Category Archives: Ailments: C-D


Coughing is a reflex action of the throat to rid itself of any built up mucus or phlegm.

What to look for

Coughing is not a disease, however it may indicate respiratory problems. By looking at what is coughed up (mucus, phlegm or blood – the colour and consistency), the frequency of coughing and whether there is any pain involved, it is possible for doctor’s to pinpoint the underlying problem.

You cough when the membranes lining the respiratory tract produce excessive mucus or phlegm. These secretions help to protect your airways from infections and irritants. Coughing is the way of getting rid of this accumulation. Coughing prevents the breathing passages from closing and also prevents infected mucus from falling into your lungs and bronchial tubes which can be very dangerous.

Although coughs have many different patterns, they may be categorised according to two characteristics (duration and productivity).

Duration refers to how long the person needs to cough. A cough can come and go quickly, as when you cough up something stuck in your throat; it can last for several days if you have a cold; or it can be persistent and chronic, as when you have chronic bronchitis.

A productive cough is one that produces mucus or phlegm. White or clear phlegm is quite common. Yellow thick phlegm usually indicates the onset of infection.

A non-productive cough is a dry cough.


Anything that obstructs the windpipe or breathing passages can cause a cough. The most common cause is thecommon cold, flu, and sinusitis. The mucus in the breathing passages causes the cough.

Coughs can also be triggered when you accidentally inhale small objects, such as pieces of food, or breathe in dust, cigarette smoke, and fumes.

Coughs can cause irritations to the airways themselves if not treated.

Drugs can cause coughing fits along with smoking. Smoking is a major cause of coughing and quite often smokers bring up thick phlegm. This is dangerous and usually indicated that they are in the first stages of chronic bronchitis,emphysematuberculosis or lung cancer.

Any persistent cough may be a symptom of an underlying illness. Talk to your doctor about your type of cough, the frequency, the phlegm etc to allow him to diagnose the cause.

Although some of the chronic lung diseases in which coughing may be a symptom are incurable, most are treatable

Traditional Treatment

Having a cough is not necessarily dangerous especially if it is present with typical ‘cold-like symptoms’ such as a runny nose, sore throat and sneezing. This may be simply a case of the common cold.

Since coughing (particularly a phlegmy cough) is a protective response by the body, suppressing it with cough medicine not only reduces the clearing action but may serve to cover up a more serious underlying problem. See your doctor if the coughing goes on for longer than 7 – 10 days.

Antibiotics are not normally prescribed for a cold or a viral infection, the best remedy for this is bed rest and cold relieving remedies (see colds and flu). However antibiotics might be prescribed for an underlying bacterial infection. If your cold or flu produces thick, sticky sputum, an expectorant may help to clear your lungs.

A non-productive cough can be treated by over the counter cough suppressants, cough lollies and soothers. Many over-the-counter products contain ingredients that will slightly numb your irritated throat and may provide temporary relief.

Ultimately, for any cough that persists for more than 7 to 10 days, seek medical advice.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

The following alternative therapies may ease the discomfort of some respiratory infections. They do not treat the infection itself, but they may offer relief.

Chinese Herbs – Sang ju yin, a decoction of mulberry leaf (Folium mori albae) and chrysanthemum (Flos chrysanthemi morifolii), is a classic cough treatment. It contains a number of other ingredients as well and is available in prepared form. Sang ju yin, a decoction of mulberry leaf (Folium mori albae) and chrysanthemum (Flos chrysanthemi morifolii), is a classic cough treatment. It contains a number of other ingredients as well and is available in prepared form.

Herbal Therapies – A wide variety of herbs act as stimulating or relaxing expectorants that help the body remove excess mucus from the airways. Try a herbal cough mixture – available from our pharmacy. Stimulatingexpectorants increase the quantity and then liquefy mucus so it can be cleared out by coughing. Relaxingexpectorants loosen the sputum and are soothing.

Homoeopathy – Homoeopaths recommend different remedies for the different stages of coughs. Homoeopaths recommend different remedies for the different stages of coughs.

  • Try Bryonia if you are often thirsty and have painful bouts of dry coughs that intensify easily; if you are often thirsty and have painful bouts of dry coughs that intensify easily;

  • Take Antimonium tartaricum if your cough is accompanied by hoarseness, difficulty in breathing, and considerable rattling in the chest; if your cough is accompanied by hoarseness, difficulty in breathing, and considerable rattling in the chest;

  • Try Drosera if your throat tickles and you get violent coughing fits whenever you lie down; if your throat tickles and you get violent coughing fits whenever you lie down;

  • Take Rumex crispus if a draft of cool air initiates a tickling cough; if a draft of cool air initiates a tickling cough;

  • Try Aconite if you happen to get chilled and develop a fever and a barking cough; if you happen to get chilled and develop a fever and a barking cough;

Dietary Considerations

The more liquids you can drink the better as it tends to loosen up the mucus and make coughing it up much easier. Warm liquids (such as herbal teas), or filtered water, are best for this purpose. Try to avoid caffeine or alcoholic beverages.

Drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices may help speed your recovery. You may be  recommended vitamin Csupplements, zinc, garlic, horseradish, golden seal, magnesiumpotassiumchloride and sustaining a well balanced diet.

Personal Care

In addition to drinking plenty of liquids, including herbal teas, you may find relief by rubbing your throat and chest with essential oil of eucalyptus or myrrh. A simple rub might help you breathe more easily, cough less, and get a good night’s sleep.

Another way to reduce persistent night coughing is to sleep with the head of your bed raised a few inches. Try to avoid caffeine and peppermint.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your cough lasts for more than 7 to 10 days

  • your cough produces yellow, green, pink, or rust-colored sputum.

  • your cough is severe, enduring, and accompanied by any of the following signs: hoarseness, sore throat, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pains or tightness, a temperature, headache, back and leg aches, fatigue, rashes, or weight loss. See your doctor immediately if you have any of these additional symptoms






Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease is a severe inflammation of the lower bowel.

What to look for

  • abdominal pain

  • diarrhoea.

  • cramps or pain after eating

  • fever

  • loss of appetite, fatigue, or weight loss

In Crohn’s disease, a chronic disorder of the intestines affects digestion and leads to general physical weakness.

Crohn’s disease is typically diagnosed among people in their twenties and thirties, but the disease can also occur in infants and children. The disease can last a lifetime and can be controlled but not cured: Crohn’s patients usually experience attacks of abdominal pain and diarrhoea followed by weeks or months of remission.

Parts of the intestinal wall may thicken, accumulate fluid, ulcerate and get infected. This leads to poor absorption of food.


The actual cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, but it may be a link with immune function and genes. Apparently the body’s own immune system attacks a part of the intestine, causing the area to become inflamed. Smokers are more likely to suffer this disease than non-smokers.

Traditional Treatment

At present, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease. Treatment usually involves three steps to keeping the disease under control.

  • drug therapy

  • a restricted diet

  • then hospital treatment, and if necessary, surgery.

If the disease does not respond to drugs and diet, your doctor may recommend surgery. You can have either a partial colectomy which removes the damaged section of the colon but preserves the bowel if possible or a total colectomy which removes the entire colon and the end of the small intestine.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Even though Crohn’s disease is not curable, many people with mild forms of the disease or Crohn’s-like symptoms have found ways to relieve intestinal distress without drugs or surgery.

Herbal Therapies – Powdered slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) bark is soothing to the intestines. Tea made with chamomile(Matricaria recutita), marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) root, or bayberry (Myrica cerifera) is also soothing.

Homoeopathy – For symptomatic relief of diarrhoea, try the following remedies (after checking with a Health Professional)…

  • Mercurius corrosivus if your stool contains blood and mucus and you have a feeling that the bowel has not emptied.

  • Arsenicum album if you have profuse diarrhoea with a burning or colicky stomach, anxiety, and chills.

  • Podophyllum if you have greenish, painless diarrhoea with gurgling and stomach cramps that are worst in the morning.

Dietary Considerations

When the disease is active, you may speed the healing process by drinking juice squeezed from green, leafy vegetables such as cabbage, which are loaded with chlorophyll. Drinking broth made from seaweeds may also be helpful.

Some doctors recommend a high-protein, high-fibre, low-fat diet to speed healing, with extra B vitamins, vitamin A and E, fish oils, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and copper. Always check with your doctor or a naturopath before taking vitamin and mineral supplements, however, because some have laxative or constipating effects. 

At-Home Remedies

Use a juicer to squeeze your own cabbage and other green, leafy vegetable juices, and drink at least one glass every day. When diarrhoea strikes, drink a cup of chamomile or marsh mallow root tea.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience prolonged diarrhoea, especially if you have had an ileostomy; you may become dangerously dehydrated.

  • you have any of the symptoms listed in the section above






Croup is spasmodic narrowing and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract.

What to look for

  • a harsh, dry cough.

  • laboured breathing and fever

Croup is a viral infection of the voice box. It shows similar symptoms to those of a respiratory infection and is a relatively common ailment of childhood.

Usually the first indication is a cough that sounds like the bark of a seal. Your child may also have trouble breathing and may a strange sound may be produced when your child inhales.

Croup lasts for five or six days and is highly contagious. It usually affects children between three months and six years old (the average age is two), whose small windpipes and bronchial passages are vulnerable to blockage. It is not usually dangerous and can be remedied at home. In severe cases your child may need to be hospitalised.


Most croup cases are caused by a virus. The disease is transmitted by coughing.

Traditional Treatment

It is a must that both you and your child stay calm as being anxious will make breathing more difficult. The simplest remedy is moist air. Switch off all heating appliances and air conditioners and put the child in a humid environment.

Because the condition commonly worsens at night, many doctors recommend that you sleep in the same room with your child to be able to monitor the condition. Be ready to get medical help if your child doesn’t improve.

Doctors have recommended home care this condition unless the child is having great difficulty breathing.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies – To alleviate a persistent cough, herbalists use aniseed (Pimpinella anisum), sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), or wild cherry (Prunus serotina) bark.

Homoeopathy – Aconite is favoured by Homoeopaths for croup. If Aconite doesn’t work try Spongia in the same dosage and intervals. For a more mucus-filled bronchial cough, Hepar sulphuris is the third choice for acute croup.

Aromatherapy – Give the child a bath and add a few drops of eucalyptus, wintergreen or menthol.

Personal Care

  • A cool-mist humidifier may help your child breathe.

  • Steam may help loosen phlegm and relax the throat. Turn on the shower and let steam accumulate in your bathroom. Carry your child around in the room (but not under the shower) until the child’s breathing becomes easier.

  • Give your child plenty of liquids (not citrus).

  • Keep your child away from cigarette smoke.

When to seek further professional advice

  • high fever accompanies croup.

  • home remedies are not working and the symptoms seem to be getting worse


Dandruff is excessive scaling of dead skin on the scalp

What to look for

  • flakes of skin that range from small and white to large, greasy, and yellow.

  • itchy flaking that appears on the scalp or eyebrows, or around the hairline, ears, or nose.

Dandruff usually poses no danger whatsoever. But it can be annoying and also embarrassing.

Washing your hair more often is not always the answer and dandruff does not necessarily happen because you don’t wash your hair enough.

Dandruff is actually the shedding of dead skin cells.


Skin cells that grow and die off too fast are the cause of dandruff, but doctors do not know why this happens. Some people with severe flaking have overactive sebaceous glands; others have an elevated level of fungus which is present in most people but to excess in dandruff sufferers. Other causative factors include hereditary, food allergies, excessive sweating, use of strong shampoos, yeast infectionsstress or the time of the year.

Dandruff flakes are greasy and yellow are linked to a type of dermatitis; Dry, thick lesions consisting of large scales may be psoriasis of the scalp. You do not usually have to worry about these types of dandruff unless you scratch your scalp continuously, then bacteria have more chance of entering the skin.

Traditional Treatment

Shampoos that you can buy over-the-counter shampoos can help moderate dandruff, but you may have to consult your doctor about more stubborn forms. Some herbal remedies may relieve the itching and dryness, but it usually takes tougher tar-based product to remove the greasy scales.

If you find that you are still scratching and shedding after trying over-the-counter preparations, see your doctor.

Doctors recommend being careful with medicated shampoos and to rinse them thoroughly after use. Also once the dandruff has cleared up, do not use the medicated shampoo too often as it is too strong for frequent use.

Brushing your hair with a natural-bristle brush can also prove beneficial.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

In addition to herbal preparations a careful balanced diet, stress-reducing activities, and massage may prove to be of some benefit in treating dandruff.

Herbal Therapies – To prevent flaking and protect against infection, try massaging tea tree oil into your scalp. Some herbalists believe it is as effective as prescription creams.

Another option is to rub Aloe Vera into the scalp before shampooing along with Nettle Tea and Rosemary oil. Use Olive oil as the carrier cream if your scalp is dry and diluted lemon juice or apple cider if your scalp is oily.

Stress may aggravate dandruff. Regular exercise is also good for your stress levels.

Aromatherapy – If your scalp is oily, use Cedarwood in a carrier oil to massage into your scalp daily. If your scalp is oily, use Cedarwood in a carrier oil to massage into your scalp daily.

Another solution is to blend 4 drops of lavender oil, 4 drops of geranium oil and 2 drops of sandalwood oils into a carrier oil such as jojoba and massage into hair a few times per week.

If you have greasy dandruff, blend 3 drops of tea tree oil, 1 drop rosemary oil, 2 drops juniper oil, 2 drops cedarwood oil and 2 drops lemon oil into a carrier oil and massage into scalp.

At Home Solutions – Briskly massaging your scalp while using a herbal preparation such as tea tree oil or olive oil, will improve the circulation in your scalp.

Watch your diet – eat nutritious, low-fat foods.

Wash your hair and scalp at least once a week with a medicated dandruff shampoo or try one of the herbal alternatives listed above to prevent recurrences. Another shampoo to try is one based on soothing herbs like Chamomile, Rosemary, Thyme, Comfrey, Elderflower and Nettle.  (Go to Herbs Information)

Diet Considerations

Dandruff is a common symptom of food allergies, however it is often difficult to determine which foods or combination of foods is the culprit.

If standard dandruff treatments don’t seem to be working for you, try cutting fatty foods (such as nuts and chocolate), dairy products, excessive sugar, spicy foods, and seafood out of your diet. Supplements of vitamins, such as biotin, thiamine (vitamin B1), Niacin (vitamin B3), Evening Primrose oil, Dandelion Extract and Vitamin B12), may help eliminate dandruff by improving your body’s ability to break down fatty acids. (Go to Vitamin Information)

When to seek further professional advice

  • scaling is greasy and yellow, and does not respond to over-the-counter dandruff shampoos and lotions; you may have Seborrheic Dermatitis and need more aggressive treatment to relieve the itching and flaking.

  • your dandruff is itchy and only in a few patches


Depression is a state of feeling ‘down’ which lasts for a long but indefinite period of time

What to look for

For major depression, you may experience four or more of the following:

  • persistent sadness, pessimism.

  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness.

  • loss of interest or enjoyment in nearly every aspect of life.

  • lack of concentrating.

  • insomnia or oversleeping.

  • weight gain or loss.

  • fatigue, lack of energy.

  • loss of interest in sex

  • physical symptoms such as headachesbackaches, stomach troubles, constipation and blurred vision

  • anxiety, agitation, irritability.

  • thoughts of suicide or death.

  • slow speech; slow movements.

  • drug or alcohol abuse, a drop in school performance, difficulty concentrating (In children and adolescents)

We all feel down at times for different reasons. But ongoing depression is another matter.

Depression can last from a few weeks to 6 months or more.

Major depression, or depressive illness, is a serious condition that can lead to an inability to function or even to suicide. Sufferers experience not only a depressed mood but also more harmful symptoms such as those listed above. It is a cyclical illness, so though most patients recover from their first depressive episode, the recurrence rate is high.

Major depression often appears unexpectedly, is seemingly unprovoked, and often disappears unexpectedly as well, usually in 6 to 12 months. Because of its disabling effects or the possibility of suicide, major depression needs treatment.


There are many cause of depression. Depressive reaction, or “normal depression,” occurs as a result of a particular event for example, when a family member dies.

Depressed moods can also be a side effect of medication, hormonal changes (such as before menstrual periods or after childbirth), or a physical illness, such as the flu or a viral infection.

Although the exact causes of major depression are unknown, researchers currently believe that both forms are caused by a malfunction in the brain chemical (these chemicals help monitor and regulate moods).

The elderly who suffer from depression are often misdiagnosed as having senile dementia which is incurable. This is unfortunate as depression is treatable and there is a high success rate once properly diagnosed.

You should consult a psychiatrist in order to be properly diagnosed if you have any of the above symptoms.

Traditional Treatment

There are many therapies, both conventional and alternative, that are available for depression. Treatments may vary according to the cause of the depression and its severity. Conventional methods include psychotherapy, antidepressant drugs, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or electric shock treatment is still rather controversial but has been refined over the last 20 years. This form of therapy should only be considered once all other options have been explored.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many alternative therapies are effective but should only ever be thought of as complementary to conventional medical treatments.

In addition to your conventional therapies you might want to investigate yoga and acupuncture both having had some success with other people suffering from depression.

Aromatherapy – Aromatherapy may ease mental fatigue and help with sleep. The essential oils that may benefit depression are basilclaryjasminerose, and chamomile (Matricaria recutita). The oil may be inhaled, put in a bath, or on the edge of your pillow (1 or 2 drops). (see aromatherapy for more information.)

Chinese Herbs – There are a number of Chinese Remedies for depression – see a Proffesional for advice on the one that will suit you.

Exercise – Exercise should be a part of any therapy for depression; it improves blood flow to the brain, elevates mood, and relieves stress.

Herbal Therapies – An experienced herbalist will recommend a particular combination of herbs tailored to your specific symptoms. St Johns Wort is a popular choice for depression.

Bach Flower Remedies – Gentian for those of you who are easily discouraged, gorse for feelings of hopelessness and despair, wild rose for apathy and mustard for depression for unknown reasons. (see our section on Bach Flower Remedies)

Dietary Considerations

Because depressive symptoms are exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies, good nutrition is important.

Try supplements such as B complexpotassiumzinc. L-tryptophan, L- tyrosine, Lecithin, ginseng and valerian.


Proper diet, exercise, vacations, no overwork and stress, doing things you enjoy all help keep the blues at bay.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you or your child has suicidal thoughts,

NOTE: There is a distinct difference between feeling “depressed”  and having a depressive illness. If you have low spirits for a while, don’t be concerned. However, if you feel you can’t lift yourself out of your misery, seek help


Dermatitis is a red and itching inflammation of the skin

What to look for

Contact dermatitis (an allergic reaction) (an allergic reaction)

  • A red rash that is restricted to the area of skin exposed to an irritant.

Nummular dermatitis

  • Red, itchy, circular lots of weeping, scaly, or encrusted skin, common in older people who have dry skin or live in dry environments.

Seborrheic dermatitis

  • Greasy, yellowish scales on the scalp and eyebrows, behind the ears, and around the nose; in infants it is called cradle cap.

Stasis dermatitis

  • Scaling, greasy-looking, sometimes ulcerated skin appearing inside the lower legs and around the ankles.

Atopic dermatitisor eczema , or eczema

  • Extreme, persistent itchiness.

Dermatitis simply means skin inflammation, but it includes a wide range of sicknesses. In nearly all cases the early stages are distinguished by dry, red, itchy skin, although later stages may include crusty scales or blisters that ooze fluid.


The following are the most common general types of dermatitis and their typical causes:

Contact dermatitis


  • pink or red rash, which may or may not itch.

  • causes include contact with poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, and certain flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables irritates some people. detergents, soaps, chlorine, some synthetic fibres, nail polish remover, antiperspirants. The inflammation is often caused by cosmetics and skin-care products.

Nummular dermatitis

  • Living in a dry environment or taking very hot showers can cause this condition,

  • stress.

Seborrheic dermatitis

  • biotin deficiency in infants (where it is known as cradle cap)

  • or with overproduction and blockage of oil glands in adults.

  • stress

  • common in AIDS patients.

Stasis dermatitis

poor circulation.

Atopic dermatitis,


  • Eczema is usually hereditary

  • allergiesasthma, and stress.

Traditional Treatment

The cause of dermatitis must first be identified and removed before treatment can get under way.

Most mild skin inflammations respond well to warm baths followed by application of petroleum jelly or over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.

Seborrheic dermatitis may respond to coal-tar-based shampoo; avoid sunlight immediately after using it, as it can cause sunburn on the scalp. Once irritants causing contact dermatitis are identified, avoid them and obviously the condition will improve.

To help dry the sores of nummular dermatitis, soak the area in salt water, then apply a corticosteroid cream.

If you suffer from stasis dermatitis, wear support stockings and rest often with your legs elevated to help improve circulation.

To reduce inflammation and heal the irritation of most types of dermatitis, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription cream.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapies are good for relief of symptoms of this chronic disease.

Herbal Therapies – Always seek the assistance of a Professional. But here are some tried and true herbs that have been successful in relieving some patients. Always seek the assistance of a Professional. But here are some tried and true herbs that have been successful in relieving some patients.

Burdock (Arctium lappa) boosts the immune system and helps reduce inflammation.

Some practitioners believe evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) works as well as corticosteroids for itchy skin and has fewer potential side effects.

Topical ointments made with calendula (Calendula officinalis) or chamomile (Matricaria recutita) are effective for treating many types of dermatitis.

You can make a herbal remedy by mixing tinctures of nettle (Urtica dioica), cleavers (Galium spp.), and eithergoldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) or myrrh (Commiphora molmol) in equal parts.

You can also make a tea from fresh nettles or fresh cleavers.

Homoeopathy – For benign, short-term skin problems, an over-the-counter Calendula cream may soothe the inflammation. Taking Rhus toxicodendron three or four times a day may relieve the itching of contact dermatitis. For benign, short-term skin problems, an over-the-counter Calendula cream may soothe the inflammation. Taking Rhus toxicodendron three or four times a day may relieve the itching of contact dermatitis.

Dietary Considerations

doctor may suggest vitamin B complexVitamin A and zinc which may aid in skin healing, while vitamin E ointment can help relieve itching and dryness. Always have your doctor check the doses of all supplements you take to avoid over dosing.

At-Home Remedies

  • For dryness, rub petroleum jelly or olive oil on affected areas after a bath, or use a topical ointment containing aloe or zinc.

  • Avoid eating potential allergens. You may get help from supplemental vitamins A, B complex, and E, as well as zinc.

  • If you suspect an allergy to a chemical or cosmetic, try an at-home patch test. Apply a small amount of the suspected irritant to a spot on your arm or back for seven days. If you have a reaction, you know it is a potential irritant.


The best way to prevent a rash caused by contact with toxic plants like poison ivy is to wash the exposed skin with soap and water as soon as possible after contact. If you feel you are at risk, consider these preventive steps:

  • Use a humidifier at home and at work.

  • Wear natural loose-fitting.

  • Avoid plated jewellery.

  • Be careful choosing watches with tight plated watchbands as these can cause problems by rubbing on your sensitive skin.

  • Supplement your diet with vitamins A, B complex, and E, and zinc.

  • Lubricate your skin after a bath using an unscented, preservative-free lotion or ointment such as sorbolene cream.

When to seek further professional advice

  • if your skin has pus or is oozing

  • if your skin does not respond to your treatment

  • if your skin is affected and you are exposed to anybody with a viral skin infection such as cold sores etc


Diabetes is a condition where there is an abnormally high level of sugar in the blood.

What to look for

The symptoms vary depending on which type of diabetes is the cause:

  • excessive thirst and appetite.

  • increased urination both in the frequency and amount passed.

  • weight loss.

  • fatigue.

  • nausea, perhaps vomiting.

  • blurred vision.

  • in women, frequent vaginal infections and perhaps the cessation of menstruation.

  • in men, impotence.

  • in men and women, yeast infections.

Type 1 diabetes:

  • Very thirsty, hungry, and tired. Need to urinate often. Unintentional, rapid weight loss. May have stomach pain.

Type 2 diabetes: :

  • No noticeable symptoms usually or may have unspecific symptoms such as fatigue, blurry vision, or frequent infections. May be thirsty and urinate often.

Gestational diabetes::

  • Symptoms are rare; may feel tired.


In diabetes sufferers, there is too much glucose in the blood (glucose is made when the food we eat is being digested). Glucose is then converted into energy as it travels through the bloodstream. Diabetes causes this natural process to fail because of a lack of one of the body’s hormones – insulin.

Insulin keeps the level of sugar in the blood down to normal levels. Insulin is made and released when necessary from the pancreas. Insulin lets glucose enter the cells and be used for energy. Insulin is absent in diabetes sufferers. Therefore, glucose stays in the bloodstream and cannot be used for energy.

High glucose levels in the blood can cause many complications and any treatment is aimed at reducing the amount in the blood.

Your doctor is able to diagnose diabetes through a urine test.

Treatment for both forms of diabetes mellitus requires adjustment of insulin levels in the body and strict management of diet and exercise. By paying close attention to the content and timing of your meals, you can minimise or avoid the “seesaw effect” of rapidly changing blood sugar levels, which can require quick changes in insulin dosages.

Traditional Treatment

Diabetes is treated with food planning, oral medications, and/or insulin injections. Treatment methods for the different types of diabetes are:

  • Type 1 diabetes: Daily insulin injections, food plan, and exercise.: Daily insulin injections, food plan, and exercise.

  • Type 2 diabetes: Food plan, exercise, and sometimes oral medications or insulin injections. : Food plan, exercise, and sometimes oral medications or insulin injections.

  • Gestational diabetes: Food plan, exercise, and sometimes insulin injections.: Food plan, exercise, and sometimes insulin injections.

With your doctor’s supervision , you must work at maintaining your diet and lifestyle to keep this condition in control. You can avoid the disease’s serious symptoms if you are able to do this yourself. Also try to keep to healthy weight

If you have type 1, you need to closely monitor your blood sugar levels every day to prevent an attack of hypoglycaemia. This occurs when the levels of blood sugar are too low to fulfil your body’s energy needs.Hypoglycaemia is not dangerous if you can recognise the symptoms.

Hyperglycaemia, or high blood sugar, can bring on a serious diabetic condition known as ketoacidosis, in which the blood becomes increasingly acidic from the accumulation of toxic by-products. This can occur if they do not have enough insulin or if the insulin and glucose levels are not properly balanced or if the body suddenly comes under shock or stress or illness. The symptoms are – nausea, excessive thirst, wanting to urinate frequently, feeling weak, abdominal pain, rapid deep breathing.

Long-term problems caused by diabetes are – eye damage, problems with the nervous system, kidneys, and cardiovascular and circulatory systems. Cuts and sores heal more slowly for people with diabetes, and diabetics are also prone to gum problems, urinary tract infections, and mouth infections such as thrush. Heart diseaseciruclatory problemsstrokeskidney failure are also potential threats to the diabetic.

For some Type 2 diabetics, diet and exercise are usually sufficient to keep the disease under control, however you must see your doctor regularly and if you have any change of symptoms.

Exercise should be an important part in the diabetics daily program – see your doctor before starting anything strenuous.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

You should always be under the supervision of a medical doctor, however here are some alternative treatments which can be used in addition to your conventional treatment.

Chinese Herbs Chinese herbal medicines, including ginseng root (Panax ginseng), are frequently used to alleviate some symptoms of diabetes; consult a practitioner for a comprehensive treatment plan. Chinese herbal medicines, including ginseng root (Panax ginseng), are frequently used to alleviate some symptoms of diabetes; consult a practitioner for a comprehensive treatment plan.

Herbal Therapies – Check to make sure herbs are appropriate for your particular condition. Check to make sure herbs are appropriate for your particular condition.

Remember: If you need insulin to manage your diabetes, there is no herbal substitute for the hormone.

Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) leaves in a decoction may lower blood glucose levels and help maintain the vascular system. This remedy may also help to keep the blood vessels of the eye from haemorrhaging if you develop diabetic retinopathy.

Supplementing the diet with fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seeds has been shown in clinical and experimental studies to reduce blood glucose and insulin levels while lowering blood cholesterol.

Garlic (Allium sativum) may lower blood pressure as well as levels of blood sugar and cholesterol.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) extracts have been used to help vision in patients. Other reported benefits of ginkgo include reducing the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol levels.

Onion (Allium cepa) may free up insulin to help metabolise glucose in the blood.

Dietary Considerations



It is vitally important to maintain a balanced meal plan so get your doctor to help you devise one to suit you.

Diabetics should avoid sugar, as it can lower the body’s glucose tolerance and worsen circulatory problems. Nutritionists also emphasise the importance of certain foods, vitamins, and minerals.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the above symptoms more than usual

Disk Problems

These are problems to the spinal disks. Disks are the cushion of tissue located between each of the vertebrae which makes up the spine.

What to look for

Many times, there are no physical symptoms to damaged disks. However, if your disk problem directly touches or affects spinal nerves, you may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • sharp pain in the back

  • unable to bend or straighten your back, pain.

  • gradual development of neck or lower-back pain, possibly intense on arising or when sneezing or coughing.

  • numbness or tingling in an arm or leg, and possibly a weakness in either or both legs.

Damaged spinal disks can cause agonising pain and discomfort. When you feel the pain, you need to take that as a warning and to have your body treated as soon as possible before the problem becomes worse and leads to further complications.

The disc are pads of tissue situated between each of the vertebrae which make up the spine. Each disc is made up of a tough, fibrous outer layer and a softer, jelly-like inner layer called the nucleus.

A slipped disc simply means that the tough outer layer cracks open and the softer inner layer protrudes out through the crack. If it presses on any surrounding nerves, it can cause the symptoms of a slipped disc. (see Back Care and Back Pain). This type of damage to a disk can be irreversible.

People often think that the disks are soft and flexible and this is a mistake. The disk starts off soft in childhood and gradually hardens during a lifetime.

By far the majority of disk injuries occur in the lower back. Not all slipped disks press on nerves, however, and for this reason, your doctor will usually order an x-ray to view the problem.


Injury and everyday activity can cause disk problems. Sometimes, though, there is no apparent cause.

Aging is often a cause of disk problems, as the fibrous tissue of the disk becomes harder and more brittle. Severe cases may be the result of a deficiency in collagen, the material that makes up cartilage, poor muscle tone andobesity.

Traditional Treatment

Both conventional and alternative therapies will offer pain relief, rest, steps to reduce inflammation, and measures to restore strength and normal activity. Except in severe cases, herniated disks generally heal themselves, and surgery is rarely necessary.

Doctors usually prescribe bed rest (as any movement can increase the pain and discomfort) and pain killers.

If the disk is just temporarily distorted, the potential for complete recovery is excellent. If the outer membrane actually breaks and loses some of its center, however, the damage may be permanent unless more aggressive steps are taken.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Besides pain relief and rest, alternative therapies tend to focus on relaxation and gentle exercise.


Yoga strengthens back muscles and relaxation to aid in preventing disk problems

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience persistent pain in the upper or lower back

  • back pain is accompanied by fever

  • you have sudden loss of feeling or weakness in your extremities

Drug Abuse

A drug is any substance, other than a food, which affects the body in any way. Therefore the over indulgence in these types of substances to the detriment of the body’s health and well-being, can be classified as drug abuse.

