Root Canal Therapy – Symptoms to Watch Out for And When to Seek Medical Attention

All therapies in the world of medicine are meant to better the health of any patient; and root canal therapy is not an exception. A number of patients have to undergo the process due to death of nerves in the hollow part often in the interior of a tooth. When a tooth erupts, it remains hollow exposing cells, nerve tissue and blood vessels which are responsible for depositing calcium on the inner of the pulp chamber and its extension along the roots.

There are several factors that may lead to the death of a tooth. A major one is deep decay, which often turns out the most serious as it may lead to serious infections. For that reason, deep decay calls for immediate medical attention, which also involves use of antibiotics, to help in fighting the infection.

A tooth that is vulnerable to a heavy blow may die as a consequence and might not suffer an infection; but, the body reacts by sending white blood cells to rid the tooth of dying tissues. At the tip of the root, blood accumulates causing a swelling which comes with lots of pain. In this case, antibiotics are not incorporated in the treatment as there are no bacteria involved.

In most cases, deep fillings may result into calcification of the pulp chamber. This causes a constriction of blood vessels in the tooth which leads to loss of strength of the soft tissues in a tooth. The ultimate consequence is an increase in the number of white blood cells at the root tips. These white blood cells assist by removing dead tissues.

A patient with a sore tooth must undergo proper diagnosis. Having a sore tooth may not necessarily call for root canal treatment but going for one would reduce risks of potential future complications.

Gum recession leads to exposure of teeth roots making them vulnerable to cold sensitivity. Root canal has the solution to the problem, and in most cases, a desendergositization of the root areas is the best solution.

However, if a tooth begins with cold sensitivity then progresses to severe pain when heat is applied to it, then the need for root canal treatment arises. Alternatively, one may gently tap on several teeth as a test for sensitivity. If one is predominantly sensitive to gentle percussion then that would be another symptom that calls for a root canal treatment.

All the above is done after necessary x-rays have been taken just to make sure the accurate treatment is issued out to a patient. If an x-ray shows a dark area around the root structure, then a tooth requires a root canal treatment. Before the procedure commences, a patient is given a strong anesthetic to numb the nerves thus minimizing pain. Root canal treatment begins as if it were a regular filling of a tooth then proceeds to advanced levels.

Root canal therapy is important in treating lots of complications faced by the dental formula. If any symptoms mentioned above persist, it is advisable to seek quick medical attention.

Natural Remedies For Painful Sore Throat

Sore throat is a very common illness that happens to some of us on a regular basis. It causes one to feel very uncomfortable and sometimes you may not be able to sleep well.

Unfortunately for me, sore throat haunts me ever since I was young. Whenever I ate foods like chocolates, potato chips, fried foods, I would be down with sore throat. My peers around me would comment that I have a weak immune system. It took me a while for me to understand how I can prevent myself from infected with sore throat easily.

Why are you infected with Sore Throat?

In the western medical world, the doctors would deduce that sore throat could either be caused by viral or bacterial infection.

However, in the traditional Chinese medical world, the reason why we are infected with sore throat is because there is too much ‘heat’ in our body. They refer to this as being ‘heaty’. Being ‘heaty’ would also lead to other common illnesses such as fever, cough and phlegm.

The Symptoms

Basically, the most usual sore throat I am infected with are the one when you try to swallow food or saliva, you would feel painful at the throat.

There are a few natural remedies which are quite useful in relieving sore throat. Below are some of the foods that you should avoid when you feel that you are down with sore throat.

* Fried food, greasy food

* Chocolates, biscuits

* Chicken, eggs, ducks.

* Very spicy food

* Barbecued food

* Overcooked food

All these foods will add to the pain of sore throat and you should avoid eating these foods until you are better unless you want your condition to worsen.

Natural Remedies for sore throat

Here are some of the natural remedies for sore throat which I have personally used and have proved effective.

When I feel like I am going to suffer from sore throat, I would usually eat a lot of bananas. But do take note that if you feel that you are having phlegm like symptoms, do not eat bananas.

Banana and plums – These fruits are good to protect your throat against sore throat.

Throat Gonorrhea – Symptoms and Treatment

Pharyngeal gonorrhea is the term given to the gonorrhea of the throat. Most of the time, this type of gonorrhea is harmless. A lot of people do not even experience symptoms. It is does not get transmitted easily and usually gets healed even without treatment. However, people with oral gonorrhea can experience pain, and sometimes, it can even cause tonsillitis or severe infections.

After an unprotected oral sex and you experience a persistent sore throat about one week after, it can be caused by the gonorrhea bacteria called Neisseria gonorrheae or gonococcus. It takes approximately one week for the symptoms of throat gonorrhea to manifest. This is also the time that you should go to the doctor and get tested, so that you could be given proper treatment. As soon as you feel an acute sore throat, go to your doctor or local STD clinic to get treatment. A sore throat is usually the only symptom of throat gonorrhea that is why it is important to get tested if you experience a persistent sore throat after having oral sex.

Throat gonorrhea is regarded as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacteria. Throat gonorrhea is transmitted easily through penile-oral sexual intercourse or fellatio than by vaginal-oral sexual intercourse or cunnilingus. Throat gonorrhea is spread through engaging in oral sex with a person who is infected with gonorrhea bacteria. Neisseria gonorrhea or gonococcus infects the mucous parts of the body such as the penis, rectum, genital tract, throat, vagina, or eyes.

To diagnose throat gonorrhea, a standard gonococcal bacteria culture is typically done. This kind of test is highly specific, thus most laboratories do not perform this test. STD clinics are well equipped to do this test, but if you consult a standard clinic or lab, you must notify them that the sample being sent would be tested for gonococcal culture and not general bacteria testing. Also, a typical strep throat swab test will not detect pharyngeal or throat gonorrhea.

