Friday, January 30, 2009

The Theoretical Cancer Vaccine

One cannot be vaccinated against cancer. This is a simple, clear medical fact. Medical science just has no way of developing a vaccine that would prevent a condition like cancer from taking hold. The technology does not exist that would allow us to wipe out cancer in the same way that polio and smallpox have been. However, that doesn't mean that some sort of cancer vaccine would not be impossible in the future.

Theoretically, a cancer vaccine can be developed, it is simply a matter of the right research team looking into the right method. There have been several inroads made in the past few decades towards this aim, with testing of prospective vaccines having been conducted. Some trials are still in the process of being completed, as well. The problem, however, is that none of the results so far have shown enough promise to be the concrete way to prevent cancer.

Immunotherapy is considered to be among the most promising avenues of treatment for cancer that is currently available. The mentality behind this method involves developing medications and drugs that would allow the body to attack the cancerous cells, rather than relying on medications or radiation to do it. It also allows for the development of several experimental vaccines designed to provide a person immunity to cancer. In this vein, there are two major categories of hypothetical cancer vaccines: the specific and the universal.

As the name implies, specific vaccines are ones that are developed to treat a particular type of cancer. There are various forms of cancer, and some theorize that it would be better to develop a vaccine for each one separately to maximize the chances of preventing the condition. The universal, on the other hand, would theoretically function as a general “prevent-all” measure. It would not target any specific cancer, but would instead be intended to vaccinate the person to all known forms of cancer.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Your Eating Habits and Your Weight

The link between your eating habits and your weight should be obvious enough not to need any explanation anymore. The more you eat, the more you gain weight. That is, of course, unless you have enough physical activities to burn what you eat.

For people who love eating but don't have the will or the desire to work out, taking weight loss products like Xenical can be the easiest solution. But they never took the moment to think that maybe simple changes in their eating habits can help just as much is shedding those unwanted pounds.

To get you started, here are some simple eating habit changes you can try to start losing those excess pounds:

1.Drink water. Instead of chugging down on artificially flavored fruit juices or sodas, why not drink water instead? Water can help flush out excess fat and toxins in the body. It can also act as an all-natural appetite suppressant by giving your stomach a full feeling without the extra calories.

2.Lay off the fat. By fat, we mean saturated fat. The kind that contains tons of bad cholesterol that not only makes you pack on those extra pounds, but also increase your risks of various cardiovascular diseases. True that fried foods are really great tasting, but these things pump your body full of unhealthy calories that can be difficult to eliminate. Choose low to no-fat alternatives to your salad dressing and dairy products. You can also try changing the way you cook from frying to broiling, baking, or steaming. You should also choose lean meat cuts instead of the fatty parts.

3.Trim your serving proportions. Everybody's used to having their food served in large portions. This has made a lot of people forget what the normal serving size is supposed to be. Try cutting your serving sizes down by a quarter of what you usually eat. Do this until such a time when your body is used to eating in smaller portions.

4.Choose healthy snack items. The problem with cutting your normal serving sizes down is the hunger pangs that go with it. If you can't bear the hunger pangs, grab a bite to eat. But be mindful enough to choose healthy snack items like fruits instead of your usual burgers and chips.

It's understandable that changing your eating habits would not come easy. It will take a lot of discipline and even more will power to do so. Just keep in mind that you're doing this for your own health and that should be motivation enough to keep at it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Medical Negligence On Religious Grounds

Some religious groups or denominations, for one reason or another, refuse to allow anyone in their congregation to have the benefit of medical attention. They forbid their followers from undergoing specific types of procedures, or taking certain types of medications. In some cases, the religions beliefs can ban medicine entirely and force followers to rely only on prayers and faith.

They claim that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right of people to their own choice of religious beliefs, but some judges have ruled that it does not necessarily protect the kind of conduct that those beliefs can cause. Some states have laws that allow parents and guardians to be exempt from criminal negligence charges based on child welfare laws, but only if the condition was not a threat to the child's life. However, a number of recent deaths caused by religious convictions of the parents have been instances where they were keenly aware of the deteriorating physical condition of their children.

An estimated 300 children have died within the US because of medical care withheld on religious grounds, according to representatives from Children's Health Care Is A Legal Duty, an Iowa-based group that advocates the punishment of parents that do not seek medical aid for children who require it. Criminal codes provide protection for parents in most of these cases, particularly if they can prove on religious grounds that their faith forbids them from seeking out help. This is something that the aforementioned group adamantly opposes, and they wish to have such parents be held legally liable.

