Turns out that the old phrase ‘flower power’ might have more to it than we may have once thought.

Flowers are shown to have an immediate impact on a person’s happiness. This effect is long – term and can result in people feeling less depressed, anxious and agitated.

Fresh flowers on tables, desks or wherever you want put people in better moods and receiving a bunch of flowers can instantly boost someone’s spirits. Just being in the presence of flowers triggers our happy emotion and heightens feelings of satisfaction with life. It has even been found that patients who have flowers in their hospital rooms are more positive about their health and recovery than those without and this optimism can actually speed up their recovery process.

If you feel as if you may be in need of some of the magical powers of the flower, check out the list below on what flowers you should surround yourself with to combat/ create certain feelings and also which kind of arrangements are perfect for the mood you want to create:

Creativity - If you’re feeling in a bit of a rut and feel like you need some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing, get your hands on some green leafy plants and place them on or around your workspace.

De-Stress - If you feel as though you need some help de – stressing (maybe because you have a big exam coming up, or an important interview), find something floral scented, maybe that you could spray around your room or perhaps a scented candle, as floral scents make us feel less anxious and help us to take some of the edge off during busy times.

Calm- if you need help in getting a bit of serenity try some less saturated coloured flowers that are all close to each other on the colour scale, the lightness of the colours will help you to relax and the fact that the colours are similar will add a calming aspect. If you’re looking for specific colours, blues and greens that simulate the sky and the sea will create tranquillity.

Energy- if you’re feeling a bit tired and in need of an energy boost try bold, saturated colours to energise your mood and make you feel as fresh as a daisy!

Tenderness - if your wanting to make a special someone feel snug, safe and loved make them an arrangement of fragile, soft and tender coloured flowers to create a nurturing mood.

Romance - if you’re looking for something romantic choose a blend of delicate warm and cool colours to create nostalgia, comfort and intimacy. To add extra romance, make pink the focal colour of the bunch.

Fun - If you have a desire to have a bit more fun in your life, bold, contrasting colours create an upbeat tone and will add a touch of playfulness and free spirit to your days.

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AuthorMaya Kilgariff

World TB Day commemorates 24 March 1882 when Dr Robert Koch discovered what causes tuberculosis.  But over a century later the disease kills around 1.7 million people a year. 

So what exactly is TB?  An infection caused by a bacteria that mainly affects the lungs - although different types can affect other parts of the body.

Tuberculosis symptoms include coughing up blood or phlegm, weight loss and a loss of appetite.  The good news is that with treatment of antibiotics TB is relatively straightforward to cure.

The details for the 2015 haven't been confirmed yet but if you want to find out more the World TB Day website has lots of information about events taking place to help raise awareness of TB.

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AuthorMitchell Dutfield

Overview

Cirrhosis is severe scarring of the liver and poor liver function seen at the end of chronic liver disease. The scarring is most often caused by long-term exposure to toxins such as alcohol or viral infections. The liver, located in the upper right side of the abdomen below the ribs, has many essential body functions, such as:

  • production of bile, which helps to absorb dietary fats, cholesterol, and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • stores sugar and vitamins for later use by the body
  • purifying blood (removes toxins such as alcohol and bacteria)
  • creation of blood clotting proteins

Incidence of Cirrhosis

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death due to disease in America. It is more likely to affect men than women.

How Cirrhosis Develops

The liver is a very hearty organ and is normally able to regenerate damaged cells. Cirrhosis develops when the factors that damage the liver (such as alcohol and chronic infections) are present over a long period of time. When this happens, the liver becomes injured and scarred. A scarred liver cannot function properly and cirrhosis results.

Cirrhosis produces changes to the liver, causing it to shrink and harden. This makes it difficult for nutrient rich blood to flow into the liver from the portal vein, a vein that carries blood from the digestive organs to the liver. When blood cannot pass into the liver, the pressure in the portal vein rises. The end result is a serious condition called portal hypertension, in which the vein develops high blood pressure.

Common Causes of Cirrhosis

The most common causes of cirrhosis in the United States are long-termhepatitis C infection, and chronic alcohol abuseObesity is also a cause of cirrhosis. Obesity can be a risk factor by itself, or in combination with alcoholism and hepatitis C.

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) reports that cirrhosis can develop in women who have two to three alcoholic drinks per day (includes beer and wine). For men, the amount of alcohol that puts them at risk for cirrhosis is three to four drinks daily.

Hepatitis C can be contracted through sexual intercourse, or exposure to infected blood (through intravenous drug abuse and needle sharing or transfusions). Hepatitis C is rarely transmitted by transfusion in the U.S. due to blood bank screening.

Other causes of cirrhosis are:

Hepatitis B

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that over two billion people are infected with hepatitis B virus world-wide. Hepatitis B can cause liver inflammation and damage that can lead to cirrhosis.

Hepatitis D

This type of hepatitis can also cause cirrhosis. It is often seen in people who already have hepatitis B.

Inflammation Caused by Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune hepatitis may have a genetic cause. Seventy percent of people with autoimmune hepatitis are women.

Disorders of the system that drains bile (primary biliary cirrhosis).

Disorders that affect the body’s ability to handle iron and copper(hemochromatosis and Wilson’s disease).

Medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen, some antibiotics, and some antidepressants, can lead to cirrhosis.

Symptoms of Cirrhosis

The symptoms of cirrhosis occur because the liver is unable to purify the blood, break down toxins, produce clotting proteins and help with absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Often there are no symptoms until the disease has progressed. Some of the symptoms include:

  • decreased appetite
  • nose bleeds
  • small spider-shaped arteries underneath the skin
  • weight loss
  • weakness

More serious symptoms include:

  • confusion and difficulty thinking clearly
  • yellow skin color (jaundice caused by buildup of bilirubin in the blood)
  • abdominal swelling (ascites)
  • swelling of the legs (edema)
  • impotence
  • males can start to develop breast tissue (gynecomastia)

How Cirrhosis Is Diagnosed

A diagnosis of cirrhosis begins with a physical exam. A complete medical history is taken. The history may reveal long-term alcohol abuse, exposure to hepatitis C, family history of autoimmune diseases, or other risk factors. The physical exam can show signs like:

  • pale skin
  • yellow eyes (jaundice)
  • reddened palms
  • hand tremors
  • an enlarged liver or spleen
  • small testicles
  • excess breast tissue (in men)
  • decreased alertness

Tests can reveal how damaged the liver has become. Some of the tests used for evaluation of cirrhosis are:

  • CBC (complete blood count can reveal anemia)
  • coagulation blood tests (to see how quickly blood clots)
  • albumin (a protein produced in the liver)
  • liver function tests
  • alpha fetoprotein (a liver cancer screening)

Additional tests that can evaluate the liver are:

  • upper endoscopy (to see if esophageal varices are present)
  • ultrasound of the abdomen
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the abdomen
  • CT scan (computed tomography of the abdomen)
  • liver biopsy (the definitive test for cirrhosis)

Complications from Cirrhosis

If your blood is unable to pass through the liver, it creates a backup through other veins such as those in the esophagus. This is called esophageal varices. These veins are not used to high pressures, and begin to bulge from the extra blood flow.

Cirrhosis is a known risk factor for cancer of the liver.

End stage liver disease can also lead to kidney failure.

