Archive for April, 2011

What You Should Know About Influenza Virus

Influenza, commonly known as flu, is a contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. Influenza A, B, and C are the three types of viruses that cause this epidemic. Type-A influenza is considered to be the most dangerous as it can cause widespread outbreaks of flu. The virus infects the lungs and the upper respiratory system, causing fever, body aches, and pain. The onset of flu also causes loss in appetite, nausea, and dry cough. These symptoms may last for a week, and you may need to stay in bed until they are gone.

Influenza is a very common illness that affects many people every year, usually during winter. As an infected person coughs or sneezes, the flu virus gets transmitted through small droplets of saliva. When a healthy person gets infected by the flu virus, he or she starts to show symptoms within 1-4 days. Flu can also spread through touching common surfaces such as door handles and other items that have been handled by an infected person.

Influenza virus

Type-A influenza virus mostly affects animals and birds. It can also cause damage to human population. Type B and C influenza viruses are not dangerous and show only mild symptoms in human beings. Influenza type-A and -B viruses include strains that are different from the original virus, but retain some of its characteristics. Flu caused by one strain does not give full immunity to the other strains, as the virus keeps changing constantly through a process called antigenic drift. This is the reason a different vaccine is needed every year to help prevent flu.
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Influenza symptoms

Apart from fever, body aches, and pain, the other symptoms of flu are headaches, tiredness, sore throat, runny nose, weakness, and diarrhea. Although flu lasts for a week or less, the immediate symptoms may disappear in 3 days. But symptoms such as cough or severe weakness may persist for a few more days. Infected people can transmit the flu virus even a day before the symptoms start, and they remain infectious for 5-6 days. People with weak immune systems, especially those who are old or very young, may carry the infection for a slightly longer period of time. Current subtypes of influenza type-A viruses are H1N1 and H3N2. Swine flu is an infection caused by H1N1 virus. In 2009, swine flu was first detected in pigs. Recently, a H1N1 vaccine has been developed to ensure against the swine flu infection.

Tamiflu – Influenza Treatment

It is important to treat flu, as it can lead to pneumonia or other complications especially in old people, infants and people with long-term health issues. Tamiflu is one of the most effective medications for treating influenza. It slows down the spread of the flu virus. Oseltamivir, the active ingredient in Tamiflu, works by detaching the flu virus from its host cell. It attacks the virus at its roots and prevents it from multiplying in the body. It also helps the natural antibodies fight off the virus.

One of the most important things about oseltamivir is that it doesn’t have any serious drug reactions with other medications. Under medical supervision, Tamiflu can be taken along with one or more medications that treat other health conditions. It should be taken within 48 hours after the symptoms appear. You should take the medicine as per your doctor’s recommendation. If you miss a dose, you should not take the missed dose. Taking Tamiflu exactly as directed can be an effective influenza treatment.

The Side Effects Of Selected Cancer Medications

Cancer is a chronic disease which is difficult to treat in most cases. It is essentially the uncontrollable division of abnormal cells. This division can spread from one part of the body to the other. By dividing in this way, abnormal cells literally crowd-out and kill healthy cells. Cancer treatment is sophisticated and many involve a varied regimen of pharmaceutical drugs.

There are various types of drugs to treat cancer the following are a few selected ones and their side effects;

Side Effects Of Paclitaxel

Also known by its brand name Taxol this is a chemotherapy drug. It is a drug that attempts to stop the growth of cancer by stopping the division of new cells into two. This is the mechanism behind cancerous growth. The drug itself is sourced from a tree bark of a tree called yew. Those who developed it had in mind the treatment of specific cancers such as breast cancer for women (and some men)and ovarian cancer in women. It is also sometimes an ingredient drug is cancer combo drugs.

