Category Archives: Mens Health

Cirrhosis

This is a liver disease characterised by a gradual annihilation of the liver cells. These cells are progressively replaced with fibrous tissue, which then leads to hardening.

What to look for …

Usually no symptoms appear until the disease has entered the late stages as the disease tends to come on gradually. When they occur, symptoms can include:

  • nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

  • unusual gain or loss of weight.

  • yellow coloration of the skin and eyes (see Jaundice).

  • dark urine.

  • bloody, black stools, or unusually light-colored stools.

  • vomiting of blood.

  • thinning hair

  • abdominal swelling.

  • itching.

  • swollen feet or legs.

  • red palms.

  • sleep disturbances and confusion.

  • fatigue or loss of stamina.

  • enlarged breasts in men.

  • loss of sex drive and menstrual problems in women.

  • spider like blood vessels on chest and shoulders.

  • in severe cases, mental disturbances

With Cirrhosis, the liver eventually loses ability to function as required. With severe damage, the patient cannot function mentally and coma and possibly death can result. As well as this, because the blood cannot flow through the liver due to the scarring, it collects in the veins and they may burst under the enormous pressure. In some cases this pressure becomes so great that the vessels rupture.

Once the liver is damaged through cirrhosis, it cannot be cured except through a liver transplant. It can often be helped in the early stages though.

The wellness of the liver is important as it has many duties to perform for the proper functioning of the body. The liver is the largest of the body organs and performs the following essential functions-

  • detoxifies and rids the body of harmful chemicals, alcohol, caffeine by acting like a filter.

  • produces bile which it stores in the gall bladder. Bile is then released into the small intestine as needed to help break down fatty foods.

  • regulates the composition of the blood

  • traps old red blood cells

  • helps remove virus and bacteria (it performs this function as part of the immune system).

With so many tasks to perform it is essential to have a fully functioning and healthy liver however, it can still function but not quiet as effectively. The liver possesses an amazing ability to repair itself, especially if the cirrhosis is caught in the early stages and the causes of it’s malfunction have been removed.

The parts of the liver that are scarred will never be returned to normal. If the causes of cirrhosis are not removed and more and more cells are affected, the rest of the healthy cells are left to do all the work – this is where problems will become obvious. This is why it’s important to identify the underlying causes as soon as possible and begin taking steps to eliminate them.

Causes

The most common cause of Cirrhosis is the excessive consumption of alcohol over a long period. Other possible causes include viruses, genetic deficiencies, prolonged obstruction of bile flow, and long periods of exposure to drugs and other toxic substances.

The link between alcohol and cirrhosis is well documented. Studies show that while moderate drinking may actually help prevent strokes and heart disease, heavy drinking has a clearly harmful effect on the liver.

Excessive drinking almost inevitably causes some liver damage, but it does not always lead to cirrhosis however the liver can become inflamed. This only lasts for a week or two but can eventually lead to Cirrhosis. Even light drinkers who go on a binge for several days can develop a condition known as fatty liver which causes the cells of the liver to become swollen. This condition can be painful and can cause the eyes to take on a yellow appearance.

Hepatitis is the next most common cause of cirrhosis after alcoholism the most frequent cause of cirrhosis is hepatitis, which inflames the liver.

Traditional Treatment

Treating the cause of cirrhosis is the best way to recovery from this disease.

Remedies are dependant on the cause of the disease and what stage it is up to. If alcohol is the cause of your cirrhosis you must stop drinking immediately. If you continue to drink after you have been diagnosed with cirrhosis, there is more chance of the condition becoming fatal.

Liver transplants are available to people as a last resort and there are certain people who are not permitted to undergo this operation. People whose cirrhosis is due to alcohol abuse must abstain from alcohol for a period of time before this operation will be performed.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Chinese Medicine – Various Chinese herbs, used in combination, may promote healthy liver function. However, self-medication can be dangerous; remedies should be prescribed only by a Professional.

Herbal Therapy – Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is believed to promote healthy liver function. However, consult a Professional before using this remedy.

Homoeopathy – Certain Homoeopathic remedies, including Taraxacum officinale and Chelidonium majus, may help improve the efficiency of healthy liver cells in cases of cirrhosis. Consult a Professional for their proper use.

Dietary Considerations

Good nutrition can help the liver. Freshly squeezed juices from carrots, beetroot and celery, carrot and apple, grapefruit and pear juice. Eat more leafy green vegetables, tossed salads including cabbage rocket lettuce, dandelion and thistle leaves with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. Alfalfa sprouts, beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts and all the range of leafy Chinese and English spinach’s.

