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Friday, December 11, 2009

Avoiding the Risks of Hypertension



High blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Arteries are vessels that carry blood from the pumping heart to all the tissues and organs of the body.

High blood pressure does not mean excessive emotional tension, although emotional tension and stress can temporarily increase blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80; blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called "pre-hypertension", and a blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered high.

The top number, the systolic blood pressure, corresponds to the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood forward into the arteries. The bottom number, the diastolic pressure, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after the contraction. The diastolic pressure reflects the lowest pressure to which the arteries are exposed.

An elevation of the systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure increases the risk of developing heart (cardiac) disease, kidney (renal) disease, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis), eye damage, and stroke (brain damage). These complications of hypertension are often referred to as end-organ damage because damage to these organs is the end result of chronic (long duration) high blood pressure. For that reason, the diagnosis of high blood pressure is important so efforts can be made to normalize blood pressure and prevent complications.

It was previously thought that rises in diastolic blood pressure were a more important risk factor than systolic elevations, but it is now known that in people 50 years or older systolic hypertension represents a greater risk.

The American Heart Association estimates high blood pressure affects approximately one in three adults in the United States - 73 million people. High blood pressure is also estimated to affect about two million American teens and children, and the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that many are under-diagnosed. Hypertension is clearly a major public health problem.

How is the blood pressure measured?

The blood pressure usually is measured with a small, portable instrument called a blood pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer). "Sphygmo" is Greek for pulse, and a manometer measures pressure. The blood pressure cuff consists of an air pump, a pressure gauge, and a rubber cuff. The instrument measures the blood pressure in units called millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

The cuff is placed around the upper arm and inflated with an air pump to a pressure that blocks the flow of blood in the main artery (brachial artery) that travels through the arm. The arm is then extended at the side of the body at the level of the heart, and the pressure of the cuff on the arm and artery is gradually released.

As the pressure in the cuff decreases, a health practitioner listens with a stethoscope over the artery at the front of the elbow. The pressure at which the practitioner first hears a pulsation from the artery is the systolic pressure (the top number). As the cuff pressure decreases further, the pressure at which the pulsation finally stops is the diastolic pressure (the bottom number).

How is high blood pressure defined?

Blood pressure can be affected by several factors, so it is important to standardize the environment when blood pressure is measured. For at least one hour before blood pressure is taken, avoid eating, strenuous exercise (which can lower blood pressure), smoking, and caffeine intake. Other stresses may alter the blood pressure and need to be considered when blood pressure is measured.

Even though most insurance companies consider high blood pressure to be 140/90 and higher for the general population, these levels may not be appropriate cut-offs for all individuals. Many experts in the field of hypertension view blood pressure levels as a range, from lower levels to higher levels. Such a range implies there are no clear or precise cut-off values to separate normal blood pressure from high blood pressure. Individuals with so-called pre-hypertension (defined as a blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89) may benefit from lowering of blood pressure by life style modification and possibly medication especially if there are other risk factors for end-organ damage such as diabetes or kidney disease (life style changes are discussed below).

For some people, blood pressure readings lower than 140/90 may be a more appropriate normal cut-off level. For example, in certain situations, such as in patients with long duration (chronic) kidney diseases that spill (lose) protein into the urine (proteinuria), the blood pressure is ideally kept at 130/80, or even lower. The purpose of reducing the blood pressure to this level in these patients is to slow the progression of kidney damage.

Patients with diabetes (diabetes mellitus) may also benefit from blood pressure that is maintained at a level lower than 130/80. In addition, African Americans, who have an increased risk for developing the complications of hypertension, may decrease this risk by reducing their systolic blood pressure to less than 135 and the diastolic blood pressure to 80 mm Hg or less.

In line with the thinking that the risk of end-organ damage from high blood pressure represents a continuum, statistical analysis reveals that beginning at a blood pressure of 115/75 the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles with each increase in blood pressure of 20/10. This type of analysis has led to an ongoing "rethinking" in regard to who should be treated for hypertension, and what the goals of treatment should be.

