Heart Diseases – Causes, Symptoms, Types, Prevention & Treatment of Heart Diseases

Beside cancer, heart disease kills more than 2,000 Americans everyday. Approximately 60 million Americans have heart disease.

I. Causes of Heart Diseases
There are many causes of heart diseases. Most of heart diseases are caused by high blood pressure contributor to hardening of the arteries. High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) build up in the arteries as a result of uncontrolled diet with high levels of saturated fat and trans fat. All these add to the formation of atherosclerosis lesions and ever arterial blockage or anything that serves to damage the inner lining of blood vessels and imposes the transport of oxygen and nutrition to the heart can be defined as a risk of heart disease.

II Symptoms of Heart diseases

Here are some early indication of heart disease symptoms:

1. Leg cramps during walking
Leg cramps during exercise may be caused by dehydration. It is important to drink a lot of fluid during exercise. Leg cramps occur when the muscle suddenly and forcefully contracts. The most common muscles to contract in this manner are muscles that cross two joints. Leg cramps during walking might be an indication of heart disease caused by arteries in your leg being clogged up by cholesterol in result of not enough oxygen being delivered to the cells in your leg.

2. Chest pain
Chest pain is caused by blood vessels in the heart temporarily being blocked up. It is also caused by insufficient oxygen supply to the heart muscle or coronary. The persistence of chest pain would be an early indication of heart diseases.

3. Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath (dyspnea) is the major symptom of the left ventricular insufficiency. People with shortness of breath are four times more likely to die from a heart disease related cause than individuals without any symptoms.

4. Headaches
People see sparkling zigzag lines or loss of vision before a migraine attack may be at particular risk of future cardiovascular problems. Usually headaches do not cause heart diseases but a sudden, explosive onset of great pain might be.

5. Dizziness
Dizziness can have many causes including low blood count, low iron in the blood stream and other blood disorders, dehydration, and viral illnesses. Since there are many different conditions that can produce these symptoms, anyone experiencing episodes of different heads or dizziness bought to be checked by your doctor.

6. Palpitations
Palpitations is an extremely common symptom of heart disease. Palpitations are skips in the heart beats and irregular heart beats.

7. Loss of consciousness
It is a common symptom, most people pass out at least once in their lives. However, sometimes loss of consciousness indicates a dangerous or even life-threatening condition such as heart disease so when loss of consciousness occurs it is important to figure out the cause.

There are many more symptoms such as fatigue, memory defects, and changes in skin tone and temperature.

III. Types of Heart Diseases

The heart is a four chambered, hollow muscle and double acting pump that is located in the chest between the lungs. Heart diseases caused by high blood pressure contributions to hardening of the arteries. High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) build up in the arteries as a result of uncontrolled diet with high levels of saturated fat and trans fat. All these add to the formation of atherosclerosis lesions and ever arterial blockage.
There are some major types of heart diseases:

1. Type of heart disease affecting heart chambers

As we mention in the previous article, the heart is a four chambered hollow muscle and double acting pump that is located in the chest between the lungs. Heart diseases caused by high blood pressure contributions to hardening of the arteries. High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) build up in the arteries as a result of uncontrolled diet with high levels of saturated fat and trans fat. All these add to the formation of atherosclerosis lesions and ever arterial blockage.
In this article, we will discuss heart disease affecting the heart chambers.

Heart failure is caused by the heart not pumping as much blood as it should and so the body does not get as much blood and oxygen that it needs. The malfunctioning of the heart chambers are due to damage caused by narrowed or blocked arteries leading to the muscle of your heart.

There are 4 heart chambers as follow:

* The right atrium
* The left atrium
* The right ventricle
* The left ventricle.

Heart diseases affect the heart chambers include:

A. Congestive heart failure
Heart failure is caused by the heart not pumping as much blood as it should and so the body does not get as much blood and oxygen that it needs. The malfunctioning of the heart chambers are due to damage caused by narrowed or blocked arteries leading to the muscle of your heart.

a) Diastolic dysfunction:
The contracting function is normal but there's impaired relaxation of the heart, impairing its ability to fill with blood causing the blood returning to the heart to accumulate in the lungs or veins.

b) Systolic dysfunction:
The relaxing function is normal but there's an impaired contraction of the heart causing the heart to not pump out as much blood that is returned to it as it normally does as a result of more blood remaining in the lower chambers of the heart.

B. Pulmonary heart disease
Pulmonary heart disease is caused by an enlarged right ventricle. It is known as heart disease resulting from a lung disorder where the blood flow into the lungs is slowed or blocked causing increased lung pressure. The right side of the heart has to pump harder to push against the increased pressure and this can lead to an enlargement of the right ventricle.

2. Heart Disease affecting heart muscles
In the case of heart diseases affecting heart muscles, the heart muscles are stiff, increasing the amount of pressure required to expand for blood to flow into the heart or the narrowing of the passage as a result of obstruction blood flow out of the heart.
Heart diseases affecting heart muscles include:

A. Cardiomyopathy
Heart muscle becomes inflated and does not work as well as it should. There may be multiple causes such as high blood pressure, heart valve disease, artery diseases or congenital heart defects.

a) Dilated cardiomyopathy
The heart cavity is enlarged and stretched. Blood flows more slowly through an enlarged heart, causing formation of blood clots as a result of clots sticking to the inner lining of the heart, breaking off the right ventricle into the pulmonary circulation in the lung or being dislodged and transported into the body's circulation to form emboli.

b) Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
The wall between the two ventricles becomes enlarged, obstructing the blood flow from the left ventricle. Sometimes the thickened wall distorts one leaflet of the mitral valve, causing it to leak. The symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting and angina pectoris.

c) Restrictive cardiomyopathy
The ventricles becomes excessively rigid, so it's harder for the ventricles to fill with blood between heartbeats. The symptoms of restrictive cardiomyopathy include shortness of breath, swollen hands and feet.

B. Myocarditis Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscles or the weakened of the heart muscles. The symptoms of myocarditis include fever, chest pains, congestive heart failure and palpitation.

3. Heart disease affecting heart valves

Heart diseases affecting heart valves occur when the mitral valve in the heart narrows, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood from the left atrium into the ventricle.

Here are some types of heart disease affecting heart valves:
a. Mitral Stenosis
Mitral Stenosis is a heart valve disorder that involves a narrowing or blockage of the opening of the mitral valve causing the volume and pressure of blood in the left atrium increases.

b. Mitral valves regurgitation
Mitral regurgitation is the heart disease in which your heart's mitral valve does not close tightly causing the blood to be unable to move through the heart efficiently. Symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation are fatigue and shortness of breath.

c. Mitral valves prolapse
In mitral valve prolapse, one or both leaflets of the valve are too large resulting in uneven closures of the valve during each heartbeat. Symptoms of mitral valves prolapse are palpitation, shortness of breath, dizzy, fatigue and chest pains.

d. Aortic stenosis
With aging, protein collagen of the valve leaflets are destroyed and calcium is deposited on the leaflets causing scarring, thickening, and stenosis of the valve therefore increasing the wear and tear on the valve leaflets resulting in the symptoms and heart problems of aortic stenosis.

e. Aortic regurgitation
Aortic regurgitation is the leaking of the aortic valve of the heart that causes blood to flow in the reverse direction during ventricular diastole, from the aorta into the left ventricle. Symptoms of aortic regurgitation include fatigue or weakness, shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitation and irregular heart beats.

f. Tricuspid stenosis
Tricuspid stenosis is the narrowing of the orifice of the tricuspid valve of the heart causing increased resistance to blood flow through the valve. Symptoms of tricuspid stenosis include fatigue, enlarged liver, abdominal swelling, neck discomfort and leg and ankle swelling.

g. Tricuspid regurgitation.
Tricuspid regurgitation is the failure of the right ventricular causing blood to leak back through the tricuspid valve from the right ventricle into the right atrium of the heart. Symptoms of tricuspid regurgitation include leg and ankle swelling and swelling in the abdomen.

4. Heart disease affecting coronary arteries and coronary veins

The malfunctioning of the heart may be due to damage caused by narrowed or blocked arteries leading to the muscle of your heart as well as blood backing up in the veins. Types of heart disease that affect the coronary arteries and veins include:

A. Angina pectoris
Angina pectoris occurs when the heart muscle does not get as much blood oxygen as it needs. Here are 3 types of angina pectoris:
a) Stable angina
Stable angina is chest pain or discomfort that typically occurs with activity or stress due to oxygen deficiency in the blood muscles and usually follows a predictable pattern. Symptom of stable angina include chest pain, tightness, pressure, indigestion feeling and pain in the upper neck and arm.

b) Unstable angina
Unstable angina is caused by blockage of the blood flow to the heart. Without blood and the oxygen, part of the heart starts to die. Symptoms of unstable angina include pain spread down the left shoulder and arm to the back, jaw, neck, or right arm, discomfort of chest and chest pressure.

c) Variant angina also known as coronary artery spasm
Caused by the narrowing of the coronary arteries. This is caused by the contracting of the smooth muscle tissue in the vessel walls. Symptoms of variant angina include increasing heart rate, pressure and chest pain.