Protein is needed for the healthy functioning of the liver but it is important to monitor how much you are consuming – too little is as bad as too much. Check with a doctor or nutritionist for the amount of protein that’s right for you.

Also check with your doctor about the taking of high doses of vitamins as these can be harmful to your liver. (The liver has to filter substances that are taken into the body).

Prevention

  • Do not drink to excess and if you have been diagnosed with Cirrhosis stop drinking immediately.

  • Avoid uncooked shellfish.

  • Avoid mixing alcohol and drugs.

  • Avoid exposure to industrial chemicals, which can enter the bloodstream and cause liver damage.

  • Maintain a healthy diet.

  • Be careful to avoid contracting hepatitis.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice any of the symptoms listed in the description section

     

Depression

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.

Causes

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.

Prevention

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

Diabetes

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.

Causes

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

Adenoid Problems

Adenoids are lymph glands, located at the back of the nose where the air passages join those of the back of the mouth.

The lymph system is the body’s defence against infection and the lymph glands (like the adenoids) are full of infection-fighting cells. Any infection breathed in is filtered through the adenoids and usually killed. However this is not always the case.

What to look for…

 

Adenoid-related problems produce symptoms in the ears, nose, and throat. Most common in children between 4 and 8 years old. Any of the following may be indicative of adenoid problems:

  • Interruption of normal breathing patterns during the night

  • snoring

  • nasal voice

  • dry throat due to breathing through the mouth – continually asking for drinks

  • secretions from the nose during the day combined with a cough at night, caused by sinus drainage

  • recurring ear infections

  • coughs from increased pus or discharge in back of throat; a collection of this may cause morning vomiting.

  • Chest infections may occur

The adenoids, play a special role during childhood… By making antibodies, they help the young child’s body fight respiratory tract infections.

From the time your child is three until around the age of seven, the adenoids grow so that they can give extra protection to the lungs and chest. After about the age of eight, they usually begin to disappear until adolescence when they have usually gone.

You may have grown up in an era when removing the adenoids and tonsils was standard practice and may have undergone one of these procedures yourself. But because doctors now understand more clearly the role of the adenoids in fighting infection, the chances of your child’s undergoing an adenoidectomy are much more remote… usually limited to the most severe cases.

Causes

 

The primary reason for chronic adenoid problems is structural… The adenoids grow so large that they block the nasal passages. But infection or irritation, perhaps caused by allergies, can also cause problems by making the adenoids swell. Usually a younger child is more exposed to infections.

Traditional Treatment

 

Adenoid problems are difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can point to any number of conditions and it is hard to tell even by examination if enlarged adenoids are the cause.

Three types of medicines may help in treating adenoids

  1. Decongestants – available over the counter

  2. Antihistamines – available over the counter

  3. Antibiotics – available only on prescription.

As a last resort if the above medications have not helped and alternative therapies have not helped the adenoids may be removed by a surgeon .

Consult your doctor before undertaking any medication for the ailment.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

 

Alternative therapists usually seek an allergy-related cause first. Always take your child to a professional for evaluation and treatment… At-home care can only alleviate the symptoms. Natural therapists will also seek to strengthen the immune system with a natural, wholefood diet enriched with Vitamin C.

  • Herbal Treatments – Echinacea is believed to help fight infection. (Get professional advice for appropriate dosages). Garlic is often helpful as well as other herb cleavers sometimes in combination with Echinacea to fight infection and inflammation in the lymphatic system.

  • Homoeopathic Remedies – You should get professional advice for remedies appropriate to the condition as well as to yourself.

The following at home remedies may alleviate some symptoms, but they will not clear up the underlying condition. Always seek help from a professional when your child has a chronic problem.

  • For children with allergies, reducing or eliminating environmental irritants can make your child more comfortable. Using a vaporiser may aid the condition

  • A humidifier may help a congested child.

  • An over-the-counter decongestant may temporarily alleviate stuffiness.

Dietary Considerations

 

Because chronic adenoid problems give rise to other problems, you should consult a Health Professional for remedies and diets appropriate to the condition as well as to your child. Your Pharmacist will monitor your child’s progress and change remedies if they do not bring relief in a short time.

When to Seek Further Professional Advice

 

Left untreated, enlarged adenoids can lead to chronic sinusitis, and in severe cases, a complaint in which the child stops breathing for seconds at a time during the night.