Treatment of gonorrhea throat generally involves oral antibiotics. However, this standard treatment is becoming problematic because gonorrhea is now regarded as a bacteria which is very resistant to common types of antibiotics. To treat it, different combinations of antibiotics need to be administered. There are instances when injections may be required in addition to oral medications. Furthermore, in different countries and geographical regions, have different kinds of antibiotics that work in combination with each other. You can consult your doctor to check the most effective current antibiotics combination for gonorrhea treatment with the aid of the national disease control board’s advice.

Moreover, it is quite common that gonorrhea infects along with other sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia. That is why it is usual for people infected with gonorrhea to be treated simultaneously for other STDs. Aside from antibiotics; there are also available over-the-counter pain medications which can be prescribed by doctors to help cure a sore throat. As with any other STD, abstinence from sex or using protection would help prevent acquiring or spreading the disease.

Genetic Diseases in the Middle East

Genetic Disease: A Definition

Genetic diseases are caused by mutations of genes. Each individual has more than twenty thousand genes. When one or more of these genes have mutations and are abnormal, a disease can be triggered. We both carry two copies of almost all genes, inherited from each parent. If parents carry the same abnormal gene, the child has a high risk of carrying the disease linked to this abnormality. Most carriers of genetic disease are not aware of it and are asymptomatic.

People in the Middle East have a distinct genetic profile from Europeans or Caucasians.

Genetic Diseases in the Middle East

Over the last decades, Arab countries have made significant progress and reforms to their healthcare systems. Infectious diseases and child mortality have been reduced while life expectancy is on the rise.

On the other hand, genetic and congenital disorders still cause a large proportion of natal and neonatal mortalities.

According to Dubai-based Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS), the Arab countries contribute approximately USD 30 billion per year to their populations’ suffering from hereditary genetic diseases.

Factors such as culture and traditions, a typically large Middle Eastern family size, paternal age and maternal tendencies to bear children up to menopause link to the incidence of morbidity, infant death, malformations and handicaps in the region. Author Dhavendra Kumar in “Genomics and Health in the Developing World” (2012) argues on genetic research in the Arab world, stating that, “usually local efforts, mostly exerted by medical practitioners and clinical geneticists who have developed a particular expertise… Databasing prevalence data as well as the molecular pathologies leading to genetic disorders in Arabs offers solid groundwork to promote proper education in the field and employ knowledge-driven development to address urgent regional health needs.”

Genetic Disorders in the Middle East

Pharmaceutical companies and researchers recognize the importance of early genetic testing to identify and ultimately decrease the devastating impacts of genetic disease upon nations and families.

According to an article published by CAGS, “significant genetic diseases or birth defects may affect approximately 3 percent of all pregnancies, account for up to 30 percent of pediatric hospital admissions, and cause about 50 percent of childhood deaths. In addition, recessively inherited disorders represent approximately 20 percent of single gene disorders.” Consanguinity, or marriage between close relatives, continues as a social practice in some populations. High consanguinity rates estimated from 25 to 60 percent affect national health spending and outcomes. In Saudi Arabia as an example, marriages amongst first-degree cousins still account for 60-70% of all marriages, leading to disorders that are rare in the western world.

Genetic Epidemics in the Arab World

The CAGS database (CTGA) records diseases or “phenotype” records occurring in Arab persons. As of October 2006, the CTGA database had indicated the presence of 774 phenotype entries in Arab patients caused mainly by recessive genes. The most commonly occurring phenotypes include single gene disorders (including hemophilia, thalassemia, metabolic disorders, sickle cell disease, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency); chromosomal presentations (including Turner Syndrome and Down Syndrome); and disorders with multiple factors (including diabetes, obesity, arteriosclerosis, hypertension and coronary artery disease.

CAGS cites diabetes, sickle cell disease, hypertension and thalassemia (particularly alpha-thalassemia) as continually growing concerns. The diseases have reached epidemic status, according to CAGS.

Research and Genetic Disease Programs in the Middle East

Genetic services in the Arab world are growing. Nevertheless, treatments remain either absent, difficult and costly. Despite several government initiatives and increased awareness amongst the general public most of these have focused on prevention, risk-assessment and early recognition. Several national screening programs have been launched in the region since the mid-1990’s for specific diseases such as phenylketonuria (PKU), congenital hypothyroidism, thalassemia and sickle cell disease.

Prevention decreases the financial and family toll extracted by genetic disorders. Early identification and treatment supports both prognosis and patient outcomes. Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt and Qatar have developed national genetic screening initiatives for infants. The programs screen for a minimum of one and a maximum of 23 genetic disorders.

Screening of family members is also employed by the Arab nations’ public health initiatives. Consanguity and resulting clusters of genetic disorders in populations, increases awareness and education about genetic diseases. Genetic counseling and testing screening offered to couples before the conception of children is another tool used throughout the Arab world. Studies have shown that even when the risks are higher the large proportion of couples continue to marry and bare children. Genetic potential for disorders of the blood, such as hemoglobin disorders, may be identified in this manner. Rare disorders, such as those limited to a specific locale or family, demand clinical observation and research to accomplish treatment or cure.

Incidence of Congenital Malformations

According to the Gulf Cooperation Council – UAE, KSA, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Bahrain–congenital handicaps and malformations represent the second highest cause of infant death. In Saudi Arabia, approximately 30 percent of all perinatal deaths result from congenital malformations.

Education, media and public awareness are key to change matters and to familiarize people with the multitude of initiatives across the region. Observation of both macro and micro-genetics is the first step towards collecting the hundreds of thousands of genetic variations to facilitate research and develop cures for gene-transmitted disorders. Initiatives such as the CAGS in the UAE are a major step forward. Further collection of data and studies are needed to increase the knowledge and to improve risk management.

References:

  • Google Books

Penis Rash – Symptoms Causes and Warning Signs

Spots, bumps and rashes on the penis skin are common. In most cases, they are harmless, although they may cause embarrassment and discomfort. All men should be aware of the symptoms associated with penis rash. However, self-diagnosis of penis skin conditions is never a good idea. Penis rash symptoms that are accompanied by swelling, oozing, bleeding or fever should be seen by a medical professional. In addition, treating the skin of the glans and shaft with a health formula containing penis-specific vitamins and minerals may help to clear up minor skin rashes, keep the penis free of harmful microbes and prevent the appearance of rashes on the penis.

