Sunday, 31 January 2016

THE SCIENCE BEHIND ALCOHOL WITHDRAWAL- facts simplified

Alcohol Withdrawal symptoms are classical sequelae of symptoms dependent on the amount of alcohol consumed within a specific period of time and previous history of alcohol withdrawal. These symptoms precedes an attempt to reduce or stop alcohol intake after a long period of drinking. Binge drinkers often develop alcohol dependency and are at higher risk of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Regular alcohol intake which is large in amount and for longer period of time may cause alcohol tolerance and dependency. People who have developed alcohol tolerance and dependency may willingly decide to forego drinking in order to mitigate their nuisance drinking behavior. In the advent of mitigating tolerance and dependency, they may experience withdrawal symptoms and may prompt them to engage in drinking alcohol again. Any failed attempt of alcohol abstinence or reduction will make future withdrawal symptoms more severe. This situation is called kindling.

CAUSES OF ALCOHOLIC WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS

Long standing alcoholics have an altered function of the brain messengers. Alcohol is an hypnotic, it functions to promote the inhibitory effect of a brain neurotransmitter called Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) which produces feeling of relaxation. As an individual continues to consume alcohol, the ability of alcohol to promote the effect of GABA is suppressed gradually. This calls for much more alcoholic beverage to produce the same feeling of relaxation. This is called tolerance.

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When an individual stops or reduces alcohol intake, the brain neurotransmitter which had been suppressed by alcohol is no longer suppressed and it produces negative exaggerated effect to the brain causing hyper-excitability of the nervous system.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur 6-12 hours after cessation of alcohol ingestion.  They are characterized by:-
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Reduced cognitive function.
  • General body weakness
  • Dry lips and tongue
  • Drowsiness.
  • Feeling thirsty frequently.
  • Epigastric pain.
  • Nausea.
Under certain circumstances an individual may have a protracted withdrawal symptoms which may be commonly characterized by craving desire for alcohol and lack of sleep at night.

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References.
Alc & alc
http:/m.alcalc.oxfoldjournal.org/content/47/3/248

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/alcohol_withdrawal_syndrome
modified on 8/12/2014
viewed on 6/02/2015

Inpatient management of alcohol withdrawal: a practicl approach-Signa Vitae
By Shiven B. Chabria 2008; 3(1): 24-29


Friday, 29 January 2016

CURRENT RESEARCH TRENDS IN HIV/AIDS CURE DEVELOPMENTS.

By Sam Maondu

Despite hefty challenges encountered in the search for HIV/AIDS cure, there are milestones achieved through scientific approach. Since discovery of Zidovudine- an antiretroviral- in 1985, antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) have been under development. ARVs have helped to reduce HIV related illness and mortality by the virtue that they curb the virus from growing and multiplying. When there is less viral load in the system destruction of the immune cells is reduced leading to improved immune function, improved quality of health both physically and mentally.

THE BERLIN PATIENT- cured of HIV infection.

This scenario is one of its kind. The Berlin patient had contracted HIV and was also battling with Leukemia- Cancer of the blood. (chronic myeloid leukemia) His doctor had prescribed an unusual regimen of Didanosine and Indinavir to take care of the HIV infection and hydroxyurea for the leukemia. To elaborate on this unusual regimen, Didanosine is a necleoside analogue and Indinavir is a protease inhibitor. In a normal situation 2-nucleoside analogues and 1-protease inhibitor are prescribed which was not the case. The Berlin patient was also to receive bone marrow transplant to enable his body produce normal blood cells. The donor of the stem cell for the transplant had genetic mutations that made the Berlin patient be resistant to HIV infection.The day the Berlin patient underwent transplant surgery, he stopped ARVs and there is no HIV in his system according to the follow up tests done.

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CHALLENGES IN DEVELOPMENT OF CURE FOR HIV/AIDS.

Antiretroviral drugs and other supportive therapy have been in existence and under development to address HIV infection burden, increase life expectancy to near normal, add meaning to life, improve physical and mental health, save the immune system from destruction and reduce risk of transmission.

Similar Post: BASIC FACTS ABOUT HIV/AIDS

Despite ARVs and other supportive therapies, there is a major challenge to get rid of the virus completely hence existence of persistence Viral reservoir in the body of man which makes an individual with HIV infection remain a potential carrier and transmitter of the virus to the general population.

