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July 15, 2015

What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a progressive lung disease that makes it hard to breathe.  COPD occurs when the passages to the lungs are obstructed, lose their elasticity or become thick and inflamed.


Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, and most people with COPD either smoke or used to smoke.  Other causes include long-term exposure to pollutants, chemical fumes and dust. 


The term “COPD” refers to two basic types.  Emphysema occurs when the walls of the air sacs in the lungs are damaged.  The sacs become floppy, and the exchange of gases in the lungs is reduced.

People who have chronic bronchitis find that their airways are constantly irritated and inflamed.  This causes the lining of the airway to thicken, and leads to the production of excess mucus, making it difficult to breathe. 

Most people who have COPD have both Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis, so the term “COPD” is used universally.


The symptoms of COPD come on gradually, and eventually become so severe that they limit daily activities.  Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wet cough, with excess mucus
  • Frequent lung infections that are difficult to treat
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss


Although there is no cure for COPD and doctors have not yet figured out how to reverse the damage, the symptoms can be managed.  Lifestyle changes coupled with treatment allow most people to live a productive life.  Treatment options include:

Bronchodilators—Short acting Beta 2 agonists:  These are fast-acting inhalers that open up the air passages and make breathing easier.  They are designed for “instant relief” but the effects are short-lived.  Side effects include headache, muscle cramps, shakiness, rapid heartbeat, insomnia and irritability.

Bronchodilators—Long acting Beta 2 agonists:  These inhalers work the same way as short acting agonists, but the effects are more long reaching.  Rather than being an “emergency” medicine, these are maintenance medications designed to control the symptoms of COPD.  The side effects are the same as the short acting inhalers.

Bronchodilators—Anticholinergics:  These are also inhalers, but are designed for long term usage at all stages of COPD.

  • Oral medications
  • Oxygen therapy

COPD cannot be cured or reversed, but it can be prevented.  If you are a smoker, stopping now will help to decrease your chances of getting COPD, and if you already have it, stopping smoking will help to lessen your symptoms and increase the chances of successful treatment.

July 1, 2015

Endometrial Cancer: Risks, Symptoms and Treatment

Uterus Cancer Endometrial cancer refers to cancer that starts at the endometrium, which is the inner lining of the uterus, and is the most common type of uterine cancer. Its exact cause is unknown, but increased levels of estrogen in the body may play a role. This is because estrogen has been seen to stimulate lining in the uterus, which may eventually lead to endometrium overgrowth and cancer.

What increases the risk of cancer?

These are some factors that may increase the risk of endometrial cancer:

  • Early menstruation (starting before age 12)
  • Early menopause (before age 50)
  • Endometrial polyps
  • Estrogen replacement therapy
  • Irregular periods
  • Never being pregnant
  • Obesity
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Tamoxifen use (a drug for breast cancer treatment)

Aside from these factors, some health conditions also increase the risk of developing cancer, and these conditions include breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, gallbladder disease and high blood pressure.

Diagnosing endometrial cancer

Endometrial cancer is usually detected at very early stages, because it produces abnormal vaginal bleeding. This symptom urges women to see their doctors. When the condition is diagnosed early on, surgery can be performed to remove the uterus, which successfully cures the condition. Other signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer include:

  • Abnormal blood tinged discharge from the vagina
  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain in the pelvis
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause

Seeing a doctor and seeking treatment

It’s important to see a doctor right away whenever you experience any of these symptoms. While they may be signs for a completely different condition, it’s still essential to get checked right away to ensure that the condition is ruled out. The following courses of action are recommended for treatment:

  • Surgery – surgery is done to remove the uterus, and oftentimes, the fallopian tubes and ovaries, too. This is usually done for early stages of the cancer, when the problem is still contained inside the uterus.
  • Radiation – this treatment makes use of powerful energy beams to kill cancer cells. In some cases, radiation may also be done prior to doing surgery, as it shrinks tumors and make them easier to remove.
  • Hormone therapy – it involves the intake of medication, which in turn affects the hormone levels in the body. This is usually done for those with advanced endometrial cancer, especially that which has already spread outside the uterus.
  • Chemotherapy – one of the most common cancer treatments, chemotherapy uses chemicals to kill cancer cells and is also recommended for women with advanced levels of endometrial cancer.

If indeed you are diagnosed with endometrial cancer, you will need to undergo treatment, which will depend on the characteristics of the disease – like what stage it is, your overall health and of course, your preferences in terms of treating it.

