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Can a Child Display Autistic Traits and Still Not Be Autistic?

Posted in Health & Fitness on May 30th, 2008

With it featuring so heavily in the media (and rightly so) a fear that many parents hold is the possibility that their child or children may be diagnosed with autism.  However, before jumping to conclusions should you observe some symptoms or traits of autism in your child, it is important to get a professional diagnosis and to look carefully into that diagnosis to make certain that there isn’t something else causing the autistic behaviors to occur.  There are a number of other health problems and disorders that are commonly misinterpreted and misdiagnosed as autism.

Misdiagnosis of autism can occur among the various autism spectrum disorders, or it can be connected to a completely unrelated condition. Parents should make sure to share all observations and considerations with the child’s doctor so that possible alternate diagnoses the appropriate attention.

There are five conditions within the autism spectrum, and each of them can easily be mistaken for another.  These are:

1. Rett’s Syndrome – this is a condition found only in girls which was discovered back in 1966.  It is currently believed by scientists that this is not an inherited condition, but is the result of a random genetic mutation.  Symptoms of Rett’s Syndrome do not become apparent in babies until 6 to 18 months of age.  When Rett’s Syndrome starts to become apparent, the development of the baby begins to slow and their heads no longer grow in a normal way.  Normal speech does not develop and repetitive hand movements, unusual walking patterns, and torso shaking begin.  Children with Rett’s Syndrome also frequently experience seizures, breathing problems, rigid muscles, retarded growth, and other health issues.

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2. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder – this disorder almost always occurs in boys, and is extremely rare.  Until the age of about 42 months, the child appears to be normal, but a dramatic linguistic and social skill loss then occurs.  The child may also start experiencing seizures and lose bladder and bowel control.  Typically, these children experience low intellectual development.  CDD is the easiest of the autism spectrum disorders for doctors to diagnose.

3. Autism – Autism itself is often referred to as Classic Autism, Kanner’s Autism, or Early Infantile Autism.  Until its recognition in the 1940’s, children with autism had been diagnosed as emotionally disturbed or mentally retarded.  Autistic children show many different kinds of symptoms that also occur in other physical and mental disorders, making it easy to misdiagnose.  Among them are issues with sensory integration and information processing, leading to a series of different kinds of behaviors.

4. Asperger’s Syndrome – Asperger’s Syndrome children are frequently mistaken for children with high-functioning autism.    The syndrome does not typically present itself until after three years of age, as these children tend not to show any issues with language acquisition and use.  Instead, they commonly form extreme interests in narrow subjects, and are often known for frequent (though not universal) ability to recite full book texts or movie lines, as well as a seemingly endless line of trivial facts. Some autism-like traits may present themselves, such as the desire for a strict routine, a struggle with social interactions and communication, and an inclination toward repetitive behaviors.  Some also struggle with vocal control.

5. Pervasive Development Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified) – PDD/NOS symptoms are difficult to classify.  This portion of the autism spectrum is essentially used as a “catch-all” diagnosis for children who present symptoms of autism that cannot be contained by the other four autism spectrum disorders.

Beyond the autism spectrum disorder, other disorders and health problems that can often cause children to display autistic traits – though they don’t actually have autism – are:

- Deafness or hearing loss – children who have a difficulty hearing may have impaired social responses, causing them to behave in ways similar to some autistic behaviors.

- Schizophrenia – though some symptoms of this disorder are similar to those of autism, schizophrenia normally presents much later in life than autism.

- Language delay, language disorder, or speech delay – children with linguistic disorders and delays can experience social impairments as a result of their inability to express themselves.

- Developmental delay or mental retardation – behaviors of developmentally delayed or mentally retarded children frequently mimic those of autistic children, but for completely different reasons.  Before the discovery of autism as a disorder many autistic children were regarded as mentally retarded.

As there are so many different symptoms of autism and the disorder never presents the same way from person to person, it is easy to misdiagnose disorders both inside and outside the spectrum as being autism.  This is especially prevalent among the various autism spectrum disorders.

Have a look at the following autism checklist for a list of typical autism symptoms to look out for.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find out about diagnosing autism and for a quick and easy autism checklist please visit The Essential Guide To Autism.

What is the Difference Between Apraxia and Autism?

