• Health
    Unusual and underlying causes of joint conditions

    Joints form the connection between the bones and facilitate a range of motions. Any damage caused to these joints can interfere with the ability to move and cause a lot of pain. There are several joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and bursitis that are debilitating and painful. Joint pain is one of the most common pains that people, in general, complain about. A national survey suggested that one-third of adults have reported joint pain at least once in a month. Out of this, knee pain is the most common complaint followed by hip and shoulder pain.

    Here are some of the unusual underlying causes that give rise to painful joint condition:

    • Gout
      It is a common form of arthritis that can affect any age group. Gout is characterized by episodes of severe pain, swelling, redness, and swelling of the joints typically at the base of the big toe. Gout is caused due to the formation of uric acid crystals near the toe. The body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines. Due to gout, the body loses its capacity to convert purines.
    • Lupus
      It is a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own organs and tissues. Lupus affects not only joints, but also affects the skin, blood cells, lungs, heart, and the brain. Apart from causing joint conditions, the most distinct sign of lupus is the formation of rashes that resembles butterfly wings unfolding across both cheeks.
    • Hypothyroidism
      Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce required hormones. Hypothyroidism may not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages but can cause several problems. One major symptom of hypothyroidism is obesity. Unexplained weight gain, followed by joint conditions.
    • Lyme disease
      It is caused by specific species of bacteria, it is the most common tick-borne illness that is transmitted from the bite of a bacteria-infected tick. Out of all the typical symptoms, Lyme disease can cause joint conditions such as severe knee swelling and pain. The pain can shift from one joint to another.
    • Osteomyelitis
      It is an infection in the bone. Several infections can reach the bone traveling through the bloodstream or nearby infected tissue. In some cases, infections can also occur if an injury exposes the bone to germs. The infection can sometimes cause pain in the bones and joints. This condition is called septic arthritis.
    • Fibromyalgia
      This type of disorder is usually characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain. Researchers usually attribute physical trauma, surgery, infection, and significant psychological stress as the causes of fibromyalgia. In many causes fibromyalgia also causes temporomandibular joint disorders, which can result in dull joint aches that can last for up to three months.

    The causes mentioned above could result in joint conditions. So, it is necessary to be aware of all the symptoms and discuss the same with a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • Health
    4 things you can do to keep heart diseases at bay

    Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S, accounting for over 600,000 deaths each year. The umbrella term heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions and can occur to people of all ages, including children. On a positive note, almost 80% of heart conditions, such as heart attack, heart failure, and stroke, can be prevented if you are willing to make long-term lifestyle changes. Here is what you need to do to keep heart diseases at bay.

    • Become physically active

    Being active for most part of the day is an effective way of keeping your blood pressure in check and preventing heart disease. Experts say that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity workout for five days a week is good enough to strengthen your heart. Becoming physically active is not only limited to exercise; you can go swimming, cycling, rowing, or engage in similar heart-pumping activities to keep your heart healthy. Remember, the more physically active you become, the better it is for your heart. Utilizing modern technologies such as digital watches and mobile apps to track the number of steps and your heart rate can keep you motivated.

    • Eat healthy

    Diet plays a key role in preventing heart diseases, even if you have a genetic predisposition for heart conditions. Changing your diet overnight is virtually impossible, so it’s best to start making little changes to your diet. Creating a diet plan that is rich in raw fruits and vegetables is a great place to begin. You can then include whole grains, olive, and foods rich in omega-3s such as fish. Experts strongly recommended to keep your red meat intake to a minimum or eliminate it completely, if possible, since it worsens your heart condition. You can replace red meat with legumes and nuts to meet your daily protein requirement.

    • Give up smoking

    For those who smoke, this is probably the most crucial step they can take to significantly lower the risk of developing heart disease. Smoking builds up fatty substances called plaque, in the arteries over time, which eventually leads to its hardening or atherosclerosis. It damages your body organs, lowers the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood, and increases your blood pressure, all of which lead to a heart attack or other heart conditions. People who quit smoking have soon observed their blood pressure levels getting under control. Furthermore, even oxygen supply and blood circulation in the body greatly improved.

    • Managing diabetes and other conditions

    Diabetes is a serious condition that can cause heart disease. If uncontrolled, diabetes can damage multiple organs in your body over time and can lead to peripheral artery disease, stroke, or other serious complications. The best way to manage diabetes is to visit your doctor regularly for checkups, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. Your doctor will likely put you on medication to limit the effects of diabetes and alleviate the risk of developing heart conditions.

    Other conditions like high blood pressure or hypertension, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar can also put you at a greater risk. You must see a doctor if you have either of these conditions and bring them under control so that it does not lead to any heart conditions.

  • Health
    A comprehensive guide on hearing aids

    Hearing loss can be sensorineural, conductive, or a combination of both. The type of hearing loss determines whether a person has lost his/her hearing ability completely or partially. Once the hair cells in the inner ear are dead, they can’t be treated, and the ability to hear is permanently lost. Regardless of the type of hearing impairment, a person can utilize hearing aids to help hear better. These aids significantly improve hearing ability by amplifying sounds so that it reaches your inner ear. Read on to know more about hearing aids.

    What are hearing aids?

    Hearing aids are wearable, sound-amplifying devices designed to help people with complete or partial hearing loss. Hearing aids have a microphone that picks up sounds, an amplifier that increases sound levels, and a receiver that conducts sounds to the inner ear.

    Hearing aids differ by the technology used to amplify the sound, analog or digital, their various designs, and distinctive features. Some aids come with earmolds or earpieces that direct the sound flow inside the ear canal and improve sound quality. Before choosing a particular aid, it is recommended that the individual consult an audiologist to understand the severity of hearing loss.

    Analog vs. Digital hearing aids

    Although not as popular as digital hearing aids today, analog hearing aids are still available and offer quite a few benefits. A sound amplifier is at the core of analog devices. They cannot isolate background noises, so they amplify all sound signals equally. However, these devices are programmable and can be tweaked to work for different environments like a library, restaurants, or music concert. But even there, they will equally amplify all sounds in the set frequency range. Analog devices tend to have longer battery life and are cheaper than digital aids.

    Digital hearing aids are an enhancement over analog devices and are the most preferred type of hearing aids today. They are equipped with advanced processors, which is essentially a tiny computer chip that receives the signal from the microphone and converts them to digital signals. These signals can then be adjusted to help an individual hear clearly in different environments, and can virtually eliminate background noise.

    Different styles of hearing aids

    Hearing aids come in five major styles. You can select them based on your preferences.

    • Behind-the-ear (BTE) aids: All electronic parts are enclosed in a small plastic case that rests behind the ear. The case is attached to the earmold or earpiece through the tubing.
    • Mini behind-the-ear (mBTE) aids: In this type, the earpiece is inside the ear canal. A thin tube is used to connect the aid to the canal. These are more comfortable than BTEs and barely visible.
    • Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) aids: These tiny aids go deep into the ear canal and fit tightly. They are virtually invisible and less sensitive to wind noise.
    • In-the-canal (ITC) aids: These are compact aids that go into the canal and are barely visible. They don’t give much of a plugged-up feeling like completely-in-the-canal aids, which is preferable to some.
    • In-the-ear (ITE) aids: All electronic components of the aid are enclosed in the case which rests in the outer part of the ear. They are bigger than in-the-canal and completely-in-the-canal aids.
  • Health
    6 foods that boost your immune system

    Your immune system needs to be strong to fight off diseases. A weak immune system will not be able to fight allergies, infections, disorders, and other health problems. Right from fighting and managing common cold to severe health disorders, a strong immune system is essential for a healthy life. To boost the immune system, it is essential to supply the body with important nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin b12, and iron. The body absorbs these nutrients from food, making the inclusion of certain foods in your diet necessary. Read on to know more about the foods you should include in your diet to boost your immune system.

    • Red bell peppers

    Bell peppers are rich sources of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps you quickly recover from the common cold, flu, and other infections and allergies. Adding red bell peppers to your meals in a day can provide the body with this essential vitamin. Moreover, bell peppers are rich in beta carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A in the body.

    • Citrus fruits

    Vitamin C produces white blood cells, which fight infections and allergies. Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C. Since the body does not retain vitamin C, it is recommended to have vitamin C-rich food daily. Fruits such as grapefruit, oranges, clementines, tangerines, lemons, and lime are rich sources of vitamin C. Include at least one of these fruits in yo8ur daily diet to boost the immune system.

    • Garlic

    A highly effective immunity booster, garlic is packed with allicin, a sulfur-containing compound. This compound can immensely strengthen your immune system. Adding garlic to food will not only enhance its taste, but also help the body in fighting infections and diseases.

    • Broccoli

    Broccoli is packed with all essential nutrients and vitamins such as antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins A, E, and C. Rather than stir-frying or making it any other way, steaming broccoli will help retain all its nutrients, providing the body with all its health benefits.

    • Spinach

    Rich in a number of antioxidants, beta carotene, and vitamin C, spinach is a supercharged vegetable. Including spinach in the diet increases your immune system’s infection-fighting ability. Similar to broccoli, spinach should not be over-cooked. Eating blanched or raw spinach will provide the body with all the essential nutrients.

    • Yogurt

    A rich probiotic source, yogurt is good for not only the immune system, but also the gut and digestive system. Yogurts with active and live cultures stimulate overall health by giving a boost to the immune system. By taking care of the gut, yogurt also gets rid of toxins from the body. Yogurt fortified with vitamin D builds up the body’s natural defense system and regulates the immune system as well. Avoid packaged yogurt that is sweetened or has any flavor.

  • Health
    3 common mistakes to avoid for healthy weight management

    The first thought most people have when trying to chalk up a plan for their weight management journey is consuming fewer calories. A close second is to get in some exercise into their routine. Fewer calories, more exercise, perfect plan! But as perfect as that sounds, it’s not all that simple. Just like everything else, weight management comes with a dos and don’ts list.

    While we would all like to think we’re smart enough to plot and plan our weight management journey without any mistakes, it’s surprising how many of us make common mistakes. Read on to know about three mistakes you should definitely avoid the next time you hop on the train to weight loss.

    Weight is just a number
    Weighing oneself on a regular basis might seem like the right way to go, but is it? Regular weight checks are bound to make you feel frustrated, as weight loss is a slow process and might not always go the way you want it to. Plus, there are multiple factors that could affect the daily changes you expect to see on the scale, like muscle gain or menses.
    Instead of standing on the scale looking down on your decisions every day, try weighing yourself once every week. You can also add in tape measures to your routine to really know your progress.

    Restricting and skipping meals
    A new fad diet pops out every now and then on the Internet—the modern-day encyclopedia—these days. Different diets have varying requirements, while some ask you to give up fats, some cut out carbs, and so on. A few diets even require you to bulk up on protein or healthy fats, like they are depleting sources of life. But here’s the thing, fad diets are just that—a fad.
    The sensible approach to weight management is to manage your diet the right way, and include the right amount of macro and micronutrients without compromising on your vegetable and fruit intake. It is essential to choose healthy sources, but treat yourself to some of your guilty pleasures to avoid a binging episode when you succumb to your cravings.

    Overdoing the right things
    When we decide to put our running shoes on, we tend to go the extra mile way too often. The extra mile might just be the cause of damage. Too much of anything is not good, and that’s something we all need to learn. Cardio exercise might seem easier to follow than strength training, but going overboard with cardio won’t get you the results you’re looking for. Likewise, overeating healthy food is not building your health.
    Strength training helps build muscle mass and improves the body’s metabolic activity. So, include a variety of physical activity in your weight management plan to get the kind of results you want. Instead of going all in on those healthy munchies at once, plan your meals and focus on the portion sizes to stay on track. Keep in mind that irrespective of the sources, calories are still calories.

  • Health
    Beneficial and harmful foods for Parkinson’s disease patients

    Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that occurs due to damaged nerve cells, which causes an imbalance in the dopamine levels in the brain. Nearly 1 million Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s, a condition closely related to the dopamine levels. So, apart from being aware of the symptoms and the treatment options for the disease, it is imperative for patients to make the right dietary choices to get relief from the symptoms.

    Foods to eat with Parkinson’s disease
    Here are some foods that should be eaten to keep the symptoms at bay:

    • Foods rich in antioxidants
      Eating foods rich in antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress, which is defined as the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidant defenses. When a person has Parkinson’s disease, the reduced dopamine levels can result in tissue damage, but foods rich in antioxidants can help alleviate this. Some antioxidant-rich foods that should be included in the diet are tree nuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, pecans, blueberries, goji berries, blackberries, cranberries, spinach, and kale.
    • Omega-3-rich foods
      Foods like salmon, oysters, halibut, soybeans, kidney beans, and flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help improve cognitive function. Regularly consuming these can help relieve symptoms like confusion and dementia, which are commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease.
    • Calcium-rich foods
      Osteoporosis is a condition that causes the bones to become weak and fragile, and it is also one of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Increased severity of the neurological disorder is also linked to osteoporosis, so experts suggest vitamin D and calcium intake to help build stronger bones. Some foods that are great sources of calcium are sardines, canned salmon, beans and lentils, almonds, broccoli, and leafy greens like spinach and kale.
    • Co-enzyme Q10
      The enzyme is naturally present in small amounts in a wide range of foods like oily fish, soya oil, offal, and beef and can help relieve the symptoms of this neurological disease.

    Foods to avoid with Parkinson’s disease
    It is also important to know which foods to stay away from to avoid worsening the disorder. The following is a list of foods that one should keep off their plates if suffering from Parkinson’s disease:

    • Dairy
      Studies have shown that Parkinson’s disease patients who consume dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and milk face a higher risk of worsening the symptoms. Medical researchers suggest that consuming dairy could reduce uric acid levels, which increases the risk of Parkinson’s.
    • Iron
      It can bind with Parkinson’s disease medications, reducing the amount of medication absorbed by the system.
    • Vitamin B6
      The nutrient can interact with Parkinson’s disease medications and reduce their effects. However, health experts suggest that this might not be possible if an individual is taking a combination of medications to fight the disease.

    The symptoms can vary from one person to another, so the type of diet and treatment approach also differ accordingly. It is imperative to discuss which foods should be included in or left out of the diet to help ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

  • Health
    3 must-know sexual conditions that affect women

    A healthy lifestyle is a culmination of physical and mental health with many other aspects of life, including sexual health. It is essential for an individual to pay equal attention to their sexual health, including getting regular check-ups, just like for the brain or other vital organs. Awareness about sexual conditions and their causes, symptoms, treatment options, and preventive measures is also necessary.

    Having trouble establishing physical relationships is not all that uncommon, but sexual conditions are not something one needs to be ashamed of. One might not be comfortable discussing it with family or friends, but they definitely need to open up to their doctor about it. Here are a few common sexual conditions that plague women:

    Inability to orgasm
    Anorgasmia is a condition that defines the inability or difficulty to have an orgasm. Studies suggest that a significant number of women have either never achieved an orgasm or are no longer able to do so. The reasons behind this are a varied mixture of mental conditions, and the issue may also be related to a past sexual experience that induced trauma.
    While an orgasm might not be necessary for some women to enjoy intercourse, it does count for others. Therapy has been said to help overcome this sexual condition as it helps ease worries and relax.

    Persistent painful intercourse is a prominent sign of dyspareunia. The causes of this condition vary widely and can range from physical to psychological. The pain can range from moderate to severe, and it can lead to issues in a person’s health and relationships. In some women, menopause is also known to cause dyspareunia. The treatment options for this sexual condition include therapy, medications, and/or estrogen therapy.
    Dyspareunia also includes vaginismus, which is the painful involuntary contraction of the vaginal muscles due to spasms.

    Decreased libido
    Decreased libido or sex drive might not commonly be a permanent occurrence, but it is so for a few women. No matter how common or uncommon, it is a sexual condition that everyone needs to be aware of. Women with active libido might also experience a low sex drive at times due to hormonal changes or as a result of stress.
    Fall in a woman’s libido can be attributed to conditions like diabetes, a malfunctioning thyroid gland, alcohol consumption, depression, and physical and/or mental traumatic experiences.
    A fall in testosterone—a hormone produced in the adrenal gland and the ovaries—levels can also significantly affect a woman’s sex drive, which means the removal of the ovaries can also manifest in the said sexual condition.

    The above-mentioned are just a few of the various sexual conditions that women are faced with, but most conditions have treatment options available these days. Instead of suffering in silence and compromising on the relationship with their partner, one should seek help from a professional. Therapy can be useful for overcoming these hindrances that keep women from enjoying a healthy intimate relationship.