Category Archives for "Health Conditions"

6 Common Misconceptions About Oral Health

Dental health is more than just having white teeth! There are other factors beyond just having pearly whites that you need to take into consideration if you really want to achieve truly superior oral health. To enlighten you more, here are six common misconceptions about dental health and the real truth behind them.

It’s best if You Brush Your Teeth After Eating…

A study was conducted where a group of volunteers were observed for three weeks as researchers examined the impact of brushing on their teeth after they drank diet soda. In this study, the scientists found an increase in dentin loss when brushing in the 20 minutes after drinking soda. However, there was considerably less wear when brushing took place 30 or 60 minutes afterward.

man-brushing-his-teeth

Contrary to popular belief, brushing your teeth immediately after eating is not good for the enamel of your teeth. Your human nature would tell you to grab your toothbrush and scrub away at your teeth straight after a meal to get rid of any food particles. However, modern studies have proven that brushing right after eating not only gives you a weird taste in your mouth; it can also be detrimental to your overall dental health.

Research shows that brushing too soon after eating, especially with meals that are partnered with acidic drinks, can do more harm than good. Acid attacks the teeth, eroding enamel and the layer below it, called dentin. By brushing, you could actually push the acid deeper into the enamel and the dentin.

Whiter Teeth are Healthier Teeth…

Perhaps the most common myth is that having whiter teeth means that your teeth are healthy. Your teeth may be white, but this cannot show if there is an infection or cavities between the teeth. Pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, although they should be on the whiter side. The natural color of teeth varies from one person to another where people with healthy teeth could have more yellowish teeth than the next person.

woman-brushing-white-teeth

Your teeth also yellow with age, but that doesn’t mean they’re not healthy. On the contrary, ultra white teeth could be bad. It can mean your teeth have excessive fluorides or hypocalcified spots that denote calcium deficiency.

What’s important is the pinkness of your gums: Healthy gums should look pink and firm, not red and swollen. To keep gums healthy, practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash once or twice a day, see your dentist regularly, and avoid smoking or chewing tobacco.

You only need the dentist when the tooth aches…

Usually, people only go to see the dentist when they have toothaches, and by this time, the problem is almost severe. Do not have that mentality of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it applied on your dental health. Have your teeth checked up regularly because you won’t know if you have a dental health problem unless a dentist checks it. You’ll save yourself more dollars and, of course, your teeth if you keep yourself regularly checked.

woman-getting-her-teeth-checked

Experts recommend that adults should be called for dental check-ups, depending on risk factors including alcohol, tobacco use and diet. It is recommended to go to a dentist every three months for those most at risk of dental problems and every two years for those with the lowest risk.

It’s wise to visit your dental team regularly even if you are not experiencing any problems with your mouth or teeth. Having check-ups regularly helps you and your dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist keep your teeth and gums healthy and pain-free. They understand your needs and can recommend how often you should visit them back based on their assessments.

Regular dental check-ups should also be practiced all the more when you already have dentures. You can have the best dentures from Anchorage Dentures or Instant Smile premium dentures, but you still need them checked frequently for overall dental health.

Bleaching is Dangerous for your Teeth…

Before, people have claimed that bleaching their teeth developed several oral problems. However, bleaching has been mastered by dentists for years now, and it’s not any more dangerous to your dental health.

Bleaching is one of the most used dental aesthetics services in recent years with the new technology allowing patients to get whiter smiles faster and safer. Prior to 90’s, the acidic raw materials has been used to bleach teeth, causing unnatural enamel break down, but now, these bleaching materials are PH neutral and do not show damage to the enamel or root of the tooth with its use.

When you are bleaching your teeth, you are simply oxidizing your teeth using carbamide peroxide so that light refracts more favorably off the enamel. What can be dangerous are aggressively high concentrations of whitening gels that can traumatize or shock the tooth. Prolonged use of bleaching could cause sensitivity, but once one ceases to use the trays, the pain should go away.

