Daily Blogs about the Family, Men, Women, Children, our Dogs and Cats, and even Horses health

Learn more about the wonderful natural herbal/holistic remedies that can make your life or a loved one much more healthy and rewarding. I will be providing many interesting and timely descriptions of human and pet remedies that will make our health and wellbeing so much better for years to come. Please let me know if I can help you with any kind of aliment that you need information about or herbal/holistic/homeopathic remedy that you would like to know more about.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sore Throat (Pharyngitis) Help

What is Pharyngitis?

Often referred to as a sore throat, acute pharyngitis is a painful inflammation of the pharynx (the area that joins the nasal cavity and the oral cavity to the larynx) in the throat region. 'Acute' pharyngitis simply means that the condition has not persisted more than a few weeks (which would then be classified as 'chronic'). Pharyngitis occurs most commonly with a viral upper respiratory infection.

Pharyngitis symptoms may include difficulty swallowing, accompanied by a ‘scratchy’ and dry throat. Inside, the throat often appears swollen, red, and inflamed with or without white spots (filled with pus). It is not uncommon for a fever or cough to accompany pharyngitis.
Diagnosing Pharyngitis

Your doctor will be able to diagnose acute pharyngitis by looking inside the mouth, towards the back of the throat. There are two types of pharyngitis that can look quite similar; viral pharyngitis and bacterial pharyngitis.

Tests for Pharyngitis

A throat culture is often taken to determine if bacteria are present. The throat is swabbed and the sample is sent to a laboratory for culture and analysis. The results are often obtained from the lab more than 24 hours later.

A rapid strep test, which is a screening test for Group A Streptococcus, the most common bacterial cause of pharyngitis, may be performed and analyzed in the physician's office with results available in 15 minutes.

However, this test is not as reliable, and negative results must be confirmed by culture. Most cases are usually diagnosed purely on history and physical examination which may reveal swollen tonsils (near the base of the tongue), sometimes covered with small white or gray pustules.

The lymph nodes in the neck often become swollen and tender with infection of the tonsils or tonsillitis occurring simultaneously.

What Causes Pharyngitis?

The major cause of pharyngitis is infection. 90% of cases are viral, the remainder caused by bacterial infection, and very rarely, oral thrush. Seasonal allergies are another common non-infective cause of pharyngitis.

Organisms such as Streptococcus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae can cause bacterial pharyngitis. Infection is spread by person-to-person contact.

Other Causes of Pharyngitis

* Coughing
* Inhaling environmental and chemical pollutants
* Other illnesses (e.g., diphtheria, mononeucleosis)
* Seasonal allergies
* Smoking and second-hand smoke
* Lowered Immune System

Help for Pharyngitis

Without treatment, pharyngitis will usually settle itself within a few days. For that reason, the main focus of conventional pharyngitis treatments is to treat the pharyngitis symptoms. Pharyngitis treatments will vary according to the cause (whether it is bacterial or viral).

Various Pharyngitis Treatments

Conventional Medical Treatment
Antibiotics are only helpful when a bacterial infection is the cause of pharyngitis. For viral pharyngitis, antibiotics have been shown to only affect the degree of sore throat pain temporarily. Analgesics (pain killers) are also effective, but there are many simple measures that can also be used. Viral pharyngitis usually resolves itself without medication. Throat lozenges or cough medicine are often used for short-term pain relief.

Gargling with warm salt-water may help to relieve pain and reduce swelling. If the tonsils have been chronically infected, they may need to be removed surgically (tonsillectomy), although this should only be a last resort, as the tonsils are a powerful line of defense in the immune response to infectious organisms.

Self-Care Treatment
There are a number of things that can be done at home to treat the symptoms of pharyngitis. It’s a good idea to avoid foods that are very acidic, as this can be extremely painful on the inner throat area. Gargling gently with warm salty water can also serve as a natural antiseptic. Honey in a warm herbal tea can also provide relief, and cold beverages or popsicles will help to numb the throat, thus relieving the ‘scratchiness’.

Yogurt, ice cream, or milk have also been shown to help alleviate the pain temporarily by coating the affected area, while raw juice of lemon or lime may help destroy bacteria in bacteria-related throat infections. Just beware that the high acid content may irritate the affected throat tissues.

Natural Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies

Get More Info on Throat and Tonsil Dr. for the natural treatment of throat and tonsil infections, including Tonsillitis.

Herbal and homeopathic remedies have been used for centuries to treat a number of conditions, so it is not surprising to find that nature’s very own medicine chest has its own sore throat and pharyngitis treatments. Herbs such as Salvia officinalis have a beneficial effect on all conditions of the mouth and throat and have well-known herbal astringent, antibiotic, and antiseptic properties. Gallium aperine (also known as Cleavers) is another excellent cleansing tonic that has a particularly beneficial effect on all the lymph glands, including the tonsils. This herb is effective in relieving swollen tonsils and other lymph glands, and is also recommended for glandular fever.

While these ingredients help relieve troubling pharyngitis symptoms, other herbal ingredients are especially helpful in assisting the body’s ability to fight off infection. Olea europea (extract of Olive leaf) is used to fight a variety of illnesses and to protect the body against disease, ailments, and infection of all types. Olea europea destroys viruses by stimulating the immune system to produce white blood cells and by preventing the replication of viruses, including the strains that cause viral pharyngitis– as nature intended. Another well-known immune strengthening herb is Echinacea purpurea, commonly used to treat colds and flu and is very well-supported by research studies.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Lyme Disease: Understanding the Precautions Needed

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection characterized by a skin rash, flu -like symptoms and swollen joints. It is caused by a bacterium known as spirochete, usually found in animals such as deer and mice. Ticks are very small, approximately the size of a sesame seed and often quite unnoticeable.

They live in tall grass, shrubs and woody areas, and are commonly found in the rural and suburban areas in midwestern and northeastern states of the United States. They may also be found other parts of the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. These ticks usually emerge during spring in the months of May, June and July.

Lyme disease is not contagious and may not be transmitted from person to person. If individuals spend a lot of time in grassy, wooded areas, they are more likely to develop Lyme disease. It is therefore very important to practice safety precautions when venturing into tick-infested areas.
Diagnosing Lyme Disease

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms may often resemble other diseases. The diagnosis is based on a physical examination as well as medical history. If a classic red rash is presented during the early stages of Lyme disease, then a diagnosis can be made.

Blood testing for antibodies is usually performed during the later stages of the disease. The antibodies are checked by using Elisa laboratory tests confirmed with a Western blot test.

Please note: As there is some evidence to suggest that Lyme disease may be passed through the embilical cord during pregnancy, if you are planning to conceive ask your doctor to screen for Lyme Disease as a precautionary measure.
Early symptoms and signs of Lyme Disease include (7-10 days):

* Flu-like symptoms
* A skin rash resembling a ‘bull’s eye”
* Red spots which may burn, hurt or itch
* Fever
* Headache
* Joint and muscle pain
* Fatigue
* Stiff neck
* Joint inflammation and swelling of the knees and other large joints

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Later symptoms which may develop include (months to years):

* Arthritis affecting the knees and hips
* Abnormalities in the nervous system
* Heart problems

What Causes Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called a spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi). This disease is carried most commonly by deer and mice which serve as a host to the tick. These ticks bite the skin, thus allowing the bacterium to infect the body. Tick bites can spread Lyme disease to animals, and then be transmitted to humans.
Help for Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is generally treated with antibiotics. If this disease is diagnosed in its early stages, it responds very well to treatment (14-30 days). To relieve joint pain and stiffness, anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed. However, if left untreated Lyme disease may spread to the joints, heart or nervous system.

Natural and alternative treatments have had great success in reducing the symptoms of Lyme disease. Treatments such as herbal remedies are safe and effective to use without the harsh side effects of prescription drugs. Two well known African herbs such as Hypoxis Rooperi (extract of African Potato) and Agathosma Betulina (also known as buchu) supports the immune system, act as a natural convalescent, supportive tonic and diuretic.

Other herbal ingredients such as Mentha Piperita, Solidago Virgaurea (also known as Goldenrod) and Viscum Album promote the body’s natural flow of bile, helps to fight infection, and support healthy circulation.

Get More Info on ImmunityPlus for a Stronger Immune System

More Information on Lyme Disease
In order to prevent Lyme Disease, one has to follow certain safety
precautions and they include:

* Avoid tick-infested areas like the woods, or bushy, overgrown areas with tall grass
* Wear light colored clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, long pants tucked into socks, shoes, hat and gloves when walking in areas where ticks are found
* Use insect repellant sparingly on your skin and clothing when entering high risk areas – remember to always read the directions on the labels
* Remove brush and leaves in your yard and keep grass mowed
* Stack woodpiles in a dry area off the ground
* Spray insect repellant in your yard if you live in a wooded area
* Check your skin as well as your children’s skin for ticks after spending time outdoors
* Check your pets for ticks
* Keep the ground under bird feeders clean
* Remove a tick with a pair of tweezers by pulling it firmly and slowly
* Be extra vigilant during the months of May, June and July when ticks transmit Lyme disease

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What is Shingles? (Zoster)

Shingles, also referred to by the medical term herpes zoster, is a reactivation of a previous viral infection that causes a painful, blistering rash in the specific area served by the nerve root involved. It is caused by the chickenpox (varicella zoster) virus and typically only affects a specific area of the skin.

