Understanding Nail Fungus and Methods to Treat It Effectively

Millions of people through the world can be seen carrying nail fungus infections on their body. This infection usually begins as a yellow or white spot on the tips of your fingernails or toenails. As the infection spreads it can cause your nails to turn thicker, crumble around the edges and change the color of your nails completely. The condition can also be painful and cause you plenty of embarrassments.

The type of fungus which has come into contact with your nails will determine the severity of the condition you face. You can consider yourself affected by the condition if your nails begin to thicken, appear distorted and exhibit signs of debris building up under the nail. In several cases, you could also come across a situation where the nail begins to separate from the bed. This condition which is defined as onychomycosis by the medical fraternity also has the ability to emit a foul odor along with pain in your fingertips and toenails.

This is a difficult infection to get rid of because it is caused by the fungi which is known as dermatophytes. These are organizations, which thrive in moist and humid conditions. The fungi can enter your body through small injuries, which may or may not be visible. It has been noted that such problems generally occur on the toenails among people whose feet are bound in shoes for extended periods of time. The medical fraternity to this date has not developed a remedy for the problem but has only indicated that medications available can help deal with the symptoms that are seen. Because of its stubborn nature, medical practitioners have advised that people contact them immediately upon noticing the first symptoms of this problem.

Dealing with such issues is not easy because people will have to take several precautions to keep their nails in good order. Treatments offered to you could be in the form of pills such as Lamisil and Sporanox. Topical applications, surgery and antifungal lacquer can also be suggested.

There is another treatment available to you which you can look at. If you believe in the adage “heal by nature” you can look for natural remedies, which are also available. Natural remedies will help you deal with such issues from the comfort of your home and at a cost which will be extremely affordable. However, you will have to be extremely careful when choosing a product because there are several fakes, which are also being sold. Look at the ingredients which are contained within the natural remedy you choose, and you could soon find a relief from this problem from nature itself.

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What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD is a neuro-cognitive disorder. In most cases, it will continue through one's adolescence and adulthood. It involves difficulty in concentrating for a long period of time, difficulty to control behavior, and sometimes emotions, which can hamper a child's performance in school, home as well as adversely affect relationships with other children. Although ADHD can not be cured, there are advanced neuro-cognitive treatment programs to correct the underficiencies and resolve, or significantly improve most symptoms of ADHD.

The symptoms of ADHD in children include getting easily distracted, missing details, forgetting things, difficulty in organizing and completing tasks, losing things, difficulty with listening when spoken to, daydreaming, struggling to follow instructions, fidgeting, excessive talking, inability to sit in one place for too long, impatience, blurtingappropriate observations, acting without restraint, interrupting others, becoming easily bored and more. In case of ADHD in children, a child must have symptoms such as lack of attention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness for 6 or months or more and in greater degree than other children of the same age. The symptoms of ADHD in children may start appearing before the age of six. Some kids do not display signs of hyperactivity and restlessness and are there before categorized under the inattention subtype. It is difficult to spot ADHD in children as some symptoms may appear in some situations and not in others, but if ADHD symptoms persist consistently, it is important to do a specialized ADHD assessment with an experienced clinician, in order to identify the underlying causes of the condition.

The symptoms of ADHD in adults may slightly vary. More than half of adults who are diagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-ADHD experienced it during their childhood. ADHD affects approximately 3% to 10% of children and an approximate 60% of them may continue to have these difficulties towards their adulthood. ADHD in adults may result in problems on interpersonal and professional levels and may also result in other psycho-emotional problems and disorders.

There is no certainty on what causes Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-ADHD, yet studies suggest the role genetics as the primary cause. Other causes include a combination of factors such as environmental factors, excessive smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy, exposure to high levels of lead and other toxic chemicals as well as brain injuries.

Methylphenidate and amphetamines are the most common types of medication used for the treatment of ADHD. The stimulants essentially activate brain circuits that support attention and focused behavior, thus reducing impulsivity, hyperactivity and help children to focus better.

The side effects often reported with treatment of ADHD using drugs include reduced hunger, problems related to sleep, uneasiness, and irritability. They can also cause more serious symptoms such as hallucinations, increased heart beat and stroke. Currently, these medications can only control the symptoms when taken. The intake of these medications does not result in better learning abilities, and recent studies have shown that for the long run, these medications do no improve academic performance. While the traditional models of treatment of ADHD include use of counseling, behavioral therapy and emotional support to help children and adults cope with ADHD, there are more modern approaches that offer long-term resolution.

