Posted in Coping, NewLife Outlook

Is There a Connection Between Allergies and Asthma?

Is There a Connection Between Allergies and Asthma?

What’s the Link Between Allergies and Asthma?

You may think that allergies and asthma are the same thing; sure, they both cause similar symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath, but they are quite different. While allergies are rarely more than just a nuisance we have to deal with, asthma is a serious condition requiring regular treatment.

What you may not know is allergies may, with time, trigger asthma symptoms.

Allergies

Allergies are your body’s way of fighting off what it considers unwelcome matter entering your body. These immune system responses can be mild, such runny nose and coughing, to a serious life-threatening reaction that requires an injection of epinephrine, commonly known as an EpiPen.

You can be allergic to any number of things, including pollen, mold, animal dander, bug bites/strings, food and medications. And allergy symptoms — sneezing, coughing, runny nose, watery eyes — are a result of your immune system releasing histamines in response to allergens.

Allergies are a very common chronic medical condition, affecting 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children in the U.S., this according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

They affect people of all ages, races and genders, but people with a family history are at higher risk for developing allergies, including hay fever, hives, eczema and food allergies.

Asthma vs. Allergic Asthma

Asthma is a chronic health condition where the airways of the lungs are always inflamed. As many as 26 million people in the United States are affected by asthma symptoms — over eight percent of the population.

An asthma attack occurs when something triggers symptoms; triggers can include anything from outdoor and indoor allergens, certain foods and medicines, smoke, strong odors, illness (including colds and the flu), exercise, weather and stress.

Once an asthma attack occurs, it makes it difficult for you to breathe and you may start coughing, wheezing, and having shortness of breath and chest tightness.

For some people, asthma is a minor inconvenience, but for others, it can be life threatening. And while there is no cure for asthma, your symptoms can be controlled.

If you have allergic asthma, your breathing issues are generally triggered by inhaling something you are allergic to, such as pet dander, mold or tree pollen. Other irritants, such as cold weather and secondhand smoke, can also exacerbate symptoms of allergic asthma as well.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 60 percent of people with asthma have allergic asthma, which causes the same symptoms of non-allergic asthma.

Only your doctor can confirm if you have allergic asthma. Testing involves skin and blood tests to determine if, and what type of, allergens trigger your asthma symptoms.

Read the rest at NewLife Outlook.

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Nutrition Mistakes You’re Making With Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis Diet Mistakes to Avoid

Nutrition and bone health are closely linked. If you have osteoporosis and are not getting enough of the right nutrients in your diet, you put yourself at risk for further bone loss and a higher chance for bone breaks and fractures.

Here are seven nutrition mistakes you might be making that may worsen your osteoporosis.

You Are Not Getting Enough Calcium

Calcium is essential for healthy bones. Your body doesn’t make calcium so you must get it from the foods you eat.

The amount of calcium needed on a daily basis is 1,000 mg for people age 50 and younger, and 1,200 for age 51 or older, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Unfortunately, research shows most people are only getting half the amount of calcium suggested.

Dairy foods are the best sources of calcium, but some vegetables, especially the leafy green ones, contain up to 270 mg. Other foods containing calcium include oranges, almonds, sardines, tofu, and calcium-fortified foods, such as cereal.

You Are Not Getting Enough Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for the development of healthy bones. You need vitamin D to absorb the calcium from your diet.

Women who take vitamin D supplements experience less bone loss than women who do not, according to a study from the United Kingdom.

The UK study looked at whether vitamin D supplements help make bones denser and stronger, and the women taking supplements had much denser bones at the end of the study than the women who did not. More dense bones means their bones are less vulnerable to fractures and breaks.

Once you have osteoporosis, vitamin D won’t help build your bone density back up, but you still need vitamin D to help you absorb calcium.

Good sources of vitamin D are natural sunlight and fortified milk, egg yolks, some saltwater fish, liver and supplements.

Talk to your doctor about getting more vitamin D in your diet or about taking vitamin D supplements. You may also want your levels checked to confirm you are not vitamin D deficient.

Read the rest of the article at NewLife Outlook.

Posted in Uncategorized

What You Need to Know About Metastatic Liver Cancer

Liver Cancer Metastasis — A Secondary Liver Cancer

Liver metastases are cancers that have spread to the liver but started elsewhere in the body. This type of cancer is much different than hepatocellular carcinoma, which is cancer that actually started in the liver.

