What is Heart Disease?

The term heart disease is a very broad term. Problems can arise within the heart muscle, arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle, or the valves within the heart that pump blood in the correct direction. Understanding the differences between each disease of the heart can help with the confusing applications of the term heart disease.

Coronary artery disease or CAD is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in both genders in the U.S. Coronary artery disease affects the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle. These coronary arteries harden and narrow due to the buildup of a waxy cholesterol, fatty substance referred to as plaque.

This plaque buildup is known as atherosclerosis. The increase in plaque buildup causes the coronary arteries to become narrower. This will cause blood flow to become restricted, decreasing the amount of oxygen delivered to the heart muscle. Decreasing the amount of oxygen supplied to the heart muscle can cause angina (chest pain) and lead to a heart attack. Coronary artery disease over time can weaken the heart muscle contributing to heart failure and arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).

Coronary heart disease is another confusing type of heart disease. Coronary heart disease is not the same thing as coronary artery disease. While coronary artery disease refers to the coronary arteries, coronary heart disease refers to the diseases of the coronary arteries and resulting complications. This includes such complications such as chest pain, a heart attack, and the scar tissue caused by the heart attack. Understanding this subtle difference between the two may impress your cardiologist.

Cardiomyopathy is a disease affecting the muscle of the heart. Cardiomyopathy can be genetic or caused by a viral infection. Cardiomyopathy can be classified as primary or secondary. Primary cardiomyopathy is attributed to a specific cause (hypertension, congenital heart defects, heart valve disease). Secondary cardiomyopathy is attributed to specific causes (diseases affecting other organs).

There are three main types of cardiomyopathy. Dilated cardiomyopathy is enlargement and stretching of the cardiac muscle. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy causes thickening of the heart muscle. Restrictive cardiomyopathy causes the ventricles of the heart to become excessively rigid causing blood flow to the ventricles to be difficult between heartbeats.

Valvular heart disease is a disease that affects the valves of the heart. Valves within the heart keep the blood flowing in the correct direction. Damage to valves can be caused by a variety of conditions leading to regurgitation or insufficiency (leaking valve), prolapse (improper closing of the valve), or stenosis (narrowing of the valve). Valvular heart disease can be genetic. Valvular heart disease can also be caused by certain infections such as rheumatic fever, and certain medications or radiation treatments for cancer.

The pericardium is a sac that encompasses the heart. Pericardial disease is inflammation (pericarditis), stiffness (constrictive pericarditis), or fluid accumulation (pericardial effusion) of the pericardium. Pericardial disease can be caused by many things such as occurring after a heart attack.

Congenital heart disease is a form of heart disease that develops before birth. Congenital heart disease is an extremely broad term. However, these diseases usually affect the formation of the heart muscle, chambers, or valves. A few examples include coarctation or a narrowing of a section of the aorta; atrial or ventricular septal defect is referred to as holes in the heart. Congenital heart disease should be classified more accurately as an inborn defect that occurs in around 1% of births. Congenital heart disease may be inherited (heredity), or caused by certain infections such as German measles contracted while pregnant. However, researchers are currently studying factors that may cause congenital heart disease.

Heart failure is another type of heart disease characterized by the heart’s inability to effectively pump enough blood to the body’s organs and tissues. When the body’s vital organs do not receive enough blood flow certain signs and symptoms can occur such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and fluid retention. Congestive heart failure is a type of heart failure that leads to fluid buildup in the body. It is important to note that not all heart failure is congestive. Heart failure may result from other cardiovascular diseases such as cardiomyopathy or coronary heart disease. Heart failure may come on suddenly or develop over many years.

The month of February is the National Heart Disease awareness month. However, heart disease awareness should be each and every day. With staggering statistics, awareness begins with understanding the different types of heart disease. A diet and lifestyle that is conducive to heart health can mean the difference between life and being a statistic.

Copyright 2006 Kristy Haugen

Tuberculosis – A Growing Problem

Tuberculosis was supposed to be something that was gone, a thing of the past; history, just like polio. But then something happened on the way to the United States. This terrible disease was brought back to this country with a vengeance. While this article is not meant to be a criticism of our immigration laws, it is important to know why TB is the problem that it has become before we can understand what can be done about it. Much of what you are about to read is from my own experience.

My wife works in the public school system in Irvington, NJ. She has been teaching there for over 25 years. The school has many illegal aliens attending. This is no secret. What is a secret, and a shock to many, is that some of these aliens have brought with them, from their part of the world, the dreaded TB virus. My wife found this out quite by surprise.

Upon having a routine examination by her gynecologist, calcium was discovered. The doctor told her that she should have a test for tuberculosis, just to rule it out. Of course nobody thought that the test would come back positive, but it did. My wife had contracted the TB virus. Fortunately, it was in the dormant stage so she didn’t need to be quarantined. In the meantime, she had to begin a nine month regiment that consisted of vitamins, a special pill for TB called Isoniazid, and a very strict diet of no chocolate, cheese or meat. Basically, she can’t have anything that is hard to digest.

Just recently, my wife had a D & C that showed that the calcium was gone, so it appears that the treatment and diet have been working. She still has two more months on the pill and diet but then she’ll be fine.

We got lucky. Others have not been so lucky.

If you haven’t been tested for tuberculosis, please get tested, especially if you work around a lot of people who have come here from other countries.

Tuberculosis is a growing problem and unless we keep it under control by having regular checkups, getting tested and getting vaccinated to prevent getting the disease, we are leaving ourselves open for a world of hurt.

Like I said, we got lucky.

To YOUR Health,

Steve Wagner

New Growth Corridors Open Real-Estate Opportunities in Pune

Pune is buzzing with real estate activities and the city is stretching its borders to accommodate new residential, commercial and industrial areas. Pune, known as Maharashtra’s ace city, is witnessing rise in new business activities like the BPO sector, IT and ITES industry.

The prime areas of the city like Deccan Gymkhana, Hinjewadi, Model Colony and Koregaon Park command the highest real estate values in the city. Hence, property seekers have no choice but to find flats, apartments and land in new areas like the Camp, Kalyani Nagar, Shivaji Nagar, Wakdewadi, FC Road, JM Road, and Nagar Road. These areas have moderate property rates. Sample this: The capital value for apartment in Viman Nagar ranges between Rs 3,000-4,500 per sq ft as against Model Colony that has property rates in the range of Rs 4,000-8,000 per sq ft (Source: Magicbricks.com).

