Monthly Archives: May 2011 - Page 2

Colonic Irrigation – Highway to Healthy Stomach

In today’s world there is no end to the ways, in which one can take care of his health. There are health spas, beauty salons, gymnasiums, nutritionists, dieticians, masseurs, aroma therapists, lifestyle experts, and Yoga gurus… you name it and you have it. In the midst of these life enriching enterprises, people generally forget that the key secret of a healthy body is a healthy digestive system. Colonic Irrigation is a way to achieve that.

Colonic Irrigation, also called Colonic Hydrotherapy, is a process of cleansing the last part of the digestive system, i.e. Colon. This procedure needs to be performed by a professional and is usually offered in cleaning spas or detoxification centers. It is intended at removing fecal wastes and nonspecific toxins from the colon and the entire intestinal tract. Based on the ancient Egyptian and Greek hypothesis it is believed that feces get stuck on the walls of the large intestine and it rots. As its layer builds up, it turns into parasites, which causes poor health. Regular laxatives prove to be insufficient to remove these hardened waste layers, so a more direct and a little stronger method, like Colonic Irrigation is required.

Its process is quite simple. In this alternative medical therapy, water is injected in the body through anus using special equipments. At times, the water is blended with some herbs or medicated liquids in order to detoxify the body. While the water is entering the colon, the therapist massages abdomen in a gentle way in order to break up and release any waste product from the sides of the colon walls. Once the colon is filled with water, the therapist reverses the flow of the liquid allowing it to exit the body through natural peristalsis. The same process will be repeated for ½ (or sometimes even complete one) hour depending on the requirement.

Nevertheless, as every good thing has some “doubtful” side to it, even Colonic Irrigation is subjected to few controversies. Some medical authorities assert that human body is naturally capable of removing waste material, and such forced procedures may disrupt the balance between bacteria and natural chemicals in the bowls. Plus, when harmful bacteria are flushed out of the body, the healthy bacteria also gets flushed out. They further think that it may harm colon’s ability to discard dead cells. However, they also state that such process can be used as a preparatory action before conducting a colonoscopy.

Some medical experts also say that sloppy use of the insertion instrument may cause some damage to the rectum. Furthermore, if the instrument is not properly sterilized it may cause amoebiasis. Colonic Irrigation has also been associated with heart attacks and electrolyte imbalances. Its frequent use may compromise the natural functioning of the colon and increase dependence on this process for clean bowl movements.

Every procedure has some pros and cons, but it is up to us to mark a limit and decide to what extent a particular health treatment is beneficial. Getting addicted to anything is bad, and so it is even in the case of Colonic Irrigation. However, when done in moderation and with total caution, it may prove to be another life-enriching experience for you.

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Colon Hydrotherapy: Procedure and Effects

Accepted as an effective form of alternative medicine, colon hydrotherapy or colon irrigation involves cleansing of the colon (the largest part of the intestine, approximately 5 feet long). The colon is responsible for maintenance of the digestive system. Colon cleansing is recommended to dilute the toxins accumulated in the colon as well as the intestinal tract and promote a healthy digestive system, weight loss in addition to overall well-being.

Accrual of toxins such as stored faecal matter, gas mucus, dead cellular tissue, parasites, worms in the colon can prove to be poisonous and can also find its way into the blood stream thereby leading to problems such as flatulence and irregular bowel movement or in extreme cases, even cancer of the colon. The build up can be attributed to irregular food timings, unhealthy food intake (especially foodstuffs containing preservatives, chemical additives). Thus the belief among medical health professionals that most diseases originate in the intestine does not seem exceedingly far-fetched.


Colon hydrotherapy involves injecting (sometimes using an enema kit) filtered, sterilized and temperature-regulated, low-pressurized water into the intestine where the food waste is loosened and eliminated through natural contractions of the intestinal muscles. At times, water is coupled with herbs and other liquids. It is generally administered under the ministrations of a trained colon therapist. Colon hydrotherapy is mainly useful to eliminate constipation, detoxify the major organs of elimination and restore normal bowel movement. Moreover, colon irrigation has been found to be instrumental in helping one feeling energised and healthy. The best results of colon hydrotherapy can be attained when the therapy is combined with regular exercise and adequate nutrient intake.

Specifically, colon hydrotherapy is used to accomplish the following:

  • Cleansing the colon: Toxic material removed so it can no longer harm your body or inhibit assimilation and elimination. Once impacted material is removed, your colon can begin again to function as it was meant to.
  • Exercising the colon muscles: The amassing of toxic debris weakens the colon muscles and impairs their functioning. Colon irrigation improves the peristaltic activity (muscular contraction) by which the colon naturally moves material. This will help speed up the transit time of fecal material once the colon muscle have been toned, strengthened, and rejuvenated.
  • Hydration of the body: The use of sterilized water in the colon enables our bodies to absorb much needed clean and pure water to hydrate itself and allow it to function effectively as well as dilute the existing toxins.


It must be noted that no scientific verification confirms the supposed positives of colon cleansing in general. The bowel itself is inherently not dirty and excluding drugs, disease or mechanical blockage, cleanses itself automatically. Certain enema arrangements have been linked to heart attacks and electrolyte imbalances, and improperly primed or used equipment can cause infection or damage to the rectum. Frequent colon cleansing can lead to dependence on enemas to defecate and some herbs may interfere with the effectiveness of prescription drugs.

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What is a Barium Swallow Test?

A Barium Swallow is basically a test that is performed to detect any pathological abnormalities that may be present in the area of the abdomen and esophagus region. It is an imaging procedure which is used quite commonly in cases of upper gastrointestinal disturbances. A barium swallow test is recommended if the patient is experiencing the following symptoms of- Vomiting, severe abdominal pain, difficulty in swallowing.

A series of x-rays are taken to get images of the esophagus, upper part of the abdomen and small intestine.

There are certain diet restrictions that the patient must follow prior to the test. The patient is asked to consume a low fibre diet. Any kind of medical restrictions have to be followed with the physician’s consent.

The patient is asked to avoid eating anything few hours prior to the test.

How is the Barium swallow test performed?

The patient is asked to consume a drink containing a mixture of barium sulphate prior to the test. Barium sulphate is used because it is metallic in nature and will be seen very clearly in the x-ray.

A series of fluoroscopy images are taken as the drink is being consumed. A series of 2-3 images are taken per swallow of the mixture.

The patient may feel a slight bloating sensation while drinking the mixture and the patient will get some amount of gas in his esophagus but otherwise there is no harm in consumption of the drink.

The fluoroscopic images will track the movement of the barium sulphate mixture through the esophagus and the upper portion of the stomach.

The images are taken in various positions to get the entire image of the abnormality properly.

The entire procedure may last for as long as three to four hours. After the procedure certain health care instructions must be followed by the patient at home. Due to the consumption of barium the patient may experience certain difficulties in passing stools. Hence the patient is advised to have a high fibre diet.

The patient is advised to drink a lot of fluids.

The following abnormal conditions can be detected by a Barium swallow test:

In the esophagus following conditions can be seen in the x-rays:

1) Ulcers

2) Esophageal Cancer

3) Hiatus hernia

In the abdominal region the following abnormalities can be detected:

1) Gastric Cancer

2) Gastric ulcers and cases of gastritis can be detected.

3) Certain precancerous polyps in the abdomen can be detected by this test.

4) Gastro-esophageal reflux disease.

Risks of the Barium swallow test:

There are no risks as such with this test, but this test is contraindicated in pregnant women and is not carried out regularly in children.

A few complications can occur, such as:

1) Anaphylactic reaction (allergy) may occur in people who are allergic to barium.

2) While consuming the mixture, the barium might accidentally go into the trachea, causing breathing difficulties. The patient may choke on the barium.

After the test as mentioned above, due to the barium consumption the patient may get constipated.

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All About Bacillus Anthracis

Bacillus Anthracis is a spore forming bacterial organism. Its rod shaped and is Gram positive in nature.

