Natural sources of Vitamin C

Vitamin C SourcesVitamin C is one of the most important sources of antioxidants. It helps to prevent many diseases related to the heart and cardiovascular system. Vitamin C gives us strong teeth and healthy gums. It also helps in preventing heart attacks, strokes, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and cataracts. There are a large number of natural sources of vitamin C. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Citrus Fruits – Citrus fruit are the richest source of vitamin C; in fact they are the prime sources of this vitamin. Oranges, lemons, lime and grapefruits are the most common examples of citrus fruits. These fruits are very helpful in the formation of collagen and inter-cellular material. This collagen forming property is helpful for the quick healing of scars and wounds. Fresh juices extracted from these fruits should also be added in your daily diet, especially in breakfast. These prove to be very healthy starters adding freshness and health to your body systems. These fruits can also be consumed in the forms of jams, jellies, marmalade and fruit salads.
  • Berries – Berries like blue berries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries are very rich sources of this vitamin. They are available in many forms in the market. They are present as juices, jams, jellies and squashes. They are very helpful for the better development of bones and teeth and should be used, especially by growing children. Children should be encouraged to drink juices instead of fizzy drinks and carbonated water. Carbonated beverages do a lot of harm by demineralising the bones and removing calcium from them. This weakens the bones and teeth.
  • Red Chillies – Although red chillies should not be used in excess, moderate amounts of red chillies and red peppers are good sources of vitamin C. The vitamin is also present in green chillies and black pepper. These herbs and spices are commonly used in your foods.
  • Green Leafy VegetablesGreen leafy vegetables, beans and peas are full of vitamin C. These include cabbage, spinach, celery, broccoli, parsley and many other vegetables. So, salads and vegetarian sandwiches should be added into your daily diet as good sources of vitamin C.
  • Other Fruits – Fruits like melons, watermelons, kiwi fruit and custard apples supply vitamin C in abundant amounts and also provide other health benefits. They are also rich sources of fibres, so they help to regulate the digestive system. They help in the proper digestion of food by slow passage through the intestines.
    Guavas, peaches and plums help in providing resistance against infections. This improves the immune system of the body and makes the human body less susceptible to diseases.
  • Bean Family – Brussels sprouts, peas, and beans also supply vitamin C. These vegetables can be used in any form and can be boiled, baked or toasted.
  • Pulses – Young people are normally unaware of the benefits of pulses. Pulses and grains are rich sources of many vitamins, especially vitamin C. They aid in the development of bones and teeth and prevent scurvy (bleeding gums).
  • These are some of the most important natural sources of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. In case of a chronic deficiency, you should consult your health physician to give to additional Vitamin C supplements.

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Vitamin D and its importance to Body Health

Vitamin D Benefits

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Another scientific or biological name used for this particular vitamin is calciferol. The health benefits and importance of vitamin D, along with its important natural sources are listed below:

  • Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by the bones and blood in the body. This helps to make bones and teeth, strong and healthy. Therefore lack of vitamin D makes bones soft, brittle and susceptible to fractures. This can also lead to many diseases of bones and cancers of bones and bone marrow. In old age this softness of bones is a source of diseases like osteoporosis and calcium deficits.
  • Human body can also convert inactive form of vitamin D to its active form which is done by major organs of the body especially liver and kidney. The human body also has the capability of doing this y by its exposure to ultra violet rays from the sun. Hence, it is the main source to make vitamin D in the body. In fact sunlight is the only major source of vitamin D. It is easy as well as a direct source of this vitamin.
  • Vitamin D prevents against many serious illnesses and anomalies. It helps to protect the human body from psoriasis, tuberculosis and cancers. Sufficient vitamin D in the neonatal stage of the baby is also equally important. It determines the health and strength of the baby s bones and teeth. Hence, expecting mothers should not have deficiency of this vitamin when they are pregnant. For this, consultancy can be taken from a good physician.
  • This vitamin also helps to prevent osteoporosis, breast cancer, prostate cancers, depression, anxiety, obesity and even diabetes mellitus.
  • This vitamin comes from many animal derived foods such as fish liver oils, livers, egg yolks, etc. These animal sources provide this vitamin in sufficient quantities to fulfil the daily need of the body for this vitamin.
  • Green leafy vegetables also provide vitamin D. These are cabbages, spinach, celery, parsley, salad leaves, green onions; etc. Vitamin D present in these green vegetables helps to control the movement of calcium between the bones and in and out of blood.
  • These days, many products are available in the market that are fortified with this vitamin. Soy milk (also called soya milk, soymilk, soybean milk, or soy juice) and cheese fortified with this vitamin are rich sources of vitamin D.
  • Vitamin D is equally important for pregnant and lactating women. They should take plenty of green vegetables and egg yolks.
  • In growing children, lack of this vitamin can cause bone weakness and rickets. This disease can continue for the rest of their lives!

Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to many health hazards. Hence, appropriate amount of foods containing this vitamin should be added in your daily diet. This vitamin, not only makes bones and teeth strong, but it also contributes to a healthy nervous system.

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The importance of physical fitness

Physical Fitness Physical fitness seems to be the talk of the day everywhere you go. All around you, people must constantly be talking about healthy foods, good gyms and fitness centers and the newest in physical fitness. Truly, there is something rational behind all this hype; the importance of keeping good health and a good body because a sound body leads to a sound mind. Being physically fit does not come easy and it does not mean being slim or appearing to be slim. Physically fit means having minimum fat on your body, and healthier muscles yet you shouldn’t be skinny; your body will want to retain a certain amount of fat on it. So strive for a healthy lifestyle, not an unhealthy one that just guarantees a skinny body.

You may think that physical fitness and all that it represents today is superficial but there is a lot more to it than expensive diet food, expensive club memberships and state-of-the-art exercising machines. Healthy food, memberships and machines are just tools that help you lose weight in a healthy manner and maintain it. As far as money is concerned, anybody can join the physical fitness club and everybody should!

A healthy body which is fed healthy food and undergoes regular exercise will have a healthier mind, sharper reflexes, better skin, better functioning organs and muscles and will live a longer and livelier life. Need more reasons to start the physical fitness regime? There is a lot of popular and known scientific information on the sort of wonders healthy food like vegetables and proteins can do for your skin and your overall health. Exercise helps you work those muscles making you stronger and it can keep your mood uplifted with the help of releasing endorphins. Besides, who doesn’t want a good looking body which is devoid of extra weight?

In fact, all doctors today suggest that people should start getting into the habit of doing whatever it takes to be physically fit. The older you get, the more of a healthy lifestyle you need which include regular exercise and healthy food. Taking out an hour or so everyday dedicated completely for physical fitness can take you a long way as far as living longer, living happier and living stronger is concerned. Physical fitness is important for your heart to function properly, for your mind to be alert and your performance level to be up.

Initially, it may take some time for you to understand the true meaning of physical fitness and what it takes to be physically fit but you should know that this is all an investment that you will enjoy for the rest of your life. Understand about the importance of a healthy lifestyle on your work, your family and your mental well-being. Try incorporating healthy snacks and meals instead of carbohydrate-high and greasy ones. If you are active and athletic, it will be a good idea to incorporate protein supplements like protein powder in your diet. Make an effort to be active and exercise daily even if you do only for an hour, you can even learn aerobics or yoga if you are not fond of traditional exercises. Just remember, there are dozens of ways to achieve physical fitness so make time and an effort for it, it will truly be worth it.

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Restoring the Good Name of Carbohydrates

Once upon a time, a fad diet came along that misled people into thinking that carbohydrates were the source of weight gains. This diet also encouraged people to adopt a weight loss program that included only protein, and almost no carbohydrates. So, in the name of good health, it is necessary to set the record straight, and end the myths once and for all.

Carbs diet

The major problem with eliminating carbohydrates from any diet is that they are responsible for providing energy and regulating the way organs function; not to mention the negative effects their absence has on the heart. Even if the diet works, you can lose all the weight in the world, and still be tired all the time and at risk of heart complications. That doesn’t sound like an ideal situation for anyone, and the fact is that it takes a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, and fats to stay healthy.

One of the confusing aspects to the story is that there are some carbohydrates that are not healthy, including those found in soda, pastries, and white bread. But the “good” carbohydrates should not be grouped in with them or avoided, and they can be found in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. It is simply unwise to stop eating bread or other valuable sources of nutrition. Instead, choose whole grain bread, read labels, and start thinking of carbohydrates as much needed fuel for your body’s activities.

For more information on health and fitness check out No Limit Blog.

