Archive for February, 2007

Gout Symptom Beyond the Big Toe

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 27th, 2007

In its first onslaught, gout usually attacks the big toe.  In fact, approximately 90% of people who develop gout develop gout symptoms in their big toe.  However, it is possible for gout to affect other joints.  Whether it occurs in the initial attack or in later recurrences, gout can also be present in the:

- Instep
- Heel
- Ankle
- Knee
- Finger
- Wrist
- Elbow

Why does gout affect other joints?  Gout occurs in other parts of the body for the same reason as it occurs in the big toe.  Essentially, the body has a build up of too much uric acid.  The excess uric acid develops into crystals that are often deposited into joints.  

Regardless of what joint gout affects, the first attack almost always strikes at night and the infected area becomes inflamed, red, swollen and incredibly tender and painful.  Most initial gout attacks clear up with in 3 – 10 days and more than half of the people, who have experienced an acute attack of gout, will have another attack within the year.  If action isn’t taken to prevent gout, over time, the recurrence of gout may become more frequent, last for longer periods of time and affect more joints.

For those gout sufferers who experience frequent lingering attacks, their gout condition will eventually become chronic.  Chronic cases of gout involve more joints, and the constant presence of uric acid crystal deposits within the joint, and the soft tissues that surround it, leads to persistent inflammation.  Chronic inflammation is a sign that destructive changes have occurred within the joint.

Furthermore, long-term cases of severe gouty arthritis will affect the fingers and can cause different joint to be inflamed simultaneously.  This often occurs in elderly gout sufferers, and is a type of gout classified as polyarticular gout.  In addition, those who failed to treat their gout condition, and experience regular attacks, will usually develop the most serious case of gout known as Chronic Tophacerious Gout, which usually occurs 10 – 20 years after the initial attack.

Chronic tophacerious gout is characterized by the formation of tophi.  Tophi are crystallized uric acid deposits that can be found directly under the surface of the skin in the joint area that is affected.  The presence of tophi creates a lump.  Small tophi may not be obvious, but they often appear as mobile lumps.  Larger tophi make its presence known by poking through the skin and forming hard chalk-like nodules.   Tophi nodules can appear on the: Outer ridge of the ear, forearms, elbows, hands, fingers, knees and feet.

Tophi nodules can become painful, especially if they are close enough to a joint that they restrict movement and cause stiffness.  However, they usually are not sensitive to touch.  Tophi within a joint will eventually cause the bone and cartilage to erode.  Moreover, if the tophi are particularly large, permanent deformities can result.  Chronic tophacerious gout is the most difficult form to treat.

As you can see, even though it isn’t common during the initial attack, gout symptoms can affect almost any joint, and the risk of it going beyond the big toe increases with recurrences and age.  Therefore, if you suffer or have suffered from gout, you need to make sure that you keep your uric acid in check to avoid future attacks and protect the health of your other joints.

 By Lisa McDowell. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover how to treat your gout symptoms with a natural cure for gout. Discover what it means to have a gout attack.

How to Find Relief from IBS Constipation

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 26th, 2007

A person, who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome, primarily suffers from one of three symptoms.

1. Diarrhea
2. Alteration of diarrhea and constipation
3. Constipation

Although, it is less common for a person with IBS to suffer from predominant constipation than diarrhea, for those who do, there are ways to find relief from constipation, abdominal pain and bloating.

There are different treatment options - both medicinal and alternative remedies -for those who suffer from constipation.  The following is information regarding diverse treatments and what you need to know about each.

Diet
Constipation symptoms may be caused by specific foods that are being ingested.  Therefore, try keeping a food diary to find out what foods may not only be making constipation worse, but may help to relieve your symptoms. 

For instance, gluten is recognized as one of the leading causes of constipation in IBS sufferers.  Therefore, a gluten-free diet may help alleviate symptoms.  In order to eliminate gluten from your diet ensure you read food labels to see if gluten is among listed ingredients.  However, keep in mind that gluten-free foods tend to be low in fiber.  Therefore, you may require other sources of fiber such as eating more fruits and vegetables.

If you are considering a gluten-free diet it’s a good idea to consult a dietitian to find out how effective this diet control is for constipation.

