Previous month:
May 2013
Next month:
July 2013

June 2013

Arthritis Treatment: Psoriatic Arthritis - Background and Finally Getting Some Respect

Arthritis Treatment: Psoriatic Arthritis - Background and Finally Getting Some Respect

Arthritis Treatment: Psoriatic Arthritis - Background and Finally Getting Some Respect
By Nathan Wei

One common form of arthritis that has been relatively ignored until recently is psoriatic arthritis. It is a systemic inflammatory destructive form of arthritis that is perhaps second only to rheumatoid arthritis in its ability to cause disability.

It is often described as a mixed disease since unlike rheumatoid arthritis which is purely a destructive breakdown disease that causes bone loss, joint erosions, and joint destruction, psoriatic arthritis (PA), also causes new bone formation.

The types of systemic features that accompany this condition are also unique in that inflammatory bowel disease, eye inflammation (uveitis), and psoriasis tend to accompany this type of arthritis.

Another unique feature of the disease is the presence of enthesopathy, a localized inflammation at the site where the tendons attach to bone. Areas where this commonly occurs are the Achilles tendon, lateral epicondyle of the elbow, iliac crest, patellar tendon of the knee, plantar fascia of the heel, and the lateral hip.

In addition, PA often presents with a peculiar condition called dactylitis. This occurs when the joints and tendon of a single digit or a few digits become acutely inflamed. This presentation is a hallmark of the disease.

Patients with PA also have co-morbid conditions that can affect the disease. Examples include, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, elevated lipids, and heart disease.

Treatments for psoriatic arthritis are not nearly as agreed upon as those for rheumatoid arthritis.

While non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSIADS) may be useful for early symptomatic relief, they are ineffective in regards to slowing disease progression.

Second line drugs, called disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS), while often used in a similar fashion to the way they're used in rheumatoid arthritis, are not nearly as effective. For example, the DMARD of choice in rheumatoid arthritis is methotrexate. While this drug works in some cases of psoriatic arthritis, its results are not as predictable. Also, it appears that patients with this condition may be at more risk for liver toxicity due to methotrexate.

Plaquenil, another DMARD that is used for RA, rarely is effective for the disease.

Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), has been used with some success but again, the results are not as predictable or dependable.

The only group of medicines that appears to work well for psoriatic arthritis in a predicable fashion are the TNF inhibitors. There is some debate that certain TNF inhibitors work better for the skin than others. This is the subject of continued investigation.

Other biologic treatments are in the pipeline.

Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR is a rheumatologist and Director of the Arthritis Treatment Center He is a former Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and consultant to the National Institutes of Health. For more info:

Article Source:

Frozen Berries Recalled Due To Hepatitis Concerns



Scenic Fruit Company in Gresham, Oregon is recalling 61,092 eight ounce bags of Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels, the US Food and Drug Administration reports. According to health officials, the recall is voluntary and is based on concerns the kernels may have been contaminated with Hepatitis A.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA are currently investigating a multistate outbreak of Hepatitis A wherein 127 people in 8 states have become ill after eating "Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend". Thus far, 55 people have been hospitalized after eating the frozen berries.

The states with the confirmed cases of Hepatitis A illness are Hawaii, California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Wisconsin.

According to the CDC, this hepatitis strain is commonly found in the Middle East and Northern Africa but rarely seen in the United States.

The pomegranates voluntarily recalled by Scenic Fruit Company were imported from Turkey and shipped from February 2013 through May 2013 to distribution centers in the following states:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhose Island
  • Texas
  • Washington

According to the recall, while no illnesses have been reported in the Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels, Scenic Fruit Company decided on the recall due to an "abundance of caution in response to an ongoing outbreak investigation by the FDA and CDC."

Hepatitis A is a particularly troubling illness which is usually transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food or drink as a result of an infected person who does not practice good hygiene when preparing food.

The hepatitis A virus is harmful to the liver and ilness can last from weeks to several months. Some tell-tale signs of infection include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice and dark stool. According to the FDA, in rare cases Hepatitis A infection can cause liver failure in persons whose immune system is already compromised or have a severe pre-existing illness.

The agency also advises consumers who have the product not consume it and immediately dispose of it.

The CDC recommends a Hepatitis A vaccine for children beginning at 1 year of age, as well as for persons traveling abroad and other at risk populations. 

