Herbal Cure for Hepatitis B

INDIAN HERBAL SCIENTISTS claim to have found an effective and cheap treatment for the Hepatitis B, the dreaded disease that has some two billion infected people (infected with HBV – Hepatitis B virus), out of which more than 350 million have chronic (lifelong) infections, across the globe.

Lucknow based International Institute of Herbal Medicine (IIHM), headed by Dr Narendra Singh has developed an extract of traditional Indian plants (liver-kidney cure), which catalyses the generation of interferon in the cells. The low generation of interferon in the cells reduces the liver’s capacity to fight with the viral infections. The liver-kidney cure for hepatitis is a combination of Bohrriva Deffusa (Punarva), Picorhiza Curova (Kutki) and Phylynathus Hirruri herbal extracts, which has been found highly useful in treating the deadly disease.

Singh says that scientists and clinicians from 12 Asian countries were a part of the intensive research and the drug was recently given recognition by Orthodox Union, an agency from USA and Israel. Companies from USA, France, Israel and Canada have already entered into an agreement with IIHM for the bulk production of the drug.

The Herbal formulation has the capacity of raising both the haemoglobin and interferon. “We are going ahead with more trials of the drug and discussions with other agencies were on,” says Dr. Singh.

“The herbs were raised in the botanical garden of Banaras Hindu University and Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), thus giving boost to the prospects of being recognised in a big way,” he pointed out.

Hepatitis B is preventable with safe and effective vaccines that have been available since 1982. It is 95 per cent effective in stopping chronic infections from developing. It is the first vaccine against a major human cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) called for all children to receive the hepatitis B vaccine, in 1991. 116 countries have added this vaccine to their routine immunisation programmes.

However, India, where the vaccine is needed most, has not been receiving it because the government cannot afford it.

Cirrhosis – Effects and Conditions

Cirrhosis is the irreversible scarring, due to excessive consumption of alcohol or a viral infection like hepatitis C, of the liver. This usually happens during the end stages of severe liver disorders. The normal tissue of the liver is destroyed when cirrhosis occurs, and fibrous scarred tissue replaces it. This causes permanent damage to the liver and hinders the normal functions of nutralising toxins, fighting infections, processing amino acids and glucose in the blood, controlling fat levels, and also processing food that is already digested.

There are no initial symptoms and the person may not be aware of the cirrhosis, however when the symptoms do show up there will be extreme tiredness, itchy skin, nausea, loss of weight and appetite and jaundice. Cirrhosis brings on a complete liver failure, cancer of the liver, severe malnutrition and high blood pressure which occurs in the veins of the gullet and makes them very delicate and even bleeds because of this.

This affects men who are over 40 years of age who have a serious drinking problem and succumb to over indulgence in alcohol. To try and prevent this and safeguard one’s self from this dreadful disease, one should get immunized against hepatitis of the A and B type; stay away from injecting themselves with drugs that are illegal; avoid getting hepatitis B by practicing safe sex and consume only safe quantities of alcohol.

This is an irreversible condition and with this in mind the person should avoid any kind of risk to worsen the condition. The treatment given is usually for the underlying cause and the person has to lead a healthy life style to prevent further deterioration in their condition. It is best to avoid consumption of alcohol at any cost. In case of liver failure the patient can be considered for a liver transplant. In a liver transplantation the liver which is diseased is removed surgically and a healthy liver from a donor replaces it. The survival rates of those who have been through a liver transplant are quite good and at least 80% to 90% come through the liver transplant. Tacrolimus and Cyclosporine are two new wonder drugs which are used to suppress the body’s natural immune system and avoid the new liver being damaged and attacked by it. Research is being conducted to find a way to reverse the scarring of tissue which is brought on by cirrhosis of the liver.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. We aim to be as accurate as possible, but there may be some unintentional omission of information. The content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on within this article.

Blood in Stool – 7 Reasons Found in the Colon

Blood in stool is often discovered with some perplexity, accompanied appropriately by exclamations of ‘bloody’ (not expletive). Dots of blood, scarlet red, stand out unmistakably on excrement. Maroon red blotches of blood besmirches the toilet tissue. Bright red spots of blood dribble into the toilet bowl or down the legs. Quite naturally, a sudden bout of fear causes our hearts to jump a beat or two.

No undue alarm is warranted yet as the hemorrhaging (technical word for bleeding) could be any one of 7 possible causes arising from the colon. Mindful attention to ensure early diagnosis and correct treatment will reduce any unsettling lifestyle changes as the best part of the 7 causes are treatable. Do not be unconcerned. Commence close monitoring. Without delay, consult your doctor if bleeding and pain lingers for more than a week.

Appropriate treatment following proper diagnosis can often quickly resolve the problem. More critically, blood in stool may be the consequence of some type of cancer.

Melena or Hematochezia

Hematochezia (maroon or bright red colored blood) or melena (black sticky or tarry stools) are two medical categorizations for the less technical term rectal bleeding. Whilst recognised as rectal bleeding as the exit is the rectum, the origins of the blood may be any of 7 causes in the colon (large intestine). Cancer, colon polyps, diverticulosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, intestinal ischemia and peptic ulcer are the 7 known causes in the colon.

Colorectal Cancer

This is the third most frequent form of cancer on earth and the third most frequent reason for of cancer-related death with a fatality toll of around 640,000 annually. It is the reason why one should see a medical specialist for continual blood in stool.

