Archive for April 11th, 2012

How To Lower Your Risk Of Catching Flu (Including Bird Flu)

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Influenza is in no way a new ailment to plague the people of the world. However, a new deadly strand of the virus has everyone running for cover. How do you avoid catching flu, including the dangerous bird flu that threatens so many? First, it should be explained that bird flu, also known as avian influenza, is a virus much like the regular flu we are accustomed to. It is transmitted in much the same way, through droplets of saliva and mucus. However, bird flu is currently only transmitted from infected birds to humans and can not be passed from human to human like the regular flu. The main concern arises with bird flu as it is expected to mutate and at some point be transmitted by humans as well. Until this takes place, bird flu is only passed from infected birds to humans by way of direct contact with the animal or its feces. The current outbreak of bird flu is taking place in Asia; therefore, there is little concern of catching the virus unless you are in that region and handling fowl. However, once the virus mutates it will be transmitted much like the standard flu and may be avoided in much the same way. The obvious first step in lowering your risk of catching the virus is being administered a vaccine. There is currently not a vaccine for the dangerous strand of influenza, but one is being developed. With any luck one will be produced prior to any widespread contamination of the virus. Another option is one utilized in most regular flu cases – taking antiviral medication, such as Tamiflu. These are expected to be effective on the dangerous strand of influenza as well as the regular flu virus. However, for this treatment to be useful, it must be administered early in the virus, typically within two days of showing symptoms. This and other drugs do not cure the virus, but instead lessen the effects of the symptoms. They may, however, prevent the virus from becoming severe. The most effective way to avoid catching the flu, the regular flu as well as the bird flu, is prevention. Proper hygiene reduces the risk of the spread of influenza. Simple things, like washing your hands and avoiding close contact with sick people, may be your best technique in lowering your risk of becoming infected. Utilizing hand sanitizer is also a useful option.

The West Nile Virus Mosquito

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

West Nile virus is a new member or «emergent» to the virus of the family. West Nile Virus is found in both tropical and temperate regions. Because of this it is a dangerous and world-wide killer. The Virus ainly infects birds, but also has the ability to affect humans, horses, and some other mammals. The Virus is spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. In the majority of cases, eight percent, people who are infected with the virus have none of the symptoms. In the other, approximately twenty percent, the virus causes mild symptoms which resemble those of the flu. These symptoms are known as West Nile. The virus is highly capable and able to pass through the blood-brain barrier. The most serious effects ofWest Nile Virusare encephalitis and meningitis. Both of these diseases can result in death. People that are over the age of fifty are at a greater risk of developing the severe disease. The symptoms of which include nausea, fever, stiff neck and changes in mental status. Symptoms to West Nile Virus will begin to develop three to fifteen days after the initial infection. Currently there is no known effective treatment to the virus. West Nile can be diagnosed by employing an ELISA test which will detect ‘IgM antibodies’ that develop as a result of the virus. The disease normally starts in an infected bird. A female mosquito will come and bite the infected birds who than carries the virus in her salivary glands. If she bites another bird they will become affected with the virus, and the diease continues to spread in that fashion.

H5N1 Bird Flu

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Bird flu is the street name for the Influenza A virus, which is the virus that causes Avian flu. The name says it all, as Bird flu is a virus that is hosted by birds. With that said though it may infect several other species of mammals. First identified in Italy in around 1905 the virus is now known to exist worldwide. One strain of the H5N1 virus of avian influenza that first surfaced in 1997 has been identified as the most likely source of a future influenza pandemic around the world. Different strains of the virus may infect various type of animals. These animals include including birds, pigs, horses, seals, whales. It is even known that the virus could reach humans in mass. Avian influenza quickly spreads in the air and in manure. Contaminated feed, water, equipment and clothing can also increase transmission. There is no proof at the moment that the virus can survive in well cooked meat. The incubation period for Bird Flu is 3 to 5 days. Symptoms vary among animals. Virulent strains of the H5N1 virus can cause death within a few days. Humans are affected with similar symptoms as other types of flu. Symptoms such as: – Fever – Cough – Sore throat – Muscle aches – Conjunctivitis In extreme cases, severe breathing problems and pneumonia can result which can be fatal. The result and the extremity of the infection will depend on the state of the infected person’s immune system. Somtimes a victim will have been exposed to the strain before, and will be in part immune to the virus. It’s important to Note that victims will not experience the flu like symptoms all of the time. An example is a boy who experienced diarrhea and then rapidly went into a coma without developing the respiratory or flu-like symptoms. This situation suggests non-standard symptoms.

Types Of Crohn’s Disease

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Crohn’s Disease, unlike ulcerative colitis, may affect any region of the digestive system. From the mouth to the anus, depending on which area of the body is affected, there are different types of Crohn’s Disease. Each encompasses slightly different symptoms and varies in intensity. You should be familiar with the various forms as your doctor may refer to your condition as one of the following five types of Crohn’s Disease. The most common type of Crohn’s is Ileocolitis, which affects the ileum, or lower part of the small intestine, and colon. Common symptoms experienced with this type is pain or cramping in the lower right part or middle of the abdomen, as well as diarrhea and weight loss. As with the other forms, as a result of inflammation, damage to the intestinal wall is common and may cause additional complications. Another form is Ileitis, which only affects the lower part of the small intestine, or ileum. There are similar symptoms as Ileocolitis, abdominal pain and diarrhea, and may include the formation of ulcerations or abscesses in the lower right area of the abdomen. Weight loss may also occur as a result of excessive diarrhea. Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease, on the other hand, involves the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum, and the stomach. Loss of appetite usually occurs, as well as weight loss as a result, and nausea. Vomiting may also occur and be a sign of bowel obstruction. This form is particularly difficult to deal with as it affects nutritional intake and may lead to malnutrition. Jejunoileitis is another type and causes inflammation in the upper half of the small intestine in patches. Abdominal pain is common, as with most forms of Crohn’s disease, but may vary from mild to intense. Pain usually occurs after meals and may include diarrhea. Fistulas may also form. If fistulas or abscesses form, they may lead to other complications as well. Crohn’s (granulomatous) colitis affects the colon only and not any other part of the intestines. Because of the effect on the lower digestive system, rectal bleeding is common, in addition to anal disease, such as ulcers, abscess, and fistulas. Other symptoms include diarrhea as well as joint pain and skin lesions, which may occur in other forms on Crohn’s but is more common in this type. This form, in particular, is easily misdiagnosed as ulcerative colitis, because both disorders affect the colon.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) guide

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Sexually transmitted diseases are escalating nowadays when more people have started entering into multiple sexual relationships. They might not consider this ethically wrong but the fact remains that such people are more prone to sexual diseases. However, if unfortunately one gets infected by any such disease, it is better to start ailment as soon as possible for these diseases have the potential to ruin your entire life. People often are embarrassed and scared to disclose their problem to others even to their friends but they fail to realize that delaying diagnose is compromising with their life. Thus, as soon as you fear a sexually transmitted infection, approach a doctor. This article informs the readers about certain primary STDs and their symptoms. 1. AIDS and HIV • Transmitted through – AIDS and HIV are two more or les related diseases. The HIV stands for the ‘human immunodeficiency virus’ and the disease that spreads through it is known as AIDS i.e. ‘acquired immune deficiency syndrome’. HIV travels through blood. It can be transmitted from one HIV positive person to his partner through sex. It can also pass on from the HIV positive mother to her child through infected breast milk and even from an infected syringe or other equipments that come into contact with the blood of the HIV positive to any other individual who is treated with the same devices. • Symptoms – weak immune system and susceptible to more infections than usual. HIV gets translated to AIDS when the HIV patient acquires a particular indicative illness. • Preventive Measures – not much available yet. But avoid taking drugs. Maintain hygiene. 2. Chlamydia – • Infected via – the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis is the cause of this infection. Once this bacterium enters the individual’s body it affects his mucous membranes, eyelids and even reproductive tissues. • Symptoms – the symptoms Chlamydia often confused with another similar STD called Gonorrhea and even with Conjunctivitis due to eyelid infection. The common symptoms to this disease are pain during sex, burning and abnormal discharge. Chlamydia can be without any typical indications also. • Prevention – the disease is curable. As a precautionary measure one should maintain hygiene during sex and get medical check up done in order to avoid infection. 3. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – usually women are afflicted by this disease. It is a an infection in the upper genital tract and reproductive organs including ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. • Spreads through- Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the two STDs that are most often responsible for this disease. Women between 15 to 25 years of age are more prone to be infected by it. Excess douching can also lead to PID for it cleanses the naturally beneficial bacteria from the women’s vagina. • Symptoms – When ailing PID, women might experience pain during intercourse, burning and even fever. • Precautions and Cures – antibiotics are useful to cure PID. But it is recommended to get frequent check ups done and in case the disease is discovered medicines and proper treatment should commence the very moment for PID can be unexpectedly harmful in later stages. 4. Gonorrhea – infects the individual’s sensitive tissues of reproductive system. • An individual can acquire this disease through all types of sexual contacts like oral sex. • Indications – the indicators to Gonorrhea are very few which makes it all the more difficult to adjudicate it and so stop it from being transmitted from one to the other person through sex. Symptoms are akin to Chlamydia so the two diseases are liable to be confused with each other. A person suffering from Gonorrhea experiences unusual discharge, burning, pain during sexual activity, swelling, fever and other infections like women may have bleeding between periods. • Remedies and Safety – treatment should commence in initial stages to cure Gonorrhea. Those who are pretty active in their sexual life should get check ups done on a regular basis to be on a safer side. Apart from these there are several other STDs not discussed here like Hepatitis, Scabies, Herpes, Syphilis, HPV etc. which are most common in ones. It is better to acquire information about them once you are sexually active and consult a gynecologist every now and then to avert from all kinds of STDs.

Acid Reflux-cause and natural remedies

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Natural stomach acid is in your stomach for a reason. The actual acid is not the cause of acid reflux disease. It is not a nasty poison that someone put there. The acid breaks down foods and sorts them out into the right department so to speak. Proper digestion depends on the presence of adequate stomach acid while you are eating. When you eat, food moves from the mouth through the esophagus and into the stomach to be digested. At the end of the esophagus, there is a band of muscles that open and allow the food to go into the stomach. It then closes to prevent the food and acid from coming back up into the esophagus. Many people experience acid reflux when foods or digestive juices escape the stomach and come back up through the esophagus. To make sure your stomach has enough acid at mealtimes, make sure you chew your food thoroughly. Getting saliva mixed into the food as you chew will get the digestion process off to a good start. Snacking throughout the day causes the stomach to pump out acid gradually instead of saving it for mealtimes when it is needed the most. It is best to not eating closer than three hours apart. For example – if you eat breakfast at six a.m. and lunch at twelve p.m. then a snack at nine a.m. would be fine. Next, make sure you do not drink too much liquid while eating a meal. Too much liquid dilutes the necessary acid in the stomach. The best policy is to drink a glass of water 30 minutes to one hour before or after your meal, with only a few ounces consumed during the meal. After you have eaten, one hour or two feel free to guzzle down all the pure natural water you want. Another cause of acid reflux comes from eating large meals. This increases pressure on the stomach causing the stomach contents to be forced out and up into the esophagus. You will need to give your body at least two hours to digest your food properly. In addition, never ever lie down immediately after eating a large meal. To avoid overproduction of acid eat smaller portions of food at each meal. It would also help a lot to eliminate any fried food or food that contains refined sugar, or caffeine. Obesity can also increase abdominal pressure, and your risk of suffering from acid reflux as well. If you are overweight, cutting back on the amounts of food that you eat at each meal, and exercising daily should put you on the right path to helping you shed a few pounds. Acid reflux is caused in some people when the sphincter muscle at the end of the esophagus becomes weak or does not close correctly. Prescription drugs, certain foods, alcohol, and smoking have been known to weaken the sphincter muscles. Try not to use antacids since they cut down the acids you will need when you eat. Without enough acid, your stomach is unable to do its job of breaking down the food into the various nutrient components. Inadequate digestion of proteins can cause the liver to increase production of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol that does the most damage to your body. Instead of taking antacids, try the following natural approach. If you still have sour stomach in between meals try eating something that will settle it without triggering more acid production such as sauerkraut. Your stomach should relax after eating sauerkraut in five to ten minutes. The benefits of natural solutions are they normally cost a lot less, but even more important is the fact that natural solutions are a healthier alternative. They tend to reduce the possibility of becoming dependant on addictive chemical drugs. There are also three herbs that are well known for soothing stomach muscles, which are chamomile, gentian, and ginger. If your problem does not respond successfully to natural remedies within a few days, please see your health care provider.

What you need to know about viral diseases?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

There is a very long-standing liaison between human beings and virus that wander unreservedly in our environment. Virus has a long history of disconcerting people. A virus is a microorganism that is not visible to the naked eye. It is highly contagious and communicable. A virus attacks and clips to a living cell of the human body. It then discharges its DNA or RNA, which smashes the original genetic material and functioning of the cell. But before the victimized cell expires, it leaves or releases more of that virus. The virus multiplied in such a fashion impedes the growth and working of other healthy cells too, so much so that sooner or later the entire body comes in its grips. However, the immune system of the body endeavors its best to brawl the viral attack. But it does not succeed in all the cases. Due to this reason, the doctors and dieticians prescribe a healthy diet rich in nutrition that strengthens the resistance of the body. The Residence and Transmission of Virus – there are different types of viruses known. Some infect humans, others animals and a few affect both. Viruses are everywhere in our surroundings. They can be transmitted via the food we eat, air we breathe, water we drink, sexual contact etc. Some common Viral Infections – there are some well known viruses and the diseases caused by them. · HIV virus is one that destroys the cells in the immune system of our body. It is therefore named as HIV i.e. Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV takes the form of AIDS at an advanced later stage. HIV virus reaches the human body through several ways such as – via sex with a partner who is already living with HIV, though infected mother’s milk to her child, through human saliva, HIV contaminated needles, syringes and so forth. Thus, one should be very cautious regarding all these factors. Completely safety should be observed to avert lifelong HIV infection especially because no adequate cure is yet available to eliminate the effect of HIV. · Hepatitis is even caused by virus. Since different kinds of viruses are at work, there are different types of hepatitis. These viruses harm the human liver, which results in its burning or inflammation. Hepatitis A and E spread via the food and water of the infected person and through anal sex. There exists a vaccine for hepatitis A but not for E. Hepatitis B is caused by unprotected sex, childbirth and contact with infected person. Vaccination is available for hepatitis B and it is better nowadays to get vaccinated against it. This sterilization also ceases the threat to be caught by hepatitis D in future. Hepatitis C virus is transferred by the way of contaminated blood and is cured through medicines. A possible prevention to hepatitis is to maintain hygiene and vigilance in matters of sex and contacts with other persons. · West Nile Virus is known for causing diseases in animals, birds as well as humans. In humans the WNV reaches through the bite of an infected mosquito. Once the virus enters an individual’s blood, it can get transferred to all those who come in contact with it though blood transfusions, organ transplants, breastfeed and so forth. In order to prevent oneself from the WNV, check the population of mosquitoes in your area and near your house. Don’t allow water logging, open bins, unhygienic sanitation, open pits etc. in your vicinity . Medication through drugs and no vaccination per se is present for WNV. · Mostly the Asian and African continents encounter the threat of Polio Virus. This virus can result in a minor to complete paralysis. The poliovirus can infect person of any age. Due to the lack of hygiene this virus comes in the air through human feces and gets circulated. It enters the human body through his mouth and makes its way to the intestines. This virus particularly damages the legs of the person. The paralysis in legs due to poliovirus cannot be cured. It also destroys the respiratory system by making the breathing muscles immobile. Most often polio hits the infants. Polio drops and vaccines are available everywhere. People should take them and give these to their kids too.

Possible Treatments For Crohn’s Disease

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Treatments of Crohn’s Disease are primarily limited to medication and surgery. There are several anti-inflammatory medications that have proven to be beneficial, as well as various forms of surgery depending on the location of the affected area of bowel. Although none of these actually cure Crohn’s Disease, they are helpful is controlling the symptoms. In ebook 2 of “A Complete Guide to Crohn’s Disease and Possible Treatments,” each of these treatments is looked at more completely. There are five basic categories of medication to treat Crohn’s: aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immunomodulators, antibiotics, and biologic therapies. Aminosalicylates are used to treat various inflammatory bowel diseases. While used less often with Crohn’s, it has proven to be effective in mild to moderate cases. Corticosteroids work to control inflammation and have been the primary medication treatment since the drug was introduced. Newer version of this type of steroid has proven even more effective in treating Crohn’s. Immunomodulators are used to suppress the body’s immunity mechanisms, which is useful in treating Crohn’s as it is believed the disease may be brought on by the body’s attempt to rid the intestine of bacteria. Antibiotics, on the other hand, are used to rid the body of bacteria and actually repress the intestinal immune system. Biological therapies have recently become a major player in treating Crohn’s. These are created by various living organisms and, in the case of Crohn’s treatment, include the use of an antibody which works to suppress the body’s release of a particular chemical that increases inflammation. Crohn’s Disease is also treated by surgery. At some point, the majority of people with this disease will have to have a portion of their intestines removed should it become blocked with scar tissue, develop an abscess, or if a fistula requires repair. In the case of a resection, a portion of the bowel is removed, and the two remaining ends are rejoined. However, in more severe cases an ileostomy or colostomy are required, in which fecal matter is redirected, after the removal of a portion of bowel, to a hole in the abdomen to leave the body. The two latter types of surgery are particularly difficult for the patient, as they will then have to wear a bag in which stool is collected. However, there have been major advancements to make this less difficult for the patient. A less effective treatment option for Crohn’s disease is to control the intake of certain foods. While it is clear Crohn’s Disease is not caused by any particular food, some people notice an increase in certain symptoms with particular foods and a decrease with others. This will vary by individual, but is an option for sufferers of Crohn’s.

Autism: A Brief Overview

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Autism has affected more than 1.5 children in the USA. It is a lifelong condition for which there is no cure. What is Autism? Autism is a disorder caused in children during the first three years of their life. Autism is essentially a brain disorder. It affects the normal functioning of the brain. Autism is characterized by a disability in a child’s verbal and non-verbal communication. A child with autism suffers from mental retardation, stereotyped activities and impaired learning. The child also suffers from restrained social interactions and pursuits of individualistic interests and hobbies. What causes Autism? Despite the fact that autism is such a life impairing disorder, researchers have not detected its common cause. Several studies indicate that it is caused due to abnormalities in the brain’s structure and working. This fact has been supported by various brain scan comparisons. The comparisons showed that an autistic child’s brain shape and structure differs from that of a normal child. Genes are also considered as a cause of autism. Genetics play an important role in a person’s lifestyle and behavior. A child can suffer from autism if he has a family history of autism or other disabilities. 1 out of every 500 children is believed to develop autism on a genetic basis. Even if one child in the family suffers from autism, the chances of autism increase in the other children up to 20 percent. Prenatal infection with viruses such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) and rubella can also result in the development of autism in a child. If the pregnant mother has not built up immunity against this virus, it can cause autism in the new-born child. Autism can also develop in individuals suffering from medical conditions like Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis and undiagnosed phenylketonuria (PKU). Developmental brain abnormalities like macrocephaly, cerebral dysgenesis and microcephaly can also cause autism. Neurological disorders like bacterial meningitis and lead encephalopathy which are acquired after the birth can also lead to autism. Features of a child suffering from autism Autism is known to affect three prime areas of a child’s life – verbal and non-verbal communication, creative mind play and social interaction. A child’s ability in these three areas is impaired. The severity varies from individual to individual. One of the prime symptoms of autism is impaired social interaction. A child suffering from autism fails to respond to his name. The child avoids looking at other people and their activities. A child would remain passive to various tones of voice. He would remain blank about facial expressions and would not react to emotions of people. He is completely oblivious of what others feel for him, and what impact he is leaving on people. A child suffering from autism tends to engage himself in repetitive activities like biting, rocking, hair twirling and even head banging. Autistic children refer to themselves by their names instead of ‘I’ or ‘me’. They also tend to speak quite late compared to other children. An autistic child shows unusual responses towards touch, sound or any other sensory stimulation. He might show decreased reaction and sensitivity towards injury or pain. He might react against being cuddled and other activities. A child suffering from autism shows impaired learning. He finds it difficult to adjust himself to a daily give and take routine. He would avoid making eye contact with almost everyone. He spends his time in solitude and offers resistance to being kissed and hugged. He doesn’t even react in the absence of parents. He tends to takes longer time in interpreting and understanding things. As they grow, autistic children can become aggressive and show a tendency to harm others. They become increasingly frustrated and may even harm themselves. Children might also develop a condition known as echolalia. In this condition they only learn things by parroting what they hear. A child suffering from autism also suffers from a lack of creativity. He might simply gaze at a new object or toy, or hold it. He would not play or experiment with it, like normal children. Treatment There is no specific medication that can be given in the treatment of autism. Treatment differs according to the severity of the impairment in a child. If you feel your child displays signs of autism a specialist should be consulted immediately for diagnosis and also to suggest what treatment can be given.

Halitosis

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Halitosis is widespread and quite common. You have probably discretely stepped away from friends or colleagues with Halitosis (bad breath). But it can also be a shock to realize that others, for the same reason, may be edging (discretely) away from you! How can you know if your breath is offensive? Try this simple Halitosis test: Lick the inside of your wrist and wait 4 seconds. Now smell your wrist. If you don’t like what smell, your breath does not smell good either. Easy, no? An accurate and portable diagnosis! I have a friend who is a sensitive person. We were sitting at a table and I asked him how his day was. He said OK, but his breath was bad and his stomach seemed upset. After I asked a few more questions he finally let on he that he’d had an argument with his employer. As he was telling his story he drank the big glass of water I had given him. And as soon as he’d unburdened his feelings and the water was gone… so was his bad breath/ halitosis. The moral of this story… dehydration and emotional issues can both affect our breath. What causes Halitosis? • Not enough water in your body, dehydration. • Gum or tooth problems/ disease • Intestinal/ stomach disorders, yeast infection • Use of medications • Stress Certain foods also cause Halitosis such as onions, coffee, and garlic. Too much spice also creates bad odor. Some of these smells may not leave your breath even after 72 hours of digestion. So reducing the intake of these products may help in some form and you may have a much tolerable breathe. I could go on and on about the distinct varieties of Halitosis smells among those who drink alcohol, who smoke, who have diabetes, internal bleeding, liver diseases, or cancer. But I will spare you the unsavory details. The point is to focus on clean breath, and to heal the underlying causes of Halitosis, which will give you better health and more enjoyment of your life. By welcoming Halitosis as an opportunity to take preventive measures, you will be doing yourself a world of good. If you want to know more, please visitthis siteabout how to cure Halitosis.

Allergies The Silent Disease

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Allergies affect approximately 60 million Americans, which means one in every five adults or children suffer from them, and are common in men as well as in women. Thirty-five million people have upper respiratory symptoms, which are allergic reactions to airborne pollen. Around 10 million Americans have allergies to cats and two million present severe reactions to various insect stings. Food allergies are less common in the family of allergies. About one out of three people pretend to have a food allergy and only about three to eight percent of children younger than three years old, and only one percent of adults really have an allergic reactions to food. Unfortunately, food allergies are blamed for close to 200 deaths every year. Scientists say that allergies have to do with genetics. If one parent has allergies, there are 33% chances that each child will suffer from a form of allergy. If both parents are allergic, it is very much possible (seven cases out of 10) that their children will be allergic, too. If we are to discuss about allergies, we should have in view the fact that allergies usually stay with adults, while children sometimes outgrow them. An allergy is in fact the response of your body to something that it perceives as a threat. Your body fights the allergen in the same way it would fight a virus or a bacterial infection. We can take as an example the pollens of some plants that are small and light and can be taken away by the winds for miles. Ragweed pollen has been found 400 miles out at sea and two miles up in the atmosphere.

Is Fibromyalgia a disease, a collection of symptoms or is it all in your head?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

For weeks you have been aching from head to foot. You have no energy, you can’t concentrate and you can’t remember the last time you got a good night’s sleep. You have been to the doctor a few times already and all he can tell you is what you DON’T have. You have read about fibromyalgia and even talked to others that have been diagnosed with the disease. Yet, so far, no one can tell you whether you have it or not? Sound familiar? Well welcome to the world of fibromyalgia diagnostics. It is bad enough that there is no cure or significantly effective treatment for this condition, but it is even more frustrating when it takes so long for anyone to tell you that the problems you are having are caused by fibromyalgia. There is no debate as to the validity of fibromyalgia as a disease. In fact, the World health Organization has recognized the disease for many years. It is the diagnosis that is debatable. Fibromyalgia is a very confusing and misunderstood condition. It has been known by many different names for well over a century but was not termed “fibromyalgia” until the 1970’s. The term is derived from the actual experience of the condition. “Fibro” – which represents the fibrous tissues affected (i.e. ligaments and tendons); “Myo” – representing the muscular system; and “Algia” – meaning “pain,” which is the dominant manifestation of this disease. Essentially, fibromyalgia means being in pain almost everywhere. Fibromyalgia must be diagnosed through a process of elimination. In other words, before a complaint can be labeled fibromyalgia, it must first be determined that there is not some other cause. If your appendix is inflamed, you have appendicitis. If you fall and bang your head a CT scan will indicate if you have a concussion. But if you ache all over and suffer from chronic fatigue for months on end, have trouble focusing and struggle with anxiety and depression, it must first be determined what you DON’T have rather than what you DO have. Because if you have fibromyalgia, there is no test that will indicate that you have it. In other words, diagnosing fibromyalgia is difficult. This process is very contrary to the health care system as currently structured. The optimal level of testing and analysis to reach a confident diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be cost prohibitive. As a result, the symptoms of fibromyalgia can be conveniently dismissed as psychosomatic. Conversely, fibromyalgia can become the catchall diagnosis when there is resistance to traveling the long road to a conclusive diagnosis. Either way, the patient loses. Sometimes, a patient receives great relief when they are told what the problem is, even if a solution is unclear. Receiving a confidant diagnosis of fibromyalgia may not provide relief but at least it allows the sufferer to move forward to explore treatment alternatives. The American College of Rheumatology has made this diagnostic process easier for patient and physician by developing criteria for fibromyalgia that can be used in diagnosing the disorder. According to the criteria established by the ACR, a person is considered to have fibromyalgia if he or she has experienced widespread pain for at least three months in combination with tenderness in at least 11 of 18 specific tender point sites. While this may not be as definitive as a blood test or X-rays for other conditions, at least there is guidance that results in diagnosis with a high degree of confidence. As for treating fibromyalgia… well that’s another story! (I’ll deal with treatments in a subsequent article. Stay tuned.)

Pertussis or Whooping Cough

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Whooping cough a.k.a(also known as) Pertussis is a highly contagious disease. Whooping cough is one of the leading causes of vaccine-preventable deaths. There are 30 to 50 million cases of Pertussis per year. Of these millions of cases there is about three hundred thousand deaths each year. Basically all of these deaths occur in children under twelve months of age. Another quick statistic is that of these 30 to 50 million cases, 90% occor in developing countries. The disease was easily and widely recognized in as early as 1578. It was later isolated in pure culture in 1906 by Octave Gengou and Jules Bordet. The complete Pertussis genome of 4,086,186 base pairs was sequenced in 2002. Inititially theWhooping Coughis characterized by mild respiratory infection symptoms. These symptoms include a cough, sneezing, and runny nose. This initial stage lasts for about one to two weeks. After this first two week period the cough changes character, with paroxysms of coughing followed by a «whooping» sound. Often times these coughing fits are followed by vomiting. This constant coughing and vomitting in several cases leads to malnutrition. Coughing fits gradually go away over the first one to two months. Other complications of the disease include pneumonia, encephalitis, pulmonary hypertension, and secondary bacterial superinfection. Whooping Cough is spread by contact with an airborne discharge from the mucous membranes of an infected person. The disease is treated with antibiotics like erythromycin, azithromycin and clarithromycin. These antibiotics result in the person becoming less infectious but in the majority of cases does not change the outcome of the disease. Immunizations for whooping cough are often combined and given with tetanus and diphtheria immunizations. These immunizations are given to infants at ages 2, 4, and 6 months, and later at 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years. Many cases of Whooping cough in adults will go unnoticed and diagnosed due to the fact that it is much less severe.

10 ways to protect your self from bankruptcy caused by prolonged illness

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Accidents and prolonged sickness can be a drain both emotionally as well as financially. Sometimes money crunch is caused by the inability to hold a job, or when the medical bills escalate and it becomes increasingly difficult to balance expenses. Further, medical insurance may prove insufficient or will not cover long term medications. Life has become such that one needs to think about and plan for any eventuality. Experts recommend the following: 1. Ask your doctor for samples of medication. 2. Often an older drug is effective and cheaper. Request the doctor to write a prescription for a drug that is more affordable. According to studies you can save up to 75% this way. 3. Find out the generic name of the medication and choose to purchase it instead of branded medication —the saving can amount to as much as 70%. 4. Very often companies sell higher dosages of medication for a marginally higher cost. Be prudent, buy the higher dosage and spilt the medication in half, one-third, or quarters. The savings you can make are almost 50 %. 5. Order 90-day supplies in bulk from discount mail order pharmacies or online services. The savings are considerable and many doctors help long term patients reduce costs by putting the patients in touch with distributors. 6. If a particular medication is very expensive ask the doctor to recommend a substitute. This is known as therapeutic substitution. 7. Do try comparison shopping. You will find that the same medication is priced differently in local pharmacies, online outlets, and chain stores. Online pharmacies like http://www.walgreens.com/, www.costco.com , or http://www.drugstore.com/ offer medications at affordable prices. 8. There are several patient-assistance programs that offer free or discounted medication to those who cannot afford long term illness. Companies like Merck have programs that benefit uninsured patients. Medicines are given at discounts of 10-40%. 9. If you or a family member travels frequently you could buy your medicines abroad. Often the same medicine manufactured by the same company is much cheaper overseas. One can also order medicine by mail from Canada where medicines cost 30-50% less than the US. But do check the laws before you attempt this. 10. Start a health saving account where you can save pre tax dollars towards unforeseen medical expenses. This has a high deductible. Find out if you or other family members are eligible. Use an insurance broker who always thinks of you. He must keep you updated on all new developments as far as health schemes are concerned and make sure you reap all the benefits of the insurance scheme. You could also consider a critical illness policy in addition to a regular health insurance.

What Is Diagnosis

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

«Diagnosis» is a fancy name given to the process of identifying diseases. It is a Greek name. Break it down; «dia» means «by» and «gnosis» means «knowledge». How do I diagnose my illness? You don’t! Diagnosis is for doctors and physicians only. They determine your disease by the signs and symptoms that it gives you. If it is unclear by symptoms as to what you are sick with, you will consult a physician. A physician will take their best guesses as to your problems name, and medically test you for it. After your diagnosis is complete through blood test, medical imaging, saliva samples, biopsy, electrocardiogram, stool samples, or urine tests, the physician will decide which is the best way to treat you. Diagnosis is sometimes made by process of elimination. This is called a «differential diagnosis». Through investigation of symptoms and consultations with other doctors or physicians, they are able to tell what you DO NOT have, thus leaving them with your most likely disease. In the 1900’s, a man named William Osler began to «practice» medicine. He used the principles of diagnosis and treatment to reduce suffering and increase life expectancy. Osler decided that to practice medicine you must learn to identify diseases, understand where they come from and how they work, and then decide which is the best way to cure them. This is known today as «The Oslerian Ideal». And we have this man to thank for medicine practice today. I suppose, however, we could also thank him for waiting rooms…

Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Chemotherapy Treatments

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with drugs that can destroy cancer cells. These drugs often are called «anti-cancer» drugs. Your doctor will recommend an appropriate chemotherapy plan based on your medical history, type of cancer, extent of cancer, current state of health, and updated research. Many people hear about chemotherapy from friends and family or read about it in books or brochures. What you hear and read can give you a general idea about chemotherapy treatments; however, all of the information may not apply to you and your specific situation. Before deciding to begin chemotherapy, you should ask your doctor questions that will help you understand treatment and what to expect during treatments. Some of the important questions to ask your doctor are: • Why do I need chemotherapy? • What are the risks of chemotherapy? • What are the benefits of chemotherapy? • What do you hope the chemotherapy will do for me? • What are the specifics of chemotherapy treatments in my case? • Are there any other possible treatment methods for my type of cancer? • What type of chemotherapy drugs will I be given? • How will the chemotherapy drugs be given to me? • How long will I be receiving chemotherapy treatments? • How long will each treatment last? • Who will give me the treatments? • How will I feel during chemotherapy? • What are the short term side effects of chemotherapy? • Are there any long term side effects of chemotherapy? • How soon can I expect any side effects to occur and how long will they last? • What can I do to prepare for any side effects? • Are there medicines available to help me manage any side effects I may have? • Can I continue to work or go to school during treatment? • Will I see a doctor at each treatment? • Should I bring a family member or friend along to each treatment? • Will I need someone to drive me to and from treatments? • How will we know if the chemotherapy treatments are working? • After I finish chemotherapy, what kind of follow-up care will I receive? • What activities should I do or not do to take care of myself? • Are there any clinical trials for my type of cancer? • What other resources offer information and support for chemotherapy patients? When you sit down and ask the doctor these important questions regarding chemotherapy, the following tips might help you keep track of the information you learn during visits with your doctor: • Bring a friend or family member to sit with you while you talk with your doctor. This will help you understand what your doctor says during your visit and they can help refresh your memory afterward. • Ask your doctor for printed information that is available on your specific type of cancer and treatment. • Take notes during your appointment. If you need more time to write ask your doctor to talk slowly. • You may want to ask if you can use a tape recorder during your visit. Take notes from the tape after the visit is finished. That way, you can review your conversation later as many times as you wish. Chemotherapy is difficult for anyone to undertake but if you are prepared by knowing what to expect throughout the treatment you may be able to handle it better both physically and mentally.

Alcoholism Stages – 3 Stages Of Alcoholism You Should Know

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Alcoholism stages can be categorized into three stages of alcoholism – early stage, middle stage and end stage alcoholism or late stage alcoholism. Alcoholism stages generally take years to develop. Alcoholism is a disease where alcoholic beverage consumption is at a level that interferes with physical or mental health, and negatively impacts social, family or occupational responsibilities. Consuming no more than one or two drinks per day for healthy men and a drink a day for healthy non-pregnant women are generally considered acceptable alcohol consumption without health risks. However, as the amount or frequency of drinking increases, the earliest of the alcoholism stages can develop as a result. Early Stages of Alcoholism In the early alcoholism stages, a person begins to depend on alcohol to affect their mood. They drink for relief from problems, and they begin thinking more and more about alcohol. The person and others around them may not recognize that they are in the earliest of the stages of alcoholism. A gradual increase in tolerance happens, meaning, it takes increasing amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired mood-altering effects. Often, the person can consume large amounts of alcohol without appearing impaired. At the early alcoholism stages, the body has adapted to increasing amounts of alcohol. In fact, how a person functions will likely be improved with drinking as blood alcohol levels rise. For example, they can think and talk normally or walk a straight line with no problem. However, with continued alcohol consumption over time, the body begins to lose its ability to deal with high alcohol levels. As this occurs, when the alcoholic stops drinking and their blood alcohol level decreases, their thinking, talking or walking functions deteriorate, and they are moving into the next of the stages of alcoholism. Middle Alcoholism Stages The need and desire to drink gradually becomes more intense. Drinking larger amounts and more often happens as well as drinking earlier in the day. The alcoholic is losing control over drinking, and the body is losing its ability to process alcohol like it did in the early stages of alcoholism. Their tolerance decreases as they become intoxicated more easily. Withdrawal symptoms begin to become more severe if alcohol is reduced. The person may now secretly recognize there is a drinking problem, and others may begin to notice as well. Unfortunately, the alcoholic no longer can judge how much alcohol their body can handle. Typically, the drinker denies to themselves and others that alcohol is a problem so they won’t have to deal with their inner turmoil. Hangovers, blackouts and stomach problems can now be physical symptoms that occur on a regular basis. End Stage Alcoholism As alcoholism progresses, the alcoholic has become obsessed with drinking to the exclusion of nearly everything else. Everyone can tell there’s a major problem. During the late alcoholism stages, the mental and physical health of the alcoholic are seriously deteriorating. Many of the body’s organs have been damaged which lowers resistance to disease. Relationships at home or socially may have been severely damaged, and there can be mounting financial and legal problems due to the alcoholic’s powerlessness over alcohol. Every alcoholic will suffer from malnutrition. Alcohol in large amounts interferes with the digestion process and the passage of nutrients from the intestines into the bloodstream. Liver function has been damaged, further limiting the conversion of nutrients into a usable form that the body can assimilate. The damaged cells are not receiving the needed nutrients, they cannot repair themselves and the damage continues. Nutritional deficiencies cause a host of related problems to become worse. For example, a vitamin B-1 deficiency common in alcoholics can result in loss of mental alertness and appetite, fatigue, confusion and emotional instability. And if the alcoholic continues drinking, alcohol will cause the death of the alcoholic in one way or another. From suicide, accidents and related injuries to direct damage to the body’s organs and systems, death will likely be the final outcome of end stage alcoholism. Are there warning signs of alcoholism? Yes! Understand the signs and symptoms that indicate that alcohol consumption is becoming or is already a problem. There are resources available in a variety of ways to help deal with alcoholism stages and the serious consequences of this disease.   InfoSearch Publishing

Avian Flu: Are We All Sitting Ducks?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you’ve heard the buzz: bird flu, avian flu, pandemic. Heck, even Ted Koppel admitted he’s been doing outside reading on the Flu’s origin. What does it all mean? Is it really cause for concern? As always it’s best to educate yourself on the state of affairs, then decide what you can do. What we know: President Bush has outlined a 7 billion dollar program to prepare the US for the outbreak of the avian flu virus. Thanks much, but studies also report that even with this large number there could be a shortage if we reach a full blown pandemic (Never mind the question, where-o-where will we find the 7 billion?). Therefore, before we become panic stricken, let’s first note the facts beginning with the query: Why is this flu such a concern? What we know: The particular strain of influenza H5N1 has shown up in birds first in Hong Kong and moved throughout Asia. The cases of human casualty have all been with persons in contact with the virus (I could only find one exception to this). Thus, the majority of deaths (somewhere around 60) have resulted from contact with an infected bird. From this we conclude, in all likelihood H5N1 in its current form does not spread from person to person. The fear: The virus mutates to form a hybrid version that can become airborne and spread from human to human at an alarming rate. This frightens researchers because humans have not developed immunity to one particular protein in the strain. In all likelihood? The mutation could simply lead to a less severe version of the original. The absolute worst case scenario: The virus becomes self evolving creating a rapidly spreading pandemic. What we know: Immunologists seem in agreement that most humans build an immunity to a variety of influenza strains and a strong immune system can be the first responder to a flu attack. Although several prototype vaccines are currently being developed, there is no guarantee that they will be able to conquer a mutated virus, and while two antiviral drugs “Tamiflu” and “Relenza” are believed to reduce the severity of H5N1, they must be given within a 24-48 hour period after infection. Yet the same mutation disclaimer could also apply. The shot then, while always a good idea for special populations and children, does not offer a magic bullet as far as this scientist can speculate . Are we all sitting ducks then, waiting to be swallowed up by such devastation? I say: a resounding “No!” What we should be publicizing is: There is much you can do to arm yourself. First, have hope. Next, learn to build your immune system. Exercise, proper nutrition, sound sleep and meditation are all things you can do on a daily basis that will stimulate the immune system and build your force field against dangerous pathogens. It’s not just me saying so, either. This is the prescription given by researchers at Columbia University’s School of Public Health. And finally, As much as I believe it is important to be well informed about the state of the world at large, take a break from the negativity, and forget about natural selection. While Darwin may be looking down and wringing his hands from above, God knows we’ve all got better things to do. For more info visit: www.pandemicflu.gov Resources: USA Today Associated Press

Syphilis And The Pope

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Syphilis is a common and well known sexually transmitted disease (STD). Sexual intercoarse is the most common of 3 possible ways to contract it. If it is not transmitted sexually, it is possible, but rare, to get an infection through direct contact. Your body will also accept the disease from your birth mother. This is called congenital syphilis. Many historic figures have suffered from syphilis, including Pope Alexander VI, Christopher Columbus, King Henry VIII and five of his wives, Francis I of France, Ivan the Terrible, Queen Elizabeth I, King Edward VI, Napoleon I of France, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Darwin, Abraham Lincoln, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Al Capone. As you can see, syphilis dates a long way back. Known to many as «Syphilis – The Great Imitator», syphilis is a very difficult disease to diagnose. It is very often confused with other sexual diseases. There is a reported 35,000 cases of syphilis each year, 60% being male. Sadly, syphilis can take the life of its victims if it is left untreated. it can also result in damage to the heart, brain, and nerves. To treat the STD, there are two options; daily pills (this is the least effective method) or penicillin. For treatment, a half dose of penicillin is injected into each buttock. This is extremely painful, so procaine is added for some relief. Syphilis can be atrocious or mild, but either way, you do not want it. If you are uncertain, get checked anyways, it could be the difference between life and death.

I am a mouth ulcers

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Although it’s not my favorite thing to be in the world, I am a mouth ulcer. My street name is most commonly: canker sore. I’ve got a fancy name, and that involves painful open sores that will exist in your mouth when the mucous membrane breaks. You might also choose to call me one of these other names: aphthous stomatitis or aphthous ulcer. Now that we have that out of the way… I will often being with a tingling or burning sensation in your mouth. This ‘tingling’ or ‘burning’ will exist in the place where the future mouth ulcer, canker sore, aphthous stomatitis or aphthous ulcer will exist. It won’t take me longer than a few days to turn into the state of a red bump or spot inside your mouth, which will then be followed by an open ulcer. Once at the open ulcer state I will appear as a white or yellow oval with an inflamed red border. Modestly I will be approximately 3 mm wide, however, for quick bragging rights, I can reach up to and beyond 1 cm wide in extreme cases. If I’ve done my job really well, you will be able to see a white circle or halo around the lesion. My main body, the ulcer, is often times very painful when agitated. This can also be accompanied by sore swelling of the lymph node. If your unsure of where your lymph nodes are, they exist below your jaw. For this locational reason I can often times be mistaken for a toothache at first. Open your mouth, look inside, I’m not! Your lucky with me, that normally I will go away without any treatment. The best start is to make sure you have good oral hygiene and avoid spicy/acidic/salty foods and drinks. The best and widely known ‘home remedy’ for dealing with me is to pour salt directly onto my main ulcer. This works but note – can be painful.

Alcoholism— What Should I Know About It?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

What is alcoholism? Alcoholism is a disease that affects the part of the brain that controls your feelings, the way you make decisions, and the way you act. People with alcoholism cannot control how much they drink. What causes alcoholism? Nobody knows what causes alcoholism. People with parents who have alcoholism have a greater chance of getting the disease. Alcoholism may be related to the things we learn when we are growing up. Alcoholism is not caused by a lack of will power or moral values. How can I tell if I have alcoholism? It is not easy to tell if you have alcoholism. You might drink socially at first, but over time the drinking can get out of control. Your family, friends, or doctor might notice it before you do. You might drink to help yourself go to sleep or deal with stress and anxiety. Over time, you need to drink more to feel the same way. As the drinking gets worse, you may have some of the following:  Stomach ulcers  Liver disease  Mood problems, such as depression and irritability  Trouble sleeping  Problems with family and friends  Problems at work. You might have alcoholism if you have tried to quit drinking but were not able to stop. Alcoholism can make you do things you wouldn’t do if you were sober. Some of these things can hurt other people, even the people you love. Where can I get help for alcoholism? Your doctor can help you find the right treatment program. You also can check with your health insurance company. Some insurance plans cover alcohol treatment only at certain places. If you have been a heavy drinker for a long time, do not stop drinking suddenly. This can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms. What is withdrawal? When you stop drinking, your body might find it hard with no alcohol. You might have some uncomfortable feelings. That is called withdrawal. You might feel anxious and confused or have trouble sleeping. If you get «the shakes» when you don’t drink, or if you feel like you need to have a drink early in the day, you might need to take medicine when you stop drinking to help with the withdrawal. This is called detoxification (say:dee-tox-uh-fuh-kay-shun, or «detox,» for short). How can my doctor tell if I need detoxification? Your doctor will ask you questions to see if you need to take medicine to stop drinking. It is important to be honest with your doctor about how much you drink and the kinds of drugs you take. Can detoxification be done at home? Yes, but only with close supervision from your doctor. You will need to have another person at home to help you take your medicine. If you have serious withdrawal symptoms or other medical problems, you might have to go to a hospital for detoxification. Tell your doctor if you had a seizure or got delirious when you tried to stop drinking before. What happens after detoxification? Detoxification is not enough to treat alcoholism. You should have counseling before and after detoxification. Counseling will help keep you from drinking again. What about Alcoholics Anonymous? Alcoholics Anonymous, or «A.A.,» is a free support group for people with alcoholism. The people in A.A. help each other stay sober. Most communities have A.A. meetings, and most alcohol treatment programs tell their patients to go to these meetings. Where can I get more information? Your doctor This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) – An Overview of Preventive Methods

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

MSD’s can range from general aches and pains to more serious problems. Medical practitioners do recommend that all the users who use computers regularly should report signs and symptoms as early as possible to prevent serious injury or permanent damage. The most commonly noticed signs and symptoms of MSD associated with computer use are as follows: Signs and Symptoms 1) Numbness or a burning sensation in the hand 2) Reduced grip strength in the hand 3) Swelling or stiffness in the joints 4) Pain in wrists, forearms, elbows, neck, or back followed by discomfort 5) Reduced range of motion in the shoulder, neck, or back 6) Dry, itchy, or sore eyes 7) Blurred or double vision
8)Aching or tingling 9) Cramping 10) Loss of color in affected regions 11) Weakness 12) Tension stress headaches and related ailments These types of problem can be caused by any of the following factors: 1. If the user maintains an unnatural or unhealthy posture while using the computer 2. If the lower back support is inadequate for the user 3. If the user continues to sit in the same position for an extended period of time 4. If the workstation set up is ergonomically poor. It should be noticed that all these symptoms might not necessarily lead to an MSD. However, if the user experiences any of the above symptoms, he/she should make an evaluation of their working positions as well as the layout of their workstation. It is always better to take precautions to avoid musculoskeletal disorders than to treat them after you get affected. Some general precautions include: · Taking regular breaks from working at your computer – a few minutes at least once an hour · Alternating work tasks like mixing computer tasks with non computer tasks alternately to avoid strain · Regular stretching to relax your body · Using comfort equipment such as footrests, wrist/palm rests, and document holders if required · Keeping the mouse and keyboard at the same level · Avoiding gripping your mouse too tightly – it is always recommended to hold the mouse lightly and click gently The monitor should possess the following features: · Your monitor should swivel, tilt and elevate – if not use an adjustable stand, books, or blocks to adjust the height · It should be positioned so the top line of the monitor is not higher than your eyes or not lower than 20° below the horizon of your eyes or field of vision · Ensure that it is at the same level and near the document holder if you use one · It should be between 18 to 24 inches away from your face The keyboard should possess the following features: · It should be detachable and adjustable (with legs to adjust angle) · It should allow your forearms to be parallel to the floor without having to raise your elbows · It should allow your wrists to be in line with your forearms so your wrists need not be flexed up or down · It should include enough space to rest your wrists or should include a padded detachable wrist rest (or you can use a separate gel wrist rest which should be at least 50 mm deep) · It should be placed directly in front of the monitor and at the same height as the mouse, track ball, touch pad, or any other pointing device. The chair should possess the following features: · It should support the back, and have a vertically adjustable independent back rest that returns to its original position and should have tilt adjustment to support the lower back · It should allow the user to adjust its height to be adjusted from a sitting position · It should be adjusted so the back crease of the knee is slightly higher than the pan of the chair (use a suitable footrest, if required) · It should be supported by a five prong caster base · Ensure that it has removable and adjustable armrests · It should also have a contoured seat with breathable fabric and rounded edges to distribute the weight and should be adjustable to allow the seat pan to tilt forward or back The table/desk should possess the following features: · Ensure that your table/desk provides ample leg room and is height adjustable (preferably) · It should have enough room to support the computer equipment and space for documents · It should be at least 900 mm deep · It should have rounded and blunt corners and edges As discussed earlier, ensure that your workstation is set up correctly. Normally, it includes the monitor, keyboard, mouse, seating, desk, and where appropriate, footrest, wrist rest, and document holder.

How Is Tuberculosis Treated?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Tuberculosis Treatment Tuberculosis, commonly referred to as TB, is an infection that affects the lungs and may also affect bones, joints, the circulatory system and central nervous system. This disease can be highly contagious if left untreated. In 1993, the World Health Organization declared TB to be a world health emergency because of the frequency of infection and the ease in which it spreads. It is estimated that nine billion new cases are reported each year. As with any disease, it is better to ensure prevention. TB vaccinations are common and highly effective, especially in children. TB vaccinations are very common in the United States as well as other countries. Although a higher percent of children are successfully protected, if adults have not received a TB vaccination it is recommended they get one. Symptoms of TB include chest pain, coughing, inability to breathe and pneumonia-like symptoms. However, it is also common to be infected and show no outward signs. Diagnosis of the disease will occur with a complete examination including a TB skin test. It is important to minimize the damages by early detection and prompt treatment. This can mean the difference between full recovery and possible death. Treatment of this disease can be complicated, especially if there are other factors such as HIV. It is recommended that quarantined hospitalization occur to monitor progress and reduce the risk of spreading. Common drug therapies include antibiotics specifically designed for TB treatment such as Isoniazid, Rifampin, Pyrazinamide, Streptomycin and Ethambutol. Unfortunately, there are many strains of tuberculosis that have become resistant to the medications. It is very important for continued monitoring to ensure effectiveness of a drug or combination of drugs. In the instance where the body is resisting drugs, surgery may be necessary. The portion of the lungs affected may be removed. Also, chest tube drainage may be required. In these cases, recovery percentages are very low. In order to reduce this risk, treatment as early as possible is advised. Patients who have an early diagnosis or are not immune to the drug treatments have a high success rate of complete recovery. Relapses are extremely rare with proper treatment. With over two billion people affected with tuberculosis in the world, the seriousness of this disease can not be denied. Prevention of the disease is the best way to keep the spreading of it in check. This includes ensuring children are properly vaccinated and all shots are kept up to date. Early detection and treatment are also key factors in guaranteeing complete recovery and minimizing risk of relapse.

Parkinsons disease

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease of the substantia nigra, was first discovered and its symptoms documented in 1817. This discovery and docomentation was by British physician Dr. James Parkinson. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the associated biochemical changes in the brain of patients were able to be identified. Although many genes have recently been identified, there are still several others that remain unkown. Parkinson’s disease involves a progressive movement disorder of the extrapyramidal system. The extrapyramidal system controls and adjusts communication between neurons in the brain and muscles in the human body. As you can see this is a huge, and important task. PD will commonly coincide with depression and disturbances of sensory systems due to the damage that it has on the brain. Aprroximately one out of every 600 people have Parkinson’s disease in the United States of America. The rates increase with age, especially apparent in those over 55. Still unknown, is the cause of Parkinson’s disease. 9 different genetic defects have been found. Each of these nine cause the disease in 1 or a few more familes with extremely high incidences of the disease. This unfortunately hasn’t take geneticists further as these familes are so rare to find. Although strong inheritance patterns are extremely rare, an person who is infected with PD is 3 to 4 times more likely to have a close relative who also has PD. Today the strongest theory for the cause of Parkinson’s disease is from «the combination of a subtle genetically-determined vulnerability to environmental toxins along with even limited exposure to those toxins. The toxins most strongly suspected at present are certain pesticides and industrial metals.» I wish that I had an answer like many others do to the cause of Parkinson’s. One thing that we know though, is that as science and technology increases, so will man’s understanding of diseases such as Parkinson’s.

Can Periodontal Gum Disease Be Reversed?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Can periodontal gum disease be reversed? The answer is yes, if you begin early enough and are diligent. More advanced periodontal gum disease may still be reversed, but it will take some special cleaning provided by your dentist to give you a fighting chance. Adopting a strenuous daily oral hygiene routine now can go a long way to reversing periodontal gum disease. 1. Brush thoroughly when you get up in the morning and before you go to bed each night. Brushing or at least rinsing with water after meals and snacks will also help remove food and bacteria trapped between teeth, helping in reversing periodontitis. 2. Rinse your mouth with a good antibacterial mouthwash for at least a full thirty seconds twice each day. This will help reach bacteria trapped in pockets below your gum line, aiding in reversing periodontal gum disease. 3. Floss every single day. Pay special attention to flossing just below the gum line for reversing periodontal gum disease. 4. Even better than flossing or rinsing is the use of one of the powerful oral irrigators on the market, which blast food particles out from between your teeth and clean the gumline. High-end irrigators can be purchased with special tips to reach deeply into any pre-existing pockets and clean them out. These special tips are necessary for effective cleaning if your periodontitis has already established itself. While a conscientious oral hygiene routine can go a long way in aiding the reversal of periodontal gum disease, sometimes the infection is too far advanced, and it is necessary to get professional help. If the problem is becoming severe, your dentist may see fit to perform a periodontal cleaning. If x-rays show deep pockets of bacteria surrounding any of your teeth below the gum line, your dentist can choose from special procedures known as debridement, scaling or root planing to go in and scrape the bacteria out and make the tooth less hospitable to germs. He may also order a prescription antibacterial mouth wash to be used daily that will also help in reversing periodontal gum disease. If more is required, he may perform actual periodontal surgery, which involves lifting the flaps of the gum to enable deep cleaning and suturing them back in place. After the procedure, you will have several appointments to check on the success of the cleaning. Still, there’s good news for patients that have to suffer through surgery — a 2001 study found that roughly 50% of patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease showed measurable improvement from surgery, while those trying non-surgical options enjoyed less success. The important thing is to seek help as soon as you notice any signs of trouble with your gums. The good news is, periodontal gum disease can be reversed if it’s caught early enough.

Alcoholism Disease Or Not?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Alcoholism can be given a lot of definitions and all of them stress the fact that there is a terrible disease that involves addiction to spirits. Apart from the physical dependence on alcohol, there are other psychological, genetic and social factors that may play a role in the development of alcoholism. Many social, economic and public health problems are determined by this very serious disease. When alcoholism is concerned, symptoms include craving for alcohol, incapacity to have control over the use of alcohol, a greater tolerance to its effects, and withdrawal symptoms during the periods of abstinence. One should as well know that many alcoholics deny having a problem. In many cases intervention is necessary in order to persuade them to start treatment. Treatment in cases of alcoholism usually includes detoxification, counseling and psychotherapy, as well as treatment of associated medical problems, and different programmes for recovery and support. Alcoholism involves physical and psychological addiction to the alcohol, and it often gets to a chronic, progressive form. There are situations in which it can become fatal, when alcohol consumption begins to interfere with your health, your social life or your occupational functioning. Alcoholics often continue to consume alcohol in huge quantities despite the multiple negative consequences of the disease. Nowadays, alcoholism is the most serious form of alcohol abuse. Alcoholism can be also defined in terms like «having a problem with drinking». If one has a problem with drinking, that can result in health or social problems (drunk driving, for instance), but that doesn’t make one yet dependent on alcohol and it doesn’t mean one has fully lost control over using spirits – as in the case of alcoholism.

The Demonization Of Genital Herpes

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Those of us who have so-called “genital herpes” are caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand we are ostracized by the minority of the population (about 40%) who don’t currently have herpes simplex in their body, which is bad enough, but more cruelly we are often isolated by our fellow members of the herpes community who have so-called cold sores (heroes simplex 1 of the mouth and face). Frankly the lack of support form the majority of population who has cold sores bothers me far more than the stigma placed on me by unsympathetic members of the uninfected population. After-all they don’t know what it feels like to have herpes so I can cut them some slack. But for those of you who have cold sores and continue pretending that you don’t have herpes and who distance yourselves from those who have their outbreaks genitally rather than facially – shame on you. If it wasn’t for your unwillingness to come to terms with the reality of your herpes infection, the herpes community would be a more united majority of the population far more empowered to boldly go out into the community and reject the unjust and irrational stigma placed on people with herpes. Sixty percent of the population has herpes. We are living in a herpes nation. There is no reason for us to be a despised minority. If we were more united and more out of the closet we would be in a so much better position to inspire understanding and support from those who do not have herpes. We would be better able to educate young people on herpes prevention and herpes awareness. We would be better able to reach out to the people with herpes who have had their self-esteem devastated. So-called cold sores are herpes. I have had too many people in my clinic and through the Internet say to me, “I don’t have herpes, I’ve never had an STD, but I do get these cold sores on my lips”. Herpes is herpes whether you get your outbreaks above the waist or below the waist. It’s true that people with type 1 herpes of the mouth and face often have fewer outbreaks than people with herpes type 2 of the genitals, but it is also true that herpes of the mouth and face is just as contagious if not more so than genital herpes. It is also true that many people with type 1 herpes of the mouth and face shed virus without symptoms and are giving many people type 1 herpes on their genitals from oral sex. It is also true that herpes of the mouth and face can spread to parts of the body that genital herpes rarely ever spreads to including the nostrils and into the brain, the hands and fingers, down the esophagus and into the stomach, into the eyes, and elsewhere. For those who don’t have herpes and give people with herpes a rough time, I really have no words for you. If you believe that having genital herpes is an indication of promiscuity or moral deficiency then you are probably too far-gone for anything I say here to reach you. And for the record I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with promiscuity. I got my herpes in the context of a monogamous relationship but I wouldn’t feel bad about myself if I had been infected by herpes through promiscuity. How you got herpes is irrelevant. Herpes is a virus. Viruses have different strategies for gaining access to our bodies. A virus that chooses sex as it’s preferred method of infection is less scary to me than an airborne virus that indiscriminately devastates huge populations in a matter of days. Jesus said “let he is who is without sin cast the first stone”. I say let he or she who is without a virus cast the first stone. Between the Chicken-Pox virus (a member of the herpes family), the Epstein-Barr virus (another member of the herpes family), the HPV virus (genital warts and cervical dysplasia) and Herpes Simplex there is virtually no adult reading this article who doesn’t currently have a virus in their body and except for the HPV virus, these viruses are lifelong infections and that’s without even discussing bacteria, fungi, yeast, and protozoa. Herpes has been around since the time of the dinosaurs and affects akmost every animal with a backbone including cats and elephants and many animals without a backbone. In fact cats and elephants are dying of herpes. I know that cats can be randy but I have never heard of anyone accusing elephants of being promiscuous. If anyone has ever seen an elephant orgy let me know so that I can print a retraction. When someone has the integrity and courage to tell you that they have herpes they are making themselves vulnerable to you. How you react can often either crush them or help set them free from a prison of shame. I believe that most people are intelligent and compassionate. Please treat people with herpes with the compassion and understanding we deserve. We are the same people we were before we got herpes. We are no less moral, no less attractiv, just as good in bed, just as good of a friend or son or daughter or brother or sister as we were before we got herpes. When someone tells you they have herpes if you treat them unsympathetically it only discourages them for telling others about their herpes in the future, which isn’t a good situation for anyone. When someone tells you they have herpes it’s an opportunity and challenge to you to show that you are not prejudiced and mean-spirited. It is a chance for us all to create more love and understanding. For those of us who have genital herpes – don’t buy into the lies and myths that make you ashamed and marginalized. You can choose not to let herpes define you and dominate your life. No one can take away your power and dignity except for yourself. When someone gives you a bad time for having herpes instead of dwelling too long in anger or sadness, just “forgive them for they know not what they do”. Embrace all the beauty and love around you and if there isn’t enough beauty and love, create it. You are a human being equipped with infinite potential for loving and appreciating the wonders of this world. Christopher Scipio Homeopath/Herbalist Holistic Herpes Treatment Specialist

Bird Flu and Tamiflu—Making Your Supply of Tamiflu Go Farther in an Emergency Situation

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

I have discussed Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir) previously – see Bird Flu: Tamiflu and Relenza for Prevention and Treatment in the Articles section on our Web site, http://www.AvoidBirdFlu.com. This current article adds important information about making your supply of Tamiflu go farther in an emergency situation. First, as I noted in my previous article, it is important to be aware of the fact that the effectiveness of Tamiflu and Relenza has been studied against circulating strains of human influenza (so called seasonal influenza), not against the bird flu virus. In a study reported in the August 2005 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Yen and others from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee found that in animal experiments eight-day regimens of Tamiflu were more effective than the suggested five-day regimen for treating infections with the H5N1 bird-flu virus. The authors concluded that a prolonged and higher-dose oseltamivir regimen may be required for the most beneficial antiviral effect. This possibility was recently underscored when two Vietnamese (one a 13 year old girl) died of bird flu—as reported in a December 2005 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine—even after receiving treatment within the required 48 hours after the start of infection with standard doses of Tamiflu. Let’s assume that you have one treatment course of Tamiflu (one 75 mg tablet taken twice a day for five days, for a total of 10 pills), that you either acquired on your own or that was given to you by your healthcare provider or by the government. Unfortunately you are still not home free yet, so to speak. You now may face one of two problems: Problem # 1: If preliminary scientific studies indicating that a course of treatment of bird flu using higher doses than those currently recommended by the FDA, for more than the current recommended five days of treatment are correct—as indicated by Dr. Yen’s research—you will need more that one dose pack. In fact, the best treatment might mean taking two pills (150 mg) twice a day for eight or even ten days. That would mean that you should have FOUR dose packs (40 pills) for the treatment of one person, not just one! Problem # 2: You have a dose pack—officially the amount need to treatment one person—but there are two people who just became infected with bird flu in your family. If you combine this problem with problem number one, you now actually need EIGHT dose packs, not just two! What can you do? There are two possible solutions: SOLUTION # 1: Take PROBENECID, a medicine approved for the treatment of gout, along with the Tamiflu. Probenecid interferes with the normal metabolism of Tamiflu, increasing the blood level of Tamiflu and keeping it in circulation longer—effectively doubling the amount of Tamiflu “exposure.” The precise dose is unclear. Until more scientific information becomes available, in an emergency situation, for otherwise healthy adults, I would recommend taking one 500 mg table twice daily. Probenecid is generally very safe. Nevertheless, I have included detailed information about it below. According to information about probenecid from the National Library of Medicine’s and the National Institutes of Health’s Web site Medline Plus (available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/uspdi/202480.html): Probenecid (proe-BEN-e-sid) is used in the treatment of chronic gout or gouty arthritis. These conditions are caused by too much uric acid in the blood. The medicine works by removing the extra uric acid from the body. Probenecid does not cure gout, but after you have been taking it for a few months it will help prevent gout attacks. This medicine will help prevent gout attacks only as long as you continue to take it. Probenecid is also used to prevent or treat other medical problems that may occur if too much uric acid is present in the body. Probenecid is sometimes used with certain kinds of antibiotics to make them more effective in the treatment of infections. Probenecid is available only with your doctor’s prescription, in the following dosage form (tablets): a. Before Using This Medicine In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For probenecid, the following should be considered: Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to probenecid. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes. Pregnancy—Probenecid has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in humans. Breast-feeding—Probenecid has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies. Children—Probenecid has been tested in children 2 to 14 years of age for use together with antibiotics. It has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems than it does in adults. Studies on the effects of probenecid in patients with gout have been done only in adults. Gout is very rare in children. Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. There is no specific information comparing use of probenecid in the elderly with use in other age groups. Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking probenecid, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following: • Antineoplastics (cancer medicine)—The chance of serious side effects may be increased • Aspirin or other salicylates—These medicines may keep probenecid from working properly for treating gout, depending on the amount of aspirin or other salicylate that you take and how often you take it • Heparin—Probenecid may increase the effects of heparin, which increases the chance of side effects • Indomethacin (e.g., Indocin) • Ketoprofen (e.g., Orudis) • Methotrexate (e.g., Mexate)—Probenecid may increase the blood levels of these medicines, which increases the chance of side effects • Medicine for infection, including tuberculosis or virus infection—Probenecid may increase the blood levels of many of these medicines. In some cases, this is a desired effect and probenecid may be used to help the other medicine work better. However, the chance of side effects is sometimes also increased • Nitrofurantoin (e.g., Furadantin)—Probenecid may keep nitrofurantoin from working properly • Zidovudine (e.g., AZT, Retrovir)—Probenecid increases the blood level of zidovudine and may allow lower doses of zidovudine to be used. However, the chance of side effects is also increased Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of probenecid. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially: • Blood disease or • Cancer being treated by antineoplastics (cancer medicine) or radiation (x-rays) or • Kidney disease or stones (or history of) or • Stomach ulcer (history of)—The chance of side effects may be increased b. Proper Use of This Medicine If probenecid upsets your stomach, it may be taken with food. If this does not work, an antacid may be taken. If stomach upset (nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite) continues, check with your doctor. For patients taking probenecid for gout: • After you begin to take probenecid, gout attacks may continue to occur for a while. However, if you take this medicine regularly as directed by your doctor, the attacks will gradually become less frequent and less painful than before. After you have been taking probenecid for several months, they may stop completely. • This medicine will help prevent gout attacks but it will not relieve an attack that has already started. Ev