The bacilli can be cultivated on a nutrient medium either under aerobic conditions or in anaerobic areas. The bacillus was discovered somewhat in the 1850’s.

This bacterium is said to be the main causative agent for the Anthrax disease.

The bacilli are present generally in a spore form. The bacteria grow in a dormant stage.

The bacilli are generally found in the faecal matter of animals like cows, goats, pigs and sheep. The bacilli can stay dormant in the soil for many years.

Under certain favorable conditions the spores can hatch out into the eggs and further can cause the disease.

Mode of transmission of Bacillus Anthracis:

1) The spores can enter the skin through any kind of open wound or cut and can then produce the virulent strain, causing the disease.

2) The spores can also be inhaled and can cause the anthrax in the lungs leading to respiratory distress.

3) The spores may be ingested also, and can reach the gastrointestinal region causing the anthrax in the abdominal area.

Symptoms of anthrax caused by Bacillus Anthracis:

If the spores of these bacteria have affected the skin, mostly cutaneous symptoms are noted like,

a) Scabs on the skin

b) Blisters on the feet and upper extremities

If the anthrax is limited to the respiratory area the patient ay start to show symptoms of fever, headache, breathing difficulties and in worse cases the patient may go into shock.

If the anthrax bacilli has affected the abdominal region, the patient ay show the following symptoms like, vomiting, diarrhea with a bloody tinge. The patient’s hemoglobin may drop suddenly causing him to become anemic.

Certain tests can be performed to check if the person is carrying a positive strain of the bacillus anthracis organism.

1) A culture can be taken from one of the skin lesions to check of the spores have affected the cutaneous areas.

2) A throat swab or a sputum swab can be obtained for culture.

3) A chest x- ray can be taken.

4) Gram staining can be done of the tissue culture obtained.

Treatment for patients having the Bacillus anthracis strain:

In the early days Louis Pasteur had developed a vaccine for the bacterium. By injecting a person with an extract of the damaged strain of the bacillus anthracis, the person will then develop a resistance against the bacteria when injected with its damaged form.

Certain drugs also can be administered to cure the people, who have this bacterium in their body.

Infections caused due to bacillus anthracis can be treated by administering antibiotics like penicillin and other drugs like ciprofloxacin or tetracycline can be given to those patients who are resistant to penicillin.


Infections caused by this bacterium are cured completely if they are treated at an early stage by the drugs. But if the infection has spread to the blood stream, then chances of survival are quite weak.

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Signs Of An Abnormal Pap Smear

An abnormal pap smear or test, also known as a cervical cytology screening is a screening process, which is undertaken to determine the development of any abnormalities or malignancy (dysplasia or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)) in the epithelial lining of the cervix (the lower part of the womb). An abnormal pap smear is indicative of an infection, presence of abnormal cells; however, it is essential to note that an abnormal pap test does not indicate the existence of cancer. Having regular annual pap tests is instrumental in detecting dysplasia (abnormal cells that can be pre-cancerous), which may turn into cervical cancer over an extended period of time. Dysplasia or CIN is categorised as mild (CIN 1), moderate (CIN 2) and severe (CIN 3).

Minor or mild abnormal changes may clear out automatically. However, for more significant changes (moderate and severe) further testing and treatment as instructed by your gynaecologist may be required. In general, abnormal results on a pap test are followed by a repeat pap smear after 6 months or 1 year.


The following are the outlined causes for an abnormal pap smear result:

Infection or Inflammation


Recent Sexual Activity


However, the main cause linked to an abnormal result is infection with Human Papillomavirus Virus (HPV) many types of which have been understood to be causes of cervical and vaginal cancer. Some have also been identified as genital warts. It has been approximated that nearly 60% of women carry this virus on their cervix, genital area or skin without being aware of it. A communicable virus, it is generally cleared by the immune system; but this may not take place and a small percentage of women carrying this virus may develop CIN.


Under the Bethesda System an abnormal pap smear result is described using the term Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (SIL); squamous being the type of cells that form the tissue covering the cervix. The results are then classified as follows:

Normal: Absence of pre-cancer or cancer

Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASC–US): The most common result, it confirms changes in cervical cells which most often are found to be linked to the HPV infection but may also be a pre-cancer condition

Squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL): Can be low grade (LSIL) or high grade (HSIL). LSIL is very common and clears out without treatment. HSIL denotes more serious changes. Carcinoma in situ (CIS) is a severe form of HSIL. It is the result most likely to progress to cancer.

Atypical squamous cells, cannot exclude HSIL (ASC–H): Changes that may be HSIL have been detected. Further testing is required

Atypical glandular cells (AGC): Abnormal changes that imply pre-cancer of the upper part of the cervix

Cancer: Abnormal cells have proliferated deeper into the cervix

Further Testing

This includes repeat pap tests (allows CIN 1 to clear out over time), HPV tests, Colposcopy (allows further examination of cervix), Biopsy, Endocervical Sampling (tissue sample from cervical canal), Endometrium Sampling (sample of uterine lining).

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Abortion Pills – Are They Safe?

With a 95% success rate supporting it, the abortion pill is being favoured by most women looking to terminate a confirmed pregnancy. A non-invasive procedure requiring no anaesthesia, it is widely known as RU486 and is a US Food and Drug Administration approved abortifacient.

A strong reason that sways most women towards medical abortion is the absence of surgery and thereby the complete elimination of being admitted to a medical facility. This makes the process extremely private and can be accomplished in the confines and comforts of one’s home.


The abortion pill induces abortion by administering a permutation of two medications-mifepristone and misoprostol in that order. Although, it can be taken orally or vaginally, the dosage of the former is taken orally at a treatment centre. It curbs the level of hormone progesterone, required to sustain pregnancy. As a result of this, the cervix softens and the uterine lining sheds causing bleeding. Bleeding can range from mild spotting to heavy bleeding or at times even no bleeding. This is then followed up with a dose of misoprostol (with 24-72 of taking mifepristone) which causes uterine contractions and further bleeding and expels the embryo.

Medical abortion must be resorted to after consulting a gynaecologist and within nine weeks to corroboration of the pregnancy.

After effects

Differing across people, these include diarrhoea, excessive blood loss, queasiness, headache, cramps, vomiting.


Following the use of the abortion pill some women experience very heavy bleeding spanning a few weeks and contraction of an infection (especially in case of vaginal use) can also not be ruled out. This has resulted in most medical experts advising against vaginal administration of the pill. However, the mortality rate of medical abortion is lower than that of surgical abortion.

In case of an incomplete miscarriage, damage to the surviving foetus is irrevocable and unavoidable. There could be an adverse impact on the woman’s fertility and ability to conceive as well in case of injury to cervix or fallopian tube.


Use of the medical abortion is not advisable under following circumstances:

  • An advanced pregnancy (exceeding 8 weeks)
  • Conditions of anaemia, cardiovascular; respiratory; renal and liver problems
  • In case of the mother being HIV+
  • In case of mother being a heavy smoker or a continuous user of steroids, anti-depressants, aspirin
  • In case of an ectopic pregnancy

Abortion Pill v/s ‘The Pill”

The abortion pill is infamously confused with the morning after pill. It is essential to note that the morning after pill is a contraceptive that is used to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, while the former is medication to induce a miscarriage or terminate a confirmed pregnancy.

Although the abortion pill has its own gamut of side effects, it is being regarded as the safest method (in terms of minimizing infections) of terminating pregnancies. This is being echoed in statistics which reveal that a fourth of all American women undergoing abortion in the last year chose medical over surgical abortion.

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Bone Scan Is Not A Big Deal…!

