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Headaches and Alternative Treatment Options

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Almost everyone has experienced a headache in their lives. It is on the top of the list of most common aches and pains, and possibly the major underlying excuse in your life for missing out on events.It has the potential to strike you suddenly, creep up gradually or even have you waking up in pain. You may feel as though a belt is being tightened around your head or a throbbing, pulsating kind of pain. Some of the headaches are periodic and a concomitant nausea may be felt. Headache pain often radiates to the neck as a result of stress. Headaches can occur on its own or as an outcome of other health related circumstances.

If you are able to relate to any one of the above mentioned feelings, you are also aware of the desperation one feels in finding a solution. You are not alone. Almost two thirds of children will experience headaches by the age of 15. More than 90 percent of adults will experience it at some point in their lives. Headache is the most common type of pain that we all go through at some point in our lives. The most surprising thing is, certain types of pain are genetically passed on through our families. Types or episodes might alter or disappear throughout your life, but the most important thing is to know why it comes and how it goes.

Cephalalgia, the scientific term for headache, is a pain you feel somewhere in the head or neck region. Headache is a non-specific symptom, as it can be experienced on its own for no particular reason. It may also come out as a symptom due to various medical conditions of the head and neck. It may be vascular, spine, muscle, infection or inflammation related.

The brain tissue is scarce on pain receptors and is not sensitive to pain on its own. The pain is mainly caused by disruption of the pain-sensitive parts of the central nervous system. The pain-sensitive structures includes the covering layer of the skull named periosteum, nerves with sensory receptors, muscles, vascular structures, eyes, ears, lining of sinuses, mucous membranes, and subcutaneous tissue.
When the treatment of headaches is part of discussion, the strategies divide up according to the underlying cause, although most of them obviously include painkillers.

The most common type of headache is called the tension headache. This type of headache is mostly due to a stressful condition, including challenging tasks, anxiety and depression. Tension here is referred to the spasm of muscles starting from your shoulders and go up towards the head including the scalp. Tension headaches are due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. If you experience this type of headache, it often means you either work too much, don’t sleep enough, don’t drink enough water or use alcohol in a routine manner. Other common types of headaches include the publicly popular headache called migraines and sinus headaches.
Although they are uncomfortable situations, not all of them require a physician’s attention, including the severe ones if they are in a routine fashion. Most people can cope with headaches or find their own solutions in treating them. Sometimes, by making small lifestyle changes, or learning a way to relax instead of just heading to the medicine cabinet for a pain killer. On the other hand, sometimes headaches are actually warning signals for serious disorders, so when you feel something that you have never experienced before it is better to consult your doctor. Doctor’s attention for a headache is required if the headache occurs along with a fever, confusion, and/or loss of consciousness. Special attention is also needed if you have pain in the eye or the ear, which may be due to an infection or worse case, cancer.

Understanding the signaling of pain in the head is important. We have individual nerves in our body that carry the information of touch, pain temperature and vibration to you brain.

These signals are carried to the brain by a cranial nerve called trigeminal nerve that starts right at the base of the brain. Trigeminal nerve has three main branches and carries sensory information from the scalp to the neck, lining of the brain to vessels of the skull, and eyes to throat. Basically, it is the main nerve that carries the information.

As mentioned earlier, brain tissue itself doesn’t have pain-sensitive receptors. The signals from headache triggers including stress, foods, odors, or even medicines are carried to the thalamus (relay of the brain) by trigeminal nerve and the thalamus manages awareness of pain and emotional response. It is better to know the physiology before trying to find a solution.

Almost everyone is familiar with painkillers, and most have their preferred one. Caution is required when it comes to over the counter painkillers because eventually the body can build resilience to it. Those who suffer from chronic pain often resort to pain killers but there is an alternative, that is better and safer.

Solutions for tension headaches

The most common type of headache is the tension headache. The muscles around the skull contract resulting in a headache. This squeezing type of headache can be eased with either peppermint oil or ginger tea. You can apply peppermint oil to the hairline and it will create a cooling effect that in turn relaxes the muscles. Peppermint oil can be applied to the tension headaches that are either felt around the head or those that radiate to the neck. On the other hand, ginger is one of the most potent antiinflammatory substances nature created. When you read the effects of painkillers, the companies will state them as ¨pain killer and anti-inflammatory ¨ agents. Therefore, if anti-inflammation is a component of pain killing system, then logically ginger would help. crushing or cutting up small pieces of fresh ginger root and putting it into either boiling water or your cup of tea, can significantly reduce inflammation in the same time an aspirin will.

