• Health
    Understanding cancer recurrence

    Battling cancer victoriously lets one breathe a little easier. But, that does not take away the all-consuming fear a cancer survivor harbors inside of themselves. Fear and anxiety does hinder daily life, and the only option one has is to be calm and positive. Yet, one gets jittery with every follow-up with the doctor.

    The fear is not baseless though. Cancer in all its entirety can sometimes relapse. The returning of cancer after having gone through the initial treatments to get rid of the cancer is recurrence. It can be because the treatment failed to completely remove some malignant cells from the body that eventually started multiplying aggressively again. These cancerous cells may or may not originate in the same place as the first time.

    Types

    In most recurrence cases, cancer that returns after the remission period is the same one that the patient had suffered from earlier. In some cases, however, it can be a different type of cancer and might not be related to the first one. The types of cancer recurrence are:

    • Local
      It is when cancer has returned where it had first occurred or somewhere close. Local recurrence of cancer signifies that cancer has not spread elsewhere.
    • Regional
      Regional and local recurrence can be differentiated on the basis of the presence of cancer cells in the lymph nodes surrounding the area of origin.
    • Distant
      When cancer enters the metastasis stage, it spreads to other parts of the body distant from the site of origin. Distant recurrence is the returning of cancer different from its initial occurrence.

    The site of recurrence of cancer is mainly based upon the type and the stage of the cancer being treated. Depending on its type, cancer can recur in some specific sites, like lungs, liver, bones or in the brain,

    Symptoms

    The symptoms of cancer recurrence are relevant to its type of recurrence.

    • For a local recurrence, the symptoms are similar to the first time as they are specific to the site and type.
    • In the case of regional recurrence, the warning signs might slightly be different, like a lump around the original area.
    • Distant recurrence shows different signs and symptoms, as this time, the cancer cells have spread. The warning signs include unexpected consistent pain, unexplained weight loss, easy bleeding, unexplained bruising, nausea, blood in urine and excreta, trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, fever and chills, and persistent cough. Some other symptoms can also be a red flag you should look out for.

    Diagnosis and treatment
    The diagnosis of recurred cancer remains similar to the original one. After the recurrence has been detected, your doctor might suggest some more tests do detect the type and stage of the cancer.

    The treatment plan depends on the type and stage of the recurred cancer. The plan suggested by the doctor can depend on the series of previous treatments and the patient’s reaction to them.

    It is difficult to not worry about cancer recurrence. However, it is important to keep this legitimate fear from interfering with normal day-to-day life. In order to do that, one can join support groups, see a therapist, or employ their family and friends to help deal with it.

  • Health
    Chronic fatigue syndrome – Risk factors, symptoms, causes and more

    Chronic fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome causes extreme tiredness. It is a never ending feeling of fatigue, that does not go away even with rest and sleep. There has been no underlying medical ailment found, that causes chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS. Usually, women have a higher risk of CFS. However, this disorder can occur in anyone. Here are a few things to know about chronic fatigue syndrome.

    Common risk factors
    People belonging to the age group of 40- 50 years are generally at a high risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome. Additionally, women in this age group are at a higher risk than men. Prolonged allergies, a family history of CFS, genetic predisposition, unhealthy living environment, extreme psychological stress, and certain environmental factors also increase the risk of chronic fatigue syndrome.

    Common symptoms
    Based on the severity of the disorder, the symptoms will also differ from person to person. The most common symptom observed in those with CFS is extreme and severe fatigue. The intensity of fatigue is so extreme that it affects a person’s lifestyle. It hampers their ability to carry out every day routine tasks. This fatigue can last for six months or more. In some cases, a person may experience post-exertional malaise or PEM. PEM is extreme fatigue experienced for 24 hours after carrying out mental or physical activities. Some people may also experience other symptoms like loss of memory, sleep disorders such as insomnia, low concentration, joint pain, orthostatic intolerance, muscle pain, and frequent headaches.

    Common causes
    The exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS is not yet known. There has been no conclusive research to determine what exactly causes CFS. However, there are multiple contributing reasons that cause chronic fatigue. These include a weak immune system, extreme stress, hormonal imbalances, and prolonged viral infections. In some cases, CFS occurs as an after-effect of a viral infection. There is no particular type of viral infection that has been found to be the only known cause of CFS. However, some infections have been closely studied to check whether they are directly related to chronic fatigue syndrome. These infections include Ross River virus, Epstein-Barr virus, rubella virus, and human herpesvirus 6. Another major cause of CFS is known to be genetic predisposition.