Even though the name itself suggests, that it is a nuclear scanning test of bones, in order to understand what “bone scan” really is, it will be better to see what it does, rather than plainly defining it in technical terms. Bone scan serves various purposes. Let’s see what they are…

  • Identification of certain abnormalities, which might be the cause that are creating obstacles in the bone’s growth or healing
  • Evaluation of the damage done to the bones, like fracture, which sometimes cannot be seen clearly in the X-ray
  • Finding cancer that has spread to the bones
  • Monitoring conditions (like Infection & Trauma) that can affect bones, like Paget’s disease
  • Diagnosing the cause of location of unexplained bone pain, like ongoing lumber backache

The process of bone scan starts with injecting into an intravenous line a small amount of radioactive material, such as 600 MBq of technetium-99m-MDP. Three to four hours time is given for the radioactive material to spread all through the concerned body part. Then the patient is scanned under Gamma Camera, which is sensitive to radiation emitted by the injected material. The radioactive material (also called “Radioactive Marker”) gets concentrated in a region where there is a high bone turnover, and this is captured by the Gamma Camera.

The outcome or the result of bone scan is shown in the form of “Hot Spots” and “Cold Spots”. Hot Spots appear darker and represent an area where there is high concentration of the radioactive marker, which indicates an abnormality. The Cold Spots, on the contrary, appear light and indicate the areas where there is low concentration of the marker, which indicates the normal condition of the region.

The bone scan, however, cannot identify the exact nature of the lesion. For instance, it cannot differentiate, whether the lesion is a tumor, an infection, or a fracture. Therefore, this scanning process is many times followed by a CT Scan or MRI Scan to better characterize the nature of the lesion.

Even though there is no specific preparatory requirement before the scan, it is better if the following things are taken into consideration and are brought to the doctor’s attention.

  • Inform your doctor if you have had “Barium contrast material” (like Barium enema) or a medicine that contains Bismuth (like Pepto-Bismol) as part of X-Ray test, within last four days, because Barium and Bismuth interfere with the test results.
  • Inform the doctor if you are (or might be) pregnant, and/or currently breast-feeding, because the radioactive marker can have influence over the fetus and the breast milk.

Bone scan is absolutely painless, except for the initial sting of injection, which is used to deliver radioactive marker. However, during the scanning process you may find it difficult to stay motionless, which is required for scanning. Moreover, if you have joint, back, or any bone pain, the process may prove to be little uncomfortable. Therefore, ask for a pillow or a blanket to make sure you feel as much at ease as possible.

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Bone Cancer: The Symptoms and Treatments

Bone cancer is an all-encompassing term which comprises of various forms of the disease. Its definition is further refined on the basis of location of origin. Cancer which begins in the bone itself (a relatively rare phenomenon) is termed as primary bone cancer or sarcoma. The most prevalent sarcomas are osteosarcoma, Ewing’s sarcoma and chondrosarcoma. Alternatively, secondary or metastatic bone cancer is cancer which originally inflicts another organ and then metastasizes or spreads to the bone tissue. It has to be understood that not all forms of cancer are malignant, some may be benign. This with numerous forms that this affliction can take as well as differences size and location of the tumour leads to a significant variance in bone cancer symptoms.


The most commonly observed bone cancer symptom is pain. The general sites of occurrence are the long bones of the body (mostly arms and legs). Although known occur in both children and adults, young children are notably more prone to it. Severity of the pain is known to gradually increase over time depending upon the progression of the cancer.

Another detected bone cancer symptom is a mass or lump on the bone or the surrounding tissues. Joint tenderness, inflammation, swelling or stiffness as well as incidence of pathological fractures due to bone weakness are other tell-tale signs of bone cancer. These fractures are unexplained and result from little or no trauma. Cases of fractures due to standing on the affected bone have also been documented. Loss of range of motion that does not return is another symptom that requires investigation.

Other imprecise bone cancer symptoms take the form of fatigue, fever, weight loss, chills, night sweats and anaemia.

Even in case of benign bone cancer, the bone may become brittle. The person may also experience considerable pain and sometimes numbness.

Diagnostic process

This includes numerous imaging tests like X-ray, MRI, and bone scans. However the most important diagnostic tool is a bone biopsy which involves removal and examination of the affected bone tissue. Performing this procedure on a patient of primary bone cancer is wrought with the risk of worsening the spread of the cancer.


Factors outlined above which cause variations in bone cancer symptoms are also responsible for the choice of treatment. The following are the treatment options open for patients which can be used exclusively or in combination depending on case specifics.

  • Surgery: Aims to remove the tumour and the surrounding area of the normal bone which should encase the whole tumour for 100% success
  • Chemotherapy: Uses drugs to hinder the growth of cancer cells; it is often used in conjunction with surgery for best results.
  • Radiation Therapy: Comprises of high energy X-rays to destroy the cancer cells; also used before or after surgery.

Each treatment plan comes with its own batch of risks and side effects. The best possible solution is unique for each case and can only be arrived at after considering all details.

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Blood Type Diet: Eat Right 4 Your Type

Naturopathic physician Dr Peter D’Adamo, N.D. suggested the notoriously talked about Blood Type Diet in his best seller ‘Eat Right 4 Your Type’. A welcome departure from the ‘one size fits all’ notion, this diet plan proposes four different diets in accordance with four diff­­erent blood groups: A, B, O, AB. D’Adamo’s basic premise is that an individual’s ABO blood type is the key determinant of a diet plans’ effectiveness. He postulates that there occurs a genetically inherited chemical reaction between the foods that we consume and our blood group through a component called lectins (proteins in foodstuffs). In general, lectins are not life endangering and our immune system works to safeguard us from any harmful impact. Nonetheless, 5% of Lectins will enter the blood stream. Incongruity between blood type and lectins leads to coagulation of blood cells in an organ or bodily system.

The Blood Type Diet reverts you to your genetic pattern and is based on your cellular profile so as to minimize the effects of the aforementioned incompatibility. Its claims include not only the sought-after weight loss but also a boost in immunity. Using the Evolutionary Theory of Blood Groups, Dr D’Adamo has made the following distinctive dietary recommendations:

  • · Type O (‘the hunter’): On the basis of the belief of this type being the oldest human blood group, it has been recommended that individuals with type O blood follow a high protein, meat rich diet which is low in carbohydrates.
  • · Type A (‘the cultivator’): Believed to have originated at the time of emergence of agriculture. In line with this, the dietary recommendations are a vegetarian with emphasis on inclusion of vegetables and exclusion of dairy products.
  • · Type B (‘the nomad’): This blood type has been recommended to include dairy products in their dietary profile and considered to be a balanced omnivore. They have the least number of restrictions.
  • · Type AB (‘the enigma’): The most recent blood type has been suggested to comply with a mixed diet that is a combination of the recommended nutrition plans for Type A and B in moderation.

Peter D’Adamo asserts that the Blood Type Diet is based on scientific evidence. However, the lack of clinical trials, inadequate evidence, and uncorroborated claims pertaining to ABO specific lectins has cast deep aspersions on the scientific background of this diet.

Nutritionists everywhere have panned the Blood Type Diet citing that weight loss observed in followers can be attributed to variables such a difference in metabolism. It is a likely event that two individuals may share a blood type but differ in metabolic rate leading to one shedding the pounds faster. Moreover, it is believed that universally applicable and beneficial recommendations like emphasis on exercise, avoidance of processed foods makes the Blood Type Diet a successful endeavour rather than its propositions based on blood type.

It emerges that the dietary plan appropriateness and success cannot be demystified using the parochial crutch of blood types.

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Bed Bug Bites: Symptoms & Treatment

Suppose you are on a camping trip with your family, and after an entire day of strenuous camping activities you feel like getting immersed into the deep sleep and “be happy as the “night” is long”! And, just when you get ready to let exhaustion out of your senses, you are bitten by a bug. Sadly, these are not love-bug-bites… these are just plain, common, blood-sucked bed bug bites. After this, your supposedly peaceful night is turned into an apparently long day, which is to be spent in getting rid of these blood sucking goblins.

Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, like humans. Even though, in developed countries bed bugs were largely eradicated in the early 40’s, its prevalence is increased again since 1995. As a matter of fact, it was reported that USA has been hit by bed bugs and there are many incidents of moderate to severe bed bug bites.

