HealthHere’s how you can get your allergies detected
How many times have allergies caused you to sneeze every time you take a ride in the open air? Or rashes on coming in contact with a plant? Or swelling as a result of a peanut allergy? Sneezing, running noses, watery eyes, rashes, swelling all these reactions due to allergies can be quite distressing. Allergies are more common and can be caused by various things. The cause of allergies is still unknown, it could be genetic or just a singular development. However, they can be easily detected by just visiting your doctor and undergoing some tests. Read on to know more about what are allergies and how to detect them.
What are allergies?
The immune system is designed to fight any entrant in the body that it recognizes as foreign. However, at times, the immune system becomes over vigilant and starts fighting foreign entrants that are not harmful. Substances that cause the immune system to react this way are called “allergens”, and when you display symptoms of these interactions, you are diagnosed “allergic” to the substance.
Allergens can include plants, grass, pollen, dust, food, animal dander among others. While symptoms like running nose, sneezing, watery eyes, rashes, itching, and others, are all attributed to allergic reactions.
How to detect allergies?
- Consult your doctor
Allergies present themselves differently in different people and the severity of the reaction also differs. Hence, it is necessary that you consult with your doctor to figure out the root cause of your allergy. This will just take answering a few questions aside from your routine physical exam.
- Get tested
Allergies can be hereditary just like facial structure or height. But, that does not necessarily mean that you share the same allergies as your parents. Depending on your symptoms, you can undergo blood and skin tests to detect the type of allergy you have.
- Blood test
Your blood is tested for the presence of IgE. IgE or Immunoglobulin E is the antibody developed by the immune system to fight against an allergen. The presence of IgE in a blood sample confirms the occurrence of an allergic reaction.
- Skin test
In a skin test for allergy detection, an allergist pricks your skin with needles that have different allergens on them. These are allergens you may or may not be allergic to. If your skin reddens and starts itching at the site of the prick, then you are allergic to that substance.
Once detected, there are a number of medicines and treatments that can help you treat and manage your allergies. Most allergies are not life-threatening; it is, however, advisable to carry your allergy medicines at all times. Moreover, in case you are accidentally exposed to an allergen, wearing an allergy bracelet can be a big help.
HealthUseful ways to treat cold and flu
Imagine working in a high-security building that uses facial recognition technology to keep out intruders. It works well until the intruders figure out how to breach the security system. It does not matter how often the intruders are caught, new intruders will find new ways to infiltrate. The same analogy can be applied to our body’s immune system and the flu virus. The building is our body, the security system, our immune system, and intruders are the virus trying to enter the body.
Whenever a new influenza vaccine is formulated and distributed, more potent viruses develop ways to evade them, making it difficult to treat cold, flu, cough & virus symptoms. So until there is a definitive cure for the infection, it is imperative to take steps to get relief from symptoms and keep the immune system intact. Following are some ways which can provide relief from symptoms and strengthen immunity:
Consuming plenty of fluids helps thin your mucus and breaks congestion. It also prevents headaches and fatigue that is caused by dehydration. Keep a glass or reusable bottle in hand, and refill it with water.
- Salt water gargles
A salt water gargle soothes a throbbing throat. It eases swelling and loosens mucus. Try sipping non-caffeinated herbal tea, lemon water, or warm broth for better results.
- Pain reliever for fever and aches
Using OTC pain relievers to manage cold, flu, cough & virus symptoms can be beneficial, but overdosing on the same can be dangerous. So, check the label and consult with the pharmacist or doctor for the dosage.
- Decongestant for stuffiness
This medicine shrinks blood vessels in the nose so that the airways open up. Overusing decongestant sprays and drops can also cause more congestion. So don’t use them for more than prescribed.
- Expectorant to thin mucus
It can help loosen up the thick discharge, providing relief.
- Medications to dry up a runny nose
These medicines block the chemical in the body that causes sniffling and sneezes. Taking a decongestant and an antihistamine together may be more helpful to get some relief from a runny nose.
- Use a saline spray or flush
Over-the-counter salt water sprays make nostrils moist, making it easier to blow the nose. It is also recommended to try nasal irrigation. It is the process of gently pouring a saline solution into one nostril. The fluid flows through the nasal cavity and comes out from the other nostril. Nasal irrigation washes away dried mucus, helping the patient to breathe easily. You can also use sinus rinses, bulb syringe, or neti pot. If the patient is doing it by themselves, ensure to make the salt water solution with distilled or cooled, boiled water.
Taking an over-the-counter remedy can help provide relief from cold, flu, cough & virus symptoms. However, it is advised to take them as directed to avoid any side effects.
HealthCommon blood disorders and their treatment options
Blood disorders are a type of disease that affects both solid and liquid parts of the blood. Plasma, the liquid portion, contains water, salts, and proteins. The solid portion contains white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Multiple organs and tissues help blood function normally in our bodies. This includes the bone marrow, clotting proteins, lymphatic system, liver, kidneys, and spleen. Any problem with one or more of these tissues or blood cells can cause blood disorders.
All blood disorders are taken care of by medical experts called hematologists. They are physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating blood disorders. Hematologists examine your medical history and your symptoms to determine the most probable diagnosis. The procedure may involve a blood test, urine test, bone marrow biopsy, and others. Keep reading to know more about some common blood disorders and their treatment methods.
Anemia usually results from iron deficiency, sickle cell disease, or thalassemia, and its treatment depends on the type, cause, and severity of the condition. Possible treatment can include vitamin and nutritional therapy, and medicines to boost the production of red blood cells in the body. In extreme cases, your doctor may take you through a blood transfusion procedure to quickly replenish red blood cells in your blood. Some rare forms of anemia might require transplantation of bone marrow or blood stem cells.
The hallmark trait of hemophilia is excessive and prolonged bleeding. Hemophilia is usually treated by injecting treatment products, called clotting factor concentrates to help the blood clot properly. The treatment can involve treatment products for which can be used to stop a patient’s bleeding episodes and prevent them from occurring from time to time. Fortunately, nowadays, people with hemophilia can learn how to give their own clotting factor treatment products at home. This means you can get immediate treatment at your home and avoid severe bleeding.
Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that involves the abnormal build-up of white blood cells in the bone marrow. There are different treatments available for leukemia, and choosing among them depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases where the disease is spreading gradually, it can be treated by regularly monitoring the symptoms along with prescribed medication. Rapidly spreading leukemia is often treated with the help of chemotherapy, followed by radiation and a stem-cell transplant, if required. Other treatments may include targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
Polycythemia vera is a type of blood cancer that leads to excess formation of red blood cells. This causes blood to thicken and slow down its flow. Unfortunately, the disease has no cure yet. However, treatments are available to help control the condition and avoid complications by reducing the number of red blood cells. A popular treatment option for the disease is phlebotomy, a procedure that removes some blood from the body by inserting a needle into your veins. Your doctor may also give you some medicines to limit the production of excess red blood cells in your bone marrow.
HealthTop 8 cholesterol-lowering foods
An elevated cholesterol level is a huge risk factor for developing heart disease in the long run. One of the best ways of lowering your cholesterol levels is by following a heart-healthy diet. The key is to include foods in your diet that mainly lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol content in your blood. So, here are some foods that can help lower cholesterol levels and eliminate some risk factors for possible heart disease.
Including whole grains like oats, barley, and others in your daily diet is an easy way of lowering cholesterol levels. Whole grains, especially oats and barley, are loaded with vitamins and minerals, plant compounds, and fiber that can help manage cholesterol. So, don’t forget to have a bowl of oatmeal or oat-based cereals for breakfast every day. You can top it with banana slices and strawberries to make it flavorful.
Fish always find their way into the list of almost any kind of healthy food. Digging in on fatty fishes, such as salmon or mackerel, twice or thrice a week can lower LDL, or bad cholesterol. These fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which makes your heart stronger by increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), “good” cholesterol.
Beans are packed with soluble fiber, an important nutrient that helps lower cholesterol. They are extremely versatile and available in different varieties such as navy beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, and more. Also, consuming beans makes you full for longer as your body takes a while to digest them.
Rich in monounsaturated fats, nuts are a great for on-the-go snacking. Many studies have claimed that consuming almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts boost your heart health. Eating two ounces of nuts each day can help lower bad cholesterol and also protect your heart in other ways.
Don’t forget to include some nutrient-rich fruits like avocados in your daily diet. Avocados are exceptionally high in monounsaturated fats and fiber, two heart-healthy nutrients that help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
The next time you’re shopping for vegetable cooking oil, remember to look for the one that helps decrease your bad cholesterol levels. Using vegetable oils such as sunflower, canola, safflower, and some other cooking oil can be a great way to keep your body and heart in check.
Consuming soybeans and foods based on soy like tofu or soy milk, was considered a very effective way to lower your cholesterol level in the past. However, recent research has shown that they are only moderately effective. Eating 25 grams of soy in a day can lower bad cholesterol by 5% to 6% in your blood.
Dark chocolate and cocoa
Let’s end this list with something that many people might love. Research has revealed that dark chocolate and cocoa can lower bad cholesterol content in your blood. However, you must choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 75–85% or higher, or cocoa alone to enjoy the benefits. Milk chocolate and white chocolate are high in sugar content, which can negatively affect your heart health.
Health4 essential tips to choose the right eating disorder center near you
According to the National Eating Disorder Association, about 70 million people in the country suffer from one or the other form of eating disorders. Usually, eating disorders are trivialized and people address it as “eating too much” or “eating too less.” There are several reasons why people develop eating disorders, but what calls for immediate attention is that this condition can be life-threatening. This is why it is essential to enroll people with eating disorders to the right eating disorder treatment centers. Such centers have several programs and help patients get better by addressing the dangerous behavior patterns, tackling the accompanying psychological problems, teaching and improving nutrition.
If you are looking for the best eating disorder treatment center near you to help a loved one, here are certain effective tips that can help you make the right choice.
- Firstly, you need to decide which type of facility you wish to enroll the patient in: outpatient treatment centers or in-patient centers. The former treatment centers take place in hospitals or treatment centers, but they allow the patient to recover at home. Moreover, patients have to keep their appointments with the doctor, psychologists, and nutritionist; the latter requires the patients to stay in the in-patient care where they can be monitored by trained professionals. The time period can range from a few days to a few months. Such treatment centers are recommended for people with severe eating disorders.
- Once you have decided the type of eating disorder treatment center, you can start researching whether the eating disorder treatment centers near you have the required accreditation. Such centers need an accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities or the Joint Commission.
- The staff at the eating disorder treatment center will be the ones taking care of the patient, which is why you need to research the medical staff. Ask for a record of the experience and qualifications of the staff, and this includes the clinical staff, medical staff, psychiatrist, nutritionist, psychologist, dietician, and recreation therapist. An eating disorder treatment center is only as good as its staff.
- When determining the right eating disorder treatment center, you need to check whether the center offers aftercare programs. Such aftercare programs are an essential part of the treatment and recovery process and aim at providing support and help to the patients after their stay at the residential care ends.
Adhering to these tips can help you find the best right eating disorder treatment centers near you. However, if you wish to seek the best treatment for your loved one, enrolling them to one of the top eating disorder treatment centers will yield the best results. Some of the best eating disorder treatment centers are Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, Aloria Health, Canopy Cove, Carolina House, Center of Hope of the Sierras, and Magnolia Creek.
HealthWhat is Spinal Muscle Atrophy
Spinal muscular atrophy or SMA is a genetic disease that affects the nervous system. The disease affects that part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. The muscles don’t receive signals from these nerve cells that are located near the spinal cord and as a result the muscles begin to waste away. The inactivity of the muscles causes them to become smaller and smaller and hence the word “atrophy”.
The age of the person decides the degree to which the motor functions are affected. The sooner the onset, the higher the effect on motor functions. Infants who display symptoms will typically have very low levels of functioning. This is Type 1. SMA in toddlers(intermediate), children(juvenile) or adults – type 2, 3, 4 respectively – will see higher levels of motor function.
SMA is generally caused by a mutation in the SMN1 gene – a deficiency of a motor neuron protein called survival of motor neuron (SMN). This protein is necessary for normal motor neuron function and its deficiency is the result of genetic flaws or mutations on chromosome 5. There are other forms of SMA (non-chromosome 5) that are rare and caused by mutations in genes other than SMN.
The main symptom of SMA is the weakness of proximal muscles – the ones closer to the center of the body. These are affected much more than the distal muscles. Proximal muscles include the shoulders, hips, thighs and upper back and the weakening of these can mean curving of the spine and even difficulty in swallowing and breathing.
Since SMA is a purely muscular disease, the person suffering from it has completely normal functioning of sensory, mental and emotional states.
Spinal muscular atrophy is inherited when both copies of the SMN1 gene in an individual have mutations. Generally, the parents of one who suffers from SMA each carry one copy of the mutated gene but they do not show signs or symptoms of the disease itself. Occasionally, a person who suffers from SMA will have inherited an SMN1 gene mutation from one parent and then acquires a new mutation in the other copy of the gene. This might occur during the formation of eggs or sperm or very early in embryonic development.
HealthHere’s how Intrarosa helps in treating dyspareunia
Dsypareunia is a condition that affects several women across at some point in their lives. In layman’s language, dyspareunia is painful sexual intercourse. Women often dismiss this condition as they believe sexual intercourse is always painful, and perform the act despite the excruciating pain they experience. Dyspareunia occurs for several reasons that range from structural problems to psychological ones. This condition is characterized by persistent or recurrent pain in the genital area, and it can occur before, during, or after a sexual intercourse.
The symptoms of dyspareunia are as follows:
- Pain experienced during penetration
- Burning pain or aching pain
- Throbbing pain that lasts hours after intercourse
- Pain experienced with each penetration
- Pain experienced while putting in a tampon
Women often trivialize this condition as they believe that it is normal to experience pain during intercourse. However, if the pain becomes unbearable there’s an FDA-approved medication that can help in relieving the pain experienced during an intercourse. The Intrarosa® is an FDA-approved medicine that can treat moderate to severe pain experienced because of dyspareunia. Dyspareunia is often caused by the thinning and drying of the vaginal tissue.
Intrarosa® is a synthetic version of a steroid called prasterone or dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) that is naturally produced by the adrenal glands. This steroid is considered to be the “precursor hormone” that remains inactive until it comes in contact with vaginal or other cells, and eventually stimulates the production of estrogen and testosterone. When this steroid interacts with the vaginal cells to produce estrogen, it improves the elasticity and pH levels in the vaginal tissues, making sexual intercourse less painful.
Intrarosa® is available in the form a suppository that is inserted into the vagina once daily at bedtime, and it dissolves overnight. The 12-week placebo-controlled clinical trials involving 406 women between the age of 40 and 80, who experienced dyspareunia, yielded desirable results as these women reported a reduced severity in the pain experienced during an intercourse.
Intrarosa® is considered to be a great breakthrough for treating patients with dyspareunia as the other alternative treatments involved performing desensitization therapy or opting for counseling or sex therapy, which didn’t always work for them. However, it is essential to consult with a licensed medical practitioner before using Intrarosa®.