Facts About Stroke

Stroke is a major cause of death in the United States, and senior citizens are especially prone to experiencing a stroke and some of the long-term effects that can result. African Americans tend to also be at higher risk for stroke.

Knowing the signs of stroke and what to do when one occurs is very important. Caregivers of senior citizens or other friends and family should know these signs so that they can act quickly to reduce the serious effects that can occur as a result of a stroke. Someone suffering a stroke should always get to a hospital within an hour after symptoms begin.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is stopped by a blood clot, which is usually a side effect of damaged blood vessels. When the brain does not receive oxygen from blood flow, there is a rapid rate of cell death that occurs and can manifest into mental or physical disability depending on how long the stroke goes untreated.

Ischemic strokes involve clots that work as a "plug" in blood vessels leading to the brain while hemorrhagic strokes involve clots that cause blood vessels to literally burst and bleed into the brain.

Symptoms

People who are having a stroke can experience:

  • Numbness or weakness in the face or leg, usually on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion or difficulty producing and understanding speech
  • Sudden inability to see in one or both of the eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking or maintaining balance
  • Sudden severe headache without any other known cause

Because we can not see that someone is having a stroke unless they are showing the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to know how to recognize this sudden onset of symptoms and act quickly by seeking immediate medical attention. If you suspect that you are someone you know is having a stroke, call 911 immediately.

Prevention

Senior Citizens should take active steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Caregivers should encourage such activities to prevent disease. The following are suggestions will help prevent strokes.

Because strokes are due to complications with blood vessels, one way to prevent stroke is to keep high blood pressure under control because high blood pressure can lead to increased risk of stroke and heart disease.

  • Avoid smoking.
  • If you have diabetes, learn how to manage it efficiently.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight with a healthy eating plan and safe amount of physical activity.

Flu of 2009

The 2009 flu season was supposed to be a “routine.” Usually, patients take their seasonal flu shot. Those people who had flu symptoms normally go to the doctor’s office for an exam and testing. It is usually easy to spot the flu patients. Among the usual nasal congestion and sore throats, there are certain people whose appearance is really just sickly. These people usually appear to have just woken up, their hair is mussed, they are unshaven, and they are covered in sweaters or blankets but still shivering. In the doctor’s office, they are brought back and examined for signs of the flu or other problems. If their throat is red, they are usually checked for strep throat.

The flu nasal swab, which is an antibody test for types A or B Flu, then became available. Judging by the patient’s clinical appearance and a positive test for Flu A or B, the doctor might prescribe the antiviral drugs Tamiflu or Relenza to lessen the severity and length of illness. However, 20% of the American population acquired the 2009 flu thus far. Billions of dollars in lost work productivity and hospital expenses come out of the country’s pocket. At least 200,000 patients were hospitalized and there were 36,000 flu-related deaths. On top of that, something new now was added for 2009.

The great scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta maintain careful observation over flu outbreaks all over the world. They test and name each flu. Using this data, scientists try to predict what seasonal flu will appear in the fall. They supervise pharmaceutical companies in the manufacture of the specific vaccine. When the flu scientists reach their prediction on the button, the vaccine is effective in 70 to 90% of recipients under age 65. It is less effective in recipients over 65, recipients who live in nursing homes, and those with chronic underlying illness. The vaccine is about 30% to 70% effective.

The usual seasonal vaccine contains attenuated virus of the A (H1N1) and the A(H3N3) variety. A virus is not actually a separate live entity, so when we severely debilitate, we then say in the vaccine “attenuation.” A virus is arguably the smallest semi-life form that exists in nature. It can only be seen with an electron microscope. It is called an obligate parasite. This means it must “live” within another living cell. It can only survive and replicate by taking over that cell’s complex biochemical machinery to manufacture other viral units like itself. The influenza virus has its RNA taken up by a host cell to begin the manufacture process. Eventually the host cell dies by its viral infection.Influenza viruses were first identified and studied by scientists in the 1930’s.

Type A viruses were the worst, and the ones typically producing epidemics and global pandemics. An epidemic is a local outbreak of the flu, usually annually, by viruses that already exist in the environment. It usually peaks in three weeks, and subsides after three weeks, sometimes affecting 50% of the population of that area.

The pandemic is a different phenomenon altogether. It is caused by a mutated virus to which humans do not have an immunity. It can be spread worldwide. Scientists found that they could identify Type A viruses into subtypes by protein structures on their outer surfaces. These are called H (Hemagglutinin A) and N (Neuramidase B). There is no division of a Type B virus into a subtype because they cause milder symptoms and are more sporadic. Type C influenza viruses are not subtyped because they cause even milder symptoms and less evidence of outbreaks. The Type A viruses caused the pandemics of 1917, 1957, and 1967 when millions of lives were lost. The worst year for this was 1918.

Pandemics can be caused by a viral mutation or the re-emergence of a virus that has not been around for years. All in all, humans lack immunity to that specific virus and cannot fight them. Viruses do not stay in humans throughout the year as they are prevalent in primarily fall and winter. Where do they stay dormant and hide? Scientists discovered that certain coastal birds seem to be the reservoir for the viruses. There is fairly good evidence that the birds harbor these viruses without manifesting disease and have probably done so for millions of years. You may see a television show where scientists raise huge nets to catch migrating coastal birds to see what viruses they are carrying. Therefore, probably all “flu” is, to an extent, “avian” or “bird flu”. It is theorized that wild ducks infect domestic ducks, which in turn, either spread it to chickens or swine. Therefore, most of the flu is “swine” flu. You are not going to catch the flu from a piece of pork in your refrigerator.

The current H1N1 seems to have started with a small swine population in a desolate area of Mexico. The American pork industry has been recently affected due to the public not buying as much pork. But this is not the problem. The problem seems to be this one batch of flu that arose in Mexico to which humans did not have an immunity. With travel being what it is today, it did not take long for the virus to spread from person to person. It has recently even been announced that a group of swine were found to have the swine flu in Minnesota. It seems that both pigs and possibly chickens have the same viral receptors as humans and thus can be a vector for human transmission.

Some people are not getting “Novel H1N1” (the newer name for the 2009 Swine Flu) because they perhaps gain some immunity from previous H1N1 immunization. Most people who saw the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico thought it was too far away to affect them. However, as we know, times have changed. Swine Flu (“Novel H1N1 Flu”) is now widespread in most of the United States and elsewhere in the world. You will hear about it on almost every newscast and different government agencies hold numerous press conferences. The amount of daily information is enormous.

The best scientists of our time are saying, “Get your Flu shot when it is available.” (Actually they are saying,”Get your seasonal Flu shot now and the Swine or Novel H1N1 vaccination as soon as it is available.”) On the other side are the “nay-sayers” who say, “The 2009 Flu is not as bad as they said. Don’t give it to your children: it will give them autism. It has mercury or thimerosal in it. For my part, I’m siding with the CDC: Everybody should have the seasonal vaccination and the H1N1 vaccination.

One thing to remember is that it takes time for the immune system to respond to the vaccine for the 2009 flu. A conservative estimate is that it takes 6-8 weeks to achieve its desired effect. That is why the vaccine is better if you take it sooner than later. There are two kinds of flu vaccine; more will become available as they are released. Flu-Mist is an attenuated virus that is squirted into your nose. Because it is attenuated, it will not give you the flu and are not infectious. This is approved for use on patients aged 2 to 49.

The other is the Flu Shot, usually administered in the upper arm. The shot can cause some mild symptoms like pain at the injection site, low-grade fever, and slight sluggishness. These side effects respond to Tylenol or Motrin. Neither of the vaccines will give you the Flu, though the guy sitting in the next desk swears up and down that the Flu vaccine always gives him the Flu. Both treatments are grown in eggs, so if you have an egg allergy you must discuss this with your doctor to plan a strategy or avoid the injection.

We know that people with impaired immune systems get worse illness. In pregnancy, the immune system is not up to par. Of the 100 or so patients who have required Intensive Care Unit treatment, 28 pregnant women have died. That is why the 2009 Flu vaccination (both kinds) are so important for all pregnant females. There have been no adverse effects of Flu vaccination in any pregnant female. Others with impaired immunity have worse Flu illness: Diabetics, people with liver or kidney disease, AIDS, chronic neurological impairment, cancer, and/or chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and colitis. And the list goes on and on with chronic medical disease. These are the ones that push the numbers into the thousands for Flu-related deaths and prolonged hospitalizations.