If your child is not breathing properly at night, you notice your child has breathing problems or breathing through their mouth and if you notice recurrent ear conditions and infections

AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

Known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome AIDS occurs after the immune system has been destroyed by HIV virus.

HIV attacks the immune system by killing off the white blood cells in the blood known as the T-Cells. It is these cells that signal to the body’s defence system when an invasion of bacteria or viruses has occurred. As a result the body produces anti-bodies which attack and destroy harmful bacteria and viruses.

AIDS patients are vulnerable to infections and cancers and it is these infections and cancers which cause death. HIV changes the structure of the cells it attacks.

What to look for…

 


The following are common symptoms to look for-

  • Unexplainable fatigue.

  • Swollen lymph nodes.

  • Fevers that lasts more than 10 days.

  • Night sweats.

  • Unexplained weight loss.

  • Purplish or discoloured lesions on skin that do not go away.

  • Persistent, unexplained cough or sore throat.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Persistent colds, diarrhoea, yeast infections

  • Easy bruising or bleeding that cannot be explained.

A diagnosis of AIDS should not be taken as an immediate death sentence. With proper care the AIDS sufferer may stave off the worst symptoms and live a productive life for many years.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is not a single disease in itself. Rather, a severely impaired immune system leaves the AIDS sufferer highly susceptible to a whole host of infections and diseases. AIDS is thought to be caused by the human immune deficiency virus (HIV), which is spread through infected semen, vaginal fluids, and blood. Contrary to popular belief, AIDS is not a highly contagious disease. The only way you can get it is to have unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected partner or to share tainted blood through IV-drug use or transfusions.

Risk Groups

At greatest risk for AIDS are people who have sex without using condoms and infants born to AIDS-infected mothers. Also at great risk are male and female intravenous-drug users who share needles, and people who received blood transfusions or clotting factors between 1977 and 1985, prior to the establishment of standard AIDS screening of donated blood.

You also need not worry about catching AIDS if you live with someone who has it. HIV cannot be transmitted by toilet seats or objects handled by people who have AIDS.

Traditional Treatment

If you feel you have contracted the virus you should have a test as soon as possible. Within a few weeks of infection, your body should be producing antibodies to the virus, which your doctor can detect in blood tests. However, your body may take as long as 35 months to produce a detectable level of antibodies, so if you think you’ve been infected, particularly if you’re in a high-risk group, you should be tested for the disease every 6 months.

It is extremely important that you notify your sexual partners of your diagnosis. They too must be tested and treated.

Almost everyone who develops full-blown AIDS eventually succumbs to the disease, but antibiotic and antiviral drugs can prolong life for several years. In any event, you should never try to treat yourself for this life-threatening illness:

Always seek the advice of a qualified practitioner. And beware of claims made for “miracle” cures. They simply don’t exist.

Currently there are several hundred human studies to test drugs for the treatment of AIDS and related conditions. These include antiviral drugs, drugs that modify the immune system, anti-infective drugs, and anti-cancer drugs.

Although a number of vaccines to prevent AIDS are under investigation, scientists have had difficulty finding one that works.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Combined with medical treatment, many alternative therapies have been successful in improving the patient’s quality of life. By law, alternative therapists are not permitted to treat AIDS/HIV patients.

Although, if you have the support of your doctor, these remedies may be of benefit in relieving some of the symptoms. AIDS patients have responded well to nutritional programs aimed at improving their immune system function. Also any program which aims to relax the patient and decrease stress has been beneficial.

Again, beware of any treatment that claims to be a “miracle” cure.

  • Regular massages

  • Try some Bach flower remedies –

  • Mimulus (for fear of illness or death,

  • Sweet Chestnut (for despair),

  • Pine (for guilt),

  • Willow (for resentment).

Chinese herbs help to boost the immune system. However it is vital to see a professional and fully qualified practitioner. Some suggested herbs are –

  • Green Tea,

  • some Ginseng,

  • Maitake mushroom and

  • Shiitake mushroom.

  • Use of certain Aromatherapy oils to reduce stress levels

  • A healthy diet with moderate exercise

  • Herbs such as…

  • Echinacea,

  • Astragalus,

  • Cat’s Claw,

  • Chaparral,

  • Liquorice (root),

  • European Mistletoe and

  • Garlic help the immune system.

As well as

  • Aloe vera (juice consumed orally),

  • the minerals Zinc and Germanium,

  • the vitamin A derivative – Beta Carotene,

  • Selenium,

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus,

  • Coenzyme Q10 can often help.