    Diagnosis
    A possible diagnosis of chronic fatigue symptoms can be done only when a person experiences extreme fatigue for 6 months or more. Otherwise, the diagnosis of this disorder is difficult. The reason for this is that the symptoms of CFS are often similar to other diseases. Also, there have been no CFS-specific screening tests. The only way to diagnose CFS is by observing the common symptoms. Diagnosis is further possible by ruling out other disorders such as multiple sclerosis, mononucleosis, and Lyme disease.

    Common treatments
    There is no definite treatment or therapy that can cure chronic fatigue syndrome completely. Since every CFS patient experiences different symptoms, there are different therapies that will work. These treatments and therapies are usually prescribed to help alleviate the severity of the symptoms and manage CFS. Also, over-the-counter and prescribed medicines can help manage the condition.

  • Health
    Simple ways to maintain a skincare routine with organic products

    You want to maintain that beautiful natural glowing skin but often struggle to decide which products to use in your daily beauty and skincare routine. There are different products for every skin type, each with its own unique features. Even the list of natural and organic cosmetic products is ever-growing and changing. So for starters, you can check out these amazing products that will help you get an idea of how to go about your skincare routine.

    Cleanse once a day
    Cleanse and wash your skin to get rid of the dirt and pollutants that clog up the pores. But over doing it can drain the natural pH level and result in more irritation. Instead, use a good quality but mild cleanser and wash your face once every day. Switch to natural and organic cleansers that are paraben, chemical, and alcohol-free. Use a charcoal activated soap bar and organic extract exfoliating face wash like Beautycounter’s Charcoal Cleansing Bar and InstaNatrual’s Glycolic Acid Face Cleanser for best results. That charcoal helps clean out the pores, and the cleanser liquid reduces the recurrence of blemishes. Every morning, start your organic beauty & skincare routine with a nice cleanse.

    Use an exfoliator
    Cleansing does clear out the pores, but a good exfoliator will really dig deep and unclog the oil and dirt. It also helps stimulate collagen, one of the vital building blocks that promote healthy skin growth. Take note that you must exfoliate once, twice, or regularly depending on your skin type. Those who have oily skin can use an exfoliating face mask two times a week while people with sensitive skin should stick to exfoliating just once a week or even ten days. You can either use Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask or Herbivore Botanicals – All Natural Blue Tansy Exfoliating AHA Mask available online. There are slightly cheaper alternatives as well like Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub or SW Basics Organic Facial Exfoliant if you are working with a tight budget.

    Use a face mist
    Your face loses moisture during the day, especially during harsh summers and winters when the elements are just too tough for the skin. A face mist will hydrate the pores and prevent dust from settling in the skin. In fact many facial masks have a natural and organic botanical extract base that are free of chemicals. Popular choices include Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator, Ranavat Botanics Jasmine Tonique, Maya Chia The Optimist, and Bybi Beauty Mega Mist just to name a few. These are all quite affordable and available online.

    Moisturize regularly
    Apply a gentle natural and organic moisturizer as part of your beauty and skincare routine during the day and especially at night before going to bed. The skin needs to replenish its natural oils and a good moisturizer will naturally help speed up the process and retain the oils better. There are many affordable products that you can buy online including Spirit Nest – The Sage Witch Organic Moisturizer, Awake Human – Unscented Organic Facial Moisturizer, and Christina Moss Naturals – Organic Face Moisturizer among popular options.

  • Health
    7 foods that can help fight against arthritis

    Of the many painful conditions known to mankind, arthritis is probably the most distressing both in terms of internal and external suffering. The disease, which is characterized by inflammation of joints, restricts movement by causing immense pain whenever the affected organ is subjected to motion. Due to this, the concerned individual suffers tremendous mental anxiety and is always mindful of even the slightest body activity.

    While a cure to prevent the difficulties hasn’t yet been discovered, there are certain avenues that help reduce arthritis pain. Besides treatment, medication and surgery, specific foods have proven equally effective in easing inflammation and arthritis-related pain. Here we list down seven such foods that should be part of your diet if you suffer from arthritis.

    Fish

    Known for their high protein content, fish have also proved useful in greatly reducing inflammation due to arthritis. Fishes like salmon, mackerel, and trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which, according to experts, is a lethal weapon against arthritis and its related symptoms. Experts recommend three or four ounces of fish twice every week.

    Apples

    Apples should be an imperative part of your diet especially if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. They are packed with nutrients and vitamins of multiple forms. The fruit is a great source of vitamin C and fiber, while the phytochemicals in it act as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.

    Whole grains

    Like apples, whole grains also help reduce inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. The food lowers C-reactive protein levels (CRP) in the blood. Barley and bulgur provides extra nutrients and fiber. Whole grains are antioxidants and rich-source in vitamin B.

    Garlic
    Foods from the allium family like ginger and onions have proven more than effective for arthritis patients. Garlic, especially, is well-known in the fight against multiple diseases. The compound diallyl disulphide present in it limits the count of cartilage-damaging enzymes. Additionally, garlic enhances certain immune cells that help strengthen the immune system.

    Nuts
    Similar to garlic, nuts are an excellent source of protein, calcium, and magnesium, among others. They are also rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is important for boosting the body’s immunity. Walnuts are exceedingly high in omega-3 fatty acids, thereby reducing the inflammation associated with arthritis.

    Berries

    Another crucial fruit for individuals with arthritis, berries are a rich source of important antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Interestingly, berries are known to have quercetin and rutin – two components, which according to a study, significantly reduces arthritis-related inflammation.

    Ginger

    The spice, along with turmeric, has anti-inflammatory properties which are of great help against arthritis. Ginger blocks the production of inflammation-causing compounds in the body. A 2001 study showed that 63% of participants who consumed ginger over a six week period reported a massive improvement in knee pain.

  • Health
    Four important steps in anemia management

    Hemoglobin is a protein molecule in the red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Its richness in iron gives blood its red color. Anemia is a condition where a person has low hemoglobin or red blood cell count. From an underlying disease to nutrient deficiencies, there are a lot of factors that contribute to the onset of this condition. There are many forms of anemia. Some of them include:

    • Iron deficiency anemia -This is caused due to low iron levels in the blood. Most common causes of this type of anemia are heavy menstruation or internal bleeding.
    • Vitamin deficiency anemia– This type of anemia is caused by the deficiency of vitamin C, B-12 or folate
    • Aplastic anemia– Damaged stem cells in the bone marrow fail to produce enough red blood cells, leading to aplastic anemia.
    • Sickle cell anemia– This is a condition characterized by the development of abnormal crescent-shaped red blood cells.
    • Hemolytic anemia– This is a blood disorder caused due to premature death of red blood cells.
    • Thalassemia– This is caused due to low amounts of hemoglobin in the blood.

    The blood disorders vary in duration and severity. Prompt diagnosis, and treatment are important because anemia could also be due to an underlying condition. Here are some ways to manage anemia:

    • Iron supplements
      Oral iron supplementation is usually effective when the intestines are able to absorb the nutrients efficiently. However, make sure that oral iron supplements should be limited to patients with mild anemia and in women who are not pregnant. This is because absorption occurs slowly. For faster absorption or repletion, intravenous supplementation is recommended. Nevertheless, oral supplements are readily available over-the-counter. The supplements are usually made of ferrous salts, ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, and ferrous fumarate.
    • Intravenous iron
      This can be a very efficient way for managing iron deficiency when oral supplementation proves to be ineffective. The effectiveness of oral iron supplements is reduced when a person is suffering from celiac disease, autoimmune gastritis, or experiences heavy loss of iron. Intravenous supplementation of iron bypasses the gut allowing faster repletion. This can reduce the chances of recurrence of iron deficiency in the long-term. A point to note here is, intravenous supplementation should strictly be administered by a healthcare professional.
    • Blood transfusion
      Highly restricted in chronic iron deficiency anemia, blood transfusion is recommended to patients with active bleeding and hemodynamic instability. This means, this method can work for patients who experience wide variations in hemoglobin levels. Blood transfusion is a temporary solution. It is necessary to identify and treat the underlying condition. Alternatively, other management options should be administered to maintain the Hb levels so that subsequent transfusions can be prevented.
    • Identifying the cause of iron deficiency
      This is an important step to manage anemia. The cause of iron deficiency should be identified accurately because if the condition is due to an underlying illness, then immediate management is necessary. In some cases, treating the underlying condition can reduce or provide relief from anemia symptoms.

  • Health
    5 frequently asked questions about Alzheimer’s disease

    A common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating and progressive disease that affects the brain and motor functions of the body. The disease progresses through stages. It begins to affect the regions of the brain that control language, thought, and memory. In most of the cases, it begins with a slight memory loss. In the final stages, Alzheimer’s disease leads to the loss of various abilities including motor skills, speech, and independent movement. Here are a few frequently asked questions about Alzheimer’s.

    What are the causes?
    Alzheimer’s disease does not have any definite cause. Research has been unable to conclude whether Alzheimer’s is developed by one cause or multiple ones. The exact cause of the ailment is not yet known. However, there are multiple factors that may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. One of the major causes is ageism. Also, a family history of Alzheimer’s is another major risk. This may lead to the inheritance of genes that cause this disease. Some other possible risk factors that can cause Alzheimer’s include high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and high cholesterol.

    What are the symptoms?
    In most cases, the first warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease is a loss of cognitive ability. That is, it begins with memory loss. Over a period, other symptoms will start surfacing. There will be frequent changes in the behavior, personality, or mood of the person. A person will experience poor judgment and will frequently misplace things. They may also have trouble in retracing the steps to find these lost things. Moreover, the rapid loss of memory will cause disruptions in everyday life. Also, it will become difficult to complete routine day-to-day tasks. They may also find it difficult to manage bills or money. In some cases, a person may experience mental health problems such as depression.

    How is the diagnosis done?
    There is no particular test that can indicate the early onset of Alzheimer’s. Generally, doctors check for symptoms, early signs, medical, and family history. Also, doctors will examine neurological functions. These include balance, senses, and reflexes. Sometimes, genetic testing, CT scans, blood and urine tests, and MRI scans may also be suggested. This is done to rule out other ailments that have symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

    What are the various stages?
    There are three main stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The first stage is preclinical, before the symptoms start to appear. Mild cognitive impairment is the second stage, where the symptoms start to develop. The intensity of symptoms is still mild. Dementia is the final stage. The Alzheimer’s Association has defined seven stages. These are based on the severity and intensity of the symptoms. These stages include no impairment state, moderate and mild decline. The final stage is the severe decline state. In the majority of the cases, diagnosis usually occurs in the fourth stage of Alzheimer’s, which is called the “early stage or mild Alzheimer’s.”

    How to treat Alzheimer’s?
    Alzheimer’s does not have any treatment. Therapies and medications are recommended mostly for a better management of life. These treatment methods have been designed to assist an Alzheimer’s patient to live with the various symptoms. These treatments are geared towards maintaining mental functions, managing behavioural symptoms, and slowing down the progress of the disease.

  • Health
    6 effective parenting tips for ADHD

    Raising a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD can be overwhelming for parents. Some parents might have realized that the conventional child-rearing process won’t work for children with ADHD, and they need to adopt different approaches. There are many ways in which you can help your child overcome daily challenges, and channel their energies into areas that bring some amount of calmness and stability within them. That said, here are some tips that can help ease disruptive behaviors and deal with ADHD related challenges in children.

    Praise and encourage good behavior

    Each time your kid behaves well, you must praise their action and encourage them so they get an idea about what behaviors are acceptable. However, you must also ensure that you speak to them whenever they behave inappropriately and let them know clearly that their behavior is unacceptable and considered irritating to other people.

    Develop structure

    Creating a structure with a daily schedule can help reduce distractions. Knowing what they’re expected to do can be extremely calming for children with ADHD. So, you must create a routine for your child and ensure that they follow it every day. You need to get them accustomed to daily activities like homework, meals, playtime, and bedtime. Simple activities like having them lay out the clothes for the following day can provide essential structure.

    Breaks tasks down for simplicity

    Children with ADHD generally have a hard time doing complex tasks. So wherever possible, you must break tasks down into smaller steps so they can easily follow. For instance, if you’ve asked your child to clean their room, then you can help break the tasks into smaller activities like laying the bed sheet, folding their clothes, and putting all toys on the floor back into their respective drawers.

    Promote out-loud thinking

    This is probably the most effective tip to make children aware of what they are thinking, so they can curb their impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD may lack self-control, which can make them speak and perform actions without thinking. If you ask your child to verbalize their thoughts just before they act, it helps you understand their thought process, and gives them a chance to consider whether it is the right action.

    Encourage physical activity

    Physical activities such as exercises in children with ADHD can lower the risk of depression and anxiety, decrease impulsivity, improve concentration, and stimulate their brain. It’s a great idea to take your child on hikes and allow them to play outdoors as it can build healthy habits. Surprisingly, many professional athletes have ADHD, and experts think that athletics can help children with ADHD find a way to focus their attention and energy.

    Stay calm

    There is no way you can effectively manage your impulsive child if you are frustrated. Children tend to mimic the behavior of others, so if you decide to respond calmly no matter what, then they may do the same. If preventing your anger seems difficult at the moment, pause and take a deep breath before you react.