Posted in Health & Fitness on May 5th, 2008

Apraxia and autism are two entirely different neurological disorders which can occur in a child independently of one another, or together in the same child.  While autism’s symptoms can impact and impair many different systems, behaviors, and thought patterns, apraxia occurs when the child struggles to plan and carry out voluntary physical movements. 

In terms of gross motor skills, apraxia may impact a child’s capabilities to stand up, sit in a chair, or catch a ball and with fine motor skills, a child may not be able to zip up a jacket, button a shirt, write or print, or even point at an object.

Children with apraxia may also struggle to produce sound patterns to make words, or even coordinate the various speech mechanisms to make the individual speech sounds such as the difference between a “g” and a “b” sound, or the hum of an “m” sound.  Even when a sound is modeled, a child with apraxia may not be able to mimic the same sound. 

However, though these symptoms may also cross over into autism, there remain important differences between the two conditions.  For example, when a child has only apraxia it is only the motor functioning and not the social and emotional skills that are impacted, as is often not the case with autism.

Apraxia and autism can become difficult to tell from one another when the child is exhibiting symptoms of verbal apraxia (officially known as oral-motor apraxia).  The reason for this is that children with either condition can be very aware of their struggle to communicate verbally, and therefore they may choose to avoid having to talk by staying away from social situations.  However, in the case of verbal apraxia, if you play with your child and don’t demand speech from him or her, you may find that they begin playing actively and engage others in their play. 

The child usually experiences relief from being able to socialize and have contact with others without being required to talk, which is frustrating for them and can create a fear of failure.  Often, with these children, when they are allowed to select the type of play and are allowed to go without having to speak, the relief and comfort they feel can make them more open to accepting the slow introduction of new sounds and syllables, which may eventually bring about simple words into their favorite games and play. Encouragement to vocalize or verbalize should be gentle in both apraxia and autism, and should be gradual, tailored to the pace of success rather than to a schedule.

In both motor apraxia and autism, children show social interaction problems, but in the case of motor apraxia, this is normally because they are not always capable of performing the physical movements that allows them access to others.  However, motor apraxia won’t usually make a child want to avoid social interaction altogether, such as failing to make eye contact, or specifically moving away from other people. 

It is easy to see why there is so much confusion between apraxia and autism spectrum disorders.  Especially considering children with these conditions can also both exhibit signs of over-reactivity to sensations.   However, there are differences between the two and it is important to speak to your doctor or a specialist if you are unsure.  Your doctor will be able to determine which condition your child may have, or if both are present.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find out about apraxia and autism and for information on levels of autism please visit The Essential Guide To Autism.  

What Causes Heartburn?

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 20th, 2008

Acid reflux, commonly called heartburn, may be connected with a number of health issues such as IBS, but have you ever wondered what causes heartburn (heart burn)?  After all, heartburn isn’t the only symptom of acid reflux, so why is it the most frequent symptom associated with it?

Heartburn is the most common sign of acid reflux because it is one of the symptoms of this condition that can truly be felt by the sufferer.  Heartburn occurs when gastric acid has remained in the lower esophagus for a prolonged period of time.  The irritation the acid inflicts on the esophagus causes the sufferer to feel an uncomfortable, and often painful burning sensation behind the breastbone, which can rise to the level of the throat.  

Heartburn occurs when the muscle valve between the esophagus and stomach, known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), fails to close while the stomach is digesting food.  When the LES opens during digestion, acid can be refluxed into the esophagus and heartburn is often the end result.  When the LES fails, this is often because it has become weakened.  There are many causes that can weaken the LES.  In fact many of these causes are the same factors that can make heartburn worse.

What can make heartburn worse?  There are many dietary and lifestyle factors that can cause heartburn flare-ups to be prolonged, frequent, or intense.  The following are the most common factors:

- Caffeine.  Drinks or foods that contain caffeine including regular and decaffeinated coffee and tea, soda, energy drinks and chocolate. 

- Fatty and spicy foods.  Red meats, deep fried and processed foods, spicy foods such as chili and curry.  These foods stay in the stomach longer and slow down digestion which places pressure on the LES.

- Tomatoes.  Tomato and tomato based products including sauces and juice.  Tomatoes relax the LES.

- Raw onion.  Raw onion does not appear to cause acid reflux in those who do not have it, but it often makes heartburn worse in those who suffer from the condition, especially when eaten in high quantities.

- Citrus fruits citrus juices.  Oranges, grapefruits, lemon, lime, etc.  Citrus relaxes the LES.

- Peppermint.  Mint candy, mint tea, or mint ice cream.  Peppermint is beneficial for the digestive system, but it relaxes the LES.

- Milk.  Milk is believed to help heartburn sufferers find relief from their symptoms because it can work as an instant antacid.  However, relief is often only temporary, as the calcium and protein in milk stimulate the production of acid, which can make your heartburn return worse in as little as 30 minutes of ingesting milk.

- Alcohol.  Wine, beer, liquors, spirits.  Alcohol relaxes the LES and also increases acid production in the stomach.

- Tobacco.  Smoking cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco weaken the LES and decrease saliva production.  Saliva helps to neutralize stomach acid.

- Large meals.  A large meal is any meal that leaves you to feeling ‘stuffed’ or ‘bloated’.  Large meals can promote an increase in acid production, slow digestion, and place pressure on the LES.

- Eating within 2 – 3 hours before bed.  Lying down directly after eating pushes the contents of the stomach against the LES.  Furthermore, when you sleep, all of your muscles naturally relax including the LES, which is why acid reflux is often worse at nighttime.

- Strenuous exercising.  Sit-ups, stomach crunches, etc.  Exercises that are tough on the abdominal muscles stress the stomach and the LES.  Furthermore, bending after eating can also make heartburn heart burn worse.

- Tight clothing.  Tight pants, girdles, corsets, belts.  Clothing that fits tightly around the abdomen squeezes the stomach and can force food up against the lower esophageal sphincter, forcing it to open.

- Excess weight.  Being overweight or obese places stress on the stomach which then places stress on the LES causing it to weaken.

- Medication.  Some medications can make heartburn worse including:
* Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs/NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.)
* Anticholinergic drugs (antihistamines and urinary tract disorders)
* Calcium channel blockers (high blood pressure)
* Nitrates (angina)
* Beta-2 agonists (asthma)
* Tricyclic (antidepressants)
* Diazepam(seizures and anxiety disorders)

If you are taking any medication for another health condition, talk to your doctor to find out if your medication is making your heartburn (heart burn) worse.

Grab your free copy of Kathryn Whittaker’s brand new Acid Reflux & GERD Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find out about heartburn (heart burn) and for information on the cause of heartburn please visit Stop Acid Reflux Now

Do You Have Autism Attention Deficit Disorder Confusion?

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 6th, 2008

Though it is not known why autism, attention deficit disorder, as well as other autism spectrum conditions have become increasingly common, their instances have continued to rise substantially over the past few decades. The controversy surrounding this issue is currently escalating as quickly as the rate of instances.  Another challenge is the diagnosis – and misdiagnosis – of these conditions, leading to common autism attention deficit confusion. 

The term “autism” covers a broad range of conditions and symptoms ranging dramatically in their severity, causing it to frequently be referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  ASD includes autism itself, Asperger’s syndrome, as well as other pervasive developmental disorders.  It does not, however, include attention deficit disorder (ADD) nor attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Nevertheless, the autism attention deficit confusion remains due to the similarity frequently witnessed in the symptoms of each condition.  As there is no single specified group of symptoms that occurs in every instance of either autism or attention deficit disorder it can make them hard to diagnose, especially for the lay person. 

The key to making sure that the right diagnosis is achieved, and that autism and attention deficit confusion is avoided, is to understand the signs and symptoms of both disorders.  Self-education is a parent’s best tool for understanding what he or she is and is not facing in their child. 

Both conditions will present in the same way at the beginning, both socially and biologically. Both conditions include a lacking in the executive functions (planning, decision-making and response control) within the brain’s frontal lobes, and have a number of shared symptoms.  Even autism and attention deficit disorder research have similarities in the behaviors and behavioral processes that are studied and believed to be linked to impairments in brain functioning.  Furthermore, both conditions include a form of deficiency in both fine and gross motor skills. 

However, despite these commonalities in symptoms, autism and ADD confusion is just that – a confusion between two entirely different disorders. That being said, when ADD and ADHD are diagnosed, doctors will not routinely screen for autism.   The onus is placed upon parents, teachers, and other caregivers to observe behaviors that deviate from ADD, and to identify a narrower perspective with regards to the child’s behavioral issues. 

Should misdiagnosis be suspected, it is wise for parents to familiarize themselves with the various behaviors common to both autism and ADD and then to recognize the differences. 

