Monday, March 31, 2014

Dealing with Problems by Self-Medicating

How many of us try to self-medicate ourselves. We might do it with alcohol; we might do it with drugs; we may do it with over-the-counter medications; we may do it with caffeine. All sorts of things are used to self-medicate. What you have to look at is what problem are you dealing with, and how are you trying to handle it? Self-medication is not a bad thing if you’re taking a cough medicine for a cold. But if you’re trying to grapple with something that’s beyond your skill, you need to get help. That’s why it’s important to see a doctor and get that advice.

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Tight Control of Diabetes

The term is tight control, and over time, we are learning that when it comes to diabetes, tight control may be the most important phrase in medicine. By tight control, we mean controlling the blood sugar with diet, insulin or oral pills. Over time, uncontrolled blood sugar starts to damage many parts of the body. For instance, in the kidney, it can damage the tiniest of blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure and destruction of the kidney. Yet, when the sugar is controlled and blood pressure is closely monitored, much of the damage of the kidneys can be avoided.

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Low-Tar Cigarettes May Be Linked to a Certain Form of Lung Cancer

The news that there may have been changes in the way certain cigarettes are formulated, and the suggestion that this could affect lung disease, is downright frightening.  According to a University of California researcher, up to 50% of our nation's lung cancer cases could be due to this.  The research is ongoing, but the thought is that a form of lung cancer called adenocarcinoma may be linked to so-called low-tar cigarettes that have chemicals called nitrosamines. Adenocarcinoma attacks small air sacs far deeper in the lungs.  The theory is that people who smoke low-tar cigarettes need to breathe in deeper.  

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Adjusting Children to a New Baby

We always get excited about having a new addition to the family. Everybody wants to welcome the child, but sometimes a sibling may not welcome that child with open arms. In fact, a sibling can get downright hostile. What we have realized about newborns is the fact that the siblings often are upset about the lack of attention that they’re going to get. That’s why when you’re pregnant you should talk to your child about the fact that a new child is coming. Make them part of the process. Make them feel as if they can contribute as well. It will make a very big difference.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Laser Treatment and Acne

Lasers are becoming very popular as a form of treatment for people with acne who have failed other treatment methods. But until now it’s been difficult to explain how the lasers work. Now certainly the laser does not decrease sebum production, or kill the bacterium that causes acne. They are the two most common ways other methods attack. But a new report from London says the reason might be that using the laser increases the amount of a chemical called TGF beta. TGF beta decreases inflammation, and if they’re able to increased TGF beta, they’re able to reduce inflammation. If you realize that inflammation is a major problem behind acne, it’s a big step. Essentially, the laser helps the body make a chemical that attacks the inflammation response. It’s all very logical.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Importance of Vaccines

Have you noticed that there seems to be more and more vaccines for children. Well, guess what? There are more and more vaccines for children, and it’s a good and bad thing. The good thing is if we can detect problems and prevent them from occurring ahead of time, why wouldn’t we. The problem with vaccines is you take so many of them, will you have consistent follow-up over time? In other words, will everybody do their job? It’s called herd immunity. We need everyone to take their vaccines for them to be effective.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Finding the Cause of Neck Pain

Neck pain is extremely common these days mainly because so many people are working on computers and doing things where they're actually putting pressure on their neck.  This type of pressure can certainly lead to health issues.  It's very important that those who suffer from neck pain try to figure out the cause.  It’s what doctors call in medicine, the etiology.  If doctors can figure out the cause of the neck pain then they have better ways of addressing it.  If doctors can address it, they can look at it and try to minimize the pain without just giving pain medications. 

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How You Lose Weight Is Important for Success

Losing weight is important, but how you lose it is even more important.  A lot of people go on diets where they get dramatic losses in weight over a short period of time.  But those diets are often doomed to failure because the people who lost that weight will gain it relatively rapidly and that is a problem.  One of the problems we have to deal with when it comes to dieting is people don't always understand that the weight loss that they can have is actually one which is transient.  It may last 6 months or 8 weeks, but it's not going to last a lifetime.  Changing life habits is the way to do it. 

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Study Shows Women of Young Children Eat More Calories

Are you having a struggle with weight loss?  Well, now you have someone to blame.  According to a study from the University of Minnesota, mothers of young children were heavier and ate more calories, fatty foods, and sugary drinks than women without children.  In addition, both parents were less active than those of the same age without children.  The study was not a small one.  There were over 1,500 adults with children younger than five and according to the report which is in the journal Pediatrics, mothers in this study with young children had a diet so poor, they'd have to walk three miles a day to not gain a pound. 

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Vision Can Change During Pregnancy

If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, think about getting your glasses before you become pregnant. Now you might be thinking, ‘What a crazy comment!’ But it’s not. Women’s vision changes when they are pregnant. So, when the vision changes, those changes actually can affect the prescriptions. Now, many optometrists and ophthalmologists will recommend that you don’t get glasses or contact lenses during this period of time. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to have Lasik surgery or one of those types of procedures. Change in vision is dramatic, and it happens throughout pregnancy.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Look at Growing Pains

Growing pains…it’s one of those terms doctors hear growing up, but never came across in medical school or subsequent years of training. Sure enough, those pains may occur as our mothers told us. They do truly exist. In fact, they can be commonly found at certain times in our lives; not surprisingly, when we’re growing. According to a recent report, they occur in children within the ages of 3 and 5 and 8 to 12. If you remember your experiences with growing pains, they occur commonly in the legs and after exercise, even moderate exercise.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Causes of Muscle Strains

Muscles strains are very common. Muscle strains aren’t always from heavy lifting or putting yourself through unbelievable pressure.  A muscle strain can have many causes.  One of the most common causes of muscle strain is twisting or turning in sleep.  If you're in bed and you don't sleep in the right position, you can actually strain your muscles.  So, it isn't really the dramatic cause that's problematic.  Those of us, as we get older, often realize that the muscle strains can be very difficult to deal with. 

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Research on Oxytocin and Delivering Babies

There's an interesting report in the New England Journal of Medicine.  Actually, the research was done at Tulane and the University of North Carolina.  They worked together.  What they found is teaching hospital staff in Uruguay and Argentina might have better ways to deliver babies by reducing the chances of the new mom experiencing significant blood loss and undergoing an episiotomy.  Here's what happened.  The researchers worked with hospital staff providing workshops and one on one training in order to promote oxytocin use during labor and discourage episiotomies.  An episiotomy is an incision in the mother to aid the baby's exit.  After the intervention finished, even a year later, oxytocin use during labor was up 2% to 84% and episiotomies were down 41% to 30%; gains that were not seen at hospitals that did not have those interventions.  Chances of blood loss decreased by 45% to 70%.

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Daily Pressures and Anxiety

All of us face anxiety but for some women it can be a particularly serious problem; especially if it causes what we call emotional paralysis. Some people become so tense and so anxious about the pressures of daily life that they aren’t able to seriously evaluate the pros and cons of certain things, and they ultimately don’t make any decision. There are medications for anxiety. If you find that you are under the continuous strain of anxious feelings and anxiety, check with your doctor.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Alcohol Can Lead to Stomach Irritation

Alcohol can lead to stomach irritation.  This isn't necessarily an allergic reaction, but it's a direct reaction to a toxin, of sorts.  Alcohol, when it gets into the stomach, actually causes an increase in secretion of stomach acid…that increased secretion of stomach acid can cause tenderness and belly pain.  The belly pain can be treated essentially by trying to neutralize the acid; you would use Tums, Rolaids or products like that.  But over time, it can have a disastrous effect, if you continue drinking.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Americans Don’t Get Enough Sleep

It was designed to be a national meeting of sleep experts with a focus on a wide variety of sleep issues that affect patients.  Normally, these meetings focus on issues like sleep apnea and restless leg, but as the doctors talked to one another it became quite apparent that the major sleep problem in our country today is people just don't get enough sleep.  The pace of life gets faster and faster and people try to cram more and more into every minute of the day.  In fact, as things get more hectic, sleep tends to get short shrift.  People view it as a waste of time.  We have to tell people the importance of sleep and let them know it's critical.  

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Grapefruit Juice and Medication Interactions

Doctors have warned patients for quite some time that grapefruit juice can interact with certain medications and cause harmful side-effects.  This is particularly common with some blood pressure-lowering drugs and some cholesterol-lowering medications.  Researchers believe they know the reason.  So-called furanocoumarins seem to be the problem.  Grapefruit juice armed with the furanocoumarins can cause these drugs to enter the bloodstream more efficiently, thereby increasing the dose and effect and the potential for undesirable, and even dangerous, side-effects.  Researchers from the University of North Carolina found that once you took the furanocoumarins out, the juice behaved like orange juice. Those marketing grapefruit juice envision the production of a furanocoumarin-free juice, much like lactose-free milk. It's an interesting idea. 

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pomegranate Is the Fruit du Jour

The pomegranate was one of the earliest cultivated fruits.  Historical evidence says it was used between 4,000 and 3,000 B.C.  In the past five years, the juice it produces has become very popular.  People think it might fight cancer and heart disease.  Go to a cocktail party and you will hear people having pomegranate martinis.  We bring up pomegranate because it's the fruit du jour.  As is the case with many of these remedies, the truth lies in that it doesn't do everything, but it may potentially help.  Of course, back off on the martinis.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What is the Key to Staying Young?

Do you want to stay young?  If you want to stay young, you don't have to use special facial creams or start the latest fad diet.  Believe it or not, you just need to use common sense and care for yourself.  The most important step is eating a balanced diet; plenty of fruits, vegetables, and those types of things.  You want to try to cut back on sugar and pre-processed foods.  The other concept to get down is you don't have to be perfect.  You can have a piece of cake or pie and stop at a fast-food restaurant every now and then.  Just limit the high-risk exposure.  The other major step is exercise.  Once again, you don't need to be an Olympic athlete.  Just get out there and participate.  Make it fun.  If you have fun, you will continue to play, and that is the key.  The best way to achieve success with your diet or exercise is have a reasonable plan and to stick with it.  

