Transmission of Hepatitis C

A virus with an RNA genome is responsible for causing Hepatitis C in the body. The disease is transferred from one body to another through blood contact.

According to a recent estimation about 90% of the total populations of the developed countries of the world are suffering from Hepatitis C which is transferred through different ways. However, the main means through which this disease is found to spread in the developed countries is through the use of unsterilized needles and infusion of infected blood without proper screening.

A person can be exposed to the Hepatitis C virus through different activities and practices which are known to be potential sources responsible for the spread of the disease. You should get yourself checked for Hepatitis C in the following cases:

  • Use of injection drugs: People who use injection drugs or have used them in the past are at a high risk of getting infected with Hepatitis C virus due to sharing of infected needles.
  • Nasal inhalation of drugs: Some researchers suggest that inhaling drugs, such as cocaine and crystal methamphetamine, using infected straws can lead to transmission of Hepatitis C Virus.
  • Blood Products: Blood transfusion, blood products and organ transplantation without proper screening for infection is also one of the risk factors for spreading of hepatitis C. However, the cases of spreading of the disease through this method are decreasing.
  • Infected medical equipments: Hepatitis C virus can spread from one person to another through the use of medical equipments such as needles, syringes, hemodialysis equipment, oral hygiene instruments, jet air guns, etc., which are contaminated with infected blood and are not properly and adequately sterilized. However, use of the latest sterilization techniques and use of disposable equipments have reduced the risk factor of getting infected through medical equipments to a great extent.
  • Accidental Exposure to infected blood: People in professions like army, can get infected by HCV due to accidental exposure to infected blood through needles, open wounds etc. Taking precautions to protect against accidental exposures can reduce the risk of being infected.
  • Sexual exposure to infected blood: Transmission of HCV through sexual exposure is very rare. But sexual exposure can not be ruled out as a method of transmission of HCV.
  • Tattoos and body piercing: If proper sterilizing techniques are not used, equipments used for piercing and tattooing can transmit HCV from one person to another.
  • Sharing items of personal use: Sharing items of personal use which can be contaminated with infected blood, like razors, scissors etc., can lead to exposure and spread of HCV.

Casual physical contacts like hugging, kissing, using the same utensils etc. does not lead to spread of HCV

In certain studies which were conducted, it was found that, patients with hepatitis C have a reduced level of glutathione in their bodies. It was also found that glutathione levels were significantly low in their liver. Due to low levels of glutathione in the body, the immune system of the patients weaken and in a way become responsible for the further development of the disease.

In researches it was found that glutathione, the body's master antioxidant, detoxifier and immune booster, can help patients suffering from hepatitis C if a good level of glutathione is present in their bodies.

Studies also show that higher levels of glutathione will help the patient to achieve a much higher quality of like overall.

The Quit Alcohol Oath

I want to share my quit alcohol oath to people who have not been successful in dealing with the problem. Promises are made to be broken as they say, but I want to make it clear that it can be done as long as the person is finally keen on changing his ways and here it is:

I will refrain from drinking because I don’t like to look ugly when I grow old: People who drink liquor lose their skin elasticity. It becomes dry and skin eruptions may occur to the once matte-finish face. Wrinkles may start to appear prematurely as a cause of liquor intake. This could make a thirty year old person look ten years older or even more. Worse thing is what used to be a handsome or pretty face now looks crumpled like a crepe paper.

Never will I indulge on it again: For what reason will one go back to drinking if it cannot provide what the body really needs? The body requires the right kind of food in order to let its system perform its task. Feeding it with essential nutrients will ensure a smooth flow from within. Consuming the substance can cause unimaginable number of diseases. Diabetes, Cirrhosis of the liver, hypertension and cancer are the bonuses that we can get out of this vice.

I want to have a well-balanced mind: Under the influence does not assure anybody to have a sane mind. There will never be a good decision coming from a drinker and what’s more is that good judgment cannot emanate from him as well. It is not wise to think that a mind can work better when the person has had drank liquor. Liquor is toxic and it is in contrast with vitamins and minerals that make the body function. As these essentials is food for the brain, this liquid substance is poison as it degenerates with its presence; to quit alcohol means maintaining a healthy mind.

I will find another means of diversion: Alcohol can cause headaches and body pains so it is not proper to take it as a form of diversion. Relaxation means giving way for your body to ease out stress. Drinking liquor can cause a headache when taken in excess and it makes you feel uneasy. Since stress-related work burns you out during the week, headaches caused by alcohol does not go well with the kind of diversion tactics that you would want to be in. Exercise can suffice for this or indulging in sports would be the best alternative.

I want to change my lifestyle:Being free from alcohol means free from worries in the future. Since friends and family members have forewarned you about the impediments that can be caused by quitting on it is a very welcome idea. One can start anew and go back and retrieve the relationships which got lost along the way. It is a good idea to change your present lifestyle into something that these people, who love you so much, can be a part of.

I’d like to see my offsprings grow up: Everyone dreams of rearing a family of their own. A family that is healthy is one of the things to look forward to. How can a person raise one if there is a bottle lying on the table or on every corner of the house? Children copy what their parents do and see them as models; you want to be the person with whom they can look up to. As they say: practice what you preach and in doing so, you earn respect not only from within the family but the society as well. So it is just right if you quit alcohol and be the kind of person you’d like to be.

