microbiome

There are trillions of bugs that live in the human stomach, small intestines, and colon. Collectively known as the microbiome, these microbes or bacteria have a huge impact on health and well-being.

  • Studies found that the beneficial bacteria play a huge role in the digestion and assimilation of food. They have a tremendous influence on the immune function and your ability to fight off illness and disease.
  • Research showed that alcoholics are associated with altered gut microbiome. As alcoholism progresses, the gut undergoes a form of dysbiosis whereby the levels of good bacteria drop while those of bad bacteria increase. This weakens the immune system and the body becomes far more susceptible to all sorts of foreign invaders, inflammation, and diseases.
  • It is now understood that altered gut microbiome as a result of alcoholism may lead to chronic low-grade inflammation and many modern diseases such as insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, leaky gut (intestinal permeability), and even depression.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. About 610,000 people die of heart disease every year.

Alcohol’s biggest beneficial effect is the heart, but it also depends on the dose. Hundreds of studies have shown an inverse association between light to moderate drinking and risk of cardiovascular disease. The effect is fairly consistent, corresponding to as much as 40% reduction in risk. That said, heavy drinking appears to increase cardiovascular risks.

Research shows that moderate amounts of alcohol:

  • raise HDL or the “good” cholesterol,
  • decrease blood pressure,
  • lower the concentration of fibrinogen in the blood, a substance that contributes to blood clots, and
  • improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood sugar, and reduces the risk of diabetes, a major risk factor for heart disease.

Breast Cancer

Despite the heart benefits, there is convincing evidence that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer among women in the general population. Researchers found that having 2 or more drinks a day increases the chance of developing breast cancer by as much as 40%.

However, do know that heart disease kills 10 times more women in the U.S. than breast cancer every year. If you are more at risk for heart disease than breast cancer, you may want to balance your risks and benefits accordingly.

In addition, a recent Canadian study found some interesting observations regarding women who have inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. These are tumor suppressor genes and having inherited mutations is linked to increased lifetime breast cancer risks.

  • BRCA1 carriers have a 55-65% chance of developing breast cancer by age 70.
  • BRCA2 carriers have a 45% chance of developing breast cancer by age 70.
  • Women in the general population have about an 8% chance of getting breast cancer by age 70.

The study found that if the BRCA carriers were wine drinkers, the BRCA1 group showed a 62% lower risk of breast cancer than the general population but the BRCA2 group showed a 58% greater risk.

Scientists believe the impact they observed may be due to resveratrol in red wine. Resveratrol binds to estrogen receptors and helps regulate the activity of BRCA1 mutated genes. Scientists have not found out why BRCA2 mutated genes were unreceptive to resveratrol. Much more research is required in this area.

The Dark Side Of Alcohol

Abraham Lincoln once said, “It has long been recognized that the problems with alcohol relate not to the use of a bad thing, but to the abuse of a good thing.”

Alcohol abuse is the third main cause of preventable death in the U.S., being an important cause of accidents, social problems, and chronic diseases. Moderate alcohol consumption may increase life expectancy, but alcohol abuse is undoubtably a strong risk factor for premature death.

  • 18.2 million Americans meet the standard criteria for alcohol abuse.
  • Alcohol plays a role in 1 in 3 cases of violent crime.
  • More than 16,000 people die each year in alcohol-related car accidents.

Alcohol is additive, and may lead to alcohol dependence in predisposed individuals. Numerous factors can predispose people to problem drinking, such as family history, social environment, mental health, and genes. As a rule of thumb, if alcohol is causing problems in your life, then you may have a problem with alcohol dependence.

As discussed above, heavy drinking and chronic alcohol abuse have catastrophic health effects. The number one priority is to get your consumption under control or seek professional help and abstain completely in case of alcoholism.

Protocol To Lessen Alcohol’s Damage To The Body

Exercise

  • Studies showed that the most physically active long-time drinkers had less damaged white matter in their brains compared to those who were inactive. White matter is the wiring of your brain’s communication system. It is known to decline in quality with age and heavy alcohol consumption.
  • Exercising regularly can greatly reduce your risk of becoming dependent on alcohol. When you drink alcohol, it alters your brain to release dopamine, a chemical that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. However, when you exercise, the same reward chemical is released, that means you get the same buzz from working out, like what you get from a drink.
  • For those who are already addicted, exercise is beneficial too and may actually help to lessen cravings.

Nutrients

Alcohol depletes certain nutrients in your body and places great burden on your liver. If you regularly consume alcohol, taking the following nutrients beforehand will help mitigate the damage alcohol does to your body.

B Complex

Alcohol depletes the B vitamins, in particular, folate. It is possible that this interaction is how alcohol consumption increases the risks of cancer. Studies found that among women who consumed one or more alcoholic drink a day, those who had the highest levels of folate in their blood were 90% less likely to develop breast cancer than those who had the lowest level.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and helps reduce alcohol-induced oxidative stress in the liver. Since alcohol zaps the body’s store of vitamin C, getting more vitamin C in the body either via food or supplements may help speed up the metabolism of alcohol by the liver.

Magnesium

To start with, many people are already deficient in magnesium because of a diet heavy in processed and nutrient-poor foods. Alcohol further depletes your body’s store of this mineral. Magnesium is found in more than 300 different enzymes in the body. It is critical in many different body functions including energy production, heart function, regulation of blood pressure and blood sugar, bone and teeth formation, and bowel function.

Milk Thistle

Silybum marianum is the scientific name for milk thistle. For thousands of years, it has been a popular herbal remedy for the treatment of liver problems. It possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which can be highly beneficial to the liver.

N-acteyl cysteine (NAC)

NAC is a form of the amino acid cysteine which helps increase glutathione (also known as the “master” antioxidant in the body) and reduce alcohol toxicity which causes many hangover symptoms.

Final Word

Alcohol’s effects on the body can range from “probably beneficial” to “absolutely detrimental”. It all depends on the dosage and your individual genetic disposition.

If you currently do not drink, there is truly no need to start as alcohol can be addictive.

If you are pregnant, you should not drink as it may have adverse effects on the development of the fetus.

If you have an alcohol addiction problem, you should seek help and abstain from alcohol completely.

If you are a regular drinker, moderation is the key. Watch out for your pattern of drinking. There is a huge difference between having a glass of wine everyday versus having 7 drinks on the weekend.

