Archive for the ‘General health’ Category


Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

A clue to why some of us can stay trim on a diet that causes others to gain weight may be found in the way the body handles sodium and potassium.

According to a recent report in Science News (118:295), Harvard Medical researchers have found there is a direct relationship between body weight and the capacity to move sodium and potassium through body membranes. Since this transport process burns up a lot of energy, a relative lack of sodium and potassium transporters could understandably be associated with increased body weight.

“For the first time we have evidence that obese people have a primary biochemical defect not caused by overeating,” reported one of the researchers. The question of whether the biochemical defect is hereditary remains to be fully answered. Meanwhile, let us not use this as an excuse. It may be harder for some of us to diet if we have fewer than normal sodium and potassium transporters, but it is not impossible.



Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

For unknown reasons, a testis, the male sex gland, may become twisted, shutting off the blood supply. Although the condition is more apt to affect boys who have an undescended testis, it is quite common among boys whose testes are in the normal position in the scrotum, the pouch of skin behind the penis. The condition may also follow a minor injury.

Signs and symptoms

A testis that is twisted first becomes slightly swollen and tender. Within a few hours it is intensely painful, and very tender and swollen. The testis and the surrounding skin become discolored (red or blue), and the boy may be nauseated or vomit and have lower abdominal pain and a fever.

Torsion (twisting) of a testis that has descended into the scrotum may be confused with an infection (orchitis), a strangulated hernia, or a bruise of the scrotum. Torsion of a testis that has not descended and lies in the groin may be confused with a strangulated hernia, an injury, or infected lymph glands in the groin. Torsion of an undescended testis that lies within the abdominal cavity is difficult to diagnose but may be suspected whenever abdominal pain occurs. This is an emergency situation and requires immediate medical treatment.

Torsion of a part of a testis (appendix of the testis) causes similar, although less intense, symptoms. Nevertheless, this too is considered an emergency. Both conditions are treated the same way.

Home care

Do not attempt home treatment. Torsion  of the testis is an emergency that requires G immediate surgical correction.

• Take your child to a doctor immediately if pain near testis increases and the testis is tender, swollen, or discolored. Do not delay; hours count.

• Suspect torsion of the testis in a boy with an uncorrected, undescended testis if he has lower abdominal pain or pain in the groin.

• An injury or a bruise of the scrotum and testis is not uncommon and will cause instant pain that gradually subsides. If pain increases following an injury or a bruise, suspect torsion of the testis.

Medical treatment

Your doctor will arrange immediate surgery to untwist the testis and to anchor it in the scrotum in order to prevent further episodes. If surgery is not performed within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms the testis may be damaged permanently.



Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

•     Too little fluoride in drinking water. This subject, unlike that of fluoridated toothpaste, is highly controversial. Fluoride in drinking water gets incorporated into the developing tooth of a child, making it more resistant to decay. Fluoridation of water supplies cuts dental decay by about half but it has vocal opponents who claim that it is dangerous and pointless to give a whole population a medication when so few need it. In fluoridated areas tooth decay is becoming a thing of the past yet alarming, if unconfirmed, reports are appearing about the increase of certain cancers and other diseases in these same areas.

Almost every responsible health body right up to the World Health Organisation recommends the fluoridation of water, but still only a small proportion of people in the western world are actually receiving fluoridated water. Dentists ostensibly support the fluoridation of water but few are truly committed to the cause and this coupled with the power and influence of the anti-fluoride lobby has made the fluoridation of drinking water a slow business. Dentists have been slow too when it comes to making progress with the food industry and the government on the subject of sugar control.

•     Poor health education. There are numerous myths about tooth decay and its causes, especially when it comes to sugar. Far too many people still think of sugar as healthy and essential for energy-it is neither, of course.

Most dentists acknowledge that sweets are harmful but say little about the harm done by sugar in other forms or the dangers of refined foods generally. Dentists have not banded together to stop sweet advertising or tried to ban it from TV during children’s programmes, for example. They also seem not to be particularly conscientious about preventive measures. In 1978, for example, a study found that only just over a quarter of adults claimed to have had tooth-brushing demonstrated to them by a dentist.



Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

•     Some people who are allergic to foods have arthritis as their main symptom. One US expert believes that as much as 80 per cent of arthritis pain is triggered by food or chemical allergy. He uses an elimination diet and then slowly adds foods until the arthritis pain returns. The commonest group of culprits he has found are the nightshades, which include potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, tobacco and peppers. According to a study done by Prevention Magazine in the US the arthritic symptoms of some 50 per cent of those who tried a nightshade-free diet diminished.

