Browsing Category




Many new mothers agree that breastfeeding is one of the great pleasures of having a newborn. It can be a healthy, bonding experience, both physically and emotionally, for both mother and baby. Unfortunately, sometimes infections can occur that make breastfeeding very painful.

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast caused by bacteria. Unlike engorgement or a plugged duct, mastitis normally requires an antibiotic. It occurs most often in women who are nursing. This is called lactation mastitis. It occasionally happens in women who are not nursing or pregnant.
Mastitis Symptoms


Mastitis can cause pain, swelling, redness, fatigue, high fever, flu-like symptoms and chills. There may be a tender lump and the area may be hot to the touch and swollen. There may be a burning sensation in the breast.

The lymph nodes under the armpit or above the collar bone may also be sore and swollen. In severe cases, there may be pus draining from the nipple. Lactation mastitis normally affects only one breast.

Flu-like symptoms are usually the first sign of mastitis. A sore red area may appear on the breast a few hours later. A call to the doctor should be made at this point to determine whether or not an antibiotic is needed.


Approximately one nursing mother out of twenty will get a breast infection. Bacteria can pass from the baby’s nose, mouth and throat through a crack or sore in the mother’s nipples. The bacteria can then infect the milk ducts and glands. Mastitis can also develop in the breast without broken skin, but it is not as common. Mastitis can happen at any point in a mother’s nursing career, but within the first month is the most common. Some tips on the causes of Mastitis are:

  • A mother that is run down will be more susceptible to infection. It is important for a mother who is breast feeding to eat a healthy, well balanced diet and to take naps when possible. The demands of a new born can be very tiring.
  • Once a woman has developed mastitis in the breast, it is more common to have a recurrence. If a mother continually misses feedings or gives a bottle in place of a feeding without pumping, the chances of another episode is increased.
  • Not fully draining the breast, or nursing in only one position, may increase the chance of mastitis. Milk stasis can occur if there is milk left in the breast. Milk that sits in the breast has an easier chance of becoming infected.
  • Wearing a bra that is too tight or confining can restrict milk flow, which increases the chance of infection.
  • Allowing the breasts to become engorged can cause the ducts to clog and become infected.
  • Poor attachment to the breast can cause an increased chance of mastitis. Normally, when the baby isn’t latched on well, all of the milk can’t get drained from the breast.

Conventional Treatment

A physical examination and the patient’s medical history will be the determining factor of whether or not an antibiotic is needed. It is not always easy to tell the difference between plugged ducts, engorgement or infection. If a plugged duct or engorgement is the cause of pain, it will gradually begin to feel better without medication. If mastitis is the cause of pain, the mother will continually feel worse.

Oral antibiotics are usually given to fight a mastitis infection. The antibiotics are usually successful for treatment as long as the full prescription is taken. The most common brand name antibiotics are biocef, keflex, keftab and pathocil. Side effects of the penicillin-based antibiotics are rare. If they do occur they are mild.

Some of these can include nausea or vomiting, intestinal gas, loose stools or diarrhea and skin rashes or itching. The side effects of the cephalosporin drugs are also rare, but may include mild forms of diarrhea, abdominal pain, skin rashes or itching and vaginal yeast infections. A small amount of the antibiotic taken will enter the breast milk, but this will not harm the baby.

Getting Treatment Quickly

When mastitis isn’t properly treated or treated too slowly, abscess may develop. A collection of pus can develop in the breast. This usually requires surgical drainage, which often requires a general anesthesia. A breast surgeon may have to use a needle guided by an ultrasound scan to drain the abscess.

Ice, Heat, and Rest

Alternating warm and cold compresses on the inflamed area can help to relieve the pain. Heat to the breast can help increase circulation and milk flow. This may help fight the infection and get things moving. Also, massaging the area that is tender may help to loosen the ducts that have become plugged.

Getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids while the breast is infected is important. Ten to twelve glasses of water should e consumed per day. This will help keep the milk supply flowing and the body functioning to fight infection. A mother should treat herself just as she would when she has a virus or flu.

Some additional treatment tips include:

  • Keep the inflamed breast emptied by nursing frequently or by pumping the breast. Nurse every two hours on the affected side, if possible.
  • Taking ibuprofen will help relieve some of the pain and discomfort of mastitis.
  • After taking antibiotics for 24-48 hours, the pain will start to subside and the mother will begin feeling better.

Natural Remedies

There are some different alternatives to curing matisis besides giving a woman antibiotics. Because some of the antibiotics can be given to the baby through nursing, some women would rather take a holistic approach. These are some of the things women who don’t want antibiotics are trying:

Use frozen, raw cabbage leaves. They can reduce pain and inflammation. They help draw out the heat and infection. Place the leaves directly on the infected area. The cabbage leaves should be replaced when they reach room temperature (there is controversy with this method from some conventional method doctors).

Additional Natural Remedy Options

Make a poultice of comfrey leaves and calendula flowers. Apply hot applications to the infected breast four times daily. This will soothe the nipples and help draw out the infection.

Other natural remedy options are to use one dropper full of Echinacia root tincture, six times a day while the infection is bad and then reduce to 2 or 3 times a day and oriental medicine experts think that acupuncture can help clear the toxic heat and treat underlying imbalance that may be causing the mastitis.

Plants & Herbs for Treating Mastitis

A variety of plants and herbs are thought to help with the healing of a breast infection:

  • Echinacea root – known as an antibiotic alternative that helps to fight infection.
  • Prickly ash – increases the immune system and stimulates the lymphatic flow. It helps dissolve
  • blockages.
  • Cleavers – helps to reduce swelling.
  • Calendula – promotes the flow and drainage of lymphatic fluid. It helps dissolve blockages.
  • Hytolacca – used for sensitive cracked nipples and blocked milk ducts.
  • Pulsatilla – used for sore nipples and to help lift a mother’s mood.
  • Belladonna – used for inflamed breasts that have red streaks radiating from the nipples, heat
  • and throbbing pain.
  • Bryonia – used for heavy, hard and painful breasts.
  • Silica – used for cracked and infected nipples.


Mastitis Symptoms
Wear loose fitting clothing that does not irritate or rub the nipples. Don’t wear tight fitting or constricting tops. Wearing a properly fitting nursing bra will also help. A nursing mother should keep her nipples clean and dry between feedings. This will help reduce the risk of infection

Make sure the baby is attached properly to the breast. The baby has to latch on correctly in order to obtain an adequate amount of milk. There must be a tight seal around the nipple and most of the areola.

Changing the baby’s position will help to ensure that each breast is completely drained of milk each feeding. Milk stasis can occur if there is milk left in the breast. This can cause excess pressure and milk may leak into breast tissue, which can cause inflammation.

Avoiding Engorging

When a mother’s breasts become full, she should have her baby nurse to make sure she doesn’t get engorged. If she does become engorged, the breast needs to be promptly relieved. A mother should wake her baby every four hours to nurse in the early weeks of birth. She may have to remove blankets, change the baby’s diaper or massage her baby’s back, arms and legs to get the baby awake enough to nurse.

A baby should be weaned gradually to prevent engorgement and inflammation. Many mothers will start out by cutting one nursing session every three or four days. Drop the least favorite feedings first. The morning and evening feedings will usually be the last to go. This process will likely take two or more weeks.

The slower the process, the more likely the breasts will be protected from engorgement and infection. Also, weaning slowly will help the baby to have less anxiety.

Sleeping Tips

A nursing mother should get plenty of rest and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. She may become more susceptible to infection because of the lack of sleep and stress of having a newborn. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. It can restrict the flow of milk in the breast.


Normally, a mother is still able to nurse her baby when she is diagnosed with mastitis, although it may be very painful. It is important that the infected breast stays drained. If the baby won’t nurse on the infected side, it is important to pump the breast until it is emptied of all milk. The milk may taste a little different with the infection, but most babies don’t seem to mind.

Because of the pain associated with mastitis or other breast infections, some mothers may feel they should give up breast feeding their babies. The pain and problems that they have to endure are just too much to handle. However, there are many benefits to the mother and her baby when nursing is chosen.

Why Use Breast Milk?

Breast milk is easier for a baby to digest than formula. It is rich in nutrients and antibodies that will help protect the baby from germs and illness. The mother and baby tend to bond better when nursing is the choice. They may feel more warm and secure due to the close physical contact.

The surgeon general reports state that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants. Breastfeeding has been shown to protect babies against otitis media, gastroenteritis, severe lower respiratory infections, and necrotizing enterocolitis. It has also been associated with lower rates of sudden infant death syndrome, childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, and leukemia.

A mother’s health benefits include a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, as well as breast and ovarian cancers. It has also been shown to help with postpartum depression.

Breast Milk Saves Money

Not having the cost of formula or the hastle of sterilizing bottles and nipples, along with the optimal nutrition and health benefits for mother and baby, make nursing an easier choice .



What Is Scurvy?

Dating back to ancient Egypt, scurvy represents an abnormal condition of ascorbic acid or Vitamin C deficiency in the diet. The earliest records of the symptoms associated with scurvy are the contribution of Egyptian scribes, dating back to 1550 BC. Scurvy ravaged its victims of ocean exploration during the Renaissance Era of the 16th through the 18th centuries indiscriminately.

In the course of the year 1746, a British naval surgeon named James Lind proved that citrus fruits including oranges and lemons had strong properties to treat and prevent scurvy. As a result of Dr. Lind’s efforts, the relative frequency of developing scurvy otherwise called Vitamin C deficiency, ascorbic acid deficiency syndrome, Vitamin C deficiency disease, and Barlow’s disease, among the British naval men diminished. Lemon juice provisions became the standard on board routine sea expeditions.Scurvy Symptoms

Throughout the 19th century, people suffered a myriad of tribulations and significant events. They experienced the Great Potato Famine, the American Civil War, the Crimean War in Europe, and the California Gold Rush. By no longer being a maritime voyager’s disease, scurvy evolved into a disease affecting countless people on terra firma.

Scurvy & Rickets

Accredited for the earliest description of infantile scurvy, Francis Glisson discovered a link between rickets and scurvy relating to infants in 1650. Subsequent to his narrative regarding this relationship, it took 200 years more before any further reports of these findings made it to mainstream authorities.

Infantile Scurvy

By the end of the 19th century, infantile scurvy received acknowledgment in Great Britain and the United states due to the increased incidence of the disease. The conclusion was that the ingestion of pasteurized milk and foods that contain insufficient quantities of Vitamin C caused the manifestation of scurvy.

Axel Holst, a Norwegian university professor and a pediatrician named Dr. Theodor Frølich evoked the induction and treated scurvy in guinea pigs with the use of through adjustment relating to their diet. The employment of an animal model used to promote and cure scurvy equated to an outstanding advancement. The progress made with the use of guinea pigs led the way to integration of using human subjects for experimentation.

At a point in 1914, a pediatrician names Alfred Hess who practiced at Hebrew Asylum in New York, noted a growing number of cases of scurvy amidst the babies at the institution. The institution of the milk pasteurization along with omitting orange juice from the nutritional components of the infants’ diet was the underlying basis for the rise of infantile scurvy.

Early Treatment Findings

Dr. Hess was able to undo the absence of vitamin C in the infants by adding orange juice, non pasteurized milk or potatoes to their diet. This improvement in their uptake reversed the effects of scurvy. Dr. Hess demonstrated that the loss of vitamin C was the result of the pasteurization. Hence, his recommendation for the prevention and treatment of infantile scurvy was to supply citrus fruit or vegetable juice to the diet of the infants that received heated formula exclusively. Leading to the elimination of infantile scurvy in the United States, this added measure prevented the infants from the impact of scurvy.

The daily consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables or the protective approach of supplementing the diet with added Vitamin C represents a significant way to prevent ascorbic acid insufficiency. Unfortunately, the human body misses the element needed to produce ascorbic acid. The body needs fruits and vegetable to satisfy Vitamin C requirements needed for wellness. Unfortunately, scurvy makes up a remarkable vitamin deficiency syndrome that regards adults and children who have prolonged Vitamin C shortcoming in their diet.


Whether caused by disease or the following result from a syndrome, the study of the shifts in the involuntary physical and biochemical dynamic processes have a pivotal role. They provide the understanding of basic causes of disorders in the body. Pathophysiology is the subdivision of medicine, which addresses the disruptions of body functions due to illness or the foreshadowing symptoms.

The principle function of Vitamin C comprises the biosynthesis of collagen needed for the fortification of skin, bone, and connective tissues throughout the body. A Vitamin C deficient effects the body organs’ collagen-containing tissue namely the skin, cartilage, bones, capillaries, and the calcium-containing part of the teeth called dentine. There are numerous reasons why the observation of infant growth rate is vital.

Pathological Variants

Pathological variants affect the production of tissue and functionality of the body. Irrespective externally or internally, the loss of blood from a ruptured blood vessel personifies a distinguishable feature of scurvy, and it causes serious complications when the hemorrhage takes place in an organ. Another indicant of scurvy is abnormal collagen formation. It contributes to poor dentine synthesis, bleeding gums, and the loss of teeth inevitably. A frequent site of dermal bleeding is the hair follicle. In relation to infantile scurvy, bone inclusion is a distinctive characteristic.