Fiber supplements
Fiber supplements are designed to add bulk to the stool so that waste can travel faster through the intestines.  That being said fiber supplements need to be taken with great care, as problems can occur.

For instance, inundating the boy with fiber without sufficient water intake, can cause bloating, gas and make constipation worse.  It is imperative to drink plenty of water when taking fiber supplements because fiber absorbs water.  

Furthermore, natural fiber sources, such as bran, can aggravate the stomach of an IBS sufferer.  This is because bran contains high amounts of wheat and gluten which are not tolerated well by an IBS stomach.

Nonetheless, the right fiber supplement taken as recommended may be helpful in relieving constipation in some sufferers.  Fiber supplements such as Metamucil, Konsyl or Citrucel can be found in pharmacies, but it is a good idea to talk to your doctor first and learn more about supplements before starting treatment.

Laxatives
Laxatives are an effective short-term solution for relieving constipation.  However, there are different types of laxatives and some are stronger than others.  Although laxatives may work in the body differently, depending on the type, each is designed to soften stool so it can slide easier through the intestines.  One such laxative that is often recommended to IBS sufferers is milk of magnesia.  This is a gentle laxative that is known as a hydrating agent and causes the intestines to retain more water to soften stool.

Laxatives are not recommended for long-term use and can be habit forming.  If laxatives are taken for long periods of time, the body will eventually develop immunity and require stronger laxative methods.  Prolonged used of laxatives can also make constipation worse and make the body laxative-dependent. Furthermore, be advised that stimulant laxatives such as Ex-lax are powerful and very hard on the system.

Make sure you investigate different over-the-counter laxative products, and speak to your doctor about laxative treatment before using this remedy.

Prescription drugs
Consider talking to you doctor about prescription medication for relief of constipation.  Zelnorm is one of the newer drug treatments for IBS constipation and works by increasing stool movement in the bowels.  Zelnorm has been found to effectively alleviate abdominal pain, bloating and constipation, and is only prescribed for short-term use.

Finally, regular exercise and drinking plenty of water helps to relieve constipation, and are natural remedies that can be used with any form of constipation treatment.
By Susan Reynolds. Sign up for a free newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally at Irritable Bowel Sydrome Relief . On the site you’ll also find more about IBS Symptoms  and information on IBS treatments

Food Sensitivity and IBS

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 22nd, 2007

Herbal remedies can truly be an effective way to control IBS symptoms, but before you resort to taking herbs, you may want to take a close look at your diet. Studies have found that the cause of IBS may be closely related to food sensitivities, as IBS sufferers appear to have higher levels of antibodies to foods than healthy individuals.

Thus, the food you are ingesting may be aggravating your already sensitive gut. Although you may be aware of and avoid one or two food products that set off your IBS, you’d be surprised at how many other food can add fuel to the fire.

Discovering what foods you are sensitive too requires the creation of a food diary. Recording each morsel of food you eat and the symptoms you experience after each meal will help you determine what foods trigger an IBS attack. You should create your diary with the help of a professional such as a nutritionist or your health care provider, so that you have effective guidance and results.

Although food sensitivities may vary for each IBS sufferer, the following is a list of foods that are known to trigger IBS symptoms, particularly diarrhea –
- Sugar – natural (I.E. honey) refined (I.E. chocolate) artificial (I.E. sweeteners)
- Carbonated beverages
- Alcohol
- Dairy
- Fried and fatty foods
- Dark meat and poultry skin
- Red meat
- Shortening
- Egg yolks

Foods that are linked to symptoms of gas include:
- Bananas
- Raisins
- Broccoli
- Cabbage family – cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
- Leeks
- Onion
- Beans
- Garlic
- Nuts

Despite all of the different food products that can lead to symptoms, it has been found that most food sensitivities felt by IBS sufferers are related to:
- Fructose (sugar found in dried fruit and fruit juice)
- Sorbitol (sugar replacement)
- Lactose (milk sugar)
- Wheat bran

Unlike lactose intolerance, which is actually quite a common condition among IBS sufferers, the other food sensitivities listed above cannot be discovered through allergy testing. Thus, a food diary can help detect such sensitivities, so that they can be eliminated from the diet in an effort to improve symptoms.