Behaviors frequently seen in autistic children include:

- Difficulty socializing with other children the same or different ages.
- Difficulty socializing with adults
- Lack of fear of danger
- Tantrums - showing large degrees of distress for no clear reason
- Inappropriate laughing
- Dislike of cuddling
- Little to no eye contact made
- Notable physical over- or under-activity
- Uneven fine and/or gross motor skills
- Impulsive working habits with frequent sloppiness and careless mistakes

On the other hand, behaviors frequently seen in children with ADD or ADHD include:

- Inability to speak or play quietly; disruptive in speech or behaviors
- Struggles to wait his or her turn in a game, line, or other similar activity
- Takes part in activities with a high risk of danger
- A lack of normal consideration for caution or consequences
- Extreme temper tantrums
- Disruptive, interrupting, speaking and behaving inappropriately
- Difficulty being held or soothed when very young
- Always active and moving, even while asleep
- Doesn’t appear to be listening when directly spoken to
- Uneven fine and/or gross motor skills
- Doesn’t pay attention to finder details and makes careless mistakes in tasks

With these lists of symptoms, it is clear to see why misdiagnosis and autism attention deficit confusion is so common.  Vigilance and education are the keys to overcoming these errors.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find out about Autism Attention Deficit Disorder links and for information on autism therapies please visit The Essential Guide To Autism

How Autism Visual Schedules May Help Your Child

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 14th, 2008

Autism visual schedules are an important part of a structured environment for a child with autism spectrum disorder.  This is because the visual schedule informs the child which activities will be occurring at a certain period of time, and in which order throughout the day that those activities will be occurring.

Visual schedules are beneficial for children on the autism spectrum as they:

- Help children who struggle with language comprehension to understand the expectations of them throughout the day.

- Focus on the challenge that many autistic children face with time organization and sequential memory.

- Help to minimize the anxiety levels of autistic children as structure is provided so that the children may organize and anticipate their daily and weekly activities, therefore reducing the possibility of behavioral symptoms. The use of pictorial schedules helps demonstrate the order of individual activities within a specific time frame.  For example, it may demonstrate that lunchtime is coming, but work time comes first.  Any changes to a schedule can also be illustrated through this tool.

- Help autistic children to transition independently among the various events and environments by instructing them where they will be headed next.  Autism visual schedules can be applied to any event or place. 

The format of the schedules is based on a strategy of “first-then”.  An example of this approach is “First you wash your hands, then you eat your lunch”.  This format demonstrates the expectation of what is to come first, and what is to follow.  Each can be modified as required.  Modifications are made in terms of the completion of each task, and the ability of the child to function with the provided details.  It also includes the child’s ability to transition among tasks smoothly and with minimal interruption.

This is achieved through the format’s encouragement to move from one task to the next.  That one thing comes first, and then another follows it.

These types of schedules also help children with their social interactions as they can work social moments into their daily routines.  For example, “first you arrive, then you greet your teacher and classmates”.

Parents and teachers are finding that the autism visual schedules also contribute to the child’s motivation level even when faced with less desirable tasks, as it shows that there will be a progression to a task that is more preferred later on.

When visual schedules are used, they must be taught directly to the children, and then used on a consistent basis.  They aren’t crutches from which the children will gradually work their way free.  They are tools that should be considered to be assistive technology on an ongoing level, and the longer the child uses this tool, the better it will help him or her function.  This is true even beyond childhood and into adult life.

When developing a schedule, a set layout should be established and consistently applied.  They should move either from left to right, or top to bottom.   There should also be a method that allows the child to manipulate the schedule to indicate the completion of an activity; for example, allowing the child to cross off the activity with a dry erase marker.  The schedule should present at least two items at any given time so that the child can begin to comprehend that events do not happen in isolation.  They occur in sequence one after the other.

Autism visual schedules can be designed to fit the unique needs and understanding level of the child, and therefore provide a tailored experience for each person.  Through symbols, images, the right number of activities per presentation, and consistency of use, this method can provide substantial support and understanding to an autistic child.

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find out about autism visual schedules and for information on autism education please visit The Essential Guide To Autism

Most common Kits Used in Drug Testing

Posted in Drug Testing on May 4th, 2007

If you’re thinking of employing a drug test, you should be aware of the different kits out there. Here are some pros and cons of various testing kits, which will enable you to choose the most suitable kind.

