Category Archives: Mens Health

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition whereby areas are covered in pink or red coloured patches with white scales.

What to look for

  • deep pink, raised patches of skin with white scales appearing anywhere on the body except the face.

  • pitting and thickening of the fingernails and toenails.

The skin cells multiply much faster than normal, healthy cells and the overproduction of these cells is what causes the raised patches of skin.

Psoriasis tends to run in families. It is not contagious and is common among people with fair skin.

Outbreaks are triggered by the immune system and can affect other parts of the body, particularly the joints. This condition is usually not dangerous although it may be stressful and embarrassing and with appropriate treatment, symptoms generally subside within weeks.

Causes

A variety of factors, ranging from emotional stress to infection, can accelerate an episode of psoriasis.

Excess alcohol consumption, incorrect diets, injured skin, obesity, and certain drugs can aggravate psoriasis.

Traditional Treatment

This condition is not curable but it usually responds well to treatments. A standard treatment recommended by many doctors is to soak in a warm bath for 10 to 15 minutes, then immediately apply a topical ointment such as petroleum jelly, which helps your skin retain moisture. Your doctor may recommend another medication which is a little stronger.

Treatment with capsaicin may also be effective. Because capsaicin can burn and severely damage the skin if used incorrectly, try this only under a doctor’s supervision.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

If conventional treatments for psoriasis are not working for you, ask your doctor about the potential benefits of the following alternatives.

Aromatherapy –  Mix together 4 drops of essential oil of cedarwood and 2 drops of juniper or lemon in 1 tbsp almond , jojoba or olive oil. Apply the mixture to your scalp and leave it on overnight under a shower cap. Shampoo and rinse thoroughly in the morning. Lavender is also recommended if the above oils are unsuitable. Mix together 4 drops of essential oil of cedarwood and 2 drops of juniper or lemon in 1 tbsp almond , jojoba or olive oil. Apply the mixture to your scalp and leave it on overnight under a shower cap. Shampoo and rinse thoroughly in the morning. Lavender is also recommended if the above oils are unsuitable.

Repeat three times a week until the symptoms clear. Since some people are sensitive to essential oils, place a drop on your skin for 30 minutes to be sure you have no adverse reactions.

Herbal Therapies – Burdock (Arctium lappa) root, dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root, and Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) are said to help reduce symptoms of psoriasis. Burdock (Arctium lappa) root, dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root, and Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) are said to help reduce symptoms of psoriasis.

Evening primrose oil may soothe itching associated with psoriasis.

Mix tinctures of burdockskullcap, sourdock, and cleavers in equal parts;

A rinse made of dried rosemary and sage offers another alternative to tar-based shampoos.

Homoeopathy –  Don’t try to choose homoeopathic remedies on your own to treat a chronic, systemic condition such as psoriasis. Don’t try to choose homoeopathic remedies on your own to treat a chronic, systemic condition such as psoriasis.

Lifestyle –   The skin, the largest organ in the body, often mirrors turmoil within, so it’s not surprising that many psoriasis patients have a history of high anxiety, low self-esteem, and stress-related problems.

Many techniques help psoriasis patients by addressing the psychological roots and consequences of the disease. In particular, hypnotherapy, any of a number of relaxation techniques and psychotherapy may be effective.

Try to relax and take part in activities which you enjoy and that make you feel good. Try to avoid high levels of stress.

Dietary Considerations

Fish oil is usually extremely beneficial to sufferers – try a fish-oil capsule containing EPA four times a day.

Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin Customer and E, Calcium, Magnesium, Lecithin, linseed oil, Kelp, Garlic and Evening Primrose Oil.

Be careful with the doses and always take supplements under Professional supervision.

Vitamin B complex may promote healthy skin and rubbing concentrated vitamin E ointment into your scalp two or three times a week can be helpful.

Some research has suggested that eating too much citrus fruit can aggravate psoriasis, and that psoriasis patients, like eczema patients, cannot metabolise fatty acids. To help prevent flare ups, adopt a diet high in fish and raw vegetables, and low in fatty meats and acidic fruits.

Personal Care

  • For scalp psoriasis, wash your hair with a coal-tar shampoo or with a mixture of cedarwood and juniper orlemon oils.

  • Expose areas of inflamed skin to the morning or afternoon sun but be extremely careful to not stay out too long and put sunscreen on all the other parts of your body.

  • Regular exercise will help your entire system.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your skin inflammation does not respond to any form of treatment

     

Impotence

This is the inability in men to be able to have sexual intercourse.

What to look for

The most obvious symptom is the failure to have an erection. However there are some other factors to consider –

  • if your impotence appears only occasionally it is not usually a serious problem as this is quite common.

  • develops gradually and persistently, there is probably a physical cause

  • develops abruptly, but you still have early-morning erections and are able to have an erection while masturbating, the problem is likely to be psychological.

Impotence, the inability to attain or maintain an erection of the penis adequate for the sexual satisfaction of both partners, can be devastating to your self-esteem as well as your partners. It can affect nearly all males at some time or another.

Causes

There are a number of supposed causes of impotence in men.

The normal aging process can tend to slow a mans ability to sustain an erection. However, experts believe that the cause is more often physical.

The stiffness of an erection is caused by increased blood flow to the penis. Therefore, conditions that block the blood flow to the penis such as atherosclerosis or diabetes can hinder erections. Another vascular cause may be a faulty vein, which lets blood drain too quickly from the penis.