Isolated systolic high blood pressure

Remember that the systolic blood pressure is the top number in the blood pressure reading and represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries. A systolic blood pressure that is persistently higher than 140 mm Hg is usually considered elevated, especially when associated with an elevated diastolic pressure (over 90).

Isolated systolic hypertension, however, is defined as a systolic pressure that is above 140 mm Hg with a diastolic pressure that still is below 90. This disorder primarily affects older people and is characterized by an increased (wide) pulse pressure. The pulse pressure is the difference between the systolic and diastolic blood pressures. An elevation of the systolic pressure without an elevation of the diastolic pressure, as in isolated systolic hypertension, therefore, increases the pulse pressure. Stiffening of the arteries contributes to this widening of the pulse pressure.

Once considered to be harmless, a high pulse pressure is now considered an important precursor or indicator of health problems and potential end-organ damage. Isolated systolic hypertension is associated with a two to four times increased future risk of an enlarged heart, a heart attackstroke (brain damage), and death from heart disease or a stroke. Clinical studies in patients with isolated systolic hypertension have indicated that a reduction in systolic blood pressure by at least 20 mm to a level below 160 mm Hg reduces these increased risks.

White coat high blood pressure

A single elevated blood pressure reading in the doctor's office can be misleading because the elevation may be only temporary. It may be caused by a patient's anxiety related to the stress of the examination and fear that something will be wrong with his or her health. The initial visit to the physician's office is often the cause of an artificially high blood pressure that may disappear with repeated testing after rest and with follow-up visits and blood pressure checks.

One out of four people that are thought to have mild hypertension actually may ha

ve normal blood pressure when they are outside the physician's office. An increase in blood pressure noted only in the doctor's office is called 'white coat hypertension.' The name suggests that the physician's white coat induces the patient's anxiety and a brief increase in blood pressure. A diagnosis of white coat hypertension might imply that it is not a clinically important or dangerous finding.

However, caution is warranted in assessing white coat hypertension. An elevated blood pressure brought on by the stress and anxiety of a visit to the doctor may not necessarily always be a harmless finding since other stresses in a patient's life may also cause elevations in the blood pressure that are not ordinarily being measured. Monitoring blood pressure at home by blood pressure cuff or continuous monitoring equipment or at a pharmacy can help estimate the frequency and consistency of higher blood pressure readings. Additionally, conducting appropriate tests to search for any complications of hypertension can help evaluate the significance of variable blood pressure readings.

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Borderline high blood pressure

Borderline hypertension is defined as mildly elevated blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg at some times, and lower than that at other times. As in the case of white coat hypertension, patients with borderline hypertension need to have their blood pressure taken on several occasions and their end-organ damage assessed in order to establish whether their hypertension is significant.

People with borderline hypertension may have a tendency as they get older to develop more sustained or higher elevations of blood pressure. They have a modestly increased risk of developing heart-related (cardiovascular) disease. Therefore, even if the hypertension does not appear to be significant initially, people with borderline hypertension should have continuing follow-up of their blood pressure and monitoring for the complications of hypertension.

If, during the follow-up of a patient with borderline hypertension, the blood pressure becomes persistently higher than 140/ 90 mm Hg, an anti-hypertensive medication is usually started. Even if the diastolic pressure remains at a borderline level (usually under 90 mm Hg, yet persistently above 85) treatment may be started in certain circumstances.

What causes high blood pressure?

Two forms of high blood pressure have been described: essential (or primary) hypertension and secondary hypertension. Essential hypertension is a far more common condition and accounts for 95% of hypertension. The cause of essential hypertension is multifactorial, that is, there are several factors whose combined effects produce hypertension. In secondary hypertension, which accounts for 5% of hypertension, the high blood pressure is secondary to (caused by) a specific abnormality in one of the organs or systems of the body. (Secondary hypertension is discussed further in a separate section later.)

