Understanding Joint Pains, Arthritis, Osteoporosis

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What is the Prescribed Treatment for Lupus?

Posted on 12. Jul, 2012 by .

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Lupus is a medical condition described by hyperactive function of a person’s immune system. The hyperactivity of the immune system overrides its normal functions; thus, it begins to strike down not only foreign bodies such as microbes and bacteria but also healthy tissues as well. Lupus is not confined to affect one body organ only. It can attack different tissues in the body such as kidneys, skin, lungs, heart, joints and blood cells. Fortunately, medical professionals have already developed different ways on how to treat lupus. These treatments make it possible to completely cure lupus and prevent any death caused by the ailment.

Generally, there are five objectives that doctors aim to achieve when treatment for lupus. These objectives include mitigating lupus inflammation, managing lupus symptoms, reducing organ damage, suppressing the overactive functioning of the immune system and preventing flares.

Like treating other health conditions, the severity of the lupus case determines the extent of the needed treatment for the patient. Before taking any treatment for lupus, the patient and their doctor should carefully weigh the benefits and risks associated with each medication alternatives. Commonly, doctors modify the medication type and dosage depending on the symptoms that the patient is currently experiencing at the moment.

Medications

Several medicines proved to be effective as treatment for lupus. Patients with lupus should ensure that they take these medicines as the doctor prescribes. Failure to do so will negatively affect how these drugs will work inside the body. The lupus-treating medicines include:

  1. Corticosteroids are medications which significantly reduce the swelling of lupus. Despite its effectiveness, several long-lasting side effects such as increased susceptibility to bruising, diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain and tightened bones can be caused by corticosteroids. The intensity of these side effects is directly proportional with the number of dosage and extent of therapy.
  2. Nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs aids in curing swelling, fever and pain that is caused by lupus. Smaller dosage of NSAIDs can be generally purchased over the counter. Lupus patients should take NSAID in moderation (or strictly by prescription) because it might cause side effects such as kidney, heart and stomach bleeding problems.
  3. Anti malarial drugs like hydroxylchloroquine can also be used in controlling the symptoms of lupus. These drugs aid in joint inflammation, mouth and nose ulcers Stomach distress and retina damage are some of the side effects that these drugs can bring to the body.
  4. For severe cases of lupus, doctors often suggest the use of immune suppressants. Immune suppressants, as the name implies, restrains the body’s immune processes. Immune suppressants generally include azathioprine, mycophenolate and methrotrexate. Potential side effects that this drug can bring to the body include liver damage, infertility and higher risk of cancer.
  5. Aside from the aforementioned drugs, there are also other factors that can complement the medications used to treat lupus. This includes complete rest, regular exercise, reduced exposure to sunlight, reduced stress and healthy diet. They should also prohibit from smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol during and after the treatment.

Basic Know How: Treatment for Asthma

Posted on 11. Jul, 2012 by .

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Asthma is one of the most common health complications that many people all over the world experience in their daily life. Asthma is characterized by recurring symptoms such as shortness of breath, persistent coughing, wheezing and chest tightness. According to experts, asthma usually triggered because of environmental and genetic reasons. People who have asthma can prevent the surfacing of the symptoms through drawing in corticosteroids and avoiding irritants and allergens. Asthma is generally classified into two types: atopic and non-atopic.

Treatment for asthma varies depending on the severity of the patient’s case. Doctors aim to achieve the following objectives when prescribing asthma treatments: to prevent worsening of symptoms, to prevent frequency of asthma attacks, to avoid severe attacks which require hospitalization, to maintain normal condition of the patient and to experience few side effects as a result of the medication.

People who have mild asthma can undergo simple treatment plans at the comfort of their own homes. It is best to ask the advice of their doctors on which activities will help them avoid complicating their asthma. Home-based treatment for asthma is as follows:

  1. Individuals should know which items or irritants set off their asthma attack. The best way to prevent asthma is to avoid doing activities or interacting with things that triggers asthma.
  2. People who have asthma should completely avoid smoking.
  3. People should also avoid taking cough drugs, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medicines and aspirin because it can exacerbate their asthmatic condition. They should also avoid taking nonprescription herbal remedies since this disrupt the healing process from asthma medications.