Shingles can be extremely uncomfortable, and can cause you to feel surprisingly ill. However, it is usually not a serious condition and, if treated early, the risk of developing other complications can be reduced. More severe episodes of shingles can lead to a condition known as postherpectic neuralgia. Shingles typically affects older people or those with weak immune systems.
Diagnosing Shingles

The symptoms and signs of shingles may include:

* Feeling slightly unwell with pain and tenderness prior to the appearance of the rash
* Pain, burning, tingling, itching numbness or extreme sensitivity in a certain part of the body (always affects one side of the body)
* A red rash which quickly develops into blisters
* Fever
* Headache
* Fatigue
* Chills
* Upset stomach
* Depression

The rash can affect any part of the body but is usually in one specific area on one side of the body only. It may affect the head, limbs, or around one side of the chest or abdomen. The rash may also affect the upper cheek or the side of the forehead and, potentially seriously, it may involve the eye area.

What Causes Shingles?

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. The only way that you can develop shingles is if you have previously had chickenpox. Varicella-zoster belongs to group of viruses called herpes viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes. Once you have had chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in the nervous system for years.

Shingles occurs when this virus is reactivated in one particular nerve root and travels along the nerve towards the skin. The area of skin served by that particular nerve is affected and this is how the rash covers such a clearly defined area of skin only. Most times an episode of shingles is due a weakened immune system or stress. Physical contact with those who never had chickenpox, have weak immune systems, newborn babies or pregnant women should be avoided.

Get More Info on ImmunityPlus for a Stronger Immune System

Help for Shingles

The diagnosis of shingles is determined by the pattern of the rash which is the area that is covered and the blister-like form of the rash. If the rash develops near the eyes, it could lead to an infection of the cornea. Prompt treatment is necessary to reduce the risk of further complications.

Additional complications that may occur as a result of shingles include postherpectic neuralgia, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and other neurological problems. In addition, shingles can cause hearing problems, temporary or permanent blindness as well as bacterial skin infections.

Shingles is best treated immediately to alleviate the pain and reduce the risk of other complications. Prescription medications that can provide relief include oral antiviral medications. Corticosteroids may also be prescribed to reduce swelling and pain associated with shingles. In addition, painkillers, antidepressants as well as anticonvulsants may also be prescribed to help treat shingles. Topical ointments such as calamine lotion can soothe the affected area.

There are certain vaccines available to prevent chickenpox as well as shingles. The varicella virus vaccine is a childhood immunization administered between 12 and 18 months. It is also recommended for older children and adults who have never had chickenpox. If you still contract chickenpox after receiving the vaccination it is generally less severe. A vaccine called Zostavax is available to help prevent shingles in adults over 60 years and older, and has dramatically reduced the risk of developing this condition in susceptible individuals.

Natural Remedies

Natural treatments can also help to boost the immune system which is especially important when you develop shingles. Treatments such as herbal and homeopathic remedies are gentle to use and improve your overall health and wellbeing without the risk of side effects. Use herbs such as Hypoxis rooperi (extract of African Potato) and Viscum album to strengthen the immune system.

Astragalus membranaceus acts a rejuvenating tonic and also helps to combat fatigue. Olea europea (extract of olive leaf) and Echinacea are two very useful herbs that have well known anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

Once you have developed shingles, you may feel tired, run down and have significant pain. Remember to take good care of yourself. Clean the affected area and apply cool compresses to relieve the pain. Relax in a tub of lukewarm water and use calamine lotion to ease the itching. Increase your intake of vitamins to boost your immune system and rest as much as possible.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Low Libido

What is Low Libido?

The desire for sex is very similar to a desire for food, in that both can be defined as a type of ‘appetite’. Just as we can have a loss of appetite for food, so can we lose our desire for sex.

A low libido refers to a lack of sexual desire or interest in having sexual intercourse. While low libido can affect both sexes, it is more commonly reported in women than in men.

Sexual desire varies from person to person and desire, in most instances, depends on a range of circumstances. Sometimes a low libido is a result of underlying physical conditions, while at other times it may be linked to psychological issues or a combination of the two.

Low libido can cause a range of relationship difficulties and may also affect self esteem. For men, especially, this type of sexual dysfunction is often hard to come to terms with and is a subject not easily discussed.

Because men are usually portrayed as highly sexual individuals, lack of libido may bring about feelings of guilt, depression, anger, stress shame and low self–esteem.
Diagnosing Low Libido

The symptoms and signs of low libido include reduced sexual desire, less frequent sexual thoughts and fantasies, and a reluctance to initiate sex. In addition, less frequent masturbation takes place and a lack of desire for sex still occurs even when there have been no sexual encounters for days, weeks, or even months.
What Causes Low Libido?

Low libido can result from physical or psychological factors or a combination of the two in both men and women. Since male and female sexual desire is experienced differently we will look at a few of the possible underlying causes for low libido in each gender.

Other factors such as fatigue ( sexual incompatibility, lack of time and privacy can also contribute to low male libido and low female libido.

Male Sexual Desire

Physical factors that may contribute to low male libido include:

* Anemia
* Diabetes
* Heart disease
* Kidney disease
* Hypothyroidism
* Alcoholism
* Prescription drugs
* Obesity
* Drug abuse
* Impotence
* Male menopause
* Nutritional deficiencies
* Premature ejaculation

Psychological factors that may contribute to low male libido include:

* Depression
* Stress
* Anxiety
* Sexual abuse and trauma
* Sexual identity crisis
* Relationship issues with partner

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Female sexual desire

Physical causes of low libido in women include:

* Pregnancy and breastfeeding
* Postpartum depression
* Thrush
* Urinary tract infection
* Anemia
* Diabetes
* Heart and vascular disease
* Hypothyroidism
* Menopause
* Vaginismus
* Dyspareunia
* Medications such as antidepressants and contraceptives
* Alcoholism and drug abuse

Psychological factors that may contribute to low female libido include:

* Depression
* Anxiety
* Stress
* Poor self image
* Sexual abuse and trauma
* Sexual identity crisis
* Relationship issues with partner

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Help for Low Libido

It is advisable that people with low libido thoroughly research their options before agreeing to prescription drugs with their risk of side effects and potential for addiction. While medication may be appropriate when there are physical causes for male low libido, or female low libido, there are many safer and effective options which have been recommended by herbalists for thousands of years in traditional medicine.

Natural treatments such as herbs have a long history of effectively increasing libido naturally along with sexual performance. Selected herbs can enhance sexual arousal without the negative side effects of prescription medication.

Some examples of natural aphrodisiacs that increase libido include Smilax ornata (Sarsaparilla), Eleutherococcus senticosis (Siberian Ginseng) and Sabal serrulata. Herbal treatments for decreased sex drive not only help to increase libido, but also have the added benefit of improving overall health and body functioning without the side effects of prescription drugs.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Joint Pain

Joint pain is also referred to as arthralgia and can affect one or more of the joints. Joints are responsible for facilitating movements in various parts of the body – and are therefore very sensitive to injury or excess physical pressure. Furthermore, an injured or swollen joint can cause much discomfort as we rely on our joints every day!

Most people have experienced joint pain at some point in their lives, some more severely than others. It can be very difficult and frustrating to cope with, especially when it hampers your ability to perform daily activities. Simple tasks like getting out of bed or brushing your hair can be exhausting and aggravate the pain even more. Depending on the cause of the symptoms of joint pain, you may experience it for a relatively short period of time or it may trouble you for the rest of your life.

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Diagnosing Joint Pain

Joint pain affects all age groups – children, adults and the elderly are all at risk for joint pain from injury. Athletes place themselves at a higher risk due to sports injuries, while older people may often suffer from weakened bone strength. Those who are overweight or obese may also experience joint pain in their knees and ankles because of the excess weight that they are carrying.

Joint pain is a symptom and not a diagnosis – it is important to diagnose the cause of your joint pain as this will determine the best course of treatment for you. A physical examination, clinical history, X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), bone scans, and blood or urine tests will be able to help your doctor determine the causes of joint pain. Various tests may be performed to locate the root of the problem.
Symptoms of Joint Pain

* Tenderness when touched
* Swelling
* Inflammation
* Bruising
* Restricted movement at that joint

What Causes Joint Pain?

There are many different causes of joint pain with broad categories including injury, disease, degeneration, fractures or stress from overuse. Causes of joint pain also include tendon or ligament tears, strains, sprains, pulls, cartilage damage, tumors or even steroid withdrawal.
Diseases Commonly Associated with Joint Pain

* Gout (especially where the joint at the base of the big toe)
* The Arthritices such as Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Septic arthritis
* Tendonitis
* Bursitis
* Chondromalacia patellae
* Osteoporosis
* Osteomyelitis
* Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
* Infectious diseases include Influenza, Measles, Epstein-Barr viral syndrome, Rheumatic fever, Hepatitis, Rubella, Mumps, Chickenpox, Paravirus, Lyme disease

Once the causes of joint pain are been established, there are a wide variety of conventional treatment options available to alleviate the symptoms of joint pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, anti-inflammatories, or muscle relaxants are commonly recommended to treat milder symptoms.

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More severe symptoms of joint pain, often related to chronic conditions, will require prescription NSAIDs to reduce pain, inflammation or swelling. Unfortunately, most of these over-the-counter and prescription medications have potentially harmful side effects which can increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack in patients.