B. Heart attacks known as myocardial infarction or MI
Heart attacks caused by plaque rupture with thrombus formation in a coronary vessel, resulting in an acute reduction of blood supply to a portion of the myocardium. Symptoms of MI include a squeezing sensation of the chest, sweating, nausea and vomiting, upper back pain and arm pain.

C. Heart disease also known as coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease
Caused by arteries hardening and narrowing, cutting off blood flow to the heart muscle and resulting in heart attack. Symptoms of heart disease include shortness of breath, chest pains on exertion, palpitation, dizziness and fainting.

D. Atherosclerosis or hardening of arteries
Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and to other parts of your body. Atherosclerosis is caused by plaques that rupture in result of blood clots that block blood flow or break off and travel to another part of the body. Atherosclerosis has no symptom or warning sign.

E. Silent ischemia.
Ischemia is a condition in which the blood flow is restricted to a part of the body caused by narrowing of heart arteries. Silent ischemia means people have ischemia without pain. There is also no warning sign before heart attack.

5. Heart disease affecting heart lining
Rheumatic heart disease results from inflammation of the heart lining when too much fluid builds up in the lungs leading to pulmonary congestion. It is due to failure of the heart to remove fluid from the lung circulation resulting in shortness of breath, coughing up blood, pale skin and excessive sweating. Heart disease resulting from inflammation of either the endocardium or pericardium is called heart disease affecting heart lining.

Endocardium is the inner layer of the heart. It consist of epithelial tissue and connective tissue. Pericardium is the fluid filled sac that surrounds the heart and the proximal ends of the aorta, vena vava and the pulmonary artery.

a. Endocarditis
Endocarditis, which is an inflammation of the endocardium is caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream and settling on the inside of the heart, usually on the heart valves that consist of epithelial tissue and connective tissue. It is the most common heart disease in people who have a damaged, diseased, or artificial heart valve. Symptoms of endocarditis include fever, chilling, fatigue, aching joint muscles, night sweats, shortness of breath, change in temperature and a persistent cough.

b. Pericardium
Pericarditis is the inflammation of the pericardium. It is caused by infection of the pericardium which is the thin, tough bag-like membrane surrounding the heart. The pericardium also prevails the heart from over expanding when blood volume increases. Symptoms of pericarditis include chest pain, mild fever, weakness, fatigue, coughing, hiccups, and muscle aches.

6. Heart disease affecting electrical system
The electrical system within the heart is responsible for ensuring the heart beats correctly so that blood can be transported to the cells through our body. Any malfunction of the electrical system in the heart causes a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat. The electrical system within the heart is responsible for ensuring that the heart beats correctly so that blood can be transported through our body. Any malfunction of the electrical system in the heart malfunction can cause a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat.

Types of heart disease that affect the electrical system are known as arrhythmias. They can cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly. These types of heart disease include:

a. Sinus tachycardia
Sinus tachycardia occurs when the sinus rhythm is faster than 100 beats per minute before it increases myocardial oxygen demand and reduces coronary blood flow, thus precipitating an ischemia heart or valvular disease.

b. Sinus bradycardia
Sinus bradycardia occurs when a decrease of cardiac output results in regular but unusually slow heart beat less than 60 beats per minute. Symptoms of sinus bradycardia includes a feeling of weightlessness of the head, dizziness, low blood pressure, vertigo, and syncope.

c. Atrial fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that starts in the upper parts (atria) of the heart causing irregular beating between the atria and the lower parts (ventricles) of the heart. The lower parts may beat fast and without a regular rhythm. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include dizziness, light-headedness, shortness of breath, chest pain and irregular heart beat.

d. Atrial flutter
Atrial flutter is an abnormal heart rhythm that occurs in the atria of the heart causing abnormalities and diseases of the heart. Symptoms of atrial flutter includes shortness of breath, chest pains, anxiety and palpitation.

e. Supraventricular tachycardia
Supraventricular tachycardia is described as rapid heart rate originating above the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart causing a rapid pulse of 140-250 beats per minute. Symptoms of supraventricular tachycardia include palpitations, light-headedness, and chest pains.

f. Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia
Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia is described as an incidental rapid heart rate. Symptoms can come on suddenly and may go away without treatment. They can last a few minutes or 1-2 days.

g. Ventricular tachycardia
Ventricular tachycardia is described as a fast heart rhythm that originates in one of the ventricles of the heart. This is a potentially life-threatening arrhythmia because it may lead to ventricular fibrillation and / or sudden death. Symptoms of ventricular tachycardia include light headedness, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath and chest pains.

h.Ventricular fibrillation
Ventricular fibrillation is a condition in which the heart's electrical activity becomes disordered causing the heart's lower chambers to contract in a rapid, unsynchronized way resulting in little heart pumps or no blood at all, resulting in death if left untreated after in 5 minutes.

There are many heart diseases affecting electrical system such as premature arterial contractions, wolf parkinson, etc.

7. Congenital heart disease
There are several heart diseases that people are born with. Congenital heart diseases are caused by a persistence in the fetal connection between arterial and venous circulation. Congenital heart diseases affect any part of the heart such heart muscle, valves, and blood vessels. Congenital heart disease refers to a problem with the heart's structure and function due to abnormal heart development before birth.Every year over 30,000 babies are born with some type of congenital heart defect in US alone. Congenital heart disease is responsible for more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects. Some congenital heart diseases can be treated with medication alone, while others require one or more surgeries.

The causes of congenital heart diseases of newborns at birth may be in result from poorly controlled blood sugar levels in women having diabetes during pregnancy, some hereditary factors that play a role in congenital heart disease, excessive intake of alcohol and side effects of some drugs during pregnancy.

Congenital heart disease is often divided into two types: cyanotic which is caused by a lack of oxygen and non-cyanotic.

A. Cyanotic
Cyanosis is a blue coloration of the skin due to a lack of oxygen generated in blood vessels near the skin surface. It occurs when the oxygen level in the arterial blood falls below 85-90%.
The below lists are the most common of cyanotic congenital heart diseases:
a) Tetralogy of fallot
Tetralogy of fallot is a condition of several congenital defects that occurs when the heart does not develop normally. It is the most common cynaotic heart defect and a common cause of blue baby syndrome.

b) Transportation of the great vessels
Transportation of the great vessels is the most common cyanotic congenital heart disease. Transposition of the great vessels is a congenital heart defect in which the 2 major vessels that carry blood away from the aorta and the pulmonary artery of the heart are switched. Symptoms of transportation of the great vessels include blueness of the skin, shortness of breath and poor feeding.

c) Tricuspid atresia
In tricuspid atresia there is no tricuspid valve so no blood can flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle. Symptoms of tricuspid atresia include blue tinge to the skin and lips, shortness of breath, slow growth and poor feeding.

d) Total anomalous pulmonary venous return
Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR) is a rare congenital heart defect that causes cyanosis or blueness. Symptoms of total anomalous pulmonary venous return include poor feeding, poor growth, respiratory infections and blue skin.

e) Truncus arteriosus
Truncus arteriosus is characterized by a large ventricular septal defect over which a large, single great vessel arises. Symptoms of truncus arteriosus include blue coloring of the skin, poor feeding, poor growth and shortness of breath.

B. Non-cyanotic
Non-cyanotic heart defects are more common because of higher survival rates.
The below lists are the most common of non-cyanotic congenital heart diseases:
a) Ventricular septal defect
Ventricular septal defect is a hole in the wall between the right and left ventricles of the heart causing right and left ventricles to work harder, pumping a greater volume of blood than they normally would in result of failure of the left ventricle. Symptoms of ventricular septal defect include very fast heartbeats, sweating, poor feeding, poor weight gain and pallor.

b) Atrial septal defect
Atrial septal defect is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of your heart causing freshly oxygenated blood to flow from the left upper chamber of the heart into the right upper chamber of the heart. Symptoms of atrial septal defect include shortness of breath, fatigue and heart palpitations or skipped beats.

c) Coarctation of aorta
Coarctation of aorta is a narrowing of the aorta between the upper-body artery branches and the branches to the lower body causing your heart to pump harder to force blood through the narrow part of your aorta. Symptoms of coarctation of aorta include pale skin, shortness of breath and heavy sweating.

