Fungal Infections – An Over View

Fungal infections are very common part of our day to day lives. When our immune system is unable to handle the invasions of infection causing fungus, is when we get prone to the condition called fungal infection. There are usually two kinds of fungi that reside on human body. The helpful one and the harmful one. The invasion of harmful fungi causes infections as they cannot be killed easily and can rebound as well.Fungal Infections

The most common types of fungal infections in humans include -
Ringworm – This infection is caused by a fungus that lives on dead tissues of skin, nails and hair. It is also responsible for causing athlete’s foot and jock itch but if it occurs on other parts of the body it is known as ringworm. Generally, doctors

Jock itch – A mildly contagious infection by nature, it is caused by fungus that breed in damp and warm regions of the body like groin, inner thighs and buttocks. It causes redness of skin accompanied by itching, chafing or burning. Doctors usually prescribe some topical anti-fungal ointments and advise patients to maintain proper body hygiene.

Athlete’s foot – As the name suggests this infection is very common with sports people and athletes. The reason for it being so common with athletes is breeding environments like shoes, sports equipments, locker rooms, socks. Though it can happen to anyone as well. Athletes feet is also treated with topical anti-fungal oinments but some serious infections need oral medicinal intake as well.

Now, that we are aware of some of the common form of fungal infections let us run down some nutrients that can help us fight fungal infections and are commonly available.

Garlic – Garlic does limit the growth of fungus called candida to a large extent as it is highly sensitive to particularly the purified extract of garlic called allyl alcohol that produced oxidative stress thus supressing the growth of it.

Tea Tree Oil – This oil is effective on candida and various other fungal isolates. It treats candida and paronychia infections effectively as well. The tea tree oil disrupts the yeast cell wall thus inhibiting its growth.

Another way of to protect yourself from the unhealthy fungus, maintaining good population of the healthy fungus particularly to avoid vaginal infections, in women. Yogurt and pro-biotics are a good source of friendly bacteria in the vagina or rectum. Even fructooligosaccharides, a form of sugar is known to boost the levels of the good bacteria in the body, so adding one teaspoon daily to your diet should help you a lot in proliferation of friendly bacteria.

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CHOCOLATES ARE GOOD FOR HEALTH

CHOCOLATES ARE GOOD FOR HEALTH

Yes, you read that right. Chocolates are good for health and this is how. A recent study has found that Chocolate can help prevent heartbeat irregularities, thus reducing the risk of stroke and other heart diseases. As per the researchers, chocolate has worked well against atrial fibrillation, a condition which results in heart beat irregularities. In this condition, a variation in pace of the heart’s lower two chambers and atria or heart’s two upper chambers occurs. This irregularity in the heart beat increases the risk of heart failures, strokes as well as cognitive impairment.

The study found that adults consuming around 1 ounce of chocolate two to six times during the week had the strongest effect. Though the mechanism on how chocolate helps in preventing atrial fibrillation is yet to be known, it is said that flavonoids, types of compounds found in chocolate might play a significant role in the same as they already have anti-oxident and anti-inflammatory properties.
The data study of over 55000 adults, both male and female under the age group of 50-64 was analyzed to get the results. Here are the findings:

Women
Women eating 1 ounce of chocolate once a week lowered the risk of atrial fibrillation by 21 percent.

Men
Men eating 2 to six servings of 1 ounce of chocolate per week lowered the risk of atrial fibrillation by 23 percent.

Cocoa Rich Chocolates
It was found that chocolates with high content of cocoa if had in moderation are considered to be a heart healthy snack. They have significant health benefits as well as protective constituents. The study also revealed that chocolate consumers were healthier, well educated and had less chances of high blood pressure and diabetes when compared to non consumers of chocolate.

Having said that, the debate on the geographic constraint of the study is on, but yes, we can still consider eating cocoa rich chocolates in moderation for a healthy heart.