Children: The dose will have to be determined by the doctor. It depends on the child’s weight, as well as on the condition being treated. Older children and teenagers may need the same amount as adults. Missed dose— If you are taking probenecid regularly and you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if you do not remember until it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses. Storage— To store this medicine: • Keep out of the reach of children. • Store away from heat and direct light. • Do not store this medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down. • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children. c. Precautions While Using This Medicine • If you will be taking probenecid for more than a few weeks, your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Before you have any medical tests, tell the person in charge that you are taking this medicine. The results of some tests may be affected by probenecid. For diabetic patients: • Probenecid may cause false test results with copper sulfate urine sugar tests (Clinitest), but not with glucose enzymatic urine sugar tests (Clinistix). If you have any questions about this, check with your health care professional. For patients taking probenecid for gout or to help remove uric acid from the body: • Taking aspirin or other salicylates may lessen the effects of probenecid. This will depend on the dose of aspirin or other salicylate that you take, and on how often you take it. Also, drinking too much alcohol may increase the amount of uric acid in the blood and lessen the effects of this medicine. Therefore, do not take aspirin or other salicylates or drink alcoholic beverages while taking this medicine, unless you have first checked with your doctor. d. Side Effects of This Medicine Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention. The following side effects may mean that you are having an allergic reaction to this medicine. Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur: • Rare Fast or irregular breathing; puffiness or swellings of the eyelids or around the eyes; shortness of breath, troubled breathing, tightness in chest, or wheezing; changes in the skin color of the face occurring together with any of the other side effects listed here; or skin rash, hives, or itching occurring together with any of the other side effects listed here Also, check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur: • Less common Bloody urine; difficult or painful urination ; lower back or side pain (especially if severe or sharp); skin rash, hives, or itching (occurring without other signs of an allergic reaction) • Rare Cloudy urine; cough or hoarseness; fast or irregular breathing; fever; pain in back and/or ribs; sores, ulcers, or white spots on lips or in mouth; sore throat and fever with or without chills; sudden decrease in the amount of urine; swelling of face, fingers, feet, and/or lower legs; swollen and/or painful glands ; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness; yellow eyes or skin ; weight gain Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome: • More common Headache; joint pain, redness, or swelling ; loss of appetite; nausea or vomiting (mild) • Less common Dizziness; flushing or redness of face (occurring without any signs of an allergic reaction); frequent urge to urinate; sore gums Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor. SOLUTION # 2: Unless you are a divine follower of the late Mahatma Gandhi, who used to drink his urine daily, this solution is not nearly as appealing as taking probenecid. However, it apparently would be very effective. Dr. Grattan Woodson, a specialist in internal medicine at the Druid Oaks Health Center in Decatur, Georgia, offers the following advice for emergency treatment of bird flu: This is an advanced, potentially life-saving emergency strategy, that should only be done under medical supervision—unless none is available. Tamiflu Re-Administration Strategy: Tamiflu is excreted unchanged almost entirely in the urine. If Tamiflu supplies are limited, as they most certainly will be [during a bird-flu pandemic], consider giving the patient two Tamiflu tablets at the same time, collect the patient’s urine and re-administer it to the patient via naso-gastric (NG) tube or orally. If managed carefully, this approach means that you can completely treat a patient with only 2 Tamiflu tablets [by re-administering the patient’s urine daily for five to 10 days]. Woodson G: Preparing for The Coming Influenza Pandemic. Fluwikie.com. Available at: http://fluwikie.com/annex/WoodsonMonograph.htm#_Toc116746508.§ Adults: The amount of probenecid will depend on the condition being treated. Sometimes, only one dose of 2 tablets is needed. Other times, the dose will be 1 tablet four times a day. § Children: It is not likely that probenecid will be needed to treat gout or to remove uric acid from the body in children. If a child needs this medicine, however, the dose would have to be determined by the doctor. • For helping antibiotics work better: § Adults: 250 mg (one-half of a 500-mg tablet) two times a day for about one week, then 500 mg (one tablet) two times a day for a few weeks. After this, the dose will depend on the amount of uric acid in your blood or urine. Most people need 2, 3, or 4 tablets a day, but some people may need higher doses. §en if you take another medicine for gout attacks, continue to take this medicine also. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor. For patients taking probenecid for gout or to help remove uric acid from the body: • When you first begin taking probenecid, the amount of uric acid in the kidneys is greatly increased. This may cause kidney stones or other kidney problems in some people. To help prevent this, your doctor may want you to drink at least 10 to 12 full glasses (8 ounces each) of fluids each day, or to take another medicine to make your urine less acid. It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions very carefully. Dosing— The dose of probenecid will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of probenecid. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so. • For treating gout or removing uric acid from the body:

Is Sleep Apnea Killing Your Marriage ?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Sleep Apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea as it is sometimes called, usually involves loud snoring as one of the symptoms. Anyone that has ever slept with a snoring partner knows that it can be seriously disruptive to one’s own sleep. But what effect, long term, does it have on a marriage? It is a common situation in many marriages and apparently has more impact than many couples think. Obviously the experience of sleeping with a loud snoring partner is not positive, but what can be done? This is the question that The Sleep Disorders Center at Rush University Medical Center recently set out to ask and hopefully solve. In doing so, they hope to save marriages that might be in danger of divorce due to this cronic, ongoing struggle to get enough rest at night….and all the interpersonal implications of not achieving a balanced level of sleep. The Center is currently evaluating 10 couples in which the male has been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. The couples begin by completing surveys about sleepiness, marriage satisfaction and quality of life. After this step the couples spend the night in the Center’s sleep lab where technicians determine each partner’s quantity and quality of sleep. Two weeks after these tests, and treatment, the couple repeats a night’s sleep in the sleep lab for comparison purposes. The results have been very interesting and mostly positive. According to press releases from the Center, the early results show that there is indeed a significant impact on the wife’s quality and quantity of sleep. It is termed a serious problem that does indeed lead to a hostile and tense situation within the marriage. In one example cited, the husband’s snoring was arousing the wife out of sleep over eight times an hour. Her sleep efficiency rating (the percentage of time she was actually asleep) was 73%. The average person’s sleep efficiency is closer to 90%. In this example, the wife had attempted to use ear plugs, earphones and had finally given up and started to sleep alone. To treat the husband, the Center used a device known as a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). This machine is non-invasive and the flow of air it delivers prevents the upper airway from collapsing during sleep, allowing the lungs to perform normally. In this particular case, the wife’s quality of life measure jumped from a 1.2 to a 7.0, indicating that the snoring had been alleviated and was no longer significantly bothering her. Her sleepiness scale (how tired she felt) dropped from 12 to a 6. Marital Satisfaction scores improved from a 3 to 5.8 and the wife’s sleep efficiency moved up from 73% to 82%. Obviously on every level, this treatment had made great strides for the couple and showed promise in other situations. The Rush Center is continuing tests expected to be completed in April 2006. The Center will evaluate the results and expand on the information being provided to the public. Their press release is very specific about the measures taken as each couple enters the program. As stated «…both the husband and wife undergo simultaneous polysomonography, a sleep test that monitors brain activity, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rate and rhythms, breathing patterns, blood oxygen level and body movements and respiratory sounds. All sensors are noninvasive and do not cause pain or discomfort. The study involves first diagnosing the sleep apnea. The husband will sleep alone in the center as technicians monitor his sleep. If he has sufficient sleep apnea, he will undergo a split night study to determine the appropriate CPAP treatment. Sleep apnea is a serious health problem that should be treated. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway. The breathing pause lasts at least 10 seconds and can occur 10 or more times an hour. Apnea lowers the oxygen level in the blood leaving the patient vulnerable to hypertension, stroke and other cardiovascular problems. Obstructive sleep apnea can occur in men and women of any age; however, it is most common in obese, middle-aged men. The most common signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring, choking or gasping during sleep, and fighting sleepiness during the day. In addition to continuous positive airway pressure, treatment includes losing weight, sleeping on your side instead of your back, avoiding alcohol and tobacco.» For more information go to www.sleep-apnea-facts.com.   ann robinette