Essential hypertension affects approximately 72 million Americans, yet its basic causes or underlying defects are not always known. Nevertheless, certain associations have been recognized in people with essential hypertension. For example, essential hypertension develops only in groups or societies that have a fairly high intake of salt, exceeding 5.8 grams daily. Salt intake may be a particularly important factor in relation to essential hypertension in several situations, and excess salt may be involved in the hypertension that is associated with advancing age, African American background, obesity, hereditary (genetic) susceptibility, and kidney failure (renal insufficiency).

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends healthy 19 to 50-year-old adults consume only 3.8 grams of salt to replace the average amount lost daily through perspiration and to achieve a diet that provides sufficient amounts of other essential nutrients.

Genetic factors are thought to play a prominent role in the development of essential hypertension. However, the genes for hypertension have not yet been identified. (Genes are tiny portions of chromosomes that produce the proteins that determine the characteristics of individuals.) The current research in this area is focused on the genetic factors that affect the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. This system helps to regulate blood pressure by controlling salt balance and the tone (state of elasticity) of the arteries.

Approximately 30% of cases of essential hypertension are attributable to genetic factors. For example, in the United States, the incidence of high blood pressure is greater among African Americans than among Caucasians or Asians. Also, in individuals who have one or two parents with hypertension, high blood pressure is twice as common as in the general population. Rarely, certain unusual genetic disorders affecting the hormones of the adrenal glands may lead to hypertension. (These identified genetic disorders are considered secondary hypertension.)

The vast majority of patients with essential hypertension have in common a particular abnormality of the arteries: an increased resistance (stiffness or lack of elasticity) in the tiny arteries that are most distant from the heart (peripheral arteries or arterioles). The arterioles supply oxygen-containing blood and nutrients to all of the tissues of the body. The arterioles are connected by capillaries in the tissues to the veins (the venous system), which returns the blood to the heart and lungs. Just what makes the peripheral arteries become stiff is not known.

Yet, this increased peripheral arteriolar stiffness is present in those individuals whose essential hypertension is associated with genetic factors, obesity, lack of exercise, overuse of salt, and aging. Inflammation also may play a role in hypertension since a predictor of the development of hypertension is the presence of an elevated C reactive protein level (a blood test marker of inflammation) in some individuals.

What are the causes of secondary high blood pressure?

As mentioned previously, 5% of people with hypertension have what is called secondary hypertension. This means that the hypertension in these individuals is secondary to (caused by) a specific disorder of a particular organ or blood vessel, such as the kidney, adrenal gland, or aortic artery.

Renal (kidney) hypertension

Diseases of the kidneys can cause secondary hypertension. This type of secondary hypertension is called renal hypertension because it is caused by a problem in the kidneys. One important cause of renal hypertension is narrowing (stenosis) of the artery that supplies blood to the kidneys (renal artery). In younger individuals, usually women, the narrowing is caused by a thickening of the muscular wall of the arteries going to the kidney (fibromuscular hyperplasia). In older individuals, the narrowing generally is due to hard, fat-containing (atherosclerotic) plaques that are blocking the renal artery.

How does narrowing of the renal artery cause hypertension? First, the narrowed renal artery impairs the circulation of blood to the affected kidney. This deprivation of blood then stimulates the kidney to produce the hormones, renin and angiotensin. These hormones, along with aldosterone from the adrenal gland, cause a constriction and increased stiffness (resistance) in the peripheral arteries throughout the body, which results in high blood pressure.

Renal hypertension is usually first suspected when high blood pressure is found in a young individual or a new onset of high blood pressure is discovered in an older person. Screening for renal artery narrowing then may include renal isotope (radioactive) imaging, ultrasonographic (sound wave) imaging, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the renal arteries. The purpose of these tests is to determine whether there is a restricted blood flow to the kidney and whether angioplasty (removal of the restriction in the renal arteries) is likely to be beneficial.

