Friday, September 14, 2012

Why You Should Protect Your Kidneys

You shouldn’t take your kidneys for granted; They function so discretely, efficiently, and in most people continuously, throughout their lifetime without the slightest problem. One only need to have some knowledge about the consequences of kidney failure, however, or just talk to a victim of this condition, to understand how important these organs are to survival and how hard it is to initiate their natural functions.

Based on research, diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States. If you have diabetes, over time, this can lead to serious damage of your kidneys. Kidney damage as a result of diabetes is called diabetic nephropathy. This usually begins long before you have any symptom.

Because your kidneys works as filters to clean your blood, if they are damaged, they will lose their exquisite abilities to cleanse the blood. As a result, waste and fluids will build up in your blood stream instead of leaving your body.

Other ways in which your kidneys can be damaged include the following:
  • Urinary tract contamination by bacteria from feces
  • An autoimmune attack on the kidneys by white blood cells may block and destroy glomer uli (blood capillary)
  • Poisoning from mercury, lead or certain solvents causing tissues damages
The nephrons(small tubes that do the filtering) of the kidney are so numerous and so deficient that even if two-thirds of these tubules are destroyed, the individual can still continue to live a fairly normal life. However, if the number drops to 10 or 20 percent, the person can experience severe tissue swelling as a result of salt and water retention, a well as buildup of urea, hydrogen and potassium ions, and other metabolic byproducts.  This will cause the blood to become very acidic and can lead to coma.  Furthermore, death is eminent if the pH of the blood falls below 6.9.

If the damage continues, your kidneys could fail. In fact,  People with kidney failure need either dialysis or a kidney transplant. If it hadn’t been for the invention of an artificial kidney or kidney dialysis machine, which works via simple diffusion to take over some of the kidney’s blood-cleansing functions, many people with bad kidneys wouldn’t be living at this moment.

This is how the dialysis process works: when the machine is turned on, blood containing waste from the patient’s artery is routed through a long, porous membrane bathed by a solution much like normal blood plasma.  As it passes through, the wastes diffuse into the solution (from the region of higher waste concentration to lower  waste concentration). After circulating a number of times through many meters of tubing and back into the body, the patient’s blood is adequately free from wastes to allow normal activity -- at least for a while.

The dialysis machine unfortunately has some serious drawbacks: Although it has the ability to perform filtration is not able to carry out neither the re-absorption nor the secretion activities of a living kidney.  Another problem is that, the patient’s blood must be treated with an anticoagulant(a blood thinner) so that it does not clot as it passes through the machine, then treated again with a coagulant as it reenters the person’s body so that he or she won’t bleed too easily.

Because of the drug treatments, the artificial kidney can only be used every two or three days, and due to the slowness of waste diffusion, each session may last from 5 to 10 hours. Also, the use of anticoagulants allows infections to occur with distressing frequency. 

Finally, new studies show that the way a dialysis machine is routinely disinfected can make a difference between a patient’s survival and death by infection.  People with kidney failure are literally captives of the dialyzer: it helps them to live much longer, but at the same time, diminishes the quality of life, consumes much of their time, and can even cause them to die if the machine is not maintained properly.

Presently, the only alternative  to this captivity is Kidney transplant. However, this alternative comes with its share of problem --- Kidney  Donors are limited to blood relatives or others with closely matching tissue types.  Even with this careful screening, the patient may need long-term drug therapy to suppress immune rejection (kidney rejection). 

Although thousands of people are saved each year by dialysis machines and Kidney transplants. Many have also died from kidney failure as a result of unhealthy lifestyles.

A simple urine test can be done to detect Kidney damages. If a small amount of protein is found in your urine this is usually an early sign . A blood test can also help determine how efficiently your kidneys are working.

