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Fruits & Vegetables News on Health & Science

Cranberries — Good for What Ails

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Some informations about the tart fruit’s healing abilities.…….European settlers first put cranberries on the Thanksgiving table because the local fruit lasted through winter and enhanced the flavor of gamy meat. The settlers had picked up on the berry’s culinary potential from Native Americans, who survived cold winters by filling up on pemmican, a cake of cranberries, nuts and dried venison or bear meat.

Both groups also prescribed cranberries for fevers, gastrointestinal problems and dropsy — a term used to describe any swelling or inflammation. Turns out, they were onto something. In the last few decades, scientists have begun to confirm and explain the cranberry‘s ability to fight infections of the urinary tract and gut and its potential to fight gum disease, heart disease and cancer.

“For over a hundred years, women have known that cranberry juice can prevent urinary tract infections,” says Amy Howell, associate research scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-supported Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research at Rutgers University in Camden, N.J. “They thought it was due to acidity, but that’s actually not the case.”

Cranberry’s antibacterial properties are due to a class of chemical compounds called proanthocyanidins. Ten years ago, Howell’s research group isolated the compounds and demonstrated how they work: Proanthocyanidins bind to harmful bacteria such as E. coli, forming a “Teflon-like” coating around them. The coating prevents the bacteria from sticking to gastrointestinal and urinary tract walls, impeding infections.

The nonstick properties of proanthocyanidins may explain the results of several clinical trials that showed that cranberry juice can reduce the frequency of urinary tract infections.

For example, a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2001 showed that women who drank a couple of ounces of cranberry juice daily for six months had a 20% lower risk of urinary tract infections, compared with women in a control group. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Urology in 2002 showed that just 20% of women who drank three glasses of cranberry juice daily for a year experienced urinary tract infection symptoms, compared with 32% of women who drank a placebo.

And last month, a study in the journal Urology found that two glasses of cranberry juice a day reduced the frequency of urinary tract infections by 41% among pregnant women.

Proanthocyanidins also appear to keep the bacterium H. pylori, which causes ulcers, from sticking to the linings of the stomach and intestines. A 2005 study of 189 adults with H. pylori infections in the journal Helicobacter, showed that two glasses of cranberry juice daily for three months reduced the degree of infections, compared with those who drank a placebo.

And a study in the journal Nutrition this year showed that a daily glass of cranberry juice eliminated H. pylori infections in 16% of infected children; a placebo eliminated only 1.5%.

Other research suggests that the compounds could keep plaque-forming bacteria at bay. In lab experiments, cranberry proanthocyanidins stopped oral streptococci and other bacteria from sticking to surfaces. But researchers warn against using the juice as a mouthwash because of its sugar content and acidity.

Cranberries are high in vitamins A, E and C, iron, calcium, potassium and antioxidants. The last may explain the fruit’s possible anti-cancer and anti-heart-disease effects. Cranberry impedes the growth of liver and breast cancer cells in lab dishes, says Jie Sun, a scientist at General Mills who previously researched the fruit’s anti-cancer effects at Cornell University.

And in 2006, Canadian researchers published suggestive findings in the British Journal of Nutrition showing that drinking a glass of cranberry juice a day increased concentrations of good HDL cholesterol by 8% in overweight men. (The study was funded by the Canadian Cranberry Growers Coalition.)

But the tart red berries may not be for everyone. Gorging on too many or guzzling too much juice can result in an upset stomach or diarrhea. A couple of reports indicate that cranberry juice may increase the risk of kidney stones in people prone to them. And there’s conflicting evidence that cranberries may interfere with blood thinning drugs, such as warfarin.

The common cranberry’s benefits still seem to outweigh its drawbacks, but despite this, most Americans limit their consumption to a single day of the year. The reason for this may have been best summed up by writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau more than 150 years ago: Cranberries, he wrote, were easy to harvest, but their taste was “a little bitterish.”

Sources: Las Angles Times

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Bladder Infection (Urinary Track Infection)

Introduction:
Urinary tract infections are a serious health problem affecting millions of people each year.

Infections of the urinary tract are the second most common type of infection in the body. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) account for about 8.3 million doctor visits each year. Women are especially prone to UTIs for reasons that are not yet well understood. One woman in five develops a UTI during her lifetime. UTIs in men are not as common as in women but can be very serious when they do occur.

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The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The key elements in the system are the kidneys, a pair of purplish-brown organs located below the ribs toward the middle of the back. The kidneys remove excess liquid and wastes from the blood in the form of urine, keep a stable balance of salts and other substances in the blood, and produce a hormone that aids the formation of red blood cells. Narrow tubes called ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, a sack-like organ in the lower abdomen. Urine is stored in the bladder and emptied through the urethra.