The occurrence of body changes happens at the juncture of the central section of the long bone in between the growth expanses at each end. Bone-forming cells also called osteoblasts are unsuccessful in the attempt to form the bone tissue that becomes hard bone, as a result, the endochondral bone development stops. Calcification of growth cartilage situated at the juncture of the long bones persists, contributing to the growth plate becoming more compact.

As a rule, the dispersal of growth cartilage byway of the capillary vessels does not take place. Because of the process of undergoing resorption, the bone becomes weak, and tiny cracks of the bone spicules develop between the diaphysis and hardened cartilage. Because of the fractures, the dense fibrous membrane covering the surface of bones called the periosteum become lax, consequent to a subperiosteal bleed at the endings of the long bones. Standardized guidelines practiced in the assessment of fractures pertaining to infants and adolescent children are in place. The attached segment of the periosteal to the growth plate is sturdy.

Scurvy in the United States

In the United States, the incidence of scurvy is unique because of the incorporation of Vitamin C incorporated in foods more and more. This western standard makes the risk of developing scurvy seem to be a matter of the past. Scurvy represents a nondiscriminatory condition that does not recognize gender or race. Today, individuals that are the most vulnerable to developing scurvy in the USA are, however, the elderly, psychiatric patients, drug abusers, alcoholics, finicky eaters, the homeless, and persons suffering from acid ingestion. Additionally, dialysis-dependent individuals and babies who do not receive sufficient Vitamin C in their diet may fall victim to scurvy.

Among the various physical damage accompanying, the ill-use of alcohol in the midst of some elderly-adult drinkers is water-soluble vitamin deficiency. The primary reason is the consumption foods lacking Vitamin C supplied in fresh fruits and vegetables. Children who are subject to limited food due to health-related issues, cultural, or monetary justifications have a high probability of developing Vitamin C insufficiency leading to scurvy. It is remarkable for infants up to a year old to acquire scurvy because of nutritional information and resources available to parents.

International Occurrences of Scurvy

With regard to a few provinces scattered throughout Asia, there have been an increase in the outbreak of scurvy. In 2002, scores of people in an unlikely part of Afghanistan died subsequent to what seemed to be a direct occurrence of a disease associated with poor nutrition. Between 2004 and 2008, over 60 children in England received hospitalization due to scurvy. Late 2007, the estimation rose to 94 cases of scurvy, which indicates a substantial upsurge of more than 50% within a 3-year span.

A case study in Thailand reassessed 28 instances of scurvy in infants and children with an age range from 10 months to 9-and-half-years. The average child was 29 months old, and the children remained hospitalized for a little over 7 years from 1995 to 2002. The determinant was that constant uptake of ultra-pasteurized milk and insufficient consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits were the key factor that induced scurvy. Unless there is a real turn around regarding this issue, scurvy could once again be the scourge of populations in epidemic proportions in these middle-eastern regions.

Occurrence of Scurvy and Mortality

Scurvy has unfavorable impacts on the neonatal brain’s correct maturation. Based on the potential damage from Vitamin C deficiency, the latest research-laboratory studies indicate that the newborn child’s brain is vulnerable to impairment from scurvy. In relation to infants and adults, there is evidence that supports the connections between scurvy and unexpected death resulting from heart failure, as well.
Scurvy Symptoms
The occurrence secondary to prolonged exposure to scurvy causes deep tissue hemorrhaging, which is a frequent complication that raises the fatality rate in young children and mature adults. Subperiosteal bleeding causes extreme pain and physical flaws in bone and other connected anatomical structures. Dependent on the location of the bleed, for example, in the brain, the hemorrhage raises the fatality rate substantially.

Clinical Symptomatology

Non specific indications of scurvy consist of the following:

  • Poor appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Frequent and/or excessive bowel movements
  • Labored breathing

Identifiable symptoms include the following:

  • Muscular paralysis with pain and soreness of the lower extremities
  • Swelling across the long bones
  • Bleeding from broken blood vessels into encompassing tissue

Physical Indicators

Resulting from pseudoparesis, the infant appears irritable during handling and diaper changes. The child exhibits severe, palpable sensitivity over the thighs with excruciating pain. For solace, the infant simulates the frog-leg position, maintaining hips and knee joints slightly bent and externally spread out.

Gum-line hemorrhage takes place only if teeth eruption is apparent. Typically, bleeding gums involve the tissue around the teeth located in front of the mouth, in the superior and inferior jaws. The gums feel sponge-like and reveal a blue to purplish hue.


Subperiosteal hemorrhage represents a typical determinant concerning infantile scurvy. The lower points of the thighbone and shinbone are the most impacted placements, and the area is painful to the touch in the acute phase.

Petechial hemorrhage of the skin and mucous membranes can occur. When the capillaries close to the superficial part of the body rupture, this state arises. Blood in the urine or stool is not distinguished. Eye proptosis is an indicator of an orbital bleed, which is a predication of scurvy. This condition results in an ensnarement and shift of the eye from the back of the lids of the eyeballs.

Problems With Ribs

A beading or protuberance of the ribs at the costochondral junction is a widely seen in individuals with scurvy. The occurrence is at the joining of the ribs and sternum located where the developing portion of the ribs to cartilage attaches. The scorbutic rosary is distinguishable because of its angular-like development. The profusion of growth of the cartilage induces the ribs and cartilage to compress and the overgrowth produces an abnormal formation of the rib cage.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Typically, adult scurvy induces Vitamin A deficiency, which is responsible for a skin thickening disorder called hyperkeratosis. It also produces an autoimmune disease called sicca syndrome or Sjögren’s syndrome are typical observations in adult scurvy; however, it is unusual in infantile scurvy. Connective tissue diseases, comprising lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, and polymyositis are autoimmune disorders. They contribute to dry eyes and mouth.

Additional Warning Signs

Slow-to-heal wounds, insufficient production of red blood cells, and mild fever represent signals that warrant testing for scurvy.

Although a rarity, there has been a case involving an infant that experienced non-scarring alopecia, spread throughout the scalp and features through radiographic imaging that indicate scurvy.

Laboratory Analyses

Infantile scurvy is not diagnosed with lab test easily. In order to ascertain the presence of scurvy in an infant, verification of radiological images and clinical research substantiating a Vitamin C deficiency is appropriate to establish a diagnose of infantile scurvy.

Blood Serum Ascorbic Acid Levels

  • Serum ascorbic acid levels more exceptional than 0.6 mg/dL eliminates the appearance of scurvy.
  • Ascorbic acid levels of more than 0.2 mg/dL are nutritionally sufficient.
  • A blood serum level of 0.10-0.19 mg/dL establishes a low level notably.
  • Serum levels that present lower than 0.10 mg/dL is a remarkable deficient.

Alternative Blood Testing

A more accurate measurement of ascorbic acid concentration is the white blood cell serum level. It provides a precise way to determine Vitamin C insufficiency.

  • A WBC serum level of zero suggests possible scurvy.
  • Levels of 0-7 mg/dL assume a substantial point of deficit.
  • Blood serum levels of 8-15 mg/dL are remarkable to a degree
  • Levels greater than 15 mg/dL are an excellent indicant of nutritional sufficiency.

Dietary Guidelines

A diet sufficient in Vitamin C inhibits the progress of scurvy. The dietary essentials of Vitamin C capable of the prevention of scurvy change at different stages of the aging process of the individual. The following dietary recommendations for the daily allowance consist of the following:

  • Infants – 30-40 mg
  • Children and young adults 40-45 mg
  • Mature adults 60 mg
  • Pregnant women – 70 mg
  • Lactating mothers – 95 mg

Food sources abundant in Vitamin C include the following:

  • Citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes
  • Black currant
  • Green tomatoes
  • Kiwi
  • Acerola cherry
  • Litchi
  • Berries
  • Guava
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet red pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Peas
  • Lettuce
  • Cassava
  • Cauliflower
  • Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Melon
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes


Vitamin C Supplementation

The chemical composition of ascorbic acid derives from plants. Most animals produce ascorbic acid from glucose. Humans cannot synthesize this nutrient, and it cannot be stored in the body, so Vitamin C must be ingested daily. The best sources of Vitamin C are fresh vegetables and fruits. Ascorbic acid is essential to meet the needs of proper body function. Vitamin C provides antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals that induce cell damage.

Antitoxins neutralize a wide array of toxic substances that accumulate in the body. It strengthens the immune system ability to fight infection. Vitamin C enhances collagen formation, which is necessary for wound healing. It fortifies capillary and arterial walls to prevent rupture and ecchymosis. Ascorbic acid facilitates the integration of non-heme iron that comes from eggs, dairy products, and plant-based foods. Clinically, Vitamin C supplements are necessary to guard against and treat a state of deficiency.

Ascorbic acid Supplementation

Ascorbic acid, Vitamin C, Cecon, Cebid, Ce-Vi-Sol, Dull-C, and Vita-C are oral supplements that administer effective reversal of infantile and adult scurvy.

Adult Dosing

100-200 mg orally every 6 hours for 1 week


25 mg orally every 6 hours for 1 week


The consumption of Vitamin C supplementation in large doses impedes the metabolic process and absorptivity of Vitamin B-12 in the body.


Large doses hasten hemolysis in individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase insufficiency. Mass dosages exacerbated acid loading in conditions, such as gout, cirrhosis, renal tubular acidosis, and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.

Pregnancy Precautions

In humans, fetal risk factors are not supported in research studies; however, some hazardous indications display in animal studies.

Cautionary Information

Vitamin C abuse stimulates diarrhea and renal stones. Prolonged uptake of ascorbic acid impedes synthesis, and it causes metabolic resistance biochemically.

There have been reports of scurvy in regards to infants born to mothers who ingested as high as 400 mg/dL of Vitamin C during their gestation period. The manifestation of low-serum ascorbic acid levels exhibited in healthy adults who took large doses of Vitamin C for extended periods.


Scurvy features a highly agreeable prognosis, as long as it is diagnostically identified and treated promptly.


Common Digestive Disorders

Symptoms Peptic Ulcer Disease

Peptic ulcers are essentially sores that have developed within the esophagus, stomach, or even the upper section of the small intestine. These areas are very acidic due to the part they play in the digestive system, which frequently causes the ulcers to be very painful to the sufferer. Symptoms of mild cases of this disorder include pain in the abdominal region, bloating, nausea/vomiting, and the loss of one’s appetite which can lead to weight loss. Patients with more severe cases may experience severe pain, as well as darker colored vomit or stools due to the passing of blood. In the most severe of cases, patients can even suffer from a perforation, or hole, in their stomach or intestinal lining which requires immediate surgical repair.
Digestive Disorder Symptoms

Additional Names

Peptic ulcers are named specifically by referring to the location in the digestive system in which they occur. Gastric ulcers are those that occur within the stomach itself, while duodenal ulcers occur in the first section of the small intestine (the duodenum.) Additionally, ulcers can also appear along the inside of the esophagus where they are known as esophageal ulcers.


It was once believed that stress or a poor diet lead to the development of these ulcers, but researchers have determined that this is not the case. Other, more likely, causes have been realized in more recent medical history.

1. In the early 1980s, it was discovered that a common bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori was too blame for a majority of instances of peptic ulcer disease. Although many people suffer from H. pylori infections, in only a few of them does the bacteria reproduce to the point that it disrupts the chemical balance in their digestive tracts and causes an ulcer.
2. Another cause of these ulcers that is becoming more common is the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs.) These drugs are prescribed primarily for pain, although many are available over the counter, but they also prevent the production of a chemical necessary to protect the lining of the stomach and small intestine. When the body is prevented from producing this enzyme, the stomach lining is exposed to the same acids used to digest food and often develops ulcers.
3. Other possible, but yet unproven, causes of peptic ulcers also include smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol in excess.

Risk Factors

1. The probability of H. pylori infection is less common in well developed nations the food quality is greater and drinking water is kept clean. However, the chance of these infections increases in increments of about 10% every ten years, thus the elderly population is more common to experience these ulcer causing infections.
2. Due to the increased use of NSAIDs to treat chronic pain in many patients, the chances of developing a peptic ulcer has risen dramatically across all ages and social orders. For this reason, it is very important for anyone with any other risk factors for ulcers to notify their physician or pharmacist before taking any NSAID.

Methods of Diagnosis

There are currently several methods of diagnosing a patient with peptic ulcer disease. The simplest method can be conducted on your first visit to the physician’s office. It involves discussing what medications you take as well as their dosages. If the physical symptoms of an ulcer are present and the patient is not currently taking any NSAIDs or similar medications, then H. pylori bacteria is more than likely to blame.

The physician can then take a blood or stool sample to test for the bacteria, or he may use a breath test which can also detect its presence. If the symptoms are severe or if the doctor wishes to visually inspect the ulcerated area, he may elect to perform an endoscopy. During this procedure, a long tube with a camera and light is inserted through the mouth and down the throat all the way to the stomach where it can relay images to a monitor.

Treatment Options

Treatment for peptic ulcers depends primarily on the cause of each particular case. If the patient is diagnosed with an ulcer caused by the H. pylori bacteria, a combination of two antibiotics along with a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) can be used. The antibiotics can be chosen from a list of multiple prescriptions, and the PPI may be prescribed or picked up over the counter. Ulcers caused by the taking of NSAIDs can usually be treated by simply stopping those medications and supplementing with an over the counter antacid or PPI. Occasionally, doctors may prescribe additional medication if this method fails to allow the ulcer to heal. If your doctor believes alcohol or tobacco use is the root of your problem, once again, healing can come from halting consumption of these products.