This has put forth an interesting question. Should it be criminally liable for parents to knowingly neglect the health of their children if their religious beliefs forbid them from seeking out medical treatment? On one hand, the argument is that their beliefs and practices are protected by the Constitution. However, the counter-argument is that the beliefs are protected, but not any practices that may be covered by laws.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Stuff To Know About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is on the rise, according to the statistics. In 1938, 1 in 10,000 people were found to have a melanoma. As of 2008, that number has become 1 in every 93. Science already knows the link between sun exposure and skin cancer, and that link is quite well documented. Melanoma risks go up greatly if a person had blistering sunburns in their younger years, and that having very little exposure to the sun and then going outside can also increase the risks more than people who spend a lot of time outdoors.

So, what, exactly, is making skin cancer so much more prominent now than before? Well, that's a topic that's quite controversial, as there's not a whole lot of data on the matter. It is known that inflammation is one of the causes of skin cancer. However, eating foods that are rich in antioxidants and fatty acids decrease this, therefore theoretically reducing the risk of skin cancer, along with conditions such as heart disease and Alzheimer's. It should be noted that this is the case even if the person eating them is doing everything else wrong. However, the scientific data on this is largely circumstantial, which makes it hard to tell what really does make a difference.

All skin types are susceptible to developing skin cancer, and no skin type is less damaged by it than others. The sun is capable of damaging the body's ability to protect the skin, and sunscreen can only offer a small amount of protection. However, even if the protection is minimal, there is adequate evidence to show that it can lower the incidence of skin cancer. There are also other things that a person can do to protect against the damaging rays of the sun. These things include taking vitamins C and E, which help decrease the damage done by the sun.

New Use For An Old Antidepressant

While not as popular a pharmaceutical treatment for depression as Prozac, the drug Lexapro has managed to carve out a market share for itself. It has been found to work on some patients that Prozac or other competitors are unable to affect, while some patients will show a reversal of the situation. Like many modern antidepressants, Lexapro alleviates the symptoms of depression by altering the levels of serotonin in the brain, resulting in an improvement in a person's mood. However, like many antidepressants that affect serotonin levels, there is a small possibility that it might have uses outside of being an antidepressant.

A recent study found data that shows that Lexapro might be useful as a means of countering anxiety in the elderly. The drug showed promise in that regard, but it was noted that the effect was “modest” and was not on part with medications made specifically to treat anxiety. The target condition is generalized anxiety disorder, which is not infrequent among older adults, and has been known to cause problems like muscle tension, fatigue, and insomnia. While the drug may not be as effective as other medications geared specifically to combat anxiety disorders, researchers believe that Lexapro has potential use in that market.

The researchers believe the drug has potential because the data showed indications that there may be long-term benefits to the drug. The ones that the drug was initially tested on were found to have better ability for conducting their daily lives, but it was likely that the medications alone was inadequate. While most of the data was found to be understandable, one unexpected benefit was found by the research team: the drug appeared to help in controlling the blood pressure of the patients.

It was quite surprising to discover, as it had never been known to have that sort of effect before. Researchers believe it might have some benefit for those who, like the elderly, deal with both anxiety and some problems with their blood pressure.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eczema In The Offing

Too much stress can take its toll on your physical, emotional and psychological well-being. It can cause you to feel extremely fatigued and can make your skin to act up. While acne breakouts occur when pores become clogged, a red, irritated and itchy skin can be an eczema in the offing.

Eczema is a common skin irritation characterized by reddening of the skin which sometimes develop small, fluid-filled bumps that become moist and ooze. There are many forms of eczema, but atopic eczema is one of the most common and severe. There is no exact known cause for eczema but doctors believe that skin allergies and the way a person's immune system reacts to things may be involved in the formation of eczema.

While it may not be contagious like a cold, researches show that it could be inherited or passed through genes. This is the reason why most people with eczema have other family members with the same condition. Some people with eczema may also have asthma and certain allergies, such as hay fever. Others have food allergies to cow's milk, soy, eggs, fish, or wheat which can worsen eczema. Allergies to animal dander, rough fabrics, and dust may also trigger the condition in some people.

