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Sinusitis Prevention

January 25, 2014   

There are so many ways to help lessen or prevent altogether your chance of developing sinusitis or address early symptoms of sinusitis. Keeping the nasal passages clear and improving drainage are the two most important things to remember in sinusitis prevention. To attain them, here are some tips to follow:

Daily wash your nasal passages – This can be done by gently running water into the nasal passages to moisten membranes and remove excess mucus.  The best times to perform these are when you are brushing your teeth in the morning and at night. You can apply nasal saline spray in the daytime to moisten your nasal passages.

Drinking copious amounts of water – A well-hydrated body keeps the mucus loose and thin. Always keep a bottle of water at your desk during work and always remind yourself to drink water or other fluids by, for example, placing a glass near the kitchen sink to serve as a reminder to drink water during the day.

Breathe in steam – Stay for a while inside the bathroom during a hot shower. Or you can boil water, pour it into a pan; cover your head with a towel and bend towards the pan to inhale the steam.

Stay away from dry environments – At home always use a humidifier especially near your bed so that your nasal passages will be prevented from drying out.  Also you need to keep your humidifier clean and mold and bacteria free.

Keep your head elevated while you sleep – When your head is down when you sleep at night mucus can accumulate in your sinuses; therefore, keep your head elevated by using pillows on your head or a wedge on the front legs of your bed when you sleep.

Treat your nose with care – This means gently blowing your nose, one nostril at a time. Blowing your nose in a forceful manner will just irritate the nasal passages and bring back the infected mucus into your sinuses.

Unless prescribed, do not use any antihistamines – These medicines tend to thicken the mucus making it difficult to expel. However, if your sinusitis is caused by an allergy, your doctor may prescribe an antihistamine for you combined with other drugs.

Take proper care when using decongestants – Decongestant tablets that have pseudoephedrine helps contract membranes and enable the nasal passages to open. Decongestant nose sprays that have oxymetazoline or phenylephrine act fast and effectively. However, use of topical nasal decongestants for one to two days can increase the risk of dependency due to rebound — more swelling after the drug wears off. The use of oral decongestants can also cause side effects like blood pressure increase and jitters. So, if you suffer from high blood pressure, talk to your doctor first before using these drugs.

 

Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.

 

Influenza Treatments and Drugs

January 25, 2014   

Usually people sick with the flu do get well after a week or two without any need for treatment. The problem starts when flu complications arise. You may need to call your physician or nurse if you:

 

  • Have a problem breathing or feeling short of breath
  • Have pressure or pain in your abdomen or chest
  • Have symptoms of dehydration like not passing urine or dizziness when standing
  • Feel confused
  • Cannot drink enough fluids or cannot stop vomiting

 

If your child has flu and shows the following signs and symptoms, you may need to seek medical help.

 

  • Does not easily wake up
  • Purplish or bluish skin color
  • Irritability – Your child does not want to be held
  • Does not shed tears when crying (especially among infants)
  • Rash with fever

 

Treating Symptoms — This means that flu symptoms will be reduced but the flu itself will not be treated. Some of the ways to reduce symptoms of influenza include:

 

  • Paracetamol or acetaminophen – Can include Tylenol among others. This drug can temporarily relieve muscle aches, headaches and fever. You can also use aspirin and other mild analgesics that can include PeptoBismol and bismuth subsalicylate among others. Aspirin should not be given to individuals under 18 years of age because it can lead to a very serious condition named Reye syndrome.
  • Fluids — Taking in copious amounts of fluids is needed for flu-stricken individuals in order not to be dehydrated. You can gauge if you are drinking enough fluids by observing the color of your urine. Normal urine color should look almost colorless or light yellow. You also know you are drinking adequate amounts of fluids if you pass urine every three to five hours.
  • Rest – In order to reenergize your body and boost your immune function you need to get adequate rest particularly if you are suffering from severe flu symptoms.

Antiviral medicines – These drugs work against influenza in very limited degrees. Antivirals hardly can eliminate the flu symptoms but it serves to lessen the duration of symptoms by one day as well as reduce their severity. There are some individuals with the flu who may need to take antiviral medicines to prevent the rise of complications and if they are seriously ill. People at low risk for complications and are only lightly sick are typically given an antiviral drug if their symptoms have lasted for two days or less. Some of the antiviral drugs can include active ingredients called zanamivir (Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu).  A couple of old medications called amantadine (Symmetrel) and rimantadine (Flumadine) are not prescribed anymore because today’s flu viruses have developed resistance to them. For seasonal flu, antiviral treatment can be effective as long at it’s taken during the first 2 days of flu symptoms.

 

The most effective medication will depend on certain individual factors and if the virus has still not developed resistance to the medicine. A nurse or doctor will be the ones to determine what drugs will be effective for the patient.  The side effects of oseltamivir and zanamivir are mild and they can include vomiting and nausea. Some people may develop breathing difficulty when they inhale zanamivir.  Because they only cause light side effects, people are still able to continue taking these drugs.

 

Antibiotics — These types of medicines are virtually useless in treating viral influenza and other viral illnesses. Antibiotics need only be used if you develop bacterial complication like sinusitis, ear infection or bacterial pneumonia. Antibiotics have certain side effects and often bacteria eventually develop resistance to these drugs.

 

Alternative and complementary treatments — A varied array of homeopathic, herbal, holistic and other alternative and complementary treatments are offered for treating influenza. One very good alternative medicinal treatment is traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

 

TCM has an entirely different approach to conventional treatments especially in regards to flu and cold. TCM is composed of dietary changes, moxibustion, herbal remedies and acupuncture among others. They all can be applied for the flu and colds and can also be used as forms of preventative medicine to reinforce the immune system and prevent the environment from doing damage to the body. Moxibustion and acupuncture are especially important in strengthening chi (vital energy) and removing elements that cause flu symptoms from the body. Certain herbal remedies can be applied for flu and cold. Astralagus and Cordyceps are potent plants that help strengthen the lungs, the most important organ when it comes to flu and colds.

 

 Needles & Moxa Wellness Center
700 S Red Rd
Miami, FL 33144
Ph: (305) 265-5265
http://www.needlesandmoxa.com/

 

Low Blood Pressure Tests and Diagnosis

January 25, 2014   

The typical initial step in diagnosing low blood pressure is by measuring a person’s blood pressure in both the standing or supine (lying) positions. Individuals who manifest symptoms of hypotension often register a sudden drop in their blood pressure when they start to stand and they more often than not may acquire orthostatic symptoms and an increased heart rate. The aim of the diagnosis is to know the factor(s) that cause(s) low blood pressure, that is, as soon as the cause of the symptoms has been ascertained. There are occasions when the causes of hypotension become somewhat obvious. This may, for example, be sudden shock after the person underwent an x-ray test that entailed the use of iodine or loss of blood caused by trauma. Sometimes, the cause may only be known through testing. Tests for low blood pressure can include:

  • Blood electrolyte test – This test measures electrolytes in the blood to see if the patient is suffering from too much acid in the blood (acidosis), kidney failure or mineral depletion or dehydration.
  • CBC or complete blood count – This test may identify anemia in the patient due to increased white blood cells caused by infection or blood loss
  • Urine and blood cultures – These tests are done in order to identify bladder infections and septicemia respectively.
  • Cortisol levels – The amount of cortisol in the body is ascertained to effectively diagnose for Addison’s disease or adrenal insufficiency
  • AKG or electrocardiograms – An EKG test can monitor for heart muscle damage, pericarditis or abnormally rapid or slow heart beats caused by either poor supply of blood to the heart muscles that has yet not resulted in a heart attack or from previous heart attacks
  • Radiology studies – These tests can include computerized tomography (CAT or CT) scans, stomach ultrasounds and chest X-rays to identify conditions such as diverticulitis, pancreatitis, gallstones, heart failure and pneumonia
  • Holter monitor recordings – This is used to identify for instances of irregular heart rhythms. If these abnormal rhythms intermittently occur, then it means that the EKG test done during your doctor’s appointment did not detect any irregular rhythm. The Holter monitor is used for a span of 24 hours recording the rhythm of your heart beat for one whole day. The  Holter monitor is utilized to record and diagnose sporadic events of tachycardia or bradycardia.
  • Patient-activated event recorder – If the patient experiences sporadic episodes of tachycardia or bradycardia and if a day-long Holter recording fails to capture these episodes, then he can use a patient-activated event recorder for about a month. A patient-activated event recorder is used by pressing a button to commence recording when the patient feels the onset of low blood pressure symptoms or an abnormal heart rhythm caused by low blood pressure. The recordings are evaluated by the doctor to identify the abnormal episodes.
  • Ultrasound examinations – This test focuses on the patient’s leg veins. Chest CT scans can help the doctor detect for any pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis.
  • Echocardiograms are examinations of the structures and motion of the heart using ultrasound. Echocardiograms can detect a wide range of heart conditions like rare tumors of the heart, heart valve diseases, muscle damage caused by heart attacks and pericarditis due to too much pericardial fluid.
  • Tilt-table tests – These tests are helpful in assessing patients who might be suffering from syncope or postural hypotension caused by dysfunction of the autonomic nerves. When undergoing this test, the patient lies on an examination table and given intravenous infusion while his blood pressure and heart rate is evaluated. Afterwards the table is tilted upright for 1/4 to 3/4 of an hour. Blood pressure and heart rate are observed every minute or so. The aim of a Tilt-table test is to reproduce postural hypotension. The doctor usually prescribes epinephrine (Isuprel or adrenalin) intravenously to cause postural hypotension.