Some patients may also want to treat their ulcers at home, saving prescription options as a last resort. Potential natural remedies include bananas, and the juices from fresh carrots and cabbage. It has also been suggested that a tea made from the leaves of the wood apple plant is an affective option. In years past it was suggested that drinking milk would soothe an ulcer and allow it to heal, although this has been proven to actually aggravate the symptoms of an ulcer due to the high acid content of dairy products.

Surgical procedures may also be suggested by your doctor as treatment for an ulcer that has begun to bleed into the stomach or intestine. The surgeon will perform the operation to cauterize the ulcer or remove pieces of tissue to stop the bleeding. If an ulcer causes a perforation, or hole, in the wall of the stomach, there is a need for emergency surgery to repair the damage. After the performance of any surgery, doctors may choose one of the above methods to treat the ulcers and prevent any future problems.

Lactose Intolerance


Lactose intolerance is a disorder in which sufferers cannot produce the necessary enzymes to digest lactose, a form of sugar found in milk and other dairy products. When the ingested lactose passes into the colon unmolested by digestive enzymes, bacteria residing in the lower bowel begin to break it down. The occurrence of this process in the colon produces several symptoms including cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and large amounts of gas.

Additional Names

Lactose intolerance is sometimes referred to as lactase deficiency, named for the lack of the digestive enzyme lactase. Lactase is the enzyme specifically produced to aid in the digestion of the sugar lactose.


1. A certain degree of lactase deficiency can be expected with advanced age. As people grow older, their bodies tend to produce less lactase and therefore they may experience some level of lactose intolerance.
2. There is also a proven genetic component in the causation of lactose intolerance. This can be seen not only in its prevalence within individual families, but also in the fact that it tends to affect some entire races of people more than others. Lactose intolerance is more common in individuals of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent, as well as those descended from the Native American populations. People of the Jewish race also tend to see a higher incidence of this disorder.
3. Illness or disease of the small intestine is also known to cause a reduction in the amount of lactase in the bowel. Some patients experience a short period of lactose intolerance after a bout of stomach flu, while others suffering from chronic disorders such as cystic fibrosis or celiac disease are intolerant of the sugar throughout the term of their illness. Surgical removal or radioactive treatment of the small intestine can also prevent the release of lactase allowing undigested lactose to pass into the colon.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for lactose intolerance tend to correlate with common causes of the disorder.
1. As a person’s age increases, so does the likelihood of suffering from this condition.
2. Individuals with a known family history of lactose intolerance can expect a higher than average chance of experiencing it themselves.
3. Patients being treated for inflammatory diseases of the small intestine, or who have had surgery or cancer treatments in the area around the lower digestive organs may expect a degree of lactose intolerance as an after effect of these procedures.
4. Also, babies born prematurely are sometimes unable to produce lactase due to their undeveloped digestive systems, but time usually resolves these problems.

Methods of Diagnosis

Currently, there are several tests that doctors use in diagnosing a patient with lactose intolerance. Before any of these tests are ordered, your doctor may suggest that you remove dairy from your diet and monitor your symptoms to see if they improve. If there is no improvement a breath test may be ordered, during which you will drink a lactose solution and your breath will be inspected for certain gases after your body has tried to digest the lactose.
Digestive Disorder SymptomsIf this test points toward a case of lactose intolerance, a follow up blood test can be done to confirm the lack of broken down sugars in the bloodstream. For babies and small children who cannot be exposed to the high level of lactose required for testing, a stool sample can be analyzed for excess amounts of lactic acid that has passed through the colon.

Treatment Options

There is no cure for lactose intolerance, or a prescription that can force the body to produce lactase, so a large part of treatment is diet modification. However, a solution containing the necessary lactase enzyme is available over the counter and may help some sufferers. The drop can be taken before meals where lactose is present, or even added to milk before consumption.

The severity of this condition varies considerably among its sufferers, from those who cannot consume any dairy at all to those who are only affected after consuming large amounts. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each patient to find what modifications work for them. Milk, cheese, and butter created from plant based ingredients can be substituted for dairy products. Additionally, several companies now specialize in production of lactose free dairy foods specifically for those suffering from lactose intolerance. Patients may also experiment with products containing lactose to note the degree to which their symptoms occur. Some may be able to tolerate small amounts of dairy at certain times of the day, or when consumed with a large meal containing no other lactose. Eating live culture yogurt may also assist in the breakdown of lactose.

Lack of Calcium

One major concern for individuals who are unable to consume dairy products is the inability to ingest enough calcium to maintain their health. This problem can be remedied by substituting other calcium rich foods, which range from meats and vegetables to breakfast cereals. Green leafy vegetables such as turnip and collard greens, kale, and broccoli all contain healthy amounts of calcium. A diet including sardines, salmon, and tuna would be well supplemented as well. Almonds can make a calcium rich snack, while many breakfast cereals now come fortified with calcium. Due to the wide variety of naturally calcium rich foods, as well as those that now have calcium added, a person suffering from lactose intolerance should have little concern as to whether they are able to live a healthy, happy life.



Diverticulitis is an infection that develops within the small intestine. One of the initial symptoms would be sudden, severe pain in the lower left portion of the abdomen. Rarely, this pain would alternately be felt on the right side of the abdomen. These pains would be followed by fever, bloating and gas, and a noticeable change in bowel activity, either constipation or diarrhea. In extreme cases, the patient may even experience bleeding from the rectum.


1. Diverticulitis is caused when small pouches called diverticula form in the walls of the small intestine, then become infected. These pouches are usually formed when the bowel exerts extra pressure to propel waste through the intestine and are found in naturally weak spots along the intestinal walls.
Doctors are at odds over what exactly causes the diverticula to become inflamed or infected.
a. One theory is that the narrow openings of the diverticula are prime locations for fecal matter to become trapped and harbor infection.
b. Another states that these same narrow openings result in a reduction of blood supplied to the area, causing inflammation.

Risk Factors

1. Diverticulitis is most common in the elderly, with the chances of infection increasing after the age of forty. This is perhaps due to the reduced strength and resilience of the muscles found in the intestinal walls. For unknown reasons, a lack of physical activity which is common in those of advanced age also contributes to higher incidences of diverticulitis.
2. A lack of fiber in the diet has been proven to create harder, more dense stools which cause the bowel to exert the extra pressure needed to form diverticula, thus increasing the likelihood of infection.
3. In younger patients, obesity is almost always cited as a contributing factor in the development of diverticulitis.

Methods of Diagnosis

The most common method of diagnosing a patient with diverticulitis is to perform a blood test which screens for infection, as well as ruling out other diseases, followed by a CT scan of the abdomen. The CT scan allows the doctor to see if diverticula are present and, if they are, if there are areas of inflammation or infection. Your doctor may also order a colonoscopy to be sure there is no cancer or other structural problems in the lower bowel.

Treatment Options

The methods of treating diverticulitis depend heavily upon the severity of the patient’s symptoms, as well as how frequently these infections occur. In mild cases of the disorder, doctors may prescribe any of a variety of antibiotics that will rid the body of the infectious bacteria. The prescription is complemented by a liquid or soft food diet that will allow the bowel to rest and the infected area to heal. After the course of medication is completed, the patient should be advised to dramatically increase the amount of fiber in their diet to prevent any recurrence of problems. Over the counter pain relievers may also be suggested to ease the pain associated with this disorder.

Home treatment of diverticulitis relies primarily on diet modification. Sufferers should replace any white bread in their diets with whole wheat bread, and should also add oats and bran to their diets. Water is an extremely important component of the diet as it will help soften the stool and relieve the pressure exerted in the intestine. The diet should be full of fruits, especially apples, and these should be consumed whole as juices are usually strained of any beneficial fiber. This method of treatment should not be expected to heal the body as quickly as other means, and usually takes anywhere from two to six weeks before results are noticed.

Treatment for Severe Cases

In severe or repetitive cases of diverticulitis, surgery may be required. It will be up to the patient and their doctor to decide if the risks of surgical intervention outweigh the problems caused by frequent infections. Surgery may be the only option, however, if there is an obstruction in the bowel or if a hole develops in the wall of the intestine.

A fistula, or abnormal passageway, may develop which allows for fecal matter to leave the intestine and travel back into the stomach or other area where it can cause even more infections. These are also correctable by surgery. In some cases, the surgeon will remove the affected area of the intestine and be able to reattach the upper portion to a section farther down. However if too much of the intestine must be removed to prevent reoccurrence, a tube will be attached to the end of the remaining intestine allowing fecal material to flow outside of the body to be collected in a colostomy bag carried on the patient’s person.



What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s Disease is a slowly progressing and irreversible brain disorder named for German physician, Alois Alzheimer, who described the disease in 1906. While working in a city mental hospital in Frankfurt, Germany, the doctor had a 51 year old female patient whose symptoms did not fit into any previously recognized category. She had declining memory capability, confusion, disorientation, and delusions. Her symptoms continued to worsen and according to the doctor, she once said, “I have lost myself.”

This is an apt description of the disease that would eventually be known as Alzheimer’s. After her death in 1906, Dr. Alzheimer performed an autopsy on her brain and discovered that it had shrunk greatly. He also discovered unusual clumps of protein or plagues in the patient’s brain. These were the plagues and tangles that are now associated with the disease. The disease is also known as senile dementia of the Alzheimer type.
Alzheimers Symptoms and Treatment

Characterizing Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is characterized by memory impairment and problems with reasoning, perception, and language. It gradually destroys memory and thinking skills necessary to function and live independently. During the course of Alzheimer’s, plagues and tangles develop inside the brain and cause brain cells to die. In most cases, Alzheimer’s patients show a deficiency in certain essential brain chemicals. Though there are drugs that may slow the progression of the disease, there is currently no cure.

Alzheimer’s does not by itself shorten a person’s life expectancy. Rather, it is the complications caused by the disease that contribute to death. As the disease progresses, sufferers are less able to care for themselves and they may not get the help they need for infections or illness. The period of time between diagnosis and death can be anywhere from one to fifteen years, though it is usually six to ten years.

What are the Symptoms?

The first sign of Alzheimer’s is memory loss that affects your daily life. Often misplacing items is a common early symptom of the disease. Other symptoms include difficulty in planning or solving problems, completing familiar tasks, confusion with place and time, problems writing or speaking, withdrawal from work or social activities, and the loss of the ability to see accurately the visual world and to understand these visual images.

How is Alzheimer’s Diagnosed?

There are no blood test, urine tests, biopsies, or MRIs that can diagnose Alzheimer’s. A brain scan may help to identify irregularities in the brain, but no doctor can be 100% certain that a patient has the disease until after death when the brain can be examined for plagues and tangles.

However, doctors can be reasonably certain of a correct diagnosis for Alzheimer’s from various cognitive tests that examine language, memory and mathematical skills. From these tests a doctor can often determine if an individual has the disease and what stage of Alzheimer’s the patient is suffering from. Blood tests, urine tests, and MRIs are often utilized to rule out other potential problems. After a proper diagnosis, the physician can prescribe the proper medication and determine the correct level of care needed.

Stages of Alzheimer’s

Specialists dealing with Alzheimer’s have identified stages of the disease that occur in many individuals. These stages have common symptoms and allow for patients and their families to understand what comes next as the disease progresses.

Stages 1, 2, and 3

Stage 1 is the beginning of the disease and no impairment is noticed. During stage 2, some cognitive decline may be noticed, though it may be difficult to tell whether this is normal age related decline or the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Stage 3 shows mild cognitive decline with decreased memory, a decline in the ability to organize or plan, and the misplacement of common items. It is during this stage that doctors may be able to first diagnose the disease.

Stages 4 & 5

In Stage 4, an individual would exhibit moderate cognitive decline and would have greater memory loss, less ability to remember recent events, and may become more withdrawn. This is usually considered early stage Alzheimer’s. Stage 5 is characterized by moderately severe cognitive decline. This is considered mid-stage Alzheimer’s. Individuals in this stage can become confused about date and place. They may also have trouble remembering familiar information such as their address or phone number. Assistance with day to day activities becomes essential during this stage.

Stages 6 & 7

Stage 6 is still considered mid-stage Alzheimer’s but the disease progresses and the individual experiences severe cognitive decline. In this stage, the disease affects one’s ability to remember names of family members, to recall recent events, and to properly take care of basic needs like dressing, bathing, and hygiene.

They may also begin to have delusions and experience personality changes. Stage 7 is the final stage of Alzheimer’s and is characterized by very severe cognitive decline. Individuals may lose their capacity to speak properly, to walk without assistance, and to eat without help. Eventually they may lose the ability to control movement.

Causes of Alzheimer’s

The principal risk factor is increasing age. As our population ages and our average lifespan increases, the numbers of those with Alzheimer’s increases. It is estimated that 10% of the population over 65 years of age have Alzheimer’s, and 50% over the age of 80 have some level of the disease. It is estimated that there are currently over 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s and that number is predicted to grow to nearly 15 million by the year 2050.