The nervous system has a controlling influence on the male erection, therefore certain prescription drugs which interfere with the nerves (or have this as a side effect) can cause impotence. Among the possible culprits are stimulants, sedatives, diuretics, antihistamines, and agents to treat high blood pressure, cancer, or depression. In addition, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs, such as marijuana, may contribute to impotence.

With younger men, psychological problems are the likeliest reason for impotence.

Tension and anxiety may arise from poor communication with the sexual partner or a difference in sexual preferences. The sexual difficulties may also be linked to a low self esteem, depression, rejection by parents or peers, or sexual abuse in childhood.

Traditional Treatment

As men age it does take a little longer to become aroused, but if the problem you are having is persistent and severe, seek medical help.

There is a vacuum inflating device that is an option usually for elderly men and your doctor will inform you of the procedure involved.

Another treatment is the injection of testosterone but it is difficult to know how much as each man is different. Ask your doctor about this.

For blood-vessel problems, vascular surgery to open arteries leading to the penis benefits up to half the patients who opt for this treatment.

Men can opt for a penile implant however this should be after all else has failed.

If the cause is judged to be psychological, you could see a qualified counsellor to help you ascertain the underlying causes and help remedy your situation.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many alternative therapies promote the good health and relaxation needed for a satisfying sex life.

Aromatherapy – Essential oils of clarysandalwood, and ylang-ylang encourage relaxation and feelings of sensuality. Add 2 drops of each to 4 tsp of massage oil or to a warm bath.

Chinese Herbs – Practitioners believe that too much anxiety can cause energy stagnation in the liver. Golden chamber, a combination of herbs, sometimes with cibot root added, is often prescribed.

Herbal Therapies – GinkgoDamiana, and Ginseng are sold in many formulations as sexual stimulants.

Personal Care

 

  • Try to keep your focus and mind off ‘getting an erection’ while being intimate with your partner. Try to keep the pressure off yourself.

  • Moderate exercise helps relax the body, give you more energy, and stimulate sexuality.

  • Stress or anxiety diverts blood from the sexual organs. Try to relax

When to seek further professional advice

  • if you are anxious about the problem

  • impotence persists

     

Indigestion

Indigestion is a type of pain and sick feeling after eating food.

What to look for

  • heartburn.

  • gas or burping.

  • abdominal pressure and flatulence.

  • mild nausea.

  • vomiting.

We should not normally notice the digestion process. Indigestion is a term that covers a large variety of assorted stomach problems but mostly it means pain after eating food, usually accompanied by a bloated and sick feeling.

Indigestion is either a symptom of a disease or the result of eating unfavourable foods.

Indigestion may be occasional or occur daily. Though uncomfortable, indigestion itself is not life-threatening. However, this condition should not be left untreated.

Causes

This is a disorder which everyone will feel occasionally.

It has many causes such as

  • too much food consumption

  • overindulging in alcohol;

  • frequently using analgesics and other pain relievers;

  • eating while stressed;

  • eating food that does not agree with your system.

  • eating in a hurry and not chewing your food properly

Obesity and smoking are two major causes of chronic indigestion.

Traditional Treatment

There are many treatments available to help indigestion and the right one depends on your symptoms. Your doctor or Pharmacist will advise which course of action to take.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies – Various teas may calm digestive distress. To reduce stomach acidity, drink meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) tea.

If you also feel stressed, add lavender (Lavandula officinalis) or chamomile (Matricaria recutita).

If bloating or gas is a problem, try a tea of peppermint (Mentha piperita), chamomile, or lemon balm (Melissa officinalis).

Certain herbs are able to help with digestion and heartburn. About 30 minutes before eating, drink 1/2 cup of tea made from goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), barberry (Berberis vulgaris) bark, gentian (Gentiana lutea) root, or Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) root.

Ginger is another herb with properties that can aid digestion.

Dietary Considerations

Try a low fat diet with less protein from fatty foods, highly spiced foods, sugars, alcohol, tea and coffee. Do not drink too much fluid with your meals. Chew slowly. Try Acidophilus Bifidus to maintain good levels of friendly intestinal flora. Fruits that have digestive enzymes are pawpaw, kiwi fruit and pineapple. It is wise to start eating natural live yogurt as well.

Personal Care

  • Refrain from smoking.

  • For occasional indigestion with heartburn, use antacids if recommended by your doctor or try an alternative solution – see above

  • Try one or several of the herbal teas above to relieve your specific symptoms.

  • Relax during and after eating.

  • If you frequently chew gum, stop for a while to see if your symptoms dissipate.

  • Avoid the foods mentioned above to improve your digestion.

  • Drink more fluids – filtered water is best – during the day but try not to have too much fluid while eating as this can dilute the digestive enzymes.

Prevention

Indigestion is universal; it’s almost impossible to avoid it forever. You can encounter it less often, however, if you watch your weight; avoid overeating or overindulging in alcohol; avoid your “trigger” foods; and abstain from smoking.

When to seek further professional advice

  • any abdominal pain continues for more than six hours

  • you experience indigestion with any other problematic symptom

  • you have repeated bouts of severe indigestion

  • your indigestion consistently follows your eating dairy products.

     

     

Gallstones

Gallstones are hard, round lumps of solid material usually composed of either cholesterol or bile.

What to look for

  • severe pain

  • indigestion.

