Cold and flu season are right around the corner, and with it we can expect lots of advertisements for flu vaccines.
I’ve written extensively on the dangers of flu vaccines before, and the fact that they simply do not work—according to the scientific evidence.
So here’s a timely review of what you can do to protect yourself and your family from colds and any type of flu this season, and in years to come.
What Causes Colds and Influenzas? Continue reading
The bacteria that cause Lyme can be found in the skin, heart, joints, and nervous system. On top of that, Lyme disease specialists are finding that what we call Lyme disease may be caused by several different infectious organisms and may even be caused by a combination of different infectious pathogens. Some speculate that Lyme disease is an infection from the bacteria Continue reading
I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who enjoys housework — and I’m guessing I never will. From scrubbing dishes to mopping floors, it’s just about as much fun as getting a root canal while doing your taxes.
And if you’ve ever wondered whether all that housework was shaving years off your life, Continue reading
What are the dangers of root canals?
You may have a colony of bacteria in your mouth that you aren’t even aware of, especially if you haven’t heard about the dangers of root canals to your total body health.
Dr. George Meinig, a dentist and one of the founders of the American Association of Endodontists, asserts in his book The Root Canal Cover Up that a root canal is paramount to leaving an organ that dies to rot inside Continue reading
Bankrolling $100 million a year, the detox industry—made up of detox diets, supplements and colon cleanses—is here to stay. No longer a fad for all-natural health nuts or extreme dieters, detoxing is now a mainstream health practice. As your resource in all things health and wellness related, the Underground Health Reporter is blowing the whistle on this detox deception. Continue reading
Did You Know…
… that pomegranate can help alleviate the pain and discomfort of arthritis and other rheumatoid conditions? Continue reading
Since colitis is a common and frustrating disease, it’s no surprise that Traditional Chinese Medicine has developed techniques to handle it. The cause of this inflammatory bowel disease is not fully known, but there are established Chinese healing secrets to help you deal with it.
Similar to Crohn’s disease, Continue reading
How “Forgotten Oil” Can Dramatically Boost the Health of Your Entire Body
Treasured for its healing properties throughout the Roman Empire, flax seed oil benefits was one of the original natural remedies used by Hippocrates. Nearly every bodily system can benefit from this “forgotten oil,” including the cardiovascular system…immune system…circulatory system…reproductive system…nervous system…and joints.
What is Flax?
Flax (usitatissimum) Continue reading
Cells that die naturally generate a lot of internal debris that can trigger the immune system to attack the body, leading to diseases such as lupus. Continue reading
Homeopathies are among one of the most popular remedies for people trying to stay away from the greedy, uncaring drug companies of America and around the world. Wish to use natural safe ingredients in your body? Read this list of some of the most effective pain-reducing homeopathies in the world.
Before the Middle Ages, Belladonna was taken as an anesthetic for surgery. That’s how powerful it is! Today it’s used in many cough syrups to take away the pain in your throat… as well as alleviating the symptoms of intestinal inflammation, menstrual cycles, and is even being used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Continue reading
Our world is pretty much riddled with sickness and disease. Sure, you heard right. Just take a look around. Pop on the local news and you will surely see something to do with a disease or illness. There’s no getting away from this issue. If you are human, it is all around you. Naturally we all want to prevent ourselves from succumbing to illness. This is the reason professionals encourage certain lifestyles and practices. It’s sensible to protect ourselves as much as possible. But, what should you do about the afflictions you do acquire? Take the flu or common cold for example. What do you do to get rid of these sicknesses quickly? Are you all for modern-day science or do you prefer alternative herbal medicines? You may want to investigate deeper before drawing any conclusions.
Can you think of an alternative herbal medicine that works well for you? I know I can. You see, I tend to get sore in the forearm area. This is a result of excessive typing. Certainly this could result in dreadful problems such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. However, I will not allow such a thing to happen. Now, I could use an oral medicine like Ibuprofen to deal with the tenderness. Sure, it might help a little. But, I want something that is going to treat and heal my forearms. So, I began searching for an alternative herbal medicine. Eventually I found a German alternative medicine. It is called Arnica gel. I at once liked the fact that it’s all natural. Furthermore, it has been proven to heal joints and tendons. I knew it would be ideal for my aches and pains. After just one use, I was amazed at the effectiveness of this herbal medicine. I would imagine such a topical cream would make a lot of money. Since then I rub Arnica cream on my forearms each night before going to bed, and when I get up in the morning, my arms are cured and free of discomfort. It’s wonderful stuff.