There are many more types of non-cyanotic such as pulmonic stenosis, patent ductus arteriorus, and atrioventricular cana. These problems may occur alone or together. Most congenital heart diseases occur as an isolated defect and is not associated with other diseases.

8. Other Types of Heart Diseases

In this article, we will discuss other types of heart diseases that can affect any part of the heart including the following:

* A cardiac tumor can be either malignant or benign

A) Benign tumors
a. Myxoma
Myxoma is a cardiac benign tumor. It is the most common tumor inside of the cavities of the heart and most of them occurring in the left atrium of the heart obstruction the normal flow of blood within the chambers of the heart. Symptoms of Myxoma include paroxysmal dyspnea, weight loss, feverhemoptysis, lightheadedness and sudden death.

b. Rhabdomyomas
Most of rhabdomyomas occur in children or infants and are associated with tuberous sclerosis. It develops in the myocardium or the endocardium and accounts for about one out of every five tumors that originate in the heart causing obstruction of blood flow, valvular insufficiency, and cardiac arrhythmias. Symptoms of rhabdomyomas include palpitations, chest pains, shortness of breath, and nausea.

c. Fibromas
Fibromas develop in the myocardium or the endocardium. These tumors are composed of fibrous or connective tissue and tend to occur on the valves of the heart and may be related to inflammation. Other than seeing or feeling the fibroma, there are no usual symptoms.

d. Teratomas of the pericardium
It is often attached to the base of the great vessels, usually occurring in infants. They are rarer than cysts or lipomas, usually causes no symptoms.

B) Malignant tumors
Malignant tumors that originated elsewhere in the body and spread to the heart are more common than ones that originate in the heart. Malignant heart tumors can originate from any heart tissue. They occur mostly in children.

a. Angiosarcomas
Angiosarcomas account for about a third of all malignant heart tumors and usually start on the right side of the heart. The cause of angiosarcomas is usually unknown and symptoms of angiosarcomas different according to the location of the tumor. Often symptoms of the disease are not noticeable until the tumor is well advanced.

b. Fibrosarcomas
Fibrosarcomas occurs as a soft-tissue mass or as a primary or secondary bone tumor. The 2 main types of fibrosarcoma of bone are
i) Primary fibrosarcoma is a fibroblastic malignancy that produces variable amounts of collagen
ii) Secondary fibrosarcoma of bone arises from a preexisting lesion or after radiotherapy to an area of ​​bone or soft tissue. Symptoms of fibrosarcomas include broken bone, pain, swelling, lump found under skin or bone, frequent urination and urinary obstruction.

c. Rhabdomyosarcomas
Rhabdomyosarcomas are a cancer made up of cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles of the body and are also more common in children. They typically have some type of chromosome abnormality in the cells of the tumor, which are responsible for the tumor formation. Symptoms of rhabdomyosarcomas include bleeding from the nose, vagina, rectum, throat and tingling, numbness, and pain.

d.) Liposarcomas
Liposarcoma normally appears as a slowly enlarging, painless, nonulcerated submucosal mass in a middle-aged person. Symptoms include palpation, weakness, limitation of motion weight loss, fatigue, and lassitude.

* Sudden cardiac death
The victim may or may not have diagnosis of heart diseases, and the death is totally unexpected. Sudden cardiac death is a result from abrupt loss of heart function. The cause of sudden cardiac dealth may be a result of coronary heart disease.

* Hypertensive heart disease
Hypertensive heart disease are caused by high blood pressure that increases the work load of the heart. Overtime the muscles of the heart become thick in result of an enlarged left ventricle and reduced blood pump from the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, swelling in the feet, ankles, or abdomen, fatigue, irregular pulse, nausea and frequent urination at night.

IV. Heart Diseases- Prevention and Treatment

Anything that serves to damage the inner lining of blood vessels and imposes the transportation of oxygen and nutrition to the heart can be defined as a risk of heart disease.
Unhealthy diet is a major cause of heart diseases resulting in the buildup of cholesterol and fat in the inner wall of arteries that narrows the arteries, imposes the circulation and eventually causes heart attacks.

1. Prevention and Treatment of Heart Disease with Diet

To prevent heart diseases, your daily diet should contain:
a) Fiber
Fiber can be soluble or insoluble. As we mentioned in a previous article, soluble fiber can lower your LDL and raise your HDL cholesterol while insoluble fiber has no effect on cholesterol but Promotes regular bowel movements. The intake of fatty foods causes the liver to release bile into the intestines to break down the fat.

b) Reduce intake of saturated fat and trans fat
We know that planned and trans fat are toxins causing cholesterol to build up in the arteries damaging the arterial wall and narrows the arterial passage in result of poor circulation and oxygen transportation to our body in result of high blood pressure as the heart has to work harder than normal in order to provide enough nutrition to the body`s cells. Occasionally, the heart will fail and result in heart diseases. It is recommended that you reduce the intake of animal fat and increase the intake of cold water fish which is the best sources of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that can help your cholesterol levels as well as lowering your blood pressure.

c). Diet high in complex carbohydrates
Vegetables, fruits, some beans and grains contain high amounts of plant pigments known as flavonoids that provide healthy protection against heart diseases. Unfortunately study shows that diets high in complex carbohydrates may increase the release of too much insulin to respond to carbohydrates in the diet. The type and amount of carbohydrate foods may need individual monitoring.

d). Drink half of your body weight of water or juices in ounces
If you weigh 160 pounds then you are require to drink 80 ounces of water or juices to prevent the cells in our body to become dehydrated. Maintaining normal function of our body's cells is a healthy way to normalize high blood pressure.

2. Prevention and Treatment of Heart Disease with natural remedies

Beside foods and herbs, nutritional supplements also play an important role in preventing heart diseases and stroke. Here are some nutritional supplements which have proven record in treating heart diseases:

a. L-Arginine
L-Arginine helps to increase the production of nitric oxide in our body, this has an anti-angina and anti-stress effect upon the arteries enabling the muscles in the arterial walls to relax. L-Arginine also helps to prevent the build up of plaque on the arterial walls. L- Arginne taken either orally or intravenously has been found to prevent and reverse atherosclerosis, improving the functional status of heart failure and increasing blood flow in heart disease patients.

b. L-Carnitine
L-Carnitine working with vitamin E will help the body to recover quickly from fatigue. L-Carnitine helps the body convert fatty acids into energy, which is used primarily for muscular activities throughout the body. When working with vitamin E, L-carnitine will help the body to recover quickly from fatigue and combat heart diseases.

c. Lecithin
Lecithin supplies the body with needed inositol, choline and phosphatidyl choline that help to maintain healthy arteries. Lecithin also helps to reduce plaque in the arteries, lower blood pressure and ameliorate angina pectoris.

d. Niacin
Niacin a B3 vitamin, helps decrees blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides which may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Niacin can only be taken under medical supervision because of it's side effects.

e. Selenium
Selenium deficiency will cause increase in high blood pressure.

f. Taurine
Taurine is an amino acid that acts as an antioxidant helping to fortify cardiac contraction and enhance the outflow of blood from the heart. Intake of taurine will reduce the risk of congestive heart failure and arteriosclerosis.

g. Calcium and potassium
Calcium and potassium deficiency may result in heart palpitation.

h. Magnesium
Magnesium helps to improve blood circulation by permitting the muscles in the arterial wall to rest.

i. Lutein
Lutein is one of the carotenoids, yellow and orange pigments found in many fruits and vegetables. Lutein supplementation has already been proven in helping prevent muscular degeneration, the most common cause of irreversible blindness in the elderly. Study shows that increased dietary intake of lutein may protect against the development of early atherosclerosis. It also helps explain why diets rich in fruits and vegetables are associated with reduced risk of heart diseases.

j. Flax seeds
Flax seeds contain high amounts of alpha-linoenic acid that helps to lower high blood pressure and the risk of stroke. Eating too much flax seeds will cause gas to build up if you are not used to it.

k. Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba helps to make blood less sticky and prevails blood clotting and stroke. Unlike aspirin, Ginkgo biloba will not cause upset stomach and internal bleeding. Also, Ginkgo biloba can improve blood circulation. Be sure not to take Ginkgo seeds because they are toxic and can cause seizures.

l. Cayenne
Cayenne stimulates blood flow, and strengthens the heart's metabolism. It also helps to improve blood circulation as well as the digestive and immune systems. Cayenne contains high amounts of beta-carotene, cobalt, essential fatty acids, niacin and zinc that helps circulatory stimulation, blood purification, detoxification and fatigue.

