Monthly Archives: December 2006

Heart-Healthy Advice You Need

Whether you’re at high risk for heart trouble or you’re trying to control early-stage heart disease, here are some simple lifestyle changes you can make.


Exersise and Eat Right.
Simple lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of heart disease. If you’re at high risk or you’re trying to control early-stage heart disease, here are some important preventive steps — involving diet, exercise, medical options, supplements and lifestyle — you can take.
Think international. People who eat a traditional Mediterranean or Asian diet appear to have lower rates of heart disease than those who eat a typical American diet. Incorporate elements of these diets into your healthy eating plan.

Eat heart-smart foods. Choose foods that can reduce cholesterol and improve heart health, such as fruits (apples, avocados, dried fruits, grapefruit, oranges, strawberries), vegetables (broccoli, carrots, corn, lima beans, onions), seafood (clams, mussels, oysters), fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (salmon and bluefish), soy, nuts and whole-grain breads and cereals.

Cut the fat. To keep your cholesterol level down, limit the amount of fat you eat, especially saturated fat. Your total fat intake should be no more than 30% of your daily calories. Focus on low-fat alternatives to red meat, such as fish or skinless chicken or turkey. Eating fish several times a week can cut your risk of heart attack by as much as half. Lower your intake of dairy fats by switching to low-fat or skim varieties. Or try soy milk — soy protein can lower cholesterol.
Spice it up. If you have high blood pressure, cut your sodium intake. In fact, researchers now think that even people whose blood pressure is within normal range should cut back on sodium. Avoid processed foods, which contain a lot of sodium, and ease up on salt at mealtime. But don’t settle for bland fare. Add flavor with salsa, curry, peppers, or garlic. Eating one to three cloves of garlic a day has been shown to reduce blood pressure and possibly lower cholesterol.

Add rough stuff. Soluble fiber — plentiful in fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains — prevents arterial plaque buildup. Studies show that eating three or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke by 25% or more. In one study, eating cooked dried beans daily lowered LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, by 20% in just three weeks. Other research showed that a diet high in whole grains can cut a woman’s risk of dying from heart disease by up to 15%. And dozens of studies confirm that eating oats has a cholesterol-lowering effect.

Seeing red. Drinking alcohol in moderation raises HDL, or “good,” cholesterol and “thins” the blood, reducing the likelihood of clots that can cause heart attack and stroke. Red wine offers additional benefits. Its dark pigments are rich in bioflavonoids that prevent the oxidation of LDL, making it less likely to stick to artery walls. Research showed that people who drank two 8-ounce glasses of red wine a day were 40% less likely to have a heart attack than those who didn’t imbibe. But don’t overdo it — too much alcohol raises your triglyceride level (and high triglyceride levels are linked to coronary artery disease and untreated diabetes in some people). And if you have an alcohol problem, the harm far outweighs any potential benefit. Other good sources of bioflavonoids: black and green tea, onions, kale and apples.

Work your heart. The best preventive medicine for your heart is aerobic exercise. It reduces high blood pressure and atherosclerosis by widening the blood vessels. Plus, it raises “good” cholesterol levels. Choose an activity that works the large muscles of your legs and buttocks (like brisk walking or bicycling), and strive to reach your target heart rate for at least 15 to 20 minutes, three or four times a week.

An (up)lifting idea. An American Heart Association (AHA) survey found that lifting weights a few times a week can improve heart health in some people. That’s because stronger muscles can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Having more muscle tissue also raises your metabolism, which helps control your weight. But don’t skip the brisk walk. The AHA recommends pumping iron in addition to aerobic exercise.

Be flexible. Flexibility exercises like yoga not only help keep your joints limber but also help cut the production of stress hormones that can contribute to heart disease.