June 15, 2015

5 Surprising Benefits Of Eating More Fat

Filed under: fat,health,Nutrition — Tags: , — Kcondon @ 8:00 am


Fat has, for years, been depicted as a big evil when it comes to our diet. It has been shown to cause obesity, heart diseases, as well as high cholesterol. However, there have been recent scientific studies that show that people should consume more fat since it does have many benefits. A doctor by the name of Perlmutter has stated that the many health conditions such as anxiety, chronic headaches, ADHD, depression, as well as Azheimer’s have been a result of the brain and bodily inflammation resulting from carbs. Here are a few benefits that fat actually provides:

Essential For Brain Health

Our brain tissue consists of as much as 60% of fat. This means that a diet low in fat will not be able to provide the brain with the essential material that it needs to keep functioning properly. Fat that you consume should not only include omega 3s, but also essential fatty acids found in avocados, nuts, and salmon. Fats should also include the natural animal fat that we have been told to avoid for years.

The essential vitamins like A, D, E, and K aren’t water soluble, and hence will require fat for them to be absorbed and transported throughout the body. These vitamins are extremely important for the vital organs including the brain.

Keeps Your Lungs Functioning Properly

A substance that is coated onto our lungs is mostly saturated fat. Premature babies who lack the substance are normally given surfactant so that their lungs can continue to function properly. If we do not consume sufficient saturated fat, then our lungs can be affected.

Boosts Your Immune System

The saturated fats that are found in coconut oil and butter are known to play an important role in boosting immune health. If the body does not have sufficient saturated fatty acids within the white blood cells, then this can hamper their overall ability of recognizing and destroying foreign invaders like bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Keeps The Skin Healthy

Our cellular membrane consists of huge amounts of fat, and our skin consists of a huge number of cells. If we do not consume good amounts of fat, then our skin can get compromised by becoming chapped and dry. This can then result in infection.

Great For The Heart

There have been many studies conducted on the benefits of consuming saturated fats. A particular study was done on the population of the Pacific Isles where people consumed 60% of the diet in the saturated coconut oil form. Therefore, the incidence of heart disease is practically nil.

Also, fat provides a lot more energy than carbs, and therefore, will help in giving an individual sufficient energy to sustain themselves throughout the day. A person, in turn, will also eat less. However, you should not have trans-fats since they are actually harmful for the body.

So, why not enjoy more of salmon, walnuts, butter, and olive oil throughout the day to make sure you remain full of energy.

June 2, 2015

Are You Struggling To Breathe When You Sleep?

Filed under: sleep apnea,sleep cycle,sleep health — Tags: , , — Kcondon @ 3:54 pm

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is when an individual thinks that they are resting but in actuality there is a complication that is interrupting their sleep on a continuous basis throughout their bedtime hours. This in returns leaves them waking feeling really unrested and as if they need to go right back to sleep.

There are 3 different types of sleep apnea that an individual can suffer from. Those include obstructive, central and complex. Each of these types of sleep apnea varies in degree of severity and the symptoms that are felt. Most important though is what causes these types of sleep apnea and how can they be prevented.

Three Types of Sleep Apnea and Their Causes

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common. This type of sleep apnea occurs when the tissue towards the back of your throat relaxes during your sleep. This in return blocks the airways and causes you to loudly snore. This set of events is an obstructive sleep apnea episode.

Central Sleep Apnea is much less common than obstructive and it involves the central nervous system. When your brain fails to signal the muscles that control your breathing during sleep, central sleep apnea occurs. It is common that people who suffer from Central sleep apnea do not snore like those that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

Complex Sleep apnea is a combination of central and obstructive sleep apneas. Individuals who experience complex sleep apnea are at much higher risk of complications than those who experience just obstructive or just central sleep apnea.

Symptoms and Complications

When sleep apnea occurs your body will arouse itself to wake and reinforce oxygen through your airways. It is likely you will only feel a brief shortness of breath in which you would be able to recuperate from within a matter of 1-2 breathes later if you are even awoken from the experience.  These slight disruptions can occur from just a few times a night to a few thousands of times a night. In these situations the phases of sleep that are needed to actually provide your body with rest and relaxation is not obtained.

Treatments and Prevention

There are some common factors that have been associated with sleep apnea, when addressed they are proven to reduce the risk of sleep apnea in the individuals. Those factors include

  • Weight Loss
  • Avoiding the use of sleeping pills or alcohol
  • Changing your sleeping position periodically to improve breathing
  • Stop smoking. When you smoke it causes swelling naturally in the airways increasing the chances and severity of sleep apnea.

In most cases of diagnoses of sleep apnea, the patient is prescribed a CPAP treatment. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure treatments allows the patient to wear a mask while sleeping over the nose and mouth that in returns delivers continuous pressure through the airways thus preventing the sleep apnea disturbances from occurring.