People who have worsened asthma conditions that cannot be controlled at home should be brought to the hospital for further checkup. Generally, doctors give asthma patients prescribed drugs that can help reduce the symptoms and discomfort resulting from the attack. Common drugs use in treatment for asthma includes:

  1. Beta-agonists are used to stimulate the production of adrenaline that helps in maintaining unobstructed breathing passages. This drug aids in breathing muscle relaxation, passage dilation and decreased breathing resistance. This drug helps the patient to breathe comfortably but it does not actually cure the main cause of asthma. Potential side effects that come from prolonged use of beta agonists include shakiness and quickened heartbeat.
  2. Corticosteroids focus their effects directly to the insides of the breathing passages. This is done through inhalation. Because of the direct inhalation, the probability of contracting side effects outside of the respiratory system is low.
  3. Cromolyn sodium assists the body in preventing the excretion of body chemicals that causes asthmatic irritation. This medicine is commonly prescribed for people who have asthmatic reactions to different allergic triggers. This is taken as preventive measure prior to the incurrence of any asthma attack.
  4. Leukotriene is a substance which enhances the body’s response in case there are asthmatic attacks. This drug helps in reducing inflammation for acute asthma. These are commonly medicated to address mild asthma attacks.
  5. Methylxanthines, which are associated with caffeine, are also used in treating asthma. This are used in order to dilate bronchial passages for a long period of time. However, due to the side effects noted in the prolonged use of caffeine, these are seldom prescribed by medical professionals.

The Most Common Treatment for Lupus

Posted on 10. Jul, 2012 by .

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The human body’s immune system normally produces antibodies, which are a type of protein that helps fight different bacteria and viruses. When the immune system becomes hyperactive, the normal functioning is disruptive and healthy tissues are also attacked. This abnormality or disease is called lupus, which causes damages to such organs as the kidneys, lungs, and heart. It also leads to inflammation of the joints and skin.

There are several types of lupus: cutaneous or discoid, neonatal, drug-induced, and SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus), which is the most common. The LFA or Lupus Foundation of America says that there are approximately 1.5 million Americans affected by the disease. It usually occurs in women aged 20-30.

While the cause of the lupus is yet to be determined, doctors find it genetic. Many also point to certain drugs, excessive exposure to sunlight and harmful chemicals, and certain infections as the most common risk factors.

Treatment of Lupus

There are many ways to treat lupus. People who are suffering from it may take Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. Others can be bought as OTC drugs while some need a doctor’s prescription. Antimalarial drugs, corticosteroids, and immune suppressants are also used for mild to moderate joint pains but most of them have short-term and long-term side effects. It is highly recommended to ask your physician before taking these drugs even if they are just pain relievers. The following are treatment methods to avoid occurrence of flares.

The treatment of lupus does not always have to be expensive. There are home remedies available to alleviate the symptoms without the harmful side effects.

  • Taking adequate amount of rest is the most helpful since lupus patients have abnormal levels of fatigue making it hard for them to measure their daily activity. Getting enough quality sleep every night plus several naps during the day would be the best routine.
  • If rashes start to appear, it is advisable to apply topical cream, particularly those that are corticosteroid-based.
  • Exposure to sunlight is one of the factors that trigger lupus and going out unprotected is not a smart way to spend the day outdoors. As much as possible, wear long-sleeved shirt and apply sunscreen with SPF or sun protection factor level of at least 55.
  • Lupus can worsen if you become negligent about your smoking habits. It is not easy to quit cold-turkey but conditions like SLE is already a red flag. Stop smoking and reduce your risk of developing lung diseases.
  • Severe cases of lupus may require a corticosteroid injection or taking pills with higher doses. Consult a specialist regarding this.
  • The treatment of lupus is not just about recovery but also maintaining a healthy body. As much as possible, exercise every day to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular and lung diseases. Eating healthy would also be a great way to normalize the activity of your immune system.

They say prevention is better than cure but if you already have it for unknown reasons, all you can do is to prevent the symptoms from negatively affecting your daily life. Keeping your health under check is the best way to fight lupus. Once it has developed, the treatment period can last long and challenging.

Psoriasis: Causes and Treatments

Posted on 09. Jul, 2012 by .

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Even our immune system makes mistakes and this can lead to an autoimmune disease called psoriasis, which affects the skin. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly identifies skin cells as pathogens or disease carrying organisms. This causes accelerated skin cell growth. Psoriasis affects approximately 1-3% of the total population on Earth, specifically those at the age of 15 to mid 30s.

There are five kinds of psoriasis namely guttate, plaque, pustular, inverse, and erythrodermic. Among the five, the most common is plaque psoriasis, which is characterized by scaly patches of red and white on the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). These may appear in various areas of the body including scalp, hands, toes, knees, and elbows. These patches can cover the whole body if the condition becomes severe.

It is not a contagious skin disorder. The treatment of psoriasis, however, can last for a long period of time. The disease is also recurring, which means that recovering from it does not make a patient psoriasis-free for life.

Based on studies, researchers found an anomaly in gene mutations, particularly the chromosome 6 or PSORS-1, which eventually affects the T-cells. On a normal cycle, the human body sheds skin every 30 days but people with psoriasis experience the changes in one week or a little over.