I hope this information will help. If you need more information of the above subject, please visit my home page at:

Impact of Umbilical Cord Blood-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells on Cardiovascular Research

Despite having the therapeutic advances in the medical fields, we continue to receive devastating outcomes for the patients with cardiovascular diseases. Not only have cardiovascular disorders such as myocardial infarction causing congestive heart failure, becoming a growing concern for every individual, it emerges as one of the sole cause of deaths in Western Countries.

However, we have too many evidences from clinical trials and medical research, which prove the efficacy and potentiality of stem cell based therapies in treating cardiovascular diseases. They are capable of fostering revascularization of cardiologic tissues, regenerating cardiatic tissues and also reinstating the cardiac performances.

With several recent experimental studies finding success through the use of different stem cell populations, it raises promising hopes for the patients of a complete relief from the severity of the diseases, and also heavy medical bills. In recent times, there have been a huge application of skeletal myoblasts, embryonic stem cells, endothelial progenitor cells, hematopoietic stem cells and not to mention- the mesenchymal stem cells in biomedical research for the development of regenerative therapies.

That apart, another study in the recent times has shown a positive outcome for the treatment of cardiovascular disorders using human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells.

While human umbilical cord derived stem cells are a useful tissue for combating various adamant diseases, it has become a great potential for us to save these cells through UCB banking, giving us an equal opportunity for future use. As UCB banking provides us with opportunities to preserve these precious cells, the growth of the UCB banking is on the surge as well. Notwithstanding, it is worth discovering the efficiency and importance of UCB mesenchymal stem cells on cardiovascular research, and finding more promises for our health care.

Why UCBMSCs Are A Useful Component In The Research Of Cardiovascular Diseases

MSCs have unique properties to differentiate into a myogenic phenotype in vitro, since it is capable of alleviating the symptoms of ischemic and nonischemic related cardiac complications. Another study suggested that bone marrow derived autologous MSCs have properties like cardiomyocyte like cells, which reinstated the cardiac functions of a rat with cryoinjury.

And because of this wide array of advantages of MSCs in the heart related complications, UCBMSCs are constantly being used in the research to develop effective strategies to be used for relieving cardiovascular disorders.

In addition to this, for immune deficiency disorders and human blood related diseases, UCB cells has shown some potential properties to replace the HPCs in the clinical setting as a source for research since 1988. At the same time, these cells derived from UCB contain the properties of MSCs as well, and there before they are effective in treating idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy as well.

We can have a clear insight through an investigation theory carried out on mice at the most recent time into the efficacy of UCBMSCs.

Clinical Methods

Mice with cardiac infarction, including healthy mice received UCB mononuclear cells infused with CD34- positive cells through a transplantation. They were observed for 3 weeks.

It was found that both healthy and infected mice had received UCB cells to their liver, spleen and bone marrow. However, only the mice with cardiac issues had transplanted cells on their hearts. A reduced heart size, coupled with collagen deposits and increased capillary density were signs of their myocardial infarction.

Therefore, this result of the study showed that UCBMSCs have the potential to return to the infected heart with transplantation and aid in the growth of heart tissues.

More such uses of UCBMSCs can be developed like its use in cardiovascular research, and we are likely to receive many cells based strategies for tissue regenerations. And this finding will be one day effective in establishing therapeutic treatments in future.

A Brief History of Bunk Beds

Although no one can actually verify its inception or debut, there’s no denying the fact that bunk beds have been around for many years. Loft beds, futon bunk beds and standard bunk beds, in one form or another, have occupied the bedrooms and hearts of parents and children for generations on end. And with good reason too – because there is nothing quite like the fun and joy that comes with sleeping in a bunk with your best friend or favorite cousin and chatting the night away – when you very well know that you should be sleeping instead.

And while it’s nearly impossible to trace where they actually came from, it seems that we can thank the ancient Egyptians for, at the very least, the idea and the concept of bunk beds. And even though there aren’t any visual pieces of evidence to confirm this, it can be safely assumed that the loft beds of the ancient Egyptians looked drastically different to the modern and comfortable bunkers that we are familiar with and accustomed to today. Having said that, the fact of the matter is that bunk beds have definitely come a long way over the years.

Today’s modern and funky bunk beds come in a whole myriad of designs, shapes, colors and materials. In the early days of the modern and popular bunk bed, you simply would have two boxy, similar shaped and sized bunk beds perched atop one another – a testament to function, if not form. However, if you fast forward through a few decades, today’s commercially available bunks, which are commercially available are equal parts sleeping devices and equal parts works of art. Yes, bunk beds have evolved into not just something that you stick in a bedroom, but a focal point of the home.

There are bunk beds which are made from high-end wood materials such as maple or walnut bunk beds. For other people, they may want something a bit more powerful; hence they look towards purchasing a metallic or iron-based bunk bed. And in addition to the materials used to construct these beds, they are also infused with splashes of colors and personality. Cherry colored, bright white, dark blue, black, silver and other hues and tones are now readily available for people to purchase and place in their children’s bedrooms. That is, without a shadow of a doubt, a far cry from the beds that the ancient Egyptians first came up with all those years ago.

Another advancement of bunk beds is the form that bunks today now can take. Yes, conventional twin above twin bunk beds are still available, but now, you can get twin above full bunk beds too. These are bunk beds that have a full-sized bed at the bottom, and a simple twin-bed sitting on top of it. Today’s bunk beds now serve a much greater purpose than simply providing a location in which to sleep – now they serve as space savers and decorative home pieces too. However, no matter what style, form or shape bunk beds take – and will take in the future – there’s still one aspect that will always remain – and that’s the pure joy and fun that bunk beds can provide on a nightly basis.

No matter how bunk beds will look in the future, there’s still something to calling the top bunk, then racing up the ladder and sitting up high in the sky (or, at least, it feels that way to a child). Now, nobody knows if the ancient Egyptians enjoyed racing up a ladder and calling the top bunk, but even if they didn’t – they at least started something that has lasted just as long as all those pyramids they built.

STD’s, Cardiomyopathy and Wilt Chamberlain

He was the greatest basketball player and possibly the greatest athlete who ever lived. The 63-year-old Wilt Chamberlain was reported to have died of a heart attack, but that tells you nothing. You are supposed to ask why the world’s greatest athlete would die of a heart attack?

He was born in 1936, in Philadelphia. He was 6-11 when he entered Philadelphia’s Overbrook High School, led them to three public school championships and two all-city titles, Chamberlain became one of the most recruited players ever with more than 200 colleges interested, scored more than 100 points in a single National Basketball Association game and averaged more than 30 points a game throughout his professional career. However, when he was in high school, he was the best high school quarter miler in the United States and ran under 48 second. He also high jumped over 6 feet, five inches and was the best shot putter in Pennsylvania. He remained active after his NBA career and was considered an outstanding volleyball player. He also ran in the Honolulu marathon and competed in a 50-mile race in Canada.

Long after his career ended, Chamberlain made news by claiming in an autobiography that he had had sex with 20,000 women. Let’s see how good you are in diagnosing disease. Chamberlain’s health first became an issue in the 1960s, when a former coach told the news media that the star player might have had a heart attack before the 1964 season. But Chamberlain denied it. In 1992, when Chamberlain gathered with former teammates for a halftime ceremony marking the anniversary of their 1971-72 NBA championship, he had to leave early because he was having trouble breathing. He was admitted to a hospital and found to have an irregular heart beat. He was released from the hospital after three days wearing a heart monitoring device.

During his last years, he was diagnosed as having cardiomyopathy which means that his heart was too weak to pump blood through his body and he lost 50 pounds in the months prior to his death. There are three causes of a weak heart muscle. Lack of nutrients, blocked arteries, and infection.

You can suffer from a nutritional deficiency such as beriberi caused by lack of the vitamin thiamine or pellagra caused by lack of the vitamin niacin. This is almost impossible today in North America. The second possible cause of a failing heart is blocked arteries caused by arteriosclerosis and he did not have a very high cholesterol and he did not have arteriosclerosis. The third possibility is an infection in his heart caused by such bacteria as chlamydia and mycoplasma.

The fact that he lost 50 pounds and was unable to go anywhere in the last months of his life point to a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, that’s heart muscle damage, caused by infection with chlamydia or mycoplasma, from making love to considerably less than the 20,000 women that he claimed. That comes to 500 women per year, or 10 different women per week for 40 years, which would make the world’s greatest athlete, the most prolific lover of all time. Cardiomyopathy is often caused by chlamydia.