Furthermore, it is essential your diet contains sufficient fiber. There are two types of fiber: Soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber is harder on the system and moves faster though the digestive tract. Therefore, it is better to ingest soluble fiber instead of insoluble fiber, as soluble fiber is slower moving through the digestive system and can reduce symptoms.

Soluble fiber helps to prevent spasms in the intestinal tract and keeps the colon slightly distended. Fiber also helps you absorb water which can prevent constipation. However, keep in mind that eating a high-fiber diet can increase gas, bloating and diarrhea. Therefore, you should try to keep your diet regulated with fiber. You can find soluble fiber in barley, lima beans, barley, currants, brown rice, oatmeal, oat bran, figs, pasta, prunes, soy, rice, etc.

When it all comes down to it, many people with IBS find that by keeping their diet high in carbohydrates (I.E. vegetables, fruits, rice, pasta, cereal and whole-grain bread, etc.) and low in fat, they have an overall improvement of symptoms. In addition, it was also found that instead of eating three large meals per day, eating several small meals daily helped to reduce symptoms.

Drinking more water can also aid in proper digestion, but you should avoid drinking water with meals as this may cause food to move faster through your system resulting in diarrhea.

Remember, the best way to determine your food sensitivities is to create a food diary. You can get a handle over your IBS symptoms by eliminating “trigger” foods from your diet, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly and finding ways to reduce stress.

By Susan Reynolds. Sign up for a free newsletter that has proven methods for managing IBS naturally at Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief Secrets. On the site you’ll also find more about IBS symptoms and information on alternative IBS treatments.

Why Exercise Really Can Provide Menopause Relief

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 19th, 2007

Aromatherapy isn’t the only alternative remedy for menopause symptoms. Believe it or not, but exercise is also a great way to gain menopause relief from unwanted symptoms. Exercise helps you reduce stress, loose and regulate your weight, feel good about yourself, and improve your overall physical and mental wellbeing.

It becomes easier for women to gain wait during menopause due to a slow down in metabolism and the fluctuations or hormones that can increase hunger. Weight gain can actually make menopause symptoms worse. Not only that, but did you know that menopausal women who don’t engage in regular exercise, and lead a sedentary lifestyle, are more likely to suffer from -
• Weak and stiff muscles
• Poor circulation
• Insomnia
• Chronic fatigue
• Chronic back pain
• Shortness of breath
• Loss of bone mass
• Depression

In addition, physically inactive women put themselves at a higher risk of developing serious medical conditions including -
• High blood pressure
• Obesity
• Diabetes
• Osteoporosis
• Coronary heart disease
• Cancer

By simply engaging in a regular exercise routine, you can dramatically reduce your chances of developing the above physical and psychological symptoms and conditions.

What are other benefits does exercise offer menopausal women?

Increase in bone mass - When our bodies remain inactive, we lose bone mass, increasing the risk of osteoporosis; a condition that is already a high risk factor for menopausal women due to the fact that their body not longer produces estrogen. However, just because an inactive woman may be suffering from loss of bone mass doesn’t mean she can’t do something about it.

Scientific studies have found that exercise encourages the rebuilding of bone mass. In fact, engaging in regular, moderate endurance exercises such as walking or jogging can help rebuild bone mass and preserve it, reducing the risk of future fractures. How is this possible? Exercise stimulates the cells that generate new bone to work excessively.

Improvement of hot flashes – Some research suggests that exercise may in fact increase estrogen levels which decreases the intensity of hot flashes

Reduction of mood swings – Exercise boosts your energy and can give you a sense of empowerment and control simply by improving your mood. The positive effect that exercise has on a person’s state of mind can be attributed to the release of endorphins that occurs during physical activity. Endorphins are the body’s “happy” hormones that also act as a painkiller when the body is injured.