Because ADHD is a neuro-cognitive disorder, only a neuro-cognitive approach can correct the difficulties related to the condition. Neuro cognitive therapy and training have shown excellent results in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and learning disabilities with marked improvement on all levels. Improving brain regulation combined with developing core cognitive skills such as visual processing, auditory processing, divided attention, multitasking, working memory and more, can contribute to considering and permanent gains in cognitive performance and significant reduction in ADHD-related symptoms.

One of the pioneers in neuro-cognitive training is the ACEclinics in Toronto, Canada, headed by Bob Gottfried PhD. The clinic specializes in assessment and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disorders (LD), non-specific neuro-cognitive deficits and memory disorders.

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Naturopathic Medicines for Menopause

Over the past several years the news has been filled with reports about the potential risk of hormone replacement therapy for women confronting menopause. Concern has most recently been raised following the release of information from the influential Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study demonstrating the increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease and strokes associated with the use of the most commonly prescribed hormone, Prempro. An alternative that has been growing in popularity is the Naturopathy.

Naturopathic medicine offers alternatives for women who have been using hormone replacement therapy and are looking for other options to prevent hot flashes, insomnia, mood changes, irregular periods and vaginal dryness as well as many other changes related to early-menopause and menopause. Natural therapies may be the perfect solution because they offer reduction in menopause symptoms without the increased risk of disease.

Black Cohosh is an example of an herbal therapy for the symptoms of menopause. Studies have shown that women who take Black Cohosh have fewer hot flashes, night sweats, headaches and mood swings. They also report a general reduction in insomnia, fatigue, irritability and vaginal dryness. These benefits have been attributed to phytoestrogens substance believed to be present in black cohosh. Phytoestrogens are chemical compounds in all plants. The most well known phytoestrogen is isoflavone, which is found in all soy products.

There are many non-hormonal options available for women with dealing with the symptoms of menopause. Combinations of herbs such as dong quai, motherwort, licorice root, burdock root and wild yam root can reduce hot flashes for some women. (Are you unfamiliar with these herbs? Do not worry, just ask your Naturopath to steer you in the right direction!). Many women find relief from hot flashes by taking vitamin E, vitamin C. Examples of other options include the use of melatonin for insomnia, B vitamins for depressed moods, and glucosamine sulfate for joint pain. Women who have discontinued the use of hormone replacement therapy due to negative results or on the recommendation of their doctors should consider seeking the care of a Naturopathic Physician. A Naturopathic Physician can help women sort through all the natural alternatives and determine the most appropriate choices and effective doses based on their individual concerns.

Naturopathic Physicians are experts in the use of natural therapies. With four years of postgraduate education in the biological sciences, conventional medical diagnosis and the use of Complementary and Alternative Medical (CAM) therapies, Naturopathic Physicians are able to provide current information on safe and effective therapies for menopause.

When you see a Naturopathic Physician you will be impressed with the attentive care you receive. During the first one-hour visit, individual menopause related symptoms are discussed and rated based on severity. Appropriate natural therapies based on scientific evidence are then recommended. Potential therapies include daily nutrition, exercise, vitamins and minerals, herbal extracts and / or formulas and homeopathic remedies. In addition, individual risks for breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis are determined and preventive options discussed. The goal is to provide complete care, taking individual concerns into account, and to provide information to promote informed choices while using the least invasive therapies.

Women who are seeking alternatives to Hormone Replacement therapy will find that Naturopathic Physicians offer many options for the relief of menopausal symptoms as well as the prevention of heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. To find a Naturopathic Physician in your area visit the website for the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians at http://www.nyanp.org or the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at http://www.naturopathic.org .

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Building a Breakfast

Breakfast is key to starting your day feeling healthy and energetic. Whether you are focused on balancing your blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, losing weight, avoiding gluten and dairy, fighting off yeast or improving your mood and focus … the breakfast recommendations are basically the same!

1. Make sure to include protein.
2. Minimize carbohydrates.
3. Include healthy fat and fiber if possible.

OK, with those three points in mind, let's build a breakfast for you. I would like to encourage you to think outside the breakfast box! Forget about cereals, pancakes, waffles and the like. They are simply too high in carbohydrates, have a high glycemic index and, moremore, tend to contain gluten (an all too common grain that many people can not eat).

Set aside American breakfast concepts, and those advertised on TV and start thinking of breakfast in a whole new way. How about wild salmon for breakfast? (that is one of my favorites) Or left over chicken and roasted vegetables.

Here are my favorite breakfast choices:

1. Protein shake (Metagenics Sustain or Thorne Mediclear Plus) with flax seed oil, ground flax seeds and ProBerry
2. Turkey Bacon (hormone and antibiotic free)
3. Frozen turkey sausage (hormone and antibiotic free)
4. Wild Salmon, sauteed with onions
5. Turkey Bologna (hormone and antibiotic free)
6. Whole, Organic egg (if you are not intolerant to eggs) poached or sauteed with arugula and goat cheese

How much you ask?

