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Mapp & Hession Pharmacy Murwillumbah King Street Chemist Greg Mapp & Paul Hession

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We are passionate about providing you with all round health solutions.


Please use this resource page as your gateway to better health.  Talk to our pharmacists about ways we can collaborate to support your needs.

Your Health Fact Sheet

Diseases Health Fact Sheets

The following symptoms are associated with abuse of alcohol:


  • temporary blackouts or memory loss.
  • recurrent arguments or fights with family members or friends.
  • continuing use of alcohol to relax, to cheer up, to sleep, to deal with problems, or to feel 'normal'.
  • work, money and family problems.
  • headache, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, or other unpleasant symptoms when you stop drinking.
  • loss of appetite and insomnia.
  • attacks of trembling and sweating.
  • delirious attacks.
  • kidney trouble and peptic ulcers.
  • broken capillaries on the face; a husky voice; shaking hands; severe diarrhoea; and drinking alone, in the mornings, or in secret. These symptoms are specifically associated with chronic alcoholism.


Consumed in moderation, alcohol can be of benefit as a relaxant, can encourage the appetite and produce a feeling of well-being. However, when consumed in excess, alcohol is poisonous to human systems and is considered a drug.
Chronic alcoholism is a progressive, potentially fatal disease, characterised by an constant craving for, increased tolerance of, physical dependence upon, and loss of control over drinking alcohol.


Alcoholism can cause physical problems such as hypoglycaemia, kidney disease, brain and heart damage, enlarged blood vessels in the skin, chronic gastritis, and pancreatitis.


Alcoholism can also lead to impotence in men, damage to the foetus in pregnant women, and an elevated risk of cancer of the larynx, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, and upper gastrointestinal tract.


Alcoholics rarely eat nutritionally adequate meals, they are likely to have nutritional deficiencies. Heavy drinkers typically have impaired liver function, and at least 1 in 5 develops cirrhosis.


Causes


The causes of alcoholism are a combination of genetic, physical, psychological, environmental, and social factors that vary among individuals. Genetic factors are considered crucial… A given person's risk of becoming an alcoholic is four to five times greater if a parent is alcoholic as children grow up copying one parent. Some children of alcohol abusers, however, overcome the hereditary pattern by becoming teetotallers.


Drinking is socially acceptable and approved cultural activity therefore some people, due to upbringing and conditioning are more inclined to become alcoholics than others.


Certain professions are more conducive alcoholism, extensive socialising and the open availability of drink are causes in these cases.


Traditional Treatment


Alcoholic’s main aim in treatment is to abstain from any form of alcohol and this is often difficult and complicated by denial.
Once the alcoholic accepts he or she has a problem and is willing to stop drinking, treatment can begin. He or she must understand that alcoholism is curable and must be motivated to change.


Treatment has two stages…

  1.  Withdrawal… sometimes called detoxification - and
  2. Recovery.


Because withdrawal does not stop the craving for alcohol, recovery is often difficult to maintain. For a person in an early stage of alcoholism, withdrawal may bring anxiety and poor sleep.


Withdrawal from long-term dependence may bring the uncontrollable shaking, spasms, panic, and hallucinations of delirium tremens (DT). If not treated professionally, people with DT have a mortality rate of more than 10 percent, so withdrawal from late-stage alcoholism should be attempted only at an in-patient centre.


Treatment may involve one or more medications. They must be used with care and supervision, since they may be addictive and can have serious side effects.


Because an alcoholic remains susceptible to becoming dependent again, the key to recovery is total abstinence. Recovery also involves education programs, group therapy, family involvement, and participation in self-help groups.


Alternative/Natural Treatments


Once an alcoholic accepts his or her condition and stops using alcohol, a number of alternative therapies can assist the recovery process.

  •  Massage - can help relax and can aid the stress of withdrawal symptoms
  •  Herbal Remedies and Nutritional supplements such as the B Complex, Vitamin C, and a multi-vitamin capsule, beta-carotene and Zinc, Magnesium and EPO. For withdrawal symptoms for herbal mixtures.
  • Various relaxation and meditation techniques
  • Nutrition and diet - eat plenty of salads and vegetables, drink fresh juices and avoid fatty foods.
  • Blood sugar levels may need stabilising - eliminating certain dietary sugars prove helpful in some cases.


Other ways to help with Alcoholism
To help in learning to live without the need for alcohol the alcoholic must…

  • Avoid people and places that make drinking the norm, and find new, non-drinking friends.
  • Join a self-help group.
  • Enlist the help of family and friends.
  • Replace your negative dependence on alcohol with positive dependencies such as a new hobby or volunteer work with church or civic groups.
  • Start exercising. Exercise releases chemicals in the brain that provide a 'natural high.' Even a walk after dinner can be tranquillising.