Problems associated with the drug;

1 Fatigue
2 Breathlessness
3 Compromised immune system
4 Nosebleeds
5 Bleeding gum
6 Hair loss
7 Allergic reactions in some people
8 Diarrhea

Side Effects Of Melphalan

The brand name for this drug is Alkeran. It is used to treat ovarian cancer and breast cancer. The target for this drug is the DNA of cancerous cells. By attempting to control the cell’s DNA the drug is aiming to stop the cell from dividing thereby stopping a cancerous growth. There are essentially two way of administering the drug. Orally through pharmaceutical drugs or intravenously through a vein on the arm.

Problems associated with the drug;

1 Compromised immune system
2 Nosebleeds
3 Bleeding gum
4 Hair loss
5 Allergic reactions in some people
6 Loss of fertility

Side effects of any drug for any ailment though listed in number may not all manifest. Some individuals may suffer from certain side effects which may not appear in some others. Problems with drugs are usually taken from the most common ones and their prevalence in a given group of people during the trials of a particular drug.

It is possible for an individual to have very unique problems with a drug which may e mild or even severe. Drug interaction is also another issue of concern with pharmaceutical drugs. Being on a certain drug not related to the ailment may in itself present a problem which can manifest as a side effect.

Four Kinds of Food Should Be Prevented to Avoid Heavy Metals

Nowadays, the danger caused by heavy metals has become more and more serious. Improper diet can supplement heavy metals for the human body, which can induce various diseases. For example, mercury can hurt the human brain, nerve and eyesight. Lead can directly hurt the brain cells and the nervous system inside the human body to destroy the intelligence. Four kinds of food in our daily life contain excessive heavy metals. In order to reduce the danger, people should avoid these foods in everyday life.

Marine products and seafood have already become settlements of mercury and arsenic. Several kinds of fish like hairtail and yellow croaker are reproduced offshore contain higher content of heavy metals. Therefore, people should decrease the intake of such fish. It is beneficial for people to eat the abyssal fish in ocean, such as sardine. Recently, the American experts have advised people to control the intake of fish within 100 grams each day. The parts like fish head and fin should be avoided.

Animal liver can also store a large number of heavy metals. According to the research, the content of cadmium contained in animal liver is 100 times higher than the national standard. Therefore, people should not eat animal liver excessively. The intake amount should be less than 50 grams every day.

Preserved eggs have been polluted by lead. In order to reduce the harm, preserved eggs without lead have been developed on the market. When people are eating preserved eggs, they can dip the eggs in vinegar so as to decrease the hurt caused by toxic substances.

The beverage in pop cans contains a large amount of aluminum. The content of aluminum contained in beverage in pop cans is 3 to 6 times higher than that in beverage in bottles. Therefore, it is necessary for people to decrease the beverage in pop cans in our daily life.

These four kinds of food mentioned above can seriously endanger the physical health of the human body. People should avoid such foods so as to refuse heavy metals. At the same time, people should increase the intake of the foods which can remove toxins from the human body, such as nut and vegetables. Vegetables and fruits containing abundant vitamin C can remove heavy metals from the human body. Oat and celery containing dietary fibers can decrease the absorption rate of heavy metals so as to alleviate the danger.

Navigating the Sophisticated Language about Pinched Nerve Symptoms

Navigating all the complicated sickness vocabulary of any health analysis might be frustrating. Pinched nerves and its affiliated symptoms might be especially tricky to recognize since they include one of the most confusing system of the body, the neurological system. Fortunately, a lot of the complex words could be broken down to not complex, straightforward phrases. Leave any remarks below if you have terms that you’d like to see discussed in more depth.

The best way to comprehend the foundation of the central nervous system is usually to think of the nerve fibres like a telephone cable. Messages have to travel to and out of the phone having minimal interruption in order that the message is clear. Any disturbance along the way and the whole conversation stops working. Nerve symptoms are the same way. The brain sends messages to areas of the body through Efferent nerve fibers (aka Motor Nerves). These nerves control all the voluntary actions of the human body. Whenever you think about having a drink of water, your brain sends a signal along the efferent nerves to each of the muscles with the arm to move and pick up the glass of drinking water. Conversely, any time your hand at last touches the glass of h2o, a signal is routed back coupled a Afferent (or Sensory) nerve to inform the brain if the glass hot or cold. The actual signal is carried from nerve to nerve by simply crossing a synapse, or a small space between the two nerves. Neurotransmitters are the little compounds that jump over the this tiny gap and keep the nerve signal moving. Without the inbound and outbound messages from the brain, we would have a problem interacting together with our surroundings.

