Category Archives: Seniors Health

Varicose Veins

These are veins that are swollen, lengthened and obvious just below the skin.

What to look for

  • prominent dark blue veins, especially in the legs and feet.

  • your legs may ache

Varicose veins are usually fairly obvious and bulge out from under your skin. They usually affect your legs. Varicose veins can be superficial or deep. Superficial veins are visible and swollen. They are painful and can affect your circulation but usually harmless.

Deep varicose veins can be the cause of blood clots and inflammation as they form deeper within the leg.

Causes

People who suffer from varicose veins are thought to have defective valves in the leg. This is a result of too much blood pressure which makes the veins swell. The swollen veins then cause the valves not to seal properly. We rely on the valves to circulate the blood to the heart properly. If they do not function properly, the blood can’t keep flowing and starts to pool in the vein causing the swollen veins that are part of this condition.

There are certain triggers that increase the likelihood of varicose veins.

  • constipation

  • pregnancy

  • obesity

  • too much standing

  • injury

Traditional Treatment

If you have a less severe case you do not need to see your doctor and can treat the condition at home. Support pantihose are usually very helpful and you should leave them on all day. They will support the veins in your legs.

Your doctor may suggest taking a pain killer for the pain of varicose veins. If you notice no signs of having this condition but still have the pain associated with it – call your doctor immediately.

There are numerous options available for this condition – ask your doctor to tell you about them.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Natural therapies can help your system cope with varicose veins and also prevent more from occurring.

Aromatherapy   –  Oil of rosemary massaged gently into an affected area may help stimulate circulation by causing capillaries to dilate. Oil of rosemary massaged gently into an affected area may help stimulate circulation by causing capillaries to dilate.

Oils of cypress (3 drops), sandalwood (3 drops) , peppermint (1 drop) and chamomile (1 drop) may soothe swelling and inflammation and help relieve pain – use a base carrier oil of calendula (5 teaspoons).

See the section on Aromatherapy for more information – certain people should not have particular essential oils.

Massage  –  Regular massage from a trained massage therapist can significantly alleviate discomfort associated with varicose veins. Regular massage from a trained massage therapist can significantly alleviate discomfort associated with varicose veins.

Herbal Therapies –  Many herbs have been beneficial in the treatment of varicose veins, and some have undergone extensive scientific study. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata), and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) are all reported to strengthen blood vessels and improve peripheral circulation. Many herbs have been beneficial in the treatment of varicose veins, and some have undergone extensive scientific study. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), hawthorn(Crataegus laevigata), and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) are all reported to strengthen blood vessels and improve peripheral circulation.

For the skin irritation linked with varicose veins, try a lotion made of distilled witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana).

To separate the build-up of protein called fibrin that makes skin near varicose veins hard and lumpy, try eating morecayenne (Capsicum frutescens), garlic (Allium sativum), onion, ginger (Zingiber officinale), and pineapple, which contains bromelain, an enzyme that promotes break up of fibrin.

Homoeopathy –  Homoeopath remedies are often used to treat varicose veins.

Pulsatilla is one remedy that is commonly prescribed.

Lifestyle

 

 

 


Take up regular aerobic exercise – this is beneficial for circulation.

Take a hot bath followed by a cold bath to relieve the pain from varicose veins. You can also do the same thing with foot spas.

Yoga’ s stretching and relaxation techniques can be particularly beneficial for varicose veins.

Dietary Considerations

 

 

 


To rid yourself of varicose veins and to prevent them from forming, it is wise to reorganise your diet to include lots of low fat foods and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. A diet low in fat and high in fibre is best.

Drink plenty of filtered water as well. Also reduce the amount of salt, alcohol and cut out cigarettes totally. It is important to keep your weight at your ideal level as extra body fat puts strain on your legs and veins.

Vitamins B, C and E are helpful. As is magnesium, zinc, calcium fluoride, rutin and bioflavonoids, lecithin , kelp and garlic.

Go to our Vitamins Section.

Personal Care

Take some rest if your routine requires that you remain for long periods of time on your feet. Try to avoid high heels as this can also aggravate the problem.

Prevention

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Eat well. Drink plenty of water. Take supplements listed above.

  • Rest often and do stretching exercises if you are on your feet a lot.

  • If you smoke, quit.

  • If you’re pregnant, sleep on your left side rather than on your back to lessen the pressure on your pelvic muscles.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the pain and swelling becomes extremely severe.