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Secondly and rhetorically, when under antiretroviral drugs and other supportive therapy, is there time when the virus goes below undetectable levels? This goes hand in hand with good compliance to treatment and healthy living. This could be also another scientific challenge in chatting the way to cure for HIV infection. Precise location of HIV reservoir and the the amount of the virus is a roadblock towards achieving our goal. 

The amfAR is on countdown to give HIV epidemic an epic ending by 2020 and are bringing scientific minds together in this mind-boggling though with an indent to make this dream a reality. 

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References:
The Countdown To Cure For AIDS- amfAR. Address: http://www.amfar.org/countdown/
HIV/AIDS-Wikipedia, the dree encyclopedia. Address: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS
The Berlin patient- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Address: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Berlin_Patient

BASIC FACTS ABOUT HIV/AIDS

By Sam Maondu.

HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the virus responsible for causing AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome). Following primary infection with the virus, it follows a period of intense viral replication associated with high viral load in the blood and rapid decline of the cells responsible for body immunity. (CD4 cells) This period lasts for 2-4 weeks. The individual may also experience flu-like symptoms, enlarged and tender lymph nodes, rashes on the body which may also affect the genital area, sore throat and many more. These presentations are non-specific for HIV infections which makes HIV counseling and testing recommendable to anyone presenting with similar symptoms. 

Primary HIV infection follows clinical latency or asymptomatic stage in which the immune system has been activated by the presence of virus in the system and has learned how to deal with it. The flu-like symptoms disappear and the individual may live a normal life. There is slow decline in the immune cells and persistent and widespread enlargement of lymph nodes which may not be painful. 

During the asymptomatic stage, if the individual is not put on antiretroviral, they progress to AIDS or symptomatic stage of HIV infection. During this stage the immune cells are profoundly destroyed by the virus and its production can't match the destruction. The body is susceptible to infections like tuberculosis,  skin diseases, chronic diarrhea,  and other severe bacterial infections. 

PUNCHLINE: HIV infection is associated with rapid and profound reduction in immune cells. People with low level of immune cells are not able to fight infections and diseases and at risk of opportunistic infections which are the main causes of death in HIV patients. People on antiretrovirals are less predisposed to opportunistic infections.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus is spread through the following ways:-
  • Unprotected sexual contact with infected person.
  • Contaminated body fluids like blood.
  • From mother to child. (Vertical transmission) 

Antiretrovirals work to slow down viral replication and growth. They are usually given in combination of three drugs to form Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy. (HAART) There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. There are five basic goals for antiretroviral therapy, to include:-
  • Reduce the viral load in the system (less than 50 viral copies per ml of blood plasma)
  • Support the immune system as it rejuvenates and prevent progression to AIDS stage.
  • Enhance quality of life with better mental and physical health.
  • Reduce risk of transmission to others i.e sexual partner or mother to the child.
  • Reduce HIV related deaths. 

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References;
HIV/AIDS- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Address: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS
About HIV/AIDS | HIV basics- CDC. Address: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/whatishiv.html


Saturday, 23 January 2016

TECHNOLOGY IN THE HYPE; APPS TO TRACK YOUR DIABETES




In a nutshell, Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease characterized by persistently elevated levels of blood glucose level over a long period. Diabetes mellitus is classified into type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes mellitus. 

Diabetics have problem controlling their blood glucose level within the normal limits because of either insufficient insulin secretion by the pancreas or insulin resistance by the liver, muscle cells or fat tissue. After a meal, blood glucose level shoots rapidly and insulin hormone is required for the liver, muscle cells and fat tissue to take in the glucose and stop it accumulating in the blood. This function is compromised at some point in diabetics and an external source of insulin is vital.Blood glucose variations are depended on insulin supply, meal, exercise and other intrinsic factors. These should be put into consideration when drafting individual plan for diabetes management. 

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Technology has been in the hype and this it is overwhelmingly empowering. The mind of man is overly hungered for more knowledge and endeavors to make life much easier and this is the reality. On the other side, technology has surpassed most of us on the ground of mere misconception that “I don’t want to be addicted to it’ which is making us lurk behind on sensitive matters.