Self care is important for coping with painful joints. A healthy diet and a good exercise and stretching program help to increase mobility, flexibility and levels of fitness and provide minor joint pain relief. Athletes however should restrict strenuous activities when injured and during the recovery process. Alternative methods such as heat and ice or applying pain patches can offer safe and effective minor joint pain relief.

Natural Remedies for Joint Pain

While conventional medication can be helpful in treating symptoms, more people are opting for safer, natural alternatives without the side effects. Natural treatments such as herbal and homeopathic remedies can effectively address the underlying cause and promote minor joint pain relief.

Clinical studies have proven the effectiveness of Devil's Claw in treating symptoms of joint pain in conditions such as osteo-arthritis, fibrositis, rheumatism and small joint disease. Dietary supplements such as Glucosamine repair cartilage and maintain joint mobility while Boswellia acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.

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Complementary therapy such as physical therapy and TENS treatment which sends a small electrical impulse to the nerves may also benefit patients with joint pain. Massage, acupuncture and chiropractic treatments are also helpful.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pesticides tied to ADHD in children in U.S.

Please read the following news article dated May17, 2010 Remember what was talked about in my earlier blog today: "Experts in the field are finding more and more evidence that legitimate ADHD does not stem from the home environment, but from biological causes." and: "Knowing this can remove a huge burden of guilt from parents who might blame themselves for their child's behavior."

Pesticides tied to ADHD in children in U.S. study

NEW YORK — Children exposed to pesticides known as organophosphates could have a higher risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a U.S. study that urges parents to always wash produce thoroughly.

Researchers tracked the pesticides' breakdown products in children' urine and found those with high levels were almost twice as likely to develop ADHD as those with undetectable levels.

The findings are based on data from the general U.S. population, meaning that exposure to the pesticides could be harmful even at levels commonly found in children's environment.

"There is growing concern that these pesticides may be related to ADHD," said researcher Marc Weisskopf of the Harvard School of Public Health, who worked on the study.

"What this paper specifically highlights is that this may be true even at low concentrations."

Organophosphates were originally developed for chemical warfare, and they are known to be toxic to the nervous system.

There are about 40 organophosphate pesticides such as malathion registered in the United States, the researchers wrote in the journal Pediatrics.

Weisskopf said the compounds have been linked to behavioral symptoms common to ADHD -- for instance, impulsivity and attention problems -- but exactly how is not fully understood.

Although the researchers had no way to determine the source of the breakdown products they found, Weisskopf said the most likely culprits were pesticides and insecticides used on produce and indoors.

Garry Hamlin of Dow AgroSciences, which manufactures an organophosphate known as chlorpyrifos, said he had not had time to read the report closely.

But, he added" "the results reported in the paper don't establish any association specific to our product chlorpyrifos."

Weisskopf and colleagues' sample included 1,139 children between 8 and 15 years. They interviewed the children's mothers, or another caretaker, and found that about one in 10 met the criteria for ADHD, which jibes with estimates for the general population.

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After accounting for factors such as gender, age and race, they found the odds of having ADHD rose with the level of pesticide breakdown products.

For a 10-fold increase in one class of those compounds, the odds of ADHD increased by more than half. And for the most common breakdown product, called dimethyl triophosphate, the odds of ADHD almost doubled in kids with above-average levels compared to those without detectable levels.

"That's a very strong association that, if true, is of very serious concern," said Weisskopf. "These are widely used pesticides."

He emphasized that more studies are needed, especially following exposure levels over time, before contemplating a ban on the pesticides. Still, he urged parents to be aware of what insecticides they were using around the house and to wash produce.

"A good washing of fruits and vegetables before one eats them would definitely help a lot," he said.

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ADHD in Children

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children, commonly referred to as ADHD, is characterized by poor concentration, hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsiveness that are inappropriate for the child's age.

ADHD child symptoms include becoming easily distracted by sights and sounds in their environment, inability to concentrate for long periods of time, restlessness and impulsiveness, a tendency to daydream, and slowness in completing tasks.

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder in children is becoming increasingly common. For these children, their world can be like living inside a continuous fireworks display, where sounds, images, and thoughts are constantly exploding and distracting them, making it impossible for them to stay focused.

These children often find it impossible to fit in. As a result, they live in their own chaotic world. In order for these children to achieve their full potential, they should receive help, guidance, and understanding from parents, guidance counselors, and the public education system.

ADHD child symptoms often continues into adolescence and adulthood, and can cause a lifetime of frustrated dreams and emotional pain. Read more about adults with ADHD.


Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is the umbrella disorder, encompassing three sub-groups. These three groups are defined as follows:

* ADD Inattentive Type
A main characteristic of inattentive behavior is the inability to concentrate and focus. This lack of attention may only be noticed when a child enters the challenging environment of school. This is not classified as ADHD, as hyperactivity is not present.

* ADD Hyperactive/Impulsive Type
A child with hyperactive and impulsive behavior is commonly ‘all over the place’ and very active (both mentally and physically), making hasty decisions at any moment. This is classified as ADHD, as hyperactivity is present.

* ADD Combined Type
ADD child symptoms of inattentive type are combined with the symptoms of hyperactive/impulsive type. This is the most common form of ADD. A child with more than six ADD combined type symptoms should have a comprehensive evaluation. This is classified as ADHD, as hyperactivity is present.

How does ADHD Manifest in Children?

To their family, classmates, or teachers, children with ADHD seem difficult and hard to manage. However, children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are not bad, lazy, or stupid.

These children have a disorder that can make it difficult for them to follow instructions or participate in activities. Parents are naturally concerned when their child's disruptive behavior, as it can cause numerous meetings with the school faculty.

Even though the child with ADHD often wants to be a good student, the erratic behavior can be very troublesome - so much so that it interferes with their ability to live normal lives.

Although attention deficit hyperactive disorder in children is a relatively new phrase, the disorder was first described by Dr. Heinrich Hoffman in 1845. "The Story of Fidgety Philip" was an accurate description of a little boy who had ADHD. Since then, several thousand scientific papers on the disorder have been published.

ADHD is not itself considered a learning disability, but the ADHD child symptoms can lead to problems with learning, thus creating obstacles in a child's academic development. It is important to have a child thoroughly evaluated to determine if learning disabilities are present.

Learning disabilities are common in children with ADHD, but not all children with learning disorders have ADHD. ADHD does not affect intelligence, as children with the disorder span the same IQ range as the general population.
Diagnosing ADHD in Children

Many of the techniques and principles used to diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children are the same as those used to diagnose adults with ADHD, including teens.

There are no objective means (i.e. blood tests) of diagnosing ADHD at this time, although your health care professional/ psychologist may see other signs or symptoms in your child that warrant blood tests, brain imaging studies or an EEG.

A diagnosis of ADHD is only applied to children who consistently display certain characteristic behaviors over a period of time. Above all, the behaviors must severely compromise at least two areas of your child's life, such as school, home, or social settings.

For example, a child who constantly misbehaves at home but whose schoolwork or friendships are not impaired by these behaviors would not be diagnosed with ADHD. Similarly, a child who seems overly active at school but functions well elsewhere would not be diagnosed with ADHD.

Sometimes the problem can lie with the environment (school or home) rather than with the child. Children often become little barometers of problems existing in their family or school environments. In such instances, it would be incorrect to diagnose the child with a psychiatric disorder.

Because children mature at different rates and are very different in personality, temperament, and energy levels, it is useful to get an expert's opinion of whether the behavior is appropriate for your child's age.

Symptoms of ADHD must be inappropriate for age and not caused by any other environmental, psychological or physical factors. This means that a child with a primary diagnosis of anxiety disorder or depression, for example, should not be diagnosed with ADHD as well.

After the symptoms of the primary diagnosis are resolved, a further assessment can be carried out to determine if a diagnosis of ADHD is appropriate. Unfortunately, the practice of multiple diagnoses is common, often leading to unnecessary and excessive use of prescription drugs.

The process of diagnosing ADHD must be therefore be very comprehensive. It requires several steps and it involves evaluating information from multiple sources.

NOTE: Under no circumstances should ADHD be diagnosed in any children who have been diagnosed with emotional disorders, such as such as anxiety or depression.

During an assessment, specialists consider several critical questions:

* Are these behaviors excessive, long-term, pervasive, and affecting life tasks?
* Do they occur more often than in other people the same age?
* Are they a continuous problem, not just a response to a temporary situation?
* Do the behaviors occur in several settings or only in one specific place like the playground or at home?

Those who should be involved in assessing your child's behavior include:

* You, your partner, and your child
* Your child's school, teachers, and principal
* Your child's caregivers, nanny, or babysitter
* Your child's psychologist
* Anyone who can provide insight and contribute to the bigger picture.

Your health care professional/psychologist might investigate the following areas:

* Pregnancy history (any problems during pregnancy or during delivery)
* Early childhood development
* Family history (for any occurrence of ADHD)
* Family functioning
* Child's medical problems (physical problems, particularly allergies)
* School history and school reports (looking for specific problems beginning as early as possible that may have been encountered during the child's development)
* Sibling relationships
* Eating habits and sleeping patterns

Your health professional or psychologist will want to know how you handle different situations and may want to observe you interacting with your child. You may need to fill in checklists or rating scales about your child's behavior. If your child is home- schooled, it is especially important to assess his behavior in settings outside of the home.

Your health care professional/psychologist will also talk to your child about how he/she acts and feels. In addition to looking at your child's behavior, a physical examination may be necessary.