One of most frequent reasons for pinched nerves in the neck and back are herniated disks. A disk, the donut shaped delicate tissue between each of your vertebrae while in the back and neck might lose its form. When the disk loses its form it could bulge inward towards your spinal cord. The pressure added to the spinal-cord disturbs the signal going to and from the brain. The body interprets this disruption as pain. No Bueno! Sciatica is a unique phrase to force applied to the sciatic nerve and can cause intense discomfort through the back and lower limbs. Spinal stenosis however is a narrowing on the spinal column. This can lead to a lack of feeling in the lower limbs and much reduce physical exercise.
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Treatment of nerve pain symptoms will probably comprise of dosages of NSAIDs or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine. Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and naproxen are a couple of the conventional and most well-known NSAIDs. These people are sold over the counter at the majority local drug store. Cortisone products or injections are also common. Cortisone, a steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, suppresses the immune system and as a consequence reduces the swelling and discomfort associated with the pinched nerve. It can be applied in a variety of techniques but creams and injections tend to be most typical. Cortisone is often not a long term cure, even so, it may allow temporary pain relief.

As always, understanding the problematic terms will assist you to make a lot more well informed decisions concerning your health. Your current physicians guidance should come first and foremost, however, its important you comprehend exactly the type of therapy he’s suggesting. Staying assertive regarding teaching yourself over the issue will pay massive benefits on the path to recuperation.

Why Medical Tourism in Mexico Is So Popular

Medical Tourism in Mexico is an industry of considerable size. Americans frequently cross the border to Mexico to receive medical treatment. They save from 50 to 75 percent on their medical costs by doing so. Dentistry and plastic surgery are particularly popular procedures. Some Mexican dentists charge just 20 to 25 percent of what dentists in the US charge for their treatments. Other procedures usually cost a third of what they would in the US. And the fact that many Americans live incredibly close to the Mexican border means it is no surprise that Medical Tourism Mexico is becoming a huge hit.

To deal with such competitive prices a number of US dentists have opened offices in Mexico to take advantage of lower running costs.

Legislators in Texas have also considered letting health maintenance organizations work in both the US and Mexico. However Texan doctors lobbied against such action and the changes did not go ahead. Due to the low cost of medical treatment in Mexico they felt local doctors could not afford to compete.

Employers in Southern California have even started offering their employees medical insurance plans that provide non-emergency care in Mexico. These plans cost 40 to 50 percent less than they would if the medical attention were received in the US. It just means those covered have their routine doctor appointments outsourced to Mexico, a few miles south. According to the Washington Post such plans are growing by almost 3000 people per year.

In 2000 California became the only state in the US to regulate insurance plans that include medical tourism. In the years following this over 700 businesses, excluding agriculture, have offered their staff insurance plans that include treatment in Mexico. In addition about 120,000 migrant farm laborers have received similar coverage from their employers.

The response from people who do travel to Mexico for medical care is incredibly positive. A report commissioned by Families U.S.A., a Washington health-care advocacy group, states that 90 percent of those surveyed rated the care they received in Mexico as good or excellent. Conversely, only 80 percent surveyed felt their level of care in the United States had been good or excellent.

One only needs to watch Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko to see the medical insurance problems encountered by Americans. Millions are uninsured and many people who are covered experience problems with insurance company fraud and red tape. To add to that the medical costs in the US are rising. Medical tourism is therefore becoming a more and more attractive option.

Bariatric surgery, a form of weight loss, is also popular with medical tourists in Mexico. One form of this treatment, lap band surgery, has actually been offered in Mexico for a longer period of time than in the US, as it was not approved by the FDA until 2001.