Of note is that the cancer cells found in liver metastases are not liver cells; rather, they are cells from the part of the body where the cancer started. Other names for liver cancer metastases are secondary liver cancer, metastatic liver cancer, stage IV cancer or advanced cancer.

Types of Liver Cancer Metastasis

The potential for liver cancer metastasis depends on where the original cancer is located.

For example, most liver metastases start in the colon, and up to 70 percent of colon cancer patients eventually develop secondary liver cancer. This may be because the blood supply from the intestines is directly connected to the liver through the portal vein (a large blood vessel).

Liver metastases may be present at the time of your diagnosis of the primary cancer, or you may be diagnosed months or years after tumors are removed.

Cancers of the colon, breast, pancreas, lungs, and ovaries can spread to the liver. In fact, any cancer can.

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer forms when uncontrolled cell growth occurs in the large intestine (cecum, colon, and rectum).

Most colon cancers start as small, benign (non-cancerous) tumors called adenomatous polyps, forming on the large intestine’s inner walls. Some of the polyps may grow into malignant tumors over time.

Polyps can be removed if found during a colonoscopy — a test that allows your doctor to view the inner walls of the large intestine. But once malignant tumors have formed, cells may travel through the bloodstream and lymph system, spreading to other parts of the body, including the liver.

If colon cancer has spread to your liver, surgical resection is the most effective method for treating colon cancer that has spread to the liver, this according to researchers from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Other possible therapies are chemotherapy and radiation.

Read more at NewLife Outlook.

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Ways to Naturally Manage Psoriasis

Natural Remedies for Psoriasis to Try

You may have heard about alternative or natural therapies for managing psoriasis. While there is very little scientific evidence that home remedies for psoriasis work, you may still find some temporary relief from some of these.

Here are eight natural alternatives to managing your psoriasis symptoms.

Aloe Vera

Applying aloe vera gel directly to affected skin is a natural alternative to steroids found in topical creams. Aloe vera has no side effects, even with long-term use.

Swedish researchers found 83 percent of people using aloe creams are getting significant relief. And there has been some evidence suggesting aloe vera may also provide pain relief, including one study reported in the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association.

According to the Pakistani study, burn patients who were treated with aloe vera healed faster and experienced better pain relief, compared to those who had not.

Any evidence aloe vera helps reduce symptoms of psoriasis is scarce, but its use is safe. If you choose to use it, apply a small amount on your skin and wait 24 hours before applying to your body, to confirm you are not allergic.

Apple Cider Vinegar

The National Psoriasis Foundation has recommended apple cider vinegar for treating psoriasis. It has antibacterial properties so it may help your itching and inflammation.

Apply raw, organic cider vinegar directly to affected areas to help reduce your psoriasis symptoms. But if you have open wounds or inflamed spots, apple cider will cause further pain and irritation.

You can find raw, or unfiltered, organic cider vinegar at your local grocery store.

There has been no direct research on the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar, although it was mentioned briefly in the Journal of Pharmacy Research as a smoothing method for psoriasis when added to bath water or directly applied to skin.

So far, it appears there is no evidence showing any risk of using apple cider vinegar to manage your psoriasis symptoms.

Read more at NewLife Outlook.

Posted in Uncategorized

What’s the Deal With Cherries and Gout?

Cherries May Reduce Gout Flare-Ups

Tart cherries are becoming a natural pain-fighting tool for gout pain sufferers. The huge interest is due to the overwhelming number of research studies and also the word of mouth of fellow gout sufferers who strongly believe in its inflammation fighting properties.

The idea that cherries may reduce inflammation not a new concept. In fact, stories of tart cherries and their pain- and disease-fighting abilities have been passed down for generations — the earliest scientific research may go as far back as the 1950s.

What’s the Big Deal?

According to researchers out of the University of Michigan, consuming about 20 tart cherries per day can reduce your risk of gout flare-ups. This is because cherries may inhibit COX 1 and COX 2 enzymes (natural pain response enzymes) and doing so, they halt inflammation in the body.

The research supports a theory that tart cherries behave in the same way as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), like Aspirin and ibuprofen.

NSAIDs work by blocking chemical messages in the body to keep them from responding or attaching to COX 1 and COX 2 inhibitors. If the messages aren’t delivered, the body can’t become inflamed and feel pain.