  • you have red varicose veins.

  • you cut a varicose vein – see a doctor immediately

     

Vision Problems

What to look for

 

  • Blurred vision when you are looking at distant objects.

  • Blurred vision when you are looking at close objects.

  • Vertical or horizontal lines that appear blurry.

  • Flashing-lights or spots in your eyes.

  • problems deciphering between red and green in dim light.

  • Difficulty distinguishing objects in dim light.

(Also see Cataracts, Eye Problems, Glaucoma).

The most common complaint concerning eye sight are…

  • Near-sightedness,

  • Far-sightedness, and

  • Astigmatism.

These are refraction disorders. As well as this other common disorders are retinal detachment, colour blindness, and night blindness.

Causes

Nearsightedness, or myopia occurs when images are focused in front of the retina instead of on it as in normal vision. Consequently, objects in the distance appear blurred. You may find that you have to sit very close to blackboards to see what is written on them properly and you have difficulties seeing to the front in large auditoriums.

The opposite of nearsightedness is far-sightedness, or hyperopia. With this disorder, the lens of the eye focuses images behind the retina, making nearby objects appear blurry.

Astigmatism, happens when the eye lacks a single point of focus. This can be the result of an abnormality within the lens. Some objects may appear blurry while others clear.

Retinal detachment is not always painful but you definitely must seek medical attention as soon as possible because eventually it can cause blindness.

Colour blindness is when people see colours normally in bright light but cannot tell the difference between reds and greens in dim light.

If you experience difficulties seeing properly at night, you may have a deficiency in vitamin A, or a disease of the liver or retina.

Traditional Treatment

If you are having difficulties with your vision, it is wise to seek the advice of an optometrist who will perform eye test. If the eye test reveals that your vision is impaired, you may need to buy a pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses.

Disorders such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment require surgery.

For astigmatism, the accepted prescription is a lens that will correct the uneven cornea. You will normally have a choice between glasses and contact lenses.

Some cases of retinal detachment can be corrected with laser surgery, which has a high rate of success.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative remedies rely on correcting mineral and vitamin deficiencies that may contribute to vision problems.

Herbal Therapies  –  A daily dose of bilberry is reported to be useful for improving the flow of blood in the vessels of the eye, particularly for people with night blindness and nearsightedness. A daily dose of bilberry is reported to be useful for improving the flow of blood in the vessels of the eye, particularly for people with night blindness and nearsightedness.

Homoeopathy –  If you develop eyestrain – Ruta is the most prescribed herb. If you develop eyestrain – Ruta is the most prescribed herb.

Dietary Considerations

To help strengthen the retina, people with night blindness can take vitamin AZinc may be helpful for night blindness. It is said to aid in adaptation to darkness and to strengthen the retina. Selenium, magnesium, and vitamin Csupplements are antioxidants reported to prevent deterioration of the retina.

Personal Care

Take some time out to rest your eyes if they feel tired or overworked. Lie down in a dark room and cover your eyes with a cool washer or cucumber on each eye – this can be very soothing.

Prevention

Resting your eyes when they are overworked is the first line of defence against vision problems. A well-balanced diet will help your eyes stay healthy and your vision sharp. Take the supplements listed above to improve vision. Stay clear of cigarette smoke and avoid pollution.

  • Rest your eyes occasionally when doing close work.

  • Blink regularly.

  • Changing the focus periodically is good when driving long distances.

  • Breathe deeply for several minutes. Roll your head around with a circular motion while stretching your neck and shoulders, then turn your head from side to side and up and down, repeating several times.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience symptoms of retinal detachment

  • you become unusually sensitive to bright light

  • your contact lenses become uncomfortable

  • a cut or blow to your eye affects your vision

     

Staph Infections

Infections caused by the staphylococcus bacteria.

What to look for

 

  • Swollen areas around a cut.

  • boils or pus filled pimples around hair follicles.

  • swollen lymph nodes.

Usually infections remain in the one organ or area, but staph infections can produce disease in any part of your body. It can enter the bloodstream through a cut or another type of wound and travel to anywhere in the body. You may experience different symptoms as it depends on where the infection develops.

If an infection develops in the heart, lungs or the kidneys it can cause serious problems. People with a chronic illness, such as diabetes, cancer, or chronic liver or kidney disease, are particularly susceptible to severe staph infections.