Sugar is the killer of teeth…

Excessive sugar can be bad for your teeth. However, it’s not actually the sugar that is hurting them. Bacteria in the mouth needs processed sugar to survive, but if you don’t consume sugar and have poor oral hygiene habits, you can still be prone to the same decay. Conversely, if you eat a lot of processed sugars you are more likely to incur a certain amount of tooth decay, but with proper dental hygiene you, won’t get them.

sugar-cube

Several species of oral bacteria feed on carbohydrates and produce acid as a by-product through a process of simple fermentation. These bacteria live on the teeth in a biofilm called plaque. The acid slowly eats away at the tooth enamel, a thin layer of calcium that covers the tooth.

Basically, the human tooth is in a constant state of mineralization and demineralization. Saliva helps neutralize acid from food to keep demineralization at a minimum. However, if the region gets too acidic, then demineralization takes over and rot sets in.

Nevertheless, maintaining oral hygiene through brushing and flossing regularly can clear away food residue and starve the bacteria, keeping its growth in check. In the absence of brushing, the carbohydrates that linger the longest can cause the most damage.

Overall, the true cause of tooth decay is the combination of bacteria, sugar, and acid. Your gums can get irritated if sugar gets caught in between your teeth. It is important to brush or rinse after eating, especially after sweets, to get rid of the sugars and acids that can damage the enamel.

Flossing is optional…

Flossing is an extra step many people tend to skip after brushing our teeth but this can lead to the buildup of bacteria. If someone doesn’t floss, he or she is not cleaning almost 33% of their tooth surfaces that regular brushing can’t reach.

flossing

Brushing alone cannot clean the whole area around a tooth when there is another tooth beside it. Flossing completes tooth brushing by removing dental plaque and food debris remaining in the inter-proximal region (the area that is between two teeth). That region is a place where tooth decay commonly forms.

Also, if dental plaque that is found between teeth is not cleaned, it can eventually release a bad odor from your mouth. This is a major reason why a person may suffer from bad breath (halitosis). Tooth decay and gum disease, also caused by dental plaque, are a source of a bad smell in the mouth as well.

How Much Do You Really Know About Leukemia?

“Love is like a wind, you can’t see but you can feel it.” – A Walk to Remember, 2002

Whatever it is that you are doing before reading this article, try to stop and think. Take a breather. Your business proposals and sales records from Quickbooks Online can wait for 5 minutes.

Even after years of not encountering the words that made you feel fear, anger and bliss all at the same time, everything is coming back right now. You just simply begin to remind yourself of the emotions you once had for the love story of Landon and Jaime.

landonjaime

Your brain and heart start recalling how much A Walk to Remember touched your life in any way that maybe up to this moment you cannot comprehend. You feel again your deep connection with both the book and the film adaptation.

You remember the day they went to two places at once. You remember the butterfly tattoo.

You remember how they got married on the church where Jaime’s parents exchanged vows.

You remember the leukemia.

The illness has become the exclamation point of this beloved love story. You cannot deny how much leukemia changed the lives of the two protagonists.

At the back of your mind, you pray that it does not change your life, too.

Learn more about the nature of leukemia, and find out you address or mitigate the terminal disease before it change your life forever.

What is Leukemia?

Mostly found in the bone marrow, blood cells can either be red blood cells or white blood cells. The red blood cells serve as the carrier of oxygen to and from your heart, while the function of the white blood cells is to protect your body to alien organisms. In other words, they fight infections in your body.

leukemia

The problem with leukemia is that your bone marrow does not produce white blood cells that follow their supposed nature. Instead, your body produces abnormal number of white blood cells. In this light, cancer cells form and replace the healthy blood cells in your bone marrow.

Basically, leukemia (or leukaemia) is cancer of the blood cells. It is a progressive disease in which the organs and other tissues that produce blood, like the bone marrow, create a higher quantity of abnormal or immature leukocytes. This event may lead to anemia since the presence of leukocytes blocks out the production of normal, healthier blood cells.

Despite the massive advancement of medical technologies, the exact reasons or causes behind leukemia still unknown to mankind. However, this does not mean that researchers and scientists are not doing anything to determine the causes.