How To Flush A Kidney Stone

Kidney stones are formed in the kidney due to the presence of stone forming elements in the urine. There are four different types of kidney stones – calcium, uric acid, struvite and cystine stones. The cystine stones are formed because of hereditary reasons and there is no cause for the formation of this type of stones. Generally, kidney stones are not noticed until a sever pain is felt in the back. The stones will result in pain only after becoming significantly larger in size. When you have pain while urinating, you lust consult your doctor to take kidney stone test. Most people ignore this and they visit a doctor only after developing larger stones, which cause severe pains.

The natural kidney stone removal involves flushing the stones away from the kidney. Once the stones are flushed to the urinary bladder, they will be automatically moved out of the body when you urinate. Flushing the kidney stones can be done only by the fluids.

Water is the best treatment for kidneys tones. They are mainly formed by dehydration in the body causing concentrated urine. When you drink plenty of water, the urine concentration decreases and the formation of kidney stones can be prevented. Even when you have developed kidney stones, water can help you in a great way by flushing the stones out of the kidney.

When you drink more water, you will urinate frequently and each time the stones will be removed from your kidney. More water thorough the urethra will push the stones down to the bladder even if they are slightly bigger in size. Though it will cause pain, you can be relieved of larger stones in the kidney. When you undertake kidney stone removal treatments, you will be left with broken stone pieces in your kidney most of the times. If you know the secret to flush those stones, you can stop the development of stones further.

Apart from water, lemon juice can also help you in flushing the kidney stones easily. As most kidney stones are formed by calcium deposits, the lemon juice will dissolve the calcium and will reduce the size of the stones. When the size is decreased, the stones are easily flushed away from the kidney.

You can also take herbal tea that can dissolve the stones. As it adds to the fluid content in the body, you can flush more stones from the kidney. You have to ensure that you take at least three litres of water to flush the kidney stones frequently. Some people take lime juice along with virgin olive oil to flush out the kidney stones effectively.

Kidney stones are found in men and women are less prone to kidney stones. Once you have developed kidney stones, you have to be careful in your diet and you should take plenty of water. Water is the best inexpensive natural treatment that keeps flushes out kidney stones and keeps you away from pain. When you prevent dehydration you can effectively prevent the formation of kidney stones.

Bulimia Side Effects – What You Need to Know

Bulimia is a seriously dangerous illness that is becoming increasingly popular among young women. With the added pressures of society and even family members telling young girls the way to be successful and beautiful is to be thin, many turn to extreme diets such as bulimia that can have severe effects on their mental and bodily health. Bulimia is characterized by binging and purging and the side effects of this behavior can be devastating.

Many of these side effects are not obvious in the beginning stages of the illness. Many people will just have stomachaches, but this typically does not alarm anyone because of how common they are. However, as time goes on, the side effects of bulimia get worse. After forced vomiting only a few times, the person may see blood and have increasing stomach pains, and this is only the beginning

One of the most common side effects of bulimia is discoloration of teeth or tooth decay. Since the stomach contains acid, constant vomiting can cause many dental problems caused by teeth coming into contact with the acid. Stomach acid can also affect the esophagus, causing it to bleed. Those who vomit excessively may also tear their esophagus and need immediate medical attention. Frequent vomiting can have serious effects on the body. Stomach contents also have the potential to enter the sinus cavities or lungs and cause infection.

There are many physical side effects of bulimia such as organ problems, irregular heartbeat, malnutrition due to continuous vomiting as well as weak bones and overall feeling of weakness. Of course, these side effects of bulimia are awful, but the side effects do not stop there and honestly, the physical side effects are not the worst of them. Those who suffer from bulimia also suffer from severe psychological damage.

Feelings that are out of control often accompany bulimia. People may also feel anxious or depressed, as bulimia can often be caused a chemical imbalance in the brain. Bulimia is not only an illness, but also something that takes control over the sufferer’s life. Although it may seem as though they hate food, it is still constantly on their mind. Bulimics also may not be able to eat in front of others or avoid people all together.

Often, bulimia is an eating disorder that is taken lightly. It may be difficult to see some of the side effects of a person suffering from the illness. However, if these symptoms are left alone, they will lead to death. Bulimia is a terrifying disease that has claimed the lives of thousands of teens already so, it is important to notice the symptoms so there is no chance of these side effects occurring.

This is only a partial list of side effects of bulimia, but there are many more. It is a terrifying list so you will want to do everything you can to make sure no one has to deal with them.

The Importance of Keeping Your Kitchen Clean

Neglecting to clean your kitchen on a regular basis can have detrimental consequences on your family. Since the kitchen is where our food preparation is performed, avoiding the cleaning of the area can result in food poisoning from cross contamination and other such harmful things. As such maintaining a hygienic kitchen environment is essential. This involves the wiping of counter tops and cleaning of any items used in the preparation or consumption of the food. Leaving food covered kitchen utensils around allows harmful bacteria to grow and spread throughout your kitchen. If you have small children, keeping your kitchen clean should become all the more vital as children can be rather curious and may be inclined to eat something that has been sitting out for quite some time gathering bacteria.