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Heartburn or Acid Reflux – Don’t Ignore This Sign

Eating habits of Indians include oily and sweet food intake and now add to it the junk food habits of the urban class.. all these roads end up to one common destination – heart burn. Heart burn is often ignored by people because it is a common condition that most of us happen to suffer from.

HEART BURN OR ACID REFLUX
Heart burn is also known as acid reflux and is also a symptom for gastro esophadeal reflux. Our body consists of a specialized muscle called esophageal sphincter (LES) placed at the lowerside of the esophagus or food pipe. When we eat food, it opens up to allow food to pass through and instantly closes down to avoid reflux or backward movement of food, acids or enzymes present in the stomach into the food pipe. In order to avoid inflammation, the stomach is provided with a lining of special protective cells. But, esophagus has no such lining for protection hence is vulnerable to damage if there is a reflux of acids and digestive juices into it. Heart burn, also a general symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) occurs when the digestive juices and acids reflux back into the esophagus.

Heartburn or Acid Reflux

CAUSES
Irregular and improper dietary habits usually pave the way to heartburn. Again, there are certain foods that instigate the secretion of acids in stomach again leading to the same. Some of these foods include intake of fruits containing acidic juices like pineapple, orange and veggies like tomatoes. Drugs like ibuprofen ans aspirin ,chocolates and caffeine, aerated drinks, alchohol and smoking and obesity, pregnancy and hiatal hernia, to name a few.

EFFECTS
Ignoring a prolonged condition of heartburn could lead to ulcer formation, scarring and stricture and other related GERD complications. Heartburn could also lead to change in the type of cells lining the esophagus further causing Barett’s esophagus – a condition known to increase the risk of esophageal cancer.

DIAGNOSIS
Recurring heartburn needs a diagnosis, definitely. It includes physical examination and medical history.
X- Ray Test - A X-ray test that needs the patient to consume to contrasting drugs while watching the complete process through a x-ray. This is done to check whether the esophagus muscles are in good shape, working properly as well as for inflammations or issues withing the food pipe.
Endoscopy
Endoscopy involves the use of a flexible scope fitted with a fibre optic camera for checking out the lining of esophagus and stomach.
Biopsy – This is only done if the gastroenterologists suspects possibilities of cancer.
Manometry – This is not a commonly used test in India and is carried out only if the traditional diagnosis does not give any outcome. Herein, pressure monitors are used measurement of acids inside the esophagus.

TREATMENT
The primary treatment for heart burn involves change in lifestyle. This includes eating smaller potions of meals at frequent intervals, avoiding addictions like alcohol, smoking and more. Using a high pillow for head support while sleeping, avoiding or reducing fruits and veggies with excessive acids, weight loss if obese or overweight and using antacids but in limited proportions.

For patients suffering from Barrett’s esophagus, severe reflux issues leading to wheezing and pneumonia and intensive medical therapy failure, surgery is opted. With the advancement of technology laparoscopy is also used for non invasive treatment of more serious esophagus conditions like carcinoma.

So next time, take heart burn issues seriously and if it is recurring and prolonged then do consult a doctor because little do we know that heart burn might just be a sign of life threatening kidney disease like kidney cancer or even failure. Furthermore, do consult a doctor if you need to take heartburn drugs for a prolonged time period because regular intake could lead to serious renal issues as well.

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Essay on Managing Diabetes – Pumps v/s Injections

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in India. Apparently, it is growing at alarming rate in India compared to the world and the day is not far when it could be included in the list of epidemics, as it has be predicted that India might as well cross the 100 million mark by 2030. No wonder, India is already listed amongst the top 3 countries worldwide, with highest diabetics.

With a mammoth diabetes count of over 60 million as on day, the preliminary plan is to help diabetes patients deal with it, effectively enough. We all are aware that there are two types of diabetes namely type 1 and type 2.

