Recognising Arthritis and the Treatments Available

Arthritis is a disease that causes inflammation of the joints. It can also affect the muscles and internal organs; affecting a person at any time in their life. Tenderness around a joint, limited movement, redness and warmth are often the first signs of arthritis.

Two of the most common conditions are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis and its treatment

Nicknamed the “wear and tear disease,” osteoarthritis is most commonly found in people aged 65 years and over. This disease affects the joints and the surrounding tissue. It usually affects one or a few of the joints which are knees, hips, hands and spine.

Its aims of treatment include:

  • strengthening muscles and mobility of joints by exercise
  • reduce strain on affected joints
  • taking painkillers when needed
  • losing weight if necessary

Rheumatoid arthritis and its treatment

Rheumatoid arthritis is known as the “autoimmune connective tissue disease” and is most commonly found in women between the ages of 30 and 50 years old.

This disease is a lot more complicated; it occurs when the immune system attacks the cell lining inside the joint, which leaves the joints to move less fluidly. This is how the inflammation transpires. Symptoms are usually joint stiffness, joint pain, swelling and loss of joint movement.

Its treatment aims to:

  • relieve symptoms
  • preserve muscle strength and joint movement
  • prevent joints from further damage
  • help individual to lead a normal life

Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are often taken to reduce swelling and discomfort for rheumatoid arthritis but these only keep the problem at bay rather than it being a long-term aid. There are several drugs which are used to prevent joint damage – methotrexate, sulfasalazine, azathioprine, leflunomide, gold salts, penicillamine and hydroxychloroquine. Methotrexate and sulfasalazine have proved to be the most effective and are therefore the most commonly used.

Arthritis is often genetic so a doctor will ask if there is any history of sufferers within the family. However, it can also occur from infection or a virus (reactive arthritis.)

Tests such as blood tests and x-rays could be taken. An ESR blood test measuring the stickiness in red blood cells is read and if it is particularly high, it concludes that there may be inflammation within the body. A reading taken from someone suffering from osteoarthritis would have either no inflammation or it would be very mild and so the ESR would be normal.

A blood test may also be taken for the Rheumatoid Factor. This is an antibody that appears in the blood, this generally increases in normal people as they age.

X-rays can be suggested as these would show if the arthritis has affected the bones. The x-ray will show if the bones have started to erode or even if there has been bone growth (osteophytes). Arthritis can sometimes cause extra bone to grow at the edges of the affected joints.

In some cases, a general practitioner may be able to make a diagnosis. Sometimes however, referral to a hospital specialist may be needed.

Exercise to keep joints strong

There is a common fear that exercise can further damage already delicate joints. It is however extremely important that the right exercise is taken to maintain flexible joints and muscle strength.

Do’s: Stretching, muscle-strengthening, general fitness or aerobic exercise.

Don’ts: Sit-ups (causes strain on spine), squats (causes strain on knee) and never crack joints.

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Nail Biting – Why It Happens and How To Stop

Nail biters are easy to spot. They may keep their hands clenched, point to things using a pen, or hold the pen so as not to show fingertips. They constantly inspect their nails for tears, file frantically, or produce nippers when no-one is looking. The results are obvious if their fingertips are on display. Or, of course, they may be chewing at their nails.

Why People Bite Their Nails

Nail biting is often blamed on “nerves,” or anxiety, or just a bit of nail that was demanding attention. An anxious expression is common while nail biting, but anxiety is not the cause – it’s the result of the action itself. People are fully aware that it’s an ugly habit, and most, if offered an instant cure, would gladly take it.

The habit often begins in childhood, probably in imitation of a relative. This irritates parents, who scold and – sadly – have even been known to creep up behind the child and surprise them with a smack on the hand. This is very unlikely to be effective, as it just increases anxiety and the person may become defensive and secretive about the nail biting habit. And once the habit is established, the biter often finds it hard to resist continual monitoring of their nails and dealing with any snags. It becomes a routine, a habit – a vicious circle of bite, anxiety, check nails, bite and so on.

If the fingernails are soft, they are more likely to split or tear during everyday activities. This attracts the biter’s attention, and the behavior begins.

Why is Nail Biting Undesirable?

Bitten fingernails are always unattractive. They can affect self-esteem and change social behaviour, and are the behavior is often associated with anxiety.

There is also a health issue, as bacteria, viruses, or bits of grime can become lodged under even the shortest nails. This leaves nail biters more prone to illness and infection.

How to Avoid Making Nail Biting Worse

 

Scolding, smacking or punishing a child, or complaining to an adult, will not stop the compulsion to bite nails. It will only increase the anxiety that accompanies it, and may make the person seek privacy if a nail appears to need biting. Worsened anxiety can lead to more nail biting.