• Urine drug tests and testing kits

These are the most commonly used tests. Results show the presence or absence of specific drugs in urine. If a urine test returns positive, it does not mean the donor was under the influence of drugs at the time but that he or she used them recently. Up to ten drugs at a time can be tested with urine samples.

There are three forms of urine drug tests, namely dip form, cassette form and cup form. With dip form, the test is dipped into a urine sample. With cassette form, a urine sample is placed in a cup and is then transferred to the testing device via a pipette. A cup form test allows for the urine to collect and be tested simultaneously.

• Saliva drug tests and testing kits

A saliva drug test kit detects traces of drugs found in the fluids of a person’s mouth. This kind of test simply cannot be contaminated because it is performed under strict supervision. However, the downside is a saliva drug test can only determine current use of drugs – not previous. Saliva tests are often preferable because they are non-invasive and easy to conduct. At least six types of drugs can be tested this way.

• Hair drug tests and testing kits

Hair drug testing is one of the most reliable forms of testing available, because hair stores traces of drugs for long periods of time. Through this form of testing, one can gain a more complete knowledge of a subject’s drug use history – reaching as far back as ninety days. However, current impairment is beyond this test’s detection.

• Spray drug testing kits

Spray drug tests are especially easy and simple to conduct. They are also very reliable and difficult to manipulate or contaminate. However, the types of drugs a spray drug test can detect are limited.

The Best Hair Replacement for Women

Posted in Hair Replacement on April 30th, 2007

The best hair replacements for women are, of course, those that can significantly enhance their looks. As to the procedure used, depends on the degree of hair loss or balding that a woman has experienced. There are many hair replacement options for women to consider, including non-surgical options for light balding and surgical options for more severe cases of balding.

Non-surgical options include wigs and other types of hairpieces that can effectively cover up thinning hair. There are, however, disadvantages to using wigs. They can be uncomfortable and feel hot on the scalp, or may even fall off, causing embarrassment in public. Use of wigs may also cause further hair loss, and it can be quite expensive maintaining a wig as they need to be professionally styled to retain their appearance.

Because of the disadvantages of wearing fake hair pieces, women are increasingly considering surgical hair replacement procedures. Several different types of hair replacement methods are available: hair transplantation, flaps, tissue- expansion and scalp reduction. All of these methods are geared on covering up bald areas of the head.

Different hair replacement procedures explained

Flaps – This is one procedure that is used to create full, natural-looking frontal hair line from your own hair. This procedure has been performed for over 20 years and is considered safe. The “flap” is a large portion of hair-bearing skin which is transferred from the sides or back of the head to the balding area. The flap is then sewn into place while still attached to its original blood supply, ensuring that the hair will grow continuously and will hide any scars resulting from the procedure.

Plastic surgeons have developed a number of successful flap techniques which, combined with scalp reduction, result in better coverage of the crown. They also apply tissue expansion to provide better frontal coverage for a natural hairline.

Scalp reduction – This technique involves the removal of the skin from a balding area on the back of the head and then suturing the area, pulling the skin together. Although this may seem like a simple process, the surgery requires a doctor with specific training and experience in scalp reduction. This procedure requires local anesthesia, injected into the scalp, before the segment of bald scalp is removed.

The size and shape of the segment to be removed varies depending on the patient. In most cases, the surgeon removes a segment of the scalp in an inverted Y-shape; doctors will also sometimes excise pieces of scalp in the shaped of a U or a pointed oval, depending on the coverage that the individual requires.

Scalp Expansion – This procedure is very similar to scalp extension. Both procedures are done accommodate scalp reductions, especially in cases of a tight scalp. Scalp expansion is also used to prepare individuals for flap surgeries.

Tissue Expansion – This procedure is commonly used by plastic surgeons in reconstructive surgeries, to repair wounds that are caused by burning or injuries that have resulted in significant skin loss. The same procedure, when applied to hair replacement surgery, has resulted in impressive results where significant coverage is desired in a much shorter amount of time.

Is Hidden Caffeine Aggravating Your IBS?

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 28th, 2007

There are many things that can trigger bouts of IBS, but there are times when you might not know what is doing it. There are many things in the diet that can cause the bloating, cramping, constipation, or diarrhea that comes with flare ups, but some of them are easier to pick out than others. Have you considered that hidden caffeine is aggravating your IBS symptoms? It’s quite possible. You may have cut out coffee and caffeinated soda, but there are other places where you might be unknowingly getting enough caffeine to upset your system.