Diabetes - Pumps Vs injections

DIABETES TYPES – OVERVIEW
The most common type is the Type 2 diabetes wherein the body is not able to use insulin or make it while in type 1, the body is not able to make insulin. The insulin hormone works to provide glucose to the body cells. Without insulin the glucose remains in the blood, thus harming the kidneys, eyes, nerves and heart. At times it may cost you your limb as well. So, in order to avoid health issues arising due to diabetes, it is important maintain your blood sugar levels through a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, minimize sugar intake and exercise regularly. That is for the non diabetics, pre-diabetics and the ones who have already had gestational diabetes.
But, people who are already living with diabetes, particularly the ones who are dependent on insulin intake have two options available for them. One, is taking insulin injections on a daily basis and the other alternative is using insulin pumps. Let us go through the pros and cons offered by both this insulin intake procedures

INSULIN INJECTIONS
As painful as they can get insulin injections are more common with diabetes patients in India for a reason that they come really cheap and also require less training compared to Insulin pumps. Though, there are some negative side effects of the injections as well. Primarily, the idea of taking injections on a daily basis is stress injecting already, inspite of the fact that you get used to it in no time. Secondly, due to the regular use or daily use of needles for injections, some of the body areas lose their ability to absorb it. Conditions called Hypoglcemia also might occur due to the use of different insulin types.

INSULIN PUMPS
Insulin pumps are not quite common in India even though their accuracy is much better than injections. A certain study has also shown an improvement in A1C amongst pump users. It also tends to reduce the sudden blood glucose level changes, low or high, by keeping the blood glucose levels under control and balanced. These pumps make way for a more flexible lifestyle whether its about eating habits or daily workouts. The best part of it all is that you’ve dont have to take those painful injections every single day but only once in three days. Rest of the days you could use the insulin pumps. On the flip side, insulin pumps increase the risk of developing diabetic Ketoacidosis, though it can be prevented through regular blood sugar checks. Training is required before you start its use and it might require you to stay for a day at the hospital. Above all, the two main negatives that pumps come with are that they are tugged to the body all the time, which could turnout to be a source of worry for the patient and that they are quite expensive compared to injections.

Well, the choice ultimately is yours, all depends on your comfort and convenience as both have their own pros and cons.

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A Little Brain Resides Inside Your Little Heart

It has been centuries since it is a known fact that the heart and brain inter communicate with each other and that the heart sends far more signals to the brain than otherwise. Well, may be this point was never really explored much earlier as neo-cardiology is a relatively newer field. But, now after substantial research in the field it has been established that our heart does have its own little brain and that is is apparently a sensory organ. It is also proved that it is an encoding and processing center that’s highly sophisticated enough to designate it as a heart brain.

The heart brain

A LITTLE BRAIN RESIDES INSIDE YOUR LITTLE HEARTThe heart brain or the hearts nervous system is made of ganglia which in turn consists of sensory neurites spread all over the heart and different types of circuit neurons. The findings about the little brain residing within the heart are startling. The nervous system of the heart is a self organized but convoluted system. The demonstration of its ability to reform new neural connections on a short term and long term span in order to reorganize itself is demonstrated clearly. The extrinsic cardiac ganglia in the thoracic cavity is indirectly linked to many organs, arteries and skin through the spinal cord and directly linked to organs like esophagus and lungs. The processing and integration of the information from sensory neurons in the heart and the extrinsic nervous system is carried out by the intrinsic nervous system.

Heart brain & Brain communication
The heart generates powerful rhythmic information patterns for continuous communication with the brain while the brain receives the information sent by the heart via the nodose ganglion and the vagus nerve to the medulla. After reaching the medulla, the signals further commute to the cortical and sub-cortical areas. Studies and research have found that heart communicates with the brain on a continuous basis via different modes be it biochemical, neurological, energetic or biophysical. It also has a vital role to play in synchronization of the body.

Thus, the heart is apparently at the heart of regulation of dynamics of processes due to its high influence on physiological, emotional as well as cognitive systems, all this because of its little own intrinsic brain.

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