Chamberlain’s body was cremated, so we will never know for sure how he died.

Quit Smoking, Stay Healthy

I have quit smoking and I declare with confidence that I finally got rid of that injurious habit.

It was indeed a very tough call. After smoking for over two decades, it is almost an insurmountable task to give up smoking while those around you are simply smoke and especially the celebrities who you highly admire (Clint Eastwood in those classic Western movies …).

Here is the trick that I used. I took a photo of my daughter on her first birthday and wrote on it, "Baba, you'll not smoke now." Can you do it for your daughter? " It was my first birthday gift to her (Of course, we gave her something else as well)

Every time I had that strong urge to smoke (Almost all the time) I used to look at her photo and asked myself, "Can not I do it for my daughter?" and all the time the answer was in affirmative. It was a constant battle between an old and stubborn habit and my will power supported by a solemn pledge.

Quitting smoking may not prolong your life but it would certainly improve it. There are many disadvantages of smoking and there is only one advantage, or the reason for that matter, YOU ENJOY IT.

Do you like to enjoy at the cost of your health and the future of your dependents? Do not forget, you are not free to do whatever you like. Think about those who love you. If your health goes down, not only you but your loved ones suffer as well.

I suggest that all smokers should try to quit smoking. There are various approaches to it, quit it all of a sudden, cut down on number of cigarettes gradually and substitution etc. I advise you continue smoking the same number of cigarettes a day but strictly smoke half of each cigarette, keep reducing it until you take only two or three puffs. Then start reducing the number of cigarettes per day. Read articles about the hazards of smoking, and chew something like chewing gum or nuts etc., or drink cold water when craving gets to your head. Keep a picture of the hazards of smoking, something visible and factual. The best is the picture of Barb Tarbox, as a tribute to her and as a strong reminder that you owe something to her, to your family and to this world, a healthy environment.

Post Script: I used to have sporadic pain in my chest and always considered that as a result of indigestion. After quitting smoking, I felt it only once or twice initially and its completely gone now. See, you get immediate health benefits. Cheers !!

Bronchitis – Serious Viral Infection

Bronchitis is a serious bacterial or viral infection. It is essentially inflammatory of the mucous membranes of the bronchi which carries air from the trachea into the lungs. Millions of people have it at one point and it can come in acute or chronic. Either way, it's dangerous to have because your airflow is restricted.

Acute bronchitis starts off with a cough without mucus or other liquids. It primarily occurs during any kind of viral illness like a cold or flu.

Chronic bronchitis can last for a long time in the body without prejudice. The chronic coughing or mucus flow is never slowed down and subtractedly leaves life miserable for people. Different types of air pollution and cigarette smoke are irritants that make it worse.

There are several medicines that are available to help the inflammation of the mucus or to less the coughing aspect of it. Antibiotics have a very limited role in controlling bronchitis so it's best not to spend money or time on antibiotics. Other natural elements such as silver deposits have been tried and true as a cure for bronchitis.

Bronchitis is not something to take loosely. Chronic bronchitis takes the lives of thousands of people each year and it's best to get ahead of it before it gets any worse. An acute case can quickly become a chronic case, and a chronic case can quickly lead to death.

For those who suffer with bronchitis, it is not permanent and there is no clear way to prevent it. It is something that will afflict everyone at least once in their life.

What Is Freight In, Freight Out, and FOB?

Speaking of accounting and terms that are related to export import business; even if you have a bookkeeper or an accountant that will take a good care of your books, there are some things and terms that you should know. Before starting to talk about terms, I want to tell you mt story. When my husband and I just started this business, we had no experience in this field at all. We even didn’t have any experience in running any kind of business, so all the financial and non-financial terms were new for us. When we first time went to talk to a custom broker I thought he was speaking in some different language with us. Even the word freight sounded very weird to me, “Why wouldn’t you call that shipping??” I though. So, I know your pain when it comes to business slang.

FOB destination

FOB destination – title of the goods passes from a seller to a buyer AT destination. That means that seller is responsible for loss or damage of goods until shipment is delivered to a buyer. For example, you bought a car from Germany with FOB destination terms. In this case if anything happens to a car while it’s been shipped, you have NO responsibilities for that, and you will not have to pay for any damage or loss of the car. You even don’t have to buy the car when it arrives, if it is not in the acceptable condition. All expenses are handled by the seller.

Freight out:

Freight out (Transportation out) – the terms to record the transportation costs or delivery expenses, when the seller is responsible for delivery (FOB destination). (The seller will record the transportation cost as Freight-Out, Transportation-Out, or Delivery Expense.)

FOB shipping point:

FOB shipping point (FOB origin) – title of goods passes from a seller to a buyer at the seller’s shipping doc. That meant that a buyer is has to pay for the delivery. Basically, If you bought a car with FOB shipping point or FOB origin terms, you are the one who is responsible for delivery and damage or loss of the car. If the car arrives in a poor condition because of an accident that happened WHILE the car was shipped, you cannot ask for money back.

  • Destination Freight Prepaid – the seller pays and takes all the freight charges and. (Pretty much the same as FOB destination)
  • Destination freight Prepaid and Charged Back – The seller pays the freight charges, but charges them back on the buyers invoice. (For instance, when you buy something from Amazon.com, they usually include the price of the shipment in the receipt. That means they pay for shipment, but they charge you back for that.)
  • Destination Freight Collect – The buyer pays and takes all the freight charges. (However, the buyer pays all expenses, just when the car arrives to the destination.)
  • Destination Freight Collect and Allowed – the buyer pays the freight charges, but the seller takes the charges in the invoice. (For example, you bought a car that cost you $5,000 and you paid for shipment $1000. Total: $6000. When the car arrives and you receive the invoice from the company that sold you the car, you see that they charge you just $4000, because they made an allowance of $1000 for shipment.)

Freight in:

Freight in (Transportation in) – the terms to record the transportation costs or delivery expenses when the buyer is responsible for delivery (FOB shipping point, FOB origin) (The buyer will record this cost as Freight-In or Transportation-In.)

Shoulder Dislocation – The Diagnosis Can Be Elusive

Shoulder Dislocation is extremely common – roughly half of all major joint dislocations seen in the Emergency Department are shoulder dislocations. An unstable shoulder can result from a shoulder dislocation or a shoulder subluxation, when the ball almost slides out of the socket. So an unstable shoulder is a more broad term including both shoulder dislocation and shoulder subluxation. Here is more information about unstable shoulder. Recommending the best treatment for an unstable shoulder or a shoulder dislocation really depends on many factors. To help start the conversation about shoulder dislocation, we present several patient case histories (real patients in my practice with all identifying information changed to ensure their privacy is fully respected.

Case #1:

Logan, an avid power lifter, injured his shoulder 5 years ago at age 25. He was performing a heavy bench press when he felt like his shoulder “slipped.” He had extreme difficulty performing the bench press and military press after the injury and gradually started to have difficulty with other activities. He was initially evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon and an MRI was ordered, but he was told “there is nothing wrong.” He gradually stopped lifting weights and reduced his activities, but when the pain and discomfort persisted he sought a second opinion from another orthopedic surgeon and a diagnosis of impingement was made with a recommendation to “shave down a spur that is cutting into your rotator cuff.” Confused, Logan did some research and took a friend’s advice and scheduled an evaluation at our shoulder clinic. His history and examination were both highly consistent with chronic posterior instability and we recommended an MRI arthrogram to confirm the diagnosis. The MRI arthrogram confirmed extensive posterior labrum tearing that now also extended at least half way around the glenoid (socket). We reviewed our arthroscopic surgical protocol for unstable shoulder and he was extremely relieved to finally have a diagnosis and wanted to proceed with arthroscopic repair. An arthroscopic global capsular shift with labrum repair was performed and although his primary direction of injury was posterior he required a labrum repair both in the front and the back of the shoulder.

According to one study on posterior shoulder dislocation, “more than 60% of posterior dislocations are misdiagnosed initially by the treating orthopedic surgeon, and the correct diagnosis is often delayed for months or years.” The other major point to observe is that because the shoulder is a “circle” labels such as anterior and posterior instability are not as valid or helpful today because with the ability to evaluate and treat the entire joint using advanced arthroscopic techniques, we are learning that many different types of injuries (labrum, cartilage, capsule, ligament, nerve, and rotator cuff) can be part of the injury spectrum regardless of the primary direction of the shoulder dislocation. So it is vital to have a surgical technique that allows us to evaluate and treat the entire “circle” and not just a limited area of focus. This shift in thinking about shoulder dislocation has also resulted in a significant improvement in outcomes with modern arthroscopic techniques in experienced hands.