So, can you think of a good reason why a person should opt for an alternative herbal medicine over one manufactured by a pharmaceutical company? How about this. We are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of these man-made drugs. It’s difficult to ignore all the bad press. I certainly do not want my liver damaged by some artificial drug. Why not consider using the modern alternative herbal medicine that is readily available these days.
A little research on the Internet uncovers many testimonials from people praising the efficacy of arnica gel. According to one Amazon customer it reduces inflammation from muscle and joint strain, bruises and arthritis. This user also found it very effective in preventing bruising if applied straight after the injury or bump occurs. Existing bruises faded fast when arnica gel was applied to them.
Edema is a condition of abnormally large fluid volume in the circulatory system or in tissues between the body’s cells (interstitial spaces).
Normally the body maintains a balance of fluid in tissues by ensuring that the same amount of water entering the body also leaves it. The circulatory system transports fluid within the body via its network of blood vessels. The fluid, which contains oxygen and nutrients needed by the cells, moves from the walls of the blood vessels into the body’s tissues. After its nutrients are used up, fluid moves back into the blood vessels and returns to the heart. The lymphatic system (a network of channels in the body that carry lymph, a colorless fluid containing white blood cells to fight infection) also absorbs and transports this fluid. In edema, either too much fluid moves from the blood vessels into the tissues, or not enough fluid moves from the tissues back into the blood vessels. This fluid imbalance can cause mild to severe swelling in one or more parts of the body.
Causes & symptoms
Many ordinary factors can upset the balance of fluid in the body to cause edema, including:
* Immobility. The leg muscles normally contract and compress blood vessels to promote blood flow with walking or running. When these muscles are not used, blood can collect in the veins, making it difficult for fluid to move from tissues back into the vessels.
* Heat. Warm temperatures cause the blood vessels to expand, making it easier for fluid to cross into surrounding tissues. High humidity also aggravates this situation.
* Medications. Certain drugs, such as steroids, hormone replacements, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and some blood pressure medications may affect how fast fluid leaves blood vessels.
* Intake of salty foods. The body needs a constant concentration of salt in its tissues. When excess salt is taken in, the body dilutes it by retaining fluid.
* Menstruation and pregnancy. The changing levels of hormones affect the rate at which fluid enters and leaves the tissues.
Some medical conditions may also cause edema, including:
* Heart failure. When the heart is unable to maintain adequate blood flow throughout the circulatory system, the excess fluid pressure within the blood vessels can cause shifts into the interstitial spaces. Left-sided heart failure can cause pulmonary edema, as fluid shifts into the lungs. The patient may develop rapid, shallow respirations, shortness of breath, and a cough. Right-sided heart failure can cause pitting edema, a swelling in the tissue under the skin of the lower legs and feet. Pressing this tissue with a finger tip leads to a noticeable momentary indentation.
* Kidney disease. The decrease in sodium and water excretion can result in fluid retention and overload.
* Thyroid or liver disease. These conditions can change the concentration of protein in the blood, affecting fluid movement in and out of the tissues. In advanced liver disease, the liver is enlarged and fluid may build up in the abdomen.
* Malnutrition. Protein levels are decreased in the blood, and in an effort to maintain a balance of concentrations, fluid shifts out of the vessels and causes edema in tissue spaces.
Some conditions that may cause swelling in just one leg include:
* Blood clots. Clots can cause pooling of fluid and may be accompanied by discoloration and pain. In some instances, clots may cause no pain.
* Weakened veins. Varicose veins, or veins whose walls or valves are weak, can allow blood to pool in the legs. This is a common condition.
* Infection and inflammation. Infection in leg tissues can cause inflammation and increasing blood flow to the area. Inflammatory diseases, such as gout or arthritis, can also result in swelling.
* Lymphedema. Blocked lymph channels may be caused by infection, scar tissue, or hereditary conditions. Lymph that can’t drain properly results in edema. Lymphedema may also occur after cancer treatments, when the lymph system is impaired by surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
* Tumor. Abnormal masses can compress leg vessels and lymph channels, affecting the rate of fluid movement.
Symptoms vary depending on the cause of edema. In general, weight gain, puffy eyelids, and swelling of the legs may occur as a result of excess fluid volume. Pulse rate and blood pressure may be elevated. Hand and neck veins may be observed as fuller.
Edema is a sign of an underlying problem, rather than a disease unto itself. A diagnostic explanation should be sought. Patient history and presenting symptoms, along with laboratory blood studies, if indicated, assist the health professional in determining the cause of the edema.
Simple steps to lessen fluid build-up may include:
* reducing sodium intake
* maintaining proper weight
* elevation of the legs
* use of support stockings
* travel breaks
A naturopath or a nutritionist may recommend the following dietary changes:
* Reduction of salt intake, including salty foods such as olives, soy sauce, or pickles. Cutting back the amount of sodium eaten may help reduce edema.
* Limited use of alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and dairy products.
* Increased consumption of whole grain foods, cucumbers, apples, potatoes, grapes, onions, cabbage, and oranges.
* Daily vitamin and mineral supplements.
Diuretic herbs can also help relieve edema. One of the best herbs for this purpose is dandelion (Taraxacum mongolicum), since, in addition to its diuretic action, it is a rich source of potassium. (Diuretics flush potassium from the body, and it must be replaced to avoid potassium deficiency.)
Hydrotherapy using daily contrast applications of hot and cold (either compresses or immersion) may also be helpful.
Other alternative treatments
Other alternative therapies may also reduce edema. They include traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, juice therapy, and bodywork. Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture have an elaborate diagnostic system to determine the pattern causing the edema. Thus treatment, if done correctly, results not only in the removal of fluid, but also with the correction of the problem.
The three “Ds”—diuretics, digitalis, and diet—are frequently prescribed for medical conditions that result in excess fluid volume. Diuretics are medications that promote urination of sodium and water. Digoxin is a digitalis preparation that is sometimes needed to decrease heart rate and increase the strength of the heart’s contractions. One dietary recommendation includes less sodium in order to decrease fluid retention. Consideration of adequate protein intake is also made.
For patients with lymphedema, a combination of therapies may prove effective. Combined decongestive therapy includes the use of manual lymph drainage (MLD), compression bandaging, garments and pumps, and physical therapy.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, and lungs.
Under normal function, the immune system makes proteins called antibodies in order to protect and fight against antigens such as viruses and bacteria. Lupus makes the immune system unable to differentiate between antigens and healthy tissue. This leads the immune system to direct antibodies against the healthy tissue – not just antigens – causing swelling, pain, and tissue damage.
(* An antigen is a substance capable of inducing a specific immune response.)
What are the different types of lupus?
Several different kinds of lupus have been identified, but the type that we refer to simply as lupus is known as systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE. Other types include discoid (cutaneous), drug-induced, and neonatal.
Patients with discoid lupus have a version of the disease that is limited to the skin. It is characterized by a rash that appears on the face, neck, and scalp, and it does not affect internal organs. Less than 10% of patients with discoid lupus progress into the systemic form of the disease, but there is no way to predict or prevent the path of the disease.
SLE is more severe than discoid lupus because it can affect any of the body’s organs or organ systems. Some people may present inflammation or other problems with only skin and joints, while other SLE sufferers will see joints, lungs, kidneys, blood, and/or the heart affected. This type of lupus is also often characterized by periods of flare (when the disease is active) and periods of remission (when the disease is dormant).
Drug-induced lupus is caused by a reaction with certain prescription drugs and causes symptoms very similar to SLE. The drugs most commonly associated with this form of lupus are a hypertension medication called hydralazine and a heart arrhythmia medication called procainamide, but there are some 400 other drugs that can also cause the condition. Drug-induced lupus is known to subside after the patient stops taking the triggering medication.