There are many products available on the market that one can use to disinfect their kitchen space. Some may be better than others but as long as they have a sterilizing agent in them, they will be sufficient for cleaning your kitchen. It is suggested that you clean your kitchen at least once a day with whatever disinfectant you choose. There are an abundance of other hygienic tips that help to prevent food poisoning that one should follow in the kitchen as well. Since your hands and food act to contaminate each other, it is important that you wash them with anti-bacterial soap previous to and following the handling of risky foods. Utilizing different utensils for raw and cooked foods is necessary as well. It is also crucial that appliances, and not just counter tops and dishes, be cleaned regularly. Refrigerators should be scoured at least once a month and ovens, microwaves and other appliances should be cleaned whenever they show signs of filth. Changing towels in your kitchen is a must as well, as they become havens for bacteria when damp.

Canker Sore Treatment – Difference Between Canker Sores (Mouth Ulcer) and Fever Blisters (Cold Sore)

There are a number of differences between canker sores and cold sores. If you find out more about the features, you will easily distinguish and find the right methods that will lead to quick treatment and recovery. You might even discover the preventive measures by knowing the causes and triggers. Here are some more tips on how to differentiate the two and what you can do to alleviate these conditions should you have them.

The Canker Sore

Described as an open and painful sore in the mouth, canker sores appear yellow or white and are usually surrounded by a bright red area which indicates inflammation. These are benign and not cancerous. Canker sores are a basic form of ulcer in the mouth. These usually appear in women more often compared to men. These can also appear at any age, although they are initially present between 10 to 40 years old. They will be found on the inner surface of the lips, soft palate, cheeks, tongue and the base of the gums. The sores can also occur in families.

These are usually related to conditions that are associated with the immune system or defense system of the body. The sores can also happen after you acquire mouth injury because of aggressive tooth cleaning, dental work or accidentally biting the cheek, tongue or lip. They are usually caused by emotional stress, menstrual periods, dietary problems from lack of vitamin B12, folic acid and iron, food allergies, hormonal changes and other similar problems. These can also appear during viral infections. The cause may not be identified all the time.

Canker Sore Symptoms

The initial symptoms are burning or tingling sensation that you get before other symptoms arise. You might discover a painful red bump or spot that will develop into an open ulcer. The center usually appears white or yellow, measuring less than 1 cm, although it can be bigger at times. You might get one or more bumps in the area. The sore might also turn gray before it starts to heal.

About Cold Sores

Fever blisters or cold sores are common skin problems that happen in 15% to 30% of the United States population. The sores are generally caused by the HSV or herpes simplex virus and are usually indicative of herpes simplex virus infection. Fever blisters are triggered frequently by the HSV-1 or the herpes simplex virus type 1 compared to HSV-2. Over 85% of the population worldwide have experienced having HSV-1 at one point. The first outbreak is usually very painful and will last longer compared to the following infections.

Symptoms of Cold Sores

The blisters usually appear red or purple and are filled with fluid. These appear at the corners of the mouth or around the lips. The blisters will rise then collapse within a few days. A yellow crust usually develops over the sores and will heal without scarring in 2 weeks. Other symptoms include sore throat, general body aches, fever, swollen lymph nodes and soreness in the lips and mouth. Canker sore treatment will then be different.

To conclude, cankers sores and fever blisters are largely a result of improper skin management and hygiene. Are you sick and tired of dealing with the pain caused by canker sores? To be able to know the difference between the two will also be a big help in taking preventive measures.

Three Unusual Symptoms Heartburn Can Cause

Although acid reflux is quite common, the range of symptoms heartburn can produce is surprisingly broad, with some symptoms that are easily recognizable, and others that are more unusual and can therefore be difficult to recognize as symptoms caused by heartburn.

If you suspect you may be suffering from symptoms heartburn may have triggered – whether they are common or unusual – it is important that you speak to your doctor for a formal diagnosis. This is to rule out any other underlying condition and to prevent any serious or long-term consequences that may result from the disorder.

GERD can cause you to suffer from reactions that can range from quite mild – almost unnoticeable – to ones that are actually life threatening. Keep in mind, the more dramatic symptoms heartburn causes are typically those that have developed over time, so if you do feel a bit of discomfort you shouldn’t panic. However, make a doctor’s appointment anyway to ensure you know the degree and type of GERD you are suffering from and what your options are.

Aside from typical symptoms heartburn presents, you may also want to watch for these less common symptoms, which can include:

· Pain – though pain is one of the more common symptoms heartburn has to offer, there are forms of pain that are considered to be quite unusual. For example, the typical pain felt from GERD includes a burning sensation in the mid to upper chest region, or a burning sensation in the esophagus or lower throat area. However, more rare are pains that migrate to the shoulder blade or overall shoulder area.

· Vomiting – among the more unpleasant symptoms heartburn presents is varying degrees of vomiting. This can include wet or sour burps, wet hiccups, or food coming up a bit within an hour of eating. Less common versions of this potential symptom of GERD include feelings of nausea during or soon after eating or sometimes projectile vomiting. Though not common, there have been cases where this has occurred and should be checked if you experience these symptoms and suspect GERD.