Evaluate Your Heart Health
Medical Options
Schedule a checkup. Until age 65, you should have your blood pressure checked at least every other year. At age 65, you should have it checked at least annually. Most doctors also recommend a yearly cholesterol screening if you have high cholesterol or other heart-disease risk factors. Your doctor may also recommend electrocardiography (an ECG) to evaluate your heart health. While you’re there, ask about a simple blood test for a substance called C-reactive protein. According to Harvard researchers studying 28,000 healthy women, this test helped predict heart attack risk better than cholesterol tests.
An aspirin a day? People with existing heart disease may benefit from low-dose aspirin therapy, which may prevent heart attacks. The dosage ranges from part of an aspirin (80 mg) to one aspirin (325 mg) daily. Ask your doctor what’s right for you.

Depressurize. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease. If diet and exercise can’t control it, blood-pressure medication can help.

Deal with diabetes. People with diabetes, most of whom are adults with the type 2 form of the disease, are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or stroke. Controlling the disease is often just a matter of losing extra pounds, exercising regularly and following a heart-healthy diet.
Don’t ignore depression. One study found that depressed people were 1.7 times more likely to develop heart disease and that depressed men were nearly three times as likely to die from it. See your doctor for help.

Consider folate and vitamin B6. These vitamins lower elevated levels of homocysteine, a substance in the blood that may raise your risk of heart disease. A daily intake of more than 400 mcg of folate and 3 mg of B6 appears to reduce the risk of heart disease in women.

Go fish. Fish oil capsules contain omega-3 fatty acids, which act as anticlotting agents. Check with your doctor before taking them to avoid interactions with other medications.
Get garlic. Garlic capsules offer the health benefits of garlic without odor. Choose pills that supply 4000 mcg of allicin and take 400 to 600 mg a day.

Rein in your rage. Don’t get mad — it’s bad for your heart. A study of nearly 13,000 people found that those who were quick to anger were almost three times more likely to have heart attacks than their cooler-headed peers.

Stay trim. Being even slightly overweight can increase your blood pressure and put you at greater risk for heart disease. Follow a heart-smart diet and make exercise a priority.
No ifs, ands, or butts. According to the American Heart Association, you can cut your risk of death related to heart disease by 50% by kicking the smoking habit. After three smoke-free years, your risk of heart disease is the same as that of a lifelong nonsmoker.

Time out. Minimize stress, a risk factor for heart disease. Try meditation or visualization or yoga. Prayer may also help. Take brisk walks with a friend; your conversation may add extra stress relief.
Getting away is good for your heart. Researchers found that men between ages 35 and 57 who took a yearly vacation were one-third less likely to die from heart disease than their stay-at-work colleagues.

Source  :Readers Digest


Child Feverish? Keep cool

Even in an age of medical sophistication, there still exists fear and misunderstanding about fever in children. “Fever phobia” makes it difficult for parents to know when to be worried and when to stay calm when the thermometer starts to climb. Take the following true/false quiz; knowing the facts will help take the worry about caring for a feverish child.

Any temperature over 98.6 degrees is a fever………..CLICK & SEE

FALSE. Most doctors feel that a temperature is not considered a fever until it is at least 100.4 degrees F. taken twice, thirty minutes apart, and the child is unbundled, quiet, and in a normally cooled room. Many body variables determine a child’s “normal” temperature. For example, temperatures up to 101 degrees F can be caused by exercise, excessive clothing, a hot bath, or hot weather. Warm foods or drinks can also raise an oral temperature. In addition, a child’s temperature may vary depending on the time of day it is taken (higher at night) and the age of the child (younger children generally have somewhat higher temperatures than school-age children.) A young child’s thermostat is far more sensitive than an adult’s; consequently a 1040F temperature in a 9 month old is equivalent to about 1010F in an adult.

Placing a hand on a child’s forehead is an accurate way to read a fever.

FALSE. Studies have shown that most parents could tell if their child did not have a fever by touch, but could not tell how high body temperature was if their child did have a fever. Fever makes the child’s face hot and a 101 degree temperature might feel the same as a 103 degree F temperature.

High fever can cause brain damage.

FALSE. There have been numerous scientific studies done to show that fever is not harmful at levels seen with most infections. Temperatures reaching 104 degrees F are commonly found in athletes during strenuous exercise. Therefore, it is not true that fever causes brain or any other organ damage. Certain infections, such as meningitis and encephalitis, may damage the brain, but it is the infection and not the fever that caused the problem.