The symptoms that are accredited to the bed bug bites are diverse, and their intensity varies depending on each individual. Generally symptoms, like skin rashes, which include small macular spots, prominent wheals & bullae, intense itching, & central hemorrhagic spots are noticed amongst those who’re bitten by these parasites. Nevertheless, psychological disorders, like anxiety, stress, insomnia, and delusional parasitosis have also been noted as the symptoms of this problem. At times, severe infestation as a result of bite may lead to anemia, bacterial skin infections, systematic poisoning, and asthma attack (via airborne allergens), however such symptoms are rare.

The primary precautionary treatment for bed bug bites is nothing but keeping the person from being repeatedly bitten. And trust me, it is not as easy as it sounds! Avoiding bed-bugs is quite a tricky task, because it is not like catching a rat in the trap or shooing away a stray-dog from your courtyard. Bed bugs are so tiny, that sometimes you may even find it difficult to see with your bare eyes, and while getting rid of them, if you leave a small chunk of them behind, they can accomplish their own “bed-bug evolution” in no time. So, to eradicate them you might require a combination of pesticide and non-pesticide approaches. Simple vacuuming the house can also prove to be of great help, while applying the main-stream precautionary measures.

Even if bed bug bites, there is no substantial treatment or medicines are required. In case of severe itching steroid ointments or oral antihistamines can prove to be useful against these symptoms. Some secondary bacterial infections develop heavily scratched areas. At such instances antibiotics can be used.

All in all, since bed bugs are not easily identified and most of the time pest-control companies are the main source of reports on their occurrences, this problem is believed to be more severe than it appears. Therefore, best we can do is carrying on occasional pest-control in our houses and offices, and practicing primary precautionary regimes. Apparently these are the perfect days to kiss our kids good night saying, “Sleep tight, and don’t let a bed bug bite!”

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BCG Vaccine: A Fight Against TB

One of the many things that the human race is cursed with is Tuberculosis. Sadly, it proves to be even more unfortunate, when it strikes little adorable kids. In developing countries, which are marked with a certain level of poverty, TB is a quite a common disease that generally affects the lungs, and in rare cases some other vital organs. Nonetheless, as every problem has a solution, so does Tuberculosis. In this case, the solution is known as BCG Vaccine.

Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine is made from a strain of the damaged or destabilized live bovine tuberculosis bacillus, called Mycobacterium Bovis. Surprisingly, its discovery is accredited to have made to cure smallpox, in 1854 by Jean Antoine Villemin.

Ideally it should be given to the infants intradermally, within first 15 days after their birth; however, it can also be given within five years of their age. It is generally given in combination with oral polio dose. Since young age is more vulnerable to Tuberculosis, it is widely advised that BCG Vaccine must be given immediately after the birth, before a kid is exposed to the disease. Even though Indian Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend a booster dose, some countries, like Gulf, advocate the practice of one or two boosters.

BCG Vaccine is said to cause a small swelling at the injected site immediately after it is delivered. Even though after 6 to 8 hours the swelling fades away, it reappears within one or 1 & ½ month. This time it grows in size and forms a nodule, which expulses some fluid and forms an ulcer. When this ulcer heals, it leaves a mark behind for the life time. It is established that if ulcer appears within seven days of injection, the kid is carrying Tuberculosis. Immediate medical attention is very imperative at this stage.

There are few other diseases that respond to some extent to the shot of BCG Vaccine. Diseases like Leprosy, Type 1 Diabetes, Cancer Immunotherapy, Painful Bladder Syndrome, and Multiple Sclerosis respond if this vaccine is delivered. Apart from this, it is also renowned for its matchless safety record. The modern BCG Vaccine has existed for more than 80 years, and is one of the most widely used amongst all current vaccines. As a matter of fact, it is a part of National Childhood Immunization Program in many countries. Various countries, like India, UK, Brazil, and Pakistan are known to practice BCG mass immunization programs. USA, on the other hand, is known to rely on detection and treatment of TB.

However, it is also subject to some controversies, the biggest of which, is its variable efficacy found in different clinical trials in different countries. For instance, trials conducted in UK show protective effect of 60 to 80%, whereas those conducted in some other countries show no protective effect at all. Interestingly, the vaccine’s efficacy seems to diminish in places that are close to the equator.

In any case, BCG Vaccine remains one of the most used vaccines, and is known to be made by various manufacturers by using different genetic strains, which results in varied vaccine potency. Few manufacturers of this vaccine are Merck Serono, Dianon Systems, PowerJect Pharma, and Statens serum Institute of Denmark.

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Stay Healthy With Alkaline Diet

Some of the famous naturopath and nutritionist experts, like authors Robert Young, Edgar Cayce, D. C. Jarvis, Herman Aihara, and Victor A. Marcial-Vega, have since long stated that there is only one sickness (or disease) and only one treatment. The disease is acidity of the blood plasma, or simply increased acidity in the blood, and the treatment is to maintain the alkaline design of the human body, because as per this school of thoughts the human body is alkaline by design and acidic by function.

For many centuries we have known that some substances taste acidic and some taste alkaline. The invention of pH scale made it possible to measure (and in turn, control) the acidity in our body. And now, scientists are attempting to understand the ways of retaining the alkaline structure of our body. One of these ways is the Alkaline diet.

Alkaline diet is nothing but a lifestyle that proposes consumption of certain food, like fresh citrus & low-sugar fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts, and legumes, and also opposes the consumption of  grains, dairy products, meat, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, fungi, and excessive salt. The idea is to regain and retain the alkaline make of the human body. It is believed the consumption of Alkaline diet leaves an alkaline residue (or ash), of which the principal components are essential minerals, like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, etc.

As experts have emphasized, when there is an acid-alkaline imbalance in the blood, the body takes “whatever” necessary actions are required to stabilize it, which results in to body’s break down, with symptoms ranging from moderate effects like fatigue, allergies yeast overgrowth, & obesity to more severe effects, like osteoporosis and even cancer. Advocates of Alkaline diet believe that it doesn’t only prevent all these diseases, but also increase the bone health.

Alkaline diet creates the minimal alkalinity in blood, ranging from 7.35 to 7.45, which means it maintains the balance between acids and bases (pH) in the body. This balance plays a vital role in helping a body to sustain itself.

If you thinking to embark on Alkaline diet, first make sure to check the acid level in your body from a certified physician, so can set definite and measurable goals and notice any positive effect on your body. Furthermore, it works as a motivational factor to stick to your healthy regime.

However, it is very imperative to note that systematically maintaining the pH balance in your body is far more critical than just hogging on alkaline food like there is no tomorrow. Mindlessly eating alkaline food “will not” contribute towards maintaining your pH level. You will have to discuss with a nutrition-expert to know the right quantity of the Alkaline diet that will help you with all the sufficient nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. If you are overloaded with alkaline in your body, your pH level becomes too alkaline and you may develop Alkalosis.

So, feel free to give a shot to this “lifestyle with a difference”, in a right way, and see how your life is transformed for good. Bon appétit…!

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Your Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms and Treatment

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are experienced by individuals who cease their consumption of alcohol post indulging in its chronic abuse over a prolonged period of time. Persons who indulge in binge drinking (drinking very heavily when they do) and very frequent drinkers may also experience these symptoms if they quit ‘cold turkey’, although the degree of severity may be lesser.

Unfettered use of sedative-hypnotics such as alcohol leads to physiological dependence. Simply put, the brain requires that substance to function “normally’. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms manifest themselves once the level of alcohol in the blood drops which occurs generally after 5-48 hours of the last drink.