And there is one other very important group: Kids. Their immune systems just have matured and acquired the antibody response that healthy adults have. In shear numbers, children get the Flu 2 to 3 more times than adults. That is why we are hearing tragic stories about otherwise healthy 7 or 10 year olds who have died with the Flu (there were 11 pediatric deaths in this country during week 38 of the current epidemic). This is the reason that as the CDC is releasing vaccine, they are targeting children for vaccination among the first to receive it.In Novel H1N1 Flu, 77 people autopsied, fully one third had Streptococcus pneumoniae, or as it is also called, pneumococcal pneumonia. True, it’s variably treatable with antibiotics.

But there is a proven vaccine available for this bacteria. It protects against 23 encapsulated pneumonia bacteria. It’s available for all ages with increased risk for immune deficiency. We know now that only one-third of those who should receive it actually get it. It can be given along with the flu vaccine. Ask your doctor about it: “Pneumovax 23”.The H1N1 2009 Flu is spread by respiratory droplets. This is why students in classrooms and military recruits in barracks are so susceptible. All it takes is one cough or sneeze, and the virus is out there ready to be picked up by the next person. It can persist on surfaces like grocery cart handles for 2 to 6 hours—-touch those hands to your eyes, nose or mouth, and you’re exposed. The incubation is 1 to 4 days after you’ve breathed in the virus-laden droplets. It’s ironic that you, in turn, are at most risk of spreading it to others the day before you first show signs of illness. No wonder it spreads!

Children can be infected for more than 10 days. Severe immune deficiency can cause a person to shed the virus for weeks or months. These people should kindly wear their masks when they are around the rest of us. The symptoms of the 2009 Flu are pretty universally recognized: Malaise (Just feeling tired and sick), chills, fever, headache, bodyache, nasal congestion, sore throat, and sweats to name the most common. There are danger signs, though: A pregnant woman with the Flu, productive cough (say, with discolored sputum), chest pain, altered level of consciousness, (maybe disoriented or hard to arouse), appearing gray or with bluish lips like someone who is not getting enough oxygen, severe vomiting or signs of dehydration. When these are present, it’s time to get to the doctor or the ER. These are signs that you have some potentially serious complication of the Flu.

Most people will not have the serious symptoms, but we all need to be alert for them. Likewise most people with the Flu get better within a week or two. If the symptoms come roaring back after an initial clearing (relapse), this is a danger signal. In these circumstances, one might have pain with each breath, cough up nasty-looking sputum, or have hard shaking chills. Don’t fool around: Get to the doctor. Once again, children can have more serious symptoms and complications: Convulsions due to high fever, middle ear infections, and pneumonia.Let’s now talk about treatment. First of all don’t give aspirin to a child with fever. It is associated with Reye’s Syndrome: A serious multi-organ failure with potentially catastrophic brain injury. You can give Tylenol (acetaminophen) every 4 hours according to body weight for chills, fever, malaise and headache. Motrin (ibuprofen) every 6 hours seems to be a safe alternative. The person should take in a lot of fluids— Water, Gatorade, light soups, and eat lightly as the stomach allows. Bedrest with lots of naps is recommended to shorten the length of illness.

The person should stay home from work or school until there has been at least one full day without Tylenol or Motrin, and no fever. But what about the pregnant woman, the patient with chronic medical conditions, the person with decreased immune function, and very symptomatic children? These are the cases in which the doctor must see and decide whether to prescribe antiviral medication. It can be used prophylactically for persons closely exposed to the Flu patient to lessen or prevent the Flu. The 2 antivirals that we use are oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). Tamiflu comes as a caplet for adults or a liquid for children. Relenza comes in a metered dose inhaler. Both are used every day for 10 days. They work best when given within the first two days of symptoms. They decrease the severity of the symptoms and shorten the course of the 2009 Flu. Relenza is not a good choice for patients with asthma or chronic lung disease.

The CDC and the Biopharmaceutical companies have worked exhaustively to prepare a safe vaccine to keep people from getting the severe ramifications of the flu. That’s it, pure and simple. There is a lot of magical, wishful thinking in the population on how to “beat the flu,” but science is not on their side. There is no vitamin, raw vegetable, or special drops to prevent the flu. “Flu Parties” are a terrible idea to get flu immunity. It is time to realize that the CDC is a collection of the best minds in science and medicine, dedicated to the protection of health for the U.S. citizens and person around the world in the event of a pandemic. It is not the IRS, Homeland Security, or the CIA. It is doctors and scientists trying to keep the public well, period. It’s time to stop blowing the conspiracy horn and take your shots. In doing so, you protect yourself, your family, your co-workers, and your fellow citizens in general. So, roll up those sleeves!

I was watching a press conference the other day by Dr. Ann Schuchat, the CDC Immunization Director. She had a very well-constructed report addressing the plans for mass immunization in a tiered way so that the ones at most risk would receive their vaccinations first. She was very candid about flu deaths to the present, and the intricacies of combating the epidemic, or more correctly, the pandemic of novel H1N1 (Swine Flu, as it is often known.) What impressed me a lot was the presence of major news reporting organizations: AP, UPI. Atlanta Journal, Washington Post, ABC, and USA Today. They all asked excellent questions and received excellent answers. The conference lasted about 35 minutes, and if every person could tune in to these informative events or rely on major reporting presentations, there would be a lot less misinformation out there.

Here is the discussion of the 2009 flu in a nutshell:

1.) Get your seasonal flu vaccination, either shot or nasal spray;
2.) Get your Novel H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccination when it is available;
3.) If you are pregnant or have chronic illness be sure to get both;
4.) Be sure kids are vaccinated;
5.) If you have severe flu or a relapse–see your doctor;
6.) If you have the warning signs of severe illness– see your doctor;
7.) Wear a mask if you are sick or severely immune deficient;
8.) It takes about a week to get over the flu. Do not return to work or school until you have been fever-free for at least 48 hours; drink plenty of fluids, take Tylenol or Motrin for fever, and bedrest as much as possible. Do not give other over-the-counter medicines to young children without consulting a doctor; do not give aspirin for fever as it may lead to Reye’s Syndrome;
9.) Learn as much as you can about the Flu from reliable sources;
10) There are no magical Flu preventatives or treatments out there–Rely on science and a physician to get through this time.

Can Glaucoma Be Healed Naturally?

Glaucoma is one of the major causes of blindness. Glaucoma is due to increased eye pressure. In conventional medicine, most eye doctors would recommend surgeries and eye drops to relieve high ocular pressure in the eye.

However, there is one problem: surgeries and eye drops would create a chronic condition, ironically enough, leading to ultimate blindness.

Dr. Leslie Salov, M.D., O.D. Ph.D., in his book “Secrets for Better Vision”, says most glaucoma patients are highly intelligent professionals who lead very stressful, busy lives. This finding led Dr. Salov to believe that to improve vision or eye health, you need to improve the health of your entire person simultaneously because your body is a set of interlocking systems that affect one another. Given that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, your eyes are only a small part of your whole person. Accordingly, to heal the eyes, you must heal the body first. It is just that simple!

To have healthy vision, even as you age, you must employ not only the sciences of physiology, biology, and chemistry, but also the healing powers of philosophy and even spirituality. This is no exception when it comes to treating glaucoma. In other words, to treat glaucoma, you need to examine not just your eyes, but every aspect of your life.

The methods of glaucoma treatment recommended by Dr. Salov include the following:

Visualization is the use of meditative exercise by your mind to control your body in order to heal itself. Specifically, visualization relaxes the muscles in the walls of your canal of Schlemm (circular channel in the eye that collects watery substance between the lens and the cornea). By relaxing these muscles, extra fluid can be excreted to relieve the glaucoma pressure. The use of eye drops serves a similar function, but the only difference is that chronic use of eye drops may have adverse long-term effects. These effects include pieces of iris falling off, causing blockage, and thereby instrumental in increasing eye pressure over the long haul. Without using eye drops with chemicals, visualization can relax eye muscles so that your pupils become small enough to open up the canal of Schlemm to excrete the fluid for eye pressure relief.

So, what exactly is visualization?

Visualization is the use of guided imagery to direct blood, oxygen, and leukocytes (immunity cells) to the eye through a mental image of a healthy eye. Essentially, your conscious mind controls the involuntary processes that occur automatically inside your body. However, it must be pointed out that visualization works only when you use it with dedication and consistency. In other words, you have to practice visualization diligently.

Another therapy recommended by Dr. Salov is meditation, which removes your everyday stresses and worries. When you are under duress and stress, you body produces chemical changes within your body, which decrease blood flow and oxygen level. Practice meditation, which is the art of thinking of nothing.

Deep and slow breathing using your diaphragm, aided by good posture, is deep cleansing for the body and mind. Deep breathing promotes better vision health through relaxation and detoxification.

According to Dr. Salov, your diet may also help you heal your glaucoma. A no-meat diet is strongly recommended because the antibiotics, chemical dyes, and growth hormones in supermarket meat damage not only you immune system but also your eye health. Without strong immunity, your eyes cannot utilize their natural healing elements.

