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Infactual Articles » 2006 » June


Archive for June, 2006

Tips for Crohns Flare ups

Posted in Health & Fitness on June 28th, 2006

Living with any chronic disease can be a challenge, and Crohn’s is no exception. The extremely painful flare-ups make day-to-day living seem impossible and when the disease is in remission, the stress of worrying about the next one can be almost as bad. So, how do deal with these flare-ups when they happen?

A Crohn’s flare-up is usually associated with the onset of symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, weight loss, abdominal pain and rectal bleeding, a loss of appetite and diarrhea.

The first step is being able to recognize the risk factors involved in dealing with flare-ups. Maybe the easiest risk factor to avoid is exposure to tobacco products, weather you’re smoking them yourself or if your family members or friends are. Another major risk factor for Crohn’s flare-ups is stress. While it’s impractical to think that you can remove stress from your life completely, making a concerted effort to try to limit the amount of stress can seriously reduce the amount of and severity of Crohn’s flare-ups. Things like yoga or medication or even just making time in your schedule to read a good book can be great ways to relax and stave off the stress monster.

Another possible trigger for Crohn’s disease is a woman’s menstrual cycle. Many women who suffer from Crohn’s experience an increase in flare-ups during their period. It’s recommended that women who experience this keep a diary over a period of months to look for trends and help develop a treatment regiment with your doctor to put an end to the cycle.

The use of some over the counter drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) have also been linked to Crohn’s flare-ups. If you need a non-prescription pain killer, consult your doctor to see what kind is right for you.

Treatment for these flare-ups fall into three basic categories: drug treatment, nutritional adjustments and surgery.

The most common drug to treat Crohn’s are anti-inflammatories, such as Sulfasalazine. This drug has shown to work for a majority of Crohn’s sufferers, but it’s not a cure-all. And like with all drugs, there are side effects such as nausea, vomiting and headache.

If you have moderate to severe Crohn’s, the FDA has approved a drug called Remicade. The drug actually blocks the bodies inflammatory response. This drug is only used for patients who don’t respond to more traditional treatments.

Nutritional supplements are another common way to deal with Crohn’s flare-ups. This course of action is geared to those that don’t want to put medications in their bodies and are looking for a more natural alternative. Foods to avoid, such as spicy foods, whole grains and dairy products are a good first step. Drinking high protein shakes to make up for the fact that a patients intestines are so ravaged so that they don’t absorb nutrients anymore is another common way to help treat the disease. These are especially common in kids who need nutrients to grow.

A large number of Crohn’s patients will need surgery at some point to deal with the long-term effects of the disease. Sufferers are warned, however, that removing a section of intestine doesn’t cure the disease, but may be necessary if that area becomes to deteriorated by ulcers. It should be used as a last resort.

What is Candida?

Posted in Health & Fitness on June 21st, 2006

Candidiasis is the common name for a condition that results in the overproduction of a form of yeast normally found in the body at low levels. Candida is not considered anything to worry about; however, recent research has put a spotlight on this form of yeast that is causing the medical profession to reconsider its totally benign assessment of candida. It is inside all of us – in the digestive tract, mouth, and throat. In women, it is also found in the vagina. The most common species of candida is called candida albicans.

When the human body is weakened it is vulnerable to attack. Consider that at all times various bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens are waging an unseen war against the body. Likewise, the immune system is always on guard, waiting for the attack. In response to outside invasion, the body produces various weapons to fight hostile aggression. Sometimes, if the body is weakened through a host of conditions and situations, the immune system cannot do its job properly.

One common condition caused by candida is thrush. Thrush is a buildup of candida that can effect men and women alike. As many as seventy-five percent of women will experience at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime – caused by an overgrowth of candida.

These common conditions are annoying, but they do not represent the symptoms of chronic Candidiasis. Chronic overproduction of candida can lead to a wide range of physical and mental symptoms. It can manifest as abdominal pain, fatigue, skin infections, and even cognitive difficulties. There appears to be such an extent of problems related to candida overgrowth that candida is often dismissed as a cause.

In chronic Candidiasis, the rapidly multiplying candida changes form. It morphs into its dangerous fungal state and spreads. The fungal form of candida produces rhizoids – hook-shaped barbed appendages that cut into tissue and membranes, causing pain and other harmful symptoms. If not treated, a condition called Leaky Gut Syndrome can develop in the intestinal tract. Leaky Gut Syndrome allows toxins to leave the digestive tract and feed right into the bloodstream. It is also interesting to note that once someone begins treatment to kill the excess candida growth, the initial reaction to treatment will often result with the patient actually feeling worse! This is due to the fact that the fungal form of candida does not want to die and it fights like heck to survive!

In addition, there are indications that candidiasis can affect people who do not have compromised immune systems. New research has indicated that people who have healthy immune systems can also fall victim to the rhizoid-reach of candida. This is important because it presents a way for science to pinpoint root causes instead of simply treating symptoms.

Candida is most likely responsible for more problems than it is given credit for. Before you start treatment for candida, you should try and read up about the subject and fully understand what is involved. As with anything else, knowledge is power.

For more information about simple, effective natural strategies to banishing Candida Click Here .