Other complications from cirrhosis include:

  • bruising (due to low platelet count and/or poor clotting)
  • bleeding (due to decreased clotting proteins)
  • sensitivity to medications (the liver processes medications in the body)
  • kidney failure
  • liver cancer
  • insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
  • hepatic encephalopathy (confusion due to the effects of blood toxins on the brain)
  • gallstones (interference with bile flow can cause bile to harden and form stones)
  • esophageal varices
  • enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
  • edema and ascites

Treatment for Cirrhosis

Treatment for cirrhosis varies based on its cause.

Patients must stop drinking alcohol.

Medications (even over-the-counter ones) should not be taken without consulting your doctor. Beta-blockers or nitrates may be prescribed for portal hypertension.

Banding procedures are used to control bleeding from esophageal varices.

Intravenous antibiotics are used to treat peritonitis that can occur with ascites.

Hemodialysis can purify the blood of those in kidney failure.

Lactulose and a low protein diet are used to treat encephalopathy.

Liver transplantation is an option when other treatments fail.

Preventing Cirrhosis

Lifestyle Changes

Becoming a non-drinker, eating a balanced diet, and getting adequate exercise can prevent or slow cirrhosis.

Prevention Techniques

You should use latex or vinyl gloves to avoid exposure to contaminated blood and body fluids to avoid getting hepatitis. Avoiding sexual promiscuity and using of condoms can reduce the risk of getting hepatitis C. In the U.S. it is recommended that all infants and at-risk adults (such as health care providers and rescue personnel) be vaccinated against hepatitis B.

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AuthorMitchell Dutfield

Epilepsy is not a disease in and of itself. Rather, it is the result of an underlying problem. The culprit behind epilepsy can be anything that can affect the brain’s function. According to the Mayo Clinic, “epilepsy has no identifiable cause in about half of those who have the condition. In the other half, the condition may be traced to various factors.”

Possible causes of epilepsy include:

  • stroke: according to the Mayo Clinic, this is “responsible for up to one-half of epilepsy cases in people over age 35.”
  • traumatic brain injury
  • prenatal or birth injuries, including deprivation of oxygen and brain damage from an infection passed from the mother
  • drug and alcohol use
  • neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease
  • brain tumors
  • genetic factors that can alter the brain’s normal development, making a person more susceptible to the environmental factors that trigger seizures
  • other diseases, such as AIDS or meningitis
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AuthorMitchell Dutfield

What is Acute Sinusitis?

A stuffed up nose and pressure on our cheekbones can often mean you have acute sinusitis. Acute sinusitis, also called acute rhinosinusitis, is a short-term infection or inflammation of the membranes that line your sinuses. It prevents mucus from draining from your nose.

What Causes Acute Sinusitis?

Illnesses and conditions that can cause acute sinusitis include:

  • colds
  • bacterial upper respiratory tract infections
  • fungal sinus infections
  • allergies that cause mucus production in the sinuses
  • lack of cilia motility, caused by disease (cilia are the small hairs located in your sinuses that move to push mucus out of your sinuses)
  • nasal polyps or tumors
  • deviated nasal septum
  • enlarged or infected adenoids
  • infected tooth (in rare cases bacteria can spread from the infected tooth to the sinuses)
  • cystic fibrosis (a disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the body)

Who Is at Risk for Acute Sinusitis?

The following factors can increase your risk of developing acute sinusitis:

  • allergies or hay fever
  • nasal passage abnormalities, such as a deviated septum or nasal polyp
  • smoking or frequent breathing in of pollutants
  • diseases that affect the function of cilia, such as Kartagener syndrome (a lung disease that affects cilia motility)
  • large adenoids
  • spending a lot of time in a daycare, preschool, or other areas where contagious viruses are frequently present
  • activities that result in pressure changes, such as flying and scuba diving
  • a weakened immune system
  • cystic fibrosis

What are the Symptoms of Acute Sinusitis?

Symptoms of acute sinusitis include:

  • nasal congestion
  • thick, yellow, or green mucus discharge from the nose
  • sore throat
  • a cough (usually worse at night)
  • drainage of mucus in the back of your throat
  • headache
  • pain, pressure, or tenderness behind your eyes, nose, cheeks, or forehead
  • earache
  • toothache
  • bad breath
  • reduced sense of smell
  • reduced sense of taste
  • fever
  • fatigue

How Is Acute Sinusitis Diagnosed?

Diagnosing acute sinusitis usually involves a physical exam. Your doctor will gently tap your sinuses with his fingers to identify an infection. The exam may involve looking into your nose with a light to identify inflammation, polyps, tumors, or other abnormalities.

Your doctor may also perform the following tests to confirm diagnosis:

Nasal Endoscopy

Your doctor may look into your nose using a nasal endoscope, a thin, flexible fiberoptic scope. The scope helps your doctor identify inflammation or other abnormalities in your sinuses.

Imaging Tests

Your doctor may order a CT scan or MRI to look for inflammation or sinus abnormalities.

How Is Acute Sinusitis Treated?

Most cases of acute sinusitis can be treated with home treatments, which include:

  • a moist, warm washcloth held over your sinuses to loosen congestion
  • a humidifier to loosen congestion
  • saline nasal sprays, used several times a day to clear your nasal passages
  • drinking plenty of fluids in order to thin mucus
  • over-the-counter nasal corticosteroid sprays, such as Flonase or Nasonex, to reduce sinus inflammation
  • over-the-counter decongestants, such as Sudafed or Actifed, to dry up mucus
  • over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Advil, Tylenol, or Motrin, to relieve sinus pain
  • sleeping with your head elevated to encourage your sinuses to drain

Prescription Medications

Your doctor may prescribe prescription antibiotics, anti-fungal medications, or allergy shots for severe acute sinusitis infections.

Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat the underlying cause of acute sinusitis. Your doctor may perform surgery to remove nasal polyps or tumors, correct a deviated nasal septum, or clean and drain your sinuses.

Alternative Treatment

The following alternative treatments may help relieve your acute sinusitis symptoms:

Herbs

Nasturtium herb and horseradish are beneficial for relieving sinusitis symptoms, and produce minimal side effects. (Goos, et al., 2006) Ask your doctor about safety and dosages.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

While no hard scientific evidence exists to confirm their effectiveness in treating this condition, some people report that acupuncture and acupressure provide some relief for acute sinusitis caused by allergies.

What Happens in the Long Term?

Most cases of acute sinusitis clear up with home treatment. Sometimes acute sinusitis does not clear up and leads to sub-acute sinusitis (lasting four to 12 weeks), or chronic sinusitis (lasting three months or longer). In very rare cases, sinusitis can lead to an infection that spreads to your eyes, ears, or bones, or causes meningitis. Call your healthcare provider if you experience a severe headache that does not respond to medication, a fever, or vision changes that occur during your acute sinusitis infection; these may be signs the infection has spread outside your sinuses.

Can Acute Sinusitis Be Prevented?

You may be able to prevent getting acute sinusitis. Here’s how:

  • Eat a healthy diet to keep your immune system strong.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke and other air pollutants.
  • Minimize your contact with people who have colds.
  • Wash your hands often and before meals.
  • Use a humidifier in dry weather to keep your sinuses moist and healthy.
  • Get a flu vaccine yearly.
  • Treat allergies promptly.
  • Take decongestants when you have nasal congestion.
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What Is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is swelling and inflammation of the pancreas. Your pancreas is located behind your stomach. The organ secretes enzymes that help you digest food and regulates how your body uses sugar.

Pancreatitis can come and go quickly or become a chronic problem. Treatment will depend on whether your pancreatitis is acute or chronic.

What Are the Types of Pancreatitis?