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Understanding Rosacea

Rosacea is a condition, which only affects the skin. It causes persistent or recurring inflammation, mostly of the skin on the face, and it often has a similar pattern on either side of the nose. Occasionally, the skin will become inflamed elsewhere on the body, for example on the chest or back. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown; however, it is thought to be due to a problem with the tiny blood vessels, which supply the skin. In some people, roascea seems to be part of a more general disorder of blood vessels. This also causes migraine headaches brought on by changes in blood flow in the brain.

Treating Rosacea

Over use of a steroid cream on the face to treat some other skin problem may cause rosacea, due to damage to some of the blood vessels.

Because the rash in rosacea often includes spots that look like ordinary acne, and because most sufferers are between the ages of 30 and 50, rosacea has been described as ‘adult acne’. But, in fact, there is no connection between acne and rosacea. Rosacea typically starts during the teen years, with occasional attacks of intense flushing of the skin around the nose, cheeks, chin and ears. This often happens more in embarrassing or anxious situations or while eating hot or spicy food.

During the early twenties, these flushing attacks tend to become worse and cover a wider area of skin. The affected skin will often feel burnt. In mild cases of rosacea, each attack only lasts for a few minutes and the skin returns to normal in between attacks. However, some rosacea sufferers develop a persistently red face, which is especially noticeable on the forehead, checks and nose. The rash can also extend to the scalp and down to the chin and neck.

Once into their thirties, people with rosacea will usually start to notice the appearance of papules (small raised bumps) and pustules (small white blisters filled with pus), in addition to redness. These crops of papules and pustules, which look like bad acne, tend to come and go. Other symptoms of more severe rosacea can include painful eye irritation, blood-shot eyes, swelling of the face and tiny spidery blood vessels visible under the skin.

Occasionally, rosacea causes unsightly bumps on the nose, a problem which doctors call rhinophyma. This often starts with the tip of the nose going red, but the redness may spread to the rest of the nose, which may turn a bright or purplish-red. In addition, the skin over the nose may thicken to become coarse and irregular and may become very oily. Rhinophyma is sometimes the only sign of rosacea. It affects more women than men, with as many as one in 10 middle-aged women suffering from mild symptoms.

The risk of rosacea is greater if you are fair skinned. Certain factors are known or thought to make rosacea worse, at least in some sufferers. Avoiding particular foods, drinks and any situation that tends to trigger a flushing attack can be a great help in controlling unpleasant symptoms and complications.

Self-help Measures

  • Avoid any food or drink that is too hot or too cold.
  • Avoid oil-based cosmetic products.
  • Avoid too much exposure to the sun, strong winds and extremes or sudden changes in temperature.
  • Change to decaffeinated tea and coffee, and caffeine-free cola.
  • Take steps to reduce any build-up of stress in your life. So take up sports and hobbies, or try regular relaxation exercises.

Because rosacea tends to run in families, many people mistakenly believe that their reddish complexion is simply a family characteristic that they must learn to live with, rather than a skin disorder that can be effectively treated. Anyone with symptoms of rosacea should see their doctor, however mild those symptoms might be. Don’t wait for the appearance of damaged blood vessels or a swollen nose. There are treatments available which not only clear the skin, but also help prevent more serious problems from developing. Remember, without proper treatment, rosacea may worsen and cause permanent damage to the skin.

Treatment for Rosecea

Antibiotic treatments (either orally or topically) are the most commonly prescribed medicines. Topical treatments are also an effective way of controlling rosecea.

Menopausal flushing, which sometimes affects women in their late forties and early fifties, can make rosacea worse, in which case other medicines to control this flushing may be prescribed, e.g. HRT.

Rosacea Treatments

Unfortunately, there is no drug treatment which will help enlargement and deformity of the nose. In bad cases, some form of cosmetic surgery may be necessary to restore the nose to a satisfactory shape. Antibiotics will suppress the symptoms of rosacea. Within a few days of starting treatment, the number of papules and pustules on the face will be reduced, and any irritation of the eyes will be soothed. Also, the antibiotic treatment will help prevent permanent skin damage. Topical antibiotic also helps to prevent it and can be used for a prolonged period without any side effects.

Good news for rosacea sufferers

Rosacea can be unsightly, but the good news is that it can be controlled effectively through self-help methods and consulting a dermatologist promptly for oral or topical antibiotic treatment any time your rash flares up. Even better news – rosacea may eventually burn itself out, so that further treatment is no longer required.