Among all the alcoholic drinks, red wine seems to be the best due to the presence of resveratrol. Organic and biodynamic wines are preferable as they do not use toxic chemicals and additives in growing and making the wine. Sweetened cocktails are the worst as they contain a high sugar content, a double whammy for your liver.

Exercise regularly and take some additional nutrients to lessen alcohol’s effect on your body.

For the drinkers, drink responsibly.

Natural Hormone Balance With Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

Our bodies’ hormones exist in a delicate balance with one another, and correcting imbalances can be a tricky thing to achieve. In order to understand what exactly we are dealing with, let’s take a closer look at our endocrine system, the bodies’ messaging system. Then we will further examine how Chinese Medicine can help to balance the female hormones in order to address a variety of common women’s health disorders.

The Endocrine System Creates and Distributes Messages

Our Endocrine systems are a fascinating and complex thing to look at. What is the function of this system? The endocrine system is comprised of a series of glands whose job is to produce and distribute hormones. Hormones are one of of our bodies primary messaging systems, and they coordinate our body’s physiological activities, much like a symphony conductor coordinates all the musical instruments to create a harmonic performance.

Our key players are the Hypothalamus and the Pituitary gland. This pair of glands regulates the other glands of the body including the adrenals, thyroid, and sex organs. The Hypothalamus and Pituitary team up with several different key glandular players to form multi-functional “Axis'” that work to regulate very important processes of the body. Here are the three major axis’ and their functions:

Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonad-Think ‘Reproduction’

Regulates male and female reproductive systems. Problems with this axis include infertility, menstrual irregularities, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, sexual dysfunction and menopausal problems.

Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Thyroid-Think ‘Metabolism’

Regulates metabolism and energy production and usage. Fatigue, weight gain, emotional disorders, anxiety, and insomnia and heart palpitations indicate problems here.

Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal-Think ‘Stress & Digest’

Regulates a wide variety of activities including stress response, digestive function, immunity, emotions and energy. Problems with this axis may present as fatigue, IBS or other organ functional disorders, insomnia, emotional disturbances, and alcoholism.

TCM View of Hormonal Effects

Chinese Medicine developed a different twist on the perspective of hormones and where they come from. The endocrine system is the basic equivalent of the Kidney system in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). It is responsible for maintaining functions related to genital, urinary, endocrine, bone, blood and central nervous system. The Kidney is our most basic energy source and is primarily responsible for reproduction, growth and development of the body.

How Can Chinese Medicine Help With Women’s Hormonal Balance?

Chinese medicine excels at balancing the hormones of the women’s body and is an effective treatment for regulating menstrual disorders, treating menopausal symptoms, and addressing infertility. It is also great for addressing mood swings, stress, low libido and poor energy.

Treatment begins with a full heath intake in which we formulate a Chinese medical diagnosis and then go from there. Every woman’s body is different and will be treated in an individualized method, unlike Western medicine where a specific health disorder is treated the same with each patient. For example, an irregular menstrual cycle could stem from several different patterns depending on your body and what is going on with you. I will identify your unique pattern and treat you in a customized fashion.

Your treatment plan generally includes a combination of acupuncture treatments and customized herbal prescription and preparation. When you leave the office, you will be equipped with the knowledge of what the problem is, how we are going to treat it, and how frequently you will need treatment.

Using Herbal Formulas to Treat Hormone Imbalance

Chinese herbal formulas have been clinically proven to be effective in altering hormone levels in the body. A commonly used formula in the treatment of menopause, for example, known as Rhemmania Six alters female sex hormones by directly affecting the adrenal cortex, other endocrine glands, or both.

From a biomedical perspective, it has been reported that this formula increases plasma levels of cortisol (our stress-dealing hormone), increases estrodial (an estrogen derivative) and decreases overall FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone). It also increased estrogen receptors significantly. What does all of this mean? The overall effect of the above data indicates a balance of hormone levels resulting in reduction of menopausal symptoms.

Your herbal formula will be designed based on the symptoms you may be experiencing. From a TCM perspective, we would treat imbalances in the Kidney system. I will prepare a formula for you based on your TCM diagnosis that is completely customized for your body using powdered herbs that can be combined to address both your symptomatic picture and your root causal disorder. In other words, we will treat both your symptoms so that you feel better, but we will also be addressing the underlying cause of your symptoms so that your body cab find balance again.

Using Acupuncture to Treat Hormonal Imbalance

Your acupuncture treatment will focus on balancing the systems of the body that are unbalanced by exerting a strong homeostatic effect utilizing the nervous and hormonal systems. You will likely be treated for imbalances in the Kidney and Liver systems in order sedate your nervous system and balance endocrine function.

Your acupuncture regimen will include weekly treatments until the symptomatic presentations have dissipated, then a monthly maintenance treatment schedule will be established to prevent your symptoms from returning. Once we have have achieved maintenance, you may come in for preventative care if you wish.

If you or someone you know is dealing with hormonal imbalances such as menstrual pain or irregularity, menopause, infertiliy, low libido or poor energy, please refer them to my office for a free consultation.

Ovarian Cysts Or Pregnancy: Why You Can Mistake One For The Other

While it may seem impossible to confuse ovarian cysts for pregnancy, it happens. This is because the signs and symptoms of cysts on ovaries can sometimes resemble those of pregnancy. Confusing the two can sometimes have disastrous effects on a woman’s life since either condition may need the immediate attention of a doctor. This is because early detection of cysts is usually crucial to treating it and assuming that it is a pregnancy might give the cysts time to grow and complications of ovarian cysts to develop.

Assuming a pregnancy is just but an effect of cysts might also deny your baby the care that it needs and in case of any complications, this might have a negative effect on its development and growth. The following are reasons why women sometimes confuse symptoms of ovarian cysts and those of pregnancy.

A bloated abdomen is a common sign of cysts on ovaries. With the continued growth of the cysts, they sometimes reach a size that causes a bump on a woman’s abdomen. This may sometimes be mistaken for a baby especially if accompanied by some of the common signs of cysts that women experience.

When this happens, the cyst is usually large and might have started to affect the functioning of a woman’s reproductive system or that of adjacent organs and thus the need for a woman to go for medical checkup. Assuming that it is a pregnancy might only make the condition worse because of the delayed treatment of ovarian cysts.