My recommendation is to eat half. Eat half as much as you think you need or half as much as you usually have. What is the worst possibility? You might feel hungry in an hour or two? Great, then eat a second breakfast.

It is better to spread out the calories and eat every 3 to 4 hours through the day, so for those of you like me, who love breakfast, I do not think it will take much convincing to switch to breakfast twice! That is right, eat half, and eat the other half (or something else) in a couple hours.

To drink? Stay away from juices. They are basically sugar, adding to your carbohydrate load and making a tasty breakfast for yeast, encouraging them to stay instead of go away. A much healthier option is green tea. It helps regulate blood sugar and metabolism, and advances cancer at the same time.

Otherwise water, filtered of course, is a great place to start your day, especially if you consume caffeine, which is a diuretic. Minimize the caffeine, but at the same time I think you will find that the longer you stick to these caffeine items to boost your energy so much anymore.

By following these recommendations, you will likely notice a difference in how you feel even the very first day you try it. From then on, I bet you will not look back!

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Learning More About Infectious Diseases and the ELISA Technology

ELISA, an abbreviated form of Enzyme Link Immuno Sorbent, can be employed to assess the existence of certain antigens or antibodies. The technique involves using an identifiable antigen to combine with the correct unknown antibody. A minor enzyme is needed to connect the antigen with the antibody. The enzyme releases a signal which may be measured after having added the ultimate chemical to the reaction. The quantum of signal generated this way equals the quantity of the unidentified antibody under analysis.

An antibody enterprises of a chain of four polypeptides, two of which are known as light chains and an equal number of heavy chains, but all are identical. Each antibody has a variable part which at all times is different for another. This symbolizes the active part that causes interaction of every antibody. The light chain contains the variable part. Antibodies are components of protein, the main function of which is to combine foreign matters or antigens present in body and cause their annihilation.

Infectious diseases are among the main heath concerns of today. For centuries, the human body has been harmed by such diseases, but their treatment seems to be more difficult at present. The principal source of these diseases are the pathogenic micro-organisms. These could be in form of bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. Micro-organizations stay alive on transmission from one host to another. There are many elements transmitting infections agents, such as food, liquids, body fluids, infected stuff, vector borne spread and airborne inhalation. Because of their ability to get transmitted from one person to another, infectious diseases are also named as communicable or transmittable diseases.

There are two groups of antimicrobial agents available for fighting against infectious diseases. One enterprises of antibiotics that are natural compounds manufactured by a variety of micro-organisms. The other is the use of chemotherapeutic agents, which are chemically synthesized goods. Over years, hundreds of products having antibiotic properties had been isolated from micro- organizations, although only a couple of those are clinically helpful. That is due only to those antibiotic compounds having discriminatory toxicity are useful for clinical applications. Discriminatory toxicity is recognized as an agent that can slow down or destroy bacterial pathogens without causing any toxic effect on patients.

Modern medicine recognizes the complications of treating infectious diseases. It is realized that early diagnosis of diseases is extremely important these days.

Connecting particular proteins to specific disease continues to pose challenges to science even today, though a lot of developments have taken place in past. ELISA can be used to probe numerous diseases in several organizations. The ELISA is a simple test that produces dependable data in a short span of time.

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Nebulisers: Essential Cleaning and Maintenance Routines

What is a Nebuliser and when is it used?

A nebuliser is a machine that converges liquid medication into a mist that can be breathed directly into the lungs through a mask or mouthpiece.

Medications for lung conditions are mostly taken through inhalers these days, which are less costly and do not require as much time and maintenance, but in some cases a nebuliser may be required. For example in an emergency situation with an asthma sufferer or patient diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) where a high dose of reliever medication is required, or for patients who have a lot of mucus in their lungs, where the extra moisture of the nebulised medication can be useful.

Maintenance and Cleaning

It's really important to properly clean and maintain a nebuliser. Failure to do this may lead to infection or the device not working properly and not giving the correct dose of medication.

Cleaning

Nebulisers that are used regularly should be cleaned daily, and those used intermittently should be cleaned after each use. Here's a basic guide:

  • After a treatment – rinse the nebuliser cup with warm water and leave to air dry.
  • At the end of the day – disconnect and disassemble the chamber and mask or mouthpiece and wash in warm soapy water using a mild detergent. Rinse and allow to air dry.
  • Twice a week after washing the nebuliser, disinfect it using a disinfectant recommended by your equipment supplier, or using a one part vinegar to four parts water solution. Soak for about 20 minutes and then thoroughly rinse and air dry.