Fatty Liver Diet

Truth be told, there really shouldn’t be any difference in the regular person’s diet and the fatty liver diet. Your ultimate goal should be to lower the consumption of fat content that you eat and allow your body to fully use all of the calories it consumes for energy so you don’t gain extra fat and body weight. Honestly, people really should eat like this to begin with – the low fat and balanced meals are good for the whole body, not just the liver. But this is especially important for those who are suffering from a fatty liver.

It’s not always simple to pinpoint the perfect plan for reducing the fatty liver of a particular patient. Just like medication doses must fit the needs of the patient, so must your intake of nutrients. Before you can start to plan your diet, you need to figure out what brought your condition on- it won’t be alcohol for everyone.

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There are two main types of fatty liver disease, or FLD. They are alcoholic and nonalcoholic. An alcoholic knows what the cause of their ill health is. Can you guess what it is? Of course, alcohol consumption to great excess is the primary factor in alcoholic liver cirrhosis.

The properties of alcohol promote the accumulation of fatty buildup in your liver, leading to the condition. Certainly, there’s more to it than that, such as discouraging the release of LDL’s into the blood stream. It’s these LDL’s that help to move the fats out of the liver and without them you have a problem. Without getting rid of fat, your liver will rather quickly begin to not be able to eliminate these fatty acids. The complete elimination of alcohol intake from someone in this condition is the first thing to do.

If a person is suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease they are dealing with a more complex condition. A diet high in fat, being severely overweight and diabetes can all be part of the reason behind needing to utilize a fatty liver diet. In this case, weight loss is called for, along with adjustments to food intake are first on the to do list.

Below you will find a list of what to include and what to exclude when planning a fatty liver diet.

– Eat foods rich in both vitamins and minerals. Particularly those that contain B complex vitamins, folic acid, selenium, sulfur and manganese.
– Don’t eat foods that are high in fat. Unsaturated fats are the rule here.
– Get the nutrients you need and don’t overeat if at all possible.
– Don’t eat a lot of fried foods and large amounts of dark meat.
– Avoid consuming dark meat, as this tends to have the type of fat you don’t want in your fatty liver diet.
– Do eat plenty of foods that are high in fiber.
Vitamin C will help you greatly- a perfect source is citrus fruits like oranges.
– Keep the sugary drinks off the menu and limit alcohol severely (altogether if your fatty liver is related to alcohol).
– Do regular exercise in an effort to lose weight gradually. Try not to do it all at once.
– Do eat a daily dose of green and leafy vegetables.
Avoid simple carbohydrates in favor of complex. Sugary items like doughnuts have the wrong kind of carbohydrates- think pasta.
– Get lots of whole grains in the form of items like brown rice to help you plan your fatty liver diet.

I hope this article was helpful to you and helped you to understand your condition even better. In the box below, you will find other interesting plans for your fatty liver diet.

Cut Your Cholesterol

High cholesterol, also known as hypercholesterolemia, has increasingly been distressing people for years. Abnormal cholesterol levels can show up as high LDL cholesterol or at a low level HDL cholesterol. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) are also called “Unhealthy” cholesterol. LDL can cause a buildup of plaque on the walls of arteries.

  • High density lipoproteins (HDL), is also called “safe” cholesterol. It is the good cholesterol that helps the body to get rid of damaging cholesterol in the blood; the more advanced the level of HDL cholesterol, the better.
  • Other types of cholesterol include VLDL and Triglycerides. VLDL (very low density lipoproteins) is like LDL cholesterol in that it contains generally fat and not much protein. Triglycerides are a different type of fat that is passed in the blood by very low density lipoproteins. Additional calories, alcohol, or sugar in the body are converted into triglycerides in the liver and stored in fat cells throughout the body.

There are a few chief health risks to having high cholesterol. Elevated cholesterol can lead to heart disease and stroke. When too much cholesterol is present in the blood, plaque (a thick, hard deposit) may form in the body’s arteries tightening the space for blood to flow to the heart.