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First Aid Tips for Burns and Scalds

If you or your child has had an accident and had a burn or scald, you must provide first aid immediately. Burns and scalds can be of varying degrees, like First-Degree Burns, Second-Degree Burns or Third-Degree Burns and each of them require special treatment. Here are some first aid tips to help you treat burns and scalds.

First Aid Tips for Scalds

Act Immediately

If your toddler accidentally spills a pot of hot coffee, tea or water on himself and his skin turns red don’t think that no harm has been done. Approach a doctor and let him decide about the nature and degree of the burn.

Immediate treatment for minor burns

The first thing to do is to stop the burning and avoid any further damage. You do this by removing anything that is soaked in the scalding liquid and then afterwards cool the burnt area with cool running water.

For small burns

Put your child’s finger under running tap water for at least two minutes. The pain will decrease and you will be able to see the actual damage. Then pat dry the area. Never apply butter cream or any other kind of grease or ointment. Though you may be tempted to break the blister but don’t. Cover the area with a non adhesive dressing or a sterile gauze, something that doesn’t leave fibre strands on the burned spot. Reassure your child and warn him not to be careless in the future. Also remove any jewellery, watch or clothing from the affected area so they do not stick to the skin.

Coping with larger burns

If your child spills hot oil or a boiling kettle on himself treat the larger burn as you would a minor one. But as soon as you have cooled down the burnt area, wrap it up with a non fluffy cloth, like a handkerchief or a small bed sheet. Take the child to a hospital as soon as possible to avoid any complications.

Serious burns or third-degree burns need special and immediate attention as they also involve the nerves and blood vessels under the skin.

If the worst happens

If your child’s clothes catch fire and he is screaming with pain, smother the flames that are burning him by wrapping a blanket, coat or curtain around him. Never try to put off the flames with your hands as it will only make matters worse. Take every measure to avoid your child from panicking or running as any kind of movement will only fan the flames. The best thing to do is to drop the casualty to the ground and roll him until the flames smother.

Never use any kind of lotion or adhesive on burns as that can cause further skin damage and increase the risk of infections. Serious burns need the attention of health experts as the person may go in shock after the accident. Patients of third-degree burns are also at a great risk of getting dehydrated, and the lost body fluid has to be replenished with liquids and fluid drip replacements.

For more first aid information, be sure to read our post for basic first aid tips.

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Basic First Aid tips for Accidents and Burns

Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime and none of us can avoid them, but we can surely prepare ourselves to be able to face any adverse situations. However, what usually happens is only a handful of people are able to maintain their composure at time of distress. Following are certain handy first aid tips which could not only save time but also guide a person on countering any emergency situation. These tips are also based on the rich experiences of a number of parents.

First Aid Tips

First aid for Falls

If the injury looks of a serious nature, like if your toddler or child’s bone seems to be dislocated, or she or he have lost consciousness, then take her to the nearest hospital immediately or call a doctor. Meanwhile try to keep the affected person warm, and avoid any sort of movements.

Treatment for Cuts

If there is bleeding, press a clean cloth firmly on the cut until the bleeding stops. However, if the bleeding doesn’t stop, try reaching a hospital immediately for it might be a deep cut requiring stitching. In case if it’s a cut from a rusty tool, or the person has had a fall on the road, a tetanus shot is necessary. Consult your doctor for advice and for proper care.


If a child swallows something like beads of a necklace or a pin etc. but doesn’t appear distressed, immediately consult your doctor for advice. It’s been proven that most objects pass through a child’s body without causing any harm, while some do require surgical help. If a child has something stuck in his throat, don’t put your finger into the mouth, if you do, you risk pushing it even further down the throat. The best alternative is to turn the child upside down, slap them firmly between the shoulder blades until the object pops out.

Bites and Stings

It is always safest to take the person to a doctor immediately after he or she is bitten by an animal. If it’s a sting and you can see it, try scraping or pulling it off with a tweezer. A sting which causes a lot of swelling needs a doctor’s attention.

Foreign Bodies in Eyes, Ears and Nose

Never attempt to remove anything that is lodged in the eye of a child. Try an eye bath first with an eye cup placed firmly on the eye. If the problem still persists, take him to a doctor or a hospital immediately. The same goes for anything stuck in the ear or nose. Insects trapped in the ear can sometime be coaxed out by shining a torch into the ear.