Penis rash symptoms that all men should watch for

The following list describes some of the most common types of penis rashes, as well as what causes them and how they are treated. This list is not comprehensive, and other causes of red penis skin and rash may be indicated.

• Psoriasis – This common skin condition often presents as a red, scaly rash on the penis with a defined border. While it is not contagious and cannot be transmitted to a sexual partner, it can cause discomfort and embarrassment. Psoriasis is often treated with vitamin A, or retinol, which is often effective for restoring the skin’s naturally smooth tone and texture.

• Balanitis – A red, itchy rash on the glans of the penis may be caused by an inflammatory condition known as balanatis. While uncircumcised men are at greatest risk for this disorder, it may also be associated with poor hygiene in circumcised men. Regular bathing, wearing loose-fitting, breathable clothing and treating the penis skin with a preparation of vitamins and natural moisturizers is generally all that is needed to clear up penis rashes related to balanitis.

Penile papules – A small percentage of men, usually uncircumcised, may develop a series of dome-shaped bumps around the crown of the penis. These are benign and usually resolve on their own. However, supporting penis skin health through use of a vitamin and antioxidant formula can help to create smooth, soft and supple penis skin by boosting the body’s natural healing abilities.

• Fungal Infections – Fungal infections are common in the genital area, as these microorganisms thrive in this warm, moist environment. Yeast infections, caused by the same fungus responsible for feminine yeast infections, may cause a red, itchy rash and can be transmitted to a sexual partner. Jock itch, another type of fungal infection, may also present as a red, spreading rash that can cause severe itching. Keeping the area clean and dry and treating the skin with a combination of vitamins A, C and B5, which have natural immune-boosting properties and speed healing of damaged skin cells, is recommended to assist in preventing fungal infections of the penis.

• Skin allergies and sensitivities – Men who have a latex sensitivity may develop a severe rash that itches or burns after contact with a latex condom. In addition, the chemicals in soaps, detergents, deodorants and fragrances often cause skin irritation, which may lead to itching, swelling and rash on the penis. Avoiding substances which are known to cause adverse reactions and treating the skin with a nutrient formula which supports skin health can help to soothe irritated skin and promote rapid healing.

Avoiding penis rash

Men who are prone to penis rash should follow these steps to avoid uncomfortable and embarrassing breakouts of the penis skin:

1. Shower or bathe regularly – once a day is recommended – using an all-natural cleanser without fragrances or dyes. The area should be dried thoroughly before dressing, and breathable, non-binding fabrics are best.

2. Moisturize regularly – using a natural moisturizer such as shea butter – to prevent drying and irritation which may lead to skin rash and other minor skin damage.

3. Men who are allergic to latex or rubber should avoid latex condoms. Most retailers who sell condoms offer a selection of non-latex materials, as this skin sensitivity is quite common.

4. Make using a penis vitamin crème containing essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B5, C, D, and E, as well as amino acids for nerve and immune health, a part of the daily penis care routine.

Effective penile rash treatment for all skin types

A specifically designed penis health formula (most health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) containing the essential nutrients described above may help to prevent minor penis rashes, sooth irritated or itchy skin, and restore the skin’s normal elasticity and tone.

Raw, Red Penis Skin – 5 Solutions for a Painful Problem

For men who are counting on a little bedroom gymnastics, the discovery of sore, red penis skin comes as a major disappointment. No amount of lube or lotion can mitigate the soreness and burning that can occur if he chooses to proceed as planned, and trying to ignore the problem is only likely to make it worse, resulting in a longer and more unpleasant recovery period.

While men who are experiencing irritation may have to face the fact that a furlough is the only option, with the right penis care, it may be possible to speed healing time, restoring the skin to normal and even protecting it from further aggravation and injury. Some of the most effective solutions for soothing raw, red penis skin are described here. Men with ongoing problems, open sores, and skin that does not heal should consult with a trained medical professional to determine the underlying cause of the issue.

Applying cool compresses

When irritation occurs, the first order of business is to reduce the painful sensation. Before taking any other action, it is a good idea to wash the area carefully with a mild cleanser, and rinse thoroughly to ensure that any irritants such as chemicals from condoms or lubes are removed. Then, applying a compress made from a washcloth soaked in cool water for 15 minutes or so can help to reduce the pain and bring down any swelling.

Changing cleansers, moisturizers and lubes

A common mistake that men make when the skin is irritated is to apply a body lotion, hoping that the moisturizers will soothe the skin and reduce the soreness. While some body lotions might be fine for this, many of them contain chemical fragrances and dyes that can actually irritate the penis skin further and make the problem worse.

Similarly, many soaps and even personal lubricants contain chemicals that can have adverse effects on sensitive skin. Changing to an all-natural cleanser, using water-based natural lubes, and sticking to moisturizers that are intended for use on the penis is recommended. By avoiding chemical irritants, men can prevent further irritation as well as allowing the skin to recover.

Letting it breathe

The skin needs to breath in order to heal. Using underwear made from breathable fabrics like cotton and refraining from wearing tight clothing can speed the healing process, as well as preventing friction from clothing that can exacerbate the issue.

Avoiding latex

Men who experience frequent irritation and soreness after using a condom may be developing a sensitivity to latex; this can occur even in men who have had no previous latex issues. Condoms are also made from alternate materials; trying these may help to reduce the incidence of raw and reddened penis skin.

Using a penis health cream

Raw and reddened penis skin needs more than just time when it comes to healing. As with the rest of the body, the right nutrients are important to restoring damaged tissue, preventing toughening of the skin, and protecting the area from further injury. An all-natural penis moisturizing cream (most health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) such as shea butter, combined with skin-protectant nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D and E, can speed the formation of new tissue, help to prevent over-keratinization (the formation of calluses), and boost the skin’s natural moisturizing qualities in order to reduce the effects of friction and help to prevent further irritation. It is important to keep in mind, however, that no lotions, creams or ointments should be applied to open sores or wounds; this type of injury should be seen by a doctor for appropriate treatment.