What to look for

  • behavioural changes which affect relationships and performance at work or school

  • in children, abrupt changes in mood or attitude, temper tantrums, or increased secrecy.

  • loss of money or valuables in the household that cannot be explained

  • your child possesses large or unexplained sums of money

  • deterioration of person’s appearance

  • loss of interest in favourite sports, hobbies or interests

  • new acquaintances and snubbing of old friends or family

  • memory loss and accident proneness

Specific symptoms depend on the drug:

  • Extreme weight loss, dilated pupils, insomnia, and trembling

  • Lethargy, slurred speech, lack of balance, constricted pupils, or excessive sleep

  • Mood swings, red eyes, dilated pupils, slowed time sense and reflexes, dizziness, and lethargy

  • Ulcerated nostrils are typical of cocaine sniffing; a runny nose or sniffles are typical of smoking crack cocaine or needle marks on the arms

  • Weight loss, lethargy, mood swings, excessive sweating, slurred speech, constricted pupils, and poor appetite

  • Hallucinations, dilated pupils, trembling, and sweating

If either a legal or illegal drug is used sufficient to cause the abuser either physical, social, emotional or mental harm it can be termed drug abuse. Addiction or dependence is the compulsive, lasting use of a drug.

The habitual abuse of legal drugs is a huge problem worldwide. Most of these drug abusers will not admit there is a problem and blame their lifestyle, families or work.

Drugs most likely to be abused –

Depressants: Sleeping pills and anti depressant drugs are among the most prescribed medications in the world. The effects are similar to those of alcohol: Small doses can be relaxing, but large amounts may damage both mind and body. Taken with alcohol there can be fatal consequences. Doctors are usually very careful in prescribing these drugs as the consequences can be addiction or overdose.

Stimulants: Stimulants can cause rapid speech, ‘highs’ and agitation. People addicted to amphetamines, or uppers, often try to calm themselves down with depressants, or downers, and become caught in an exhaustive cycle. A more powerful and addictive stimulant is cocaine; the smoked version called crack is also highly addictive.

Opiates: This includes, opium, heroin and morphine. The addiction usually causes depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and inability to cope with life, tremors, hypoactivity, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating, sneezing, and eventually convulsions.

Marijuana: Smoking marijuana can dull short-term memory, motivation, and energy levels. Chronic use brings increased heart rate, vision problems, slowing of reflexes, apathy, cardiovascular problems, panic attacks, poor working of the lungs, changes in sex hormones, and increased risk of lung cancer. It is debateable as to whether Marijuana is addictive. However, users are more likely to use cocaine than are non users.

There are other commonly used drugs which if abused can cause physical, social, emotional and mental difficulties. These include:

  • Alcohol

  • Cigarettes/cigars

  • LSD

  • Steroids

  • Misuse Of Legal Drugs


Doctors and other experts disagree on the causes of substance abuse but it is agreed that it is much more than a lack of will power. Certain causes have been identified, such as:-

  • Hereditary factors

  • Social factors – poverty, family problems

  • Peer group pressure

One problem which exacerbates the drug abuse is the abusers refusal to face up to the fact that it is possible for them to become addicted to the drug. Abusers seem to think that they will not have to face this reality.

Traditional Treatment

Treatment involves withdrawal and recovery.

The most important step in treating drug abuse is awareness of the problem. Family, friends, or a professional must reinforce and encourage your resolve.

The type of treatment that is needed will depend the severity of the problem. It is advisable to see your doctor who can put you in touch with the appropriate groups and counsellors as well as help you withdraw carefully from the type of drug that you are addicted to (as many have serious consequences if withdrawal is not performed under supervision). There may be a need for certain medications and vitamin supplements.

After withdrawal you are in the recovery stage and it is vitally important that you do not put yourself into situations that can trigger a relapse. Such as mixing with people that are known to use the drugs that have been a problem for you. It is the part of the process when you must change your lifestyle and habits. This is where the support of groups and positive family and friends can be of great benefit.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies – Cleansing the body of toxins is an important step in healing…

  • Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), is taken to strengthen the liver.

  • Wild oat extract, burdock (Arctium lappa) root, echinacea (Echinacea spp.), and licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) cleanse the blood,

  • while skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), valerian (Valeriana officinalis), and vervain reduce anxiety.

See a professional for dosages.

Dietary Considerations

Traditionally drug users have eaten poorly and need to commence a balanced diet with an emphasis on fresh fruit and vegetables, protein and complex carbohydrates. Ask your doctor about the need for supplements.

When to seek further professional advice

  • You have, or a family member has any of the symptoms above