The Diversity of Lupus Symptoms

Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease that generates a wide variety of symptoms. The symptoms produced by lupus may range from mild to severe and generally occur in flares, unpredictably aggravating or ameliorating over time. Some of the common symptoms of lupus are: pronounced fatigue, pain and swelling of the joints, skin rashes and fever. At skin level, lupus often causes the occurrence of the “butterfly rash”, which appears across the nose and cheeks. Although the butterfly rash is the most common rash characteristic to lupus, the disease can cause many other different types of rashes located in various regions of the body: face and ears, scalp, neck, arms, shoulders, hands, chest and back.

The autoimmune disease can also produce symptoms such as chest pain, increased sensitivity to sunlight, alopecia (hair loss), anemia or leucopenia (decrease in the number of red blood cells, respectively white blood cells), and paleness or cyanosis of the fingers and toes (due to poor oxygenation of the body extremities). Patients with lupus often suffer from headaches, vertigo (dizziness), decreased vision, poor concentration, psychological conditions (depression) and sometimes even seizures and faints. The progression of the disease is unpredictable and symptoms may come and go unexpectedly. Over time, patients with lupus may experience different sets of symptoms, occurring in flares and varying in intensity and duration.

When lupus affects the lymphatic system of the body, the most common symptoms of lupus are swelling and pain of the lymph nodes throughout the body. Most cases of lupus either affect the lymphatic system, the musculoskeletal system or the skin. When lupus affects the musculoskeletal system, the most common symptoms are muscular pain, fatigue, swelling and stiffness of the joints. When confined to the skin, lupus commonly generates rashes, inflammation and irritation of the skin.

Lupus often causes kidney affections such as nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys), interfering in the process of excretion and determining the accumulation of toxins inside the body. Lupus patients who also suffer from kidney impairments usually require strong medication treatments in order to prevent the occurrence of serious complications.

In many cases, lupus affects the circulatory system of the body, causing inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis), anemia or leucopenia (decrease in red and white blood cells). Lupus may also lead to the occurrence of thrombocytopenia, a decrease in the number of platelets in the blood, condition that interferes in the process of blood coagulation, increasing the risk of bleeding.

When lupus affects the central nervous system, the most common symptoms are dizziness, headaches, temporary memory loss (amnesia), decreased vision, or neuropsychological problems (depression, unpredictable behavioral changes). Some of these previously mentioned symptoms aren’t solely caused by lupus; often they occur as a result of emotional stress and prolonged lupus medication. The majority of these symptoms can be reversed by interrupting the treatment or reducing the dose of medication.

At pulmonary level, patients with lupus may suffer from pleuritis (inflammation of the interior lining of the chest), condition that causes pronounced discomfort and pain, especially when taking deep breaths. Patients with lupus are also very susceptible of developing pneumonia. At coronary level, patients with lupus may suffer from coronary vasculitis (inflammation of the arteries that deliver blood to the heart), myocarditis and endocarditis (inflammation of the heart itself) and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart protective membrane). If discovered in time, the implications of lupus at coronary level can be efficiently reversed with medical treatment.

How to Deal With Lymphedema

Lymphedema is swelling that mostly occurs in your arms and legs. It is caused by a blockage in your lymphatic system that prevents the lymph fluid in your arm or leg to drain. The accumulated fluid causes the swelling. Currently there is no cure for lymphedema, but it can be controlled.

Here are some of the symptoms that lymphedema may include:

– Swelling in your arms or legs

– Infections that reoccur where the lymphedema is located

– Tightness or pressure in your arm or leg

– Restriction of arm or leg movement (due to swelling)

– Soreness and pain in your arm or leg

Because lymphedema cannot be cured, treatments are designed to control the swelling and pain.

Light exercise is a common starting place and recommendation for combating lymphedema. Gentle exercises and movements that allow your muscles to contract can help pump the lymph fluid out of the accumulated areas.

A therapist can show you how to wrap bandages around your arm or leg. You will want to wrap the bandage tighter at the end of the limb and gradually loosen it as you wrap towards the upper part. The graduated wrapping style can enhance support to the muscle and help pump lymph fluid out.

Additionally, massage therapy can also be an alternative. You can receive a special massage designed to promote the movement of fluid out of the arm or leg.

Another possibility is pneumatic compression. This treatment requires that you place a sleeve on the affected limb. The sleeve is connected to a pump that will inflate intermittently and apply pressure to the arm or leg, which can help reduce swelling.