These infections can develop in the hair follicles, where they can remain on the surface and look like small pimples or go deeper and become boils

Conjunctivitis is another type of staph infection, this causes the eyes to redden and to weep pus which forms a crust overnight during sleep.

Toxic shock syndrome is a staph infection and it occurs in women who leave tampons in too long. A staph infection can enter the breasts of nursing mothers resulting in painful breast abscesses.

Staph infections sometimes spread through the bloodstream to the bones and joints. The joint swells and fills with pus.

Causes

Staph infections are caused by Staphylococcus, a bacteria commonly found in the nose, mouth, rectum, or genital area. The bacteria are harmless until they enter the body. Once they are inside the body, the bacteria form pus-containing abscesses.

Traditional Treatment

With less severe conditions such as with boils, you may be able to treat yourself at home.

However, if the condition worsens, your doctor will probably give you an oral antibiotic. Other abscesses are too large to treat and must be lanced by a surgeon or doctor. Never do this yourself. You must be in completely sterile surroundings.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

See our Pharmacist who can advise you on the best course of action to treat your staph infection. As mentioned above, some abscesses must be lanced by a doctor.

Alternative treatment may be able to treat minor infections very well. This type of treatment will also focus onstrengthening your immune system to prevent further outbreaks.

Herbal Therapies  – Several herbs have antibacterial properties that are believed to be helpful in fighting staph infections. They include: Several herbs have antibacterial properties that are believed to be helpful in fighting staph infections. They include:

  • Garlic (Allium sativum): Take three cloves a day at the first sign of infection; if garlic smell becomes a problem, try three garlic oil capsules instead or eat fresh parsley.

  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

  • Echinacea (Echinacea spp)

To help heal staph abscesses use cleavers (Galium aparine).

Aromatherapy  –  Try geranium, grapefruit or lemon in a warm compress or apply topically. See the Aromatherapy section for more details.Try geranium, grapefruit or lemon in a warm compress or apply topically. See the Aromatherapy section for more details.

Dietary considerations

Alter your diet to include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Drink plenty of filtered water. To further help your immune system fight the infection, take zinc supplements daily. In addition, supplements of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, may help fight the infection.

Personal Care

  • Apply heat on the boil or abscess to help it heal.

  • To help prevent scarring, add a few drops of thyme oil, lavender, or bergamot to the water in which the washcloth is soaked.

  • After the pus has drained, clean the area with warm water and lemon juice. Keep clean until completely healed. Do not ever lance a boil yourself. lance a

  • To prevent a staph infection from spreading while it heals, take showers rather than baths.

When to seek further professional advice

  • any pain, swelling, or pus forms around a cut or scraped area of skin; the infection may spread into the bloodstream.

  • the lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin become swollen; this can also be a symptom of a variety of other illnesses, including mononucleosis, tuberculosis, and cancer.

  • you have a boil that is very tender, particularly if it has red lines radiating from it, or if you have fever and chills; the infection may have spread.

  • you have a boil or carbuncle on or near your lip, nose, cheeks, forehead, or spine; the infection can spread into your brain or spine.

  • you have recurrent boils; they may be a sign of diabetes

     

Stroke

Occurs when the blood supply to the brain is stopped.

What to look for

  • abrupt loss of vision, energy, coordination, sensation, speech.

  • weaknesses or paralysis down one side of the body, loss of balance.

  • sudden and severe headache followed rapidly by loss of consciousness.

Our brain must be continually supplied with blood through the arteries. If the blood supply stops for some reason, the result is very serious. Disruptions of blood flow to the brain are known as stroke. There are two types – a cerebral infarction and a cerebral haemorrhage.

A cerebral infarction occurs when an artery is blocked, halting the flow of blood to the brain. The second basic type of stroke is cerebral haemorrhage which occurs when there is bleeding into the brain. As blood flows into the brain, the build up of pressure results in agonising headache, sometimes followed by loss of consciousness.

Depending on where the brain has been damaged and how badly it has been affected, the patient usually recovers but they may have a physical weakness as a result of the stroke.

Causes

A cerebral infarction occurs as a result of a blocked artery. (see blood clots, arteries and heart disease). The arteries become blocked over the years and this produces slow blood flow to the brain.

Cerebral haemorrhages usually occur as a result of weak arteries or aneurisms in the brain that rupture. High blood pressure is the cause of weak arteries in most cases.