Psychologists will apply a battery of psychometric tests to assess your child's intellectual and emotional functioning in a variety of areas. These tests are very helpful in pinpointing areas of weakness and strength, and can also help to identify other problems such as learning or perceptual disorders that may be contributing towards your child's problems.

What are the Symptoms of ADHD?

ADHD does not have clear physical signs that can be seen in an x-ray or show up on a lab test. Symptoms are only identified by looking for associated behaviors, and these behaviors vary from child to child. Symptoms typically occur in early childhood (before age seven) and are present consistently for a period of six months.

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Symptoms of ADHD include:

* Can be aggressive
* Fidgets or squirms
* Talks excessively, blurts out answers, or interrupts others often
* Has difficulty staying seated, standing in line, or waiting his or her turn
* Is impatient and often "on the go"
* Difficulty delaying responses
* Has difficulty playing quietly - often running, climbing, or leaving a seat in situations where sitting or quiet behavior is expected

True ADHD symptoms appear on a regular basis and can interfere with learning. That is why a teacher sometimes is the first to notice inattention, hyperactivity and/or impulsivity and bring these symptoms to the parents' attention.

Causes OF ADHD in Children?

One of the first questions a parent will ask is "Why is this affecting my child? What went wrong?" or even "Did I do something to cause this?"

When correctly diagnosed, there is little evidence that ADHD arises purely from social factors or child-rearing methods. Experts in the field are finding more and more evidence that legitimate ADHD does not stem from the home environment, but from biological causes.

Knowing this can remove a huge burden of guilt from parents who might blame themselves for their child's behavior.

Other possible causes of ADHD type symptoms are food intolerance, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), allergies, low muscle tone, perceptual difficulties, nutritional problems, candida, hyperthyroidism, Tourette's Syndrome, brain dysfunction, family and emotional problems, poor discipline, depression, and other conditions.

Each of these problems would require different treatment and may even be exacerbated by Ritalin or other prescription medication for ADHD, making correct diagnosis and evaluation even more important.

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Researchers suspect that there are several factors that may contribute to the condition, including:

* Heredity and genetics: The fact that ADHD tends to run in families suggests that children may inherit a genetic tendency to develop an attention-deficit disorder from their parents.

* Chemical imbalance: Children who have ADHD do not make enough chemicals in key areas of the brain that are responsible for organizing thought or suppressing hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

* Brain changes: Areas of the brain that control attention are less active in children with ADHD than in children without the disorder.

The Myths Surrounding the Causes of ADHD

Although the following factors may present symptoms similar to those of ADHD, research has shown that there is no evidence that ADHD is caused by the following:

* Immunizations
* Too much TV
* Poor home life
* Poor schools or colleges
* Bad parenting
* Aspartame (or sugar substitutes)
* Lack of vitamins
* Fluorescent lights
* Video games

However, in some cases, the above factors could certainly cause symptoms similar to those seen in ADD in certain individuals, and it is worth investigating their impact if a link is suspected.

Are Certain Children More Likely to Develop ADHD?

A child might have a greater chance of developing ADHD if one of their relatives already has ADHD or another type of behavioral disorder. Two to three times more boys than girls suffer with ADHD, though the disorder is being identified increasingly in girls.

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children. It most often is discovered during the early school years, when a child begins to have problems paying attention.

Help for Children with ADHD

ADHD is often treated using conventional prescription medications.

While there is a place for prescription medication in certain cases of ADHD, careful consideration should be taken regarding possible side effects and cautions.

There are also alternative treatment options available for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Making simple changes in diet, sleep, exercise and routine can help. Even trying more involved approaches like incorporating relaxation therapies such as guided imagery, meditation techniques or yoga can be beneficial.

There are also many herbal and homeopathic remedies which can help maintain harmony, health and systemic balance in the brain and nervous system, without side effects or sedation. These products are known for their supportive function in maintaining brain, nervous system and circulatory health, and well-being.
More Information on ADHD in Children
Managing ADHD in Children

Bringing up an ADHD child, like bringing up any child, is a process. No single point is ever reached where the parent can sit back and say, "That's it. My child is now OK, and I don't have to do anything more." As a parent, you need to be proactive and take the initiative in finding the best possible way to help your child.

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It is important for you to manage your child in ways that will be kind, firm, and effective. If parents are consistent with some of these suggestions and interventions, you may even find that your child's 'symptoms' disappear or become much less severe.

The first thing to look at is your child's diet. Not all children respond, but there are definitely some children who do - and quite dramatically! Things to avoid are soda pops and 'fizzy' cold drinks, anything with caffeine (again, cola drinks, coffee, Ceylon tea and chocolate), food with high sugar content, as well as anything containing tartrazine (an artificial food coloring), MSG, or artificial preservatives.

One must make allowances for the occasional treat, but educate your child and be firm about what he may and may not eat, especially on school days.

Here is a brief summary regarding diet:

* Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar - e.g. candies - during school days, and limit over weekends.
* Avoid foods and drinks containing stimulants like caffeine - found in coffee, tea, chocolate and colas, as well as in many energy drinks.
* Avoid foods and drinks with artificial flavors and colors, especially tartrazine and MSG.
* Try to keep junk foods down to a minimum.
* See what happens if you eliminate wheat and refined carbohydrate from the diet for a few weeks. Many children have a wheat intolerance which can cause hyperactivity. Instead use oats, brown rice, and rye bread.
* Have your child eat lots of fresh fruit, salads, and veggies. Include fish in the diet as much as possible.
* Give your child a supplement containing flaxseed oil or evening primrose oil.

You may also try to limit the hours spent watching television and playing computer games, especially those with a high violence content. Television and computer games in excess have been shown to affect the child's ability to concentrate at school and can also cause reading problems in sensitive children. It is recommended that there be:

* No television on school nights
* Two hours in total during the weekend
* No television before school

While there is no single activity that guarantees kids with ADHD instant success, certain types of activities tend to reap more positive results.

* Look for activities with a singular focus such as sports that focus (e.g. karate, judo)
* Consider activities that involve movement, providing an appropriate and controlled physical outlet
* Learning a musical instrument
* Seek activities that offer individualized instruction
* Explore activities that result in tangible rewards

Avoid activities that:

* Involve a lot of down time
* Require too much divided attention
* Require fine motor skills

An ADHD Management Checklist

* Use frequent eye contact when speaking to your child or giving instructions
* Keep directions simple and set simple house rules
* Avoid major or frequent changes
* Be consistent in your discipline
* Provide a structured outlet for hyperactivity
* Teach using as many of the senses as possible and make learning interactive
* Review your expectations for your child
* Reward positive behavior immediately
* Anticipate situations
* Make sure your child is supervised all the time
* Learn and understand the symptoms of ADHD
* Keep a fairly consistent schedule, if possible
* Organize needed everyday items
* Use homework and notebook organizers
* Set a homework routine
* Focus and reward on effort, not grades
* Speak often to your child's teachers
* Play games that promote concentration, listening skills, and memory
* Make a special effort to highlight positives in your child

It is important to try not to:

* Use physical punishment
* Put too many expectations on your child
* Focus too much on the areas your child is struggling with

Controversial Treatments for Children with ADHD

No comprehensive discussion of ADHD is possible without considering the benefits and disadvantages of prescription drugs - a subject fraught with controversy.

The Controversy

ADHD stimulant medications have sparked a great deal of controversy. Often seen as an easy 'quick fix', they are prescribed to treat symptoms but not the underlying cause of ADHD.

Often parents feel that by researching alternatives to prescribed drugs, they are in some way neglecting their child and endangering their health. Ironically, side effects of these prescription drugs can seriously endanger a child's health.

Educating yourself on each of the prescription drugs used to treat ADHD is a necessity if you want to provide the safest treatment for your child.

ADHD represents a growing market for pharmaceutical companies. Although psycho-stimulants may be helpful for many families, no one should underestimate the influence of the economic issues involved.

Furthermore, the long-term affects of prescription drugs for the treatment of ADHD has not been determined, especially in the case of children. For this reason, treatment of ADHD with prescription drugs or stimulant drugs should be regarded as a last resort when all other avenues have been exhausted.

Prescription Medications & Their Side Effects

While there is a place for prescription medication in certain cases of ADHD, careful consideration should be taken regarding possible side effects and cautions.

Use of these stimulant medications in children under age 6 is not recommended. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of giving these medications to your child.

It is strongly advised that the following criteria are fully investigated with regards to any prescription drugs for ADHD: common uses, cautions, possible side effects, overdose, additional information, and major drug interactions.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are still investigating certain side effects of certain prescription ADHD drugs, and it is advisable that parents do their own research into these medications so that they are fully aware of the potential risks.

Long-Term Complications

Research into the long-term effects of drugs prescribed for ADD is still in its early stages. More research is needed.

Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of using these medications or treating your teen with these medications.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are still investigating certain side effects of certain prescription ADHD drugs, and it is advisable that individuals do their own research into these medications so that they are fully aware of the potential risks.

Other Considerations

Physicians still have a difficult time predicting which prescription medications will produce beneficial results, so treatment is individualized and performed on a trial and error basis. This 'hit and miss' technique requires close observation and cooperation between all participants and is understandably not ideal. If an initial regimen doesn't work, doctors often change the dosage, switch to a different drug or even add another medication.