Tumours in the colon, appendix and rectum are classified as colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy (visual inspection by micro-camera inserted via the anus) is the chief means of ascertaining colorectal cancer. Treatment focuses on surgical excision and chemotherapy. Timely discovery often leads to a total cure. Those over 50 and those with family history of cancers are classified under the higher risk group. Colorectal cancer is gender blind, affecting both women and men, with no conspicuous bias for either sex.

This next point bears taking note. Quite in contrast to what is reported elsewhere, colorectal cancer commonly produces occult (not visible to the naked eye) blood in feces i.e it is NOT a regular reason for visible blood in stool! According to the University of Michigan Health System, colorectal cancer does cause bleeding but special tests are requisite to confirm the presence of occult blood. Crucial accompanying symptoms to watch out for are diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, weight loss, appetite loss and incessant fatigue.

Colon Polyp

Affixing on the walls of the intestines or the rectum, polyps are frequently benign and may be raised or flat. Those above 50 years of age and with a family history of polyps and colorectal cancer are prone to polyps. Contributory factors include lack of exercise, obesity, alcohol and smoking. It would seem that no one knows the real cause.

Whilst benign, polyps are usually excised during colonoscopy as they can become malignant. Polyps do not usually cause noticeable symptoms. But in others, blood in stool is present.

Diverticulosis

Pouches (diverticula) stretching from the colon wall is distinctive of diverticulosis. Diverticula growth is postulated to be a result of abnormal colon pressure, the causes of which are not entirely distinct. Contributory factors include deprivation of dietary fiber. If food gets embedded in diverticula, infection may set in leading to diverticulitis. Complications from diverticulitis can ensue if an infected diverticulum ruptures and disseminates bacteria to the abdominal cavity lining. The possibly deadly peritonitis can materialise.

Diverticulosis do not cause distinct symptoms in most people. Mild cramps, constipation and bloating are some noted symptoms. Yet others suffer more acutely, including nausea, vomiting and rectal bleeding as the most common symptoms. The peril of peritonitis emphasizes the need that blood in stool should first be examined by a doctor. A CT (computed tomography) scan is 98% efficacious in diagnosing diverticulitis.

Ulcerative Colitis

IBD or inflammatory bowel disease, under which colitis is classified, affects the large intestine (colon) and the small intestine. Inflammation by itself is a healthy bodily response to heal damaged tissue. Like a tap that must be turned off, inflammation sets off curing of injured tissue but must terminate thereafter or greater tissue harm may ensue. Ulcerative colitis is caused by ulcers which are erosion of the mucous membrane lining.

Apart from other symptoms, blood in stool is frequent. The risk of peritonitis from colitis is the key reason for diagnosing it as the cause of rectal bleeding.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an auto-immune disease whereby the body’s immune system provokes harmful inflammation by assailing the gastrointestinal tract. It can develop in any part of of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. But it usually affects the small and large intestine (colon).

Smoking, genetic makeup and industrial environmental exposure are believed to be contributory causal factors even though definitive causes are unknown. The symptoms are blood in stool, abdominal cramps, severe bloody diarrhea, blood on toilet tissue or in the toilet bowl, fever and weight loss.

Often termed as granulomatous colitis, Crohn’s disease can go into abeyance and happen again periodically throughout life. Currently, there is no known surgical or pharmaceutical solution for Crohn’s disease. Early detection is important for efficacious control of the symptoms and checking recurrences.

Intestinal Ischemia

Ischemia is a suppression in blood supply to any part of the body. Dysfunctional arteries result in tissue damage due to the deprivation of blood nutrients and oxygen. Intestinal ischemia is the depletion blood supply causing inflammation of the large intestine; a result of blood clots, blood vessel constriction and general high blood pressure.

Symptoms include blood in stool, urgent and violent bowel movements, weight loss, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps, abdominal bloating and fever. Urgent medical attention is needed to rejuvenate intestinal blood supply if there is serious consistent pain. It may be crucial to surgically circumvent blocked blood vessels and remove blood clots and damaged tissue. To arrest clots and infections, respective medication includes anticoagulants and antibiotics.

Peptic Ulcer

An exceedingly painful ulcer, this is located in the gastrointestinal tract. An erosion of the mucosal membrane that is at least 0.5cm in diameter is an ulcer. Commonly mistaken to occur in the stomach, peptic ulcers are actually prevalent in the duodenum (initial part of the small intestine). Peptic ulcers are largely presumed to be caused by a bacterium that inflicts chronic gastritis.

Symptoms include blood in stool (melena), abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, appetite and weight loss, vomiting of blood and at the extreme, perforation of the intestine. This can lead to possibly deadly peritonitis and requires emergency surgery. Antibiotics and antacids can be used to cure milder cases.

Hemorrhoids

The above 7 causes is the rationale why rectal bleeding demands the skills of a medical doctor who can render a precise diagnosis. Appropriate treatment and medication, possibly including surgery, can accelerate the path to recovery.

Lest you be too distressed by the above narrated causes, blood in stool is most usually due to the relatively innocuous internal or external hemorrhoids.

Natural Remedy For Acid and Ulcers – A Natural Approach to Cure Acid Reflux

Do you suffer from uncomfortable acid reflux? If so, have you considered a natural remedy for acid and ulcers? Unfortunately, many acid reflux sufferers think that antacids and medications are the only way to treat this problem. They are wrong!

A natural approach to cure acid reflux is one of the fastest growing treatments for Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). And you can treat yourself from home with the foods you eat, beverages you drink and various remedies.

Let me explain!