Does Shingles And Psoriasis Have Anything In Common?

As a practicing pharmacist, I am often asked questions that patients would love to talk to their physicians about, but since I am more accessible, they often ask me. Recently, one of my psoriasis patients asked me if they have an increased risk for getting shingles because of their psoriasis. The short answer is: probably so. A better answer requires some detailed background work.

As you know, psoriasis is the result of a defect within a person’s immune system. They have an immune system disorder that causes their body to attack itself. This is where the term auto-immune disease comes from. The result of this immune disorder is the rapid build up of scaly tissue into plaques which can be seen as red to silvery in appearance with intense itching and possible painful inflammation of the skin. The skin cells do not follow a normal build up and shedding cycle which can last up to a month. The cycle is sped up dramatically to last only a few days. This is why the cells build up into plaques because they do not have enough time to follow a normal course of shedding.

Shingles, medically known as Herpes Zoster, is the result of activation of the varicella virus that a person contracted when they were younger. At that time, a person who came down with Chicken Pox, was infected with the varicella virus and upon getting over the disease, the virus never leaves the body but in fact becomes dormant. In this dormant state, the virus lives within the nervous system and stays that way for most individuals. Approximately one-third of patients who have the dormant varicella virus within their system will undergo activation of the virus into a case of shingles. So then the question becomes: “what caused this activation to happen”.

The two most common reasons why this happens are as follows. All your cells are protected by what is known as cell-mediated immunity. This feed back system takes into account several body systems which normally keeps you healthy. Just like everything else about your body, as you get older, systems break down and do not do as good a job as when you were younger. Therefore, it has been postulated that this cell-mediated immunity may not be working so well with age and hence the protection it affords will decline with time and allow for opportunistic bugs, (bacteria, virus, etc) to take hold.

The second reason why a dormant varicella virus might come out of hibernation and develop into shingles is because the patient may have an immune system disorder such as psoriasis. While there are many different immune system disorders, the point is that if your immune system has been compromised, once again it affords those opportunistic bugs to take over.

If you have psoriasis, it would behoove you to get your situation under control with medications, phototherapy, immuno-modulators or any other course of psoriasis treatment that you and your physician can arrive at.

Kill Toenail Fungus Fast With This Powerful Toenail Fungus Treatment You Can Apply From Home

Toenail fungus is a bothersome problem that plagues many individuals. It is caused by a fungal infection in the toenails. It often begins as a small, white or yellow spot found under the toenail. Eventually, it can spread to the entire nail. The nail becomes an unsightly yellow and may start to crumble away.

Often, the nail also becomes thicker with a different texture. A victim of toenail fungus may experience this problem in one nail or every toenail. Not only is the condition unattractive, it is painful as well. For anyone who struggles to kill toenail fungus, it is not necessary to keep the toes hidden forever. There are powerful, effective remedies that can be done at home.

Natural Cures for Toenail Fungus

While there are prescriptions to treat toenail fungus, many individuals shy away from medications and would prefer natural methods. There are many different approaches that a person can take to win the battle against this annoying problem.

  • One alternative is to soak the affected toenails in a solution that is equal parts of warm water and vinegar. Add two tablespoons of baking soda and soak twice a day for a quarter of an hour. Not only does this prove effective in returning toenails to their normal state, the feet will softer and it is an excellent way to relax. Other methods with vinegar recommend apple cider vinegar and warm water without baking soda or a vinegar spray applied twice a day.
  • Tea tree oil is another useful solution for toenail fungus. It is added to a cream and applied to the affected nails. Tea tree oil has been shown to have antifungal properties. After continued, daily use, patients in studies experienced positive results.
  • Another natural remedy is epsom salts. Once again, the toes should be soaked in hot water with a few tablespoons of epsom salts. The nails should be filed down first before the soak begins. Twice a day for twenty minutes is recommended for the most effective results.

Fight Fungus by Taking Care of the Feet

It’s important to start of a toenail regimen with proper care of the feet while battling fungus. Regularly trimming the toenails is helpful and all pedicure tools should be clean. Washing the feet well and scrubbing under the toenails with a brush is helpful. Nail fungus thrives in moist, warm places. When possible, expose the toes to fresh air to avoid a return of toenail fungus after successful treatment.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency – 5 Warning Signs

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is an essential building block of DNA and is key to the maintenance of our body’s genes. In this role, it is an important element in ensuring the proper function of the nervous system and maintaining a healthy hematological profile.

A proper diet and good nutrition is almost always sufficient to prevent B12 deficiency. The vitamin is naturally found in high protein foods such as meat, eggs, fish and dairy. In addition, those who regularly take a multivitamin are not likely to need extra vitamin B12 supplementation. However, ensuring enough B12 is ingested is important given that the body does not easily store the vitamin.

There is a high incidence of B12 deficiency in a few select groups. First, vegetarians or vegans who completely avoid animal based foods are at risk. Children who follow strict vegetarian diets absent of dairy products are particularly susceptible to low levels of the vitamin. Also, it is estimated that a high percentage of the elderly have some level of B12 deficiency. This is because as we age, our ability to extract and absorb B12 from food-based protein sources diminishes. Also, seniors are more likely to have digestive problems, a degraded stomach lining, or have gone through some form of gastro-intestinal surgery. This contributes to the possibility of deficiency among this population. Finally, large amounts of alcohol and caffeine have been shown to decrease the ability of the body to absorb the vitamin.

It is important to recognize the 5 warning signs of B12 deficiency.

  1. Stomach pain or digestive issues
  2. Fatigue and weakness
  3. Loss of sensation or tingling in lower extremities
  4. Impaired cognitive function or dementia
  5. Depression, irritability or moodiness

Stomach pain may be a symptom of pernicious anaemia, a condition where the immune system hinders the process by which the digestive system is able to absorb B12. This results in the premature death of red blood cells. The fatigue and weakness that often accompanies low levels of the vitamin are also caused by anaemia.

