• Quit somoking

    Giving up smoking takes more than a desire to quit. It takes a solid game plan, and people that have given thought to quitting are going to benefit greatly from things like nicotine patches and gum that can curb the desire for a cigarette. Some people stop smoking simply because of their health while others are encouraged by family members to stop out of health concerns. Here are fives methods to quit smoking for good:

    1. Smoking cessation programs
    Smoking cessation programs are a great way to put things into perspective when it comes to establishing reasons for giving up cigarettes. So many people have that desire for nicotine but listing reasons to stop smoking can reinforce the desire to make a change. In many instances people are conflicted because they have been smoking for so long unconsciously. There are people that smoke cigarettes by the pack and they never think about issues with their health or the large sums of money that they’re spending. When smokers take a conscious approach with smoking cessation programs they can connect with a group. They can get with more people that are going to be able to provide insight on how you can stop smoking.

    2. Nicotine replacement aids
    It should come as no surprise to most people that nicotine is the thing that is driving the addiction. Those that have nicotine cravings are going to find it hard to quit cold turkey. They may need an alternative that provides nicotine without utilizing cigarettes. This is where nicotine patches, lozenges, and nicotine gum come into the picture. These are great products that allow people to get their nicotine needs satisfied in smaller amounts, without smoking a cigarette.

    3. Avoiding other smokers
    It has been said that birds of a feather flock together. This certainly rings true for those that are socializing with other smokers. Someone that is trying to give up smoking is going to have a much harder time when they are constantly part of a social group of smokers. It is much easier to avoid smokers altogether than it is to avoid smoking when in the presence of others that smoke. That is the temptation that smokers should bypass. If they can get away from smokers and the smell of cigarette smoke, they are going to be less likely to think about having a cigarette themselves.

    4. Cutting down gradually
    Sometimes it works well to just cut down the number of cigarettes that are being smoked. This is a small step in the right direction. It is very commendable for those that try to stop smoking cold turkey, but it usually leads to a relapse because it is such a strong move from one direction to another. Those that have found it difficult to simply cut out smoking through discipline should take the small or steps to smoke fewer cigarettes. Smokers that quit smoking with nicotine gum can minimize daily cigarette intake and eventually stop altogether.

    5. Acupuncture
    Acupuncture is an alternative therapy that works by bringing balance and regulation to the natural energy flow within the body. Acupuncture is about aligning inner energy in order to reduce smoking cravings while minimizing nicotine withdrawal naturally. Acupuncture brings calm to the body and mind and ease anxiety and strengthen willpower, while supporting lung health and cleansing nicotine from the body.

    The great thing about giving up smoking is that there are a multitude of options to explore. Nicotine gum works well for many people. Others may avoid the nicotine gum, but they may get with groups where they talk about the reasons that smoking is a bad idea is no longer a viable option. Some people mix and match multiple methods to improve their success rates for quitting.

  • HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is an infection that causes damage to the body’s immune system. This limits the body’s ability to fight other infections and disease. HIV is spread through contact with infected blood and bodily fluids from other individuals that have HIV. HIV can lead to a person developing AIDS. HIV is incurable but there are FDA approved HIV medicine and treatments that can keep HIV from progressing and lessen any impact to a person’s life. 

    Some patients remain asymptomatic until the infection has grown severe, so the following FDA-approved treatments are vital to slow or stop the virus’ spread in the body:

    1. NNRTIs and NRTIs
    Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) and Nucleoside or nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) prevent HIV from replicating and spreading throughout the body. HIV spreads through reverse transcriptase which means that it converts its RNA into DNA (called reverse transcription). NNRTIs/NRTIs block this process, prohibiting replication and avoiding further damage to the body’s immune system.

    2. Integrase inhibitors
    Integrase inhibitors like dolutegravir and raltegravir are HIV treatment medicines that are designed to stop the spread of HIV in the body. Similar to NNRTIs and NRTIs, integrase inhibitors act by blocking HIV integrase, an enzyme required for HIV to complete transcriptase replication.

    3. Protease inhibitors
    Protease inhibitors(PIs) like atazanavir, ritonavir, and darunavir are medicines that are designed to stop the spread of the HIV virus by blocking a specific enzyme that allows for replication. Similar to how integrase inhibitors target HIV integrase, protease inhibitors target the HIV protease enzyme which blocks the ability of the virus to replicate.

    4. Entry or fusion inhibitors
    Entry or fusion inhibitors include drugs such as enfuvirtide and function by blocking HIV enzymes from entering CD4 T lymphocyte cells. HIV enzymes cause damage to the immune system by entering the CD4 T cells and damaging or destroying them. By inhibiting this process, the progression of HIV in the body is slowed or halted outright.

    5. Combination drugs
    A combination drug treatment is a HIV 1 treatment that is developed to include two or more other FDA approved HIV treatments. Often different types of inhibitors, such as integrase and protease inhibitors, are used in conjunction to discourage viral replication. In many cases, a cocktail of drugs including antiretroviral therapy ART is prescribed to achieve the desired effect of keeping the viral load low, stopping the progression of the infection, and reducing the risk that the infection can be spread to others.. HIV is a complex medical condition and the treatment has to be tailored to each individual.

  • Migraines are among the leading causes of health-related problems, especially in American females. A form of primary headache disorder, migraines are often marked by moderate to severe headaches that are pulsating in nature. Symptoms of migraine may include pain on one side of the head; sensitivity to sound, smell and light; nausea, vomiting, and pain that may last between a few hours to 3 days in duration. 

    Migraines are often caused by environmental factors such as noise or bright lights. They can also be the result of underlying health conditions such as hormonal imbalances (i.e., menopause).  However, in some cases migraines may also be triggered by the foods we eat:

    1. Alcohol

    According to data from the American Migraine Association, roughly one-third of migraine sufferers reported alcohol as a migraine trigger. Alcohol can trigger migraines in one of two ways. For example, drinking red wine may trigger a migraine attack within a few hours or it may cause a delayed migraine, due to a hangover. Red wine does contain high levels of nitrates, which are also commonly associated with migraines. 

    2. Chocolate 

    According to other patients, chocolate is a common migraine trigger. Neurologists suggest that chocolate causes migraines due to an amino acid, known as tyramine. However, due to the fact that many women crave chocolate (or sweets) during periods of hormonal imbalance or in times of stress, scientists speculate that these could also play a role. 

    3. Aged cheeses

    While the verdict on cheese and its effect on migraines is still out, many patients have found a correlation between migraine onset and eating certain types of cheese. Aged or ripened cheese such as blue cheese, cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella, aged cheddar, Emmentaler, Stilton, brie, Camembert, and swiss are often reported by patients. 

    If you suffer from migraines and you believe food is the source. Keep a food journal and track your symptoms and frequency of migraines after you eat. Then speak to your doctor. Bring your food journal along to your appointment and consider eliminating the food from your diet to see if you experience a reduction in symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend over the counter or prescription remedies to help manage your migraine pain. Common remedies include Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Excedrin Migraine, and Tylenol Extra Strength. If headaches continue, your primary care physician may order a CT scan or bloodwork to determine an underlying health condition. 

  • The distinction between having the blues and clinical depression is the latter requires psychotherapy and medication. Patients experience the following forms of depression: clinical depression, postpartum depression, bipolar depression, manic depression, dysthymia, and cyclothymia. Risk factors for all types of depression are genetics, and trauma, such as ongoing abuse, relationship or job loss, diagnosis of a chronic disease, or the loss of a loved one. 

    Knowing the early warning symptoms of depression is key to a proper diagnosis:

    1. Insomnia

    The connection between depression and insomnia is not clear. It could be an inability to calm down enough to enter a restful state. Prolonged sleep deprivation contributes to developing diabetes. There is an increased risk of developing hypertension. In turn, high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.

    2. Overeating

    Some people try to manage depression by overeating. Foods high in sugar and fat are mood elevators. Not only are these foods unhealthy, but upon reflection, consuming such foods exacerbates other depression symptoms like guilt and feelings of worthlessness. There are also the potential physical consequences of being overweight, like an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

    3. Guilt

    Guilt can be both a symptom and a cause of depression. Someone with clinical depression may experience delusional guilt. Simply put, delusional guilt is guilt without cause. Depression might be triggered by other forms of guilt, such as:

    • Omnipotent responsibility guilt or feeling responsible for everyone
    • Guilt from feeling like a burden
    • Guilt from self loathing
    • Survivors guilt, or outliving a family member or friend

    Feeling guilty contributes to the lack of self-esteem and sleeplessness that are symptomatic of depression. Besides the emotional consequences, prolonged guilt has physical effects, including head and stomach ache, and stiff muscles. Guilt impairs the body’s ability to heal and ward off infection. There is a causal link between excessive guilt and developing bipolar disorder.

    4. Suicidal thoughts and feelings

    The most serious of the early warning symptoms of depression is suicidal ideation, which can be a momentary thought of committing suicide or an obsession with ending your life. In the later case, the depressed individual is incapable of rational thinking about the consequences of self-destruction to themselves or those they leave behind. Contemplating suicide worsens other symptoms of depression (i.e., shame, guilt, anger, and self-loathing). Thinking or talking about suicide could be a plea for help. Suicidal thoughts should never be dismissed and require immediate professional intervention.

  • Asthma can literally take your breath away. This condition results often when the body is hypersensitive to certain elements like food, dander, pollen, dust mites, weather, and even exercise. The result of exposure to these elements triggers an asthma attack, or the narrowing of the airways. This constriction leads to over production of mucus that leads to wheezing and/ or paroxysm of coughing that just won’t stop, which makes breathing very difficult. 

    Each asthmatic patient is different because their asthma flare-ups are caused by various triggers that the immune system reacts to. Some are more sensitive to certain elements than others (i.e., temperature, foods, etc.). In general, there are often certain foods that can trigger an asthma attack, so it is best to avoid them. Also, always be sure to have your asthma inhaler nearby to relieve any issues from sudden exposure. Consider avoiding the following food items below:

    1. Eggs

    Eggs are one of the well-known allergies causing foods, especially in children. The protein in the eggs are touted for triggering an allergic reaction, which can lead to skin hives or asthma. In fact, eggs are considered so potent that you are advised to delay giving these to babies less than 12 months old.

    2. Cow’s milk

    This calcium rich drink is also known for flaring-up asthma and promoting the production of mucus. The primary culprit is the antibiotics used in raising cows. This is somehow passed on to their milk supply, which you could end up ingesting and reacting to.

    3. Peanuts and tree nuts

    This is one of the most dangerous allergies because it can cause anaphylaxis in many allergic patients. This is a severe constriction of the airways, which can happen in a matter of seconds. This cuts of the air supply in the body leading to death. Those of you who have a peanut allergy must avoid this at all possible cost because your body is highly sensitive to the protein in peanuts. This spells the difference between a Food allergy vs. food intolerance . An allergy can kill you, thus, be sure to read the label of any product you put in your mouth to ensure that it was manufactured in a nut-free facility.

    4. Soy

    Some of you may be severely allergic to soy wherein your body identifies its proteins as harmful, thereby, triggering the production of IgE or immunoglobulin antibodies. Taking in soy can lead to upset stomach, vomiting, loose bowel movements, skin reactions, and difficulty in breathing.

    5. Wheat

    Exposure to wheat can be a nightmare if you have this allergy, as the wheat protein overstimulates your immune system. There are four different types of wheat proteins, namely: globulin, gliadin, albumin, and gluten. This is often confused with Celiac’s disease, a sensitivity to gluten only, which produces a different set of reactions. Having a wheat allergy is difficult as it is found in many ordinary foods you won’t suspect such as ice cream, hotdogs, and soy sauce.  

    6. Shrimp and other shellfish

    Eating these means you are exposing your immune system to a protein often found in shellfish muscles called tropomyosin. If allergic, this may trigger the body to release histamines to attack it. This can lead to a broad range of symptoms from mile to life-threatening such as runny nose, swollen eyes, hives, wheezing, and/or anaphylaxis. Avoid shrimp, lobster, crabs, squid, oysters, scallops, and others who belong to the same family.

    7. Food preservatives

    It is best to avoid processed foods when you have asthma. Food preservatives are known to trigger an asthma attack in allergic patients, especially sulfite additives. Be sure to read the food product labels and look for these possible culprits: potassium bisulfite, sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, and sodium sulfite. These are the ingredients that are commonly utilized when companies process food.

  • People may have episodes of sadness for no reason, or they may become withdrawn and not want to be bothered. these symptoms may go overlooked, and considered a normal part of everyday life. This could also be the onset of depression. Depression can range from mild to severe, and the more severe cases are known as Clinical Depression. Some of the symptoms include feeling sad, tearful, empty, or hopeless, exhibiting angry outbursts, loss of interest in normal things, tiredness, loss of appetite, and anxiety or agitation. 

    There could also be some unexplained aches and pains. Sometimes, mood stabilizing foods will help:

    1. Leafy green veggies

    Dark green leafy vegetables are to start the mood stabilizing foods list for clinical depression. Leafy vegetables are rich in many of the nutrients that help fight inflammation, and they help the body to function properly. This would include spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.

    2. Walnuts 

    Walnuts are rich in the omega 3 fatty acids which are great mind boosting supplements. Walnuts are the richest plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids. The omega 3 supports brain function, and it reduces the symptoms of depression.

    3. Avocados

    The Oleic acids in avocados provides brain power. These can be eaten everyday either whole or in a salad or on a sandwich. They contain this healthy fat that the brain needs to help it run smoothly. One avocado also contains four grams of protein, vitamin K, and different kinds of vitamin B.

    4. Dark berries

    Berries are good to eat, and they are full of antioxidants for cell repair. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and black berries are foods with the highest content of antioxidants available. It has been proven that people who have consumed foods with antioxidants had a lower depression score. Antioxidants are what fixes cells to help prevent many health disorders.

    5. Foods to avoid

    There are also foods that should be avoided if depression is present. These foods can enhance the symptoms which will cause an even higher depression score. Foods to avoid include:

    • Processed foods: and processed oils can impair brain function, and make the symptoms of depression worse. These saturated and refined fats can also trigger inflammation. This includes the fats in red, and processed meats, safflower and corn oil, and the trans fat that is present in some processed foods.
    • Refined foods: like junk foods, and fast foods are not only low in nutrients they are also high in calories. People who consume large quantities of these foods are more at risk of having depression than people who eat more healthy foods. Processed foods that are high in refined carbs and sugars contribute to this high risk of depression.
    • Alcohol: is a beverage that should be avoided by people at risk of being depressed. Alcohol is a proven link to mental health problems. Many people use it as a means of coping with the symptoms of depression, but it can aggravate, and cause new bouts of the disorder. Be sure to see a doctor if you or a loved one is suspected of suffering from depression disorder. Have a lifestyle change by eating healthier, and avoiding foods that may add to the risk of depression.
  • Cancer is a disease where abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy healthy body tissue.

    It is important to note; your doctor will examine several areas carefully before prescribing cancer treatment for you. Your doctor will first go through all your test results to see how risky your cancer is. Then, he or she will review your overall health; your age and other health problems. Once these considerations are finished, you will make a decision on which treatment plan you feel the most comfortable with and the risks involved. To conclude, cancer is a disease where abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy healthy body tissue. Talk with your doctor soon and find out more about cancer treatments.

    For the most part, these are the most common treatments for several types of cancer:

    1. Immunotherapy
    Cancer immunotherapy aims to artificially stimulate the patient’s immune system or provide the necessary immune system proteins required to fight and destroy cancer cells.  These are often referred to as biologic therapy or biotherapy.

    2. Chemotherapy
    Chemotherapy, often referred to simply as chemo, is a drug therapy given either orally or intravenously to stop cancer cell growth, and destroy abnormal cells and prevent them from spreading. Chemotherapy is often prescribed prior to cancer surgery, or after surgery if any cancer cells remain.

    3. Clinical trials
    A cancer patient may be recommended for a clinical trial, which are controlled medical research studies that test the effectiveness of leading edge treatments on cancer patients.

    4. Radiation therapy
    Radiation, or radiotherapy, often treats localized cancers or tumors by directing high-powered rays at the affected area. Radiation may also be implanted directly into the body, near the cancerous tumor.

    5. Cancer surgery
    Surgery to treat cancer is often recommended to patients with localized tumors, meaning they have not yet spread (or metastasized) to other areas of the body. Tumor removal surgery aims to remove the tumor as well as a margin of surrounding healthy tissue. The surgeon may use traditional incisions or a less invasive laparoscopic (using a lighted tube and camera), cryosurgery (using liquid nitrogen), laser (employing high-intensity light), endoscopy (using an endoscope through the mouth), or Mohs micrographic (using a microscope to shave off cancerous skin layers) surgery to remove cancerous tumors.

  • Spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, refers to a non-curable disease that causes the deterioration of nerve cells, impacting the brain to spinal cord signals required for muscle control, function, and overall movement. SMA is most often presents in newborn babies, infants, and young children. While SMA does not affect the brain as far as overall intelligence, it impacts movement with symptoms of uncoordinated movements (i.e., head and neck), swallowing difficulties, muscle weakness and wasting, and an inability to sit, crawl, or walk. SMA can’t be cured, however, with proper treatment, patients may live a full, more comfortable lives.

    SMA is a genetic disease, meaning it’s caused by a broken gene passed on by both parents. So a child must inherit the gene mutation from both parents to develop SMA. However, if he or she only has one broken gene from a single parent, he or she can still be a carrier and pass the disease on to his or her child (if his or her partner has the same broken gene). The type of gene mutation determines the type of SMA present, for instance:

    1. SMA type 1
    SMA type 1 is the most devastating from of the disease. SMA. It often presents with early warning signs in newborns that may include—swallowing issues, uncontrolled or weak arms and legs, and the inability to support the head and neck to sit up without assistance. Small children with type 1 SMA often have severe respiratory difficulties that lead to early fatality (before 2-years old).

    2. SMA type 2
    Chronic infantile SMA, or SMA type 2, mostly impacts infants between the ages of 6- to 18- months of age. Early warning symptoms include:

    • Mild to severe respiratory (breathing) problems
    • Decreased muscle tone (hypotonia)
    • Abnormal muscle contractions (twitching or fasciculations)
    • Decreased reflexes, particularly in the legs
    • Unable to sit, walk, or stand without assistance

    3. SMA type 3
    Also known as juvenile SMA or Kugelberg-Welander disease, type 3 is the mildest form of SMA. This type typically strikes between the ages of 2- to 17-years of age with few symptoms early on. In fact, many patients with SMA type 3 are able to sit, stand, and walk without support. However, they often develop issues later on and eventually require wheelchair assistance.

    4. SMA type 4
    Develops in adulthood. This type of SMA can vary dramatically between patients. For instance, many only experience mild symptoms—including muscle twitches, shortness of breath, and muscle weakness, particularly in the upper arms and legs—throughout life. However, physical therapy and daily exercise can help significantly improve symptoms and overall quality of life so much so that patients may continue to work and lead relatively normal lives.

  • Dubbed the most common type of lung cancer by the American Cancer Association, non-small cell lung cancers (or NSCLC) make up approximately 85% of all lung cancer cases. While cancer is not always preventable, there are certain lifestyle changes we can make to help lower the risk of NSCLC.

    In addition, those diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer can also incorporate certain foods into their diets to help prevent NSCLC from metastasizing (spreading to other tissues and organs in the body). In addition, NSCLC patients may suffer certain negative side effects—nausea, loss of appetite, troubles swallowing or chewing, dry mouth, fatigue, shortness of breath, changes in taste and smell, and fullness after consuming small amounts—associated with their cancer or due to cancer treatment that can be improved by incorporating these simple dietary changes:

    1. Prepare cold meals
    Often, patients with NSCLC experience nausea and indigestion due to the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation (when the treatment area is near the chest or stomach). However, nausea and lack of appetite can be decreased if meals are prepared cold or at room temperature, rather than warm or hot. This is because cooler meals not only give off less offensive odors, they are also more easily digested.

    2. Seek help
    During cancer treatment, patients are too often lacking appetite as well as the energy to prepare meals. So don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family when it comes to meal preparation and grocery shopping.

    3. Supplement where necessary
    When the body develops cancerous tissue, and even during cancer treatment, patients can experience several vitamin and mineral deficiencies, especially if appetite decreases, lack of nutrition can be supplemented by taking fish oils, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin Bs, and other supplemental nutrients meant to aid cancer recovery.

    4. Eat more healthy fats
    Overall caloric deficiencies can occur with appetite loss and several side effects of cancer treatment, which is why it’s important to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to the foods you eat. So focus on healthy fat foods to increase calories and energy levels—including cheese, milk, nuts and nut butters, plant-based oils, avocados, and fatty fish.

    5. Consume frequent, small meals
    NSCLC, like many other types of cancer, can impact a patient’s appetite. The idea of consuming a large lunch or dinner when you’re experiencing mouth soreness and nausea is unrealistic, which is why you may benefit from eating more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day to increase both calories and energy. Instead of 3 meals that fill you up and make you feel uncomfortable, aim for 6 to 8 snack-sized meals. And focus on healthy fats and plenty of protein when you’re feeling an appetite coming on.