According to current studies, the researchers and scientists link the roots of leukemia with genetic and environmental factors.

red blood cells

With regard to genetic factors, there are cases wherein the changes in the genes can be passed to an offspring, and this can be a major factor for children to develop blood cancer cells early on. One good example is the Li-Fraumeni syndrome. It is a way of inheriting tumor suppressor genes which can activate the leukemia cells.

Considering the environmental factors, mutations in the DNA can result to cancer cells. The basis for the mutation, however, is still unknown. In addition, cancer may come up when there is a chromosome translocation, resulting to the birth of cancer-promoting genes. Unfortunately, the change in chromosome just happens randomly at your body without even knowing about it.

What Are The Symptoms Of Leukemia?

Check the following list, in case that you are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  •         You have a fever
  •         You experience excessive sweating especially at night
  •         You always feel weak and highly fatigued
  •         You lose weight despite any dietary routines
  •         You have swollen lymph nodes
  •         You can easily bleed and bruise
  •         You experience bone and joint pains
  •         You see red spots all over your skin
  •         You experience recurring nose bleeds

The symptoms list is just a guide, they do not intend to scare you. You just need to look after yourself and take note if the said symptoms are always happening. If that is the case, seek for medical advice from your doctor to verify your condition.

Then again, do not diagnose yourself and immediately call your condition as cancer just because you experience everything listed. It might be a different case. It is still advisable to have a formal check up with your doctor.

What Are The Types Of Leukemia?                       

Leukemia has four major types: acute lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and chronic myelogenous leukemia.

  1.   Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia – this type of leukemia is the most common type that can be found on children. However, it does not mean that adults cannot be diagnosed with this type.

Your bone marrow is producing too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells, for your body. If you have this type of leukemia, then you have immature lymphoid cells that can grow rapidly in your blood.

normalvsleukemia

  1.   Acute Myelogenous Leukemia – unlike with the previous type, the second type of leukemia is common for both children and adults. The rapid growth of your myeloid cells is the center of this type of leukemia.

In other words, your bone marrow is producing abnormal myoblasts, red blood cells, or platelets. If you are smoking, undergone chemotherapy treatments and exposure to radiation, then you have a higher risk on this type of leukemia.

  1.   Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia – this type of leukemia normally affects people from 55 five years old and above. In this type, the growth of the cancer cells is slower compared to the first two types.

Your body is producing too many blood stem cells which become the abnormal lymphocytes. They do not transform into healthy white blood cells. They also overthrow healthy white blood cells in your bone marrow.

  1.   Chronic Myeloid Leukemia – this type of leukemia has the same characteristic with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. It also attacks adults, but it rarely happens to children.

The said type of leukemia is also an example of a slow progressing blood cancer. Your bone marrow is producing an abnormal number of blood stem cells. They eventually become granulocytes. Granulocytes are abnormal white blood cells that occupy the spaces for healthy white blood cells in the bone marrow.

In addition to this, there are three minor types of leukemia.

  1.   Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia – it is an example of a chronic leukemia. This type of leukemia normally attacks four-year olds and younger.
  2.   T-cell Prolymphocytic Leukemia – this type of leukemia is an example of mature T-cell leukemia. T-cells are subtype of white blood cells. It has an aggressive behavior, and it normally attacks the bone marrow, blood, lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and sometimes, the skin.
  3.   Hairy Cell Leukemia – this type of leukemia is a subtype of chronic lymphoid leukemia. It is also an example of tumor that can be differentiated through its accumulation of abnormal B lymphocytes.

Learning and putting into heart the knowledge about leukemia does not mean that you are now immune to the ailment. Gaining the knowledge is just the first step towards a better understanding of the disease.

If you or your loved ones leukemia, knowing more can help you address the terminal disease as early as possible. Consequently, it is now all up to you on how you are going to act up on a disease that can change your life forever.

“I’m sorry she never got her miracle.”

“She did get her miracle, Landon, her miracle was you.”

Allergy Season is Here

girl sneezing seasonal allergies

A friend called me for advice about her daughter’s, Kim’s allergies. With spring soccer in full swing and pollen counts soaring, games and practice sessions on fields of freshly cut grass, in parks surrounded by flowering plants and trees meant sneezing, watery, itching eyes and often triggered Kim’s underlying asthma.