November 17, 2012

Preventing Adult Acne – 3 Tips For Success

Filed under: skin care — Tags: , — mjones @ 4:47 pm

girl with acneAcne is a silent attacker, waiting to break out right before some of the most important parts of your life: the prom, the first interview, the wedding. I know exactly what it’s like to have perfect skin for your whole adolescent life, and then be slapped in the face with breakouts randomly at age 18. It’s roughly similar to a truck of misfortune sideswiping you as you try to cross the street into adulthood. I have also met many people who have struggled with acne their entire life, constantly feeling embarrassment and wondering how they can get rid of this inconvenience. Acne is caused by many things, one of the main ones being dirty substances coming into contact with your face. There are many quality medical acne medications that can work; there are also (sometimes) easier solutions for how to get rid of acne.

3. Cleanliness is Next to Attractiveness

One of the best things to do to prevent acne is to always keep your face clean, even if there is no sign of a breakout. The incredibly high number of germs and bacteria that the human face comes into contact with on a daily basis is what causes acne, and keeping a clean face as often as possible is key to the prevention of this annoying skin condition. The most common way that these bacteria contact our faces is through the fingers. This means that by reducing the amount you touch your face every day can drastically reduce the risk you have for a breakout.

2. Here Comes the Sun

The sun plays a huge part in how our skin acts. The sun can cause wrinkles, sun burn, freckles, and most of all, acne! The sunblock you can find at your local convenience or grocery store isn’t just there to ensure you don’t leave the beach looking like a firetruck with a brand new paint job. It is also there to prevent the sun’s ultraviolet rays from doing significant damage to your skin in all regards. Although it’s always nice to have that nice, tan beach body, the pimples and zits you could obtain from a lack of sun block will not look good. Making sure to always put at least SPF15 sunblock on whenever you go outdoors on a sunny day is a very important part of acne prevention.

3. Stress!

Many people may ask if stress causes acne. The answer is a resounding yes! Many experts will attest that our emotional stability (or instability) is directly related to all aspects of our bodily health, and the condition of our skin is no exception. If the level of stress you experience on a daily basis is causing breakouts of acne, you definitely want to take some time out of your day to find some way to relax, whether it be a long shower, meditation, or just listening to some music.

The bottom line is this:

Many day-to-day things have a huge effect on our skin’s health, and before you go rushing to the stores to buy the newest “miracle cure”, try following a few of these simple steps in order to keep your skin looking smooth and beautiful.

April 6, 2012

Good Health Can Be As Simple As Your Relationships

Filed under: lifestyle — Tags: , — mjones @ 6:17 pm

good heath starts with good relationshipsDid you know that being married could have significant impacts on your health? Studies have found that falling in love and staying in love can have whole body impacts that will make you to feel better. What are some of the health benefits of being married and in love?

Lowers Your Blood Pressure

The social support that you get from being married or being in a stable relationship can decrease stress and can naturally lower your blood pressure. Studies have found that happily married people have lower blood pressure than those who are not in a committed relationship.

Longer Life Span

Studies have also found that a steady, committed relationship have a longer than average life span. This has been found to be more for men than women, but it is something to be considered, as everyone wants to live longer.

Lowers Risk of Disease

The risk of all kinds of disease can be significantly lowered as well. From diabetes to heart disease to lung disease and more, studies have found that people who are married or are in a steady relationship have a much lower risk of disease.

Decreased Risk of Depression

Depression is also decreased in those people who are in a committed relationship. This is most likely due to the steady support system that is found in a loving relationship. Mental health all around is more positive in people who have a steady partner.

Good for Your Sex Life

Marriage or a committed relationship also comes with another benefit-a better sex life. Studies have found that people in this type of relationship actually have more sex than people who are single. Doesn’t that make you feel good?

Being married or in a committed relationship has all sorts of health benefits, both physically and mentally. When you are in this type of loving relationship, you will be happier and feel better as well.

March 27, 2012

India’s Historic Move to Make Drugs Affordable

Filed under: health — mjones @ 7:16 pm

historic move to make drugs affordableCancer is a word that no one wants to hear associated with them, no matter what kind of cancer. Historically, cancer treatments have been expensive, have bankrupted families, and caused a great deal of emotional and financial pain for the patient and the patient’s family.

There is a recent ray of hope, however. India is looking to put a stop to cancer, even for those who can’t afford treatment.

Nexavar (Sorafenib) Uses

Simply stated, this drug is used to treat two types of cancer — a type that starts in the kidneys, called “advanced renal cell carcinoma,” and a type of inoperable liver cancer, called “unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.” This therapy slows the spread of cancer cells, and is in a class of drugs known as,

“Multikinase Inhibitors.”