Now, in the advent of all these technological evolvement, Diabetes Mellitus management has its share. Several Apps have been made accessible via Google play and iTunes for smart phones and tablets. We took a whack of ‘Madivo, OnTrack Diabetes’ downloaded and installed it. The App is absolutely amazing, easy to navigate through and accessible worldwide. Some Apps are only accessible in specified countries. 


After installation the App prompted us to input contact e-mail address and followed suit. We chose the default settings for the blood glucose, hemoglobin A1C and weight. This seemed spectacular. The exemplary thing with this App is that you can input your blood sugar levels and the insulin given during breakfast, lunch and dinner. This means that it doesn’t underscore endocrinologists advice as one is keeping track of the diabetes as some Apps are. 


Other spectacular features for the App include:-

  1. You can set values for low and high glucose ranges. Values which are outside the set values are highlighted in red just to show that things might be slipping through the fingers to uncontrollable state.
  2. The App is alarm enabled. One can set reminders.
  3. One can view daily, weekly and monthly reports in graphical representation. Some other Apps have a tabulated format of these reports or both.

The challenge being faced with these Apps is meal standardization with regard to calorie specifications in a certain meal. We all can't be eating certain foods because we are diabetics. Diet education to include meal portioning (plate model), timing  and eating healthy is primary. 
Reflecting on these Apps for diabetes mellitus care is purely on the grounds of ensuring continuity of care from hospital set up to home and make follow up with your doctor easier. Diabetic complications like hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis, diabetic foot, diabetic neuropathy, nephropathy and retinopathy are life threatening.

For Additional information and reactions to this article, you can write to us using our contact details. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

5 SUPERB AVOCADO HEALTH BENEFITS

Avocado is a popular and cheap seed fruit locally available commonly used by people who are keen on their health.  The flesh can be eaten raw, mixed with food (because of its flavored and creamy feel) or make food salads.

According to National Institute of Health, Avocado serving contains:-
  • dietary fiber
  • potassium
  • sodium
  • magnesium
  • vitamin A
  • riboflavin
  • pantothenic acid
  • vitamin B-6
  • folate
  • niacin
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin K1
  • choline
  • lutein/zeaxanthin
  • phytosterols
  • monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA)
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA),
  • saturated fatty acids (SFA) [1]

HEALTH BENEFITS OF AVOCADO INCLUDE:-

Reduces risks of heart diseases- 

It caught me as a surprise at first considering that avocado has high fat content and it is being branded as heart friendly.

Avocado contains monounsaturated fats (MUFA)  and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Both MUFA and PUFA makes 84% of the total fats in an avocado serving. The other 16% is saturated fats. The saturated fats in avocado decreases as it ripens and the monounsaturated oleic acid increases. [1]


Both MUFA and PUFA help in removing bad cholesterol from the body. [2][3]. Cholesterol -a fat like and waxy substance- is bound to lipoprotein which carries it around the body. There are two types of lipoprotein;

  • Low density lipoprotein. (LDL) or the 'bad' cholesterol
  • High density lipoprotein. (HDL) or the 'good' cholesterol
LDL builds up along the wall of blood vessels forming a plaque which causes clogging of blood vessels. HDL cholesterol carries the blood cholesterol to the liver where they are excreted from the body. [4] 
Avocado enriched diet helps to keep the lipid profile under control even among individuals with high cholesterol levels by lowering the triglycerides and 'bad' cholesterol and increasing the 'good' cholesterol levels in the blood. [1]

Avocado also contains B Vitamins  which is good in regulation of homocysteine level. High level of homocysteine level is associated with damage directed to the inner layer of blood vessels which is a risk factor to both blood vessel and heart problems.[5]

According to CDC, excess sodium in the blood increases blood pressure and the risks of heart diseases and stroke. The potassium contained in avocado is suitable in regulation of blood pressure by blunting the effect of sodium. The more potassium our body derives from the diet the more sodium is lost from the body through urine. [6]

Avocado is loaded with choline, an important micro-nutrient people  don't get enough of.

