Saturday, April 29, 2006
Some people say that “there is no such thing as a “good food” or “bad food”, just bad diets”. Usually after that they say something about another kind of low-fat, balanced diet which will let you reach your 100’ birthday in good health. Most of this “wonder diets” became sooner or later another dietetics mistake and are replaced by new ones, which, after some time, are also replaced, because of the new revelations in the dietetics. And so it goes on and on, making people who want to live healthy life more and more frustrated, but still believing that the most important thing is not what lands on their plate, but the amount of it. Today, when there are so many kinds of food on the market, we should not only care for the calories, but also look carefully at what we are actually eating. Difference between organic, conventional and genetically modified food We all know that organic food is healthy, conventional food is accessible and genetically modified food can be solution to the food problems around the world, but when asked for details only few people can answer precisely what this is all about. Organic food is produced using ecological methods of farming. That means no pesticides or fertilizers with synthetic ingredients for the plants and no growth hormones and antibiotics for the animals. When you buy certified organic food, you can be sure that all of the above won’t land in your stomach and affect your organism. However because of the slower production process and lesser efficiency this kind of the food is more expensive and even if all the farms would start its production it wouldn’t be enough to feed people all around the world. Conventional food is produced using almost all available technologies provided by the science, save genetic modifications. Still, because of the intense production process, many chemicals and medicines are involved to guarantee that crops or animals will grow at the appropriate rate. Some of these “stimulants” can be found in the final product which we buy and may affect our health (notably the growth hormones in meat). Anyway, conventional food can be found in almost every kitchen around the world and some of the scientists start to wonder how could we feel without this additional dose of antibiotics and artificial poisons which we involuntary eat. Genetically modified food is the most controversial. The process of growing it is similar to the conventional, the only difference is that in GM food a part of the DNA is transferred from another species in order to change its characteristics into desired one without some long-lasting and sometimes in vein inbreed process. All scientists working on GM food projects say that everything is under control, but a few accidents when transferred genes didn’t behave as they predicted show us that it may not be as safe as they want. The real advantages and flaws of the GM food will be known only after long time, all we know today is based only on theory and laboratory tests, not the real life.
Steven Cox is an expert on the quality of the food we eat. He educates via seminars and his website by promoting healthy eating habits rather than diets. Visit http://www.berkeleyfood.org to find out more about sustainable healthy living.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Why have I brought up the topic of staph? Because I, unfortunately, am currently battling an infection of staph which has caused another infection called Cellulitis. What is that? Well, I have my entire left thigh red, swollen, hot as heck, and blistered, as if I had a severe sunburn. It may have started with an irritated hair follicule. My infection is in a common area, the leg, but cellulitis can be on the face or anywhere else on your body. If I hadn't gone to the doctor two weeks ago, I could be facing potentially life threatening consequenses.
I went to the doctor on April 17 with a rash on my leg that was red and itchy, and seemed to be getting larger. So she took a culutre, which she sent to the lab to check, and put me on an antibiotic. I was told to make a follow up appointment with the dermatologist to check the rash. I went back on April 20. The derm took another culture and sent it to the lab. The first culture came back negative for bacteria. He put me on two antibiotics and told me to stop the first. If the rash were to get worse, Iwas suppossed to call them right away. Well, I didn't. It got worse. By Tuesday, April 25 my leg was swollen and the rash had extended from my hip to my knee, and wrapped itself around my leg. I hoped that it would get better so I didn't go in until my scheduled follow up, April 27, yesterday. When the doctor that saw me the first day saw my leg, she told me to go straight to the hospital. The second culture had come back positive for staph, and I needed an antibiotic through an IV. I'm trembling even now as I type this.
So I spent my Thursday at the hospital for 5 hours with a treatment of vancomycin. Don't ask me what that is becasue I really don't want to know. I did however get a "normal" reaction to the antibiotic, something the doctors call "red man/woman" syndrome. It started with the worst itch I have ever had in my life- starting on my scalp and going down to my chest. At the same time my skin turned sunburnt red. A dose of Benadryl took care of the effect, but knocked me out for 3 hours! Finally I was let home, but with instructions to return for another dose of vancomycin the next day. I was also prescribed a third oral antibiotic, clindamycin. Luckily it seems to be doing the job. The only side affect I am having is slight nausea, and a little light headedness. I will need to have two more days of IV treatment. Besides the IV treatment, I have to take the clindamycin, and I was also instructed to either eat as much yogurt as possible, or buy some acedophilus, to prevent possible yeast infections. Obviously, I am on a combination of two powerful antibiotics that are killing both good and bad bacteria. I'm on a long road to recovery.
The important thing to remember about both staph and cellulitis is that the bacteria staph is the cause of cellulitis. If it is not taken care of immediately, it can be life threatening. A friend of mine was hospitalized for 4 days last year with a severe staph infection. She was quarantined the whole four days, it was that bad. I remember reading about the actress Rosie O'Donell when she had a serious staph infection in her hand, but I cannot remember how long ago it was. This is not something to play around with. My discharge instructions tell me: with antibiotic treatment the size of the red area will gradually shrink in size until the skin returns to normal. This will take 7-10 days. If the infection is on your arm or leg, keep the part RAISED as much as possible. Limit your use of the affected extremity. If the infection is on your leg, walk as little as possible during the first few days of the treatment. That will be extremely hard to do in my household, however I do not want to prolong this treatment.
Please, be extremely careful when you get a scratch. Wash your hands as often as possible, and if you cannot wash, make sure you have an antibacterial hand gel/sanitizer with you at all times. Especially wash your hands (or sanitize them) after you touch your nose, the staph bacteria is most prominently found there. I found more information on both staph and cellulitis on the MayoClinic website. They have a photo that illustrates what cellulitis looks like, and that is exactly what my leg looked like yesterday. Don't take a small scratch for granted- clean it and put an antibiotic ointment on it and cover it as soon as possible. You would not like it at all if it developed into a staph infection. Seriously.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Most at risk are women who have certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), but it typically afffects women over 30.
- Possible signs: abnormal vaginal bleeding, spotting or discharge, bleeding after sex
- Preventative measures: among others-Regular PAP smears, no smoking
Most at risk are women who are obese, infertile, or have menstural problems; also those who have a family history of uterine cancer. It is most common after menopause, especially between age 60 to 75
- Possible signs: unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting or discharge; heavy mentrual bleeding; postmenopausal bleeding or spotting
- Preventative Measures: Avoid prolonged exposure to unopposed estrogen, lose excess weight
Most at risk are women who don't have children, or haven't used birth control; women who have history of ovarian or breast cancer in the family. It occurs most frequently between ages 50 and 75.
- Possible signs: unexplained bloateing, pelvic discomfort, abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain and swelling of the abdomen, changes in bowel function (ie consitpation, diarrhea, or gas), mild nausea. Quick note- by the time those symptoms show up, the cancer is usually in an advanced stage, and there are few symptoms early on.
- Preventative measures: use oral contraceptives, breastfeed for as long as possible when you do have children.
Perhaps the most common cancer, at least the most talked about. Women who have a family history of breast cancer are at risk, as well as women who have gone through puberty before age 12, or gone through menopause after age 55. It is most common in women over 65.
- Possible signs: A lump in your breast, spontaneous nipple discharge, changes in the skin on your breast
- Preventative measures: regular exercise, weight control, limiting alcohol, diet, homone therapy (only discussed with your doc.)
There is more info on each in the magazine. Please pick up a copy of the May 9 issue of Women's Day, or go to www.womansday.com to subcribe to the magazine.
Also, if you have been affected by breast cancer, my friend Jennifer has been trying to raise money to donate to a breast cancer charity. Please check out Pixels for Breast Cancer and donate today!! 50% of each donation will go to breast cancer awareness!
This post is sponsered by www.askgeekgirl.com
Friday, April 07, 2006
Score one for those of us who promote health!!
Just remember that when you experience major temperature changes that you don't go from one extreme to the other. Example, it is snowing outside and you have the heater on full blast in the car, warm enough that you are in your tshirt and pants without the jacket and scarf and hat. Even if you bundle up right before you get out of the car, the extreme change in temperature can affect your breathing and your throat. The same can happen with having your air conditioner on and the weather blazing hot outside. I speak from experience, and I have gotten sick enough times to realize that layering in the winter is better than blasting the heat and getting sick from the extreme temperature change!
Monday, April 03, 2006
Sunday, April 02, 2006
This taken directly from Diabetes Journal.org
Diabetes is one of the most costly and burdensome chronic diseases of our time and is a condition that is increasing in epidemic proportions in the U.S. and throughout the world (1). The complications resulting from the disease are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality and are associated with the damage or failure of various organs such as the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Individuals with type 2 diabetes are also at a significantly higher risk for coronary heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and stroke, and they have a greater likelihood of having hypertension, dyslipidemia, and obesity (2–6).
Two early reports (29,30) suggested that changes in lifestyle can prevent diabetes, but weaknesses in study design limited their general relevance. Recently, however, four well-designed randomized controlled trials have been reported (31–35).
There is now substantial evidence that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. Individuals at high risk of developing diabetes can be identified easily. It is not yet known whether the successful interventions will cost-effectively reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with diabetes. Diabetes prevention policies that focus on lifestyle modification, specifically modest weight loss and increased physical activity, are also very likely to have additional health benefits. Public health messages, health care professionals, and health care systems should all encourage behavior changes to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Further research is necessary to understand better how to facilitate effective and efficient programs for the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes.
Individuals at high risk for developing diabetes need to become aware of the benefits of modest weight loss and participating in regular physical activity.