Electric Shocks

Turn off the source of electricity immediately. If this cannot be done, stand on a thick pile of newspapers, a rubber mat or a wooden box and push the person away from the point of contact with a wooden brush or broom. Never use anything damp or metallic. Place the unconscious person on a comfortable bed and call an ambulance.

Dealing with Burns and Scalds

What really happens in the case of a burn or scald is that the heat not only affects the surface skin but also penetrates below and damages the blood vessels. The vessels, in turn, react by dilating and letting the clear colourless liquid of the blood ooze out through their walls. The liquid puffs up the dead skin and forms a blister.

In a serious degree burn, where the skin is destroyed completely, the fluid is discharged from the raw flesh. The loss of this colourless liquid is a form of bleeding, which reduces the total volume of fluid in the body. This is why burns and scalds often lead to shock and hospitals treat them with drip fluid replacements.

For a low degree burn, place the scalded area under running water or place ice cubes on the affected area. The cold water not only reduces the heat but also eases the pain. Cover the area with a non-fluffy cloth – a handkerchief is the safest bet. If it is a serious degree burn, then take the person to a doctor at once. Applying toothpaste immediately on the burned area helps relieve pain and minimises development of boils.

It is especially important for parents to be familiar with first aid information and it would be a good idea to keep a first aid kit at home so it can be used in case of an accident. The tips listed above are standard first aid tips and are easy to follow. Stay tuned for more tips on dealing with burns and scalds in our next blog post.

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Scary truths about surgery

Five operations you don’t want to get – and what to do instead?

Agreeing to a surgical procedure is an important decision which patients and their family members have to make. However, some people end up getting unnecessary surgery, just because they did not consult a few good surgeons before actually getting the surgical procedure. Due to this reason, tens and thousands of people suffer from complications post surgery in the US each year. However, in the case of an accident or emergency like an unforeseen orthopedic emergency or a knee injury for instance, there is no choice other than surgery.

Surgeries to avoid

So, as a patient, you need to understand that you have to be sure if you want to go for surgery or not. The fact is no matter how talented the surgeon is, the body doesn’t much care about the doc’s credentials. Surgery is a trauma and the body responds as such with major blood loss and swelling and all manner of nerve and pain signals that can stick around sometimes for months.

Those are but a few reasons to try to minimize elective surgery. Here is what you need to know about five surgeries that are overused and newer sometimes less invasive procedures and solutions that may be worth a look.


There’s long been a concern at least among many women about the high rates of hysterectomy (a procedure to remove the uterus) in the United States. American women undergo twice as many hysterectomies per capita as British women and four times as many as Swedish women.

The surgery either traditional open (large incision) or laparoscopic (small incision) is commonly used to treat persistent vaginal bleeding or to remove benign fibroids and painful endometriosis tissue. And if both the uterus and ovaries are removed it takes away your sources of estrogen and testosterone. Without these hormones your risk of heart disease and osteoporosis rises markedly.

There are also potential side effects from new found pelvic problems to lower sexual desire and reduced pleasure. Hysterectomies got more negative press after a landmark 2005 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) study revealed that unless a woman is at very high risk of ovarian cancer, removing her ovaries during hysterectomy actually raised her health risks.

According to Ernst Bartsich, MD, a gynecological surgeon at Weill Cornell Medical Centre in New York, of the 617000 hysterectomies performed annually, from 76 to 85 percent may be unnecessary.

Although hysterectomy should be considered for uterine cancer some 90 percent of procedures in the United States today are performed for reasons other than treating cancer, according to William H Parker, MD, clinical professional of gynecology at the UCLA. The bottom line he says: If a hysterectomy is recommended get a second opinion and consider the alternatives.

What to do instead

Go knife free. Endometrial ablation, a non surgical procedure that targets the uterine lining, is another fix for persistent vaginal bleeding.

Focus on fibroids. Fibroids are a problem for 20 to 25 percent of women, but there are several specific routes to relief that aren’t nearly as drastic as hysterectomy. For instance, myomectomy which removes just the fibroids and not the uterus, is becoming increasingly popular, and there are other less invasive treatments out there too.