Choline is an essential nutrient that most of the people are getting less of. Though that body is also able to synthesize choline it can not meet the daily requirements. [10]

Consumption of diet with choline has gathered substantial public health interest because of its exceptional health benefits. They play important role in:-
  • Growth and development of brain and its memory function in fetus and newborns.[10]
  • Is also useful in synthesis and release of a chemical called acetylcholine -brain neurotransmitter. [9]
  • Promotes development of brain and spinal cord bony structure which helps in prevention of neural tube defects like spina bifida and encephally during intra-uterine fetal development.[10]
  • Babies born by mothers who are alcoholics can also benefit from choline. Choline helps to ameliorate exposure effects of alcohol during intra-uterine life and even after birth during infancy period.[10]
  • Choline promotes growth of memory centers in the brain which boosts memory performance, intelligence quotient in children.[10]
  • High levels of plasma choline have possible health effect in prevention of cardiac diseases, dementia or cognitive decline and certain cancers like breast cancer.[10]
Low choline levels in blood is associated with pregnancy complications like premature births, high blood pressure with protein loss in urine (pre-ecclampsia) and very low birth weight babies. [9]
Choline may have a possible effect in ameliorating anxiety symptoms. [9] 

Delayed aging process
The carotenoid and Vitamin A, C and E contained in avocado enhances healthy growth of skin keeping it moist, smooth and supple. they also prevents sun burns and development of early skin wrinkles which is associated with aging.
Helps in digestion and absorption of nutrients
Avocado contain dietary fiber which is essential for smooth movement of food along the Castro-intestinal tract. It also contain fat content forming a suitable media for absorption of fat soluble nutrients like Vitamin A, D, E and K.

Decreases the risk of Arthritis and osteoarthritis
Arthritis is inflammation of joints and osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder involving joints. Avocado contains phytosterols, monounsaturated fat and carotenoid nutrients which have showed prevent inflammatory process. This anti-inflammatory property is associated with reduced risk of arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Prevention of cancers
Oxidation stress has been linked with most etiologies of age related cancer.[8] Avocado contains antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin C, that helps to prevent oxidation stress by neutralizing free radicals. This forms the basis for prevention of cellular destruction that comes along with production of free radicals. The risks of prostatic, colonic, skin and mouth cancer are reduced but there is risk associated with likelihood of breast cancer later during postmenopausal stages.


Control of weight.
According to PubMed Health, more energy intake than energy expenditure will result into weight gain. [7]
Consumption of foods that are relatively low in calorie content can be useful in supporting weight loss and maintenance of healthy weight. Avocados are medium energy-dense diet and can fit well into restricted calorie diet plan in supporting weight loss programs.Avocado contains dietary fiber which adds bulk to food, promotes feeling of satiety. [1]  


REFERENCES:-
1.  Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects- PMC, US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health. by Mark L. Dreher and Adrienne J. Davenport. Published online 2013 May 2. Viewed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/ viewed on 09/06/2015.
2. Monounsaturated fats- American Heart Association. Updated: Aug 5, 2014. Viewed at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Monounsaturated-Fats_UCM_301460_Article.jsp. Viewed on: 09/06/2015.
3. Polyunsaturated Fats- American Heart Association. Updated:May 7,2015. Viewed at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Polyunsaturated-Fats_UCM_301461_Article.jsp. Viewed on: 09/06/2015.
4. High Blood Cholesterol- PubMed Health. Last Update: June 11, 2014. Viewed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0063067/. Viewed on: 09/06/2015.
5. Homocysteine- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Viewed at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homocysteine. Viewed on: 09/06/2015.
6. A primer on potassium- American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Viewed at: http://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/sodium-411/what-about-potassium/. Viewed on 13/06/2015
7. Overweight and Obesity- PubMed Health. Updated: June 11, 2014. Viewed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0063069/. Viewed on:13/06/2015. 
8. Oxidative stress- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Viewed at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxidative_stress#Oxidative_stress_and_diseases. Viewed on: 13/06/2015
9. Choline -wikipedia,the free encyclopedia. Last edited on 25th May, 2015 by Anonymous. Viewed at: https://www.en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/choline. Viewed on: 15/06/2015.
10. Choline: An Essential Nutrient for Public Health - By Steven H. Zeisel, M.D., Ph.D and Kerry Ann da Costa, Ph.D. Viewed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782876. Viewed on 14/06/2015.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

7 MINUTE WORKOUT HEALTH CHALLENGE APP (An App for health)


A 7 minute workout is an app for health employs use of high intensity 'indoor' exercises which gives you a benefit similar to several hours of sweaty biking or running. 7 minute workout app is one of the recommended apps in Google Play and iTunes. Basically, it uses body weight, wall and a chair for this interval endurance training to be accomplished. 