For more information about the recall, you may visit the CDC's website. Readers can also keep up to date with the status of the recall by visiting; you can access their website via the widget installed on the sidebar of Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM).


 *** Like us on Facebook!!***

I'm living fit, healthy and happy(SM). Are you?


Article Sources

Scenic Fruit Company Recalls Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels Due To Possible Health Risk

Multistate outbreak of Hepatitis A infections associated with “Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend” frozen berry and pomegranate mix

Hepatitis A


"Frozen Berries Recalled Due To Hepatitis Concerns" copyright 2013 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.



Simple Ways to Help Prevent Osteoporosis

Simple Ways to Help Prevent Osteoporosis

Simple Ways to Help Prevent Osteoporosis
By Shelley Webb

Simply put, Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease that tends to make bones less dense and therefore weaker and more susceptible to fractures. Calcium is what we generally think of when it comes to bone health but recent research has shown that isoflavones, which are found in soy foods, may also be important.

Osteoporosis is particularly seen in post menopausal women but can occur in men and with other causes such as cancer treatments.

Surprisingly, or maybe not, osteoporosis was seldom seen less than 100 years ago. So it would appear that our environment and especially our diet habits are what is affecting the prevalence of osteoporosis.

Here are some ways to help prevent osteoporosis and to keep your bones in good condition.

1. Optimize levels of Vitamin D
You need vitamin D in order to absorb calcium properly, which is why it is often a component of a calcium supplement, but sun exposure is a good way to get the optimal amount, as well. Early morning hours are best because the sun's rays are less intense. Keep in mind that sunscreen blocks out up to 90% of the ability to produce vitamin D, so if skin cancer is a concern, a supplement may be best.

2. Stop smoking.

3. Decrease foods that are processed.
Breads, sugars and other processed foods should be eaten in moderation. Limit the use of soybean, corn and canola oils (these have omega 6 fatty acids rather than the better omega 3 fatty acids).

4. Increase your intake of foods that contain Omega 3 fatty acids.
This includes fish like salmon and sardines. (3 ounces of sardines also has slightly more calcium as one cup of milk - but seriously, who wants to eat that many sardines?) Nuts, olives, olive oil, fish oil and avocados are also good sources.

5. Increase your vitamin K intake.
Spinach, collard greens, and other green leafy vegetables are good sources for this vitamin.

Other fresh veggies to include as part of a healthy bone diet are tomatoes, cucumbers, bok choy, kale, chinese cabbage and garlic, parsley and green onions.

6. Raw white onions have high levels of famma-glutamyl peptides that have been shown to increase bone density.

7. In PRE-menopausal women, it's a good idea to avoid gluten - which is found in wheat, oats, barley and rye.

Overall - adopting a low glycemic index diet is a good way to include many healthy food items.

8. In POST menopausal women, don't overdo the calcium supplements.
Do not take calcium carbonate; a better choice would be calcium citrate or calcium hydroxyapaptite because they are absorbed more readily. Excess calcium can cause kidney or gallbladder stones and can interfere with the absorption of other important elements.

The supplement should be taken on an empty stomach and only 500mg at a time. (1000-1200 mg per day is the recommended dosage for menopausal women.)

9. Cut down on the acid reducers, as well.
Over the counter medications like Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, tagamet, etc. are recommended for a 6-8 week course only! When used long-term, they inhibit the absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc which are all vital for good bone health.

10. Opt for less Pop
Carbonated beverages leach calcium from the bones and it is then discarded in your urine. They contain phosphates which like to bind with calcium and thus increases calcium loss.

11. Caffeine is another big culprit when it comes to decreasing the calcium in your bones.
Don't over-consume.

12. Reduce stress.
Stress increases cortisol levels which can cause bone loss when the levels remain elevated for extended periods of time. Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, massage (don't we all love a good massage?), prayer, enough sleep, VACATIONS and support groups are good ways to decrease stress levels.

13. Exercise
Strength training and resisitance baed exercise such as walking, bicycling, weight lifting (and I'm going to add ballet) as little as 15-30 minutes a day can aid in bone health. Move it! Move it! Move it!

14. Have your hormone levels checked.
It's a good idea to know whether or not you are deficient in any or your hormone levels because a deficiency can be a risk for bone density loss. There may be more ways to combat a hormone deficiency than just by hormone replacement therapy.

