Dress For Cold Weather Motorcycle Riding

Riding your motorcycle during cold wet weather requires planning, foresight and the right gear. Clothing that seems fine when you are driving your car or walking down the street in the rain probably wont cut it at 70 miles an hour on your motorcycle. It takes the right gear to keep you warm under these extreme conditions. Buy gear designed for motorcycling. There is a difference. Women riders have had a tough time finding gear made for them at an affordable price until fairly recently. Happily myself and other vendors are offering affordable quality gear tailored for women.

DRESS IN LAYERS

COVER ALL SKIN

BLOCK THE WIND

STAY DRY

KEEP YOUR HEAD WARM

THE LAYERS

Insulating Layer: The insulating layer creates dead air space between the layers of clothing, trapping warm body air and keeping it around the body. Look for outerwear that is warm, water-resistant and well insulated with a synthetic fiber such as Thinsulate Insulation.

Outer Shell: This layer protects against wind and rain. This is probably the most important layer.

Outerwear Machine-washable jackets retain their waterproofing better than those that require dry-cleaning. Jackets with sealed seams also prevent water from getting in. If you wear a non-leather jacket get one designed for motorcycling. That stylish $300 jacket you bought at the department store probably won’t work as well as a $100 jacket you buy from me because it’s not designed for motorcycling. Leather is a great wind stopper. A well made leather jacket designed for motorcycling will last for years, keep you comfortable and protect you in a skid.

Look for outerwear containing Thinsulate and similar Insulation, it provides about 1 ½ times the warmth of down and nearly twice the warmth of other high-loft insulators when equal thicknesses are compared. Look for features such as cuffs that close tightly to keep out cold air and snow, zippers with large nylon teeth, and storm flaps over the zippers and double breasted chest openings to block wind and water. Cuffs, pockets and chest closures with multiple closure systems such as zippers and snaps or zippers ,velcro and snaps tend to stop more wind.

Zip out liners are very handy. You can remove your liner when it is warm in the afternoon, store it in your saddlebag and put it back in when the temperature dips.

Add leather or string ties to zippers etc so you can open and close them with your gloves on.

Your neck Nehru or Euro style collars on jackets tend to cover the neck better. A turtle neck sweater will help some. In really cold weather a balaclava or a leather riding mask will make a big difference. Remember to cover your neck! By the time you have traveled a half a mile in cold weather you will know if you forgot to cover that adam’s apple!

Legs Protect your legs from the wind. There are a variety of choices for protecting your legs. Chaps, Leather pants and Textile pants. I sell a variety of these items in various price ranges. All of my items are designed for motorcycling. Once again wear layers; thermal underwear and lined pants or chaps to block the wind. When it gets cold a pair of Levis and long johns won’t do it!

Footwear Wet feet become cold and numb quickly, keep your feet dry by wearing appropriate boots. When your feet become wet (through sweating or immersion) you need to put on dry, fresh socks. Insulated boots help. Wear socks made of synthetic fibers like polyester and polypropylene. Make sure your boots are loose enough to comfortably wear thick socks. Avoid steel toe boots. A pair of cold feet will ruin an otherwise great ride!

Headgear You loose most of your heat through your head and neck! Wear a full face helmet with face shield for optimum comfort. Leather masks cover the neck and lower face. Balaclavas cover the neck, face and insulate your head.

Gloves Waterproof gloves lined with synthetic insulation such as Thinsulate insulation are effective insulators, keep your hands covered at all times. The savvy rider has several pairs of gloves designed for various riding conditions: Fingerless gloves for warm summer riding. This cuts down on vibration, reduces calluses and offers some protection in a skid. Zip Cuff Gauntlet gloves The next choice is usually flexible gloves with thin lining that offer wind protection and a gauntlet cuff to keep wind from blowing up the jacket sleeves. I carry a pair all the time in my saddlebag along with a pair of cotton liners to add when it gets cold. They are handy even on cool summer nights.For really cold weather I wear a pair of thick gauntlet motorcycling / ski gloves with thick insulate lining. Gauntlet cuff gloves are very important. They fit over the jacket sleeve and keep ice cold air from blowing up to your arm pits at 70 miles an hour!

Mittens keep hands warmer than gloves but offer less dexterity. They are a definite no-no for riders or passengers. You can’t feel the controls and the passenger can’t hold on!

Rain Gear

Keep a set of nylon rain gear in your saddlebag for each person on the bike. They don’t weigh much but they are a real life saver when the rain or sleet starts coming down.

Just my opinion on heated clothes. They work great when they work! I used to wear a heated vest and heated socks. I stayed warm and toasty even in really cold weather. One day in January one of my heated socks quit working, I didn’t realize it. I froze a couple of toes and darn near lost them. That was enough for me!

A few general observations:

Avoid real tight clothing. You loose that insulating warm air layer when you wear a jacket, pants or boots that are too tight.

Dress for comfort and protection. Wearing your beany and a denim jacket when the chill factor dips below 30 only impresses dummies. Surprisingly this occurs at about 45 degrees F at 70 mph!

Bring gear for the worst weather you may run into. You probably will. Those nice 70 degree October days sometimes turn into a rainy 35 degree ride home.

WIND CHILL

The cooling effect of wind at 70 mph is astounding. Plan carefully before you leave. At about 10 degrees fahrenheit you are entering very dangerous territory. Wind chill is not something to fool with:

WIND CHILL @ 70 MPH

DEGREES F-> 50 40 30 20 10 0 -10

WIND CHILL 38 24 9 -6 -20 -35 -49

HYPOTHERMIA

1. Hypothermia is a decrease in the core body temperature to a level at which normal muscular and cerebral functions are impaired.” Hypothermia can creep up on you and seriously reduce your thinking abilities and

coordination.

2. Conditions Leading to Hypothermia

Cold temperatures Improper clothing and equipment, Wetness, Fatigue, exhaustion, Dehydration, Poor food intake, Alcohol intake – causes vasodilation leading to increased heat loss

3. Temperature ranges at which hypothermia can occur on your motorcycle:

32 DEGREES Below freezing ALWAYS DANGEROUS WITHOUT PROPER GEAR

40 degrees – ENTERING DANGER ZONE: PROPER GEAR NEEDED IF RIDING MORE

THAN A FEW MINUTES

60 degrees – CAUTION! COVER EXPOSED SKIN ESPECIALLY IF IT IS RAINING.

4. WHAT TO LOOK FOR; SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

a. Watch for stumbles, mumbles and fumbles which show changes in motor coordination and levels of consciousness. Having troubles with controls, have to consciously think about where the brakes are etc. STOP AND GET WARM. DON’T DRINK ALCOHOL, THAT REDUCES BLOOD FLOW AND MAKES IT WORSE. A WARM DRINK WITH SUGAR HELPS.

b. Mild Hypothermia – core temperature 98.6 – 96 degrees F

AT THIS POINT YOU CAN MAKE DANGEROUS MISTAKES; FORGET TO PUT ON THE BRAKES, OVER OR UNDERSTEER A CURVE. ( ONE TIME I STOPPED FOR A RED LIGHT AND FORGOT TO TAKE MY FEET OFF THE PEGS!) Shivering – not under voluntary control Can’t do complex motor functions, can still walk & talk Vasoconstriction to periphery

c. Moderate Hypothermia – core temperature 95 – 93 degrees F

Dazed consciousness Loss of fine motor coordination – particularly in hands – can’t zip up your jacket, due to restricted blood flow to the hands.Slurred speech Violent shivering Irrational behavior – Paradoxical Undressing – person starts to take off clothing, unaware s/he is cold MANY SYMPTOMS LIKE BEING STONED. A person in this condition needs help. Immediately get them indoors. They may not be able to make good decisions for themselves. If you or someone riding with you reaches this point reassess your plans; Make frequent stops to warm up, get a room for the night or park the bike and get better gear. You are taking a serious risk!

d. Severe Hypothermia – core temperature 92 – 86 degrees and below

(immediately life threatening) You won’t have any trouble noticing this stage. The person falls down, curls into a fetal position appears to die! Shivering occurs in waves, violent then pause, pauses get longer until shivering finally ceases – because the heat output from burning glycogen in the muscles is not sufficient to counteract the continually dropping core temperature, the body stops shivering to conserve glucose. Person falls to the ground, can’t walk, curls up into a fetal position to conserve heat. Muscle rigidity develops – because peripheral blood flow is reduced and due to lactic acid and CO2 buildup in the muscles. Skin is pale Pupils dilate Pulse rate decreases at 90 degrees the body tries to move into hibernation, shutting down all peripheral blood flow and reducing breathing rate and heart rate. At 86 degrees the body is in a state of “metabolic icebox.” The person looks dead but is still alive.

Make sure your passenger is dressed right before you leave. They may not know how to dress. It’s up to you to help them make the right choice. And guess who is going to listen to them nag to wear your nice warm jacket on the way home if they don’t?

Keep these guidelines in mind the next time you venture out on that motorcycle in cold weather.

You don’t have to park that bike when fall rolls around. Just dress right and enjoy!

Breathable Layer: This is the layer that comes in contact with the skin. It should allow body moisture to escape and evaporate more quickly, which keeps the skin dry and comfortable. Use thermal underwear made of synthetic fibers like polyester and polypropylene to wick moisture away from the skin. Avoid natural fibers such as cotton, they tend to hold moisture close to the skin and dry very slowly.

Bronchitis Duration

Bronchitis duration largely depends on the cause. The causes can either be as a result of bacteria and viruses. Other causes include smoking and inhaling harmful substances. Bronchitis caused by smoking can take longer to heal than that caused by pathogens. This can only be completely healed if one stops the smoking habit.