Hence, the areas surrounding the prime areas are driving the construction and infrastructure boom in the city. Real estate builders are trying to tap this sentiment and are trying to upgrade the transport linkages between the prime areas and the new areas. This helps them to improve the prospects of their property.

For example, a new bridge has been built to connect Koregaon Park and Kalyani Nagar. This bridge has cut down the distance between the two paces by about half an hour. So, professionals who are employed with Koregaon Park can seek affordable residential properties in Pune’s Kalyani Nagar. This idea is working well. Many property builders have lined up new projects in the upcoming areas. Kumar Builders have announced a 40-acres township in Kalyani Nagar and the builder claims that about 50% flats are already booked!

A similar story is being repeated in the other parts as well. Like Kothrud which was primarily a rural area. Today local people have sold their agricultural land to builders who have build apartments, hostels, paying guest accommodations here. To service this residential demand, many builders have constructed small time retail joints as well. This area is densely populated and is abuzz with activity always.

For more details on Pune Real Estate [http://www.magicbricks.com/property/city/p/p~p!ct~4378!/Pune.real-estate], log on to magicbricks.com

Pet Rat Care – Mammary Tumors

Tumors are one of the most common health problems in unspayed female rats. These are usually benign (non cancerous) mammary tumors that are stimulated by estrogen and occur in approximately 17% to 77% of female rats. Mammary tumors usually occur at around 18 months when females enter menopause and stop ovulating.

These tumors can grow very fast on your pet rat. In some cases, if left untreated, they can cause death by pressing on vital organs, causing internal bleeding or impairing your pets movements. Many times your female rat will be unable to eat sufficient food to sustain herself and the tumor.

Mammary tumors usually start as distinct small lumps under the skin. They are commonly found near the females nipples under the font legs, on the tummy and near the groin area. The lump should feel loose and separate from the rat in the fact it can be moved around under the skin. If this is the case with the lump you have detected, the odds are it is benign.

Mammary tumors that contain pockets of milk can grow very rapidly and to huge sizes – upto 10 cm across – and are usually round in shape. If the lump you have located feels attached, don’t panic, this may still be a benign tumor and therefore removable. Sometimes, the mammary tumors will grow underneath tissue making it feel attached when examined.

Treatment.

If you pet rat develops a mammary tumor the most common cause of treatment is surgical removal.

This is best performed whilst the lump is still small and is usually a simple procedure as the tumor is located under the rats skin, not in the abdominal cavity. However, if you rat is aged or suffering some other health issue, the vet may advise against surgery due to risk involve with anesthesia, etc.

Your pet may also develop more than one mammary tumor in her life time. So once one has been diagnosed, be sure to check her weekly as part of your pet rat care plan for any further lumps developing.

Prevention.

There are a few causes that can be taken when looking at preventing tumors from developing in your pet. None are 100% successful at this stage but still worthwhile considering.

Spaying is considered the most success form of prevention. There are many argument for and against spaying healthy young rats in order to prevent a condition later in life that may or may not occur. However, it may also be said that spayed female pet rats risk of developing mammary tumors is reduced to about 4%.

Genetics can play a part in determining whether or not your pet rat is more susceptible to tumors or not. If possible, check the history of female relatives of your rat to see if her line is more prone than not. If you own a female from a line that do tend to develop tumors, it may well be worth considering spaying her whilst she is young to reduce her risk.

Diet can be used to reduce the risk of tumors. Ensure a good diet that is low-fat and full of fresh fruit and vegetables is part of your pet care plan. Soybeans, broccoli and tomatoes are all great feed components. Also try feeding your female rat soy products such as miso or soybean powder. Add the powder to water or to soy milk to make a drink or mixed as a paste it can be spread on a favorite treat

Gender can also be consider. If you really wish to avoid possible heartbreak created by tumors in your pet then consider boy rats instead. Some boy rats will develop mammary tumors but it is very uncommon.

Treatment For Pneumonia – Natural Vs Pharmacological

People would most likely opt for a pharmacological medication as a treatment for pneumonia. But what really works as well as these medications?

Pneumonia is the medical term used to refer to the infection that occurs in the lungs. This is caused by microorganisms which include fungi, viruses and bacteria.

This condition usually starts in the upper respiratory tract. The symptoms felt are usually something that involves pain and discomfort in the throat or the nose. After about two to three days, the symptoms of this illness will then manifest.

The signs and symptoms of this condition usually vary depending on the age of the person affected and its cause. In general, here are the symptoms that occur:

– fever

– cough

– rapid and shallow breathing

– wheezing quality of breathing

– pain in the chest area

– abdominal cramps or pain

– vomiting

– fatigue

– lack of appetite

– graying pallor of skin, lips and nails

Sometimes a person manifests only one or two of these symptoms. When this is caused by bacterial infection, the sickness is quicker to manifest and the fever maybe alarmingly high. If it is caused by virus, the symptoms are slower to manifest and they are less severe compared to the symptoms manifested by bacterial infection.

This illness can persist for a period of one to two weeks. If it is caused by viral infection, the duration may last even longer. This illness is also very contagious.

This can spread easily if the affected person coughs or sneezes and the fluid from the body of the person affected spews out. This can also be spread by sharing utensils or personal belongings with the person affected.

There are actually vaccines that can help eliminate the likelihood of acquiring this illness. If the child is diagnosed with heart ailment, lung complications and asthma, it is recommended to have them vaccinated to prevent further complications.

If you or your children already have this condition, antibiotics can be prescribed by your doctor to be administered at home. The antibiotic prescribed depends on the cause of the illness.

A child maybe hospitalized if the symptoms are severe and the fever is high. Those who suffer from asthma, heart and lung diseases also need more medical attention.

Pharmacological treatment for pneumonia is effective but there are more to the treatment than this. Parents can also use natural remedies that are also as effective, if not even better.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and veggies rich in Vitamin C can help improve this condition. You can get your daily dose of this nutrient from broccoli, red pepper and citrus fruits.