Remember, it's never too early or too late to begin practicing ways to maintain healthy bones.

Shelley Webb has been a registered nurse for almost 30 years, with experience in the fields of neonatal intensive care, dialysis, case management and elder care. When her father came to live with her in 2005, the advantages of her medical experience became clear. Due to his dementia and congestive heart failure, her father was not able to care for himself alone any longer and so she took over these duties.

Having experienced the helplessness, frustration, overwhelm and even loneliness that caregiving for an aging parent brings, Shelley is well aware of the emotional and educational support that caregivers need and so she began The Intentional Caregiver web site. With its weekly newsletter, daily news updates and monthly audio interviews of experts in elder care and supporting services, Shelley strives to encourage and educate caregivers so that they can be empowered to provide the best possible care for themselves while caring for their aging loved one(s).

In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, raising chickens, ballet classes and wine tasting.

Please see:

Article Source:

That Last Bit of Body Fat Could Actually Be Water Retention!

That Last Bit of Body Fat Could Actually Be Water Retention!

That Last Bit of Body Fat Could Actually Be Water Retention!
By Rusty Moore

Water Retention Might Be Stopping You From Looking Defined

What you think is a bit of fat could very well be water. If you are at a low body fat level and your body is really lean on certain body parts and not as lean looking in other places, you will want to read this! The fact is that your body tends to hold water under your skin unless you take certain precautions. This is called subcutaneous water and it is your enemy if you want to look ripped!

What Causes Water to Get Stored Under The Skin?

Your body stores water just like it stores fat. It is obviously an important part of staying alive as is body fat. Subcutaneous water is what we want to minimize and is caused by a couple of things. When you have too much sodium in your system, water binds to that sodium and causes this water retention. The more excess sodium in your system, the more likely it is that you will have this type of water layer under your skin.

Does Your Sweat Taste Salty?

In simple terms, subcutaneous water is cause by salt trapped under the skin. When you sweat, you excrete water along with the sodium under your skin. If you sweat and it has a salty taste to it, odds are that you have too much sodium trapped under your skin and you have a decent amount of water retention. The good news is that once you minimize this excess water, you will look much more defined.

How to Get Rid of This Excess Water

You would think that the best way to get rid of this problem would be to drink less water and eliminate sodium from your diet. This is not a good approach. You want to limit your sodium intake to a healthy level and you actually want to drink MORE water not less! This actually causes your body to release more water through urination, so a lot of that sodium gets washed away in the process. If you drink enough water, you will greatly reduce water retention. The nice thing is that your skin will look better as a result.

Sweating is a Great Technique to Rid The Body of Excess Sodium

If you want to minimize that excess water for an event like going to the beach the following day, here is a great strategy. Begin your morning by drinking a bunch of water. Keep drinking water throughout the day. In the afternoon go to the gym for a light workout, but be prepared to hit the cardio hard. Work up a sweat with intense cardio and make sure you sip on water throughout the cardio session. Keep sweating until your sweat no longer tastes salty. If it still tastes salty after your cardio session, hit a sauna and bring a bottle of water, or take breaks to drink water out of a fountain. Sweat until that sweat is just pure water. After your workout, minimize your sodium intake and keep drinking water until bed time. You will look amazing the following water retention!

Rusty Moore is a trainer who gives advice to men and women who want a body that has "The Hollywood Look". Download his FREE 56 page report... Vacation Body Blueprint. Get the slim & toned physique like Cam Gigandet, Brad Pitt, Jessica Biel, or Penelope Cruz. Click here to see the video and download the Free Report ---->

Article Source:!&id=886933

The Best Workout for Women

The Best Workout for Women

The Best Workout for Women
By Callie Durbrow

Many women are afraid to engage in a workout routine that continues past a regular cardio workout. What they fail to realize is that although cardio burns calories, weight training helps to trim and sculpt your new body. It is vital that both of these things meet and create balance.

There are numerous body weight workouts for women that include weight training and integrate it into a well-balanced workout. With the addition of cardio, this can assist women in changing their lifestyle, weight, BMI, and attitude. I am a fitness and weight loss expert based in Cambridge, Massachusetts with Durbrow Performance Personal Training, and I have some great ideas on how to engage your body in a new method of training that will make a huge difference that you can see and feel.