Some doctors even recommend trying a second psycho-stimulant if a first one fails. If the child still doesn't respond, antidepressants or other second-line drugs may be prescribed. Before long a child may be taking a cocktail of drugs to treat the side effects of the initial medication, thus creating a domino effect.

Medications don't cure ADHD, they only control the symptoms on the day they are taken.

Although the medications may help the child pay better attention and complete school work, they can't increase knowledge or improve academic skills. The medications can only help the child to use those skills he or she already possesses - but this may just as easily be obtained through behavioral therapy and other proactive techniques - such as 'out of the box' creative teaching methods. It is vital that you educate yourself on all aspects of ADD/ADHD before making a decision.

The best chances of minimizing side effects, is to use a remedy that is free of side-effects completely. Contrary to what some doctors believe, these do exist.

Other Treatment Options for ADHD in Children

With ADHD, no single treatment is the answer for every child. A child may have undesirable side effects to a medication, making a particular treatment unacceptable. Each child's needs and personal history must be carefully considered. It is important to work with a health care professional/psychologist to determine the safest treatment.

If all other options and avenues have been investigated, and prescription drugs are chosen for treatment, frequent follow-up visits should be scheduled to assess the response and to detect possible side effects. Children on medications should have regular checkups. Parents should also talk regularly with the child's teachers, psychologist, and health care professional about how the child is doing.

Stimulants are not a cure-all, and families should be informed of healthy choices with regards to food, exercise, healthy hobbies, and friends. The best chances of minimizing side effects, is to use a remedy that is free of side effects completely.

Alternative Treatments

* Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies - A number of parents have tried natural remedies as an alternative to psycho-stimulants and other drugs. Small trials have found some agents, such as oral flower essence, Ginkgo biloba, Panax ginseng, and melatonin may possibly have benefits for ADHD.

There are homeopathic remedies which effectively target some of the disruptive symptoms of ADHD and allow the child to concentrate more easily. Natural remedies should be considered as a first step ahead of prescription psychiatric drugs. When combined with strong dietary control, counseling as necessary, and a healthy lifestyle, natural remedies have been show to be effective in helping to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD.

* Dietary Approaches. A number of diets have been suggested for people with ADHD. Various studies have reported behavioral improvement with diets that restrict possible allergens in the diet.

Parents may want to discuss with their health care professional, homeopath, or naturopath regarding implementing an elimination diet of certain foods or adding supplements that might help. This is a very individualized approach and would differ from child to child. Always consult a nutritional expert before restricting the diet of any child.

* Feedback approaches. A technique that uses auditory (sound) feedback may prove to be an effective tool for increasing children's attention.

* Neurofeedback. This technique uses electronic devices to help the child control their own brain wave activity.

* Interactive metronome and musical therapy. Feedback from sound is used to improve attention, motor control, and certain academic skills.

* Massage and relaxation techniques. Massage therapy can help ADHD children to feel more relaxed, fidget less, be less hyperactive, and focus on tasks. Other methods include reflexology, relaxation training, meditation, and music therapy.

Behavioral Therapy

For parents worried about over-medicating children who have attention problems, behavioral therapy may be a welcome addition to treatment. This type of therapy, carried out under the supervision of a psychologist, helps someone with ADHD alter their behavior and thought patterns to learn how to relate to others and succeed.

Other forms of treatment that may benefit the child with ADHD include:

* Social skills training. This can help a child with ADHD learn behaviors that will help them develop and maintain social relationships.

* Support groups and parenting skills training. Education and support for the parents can be an integral part of treating ADHD in children.

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Friday, May 21, 2010


Adult ADHD is a neurological brain disorder that presents itself as a persistent pattern of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity that is more frequent and severe than is typically observed in individuals at the same level of mental development.

ADHD (which usually begins with ADHD in childhood) has only recently been investigated. While some teens outgrow ADHD as they get older, about 60 percent continue to have symptoms late into adulthood.

ADHD is not specifically classified as a learning disorder, but can cause severe learning difficulties in adults and teens.
The Difference Between ADD and ADHD

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is the umbrella disorder, encompassing three sub-groups. These three groups are defined as follows:

* ADD Inattentive Type
* Teens and adults with this disorder are not overly active. They do not disrupt the classroom/office, so their symptoms might not be noticed. Their main difficulty is the inability to focus and concentrate. In teen girls, this sub-group of ADD is the most common.

* ADD Hyperactive/Impulsive Type
In this sub-group of ADD, rarely adults exhibit only hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms. This is classified as ADHD, as it includes the element of hyperactivity.

* ADD Combined Type
Teens and adults with this type of ADD show hyperactive behavior (starting in childhood), impulsive behavior, and cannot focus or concentrate. Hyperactivity symptoms tend to be less noticeable in adults. This is classified as ADHD as it includes the element of hyperactivity, and is the most common form of ADHD.

How Does ADHD Manifest in Adults?

ADHD in adults manifests differently than ADHD in children, as hyperactivity tends to decrease with age (for some but not all).

Although the exact prevalence in adults is unknown, studies thus far reveal that the condition probably exists in about 2 to 4 percent of adults, and is marked by the inability to maintain concentration, difficulty getting work done, procrastination, and organization problems.

A person’s inability to focus, sit still, concentrate, or follow instructions can greatly impair academic development or negatively affect their professional career.

Developing self-regulation is the biggest problem adults face when they have ADHD. This is often not expected of young children but is expected of adults. This self control affects an adult's ability not just to perform tasks, but to determine when they need to be done.

Individuals with ADHD have difficulty with certain brain activity, particularly in the area that is responsible for monitoring the behaviors that control planning and organization. This can be extremely frustrating to the ADHD adult.

When combined with ADHD, other learning disabilities can cause extreme frustration for adults or teens struggling at college or in the workplace. A few symptoms, such as disorganization, weak executive functioning, and inefficient use of strategies can be seen in ADD, ADHD, and other learning disabilities.

Although learning disabilities are common in adolescents with ADHD, they do not affect intelligence. People with ADHD span the same IQ range as the general population.

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How is ADHD Diagnosed?

The diagnostic principles used for ADHD in adults and teens are identical to those for diagnosing ADHD in children. It is important to establish whether the adult ADHD symptoms were also present in childhood, even if they were not previously recognized.
Steps in Making the ADHD Diagnosis

As with ADHD in children, the diagnosis is controversial and has been questioned by some professionals, adults diagnosed with ADHD, and parents of diagnosed teens.

They point out the potentially positive behaviors that some adults with ADHD have, such as hyperfocus. Others believe ADHD is a different form of human behavior and use the term neurodiversity to describe it.

Further, critics suspect ulterior motives of the medical industry, which authorizes the definitions of mental disorders and promotes the use of pharmaceutical drugs for their treatment. These are just some of the aspects making diagnosis of ADHD highly controversial.

Symptoms should be observed in multiple settings such as university, home, work, etc.

Adults (including teens) seeking a possible diagnosis can provide their own history, input, and insight and make the process much easier than in the case of very small children. Adults and teens can vocalize exactly what they feel and put into words the chaos sometimes felt inside. Adults are more likely than teens to realize that they might have ADHD. However, it is still very important to seek a thorough evaluation and professional diagnosis.

The process of diagnosing ADHD must be comprehensive. It requires several steps and involves gathering a multitude of information from multiple sources.

Under no circumstances should ADHD be diagnosed in any individual whose primary diagnosis is an emotional disorder, such as anxiety or depression.

Your health care professional/psychologist should investigate the following areas:

* School history and school reports (looking for specific problems beginning as early as possible that may have been encountered during development)
* Sibling relationships
* Family history (for any occurrence of ADHD)
* Eating habits
* Sleep patterns
* Medical problems (physical problems, particularly allergies)

Your health professional/psychologist will want to know how you handle different situations and may want to observe certain activities and interactions. In addition to looking at behavior, they may do a physical examination.

A full medical history will be needed to put your behavior in context and screen for other conditions that may affect your behavior. Your health care professional/psychologist will also want to talk to you about your feelings and ‘typical’ actions during the course of a routine day.

You will more than likely be asked to provide crucial information about your life at home, behavior in college/work, and in other social settings. Your health care professional/psychologist will want to know what symptoms you have, how long the symptoms have occurred, and how the behavior affects you and your family.

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Other signs or symptoms may be identified, warranting blood tests, brain imaging studies, or an EEG. Blood or other laboratory tests are currently recommended only if your psychologist/health care professional suspects lead toxicity or other medical problems.

Symptoms of ADHD

Described by an author with ADHD:

It's like being super-charged all the time. You get one idea and you have to act on it, and then, what do you know, but you've got another idea before you've finished up with the first one. You then go for that one, but of course a third idea intercepts the second, and you just have to follow that one. Pretty soon people are calling you disorganized, impulsive, and all sorts of impolite words that miss the point completely. Because you're trying really hard. It's just that you have all these invisible vectors pulling you this way and that, which makes it really hard to stay on task."

The ways in which the following characteristics of adult ADHD affect each individual differently. Inattention and memory characteristics include the following:

* May be forgetful in daily activities
* May consistently begin a task and not complete it
* May have a problem following conversations.
* May be difficult to motivate yourself to begin a project
* May have difficulty following a timed schedule
* May be in constant movement
* May get bored easily
* May become restless after a few minutes of inactivity
* May have a great desire for active, risky and fast paced activities

Adult ADHD symptoms are not distinct, clear physical signs that can be seen in an X-ray or show up on a lab test. They can only be identified by looking for certain characteristic behaviors (and these behaviors vary from person to person) and by examining the history.