Before this came to my awareness, I bumped into my soul mate’s house, found her rolling on the floor and wondered what kind of workout plan it was. The thing that I liked most with this app is that it is audio and video-enabled app.

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It may seem like whole lot of things but I can bet, this app seems to have made things easier for those endeavoring to keep fit; those who want to lose or maintain their weight. It offers an 'indoor' seamless flow of 12-high intensity exercises lasting 30 seconds each and at an increasing intensity mingled with brief 10 seconds recovery period. This app has been dumped by users as useful and beautiful. It has all the 12 exercises in a seamless flow, audio-enabled and with an added benefit of video and inscribed text description which is under prompted command. Time is also of much essence and you should not be worried about this. This app has a countdown timer which takes you through the entire exercise. Nothing good comes free. Despite the downloadable app being free, it is an up-gradable giving users the privilege to enjoy its full benefit. Upgrading gives access to workout logs and an option to maneuver the exercises to fit your comfort.
 
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The downloadable App for 7 minute workout challenges is in the App-purchase in Google play at a considerable cost of Ksh. 299.97. The science behind this intensive exercise App is to increase metabolism, burn calories and helps to track your progress in weight control and maintenance. The exciting thing is that it also has rewards according to the targets achieved.



Here are the 12-exercises that the app uses:-

  1. Jumping jerks.
  2. Wall sit.
  3. Push-ups
  4. Abdominal crunch.
  5. Step-up onto chair.
  6. Squat.
  7. Triceps dip on chair.
  8. Plank.
  9. High knees running in place.
  10. Lunge.
  11. Push-up and rotation.
  12. Side plank.

References:
7 minute workout- iTunes Preview. Address: https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/7-minute-workout/id650762525?mt=8.

Monday, 11 January 2016

YOGA | PREVENTION OF CHRONIC DISEASES.

Introduction

Stress has been implicated with onset of chronic diseases like heart diseases, diabetes mellitus, depression and anxiety disorder, gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, migraine and obesity [1]

Yoga has gained a lot of public interest with some western countries adopting it as a form of holistic health approach. It incorporates use different postures, breathing technique and concentration to the present by meditation. Regular yoga has shown to enhance muscle strength, improves blood flow, builds muscles and joint flexibility, better sleeping pattern, enhanced quality of life and well-being, promotes recovery from addictive lifestyle, ameliorates depressive and anxiety states.[2]

YOGA | HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.
High blood pressure has been implicated with lack of physical exercise, poor diet, overweight and obesity, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol with low HDL cholesterol, alcohol abuse, stress. [3]
According to PubMed, regular yoga incorporating posture, breathing technique and meditation has shown to have a subtle and significant effect on blood pressure. Analysis of different literature showed reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures. [4]


YOGA | DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY DISORDER.
During a stress mode, the sympathetic system is activated, production of hormones like cortisol to deal with the stress. After the stress response the cortisol level may remain high which is a risk factor to development of major depressive illness. [5]
Yoga has shown to control the functions of the adrenal gland. It functions via down regulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. This is enhanced by parasympathetic nervous system activation which brings a feeling of calm and relaxation in the body, modulates the stress response and decreases the risk of depression and anxiety disorder. [2]

YOGA | DIABETES MELLITUS.(DM)
Yoga poses, concentration into breathing and meditation can help in prevention and management of DM. It lowers the 'bad' cholesterol (LDL), and increases the 'good' cholesterol (HDL). Calming of the mind in meditation into the present, breathing and body poses can help to prevent blood glucose swings in that, yoga enhances insulin sensitivity and encourages weight loss.[6]
Cortisol is produced by activation of the sympathetic nervous system to mobilize energy sources for body cells which highly need it during the stress mode. This can lead to substantial elevation of blood glucose level. Yoga helps to down-regulates this activation and parasympathetic nervous system is activated, cortisol levels decrease and prevents incidental fluctuations of blood glucose. [6]