However, if the ultrasonic assessment indicates a high resistive index within the kidney (high resistance to blood flow), angioplasty may not improve the blood pressure because chronic damage in the kidney from long-standing hypertension already exists. If any of these tests are abnormal or the doctor's suspicion of renal artery narrowing is high enough, renal angiography (an x-ray study in which dye is injected into the renal artery) is done. Angiography is the ultimate test to actually visualize the narrowed renal artery.

A narrowing of the renal artery may be treated by balloon angioplasty. In this procedure, the physician threads a long narrow tube (catheter) into the renal artery. Once the catheter is there, the renal artery is widened by inflating a balloon at the end of the catheter and placing a permanent stent (a device that stretches the narrowing) in the artery at the site of the narrowing. This procedure usually results in an improved blood flow to the kidneys and lower blood pressure.

Moreover, the procedure also preserves the function of the kidney that was partially deprived of its normal blood supply. Only rarely is surgery needed these days to open up the narrowing of the renal artery.

Any of the other types of chronic kidney disease that reduces the function of the kidneys can also cause hypertension due to hormonal disturbances and/or retention of salt.

It is important to remember that not only can kidney disease cause hypertension, but hypertension can also cause kidney disease. Therefore, all patients with high blood pressure should be evaluated for the presence of kidney disease so they can be treated appropriately.

Adrenal gland tumors

Two rare types of tumors of the adrenal glands are less common, secondary causes of hypertension. The adrenal glands sit right on top of the kidneys. Both of these tumors produce excessive amounts of adrenal hormones that cause high blood pressure.

These tumors can be diagnosed from blood tests, urine tests, and imaging studies of the adrenal glands. Surgery is often required to remove these tumors or the adrenal gland (adrenalectomy), which usually relieves the hypertension.

One of the types of adrenal tumors causes a condition that is called primary hyperaldosteronism because the tumor produces excessive amounts of the hormone aldosterone. In addition to the hypertension, this condition causes the loss of excessive amounts of potassium from the body into the urine, which results in a low level of potassium in the blood. Hyperaldosteronism is generally first suspected in a person with hypertension when low potassium is also found in the blood. (Also, certain rare genetic disorders affecting the hormones of the adrenal gland can cause secondary hypertension.)

The other type of adrenal tumor that can cause secondary hypertension is called a pheochromocytoma. This tumor produces excessive catecholamines, which include several adrenaline-related hormones. The diagnosis of a pheochromocytoma is suspected in individuals who have sudden and recurrent episodes of hypertension that are associated with flushing of the skin, rapid heart beating (palpitations), and sweating, in addition to the symptoms associated with high blood pressure.

Coarctation of the aorta

Coarctation of the aorta is a rare hereditary disorder that is one of the most common causes of hypertension in children. This condition is characterized by a narrowing of a segment of the aorta, the main large artery coming from the heart. The aorta delivers blood to the arteries that supply all of the body's organs, including the kidneys.

The narrowed segment (coarctation) of the aorta generally occurs above the renal arteries, which causes a reduced blood flow to the kidneys. This lack of blood to the kidneys prompts the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone hormonal system to elevate the blood pressure. Treatment of the coarctation is usually the surgical correction of the narrowed segment of the aorta. Sometimes, balloon angioplasty (as described above for renal artery stenosis) can be used to widen (dilate) the coarctation of the aorta.

The metabolic syndrome and obesity

Genetic factors play a role in the constellation of findings that make up the "metabolic syndrome." Individuals with the metabolic syndrome have insulin resistance and a tendency to have type 2 diabetes mellitus (non-insulin-dependent diabetes).

Obesity, especially associated with a marked increase in abdominal girth, leads to high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), elevated blood lipids (fats), vascular inflammation, endothelial dysfunction (abnormal reactivity of the blood vessels), and hypertension all leading to premature atherosclerotic vascular disease.