Causes of high blood pressure

Posted in Health & Fitness on June 11th, 2006

High blood pressure can be caused by any number of factors in a person’s life or by many factors all adding together. However, the hard truth is that if you don’t control your blood pressure, it can lead to many serious medical conditions, including heart attack and stroke. By understanding the causes of high blood pressure, you can learn how to prevent your levels from exceeding the normal range and therefore promote in yourself and your family a healthier overall lifestyle.

One of the major causes of high blood pressure is cholesterol. In most cases, a person with higher than normal cholesterol levels will also suffer from high blood pressure. This is due to the fatty deposits left on the artery walls from the cholesterol in your blood stream. The body actually needs no cholesterol, since it produces enough on its own, but the foods we eat often introduce more into our body. When no more can be absorbed into the blood stream, the cells deposit fat onto the walls of the arteries. This fat turns to a hard plaque, making our blood vessels smaller and smaller over time. The same amount of blood needs to flow through these smaller spaces, creating a higher blood pressure.

An unhealthy diet also causes high blood pressure in another way. When there is too much sugar in the blood stream. Glucose, or blood sugar, increases due to diabetes, in which the body does not produce the chemical that regulates blood sugar. Ingesting food high in sugar, such as most desserts, can also cause your blood sugar to increase, as can stress, hormone levels, and infection. When there is more glucose in the blood stream, your blood is essentially thicker, and harder to push through your arteries and veins, creating a higher blood pressure.

High blood pressure does not only come from an unhealthy diet, but can also occur due to drug intake as well. People who drink alcohol excessively, for example, increase their risk greatly of having high blood pressure. Caffeine is another drug that is proven to raise blood pressure, especially in combination with nicotine, which is found in cigarettes. Many other narcotics, especially those that are illegal in the United States, have also been show to increase your blood pressure.

Genetics is a final factor in the high blood pressure battle. Some estimate that 30% of high blood pressure cases can be attributed, at least in part, to genetics. We do not have any control over our genes—genetics refers to the coding used in our bodies that produces everything from the color of our eyes to our height to the ability we have (or do not have) to curl our tongues. We get this genetic make-up from our parents, and so there is nothing we can do to stop ourselves from having a “high blood pressure” risk when we are born. However, we can prevent genetics from playing a major role be overall living a healthy life. By taking steps to reduce our high blood pressure, we can create a better future for our bodies, whether our parents suffered from high blood pressure or not. Living this healthier lifestyle, including eating a low-cholesterol diet, watching our sugar intake, and introducing less drugs into our bodies can help us overcome high blood pressure.

For more information on reducing high blood pressure please click here.

Making Learning Fun For Autistic Children

Posted in Living on June 3rd, 2006

Autism is a disorder of the brain that is biological in function. It causes anywhere from mild to severe social impairment and an inability to function normally in society. However, there are ways to treat many of the cases of autism. Autistic children can learn and excel and if certain teaching methods are used, their progress can be nothing short of fantastic.

One of the most important things to realize in making learning fun for autistic children is the fact that they learn in different ways than children without autism. Autistic children generally have a disability in social skills. Sometimes this difficulty in communication involves language skills. However, there are a number of ways to make learning these important skills more than just a chore. By injecting fun into learning, it has been shown that autistic children learn at a faster pace. Actually, fun and learning work well for all types of children, but autistic children are special and require more tailored methods.

Children with autism seem to learn best when the instructional material is presented in visual form. In this case it might be worthwhile to try different educational programs via a computer. Using a computer is a fun way to learn. The majority of educational programs are highly visual. Many of the games available involve storylines, plots, and realistic human behaviors. Some of the skills autistic children can learn from carefully selected video games are language skills, reading and math skills, and social skills. Visual learning devices are highly effective and can be accompanied by various rewards to reinforce what is being learned. For instance, food and extended leisure activities can be used as rewards that will encourage the child to want to learn. In addition, the use of positive reinforcement will help develop a bond between student and teacher, and create a sense of trust that will help strengthen the learning environment.

Social stories are another way to make learning fun for children with autism. Since one of the aspects of autism is the inability to interact normally in a social situation, social stories can be utilized in a variety of different ways in order to model appropriate behavior. Autism education pioneer Carol Gray developed this approach in 1991. By using engaging stories, children with autism can learn appropriate and inappropriate responses to situations. The level of fun, of course, is up to the way social stories are used. Usually, the stories are tailored to the child. By modeling situations familiar to an autistic child, they can be better prepared to react in a socially appropriate to those same situations in the future. Social stories usually have three distinct ways of addressing a particular situation. The first describes who, what, where and why in relation to the situation. The second is a perspective sentence that illuminates how others react to the situation being discussed. Finally, the third sentence tries to model an appropriate response. Sometimes the use of social stories can be accompanied by music and pictures. In terms of making the process a bit more fun rewards can be used when a situation is properly addressed.

Children with autism require special education needs to address their social difficulties. It is really important to make these activities as much fun as possible so the student will stay motivated. It is not easy for an autistic child to change his or her response to various situations, so it is imperative that the activities be non-threatening and highly interesting. It has been demonstrated that over time the use of visual aids and social stories are two of the most effective ways to help autistic children overcome social situations they feel are threatening. To most of us, these situations are normal, everyday occurrences, but to children with autism they can sometimes be terrifying moments that they do not have the skills to deal with. These teaching methods, while entertaining and fun, can help children adapt and manage their perceptions of social interactions.

You can find a whole host of resources and information about diagnosing, controlling and treating Autism in my book, The Essential Guide To Autism.