Top 10 Herpes Facts (Sex Health Guru Tip)

March 10, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

90% of people with herpes have no symptoms! Could you be one of them? More Herpes Videos – CLICK HERE:

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

How your menstrual cycle affects your cholesterol levels

August 11, 2010 by  

Those who have or are at risk for cardiovascular disease regular have their lipid profiles checked, e.g. cholesterol and triglycerides. Although not given much emphasis, the timing of lipid check up may be important – especially in women. Previous studies have shown that estrogen-containing medications for women – for example, oral contraceptives or menopausal hormone therapy, have been shown to influence cholesterol levels in the blood. Fluctuation in level of estrogen results in fluctuating levels of blood lipids, including high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides.

Results of a recent study funded the National Institutes of Health indicate that natural levels of estrogen in the blood, i.e. variations during the menstrual cycle can also affect cholesterol levels. “In a typical cycle, estrogen levels steadily increase as the egg cell matures, peaking just before ovulation…as the level of estrogen rises, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol also rises, peaking at the time of ovulation”. HDL cholesterol is the so-called “good cholesterol” and believed to be beneficial to heart health.

“In contrast, total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels — as well as another form of blood fat known as triglycerides — declined as estrogen levels rose. The decline was not immediate, beginning a couple of days after the estrogen peak at ovulation. Total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels reached their lowest just before menstruation began.”

LDL (aka bad cholesterol) and triglycerides are bad for the heart. The study results showed that cholesterol levels of women can fluctuate up to 19% during an ovulation cycle.

The researchers believe that when testing for lipids, in the blood, the timing in relation to a woman’s menstrual cycle should be taken into consideration. A test performed close to the point of ovulation can give a false picture of a woman’s lipid profile.

When a test shows high levels of total and LDL cholesterol, a confirmatory test is usually performed. When a patient is tested during the end of her cycle, cholesterol levels are low – misleadingly – that the need for an additional test to confirm a high cholesterol reading might be skipped. Thus, the diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia might be missed.

According to study author Enrique F. Schisterman:

“It’s more likely cholesterol levels will be elevated in women before ovulation, which could have a particular impact on women whose cholesterol levels are already high.”

High levels of LDL and cholesterol and triglycerides are risk factors for heart disease.

Photo credit: MenstrualCycle2_en.svg: Isometrik

Lp(a) – another fat that is bad for our heart

July 1, 2010 by  

Another bad fat has been identified to be bad for our heart. And we should get tested for it, according to experts.

The European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) has recent issued new guidelines regarding cardiovascular screening. The group issued a consensus statement recommending testing for elevated levels of Lp(a), which stands for lipoprotein(a). The recommendations are meant for patients with high to moderate risk of cardiovascular disease. This is in addition to the current practice of screening for total, LDL- and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The upper limit for Lp(a) is 50 mg/dL.

So what is this bad new fat Lp(a)?

“Lp(a) is a plasma lipoprotein consisting of a cholesterol-rich LDL particle with one molecule of apolipoprotein B-100 and a molecule of apolipoprotein A. About 20% of people are thought to have plasma Lp(a) levels over 50 mg/dL; there are no gender differences in Lp(a) concentrations, but racial differences have been observed, with whites and Asians having lower levels while black and Hispanics generally have somewhat higher levels.”

Although scientists have been aware of the dangers of Lp(a) and it being a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, it is only now that it is included in clinical screening guidelines. The EAS based their recommendations on evidence from recent clinical studies.

According to consensus panel cochair Dr John Chapman:

“We consider the level of evidence to be sufficient to warrant the identification of Lp(a) as a causal, independent cardiovascular risk. So that raises the ante on Lp(a) very considerably from its position over the past five or 10 years. [There have been] a series of publications, both epidemiological and genetic, over the past two years that have really clarified the evidence base around Lp(a) and its role as a risk factor.”

How can Lp(a) levels be controlled?

Unlike in the case of cholesterol and other lipids in the blood, Lp(a) is not greatly influenced by lifestyle factors, making it almost a non-modifiable risk factor. Aside from the recommendation to screen, the EAS also recommends the use of niacin or nicotinic acid at a daily dose of 1 to 3 g to control and lower Lp(a) levels under 50 mg/dL.

The new EAS recommendations were presented at the EAS 2010 Congress in Hamburg, Germany last month.