Nail biting remedies like bitter aloes and paint-on bitter liquid do have a slight chance of working with children who have just started, but seems intrinsically unkind and authoritarian. Again, it can only increase anxiety, and adults will just wash it off, either deliberately or because they wash their hands frequently anyway.

What To Do To Stop Nail Biting

The first approach is to consider the health of the nails. If they are soft and prone to tear, bend back, or split, then a dietary overhaul might be in order, and advice can be sought.

Habits in childhood may disappear, unless they are replaced by an alternative. Nail biting can be a childhood habit which never became replaced and so persists. The most useful approach is to seek a replacement (or ‘displacement’) activity – one which is acceptable, even pleasant, and which is incompatible with biting the nails.

What is chosen depends on which of two forces is the stronger – the need for oral activity, or the need for the hand to have purposeful fidgeting.

If a person constantly chews gum or mints, sucks the end of the pen, or bites the lip, then the oral aspect is probably important. Here, a solution would be to increase the use of chewing gum (hopefully sugar-free), or – better – find a new activity. Examples might be sucking small pebbles or the occasional boiled sweet, very slowly eating individual peanuts, munching baby carrots, using lip salve, or drinking more water.

More common are manually-driven nail biters, with a need to fidget constantly with their hands. They may drum fingers on the table, make chains of paper clips, ‘ping’ rubber bands, doodle while on the phone, or frequently touch or scratch their faces. A helpful strategy here is to obtain a small toy with moving parts which can be a fidgeting object in various ways. Examples are ‘sputniks’ whose spikes can be pushed in and then they pop out, tiny cars or animals on wheels that can be spun around by the wheels, held in various ways, and raced along smooth surfaces. A small Rubik’s cube would do, but only for changing the surfaces rather than solving the puzzle. If these are cute, constantly to hand, preferably actually in the hand where possible, they should help to divert the fidgeting. They can be given a name, too.

Rules to Help the Methods Work

  • Never be without the displacement object or oral activity, even when nails are looking good.
  • Try to recognise when the biting is just about to start – consider an initial boost with bitters to attract immediate attention.
  • Don’t buy beautiful hand ornaments, especially rings, too soon – not being able to wear them is punishment.
  • Ensure that the diet is promoting strong nails.

Stopping biting fingernails is difficult, but possible with a strategy. It has benefits for appearance, self-confidence, social behaviour, and health, and is well worth the effort.

Keeping an Acid-Alkaline Balance For Health

The delicate acid-alkaline body balance is a topic in which natural healthcare professionals are well versed, but most people are still completely unaware of how important it is to their overall health and well being. Just like every other substance on earth, the human body has a pH, which means that it falls somewhere on the scale between acidity, and its opposite, alkalinity. A person’s body pH is developed as a result of lifestyle, diet and medications, and has more effect on total-body wellness than any other single physical factor.

What is Body Acidity?

If the body does not have a proper pH – meaning a healthy balance between acid and alkaline – it cannot function properly, stay healthy, or age gracefully. When people are born, their acid/alkaline balance is near perfection, but at the time of death, most people are almost completely acidic, which shows its effects on the body. The scale goes like this – a pH of 1.0 is very strongly acidic, and a pH of 14 is strongly alkaline, and most people fall somewhere in between. A healthy pH is a neutral 7.0 – 7.5.

It is very easy and very common for the body to become overly acidic. Due to the typical Western diet of acid-forming foods such as meats, pasta, refined sugar, starches, fast food, and caffeine, most Americans are living in a highly acidic state, which causes them to age more quickly, feel less energetic, and have a body that is very susceptible to the development of chronic disease. There are, in fact, over 38 million Americans suffering from acid overload today, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Some risk factors for developing an acidic condition are taking prescription drugs, not exercising enough, living under stress, being exposed to environmental toxins, using artificial sweeteners, and drinking alcohol and caffeine, or smoking.

The Effects of an Acidic Body

An overly acidic state affects all major body systems, from blood circulation to food digestion, from the neurons firing in the brain to the kidneys ability to filter waste. It can lead to poor heart function, weakened immunity, low energy, and even stubborn weight problems. Those who are overly acidic have also been known to suffer from stiff, sore joints, stomach and digestive disorders, and memory loss. When the body is overly acidic, it cannot properly absorb minerals, and the first to deplete itself is iodine, which has a direct effect on the functioning of the thyroid gland and metabolism.