Psoriasis Treatments

When a person acquires psoriasis, the only things that he or she can do is to limit the symptoms and prevent further infections.  The treatment of psoriasis may not only last long but may also be costly since skin creams and medications are a little expensive.

  • There are topical that can be bought without doctor’s prescriptions but it is still advisable to expert advice. Most of these topical may include shampoos, lotions, and ointments that have cortisone, anthralin, salicylic or lactic acid, vitamin D, and retinol or vitamin A.
  • Injectable medicines and pills that address the immune system will be likely recommended but most often, a patient will have to get approval from a physician.
  • Most doctors recommend immune suppressants like cyclosporine or methotrexate for treatment of psoriasis that is already critical. If these do not work, biologics may also be prescribed.
  • Phototherapy is another known psoriasis treatment that works by carefully exposing the skin to ultraviolet rays. This is usually done after ingesting drugs that makes the skin vulnerable to light.
  • Psoriasis can also be treated at home using oatmeal. A person can mix oatmeal with bath water or buy oatmeal soap. This is believed to cause loosening of the scales. A little bit of sunlight is also good for the skin as long as the person does not get overexposed. These and ample amount of rest and sleep would help cure the disease.

There are lots of treatments, most of them involve heavy medication considering that psoriasis can affect the whole body. Intense treatments are recommended for those whose cases are severe. Usually, treatments include a combination of topical, pills, and phototherapy. This can go on for several years until the patient has fully recovered.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Posted on 08. Jul, 2012 by .

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What is rheumatoid arthritis? It is a disease wherein joints and its surrounding tissues and muscles become inflamed. Besides joints, other organs can also be affected by rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that it is the body’s immune system itself that attacks healthy tissues, mistaking them for damaged or dangerous tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis can be experienced by people of any age or gender, but is most common experienced by middle-aged women. Factors that could be taken into consideration when it comes to the probability of one experiencing rheumatoid arthritis include genes, age, infection, and hormone changes.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis? The disease usually begins as mild joint pains. Shoulders, wrists, ankles, and any other joints of the body are most commonly affected by this disease, and more than an hour of stiffness after waking up in the morning is one symptom. It is important to note that these joint pains are usually felt on both sides of the body. Muscles may also feel warm and tender after not using them for an extended amount of time, about an hour or more.

Besides that, other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pleurisy or chest pains when breathing, eye burning or itching, Sjorgen syndrome or dryness of eyes and mouth, and difficulty in sleeping. Any numbness, burning, or tingling sensations on the hands or feet are also considered as symptoms.

Proper diagnosis after the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis appear is important to get proper treatment. Two lab tests that can help in determining whether or not one has rheumatoid arthritis are the Rheumatoid Factor Test and the Anti-CCP Antibody Test. Note, however, that these tests may not determine for sure whether one is afflicted with the disease. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis may give abnormal test results, while normal test results are given by other patients. Various factors and present symptoms are taken into consideration and additional tests may be done to be sure that the patient is indeed suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

First, the doctor may run through the symptoms that the patient has experienced and examines tenderness, inflammation, and deformity in the patient’s joints. The patient is also checked for the presence of rheumatoid nodules, firm bumps in the skin usually found near the elbows or fingers. Complete Blood Count (CBC), X-rays, MRIs, or ultrasounds of joints and synovial fluid analysis are additional tests that could help determine if one has rheumatoid arthritis.  After running these tests, the doctor will then be able to diagnose the patient properly.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure yet for rheumatoid arthritis. The medications available for patients with rheumatoid arthritis are those that reduce inflammation and pain in the muscles. Early detection can also help in stopping or slowing the progression of the disease. Proper and regular exercise can help in the prevention and management of rheumatoid arthritis. Swimming is highly recommended by doctors, as this sport employs minimal use of joints, thereby decreasing the stress put on them.  Physical therapists can also provide exercises tailor-made for the needs of various patients.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment and Prevention Methods

Posted on 07. Jul, 2012 by .

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Arthritis is not a new word in the medical dictionary. It has been around since human race can remember. Our advantage is that new ways are already available to treat various kinds of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis, also known as RA, is a long-term autoimmune bone disorder that causes inflammation of the joints and the tissues surrounding it. It is just one of the hundreds of types of arthritis affecting many people around the world.

An autoimmune disease happens when the immune system attacks healthy tissues by mistake. Since rheumatoid arthritis falls under this category, the major cause of the problem is still unknown but experts attribute the disease often to old age and heredity.

The symptoms of RA include stiffness especially in the morning, joint pains, and joint deformation. The disease also affects other organs such as the heart and lungs, which is the reason why people who have it may also experience chest pains, numbness, difficulty sleeping, and burning sensation especially in the eye area.