Case #2:

Maya, a 17 year old gymnast from Chicago, initially dislocated her shoulder doing a back flip on the balance beam 3 years ago. Since then she has had multiple episodes of subluxation and dislocation, the most recent one before evaluation at our shoulder clinic while throwing a ball. She has had multiple evaluations and extensive physical therapy over the past 3 years, but her symptoms are worsening and she has had to stop gymnastics because of the shoulder. Our examination reveals that Maya is extremely flexible both generally (double-jointed) and with examination of her other unaffected shoulder and does not have any evidence of nerve injury (sometimes seen with shoulder dislocation). MRI arthrogram confirms evidence of generalized shoulder laxity and anterior inferior labrum tear. We again reviewed our protocol for unstable shoulder and global arthroscopic repair and she and her parents wanted to proceed with an arthroscopic repair. Maya was noted to have a “global” labrum tear at surgery, meaning that over time she had torn the labrum completely around the entire glenoid (socket). She also had created a chondral defect (gouge or trough) in the humeral head (ball) during one of her previous episodes of shoulder dislocation. A successful repair for Maya included not only repairing the torn labrum (cartilage) globally, but also tightening up her capsule and ligaments globally to rebalance the shoulder in all directions. This would have been impossible to do with a traditional open (incision) surgery. Modern arthroscopic techniques allow us to evaluate and treat the entire spectrum of pathology involving the entire shoulder joint.

Just as with ACL injuries in the knee, the risk of cartilage damage and further damage to the shoulder joint increases as the number of episodes of shoulder dislocation and subluxation increase. According to one study, “Patients with a history of previous shoulder dislocation were found to have a 19 times greater risk of developing severe shoulder arthrosis than patients who did not have such a history.” Another article by Brems notes that inappropriate diagnosis of the direction and degree of instability can lead to a surgical procedure that may not be ideal for a given patient’s (true) pathology. Not all instabilities are necessarily anterior or unidirectional. Even with the correct diagnosis, selection of a less optimal procedure perhaps due to surgeon preference, what Brems terms ”The Standard Procedure for All,” may factor in the subsequent development of arthrosis. Performing the procedure on the wrong side of the joint predisposes to excessive tightness and ultimately arthritis.

Although shoulder dislocation and unstable shoulder are extremely common problems, establishing the correct or true diagnosis can often be difficult. It also follows that the recommended treatments are often highly debated and controversial. To help wade through the ocean of information and recommendations to achieve the best results for you personally, we recommend considering a second or third opinion with a shoulder specialist with significant experience utilizing the most modern techniques and treating patients with a broad spectrum of causes for unstable shoulder and shoulder dislocation

How to Manage Cerebral Palsy?

If you have recently discovered that, your child has cerebral palsy then you must console yourself, it is a disorder, which has no cure. However, excellent medical treatment will help your child's abilities to see marked improvements. Recent progress in medical research has made it possible for many patients to lead their lives normally provided they manage their problems. No single therapy works for every patient. It is only though identifying your child's needs and impairments, that doctors can come up with an individualized treatment meant specifically for your child.

There is no cure for Cerebral palsy but it is managed effectively with the help drugs, which can help control seizures and muscle co- ordinations, surgery, effective counseling to help them be emotionally and psychologically stronger, speech and behavioral therapy, physical therapy and even the use of mechanical aids to help them overcome their impairments.

Always keep in mind that the most important thing is to begin the treatment as early as possible. The earlier you begin the treatment for your child the better the chances for your child to overcome its disability and he or she will certainly learn to adopt new ways so that they would be able to do difficult tasks.

To help you manage your child's problem you need to take the help of a pediatrician or pediatric physiatrist who has enough experience in dealing with disabled children. When dealing with cerebral palsy you must remember that you are not alone in the task. There is a whole community of professionals and other people who will lend their support in helping you manage your child's disorder.

Cerebral palsy can be managed with the help of physiotherapy, which helps to improve muscle co-regulation and movements. There are many exercises and routines, which the physiotherapist will teach your child and these when done on a regular basis, will show marked improvements in your child's movements. Occupational therapy teachers your child on how to concentrate on their daily personal chores like brushing their teeth, washing and even dressing. Attention is also paid on speech and language improvement. These therapies will help your child to become independent and do their work without any assistance from you or your spouse.

Many of these therapies help build confidence in your child so that they can learn how to go about their own work without assistance. If you child has mild cerebral palsy then he or she is given physiotherapy where the child is taught arm movements to strengthen it. In cases where the disorder is more severe, the child is taught how to sit upright and how to use the wheel chair. There are special education teachers who will help your child with their learning.

Another resourceful method, which you can adopt to help your child manage cerebral palsy would be to redesign the environment in your home like cup sand spoons that have been specially designed and even special chairs. These will help your disabled child to have more muscle control when handling these things.

Surgical Errors and Paralysis

While some types of injuries can be treated with rest and over-the-counter medications, others may be much more serious and may require the attention of medical professionals. In some instances, people may need to undergo surgical procedures to fix broken bones, remove damaged organs, or repair certain systems within the body. In addition, doctors may be forced to operate to remove cancerous cells or tumors that may threaten the patient's health.

Most patients understand that there is a certain element of danger and potential for further injury when they undergo a serious medical procedure. The need for surgery can be understandably troubling issue for many patients, but most individuals understand that it may be necessary for their recovery and return to health.

When it comes to surgery, doctors should provide the patient with a thorough explanation of the procedure and should answer any questions the individual may have about the operation. It is essential that doctors provide an accurate diagnosis and should make sure that the operation is absolutely necessary before continuing with the process of scheduling and performing surgery.

Unfortunately, patients may suffer serious injuries if the surgical team does not perform their duties in a responsible manner or if an error is made during the procedure. In some cases, a misplaced scalpel cut or anesthesia needle can cause further injury to the patient and may even cause paralysis. Patients have reported the loss of movement and feeling in limbs, extremities, eyes, and other bodily systems following errors made during surgery.

In order to avoid such errors, doctors should make sure that:

  • They are familiar with the procedure to be performed
  • The team communicates well during surgery
  • Team members are well-rested and are not drowsy or distracted
  • The correct tools are being used for the procedure
  • The procedure is performed in a manner consistent with commonly recognized techniques
  • Surgery is performed at the correct site
  • Anesthesia is given in a responsible manner

If you have been injured due to the reckless or negligent actions of your surgeon or surgical team, you may be eligible for compensation for pain, mental and emotional trauma, and medical bills. It is important to have an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side to help you with your claim and help explain the process of pursuing legal action against those responsible.

The Psoas Muscles and Abdominal Exercises For Back Pain

Common opinion notwithstanding, the proper purpose of abdominal exercises is to awaken control of the abdominal muscles so they coordinate better with the other muscles of the trunk and legs (which include the psoas muscles). It is that better coordination that improves alignment, and not purely higher tone or strength. When the psoas muscles achieve their proper length, tone (tonus) and responsiveness, they stabilize the lumbar spine in movement as well as when standing, giving the feeling of better support and "strength". Mutual coordination of the psoas and other muscles causes / allows the spine and abdomen to fall back, giving the appearance of "strong" abdominal muscles – but it is not the strength of abdominal muscles, alone, but the coordination of all the involved muscles that gives that appearance.

To improve psoas functioning, a different approach to abdominal exercises than the one commonly practiced is necessary. Instead of "strengthening," the emphasis must be on awareness, control, balancing and coordination of the implied muscles – the purview of somatic education. I will say more …

… but first: A discussion of the methods and techniques of somatic education is beyond the scope of this paper, which confines itself to a discussion of the relation of the psoas muscles, abdominal exercises, and back pain. For that, see the links at the bottom of this article.

The Relationship of Psoas, Abdominal Muscles and Back Pain

The psoas muscles and the abdominal muscles function as agonist and antagonist (opponents) as well as synergists (mutual helpers); a free interplay between the two is appropriate. The psoas muscles lie behind the abdominal contents, running from the lumbar spinal to the inner thighs near the hip joints (lesser trochters); the abdominal muscles lie in front of the abdominal contents, running from the lower borders of the ribs (with the rectus muscles as high as the nipples) to the frontal lines of the pelvis.