A rare condition, neonatal lupus occurs when a mother passes autoantibodies to a fetus. The unborn and newborn child can have skin rashes and other complications with the heart and blood. Usually a rash appears but eventually fades within the first six months of the child’s life.
Who is affected by lupus?
According to the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), 1.5 to 2 million Americans have some form of lupus. The prevalence is about 40 cases per 100,000 persons among Northern Europeans and 200 per 100,000 persons among blacks. Although the disease affects both males and females, women are diagnosed 9 times more often than men, usually between the ages of 15 and 45. African-American women suffer from more severe symptoms and a higher mortality rate.
Other risk factors include exposure to sunlight, certain prescription medications, infection with Epstein-Barr virus, and exposure to certain chemicals.
What causes lupus?
Although doctors are do not know exactly what causes lupus and other autoimmune diseases, most believe that lupus results from both genetic and environmental stimuli.
Since lupus is known to occur within families, doctors believe that it is possible to inherit a genetic predisposition to lupus. There are no known genes, however, that directly cause the illness. It is probable that having an inherited predisposition for lupus makes the disease more likely only after coming into contact with some environmental trigger.
The higher number of lupus cases in females than in males may indicate that the disease can be triggered by certain hormones. Physicians believe that hormones such as estrogen regulate the progression of the disease because symptoms tend to flare before menstrual periods and/or during pregnancy.
Certain environmental factors have been known to cause lupus symptoms. These include:
* Extreme stress
* Exposure to ultraviolet light, usually from sunlight
* Some medications and antibiotics, especially those in the sulfa and penicillin groups
* Some infections, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), parvovirus (such as fifth disease), hepatitis C infections, and the Epstein-Barr virus (in children)
* Chemical exposure to compounds such as trichloroethylene in well water and dust
What are the symptoms of lupus?
Since no two cases of lupus are exactly alike, there is a wide range of symptoms that are known to affect many parts of the body. Sometimes symptoms develop slowly or appear suddenly; they can be mild, severe, temporary, or permanent. Most people with lupus experience symptoms in only a few organs, but more serious cases can lead to problems with kidneys, the heart, the lungs, blood, or the nervous system.
Lupus episodes, or flares, are usually noted by a worsening of some of the following symptoms:
* Achy joints (arthralgia), arthritis, and swollen joints, especially in wrists, small joints of the hands, elbows, knees, and ankles
* Swelling of the hands and feet due to kidney problems
* Fever of more than 100 degrees F (38 degrees C)
* Prolonged or extreme fatigue
* Skin lesions or rashes, especially on the arms, hands, face, neck, or back
* Butterfly-shaped rash (malar rash) across the cheeks and nose
* Anemia (oxygen carrying deficiency of red blood cells)
* Pain in the chest on deep breathing or shortness of breath
* Sun or light sensitivity (photosensitivity)
* Hair loss or alopecia
* Abnormal blood clotting problems
* Raynaud’s phenomenon: fingers turn white and/or blue or red in the cold
* Mouth or nose ulcers
* Weight loss or gain
* Dry eyes
* Easy bruising
* Anxiety, depression, headaches, and memory loss
Lupus can also lead to complications in several areas of the body. These include:
* Kidneys – serious kidney damage is a primary cause of death for lupus sufferers.
* Central nervous system – lupus can cause headaches, dizziness, memory problems, seizures, and behavioral changes.
* Blood and vessels – lupus causes an increased risk of anemia, bleeding, blood clotting, and vessel inflammation
* Lungs – noninfectious pneumonia and difficulty breathing due to inflammation of the chest cavity are more likely with lupus
* Heart – heart muscle and artery inflammation are more likely with the disease, and lupus increases the chances of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
* Infection – lupus treatments tend to depress the immune system making your body more vulnerable to infection.
* Cancer – lupus increases the risk of cancer, especially of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, lung cancer, and liver cancer
* Bone tissue death – a lower blood supply to bone tissue leads to tiny breaks and eventual death of bone. This is most common in the hip bone.
* Pregnancy – lupus increases the risk of miscarriage, hypertension during pregnancy, and preterm birth.