  • fever.

  • severe nausea and vomiting.

  • jaundice.

Gallstones develop in the gall bladder (a small, organ that stores bile which a digestive juice produced by the liver. The stones may be as small as a pinhead or as large as a golf ball… They may be different consistencies and hardness. You may have several gallstones or just one.

People often have gallstones and do not realise it as there may be no obvious symptoms. When symptoms do occur, it’s usually because the gallstone has moved and become lodged in the bile duct which is at the side of the gall bladder. Now the symptoms may begin especially after eating a large meal.

Causes

The responsibility of the gall bladder is to store bile, a brown or greenish fluid that helps the body break down fatty food. The bile is produced in the liver and drains from the liver to the bile duct.

When you eat a meal, the gall bladder releases its stored bile into the cystic duct. From there the fluid passes through the common bile duct and into the small intestine.

Bile consists of bile acids and cholesterol. Normally, the concentration of bile acids is high enough to break down the cholesterol in the mixture and keep it in liquid form. However, when we eat too much fat, the liver will produce extra cholesterol – too much for the bile acids to break down. As a result, some of this excess cholesterol begins to solidify into crystals, which we call gallstones.

Gallstones can develop in people who are on low fat diets as well. As the gall bladder hardly gets used, the cholesterol has more time to solidify. Other factors can cause gallstones to form by reducing the activity of the gall bladder and these include; cirrhosis, the use of oral contraceptives, and pregnancy.

Traditional Treatment

In a lot of cases people do not realise they have gallstones and therefore no treatment is necessary however it may be advisable to start procedures to alter your lifestyle a little to prevent them from ever becoming a problem. Often when the pain from gallstones becomes unbearable, doctors will recommend the removal of the gall bladder.

Some alternative treatments have also been found to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of troublesome gallstones.

Sometimes a person will have a once only attack and the stone dislodges itself and never returns. Doctors in this case will wait to see if you have any further problems.

If you have further trouble with your Gall stones, your Doctor may recommend one of several techniques.

  • Some gallstones can be dissolved through the use of a bile salt

  • A method called contact dissolution can also be used to dissolve gallstones.

  • Surgical Removal of the Gall bladder. The operation is done by ‘keyhole’ surgery and usually involved one night in hospital. It is very effective and safe.

Always limit the fat you eat after having this operation.

Alternative/Natural Treatment

These options may eliminate some of the gallstone symptoms.

Chinese Herbs – Very small gallstones may be dissolved through the ingestion of Chinese herbs such as pyrrosia leaf (Pyrrosia lingua) and rhubarb (Rheum palmatum). Very small gallstones may be dissolved through the ingestion of Chinese herbs such as pyrrosia leaf (Pyrrosia lingua) and rhubarb (Rheum palmatum).

Homoeopathy – A number of Homoeopathic remedies can be used to treat gallstone-related symptoms – Dioscorea, Colocynthis, or Belladonna, Berberis vulgaris, Hydrastis, or Chelidonium majus. You should consult a professional Homoeopath for exact medicine and dosages.  (Go to Homoeopath page) A number of Homoeopathic remedies can be used to treat gallstone-related symptoms – Dioscorea, Colocynthis, or Belladonna, Berberis vulgaris, Hydrastis, or Chelidonium majus. You should consult a professional Homoeopath for exact medicine and dosages.  (Go to Homoeopath page)

Bach Flower Remedies – The flower essence most recommended for this complaint is willow. The flower essence most recommended for this complaint is willow.

Dietary Considerations

Depending on the severity of your condition, an improved diet may help relieve gallstone symptoms.

Eat high fibre, low-fat foods and lots of raw fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals and bran. Add fresh lemon or lemon juice to your meals. Obese people are more prone to getting this condition than people closer to their normal weight.

Prevention

A high-fibre, low-fat diet helps keep bile cholesterol from hardening. However, don’t cut out fats abruptly or eliminate them altogether, as too little fat can also result in gallstone formation.

Moderate consumption of olive oil (about 2 tbsp a day) may actually lower your chances of developing gallstones.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the above symptoms


Hair Loss

What to look for

  • in men, thinning hair on the scalp, a receding hairline.

  • in women, thinning of hair in general, but mainly at the crown.

  • in children or young adults, sudden loss of patches of hair; known as alopecia areata (this also can occur in adults).

  • complete loss of all hair on the body; a rare disorder called alopecia universalis.

  • children can deliberately rub or pull out hair, a disorder called trichotillomania.

  • excessive shedding of hair, but not complete baldness, associated with various illnesses and drug treatments, rapid weight loss, anaemiastress, or pregnancy.

The structure, colour and texture of human hair varies widely from person to person depending on a range of different factors such as sex, age, race and genes. However, when thinning of the hair or baldness appear, it is not normal and we need to look for a cause.

Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As follicles produce new hair cells, old cells are being pushed out through the surface of the skin. The average adult head has about 100,000 hairs, and loses up to 100 of them a day; so finding a few stray hairs on your hairbrush is not necessarily a problem.

In men, a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown is called male pattern baldness. In women, female pattern baldness is typically a general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown. This does not usually occur in women until later on in life, if at all.

Alopecia areata is a sudden loss of hair in patches usually occurring in children and young adults. This disorder may result in complete baldness, but in about 90 percent of cases the hair returns, usually within a few years.