Maintenance

Models will vary according to how much maintenance they need, therefore it is essential to familiarize yourself with your model's requirements. However, generally the disposable components like the mask or mouthpiece, tubing, filters and the nebuliser chamber should be replaced every 3 months. Compressors need annual checks and servicing.

In the case of a breakdown of your nebuliser, a back up plan should be in place. For asthma and COPD sufferers an inhaler will be able to deliver the same amount of medication. For more specialist drugs an alternative plan would be needed. Whilst you are without your compressor while it is being serviced you may be able to borrow one from the manufacturer or health service, it's worth finding out what the options are.

Nebulisers can be a very important piece of equipment for those with lung conditions. Rigorous cleaning and ongoing maintenance are vital to preventing infection and ensuring the correct functioning of the device.

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BP Monitors: Stress Testing Devices

With advancing technology, BP monitors can be used at home as well and checked by individuals themselves. The difference could be because of its portability or its accuracy but the end of the day they certainly serve the purpose. These monitors essentially measure the systolic pressure (blood flow when the heart contracts) and diastolic pressure (blood flow when the heart relaxes between beats).

Different Types of Monitors:

With digitalization, even BP monitors have gone digital. Digital monitors are no different, just that these monitors are battery operated and they use a microphone instead of a stethoscope to hear the pulse. The cuff around the arm is attached to the monitor and therefore the blood pressure is displayed. These digital monitors are found almost everywhere in the market. The precision may not be perfect so average of two or three readings will give close to accurate readings. The portability of these devices make them very useful at home. These digital devices come in various formats.

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is a more critical kind of measuring, usual done when the usual devices give inconsistent results. As the name suggests this device, measures blood flow continuously while the individual is carrying out normal day-to-day activities such that inconsistencies if any can be monitored. This kind of testing is usually ordered by a physician to conclude a certain diagnosis.

The other factors, which are detrimental while choosing the right monitor, are numerous. These factors are important because wrong readings will end up in a wrong diagnosis and hypertension is known to diversify in to a whole lot of issues if not controlled. The various blood pressure problems that spurt out start from cardiac, kidney or even eye problems. The list is actually long.

The other factors mentioned above are the right cuff size because only if the blood arrest is appropriate the readings will be close to accurate. In addition, the accuracy and precision of digital monitors are a little low and there before it is advised to go for validated monitors without which the purpose is not resolved. The kind of investment expected is not that high and with a little bit of market research one can get hold of the right monitor.

With changing lifestyles and workaholic cultures prevalent all around, a constant check on vitamins like blood pressure, etc. should be maintained and when easy measures like these monitors are available, it would be unwisely not to do it. Like they say a healthy lifestyle is a wealth lifestyle.

Know more about blood pressure and other medical devices, log onto http://www.indiasupplement.com/fitness-goods/bp-monitors .

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Being The Authentic You – A Book to Support You

Healing, and living a healthy life, involve more than addressing symptoms on a physical level. Mental, emotional and spiritual well-being are paramount to achieving your wellness goals.

As many of you know, my passion is in understanding how each of our bodies respond to stress, the health conditions that result, and how to provide the support needed to bring our bodies back to balance.

In my clinical experience and research, I consistently find that emotional stress has a direct impact on physical health, and that by reducing stress, health is restored.

Patients inspire me everyday through stories of identifying the connection between their physical symptoms and emotional stresses.

I would like to share the story of a patient who was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a painful and debilitating condition that is considered to have no cure in conventional medical practice. (I am going to refer to her as Sue, for the purpose of confidentiality)

The symptoms started for this patient at a time of extreme stress, both physically and emotionally.

Within 6 weeks, by addressing physical stresses (avoiding food allergens, reducing her work load and increasing her rest time), taking anti-inflammatory nutrients and herbs, and listening to her body (getting in touch with her authentic self), this patient has recovered by more then 50%, without conventional medications.

What does it mean to be “authentic?” In short, it means to make choices that are consistent with your needs and goals (instead of choices made out of fear).

It takes great courage to say “no” to activities, foods and people that may take you away from your self, your goals, and the things that will help you to stay healthy. Or does it?

From those of you who have mastered the skill of saying no and setting limits, I clearly hear that you can not imagine it any other way. After all, every time we say no to one thing, we are saying yes to something else. Might as well say yes to you!

Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom first, before we are motivated to shift our focus and make for true change. This is exactly what happened for Sue. She told me today how it was within 24 hours of feeling her very worst that things started to improve.

What is the perfect combination of things that lead to healing? I find that it is a little different for each person, and that it always helps to address emotional stress … which comes down to fears.