The average adult passes about a quart and a half of urine each day. The amount of urine varies, depending on the fluids and foods a person consumes. The volume formed at night is about half that formed in the daytime.

Alternative Names are Bladder infection; Cystitis; UTI

Causes:
Normally, urine is sterile. It is usually free of bacteria, viruses, and fungi but does contain fluids, salts, and waste products. An infection occurs when tiny organisms, usually bacteria from the digestive tract, cling to the opening of the urethra and begin to multiply. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. Most infections arise from one type of bacteria, Escherichia coli (E. coli), which normally lives in the colon.

In many cases, bacteria first travel to the urethra. When bacteria multiply, an infection can occur. An infection limited to the urethra is called urethritis. If bacteria move to the bladder and multiply, a bladder infection, called cystitis, results. If the infection is not treated promptly, bacteria may then travel further up the ureters to multiply and infect the kidneys. A kidney infection is called pyelonephritis.

Microorganisms called Chlamydia and Mycoplasma may also cause UTIs in both men and women, but these infections tend to remain limited to the urethra and reproductive system. Unlike E. coli, Chlamydia and Mycoplasma may be sexually transmitted, and infections require treatment of both partners.

The urinary system is structured in a way that helps ward off infection. The ureters and bladder normally prevent urine from backing up toward the kidneys, and the flow of urine from the bladder helps wash bacteria out of the body. In men, the prostate gland produces secretions that slow bacterial growth. In both sexes, immune defenses also prevent infection. But despite these safeguards, infections still occur.

Cystitis, a common condition, is usually caused by bacteria entering the urethra and then the bladder. This leads to inflammation and infection in the lower urinary tract.

Certain people are more likely to get UTIs. Women tend to get them more often because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus. Elderly people (especially those in nursing homes) and people with diabetes also get more UTIs.

Some children develop UTIs. In boys, they are most common before the first birthday. In young girls, UTIs are most common around age 3, overlapping with the toilet training period.

Cystitis in children can be promoted by abnormalities in the urinary tract. Therefore, children with cystitis, especially those under age 5, deserve special follow-up to prevent later kidney damage.

The following risk factors increase your chances of getting a UTI:

*Bowel incontinence
*Catheterization
*Kidney stones
*Immobility (for example, during recovery from a hip fracture)
*Menopause
*Narrowed urethra
*Not drinking enough fluids
*Pregnancy
*Prostate inflammation or enlargement
*Sexual intercourse, especially if you have multiple partners
*Using a diaphragm for birth control

UTIs are most common in sexually active women and increase in people living with diabetes and people with sickle-cell disease or anatomical malformations of the urinary tract.

Allergies can be a hidden factor in urinary tract infections. For example, allergies to foods can irritate the bladder wall and increase susceptibility to urinary tract infections. Keep track of your diet and have allergy testing done to help eliminate foods that may be a problem. Urinary tract infections after sexual intercourse can be also be due to an allergy to latex condoms, spermicides, or oral contraceptives. In this case review alternative methods of birth control with your doctor.

Elderly individuals, both men and women, are more likely to harbor bacteria in their genitourinary system at any time. These bacteria may be associated with symptoms and thus require treatment with an antibiotic. The presence of bacteria in the urinary tract of older adults, without symptoms or associated consequences, is also a well recognized phenomenon which may not require antibiotics. This is usually referred to as asymptomatic bacteriuria. The overuse of antibiotics in the context of bacteriuria among the elderly is a concerning and controversial issue.

Symptoms

The symptoms of a UTI include:

*Cloudy urine
*Blood in the urine
*Foul or strong urine odor
*Frequent or urgent need to urinate
*Need to urinate at night
*Pain or burning with urination
*Pressure in the lower pelvis
*Young children with UTIs may only have a fever, or no symptoms at all.

Additional symptoms may include:

*Mental changes or confusion (in the elderly, mental changes or confusion often are the only signs of a urinary tract *infection; possible spread to the blood should be considered)
*Flank (side) pain, vomiting, fever, and chills (may be a sign of kidney involvement)
*Painful sexual intercourse
*Penis pain

Diagnosis:
A patient with dysuria (painful voiding) and urinary frequency generally has a spot mid-stream urine sample sent for urinalysis, specifically the presence of nitrites, leukocytes or leukocyte esterase. If there is a high bacterial load without the presence of leukocytes, it is most likely due to contamination. The diagnosis of UTI is confirmed by a urine culture.