Diet Products:  There are many different diet products on the market that you might be taking. Some are supplements that help with energy or with appetite suppression. There are weight control bars that are much like granola bars, and other products that are closely related. These often contain natural substances that have caffeine in them. It won’t necessarily say so on the label though, so you have to know what to look for. If you don’t recognize anything on the label, make sure you look each thing up to see what it really is and if it might contain caffeine. Guarana is one of these that claims to be a natural alternative to caffeine, but it’s basically the same thing and will have the same effect on your IBS symptoms.
 
Coffee:  You probably already know there is caffeine in coffee, and you may have had to cut it out of your diet. Some like to have decaffeinated coffee instead so they can still enjoy the taste of coffee. The problem is that there are some brands that are called decaf, yet they still have some caffeine in them. The amount may be small, but it still might be enough to aggravate IBS.

Coffee Flavoring:  Though you might think that ice cream and yogurts would only contain an artificial flavor that mimics the taste of coffee, many of them really have caffeine in them. Check the labels carefully to see if there is caffeine. You may have not thought to look, but if you eat these products often, this might be a troublesome source you never considered.

Candy:  Sadly, chocolate contains caffeine, and it might contain more than you think. This includes chocolate drinks like hot cocoa. Something as small as a Hershey’s Kiss has caffeine, though it should only contain 1 mg.

Medications:  There are some medications that claim they are non-drowsy. These are supposed to help with your symptoms while keeping you awake. It makes sense. No one wants to take something for a cold only to fall asleep at work during a meeting. The problem is that some of them use caffeine to help keep you awake, and you probably don’t realize it. This is also a problem with some children’s medications also. Children should have very little, if any, caffeine.

Eliminating these things might help, but if it seems to make no difference, it might not be hidden caffeine that is aggravating your IBS symptoms. You may be able to tolerate some of them on occasion if you choose ones that have a very low amount. When it comes to decaf coffee, you might have to experiment with a few different brands until you find one that it totally caffeine-free.

Grab your free copy of Susan Reynolds’ brand new IBS Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to treat IBS & help you find out about rid of IBS and for information on cause of IBS please visit Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Secrets.

Should You Consider Orthotics for Your Foot Pain?

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 9th, 2007

Many people with arthritis foot pain benefit from orthotic inserts. Orthotics is the science of constructing or custom designing foot appliances such as arch supports, shoe inserts, shoes, etc., to aid in preventing and correcting deformities that may inhibit normal, comfortable movement in a person. Orthotics also assists in supporting and properly aligning the foot to help improve the overall function of the body’s moveable part.

Although you may think a good athletic shoe (I.E. walking, running) provides you with enough support, this is untrue for someone who suffers or is prone to foot pain. The reason is because while an exceptional shoe can provide your feet with cushioning and motion control, it doesn’t provide adequate arch or heel support, or shock absorption.

Therefore, after you purchase a well-made pair of shoes, you need to take out the insole that came with the shoe, and replace it with an orthotic insole.

What types of foot pain benefit from orthotics? Orthotics are generally recommended for treating those who suffer from the following foot problems causing pain –
- Arch strain and pain
- Bunions
- Calluses
- Corns
- Crooked toes
- Hammer toes
- Heel pain
- Heel spurs
- Metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot)
- Over-pronation
- Plantar fasciitis

Is there more than one type of orthotic insole? Yes. Orthotics come in various sizes and can be used for a number of different shoe styles. However, before we take a look at the different orthotics, keep in mind that not all insoles are orthotics. If the word “orthotic” is not on the packaging, the insoles are not made with the same science. Unlike other insoles, orthotics are designed to mold themselves to the foot when worn. The following are the different types of orthotics -

Functional orthotics – This type of orthotic is designed to correct defects of the arch including over-pronation, common in people with flat feet, and supination, common in people with high arches. Both foot problems can cause heel pain (plantar fasciitis) and puts excessive strain on muscles and joints throughout the back, hip and leg. Functional orthotics provides proper correction of these foot problems.

Supportive orthotics – These orthotics are designed to fix problems that occur in the arch, and provide the arch with proper support.

Weight-dispersive or accommodative orthotics –These orthotics are designed to provide padding and help support sesamoid bones (bones embedded in a tendon) metatarsal heads, collapsed tarsal bones, inflamed toes and sores. They help relieve pain and pressure from these areas.

