Archive for December, 2009
Sometimes, chronic pain is the sign of a bigger problem inside the body. It can be caused by damage to any number of areas of the body. One common example is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which is frequently damaged by participants in contact sports. Chronic pain can may also occur if a broken bone has healed but has not healed properly. For the elderly, things like arthritis can be a source of chronic pain. However, these examples all have a physical cause in common. There are rare cases when individuals will develop chronic pain for no physical reason. This mental health condition is often referred to as chronic pain syndrome.
Chronic pain syndrome or CPS is a mental health condition that causes the body to feel pain that is genuinely caused by neurological impulses. To put it in basic terms, the body is being fooled into feeling pain by the mind. However, pain is not the only effect that this particular condition has on the body. This problem has a few known side effects, with some of them being psychological in nature. One of the premier side effects is a change in lifestyle caused by the pain, as well as increased irritability and longer periods of anger. Anxiety and depression are also typical side effects associated with the syndrome by patients and medical professionals alike. The problem with diagnosing or treating CPS is that it is very difficult to concretely define and it has proven to be unresponsive to conventional methods of treatment.
Medical science has yet to define a concrete cause for CPS, though there are several theories. Some suggest that CPS develops after a particularly painful experience essentially “wires” the brain to feel pain in that given area. The neurological stimuli may or may not actually be registered by the body, but if the person acknowledges the pain as being there, CPS is reinforced. In theory, if the person acknowledges the pain despite the lack of actual physical stimulation, then this “behavior” is continued indefinitely by the brain and body. It is worth noting that pain caused by this condition does not manifest any visible physical signs, and often only causes a general feeling of pain rather than more specific sensations. However, the fact that the cause is unknown and the only consistent symptom is the pain itself has made it exceedingly difficult to pin down any one area to focus research on.
Treatment has also proven to be a challenge to pin down. Conventional pain killers are typically not advised, as they may have pronounced side effects due to the absence of any actual pain. Counseling and therapy have proven ineffective in most cases. They are able to help alleviate the more mental side effects of CPS, but no concrete evidence has surfaced that these methods are capable of alleviating the physical pain or removing the cause of the said pain.
At the moment, it is highly difficult to diagnose and treat CPS, mainly because of the nature of the problem. Some doctors may dismiss complaints of pain from people who don’t have any indication of a physical cause for pain, which can leave the problem untreated for prolonged periods. Some people may also resort to self-medication, which may only worsen the pain or cause other side effects.
Dry eye syndrome, also called Keratoconjunctivitis sicca or xerophthalmia, refers to a lack of lubrication and moisture in the eye. This is mainly due to a decrease in the tear production or an increase in the tear film evaporation. The typical symptoms of dry eye syndrome are burning and a subtle but constant eye irritation. The condition may also lead to inflammation of the frontal eye tissue.
There are several factors that may bring about dry eye syndrome. The condition is more common with older age, since tear production decreases with age. Dry eye as a syndrome may occur as a side effect of many medications. Harsh environmental conditions, such as a dusty or windy climate, may worsen the condition. Even your workplace environment, comprising of air conditioning or a dry heating system, may easily dry out your eyes. Insufficient blinking, such as, when constantly staring at a monitor screen, is another significant cause of dry eye syndrome.
The basic treatment for dry eye syndrome is to replenish the moisture content of the eye surface. To accomplish this, the ophthalmologist typically prescribes artificial tears, which are lubricating eye drops that aid in alleviating the symptoms of irritation and burning sensation in the eyes. Another treatment that goes one step further involves the application of Restasis (cyclosporine) eye drops, which effectively enhance tear production. A healthy diet, comprising of a sufficient amount of omega-3 fatty acids, lowers the chances of contracting dry eye syndrome. Salmon, sardine, herring, and cod liver oils are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Patients wearing contact lenses need to take an extra precaution prior to the application of artificial tears. Specifically, it is necessary that the patient removes the contact lenses before using the eye drops. Moreover, the patient needs to wait 15 minutes or longer for the medicinal drops to take effect, and only after that can the contact lenses be worn again.
Dry eye syndrome is slightly more common in women than in men. A shocking 10-14 million people in the United States suffer from dry eye syndrome. The condition is more prevalent among those older than 40 years. An estimated 75% of the old-aged population shows signs of dry eye syndrome.
If you suffer from any of the above explained symptoms that depict the dry eye syndrome, please visit your doctor as soon as possible to avoid any complications.
The Metabolic Syndrome X (or just metabolic syndrome) is condition that is characterized by a group of risk factors found in one person that increases the chances of coronary heart disease, stokes, type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) and other related modern diseases. The underlying causes of this disease are poor nutrition, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity and genetic factors.
A person is considered to have metabolic syndrome if they have at least three of any of the characteristics below:
* Central obesity– excessive fat tissue around the abdomen.
* High triglycerides (a bad type of fat in the blood)
* Low HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol.)
* Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (high blood sugar levels)
* High blood pressure (130/85 mmHg or higher.)
* Proinflammatory state (predisposed to inflammation in the body on a cellular level.)
* Prothrombotic state (predisposed to blood clots.)
Metabolic Syndrome X is a disease that is plaguing the modern world. It’s estimated that about 20–25 percent of adults in the United States have it, and the numbers are on the rise around the world.
These diseases were practically unknown to most of the world 100 years ago. (See Weston A. Price’s classic book, “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.”) It has only been since processed foods have been introduced that these modern diseases have increased.
Help For Metabolic Syndrome X
The odds are that you or someone you are close to has metabolic syndrome. The best thing you can do is to educate yourself. Start living a healthier lifestyle. Exercise in moderation. Evaluate your diet. Stop eating processed foods– avoid anything with white flour, white sugar, processed oils (especially hydrogenated oils!) and soy (unless it is fermented like miso or soy sauce).
Eat healthy organic meats and saturated fats like coconut oil and butter. The more we have cut those foods out, the faster the modern diseases characterized by metabolic syndrome have spread. Eat whole grains, and soak or sprout them for better digestibility. Try to go back to as much of a traditional diet as you can. Eat organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Supplement your diet with a daily dose of cod liver oil. This will give you a great start for fighting Metabolic Syndrome X.