Take a moment to plan each of these relationships until you can feel or visualize them

  • In the standing position, contracted psoas muscles (which ride over the pubic crests) move the pubis backward; the abdominal muscles move the pubis forward. (antagonists)
  • In walking, the ilio-psoas muscles of one side initiate movement of that leg forward, while the abdominals bring the same-side hip and pubis forward. (synergists)
  • The psoas major muscles pull the lumbar spine forward; the abdominal muscles push the lumbar spine back (via pressure on abdominal contents and change of pelvic position). (antagonists)
  • The psoas minor muscles pull the fronts of attached vertebrae (at the level of the diaphragm), down and back; the abdominals push the same area back. (synergists)
  • Unilateral contracting of the psoas muscles causes rotation of the torso away from the side of contracting and sidebending towards the side of contracting (as if leaving to one side and looking over ones raised shoulder); abdominals assist that movement.

Now, if this all sounds complicated, it is – to the mind. But if you have good use and coordination of those muscles, it's simple – you move well.

Words on Abdominal Exercises

Exercises that attempt to flatten the belly (eg, crunches) generally produce a set pattern in which the abdominal muscles are purely overpower psoas and spinal extensor muscles that are already set at too high a level of tension.

High abdominal muscle tone from abdominal crunches interferees with the ability to stand fully erect, as the contracted abdominal muscles drag the front of the ribs down. Numerous consequences follow:
(1) breathing is impaired,
(2) compression of abdominal contents results, impeding circulation,
(3) depleted of the pumping effect of motion on fluid circulation, the lumbar plexus, which is embedded in the psoas, becomes less functional (slowed circulation slows tissue nutrition and removal of metabolic waste; nerve plexus metabolism slows; chronic constipation often results) ,
(4) displacement of the centers of gravity of the body's segments from a vertical arrangement (standing or sitting) deprives them of support; gravity then drags them down and further in the direction of displacement; muscular involvement (at the back of the body) then becomes necessary to counteract what is, in effect, a movement towards collapse. This muscular effort
(a) taxes the body's vital resources,
(b) introduces strain in the implied musculature (eg, the extensors of the back), and
(c) sets the stage for back pain and back injury.

The psoas has often been portrayed as the villain in back pain, and exercise is often intended to overpower the psoas muscles by pushing the spine and abdomen back. However, it is obvious from the foregoing that "inconvenient" consequences result from that strategy. A more fitting approach is to balance the interaction of the psoas and abdominal muscles.

When the psoas and the abdominal muscles counterbalance each other, the psoas muscles contract and relax, shorten and lengthen appropriably in movement. The lumbar curve, rather than increasing, decreases; the back flattens and the abdominal contents move back into the abdominal cavity, where they are supported instead of hanging forward.

It should be noted that the pelvic orientation, and thus the spiral curves, is also severely determined by the musculature and connective tissue of the legs, which connect the legs with the pelvis and torso. If the legs are not directly beneeth the pelvis, but are somewhat behind (or more rarely, ahead of the pelvis), stresses are introduced through muscles and connective tissue that displace the pelvis. Rotation of the pelvis, hip height asymmetry, and / or excessive lordosis (or, more rarely, kyphosis) follow, all of which affect the psoas / abdominal interplay.

Where movement, visceral (organ) function, and freedom from back pain are concerned, proper support from the legs is as important as the free, reciprocal interplay of the psoas and abdominal muscles.

More on the Psoas and Walking

Dr. Ida P. Rolf described the psoas as the initiator of walking:

Let us be clear about this: the legs do not originate movement in the walk of a balanced body; the legs support and follow. Movement is initiated in the trunk and transmitted to the legs through the medium of the psoas.
(Rolf, 1977: Rolfing, the Integration of Human Structures, pg. 118).

A casual interpretation of this description might be that the psoas initiates hip flexion by bringing the thigh forward. It's not quite as simple as that.

By its location, the psoas is also a rotator of the thigh. It passes down and forward from the lumbar spine, over the pubic crest, before its tendon passes back to its insertion at the less trochanter of the thigh. Shortening of the psoas pulls up that tendon, which pulls the medial aspect of the thigh forward, inducing rotation, knee outward.

In healthy functioning, two actions regulate that tendency to knee-outward turning: (1) the same side of the pelvis rotates forward by action involving the iliacus muscle, the internal oblique (which is functionally continuous with the iliacus by its common insertion at the iliac crest) and the external oblique of the other side and (2) the gluteus minimus, which passes backward from below the iliac crest to the greater trochanter, assists the psoas in bringing the thigh forward, while counter-balancing its tendency to rotate the thigh outward. The glutei minimi are internal rotators, as well as flexors, of the thigh at the hip joint. They function synergistically with the psoas.

This synergy causes forward movement of the thigh, aided by the forward movement of the same side of the pelvis. The movement functionally originates from the somatic center, through which the psoas passes on its way to the lumbar spine. Thus, Dr. Rolf's observation of the role of the psoas in initiating walking is explained.

Interestingly, the abdominals aid walking by assisting the pelvic rotational movement described, by means of their attachments along the anterior border of the pelvis. Thus, the interplay of psoas and abdominals is explained.

When the psoas fails to lengthen properly, the same side of the pelvis is restricted in its ability to move back (and to permit its other side to move forward). Co-contracted glutei minimi frequently accompanies the contracted psoas of the same side, as does chronic constipation (for reasons described earlier). The co-contracting drags the front of the pelvis down. The lumbar spine is bent forward, tending towards a forward-leaving post, which the extensors of the lumbar spine counter to keep the person upright; as the spinal extensors contract, they suffer muscle fatigue and soreness. Thus, the correlation of tight psoas and back pain is explained.

As explained before, to tighten the abdominal muscles as a solution for this stressful situation is a misguided effort. What is needed is to improve the responsiveness of the psoas and glutei minimi, which includes their ability to relax.

A final interesting note brings the center (psoas) into relation with the periphery (feet). In healthy, well-integrated walking, the feet assist the psoas and glutei minimi in bringing the thigh forward. The phenomenon is known as "spring in the step."

Here's the description: When the thigh is farthest back, in walking, the ankle is most dorsi-flexed. That means that the calf muscles and hip flexors are at their full stretch and primed for the stretch (myotatic) reflex. This is what happens in well-integrated walking: assisted by the stretch reflex, the plantar flexors of the feet put spring in the step, which asserts the flexors of the hip joints in bringing the thigh forward.

Here's what makes it particularly interesting: when the plantar flexors fail to respond in a vivid fashion, the burden of bringing the thigh forward falls heavily upon the psoas and other hip joint flexors, which became conditioned to maintain a heightened state of tension, and there we are: tight psoas and back pain. (Note that ineffective dorsi-flexors of the feet prevent adequate foot clearance of the ground, when walking; the hip flexors must compensate by lifting the knee higher, leading to a similar problem.)

Thus, it appears that the responsibility for problems with the psoas falls (in part, if not largely) upon the feet. No resolution of psoas problems can be expected without proper functioning of the lower legs and feet.

SUMMARY

The psoas, iliacus, abdominals, spinal extensors, hip joint flexors and extensors, and flexors of the ankles / feet are all inter-related in walking movements. Interference with their interplay (generally through over-contracting or non-responsiveness of one or more of these "players") leads to dysfunction and to back pain. The strategy of strengthening the abdominal muscles has been shown to be a misguided effort to correct problems that usually lie elsewhere – which explains why, even though abdominal strengthening exercises are so popular, back pain is still so common. Sensory-motor training (somatic education) provides a more pertinent and effective approach to the problem of back pain than abdominal strengthening exercises.

The Difference Between Plagiocephaly and Brachycephaly

Flat Head Syndrome is a name often used to describe plagiocephaly and brachycephaly, and less likely, scaphocephaly. These conditions are not the same however, and the way that they will affect your child's appearance and development also vary. In this article, we'll help you understand the differences between plagiocephaly and brachycephaly.

Positional plagiocephaly is a condition which results from a child frequently being placed to sleep on their backs, without repositioning of the skull. For example, if your son or daughter prefers to sleep with their head facing left or right and does not ever sleep facing the other direction they may be at risk of developing plagiocephaly. Of course, it can be difficult to understand how this differs from brachycephaly. Brachycephaly, however, often results from a child facing up while they sleep, and never ever facing left or right. Some children develop a mix of the two deformities, making diagnosis more difficult.

The primary means of differentiation and diagnosis of these two conditions is conducted using a series of skull measurements. For plagiocephaly, a relatively reliable measurement involves the use of a craniometer to determine the level of skull asymmetry present. Brachycephaly is measured using a different set of measurements called the cephalic index, or cephalic ratio. Unfortunately, the relativity of cephalic index measures has been widely questioned, and over ten different diagnostic measurements have been proposed since 1979.