Migraine Syndrome

I have coined the name—migraine syndrome—to explain many different symptoms the migraine patient experiences. The name migraine syndrome puts the emphasis on migraines. The central point with treating any of the symptoms of migraine syndrome is to properly treat the migraines. These patients are very sensitive to light, sound, smell, food, and/or stress. If migraine patients are severely overstimulated long enough they develop fibromyalgia. The migraine syndrome is the outward expression of the body’s sensitivity to light, sound, smell, food, and/or stress, and presents as migraines, sinus or neck pain, palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), vertigo, hypoglycemia, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), panic attacks, and/or fibromyalgia.

If you can identify with any of the above symptoms, you may have a sensitive body. In my experience as a medical doctor, I have seen thousands of patients who fall into this category, yet they are not aware of the root of their problem. Consequently, they are afraid, upset, tired, and confused about why they “never seem to feel well.” Again, the sensitive body handles light, sound, smells, food, stress, touch, pain, or emotions with extra sensitivity. The end result of your sensitivity produces a variety of physical symptoms. Perhaps you have been told that some of these symptoms are all in your head, but you believe they are real. In fact, you know they are real. And I know they are real also. They are the result of an electrical discharge going across the cerebral cortex creating mental mush. This electrical discharge causes the sensitive body to react, rather than handle stimulation appropriately. Most patients with over reactive bodies do not understand the connections that all of the above symptoms have in common; therefore, symptoms are treated as individual ailments when they are actually individual components of a larger picture. Only treating symptoms may or may not provide relief. These patients can be trapped in a cycle of experiencing one symptom after another, never fully understanding the underlying cause.

If you or a family member can identify with any of the above symptoms, then go to []. I will explain how your body is wired, what causes your physical responses, and how to eliminate and manage those miserable and oftentimes debilitating effects.

Relationship Of Blood Glucose Levels In Cardiac Arrest

Researches show and explain that blood glucose levels of a person that recently survived from cardiac arrest negatively affects that person’s recovery of nervous system.

Blood glucose level or also referred as the blood sugar concentration is the amount of sugar present in the blood of a human or animal. Usually referring to mammals, their body can actually maintain the blood sugar level at a reference range of about 3.6 to 5.8 millimoles per liter. The human body, on the one hand, tightly regulates the blood glucose levels as an essential element of metabolic homeostasis.

Sugar is the primary source of energy for the cell of our body while blood lipids that are usually in the form of fats and oils primarily serve as compact energy storage. This glucose is transported using the bloodstreams from the intestines or liver to the body cells.

In several experimental data, the results suggest that blood glucose levels play a vital and important role in modulating cerebral infarction and selective neuronal necrosis.

In a research published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism in 1997, an experiment to validate this correlation was conducted to a group of humans that recently survived cardiac arrest. The research group was composed of 145 non-diabetic patients that were witnessed or diagnosed to experience ventricular fibrillation, which is the most common reason and cause of cardiac arrest. The blood glucose levels of the said patients were measured, evaluated and examined upon admission and six, twelve and twenty four hours of intervals thereafter. A partial correlation was utilized in this multivariate analysis.

After which, when the data have been interpreted, checked and validated already, the researchers concluded that patients with high level of glucose in the blood tend to be associated with weak neurological outcome. Furthermore, it was found out that the data on high glucose levels obtained from the patient over the first 24 hours after cardiac arrest possess harmful and negative effects for the functional recovery of the nervous system. However, the team of researchers did not recommend nor endorsed whether cardiac arrest survivors can gain beneficial effects from reduction of blood sugar concentration. This might need further validation and investigation.

Angina and MI (Heart Attack) – Two Common Causes of Chest Pain

Two Causes of Chest Pain

There are many causes of chest pain, but angina is the most common one, MI (or heart attack) the most serious. Normally the coronary arteries (blood vessels to the heart) carry oxygen and remove waste products. They may become narrowed from fatty deposits in the blood vessel walls or hardened – often both. The combination is called atherosclerosis and it causes several heart problems.

Most commonly is Angina (Pectoris): The chest pain of angina is caused by temporary loss of oxygen to the heart muscle from reduced blood flow. Lack of blood flow also causes a build up of carbon dioxide and lactic acid. This combined with the reduced oxygen results in chest pain, which is like ‘cramp’ in the heart muscle.

Angina episodes are often caused by exercise – but that may simply mean running for the bus, not necessarily a marathon. Similarly, the chest pain goes away again when the person rests. The work which the heart has to do (and so the amount of chest pain) can be reduced by the drug Nitroglycerin. As a First Aider, you can help the person to administer this (hint, read the label – it goes under their tongue) but do not simply decide to give something you happen to find in their pocket!