Even people who don’t have asthma can find this time of year challenging. They many start to sneeze suddenly, have a runny nose, a scratchy feeling in the back of their throat, or feel that there’s something irritating in their eyes.

What you can do

Whether you’re reaching for the tissue box or scanning the pharmacy for a good over the counter medication, I have some tips for recognizing the signs of seasonal allergies and strategies for keeping your allergy symptoms at bay.

Why allergies cause symptoms

Pollen, mold, dust, dander from a dog or cat, bee stings and some foods contain small particles, known as allergens, that bother some people and not others. In the case of allergies, the body’s immune system perceives the allergens as foreign objects and tries to protect itself by releasing histamine and other inflammatory substances. The histamine causes swelling in the nasal passages, throat and airway, leading to many of the symptoms.

 

pollen for NB DD

 

A little may be ok, a lot: Not so much

With allergies, many people find that they don’t react until they’ve been exposed to the same substance repeatedly and then all of a sudden, their bodies, say enough is enough. Others find that they can tolerate 1 small shrimp, but not a plate full. Everyone is different, so it’s important to recognize what your individual thresholds are for exposure.

Like Kim, many kids can play soccer on freshly cut grass in the fall, but once the spring pollen counts go up, their symptoms increase. For kids and adults with asthma and other lung and pulmonary issues, seasonal allergies can make their asthma worse, leading to more wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Seasonal Allergy symptoms

People with seasonal allergies find that their symptoms increase when pollen counts increase:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Congested nose and sinuses
  • Itchy eyes
  • Scratchy, irritated throat
  • Dry cough
  • Itching in the ears, nose or mouth

Persistent symptoms

If your symptoms persist throughout the year or seem to be triggered when you’re indoors, with pets or in other situations, you may have allergies to other things. Anytime your symptoms are severe and long lasting, do talk to your health care provider.

Preventing Allergies

  • Preventing and minimizing exposure to pollens
  • Staying indoors with air conditioning or keeping doors and windows closed
  • Using a HEPA filter
  • Wear sunglasses to keep allergens away from your eyes
  • Wiping down surfaces that may be covered with pollen
  • If you’re outside, change your clothes, shower and wash your hair when you come indoors
  • Saline nose and eye drops can help wash away pollen

If you’re prone to allergies

Be prepared with a few items to take along when you go outdoors this spring:

  • Keep a few cold, wet wash cloths in a ziplock bag in a cooler to soothe, cool and wash off your face if you start having allergy symptoms
  • Ice packs also work well to decrease swelling
  • Take along some over the counter medications that work

Allergy medications 

These over the counter medications work against histamine and may cause some drowsiness.

Alavert & Claritin – Loratadine

Allegra – Fexofenadine

Clarinex – Desloratadine

Zyrtec – Cetirizine

These over the counter medications also work against histamine and are very likely to cause drowsiness:

Benadryl – Diphenhydramine

Chlor-Trimeton – Chlorpheniramine

Dimetapp Allergy – Brompheniramine

Tavist – Clemastine

Have fun this spring and be prepared.

Disclosure: I do not have any financial or other relationship with any of the products mentioned.

Zika, Chikungunya & Dengue

Dengue, zika and chikungunya fever mosquito (aedes aegypti) on human skin

This little guy here, the Aedes Aegypti is responsible for Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue fever.

This mosquito is most active and likely to bit during the day, in the first few hours after sunrise and before sunset.

With the current worry about Zika virus and it’s possible association with microcephaly in newborns, it’s a good time to review the differences in these illnesses, Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue, all caused by viruses transmitted by a mosquito bite.

Zika

 

zika 3

Most people have no symptoms and don’t know they’ve been infected. Their symptoms may be mild.

Symptoms of Zika

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint Pain
  • Conjunctivitis or red eyes
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches

According to the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, Zika may be associated with microcephaly and other serious complications for newborn babies. I emphasize the words “may be” associated as this is being actively studied right now.

For people who live in areas where Zika is prevalent, here’s what you can do to protect yourself. First and foremost: Avoid getting bitten by mosquitos, by:

  • Wearing long sleeve protective clothing
  • Keep doors closed or stay in areas where there are screens or air conditioning
  • Use insect repellant
  • Stay away from standing water where these mosquitos breed
  • Here’s more information for pregnant women who are concerned about the risks of Zika.

Chikungunya

 

Painful joints human anatomy concept with the body as a group of circular panels of sore areas as a pain and injury or arthritis illness symbol for health care and medical symptoms due to aging or sports and work injury.

Many more people in the US have been exposed to the Chikungunya virus than Zika or Dengue Fever and is also transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Recently, I was working in Honduras and cared for many children who had recently recovered from Chikungunya. Luckily, they have all completely recovered.

With Chikungunya, the most serious long-term effect is that a few people may have persistent joint pain for many months after recovering from the fever and other symptoms.

There have been less than 700 cases reported in the US. Symptoms of Chikungunya usually begin 3-7 days after being bitten and most people feel better after 1 week.

  • Fever
  • Severe joint pian
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Swollen Joints
  • Rash

Dengue Fever

 

Dengue Rash from Nurse Barb

 

This is also transmitted by the same Aedes Aegypti mosquito as Zika and Chikungunya. Though the 100-200 cases in the US are thought to be from people who acquired it while traveling, Dengue fever, is and has been a significant concern for people in Puerto Rico and other tropical areas

Symptoms of Dengue Fever begin within 3 to 14 days of being bitten.

  • High fever plus at least 2 of the following symptoms:
  • Severe headache
  • Severe pain behind the eyes
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain

A few cases of Dengue fever may progress to Dengue Hemorrhagic fever, which can be life-threatening. If you or someone you know has these symptoms, please see a health care provider immediately.

This list is from the Centers for Disease Control:

  • Severe abdominal pain or persistent vomiting
  • Red spots or patches on the skin
  • Bleeding from nose or gums
  • Vomiting blood
  • Black, tarry stools (feces, excrement)
  • Drowsiness or irritability
  • Pale, cold, or clammy skin
  • Difficulty breathing

Prevention is the key for all of these and other illnesses transmitted by mosquitos. Here’s a recap of prevention strategies:

o   Wearing long sleeve protective clothing

o   Keep doors closed or stay in areas where there are screens or air conditioning

o   Use insect repellant

o   Stay away from standing water where these mosquitos breed

Source: Nursebarb.com

Light Therapy or Talk Therapy for SAD

It’s that time of year again in the northern hemisphere – talk about seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

What is SAD? Much of how we feel comes from the amount of daylight we experience, experts believe. So in the fall, as daylight hours shorten and night hours are longer, we see less sunlight. Some people go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. There may be days when they only see sunlight through their office window – if they have one. It’s believed that in some people, this lack of sunlight causes SAD. And one remedy for this is to use light therapy – exposure to special lights of specific wavelengths to combat the lack of natural light.

 

SAD lights are commercially available in various shapes and forms, from large standing ones to portable folding ones, usually promoted as great for travel or to bring to your office. But do they work? A new (small) study published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry shows that while the lights may be helpful, they may not be as effective over the long-term in battling SAD as “talk therapy,” or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

The light therapy works, the researchers agree, but the problem behind using light therapy is the need for continuous use for it to be effective. Users need to use the light every day for a set number of minutes per day, and if they stop, their SAD symptoms reappear or worsen. The researchers also point out that there can be problems with ensuring that the light therapy is always available. People may not be able to purchase portable units or be in environments where they can use lights. Talk therapy, on the other hand, doesn’t require special equipment or adaptation.

The study looked at 177 people with SAD over the course of two winters. The group was  divided into light therapy and CBT subgroups. By the end of the second winter, more people who used light therapy experienced a return of their SAD symptoms than did those who used CBT. But, only 30% of the light therapy group were still using their lights that second winter.

“Light therapy is a palliative treatment, like blood pressure medication, that requires you to keep using the treatment for it to be effective,” lead author Kelly Rohan said in a news release. “Adhering to the light therapy prescription upon waking for 30 minutes to an hour every day for up to five months in dark states can be burdensome,” she said.

Light therapy does work for many people, but it must be used consistently. If that isn’t possible, perhaps CBT is the better option.