A Natural Remedy for Acid Reflux

About 30 years ago, my dad, Bob Barton was diagnosed with a very serious form of acid reflux. His life was literally destroyed by his refluxed acid and ulcers. Surgery was his only option. Unfortunately, surgeries are not fool-proof and surgery did not do the trick.

However, Bob woke up one night and discovered that he finally slept a whole night with not one episode of reflux. After retracing his previous night’s activities and doing some experimenting, Bob discovered a natural remedy for acid and ulcers… a red apple!

My dad has been acid reflux and ulcer-free for almost 30 years and you can be too! Here are some other natural remedies you may wish to try. They worked for Bob and they could work for you!

Naturally Cure Reflux and Ulcers

1. A red apple can relieve your symptoms whenever you feel an attack coming on.

2. You must realize that your LES (lower esophageal sphincter) must be healed in order for you to naturally cure your reflux. The LES is a muscle flap that sits atop your stomach. A healthy LES will keep stomach acid and food in your stomach. Most sufferers have a weak or damaged (scratched) sphincter. You can begin to heal this part of your body with eating soft foods for 2-3 days.

3. Honey is also a good remedy for acid reflux and ulcers. Honey is one of the oldest remedies for acid reflux. Honey has been shown to fight bacteria, block infection, combat inflammation, and heal tissue. Honey is a great remedy for acid reflux and ulcers and 1 tablespoon should be taken when you feel discomfort. And one right before bed!

4. You may also try to restrict a few things from your lifestyle. Coffee, cigarettes and spicy foods have been shown to make reflux and ulcers worse. You should immediately eliminate these from your diet.

5. Finally, you should also try to drink plenty of water after every meal. Water can naturally flush your body and it can also create a tight seal for the sphincter (LES). After every meal and snack, make sure you drink 1 tall glass of water.

Herbal Remedies for Biliary Dyskinesia – 5 Herbal Remedies That Work Effectively

Treatments for biliary dyskinesia usually involve relaxing or toning the gallbladder and improving the secretion of bile from the liver. Several herbs have properties which promote choleretic and cholagogue action which means that it stimulates the liver cells to produce bile and also improves the gallbladder contractions to help the duodenum eliminate bile efficiently.

1. Globe artichoke: Globe artichoke or cynara scolymus tea has a bitter taste due to which people usually avoid it but it is a very good cholecystokinetic.

Drink the unsweetened tea in small sips before you eat anything in the morning and then lie down for 30 minutes on your right side for maximum effect. You can drink the tea at any time but it is most effective when taken in the morning. You can take Artichokes capsules, a half hour before every meal, if you really can’t take the bitterness of the tea.

2. An infusion of yarrow or achillea millefolium is bitter for some while for others the taste is both sweet and bitter. Bile elimination can be stimulated by drinking this tea 30 minutes before the main meals.

The infusion is prepared by adding a tablespoon of the herb in boiling water, about a cup. Let the herb steep for at least 5 minutes after covering the cup. Take 1 or 2 cups of the warm drink before meals. The tea has can treat nausea, loss of appetite, duodenal and gastric ulcers, abdominal bloating, hepatitis and hyperacidity gastritis.

3. Dandelion or taraxacum officinale is a powerful herb which can aid in draining the liver and bile flow into the digestive system. It stimulates the liver activities.

An infusion can be made with 2 teaspoons of the whole dandelion plant in water, a cup. You will need to take 2-3 cups daily. You can also use dandelion stem, 10 to 15 stems daily, to cure biliary dyskinesia or hepatitis.

4. An infusion of St. John’s Wort or hypericum perforatum can provide biliary dyskinesia relief for some people and for others the St. John’s Wort oil works effectively.

The infusion is prepared in boiling water, a cup, with a teaspoon of minced herb. Cover the water and let it steep for atleast 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the water. 2-3 cups of this unsweetened tea taken daily or a teaspoon of the oil after each meal can treat hypotonic biliary dyskinesia or “lazy gallbladder”. The plant stimulates the liver and can also be used to treat gastric hyperacidity and gastritis.

5. Celandine or Herba Chelidoni can provide pain relief for patients suffering from hypertonic biliary dyskinesia or bladder contractions. Celandine infusion is made from 3 grams of dried leaves in a cup of water. You will need to gradually drink a cup of this infusion during the day.

You can prevent biliary dyskinesia with changes to your diet. Eat regularly and lie down on your right after meals for at least 30 minutes so that the bile flow is proper. You can also avoid heavy food and fats.

Herbal Remedies for Biliary Dyskinesia – 5 Herbal Remedies That Work Effectively

Treatments for biliary dyskinesia usually involve relaxing or toning the gallbladder and improving the secretion of bile from the liver. Several herbs have properties which promote choleretic and cholagogue action which means that it stimulates the liver cells to produce bile and also improves the gallbladder contractions to help the duodenum eliminate bile efficiently.

1. Globe artichoke: Globe artichoke or cynara scolymus tea has a bitter taste due to which people usually avoid it but it is a very good cholecystokinetic.

Drink the unsweetened tea in small sips before you eat anything in the morning and then lie down for 30 minutes on your right side for maximum effect. You can drink the tea at any time but it is most effective when taken in the morning. You can take Artichokes capsules, a half hour before every meal, if you really can’t take the bitterness of the tea.

2. An infusion of yarrow or achillea millefolium is bitter for some while for others the taste is both sweet and bitter. Bile elimination can be stimulated by drinking this tea 30 minutes before the main meals.