You can protect your kidneys from the damages caused by diabetes by simply adopting positives lifestyle which include eating right, exercising regularly and getting frequent medical checkups. If unfortunately your kidneys are already damaged, you can keep them from getting worse by simply controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure, taking your medicines and adhering to the right diet such as eating moderate amount of protein. Because metal poisoning can also damage your kidneys, you should protect yourself from these environmental hazards as well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pregnancy Diet and Spontaneous Abortion

Sometimes there is really no explanation as to why some pregnant mothers have experienced a spontaneous abortion. However, prior to becoming pregnant, it’s of paramount importance that a woman at least try to be aware of some of the most common known causes of such traumatic mishap.  Although she may not have control over all the possible reasons, she definitely has control over certain things such as her diet.

What is a Spontaneous Abortion?
A “spontaneous abortion“, which is also known as miscarriage, occurs when a baby (fetus) is lost spontaneously before the 24th week of pregnancy. After this time, the death of a baby is called a 'stillbirth'.

Based on findings, the causes of a spontaneous abortion cannot always be determined. However, the following are the most common known causes of a miscarriage in the first third of pregnancy (1st trimester): 
  • Chromosomal abnormalities(most common)
  • Collagen vascular disease (such as lupus)
  • Diabetes and other hormonal problems
  • Infections
  • Congenital (present at birth) abnormalities of the uterus
  • Fibroids

Other Factors 
Ovulation Test kit

  • Age of the Pregnancy
  • Maternal Trauma
  • Improper implantation of the egg into uterine
  • Lifestyle of a pregnant woman (drug usage, exposure to harmful environmental agents etc)
Pregnancy Diet
Although the above listed are some of the most common known causes of miscarriage, another factor not listed above is pregnancy diet or a female’s diet during pregnancy. It might come as a surprise to many to know that the lack of or overuse of certain nutrients  as well as the consumption of certain types of food product specifically, can also lead to spontaneous abortion. 

In fact, it has been discovered that ingesting excess amounts of vitamin A can become toxic, and fish with mercury exposure such as sharks, swordfish, or even canned tuna, increases risk of spontaneous abortion, and so does unpasteurized dairy products, and undercooked meats.

Based on findings, malnourished pregnant women also often have spontaneous abortions, give birth prematurely, or lose their babies shortly after birth. In countries ravaged by famine or war, in place like Somalia or Rwanda, the effects of malnutrition on child development are clear. There are high rates  of miscarriage and failure to thrive, unless immediate dietary adjustments are make.  Even in developed societies such as the United States, it is believed that an estimated 3-10% of all live births show indications of fetal malnutrition. According to researchers, most fetal malnutrition occur in low-income families.

Counseling about nutrition during pregnancy and weight gain helps protect the health of the pregnant woman and baby.  Based on the recommendation, three meals each day consisting of a balanced diet with increased intake of calories and protein are generally sufficient.  Women who are pregnant are advised to increase their daily diet by the following amounts of nutrients:
  • 300 additional Kilocalories
  • 5 to 6 grams of protein
  • 15 milligrams of iron
  • 250 mg of calcium
  • 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid
It's an indisputable fact, that good nutrition during pregnancy is of paramount importance. If a woman doesn't not have the right food to eat, doesn't know what to eat or foods to avoid during pregnancy, this can lead to a spontaneous abortion. To lower the risk of this occurring, a pregnant female needs to adhere to the diet recommended by her health care provider.  She should also be careful not to overuse supplements. All pregnant females are advised to do their own research and also consult with their health care providers with any question or concern and for further recommendations.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Aging Process is Natural But Premature Aging is Often Due to Lifestyle

Smoking, drinking and unhealthy eating can affect one's health
As the aging process gradually takes it's toll on our bodies, everyone is looking for anti-aging products and age regression tips. Sometimes it's hard to accept, however, the aging process is natural -- the natural wear and tear of our bodies occur slowly over a period of time. By the time most people reach their adult stage of life, they have already gotten to the peak of their physical agility, speed, and strength. Yet, silently and almost unthinkable, psychological aging has already begun.