Dietary Considerations


Develop a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables (watching for certain fruits and vegetables which may be high in sugar) and consume foods high in B and C group vitamins such as wholemeal bread, brown rice, oats, bananas, citrus fruit, broccoli and parsley.
Drink plenty of filtered water and be sure to visit a qualified dietician or medical practitioner to obtain a diet suitable for you.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the symptoms listed in the description section and are unable to stop drinking on your own. You need medical intervention to treat alcoholism.
  • you find your daily intake of alcohol increasing as you become more tolerant.
  • you drink regularly and experience chronic or periodic depression. You may be at risk of suicide.
  • you have tried to stop drinking and experienced withdrawal symptoms such as headache, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, or delirium tremens. You need medical attention by a Doctor or a treatment centre.


Alcohol Abuse

Adenoids are lymph glands, located at the back of the nose where the air passages join those of the back of the mouth.


The lymph system is the body’s defence against infection and the lymph glands (like the adenoids) are full of infection-fighting cells. Any infection breathed in is filtered through the adenoids and usually killed. However this is not always the case.


What to look for…

Adenoid-related problems produce symptoms in the ears, nose, and throat. Most common in children between 4 and 8 years old. Any of the following may be indicative of adenoid problems:

  • Interruption of normal breathing patterns during the night
  • snoring
  • nasal voice
  • dry throat due to breathing through the mouth - continually asking for drinks
  • secretions from the nose during the day combined with a cough at night, caused by sinus drainage
  • recurring ear infections
  • coughs from increased pus or discharge in back of throat; a collection of this may cause morning vomiting.
  • Chest infections may occur


The adenoids, play a special role during childhood… By making antibodies, they help the young child's body fight respiratory tract infections.
From the time your child is three until around the age of seven, the adenoids grow so that they can give extra protection to the lungs and chest. After about the age of eight, they usually begin to disappear until adolescence when they have usually gone.
You may have grown up in an era when removing the adenoids and tonsils was standard practice and may have undergone one of these procedures yourself. But because doctors now understand more clearly the role of the adenoids in fighting infection, the chances of your child's undergoing an adenoidectomy are much more remote… usually limited to the most severe cases.


Causes

The primary reason for chronic adenoid problems is structural… The adenoids grow so large that they block the nasal passages. But infection or irritation, perhaps caused by allergies, can also cause problems by making the adenoids swell. Usually a younger child is more exposed to infections.


Traditional Treatment

Adenoid problems are difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can point to any number of conditions and it is hard to tell even by examination if enlarged adenoids are the cause.


Three types of medicines may help in treating adenoids

  1. Decongestants - available over the counter
  2. Antihistamines - available over the counter
  3. Antibiotics - available only on prescription.


As a last resort if the above medications have not helped and alternative therapies have not helped the adenoids may be removed by a surgeon .


Consult your doctor before undertaking any medication for the ailment.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapists usually seek an allergy-related cause first. Always take your child to a professional for evaluation and treatment… At-home care can only alleviate the symptoms. Natural therapists will also seek to strengthen the immune system with a natural, wholefood diet enriched with Vitamin C.


  • Herbal Treatments - Echinacea is believed to help fight infection. (Get professional advice for appropriate dosages). Garlic is often helpful as well as other herb cleavers sometimes in combination with Echinacea to fight infection and inflammation in the lymphatic system.


  • Homoeopathic Remedies - You should get professional advice for remedies appropriate to the condition as well as to yourself.


The following at home remedies may alleviate some symptoms, but they will not clear up the underlying condition. Always seek help from a professional when your child has a chronic problem.

  • For children with allergies, reducing or eliminating environmental irritants can make your child more comfortable. Using a vaporiser may aid the condition
  • A humidifier may help a congested child.
  • An over-the-counter decongestant may temporarily alleviate stuffiness.


Dietary Considerations

Because chronic adenoid problems give rise to other problems, you should consult a Health Professional for remedies and diets appropriate to the condition as well as to your child. Your Pharmacist will monitor your child's progress and change remedies if they do not bring relief in a short time.


When to Seek Further Professional Advice

Left untreated, enlarged adenoids can lead to chronic sinusitis, and in severe cases, a complaint in which the child stops breathing for seconds at a time during the night.
If your child is not breathing properly at night, you notice your child has breathing problems or breathing through their mouth and if you notice recurrent ear conditions and infections.

Adenoid Problems

Known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome AIDS occurs after the immune system has been destroyed by HIV virus.