When under severe stress, people may find it difficult to avoid all the triggers, or irritants, that cause or worsen eczema flare-ups. These itchy patches of eczema may affect any part of the body but are usually seen where the elbow bends; on the backs of the knees, ankles, and wrists; and on the face, neck, and upper chest.

Eczema flare-up may feel hot and itchy at first, prompting the person to scratch it, making it red, inflamed and blistered. When heavily scratched, the skin becomes almost leathery in texture. Others find that their skin becomes extremely dry and scaly.

Since emotional stress can also lead to eczema flare-ups, your doctor might also inquire about any problems you might be having at school, home, or work.

Eczema can't be cured. However, there are many ways to prevent a possible eczema flare up. Use only nondrying facial cleanser or soap substitute for facial eczema. This will keep facial skin from being irritated. A noncomedogenic/oil-free facial moisturizer can also help ease the dryness and itchiness cause by eczema. Try not to apply make-up or use only hypoallergenic makeup and sunscreens.

Furthermore, try to avoid substances that may stress your skin such as housesehold cleaners, drying soaps, detergents, and fragranced lotions. It is possible that too much exposure to water can dry out your skin. A short warm shower is advised but wear gloves if your hands will be in water for long periods of time. Pat your skin dry gently and thoroughly. Do not rub with a coarse towel which can irritate the condition. Remember, it isn't the water that causes your skin to react; it's the water evaporating if not dried soon enough. Wear clothes made from cotton fabrics. Avoid scratchy fabrics like wool which can irritate the skin. Do not scratch no matter how itchy it gets. Scratching can worsen the eczema and cause breaks in the skin which could lead to bacterial infections.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Risk Factors For Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is considered to be among the foremost killers of women in the world today. It is also one of the most common types of cancer, affecting an estimated one of every four women in the United States alone. To help curb the death rate caused by this condition, it would be good for people to know what the various risk factors of breast cancer are.

Age is one prominent risk factor of breast cancer. Older women are known to be at higher risk of breast cancer than younger women. Within the time of 2000 to 2004, 95% of all new reported cases of breast cancer and 97% of the death related to the condition occurred in women who were 40 or older. It has been found that women between the ages of 75 and 79 are at the highest risk, with the incident rate nearly 465 patients for every 100,000. The condition is considered to be rare prior to the onset of menopause.

Women also have a greater risk of breast cancer of a close female relative – mother, sister, or daughter, had the cancer. The risk is particularly high if the cancer appeared before the age of 40. The threat is believed to increase if more than one relative develops the condition. This is because some breast cancers are caused by mutations in two genetic strands, and these mutations are inherited.

Women who are largely inactive in the physical sense often have an increased risk, as well. This is particularly true if they have been inactive for most of their life. The physical inactivity lowers the body's ability to fight off certain factors and conditions that puts one at increased risk of breast cancer. Regular exercise helps in breast cancer prevention by reducing the risks of obesity and weight gain.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Coffee Therapy for Coffee-Induced Anxiety Attacks

Studies about coffee has proven that the beverage can help enhance alertness and physical performance. But it is a well-established fact that coffee, or rather its caffeine content, is a factor for anxiety attacks. Caffeine, after all, is a known stimulant that could induce feelings of excitement or panic.

How does coffee contribute to having a panic attack? The caffeine we get from coffee works by blocking the depressant function of adenosine, one of the many chemicals the brain produces. And although this may give some people a sense of focus, it may cause people who are more susceptible to anxiety disorders to manifest symptoms of anxiety, like sweaty palms and quickened pulses. But sometimes, it isn't an actual anxiety attack that's happening. It is simply a misinterpreted caffeine-induced buzz.

In most instances, mental health professionals would prescribe the use of anxiety medications like Buspar and advise anxiety disorder sufferers to lay off on coffee to deal with such feelings of irrational panic and anxiety. But some psychologist have a different take on a different approach to treating coffee lovers who report having panic attacks. They advise consuming more caffeine.

This approach can be accounted for as a kind cognitive-behavioral therapy where sufferers are taught how to differentiate simple coffee buzz from an actual panic attack. Drinking too much coffee can give you sweaty palms, a pounding heart, and make you hear ringing in your ears, which to those predisposed to the psychological condition may appear as signs of impending doom. And once this thought process has started, the anxiety can take a life of its own and lead to a full-scale panic attack.