To conclude, your body has its own curative forces, but the problem is how to harness these forces. For better vision health, you must be prepared to change your environment, lifestyle, and living habits. Vision health cannot be accomplished without total health. There is a Chinese saying: “The eye is the window of the soul.” Your vision health mirrors your physical health. If you believe that glaucoma can be healed naturally, then look beyond your eyes.

How Minerals Help Your Body Function

Minerals are Mother Earth's molecules found in her crusty soil. They are designed to be absorbed by plants then passed to animals and extremely to humans and provide us as humans with numerous health benefits. When you digest your food, minerals are absorbed from the food and transported into your body tissues. There they play an important role in keeping your body functioning at it's optimal levels.

Once absorbed, minerals are distributed into your body fluids and tissues to make up approximately four percent of your body's total weight. They then work in conjunction with vitamins, enzymes, hormones, and other substances, to play an important role in numerous biological functions. These include the growth and maintenance of bones and teeth, muscle contracting, nerve transmission, blood formation, energy production, fluid regulation, macronutrient metabolism, acid-alkaline balance (pH), and various other enzymatic reactions. Nutritional minerals are classified according to how much of the body's total weight they comprise. Macro minerals comprise at least.01 percent of body weight, while trace or micro minerals institute less than.01 percent. An adequate supply of both macro- and trace minerals are equally important for optimal health.

Macrominerals are calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium, while trace minerals are chromium, cobalt, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, sulphur, and zinc. While far more is known about macrominerals than trace minerals at this point in time, there is more and more information emerging about trace minerals every day. While necessary in only "trace" amounts in the body, these neutral minerals are vital for many important functions of the body. So first, let's take a look at the macrominerals important to our health.

Calcium

Calcium is the most plentiful mineral in the human body. Therefore, it plays a vital function. 99 percent of it occurs in bone tissue, and the remaining one percent is used for other functions, including blood clotting, muscle contracion, and nerve function. Healthy teeth and bones both depend on adequate calcium supply, and calcium also contributes to healthy skin, helps regulate cardiovascular function and blood pressure levels, aids in the metabolism of iron, and is required for proper cell division.

Since the body can not produce calcium, we must get it from our diets or a supplement. The best food sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, turnip and collard greens, salmon, sardines, canned fish, almonds, and Brazil nuts. However, calcium can not be absorbed and utilized without vitamin D.

Signs of calcium deficiency typically include bone and joint problems such as osteoporosis and fractures. But calcium deficiency can result in anxiety, brittle nails, depression, insomnia, muscle cramps and twitching, and diminished nerve function. Calcium is best supplemented as a separate supplement rich in bioavailable forms of calcium, such as an istonic liquid form. It is often paired with vitamin D in order to provide maximum absorption and utilization by the body.

In addition, the body can only absorb calcium in limited doses (500mg or less at a time) and needs the presence of aids to help it dissolve and absorb. So using calcium carbonate (a stomach acid neutralizer such as the antacid Tums) is not an effective means of providing absorbable calcium to your diet. Taking calcium at several times through the day, either with dairy products, greens, fish or nuts as well as supplements is the smart way to get your full calcium dose daily.

Chloride

Chloride is an essential part of hydrochloric acid (HCl), the vital stomach acid responsible for digestion. It also plays a role in regulating the body's acid-balance. It helps the liver eliminate toxins and aids in transporting carbon dioxide to the lungs for excretion. Among the best food sources of chloride are common table salt (sodium chloride), sea salt, seaweeds, celery, lettuce, and tomatoes. The standard American diet typically contains more than enough chloride due to its overall high salt content.

Chloride loss can easily occur following profuse diarrhea or vomiting, as well as periods of profuse perspiration such as during heat spells or fevers. Otherwise, chloride deficiencies are rare. When it does occur, the most common symptoms being acid-base imbalances and over alkalinity of body fluids. Usually obtaining sufficient natural sources of salt will provide plenty of chloride for your system. A good multi-vitamin and mineral provides adequate levels as well.

Magnesium

Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant in the body. As such, it relaxes skeletal muscle, heart muscle and even muscle of the GI tract. In addition, it is involved in hundreds of enyzmatic reactions in the body. The majority of the body magnesium supply is contained in the bones and teeth, with the second highest concentration occurring in the muscles. The remaining magnesium supply is found in the blood and other body fluids. Due to magnesium's ability to relax muscle, it is an important nutrient for the heart muscle. It is especially important in preventing spasms of the coronary arteries, which can cause heart attacks. It is also needed for energy production in the cells of the body, the maintenance and repair of cells, healthy cell division, proper nerve transmission, hormone regulation, and the metabolism of proteins and nuclearic acids. Due to these vital functions, low magnesium levels can alter nerve transmission to the heart and lead to heart palpitations as well.

Magnesium is found primarily in plants rich in chlorophyll, particularly dark green vegetables. Nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, wheat germ, millet, brown rice, apricot, and avocado are also other good sources.

Magnesium deficiency is now considered the most common vitamin deficiency. It is more common than many doctors realize, due to factors such as poor dietary intake, overcooking of food leading to mineral loss, soil depletion of magnesium, and the overuse of alcohol which depletes the body of magnesium. Deficiency symptoms often include depression, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, memory problems, mood swings, impaired motor skills, muscle spasm, nausea, and tetany (a form of muscle cramping).

However, excessive consumption of magnesium supplements can lead to increased GI motility and subsequent diarrhea. Doses of 250 to 500 mg as usually safe and higher doses can be used if diarrhea does not occur. Some people who suffer with constipation issues will find higher doses of magnesium helpful in maintaining overall bowel regularity.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus ranks second to calcium as the body's most abundant mineral. It is found in every cell of the body, but primarily (approximately 85 percent) in the bones and teeth. In addition to contributing to bone and teeth structure, phosphorus helps form DNA and RNA, catalyzes B-complex vitamins, is involved in cellular communication and numerous enzymatic reactions, and helps produce cellular energy and increase overall endurance.

The best food sources of phosphorus are protein foods, such as meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and cheese. Other good sources include nuts, seeds, wheat germ, whole grains, and Brewer's yeast. The standard American diet can be extremely high in its phosphorus content. This is due to soda consumption. Soda can contain up to 500 mg of phosphorus per serving and create calcium-phosphorus imbalance.

Since phosphorus is contained in all animal foods, phosphorus deficiency is rare without one is a vegetarian or a vegan. Overuse of antacids, excess calcium intake, and lack of vitamin D can all result in phosphorus deficiency, however. Physical signs of deficiency include anxiety, arthritis, impaired bone growth, irritability, and weakness. Avoiding soda and using a multi-vitamin and mineral will assure adequate phosphorus levels in your body.

Potassium

Potassium, along with chloride and sodium, is an electrolyte, or essential body salt, that conducts electrical current through the body. Approximately 98 percent of your body's potassium supply is inside of the cell wall. There it helps regulate water and acid-base balance. It also plays an important role in nerve function. It can help metabolize proteins and carbohydrates, aid in energy production and helps regulate heartbeat.

Best dietary sources of potassium are fresh fruits and vegetables, with bananas being a particularly rich source. Whole grains, seeds, nuts, wheat germ, salmon, and sardines are also good food sources.

Unfortunately, potassium deficiencies are fairly common, particularly among older people on certain medications and restrictive diets as well as in people suffering from certain chronic disease. Diarrhea, diabetes, fasting, and the overuse of diuretics and laxatives all contribute to potassium loss. Deficiency symptoms include irregular heartbeat, depression, fatigue, high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, impaired growth, mood swings, and unhealthy changes in the nervous system. An isotonic multi-vitamin and mineral will help supply adequate levels of potassium.

Sodium

Sodium is a critical mineral for body function. Sodium is present in all of the body's cells, as well as the blood and other body fluids. Approximately 60 percent of the body's sodium content is contained in fluid outside the cells with 10 percent found inside the cells, and the reminder found in the bones. Like potassium, sodium helps maintain the body's fluid balance within and outside of the cells. This in turn helps regulate the body's acid-base balance and also helps transport carbon dioxide. Sodium plays an important role in muscle contraction and nerve transmission. In addition, sodium is involved in the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and helps transport amino acids into the bloodstream to all the cells of the body.

Nearly all foods contain some degree of sodium. Seafood, beef, ham and poultry contain particularly high amounts. The primary diet source of sodium is table salt. Sodium is also present in significant amounts in most canned and processed foods. While chronic sodium deficiency is rare, acute or sudden sodium loss can occur with diarrhea, vomiting, profuse perspiration due to strenuous activity, and the overuse of diuretics. Deficiency symptoms include dehydration, low blood pressure, muscle cramping and twitching, and muscle weakness. Problems related to excess sodium intake are far more common. Among people who eat the standard American diet of highly processed foods, it can lead to high blood pressure. Individuals with heart dysfunction can easily have worsening of symptoms such as shortness of breath, swelling and fatigue with sodium overload.

Chromium

Chromium is an essential mineral compositing part of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF). GTF is a factor which enhances insulin function, making chromium vital for proper carbohydrate metabolism and for regulating blood sugar levels. Since glucose is involved in energy production in the cell, by improving the way glucose is transported into the cells, chromium and GTF play an important role in energy production. There is even new research suggesting that chromium may also be useful for regulating body cholesterol levels.

One of the best food sources of chromium is Brewer's yeast found in many bread and even beer. Chromium is also found in cereals, wheat germ, eggs, meats, and shellfish. Chromium deficiency is quite common, especially in the United States. This is due in part to mineral-depleted soils and our over-reliance of refined and processed foods in the culture. Many people have problems absorbing chromium, particularly as they age. Deficiency symptoms include diabetes-like blood sugar problems as a result of peripheral tissue loss of sensitivity to glucose. Anxiety, fatigue, and impaired cholesterol metabolism are also associated with a lack of chromium in the diet.

Cobalt

Cobalt is a component of cobalamin (vitamin B12) and plays an essential role in the production of red blood cells. It is also involved in a number of key enzymatic reactions. Adequate vitamin B12 intake normally provides sufficient amounts of cobalt needed by the body. B12 is found in beets, green cage, figs, legumes, lettuce, liver, and seafish and sea vegetables. Cobalt deficiencies are basically those caused by a lack of B12 – anemia and nerve damage.

Copper

While copper is present in all body tissues, it is specifically concentrated in the liver and brain. It helps manufacture collagen (tissue structural support) and hemoglobin (the protein involved in carrying oxygen through red blood cells). Hemoglobin, along with iron, is necessary for the transport of oxygen in red blood cells. It also acts as an antioxidant, increases iron absorption, and serves as a catalyst for a variety of enzymatic reactions.

You get copper from dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, organ meats, poultry, nuts, shellfish, and wholegrain breads and cereals. Although dangerous copper deficiencies are rare, less serious copper deficiencies are more common. Symptoms include anemia, dermatitis, dirrhea, edema, fatigue, impaired collagen production, labored respiration, and tissue and blood vessel damage.

Iodine

Iodine is plays a large role in healthy thyroid function. It is necessary for the production of thyroid hormone. In this role, it helps regulate metabolism and energy production in the whole body. Since thyroid hormones plays such a vital role in all body functions, iodine is of vital importance to overall health.

The best food sources of iodine are iodized salt, followed by seafood and seaweed. Iodine deficiency is estimated to affect at least 200 million people worldwide. This is felt to be due in part to depleted soil conditions. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, goiter, hypothyroidism, decreased libido, impaired mental functioning, impaired metabolism, and weight gain.

Iron

Iron is another mineral present all the cells of the body. It is most commonly found in combination with protein, especially muscle protein. Iron is primarily involved in the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is integral to the transport of oxygen through the body. However, iron is also essential for a healthy immune function and energy production.

Among the best food sources of iron are beef, Brewer yeast, kelp, molasses, organ meats, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, oysters, and sardines. If you are taking iron as a supplement, it is best taken with vitamin C, which aids in its assimilation.

Women require more iron than men, especially during their childbearing years, during pregnancy and menstruation. As many as 10 percent of all women in the Western world are estimated to be iron-deficient. Children and the elderly are also more prone to iron deficiency. Deficiency symptoms include iron- deficiency anemia, dizziness, fatigue, headache, learning disabilities, lowered immunity, and impaired sleep.

Manganese

Manganese is involved in several different enzymatic reactions in the body and is essential for proper brain function as well as the overall health of the nervous system. It is involved in the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates. It is required for cholesterol and fatty acid synthesis, as well as collagen formation. Manganese is found in green leafy vegetables (especially spinach), nuts, organ meats, and wholegrain breads and cereals.

Manganese deficiency in humans is rare but can result in dizziness, hearing problems, and weakness.

Molybdenum

Molybdenum, in conjunction with copper, is necessary for the body's proper utilization of iron. It also aids in metabolizing carbohydrates. It helps the body detoxify potentially toxic sulfites commonly used to preserve processed foods. Molybdenum deficiency is rare, and is primarily caused by eating foods grown in molybdenum-deficient soils or a diet high in refined and processed foods. Deficiency symptoms include anemia as well as a greater risk of dental caries. Excessive molybdenum take can also result in gout-like symptoms and elevated uric acid levels.

Selenium

Selenium in recent decades has been extensively studied and has been recognized as an important antioxidant. It is felt to be capable of performing many of the same antioxidant functions as vitamin E, including protecting cellular membranes from free radical damage, and minimizing the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, selenium sees to aid liver function, assists in the manufacture of proteins, help neutralize heavy metals and other toxic substances. It has been extensively studied to see if it acts as an anti-carcinogen.

Selenium is found in foods that include Brewer's yeast, wheat bran and wheat germ, Brazil nuts, oranges meats, and seafood. A number of plant foods, such as broccoli, onions, and tomatoes, can also be good sources, depending on the soil content in which they are grown.

Selenium deficiency can result in an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Sulfur

Sulfur occurs in all cells and body tissues, especially those high in protein content. It is a necessary nutrient for collagen formation, and is involved in the synthesis of protein. In addition, sulfur helps maintain the health of hair, skin, and nails. It also plays a role in a number of enzymatic reactions, and contributions to the process of cellular respiration. The best food sources of sulfur are those high in protein, such as eggs, fish, legumes, meat, milk, and poultry. Plant food sources include Brussels sprouts, cage, garlic, onions, and turnips.

No deficiency symptoms for sulfur have been established.

Zinc

Zinc is one of the most important mineral nutrients. It is necessary for the proper function of over 200 enzymatic reactions in the body. It is a potent antioxidant and detoxifier, and is essential for growth and development, healthy body tissues, regulation of insulin, proper immune function, and, in men, the heath of the prostate gland. In addition, zinc plays a vital role in cellular membrane structure and function as well as to help maintain adequate levels of vitamin A in the body.

Zinc is found in herring, shellfish (especially oysters), egg yolk, milk, and beef and other meats. Whole grain cuts and cereals, nuts, and Brewer's yeast are other food sources. Zinc deficiency is quite common with vegetarians and vegans because they avoid animal foods. They have a particularly high risk unless they consume adequate amounts of whole grains and other non-animal foods containing zinc.

Symptoms of zinc deficiency will include impaired energy production and protein synthesis, and sub-optimal formation of collagen. Other symptoms include dermatitis, fatigue, greater risk of environmental sensitivity, hair loss, impaired immune function, diminished libido, and greater risk of prostate conditions.

Zinc can interfere with copper absorption, therefore zinc and copper supplements should be taken apart from each other.

Whew! That was quite a list, was not it? Just imagine how well your body is to use each of these minerals in a such a highly sophisticated fashion. If you are now overwhelmed, there is good news. Eating a diet rich in fresh, whole plant-based foods can provide all these nutrients with proper attention to variety. Even small amounts of animal protein sources can provide these necessary minerals in addition to a largly plant-based diet. If you are concerned, simply adding a multi-mineral to your supplement regimen can guarantee you're covered, no matter how well or poor your diet is day to day.

Your C-Section Incision – Look Out For These 4 Warning Signs of Potential Problems Ahead

Your C-section incision needs to be monitored regularly for the first few weeks, watching for any changes in its appearance.

There are some changes and conditions that are normal to see with your C-section incision, but other differences that could be signs of potential problems ahead. It is common to feel a large ridge or lump under the scar which is scar tissue forming underneath, this should reduce over time.

Another common concern many moms notice is the area often feels slightly numb and tight. These are all normal responses to the effects of the operation and should all gradually become less noticeable over the following weeks.

It is important to be very vigilant over your C-section incision scar because if it becomes infected, the healing process can take many weeks longer.

You should always call your doctor or midwife immediately if you notice any of the following: –

#1 Redness – the edges of a healing incision will normally appear slightly red, this is a natural reaction to the healing process. If the redness increases or starts to spread more than half an inch from around the wound then this could be a sign of something a little more sinister and you should contact your doctor or health advisor.

#2 Heat or excessive warmth on or around the wound. If your wound feels particularly hot compared to previous sensations and if this is accompanied by new pain or discomfort, then it be worth having it looked at.

#3 Any change or unusual appearance of the incision. Your C-section incision should gradually become less inflamed, smoother in appearance, less painful and more comfortable over the following weeks. In you notice any changes other than improvements, monitor them closely and if they continue or deteriorate any further then speak to your doctor.

#4 Any puss in the incision. If you suddenly notice a pussy discharge from your C-section incision after having a clean wound previously, or if the area starts to get mildly tender or painful, this could be a sign that it isn’t knitting together very well and again you need to monitor the area closely and speak to your doctor if it continues for more than 24 – 48 hours.

If your C-section incision pulls apart and starts bleeding, apply an antibiotic cream, to keep any bacteria away from the wound. Do not apply any creams other than an antibiotic cream until your incision has completely healed. If you notice any bleeding, applying slight pressure to the wound may help to stop this. If the wound keeps bleeding after you apply pressure, call your doctor.

It important to stay vigilant and not obsessive over your C-section incision because any problems spotted early can reduce their severity over the long term. Don’t panic over the slightest change, just monitor it and if you see further deterioration then contact your doctor or health care advisor.

The Symptoms of Avian Human Influenza

Avian is another word for bird. When flu bugs first infect one species and then later infect humans, they are often called by a name that reflects the original animal that carried the virus. Swine and now avian human influence are examples. Whether it is called bird flu or avian influenza, efforts to fight it are the same. In order to fight avian influenza in humans, the public must be aware of the threat and practice good health habits to avoid contamination.

Although wild birds carry the viruses, they do not usually have symptoms. It is domestic birds (chickens, ducks and turkeys) in which avian influenza symptoms cause sickness and sometimes death. The symptoms in domesticated poultry may be mild causing ruffled feathers and low egg production or severe disease that affects multiple organisms and death in 90-100% of flocks in as little as 48 hours. It is believed that the degree of difference in the symptoms is related to the strain of the virus infecting the birds.

Avian human influenza cases are rare. However, 253 confirmed cases have been reported since 2003, according to statistics compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO). 148 deaths worldwide have been attributed to the H5N1 virus, which is why there is a major effort to control and fight avian influenza outbreaks and inform the public about safe handling practices.

Avian human influenza symptoms have been reported in many countries in Asia and the Middle East, but most have occurred in small villages and emerging areas of Indonesia and Vietnam. Most confirmed cases have been resolved from contact with infected domestic birds or contact with surfaces contaminated by the feces and fluids from infected birds. The symptoms of avian human influenza are typical flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough and muscle aches. But, in some confirmed cases the symptoms have included eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases, acute respiratory distress and other severe and life-threatening complications. As with poultry, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) believes that the wide range of avian flu symptoms in humans may depend on which strain of avian human influenza virus the person was infected with.

In order to confirm a case of avian human influenza, the patient must have a positive swab from the throat or nose. Or, two separate blood tests most be performed. While highly contagious among birds, avian flu symptoms are not easily transmitted by human to human contact. The only confirmed cases of avian flu caused by contact with an infected person have been among family members who remained in close contact with the person suffering from the symptoms of the bird flu. This is unlike seasonal flu and SARS which are highly contagious viruses among humans. Government officials hope that efforts to control and fight avian influenza will prevent the likelihood that it will mutate into a form that spreads as easily among humans as other forms of the virus, but experts are not sure why viruses like this mutate and are unable to predict what the outcome of avian human influence will be. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.immune-system-booster-guide.com .

Alopecia Barbae – Alopecia Treatment

For some men, growing facial hair is one of the proofs of masculinity and domination. Some actually allow their mustaches and bears to grow inches long for the sake of heritage and being proud. Unfortunately, some men are affected by a condition in which facial hair such as moustache and bear fall out and fail to re-grow. Alopecia barbae is also a type of hair loss, the only difference is that it only affects facial hair, and obviously, males (although some females are affected by this condition, it only combines to a small amount of the population). Beards and moustaches are not the only ones which can fall out from a person with this condition. Eyebrows and eyelashes can also fail to grow again after falling off. Because of this, several alopecia treatment products had been developed to hopefully cure this condition.

There are several factors which allegedly cause alopecia barbae, but scientists are still unable to pinpoint the exact root cause of this condition despite modern technology. Theories considering the causes of alopecia majorly revolve around genetics and hormonal imbalance. Genetics play a big role because it has been observed that people with family members having alopecia of any kind has a higher percentage of acquiring the condition at some point in their lives compared to those without. Another thing is that the imbalance brought about by the rush or lack of a specific hormone in the body can also cause changes in the amount of hair in the body. According to some experiments done in the last 3 years, some people have hair follicles which are extremely sensitive to fluctuations in hormones, especially androgen. One specific androgen, known as dihydrotestosterone or DHT is thought to play the most critical part in all kinds of alopecia, especially androgenetic alopecia. According to another point of view, hair growth is also determined by the amount of blood circulation in the near skin surface. Should the blood circulation gets compromised, hair loss will follow because hair follicles can not produce and re-grow hair due to lack of nutrients and oxygen thought about by the blood. Because of this, pharmaceutical experts in different companies have developed several alopecia treatment modalities which are directed against the cause of this condition.

Since alopecia barbae affects only facial hair, it has the tendency to cause insecurity and anxiety among those who have it. It can also be a cause for ridicule and jokes which affects a person's ego and social life. However, there are natural and affordable alopecia treatment methods which can help solve these problems. Coffee, for instance can help resolve this problem due to its caffeine content which stimulates circulation of the blood into smaller blood vessels, especially near the skin surface, where the hair follicles are located. Products containing minodixil can also help treat alopecia. It helps dilate old and constricted blood vessels leading to improved blood flow. These products are generally affordable and are readily available in your local drugstores. Alopecia is a condition which can affect anyone. A simple gesture of acceptance will help greatly help a person with this condition.

Effects of Myopia on Our Lives

Some years ago, my friends and I were sitting in a lecture when out of the blues one of them noticed how much I was squinting just to read the PowerPoint slides. I brushed her comment as thought thoughtlessly and carried on paying attention to the lecture. It was not until recently that I got into a car accident which opened my eyes to this visual defect I possessed called 'Myopia'. Sure, I sat the driving test four years ago which was accompanied by a vision examination and I past with flying colors, yet many people like myself are unaware that vision can change quickly over a short period of time. This article is simply written to define myopia and explain how it arises. Hope you enjoy and understand it

What is Myopia? Myopia is simply defined as' short sightedness or 'near sightedness'. As the term implies, people are not able to see distant objects because the images appear blurry and fuzzy so their eyes are only capable of seeing objects up close. The retina is a structure of the eye which is analogous to a movie screen since everything we perceive in the real world falls on this anatomy. Anything which falls in front or behind the retina (movie screen) will not be in focus therefore in the case of myopia; parallel light rays from distant objects come to focus in front of the retina producing blurred images. To compensate for this condition wearing negative power contact lenses or glasses allow people to reach '20/20 acuity' or 'normal vision'.

How does myopia arise? Myopia arises from a mismatched between the refractive power of the eye and its axial length or its abnormal cornea curvature. The length of the eyeball is too long for its eye's power or the cornea (the transparent outermost structure of the eye) is too flat and has lost its correct curvature. It has been heavily debated for years whether its cause is of 'nature or nurture'. Strong supporting evidence show that myopia can have a genetic constituent or occur as a result of environmental influences. If short-sightedness arises during infancy or preschool years of a child then this proves that there is a strong heretitary component but if myopia presents itself later on in life then there is a greater possibility of an environment influence on this condition since the greater opportunity for preventive measure.

Flu Prevention and the Gym Member

Health officials' warning this month of a potentially harsh flu season should be a red flag to avid aerobic-bunnies and gym-jocks alike. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warn that the flu is transmitted when flu virus in the air is inhaled after an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. Transmission also occurs when a person touches a surface that has flu virus on it and then touches his or her nose or mouth. Those familiar with the typical health club milieu, then, can easily liken a workout in the gym to sitting in a veritable Petry dish …

Heavy-breathing members on closely-enclosed cardiovascular machines and in crowded group fitness classes, hundreds of sorts of shared equipment from dumbbells and weight plates to public restrooms and the corner water fountain provide countless opportunities for contact with the flu virus. So, short of ditching our fitness goals until mid-Spring, it would do us well to learn more about the flu, it's prevention, and what we can do about it.

What is the flu?

The flu, or influenza, is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs). The flu is different from a cold; it usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (can be extreme)
  • Dry cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Body aches

About 10% to 20% of US residents will get the flu each year. Among these persons infected, an average of 36,000 will die, and 114,000 will be hospitalized. Although the CDC claims it is not possible to accurately predict the severity of the flu season, this year's early incidence of Type A flu strain is historically associated with a more severe flu season, including higher numbers of related hospitals and deaths. To make the outlook more grim, an epidemiological assessment by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) already reports "widespread" influenza activity in over 10 US states.

Who is at risk?

Although anyone can get the flu, including individuals who are healthy, there are various groups who are at higher risk for complications. These high risk groups include:

  • people aged> 50 years;
  • residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that house persons of any age who have long-term illnesses;
  • adults and children> 6 months of age who have chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthma;
  • adults and children> 6 months of age who need regular medical care or had to be in a hospital because of metabolic diseases (like diabetes), chronic kidney disease, or weakened immune system (including immune system problems caused by medicine or infection with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV / AIDS]);
  • children and teenagers (aged 6 months to 18 years) who are on long-term aspirin therapy and there before could develop Reye Syndrome after the flu; and
  • women who will be more than 3 months pregnant during the flu season.

How to Prevent Getting the Flu

Health officials are encouraging people, particularly those in high-risk groups to obtain a flu shot. The CDC states that an annual flu shot is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu.

The best time to get a flu shot is from October through November, although you can still benefit from getting the vaccine after November, even if the flu is present in your community. Be aware that it takes about two weeks after the vaccine for antibodies to develop in the body to provide protection.

Obtaining the vaccine does not guarantee a flu-free season, however. Influenza viruses are constantly changing, and vaccine effectiveness depends on the match between vaccine strains and circulating viruses and the age and health status of the person getting the shot. Although the strain in this year's flu vaccine is different from the circulating strain, the CDC states that studies indicate that the vaccine should provide some cross-protection against the circulating A strain.

Some people resist getting the flu shot because of the belief that they will get different side effects, or even the flu itself, from the vaccine. The viruses in the vaccine are inactivated, so you can not get the flu from a flu shot. Certain side effects are possible, such as soreness, redness, or swilling where the shot was given, fever (low grade), and aches.

Chances that the shot will cause serious harm, or death, is very small and allergic reactions to the vaccine, though possible, are rare, states the CDC. Most people who get the vaccine have no serious problems with it. However, the following groups should not get a flu shot before talking with their doctor:

  • People with an allergy to hens' eggs.
  • People who have had a severe reaction to a flu shot in the past.
  • People who have developed Guillian-Barre Syndrome in the 6 weeks following a flu shot.

Since obtaining vaccination does not necessitate guarantee immunity against the flu, it is wise to add common sense to our prevention efforts while we are busy pumping iron at the health club. Old fashioned hand-hygiene can go a long way in helping to prevent flu transmission. Although you do not want to spend your entire workout running to the restroom to wash your hands after every set, it's certainly advisable to make sure your hands are clean before and after the workout. Refrain from touching your nose and mouth during the workout to avoid obtaining the virus. Use of hand-antiseptics which include alcohol can also help to prevent transmission of the flu virus.

What to do if you get the flu

So what if you obtain a flu shot, practice stellar hand-hygiene and manage to contract the flu anyway? Since it is impossible to tell if you have the flu based on symptoms alone, visit your doctor. Tests can be performed in the first few days of the illness to determine the diagnosis. Since influenza is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not work to cure it. You need to rest, drink plenty of fluids, avoid using alcohol and tobacco, and possibly take medication to treat symptoms.

The CDC warns never to give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever, without speaking to your doctor. Doing so can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome.

By all accounts, we may be in store for a particularly harsh flood season this year. Take precaution to reduce the likelihood of getting the flu, particularly if you are an avid gym-goer. Preventative measures may not only help to avoid the flu, but also interrupting hard earned progress on your fitness goals.

For more information about the flu, it's transmission, prevention and treatment, check out the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/

The Health Benefits of a Simple Egg Sandwich

This is the typical conversation most mornings and sometimes at weekends during snack time, between my wife and my 4 year old daughter.

“Mum, I’m hungry.” “What would you like to eat?” “Egg sandwich.”

She wants a fried egg, cooked in a small dab of virgin olive oil over moderate heat with a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper in a sandwich of freshly baked wholegrain homemade bread. I introduced her to eggs when she was a toddler. Eggs are easy to chew and should be part of a daily diet given to any child of one year old or older. I remember when my daughter as a toddler would eat the egg white first and then pop the whole yolk of a hard-boiled egg straight into her mouth. I still remember when I was a child and my mother used to give me a hard-boiled egg whenever I was hungry. What happened to the good old fashioned days when eggs were given as snacks?

Today, we live in an addiction-prone society. Of all the addictions out there, one of the most deadly is one that is most often overlooked: Junk food. We feed our kids junk food everyday without realising it. We are all guilty of doing this. It is easier to pull out a bag of crisps when a child is hungry rather than have them suffer pangs of hunger. This practice is acceptable for the rare occasions but the problem with our society is that we use this kind of junk food as a common everyday snack.

Did you also know that processed food is junk food? The first image that comes to mind for most people when they hear the term “processed food” is a wrapped burger and a sleeve of fries served over a counter at a fast food joint. But the truth is the very food you have in your cabinets is processed if it’s boxed, bagged, canned or jarred, frozen or dehydrated and has a list of ingredients on the label. Processed foods have been altered from their natural state for “safety” and convenience reasons. Processed foods are more convenient, it’s so much easier to bake a cake by opening up a box, pouring out a dry mix, and adding an egg and some oil than starting from scratch. Instead of making a dish with fresh ingredients, why not pick up a ready-made meal from the store? Isn’t it easier to just pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes? No pots and pans, no mess! But processed food are laced with colours, those are often inedible, carcinogenic and harmful to the body. Studies have found that food colouring can cause hyperactivity and lapses of concentration in children. Chocolates, colas, flavoured drinks and snack are full of artificial colouring. These are not the only additives in processed foods. Don’t forget the refined salt, sugar, preservatives, flavour enhancers and other so called “beneficial supplements”. Children are especially vulnerable to these unnatural ingredients. Poor diets can slow growth, decay new teeth, promote obesity and sow the seeds of infirmity and debilitating disease that ultimately lead to incurable disease and death or worse make life insufferable.

Did you know that approximately 80% of mothers, who is usually the main parent controlling their child’s diet, considered that their child’s diet was ‘very good/good/healthy’ hence overestimate the quality of their child’s diet. This is extremely worrying, since mothers who do not perceive that their children follow an unhealthy diet will not make the appropriate amendments to improve their child’s dietary habits. Do not be one of these mothers, feed our children correctly and this can only be done by reducing your introduction of processed junk food into their diets. If you think you are one of these mothers who have already done this, think again. Do you feed your child bread from the bakery? Do you give them bottled “freshly squeezed” juice? Do you give them fruit yogurts? Do you spread their toast or sandwich with commercial butter or margarine? Do you use canned tomatoes to make your sauces? Do you feed them frozen sweet corn or peas? Worst of all, do you give them apples that you have not washed? This line of questioning could go on but if you answered “yes” to most of these questions already, your child has an unhealthy diet! (If you want to know more about the foods described above and why they are considered unhealthy read our research in “Is Your Food Killing You?”).

How can a simple egg sandwich contribute to a healthy diet? A fried egg sandwich for instance, consists only of bread, egg and possibly butter and the oil used for cooking the egg. The benefits of homemade bread are described in our article “Wholegrains and their benefits”. The benefits of homemade butter are described in our blog. The egg is a nutrient-dense food, containing high quality protein and a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

As a whole food, eggs are an inexpensive and low calorie source of nutrients such as folate, riboflavin, selenium, lecithin and vitamins B-12 and A. Eggs are also one of the few exogenous sources of vitamins K and D. Furthermore, whole eggs are a complete source of proteins as it contains all the essential amino acids needed by the human body. Although, eggs were found to have lower amino acid content compared with beef, the biological value of egg protein is greater. The protein source from eggs are good for the development of skeletal muscle and egg protein is widely used by athletes to increase muscle mass.

We all know the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality from heart diseases. Low levels of DHA have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Chicken feed is now enriched with omega-3 to increase the omega-3 levels in their eggs. Consumption of DHA-enriched eggs can greatly enhance current dietary DHA intakes from non-fish sources and help approach or surpass recommended intakes for optimal human health.

Eggs had fallen in and out of favour through the years mainly due to the perception of cholesterol-rich eggs as a “forbidden food” developed in response to the highly publicized 1970s recommendation by the American Heart Association (AHA) to restrict egg consumption and limit dietary cholesterol intake to 300 mg/d. The dietary cholesterol guidelines are similar in the most recent AHA report;however, their position regarding egg intake has become more specific. It was stated the intake of one yolk a day is acceptable, if other cholesterol contributing foods were limited in the diet. Although an egg contains 212 milligrams of cholesterol, dietary cholesterol has less of an effect on blood cholesterol than once believed. Also, cholesterol is a dietary component that has elicited much public and scientific interest in conjunction with CHD but extensive research has failed to establish a definite link between dietary cholesterol intake and disease progression. In fact, a recent review of years of research has concluded that healthy adults can enjoy eggs without CVD. Many conclusions can be made about the ill-effects of eating eggs but these have to be taken with caution. For instance, one study concluded that eggs were linked to increased risk of Type 2 diabetes but this was not the real story as the result of manifestation of this disease was the associated bad nutrition, mainly sausages and bacon taken with eggs in the individuals tested. The reality of the situation is that although egg intake has steadily declined since the original recommendations in the 1970s, CHD and Type 2 diabetes as well as obesity are still the leading causes of death in the U.S. today.

Eggs have been getting some attention for their role in maintaining eye health and potentially helping prevent age related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States. This condition develops from long-term oxidative damage caused by the exposure of the eye to intense light. Recent research has shown the value of lutein, a natural pigment or carotenoid in egg yolks. Lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate in the macularregion of the retina therefore, because of their chemical properties; these two carotenoids may function to reduce the risk for development of AMD. Epidemiological studies support the fact that those individuals who consumed a greater number of foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin had a lower risk for AMD. Even though eggs contain less lutein than leafy greens, the lutein in eggs is more easily absorbed. One yolk has been found to provide between 200 and 300 micrograms of these carotenoids. In a study that measured the total carotenoid content of several foods, lutein represented 15-47/100 parts of the total carotenoid found in various dark green leafy vegetables, whereas eggs were found to contain 54/100 parts. This suggests that one would benefit more by eating an egg than getting lutein from other sources. Lutein and zeaxanthin are also classed as antioxidants and their intake also may be associated with a decrease in the risk for rheumatoid arthritis, CHD and chronic diseases such as cancer.

Eggs contain many of the minerals that the human body requires for health. In particular eggs are rich in choline, an essential nutrient needed for the normal functioning of all cells. It is especially important for proper liver, brain and neural network, memory development and even in inflammation hence reducing risk of heart disease and breast cancer. The potential public health implications of not consuming enough of this essential nutrient have only recently begun to be examined. There is a significant variation in the dietary requirement for choline. When fed a choline-deficient diet, some men and women developed fatty liver and liver and muscle damage, whereas others did not. This brings in a genetic variability to the need of dietary choline. Nonetheless, it is strongly recommended not just for kids but also for moms-to-be as eggs are a concentrated source of choline without the added calories. To get the same amount of choline found in a single egg (125 mg/72 calories; most of the choline is in the egg yolk – 680 mg/100g), one would need to consume 3 ¼ cups of milk (270 calories) or 3 ½ ounces of wheat germ (366 calories).

Despite all their positive features, eggs sometimes are linked to food safety issues. They do need to be stored and handled properly. Eating raw eggs is not considered safe because eggs may contain salmonella, a type of bacteria that especially is dangerous for the very young, old and immune-compromised. In cases where raw egg is called for in a recipe, ensure that it is pasteurised.

If judged as a whole food, and not simply as a source of dietary cholesterol, the positive contribution of eggs to a healthy diet becomes apparent and far outweighs the myths about dietary cholesterol from eggs. Because eggs are a conventional food containing nutrients that play fundamental roles beyond basic nutrition, their promotion as a functional food should be considered. In conclusion, it is time is right to change the egg message. For the consumer,the most essential image is probably that eggs taste good. Taste is highly important to consumers. The second image needing change is that eggs be recognized as a nutritious food which also has health benefits beyond basic nutrition.The concept of eggs as a ‘functional food’ is new to many and requires a change in the perception of role of eggs in the diet. And finally, the evidence that eating eggs is unrelated to heart disease risk needs to be widely disseminated to health professionals and the public so that everyone can benefit from including eggs in the diet.

Epilepsy Research

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system. It is also known as a seizure disorder, because a person suffering from epilepsy has seizures. It is diagnosed when a person has two or more seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition such as alcohol withdrawal or extremely low blood sugar. There has been extensive research done on the causes and symptoms of epilepsy in order to formulate treatment methods.

In epilepsy patients, the normal working pattern of the neuron is disturbed. This makes the patients become in a strange way. Sometimes, patients suffer from convulsions, muscle spasms and loss of consciousness, and the frequency of epileptic attacks may vary from one patient to another.

It is estimated that over two million people in the US have been diagnosed with epilepsy. In the majority of patients, epilepsy can be controlled with modern medicines and surgical techniques. However, about twenty percent of the patients experience seizures even after treatment. These cases are called "Intractable epilepsy."

Seizures are sometimes known to cause brain damage. Research reports that in these cases, a patient has suffered severe seizures. However, most seizures do not cause harm to the brain, and any changes that arise are usually mild.

Conclusive medical research indicates that epilepsy is not contagious. It is not caused by mental illness or retardation. Most people suffering from epilepsy have a normal or above average intelligence. A majority of patients are able to lead normal lives. Epilepsy can not be completely cured. However, there have been cases where it ever goes away through protracted treatment.

The likelihood of becoming free from seizure is not very high for adults or for children with severe epilepsy syndromes. However, it is possible that seizures may decrease or even stop over time. This is more likely if the epilepsy has been controlled by medication, or if the patient has had epilepsy surgery. Researchers in the US and the rest of the developed world continue to study epilepsy in an attempt to develop a permanent cure.

Do We Really Know Ourselves and Others As Well As We Think We Do?

I suspect that very few of us will have avoided the feeling of either being betrayed, or having betrayed another – either by word or deed. The income is often a lack of trust, even if the betrayal was unintentional. How often does it happen because we assume that we know what the other person is thinking, and that our actions will be understood – and vice versa?

I, myself, lost a very dear friendship due to a misunderstanding of this kind. I told someone that I wanted them around, but that I did not need them. To my mind, that was the highest compliment I could have paid them – my interpretation, coming from my own perspective, was that if you need someone, then you might just keep them around because of that particular need – in whatever form it takes. However, if you want someone, it means that you care enough about them to want them in your life, even if the only thing they have to offer is their company. Unfortunately, our interpretations of the words 'need' and 'want' were very different and my words were taken as an insult, they were very hurt, disconnection ensued and the friendship surrendered broke down.

So often we absorb that people will automatically come from our own perspective, that what we believe they will also believe, and that they will interpret words the same way we will interpret them. As a graphologist, I always like to do 'off the cuff' analyzes – where a person sits in front of me and I talk to them about their writing. Living on the edge as it was, but the analysis has always been the thing that interested me and writing up the reports afterwards, not so much! It brings to mind a time when I was participating in festivals, which I did for over 14 years. I have analyzed thousands of writings in that time, but a few seem to stand out and be remembered for various reasons.

One young lady came to me and asked if her friend could sit in. As I was analyzing her writing I could see her friend out of the corner of my eye, busy shaking her head. When I was finished she exclaimed – 'that does not sound a bit like you'. To which her friend turned to her and said – 'that is exactly who I am'.

On one occasion, I was analyzing the handwriting of a young boy – he was under the age of 14 so it was not a full analysis – we can only do that when the writing itself becomes automatic and thought patterns predominate. His family were with him and, when I had finished, his mother asked for her writing to be analyzed. All went very well until I said that she was a private person – to which she took great exception and told me that she was 'very open'. I explained in detail why I was saying what I was saying, but she still was not particularly happy and turned to her husband and asked what he thought. He told her that he had to agree with me – around her family and friends she was indeed very open, but with strangers she was private and did not give much away. This is something that she had not actually realized about herself. On top of that, she had heard the word 'private' and translated it into 'secretive and there is deceptive'. Fortunately, possibly because they were paying me for a service, we went into great detail about what I actually meant – this does not always happen within friendships, where there in an emotional content to them.

Another instance comes to mind which happened during the time when I was studying graphology. I was working for an engineering company which regularly sent its employees overseas to build whatever needed building, where it needed to be built. One of the engineers was curious and asked me to have a look at his writing. He almost had apoplexy when I told him that he was cautious and careful – he was really offended and told me that he traveled the world at the drop of a hat and there was nothing careful about that. What he failed to take into account was that he traveled within the safety of a company, where his flight was booked, his accommodation was organized, someone would pick him up at the airport on his arrival, he was doing a job for which he would be paid a salary, plus his medical was all arranged. All he had to do was pack and turn up. We agreed to differ, but it had obviously bothered him a lot because about a week later he thought me out and triumphantly washed a letter in front of me – he told me he had resigned and there was nothing cautious about that. When I congratulated him and asked what he was going to do, he told me that he was going overseas to work for a company he had worked for in the past. The irony escaped him – he had this vision of himself as a buccaneer on the high seas, but his writing told me that there was no way he would travel the world with a backpack and no destination, but who was I to disillusion him?