As well as this you may want to investigate the benefits of taking extra Vitamin A and B12 and C. However, always speak with your doctor as Vitamin A can be toxic in high doses.

  • Heat therapy – raising the body’s temperature above normal levels – with medical supervision may help control the HIV virus.

  • Mind/body work with a psychologist or counsellor

  • Also Yoga and meditation may be of benefit

  • Try joining a support group

Also some ideas to help yourself at home:-

 


  • eat nutritious, balanced meals to bolster your immune system.

  • take vitamin supplements such as the ones mentioned above.

  • try acupressure exercises to relax.

  • take up meditation or yoga to relieve stress.

  • try to maintain a positive attitude.

  • follow a moderate exercise program approved by your doctor.

  • try inhaling or bathing with oils of tea tree and garlic.

  • ask a knowledgeable practitioner about herbs such as St.-John’s-wort.

When to seek further professional advice

If you have more than one of the symptoms listed in the description section of this condition or if you think you may have contracted the disease

Alcohol Abuse

What to look for…

The following symptoms are associated with abuse of alcohol:

  • temporary blackouts or memory loss.

  • recurrent arguments or fights with family members or friends.

  • continuing use of alcohol to relax, to cheer up, to sleep, to deal with problems, or to feel “normal”.

  • work, money and family problems.

  • headacheanxietyinsomnia, nausea, or other unpleasant symptoms when you stop drinking.

  • loss of appetite and insomnia.

  • attacks of trembling and sweating.

  • delirious attacks.

  • kidney trouble and peptic ulcers.

  • broken capillaries on the face; a husky voice; shaking hands; severe diarrhoea; and drinking alone, in the mornings, or in secret. These symptoms are specifically associated with chronic alcoholism.

Consumed in moderation, alcohol can be of benefit as a relaxant, can encourage the appetite and produce a feeling of well-being. However, when consumed in excess, alcohol is poisonous to human systems and is considered a drug.

Chronic alcoholism is a progressive, potentially fatal disease, characterised by an constant craving for, increased tolerance of, physical dependence upon, and loss of control over drinking alcohol.

Alcoholism can cause physical problems such as hypoglycaemia, kidney disease, brain and heart damage, enlarged blood vessels in the skin, chronic gastritis, and pancreatitis (see Pancreatic Problems).

Alcoholism can also lead to impotence in men, damage to the foetus in pregnant women, and an elevated risk of cancer of the larynx, oesophagus, stomachpancreas, and upper gastrointestinal tract.

Alcoholics rarely eat nutritionally adequate meals, they are likely to have nutritional deficiencies. Heavy drinkers typically have impaired liver function, and at least 1 in 5 develops cirrhosis.

Causes

The causes of alcoholism are a combination of genetic, physical, psychological, environmental, and social factors that vary among individuals. Genetic factors are considered crucial… A given person’s risk of becoming an alcoholic is four to five times greater if a parent is alcoholic as children grow up copying one parent. Some children of alcohol abusers, however, overcome the hereditary pattern by becoming teetotallers.

Drinking is socially acceptable and approved cultural activity therefore some people, due to upbringing and conditioning are more inclined to become alcoholics than others.

Certain professions are more conducive alcoholism, extensive socialising and the open availability of drink are causes in these cases.

Traditional Treatment

Alcoholic’s main aim in treatment is to abstain from any form of alcohol and this is often difficult and complicated by denial.

Once the alcoholic accepts he or she has a problem and is willing to stop drinking, treatment can begin. He or she must understand that alcoholism is curable and must be motivated to change.

Treatment has two stages…

1. Withdrawal… sometimes called detoxification – and

2. Recovery.

Because withdrawal does not stop the craving for alcohol, recovery is often difficult to maintain. For a person in an early stage of alcoholism, withdrawal may bring anxiety and poor sleep.

Withdrawal from long-term dependence may bring the uncontrollable shaking, spasms, panic, and hallucinations of delirium tremens (DT). If not treated professionally, people with DT have a mortality rate of more than 10 percent, so withdrawal from late-stage alcoholism should be attempted only at an in-patient centre.

Treatment may involve one or more medications. They must be used with care and supervision, since they may be addictive and can have serious side effects.

Because an alcoholic remains susceptible to becoming dependent again, the key to recovery is total abstinence. Recovery also involves education programs, group therapy, family involvement, and participation in self-help groups.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Once an alcoholic accepts his or her condition and stops using alcohol, a number of alternative therapies can assist the recovery process.

  • Massage – can help relax and can aid the stress of withdrawal symptoms

  • Herbal Remedies and Nutritional supplements such as the B ComplexVitamin C, and a multi-vitamin capsule,beta-carotene and ZincMagnesium and EPO. For withdrawal symptoms for herbal mixtures.

  • Various relaxation and meditation techniques

  • Nutrition and diet – eat plenty of salads and vegetables, drink fresh juices and avoid fatty foods.

  • Blood sugar levels may need stabilising – eliminating certain dietary sugars prove helpful in some cases.

Other ways to help with Alcoholism

To help in learning to live without the need for alcohol the alcoholic must…

  • Avoid people and places that make drinking the norm, and find new, non-drinking friends.

  • Join a self-help group.

  • Enlist the help of family and friends.

  • Replace your negative dependence on alcohol with positive dependencies such as a new hobby or volunteer work with church or civic groups.

  • Start exercising. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that provide a “natural high.” Even a walk after dinner can be tranquillising.

Dietary Considerations

Develop a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables (watching for certain fruits and vegetables which may be high in sugar) and consume foods high in B and C group vitamins such as wholemeal bread, brown rice, oats, bananas, citrus fruit, broccoli and parsley.

Drink plenty of filtered water and be sure to visit a qualified dietician or medical practitioner to obtain a diet suitable for you

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the symptoms listed in the description section and are unable to stop drinking on your own. You need medical intervention to treat alcoholism.

  • you find your daily intake of alcohol increasing as you become more tolerant.

  • you drink regularly and experience chronic or periodic depression. You may be at risk of suicide.

  • you have tried to stop drinking and experienced withdrawal symptoms such as headache, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, or delirium tremens. You need medical attention by a Doctor or a treatment centre

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a disorder in which there is a progressive decaying of brain tissue. It is characterised by a decline in mental and emotional capabilities.

What to look for…

  • mood changes: depression, paranoia, agitation, anxiety, selfishness, childish behaviour.

  • disorientation, confusion, inattention, loss of memory for recent events, inability to retain new information.

  • tendency to misplace things.

  • dizziness.

What to look for…

Memory, comprehension, and speech deteriorate in a person affected by this disease. The person’s world begins to change as they cannot function as they once had – simple arithmetic skills are impossible and they find it hard to keep their attention on one thing for too long.

 

Dramatic mood swings occur ending up with the person becoming confused. Alzheimer’s patients often become lost and may quite frequently wander off causing havoc for their families. Eventually, the person may become totally introverted, not able to communicate, helpless, and incontinent. The disease is usually fatal.

Once diagnosed with the disease, the person usually lives about 7 years. However the person may continue to function for longer.

Causes

Many people develop Alzheimer’s as they grow older, however the disease is not a normal process of growing old.

The gradual loss of brain function that characterises Alzheimer’s disease seems to be due to two main forms of neural damage: Nerve fibres grow tangled, and protein deposits known as plaques build up in the affected tissue. Researchers are not yet sure why or how this occurs.

Another theory suggests that aluminium from cookware, for example may lead to Alzheimer’s. But this has not been proven.

Too much zinc in the diet has also been sited as a possible factor but this is also debateable.

In a minority of cases, trauma may be a contributing factor. About 15 percent of Alzheimer’s sufferers have a history of head injury.

Traditional Treatment

Unfortunately Alzheimer’s disease is incurable. There are medications that can slow the onset of the disease, however.

Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is often very stressful for family members. Eventually, full-time nursing care will be necessary.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

The treatment of Alzheimer’s with alternative remedies may help slow the progress of the disease or help with the symptoms.

  • Chelation Therapy – a non surgical way of removing the traces of accumulated metals such as aluminium in the body. This may have side effects so it is important to seek medical advice before attempting this. – a non surgical way of removing the traces of accumulated metals such as aluminium in the body. This may have side effects so it is important to seek medical advice before attempting this.

  • Herbal Therapies – Ginkgo Biloba extract is said to alleviate early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Also taking a good antioxidant vitamin supplement may help in the early stages of the disease. – Ginkgo Biloba extract is said to alleviate early symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Also taking a good antioxidant vitamin supplement may help in the early stages of the disease.

  • Vitamins ABC and E are helpful. ABC and E are helpful.

  • Dietary considerations – avoid eating deep fried foods and other foods with unsaturated fats such as fast food and butter. Try to eat more fish and fruit, vegetables and steamed white meat. Avoid salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine. Drink plenty of filtered water daily. – avoid eating deep fried foods and other foods with unsaturated fats such as fast food and butter. Try to eat more fish and fruit, vegetables and steamed white meat. Avoid salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine. Drink plenty of filtered water daily.

  • Homoeopathy – Seek Professional advice for remedies that may help in treating unusual or disruptive behaviour.- Seek Professional advice for remedies that may help in treating unusual or disruptive behaviour.

Personal Care

  • Maintain a stable and familiar household

  • Have the patient wear an ID bracelet with a phone number on it.

  • Talk to the Alzheimer’s patient about memories or positive events that happened long ago. It will be something they can remember and recall.

  • See Organizations or professional associations that may help you and the patient cope.

Although some studies suggest a link between Alzheimer’s and zinc, doctors do not recommend that you attempt to limit your daily intake. Talk to your doctor in depth about this.

When to seek further professional advice

  • Someone in your family is displaying signs of this disease

Anxiety

Anxiety is a state of being worried about certain real or imagined events or situations.

What to look for

  • heart palpitations.

  • tics or twitches

  • recurring headaches or migraine

  • indigestion and bowel irregularity

  • sense of impending doom.

  • inability to concentrate.

  • muscle tension; muscle aches.

  • diarrhoea.

  • chest pain.

  • dry mouth.

  • excessive sweating.

  • undereating or overeating.

  • insomnia.

  • irritability.

  • breathlessness; hyperventilation.

  • loss of sex drive. (See impotence.)

For school-age children:

  • fear of being away from home.

  • refusal to go to school.

  • fear of strangers.

  • unnecessary worry.

Anxiety is a normal human response. Sudden intense stress or fear questions our survival instinct, causes a chemical and a physical response… Which is all to do with the way the body prepares to deal with danger.

Adrenalins and cortisone are released in the bloodstream; heart rate quickens; breathing becomes shallow and rapid; muscles tense; sugar is released by the liver; and the mind goes on full alert. But when anxiety is not tied to an identifiable threat or is more severe and long-lasting than warranted, it is a clinical disorder.

Many different anxiety disorders are recognized. Among them are

  • Phobias (fear of certain situations, such as confining spaces, or of particular things, such as insects); (fear of certain situations, such as confining spaces, or of particular things, such as insects);

  • Panic attacks (a sudden onset of extreme fear or tension, for no evident reason);

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (persistent, irrational thoughts, such as a dread of infection, or repetitive behaviour, such as checking that doors are locked);

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (prolonged anxiety after a traumatic event); and

  • Generalised anxiety (an inexplicable feeling of apprehension that may last for months).

Anxiety disorders can vary greatly in their severity, they may be mild or completely debilitating. The incidence of the different disorders also varies: Phobias, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, for example, occur less frequently than generalised anxiety (which afflicts twice as many women as men). The disorders usually become noticeable during the teen years or early adulthood and are considerably more common among adults than children.

Some anxieties are very difficult to treat; others respond well to medications, psychotherapy, and alternative therapies.

What does not work is self-treatment with alcohol or recreational drugs to alleviate the symptoms. Many sufferers choose this path, but ultimately it will only make the condition worse.

CAUSES

Anxiety can be caused by a recognisable stress such as a bad accident, a death, or the loss of something important to us… In such cases, adjustments to the situation, along with the passage of time, will have a healing effect. In other cases, the stress is invisible a buried memory of some unhappy or frightening event in childhood, lurking below the surface of the conscious mind and revealing its presence in anxiety.

Hereditary factors may play a role in some individuals becoming prone to anxiety. Food sensitivities and allergies may also contribute to anxiety, although more research must be done to certify this connection. In addition, anxiety frequently follows a sudden withdrawal from alcoholtobacco, or other drugs.

The first step is to ensure the stress symptoms are not the result of another disease or disorder. Check with your Medical Practitioner.

Traditional Treatment

Anxiety can be treated with conventional medications, psychotherapy, and many alternative approaches.

Psychotherapy aims at identifying conflicts and other stresses that may lie at the roots of anxiety. Behaviour modification, a therapy that concentrates on changing patterns of behaviour can help the patient with coping with anxiety, as can cognitive therapy, which concentrates on changing ways of thinking and mental processes.

Medication is useful for alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and is often prescribed in conjunction with other therapies. 

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many alternative practices and treatments can relieve the symptoms of anxiety. Meditation, exercise (especially aerobic exercise), and relaxation techniques are among the most effective.

Chinese medicine uses various herbal preparations that can serve as a tonic for the whole system and reduce stress.

Taking regular massages will be extremely beneficial as it relaxes the whole body and mind.

Other popular choices to reduce anxiety are…

  • Aromatherapy – Bergamot (in a burner or massage), Neroli (massage), Vetiver (burner), Ylang Ylang(massage, bath or burner)

  • Bach Flower Remedies – Agrimony helps if you hide your worry behind a ‘happy face’, white chestnut leads to insomnia and is needed if you continually have mental arguments with yourself and unwanted thoughts – you may find it hard to concentrate on you daily happenings because of this worry. If you are over protective of your family, worry incessantly about what could happen to them and friends (to the point of making them concerned about these imagined happenings) you could take red chestnut. If you are worried about justice and fairness happening and are over-involved in causes etc – try vervain.

  • Herbal therapies – You may be recommended to astragalusbilberrycatniphopskavapassionflower,peppermintvalerian, lemon balm, motherwort (if anxiety occurs with palpitations), skullcapyarrow. There are also various herbal formulas available.

  • Homoeopathy – If the anxiety is the result of a sudden shock, try Aconite. Ignatia it is the “grief remedy,” said to benefit someone who is upset by a sudden loss. Gelsemium is recommended for stage fright or anxiety over your performance. If none of these prove effective, Ask for professional advice.

  • Mind/body medicine – such as meditation, Tai Chi and relaxation exercises. Daily exercise can be very helpful and enjoyable

  • Magnesium supplements may be helpful, especially if you suffer from muscle spasms. Be careful with the amounts that you take.

  • Avoid alcohol, and reduce or eliminate your consumption of sugar and caffeine.

  • Try to avoid activities you do not enjoy or find relaxing

Dietary Considerations

Try to sustain a healthy mix of fresh fruit and vegetables, low-fat diet with plenty of filtered water and exercise.

When to seek further professional advice

  • If your anxiety seems more extreme than the situation warrants.

  • If your anxiety inhibits normal activities.

  • Your anxiety persists for many weeks.

  • Your symptoms suddenly become severe or uncontrollable. You may be experiencing a panic attack.

Baldness

Baldness is the loss of hair anywhere on the body, usually on the scalp region. It is usually hereditary and affects men. However females can be affected by baldness also.

What to look for

  • thinning of hair in general, however, each hair strand becomes thinner and shorter until the roots produce nothing but fine down.

  • thinning of hair in temple region or on the top of the head usually signals male pattern baldness.

  • a patch of skin may suddenly become visible anywhere on the scalp as the hair has fallen out. It may be as small as 1cm across or it can be 10-15 cm in diameter. This condition is quite rare and can affect both men and women.

  • patches of hair can fall out anywhere on the body in either men or women

  • the person may wake up to find tufts of hair on their pillow or the loss can be more gradual

  • hair may fall out after it is coloured or bleached or you may notice it falling after the hair has been pulled back in tight pony tails or braided or even frequent tugging at it can cause it to fall out.

  • Also see Hair Loss.

Causes

Male-pattern baldness is caused by hereditary factors. It is usually inherited from the mother’s side of the family and involves the presence of an active form of testosterone to set off the gene-programmed balding process. Men whose mother’s fathers became bald early in life are very likely to follow a similar pattern. Hereditary hair loss is usually gradual and permanent, beginning with a thinning of the hair at the temples and or on the crown as early as in the teenage years.

Women can experience a natural thinning of the hair after menopause because of changing hormonal levels. Women who have just had a baby can also experience thinning hair or hair loss in patches. Hormonal change in this instance is temporary and will be replaced with new hair in just a few months.

Other factors which can contribute to the loss of hair are scalp infections and persistent dandruff, poor diet, stressand sluggish circulation.

Alopecia Areata describes the condition whereby hair falls out in clumps all over the head and body. This is usually to do with emotional stress. The hair usually returns after the stress has gone away in a few weeks or months. However, despite research, there is no clear indication as to how this condition arises. It also may occur in people with certain disorders such as pernicious anaemia or diabetes. If large areas are involved and all the hair on the head is lost, this is called alopecia totalis. If the person loses all body hair as well it is called alopecia universalis. In both these conditions, regrowth is not likely.

The medical profession are still unsure what exactly causes some types of baldness

Traditional Treatment

There is no satisfactory treatment for alopecia areata. If the areas are small, a doctor may try injecting the areas with small amounts of steroid drugs to try to trigger regrowth, but this is seldom successful.

The most common way of treating baldness has been by disguising it through the use of wigs, toupees and hair-pieces. They can be made to measure and fitted carefully.