What is great about tart cherries is they are natural so you don’t have to worry about side effects like stomach damage, a complication of long-term NSAID use.

Cherries May Lower Uric Acid

Cherries carry a rich supply of antioxidants, which are important because they inhibit chemical reactions that produce free radicals (like COX 1 and COX 2). These free radicals lead to damage of cells through processes like inflammation.

The antioxidant properties in cherries may also work to reduce uric acid levels.

As you may know, gout pain is the result of uric acid building up the body. Uric acid causes crystal-like formations that use the bloodstream to travel through the entire body. These crystals cause the pain, swelling and redness associated with gout.

Boston University researchers conducted a study about the relationship between cherry consumption and the risk of recurrent gout flares. The 633 gout patients were observed over period of one year.

The results of the study found that cherry intake over a two-day period was associated with a 35 percent decreased risk for gout flares, compared to no consumption. Using cherry extract further lowered the risk for recurrent gout attacks.

The risk was even lower — at 75 percent — when cherry consumption was combined with a commonly prescribed gout medication, allopurinol.

Consuming Cherries for Gout

In addition to their uric and inflammation lowering properties, tart cherries are also known for their ability to help with sleeplessness, cancer prevention, reducing risks of heart disease, halting muscle damage, and promoting healing in sports injuries.

You could possibly get all these benefits and more by consuming cherries — either by juice concentrate, dried cherries, fresh cherries, cherry extract, and/or tart cherry supplements.

Read the rest at NewLife Outlook.

Posted in Uncategorized

Common Medical Conditions Linked to Fibromyalgia

People with fibromyalgia are more likely than others in the general population to have other chronic conditions. But doctors have yet to figure out why fibromyalgia often coexists with other diseases – what’s known as “comorbidity.”

Fibromyalgia sufferers often have migraines, autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances. Having multiple overlapping conditions isn’t easy, and increases physical pain and suffering.

It is important for all of us with fibromyalgia to learn about these conditions and their symptoms.  Being knowledgeable about them will help us and our medical providers better control our symptoms, pain and overall health.

Here are several common medical conditions faced by people who also have fibromyalgia:

Migraines:  Research indicates migraine sufferers are more likely to have fibromyalgia. One study from 2011, published in The Journal of Headache and Pain, suggests migraine headaches may even trigger fibromyalgia. Researchers believe preventing migraine headaches could potentially stop or slow down the development of fibromyalgia in some people, or minimize symptoms in fibromyalgia sufferers.

“These results suggest different levels of central sensitization in patients with migraine, fibromyalgia or both conditions and a role for migraine as a triggering factor for FMS. Prevention of headache chronification in migraine patients would thus appear crucial also for preventing the development of fibromyalgia in predisposed individuals or its worsening in co-morbid patients,” Italian researchers reported.

Read the rest at the Pain News Network.

Posted in Uncategorized

Two Proven Ways to Fight Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Occasional anxiety is normal. We all worry about issues such as health, family, and money. But people with generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, feel worried and nervous all the time—about these and other everyday concerns, even when there is little or no reason to worry. People with GAD struggle to control anxiety and stay focused.

The good news is that GAD is treatable. It’s commonly treated with psychotherapy (talk therapy), medication, or both. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of psychotherapy that has been particularly successful in treating generalized anxiety. It teaches different ways of thinking, behaving, and responding to situations that cause anxiety.

CBT is an umbrella term which includes many therapeutic approaches, including acceptance-based behavioral therapy (ABBT) and mindfulness.

Acceptance-based behavioral therapy

When people experience GAD, many judge and criticize themselves. They struggle with negative thoughts about their seeming inability to overcome their anxiety. They may think they are stuck with a permanent “weakness.”

ABBT helps individuals focus on improving the ways they respond to negative thoughts, feelings, and memories. The goal is to alleviate difficult emotional reactions by training the mind and body to simply accept them: to recognize them as normal and to realize that these feelings are not a permanent state—they will naturally vary and evolve over time.

ABBT further encourages thinking about your feelings and emotions with curiosity and kindness, rather than with fear and criticism. If we stop trying to control certain feelings and accept them, we minimize the stress and anxiety that struggling against them can cause.

Read the rest at Upwell.

Posted in Coping

Life With Chronic Illness: Is Today the Day I Give Up?

It’s normal to feel discouraged and defeated sometimes. That’s when you need to hold fast to the reasons you still have to go on.

I planned on taking some time off work during the summer to enjoy with my children, but things didn’t go as I had hoped. I ended up struggling with worsening symptoms and pain from my rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia. For months, I had many pity parties and times when I wanted to give up. But although these feelings tempted me to surrender nearly every day, I kept hearing a voice saying, “Today is not the day. Move on.”

I don’t know where that voice came from. It sounded like my own voice, but it seemed wiser and stronger than I was in those very difficult moments. Most days I heeded it, but there were too many days when I didn’t: I called off work, crawled back in bed, and convinced myself that tomorrow I’d listen to the demanding—yet encouraging—voice.

Why not give up?

It has been eight years since I was diagnosed with RA and fibromyalgia, and a lot has happened in my world. The majority of it I am thankful for: my amazing, healthy, and happy children, a beautiful home, a job I love, and so many blessings among all the chaos that chronic illness has brought.

Still, there are these two chronic, unrelenting, and debilitating diseases. They invade nearly every aspect of my existence: home life, work life, and social life. There is pain—joint pain, muscle pain, nerve pain, and head pain. And incapacitating fatigue. And so many more symptoms, from dry eyes to digestive issues.

Of course I sometimes want to give up. Why not give up? These illnesses are, perhaps, the worst things that have happened to me. They have changed my life forever. Every minute of every single day is touched by chronic illness and every person in my life is somehow affected. Chronic illness interferes with my plans—present and future. It determines my diet, my ability to exercise, and how much rest I need. Sadly, RA and fibromyalgia leave me with little control over my body, and sometimes even my life.

There are plenty of days when all this is too much to bear. Times when I am weary from trying to make it all work, from trying to let go of what I cannot control, and from just trying to be okay with this unfair experience.

My world can sometimes feel terribly small and my problems seem as big as mountains. But I have learned that my worries can only be as big as the amount of space I allow them to take up in my mind, heart, and soul.

Where is the theoretical good in this experience? Is it even possible to see any? Believe me, on days when I feel like giving up, finding acceptable answers is nearly impossible. And it takes everything I’ve got to not give in and let these diseases walk all over me.

Read more at Upwell.

Posted in Coping

7 Ways to Overcome Your Chronic Illness Fears

Learn how to tame your worries about your health and chronic illness with these simple coping techniques.

Most of us worry about our health because we have loved ones to care for, we don’t want to be dependent on anyone, and we don’t want to give up the things we love. But when you have a chronic illness, you have even more to be concerned about regarding your health. You might feel angry, helpless, and even afraid.

I consider myself an expert on the fear brought upon by rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia because I have learned to overcome and manage my worries alongside my health challenges for the past eight years. I also know that being afraid is one of the most common reactions to forced changes, but it isn’t something you should let consume your life.

1. Do your research

People are afraid of what they don’t know. From the moment of diagnosis, invest time in understanding your symptoms and treatment options. Let your diagnosis be an opportunity for you to grow and learn more about your chronic illness, your body, and all the ways in which you can have a full and productive life despite your health issues.

Read the rest at Upwell.

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Things to Remember When Talking to Someone With a Chronic Illness

When people we love are sick and in pain, we want to wish them love and encouragement, offer support, and motivate them to be hopeful.

Unfortunately, our words aren’t always interpreted in the manner we intend. This is because people with chronic illness do not feel like everyone else, and rather than feeling supported, they often feel misunderstood. Oftentimes the lack of communication can permanently affect relationships.

Chronic pain, fatigue, and other disease symptoms are stressful enough without the added stress created from tense relationships. Here are five things to keep in mind when talking to loved ones living with chronic illness:

1. They need us to believe them. Believe it or not, it is not uncommon for chronic illness sufferers to say they were accused of faking or exaggerating symptoms. When they react to these accusations, they are seen as overly sensitive or believed to have misunderstood a situation. Even statements like, “But you don’t look sick!” can strike a nerve because they imply we don’t believe the person. When a chronically ill person says she is hurting or feeling extremely tired, she needs us to believe she is telling the truth.

2. Save the suggestions for fixing their illness. People with chronic illness have seen countless doctors, taken numerous medications, and done endless research on their illnesses. They don’t need to know about remedies or cures we think will help them. If the cures worked, they would have tried them by now and/or their doctors would have suggested them.

Read More at Upwell.