Where can you obtain orthotic inserts? There are two ways a person can obtain orthotic insoles –

1. Ready-made orthotics -There are a variety of ready-made orthotic insoles sold online and in local super centers, drug stores and pharmacies. Most ready-made orthotic insoles provide arch support and a certain level of correction and cushioning to a person’s step. The following is a list of ready-made orthotic product brand names you can look for – Dr. Scholls, Spenco Insoles, and Footlevelers.

2. Custom orthotics – Custom orthotics will provide you better relief than ready-made orthotics because they are designed specifically for your foot and to treat your specific foot issue. The only problem is custom orthotics are hundreds of dollars, making them significantly more expensive than the ready-made variety.

Custom made orthotics are prescribed by health care professionals such as a family practitioner, chiropractor or podiatrist. The actual fitting of orthotic insoles is done at an orthotics lab by a pedorthist. The pedorthist constructs custom orthotics based on the diagnosis of the doctor and by taking a plaster cast of the patient’s foot.

Despite the type of orthotic insoles you decide to obtain for your feet, remember that you should always have your doctor diagnose your foot pain and ask for recommended treatment options.

By Dave Wilson. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover how to treat your foot pain with targeted footpain relief treatments. Discover how lifestyle changes can get rid of footpain.

High Blood Pressure vs Garlic

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 1st, 2007

Milk protein may be the answer to lowering high blood pressure in some people; however, it isn’t the only alternative. In fact, did you know that making something as natural as eating garlic apart of your regular diet can actually reduce blood pressure and help you manage your hypertension?

Garlic is a vegetable that is extremely beneficial to the heart and the entire cardiovascular system. It is considered to be a natural remedy for high blood pressure that has significant, positive effects when made part of a daily diet. Studies have found that by eating a single small garlic clove per day, a person can effectively manage their hypertension.

In fact some clinical studies have found garlic to decrease the systolic blood pressure by as much as 20 mm Hg to 30 mm Hg, and the diastolic blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg to 20 mm Hg in participants.

For instance, one 12 week study concluded that participants with high blood pressure who ingested a single clove of garlic per day had significant reductions in their systolic and diastolic blood pressure by the end of the study.

In addition, studies have also been conducted on testing the effectiveness of garlic powder taken in the form of a supplement for controlling blood pressure. These studies also found a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in participants who suffered from mild hypertension.

How does garlic lower blood pressure? It is believed that garlic can effectively lower blood pressure because it reduces spasms that occur in the small arteries. It also slows the pulse rate and modifies the rhythm of the heart. In addition, garlic can relieve gas in the digestive tract, numbness, dizziness and shortness of breath. Thus, garlic has been used as a herbal remedy as an effective method for treating various health problems aside form hypertension including infection, inflammation and heart disease.

Moreover, research has found that there are three chemicals found in garlic that are exceptionally helpful in treating high blood pressure. These chemicals are alliin, allinase, and allicin, and are particular effective for improving blood circulation.

How can you add garlic to your daily diet to manage your blood pressure? The following are two recommendations:

1. Eat fresh raw garlic cloves - you can eat a single raw clove of garlic per day with a meal or by itself. You don’t need to eat an exceptionally large clove, a small one should suffice. Just make sure the clove is fresh, as dried garlic no longer contains the properties that are beneficial for health.

2. Take garlic supplements in capsule form – This is often the preferred method, as most people don’t enjoy chewing on a raw piece of garlic. Herbalists recommend taking 300mgs of garlic capsule supplements three times daily (I.E. 3 capsules per day). Note: Be sure to read the instructions on the back of supplements before taking them.

If you decide to take garlic supplements, keep in mind that you should only do so under the supervision of a health practitioner. The reason is because garlic can thin the blood and can interact with other drugs and supplements that are prescribed for blood thinning such as Trental (pentoxifylline) and Coumadin (warfarin), aspirin, gingko, and vitamin E. Furthermore, it is often recommended that those who will be undergoing surgery should stop taking garlic as treatment a few weeks before and after surgery.

If you think garlic is a remedy you would like to try as treatment for managing your high blood pressure, be sure to talk to your doctor first for recommendations.
By Paul Johnson. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover proven natural methods to help you lower blood pressure naturally. On the site you’ll also find more about suitable hypertension exercise and the most common sign and symptom of hypertension.