How to Balance pH

Fortunately, and acid imbalance is a relatively easy problem to correct – with a few dietary and lifestyle changes, along with some supplementation. By simply cutting out the heavily acidic foods mentioned above, and increasing the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially greens of any kind, the diet becomes much more alkaline, and less acid-friendly. Green food supplements are also a good way to add alkaline substances to the system. To keep track of changes in pH, testing strips that check the acid levels of saliva or urine can be used.

The best way to level out the body’s pH, however, is by drinking alkaline water. This is easily absorbed into the system and begins to take effect almost immediately. Water can be made alkaline by being run through a special alkalizing filter, or by adding alkalizing liquid drops, both of which are available at most health food stores.

The Cause, Diagnosis and Treatment of Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a deformity of the spine which cases the spine to rotate and to curve. It not only results in physical problems, but research has suggested that these patients often have poor self-esteem and can suffer back pain. Some forms of scoliosis are thought to be genetic and appear to run in families. It is not a single disease, but can be associated with other syndromes or a symptom of other diseases.

How Scoliosis is Diagnosed?

The first signs of scoliosis are usually small changes in the person’s physical appearance. This can include: a hip that appears more prominent and higher than the other hip, shoulders which are not at the same height, rib cage at different height and others. If scoliosis is suspected then a physician or orthopedic specialist should be consulted.

Scoliosis can be confirmed by x-ray, CT scan, MRI scan and if the curve is confirmed the curvature will be measured. Patients who are also complaining of pain may have a bone scan. The patient will have their reflexes checked along with an examination to look for any loss in motor or sensory function. Scoliosis can affect the ability of the lungs, so breathing will be assessed.

Causes of Scoliosis

Congenital scoliosis is usually detected during an ultrasound scan in pregnancy. The baby will show signs of a deformed spine. A study in 1993 “Anomalies Associated with Vertebral Malformations” suggests that 60 percent of these babies will have other deformities. Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common form of scoliosis occurring at any age and accounting for 80 percent of cases. The most common form is found in adolescents and may run in families.

Scoliosis can also be caused by a number of different syndromes such as Marfan syndrome, Duchene muscular dystrophy. Injury, tumors, and infections may also result in scoliosis. Further in the elderly it may be caused by degenerative changes in the spine caused by diseases such as osteoarthritis.

Treatment of Scoliosis

Treatment will depend on the cause of the scoliosis, age of the patient, the curvature and if there are other medical problems. Non-surgical treatments include observational or wearing a brace. The doctor may decide to monitor the patient and wait with regular x-rays to determine if the curve progresses. There are many variations and types of brace used for scoliosis. It remains unclear if there is any difference between wearing the brace for part-time or full-time. Many adolescents are poor at complying with wearing a brace. Research also suggests that many adolescents find wearing a brace stressful and lowers their self esteem.

Surgery is usually only performed on patients whose curvature is progressing. The Mayo Clinic suggests that surgery is recommended when the curve is greater than 40 to 50 degrees. Surgery involves straightening and fusing of the spine. The type of surgery will depend on the position of the curve and the degree of curvature. The surgery is complex. There is always a risk of complications, such as infection, nerve damage, failure to fuse vertebra and pain.

Improved techniques are improving the care and quality of life for these patients. Research is currently underway to determine markers that will predict progression of the curve and to determine inheritance.

Makeup for Rosacea is as Important as Medicine

Rosacea is a disorder of the skin. According to the National Rosacea Society, it primarily occurs between the ages of 30 to 60. Although it generally appears on the face, it can also appear on the chest or neck. The cause is not actually known, and may be genetic, because it appears most often on those who have fair skin and blush easily.

Rosacea and Appearance

Persons who have rosacea have bright red patches of skin, often with pimple-like bumps and sometimes the appearance of tiny veins. Unfortunately, it appears most often on the face – on the skin of the cheeks, nose and chin. In extreme cases, the skin of the nose may thicken and become deformed, and the eyes can appear watery and bloodshot.

Medical Treatment of Rosacea

There is no known cause or cure for rosacea, but dermatologists give patients oral and topical medications, depending on the type and severity of the disease. This can slow the progression of the disease and relieve burning and stinging that can accompany the rash. There are also herbal remedies, such as jojoba oil, which may soothe symptoms.

The Importance of Makeup for Rosacea

Rosacea can be described as the “acne of middle age.” Like acne, it causes disfigurement that can negatively affect one’s career and social life. Rosacea is thought to be caused by alcoholism, so it bears an additional social stigma. The need to conceal rosacea with makeup is very important to those who suffer from the disease.