The infusion is prepared by adding a tablespoon of the herb in boiling water, about a cup. Let the herb steep for at least 5 minutes after covering the cup. Take 1 or 2 cups of the warm drink before meals. The tea has can treat nausea, loss of appetite, duodenal and gastric ulcers, abdominal bloating, hepatitis and hyperacidity gastritis.

3. Dandelion or taraxacum officinale is a powerful herb which can aid in draining the liver and bile flow into the digestive system. It stimulates the liver activities.

An infusion can be made with 2 teaspoons of the whole dandelion plant in water, a cup. You will need to take 2-3 cups daily. You can also use dandelion stem, 10 to 15 stems daily, to cure biliary dyskinesia or hepatitis.

4. An infusion of St. John’s Wort or hypericum perforatum can provide biliary dyskinesia relief for some people and for others the St. John’s Wort oil works effectively.

The infusion is prepared in boiling water, a cup, with a teaspoon of minced herb. Cover the water and let it steep for atleast 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the water. 2-3 cups of this unsweetened tea taken daily or a teaspoon of the oil after each meal can treat hypotonic biliary dyskinesia or “lazy gallbladder”. The plant stimulates the liver and can also be used to treat gastric hyperacidity and gastritis.

5. Celandine or Herba Chelidoni can provide pain relief for patients suffering from hypertonic biliary dyskinesia or bladder contractions. Celandine infusion is made from 3 grams of dried leaves in a cup of water. You will need to gradually drink a cup of this infusion during the day.

You can prevent biliary dyskinesia with changes to your diet. Eat regularly and lie down on your right after meals for at least 30 minutes so that the bile flow is proper. You can also avoid heavy food and fats.

Gastritis Diet – Keep Your Gastritis in Check With Your Diet

Does a gastritis diet help in controlling or treating gastritis? Let’s find out more!

Gastritis is a condition where the lining of the stomach gets irritated and inflamed. It is not a disease but a condition which may be caused due to various medical conditions too. Excessive drinking of alcohol or continuous use of anti inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or aspirin can also be responsible for this condition.

Other reasons to cause this condition include traumatic injury, severe infections, major surgery or even burns. Some disease like anemia, chronic reflux and auto immune disorders have also caused this condition.

Since this condition is related chiefly to the stomach, it is but natural that what we eat can play a major role in aggravating or soothing this condition. There are people who believe that a gastritis diet may actually help treat it.

Let us start with a few basic tips that may help you ease your discomfort:

  • Stick to your regular meals. Eating too often or between meals can aggravate acidity
  • Limit your dairy intake and even then switch to low fat or no fat products
  • Pepper and chilies of all kinds and all states should be avoided along with alcohol
  • Limit your caffeine intake. If possible avoid it all together. This means steer clear of coffee, tea, chocolates, colas and cocoa
  • Tomatoes, citrus juices and fatty foods irritate the lining and can cause heartburn
  • Avoid garlic, onions cinnamon and cloves if they cause irritation
  • High fiber food like whole grains beans, fruits and vegetables is good for the stomach
  • It would be easy on your stomach if you could avoid foods causing gas, like cabbage, milk peas etc.

With trial and error you will know which foods suit you better and which cause pain or irritation.

Some other things that you can take care about are:

  • Eat slowly and chew your food completely. This will help in digestion and will prevent irritation.
  • Always eat a little less that you want to. This will help keep the stomach easy
  • Smaller meals are easy on the stomach. So eat small meals every few hours
  • Avoid spicy food; this includes peppers, chilies and pungent spices
  • Avoid fatty food, deep fried stuff, pickled, salty and salted foods
  • Vinegar and caffeine drinks are also best not taken

Have a look at foods to avoid and foods to take:

Include: wheat bran, fresh fruits and vegetables, salads, leafy vegetables, coconut water, banana, carrot juice, molasses, almonds, raw apples and tomatoes, papaya etc.

Exclude: alcohol, coffee, whole milk, meat, cream, pork, soda, citrus juices, spicy food, broccoli beans etc.

When the stomach is having a bad time:

  • Try some plain low fat yogurt
  • Combine spinach and carrot juice and drink to calm it

Consult your doctor if you are taking medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin. Take care of your diet and help relieve the pain and suffering caused by this condition. A proper gastritis diet combined with stress management should give you good results.

What Do You Know About the Coxsackie Virus?

The Coxsackie viruses comprise a large subgroup of the enteroviruses. They produce a variety of illnesses in humans, including aseptic meningitis, herpangina, pleurodynia, hand, foot and mouth disease, myo- and pericarditis, common cold, and possibly diabetes, Coxsackie viruses have been divided into 2 groups; A and B, having different pathogenic potentials for mice. Coxsackie B viruses are the most commonly identified causative agents of viral heart disease in humans.

Properties of the Viruses

General properties

Coxsackie viruses are typical enteroviruses, with a diameter of 28nm.

Animal susceptibility and Growth of Virus

Coxsackie viruses are highly infective for newborn mice. Certain strains (B1-B6, A7, 9, 16) also grow in monkey kidney cell culture. Some group N strains grow in human amnion and human embryonic lung fibroblast cells. Chimpanzees and cynomolgus monkeys can be infected sub-clinically; virus appears in the blood and throat for short periods and is excreted in the feces for 2-5 weeks. Type A14 produces poliomyelitis-like lesions in adult mice and in monkeys, but in suckling mice this type produces only myositis, Type A7 strains produces paralysis and severe central nervous system lesions in monkeys.