 

 Nawei’s Acupuncture Clinic
559 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Suite 212
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: 719-632-7103
http://acupuncturechinanawei.com/

Weight Loss Prevention

January 19, 2014   

There are certain foods that help make losing weight more difficult to achieve and they include among others:

  • Sweets – Sugar makes the body produce acid which helps retard weight loss. We know that too much sugar is bad for the health. Sugar is very dangerous for diabetics so you need to know who can and can not take in sugar to help stop weight loss.
  • White foods – These include white pasta and white bread as well as baked goods made from white flour. These are carbohydrates with little or no nutritional benefit. White foods are refined foods with most of its nutrients removed that they add nothing to your body except add calories to it. Strangely, white foods contain calories that are quite difficult to burn. Exercise and any type of diet program may not work in burning these calories.
  • Red Meat – Red meat is quite rich in fat content and is very high in calories as well. Eating a lot of red meat can make you gain weight if you need to gain weight. Red meat is also bad for cancer patients and for people with heart problems.

Prevention of involuntary weight loss is a bit difficult to do, but with a healthy lifestyle, regular consultation with your doctor and proper medical care will assist you to maintain or regain an active and healthy life. Immediate treatment of underlying medical problems can be the ideal path to prevent and address involuntary weight loss.

 

 

Tremors Preparing for Your Appointment

January 19, 2014   

In the quest to find a treatment for your symptoms, you may need to consult with your family physician first. Your doctor then may refer you to a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in nervous system and brain conditions for further assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

Your appointment time may be only around 15 to 20 minutes and if there is a lot to talk about so you may need to prepare beforehand for your appointment in order to get a productive and optimal appointment time. Listed below are some tips that will help you prepare well for your appointment.

You may need to call the doctor’s office weeks before your appointment to know if there are any restrictions you need to follow before the appointment.   This will allow you to follow them properly.

Acquire a diary or a journal that you can write on wherein you can list down all the symptoms you’ve been experiencing. You can also include symptoms that may seem unrelated to the condition that forced you to make an appointment in the first place.

Jot down all important information about yourself adding any changes life changes or recent major stresses you have experienced.

List down all the supplements, steroids, herbs and all over-the-counter and prescription medications you are presently taking.

Ask your friend or family member to accompany you to the appointment. He or she can help you remember the information given by your doctor that you may have missed. He or she may also help you remember some things that you may have forgotten or missed that your doctor needs to know.

Write down all the questions that you need to know to your doctor. These questions may include what treatments and tests can be good for your condition

Writing down all your questions is one of the most important things you can do to prepare well for your appointment since your appointment time can be quite limited. For questions regarding your tremor condition, some of the questions you may ask can include:

What do you think is the exact cause of my condition?

Can there be other possible causes for my condition?

What tests are necessary to come up with a correct diagnosis?

How does essential tremor develop? How does it progress?

What are the possible treatments? What do you think is the best treatment?

What treatment plan is available that can address my tremors as well as my other health conditions?    Do you recommend certain restrictions that I need to follow?

Do you have any print materials or brochures that I can bring home to read? Can you recommend   any informative websites regarding my condition?

Besides these questions and the other questions in your list, make sure you ask other questions that you think are important in better understanding and managing your condition.

Before performing any tests and examinations, your doctor may need to assess the possible reasons for your tremor like drug side effects, too much intake of caffeine, or thyroid disease.   In order to gather as much information as he can, your doctor may ask certain questions related to your health. The questions may go like these:

What part of your body is affected?

When did you first notice your symptoms?

Did your symptoms arise all of a sudden?

What things worsen your tremor?

What things improve your tremor?

Do you often drink alcohol? Do you take in too much caffeine?

Do any of your family members have tremors?

Have you had any head injury in the past?

Is your tremor temporarily relieved by drinking alcohol?

When you’re under emotional stress or perform certain tasks does you tremor worsen?

When you sleep, does your tremor disappear?

What are the drugs you are taking presently? Some drugs can cause tremor side effects. Therefore listing down all your medications is an important thing since it helps your doctor to come up with the correct diagnosis.

 

Dr. Jack Handlin is an experienced acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and oriental reproductive medicine specialist at Tree of Life Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine in Bellevue, WA.

Itching – Preparing for your Appointment

January 15, 2014   

To better treat your itchy skin, you start by visiting your primary care physician or your family doctor. However, there might be circumstances that when you call to make a doctor’s appointment, you might be referred to a dermatologist or some other medical skin professional instead. Your doctor’s appointment has a certain time limit and in order to make the most of your appointment, you need to be fully prepared. You can follow some tips below to make you as prepared as possible for your doctor’s appointment and the things you can expect from your physician.

 

How to Prepare

 

First of all, you can list down in a small notebook all the symptoms and signs that you have experienced including the time they happened and their durations. Write down all the medicines (these include over-the-counter and prescription meds as well as herb and vitamin supplements) you are presently utilizing. You can bring the bottles with you to show to your doctor if you like and the list of the indications and dosages you take each day.

 

You can ask questions to your physician regarding your itchy skin. Make the most of your time and ask questions you need answers to. Never be intimidated by your doctor or anyone else. So you may not forget them write down all your questions and you can either ask these questions to your doctor during your appointment or you can give the list to your doctor who will read all your questions and answer them one by one. Just be sure your writing is eligible enough for your doctor to be able to read your writing. Some of these questions can include:

 

  • What do you think is or are the causes of my itching?
  • Do I need to undergo certain tests to get an accurate diagnosis?
  • Is my itching temporary or long-term or chronic?
  • What treatment plan is the best for me?
  • Are there any other plans that can be as effective as the primary one you have in mind?
  • Will over-the-counter drugs be enough to treat my itching or do I need to take prescription meds for my itching?
  • What are the expected results?
  • Will my itching dissipate on its own over a certain period of time?

 

What your doctor might ask you

 

The doctor will have important questions to ask you to help him formulate the right diagnosis and course of treatment. Some of his questions might be like these:

 

  • Do you remember when you first noticed your itching symptoms?
  • How did your skin look when you first noticed these symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms remain unchanged or have changed during the course of time?
  • What things or factors seem to worsen your itching?
  • What factors make your itching symptoms milder or less severe?
  • What are the home remedies you have used? Are they effective in relieving your itch?
  • What over-the-counter and prescription drugs are you using for alleviating your symptoms?
  • Did you recently take a trip?
  • What is your typical diet?
  • Have you been exposed to typical outdoor and indoor irritants like certain metals, chemicals or pets?

 

Brent Keime, LAc, MSTOM
4410 Lamont Street
San Diego, CA 92109
Phone: 619-800-2287
http://weloveacupuncture.com/

Sore Throat – Definition

January 13, 2014   

Sore throat is defined as scratchiness, pain and/or discomfort in the throat.  This kind of problem makes it difficult for a person to swallow.

Everyday there are millions of people around the world getting sore throat. This condition is often at its worst in the morning when one wakes up and gradually subsides in discomfort as the day progresses.

A sore throat like a cold is often produced by viral infections and no antibiotics yet have been developed to effectively treat this condition. A lot of people see the development of a sore throat as the start of a cold. When the sinuses or nose is infected, mucosal fluids can go down the back of the throat where it eventually irritates the throat. Sore throat can also come about the due to infection of the throat itself.

Sore throats can have specific types. One type of virus called the Coxsackie virus can result in very painful throat blisters during the summer or fall season. The flu and mononucleosis can result in certain types of viral throat infections.

The most common cause of a sore throat is done by the streptococcus bacteria and this type of sore throat can sometimes result in a rheumatic fever. For this type of sore throat antibiotics can be effective. When a strep throat develops the sufferer experiences tender or swollen lymph nodes in the neck, draining patches in the throat and a high fever. Children with strep throat can experience stomach pain and headache. A strep throat can only be diagnosed from lab test results.

A patient with a typical cold will exhibit symptoms like cough, stuffy ears and a runny nose. A sore throat can develop when the person constantly breathes through his mouth. The climate that provides the highest risk for the development of sore throat is during winter when the air is dry. A lot of people wake up in the morning with sore throat that can easily disappear when they have something to drink.

Certain allergies like allergic rhinitis can bring about sore throat as well. When sore throat occurs, the surrounding areas of the throat as well as the tonsils are inflamed. Removing the tonsil is not a permanent way to prevent sore throat and is not advised for children.

Here are the different kinds of sore throat

Quinsy
Tonsillitis
Strep throat
Laryngitis
Pharyngitis

Psoriasis – Preparing for your Appointment

January 5, 2014   

In your quest for psoriasis treatment, you most likely will be consulting with your doctor first. He then will assess your symptoms and likely refer you to a skin specialist (dermatologist) whom this article will also refer to as doctor. Preparing well for your appointment is one of the most important things you can do in making the most out of your doctor’s appointment.

 

What you can do before your appointment

 

  • Monitor and write down in a journal your diet and daily activities as well as the moments (times) when your symptoms are at their best or at their worst. Include also in the journal how you feel physically and emotionally prior to your appointment.
  • Appraise and write down all your symptoms in the journal. Include in the journal the description of your symptoms in detailed and clear manner.
  • Make it a point to research about psoriasis.   Educate yourself on this disease by reading materials in your local library and/or in the internet.  You only get to gain from knowing as much as you can about your condition as well as the treatment choices you can avail of.
  • Include in your journal questions you may want to ask your doctor about your condition and the possible treatments you may be given. You can use this list to prevent yourself from forgetting what you want to talk about and cover other topics more efficiently.

 

At the doctor’s office be open as possible when talking to your doctor about your condition.  During your visit you can:

 

  • Make a detailed description of your symptoms especially relating to your doctor how these symptoms affect your life and how they make you feel
  • Tell your doctor about the medicines you are presently using. Include also all herbal remedies, steroids, vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal remedies you are taking. Tell the doctor how your body responds to these medications and what side effects each of them give you.
  • Tell your doctor about any previous treatments you have undergone
  • Tell him about any expectations you have about the treatment
  • Besides your skin condition, tell your doctor of any other conditions you might be suffering from. If you have any joint pain make sure your doctor knows about it.
  • Talk to your doctor about your lifestyle particularly your diet and exercise.
  • Ask your doctor about the treatment choices you have.

 

After you and your doctor have chosen an effective treatment plan, make sure you fully comprehend everything about it. If you have prepared specific questions to your doctor, now is the time to ask them. Some of your questions may be like these:

 

  • How does the plan (treatment) work?
  • How is the medicine administered?
  • What benefits can I expect from the treatment plan?
  • How fast will the treatment work?
  • What side effects does the medication have? What side effects should I watch out for?
  • Will the side effects disappear after I stop treatment or will they be permanent?
  • Do I need to be examined regularly? If yes, what kinds of exams and tests do I need to undergo and how regularly do I need to be tested?
  • Will the medicine cause my skin to be more sensitive to sunlight?
  • If treatment needs to be done in the doctor’s office, how often do I need to go?
  • How long will I need to take the medication?
  • Can I mix my medication with another medication to make it more potent or to lessen its side effects?
  • Can I abruptly end my treatment or do I need to slowly wean myself out of it?
  • If the treatment is effective but I may need to stop taking it for some reason or another, will it be still effective if I want to resume taking it a later time?
  • What options for treatment do you have for me if I am planning to get pregnant?