The causes you are able to prevent or charge are – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle,obesity, the abuse of stimulant drugs such as amphetamines, smoking, use of birth-control pills, and stress.

Traditional Treatment

If you have had a stroke or have any similar symptoms, you must be examined and diagnosed by a neurologist or a doctor.

Victims of stroke are hospitalised and given the appropriate medication.

Your doctor will describe the lifestyle changes that will need to be made by yourself.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative treatments can be marvellous adjuncts to conventional treatments with stroke patients.

Several techniques can help restore mobility, circulation, and ease other symptoms associated with stroke. Among these are shiatsu, and massage.

Herbal Therapies  –  A number of scientific studies have shown that ginkgo increases blood flow also reduces blood-clot formation. A number of scientific studies have shown that ginkgo increases blood flow also reduces blood-clot formation.

Lifestyle

It is vital that you commence regular aerobic exercise – swimming, walking or anything safe and gentle that you feel comfortable with.

People at high risk for stroke should not smoke and should eat a low-fat diet and not take contraceptive pills.

Dietary Considerations

To prevent strokes, your diet should be rich potassium, magnesiumvitamin E, and the essential fatty acids contained in fish oils. Some studies suggest that selenium may also protect against stroke. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking at all costs.

Prevention

Eat a low fat, salt and cholesterol diet, exercise regularly; keep to your ideal weight; monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels; and do not smoke.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you or someone with you shows any of the signs of stroke

     

Osteoporosis

This is a crippling disease affecting both men and women caused by a lack of calcium.

What to look for

The condition may cause no symptoms at all or alternatively these may occur:-

  • backache.

  • a gradual loss of height and a stooped back.

  • fractures and breaks occur easily.

  • loss of bone in the jaw.

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes a person’s bones to become thin and weak. Possible problems to watch for are hip fractures, blood clots or pneumonia.

Women are usually more susceptible to this disease as their bones are lighter and less dense. And among women, usually osteoporosis affects fair and small people.

Causes

The most common cause is age. From about 35 years of age onwards, all people’s bone structure changes and becomes less dense. There are debates continuing about triggers which speed up the process of bone deterioration.

There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to minimise the likelihood of it occurring. (discussed further on).

  • poor bone formation from childhood

  • calcium intake

  • increased bone loss due to sensitivity to the parathyroid hormone.

  • at menopause, the fall in oestrogen lessens the amount of calcium drawn from the nutrients you eat.

  • a diet high in protein from flesh foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes and salt.

It is possible for you to have your bones tested and this is highly recommended for people of all ages. Ask our pharmacist about this.

Traditional Treatment

Conventional treatment centres around drugs and physical supports.

Your doctor may prescribe certain pain killers to ease the discomfort, as well as hot compresses and easy massage.

However, to prevent it in the first place, your doctor may recommend you go on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Studies have shown that women who take long-term HRT within a few years of menopause keep their bone density and have fewer hip and wrist fractures while they are taking it than women who do not.

As a preventive measure your doctor may suggest that you increase the amount of calcium in your diet or perhaps take calcium supplements along with Vitamin D.

Also low impact exercise is usually recommended to keep your bones supple and too much weight off them.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Like conventional techniques, alternative therapies focus on building and retaining strong bones.

Chinese Herbs – Chinese practitioners recommend several herbs for preventing bone loss – the most popular are dong quai (Angelica sinensis) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). You will need professional advice for appropriate dosages. Chinese practitioners recommend several herbs for preventing bone loss – the most popular are dong quai(Angelica sinensis) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). You will need professional advice for appropriate dosages.

Exercise – Studies have shown that exercises reduce bone loss and help prevent osteoporosis. Studies have shown that exercises reduce bone loss and help prevent osteoporosis.

Herbal Therapies – Herbalists believe that the use of some herbs can help slow the progression of this condition. Herbs traditionally used for the prevention of osteoporosis include horsetail (Equisetum arvense), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), and sourdock (Rumex crispus). Herbalists believe that the use of some herbs can help slow the progression of this condition. Herbs traditionally used for the prevention of osteoporosis include horsetail (Equisetum arvense), alfalfa (Medicago sativa), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), and sourdock (Rumex crispus).

Ask about progesterone creams made from the wild Mexican yam; they may stimulate bone formation.