Given the importance of B12 to neurological function, a deficiency may result in several brain function issues such as the last three warning signs mentioned above. Given a predisposition to B12 deficiency in those over 50, the loss of cognitive function, moodiness and irritability is often blamed on age as opposed to not getting enough of the vitamin. This is compounded by the fact that impaired mental function and dementia are often symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, something as simple as a dietary gap is often overlooked as a cause of mental degradation. This is where supplementation with B12 can result in significant improvements.

Also, it is important to note that the effects of B6 and Folic Acid in coordination with B12 are collectively more powerful than just B12 alone. This is because the systems dependent on B12 also rely on these other substances for proper function. B12, along with Folic Acid and B6 are necessary to keep homocysteine in the blood down to healthy levels. Several studies have shown that increased levels of homocysteine are associated with greater incidence of heart disease and stroke. These vitamins can reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues in that they convert homocysteine to methionine, an amino acid that is used in a productive manner by cells. In two other studies, vitamin B12 and folic acid were also shown to have a role in reducing the number of abnormal, pre-cancerous bronchial cells in heavy smokers.

The primary form of B12 used as a nutritional supplement is cyanocobalamin. However, it is important to note that the absorption of B12 is much higher when the source is food based as opposed to via supplementation. While for extreme cases of deficiency, vitamin B12 is available via prescription as an injection or nasal gel, most supplementation is as part of a multivitamin, delivered as a pill, sublingual tablet, or lozenge. The Recommended Daily Intake of B12 is 6 micrograms (mcg), even though supplements will often deliver as much as 30 mcg. Despite the wide range of dosage options, most healthy adults only need 3 mcg each day. Additionally, B12 taken orally is well tolerated by most and there have been no documented cases of overdose or toxicity associated with the supplement. While occurring infrequently, the side effects of B12 include rash, hives and itching. Those who take any of the following medications may be at risk for B12 deficiency in that they have been shown to hinder absorption: Antibiotics, Proton Pump Inhibitors Cholestyramine, H2 blockers, Metformin, and Potassium Chloride. Calcium supplementation may also assist the body in its ability to absorb B12.

If you feel that you may be at risk of vitamin b12 deficiency, or are exhibiting any warning signs, go see your doctor immediately for more information. Aside from those with extreme medical conditions, the rest of us can easily ensure that we are getting enough of the nutrients essential to health by taking a well-formulated multivitamin.

Depression – Physical Toll

Depression can leave you feeling alone, hopeless, and mostly hurt. Over the years the estimated count rose dramatically. Now it is estimated that 121 million people suffer from depression…that is a lot of people!

When people suffer from depression, all they can think about is, loneliness, hopelessness, and of course, how much it hurts. But what most people do not know about depression, is that it causes severe damage to our body, both mentally, but mostly physically too.

Depression highly damages your immune system, because usually, your immune system is up and ready to fight off bacteria and other diseases. Well…this is not the case with depression. Depression lessens the effectiveness of the immune system, so your body becomes much more vulnerable to catching on diseases.

Another factor is that depression brings negative effect to your skeletal system. Although scientists do not know how depression can lead to this cause, but it was proven that depression increases the chance for getting osteoporosis, which is a disease that allows bone to become fragile and brittle.

There is a strong relationship between depression and your heart, and it has been proven too. This cause is closely related to smoking, because depression and smoking have almost the same effect on your heart, which is: you are two times more likely to get heart disease than the average person.

Depression is affecting your mind too, as if your mind is freely exposed to pain when depression gets involved. For example, lately you have been having poor memory, or concentration, and that can mean that depression can take over your mind and help you develop dementia. It was also proven that people have an area in the brain that controls memory, and that area is much smaller with people that have chronic depression. It was also said that if chronic depression is not cured, then soon your brain cells will die out too.

When a person ends up having depression, they usually do not care about a lot of things, and that very frequently includes taking care of their own hygiene. Taking showers, combing their hair, and maybe even brushing their teeth are all last priority categories for the people who suffer from depression. They cannot control themselves anymore, and their body cannot just pull back anymore, so they usually end up having to catch some flu, especially since we have to be careful in this world of evolving diseases.

Another major concern with depression is that people are totally sucked out of the real world, and do not stay in contact with people anymore, such as their friends, family, or even any other everyday strangers. Many tests prove that people with depression can in fact loose so much connection with the real world, that they will soon stop recognizing everyone but themselves. This factor is much more serious than it sounds, because normally, not going out frequently for contact can result in loss of appetite, and people do not understand how important eating might be. It can eventually lead to many more illnesses, rather than just depression standing alone. For example, because people loose contact with others, there were also some known acts of suicide, and other physiological disorders.

Furthermore, if you have pains such as arthritis or back pain, or any other pains, depression intensifies that amount of pain that you feel. Scientists are not exactly sure as to why it results to turn out this way, but they think it relates to some kind of disruption between neurotransmitters in the body.

The immune system, skeletal system, heart, mind, and experience of pain, are not the only types of damages that depression can cause. Depression could also cause major problems such as malnourishment, or even obesity. Do not let depression get to you.

Sciurphobia – Is Fear of Squirrels For Real?

Sciurophobia is just as real and just as legitimate as many other better-known phobias. Who hasn’t heard of acrophobia (fear of heights), arachnaphobia (fear of spiders), or agoraphobia (fear of leaving the house)? A fear of squirrels can present itself in many ways. Some people experience an increase in heart rate, sweating palms, rapid breathing, and knots in the stomach. These symptoms can be present in varying degrees.

One of the best ways of coping with your fear of squirrels is to know the facts.

Intelligence: Although squirrels are definitely clever and can outsmart a good deal of the repellents that we employ to rid ourselves of them, they still have pea-size brains! When they look at you with those beady little eyes, what you’re seeing isn’t an analytical or thoughtful contemplation of how to out-smart you, but simply anticipation of where the next nuts or seeds are coming from.