The onset of acute pancreatitis is often very sudden. The inflammation usually clears up within a few days, once treatment begins. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), more than 210,000 American adults are admitted to the hospital for acute pancreatitis every year. (NDDIC)

Gallstones are the most common cause of acute pancreatitis. Gallstones are small, solid masses that form from bile. The pancreas and gallbladder share a bile duct, through which bile and other digestive enzymes pass during digestion. Gallstones can create inflammation in both the bile duct and the pancreas. Alcoholism can also contribute to acute pancreatitis.

Chronic pancreatitis is inflammation that recurs. Patients with chronic pancreatitis can suffer permanent damage to the pancreas. Scar tissue develops from long-term inflammation. Extensive scar tissue may cause your pancreas to stop making the normal amount of digestive enzymes. As a result, you are likely to have trouble digesting fats.

According to the National Insistutes of Health, alcohol abuse is the most common cause of chronic pancreatitis in adults. (NIH) Autoimmune and genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, can also cause chronic pancreatitis in some patients.

What Are the Symptoms of Pancreatitis?

Most patients who have acute or chronic pancreatitis experience upper abdominal pain as their primary symptom. Those who have chronic pancreatitis may show inflammation on imaging scans, but otherwise be asymptomatic.

Other symptoms of pancreatitis may include:

  • pain that extends from your left side around to your back
  • indigestion
  • nausea or vomiting
  • abdominal tenderness
  • unintentional weight loss
  • bloating with a distended (swollen) stomach
  • hiccups

People who have chronic pancreatitis may also experience steatorrhea.Steatorrhea is the term for fatty stools that give off a foul odor. Steatorrhea can be a sign of malabsorption. This means you are not getting all of your essential nutrients because your pancreas does not secrete enough digestive enzymes to break down your food.

Pain associated with pancreatitis may last for a few minutes to several hours at a time. In severe cases, discomfort from chronic pancreatitis could become constant. Your pain is likely to increase after you eat and when you are lying down. Try sitting up or leaning forward to make yourself more comfortable.

Diagnosing Pancreatitis

Your doctor will use a combination of blood tests and imaging scans to make a diagnosis. If you have acute pancreatitis, blood tests may show a rise in your level of pancreatic enzymes. Ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and CT (computerized tomography) scans can reveal the size of your pancreas and whether or not you have a blockage of the bile ducts. Running a fecal fat test can also determine if your stools have higher-than-normal fat content.

Treating Pancreatitis

Treatment for acute or chronic pancreatitis often involves hospitalization. The pancreas is key to your digestive process and needs to rest in order to heal. For this reason, you may be given fluids and nutrition intravenously or through a tube that goes from your nose directly into your stomach (a feeding tube). Restarting an oral diet depends on your condition. Some people feel better after a couple of days. Others need a week or two to heal sufficiently.

Diet

A low-fat, healthy diet plays a major role in recovering from pancreatitis. People with chronic pancreatitis, in particular, need to be careful about the amount of fat they consume because their pancreas function has become compromised.

You should eat small meals throughout the day to put minimal stress on your digestive system. Stick to low-fat dairy and other foods and drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated. Your doctor might also give you vitamin supplements to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need.

Surgery

Determining the underlying cause of your pancreatitis is part of the treatment process. If your doctor diagnoses gallstones or other blockages of the bile ducts, you may need surgery to correct these problems.

Lifestyle Changes

Stop smoking and drinking alcohol in excess to help you heal more quickly and completely. Discuss these issues with your doctor if you need help quitting.

Alternative Techniques for Pain Control

You will probably be given intravenous pain medication in the hospital. However, alternative therapies may also help reduce pancreatitis pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. (Mayo Clinic) Try yoga, relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, and meditation if conventional treatments do not reduce your pain. These alternative treatments focus on slow, measured movements that can take your mind off your discomfort.

Complications and Risks

Pancreatitis can be controlled with a healthy lifestyle and medical treatment when necessary. However, some patients do develop complications. These complications are rare, but are more common in people with chronic pancreatitis:

  • kidney damage
  • pancreatic cancer
  • diabetes
  • malnutrition
  • pancreatic infection

Patients who have acute pancreatitis may also be at risk for developing breathing difficulties.

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Overview

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 50 million American adults (one in five) have been diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis is a major cause of disability in the United States. Left untreated, it can cause:

  • chronic pain
  • stiffness
  • swelling
  • limb deformities
  • impaired range of motion

These symptoms can seriously disrupt everyday life. Learning how to live with arthritis can be difficult. However, it is usually possible to manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life.  

Treatments for arthritis will depend on:

  • the type of arthritis
  • your personal health needs
  • severity of pain
  • other symptoms associated with the arthritis

How Lifestyle Affects Arthritis Pain

Living a healthy life might help to reduce your risk of developing certain types of arthritis. It can also reduce the severity of your symptoms. For example, being overweight or obese increases the pressure on your joints. It may also contribute to generalized inflammation that can increase arthritis symptoms.

Healthy lifestyle changes are often the first steps in managing arthritis symptoms. You should try to:

  • improve your sleep
  • exercise regularly
  • eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet

Exercise may be particularly useful in helping with arthritis symptoms. Low-impact exercise has been shown to:

  • improve joint mobility
  • relieve stiffness
  • reduce pain and fatigue
  • strengthen muscles and bones

“Staying in motion actually helps to keep pain away,” says Dr. Moshe Lewis, MD, MPH. Exercise, such as brisk walking, is critical in treating pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. It extends the life of your joints.

Cold/Heat Treatment for Arthritis Pain

Applying cold and heat to inflamed joints may help with arthritis pain, although research is inconsistent.

Ice helps to restrict blood vessels. This reduces fluid in the tissue and decreases swelling and pain. Wrap ice in a towel and apply to the aching area for up to 20 minutes. You can ice your joints several times a day.

Heat treatments can be applied in the same way. Use a hot water bottle or heating pad and apply it to the swelling. Heat opens the blood vessels and increases circulation. This brings nutrients and proteins essential to repairing the compromised tissue.

Heat and ice treatments can be used in combination. Talk to your doctor about what might work best for you.

Over-the-Counter Medication for Arthritis Pain

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can help with minor pain and swelling associated with arthritis.

The most common types of OTC pain relievers are acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Types of NSAIDs include:

  • aspirin (Bayer Asprin)
  • ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
  • naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)

Acetaminophen only relieves pain. NSAIDs relieve pain and can also reduce the swelling associated with certain types of arthritis.

Topical Medication

Topical creams can also help treat arthritis symptoms. These creams are applied directly to painful areas. They may contain active ingredients such as menthol (Bengay, Stopain) or capsaicin (Capzasin, Zostrix).

Prescription Medications for Arthritis Treatment

Sometimes, OTC painkillers are not strong enough to treat your arthritis pain. If this is the case, your doctor may suggest prescription options.

Prescription NSAIDs

Prescription NSAIDs work to reduce swelling and pain, although they have not been definitively proven more effective than OTC NSAIDs for this purpose. This class of drugs includes:

  • celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • piroxicam (Feldene),
  • nabumetone (Relafen)
  • prescription-strength ibuprofen and naproxen

Tramadol

Tramadol (Ultram) is a prescription painkiller. It may cause fewer side effects than NSAIDs.  While tramadol is not exactly a narcotic, it still has significant potential for abuse like narcotics.

Narcotics

Strong painkillers can provide relief from severe pain. These include:

  • codeine
  • meperidine (Demerol)
  • morphine
  • oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • propoxyphene (Darvon)

While these medications will reduce the pain symptoms of arthritis, they will not modify the course of the disease. They can also be addictive and should be used with caution.