Another new fibroid treatment is high intensity focused ultrasound or HIFU. This even less invasive more forgiving new procedure treats and shrinks fibroids. It’s what is called a no-scalpel surgery that combines MRI (an imaging machine) mapping followed by powerful sound wave “shaving” of tumor tissues.


It can sound so simple and efficient when an OB-GYN lays out all the reasons why she performs episiotomy before delivery. After all, it’s logical that cutting or extending the vaginal opening along the perineum (between the vagina and anus) would reduce the risk of pelvic tissue tears and ease child birth. But studies show that severing muscles in and around the lower vaginal wall (its more than just skin) causes as many or more problems than it prevents. Pain, irritation, muscle tears and incontinence are all common aftereffects of episiotomy.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released new guidelines which said that episiotomy should no longer be performed routinely and the numbers have dropped. Many doctors now reserve episiotomy for cases when the baby is in distress. But the rates (about 25percent in the United States) are still much too high, experts say, and some worry that it’s because women aren’t aware that they can decline the surgery.

What to do instead

Communicate. The time to prevent an unnecessary episiotomy is well before labor, experts agree. When choosing an OB-GYN practice, ask for its rate of episiotomy. And when you get pregnant, have your preference to avoid the surgery written on your chart.

Get ready with Kegels. Working with a nurse or mid wife may reduce the chance of such surgery, experts say she can teach Kegel exercises for stronger vaginal muscles or perform perineal and pelvic floor massage before and during labour.


Every year in the United States, surgeons perform 1.2 million angioplasties, during which a cardiologist uses tiny balloons and implanted wire cages (stents) to unclog arteries. This Roto-Rooter type approach is less invasive and has a shorter recovery period than a bypass which is open heart surgery.

The problem: A ground breaking study of more than 2,000 heart patients indicated that a completely nonsurgical method, heart medication was just as beneficial as angioplasty and stents in keeping arteries open in many patients The bottom line; Angioplasty did not appear to prevent heart attacks or save lives among nonemergency heart subjects in the study.

What to do instead

Take the right meds. If the study is right, medications may be as strong as steel. “If you have chest pain and are stable, you can take medicines that do the job of angioplasty,” says William Boden MD of the University of Buffalo School of Medicine, Buffalo, New York and an author of the study. Medicines used in the study included aspirin, and blood pressure and cholesterol drugs and they were taken along with exercise and diet changes.

“If those don’t work then you can have angioplasty,” Boden says. “Now we can unequivocally say that”.

Of course what’s right for you depends on the severity of your atherosclerosis risks (blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides) along with any heart-related pain. The onus is also on the patient to treat a doc’s lifestyle recommendations – diet and exercise guidelines – just as seriously as if they were prescription medicines.

Heartburn surgery

A whopping 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month; some 16million deal with it daily. So it is no wonder that after suffering nasty symptoms (intense stomach acid backup or near instant burning in the throat and chest after just a few bites) patients badly want to believe surgery can provide a quick fix. And for some it does.

A procedure called nissen fundoplication can help control acid reflux and its painful symptoms by restoring the open and close valve function of the esophagus. But Jose Remes Troche, MD of the Institute of Science Medicine and Nutrition in Mexico reported in The American Journal of Surgery that symptoms don’t always go away after the popular procedure which involves wrapping a part of the stomach around the weak part of the esophagus.

“That may be because surgery doesn’t directly affect healing capacity or dietary or lifestyle choices, which in turn can lead to recurrence in a hurry” he says.

The surgery can come undone and side effects may include bloating and trouble swallowing. Remes Troche believes its best for very serious cases of long standing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or for those at risk of Barrett’s esophagus, a disease of the upper gastrointestinal tract that follows years of heartburn affliction and can be a precursor to esophageal cancer.

What to do instead

Make lifestyle changes. A combination of diet, exercise and acid reducing medication may help sufferers beat the burn without going under the knife; but it’s a treatment that requires perseverance. “It took me four years of appointments, diets, drugs, sleeping on slant beds and even yoga to keep my heart burn manageable,” says Debbie Bunten 44, a Silicon Valley business development manager for a software firm, who was eager to avoid surgery. “But I did it, and I am glad I did”.

Lower back Surgery

Since the 1980’s, operations for lower back pain and sciatica have increased roughly 50 percent from approximately 200,000 to more than 300,000 surgeries annually in the United States. That rise is largely due to minimally invasive advances that include endoscopic keyhole tools used in tandem with magnified video output.