Homoeopathy – In addition to a calcium-rich diet and exercise, homoeopaths recommend treatments they believe help the body absorb calcium. Remedies are likely to include Calcarea carbonica, Calcarea phosphorica, Calcarea fluorica, and Silica. You will need professional assistance for remedies and dosages. In addition to a calcium-rich diet and exercise, homoeopaths recommend treatments they believe help the body absorb calcium. Remedies are likely to include Calcarea carbonica, Calcarea phosphorica, Calcarea fluorica, and Silica. You will need professional assistance for remedies and dosages.

Dietary Considerations

The most obvious addition to your diet is calcium whether this is via more calcium rich foods (low-fat dairy, broccoli, cauliflower, salmon, tofu, and leafy green vegetables) or supplements. According to The Australian Wellbeing booklet on Osteoporosis, people with a history of weaker bones should be consuming approximately 1000 milligrams per day increasing this to 1500 mg per day around the menopause time.

To help the body absorb calcium, some practitioners suggest taking vitamin D and magnesium supplements.

In addition to eating calcium-rich foods you should also avoid acid rich foods such as red meats, soft drinks and grains. Excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine should be avoided.

Prevention

  • Eat foods rich in calcium

  • Avoid foods that can interfere with your body’s absorption of calcium (listed above)

  • Do exercises for 30 to 45 minutes at least three times a week (always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program).

  • have your digestive system examined as calcium may not be absorbed properly in your system. Eat plenty of aloe vera juice and acidophilus yogurt

  • Stop drinking coffee and cola

  • Stop smoking immediately

  • Do not smoke.

  • Avoid antacids containing aluminium

     

Pain Chronic

Pain that tends to last longer than 6 months can be termed chronic.

What to look for

The condition may include weakness, numbness, tingling, or other sensations, along with sleeping difficulties, a lack of energy, and depression. Some common forms of chronic pain are:

  • this type of pain can include headaches, muscle, back or joint pain that is enduring and debilitating or uncomfortable.

This type of pain can be sporadic, continuous, uncomfortable or Chronic pain can be mild or agonising.

The areas described above are the most common, however chronic pain can also include Achilles problems, sinus, other forms of degenerative joint disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, and localised pain.

The state of your mind has a lot to do with your perception of pain. And your state of mind is influenced by the surroundings you find yourself in and your attitudes as well. The psychological effect pain can have on us is substantial. Persistent severe pain can erode our natural threshold to pain and cause our personality to alter as a result. We can tend to perceive the pain as worse than it actually is or that it is becoming worse and worse. The immune system may also become affected adversely from persistent pain.

Causes

The causes of chronic pain are many and varied, some possible causes are as follows:-

  • aging (may affect bones and joints)

  • nerve damage and injuries that fail to heal properly.

  • Back pain

  • being overweight

  • curvature of the spine

  • to a traumatic injury

  • or to no obvious physical cause.

Disease can also be the underlying cause of chronic pain.

Sometimes it is a very difficult thing to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain as any possibility alludes healers and doctors. A process of elimination is then commenced to find the cause.

Traditional Treatment

People who suffer from chronic pain may need professional help.

The aim in many cases is not only to alleviate pain but also to teach the chronic sufferer how to come to terms with pain and function in spite of it. The first step in many cases is to wean the patient from a dependence on pain killing medications.

Other methods used by pain specialists include relaxation techniques to control brain-wave activity, behaviour-modification therapy to revise the way pain is perceived, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, and other forms of alternative therapy.

Over-the-counter pain killers can control milder cases of musculoskeletal pain and reduce inflammation.

Your doctor may prescribe stronger drugs if these others do not help.

Alternative Choices

A broad array of alternative options exists to address chronic pain.

Aromatherapy – Mix together the following essential oils with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, apricot kernel, or jojoba oil, and massage the blend into your skin at the site of the pain: lavender (Lavandula officinalis) to reduce inflammation and relax muscles; eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) to bring down swelling and accelerate healing; ginger (Zingiber officinale) to relieve pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other types of degenerative joint disease.   See Our Aromatherapy Section. Mix together the following essential oils with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, apricot kernel, or jojoba oil, and massage the blend into your skin at the site of the pain: lavender (Lavandula officinalis) to reduce inflammation and relax muscles; eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) to bring down swelling and accelerate healing; ginger (Zingiber officinale) to relieve pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other types of degenerative joint disease.   See Our Aromatherapy Section.