The American Obesity Association states the risk of developing hypertension is five to six times greater in obese Americans, age 20 to 45, compared to non-obese individuals of the same age. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported in 2005 that waist size was a better predictor of a person's blood pressure than body mass index (BMI). Men should strive for a waist size of 35 inches or under and women 33 inches or under. The epidemic of obesity in the United States contributes to hypertension in children, adolescents, and adults.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

Uncomplicated high blood pressure usually occurs without any symptoms (silently) and so hypertension has been labeled "the silent killer." It is called this because the disease can progress to finally develop any one or more of the several potentially fatal complications of hypertension such as heart attacks or strokes. Uncomplicated hypertension may be present and remain unnoticed for many years, or even decades. This happens when there are no symptoms, and those affected fail to undergo periodic blood pressure screening.

Some people with uncomplicated hypertension, however, may experience symptoms such as headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, and blurred vision. The presence of symptoms can be a good thing in that they can prompt people to consult a doctor for treatment and make them more compliant in taking their medications. Often, however, a person's first contact with a physician may be after significant damage to the end-organs has occurred. In many cases, a person visits or is brought to the doctor or an emergency room with a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, or impaired vision (due to damage to the back part of the retina). Greater public awareness and frequent blood pressure screening may help to identify patients with undiagnosed high blood pressure before significant complications have developed.

About one out of every 100 (1%) people with hypertension is diagnosed with severe high blood pressure (accelerated or malignant hypertension) at their first visit to the doctor. In these patients, the diastolic blood pressure (the minimum pressure) exceeds 140 mm Hg!

Affected persons often experience severe headache, nausea, visual symptoms, dizziness, and sometimes kidney failure. Malignant hypertension is a medical emergency and requires urgent treatment to prevent a stroke (brain damage).

[SOURCE: www.MedicineNet.com]

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

How to Remedy Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an occupational hazard for anyone whose job involves making repetitive movements with the hands and/or fingers. In this age of computers, that means virtually anyone who works in an office, as well as assembly line workers, bookkeepers, cashiers, jackhammer operators, musicians, and many others.

Spending a great deal of time engaging in a hobby such as knitting and needlework can also cause problems. No matter what your occupation, the following measures are recommended to help you reduce the risk of developing this painful and disabling condition:
  • Use your whole hand and all of your fingers when you grip an object.
  • Whenever possible, use a tool instead of flexing your wrists forcibly.
  • Make sure your posture is correct. For keyboard tasks, sit straight in your chair with your body tilted slightly back. Raise or lower your chair so that your knees are bent at a right angle and your feet are flat on the floor. Your wrists and hands should be straight and your forearms parallel to the floor. Keep your wrists and hands consistently in a straight line.
  • Keep your elbows bent. This lessens the load close to your body and reduce the amount of force required to do your job. Give yourself elbow room to allow you to use as much of your arm as you can while keeping your wrists straight. Use your whole arm while performing tasks in order to minimize the stress on your elbow.
  • Adjust your computer screen so that it is about two feet away from you and just below your line of sight.
  • Use arm rests that attach to the chair to keep your wrists from flexing too much.
  • If the relative positions of your desk, chair, and keyboard do not allow you to keep your wrists straight while keyboarding, the use of "wrist rest" pad in front of the keyboard is highly recommended to alleviate pressure on the carpal tunnel.
  • Slow your rhythm while varying wrist and hand movements.
  • Take a break from handwork for a few minutes every hour.
  • Shake out your hands periodically throughout the day.
  • Perform simple stretching exercises before your daily tasks to improve overall circulation and aid in warming up the muscles.
We suggest that you browse this REMEDY.