Tips on Buying Make-up for Rosacea

Cosmetics may aggravate the condition. The National Rosacea Society recommends the following for safe skin care:

  1. Avoid cosmetics that contain alcohol, witch hazel, menthol, peppermint, clove, or eucalyptus oil.
  2. Use fragrance-free products; the ingredients in fragrances commonly cause allergic reactions.
  3. The product should be labeled “allergy tested;” “hypoallergenic” is not clearly defined.
  4. UV protection is an essential component of skin care products for rosacea.
  5. Use multi-purpose products to reduce the number of cosmetics on the skin.
  6. Use a brush, rather than a sponge, to reduce skin irritation.
  7. Concealer and foundation should be anti-bacterial.
  8. Clean the brush after each application of make-up.

Green Concealer is Key to Rosacea Makeup

Fortunately, there are make-up products from trusted lines of cosmetics that are designed to conceal the red color that draws attention to rosacea. Concealers with the color green counter-act the color red. Green concealer can be found both in lotion and in powder form.

How to Apply Makeup for Rosacea

First, the Rosacea Society emphasizes gently washing the face. It is advised that persons who have rosacea clean with non-soap lotions. If your facial skin is oily, use very gentle soap and rinse with lukewarm and not hot water. The skin should be dried by means of blotting – not rubbing – with a soft cotton towel.

The second step in hiding redness and visible blood vessels is to apply a green concealer, which can be a lotion or powder. The concealer is applied by brushing directly onto each affected area and then blending for a smooth look. Bumps can be dabbed directly with concealer and then blended in with foundation.

Finally, the Rosacea Society recommends oil free foundation, either cream or powder, to provide a seamless look. It should match the natural skin color as closely as possible. Foundation should be applied lightly, starting in the center and blending outward. Use broad strokes for large areas of the face and thin strokes using the side of the brush for hairline, eyes, nose, and mouth.

Recommended Makeup Products for Rosacea

The Rosacea Society prefers mineral powders because they contain few ingredients. These products usually come with powder foundation that further hides redness. Two examples of this type of product are called “Powder Finish Concealer” and “Color Correcting Foundation Primer in Green.”

According to Marie Claire, “The Best Products for Rosacea,” © Hearst Communication, Inc., of a list of ten, the number one recommended product is “Daily Perfecting Lotion,” an inexpensive lotion that covers a large area of skin. Second is “Anti-redness Skincare Lotion.” Number five is a mineral powder, called “Everyday Minerals Mint Color Correcting Concealer.” Eight is a gentle cleanser called “Rosaclear.” Other products mentioned cost in excess of $50 to $100 for a small tube, while the mineral powder costs only $8.00 (also for a very small amount).

Importance of Makeup for Rosacea

The availability of makeup to cover the redness of rosacea is an important advance in the cosmetic industry for those who suffer from rosacea. Makeup is equal to medicine in the treatment of rosacea, because it helps patients attain acceptance and regain their self-esteem.

About Male Body Odor: Simple Steps to a Sweet Body Smell

In many societies, people find body odors objectionable. In Japan, body odor is a sign of illness, thus, men with bad body smell were exempted from joining the force. [Stoddart 1990]

Body odor begins with the sweat produced by the apocrine glands. The sweat is largely made up of odorless water. However, the same sweat can make a person smell bad because it contains oil, which provides food for the billions of bacteria on the human skin. Thus, the offensive body odor is the result of the feeding frenzy of the billions of harmless bacteria that thrives on the oil in the human sweat.

How People Deal with a Bad Body Odor

There are various attitudes toward bad body odor. Cultures in the middle ages sprayed strong perfumes to mask body smell. Women used flowers to freshen their surroundings. Most people take a bath to remove body odors. Some people hardly care, even if they do not agree with their body odor. In London, Robert Pattinson on his bad hygiene and pungent body odor said, “it gets to the point where even I cannot stand the air around me.” [Article: Robert Pattinson on His Body Odor by Liz Barrett, Celebrity News Examiner]

However, a pungent body aroma is not going to make a man the life of the party. Nine out of ten Australians dislike bad body odor according to AAP General News, “Body Odor Least Appealing Physical Characteristic,”. Few years ago, a man was rejected from a casino in Atlantic City because of his bad body smell. The 440-pound gambler from New York City said he understands why grossed-out gamblers complained about his body odor. [Article: Gambler Ejected From Casino Due To Body Odor © Associated Press, Wjz.com]

Home Remedies to Reduce Body Odour

Body sweat has no odor of its own. It will only begin to smell bad when bacteria begins to interact with the sweat.

Most people tend to combat armpit odor with manufactured body odor products such as body sprays or deodorants. The most common product that people use is soap because of the claim that it freshens and deodorizes the skin. Others use natural remedies that are known to slow down or stop the bacteria that gives sweat its odor. Following are natural remedies to prevent body odor.

