Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chemical Cough Drugs Side Effects

Chemical cough drops have been around us for most of our lives whenever we get coughs; we are always give cough medicines to cure our conditions. But now health organizations have expressed alarm over the potential hazardous side effects of over the counter (OTC) chemical cough medications to one’s health, including the development of hypertension, irregular heartbeat and confusion. Most OTC cough medicines contain a mixture of decongestant, antihistamine, pain reliever, cough suppressants or a combination of these drugs. This combination is meant to treat as many symptoms at once but all of them have potential side effects.

Some cough medicines may also cause irregular heartbeat, chest pain; ringing in the ears, heart pounding and breathing difficulty. Children are known to experience nightmares, unusual excitement, nervousness or irritability when given cough medicines. Cough medicines are either suppressants, meaning they suppress the body’s urge to cough, or expectorate which loosens the mucus or phlegm in the lungs.

One of the popular ingredients of suppressants is codeine, a narcotic derived from opium. It is known to induce physical and mental dependence. Codeine affects the central nervous system and is an effective cough suppressant. Common side effects also include drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation, urinary retention, confusion and addiction. Since most coughs are not serious and most will disappear from two to three weeks, it is better to take plenty of fluids, rest and the use of natural or herbal cure for a healthier body constitution.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Staying Mentally Sharp

Brain researchers used to equate age-related memory loss with brain cell death. Thanks to better imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), doctors have discovered that aging does not cause significant loss of neurons in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in storing and retrieving memories. What’s more, research has shown that new neurons may even be added to the hippocampus in adulthood, driving a stake through the old belief that adults can’t grow new brain cells anymore. Now, studies suggest that the main aging related loss of neurons probably occurs in areas of the brain that produce chemicals that function as chatty go-betweens, facilitating communication and coordination between the different parts of the brain.

These new findings may mean, first, that memory loss isn’t an inevitable, anatomical withering away and second, that it is worth striving to keep your brain cells busy, making new connections and preserving old ones, and doing what you can to guard them against damage and deterioration. A variety of thing, such as keeping your mind active throughout your life controlling stress, and remaining physically fit, will help you do just that. While the jury’s still out on whether supplements such as ginkgo biloba can enhance memory, by taking care of yourself - both body and mind, you can perhaps keep your memory at it’s best.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Dyspepsia Conditions | Treatments

One of the most misunderstood illnesses is the stomachache. This is the term most used to describe such a discomfort in the upper abdominal area which could be anywhere between the nave; and breast bone. While this condition is commonly attributed to peptic ulcers, in most cases it is actually due to dyspepsia. Dyspepsia is a general term applied to conditions where patients feel pain or discomfort concentrated in the upper abdomen. Specifically, the symptoms may include bloating, early satiety and excessive fullness after meals, nausea, anorexia, heartburn, regurgitation and burping or belching and should be differentiated from simple hunger pangs.

Conditions like peptic ulcer disease, acid reflux disease; gallstones and certain liver diseases may also be present this way, but when these have been ruled out, the condition is more accurately termed non-ulcer dyspepsia. Dyspepsia may be a result of an exaggerated response to normal conditions like mild stomach distension and normal acid production. Reduced gastric emptying or the impaired ability of the stomach to push food into the small intestines to facilitate digestion, a condition particularly common diabetic patients is another cause of dyspepsia.

There are various ways of curing dyspepsia and one medication is the common antacid. While antacids promptly reduce stomach acidity and may alleviate some of the symptoms of dyspepsia in some patients, they do not necessarily address all the other mechanisms that result in symptoms like excessive bloating and fullness. There are also herbal preparations and food supplements that are widely promoted in the media, but one should be careful in buying these supplements and must check weather or not your country bureau of food and dugs does approve them.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Schizophrenia Misconceptions

Schizophrenia can affect anyone from any culture, race, religion or social-economic level, anywhere in the world. Statistics show that one person in every 100 will develop it before they reach the age of 45, Men and women are equally at risk. This chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder can seriously impair a persons ability to think clearly, elate to others and function productively in society. This disorder typically affects the persons thought process, often resulting in visual and or auditory hallucinations, delusions and unusual speech or behavior.

There are misconceptions that contrary to widespread belief that people with schizophrenia often think, feel and act in normal fashion. Being out of touch with reality does not mean that the individual is totally living in another world. But there are certain aspects of the person’s world that has no real basis. They are often perceived as dangerous but are more often not, provided they are receiving appropriate medical attention. In some cases, individuals can become aggressive during an acute episode but usually as a response to feeling extreme fear of false beliefs.

While there is still no cure for schizophrenia, the illness can be managed with appropriate treatment, especially when medical intervention is received early in the illness. Effective treatment involves the combination of medication, psychological counseling and support in managing the patient’s day-to-day living. Since it is vital to treat schizophrenia early in the course of the disease, family members of friends should immediately bring their loved one to a qualified psychiatrist or mental health specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment should that family member or friend show any sign of symptoms of schizophrenia.


