Monday, July 18, 2016

9 Common Symptoms of Liver Disease

I abused Motrin and other prescriptions drugs for years. Wasn't ever worried then about my liver but that changed 10 years ago when I approached my late 40's. And having several friends die of liver cancer,....well today, I am just careful as I can be. I take aspirin sometimes, but never other prescription drugs - how can you when you hear of all the potential deadly and dreadful side effects? I prefer to build my health by living a healthy lifestyle. Avoid toxins, eating as healthy as I can, living a physical life and taking quality supplements. Among the supplements I take is a pharmaceutical grade liver cleansing product. You simply can't live without your liver.

Liver disease most often occurs due to an inherited predisposition. Other times, liver damage resulting from alcohol abuse, obesity, and viral infections is the cause. Chronic liver problems can result in cirrhosis, a serious condition that often leads to liver failure and death. Therefore, recognizing the symptoms is critical.

Here are some of the classic signs of liver disease…

Discolored Bowels (they mean stools).  Healthy stools range in hues of brown. Light-colored or pale stools can be due to blocked bile ducts or liver disease. If your bowels are clay-colored, you may have issues with drainage of your biliary system, which includes the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

MyAchingKnees comment: Nobody likes to talk abut poop, but the color and whether it floats or not, is another tool that the individual can use to assess if issues are likely.

Coated Tongue.  A coated tongue is a sign that your body isn’t digesting food properly, allowing bowel bacteria and yeast to overgrow. The liver helps us digest fat by making bile. When there are problems, we aren’t able to produce enough bile for proper digestion.

Body Odor. Bad body odor can be caused by liver problems. Liver disease can change the consistency of sweat, resulting in a foul smell. See your doctor if you begin to sweat at night, sweat more than you usually do, get cold sweats, or smell different (fruity).

Dark Circles Under the Eyes.  Dark circles under the eyes are an external manifestation of chronic liver disease. In a significant amount of people with liver problems, dark circles in the facial area are visible. Individuals with liver inflammation have especially dark under eye circles.

Bad Breath.  People with liver disease tend to have bad breath, known in medical circles as fetor hepaticus. It is characterized by a musty, foul-smelling odor coming from the mouth and usually manifests prior to more obvious symptoms of the condition.

MyAchingKnees comment:  Bad breath is also linked to fluoride tooth pastes.  Try a natural tooth paste,.....I do...... and my mouth has never ben healthier.

Itchy/Swollen Palms and Soles.  Stubborn itchiness in the hands and feet can be a symptom of liver failure. Inflammation and liver scarring are linked to fatty liver disease and can cause the body to itch. It typically starts at the soles and palms, which can also become swollen.

Jaundice.  Jaundice refers to when the skin becomes yellow, along with the nails and the whites of the eyes. This occurs when the liver isn’t breaking down bilirubin as it should. Those suffering from jaundice may also have dark urine and light-colored stool.

MyAchingKnees comment: For some people during the first 2-5 days following the starting on quality supplements, they will feel a little down and may have jaundice but this is temporary and is likely due to toxins leaving the body. ....refer to the color of poop above.    

Nausea.  The initial symptoms of liver failure are usually nausea, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and exhaustion. But these can be caused by a variety of things. Be sure to have liver disease ruled out if recurring nausea occurs, especially if there are other symptoms.

Hormonal Imbalance. Liver disease can lead to the body’s failure to manage the production and processing of hormones. In men, this can result in enlarged breasts (gynecomastia), as well as withered testicles. Females may have their menstrual cycles disrupted.

Article from Reinventing Aging.org



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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Predictors of Alzheimers

From an article on msn.com lifestyle titled "10 surprising Alzheimer’s predictors"

About 5.2 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and the aging population will drive that number to an estimated 7.1 million by 2025, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Researchers have identified several types of brain abnormalities in people with the disease, notably plaques made of clumps of beta-amyloid protein and tangles of a protein called tau. Both correlate with the death of brain cells, leading to progressive memory loss, dwindling social skills and, eventually, death. As Dr. Marwan Sabbagh, director of the Banner Sun Health Research Institute and co-author of "The Alzheimer’s Prevention Cookbook," puts it, Alzheimer’s memory loss goes beyond the usual “I forgot where I put my keys” to “I forgot what my keys are for.” Age, family history, having the Apolipoprotein E genotype and being female are the leading predictors of the disease. But researchers are finding other predictive correlations, especially in lifestyle.

Several biomarkers seem to correlate with Alzheimer’s, including certain proteins in spinal fluid or blood and mutations detectable by brain imaging. Michael Weiner, principal investigator for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and director of San Francisco’s Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disease, works with PET scans of study participants’ brains. While definitive Alzheimer’s diagnoses have formerly been made postmortem, Weiner said he was surprised to discover he could detect the Alzheimer’s-correlated amyloid protein in living people. Brain changes can begin 25 years before the onset of the disease. A 2012 study led by Dr. Michelle Mielke of the Mayo Clinic found that women with the highest level of a fatty compound called serum ceramide in their blood were 10 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than women with lower levels of the compound. However, patients often avoid these types of tests for fear of losing medical insurance.

Heart history. Trouble with the vascular system is linked to Alzheimer’s. High blood pressure, especially in midlife, increases your risk. So can your heart history. People who have previously had a heart attack are more than twice as likely to develop dementia, whether it's Alzheimer’s or another type. Weiner emphasizes the importance of controlling your blood pressure. Decreasing stress also helps lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Diabetes and obesity. Insulin-resistant diabetes could double or even quadruple your chances of getting Alzheimer’s. An enzyme in your brain is responsible for decreasing both insulin and amyloid, so too much insulin may interfere with the enzyme’s ability to remove the amyloid. Obesity also increases your odds, especially for women, who may be three times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as their thinner peers, according to the Fortanasce-Barton Neurology Center. Obese men increase their risk by about 30 percent. Exercise benefits both the obese and the diabetic. Dr. Joe Verghese, director of the Resnick Gerontology Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, prescribes physical activity and clean living. He admits that both he and his patients might rather take a pill than exercise and eat right. “I hate exercise,” he says. “But I do it because it’s good for me. A lot of this is common sense.”

Low education. Lower levels of formal education and a general lack of mental stimulation correlate with increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Verghese led a study that identified dancing as the most helpful physical activity for avoiding Alzheimer’s, partly due to the social aspect. “You don’t usually dance alone,” he says. “Social interaction has been said to reduce stress levels, which are bad for the brain.” Sabbagh agrees, noting, “People who do volunteering, traveling, crossword puzzles — you name it, those people tend to be better off intellectually.” But the science is fuzzy, he says, because socially engaged people tend to take better care of themselves in general. He’s also uncertain about the dose and intensity. “If I do three hours of volunteering or sudoku versus one hour, am I more protected?” he asks. And does he have to do the New York Times crossword, or is the one in his local Arizona paper sufficient?

Lack of fruits, vegetables and spices in diet. Diets low in vegetables may speed cognitive decline. One reason for this involves homocysteine, an amino acid in blood plasma. Higher levels seem to increase your risk of Alzheimer’s, among other deadly diseases. You need folate and other B vitamins to properly break down homocysteine. While all types of vegetables will help, Sabbagh recommends kale, squash, eggplant, collard greens and blueberries as cognitive superstars. Certain spices, notably cinnamon and turmeric, may also have a dramatic effect. “There’s clear evidence that people in India, at least from epidemiological data, have less Alzheimer’s,” says Sabbagh. “One of the environmental things people attribute it to is the presence of turmeric.” He also recommends following the Mediterranean diet.

Head traumas. Boxers’ cerebral spinal fluid contains elevated markers for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2006 study led by Henrik Zetterberg of the Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University in Sweden as well as a larger 2012 study led by Sanna Neselius at the same institution. In Alzheimer’s earliest stages, the disease can change levels of beta-amyloid and tau — proteins associated with clumps and tangles — in spinal fluid. Boxers who have the Apolipoprotein E genotype are at even greater risk. Alzheimer’s patients who suffered significant head injuries before age 65 showed symptoms at an earlier age than those who hadn’t had head injuries. Sabbagh recommends avoiding contact sports involving your head and using protective headgear.