Fevers can trigger seizures

TRUE Actually it is not the height of the fever that causes febrile convulsions but how fast it goes up or down. Only 20% of youngsters are susceptible to this type of seizure which occurs more frequently if there is a family history of seizures with fever. They are unusual after the age of three years.

Any fever in a child under two months is important

TRUE. Because of their immature immune system, a young infant will not handle infections well and may not show any other signs of a serious illness other than the fever. Therefore, when a little one has a temperature over 100 degrees, the youngster’s physician will want to know what other symptoms are present (poor feeding, vomiting, pale color, lethargy, etc.) and may want to examine the infant to determine the source of the fever.

All fevers should be treated

Remember, fever is not an illness but a symptom and almost never harms a child. The only reason to lower a youngster’s temperature is to make the child more comfortable or avoid a febrile seizure (in the seizure prone child). New research has shown that fever may actually be beneficial. Elevated body temperature increases metabolism and produces infection fighting cells. Viruses have been seen to explode under a microscope in 104 degree F heat. Some antibiotics work better in the presence of a fever. Therefore, lowering body temperature may prolong the illness!The best advice when dealing with fever is to “treat the child, not the thermometer.”

The higher the temperature, the more serious the illness.

FALSE. The numbers on the thermometer do not indicate the severity of the disease. A youngster could have walking pneumonia or an ear infection with no temperature and meningitis with 101 degrees F. On the other hand, pediatricians see children many times a day with fevers over 104 degrees F caused by a viral infection that will run its course without treatment. The general condition of the child is the main determining factor between a “very sick” and a “somewhat ill” youngster, not the youngster’s temperature.

A child’s behavior is a better indicator of sickness than temperature.

TRUE Probably the best indicator of a child’s illness is their level of activity and behavior. A youngster whose temperature is 104 degrees F but seems active and normal is probably healthier than a child who is listless, refuses food or drink, and has a body temperature of 101 degrees F. Fever is one sign of illness but it is certainly not the only or the best one.

Teething causes fever.

Sorry grandma, but there is very little scientific evidence to prove that teething causes a fever. Although some physicians feel that the baby’s inflamed gums can cause a low grade fever, the temperature is probably caused by a mild viral infection modified by maternal antibody’s passed on to the baby during the pregnancy.

An alcohol rub is a safe way to reduce a fever

The alcohol rub is now considered dangerous since alcohol can be absorbed through the skin and cause intoxication. The best ways to lower temperature include:

* Pushing fluids. Babies should continue drinking breast milk or formula; older children can have water, juice, Jell-O, ice cubes, Popsicles, or flat 7UP.

* Keeping them cool by removing heavy clothing and blankets and by turning on a fan.

* Giving medication to lover fever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

* Trying a sponge bath that contains an inch or two of lukewarm water.

One medication to avoid is in lowering body temperature is aspirin (including children’s aspirin), which has been linked with Reye’s syndrome in children and teens. This serious viral illness develops as flulike symptoms and can cause brain damage and, in some cases, death.

A child with a fever should not receive a routine immunization.

FALSE Immunizations are only contraindicated when the illness causing the fever is severe. A mild illness (such as an ear infection) is not a reason to withhold a vaccine, even if the child has a fever.

It is difficult to eliminate all the myths regarding fever. Nevertheless, it is important for parents to realize that they should not panic when their youngster develops a temperature. The only time to worry about fever is if the child is less than two months old.

Cold Sores

Many people eventually become infected with the virus that causes the unsightly and painful lip blisters called cold sores. Using antioxidants, immune boosters, and especially the amino acid lysine, you’ll have the tools to inhibit the virus and help heal the inflamed skin.


The initial outbreak is often marked by unsightly and tender blisters on or near the mouth; sometimes flulike symptoms and swelling in adjacent lymph nodes occur as well.
Recurrences may be milder: An itchy or tingling sensation on the lips is followed in a day or two by one or more fluid-filled blisters.