Respiratory – the respiratory system is easily impacted by GERD and therefore frequently presents with symptoms caused by heartburn. These commonly include a runny nose, bad breath, recurrent sore throat, sinus infections, upper respiratory infections, wheezing, bronchitis, asthma, a nagging dry cough, coughing at night, frequent throat clearing, labored or noisy breathing, a hoarse or deepened voice, or nodules on the vocal cords. More rarely however, GERD can develop into sleep apnea, aspiration (inhalation of stomach acids into the lungs), pneumonia, and laryngospasm (a brief spasm of the vocal cords that temporarily interrupts breathing, usually lasting up to 30 seconds).

Due to so many different kinds of symptoms – and a range of uncommon symptoms that can easily be mistaken for other illnesses, diseases, and conditions – acid reflux may not be the obvious choice as a diagnosis. Only a doctor can help you know for certain if your symptoms heartburn may be causing are indeed a result of GERD. When in doubt, it is always best to seek the advice of a medical professional. This is especially true in the case of children, who may need different remedy options than adults.

A Positive Impact – Your Thinking Indigestion and Acid Reflux

Most people dismiss the power of positive thinking as something that only the

most deluded people believe in. The mind is a powerful tool and has incredible

control over and effect on the body. Positive thinking used in the right way and

at the right time can have huge benefits for people suffering from a great many

different medical conditions. Acid reflux is no different in this regard.

There are 9 individual steps in using positive thinking for yourself.

1. Clearly define a goal and purpose. In your case this will be acid reflux and

the symptoms of indigestion and heartburn. Never, ever have more than one goal

or purpose – it will only confuse matters for you. Choose a single goal and

stick to it.

2. Take a step back from the situation you are in and tell yourself what you need

to do. Using a gentle and confident tone tell yourself what you need to do to

reach your goal.

3. Give yourself advice in a way that you would give advice to a friend.

Reassure yourself and use common sense. Always follow your own best advice

yourself.

4. Have belief in yourself and give yourself encouragement. Do not become overly

enthusiastic when doing so. Remain calm and sincere when encouraging yourself.

5. Provide yourself with reasons for reaching your goals. Always keep the

reasons why you need to overcome specific obstacles in the front of your mind.

Remind yourself of past successes so that you know you are making progress.

Remind yourself of your own strengths. Strong and positive reasons will be

enough to keep you motivated and give you the strength and determination to

reach the goal you have set yourself.

6. Aim for your favorite positive emotion. Be positive, cheerful and

enthusiastic. Having a loving attitude is one of the best to have as it can have

the most positive effect on you. Determination is another great emotion to use.

This will keep you moving forward even when you find yourself struggling.

7. Practice anti-negativity each day. This simply means to do what you can to

get rid of the negative, self-defeating thinking going on in your head. Attack

these negative thoughts with all your strength so that you can find a neutral

ground to make further progress from.

8. Keep the sentences and phrases you use short and simple. Make sure they are

directed at a specific action or bearing.

9. Repeat what works. As you develop positive thinking skills you will notice that

you use certain processes or activities more than others. Use them often and use

them well.

Does the power of positive thinking actually work? Some say it has no power at

all but how can you know without trying? Use the power of your mind to try and

overcome acid reflux and indigestion – what have you got to lose?

Ranitidine and High Blood Pressure

Ranitidine, known to millions by its trade name of Zantac, is an acid reducer and histamine blocker. It works by blocking histamine receptors in the lining of the stomach. Doctors prescribe it mainly to treat peptic ulcers, gastritis, and stomach reflux. They also prescribe it to treat rare conditions where the stomach produces too much acid possibly due to enlargement of the pancreas (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome). Ranitidine, in addition to the name Zantac, is marketed by other companies under various other names as well.

Fifty million or more people in the United States suffer from hypertension and the number increases every day. Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. When the pressure is too high, it causes the heart to work too hard and can lead to heart attacks or stroke. But what, if any, is the relationship of ranitidine to hypertension?

Although ranitidine was introduced to the public in 1981 and has been the subject of many studies, there has been very little direct study and no trials on the effects of ranitidine on hypertension. One study tested the effect on hypertension in patients that already had high blood pressure. The testing showed no elevation in blood pressure on these test subjects. This same study did not, however, test the effects on ranitidine on patients with a normal level of blood pressure.

In a study testing the cardiovascular effects of ranitidine on children, twelve children with congenital heart disease were intravenously given dosages of ranitidine. Although their heart rate fell below baseline levels, the researchers came up with no conclusion of the drugs affect on high blood pressure, instead determining that more study was needed. This study also did not test children with normal blood pressure levels.

Many people with hypertension who are thinking of taking Zantac or another ranitidine derivative are rightly concerned with how the drug will affect their high blood pressure. One of the confirmed possible side effects of ranitidine is the slowing of the heart rate or bradycardia. If this happens the heartbeat may become too slow or too irregular to meet the body’s demand. The result could be dizziness or lightheadedness. Whether this is dangerous to your health can only be determined by a qualified physician.

Although, not generally considered a side effect, there have also been reports from some patients that taking ranitidine increased their heart rate. If this is true, it would follow that their blood pressure would have increased also. However, at this time, there is no conclusive evidence showing that there is any one-to-one correlation between ranitidine and high blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, and are taking ranitidine or Zantac, the best that you can do is to monitor your own blood pressure after taking the medication and notify your doctor of any significant change in the readings. You should also notify the doctor if you experience either a significant increase or decrease in your heart rate as either condition can adversely affect your health.

Ten Warning Signs Of Impending Kidney Failure

The final stage of a kidney disorder (kidney failure) is signified by completely ceasing of the main functions of the kidney. I know from my own experience that pending kidney failure can be a traumatic time however in some cases taking notice of tell-tale signs of imminent kidney failure early enough and before they progress to the point of becoming a danger to life may give the sufferer the opportunity to get adequate treatment and in some cases, even reverse what may seem to be the obvious (complete kidney failure). If an individual has entered the final stages of kidney failure there is very little that can be done so it is crucial that when a person sees warning signs of possible future kidney problems they seek professional and competent medical advice immediately.

Here are ten warning signs of impending kidney failure, so it is worth keeping a watchful eye on your health.

1. Edema – In its first stage Edema usually just causes swellings in the feet and maybe your legs. But will slowly progress through your whole body. This is due to the kidney increasing its water retention instead of letting water pass through your body.

2. Anemia – The Kidney is a complex organ with one of its main functions is regulating the production of red blood cells (Eerythrocytes or RBC) in your body. Unfortunately as a renal disorder develops red blood cells production will gradually start to decrease.

3. Hematuria – Visible blood clots in your urine stream.

4. Bloody stools – Blood in your stools can sometimes indicate a sign of kidney disease.

5. Sudden behavioural swings – Some people experiencing various stages of kidney problems are more inclined to have mood swings, states of confusion including: delusions and hallucinations.

6. Extreme flank pain – This pains can be very tense and occur in one “flank” of your body, the flank area is on the side of your body between the hip or pelvis and extends to the lowest rib of the rib cage. It is not uncommon for this pain to travel down to the lower abdomen area including the testicles, or groin.

7. A reduction in your urination – a reduction of the amount of fluid passed during urination is not always a sign of kidney disorder, but if you have noticed a reduction in fluid then you should always seek medical assistance.

8. Shortness in breath – Shortening of breath is not unique to kidney failure however it may be brought about by very high blood pressure which is another tell-tale sign of potential kidney complications.

9. Seizures – A person who’s kidneys have dilapidated too far can experience seizures, shaking or involuntarily twitching in either an isolated body part – such as legs or arms etc. – or their whole body.

10. Unusual or foul urine smell – A person with kidney failure may notice a sweet and acrid smell emanating from their urine. If this smell persist for any length of time then it is important that you tell your doctor about it.

If you start to see warning signs of possible kidney failure then please do not hesitate to see a doctor as early as possible. Even if you are not suffering from kidney disease at least you will know for sure instead of stressing without conformation. In many instances catching a pending kidney failure early enough and getting on a specialised kidney diet might be enough to treat your illness.

Platelets – Understand Bleeding Disorders

Hemostasis is made possible by formation of a platelet plug AND a fibrin clot. Both are needed, and a clinician needs to think about them differently. Let’s explore platelet plug formation.

Now, there are two main problems with platelets, either 1) a decreased number or 2) bad (broken) platelets that have poor function. There are two tests that we need to evaluate for platelet function.

One is the platelet count as seen on the red blood cell count. So, we are looking at the absolute number, or we are looking at a test called the bleeding time. When a platelet count is decreased, this is known as thrombocytopenia. This is seen if there is a problem in the bone marrow such as decreased production of platelets which you can see in some malignancies, most commonly seen in chemotherapy that suppresses bone marrow, increased destruction such as a hyperactive spleen where the only potential solution to this is to have a splenectomy, or from idiopathic thrombocytopenia which is typically a child after a viral syndrome where the treatment is steroid removal immunoglobulin or spleen removal. When I was in my pediatric rotation, I remember seeing a young child for a well child visit, and this was actually my first rotation as a physician assistant student. When the physician came in, the child clearly responded adversely to the pediatrician who was a bit older with a beard, and the mom said that he looked kind of like his father. The child was really kind of frightful of the physician. When he looked over the child, the child had a number of bruises especially on his lower legs. I believed this child was being abused by his father. The doctor sent him off for blood work, and I was quite upset with the physician which I talked about wondering how he could not see how apparent abuse was. Well, when the blood work came back, this child had idiopathic thrombocytopenia, and it was not child abuse.

Sepsis, in the setting of a low platelet count, is a red flag for a patient requiring intensive care. If the platelet count is less then 50K, they have an increased risk of post traumatic bleeding. If you have platelet counts of less than 20,000, you can have increased spontaneous bleeding. When I used to cover the hematology/ oncology floor, we would transfuse patients when they got below 10,000.

The bleeding time is a test of platelet function. The bleeding time is basically a small incision in the skin that by spring-loaded apparatus, it gives us a very uniform little abrasion, and the lab will blot that area until the bleeding stops. I may have only ordered this test once in my life. It is pretty rare. The most common reason why platelets would not clot well is aspirin, someone who takes aspirin, their blood is a little bit thin. Or uremia. Hypothermia can do this as well.

The lifespan of a platelet is 7 days. Aspirin deactivated the platelet for that length of time. We will exclude genetic coagulopathies here. But, I do want to talk about medications that affect the platelets. The most common one by far is aspirin. The dose can vary between 81 mg to 1,000 mg daily. Plavix is typically 75 mg once per day, and has been used with success in people with known coronary artery disease or atherosclerotic disease such as a past myocardial infarction or stroke. GB 2B/#a inhibitors are used in ACS. It is kind of like a fancy IV aspirin.

Fenugreek – Fights Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity

Although fenugreek seeds are used extensively in the recipes of countries in the Middle and Far East, in the West it is not as well known as many other spices.

Not only does fenugreek impart a characteristic flavour and tang to food but it also has several very important disease preventing characteristics.

In traditional medicine, fenugreek has been used to treat a number of conditions including diabetes, sore throats, and in poultices used to treat sores and abscesses. Recent investigations into the medicinal properties of this spice suggest it is important not only as a preventive for chronic diseases such as diabetes, but also for enhancing normal physiological processes, especially with respect to athletic

performance.

As with most spices it contains many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds such as apigenin,

genistein, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, selenium and superoxide-dismutase. It also contains compounds such as trigonelline that has shown to prevent the degeneration of nerve cells in neuro-degenerative diseases.

Medicinal properties of fenugreek

Cardiovascular disease and blood lipids

Fenugreek has a strong modulating effect on blood lipid levels and can substantially reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. In diabetics, who usually suffer lipid imbalances, it has demonstrated a remarkable ability to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL levels while raising HDL levels. Another property of fenugreek is the reduction of platelet aggregation which, in turn, dramatically reduces the risk of abnormal blood clotting associated with heart attacks and strokes. Like most spices, fenugreek also contains many important antioxidants and has the added benefit of protecting other dietary and internally produced antioxidants from free-radical damage. This has important cardioprotective benefits, as well as helping to fortify the body against a range of other chronic conditions.

Diabetes

Fenugreek, which has comparable antidiabetic potency to cinnamon, is one of the most valuable spices for the control of glucose metabolism and thus the prevention and treatment of Type II diabetes.

Owing to its many properties it helps in the prevention and treatment of diabetes in several ways.

Working in a similar way to the common antidiabetic drug glibenclamide, fenugreek lowers cellular insulin resistance and controls blood glucose homeostasis. It has been shown to lower blood glucose levels of Type II diabetics by as much as 46 percent.

It also increases the levels of several important antioxidants and reduces the damaging oxidation of lipids associated with diabetes.

As an added bonus, fenugreek seeds are a very rich in a type of dietary fibre that modulates post-prandial blood glucose levels by delaying the absorption of sugar in the intestines. This mucilaginous fiber also reduces the absorption of fat and cholesterol from the intestines thus providing additional protection against heart disease and obesity.

Cataracts

Fenugreek is also effective against diabetes-related cataracts which occur commonly in diabetics. The enzymes that control glucose uptake into the lens of the eye do not function normally in diabetics and, as a result, glucose and its metabolites, fructose and sorbitol, accumulate in the lens tissues. The lenses of diabetic patients are also prone damage by enzymes that would normally protect against destructive free radicals, and a combination of these factors leads to the gradual opacification of the lens known as a cataract. As fenugreek has been shown to partially reverse both the metabolic changes in the lens and to reduce the density of the cataract, it is likely to be even more effective as a prophylactic agent against cataract formation in diabetics.

Alzheimer’s and other neuro-degenerative diseases

Fenugreek contains the compound trigonellene that has shown to stimulate the regeneration of brain cells. This property has stimulated further research to see whether it can help in the prevention of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Sport

One of the greatest difficulties facing athletes who compete in endurance events is maintaining a readily available supply of energy in the body. In order to achieve this, muscle carbohydrate stores, in the form of glycogen, must be continuously replenished. In an event lasting more than one-and-a-half hours, glycogen stores become depleted, and for the remainder of the event the athlete has to rely on external sources of energy, such as high carbohydrate drinks, which are inferior to glycogen as an energy source. Post event re-synthesis of glycogen is also very important, and the two hours immediately following prolonged exercise is the crucial time for this process to occur.

Fenugreek has been shown to have a strong effect on glycogen replenishment; increasing post-event re-synthesis by over 60 percent in some endurance athletes. While its effects on glycogen re-synthesis during an event have yet to be tested, fenugreek is likely to exhibit a similarly beneficial effect during, as well as after, exercise.

Hormones

Fenugreek is one of the richest sources of phytoestrogens and is thus a very useful spice for women who have low oestrogen levels. Phytoestrogens are also thought to help protect against certain types of cancer, and fenugreek may well be proven to have anti-tumourigenic effects should this property be investigated in the future.