There are several symptoms for ADHD that seem to get worse when demands at school, college, work or home increase. They are:

* Not listening to instructions
* Inability to get organized
* Fidgeting, especially with the hands and feet
* Talking too much
* Failure to finish projects, including work assignments
* Difficulty paying attention to and responding to details

What Causes ADHD in Adults?

One of the first questions you may have after being diagnosed with adult ADHD is "Why is this affecting me? What went wrong?" or "Did I do something to cause this?

When correctly diagnosed, there is little evidence that ADD can arise purely from social factors or environment. Knowing this can remove a huge burden of guilt from family members or partners who might blame themselves for the individual’s behavior.

Researchers suspect that there are several factors that may contribute to the condition, including:

* Heredity and genetics. The fact that ADHD tends to run in families suggests that children may inherit a genetic tendency to develop an attention-deficit disorder from their parents.
* Chemical imbalance. People who have ADHD may not be able to produce enough chemicals in key areas of the brain that are responsible for organizing thought.
* Brain changes. Areas of the brain that control attention are less active in adults with ADHD than in people without the disorder.

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Myths Surrounding the Causes of ADHD

Although the following factors may present symptoms similar to those of ADHD, research has shown that there is no evidence that ADHD is caused by the following:

* Immunizations
* Too much TV
* Poor home life
* Poor schools or colleges
* Bad parenting
* Aspartame (or sugar substitutes)
* Lack of vitamins
* Fluorescent lights
* Video games

However, in some cases, the above factors could certainly cause symptoms similar to those seen with ADD in certain individuals. It is worth investigating their impact if a link is suspected.

Help for Adults with ADHD

ADHD is often treated using conventional prescription medications. While there is a place for prescription medication in certain cases of ADD, careful consideration should be taken regarding possible side effects and cautions.

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There are also alternative solutions for ADD and ADHD available. Making simple changes in diet, sleep, exercise, and routine can help. Even trying more involved approaches like incorporating relaxation therapies such as guided imagery, meditation techniques, or yoga can be beneficial.

There are also many herbal and homeopathic remedies which can help maintain harmony, health, and systemic balance in the brain and nervous system, without side effects or sedation. These products are known for their supportive function in maintaining brain, nervous system and circulatory health, and well-being, while reducing or eliminating adult ADHD symptoms.

Who is Likely to Suffer from Adult ADHD?

Although the exact prevalence in adults is unknown, studies so far reveal that the condition, marked by inability to concentrate, having difficulty getting work done, procrastination, or organization problems, probably exists in about 2 to 4 percent of adults.

* School-Related Impairments Linked to adult ADHD
Adults with ADHD may have had:
o A history of poor educational performance, thus a strong likelihood of underachievement
o More frequent school disciplinary actions
o May have repeated a grade
o May have dropped out of school
* Work-Related Impairments Linked to Adult ADHD
Adults with ADHD are more likely to:
o Change employers frequently and perform at less than optimal levels
o Have had fewer occupational achievements, independent of psychiatric status
* Social-Related Impairments Linked to Adult ADHD
Adults with ADHD are more likely to:
o Have a lower socioeconomic status
o Have driving violations such as: speeding tickets, suspended license, car accidents, and/or a record of poor driving
o Use illegal substances more frequently
o Smoke cigarettes
o Self-report psychological maladjustment more often
* Relationship-Related Impairments Linked to Adult ADHD
Adults with ADHD are more likely to:
o Have more marital problems and multiple marriages
o Have higher incidence of separation and divorce

Remember that every individual is unique, and just because you may have been diagnosed with ADD does not mean you will automatically experience or exhibit these behaviors.

Symptoms Indicating Something Other than ADHD

Many symptoms and behaviors can present themselves as symptoms of ADHD. These include:

* Underachievement at college/work due to a learning disability (eg. dyslexia)
* Attention lapses caused by petit mal seizures, also known as absence seizures
* Concentration and learning difficulties due to a sleep disorder or breathing problems
* Disruptive or unresponsive behavior due to physical abuse
* Disruptive or unresponsive behavior due to a family member or partner's substance abuse or dependency on alcohol
* Attention-seeking behavior due to family or partner's lack of interest
* A sudden life change
* Substance abuse
* Medical disorders affecting brain function
* Incorrect level of schooling or incorrect placement at work
* Chronic fear due to a traumatic event
* Disruptive or unresponsive behavior due to anxiety or depression

Under no circumstances should ADD or ADHD be diagnosed in any individual whose primary diagnosis is an emotional disorder, such as anxiety or depression.

It's very important that individuals are thoroughly evaluated and an in-depth history is investigated before the conclusion of adult ADHD is reached.

Other causes of ADHD type symptoms are food intolerance, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), allergies, perceptual difficulties, nutritional problems, candida, hyperthyroidism, Tourette's syndrome, brain dysfunction, family and emotional problems, poor discipline, anxiety, depression, and other conditions. Each of these problems would require different treatment and may even be exacerbated by prescription medication for ADHD.

If other areas are determined to be a possible root cause of the behavior, the diagnosis of ADHD must be put on hold until these areas are fully explored. These include:

* Mental retardation
* Chronic illness being treated with a medication that may interfere with learning
* Trouble seeing and/or hearing
* History of abuse
* Major anxiety or major depression
* Severe aggression
* Possible seizure disorder
* Alcohol or drug abuse

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Heartworm (In Pets)

What is Heartworm?

Heartworms are deadly parasites that affect dogs and cats, as well as other animals. These worms are also referred by their scientific name Dirofilaria immitis and actually live in the right side of the heart and arteries of the lungs. It causes a serious condition that includes heart failure, blocked arteries and breathing difficulties. When a mosquito bites your dog or cat, your pet may be infected with heartworms.

Heartworms are thin, long (about 12 to 30cm) worms and have an adult lifecycle of 5 to 7 years for dogs while in cats, it is between 2 to 3 years. During this time millions of larvae are produced but they only become fully matured after living in the mosquito.
Sometimes there may be no symptoms of heartworm in dogs and cats.
Common symptoms and signs of heartworm include:

* Coughing
* Rapid/ fast breathing
* Labored breathing
* Fatigue, lethargy and listlessness
* Intolerance for exercise
* Weight loss
* Loss of appetite
* Bloody phlegm

In addition, there may also be symptoms of anemia, swollen abdomen, jaundice, bulging chest and prominent ribs. Convulsions, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea, vomiting and in the advanced stages, heart failure or clotting in the pulmonary arteries may occur.

What Causes Heartworm?

When the mosquito bites an infected dog or cat, it ingests the larvae and if that mosquito bites another dog or cat, it transfers the larvae. Over the next few months, the larvae migrate through the body of the animal until it reaches the heart and matures into an adult worm. Female worms cause more damage than male worms.

Infections of heartworm are usually quite common in warmer countries of the world. Research shows that dogs are affected more than cats - in particular, large-breed dogs, male dogs as well as dogs with short hair and stray dogs and those that stay out of doors. Certain factors may also increase your pet’s risk of heartworm disease and these include genetic factors, location of the heart where the worms are, if there are more male or female worms, length of time and the number of worms present.

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Diagnosing Heartworm

The diagnosis of heartworm is based on the symptoms presented, a thorough physical examination and a review of the pet’s medical history. Certain tests such as chest x-rays may be performed to determine whether the pulmonary arteries in the lungs are enlarged, as well as antigen and microfilarial tests to detect the presence of adult heartworms.

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There are a number of oral and topical heartworm preventatives such as Heartgard or Interceptor available to treat dogs and cats, and these can be administered once per month. These medications help to prevent the microfilariae (larvae) from developing into adult heartworms.

Because dogs and cats that live outside are more susceptible to heartworm, it is recommended that they receive this treatment monthly. Indoor pets, however, still remain at risk. Keep in mind that these medications have toxic side effects and have been linked to serious disorders such as liver and kidney disease, arthritis and skin allergies.

Heartworm in dogs is treated with an adulticide, medication administered to kill adult worms over a period of a month. After the one month period filaricide therapy which involves the administration of microfilaricide to kill the microfilariae. Treatment for heartworm in cats has not been approved as yet and involves treating the symptoms with intravenous fluids, oxygen therapy, bronchodilators or confinement.

Natural remedies

Herbal and homeopathic remedies have also proven to be a very effective alternative to treat parasites in pets. These natural remedies are safe and gentle for your pet and encourage overall health and wellbeing. Herbal ingredients such as Artemisia absinthinium (Wormwood), Eugenia caryophyllata (Cloves), Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Ruta graveolens (Herb of Grace) promote digestive health and balance, cleanse the blood and support the immune system.

Follow these useful tips to help prevent heartworm infection in pets and
ensure overall health and wellbeing:

* Feed pets a natural, well balanced diet without preservatives, additives or colorants to boost their immune system
* Include fresh, raw foods together with yeast and garlic to ward off mosquitoes
* Ensure that your pets food and water bowls are made of stainless steel, not plastic and are always clean
* Always have fresh, clean water available for your dog or cat
* Make sure that your pet has regular exercise
* Avoid using commercial flea products and limit the long-term use of heartworm prevention drugs
* If you live in a mosquito-infested area, keep dogs and cats indoors in the late afternoon and evenings to avoid a mosquito attack
* Use a natural insect repellant such as citronella oil and water to repel mosquitoes
* Detox your pet regularly to get rid of an accumulation of toxins

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Enlarged Prostate? Please read about Natural ways to help yourself

What is Enlarged Prostate?