When to Call Your Doctor
If you develop eye pain or sensitivity to light — it may mean the virus has spread to the eyes, where it can damage vision.
If cold sores last longer than two weeks or recur often — you may need a cream or oral antiviral drug.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.

What it actually is?

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Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters that usually appear on the lips, though they can also develop on the gums, inner cheeks, roof of the mouth, or the area around the nostrils. In addition, the cold sore virus can spread by touch to the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and genitals — or to abrasions. Typically, cold sores (also called fever blisters) break and then form a scab, disappearing in a week to ten days.

What Causes It
Cold sores are usually caused by herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1). This virus is different from the one responsible for genital herpes — herpes simplex type 2 — which is generally transmitted through sexual contact. Because the cold sore virus lies dormant in nerve cells after the first outbreak, new sores are likely to recur as frequently as every few weeks or as infrequently as every few years. Sores often reappear when the immune system is depressed by a fever or a viral infection such as a cold. Recurrences can also be triggered by fatigue, menstruation, stress, or exposure to sun and wind.

Diagnosis of Cold Sores

Secondary to how common cold sores are in the general public they are usually diagnosed primarily by clinical symptoms and history. However, the following represent the most accurate methods in which to diagnose the herpes virus.

Virus Culture Detection Tests

In order to prepare a viral culture a physician must collect cells at the base of the genital lesion using a sterile cotton swab The sample is then tested in the laboratory. An individual must have a active or live infection at the time of the swab test to produce a positive result. If the herpetic lesions or ulcers have begun to heal the test may give a false-negative report. However, when active lesions are present, this method is seen as the gold standard for diagnosing genital herpes.

Serology Blood Tests

When an individual becomes infected with the herpes virus the body will produce antibodies designed to fight the virus. These antibodies are specific to each virus and remain permanently in the bloodstream. A blood test for a herpes simplex virus can indicate if someone has been infected at some time during their life.


Cold Sore Treatment Options:-

Prescription Medications
Prescription medications have been proven in clinical trials to be the most effective treatment option for treating cold sores:

Valtrex is the first and only oral one-day treatment for cold sores. The recommended dose is 2 grams taken at the first sign of a cold sore, such as tingling, itching, or burning and then again, approximately 12 hours later. You should be prepared for subsequent outbreaks of cold sores by having a supply of Valtrex readily available.
Herbal Supplements
Certain amino acids and vitamins have been found to influence the recurrence and duration of cold sores..

An imbalance in the amino acids lysine and arginine has been shown in studies as a contributing factor in cold sore outbreaks. A diet that is rich in the amino acid lysine may help prevent recurrences of cold sores. Foods which contain high levels of lysine include most vegetables, turkey, legumes, fish and chicken. Individuals may also take supplemental doses of Lysine. The recommended dose for the prophylactic treatment of cold sores is 1,000 mg of lysine three times a day during a cold sore outbreak and 500 mg daily.

In addition to taking increase amounts of Lysine individuals should limit their intake of arginine. Foods that contain contain high quantities of arginine include peanuts, almonds, chocolate, and other nuts and seeds.

What Else You Can Do
Apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) to the lips to prevent recurrences. In a study involving people with recurrent cold sores, those who didn’t use sunscreen developed a cold sore after 80 minutes in the sun.
Don’t touch the blisters. This can spread the virus, as can sharing personal items such as towels, razors, drinking glasses, or toothbrushes
Try meditation, yoga, or other forms of relaxation to reduce stress, which is thought to precipitate cold sores.
Stay away from nuts, chocolate, whole-grain cereals, and gelatin. They contain a large amount of the amino acid arginine, which some doctors think triggers cold sores. Lysine may counteract its effect.
Supplements can be safely used with prescription antiviral creams, such as acyclovir or penciclovir, which also promote healing of cold sores.
Holding an ice cube to the affected area for a few minutes several times a day can help reduce pain and dry out the cold sore.
* Avoid excessive sun exposure to the face
* Wash hands frequently
* Avoid contact with those individuals who have active lesions
* Do not touch cold sores (this can spread the virus to other regions)
* Avoid kissing the lips or eyes of infants under six months of age
* Maintain a healthy lifestyle (proper diet, adequate sleep, exercise)


Proper diet may have an effect on the recurrence, as well as, the duration of cold sores. In general, cold sore sufferers should eat a healthy diet of unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Individuals should avoid alcohol, chocolate, nuts, caffeine and sugar.