Gluten is also currently under suspicion. In 1964 a paper published in Medical World News blamed gluten-a protein present in wheat, oats and rye-as a culprit in arthritis. People who eat a lot of cereals (especially wheat) are more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis, according to the author, than those who live mainly on maize or rice. Two-thirds of his patients became symptom-free on a gluten-free diet. If you want to give a gluten-free diet a trial, talk to your doctor, who will be able to give you a diet sheet.

•     Vitamin Ñ is essential for the formation and health of connective tissues. Arthritis and rheumatism appear to be disorders that mainly affect connective tissue, a fact which has led various researchers to look at the role of this vitamin. A leading US expert who has studied this connection believes that in those who are vitamin C-deficient there is instability and fragility of bones, cartilage, muscles and vascular tissue, mainly as a result of the breakdown of an intercellular cement substance which, in turn, causes tissues to rupture easily. Two other researchers have correlated a shortage of vitamin Ñ with rheumatic disease. They found an impairment of the joints of animals artificially deprived of vitamin C. When the animals had any kind of infection the joint symptoms became worse. Those animals exposed to the same infection while on a diet rich in vitamin Ñ did not have arthritic symptoms. The same two researchers then looked at vitamin Ñ levels in arthritic patients and found them to be extremely low. One report found that rheumatoid arthritis patients who were receiving plenty of the vitamins in their diets excreted less of it than average, suggesting that perhaps the vitamin was being used faster than normal. Another researcher found that the bioflavonoids occurring naturally with vitamin Ñ had a favourable influence on the condition of blood vessels in infections. Perhaps these flavonoids (often known as vitamin P) act along with vitamin Ñ in a way which is more natural. After all, synthetic vitamin Ñ is to some extent ‘unnatural’.

To be sure of getting enough vitamin C, eat foods that are rich in it, stop smoking and take 1 g of synthetic vitamin Ñ a day.

•     One researcher in Florida analyzed the diets of arthritics and found that they were all very similar-full of refined foods and sugar, all of which are low in trace elements, minerals and vitamins. He postulated that sugar upsets the calcium-phosphorus balance in the body, resulting in extreme swings of these two vital minerals, and claims good results from eliminating all sugars and refined foods from the diet of arthritics.



Tuesday, April 21st, 2009


Excess cholesterol is bad for your immune system and dangerous for your “doctor within.” As I said earlier, I like to see my patients with a cholesterol of 100 plus their age. Thus, a healthy 4 5-year-old person should, have a cholesterol of about 145. I tell my patients that their cholesterol should certainly be no higher than 150-180 mg/dl.


HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is the “good” cholesterol I discussed back in Chapter Two. It’s felt that HDL acts like a garbage truck, picking up cholesterol from the blood and walls of the arteries and carrying it away. I like to see HDL levels of 45 mg/dl or higher.


LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the “bad” cholesterol that seems to function as a delivery truck, bringing cholesterol to the arteries for deposit. I prefer my patients to have LDLs of 100 mg/dl or less.


Triglycerides are the fats in your blood. High blood fat is deleterious to your “doctor within” and to your immune system. I tell my patients to keep their triglycerides below 100 mg/dl.

Immuno-Nutrition Measurements

I also look at what we call anthroporhetric measurements (measurements of the human body), which can be done in a doctor’s office, or anywhere else for that matter. These simple measurements are used to estimate the nutritional status of a patient in terms of fat and protein reserves.

We’re all familiar with how height and weight are measured. Unfortunately, there is no specific formula for height and weight that will tell you if a person is obese or malnourished. Height and weight can only be used in a general way to estimate a person’s status. Height-weight charts are flawed, but those of us in clinical medical nutrition need some sort of standard. The 1983 Metropolitan Life Insurance Reference Weights have been judged to be a satisfactory reference point.



Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Zinc, which has been studied more extensively than any other mineral, has a profound effect on the immune system. As an essential cofactor in more than 100 enzymes, zinc has its “fingers” in a lot of pies. Wounds on animals put on a zinc-deficient diet heal with difficulty, which is an indication of immune-system failure. The animals also suffer from lack of growth, sexual immaturity and loss of hair.

Good supplies of zinc are essential for a healthy immune system. A deficiency of this mineral can lead to shrinkage of the thymus gland, which, in turn, prompts a reduction in the number of T-cells available to grapple with germs. I have found that the ratio of T4 to T8 cells may be skewed as the result of a zinc deficiency. B-cells are adversely affected by a deficiency of zinc, as is the ability of immune-system cells to rush to the scene of a battle and jump into the fight.

Low levels of zinc increase one’s susceptibility to infections, and may lead to low levels of blood immunoglobulins. In many cases, administration of zinc restores these immune-system functions to normal levels.