Angina Pectoris may be stable or unstable

Stable Angina is the commonest form. It follows a typical, predictable pattern. Worsened by exercise, emotion or other triggers and usually relieved by rest in 2-5 minutes.

Unstable angina is more serious. It may be caused by increasing blockage in the blood vessels to the heart. Pain may change in intensity or ‘come and go’. Unstable angina may come on at rest and not be relieved by rest. It may be a warning of an MI or heart attack in the near future. Treat it seriously!

More serious yet is the MI (Myocardial Infarction) or heart attack. This is the process of damage or death of heart muscle due to a complete stoppage in blood flow. It can be due to blood clot, embolism, spasm, tumour, etc. Whatever the course, the area of muscle not getting blood flow will start to die. Heart failure and death of the person may follow, depending on the area affected and how much of the heart has been affected. Acute MI is a common cause of death and effective CPR, Defibrillation and ACLS are needed to reduce the chances of this happening.

The first step in managing either of these conditions is to recognise them!

Signs & Symptoms

Common to both:

  • Pain in the chest, often spreading
  • Often the person says their chest feels ‘heavy’ or ‘crushed’
  • Pale skin, can be sweaty
  • Pain in the throat/jaw/teeth
  • May have increased pulse rate, irregular pulse
  • May be short of breath.

Extras for MI

  • Probably nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or confusion

Of course, the symptoms can vary, and can be identical for both conditions. If you are not sure, call an ambulance and be safe.

First Aid Treatment for Angina

  • Get them to rest (ie: sit down, stop doing whatever caused the angina)
  • Help with any medication
  • Free flow of air (open windows, loosen ties/collars)
  • Wait

First Aid Treatment for MI (Heart attack)

  • All of the above, plus
  • Get an ambulance!
  • If they are not seriously allergic to it, give ASA/Aspirin to suck or chew
  • Give oxygen if trained to do so
  • Take & record pulse & resp rate while waiting for the ambulance
  • Ask about any history of heart conditions.

When to get help

Always – for a Heart Attack!

  • If this is a first attack of angina, but passes quickly (less than 5 minutes) tell them to see their doctor
  • If this is a first attack of angina lasting more than 5 minutes, get an ambulance
  • If the angina attack does not settle with meds/rest call an ambulance
  • If they say the angina is different from their ‘normal’ – call an ambulance

Red Cross Courses

Angina and Chest Pain are covered in CPR & AED, OFA1, Emergency First Aid and Standard First Aid.

Fish Oil In the Prevention of Heart Disease

Studies of fish oils and extract in the form of pills and formulas for heart disease have not been uniformly promising. The best results are for patients with a history of heart attack. In the GSSI Prevenzione Study, 11,000 Italian post heart attack patients on standard medication therapy who took 850 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (present in fish oil) each day had a 45% reduction in cardiac health (GISSI. 1999). In another study extracts of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids also led to a significant reduction in heart attacks in men with heart disease (Burr et al 1989). Contrary to public opinion and to what you read in the papers, however, omega-3 fatty acids will not prevent heart disease.

A recent analysis of the studies of omega-3 fatty acids looked at 41 studies with a total of 36,913 participants (Hooper et al 2006). This analysis showed no reduction in cardiovascular events or total mortality with omega-3 supplementation using fish oils and other supplements. There was a 7% increase in cancer, which was not statistically significant.

In the Study on Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Ventricular Arrhythmia (SOFA) study, 546 patients with implantable fibrillators and ventricular arrhythmias were randomized to receive 2g/day fish oil or placebo. Thirty percent of the fish oil group had their defibrillator go off or died compared to 33% of the placebo group (not a significant difference) (Brouwer et al 2006).

In addition to not helping to prevent heart disease, omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil supplements may even cause harm in some heart disease patients. In the DART-2 study 3114 men with stable angina (chest pain) were randomly assigned to receive omega-3 supplements or placebo. Instead of protection from heart disease, the omega-3 group had a statistically significant increase in sudden death and cardiac death (Burr et al 2003). The excess of deaths was seen more in those taking fish oil capsules than in those eating oily fish. In another study (Leaf et al 2003) 200 patients with a history of a potentially lethal heart arrhythmia called ventricular tachycardia were given omega-3s or placebo. The supplements increased the amount of potentially lethal ventricular tachycardias.