Solutions for migraine headaches

Women suffer from migraines three times more than men, and this type of pain is genetically transferred in the family to some extent. It is a one-sided throbbing pain that additionally causes sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines may also cause nausea. There are lots of hypothesis behind migraines but the underlying cause changes from person to person. Although some scientific evidence does not support anything beyond a placebo effect, it has been shown by clinical trials that feverfew supplement is effective for treating migraines. The major concern that was brought up by another study is that abrupt discontinuation of feverfew after long-term use may stimulate a type of withdrawal syndrome that may cause rebound headaches. The ingredients parthenolide and tanetin helps to reduce inflammation just like ginger, and removes the pressure of the nerves. The chronic use may prevent migraines entirely, but never forget about the possibility of rebound headaches. An easier alternative way to stop the migraine attacks if from traditional Chinese medicine, the acupressure massage! It may be surprising but just place your index finger in the depression between your first and second toe and press firmly for about five minutes. Try if it works out, its just simple as that if your migraine is not a chronic one. For chronic migraines FDA has approved the use of Botox injections, which help a lot to prevent migraine attacks for a period of six months.

Solutions for cluster headaches

This pain causes a concentrated stabbing feeling. It occurs in a cluster of time frame ranging from days to even weeks. A runny nose or fever may be felt concomitantly in this cluster. The cluster headaches are most common during temperature changes. The natural treatment option for cluster headaches is capsaicin cream. Double-blinded research has indicated that intranasal capsaicin may provide treatment for episodic cluster headaches. Capsaicin is originally extracted from chilly peppers; it’s the substance that causes the burning sensation. Medically it is used as analgesics and has local nerve desensitizing effect. The cream is an effective remedy and works to block the pain signals from the sensory nerve. Just apply a small amount to the inside of your nostril on the side of your head where you are actually experiencing pain.

English Articles

False Facts About Catching a Cold, Flu

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Everyone catches a cold once or twice in the winter and mid-seasons. Although we take precautions to prevent catching a cold, the false facts that we believe to be true misdirect us. To be able to protect ourselves from the disease, it is important to know facts about the disease in the first place

Even though it is getting warmer, changes in temperature have the potential to lead to different diseases. Some of us have already started to feel tired, get the sniffles or become sneezy. Amid the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we do not have time to rest and look after ourselves to fight our sicknesses. One should not forget that the most important point in the fight against a cold is to take precautionary measures.

Well, what do you know about illnesses, such as the cold, which affects the quality of our lives immensely? How accurate is the advice that our elders or neighbors give us? One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the source of sickness (for influenza) is not cold weather, but it is microorganisms and viruses. Here are several points about colds that are actually false.

Does going out with wet hair make us sick?

Cold or flu develops after a virus called “rhinovirus” enters the human body. Regardless of the temperature, weather or environmental conditions, once this virus enters into your body through your nose, mouth or other organs, then you will get sick. Otherwise, this virus will not affect you even though it exists in the same place where you are.

In this case, if we go out with wet hair, are we more likely to catch this virus? Well, wet hair only leads you to feel the cold more intensely. That is why this ongoing belief is still popular among people.

A group of American scientists studied the influence of going out with wet hair in cold weather on catching cold or flu. They first asked a group of participants if they believe this factor increases the risk of getting a cold. Some 41 percent of them responded “yes” to this question.

Then they prepared two different settings where the flu virus existed. In one of these settings, there were cold temperature conditions while the other had normal weather conditions. Some of the participants had wet hair and some had dry hair when they entered their own settings.

The result turned out to be very interesting. According to the study, in the same conditions (cold temperature), no difference was observed between the participants with wet hair and those with dry hair regarding their chances of getting cold. The only difference between the two groups turned out to be that the participants with wet hair felt colder than the participants with dry hair.

There are more studies that point out the same results. Thus, it has been scientifically proven that wet hair in cold weather does not increase the chances of getting a cold. Well, you’d better tell your mother about this fact because it is very likely she will resist changing this strong belief about catching a cold.

Do wool caps protect us from getting cold?