Hair transplantation is another possible solution, although the end result does not always look natural.

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.

Alternative/Natural Treatment

Body Work – Scalp Massage is often successful in increasing the circulation to the hair follicles. This can be performed with the essential oil of Rosemary 5 drops diluted in 15 ml of a carrier oil (preferably jojoba). Scalp Massage is often successful in increasing the circulation to the hair follicles. This can be performed with the essential oil of Rosemary 5 drops diluted in 15 ml of a carrier oil (preferably jojoba).

Herbal Treatments – Rinse your hair with tea made from sage (Salvia officinalis). Rinse your hair with tea made fromsage (Salvia officinalis).

Chinese Herbal Treatments – Chinese medical practitioners believe the hair is nourished by the kidneys and the liver. These organs need to be functioning properly in order for the hair to grow properly. They recommend – Polygonum, lycium fruit, Chinese foxglove root, Chinese yam and cornus. Chinese medical practitioners believe the hair is nourished by the kidneys and the liver. These organs need to be functioning properly in order for the hair to grow properly. They recommend – Polygonum, lycium fruit, Chinese foxglove root, Chinese yam and cornus.

Meditation and relaxation techniques to decrease stress levels can be helpful

Personal Care

Treating the hair with care, loosening tight pony tails, and other hair styles which may pull the hair out. As well as not damaging hair with bleach and other strong chemicals.

Creating a stress free environment; learning how to control stress in your life.

Dietary Considerations

  • Supplements such as the B ComplexZinc, Silica, Chelated Multi Vitamins, Brewers Yeast, Kelp

Blisters

A blister is raised section of skin which is full of a watery substance and is usually caused by aggravated rubbing orburns

What to look for

one or more bubbles of skin filled with clear fluid, ranging from pinpoint size to more than one-half inch in diameter usually accompanied by pain, swelling and inflammation.

Most blisters form as a reaction to irritation or other damage to the skin from an external source, although some can result from a disease or other ailment. Blisters can form on any exposed area.

Causes

Blisters can result from the rubbing of skin against another item such as from the wearing of new shoes, which causes an abrasion to form. This can happen quite quickly and is very painful.

Flames, steam, or contact with a hot surface can raise blisters, as can excessive sunburn or exposure to other types of radiation.

Skin may blister when it comes in contact with certain chemicals, cosmetics, and many other toxins.

Many people develop blisters as a reaction to taking certain oral and topical drugs.

Blisters are a common symptom of many infectious illnesses, including chickenpox, cold sores, herpes simplex,shingles, and impetigo.

Traditional Treatments

Most blisters caused by friction or minor burns do not require a doctor’s care. They can usually heal on their own with a little help from you.

Soothe ordinary friction blisters with vitamin E ointment or an aloe-based cream. Do not pop a blister unless it is large and too painful to leave. If you have to pop it, use a sterilised needle or razor blade. Wash the area thoroughly, then make a small hole and gently squeeze out the clear fluid. A dab of “Dettol” can help protect against infection.

If the fluid is white or yellow, the blister is infected and needs medical attention. Do not remove the skin over a broken blister; the new skin underneath needs this protective cover. For blisters caused by chemical contact or disease see a doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

If your blister is purely pressure or burn-related, various ointments and rinses can be effective in relieving minor discomfort. To make good use of other therapies, you must first determine the underlying cause of the blistering.

Herbal Therapies – A couple of drops of chamomile oil in half a cup of water makes an excellent antiseptic to be used under a protective dressing. Blisters from the herpes simplx virus respond to the herb liquorice. A couple of drops of chamomile oil in half a cup of water makes an excellent antiseptic to be used under a protective dressing. Blisters from the herpes simplx virus respond to the herb liquorice.

Calendula ointment is a soothing, antiseptic dressing for all types of blisters. Tea Tree Oil or Aloe Vera can soothe burns as well as promote the healing process.

At-Home Remedies

  • If you have a blister from friction or a minor burn, apply petroleum jelly to keep the skin soft. Then apply a bandaid.

  • If your skin is blistered by chemical contact, flush it immediately with plenty of water or a saline solution. If pain or itching persists, or if large blisters develop, call a doctor.

  • Forget the old folk remedy about putting butter on burns and vinegar on blisters… both can aggravate the skin and may actually cause infection.

When to seek further professional advice

  • if your blister is the result of contact with chemicals

  • if the blister is the result of second-degree burns and all third and fourth-degree burns are medical emergencies.

  • your blister discharges white, yellow, or green pus, rather than clear fluid.