Tulsi

The essential oil of Tulsi is effective in treating this condition. This herbal remedy has been deemed one of the most effective natural treatments for pneumonia. Try rubbing the essential oil on your chest and you can experience immediate relief.

The leaf is also beneficial. You can make tea out of the leaves and drink the mixture. You can add black pepper in this drink for better results.

Fenugreek

This is also another great remedy. It can make the person affected sweat more to help lower down his/ her body temperature. This can be taken in tea form.

Disease of the Pleura and Pulmonary Cysts

Inflammation of the Pleura is called Pleurisy. In dry Pleurisy, the pleural surfaces are inflamed without fluid in between them. In many cases pleurisy is associated with effusion. Both dry pleurisy and pleural effusion may develop at different stages of the same disease process.

Dry or fibrinous pleurisy: The pleura gets involved from the disease of the underlying lung. Trauma to the chest may also lead to Pleurisy. The suggestive symptom is the catching pain felt acutely over the affected area by inspiratory movements brought about by deep breathing, coughing or sneezing. Its etiology are as follows: Pulmonary tuberculosis, Pneumonia, bronchogenic carcinoma, pulmonary infarction, connective tissue disorders (such as systemic lupus erythematosus, polyarteritis nodosa, and rheumatoid disease), rheumatic fever, viral infections (especially Coxsackie [Bornholm disease), hepatopulmonary amoebiasis, and uraemia.

The physical examination reveals diminution of movement on the affected side and the presence of pleural friction rub on auscultation. Pleural rub has a superficial grafting quality. The rub is heard better by gentle pressure of the chest piece of the stethoscope on the chest wall. Unlike rales, it is not altered by coughing. With the development of pleural effusion, the rub may disappear in most cases. Pleural rub has to be distinguished from crepitations and sounds arising from movements of the chest wall. Other painful conditions like Pneumonia, myocardial infarction, and herpes Zoster have to be differentiated from pleurisy.

Pleural effusion: In this condition, fluid accumulates between the two layers of the pleura. Normally, pleura contains only a small amount of fluid. The pleural fluid remains in dynamic equilibrium with blood. Movements of the lung favour the movement of the fluid in and out of the pleural space. In most of the disease states, absorption of the fluid is reduced. The fluid may be contained in the general pleural space or it may be loculated in the interlobar fissure, infrapulmonary space or may remain adjacent to the mediastinum. The fluid progressively compresses the subjacent lung which undergoes collapse.

The development of symptoms depends upon the speed of accumulation of fluid and its quantity. Common symptoms include dyspnea, pleuritic pain, or symptoms of the underlying disorder. High fever may occur in acute pyogenic infections. Tuberculosis may be associated with lower grades of fever. Pleural fluid is clinically detectable only when it is about 500ml in volume but radiologically it may be detected even when the volume is only 350 ml. A fully developed moderate or massive effusion reveals fullness of the intercostal spaces and restriction of respiratory movements of the same side. Midline structures are shifted to the opposite side. Percussion elicits stony dullness with the highest level in the axilla and lower levels in front and back (S-shaped curve of Ellis). This is the most constant physical sign. The Traube’s space, which is the area overlying the gas bubble or the stomach, is obliterated in left-sided effusion. Breath sounds, vocal femitus and vocal resonance are diminished or absent. Aegophony may be present above the level of effusion. At times bronchial breathing may be heard over a pleural effusion.

Complications include: Respiratory embarrassment, massive bilateral effusions which may be fatal due to respiratory failure, secondary infection of the pleural fluid which converts it into empyema, organization of fibrin from the fluid on the surface of the collapsed lung (cortication) that prevents re-expansion, and fibrosis of the pleura and obliteration of the pleural space (fibrothorax) which develop as a sequel to long standing pleural effusions.

Radiographic appearance: If the fluid volume is small only the costophrenic angles are obliterated. As the fluid accumulates further, it throws a triangular lateral opacity obscuring the hemidiaphragm. Large pleural effusions shift the midline structures to the opposite side. An interlobar effusion in the oblique fissure produces an elongated cigar-shaped shadow seen better in the lateral view. Fluid in the horizontal fissure throws a rounded shadow seen in the PA-view. The term “vanishing pulmonary tumor” has been used for inter-lobar effusions since they clear up with treatment.

Character of the fluid: Pleural fluids may be transudates or exudates. They differ in physical and biochemical nature. Transudate (Clear, often bilateral, does not clot on standing, specific gravity less than 1015, protein content less than 3g/dL, cells less than 100/Cmm). Exudate (Opalescent or turbid, unilateral, often clots on standing, above 1015, above 3g/dL, cell count is high).

Congestive Cardiac failure, nephrotic syndrome, hypoproteinemia, constrictive pericarditis, and myxedema may cause transudation into the pleura. Exudates are caused by tuberculosis, Pneumonias, Pulmonary infarction, bronchogenic carcinoma, Pleural secondaries, dyscollagenoses and hepatopulmonary amoebiasis. Rare causes include subphrenic abscess, postmyocardial infarction syndrome and acute pancreatitis. Tuberculous effusion is straw-coloured. The fluid is hemorrhagic in malignancy and infarction and it is chylous (milky) in lymphatic obstruction due to filariasis and lymphomas. Collection of purulent fluid in the pleura is called empyema.

Microscopy: In acute bacterial infections, neutrophils predominate, lymphocytes predominate in tuberculosis. Eosinophils may predominate in dyscollagenoses and pulmonary infarction. Examination of a wet preparation stained by methylene blue reveals malignant cells in over 90% of cases of malignant effusions. Identification of the nature of the malignant cells is done by Papanicolaou’s technique. The nature of chylous fluid is confirmed by demonstrating the presence of fat. Elevated amylase levels are suggestive of acute pancreatitis (500 units/ml of higher). Values of LDH are raised in exudates. Gram-staining, Ziehl-Neelsen staining, and culture help in identifying the causative microbes. When investigations, pleural biopsy may be attempted. Special (Cope’s) needles are available for this purpose. Though a positive biopsy is diagnostic, a negative biopsy does not exclude pleural malignancy.

Principles of treatment

Pleural effusion may rarely present as an emergency with respiratory embarrassment. In such cases, emergency measures are required to give relief-especially if the effusion is massive or bilateral. The fluid is aspirated by thoracentesis done in the eighth or ninth intercostal space in the posterior axillary line after anaesthetising the part. Sufficient fluid id removed to relieve the distress. Whenever pleural fluid is aspirated, it is also subjected to diagnostic investigations.

Elective management

Medical therapy is instituted depending on clinical features and pleural fluid analysis. it is ideal to aspirate the fluid after instituting specific drug therapy. Aspiration is indicated: to make the diagnosis; to relieve distress and to remove the exudate so as to hasten full recovery of the pleura and avoid complications. It is generally advisable to restrict the volume of fluid removed at one sitting to 1 Liter or less in order to avoid pulmonary edema. Aspiration has to be repeated at times. Two or three aspirations will be adequate in most of the cases of tuberculous effusion. In malignant pleural fluid tends to re-accumulate even after repeated aspirations. Drugs used to be instilled intra-pleurally with the hope of raising the local concentration of the drug. Intra-pleural administration of drugs my be required only in some rare cases, if proper systemic therapy is given. Sometimes aspiration of the pleural cavity may give rise to complications. These include pleural shock, anaphylactic shock due to anaesthetic, bleeding into the pleural cavity, pulmonary edema, infection, and accidental introduction of air into the pleura.

PULMONARY CYSTS

Cysts of the Lung may be congenital or acquired. Congenital cysts are of three varieties:

1. bronchogenic-these may be solitary or multiple;

2. alveolar cell types-these also may be solitary or multiple; and

3. mixed types having elements of both bronchogenic and alveolar cysts.

These vary in size and may be unilateral or bilateral. They may be located anywhere in the lung. They are filled with fluid at birth, but air enter the cavity later when bronchial communications develop. The cyst may be thick- or thin- walled. Cystic disease of the Lung may occur in association with fibrocystic disease of the pancreas. This is common in Western countries, but is rare in Asia and Africa.

Acquired Cysts

These may be resent bullous emphysema, subpleural ysts or parasitic cysts, which include hydratid disease and paragonimiasis. The severity of symptoms is determined by the extent, size, time of diagnosis, and presence of complications. When the lung parenchyma is grossly reduced, respiratory embarrassment and respiratory failure may develop. Super-added infection is common and this is characterised by fever, cough, purulent sputum, and even hemoptysis. Though pulmonary osteoarthropathy may occur, it is a late feature. This is in contrast to bronchiectasis, in which clubbing is an early feature. Potential complications are infection, hemoptysis, Pneumothorax, fibrosis, and Cor Pulmonale.

Diagnosis

Cystic disease has to be suspected when a child presents with recurrent respiratory infections. Presence of other congenital abnormalities should strengthen this suspicion. X-ray shows thin-walled cysts, which may be single or multiple. Tuberculosis, bronchiectasis, and Lung abscess have to be differentiated. In congenital cystic lung bronchography delineates the lesions. In the case of single non-communicating cysts, the dye does not enter the cavity.

Treatment

A large single cysts producing respiratory embarrassment from infancy has to be excised. When the cysts are multiple, surgery is contraindicated. Medical management is on the same lines as for bronchiectasis.

How Can Cold-Induced Asthma Be Diagnosed?

Shortness of breath, breathing difficulty, coughing, wheezing, cyanosis, loss or decreased consciousness, chest tightness, and chest pain can be symptoms of cold-induced asthma. These asthma symptoms can also be symptoms of a different disease. This makes it very important for a person who exhibits these symptoms to consult his or her doctor. The doctor can make the appropriate diagnosis. And he or she can also prescribe the right treatment regimen.

One of the key information in the proper diagnosis of asthma is a family’s medical history. If a member of the family has asthma or allergies, it is very likely that other members may also develop the same disease. When making the diagnosis, this is one of the first information that the doctor will establish.

Another key information is the time and pattern of symptoms. Since an asthma attack is triggered by many different factors, it is important to observe the time and pattern when symptoms occur. What was the person doing before and during an asthma attack? What time of day was the asthma attack? Where did the asthma attack occur? These are important questions that you must answer to help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

In answering these questions, the specific asthma trigger can also be established. For example, if an asthma attack occurs a few minutes upon starting to exercise, that person may have exercise induce asthma. Or if an attack usually occurs during winter or cold months, that person may have cold-induced asthma.

Furthermore, lung function tests may be done in order to diagnose asthma. These are the different steps in making an accurate asthma diagnosis. Once the specific trigger is identified, treatment can be prescribed. Preventing exposure to the trigger is very important in managing the disease. But in the case of cold-induced asthma, does this mean that you have to stay indoors during cold, winter months?

You don’t have to do that. Since you know that you have cold-induced asthma, the best thing to do is to be extra cautious during cold, winter months. If you want to go outdoors, you can just cover your mouth and nose with a scarf. This will help in making the air you inhale less cold.

Another way to prevent a cold-induced asthma attack is to stop exercising outdoors during cold, winter months. Or if you will exercise indoors, you must be sure that the room is well-heated. Remember that inhaling cold air can already start a cold-induced asthma attack.

And during cold, winter months, always be sure that you have your rescue medications all the time. If you cannot prevent an attack from happening, just be armed with the medications to stop the symptoms from worsening.

Bronchitis Treatment – Cure Yourself At Home

If you keep taking antibiotics for Bronchitis you find that after awhile they become less affective. In normal medical practice you don’t have much option as that hacking cough tries to remove the infected phlegm that the infection causes.

Some people are unlucky enough to keep catching the Bronchitis infection and will end up at the Doctors time and time again every year. Paying for prescription like this can put a strain on your budget.

The cause of Bronchitis is quite simple as your bronchial tubes get infected, and as the get infected they cause phlegm to build up in your bronchial tubes which your body then tries to remove. The only way it can remove this phlegm is by making you cough, yet the more you cough the more inflamed your bronchial tubes become.

At this stage you may wonder what did we do before we used antibiotics, and is there another solution to the problem. This was the question that a medical researcher kept asking himself as he suffered another bout of Bronchitis himself.

He guessed that there must be an answer so contacted several Alternative medical Doctors who all gave him their answers. What he found was that he needed to get rid of the germs that caused the infection in the first place and until he did that he would keep getting the same old problems several times a year.

Knowing that he had a weakness in his chest from being an ex-smoker he decided to put the different remedies the Alternative medical Doctors suggested to test, using himself as a guinea pig.

Finally he did come up with the right combination of ingredients that are readily available at most health shops or supermarkets. It worked on him every time but he did need to try it out on other people. Here he enlisted the help of friends who also suffered yet when he told them of the ingredients they began to laugh thinking that their friend had got it all wrong. Yet they tried this Alternative cure and it worked.

Please note that I am not a Doctor or am I in any way qualified to give opinion in medical matters, and that I only write articles on what I call common sense and that the patient should make their own mind up with regard to these things. (If you’ve ever had side affects from drugs prescribed to you I think you will understand what I mean.)

If you are a smoker you are a prime target to get an infection and you should still contact your Doctor and that by using an alternative natural cure you do so at your own risk as your Doctor will probably tell you.

Chronic Shoulder Pain – Understanding the Causes

Chronic shoulder pain can develop from a variety of conditions that affect the anatomical structures of the shoulder. These include acromioclavicular arthritis, adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), shoulder instability (dislocated shoulder), shoulder arthritis and rotator cuff pathology. This article will discuss each of these pathologies.

1. Acromioclavicular Arthritis – Your clavicle is the small bone that you can feel and see just above your chest. If you run your fingers along this bone towards your shoulder it will lead you to a small joint called your acromioclavicular joint. This joint is prone to problems because of it closeness to the surface of the skin and its small size. It is usually injured as a result of a trauma, like a fall landing on an outstretched arm or directly on the shoulder. Aggressive and prolonged overhead activity can also irritate this joint because of compression. Pain from this joint is usually localized directly over the joint or it can spread toward the neck. It usually doesn’t go into the arm.

2. Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder) – this is a problem that causes extreme stiffness and loss of motion in your shoulder. It can also cause a lot of pain. At its most severe your arm will move only an inch or two away from your side. This problem usually occurs gradually with minor stiffness or pain. Over time these symptoms become worse and our ability to use your arm becomes more pronounced. X-rays will usually be negative. Diabetics and those with thyroid conditions are prone to this problem because of poor tissue integrity.

3. Shoulder Instability – this occurs when the ligaments surrounding the shoulder become weak or overstretched. Instability can be caused from a trauma that forces the shoulder to dislocate. The shoulder may “pop” back into place by itself but it often has to be put back in by a doctor. Patients that dislocate are usually younger than 40 years old. Once they have a dislocation it is likely it will happen again because of the looseness in the ligaments. Strengthening exercises can sometimes help stabilize the joint. If the instability continues then surgery will be considered to fix the problem.

4. Rotator Cuff Problems – this could range from a tendonitis to a complete muscle tear. Pts. with rotator cuff pain are usually over 40. Pain is often felt in the upper arm, not the shoulder itself. The pain usually does not go below the elbow, but in the case of chronic shoulder pain the symptoms can radiate to the thumb. Signs and symptoms include weakness, pain when raising the arm, pain at night when sleeping on the affected side and a positive impingement sign. Conservative treatment can be helpful in many cases. In stubborn cases where pain does not resolve injection may be necessary. In the case of a large rotator cuff tear surgery is likely.

These are the most common causes of chronic shoulder pain and rotator cuff pain. If you have been experiencing any of these problems you should consult your physician for advice. They will coordinate your care and discuss your available options for improvement.

What a Pain! Joint and Connective Tissue Disorders

Pain is pain and we want to be free from it, no matter the source of it. So often we are quick to treat the pain without taking the time to distinguish the cause. Knowing the cause of some pains can prevent unnecessary medication, mistreatment and prolonged aches and discomfort.

When dealing with joint and connective tissue disorders, the most common causes of pain are due to inflammation, swelling and inflexibility of the joints. When the inflammation is chronic, it inhibits the body’s natural ability to heal and maintain joint and connective tissue health. When the joints are swollen and sore, the necessary nutrients needed by the joints to maintain synovial fluid have a hard time penetrating through the inflammation and entering into the cells of the joint tissue.

Examples of joint and connective tissue disorders that cause inflammation of joints include the following:

* Osteoarthritis

* Rheumatoid arthritis

* Lupus

* Gout

* Fibromyalgia

Commonly, suffers of joint arthritis pain, lupus and gout pain try to find relief with over the counter medicines, typically containing acetaminophen. While these products can provide temporary relief, they are usually associated with a variety of side effects such as gastrointestinal issues, dependency and cardiac risks. While these medicines can offer temporary relief, they are only helping to reduce a symptom of the inflammation and momentarily reduce the pain. Many suffers of joint arthritis pain, lupus and gout pain are seeking pain management that comes without so many possible negative effects and works to resolve the cause of the aches, stiffness and inflexibility.

Joint arthritis pain and other connective tissue disorder sufferers are seeking alternative products and dietary supplements to provide relief and hopefully offer pain management that can resolve the cause. While dietary supplements aren’t medicines, the natural minerals, nutrients and ingredients replicate the natural healing process of the body. For instance, a combination of chrondroitin, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid has been used in clinical studies for the treatment of pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.

These ingredients naturally occur in the body and are needed for healthy joint and connective tissue maintenance. However, there is a catch 22: when joints undergo persistent damage and they need chrondroitin and glucosamine the most, the damage inhibits the production and absorption of these healing ingredients. Researchers have high hopes for supplementation with these ingredients, not only for joint pain relief but also for the possible repair of joint and connective tissue. Studies have not only shown a reduction in pain and an increase in flexibility, they also show improved activity of the cellular membrane in the joints, which hints at the possibility of repair and rebuilding of damaged connective tissue.

While pain management is possible, there are now more natural options to find relief from joint arthritis pain and pain caused by connective tissue disorders. However, with continued study and more research, we might find that there are possibilities beyond just pain management; such studies may prove to find solutions for the actual repair of worn and damaged joints and connective tissue.