The symptoms can be classified as physiological and psychological and further grouped according to the degree of severity (mild, moderate and severe)

  • Mild to moderate psychological symptoms

  1. 1. Nervousness, jitteriness, agitation
  2. 2. Uncontrollable shaking or trembling
  3. 3. Anxiety
  4. 4. Irritability
  5. 5. Mood swings or emotional volatility
  6. 6. Fatigue
  7. 7. Prolonged Depression
  8. 8. Nightmares
  9. 9. Impairment of thought process

  • Mild to moderate physical symptoms

  1. 1. Headache
  2. 2. Nausea and Vomiting
  3. 3. Profuse sweating especially on the face and having clammy palms
  4. 4. Heart Palpitations
  5. 5. Sleeping difficulties including insomnia
  6. 6. Pale or sickly complexion
  7. 7. Loss of appetite
  8. 8. Dilation of pupils and involuntary eye movements
  9. 9. Hand tremors and shaking

10. Increase in pulse rate

  • Severe Symptoms

  1. 1. Visual hallucinations, also known as Delirium Tremens which is a state of severe confusion
  2. 2. High Fever
  3. 3. Convulsions and seizures
  4. 4. Black outs and memory loss

The physical symptoms are observed to be the first to occur and subside relatively quickly as well. The psychological symptoms on the other hand are more persistent. The severe symptoms emerge 48-96 hours post the last drink.


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are not encountered by individuals who consume lesser than the amount of alcohol that renders one dependent on the substance (example: social drinkers). This has prompted alcohol withdrawal symptoms to be termed as alcoholic or alcoholism withdrawal symptoms. Individuals facing these symptoms have treatment options at their disposal which they can access through a health care provider.

The main aims of treatment are to cope with the immediate withdrawal symptoms and in the long term focus on therapy to achieve complete sobriety.

People with moderate to severe symptoms may require in-patient treatment at a health care facility which will focus on treating both physical and psychological symptoms. Out-patient detoxification is appropriate for individual with mild or sometimes even moderate symptoms. However they might require frequent visits to a treatment centre.

Line of treatment may include sedation to stabilize the symptoms followed by extensive patient and family counselling.

Alcohol withdrawal is serious condition which can accelerate to pose a threat to life. Individuals suffering from a recent of onset alcohol withdrawal symptoms must seek the counsel of a health care provider to cope effectively. In addition, it is recommended that persons intending to quit drinking after extreme long-lasting use must necessarily consult a doctor.

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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Symptoms and Treatment

Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a pathological enlargement of the abdominal aorta which is twice the normal size of the aorta. This occurs when there is a massive increase in size of the blood vessel supplying the abdominal aorta. The most common site of occurrence of the aneurysm is below the kidneys.

Causes of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm:

The aneurysm occurs mostly in the male population over the age of 60.

The exact cause is unknown, but studies show that this aneurysm generally occurs in people having the following risk factors.

1) Smoking

2) Obesity

3) Atherosclerosis seems to be a common risk factor for this type of aneurysm.

4) A certain gene factor

5) Increased cholesterol levels.

Signs and Symptoms of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm:

The abdominal aortic aneurysm is slow in its progression over several years. The aneurysm is asymptomatic. A person might have the aneurysm if he shows the following signs.

a) A pulsating mass in the region of the abdominal aorta.

b) On examination of the abdomen, it is hard and stiff on palpation.

The aneurysm can be diagnosed with the helps of tests like a C.T scan and a ultra sound of the abdomen.

A major health complication is due to a ruptured aneurysm. This occurs due to rapid increase in size of the aneurysm.

The following are alarming signs indicating of an aneurysm rupture:

1) Severe radiating pain in the region of the abdomen, lower back and the groin area.

2) The patient may go into hypovolaemic shock and may get tachycardia.

3) There will be signs of intra abdominal and renal bleeding due to the rupture.

The mortality rate is very high in cases of an aneurysmal rupture. Majority of the patients may die due excessive bleeding.

Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

The treatment of the aneurysm is two fold, it can be treated either conservatively or surgical repair ay be required.

The treatment protocol of these cases depends on the severity of the cases.

1) A small aneurysm can be treated conservatively with constant monitoring and routine ultra sound tests. Surgical repair if done immediately for smaller aneurysms of about 2cms in size will lessen the risk of a rupture in the future.

2) A larger aneurysm more than 5 cms in size has to be treated surgically. There are two types of approaches to treat the aneurysm surgically.

a) A surgical open repair procedure with the help of a graft that is placed in the abdomen.

b) The second type of approach is by Endovascular stent grafting. This procedure is non invasive in nature unlike the open repair. The success rates for grafting are higher.

Prognosis and prevention of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

The aneurysm if detected at an early stage and is treated immediately, the prognosis is fairly good. But if the aneurysm has ruptured already and severe bleeding has occurred the survival rate is poor.

The risk of getting these aneurysms can be avoided by maintaining a well balanced lifestyle.

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Best Lordosis Treatment Options

Although the normal spine may appear straight when seen from the back, it actually has four natural curves: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral curvatures.  The cervical and lumbar curvatures are collectively called lordotic curves while the kyphotic curves are comprised of the sacral and thoracic curves.  The curves are responsible for absorbing mechanical stress from daily activities.  However, lordosis can happen when too much stress is absorbed.


The spinal disorder, which is also usually called swayback, is a relatively common condition that happens to people regardless of age.  It is a spine problem typified by extreme curvature in the lower areas of the back.  Saddlebacks and hollow backs are terminologies often used to describe extreme lordotic curvatures.  There are several factors that can cause the disease.  These include osteoporosis, achondroplasia, posture, spondylolithesis, obesity, kyphosis, tight lower back muscles, pregnancy, and excessive visceral fat.

Lordosis of the spine is usually caused by the mass disparity between inter-vertebral discs.  In some cases, the muscles surrounding the hips and the spine tighten, weaken and become stretched.  A condition known as the lower crossed syndrome happens because of this, which later causes spine curvature.


The disease does not always manifest symptoms, and can sometimes go undetected.  Excessive lordotic curves may result to extreme strain on the low back area.  An individual afflicted with the disease may project poor vertebral posture.  The butt protrudes outwards more than the normal and the lower back can sometimes show an inward dip, resulting to an exaggerated stance.

The symptoms arising from lordosis may vary from person to person.  Other people may experience lower back and leg pains.  Changes in the bowel movements and in urinating may also happen.  Symptoms can sometimes appear like those of other spinal disorders.  It is therefore best to consult a doctor for the appropriate diagnosis.  Immediate detection can help prevent the condition from worsening.


Usually, the disease does not cause any serious problems and discomfort that is why it often does not necessitate special treatments.  But in cases of extreme lordosis, the curves may cause extreme pain in the lower back and this may need medical attention.  The disease may be diagnosed through x-rays, bone scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography scan (CT scan), and blood tests.

The treatment of cervical lordosis will largely depend on the gravity and nature of the lordotic curve.  There are non-surgical traditional treatments including the administration of pain management medication like analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs; physical therapy including some exercise programs specifically intended for patients of the disease; back braces; and weight reduction.  The special exercises may include stretching of the overused muscles.

The severe form of the disease, on the other hand, can cause more serious health problems that may necessitate surgical procedures.  When all non-surgical remedies fail, a spine surgery may be recommended.  Other surgical procedures may be available depending on the severity and type of the patient’s condition.  For quick and effective recovery after surgery, a special diet and exercise regimen will be prescribed by the attending physician.

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Marfan Syndrome – Symptoms and Treatment

Marfan syndrome is genetic in nature and afflicts connective tissues.  Connective tissues are primarily responsible for holding the body together.  They also provide the framework for growth and development.  When a person has the disease, the connective tissue is faulty and not functioning as well as it should.  And because connective tissues are located in various parts of the body, the disease can affect as many parts of the body.

Marfan syndrome can affect anyone – women, men, and children – regardless of race and ethnic background.  In the US alone, it is estimated that one for every 5,000 citizens has the disorder.