Massage – Massage therapy may provide temporary relief of muscle tension, stiffness, and spasms. Massage therapy may provide temporary relief of muscle tension, stiffness, and spasms.

Herbal Therapies – Capsicum, the active ingredient in cayenne (Capsicum frutescens), is believed to increase blood flow to joint tissues, thereby reducing inflammation. Capsicum, the active ingredient in cayenne (Capsicum frutescens), is believed to increase blood flow to joint tissues, thereby reducing inflammation.

An over-the-counter ointment made with cayenne may bring temporary relief of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, although it is very hot and should be used for only short periods.

Infusions of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) or evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) may also lessen inflammation. Rubbing a dilution of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil on the affected area may have a temporary numbing effect.

Topically applied dilutions of wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) oil, which contains a substance similar to what is found in aspirin, may have an analgesic effect. Geranium (Pelargonium odoratissimum) and white willow (Salix alba) bark are also natural painkillers. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may also be helpful.

You must take special precautions if you are pregnant.

Homoeopathy – Try Rhus toxicodendron for joint, back, and arthritic problems that feel worse when first rising in the morning and become better with warmth. Persistent pain may be relieved by Kali bichromicum. Calcarea fluorica.Sepia may be good for lower-back pain that is worsened by sitting. Try Rhus toxicodendron for joint, back, and arthritic problems that feel worse when first rising in the morning and become better with warmth. Persistent pain may be relieved by Kali bichromicum. Calcarea fluorica. Sepia may be good for lower-back pain that is worsened by sitting.

Topical homoeopathic creams that have Arnica as a main ingredient can help with muscle and joint pain.

Lifestyle

You should take some time out when you feel the pain, however too much rest in also not going to do your problem much good – it can actually make your muscles weaker and cause more pain eventually.

Research has shown that regular exercise can diminish pain in the long run by improving muscle tone, strength, and flexibility and also release the body’s natural pain killers to help you. Try low impact types of exercise.

Visualisation may be another worthwhile pain-controlling technique – seek out places in your area that teach this very worthwhile technique.

Hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis may help you block or transform pain through refocussing techniques.

Relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga are also very helpful for chronic pain sufferers.

Dietary Considerations

Certain supplements have been known to help tremendously with chronic pain. These are:- DL-Phenylalanine (amino acid), Valerian, white willow bark.

See the entry for rheumatoid arthritis and allergies for dietary considerations and foods to eat and avoid.

At-Home Remedies

 

 


Remember “RICE”

– Rest – Rest

  – Apply ice to the affected area  – Apply ice to the affected area

C  – Compress the area  – Compress the area

E  – Elevate the area.  – Elevate the area.

  • Take herbal remedies suggested by a qualified herbalist

  • Do some low-impact exercise.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your pain continues for several weeks and doesn’t respond to over-the-counter products or rest

     

Pancreatic Problems

These are inflammation and disorders of the pancreas

What to look for

For acute pancreatitis:

  • severe pain in the stomach region 12 – 24 hours after digestion of a large meal.

  • fever.

  • nausea or vomiting.

  • clammy skin.

  • abdominal tenderness.

  • fast pulse.

For chronic pancreatitis the above symptoms plus:

  • foul, bulky stools.

The pancreas has many functions. Two very important ones are insulin production (needed to regulate the sugar in the bloodstream) and producing digestive enzymes to help transport the nutrients into the body. If the pancreas becomes inflamed, the pancreatic juices become destabilised and cause the enzymes to digest pancreatic tissue.

If the symptoms of pancreatitis are not treated, you may develop cysts, abscesses, and leaks of pancreatic fluid into the abdomen, which can lead to other long-term problems.

Causes

Acute pancreatitis is associated with excessive alcohol drinking, gallstones, viral and bacterial infections, drugs, and blockage of the pancreatic duct.

More than half the people who develop chronic pancreatitis are heavy drinkers.

You are strongly advised to seek professional medical assistance if you suspect you may have this condition. Your doctor will give you an examination and possibly a blood test to help him or her diagnose your condition.

Traditional Treatment

Conventional medicine treats pancreatitis with drugs, diet, and surgery.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative treatments can be used in conjunction with conventional treatment to help improve your overall condition.