If the urine culture is negative:

symptoms of urethritis may point at Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrheae infection. symptoms of cystitis may point at interstitial cystitis.in men, prostatitis may present with dysuria.
In severe infection, characterized by fever, rigors or flank pain, urea and creatinine measurements may be performed to assess whether renal function has been affected.

Most cases of lower urinary tract infections in females are benign and do not need exhaustive laboratory work-ups. However, UTI in young infants must receive some imaging study, typically a retrograde urethrogram, to ascertain the presence/absence of congenital urinary tract anomalies. Males too must be investigated further. Specific methods of investigation include x-ray, Nuclear Medicine, MRI and CAT scan technology.

Exams and Tests :

Tests generally include taking a urine sample.

Urinalysis commonly reveals nitrates, white blood cells, and red blood cells. See also: RBC – urine

A urine culture (clean catch) or catheterized urine specimen may be done to determine the type of bacteria in the urine and the appropriate antibiotic for treatment.

TESTING IN CHILDREN
Many children with cystitis need special imaging studies to determine why they got a urinary tract infection. Many of them have something abnormal about their anatomy that predispose them to infections. The long-term consequences of repeated urinary tract infections in children can be quite serious. However, these infections can usually be prevented.

Special studies usually include an ultrasound of the kidneys and an x-ray taken during urination (called a voiding cystourethrogram or VCUG).

Most experts recommend this evaluation for:

*Girls over age 5 who have had two or more urinary tract infections
*All boys with their first urinary tract infection
*All children who have a fever along with their urinary tract infection
*All children under age 5 with their first urinary tract infection

Treatment:
Most uncomplicated UTIs can be treated with oral antibiotics such as trimethoprim, cephalosporins, nitrofurantoin, or a fluoroquinolone (e.g., ciprofloxacin or levofloxacin). Trimethoprim is probably the most widely used antibiotic for UTIs and is usually taken for 7 days. It is often recommended that trimethoprim be taken at night to ensure maximal urinary concentrations and increase its effectiveness. Whilst co-trimoxazole was previously internationally used (and continues to be used in the U.S.), the additional of the sulfonamide gave little additional benefit compared to the trimethoprim component alone, but was responsible for its high incidence of mild allergic reactions and rare but serious complications.

If the patient has symptoms consistent with pyelonephritis, intravenous antibiotics may be indicated. Regimens vary, usually Aminoglycosides (such as Gentamicin) are used in combination with a beta-lactam, such as Ampicillin or Ceftriaxone. These are continued for 48 hours after fever subsides. The patient may then be discharged home on oral antibiotics for a further 5 days.

If the patient makes a poor response to IV antibiotics (marked by persistent fever, worsening renal function), then imaging is indicated to rule out formation of an abscess either within or around the kidney, or the presence of an obstructing lesion such as a stone or tumor.

As an at-home treatment, increased water-intake, frequent voiding, the avoidance of sugars and sugary foods, drinking unsweetened cranberry juice, taking cranberry supplements, as well as taking vitamin C with the last meal of the day can shorten the time duration of the infection[citation needed]. Sugars and alcohol can feed the bacteria causing the infection, and worsen pain and other symptoms. Vitamin C at night raises the acidity of the urine[citation needed]}, which retards the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. However, if pain is in the back region (suggesting kidney infection) or if pain persists, if there is fever, or if blood is present in the urine, doctor care is recommended.

In complementary and alternative medicine, D-mannose pills are advocated as a herbal remedy for urinary tract infections. Theoretically, if D-mannose would be present in sufficient concentration in the urine, it could interfere with the adherence of the bacterium E. coli to the epithelial cells lining the urinary tract (similar to the mechanism underlying the effect of cranberry juice). One study showed that it could significantly influence bacteriuria in rats, but there are no studies showing any effect in humans.
Herbal Treatment:YOU can fight bladder infection, cystitis (inflammation), urgent desire to empty the bladder, frequent urination, strong urine odor associated with bladder infection with these herbs from Mother Nature’s medicine chest:

Buchu, cornsilk, Oregon grape root, marshmallow root.

Quik Herbal Tip:
Cornsilk is an excellent herbal diuretic and urinary cleanser. Men with prostate problems find it helpful, too.

Click for Homeopathic Treatment for Urinary Track Infection.……(1)………..(2)

Click for Home Remedy for Urinary Track Infection……………….(1).……(2)

You may click to see :Study Supports Cranberry Dose Levels for Urinary Health

Recurrent UTIs :
Patients with recurrent UTIs may need further investigation. This may include ultrasound scans of the kidneys and bladder or intravenous urography (X-rays of the urological system following intravenous injection of iodinated contrast material). If there is no response to treatments, interstitial cystitis may be a possibility.

During cystitis, uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) subvert innate defenses by invading superficial umbrella cells and rapidly increasing in numbers to form intracellular bacterial communities (IBCs).

Possible Complications :
*Chronic or recurrent urinary tract infection — defined as at least two infections in 6 months or at least three in 1 year
*Complicated UTI
*Kidney infection

Prevention:
The following are measures that studies suggest may reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections. These may be appropriate for people, especially women, with recurrent infections:

Cleaning the urethral meatus (the opening of the urethra) after intercourse has been shown to be of some benefit; however, whether this is done with an antiseptic or a placebo ointment (an ointment containing no active ingredient) does not appear to matter.

Appropriate hygiene and cleanliness of the genital area may help reduce the chances of introducing bacteria through the urethra. Females are especially vulnerable to this, because the urethra is in close proximity to the rectum. The genitals should be cleaned and wiped from front to back to reduce the chance of dragging E. coli bacteria from the rectal area to the urethra.

It has been advocated that cranberry juice can decrease the incidence of UTI (some of these opinions are referenced in External Links section). A specific type of tannin found only in cranberries and blueberries prevents the adherence of certain pathogens (eg. E. coli) to the epithelium of the urinary bladder. A review by the Cochrane Collaboration of randomized controlled trials states “some evidence from trials to show cranberries (juice and capsules) can prevent recurrent infections in women. Many people in the trials stopped drinking the juice, suggesting it may not be a popular intervention”.

For post-menopausal women, a randomized controlled trial has shown that intravaginal application of topical estrogen cream can prevent recurrent cystitis. In this study, patients in the experimental group applied 0.5 mg of estriol vaginal cream nightly for two weeks followed by twice-weekly applications for eight months.
Often long courses of low dose antibiotics are taken at night to help prevent otherwise unexplained cases of recurring cystitis.

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in preventing new infections in recurrent cases. One study showed that urinary tract infection occurrence was reduced by 50% for 6 months. However, this study has been criticized for several reasons. Acupuncture appears to reduce the total amount of residual urine in the bladder. All of the studies are done by one research team without independent reproduction of results.

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.
Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinary_tract_infection
http://www.herbnews.org/bladderdone.htm
http://www.medicinenet.com/urine_infection/article.htm

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Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure is a serious disease which can have a major impact on life, and can ultimately be fatal. However, it can be successfully treated.

What do the kidneys do?

In order for blood to perform its essential functions of bringing nutrients and oxygen to the cells of the body, and carrying waste materials away from those cells, the chemical composition of the blood must be carefully controlled.

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The kidneys play a crucial role in this process by filtering the blood under high pressure and removing potential toxins, which are excreted from the body in the urine.

Every day the kidneys filter the body’s entire blood volume seven or eight times.

What is kidney failure?.....CLICK & SEE

When the kidneys start to fail, toxins are not f & iltered out of the blood, and start accumulate in the tissues. This can lead to a range of problems.

Build up of two waste products, urea and creatinine, can lead to tiredness, weakness, loss of appetite and vomiting.

Accumulation of acid generated during the body’s metabolic processes can lead to a condition called metabolic acidosis.

Failure to get rid of phosphate, causes the blood phosphate level to increase and calcium level to fall.

When calcium level is low, bones will become brittle.

The kidney may also lose its ability to produce erythropoietin, resulting in anaemia.

Kidney failure is also associated with an increase in the volume of water in the body which can result in a swelling of the tissues.

Excess salt and water retention may cause high blood pressure, swelling of the legs, face, abdomen and breathlessness.

What causes kidney failure?

There are many possible causes of kidney damage or kidney failure. They include:

* Decreased blood flow, which may occur with extremely low blood pressure caused by trauma, surgery, serious illnesses, septic shock, hemorrhage, burns, or dehydration
* Acute tubular necrosis (ATN)
* Infections that directly injury the kidney such as acute pyelonephritis or septicemia
* Urinary tract obstruction (obstructive uropathy)
* Autoimmune kidney disease such as interstitial nephritis or acute nephritic syndrome
* Disorders that cause clotting within the thin blood vessels of the kidney
o Idiopathic thrombocytopenic thrombotic purpura (ITTP)
o Transfusion reaction
o Malignant hypertension
o Scleroderma,
o Hemolytic-uremic syndrome
o Disorders of childbirth, such as bleeding placenta abruptio or placenta previa

The most common causes of kidney failure are glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidney) and diabetes mellitus.

Other causes of kidney failure are kidney stones, kidney cysts, an immune disorder called systemic lupus erythematosus, uncontrolled high blood pressure and drugs.

What are the symptoms?

As the kidneys begin to fail the following symptoms can begin develop:

* Decrease in amount of urine (oliguria)
* Urination stops (anuria)
* Excessive urination at night
* Ankle, feet, and leg swelling
* Generalized swelling, fluid retention
* Decreased sensation, especially in the hands or feet
* Decreased appetite
* Metallic taste in mouth
* Persistent hiccups
* Changes in mental status or mood
o Agitation
o Drowsiness
o Lethargy
o Delirium or confusion
o Coma
o Mood changes
o Trouble paying attention
o Hallucinations
* Slow, sluggish, movements
* Seizures
* Hand tremor (shaking)
* Nausea or vomiting, may last for days
* Brusing easily
* Prolonged bleeding
* Nosebleeds
* Bloody stools
* Flank pain (between the ribs and hips)
* Fatigue
* Breath odor
* High blood pressure

* pale and sallow complexion
* fatigue
* shortness of breath
* body itch
* sometimes nausea and vomiting
* swelling of the face and legs
* disruption of urination patterns

How it is diagnosed?
Exams and Tests:

Examination and testing can help diagnose acute kidney failure and help rule out other problems that can affect kidney function.

Many patients have generalized swelling caused by fluid retention. The doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs. A heart murmur, crackles in the lungs, inflammation of the lining of the heart (pericarditis), or other related to extra fluid may be heard.

The results of laboratory tests may change suddenly (within a few days to 2 weeks).

* Urine tests (urinalysis) may be abnormal.
* Serum creatinine, BUN, creatinine clearance, and serum potassium levels may increase.
* Arterial blood gas and blood chemistries may show metabolic acidosis.
* Kidney or abdominal ultrasound are preferred tests, but abdominal x-ray, abdominal CT scan, or abdominal MRI can tell if there is a blockage in the urinary tract.
* Blood tests may help reveal the underlying cause of kidney failure.

How is it treated?

Once the cause is found, the goal of treatment is to restore kidney function and prevent fluid and waste from building up in the body while the kidneys heal. Usually, you have to stay overnight in the hospital for treatment.

The amount of liquid you eat (such as soup) or drink will be limited to the amount of urine you can produce. You will be told what you may and may not eat to reduce the build-up of toxins normally handled by the kidneys. This diet may be high in carbohydrates and low in protein, salt, and potassium.

You may need antibiotics to treat or prevent infection. Diuretics (“water pills”) may be used to help the kidneys lose fluid.

It will be very important to avoid dangerous hyperkalemia (increased blood potassium levels) by using IV (intravenous) calcium, glucose/insulin, or potassium exchange resin (Kayexalate).

Dialysis may be needed, and can make you feel better. It is not always necessary, but it can save your life if your serum potassium is dangerously high. Dialysis will also be used if your mental status changes, your potassium level starts to rise, you stop urinating, develop pericarditis, become overloaded with fluid, or cannot eliminate nitrogen waste products from your body.
The most common treatment is by dialysis, a technique which artificially mimics the action of the kidneys.

What is dialysis?

There are two types of dialysis.

Haemodialysis is the most frequently prescribed type of dialysis treatment….CLICK & SEE

It involves circulating the patient’s blood outside of the body through a series of tubes.

The blood is filtered in a way similar to that used by the kidneys by using a chemical bath to draw out waste products.

Most haemodialysis patients require treatment three times a week, for an average of 3-4 hours per dialysis.

Less common is a technique known as peritoneal dialysis, in which the lining of the abdomen acts a blood filter.….CLICK & SEE

>Kidney Failure Herbs

Is a transplant an option?….CLICK & SEE

For the right patient at the right time, a transplant is the best treatment for kidney failure.

If it works well the patient will be totally free from dialysis. Many patients with kidney failure are suitable for a transplant.

Prognosis:
While acute kidney failure is potentially life-threatening and may require intensive treatment, the kidneys usually start working again within several weeks to months after the underlying cause has been treated.

In cases where this does not happen, chronic renal failure or end-stage renal disease develops. Death can occur, but is most common when kidney failure is caused by surgery, trauma, or severe infection in someone with heart disease, lung disease, or recent stroke. Old age, infection, loss of blood from the intestinal tract, and progression of kidney failure also increase the risk of death.


Possible Complications :

* Loss of blood in the intestines
* Chronic (ongoing) kidney failure
* End-stage renal disease
* Damage to the heart or nervous system
* Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Prevention: Treating disorders such as high blood pressure can help prevent acute kidney failure. Unfortunately, prevention is not always possible.

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.

Resources:
BBC NEWS:OCT 15, 2001
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000501.htm#Definition

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