Some patients manifest only mild symptoms while others show more severe cases.  In many instances, the symptoms develop as the patient ages.  Following are the most commonly affected parts of the human body:

  • Skeleton – People affected by the disease may be unusually tall, slim and loose-jointed.  Since the disease affects the longer bones, the patient’s arms, legs, toes, and fingers may be disproportionate to the rest of the body.
  • Eyes – More than 50% of patients may experience lens dislocation in either or both of the eyes.  It may be minimal but it can sometimes be obvious and pronounced.
  • Cardiovascular System – People with Marfan syndrome usually experience heart problems or disorders in the blood vessels.
  • Nervous System – The spinal cord and the brain are surrounded by fluids contained in the membrane dura, which is composed of connective tissues. As the patient ages, the dura weakens and stretches resulting to pressure on the vertebrae and wearing away of the bones around the spine.
  • Skin – People with the disease, even in the absence of weight changes, develop stretch marks.  This can happen at any age but poses no health hazards.


Marfan syndrome usually starts from a mutation or defect in the genes.  An afflicted person is born with the disorder although it may only be diagnosed later in the person’s life.

The defective gene that causes the disease may be inherited.  An offspring has a 50% chance of getting the disease.  It is also possible for two people who are not affected by the disease to have a child with the syndrome.  This usually happens when a new gene defect happens during the development of the egg or sperm cells.


There is no particular lab test that can accurately diagnose Marfan syndrome.  The doctor or geneticist relies mainly on observation and a reading of the complete medical history including: data on any past occurrences in the family;  thorough physical exam that includes evaluation of the skeletal frame to determine extremity – trunk ratio; eye examination that includes a slit lamp evaluation; heart tests such as ECG.


Since the disease affects numerous parts of the body, the patient must be given attention by the appropriate specialist.

There is actually no known cure for Marfan syndrome.  Scientists are still trying to find a way to effectively eliminate the disease.  However, there are many treatment options available that can minimize, and in most cases, prevent complications from happening.

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Liposarcoma – Symptoms and Treatment

Liposarcoma is the malignant form of lipoma and the second most common type of soft tissue sarcoma.  It is a malignant tumor that grows on the fatty tissue.  It is typically a huge bulky tumor that tends to have several smaller satellites that extends beyond the primary location of the tumor.  Liposarcoma is normally found in adults in the 40 to 60 year age bracket and occur usually in the extremities or retroperitoneum.  Like all other forms of sarcomas, occurrence of this disease is rare.

Liposarcoma is generally believed to originate from the mesenchymal cells.  In histology, it is classified into 5 main forms;

  1. Well-differentiated – This is the most common type of the disease and accounts for about 50% of all known cases.  Also known as atypical lipoma, this type has the highest volume of fat content.  Well-differentiated liposarcoma is considered as low grade.
  2. Myxoid – This is the second most common type of the disease and is considered as intermediate grade.
  3. Round Cell or De-differentiated – This type of liposarcoma is aggressive and usually typified by frequent metastases and is considered as high grade.
  4. Pleomorphic – This is the least common form of the disease; is also aggressive and also comes with frequent metastases; also considered to be high grade.
  5. Mix – This is a combination of other types of the disease.

Prognosis and Treatment

The location and grade of the liposarcoma will determine the appropriate prognosis and treatment.  Those affecting the extremities, more so when well-differentiated are lethargic but nevertheless tend to recur locally (happens in 0 – 69% of all incidences and goes even higher in cases of deep lesions).

High grade cases, particularly those of the retroperitoneum register bad prognosis, and the rate of recurrence ranges from 63% to 91%.

Surgical procedures are done with a wide local excision.  This is responsible for some of the more successful outcomes of lesions in the extremities.  Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are other forms of treatments used for treatment.


Liposarcoma usually manifests symptoms like, pain, painful swelling, numbness, fatigue, enlargement of varicose veins, reduction in the range of motion, nausea, vomiting, loss of weight, emaciation, pains in the abdominal area, compression of the kidney, and density of the ureter.

Radiographic Features of the Disease

  • CT – in solid form: attenuation is greater than +20HU; if mixed: areas of less than -20HU and areas of more than +20HU; if pseudocystic: homogenous density in the range of -20HU and +20HU
  • CT findings that favor liposarcoma from a lipoma – features include non-homogenous attenuation with proof of a considerable volume of soft tissues within the fat mass; poor definition of proximate structures; proof of invasion or penetration of mediastinal structures.
  • MRI – As in the case of CT, MRI appearance also differs and depends on the grade and volume of the fat tissue.  Low grade lesions or atypical lipomas are mostly made of a fat signal with thick septae, augmentation or proof of local intrusion.  These characteristics are used to differentiate these from ordinary forms of lipoma.  Often, the high grade lesions are without macroscopic fats and look the same as other sarcomas.

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Fatty Liver Disease Symptoms and Treatment

Fatty liver disease encompasses many various conditions but all with a common manifestation – fat accumulation in liver cells.  The disease may be caused by several factors including diabetes, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and many other unhealthy lifestyle practices.  The existence of fats in the liver is not uncommon.  However, if the condition worsens, this can lead to more serious health problems like liver failure, cirrhosis, and in worst cases, liver cancer.

The more common and milder version of the disease is called simple fatty liver or hepatic steatosis.  The more serious but less common condition is called steatohepatitis which has two types – alcoholic steatohepatitis that is caused by too much alcohol intake, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Causes of the Disease

Alcoholism is one of two major causes of fatty liver disease.  Diseases that are related to fat metabolism such as hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia are the other main cause of this disease that afflicts the liver.  There are also known cases that manifested after abdominal surgeries.  Malnutrition, severe loss of weight, bacteria overgrowth, and intravenous feeding can, in some cases result to the liver disease.  Irregular eating habits that lead to digestion problems is also a possible cause.

Fatty liver disease can also be caused by drugs such as immune suppressing medications used for rheumatoid arthritis, anti-retroviral medications, and corticosteroids.  HIV, hepatitis C, and inflammatory bowel disease can also result to fat accumulation in the liver.  People with hypothyroidism, high cholesterol levels, and polycystic ovaries can also develop the liver disease.  In the most unfortunate cases, a pregnant woman who contracts the disease may pass it on to her unborn child.


Fatty liver disease is usually not symptomatic.  Patients, however, may in some cases experience nausea, fever, dry mouth, loss of appetite, general weakness of the body, jaundice, abdominal pains, swollen lower extremities, dark urine, loss of memory, mental confusion, and bruising easily.  Because most cases do not manifest any symptoms, diagnosis of the disease is often accidental.  It is usually detected when a patient undergoes routine medical checkups and blood tests.  Further tests like CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, biopsy, and additional blood tests can confirm the existence of the disease.


To treat fatty liver disease basically entails the treatment of the underlying cause.  In less severe cases the condition can drastically be improved by:

  • Total elimination of alcohol consumption (for alcoholic types of fatty liver)
  • Significant weight loss for obese people
  • Proper management and control of fatty liver-causing diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and dislipidemia

The above treatments will only be effective if the liver disease is detected during the initial stages.  For severe cases, there is no specific treatment.  Health experts recommend a shift to a healthier lifestyle that includes diet modification, weight loss, avoidance of alcohol, and the proper management of existing health conditions.  Medications may be prescribed for the proper control of the disease and to keep it from worsening.

The increase in the number of obese people and diabetics today also increases the risk of more people getting afflicted with fatty liver disease.  As there is yet no known treatment for the total elimination of the disease, it is best to avoid contacting it through proper diet and the maintenance of healthy lifestyle.

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All About Smart Lipo

Smart lipo is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure to remove fat.  Using focused power from laser energy, fatty tissues lodged under the skin are broken down and dissolved.  By training the energy towards the area beneath the skin surface, the process likewise induces the development of collagen which results to a tighter and more toned overall appearance.

This fat removal technique is gaining popularity these days because it leaves no incision marks and anesthesia is not required.  Recovery time is therefore quick.  Smart lipo is also effective in the treatment of isolated fat pockets that cannot otherwise be treated with the conventional liposuction techniques.