Tar smoked in piles up in the airways causing an inflammation. If not taken care of, it can progress to other more serious conditions such as pneumonia, asthma and cancer. Bronchitis duration as a result of viruses does not last for more than a week. The symptoms of bronchitis as a result of viruses most of the time do not require any medication. Bacteria infections need to be medicated using antibiotics.

Bronchitis duration for this kind of infection can take long err. A person who has the bronchitis disease first starts experiencing a dry cough. This cough is usually severe enough to wake you up at night. This is followed by the other symptoms of bronchitis. These are fever, fatigue and headaches. After a few days, the dry cough progresses to become a productive one. The productive cough is the reason why one starts experiencing shortness of breath, wheezing and chest pains.

Bronchitis duration for all these symptoms apart from the expectorant cough is a few days. The cough can go on for almost a month. If it takes more than a month, one should go for more diagnosis from an ear, nose and throat doctor. This is to rule out the presence of other conditions other than the bronchitis. This cough if not treated can progress to asthma. Prevention measures should also be taken to avoid bronchitis.

Knee Pain Controlled Using a Wheat Bag to Provide Heat Therapy

Sometime during their lifetime, nearly all people will feel knee pain. The causes of knee pain are numerous, some are: arthritis, injured ligaments, meniscal tears, patellar tendonitis, and dislocated kneecaps. Sometimes an injured knee can be fixed with an operation; but there are some that need physical therapy plus a lot of time to heal. Other ailments, like an arthritic knee, can actually cause simple activities like going for a walk to be painful. Thermotherapy, or heat therapy using a wheat bag is one of the most beneficial treatments in alleviating knee pain, whatever the symptoms.

A wheat bag has been shown to help knee pain considerably. Heat therapy opens up the blood vessels, and as a result more oxygen is supplied to the body which helps repair damaged tissues. This improvement in blood circulation through the knee will provide additional oxygen, protein and nutrients which will help promote healing. Using a heated wheat bag offers relief from the pain when the skin’s pain sensors are stimulated. Heat actually lessens the intensity and number of pain signals sent to the brain.

Heat therapy helps with knee pain by relaxing and loosening the tissue around the knee. Muscles, tendons, as well as the ligaments are free to move, so this decreases the risk of additional injury. Heat therapy is a good treatment also for decreasing stiffness and increasing limberness for sufferers with arthritis.

Using a wheat bag provides the most benefit during the first fifteen minutes that it is applied, most physicians and physical therapist recommend this. Heat therapy is also advised before exercise as well as additional activities that could result in pain. Heat applied following exercise is a good remedy to avoid pain and hurting, also. Swelling is usually one of the symptoms of an injured knee and heat therapy works very well to decrease the inflammation.

Heat therapy is different from ice therapy because it is not restricted to just the initial 48 hours following an injury. The hotness from the heat can be applied anytime when pain is experienced, someone feels stiff, has decreased flexibility, or inflammation. Using a microwave heated wheat bag at the beginning of the day, can reduce arthritis pain measurably, so a person can make it through the day.

Many options are available for heat therapy, but many of these options are complicated to apply, making it difficult to keep the heat applied directly and correctly. A wheat bag for microwave use is a nice substitute for some items, since it conforms itself to shape of the area that is affected. The heat pack provides this extra flexibility to wrap around the area of pain.

Millions of people deal with knee pain, from a minor pain to a debilitating pain. Heat therapy using a wheat bag or heat pack is able to bring relief for the discomfort, swelling, stiffness and loss of flexibility. Keep in mind that, when you apply heat therapy, it is most effective during those first fifteen minutes. Also, using heat before a physical workout or activity greatly decreases the risk of additional injury.

Right Side Upper Back Pain – How To Obtain Relief

Back pains can be very aggravating. The soreness may be found in the upper or lower portion of the back. The tenderness found in between the lower back and the neck and where the spinal column connects with the ribs commonly referred to as right side upper back pain. The muscles become worn-out and the ligaments are frayed. The muscle might become taut and rigid. The manifestations vary for each individual. A patient may have muscular contraction. Some might experience twinges in the muscles. Upper body movements can set off the pain in specific spots of the upper back. Neck and shoulder movement or even a touch on the affected parts may activate the right side upper back pain. The pain might even shoot up to the right shoulder blade.

Right side upper back pain is caused by different factors. These may be due to a misalignment or dislocation of rib joints, muscle strain, the joining of a disc or facet to the cervical spine, incorrect posture or referred pains from organ dysfunctions. Severe and razor-sharp pain can be felt in the right side upper back of the body.

Misalignment or dislocation of joints can bring about jagged pain which can be felt even if a person just takes a deep breath. Strained muscles are usually due to excessive repetitive movement, extended use of or heavy demands on the muscles. A throbbing soreness on the other hand can be felt if a patient suffers from right side upper back pain resulting from poor posture. A person who spends an extended period of time doing computer work might encounter this type of problem especially if he has poor posture. Since the movements of a person who constantly work on the computer are repetitive and tedious, the strain is usually on the same set of muscles causing it to overwork thus the persistent pain. Referred pains from some organ dysfunction also produce right side upper back pains or thoracic spine. This is especially true if a patient suffers from disorders in the stomach, spleen, heart, gallstone, and pancreas and so on.

Treatment for right side upper back pain would also vary depending on its cause. The medical practitioner has to identify the root of the right side upper back pain and treat it accordingly. Some medical practitioners may recommend traditional ways of handling the pain such as anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, ice packs or stretching exercises. Other kinds of strenuous exercises are to be avoided to refrain from causing more damage or strain on the muscles. Chiropractic care can also alleviate the pain by employing methods such as mild pumping or putting moderate pressure on the affected parts thus separating and treating the right side upper back pain. This is also known as the flexion distraction technique.

It is recommended that a patient who suffers from right side upper back pain must consult a competent medical practitioner for a thorough physical examination to determine the exact cause of the problem. Without proper medical care and attention, right side upper back pain might worsen and leave the patient incapacitated.

Sprained Ankle Symptoms – Is It Broken Or Sprained?

Though breaking your ankle and spraining you ankle is a completely different type of injury, it can be difficult to understand sprained ankle symptoms just by “feel”. A bad sprain can be much more painful than a light break and vice versa. Unfortunately, for those of us who like to admit defeat and consult a professional, the best way to tell is to go to the doctor and get an x-ray. Guessing (even educated guesses) can result in larger problems down the road if your guess-work results in an incorrect diagnosis. However, there are a few telltale signs that can help you figure out if your ankle is broken or twisted – unfortunately none of these sprained ankle symptoms are one hundred percent reliable.

When you injured the ankle, what kind of noise did you hear? A popping or ripping sound is indicative of a sprain. A sprain is the stretching or tearing of ligaments in your ankle. That sound you heard is the sound of your ligaments doing things they shouldn’t. One of my worse injuries sounded like Christopher Walken doing a Spanish accent. It turned out to be a sprain. A cracking noise indicates a break. Even small fractures can be difficult to heal. However, depending on the degree of the fracture and the environment in which you were injured, you may or may not hear a noise.

Next on your list of sprained ankle symptoms is a test of ‘reactionary’ vs. ‘constant’ pain. At the moment of injury immediately get off your feet. Any place will do; a bench, a curb, the ground. Taking pressure off the injury will help you determine the type of pain you are experiencing. Reactionary pain is experienced when you move the injured area. For example, placing your foot on the ground, moving your ankle in different directions, or touching the area are all simple tests. If you are only experiencing discomfort from the initial injury, and pain comes only when moving or touching the injured site, this is probably indicative of a sprain. However, complete tearing of a ligament could result in NO PAIN or EXTREME PAIN, making these sprained ankle symptoms all so confusing. If you are experiencing constant pain, regardless of how much you move or don’t move the area, this is probably a break.

Here is another test of ‘reactionary’ vs. ‘constant’ pain. Sit on the floor facing a firm wall with both feet in front of you and put you injured foot flat against the wall. Push softly against the wall with your injured foot. If you are able to do this, no large bones are fractured or broken. If when you do this you experience a good amount of pain in places other than your ankle, you probably have broken something.

Sprained ankle symptoms my also include a feeling of ankle instability. I know, at this time who wants to put pressure on the injury right? However, a serious ankle sprain resulting from completely tearing a ligament will give you an ‘unstable’ feeling when walking on your ankle. A break will probably make it impossible to walk or you will experience pain in other parts of your body in addition to your ankle.

Another test of sprained ankle symptoms is the “wait and see” test. Initial injury is a very difficult time to diagnose yourself because really, a little pain and a lot of pain is difficult to differentiate, and who really knows what Christopher Walken doing a Spanish accent sounds like. So get home quickly (if you’re able to walk yourself home it’s probably a sprain) and begin the RICE system. If the pain keeps you up at night – it’s probably a break. If after 24 to 48 hours you’re feeling better, it’s probably a sprain. If after 48 hour of RICE you are feeling better, you should start rehabilitation exercises for your ankle to speed up recovery time.

Is Low Dose Birth Control OK For Disabled Women?

Are disabled women getting the best deal when it comes to enjoying sex without risking pregnancy if they don’t want to or are unable to parent a child? According to Dr. Maida Taylor of the University of California, low dose birth control is manageable for lots of disabled women, as are many other types of birth control including the IUD so long as regular monitoring is carried out with adjustments made as necessary.

It DOES depend on the type of impairment a woman experiences, including a mental disability, as to which type of low dose birth control is suitable but the Depo injection or implants are not the only method of birth control that can be considered. Even the low dose birth control pill, in some circumstances, is quite OK.

The Depo-Provera shot [medroxyprogesterone acetate] is popular because it lasts for 3 months, it does not contain estrogen and is highly effective in preventing pregnancy. The injection is given into the woman’s buttocks or the arm muscle. The ‘shot’ does not suit all women as it can cause headaches, bloating/weight gain and irregular bleeding which is tough enough for anyone to manage and I would imagine, the last thing you need if you’re disabled.

Dr. Taylor reviewed several disabilities and diseases and below are her recommendations for which contraceptives are suitable for affected women:

Visual impairment and blindness. – if caused by a form of thrombosis, any birth control containing estrogen may be unsuitable. Dr. Taylor explains “but there is no evidence that hormonal contraception accelerates microvascular disease in diabetics. Since pregnancy has a high probability of accelerating retinal disease, effective contraception is essential for susceptible insulin-requiring diabetics”

Stroke, cerebrovascular accident and head injury – male and female condoms, caps, diaphragms and pessaries are fine. IUDs are good also. Again, Dr. Taylor warns that if cause of the disorder is thrombotic, then a contraceptive that does NOT contain estrogen should be used. As with any form of visual impairment, if a woman has suffered a head injury she should be very cautious about using oral contraceptives (OCs) so as not to cause further damage, even though the risk is small. “Contraceptive implant and progestin injectable might be considered with consultation,” Dr. Taylor said.

Cerebral palsy, polio, and muscular dystrophy -low dose birth control pills and other methods of birth control containing estrogen need to be used with care and preferably only if a woman is fairly active. If a woman is immobile she is at greater risk from blood clots/thrombosis. Diaphragms are good but may not be suitable if a woman’s bladder is not working properly as they can contribute to urine being held back and a subsequent urinary tract infection developing.

Mental retardation – condoms, caps, diaphragms and other barrier methods are not suitable for women who are severely retarded so for maximum effectiveness and convenience of use, Depo injections and implants are provided for these women. Dr. Taylor emphasises “With any and all contraception in this population, consent issues with parents, conservators, or courts may be raised. And there is a need to work with patients so they can comprehend, as much as possible, pregnancy, sexuality, and childbearing.”

Loss of an arm, hand – this disability allows for several types of low dose birth control to be used if desired and barrier methods may be especially convenient and hassle free for the disabled woman but all this needs to be worked out with a partner, who must be willing to assist with a method of birth control that suits them both – so honest chats beforehand are the go here.

Partial loss of movement or impaired movement, paralysis or amputation of a leg – this often means that a woman is confined to a chair or bed and is not active in moving around so her risk of thrombosis is increased. Low dose birth control methods WITHOUT estrogen would not be suitable.

A woman’s ‘contraception career’ lasts decades but does not need to be a burden for disabled women – if low dose birth control pills are used, constant monitoring of the combination with other medications taken and changing levels of hormones should be carried out. The type of low dose birth control that served you well at 29 may not be satisfactory when you’re 35. If debilitation occurs or the progression of a disease brings on immobility or affects the immune system, the method of birth control should be reviewed.

A disabled woman has the right to have a variety of birth control methods ‘designed’ for her throughout her ‘contraception career’. If she is unable to make a choice for herself, surely we have a duty of care to honour and acknowledge her sexuality by making that decision for her so that she can celebrate her womanhood with safety?

Paralysis Ticks – Prevention is Better Than Cure

A very important parasite in east coast Australia is the paralysis tick. This small, insignificant looking parasite will be familiar to many in Australia, it does not occur in the UK. Ixodes holocyclus is the scientific name and they are prevalent mostly in the warmer months but for those in SEQLD that means all year round. We are already seeing tick cases in our practice so for those of you that think you don’t have to worry in winter…think again.

The cornerstone with paralysis tick is PREVENTION. This is very important and there are a number of products available to help with this. Spot – on products like frontline, advantix and others as well as collars can be used. I usually recommend a spot-on every two weeks and a collar, changed every 4-6 weeks. Please remember that no product is 100% reliable and DAILY checking of your pet is essential in the fight against the effects of this parasite.

If you locate a tick on your pet, pull it off straight away. Don’t worry about “leaving the head in” as this does not appear to be an issue. Just get it off asap and watch out for any clinical signs.

Clinical signs of envenomation can be varied. Usual signs can be wobbliness in the legs, coughing or change in voice, vomiting or gagging among other signs. If you notice any of these signs you must get your pet to a vet as soon as possible. If you are in any doubt call your vet for advice.

Treatment involves giving your pet an infusion of tick serum which is a type of antivenom. This will help stop the progression of clinical signs. Your pet then needs time to recover from the effects of both the venom and the antivenom.

Tick venom can have wide reaching effects on your pet and recovery can often be complicated. Each case is different and your vet is best placed to advise you on what is best for your pet.

In summary…prevention is the key, careful checking of your pet daily, quick removal of ticks and seek veterinary advice asap if you are concerned about symptoms. Remember, ticks can kill if left unnoticed and untreated.

Gallstones Alternative Treatment – Vitamin C is Effective

There is much controversy about the treatment of gallstones by surgery methods. A lot of medical practitioners contend that patients need not be subjected to undergo painful and expensive open surgery. In some parts of the world, gallstones alternative treatments have been effective in removing stones.

Gallstones are formed due to the under production of the bile digestive juices in the gallbladder. As a result, the excessive cholesterol that the liver passed on to the gallbladder has overpowered the levels of bile.

This occurrence results to the solidification of bile juices in as much as there is now a higher level of cholesterol present. Other substances that contribute to the stone formation are calcified or hardened bile salts.

Based on these studies, medical researchers and experts have since come up with gallstones alternative treatment which can achieve reversal of the cholesterol effects in the gallbladder.

In order to counter this effect, it is important for the gallbladder to produce more bile to neutralize hardened bile salts as well as dissolve the existing gallstones. One gallstones alternative treatment recommended and said to be proven as effective is by drinking apple and lemon juice mixture.

The concoction contains a lot of Vitamin C which is said to be capable of transforming cholesterol into bile. Hence, the more Vitamin C levels in the gallbladder, the more bile is produced to dissolve the existing stones.

As gallstones alternative treatment, the mixture of apple and lemon should be taken for three consecutive days to be effective and is expected to produce results within three days. The sufferer will be able to flush out his gallstones through his urine on the third day, because by this time the stones would have been dissolved.

Considering the effect of this remedy, an alternative gallstone treatment to be effective should likewise achieve the Vitamins C's ability to flush out the hardened bile liquids. Here are other treatment procedures to consider as your alternative method in eliminating the gallstone formations within your gallbladder:

1. Drinking plenty of water everyday since water aids the liver in flushing out toxins and cholesterol instead of having to deal with excessive levels of fat contents. Water constantly provides a cleansing effect in the liver by removing toxins and other detrimental elements.

2. Refrain from eating meat, junk food, oily food and eggs since they will heighten the cholesterol levels in your liver. The less fatty acid the liver has to deal with, the less cholesterol is transferred to the gallbladder. This will ensure that your alternative gallstone treatment will not be countered by constantly increasing levels of cholesterol.

3. Indulge in vegetarian meals since vegetables are rich in iron, protein, calcium and other vitamins; all have positive influences in promoting bile production. Eat only in small portions to allow for slow digestion and food breaking down processes.

The above discussions and suggestions for alternative gallstone treatments are only for purposes of information. It is still the best practice to consult your doctor in getting your gallbladder diagnosed. Based on this, the doctor can recommend the best treatment options available.

Prescription Medications For Osteoporosis

These days there are many drug treatments available for osteoporosis. The different options can be confusing even if you are under the care of an excellent physician. Many of us want to be active in our treatment planning. This easy guide will give you an overview of osteoporosis drug therapies. Some of these drugs are prescribed to both osteoporosis patients and people with a low bone density condition called “osteopenia”.

Knowing how bones work is a key to understanding osteoporosis medications. Bones cells are constantly breaking down and being replaced by new cells. Bone-forming cells are called “osteoblasts” and bone-destroying cells are called “osteoclasts”. When we have osteoporosis, bone breakdown is faster than bone growth. Medications help turn this process around by slowing bone breakdown or promoting bone growth.

There are two types of osteoporosis medications: antiresorptive drugs and anabolic drugs. Antiresorptive drugs slow down the process of bone breakdown. An anabolic drug increases the rate of bone growth. The only drug to be approved in the anabolic category is Teriparatide.

Following is a brief introduction to osteoporosis medications:

  • BISPHOSPHONATES: Drugs in this category include Alendronate Sodium (Fosamax®), Ibandronate Sodium (Bonival®), Risedronate Sodium (Actonel®), and Zoledronic Acid (Reclast®). These drugs are used for prevention and treatment. They slow bone breakdown by attaching to bone surfaces. These drugs are prescribed to post-menopausal women, men, and people taking steroid medications.
    SERMs: SERMs stands for “Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators”. Raloxifene (Evista®) is a SERM that is prescribed to postmenopausal women for osteoporosis treatment and prevention. Raloxifene acts like estrogen in maintaining bone density and reducing the risk of spinal fractures. It provides some of the positive effects of estrogen without some of the negative side effects, such as risk of breast cancer.
  • HORMONE THERAPY (HT): There are many brands of estrogen/progesterone therapy, commonly prescribed to relieve symptoms of menopause. HT is used to treat or prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. HT slows bone breakdown by increasing estrogen levels.
  • CALCITONIN: Drugs in this category include Fortical® and Miacalcin®. Calcitonin is a hormone made by the thyroid gland that controls bone destroyer cells. It slows bone loss and helps prevent spinal fractures. It is prescribed only to persons with osteoporosis, usually to women who are at least five years beyond menopause.
  • TERIPARATIDE: Teriparatide (Forteio®) is the only bone-forming medication. It is a type of parathyroid hormone, prescribed to men and postmenopausal women with at high fracture risk. Your risk of fracture is considered high when you have a recent fracture and your bone density T-score is less than -3.0. Teriparatide cannot be taken for more than 18 to 24 months.

Use this guide to do further research and to help you ask questions. Having an overview of prescription medications will help you to understand your doctor’s recommendations. Choosing the right treatment is a process. You may have to try different drugs and dosages before you find the best approach for you.

Ears and Hearing – 7 Myths Debunked!

Myth: To clean my ears, only cotton swabs, keys, or my fingers work

Truth: Do not put anything in your ear that is smaller than your elbow

Many people think that ears must be cleaned like our bodies to remain healthy. While ears do need to be kept clean, they actually clean themselves. How? The skin of the ear canal (cerumen) migrates outward and acts as a protector of the delicate eardrum. Many times, prodding, poking, or picking at this material pushes it back in, causing blockage and potential temporary hearing loss – or even accidental puncture of the eardrum. In that event, a serious injury to the hearing bones can result in the need for emergency surgery.

And if itchy ears are often incorrectly relieved using cotton swabs the repeated scratching can cause a thickening of the ear canal, much like a callous. This pushes wax even deeper into the ear canal.

But some ear canals don’t remove the wax like they are supposed to – they are too narrow, so the natural cleaning process cannot do its job. In this case, ear wax accumulates. So how do you know if your ears are cleaning themselves properly?

If your ears are not clean, they may feel gummy and you may be tempted to grab that cotton swab or key. And if wax completely obstructs your ear canal, you may experience hearing loss. But don’t take matters into your own hands! Visit your ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) doctor, who can safely remove the wax build-up.

But if you want to try alleviating the wax at home, gently clean the outer portion of your ear canal with a wet washcloth. If your ear still feels blocked, you should call your doctor and have the cerumen removed.

The next best thing is to gently irrigate the ear canal with 3% hydrogen peroxide, using a small rubber ear syringe. Then dry the ear canal with a hair dryer set on a medium temperature; hot temperatures can cause temporary dizziness due stimulation of the balance canals.

Myth: If my ear hurts, I must have an infection

Truth: Pain is usually caused by something less severe

One major cause of ear pain is inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ joint lies adjacent to the ear canal. Because of this close proximity, many of the same pain nerves are shared.

Swimmer’s ear (External Otitis) is another common cause of ear pain. It’s the result of the ear canal becoming and staying wet. This warm, wet, and dark environment is the perfect place for bacteria and fungus to live and multiply, causing an infection.

Another cause of ear pain is otitis media, an infection in the middle ear. This infection occurs after an upper respiratory infection reaches the middle ear, via the Eustachian tube.

Neuralgia, an inflammation of the nerves around the ear, can cause excruciating pain that feels like jabbing or stabbing inside the ear.

So how do you know what’s causing your ear pain?

TMJ is indicated if you press on the jaw joint while opening and closing the mouth and its hurts or is tender. A swimmer’s ear infection may be your problem if gently pulling on your outer ear hurts.

Otitis media and neuralgia are generally accompanied by sharper pain originating deeper in your ear. Otitis media is normally accompanied by pus draining into your ear canal through a perforation in the ear drum.

By now you’re wondering, Can I treat any of these problems myself?

Although TMJ inflammation should be managed by a dentist, you can temporarily relieve the discomfort by eating a soft diet; placing a warm heating pad on the affected jaw joint twice daily; or by taking anti-inflammatory medications. But if the pain still persists after a few days of home treatment, you must consult a dentist that specializes in TMJ pain.

Swimmer’s ear can be prevented by filling the ear canals with rubbing alcohol after every swim. Let it site for a couple of minutes, then draining the alcohol and dry your ears with a hair dryer set on medium temperature. Once swimmer’s ear infection occurs there can be a tendency for recurrence when the ear gets wet. Then it is even more important to treat your ears with alcohol after each and every swim.

If your pain is significant and comes from deep in your ear, you should seek treatment by an ENT doctor right away. Using special instruments, your doctor will clean the ear canal and prescribe antibiotics (either drops or oral medication) to eliminate any infection.

Myth: Popping my ears is dangerous

Truth: Popping your ears is rarely dangerous

While you can have problems with your Eustachian tubes – the part of your ear that “pops” – rarely is the act of popping them the problem.

So what are some of the problems you might encounter with your Eustachian tubes?

One is blocked Eustachian tubes. The Eustachian tubes connect the middle ear cavity with the throat, aerating the middle ear when you swallow and draining mucous and secretions from the middle ear into the throat. Often a cold or sinus infection will cause the Eustachian tube membranes to swell. When this happens the Eustachian tube is not able to function, causing pressure and stuffiness in your head. Your

hearing may feel diminished, and fluid may accumulate in the middle ear.

Another potential problem is abnormally open (patulous) Eustachian tubes. This is an uncommon cause of ear stuffiness and usually occurs when someone loses weight. When your Eustachian tube is open it can cause the sensation that your voice is loud or has an echo (autophony), like you are inside a drum. It may also cause a sensation of hearing air “whoosh” when you breathe through your nose.

So how can you tell if you have blocked or open Eustachian tubes?

Pinch your nostrils closed and blow hard against them. If you cannot “pop” your ears, your Eustachian tubes are likely blocked by swelling of the mucus membranes. However, if you suddenly feel pressure relief you’ve probably just opened your Eustachian tubes and equalized the middle ear pressure with ambient air pressure.

This maneuver can be performed many times throughout the day to relieve blocked Eustachian tubes. There is no danger of harming your ears with this technique, but if you get dizzy you should see your ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) doctor.

To diagnose open Eustachian tubes, sit down and bend forward completely at the waist, putting

your head between your legs. If the pressure and stuffiness in your ear disappears you have open Eustachian tubes. Lying flat in bed will relieve the symptoms of open Eustachian tubes.

If popping your ears, bending forward from a seated position, or lying down do not relieve your ear pressure, your problem may be due to increased inner ear pressure and should be evaluated by an ear specialist.

If you have blocked Eustachian tubes over-the-counter medications such as decongestant nasal sprays can help shrink the membranes, relieving pressure in the ears. Flying in an airplane, skin diving, or

scuba diving should be avoided if there is blockage of the Eustachian tube, as landing or descending in the water will result in severe pain in the ears. If you must fly, taking Afrin® nasal spray (two sprays to each nostril) and a 30mg Sudafed® tablet one hour before descending. This will help open your Eustachian tubes, helping prevent ear pain. If symptoms persist, you should contact your ENT doctor.

Depending on the cause of your open Eustachian tube, your ENT doctor may recommend several different treatments. Treatments for increased inner ear pressure include prescribing diuretics or office surgery to deliver steroids to the inner ear.

Myth: Loud noises won’t hurt me because I’m young

Truth: Loud noises can damage anyone’s hearing, no matter their age

Damage to the ear can occur from exposure to loud noises like guns fire near the ear, industrial sounds, lawn and construction equipment, and music played too loud – especially via headphones.

But how do you know if you have hearing damage? If you experience ringing, stuffiness, or hearing loss after noise exposure, damage to the delicate cells of the cochlea has probably occurred.

Unfortunately, most hearing damage is permanent, so the best treatment is prevention. Ear protection should be worn in any noisy situation:

o loud work environments

o when using power tools and noisy yard equipment

o during firearm use

o when riding a motorcycle

o when exposed to loud music at concerts

But hearing protection doesn’t have to be bulky or ugly. Today’s ear plugs are practically invisible, and ear muffs can blend in if worn in the winter. Custom molded ear plugs are also available to ensure

an optimal fit in the ear canal. Additionally, some personal listening devices have volume limits, preventing excess noise exposure.

The good news is that for some cases a short course of steroids may reverse acute hearing damage.

Myth: There is no treatment for tinnitus; I just have to live with it

Truth: Many treatments can help tinnitus sufferers

Tinnitus is a very common hearing-related complaint – upwards of 50 million American adults have some degree of the hearing disorder. Tinnitus occurs as the little hair cells in the cochlea die, causing noise or ringing in the ear.

Although this ringing is not a serious problem, people experiencing it should be evaluated by an ENT doctor because it can indicate a more serious medical problem. When you are evaluated for tinnitus, your physician will perform special tests to determine the cause and recommend treatment if necessary.

So, what kinds of treatments are available for those with tinnitus? Currently several treatment options exist, including

o Masking tinnitus with outside noise such as music or TV. If the tinnitus is accompanied by hearing loss, a hearing aid can increase outside noise, reducing the intensity of tinnitus.

o Low-salt diet.

o Electrical stimulation.

o Stress reduction.

o Bio feedback.

o Zinc, Ginkgo, garlic pills, and supplements including high level antioxidants.

o Brain retraining, in which a therapist works with you to train your brain not to hear the tinnitus.

Also, knowing that tinnitus is not a life-threatening problem may help you cope.

Myth: My parents went deaf, so I am bound to go deaf, too

Truth: Heredity is a factor in hearing loss, but not a certainty

Hearing loss is a combination of many factors: exposure to loud sounds, general health, heredity, and age. We are genetic products of our family, and hearing loss is no exception. And as we age, the tiny hair cells in the cochlea that lie closest to the middle ear begin to die, resulting in a high-tone hearing loss. But no one factor plays a more influential role than the others, so no one is “doomed to deafness.”

Normally a gradual process, hearing loss can occur quite suddenly – even overnight. If you suddenly notice that you can’t hear out of one ear, it is a medical emergency. Put the phone up to your ear; if you can’t hear the dial tone, see an ENT specialist as soon as possible. Hopefully it is just ear wax blocking the ear canal, but you need to visit an ENT to find out for sure.

Signs of more gradual hearing loss include

o Needing to turn the TV or radio turned up louder than other family members

o Asking people to repeat themselves all the time

o Your spouse says you don’t listen to him or her

o Sounds muffled, or distant

o You have trouble hearing from a cellular telephone

While hearing loss is certainly disappointing and inconvenient, it can be treated. Examination by an ENT doctor is necessary to make the correct diagnosis. This usually includes a hearing test and other special ear tests.

Once a diagnosis is made, treatment can begin. Treatment for sudden deafness is done with steroids either taken orally or placed directly into the ear. Additionally, a hearing device may be needed.

Treatment for the more common, progressive hearing loss that can reduce symptoms and effects includes a four-part program of healthy life style changes, including

o At least 30 minutes of daily exercise,

o Vitamin and mineral supplements,

o A healthy diet of veggies, fruits, whole grains, fish and lean meat, and

o Protection from excessive noise exposure.

Myth: There is no treatment for deafness in one ear

Truth: Two successful treatments exist for hearing loss in just one ear

There are two hearing devices that allow a person to hear from a deaf earCROS and BAHA.

CROS (Contra Lateral Routing of Signals) or Bi-CROS is a hearing aid that uses microphones to pick up sound from the deaf ear and transmit it to the hearing ear. As a result, the CROS aid allows sound to be heard from all directions, and even allows a telephone to be used in the deaf ear.

BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid), or bone stimulator, picks up sound from the deaf ear and transmits it through the skull to the hearing ear. Minor surgery is required to implant a titanium screw behind the ear, serving as an anchor for the external processor, which holds the device. The results are excellent.

What Causes Back Pain Between The Shoulder Blades?

Back pain is something that strikes virtually every person around the world, both men and women of all ages. It’s said over 80% of us will seek severe back pain relief at one time or another.

Causes…

While not as common as lower back discomfort, many people feel back pain between the shoulder blades (the scapulas). This upper back pain between the shoulder scapula can be caused by a number of factors:

  • Being physically fit and trying to look good have never been more prevalent so… many young people spend a lot of time exercising. Often they are over-doing it, doing the exercises incorrectly, not properly warming up and stretching. This causes the muscles that run from their neck down between their shoulder blades to get strained very easily. Exhaustion of the muscles causes back pain between the shoulder blades too, so don’t push beyond your effective limits.
  • Many of us are spending more and more time in the office, sitting in uncomfortable office chairs (with bad posture), taking phone calls (with the phone propped between the ear and shoulder), lifting, twisting, bending and doing tasks that cause our bodies to tire out. When your body gets tired, usually your back begins to sag and back pain between the shoulder blades sets in.
  • As mentioned, those of us with poor posture tend to slouch – which can cause pain throughout the back, not just in the upper back area.
  • Men and women who are overweight and women with above average sized breasts tend to have back pain between their shoulder blades thanks to the added strain of the weight placed on their spinal column.
  • Add in potential medical disorders and diseases such as a pinched nerve, disc herniation, disc degeneration, and others… and the muscles in the upper back don’t stand a chance.

These things are only a few things that can be the causes of back (thoracic) pain, but they can cause discomfort ranging from mildly annoying to seriously painful, chronic and debilitating.

It is important to do what you can to address and alleviate these issues. We have enough to worry about under normal circumstance without adding in pains from back issues.

First… as always, before you seek upper back pain relief and start self treatment, see your doctor to get a diagnosis of what is creating your particular issue.

Causes for an upper back problem and back pain between the shoulder blades are many and varied and you need to find out what condition is causing your aches before you do anything that could make them worse.

Be sure to follow whatever advice your therapist recommends. I’m constantly amazed at how many of us pay for professional advice – and then ignore it.

There are back pain exercises to help loosen the muscles and strengthen your back, but those who do exercise need to ensure that they don’t overexert themselves when cycling, running, training on the elliptical machine, or other activities. Make it a point to get a good stretch both before and after exercise.

Those spending a good amount of time in the office need to ensure that they have comfortable chairs to sit on. A poorly designed chair is more of a common cause of chronic back pain between the shoulder blades than most of us realize.

I like seeing a shapely leg as much as the next man, but many women wear heels that are too high, and the overly high heels contribute to their back aches. (As well as damage the feet.) Wearing comfortable shoes in the workplace is vital for back pain relief. Save the heels for a night on the town.

Poor posture can easily lead to a herniated cervical disc. It is easy to slouch, but correcting your posture will go a very long way towards avoiding potentially severe back problems.

If you suspect that you have poor posture, take a look in the mirror to check it out. If your chin is more than 2 inches in front of your chest, then you are probably hanging your too head low and slouching.

Roll your shoulders back and lift your head towards the roof. Straighten your back and lift your chest to correct your posture. You need to make the effort to walk around with good posture, it may be a hassle, but it’s easier than surgery, years of physical therapy, medication and trips to your physician.

Those with large breasts should ensure that they wear bras that offer sufficient support. Larger breasted women can visit a bra specialist to obtain information on what kind of bra is the best to provide the necessary support..

Taking these small steps to change can actually help you reduce the amount of back pain between the shoulder blades that you experience, and you may find that these few small changes are the difference between acute discomfort and a pain-free life.

What To Do When You Have A Sore Throat

A sore throat can be severely painful and very uncomfortable. Most commonly a sore throat is caused by a low immune system. Having a low immune system allows the body to be infected by a virus which causes the painful throat. Also a sore throat can be caused by bacteria.

Many people have a infected throat at least 2 or 3 times per year. The infection is more common among children because younger people have usually lower immune systems that fight away the germs. Usually the problem is not very serious and goes away in a week without any medical treatment.

The salt remedy

Take one warm cup of water. Make sure the water is not very hot. Add one tea spoon full of salt into the cup. Stir until the salt is dissolved. Then take a big sip of the salt water and gargle your throat. Make sure you do not drink it! Do this about 5 times.

The amazing benefits of honey

Warm tea with honey is one of the most common home remedies that you can use. Take any regular tea you like and add a spoon of honey and mix it. Honey relieves the pain in your throat and has also the ability to fight the bacteria in your throat. Adding peppers or lemons will also help.

What are the best nutrients to help you

The best nutrients to help your immune system and fight against the bacteria are selenium, vitamin C, vitamin B and zinc. Zinc tablets are very effective when you let them dissolve in your mouth. Zinc helps to relieve the pain and lower the inflammation in your throat.

Drink a lot of water

Drinking a lot of liquids prevents you from getting dehydrated. Drinking plenty of waters helps you boost your immune system. Water that you drink helps the body to flush away all the bad elements inside of it. That's why when you are sick the most important remedy is to drink a lot of fluids. For a sore throat especially hot fluids help you get re-hydrated and relieve some of the pain in your throat.

Other good remedies are: chamomile tea, which has important anti-inflammatory effects. You can drink and gargle it. Eating pineapples and oranges help you boost your immune system because they contain a lot of vitamin C. Even raw almonds have been found to contain sustenance that help to relieve a sore throat.

Activities that will help you

If you feel the need then cough. Holding it in does not make it any better. Taking a hot shower might even help. The hot steam can help clear your sinuses. Try to stay upright and not slouched over, because that will stop a lot of the congestion. The most important thing is to sleep. Sleeping is the only activity that actually recovers your body. Also you can use a humidifier that adds moisture to your room. Dray air makes your sore throat worse.

The Tonsils – Gateway to Defend the Body

Tonsils are lymphatic glands located to the top of the throat at the back of the mouth and can be seen when you open the mouth. Tonsils are part of the natural body defense as they help to filter bacteria and prevent them from entering the body that is why tonsillitis occurs frequently in the children.

Symptoms of tonsillitis:

1 – Sore throat that lasts more than 48 hours and might be severe at times.

2 – Difficulty in swallowing that prevents the child sometimes from even drinking fluids.

3 – Fever that might reach 40 degrees and can be associated with chills.

4 – Headaches, weakness, lack of appetite and sound changes.

5 – Sometime, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Signs of tonsillitis (found by the doctor):

1 – Swollen tonsils, which can sometimes be very severe.

2 – Redness of the tonsils with white patches of pus on them.

3 – Swelling and tenderness of the cervical lymph nodes.

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis can be done easily by examining the mouth by using tongue blade to depress the tongue that way the doctor can see the swollen tonsils with the white patches of pus and redness on them. Sometimes, the doctor may find redness in the throat as well. To confirm the cause of the inflammation the doctor need to take a swab sample from the tonsils and the throat and send it to the lab.

Complications:

1 – Serious complications may occur as a result of inflammation of the tonsils like the spread of inflammation to the area around the tonsils and the formation of what is called peritonsillar abscess.

2 – Dehydration due to difficult or painful swallowing.

3 – Airway obstruction.

4 – Some complications may occur as a result of infection with cocci bacteria; these complications include rheumatic fever and inflammation of the liver and kidney.

The treatment:

1 – tonsillitis that results from infection with Streptococcus bacteria needs to be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, ampicillin or erythromycin.

2 – Antipyretics such as acetaminophen and Ibuprofen.

3 – Gargling with warm salt water.

4 – Taking fluids frequently.

5 – Rest.

Tonsils Excision:

The actual Indications to tonsillectomy (tonsils removal) are few. The parents often complain of recurrent tonsillitis and forget that the tonsils were created to get infected because they defend the body against the bacteria, But the doctors may resort to a tonsillectomy in the following cases:

1 – Oral obstruction and swallowing difficulty caused by the continuing and large swelling of the tonsils.

2 – Recurrent peritonsillar abscess.

3 – Recurrent cervical supportive lymphadenitis.

4 – Suspicion of a presence of a tumor in the tonsils, especially when the swelling occurs in one tonsil or when the swelling progresses rapidly.

The complications of excision:

1 – Dry throat for Five days on average.

2 – Ear pain and inflammation of the larynx.

3 – Bad breath.

4 – Severe hemorrhage sometimes.

A final word:

Tonsils are considered part of the means of defense in the body. The tonsils of the children are subjected to inflammation frequently. It is not recommended to remove the tonsils unless the swollen tonsils are very large and interfering with swallowing, or if the doctor suspected the presence of malignant disease there.

PCOS and Hair Loss – Natural Therapies Can Restore Scalp Hair

Excessive scalp hair loss is a severe challenge to a woman’s self image and her standing in business and society. Although we usually think of balding as a man’s problem, women actually make up forty percent of the people in North America experiencing the distress of excessive hair loss. Many women losing significant scalp hair have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Safe, effective, natural therapies that treat the hormone imbalances related to PCOS will also restore your hair to optimal health. I am delighted to offer you these indispensable tools to help you restore your hair and your health.

Women experiencing hair loss lose ground fast in today’s world. At work and in her personal life a woman’s appearance has much to do with her financial and social success. Men may also prefer not to go bald. But since balding is known to be caused by high levels of testosterone, a bald man may be credited with extra virility. There is no such happy story for balding women. The appearance of thinning scalp hair translates to a significant loss of personal power for women.

The medical community in general treats women’s hair loss as a minor health issue. Most physicians have little inclination to address the emotional distress you feel. In many cases physicians treat balding as if it were “only” a vanity issue; they may not recognize hair loss as a red flag pointing to serious metabolic conditions, including PCOS.

The psychological pain of hair loss and its effect on our sense of empowerment is as devastating as any disfiguring disease. If you are a balding woman, your hair loss is a life altering condition with profound consequences for your health. Getting your hands on the wheel and driving yourself toward a solution for hair loss is the first step toward reviving your sense of personal strength and power. If hair loss is part of PCOS, the effort you make to restore your physical health will also renew scalp hair growth.

You need expert help to properly diagnose the cause of your hair loss. Hair loss that could have been merely temporary may become permanent if you have a delayed or incorrect diagnosis. Misdiagnoses is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of hair loss for women. The information I present here will help you identify the cause of your hair loss and ideally lead you and your doctors to proper treatments for your kind of hair loss, sooner rather than later.

Alopecia is the medical term for excessive or abnormal hair loss. There are different kinds of alopecia. What all hair loss has in common, whether it’s in men or women, is that it is always a symptom of something else that’s gone wrong. Your hair will remain on your head where it belongs if hormone imbalance, disease, or some other condition is not occurring. That condition may be as simple as having a gene that makes you susceptible to male or female pattern baldness. Or it may be as complex as a whole host of diseases. Hair loss may be a symptom of a short-term event such as stress, pregnancy, or a side effect of certain medications. In these situations, hair grows back when the event has passed. Substances including hormones and medication can cause a change in the hair growth patterns. When this happens, growth and shedding occur at the same time. Once the cause is dealt with, hairs go back to their random pattern of growth and shedding, and balding stops.

Alopecia: A Common Problem

Today more women than ever are experiencing hair loss — and the causes are typically quite different that what causes balding in men. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, some 30 million women in the United States are experiencing some degree of distressing scalp hair loss. The most common causes of scalp hair loss in women can include:

Mineral or vitamin deficiency – zinc, manganese, iron, vitamin B6, biotin

Essential fatty acid deficiency from a low calorie diet or eating disorders

Protein deficiency, as is common with vegetarian diets

Anemia from a low iron diet, poor digestion or any excess blood loss

Eating disorders, like anorexia, bulimia, even ‘yo-yo’ dieting; also compulsive or excessive physical exercise

Drug toxicity, for instance anesthesia with surgery or chemotherapy for cancer

Many prescription medications have hair loss as a potential ‘side’ effect, including bromocriptine, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, amphetamines, anti-cholesterol agents

Severe infections, either viral or bacterial

Severe stress, either a sudden extreme event or persistent, long term challenges

Any hypothalamic or pituitary disorder

Any liver, thyroid gland, adrenal gland or ovarian disorder, including PCOS

Any sex steroid imbalance such as low progesterone, estrogen dominance, excess testosterone or insulin

Starting or stopping any hormone therapy, including birth control pills, menopausal hormone replacement treatment or thyroid hormone replacement

Any natural event that causes big hormone changes, like child birth, breastfeeding and weaning or menopause

Perms, hair color, bleach, improper brushing/combing, pulling on the hair

Autoimmune disease such as lupus or multiple sclerosis

Allergies to foods, medicines, environmental chemicals or topical drugs

Recent hepatitis B shot. If you had a Hep B vaccine since this hair loss started, there may be a connection.  An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (278:117-8, 1997) links the Hep B vaccine to increased incidence of alopecia in women.

How does an individual woman figure out why she is losing too much of her hair? To understand that, it’s important to understand how hair grows.

Hair Grows in Cycles  

Scalp hair grows about one-half inch per month. An individual strand of hair will grow for two to six years. Eventually each hair “rests” for a while, and then falls out. Soon after, that follicle will start growing a new strand. A healthy scalp will let about 100 of these cycling hairs fall out every day.

In folks with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, and for women with PCOS, hormones called androgens drive this process. Androgen hormones include testosterone, androsteinedione, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Men make and use relatively large amounts of androgens. Appropriate, smaller amounts of androgens are essential to women’s health as well.

In those who are genetically susceptible, testosterone activates enzymes produced in the hair cell, which then cause it to be converted into the more potent androgen DHT.  DHT then binds with receptors deep within the hair follicle. Eventually, so much DHT builds up that the follicle begins shrinking. It can’t produce new hair reliably. Some of the follicles permanently stop producing new hairs. The end result is significant hair loss. The medical term for this condition is androgenic alopecia. Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase, which is held in a hair follicle’s oil glands. Actually, it’s not the amount of circulating testosterone that is the problem but the amount of DHT clogging up and shrinking scalp follicles, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive.

The process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women. Usually women have a tiny fraction of the amount of testosterone that men make. It seems that for women with hair loss, the actual level of testosterone is not as crucial as are changes in the amount of testosterone she has. A shift in hormone levels triggered by lifestyle or other factors, will cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women. Even when hormone blood levels remain within what doctors consider “normal”, they can become high enough to cause a problem for an individual woman. The levels may not rise at all and still be a problem if you are very sensitive to even normal levels of chemicals, including hormones.

Because our hormones operate through a delicately balanced feedback system, with signals sent via the blood between the brain and body tissue, androgens do not need to be raised to trigger a problem. If the so-called female hormones, (which also are essential to men’s health) are for any reason shifting in relation to androgens, the resulting imbalance can also cause problems, including hair loss.

Hormones are always changing. Testosterone levels in men drop by as much as 10 percent each decade after age thirty. Women’s hormone levels shift with each menstrual cycle, or due to a lack of regular menses, in pregnancies and menopause. Eating disorders, excessive exercise, drugs and environmental toxins can also impact hormone levels.

Keys To Successful Treatment

Treatment of thinning scalp hair must be grounded in changing the habits you may have that support elevated androgens. Diet and exercise are key to maintaining optimal hormone balance. In fact, for women with PCOS, research is clear- there is no drug therapy more effective than proper diet and regular exercise. First, you get your foundational health habits in order; then, specific targeted therapies have the best chance of being effective for you.

Women with PCOS may also have excess coarse dark hair on their face and body. The only way to address the dark, coarse hair that grows out of follicles that have already been altered by excess androgens, is to destroy the follicle with laser or similar therapy. Once a follicle has changed the type of hair it produces, it will not change back. It is crucial to tame the excess androgens and prevent conversion of additional follicles, before investing in a therapy to permanently destroy facial or body hair follicles.

What Causes Women to Lose Too Much Scalp Hair?

For a long time doctors believed that androgenic alopecia was the main cause of balding in both men and women. Now we know that the process that leads to excessive hair loss in women is different. It is called female pattern hair loss.

An important difference between male and female balding is the pattern in which the hair loss occurs. Female pattern hair loss tends to happen as an overall thinning across all areas of the scalp, including the sides and back. Men lose hair from specific spots, like the temple, the crown, that bald spot in the back of the head. Male and female hormone and enzyme receptor sites are also in different areas of the scalp, causing the different gender related loss patterns of hair loss.

A second major difference is that balding in men is usually caused by a man’s genetics and his age, but for women, balding can happen at any age.

Lifestyle Choices, Illness and Medical Treatments Cause Hair Loss

Most women with hair loss have multiple features of their lifestyle, diet and health-related events that contribute. Sex hormone fluctuations are responsible for most female hair loss, including those who have PCOS, a recent pregnancy, menopause, hormone replacement therapy or birth control drug side effects. Chemotherapy for cancer, anti-coagulant drugs, iron- deficiency anemia, autoimmune disease can cause hair loss. Any disease involving hormone producing glands, including the thyroid, the adrenal and pituitary glands can trigger balding in women. It is essential for all women to learn the true cause of their hair loss before engaging any particular treatment.

The complex hormonal changes that accompany polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often result in scalp hair loss. Sometimes hair loss is the first sign that a woman is suffering the metabolic disorder that also causes problems with acne, facial and body hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles and infertility. PCOS is associated with increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Thyroid disorders, anemia, chronic illness or the use of certain medications, particularly any form of hormone replacement therapy or contraceptive prescriptions- should be considered a possible cause of hair loss in women. Autoimmune disorders will result in somewhat different, often less dramatic hair loss known as alopecia areata — an inflammatory condition in which hair comes out in clumps or patches.

Any drop in estrogen levels, as happens after pregnancy, with menopause, or when changing your hormone therapy including birth control pill use, will cause what is called estrogenic alopecia. In contrast to testosterone, estrogen helps scalp hair grow faster and stay on the head longer, resulting in thicker hair. This is the reason women’s hair gets fuller during pregnancy when estrogen levels are quite high, then sheds several weeks after the baby is born.

For women who do not have fertility-related hormone changes, estrogen-deficiency scalp hair loss generally starts around menopause. This form of female hair loss can be the first sign of approaching menopause. Sometimes the alopecia won’t begin until a few months or even years after menstruation has ended. Not all women get noticeable alopecia after menopause but most have a little thinning.

It’s not uncommon to have multiple factors involved in female hair loss. Many women with PCOS have thyroid problems, usually hypothyroidism (low thyroid function). Not only does hypothyroidism contribute to weight problems, it can also contribute to hair thinning. Some women with PCOS have both an excessively high level of testosterone and an under active thyroid.

If your hair is thinning, you may have heavy metals like lead, mercury or cadmium in your tissues. These poisonous residues saturate our environment. If you have lived near what is, or ever was an industrial or mining site, or lived with someone who works in a polluting industry, you may be contaminated. If you have ever smoked tobacco, you have a lot of cadmium in your body.

The majority of women with androgenic alopecia have diffuse thinning on all areas of the scalp. Some women may have a combination of two pattern types. Androgenic alopecia is caused by a variety of factors tied to the actions of hormones including PCOS, using contraceptives, pregnancy, and menopause. Any blood sugar and insulin hormone imbalance will lead to excess androgens. Women with insulin resistance, from chronic over-eating of refined carbohydrate food, will see more impact from androgens. Insulin resistance is associated with PCOS as well as Type 2 diabetes. Chronic stress that depletes adrenal glands can change the levels of androgens a woman produces as well. This is often the source of problems like infertility, acne and hair thinning in lean, athletic women with PCOS. Heredity may play a role in androgenic alopecia.

Any big event like childbirth or breastfeeding, malnutrition from an alteration in your diet, a severe infection, major surgery, or any extreme stress, can suddenly shift much of the 90 percent or so of your hairs that are in the growing phase or resting phase into the shedding phase. You will see this shift in the rate of hair loss 6 weeks to three month after the stressful event. This is called telogen effluvium. It is possible to lose great bunches of hair daily with full-blown telogen effluvium. Usually this type of hair loss is reversible, if major stressors are avoided. For some women however, telogen effluvium is a mysterious chronic disorder and can persist for months or years, without ever completely identifying all of the triggering factors.

Anagen effluvium happens when the hair follicle cells are so damaged they can not recover or reproduce. This is usually due to toxicity of chemotherapy for cancer. Chemotherapy is meant to destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells. Hair follicles in the growing (anagen) phase, are therefore vulnerable. Anagen effluvium means the hair shaft narrows as a result of damage to the follicle. The shaft breaks off at the narrowing and causes the loss of hair.

Traction alopecia is damage from hairstyles that pull at hair over time (braiding, cornrows, ponytails, extensions). If the condition is detected early enough, you can change your styling practice to be gentler on the follicles, and your hair will regrow.

Hormone contraceptives are a leading cause of distressing hair loss and other symptoms in women. Since the birth control pill first began being used in 1960, oral contraceptives, injections, implants, skin patches and vaginal rings have become the most commonly prescribed forms of birth control.  

Unfortunately, many young women are given contraceptive hormones even when they are not sexually active, as a ‘treatment’ for irregular menses or acne. This is a mistake. This is not a treatment that addresses the underlying cause of problem periods or pimples. Contraceptive hormones will severely complicate a woman’s hormone balance and can lead to many health problems, including significant hair loss and worsening acne.

All contraceptive drugs use synthetic hormones to suppress ovulation. These drugs cause your ovaries to stop working; they are in a kind of ‘sleep’ state. Instead of having your natural cycles result from a dance of signals between your body and your brain, your tissues are subject to synthetic hormones in amounts much larger than your body normally makes.  There are many long and short -term consequences to ovarian suppression. Most women experience side effects using contraceptive drugs, including hair loss either during or several weeks or months after stopping the drug.

An article appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (278:117-8, 1997) linking the Hepatitis B vaccine to increased incidence of balding in women.

Diagnostic Testing

In order to successfully treat hair loss, it is essential to understand why your hair follicles are not healthy. There are diagnostic tests that may help identify the underlying biochemistry that is contributing to your excess hair loss. However, many women with significant chemical imbalances related to their hair loss will find that these test results are within the “normal” range. That’s because in many cases hair loss represents a stage of ill-health that is an early phase of a disease that will eventually fully develop. The lifestyle and dietary habits that eventually cause Type 2 diabetes and heart disease will also cause scalp hair thinning and facial hair coarsening in young women. It is usually many years before these same women have diagnostic tests that reveal they are diabetic or have coronary artery disease. Many of these women have undiagnosed PCOS.

Selective Sensitivity is the underlying problem

Another reason why diagnostic tests may be confusing is because of something called ‘selective sensitivity’ or ‘selective resistance’. It turns out that some body cells are more sensitive than others to the same amounts of hormone. A major complicating factor for some women is that while her muscle and fat may be insulin resistant, other types of organ cells are not.  The pituitary, ovaries, and adrenal glands of an insulin resistant woman are stimulated by higher levels of insulin than is desirable, which causes for instance elevated testosterone. The high levels of androgens in turn increase risk for heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Despite these possible difficulties, it is important to do our best to determine what is and isn’t the cause of a major symptom like persistent excessive hair loss. Diagnostic tests that can help identify the source of your metabolic imbalance are:

The hair pull test is a simple diagnostic test in which the physician lightly pulls a small amount of hair (approx. 100 simultaneously) in order to determine if there is excessive loss. Normal range is zero to three hairs per pull.

Hormone levels: Dehydroepiandrosterone, testosterone, androstenedione, prolactin, sex hormone binding globulin, follicular stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone. It is ideal to sample for FSH and LH on day 19 to 21 of your menstrual cycle, if those days can be identified.

Fasting blood glucose and insulin levels as well as cholesterol and triglyceride levels

A complete blood count plus serum iron, ferritin and total iron binding capacity

Thyroid stimulating hormone plus a thyroid function panel including T3, T4, and T3 % uptake

VDRL to screen for syphilis

A scalp biopsy should be done before choosing surgical transplant

Densitometry, a magnification device, used check for shrinking of the hair shaft.

Conventional Medical Treatments For Hair Loss

You may be very interested in drug therapies of surgery to address the profound distress of excessive hair loss. It is simply human nature to hope for a simple pill or procedure that will permanently free us from our problems. Unfortunately drugs never actually provide a simple solution. Once you swallow a chemical, it is delivered all over your body; it affects your whole body. We cannot control drugs so they have only the effects we want- there are always side effects that are more or less problematic. Using drug therapy means trading one problem for some others. Sometimes this is exactly the right thing to do. Other times it is a personal disaster. Most drugs will act on all your tissues there is a danger of side effects that further damage your health. Topical treatments applied directly to the scalp use the lowest doses, and are the least harmful drug choices.

You will enjoy the best results when you begin any treatment as soon as possible after hair loss begins. Stopping the adverse effects of androgens means you can prevent further hair loss. And you can support regrowth from the follicles that were dormant still healthy. Depending on how the agent you choose works, stopping treatment will result in the hair loss resuming, unless you have also made other changes in your lifestyle that keep androgens at a level that is healthy and not harmful to you.

Below you will find a list of treatments currently being used to treat hair loss in women. Some of these drugs have not been approved by the FDA for this particular application, however they have all been approved for other applications and are used “off label” to treat hair loss. Currently 2% topical Minoxidil is the only FDA approved treatment specifically for female pattern hair loss.

The effectiveness of these agents and methods will vary from woman to woman, but many women have found that using these treatments has made a positive difference in the character of their hair and their positive self-esteem. As always, treatments have the best chance of being effective if they are geared to the cause of the hair loss as well as to triggering hair growth.

Estrogen and progesterone as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), typically prescribed for women undergoing menopause for any reason, is probably the most common systemic form of treatment for androgenic alopecia in women.

Oral contraceptives will decrease the production of ovarian androgens, and thus can be used to treat women’s androgenic alopecia. There are substantial reasons to avoid the use of either synthetic or bio-identical hormone treatments for your hair loss. Some birth control pills actually contribute to hair loss by triggering it or increasing it once it’s been triggered by something else. Any individual woman may have a selective sensitivity to any hormone combination- what is a low androgen effect formula for one woman may be a high androgen effect for another.