Human Proteins | HIV

The AIDS virus has long been a bane to human existence and up to now there are no known cures yet. But scientist and researchers have been gaining knowledge on how HIV works against use. The latest breakthrough is the discovery that the AIDS virus has to hijack human proteins to do its damage. But scientist until now has known only a few dozen of its targets. Recent Harvard University researches unveiled a surprisingly longer list, an important first step in the trail for new cures. HIV is on its face a simple virus, consisting of just nine genes.

Yet it makes up for that bare-bones structure in a sinister and complex way, by literally taking over the cellular machinery of its victims so it can multiply and then destroy. The proteins it exploits have been dubbed HIV decency factors, and 36 had been discovered. It will take far more research to figure out the role each of these proteins plays in HIV’s life cycle. Most of today’s AIDS drugs work by targeting the HIV virus itself. The US government in August of 2007 has approved sale of the first drug that works by blocking an HIV dependency factor, a cellular doorway called CCR5. The hope is that this longer list of those factors will point toward spots where similar drugs might work.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Green Tea Extract

Green tea has been shown is recent studies to have numerous health benefits. The green tea extract, called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) is the main catechin of green tea that helps fight against aging related diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Green tea extract and it’s main constituent, EGCG have been shown to have strong antioxidant activity, enhance metabolism and fat oxidation and promote mouth health. EGCG has also been shown to help in maintaining healthy glucose levels.

A lot of herbal green tea extracts are out now on the market, but they are not created equally. Some may have little or no EGCG extract in them at all. Also, some green tea extracts may have pesticides; caffeine and herbicide residues so it’s best to first consult with your country’s bureau of food and drugs as well as scrutinize the ingredients and country of origin.

In a more recent study, ingestion of tea rich in catechins lead to a reduction of body fat in men. Meanwhile, EGCG was shown to maintain oral health by inhibiting growth bacteria that cause dental caries, periodontal diseases, halitosis and bad breath. Its antioxidant properties possess anti-inflammatory property, inhibit vascular smooth muscle growth, counteract vasoconstriction and prevent stroke as well as hypertension.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Clot Buster For Stroke Patients

Stroke has been called the brain attack and can affect a specific area or sometimes all of the brain. Technically, it’s a sudden blockage or rupture of blood vessels to the brain resulting in loss of consciousness, partial or total loss of movements or loss of speech. Ischaemia is an inadequate supply of blood to a part of the body caused by a partial or total blockage of an artery, thus the term ischaemic stroke.

There is a new clot-busting drug, called alteplase that has been recommended for treating patients with acute ischaemic stroke in an appraisal recently published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom. Alteplase according to research has an efficacy of three hours after a stroke, preventing death and disability.

Acute ischaemic stroke is responsible for considerable disability and mortality worldwide and with NICE recommendation, more and more patients with qualifying stroke to benefit from this treatment. But the NICE committee recommends physicians trained and experienced in the management of acute stroke and only in centers with facilities that enable the medicine to be used in accordance with marketing authorization should use alteplase.


Wrist Disorders Limit Regular Activities

These types of disorders affect many of us who work in offices or even at home working inform of our computers. While working, you may feel tingling numbness in your hands and wrist that suddenly shoots up into a piercing pain through the wrist and then through you’re arm. While you may think it’s just a cramp, you may have already experienced carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, De Quervain’s stenosing and arthritis are the most common wrist disorders that may limit ones regular activities. Wrist disorders manifests as pain, numbness, swelling, mass or nodule, deformities and loss of function. This disorder requires medical examination of the hand and wrist, which includes general examination, range of motion, muscle, sensory and motor functions.

The diagnostic tests used to detect wrist disorders are physical exam and maneuvers, x-rays, arthrography, CT and bone scan, MRI and wrist arthroscopy. Wrist pain is common, and repetitive motion can damage your wrists. Daily activities like typing, playing tennis or badminton, playing the guitar or piano and even sewing can cause pain, and discomfort.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common nerve entrapment disorder. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway of ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerves and tendons. The thickening from irritated tendons or swelling narrows the tunnel and causes nerve to be compressed. Symptoms start gradually. As they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult. Women are three times more likely to have carpal tunnel syndrome than men.


Chili Pepper Reduces Risk of Cancer | Heart Disease

A recent study has shown that chili pepper has the potential of reducing the risk of deadly diseases. Such life threatening ailments include cardiovascular diseases and cancer as well as cataract and macular degeneration. There are significant properties of chili pepper, whose scientific name is Capcicum frutescens that are carefully being studied is various medical laboratories worldwide.

The chili pepper is among the plants that is being planned to become a supplement promoted as a means of natural alternative to various medicines. The fruit of the chili pepper is commonly used as a spice and condiments, while it’s leaves are consumed as vegetables. Chili peppers also has a reputation of being a herbal plant to ease rheumatism and arthritis and is likewise an effective cure for toothache, flatulence and dyspepsia.

Phytochemicals are what people need to stay healthy. They are naturally occurring compounds that are abundant in chili peppers, vegetables, fruits and other plant species. They act as anti-oxidants, which can metabolize free radicals. Anti-oxidants are vitamins minerals or other nutrients that counteract the harmful effects of free radicals.