Anyone, whether male or female, with localized pockets of fat that do not respond well to exercise and diet are good candidates for the procedure.  The candidate must be in good physical condition, practicing a healthy lifestyle, and not obese.  The smart lipo technique is versatile and may be used to eliminate unwanted fats in various parts of the body such as the belly, thighs, buttocks, love handles, hips, saddlebags, chin, pubic mound, upper arms, nape and the facial area.  As much as 3500 ml of fatty tissue can be taken out in one treatment.  It can also be used for gynecomastia or for reducing male breasts.

There are certain medical conditions that may preclude an individual from undergoing the procedure.  Diabetes, heart ailments, kidney or liver disorders, blood problems and auto-immune disorders are some of them.  It is therefore important for a candidate to discuss all existing medical conditions with the specialist prior to undergoing treatment.

Fat removal from smart lipo treatments are permanent for as long as the patient continues to practice healthy living after undergoing the procedure.  Significant weight gains may result to fat retention in the treated areas as well as new ones, putting to waste whatever gains were made during prior treatments.

Before the actual procedure, the target areas will be marked and local anesthesia will be applied to the area.  During the actual treatment, the hand-held laser device that produces the laser energy will be directed towards the target skin area.  The laser energy works to break down and liquefy the fat tissues underneath the skin.  The dissolved fats will be eliminated through the body’s natural processes during the first few days following treatment.  Bleeding and swelling is reduced because the laser helps seal the affected blood vessels.

For the first 24 hour immediately following the smart lipo treatment, minor discomfort may be experienced.  This can be remedied with over the counter medication.  Minor bruises may also be seen but these will usually disappear in 2 or 3 days.  Depending on the area treated, the specialist may recommend the use of compression garments to help minimize swelling and hasten the healing process.

Once the initial swelling subsides, the affected area will be tighter and more toned.  The condition will continue to improve within two months after the procedure.  In most cases, 1 to 3 treatment sessions are required for optimum results; most individuals can return to work within 24 hours after each smart lipo session.

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Understanding Liver Function Tests

Liver is one of the smallest yet the most significant part of the body. It is often referred to as the chemical factory. It controls the amount of the essential chemicals of the blood and works hand in hand with the kidney so that drugs, toxic substances and other foreign matters can be filtered. Normally, it would adjust their chemical structure so that they would be water-soluble. Afterward, it would be emitted in bile. However, there are bad habits that cause the organ to malfunction. This is where liver function test come in handy. It is performed in order to determine what liver disease have stricken you or to measure how the organ respond to the medications.


The liver function test can be conducted by a doctor, a nurse or a hospital staff. They will take a certain amount of your blood from your arm to be used as a sample. It will be sent to the laboratory afterward for testing. There are certain parts of the examination; the aminotransferase like ALT and AST, alkaline phosphatase or ALP, Bilirubin, Albumin and Clotting studies. The results of the said tests have corresponding figures and values. It will be then compared to the normal values in order to determine if it’s abnormally higher or lower.


The figures will then give the doctor an idea how much percentage of your liver is harmed. Yet, there a number of factors why one would arrive on certain results. This includes having other disorders that directly have an influence on your liver. This is one of the main reasons why irregular liver function test results have been ordinary. Nevertheless, it would still be the best if you would allow your doctor to dig deeper on what might be the cause of the abnormal figures especially if you do not have liver problems.


Though liver function test are often used as basis if you indeed have a liver problem, it still is not that convincing. For example, an individual may not be diagnosed with Hepatitis C even if he is positive to it because the test might fail to precisely show the scope of fibrosis. Make no mistake; they are useful but they should not be used as the sole basis as their level of accuracy is not that high. There are other ways which you can use in order to verify if you have a liver disease.


It is also important to note that laboratories might have different normal values so it would not be a good idea to compare the results of your liver function test with the others that are conducted in other labs. The disparity is caused by how the outcomes are interpreted. Also, the normal values between men and women can differ. Expect its fluctuation as you age. In addition, the time of the day when the test is performed affects the range of normal values. Liver function test is not complicated and useful. However, it will be better not to rely on it alone.

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The Top Cholesterol Lowering Foods

It is vital to include cholesterol lowering foods in your diet whether you have heart problems or other diseases or not. This is because of the obvious reason, in order to help your body to function at its best all the time. The benefits can be endless. For one, it lowers your risks of having strokes or heart attacks. In addition, you will have the opportunity to turn more dreams into reality as a healthy body is needed to carry out what is in the mind. Below are the list of the top foods that can significantly cut down your saturated and trans fat.


Oats –This can never be removed from the list of cholesterol lowering foods as it is rich in soluble fiber. It plays a key role in trimming down your bad cholesterol or LDL. Oats has the properties that can get rid of LDL with some help from your digestive system. If you are not really a fan of oats, you can consider other alternatives such as apples, beans, legumes, barley, prunes and others.


Fishes with omega-3 –Salmons, tunas, anchovies, sardines and other similar fishes that contain essential fatty acids like omeha-3 must be included on your regular diet too. Such cholesterol lowering foods do you two jobs. Aside from lowering your LDL, it can also increase the level of the good cholesterol or HDL. Scientific studies have proven that such foods can aid in keeping high blood pressure at bay; thereby lessening the chance of having heart diseases.


Meats –In contrast to the popular notion, you still need meats even if you are working on your HDL levels. This is because they have other components that are essential to the operation of your body such as protein. Meats such as veal, lamb, and beef have visible fats. This is what can cause harmful effects on your body. You can deal with them by considering how you will prepare this group of cholesterol lowering foods. You can take it away or cut down on them depending on how high is your LDL levels. If you will do this, it will be best to do so while the meat is raw as it will be harder, not to mention tempting if you would do this when it is cooked.


In addition, you can brown them without oil. You can also stay away from processed meats such as ham, bacon and sausages as they are the ones with highest fat content. Also, you can complement your trimmed meats by serving them with vegetables like celery, radishes, carrots, pickles, pimiento, paprika, cucumbers, mushrooms, onions and other garnishes instead of gravy and other fatty dips.


Fruits are always considered as cholesterol lowering foods excluding some exceptions such as coconut and avocado. You should eat an appropriate amount of them every day. Pick some of your choice. Eating smart food choices is one of the keys in order to keep soaring LDL levels at bay. Start including these top cholesterol lowering foods in your diet today.

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Symptoms of Lipodystrophy Syndrome and its Treatments

Only a quite number of people are familiar with lipodystrophy syndrome or what is commonly referred to as “lipo.” Its name suggests what the disease is all about; “lipo” is fat and dystrophy which means poor development. There are three common occurrences that take place when you are afflicted by this ailment. You might lose fats in your face, arms or around your legs. In some cases, fats develop usually in the nape or the breasts area. Lastly, there will be changes in your metabolism. Your cholesterol may soar high and you may obtain insulin resistance.


The researchers are still trying to find out what the possible causes of lipodystrophy syndrome are. There can be lots of reasons why people lose and/or gain fat, and at present the doctors are still at a loss. It has been linked to HIV. This is because a big percentage of the people who are diagnosed with it have been found to be undergoing various types of antiretroviral therapy or ART. It was originally called “Crix belly” as it was observed in individuals who were taking Crixivan which is a protease inhibitor.


There are a number of symptoms of lipodystrophy syndrome. Depending on the changes that may occur to you, the warning signs may differ.  Most of the time, the face, arms and legs grow thin because the subcutaneous fats are lost. After it loses, the fat will reappear on other parts of the body. Other times, your skin will dry and it I probable that your lips would crack. You will lose significant amount of weight without trying. Often, the veins obtrude and most people would just brush it off as a mere varicose veins. At some point, a woman’s breast may be plumper. This could happen in men too who are afflicted with the disease even if they do not weight much.


