Definition of High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure denotes how much pressure blood is forced on your arterial walls.

How Blood Pressure Changes:

The pressure exerted in your arteries (blood pressure) is affected by functions of your nervous system, hormones, enzymes, kidneys and heart. Based on what you are doing, drinking, thinking or eating, your blood pressure will always be in flux and can make it low, normal or high.

High blood pressure happens when your BP is constantly high. You measure your BP with two measurements: The systolic and the diastolic blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Levels

Blood pressure is composed of a systolic (the top reading) and diastolic (bottom reading) number. Blood pressure readings are classified as:

  • Normal if the reading is lower than 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic) or 120/80
  • Prehypertension level if the reading is 120/80 up to 139/89
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure if readings are from 140/90 to 159/99
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure when readings are 160 and above (systolic) and 100 and above (diastolic)

If your blood pressure is above normal you need to see your physician to formulate treatment steps to lower it.

Blood pressure is likely to be experienced by a person as he or she ages. The best way to prevent this condition is to lead a healthy lifestyle and follow a diet low in sodium content.

 

Dale Roach, MD,L.Ac
178 Myrtle Blvd
Larchmont, NY 10538
Phone: 914-562-5748
http://www.docacupuncture.com/

Headaches – Tests and Diagnosis

When you report to your doctor for headaches, the doctor will review your medical history and family history and perform a physical examination as well. He may deem that additional tests are necessary to help him attain an accurate diagnosis. If you have had previous testing, it is essential that your doctor gets hold of them to avoid needless expense and redundant tests.

Tests

Specific tests may be done to basically exclude a more basic cause of a secondary headache. Tests that may be utilized are:

  • PET scans
  • EEG or electro-encephalogram
  • CT scan or MRI – Short for computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging respectively, a CT scan can see if your head show signs of strokes, tumors or sinus problems while an MRI may provide a more definitive view of problems in your brain or head. Both technologies can hematomes, concussions, sinus problems, malignant diseases, skull fractures and other kinds of health problems.
  • Urinalysis and Blood Chemistry – These are tests that take urine and blood samples to see if you suffer from specific health conditions like infections or thyroid problems which can cause headaches.
  • Spinal tap or lumbar puncture
  • Sinus X-Ray – This type of x-ray can provide more information especially if your symptoms show problems in your sinus.
  • Ophthalmology and neurological tests – An ophthalmology test like an eye pressure test can reveal or rule out glaucoma. Neurological tests on the other hand, look for any neurological problems and epilepsy that can cause headache.

Some results of these tests may be insufficient to accurately locate the headache but they validate the observations of the doctor to confirm that worse underlying conditions are not the cause of the headache.

Headache Diagnosis

With the utilization of neuromuscular dental analysis and treatment, the headaches referred below may be addressed effectively.

Migraine headaches – Migraines are primarily diagnosed according to the medical history of the patient. Only with the observation of the episodes of vomiting and/or nausea can the physician be able to distinguish the external symptoms of migraine.

Tension headache – Usually during the examination, this type of headache will not exhibit any sensitivity or pain with the patient appearing all well and normal

Secondary headaches – Most of the time, the existence of secondary headaches indicate trauma to the patient’s head with the patient exhibiting signs of traumatic brain injury. Some of these headaches are less severe and can be detected by the aforementioned tests above.

Cluster headaches – Cluster headaches can be diagnosed based on the patient’s medical history. They can also be directly observed during appointment when their symptoms or signs may manifest.

Headaches that suddenly come and are extremely painful should be seen, diagnosed and treated immediately by the doctor. Chronic headaches usually are addressed by a treatment plan concocted by the doctor. The objective of the plan is to mitigate as much as possible the severity and the frequency of the headache.

Headache drugs

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the most commonly used treatment to help lessen the ache and frequency of headaches.