Capability: Squirrels are natural acrobats…they can climb, jump, tumble and run like crazy. What then can’t do is open doors, out run you, or leap from the ground to sink their teeth into your throat! (Unless, perhaps, you’re wearing a walnut and sunflower seed necklace – just kidding!)

Emotion: Sometimes squirrels appear to be like hyper-active 6-year olds. Are they really upset when you hear them scolding you from a nearby tree? Hard to say…but squirrels do care for their young, and are rather territorial. If you catch them in a trap, they definitely appear to be angry, and their tail twitches constantly. But if you think they are having evil thoughts about you and are plotting revenge because you installed a squirrel-proof bird feeder, now may be a good time to think about addressing your irrational fear.

No matter how irrational a fear may be, it’s real if it’s yours. It can help to do more research and learn about what squirrels are all about…they’re really pretty harmless and certainly don’t deserve the time and effort your fear provides them. Be sure to browse our site for more information on getting rid of squirrels, and maybe you’ll find some squirrel repellents that will free your living space of these little guys!

Real-Life Examples Of Social Anxiety

The National Institute of Mental Health advises that 15 million Americans are affected by Social Anxiety Disorder every year. This means that seven percent of the population is currently suffering, and 12 percent of the population is affected at least once in their lifetime. Social anxiety, otherwise known as a social phobia, can manifest itself in many different ways. Reported as an intense fear or panic, social phobia changes the way the person reacts to meeting new people, social situations, and dealing with crowds and public speaking.

While a mild case may just cause some nervousness, moderate to severe cases can affect the sufferer’s career, social life, family obligations, and health. This type of phobia is social in nature and is not to be confused with agoraphobia. Those with social phobia are not so much afraid of being outside as they are of social situations. Real-life examples of people suffering with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), are as varied and complex as the people living with it early day.

The careers of people with SAD are often affected. They are twice as likely to have a low household income than those who are deemed psychiatrically well, and are only one-fourth as likely to hold a professional position. After all, a person who is anxious about making business contacts, refuses to speak up at meetings, and is nervous to engage other employees in social activities or even conversation is far less likely to be hired or promoted. Even if hired, a sufferer may be terminated from their job if they fail to give an assigned presentation or have a panic attack in front of influential employees or clients. Some cases of SAD are so extreme that the sufferer is unable to find gainful employment whatsoever.

For many with SAD, a social life is either impossible or severely curtailed. People with SAD may not want to try new restaurants, attend sporting events, or even go out in public where strangers will be present. If the disorder is extreme, even meeting the new significant other of a dear friend may cause a panic attack. The person may be terrified of saying the wrong thing, may feel judged by the unknown person, or be afraid they will be criticized. It is not uncommon for SAD to be brushed off as low self-esteem by well-meaning friends and relatives, who may push the sufferer into additional situations that are agonizing the SAD-afflicted person.

Family obligations are almost always impacted when a member is suffering with SAD. Children may feel resentful if a beloved parent cannot attend their activities due to the enormous crowd of strangers present. Loved ones may feel abandoned when the sufferer refuses to come to their wedding, a funeral, or a baby’s christening. It is not uncommon for family and friends to take SAD personally, or blame the afflicted person for their inability to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘deal with it’ for their sake.

Finally, the health of a person dealing with SAD can be negatively influenced as well. If the sufferer is too self-conscious or frightened to see a physician, or even enter the office where others are present, they may never get the diagnosis they so desperately need. Conditions that are personal in nature, such as internal medicine, gynecologic issues, or bowel problems may be tolerated for far too long. The SAD sufferer may endure intense pain and discomfort to avoid going to the doctor or hospital, even if they know it is necessary.

Social anxiety impacts nearly every facet of the sufferer’s life. Whether it’s a missed opportunity at work, family trouble, or poor health, SAD is a disorder with multiple real-life examples that affects 12 out of every 100 individuals over the course of their lifetime.

Insomnia – Why the Drugs Don’t Work

Resolving Insomnia

I have several episodes a year where I struggle to get a decent nights sleep and these episodes may last from a couple of nights to a couple of weeks lost sleep. I generally am more aware now of the reasons behind my inability to sleep and this has helped me resolve my lack of sleep sooner, whilst leaving me feeling more in control of my insomnia too.

When we suffer from bouts of sleeplessness the usual term for this is insomnia. Insomnia is the inability to sleep well and can happen to anyone at any point in their lives and is one of the most common of complaints that people suffer from. There are three main types of insomnia. 1. An individual may have problems going to sleep initially; 2. they may have intermediate difficulties where they sleep initially but wake during the night 3. and lastly the individual sleeps during the night but wakes too early in the morning.

All three types can be short term or they can develop, if left untreated, into a habit – a faulty sleep pattern – which leaves the individual exhausted. I have been lucky that my insomnia has not developed into a long term problem. Once a poor sleeping habit is established, it can be incredibly hard to overcome, however not impossible.

So what causes insomnia?

There are numerous causes of insomnia and these may vary from episode to episode. Furthermore, there may be more than one cause too. However the causes of sleep problems may be categorized into three areas:

Physical causes – as the name suggests these causes are purely physical in nature and affect our body is some way. Examples include pain, hormonal imbalance in women, medical issues such as asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure etc

Psychological causes – these causes are linked to our emotions and our mental well being and include anxiety, stress (both good and bad stress) and depression. A fear of death is a common cause of insomnia too.

Temporary events – these are things that affect us on a temporary basis and are not a permanent fixture in our lives. Examples include jetlag; an increase/excessive caffeine or alcohol intake; poor sleep habits (getting into the habit of staying up too late); a poor sleep environment (a warm room etc)

So how can we overcome or rectify insomnia?

Many sufferers turn to sleeping pills or barbiturates to overcome their sleep problem as it appears to be a quick and ‘painless’ solution, however these are not natural methods and involve taking drugs. Furthermore, these drugs may get you to sleep but they don’t cure the condition. The cause of your insomnia has not been located and dealt with which could mean that when you stop taking the drugs, your insomnia returns. So obviously the cause of the insomnia must be treated to remove the symptom and knowing what has caused the condition is a huge step in overcoming the condition.