Supplement Recommendations :-
Melissa Cream
Vitamin C/Flavonoids
Vitamin A
Flaxseed Oil

Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day for flare-ups, then 500 mg a day.
Comments: Take on an empty stomach; don’t take with milk.

Melissa Cream
Dosage: Apply cream to sores 2-4 times a day.
Comments: This herb is also called lemon balm.

Vitamin C/Flavonoids
Dosage: 1,000 mg vitamin C and 500 mg flavonoids 3 times a day.
Comments: Use for flare-ups; reduce dose if diarrhea develops.

Vitamin A
Dosage: 25,000 IU twice a day for 5 days.
Comments: Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should not exceed 5,000 IU a day.

Dosage: 200 mg echinacea and 125 mg goldenseal 4 times a day.
Comments: Sold singly or as combination supplement.

Dosage: 600 mcg a day only during flare-ups.
Comments: Don’t exceed 600 mcg daily; higher doses may be toxic.

Flaxseed Oil
Dosage: 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day.
Comments: Can be mixed with food; take in the morning.


Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs and

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Moving In Real Time

We all go through times when we wish we could press a fast-forward button and propel ourselves into the future and out of our current circumstances. Whether the situation we are facing is minor, or major such as the loss of a loved one, it is human nature to want to move away from pain and find comfort as soon as possible. Yet we all know deep down that we need to work through these experiences in a conscious fashion rather than bury our heads in the sand, because these are the times when we access important information about ourselves and life. The learning process may not be easy, but it is full of lessons that bring us wisdom we cannot find any other way.

The desire to press fast-forward can lead to escapism and denial, both of which only prolong our difficulties and in some cases make them worse. The more direct, clear, and courageous we are in the face of whatever we are dealing with, the more quickly we will move through the situation. Understanding this, we may begin to realize that trying to find the fast-forward button is really more akin to pressing pause. When we truly grasp that the only way out of any situation in which we find ourselves is to go through it, we stop looking for ways to escape and we start paying close attention to what is happening. We realize that we are exactly where we need to be. We remember that we are in this situation in order to learn something we need to know, and we can alleviate some of our pain with the awareness that there is a purpose to our suffering.

When you feel the urge to press the fast-forward button, remember that you are not alone; we all instinctively avoid pain. But in doing so, we often prolong our pain and delay important learning. As you choose to move forward in real time, know that in the long run, this is the least painful way to go.

Source:Daily Om

Many US kids too fat by preschool

: Far too many kids are fat by preschool, and Hispanic youngsters are most at risk, says new research that is among the first to focus on children growing up in poverty.

The study couldn’t explain the disparity: White, black and Hispanic youngsters alike watched a lot of TV, and researchers spotted no other huge differences between the families.

But one important predictor of a pudgy preschooler was whether the child was still using a bottle at the stunning age of 3, concluded the study being published online on Thursday by the American Journal of Public Health.

“These children are already disadvantaged because their families are poor, and by age 3 they are on track for a lifetime of health problems related to obesity,” said lead researcher Rachel Kimbro of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Some 17% of US youngsters are obese, and millions more are overweight. Obesity can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, sleep problems and other disorders — and the problem starts early.

Overweight preschoolers have a five times higher risk of being fat at age 12 than do lean preschoolers, scientists reported last fall.

Kimbro focused on the poor, culling data on more than 2,000 3-year-olds from a study that tracks from birth children born to low-income families in 20 large US cities.

Thirty-two per cent of the white and black tots were either overweight or obese, vs 44% of the Hispanics.

Children were particularly at risk if their mothers were obese. So were those who still took a bottle to bed at age 3, as did 14% of the Hispanic youngsters, 6%of the whites and 4% of the blacks. It supports other research that one of the most common causes of overweight in children is overfeeding.

Source:The Times Of India