We all have underlying fears that keep us stuck. It is through identification of these fears and the core beliefs that create them, that we can transform our health and our life.

I just finished reading a book that I highly recommend for everyone looking to be more authentic and to address fears.

“Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness and Transform Your Life” by Lauren Mackler. Whether you are in a relationship or not, it is really about developing the best relationship with your self. Find more about it at http://www.laurenmackler.com

I am here to support each of you in your process of discovering what it is that your body needs to find balance.

It is rewarding, and an honor, for me to work with you.

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Empowering Patients With Chronic Health Issues – Naturally

After a long, drawn-out process of attaining a label (diagnosis), or not, for the cause of unlenting, annoying and painful symptoms that affect daily life, and then being told that the only options for treatment involve high-power medicines with a multitude of side effects, it is no surprise that patients with autoimmune and other chronic conditions are looking for other answers.

While it is difficult to keep hope alive when all sources point to methods that will, at most, keep symptoms at bay for as long as possible, science and clinical experience have shown that there are indeed answers that can stop autoimmunity, and other health conditions , in their tracks.

Naturopathic medicine is a system of healing that involves a scientific approach to the body and the clinical use of specific nutrients, dietary modifications and herbal therapies to give the body what it needs to heal. We are what we eat, after all!

There are four main areas of physiological investigation that need to take place in order to really understand the cause of the inflammation and immune system attack on one's own tissue: 1. Blood Type; 2. IgG antibodies to food; 3. adrenal function; and 4. neurotransmitter levels.

Blood type is not just for blood transfusions. Research over 100 years has shown that certain disease process are more common in certain blood types. That is because the sugar molecule on cells that makes it a blood type also responds to foods and other substances in the body causing inflammation and destructive processes. While this process sees invisible, from the outside, it is real and potentially dangerous. Best to eat according to your blood type in order to avoid this source of damage.

It is well known that being diagnosed with autoimmunity can take over 10 years, and involve numerous doctor visits, blood tests and other diagnostic procedures. That is often the case with Celiac disease, a severe allergy to gluten. What do Celiac and other conditions have in common? Inflammation, fatigue, depression and much more. While in some cases patients with chronic conditions may also have Celiac disease, much more common is that patients have IgG antibodies to gluten, which is just as toxic. Testing for IgG to gluten, and other common foods, is imperative to surviving autoimmunity.

While stress has become a way of life, from the perspective of the adrenal glands (just above the kids) stress is a real threat and requires a response, every time. When the brain responds to stress, whether lack of sleep, skipping meals, emotional trauma or physical illness, the adrenals are called upon to release cortisol, a hormone, and adrenaline. The result is a cacophony of metabolic, endocrine, immune system and neurological changes, which, especially over time, create a internal environment of inflammation, autoimmunity, fatigue, hormone imbalances, sleep disorders and mood changes. The only way to find out how the adrenals are holding up to this ongoing borage is through a urine and saliva panel not often available through conventional medical care (yet).

Neurotransmitters, the messengers in the nervous system, have everything to do with mood, sleep and energy levels. Balancing neurotransmitters is like walking a tight rope. A bit too much stimulation or inhibition, and the result is a change in how the day turns out. A remarkable, often unknown fact, is that neurotransmitters can be easily measured in the urine, making it possible to clearly identify imbalances that can then be labeled with nutrients and herbs. The real breakthrough here is that instead of shooting in the dark, so to speak, with psychotropic medicines, it is actually able to identify the underlying neurologic imbalance and correct it with completely natural substances without long term side effects, consequences or withdrawal symptoms.

With these four pieces of information (blood type, IgG antibody levels to common foods, adrenal status, and neurotransmitter levels), it is possible to dig into the depths of the origin of disease for each individual. From there, specific steps can be taken to adjust the diet and introduce nutrients and herbs that offer the body the ingredients needed to create a whole new body, cell by cell.

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Facts About Gluten

It is absolutely astonishing to think how much gluten exists in our foods and in the common diet. I mean, somehow, it has found its way into most everything you can imagine. In fact, I often find when talking with patients, that there is gluten in every single meal.

“Where is the gluten ?,” you might be asking.

Think of it this way, what do most people eat everyday?

Breakfast: Cereal and / or toast

Lunch: sandwich and / or soup

Dinner: pasta, pizza and / or bread

Dessert: cookies, cake and / or pie

Each of the foods just mentioned (unless they are the gluten-free version) contain gluten.

Let's step back a bit and ask: what is a grain? I find that grains are not often something people talk about.

Grains are foods made from wheat, corn, barley, oat, rice, millet, quinoa, and amaranth. Examples are bread, pasta, tortillas, cereal, and cookies.