With alopecia universalis, all body hair falls out and the likelihood of regrowth is slight, especially when it occurs in children.

Tearing out one’s own hair, a disorder known as trichotillomania, is seen most frequently in children.

Causes

Doctors do not know why certain hair follicles are programmed to have a shorter growth period than others. An individual’s genes, from both male and female parents, unquestionably influence that person’s predisposition to male or female pattern baldness.

Temporary hair loss can occur when you have suffered, a high fever, a severe illness, thyroid disorders, iron deficiency, general anaesthesia, drug treatments, hormonal imbalance, or extreme stress, and in women following childbirth. In these conditions, a large number of hair follicles suddenly go into a resting phase, causing hair to thin noticeably.

Drugs that can cause temporary hair loss include chemotherapeutic agents used in cancer treatment, anticoagulants, retinoids used to treat acne and skin problems, beta-adrenergic blockers used to control blood pressure, and oral contraceptives.

Hair loss can also be caused by burns, x-rays, scalp injuries, and exposure to certain chemicals (including those used to purify swimming pools, and to bleach, dye, and perm hair). Normal hair growth usually returns once the cause is eliminated.

The causes of alopecia areata, a disorder that often strikes children or teenagers, remain unexplained. In most cases the hair grows back, although it may be very fine and possibly white before normal coloration and thickness return. A stressful event may trigger this illness off and it is slightly more common with certain disorders such as diabetes and pernicious anaemia.

Although too-frequent washing, permanent waves, bleaching, and dyeing hair do not cause baldness, they can contribute to overall thinning by making hair weak and brittle. The hair usually grows back after the cause is stopped.

Traditional Treatment

Most people turn to wigs, hairpieces, and hair-weaving to hide their baldness.

A drug is available which has been found to promote hair growth on previously bald areas. This drug appears to be successful and is called minoxidil. It’s retail name is Regaine and is available on prescription. It is available also as a lotion formulation to be applied onto the scalp.

It must however, be used every day to maintain the growth of hair. It is also very expensive. The effects are most promising in younger people who are just beginning to show signs of balding or who have small bald patches.

The medication is applied to balding spots twice a day and must be continued daily. More than 50 percent of users claim that it can thicken hair and slow hair loss, but it is not considered effective in men who already have extensive male pattern baldness.

Although most cases of alopecia areata are resolved naturally, some doctors try to speed recovery with corticosteroids applied topically or injected in the scalp. Cortisone taken orally may stimulate new hair growth, but the effect is likely to be temporary.

Hair transplantation is another option available to people with hair loss.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Despite claims to the contrary, no alternative therapies can reverse normal balding, although some may encourage reversal of temporary hair loss and improve damaged hair. Certain relaxation techniques are helpful in calming stressful people.

Chinese Medicine – In Chinese medicine, hair is thought to be nourished by the blood, which is influenced by the liver and kidneys. Chinese medicines for the hair are intended to help and nourish these organs and promote new hair growth; they include such herbs as polygonum (Polygonum multiflorum), lycium fruit (Lycium barbarum), Chinese foxglove root (Rehmannia glutinosa), Chinese yam (Dioscorea opposita), and cornus (Cornus officinalis).

Herbal Therapies – For temporary or partial hair loss from a known cause, herbalists recommend stimulating hair follicles and improving blood circulation in the scalp to encourage new hair growth. Try massaging your scalp with essential oil of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) or rinsing your hair with tea made from sage (Salvia officinalis) ornettle tea. For temporary or partial hair loss from a known cause, herbalists recommend stimulating hair follicles and improving blood circulation in the scalp to encourage new hair growth. Try massaging your scalp with essential oil ofrosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) or rinsing your hair with tea made from sage (Salvia officinalis) or nettle tea.

Homoeopathy – Many homoeopathic remedies are thought to be effective for hair loss, particularly thinning caused by pregnancy, stress, or emotional trauma. Consult a homoeopathic professional for more advice. Many homoeopathic remedies are thought to be effective for hair loss, particularly thinning caused by pregnancy, stress, or emotional trauma. Consult a homoeopathic professional for more advice.

Massage- Massage improves circulation and helps supply more blood to the scalp, which in turn improves the health of your hair and scalp. Massage improves circulation and helps supply more blood to the scalp, which in turn improves the health of your hair and scalp.

A few drops of vitamin E oil massaged into the scalp is recommended to strengthen fragile hair and help prevent dry, flaky skin. Or use the oils mentioned above.

(Emotional or physical stress may be a factor in some cases of hair loss. Yoga and meditation may help in these cases).

Dietary Considerations

Hair loss can result from a poor diet. It is advisable that you start back on a balanced diet and consult your doctor about supplemental vitamins A, B complex, and C, as well as iron and zinc.   (Go to our Vitamins page).

Prevention

Be careful with your hair and do not over wash or treat it. If your hair is very oily, you may want to wash it every day, but shampooing too often can strip your hair of its natural oil.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect that you or your child has alopecia areata, or that your child has trichotillomania; both conditions should be evaluated by a doctor.

  • you suffer an unexplained loss of hair on any part of your body


     

Heart Attack

A Heart Attack happens when something has blocked the flow of blood into your heart, and a part of your heart has died.

What to look for

  • a dull or heavy pain in the centre of the chest

  • breathlessness, dizziness, nausea, chills, sweating, weak pulse.