The American Physical Therapy Association recommends these exercises:
  1. Resting one forearm on a table, grasp the fingertips of that hand and pull back gently. Hold this position for five seconds, then repeat the exercise with the other hand.
  2. Press the palms flat on a table, as if doing a push-up. Lean forward to stretch the forearm muscles and the wrists.
Another recommended gentle exercise is done by rotating the wrist. Move your hands around in a circle for about two minutes, thoroughly stretching the muscles of the hand. This helps to restore circulation and improve the posture of the wrist.

Do strengthening exercises. Place a rubber band around the fingers to provide resistance, and then open and close the fingers. Three times a day, do a set of ten repetitions with each hand.

Monday, October 26, 2009

FEMASOOTH - Best Relief for Pre-Menstrual Syndrome


The cause of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), which most experts agree on, is related to some type of disturbance that disrupts the delicate hormonal balance that exists mainly between estrogen and progesterone.

FEMASOOTH is designed to help rejuvenate the hormone balance, while providing relief from PMS-related symptoms.

  • Balances two key hormones: estrogen and progesterone
  • Relieves PMS symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, cramps, bloating, headache, breast tenderness, swelling, etc.
  • Promotes ovulation
  • Reduces mood swings and fluid retention
  • Normalizes the menstrual cycle and reduces menstrual pain
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Chasteberry Fruit B.E.E. – helps bring estrogen and progesterone back into balance and promotes ovulation.
Calcium – helps reduce PMS-related moodiness, fluid retention, prevents cramps and muscle pain. By soothing emotional irritability, it also prevents the fatigue many women suffer.
Magnesium – research finds that women with PMS symptoms are typically deficient in magnesium, which helps relieve cramps and control pre-menstrual sugar cravings. Magnesium also helps stabilize moods, by affecting brain chemistry. It also helps combat fatigue.
Wild Yam Root B.E.E. – contains natural steroids that rejuvenate, relieves menstrual cramps and morning sickness.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) - is required for balancing hormonal changes in women as well as assisting the immune system and the growth of new cells. It is also used in the processing and metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, while helping women control their mood and behavior. 


Pyridoxine might also be of benefit for children with learning difficulties, as well as assisting in the prevention of dandruff, eczema and psoriasis. It assists in the balancing of sodium and potassium, as well as promotes red blood cell production. It is further involved in the nucleic acids RNA and DNA. 

It is likewise linked to cancer immunity and fights the formation of the toxic chemical homocysteine, which is detrimental to the heart muscle.
Peppermint Leaves B.E.E. – helps normalize the menstrual cycle and relieves menstrual pain. It is also helpful for maintaining a healthy, balanced mood.
Pink Bark B.E.E. – contains Pycnogenol that helps reduce bloating, fluid retention, and breast tenderness.

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Take 1 to 2 capsules twice daily; 7 to 10 days before the onset of menstruation.
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Saturday, September 5, 2009

THYRONOL Best Remedy for Thyroid Gland Disfunction

THYRONOL is designed to boost metabolism and protects the thyroid gland from immune system attacks. It prevents the pituitary gland from secreting a hormone to stimulate the thyroid gland, thus helping relief of hypothyroid symptoms. It is very effective in combatting Wilson's Syndrome.

THYRONOL is the best remedy Kinetics Philippines, Inc. can offer for thyroid gland disfunction, like hypothyroidism (or underactive throid), and hyperthyroidism (overactive
throid).
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INGREDIENTS:

Eleuthera Root B.E.E. -- contains eleuthrosides and plysaccharides that play critical roles in modulating immune function and supporting the normal function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. It may protect the thyroid gland from immune system attacks and prevent the pituitary gland from secreting a hormone to stimulate the thyroid gland. It also works as an "adaptogen", helping the body adapt to and combat stress and depression. It helps boost metabolism, thus improving low level metabolism related symptoms, such as weakness, fatigue, cold intolerance, and weight gain.

