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Infactual Articles » Health & Fitness

Archive for the 'Health & Fitness' Category

Foot Pain Explained

Posted in Health & Fitness on July 5th, 2006

The human foot is made up of 26 different bones (25% of all the bones in the body), 22 distinct joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. The foot can be broken down into six separate sections: the heel, the instep, the sole, the ball of the foot, the toes and the toenails. Since this section of the body is so complex, many different ailments take place in the feet.

Pressure related problems: An average day of walking around is the equivalent of hundreds of tons of pressure to your feet. Injuries like fallen arches can result after a lifetime of being on your feet all day, every day. Long term effects of fallen arches can result in chronic knee pain and shin splints. Traumatic injuries: As any professional athlete can tell you, traumatic foot injuries can be a pain in the, well, foot. Broken toes and foot bones can take months to heel, and Achilles tendon injuries can be debilitating for life. One of the most common injuries to the foot is simply dropping something heavy onto the foot and crushing one or more bones in the process.

Ingrown Toenails: An ingrown toenail is when the side or the corner of the toenail end up digging into the skin and causing moderate to severe pain, swelling, redness and in extreme cases, infection. They can usually be cured by simply soaking the toe in hot water for about 30 minutes and then placing thin fabric under the nail to keep it from digging into the foot. In serious cases, minor surgery might be needed to remove the nail from the foot.

Plantars warts: Plantar warts are small, usually round warts that appear on the sole of the foot and are caused by the HPV virus. They sometimes have small black specks with them that will bleed when the surface is punctured. The wart is usually covered by a layer of hard skin due to the pressure on the foot during periods of standing and walking. It can be spread by use of common showers or around swimming pools. They are usually treated by using regular over-the-counter wart medicine containing acid.

Arthritis: Arthritis in the foot is extremely common in older people since the foot alone has 33 joints. Any sort of traumatic injury to the foot can cause arthritis in the future.

Heel conditions: The two most common causes of severe pain in the heel belong to plantar fasciitis and bone spurs in the heel. Bone spurs are caused by a calcium deposit attached to the bone of the heel. They can go from mildly annoying to excruciating depending on the size. We’ll discuss plantar fasciitis later.

Athelte’s Foot: Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that attacks the feet. It ranges from being almost painless to causing extreme burning and itching all over the toes and sole of the foot. There are many different over the counter remedies for Athlete’s foot, but if you use many common areas barefoot, you may have to treat it over and over again as it’s easy to catch.

Nerve Problems in the feet: Most nerve problems in the feet are caused by the long-term effects of diabetes. The nerves in the feet are the longest nerves in the body and are susceptible to neuropathy and other ailments brought on by diabetes.

Diabetes: Other than the aforementioned nerve problems, diabetes seriously effects the circulation in the body and many serious diabetes sufferers have lost fingers, toes and even feet due to lack of circulation due to a lifetime of diabetes.

Congenital foot conditions: Birth defects can range from misshapen feet to bone protrusions, to nerve problems. Most congenital problems can be dealt with through surgery.You can see from this brief overview how many aspects there are to the feet and why foot pain can be such a common and complicated problem for many people.

For more information on all varieties of Foot Pain and how to effectively treat them, please visit: Foot Pain Relief



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.

Are You Suffering from GERD or Acid Reflux?

Posted in Health & Fitness on May 25th, 2006

If you suffer from heartburn, there is a very good chance you are suffering from acid reflux. With the most common symptoms being nausea, regurgitation, or heartburn, acid reflux is an uncomfortable but treatable condition. It is important to realize, that like any condition, acid reflux needs to be properly diagnosed before you settle on a course of treatment for your symptoms.

Because acid reflux symptoms can be serious in some cases and because they are symptoms that are sometimes shared by more serious disorders, it is important for your doctor to properly diagnose your disorder. This is usually done by a series of tests that can confirm diagnosis or rule out other potential possibilities.

  • Barium X-rays can help doctors identify abnormalities in your digestive tract.
  • One of the tests that is commonly used is called the Bernstein test. During this test, heartburn symptoms are replicated. Also called the acid profusion test, this is often performed in conjunction with a variety of other diagnostic tests.
  • Endoscopy is a process where a camera is used to take pictures through an endoscope.
  • An esophagoscopy allows doctors to see inside the esophagus. Similar procedures like a gastroscopy or a duodenoscoy allow doctors to see inside the stomach and intestines. Sometimes, these procedures are performed simultaneously. Doctors usually refer to this as an esophagogastroduodenoscopy.
  • Manometry is a process where a tube goes down a patient’s nose and into the esophagus. Connected to a sensor, this device sends information to a computer, measuring the muscular pressure in both the stomach and esophagus.
  • Esophageal manometry allows doctors to measure the motility of the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) at the top of the stomach, as well as the rest of the esophagus.
  • A PH Monitor is a thin tube made of plastic. This tube is equipped with a special sensor that is able to measure the amount of acid that refluxes or backs up into the esophagus.

If you have concerns that you are suffering from acid reflux, it is important to realize that you shouldn’t just simply pop an over the counter pill as a quick fix each time you experience this problem. The bottom line is that acid reflux usually comes back and is a lifelong problem.

The good news is that acid reflux is highly treatable once properly diagnosed. Since, in rare cases, acid reflux can actually pose very serious health risks, it is important to consult a physician to confirm both the diagnosis and the seriousness of your chronic condition so you can follow the best treatment plan catered toward your individual situation.

For more information about Acid Reflux and the natural treatments available take a look at Stop Acid Reflux Now .