Herbal Therapies –  A combination of equal parts of glycerides of fringe-tree bark (Chionanthus virginicus), balmony (Chelone glabra), and milk thistle (Silybum marianum) may help promote fat digestion; take 1 tsp of the mixture three times daily. A combination of equal parts of glycerides of fringe-tree bark (Chionanthus virginicus), balmony (Chelone glabra), and milk thistle (Silybum marianum) may help promote fat digestion; take 1 tsp of the mixture three times daily.

Dietary Considerations –  Take chromium supplements to help maintain normal blood sugar levels. Supplements ofvitamin C as well as vitamin B complex with extra niacin (B3) and pantothenic acid (B5). Do not drink alcohol. Takechromium supplements to help maintain normal blood sugar levels. Supplements of vitamin C as well as vitamin B complex with extra niacin (B3) and pantothenic acid (B5). Do not drink alcohol.

Prevention

  • Limiting yourself to one or two alcoholic drinks per day may significantly lessen your chances of developing pancreatitis.

  • General health considerations such as a good diet and lifestyle, limit your stress and keep your weight in control.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you think you may have pancreatitis

     

Prostate Cancer

As with most cancers, early prostate cancer does not cause noticeable symptoms. If the cancer causes the prostate to swell or if the cancer spreads you will notice –

  • a frequent need to urinate.

  • difficulty starting or stopping the urinary stream and a burning sensation when urinating or ejaculating.

  • a weak or interrupted urinary stream.

  • blood in urine or semen.

Eventually, if the condition is left untreated –

  • dull pain or stiffness in the pelvis, lower back, or upper thighs.

  • loss of weight and appetite, fatigue, nausea, or vomiting.

The prostate is a gland is only found in the male reproductive system. This walnut sized gland helps produce semen, the thick fluid that carries sperm cells. It is located close to the bladder and problems in the prostate ultimately will affect the bladder as well. Prostate function is regulated by testosterone, a male sex hormone produced mainly in the testicles.

This disease is more common in men later in life. There are many men who surprisingly have cancerous cells in their prostate and that do not know it. The cancer may or may not spread. It can also lie dormant for many years, cause no obvious problems and or health threats. If however, it starts to become activated and spreads, it is a dangerous threat.

It is generally fatal if it spreads beyond the prostate gland itself.

A malignant tumour may grow through the prostate gland and spread cancer cells to surrounding tissue, including the rectum and bladder. The cancerous cells may also invade the lymphatic system or bloodstream and then spread to the bones, liver, lungs, and other organs.

Doctors have identified a certain protein that is evident in cancerous prostates. If high levels of this protein are found in cancerous tissue samples, the prostate cancer is unlikely to spread, or metastasise; if there is none of the protein, the cancer is likely to spread.

Cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate gland can usually be cured.

Causes

Prostate cancer affects mainly elderly men. Men with relatives who have prostate cancer are more likely to die of it than others. It is not known for sure what causes this disease but experts agree that diet contributes to the risk. Men who consume great amounts of fat (particularly from red meat and other sources of animal fat) are most likely to develop symptoms of advanced prostate cancer.

Fats can stimulate production of testosterone and other hormones, and testosterone speeds the growth of prostate cancer and can cause dormant prostate cancer cells into activity. Eating meat can also be detrimental to the cancerous cells if cooked at high temperatures, they can contain carcinogens. (See the entry on cancer).

There is no scientifically proven link between prostate cancer and

  • an active sex life

  • masturbation

  • use of alcohol or tobacco

  • circumcision

  • infertility

  • infection of the prostate

  • an enlarged prostate gland

Traditional Treatments

Doctors know which prostate cancers are the most in need of treatment. It is advisable to seek several opinions with regard to your condition.

Depending on many factors, your treatment may include a combination of radiation therapy, surgery, and hormone therapy.

The standard operation involves the removal of the prostate and nearby lymph nodes. Speak with your doctor about the implications and side effects that this may entail in your particular case.

All prostate cancer patients need to be examined regularly to ensure the problem does not return.

Complementary Therapies

As fat has been implicated in the development of prostate cancer, it is highly advisable that men eat a low-fat, high fibre diet. This is particularly advisable for those with family history of the disease.

Studies indicate that men with chronic deficiencies of vitamin A or selenium are prone to advanced prostate cancer. Always speak with your doctor before taking these nutrients as they can be toxic in high doses. Good natural sources of vitamin A include most green and yellow fruits and vegetables, as well as liver, lamb.