Ginger Root B.E.E. -- Ginger contains volatile oils and aromatic constituents. Fights inflammation, cleanses the colon, reduces spasms and cramps, and stimulates circulation. A strong anti-oxidant and effective antimicrobial agent for sores and wounds. Protects the liver and stomach. Useful for bowel disorders, circulatory problems, arthritis, fever, headache, hot flashes, indigestion, morning sickness, motion sickness, muscle pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Onion Bulb B.E.E. -- Onion contains flavonoids and sulfur compounds that work to help improve blood circulation, help to make the body warm, increase cold tolerance, and also help reduce joint and muscle pains.

Lemon Fruit (contains Vitamin C), Zinc, and Selenium -- play very important roles in maintaining and improving thyroid health and restoring normal thyroid function.

Vitamin C -- is a very powerful anti-oxidant that also recharges other anti-oxidants, such as Vitamin E, to keep them potent. Its water solubility makes it an efficient free radical scavenger in body fluids. Some studies have shown that Vitamin C is the first line of anti-oxidant defense in plasma against many different kinds of free radicals. The cells of the brain and spinal cord, which frequently incur free radical damage, can be protected by significant amount of Vitamin C. This vitamin also guards against atherosclerosis by preventing damage to artery walls. Vitamin C acts as a more potent free radical scavenger in the presence of the phytochemical hesperidin.

Zinc -- Zinc's main anti-oxidant function is in the prevention of fat oxidation. In addition, it is a constituent of the anti-oxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). Zinc is also needed for proper maintenance of Vitamin E levels in the blood and aids in the absorption of Vitamin A.

Selenium -- is an essential trace mineral that functions as an anti-oxidant in partnership with Vitamin E to protect tissues and cell membranes. Among other things, it increases anti-oxidant enzyme levels in cells. Selenium is also an integral component of the anti-oxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase (each molecule of this enzyme contains four atoms of selenium). Glutathione peroxidase targets harmful hydrogen peroxide in the body and converts it into water. It is a particularly important guardian of blood cells and of the heart, liver, and lungs. Numerous plants contain selenium, including garlic, asparagus, and grains, but the levels depend on soil content, which varies from one geographic region to another.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

ACNE (Pimples)

What is acne?

Acne vulgaris, or acne, is a skin problem that starts when oil and dead skin cells clog up your pores.

Some people call it blackheads, blemishes, whiteheads, pimples, or zits. When you have just a few red spots, or pimples, you have a mild form of acne.

Severe acne can mean hundreds of pimples that can cover the face, neck, chest, and back.

Or, it can be bigger, solid, red lumps that are painful (cysts).

Most young people get at least mild acne. It usually gets better after the teen years. But many adult women do have acne in the days before their menstrual periods.

How you feel about your acne may not be related to how bad it is. Some people with severe acne are not bothered by it. Others are embarrassed or upset even though they have only a few pimples.

Acne (acne vulgaris, common acne) is not just a problem for teenagers; it can affect people from ages 10 through 40. It is not unusual for women, in particular, to develop acne in their mid- to late-20s, even if they have not had breakouts in years (or ever). On the positive side, those few individuals who have acne into their 40s may well grow out of it.

What are the different types of acne?


Acne can appear on the skin as any of the following:

  • congested pores ("comedones"),

  • whiteheads,

  • blackheads,
  • pimples ("zits"),

  • pustules, or

  • cysts (deep pimples, boils). The pus in pustules and cysts is sterile and does not actually contain infectious bacteria.

These blemishes occur wherever there are many oil (sebaceous) glands, mainly on the face, chest, and back.

What causes acne?

No one factor causes acne. Acne starts when oil and dead skin cells clog the skin's pores. If germs get into the pores, the result can be swelling, redness, and pus. Acne comes to life around puberty, stimulated by male hormones from the adrenal glands of both boys and girls.

Sebum (oil) is a natural substance which lubricates and protects the skin, and under certain circumstances, cells that are close to the surface block the openings of sebaceous glands and cause a buildup of oil underneath. This oil stimulates bacteria (which live on everyone's skin and generally cause no problems) to multiply and cause surrounding tissues to become inflamed.