Over time, this buildup causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which is what leads to heart disease. When not enough oxygen-carrying blood reaches the heart due to the amount of plaque in the artier chest pain called angina can be the result. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is absolutely cut off by a blockage of a coronary artery, the end results is a heart attack. This is generally due to a sudden closure from a blood clot forming on top of a previous narrowing. The more LDL there is in the blood, the greater the risk of heart disease. If your levels of HDL are extremely low, you are also increasing your risk of heart disease.

A number of things can lead to high cholesterol. One is having an unhealthy diet. A low-cholesterol diet can help improve cholesterol levels. If the low-cholesterol diet does not succeed to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, your surgeon may prescribe medications.

Sometimes high cholesterol runs in families. Your genes to a certain extent determine how much cholesterol your body makes naturally. Your LDL cholesterol is affected due to how swiftly LDL is made and removed from the blood. One certain form of inherited high cholesterol that affects 1 in 500 people is familial hypercholesterolemia, which often leads to early heart disease. Gender and age also determine if you are at risk for having high cholesterol levels.

As we get older, cholesterol levels rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause, however, a woman’s LDL levels tend to climb until about 60 to 65 years of age. After the age of about 50, women often have advanced total cholesterol levels than men of the same age.

Controlling cholesterol levels should not only be thought about when there is a dilemma. By thinking about the amount of cholesterol that you eat on a day by day basis, you can put yourself onto a path that leads to a healthier cholesterol level in the future.

Are You Part of the Diabetes Belt?

It’s no secret that Type 2 diabetes rates are skyrocketing worldwide. Contrary to popular belief, some sections of the world are holding back the tide of diabetes… while others are getting pummeled by the diabetic tidal wave.

In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently dubbed 15 US states the “Diabetes Belt”. People who live in the belt… including West Virginians and Alabamians… are at a heightened risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Even if you’re miles away from the fringe of the diabetes belt that doesn’t mean that you’re safe. Here are some lessons to be learned from this region of the US:

Tighten Your Belt…or Become Part of The Diabetes Belt: It’s not genetics or a love for college football that’s behind these Southern states horrific diabetes rates… it’s obesity. The states with the highest diabetes rates are also those with the most alarming numbers of obese people.

While there’s a lot of talk about eating this versus that for prevention and treatment of Type 2 diabetes, there’s little question that your weight is the single most important determinant of Type 2 diabetes.

Start walking, cut out the junk food, or move to a healthy state like California if you have to. No matter what it takes, lose the weight you need to lose or else become Type 2 diabetes next victim.

Move It and Lose It: Studies show people who exercise are less likely to get diabetes. No shocker there. But what may surprise you is the fact that those that exercise and don’t lose a pound (or kilogram), still reap a number of diabetes-preventing benefits. Those that work out regularly tend to have lower levels of inflammation… a chronic process that interferes with your body’s natural insulin in doing its crucial job.

Eat Slow Food: The West Virginia State Journal notes that the incredible popularity of fast food is fueling their rank as the #1 Type 2 diabetes US state. While the fat in fast food make most health conscious people cringe, there’s a lot more than just fat to be concerned about in your drive-thru meal.

Dozens of research studies have found people who dine out often have significantly higher obesity rates than those who eat at home. Even if you’re health conscious while perusing the fast food menu, the calories in most restaurant choices will amount to more than a home-cooked meal.

Make a significant effort to shun the drive-thru window and cook healthy meals at home. With serious health and financial savings, this one move is enough for you to tighten two belts at once.

Gene Therapy May Help Reverse Parkinson’s Symptoms

There is good news at the horizon for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. A recent study has shown that using the latest technology in gene therapy can help improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, like rigidity, tremors and other problems with motor skills.

The study involved 45 participants suffering from moderate and advanced Parkinson’s disease. Half of the participants were given the gene therapy, while the remaining where given a mock therapy that looked very similar to the therapy.

The 22 participants who received the therapy where given glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) gene. This gene was infused into the brain and helps to stimulate the production of a chemical compound known as GABA. This chemical compounds helps to enhance motor skills. Six months after the therapy, half of the participants showed significant improvement.