Cysts on ovaries can sometimes cause the body to produce hormones. Some of these hormones are usually those that are used to detect a pregnancy. As a result, a woman who takes a pregnancy test whose result is determined by the presence of these hormones might get a false positive result for pregnancy. While this may be rare, it happens.

Delayed and missed periods are early symptoms of pregnancy and ones which most women usually rely on to tell whether they are pregnant or not. Most of the time, this is usually a reliable way to tell whether you are pregnant or not. However, this may be cause by some other factors.

The presence of ovarian cysts is one of the factors that cause a missed period. Cysts on ovaries are known to sometimes affect the hormonal balance in a woman’s body. These changes usually affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and thus can sometimes cause her periods to delay. She may sometimes even miss her periods and this may make her to think that she is pregnant.

Ovarian cysts can also cause some of the common pregnancy symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, vomiting, nausea and lethargy due to the effect they sometimes have on progesterone and estrogen levels.

How to Avoid and Treat Thrush when Bottle Feeding

The presence of thrush in a baby’s mouth can be painful for the baby and very upsetting for parents. Babies who are bottle-fed are more likely to develop thrush than those who are exclusively breastfeed. However, steps can be taken to lessen the risk of thrush developing, and treatment is quite easy.

Thrush, or oral pseudomembranous candidiasis, is a superficial yeast infection that is found in about 5% of healthy newborns. Babies usually acquire the yeast from their mothers during passage through the birth canal. You can tell whether or not your child has thrush by looking out for the telltale white patches that can be found of the inside of the cheeks, lips, palate and tongue. Many mothers who bottle-feed their baby often mistake milk residue found on the tongue for thrush. If the tongue is uniformly white, this isn’t thrush. The patches of thrush are often described as curd-like. Unlike milk residue, they adhere to the underlying tissue. You can also, test for thrush, by gently touching a patch with a gauze-covered finger. If it is thrush, it probably won’t come off very easily, but if it does, you’ll find a raw, red area underneath that may bleed. Thrush lesions can be painful and when bottle-fed a child can become fussy and squirm.

Why are bottle-fed babies more susceptible to thrush?

Many babies have thrush, but it is a self-limited condition; it goes away all by itself, without anyone ever knowing the baby had thrush in the first place. However, certain changes in baby or its environment can cause the thrush to be exacerbated. Antibiotics or stress can be to blame. Bottle-feeding often causes thrush because the lining of the mouth becomes abraded with prolonged sucking, such as babies who sleep with a bottle or pacifier – babies who are breastfed don’t go to sleep at night still sucking at their mother’s breast, unfortunately, many bottle-fed babies do go to sleep sucking on a bottle. Also, dirty nipples and pacifiers can harbour the yeast infection.

How to treat thrush?

First off, prevention is better than cure. Babies should not be put to bed while still sucking the nipple of a bottle. Avoid letting your child suck on a pacifier for long periods of time. Make sure all nipples and pacifiers are washed thoroughly and sterilized.

In most case thrush will disappear all by itself and the only treatment required is to alleviate oral discomfort or to treat (or prevent) painful yeast diaper rashes. You can use an antifungal medicine such as Nystatin suspension. This can be applied, directly to the plaques with a cotton-tipped applicator, or given orally 1-2ml four times daily. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. An old-fashioned, and still affective treatment of baby thrush is baking soda. Use a cotton-tipped bud dipped into a mixture of one-fourth teaspoon of baking soda and one or two drops of mild liquid detergent (without ammonia or bleach) mixed in a glass of warm water. Apply the mixture gently to the affected areas.

If symptoms persist or you have any concerns, seek medical help.

Babies who fuss during bottle-feeding, can do so for many reasons. If your baby is fussy when being fed formula, it’s worth checking to see if your child has thrush. If your child does have thrush, you need not change milk formula. Just apply a treatment as described above and the thrush should disappear in a matter of weeks.

Is Weight Gain A Side Effect Of The New Hepatitis C Treatment?

Hepatitis C has long been a disease for which humanity had no effective cure. The well-known treatment standard with interferon was only successful in around 50% of cases. In 2013, a new drug under the trade name Sovaldi was introduced to the US market. With above 95% success rate the new drug changed the game and transformed Hepatitis C into an easily treatable liver disease.

What is more, Gilead added 90 mg of ledipasvir, a NS5A inhibitor, to existing 400 mg sofosbuvir formulation in Sovaldi. The newly created drug is named Harvoni and it is currently the most successful Hepatitis C treatment available.

Harvoni side effects

No drug is without side effect and even Harvoni is not an exception. The most frequent ones are headaches (20%) and fatigue (18%), followed by diarrhea and nausea. All these side effects were discovered during clinical trials and patients should expect some of them during the standard 12-week treatment.

However, more and more Hepatitis C patients are experiencing weight gain as a side effect of the treatment. In some cases, patients put up no less than 30 pounds in as little as 12 weeks. Is the new treatment stimulating weight gain?

Why are Hepatitis C patients gaining weight?

The treatment is most probably not a direct cause for weight gain. Nonetheless, there are two factors that can influence body mass increase during the 12-week regimen:

  1. Headaches and fatigue decrease physical activity
  2. Immune system is burning muscle tissue to fight off the disease

Normal physical activity is very important when it comes to weight maintenance. Even simple tasks such as cleaning or walking through the mall burn calories and little by little these calories add up. However, when being treated for Hepatitis C, headaches and fatigue usually prevent patients from performing those tasks. On the other hand, people on Harvoni usually find less time and motivation to prepare healthy meals. When suffering from a headache, taking snacks out of the fridge is much easier than making a healthy homemade meal. This adds to the calories being consumed and contributes to weight gain.

Nonetheless, consuming food is vital for fighting off the disease. While on treatment, the immune system is in hyper-drive and is in need of additional energy to construct antibodies against Hepatitis C virus. Antibodies are created out of proteins. This is why it is very important to consume a sufficient amount of protein while on treatment. Otherwise, the body in need of protein will start burning off valuable muscle mass in order to obtain the necessary building block for the immune system.

Both effects add up and influence weight gain. The important thing to know is that patients on treatment must eat in order to keep their immune system healthy. It is true that this will, in turn, increase their body weight. The primary focus of the treatment is still to cure Hepatitis C.

Get energy from fat tissue

The most brilliant way of getting the energy to fuel your immune system is by burning of excess fat. Most of us have fat on the stomach and thighs. This fat can be used to support our immune system. The added benefit is that you will not gain weight on Harvoni treatment. Not only this, many people report losing weight when being on a right fat burning program.

How to Treat Piles Naturally – The Natural Hemorrhoid Treatment!

Piles or hemorrhoids are medically defined as the inflamed or expanded blood vessels in and around the anus which usually begins to bleed. Internal and external piles are the different types of piles. When the veins inside the rectal canal become inflamed and enlarged, they are known as internal hemorrhoids, while those occurring around the anus are called external hemorrhoids. We will be discussing on how to treat piles naturally in this article.

Those suffering from severe and prolonged constipation generally encounter this problem. Even diarrhea, anal or rectal infections, anal intercourse, coughing, portal hypertension, and liver problems like cirrhosis can put too much pressure on the wall of the rectum, and cause the development of hemorrhoids. There are many ways to tackle this issue but natural hemorrhoid treatment is the best option.

Women during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from this, as a result of hypertension and increased strain and pressure exerted during bowel movements. Sitting or standing for a long time at a stretch, lack of physical activity and strenuous activities are other possible causes of piles/hemorrhoid. The usual symptoms of piles are, pain and itching in the rectum, rectal bleeding, and incomplete bowel movements.

A healthy bowel movement is required for curing piles very effectively. Home remedies for piles are found to be more effective and popular in treating the problem of piles. Some good herbs to cure piles are mentioned below which can be used to heal piles entirely.

Natural Hemorrhoid Treatment!

Piles home remedy like Chiruvilwadi Kashayam, Abhyaristham helps in bringing the affected Apanavayu down to its normal condition and helps it to start functioning well too.

Chiruvilwadi Kashayam and Abhyaristham helps in relieving the constipation which is actually the cause of Hemorrhoids

Doses

Spazyme Syrup: 2 teaspoon in morning and evening will also help in relieving the constipation.

Chiruvilwadi Kashayam: 10-15 ml with 40 ml of water before meals twice

Abhyaristham: 30 ml with 30ml water after meal twice.

Ensure that you drink lots of water at least 3 liters daily.

You should sleep at least 8 hours daily.

Eat healthy nutritious and roughage diet.

It is advisable to avoid continuous sitting and traveling.

Butchers’ broom: The plant butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus), which is as well known as knee holly, box holly, and sweet broom, gets its name because it was once utilized by butchers in Europe to clean their chopping blocks. Butcher’s broom has a long history of traditional use for hemorrhoids and varicose veins. Butchers’ broom is another way on how to treat piles naturally.

Persistent Lower Back Pain – A Possible Sign of Gall Bladder Disease

Gall bladder disease can generate a wide range of non-specific clinical manifestations in patients. Gall bladder disease sufferers usually experience differentiated symptoms according to their age and sex. Although gall bladder affections and problems can occur in both sexes, the female gender generally experiences more intense and diversified symptoms. The clinical manifestations of gall bladder disease are also influenced by the underlying causes of the illness and its stage of progression.

The gall bladder is a small organ situated in the close proximity of the liver, in the right upper region of the abdomen. Its main purpose is to aid the liver in the process of fat digestion, by collecting and storing bile, then releasing this substance inside the small intestine and stomach when necessary. Produced by the liver, bile has a vital role in the assimilation of vitamins A, D, E and K. The composition of bile consists of water, bile acids, phospholipids, electrolytes and pigments. Gall bladder disease can be either caused by chemical imbalances in the composition of bile (which results in thickening of bile, leading to the formation of gallstones), physiological dysfunctions at the level of the biliary system or gall bladder infections.

In the early stages of the disease, people with gall bladder affections rarely experience pain. At first, the disease generates symptoms such as abdominal bloating, indigestion, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. As the disease progresses, patients experience radiating pain in the region of the right upper abdomen, pain that eventually moves to the lower back side. Although lower back pain is not always very revealing for gall bladder affections, it is still considered to be an important criteria in the process of diagnosis. Recent studies have revealed the fact that gall bladder disease sufferers commonly experience lower back pain in more advanced stages of the illness. This symptom of gall bladder disease is mostly common in patients with ages over 50, rarely occurring in younger adults or children. Gall bladder back pain can be either the result of pronounced inflammation of the gall bladder or biliary colic.

Biliary colic is a common cause of lower back pain. Biliary colic refers to formation of gallstones inside the gall bladder and hepato-biliary ducts. Gallstones, also known as biliary calculi, are small stones formed from excess cholesterol, calcium and bile pigments. When gallstones accumulate in large amounts they can obstruct bile ducts completely, facilitating the occurrence of gall bladder infections. Associated with gall bladder inflammation and infections, biliary colic generates intense, persistent pain in the region of the lower abdomen and lower back. Gall bladder back pain usually occurs in episodes, each attack lasting from 20-30 minutes to a few hours.

The formation and accumulation of gallstones at the level of the biliary system is a common disorder, affecting more than 15 percent of people with ages over 50. Gallstones can be easily observed with the means of ultrasound tests and computerized tomography and patients can be quickly diagnosed with biliary colic. If you experience intense abdominal and back pain, associated with abdominal bloating, nausea and vomiting, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible, in order to receive an appropriate medical treatment.

Upper Esophageal Cancer Symptoms

Esophagus is said to be a muscular tube that is hollow and which moves liquid and food from throat into the stomach. The esophagus’s wall is normally constructed of various tissue layers including muscle, connective tissue and mucous membrane. Normally esophageal cancer begins in the esophagus’s inner lining and spreads to other layers in the outward direction when it progresses.

The esophageal cancer that affects the upper and middle part of the esophagus is called as squamous cell carcinoma but can even appear sometimes in other areas as epidermoid carcinoma and the one that affects the lower region of the esophagus (near stomach region) is called as adenocarcinoma.

Upper esophageal cancer does not produce any symptoms in the beginning stages but can be observed in their later stages like pain felt while swallowing food or drinking liquids, unintentional weight loss, burning or pressure felt in the chest region, hiccups, chronic coughing and voice hoarseness. Sometimes the symptoms caused by upper esophageal cancer can be controlled or even relieved when suitable lifestyle changes and diet changes are applied. Treatment becomes easier and effective if upper esophageal cancer symptoms are detected earlier. Other symptoms include vomiting after consuming meals where the vomit might have undigested food, vomiting blood, chest pain, excessive gas, abdominal pain and anorexia.

Acid reflux or barrett’s esophagus is also closely linked with upper esophageal cancer and their symptoms. Hence it is very important to know the symptoms of reflux esophagitis. It can include heartburn, indigestion, vomiting, sore throat, swallowing difficulty, pain in the upper abdominal region, belching, excess gas, bitter taste felt in mouth, voice becomes hoarse, chronic cough, wheezing and choking sensation.

Symptoms of esophageal spasm include sensation of some food stuck inside the throat, severe pain, sleep awakening due to pain, pain triggered due to drinking very cold or hot beverages or liquids, pain triggered due to exercise and many more.

Esophageal stricture symptoms include unable to swallow foods especially when they are solid, chest pain felt after swallowing food and so on. Symptoms of esophageal varices include vomiting material looking similar to coffee grounds, stool looking black, maroon or red, rectal bleeding and so on. Symptoms related to gastrointestinal bleeding includes rapid breathing, rapid pulse, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, pale skin, quick breathing, low blood pressure and so on.

Diagnostic tests for determining the presence of esophageal cancer includes upper gastrointestinal x-rays or barium swallow, upper endoscopy, ultrasound, bronchoscopy, positron emission tomography, laparoscopy and thorascopy and biopsy.

Natural Remedies:

There are certain natural remedies that offer a promising cure for esophageal cancer. Along with the natural remedies and a well-researched different diet pattern, a few simple adjustments to your lifestyle can make a huge difference to your efforts for prolonging the life for several years. You can increase your chances of surviving esophagus cancer now by trying these proven natural remedies discussed here

Ignoring Food Safety Legislation Can Lead To Harsh Penalties

The UK food safety legislation is composed of several parts.

The main piece of legislation is, or rather was, the Food Safety Act 1990.  I say was as further legislation introduced during 2004 and subsequently 2006 have since superseded the main act.  The Act, however, is still classed as the principle of legislation.  It was agreed by the British Government and accepted as law.  As with all Acts, they tend to be complicated, skeletal, difficult to understand and is a framework on which other items of legislation build on.  These other items of legislation include EU directives, where a member state, Brussels, issues regulations to put into place certain requirements.  EU regulations apply to all members of the European Community directly.  Finally, UK regulations are composed by ministers and civil servants and passed into UK law.  It is the regulations which “spell out” the Act in more detail.

The main regulations in operation concerning food safety, especially in catering, retail and manufacturing are:

-Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs.

-The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006

-The Food Labelling Regulations 1996

-The Food Labelling (Amendment) (England) (No2) Regulations 2004.

The Food Safety Act has mainly been concerned with food standards and quality since the introduction of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations.  Sections include the following:

-The provision of food that may harm health.

-The ability of enforcement officers seizing and holding food that is thought to be contaminated.

-Food not being of the nature, substance or quality expected by the consumer.

-Due Diligence defence.

-The ability to sample food.

-Enforcement officers are allowed to enter any food premises at any reasonable time without giving notice.

Details of penalties.

The penalties, if convicted in court, are: £20,000 fine and/or 6 months in prison or unlimited fine and/or 2 years in prison.  The former penalty is issued in a Magistrates Court, the latter in a Crown Court.

The UK provides a legislative system whereby Food Safety is covered under criminal law.  Criminal law is heard in either a magistrate’s court for less serious, summary offences or in a crown court for more serious, indictable offences.

Civil law deals with compensation claims, perhaps from consumers that want to sue a food company for causing food poisoning, which resulted in lost time from work, physical harm, or psychological damage.

Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs states that all general hygiene rules are the direct responsibility or the food business owner.  There must be strict controls in place to ensure that all high risk food is retained under refrigeration.  There must be a food safety management system in operation using the 7 principles of HACCP.

The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 deals mainly with the enforcement of EU Hygiene Regulations such as the issue of improvement and prohibition notices by enforcement officers and the issue of orders by the courts.

The Food Labelling Regulations 1996 states that a food label must have the following information:

-Name of food.

-List of Ingredients.

-Best Before or Use By date

-Storage conditions

-Contact details of manufacturer/packer/seller.

This was amended or added to in 2004 with the Food Labelling (Amendment) (England) (No2) Regulations 2004.  This covers the labelling of food to include allergens such as peanuts, fish, etc.

Further information is available to provide more detail on the regulations, such as Statutory Codes of Practice which are provided by ministers for enforcement authorities and National Guided to Good Practice, developed by food business operators.

Gastroenterology Medical Coding – Upper GI Procedures

Gastroenterology is a medical specialty that deals with the digestive system and its disorders. Gastroenterologists use a number of diagnostic procedures to accurately identify the patient’s medical condition and prescribe treatment. Coding for gastroenterology involves accurate coding of the various procedures and services offered by the physician. Reimbursement is offered for procedures provided in in-office, in-facility, hospital outpatient and ASC facility settings. Payment policies vary with individual payers and therefore these should be verified before providing treatment to identify limitations if any, on diagnosis, site of service or coding requirements.

Common Gastroenterology Procedures

• ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) – this procedure combines the use of X-rays and endoscope. It is used to identify disorders such as gallstones, tumors, cysts, blockages and narrowing in the ducts.

• Sphincterotomy – to treat abnormalities diagnosed during an ERCP

• EUS (endoscopic ultrasound) – ultrasound of the pancreas, transduodenal or transgastric

• Sigmoidoscopy – enables the physician to view the lower end of the colon.

• Gastroscopy – this helps to examine the lining of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum using an endoscope.

• Colonoscopy – is utilized by physicians to have a direct view of the whole of the large bowel or colon.

Upper Gastrointestinal Procedures and Codes

Upper gastrointestinal procedures include endoscopic and esophagoscopic procedures. These help the physician to view the interior of the upper GI tract including the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. When billing for Upper GI procedures, you have to verify payer conditions for covering the procedure. The services are usually covered when medical conditions such as esophageal disease, anemia, gastric ulcer, Celiac disease, persistent upper abdominal symptoms, and involuntary weight loss have been diagnosed.