The prostate is a small gland specific to men, located beneath the urinary bladder and wrapped around the urethra. The healthy human prostate is slightly larger than a walnut and although it is called a gland, since it is made of two lobes completely surrounded by an outer tissue layer; the term “organ” is a more fitting description.

With the process of aging, it is quite common for the prostate gland to become enlarged. As a man matures, the prostate goes through two main periods of growth. The first occurs early in puberty, during male genital development, when the prostate doubles in size.

The diagnosis of a swollen prostate is made by a rectal examination, urinalysis, a check of the discharged fluid for signs of infection or inflammation, a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test, and frequently with ultrasound.

Ultrasound has proven a particularly useful tool in diagnosing prostate enlargement. It allows doctors to view an image of the bladder, which tells them how well a man is emptying his bladder. The device is handheld, non-invasive and totally painless.

Symptoms of an Enlarged Prostate

* Frequent urination (especially during the night)
* Burning with urination and a discharge from the penis
* Sensation of fullness behind the scrotum and in front of the rectum
* A thin stream of urine which stops and starts rather than a full stream of urine
* Difficulty starting the urinary stream
* ‘Dribbling’ after urinating

As the symptoms progress, the bladder may not empty entirely and urine is retained, increasing the risk of infection.

What Causes Enlarged Prostate?

At around age 25, the gland begins to grow again. This second growth phase often results, many years later as a man ages, in an enlarged prostate gland. In this process the prostate enlarges, with the layer of tissue surrounding the prostate ceasing to expand.

This causes the prostate gland to press against the urethra like a clamp on a garden hose. The bladder wall becomes thicker and irritable. The bladder begins to contract even when it contains small amounts of urine, leading to more frequent urination.

Eventually, the bladder weakens and loses the ability to empty itself. Urine remains in the bladder. This may cause symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection.

Many people feel uncomfortable talking about the prostate, since the gland plays a role in both sex and urination. Still, prostate enlargement is as common a part of aging as gray hair and memory loss. As life expectancy rises, so does the occurrence of a swollen or enlarged prostate due to aging.

Treatment may involve antibiotics, medications to shrink or relax the prostate or bladder, soaking in a warm tub of water and frequent ejaculation. The goal is to avoid reaching the point of urinary retention, where one can’t urinate at all.

Patients suffering from an enlarged prostate and who do not have kidney inflammation, damage or serious infection will have to decide which option recommended by their doctor suits them best.

Sometimes men may take antibiotics for a long period of time without any true benefit. In fact, many of these conditions are not infections but simply muscle spasms involving the prostate and surrounding tissue. This is a condition called prostatosis or prostadynia.

Treatment for this includes muscle relaxants and warm baths. Hytrin or Cardura, typically used for high blood pressure are also muscle relaxants and have been shown to be successful. These days, however, Flowmax or Uroxitrol are more often prescribed.

There are many clinically proven natural herbal and homeopathic remedies that have been shown to promote prostate health in a natural manner without harmful side effects. Certain herbs such as Epilobium parviflorum have been shown to have an inflammation-inhibiting and healing effect on acute and chronic inflammation of the prostate and BPH.

Further more, Hypoxis rooperi and Sabal serrulata are also well known for improving prostate health, supporting the immune system and guarding against urinary tract infections.

Natural Remedies For Healthy Living

In Europe and many other countries, natural remedies are widely prescribed even by conventional doctors to treat prostate conditions as well as promote prostate health in a preventative manner. Remember always to source your natural remedies from a reputable company in order to ensure maximum safety, therapeutic dosage and best efficacy.

Although conventional medicine may help to alleviate the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, they do not necessarily address the root of the problem.

Natural and holistic treatments from a reputable source can help to address the underlying physiological and nutritional imbalances of the condition without the risk of harmful side effects and promote harmony in a gentle yet effective manner.

Use herbs such as Vitex agnus-castus (Chasteberry) as an effective treatment to promote hormonal balance and health. Cimicifuga racemosa (Black Cohosh) contains phyto-estrogenic properties which are also effective in correcting menstrual irregularities.

In addition, Eleutherococcus senticosis (Siberian Ginseng) is a highly respected Chinese herb that helps to restore vital energy and promote overall systemic functioning while also regulating the menstrual cycle and improving hormonal balance.

Tips for coping with Enlarged Prostate

* For night-time frequency drink as little fluid as possible after 6:00 p.m. Cut down on caffeine-containing liquids (tea, coffee, fizzy colas). At the very least, don't drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages after dinner.
* Get up and urinate as soon as you feel the first night-time urge. Wait approximately a minute or two and try to urinate again. If you get a fair amount out, repeat this one more time.
* Relax, or learn to relax if you don't know how through meditation, relaxation techniques and calming music.
* Reduce the fat content of your diet and try to lose weight naturally if you suffer with obesity.
* Have safe intercourse frequently. Ejaculation will remove prostatic fluid and shrink the prostate.
* Take part in some form of physical exercise every day – even a quick stroll around the block when you get home.
* Avoid antihistamines and other over-the-counter decongestants and cold remedies.
* Avoid cold weather if possible.
* Soak in a warm bath or hot tub for 20 minutes (maximum) two or three times per day. The heat of the water will penetrate the prostate to reduce swelling and promote healing. (Don’t exceed 20 minutes at a time, as this can lead to sperm motility problems and possible infertility).
* Avoid prolonged sitting. A man sits on his prostate. If the onset of symptoms coincides with physical activity such as biking, or increased sitting your routine should be changed.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Tumors - Finding Bumps on your Pet

Finding any sort of lump or bump on your pet can be a very scary moment, and often the first thing that comes to mind is that dreaded word “cancer”. While it is always a good idea to have worrisome lumps checked out buy your pet’s veterinarian, keep in mind that not all lumps are tumors and not all tumors are cancerous.

Tumors are abnormal growths of body tissue and they can either be classified as cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). Cancerous tumors can spread at a rapid rate and can metastasize to other areas of the body. Common malignant tumors in pets include mammary gland tumors, mast cell tumors, oral tumors, malignant melanoma and fibrosarcoma.

While hearing that your pet has a malignant tumor can be devastating, the good news is that with early detection and prompt treatment, even some of the more serious tumors can be successfully treated.

Benign tumors on the other hand are less serious as they generally stay in once place and do not have the ability to metastasize to other areas of the body. However, some benign tumors can grow to mammoth proportions and when they are left untreated they can eventually cause serious complications.

One of the most common tumors seen in vet rooms is lipomas which are benign soft tissue tumors composed of fatty tissue. Usually found under the skin, these growths are painless and in many cases completely harmless to your pet.

What Causes Tumors?

Tumors occur when there is a problem with the way in which cells of the body divide. Cell division is a strictly controlled process, with new cells being created to replace old cells, and damaged cells, dying so that they can be replaced. However, when this balance is disturbed, a tumor can develop.

While a clear cause of a tumor is not always know, there are a few known contributing factors. Among these are a lowered immune system, obesity, genetic problems, and excessive exposure to sunlight. Poor diet, environmental toxicity and exposure to toxins such as cigarette smoke have also been known to cause tumors.

Diagnosing Tumors

Whatever the suspected cause, all foreign growths found on your pet should be taken seriously and a trip to the vet is necessary. Your veterinarian will examine your pet and the tumor, if it is an external one, and may ask you a number of questions about other possible symptoms.

After this, your vet may suggest a biopsy which is usually necessary to determine if the growth is cancerous. Depending on the case, this can be done with either a simple needle biopsy, or by having the tumor removed and biopsied post-operatively. Once a definite diagnosis has been made, your veterinarian can advise what treatment options would best suit your pet.

The treatment of tumors depends entirely on the type of tumor and the severity. Small benign tumors such as lipomas that are not growing and are not causing your pet any discomfort may simply be monitored regularly, while other tumors require swift surgical removal and possibly further treatments if the tumor was cancerous.

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Conventional Treatments

Surgery – Many tumors whether malignant or benign require surgical removal either to prevent any cancerous cells from spreading to other areas of the body or in the case of benign tumors, to prevent excessive growth and damage to surrounding tissue.

Chemotherapy – If the tumor is found to be malignant then chemotherapy may be recommended. This type of treatment involves administering doses of certain chemicals that are highly toxic to fast developing cells thereby killing off cancer cells in the body.

Natural Remedies For Healthy Living

Radiation – Also used when dealing with cancerous tumors, radiation therapy works by killing cancer cells and shrinking the tumor. Radiation therapy works by destroying cells in the area being treated by damaging their DNA or genetic material thus making it impossible for these cells to grow and divide.

Natural Remedies

Our domestic pets do not have access to all the herbs and natural ingredients necessary for healthy immune systems, and so it is up to us pet owners to provide these for our pets. While tumors are serious and often require conventional treatments, there are many natural ingredients which have immune strengthening properties and which have the ability to cleanse the system and support healthy cells in the body.

Echinacea purpurea is a well known herb that acts as a tonic for the immune system and lymphatic system. Other herbs with immune supporting properties include Astragalus membranaceous, and Mistletoe, while Milk Thistle and Indian ginseng both act as restorative and revitalizing tonic herbs.