This cognitive-behavioral approach teaches sufferers of the many physical changes consuming caffeine can bring and help them understand that their so-called symptoms of a heart attack is just the body's normal reaction to caffeine. Anxiety sufferers are then taught to differentiate unfounded fears from actual threats. Successfully doing so will help prevent people from overreacting to a simple coffee buzz and avoid blowing the experience out of proportion.

Although it is true that coffee, and the caffeine it contains, may worsen anxiety and panic disorders, it is important to understand that these may simply be just the caffeine making its way around. It is, after all, the most widely, albeit unintentionally, used mood-altering drug in the world.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How Green Tea Helps in Weight Loss

Weight loss is an issue a lot of people deal with nowadays. With the obesity rates continuously climbing, it's not wonder weight loss products like Xenical and other fad diets are in fashion. People choose to go with medications or improperly diet to help them get rid of excess fat in their system, taking for granted that there are natural means to lose weight.

Aside from constant exercise and properly balancing one's food consumption, beverages like green tea can assist in your goals to lower your weight to an ideal figure. Here are some of the benefits green tea offers to those who wish to lose weight:

Green tea is a natural fat burner. It contains high levels of catechin polyphenols that work alongside other body chemicals to increase the process of beta oxidation by simulating it. It is during beta oxidation that fat is broken down and converted into energy.

Green tea helps in the slow and steady release of carbohydrates in the system. By stimulating a gradual and even release of carbohydrates, you avoid having your blood-insulin level go through the roof. With a healthy blood-insulin level in check, you promote better fat metabolism.

Green tea has an extended metabolic boost compared to pure caffeine. Green tea's thermogenic effect was originally attributed to its caffeine content. But further studies showed that green tea stimulates more brown fat thermogenesis than pure caffeine. Certain components of catechin polyphenols work alongside caffeine to improve the fat burn. Also, green tea has an extended 24-hour extended fat oxidation effect as opposed to pure caffeine that only boosts metabolism at the time that you take it.

Green tea still has a lot to offer in terms of helping you reach your goals of losing weight, so why not give it a shot? If you could take the time off to exercise or plan your meals ahead of time, how hard could it be to include green tea in your weight loss plan? It's delicious, it's refreshing, and most of all, it's an effective weight loss drink.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Learning to Curb Your Hunger

A lot of people have a hard time dieting simply because their hunger pangs can be too much to handle. Diet beginners feel that their body has gotten used to eating large servings of food multiple times a day that experience hunger pangs at hours when they would usually snack.

It is often this untimely hunger pangs that lead dieters to break their resolve and eat more than their supposed to. But fortunately, there are simple and easy ways to curb such hunger pangs.

To start off, you can learn how to discern actual hunger from simple cravings. For example, if you've just eaten an hour or two ago and you start feeling hungry again, let it pass. You still have enough food in your stomach that needs digesting.

Drink lots of water. If you are one who takes a while to get a full feeling, take a glass of water before your meal. It can trick your stomach into thinking it is full. Also, there are times that hunger pangs are mistaken signs of thirst. The next time you feel hungry, drink water and see if the feeling goes away.

Find healthy snack items. A piece of fruit, a slice of whole wheat bread, or raw vegetables like celery or carrots can be nutritious and tasty snack treats. They can fill you up and still provide you with the nutrients you need.

If you feel hungry, wait it out for ten minutes. Normal cravings only last for a short period of time. By the time your ten-minute wait is over, you would've found something else to do that would take your mind of the “hunger” you felt minutes ago.

Find something to do. Look for a book to read, watch television, take a walk around the park, or call a friend. Anything that takes your mind off of eating can help you get past the current hunger pang you're feeling.

Dieting will take a lot of out you, it will test your will and determination to see your weight loss goals through to the end. Know that even though sticking to your diet plan can be difficult, there are ways to stay with it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Diet More Important Than Exercise Against Obesity

Exercise is something that almost everyone had heard the benefits of. Everything from heart conditions to depression is said to be alleviated a little bit by regular physical activity. So it comes as no surprise that when hearing advise on how to fight obesity, people would often be told that they need to exercise more regularly. However, it may not be as much of a cure-all for obesity as some would paint it out to be. While improving someone's nutritional intake and exercise has been one of the hallmark prescriptions for reducing weight, new studies suggest that what a person eats may be the critical factor.

For example, researchers had found that the slimmer Nigerian women were more physically active, but surprisingly, there appeared to be no significant difference between the two groups when it came down to how much was burned during exercise. It was found that, while people could burn more calories by regularly exercising, they have a tendency to compensate by eating more food. Or in some cases, eating the wrong type of food. The data revealed that diet seemed to be a more likely reason for one group weighing less than another despite the same levels of physical exertion. In one study conducted between Nigerian and Chicago women, both groups had the same amount of physical exertion, but the Nigerian women weighed less and had lower risk of obesity. The only fundamental difference was in their diet, with the Nigerian women having high fiber and carbohydrates, and consumed low amounts of fat and animal protein.

Still, the researchers believe that more studies into the matter need to be conducted, as the data contradicts numerous previous studies. One example was found within the Old Order Amish, who were found to have a genetic mutation that increased their risk of obesity. However, they had managed to stay thin and avoid becoming obese due to engaging in a lot of physical activity.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Element of Fear

Is there such a man whose heart is not touched by fear?

Fear is a word that has inspired many creative minds to conspire magnificent works of art in whatever form, depicting its reality in an attempt to capture its actuality. But the enigma surrounding fear could be as abstract and as deep as that of love or any other emotion of all human beings regardless of whatever state of mind they may intend to feel during certain given circumstances. Because of its foreboding nature and that twinge of danger associated and equated with it, fear has enticed, inspired, and even repulsed a variety of personages coming from different walks of life.

But to live without fear or to be without it completely is both an impossibility and an improbability. As with other negative and positive emotions, fear serves a particular purpose necessitated for our survival in this world. For a man to live without it is just like saying that he is not mortal to begin with.

What is fear?

Fear is a distressing emotion that alerts us of imminent danger threatening harm or worse, putting our existence at risk. It is a natural response necessitated for our survival. However, contrary to common perception, fear is diverse from anxiety. The latter is triggered by external factors. Overcoming anxiety requires specific measures that are different from the exercise of dealing with fear.

Moreover, fear is associated with behaviors related to escapism and avoidance. But in such cases, the negative stimulus is neither inescapable nor uncontrollable. Normally, when we suddenly feel afraid, it is a signal that there is something potentially dangerous and should, thus, be avoided. However, it remains pending, giving us ample time to devise strategies of escaping and avoiding it altogether. This is in direct opposition to anxiety wherein we are overwhelmed by the stimulus, which is always external, prompting us to perceive it as both beyond our means and inevitable. So, when we are burdened by anxiety, we feel helplessly trapped in a dangerous or threatening situation.

Oftentimes, fear is linked to pain. Several theories have identified fear as one of the primary emotions. It is one of our natural built-in mechanisms necessitated for survival, serving as a response to a given negative stimulus.
How do we behave when we are afraid?

People who are afraid pass through many different emotional stages. When we are gripped by fear, we could have any of these two common behavioral reactions:

1.We could become so intimidated by the stimulus that we give in to whatever demands are posed to us in order to avoid getting hurt.

2.We shift to defense mode and become aggressive to the extent of becoming deadly. The latter is categorized as instinctive reaction instead of a premeditated one since it results from an increase in our adrenaline level.

The following characteristics are typical in the visage of a person whose mind is gripped by fear:

  • The eyes widen, indicating an obvious negative anticipation for what would transpire next.

  • Dilation of the pupils would occur. It is an involuntary act to take in more light.

  • The upper lip is raised.

  • The brows are drawn together.

  • The lips are stretched horizontally.

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Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Much Dreaded Menstrual Pain

One of the much dreaded discomfort that majority of young girls and women experience is the monthly menstrual pain. Menstrual pain, which is also commonly referred to as menstrual cramp, is basically a sharp pain that is felt in a woman's lower abdomen. This usually occurs once menstruation starts and continues for some women for two to three days. Menstrual cramps are considered nuisance by young girls and women for the symptoms' severity can range from mild to severe pain that can definitely disrupt one's daily activities.

Understanding menstrual cramps

It is proven that menstrual pain is among the leading causes of absenteeism in young girls and women who are younger than 30 years old. While there are still quite a number of women who fortunately experience less or no pain at all during their menstruation, there are those who are even temporarily disabled by the symptoms of menstrual cramps.

Below are some of the factors that can most likely make a woman experience menstrual pain:

  1. Early start of menstruation
  2. Period lasts up to five days or longer
  3. Obesity or overweight
  4. Too much alcohol consumption
  5. Cigarette smoking

Moreover, there are many known causes of menstrual cramps. Certain chemicals in a woman's body, prostaglandins for instance, are said to produce symptoms that are associated with menstrual pains. These chemicals rouse a woman's uterine muscles to contract. Those who have high levels of these chemicals in their bodies are the ones who experience severe and pain contractions in their uterus.

The following are other known causes of menstrual cramps:

  1. Ovarian cyst
  2. infections in the reproductive organs
  3. Endometriosis
  4. Narrow cervix
  5. Intra-uterine device
  6. Adenomyosis
  7. Fibroids

Known symptoms of menstrual cramps

Apart from the pain experienced in the lower abdomen, menstrual cramps can also be associated with the following symptoms:

  1. leg pain
  2. Nausea
  3. Vomiting
  4. Weakness
  5. Irritability
  6. Headache
  7. Diarrhea
  8. Lower back pain
  9. Fainting

Self-care home treatments for menstrual pain

As recommended by physicians, the fastest way to relieve painful menstrual cramps is to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as Orudis, Advil, and Aleve. These medications are known to be effective in blocking the painful effects brought by prostaglandins.

In addition, a woman experiencing menstrual pain can also make use of a heating pad and place it against the pelvic area. Exercising daily, especially before the start of the period, is also a good way to prevent experiencing menstrual pains. Other easy-to-do home remedies are as follows:

  • Massaging the back and lower abdomen

  • Taking 100 mg Thiamine everyday

  • Eating a low-fat vegetarian

  • Taking 1200 mg Calcium everyday

On the other hand, another option for women to prevent menstrual pain is to seek consultation with a licensed gynecologist and ask prescription for a hormonal birth control pill. Birth control pills are proven to improve a woman's menstrual cycle by lessening the pain. When pain is not reduced in taking pills, other treatments are usually recommended by physicians. These treatments include acupuncture and nitroglycerin patch.

No woman deserves the pain brought by monthly menstrual period. So free yourself from the pain and seek relief treatments that will best suit you.

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Rcon Franchesca V. Pascua is a web content writer and researcher who specializes in health and fitness topics. She enjoys reading health-related features and articles and sharing what she learns by providing tips and guidelines on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Too Afraid...Too Often...Too Dangerous

The very familiar view of your room with its high ceiling and old, convenient furnishing greet you. You have awakened to yet another ordinary day where you expect to do the very same things you've done the day before and those that came before it. You know you should be out of bed by now, rushing to the shower to ready yourself for work. But you dare not lift yourself from your bed. Muscles tight, your hands fasten themselves in a vise grip clutching the sides your bed. Gasping for air, your heartbeat drums frantically against your chest. Slowly at first, the once hazy images you saw in your dream come back to you, presenting themselves in open consternation for your conscious mind. If not for the tremendously paralyzing fear taking hold of you at this very moment, those images are nothing more than daily concerns no different from those other people face every day. But in your current weakened and unusually very frightened state, they are life-threatening menaces assaulting your senses, tearing your sanity apart. Shaking uncontrollably, you make a futile attempt to gather your wits about you, hoping they would somehow give you something to hold onto, something to keep you from totally falling apart. It wasn't like this before, and you weren't like this before. Worries are mundane, and you know that. But these past few months have shown a remarkably negative twist you least expected...and things don't look pretty at all...No...Not at all...

If you find yourself beleaguered by worries, which are otherwise trivial, and they storm your mind unrelentingly, causing uncomfortable physical symptoms, then chances are: you must be suffering from general anxiety disorder. Overcoming anxiety borne from this psychological disorder is possible through a combination of psychotherapy and medication, which your doctor should carefully monitor. To find out if your symptoms fit into this ailment, consider carefully the following indicators:

You're always looking forward to the worst that could possibly be. You think that you are just being extremely pessimistic. But you know there is something else worse than being just a pessimist. It's not that you want things to really turn out terribly. No. You are not a terrible person to want the worst in everything.

Your bills worry you to death. Not knowing what would happen during the seminar worries you to death. Even thinking of what to prepare for dinner drives you mad as a hatter. And at times, you also find yourself worried as to whether or not you're going to wake up tomorrow.

Sleeping has become a real hassle. Turning and twisting in your bed for half an hour or more has become a brightly occurrence you're starting to get used to. On top of that, you awaken in the middle of your sleep because of nightmares—you knew they were there, but somehow, upon opening your eyes abruptly, they just vanish as if they never came.

Every time you drive yourself mad by worrying too much, you experience muscle tension, twitching, sweating, hot flashes, and headaches.

You are as crotchety as crotchety could ever be. The slightest disturbance is enough for your head to burst into flames.

Your often gasping for air and spaced out. At times you are so nauseated, you could no longer do what you should do. Your trips to the bathroom have also become frequent. And that funny feeling of having a lump in your throat has become a daily fixture. These days, it hardly bothers you anymore. You're comfortable with it already.

You're very excitable, and you startle easily that there are times that you overreact to otherwise not very surprising surprises or sudden events.
You always feel exhausted even if you hardly moved a muscle throughout the day.

You can't keep your mind focused on one thing.
The inconvenient feeling of dejection strikes you often.

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Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Living with Schizophrenia: It's Not Easy but It can be Done

Schizophrenia is a lifelong psychiatric disorder. More than having split or multiple personalities, schizophrenia causes people afflicted with it to live in imagined realities and contend with excessive paranoias over which they have no control. Science and medical studies have yet to produce a medicine that can permanently cure the imbalances in the brain chemicals that trigger the disorder – and until then, schizophrenics have to learn to live with the condition.

If you are afflicted with schizophrenia, do not lose hope. Managing the condition is not easy but it can be done with the right medications and life techniques. In fact, there are several famous and accomplished personalities who have have to battle with schizophrenia throughout their adult lives. Some of these notable persons include the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash of “A Beautiful Mind” and famous athletes Andy Goram (former football goalkeeper, now coach to Scotland's Clyde Football Club) and Lionel Aldridge, a Superbowl winner. Several musicians of note have also been diagnosed with schizophrenia but nevertheless moved on to make better name for themselves like Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green and Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett. If they can do it, you can also turn your life around and start living to the fullest despite having schizophrenia. Here are some tips to make your situation more manageable:

1.Seek comprehensive medical care.

While most schizophrenics opt for outpatient care, you can also choose to get into a rehabilitative facility dedicated to schizophrenia until you learn how to control symptoms. In these centers, you will be taught of life skills and management techniques that can help you cope with your condition. These centers are also equipped with expert doctors and psychiatrists that can help treat your symptoms. If you do not want to stay in a center, you can get the same benefits by working with a medical team that you feel comfortable with. Be open about your symptoms, thoughts, and anything that enters your head regardless of whether you think it is imagined or not. Opening communication lines with your health care provider can save you from trouble in the long run.

2.Be religious in taking your medications.

While medications like Geodon, Abilify, and antidepressants only serve to control schizophrenia symptoms, they are useful in preventing relapses and even worser episodes. Do not let the skyrocketing costs of medicines today prevent you from taking your medications properly since you can order prescription drugs online and save money. Take your medications even if you do not feel any symptom or haven't had an attack in recent times. These medications can help you feel better and prevent further brain chemical imbalances from occurring.

3.Modify your lifestyle to a healthier one.

If you still indulge in habits like using drugs and drinking alcohol, stop them. These substances can negate the effects of your medications and make your symptoms worse. Smoking can also have the same effect and contribute to increased schizophrenic episodes. You can also explore healthy ways to channel your energy, such as hobbies, exercise, and recreational activities. As always, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help you on your way to recovery.

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Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical health care and sharing them through her writing.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hirsutism: A Hairy Issue

Everyone has body hair, the amount of which is dependent on the genetic makeup of the specific person. However, men are generally considered to be hairier than women given that their bodies produce more testosterone, the hormone necessary to produce hair. In the occasion that a woman experiences excessive hair growth in areas where men typically grow hair such as the face, chest, and back, she may be suffering from a condition called hirsutism.

Hirsutism is a condition of unwanted, male-pattern hair growth in women caused by an excess of androgens, the hormone necessary for testosterone production. Aside from excess male hormone, hirsutism can also be caused by ethnic or genetic traits. Whatever the cause, hirsutism can cause considerable discomfort for women. If you suspect that you are suffering from hirsutism, here are some tips that can help you manage this hairy issue:

1.Be aware of the symptoms.

Hirsutism is more than just sprouting a beard over your lipstick. There is more to it than an overgrowth of hair. Young people are likely to experience a spurt of hair growth when they hit puberty but it doesn't mean that they are suffering from hirsutism. If you are way past the adolescent age and have hair on parts that should have and shouldn't have it, other symptoms of hirsutism to watch out for include a deepening voice, baldness, acne, decreasing breast size, increased muscle mass, and clitoral enlargement. If you have or suspect to have these symptoms, consult your doctor for a possible case of hirsutism.

2.Get the possible causes out in the open.

The most effective means to treat something is to address underlying conditions that made it possible. As such, discuss with your doctor the possible causes behind your hirsutism. Some causes to consider aside from those discussed above include polycystic ovary syndrome (imbalance of sex hormones), Cushing's syndrome (exposure to increased cortisol), congenital adrenal hyperplasia (abnormal steroids production), tumors, and medications.

3.Undergo exams and tests your doctor will prescribe.

Most often than not, your doctor will probably have you undergo certain diagnostic examinations before confirming any diagnosis and prescribing any treatment. These tests can range from the typical full physical examination to more technical ones like ultrasound and CT scans. Be sure to get these diagnostic tests done in a public hospital where they are often cheaper or in an in-network facility of your health insurance provider to save on costs.

4.Use the prescribed medications.

Depending on the cause and severity of your case, your doctor may prescribe that you undergo different treatments or use several forms of medications. Some of the most common treatments for hirsutism include electrolysis and laser therapy, procedures that permanently remove unwanted hair. While speedy results are expected from these treatments, they do not address the source of hirsutism. Medications, on the other hand, can range from oral contraceptives, anti-androgen drugs, and topical creams which treat the underlying hormonal imbalances to eliminate the cause of hirsutism. You can usually get these medications from a discount pharmacy.

5.Manage unwanted hair.

Treatment for the underlying causes of hirsutism can take a long time. Aside from laser therapy, you can also opt to manage or remove unwanted hair by using depilatory creams, plucking, shaving, and waxing. Just be sure to follow directions and get professional advice to avoid irritating your skin and getting ingrown hairs and rashes.

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Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Take Control of Holiday Stress

The holidays will be here whether you like it or not. So, you either face it or skip it. Skipping the holidays entirely means going somewhere else where you will not be bothered by anything that will remind you of the festive season. And that will be quite a feat. For everywhere you go, there will always be something that will remind you that it's the holiday season, and you will only be hounded by your conscience for running away from it.

You don't have to go through such an emotional ordeal just to cope with the stress and anxiety that go with the holiday traditions: the gift-shopping list you still haven't bought, the gifts you have already bought but haven't had the time to wrap yet, the pile of party invitations here and there... and so on and so forth.

But for many, the number one source of holiday stress is none other than your very own family. Once you think about the family dinner, the obligations, and the burden of family traditions, it's more than enough to trigger the advent of holiday stress.

To prepare yourself in coping better this season, ask yourself just what it is in holidays that you dread about. By specifically identifying that vague sense of dread, you are setting yourself up in dealing with it directly. Here is a list of some of the things that can trigger a holiday stress:

  • Unhappy memories. Family reunions during the holiday season will naturally bring back old memories. Some of these memories may be more bitter than sweet. Some people associate the holidays with a bad time in their life, such as the loss of a loved one or a previous depression. Then, this time of year can bring those memories back.

  • Unwelcomed relatives. Finding yourself in the company of relatives you avoid the rest of the year can trigger anxiety. Those who struggle with depression may face the stigma of being labeled as lazy or too emotional. It can really be hurtful when people think that way.

  • Negative changes. Just like news, everything that’s changed in your life - specifically the changes that border in the negative, such as separation, financial losses - are usually the ones that become highlighted as topics of conversation. Any of these can really unsettle a gathering and add holiday stress.

  • Lack of energy. Since this is also the cold and flu season, you’re more likely to be stressed out by obligations and errands. You’re immune system is down, eating habit at its worst, and sleeping a lot less than you used to. By the time the family gathering rolls around, you’re all worn out, tense, and fragile.

While the holidays can make people feel seem out of control, it doesn't have to. Take some control over the holidays, instead of letting them control you. When yo do things not because you want to but you have to, think again. Do you really have to?

Make a list of reasons why you engage in these holiday traditions, and then a list of reasons why you shouldn’t. This list will remind you that you do have a choice. Try not to do things the same way just because that’s how you always do them. Focus on the holiday stresses that you can control. If the old holiday traditions aren’t working, if they’re not making you happy and causing holiday stress, it’s time to do it differently.

Resource Box : Monch Bravante is a freelance writer and an advertising practitioner with special interest in public health issues.