Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Health Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea has been used for centuries as a cure for all types of ills.  One of the biggest claims by those who endorse green tea is that it helps fight cancer, but studies haven't supported those claims over the years.  What the studies do support is the fact that drinking green tea actually helps reduce the chances of developing a wide variety of problems including heart disease.  Tea, in various forms, can help people relax and in many cultures, it's associated with rest time.  The average American drinks 155 cups of tea each year.  The good news is that tea is relatively safe, however, be concerned about products that are sold in tea extract pill forms.  Again, you can definitely have a cup a tea if everything else is fine and just not worry about it.  

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Monday, April 21, 2014

The Most Significant Advances in Health Care

A survey looked at the most significant advances in health care in the past 100 years and there were numerous answers, most of them predictable.  For instance, high tech machinery like CAT scans and MRIs were mentioned.  The development of various antibiotics and medications to treat high blood pressure were also listed.  All good choices, but certain things did not make the list, probably because they were not so obvious.  The first was suggested by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.  When asked about the greatest invention in his long medical life, he said plastic.  Think about it; being in a hospital with glass tubing for your glass IV.  The other suggestion was the increased importance of studies concerning women.  For decades, women's health was virtually ignored.  Even in the situations where we were dealing with problems that affected both sexes, like heart disease, women were not studied.  The research was done on men and then applied to women. 

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Evaluating Reduced Sexual Desire in Women

If a woman has decreased sexual desire, there could be a number of factors involved.  First of all, when it comes to sexuality for women, there are many factors that are much more complicated than in the case of men.  Does the woman feel like she's in a long-lasting, stable relationship?  Does she feel she's getting the attention she deserves?  Are there pressures that have nothing to do with sexuality that are bothering her?  One of the problems with decreased desire is fatigue.  If a woman feels fatigued and doesn't feel the normal pleasure or happiness, she's actually not going to be interested in sexuality.  Again, it's complex and often needs evaluation.  

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What Causes the Pain of Heartburn?

A lot of people don't understand what heartburn is, but it's real simple to explain.  The esophagus goes from the mouth down into the stomach.  There's a connection there and there's a valve that keeps the stomach acid in the stomach.  The stomach has lots of acid in it because it has to churn up the food in there and do its job.  Sometimes, that acid pushes up, but, that valve keeps it from going into the esophagus.  If you have a problem with the valve, or maybe you lay down and it can leak in, it gets into that esophagus which does not have a lining for acid and it hurts and you feel heartburn. 

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Research on Serotonin and Depression

We have known for quite some time that depression and serotonin pathways in the brain are connected in some way. Many of our treatments for depression are based on serotonin and its metabolism in the body. How depression and serotonin may be linked? Well, according to information in the journal Science, interactions between a brain protein and a serotonin receptor seem to have a relationship with depression as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder, drug addiction, anxiety, aggression and sleep disorders. Now, without getting too technical, there are aspects of the finding that are very important. The true value might come from the fact that as we learn more about serotonin, we will be able to attack it more specifically. Remember, we use a lot of serotonin-based drugs. We understand how they work and we can definitely put them in position where they can make a difference for people.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Understanding Insomnia

Insomnia is one of those definitions in medicine that is somewhat variable.  People who suffer from insomnia will define it as difficulty going to sleep, unable to go to sleep for hours, or waking up in the middle of the night after having trouble sleeping.  The bottom line is insomnia cuts through all of those fabrics.  It's important when you are struggling with insomnia that you have good sleep hygiene.  That means not taking work to bed, making sure it's nice and quiet, and it's a comfortable place to sleep. 

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Two Disorders that Affect the Tongue

They are two of the more bizarre findings in medicine, with two of the strangest names, and they both affect the tongue.  If you think about it, we rarely talk about the tongue, but the terms geographic tongue and hairy tongue are actual medical terms.  Believe it or not, geographic tongue affects as many as 1 out of 10 people.  In a geographic tongue, part of the tongue becomes flat and smooth which makes it stand out when compared to the rest of the tongue with raised borders.  In hairy tongue, an accumulation of tissue called keratin develops on the tongue and that leads to elongated debris.  

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

When Exercise Becomes Compulsive

Exercise is a great thing, but when you see compulsive exercise, it’s a problem. That is where a teenager, in particular, begins to exercise because they feel pressure to stay in shape. Maybe they want their body to be better. Maybe they want to be better athletes. Maybe they have anorexia or bulimic-type tendencies and they’re worried about their self-image. Exercise is great, but when it starts to take on a life of its own, that’s when you have to be concerned. Counsel the child. Try to find out why they’re exercising so much and if there’s changes that need to be made.

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Evaluating Medication Allergies

There are many people who have allergies to different medications, and these medication allergies can be frustrating to deal with. Sometimes there’s a medication allergy that is made worse by another medicine you’re taking at the same time. This process of synergy actually can be a very difficult process when physicians are trying, as detectives in medicine, to try to figure out what’s causing the allergic symptoms. Medication allergies, linked with others, have to be treated seriously. You really have to evaluate it and try to find out what’s going on.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Importance of Water for Health

It is a major point of discussion. What do you think is the most important step you can take when it comes to your overall health? Clearly, proper diet and exercise are essential. But what else? We want to raise the water argument. Think about it. It’s very important to drink plenty of water when you’re playing sports, exercising or performing virtually any activity that causes you to sweat and lose bodily fluids. Basically, there are other cases where it’s critical. Researchers at Northwestern say it can also help regulate body temperature and improve digestion.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Study Looks at Calories and Weight Gain

It is a very simple concept: Calories in, calories out.  The more calories you take in, the greater your chances you will gain weight.  The problem is that many people, in fact, most of us, do not want to believe it.  We're always looking for an edge.  We want some way that we can beat the system.  So, if you're looking for a way to beat the system, you will not be happy with the results of a study done at Brigham and Women's Hospital.  Researchers followed a large group of healthy, middle-aged, U.S. women for more than a decade.  The first step of the study confirmed the fact that too many calories leads to weight gain (that's pretty obvious).  In the second part of the study they found that for those who started off at a healthy weight, being successful at maintaining a normal weight meant participating in an average of 60 minutes a day of moderately intense exercise.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fat and Fit

Even if you’re fat, does it help to be fit?’ A new study from Johns Hopkins led by Kerry Stewart, an exercise researcher, seems to answer affirmatively, at least from the perspective of your liver. Overweight folks have unhealthy amounts of fat in the liver, and exercise seems to get rid of much of that, even when overall body weight remains largely unchanged.

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