To its credit, surgery (endoscopic or the traditional lumbar disc repair) does relieve lower back pain in 85 to 90 percent of cases. “Yet the relief is sometimes temporary” says Christopher Centeno, MD director of the brand new Centeno Schultz Pain Clinic near Denver. And that adds up to tens of thousands of frustrated patients who find the promise of surgery was overwrought or short lived.

What to do instead

Try painkillers and exercise. Despite the relentless nature of lower back pain, the most common cause is a relatively minor problem muscle strain not disc irritation, disc rupture or even a bone problem, experts say. Despite its severity, this type of spine pain most often subsides within a month or two. That why surgery or any other invasive test or treatment beyond light exercise or painkillers is rarely justified within the first month of a complaint.

Even pain caused by a bulging or herniated disc “resolves on its own within a year in some 6 percent of cases”, orthopedists claim, “Seventy to eighty percent of the time we can get to a concrete diagnosis, find a way to manage pain, and get patients off the gruds without surgery,” Centeno says.

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Eczema or Dermatitis

Q. What Is Eczema/Dermatitis?

Eczema and dermatitis are now generally used to describe the same skin condition. Eczema is one of the commonest reasons for dry, sensitive skin, taking its name from the Greek word Eczema, meaning to boil. This is an apt description of the inflamed rash, which is often accompanied by an intense itching, which makes scratching almost inevitable. One person in ten has eczema at some time in their life and it affects all age groups.


Q. Is there just one type of eczema?

There are many types but everyone experiences similar, unpleasant symptoms. These are some of the main types of eczema:

Atopic Eczema – It is possible to develop Atopic eczema at any age but it is most commonly found in babies and young children. Atopic eczema is thought to run in families and it is a part of some other conditions like eczema, asthma and hay fever.

Seborrhoeic Eczema – There are two types of this condition: one is most commonly seen in babies, and the other is fairly common in young adults. Areas affected tend to be the oily parts of the body, such as the scalp, face, groin and chest. Seborrhoeic eczema is not normally itchy.

Discoid Eczema – This condition is usually confined to the arms and legs and consists of scaly, itchy, coin shaped patches that can blister and weep.

Varicose Eczema – This is a condition of the legs commonly found in elderly people with varicose veins.

Q. What is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic Dermatitis or eczema is an itchy, dry, hypersensitive skin disorder affecting many people. It is common in children but can occur at any age. It is not infectious or contagious. The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown. It may be hereditary. The patient or some family members may have other hypersensitive conditions like asthma or hay fever.

The rash may appear red, wet weepy or dry or thickened and scaly. When the disease starts during infancy, it is sometimes called infantile eczema. This is an itchy, crusted rash that tends to be localized principally on the face and scalp, but can appear at the other sites. Scratching often aggravates the rash. The skin thickens and becomes darker. It is a chronic condition. It can affect any part of the body, particularly the elbow bends, backs of the knees and the neck.

Q. What are emollients?

Emollients are basically simple moisturizers used to combat the dryness of eczema and to protect the skin from further water loss. There is a wide range of products of this kind and it may take you some time to find the one that are suitable for your skin.

Some common questions regarding Atopic Eczema

Q. Since atopic dermatitis is sometimes associated with food allergies, can the elimination of certain foods be of help?

A. Yes, but is not common. Although certain foods will sometimes provoke attacks, especially in infants and young children, elimination of foods rarely brings about an improvement or cure. Nevertheless when all else fails avoidance of common offending foods such as cow’s milk and eggs may be tried for a few weeks.

Q. Are the inhaled and contacted substances in the environment important causes, and should they be eliminated?

A. Yes. Dust and dust forming objects (for example, feather pillows and comforters, kapok pillows and mattresses, dust forming carpets, drapes, toys, and certain rough garments such as wool and coarse silk, worsen the rash. Try to wet mop or vacuum floors rather than sweep. Reduce contact with animal fur. Wear light smooth, soft, non binding clothing. Do not increase the skins dryness by prolonged or frequent hot baths or showers and soap. Use mild soaps or “soap free” soaps or moisturizing soaps.