Hip Stress Fractures – Are They Your Early Warning Signs?

Hip stress fractures can be an early warning sign of poor bone health. They also provide an opportunity to make improvements in your nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle to prevent further deterioration into full osteoporosis.

In the United States, it is estimated that 340,000 hip fractures occur each year and that by 2040 this number will increase to 500,000. Ninety percent of fractures occur in people who are 65 years and older and three quarters of the patients are women…mostly Caucasian women. The United States has the highest rate of hip fractures in the world.

A hip stress fracture is usually less painful than an actual fracture and may be an early warning sign of poor bone health. It often appears as a pain in the groin or thigh that may increase with activity and persist for hours afterward. It may eventually develop into a persistent pain regardless of the level of activity and extend into the night and disrupt sleep. If the pain is referred to the knee, the person may develop an awkward gait or limp as they try to avoid pain on the injured side.

So what can be done to reduce our risk of hip stress fractures? The formative years of age nine to nineteen are especially important for building a strong skeleton foundation that will last a lifetime. There are many steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of hip stress fractures during these early years and they are the same steps needed to prevent further deterioration into full osteoporosis.

Let’s look at the controllable risks first before we look at things that erode our bone health but are not in our control.

CONTROLLABLE RISKS

DIET

While there are millions of people in the world who go to bed hungry and have no choice about what they eat or whether they eat…people in wealthy countries face a different challenge. Often we are deciding whether we will take the time to cook a healthy meal at home or succumb to the fast food that is constantly inviting us from the vending machines, street corners, bill boards and television ads.

Young people with a lot of discretionary cash and a love of hanging around malls are especially at risk. The eating habits of teenagers are particularly important not only because this is a critical period for bone development but it is also the time that eating habits are formed. The most common nutritional challenges that both teens and adults face in North America are as follows:

  • Insufficient calcium and vitamin D in a diet will lower the peak bone mass and increase the risk of hip stress fractures later in life. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for a person aged 9-18 years is 1,300 mg.-which is slightly more than what is recommended for pregnant women and for women in menopause. A fast food diet is lacking in exactly these elements.
  • A high caffeine intake (over three cups a day) and excessive soda consumption interfere with the absorption of vitamin D and calcium – resulting in decreased bone density.
  • Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia often begin during adolescence and can permanently damage the skeleton.

The movement towards increasing healthy foods in our schools and removing pop and snack vending machines should help to improve our nutrition habits. Calcium and vitamin supplements also provide an inexpensive way of supporting bone building if you believe your diet is not providing the recommended levels of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin K.

EXERCISE

Weight-bearing exercises (such as walking, running and jumping) are essential for strengthening bones and muscles and reducing the risk of hip stress fractures. Prolonged bed rest or immobility from an accident or illness can cause bone loss but this loss can usually be recovered before the age of forty. After forty it is much more challenging to improve bone density- but it is still possible with the right amounts of calcium, vitamins and weight-bearing exercise.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol can interfere with the normal process of bone building and remodeling, resulting in bone loss. But how exactly are they affecting our bone health?

Smoking has the effect of inactivating estrogen, leaving the smoker with what amounts to an estrogen deficiency. (Estrogen helps prevent osteoporosis by inhibiting the action of osteoclasts, the cells that break down and clear away old bone.) Weight loss associated with smoking also results in a loss of fat cells needed for estrogen production. This accelerated loss of estrogen can result in smokers entering andropause or menopause as much as five years earlier than non-smokers. A more sedentary life (also associated with smoking) further increases the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Alcohol decreases calcium absorption and increases calcium losses through the urine in three ways:

  • Alcohol elevates our Parathyroid hormone (PTH levels) causing a strain on our calcium reserves. Continuous elevation of PTH can cause hyperparathyroidism which further depletes the calcium stored in our bones.
  • Alcohol also inhibits the conversion of vitamin D into its active form, thus interfering with the absorption of calcium from the intestines.
  • Excessive alcohol also increases magnesium excretion in the urine, which in turn makes calcium absorption difficult.

CLUTTERED & UNSAFE SURROUNDINGS

One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of hip stress fractures is to reduce the risk of falling. In the home it is important to get rid of loose rugs on hardwood; eliminate clutter on the floor; ensure that lighting is appropriate (especially around stairways); add proper handrails to stairways and organize electrical and telephone cords so that they are well out of the way.

A person with good muscle tone, good balance and healthy bones will find the above hazards unpleasant but manageable. But if bone density is low, a fall can easily cause hip stress fractures or even broken bones.

UNCONTROLLABLE RISKS

GETTING OLDER

It is a good thing to get older… given the alternative. But we stop adding to our bone density around the mid to late thirties. That doesn’t have to be a problem if we have had good eating habits and enjoyed a healthy lifestyle during our youth. But if we haven’t, the risk of hip stress fractures can increase significantly as we age. In addition to the weakening of bones, most of us will lose some of our vision, muscle tone and sense of balance-which increases the risk of falling and fracturing a bone. All of these risks can be mitigated with a good diet and proper fitness, which are habits that we hopefully developed in our youth.

HEALTH DISORDERS

There are a number of medical conditions that can weaken our bones and make us more susceptible to hip stress fractures. Some of these conditions cause a gradual loss of bone health if special steps are not taken. Others increase our risk of falling.

Endocrine disorders (such as hyperthyroidism and gastrointestinal disorders) may interfere with calcium and vitamin D absorption which are essential for bone health. Low levels of sex hormones (testosterone, progesterone and some forms of estrogen) are also associated with a loss in bone density.

Rheumatoid disorders often lead to inactivity and subsequently a loss of both muscle strength and bone mass. Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis affect the nervous system and increase the risk of falling. Decreased mental alertness (dementia and depression) also increase our risk of falling and creating hip stress fractures.

And finally, osteoporosis makes our bones more prone to hip stress fractures, even with a relatively minor fall. When doctors order an x-ray or bone scan for a patient who is complaining of pain in the groin and thigh, they may discover that the hip stress fractures are only symptoms of osteopenia or osteoporosis.