The participants were given local anesthesia and then an inactive virus was used to transport the gene to the subthalamic nucleus of the brain. This is the region that controls the motor functions. The gene then stimulates the brain cells to produce GABA, so that normal chemical balance of this neurotransmitter is established. The balance of GABA becomes dysfunctional as the Parkinson’s advances.

While there are many gene therapy trials that have shown some amount of promise when it comes to treating diseases like Parkinson’s, this is the first clinical trial that has provided concrete evidence of improvement. In this study, the researchers as well as the participants were not aware as to who was receiving the gene therapy and who was receiving the mock therapy.

This phase 2 clinical trial was conducted by the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research located at Manhasset, New York.

None of the participants taking part in the study suffered from any serious side effects. However, some did experience side effects, but they were mild. There were 7 participants in the gene therapy group that complained of headaches and 6 complained of nausea. In the US, there are around 1 million people suffering from Parkinson’s disease and majority of them are more than 50 years of age. Parkinson’s comes in at the second position after Alzheimer’s disease out of all the neuro-degenerative diseases.

Before the US FDA approves this treatment, the institute would have to conduct a phase 3 clinical trial. So, the only thing that people suffering from Parkinson’s disease do is wait for the phase 3 clinical trials to finish and then hope that the FDA approves the treatment. This new treatment will definitely be boon for people who have lost their motor skills due to the disease.

Beef Stew For Heart Attack Patients

I had a heart attack a couple of months ago, which required triple-bypass surgery. As I am a widower, I do all my own cooking. This wake-up call caused me to re-assess my eating habits. So instead of the junk-food that I had been living on, I now want to eat delicious, heart-healthy foods that are simple to prepare. If they will last more than one meal, that’s a bonus that I like.

Frankly, my beef stew is not only heart-healthy and very delicious, but is very easy to prepare.

And you can freeze it in individual portions to thaw in the microwave and enjoy any time you wish a quick and easy, satisfying meal. Just add a couple of slices of whole wheat bread and there you go.

While my beef stew is easy to make, it does take some time. So allow about 3 hours or so of cooking time. I start my stew at 2:00 to enjoy it for a 5:00 mealtime.

I look over the stewing beef chunks at the local supermarket trying to purchase a package that looks as lean as possible. Then I use a paring knife and a carving board to cut away any bits of anything that isn’t meat. This includes fat, gristle, etc. I cut the chunks into smaller pieces about the size of the last joint of my thumb.

I use a large pot that has a lid and fill it 1/3 with hot water out of the tap. I put in the beef chunks, put on the lid, and put it on the stove-top at ¾ heat. Keep an eye on it for the next 15 minutes or so, and if it shows signs of boiling over, reduce the heat until it just simmers with the lid on. At this time (after 15 minutes of boiling), use a spoon to scoop away any fats that have been boiled off and rose to the surface. Beef fat is just not heart-healthy, but the beef itself is.

After about 2 1/4 hours of boiling (stirring occasionally), start preparing the vegetables. Peel 2 to 3 medium sized white potatoes and cut them into bite-size chunks. Add to the pot. Peel and slice a medium cooking onion and plunk it in the pot together with a package of brown pre-sliced mushrooms. Add any other vegetables you like. I like slicing up 4 celery stems, opening a small can of kidney beans, taking frozen wax beans and slicing up a couple of carrots. Into the pot they go.

Turn the heat back up until it boils, then turn down to a simmer, as before. Leave the lid on.

At this time, I add spices… but NO SALT!

I like to use some minced garlic (bottled… no preparation required), ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, ground vegetable seasoning, dried parsley and rosemary.

Finish cooking until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, then remove the stew pot from the heat.

If there is too much liquid left, I don’t want to dump it because it contains all sorts of nutritious ingredients, so I add some flour to thicken it up.

I eat what I want for supper (usually too much), and freeze the rest in individually sized Tupperware containers.

That way, all I have to do is put the container in the microwave for 1 minute, to loosen it up so I can easily dump it in a bowl.

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