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Do-Advice » 2007 » February

Archive for February, 2007

Need Relief from Flat Foot Pain?

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 27th, 2007

Flat feet, also known as fallen arches, is a condition that occurs when the arch in the foot collapses.  The collapse of the arch causes the entire sole of the foot to come into complete contact, or almost in complete contact, with the floor.  As a result, people with flat feet are unable to tread normally and are forced to alter their steps.

What causes flat feet? 
- Genetics - In most cases, (approximately 20-30% of the population) flat feet is genetic and both feet are affected.  Those born with naturally flat feet usually have a malformed joint, or two or more bones may have merged together that caused the feet to become stiff and flat. 
- Injury that causes stiffness and distorts the foot joints such as a ruptured tendon
- Arthritis
- Illness – Diseases that affect the nervous system or muscles (I.E. spian bifida, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy) can cause flat feet because muscles become week and stiff, and can no longer function effectively together. 
- Natural aging process
- Pregnancy – Sometimes pregnant women develop flat feet from the temporary changes caused by an increase in elastin in their body.

Usually, flat feet is a permanent condition.

What symptoms can occur from having flat feet?  People with flat feet are at a higher risk of developing foot problems because they suffer from over-pronation.  Over-pronation is when the feet roll excessively inward due to the stress overload placed on the ligaments and tendons of the ankle.  This weakens the ankle and inside portion of the foot causing it to turn inward.  Over-pronation can lead to painful symptoms including -

Bunions – A deformity of the big toe that occurs when the joint becomes misaligned and protrude outward. 

Calluses – When the big toe loses flexibility, calluses usually occur under the sole of the foot near the second toe where stress is being placed.

Hammer toes – When the angle of the big toe increases inward, it begins to slide under the second toe.  As a result, the metatarsal bone rises up and causes a hammer toe to form.

Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs – The Achilles tendon becomes shorter and pulls up on the heel of a person with flat feet, causing the arch to flatten and the foot to become longer.  Thus, the plantar fascia (tight band of muscle under the foot arch) becomes abnormally stretched, which can lead to pain in the heel bone (plantar fasciitis) and heel spurs.

Low back pain – This usually occurs due to strain on the sciatic nerve.  This nerve links the lower back to the foot via the leg.  The strain is typically caused by repeated shock from running and over-pronation.

Finding relief from symptoms – There are different methods for treating flat feet, such as –

- Stretching exercises – Engage in exercises (2 – 3 times daily) that focus on the arch of your foot and Achilles’ tendons (IE. rolling your foot back and forth over a rolling pin or foot gymnastics).  This will help increase flexibility and reduce the stress and pain felt by these areas.

- Lose weight – If you are overweight, losing weight helps to provide relief for your feet.

- Wear supportive shoes – Keep an eye on the stability of your footwear.  Don’t wear shoes that are worn, tight, or tilt inwards.  These shoes only increase your risk of injury and pain.  Also, use orthotic insoles for your shoes to provide your foot with better support.

- See a professional – If you suffer from chronic discomfort or pain, seek the attention of a foot specialist such as a podiatrist or orthopedist.  They can help provide you with proper shoes and orthotics that are custom made for your foot.  They can also recommend exercises and even surgery if it is in the patient’s best interest.

By Dave Wilson. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover how to treat your footpain with natural cures for footpain. Discover what to do if you have flat foot pain.  

Choosing the Right Cold or Flu Medication for Those with High Blood Pressure

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 27th, 2007

High blood pressure is an increasingly common affliction, and with it comes the increasing danger of unknowingly putting yourself at risk of new or increased blood pressure issues as a result of the use of over the counter medications as common as cold and flu medicines that are readily available.  How is it that medicines so commonly sold and easily acquired at the local pharmacy can have such dangerous potential?

The answer is in the decongestants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that these drugs use in order to control some of the symptoms of the cold and the flu, such as a runny nose and sneezing.  Decongestants and NSAIDs unfortunately, commonly cause an increase in blood pressure as a side effect.

In fact, not only do you risk increasing your blood pressure when using regular medications that include decongestants and NSAIDs, but you may also cause a conflict with any blood pressure medications that you may be taking at the same time.