I am sure there are thousands of people who spent their childhood wearing woolen caps like I did, thus you became like a pea in a pod with your cap on until the weather gets better. The common belief that woolen caps protect us from getting cold stems from the belief that the fastest and biggest heat loss in the human body occurs from the head when the body starts to lose heat in cold weather, a belief that dates back 50 years.

The U.S. Army Forces conducted various experiments to increase their chances of survival in the perishing cold, to which the soldiers were likely to be exposed. A pretty cold environment was prepared for the experiment guided by scientists. Some volunteer soldiers started to wait in a cold room without wool caps and scientists measured the head temperatures of soldiers at certain intervals. Results show that soldiers lost up to 50 percent of their body heat from the head.

One of the most important reasons why this belief is still popular is the trust in the results of the scientific research. But, does the fact that we lose heat from our head quickly and in large amounts mean that it is the only part of our body that loses heat? Of course, not. If that was the case, only wearing a woolen cap would be enough to protect us from risk of freezing.

Grounding his research in this argument, Dr. Daniel Sessler, president of Cleveland Clinic Research Center, conducted similar a similar study – in cooperation with the U.S. army again – including participants who wore swimsuits in the same conditions. This study showed that almost every part of the human body experiences heat loss at the same level when the body is not protected in cold weather.

Thus, even if we can’t say that wearing a wool cap does not make any difference in cold weather, we can easily say that protecting only the head does not protect us from getting cold.

To sum up, always remember it is microorganisms and viruses that make us sick, not the cold weather itself. We must be especially careful about keeping our hands clean as we are frequently in crowded places and in contact with people who have a cold or the flu. Hands are in constant contact with the mouth and nose, which serve as an entrance point for microorganisms. We must make a habit out of washing our hands especially while it is still cold.

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English Articles

Depression: A Hidden Heart Disease Risk Factor For Women

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Depression is almost twice as likely to affect women than men. Difficulty in sleeping, loss of appetite and fatigue are the most common symptoms, but another lesser-known risk is a higher chance of heart attack

If we have not seen for ourselves a person who has had a heart attack before, the first image that comes to our minds in such a situation is similar to those in movie scenes. In most cases, a man holding his chest suddenly collapses, and the diagnosis is a heart attack. There is a strong public belief that a heart attack is seen in men more than women. This partially true data does not necessarily mean that women are at a lower risk.

The human body generally gives signals about what is happening. The important thing is to interpret these messages correctly and in a timely manner. The male and female bodies are two different systems that process things in different ways. This is why the same disease can show up with different signals in the two sexes. A heart attack is one of them.

If you have problems such as fatigue, heartburn, indigestion, sudden dizziness and lack of quality sleep, it may be a sign that you are at risk of a heart attack. Many women can relate these symptoms to busy work life, stress and city life. These are true, yet your lifestyle may assist in developing such symptoms, which can lead to worse health problems.

Do you constantly feel tired?

Fatigue is one of the most common complaints in our lives. Insomnia, the flu or the side effects of medications can easily cause tiredness, but being able to associate your fatigue with these causes does not mean that the actual cause of your complaints is one of them.

The results of a survey on women who have had a heart attack are quite interesting. More than 70 percent of women who had a heart attack reported that they had a feeling of fatigue that did not go away in the pre-heart attack period.

Do you have trouble sleeping?

There can be many different reasons for lack of sleep, and the vast majority requires regular treatment. If you cannot sleep immediately when you get into bed at night or if it takes too much time, you should be careful. A scientific study on women suffering from a heart attack calls attention to women’s sleep disorders. Almost half of the women who had a heart attack reported that they had suffered from lack of sleep that lasted for a while.

Do you suffer from shortness of breath?

If you are having difficulty doing routine activities during the day and the most obvious change that is bothering you is shortness of breath, never ignore this. Studies have shown that unexpected shortness of breath, which cannot be attributed to a known illness, may be a symptom of a heart attack for women. If you suffer from a cough as well as shortness of breath, this can be a signal you need to take seriously.

Do you suffer from heartburn and indigestion?

Eating habits and existing stomach disorders may cause you to develop heartburn. What should be noted here is whether you have a known illness that can explain your stomach problem. If you have not developed heartburn or indigestion complaints before, do not ignore it.

Another scientific study on women who had a heart attack draws attention to the finding that women who suffer from (unexpected) heartburn and indigestion should be careful. According to the study, almost 40 percent of women who had a heart attack reported that they suffered from heartburn or indigestion before the heart attack occurred.

Apart from heartburn, nausea and vomiting that occur without reason are among the heart attack symptoms for women. A study examining pre-heart attack symptoms showed that women had twice as many stomach and intestinal system diseases as men. In this case, women who have complaints such as heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting that develop without cause should pay twice as much attention as men.

Do you have serious anxiety problems?

Depression, angst and anxiety are frequently experienced among many people. Panic attacks, which have seriously increased in prevalence, are one of the psychological disorders that go along with a heart attack. As I mentioned before, if there is no known cause of the situation you are experiencing, you should take it seriously.

A study on women who had heart attacks call attention to the fact that women suffering from anxiety and angst should be careful. According to the survey, most of the women who had a heart attack said that they suffered from unexpected anxiety and angst in the pre-heart attack period.

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English Articles

A Heart-Friendly Grocery List For Your Next Shopping Trip

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While walking along a supermarket’s aisles, the temptation to buy a variety of food items sets in, not aware that your basket is already full. For a healthy diet especially for the heart, you need a smart grocery list

Having a well-thought grocery list does not only save you time but helps you stick to a healthy diet. The items on your grocery list show how much you prioritize your health without being fooled by the marking hype.

The same thing goes when it comes to your heart health. Avoiding unhealthy food is as crucial as consuming foods rich in nutrients, fiber and healthy fats to prevent heart attacks. We have put together a shopping list for a heart-healthy diet.

The following foods that have been proven to be healthy for your heart should be included on your shopping list.

Beet greens

Are you throwing beet greens in the trash? Don’t! Beet greens is the top item on our list to protect yourself against heart diseases. Studies have revealed many advantages of beet greens for health. Fibers found in beet greens are known to decrease cholesterol absorption. Particularly those who have high cholesterol should definitely take advantage of the health benefits of beet greens. The heart-friendly product also helps stabilize your blood pressure thanks to its potassium content.

Canola oil

Marketed as heart-healthy oil, canola oil, which used to be widely available in local markets is currently a rarity. Made from crushed canola seeds, it has less saturated fat than any of the other oil kinds. It is higher in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Studies show that sterols found in the canola plant lowers bad cholesterol levels. Canola oil is also very rich in antioxidants and (thanks to antioxidants) it reduces inflammation in the body. You need to consume one table spoon of canola oil to get the expected benefits.

Bitter chocolate

There are enough studies to make any chocolate lover happy. Findings show that bitter chocolate speeds metabolism and aids weight loss, putting a smile on women’s faces in particular. However, in order to accelerate your metabolism, you need to make sure that your choice of bitter chocolate contains no less than 70 percent cacao.In addition to boosting metabolism, bitter chocolate is also good for your heart. Flavanols found in cacao help your vessels to flex and your blood to dilute, thus, reducing your blood pressure. Flexing your blood vessels is an important factor helping you reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, do not forget that bitter chocolate must contain at least 70 percent cacao in order to protect your health.

Garlic

A staple of traditional Turkish cuisine, garlic is usually an indispensable item in the preparation of dishes. Researchers say consuming one clove of garlic – or if you are taking it in powder form, 1 teaspoon – will also provide protection against cardiac diseases. Garlic flexes your muscles and prevents plate formation in vessels and high cholesterol.

Apples

The struggle to lose weight has been one of the most popular subjects in the last few years. A number of scientific studies spotlight the fiber content of apples. There is about 5 milligrams of fiber in an apple – enough to meet (+/-) three-quarters of our daily intake need. Those trying to lose weight must definitely include apples in their diet. There are some other studies revealing that eating an apple a day helps you protect against heart diseases. Apple ranks fifth on our list of heart-healthy products. Scientists say that the high fiber flavonoid content of apples reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes and lowers cholesterol levels! Consuming an apple a day is crucial for your health.

Olive oil

Used frequently in Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil is deemed as one of the miracles of nature. Very rich in antioxidants, olive oil helps lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels without affecting HDL (good cholesterol). Therefore, it ranks sixth on this list. In order to benefit from olive oil, you need to consume about 2 tablespoons per day. It is advised to consume it raw by adding it to salads. There are a myriad of olive oil varieties available at supermarkets, which perplexes shoppers. It is very normal that you might not be able to decide which one to buy. The packaging and labels are sometimes confusing. My personal advice is to go for the “natural extra virgin olive oil.”

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