Because tumors are often surgically removed, the medicinal qualities of homeopathic ingredients such as Arnica (30C) and Calendula (30C) can go a long way in assisting the swift recovery of your pet. These natural ingredients work by supporting the body’s own natural restorative functions while having a tonic effect on the skin, bones, muscles and connective tissue.

Not all tumors can be prevented, however by promoting a healthy life-style in your pet and by following a few precautionary measures the chances of some tumors as well as other cancers can be reduced.
Tips for preventing tumors

* Mammary tumors are a common type of tumor seen in pets, especially in female pets. This type of tumor can be greatly reduced by simply having your pet spayed at an early age (preferably before the first heat-cycle). Neutering your male pet also reduces the chances of them developing testicular tumors.
* Ensure that your pet is eating a healthy high-quality diet that is low in preservatives and artificial ingredients. Certain foods such as onions and chocolate are toxic to some animals so keep these away from your pet.
* Just like humans, animals are susceptible to the damaging effects of environmental toxicity. Try to avoid the use of harsh chemical sprays and products around your pet and aim to make your house a smoke-free zone.
* Monitor the amount of time your pet is exposed to direct sunlight. This is not always easy, but certain types of tumors, especially those that develop on the eyelids, ears, and nose can de triggered by excessive sunlight. This is particularly true for white pets.
* Encourage your pet to exercise. Obesity is a leading cause of many health complications including tumors and it is something that can be prevented with a healthy diet and a little bit of exercise. Take your dog for regular walks and spend time.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is something we all have. This fat-like substance is found in every cell in your body and plays an important role in a variety of vital functions, including building and maintaining cell membranes, hormone synthesis, and the manufacturing of Vitamin D.

However, the body naturally manufactures adequate amounts of cholesterol to sustain optimal body functioning and so any extra cholesterol added through our diet, is unnecessary and when levels become too high cholesterol becomes potentially dangerous.

The body manufactures two types of cholesterol - LDL (which is seen as a bad form of cholesterol) and HDL (which is seen as a good form of cholesterol).

When LDL levels are too high, fatty deposits, or plaque, can start to build up on the walls of your arteries, decreasing the amount of blood that can flow through them and putting you at greater risk of heart attacks, stroke, arteriosclerosis or coronary heart disease.

Healthy levels of HDL will help to clean away cholesterol in the arteries before it has a chance to build up. In order to maintain healthy levels, we need to keep the LDL levels down and the HDL levels up.

Being diagnosed with high cholesterol can be a scary thing and it is something that cannot be ignored. The good news is that cholesterol can be controlled and many people use this as an opportunity to make positive life-style changes.

To test your cholesterol levels, your physician will take a blood sample which is later sent to a laboratory for a lipid profile or analysis. This analysis will be able to tell you what your levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) are.

Like high blood pressure which is often referred to as the silent killer, high cholesterol generally has no symptoms and is usually only discovered during a routine check up or when something goes wrong.
If your cholesterol levels are very high, you may notice small yellow nodules beneath the skin of your eyes, eyebrows or elbows.

However, a blood test is the only way to determined cholesterol levels and according to the American Heart Association, all adults over the age of 20 should have their cholesterol levels checked every 3-5 years, especially if they are overweight, already have a cholesterol problem or if there is a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol.

Cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood and there are some standard guidelines that will help you determine if your cholesterol levels are too high.

Standard Guidelines for Healthy Cholesterol Levels

The following cholesterol levels are considered desirable:
Total cholesterol: below 200 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol: between 100 and 130 mg/dL
HDL cholesterol: above 40 mg/dL
Triglycerides: below 150 mg/dL

Keep in mind that cholesterol levels will change from person to person depending on the presence or absence of a number of factors that may put you at increased risk of heart disease. These factors include smoking, age, family history, blood pressure levels as well as HDL cholesterol levels. For the most accurate measurements, don't eat or drink anything (other than water) for nine to 12 hours before the blood test

There is a definite link between high cholesterol levels and a diet high in dietary cholesterol and saturated fat, although genetic factors also play an important role. Smoking, diabetes, being overweight and insufficient exercise can also contribute to high cholesterol levels.

Help for High Cholesterol

It is very important to take steps to control your cholesterol levels. If it is left untreated, high cholesterol can result in serious medical consequences such as heart disease or a stroke.

The good news is that high cholesterol can be well controlled by combining a healthy lifestyle with the correct medical treatment. Treatment can include synthetic prescription medication, natural remedies or a combination of both.

Research has demonstrated that a combination of Natural Remedies, regular exercise and dietary changes can make a significant difference to LDL levels and reduce or even eliminate the need for prescription drugs.

Natural ingredients such as Rooibos, Gugulipid and Red Yeast Rice are well known for their beneficial properties of reducing levels of LDL ('bad') and triglyceride, while increasing the levels of protective HDL cholesterol. With a few life-style changes and a little help from nature, cholesterol levels can be well managed.


Many people are prescribed synthetic medication to help reduce their high cholesterol. In response to soaring rates of high cholesterol and atherosclerosis, the pharmaceutical companies have produced a class of drugs which are collectively known as statins.
Statins have a one dimensional effect of reducing the body's ability to synthesize cholesterol.
They do not, however, distinguish between the 'bad' cholesterol (LDL) and the 'good' cholesterol (HDL) and can also reduce levels of Co-enzyme Q10 and L-carnitine, two very important molecules which are involved in energy production and fat metabolism.
Myalgia and even stomach, lung and liver tumors have also been associated with the use of these drugs. It is very important that people who are taking prescription medication for high cholesterol be regularly monitored by their doctor.

It is very important to take steps to control your cholesterol levels. If it is left untreated, high cholesterol can result in serious medical consequences such as heart disease or a stroke.
The Facts about Fats

* Modern day society has taught us that “fats” are bad and while we so often try to avoid them, they are usually present in most of the tasty foods we all like to eat. The fact is that we all need fats.

A certain amount of dietary fat helps in some very important bodily processes such as nutrient absorption, nerve transmission, maintaining cell membranes and hormone production.

However, when consumed in excess, fats can lead to a number of health concerns such as weight gain, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
* It is important to replace the bad fats with good fats in our diet, an essential key in trying to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Bad fats include saturated and trans fats, while good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
* Limit the amount of saturated fats consumed. Saturated fats are mainly found in animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs and certain types of seafood (especially shell fish). Plant foods that are high in saturated fats include coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil.
* Trans fats are another type of bad fat with absolutely no nutritional benefit and should be at the top of the list of fats to avoid. Also known as trans fatty acids this unhealthy substance is man-made through a chemical process of hydrogenation of oils.

This hydrogenation process solidifies liquid oils and increases the shelf life and the flavor stability of oils and the foods that contain them.

Unfortunately, Trans fats are found in many tasty treats including products with vegetable shortenings, most margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, fast foods (especially French fries) and the list goes on.
* Monounsaturated fats are known as good fats as they lower total cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), while increasing the HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) in your system. In moderation, these fats are good for you and can be found in nuts, canola, and olive oil.
* Polyunsaturated fats are also a good source of fats as they too lower LDL cholesterol. Foods containing polyunsaturated fats include salmon and fish oil, most grain products, soy, and sunflower oil.

Some mayonnaise and soft margarine may also be good sources, but this will differ between brands so be sure to check the product label.

* Try replacing bad fats with healthy fats. The daily recommended amount of healthy fat should be near 25 g. When you do eat “bad fats”, make sure it is not often and limit the amount of these fats where possible.
For example, you can reduce saturated fat intake by making the meat potion of your meal far smaller than your portion of vegetables and whole grains, by opting for low-fat or fat-free products and choosing lean and skinless meat.
* Replace your cooking oils that are high in saturated fats or trans fats with fats high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats such as canola oil, olive oil and flax seed oil. Also look for soft margarines that include plant- sterols, as these lower cholesterol levels (also present in some orange juices).

Natural Remedies For Healthy Living

Foods to eat: garlic, fish such as tuna and salmon, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), oatmeal and oat bran, soy, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, fruits, vegetables (carrots are especially good), whole-grain, and high-fiber foods. When choosing dairy products, always opt for the fat-free and low-fat products.

Foods to avoid: many processed foods, French fries, doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies, pastries and cakes, egg yolks, duck, organ meats (such as chicken livers, brains, hearts, kidneys, or sweetbreads), shellfish snacks and meats that are high in saturated fats, fried food, whole-milk dairy products, butter, cream, ice cream, cream cheese.
* If high cholesterol is a known problem, or tends to run in your family, make sure you get your levels checked at least every 3 years.
* Smoking dramatically increases your chances or heart disease and so if you already have a problem with your cholesterol levels, to continue smoking puts your heart health at serious risk. If you do smoke, then perhaps its time to consider quitting smoking naturally!
* Maintain a healthy weight. One of the first steps to lowering your cholesterol is to lose excess body weight. While many people find this is the most difficult part, with a little dedication, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and some help from a reputable weight-loss program your can gradually work towards your goal weight.
* Keep physically active. Exercise helps to raise HDL levels and lower LDL levels, and is especially important for people who are overweight, and those who have high triglyceride and/or low HDL levels.
* If you do drink alcohol, then do so in moderation as binge drinking or excessive alcohol intake can increase your chances of heart conditions. Some research shows that moderate intake of certain alcohol, particularly red wine, shows a small increase in HDL or “good” cholesterol. Remember that ‘moderate’ refers to no more than one or two glasses daily!

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