This treatment, produced in brand name form by Bayer, is an expensive, patented treatment that costs approximately $5,600 US Dollars for a month’s worth of treatment. This price is often well out of the range of most people, especially those without insurance.

India’s Compulsory License Provision

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has a provision for something called a compulsory license, which means that any country can grant permission to a manufacturer to produce a patented medication without the consent of the owner of the patent. That means that a manufacturer can produce the same medication at a much lower cost.

In this case, India has been given permission to go ahead and manufacture Sorafenib for the treatment of liver and kidney cancer, which is a serious health crisis throughout the country. Under this compulsory license, the country’s manufacturers will be able to produce generic Nexavar for only $180 cost for a month’s supply. That’s $5,420 US Dollars LESS than the brand price. This means that just about anyone could afford cancer treatment.

Cancer Treatment at a Much Lower Cost

This huge cost-savings is a big relief for many people facing kidney or liver cancer. They will not have to decide between life-saving treatment or basic life needs. At a cost difference of $65,040 per year, cancer treatment will be suddenly attainable by a larger population. This is exciting news — not only for an effective cancer treatment, but for an effective cancer treatment that most people actually can afford.

March 20, 2012

Good and Bad Salt

Filed under: Nutrition — mjones @ 7:58 pm

recommended serving of saltHow much salt are you REALLY eating each day?  A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that we are getting a majority of our salt content from common foods even before we add that little extra from the salt shaker.  In fact, over 44% of our daily food intake is made up of these foods.   Are you increasing your chances of heart disease and hypertension?

Here is the list of the saltiest foods:

  • Bread and rolls
  • Lunchmeats (cold cuts)
  • Pizza
  • Processed chicken
  • Soups
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Cheese
  • Pasta
  • Meat dishes
  • Snack Foods

The amount of sodium can dramatically vary from product to product.  Some companies use salt as a preserving agent, some use it to promote the flavor, and still others use it to cultivate your appetite.  Before you put it into your mouth, take a look at the nutritional information on the back of the container to find out how much sodium that you’re ingesting.

How much sodium do you need in a day?

Our bodies are comprised of around 1% salt, and we need 500 mg per day to survive.  That salt that we ingest helps with muscle function as well as transmitting signals from our brain through the nerves.  The extra salt, ingested through foods and through the iodized salt that we put on the table, is excreted through our pores and processed through our kidneys.  When the levels of sodium are too high, our bodies store it in our veins, creating an excess of plaque and other hypertensive concerns.

The Institute of Medicine recommends:

  • 1,500 mg for people aged 9 to 50
  • 1,300 mg for adults aged 51 to 70
  • 1,200 mg for people over 70/

The average salt intake for people above the age of 2 is 3,436 mg.  This is twice the recommended daily amount, and over 1,100 mg over the recommended upper limit of 2,300 mg per day.   According to Thomas Freiden, director of the CDC,  “Heart disease and stroke alone kill more than 800,000 Americans each year and contribute an estimated 273 billion dollars a year in health care costs.  Reducing the sodium content of the ten leading sodium sources by just 25% would lower total dietary sodium by more than 10% and prevent an estimated 28,000 deaths per year.”

The Good Salt

Since our bodies need a certain amount of salt to survive, where can we find salt that is not as harmful as the table salt which we are ingesting?

Look to the natural salts like Himalayan sea salts, pink salt, or black salt.  The table salt that we ingest has been processed, bleached, and sterilized to flow better and look better.   This salt has been heated to over 1200 degrees and refined to the point where it is merely sodium and chloride.  The natural salts which have not been processed also contain trace elements which promote good health and well being.

Sea salts are more flavorful than regular table salt.  The impurities within the sea salt give it varying flavors depending on its origin.   While the sea salts are generally more expensive in the grocery store, they can also add subtleties to your eating experience.

When considering your family’s food choices, put down the salt shaker and consider spicing your foods with other flavors.  Chances are, the food that you’re eating has enough sodium in it to receive the recommended daily allowance.  Try putting aside the salt shaker for a day and experimenting.  Your body will thank you for it.

February 22, 2012

Exergames: Exercises for Older Adults

Filed under: health — mjones @ 10:10 pm

Exercise is particularly important for older adults. Exercise is typically divided into four types: those that work on strength and muscle, those that work on cardiovascular endurance, those that work on flexibility, and those that work on balance. In regards to strength and muscle exercises, muscle mass starts to decline after age thirty, so it is very important to keep up your strength and quality of tissue. As we age, we also lose aerobic fitness ability, which contributes to reduced mobility in daily life. It is equally as important to keep up one’s flexibility, because joints change with age and this can lead to stiffness, decreased range of motion, and more injuries. Lastly, seniors should focus on their balance. Balance exercises can help seniors avoid injuries from falls and keep one independent and mobile.