Push ups - Push ups are a great way to get your body in tune and fit as a fiddle! Can't handle a full pushup yet? Try doing a pushup on your knees. Another great way to engage your body in a pushup is doing it on top of a yoga ball. The basic pushup is as follows - lay on your stomach on the ground. Your hands should be a little in front of you and on the floor palm down. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Push up from the ground using your back. Repeat. When you go down, don't let your body touch the ground - only allow it to hover over before pushing back up to the top of the your length.

Pull ups - Pull ups can be a scary proposition in most body weight workouts for women. Usually, a pull up is when you hang from a bar that is off of the ground. You cannot touch the floor. You must pull yourself up only by your arm muscles to make your face meet the bar. Then, lower yourself down without touching the floor. Repeat. Here is an alternate option. Hang a strap from a pull up bar so that it hangs down. Lower yourself below the strap and pull up so that your arms are by your sides. This is the opposite of a pull up but works the same muscles. It allows you to build up your strength before you get to the real thing.

Squat jumps - Bend your legs so that you're in a squat position with your feet shoulder width apart. Leap into the air and when you land, bend your knees. Repeat as far as you can go. This is similar to playing Leapfrog, but you won't remember hurting this much when you played leap frog as a kid! Tons of fun and great for your glutes.

Walking lunges - Use barbells that are about 15 pounds to start. Hold one in each hand. Put your right leg out in front of you and bend both legs until your right knee almost touches the ground. Then come back to a standing position. Switch legs. Go as far as you can!

Boxing - boxing is easy, fun, and can help you get out any aggression you might be holding onto! Put on some boxing gloves, find a boxing bag, and go to town! Make sure to hit with your knuckles to cause as little damage as possible to your hand. Let that invisible opponent have it!

Callie Durbrow is a strength coach and personal trainer in Boston, Massachusetts. She currently trains clients to lose body fat, gain strength, and challenge their bodies with each session. Her training style is a combination of conventional strength work, modified strongman training, and overall conditioning, as well as body weight workouts for women. Visit her at to find out more about personal training and small group training.

Article Source:

Treating a Pulled Hamstring With Specialized Massage

Treating a Pulled Hamstring With Specialized Massage

Treating a Pulled Hamstring With Specialized Massage
By Morgan F Turley

Before seeking massage treatments for a pulled or strained hamstring, it's important to understand what exactly happens during this type of injury and how to identify it. A pulled or strained hamstring is often referred to as a tear somewhere in the three muscles of the hamstring.

The hamstring muscles assist you in knee flexing and allowing you to move your thigh backwards at the hip. Injuries to the hamstring are common among runners (especially those who do hurdle jumping or sprinting), as well as those who play football.

If you experience a hamstring injury, you'll be able to instantly recognize it by the sudden sharp pain you'll feel at the back of the leg during the activity you're participating in. When you go to stretch this muscle, there will be pain in both the stretching of it, as well as the contracting of it. There are various levels of severity for hamstring injuries, and fortunately the majority of them can be remedied through a combination of diligent self-help and specialized sports massage targeted towards this area.

Immediately following a hamstring injury, you must begin active involvement in treating the area. The first 48-hours are crucial, and this is the time where you must treat the injury yourself before even seeking out a massage therapist. Begin your treatment by using cold therapy. This involves the "RICE" technique, which addresses resting the area, icing it, compressing it, and then elevating it. A compression bandage may be used to keep any intra muscular bleeding to a minimum. Although you do not want to bring further injury to the hamstring, you should do some minimal stretching and strengthening exercises to keep the area from further swelling.

Once you have personally addressed the issue correctly for the first 48-hours, you should seek out a sports injury specialist who can provide you with massage care coupled with ultrasound and other treatments, depending on the severity of your injury.

Sports massage techniques are a crucial part of your hamstring injury rehab program. Massage will speed up your recovery as it keeps scar tissue creation to a minimum. This is down by breaking down the new collagen network forming as a result of the injury and ensures that muscle fiber realignment is done correctly. This massage therapy will also ensure that blood flow in the injured hamstring area is increased, making sure that circulation is even. Ultrasound is often utilized by the massage therapist, along with the specialized massage techniques. This stimulates muscle fibers and encourages the reconnection.

While the majority of hamstring injuries can be treated exclusively with a massage therapy program coupled with at-home stretches done on a daily basis, do not be alarmed if you do get referred to a conventional medical doctor to ensure no muscle ruptures occurred during the injury. A massage therapist who suspects that the injury is beyond their scope of practice will refer you out immediately for a consult and potential MRI. You may end up being referred back to the therapist if it's discovered there is no surgical intervention necessary. Massage therapy is so beneficial for hamstring tears as it not only assists greatly in bringing you back to normal functioning, but also strengthens the area to prevent further injury.

I write for TIR Massage Stone, the leading hot stone massage supplies provider. They carry products such as massage stone, as well as many other accessories for hot and cold stone therapy.

Article Source:

Breast Cancer Edges Up In Younger Women




Advanced breast cancer rates are increasing in younger women, a new study suggests. According to a report published in the JAMA, incidents of breast cancer are increasing among women aged 25 - 39 years. These findings show that breast cancer should be as much of a concern to younger women as it is to older women.

Dr. Rebecca H. Johnson, director of Seattle Children's Hospital's Adolescent and Young Adult oncology program and colleagues made the discovery after analyzing 34 years of data from the US National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database. The SEER data (1973 to 2009) shows that breast cancer has been rising steadily from 1.53 incidents per 100000 in 1976 to 2.90 per 100000 in 2009 among women aged 25 - 39 across all ethnicities.

One sliver of good news was that researchers found no evidence of advanced breast cancer increases among other age groups.

But amongst those with higher incidents of breast cancer, the study authors said that women with estrogen receptor-positive subtypes were likely to have advanced breast cancer than those with estrogen-receptor negative subtypes.

Various studies have found a relationship between obesity, high estrogen levels and breast cancer.

Due to the fact that obesity has risen to epidemic levels in recent decades, it could account for some of the rising breast cancer incident rates seen in the SEER analysis. Even so, women and health care professionals should take the results of analysis very seriously.


Exercise and Certain Foods May Lower Breast Cancer Risk 

In a study which gives further credence to the adage "prevention is often the best medicine", scientists recently released a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showing that vegetables can lower the risk for certain types of breast cancer.

When researchers followed approximately 934,000 women for a period between 11 to 20 years, they found an association between fruit and vegetable consumption and lower risk of estrogen receptor negative breast cancer.

In the SEER analysis, researchers noted that incidents of breast cancer were higher among women with estrogen receptor positive. This is cause for concern because breast cancer cells that are sensitive to estrogen (positive) tend to be aggressive but are also more likely to respond to hormone therapy.

Exercise may also lower breast cancer risk. Studies show that aerobic activity can cut breast cancer risk by as much as 30%. Younger and older women can benefit from steady exercise.

The results of Johnson's analysis underscore the fact that cancer doesn't care about age.

 Younger people tend to think themselves invincible, yet there is now resounding evidence that cancer is on the rise among women in their twenties and thirties but no so for older women.


Although many factors can account for Johnson's findings, there is no question that diligence and awareness are crucial to fighting this disease. With these facts in mind, what will you do?


Marvel at the wonders of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe, and the Saviour of sinners such as you and me.

***Spread the word!!! Use Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon and the other social media tools located in the sidebar and at the bottom of this article to tell others about this website.***

I'm living fit, healthy and happy(SM). Are you?


Article Sources

 Johnson RH, Chien FL, & Bleyer A (2013). Incidence of breast cancer with distant involvement among women in the United States, 1976 to 2009. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 309 (8), 800-5 PMID: 23443443 

Jung S, Spiegelman D, Baglietto L, Bernstein L, Boggs DA, van den Brandt PA, Buring JE, Cerhan JR, Gaudet MM, Giles GG, Goodman G, Hakansson N, Hankinson SE, Helzlsouer K, Horn-Ross PL, Inoue M, Krogh V, Lof M, McCullough ML, Miller AB, Neuhouser ML, Palmer JR, Park Y, Robien K, Rohan TE, Scarmo S, Schairer C, Schouten LJ, Shikany JM, Sieri S, Tsugane S, Visvanathan K, Weiderpass E, Willett WC, Wolk A, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Zhang SM, Zhang X, Ziegler RG, & Smith-Warner SA (2013). Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of breast cancer by hormone receptor status. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 105 (3), 219-36 PMID: 23349252

Weight Loss May Lower Breast Cancer Risk In Women

Exercise Cuts Breast Cancer Risk In Women


"Breast Cancer Edges Up In Younger Women" copyright 2013 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.


Healthy Eating in the Modern Age

Healthy Eating in the Modern Age

Healthy Eating in the Modern Age
By Asma B Omer

The last few decades have witnessed multiple technological advancements, which have enhanced our daily life in a number of ways. Similarly, the science of Nutrition has grown at a phenomenal speed. However the number of individuals who have become overweight or obese Healthy Eating in the Modern Age is increasing year by year. Despite the vast number of books and articles written on healthy eating, dieting, slimming and weight loss strategies, obesity and overweight related ailments are yet to be overcome. Food is abundant in limitless quantities and varieties, as is information on healthy eating. However, people are not getting any healthier, and although they may be living longer this could be accompanied with a compromised quality of life. The question that needs to be addressed here is why?

In spite of the general understanding of the healthy eating message, 'eat less fat and more fibre' the latest statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that 32.2% of the adult population in the USA, 24.2% in the UK, 33.7% in the UAE and 35.6% in Saudi Arabia are clinically obese. Additionally, more people are becoming overweight. Obesity is a modern problem with serious and costly consequences. No country seems to be immune from the obesity epidemic as people are growing bigger and indeed wider everywhere in the world, especially in urban settings. The WHO predicts that approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight worldwide by 2015 and more than 700 million of them will be obese. The statics for children are equally alarming.

This trend has been greatly influenced by the modern way of living, which is dominated by vast automation and information technology. Over the past few decades, "the machine" has become an essential part of our everyday life. Modern-day lifestyle relies upon the regular use of cars, bikes, lifts, escalators, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, computers, laptops, telephone, vacuum cleaners etc., rendering the habitual physical activities of the past unnecessary. Such technological advancements have on one hand enhanced our quality of life and increased the average life expectancy but on the other hand have increased health-related risks. Our sedentary lifestyle has resulted in a predictable level of physical inactivity leading to resultant positive energy balance and thus weight gain, as well as difficulty in losing excess weight or maintaining any lost weight.

When taking the health-related risks of clinical obesity into account, including cardiovascular diseases, Type II Diabetes, arthritis, and some forms of cancer, strategies other than those called for over the last three decades are urgently needed. A multi-faceted approach that looks at the individual as a whole, including his/her lifestyle factors (rather than just focusing on one single dietary factor) should be adopted in order to achieve a better and long lasting outcome.

In my view there are two operating factors; the first is a lack of physical activity and the second is an increase in the average consumption of energy-dense food. The change in the home environment has led to more time for passive entertainment (e.g. watching TV, using a computer, surfing the internet, listening to an iPod, playing video games etc.) and less time for outdoor activities (such as walking, swimming and running). Cooking and food preparation are no longer a priority to most families due to the amount of time it takes. Instead, ready-prepared meals, fast food and tempting restaurant takeaway meals (all widely available at affordable prices) have replaced traditional family meals. In addition, attractively packaged and well-presented foods are displayed in supermarkets and local corner shops all year around. This abundance of food is combined with regular promotional offers (buy one, get one free, buy three for the price of two etc.), attractive discounts and strong advertising through all types of media, especially during the breaks of popular TV programs. Thus we are subconsciously encouraged to purchase more and consume more than we need (especially energy dense foods), mostly through passive eating such as snacking and picking.

It seems that we can manage to add years to life but not life to years, and expand our waistlines at the expense of our bank accounts and most importantly our future health. One would therefore wonder whether counting calories and grams of fat, and focusing merely on slimming rather than healthy eating is the answer. Or are there underlying factors contributing to what the statistics are indicating? There appear to be too many hypotheses and not enough definite answers, and people at all levels seem to be more confused than ever about what to eat and what to avoid, despite all-year-round availability and numerous choices.

Most dieting books emphasize reducing calorie intake, mainly via calorie counting. Such methods do not give adequate attention to the other nutritional information given, and tend not to focus much on maintaining a sustained level of physical activity, which is a fantastic means of initiating, increasing and/or maintaining a calorie deficit, thus allowing the individual to achieve steady weight loss. The success of these diets is often judged by how much weight is lost and how quickly, rather than how safely it is achieved and how the lost weight can be maintained. In essence, all diets, regardless of what they are called or who created them, tend to induce weight loss. But the truth is, there is no magical treatment or quick fix formula. The notion of dieting itself implies restriction and to some extent deviation from what is known to be normal and healthy. It leads to confusion as to what a healthy diet is, as many people think slimming diets are by definition healthy diets. In fact, this is not necessarily true.