Abortive drugs – These medications are given by the doctor to stop the pain and are taken immediately when the headache begins. The kinds of abortive drugs are:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Triptans – Samples of these drugs include Zomig, Amerge and Imitrex and are given for the alleviation of cluster headaches and migraine
  • Ergot medications – These medications come from the ergot fungus that is found on rye. These drugs are used for migraines. They constrict the blood vessels in the head to minimize the pain.
  • Pain relievers – Also called analgesics and include acetaminophen and aspirin.
  • Preventative drugs – These medications are effective for chronic headaches and prevent the recurrence of the headache.
  • Serotonin reuptake inhibitors – Also called SSRIs, these are antidepressants that control serotonin levels in your body. Types of SSRIs include Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox and Prozac
  • Antidepressants
  • NSAIDS or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications

Natural Therapies for Headaches

A lot of people are quite dissatisfied with the effects of prescribed or OTC drugs. They help lessen the headache symptoms but never treat their root problems. Many don’t like taking these medications because of the nasty side effects of these drugs. Many of these headache sufferers have been using alternative and natural headache remedies because they are safer, more effective and some directly address the underlying cause of the headache. Most of the time, the patient avails of one or more of these remedies and combines these treatments for more effective results.

Self Treatments – These can be:

  • Lying on the back without using a pillow
  • Hot showers
  • Gentle and slow neck roll exercises

Acupuncture – This is a very versatile therapy that has been used to treat dozens of health conditions for many thousands of years. Acupuncture for headache treatment is probably the best alternative treatment for headache. To treat your headache, the practitioner applies needles in certain parts of your body like the:

  • Toe
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Legs

Acupuncture headache treatments may last between 5 minutes to up to an hour which depends on how severe your headache is. There are patients who get immediate relief in just one session while some may need two or more sessions to get the full benefits of the treatment

Chiropractic and/or Osteopathic Therapy – Chiropractic treatment is done by repairing subluxation (the misalignment of the spinal joint to the spine) that can cause your headache. By adjusting and properly aligning your spine, chiropractic medicine is a great way to eliminate pain in you head and neck.

The teaming up of an osteopath, chiropractor and neuromuscular dentist to make orthotic adjustments to the neuro-skeletal system can help to permanently address certain types of headaches.

Biofeedback – With this technique you are trained to subconsciously address problems in your body processes. Learning to use your mind in repairing problems in your body can help you effectively treat headaches and other associated conditions.
Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness center in central Florida.

Dry Skin Lifestyles and Home Remedies

There are so many steps you can take to make your dry skin turn into a supple and smooth organ. Most of the time, all you need to do is make some adjustments to your daily skin care routine.

What to do when washing your dry skin:

  • Forego hot and/or long showers since they wash away the natural skin oil that keeps the skin moist.     Mildly warm or normal temperature water is good for your skin. Also, try to take a bath or a shower for just 5 to 10 minutes once a day.
  • Always apply a shower gel or gentle cleanser both with moisturizer.  Never use harsh perfumed cleansers; instead, opt for mild soap or unscented, soap-free cleansers instead.
  • To sustain the skin’s moistness apply a moisturizer while skin is still moist. Instead of rubbing the towel on your skin to dry yourself after bathing/showering, pat your skin with a towel after or wash your hands or face to keep them damp. Within 3 to 5 minutes after showering/bathing, apply a moisturizer to keep the skin moisture in.

What kind of moisturizer should you use?

There are certain ingredients you need to look for in a moisturizer if you have dry skin. These helpful ingredients can include:

  • Petrolatum (petroleum jelly), mineral oil and lanolin – These three ingredients are good in retaining the water absorbed by the skin during showering
  • Hyaluronic acid – This may include hyaluronic acid and ceramides that helps retain the water in your skin
  • Glycerin and dimethicone – Both of these ingredients draw water to the skin and help keep it there.
  • Ceramides – This ingredient soothes dry skin and retains the water in the skin. Synthetic ceramides is as good as its natural counterpart in keeping moisture in.

If you need to stay under the sun for several hours in a day, then you need to protect your skin by using sunscreen to shield your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.  Use a sunscreen having an SPF of 30 and above and one that says “broad spectrum” on the label.

Dry skin lifestyle advices

A number of lifestyle suggestions can help your dry skin to become smooth and supple:

  • Omega-3 foods – This very beneficial fatty acid can strengthen the natural oil-retaining barriers that keep the skin moist and supple. Some of the foods that contain high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acid include safflower oil, walnuts, flax, cold-water fish (sardines, halibut and salmon
  • Stay hydrated – This means keep on drinking copious amounts of water, fluids or juices
  • Wear light and comfortable natural fibers like cotton – Fabrics such as synthetics and wool can be irritating and scratchy to the skin.
  • Run a humidifier at home to maintain moisture in your skin when the air is dry especially during the winter season.

If your skin is inflamed or reddish in color you can put over-the-counter hydrocortisone ointment or use a cool compress on the affected skin areas for about a week.  If both these techniques fail, then you need to consult with your doctor.

Nawei Jiang is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Nawei’s Acupuncture Clinic in Colorado Springs, CO.

Definition of Influenza

Influenza commonly known as the flu is an illness of the respiratory system that can be contagious considering that it is caused influenza viruses. The flu can cause light to extreme illness and there are cases so severe that it even can lead to death. People with certain health problems, young children and older people are high risk individuals for developing severe flu complications.

Influenza viruses can have three types: A, B and C. In the United States almost every winter time, flu viruses (human influenza A and B viruses) become prevalent. Almost all people are at risk in getting infected by new and very different influenza viruses that become mutated, armed and/or produced in some pharmaceutical or military centers. When a very large number of people get infected with a flu virus, this condition is called an epidemic or a pandemic. Type C influenza infections can lead to mild respiratory conditions and they are not considered dangerous enough to start epidemics.

Influenza A pathogens are sub-classified based on two proteins on the virus surface. One is the neuraminidase (N) and the other is the hemagglutinin (H). The neuraminidase virus has 10 different subtypes while the hemagglutinin has 17 subtypes. Influenza A viruses can also be further classified into different strains. Influenza A viruses subtypes found in people can include the H3N2 and the H1N1 flu viruses. A new strain of the H1N1 influenza A virus has been discovered in 2009 during the spring season. The new virus strain looked very different from the typical H1N1 influenza A virus. The new flu virus was responsible for the first influenza pandemic in more than 4 decades. The new strain, now called the 2009 H1N1, is now the most prevalent form of flu virus replacing the older H1N1 virus that previously was infecting humans.

Viruses of the Influenza B types have no subtypes; however, they can be classified into different strains.

 

DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic
2929 SW 3rd Ave #610
Miami, FL 33129
(305) 677-3214
http://www.miamiacupunctureclinic.com/

Migraine Risk Factors

Migraine headaches have been reported to start as early as 10 years old. People from 10 years to 45 years old seem to be more likely to get migraines headaches than any other age group. However, migraines can also develop after 45 years of age.

  • Pregnant women tend to have fewer migraines than non-pregnant females
  • Migraines are often genetically passed from generation to generation
  • Women suffer from migraine more than men

A badly functioning brain activity due to several triggering factors causes migraine. One of the things scientists have yet to find is what makes the sequence of events that lead to a migraine headache. These scientists theorize that a migraine headache starts with the brain and involves the neural chemicals and pathways. Changes in the way blood flows in the brain and its surrounding tissues activate the migraine pain.

The likelihood for developing migraine involves several factors. Some of the more common risk factors for migraine headache include:

  • Genetic factors – If you are genetically predisposed for migraines, then at some point in your life you may experience episodes of migraines if not regularly, then from time to time.
  • Medications – The use of certain medications can actually cause a migraine to occur.  These medications include headache remedies, birth control drugs, hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills and drugs that are used to dilate the blood vessels.
  • Age – As mentioned before, the onset of migraine can start as early as 10 years old to about 45 years of age and beyond.  The majority of migraine headaches are experienced by young people who are waiting for an answer to their migraine problem.
  • Gender – Females are more likely to develop migraine than men do. The fluctuation of the female hormones can cause migraines.
  • Diet – Eating foods laden with MSG or monosodium glutamate, overeating or skipping meals may likely make you develop migraines.
  • Lifestyle factors – You are at high risk to develop migraine if you often drink alcohol, exercise too intensely, do not get enough sleep or regularly experience extreme stress.

Apart from these, some other factors can be triggers for your migraine. These factors can be:

  • Change in time zone
  • Being in high places
  • Menstruation
  • Fatigue
  • Strong odor or scents or perfumes
  • Pulsating bright or glaring lights

Definition of Insomnia

Insomnia is a typical sleep problem. Individuals suffering from insomnia have problems going to sleep, staying asleep or both. They then may have very short sleeping time or have poor sleep.  They often wake up not refreshed and poorly rested.

Insomnia can be a short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) disorder. A lot of people experience acute insomnia and family pressures, stress at work or a traumatic event often are its causes. Short-term insomnia endures for days or weeks.

Long-term insomnia can last for a month or more. Many kinds of chronic insomnia are considered secondary meaning they are manifestations (side effects or symptoms) of a certain underlying problem. Certain substances, sleep disorders, medications or medical conditions can cause secondary insomnia.

Primary insomnia, on the other hand, is not caused by substances, medicines or medical problems. It is its own medical problem and no one knows what causes it. Emotional stresses like emotional upset or prolonged stress are factors that can trigger primary insomnia.

Insomnia can lead to lack of energy or sleepiness during the daytime. It usually causes the sufferer to feel irritable, depressed or anxious. The sufferer can have difficulty in remembering, learning or paying attention and can make his school performance suffer. Insomnia can lead to potential serious consequences. It may cause a driver to feel drowsy or sleepy which may then lead to an accident.

Treatment of the original condition that cause secondary insomnia often addresses the sleep disorder more so if the underlying problem is treated before secondary insomnia develops. An example of this is that if your caffeine intake is giving you insomnia, avoiding or lessening your caffeine consumption can lead to the resolution of your insomnia.

Relief of acute insomnia can often entail changes in your lifestyle. One lifestyle change is the bettering of your sleeping habits which can provide you with more adequate sleep and remove your acute insomnia. Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, may entail the intervention of a doctor who can advice cognitive-behavioral therapy or medications.

 

Dale Roach is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Dale Roach, MD,L.Ac in Larchmont, NY.

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain can be the result of a lot of factors. It could be from stress, trauma, injury, age and from other kinds of causes.  As a person gets older, the spine encounters a lot of problems – the integrity of the bones are weakened, the back muscles lose their elasticity and tone and the fluids that lubricate the spinal disc are slowly reduced leading to friction between the disc and the spinal cord itself lessening flexibility and causing pain. Listed below are the common leading causes of back pain.

Injury or trauma to the back – Any injury in your back can cause the development of scar tissue in your back muscles. This scar can get worse and become larger when the person incurs repeated injuries. The scar weakens the back muscles which can cause a number of conditions including back pain.

Menstrual period or pregnancy – One of the common symptoms of menstruation is back pain. Cramping and back pain often occurs during pregnancy since the growing and swollen stomach gradually puts more stress to the back muscles and the spine.

Disc damage – The spinal fluid serves as a lubricant and a cushion between the vertebral discs in the spine. Decrease of this fluid as one gets older causes friction between the discs and causes back pain which is often severe.

Poor seating posture – Long periods of seating in an uncushioned or hard chair or surface can lead to back pain.  Proper ergonomics can help a person seat properly and seat comfortably for long periods of time.

Obesity – Excessive weight and obesity add to the strain and stress to the spinal cord and the back muscles. The way to remedy this type of back pain is to lose weight.

Bad sleeping posture – Add to the bad sleep posture, wrong pillows and mattresses can contribute not only to back pain but also to neck pain and headache.

Osteoporosis – This is a musculoskeletal condition in which the bones become fragile and brittle which can result in compression fractures in the vertebral spine and back pain. Just a little stress or strain can cause a fracture.

Ankylosing spondylitis – A health problem that affects the spine. It causes inflammation and stiffness of the spine and back pain.

Arthritis – This health condition is one of the most common causes of back pain. It also is a type of chronic back pain among adults. Arthritis pain can affect any region in the back and flares up at night or when the person walks. Osteoarthritis occurs when a joint cartilage gets damaged. Rheumatoid arthritis is the thickening and swelling of the joints of the bone causing back pain.

Causes of Rashes

Having a strong, resilient and healthy skin is important for a good quality of life because it serves as a wall between the inherent toxicity of the environment and the inside of your body. Getting a rash implies a hostile element, mild or severe, has affected the skin.

Rashes are symptoms of irritation of the skin that can have a lot of causes. Rashes are basically minor skin problems that can easily be remedied by using home remedies.  However, there are rashes that may be difficult to address or may have worsened and now require medical intervention.

In older children and adults, rashes often develop from contact with an allergen that inflames the skin. These substances cause contact dermatitis. The skin develops rash slowly, usually developing fully in less than 2 days after contiguity with the allergen. Contact dermatitis can result in the development of:

  • Small red bumps
  • Mild redness of the skin

Severe reactions can entail:

  • Large blisters
  • Redness
  • Swelling

The body part where rash develops may indicate the cause(s) of the rash.

Contact dermatitis may not develop all at once nor do the rashes flare up upon initial contact with the allergen. Two or more contacts can elicit a rash reaction when you are again exposed to minimal amounts of the allergen. Contact dermatitis is a minor skin problem but the itching is quite serious.  This skin problem can be caused by:

  • Latex – People who are allergic to latex gloves but work in an environment when wearing of these gloves is mandatory may need to don other hypo-allergenic gloves first before wearing latex gloves. Latex or rubber products are allergens that can cause serious reactions.
  • New appliances, toys or other objects
  • Fabrics or jewelry
  • Lotions, cosmetics, perfumes, shampoos, detergents and soaps

Rashes can be caused by pathogens like:

  • Viral infections – Herpes zoster
  • STIs or sexually transmitted infections – Syphilis, gonorrhea
  • Bacterial infections – Impetigo
  • Fungal/yeast infections – Candida albicans

Rashes can also come as one sign of more serious health conditions. These conditions can be:

  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

Rashes can also develop from an insect sting or bite like the bite from a scabies mite, a tick, flea, cockroach and many kinds of insects you can find at home, in your backyard or in open areas. You can have a rash when you go wood camping, hiking or traveling to a rural area.

A rash can be the most common symptom of an acute or chronic skin problem like:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Acne

The environment like severe hot weather, cold weather and dry weather can lead to rashes. Severe emotional stress stemming from embarrassment or frustration can make you develop an itchy rash.

Certain medications have side effects such as rash. A serious and rare kind of generalized red rash which is medically termed toxic epidermal necrolysis can occur after exposure to or intake of sulfa drugs. Toxic epidermal necrolysis can severely damage the skin making it peel away exposing body tissues that ooze or weep fluid like something you see after a severe burn. When this kind of rash happens, medical attention is urgently needed.  Certain drugs can cause toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Rashes typically do not require medical attention but when other symptoms appear along with the rashes like fever or breathing difficulty, you might be suffering from an infection or a serious allergic response which may require emergency medical attention.

Dr. Jeda Boughton is a licensed acupuncture physician and the medical director of BodaHealth in Vancouver, BC.

 

Menopause – Tests and Diagnosis

Either your physician or a gynecologist will determine whether your body is starting menopause.  Usually, the doctor or gynaecologist will diagnose you with menopause if you haven’t had at least a single menstrual period for a year or more. Your physician can also measure the pH levels in your vagina to see if you have reached menopause. Your vaginal pH level will be about 4.5 during your fertile years and will register to around 6 when you are in menopause. Sometimes, the doctor may check the levels of your follicle-stimulating hormone and if your FSH level is higher than normal it may signify menopause.

If your doctor is not convinced that you are in menopause although you may bear the signs and symptoms of menopause, he may perform some tests to see if you suffer from other medical conditions like thyroid problems or ovarian failure instead. These tests may include:

  • Kidney function test
  • Liver function test
  • Lipid profile
  • Thyroid function test
  • Estrogen test
  • FSH test

Physical Examination

During your appointment, your physician will question you on the frequency of your symptoms and also ask when you experienced your last menstrual period.  Oftentimes the symptoms the female reports suffice to diagnose menopause.

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Test

Your doctor may perform a follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH test to measure your estrogen and FSH levels. When you start menopause your levels of FSH increase while your estrogen levels decrease. This test will also record estradiol levels which is an estrogen hormone that causes the eggs to mature. When a woman has menopause her levels of estradiol begin to decrease.

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) Test

Thyroid problems like hypothyroidism manifest symptoms that are identical to menopause symptoms. The doctor will need to perform a TSH in order to diagnose or rule out thyroid dysfunctions as the cause of your symptoms.

 

Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.

Anemia – Preparing for your Appointment

Extended symptoms of anemia like prolonged fatigue should mean scheduling an appointment with your physician. If the doctor sees that you have anemia that may entail complex treatment, he may refer you to a hematologist.

In order to get the most out of your appointment, it is best to come prepared and be able to supply your doctor with medical information about you and your condition and to write down all questions regarding your anemia you need answers to. To be prepared:

  • List down all questions to ask your physician
  • List down all supplements, steroids, vitamins and medications you are taking presently and giving this list to your physician
  • List down vital information about yourself which should include any new changes in your life and the things that stress you out
  • List down the signs and symptoms of your anemia including symptoms that you think is not connected to your anemia or to the condition that basically prompted you to come to your doctor.

Since there is basically a relatively short time to confer with your doctor, preparing the aforementioned lists will help you glean the most amount of information during that time. When you write down questions to your doctor, give yourself time to think about everything that needs to be asked so you can come out of the appointment well-informed. These questions can include:

  • What is causing my symptoms?
  • What are the other factors that may possibly be causing my symptoms?
  • Do I need to undergo certain exams and tests?
  • Is there an underyling cause to my anemia?
  • Do I have temporary or permanent anemia?
  • Any possible treatments for my anemia?
  • What treatments do you recommend? Do they cause bad side effects? What side effects can occur?
  • Besides anemia I suffer from other ailments. What do I need to do to address anemia and these other conditions?
  • Do I need to follow a certain regular diet? What foods do you recommend to fight my anemia? How often do I need to eat these foods?
  • Do you have pamphlets and brochures I can bring and read at home? Are there websites you recommend that can provide important information for my anemia?

Any other questions not included in the above list should be asked by you to your doctor. For pregnant women suffering from anemia, added questions to ask can include:

  • How many tests do I need to undergo for anemia during my pregnancy?
  • What is the nature if these tests?
  • Will my anemia entail possible complications for my baby and me?
  • Is my anemia going to get better or worse during my pregnancy?
  • Is my anemia ever going away? If yes, when do you think it will be?
  • Is my present anemic condition a thing I need to worry about in future pregnancies?

Things the doctor may do

First and foremost to know more about you and your condition, the doctor will ask you certain questions. These questions should be answered truthfully and honestly in order for your physician to get an accurate diagnosis and therefore the right treatment plan for you. If a question may require you to think about the answer, then by all means, take your time. Some of the questions the doctor may ask can include:

  • When have you first noticed these symptoms?
  • Have these symptoms been with you all the time or have they been intermittent (coming and going)?
  • Are your symptoms severe or mild?
  • Are there things that make your symptoms better or worse?

 

Willow Tree Wellness Clinic
1607 NE 16th Avenue
Portland, OR 97232
Ph: 503-281-0030
http://willowtreeclinic.com