Examples of common decongestant ingredients that can cause blood pressure issues are:

• Phenylephrine
• Oxymetazoline
• Pseudoephedrine

Examples of common NSAIDs that can cause blood pressure issues are:

• Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
• Naproxen (Naprosyn)
• Meloxicam (Mobic)
• Naproxen sodium (Aleve)

If you have a family history or personal history of high blood pressure, and especially if you are already taking blood pressure medication to control high blood pressure, it is very important that you be selective about the cold and flu medications that you choose.  Fortunately, some cold and flu medicine companies have recognized this issue, and have created products that have been specially formulated for people who already have high blood pressure.  By opting for these medications, you are making sure that your cold, cough, and flu relief is safe for the rest of your health.  The secret is that these products are free from decongestants, and therefore will not raise your blood pressure.

The following products are decongestant free, and are therefore safe for treating the symptoms of coughs, colds, and the flu, even when you already suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension:

• Coricidin HBP® Cold and Flu Tablets – a medication that uses antihistamines, pain relievers, and fever reducers to temporarily relieve symptoms such as aches and pains (including headaches), while reducing the fever commonly associated with colds and the flu.  These tablets also provide temporary relief of runny nose and sneezing caused by the common cold.

• Coricidin HBP® Cough and Cold Tablets – medication that uses antihistamines and cough suppressants to temporarily relieve the symptoms of coughing and minor throat discomfort that are frequently associated with the common cold.  This medication also temporarily relieves runny nose and sneezing from colds.

• Coricidin HBP® Maximum Strength Flu Tablets – medicine that uses antihistamines, pain relievers, fever reducers, and cough suppressants in order to achieve the temporary relief of cold and flu symptoms which include: coughing, runny nose, sneezing, aches and pains caused by the common cold or the flu.

Even with these medications available to you, it is important that you consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications.  Be certain to keep yourself informed regarding any blood pressure issues you have, and have your doctor and pharmacist help you in understanding the labels on your over-the-counter medicines so that you don’t inadvertently cause or worsen your high blood pressure.

By Paul Johnson. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover other hypertension medication. On the site you’ll also find more about natural high blood pressure cure and what to do to lower blood pressure naturally.

Endometriosis And Interstitial Cystitis

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 23rd, 2007

Endometriosis and interstitial cystitis (IC) have similar symptoms, making it easy for one to be mistaken for the other. In fact, sometimes women who have endometriosis and undergo a hysterectomy mistaken the pain they experience in their pelvic region following the procedure as a return of their endometriosis, when in actuality it could be caused by interstitial cystitis.

What is interstitial cystitis? Interstitial cystitis (pronounced “In-ter-stish-ul sis-ty-tis”), also known as Painful Bladder Syndrome, is a chronic medical condition that is characterized by inflammation of the bladder. This inflammation is believed to occur when the mucous layer inside the bladder is damaged. The damaged mucous layer lets irritating substances, especially urine, come in direct contact with the bladder wall. These substances aggravate the bladder, resulting in inflammation and pain.

It is obvious by the above characteristics of IC that endometriosis and interstitial cystitis are clearly not the same condition, and, therefore, require different treatment. Unfortunately, diagnosis isn’t as easy as one would think because the symptoms of IC closely mirror endometriosis, as the following will illustrate:

Endometriosis symptoms-
• Pelvic pain
• Pain in lower back
• Painful menses - pain before and/or during and/or after menstruation
• Severe menstrual cramping
• Pain during intercourse
• Pain during orgasm
• Heavy menses
• Irregular menses
• Painful bowel movements usually accompanied by an alteration between constipation and diarrhea
• Gastrointestinal upset including bloating, nausea and vomiting
• Bladder pain
• Frequent need to urinate
• Fatigue

Interstitial cystitis symptoms -
• Pelvic pain
• Pain in lower back
• Pain during intercourse
• Pain after intercourse
• Painful menses
• Heavy menses
• Painful bowel movement during menses
• Slight discomfort, tenderness, pressure or pain in the bladder or pelvic area
• Urgent need to urinate
• Frequent need to urinate
• Fatigue

The above symptoms that have been italicised for endometriosis and interstitial cystitis are the same. Although some symptoms differ, you can see how many symptoms are similar between the two. Thus is why IC has been nicknamed endometriosis “evil twin”.

To make matters even worse for some women, it isn’t uncommon for a woman to suffer from both endometriosis and IC. In fact, one study involving 60 women found that more than 79% of these women had both interstitial cystitis and endometriosis at the same time. In some cases, this is often why women still experience pain after they have endometrial tissue removed or why some find their endometriosis hard to treat. The pain they are experiencing is similar to endometriosis but is actually caused by IC.

Therefore, if you have endometriosis and continue to have pain despite the treatments you’ve tried, perhaps it’s time to ask your doctor to further investigate your pain to find out if endometriosis is actually the cause of your problem, or if it’s something else like interstitial cystitis.