Disease Modifying Drugs

A class of medications known as disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory-types of arthritis. Unlike NSAIDs and painkillers, these drugs can actually change the course of your disease. However, DMARDS work more slowly than painkillers. It can take weeks or months to see an improvement.

Examples of DMARDs include:

  • azathioprine (Imuran)
  • biologics (Actemra)
  • cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • cyclosporine (Neoral) 
  • hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex)

TNF-alpha inhibitors are a subtype of DMARDs. They also can modify the course of rheumatoid arthritis. These include:

  • etanercept (Enbrel)
  • infliximab (Remicade)
  • adalimumab (Humira)
  • certolizumab pegol (Cimzia),

Each DMARD has its own sets of side effects. Discuss them with your doctor before deciding on a treatment.

Cortisone Shots

These injections use a corticosteroid to reduce swelling. They can relieve pain in arthritic joints, but they can also accelerate bone loss if used repeatedly.

Trigger Point Injections

Injections can be used to relieve pain in areas of muscle that contain “trigger points.” Trigger points occur when muscles bind together and don’t relax. Trigger point injections can be used to treat muscle pain in the arms, legs, or back.

Trigger point injections contain an aesthetic, and sometimes a steroid. They often provide relief for several weeks or months at a time. However, some research suggests these injections may be no more effective than simply sticking a needle into the trigger point.

Physical Therapy for Arthritis Pain

Physical therapy can help:

  • improve muscle strength
  • increase the range of motion of joints
  • reduce pain

A physical therapist can also help you develop an exercise regimen that will fit your needs.  In addition, he or she can help you find supportive devices such as splints, braces, or shoe inserts.

These devices can provide support to weakened joints. They can also take pressure off injured bones and reduce overall pain.

Surgery for Arthritis Pain

Severe cases of arthritis may require surgery to replace or repair damaged joints. Types of surgery used to treat arthritis include:

  • joint replacement
  • bone realignment
  • bone fusion
  • arthroscopic surgery

Alternative Treatments for Arthritis

Several types of complementary therapy may help with arthritis pain. The efficacy of these treatments varies among individual patients. Consult your primary care physician before starting any new treatment. It is important to find out whether the treatment will be safe for you.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture and acupressure are traditional Chinese medicine techniques. They relieve pain by stimulating the skin at key points. This prompts the body to release endorphins. It may also block messages of pain from being delivered to the brain.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

TENS applies a small electric current to specific nerves. This current is believed to interrupt pain signals and lead to endorphin release.

Herbs & Supplements

There are many herbal supplements that have purported anti-inflammatory properties. According to the Arthritis Foundation, many studies have suggested that capsaicin can help fight arthritic pain. This is the natural chemical that gives chili peppers their heat. It’s used in several topical arthritis treatments.

Turmeric& is another healthy spice that has been used to reduce inflammation for hundreds of years.

There is also some evidence that some other natural remedies may help with arthritis pain, including:

  • vitamin C
  • fish oil
  • glucosamine and chondroitin
  • cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
  • avocado soybean unsaponifiables

Clinical evidence for these supplements is mixed. However, some people find them helpful. In addition, some of these supplements — such as fish oil and vitamin C — provide other health benefits unrelated to arthritis. However, it is important to exercise caution when taking supplements. Just because a product is natural does not mean it’s safe.  The contents of supplements are not verified by the FDA.

You should always consult your doctor before taking any supplement. Some supplements can interact with medications or cause health problems. 

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What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D, often called the “sunshine vitamin,” is an important nutrient. Its active form, called calcitriol, behaves like a hormone in the body. The body can produce 10,000 IU or more of vitamin D with little as 10 to 15 minutes of exposure to summer sunlight.

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in supporting and maintaining bone health. There are few natural food sources that contain vitamin D. Food manufacturers began fortifying milk and other products with vitamin D decades ago, aimed to wipe out rickets, a childhood bone disease.

Receptors for this important hormone are found in virtually every type of cell and tissue in the body. Receptors work like locks: the lock turns when the right key is inserted, prompting the cell to act in a certain way. Evidence shows that people with higher levels of vitamin D may live longer. Studies also suggest that a majority of Americans have insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D.

Why Do You Need Vitamin D?

The presence of vitamin D receptors throughout the body hints at the importance of the vitamin. Research shows that vitamin D plays a crucial role in the health of the immune system, brain, heart and blood vessels, among other organs and systems.

Many doctors now monitor their patients’ vitamin D levels and prescribe supplemental vitamin D when levels are too low. A lack of vitamin D may increase your risk of developing numerous diseases and conditions.

Autoimmune diseases—such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis—may be linked to a vitamin D deficiency. Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. Too little vitamin D has been linked to poor immune system function.

Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to a risk for type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis (a condition that results in brittle bones), heart disease, mood disorders, and even certain types of cancer. The active form of vitamin D helps control chronic inflammation. Ongoing inflammation has been linked to diseases such as hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), arthritis (painful, inflamed joints), and even cancer.

Supplementation Recommendations

Vitamin D may be taken as a supplement. Two forms are available: vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is preferable, as it is better absorbed when taken by mouth.

Current government recommended dietary allowances for vitamin D range from 400 IU to 800 IU daily. Many experts argue that higher daily intakes than what’s recommended are required to achieve better health outcomes. Some experts even recommend taking 2,000 to 7,000 IU of vitamin D3 everyday.

Vitamin D Deficiency

The following factors can affect your vitamin D levels:

  • exposure to sunlight
  • the use of sunscreens
  • body mass
  • skin color
  • diet

People with dark skin don’t make vitamin D as easily as light-skinned people when exposed to sunlight.

Vitamin D dissolves in fat, and is stored in fat cells. Overweight people tend to have more vitamin D stored in fat rather than circulating in the blood. They may require higher doses of vitamin D3 to maintain optimal serum levels.

Vitamin D Toxicity

Vitamin D toxicity, resulting from taking too much supplemental vitamin D, is relatively rare. The amount of supplemental vitamin D needed to cause vitamin D toxicity is more than 10,000 IU per day, taken every day for months. The Tolerable Upper Intake Levels published by the U.S. government range from 1,000 IU per day for infants to 4,000 IU per day for adults. This amount is considered too conservative by some experts.

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What Is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder occurs when you live in fear of having a panic attack. You are having a panic attack when you feel sudden, overwhelming terror that has no obvious cause. You may experience physical symptoms such as a racing heart, breathing difficulties, and sweating.

Most people experience a panic attack once or twice in their lives. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that one out of every 75 people has panic disorder (APA, 2012). Panic disorder is characterized by constantly being afraid of having another panic attack after you experience one or having recurring (four or more) panic attacks.

Even though the symptoms of this disorder can be quite overwhelming and frightening, they can be managed and improved with treatment. Seeking treatment is the most important part of reducing symptoms and improving your quality of life.

What Causes Panic Disorder?

The causes of panic disorder are not clearly understood. Research has shown that panic disorder may be genetically linked. Panic disorder is also associated with significant transitions that occur in life. Leaving for college, getting married, or having your first child are all major life transitions that may create stress and lead to the development of panic disorder.

Who Is at Risk for Developing Panic Disorder?

Although the causes of panic disorder are not clearly understood, information about the disease does indicate that certain groups are more likely to develop the disorder. In particular, women are twice as likely as men to develop the condition, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH, 2012).

What Are the Symptoms of Panic Disorder?

Symptoms of panic disorder often begin to appear in teens and young adults under the age of 25.

Panic attacks produce intense fear that begins suddenly, often with no warning. An attack typically last for 10 to 20 minutes, but in extreme cases, symptoms may last for more than an hour. The experience is different for everyone, and symptoms often vary.

Common symptoms associated with a panic attack include:

  • racing heartbeat or palpitations
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness (vertigo)
  • lightheadedness
  • nausea
  • sweating or chills
  • shaking or trembling
  • changes in mental state include a feeling of detachment
  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • chest pain or tightness
  • fear that you might die

The symptoms of a panic attack often occur for no clear reason. Typically, the symptoms are not proportionate to the level of fear or danger that exists in the environment. Because these attacks can’t be predicted, they can significantly affect your functioning.

Fear of a panic attack or recalling a panic attack can result in another attack.

How Is Panic Disorder Diagnosed?

If you experience symptoms of a panic attack, you will more than likely seek emergency medical care. Most people who experience a panic attack for the first time believe that they are having a heart attack.

While at the emergency room, your doctor will perform several tests to see if your symptoms are caused by a heart attack. They may run blood tests to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, or an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check heart function.

Your doctor may also perform a mental health examination and ask you about your symptoms. All other medical disorders will be ruled out before your doctor makes a diagnosis of panic disorder.

How Is Panic Disorder Treated?

Treatment for panic disorder focuses on reducing or eliminating your symptoms. This is achieved through therapy with a qualified professional and medication. Therapy typically involves cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy teaches you to change your thoughts and actions so that you can understand your attacks and manage your fear.

Medications used to treat panic disorder can include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressant. SSRIs prescribed for panic disorder may include:

  • fluoxetine
  • paroxetine
  • sertraline

Other medications sometimes used to treat panic disorder include:

  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), another class of antidepressant
  • antiseizure drugs
  • benzodiazepines (commonly used as tranquilizers) including diazepam or clonazepam
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), another type of antidepressant that is used infrequently because it can cause serious side effects

In addition to these treatments, there are a number of steps that you can take at home to reduce your symptoms. Examples include:

  • maintaining a regular schedule
  • exercising on a regular basis
  • getting enough sleep
  • avoiding the use of stimulants such as caffeine

What Is the Outlook for a Patient with This Condition?

Panic disorder is often a chronic (long-term) condition that can be difficult to treat. Some people with this disorder do not respond to treatment. Others may have periods when they have no symptoms and periods when their symptoms are quite intense. Most people with panic disorder will experience some symptom relief through treatment.

How Can Panic Disorder Be Prevented?

It may not be possible to prevent panic disorder. However, you can work to reduce your symptoms by avoiding alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine.

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Healthy Hair Tips

The biggest trend in hair these days is no trend at all. Gone are the days of the monolithic hairstyle—Dorothy Hamill’s sassy bob, Farah Fawcett’s flirty flip, and The Rachel. Today, a stylish woman could make any of these looks work.

First, though, your hair must be healthy. (Men, this goes for you, too.) To keep your hair in top form, it’s helpful to know a little about its composition and growth.

Hair Composition and Growth

Hair follicles are tiny pockets of epidermal cells in the dermis of the scalp and elsewhere on the body. The epidermis is the top layer of skin, and the dermis lies beneath it. Only the palms of the hands and soles of the feet are hairless. Hair is formed by a cluster of cells at the base of each hair follicle. This cell matrix is nourished by a blood supply from capillaries in the papilla, a structure nestled in its center. As cells in the matrix divide, they push upward out of the follicle.

The portion of hair within the follicle is called the root, and the visible portion outside the follicle is the shaft. A cylindrical (round) shaft produces straight hair, and a flat shaft produces wavy or curly hair. Pigments in the hair shaft make our hair chestnut brown, strawberry blonde, fiery red. As we age, we lose the ability to produce this pigmentation, and some or all of the hair turns white. Gray hair isn’t really gray; it’s an optical illusion produced by the intermingling of pigmented and unpigmented hairs. The fewer pigmented hairs there are, the more silvery gray the hair looks. The more pigmented hairs there are, the more the hair takes on a salt-and-pepper look.

Hair Care

Hair grows about five inches per year. Even unkempt styles should be trimmed every six or eight weeks to keep the hair healthy.

Bleaching to lighten hair and dyeing to darken or change its color are different processes. Bleaching removes pigment, whereas dyeing adds it. Sebaceous (oil) glands in each hair follicle naturally lubricate the hair shaft, but heat and chemical processes like bleaching can dry it out. If you color your hair, take care not to over-process it. This can dry out the hair shaft and make it vulnerable to breakage.

Let your hair air dry, or use a warm—not hot—blow dryer. Don’t hold the dryer in one spot for more than a few seconds. Likewise, if you use a curling iron or flatiron, avoid the hottest settings and don’t leave the plates or barrel in prolonged contact with the hair. Hot rollers must be left in several minutes in order to set. If you use hair accessories, choose ones that won’t damage your hair. Uncovered rubber bands will cause serious breakage in a hurry. Some barrette clasps or hinges and the teeth on headbands can do the same.

Use a shampoo that leaves your hair feeling clean and silky, but not heavy, greasy, or filmy. Stay away from cigarette smoke and other strong odors to keep it smelling fresh. Scaling of the scalp can be treated with an over-the-counter or prescription dandruff shampoo. If you have dry or flyaway hair, use a small amount of conditioner to tame it. It’s not necessary to pay big bucks for salon hair care products—store brands do just fine.

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What Is Eczema?

Eczema is a common skin condition marked itchy and inflamed patches of skin. It is also known as atopic dermatitis. It is more common in babies and young children. It occurs on the faces of infants, as well as inside the elbows and behind the knees of children, teenagers, and adults. It is caused by an overactive immune system. Up to 20 percent of children and one to three percent of adults develop atopic dermatitis, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In rare cases, atopic dermatitis can first appear during puberty or adulthood. It affects males and females equally. 

 

What Are the Types of Eczema?

When people refer to eczema, they usually mean atopic dermatitis, which is the common and chronic type of eczema. Other types include:

  • Contact dermatitis is caused by contact with irritants. Burning, itching, and redness occur. When the irritant is removed, the inflammation goes away.
  • Dyshidrotic dermatitis affects fingers, palms of the hand, and soles of the feet. It causes itchy, scaly patches of skin that flake constantly or become red, cracked, and painful. The condition is more common in women.
  • Nummular dermatitis causes dry, round patches of skin in the winter months. It usually affects the leg. It is more common in men.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis causes itchy, red, scaly rashes, particularly on the scalp, on the eyebrows, on the eyelids, on the sides of the nose, and behind the ears.

What Causes Eczema?

An eczema flare-up is when one or more eczema symptoms appear on the skin. The cause of eczema is not fully understood.

It is thought to be triggered by an overactive immune system that responds aggressively to the presence of irritants. 

Eczema is sometimes caused in part by an abnormal response to proteins that are part of the body. Normally, the immune system ignores proteins that are part of the human body and attacks only the proteins of invaders, such as bacteria or viruses. In eczema, the immune system loses the ability to distinguish between the two, which causes inflammation. 

Common triggers of eczema flare-ups include:

  • chemicals found in cleaners and detergents that dry out the skin
  • rough scratchy material like wool
  • synthetic fabrics
  • raised body temperature
  • sweating
  • temperature changes
  • a sudden drop in humidity

Other triggers include stress, food allergies, animal dander, and upper respiratory infections. 

What Are the Symptoms of Eczema?