It is now well recognized that dieting alone cannot solve the increase in the prevalence of obesity and overweight, together with their health-related risks. Although it is customary that every New Year comes with new ventures in dieting methods, the proportion of people who are getting fatter and heavier has more than doubled since the eighties. It is astonishing that dieting books are produced, marketed, sold and purchased in ever increasing numbers, whilst the population isn't getting any slimmer or indeed healthier. It is somewhat disconcerting that a number of clever personnel, including highly qualified professionals, agents and commercial companies continue to maximize their profits at the expense of the consumer's quest for that miracle formula, which will supposedly see the shrinking of their adipose tissue and the bulking up of their lean tissue mass.

As touched upon previously, important components of energy balance such as energy expenditure, represented by physical activity, are scarcely addressed in these dieting books. In my view and based on my experience in this field, both sides of the equation i.e. energy intake, represented by the food and drink we consume, and energy expenditure, in the form of habitual physical activities and physical exercise, need to be taken seriously and the latter should be taken with equal or far greater importance. What is also important for the success of any weight management program is the gradual and continual incorporation of corrective measures (being changes in eating habits or habitual physical activities) into the individual's lifestyle. Judging by current statistics, it appears that the only true beneficiaries are the biggest fast food retailers, the authors of the many thousands of dieting books currently circulating in an ever booming market and those who market and sell these books; not to mention the multimillion pound slimming industry. Ironically, those who follow these dietary regimens usually experience a short-lived benefit, confined to the designated period of the particular dietary regimen, and only temporary short falls on their weighing scales.

Copyright © 2012: Therapia: All Rights Reserved: Therapia is a Registered Trademark

Dr Asma B Omer, Founder & Managing Director of Therapia, is a highly qualified and experienced Consultant in Human/Clinical Nutrition, with more than 20 years experience in university teaching, research and health industry. She has been very successful in the treatment of Overweight and Obesity, and has much practical experience in the management of nutritionally related diseases in both the National Health Service (UK) and prestigious organizations in the private sector.

Academically, she holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry and an MSc in Human Nutrition from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, UK. Professionally, she is a Fellow Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, a full member of the British Nutrition Society (NS) and the British Dietetics Association (BDA) and a professional member of the Association of the Study of Obesity (ASO), Diabetes UK and HEART UK. In addition, She is a founder member of The Medical Advisory Committee of ISPA Europe, a member of the Institute of Directors (UK) and a former consultant nutritionist for the WHO.

Dr Omer can be contacted on Email:

Article Source:

Slipped Disc Or Slipped Bone?

Slipped Disc Or Slipped Bone?

Slipped Disc Or Slipped Bone?
By Dr. Jeffrey Carlson

On any given day in the United States, up to 20% of the population will be suffering with some sort of back or neck complaint. Most of the time, back or neck pain is a short-lived problem involving the muscles and tendons of the spine. Muscular strains and sprains will cause pain and spasms which can last up to 3 weeks. Although uncomfortable, the pain from strains or sprains usually can be ameliorated with the appropriate short-term lifestyle modifications, gentle rehabilitative exercise and the use of anti-inflammatory medication. If the back or neck pain persists more than 3 weeks or if the pain transitions to shooting down the leg or arm, then a consultation with a physician is necessary.

The most concerning pain is that which that radiates down the arm or leg. This is commonly called "sciatica" in the leg, but in medical jargon, the more appropriate term is "radiculopathy", used to describe the pain that follows a particular nerve pattern in the arm or leg. This arm or leg pain generates from pressure on the nerves in the back or neck, which in turn, causes the extremity pain. Most patients don't relate their arm or leg pain has having its possible origin in the spine, as a lot of these patients will not have any back pain. This can be explained layman's terms as being similar to an electrical wire having a short circuit. In the lower back, the nerves that exit the spine transport the information of pain, temperature and touch from the legs to the brain, as well as transmit the information for muscular function from the brain to the legs. When there is pressure on a nerve in the lower back, the brain identifies the information as coming from the nerve that usually supplies information from the leg. The brain then interprets the information as leg pain rather than the real culprit, the disc problem in the back.