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Women and the Wandering Eye

Researchers say it's more than a wondering eye that might cause a woman to stray. Feelings of lust actually may be rooted in a woman's biology, according to a small study of 38 college women in a scholarly journal Hormones and Behavior. Studies from the University of California Los Angeles and New Mexico suggest an evolutionary tendency toward infidelity during ovulation, which is the most fertile part of the menstrual cycle. The study suggests the propensity is more likely if women don't view their partners as sexy. Along those evolutionary lines, men, more than women, desire a variety of sexual partners, because genes carrying that trait were passed along in men. Women tend to be choosier. Previous research has found that women at mid-cycle report greater sexual attraction to men other than their partners. That's a result of ancestral belief that good looks often equal good genes for offspring.

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Taking Control of Diabetes

As more people are diagnosed with diabetes, there is a major issue in medicine…trying to motivate people to take ownership of their condition and aggressively attack it to prevent long-term problems like kidney and heart disease.  There are several key things that you can do to help when you are dealing with diabetes.  The first thing is that diabetes is not a cause of adult blindness, kidney failure, and amputation.  That's right.  It's poorly controlled diabetes that's the problem.  If you keep it in check, there is reason for hope.  Also, make a partnership with your doctor.  You need someone to talk to who can understand your condition.  If he or she does not help, find someone who can.  Another key point; make certain you see your eye doctor each year, have a foot exam annually, and talk with your doctor about urine screening and a test called the hemoglobin A1C, which can help monitor how you're doing. 

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Correct Drug Dosages for Children

Drug dosing is very important in children because children don’t take the same amount of medicine as adults. When the doctor calculates what the child’s going to have, it’s very important that that is evaluated and looked at from the standpoint of not overdosing a child. Children respond very well to medications if given in the proper dosages. That’s why when you see the pediatrician or the family physician and they write the dosage, make sure you look at it and you take it to the pharmacy, and they closely look at it, so there is not a discrepancy.

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Evaluating Liver Function

Doctors talk about liver metabolism quite a bit.  The liver has a big role in processing many things in our body as well as many medications.  If your liver is not functioning the way it should, it can actually cause problems in the system in how things are metabolized.  The thing you need to do with the liver is to check what doctors call liver enzymes.  Physicians evaluate those enzymes and using their judgment they are able to determine whether or not the liver is being damaged or if it's doing well. 

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Medication Errors Often Confused with Allergies

One of the things that doctors find often gets confused with allergy is what they call a medication error. A medication has been given to a patient and it’s not given at the right dosage or it’s not the right medication. When that happens, people can actually get a reaction. That reaction is often confused and can look like it’s an allergic reaction. It’s very important if you’re on medications and you’re starting to feel strange, that you look at the medication as a potential cause of a possible problem.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dry Eyes and Scratched Cornea

When doctors talk about dry eyes as a source of pain, perhaps that's a light term.  Dry eyes aren't exactly the most painful thing in the world, but if they get dry enough, if they get irritated enough, people will actually pull at them, they'll rub them, and then they can have even more problems because the dryness causes what physicians call a scratched cornea.  When the corneal area gets scratched, it's one of the most sensitive parts of the body.  As a result, that pain that can occur can be excruciating.  Fortunately, it only lasts about 24 hours. The cornea heals relatively rapidly.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Growing Asthma Problem

More and more people are suffering from asthma. It clearly is a growing problem, and one of the reasons doctors think so is more and more people are suffering from various allergies. Now, physicians and researchers haven’t been able to figure out why allergies are bothering more people than ever, but doctors do know the symptoms of asthma, such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, having trouble getting your breath, difficulties in the cold. Those sorts of things are things that can be treated with medications prior to the attacks. Learn all you can about asthma medications. 

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Best Ways To Treat Tendinitis

Sometimes you hear people say, "Oh, it’s just tendinitis. It’s not that big of a deal." Well, tendinitis can be a very big deal because what you’re talking about is an inflammation of the connection between bones. Tendinitis can be very painful. It can affect the way people perform in athletics and in their daily life. One of the nice things about tendinitis is that it will respond to local treatment, such as ice to the area, but that isn’t 100% of the time. What you need to do is you need to take your time and rest as well as treat with that ice.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Epipens for Severe Allergic Reactions

If you’re someone who suffers from allergies, severe allergies like peanut allergies, nut allergies, and bee sting allergies to name a few, you should have epinephrine on hand. Epinephrine actually can stop that allergic reaction. It can actually protect you, but you’ve got to get to it fast. There are things called Epipens. The epinephrine pens actually are easily injectable. They’ll teach you how to use them at the doctor’s office. It is strongly recommended that if you have a child with allergies, or you have problems, talk with your doctor about it. Have that in tow because when you need it, you have to have it there.

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Teaching Kids to Read Food Labels

The Food and Drug Administration is trying to get the word out that children should learn to read the nutrition labels of the food they eat. The department is turning to this tactic as more and more children and young adults struggle with obesity. The thought is if children know more about the food they’re eating, they will make better choices as they get older. There are other steps being taken as well. Many states are starting to take a more aggressive role dealing with food choices being given to schools. The hope is limiting food options to more healthy choices may lead to both short-term and long-term changes.

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