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Friday, January 04, 2008

Benefits Of Testosterone Patch

Testosterone treatments have a lot of benefits, especially for aging men. Treatment with testosterone can actually curb the gain in abdominal fat as well as the loss of skeletal muscle seen in non obese aging men. Though the use of testosterone therapy as a means of defying the aging process is gaining popularity, data from scientific trails have been very limited in this area.

Findings indicate that maintaining testosterone at young adult levels may indeed prevent the adverse changes in body composition associated with the aging process. In a test conducted with 60 healthy men aged at least 55 years old with low-normal testosterone levels wore a testosterone patch or a placebo path for 12 months.

Men taking testosterone experienced a 30 percent increase in serum testosterone while the control group saw their testosterone levels fall by 10 percent. Men who wore the testosterone patch also experienced increases in fat-free mass and skeletal muscle and loss of thigh skeletal muscle also decreased. Analysis also showed that the change in abdominal fat also correlated with the change in testosterone levels.


Sleep Disruptions Increase Diabetes

We all need at least 8 hours of sleep. But the type and frequency of sleep is also important to health and lack of these may lead to diseases. Researchers in the US has reported that disrupting sleep damages the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels, raising the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Millions of people all over the world have diabetes and most of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is when the body either becomes resilient to insulin or doesn’t produce enough of it to regulate sugar in the bloodstream.

Research experiments conducted has found that disrupting the sleep periods of volunteers rapidly resulted in reduction in their ability to regulate blood-sugar levels. The findings are reported in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Earlier studies have indicated that lack of sleep can reduce the ability body’s ability to regulate sugar, and this report adds evidence that poor sleep quality is also a diabetes risk.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Six Useful Guidelines In Buying Health Supplements

Herbal medicines are very popular these days, but great caution must also be undertaken due to some of the ingredients in fact be harmful to our body or may interact with the prescription medicines we are taking. Here are six useful guides in buying herbal supplements.

1.) Whenever possible, look for standardized herbal supplements. It should posses the United States Pharmacopeia’s seal of manufacturing standards. These standards include a guarantee for it’s cleanliness and freedom from contaminants such as lead, mercurials or other drugs.

2.) Buy only single herb products. It should contain how much of the herb is contained per dose. Avoid products with multiple ingredients with unknown properties and numerous effects.

3.) Be on the watch for too many claims of benefit. No drug can be a panacea for a multitude of conditions.

4.) Avoid taking herbal supplements if you are already taking an over-the-counter and or a prescription drug for fear of drug interactions. If a proven drug is available for your medical condition, there is no reason for you to take a herbal supplement since the former has an established record of safety and effectiveness.

5.) In the event that you are to undergo surgery, avoid herbal medicines since it may decrease effectiveness of anesthetic agents, cause undue bleeding and provoke hypertension.

6.) Avoid such supplements if you are younger than 18 or older than 65 years. Older individuals metabolize differently and herbal medicines have not been tested for safety and efficacy among children.


Natural Does Not Necessarily Mean Safe

Most people assume that just because it’s natural, it is safe. But that’s not always the case I herbal medicines. Most people take herbs for various indications. However, two thirds of people who use herbal supplements take them without the benefit of any scientific proof, according to a recent study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings medical journal. Consumers maybe just wasting their money and risking their health by taking these supplements indiscriminately. It is a known fact that herbal medicines do not undergo the same rigorous testing and labeling process as over the counter and prescription medicine. Some of these substances to include those labeled as natural do posses drug like effects hence, potentially dangerous.

Popular herbal ingredients like Gingko biloba, a popular memory pill can interact with blood thinners such as warfarin and aspirin increasing bleeding time. St. John’s Wort has been shown to reduce depression but has been associated with some serious drug interactions. Research on dietary herbal supplements has shown some benefits but may also pose serious side effects. But the most serious threat is that patients may be drawn away from taking prescription drugs that have been validated scientifically to benefit disease conditions.


Fish Oil Capsules | Omega 3

Recent new studies indicates that fish oil capsules and fatty fish do an equally good job of enriching the blood and other body tissues with healthy omega 3 fatty acids. But as good news as this may seem, the findings cannot be interpreted to mean that capsules and fish are equally good for the heart. There are things that can change the blood lipids but don’t do anything for the heart and vice versa. Omega 3 fatty acid consumption is recommended by the American heart association and several other groups to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and consumption of fatty fish and fish oil capsules have similar effects.

But there has been little research whether the body process fatty acids from fish oil capsules and fish in the same way. To investigate, researchers had 11 women eat two servings of tuna or salmon each week, with an additional 12 women took in the same amount of omega 3’s, an estimated 485 milligrams daily in capsule form. After 16 weeks, the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in the red blood cells of women in both groups has risen by 40 percent to 50 percent, while omega 3’s in the plasma had risen by 60 to 80 percent.

Prior to this study, it is assumed that fish would be a better source of healthy fatty acid, but based on the findings, it does not make a difference whether you get your omega 3 fatty acids from a concentrate in a capsule or from a fish, the effect in the same. But whenever possible, researchers state that eating fish is still better because fish brings with it protein and minerals and other factors that are good for our health that the capsules don’t bring.


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