Selenium

Fenugreek is one of the richest sources of selenium, which is among the most important antioxidant micronutrients. When consumed regularly, selenium appears to have a protective effect against a range of cancers, including those of the colon, lung and prostate. Recent evidence also shows that selenium helps to prevent the progression of HIV and other chronic viral illnesses.

While other spices like chilies and cinnamon hold the culinary and medicinal headlines, the research into fenugreek is showing us that this spice has health benefits on a par with, or even superior to, those of the better known spices.

However it is important to appreciate that synergism between different spices enhances the bioavailability and efficacy of their respective bioactive compounds. Therefore, to obtain optimum benefit from fenugreek, it is important to use it with other common spices in both the prevention and treatment of disease.

Cardiovascular Risk May Be Indicated by Some Unusual Factors

There are times when researchers uncover interesting collateral information when attempting to find answers to the most puzzling health questions. Over the past several years, many of these unusual findings have been related to an individual’s risk for developing heart disease.

Earlobe Creases

It sounds implausible and slightly amusing, but more than two dozen scientific studies conducted over the past few decades have examined the relationship between earlobe creases and increased risk for heart disease. Perhaps the most well-known of these studies was published in 1991. Researchers from the University of Chicago followed more than a hundred subjects for 10 years and discovered that individuals with a diagonal crease across the earlobe had markedly higher instances of heart disease or death from heart-related conditions than those without such a crease. The researchers in Chicago were not alone in their findings.

Swedish researchers performed over 500 autopsies on victims of cardiac arrest or heart disease and found that earlobe creases were a “positive predictive value” for more than 68 percent of the subjects they examined. More than 80 percent of their subjects under the age of 40 who had succumbed to coronary artery disease had earlobe creases. A Turkish study determined that earlobe creasing was a more serious risk factor for heart disease than family history, diabetes, or even smoking. At the Montreal Heart Institute, researchers reviewed cases of nearly 350 admitted patients. Of those, 91 percent of patients with earlobe creases had heart disease as compared with only 61 percent of those without creases. Irish scientists studied almost 250 patients and found that earlobe creases were indicative of heart disease in more than 71 percent of participants.

All of this research appears to support what statisticians call low sensitivity-high specificity. This means that individuals without earlobe creases are not necessarily immune from heart disease, but that individuals with earlobe creases are much more likely to have cardiovascular trouble at some point in their lives. Though this evidence seems to present a strong case for the relationship between earlobe creases and cardiovascular disease, it is essential to note that many similar studies have found no such connection. There is currently no medical consensus on whether or not earlobe creases are a significant indicator of heart disease or an individual’s predisposition for it. Most experts believe that creasing simply increases with age, as does the risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

However, earlobe creases are certainly not the only unusual supposed risk factors for heart disease.

Leg Length

In 2004, British researchers at Bristol University announced that they had found evidence to support the relationship between the length of a woman’s leg and her risk for developing heart disease. Among 4000 participants, those with the shortest legs were at the greatest risk for developing heart problems. For every four centimeters above a specified baseline leg length, the risk decreased by 16 percent. Leg length remained a strong indicator of risk even after more traditional causes of heart disease such as high cholesterol, weight, age, tobacco use, and poor lung function were accounted for.

Ring Finger Length

Researchers at Liverpool University in the United Kingdom found that males with short ring fingers had lower testosterone levels which increased their risk of early heart attack. The Liverpool study measured participants’ index and ring fingers, then divided the lengths. In subjects with a ratio of measurements greater than 1.0, testosterone levels were found to be significantly lower than in those subjects whose measurements fell in a smaller measurement ratio. Low testosterone levels have been linked to higher instances of early heart attack.

Male Pattern Baldness

In a study of more than 22,000 male physicians conducted over the course of 11 years, researchers found that participants with frontal baldness were nearly 10 percent more likely to develop heart disease than their non-balding counterparts, while subjects with more hair loss or crown baldness were 23 to almost 40 percent more likely to have heart disease. A 2007 study by researchers at the University of Arizona confirmed that baldness does in fact increase risk for heart disease, but it ultimately concluded that hair loss by itself was not a reliable indicator of risk.

Bad Breath

Halitosis is just one of the side effects caused by advanced gum disease, and studies have shown that individuals with this condition produce antibodies that increase their risk of heart disease by as much as 100 percent. In fact, one study even reported that treating gum disease could reverse thickening of the carotid arteries.

Clear Skin

Generally thought to be a positive trait, one British study found that clear skin could be a potentially life-threatening condition. Of 11,000 males who participated in the study, those with acne as teenagers were 30 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular or heart disease in middle age and beyond.

Discolored Mucus

A recently published study in the Biochemical Journal has suggested that there is a connection between cardiovascular disease and green-tinged mucus. The discoloration is caused by an enzyme in the body called myeloperoxidase, which fights bacteria by producing an acid that can damage tissue and lead to asthma, arthritis, and thickening of arterial walls.

Earwax

There are two different types of earwax: dry and wet. Individuals produce only one kind or the other for the extent of their lives, and earwax type seems to be a hereditary trait. A 1966 Japanese study found that individuals who produced dry earwax had an increased risk of arterial thickening than those who produced wet earwax. No other study since has confirmed these findings – a later peer review, in fact, concluded that the results should be viewed with suspicion. Yet when one considers all the other strange indicators of heart disease, certainly the kind of earwax an individual produces is no odder than any other potential risk factor.