Although many individuals still consider themselves as being in prime physical condition, the potency of their heart and lungs have begun to slowly declines and so does the tone and strength of  each muscle.  Even if their weight remains unchanged, the ratio of fatty tissue to muscle increases.  The first tiny wrinkles appear beside the eyes.  Along the corners of the mouth "laugh lines" begin to appear, and skin changes start to occur as it gradually loses its elasticity to the natural aging process.  There is also a decline in the sharpness of  one’s vision and hearing

By middle adulthood most of these physical changes have become very obvious.  Because society  places a high value on youthful appearance, a lot people are often troubled by these obvious physical changes brought on by aging.  Men and women often try to reverse, slow down, or conceal these (sometimes hard to accept) signs of aging. As a result, the skin and beauty market has literally become a multi-million dollar industry overnight! Various brand of Anti-aging products and anti-wrinkle creams have been showing up on the shelves of pharmacies, supermarkets and retail stores across the nation.

However, not all of these physical changes are as a result of the normal processes of aging.  The truth is, quite often, premature aging, and also many of the physical changes that a lot of people have experienced, are due to poor health.  Others are also due to bad habits or chronic abuse, such as improper nutrition, smoking , the abuse of alcohol, and overexposure to direct sunlight.

 Some changes are due to simple disuse --- Lack of exercise for example, speeds up the loss of muscle mass, strength, and tone; decreases joint mobility; accelerates aging in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems; promotes obesity; and hastens the bone loss seen in individuals with osteoporosis.

Anti-aging products or age regression supplements will not be able reverse the premature aging we have brought on our bodies through years of neglect. A lot of us have been ignoring the steps we need to take in order to slow the aging process. Instead, we continue to indulge in numerous unhealthy behaviors, such as a poly-substance abuse, eating improperly, avoiding exercise even though we are aware of its importance to our bodies. Unless you start adopting some positive behavior early, you too might find yourself becoming a victim of premature aging.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wellness Definition

Six Dimensions of Wellness
What is Wellness? When defining wellness, to simply say it’s the absence of disease is just too vague! Wellness means more than just the absence of disease. According to health and physical fitness experts, it’s an all-inclusive umbrella that  encompasses several components that are all geared towards health. The following are believed to be the six dimensions of wellness:


Because all these dimensions are interrelated, each one of them usually affects the others.
The fact that wellness is more than just the absence of disease, to achieve a state of wellness, it requires implementing positive programs to change behavior in order to improve health, quality of life, promote longevity, and to achieve a sate of total well-being.

Physical Health -  to address you physical component for example, you will have to start thinking about:
  • Physical Fitness
  •  Regular Medical Physical Fitness Exams

Emotional  Health
- in addressing the emotional component of your health you have to at least try to develop:
  • Good stress management skills

Intellectual Health- your level education or degree of intellectuality in health education can positively or negatively impact your wellness. Through health education you can learn about and take appropriate action in the following areas:

  •     Cardiovascular risk reduction
  •     Proper nutrition
  •     Substance abuse control
  •     Prevention of unsafe sex
  •     Safety - seat belt wearing

 Social Health - what about social health or in other words the manner in which we interaction with others around you? If you are not socially healthy you might be unable to make friends or get along with people. This can have a negative impact on our mental,physical, emotional, and spiritual health. This is also one example of how one component of wellness can affects all the others.

Environment Health - avoiding all the negative health factors in your environment( the environmental factors that can potentially affect your health) is also of paramount importance.

Spiritual Health - If you can find ways to avoid negativity and improve your spirituality on a daily basis is also good for your health.

To summarize, in order to attain wellness, you will have address several other factors that can  affect the six dimensions of wellness, such as: substance abuse control, physical fitness, smoking cessation, sexuality, safety, stress management, safety, stress management, medical physical exams, cardiovascular risk reduction, health education, nutrition, spirituality,and cancer prevention.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What Can I Do To Lose Weight?

It‘s common for many people to ask the question, what can I do to lose weight? Below are some General Guidelines For An Exercise-Weight Loss Program:

1. Set goals -- Goals are extremely important. In fact, goals are considered essential to motivate changes and provide a plan of action. However, according to experts, goals are more effective when they are well-planned, personalized, and written.

It’s recommended that you should also put specific objectives in writing, to help you reach each goal.  For example, a goal might be to achieve recommended body weight.  Several specific objectives could be to :
a. Reduce your weight by an average of 1lb per week.
b. Exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times weekly in the proper target zone.
c. Assess your body composition every two weeks.
d. Limit consumption of fat to less than 25% of total calories.
e. Exclude all pastries  from your diet during this period.

2. Start slowly -- The suggestion is that the initial stage of an exercise weight-loss program for a previously sedentary, overweight person should be developmental in nature and should not include an initial high total energy output.  During the initial stage, the individual should be urged to adopt long-term goals, personal discipline, and a restructuring of both eating and exercise behaviors.

 It often believed to be counterproductive to include unduly rapid training progressions because many obese men and women initially demonstrate psychological resistance to increasing physical activity. If you are trying to lose weight, slow walking should be replaced by intervals of walking and jogging that can eventually lead to continuous jogging, during the first few weeks or months.  It takes a period of at least 12-weeks for any meaningful changes to occur.  Behavioral modification should also be applied to a person’s daily lifestyle.  For example, walking or bicycling can replace the use of the automobile, stair climbing can replace the elevator, and manual tools can replace power tools.

3. Regularity is the key -- Exercise frequency is of paramount importance when using exercise for weight control or weight loss.  Exercise specialists believed that at least 3 days of training per week is required to bring about meaningful changes in body composition through exercise -- and more frequent exercise is even more effective. They feel that more than likely, this effect is the direct result of the added calorie burning required by the extra exercise. For an individual who is trying to lose weight, generally, it’s recommended that each exercise session burn at least 300 Kcal, even though the threshold energy expenditure required for weight loss is probably highly individualized. This can be achieved with 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous running, swimming, bicycling, or walking, for at least 60 minutes.

The table above illustrates the effectiveness of regular exercise on weight loss in six sedentary, obese young men who have participated in an exercise program 5 days each week over a period of 16 weeks. They all walked for 90 minutes each session.  The researchers found that the men lost an average of almost 6kg of body fat, representing a decrease in percent body fat from 23.5 to 18.6%.  In addition, exercise capacity improved, as well as the level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (15.6%) and the ratio of high-density to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (25.9%).

For those who are currently interested in losing weight, the question is not what can I do to lose weight? But rather, will I be willing to adhere to the above guidelines for an exercise-weight loss program?

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Ketogenic Diet

Out of curiosity, you may have asked yourself the question, what is the ketogenic diet? Well, the above diet is one which is hailed by some weight watchers as a safe and effective way to lose fat, but is considered by many experts as one of the many extremes of dieting that is unsafe to your health.

Many professional organizations have argued strongly against certain dietary practices, particularly the extremes of fasting and the low-carbohydrate, high-fat, and high-protein diets. These practices in particularly are a major concern to those who work in the fields of sports medicine and athletics, where reports consistently document that athletes frequently exhibit bizarre and often pathogenic weight-control behaviors, according to findings.

Ketogenic Diets
With  ketogenic diets the emphasis is primarily on carbohydrate restriction while generally ignoring the total caloric content of the diet.  Those in favor of these diets believe that with dietary restriction of carbohydrates, the body will use up significant lipids  for energy.  This leads to an excess in the plasma ketone bodies(byproducts of incomplete lipid breakdown resulting from inadequate carbohydrate catabolism) that supposedly suppress the appetite.

The ketones that ended up in the urine represents unused energy, the elimination of which further contributes to the weight-loss effort.  Some extremists firmly believe that this energy loss is so great, dieters can consume all they wish as long as carbohydrates are restricted. It's believed that at best, the energy lost by urinary excretion of ketones probably equals only 100 to 150 calories a day. 

However, contrary to the above belief,  some experts contend that this would account only for a small weight loss of approximately 0.45kg per month --- not very appealing when the major source of food is a liquid intake that may be as high as 70% of the calories consumed.  Also, any initial weight loss may be due largely to dehydration caused by an extra solute load on the kidneys, increasing the excretion of water.  Such water loss is of no lasting significance in a program designed to reduce body fat. 

Studies have shown that low-carbohydrate diets can also potentially result in a significant loss of lean tissue, as the body mobilize amino acids in muscle to maintain blood glucose by gluconeogenesis.  This is certainly an undesirable side effect of a diet designed to speed up a body fat loss.

Based on findings, when compared to a standard, well-balanced, low-calorie diet, the ketogenic diet offers no advantage in aiding in the loss of body fat.  It has been argued that this diet is potentially hazardous in several ways.  It can cause the serum uric acid levels to raise; alter electrolyte concentrations, initiating undesirable cardiac arrhythmias; cause acidosis; aggravate kidney problems due to the extra solute burden placed on the renal system; raise blood lipids; exhaust glycogen reserves to contribute to a fatigued state; and cause relative dehydration.  During pregnancy, this diet is definitely contraindicated  because dietary carbohydrate is essential to fetal development.

 The ketogenic diet is just one example of the extremes of dieting; Presently, in the weight loss arena, the extremes of dieting are insurmountable.  The extent to which some people is willing to go to lose weight is unbelievable. However, most of these weight loss approach, such as the carbohydrate restriction diet, is certainly not safe, based on the above mentioned negative health issues that may result from such a diet. Again, a better approach to dieting is to consume well-balanced, low-calorie diets along with regular exercise.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How to Enjoy Jogging

Jogging is one of the most popular form of exercise and can be both enjoyable and rewarding if done the correct way.  However, one of the reasons you don’t find more people jogging is simply because
many people started out jogging at too high a speed, which results in an inability to continue for an adequate length of time to accomplish the desired amount of total work; quite frequently, this causes people to dislike jogging.  This problem can be avoided if they jog at a speed slow enough to allow conversation and use work-relief intervals, which for beginners is slow jogging for a few seconds, then walking, then slow jogging, and so forth.

Here is an example of such a progression in this beginners’ jogging program below(Note: As the individual becomes more fit he/she will eventually be walking less and/or jogging more).

Beginner's Jogging Program
Rules to Follow
1. Finish the Walking Program before you begin this program.
2. Start each session with walking and stretching
3. Take note of  new aches and pains.
4. Don’t move on to the next level if you are not comfortable.
5. Remain at the low end of your target heart rate(THR) zone; record your heart rate for each session.
6. Try the program on a work-a-day, rest-a-day basis.

Stage 1. Jog 10 steps; then walk 10 steps. Repeat five times and take your heart rate. Stay within THR zone by increasing  or decreasing walking phase. Do 20 to 30 min of activity.

Stage 2. Jog 20 steps; walk 10 steps. Repeat five times and take your heart rate. Stay within THR zone by increasing or decreasing walking phase. Do 20 to 30 min of activity.

Stage 3. Jog 30 steps; walk 10 steps. Repeat five times and take your heart  rate. Stay within THR zone by increasing  or decreasing walking phase. Do 20 to 30 min of activity.

Stage 4. Jog 1 min; walk 10 steps. Repeat three times and take your heart rate. Stay within THR zone by increasing or decreasing  walking phase. Do 20 to 30min  of activity.

Stage 5. Jog 2min; walk 10 steps. Repeat two times and take your heart rate. Stay within THR zone by increasing or decreasing walking phase. Do 20 to 30 min of activity.

Stage 6. Jog 1 lap (400m, or 440 yd) and check your heart rate. Adjust pace during run to stay within the THR zone.  If heart rate is still too high, go back to Stage 5 schedule. Do 6 laps with a brief walk between each.

Stage 7. Jog 2 laps and check heart rate. Adjust pace during run to stay within the THR zone.  If heart rate is still too high, go back to Stage 6 activity.  Do 6 laps with a brief walk between each.

Stage 8. Jog 1 mile and check heart rate. Adjust pace during the run to stay within THR zone. Do 2 miles.

Stage 9. Jog 2 to 3 miles continuously. Check heart rate at the end to ensure that you were within THR zone.     Source: Franks and Howley 1989