Group A viruses produce widespread myositis in the skeletal muscles of newborn mice, resulting in flaccid paralysis without other observable lesions. Group B viruses may produce focal myositis, encephalitis and most typically, necrotizing steatites involving mainly fetal fat lobules. The genetic makeup of inbred strains determines their susceptibility to Coxsackie B viruses. Some B strains also produce pancreatitis, myocarditis, endocarditis and hepatitis in both suckling and adult mice. Corticosteroids may enhance the susceptibility of older mice to infection of the pancreas. Normal adult mice tolerate infections with group B Coxsackie viruses. However, severely malnourished or immuno-deficient mice have greatly enhanced susceptibility.

Antigenic properties

At least 32 different immunologic types of Coxsackie viruses are not recognized; 26 are listed as group A and 6 as group B types.

Resistance

Coxsackie and ECHO viruses posses relatively high resistance. They survive for a long period of time in a frozen state at -70 degrees Celsius. In glycerin and horse serum at room temperature they persist for 70 days. In a refrigerator they survive for more than a year. The Coxsackie viruses resemble the poliomyelitis viruses in that they are resistant to various concentrations of hydrogen ions. They survive at pH 2.3-9.4 for 24 hours and at pH 4.0-8.0 for 7 days. They are resistant to antibiotics, 70 degrees ethyl alcohol, and 5% Lysol solutions but are extremely sensitive to solutions of hydrochloric acid and formaldehyde. A temperature of 50-55 degrees Celsius kills the viruses in 30 minutes.

Pathogenesis and pathology

Virus has been recovered from the blood in the early stages of natural infection in humans and of experimental infection in Chimpanzees. Virus is also found in the throat for a few days early in the infection and in the stools for up to 5-6 weeks. The distribution of virus is similar to that found with the other enteroviruses. Group B Coxsackie viruses may cause acute fatal encephalomyocarditis in infants. This appears to be a generalized systemic disease with virus replication and lesions in the central nervous system, heart muscle, and other organs.

How to Reduce Swelling in the Knee Following a Knee Replacement

After you have had your knee replaced besides learning how to manage the post-surgical pain, you will need to learn how to effectively manage the swelling that will accompany the surgery as well. Maintaining an acceptable amount of swelling in the knee will not only help in reducing your pain and overall comfort level but, it will also make your rehabilitation more productive.

Several recommendations that are made to help you with the swelling and, what I also recommend to my patients in the home health setting are

1. A Good Quality Cold Pack. I have seen all types of cold packs in use. Some are much better than others. I myself do not recommend using a bag of vegetables for instance for such a large joint. It is advisable that you purchase either a large cold pack that has a gel component inside or, you get a large plastic bag that can be filled with ice. The important thing to remember is that you want a cold pack that fully encompasses the entire knee both top and bottom. You should be able to wrap the entire cold pack around your knee.

Some hospitals also provide their own cryotherapy systems that you can take home and use. They are effective as well. The important thing to remember is to use a cold component on the knee immediately after exercise and as needed throughout the day. You cannot apply too much ice.

2. Ted Hose. This something to consider if you have a continual problem with swelling. Many orthopedic surgeons make the use of these compression stockings a part of their discharge instructions. They are effective when used. The problem can be getting them on and off for some patients and caregivers. You can wear them virtually 24 hours a day. They can be uncomfortable for many and rather restrictive. They are used also in the prevention of possible blood clotting in the affected limb as well.

3. Elevation. Keeping your affected leg elevated higher than your heart is another very common tool that is used and taught to everyone that has a knee replacement. The problem is many do not follow the instructions regarding proper placement. I find many will keep the affected leg lower than it should be. Placing it up on several pillows or other type of structure will help in getting the fluid to drain back towards your torso. This allows your body to properly handle and excrete the fluid at a later time.

4. Monitor Your Activity Level. Your activity level and how much you are up on your feet will dictate the amount of swelling you experience. This is another common area where people get into trouble. They are torn between how much to walk. It is pounded into our heads when we leave the hospital to walk. Yes that is important however, you can over do this easily and, cause your knee to revolt, causing the increase in swelling and accompanied pain.

Reducing the swelling in your knee therefore is learning how to merge and manage your activity levels, along with applying a cold pack to your knee after each exercise session and elevating your leg during your icing sessions.

There is nothing that will totally prevent the swelling of your knee. Swelling is how your body begins the healing process by bringing extra blood and nutrients to the area. You will go through a learning curve with the swelling. Everyone s body will react a little differently. You will learn through trial and error how to manage this process.

If you follow the triad of monitoring your activity level initially along with using ice liberally around the entire knee and, elevating it throughout the day than you will be doing all you can to keep your swelling to a manageable level.

Heart Valve Surgery – A New Minimally Evasive Procedure

Every year about 200,000 patients in the United States need a new heart valve because they have severe aortic stenosis. This is a condition in which the aortic valve starts to narrow and affect the efficient flow of blood from the heart to the other parts of the body. This can lead to congestive heart failure and sudden death.

Open-heart surgery is a very common procedure for such heart patients. However for some who are too old, too sick or may have had chest surgery before, this is not the option.

A less invasive procedure is now available for these patients. The doctor has to mount a valve on a catheter and then insert it into the patient’s groin or chest and thread it towards the heart.

This technique does not require stopping the heart and placing the patient on a heart-lung bypass machine, so weaker or sicker patients can endure the procedure. Without valve replacement, the life expectancy of patients with severe aortic stenosis is typically less than five years.

This two-hour procedure to replace the damaged aortic valve with a ‘stent-supported valve’ was pioneered in France in 2002. In February 2009, Singapore became the first country in Asia to perform it.

Since then, five elderly patients have undergone this procedure at the Singapore General Hospital’s National Heart Centre. This treatment is recommended only to patients who have no other options or who are suffering from narrowed-valve symptoms like chest pain and breathlessness.

This procedure is still relatively new and how long the valve will last and the long term effects are still unknown. Comparatively the synthetic valves used in conventional open-heart surgery lasts 10 to 20 years. For this reason, the hospital is not promoting the procedure to younger patients and those who are eligible for standard surgery.

There are also risk factors and a patient undergoing such procedure can die from a punctured blood vessel.

The success rates for this transcatheter technique in USA and Europe have been reported to be 90%.

The conventional valve costs about US$3000 while the new valve is almost 10 times more, though this is expected to be reduced in time.

With an aging population, the heart centres in Singapore are expected to treat an increasing number of patients with valve problems.

Anatomy and Physiology of the Heart – Study Made Easy

Anatomy and physiology study is normally broken down into 12 sections, with each section representing one system of the body, for example, the endocrine system. When you begin revising, it is recommended that you take 1 system of the body and learn it on its own. Various body systems are similar in nature so learning them together might cause confusion. Take each area of your anatomy and physiology study and write out concise notes on that area. To give you an example and for the purpose of this article I will give you a brief overview of the heart and it’s role in blood circulation.

The heart is a hollow muscular organ, approximately the size of it’s owner’s fist. It is positioned in the center of the chest area, between the lungs and is divided into 4 chambers. The upper chambers are called the atria and the lower chambers are called the ventricles. The right and left sides of the heart are divided by a muscular wall called the septum, this prevents deoxygenated and oxygenated blood from mixing together.

If you can imagine the pipe system in your house providing water and heat to you on a daily basis, metaphorically speaking, the house is your heart and the pipes are the blood vessels that are found throughout our bodies. Blood is pumped from the heart around all parts of the body through a complex transport system consisting of arteries, veins and capillaries (blood vessels). The heart beats approximately 100,000 times every day in order to supply our cells with oxygen rich blood and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood through it’s chambers on a daily basis.

Blood circulation follows a specific route and can be summed up as follows;

1. The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from the superior and inferior vena cava.

2. The blood is then pushed through the tricuspid valve down into the right ventricle. The tricuspid valve is a small flap that prevents the back flow of blood between the chambers on the right side.

3. Once the right ventricle fills up, the blood is then propelled into the pulmonary artery which then travels to the lungs where gaseous exchange occurs.

4. When the lungs remove the carbon dioxide, the deoxygenated blood becomes oxygenated and returns back to the heart via four pulmonary veins.

5. The blood enters the left atria via these pulmonary veins and is then pushed down into the left ventricle through the bicuspid valve. The bicuspid valve prevents the back flow of blood on the left side.

6. Once the left ventricle fills up it contracts, forcing the blood into the aorta which then branches to become the ascending aorta which supplies the upper body with oxygen rich blood and the descending aorta which supplies the lower body with oxygen rich blood.

7. Blood becomes deoxygenated once again and returns to the superior and inferior vena cava where the process begins again.

As I mentioned above, this just gives you a brief overview of the heart, it’s function and how it transports blood around the body. When you are carrying out any anatomy and physiology study, always make sure to summarize all areas as above. Using visual tools such as diagrams is a great way to spice up your notes. Even if you can’t draw like picasso, it doesn’t matter. To illustrate the heart you can draw a square shape or a circle and divide it equally into 4 chambers. It just gives you an idea of the layout of the heart and it has been proven that learning visually can be much more effective than just reading something over and over again.

Silent Heart Attack Symptoms

The first and only symptom of a silent heart attack (SHA) could be sudden death! A study found that death rates from silent attacks were the same as those from non-silent heart attacks. SHA symptoms are not typical as heart attacks go – a SHA is very hard to detect and is usually detected long after the event through a careful study of medical history, ECG (electrocardiogram; measures heart activity) and testing blood for cardiac enzymes. Other means of detection include a stress test or a blood test that detects certain hormones in the blood. Since the patient is not aware of the attack and significant, valuable time is wasted, the heart becomes permanently damaged. These attacks are worrisome in that seeking and getting prompt treatment after an attack is essential for both recovery and survival. People most susceptible to SHA’s are those that have had a prior heart attack, individuals who have diabetes, men and women over the age of 65 and those prone to strokes. There is more research to be done to determine Individuals taking medication on a regular basis may also experience a SHA. Twice as many people die from a SHA as compared to those that experienced a myocardial infarction (MI) with chest pain.

The most important treatment for a SHA is restoring the blood flow to the heart. These silent attacks lack the majority of the usual symptoms of a standard heart attack but can still be recognized through ordinary signs such as discomfort in your chest, arms or jaw that seem to go away after resting, fatigue or extreme tiredness, nausea, sweating (particularly cold sweat), breathlessness and dizziness. An interesting statistic is that 25-30% of all heart attacks are silent.

It is believed that women have silent attacks a little more often than men. They can include discomfort in your chest, arms or jaw that seem to go away after resting, shortness of breath and tiring. In a significant number of women with diabetics and the over-65, an attack comes without any symptoms. But SHA symptoms may not include chest pain. Common SHA symptoms include chest discomfort, or pains in the arm and/or jaw that go away after you rest, getting tired easily, and experiencing shortness of breath. One odd symptom that is not reported often or fully explained in regular and SHAs is a feeling of impending doom. If you feel you have had a SHA, you may want to take a non-acetaminophen aspirin as studies have shown doing so may help prevent heart damage that can occur from a SHA.

Women

Even though women account for nearly half of all heart attack deaths they are less likely than men to believe they’re having a heart attack. They also are more likely to delay seeking emergency treatment. Women with the highest calcium scores were especially at risk. Women tend to have their heart attacks after onset of menopause. One study found that about 5 percent of women considered at low risk for heart disease still face potential cardiovascular problems because of calcium buildup in their arteries. Symptoms in women are often mis-diagnosed. Women tend to have cardiovascular events later in life than do men and they are more often fatal or debilitating. Women should quit smoking, take steps to lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels and control their blood sugar if they have diabetes. Women may experience atypical symptoms such as a pain between the shoulder blades rather than crushing chest pain. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Major Risk Factors

– Diabetes

– High Blood Pressure

– Hypercholesterolemia

– Positive family history of heart attack and stroke

– Smoking

– Obesity – if your waist is more than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women, then you have “central obesity.”

The risks are often underestimated because women develop heart disease later than men – often at age 65. Studies are showing that younger women are developing heart disease earlier than originally thought. One study stated that women still face potential cardiovascular problems because of calcium buildup in their arteries. There is consideration for routine testing of coronary artery calcium to gauge heart risk for women. While there are no known measures to reduce coronary artery calcium, women can reduce their risk for heart disease by measuring calcium which can show they might actually be at higher risk. After this finding, they can benefit from preventive measures. The current situation is that there are no known ways to reduce the calcium. Women have to offset it with lifestyle changes that reduce risk factors such as cholesterol.

Necrosis of a region of the heart muscle caused by an interruption in the supply of blood to the heart, usually as a result of occlusion of a coronary artery resulting from coronary artery disease. The most common cause is a blood clot (thrombus) that lodges in an area of a coronary artery thickened with cholesterol-containing plaque due to atherosclerosis. It is caused by a severely narrowed or completely blocked coronary artery that keeps oxygen and nutrients from reaching heart muscle.

Restoring blood flow can be accomplished by dissolving clots found in the artery (thrombolysis) or by pushing the artery open using a balloon (angioplasty). Since there is no awareness of coronary artery blocks, the cause of the heart attack, the person continues with the habitual life style that played a major role in creation of those blocks. Silent heart attacks are only the most extreme case of a still more prevalent condition called “silent ischemia” — a chronic shortage of oxygen- and nutrient-bearing blood to a portion of the heart. Although chest pain is usually the number 1 indicator, extreme shortness of breath would usually take second place. The patient has to find and use the credible, proven information that can prevent and even reverse advanced coronary artery blocks. The most trusted approach to build up your cardiac health (even with advanced coronary artery blockage) is the adoption of a regular and intelligent exercise plan. A test for coronary artery calcium is easily done and lifestyle changes can be commenced immediately.

Damaged

In the case of a silent heart attack, the patient is not aware of the infarction and because valuable time is wasted, the heart becomes permanently damaged. Finding out that your heart is seriously damaged because you did not act right after a silent attack can be devastating. Your doctor can conduct test that enables looking for damaged areas of the heart and problems with the heart’s pumping action. This indicates the healthy and damaged areas of the heart.

Heart Disease: The Dangers Of Coronary Heart Attack And How To Avoid It

What is a coronary heart attack?

Are you at the risk of a coronary heart attack?

Here are some insights to help you…

A heart attack happens when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle itself (the myocardium) is severely reduced or even stopped entirely.

The medical term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction.

The reduction or stoppage of blood supply happens when one or more of the coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle is blocked.

This may be caused by the buildup of plaque (deposits of fat-like substances), also known as atherosclerosis.

The plaque may eventually burst, tear or rupture, creating a “situation” where a blood clot forms and blocks the artery.

This may lead to a heart attack.

A heart attack is also sometimes known as a coronary thrombosis or coronary occlusion.

It is a medical fact that heart disease is among the most dangerous health hazards facing people 50 yrs and older in America.

Clinical studies, laboratory investigations and a number of surveys show that certain personal characteristics and lifestyles can lead to increased dangers of a heart attack (coronary heart disease).

These danger signs are called “risk factors”. The well established risk factors are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking and diabetes mellitus.

Other risk factors that may increase or lead to the risk of having a heart attack are obesity, a sedentary life-style, an aggressive response to stress, and certain drugs.

In the past two decades, millions of Americans have learned about these risk factors and have tried to decrease them by seeking medical attention and by changing their lifestyles.

Many adults have stopped smoking. The medical control of high blood pressure has greatly improved.

The average cholesterol level of the population has decreased continually over the last two decades, probably due to changes in dietary habits and increased exercise.

This attempt to modify risk factors almost certainly has contributed to the declining death rate from heart disease in the United States.

Overall, heart-related problems have declined about 25 percent in the last decade.

Some of this decrease undoubtedly is due to better medical care of heart attack victims, but it is likely that a sizable percentage is related to modification of risk factors.

The entire population has become more aware of the seriousness of heart disease and coronary heart problems.

CPR training is offered in schools, places of business, and church and community functions, and everyone seems to recognize that prevention of coronary heart disease is a partnership between the public and the medical community.

There are a number of factors implicated in coronary heart disease. Some of these may raise coronary risk by accentuating the major risk factors already discussed.

Others may act in ways not understood. Still others may be linked mistakenly to coronary risk.

Obesity predisposes individuals to coronary heart disease. Some of the reasons for this are known, but others are not.

The major causes of obesity in Americans are excessive intake of calories and inadequate exercise.

When caloric intake is excessive, some of the excess frequently is saturated fat, which further raises the blood cholesterol. Thus, obesity contributes to higher coronary risk in a variety of ways.

Most of the major risk factors are silent. They must be sought actively, and much of the responsibility for their detection lies with each of us as individuals.

Regular checkups are particularly necessary if there is a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or diabetes.

May these health insights into heart disease help you to live a healthier and happier life.

Warmly,

I-key Benney, CEO

Symptoms Of A Swollen Liver

Swollen liver is a commonly used term for a liver that has grown to an abnormal size. It can also be called an enlarged liver. The medical term is hepatomegaly. A swollen liver is not considered to be a disease, but is rather a symptom of some underlying disorder like cirrhosis, hepatitis, fatty liver disease or cancer.

Typically, there are no swollen liver symptoms until the disease or condition that causes swelling reaches a serious stage. By then, significant liver damage has probably occurred. If symptoms are ignored or left untreated at this point, liver failure could eventually become a reality. Liver failure is fatal without a liver transplant.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described below, tell your doctor about them right away. He or she alone is qualified to make a diagnosis. The information presented here is intended solely to give you a basic and introductory knowledge of the symptoms of liver swelling so you can discuss them with your doctor.

Once again, if the liver is only slightly swollen, there are likely to be no symptoms whatsoever. But if the liver is grossly swollen, several symptoms may appear that point to liver trouble.

Jaundice is the most prominent of these. Jaundice occurs because of an abnormal build up of a bile pigment known as bilirubin in the blood. This accumulation of bilirubin causes the skin and the whites of the eyes to look yellow.

Senses of sight and smell may be heightened when you have a swollen liver. Smells that never bothered you before can suddenly become unpleasant – even offensive. Patients with liver problems often report especially strong reactions to certain chemical smells like household cleaners and insecticides.

Another swollen liver symptom that doesn’t typically occur with other diseases is a distressing sensitivity to light. This is known as photophobia. It should be noted that unlike many other phobias, photophobia isn’t a fear of light so much as it is a physical reaction to light that hurts the eyes. Photophobia can be a symptom of other problems, but when combined with other signs of liver swelling, it often helps confirm a diagnosis.

Someone with a swollen liver is also likely to experience occasional, even frequent feelings of fullness in the lower stomach and upper abdominal areas. This can happen even though the patient eats very little, and in fact, has an unusual lack of interest in food and eating. A reduced appetite is a common sign of liver swelling.

Painful muscles and joints are typical too. Someone who is getting older could easily mistake these symptoms for the onset of arthritis.

There are likely to be noticeable changes in bowel movements. When you have a swollen liver, you may experience bouts of either diarrhea or constipation. The color of your urine will also probably change, becoming dark or cloudy.

If you have a persistent cough even though you have no symptoms of a respiratory infection or allergies, it could be a symptom of a swollen liver. Keep in mind however, that if you’re taking a blood pressure medication you may have a mild but persistent cough as a side effect. Fatigue and a feeling of constant weariness are symptoms of liver swelling too. These may sometimes be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and an occasional fever.

Certain liver disorders or conditions are considered to be signs of a swollen liver. They include:

  • cholestasis, a condition that occurs when bile flowing from the liver is obstructed,
  • portal hypertension, or high blood pressure in the portal vein, which transports blood between the intestines and the liver,
  • ascites, which is an accumulation of fluids in the abdominal area, and
  • liver encephalopathy, which causes reduced brain function due to an accumulation of toxic substances in the body that are normally removed by the liver.

If you have a swollen liver that’s in the early stages, the only way to tell is through testing. Your doctor can suggest liver function tests that can liver swelling long before any physical symptoms appear. Such tests can be a valuable tool for ensuring that your liver is healthy – and a signal that you need to make some lifestyle changes or get treatment if it is not.

New Growth Charts Will Help Parents Avoid Obese Children

Professor James Walker, president of Baby Lifeline’s training, said that the Department of Health’s decision to replace existing growth charts – which are based on babies being fed formula milk – with those based on children being fed with breast milk is a good move.

It is hoped that the greater awareness raised by this change will help mothers focus on feeding their children more healthily as they are growing, which in turn could impact on the number of overweight children in the UK – a development which can severely impact upon family health insurance premiums due to the range of conditions associated with obesity.

“The new growth charts are based on normal growth expected from breastfed babies. This will lead to less concern being expressed about breastfed babies as they tend to put on weight more slowly than bottle fed babies,” commented professor Walker.

As a result, he noted that this will result in an increase in the number of babies in the overweight category and could therefore reduce the likelihood of babies being overfed.

Baby Lifeline is a UK charity which focuses on providing help and support to pregnant mothers and newborn babies across the country.

According to the government’s Infant Feeding Survey 2005, between 2000 and 2005 there was an increase in the prevalence of breastfeeding at all ages up to nine months in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

At the time of the survey, 48 per cent of all mothers in the United Kingdom were breastfeeding at six weeks, while 25 per cent were still breastfeeding at six months.

Broken down country-by-country, breastfeeding rates in 2005 were 78 per cent in England, 70 per cent in Scotland, 67 per cent in Wales and 63 per cent in Northern Ireland.