Genetics can increase the likelihood of developing the disease. Many people with early onset Alzheimer’s (in their 40s and 50s) have genetic mutations that make them more prone to the disease. Scientists have discovered one risk gene for Alzheimer’s. This is the APOE-e4 gene that is one type of APOE gene. Everyone inherits one APOE gene from each parent; if one of those happen to be the APOE-e4 gene, then that individual has a greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s and also has a greater possibility of developing the disease at a younger age.

Additional Risk Factors

Scientists have also discovered a deterministic gene that guarantees the development of Alzheimer’s. This gene is only found in a few hundred families in the world and only accounts for less than 5 percent of all Alzheimer’s cases.

Other identified risk factors include high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and diabetes. If you are a woman, you are more at risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Scientists are not certain why, however this increased risk may be due to the fact that women live longer than men. There is also some evidence that those who have completed less than eight years of schooling have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Does our Modern Diet Cause Alzheimer’s

Many doctors, scientists, and nutritionists are beginning to believe that our modern diet contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s. They believe that our consumption of sugar, fat, chemicals, pesticides and pharmaceutical drugs may lead directly or indirectly to the development of this disease. Some evidence shows that obesity in middle age can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s. Diabetes and stress are also believed to increase your chances of developing the disease. Eating a healthy diet, exercising daily, and controlling stress may lower your chances of developing Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimers Remedies
A study done at a Rhode Island hospital discovered a significant correlation between nitrates in our food and our environment and increased death rates form certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Humans are exposed to nitrates through processed foods and fertilizers. This is merely another warning that we should examine our modern lifestyle and attempt to make changes that will lessen the risk of these “modern lifestyle” diseases.

Outlook for Cures

While the progression of Alzheimer’s can be slowed and the mental abilities of patients can be improved for a time with certain prescribed drugs, there is no medication that will cure Alzheimer’s. There are several prescription drugs that have been approved by the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) to treat people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

These include cholinesterase inhibitors for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. Cholinesterase inhibitors often slow down the progression of the disease for six to twelve months, though some patients experienced longer delays. The names of some of these include, galantamine, rivastigmine, and donepezil. It is believed that these drugs prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a brain chemical that is believed to be vital for thinking and memory. Side effects of this drug include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Memantine is a medication that has been approved for moderate to severe forms of the disease. This drug protects brain cells from damage caused by a chemical messenger called glutamate. The drug has shown to increase mental function for a period of time and has minimal side effects. None of these drugs cure the disease, the merely slow down the progression or lessen the severity of the symptoms.

Natural Cures

Before deciding to rely on natural cures to treat Alzheimer’s, please consult your physician and do your own research. Most natural cures have not been tested under proper clinical conditions to prove or disprove their effectiveness and safety. However, for those people who believe in the healing power of foods, herbs, botanicals, and supplements, there are a few choices that may show promise in the fight against Alzheimer’s. It is probably wise to use natural cures in conjunction with prescribed medicine to get the best results.

Some studies have shown a possible benefit from taking antioxidants such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C to delay the progression of the disease. B vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and should be taken while battling the progression of Alzheimer’s.

New research has indicated that alpha lipoid acid and acetyl L-Carnitine help to slow down the disease. Alpha lipoid acid can lower oxidative damage to the brain and improve memory performance. Acetyl L-Carnitine works by preventing a buildup of amyloid plague that causes damage to brain tissue.

Huperzine A

Huperzine A has been promoted by some as a possible natural treatment for Alzheimer’s. It is a moss extract that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. Some evidence has shown that Huperzine A may work in a similar way as cholinesterase inhibitors, but much research is needed before this can be a recommended course of action.

Group Therapy

Another form of treatment is group therapy. The goal of group activities and discussions is to stimulate the brain. There are conflicting opinions on whether this method is effective, but it stands to reason that some benefit may be derived from using the brain and stimulating memory and language skills.

Ways to Prevent

Move! And keep moving! And move some more! Most experts agree that a sedentary lifestyle will cause an individual to age faster and have a greater risk for developing age-related diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s. These experts also agree that exercise has the greatest impact on delaying age related diseases. Do you want to live longer, be healthier, and delay the effects of aging as long as possible? Get off the couch and get moving.

Eat healthy

Don’t consume too much sugar. The over consumption of sugar helps to create a chemical process called glycation. Some experts believe that glycation and its by-products (called Advanced Glycation Endproducts or AGEs) contribute to the alteration of proteins in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s. Eat as much natural food as possible. Avoid processed foods, fast food, and food that comes in boxes, cans, and packages.

Eating a diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids may help. Fish, such as salmon and mackerel are high in this important nutrient. Supplementation of Omega-3 fatty acids may also help.

Exercise the Mind

Learn new things and work out your brain, riddles, puzzles, and brain games help keep your mind working. Practice memory skills, vary habits, eat with a different hand; these things can all contribute to a healthy, agile, and youthful mind. Read, keep a journal, try new experiences, vary your route through as much as you can; these things may help keep your brain stimulated. By maintaining an active brain you may help to ward off Alzheimer’s.

Avoid Aluminum

The exposure to aluminum in the environment has been linked to Alzheimer’s. You should avoid deodorants containing aluminum (most do), throw out the aluminum cookware, and stay away from foods packaged in aluminum cans.

Sleep and Stress

Failing to get the proper nightly rest may not only make you tired and cranky, it may also damage your brain. Getting enough sleep and having regular sleeping patterns are important to the health of you brain. You should also learn to manage stress as much as possible.

Cortisol, a stress hormone can cause premature aging, increase cognitive decline, and contribute to diseases such as depression and diabetes. Deep breathing, taking regular breaks to relax throughout the day, meditating, doing yoga, and maintaining a strong support system of friends, family and co-workers all help to lower stress levels and prevent stress from accelerating the aging process and contributing to Alzheimer’s.

What the Future Holds?

Researchers and doctors will continue to seek better methods to prevent, diagnose, and treat Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors should be able to improve techniques for identifying those at greater risk for developing the disease. Identifying biological markers in blood, urine, and spinal fluid may help specialists detect those that may need early treatment. Improved imaging techniques may allow researchers to get a better understanding of the brain by viewing plagues and tangles in patients living with Alzheimer’s. This increased knowledge will help them diagnose and treat future patients.

Researchers will also focus on developing better treatment options. Currently, treatment only slows the progression of the disease and limits the symptoms. Long term efficacy of current medications is lacking. The future hope is to find treatments that stop the progression of the disease and eventually cure those who suffer from Alzheimer’s.

Positive Outlook

Physicians and researchers dream of a future where a patient could get a specific test that would predict a risk for developing Alzheimer’s. If the test comes back with markers that show too high a risk, then the patient would be prescribed a medication that stops the disease in its tracks. Is this possible? We have learned a great deal in only a few short decades of Alzheimer’s research, and our knowledge will continue to expand.

Those in the field of Alzheimer’s research feel that they are on the threshold of developing new therapies and medicines that will have a major impact on Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment. If researchers and doctors continue to learn about and develop therapies for the disease at the same pace, predicting, controlling and curing Alzheimer’s is definitely a future possibility.


Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus: Management and Remedies

Diabetes mellitus is the inability or compromised ability for the body to produce or assimilate insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by beta cells in the pancreas and released into the bloodstream to help regulate serum glucose (blood sugar) levels. Insulin helps to transport glucose to cells, where it is either converted to energy for use or stored as glycogen, or fat. Inadequate assimilation of insulin prevents the body from efficiently converting glucose to energy. The inability to convert glucose to energy results in high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), which manifest with various symptoms collectively known as diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, 23.6 million people in the United States have diabetes (2007 data).

When glucose cannot be transported to the cells, excess glucose remains in the bloodstream. The body has several mechanisms to get rid of this excess. Water is excreted by the kidneys so that the glucose is diluted and eliminated through urine. Thus, people who have diabetes may experience thirst and frequent urination. Urine may also have a “sweet” smell. If glucose is not available for use as energy, the body then begins to use fat cells to produce energy, which can have serious side effects.

Types of Diabetes

Several types of diabetes have been identified, including prediabetes, type 1, type 2 and gestational.
Treating Diabetes Mellitus
Prediabetes is a condition which may lead to diabetes. People diagnosed with prediabetes can often prevent the onset of diabetes by establishing healthy eating habits and exercising. Symptoms may be subtle or non-existent. The condition is identified in consultation with the physician who will perform a series of tests and examinations. People who are overweight have a higher risk of becoming diabetic.

Type 1 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. In this type of diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas, resulting in the inability to produce insulin. Scientists do not yet know why this occurs, but it is not caused by overeating, poor diet or other controllable variables. Type 1 diabetes is relatively uncommon and often develops at an early age, or before the age of 30, although it can occur at any age.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, is the condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot effectively utilize the insulin produced. In some instances, insulin is produced but is not utilized by the cells of the body; this condition is termed “insulin resistant” or IR.

Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in certain population groups including Native Americans, Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, although it occurs in all population groups. Once considered to be a disease that manifested later in life, it is now becoming prevalent at alarming rates in younger adults and children. Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented and controlled by diet and exercise. Obese people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is the occurrence of raised blood glucose levels in the mother during pregnancy, usually after the 20th week, when the mother has not previously been diagnosed as having diabetes. After delivery, the condition often resolves by itself, but some women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Symptoms of Diabetes

The symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are similar but may vary in intensity. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes may occur quickly, whereas symptoms of type 2 diabetes may be more gradual and less intense. People with type 2 diabetes may be undiagnosed for years because the symptoms are mild or occur gradually and are not noticed.

The most common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Constant hunger

Additional symptoms may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
  • Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • Frequent infections or recurring infections that are slow to heal

The release of energy from fat cells produces ketones, which make the blood too acidic. This can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, more prevalent in untreated type 1 diabetes. Symptoms of ketoacidosis include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive thirst
  • Rapid breathing
  • Breath has “chemical” smell like nail polish


To diagnose diabetes, a fasting blood test is done, normally after eight hours or overnight without food. Fasting blood levels should fall below100 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter). Two occurrences of fasting blood sugar levels higher than 126 mg/dl indicate diabetes. Blood testing after food can also be used to determine glucose levels. Glucose levels over 200mg/dl indicate diabetes. Based on these tests, the doctor will discuss treatment options with the patient, taking into account the type of diabetes, stage of the disease, lifestyle, age and diet.

Complications and Risk Factors of Diabetes

Many serious health conditions can occur as a result of diabetes. Risk factors increase over time and are higher with poor management of the disease. High levels of glucose in the blood over time result in narrowing of blood vessels and build-up of fatty acids in large blood vessels. This, in turn, affects circulation. The most common complications include neuropathy, atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. Other complications include kidney failure, muscle deterioration, poor circulation, increased infection, resistance to healing and blindness.

Diabetic neuropathy is present in the majority of patients with diabetes. Numbness, tingling and pain in hands and feet are common; because blood flow is reduced, nerve damage results. This can affect the ability to feel injuries or for wounds to heal, resulting in chronic or recurring infections and even gangrene. In severe cases in which gangrene is present, amputations may sometimes be required.

Nerve damage can also affect the stomach and intestines, resulting in nausea, ineffective intestinal contractions or slow emptying of food from the intestines.

Diabietes and Heart Disease

More serious is the relationship between diabetes and heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among diabetics. High blood pressure, heart attack and stroke occur at higher rates among diabetics. Because of the damage to nerves and poor nerve receptivity, chest pain and other symptoms associated with a heart attack may not be felt by a diabetic patient.


Proper diet and exercise are critical elements in the control and treatment of all types of diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes, insulin must be used to regulate blood glucose levels. Insulin must be used for life. Several types of insulin are available, classified by the length of time it takes to reach the bloodstream and the amount of time it remains in the bloodstream. Selection of the type of insulin to be used is made in consultation with the doctor and dietician. Lifestyle, age, commitment to management of the disease and diet are considered in the decision about which type of insulin to use.

Careful monitoring of insulin levels is important. A drop in insulin levels can result in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Symptoms include disorientation, weakness, headache, trembling or unconsciousness. This condition requires immediate intervention by administering oral glucose such as fruit juice, sugar water, candy or honey if the person is conscious. If the person is unconscious, glucagon should be injected.

In type 2 diabetes, several options are available for patients, including medicine, diet and exercise. Diet is perhaps the most effective and the most manageable remedy in the control of type 2 diabetes. Recent research has substantiated the importance of a diet high in complex carbohydrates, high in fiber, low in fats and moderate in protein. The goal in management of diabetes with diet is to regulate the amount of insulin that enters the bloodstream. Thus, consuming small meals throughout the day, eating at regular times and carefully selecting foods can have a dramatic effect in the positive management of diabetes. Avoiding foods that cause insulin levels to rise or spike is important.

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is often used to identify foods that are high in carbohydrates, which may exacerbate surges in blood sugar levels and insulin production. The glycemic index measures how much blood sugar is raised after eating a food. Low glycemic index foods are slow to be digested and absorbed, causing a low rise in blood sugar. Although the glycemic index has application to diabetics, the amount of dietary fiber in the diet is equally important. Often foods high in fiber have a low glycemic indexl. Foods with high levels of dietary fiber cause a slow rise in blood glucose levels and help to keep insulin production stable. Examples of foods with high fiber and a low glycemic index include:

  • Whole grains
  • Oats
  • Lentils and other beans such as chick peas or black beans
  • Spaghetti
  • Some fruits such as apples, cherries and grapefruit

Exercise has been proven to ameliorate the complications and intensity of diabetes. Because the complications of diabetes affect many systems of the body, exercise is a main factor in leading a healthy, longer life as a diabetic. Exercise lowers blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease. It also lowers blood glucose levels, helps to keep the circulation system healthy and contributes to weight loss. Exercise also helps to reduce stress. It provides muscular fitness, which helps to avoid falls and provides overall strength.
Diabetes Mellitus Symptoms
Medications may be prescribed to help control type 2 diabetes. Several types of oral medications are available: those that stimulate production of insulin in the pancreas, those that lower blood sugar and those that slow digestion of starches. One of these types, or a combination, may be suggested by the attending physician. If type 2 diabetes eventually results in lack of insulin production, the patient must then also use insulin.

Alternative Treatments

Alternative treatments for diabetes have been used in other cultures around the world for centuries. Allopathic medical research is now exploring many of the medicines, herbs and treatment methods used in these other systems. Often, as new potential treatments are identified, these discoveries are lauded by the media as wonder cures. Over time, as research progresses, scientific evidence provides a more balanced view.


Ayurveda, meaning science of life, originated in India and is practiced in many countries in Asia and around the world. Ayurveda uses herbs and other natural substances to treat many health conditions including diabetes.

Ayruveda is a system of medicine with treatment given by a trained vaidyan, or Ayurvedic doctor. Medicines are carefully chosen for the specific condition to be treated. Many vaidyans prepare their own medicines, or work in treatment centers that prepare medicines. These remedies are usually in the form of tonics, oils, powders and pastes which combine specific ingredients in carefully measured amounts to produce a formulated concoction prescribed for specific symptoms.

Rather than focusing on a named disease or syndrome such as diabetes, the vaidyan takes into account the entire medical condition of the patient. Age, specific symptoms, diet, stage of the disease, body structure and lifestyle are among the factors considered. Patients may be asked to severely modify their diets, such as avoiding all fat or not eating any acidic foods, while under treatment.

Treatments Under Scrutiny

Some of the herbs used in Ayurveda are under study by Western medical practitioners and are advocated by consumers who want natural treatments. The temptation to select a “natural herb” as a treatment for diabetes should be done with caution because the herb used in isolation, or the part of the herb used, may not provide the desired results. For example, the herb Ficus racemosa is used to treat several conditions including diabetes; however, the latex sap is used for diarrhea, the leaves are used for bilious excesses and the root is used for diabetes. Combinations of different herbs also produce different results; particular combinations may promote weight loss, open blood vessels or lower cholesterol levels.

Herbal Remedies

The National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine provides discussion of specific herbal remedies for diabetes. The summaries include results of studies and clinical trials, side-effects and proven efficacies. Some herbal therapies have shown promise in lowering blood sugar levels or stimulating production of insulin in the pancreas; people on insulin using these remedies are advised to closely monitor insulin levels to avoid hypoglycemia.

Some herbal remedies that may be effective in controlling diabetes and the complications resulting from the disease are as follows.

Coccinia Indica

Coccinia indica, kovakkai, is a small cucumber-like vegetable consumed in India. Some studies show promising effects in its ability to lower blood glucose levels. A study in rats combining this vegetable with Abroma augusta suggested that the combination has a greater effect that either one by itself in lowering glucose levels.

Curcuma Longa

Curcuma longa, turmeric, is used to treat many ailments. It has known anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to improve circulation and reduce cholesterol. Turmeric is used for treatment of diabetes in India. Clinical trials in animals show promising results for glycemic control. Its other effects are of benefit to diabetics as well. .

Gymnema Sylvestre

Gymnema sylvestre, cluster fig, is a tree native to southern India. Encouraging research suggests this herb may reduce blood sugar levels. It is also suggested that it may block sugar receptors on the tongue, thereby reducing appetite and sugar cravings.

Momordica Charantia

Momordica charantia, bitter gourd, is a vegetable used in India in the treatment of diabetes. The vegetable is diced and boiled in water, which is consumed as a broth. Scientific studies evaluating its effectiveness in reducing blood sugar levels are inconclusive.

Trigonella Foenum-Graecum

Trigonella foenum-graecum, fenugreek, is traditionally used in India in the treatment of diabetes. The seeds are roasted and ground, added to water and consumed one hour before food each morning. The fiber-rich seeds slow the absorption of glucose, which aids in lowering blood glucose levels and regulating insulin production.

The use of herbs as a part of the treatment regimen for control of type 2 diabetes is promising. Western medical scientists are evaluating these potential treatments through controlled studies and clinical trials.

Costs of Diabetes Treatment

The primary costs of diabetes treatment can be relatively low if the disease is well-managed and the patient does not develop complications. Proper diet and exercise are key factors in achieving health and lessening the risks of complications. Poorly managed diabetes can lead to other serious health problems. The costs associated with the complications of diabetes can be high.

For people with type 1 diabetes, daily insulin injections are required. Regular medical check-ups are advised to ensure that other health problems do not go unchecked. The costs of insulin, needles or insulin pumps and glucose monitors and strips are basic to proper care for type 1 diabetes.

People with type 2 diabetes may have costs for oral medications, glucose monitors and strips and routine doctor’s visits. Costs for prescription medications vary; calling pharmacies to determine prices can help to keep costs down. If more than one type of oral diabetes medication is required, the combination may be available as a single pill rather than two, which can help to reduce costs.

Avoiding Treatments

Skipping doses in order to save money is not cost-effective. Unchecked high blood glucose levels will require more medication in the long run and the risk of developing other complications of diabetes increases.

Because heart disease is more prevalent in diabetics, additional medication for cardiovascular management may be required. Kidney failure is another serious complication prevalent in diabetics, often resulting in hospitalization and dialysis.

Although the costs of medications may appear to be high, not taking them, or not making regular visits to the doctor can result in serious health problems that may require hospitalization and days away from work. Actively managing diabetes by adhering to a proper diet, taking medications as directed and exercising is the best way to reduce overall costs and maintain health.


Oral Candidiasis

Overview of Oral Candidiasis

Oral candidiasis is a fungus that causes infection of the oral cavity in humans. It is a type of yeast that lives almost everywhere, including in the human body. The immune system usually keeps it under control but under certain circumstances, the fungus can grow quickly and become a health threat. Due to the pain and discomfort associated with oral candidiasis, which causes difficulty in eating, it can lead to poor nutrition and a prolonged recovery. There are many species of the Candida strain.

The most common species is Candida albicans which is generally called “thrush.” The incidence of contacting oral candidiasis depends on many factors including age, health, and other predisposing factors. There are three broad groups: Acute and chronic candidiasis and angular cheilitis. There are many risk factors associated with oral candidiasis. These factors include smoking, diabetes mellitus, wearing dentures, immunosuppressed conditions and other factors. It can become fatal if it is not treated and it spreads throughout the body. Management of thw infection includes proper diagnosis, laboratory tests, and use of antifungal drugs. In most cases, the prognosis for recovery is very good.

Defining Oral Candidiasis

Oral candidiasis is a fungus and was first isolated in the sputum of a tuberculous patient in 1844. It is the most common fungal infection of humans and is caused by the overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus in the oral cavity. The most important species of this fungus are: C albicans, the most common one, C tropicalis, C glabrata, C stellatoidea, C guillierimondii, C krusei, C parapsilosis, C lusitaniae, and C pseudotropicalis. Thrush is a common name for Candida albicans. Although it primarily occurs most often in babies, it also affects toddlers, elderly people, chronically ill people and people with weakened immune systems.
Oral Candidiasis Symptoms


Candida fungal infections arise as a result of a change in the defenses of the host or a disruption in the structure of the normal flora in the body.


There are various types of oropharyngeal candidiasis which are divided into three broad categories:

Acute Candidiasis

Pseudomembranous candidiasis, commonly called thrush, is diagnosed by raised, white patches that are present on the buccal mucosa, hard and soft palate, surface of the labial, tongue, periodontal tissues and oropharynx.

Chronic Candidiasis

Types of chronic candidiasis and their symptoms are as follows:

  • Chronic hyperplastic candidiasis is found on the buccal mucosa or the side of the tongue as white lesions.
  • Median rhomboid glossitis is found on the front of the circumvallate papilla.
  • Chronic atrophic candidiasis, commonly referred to as denture stomatitis, is found on the tissues covered by dentures and usually occur on the palate and upper jaw.

Angular Cheilitis

Angular cheilitis is usually associated with an intraoral candidal infection and causes fissuring at one or both corners of the mouth.

Alternative Names for Oral Candidiasis

Candidiasis, thrush, moniliasis, fungal infection, yeast infection


Some symptoms, not listed below, may be connected to yeast and includes a craving for sugar, alcohol, or bread, digestive problems, fatigue, depression, and muscle or joint pains. The common symptoms of oral candidiasis are:

  • Creamy raised, white lesions on the tongue, gums, sides of the cheeks and in the back of the throat.
  • Red inflamed tissue, especially on the tongue.
  • Cottage cheese-like appearing lesions.
  • Pain when attempting to eat or swallow.
  • If the lesions are scraped, slight bleeding usually occurs.
  • Cracks at one or both corners of the mouth.
  • Loss of taste.

Breastfeeding Mothers and Infant Warning Signs

A breastfeeding mother should call the pediatrician if she notices white patches in her baby’s mouth, especially if she suspects that it might be due to thrush. The infant may be overly fussy and irritable. The mother’s breast may become infected and the pain can range from mild to severe with sensitive, red and itchy nipples.

Flaky or shiny skin on the areola, unusual pain, or stabbing pain within the breast can make it difficult to breastfeed. The thrush may pass back and forth between the baby and the mother. Using good hygiene and over-the-counter anti-fungal creams should clear up the problem.

What Causes Oral Candidiasis?

Contacting oral candidiasis can be a result of the failure of a host’s defense system due to a variety of different drug therapies, systemic diseases, or other conditions. At one time, thrush was rare until the advent of broad-spectrum antibiotics, birth control pills, glucocorticosteroid preparations, and tricyclic antidepressants were developed.

Oral candidiasis may persist and can become chronic. It can spread to the esophagus and then on to other parts of the body. People with conditions that weaken the immune system are more susceptible to it spreading to the liver, lungs, and digestive tract.

Risk Factors

The fungus can flare up and rapidly grow due to the following:

  • Birth control medications, pregnancy, newborn babies, breast feeding a baby with thrush
  • Oral and inhaled steroid medications, broad spectrum antibiotics, immunosuppressive drugs, chemotherapy
  • Uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Cushing’s syndrome, leukemia, most chronic and terminal illnesses
  • Impaired salivary glands, nutritional deficiencies
  • Smokers, denture wearers, poor oral hygiene
  • The very young or the elderly

When to See a Doctor

If signs and symptoms of thrush are present, see your doctor. The cause may be due to some underlying illness. Oral candidiasis can occur when the immune system is weak or certain drugs are ingested and disrupt the balance of microorganisms in the body, which are usually kept in balance by the immune system. Sometimes the immune system fails.
Oral Candidiasis Treatments
Oral candidiasis is usually not a serious problem for healthy children and adults. If you have a serious illness such as HIV/AIDS, the problem can become serious and spread throughout the body. The most common organs affected are the lungs, liver and digestive tract.

Questions to Ask a Doctor

Be prepared and write down any symptoms that you are experiencing. Write down relevant personal information, including recent life changes or major stresses. Make a list of all your medications, including vitamins or supplements. Be sure to mention if you have been taking any antibiotics or any corticosteroid drugs. Make the most of your appointment. Do not be afraid to ask the doctor to explain something that you do not understand.

Ask questions similar to the following:

  • What causes oral candidiasis
  • Do I need to have any tests done?
  • What are the treatments for thrush?
  • What are the side effects of these treatments?
  • Do I need to follow a special diet?
  • Can I purchase these drugs in the generic form?
  • How can I keep this from happening again?

Questions You Might Be Asked

The doctor may ask you questions similar to the following:

  • When did you notice the first symptoms?
  • Have you recently taken any antibiotics for an illness?
  • Do you asthma? Have you been taking prednisone?
  • Do you have a chronic illness?
  • Have you contacted any new illness recently?

Tests and Diagnosis

By examining the mouth, a doctor or dentist can diagnose thrush by the presence of distinctive white lesions in the mouth, or cheeks, or on the tongue. A light brushing of the lesions reveals a tender, reddened area that might bleed slightly.

If a diagnosis is uncertain, tests should be done to rule out other serious lesions such as squamous cell carcinoma. Examination of the tissue under a microscope can confirm the diagnosis.

If oral candidiasis extends into your esophagus, other tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis; tests such as a throat culture, an endoscopy of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine or taking X-rays of the esophagus.

Treatment and Management

Oral candidiasis, in the early stages, can be treated by eating plain yogurt and holding it in the mouth for about a minute. It must have ‘active culture’ listed on the label. Putting it into a blender and adding fruit and honey will make it more palatable. This helps fight the fungal infection by putting good bacteria into the system so that it does not spread to other parts of the body. Aside from eating yogurt, taking over-the-counter acidophilus capsules might help.

Rinsing the mouth with a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide several times a day might help. Getting blood sugar levels under control might be all that is necessary for a diabetic to clear up the thrush infection. Patients who have HIV/AIDS or are immunocompromised due to chemotherapy may require systemic treatment with oral or intravenously administered antifungals.

If the infection has spread throughout the body, systemic antifungals such as fluconazole and Itraconazole should be given. Itraconazole is used when fluconazole is not effective because it has a wider spectrum of activity against oral candidiasis. In some circumstances, prophylaxis treatment with antifungal drugs reduces and controls the incidence of oral candidiasis.

Commonly Used Drugs


It is virtually non-toxic with few adverse reactions and is commonly used at the onset of oral candidiasis. It is prescribed in both topical and oral form. To kill oral candidiasis, this medicine must come into contact with the fungus in order to kill it. Nystatin comes in a suspension, or liquid, and in a troche. The suspension is swished around inside the oral cavity and then swallowed. The troche dissolves in the mouth. The troches and the suspension are used several times a day until the lesions are completely gone.

Amphotericin B Suspension

It is a broad spectrum drug with several side effects and exhibits signs of toxicity. Blood tests should be administered to monitor the potential for liver damage. Creams for the corners of the mouth show no signs of systemic toxicity. The suspension is swished and swallowed several times a day until the oral candidiasis is completely gone.

Clotrimazole Troche

The troche is dissolved in the mouth several times a day until the lesions are completely gone.

Fluconazole pill

This medication is swallowed by mouth once a day for 5–10 days.

Possible Complications

If you are HIV-positive or receiving chemotherapy, due to the suppression of your immune system, Candida can spread throughout your body causing infection in your esophagus, brain, heart, joints, or eyes.


Thrush is commonly seen in infants. It is not considered serious in infants and usually lasts no longer than a couple of weeks. Thrush may be painful but is rarely serious. Because of the discomfort associated with thrush, it can interfere with eating. If it does not resolve on its own within two weeks, the doctor should be called.

Thrush that occurs in the mouth of adults can usually be cured. The immune system status plays a major role in overcoming the infection of oral candidiasis. The prognosis for a complete recovery is usually very good.


The doctor may recommend taking an antifungal medication on a regular basis for frequent outbreaks of oral candidiasis or if your immune system is suppressed.

Following the suggestions below may help to reduce the risk of developing candida infections:

  • Practice good oral hygiene. Clean and change toothbrushes frequently.
  • After using a corticosteroid inhaler, brush your teeth if possible.
  • When taking antibiotics, try eating fresh culture yogurt or take acidophilus capsules.
  • During pregnancy, treat a vaginal yeast infection as soon as possible.
  • If you have wear dentures or have diabetes, visit your dentist on a regular basis. Floss and brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Clean dentures every night by soaking them in a good denture cleaner.
  • To prevent spread of HIV infection, follow safe sex practices.
  • Limit the sugar and yeast containing foods in your diet.
  • When working with blood products, universal precautions should be in place.

During treatment for oral candidiasis, a prescribed therapeutic diet is necessary to prevent a regrowth of oral candidiasis. Alcohol, white flour, sugar, processed or refined carbohydrates, fruit, milk, dried or fermented foods, or any food that contains yeast products should be avoided.


Tinea Versicolor

Tinea versicolor, known as Dermatomycosis furfuracea, Pityriasis versicolor, and Tinea flava, is a benign fungal infection that is characterized by a rash and abnormal patches of pigmentation on the on the chest, arms, legs, and back. This fungus, called malessizia furfur, is a type of yeast that naturally is found on the body.

At times, this fungus can become stimulated and reproduce rapidly, resulting in a rash or series of spots and patches on the skin. Hot and humid conditions can aggravate tinea versicolor, causing it to overproduce. The spots or patches caused by the fungus can be flakey or scaly in appearance, can either lighten or darken skin, and are typically found on the more oils parts of the skin. This chronic, long-term condition can be difficult to prevent from reoccurring in many individuals.
Tinea Versicolor Images


The cause of tinea versicolor is the yeast-like fungus malessizia furfur, and is not contagious. Typically, bathing or showering daily will prevent any fungus from developing onto the skin, but in certain conditions, washing cannot prevent the onset of tinea versicolor.

People who live in tropical areas with high humidity are more likely to contract the condition, as this type of environment allows the fungus to thrive and grow rapidly.Those with an impaired immune system are also more likely to contract the fungus because the body is weakened and cannot fight off the fungal infection.

Certain antibiotics, birth control pills, and corticosteroids may make the body more susceptible to the fungus. As you age you, your skin becomes less oily, making you less likely to suffer from the fungus In the United States, tinea versicolor is most commonly diagnosed in individuals age 15 to 24.

Who is at Risk

While tinea versicolor is most commonly diagnosed in teens and young adults, it can develop in people of all ages, of all races, and gender.

Those who are most susceptible to the fungus live in tropical areas with high humidity; however, the condition also affects individuals in more mild and moderate climates. In many tropical countries, approximately 50% of people are infected with the fungus whereas in countries such as Sweden that have colder climates, approximately 1% of the population is infected.

Children and the Elderly

Though uncommon in children and adults over the age of 65, some cases of tinea versicolor have been diagnosed.The fungus is likely to overproduce in those who are pregnant, malnourished, are prone to oily skin, who sweat excessively, who are using corticosteroids or cortisone, and those who have or are taking medication that weakens the immune system.


Those who suffer from malnutrition, due to high fat diets or starvation, are prone to tinea versicolor. Malnutrition weakens the immune system and can cause an increase in fungus. Many people who have Cushing’s disease, a hormonal disease, are more likely to develop yeast infections.


Unfortunately, some people are genetically predisposed to developing tinea versicolor. Medical studies have been conducted and found that some families suffer from the condition over several generations.


Symptoms of tinea versicolor can vary from person to person.

Typically, the fungus is distinguished by small oval or round spots that range in size from 1 to 3 centimeters. Over time, these spots can fuse together, creating large, discolored patches. The color of these spots and patches range from pale, almost white in color, to dark tan, to pink with red undertones. These spots can have a flakey or scaly appearance in certain individuals.

Some people experience itching, stinging, or a pinprick feeling, which exercise or a hot environment can aggravate. The infection only affects the top layer of the skin. During the winter months, the appearance of tinea versicolor can diminish as the skin is less oily and the environment is less humid.


A doctor will take a skin scraping to gather a sample of the fungus and examine it under a microscope to determine if it is tinea versicolor. Another way to diagnose the fungus is to use a black light. The fungus will glow yellow to yellow-green under the black light.


There are many products available to treat tinea versicolor. Some require a prescription, but many others can be purchased from pharmacies, drug stores, or supermarkets.


Antifungal creams and be purchased over the counter at a pharmacy or prescribed by a doctor. A clinical trial showed that by applying a 2% ketoconazole cream one a day for 2 to 3 weeks, 70% of the people in the study had noticeable improvement. Over the counter antifungal creams such as Lamisil also work to treat and rid the body of tinea versicolor.


Antifungal pills can be prescribed for tinea versicolor, but often have side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and can potentially harm the liver. 
Prescriptions such as Itraconazole
or Fluconazole often work faster than topical creams, but the fungus often comes back. Take antifungal pills as directed for 2 to 3 for best results.


Dandruff shampoos are often the first choice in treating tinea versicolor because they are inexpensive and easy to find. These shampoos are often less effective than creams and prescription medications and can cause skin sensitivity. Many individuals use Selsun Blue dandruff, which is sold at drug stores and many supermarkets, to treat tinea versicolor.
Symptoms of Tinea Versicolor
Selsun Blue and many other brands of dandruff shampoos contain the antifungal ingredient selenium sulfide. Coat the skin with a thin layer of dandruff shampoo once a day for 10 to 14 days. Allow to dry, then rinse off with water or simply take a shower. The dried shampoo may be difficult to remove; using a washcloth will help to remove the shampoo easily and effectively. Often there is a reoccurrence of tinea versicolor after using dandruff shampoos, so always pay attention to your body and check if any spots or patches have developed.

Other types of dandruff shampoos contain pyrithione zinc, which can also treat the effects of the fungus. Use the shampoo as a lotion, allow to dry, then rinse it off or take a shower to remove the shampoo. Mane’n’Tail and Head & Shoulders are two popular pyrithione zinc shampoos that can be found at most supermarkets and drug stores.

Home Remedies

Many of the creams, pills, and shampoos contain harmful chemicals and cause unpleasant side effects. There many home remedies that are natural and equally as effective as chemical treatments.


The fungus that causes tinea versicolor is yeast-related. Applying yogurt to the patches on the skin helps to neutralize the yeast. Unflavored, natural fresh yogurt is recommended for applying to the patches. You can also eat yogurt to help fight the yeast internally. While this treatment may take a long amount of time, it is a permanent way of treating the fungus.


Using vinegar that contains garlic and oregano is another useful treatment of the fungus. All 3 of these ingredients have powerful antifungal properties. Simply dip a cotton ball or washcloth in the vinegar and gently rub it on the affected areas of the skin. This process must be done daily and may take several months but has been shown to return the skin pigment to normal in many individuals.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil naturally dries up excess oil on the skin and has antifungal properties. Apply the tea tree oil to the spots or patches using a cotton ball or washcloth. Be sure to dap the tea tree oil around the outside of the skin surrounding the spots. Cut a piece of gauze and tape it to the spot with medical tape.

Allow the tea tree oil to soak into the skin for at least 1 hour before removing the gauze. Tea tree oil can stain clothing so be sure to remove the oil using a cotton ball dipped in alcohol or by taking a shower.

Turmeric Paste

Once of the most popular natural remedies is making a paste using turmeric powder, clarified butter, and sandalwood powder. Apply the paste to the spots for at least half an hour. Use on a daily basis until the spots no longer appear.


Showering daily and using a washcloth or sponge to exfoliate the areas will help to remove the flakey, dead cells and reduce the amount of fungus on the skin. Be sure to wash your clothes, towels, and washcloths in hot water to get rid of any fungi that have become attached to the material.


Proper nutrition can stimulate the immune system and help to rid the body of the fungus. Drinking plenty of water daily can also flush the system of toxins that can damage the immune system.

A diet high in vitamins C, E, B complex, and A help to give your immune system a healthy boost. These can be found in citrus fruits, whole wheat, and many raw fruits and vegetables. Reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet as carbohydrates can help to stimulate yeast production. Instead, try eating foods with probiotics such as yogurt, sweet potatoes, fresh garlic, coconut, and raw pumpkin seeds.

Drinking clove tea, kifer, or water mixed with a little lemon juice and apple cider vinegar all help to rid the body of excess yeast.



Acidophilus is in supplement form contains live beneficial bacteria that help maintain a natural balance of yeast within the body. Lactobacillus acidophilus, or L-acidophilus is recommended to take to stabilize yeast levels and help to reduce the presence of tinea versicolor. These supplements can be found at supermarkets, pharmacies, and drug stores.


Selenium is a trace mineral foods, water, and soil. It is a common ingredient in dandruff shampoos, which have shown to be effective in treating tinea versicolor. Taking a selenium supplement daily can help to regulate the body and fight the fungus.


Tinea versicolor that is pale in color clears more easily than other colors of the fungus. Over time, the area will be able to tan normally. There are some white markings, however, that will remain permanent. There is no scientific evidence explaining the cause of this phenomenon. Spots that are pink or brown in color are more likely to reoccur. Antifungal treatments should be repeated to decrease reoccurrence.


There are a few steps you can take to prevent reoccurrences of tinea versicolor. Keeping your body clean, oil free, and dry can reduce the ability of the fungus to multiply. Try to keep out of the heat or environments that can cause sweating. Wearing clothing that has a thin weave and keeps you cool is also a good way to reduce sweating. If you have a history of tinea versicolor, try to avoid tanning.

Tanning can make the spots more noticeable and could further exacerbate the condition. Washing with an antibacterial or antifungal soap on a regular basis can keep the yeast in balance. Avoid oily lotions or body washes as they can worsen the appearance and create an ideal environment for the fungus to grow.



What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is any kind of persistent noise that doesn’t have any external source, and seems to originate in the ear or head. Many patients perceive it as an unpleasant high pitched ringing, shrieking or whistling noise, a sound like crickets, buzzing, wooshing – like the sound of loud wind – or as a hissing sound. Others hear a percussive clicking or a sound associated with their own heartbeat, a condition called pulsatile tinnitus.

Generally, the sound is one that only the patient can hear. When tinnitus can only be heard by the patient, it is called subjective tinnitus, which is by far the most common type of tinnitus. Much rarer is objective tinnitus, or tinnitus that other people can also sometimes hear. Tinnitus isn’t a disease itself, but rather a symptom that can be caused by dozens of different diseases and conditions, both physical and mental. Most people will experience tinnitus at least once in their lives as a temporary condition that resolves on its own.

For those whose tinnitus is chronic, it can be a debilitating condition that adversely affects everyday activities like concentrating on work or falling asleep at night. Many people with tinnitus suffer from depression and anxiety caused by their condition. Abut six percent of the world population experiences or has experienced severe tinnitus, making tinnitus

What Are Some Other Names for Tinnitus?

Many people do not recognize the word “tinnitus,” but will refer to the condition as “ringing in the ears” or similar descriptions of the condition. In fact, the word tinnitus derives from the Latin “tinnire,” which means “to ring.” Tinnitus is pronounced as either ti-NIGHT-us or TIN-it-us.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be caused by problems in any part of the ear, as well as occasionally by damage to the brain. However, the most common cause of tinnitus by far is hearing loss. As people grow older, or when they do damage to their ears (often by listening to loud music or working in extremely noisy environments without ear protection) the cochlea can lose its ability to transmit sounds to the brain.
Symptoms of Tinnitus
Scientists believe that, in the absence of information coming in from the ears, the brain becomes “confused” and begins producing its own sounds to replace the sound that should be coming in from the ears. This type of subjective tinnitus is usually experienced in both ears. The people most often affected by tinnitus are older people, particularly older men, and people who have continuously been exposed to loud noises without ear protection, such as soldiers, construction workers, and people who have worked around jet engines.

Additional Types of Causes

Certain diseases that affect the inner ear, such as Menier’s syndrome, and overexposure to certain drugs and chemicals, such as Aspirin, can also lead to damage that causes tinnitus. The condition can be aggravated by anything that hinders normal hearing, such as a buildup of earwax, further exposure to loud noises etc. Subjective tinnitus can also very rarely be caused by a brain tumor, though this type of tinnitus is usually only perceived in one ear, rather than in both.

Causes of objective tinnitus are usually easier to find that causes of subjective tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus can be caused by several different conditions that affect blood pressure, including pregnancy, anemia and certain types of tumors. Clicking sounds in the ear can also be caused by a misaligned jaw joint, also known as “TMJ,” or by muscle twitches near the ear or throat.

How is Tinnitus Prevented?

The best way to reduce your chances of developing tinnitus is to avoid exposure to loud noises that can do damage to the sensitive nerves in the inner ear. Anyone who is serious about wanting to avoid inner ear damage should wear ear plugs or hearing protective devices when around loud noises, such as firearms, motorcycle engines or wood shop equipment.

How is Tinnitus Diagnosed?

As tinnitus is a symptom and not a disease itself, generally only the patient knows if he or she has tinnitus. A doctor can, however, diagnose most of the conditions that cause tinnitus, so anyone experiencing tinnitus for a prolonged period of time should see a doctor.

Anyone experiencing tinnitus in only one ear, tinnitus that begins very suddenly, or tinnitus that seems associated with the heart beat (pulsatile tinnitus) should see a doctor immediately, as these types of tinnitus can be symptoms of serious problems such as certain brain tumors.

How is Tinnitus Treated?

There is no cure for tinnitus, but there are many treatments available, and the effectiveness of each depends on both the type of tinnitus and the severity of each individual case. Because there is no cure for tinnitus, many people prefer to use natural remedies to try to relieve their symptoms.

Surgical Treatments For Tinnitus

In extremely severe cases of tinnitus, surgery is sometimes an option to try to relieve the symptoms. The most severe cases of tinnitus involve the patient hearing sounds that are so loud and unpleasant that they completely disrupt the patient’s ability to lead a normal life. Cases like this are most often found in people who have suffered serious injuries to their inner ear or who are profoundly deaf.

Surgery for tinnitus involves dividing the auditory nerve, and is beneficial in about half of all cases of severe tinnitus that it is used to treat. When it fails, it is because the tinnitus is “rerouted” to reoccur within the brain itself, so that surgery cannot be used to treat it.

Pharmaceutical Treatments for Tinnitus

Many people have found that antianxiety medications such as Xanax are extremely helpful in abating symptoms of their tinnitus. In one study, more than 75% of participants found that antianxiety medication reduced their symptoms by forty percent or more.

Other people with tinnitus may be helped by anticonvulsants, which are commonly used to treat seizure disorders, antihistamines, which most people are familiar with as allergy medicines, and certain drugs used to treat heart problems. One thing that is important to remember when it comes to treating Tinnitus with drugs is that Aspirin should never be used to alleviate headaches brought on by tinnitus, as it can often make the condition worse.

Treating Tinnitus with Sound

“Masking” is a natural, safe, and often free or inexpensive way of treating tinnitus that is recommended both by many doctors and by many sufferers of tinnitus. In order to determine if sound masking will be an effective way to treat a patient’s tinnitus, there is a simple, easy test that patients can perform by themselves at home. All that the patient needs to do is turn on the bathroom faucet.

If the sound of the faucet seems to lessen or eliminate the sound of the tinnitus, then masking could be a good way for the patient to deal with their tinnutus symptoms. Masking is simply using white noise — the sound of running water, radio static, or even the sound of an electric fan — to cover up the sound of the tinnitus.

While many people find the idea counterintuitive, it might seem pointless to simply replace one sound with another, the type of sound makes a big difference. Most tinnitus sounds are high pitched, grating, and otherwise distracting and difficult to ignore, whereas soothing white noise is easy to adjust to, often to the point that someone listening to white noise will cease to hear it at all.

Ways to Mask Tinnitus

There are many different options available for people who want to mask their tinnitus. Wearable maskers are available from audiologists, who will first administer tests to determine what kind of masker is best suited for each individual. For some people with hearing loss, simply wearing a hearing aid to amplify ambient sounds is enough to improve symptoms of tinnitus. For others white noise is more effective, while for others a combination of both is necessary to mask their tinnitus.

For those who do not wish or cannot afford to see an audiologists, there are many easy do-it-yourself methods to mask tinnitus. White noise machines or nature sounds CDs, water sounds, which contain all frequencies, are excellent for masking tinnitus. The popularity of MP3 players now means that most people can bring white sounds around with them wherever they go. Simply turning on household appliances like fans, dishwashers, and radios tuned to pick up static are also excellent ways to mask tinnitus.

Treating Tinnitus with Therapy

Many people find that talk therapy is very helpful for treating their tinnitus. Often, tinnitus can become a terrible feedback look; tinnitus causes stress and anxiety, the stress and anxiety further aggravates the tinnitus etc. Although therapy cannot affect the symptoms of tinnitus per se, it can help patients to deal with their symptoms in a way that does not create the stress and anxiety that can make tinnitus worse.

Alternative Remedies for Tinnitus

Because there is no cure for tinnitus, most people who suffer from it will at one time or another try alternative ways to treat their symptoms, often in conjunction with medication, sound masking techniques or talk therapy. Many people with tinnitus have found that changes in their diet — especially eliminating certain substances such as alcohol and caffeine, which can have an effect on blood pressure — can help to alleviate the symptoms of their tinnitus.

Tonic water should also be avoided, as the quinine it contains has also been found to worsen tinnitus. Other people with tinnitus believe that certain dietary supplements, particularly gingkoba, B-12, magnesium and zinc, have been very helpful in alleviating their symptoms. Other people try to eliminate foods that contain salicylates, or chemicals similar to aspirin, which has been proven to aggravate tinnitus. Some foods that contain higher than usual amounts of salicylates are almonds, tomatoes, cherries, peaches, grapes, cucumbers, plums and wine.

Natural Stress Relieving Activities

Meditation, yoga, and biofeedback training are all excellent ways to reduce stress, improve circulation, and gain more control over one’s own body, all of which can significantly affect the severity of tinnitus symptoms and stress or anxiety related to those symptoms. Hypnosis and acupuncture have also been helpful to many people dealing with tinnitus, though they are most helpful when used by people who are already familiar and comfortable with these types of treatments.

As stress or unease is never helpful to someone who is suffering from tinnitus, it is very important that any course of treatment undertaken is one that the patient feels comfortable and happy participating in. Although there is no easy cure for tinnitus, every person who suffers from it should feel free to experiment with all of the many approaches to dealing with it until they discover what suits their own unique circumstances, and devise a course of treatment that reduces symptoms, alleviates stress, and allows him or her to lead a happy and healthy life.


Dry, Cracked and Chapped Lips

Dry or chapped lips are often the most prevalent during the cold winter months when the humidity levels drop and our homes become dry from the use of heat. This condition can start out as a mild annoyance and quickly become a painful situation with a risk of infection. Children and the elderly are often at a higher risk for developing chapping and cracking due to either age related changes, or in children, the inability to properly care for themselves.

As with any medical condition, elderly patients who may be suffering from dementia or another condition that limits communication may not be able to describe or indicate symptoms.
Immune System Disorder

However, there are a few things to watch out for and steps that you can take to treat and prevent dry, chapped and cracked lips.

Symptoms of Chapped and Dry Lips

  • Dryness of the lips as well as the area surrounding the mouth
  • Inflammation and redness.
  • A tingling or burning sensation.
  • Tightness, peeling and cracking when speaking or smiling.
  • Bleeding.
  • Excessive licking may lead to chapping that extends outside the lip line, creating a ring around the mouth.


There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the occurrence of dry or chapped lips, including:

  • Prolonged exposure to inclimate weather that may cause the occurrence of windburn or sunburn.
  • Medications, particularly those used to treat acne as these medications typically promote drying as a way to deal with pimples and blemishes.
  • Allergies to not only environmental factors but to skin care products and cosmetics.
  • Dehydration as a result of illness or lack of fluids.
  • Dry, cool weather paired with low humidity, or being exposed to harsh, cold wind.
  • Smoking or excessive drinking.
  • Dental disease or other dental related issues like over or under-bite.
  • Dry Mouth, which can occur through the aging process, or as a result of medications or an illness.
  • A pre-existing skin condition such as eczema.
  • Underlying health issues such as diabetes, anemia and certain vitamin and/or immune deficiencies.


If left untreated, chapped lips can grow quite severe and lead to inflammation, bleeding, scarring and even infection. Licking the lips, which is often a natural response to dryness, can lead to further chapping and is common in children and the elderly. If left untreated, the area affected can spread as far as the chin and cheeks.


If your chapped lips become inflamed and painful, or seem to occur on a regular basis or persist for more than a few days or weeks, you may need to schedule a visit with your doctor to not only prevent further chapping, but to avoid putting yourself at risk for developing an infection. Your doctor will do a visual and physical exam of the affected area to check for causes and potential problems, and may request your medical history to rule out any underlying health issues. Your doctor will also look for sores that may occur as a result of severely chapped lips, or to rule out a virus known as cold sores as a potential cause.

Because certain issues related to a dry mouth and chapped or cracked lips can be indicative of a dental problem, you may need to schedule an appointment with your dentist to rule out disease or alignment issues that may be contributing to your condition. Your dentist will perform a general examination to check not only your overall dental health, but to look for any possible causes that may be contributing to chapped lips. People with braces often experience irritation around the mouth and lips that can lead to chapping. Your dentist may provide wax that should be applied to any edges on the braces that are causing pain and leading to excessing licking.

Clinical Treatment

Your doctor may prescribe a medicated balm or salve to not only help heal your dry lips, but to also shield them from environmental contaminates that may lead to infection. If an infection is present, he may also prescribe an antibiotic.

Home Treatment

Some natural remedies you can try to help alleviate chapped lips include:

  • Regular exfoliation to remove dead and flaking skin cells. A mixture of honey and sugar, or olive oil and sugar provide natural moisture and exfoliation. Regular exfoliation also promotes healing. Many lip balms include honey as one of the main ingredients due to its anti-fungal and healing properties.
  • Aloe Vera is a plant that contains vitamins, amino acids and can not only be used to treat chapped lips, but burns and rashes as well. It also provides a decent level of moisturization.
  • Zinc Oxide, which is often used on the nose as an extra measure to protect against sunburn, can also provide protection for chapped lips.

Be sure to read the labels on any products you apply to your lips to avoid ingesting any potentially toxic substances.

Side effects

Side effects for antibiotics can include allergic reactions, diarrhea, headache and in women, yeast infection. If you experience any adverse side effects, contact your doctor to talk about trying a different antibiotic. Women who experience yeast infections may request an additional medication to take care of the problem, or may ask their doctor for a new prescription that shows a low risk for yeast infections.
Immune System Disorder
If the affected area has become inflamed and painful, application of any topical treatment may result in an initial burning sensation, but should subside once healing begins.

Effectiveness and Cost

Balms or salves are generally effective and low cost and are most likely covered by insurance. Antibiotics, which are very effective in treating infections, can be a little more expensive, but should also be covered under most insurance plans. Contact your insurance provider to establish what treatments are covered.

Home remedies are surprisingly effective and can cost as little as a few dollars.


Prevention is really the key when it comes to combating dry, chapped lips. There are a few steps that you can take to reduce your risk of developing this often painful condition.

During the cold winter months, use a humidifier to keep the air in your home moist. This can not only prevent chapped lips but can even improve the overall health of your skin. Smoking, which can cause the evaporation of the natural oils in your lips, is a common contributor to chapped lips. Quit smoking to not only keep your lips soft and moist, but to improve your general health as well.

Use sunscreen regularly, even during the winter to avoid sunburn. Use a beeswax based lip balm, or petroleum jelly to shield the lips from both windburn and sunburn, as well as to lock moisture in. Avoid using products that may irritate your skin such as harsh cleansers or skin care products that you may cause an allergic reaction. Choose hypo-allergenic products instead.

Stay hydrated. Drink at least six to eight glasses of water each day. If you plan on being outside a lot during the warm summer months, be sure to drink enough water to avoid not only dehydration, but heat stroke as well.

Cracked Lips Overview

Cracked lips are often a separate issue from chapped lips and have different causes and treatment options.

Alternative names include perleche, angular stomatitis, angular cheilitis.


  • Cracking that typically occurs at the corners of the mouth.
  • Can become painful when opening the mouth.
  • The corners of the mouth may become inflamed.


  • Excess moisture at the corners of the mouth.
  • Frequent licking of the lips.
  • Dentures that do not fit properly.
  • Dental issues such as alignment problems, dry mouth or dental disease.
  • Cracking at the corners of the mouth may also be in indicator of an underlying health issue like diabetes, anemia and immune or vitamin deficiencies.


People with cracked lips often lick the affected area to temporary provide moisture and alleviate pain. However, licking leads to further cracking and will aggravate the problem.

The risk of leaving a condition like cracking untreated are the growth of bacteria and fungus that can result in infection. Severe cracks can also lead to scarring.


Your doctor will want to check for the presence of bacteria or fungus as well as infection. Because cracking can be indicative of an underlying health condition such as diabetes, your doctor may request a blood analysis. He will also ask questions relating to your medical history that may include dental or skin issues.

Clinical Treatment

When bacteria or fungus are present, your doctor may prescribe a topical steroid or antifungal medication, or oral medication to kill the infection.

If your condition is due to dental issues such as disease, ill fitting dentures, alignment issues or dry mouth, your dentist may take appropriate action, such as re-fitting your dentures, or she may fit you for a retainer to help with the any alignment issues.

Home Treatment

Because cracked lips are often a sign of a more serious condition or an infection, at-home treatment can only provide a level of comfort and perhaps prevention. Keeping the corners of your mouth as dry as possible to avoid the build-up of bacteria and fungus is the best way to keep infection risk low.

Side effects

Side effects for topical and oral medications can include allergic reaction, diarrhea and headache.

As with chapped lips, any topical treatments may produce a burning sensation once applied, but should improve as the medicine takes effect.


Topical steriods, antifungal medications and oral antibiotics are often very effective in treating infection. However, some bacteria and fungi can be resistant and may require a longer period of treatment until the affected area is cleared up.


Antifungal medications, steroid treatments or oral medications are often more expensive, but are also typically covered under most insurance plans. Check with you provider to determine coverage for any treatment your doctor suggests.


The best way to prevent the occurrence of cracking is to keep the corners of the mouth dry, but the lips from chapping. Applying a balm or salve can protect the corners of your mouth from bacteria and will also shield against excess moisture from your mouth that will only aggravate the condition.

Because dry air can contribute to the problem, using a humidifyer in the winter, as well as sunblock during the summer, can help prevent the dry lips that can lead to excess licking.

If you have a health concern that may lead to dry mouth, dental issues or any other condition that could potentially contribute to cracking of the lips, talk to your health care provider before the issues lead to complications. If you are currently taking a medication that is causing other side effects, be sure to mention your dry, cracked or chapped lips as this may be a side effect as well.


Low Immunity

Low immunity is when the body’s defensive system is in low working order. Called the immune system, it is made up of lymphocytes and antibodies, and works together with other parts of the body such as the spleen, thymus glands, bone marrow, and much more. It is by far the most complex and involved function in the entire human body.

Everything from a cold to the flu to cancer must first bypass the immune system before infecting the body. The immune system, once recognizing the invading bacteria or virus as a threat, works to abolish it before the damage increases. It is the body’s main defense against the bacteria and viruses that continually hammer our body. The immune system fights off these diseases, keeping us healthy and able to go about our day. When it is down, it is not as able to perform as well, increasing the risk of illness.
Immune System Disorder

Signs & Symptoms

Signs of low immunity include frequent colds, headaches, chronic infections, and sore lymph glands. Though sometimes these can be signs of more serious problems, quite often recurrent illnesses are a result of having low immunity.

When a person has low immunity, it means their immune system is not running in its full capacity, allowing dangerous substances to slip by and infect the rest of the body, causing aches, swelling, redness, congestion, and other common signs of illness. At times these can lead to more serious problems. For example, certain cancers, such as leukemia, are an infection of the immune system itself.

Contributing Factors

There are many factors which can contribute to having low immunity. Some are serious conditions, and their damage is nearly irreparable and difficult to treat. These include diseases such as AIDS, Lupus, or inflammatory bowel disease.

Many of these diseases attack the immune system, leaving the body vulnerable to secondary diseases which originally would be of little threat, but in this case would pose a dangerous menace. In some cases, the immune system itself becomes a threat. Powered by the very disease that infected it, it turns and begins to attack the human body instead.

These diseases are quite deadly, and should be treated by a doctor. The solutions listed below are merely supplementary, and do not replace actual medical treatment. However, though they are not specifically for treating these diseases, they can still be beneficial even in these cases.

In general, however, low immunity is a result of not having the proper nutrients which boost the immune system, and it is easily treatable. There are different factors which may deplete the body’s limited stores and affect the immune system. Surgery or other medical treatments open the body to a flood of bacteria which hammer the immune system, overwhelming it beyond capacity and allowing secondary infections to set in. Other things such as emotional trauma or stress put unusual pressure on the immune system, forcing it to work overtime and leading to low immunity. Diet can also become involved, as the body depends heavily on the nutrient intake supplied by food and drink.

Ways to Cure Low Immunity Issues

One of the best and easiest is to have a clean diet. A healthy diet alone can boost the immune system, preventing a wide range of illnesses. Simply adding or removing certain food substances provide the body with the proper nutrients it needs to thrive while removing those chemicals that suppress it, allowing it to perform much better.


Sugar causes the white blood cells in the immune system to run sluggishly. The sugar affects a type of cell called neutrophil, which combats the bacteria by engulfing and then destroying it. Its effectiveness is decreased by as much as %40 within two hours of eating food containing sugar. Lessening the sugar in a diet could significantly improve the efficiency of the immune system. As there are different kinds of sugar, this can be applied most specifically to artificial sweetener. Natural sugars such as those found in fruits can be quite beneficial in boosting energy and vigor, if taken in moderation.


Often recognized as a necessary part of the diet for a diabetic, protein is good for anyone else as well. Eating foods that are high in protein such as lean meats like fish and poultry boosts the immune system, reducing the risk of illness. This element is absolutely essential for the creation of white blood cells, antibodies, and other particles of the body’s immune system.


Many foods are found to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol. People who suffer frequently from colds or the flu often have a diet that is high in fat, as well as what is known as triglyceride, similar to cholesterol. High levels of these substances suppress the immune system; adjusting the diet to bring down these levels does a great deal in lessening the risk of illness.


Easily the most important and most easily attained nutrient for our bodies, it is often also the most neglected. Water is vital to the growth and sustaining of human life, but most people do not get enough of it. Pure, fresh water not only supplies good nutrients but also washes out the harmful toxins that infect the body. Drinking plenty of water- as much as 10-12 8 oz glasses a day- on its own can have a noticeable effect.
Immune System Disorder

Herbs & Natural Remedies

In addition, there are many herbs and other natural or home remedies that are both safe and easy to use. Most of these can be easily attained at a local drug or grocery store, or, depending on the product, sometimes it may be found only in such places as a Chinese market.

Some are more common and well-known than others, but all have a positive effect on the entire body, supplying it with a healthy dose of what it needs to stay healthy. Since these are natural products and therefore do not contain the toxins and chemicals that are found in most medications, it is difficult to overdose.

However, as with any product, it is important to take it in moderation, as too much of anything can have an adverse effect on the body.


Chinese culture is often well recognized for its wide knowledge of herbs and medicine. Officially listed amongst the fundamental herbs that are used in traditional Chinese medicine, the Astralagus plant has many uses, such as aiding in the healing of injuries.

The root is dried and then used to make an herbal tea or soup, often in conjunction with other herbal remedies. Besides stimulating white blood cells, the plant also helps in the production of a particular compound, called interferon, which is produced to fight off viruses.

Green Tea

Green tea is well-known for its health benefits to the human body. Originating in China, it has been commonly associated with many Asian cultures and in recent years has become popularly accepted in the Western world. Green tea is made with the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, and contains a chemical substance called polyphenol. Polyphenol checks for the radicals that have a harmful effect on the immune system.


This small shrub is grown in the area in and around India. The plant contains a substance which works as an adaptogen, which helps the body’s resistance to emotional trauma, stress, tiredness, and other such symptoms. Excessive levels of anxiety and tension overwork the immune system, making it more vulnerable to diseases. The calming effects of Ashwaghanda help counter the stress, relieving the body of added pressure and helping it to resist illness.


Echinacea is native to various parts of North America, most specifically eastern and central, where the land is open with a fair balance between moist and dry. It is commonly characterized by the bright, bold, flowers that bloom in the summer. This plant boosts lymphatic function as well as stimulates white blood cells, both of which are vital to the functionality of the immune system. It can be easily obtained either in its original form or taken as an extract in a capsule.


Mumio is a natural substance found in the high mountains of Russia and surrounding areas. It seeps from rock crevices and is formed from a combination of bees’ productions such as fossilized honey, beeswax, and bees’ nests. It is resinous in texture and appearance, and can be taken in capsule form. This substance has a very wide range of capabilities that have a positive effect on the body. It has a high content of antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and immuno-modulating properties, which strengthens the immune system.

Traditional Medicines

Aside from herbal and natural remedies, there are also solutions found in the pharmaceutical department. Certain drugs can be taken to assist the immune system, but generally it is not recommended to take them regularly, since bacteria and viruses tend to develop their own immunity to these drugs, and can even use them to have the opposite effect on the body. These render the drugs entirely useless and in some cases even harmful. Depending on the drug and also the intended result, the amount and length of time for a specific dosage may vary, and it is important to follow the recommended dosage as prescribed by a physician or pharmacologist. Too much dosage or taking these medicines for long periods of time not only lessens their effectiveness but also increases risk for drug-related problems, such as overdose or addiction.

However, despite these and other risks associated with pharmacy drugs, properly attributed they can provide their own range of benefits. Though many can be obtained either by special order or at a local drugstore, it is important that one should consult a doctor before taking any drug. Some of these medicines do not specifically boost the immune system, but most of them do aid it in fighting infection.


This drug is often used on cancer patients and those afflicted with HIV or other autoimmune diseases. During illness, it reduces the severity of symptoms as well as reducing the duration of the sickness. It enhances the immune system so that it is stronger and better able to fight off disease, thereby reducing not only the severity and duration of the illness, but lessening the frequency of occurrence as well.

As with most pharmaceutical drugs, Isoprinosine may cause side effects in a patient, including such symptoms as dizziness, stomach pains, or irritated skin. These should not be viewed with alarm, though if the problem worsens a doctor should be consulted and the dosage paused until further medical advice is given, particularly in the possibility of an allergic reaction such as breathing troubles or chest pains.


Zithromax, also known as azithromycin, is a macrolide antibiotic that is effective against a wide range of bacteria. It works by interfering with the bacteria’s ability to produce protein. Since the bacteria is unable to produce the protein, it cannot grow, slowing or even halting the effects of the disease. Zithromax is used in the treatment of such diseases as bronchitis, tonsillitis, pneumonia, and many others.

Zithromax should only be taken on an empty stomach; at least two hours after a meal, or an hour beforehand. It should not be taken with antacids such as Pepcid Complete or Rolaids. Side effects of this drug include stomach problems such as abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea; however, in general these effects are only very mild or in some cases moderate.


This antiviral drug is very effective against the flu virus, by disallowing the production of the virus as it spreads from cell to cell. In this way it aids the immune system in fighting off diseases which can be deadly, especially in the elderly or those who already suffer from a weak immune system and are therefore more vulnerable to viral attacks. If administered soon enough after being exposed to the flu, Tamiflu can be used to prevent the onset of illness, but even after a person has already contracted the disease it still aids in lessening both of the symptoms and the duration. It can be administered either as syrup or as a capsule.

There are very few, if any, medical drugs which can be taken without due caution. Tamiflu is no exception. Patients who are administered with the drug should be warned that certain side effects, though as yet unproven to be directly related to the drug, may occur. These include potentially deadly allergic reactions in the form of a skin condition called Steven-Johnson syndrome, as well as some neurophychiatric events, and in a very few cases, death.


Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic drug, used to fight bacteria in the body. It aids the immune system to fight against the harmful diseases which inflict the body, relieving some of the stress off of the immune system. The drug interferes with the infected cell’s DNA, preventing it from copying itself and spreading the disease.
Though not true in all cases, Ciprofloxacin is known to be associated with a higher risk of Tendinitis, which is an inflammation of the tendons. This weakens the muscle tendons, sometimes leading to a very painful tendon rupture. This is especially true for those elderly in age, or those patients who have before received organ transplants of the lung, kidney, or heart.

With the immune system being the main fortification standing between the human body and the swarm of germs that inhabit every environment, low immunity can be a serious risk factor. However, with a few simple measures- most of which can easily be taken care of with a trip to the local grocery market- this risk can be drastically reduced. The immune system is the first line of defense against infection and disease; as such, it is vital to keep it in good working order. A proper diet and herbal supplements, and in some cases pharmaceutical treatment, can help boost the immune system to ensure that it is in good working order. When this happens, the rest of the body will generally follow, no longer being hammered with all sorts of diseases.