GENDER

About 80 percent of hip stress fractures occur in women. The drop in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause accelerates bone loss, increasing the risk of hip fractures as a woman moves beyond menopause. A growing number of doctors are now prescribing progesterone treatment for osteoporosis…as well as calcium and vitamin supplements.

FAMILY HISTORY

A family history of osteoporosis is a strong predictor of low bone mass. A small-boned, slender frame may also put you at increased risk of osteoporosis.

DRUGS

Some medications accelerate bone loss and increase the risk of osteoporosis and hip stress fractures. Medications that may contribute to bone loss include:

  • Corticosteroids-such as prednisone
  • anticonvulsants
  • thyroid medications
  • certain diuretics and blood thinners
  • proton pump inhibitors (used to reduce stomach acid)

Some drugs may also cause dizziness and affect your balance. These include some blood pressure medications, sedatives, tranquilizers, antidepressants, cold and allergy medications, pain relievers and sleep medications.

There are many steps that can be taken both to reduce and mitigate the risk of hip stress fractures. An osteoporosis prevention program that includes a good diet, exercise and the right calcium and vitamin supplements is a great way of improving bone density and reducing our risk.

To learn about calcium and vitamin supplements that will help to prevent hip stress fractures…visit http://www.osteoporosis-vitamins.com.

High School Sports Injuries – Shoulder Injuries

A high school athlete should never shrug off a shoulder injury. The shoulder is one of the most important joints on the body. Athletes need the shoulder to throw a ball or other object, block an opponent, maintain their balance, and so on. Unfortunately, all of these activities can result in a variety of shoulder injuries, ranging from slight to major. The key is to recognize such injuries, treat them properly, and to the best of a high school athlete’s ability-prevent them.

What makes the shoulder joint special? One of its main features is that there’s less bone-to-bone contact within the shoulder joint, than with other joints in the human body. What does that mean? There’s a greater dependence on muscle, cartilage, and so on, in reducing the impact of stress on the joint’s motion. And that means that there’s a greater risk of soft tissue becoming damaged. The shoulder’s bones include the humerus, the shoulder blade, and the collarbone. Arguably, the breastbone should also be included as a shoulder bone. Essentially the shoulder consists of four different joints that function as one unit.

Different causes of shoulder injuries exist. One is an overhead motion. This involves the athlete’s hand and forearm being stretched as far as possible from the body. Another major cause of shoulder injuries in high school athletes is repetitive movement. This can result in injuries such as rotator cuff injury, tendinitis, and over time–osteoarthritis. Another shoulder injury involves a shoulder being struck, such as via a shock or a fall.

A rotator cuff injury is particularly common in high school sports, which it occurring most frequently among baseball pitchers. Other common athletes who experience it include golfers, swimmers, and football quarterbacks. Shoulder injuries can also include a dislocated shoulder, a separated shoulder, and the most common shoulder fracture: fractured collarbone.

One of the most crucial steps to take after suffering from an acute shoulder injury is to rest the shoulder. And if certain movements are causing the pain, the high school athlete should cease those movements immediately! Within the first three days after suffering the injury, the athlete should ice the shoulder for 20 minutes, on multiple occasions throughout the day.

Then he or she should seek assistance from a physical therapist. Within time, the athlete should start doing some basic motions needed in the sport, at a gradual pace. More severe shoulder injuries will require one or more operations. These operations can be quite complex (and pricey), so an athlete should first consult his or her physician before undergoing an operation.

The good news is that you can take steps to reduce your likelihood of suffering from shoulder injuries. For instance, you can increase the strength and flexibility of your upper body. Also, when using your upper body to perform certain movements in your support, make sure to use the correct body mechanics. That will not only help to prevent shoulder injuries, but will also improve the quality of your game! And finally, always perform stretches and warm-ups before a practice session, game, or match.

Cerebral Palsy – Definition, Assessment and Interventions

Definition

Cerebral palsy (CP) is characterized by aberrant control of movement or posture and appears early in life secondary to central nervous system damage. ‘Cerebral’ refers to the brain and ‘palsy’ means weakness or lack of muscle control. CP distorts messages from the brain to cause increased muscle tension (hyper tonus) or reduced muscle tension (called hypo tonus), which can fluctuate depending, or messages may be mistimed, inaccurate, or not sent at all. This affects the timing, quality and synchronisation of messages; generally resulting in erratic movement of the muscles however, it is important to note that it is the message pathway that is affected rather than the muscles themselves. Characteristically, loss of selective motor control, abnormal muscle tone, imbalance between muscle agonists and antagonists and impaired balance are symptoms.

CP is not a contagious or hereditary disease; it is a condition usually the result of changes in, or injury to, the developing brain before or during birth, or sometimes in early childhood; usually as a result of a diminished blood supply and lack of oxygen to areas of the brain, causing damage to brain cells.

CP can be categorised into four main areas, according to the parts of the body it affects:

  • Quadriplegia – all four limbs are affected, can also include the muscles of the face and mouth.
  • Diplegia – all four limbs are affected, but legs more so than arms.
  • Hemiplegia – one side of the body is affected.
  • Paraplegia – both legs, but neither of the arms, are affected.

Common symptoms and affected areas:

There are four main types of CP:

  • Spastic – this is the most common type of cerebral palsy. Spasticity means stiffness or tightness of muscles, which is most obvious when the person tries to move.
  • Athetoid – athetosis means uncontrolled movements, which often lead to erratic movements.
  • Ataxic – this is the least common type of cerebral palsy. Ataxia means a lack of balance and coordination. It often presents as unsteady, shaky movements called tremors.
  • Mixed type – a combination of types of cerebral palsy.

Assessment: Signs in early childhood

Indicators of Cerebral palsy:

  • Early feeding difficulties
  • Delayed development
  • Poor muscle control
  • Muscle spasms
  • Lack of coordination

Standardised Assessments:

Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI)

This is an instrument for evaluating function in children with disabilities aged 6 months to 7.5 years. The PEDI is a questionnaire is used by someone familiar with the child and focuses on self care and mobility in everyday life. The PEDI measures both functional performance and capability in three domains: (1) self-care, (2) mobility, and (3) social function (Berg, Jahnsen, Froslie, & Hussain, 2004).

The Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM)

This was developed to measure the gross motor function of children with cerebral palsy. Administering the GMFM-88 may take approximately 45 to 60 minutes for someone familiar with the measure The GMFM-66 should take less time to administer as there are fewer items. The GMFM and PEDI are two assessments that compliment each other when trying to get a complete picture in evaluating changes in the child. The GMFM as well as the PEDI are very useful and valuable in assessing functional motor abilities of children with cerebral palsy. Both measures focus on different aspects of functioning and build on different sources of information.

Selective control assessment in cerebral palsy:

This recently revised test assesses selective joint control of individual joints, based on the reasoning that control of joints is the basis of movement, and purposeful movement is the basis of different functions and therefore does not instill testing a patient’s quality and level of functional skills, as this does not hold true in clinical or life situations. This assesses the degree of voluntary moor control in palsy patients, especially when he treatment aim is functional and improved gait. A grading system has been developed accordingly in order to get a realistic level of functional abilities as well as baseline for comparison with those of normal development

Critique: Assessment and grading system used in clinical situations proves clinically sound and easy to apply.

Implications and interventions

Cerebral palsy may affect a person’s mobility, their ability to talk, or their outward appearance. Where speech is affected, the person with a disability will understand what is said to them, but may find it difficult to respond. There are many health professionals that can assist a person with cerebral palsy to engage in daily activities. Occupational therapists establish goals with the individual, and works together to achieve these goals. For example, if a client has the goal of mobilising independently, an occupational therapist would prescribe a wheelchair specifically to his/her needs, and train the person on how to use it.

Speech therapists work with the person to improve communication and swallowing. For example, a speech therapist may design a communication board specific to what the person wants to express.

Physiotherapists work with the person to improve movement of the limbs. For example, the physiotherapist may prescribe specific stretches to increase the persons range of motion.

Analysis Paralysis

Regardless of their age, their level of business expertise or even their role in their company, many business professional experience a debilitating state of mind that can be called “analysis paralysis.” Too many options, too many risks, too much pressure. The result is that they sit with their questions, watching good things happen to other people and wondering why they just can’t get unstuck.

Analysis paralysis is the opposite of “‘bright, shiny object” syndrome. With bright, shiny object syndrome, people jump from one good idea to another without really thinking through the implications. It tempts us to try the next big thing.

Analysis paralysis occurs when you can’t STOP thinking about the implications. “If I do this, then this might happen, or that might happen, or what if this other thing happened. Maybe it would be better if I did this other thing over here.” Analysis paralysis results in a lack of execution. Nothing gets done. No movement forward occurs… only because you can’t decide what move makes sense to make.

How do you break free from analysis paralysis? Try this…

1) Instead of being afraid of potential failure, embrace the experience.

If we followed the ‘perfect path’ every time, we’d never really be able to speak to what doesn’t work… and sometimes, that information is just as valuable as what does.

From every life experience, every business venture, every project dared, we learn something about ourselves. We learn what works, what doesn’t. We begin collecting life wisdom that is unique to us.

2) Overcome inertia by picking something.

Do you remember high school physics class? An object at rest tends to stay at rest. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. If you’ve been stuck in analysis-paralysis mode, chances are it’s going to feel like it’ll take a pretty good ‘oomph’ to get you moving. At the risk of making it sound way too simple, there comes a point when you just have to do something. Choose what feels best to you at the moment, flip a coin, roll a dice… but start somewhere. You can even make it something very small, but the key is to start somewhere, doing something.

Once you’re in motion, it gets easier. Keep moving forward. Keep asking yourself what you’re learning about yourself, about life, about business. I guarantee that no matter what path you choose, there are always lessons to be learned. You just have to be in the right frame of mind to see them.

Does a Hernia Make Your Stomach Big?

Suffering a hernia can be a different experience for different people. For some hernia sufferers, hernias are rather painful, while for others there is little or no pain involved.

Meanwhile, for some hernia patients, the hernia is present and visible more or less all of the time. In the case of others, it comes and goes throughout the day.

There is a wide range of types of hernias, as well. The condition can crop up almost anywhere in your midsection or groin area.

One common question that hernia sufferers ask is, “Does a hernia make your stomach big?” If you are wondering about this, here are 5 FAQs about hernias that can help:

1. How many types of hernias are there?

A: There are several types of hernias, including inguinal, femoral, umbilical, incisional, and diaphragmatic. The type of hernia you have is characterized by where it shows up in your body.

Some hernias can become strangulated, which means the internal body parts (often part of the intestine) that is protruding through the muscle walls gets its oxygen cut off and becomes at risk of dying. Strangulated hernias require immediate surgery to correct.

2. What are the major symptoms of a hernia?

A: Hernias are usually characterized by a bulge in the body cavity. Such a bulge is often visible from the outside of the body. The bulge is sometimes painful, but not always. Also, in some cases it may come and go throughout the day.

3. What causes the hernia to bulge out?

A: A weakness in the muscle wall – which can be caused by genetics or by an incident such as a sports injury – allows part of the bodily organs to push through. The internal organs are under a certain amount of pressure, so without strong abdominal or groin muscles to keep them in, they can be susceptible to bulging out.

4. Does a hernia make your stomach big?

A: In most cases, a hernia will be visible on the outside of your body. In that sense, certain types of hernia could be said to make your stomach bigger. Still, in almost all cases the bulge will be visible in one area of your stomach (for certain types of hernias) in a particular spot, rather than generally making your stomach appear bigger overall.

5. What is the best form of treatment for a hernia?

A: For some mild forms of hernias, your doctor may take a wait-and-see approach. However, in most cases eventually surgery will need to be performed in order to correct the situation. The surgery involves a surgeon making an incision near the affected area. The protruding tissues are pushed back inside the body cavity, then a synthetic mesh is placed over the weak spot in the muscle wall. This mesh greatly reduces the chances of a recurrence of the hernia.

If you suspect you may be suffering from a hernia, it is best to contact your doctor right away to get it checked out. Whether your doctor recommends immediate surgery or whether you are asked to come back periodically to have it monitored, this is a medical problem that needs to be taken seriously.