At-Home Care

Some men may experience fatigue, diarrhoea, uncomfortable urination, dry skin, nausea, and other unpleasant side effects. Ask your doctor how best to control these side effects. Rest frequently if you need to, eat light snacks throughout the day rather than having three large meals, and avoid clothes that irritate your skin. (For more information, see Cancer).

Prevention

Eat more fish, poultry, fresh vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products. Eat less red meat; remove skin from chicken before cooking; and cut down on butter, margarine, and oils.

To avoid carcinogens created when cooking meats, try poaching or roasting, not frying or barbecuing.

When to seek further professional advice

  • You have any of the symptoms listed above

     

Prostate Problems

These include problems occurring in the prostate such as cancer, prostatitis or enlargement of the prostate.

What to look for

For an enlarged prostate:

 

 

  • difficulties in urination (including a weak or intermittent stream, getting up frequently at night, straining, dribbling, or inability to empty the bladder).

For acute prostatitis:

  • frequent, difficult urination.

  • a burning sensation or pain when urinating.

  • high fever.

  • aches and pains.

  • blood in the urine.

For chronic prostatitis:

  • frequent, difficult urination.

  • dull pain in the pelvis and genital area.

  • painful ejaculation and sexual dysfunction.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland found in males that surrounds the male urethra at the bottom of the bladder. It has a dual role – to produce an exact portion of the seminal fluid that carries sperm and to control the flow of urine from the bladder. Symptoms can be urinary or sexual in nature.

Prostate problems occur in two forms: enlargement of the prostate and prostatitis which is a bacterial infection. Prostatitis can be either acute sudden and severe or chronic, milder but persistent.

The signs of prostate enlargement generally appear after the age of 45. Typically, the first indication is a need to urinate at night, with the urge gradually increasing over time. Other urination problems may develop.

Prostate enlargement is extremely common and it is safe to say that most men will experience some form of it as they grow older. But always have this checked by your doctor as it can also be a sign of prostate cancer. (see prostate cancer entry).

A less common problem is prostatitis which can occur in younger men or without symptoms of enlargement. Acute prostatitis may produce fever, chills, and lower back pain. chronic prostatitis generally brings milder versions of those symptoms and may also cause painful ejaculation, urethral discharge, or sexual dysfunction.

Causes

The enlargement condition seems to worsen with age and is a result of decreasing levels of testosterone and increasing levels of other hormones in the blood. This results in the enlargement.

Prostatitis is usually the result of an infection that has spread into the prostate gland. The infection can be sexually transmitted.

Men are hesitant to have these conditions checked out and it is this that can cause the problems to become dangerous. If symptoms indicate prostate enlargement, a doctor will want to determine whether the growth of the gland is benign or malignant (prostate cancer).

Traditional Treatment

If you suffer from prostate enlargement consult your doctor about all the different options available.

Surgery is only used as a last resort and when there is no other option.

A course of antibiotics is usually successful in eliminating prostatitis.

Always do self checks to monitor the progress and to ensure that there are not other causes for concern. If you are in doubt always speak with your doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies –  Some herbs that may help include – saw palmetto and horsetail, anise, clivers, nettle, ginseng and couch grass for benign enlargements. (See Our Herbal Section)Some herbs that may help include – saw palmetto and horsetail, anise, clivers, nettle, ginseng and couch grass for benign enlargements. (See Our Herbal Section)

Homoeopathy – Numerous medications are available to the homoeopathic practitioner for treating prostatic enlargement and prostatitis.  You will need Professional Advice for which is best for you. Numerous medications are available to the homoeopathic practitioner for treating prostatic enlargement and prostatitis.  You will need Professional Advice for which is best for you.

Dietary Considerations

Good nutrition and lifestyle may help the prostate enlargement.

  • Zinc – oysters, wheat bran, whole oatmeal, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.

  • Vitamins C and E may promote prostate health.

  • The amino acids glycine, alanine, and glutamic acid

  • Essential fatty acids – ask our pharmacist for advice.

Prevention

To prevent a recurrence of chronic prostatitis and promote prostate health:

  • Take warm baths.

  • Drink more water.

  • Avoid prolonged bicycle riding, horseback riding, or other exercises that irritate the region below the prostate.

  • Take supplements of zinc and vitamin C.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your symptoms lead you to suspect an enlarged or infected prostate.

In addition, an enlarged prostate can be a sign of cancer