Cardiovascular disease is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that should never be taken lightly. However, these unusual risk factors can surely add some levity to the conversation.

Causes of High White Blood Cell Count

There are several possible causes for a high white blood cell count. This count is high when there are more disease-fighting cells in your body. The technical term for this condition is leukocytosis.

Different medical practices may have different limits by which they define high white blood cell count. A count of 10,500 leukocytes in one microliter of blood is widely accepted as a high count. The threshold may vary between sex and age.

White blood cells are categorized by five subtypes, and each type has a different activity in fighting disease. When you get the results of your white blood cell count, they will usually specify what the levels are of all the different types. Usually, a high count is only caused by an increase in one type of white blood cells.

A high white blood cell count is indicative of an immune system problem that increases their production; a disease in your bone marrow that causes high blood cell production; a reaction to some drug that is used to enhance cell production; or the increase expected when your body is fighting off an infection.

There are some more specific reasons why your white blood cell count may be high:

Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer that lives in the bone marrow and blood. This disease is a rapidly progressive one. Children are more affected by this than any other type of cancer, although adults can develop the disease as well.

Drugs like epinephrine and corticosteroids can affect your white cell count.

Measles is an infection that affects mainly the respiratory tract. It is very contagious. The signs include skin rash, fever, sore throat, inflamed eyes, runny nose and cough. The measles vaccine is an excellent way to protect children against this disease, but outside of the civilized countries, many children are not vaccinated. This disease will spread rapidly among people who have not had the vaccination.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious type of arthritis from which you will experience joint damage and pain. It attacks your joints’ lining and this causes swelling. In turn, that leads to throbbing, aching pain and possibly eventual deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis, also called RA, can make even the easiest of normal activities hard to accomplish.

Some of the other causes of high white blood cell count include:

Stress, be it emotional or physical
Smoking
Tuberculosis
Tissue damage, like one receives with burns
Acute or chronic myelogenous leukemia
Chronic or acute lymphocytic leukemia
Whooping cough
Severe allergic reactions
Myelofibrosis
Polycythemia vera
Other viral infections
Other bacterial infections

Thuja Green Giants – Is the Hype on the Fast Growing Trees, Cedar Green Giants, Fact or Fiction?

The Thuja Green Giants are touted as one of the fastest growing evergreen trees on the commercial market. Will they really live up to this adoration?

Here at the nursery, we have grown and sold the Thuja Green Giants for almost 10 years. The plants are hybrids so they are propagated by cuttings as they will not come back true from seed. Some years we field transplanted some of the cuttings to grow on for larger projects. When field transplanting, we typically used Thuja Green Giant liners that were 6 to 8 inches tall. At the end of the first growing season, the field plants varied from 10 inches to 30 inches tall. By the end of the second summer, their heights often reached 22 to 40 inches.

Arborvitaes are a slow growing plant variety (generally less than 12 inches per year of new growth), which is why I believe when this crossed hybrid was found to be a more rapid grower, it become the “spokestree” for the variety. I do not know from where the studies about the extreme growth rate came, but in my own experience, I haven’t seen the extreme of 5 feet of new growth per year on this plant.

About 4 years ago, I lined the entrance of my drive with over 100 green giants (18 inches tall). Being far away from the house, I was not able to regularly water them as they needed and, to make the situation worse, the soil was extremely compacted. After the stress of their first year planted having to survive through drought, they pulled through amazingly and I only lost 2, which is pretty impressive. Today the green giants that line my drive are now about 6 feet tall.

Green Giants, as my drive way example describes, will grow in the poorest of soil. However, compacted soil seems to stunt their growth considerably. If you have compacted soil, till the area mixing in bags of aged compost or aged manure mix and coarse sand. Till the area going down as deep as possible (at least 12 inches deep). This will work to help with drainage and instantly put nutrients back into the soil. Then, plant the green giants. Giving them the best possible start for growing is always the best encouragement.

For the first year, apply supplemental water as necessary to keep the soil cool and moist. Apply shredded bark mulch around each plant going out at least 20 inches from the base of the plant leaving a welled area of about 3 to 4 inches at the base of the plant so that the bark does not touch the trunk of the plant. This welled area is for watering and air circulation.

Their first year in the ground the plants will work to develop a stronger and deeper root system. Fertilizing is not recommended during this time as it encourages more top growth rather than root expansion. Any top growth during this time is a plus, but don’t expect it as this will not happen to any extent until the following year.

The green giant grows a little differently. Where most arborvitae grow as a whole, this one sends up a vine looking leader from the top. This leader hardens off and over the next few years it begins to build the tree around itself sending up the leader again each year. A little odd, but you will see what I mean.

While I am not a fan of seeing this plant advertised as a tree that puts on amazing growth each year, these are plants that be used for hedges, privacy screens and even as specimen trees. Understand that it will not grow as quickly as some of the faster growing deciduous trees do, but appreciate its uniqueness and you will not be disappointed. While it many only grow a few feet each year once established as an evergreen it would be considered a rapid grower.