So then, what is gluten? Gluten is a protein in certain grains: wheat, rye, barley and oats. Gluten is what makes bread soft and chewy.

Even more specifically, there are two main proteins in gluten, gliadins and glutenins. One particular gliadin, found in wheat, is what leads to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

Barley and rye contain a gliadin that looks very similar to the one in wheat, and therefore, when the body reacts to wheat gluten, it usually reacts to barley and rye gluten too. Oat gluten is slightly different, but also often causes the same reaction.

What is the bottom line? To avoid gluten, you need to stop eating anything made from wheat flour. Not just “whole wheat.” Anything that says “wheat” in the list of ingredients. Then you also need to avoid rye, barley and oats.

Wheat flour and gluten are also often found in foods that you might not think of as containing wheat. For example, soy sauce and many other sauces, as well as gravy and soups, contain gluten. In the case of sauces and soups, gluten makes them thick and creamy.

Gluten is a nice thing in cooking and baking; It makes foods look and taste good. However, in the human body, especially in people who have an allergic response to gluten, too much (or even a little) is not a good thing.

After repeated exposure (every meal, or most every meal, for years and years), and stress in general (which we all have), many people (many more then are actually diagnosed) start reacting to gluten.

For some people the reaction begins at an early age (less then 1 in some cases). For others, it may be later in life (I see patients of all ages who have discovered that they have a gluten sensitivity).

It is almost impossible to imagine that the foods we love, like bread and pizza, might actually be causing our health problems. It is as if we think we will have nothing to eat if not for gluten. And for good reason. It is in most everything that is commonly served and sold in stores and restaurants.

In reality, it is BECAUSE most all of our foods contain gluten that so many of us (myself included) have become sensitive to it.

The wonderful news is that there ARE many foods available that do NOT contain gluten. It takes a bit of a shift in thinking about what to eat, but there is no doubt in my mind that we can live without gluten.

Actually, at this point, we can not live with it.

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Sulfonamides or Sulfa Drugs

The term sulfonamides or sulfa drugs are commonly used for a group of antimicrobial drugs that are derived from sulphanilamide. Sulfonamides are synthetic structural analogs of para-aminobenzoic acid. Sulfonamides have significant historical value as they remained the only antibiotic drugs until the discovery of penicillins. Chemical modification of several sulfonamides has given rise to several important groups of drugs such as diuretics (thiazides and acetazolamide), antileprotic drugs (isoniazides and depsone) and oral hypoglycemic agents (sulfonyl ureas). Presently sulfonamides do not occupy a large space in therapeutics because of the availability of more effective and less toxic drugs. But they are still widely used in the treatment of urinary tract infections, acne and infections that are resistant to other antibiotics.

Unlike mammalian cells, bacterial cells synthesize their own folic acid. Folic acid is essential for the synthesis of precursors of DNA and RNA. Sulfonamides compete with PABA (para aminobenzoic acid) for the enzyme dihydropteroate synthetase and inhibit the synthesis of folic acid, so the synthesis of bacterial DNA and RNA is also inhibited. Thus the organisms that synthesize their own folic acid are sensitive to sulfonamides. When given alone sulfonamides are bacteriostatic in action. But in combination with other folate antagonists the effect is synergistic and often bactericidal (sulfamethoxazole + trimethoprin = septran and sulfadiazine + pyrimethamine = fansidar). The antimicrobial spectrum of sulfonamides includes pneumocystitis, Chlamydia, Nocardia and selected Enterobacteria. Fansidar is the only effective therapy for toxoplasmosis. Resistance to sulfonamides may develop by increased production of PABA, by decreased affinity of sulfonamides for enzyme dihydropteroate synthetase, or by bacterial metabolism of sulfonamides. Resistance to sulfonamides is irreversible and does not involve cross resistance to other antimicrobials.

Sulfonamides are classified as oral absorption (sulfisoxazole, sulfamethizole, sulfadiazine, sulfamethoxazole, sulfadoxine etc.), oral non-absorbable (sulfasalazine etc.) and topical (mafenide, sulfacetamide). With the exception of oral non-absorbable sulfonamides, all other drugs of this group are well absorbed orally. They are widely distributed to all tissues of the body. Sulfonamides penetrate well into the CSF and also readily cross the placental barrier. They are metabolized in the liver and excreted via glomerular filtration in urine.

Now a days, sulfonamides are more commonly used in veterinary for gastrointestinal, respiratory, urinary tract, systemic and soft tissue infections. Being very soluble and rapidly excreted in urine, sulfonamides are particularly used to treat infections of the urinary tract. In humans, they are still effective in the treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis (sulfacetamide 30% solution) and burns (silver sulfadiazine and mafenide).