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YOGA | OSTEOARTHRITIS.
Arthritis is inflammation. When there is wear and tear of the inflamed joint, this is called osteoarthritis. (OA). Wear and tears means that the covering of the bone ends -cartilage- breaks down. It is common with weight bearing joints especially the spine, knees and hips. [7]
During yoga poses, the joints go through their dull range of motion. This helps to the spongy cartilage and when the squeeze is released the blood which contains oxygen and nutrients comes in to nourish the cartilage. If the bone isn't taken through its full range of motion there will be parts of the cartilage which won't receive adequate blood, oxygen and nutrients. These areas start to degenerate and finally breakdown causing joint problem.[6]

YOGA | OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY.
Stress is a risk factor to developing high blood pressure.[3] People who are stressed may may engage in compensatory behavior like overeating which is a risk factor for overweight and obesity.

References:
1. 10 Health Problems Related to Stress That You Can Fix- WevMd. Feature by R. Morgan Griffin. Address;http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/10-fixable-stress-related-health-problems
2. Explaining the therapeutic effect of Yoga and its ability to increase quality of life- PubMed. By Catherine Woidyard. Address:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/. Viewed on: 19/06/2015.
3. Understand Your Risk for High Blood Pressure-Heart Org. Address:http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/UnderstandYourRiskforHighBloodPressure/Understand-Your-Risk-for-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_002052_Article.jsp#mainContent.
4. Effectiveness of yoga on hypertension: Systematic review and Meta-Analysis. -PubMed- NCBI. By Marshall Hagins, Rebecca States and Kim Innes. Address; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3679769/ Viewed on: 22/06/2015.
5. Yoga for stress relief; Reduce stress with Yoga-  Yoga Journal. By Kelly Mcgonigal. Feb 14, 2011. Address:http://www.yogajournal.com/article/ayurveda/tame-stress/
6. 38 beefits of Yoga|Yoga benefits- Yoga journal. By Timothy Mccall, M.D|Aug 28, 2007. Address:http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit/. Viewed on: 20/06/2015
7. The Basics of Osteoarthritis.- WebMD. Address; http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/osteoarthritis-basics. Viewed on: 22/06/2015.


Friday, 8 January 2016

5 EVIDENCE-BASED WAYS TO TAME MENTAL STRESS

By Sam Maondu

Introduction.

Whether you like it or not the truth of the matter is that no one immune to stress. The question is, what kind of stress are you battling with? We live in an environment with diverse culture and with so many people moving from and into different direction with main intend of making their dream come true. There are those who have attained their dreams without much effort as the environment was more favorable than challenging and have become real paragon of success. Others are either battling to make it work, rehearsing on how to do it better or may be lacking focus, doing nothing and living in semblance of normality. 

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Our daily engagement endeavoring to make our lives better can be real stressing especially when our effort seems faulty bringing forth no tangible success. This is a reality and learning how to deal with negatives in our lives may be as good as learning how to handle good things. Here are some healthier ways to deal with stress;-


PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Many people resolve in to being physically active when under stress. Physical activity has been linked with release of endorphins in the body which brings a feelings of calmness, improves the ability of one to sleep and helps to alleviate mental stress. Doing aerobics for 5- 30 minutes daily can prove to be of much help in managing tensions, improve ones mood and better sleep. Taking a deep breath can also be as relieving as going jogging. Deep breath helps to release endorphins in to the system and may be as good as doing some aerobics. 


HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

According to HelpGuide.org, healthier lifestyle is essential i dealing with and being able to resist stress. Ensure adequate sleep, eat balanced diet, drink adequate amount of water, keep off from drugs like alcohol and stimulants. This can be a good tool in abating stress.

DEAL WITH THE STRESSOR

Every stress that we face in life can always be traced back from its source. When the stressor is know, one can come up with rationalized strategies to  deal with the cause of stress. View the stressor in a more positive way and learn to gain control over it. 
Sleep- 6 to 8 hour of sleep is recommended to ensure calm and reduce emotional, mental and physical fatigue. Sleep deprivation either total or partial is detrimental to ones health and leads to sleep debt. Sleep debt reduces reduces efficiency in cognitive functions like irritability, memory lapses, obscured judgement. Other effects may include increased heart variability, impaired fine motor functions, accentuates fatigue, lack of energy and lowered immune status.

SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP

Sometimes dealing with stress could be a foreign thing to some people or the level of stress one is going through could be too much for one to handle. Seeking professional help may serve as a good deal to come up with a guided strategy to combat stress. 

Rationalization- sometimes we may not have a complete control over a situation and things may slip through our fingers to uncontrollable state. In rationalization, one tries to come up with logical reason to justify results. It is a defense mechanism and a safe way to escape self-blame and guilt by adopting behavior which may be rational or irrational. 

 SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT

Close friends may prove to of much help during distressing moments. Call on close friends who can offer a shoulder to lean on, share the stress by speaking it out. This helps to release tensions held inside, ease fatigue and be more productive.

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references:-
Stress management- HelpGuide.org. Address: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm.
Sleep debt- Wikiedia. Address: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_debt
Healthy ways to handle stress- University Health Services. Address: http://www.uhs.wisc.edu/health-topics/mental-health/healthy-way-to-handle-stress.shtml.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

5 EVIDENCE-BASED BENEFITS OF PROBIOTICS (enhance your body health with probiotic)

By Sam Maondu


Probiotics are live microorganisms that when taken in the right amount confers health benefits in preventing and treating diseases and promoting optimal health standards. There are food supplies, beverages and supplements which contain probiotics. 


These live cultured bacteria found in food, beverages and in supplement form includes:-

  • Lactobacillus- they are of different species.
  • Bifidobacteria-  are of different species and inhabits the intestinal tract. They are good markers for intestinal health, improves glucose tolerance and cholesterol in the body.
  • Saccharomyces boulardii- a yeast probiotic
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Leuconostoc
 
There are good and bad bacteria in the body. Maintaining a healthy balance between these two bacteria is of essence for optimal health. Our lifestyle is both the solution and problem to this delicate healthy balance between good and bad bacteria. Misuse of antibiotics, emotional stress, unhealthy food sources are some of the few factors that can influence the balance between good and bad bacteria.

There are food sources which functions like probiotics. These food sources contain a non-digestible carbohydrates which are also resistant to enzymatic digestion in the upper and lower gut. In the lower gut, these non-digestible carbohydrates ferment and produce  short chain fatty acids. MedicineNet gives a list of foods that contain these non-digestible carbohydrates like :-

  • Milk
  • Honey
  • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Banana
  • Barley
  • Garlic
  • Lentils
  • Onion
  • Soybeans
  • Sugar
  • Sugarcane juice
  • Wheat
  

Benefits of probiotics


Gut health- When the balance between the good and bad bacteria is maintained, gut health is ensured. Health gut helps in elimination of waste products from the body and also getting rid of the harmful bacteria. MedicineNet indicates that, probiotics play an essential role in prevention of infectious diarrhea, antibiotic induced diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, crohn’s disease and necrotizing enterocolitis in newborns,


Intact immune system- it is because of our body’s immune status that we can stay off sickness. When the immune status is compromised, our bodies can’t fight infections well and we tend to get sick more often. Autoimmune diseases are common with weakened immune status like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other common infections are vaginal infections (candidiasis), skin infections, Infectious diarrhea. These are common when the immune status of an individual is compromised.


Other benefits of probiotics may extend to the reproductive tract in which the beneficial  bacteria may translocate to the reproductive tract and help to maintain the healthy balance between the bad and good bacteria. The lactobacillus in the vaginal canal helps in maintaining an acidic media that is meant necessary to fend off infections. The acidic media helps to kill germs that may pose as a threat in causing infections.


Prevention of lactose intolerance- each cultured bacteria in either food, beverage or in supplement form play specific role in the body. Streptococcus thermophilus is a bacteria thought to produce enzyme lactase which helps in prevention of lactose intolerance.


Treatment of acne vulgaris- Acne vulgaris or simply acne is characterized by pimple on the face, chest or shoulders with either white or blackheads. Saccharomyces boulardii , a yeast probiotic is good in treatment of acne symptoms.

References:
What is probiotic- MedicineNet.com. Address: http://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm.
Probiotic- Wikipedia. Address: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic.