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Diabetes Foot Care

Diabetes Foot Care

Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet - even a small cut can produce serious consequences. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. Because of these problems, you may not notice a foreign object in your shoe. As a result you could develop a blister or a sore. This could lead to an infection or a non-healing wound that could put you at risk for an amputation.

It is important that diabetics inspect their feet daily, preferably once in the morning and once in the evening, for any signs of injury or swelling in the foot. Diabetic foot involves a loss of feeling in the lower limb which means that many diabetics won’t notice that their feet have been damaged until injuries are significant. A mirror might be necessary to adequately inspect the underside of the foot.

Diabetes Foot Care

Feet should be regularly and thoroughly washed with soap and warm water before being carefully dried and moisturised. Podiatrists can provide a specialist moisturiser, and the purpose of this is to prevent dry skin from cracking and becoming vulnerable to infection. These moisturisers shouldn’t be used in the spaces between toes as it is a confined, warm, and humid area susceptible to fungal infections.

Socks and shoes should be kept clean and dry, socks in particular should be changed on a daily basis and kept loose so as not to restrict the already poor blood flow typical of diabetic feet. Before wearing either socks or shoes diabetics should carefully inspect their shoes and socks as small stones, for example, can injure the foot.

Diabetes Foot Care

Having diabetes increases the risk of developing a wide range of foot problems, often because of two complications of the disease: nerve damage (neuropathy) and poor circulation.

For those with diabetes, small foot problems can turn into serious complications, including:
• ulcers (sores) that don’t heal
• corns
• calluses
• cracked heels
• hammertoes
• bunions
• ingrown toenails

Untreated diabetes can result in other conditions, such as:
• Diabetic peripheral neuropathy - this condition doesn’t emerge overnight. Instead, it usually develops slowly and worsens over time. Some patients have this condition long before they are diagnosed with diabetes. Having diabetes for several years may increase the likelihood of having diabetic neuropathy.

• Charcot foot - a condition in which the bones of the foot are weakened enough to fracture. With continued walking the foot eventually changes shape. As the disorder progresses, the joints collapse and the foot takes on an abnormal shape, such as a rocker-bottom appearance.

• To prevent complications of diabetes, patients are advised to follow diabetic foot care guidelines.  Sometimes special diabetic shoes are prescribed to avoid pressure and rubbing on the feet caused by regular footwear.
Diabetes Foot Care

Diabetic Foot Care Guidelines
1. To avoid serious foot problems that could result in losing a toe, foot, or leg, follow below given guidelines.

2. Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call your doctor if you notice anything.

3. Wash your feet in lukewarm (not hot!) water. Keep your feet clean by washing them daily. Use only lukewarm water - the temperature you would use on a newborn baby.

4. Be gentle when bathing your feet. Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting, and carefully dry between the toes.

5. Moisturize your feet – but not between your toes. Use a moisturizer daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking. But DON’T moisturize between the toes – that could encourage a fungal infection.

6. Cut nails carefully. Cut them straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut nails too short, as this could lead to ingrown toe nails. If you have concerns about your nails, consult your doctor.

7. Never treat corns or calluses yourself. No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Visit your doctor for appropriate treatment.

8. Wear clean, dry socks. Change them daily.

10. Avoid the wrong type of socks. Avoid tight elastic bands (they reduce circulation). Don’t wear thick or bulky socks (they can fit poorly and irritate the skin).

11. Wear socks to bed. If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. NEVER use a heating pad or hot water bottle.

12. Shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing. Remember, your feet may not be able to feel a pebble or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before putting them on.

13. Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.

14. Never walk barefoot. Not even at home! Always wear shoes or slippers. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.

15. Take care of your diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels under control.

16. Don’t smoke. Smoking restricts blood flow in your feet.

17. Get periodic foot exams. Seeing your foot and ankle surgeon on a regular basis can help prevent the foot complications of diabetes.

Diabetics are also advised to avoid walking anywhere, even at home, bare foot. Slippers with hard soles are particularly recommended as they prevent any accidental scratching or cutting of the foot. Finally diabetics are advised to avoid using heat generating pads or bottles as the limited sensation in their feet can leave them vulnerable to accidental burning. Clean, warm socks are recommended as a much safer alternative. This advice will be proffered by podiatrists, and offers a good basis for regular and healthy foot care. Ultimately the care of diabetic feet is both the responsibility of podiatrists and the patient, who can ensure adequate foot health by working together.

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Diabetes Symptoms And Tips To Avoid Diabetes Complications

Diabetes Symptoms And Tips To Avoid Diabetes Complications

Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood glucose, commonly called blood sugar. Glucose is vital to your health because it's an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It's also your brain's main source of fuel.

If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the reasons may differ. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems. Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Potentially reversible diabetes conditions include prediabetes - when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes - and gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is delivered.
Diabetes Care

The main symptoms of diabetes common to both types are:
• feeling very thirsty
• urinating frequently, particularly at night
• feeling very tired
• weight loss and loss of muscle bulk

Other symptoms of diabetes can include:
• itchiness around the vagina or penis, or regular bouts of thrush (a yeast infection)
• blurred vision that is caused by the lens of your eye becoming very dry
• cramps
• constipation
• skin infections

10 ways to avoid diabetes complications
1. Make a commitment to managing your diabetes.
Members of your diabetes care team - doctor, diabetes nurse educator and dietitian, for example - will help you learn the basics of diabetes care and offer support and encouragement along the way. But it's up to you to manage your condition. After all, no one has a greater stake in your health than you. Learn all you can about diabetes. Make healthy eating and physical activity part of your daily routine. Maintain a healthy weight. Monitor your blood sugar level, and follow your doctor's instructions for keeping your blood sugar level within your target range. Don't be afraid to ask your diabetes treatment team for help when you need it.

2. Don't smoke.
If you smoke or use other types of tobacco, ask your doctor to help you quit. Smoking increases your risk of various diabetes complications, including heart attack, stroke, nerve damage and kidney disease. In fact, smokers who have diabetes are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than are nonsmokers who have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Talk to your doctor about ways to stop smoking or to stop using other types of tobacco.

3. Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
Like diabetes, high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels. High cholesterol is a concern, too, since the damage is often worse and more rapid when you have diabetes. When these conditions team up, they can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other life-threatening conditions. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can go a long way toward controlling high blood pressure and cholesterol. Sometimes medication is needed, too.

4. Schedule yearly physicals and regular eye exams.
Your regular diabetes checkups aren't meant to replace yearly physicals or routine eye exams. During the physical, your doctor will look for any diabetes-related complications - including signs of kidney damage, nerve damage and heart disease - as well as screen for other medical problems. Your eye care specialist will check for signs of retinal damage, cataracts and glaucoma.

5. Keep your vaccines up to date.
High blood sugar can weaken your immune system, which makes routine vaccines more important than ever. Ask your doctor about:
• Flu vaccine. A yearly flu vaccine can help you stay healthy during flu season as well as prevent serious complications from the flu.
• Pneumonia vaccine. Sometimes the pneumonia vaccine requires only one shot. If you have diabetes complications or you're age 65 or older, you may need a five-year booster shot.
• Hepatitis B vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends hepatitis B vaccination if you haven't previously been vaccinated against hepatitis B and you're an adult aged 19 to 59 with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The most recent CDC guidelines advise vaccination as soon as possible after diagnosis with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. If you're age 60 or older and have diabetes and haven't previously received the vaccine, talk to your doctor about the whether it's right for you.
• Other vaccines. Stay up to date with your tetanus shot and its 10-year boosters. Depending on the circumstances, your doctor may recommend other vaccines as well.

Tips To Avoid Diabetes Complications

6. Take care of your teeth.
Diabetes may leave you prone to gum infections. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss your teeth once a day, and schedule dental exams at least twice a year. Consult your dentist right away if your gums bleed or look red or swollen.

7. Pay attention to your feet.
High blood sugar can damage the nerves in your feet and reduce blood flow to your feet. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can lead to serious infections. To prevent foot problems:

• Wash your feet daily in lukewarm water.
• Dry your feet gently, especially between the toes.
• Moisturize your feet and ankles with lotion.
• Check your feet every day for blisters, cuts, sores, redness or swelling.
• Consult your doctor if you have a sore or other foot problem that doesn't start to heal within a few days.

8. Consider a daily aspirin.
Aspirin reduces your blood's ability to clot. Taking a daily aspirin can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke - major concerns when you have diabetes. Ask your doctor whether daily aspirin therapy is appropriate for you, including which strength of aspirin would be best.

9. If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly.
Alcohol can cause low blood sugar, depending on how much you drink and whether you eat at the same time. If you choose to drink, do so only in moderation and always with a meal. Remember to include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count.

10. Take stress seriously.
If you're stressed, it's easy to neglect your usual diabetes care routine. The hormones your body may produce in response to prolonged stress may prevent insulin from working properly, which only makes matters worse. To take control, set limits. Prioritize your tasks. Learn relaxation techniques. Get plenty of sleep.

Diabetes care is within your control. If you're willing to do your part, diabetes won't stand in the way of an active, healthy life.

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Sweeteners, Salt and Sugar Substitutes

Sweeteners, Salt and Sugar Substitutes

Table sugar (sucrose) has 4 calories per gram. Sugar substitutes are used to limit food energy during dieting, to reduce the formation of dental plaque, and to help regulate blood sugar levels in diabetic individuals.  Sugar substitutes are used to reduce the calories in foods and drinks. Sugar substitutes may be natural products such as sorbitol or xylitol, or they may be artificial sweeteners created in a laboratory like saccharin, sucralose or aspartame. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the following non-caloric sweeteners: saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, and acesulfame potassium.

A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are natural and some are synthetic. Those that are not natural are, in general, called artificial sweeteners. An important class of sugar substitutes are known as high-intensity sweeteners. These are compounds with many times the sweetness of sucrose, common table sugar.

Sugar substitutes are used for a number of reasons, including:
To assist in weight loss - some people choose to limit their food energy intake by replacing high-energy sugar or corn syrup with other sweeteners having little or no food energy. This allows them to eat the same foods they normally would, while allowing them to lose weight and avoid other problems associated with excessive caloric intake.

Dental care - sugar substitutes are tooth-friendly, as they are not fermented by the microflora of the dental plaque. An example of a sweetener that can benefit dental health is xylitol. Xylitol works to prevent bacteria from adhering to the tooth surface, thus preventing plaque formation and eventually decay. The carbohydrates and sugars consumed usually adheres to the tooth enamel. Bacteria can feed upon this food source allowing them to quickly multiply. As the bacteria feed upon the sugar, they convert it to acid waste that in turn decays the tooth structure. Xylitol cannot be fermented by these bacteria, so the bacteria have difficulty thriving, thus helping to prevent plaque formation.

Diabetes mellitus - people with diabetes have difficulty regulating their blood sugar levels. By limiting their sugar intake with artificial sweeteners, they can enjoy a varied diet while closely controlling their sugar intake. Also, some sugar substitutes do release energy, but are metabolized more slowly, allowing blood sugar levels to remain more stable over time.

Reactive hypoglycemia - individuals with reactive hypoglycemia will produce an excess of insulin after quickly absorbing glucose into the bloodstream. This causes their blood glucose levels to fall below the amount needed for proper body and brain function. As a result, like diabetics, they must avoid intake of high-glycemic foods like white bread, and often choose artificial sweeteners as an alternative.

Avoiding processed foods - individuals may opt to substitute refined white sugar with less-processed sugars, such as fruit juice or maple syrup.

Cost - many sugar substitutes are cheaper than sugar. Alternative sweeteners are often low in cost because of their long shelf-life and high sweetening intensity. This allows alternative sweeteners to be used in products that will not perish after a short period of time.

Saccharin was discovered in 1879. It is the oldest nonnutritive sweetener. It is commonly sold in pink packets under the brand name Sweet'N Low. It is 300 times sweeter than sucrose but has a bitter aftertaste. The use of saccharin increased during World War I due to sugar shortages, and during the 1960s because of its use in the production of low-calorie foods. Saccharin is used to sweeten drinks, candies, medicines, and toothpaste. Saccharin is not used for baking because it is unstable when heated. In 1972, the USDA tried unsuccessfully to ban the use of this sweetener after research showed that it increased the rate of bladder cancer in rats. Products were required to carry a warning that saccharin could "cause cancer in laboratory animals". In 2000, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) removed saccharin from its list of carcinogens and the requirement for warning notices was also removed. Saccharin is widely used today. The ingredients of Sweet'N Low are dextrose, 3.6% soluble saccharin, and small amounts of anti-caking agents. Ten grams of Sweet'N Low contain approximately 9 g of dextrose and provide 36 calories. The same weight of sugar provides 39 calories.

Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is marketed under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal. Aspartame is the methyl ester of the dipeptide of the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine (aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester). Aspartame is used as a tabletop sweetener, and it is added to a wide variety of foods, including breakfast cereals, soft drinks, desserts, candy, and chewing gum. Aspartame loses its sweetness when heated and it is usually not suitable for baking. Aspartame is metabolized into its component amino acids. People with the rare disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine, so they should avoid aspartame. There have been some reports of headaches and dizziness from consuming aspartame, but no scientific studies have shown a definite association. Ten grams of Equal sweetener contain 8 g of dextrose and 0.84 g of maltodextrin (starch), in addition to aspartame. Ten grams of Equal provide 36 Calories; an identical weight of sugar provides 39 calories.

Sucralose is marketed as Splenda. It is available as a tabletop sweetener and as an ingredient in food processing. Sucralose is about 600 times sweeter than table sugar. Sucralose is stable at hot and cold temperatures and can be used in cold and hot drinks, as well as baked goods. Although Splenda is marketed as a no calorie sweetener, it is a mixture of dextrose, maltodextrin, and sucralose. Ten grams of Splenda contain 9.00 g of carbohydrates consisting of 8.03 g of sugars (dextrose) and 0.96 grams of starch (maltodextrin). For this reason, 10 grams of Splenda have 33 Calories compared to 39 Calories for an equal weight of sugar. The calories of Splenda come from the carbohydrates. Recent formulations of Splenda use resistant maltodextrin which can be categorized as fiber

Sugar Alcohols
Sorbitol, xylitol, and erythritol are natural sugar alcohols found in fruits and vegetables. They can be made commercially by catalytic hydrogenation from the corresponding sugars. Xylitol is produced from xylose. Sorbitol, also known as glucitol, is produced from glucose. Erythritol is produced commercially by fermentation of glucose with the yeast Moniliella pollinis. Xylitol is absorbed slowly and only partially utilized by the body, it contains 40% fewer calories than sugar, about 2.4 calories per gram. Sorbitol and xylitol are common ingredients in "sugar-free" candies and chewing gum. Other sugar alcohols include mannitol, maltitol, lactitol, and erythritol. Sugar alcohols are not well absorbed in the intestinal tract, and they are fermented by microflora that may produce bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Just 10 grams of sorbitol may be enough to cause gastrointestinal distress. Xylitol appears to be safe for humans, but it can cause seizures, liver failure, and death in dogs in relatively small doses.[4]  Erythritol is 60 to 70% as sweet as table sugar and has a caloric value of 0.2 calories per gram. Erythritol does not promote tooth decay, and does not cause gastric side effects like other sugar alcohols.

Stevia is the name of a bush (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni) whose leaves are used to produce extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar. Stevioside and rebaudioside are two of the sweet steviol glycosides in the stevia leaf. Stevioside has one beta-D-glucose molecule replacing the bottom hydrogen atom of steviol and two beta-D-glucose molecules replacing the top hydrogen site. Stevia had been marketed in the U.S. as an herbal supplement because there was not enough scientific data to certify it as a food additive. Experiments on rats and hamsters have shown that high doses of stevioside decrease the production of sperm in males and that females had fewer and smaller offspring. In December 2008, the FDA approved the use of purified rebaudioside A from S. rebaudiana Bertoni, and classified it as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). Rebaudioside A, also called Reb-A and rebiana, has one beta-D-glucose molecule replacing the bottom hydrogen atom of steviol and a chain of three beta-D-glucose molecules replacing the top hydrogen site of steviol.

Stevia products are marketed under the brand names Truvia and PureVia, but the packets are not just rebiana. Both Truvia and PureVia contain erythritol, a low-calorie sugar alcohol sweetener. One packet of Truvia (3.5 grams) contains 3 grams of erythritol, and "natural flavors" of undisclosed chemical composition.

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Purifiers, Humidifiers And Vaporizers

Purifiers, Humidifiers And Vaporizers

An air purifier is a device which removes contaminants from the air. These devices are commonly beneficial for allergy sufferers and asthmatics. Dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and dust mite feces can act as allergens, triggering allergies in sensitive people. Air purifiers are becoming increasingly capable of capturing a greater number of bacterial, virus, and DNA damaging particulates. Air purifiers are used to reduce the concentration of these airborne contaminants and can be useful for people who suffer from allergies and asthma.

Air cleaners work to thoroughly clean the air. They do this by stopping harmful particles via passing by way of their series grids or filters. These contaminants may even include dust contaminants. For that explanation, if you have allergies associated with airborne debris, you may adequately find that an air purifier actively works to remove or completely get rid of your allergic reactions. In turn, this may make your days and nights and evenings more pleasant and also enjoyable.
Purifiers, Humidifiers And Vaporizers

As well as reducing allergic reactions associated with dust, air purifiers will also help those with hypersensitivity that are connected pets. You will find that numerous air purifiers not simply trap pet hair, in addition they trap mid-air particles developed by pet poop. These dangerous particles are not only harmful to those who have hypersensitivity, but for you to everyone else that is in the home. As well as eliminating debris created by domestic pets in the home, you might like to use an air cleaner if you have a company that is devoted to pets. These kinds of businesses consist of pet grooming retailers and animal medical practitioner offices.

You may also want to think of purchasing an air purifier, specifically if you have children at home. Children tend to be susceptible to condition. With cleaner air, your own child’s health may well improve by a ton. In addition to being utilized in traditional homes, you can even want to purchase an air cleaner if you manage or chance a daycare center. An air purifier may not only improve your health, but the wellness of all of your children. Essentially, as a result for healthier and happier children, which is extremely important any time running a day care business.
An air purifier will not work for food, drug or skin allergies; but, it can help with hay fever, asthma, allergic rhinitis and allergies to pollens, dust mites, mold and pets. Whether that air purifier is for your house or your business, you will reap an unlimited number of benefits to possessing and using a single.
A humidifier is a household appliance that increases humidity (moisture) in a single room or in the entire house.  Humidifiers are devices that emit water vapor or steam to increase moisture levels in the air (humidity). There are point-of-use humidifiers, which are commonly used to humidify a single room, and whole-house or furnace humidifiers, which connect to a home's HVAC system to provide humidity to the entire house.
Purifiers, Humidifiers And Vaporizers

 There are several types:
Central humidifiers are built into home heating and air conditioning systems and are designed to humidify the whole house.
Ultrasonic humidifiers produce a cool mist with ultrasonic vibration.
Impeller humidifiers produce a cool mist with a rotating disk.
Evaporators use a fan to blow air through a wet wick, filter or belt.
Steam vaporizers use electricity to create steam that cools before leaving the machine. Avoid this type of humidifier if you have children; hot water inside this type of humidifier may cause burns if spilled.

Ideal humidity levels
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. The amount of humidity varies depending on the season, weather and where you live. Generally, humidity levels are higher in the summer and lower during winter months. Ideally, humidity in your home should be between 30 and 50 percent. Humidity that's too low or too high can cause problems.

• Low humidity can cause dry skin, irritate your nasal passages and throat, and make your eyes itchy.

• High humidity can make your home feel stuffy and can cause condensation on walls, floors and other surfaces that triggers the growth of harmful bacteria, dust mites and molds. These allergens can cause respiratory problems and trigger allergy and asthma flare-ups.

Dirty humidifiers and health problems
Dirty reservoirs and filters in humidifiers can quickly breed bacteria and mold. Dirty humidifiers can be especially problematic for people with asthma and allergies, but even in healthy people humidifiers have the potential to trigger flu-like symptoms or even lung infections when the contaminated mist or steam is released into the air. Steam vaporizers or evaporators may be less likely to release airborne allergens than may cool-mist humidifiers.

Tips for keeping your humidifier clean
•  Use distilled or demineralized water. Tap water contains minerals that can create deposits inside your humidifier that promote bacterial growth. And, when released into the air, these minerals often appear as white dust on your furniture. You may also breathe in some minerals that are dispersed into the air. Distilled or demineralized water has a much lower mineral content compared with tap water. In addition, use demineralization cartridges or filters if recommended by the manufacturer.

•  Change humidifier water often. Don't allow film or deposits to develop inside your humidifiers. Empty the tanks, dry the inside surfaces and refill with clean water every day if possible, especially if using cool mist or ultrasonic humidifiers. Unplug the unit first.

•  Clean humidifiers every three days. Unplug the humidifier before you clean it. Remove any mineral deposits or film from the tank or other parts of the humidifier with a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution, which is available at pharmacies. Some manufacturers recommend using chlorine bleach or other disinfectants.

• Always rinse the tank after cleaning to keep harmful chemicals from becoming airborne - and then inhaled.

• Change humidifier filters regularly. If the humidifier has a filter, change it at least as often as the manufacturer recommends - and more often if it's dirty. Also regularly change the filter in your central air conditioning and heating system.

• Keep the area around humidifiers dry. If the area around a humidifier becomes damp or wet - including windows, carpeting, drapes or tablecloths turn the humidifier down or reduce how frequently you use it.

• Prepare humidifiers for storage. Drain and clean humidifiers before storing them. And then clean them  again when you take them out of storage for use. Throw away all used cartridges, cassettes or filters.

• Follow instructions for central humidifiers. If you have a humidifier built into your central heating and cooling system, read the instruction manual or ask your heating and cooling specialist about proper maintenance.

• Consider replacing old humidifiers. Over time, humidifiers can build up deposits that are difficult or impossible to remove and encourage growth of bacteria.

A vaporizer is a device used to extract for inhalation the active ingredients of plant material, commonly cannabis, tobacco, or other herbs or blends. However, they can be used with pure chemicals when mixed with plant material (e.g. nicotine-free tobacco).

Vaporizers are small portable devices that heat water to produce steam which is then projected from the vaporizer into the rest of the room. Vaporizers are used as an alternative to cool mist humidifiers. Because vaporizers boil the water before releasing steam, there is less of a chance of bacteria and fungus being introduced into the air. However, vaporizers do come with a risk of burns or fire if not used correctly. Vaporizers are used in several ways to remedy common health problems.
Purifiers, Humidifiers And Vaporizers

Vaporizer Uses And Remedies
The main way that vaporizers are used is to change the humidity of your environment. This makes vaporizers particularly popular in the winter when the dry, cold air outside and heated air inside create a low humidity environment. As water is placed in the unit and heat is applied, steam is created and propelled into the room. This steam raises the humidity levels.

Vaporizers can also be used as diffusers. Some vaporizer units are specifically built for adding natural essential oils or other liquid additives such as camphor, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil or menthol. As the unit heats up, these additives are diffused into the air with the steam, allowing the user to inhale them and experience their benefits. These additives are commonly used to help relieve the symptoms of colds or allergies, such as a stuffy nose, sinus congestion or chest congestion.

Dry Body Tissue
Vaporizers can also be used as a remedy for dry body tissues. Skin can dry out for several reasons, including living in areas of low humidity and as part of the natural aging process. This drying can lead to dry skin, lips, mouth, throat and nose, and can result in skin cracking, scaling, itching, inflammation and irritation, according to the NIH. Vaporizers introduce more moisture into the air, which can then be absorbed by the skin.

Vaporizers are also commonly used is to reduce congestion. This is beneficial when fighting off a cold or dealing with allergies. Inhaling moist vapors can loosen mucus in the body, helping to relieve chest congestion or a stuffy nose, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you are using a vaporizer in a room for this purpose, especially for a child, be sure to place the unit in a safe location where it cannot catch anything on fire or burn a curious child.

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Supplements for Immunity Building

Supplements for Immunity Building

Are you tired of falling sick every time there is a slight change in the weather or being extremely vulnerable to other people with viruses or bacteria. Body produces antibodies that help identify and neutralize foreign bodies like bacteria and virus in the body thus providing immunity. Immune system is the body’s defense against organisms and foreign substance which have potential to cause diseases and health problems. The immune system is made up of cells, tissues and organs that fight together to protect the body.

The immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. To function properly, an immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism's own healthy tissue.
Supplements for Immunity Building

There are three types of immunity in the body known as innate, adaptive and passive. Innate is the natural immunity that we all are born with for general protection. Adaptive immunity is the active immunity which develops throughout our lives and in some cases where the infection is too dangerous to fight we can be immunized through vaccination. Lastly, passive immunity is which is borrowed from other sources like mothers milk that provides immunity to child when he is born until he develops his immunity.

There are many ways to enhance the immune system:
• Eating a well balanced diet is critical for a properly functioning immune system.

A diet high in fruits and vegetables has many of the phytonutrient critical to enhance immunity as well as many of the important vitamins and minerals. A steady and balanced intake of essential vitamins and mineral helps to keep our immune systems working properly by providing us protection from infections and disease. Fish, poultry, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, cereals and legumes (peas, lentils, beans) are all good sources of minerals. Foods such as cheese, eggs or liver, which supply vitamin A, and spinach, sweet potatoes or carrots, which are good sources of beta carotene, should also be eaten daily.

Plenty of rest- Body needs rest from the stress and strain of daily life to get recharged. We depend on adequate restful sleep to restore our bodies and refresh our minds. During deep sleep, our bodies release potent immune-enhancing substances that strengthen immune function. It is especially important to get additional rest when we are ill. Women generally tend to ignore this aspect of good health due to heavy demands placed upon them both at place of work and at home. The result becomes obvious through signs of extreme exhaustion, irritability, panic and tantrums.

Exercise program- A regular exercise program of low-to-high intensity workout for 25-30 most days of the week is recommended to build a strong immune system. We all know how invigorated and strong we feel when we're in shape. Overall fitness creates reserve capacity that not only serves as a buffer against disease but also helps us recover more quickly.

Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. Body fluids, made up mostly of water, bring to each system all the ingredients and carry away the body’s waste in form of urine. Water is also necessary for many chemical reactions in the body. It can act as a lubricant around joints and protect sensitive tissues and organs, including the spinal cord, eyes, and the amniotic sac in pregnancy from shock. It is absolutely essential to stay well hydrated throughout the day.

Increase your vitamin C intake to 1000-2000 mg/d (this may reduce your histamine levels): a moderately large amounts of this vitamin (up to 200mg daily) increase levels of immunoglobulin - blood proteins that ac as disease fighting antibodies - which are produced by the immune system. Vitamin D (obtained from oily fish) and vitamin E (in olive oil, nuts, avocados and wholegrain cereals are also vital to the immune system's effectiveness, as are essential fatty acids found in vegetable oils and fish oils.

One of the most common nutrient deficiencies which affects the immune system is a lack of zinc. Pumpkin seeds and lean beef are both a rich source of zinc, while oysters are an excellent source. A recent study among elderly people showed that a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement improved their immune responses. Be sure that you are taking magnesium (400 mg/day). Magnesium is involved in transmission of nerve impulses within the body. Food sources are legumes, grains, dark green vegetables, and nuts.

Avoid excessive intake of alcohol and caffeine which might interfere in the normal functioning of various body processes.

Protect yourself from ingestion or inhalation of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury; and tobacco smoke or other forms of pollution in the air. When pollutants or toxic substances are absorbed by the body, they threaten the effectiveness of the minerals and vitamins in food, and are sometimes described as ant nutrients. Clearing the body of these environmental toxins increases our requirement for antioxidants and various other nutrients. Because of these exposures, our nutritional requirements may be increased to higher levels than we can obtain in our diet, making it important to use nutritional supplements to remain healthy. And because of the prevalence of these exposures, it's also important to build detoxification into our lifestyle.

The stress factor. There is a strong data that documents the impact of stress on immunity and susceptibility to illness. A report of 276 volunteers exposed to a common cold virus showed that those who had been under stress for more than a month were most likely to get sick. In another study, children with a history of stress and recurrent colds were found to have lower localized immunity. Stress has also been found to stimulate immune-suppressing chemicals such as adrenaline. Fortunately, research has found that stress reducers such as meditation, relaxation, guided imagery, and hypnosis can effectively enhance immunity

Nutrition experts say much of what our bodies to fight off infection need can be found in foods. It is true that a poor diet is a top factor in making us susceptible to illness. The top five foods that give your body the best immunity are beef, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, tea and yogurt. While an all-around healthy diet is crucial, these particular foods help us best flex our immunity muscles. Adequately feeding our immune system boosts its fighting power. Immune boosters work in many ways. They increase the number of white cells in the immune system army, train them to fight better, and help them form an overall better battle plan. Boosters also help to eliminate the deadwood in the army, substances that drag the body down.

Fortunately in addition to diet, there are immune building supplements that we can add which are taken from food sources. When taken from whole food sources, the supplement and its nutrients are readily available for our bodies to use. Here are some important ones that you can use to strengthen your immune system.
Supplements for Immunity Building
Below are mentioned nutrients and supplements which helps to  Boost The Immune System

Vitamin C: Vitamin C tops the list of immune boosters for many reasons. It is available naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Also, you can buy a vitamin-C-fortified version of just about anything. Vitamin C increases the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies and increases levels of interferon, the antibody that coats cell surfaces, preventing the entry of viruses. Vitamin C reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by raising levels of HDL (good) cholesterol while lowering blood pressure and interfering with the process by which fat is converted to plaque in the arteries. As an added perk, persons whose diets are higher in vitamin C have lower rates of colon, prostate, and breast cancer.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E stimulates the production of natural killer cells, those that seek out and destroy germs and cancer cells. Vitamin E enhances the production of B-cells, the immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. Vitamin E supplementation may also reverse some of the decline in immune response commonly seen in aging. Vitamin E has been implicated in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Carotenoids: Beta carotene increases the number of infection-fighting cells, natural killer cells, and helper T-cells, as well as being a powerful antioxidant that mops up excess free radicals that accelerate aging.

Bioflavonoid: A group of phytonutrients called bioflavonoid aids the immune system by protecting the cells of the body against environmental pollutants. Bioflavonoid protects the cell membranes against the pollutants trying to attach to them. A diet that contains a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, at least six servings per day, will help you get the bioflavonoid needed to help your immune system work in top form.

Folate helps maintain your cells and helps your body make white blood cells, which are your immune cells. It is essential for preventing damage to blood vessels and brain cells and ensures DNA integrity.

Found in dark leafy greens, this nutrient can be found in its whole food form in a “green superfood.” There are a variety of these in your local market. These supplements are usually in a powder form that you can dissolve in water and include high nutrient ingredients like spirulina, blue-green algae, chorella, barley grass and wheat grass.

Essential Fatty Acids are an essential addition to immune building supplements. They help stimulate and protect the immune system. They are anti-inflammatory and help prevent auto-immune disorders. They are important in the growth and maintenance of healthy cells. Use olive oil and coconut oil to prepare your foods. You can find the supplement in liquid form in the refrigerated section of a health food market. Look for a blend of oils such as flax seed oil, borage oil, evening primrose oil, walnut oil, fish oils, grapeseed oil and sesame oil.

Probiotics are an important for part of your immune building supplements. These are the good bacteria found in the small and large intestine. These healthy organisms stimulate the immune system, increase antibodies, and inhibit the absorption of pathogenic organisms such as e.coli and salmonella. These are extremely beneficial and add to your bodies’ natural production while you are colon cleansing or beginning a health program.

Zinc: This valuable mineral increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection and helps them fight more aggressively. It also increases killer cells that fight against cancer and helps white cells release more antibodies. Zinc supplements have been shown to slow the growth of cancer.

Garlic: This flavorful member of the onion family is a powerful immune booster that stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells, boosts natural killer cell activity, and increases the efficiency of antibody production. Garlic may protect against cancer, though the evidence is controversial.

Selenium: This mineral increases natural killer cells and mobilizes cancer-fighting cells. Best food sources of selenium are tuna, red snapper, lobster, shrimp, whole grains, vegetables, brown rice, egg yolks, cottage cheese, chicken (white meat), sunflower seeds, garlic, Brazil nuts, and lamb chops.

Omega-3 fatty acids: The omega 3 fatty acids in flax oil and fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) act as immune boosters by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. One way to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is to add one to three teaspoons of flax oil to a fruit and yogurt smoothie.
Supplements for Immunity Building

We need a steady and balanced intake of essential vitamins and mineral to keep our immune systems working properly to provide protection from infections and disease. However, an immune system that is overactive may cause deterioration in people who are suffering form disorders such as Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis.

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Sore throat Medications

Sore throat Medications

A sore throat is pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that often worsens when you swallow. A sore throat can be the first sign of a cold, a side effect of strained vocal cords, or an indication of something more serious (like strep throat).

The most common causes of a sore throat is a viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. A sore throat caused by a virus resolves on its own with at-home care. Strep throat (streptococcal infection), a less common type of sore throat caused by bacteria, requires additional treatment with antibiotic drugs to prevent complications.
Sore throat Medication

Symptoms Of Sore Throat
• Pain or a scratchy sensation in the throat
• Pain that worsens with swallowing or talking
• Difficulty swallowing
• Dry throat
• Sore, swollen glands in your neck or jaw
• Swollen, red tonsils
• White patches or pus on your tonsils
• Hoarse or muffled voice

Common infections causing a sore throat may result in other signs and symptoms, as well. They may include:
• Fever
• Chills
• Cough
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Body aches
• Headache
• Nausea or vomiting

Causes of Sore Throat
Allergies: Allergies to pet dander, molds, dust and pollen can cause a sore throat. The problem may be complicated by postnasal drip, which can irritate and inflame the throat.

Dryness: Dry indoor air, especially in winter when buildings are heated, can make your throat feel rough and scratchy, particularly in the morning when you first wake up. Breathing through your mouth often because of chronic nasal congestion also can cause a dry, sore throat.

Irritants: Outdoor air pollution can cause ongoing throat irritation. Indoor pollution tobacco smoke or chemicals also can cause chronic sore throat. Chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol and eating spicy foods also can irritate your throat.

Muscle strain: You can strain muscles in your throat just as you can strain them in your arms or legs. Yelling at a sporting event, trying to talk to someone in a noisy environment or talking for long periods without rest can result in a sore throat and hoarseness.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): GERD is a digestive system disorder in which stomach acids or other contents of the stomach back up in the food pipe (esophagus). Other signs or symptoms may include heartburn, hoarseness, regurgitation of stomach contents and the sensation of a lump in your throat.

HIV infection: A sore throat and other flu-like symptoms sometimes appear early after someone is infected with HIV. Also, a person who is HIV-positive may have a chronic or recurring sore throat due to a secondary infection. Common problems include a fungal infection called oral thrush and cytomegalovirus infection, a common viral infection that can be serious in people with compromised immune systems.

Tumors: Cancerous tumors of the throat, tongue or voice box (larynx) can cause a sore throat. Other signs or symptoms may include hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, noisy breathing, a lump in the neck, and blood in saliva or phlegm.

For fast and effective sore-throat relief, nothing beats an old-fashioned saltwater gargle. Salt acts as a mild antiseptic, and also draws water out of mucous membranes in the throat, which helps to clear phlegm. Dissolve a half-teaspoon salt in a glass of warm water, gargle and spit out. Repeat up to four times a day.

• Alternatively, gargle with a baking-soda solution. Dissolve one-half teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of warm water.

• Run a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier in your bedroom. Adding moisture to the air will help keep the air from drying out and prevent the lining of your throat from becoming too dry. If you don’t have a humidifier, place a bowl of water on your radiator or heating vent each night. It will work as well as a store-bought device.

Sore throat Medication

Quit smoking: Cigarette smoke is extremely irritating to the lining of the throat. Breathe through your nose, rather than your mouth. It’s a natural way to humidify the air you breathe.

Bolster your immune system: During cold and flu season with vitamins, herbs and good nutrition. The obvious supplement candidates are vitamins C and E, the minerals zinc and magnesium, and immune-boosting herbs such as goldenseal and astragalus. Also cook or supplement with garlic, ginger, shiitake mushrooms and reishi mushrooms, all of which have immune-boosting properties.

• Honey has long been used as a sore-throat remedy. It has antibacterial properties, which can help speed healing. It also acts as a hypertonic osmotic, which means that it draws water out of inflamed tissue. This reduces the swelling and discomfort. Add several teaspoons to 1 cup of hot water or herbal tea.

Hot lemonade with honey can also relieve pain. Combine the juice of half a lemon with hot water.

• Horehound reduces the swelling of inflamed throat tissue. It also thins mucus, which makes it easier for you to clear it from your throat. To make the tea, steep 2 teaspoons chopped herb in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes; strain and drink.

Slippery elm contains mucilage that coats the throat and eases the soreness. Steep 1 teaspoon of the inner bark in 2 cups boiling water, strain and drink. Like Slippery elm bark, marshmallow root (Althea officinalis) contains throat-coating mucilage. To make the tea, steep 2 teaspoons dried herb in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes; strain and drink. Drink three to five cups a day to help a sore throat.

• Take vitamin C three times a day. Whether your sore throat is caused by a cold, the flu or strep, this vitamin will help boost your immune system and fight off infection. Reduce the dose if you develop diarrhea.

Echinacea: This herb’s antibacterial and antiviral properties will speed healing.

Garlic: As another aid to fight off infection. Dried garlic has potent antibacterial and antiseptic properties.

Zinc lozenge: In one study, people who sucked on a lozenge containing about 13 milligrams of zinc every two hours got rid of viral sore throats three to four days quicker than those who didn’t. But too much zinc can actually compromise immunity, which is why you shouldn’t take the lozenges for a long time

Treatment of Sore throat Medications
Use nonprescription throat lozenges. Some nonprescription throat lozenges, such as Sucrets Maximum Strength or Spec-T, are safe and effective and have medicine (local anesthetic) that numbs the throat to soothe pain. Regular cough drops may also help.
Sore throat Medication

Use a decongestant. Decongestants make breathing easier by shrinking swollen mucous membranes in the nose, allowing air to pass through. They also help relieve a runny nose and postnasal drip, which can cause a sore throat. Decongestants can be taken orally or used as decongestant nasal sprays. Oral decongestants (pills) are probably more effective and provide longer relief but may cause more side effects.

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Calcium and Calcium Complex

Benefits of Calcium and Calcium Deficiency

Calcium is an essential dietary mineral for healthy bones and strong teeth. A constant blood calcium level is essential for the maintenance of the normal heartbeat, and for the usual functioning of nerves and muscles.

Advantages Of Calcium
• Calcium ion is essential for a large variety of important physiological functions, including muscle contraction, nerve stimulation, hormonal release, cell membrane, permeability, proper enzyme function.
• Calcium is necessary to stabilize the activity of a number of proteins and enzymes. The binding of calcium ions is required for the activation of "vitamin K-dependent" clotting aspects in the blood coagulation process.
• Calcium, especially calcium derived from dairy products help adjust body fat.
• Calcium helps slow bone loss in postmenopausal women, may reduce premenstrual syndrome symptoms, and is associated with reduced threat of colorectal cancer.
• The body requires calcium to make strong teeth and healthy bones. The bones serve as the storage place for the body's calcium. They continuously release calcium into the bloodstream, and then keep replacing it as the body's requirement for calcium arises. When calcium intake is low, there is poor absorption; and there is a high probability of bone breakdown because the body uses up the stored calcium to perform normal biological functions.
• Calcium is also needed for muscle contraction and maintenance of cell membranes.Calcium supplements help alleviate mood swings, food cravings, pain, and bloating associated with premenstrual syndrome.
    There are three different types of calcium and each type has it's own use in your body. The different types of calcium that we take our have In our bodies all do something that is as important to us as our heart is. The different types all come from different ways and places and are able to do their jobs without problems. The three types of calcium are:

    Calcium Citrate Malate (CCM) - It is the most absorbable calcium available. This is made by putting calcium carbonate with citric acid and malic acid to help the increase of calcium absorption.

    Calcium Carbonate - It is mined from the earth and has been one of the most commonly used sources of supplemented calcium. Calcium carbonate is the most economical form of calcium and is available in a variety of tablets, capsules and chewables. It is suggested to take calcium carbonate with meals for maximum calcium absorption.

    Calcium Citrate - It combines calcium with citric acid to reduce the amount of stomach acids needed for calcium absorption.

    These different types of calcium are used for their own special properties. The use of these calcium is safe, and most likely a healthy choice. By choosing to use these you are enabling your body to function properly and correctly. The three different types of calcium all have an important function and are used to boost the natural calcium in your body. These types of calcium can be found in the foods you eat, the drinks you drink, and the dietary supplements you use. Each of these has been found to improve your blood system, your muscles your bones, and your teeth. These are in the simplest form, the same as calcium with the exception that these actually help calcium do it what it needs to do in the body.

    Sources of Calcium
    Dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese, cheese) are the main sources of calcium. Individuals with lactose intolerance (people who cannot completely digest the milk sugar lactose) and those who are vegans tend to avoid or eliminate dairy products from their diet. We all know that it is important for vegetarians to meet calcium needs with alternative calcium sources.

    Good vegan sources of calcium include tofu (if prepared from calcium sulphate), green leafy vegetables, dried figs, broccoli, seeds and nuts. Some soya milks, instant breakfast cereals are also fortified with calcium. Drinking water can provide as much as 200mg of calcium daily, as hard water contains a rich source of calcium.

    Although most grains are not high in calcium, they do contribute calcium to the diet because they are consumed regularly and frequently.

     To retain calcium:
    * Foods are best cooked in a minimal amount of water.
    * Cook food for the shortest possible time.

    What does calcium deficiency lead to?
    Osteoporosis: major cause of bone fractures in the elderly, especially women. Prevention includes an adequate intake of calcium throughout life, but especially in childhood and young adulthood; and reducing trigger factors such as smoking, heavy drinking and lack of physical exercise.

    Diets high in protein and salt also increase calcium loss from the body. Post-menopausal women are more prone because they produce less estrogen, which protects the skeleton in younger women.

    Rickets is a childhood disorder involving softening and weakening of the bones. It is caused by lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate. Deficiency of vitamin D leads to improper regulation of calcium and phosphate. Symptoms of rickets in children include delayed sitting, crawling, walking and the development of bowlegs.

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    Menstrual and Pre-Menstrual Cramp Relief

    Menstrual and Pre-Menstrual Cramp Relief

    Menstrual cramps are pains in the belly and pelvic areas that are experienced by a woman as a result of her menstrual period. Menstrual cramps are not the same as the discomfort felt during premenstrual syndrome (PMS), although the symptoms of both disorders can sometimes be experienced as a continual process. Many women suffer from both PMS and menstrual cramps.

    Menstrual cramps can range from mild to quite severe. Mild menstrual cramps may be barely noticeable and of short duration sometimes felt just as a sense of light heaviness in the belly. Severe menstrual cramps can be so painful that they interfere with a woman's regular activities for several days. Menstrual cramps of some degree affect more than an estimated 50% of women, and among these, up to 15% would describe their menstrual cramps as severe. Surveys of adolescent girls show that over 90% of girls report having menstrual cramps.

    Menstrual cramps are pains that begin in the lower abdomen and pelvis. The discomfort can extend to the lower back or legs. The cramps can be a quite painful or simply a dull ache. They can be periodic or continual.Menstrual cramps usually start shortly before the menstrual period, peak within 24 hours after the onset of the bleeding, and subside again after a day or two.

    Menstrual cramps may be accompanied by a headache and/or nausea, which can lead, although infrequently, to the point of vomiting. Menstrual cramps can also be accompanied by either constipation or diarrhea because the prostaglandins which cause smooth muscles to contract are found in both the uterus and intestinal tract. Some women experience an urge to urinate more frequently.

    Remedies for menstrual cramps:
    • Increase your liquid intake to preventing dehydration as dehydration aggravates menstrual cramps.

    • Ginger is a wonder herb and has tremendous health benefits that even extend to easing menstrual cramps. Boil some ginger slices in water. Keep sipping this throughout the day.

    • Placing a hot water bag on the stomach will help in easing the pain or a better option is to squeeze a towel in hot water and place it on the stomach.

    • Avoid drinking caffeinated products whether its coffee and aerated drinks as they tend to cause irritation in the intestines.

    • Sipping mint or peppermint flavored tea throughout the day is known to ease the discomfort caused by menstrual cramps.

    • During menstruation, the pelvic area tends to get congested. Therefore, drinking more hot liquids promotes blood flow to the pelvic area and helps in relaxing the pelvic muscles. Consume green tea and herbal teas throughout the day.

    • Women whose bodies are weak, tend to suffer menstrual cramps in greater severity. Therefore, you need to curb the lack of vitamins and minerals in the body. There are various vitamin supplements available in the market today, but it is best to consult a doctor before opting for the choice of vitamin supplements.

    • Stretching your arms and legs will help easing out menstrual cramps.

    • Drinking a glass of the juice of carrot, beetroot, cucumber along with parsley.

    Above tips are simple but sometime they don’t work in a severe menstrual pain. Menstrual pain may be self-treated with a number of OTC products consisting of analgesics and/or analgesic diuretic combinations. These products work best if they are taken when symptoms first occur and on a scheduled rather than "as-needed" basis. Mild-to-moderate pain usually responds to acetaminophen, which also is included in many popular combination OTC products. Because effective treatment of moderate-to-severe pain involves the inhibition of production and activity of prostaglandins, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), eg, ibuprofen and naproxen, may be recommended as good choices. Because of its side-effect profile, aspirin generally is not a first-line agent.

    Most important, if menstrual pain disrupts quality of life to a great extent, occurs frequently, or is not relieved by OTC products, a health care provider should be consulted.

    Premenstrual Relief

    Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, refers to the range of physical and emotional symptoms that most women experience in the lead up to a period or menstruation. PMS can be managed with medications and other strategies. PMS symptoms may include bloating, acne, anxiety, depression, digestive upsets, food cravings, headaches and migraines, swollen and tender breasts, and mood changes.

    It is thought that most menstruating women have premenstrual symptoms, ranging from relatively mild (in 75 per cent of women) to severe (in 20 to 30 per cent of women). In 8 to 20 per cent of women with severe symptoms, PMS is associated with reduced quality of life.

    PMS is a complex condition that includes physical and emotional symptoms. The latest research points to changes in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the time after ovulation and before menstruation. Life stressors and a genetic link may also play a role. Although the cause isn’t conclusively known, PMS can be managed with various medications and other strategies.

    Symptoms of PMS
    • Abdominal bloating, fluid retention
    • Acne
    • Anxiety, confusion
    • Clumsiness
    • Depression and lowered mood, which may include suicidal thoughts
    • Difficulties in concentration, memory lapses
    • Digestive upsets, including constipation and diarrhoea
    • Drop in self-esteem and confidence
    • Drop in sexual desire, or (occasionally) an increase
    • Feelings of loneliness and paranoia
    • Food cravings
    • Headache and migraine
    • Hot flushes or sweats
    • Increased appetite
    • Increased sensitivity to sounds, light and touch
    • Irritability, including angry outbursts
    • Mood swings, weepiness
    • Sleep changes, including insomnia or excessive sleepiness
    • Swollen and tender breasts.

    Exactly what causes premenstrual syndrome is unknown, but several factors may contribute to the condition:
    • Cyclic changes in hormones. Signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome change with hormonal fluctuations and disappear with pregnancy and menopause.
    • Chemical changes in the brain. Fluctuations of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that is thought to play a crucial role in mood states, could trigger PMS symptoms. Insufficient amounts of serotonin may contribute to premenstrual depression, as well as to fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems.
    • Depression. Some women with severe premenstrual syndrome have undiagnosed depression, though depression alone does not cause all of the symptoms.
    • Stress. Stress can aggravate some of your PMS symptoms.
    • Poor eating habits. Some PMS symptoms have been linked to low levels of vitamins and minerals. Other possible contributors to PMS include eating a lot of salty foods, which may cause fluid retention, and drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages, which may cause mood and energy level disturbances.

    You can sometimes manage or reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome by making changes in the way you eat, exercise and approach daily life. Try these approaches:
    Modify your diet
    • Eat smaller, more frequent meals to reduce bloating and the sensation of fullness.
    • Limit salt and salty foods to reduce bloating and fluid retention.
    • Choose foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
    • Choose foods rich in calcium. If you can't tolerate dairy products or aren't getting adequate calcium in your diet, you may need a daily calcium supplement.
    • Take a daily multivitamin supplement.
    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

    Remedies for Premenstrual Relief
    1) Calcium: Studies suggest that calcium levels are lower in women with PMS and that calcium supplementation may reduce the severity of symptoms. Women with the greatest intake of calcium from food sources had the least PMS symptoms. Another study found that 300 mg of calcium carbonate four times a day significantly reduced bloating, depression, pain, mood swings, and food cravings.

    2) Chaste Tree Berry: Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) berry is one of the most popular herbs for premenstrual syndrome in Europe. Women taking chaste tree had significant improvements in irritability, depression, headaches, and breast tenderness. The most common side effects of chaste tree berry are nausea, headache, digestive disturbances, menstrual disorders, acne, itching, and skin rashes. Chaste tree berry should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women. The safety of chaste tree berry in children or people with kidney or liver disease has not been established.

    3) Magnesium: The mineral magnesium, found naturally in food and available in supplements, has showing good preliminary results for PMS. One study examined the use of magnesium supplements or placebo in 32 women with PMS. The amount of magnesium used was 360 mg three times a day, starting from day 15 to the start of the menstrual period. Magnesium supplements were found to significantly improve PMS mood changes.

    4) Evening Primrose Oil: Evening Primrose oil is a plant oil that contains gamma-linolenic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid. Gamma-linolenic acid is involved in the metabolism of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins that regulate pain and inflammation in the body.

    5) Acupuncture: In traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is the organ most affected by stress, anger, and frustration. Stagnation of liver energy, or "qi", by emotions, alcohol, and spicy and fatty foods can lead to PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness and abdominal bloating and cramping.

    6) Dietary Suggestions
    • Reduce sugar and salt intake. This is especially useful for bloating and swelling of the hands and feet, breast tenderness, and dizziness. Increase foods rich in potassium, such as fish, beans, and broccoli.
    • Eat small, frequent meals to help stabilize blood sugar.
    • Eliminate caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety, depression, and breast tenderness.
    • Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fish.
    • Avoid alcohol.
    • Decrease intake of fatty foods and red meat.

    7) Exercise: Regular aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling may help relieve PMS symptoms. In one study, the frequency but not the intensity of exercise was associated with a decreased PMS symptoms.

    8) Relaxation: Breathing exercises, meditation, aromatherapy, and yoga are some natural ways to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Many women feel more assertive and attuned to their needs in the weeks before menses. This can be used constructively by allowing for personal time to relax, expressing emotions, and giving priority to your needs and what nourishes you.

    Supplements that may help reduce PMS symptoms include calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 (in doses less than 100 mg) and vitamin E. Other dietary and vitamin supplements, such as evening primrose oil, ginkgo biloba extract, black cohosh, dandelion and essential fatty acids, have not been shown to have any effect on symptoms of PMS.

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