Eczema is characterized by itchy, dry, rough, flakey, inflamed, and irritated skin. It can flare up, subside, and then flare up again. It can occur anywhere but usually affects the arm, inner elbow, back of the knee, or head (particularly the cheeks and the scalp). It is not contagious and becomes less severe with age. 

Red or brownish-gray patches are common symptoms. Small, raised bumps that ooze fluid when scratched are another symptom. Scratching causes them to become crusty, which can signal infection. Thickened, scaly skin is another symptom.

Eczema can cause intense itching. Scratching further irritates and inflames the skin. This can cause infections that must be treated with antibiotics.

What Are the Risk Factors of Eczema?

Several factors can increase the risk of developing eczema. 

Eczema is more common in children who suffer from asthma and/or hay fever or who develop these conditions later, usually before the age of 30. 

People with family members who have eczema are also at higher risk of developing the disease.

How Is Eczema Diagnosed?

To diagnose eczema, a physician will order a complete physical exam and ask questions about symptoms. 

While no specific test can diagnose eczema, a patch test can pinpoint certain allergens that trigger symptoms, such as skin allergies associated with contact dermatitis (a type of eczema). During a patch test, an allergen is applied to a patch that is placed on the skin. If you are allergic to that allergen, your skin will become inflamed and irritated.

How Is Eczema Treated?

A dermatologist, allergist, or primary care physician can help you identify the correct treatment for eczema.

Medications

Oral over-the-counter antihistamines may relieve itching. They work by blocking histamine, which triggers allergic reactions. Examples include:

  • cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • fexofendaine (Allegra)
  • loratidine (Claritin) 

Several antihistamines can cause drowsiness and should be taken at night. 

Cortisone (steroid) creams and ointments relieve itching and scaling. They should not be used long-term because of side effects including thinning of the skin, irritation, and discoloration.

Low-potency steroids like hydrocortisone are available over the counter. High-potency steroids may help patients who don’t respond to low-potency steroids. In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids. These can cause serious side effects including bone loss.

If there is an infection, a doctor may prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic.

Immunosuppressants are prescription medications that prevent the immune system from overreacting. This prevents flare-ups of eczema. Side effects include an increased risk of developing cancer, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.

Therapies

Light therapy, or phototherapy, uses ultraviolet light or sunlamps to help prevent immune system responses that trigger eczema. It requires a series of treatments, and can help reduce or clear up eczema, as well as prevent bacterial skin infections.

Lifestyle Changes

Stress can trigger or exacerbate symptoms. Ways to reduce stress include deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and listening to relaxing music. Prioritizing a good night’s sleep can help lower stress.

A cold compress can help alleviate itching, as can soaking for 15 to 20 minutes in a warm or lukewarm bath.

Alternative Treatments

Alternative treatments may help calm the symptoms of eczema. Because of potential side effects, always check with your primary care physician before using an herbal supplement or beginning an exercise routine. Popular home remedies include: 

  • green, black, or oolong tea
  • borage oil
  • primrose oil
  • acupuncture
  • aromatherapy
  • relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery

How Is Eczema Prevented?

Lifestyle changes like stress reduction and improved sleep can reduce the likelihood of an eczema flare-up. Avoid irritants like rough fabrics, harsh soaps, and detergents. Cold weather can also dry out the skin and trigger flare-ups.

People with atopic dermatitis should avoid scratching. To prevent breaking the skin, it can help to rub rather than scratch the areas that are itchy.

Because dry skin can trigger an eczema flare up, a dermatologist can recommend an ointment- or cream-based moisturizer that will help soothe your skin. 

What Is the Outlook for Eczema?

There is no cure for eczema. In some cases, eczema can cause additional health complications.

Skin infections like impetigo are brought on by constant itching. When scratching breaks the skin, bacteria and viruses can enter. Signs of this include redness, pus-filled bumps, cold sores, or fever blisters. If these symptoms appear, immediately contact a physician. 

Neurodermatitis is also caused frequent itching. It leaves skin thickened, red, raw, and darker in color. This is not a dangerous condition but may result in permanent discoloration and thickening of skin even when eczema is not active. Scratching can also cause scarring 

Many people with eczema report feeling embarrassed and self-conscious about their skin. Receiving proper treatment and getting stress under control can help calm the skin condition. Support groups also help sufferers cope.

Vigorous exercise can be difficult for people with eczema because sweating can bring on a bout of itching. Dress in layers so you can cool down while exercising. You may want to avoid intense physical activity during an eczema flare-up.

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Healthline has asked us to post their information about 'anaphylaxis on the body' on our website and blog. Please take some time to read it... Thank you

The Effects of Anaphylaxis on the Body

You may have a food intolerance or a minor allergic reaction to something you come into contact with, but that pales in comparison to anaphylaxis. Almost any substance can be an allergen, including foods and insect bites or stings. The cause can’t always be pinpointed. The first time you’re exposed to the substance, your immune system learns to recognize the foreign invader. In anaphylaxis, when you’re exposed again, your immune system has an exaggerated response that affects the whole body and may put your life in danger. Symptoms may begin within seconds and they can progress swiftly.

The first line of treatment is usually adrenaline, because it can turn things around quickly. Once you’ve experienced anaphylaxis, you’re always at risk, so you should take great caution to avoid the triggering substance. Your doctor will probably prescribe adrenaline in the form of a prefilled autoinjector that you can carry with you. If you need to use the autoinjector pen, you can inject yourself or have someone else do it for you. You should always seek medical help after using adrenaline. Symptoms sometimes return, but usually within a 72-hour period.

Immune System

Your immune system fights antigens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It learns to recognize these harmful substances and works to neutralize them. Once your immune system has come into contact with an antigen, it stores the information for future use. When it’s doing its job, you don’t get sick.

Sometimes, when you come into contact with that antigen again, your immune system overreacts, blowing the event out of proportion. Far too much histamine and other inflammatory chemicals are quickly released into your system. This causes a wide variety of problems that can have devastating results.

Adrenaline is a hormone produced naturally by your body. In anaphylaxis, an extra dose can help increase blood flow throughout your body and help reverse the immune system’s aggressive response.

Respiratory System

Inflammation in the respiratory system can cause the bronchial tissues to swell. Symptoms include shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. It can also cause fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and cough. You may make high-pitched or wheezing sounds when you breathe. A feeling of tightening in the chest and chest pain are common. Respiratory distress is a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate medical attention. Untreated, it can lead to respiratory arrest. Patients with asthma are at particular risk.

Skin (Integumentary System)

One of the more obvious signs of anaphylaxis can be seen on the skin. It may start out as itchiness and redness, or just a mild warming of the skin. It can progress to welts, or hives that hurt when you touch them. If your respiratory system is in trouble, skin may turn blue from lack of oxygen. Pale skin means you’re going into shock.

Circulatory System

In anaphylaxis, small blood vessels (capillaries) begin to leak blood into your tissues. This can cause a sudden and dramatic drop in blood pressure. Other symptoms include rapid or weak pulse and heart palpitations. When major organs don’t get the blood and oxygen they need to perform, your body goes into anaphylactic shock. This is a life-threatening medical emergency. Untreated, you are at great risk of damage to internal organs or cardiac arrest.