Bathe or shower with luke warm water and when necessary, sponge gently under the arms, in the groins and other areas where cleansing is imperative. At other times, cleanse the entire skin with a non greasy lotion. Also avoid sudden changes of temperature for instance, coming to air conditioned rooms from the hot outdoors. Try not to rub or scratch; when the itching is severe try to relieve it by dabbing or applying cloths soaked in iced water.

It is important to comply with a treatment. Your dermatologist can usually help you by prescribing external remedies (corticosteroid creams are most effective). Use them sparingly. Apply a thin layer of cream on the rash with your fingers and rub onto the skin till it disappears. Apply at least twice a day, preferably after showering. Do not use strong steroid creams for long periods as over use will harm the skin. Use weak steroid creams when your eczema is mild. Oral medication (sedatives, antihistamines and sometimes antibiotics by mouth) to control the itching and baths with oil are helpful. Moisturizing creams and lotions should be applied after bathing 2-3 times in a day all over the body.

Corticosteroids taken by mouth or given by injections should be avoided if possible. However when all measures fail your physician may prescribe systemic corticosteroids for short periods. Generally 90% of children out grow the condition by early teens, although some continue to have problems even as adults.

Q. Would a change in environment be helpful?

A. For reasons that are not yet known, a radical change of environment like a cool environment, sometimes is the best cure for atopic dermatitis but it is also observed that Asians who have migrated to cold countries like England or Canada suffer from worst atopic eczema than they did in their own country. Many patients get better rapidly in the hospital or if they are given ample attention and their body is moisturized regularly.

Q. Are there any other problems?

A. Bacterial infection (pus) and viral infection (e.g. herpes simplex) can occur. In such a case, antibiotics and antiviral treatment are needed.

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Don’t panic over potty training!

Bribery, coaxing, nothing works! My child has put me in a flat spin over potty training. How do I make it a success?

There’s one very simple rule when it comes to making a success of potty training your child: Don’t Panic! Very, very few children have major problems with this stage of their development, and given a little patience and common sense qualities which all mums have, you shouldn’t experience any real trouble either.

Potty Training Tips

The first question is when to start. Don’t believe your great-aunt when she says her children were out of nappies by the age of six months. She probably spent all her time cleaning up puddles.

Child development experts say children can’t be toilet-trained until they’re physically ready. They don’t usually make the connection between what they feel, and what actually happens in their nether regions, until they’re well past the middle of their second year. Experts also say that the longer you leave it, the more successful you’re likely to be. But few of us want to put up with dirty nappies for any longer than we have to, so you’ll probably want to start at around the beginning of your child’s second year at the latest. Even before that you could start introducing your child to a potty, and suggest that he or she might want to use it.

The secret is not to make it a big deal. If you put pressure on your child to perform, then you’re likely to have no success at all. Anxiety will make your child want to avoid the whole subject, and if you get worked up about it, you could find yourself in a battle of wills. Don’t forget that this stage is The Terrible Twos. A child of this age is very easily provoked into temper tantrums.

Remember, too, that toilet-training is usually a gradual process that can take months, perhaps even a year or so, to complete. You’ll hear people say they’ve done it in a day, but most of us help our children to achieve full training over a period of time. So relax and don’t get either of you worked up about it. Give your child plenty of praise for successful uses of the potty, and take a never mind, better luck next time approach to any failures that may occur.

Accept that there will be plenty of accidents and that there will be times when you won’t seem to be making very much progress. Your child may well regress to nappies if he or she is feeling ill or under pressure for a particular reason.

In fact, it’s probably a good idea not to begin potty training if anything else unsettling is happening in your life, such as the arrival of a new baby or moving to a new house. Small children can only cope with just so much change in their lives at any one time so try not to overtax them!

You’ll find that it’s easier to get your child clean than dry. That’s simply, because most children are better at holding on to a bowel motion. It’s also much easier to train a child to be clean and dry during the day than at night. Indeed, it may be quite some time after your child is fully clean and dry in the day before he or she is ready to go through the night without a nappy. Girls are also usually trained more quickly than boys. If you do find that you’re making no progress at all at any time of the day, it might be worth going back to nappies for a while.

Another tactic is to get daddy to take over the training. That can work wonders! And if you feel you need help and advice, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. They’re trained to help you, and may be able to make some very positive suggestions you haven’t tried. And remember the vast majority of children are both clean and dry well before they start school. So don’t panic!

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