The following are exercises that help to improve menopausal symptoms:
• Endurance exercises – As was previously mentioned these exercises help to build bone mass and include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobics, etc.
• Strength training – This type of exercise is designed to use resistance (IE weights, resistance bands, etc.) to help a person lose excess body fat, increase metabolism, and improve and maintain the strength of their muscles. If you are interested in this type of exercise, it’s a good idea to be taught by a qualified trainer.
• Yoga – This is an extremely beneficial exercise to both the mind and body. Yoga can provide energy and balance to a menopausal woman, which is something she may desperately need if her bodily changes are making her feel out of sorts. Yoga also gently stretches every muscle in the body which improves blood circulation, provides oxygenation to all tissues and cells and allows the body to fully relax. It’s a good idea to go to a Yoga class to receive proper instruction before going it alone.

Always remember to talk to you doctor before engaging in any vigorous exercise regimen as a means of menopause relief. Also make sure that you ease into your exercise routine and only increase your endurance when your body has become accustomed to the new physical activity.

If you would like more information on alternative methods of menopause relief, please visit Natural Menopause Relief Secrets or browse through the rest of the blog.

How Guided Imagery Can Supplement Crohns Treatment

Posted in Uncategorized, Health & Fitness on February 10th, 2007

Anti TNF The next generation of Treatment for Your Crohns Symptom?

Despite the alternative treatment methods one uses to treat Crohn’s symptoms, in many cases, especially severe case of the disease, these treatments are often not enough. Most people still require medications to help control symptoms and put the disease in remission. A new type of medication that shows promise is Anti-TNF drugs.

A number of recent medical studies have found that anti-TNF may be an effective way to treat those who suffer from moderate to severe Crohn’s disease. What exactly is anti-TNF and how is it beneficial? The following information will help you better understand this medication and why it may be a breakthrough treatment for Crohn’s sufferers.

What is anti-TNF and how does it work? It is a group of medications that have been specially designed to locate tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) a cytokine protein created by the immune system. Anti-TNF works to find TNF-alpha in the bloodstream, and then removes it by binding it to blood cells and cell membranes before it reaches the intestine and causes inflammation. This treatment does not directly treat inflammation; it targets the immune system which helps alleviate inflammation.

Studies have found that cells which are affected by Crohn’s disease contain TNF-alpha, leaving many researchers to believe that the overproduction of TNF-alpha may be the leading cause of intestinal inflammation that results in Crohn’s disease. Thus, the theory is that by stopping TNF-alpha from reaching the intestines of Crohn’s sufferers, they’ll be able to find relief from their symptoms and prevent future attacks. In addition, studies are also finding that the use of anti-TNF for treating Crohn’s appears to be helpful in preventing and healing fistulas.

How can anti-TNF treatment help fistulas? It can help prevent the formation of fistulas by reducing attacks of Crohn’s and putting the disease in remission. As far as healing fistulas, anti-TNF medication is found to be effective when used in combination with surgery, particularly in those who suffer from complex fistulas. Studies found that using anti-TNF treatment with surgery successfully healed the fistula without recurrence.

The most studied anti-TNF drug used for treating Crohn’s patients is Infliximab, also known as Remicade. Multiple studies have proven that infliximab is both an effective and well tolerated treatment for managing acute Crohn’s disease. In fact, because this particular anti-TNF has been so successful, it has obtained the approval of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency and the FDA.

Of course, like any radical treatment, infliximab still presents some problems even though it is considered to be a medical breakthrough for treating Crohn’s. For instance, due to the fact that it contains a mouse protein, it can cause a delayed allergic reaction in some people. Furthermore, it increases the risk of infection, and is not deemed a safe remedy for people who suffer from or have had certain conditions including, cancer, congestive heart failure, tuberculosis and seizures.

In addition, there are concerns about immunogenicity occurring with the anti-TNF antibody which could cause the development of lymphoproliferative disorders and human antichimeric antibodies (HACA). Thus, more studies need to be conducted to further establish what the exact role anti-TNF antibodies play in maintaining the remission of Crohn’s, and how long the treatment will remain effective in patients who respond well to it.

Although Infliximab is the primary anti-TNF treatment used for Crohn’s, other anti-TNF medication being studied for possible treatment for Crohn’s disease include etanercept (Enbrel) and adalimumab (Humira).