  • Bathe. A daily bath would wash away sweat in the chest, feet, groin area, and underarms, which could encourage bacterial and fungal action. One of the effective home remedies for body odor is a mixture of four to five drops of alcohol to a mug of water to rinse the armpits. Take at least two showers per day especially during hot months when one tends to sweat more.
  • Control the sweat. Since body odor begins with sweat, controlling the volume of this body secretion will help reduce body smell. Using body antiperspirant is the best way to reduce perspiration. Most antiperspirants contain an astringent called aluminum sulfate to control sweat by closing the openings of the sweat glands. Most antiperspirants can reduce body sweat, and help keep one drier and sweet smelling for the rest of the day.
  • Home remedies like baking soda and lemon can also reduce foot odor and underarm odor. Likewise, apple cider vinegar is an effective home remedy for body odor. As a deodorant, it will reduce the pH of the skin and eliminate armpit odor. Wet the cotton balls with apple cider and then rub it on the armpits to lessen excessive sweating.
  • Modify diet. Certain foods can affect the amount of sweat that one produces. The aroma of foods like meat, spices, caffeinated drinks and alcohol can be carried in the sweat, giving off an unpleasant smell. On the other hand, a diet of fruits and vegetables can inhibit bacteria and lessen bad breath and body odors. In addition, a daily supplement of about 50 milligrams of zinc can treat body odors from the inside.
  • Wear clean, comfortable clothes. Dirty tight clothes can harbor odor-causing bacteria. Tight clothing restricts the natural flow of blood and lymphatic fluid. On the other hand, loose fitting clothes allow the body to breathe better and let sweat dry faster.

One Needs Essential Body Grooming to Prevent Odor

The body emits various odors that are distinct to the body areas. The armpits produce what people regard as the most pungent and the most offensive of all body odors. The sweat that sweeps on the body can make one have a bad body smell when bacteria start their feeding frenzy on the oil in the body sweat.

To prevent the disgusting smell, a man must practice what society considers as good grooming without fail. Wash well the groin and the armpit area with body odor products. Wear clean, comfortable clothes daily, changing to nightwear after shower before bed. If possible, stick to loosely fitting clothes to allow the skin to breathe and the sweat to dry quickly.

There is a powerful, cultural distaste for offensive body odor. Bad body smell can make one feel odd, offensive and strange—smell of the great cats, the sawdust, and the leather whip. On the other hand, a clean, fresh body scent is absolutely proper and polite, not incommode others.

Become a Marine Biologist: Study and Conserve Whales and Their Environment

It is possible to become involved in Marine Biology in a number of different capacities. Academics require technicians, and amateurs can play a role.

Marine Biologists

Marine Biologists study everything that lives in the oceans. This includes all marine plants and animals, as well as micro-organisms. It also occupies itself with the ecology of these many organisms, from the study of the requirements of individual species up to the consideration of entire habitats and how they work. Most end up specialising in a single field of study, be it microscopic diatoms or enormous whales, but they all need to know about the ocean as an environment and have some understanding of oceanography (the physical, chemical and biological properties and phenomena of the sea).

Becoming a Marine Biologist

Before studying marine biology itself it is essential to have a sound grasp of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, and Physics. Maths and English are also very important. Enthusiasm is paramount and cannot be learnt – any true marine biologist will have developed an almost obsessive interest in some aspect of the subject long before he or she decides to follow this career path, and it is a good idea to consider summer courses, camps, and internships in the area. Some universities have summer residential research programs for high school students.

Marine Biology Schools

Research the institutions that specialise in teaching Marine Biology. While initial studies should concentrate on science in general (and especially Biology and Chemistry), further studies in whatever aspect of Marine Biology is intended is made so much easier if the same institution provides a route for progression. Advanced academic studies require a supervisor – an expert in the topic of interest. Again, it is good if this expert is nearby!

Study and Conserve Whales

There is enormous competition for the opportunity to work with whales, and this is one of the most ‘glamorous’ (and worthwhile?) branches of Marine Biology.

Non Academic Routes into Marine Biology

Never forget that for every research scientist there are dozens, or hundreds, of people making his or her work possible. Much whale research, for example, is dependent on instrumentation (satellite tracking, hydrophone recording, photography), and competent technicians are essential. Most Marine Biologists don’t know how their gear works – they just rely on it and the people who keep it functioning!

Amateur Contributions to Marine Biology

In the past all Marine Biologists were self-taught amateurs, and research is always about ‘finding out for yourself’. If, for whatever reason, a career working as a Marine Biologist is not feasible then pursues your enthusiasm nevertheless – amateur naturalists make a huge contribution to science.