• Acid reflux is fairly common in all age groups. It is the process of stomach contents bubbling up in the esophagus and throat, leaving a bad taste in the mouth and a burning feeling in the chest. Almost everyone has experienced this condition when they overdid their love for their favorite food and had a tough time keeping it all down.

    Other than burning sensations, there are many more symptoms of acid reflux which are unusual and problematic. Following are a few signs that are commonly observed. Most people do not know that they are results of acid reflux.

    Over salivation

    Experts believe that if your mouth gets full of saliva after a meal, so much so that you cannot keep it inside, it’s a clear sign of acid reflux. This is because of the same reason it happens before throwing up. Salivary glands produce excess saliva when they detect something in the esophagus, in order to flush it out. Over salivation happens in preparation for what is about to come up to the mouth and, in case of acid reflux, it’s the stomach contents that are on their way.


    When stomach acid is traveling upwards, it can enter the lungs and create a big problem like pneumonia. If a person has pneumonia more than once without any explanation, it might be because of acid reflux. This point might come as a surprise but it is possible and has been reported in many cases.

    Chest pain

    Quite often, people confuse their acidity with a heart attack. However, this could be true. Acid reflux is capable of causing chest pain which gets extremely severe and feels like a heart attack. There have been enough cases where people went to thinking that they were dying, while they were simply suffering from acid reflux. Similarly, there have been reverse cases, where people believed they were having a bout of acidity, while in reality, it was a heart attack.

    Bitter taste

    If you bend over to pick up something and feel a bitter taste in your mouth, you just had an episode of acid reflux, wherein the juices from the stomach traveled back to the mouth.


    Acid reflux is capable of causing conditions like asthma. When the acid travels in the wrong direction, it can enter the esophagus and create wheezing and irritation. Most people with acid reflux report that this problem gets worse at night. If the acid enters the airways, it can also result in choking and breathlessness.

    Difficulty in swallowing

    Acid reflux causes scarring and narrowing of the throat over time. This leads to difficulty in swallowing food. In fact, the process of swallowing becomes extremely painful and feels like the food is digging down the throat on its way to the stomach. Eating becomes a painful procedure with acid reflux.

    Acid reflux is a common and not-so-dangerous health problem, but if it goes untreated for a long time, it is capable of creating health problems that both nasty and dangerous.

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  • Multiple myeloma is a certain type of blood cancer that develops in the plasma cells in our body. These plasma cells grow abnormally in the bone marrow and stop the functioning of the healthy blood cells when a person has multiple myeloma.

    This kind of cancer affects more than just one part of the body and the patient may be asymptomatic in the early stages.

    The staging and survival rate for multiple myeloma will differ from patient to patient depending on the health and the spread of cancer in the patient. The treatment, too, will depend on the patient and the advancement of cancer.

    The first thing doctors do before considering any treatment is stage the multiple myeloma spread in a patient’s body. There are two systems to do so. This first is International Staging System and the second is Durie Salmon System.

    Multiple myeloma is divided into four stages namely, smoldering stage, stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3.

    Smoldering stage

    The smoldering stage is the phase where the cancer does not show any active symptoms and is also known as the Durie Salmon Stage 1. Myeloma cells are usually not detected in the blood at this stage and they do not advance or harm the patient’s body.

    Stage 1

    During this stage, a small number of myeloma cells are detected in the blood and urine. Patients may also have a slightly lower than normal hemoglobin levels. X-rays of bones may show a small or no affected areas.

    Stage 2

    Multiple myeloma is indicated when there are a moderate number of myeloma cells present in the blood. The hemoglobin levels, too, are much lower than normal. Other lab indications include high calcium levels in the blood and an increased monoclonal immunoglobin. Several areas of bone damage are also noticed in the X-rays.

    Stage 3

    This stage of multiple myeloma is characterized by a high number of cancer cells in the blood. The hemoglobin levels drastically drop to less than 8.5 grams per deciliter and the levels of calcium in the blood are also extremely high. Several areas of bone damage can also be detected.

    The survival rate for each of these stages has been calculated using the international staging system. These are derived by comparing the myeloma patient’s survival ratio to the survival ratio of people who do not have cancer. The average survival rate by stage is as follows:

    • Stage 1: 62 months
    • Stage 2: 44 months
    • Stage 3: 29 months

    These survival rates are calculated not merely from the time a person is diagnosed with multiple myeloma but from the time the treatment has been started. With the advancement in technology and in the field of medicines, there is a hope for a better survival rate in the future.

    The above-mentioned survival rates are just an estimate. Visiting a doctor is the best way to understand your survival rate as it may differ based on your condition and the effectiveness of the treatments.

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  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) is a lung disease that can result in scarring of the lung tissues for no evident reason. Over a period of time, the scarring gets worse and it becomes difficult to breathe. Since the lungs are damaged, they cannot take in enough oxygen, leading to shortness of breath. The disease involves the tissues and space around the lungs and does not directly affect the blood vessels. There are various diseases that cause inflammation or fibrosis and each one is treated differently.


    The cause of this medical condition is not completely understood. There is no single cause or reason why some people suffer from this disease. There are risk factors such as genetics, cigarette smoking, age, acid reflux, and more. It affects more men than women. Most individuals infected with IPF have another family member with a lung disease. About 75 percent of the patients are men and almost 75 percent of patients are or were previously cigarette smokers.


    There are two main symptoms of IPF.

    • Breathlessness

      Breathlessness or short breath first appears during exercise. It can have an impact on the day to day activities like climbing stairs. It increases as scarring in the lung gets worse and it could prevent all daily activities.

    • Chronic cough

      Majority people with IPF have a chronic cough which lasts longer than eight weeks. This is a dry cough.

    There are other symptoms which include unexplained weight loss, tiredness, loss of energy, chest pain, loss of appetite, and change in the shape of fingers and toes (clubbing).


    There is no cure for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and there are no definite procedures that can remove the scarring from lungs. However, there are treatments that slow down the progression of lung scarring but may not lessen the symptoms of cough and breathlessness.

    Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis cannot be identified in the first instance. As it gradually progresses, the patient will notice short breath and will feel the need to approach a doctor. Although there is no specific treatment that can cure the disease, it can reduce the symptoms of the condition and show a slight improvement in the lung tissues. The scarring cannot be removed but the progression can be slowed down. It is important to consult a doctor when the signs and symptoms are noticed. Based on the progression of scarring, the doctor will be able to provide medication for the same. For every patient, it is important to understand the disease first and not to panic. Smokers sometimes experience short breath which could not necessarily be due to the presence of IPF. Prepare a list of questions for the doctor to answer so that there is clarity with regard to the disease. If the patient is already on medication for some other medical condition, the information about the same should be provided to the doctor in order to consider the treatment options.

    Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is an irreversible, progressive disease which has no treatment. Hence, good coping skills and education about the disease is a must for every patient.

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  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that strikes roughly 1.3 million Americans. RA attacks the synovial tissues surrounding the joints, causing chronic pain and disability if left untreated. RA is considered an autoimmune disorder because it causes the body to attack itself, mistaking healthy synovial joint tissues as a threat, thereby destroying the joint themselves. While rheumatoid arthritis usually develops mainly in older adults, the disorder can occur at any age. According to research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by the existence of inflammation in five or more joints.

    What occurs during a Rheumatoid Arthritis attack?

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) attacks, or flare ups, typically come and go for a period of weeks to months. During an attack, the immune system attacks the joint tissues via antibodies, which are meant to protect the body from infection.  However, in RA patients, immune antibodies mistake healthy joint tissues gradually eroding the healthy integrity and function of the joints.

    RA flare ups range from mild inflammation of the joints to extreme pain and swelling that impacts movement and simple joint function, and can even affect the liver, lymphatic system, bones, heart, skin, and lungs of patients.

    Rheumatoid arthritis progression

    For many rheumatoid arthritis patients the disorder is progressive, meaning they will experience recurring flare ups that affect almost every part of the body. These attacks often gradually worsen with time with periods of remission, or subsiding symptoms in between.

    While no cure for RA is known, treatment of the disease is important to slow the progression and relieve symptoms. Doctors will typically prescribe a combination of medication (usually NSAIDS and/or Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs to prevent disease progression), lifestyle changes, physical therapies, and dietary treatments.

    Patients are impacted by rheumatoid arthritis very differently. For instance, attacks can be mild for some patients and disabling for others. During the earliest stages of RA, most patients experience telltale joint pain and swelling. Early detection and treatment is important to prevent serious and life-threatening disability.

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  • In the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, doctors typically recommend a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, dietary goals, exercise, and physical therapy aimed to address the following:

    – Relieve painful RA symptoms to put the disease in remission.

    – Prevent any further joint damage and disability.

    – Improve joint function and overall well-being.

    To attain these goals, medical professionals will often recommend these strategies to treat rheumatoid arthritis:

    Physical therapy

    Physical therapy is a tool often recommended to improve joint function and overall range of movement for RA patients. Therapeutic exercises will often be used to help make movement in the hands and feet pain free. Therapists will often also introduce assistive tools—such as emergency alarms, reaching sticks, buttons to open doors, walking assists (i.e., canes), buttonhooks for dressing, and cooking and food preparation aids (i.e., grasping aids to help open jars and protective knife handles to protect the wrist and fingers).

    Dietary changes

    Diet can impact the lives of rheumatoid arthritis patients in a positive or negative manner. With the primary goal of managing pain and encouraging improved joint function, doctors will often prescribe patients consume a well-balanced diet consisting of lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding inflammatory foods such as red meat, refined sugar, processed foods, and fatty fried foods. Health professionals may also introduce supplementing with fish oil and/or plant oils (i.e., evening primrose oils) known for their natural pain-relieving benefits.

    Physical activity

    Daily, low-impact exercise is important for RA patients in order to promote regular movement and improved range of motion. Good examples of RA-approved exercise includes swimming, Tai Chi, yoga, and walking, which is gentle on swollen joints.


    Medications prescribed to treat RA focus on relieving symptoms while slowing the progression of the disease. However, many medications used to treat RA often carry serious side effects (i.e., mood swings, weight gain, and bone loss), which is why patients should be closely monitored by a doctor and adhere to drug frequency and dosage to prevent an overdose. To treat painful RA symptoms, doctors often prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDS) such as over-the-counter ibuprofen (i.e.,  Advil) or naproxen sodium (ie., Aleve). To reduce inflammation, prednisone (a corticosteroid) is often prescribed either via oral pill or injection. Lastly, doctors aim to prevent the progression of RA with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (or DMARDS) paired with a “biologic agent” (i.e., etanercept, batacept, adalimumab, certolizumab, etc.).


    Surgical intervention is considered only for RA patients with severely damaged mobility in instances where a joint or tendon can be saved or replaced entirely. For instance, joints may be fused or removed via a synovectomy (removal of inflamed joint lining) performed on a knee, hip, finger, wrist, or elbow. Joints can also be surgically replaced with prosthetics created from metal or plastic.

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  • Managing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) so that you lead a healthy, comfortable life often requires patients to make changes to their lifestyle. Part of living with a chronic condition means planning ahead and building a healthcare team to support you and help reduce pain and minimize the symptoms of RA flare ups.

    Here are six proactive things rheumatoid arthritis patients can do you can do to decrease the severity of RA symptoms and prevent the frequency of RA attacks:

    1. Safeguard your joints

    Being gentle on your joints often means switching up the way you do things. For instance, avoiding high impact movements and activities can both prevent and decrease joint inflammation and pain. Allow time for pampering your joints—including warm baths, soaking joints, using joint assists (i.e., orthopedics, braces or canes), and using heating pads.

    1. Quit smoking

    Unfortunately, research indicates that rheumatoid arthritis patients are prone to atherosclerosis (or plaque in the arteries), which also impedes RA treatments. However, if smoking significantly increases the risk even more.

    1. Plan ahead

    Living with a chronic disease like RA means that symptoms will literally put stop gaps on your daily, weekly, and even monthly routines. It’s important to take breaks when you’re experiencing symptoms and also to help prevent the onset of an RA attack so allow for lots of stress free rest and downtime in your day.

    1. Consume a healthy diet

    Diet can both negatively and positively impact health, especially for patients with RA. In fact, several studies link calcium and vitamin D deficiency to bone loss, weight gain, overweight, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and worsening rheumatoid arthritis pain.

    1. Exercise

    Exercises, including those prescribed by your physical therapist and doctor, can help promote better mobility, muscle strength, and flexibility while lessening pain in arthritic joints. Try gentle, low impact exercise (i.e., swimming, walking, and gentle yoga).

    1. Rest up

    Fatigue and living with an autoimmune disorder often go hand-in-hand for a reason. Dealing with chronic pain and inflammation is bound to wear you down both physically and mentally. So give yourself permission to rest when you experience an attack or feel one coming on.  

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  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or more commonly called ADHD, is a  neurodevelopmental disorder that is synonymous with several behavioral symptoms:

    • Impulsiveness
    • Inability to stay concentrate or focused (inattention)
    • Trouble retaining information or directions
    • Disorganization
    • Hyperactivity or restlessness

    While many associate ADHD with children between the ages of 6- to 12-years old. Adults can also display symptoms. In fact, roughly 5-percent of Americans are diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood. Even though many are familiar with the term “adult ADHD”, according to research from the Mayo Clinic, patients either displays symptoms in early childhood and continues to show them as an adult, or the patient remains undiagnosed until adulthood even though ADHD symptoms were always present. According to statistics, approximately 60-percent of children with ADHD continue to show symptoms as adults.

    Individuals experience ADHD very differently. Although many of the same symptoms are present, they can manifest in various ways among patients. For instance, while one ADHD patient may have trouble staying focused when experiencing exterior stimulation; other ADHD patients can seem antisocial or totally withdrawn.

    Child or adult, male or female, ADHD patients often display symptoms in the same manner, however, they often struggle with similar difficulties, including:

    • Mood swings
    • Forgetfulness and focus issues
    • Procrastination
    • Issues maintaining personal relationships
    • Anxiety and depression
    • Prone to anger
    • Chronic boredom
    • Low self-esteem
    • Apathy or motivation issues
    • Prone to substance abuse
    • Impulsive behavior

    ADHD symptoms often present and intensify with transitions, such as beginning school or a new job, moving, divorce, death of a loved one, or a job loss.

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  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, patients can experience ADHD symptoms very differently, however, a significant life change often causes the display of early ADHD symptoms. For instance, while children often begin showing signs of ADHD when they start school, adults can show similar issues with focus and impulse control if they experience a major life change, such as the death of a loved one.

    Regardless of age, ADHD occurs in 3 subtypes, according to the American Psychiatric Association:


    The predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subset often fits the societal stereotype of wild, uncontrolled ADHD. However, this disorder subtype only makes up 5-percent of all ADHD patients, most of which are preschool children. Patients that fall under this subset must show a minimum 6 of the following signs for a duration of at least 6-months:

    • Seemingly loud and untameable.
    • Can’t sit still for short periods of time, prone to fidgeting and squirming.
    • Prone to wild, inappropriate behavior (i.e., touching, running, climbing).
    • Unable to play quietly.
    • Talks loudly…and a lot!
    • Interruptive and intrusive to others.
    • Difficulty waiting for his or her turn.
    • Energizer bunny! Never stops!


    This ADHD subtype is often mischaracterized as a daydreamer. Predominantly inattentive ADHD patients are diagnosed after displaying at least 6 of the following symptoms for a period of more than six months:

    • Often careless with or prone to losing personal belongings.
    • Inability to retain details (i.e., times, directions).
    • Trouble focusing for long periods of time.
    • Can’t stay organized.
    • Prone to daydreaming, or listening when spoken to.
    • Difficulty completing tasks and chores at hand.
    • Lack of follow through when given a task with directions.
    • Often seems bored or avoidant of mentally-demanding activities.
    • Distracted…a lot!

    Hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive

    The hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive subset are patients who experience multiple symptoms from both the inattentive and the Hyperactive-impulsive categories. Again, symptoms must present for at least 6-months to make a formal diagnosis. This child or adult may be:

    • Fidget and squirm when asked to sit still for short periods of time.
    • Easily distracted (inattention).
    • Have trouble focusing on a single task.
    • Seem loud and obnoxious.
    • Prone to impulsive and inappropriate behavior.
    • Avoidant of quiet, isolated activities.
    • Display mood swings or be unable to control anger.
    • Behave impulsively.
    • At risk of substance abuse and addictive behaviors.

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  • ADHD is characterized as a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts a patient’s behavior and brain. While ADHD can’t be cured, doctors typically recommend a combination of prescription medication and lifestyle changes to keep behavioral symptoms under control. Keep in mind that ADHD affects every patient differently, so no one treatment works for everyone.

    Here are the most common treatment options for ADHD:


    Cognitive behavioral therapy is often recommended in combination with other ADHD treatments to teach patients to manage their symptoms. Therapy can teach patients techniques for dealing with stress, memory retention, time management skills, anger control, and even improve self image.z

    Stimulant medications

    ADHD stimulants, such as Methylphenidates (i.e., Ritalin, Concerta, and Quillivant), Amphetamines (i.e., Zenzedi, Dexedrine, and ProCentra), and mixed salt single-entity amphetamines (i.e., Mydayis) are prescribed to help manage symptoms while altering the brain to help patients focus better and control impulsive behavior.  These drugs are typically prescribed at low doses in short acting (that work for up to 4-hours) and long acting forms (that work for up to 12-hours) to see how the brain responds, and increased as necessary. Many of these medications come in both short- and long-acting forms. Stimulants of any kind should be taken according to doctor’s orders and never stopped suddenly. Many ADHD stimulants causes side effects, such as headache, dry mouth, and lack of appetite.

    Non-stimulant medications

    If your body doesn’t respond well to stimulant drugs, non-stimulants (i.e., atomoxetine) provide another option. Non-stimulants alter brain chemicals to manage impulse control and hyperactive behavior. Like, stimulants, non-stimulants also often cause side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and headache.

    ADHD support

    Participating in an ADHD support group can help patients with feelings of isolation. Many of these groups offer discussion and activities that focus on improving self esteem while teaching participants anger management, positive social skills, and techniques to deal with impulsive behavior. They may also feature stress management tools, or yoga and meditation to help with anxiety.

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