Inflammation near the skin's surface produces a pustule; deeper inflammation results in a papule (pimple); deeper still and it's a cyst. If the oil breaks through to the surface, the result is a "whitehead."

If the oil accumulates melanin pigment or becomes oxidized, the oil changes from white to black, and the result is a "blackhead." Blackheads are therefore not dirt, and do not reflect poor hygiene.

Here are some factors that don't usually cause acne, at least by themselves:

  • Heredity: With the exception of very severe acne, most people do not have the problem exactly as their parents did. Almost everyone has some acne at some point in their life.

  • Food: Parents often tell teens to avoid pizza, chocolate, greasy and fried foods, and junk food. While these foods may not be good for overall health, they don't cause acne or make it worse. Although some recent studies have implicated milk and dairy products in aggravating acne, these findings are far from established.

  • Dirt: As mentioned above, "blackheads" are oxidized oil, not dirt. Sweat does not cause acne, therefore, it is not necessary to shower instantly after exercise for fear that sweat will clog pores. On the other hand, excessive washing can dry and irritate the skin.

  • Stress: Some people get so upset by their pimples that they pick at them and make them last longer. Stress, however, does not play much of a direct role in causing acne.
  • Hormones: Some women break out cyclically, but most women (and men) don't. Some oral contraceptive pills may help relieve acne, but unless a woman has abnormal menstrual periods and excessive hair growth, it's unlikely that hormones play much of a role in causing acne. Pregnancy has a variable effect on acne; some women report that they clear up completely, and others get worse, while many others see no overall change.
  • Cosmetics: Most cosmetic and skin-care products are not pore-clogging ("comedogenic"). Of the many available brands, those which are listed as "water-based" or "oil-free" are generally a better choice.

In occasional patients, the following may be contributing factors:

  • Pressure: In some patients, pressure from helmets, chinstraps, collars, suspenders, and the like can aggravate acne.

  • Drugs: Some medications may cause or worsen acne, such as those containing iodides, bromides, or oral or injected steroids (either the medically prescribed prednisone or the steroids that bodybuilders or athletes take). Other drugs that can cause or aggravate acne are anticonvulsant medications and lithium, which is used to treat bipolar disorder. Most cases of acne, however, are not drug-related.

  • Occupations: In some jobs, exposure to industrial products like cutting oils may produce acne.

What other skin conditions can mimic acne?

  • Rosacea: This condition is characterized by pimples in the middle third of the face, along with redness, flushing, and superficial blood vessels. It generally affects people in their 30s and 40s and older. There is sometimes no "bright line" separating acne from rosacea; however, there are no blackheads or whiteheads in rosacea.
  • Pseudofolliculitis: This is sometimes called "razor bumps" or "razor rash." When cut close to the skin, curly neck hairs bend under the skin and produce pimples. This is a mechanical problem, not a bacterial one, and treatment involves shaving less (growing a beard, laser hair removal). Pseudofolliculitis can, of course, occur in patients who have acne too.
  • Folliculitis: Pimples can occur on other parts of the body, such as the abdomen, buttocks, or legs. These represent not acne but inflamed follicles. If these don't go away on their own, doctors can prescribe oral or external antibiotics, generally not the same ones used for acne.
  • Gram-negative folliculitis: Some patients who have been treated with oral antibiotics for long periods develop pustules filled with bacteria resistant to the antibiotics which have previously been used. Bacterial culture tests can identify these germs, leading the doctor to prescribe different antibiotics or other forms of treatment.

When should you start to treat acne?

Since everyone gets acne at some time, the right time to treat it is when it bothers you. This can be when severe acne flares suddenly, mild acne that just won't go away, or even when a single pimple decides to show up the week before your prom or wedding. The decision is yours.

[SOURCE: MedicineNet.com ]


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