A new study suggests that interactive exercise, which tests a senior’s cognitive abilities, has more benefits than traditional exercise for adults between 59 and 99. These cognitive challenging exercises are called exergames. As Dr. Cay Anderson-Hanley, from the Healthy Aging and Neuropsychology Lab and Department of Psychology at Union College in NY, stated, “we found that for older adults, virtual-reality enhanced interactive exercise, or cybercyling two to three times per week for 3 months, yielded greater cognitive benefit, and perhaps added protection against mild cognitive impairment (MCI), than a similar dose of traditional exercise.”

The exergames consisted of adults riding recumbent stationary bikes; however, they were experiencing 3D competition racing against a virtual bike rider based on their last best ride. While engulfed in the cyber exergames, not only did the adults experience exercise, they also were required to plan, work their memory, use their attention, and problem solve. Further, there was no difference in exercise frequency, intensity, or duration found between the adults riding a regular recumbent stationary bike and the adults involved in the exergames, indicating that factors other than effort and fitness were responsible for the cognitive benefit.

The results of this study are important. Not only are will exercise help keep cholesterol and cardiovascular health in check for older adults, but interactive exercise has significant positive cognitive results as well!

January 4, 2012

High Cortisol Levels: Why Late-to-Sleep and Early-to-Rise May Be Hurting You. Badly.

high cortisol levelsWe all know it: going to bed late and getting up early, while maybe productive in the short-term, is not healthy in the long-term. The trend of popping an energy drink or guzzling a venti coffee first thing in the morning to deal with the hardships of being perpetually tired can lead to some undesirable health issues.  If you are among those suffering from constant fatigue or chronic stress, then you may have elevated levels of cortisol.  Want to know how you can align the physical, emotional, and mental back to the precision point psychiatrists call vigor—you know, that state of sublime energy we all have at some point or another? Well, read on.

What is Cortisol?

The cortisol hormone is a steroid which is produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress. Ordinarily coritsol is highest in the morning, around 8am, and then gradually lowers throughout the day, especially after exercise, reaching a low around 4am, or a few hours after the onset of sleep. The problem with the stress-filled, no-sleep lifestyles of many people is that they don’t get a chance to deplete their levels; in other words, the cortisol stays elevated through the night. This leads to a hormonal imbalance in the body.

With high cortisol levels, the production of testosterone and DHEA are suppressed, the latter two being responsible for many important anti-inflammatory and oxidative functions.

(Since women, however, have less testosterone, a high cortisol-induced drop in their testosterone is normally going to affect women more than men. For women who want to stay young, lean, energetic, and otherwise active, a healthy level of testosterone is very important.)

High Cortisol Symptoms

Prolonged high cortisol levels can enact significant physiological changes in both men and women. The symptoms include, but are not limited to the following:
Exhaustion (reduced physical/mental energy = low vigor)
• Low sex drive
• Decreased muscle mass
• Reduced calorie/fat-burning
• Increased abdominal fat

How to Lower Cortisol levels

So, you checked off some, or maybe every symptom on the above list. Do not worry (further.) Reducing cortisol and restoring a balance in the body is relatively easy. Use any or all of these approaches to help bring your cortisol levels down, and your testosterone up.

Exercise: Virtually all forms of exercise help to reduce cortisol levels. So get to it! Find a sport that you enjoy and try to get the blood pumping as much as possible each day.

Diet: Fatty of overly sugary, processed foods can affect the adrenal gland in negative ways. Stick to brightly colored fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and unrefined/whole carbohydrates.

Stress Management: One of the aforementioned operative variables in this equation is stress—and it just happens. Stress is a part of life, but how we deal with those stressors at a psychological level will determine our hormonal response, as stress researchers from around the world have determined. In other words, if you acknowledge stress too much, or with too much intensity, your body will respond in tune with your emotional change.

Dietary Supplements: In addition to, or as part of a balanced diet, certain supplements can be beneficial to maintaining a proper physiological equilibrium.  The Malaysian herb Eurycoma longifolia (Tongkat ali) is a potent option for energy, and among the many other supplements which can be used as a natural method to help to safely restore the body’s hormonal equilibrium.

High cortisol levels fall under the scope of adrenal disease, a category which can be somewhat hard to diagnose; furthermore, if left untreated these deficiencies (or, in the opposite case, surplus’) can lead to serious, sometimes life-threatening complications. If you feel that any of your hormones are out of balance it is best to talk to a doctor immediately.

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