I often say that the soul of a person can be seen through their handwriting, and this is true. I've even asked how I can sleep at night, because I can see both the negative and positive that is going on within a person. I find it interesting that the deer and more hidden aspects of a person's character can somehow be easier to see than the wonderful. That is probably why the young lady mentioned above was not able to recognize her friend during the analysis.

During my third and last year of study, about half a dozen of us formed a group with a professional graphologist as a tutor. I remember one incident when we were asked to analyze the writing of a person who was taking the company he worked for to court. The company had discovered that he had done this a number of times before with other employers and had often won damages. Nobody knew how to deal with him, hence a graphologist was hired. Our tutor wanted to see if we would come up with the same results that she had. We did. It transpired that this person was very arrogant and self-important, and the only way to affect him was to talk to him as though he was inconsequential. Following the graphologist's recommendation, during the hearing he was referred to as 'only the clerk and of little importance'. His fury got the better of his good sense, he showed his true colors and strangely lost the case.

Our tutor once told us a story about an experience she had had. A friend of hers had asked her to analyze the handwriting of all the heads of department in his company. This she did and the results were that there was only one person that was border line dishonest, and that was the accountant. She was told that she was talking absolute rubbish, the accountant had been a friend of his for years and that was that – until he contacted her 14 years later with an apology. The accountant had just run off with the new secretary and a great deal of the firm's money – she had been right all along. The secretary was the catalyst – if she had not turned up then he might have continued working without his honesty being tested – she was his tipping point.

In Conclusion

I think we need to 'absorb' less and 'listen' more, especially if the other person has already annoyed us, because we are then less incurred to give them the benefit of the doubt. I believe that a great deal of pain can be dispensed with if we take this route. If we then come to the conclusion that any negative action was intentional, we can walk away knowing that it is for the best.

I also believe that some regular self-analysis is of great benefit – if something, or someone, pushes our buttons then it's good to ask the question 'Why?' If we react to any situation, it is a clear indication that we have some unfinished business and unresolved issues in that area.

Little Known Facts About Our Favorite Icons Of Horror Films – They Were Human!

Which "monster" was a decorated World War I veteran who was wounded three times and saved the lives of his fellow soldiers? Why, that was Bela Blasko, who achieved worldwide fame when he portrayed the vampire count in Universal's 1931 epic "Dracula". Of course, by that time, he had changed his last name to "Lugosi", which was derived from his hometown of Lugos, Hungary. He also never learned to drive a car.

I grow up an addict of "Creature Features" on Channel 44, WTOG-TV, out of St.. Petersburg, Florida, and loved watching all of the classic horror films they screened. The host was a certain Dr. Paul Bearer (real name Dick Bennick). With so many years of regular Saturday afternoon and evenings spent with the good doctor, my brain became addled with facts and figures about all of these heroes of the dark.

Lon Chaney Sr., the retired silent star which most famous roles include "The Phantom of the Opera" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", learned his acting skills in part from his deaf mute parents. He had to learn pantomime in order to communicate, a talent that greatly improved his on-screen intensity. He also was an all-around good guy, frequently helping out fellow players and film crew without seeking any credit. Once, Chaney saw an arriving actor named William Henry Pratt walking home from the studios andave him a ride. So what, you say? Well, Pratt's stage name was Boris Karloff, who went on to portray the Frankenstein monster and the original Mummy. Chaney cave Karloff observable advice about what he should do to make his own career improve … advice which he heeded. Karloff later co-founded the Screen Actors Guild, and was the narrator of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", a beloved holiday cartoon.

Lon's son Creighton Chaney would go on to become Lon Chaney, Jr., and also carve his name in the horror legend book. His most famous role was that of "The Wolf Man", but he ever played nearly every major horror character that had been created up to that point. Lon Jr. was known as a big-hearted guy, like his father, who helped anyone and everyone he could. This help even went beyond the grave. He donated his body to the University of Southern California for medical research.

Peter Lorre was well-known for a wide variety of roles, but mostly those with a dark twist, including the films "M" and "Mad Love". He fled Hungary and Nazi Germany for Hollywood, later to be invited by Adolf Hitler to return to Germany and be part of their film community. With so many roles as killers in the movies, Lorre shot back a letter to the Nazis to inform them that they did not need his talents since they already had so many murderers in their ranks. In earlier years, Lorre studied under Dr. Sigmund Freud, which may explain his understanding of characters with, shall we say, "character flaws."

Vincent Price was a St. Vincent Louis native, although many people still believe him to be at least partly English. His grandfather invented the first cream of tarter sauce, and his father was president of the National Candy Company. Vincent was a connoisseur of all fine things, including art and cooking. He educated Americans about fine art, selling more than 50,000 items through Sears Roebuck as part of his "Vincent Price Collection", and publishing a variety of gourmet cookbooks. With his famous films including "House of Wax" and "The House on Haunted Hill", he also expanded into popular music. Price's voice can be heard on Alice Cooper's "Devil's Food / The Black Widow" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller".

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee enjoyed years of work together for Hammer Films in England, becoming best friends. Cushing is best known as the gaunt Dr. Frankenstein and Professor Van Helsing in the Hammer remakes of many Universal classics. Other roles for Cushing included Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Who, but despite his favorite role was as husband to his beloved Helen. Her 1971 death haunted him for the rest of his life, and he consistently looked forward to the day he would rejoin her. His love for his wife was commemorated in the "Helen Cushing Rose", a special strain of flower created in 1986.

Christopher Lee has remained the longest purveyor of the classic horror genre, still appearing in films even into his 90's. Best known in recent years for his roles in "The Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars" films, Lee's deep voice has also graced a variety of theater, musical, and record productions. He is related through his family to James Bond creator Ian Fleming, and appeared in Fleming's "The Man With the Golden Gun." Lee is also a World War II veteran, and was knighted by the Queen of England. He speaks English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Russian, and Greek.

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The author is a writer, musician, film producer, record producer, and musical arranger who was born in Somerville, New Jersey and grew up in Melbourne, Florida. greg@gregvadimsky.com

What is Vaginal Atrophy? Signs and Symptoms of an Atrophied Vagina

A little known condition that affects many women is vaginal atrophy. But what is vaginal atrophy? And is there any cure?

Vaginal atrophy is a condition that results from a significant decrease in estrogen over a long period of time. In this condition, the vaginal walls become thin and weak. They lose their elasticity and decrease in size. Also, the vagina becomes very dry. This condition leaves the vagina vulnerable to inflammation and infection.

The most common cause of atrophic vaginitis is menopause. However, most women don’t even notice it happening until 5 to 10 years after menopause begins. This is because this disorder develops slowly over several years.

The first thing you will likely notice is vaginal dryness. There may also be and itching or burning sensation, especially after intercourse. Intercourse may become painful and you may even bleed afterwards.

However, this disorder is very treatable. Most doctors will start you on a low dose of estrogen. It should be the lowest possible dose to avoid complications such as breast cancer. Many women have also used natural plant-based sources of estrogen to find relief. You can use over the counter lubricants for short-term relief, but they do not treat the underlying problem. They merely relieve the symptom of dryness.

So what is vaginal atrophy? It’s a very treatable disease that affects most women of a certain age. You can make it better than using prescription or natural estrogen therapies. Talk to your doctor to develop the best treatment plan for you.

What is an Antitoxin?

A toxin is a poison produced in our bodies by germs or bacteria that cause certain kinds of disease. An antitoxin is something that works against this kind of poison. Diphtheria, cholera, scarlet fever and tetanus (lockjaw) are among the diseases caused by toxins produced by germs. Our bodies manufacture sources to fight off these toxins and make them harmless. These substances are called antitoxins. Enough antitoxin is usually manufactured by our bodies when we have a mild case of a disease that is caused by a toxin.

Sometimes there is too much toxin present and our bodies need help. Doctors give this help by injecting antitoxin into us when we need it. The antitoxin comes from the blood of an animal that has been given the disease. The animal is ill for a short time and soon recovers. After recovery the animal's blood contains a large amount of antitoxin. The antitoxins taken from the blood of such an animal are used to help people who have that particular disease. Diphtheria germs are injected into horses. The horses' bodies build up antitoxins to fight off the diphtheria toxin.

The antitoxins in their blood are injected into people who have diphtheria, and also to help people avoid catching diphtheria. A person who has received an injection of antitoxin will rarely catch the disease and be made sick by it. The antitoxin attacks the toxins of the disease as soon as they enter the body and renders them harmless before sickness sets in. The modern medical way of avoiding disease is to use something called toxin-antitoxin. The toxin injected into our bodies in this mixture makes it possible for our bodies to start manufacturing antitoxin. The antitoxin injected in this mixture makes sure that the toxin does not become so strong in our bodies that it will make us sick.