The commonly observed untoward reactions of sulfonamides include anorexia, nausea, vomiting, crystal urea, hematuria, acute hemolytic anemia, agranulocytosis, aplastic anemia, hypersensitivity reactions (skin rashes, dermatitis, photosensitivity and Steven-Johnsons syndrome) and kerniterus in newborns.

The dose of sulfonamides must be adjusted when given with anticoagulants, sulfonylurea and hydentoin anticonvulsants because sulfonamides can potentiate the effect of these groups of drugs.

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Cordyceps: One of the Best Chinese Medicines

Cordyceps and its benefits were discovered about 1500 years ago in Tibetan mountains of China, where natives observed that their cattle became more energetic by eating this small mushroom like grass. It was not long that natives started using this herb as a natural supplement for treating several diseases and boosting the body's resistance. Today Cordyceps is considered as one of the three best tonics in traditional Chinese medicine.

The herb has several benefits and is prescribed specifically to patients who are recovering from an illness, surgery or after childbirth. It is also given as a treatment for asthma, weak lungs, coughs, wheezing, and shortness of breath. It has special enzymes which Invigorates lung meridian and is useful for treatment of respiratory problems. Practitioners typically use this herb to improve energy levels in the body and help body in endurance against several diseases and fight fatigue, tiredness and stress. It is a great tonic for rebuilding and strengthening immune system in the body and also has an ability to naturally overorders arising not only in lungs but in kidneys and immune system as well.

For more than 1200 years, this tiny herb has been called 'the miracle herb' in Chinese medicine. In modern practice it is referred to as 'cold fire' because of its effectiveness and naturally gentle curative effects. Recent research has shown that the plant has natural antioxidants and nutrients which can stimulate and build hormones in the human body. Another major benefit of the herb is that it can help in decreasing high blood pressure and strengnthes cardiovascular system. Some major functions of the herb are:

• It can treat fatigue and act as an effective antioxidant.
• It increases energy levels in body like several other Chinese medicines.
• It helps blood to flow smoothly in the blood vessels and helps in reducing high blood pressure.
• It is a very good anti stressing agent because of high antioxidant presence.
• Cordyceps is a very good help in fight against tumors and cancers.
• Recent research has also shown that the herb has properties in curing impotence and infertility.
• Some properties of it are also effective in the fight against HIV and AIDS because it helps strengthen the immune system by rebuilding.

There are many traditional Chinese medicines used to reducing high blood pressure and curing other diseases. But Cordyceps has been labeled as the best among all because it contains natural compounds that fight on several fronts in the body.

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Hypertension Is Not Just A Problem In Your “Old Age”

High blood pressure is a problem across the globe. It was previously associated with growing older. Typically, seniors were at risk of hypertensive and younger adults, even middle-aged adults, never had to be too concerned with high blood pressure problems. However, the incidence of hypertensive among young people has changed drastically in modern times thereby making it the most prevalent cardiovascular condition.

The issue with high blood pressure in youngger people is the primary type of hypertension. Here high blood pressure occurs for no clearly discernible reason. Therefore it is referred to as primary hypertension in contrast to secondary hypertension where the elevation in blood pressure can be linked to some underlying disease. While the exact cause of primary hypertension is not known, there are certain risk factors that have been clearly identified.

Remember that risk factors are not the cause of the problem – it is simply factors that increase the chances of a condition arousing. The main risk factors are getting older, a family history of hypertension, cigarette smoking and obesity. While you can not avoid growing older, cigarette smoking and obesity can be avoided and / or rented. For this reasons these risk factors are referred to as modifiable risk factors.

But what about genetics? If you have the genes then sure you can not undo it? While it is true that genes are non-modifiable, it is now known that physical fitness can actually tip the balance in your favor when it comes to your genetic makeup. People who have a higher level of physical fitness, despite having a strong family history of hypertension, have a lower risk of developing high blood pressure than unfit people with familial hypertension.

This absolutely only leaves advancing age as the main hypertension risk factor that can not be changed in any way. But even if it could, would it help prevent chronic ailments like hypertension? Possibly not. Primary hypertension is now seen from the 40s and it is not entirely uncommon for it to start as early as your 20s. No longer is primary hypertension an “old person's” problem. These days hypertension is a problem that starts in midlife but becomes more difficult to manage in the senior years.

Aging may be unavoidable but it is not all bad news when it comes to hypertension. Remember that by removing the modifiable risk factors your risk of developing high blood pressure early in life is drastically reduced. If you are a cigarette smoker then quit immediately. If you are overweight or obese then it is time to get serious about your weight management goals. And while genetics can not be changed, the effect can be minimized by being physically fit. So get serious about hypertension today – irrespective of your age. It is the early intervention and preventive measures that you adopt in your lifestyle that can make all the difference for the rest of your life.