Digestive System

Even if your reaction is usually mild, food allergies put you at increased risk of developing anaphylaxis. Digestive system symptoms include bloating, cramps, and abdominal pain. You may also have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Central Nervous System

Even before the first physical symptoms occur, some people have a weird feeling – a sense that something bad is about to happen. Others describe a metallic taste in their mouth. Inflammation in the central nervous system can make you lightheaded or dizzy. Some people get a headache. There may be swelling of the eyes. The lips and tongue can swell enough to make it hard to talk. If the throat swells, it can block your airway. Anaphylaxis can cause mental confusion, anxiety, and weakness. Other symptoms include slurred speech, hoarse voice, and difficulty talking. As your body goes into shock, loss of consciousness occurs.

- See more at: http://www.healthline.com/health/anaphylaxis/effects-on-body#sthash.VqX6kIuq.dpuf

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Nearsightedness is an eye condition in which you can see nearby objects clearly, but faraway objects appear fuzzy or blurry. Nearsightedness is also called myopia.

Nearsightedness is extremely common and very treatable. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), almost 30 percent of adults and children in the United States are nearsighted. (AOA)

Anatomy: How Does the Eye Work?

Nearsightedness is caused by a refractive error. A refractive error occurs when your eye does not focus light correctly. If you are nearsighted, your eye focuses light entering the eye in front of the retina instead of onto the retina.

The retina is the surface at the back of your eye that collects light. The retina changes the light into electrical impulses that your brain reads as images.

A myopic, or nearsighted, eye focuses incorrectly because its shape is slightly abnormal. A nearsighted eyeball is usually a little too long, and sometimes, its cornea is too rounded. The cornea is the clear covering on the front of your eye.

Risk Factors for Nearsightedness

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), myopia is usually diagnosed between the ages of 8 and 12. (NEI) Your eyes are growing at this age, so the shape of your eyes can change. Adults usually remain nearsighted if they have the condition as a child. Adults can also become nearsighted due to certain health conditions, such as diabetes.

Visual stress can also be a risk factor for nearsightedness. Visual stress is eyestrain from doing detailed work, such as reading or using a computer.

Nearsightedness can also be an inherited condition. If one or both of your parents are nearsighted, you are likely to be as well.

Symptoms of Nearsightedness

The most obvious symptom of nearsightedness is blurry vision when looking at faraway objects. Children may have trouble seeing the blackboard at school. Adults might not be able to see street signs clearly while driving. Other signs of nearsightedness include:

  • headaches
  • eyes that hurt or feel tired
  • squinting

The symptoms of nearsightedness usually go away after treatment with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Headaches and eye fatigue may linger for a week or two as you adjust to your new eyeglass or contact lens prescription.

Correction for Nearsightedness

Your eye doctor can diagnose nearsightedness by performing a complete eye exam.

Correction for nearsightedness may include:

  • corrective lenses
  • corneal refractive therapy
  • refractive surgery

Eyeglasses and contact lenses are examples of corrective lenses. These devices compensate for the curvature of your cornea or the elongation of your eye by shifting the focus of light as it enters your eye.

Your prescription strength will depend on how far you can see clearly. You may need to wear corrective lenses all the time or just for certain activities, such as driving.

Contact lenses generally give you a wider field of corrected vision than glasses. Contact lenses are applied directly to the corneas of your eyes. Some patients cannot tolerate contact lenses because they irritate the surface of their eyes.

Refractive surgery is a permanent form of correction for nearsightedness. Also called laser eye surgery, the procedure reshapes your cornea to focus light onto the retina. Most people who have refractive eye surgery no longer need to wear contact lenses or eyeglasses.

Long-Term Outlook

Most nearsighted patients see marked improvement with treatment. Early treatment of myopia can prevent social and academic difficulties that can accompany poor eyesight.

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It is common knowledge that bleeding, chest pain, and high fever warrant emergency medical care. But what about less known symptoms, such as the need to urinate more, or having to strain to use the toilet? Are they serious? Here are nine symptoms that deserve your attention.

Weight and Fitness

Shortness of Breath

Chest pain is not the only telltale sign of a heart attack. Everyone’s symptoms are unique. For example, having a hard time catching your breath after an easy walk may be an early sign of coronary ischemia, a partial or complete blockage of an artery that carries blood to the heart. (A complete arterial blockage can cause a heart attack.) Make an appointment to see your doctor if you experience chest pain or shortness of breath. Other symptoms, such as pressure or tightness in your chest, extreme shortness of breath, or dizziness, warrant a visit to the emergency department.

Unintended Weight Loss

Unless you are actively trying to slim down, unexplained weight loss is a cause for concern. Such weight loss is one of the first signs of many diseases, including cancer. It is important to see your doctor and let them know if you are losing weight unintentionally.

Bathroom Symptoms

Bloody or Black Stools

Stool color can change from day to day based on the foods you are eating and the medicines you are taking. For example, eating beets can cause your stool to be alarmingly red. Likewise, iron supplements and diarrhea medicines such as Pepto-Bismol may temporarily turn your stool black or tarry. Anything in the brown or green spectrum is normal, but black, bloody, or lightly colored stool,can be a potential indicator of a significant underlying problem and deserves prompt medical evaluation..

Black stool may suggest you are bleeding somewhere in your upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Maroon-colored or bloody stool may suggest bleeding lower in the GI tract. See your doctor to check for bleeding, hemorrhoids, or ulcers. Lightly colored stools may signal a problem in the liver or bile ducts. If you notice unusual changes not explained by medication use, see your doctor immediately for help.

Frequent Urination

Frequent urination can be a sign of diabetes or prostate enlargement. People with diabetes urinate frequently because the kidneys are working overtime to eliminate excess sugar from the bloodstream. Potential symptoms of prostate problems include decreased flow when urinating, pelvic-area discomfort, and blood in your urine or semen. Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is common among older men, but symptoms should never be ignored because they can be identical to those of other, more serious conditions..

Constipation

This symptom can be troubling for two reasons. First, constipation can lead to excessive pushing and straining when trying to have a bowel movement. This increases your chance of developing hemorrhoids, which can cause bleeding around the rectum. Second, constipation may signal that something is blocking stool from exiting properly. Although occasional constipation is normal, and can be more common after age 50, it could also indicate a tumor, a polyp, or some other condition involving either obstruction or abnormal colon motility. Early diagnosis of colon problems is important, given the risks of colon cancer.

Other Symptoms

Erectile Dysfunction

Other than the obvious concerns regarding sexual performance, erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a sign of an even more serious problem, such as cardiovascular disease. ED may also be caused by increased stress or depression, which can be resolved with therapy or medicine. Men sometimes have a hard time talking to their doctors about this kind of problem, but in most cases, there is a solution. Do not be shy about mentioning erectile dysfunction to your physician. It is a condition that doctors treat often; there is no need for embarrassment.

Frequent Heartburn

Many men experience occasional heartburn after a greasy burger or a big pile of spaghetti, but if it happens after every meal, it might be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In people who have GERD (commonly known as acid reflux), stomach acid flows backward, up the esophagus. If left untreated, stomach acid can erode the tissues of the esophagus and cause irritation or ulcers. In a small subset of patients, chronic GERD can lead to cancer of the esophagus.

Symptoms of GERD may also mimic other rare but treatable problems of the esophagus, including sphincter dysfunction. Occasionally, a man may think he has heartburn but is actually experiencing heart problems. See your doctor if you have a long-standing complaint of heartburn.

Excessive Snoring

Chronic, loud snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea—a condition in which the muscles in your throat relax and temporarily block your airway while you are sleeping. This can cause breathing problems and disrupt sleep patterns. These constant interruptions may leave you feeling sleepy or fatigued, even after getting adequate hours of sleep for several nights. If left untreated, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can lead to pulmonary hypertension, a serious lung disease that can lead to heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms. Not surprisingly, snoring, and obstructive sleep apnea are linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Breast Mass

Most men think breast cancer is a women’s disease, but that is not the case. In fact, each year more than 1,000 men — mostly older men between 60 and 70 years of age — are diagnosed with breast cancer. If you feel a lump or thickening of tissue in the breast, or if your nipple darkens, turns red, or begins to have discharge, see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment are just as important for men with breast cancer as they are for women with the disease.

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University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day (UMHAN) believes that more attention should be focused on ensuring the positive wellbeing of people with mental health difficulties.  So 18 February will aim to get people from educational institutions involved in ensuring the mental health and well being of students, and staff, at higher education level.

So how does the UMHAN think this should be done?  There are different methods.  Through the proper installation of access ramps, hearing loops - and other factors like making sure lecture theatres and assignment methods are well adapted.

After all, what's the alternative?   That people with disabilities will have less higher education opportunities and in turn much less employment chances.  Unthinkable and unfair in what is supposed to be a fair society!

In the past there has been no legislation specially dedicated to helping people with mental health issues - instead, the emphasis has been on how to contain and manage people.

So this day is not only about encouraging positive changes in legislation and society, but also informing people more about the issues affecting people.   UHMAN believe it is important to move past any stigma attached ... and not just to change thoughts positively, but actions too!

So what can we do to help?   By taking part in University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day we all have an opportunity to change this situation for the better.  And it's to be held on campus of course!

UMHAN makes a good point - there is so much emphasis put on eating five fruit or veg a day to stay healthy - but what about putting equal importance on doing five things a day in promoting wellbeing mentally? To find out more about ways you can do this, visit the University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day website.

So once you've chosen how you're going to distribute the five point message, it's time to get people on board in a way you think will most appeal.  For example, do you think more people will be more on board with a show, like fashion or a movie night?  Or do you think you could get more people involved with volunteering?   It's up to you to decide what will get people the most interested!

Furthermore, if you want to find out more about student health or are experiencing any difficulties yourself, you may find some helpful information here.

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What Are Dental Cavities?

Dental cavities are permanently damaged areas that often develop into holes in the enamel, or hard outer surface, of your teeth. Cavities are also known as tooth decay or caries. Anyone with teeth can get a cavity, but they are most common in small children and young adults. There are three types of cavity:

  • smooth surface cavities, which appear on the sides of your teeth
  • pit and fissure cavities, which appear on the bumpy surface on the top of your tooth that is used for chewing
  • root cavities, which appear over the roots of your teeth, below the gumline

How Will I Know if I Have a Cavity?

The symptoms of a dental cavity will depend on the type of cavity and the severity of decay. When a cavity first develops, it’s likely that you won’t even know it’s there.

When a cavity gets larger, you may experience:

  • toothache
  • sensitivity to heat, cold, and sweets
  • pain when biting down
  • visible holes or black spots on teeth

Regular dental exams (about every six months) can help catch any problems early on. Finding a dental cavity before it starts causing you pain can help you avoid extensive damage and possible tooth loss. If you start feeling pain and aching in your mouth, see your dentist as soon as possible.

How Do Cavities Develop?

The cause of a cavity is tooth decay. The hard surface, or enamel, of your tooth can become damaged over time. Bacteria, food particles, and naturally occurring acids form a sticky film called plaque that coats your teeth. The acid in plaque eventually starts to eat away at your enamel. Once the acid eats through your enamel, dentin is next. Dentin is the second, softer layer of your teeth that is more easily damaged.

If your tooth decay continues without treatment, the pulp (inside) of your tooth may be affected. The pulp of your tooth houses blood vessels and nerves. When decay spreads to the pulp, it can cause nerve damage, resulting in pain, irritation, and swelling. In cases of advanced tooth decay, pus may form around the tooth as the immune system attempts to fight the decay–causing bacteria.

How Can I Relieve My Symptoms?

Treatment of your dental cavity will depend on how severe your tooth decay is.

Fillings and Crowns

Your dentist may use a filling to repair the hole in your tooth. Fillings can be made of a variety of materials, including metal and porcelain. During a filling, your dentist removes the decayed portion of your tooth using a drill and fills the hole with the chosen material. Crowns are used if a large amount of the tooth needs to be removed. Crowns are custom made and usually cover the entire top surface of the tooth.

Root Canals and Extractions

Once the decay reaches the inside of your tooth, a root canal may be necessary. Root canals involve removing the damaged nerve of your tooth and replacing it with a filling. Contrary to popular belief, root canals aren’t generally any more painful than regular fillings. (AAE)

An extraction, or tooth removal, is performed if your tooth is beyond repair. Your dentist can surgically remove your tooth and replace it with a false one, if you desire.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can strengthen tooth enamel and make teeth more resistant to decay caused by acids and bacteria. Fluoride treatments can also reverse early signs of tooth decay.

What Can I Do to Keep Cavities From Forming?

Taking good care of your teeth is the best way to prevent cavities. Great cavity prevention starts at home, but regular dental checkups are necessary as well. Follow these tips for good oral hygiene to prevent cavities:

  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride can stop and even reverse tooth decay, making it a powerful weapon in the fight against cavities.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice per day, once in the morning and once before bed. If you can, brush your teeth after meals as well.
  • Floss between your teeth daily to remove food particles and prevent plaque build-up.
  • Avoid frequent snacking and limit the amount of sweet, sticky foods you eat. Snacking can create a near-constant supply of tooth decay-causing acid in your mouth, and sugary, carbonated foods and beverages can damage enamel. If you do snack, rinse your mouth with an unsweetened beverage afterward to help remove food particles and bacteria from your mouth.
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Not everyone is a morning person. Yet if you want to breeze through your (great) day, it helps to start off with a streamlined, successful morning. Get your mind and body in a good place, and the world is your oyster. It’s only going up from here. 

Plan the Night Before
If you want to greet the day feeling relaxed and in-control, do your homework. Create your to-do-list and breakfast menu before you hit the sheets. Taking 15 minutes to get organized in the evening can save you a 30 minute crisis in the morning (Where are my keys? That shirt is dirty—really?) ... plus grant you invaluable serenity, so you can focus on bigger things. 

Fuel Right
What you put into your body when it’s waking up sets the tone for the next 24 hours. Now is a great time to choose quality protein (whey protein powder, eggs, Greek yogurt), healthy fats (avocado, olive oil), and complex carbs (whole-grain waffles, oatmeal). Chow down. 

Drink Up 
While you get your zzz's, your body loses water. Wake up and replenish with fluids stat. Choose something natural like spring water or ZICO Premium Coconut Water, which will keep you hydrated with five electrolytes: magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, and as much potassium as a banana. ZICO’s natural flavor is never sweetened, but it tastes refreshing and is just sweet enough.. 

Get in the Habit 
Routines save time and energy—you won’t have to stress to figure out what to do next. If you know your morning goes something like: meditate/drink coffee/run/blend smoothie/shower/shave/brush/floss/iron ... you can free your mind to focus and plan for the day ahead.

Get Introspective 
Does morning meditation sound ... sleepy? Even a few minutes of meditation deeply stimulates the brain, allowing you to clear distractions from your mind and center your mental energy. Set the timer for three minutes, and start there. Focus on your breath, and when your attention wanders, as it will, gently bring it back. A three-minute respite from the onslaught of your busy mind is a glorious thing. 

Now go, tackle your day. Live it up.

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AuthorMitchell Dutfield