Pressure on the nerves in the back or neck can come from several causes. Nerves travel from the spine and into the arms or legs through small openings in the bones of the spine. These small holes have enough room for the nerve and a few blood vessels to pass, but not room for much else. When a piece of disc material protrudes from its normal position, it can fill the space reserved for the nerve root. We can call this a slipped disc, as a piece of disc material may "slip" out of its normal position. This extra material then puts pressure on the nerve root, and in turn, causes the nerve to become aggravated. Disc ruptures are very common in the neck and lower back, with a similar means of irritating nerves and causing pain due to the mechanical pressure.

A more dramatic way of putting pressure on the nerve root is by a slip in the bone. The technical term is "spondylolisthesis". When bones slip on each other, this also will compress the opening where the nerve root exits. The bones need to be aligned properly in the spine for the nerve to have the proper room to function. With slipping of the bones, the nerve roots can be pulled or pushed by the bones that surround them. The bones then cause pressure and irritation of the nerves, which causes the leg or arm pain.

Relief of the nerve irritation is directed toward the cause of the irritation and can start with a series of medications, physical therapy exercises or potential surgery when the pain is not otherwise improved. The goal of each of these methods is to relieve the pain and return you back to your normal activities. The treatments should be directed by a spinal specialist to ensure that the optimal method for your condition is being provided. Fellowship-trained spinal surgeons have the knowledge and training of the full spectrum of spinal conditions which allow them to treat the spinal conditions from the simple nerve root irritation to the most complex of spinal conditions requiring extensive surgical reconstruction of the bone and nerves.

Dr. Jeffrey R. Carlson is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic spine specialist practicing at the Orthopaedic & Spine Center, a leading provider of Suffolk orthopedics services such as Suffolk outpatient total joint replacement and Suffolk spine care. The Orthopaedic & Spine Center can be found online at:

Article Source:

Arthritis Treatment: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - An Increasingly Common Arthritis Problem

Arthritis Treatment: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - An Increasingly Common Arthritis Problem

Arthritis Treatment: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - An Increasingly Common Arthritis Problem
By Nathan Wei

Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is one of the most common maladies seen by rheumatologists. It is a condition that affects the low back. To understand what happens with this condition, it's important to briefly review the anatomy.

The lumbar spine consists of bones, called vertebrae, which are stacked one upon the other and separated by rubbery discs in the front and by joints (called "facet joints") in back. Down the center of this stack is a tunnel where the spinal cord is housed. The column of bones is supported inside and outside the tunnel by a series of ligaments.

LSS occurs when the spinal cord is compressed. There are three abnormalities that are responsible. First, the discs begin to bulge as a result of aging. They dry out and flatten. This leads to disc protrusion into the tunnel where the spinal cord passes. Second, the facet joints develop arthritis and the spurs from these facet joints protrude into the tunnel also. Finally, one of the ligaments that supports the spinal column inside the tunnel begins to hypertrophy and this also protrudes into the tunnel.

The end result is pressure on the spinal cord.

The history and physical examination are usually enough to suspect the diagnosis. Typically a patient older than 70 years will present with low back pain that is aggravated by walking or standing and relieved by sitting or by bending forward.

The pain radiates from the back into the buttocks and sometimes the thighs. Patients will walk with a wide-based gait- legs wider than usual because they feel unstable. This is because the normal signals that are sent from the brain to the feet are not being received so the patient's sense of where they are in space is abnormal.

Severe spinal stenosis is accompanied by bladder problems such as urinary frequency- going to the bathroom much more often than normal.

LSS is often confused for vascular claudication. This is a disorder where the blood flow to the legs is compromised because of narrowing of the arteries. The symptoms are similar. Also, narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck and hip disorders can also mimic lumbar spinal stenosis.

The diagnosis can be confirmed by either magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or by CT scan of the low back.
The natural history of the disorder is one of progression. Conservative measures such as epidural steroid injections and physical therapy can be useful but most patients will require surgery which is often very effective.

Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR is a rheumatologist and Director of the Arthritis Treatment Center He is a former Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and consultant to the National Institutes of Health. For more info:

Article Source: