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Comments Off on When Portion Control Takes Control Of You

When Portion Control Takes Control Of You

| Articles | February 28, 2014

Snack attacks are the major pitfalls of a healthy diet – but portion size runs a close second. A serving size is the amount of food a person would normally eat at a single meal. Have you been to a restaurant lately? Get a load of their portion sizes!

Calorie counts are based on serving size, so knowing what a true portion size should be is a huge component of healthy weight loss. You won’t always have a nutrition label to read whenever you eat, so measure out your servings religiously when you eat at home. Once you know what a serving size should be, it will be easier to eat correctly when you’re away from home.

Essential tools in a weight loss kitchen are a food scale, measuring cups and measuring spoons. I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry, my guesses about portion size seems to get larger with my hunger! Measure your foods instead of guessing.

One way to control portion sizes is to NOT put bowls of food on the table. Fill your plates in the kitchen and then take them to the dining room to eat. This keeps food out of sight so that it’s not as tempting to overeat.

The answer to “seconds” should be no! If you’ve planned your meals based on single servings and then go back for more, you’re doomed to weight loss failure.

Scheduling meal times will help prevent those snack attacks discussed earlier. Also, if you are scheduling your meals, you’re less likely to get that “starved” feeling and start shoveling in the food. That’s a sure way to tempt yourself to disregard your allotted serving sizes. The best time to eat is when you’re hungry but not starving.

How many meals should you eat in a day? The traditional number is three – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most people eat much more than that. Doctors and nutritionists are now saying that five or six smaller meals is a better way to go. This is particularly true for people with diabetes. Eating smaller, more frequent meals keeps insulin levels from those dangerous highs and lows. It also controls that extreme hungry feeling that can cause overeating.

When you’re eating your meal, eat slowly and savor the flavors. It takes about twenty minutes for your brain to send the message that you’re not hungry anymore. If you rush through eating, you’ll be consuming way more than you need to for that full feeling. I’m sure you’ve had that feeling of “I just can’t eat one more bite!” That’s the reason you’ve reached that point.

Keep track of what you eat by using a food diary. Note down what your portion sizes should have been and then what they actually were. How many additional calories did you consume? Were you “really” that hungry? Write down what your mood was or if you were under extra stress at the time you ate.

If you really must eat between your scheduled meals and snacks, choose a food that will fill you up but not fatten you up – such as fruit.

Regulating portion sizes is not as easy as it sounds but it is definitely worth the effort. Measure, measure, measure until your inner eye recognizes true portion sizes. Soon, you’ll have lost that 20 (or however many) pounds that you wanted to lose.

Comments Off on When Passion For Fashion Is A Health Menace

When Passion For Fashion Is A Health Menace

| Articles | February 27, 2014

You will never understand up to what extent women are willing to do for the sake of beauty. They will brave undergoing through the knife for the purpose of cosmetic surgery. The risk-taking involved is a case of the end justifying the means. However, a new concept of suffering for passion does not follow the same argument. Suffering for fashion is not just about the perils that being eternally stylish can pose to your bank accounts, but about the damage that your passion for fashion could be doing to your health.

Talk about low back pain and spine fractures which can be severely disabling and may result in chronic pain. And that is exactly what those supersized killer bags fashion on-the-loose are doing to a woman’s body. Those supersized handbags could be as potentially dangerous to your health as upsizing your favorite fastfood value meals. The recent increase in the number of “heavy handbag related injuries” prompted chiropractors to seriously consider issuing a medical warning on the use of these huge totes.

These fashionable bags on the hot seat are not just painfully heavy, draped and bedecked with more blings than Apl.de Ap of the Black Eyed Peas, and that their capacity is so enormous there could be enough rooms for the whole vanity dresser to fit inside. These bags allow users to fill them with endless amounts of stuff that are not really necessary.

According to a recent study, women today carry twice as much in their handbags as our mothers used to do. In the good old days, our moms might have had a coin purse, a powder compact, a couple of tissues and a house key. Today’s women can be seen carrying a whopping great wallet/diary/address book Filofax affair, an entire make-up bag and a bottle of water, plus great bunches of keys for the house, the office and the car. And that’s before we get to all the gadgets and gizmos – MP3 players, mobile phones, laptops etc.

Social anthropologist, Kate Fox, of the Social Issues Research Center in Oxford, believes that a woman’s love for large luggage is not just about fashion. It’s about making an impression. “Larger women generally prefer to carry a big bag as it makes their bum look smaller in comparison. And, the fashionably petite like to emphasize their size zero status by carrying an outsize bag.”

It’s okay to drag handbags the size of houses if you are a celebrity with all the bodyguards to help you carry the load once you’re done showing off. “The problem with carrying a heavy bag is that while it may not cause you an injury at the time you carry it, over time it has a cumulative effect, and we’re certainly seeing more instances of back pain triggered as a result,” says Tim Hutchful of the British Chiropractic Association.

Carrying a heavy bag over one shoulder can cause your body to shift stance as you hike the shoulder up, which can shorten the muscles that result in a twisted or lop-sided body position overtime. This may later on lead to serious back pain, and worse, a neck injury by stretching the nerves, or even a spine fracture.

Avoid carrying bag in the crook of your arm as it is farther away from your center of gravity, putting more strain on the body. When you hold something at arm’s length, the pressure it puts on the body is five times greater than if you were carrying it close to your chest.

Whether you are a certified “fashionista,” a working mother, or a plain Jane, always remember to carry a bag that is big enough to carry only the essential stuffs that you cannot do without. “Health is wealth” is a better motto to live by, while passion for fashion can be a health menace.

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When Parenthood Remains Elusive

| Articles | February 26, 2014

Newlyweds who dream of having their own family may find it frustrating that after more than a year of unprotected lovemaking, the dream remains far from becoming a reality. Infertility has blocked the path to a fulfilling family life, of motherhood or fatherhood. And the question of about when the baby will come becomes a stressful thing to deal with for couples who are experiencing the problem of infertility.

Infertility is the inability of a man or woman to conceive or the inability to carry a pregnancy to full-term. Doctors may offer a whole new language of medical terms but it still boils down to feelings of inadequacy and failure which may lead to stress and depression. News of pregnancy from relatives or friends may cause a feeling of resentment and jealousy. Knowing more about infertility can help you what steps to consider in dealing with the condition.

Pregnancy results when a woman’s egg is fertilized by a man’s sperm. Any interference before during or after this process may cause infertility.

Male Infertility

There is no truth to the belief that infertility is always a woman’s problem. Infertility cases can be due to problems with the man, the woman, or a combination of male and female factors. and even due to unknown causes.

Male infertility is often associated with problems with the sperm. This may exist from birth or may have developed later in life due to injury or illness. There are men who produce too few sperm while others do not produce any at all. Some men produce enough sperm but lack the motility to penetrate the egg. Sperm count and sperm production are greatly affected by the kind of lifestyle a man has. Alcohol, drugs, and environmental toxins can temporarily reduce sperm quality and cause infertility in men.

Female Infertility

Ovulation problems account for most infertility in women. Without ovulation, eggs cannot be fertilized. Signs of problems with ovulation include irregular menstrual periods or no periods. Just like with men, lifestyle factors, such as stress, diet, or athletic training, can affect a woman’s hormonal balance. In rare cases, a hormonal imbalance from a serious medical problem such as a pituitary gland tumor can cause ovulation problems. No matter what the cause of these hormonal imbalances, still, the end result may be infertility.

Another important factor in female infertility is age. When a woman reaches the age of 35, she may tend to have difficulty conceiving due to a lot of factors, including infertility. And when she reaches menopause, her monthly periods stop for good and she can no longer produce eggs which are indispensable for pregnancy to occur.

Other problems such as blocked fallopian tubes can also cause infertility in women. These blockages on one or both ends of the fallopian tubes prevent the egg from traveling through the tubes into the uterus and may even result to pelvic inflammatory disease known as endometriosis, or an ectopic pregnancy.

Seeking Infertility Tests

Healthy women who are below 35 years old should wait for a year before worrying about infertility. Worrying will only make the problem worse as it may lead to stress and anxiety. If a woman is above the age of 35 and unable to achieve conception within 6 months, she should consult a physician.

In seeking infertility tests, a medical evaluation is required to determine the reasons for a couple’s infertility. This process involves physical examinations, as well as medical and sexual histories of both partners. If there is no obvious problem, like improperly timed intercourse or absence of ovulation, tests may be needed to help determine the cause of the couple’s infertility.

Tests of a man’s semen is needed to look at the number, shape, and movement of sperm. Hormone tests are also done to help determine if the male is the cause of the inability to conceive.

The woman is tested for her ovulation by keeping track of changes in her morning body temperature and in the texture of her cervical mucus. Another tool is a home ovulation test kit, which can be bought at drug or grocery stores. Ovulation tests can also be done in doctor’s clinics with the use of blood tests for hormone levels or ultrasound tests of the ovaries. If the woman is ovulating, more tests are needed to determine what contribution she is making to the couple’s infertility.

Treating Infertility

There are a number of infertility treatments which can be as simple as taking oral medications to more complex treatments, such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

IVF is the most common treatment which involves taking medications to produce many eggs, then surgically removing the eggs and fertilizing them in a petri dish.

ICSI is the most common variation of IVF which treats male infertility. If there are inadequate numbers of normal sperm or if the motility or morphology are low after the eggs are retrieved, one normal-looking sperm is injected into each egg. This technology has already produced thousands of babies in recent years.

Coping With Infertility

Couples with infertility problems are going through intense stress which can lead to anxiety and depression. Examining the people in your life and making sure they provide you with support can help relieve the pressure of infertility situations. Consult your doctor about joining a support group to relieve feelings of isolation. Studies have shown that women who attend support groups have significantly improved pregnancy rates as compared to women who do not attend a support group but receive similar medical treatments.

Comments Off on When Pain Relief Medications Cause More Headaches

When Pain Relief Medications Cause More Headaches

| Articles | February 25, 2014

Getting a headache has become all-too-natural for people who live hectic, hurried lives in the city. It is no wonder that every urbanite’s cupboard or medicine cabinet is often stocked with pain relief medications. When the headache comes back, we simply repeat the practice. While it seems harmless to take headache pills for a day or two, overusing it can have unexpected and serious consequences.

Overusing pain relief medications can become a cycle. It can make headaches return as soon as the effect of the medication wears off. Once the pain returns, the tendency is to take more medications until it becomes a worse cycle. Medication overuse headaches are also known as rebound headaches . Rebound headaches are caused by medication taken to relieve regular headaches. In the case of problem headaches, such medication can be a lifesaver. However, the overuse of certain pain relief medications can cause headaches to occur more often and become more severe. People should learn to understand this problem and develop ways to deal with it in order to take control of frequent headaches.

Rebound headaches occur when pain relief medication is taken too frequently to relieve headache pain. It’s not easy to diagnose rebound headaches. Overuse is determined by asking patients if their headaches assumed a new pattern or became more severe after taking medications excessively. More than three times a week is generally considered excessive medication. However, to make a sure diagnosis of rebound headache, the patient must be withdrawn from medication anywhere up to 6 times.

Breaking this cycle means discontinuing the use of the medication. Bear in mind that such withdrawal will actually heighten the headache for the first few weeks. Withdrawal may not be easy. It may take days, weeks, or even months of agonizing withdrawal symptoms, which include headaches and fatigue. Usually, It requires another medication, and sometimes, even hospitalization just to overcome the withdrawal process. The headaches will then gradually recede afterwards. Consult a physician before you revert to the use of medication.

According to Timothy R. Smith, the medical director of the Ryan Headache Center in St. Louis, many experts still don’t know exactly what causes rebound headaches, though the regular overuse of pain relief medication can cause physiological changes. The use of too much pain relievers can lower a person’s pain threshold so that they begin to require more painkillers just to feel “normal” again.

Pain reliever overuse can actually lower the level of serotonin, a hormone that acts as a chemical messenger which transmits nerve signals between nerve cells and causes blood vessels to narrow. Changes in the serotonin levels in the brain can alter the mood as well as pain perception.

The problem with rebound headaches is that they can be difficult to identify. People with rebound headaches usually had chronic headaches to begin with, which is precisely the reason why they started to take medication in the first place. It would be difficult for both the doctor and the patient to notice the shift from a migraine headache to a rebound headache.

Symptoms, however, can vary from person to person. The nausea and sensitivity to light that are typically present with migraine headaches are usually absent in rebound headaches, and the pain can felt in different parts of the head. Patients with rebound headaches will usually complain of daily headaches with pain that escalate to a point where it’s interfering with normal lifestyle, causing anxiety and depression to the individual. According to experts, any pain relief medication is capable of causing rebound headaches when taken frequently and in more than enough dosage. Even over-the-counter medications that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen can also cause rebound headaches. It is important to note that combining these medications with caffeine can cause a more serious problem.

Comments Off on When Morning Sickness Is Good News

When Morning Sickness Is Good News

| Articles | February 24, 2014

One of the most emotional times in a woman’s life is when she learns that she is pregnant. The realization that a life is growing inside her womb may initially make her feel confused, but eventually she will rejoice in knowing that she will be bringing a new life into the world. But it may be very different for a teenage girl who is not ready for the consequences of premarital sex. Fear and anxiety are normal reactions to have if you are a young, unmarried teenager who suddenly becomes a soon-to-be mother. She will not know what to do. Unwanted pregnancy can be a frightening and threatening situation for women who are not prepared for it. In contrast, those who are really planning to have a baby find motherhood as the ulitmate fulfillment and real essence of being a woman.

Once a woman has conceived, it will take about one week for the fertilized egg to be implanted in the uterus. From then on, it will now be possible for a woman to experience one or more signs of pregnancy. For the newly weds, or those who are really planning to have kids and welcome the joys of being parents, pregnancy is good news. But along with it comes several pregnancy symptoms that will probably make a woman feel sick for at least the first trimester. During this period, hormonal changes begin to occur, and a woman’s body starts to react to these new hormone levels.

The following are 10 common signs of early pregnancy:

1. Frequent Urination – one of the most common and very early signs of pregnancy is having to urinate more frequently. Changes in the hormone levels produced by implantation of the embryo, especially the hormone “human chorionic gonadotropin” (hCG), is the cause of more frequent urination which can be experienced even before a missed period, usually from about 7-12 days after the temperature rise at ovulation.

2. Light Spotting is a condition that occurs when implantation happened before the menstrual period should begin. Pregnancy bleeding from implantation is not heavy and appears pinkish or brownish in color. Normal menstruation should start with a light flow, become heavy, then taper off again towards the end.

3. Elevated Body Temperature during ovulation, it’s just normal to have an increase in body temperature. When the basal body temperature stays elevated after ovulation is completed and remains elevated through when the period begins can be one of the very early signs of pregnancy.

4. Missing a Menstrual Period it is possible that a missed period may be due to other reasons such as illness, stress, hormone imbalance and reactions to foods or medications. But if the menstrual cycle normally occurs on a regular basis, missing a period can be a sign.

5. Fatigue though tiredness can be difficult to distinguish from other forms of exhaustion, it is usually related to the change in hormones in the body, which usually disappears as the body adjusts to the new hormone levels.

6. Cramps – during early pregnancy, moving around, exercise and orgasm can trigger uterine cramping or contractions in the uterus.

7. Nausea is known as morning sickness during pregnancy. It’s a sensation of vomiting, though sometimes actual vomiting may not occur. It can happen throughout the day, and it can last throughout your pregnancy.

8. Tender Nipples and Breasts this is one of the very early signs of pregnancy but such feeling of tenderness go away as the body gets used to the new hormone levels.

9. Darker Areolas as early as one week after conception, the area around the nipples begins to change in color. It becomes darker and the bumps on the areolas may appear more prominent.

10. Constipation expect a change in bowel movement during early pregnancy. The intestines may relax and function less due to changing hormones, leading to constipation.

Beginning around the 6th week of pregnancy, more than half of pregnant women may experience nausea or morning sickness which can occur at any time duirng the day or night and may stop around the 12th week of pregnancy. Morning sickness will not harm the baby or the pregnant mother. However, if you experience too much vomiting and cannot keep your food down, you may have hyperemesis gravidarum. which can be harmful to both the mother and baby if severe and left untreated. Hyperemesis gravidarum can cause possible lack of nutrients and electrolyte imbalance.

As soon as any of these very early signs of pregnancy are experienced, confirm the pregnancy with the use of pregnancy test kits such as a blood pregnancy test. It can be accurate as early as 8 to 10 days after conception while a urine pregnancy test can be accurate as early as 10 to 14 days following conception. Most pregnancy tests are not 100% accurate so be sure to do test again after a week. Always consult health care provider when these symptoms appear and discuss possible options for treatment.

Comments Off on When Medical Anxiety Goes Too Far

When Medical Anxiety Goes Too Far

| Articles | February 22, 2014

People get sick, catch diseases, get infected by pathogens, and just have moments when they don’t feel well. For the most part, there can be any number of reasons for this sort of thing to be real. Viruses, bacteria, neurological agents, chemical imbalances in the body, and over-straining the body both physically and mentally can all be named causes. It is therefore natural that people feel apprehension and anxiety when faced with the thought of disease and sickness. However, to allow oneself to be so caught up in the possibility of getting sick, to the point that even the slightest changes in the body are interpreted as an illness, is an illness in itself.

Hypochondria is a disorder that is characterized by excessive anxiety over the possibility of illness, usually with a specific illness in mind. This problem can also cause someone to consult with multiple doctors, switching from one to another. Such behavior can sometimes stem from the belief that the hypochondriac has contracted an illness, interpreting even minutiae as symptoms. However, the reality is that the body has not contracted an illness, so no doctor would be able to find the signs of the “disease” that the hypochondriac claims he’s contracted. Of course, when confronted with this diagnosis, the hypochondriac finds it unacceptable and moves on to another doctor, in the hopes that the next one will recognize his problem and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

This excessive medical anxiety, of course, brings with it a number of side effects, a large number of which are unpleasant. Strained relationships can be particularly prominent in some cases, especially if the hypochondriac in question believes that others around him are potential carriers for the pathogens he is worried about. Social interaction can also prove to be a problem if this fear becomes prevalent, due largely to the fact that the hypochondriac becomes increasingly unwilling to engage in physical contact and may sometimes exhibit extreme anxiety at the prospect of close contact with another human being. Many of them develop the inability to accept the fact that they aren’t actually ill, even when reassured by several medical professionals that such is the case. In others, they experience such anxiety at the prospect of discovering their worries to be true that they don’t visit doctors to avoid such.

The side effects and intensity of hypochondria can vary from patient to patient, however. Some of these patients can display the behavior mentioned above, shifting from doctor to doctor, in the hopes of finding one willing to confirm their worries. Others live in fear of the possibility of being told that they are sick, and avoid having to visit any sort of medical office whenever possible. Some can be relieved by being given a placebo that appears similar to the actual medication used for whatever pathogen they fear they’ve contracted. Finally, others have low-intensity cases, where the worrying and anxiety is more covert, relegated to being little more than a lingering worry in the back of their minds. Regardless of the intensity, hypochondria is a serious condition that can cause a person to do things or take medication that they would not take otherwise.

Comments Off on When Letting Go Becomes Difficult

When Letting Go Becomes Difficult

| Articles | February 22, 2014

As a kid, were you afraid of being left alone by your mom or dad in school? Does your child throw tantrums when you leave them with someone else? Your kid might be showing signs of separation anxiety, just like you did when you were a child. Do you have an intense fear of being left by anybody you love? Do you feel intensely distressed when you lose something you like? You might be suffering from separation anxiety disorder. How does one differentiate separation anxiety from separation anxiety disorder?

Separation anxiety is a fairly common anxiety disorder that commonly affects children and young adolescents. It is a normal developmental stage that children go through when separated from their primary caregiver, like their parents or their nannies. When a child fails to outgrow his separation anxiety, it becomes separation anxiety disorder. Children with separation anxiety show it by crying, manifesting clinginess, shyness, silence, and unwillingness to interact with other people, even those to whom he is already familiar with.

Separation anxiety disorder is a psychological condition in which an individual has excessive anxiety regarding separation from home or from people to whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment (like a mother). This psychological condition affects seven percent of the adult population, and only four percent of the child population. Separation anxiety disorder manifests itself with: recurring distress when separated from a person or object of attachment, like the mother or the home); a persistent, excessive worrying about losing the subject of attachment; a persistent, excessive worrying that an event may occur which may lead to the separation from or loss of a subject of attachment; an unfounded fear of being alone without the subject of attachment; a persistent reluctance or refusal to sleep without being near a major attachment figure; or having recurring nightmares about separation.

A big differentiating factor with separation anxiety and separation anxiety disorder is that the former is temporary and is a necessary part of growing. It is essential for the child’s normal growth and development. The latter is far worse as it fails to get past the transition period and remains clingy and too attached which may prove to be detrimental and may affect the way a normal child or person functions.

Separation anxiety disorder may be triggered by traumatic experiences such as:

lA frightening experience that the child personally experiences or have heard about. (ex. earthquakes, stories of child abduction)

lA serious separation experience. (ex. parents divorce or parents serve in the military)

lSeverely stressful experience within the family. (ex. a pending divorce, serious illness or death, starting over at a new school)

lA significant change that the child experiences. (changing nannies, having a new brother or sister, starting at a new school)

lAn illness, be it major or minor conditions.

There’s a fine line that determines whether your child is experiencing normal separation anxiety or if he’s crossed over to having separation anxiety disorder. It is best to keep yourself informed about the differences between simple separation anxiety and the disorder to be able to keep track of your child and seek help if needed.

Comments Off on When Is BDSM Emotionally Abusive?

When Is BDSM Emotionally Abusive?

| Articles | February 20, 2014

“He made them want to shout, Ouch! But this time you better watch out. He kicked her oh and he beat her, and he whipped her. S&M” These are the words from the Thin Lizzy song S&M. But how much do you know about S&M? Can you distinguish when the role play ends and the abuse begins?


BDSM is a collective term used for the many subdivisions of the sado-masochistic culture. B&D stands for bondage and discipline, D&S stands for domination and submission, and S&M stands for sadism and masochism. These terms are usually related to sexual acts, however, it transcends to more than just kinky sex plays.

BDSM is considered role playing in the sense that couples choose which part they want to play. But aside from choosing and playing roles, BDSM is about an open channel of communication between both parties. This means being able to openly express who you want to be in the role play, and telling your partner your limitations in terms of pain tolerance (for the victim role) and the extent of what you’re willing to do. BDSM also requires trust and understanding. BDSM requires using devices and accessories that may inflict pain on the partner. One should be able to trust that their partner would know how to control the way pain is inflicted, and also to know when to stop. In this same concern, the dominant partner should understand the other half enough to know how far he wants to go. BDSM is not only about being in control, it will forever be give and take.

When is BDSM emotionally abusive?

Unfortunately, we cannot ignore the fact that to some people, engaging in BDSM role playing is about enjoying the feel of having the power to inflict pain on their partners. It starts getting out of hand and becomes a power trip for the dominant partner. Here are some pointers on how to distinguish BDSM from emotional abuse.

lBDSM is based on safe, sane, and mutually consensual relationship while abuse is not and will never be negotiated.

lBDSM is acted out in a controlled environment, while abuse always appears out of hand.

lBDSM uses safe words to stop the role play if it gets out of hand while abuse doesn’t stop.

lThe dominant partner in a BDSM role play looks after the well-being of the submissive partner while an abuser just thinks of himself.

lIn BDSM, the relationship is fulfilling for both parties. Abusive relationships are fruitless.

lBDSM is about building trust and understanding, abuse destroys trust and breeds misunderstanding.

lBDSM aims to build self-esteem, while abuse causes the victim to develop inferiority complex.

lIn BDSM, the submissive partner voluntarily serves the dominant half, while abusers do not care to ask for consent.

Knowing the signs of an abusive individual may help you avoid getting into emotional abuse in your future relationships. Once your partner goes out of bounds of the scene content for your role play and starts forcing sexual acts that goes beyond your physical limit, stop the role play and leave. If your partner humiliates or insults you often, or isolates you from the people you love, it might be a clear indication that your partner may be more into the power trip than into pleasuring you by acting our your fantasies. You have the right to be treated with respect, you have the right to say no and leave.

Comments Off on When Having A Big Heart Isn’t A Good Thing

When Having A Big Heart Isn’t A Good Thing

| Articles | February 19, 2014

A figurative “big heart” connotes that someone is kind and generous. But a literal “big heart” is not a good thing, especially to people in the medical profession. People often mistake this as a disease, however, doctors say that this is an underlying problem to certain cardiovascular conditions.


Cardiomegaly is a medical condition where the size of the heart becomes enlarged. This abnormal enlargement exceeds the cardio-thoracic ratio of more than 0.50. A person’s cardio-thoraric ratio determines which size a person’s heart is supposed to be, this makes the normal heart size difficult to exact as everybody has a different cardio-thoracic ratio.

For most people, an enlarged heart will not manifest any signs or symptoms from the condition, however, some people do manifest symptoms. Symptoms depend on the severity of the case of the patient. Most commonly, these symptoms are associated to the heart’s inability to pump enough blood properly, these include:

lBreathing dificulties.


lArrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)

lEdema (swelling)

Heart enlargement is not an easy thing to diagnose. Physicians usually suggest for patients to undergo a series of testing to determine if they do have cardiomegaly. These battery of tests include:



lElectro Cardio Gram (ECG)

What causes heart enlargement?

As what was mentioned, heart enlargement is not a disease on its own, but rather an indication of an underlying condition. Cardiomegaly may be caused by thickening of cardiac muscles, ventricular hypertrophy, and exercise.

Cardiomegaly is said to be a result of thickening of the heart muscles that occurs when the heart has an increase in its workload. The increased workload is most often caused by other health conditions present in the body. Some of the noted conditions that may cause of heart enlargement includes:

lHigh blood pressure

lHeart valve disorders

lViral infections

lSevere anemia

lThyroid disorders

lHemochromatosis (excessive iron in the body)

lAmyloidosis (abnormal protein build-up in an organ)

Exercise is also a contributory factor for heart enlargement. Athletes have been said to have bigger hearts. But this is a result of their extensive training, and is not in any way an indication of the presence of a medical condition. In this one instance, cardiomegaly is not considered a bad thing.

Heart enlargement may also becaused by ventricular hypertrophy. In this case, the left or the right ventricle, in some cases both, become enlarged. This condition is more common for people who have chronic systolic heart failure or cardiomyopathies. Cardiomyopathy is the loss of strength of cardiac muscles.

How is cardiomegaly treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the cardiomegaly. It is most often a medication or treatment procedure related to the underlying condition. Diuretics have been used to enhance serous fluid output in the body, to prevent heart swelling. ACE inhibitors and Beta-blockers are used to treat underlying cardiovascular conditions that may have contributed to the enlargement of the heart.

As you are reading this, more research is being conducted to come up with a more effective treatment for cardiomegaly. The aim of these research is to completely do away with cardiomegaly, as well as the conditions associated with it. And hopefully, soon enough, a cure will be introduced to the market.

Comments Off on When Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Remains a Dream

When Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Remains a Dream

| Articles | February 18, 2014

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for feeling refreshed and alert during the day. When we sleep, our body rests and restores energy levels. However, sleep is an active state that affects both our physical and mental well-being. A good night’s sleep is often the best way to help a person cope with stress, solve problems and get a full recovery from illness. But, with all the stresses of everyday life, not everyone can now afford to have the needed eight hours sleep. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is what an average adult needs to maintain an optimal mental and physical health.

Sleep is prompted by natural cycles of activity in the brain and consists of two basic states: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, which consists of Stages 1 through 4. During sleep, the body cycles between non-REM and REM sleep. Typically, people begin the sleep cycle with a period of non-REM sleep followed by a very short period of REM sleep. Dreams generally occur in the REM stage of sleep.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, over 40 million Americans a year will suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. Many of them will go undiagnosed, or turn to over-the-counter sleeping aids for relief. While insomnia is the best-known sleep disorder, over 100 types of sleep disorders actually exist. In order to get a proper diagnosis, it’s important to understand the symptoms and causes of the most common forms of each sleep problems which also include sleep apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), and narcolepsy.

Insomnia is itself often a symptom of other problems. Typical patterns of insomnia include the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, waking up earlier than usual, and daytime fatigue. Most people with insomnia even fall asleep in inappropriate situations, like when they are driving. If this does occur, it may signal that a medical disorder (such as sleep apnea) is the cause of insomnia.

Excessive daytime sleepiness is the primary symptom of sleep apnea. Some people will deny sleepiness but still, they feel fatigued throughout the day. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, snorting, and gasping sounds when one sleeps. More often, it is first noticed by a sleeping partner. Restless sleep is also typical, as are headaches in the morning.

The primary warning sign of Restless Leg Syndrome or RLS is the irresistible urge to move the legs shortly after getting into bed, in the middle of the night after awakening, or even when wide awake during the day. The sensations of discomfort can be quite varied. Kicking or twitching leg movements during sleep, and sometimes while awake, may be warning signs.

Excessive sleepiness during the day, alleviated by naps, is a symptom of narcolepsy. Dreaming during naps and experiencing dream-like hallucinations while asleep are also warning signs. Loss of muscle control called cataplexy that occurs with emotion, such as laughing or anger, and the inability to move during sleep or when one has already awakened (called sleep paralysis) are also symptoms.

To determine if someone has a sleep disorder, first pay attention to a person’s sleep habits and lifestyle or daily routine. If a person with sleep disorders is planning to visit a doctor, it is helpful to record sleep habits. Sleep history will help the patient and the doctor find the cause of the sleep problems. A person with a sleeping disorder can address most common sleep problems through lifestyle changes and improved sleep hygiene, but it is important to see a doctor or a sleep specialist for a diagnosis if sleep does not improve.

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