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Does Your EMS-ED Patient Handoffs Process Need a Hand?

Patient handoffs continue to present challenges and risk to hospitals.
In fact, according to the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, “An estimated 80 percent of serious medical errors involve miscommunication between caregivers when patients are transferred or handed-off.” For patients brought to the hospital by ambulance, care actually begins with “first medical contact” by Emergency Medical Services, which adds additional layers to the handoff issue. From the time the 911 call is placed to the time the patient is treated by a physician or specialist team (as is the case for lifesaving time-sensitive acute care such as STEMI, Stroke, Trauma or Sepsis), information has changed hands up to eight times. Each handoff compounds a very large (and very concerned) margin for error. Remember playing “Telephone” as a child? One person whispered a statement to another person, who passed it along to the next … by the time The 4th person received it, it was hilariously different than the original message. Well, in a life or death situation, there's nothing hilarious about inaccurate or missing information.

Let's examine the chain of care-related information.
A call is made to 911- a brief background of the patient's emergency and situation are given to the dispatcher, who passes that info along to the EMS ambulance response. First responder paramedics and EMTs arrive at the scene, assess the patient, obtain a history and initiate care. They gather additional data and vitals, select the destination hospital and prepare for transport. At some point EMS either consult with a hospital-based nurse or physician for medical direction or simply calls or radios in a summary as a notification to the receiving emergency department. This patient report is (hopefully) passed to other ED staff in advance of the ambulance arrival. That's handoff number three already and the patient has not yet arrived. Upon arrival, the patient is handed off to waiting nursing staff, who collect a rehash of the care summary from EMS before they leave. As ED providers take over patient care, nurses pass all of this data to arriving physicians, usually reverberated verbally or via jotted notes- from which treatment ensues. For acute care cases, there are yet additional time-sensitive handoffs to CT-Scan or Cath-Lab, and to specialists from cardiology, neurology, and trauma.

Was it a bit tricky to follow all of that?
Seems pretty easy for details to get lost in translation, does not it? This is not a new issue, which is why the patient handoffs between EMS and the ED is termed “a critical moment in patient care” in a recent NAEMSP blog. With today's emphasis on patient outcomes and reducing cost and risk, the use of Mobile Telemedicine, HIPAA secure notifications, and digital formats are viable, cost-effective tools to drastically reduce that error percentage. Which brings us back to the question. Does your EMS-ED handoff process need a hand?

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Shift From Annual Health Check Up Towards Periodic Preventive Care

Key facts:
– Experience from developed nations has shown that not all annual health checkup is beneficial.

– These countries have formed special task forces for developing recommendations on preventive care.

– Most such preventive task forces including US and Canada recommend periodic preventive care instead of annual care.

– The periodic care is an individualized model and “one size fits all” screening is considered a practice of past.

Dear Reader,

Traditions evolve over time! Medical science by nature is ever evolving. The traditions in medical science, so would die very fast. But it takes time and a lots of evidence to challenge long established traditions.

We all agree that “Prevention is better than cure”. But what is the best form of prevention is ever debatable and changes from time to time.

The tradition of annual health check ups is declination globally, and the new trend is “Periodic” instead of annual.

1. What is periodic preventive care?

Periodic preventive care is a flexible, individualized screening approach. In this approach, an individual could be screened for selected health problems during a generally flexible range of time period. The exact time is usually chosen by the individual.

For example a certain examination may be due every year while another one due once in 3 years, a third one due once in 5 years and a fourth one due once in 10 years duration. The individual can choose any selected time for the service which is due.

2. Why this shift from annual health check ups to periodic check ups is taking place?

Research has shown that a fixed annual examination has a lot of problems like over testing, over diagnosis, follow up testing and sometimes over treatment. This is applicable across all the age groups. Young and healthy individuals less than 35-40 years of age benefit less than annual examination as compared to individuals over 65 years of age.

3. How does this ongoing change affect your preventive visits to health center?

If you are young and healthy, this may reduce your preventive visits and test frequency. If you are diagnosed and / or old this may increase your visits and testing.

4. How does this altering shift affect the screening tests that are offered to the individual?

The prevention task forces have also graded the tests from A to D, with a test with grade A having the chances of giving maximum benefit. Thus in future, the ordering doctor may be influenced by the grading and recommendations. The tests with grade A and B are expected to be offered to a larger number of individuals and the numbers for grade C and D would eventually go down.

This article is written for the purpose of sharing scientific information with no intention to hurt any business or creating controversy. Any such attempts or use of this article would go against the pure scientific spirit of the article and are discouraged.

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