Only time will tell if anti-TNF antibodies is the breakthrough treatment that Crohn’s symptom sufferers have been waiting for. Neverthless, the future looks bright.

By Sharon Dobson. To find out more about crohns herbal and for information on Crohn’s Disease please visit Natural Crohn’s Disease Relief, where you can sign up for a free newsletter focusing on managing Crohn’s Disease naturally.

Anti TNF The next generation of Treatment for Your Crohns Symptom?

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 10th, 2007

Despite the alternative treatment methods one uses to treat Crohn’s symptoms, in many cases, especially severe case of the disease, these treatments are often not enough. Most people still require medications to help control symptoms and put the disease in remission. A new type of medication that shows promise is Anti-TNF drugs.

A number of recent medical studies have found that anti-TNF may be an effective way to treat those who suffer from moderate to severe Crohn’s disease. What exactly is anti-TNF and how is it beneficial? The following information will help you better understand this medication and why it may be a breakthrough treatment for Crohn’s sufferers.

What is anti-TNF and how does it work? It is a group of medications that have been specially designed to locate tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) a cytokine protein created by the immune system. Anti-TNF works to find TNF-alpha in the bloodstream, and then removes it by binding it to blood cells and cell membranes before it reaches the intestine and causes inflammation. This treatment does not directly treat inflammation; it targets the immune system which helps alleviate inflammation.

Studies have found that cells which are affected by Crohn’s disease contain TNF-alpha, leaving many researchers to believe that the overproduction of TNF-alpha may be the leading cause of intestinal inflammation that results in Crohn’s disease. Thus, the theory is that by stopping TNF-alpha from reaching the intestines of Crohn’s sufferers, they’ll be able to find relief from their symptoms and prevent future attacks. In addition, studies are also finding that the use of anti-TNF for treating Crohn’s appears to be helpful in preventing and healing fistulas.

How can anti-TNF treatment help fistulas? It can help prevent the formation of fistulas by reducing attacks of Crohn’s and putting the disease in remission. As far as healing fistulas, anti-TNF medication is found to be effective when used in combination with surgery, particularly in those who suffer from complex fistulas. Studies found that using anti-TNF treatment with surgery successfully healed the fistula without recurrence.

The most studied anti-TNF drug used for treating Crohn’s patients is Infliximab, also known as Remicade. Multiple studies have proven that infliximab is both an effective and well tolerated treatment for managing acute Crohn’s disease. In fact, because this particular anti-TNF has been so successful, it has obtained the approval of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency and the FDA.

Of course, like any radical treatment, infliximab still presents some problems even though it is considered to be a medical breakthrough for treating Crohn’s. For instance, due to the fact that it contains a mouse protein, it can cause a delayed allergic reaction in some people. Furthermore, it increases the risk of infection, and is not deemed a safe remedy for people who suffer from or have had certain conditions including, cancer, congestive heart failure, tuberculosis and seizures.

In addition, there are concerns about immunogenicity occurring with the anti-TNF antibody which could cause the development of lymphoproliferative disorders and human antichimeric antibodies (HACA). Thus, more studies need to be conducted to further establish what the exact role anti-TNF antibodies play in maintaining the remission of Crohn’s, and how long the treatment will remain effective in patients who respond well to it.

Although Infliximab is the primary anti-TNF treatment used for Crohn’s, other anti-TNF medication being studied for possible treatment for Crohn’s disease include etanercept (Enbrel) and adalimumab (Humira).

Only time will tell if anti-TNF antibodies is the breakthrough treatment that Crohn’s symptom sufferers have been waiting for. Neverthless, the future looks bright.

By Sharon Dobson. To find out more about [a target=”_new” href=”http://www.natural-crohns-disease-relief.com?source=blog”]crohns herbal [/a] and for information on [a target=”_new” href=”http://natural-crohns-disease-relief.com/blog/2007/01/18/whipworm-infestation-a-possible-crohns-disease-treatment/”]Crohn’s Disease[/a] please visit [a target=”_new” href=”http://www.natural-crohns-disease-relief.com/?source=blog”]Natural Crohn’s Disease Relief[/a], where you can sign up for a free newsletter focusing on managing Crohn’s Disease naturally.