I have successfully used a combination of zinc and vitamin C for treating patients with burns or severe wounds. In one case, a 40 year-old woman came to the hospital with severe burns on her legs. The burned skin and muscle were surgically cut away. When the wounds refused to heal, I administered zinc and vitamin C orally, and the stubborn wounds quickly began to heal.

But too much zinc can depress the phagocytic activity of neutrophils, so be careful not to overdose on zinc.



Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

PEPTIC ULCER: most commonly found in the first part of the intestine (called the duodenum) and also in the stomach and esophagus. Usually occurs in adults, although it can strike children as well.

Signs and Symptoms: pain, which may begin as a hunger pang or an “empty feeling.” This may progress to a soreness, then an aching and gnawing feeling, on to a burning sensation and possibly severe pain. Often there is bleeding from the ulcer, causing black colored stool, or there may be vomiting of blood. Pain is usually located in the upper-middle portion of the abdomen, but can occur in other places. Eating usually brings pain relief. Patients often wake up in the middle of the night with abdominal pain.

RHEUMATIC FEVER: streptococcal infection of the throat, which then attacks joints and the heart. Usually occurs in children.

Signs and Symptoms: skin rash; pains in joints; swelling of joints; malaise; fatigue; lethargy. Can cause heart murmers. May be vague abdominal pain. People used to call the joint pains “growing pains.”



Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

There’s more to your immune system than phagocytes, lymphocytes, complements, interferon and interleukin. Imagine you’re looking at a life-size picture of the human body. Pretend there are tiny lights flashing on and off all over the body. There are red lights representing the neutrophils, green for the macrophages, yellow for the fighting T-cells and blue for the B-cells. Gray lights mark the complement system that drifts through the blood, and orange lights identify the giant sentry macrophages found all over the body.

But there’s more. Add purple lights for the memory cells which remember the features of the antigen, and brown, which represents interferon. Silver lights mark the interleukins, with gold, pink, peach and other colors for immune components such as the prostaglandins, the leukotrines, basophils, eosinophils, histamines, kinins and the other parts of your immune system.

Visualize the whole body covered with lights of every color packed tightly into every corner and crevice, a brilliant display of the immense power your immune system commands. All that healing power is dedicated to health, your health.

This brief discussion only begins to explore the immune system. There is now an information explosion concerning the immune system. It’s like the universe Einstein described: there’s no end to the new information pouring forth. But I hope you’ve learned a little and picked up a bit of the excitement I feel when I think about the miraculous and powerful defense system that nature has created for us. The least we can do is help it to take care of us.



Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Description and Possible Medical Problems

As you grow older, you’ve probably noticed the occasional slight aches and pains that seem to surface during the first few minutes of exercise and then fade away as your joints and muscles begin to move smoothly. Those same aches and pains may surface again the next morning as you get out of bed, but, once you start moving, they should go away.

However, if you have a pain in the back of your ankle at the heel that appears after you start to move or walk, it’s probably not caused by the aches and pains of aging. Instead, you probably have Achilles tendinitis, an inflammation of the largest tendon in your body.

Achilles tendinitis is most common among people who are active; hard and regular exercise can cause small tears to form in the tendon, and these can be painful.


If you think you have Achilles tendinitis, you’ll need to stop exercising for at least a couple of weeks to allow the tendon to heal. Applying an ice pack to your heel can also ease the pain and inflammation; taking aspirin can also help. Your doctor will do an X ray of your foot and ask about your recent exercise habits. She may decide to inject a corticosteroid preparation such as prednisone directly into the area to reduce the pain and inflammation.

After the tendon has healed and you return to exercise, you’ll need to adjust your habits to make sure the tendinitis doesn’t return. Cutting down on the amount of exercise you get or switching from running to walking or swimming will also reduce your chances of reinjuring the tendon. Changing the kind of running shoes you wear or inserting an orthotic appliance into your shoe to elevate your heel and take some of the stress off your tendon is worth trying, too.



Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Though we’ve all heard of the appendix and know that it basically serves no useful function except to be removed, many people would be hard pressed to pinpoint its exact location in the body. Even though pain in the lower pelvis alerts people to the possibility of appendicitis, it actually occurs on the right side and is frequently accompanied by vomiting, fever, and pain.

But appendicitis is by no means the sole cause of pain on the right side. Other causes of pain in the lower right side of the pelvis could be due to an ovarian cyst that has ruptured or pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection that can occur in any part of the female reproductive system. The most common form of PID is caused by gonorrhea. When the pain occurs on the lower left side of the abdomen, cysts, a PID, or an intestinal problem such as irritable bowel syndrome may be the cause. If you are still menstruating and the pain on either side occurs in the middle of your cycle, you could have a condition called mittelschmertz, when pain is caused by an egg in one of your ovaries maturing.