  • cold and clammy skin, grey pallor, a severe appearance of illness.

  • fainting

Sometimes there are no symptoms.

The heart relies on its own blood supply to provide it with oxygen and nutrients so it can function properly. If the supply of oxygen to a certain part of the heart is interrupted, that area of the heart stops functioning. If an attack lasts too long, the starved heart tissue dies. This event defines heart attack, otherwise known as myocardial infarction.

If you think you are about to have an attack never wait until it is over before seeking help. Most attacks last for several hours. The signs of the heart attack may be no more than breathlessness, faintness, or nausea; and in some cases there are no symptoms. But most heart attacks produce some pain. The pain of a severe attack has been likened to a giant fist enclosing and squeezing the heart. If the attack is mild, it may be mistaken for heartburn. The pain may be constant or intermittent.

Usually heart attack patients have been suffering angina previous to the attack (the pain is very similar and brought on by exertion or excitement and lasts only a few minutes and the heart is not permanently damaged).

Sometimes there are no warning signs.

There are possible complications that can occur while in hospital with a heart attack – stroke, congestive heart failure, formation of blood clots in the legs or heart, and aneurism in a weakened heart chamber.

It will usually take around three months to fully recover from a heart attack.

Causes

Most heart attacks are the result of coronary heart disease, condition that clogs arteries with fatty deposits. It may also be blood clots which form on top of the fatty deposits which actually cause the heart attack.

Certain triggers will lead to a heart attack in certain persons. The predominant ones are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and an inactive lifestyle. Stress, exertion and excitement can act as triggers for an attack.

Men over the age of 50 with a family history of heart disease are predisposed to heart attack.

Traditional Treatment

This condition must be treated by traditional medicine. Alternative remedies are however helpful in patient recovery and prevention.

Heart attack victims are usually hospitalised in special coronary care units for at least 3 days. Special drug therapy is used and the patient may have to be operated on.

The patient will be monitored closely for a period of time and administered the appropriate medications and drugs.

Gentle exercise is recommended while patients are recovering, but nothing that requires too much exertion.

Long-term recovery from heart attack requires extreme adjustments: Habits such as smoking, heavy drinking, and eating high-fat foods have to go.

As a preventive measure, most heart attack survivors take a daily aspirin tablet to thin the blood. Other drugs may also be prescribed, depending on the individual case.

Alternative Choices

Herbal Therapies – Of the many herbs used to treat chronic heart conditions, hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) is perhaps most valuable as it dilates coronary arteries and improves the function in the heart. Hawthorn also is thought to speed recovery from an attack. Of the many herbs used to treat chronic heart conditions, hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) is perhaps most valuable as it dilates coronary arteries and improves the function in the heart. Hawthorn also is thought to speed recovery from an attack.

There are other herbs that are used to treat heart conditions, such as raw garlic, lime flowers (linden) and nettle. For more information, see high blood pressureBlood Clots, and Cholesterol Problems.

Bach Flower Remedies – Try willow and holly essences – 4 drops on the tongue, up to 4 times daily. Try willow and holly essences – 4 drops on the tongue, up to 4 times daily.

Lifestyle

Regular aerobic exercise greatly enhances efforts to prevent or recover from heart attack. However you must be extremely careful not to over exert yourself. Exercise under supervision while in the recovery phase.

Reducing stress by training the mind and body to relax may help prevent heart attack and can aid in recovery.

Dietary Considerations

to reduce the possibility of further heart attacks, it is advisable to eat a low fat diet with very little salt, sugar, alcohol in order to reduce cholesterol, control blood pressure, and weight. Eating magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, beans, bran, fish, and dark green vegetables may help prevent heart attack.

Antioxidants supposedly help with heart disease as well as supplements such as B complexCEchromium,calciumpotassiumEvening Primrose Oil, and garlic.

Personal Care

  • You can still be fairly active – just be careful.

  • Do not take birth-control pills if you have had a heart attack

  • Get a pet. Pet owners recover more quickly from heart attacks

Prevention

  • Try to relax and control negative volatile emotions such as anger.

  • Talk with your doctor about taking an aspirin daily.

When to seek further professional advice

 

 

  • you or someone you are with shows signs of a heart attack.

  • you suffer from angina (chest pain) and begin to experience pain that is similar but does not respond to medication; this may indicate that a heart attack is under way.

  • your angina attacks become more frequent and severe

  • you are taking aspirin to prevent heart attack and your stool appears black and tarry

     

Heart Disease

What to look for

  • tight, suffocating chest pain, often associated with angina and heart attack.

  • sensations of fluttering, thumping, pounding, or racing of the heart, known as palpitations.

  • shortness of breath.

  • fluid retention in the legs, ankles, abdomen, lungs, or heart.

  • light headedness, weakness, dizziness, or fainting spells.

Please be aware that sometimes heart disease has no symptoms or the symptoms may be the result of another condition.

The most common types of heart disease are following –

Heart Arrhythmia’s – Arrhythmia’s are irregularities in the heart’s normal beating pattern.

Coronary Heart Disease – This is the most common heart problem and is characterised by blocked coronary arteries resulting in a reduced blood flow and oxygen to the heart. This blockage could have started from the time you were very young and just became progressively worse over the years. This is the most common heart problem and is characterised by blocked coronary arteries resulting in a reduced blood flow and oxygen to the heart. This blockage could have started from the time you were very young and just became progressively worse over the years.

This type of heart disease is very concerning as it can lead to heart failure, angina, attacks and death.

There are no exact known causes of coronary heart disease, however there are certain risk factors responsible for the development of the disease.

  • it runs in families

  • it is more common in men

  • people over the age of 40 are more likely to get this disease

  • Diabetics are also more prone to heart disease.

  • smoking significantly increases the chances of coronary heart disease

  • being overweight

  • having high cholesterol

  • leading a sedentary life

  • stress

Heart Valve Disease – The heart depends on four valves to keep the blood flowing in the right direction. Diseases of the valves is not quite as prevalent these days due to nutrition awareness. A faulty valve may not open or close properly. A defective valve may have been present from birth or the valves may be inflamed. The heart depends on four valves to keep the blood flowing in the right direction. Diseases of the valves is not quite as prevalent these days due to nutrition awareness. A faulty valve may not open or close properly. A defective valve may have been present from birth or the valves may be inflamed.

Pericardial Disease – Any disease of the pericardium, the fibrous membrane in which the heart sits, is classified as pericardial disease. One of the more common is an inflammatory condition called pericarditis. It is usually caused by viral infection. Pericarditis often subsides on its own, but it also responds to anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin. Any disease of the pericardium, the fibrous membrane in which the heart sits, is classified as pericardial disease. One of the more common is an inflammatory condition called pericarditis. It is usually caused by viral infection. Pericarditis often subsides on its own, but it also responds to anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin.

Primary Myocardial Disease (Cardiomyopathy) – This is a heart muscle disease which makes the muscle become weak and flabby so that the heart gets bigger as the muscle wall dilates under the strain. Usually it is unknown what causes this disease. This is a heart muscle disease which makes the muscle become weak and flabby so that the heart gets bigger as the muscle wall dilates under the strain. Usually it is unknown what causes this disease.

Congenital Heart Disease – The development of the heart inside the womb is a very complicated and intricate process and can occasionally go wrong. In this case, a baby is born with heart defects, and the exact reason why this occurs is hard to fathom. The development of the heart inside the womb is a very complicated and intricate process and can occasionally go wrong. In this case, a baby is born with heart defects, and the exact reason why this occurs is hard to fathom.

Genetic abnormalities or infections contracted during pregnancy by the mother may also result in congenital heart disease for the child.

Causes

You will have to describe your symptoms to your doctor in order for him or her to diagnose which heart disease you have, if any. An examination will then take place along with listening to the heart itself for clues.

If heart disease is suspected, further tests will be performed.

Traditional Treatment

It is best to seek conventional medical treatments if there is any suspected heart disease. Alternative remedies should also be used but as supplements or in addition to your conventional treatment.

The basis of conventional care is the use of drugs and surgery as well as to help make the correct changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative medicine preaches prevention as its mainstay.

Relaxation – Focus on techniques to help the body to relax and reduce stress and consequently avoid, control or prevent heart disease. Relaxation reduces stress, and stress has been identified as a likely risk factor for coronary heart disease. Focus on techniques to help the body to relax and reduce stress and consequently avoid, control or prevent heart disease. Relaxation reduces stress, and stress has been identified as a likely risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Chinese Medicine – Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine generally view heart disease as arising from heart weakness or blocked energy flow. Depending on the symptoms, standard treatment would involve prescribed herbal remedies plus massage, acupuncture, and dietary recommendations. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine generally view heart disease as arising from heart weakness or blocked energy flow. Depending on the symptoms, standard treatment would involve prescribed herbal remedies plus massage, acupuncture, and dietary recommendations.

Herbal Therapies – The plant world is full of herbs that can affect the heart. The therapeutic properties of some have been tested and trialed with positive results. The plant world is full of herbs that can affect the heart. The therapeutic properties of some have been tested and trialed with positive results.

The effects of others, such as motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium), are not as well researched yet perhaps no less effective. Certain herbs, such as foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), contain compounds that make them particularly potent. Because of their potentially dangerous side effects, they should be administered only by a Professional.

Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) is a highly effective heart healer. However, any herbal treatment of the heart should be supervised by a Health Professional and approved by your doctor.

Homoeopathy – Homoeopathic remedies may complement, but should not replace, prescribed medication for chronic heart conditions. A homoeopath would be able to advise on the best preparation for your particular condition.Homoeopathic remedies may complement, but should not replace, prescribed medication for chronic heart conditions. A homoeopath would be able to advise on the best preparation for your particular condition.

Bach Flower Remedies – Certain flower essences are reputed to be beneficial in the treatment of heart disease. These are – holly and willow. Certain flower essences are reputed to be beneficial in the treatment of heart disease. These are – holly and willow.

Lifestyle

You should make certain adjustments to your lifestyle if you want to avoid this disease:

  • If you smoke, quit.

  • exercise

  • drink alcohol in moderation

Dietary Considerations

It is vitally important that your diet is low in fat and salt, high in fibre.

There are also specific vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, such as magnesiumpotassium, niacin (vitamin B3), many other B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine (an amino acid), and the fatty acids in fish oils, that specifically protect against heart and arterial disease.

Prevention

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and grains, and fewer foods that are salty, high in fat, or fried.

  • Exercise regularly

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if you do drink.

  • Don’t smoke.

  • Learn to control stress.

When to seek further professional advice

 

 


  • you experience unusual chest pain, particularly if it persists or recurs.

  • if your heat beat is consistently irregular .

  • you become suddenly dizzy, light headed, weak, or faint.

     

Hernia

This is a protrusion through a weakness in the abdominal wall. It can be either external or internal.

What to look for

  • swelling in the abdomen or groin.

  • a heavy feeling in the abdomen that is sometimes accompanied by constipation.

  • discomfort in the abdomen or groin when lifting or bending over.

A hernia occurs when an organ or tissue squeezes through a hole or a weak spot in a surrounding muscle. The most common types are inguinal, incisional, and umbilical.

In an inguinal hernia, the intestine or the bladder protrudes through the abdominal wall in the groin. Most hernias are inguinal, and most occur in men because of a natural weakness in this area.

In an incisional hernia, a hernia can develop at the site of an operation, the muscles have not healed properly.

In an umbilical hernia, the location is near the naval. Common in newborns, it also afflicts obese women or those who have had many children.

Causes

People can be born with weaknesses that make them prone to develop a hernia. The condition can also develop from heavy lifting, strenuous exercise or a persistent cough, poor nutrition, smoking, and overexertion all can weaken muscles and make hernias develop.

Anything that causes muscle strain can then induce hernia, including obesity, lifting heavy objects, diarrhoea or constipation, or persistent coughing… Ultimately, all hernias are caused by a combination of muscle weakness and strain: A weak spot in the muscle tears under the pressure of strain, and an internal organ or tissue then pushes through the tear.

A doctor’s physical examination is often enough to diagnose a hernia. Sometimes you will be able to feel it yourself on the side of the abdomen or groin.

Traditional Treatment

In babies, umbilical hernias frequently heal themselves within four years, making surgery unnecessary.

Usually, however surgery will be required. It is important to get your hernia seen to by a doctor because if it is left untreated, the protruding organ may become strangulated (have its blood supply cut off), and infection and tissue death may occur as a result.

Alternative/Natural Treatment

If you suspect you have a hernia you must seek conventional treatment, as natural therapies will not eliminate a hernia. Alternative treatments will however relieve the discomfort.

Homoeopathy – If the hernia is on the right side of your body, take lycopodium clavatum three times a day for a few days. For general hernias, take 6C or Calcarea fluorata in tablet or liquid. If the hernia is on the right side of your body, take lycopodium clavatum three times a day for a few days. For general hernias, take 6C or Calcarea fluorata in tablet or liquid.

Lifestyle – Gentle exercise on a regular basis tones and strengthens stomach muscles. Gentle exercise on a regular basis tones and strengthens stomach muscles.

Prevention

Take care to avoid becoming overweight by practicing good nutrition and maintaining good muscle tone through exercise. Also avoid putting unnecessary strain on abdominal muscles through lifting.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect that you have a hernia.

  • you know you have a hernia, and you are nauseated and vomiting or are unable to have a bowel movement or pass gas

     

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a crystalline fatty alcohol found especially in animal fats, blood and nerve tissue and bile.

What to look for

A high level of cholesterol in the blood does not have obvious symptoms but it can be a risk for other circulatory conditions that do have recognisable symptoms.

  • Obesity and diabetes.

  • impotence

Cholesterol is a paradox: Everyone needs it, but you can have too much which can prove to be fatal. A naturally occurring fat, cholesterol performs functions which are vital to the body such as cell building, insulating nerves, and producing hormones. The liver makes all the cholesterol the body normally needs, but because this substance is found in all animal products, you get a new stock of it whenever you eat meat and dairy foods. For people genetically predisposed to cholesterol problems, a diet high in saturated fats is the chief cause of high cholesterol levels.

There are two basic types of cholesterol – HDL and LDL – high and low density lipoproteins respectively. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is a larger, less dense particle that tends to remain in the body. Excessive amounts of LDL cholesterol can overload the circulatory system and it can leave deposits in blood vessels that eventually block them and lead to heart disease.

Causes

Hereditary does play a part in having or not having cholesterol. If you have a predisposition to cholesterol and eat a heavy saturated fat diet, you are more likely to have cholesterol and the related diseases.

A laboratory test to determine your blood cholesterol level is now a routine part of most physical checkups.

Traditional Treatment

Your doctor, Pharmacist as well as many Health Professionals will all say the same thing with regards to diet – Adopt a diet low in fat and cholesterol, lose weight, exercise regularly, and if you smoke, quit.

There are cholesterol reducing drugs available however they are expensive and can produce serious side effects.

Alternative Treatments

Alternative therapists offer a range of natural ways to control your cholesterol levels. All can be pursued independently, many in conjunction with drug therapy.

Chinese Medicine – Traditional Chinese healers treat various forms of chronic heart disease, along with factors like high cholesterol, a herbal therapy that uses polygonum (Polygonum multiflorum). You should professional advice for an appropriate prescription. Traditional Chinese healers treat various forms of chronic heart disease, along with factors like high cholesterol, a herbal therapy that uses polygonum (Polygonum multiflorum). You should professional advice for an appropriate prescription.

Herbal Therapies – A highly valued remedy for fighting high cholesterol is gugulipid (Commiphora mukul). A highly valued remedy for fighting high cholesterol is gugulipid (Commiphora mukul).

Other herbs reputed to have cholesterol-lowering properties include alfalfa (Medicago sativa), turmeric (Curcuma longa), Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), and fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum).