So before we even consider what plan of action to take, it is important to determine the reasons behind your sleeplessness first. Once you know what has caused your insomnia then you can take the most suitable positive action to get you back into a regular sleeping pattern.

How do you determine what is keeping you awake?

We ultimately know the reasons for our poor sleeping habits – however if you are struggling to find the reason for yours, then ask yourself some simple questions such as:

o What was happening in your life when the insomnia first started? To check if there is a trigger to your insomnia and to check if it is still relevant at present. For example if you have just lost your job, then this could well impact on your sleeping pattern.

o Did you eat a large meal close to bedtime? Ideally you should not eat 2-3 hours before bedtime as digestion may interfere with sleep.

o Are you getting too much sleep? Are you sleeping during the day? Sleeping during the day will cut down on the amount of sleep needed during the night. Also you may need fewer hours at night than they think. An average nights sleep for an adult is 7 or 8 hours. A teenager requires an average of 10 hours a night. Over 65’s require around 6 hours a night.

o Do you drink caffeine/alcohol before sleep? Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake and still has an impact up to ten hours before sleep. Alcohol, in smaller doses, also acts as a stimulant keeping you awake initially. Alcohol (excessive) induced sleep is not ‘good’ sleep leaving you tired when you wake.

o Do you use your bedroom for any other purpose, such as work? If you do work in your bedroom you may well be creating the wrong association for your bedroom and this will need to be altered. You have to have a positive sleep related association to your bedroom and bed.

o Have you built up poor bedtime habits? Do you fall asleep in front of the television? Do you have very irregular bed times? If your problems are purely poor bed time habits, then you will need to change them and incorporate good bedtime practice.

o Have you developed an expectation of not going to sleep? If we expect not to sleep then it is pretty certain we won’t! We need to be more positive in our approach to sleep.

o Is the insomnia serving a purpose? Do you dread going to work in the mornings? Insomnia may be an unconscious way to keep you from the pain caused by your work. o Are you tense or anxious before bed? Tension and stress will keep you from sleep and you need to find some form of relaxation to overcome this.

o Are you afraid of dying/having nightmares/something awful happening during sleep? If this is the case then you will need some help to identify the cause of these fears and finding a good psychotherapist/hypnotherapist can help you resolve these issues.

Hopefully by now you will now have some idea as to the cause of your insomnia and this insight itself can have a great impact on improving your sleeping patterns. Once you become aware of the cause or your sleeplessness, you may be able to move on to help yourself in the most appropriate manner.

Psychological or medical causes

Some individuals may well be completely at a loss as to why they are experiencing problems sleeping well and if this is the case then they may need some advice or help. Insomnia can be due to many things but you must always be aware that it can be a sign that you may have unresolved medical or psychological issues, and it could be necessary to check with your doctor first before thinking about treatment.

If it becomes clear that there are no medical reasons for your insomnia it may be wise to seek some psychotherapy or hypnotherapy to see if you have unresolved psychological issues. A good therapist can help you resolve any issues you may have at an unconscious level and also get you back into a good sleep time routine. (If you do choose to see a therapist ensure that they are fully trained and regulated).

Examples of psychological causes of insomnia

As parents we tend to say and do things sometimes without too much thought for the impact they may have on our children. I remember being told as a child that I must not get out of bed because the ‘bogey man’ might get me and I remember being petrified some nights and not surprisingly this fear remained with me into early adulthood. My parents may well have thought that it kept me in bed, hence aiding a good nights sleep, however, unfortunately is had quite the reverse affect.

As mentioned earlier, the fear of dying during sleep factors in some cases of insomnia either on a conscious level (which could involve panic attacks in bed) or at an unconscious level, where the cause has long since been forgotten. Children are often told that a dead relative/pet went to ‘sleep’ rather than being told that they died. Some of you may well remember the childhood prayer below and when you read it – it becomes very apparent why some children and adults developed sleep related problems!

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray dear Lord my soul to keep

If I should die before I wake

I pray dear Lord my soul to take

Some individuals may suffer from frequent nightmares or night terrors and these can obviously keep an individual from sleep in order to avoid such distressing dreams. Dream analysis or therapy can help uncover the ‘message’ of the dream, which are usually unresolved psychological issues.

Once the cause of the psychological conflict has been resolved then the cause of the insomnia has been dealt with and the insomnia cured. However some individuals may need to adopt a more positive sleeping habit too and the steps below, can assist them to get on the right path.

Sleep solutions

Some suggestions to assist in a setting up a regular sleep pattern to create a positive sleep habit. Some of these will be more relevant to you and some less depending on the underlying cause of your insomnia.

o You must in the short term ban anything other than sleep from the bedroom (even sex!) in order to re-associate sleep with bed. The mind will associate bed with sleep and this will encourage a good bed time habit. Once a good habit is formed, then the client can introduce other pursuits into the bed!

o Ensure you have the right environment for sleep – make sure your mattress, pillows etc assist in a good night sleep. Ensure that your room is at an optimum temperature – if the room is too hot or too cold this will interfere with sleep.

o Keep your room dark during sleep hours. Your body clock could be disrupted with early morning light/street lights so use black out blinds or curtains to keep the room dark.

o Ensure that you have a regular bed time – this creates a good habit. Also your unconscious mind will associate a certain time with bed and it will prepare your mind and body for sleep before bedtime – it will be literally be ‘winding down

o Build up a relaxing and comforting night time routine. Your body needs to prepare for sleep and wind down – so too much stimulation can keep you awake. Do something relaxing such as having a warm bath, reading, yoga, meditation and ensure you keep to this routine.

o Take up some form of daily exercise – this is good to release stress and toxins from the body which interfere with healthy sleep. (However refrain from strenuous exercising just before bed).

o Try yoga or gentle exercise before bedtime which can be relaxing and de-stressing – especially good if you feel tense and anxious before bed.

o Do something to help you unwind – a relaxing bath, yoga, meditation.

o Ensure that you do not eat a heavy meal or drink caffeine or alcohol 2-3hrs before bed time. (If you smoke then no cigarettes either!)