Know your carcinogens: Radon

February 4, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

Resource post for February

January was National Radon Action Month. I must apologize for missing that opportunity to post something on radon. However, it is never too late to take action against radon, any day, any month, anytime of the year.

But what is radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas. It is colorless, odorless, tasteless -and is carcinogenic. This means you can’t really know it is there but this carcinogen is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 20,000 Americans each year, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Radon is released when uranium, a naturally-existing radioactive chemical in soil, rocks and water decays naturally and gets into the air we breathe. The link between lung cancer and radon was first observed in miners who were exposed to the gas underground. However, high amounts of radon can also be found above the ground. A radon concentration level of 4 pCi/L is considered to be hazardous to our health.

How do you get exposed to radon?

Radon exposure can happen anywhere – in offices, schools, and yes – at home. And because home is where people spend most of their time, that is also the place where radon exposure is the greatest. The closer a room is to the ground, the higher is the risk for radon to seep inside. That is why the EPA and the Surgeon General recommend that all homes below the third floor should be tested for radon. Basements are especially at risk.

Radon also occurs in ground water, such as wells and water supplies using ground water. However, research has shown that your risk of lung cancer from breathing radon in air is much larger than your risk of stomach cancer from swallowing water with radon in it.

Radon is found in all 50 states of the US but with varying levels. The EPA has a map showing radon potential zones. You can check out the potential radon levels of your state in the EPA site.

How do you check for the presence of radon in your home?

Unless you test for it, there is no way of telling how much radon is present in a building. The EPA recommends that each home be tested for radon. Radon test kits are available commercially and are usually easy to use. Radon testing can be done two ways, namely:

What happens if your home tests positive for radon?

The EPA recommends that a short-term test be performed first. If the radon levels is 4 pCi/L or more, then a second short-term test or a long-term term test is necessary. If subsequent tests show persistent high levels of radon, it doesn’t mean to say that the house is completely worthless and unliveable. There are radon reduction systems which can reduce radon levels in a building to acceptable levels, even up to 99%. The most common method is some of a ventilator pipe and fan system which sucks out the radon from the building and releases it outside. It also helps to seal cracks in the floor and walls and other opening where radon can possibly seep through. Other systems, however, may be necessary depending on the structure and design of the house.

Even if the radon levels in your home have been successful reduced to acceptable levels, it is advisable to test for radon before buying or renting a home or building to avoid radon problems.

National Radon Action Month

The EPA has recommended four things you can do during National Radon Action Month which are however valid anytime of the year.

The International Radon Project

Radon testing is common in the US and other developed countries but not in many other parts of the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) launched the International Radon Project in 2005. Through a network of partner agencies of member countries, WHO will “collect and analyse information on radon risk, radon policies, radon mitigation and prevention as well as risk communication.”

For more information about radon, check out the following links:

Picture credits: EPA, International Radon Project, Stock.xchng

In the making: a vaccine against hypertension

September 18, 2008 by  

You’ve heard of vaccines against polio, measles, small pox. What about a vaccine against hypertension? Last year, a paper presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions reported about an investigational vaccine against angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a vasoconstrictor agent – it causes constriction of blood vessels leading to increase in blood pressure. When a vaccine is investigational, it is still being tested and not yet ready for use.

However, this vaccine being tested by Cytos Biotechnology seems to be promising.

The name of the vaccine is CYT006-AngQb and is a virus-like particle-based conjugate vaccine. The vaccine is now tested in Phase II clinical trials. This means that the vaccine has passed through tests with animals and healthy humans without major safety problems. In Phase II trials, medications are tested in people showing the symptoms for which the drugs are indicated. In this case, CYT006-AngQb is intended for patients with mild to moderate hypertension.

Is the vaccine effective?

Preliminary results of the 2007 tests show that

“treatment with the high dose produced a significant reduction of daytime ambulatory blood pressure [BP] and a marked reduction in the early morning hours, when most adverse cardiovascular events occur.”

If approved, what would be the advantage of the vaccine over currently available antihypertensive drugs?

Well, antihypertensive drugs have to be taken on a daily basis because of their short half-life. CYT006-AngQb, on the other hand, produces extended antibody response because it has a half-life of about 4 months. That means, a hypertensive patient only needs to take medication 3 to 4 times a year.  In addition, currently available hypertensive drugs are not so effective in controlling early morning increases in blood pressure, the time of the day when major cardiac events such as heart attacks and stroke usually occur.

Even if the vaccine proves to be effective, will it be safe?

The study tested the vaccine in 72 patients with mild to moderate hypertension and followed-for 12 moths. During this period, the vaccine was observed to be well-tolerated by the study participants. There were side effects but they were mostly mild and the most common of these were headaches and irritation on the injection site.

The author, Prof. Juerg Nussberger

“Despite the fact that effective drugs are available to treat hypertension, only about one out of four hypertensive patients has the blood pressure successfully controlled. Once people are aware of the often symptomless hypertension, they have to take their medications daily, and many are apparently unable or unwilling to take pills every day for the rest of their lives. The major remaining medical need in this important therapeutic area is thus improved patient compliance. If we could support or substitute the oral therapy with a vaccine that would need to be given just every few months, I think we could achieve a better control of high blood pressure.”

The results of the study were later published in the journal Lancet.

Photo credit: syringe by Scyza at Stock.xchng

Alzheimer’s Disease-Testing and Diagnosis

March 26, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

This is the third post in a series looking at how do you know if its Alzheimer’s disease?  The first two posts, Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s and Dementia-the Differences laid a foundation for the symptomology, characteristics and key definitions.  In this post, I’ll discuss how medical professionals actually get to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

So, as our story continues, your suspicions have been verified.  Grandpa does indeed have dementia.  As we learned in yesterday’s post, the question now becomes, “what is the cause of the dementia?” Is it Alzheimer’s disease or some imposter?

Here is where it gets a little tricky, as there is no real test for Alzheimer’s disease.  Instead, medical professionals will begin the task of testing for certain conditions that cause dementia and as those conditions are ruled out, they become more and more certain that it is, in fact,  Alzheimer’s disease.  Dr. Eric Tangalos of the Mayo Clinic suggests that elderly with memory problems should be tested thoroughly to confirm, with as much accuracy as possible, that it’s Alzheimer’s disease.

Let’s look at some of the tests and procedures that might take place:

Medical history-The doctor should review past medical history carefully.  She’ll use this information to notice family patterns, prior Alzheimer’s, mini strokes or strokes, etc.  You should make a list of all medications, dosage and approximate time your loved one has been taking them. This will be of tremendous help to your doctor.

Mental Status Testing-The doctor will ask simple things like the date and time. Other questions will be asked to determine if the person is aware of his surroundings or recognizes familiar people.  As a part of mental status testing, the doctor will probably do what is called a Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE).   Your loved one may be asked to:

  • Spell “world” backwards
  • Count backwards by 7’s from 100
  • Respond to questions regarding seasons and dates
  • Follow instructions, usually sequential such as sit down, cross your legs and fold your arms.

Physical exam-This one is pretty obvious, but the physician will be checking for causes of dementia such as previous strokes, alcoholism, thyroid problems and a host of conditions that might mimick Alzheimer’s disease. They may do blood tests to rule out things like infection, severe anemia and or vitamin deficiencies, thyroid problems, diabetes, kidney or liver issues.

Neurological Exam-The doctor is looking for lapses in brain and or nervous system function.  Generally, the physician will test speech, ability of the eyes to move, balance/coordination, muscles and reflexes.

Imaging–This does not happen in all cases, but it is a valuable tool as technology makes it more and more easier to actually see the brain and what is going on.

It is important to note that one or more of these categories of tests may take place at one appointment and may not require a specialist. 

You now know the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, you understand the differences between Alzheimer’s and dementia and you know about testing and diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease.

Please be reminded that YOU are your own (and your loved one’s) best advocate.  Trisha Torrey has a great post, “Taking Responsibility For Health Care Decisions,” that is a serious reminder that ultimately, we are responsible for our health care decisions.  So, ask questions until you understand what the doctor is saying, do your own research and then ask more questions.  If you have any doubts, get a second opinion.

Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

May I give you a virtual penny for your very real thoughts?  Please leave a comment or send a private message to:

Testing .. 1,2,3

September 29, 2006 by  

See: HART-Empire Network

This site was one of the sites destroyed by our server September 29, 2006 .. I have recovered this myself, from my own backups however there are still issues and possible error messages that will be displayed. I hope to correct this by the end of this upcoming weekend.

If you see anything unusual .. please drop me a line .. hart (at) PETLVR (dot) com

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.