Lifestyle – Exercise several times a week can help this complaint. Exercise several times a week can help this complaint.

Dietary Considerations

Avoid saturated fats and dietary cholesterol. Experts recommend a diet with between 30 and 20 percent of your daily calories from fat. Animal fat should be avoided. Eat more vegetables, fruits, and grains, which are cholesterol free, virtually fat free, and rich in fiber.

Garlic and onion are believed to lower cholesterol.

Prevention

  • Watch your weight.

  • Eat wisely

  • Exercise regularly

  • Don’t smoke.

  • Get your cholesterol checked regularly and monitor your progress

Make Healthy Food Your Ally

Replace saturated fats that are solid at room temperature, with olive or grape seed oil. Eating moderate amounts of such foods as nuts, seeds, and avocados may actually lower LDL cholesterol. Eating grapes may help reduce blood cholesterol.

Do not eat too many eggs per week as one egg yolk contains almost an entire daily recommended allowance of cholesterol. Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that have reputed cholesterol-reducing properties include vitamins EC, and A (beta carotene), zinc. Add rice, bran, artichokes, shiitake mushrooms, and chili peppers to your salads and foods as these all may help lower cholesterol.

When to seek further professional advice

  • You develop any of the symptoms listed above

     

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

This is a condition which is characterised by overwhelming fatigue.

What to look for

  • recent onset of extreme fatigue.

  • fatigue resulting not from any type of exertion and that you cannot relieve with rest or sleep.

  • sore muscles.

  • long-lasting discomfort following physical exertion.

  • sleep disorders (insomnia or oversleeping).

  • swollen lymph glands.

  • joint pain.

  • forgetfulness, confusion, inability to concentrate.

  • recurrent sore throat and headaches.

  • symptoms that persist for six months

Most people who are afflicted with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are professional people but it can also afflict children, teenagers and almost anybody.

CFS is characterised by symptoms similar to the flu and a sudden overwhelming fatigue and is not a result of physical exertion.

CFS is not a fatal disease, although it can last for a long time.

Causes

The cause of CFS is not known, but researchers are investigating various possibilities.

It is currently thought that CFS may develop when a virus invades the body at a time when the immune system is not functioning efficiently. It may be at a time when you are run down physically, emotionally, or it could be a change in your current environmental, or a combination of the three.

Some doctors believe that CFS is psychological rather than physiological. Your doctor will get information off you regarding your medical history, perform a physical exam, and do a complete blood count to rule out other disorders that share symptoms with CFS.

Your symptoms must have been present for at least six months before the doctor will diagnosis you with the disorder.

Traditional Treatment

Treatment centres on relieving symptoms as there is no known cause for this disorder.

It is vitally important to maintain a balanced diet with plenty of low impact exercise and to avoid stressful situations and get plenty of rest.

The flu like symptoms of CFS can be temporarily alleviated with a variety of medicines and medications.

Sensitivity to a chemical, pesticide, household cleaning product, or another potential environmental toxin may also be contributing to CFS. Try eliminating suspected items, then reintroducing them one by one, to pinpoint what may be causing your symptoms.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Chinese Herbs – A commercially prepared mixture called the Astragalus Ten Formula combines Asian ginseng(Panax ginseng), licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), and other herbs in powder or tablet form.

Herbal Therapies – Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) has been shown to help. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) andshiitake (Lentinus edodes) mushrooms contain substances which may help this condition. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is said to have antiviral properties. Silymarin, a component of milk thistle (Silybum marianum), may help with liver problems.

German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), burdock (Arctium lappa), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and Asian ginseng(Panax ginseng) are all said to be beneficial to CFS sufferers if taken regularly. You will need professional help for more specific guidelines.

Homoeopathy –  Some Homoeopathic practitioners have reported success in treating the symptoms of CFS. As with all chronic ailments, it’s best to seek the advice of a Homoeopath who can accurately diagnose and treat the specific symptoms of your case.

Dietary Considerations

One theory holds that a nutritional deficiency may be a contributing factor causing CFS, so it’s important to maintain a healthful diet. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, white flour, salt, and fried, preserved, high-fat foods in favour of whole grains, beans, rice, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Add edible seaweeds, shiitake mushrooms, and liquorice to your diet. Eating two cloves of garlic a day may help boost your immune system’s antiviral and antibacterial activity.

Coenzyme Q10 and vitamin B12 are nutritional supplements that may lessen symptoms. Some evidence suggests that a combination of malic acid and magnesium may help relieve fatigue and muscle pain.

Other immune system-enhancing vitamins include vitamin C and beta carotene (see Vitamin A), which is also a natural antioxidant. Vitamins B5 and B6zinc, selenium, manganese, and chromium all play a role in strengthening the immune system as well.

The amino acid tryptophan, found in various foods, may be helpful for some symptoms, and since it helps the body produce serotonin, a natural sedative, it may aid in sleep. However, don’t take it in supplement form if you have high blood pressure or are taking antidepressants.

People with this disorder may have food allergies or sensitivities. This will show itself as an intolerance to a particular food.

When a food that you’re allergic to enters your body, your immune system views it as an invader, and attacks it by flooding your bloodstream with antibodies. The overabundance of these antibodies, in conjunction with the release of histamines and other body chemicals, results in CFS like symptoms.

When to seek further professional advice

  • You have any of the above mentioned symptoms