There are a number of treatments that are being offered to people who have lipodystrophy syndrome. For fat loss, they can have implants or ask their doctors to give them a shot of appropriate drugs in the form of injection. However, patients must expect that it will cost much and of course, there will always be some risks. Fat that are gained can be taken out through surgical operations such as liposuction. If the patient can stop his intake of antiretroviral drugs, it will also be extremely helpful.


Lipodystrophy syndrome must be dealt with at once even if it is not really fatal. This is because of the harmful effects of the changes that take place to your body. Most likely, it will affect how you perform your daily tasks. For instance, a buffalo hump to your nape can cause frequent headaches. In addition, it will trigger breathing difficulties and lack of sleep. Plumper breasts can also bring pain and/or discomforts. If you have even one of the abovementioned symptoms and if you suspect that you have lipodystrophy syndrome, you must go to your doctor immediately and have yourself examined.

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Glycogen Storage Disease: The Symptoms and Treatments

Glycogen storage disease has eight kinds designated as Type I to VIII; Type I being the most ordinary as it accounts to almost 90% of cases of the mentioned ailment. Sometimes, they are classified by names. Some of which include Von Gierke for Type 1, Pompe’s disease for Type II and Cori’s for the third type. Some other names are Andersen, McArdle, Hers and Tauri; named after the researchers who studied them. They are caused by a fault in genes that are taken over from the father and mother. This usually triggers too much glycogen accumulation in the body tissues.


Glycogen is a type of sugar that is essential for energy production but it is not used up unless it is needed. When they are unexploited, they would stay in the liver and some other body muscles. Excessive increase in the production of this would have a harmful effect on the liver and muscles. Some types affect only these two, but the others also target almost all the organs especially the heart. As glycogen storage disease is hereditary, one of the main factors of obtaining it is having a member of your family who has it.


There can be a number of symptoms of glycogen storage disease depending on the disease. Some of which are enlarged liver, low blood sugar, cramps in muscles, soaring uric acid levels, lack of bone density which could lead to osteoporosis, frequent infections and ulcers and slow growth. In addition, people who have this disease may experience chronic liver cirrhosis that is most likely to lead to liver failure. Tremendous fatigue also is one of the warning signs of this ailment. Anemia, discoloration of urine and a high risk of heart failure especially if the one affected is a kid below 18 months.


The treatment of glycogen storage disease relies on the type and the symptoms that the patient experiences. Glucose’s nasogastric infusion is applicable for kids below 2 years old. An alternative cure is to make necessary dietary changes. For instance, uncooked starch can be given to them every four to six hours. Foods that are rich in lactose ought to be eliminated. Appropriate medications that reduce uric acid levels can be taken upon the prescription of the doctor. For a particular type of the disease, liver transplantation is considered. For the types that affect the muscles, the patient can undergo exercises that lessen the cramps.


Some other types cannot be treated. However, you can easily be in charge of it by curing the warning signs that you are experiencing. There is no way to prevent glycogen storage disease as it is hereditary. However, one must not lose heart. Rather, everyone must be on the offensive and take the initiative for its early detection. Determine if there are members of your family who have the disease. If you have it, it will be best to consult a genetic counselor when you are planning to have children. This way, you will have an idea whether your potential kid would have glycogen storage disease.

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Enlarged Spleen Symptoms and Available Treatments

Splenomegaly is the medical term for the condition wherein a patient has an enlarged spleen. Contrary to what most of people believe, this is not a disease in itself. Rather, it is a warning sign of a various diseases. The spleen is located in your abdomen’s upper left near your back, just under the ribcage. This organ is a vital part of your lymph system. It filters the blood and gets rid of all matters that can cause an infection. It produces white blood cells. It also plays a key role in keeping red blood cells and platelets.


This organ, when it is healthy, is just about as small as your fist. Normally, a doctor will not be able to tell if you have an enlarged spleen when he conducts a check-up unless he would make you undergo an X-ray. Sometimes, the enlargement of this organ does not necessarily mean that you have a disease, as it can also grow bigger when it works harder than it should be. However, having certain ailments can indeed make it many times bigger than its usual size. Usually, it is caused by infections, cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, cysts and other inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.


The list of the symptoms of enlarged spleen is often disregarded as they are not really apparent. Most of the time, many individuals learn of their condition when going through a check up. The usual warning signs include discomfort or pain to the spot where the organ is located that can even extend up to the left shoulder. You might also experience severe pain on your upper left abdomen when you breathe deeply. Depending on the underlying ailment, you may also feel unwanted weight loss, fatigue, recurrent infections, jaundice, anemia and easy bleeding.


If the enlarged spleen can no longer be saved, it will have to be removed through conducting surgical procedure or what is referred to as splenectomy. You have two options; laparoscopy and open surgery. Most people prefer the first alternative rather than the other. In laparoscopy, a small incision would be enough for the surgeon to see and take your spleen out. Radiation therapy is another alternative if you do not want an operation. It has the capability to shrink the organ. However, this might be expensive. Without the spleen, you will need outside help from other pills and vaccinations to fight off infections.


Preventing to have enlarged spleen is always better than finding a cure for it. You must keep yourself healthy at all times so that your body would not be pushed through its limits. If you are at the point wherein you have inflicted some damages to your spleen, make sure that you will not further the harm. Regulate your activities especially contact sports that have the tendency to split the mentioned organ. Do not be at ease with the fact that you can do away without a spleen. It is vital to the operation of your body. It cannot perform at its best if it lacks one part.

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Early Symptoms of Lipoma and the Facts About its Treatment Procedures

Lipoma is characterize by a soft tissue or fatty lump and can be usually found on the upper arms, armpit, neck and torso. It is a kind tumor but studies show that this is not of the cancerous type. Putting a slight pressure on it is painless but with the continuous growth of the tissue on certain areas of your body, attention or treatment must be done as early as possible with it. It can grow unnoticeably over the years from less than 5 cm and even up to 20 cm in diameter. And the fact that swelling can resemble over the years of not treating or removing permanently the tumor, it can possibly lead into a cancer known as liposarcoma.

The continuous growth and swelling of the fatty tissue are the early symptoms of lipoma. It is often hard to identify the degree or the condition of this unless a medical diagnosis is conducted. From the physical examination alone by the doctor, it can be determined if the tumor is malignant or benign. In most cases, CT scan and biopsy are also conducted to fully arrive at a more accurate diagnosis result. If the tumor is found to be malignant, complete removable is often necessary. Doctors will advise you of the best procedures that can be applied if this is the case.

Generally, as lipoma is non-cancerous, they are often not advice to be removed. However, as a method of preventing future diseases or complications, there are several known treatments that are being applied for the complete removal. And despite of the negative findings for the symptoms of liposarcoma, doctors are open to conduct the treatment base from the discretion of the patient or the person who wants his or her lipoma to be removed at the very early stage.

Surgery is the best known method for treating this kind of tumor. The process is conducted by injecting local anesthetic followed by the incision of the tumor until it is completely removed. Another method is the liposuction. This method is commonly heard on the removal fats in the body of a person who wants to reduce weight and then gain good shape afterwards. The procedure is done by injecting a large syringe into the area of tumor and then extracting the infected tissues. Injection of steroids substance is another method that will remove such tumor in the body.

There are medical specialists for diagnosing and treating lipoma. They are the right person to consult about this kind of tumor that could have been bothering you on your everyday movements. Skin health specialists like the dermatologists can be your first level of consultation. You can as well seek second opinions from cancer specialists. If it’s about the safe operation or surgical methods, oral health specialists who is practicing oral and plastic surgery is the right person to consult.

Abnormal or suspicious skin condition is something that should not be ignored about. Lymph node in the neck, lump on underarm, and skin pain due to swelling are symptoms that require immediate diagnosis by a medical practitioner. Like lipoma, the condition could be normal during the early stage but it could become worse at anytime most especially if these early symptoms like lump and forming tissues are getting bigger and bigger. It is always better to consult the experts in order to apply the needed treatment before it will become too late.

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