 

Before ending your appointment, be sure to know the number to call if you have an emergency and to make a schedule for the next appointment.

 

Your doctor for his part will also ask you important questions to better assess your psoriasis and how it is affecting you and your life on a daily basis. Some of the questions your doctor will ask may be like these:

 

  • When did you first notice your symptoms?
  • How often do you develop these symptoms?
  • Are you symptoms occasionally appearing or have they been continuous?
  • How do you rate your psoriasis? Is it mild, moderate or severe?
  • How does your psoriasis affect you?
  • Can you describe your symptoms? Is it inflamed, itchy and/or painful?
  • How frequent do you experience flare-ups?
  • What do you think triggers your flare-up?
  • Can you describe your affected skin during a flare-up?
  • Has your psoriasis prevented your from doing things you normally do? Has your daily routines been affected by it?
  • How do you feel about your psoriasis? Does it make you self-conscious and/or less self-confident?
  • Has psoriasis impacted your relationships?

 

Brent Keime is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Brent Keime, LAc, MSTOM in San Diego, CA.

 

Symptoms of Sciatica

January 5, 2014   

Usually, sciatica affects only one side of the lower body and the pain often radiates from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg.

Common Sciatica Symptoms

Leg pain and low back pain are often present in sciatica with the leg pain more severe than the lower back pain. There are certain combinations of symptoms that can also occur when sciatica strikes.

  • A searing or stabbing pain rather than dull pain can be experienced
  • Pain that subsides when the patient walks or lies down but increases when he sits or stands
  • Weakness, numbness or a “pins-and-needles” sensation felt down the leg
  • Pain that starts in the lower back, down the buttocks and felt along where the sciatic nerve traverses; this can include the back of the thigh all the way down the lower leg and foot
  • Continuous pain in just one side of the leg or buttock rarely occurring bilaterally (both left and right sides)
  • Stabbing or shooting pain that causes difficulties in walking or standing.
  • Numbness or weakness when the foot or leg is moved
  • Sometimes pain in the toes or in the foot

Sciatica Symptoms Nerve Root Symptoms of Sciatica

The L4 and L5 nerve roots are two of the nerves that go out the lumbar spine, the three other nerves termed S1, S2 and S3 go out of the sacral segment. These five nerves are bundled together to comprise the sciatic nerve. They branch out again inside the leg to bring sensory and motor functions to certain areas in the foot and leg.

The symptoms of sciatica differ depending on what nerve is compressed (pinched). Examples:

  • When the L4 nerve is pinched, the sciatica symptoms will be felt in the thigh. The symptoms may include lessened knee-jerk reflexes or poor ability to straighten the leg.
  • A pinched or compressed L5 nerve root affects the ankle and big toe (termed foot drop). Individuals with a compressed L5 nerve may feel numbness or pain on the top of the foot, specifically on the area between the second toe and big toe.
  • The outer part of the foot is affected when the S1 nerve is pinched. The symptoms may extend to the toes or little toe. Sometimes, the person may feel weakness when trying to stand on tiptoes or when attempting to raise his heel off the ground.

Sciatica Symptoms that Need Immediate Doctor’s Attention

Most of the time the symptoms of sciatica are not serious enough to demand immediate medical attention; however, there may be symptoms that may need urgent medical care and even surgery.

  • Bilateral sciatica symptoms (both legs are affected) accompanied by either bowel or bladder dysfunction or incontinence. These symptoms can indicate cauda equina syndrome. This is a syndrome wherein one or more sciatic nerves are compressed. Cauda equina syndromes are rare cases manifesting in only about 2% of patients of herniated lumbar disc.
  • Symptoms that do not improve and in fact even get worse – This may symbolize potential nerve damage, particularly if the ongoing symptoms are neurological (like weakness)