Plagiocephaly is thought to potentially cause developmental delays including gross motor skills delays, or at least to be related to these delays in many cases. Brachycephaly that goes untreated has been tied to the presence of sleep apnea in recent years. Both conditions are thought to be related to TMJ, vision, and hearing problems when left untreated.

Children with lambdoid synostosis may be misdiagnosed as having positional plagiocephaly, since the two conditions appear similar externally. In situal plagiocephaly however, the cranial sutures have not closed early. The affected area of ​​the skull takes a flattened appearance, and surrounding bones and structures bend to accommodate the altered cranial form. Typically, this flat spot occurs on the side-rear of either the left or right of a baby's skull. One ear may stick out, and your child's facial features may change as a result of moderate to severe plagiocephaly. Many children with positional plagiocephaly also have muscular torticollis. The exact relationship between the two diagnoses may vary – in some cases muscular torticollis may be the cause of plagiocephaly, while in others it may result from the condition.

Positional brachycephaly differs from plagiocephaly due to the location on the skull which it affects. This condition causes a nearly symmetrical flattening of the rear of a child's skull, often leading to an exaggerated height in the rear of the skull and sometimes to an altered forehead shape, as well. Your baby's ears may stick out on both sides if he or she has brachycephaly, and their face may be wider than normal as well.

Plagiocephaly and brachycephaly can both be corrected. The primary techniques used to help a child regain normal head shape from these conditions include physical therapy and repositioning for minor cases, and the use of helmet or band therapy for more severe factors of plagiocephaly and brachycephaly. If your child has been diagnosed with either of these conditions, first ask the treating physician about the severity of their particular case, and then inquire about recommended treatment options. While the ramifications of these conditions in the long term are still unclear and there is debate as to what types of treatment are most effective, early intervention is crucial to the therapeutic and orthotic success.

Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Physician Assistant Program

Physician assistant programs have increased in number of the last few years. There are well over 136 programs in the country to choose from. While PA program does not last as long as physician programs, there is considerable difficulty in the study of this program. Here are some tips to guide you in your study and in the process make the most out of it.

Much like the Information Technology (IT) field, the medical field also constantly changes when new research reveals new information about a specific health issues. As such, students of this program bought to read up on various reading materials to keep them abreast of new finds in this field.

By developing understanding in statistics and medical study design, you are able to judge the quality of studies and know how the various flaws can affect conclusions about a particular issue. Many institutions offering Master programs in PA requires that applicants have a foundation in statistics. As such, you should plan your study in undergraduate level properly. This is because there are cases where students are not able to graduate on time as a result of not taking the stipulated prerequisites in their undergraduate programs.

In regards to your training experience, you should make sure that you can obtain a good experience by working with a certified PA. Whilst undergoing your training, you should carry a notebook with you so that you can jot down whichever new concepts or terms leant. For instance, you may learn about the words dysarthria and aphonia when attending to a patient with stroke. Just be sure to write down things that you learn and never depend solely on your memory.

Himalayan Pink Salt for Weight Loss

Himalayan pink salt has numerous attributed health properties which deem it rather preferable for use in our daily life. It is scientifically proven to contain more than 80 mineral salts that provide nutrients to the body and mind of the user.

Among the more important health benefits of the pink salt, weight loss is considered a crucial one. Details are discussed below:

Weight Loss using Himalayan Salt

The majority of our population suffers from obesity and unhealthy diet which leads to accumulation of fat on our stomach and thighs. This is the first sign of an unhealthy lifestyle and if this is not controlled in due time, it will takes its toll in the latter part of life.

A natural way to aid weight loss without the fear of side effects is the Himalayan pink salt. According to a few reports, people have reduced weight when they switched to the natural pink salt for their diet instead of the white table salt. Pink salt can be used just like the white salt: in flavoring, marinating, seasoning, preserving, etc. Another very popular method of using pink salt to promote weight loss is using Himalayan salt sole.

What is salt sole?

Himalayan salt appears reddish pink because of the addition of the mineral salts in it. The essence of the salt is in the salt sole.

To make this sole, put a handful of pink salt granules in a big jug of water overnight. Let is dissolve by itself. You can start using the salt sole from the next day, teaspoon by teaspoon. The salt sole will last until the salt dissolves completely.

How does the Himalayan salt effects weight loss?

Salt content in the body causes retention of water inside the cells of the body through the known phenomenon of osmosis. The excess of water causes body to look swelled and fat; it often is also the cause of cellulite too. The Himalayan salt crystals unlike the common table salt release this extra water from the cells. It also decreases the craving by the body for food high in sugar content and carbohydrates.

How to use Himalayan salt for weight loss:

  • For a natural way to intake mineral salts required for the growth and sustenance of the human body, use a teaspoon of concentrated Himalayan salt sole in a cup full of water and drink it on an empty stomach every morning.
  • Use a Himalayan salt massage stone from time to time. It aids in removing accumulation of dead cells from the surface of the skin which removes toxins and other impurities with it. The massage technique also regulate the circulation of blood flow and health hormones inside the body which cause reduction in puffiness, calms down the nervous system, enhances metabolism and improves digestive system.
  • It is also recommended that you use Himalayan bath salt twice a week to relieve symptoms of body sores and muscle pains.
  • To target a particular area of the body for reduction of fat buildup, like stomach, thighs, hips, etc. we recommend ‘salt sole compress wraps’. Elastic bandages are soaked in a 5% solution of salt sole. (Make sure the water is lukewarm.) Wring the extra water out of it. Apply the bandage on the targeted area and let it sit there for an hour or so.
  • Lastly, exercise and a healthy diet are mandatory to assist the use of Himalayan salt towards the goal of weight loss.

Other benefits of using Himalayan salt

Himalayan salt is not only beneficial for weight loss but for following health benefits:

  • Improves circulation in the body
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Cures kidney problems
  • Balances pH levels inside the body
  • Reduces risk of heart attack
  • Decrease symptoms of asthma, sinus infections, and mucus buildup
  • Provides necessary minerals and nutrients to the body

White Spots on Tonsils – What Are They?

White spots on tonsils can be what are also known as tonsilloliths or tonsil stones. Another term for this condition is cryptic tonsils, as these “stones” take root in tonsil crypts, which are divots or pockets in the tonsils’ surface. So what are these things? This has actually been the subject of very recent research, and only just fairly recently has there been any real concrete facts made widely known about these.

They are actually packets of mucus covered food particles which have become lodged into these divots, and much like how an oyster secretes a substance around a grain of sand to make a pearl, mucus is then secreted around these food particles which then somewhat solidifies around them. It is then that these appear as white spots on tonsils and can become uncomfortable. Unfortunately, until this recent research has revealed the facts, and even presently, these have been often misdiagnosed as something similar which antibiotics are given for as a treatment.

When these fail, it is often misunderstood as a precursor to tonsillitis, and a tonsillectomy is recommended, using surgery to completely remove the tonsils. Even when these are not misdiagnosed, a tonsillectomy is recommended as today’s modern medicine can only remove these once, but cannot seem to prevent their return. As allopathic medicine usually does, it seeks to attack the symptom but not affect the cause.

The matter of these white spots on tonsils and their safe elimination seems to be a simple one, that of smoothing out the surface of the tonsils, making the crypts smaller, and the tonsils more healthier over all. This is most effectively done using naturopathic medicine, herbal remedies and Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the end, it seems to be merely a simple matter of eating certain things which can safely affect this change.

The basic fact however, is that surgery is not necessary, and many people simply opt to have their tonsils removed. This is like squashing a flea with a Mac truck. Your tonsils are actually healthy… it is the tonsil stones that need to be removed. But not only this, your tonsils need to be conditioned. The pores on the surface of your tonsils change with certain eating habits, and when they get too large, this is when food particles can become stuck in them and become tonsil stones, appearing as white spots on tonsils.

The solution is to not so much change your eating habits, but perhaps take on a couple or few other items into your diet. Some foods and drinks have the effect of shrinking down these pores and making your tonsils much smoother. So you see, surgery is unnecessary – the solution can be as simple as something to eat in order to have these fall away and smooth your tonsils. There are many natural herbal remedies that can completely eliminate this problem naturally, without the need of surgery. After all, your tonsils are a large part of your body’s immune defenses, and would be a shameful loss, especially if it’s an unnecessary one.

If you have white spots on tonsils, also known as tonsil stones, tonsilloliths, etc., and you don’t want to undergo any undue surgery, if you’d like to keep your tonsils (as really, they are actually healthy in such a case), it is best to look into such natural herbal remedies to avoid outlandishly expensive surgery – costly for both the body as well as the bank account. White spots on tonsils in the case of tonsilloliths is certainly no reason at all on it’s own for such drastic surgery – don’t you agree?