Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lung Cancer

What is lung cancer?
Lung cancer begins when cells in the lung grow out of control and form a lump (also called a tumor, mass, lesion, or nodule). A tumor can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) and can begin anywhere in the lung. A cancerous tumor is a collection of a large number of cancer cells that have the ability to spread to other parts of the body.

Once a cancerous lung tumor begins to grow, it might shed cancer cells. When a cancer cell leaves its site of origin and moves into a lymph node or to a far away part of the body through the bloodstream, it is called metastasis.

These cells can be carried away in blood or float away in the natural fluid, (lymph), which surrounds lung tissue. The natural flow of lymph out of the lungs is toward the center of the chest, which explains why lung cancer often spreads there.

The lungs are full of blood vessels and lymph vessels, giving lung cancer cells easy access to travel to other parts of the body. For this reason, lung cancer may spread to other parts of the body before you experience any signs or symptoms. In many cases, lung cancer may spread before it can even be detected in the lungs.

What causes lung cancer?
Doctors cannot always explain why one person develops lung cancer and another does not. Although smoking causes the majority of lung cancers — both in smokers and in people exposed to second hand smoke, lung cancer also occurs in people who never smoked. In these cases, there may be no clear cause of lung cancer.

Smoking tobacco - Doctors believe smoking causes lung cancer by damaging the cells that line the lungs. When you inhale cigarette smoke, which is full of cancer-causing substances (carcinogens), changes in the lung tissue begin almost immediately. At first your body may be able to repair this damage. But with each cigarette, normal cells that line the lungs are damaged more. Over time, the damage causes cells to act abnormally and eventually cancer may develop.

Symptoms of lung cancer
Early lung cancer often does not cause symptoms. But as the cancer grows, common symptoms may be experienced. It is important to note, that the following symptoms may also be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer. Possible symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • a cough that gets worse or does not go away
  • a hoarse voice
  • breathing trouble, such as shortness of breath or wheezing
  • constant chest pain
  • coughing up blood, any amount
  • coughing up bloody mucus
  • coughing up phlegm or mucus
  • feeling very tired all the time
  • frequent lung infections, such as pneumonia
  • weight loss with no known cause

Lung cancer treatment
You and your doctor will choose a cancer treatment regimen based on a number of factors, such as your overall health, the type and stage of cancer, and your own preferences. Treatment options typically include one or more treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or targeted drug therapy. Before treatment starts, your health care team will explain possible side effects and suggest ways to help you manage them.

The choice of treatment depends mainly on the type of lung cancer and its stage.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Chromium and Diabetes

Chromium is a metal. It is called an “essential trace element” because very small amounts of chromium are necessary for human health.

Chromium is used for improving blood sugar control in people with prediabetes, type 1 and
type 2 diabetes, and high blood sugar due to taking steroids.

It is also used for depression, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), lowering “bad” cholesterol, and raising “good” cholesterol in people taking heart medications called beta blockers.

Some people try chromium for body conditioning including weight loss, increasing muscle, and decreasing body fat. Chromium is also used to improve athletic performance and to increase energy.

Chromium was discovered in France in the late 1790s, but it took until the 1960s before it was recognized as being an important trace element.
How does it work?

Chromium might help keep blood sugar levels normal by improving the way our bodies use insulin.
Possible Effects
Type 2 diabetes. Some evidence shows that taking chromium picolinate (a chemical compound that contains chromium) by mouth can lower fasting blood sugar, lower insulin levels, and help insulin work better in people with type 2 diabetes. Chromium picolinate might decrease weight gain and fat accumulation in type 2 diabetes patients who are taking one of the prescription drugs called sulfonylureas.

Higher chromium doses might be more effective and work more quickly. Higher doses might also lower the level of certain blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides) in some people.

Beginning research suggests that chromium picolinate might have the same benefits in patients with type 1 diabetes and in patients who have diabetes as a result of steroid treatment.

However, researchers are looking carefully at the results that show chromium might be effective for treating diabetes. It might not help everyone. Some researchers suspect that chromium supplements might primarily benefit patients with poor nutrition or low chromium levels. Chromium levels can be below normal in patients with diabetes.
·         Athletic performance. Reliable studies show that taking chromium by mouth doesn’t seem to enhance body building, strength, or lean body mass.
·         Prediabetes

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Are Probiotics the Secret to Fewer Colds, Better Health?

Are you wondering if probiotics can help you avoid the common cold and the flu this season? In some ways, the human body is like a battlefield. The immune system fights off "intruders" (free radicals) and bad bacteria to keep the body in good working order. If you're having frequent problems with poor digestion, infections, colds and the flu, it could be a sign that your immune system needs a boost. It could simply be that you have an imbalance of good versus bad bacteria in your body—more bad is present than good. A lot of the tuning up your body needs can be carried out in the digestive tract, and you can correct problems by increasing the amount of probiotics in your diet.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are organisms that help keep your system healthy. It is a substance that comes in food and supplements that you can buy at the store. It is full of good bacteria that balance out the bad bacteria in your system that can cause infections and colds. Probiotics help stimulate the enzymes that keep your digestive system working properly.

One of the most common reasons why someone might have to take a probiotic is to replace the "good flora" (bacteria) in the digestive tract that are wiped out by taking antibiotics. When taking an antibiotic, you can ask your doctor to give you a prescription for a probiotic as well to replenish your system with good bacteria. Eating yogurt for its live active cultures can also help replenish probiotics after a course of antibiotics, but sometimes yogurt isn't enough.

Benefits of Probiotics

You may wonder what's the big deal about eating a daily diet that is high in probiotics and exactly what it can do to help your body. Here are a list of a few of the benefits:

  • improves and strengthens the overall immune system
  • helps the body fight off colds and the flu
  • helps reduce the length and occurrence of yeast infections, which are caused by an imbalance in bacteria
  • prevents and treats diarrhea symptoms
  • assists in the correction of digestive issues, like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • eases gastrointestinal and stomach problems
  • may help treat symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis

Foods that Contain Probiotics

You can take a probiotic supplement (found at your local drug or vitamin store or via prescription) or you can simply eat more foods that are rich in probiotics. Yogurt is one of the best choices, especially Greek yogurt -- the yeast cultures have plenty of the good bacteria that your body needs to stay healthy. Retailers also sell special probiotic-rich dairy drinks. Other foods rich in probiotics include dark chocolate, sauerkraut, miso soup, some pickles and kimchi. Try drinking Kombucha tea regularly to replenish your body with good bacteria.

If you're frequently getting sick with colds and flu, or have problems with your stomach and challenges maintaining proper digestion, it could be that your body desperately needs probiotics to help the digestive tract and boost your immune system. You'll find that adding more to your diet is as simple as picking up a spoon or a drink. Be aware that some probiotics are strong and may upset your stomach, so you may need to try a few brands of yogurt or supplements before you find one that works for you. Be sure to consult with your primary doctor before starting any new supplements and to rule out other causes behind any symptoms.

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