Gait changes. A deteriorating gait and the inability to simultaneously walk and talk may indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s. “Walking while talking is a divided attention task,” says Verghese, who has long studied gait changes in patients with non-Alzheimer’s dementia. “Now, if you are in the early stages of dementia or actually have dementia, then this becomes more challenging because you have limited attention resources.” Five different studies presented at the 2012 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference tied gait change to the disease. Alzheimer’s correlated with slower and/or erratic walking and difficulty in performing such tasks as walking while counting backward.

Poor navigation. Since Alzheimer’s starts in the hippocampus, often called the brain’s seat of memory, disorientation is a hallmark of the disease. This accounts for why people with Alzheimer’s are notorious for wandering off and getting lost. “Navigational problems might arise very early in the course of cognitive decline,” says Verghese. He’s now working on a National Institutes of Health-funded study that looks at people’s ability to navigate and whether those who are navigationally challenged will face faster cognitive decline.

Depression and social withdrawal. People who suffer from depression earlier in life are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s as they age. A study by the Multi-Institutional Research in Alzheimer’s Genetic Epidemiology group, led by Robert Green of Harvard Medical School and published in Archives of Neurology in 2003, found a significant link between Alzheimer’s diagnoses and people who had shown symptoms of depression within the past year. So while doctors have long noted that people with Alzheimer’s tend to become depressed and withdraw socially, recent studies show that the depression predates dementia.

Sleep problems. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea have been linked to cognitive deficits. Previous studies found Alzheimer’s plaque developing in mice’s brains when their sleeping schedules were significantly disrupted. A study released in 2012 correlated sleep disruption and Alzheimer’s in humans. The Washington University study, led by David Holtzman of the college's Department of Neurology, studied 145 cognitively normal people. Those with biomarkers for Alzheimer’s, as measured in their spinal fluid, were the worst sleepers. They spent more of their time in bed awake and napped more frequently during the day than those without the Alzheimer’s biomarkers. Sleep apnea is also linked to nighttime cardiac events and high blood pressure, both of which also correlate with Alzheimer’s.

A few lifestyle tips to end on hopeful note. Despite what he describes as nihilism about the disease within much of the medical community, Sabbagh emphasizes that there’s hope. Medications to treat the disease have improved in the past 16 years, he says. “The field itself is moving forward very rapidly. Granted, there are lots of frustrations and failures, but that doesn’t mean the science has stood still.” Sabbagh recommends making lifestyle changes as a preventative strategy right away. Eat your greens. Exercise. Value your social connections, and use your brain power. “You should not wait,” Sabbagh says, “because by the time you become symptomatic, the pathology in your brain is significant.”



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Monday, June 20, 2016

Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

"French children don't need medications to control their behavior", by Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., posted on Psychology Today. Dr. Wedge makes a good point with France's broader look at ADHD including social influences. I tend to think most ADHD children as being helped some or very much by the nutritional approach - limiting high glycemic foods and ensuring the child get's proper nutrients in the right amounts through supplementation included optimizers such as Omega 3 essential fatty acids, but certainly a total approach is usually the best to include a stabilized social order.

In the United States, at least 9 percent of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5 percent. How has the epidemic of ADHD—firmly established in the U.S.—almost completely passed over children in France?

Is ADHD a biological-neurological disorder? Surprisingly, the answer to this question depends on whether you live in France or in the U.S. In the United States, child psychiatrists consider ADHD to be a biological disorder with biological causes. The preferred treatment is also biological—psycho stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.

French child psychiatrists, on the other hand, view ADHD as a medical condition that has psycho-social and situational causes. Instead of treating children's focusing and behavioral problems with drugs, French doctors prefer to look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress—not in the child's brain but in the child's social context. They then choose to treat the underlying social context problem with psychotherapy or family counseling. This is a very different way of seeing things from the American tendency to attribute all symptoms to a biological dysfunction such as a chemical imbalance in the child's brain.

French child psychiatrists don't use the same system of classification of childhood emotional problems as American psychiatrists. They do not use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. According to Sociologist Manuel Vallee, the French Federation of Psychiatry developed an alternative classification system as a resistance to the influence of the DSM-3. This alternative was the CFTMEA (Classification Française des Troubles Mentaux de L'Enfant et de L'Adolescent), first released in 1983, and updated in 1988 and 2000. The focus of CFTMEA is on identifying and addressing the underlying psychosocial causes of children's symptoms, not on finding the best pharmacological bandaids with which to mask symptoms.

To the extent that French clinicians are successful at finding and repairing what has gone awry in the child's social context, fewer children qualify for the ADHD diagnosis. Moreover, the definition of ADHD is not as broad as in the American system, which, in my view, tends to "pathologize" much of what is normal childhood behavior. The DSM specifically does not consider underlying causes. It thus leads clinicians to give the ADHD diagnosis to a much larger number of symptomatic children, while also encouraging them to treat those children with pharmaceuticals.

The French holistic, psychosocial approach also allows for considering nutritional causes for ADHD-type symptoms—specifically the fact that the behavior of some children is worsened after eating foods with artificial colors, certain preservatives, and/or allergens. Clinicians who work with troubled children in this country—not to mention parents of many ADHD kids—are well aware that dietary interventions can sometimes help a child's problem. In the U.S., the strict focus on pharmaceutical treatment of ADHD, however, encourages clinicians to ignore the influence of dietary factors on children's behavior.

And then, of course, there are the vastly different philosophies of child-rearing in the U.S. and France. These divergent philosophies could account for why French children are generally better-behaved than their American counterparts. Pamela Druckerman highlights the divergent parenting styles in her recent book, Bringing up Bébé. I believe her insights are relevant to a discussion of why French children are not diagnosed with ADHD in anything like the numbers we are seeing in the U.S.

From the time their children are born, French parents provide them with a firm cadre—the word means "frame" or "structure." Children are not allowed, for example, to snack whenever they want. Mealtimes are at four specific times of the day. French children learn to wait patiently for meals, rather than eating snack foods whenever they feel like it. French babies, too, are expected to conform to limits set by parents and not by their crying selves. French parents let their babies "cry it out" (for no more than a few minutes of course) if they are not sleeping through the night at the age of four months.

French parents, Druckerman observes, love their children just as much as American parents. They give them piano lessons, take them to sports practice, and encourage them to make the most of their talents. But French parents have a different philosophy of discipline. Consistently enforced limits, in the French view, make children feel safe and secure. Clear limits, they believe, actually make a child feel happier and safer—something that is congruent with my own experience as both a therapist and a parent. Finally, French parents believe that hearing the word "no" rescues children from the "tyranny of their own desires." And spanking, when used judiciously, is not considered child abuse in France. (Dr Wedge's note: I am not personally in favor of spanking children).

As a therapist who works with children, it makes perfect sense to me that French children don't need medications to control their behavior because they learn self-control early in their lives. The children grow up in families in which the rules are well-understood, and a clear family hierarchy is firmly in place. In French families, as Druckerman describes them, parents are firmly in charge of their kids—instead of the American family style, in which the situation is all too often vice versa.

Read more about why French kids don't have ADHD and American kids do in Marilyn Wedge's new book based on this article: A Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemic.



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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Vitamins and Minerals From A to Z

This is an article from Web MD which is a good source of information but with all information you read has to be viewed through a critical eye. The problem I have with this particular Web MD article is that it list 12 Vitamins and Minerals as if this is a total list. Where are the essential Vitamins B1, B2, Niacin and B6? Biotin? Pantothenic Acid? No where to be found on this list. Iodine, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, ...and the list goes on of missing key nutrients. 

 I also think articles like this enable people to pick and choose what they take as opposed to taking a complete list of nutrients in advanced doses to work synergistically with your immune system to provide optimum health. But hey, that's just me. If what you are doing seems to work, then like my friend say's "drive on with your bad self." And I mean that with all the love in the world.

Vitamin A

There are two main types of it. One comes from animal sources of food. You need it to help you see at night, make red blood cells, and fight off infections. The other is in plant foods and can help prevent an eye problem called age-related macular degeneration and to cells all over your body. Eat orange veggies and fruits (like sweet potato and cantaloupe), spinach and other greens, dairy products, and seafood such as shrimp and salmon. Too much vitamin A can hurt your liver, though.

Vitamin B12

Rev up before hitting the gym with a snack like a hard-boiled egg or cereal with vitamins added. B12 helps your body break down food for energy. Some athletes and trainers take supplements before workouts, but these don’t really boost your success if you're getting enough in your meals.