If you suspect your may have endometriosis and interstitial cystitis you need to tell your doctor about your suspicions. However, before you jump to conclusions, and before you attend your appointment, it’s a good idea to make a record of the symptoms you are experiencing. Write down the symptoms you experience in one week and present these symptoms to your doctor so he/she can help provide you with better tests for a more effective diagnosis and treatment course.

Keep in mind, if you suspect you have IC the symptoms you need to focus on include:
• Urgency and frequency of urination
• Fluctuation of pain as the bladder empties or fills
• Pelvic or bladder pain that intensifies during menstruation

In addition, if you want an accurate IC diagnosis you may want to request that your doctor refer you to a gynaecologist or urologist. Finally, remember that while both endometriosis and interstitial cystitis are chronic conditions, they are treatable when effectively diagnosed.

By Shelley Ross. To find out more about endometriosis diagnosis and for information on endometriosis characteristics please visit Treat Endometriosis, where you can also sign up for a free newsletter focusing on treating endometriosis.

Are You Getting Enough Calcium From Your Anti Candida Diet?

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 22nd, 2007

It’s true that oral contraceptives increase the risk of Candida overgrowth, but so can your diet. For instance, foods that primarily feed Candida albicans include foods high in starch and sugar. That being said, other foods, including dairy products (with the exception of butter and eggs) also encourage Candida overgrowth. For this reason, many people try to keep their Candida in check by controlling their diet by following an anti candida diet.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that dairy products encourage Candida growth, particularly in those who have an allergy to milk, most dairy products (milk, cheese, ice cream, cream, buttermilk etc.) are often eliminated from the diet. This fact has those on a Candida diet wondering how they can give their body the necessary calcium it needs, without stimulating the growth of Candida albicans.

How can you get the calcium you need without the help of diary?

If you are concerned about calcium, you will be pleased to know that there are many other food sources that contain calcium such as:
- Dark leafy green vegetables (bok choy, kale, cabbage)
- Raw broccoli
- Seaweed
- Dried fruit
- Almonds
- Sesame seeds
- Pinto beans
- Tahini
- Canned salmon
- Canned tuna
- Sardines with edible bones
- Calcium Fortified products (soymilk, tofu, orange juice, etc.)

That being said, you should keep in mind that certain foods that are high in calcium such as spinach and rhubarb also contain oxalates. Oxalates actually block calcium absorption and are, therefore, counter productive. Thus, make sure you research calcium enriched foods before trusting they will provide your body with the calcium it needs. It’s also a good idea to visit a nutritionist or dietician if you plan on using non-dairy foods for sources of calcium.

In addition, in order to help your body maintain healthy calcium levels you should limit or eliminate your intake of caffeine and alcohol. These products deplete calcium levels. Furthermore, make sure you exercise regularly. Lack of exercise is another way to reduce calcium levels.

If you are having a difficult time ingesting foods rich in calcium, or are worried you are not meeting the daily requirements your body needs, you should talk to your doctor about taking calcium supplements.

It is highly recommended that you consult your doctor first before you begin taking calcium supplements. The reason is because it is not possible to accurately determine the correct amount of calcium your body requires without knowing your body chemistry first. There are many different calcium supplements on the market, and there is a high possibility that you can pick one which will make your pH worse rather than improving it.

You see, the vast majority of the less expensive calcium supplements have calcium carbonate listed as their main ingredient. Calcium carbonate is usually created from oyster shells or ground limestone. Calcium from oyster shells is the least effective supplement. Ground limestone, on the other hand, is a better calcium supplement than oyster shells (depending on how fine it’s grinded), but it still doesn’t compare to the better forms.

The best calcium supplement forms include:
- Pure calcium gluconate
- Calcium citrate
- Calcium lactate

In addition, avoid purchasing calcium supplements that list magnesium in their ingredients. The reason is because the body’s Magnesium requirements should be attended to separately from calcium. Thus, the necessary calcium should be taken separately from other minerals. Moreover, you shouldn’t buy combination supplements simply for their calcium content.

Don’t forget that in order for calcium to respond effectively within the body to maintain balance, the correct type must be taken. Therefore, see your doctor first before you start supplementing your anti candida diet.

By Jane Symms. Sign up for a free newsletter that has proven methods for tackling Candida, Candidiasis and yeast infections head-on at Eliminate Candida Naturally. On the site you’ll also find more about the different candida treatment available and information on the benefits of following an anti candida diet.