Fish oil supplements or other food products to which omega-3 fatty acids have been added do not prevent heart disease in people without a history of heart disease and have questionable beneficial effects in people with a history of heart disease. I do not recommend taking them unless you have had a heart attack, and in that case you should confer with your doctor since they may exacerbate heart arrhythmias. You can get these effects by eating the foods like fish that contain Omega-3, and people that ate those foods in the clinical trials did better than people who took the supplements. In addition, if you take too many fish oil supplements you might end up smelling like a fish! Better to eat a 4-6 ounce serving of seafood in your diet at least twice a week).

Brouwer IA, Zock PL, Camm AJ, et al (2006): Effect of fish oil on ventricular tachyarrhythmia and death in patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators: The study on Omega-3 fatty acids and ventricular arrhthmia (SOFA) randomized trial. Journal of the American Medical Association 295:2613-2619.

Burr ML, Ashfield-Watt PAL, Dunstan FDJ, Fehily AM, Breay P, Ashton T (2003): Lack of benefit of dietary advice to men with angina: results of a controlled trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 57:193-200.

Burr ML, Fehily AM, Gilbert JF, Rogers S, Holliday RM, Sweetnam PM (1989): Effects of changes in fat, fish, and fibre intakes on death and myocardial reinfarction. Lancet 2:757-761.

GISSI. (1999): GISS-Prevenzione Investigators (Gruppo Italiano per lo Studio della Sopravvivenza Nell’Infarto Miocardio). Dietary supplementation with n-2 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E after myocardial infarction: results of the GISSI-Prevenzione Trial. Lancet 354:447-455.

Hooper L, Thompson RL, Harrison RA, et al (2006): Risks and benefits of omega 3 fats for mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review. Bmj 332:752-60.

Leaf A, Kang JX, Xiao Y-F, Billman GE (2003): Clinical presentation of sudden cardiac death by n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and mechanism of prevention of arrhythmias by n-3 fish oils. Circulation 107:2646-2652.

Mesothelioma – Do You Need To Worry?

Mesothelioma is a unique cancer that’s directly associated with asbestos. This cancer grows in the mesothelium which is the lining that encapsulates many of the body’s organs but is more common in the lungs and chest cavity.

This particular disease is difficult to discover as you may not suffer symptoms for several decades after having exposure to asbestos. A few of the more common symptoms are breathlessness, fluid surrounding the lungs, tiredness, and an abrasive cough that might have blood in it.

It also has symptoms like several other conditions such as Tuberculosis and different kinds of lung cancer. The only way to make certain is to get X-rays, CAT scans, or magnetic resonance imaging carried out. Delaying this procedure is not wise if you have any reason to believe you may be at risk.

Fortunately, the likelihood of picking up mesothelioma today is uncommon. There is an undertaking to make certain that outlawing the use of asbestos in common construction materials is stopped and exhaustive checking of older constructions is underway, rebuilding them if needed. Winding asbestos around water pipes was common in aged buildings and using it in ceilings was practised as well.

Although it is naturally occurring, it is difficult to just come across asbestos today. Although using it in concrete, brake pads, and in many diverse fireproof materials was common practice for a longtime.

Mineworkers and their kinfolk because of working in the mines, laundering miner’s clothing, and experiencing much asbestos in their surroundings, contracted mesothelioma as an outcome. Recognising the long-term dangers of the substance at the time was not known and unfortunately there were little or no safeguards employed when using it.

For more information on this and lung cancer see below.

The Nutrients Needed by New-Born Babies

In order to maintain the normal growth of the body, new-born babies need balanced and moderate nutrients each day. Generally speaking, they need protein, fat, mineral substances, vitamins and so on.

Mineral substances, macro elements and trace elements are rather essential for new-born babies to keep normal development. These nutrients mainly include sodium, potassium, chlorine, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Common salt contains the essential sodium needed by the human body. During the period of lactation, babies should not eat salty foods. However, it does not mean that babies do not need sodium. It is also necessary for babies to supplement moderate sodium. Potassium can be supplemented by drinking the dairy products. The sources of supplementing calcium for babies are rather diverse, including breast milk and dairy products. 50% to 70% of calcium contained in breast milk can be absorbed in the intestinal tract of the babies. But the absorption of calcium contained in dairy products is much lower. Therefore, mothers should raise their babies with breast milk as fat as possible. It is easy for babies to absorb phosphorus in everyday life, so babies usually will not lack phosphorus.

Various kinds of vitamins are also necessary for babies to maintain the life activities. Generally speaking, new-born babies do not lack vitamins. However, if expectant mothers lack vitamins during the pregnancy, the fetuses will also lack vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin E and folic acid. If mothers always raise babies with breast milk, it is probably for the babies to lack vitamin K. At the same time, parents should avoid supplementing excessive vitamins for babies, as the excessive supplementation can also endanger the health of the babies. For example, the excessive supplementation of vitamin A can cause the poisoning inside the body.

The amino acids needed by the babies include lysine, arginine, leucine, isoleucine, valinum, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine and tryptophane. Parents should supplement these nine kinds of amino acid for their babies each day. It is also important for babies to supplement fat. The content of fat contained in breast milk and the dairy products can not meet the demand of fat needed by the babies. Except amino acid and fat, protein, sugar and heat energy should also be provided for the babies at the same time.

When parents raise their babies, they should pay attention to the supplementation of essential nutrients needed by the babies in order to maintain the normal growth and life activities.

Fibroid Tumor Symptoms

Fibroid tumors or fibroids are the most common tumor in women. 75% of women deal with it at some point in their lives. The good thing about it is that it’s almost always benign or non-cancerous which is why it does not require treatment most of the time. Your doctor just needs to check on it from time to time to see if it’s becoming larger or if it’s developing some kind of complications. These tumors vary greatly in size, some tumors are so insignificant that a microscope is needed to see it. On the other hand, some women develop a single large tumor, about the size of a grapefruit and in some cases the fibroid is so large that it covers the whole abdominal area. It can weigh as much as 50 pounds, the largest recorded weighed 140 pounds.

Most of the women who have fibroid tumor can manage to live well and it does not even bother them at all. They can go through their day to day activities normally. In fact some don’t even know that they have existing tumor. However, some women who are affected with fibroids experience severe symptoms, can be very painful and uncomfortable and can hamper with day to day activities.

Some of the most common symptoms include chronic pain, abnormal or heavy bleeding, increased menstrual cramp and as the fibroid develops in size, women will experience swelling in the abdomen. Larger fibroid tumors may cause abnormal frequency in urination or inability to control the bladder or the urge to urinate and in some cases women with fibroids cannot urinate at all. If the tumor extends at the back, this may cause constipation and backache for a prolonged period of time. Infertility and some problems during pregnancy including miscarriage may also be attributed to fibroid tumor.

While the presence of these symptoms may not directly point to a fibroid tumor all the time, it’s always best to check with your doctor for confirmation and proper diagnosis. This will help you avoid further complications and this will also help your physician to advice you whether you need immediate treatment or not. In some cases a surgery is required to eliminate the tumor. However, some women prefer to treat the tumor naturally so they choose the natural method.

Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is one of the top 10 reasons for Americans to visit the doctor. Peak season is Fall and Winter. Symptoms include persistent cough with or without upper respiratory symptoms (sore throat, nasal congestion, headache, increased sputum production, and fever). Most cases are caused by viruses including: influenza, RSV, and adenovirus. Other causes include bacterial infection, smoke or dust allergy or asthma.

A physician’s job is to rule out serious causes of acute bronchitis like influenza and pneumonia. These conditions may increase morbidity and mortality especially in the young and old. Therefore, in cases of fever, cough and increased lung congestion (which does not clear with cough), an x-ray and antibiotic may be required. For influenza, anti viral medication is helpful if started within 48 hours. Bacterial pneumonia requires antibiotics.

For simple uncomplicated acute bronchitis, treatment options do not include antibiotics. Overuse of unnecessary antibiotics causes drug resistant bacteria like methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA) in the community. Therefore we often suggest any or all of the following:

  • mucolytics (e.g. Mucinex® or increasing water intake)
  • anti-tussive cough medicine
  • albuterol inhaler
  • analgesics
  • rest

Since acute bronchitis involves increased mucus production triggered by infection or allergens, one of the goals is to clear secretions. The body naturally does this with the cough reflex. Another method is to use aromatic oils.

In 2003, Hasani studied the effects aromatic oils on lung secretion clearance in chronic bronchitis sufferers. He concluded that direct application of essential oils to the skin helped clear respiratory secretions. Some recommended oils are:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint
  • Ravensara

Massage one or two drops into the chest area and dilute with high quality olive or sweet almond oil. Then, apply a warm compress for 15-20 minutes . Repeat several times a day. Use caution with the young and old as the oils may cause a rash so test a small area of skin first before applying to the entire chest.

Expect symptoms of acute bronchitis to last from 1-3 weeks. If you have any questions or difficulties, seek medical help.

Reference: Effect of aromatics on lung mucociliary clearance in patients with chronic airways obstruction. Hasani A et. al., J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Apr;9(2):243-9

Rainforest Plants – Guaco

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Mikania

Species: cordifolia, glomerata, guaco, laevigata

Common Names: Guaco, guace, bejuco de finca, cepu, liane Francois, matafinca, vedolin, cipĆ³ caatinga, huaco, erva das serpentes

General Description: Guaco is a climbing vine of Asteraceae family. The leaves are large; those of the mikania laevigata species exude a vanilla aroma when crushed together. ‘Guaco” is a common name, used for several species of mikania vines that look very similar and are used for similar purposes. However, guaco plants are all thornless, shrubby vines reaching about two meters in height and sprawling out two meters in diameter. Natives refer to any vine-like plant with a heart-shaped leaf that is white and green on the top and purple on the underneath, as a guaco; naturalists disagree and are more specific about the each species of guaco.

Location: The common name guaco is quite common; it is used for several species that look very similar and are used for similar purposes. These include the South American M. guaco species found in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador; M. cordifolia, found throughout South America as well as Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama; M. glomerata, found mostly in Paraguay and Venezuela; and M. laevigata, which has only been cataloged in Brazil.

Uses: Guaco is a popular and well known Brazilian herbal remedy for a variety of respiratory conditions. Brazilian research validates much of its traditional uses but it is virtually unknown to North American consumers and health practitioners. In current herbal medicine systems in Brazil in the form of a medicinal tea, it is used as an expectorant and cough suppressant employed for all types of upper respiratory problems including bronchitis, pleurisy, colds and flu, coughs, and asthma; as well as for sore throats, laryngitis, and fever.

In Central and South America, as well as the West Indies, this name is also to various plants belonging to the genera Willoughboea and Aristolochia. Most of the medicinal properties are found in abundance in the Willoughboea genus. This classification of plant chemicals has yielded some very biologically active antibacterial, insecticidal, anticancerous and antitumorous agents obtained from plants; the actual activities of the agents in guaco are still being researched.

Gauco is also known as huaco, guao, vejuco and bejuco. Native Americans and Colombians believe that the guaco was named after a species of kite, in imitation of its cry, which they say it uses to attract the snakes which it feeds on. Tradition says that the plant’s powers were discovered through watching the bird eat the leaves, and even spread the juice on its wings, before attacking the snakes.

This vine grows best with moist and shady conditions, and has a distinct odor, which some tradition suggests may protect one from snakes. Although this plant is not used in modern medicine in developed countries, it remains a well-known natural remedy for native medicine

Disclaimer: The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Any reference to medicinal use is not intended to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.

Burning Chest – Signs of Acid Reflux

Do you have heartburn? Do you have a burning chest? There are various signs that may point to heartburn or GERD. There are so many causes of people dismissing this ailment, and they think that it is a normal occurrence. Heartburn is in fact, not normal.

Everything about it is a result of a dysfunction in the body. There are a few ways to find out if you have acid reflux. Once you know this you will then be able to start to reverse it naturally. Here are a few signs:

Burning Chest

One sure sign of acid reflux is consistently having the sensation of a burning chest or a very uncomfortable feeling in the chest. Please do not overlook this discomfort. If you are experiencing it frequently this maybe the sure indication that you have this ailment.

Discomfort in Throat

When acid reflux occurs acid from the stomach comes back up from the stomach to the throat. This acid causes pain and essentially damages the esophagus overtime. And, if this is left untreated this uncomfortable feeling can be escalated to a permanently damaged esophagus, Barret’s Disease, or even other types of cancer. Go to a doctor immediately if this happens to you more than once a week.

Wet Belching

If you have an uncontrollable excessive belching that feels wet, then you may have acid reflux, because the acid can travel as far as back up to the point of the mouth. That is why it is called a wet belch or wet belching.

If you are experiencing any or all of the 3 symptoms that I have outlined then you should take them as serious warnings. It is very important that you do your research and due diligence to rid your body of this disease effectively.

At this point many people will seek the help of a doctor. The problem is that, the first thing that they will prescribe to you is a chemical drug. Heartburn drugs do nothing to eliminate the problem of acid reflux they only band-aid the symptoms.

At the end of the day, if you take these drugs you will still have the same ailment that you are trying to get rid of. In addition to, causing more debilitating ailments to yourself. You can research the adverse side-effects of these drugs by simply doing a Google search by typing in FDA warning acid reflux drugs.


Some people claim that acid reflux can be fixed with apple cider vinegar. However, this is not a cure all for everyone. The most successful way is to get rid of acid reflux is a through a holistic approach.

Viral & Bacterial Bronchitis – The Differences

Environmental factors can cause illness, just as much as viruses and bacteria can. When you become ill, quality of life is affected. Relationships with family and friends can suffer. A healthy lifestyle may help you to prevent illnesses. Get into a regular routine of hygiene and immunizations and exercise and diet, and this will go a long way towards staying as healthy as you can be. Do some research into this and formulate you plan for good health. If you do show some signs of possible bronchitis, see your doctor as soon as you can.

Bronchial tube inflammation may be caused by viral or bacterial infections, or allergens. There are differences between viral and bacterial infections. A professional will be able to advise you, if you have one of these two illnesses. The most common cause of bronchitis is viral. Your symptoms may include wheezing, burning pain, difficulty in breathing, headache and other symptoms. This type of bronchitis is not that serious and an disappear without taking any meds. Home remedies may be enough. Virus caused bronchitis may give you a mild fever, and a cough with little or no mucous.

With bacterial bronchitis, it can get serious if you also have asthma, cystic fibrosis or COPD. You may have a high fever and discoloured mucous. After a visit to your doctor you’ll know what kind you have and how to treat it. You may need a chest x-ray if your symptoms are fairly severe. Treatment is different with the two forms of bronchitis. If you have the viral kind, you can drink more liquids. Rest, and if you have muscle pain, take acetaminophen. Over the counter medications may help, too. A steamy shower will open up your airways and help you to cough up mucous.

An antibiotic may be prescribed by your doctor if you have the bacterial form of bronchitis. You may experience side effects like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Certain bacteria are resistant to drugs. The FDA recently approved a new drug, gemiflaoxacin mesylate which is a new drug and could help outwit this bacteria. Viral bronchitis is not affected by antibiotics. Never use a prescribed medication without consulting a doctor first. Make expectoration of mucous as easy as you can by getting plenty of rest. Get immunizations and practice good hygiene. This will help guard you against infections. Avoid cigarettes, smoke, fumes and other triggers. Your lungs will be able to filter out normal amounts of these triggers. Be as healthy as you can.

SLAP Tears and the Labrum – Causes of Shoulder Pain

The labrum is a ring of tissue around the cup of the shoulder joint. It helps keep the ball of the joint centered in the cup. During sports or after an injury, a person can dislocate the shoulder joint and tear the bottom of the labrum. A tear at this location is often called a Bankart tear. If the labrum doesn’t heal, the shoulder can remain unstable, and the ball of the shoulder can dislocate during simple activities.

The labrum is also where the biceps tendon attaches to the shoulder joint. Repetitive activities, like throwing a baseball, put a lot of stress on the biceps tendon, which can lead to tears on the top of the labrum. Tears at this location, called SLAP (Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior) tears, are painful, while tears on the bottom of the labrum usually cause shoulder instability, but not pain.

Another type of tear of the labrum is a degenerative tear. This type of tear occurs as we age, but it usually does not cause pain. Studies show that patients with degenerative tears usually have normal shoulder function. Based on this information, a tear of the labrum does not always need to be repaired. The decision whether or not to repair the labrum is complex and requires a complete evaluation by a surgeon.

An MRI should be used to confirm the diagnosis of a labrum tear. Some doctors inject a dye into the shoulder joint in order to see the tear more clearly. The dye surrounds the labrum, making the outline of the tissue easier to see. If the MRI shows a tear but the patient’s history or physical exam is inconsistent with a labrum tear, then the doctor may inject the shoulder joint with lidocaine, a local anesthetic, to determine whether the labrum is the source of the pain.

A torn labrum does have the potential to heal. Physical therapy can help, especially if the patient has pain rather than instability of the shoulder joint. Surgery for pain should be considered if a minimum of 8 weeks of physical therapy does not lessen the discomfort. Surgery for instability can be considered right away if the labrum tear occurred after a shoulder dislocation. SLAP tears can be treated by either repairing the labrum or reattaching the biceps tendon outside of the shoulder joint. The treatment chosen depends on the patient’s age. If the patient is 40 or older, then it is better to reattach the biceps tendon outside of the shoulder joint, because this type of surgery will heal better than a repair of the labrum.

Is Shoulder Discomfort A Pain In The Neck?

One of the most common complaints I hear involves pain in the shoulder, particularly amongst my most physically active patients. Not only do they have shoulder pain but usually a stiff and sore neck from trying to keep the shoulder from moving (and hurting!) too much.

Participating in sports that involve a lot of arm and shoulder movements, or working at a job that involves a lot of lifting or overhead work, can cause stress and strain and injury to different parts of the shoulder. It’s important then to know what the exact injury is before it can be treated successfully. Today, I’d like to talk to you about some common causes of shoulder pain and what you can do about them.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Arthritis: Arthritis can set into the shoulder joint after an injury or strain occurs. Treatment consists of anti-inflammatory and/or pain medications. When severe, sometimes the joint may need to be artificially replaced.

Bursitis/tendinitis: Usually the most common cause of shoulder pain. These are inflammation of the bursal sacs and/or tendons of the shoulder caused by overuse mainly. Calcium tendinitis can also occur where calcium deposits occur within the tendons, usually of the rotator cuff. These conditions can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, rest, and gentle exercise to keep the shoulder moving properly and break up calcium deposits.

Frozen shoulder: This condition can occur when an injury to the shoulder has gone too long untreated but it also can occur on its own with no known injury. It occurs almost twice as often in women ages 40-60 than men. Disorders of the endocrine system (diabetes, thyroid problems, etc) and Parkinson disease can also be factors. Inflammation and stiffness sets in to the point where it becomes very difficult to move the shoulder joint. This is also called adhesive capsulitis and is generally treated by physical therapy. It’s important if you injure your shoulder to get treatment for it before this condition sets in as it can be complicated to resolve.

Rotator cuff tear: The cuff-like band of tendon surrounding the shoulder that hold it in place is called the rotator cuff. With heavy sports playing or overhead arm activity, this cuff can tear and separate from the bone. Often times surgery is needed to re-attach the tendons, but other times it can heal with physical therapy, gentle exercise and/or rest.

SLAP lesion: This is a tear of the labrum, soft, fibrous tissue that surrounds the shoulder socket. It occurs most often when you fall onto your outstretched hands. It is often treated with anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. Sometimes, surgery is required to stabilize the shoulder if the tears are too extensive.

Shoulder instability/dislocation:This condition occurs when the joint becomes loose in the socket. The shoulder may slide out of place in subluxation and can dislocate altogether. It is usually caused by an initial injury where the shoulder tendons have been torn or stretched more than usual. They can heal too loosely and cause the shoulder to be unstable and/or dislocate. This condition is usually seen in athletes, but also in people whose jobs require them to lift heavy objects and/or constant overhead work. Treatment usually consists of physical therapy/rehab for strengthening exercises. Cortisone injections can help and sometimes surgery is necessary to surgically tighten the loose structures.

Symptoms of Shoulder Injury

If you’re unsure if you just have sore shoulder muscles from over-exercising or playing weekend sports, or if you may have a real injury, here are some important symptoms to watch for:

1. Cannot carry objects or raise or use your arm

2. Shoulder pain at night, or while resting, or pain that lasts several days

3. Swelling or deep bruising around the shoulder joint

4. Infection signs including warmth, redness, fever

If you have any of the above symptoms, please see your doctor immediately.

Treatments for Shoulder Pain

If you’ve just overdone it with exercise, rough-housing with your kids, too much overhead home repairs or strenuous landscaping work, the following treatments can help your shoulder/s feel better:

Rest. This usually is the best thing you can do for your shoulder strain to allow the muscles and tendons to quiet down and calm any inflammation.

Heat: Generally heat can be helpful in overuse injuries. A heating pad or hot wet or dry towel. However, discontinue if the pain gets worse with heat.

Anti-inflammatories: Over the counter anti-inflammatories may be needed to help with the soreness. However, there are also some natural anti-inflammatories like arnica which is very good at relieving muscle and joint aches. This can either be bought in a cream or in homeopathic pill form at health food stores. Also, white willow bark is an excellent anti-inflammatory as is dark cherry juice. Soaking in Epsom salts in a warm bath can relieve a lot of pain and inflammation as they contain magnesium which helps to relax the muscle and de-inflame it.

Stretching:Light stretching after a period of rest will help the muscles and tendons from stiffening up. In the future, stretching all your muscles is a good idea before engaging in vigorous physical activity or work.

Hydrate: Drinking plenty of water will help your sore muscles relax as well. Dehydration causes your muscles to tighten up and ache.

Shoulder pain can be very uncomfortable and activity limiting. Getting into the habit of doing good muscle stretching of all your muscles before strenuous activity can help you avoid tears, strains and pulls. If your shoulder pain/discomfort isn’t helped with the above recommendations and/or seems to worsen, please call your doctor.

Mark Bromson, M.D.