Vitamin C

Despite claims made by some over-the-counter remedies, it doesn’t prevent colds. But once you have symptoms, drink orange or grapefruit juice to help yourself stay hydrated and feel better sooner. Your body must have vitamin C to help your bones, skin, and muscles grow. You'll get enough from bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, cantaloupe, leafy greens, and other fruits and veggies.

Calcium

This mineral, when mixed with sand, helps harden concrete harden. Its strength makes it the building block for your bones and teeth. It's also key to make muscles, including your heart, move. Get calcium from milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy foods, and from green vegetables like kale and broccoli. How much you need depends on your age and sex. Check with your doctor about whether you should take a supplement.

Vitamin D

Like calcium, it keeps your bones strong and helps your nerves carry messages. It also plays a role in fighting germs. Careful time in the sun -- 10 to 15 minutes on a clear day, without sunscreen -- is the best source. Or you could eat fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. There's a little in egg yolks, too. You can also get milk and sometimes orange juice with added vitamin D.

Vitamin E

It's also called an antioxidant. They protect your cells from damage caused by cigarette smoke, pollution, sunlight, and more. Vitamin E also helps your cells talk to each other and keeps blood moving. Sunflower seeds and nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts are good sources. If you're allergic to those, vegetable oils (like safflower and sunflower), spinach, and broccoli have vitamin E, too.

Folic Acid

For moms-to-be, it's a must. It helps make DNA and prevent spina bifida and other brain birth defects. Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, dark leafy greens, oranges and orange juice, and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) are rich in folic acid. Your doctor may want you to take a supplement, too.

Vitamin K

You need it for blood clotting and healthy bones. People who take warfarin, a blood-thinner, have to be careful about what they eat, because vitamin K reacts badly with the drug. A serving of leafy greens -- like spinach, kale, or broccoli -- will give you more than enough K for the day. A Japanese dish called natto, made from fermented soybeans, has even more.

Iron

When your levels are low, your body doesn’t make enough healthy red blood cells. And without them, you can’t get oxygen to your tissues. Women who are pregnant or have heavy menstrual cycles are most likely to have anemia, the medical name for when you don’t have enough iron in your blood. Keep up your levels with beans and lentils, liver, oysters, and spinach. Many breakfast cereals have a day’s worth added in. Even dark chocolate with at least 45% cacao has some!

Magnesium

This mineral plays a role in making your muscles squeeze and keeping your heart beating. It helps control blood sugar and blood pressure, make proteins and DNA, and turn food into energy. You'll get magnesium from almonds, cashews, spinach, soybeans, avocado, and whole grains.

Potassium

You may think of bananas, but green leafy veggies are a better source of this mineral. It helps keep your blood pressure in a normal range, and it helps your kidneys work. Levels that are too low or too high could make your heart and nervous system shut down. You should also watch your salt, because your body needs the right balance of sodium and potassium. Snack on raw cantaloupe, carrots, and tomatoes, too.

Zinc

Without it, you couldn't taste and smell. Your immune system needs it, and it helps cuts, scrapes, and sores heal. It may help you keep your sight as you get older. While you can get zinc from plant sources like sesame and pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils, and cashews, it's easier for your body to absorb it from animal foods, such as oysters, beef, crab, lobster, and pork.



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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

14 Warning Signs You Might Have Liver Damage

I have had two close friends pass away, in their early 50's, from liver cancer, so anything dealing with liver and pancreatic health always spark my interest.

This article is from Life'd.com The liver is one of the largest and hardest working organs in the body. It converts the nutrients in the food we eat into substances the body can use and stores them, and releases them when the cells require. It also detoxifies the blood, and plays a role in producing proteins even enabling blood to clot after an injury.

The liver does a whole lot, so it’s important to keep this workhorse of an organ healthy and working properly. However, there are things we do that can damage our livers. Read these 14 early warning signs of liver damage. If caught early enough, a plan of action can be implemented to prevent further damage.

1. Jaundice.  A failing liver cannot process enough of the pigment, bilirubin, the waste product after old red blood cells break down. The result is jaundice, the yellowing of the skin, nails and eyes. The unprocessed bilirubin, or a clogged bile duct due to liver disease, causes the bilirubin to accumulate in the bloodstream. It winds up in the skin and eyes, causing the yellow discoloration. If you see yellow, call your doctor.

MyAchingKnees comment: I would never discount concern for a jaundiced appearance however when someone detoxs from high glycemic and processed foods, often a yellow tinged skin tone will be present for a day or two.

2. Itching.  Itching could be a symptom of cirrhosis, the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the liver. Cirrhosis can develop unnoticed until there is liver failure. Or there can be symptoms. Itching, also called pruritis, is one symptom. The itch can be debilitating with the entire skin suffering intensely for no apparent reason. Scratching might just exacerbate the itch which is caused by accumulation of bile acids in the bloodstream. If you experience an itch that covers your body or a localized itch that lasts for days, call your doctor.

MyAchingKnees comment: Itching could also be a result of anxiety or even falling into a patch of poisonous ivy. .....or even going to Church for some people. 
 
3. Bruising Easily Bruising, or bleeding easily, especially nosebleeds, is another symptom of cirrhosis — a liver that has scar tissue that affects the way the liver works. What’s happening is the damaged liver cannot produce enough of the proteins needed to clot the blood after an injury. Bruising easily and bleeding come as a result.

4. Hormone Imbalance.  Men, if you start to develop breasts, this might not be a cause for embarrassment but instead a cause for alarm. A liver that is damaged might not be able to regulate the production and breakdown of hormones. For women, this may affect your menstrual cycle. For men, shrunken testicles and enlarged breasts should alert you to possible liver damage. Call your doctor.

MyAchingKnees comment: Men, if you get man boobs, then now is time to eat right and do pushups,...many, many pushups!
 
5. Spider Angiomas.  Another symptom of cirrhosis are swollen blood vessels. Called spider angiomas, these affected blood vessels get their name from their spiderweb-like appearance just below the skin. When the liver fails to adequately metabolize hormones, the level of estrogen can increase causing capillaries to take on this unsightly form in 33% of cirrhosis sufferers.

6. Encephalopathy.  The liver is constantly detoxifying the blood. But if the liver is not working properly, toxins remain in the bloodstream coursing all through the body. When these toxins reach the brain, they could cause hepatic encephalopathy—deterioration in brain function. This could result in confusion, loss of short-term memory and even loss of consciousness.

7. Portal Hypertension. When the liver is scarred, blood is prevented from flowing through the organ easily. This causes pressure to build up in the vein that supplies the liver with blood, the portal vein. Portal hypertension leads the blood to circumvent this vein like a car circumventing a blocked road by taking a smaller side street. The blood chooses fragile veins in the esophagus and stomach which can ultimately lead to their rupture. This shows up as internal bleeding, vomiting blood, or blood-soaked, black stools. Call your doctor immediately.

8. Chronic Fatigue.  Fatigue is the most prevalent symptom in patients with liver disease, probably noticeable because of its impact on quality of life. Fatigue is the product of a damaged liver that cannot keep up with its awesome workload. Tasked with detoxifying the bloodstream (among other jobs), a diseased or damaged liver will leave large amounts of toxins in the blood stream. Headaches are a symptom of this. Fatigue is another.

9. Loss Of Appetite.  Loss of appetite is most likely due to cytokines, proteins produced by cells that serve as messengers between cells. Cytokines interact with cells of the immune system to regulate and mediate normal cell processes in the body, and in the case of liver disease, they cause a lack of appetite. This is usually a symptom of advanced liver disease.

10. Swollen Legs And Ankles.  If you notice that your legs or ankles begin to swell, and you’re not overweight, and there does not seem to be another cause, it could be due to a build-up of fluid in the body. The excess fluid is pulled by gravity so it sinks to your lower hemisphere, settling in the legs or ankles. There are several causes for this, and none are particularly inspiring. Liver damage is one. If you experience this “edema,” you should speak with your doctor to determine the cause.

11. Dark Urine.  If your urine is orange, brown, cola color or amber (like the beer above) it could be a liver warning sign. There are other causes of dark urine, for instance dehydration, medication, urinary tract infections, kidney problems or eating certain vegetables that color the urine. If you can rule these out, a problem with your liver or bile ducts could be the culprit, and you should speak with your doctor.

12. Nausea.  There are many causes of nausea, ranging from the obvious like overeating or drinking too much alcohol to the not-so-obvious including organ trouble, fear or early stages of pregnancy. Nausea, itself, is not cause for alarm unless it persists or is coupled with other symptoms. If you experience nausea with other symptoms, you should consult with your doctor.

MyAchingKnees comment: Another cause of nausea is eating my Aunt Gilda's Chicken Casserole.   
 
13. Stool Problems.  Another sign of liver damage is the color of what you left behind in the toilet bowl. Although poop can change colors with a varied diet, normally it should be a shade of brown. If successive bowel movements are not in this hue, it’s a signal that something could be wrong. Black, tarry stools are the result of internal bleeding which can be a symptom of liver disease or some other serious problem. Call your doctor.

14. Pain In The Right Upper Abdomen.  Pain in the upper abdomen could be the result of inflammation of the liver. In the early stages of the disease, the liver may swell and become tender. The inflammation could be the result of an accumulation of fat, or from your body fighting an infection. If the inflammation is left untreated, your liver can suffer permanent damage. If you feel pain in the right upper abdomen, call your doctor. Catch and treat the disease early enough and the inflammation may subside.



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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ten Common Items in Your Pantry That Are Toxic

This article is from Country Living and supplements my healthy living concept of eliminating high glycemic and bad foods - maximizing low glycemic foods; living a physically active life; taking quality nutritional supplements; and, avoiding toxins. Riding your pantry of these bad foods is a simple process. Just a little bit of care, here and there, can help make a difference. Stop giving your hard earned cash to companies who make foods that are not only NOT good for us, they are BAD for us.

Rice

Organic rice baby cereal, other rice-based breakfast cereals, brown rice, and white rice have all been found to contain arsenic, a "potent human carcinogen [that] also can set up children for other health problems in later life, " says Consumer Reports. The problem occurs because rice is grown in flooded paddies and takes up the arsenic that occurs naturally in water and soil. Repeated flushing with fresh hot water can reduce some of the arsenic.

Food Coloring and Dyes

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) calls them a "Rainbow of Risks." A CSPI report finds that many of the food dyes approved for use raise serious health concerns. For example, Red Dye #3 was recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals and is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs. Red 40 (also seen on labels as Red Dye #40), the most-widely used dye, may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice. The dye causes hypersensitivity in a small number of consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children, says CSPI. Yellow 5 may also cause hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. The European Union requires a warning notice on most dye-containing foods, but here in the U.S., manufacturers need only say that the dye is in the product.

Grain and Corn Products That Contain GMOs

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, have been incorporated into the seed used to grow a variety of grains. The original idea was to produce crops that would be more resistant to diseases and pests. But ironically, GMOs seem to have spawned an increase in pesticide use, while some animal studies show a link to potentially pre-cancerous cells, smaller brains, livers, and testicles, false pregnancies, and higher death rates. Products that contain grains or corn products are those most likely to contain GMOs, which means cereal, flour, pancake mix, cake mixes, corn meal, anything sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and even beer. Though many European countries have banned GMO food products, that's not the case in the U. S., though some states have started to require companies to label GMO-tainted food ingredients.

Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is the most common source of mercury in our diet, with white albacore tuna usually containing far more mercury than light tuna, reports Consumer Reports. Mercury is a problem because exposure in pregnant women and young children can impair hearing, hand-eye coordination and learning ability. Evidence suggests that frequent consumption of high-mercury fish might also affect adults' neurologic, cardiovascular, and immune systems.

Canned Foods

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical compound that mimics the reproductive hormone estrogen. It is associated with a wide variety of health problems, including cancer, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and ADHD. The chemical is often infused into the internal lining of cans, where it may leach into the food inside. In fact, a study by a coalition of health advocacy and environmental groups found that 100% of bean and tomato food cans tested at "dollar" discount stores contained the chemical.

Noodle Cups and Instant Soups

If your pantry houses food in foam-like containers, beware. The containers may be made from a compound called polystyrene, a petroleum-based compound that contains the toxic substances styrene and benzene, suspected carcinogens and neurotoxins that are hazardous to human health. Styrene leaches into food when it comes into contact with heat or acid, so adding boiling water to cook ramen or instant soup should be avoided, as should making or serving hot coffee, tea, or chocolate in a styrene cup.

Plastic Food Packaging

Plastic food packaging (as well as shower curtains) may be made from vinyl chloride, one of the first chemicals designated a known human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Vinyl chloride may also contain phthalates, BPA, and chlorine, which makes it particularly dangerous to manufacture.

Microwave Popcorn

PFOA is the slippery stuff that makes Teflon-type pans non-stick. It's also what lines bags of microwave popcorn so that the kernels can pop without sticking to the bag and burning. At high heat, like what is found in a microwave, PFOAs can spread onto the popcorn. You might also end up inhaling them when you open the bag of popped corn and the steam escapes. PFOA has been linked to cancer, liver disease, developmental problems, and thyroid disease, reports Duke University.

Pesticide Residue on Foods

Fruits and vegetables that are grown the "old fashioned" way–by being treated with pesticides and herbicides to control bugs and weeds—generally retain some toxic residue. Environmental Working Group ranked 48 different fruits and vegetables them according to how much reside could be detected on each one. Apples, peaches, nectarines strawberries and grapes contained the most residue; pineapples, sweet corn and avocados the least. Though EWG's study considered fresh produce, it's likely dried produce is also contaminated. For example, the USDA Pesticide Data Program found 26 different pesticide residues on raisins.

Brominated Vegetable Oil, or BVO

BVO is a synthetic chemical that helps ingredients like orange juice mix better in soft drinks. The compound also makes the natural colors in food brighter. You might find it in soda pop, sports drinks, and citrus-flavored waters. The chemical could increase cholesterol; it may also damage the liver, testicles, thryroid, heart and kidneys. WebMD reports that "in very high amounts, drunk over a long period of time, BVO can build up in the body and cause toxic effects."



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Thursday, May 5, 2016

More Prescription Drug Risks: Common Meds Linked to Dementia

This article came out on WebMD, written by Peter Russell and reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD, and underscores yet another side effect or risk with prescription drugs. Some prescription drugs are unavoidable, but the user needs to understand the risks and to take steps to mitigate these risks, the primary step being to maintain as healthy immune system as possible. I also take supplements thought to help maintain a healthy liver and your liver is affected by many of the common prescription drugs being used heavily today.

Older people who take certain medicines to treat conditions like urinary incontinence, depression, asthma, allergies, and sleeping problems should be warned that their use may bring a higher risk of dementia, scientists say.

A small Indiana University study found that people using "anticholinergic medications" did worse on thinking-related tests and had smaller brain sizes than those who didn't take them.

The researchers say that although a link has been found before, this might be the first time that their effect at blocking a brain chemical called acetylcholine has been implicated.

But the study showed an association, and it can't prove these drugs cause dementia.

Go here to see a list of drugs (Generic Name, Brand Name and the assigned Anticholinergic Cognitive Brain Score) associated with each prescription drug that the researchers studied.

Thinking Impairment

"These findings provide us with a much better understanding of how this class of drugs may act upon the brain in ways that might raise the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia," says Shannon Risacher, PhD, assistant professor of radiology and imaging sciences, in a statement.

The latest research project, published in JAMA Neurology, involved 451 people with an average age of 73.3 years, 60 of who were taking at least one medication from this class of drugs.

Tests on their brain function revealed that those taking the anticholinergic medications did worse than those not taking the drugs. These included results on short-term memory, verbal reasoning, planning, and problem solving.

The researchers also found that anticholinergic medications led to users' brains processing blood sugar (glucose) -- a sign of brain activity -- differently in both the overall brain and in the hippocampus, a region that's tied to memory and which shows early effects of Alzheimer's disease.

Smaller Brain Volume

Another discovery was that volunteers using anticholinergic drugs had less brain volume and larger ventricles, the cavities inside the brain.

"Given all the research evidence, physicians might want to consider alternatives to anticholinergic medications if available when working with their older patients," Risacher says.

Commenting on the study in an emailed statement, Dr. Rosa Sancho, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, says: "This small study adds to evidence for an association between anticholinergic medicines, memory difficulties, and changes in brain biology, but from this research we can’t conclude that this particular type of drug causes dementia.

"There are many different lifestyle factors that could explain the apparent link between this particular class of medicine and the changes seen in this study, and larger and longer studies are necessary to understand the true long-term impact of these drugs on the brain.

"Anticholinergics can have many beneficial effects, and these need to be balanced against potential side effects, but anybody concerned about their current medication should speak to a doctor before stopping a course of treatment."


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