o A light snack before bed such as a piece of toast or banana can help along with a milky drink (no caffeine).

o It you wake or can’t sleep then try externalizing your thoughts worries etc as this can help clear and calm your mind helping it to focus on sleep.

o If you cannot sleep then get out of bed and do something else until you are sleepy – again this just reaffirms the association between bed and sleep.

o Use self hypnosis or a hypnosis CD. Relaxation CDs, visualization and meditation work very well too in helping the body and mind relax and prepare for sleep.

o The Law of Reversed Effort ensures that the more desperate you are to sleep the less likely you are to manage to get to sleep i.e. the more effort you put into it the less likely you are to succeed. So if you cannot sleep don’t try to get to sleep – it won’t work. Try reverse psychology. Tell yourself that you are going to stay awake and the harder you try to stay awake the sleepier you will become. (use self hypnosis here to give yourself suggestions such as ‘you will try to stay awake and the harder you try to stay awake the sleepier you will become and the harder you try to keep your eyes open the heavier and heavier your eyes will become’.

The more we worry about lack of sleep the more we will suffer from lack of sleep, so it is important to remain relaxed and positive about our approach to sleeplessness. We can all overcome our insomnia, by taking some simple but proactive steps to set up and maintain a regular and relaxing bed time routine. Being aware of the cause of our insomnia can help us treat it effectively by finding the right solution, even if that means seeking outside help or support to get you back on track.

Whatever the cause of your insomnia – the earlier you deal with it the easier it will be to resolve. So take control today and get the sleep you need.

Ingrown Toenail Surgery and Infected Toenail Treatment

For many people, ingrown toenail surgery is the recommended option, with home treatments fine for easing the symptoms and pain, but rarely useful as a long term treatment option. Ingrown toenails often form due to an abnormality in the anatomy of the toe and nail, a condition which is usually inherited. The anatomy of the toe and the nailbed makes ingrown toenails all but a certainty for some people, with short term treatments easing the problem but rarely correcting the condition for long.

In such cases, surgery is required to remove the offending part of the nail to stop it from growing into the skin. A sliver of the nail is removed, running from the tip to the base. This immediately eases the pressure on the skin, and will stop pain and swelling. However in order to ensure that the condition does not return, part of the nailbed itself is destroyed. The destruction is usually achieved by chemical means, with phenol one of the most common agents used. With the nailbed partially destroyed, the ingrown toenail is unlikely to return.

However even this treatment may not be sufficient, with repeat procedures required periodically for some people. In such cases many seek more drastic surgical intervention. A technique dating back to 1959 targets the toe itself, rather than the toenail. The Vandenbos procedure is not commonly performed, with only a few United States surgeons conducting the highly invasive and destructive procedure. The nail is left totally untouched, however part of the toe is removed on each side of the nail. Whilst the toenail will appear intact and perfect, the procedure removes a considerable amount of tissue, which can take some weeks to heal and can be highly uncomfortable.

The technique has been shown to be highly effective; however the invasive nature has come under considerable criticism for leaving the toe open to serious infection. Over 600 patients have benefitted from the treatment without any recurrence; however the procedure appears a little barbaric, and will take considerably longer for a full recovery than a simple chemical cauterization of the nail matrix.

However such is the discomfort suffered, that it leads people to take all manner of drastic measures to ease the pain and suffering. However before such a course of action is taken, it is a wise move to opt for the chemical treatment in the first instance, and only if that fails, undertake more drastic measures.

How Do You Get Toenail Fungus?

Toenail fungus can be identified from the brown/yellow discoloration it causes to the nails. The infection causes the nails to become brittle, thickened or dull. Distortion, of the toenails shape, is also experienced with this infection. With a high infection rate, of over fourteen percent of the population; as medical journals have it, everyone should know what causes toenail fungus so that they can avoid contracting it.

Most of us enjoy regular swimming and soaking up heat in saunas. These enjoyable pass-time activities could just be the gateway to toenail fungus infections. The nail contagion arises when fungi set-up camp underneath the nails, causing brittleness, thickening or discoloration. The nail infection-causing fungi, known as dermatophytes, thrive in moist and dump environments, which are characteristic of swimming pools and saunas. The microscopic fungi gain entry into the toenails though cuts and other lesions present on the nail bed. Notably, showers can are also breeding grounds for the infection-causing fungi.

The thought is scary; it is almost difficult to imagine that your home bathroom could be hosting microscopic fungi that could lead to nail infections. The world is filled with vectors and countless microscopic organisms which cause illness whenever humans come in contact with them. The best way to protect yourself, and family, from the likelihood of infections is to know how to minimize the risk of acquiring the contagion.

The nail infection is not only acquired from moist and damp environments, but it can also be acquired through a number of other ways. Fluctuating skin PH levels, poor foot hygiene and trauma experienced on the toenails can all lead to the rise of the fungi infection. It is unfortunate that most of us disregard foot hygiene, and this is one of the leading causes of the toenail fungus. Cotton socks, which are dry and clean, should be ideally worn to minimize the risk of infection. Sandals or any breathable shoes should be worn when using public swimming pools, saunas or home showers. The feet should be thoroughly washed and dried using clean towels. These hygienic practices should be implemented routinely, whether you suffer from the disease or not.

The nails by nature encase the tender skin found on the feet, and this could be an obstruction to treating the disease. It is also recommended that those suffering from the disease should avoid the application of nail polish. Sharing of personal items, such as towels, is also another way through which the disease can spread. Individuals with weak immune systems are also likely to suffer from the fungi infection at some point.

The disease should not make you squirmy or completely give up on activities such as swimming; putting into effect proper hygienic practices is the guaranteed way to reduce your chances of acquiring the toenail fungus. If you notice any of the signs, symptomatic to the contagion, you should visit a Podiatrist immediately. The nail doctor will examine and carry out tests, on samples scraped from the toenail region, to determine whether you are suffering from the infection. Topical creams and oral medications are often prescribed to treat the condition.