• 43200 Diagnostic esophagoscopy

• 43202 Esophagoscopy with biopsy

• 43215 Esophagoscopy with foreign body removal

• 43216 Esophagoscopy with electrocautery removal of tumor or polyp

• 43217 Esophagoscopy with snare removal of tumor or polyp

• 43220 Esophagoscopy with dilation

• 43227 Esophagoscopy with control of bleeding

• 43232 Esophagoscopy, rigid or flexible; with transendoscopic ultrasoundguided intramural or transmural fine needle aspiration/biopsy(s)

• 43234 EGD – simple primary examination

• 43235(dagger) EGD – diagnostic

• 43238 Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with transendoscopic ultrasoundguided intramural or transmural fine needle aspiration/biopsy(s) esophagus (includes endoscopic ultrasound examination limited to the esophagus)

• 43239(dagger) EGD with biopsy

• 43241 EGD with transendoscopic catheter or tube placement

• 43242 Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy with transendoscopic ultrasoundguided intramural or transmural fine needle aspiration/biopsy(s)(includes endoscopic ultrasound examination of the esophagus, stomach, and either the duodenum and/or jejunum as appropriate)

• 43246 EGD with PEG tube placement

• 43247 EGD with foreign body removal

• 43250 EGD with electrocautery removal of tumor or polyp

• 43251 EGD with snare removal of tumor or polyp

• 43255 EGD with control of bleeding

Certain codes 43200, 43202, 43234, 43235 and 43239 require prior authorization with some payers, and this has to be verified beforehand.

Some Important Considerations

A comprehensive endoscopic evaluation of the upper GI tract has to be reported with the code 43235. This usually involves a detailed view of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum and a thorough examination of the duodenal bulb. Physicians should use code 43239 to report EGD (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy) with biopsy. An EGD that is provided just as a primary examination and does not include “comprehensive” components can be reported with the code 43234. Lesser services such as esophagoscopy and esophagoscopy with biopsy should be reported only using their specific codes, 43200 and 43202 respectively. Physicians should avoid the practice of adding modifier -52 to 43239 to signify these reduced services, because this usually results in pointless delays or even denials of payment. When reporting biopsies and procedures for removing foreign bodies, physicians should take care to choose the code that clearly specifies these.

In cases where more than one procedure is carried out during a single visit, physicians should ensure whether these come under the multiple endoscopy payment rules. Here, Medicare as well as most private payers will reimburse the full value of the highest-valued procedure, along with difference between the value of the remaining procedure and the base endoscopic procedure. Modifier -51 has to be used along with the lesser-valued procedure.

H Pylori Treatment – Can Green Tea Be Used in H Pylori Treatment?

Having worked with H pylori patients for more than a half decade, I can safely say that natural treatments for H pylori and many other chronic digestive infections can be highly effective when they are used in an appropriate manner.

Green tea is something we have not used in our protocols, but it would be fantastic for patients if green tea is, indeed, capable of eradicating H pylori because of it’s ease of use and cost-effectiveness compared with many of the relatively expensive natural substances on the market.

In September 2008, a team of scientists from the University of Massachusetts Medical School were able to demonstrate that green tea could reduce the growth of two types of Helicobacter organisms: H pylori and H felis.

Whilst this piece of research is very interesting, we have to be very careful about how to interpret the findings.

Reducing the growth of H pylori is not the same as killing it outright. In fact, it is a completely different concept altogether. So whilst the findings of this study are interesting – and promising – we cannot conclude that green tea is capable of eradicating H pylori.

I am sure you are aware that green tea is used as a beverage widely in many countries. It would make sense that those people who drink green tea would have lower rates of infection.

Well, in my experience of having worked with countless hundreds of people around the world on a one-to-one basis, I can say with a high degree of certainty that green tea consumption does not eradicate H pylori on its own. If it did, people who drink green tea would not have H pylori.

A second factor must be taken into consideration when evaluating the above study. When we examine the study closely, we see that the researchers demonstrated that green tea inhibited the growth of H pylori in vitro.

In vitro means “outside the body”. in plain terms, this would be a test tube or petri-dish in the lab.

A substance that inhibits H pylori in a test tube or dish does not necessarily have the ability to inhibit the bacteria in the human stomach or intestine where acid, enzymes and many other substances are present.

This issue crops up time and time again in the research I read. Many natural substances are promoted and sold on the Internet on the basis of very dodgy research findings. As a practitioner with a wealth of research and knowledge, I feel it is my duty to raise these cautions with you.

You must be very diligent when you read about these claims. Just because a piece of research cites a positive effect, the study may not be truly representative of reality!

True, some common foods and beverages can be effective against H pylori, but they do not work for everyone. If they did, people who foods such as eat broccoli and garlic and those people who drink cranberry juice and green tea would never have H pylori.

The reality is that these substances may help some people, but they will not be optimal choices for everyone.

In my experience, substances such as mastic gum, cabbage juice, probiotics, sulforaphane and matula herbal formula – when used correctly – still offer by far the best natural alternatives to the pharmaceutical triple therapy treatments for H pylori.

Can Heartburn Last For Days?

When you have heartburn, sometimes the one thing that makes you feel better is the knowledge that it won’t last forever – right? Can heartburn last for days? If it does, what should you do to help get rid of it? If you are suffering from heartburn and are wondering how long it will last, you should know a few things first.

First of all, knowing what causes heartburn can make all the difference in the way you deal with it, so understand that there are a few different causes of this condition, including eating too much in one sitting, which can force your esophageal sphincter to stay open. Other causes of heartburn include drinking coffee and carbonated beverages, alcohol, using tobacco products and eating certain “trigger” foods. You can also find that you suffer from heartburn due to stomach bugs, such as the flu, which can cause your stomach to make more acid than normal.

Okay, so you’re probably thinking, “Yes, but that doesn’t tell me the answer to my question: Can heartburn last for days?” The answer is yes, depending on many factors. One factor could be that you are suffering from some type of stomach bug, which means you can wind up struggling with heartburn for several days, or as long as it takes you to rid your body of the particular bug that is affecting your system.