I am no longer able to recommend the use of birth control pills or other hormone-based contraception to young women. Decades of evidence suggest there are plenty of known, and possibly as yet unknown health risks associated with the use of ANY from of reproductive hormones, either prescription or over-the-counter forms. It is clear that the benefits of hormonal contraceptives are accompanied by significant risks, including making it much more likely that a woman will experience hormone imbalances that lead to a long list of negative effects. Hormone replacement puts you are risk for:

Depression or other mood disorders; decreased libido

Migraines and headaches

Breast lumps, tenderness and enlargement

Vaginal bleeding between periods

High blood pressure (hypertension)

High cholesterol

Blood clot in the leg, felt as: pain in the calf; leg cramps; leg or foot swelling

Blood clot in the lung, felt as: shortness of breath; sharp chest pain; coughing up blood

Heart attack, felt as: chest pain or heaviness

Sudden loss of vision or vision changes, which can be a sign of a blood clot in the eye

Cerebral vascular accident (a stroke): impaired vision or speech; weakness or numbness in a limb; severe headache

Liver damage, seen as: yellow eyes or skin; dark urine; abdominal pain

Allergic reaction: rash; hives; itching; swelling; difficulty breathing or swallowing

Acne

Bloating, nausea and vomiting

Changes in your eyes that make it more difficult to wear contact lenses

If you chose a hormone prescription for any reason, you should be sure to use only low-androgen content methods. If you have a strong predisposition for genetic hair loss, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease or any female organ cancer in your family I strongly recommend the use of another non-hormonal form of birth control.

Below is a list of birth control pills ranging from lowest androgen index to highest:

Desogen, Ortho-Cept, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Micronor, Nor-Q D, Ovcon-35, Brevicon/Modicon, Ortho Norvum 7/7/7, Ortho Novum 10-11, Tri-Norinyl, Norinyl and Ortho 1/35, Demulen 1/35, Triphasil/Tri-Levien, Nordette, Lo/Ovral, Ovrette, Ovral, Loestrin1/20, Loestrin 1.5/30.

The following hormonal contraceptives have a significant potential of causing hair loss or making it worse:

Progestin implants, such as Norplant, are small rods surgically implanted under your skin. The rods release a continuous dose of progestin to prevent ovarian function.

Progestin injections, such as Depo-Provera, are given into the muscles of the upper arm or buttocks.

The skin patch (Ortho Evra) is pasted onto your shoulder, buttocks, or other location. It releases progestin and estrogen continuously to prevent your ovaries from producing normal cycles.

The vaginal ring (NuvaRing) is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina. This method releases the  lowest amounts of progestin and estrogen.

Minoxidil 2% Topical Treatment – Minoxidil seems to be more effective for women than men, for increasing scalp hair growth. The manufacturers of minoxidil recommend women use 2% minoxidil. There is a 5% solution available that has been tested and found safe enough for men. Because the makers of minoxidil have not invested in the expense of gaining FDA approval for promoting 5% minoxidil for use by women, it must be prescribed and used under a physician’s supervision. Small clinical trials on 5% minoxidil for women show that the 5% solution is in fact more effective in both retaining and regrowing hair than the 2 % solution.

Spironolactone (Aldactone) is a potassium-sparing diuretic used to treat high blood pressure and swelling. Spironolactone slows the production of androgens in the adrenal glands and ovaries. It prevents DHT from binding to receptor sites in the hair follicles.

Cimetidine (Tagamet) is a histamine blocker, approved to treat digestive tract ulcers. It prevents the stomach from producing digestive enzymes. Cimetidine also has been shown to block DHT from binding to hair follicle receptor sites.

Cyproterone acetate is used to reduce sexual aggression in men. Cyproterone acetate blocks DHT at hair follicle receptors. It has significant toxicity and long term side effects and is not available in the US.

Ketoconazole is a prescription topical treatment. It is primarily used as an antimicrobial for treating skin fungus. It suppresses production of androgens by adrenal glands, testicles and ovaries. Nizoral shampoo contains 2% ketoconazole. There is an over-the-counter version available. It has 1% active ingredient and is not as effective as prescription strength.

Finasteride is a drug that inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that deactivates DHT. It is sold as Proscar to treat prostate enlargement in men. Sold as Propecia it is approved by the FDA for male balding. Women should not take it if they are pregnant or might become pregnant because of the risk of feminization effects on a male fetus.        

Surgical Implants

Since hair restoration surgery is an option for the vast majority of the balding men, women may want to consider it. However, the type of hair loss most women suffer from makes hair transplants a bad idea.

Few women have the type of hair loss that make them good candidates for a surgical solution. Most men lose hair in well-defined areas, for instance the receding forehead or the classic round spot on the top of the skull. Little clumps or plugs of hair are removed from areas where healthy follicles are stable and plentiful, and these are transplanted to other areas of the head. Women more often experience an overall thinning across their whole scalp, including the sides and back. Most women have few reliably stable donor sites. Offering to transplant hair from unstable donor sites is medically unethical and women must not allow their distress about balding to get in the way of a cool- eyed look at the rationale behind treatment options offered.

Are any women good candidates for hair transplant? Yes, some.  A small percentage, 2% to 5% of women will have the type of hair loss that will benefit from this type of procedure. They are:

Women who have suffered hair loss due to non-hormonal causes, like traction alopecia.

Women who have scalp scars from some kind of wound or cosmetic surgery and want to repair hair loss around the incision or injury sites.

Women who have healthy and stable donor sites along with balding in a distinct pattern, like a receding hairline or thinning on the very top of the head.

Natural Remedies for Women’s Hair Loss

Safe, effective natural therapies are available to help you restore scalp health and increase hair growth. Like all natural therapies, in order to be maximally effective, it is essential to work with you as an individual. Some remedies will be more useful to you than others, depending on your unique, personal physical, mental and emotional health status. It is always important to spend your health care dollars well. I offer a consultation service to help you choose and make best use of the available options for treatment. Please visit your local ND to find out how to benefit from a personal consultation. You will receive recommendations for specific natural therapies, designed for your unique health status, to help you restore your health, and your scalp hair to it’s fullest and most enjoyable beauty.

Treating Diabetes and Sciatica

According to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, over 8% of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes. This number is on the rise, with the CDC reporting that a third of children born in 2000 are expected to develop the disease at some point in their lives. Sedentary lifestyles and poor diets are responsible for the increasing rate of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is by far the most prevalent. Type 1 occurs due to an immune disorder that leads to the destruction of cells that produce insulin in the body. Type 2 diabetes is associated with either a lack of insulin production or the body’s inability to use insulin properly. Insulin is responsible for moving glucose from the blood into cells. A deficiency of insulin or improper usage thereof causes high levels of glucose to build up in the blood, while cells go without. Type 2 diabetes is a diet-related disease.

Diabetes and Sciatica

One of the many complications that may arise from diabetes is peripheral neuropathy, which is pain, numbness or tingling in the limbs of the body caused by nerve damage. The exact mechanisms aren’t understood, but high blood glucose levels are known to adversely affect nerve function. The 2011 Fact Sheet states that 60-70% of diabetics have some level of nervous system damage. The sciatic nerve, the largest in the body, is often affected by diabetes. It runs from the lumbar spine down to the foot on each side of the body.

Sciatica may be common in diabetics not only because of high glucose levels but because of excess weight. Being overweight is a risk factor both for diabetes and sciatica. Excess pressure on the spine can compress spinal discs, which can cause them to bulge or herniate. The discs may interfere with nerves as they exit the spine.

If you have diabetes and feel either pain, numbness or tingling in the lower back that travels down the leg, you likely have sciatica. Symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst, constant hunger, fatigue and slow healing. If you experience these in conjunction with sciatica symptoms but don’t know if you’re diabetic, it’s a good idea to get tested.

Treating Diabetic Sciatica

The best way to treat sciatica caused by diabetes is to treat diabetes. In our culture, medicine is often seen as the first and last line of defense. However, medication should be seen as a temporary measure while pursuing changes in diet and lifestyle as a more permanent treatment. Losing weight and giving your body foods that are easier to process can reduce or even eliminate your need to use medicine to control diabetes.

The prime focus of any diabetes diet plan is keeping carbohydrate intake low and consistent, since carbs are converted to glucose in the body. It is important to eat only a small amount of carbs at a time and to eat them at regular times each day to prevent a spike in blood glucose levels.

Fat levels must be kept in check as well to ease the burden on the pancreas and liver. Saturated fats should be strictly limited while trans fats should be avoided altogether.

A dietician can help you work out a plan that ensured you get the nutrients your body needs while avoiding unhealthy foods. Light exercise will likely be part of your treatment; adding a 30-minute walk into your day can get your metabolism going and help you lose weight.

Some herbal supplements may help to naturally lower blood sugar levels, but studies on alternative medicine for diabetes are few and far between. Also, when considering a supplement to lower blood glucose, be sure to talk with your doctor; if these supplements are combined with medication, they may cause glucose levels to drop too low. See the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s page at http://nccam.nih.gov/health/diabetes/CAM-and-diabetes.htm for information on supplements for diabetics.

Treating diabetes and the problems it causes requires a commitment to lifestyle changes. While diet and exercise may not be enough to manage your condition initially, they can eventually reduce or eliminate your reliance on medication by enabling your body to function properly on its own.