In order for a person to know whether he or she is a candidate for RA, he or she must consult a doctor and undergo a rheumatoid factor test or anti-CCP antibody test. Joint X-rays or MRI may also be taken.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment

The most common treatments for rheumatoid arthritis is medication due to recurring joint pains. Doctors often recommend NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and corticosteroids. Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen  are over-the-counter (OTC) medications that help reduce pain, the same as corticosteroid but the last is a stronger kind of analgesic that needs a doctor’s prescription. Its major side effect is bone degeneration. Meanwhile, Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen may cause ulcer with prolonged intake.

In case none of the rheumatoid arthritis treatment worked, a doctor may prescribe biologic medicines or medicines that address the immune system directly. These medicines are often administered subcutaneously (under the skin) or intravenously (through the veins).

Although biologic medicine show promising results, individuals taking them are making themselves available to other diseases like psoriasis, infection, or leukemia.

Surgery is also a common rheumatoid arthritis treatment. In this process, the joint lining may be removed (synovectomy) or replaced. These procedures though are intended for severe cases. Some natural methods can still be applied if the condition is still in its early stage.

For one thing, physical therapy is a treatment that requires the patient to undergo range-of-motion exercises to delay joint destruction. Proper nutrition is, of course, highly recommended aside from plenty of rest and and hot/cold treatments. These will reduce pain and inflammation but the results are short-term.

Is there any way rheumatoid arthritis can be prevented? Yes, there are actually many ways that this disease can be prevented unless the cause is genetic. The most effective prevention methods include good nutrition and moderate amount of exercise. Not being able to use your bones may weaken your motor skills. A machine that is not regularly used eventually deteriorates just like the human body.  As much as possible, lead a healthy lifestyle. It is never too late until it is too late so even if you already have it, you should not stop caring for your body.

All About Green Lipped Mussel Powder

Posted on 05. Jul, 2012 by .

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More and more people are starting to notice green lipped mussel powder for its health benefits. Most of these people become aware of this new potent substance from the sea by being referred to it by either family or friends, perhaps even both.

Where do green lipped mussels come from?

Green lipped mussels are normally located in the oceans just off of New Zealand. The Maori have been consuming the green lipped mussels for centuries; they also discovered that it had medicinal properties. The mussels are an excellent supply of proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Interested in its properties, modern scientists have conducted studies to determine the truth behind the health claims surrounding the green lipped mussel. The result of the clinical studies has shown that the mussels possess qualities that are potent for healing inflammation and diseases related to it.

For most people, green lipped mussel powder is most excellent for treating certain conditions such as heart diseases, joint pains and arthritis.

Green lipped mussel extracts are also useful for weight management

Whether or not people admit it almost everyone is concerned about their weight. People are concerned about their weight for a large variety of reasons. From looking good to genuine health concerns, people are always looking for a good way to help them manage their weight.

The good thing about GLM based products is that they also help people manage their weight. Those who have reached a plateau in weight loss can help themselves by taking GLM supplements. People have attested to the positive effects that green lipped mussel powder can have in losing weight.

All About Bitter Melon

Posted on 04. Jul, 2012 by .

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It seems that every day more and more people are becoming interested in the health benefits that bitter melon extract provides people. The use of bitter melon as a form of medicine isn’t actually a new concept, in facts it’s a very old practice. Various African and Asian herbal medicines have been using bitter melon for a very long time. In Turkey, the bitter melon has served as a traditional folk remedy for a large number of ailments, including, but not limited to, stomach complaints.

Substances active in bitter melon

The bitter melon plant contains numerous compounds which are biologically active. The main active substances found in bitter melonsare cucurbitacin B and momordicin I and momordicin II.

Bitter melon is also known to possess other chemicals such as glycosides, cytotoxic proteins and other terpenoid compounds.

The antiviral properties of the bitter melon extract

The country of Togo in West Africa has traditionally used bitter melon to treat certain viral diseases like measles or the chickenpox.

Scientists have been using bitter melon to study its effects on several other viral diseases. The in vitro tests show that the leaf extracts of the bitter melon shows activity against the type 1 herpes simplex virus.

Bitter melon and diabetes

The compounds found in bitter melons also appear to have properties that will help people with diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that might cause damage to the liver which in turn increases the risk for liver disease.

Study was conducted on mice that had diabetes. The results of the study showed that mice that consumed extract from bitter melon had improved liver functions when compared to the control group which did not.

Bitter melon might also be beneficial for people who suffer from the condition known as type 2 diabetes. Type 2diabetes is basically the condition where the body is characterized as having high blood sugar levels.

In 2008, a medical study reported that the active compounds found in the bitter melon were capable of activating the enzyme known as AMPK. This results in an enhancement in the body’s cells responsible for the uptake of glucose, which consequently reduces the body’s blood sugar levels.