A Few Reasons Why Heartburn Seems To Last For Days

Also, you might find it interesting to know that many people who smoke or use tobacco products frequently suffer from heartburn that can last for days. For some people, something in tobacco can cause the esophageal sphincter to become irritated, which will prevent it from sealing properly. In this case, it isn’t due to eating too much or consuming things that cause the stomach to create extra acid, it has to do with the fact that the esophagus doesn’t have the seal it needs to prevent acid from coming out of the stomach. When this occurs, heartburn can last for days, or as long as it takes for that muscle to heal itself and begin functioning properly again.

Certain foods or drinks that we eat or drink frequently or habitually can cause the stomach to make more acid than it needs to. Drinks such as coffee tend to be very acidic, which in turn will cause an excess of acid in the stomach. When this happens, you can begin to feel that you have heartburn. In this case, it can feel as if your heartburn is lasting for days, but actually, it keeps recurring due to the fact that you’re constantly consuming these things. The best way to stop this type of heartburn is to identify the cause and eliminate it from your diet for a while.

What Are Your Reasons?

So, in short, heartburn can last for days, but you can manage it and manage it well if you know what is causing your heartburn in the first place. Consider your habits and what it is that you eat and see what you can do to help yourself. Is it the same bout you are experiencing or actually a culmination of events causing it to appear as one?

How long can your heartburn last? Keep doing the same thing and you can expect the same results, or it could last a long time if you don’t do something about it!

How Could H Pylori Make You Feel Tired?

H. pylori may cause, or at least contribute to, many symptoms outside the digestive system of infected people. These symptoms are known as ‘extragastric manifestations’ of H pylori. Research is uncovering associations with more and more extragastric symptoms and diseases. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Depression & anxiety
  • Low energy / fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Heart palpitations
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Skin problems such as urticaria and rosacea
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Sinus problems

When we take the time to understand how our bodies work, it is easy to see how H. pylori infection may lead to symptoms elsewhere in our bodies. Science is now uncovering some very interesting links between H. pylori and seemingly unrelated symptoms and health conditions. Whilst an ‘association’ does not mean that H pylori infection causes these symptoms and diseases, it suggests that the infection may play a role in their development, or aetiology.

Can you recall a time when you had a common cold, or a ‘flu’ infection? I’ll bet you felt extremely tired and you may have even been bed-ridden for a couple of days.

There is a good reason for this. When you have an infection, your body has to mount an immune response in order to try to eliminate the infectious organism. That organism can be a parasite, a virus or a bacterium like H pylori, for example.

The immune response requires a lot of energy and so your body naturally diverts its energy production to fuel the fight against the invading ‘bug’. It doesn’t really matter whether this invader is a common cold or a digestive infection – the result is exactly the same.

The problem is that H pylori bacteria are extremely difficult for your body to deal with and the immune response may not be enough to clear it. Whilst it’s there, however, a continuous response is required and this takes its toll on your energy levels.

In addition to the immune response, H pylori can exert other negative influences on your body that may lead to you feeling tired and drained.

First, it causes inflammation (in the stomach, this inflammation is called gastritis). Studies have clearly shown that chronic day-to-day inflammation can lead to fatigue and many other symptoms. One such study was conducted by Su et al, where patients were given therapy with a chemical that is known to cause inflammation (called interferon gamma). The researchers asked the patients what symptoms developed as a result of them being “inflamed”. The symptoms reported included:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritic pains
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Insomnia

By definition, if H pylori causes chronic inflammation, it has the potential to lead in the long term to all these symptoms and, indeed, that’s what I’ve seen in my clients year after year.

It should also be noted that H pylori infection can cause a decline in hydrochloric acid production in your stomach. If you don’t have enough acid, it can be a lot harder to digest food. Research has demonstrated time and time again that infection with H pylori bacteria can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia and B12 deficiency, both of which can also make you feel tired.

Finally, some studies seem to indicate a relationship between H pylori infection and autoimmune thyroid disorders. The thyroid gland is very important for regulating energy levels, motivation and ‘drive’. If its function is compromised, lethargy and fatigue can develop.

In conclusion it is clear that digestive infections such as H pylori are not responsible for digestive symptoms alone. In fact, the digestive symptoms that are caused by the likes of Helicobacter infection are just the tip of the iceberg. If you are infected with H pylori and you feel tired or have mood imbalances like depression and anxiety, eradicating H pylori could be the missing link for you.

Top 15 Homeopathic Remedies For Kidney Disease

There are many things that lead to kidney failure. High blood pressure, diabetes, lupus, genetics and kidney stones, to name a few. Kidney problems will lead to chronic kidney or renal failure, if left untreated.

The normal medical treatment for kidney failure involves the use of drugs, kidney dialysis, and kidney transplants. These method however offers no cure, but only slows down the delay of complete kidney failure. To help treat damaged kidneys and stimulate the body’s immune system, you should consider using Homeopathic remedies.

The two major approaches of administering Homeopathic medicine is the classic and complex method. The use of a single remedy based on the patient’s constitutional type and symptoms is called the classic method. Most homeopathic practitioners use the complex approach. Various remedies are especially formulated and used to treat each serious aliment and disease symptom the patient has.

Homeopathic treatment for kidney failure is based on each individual patient, and the conditions associated with disease. The cardinal symptoms of kidney failure are often treated with some standard homeopathic remedies recommended by most homeopathic doctors.

Top Homeopathic Remedies for Kidney Disease

1. Ammonium carbonicum: mental sluggishness, fatigue, turbid, bloody, scanty or fetid urine and painful urination.

2. Apis mellifica: kidney inflammation, urine suppression and general edema.

3. Arsenic album: scanty and burning urination, difficult urination and nephritis.

4. Aurum metallicum: urine with mucous sediment and painful retention of urine.

5. Belladonna: inflamed kidneys.

6. Cannabis indica: urinary tract infections.

7. Chelidoniumm majus: copious urination, pale white urine and frequent night urination.

8. Cuprum Arsenicosum: painful urination, discolored urine and kidney function.

9. Cuprum Metallicum: clear watery urine, sharp pain in urethra, bed-wetting, urine suppression and frequent urination of fetid and viscid urine.

10. Glonoin: kidney inflammation and frequent night urination and helonia’s rubrics are anemia, irritability, kidney inflammation and dullness.

11. Juniperus Virginiana: heaviness in kidney region and water retention.

12. Opium: general edema, urine suppression, uremic convulsions, body sluggishness, black stool and white urine.

13. Phosphorous: uremia, turbid urine with sedimentation, kidney swelling and extreme fatigue.

14. Sanicula Aqua: kidney stones and inflammation and bladder irritation.

15. Terebinthina: kidney and urinary tract inflammation and discolored urine.

All kidney diseases, including the end stages where dialysis is usually considered the only viable treatment option, is helped by the use of homeopathic remedies. Homeopathic treatment has also been proven beneficial after a kidney transplant. It will help the patients immune system accept the donor kidney.

An added benefit of using homeopathic medicines is the low cost. Homeopathic remedies are only a fraction of the cost of pharmaceutical drugs, and, there are no worries of dangerous side effects. Kidney disease is a serious medical condition and should always be treated by a professional health care professional. Try to find a provider that uses and understands natural methods of treating your disease.

If you are suffering from any serious health condition, please be careful about attempting to treat yourself. You need the guidance of a good homeopathic doctor or a naturopath physician.

If you will use homeopathy and allopathic medicines, along with a strict diet of reduced sodium and protein intake, you will find much relief from your suffering. Also,keep your consumption of potassium, phosphorus and calcium under control.

You should not attempt to self-treat yourself using homeopathic remedies for kidney disease. Like any form of alternative medicine, it is better to consult your healthcare professional before starting homeopathy. Basically homeopathy with allopathic medicine, along with a strict diet of reduced sodium and protein consumption and controlling potassium, phosphorus and calcium intake can help treat your disease.

I believe homeopathic remedies for kidney disease is one of the best methods to treat your kidney disease problems.

Is This Burning Pain Really Heartburn?

Chest pain, shortness of breath, burning sensation – these are some of the common symptoms of heartburn. But the nature of this disease and its symptoms is such that it is very easy to confuse it for something else.

While confusing a normal heartburn episode with heart attack is not much of an issue, just imagine the repercussions if it was the other way round. What if you suffer from a much serious ailment but do not take any actions, thinking it is nothing but heartburn that can be treated with normal medicines. The consequences can be fatal, to say the least.

Thus it is absolutely essential to differentiate between heartburn and other diseases that involve similar symptoms. Let us have a look at some common health disorders that can be confused with heartburn and vice versa:

Heart Attack – Similar in name and in symptoms, heart attack tops the list of illnesses that can be confused with heartburn. While throbbing chest pain and breathlessness are the common signs of heart attack, there are a few other signs that can help you differentiate between heartburn and heart attack:

• A heartburn victim normally uses fingers to point to the source of the pain, while a heart attack victim will use a clenched fist to point to the area from where the pain originated.

• Heartburn pain is more localized, while heart attack pain covers a larger area

• Heartburn pain remains confined to the chest area, but heart attack pain can spread to other areas of the body especially neck and arms

• Some other symptoms of heart attack include nausea, cold sweat, and dizziness; while heartburn symptoms are usually just pain and burning sensation in the chest.

If you see any of these symptoms or have the slightest doubt in your mind, call 911 immediately and get medical help.

Angina – Angina refers to a painful or uncomfortable sensation in the chest that occurs when part of the heart does not receive enough oxygen. And since the first symptoms of this disease are similar to heartburn, it is commonly mistaken for the same. There are two common indicators that can help you differentiate between Heartburn & Angina –

• If your pain usually begins after eating a meal, it is most likely heartburn but if the pain in your chest increases with exertion and reduces after resting for some time, you might be suffering from Angina.

• Most people resort to using an antacid to alleviate heartburn symptoms. If this improves your condition and helps you get rid of the discomfort then it could well have been heartburn but if your pain does not reduce with an antacid, consult your doctor immediately and get checked for Angina.

Also, antacids do not always work in heartburn cases, thus it is best to consult a doctor to find out the exact cause of your chest pain.

Indigestion: Another digestive disorders that is commonly confused with Heartburn, is Indigestion. While both these health disorders are associated with digestive problems, and some of the cures also might be similar – they can still be distinguished from each other through some common signs –

• Pain caused due to Indigestion is confined to the stomach area, while heartburn is a result of flow-back of stomach acids into the esophagus, thus the pain is confined to the chest area.

• Indigestion might also be accompanied by flatulence and feeling of being bloated, while heartburn can cause breathlessness.

• Heartburn causes severe burning pain in the chest while pain due to indigestion is more moderate and tolerable.

Hiatus Hernia: Hernia is a painful condition in which a part of the stomach slides away from its normal position causing extreme discomfort. One of the very first symptoms of Diaphragmatic Hernia is Heartburn, which explains why it is repeatedly confused with it. Often patients do not realize they have Hernia, until the condition becomes so bad that it requires surgical intervention.

The only major symptom of Hernia is that the pain becomes worse on bending or lying down. There are two categories of Hiatus Hernia –

• Sliding Hiatus Hernia: This is one of the most common forms of hernia that occurs when a part of the stomach slides down from its normal position into the lower part of the esophagus. The symptoms bear close resemblance with heartburn, which is why most people suffering from sliding hiatus hernia try self-treating their condition through heartburn remedies.

• Paraesophageal Hiatus Hernia: Unlike sliding hernia, Paraesophageal hernia is more serious and painful and often requires immediate surgical treatment. In this condition, the stomach gets pushed behind the esophagus, in a position where it can get trapped by the diaphragm resulting in its blood supply being cut off. This is a rare condition, thus the chances of your suffering from it are also very low.

Again, a doctor is the best judge of your condition and it is best to consult a doctor and get yourself checked before drawing any conclusion on your own.

Peptic Ulcer: Peptic ulcer refers to the condition in which the lining of your small intestine gets eroded, causing an ulceration of the stomach walls. It is a painful problem that has varied symptoms including nausea, heartburn, chest pain and sometimes none at all. Check if your heartburn is also accompanied by abdominal pain that gets better or worse after a meal. If yes, you might be suffering from Peptic ulcer and not just Heartburn.

The above mentioned list includes just a few common health disorders that can be confused as Heartburn, however there are many more such diseases that can show symptoms similar to heartburn. The best way is to consult your doctor and get yourself checked. Correct diagnosis is extremely essential, to help you follow the right treatment procedure.