HIV attacks the immune system by killing off the white blood cells in the blood known as the T-Cells. It is these cells that signal to the body’s defence system when an invasion of bacteria or viruses has occurred. As a result the body produces anti-bodies which attack and destroy harmful bacteria and viruses.


AIDS patients are vulnerable to infections and cancers and it is these infections and cancers which cause death. HIV changes the structure of the cells it attacks.


What to look for…

The following are common symptoms to look for:

  • Unexplainable fatigue.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Fevers that lasts more than 10 days.
  • Night sweats.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Purplish or discoloured lesions on skin that do not go away.
  • Persistent, unexplained cough or sore throat.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Persistent colds, diarrhoea, yeast infections
  • Easy bruising or bleeding that cannot be explained.


A diagnosis of AIDS should not be taken as an immediate death sentence. With proper care the AIDS sufferer may stave off the worst symptoms and live a productive life for many years.


Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is not a single disease in itself. Rather, a severely impaired immune system leaves the AIDS sufferer highly susceptible to a whole host of infections and diseases. AIDS is thought to be caused by the human immune deficiency virus (HIV), which is spread through infected semen, vaginal fluids, and blood. Contrary to popular belief, AIDS is not a highly contagious disease. The only way you can get it is to have unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected partner or to share tainted blood through IV-drug use or transfusions.


Risk Groups

At greatest risk for AIDS are people who have sex without using condoms and infants born to AIDS-infected mothers. Also at great risk are male and female intravenous-drug users who share needles, and people who received blood transfusions or clotting factors between 1977 and 1985, prior to the establishment of standard AIDS screening of donated blood.
You also need not worry about catching AIDS if you live with someone who has it. HIV cannot be transmitted by toilet seats or objects handled by people who have AIDS.


Traditional Treatment

If you feel you have contracted the virus you should have a test as soon as possible. Within a few weeks of infection, your body should be producing antibodies to the virus, which your doctor can detect in blood tests. However, your body may take as long as 35 months to produce a detectable level of antibodies, so if you think you've been infected, particularly if you're in a high-risk group, you should be tested for the disease every 6 months.


It is extremely important that you notify your sexual partners of your diagnosis. They too must be tested and treated.
Almost everyone who develops full-blown AIDS eventually succumbs to the disease, but antibiotic and antiviral drugs can prolong life for several years. In any event, you should never try to treat yourself for this life-threatening illness:
Always seek the advice of a qualified practitioner. And beware of claims made for 'miracle' cures. They simply don't exist.


Currently there are several hundred human studies to test drugs for the treatment of AIDS and related conditions. These include antiviral drugs, drugs that modify the immune system, anti-infective drugs, and anti-cancer drugs.
Although a number of vaccines to prevent AIDS are under investigation, scientists have had difficulty finding one that works.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Combined with medical treatment, many alternative therapies have been successful in improving the patient’s quality of life. By law, alternative therapists are not permitted to treat AIDS/HIV patients.


Although, if you have the support of your doctor, these remedies may be of benefit in relieving some of the symptoms. AIDS patients have responded well to nutritional programs aimed at improving their immune system function. Also any program which aims to relax the patient and decrease stress has been beneficial.
Again, beware of any treatment that claims to be a 'miracle' cure.


  • Regular massages
  • Try some Bach flower remedies -
  • Mimulus (for fear of illness or death),
  • Sweet Chestnut (for despair),
  • Pine (for guilt),
  • Willow (for resentment).
  • Chinese herbs help to boost the immune system. However it is vital to see a professional and fully qualified practitioner. Some suggested herbs are -
  • Green Tea,
  • some Ginseng,
  • Maitake mushroom and
  • Shiitake mushroom.
  • Use of certain Aromatherapy oils to reduce stress levels
  • A healthy diet with moderate exercise
  • Herbs such as…
  • Echinacea,
  • Astragalus,
  • Cat’s Claw,
  • Chaparral,
  • Liquorice (root),
  • European Mistletoe and
  • Garlic help the immune system.
  • As well as
  • Aloe vera (juice consumed orally),
  • the minerals Zinc and Germanium,
  • the vitamin A derivative - Beta Carotene,
  • Selenium,
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus,
  • Coenzyme Q10 can often help.
  • As well as this you may want to investigate the benefits of taking extra Vitamin A and B12 and C. However, always speak with your doctor as Vitamin A can be toxic in high doses.
  • Heat therapy - raising the body’s temperature above normal levels - with medical supervision may help control the HIV virus.
  • Mind/body work with a psychologist or counsellor
  • Also Yoga and meditation may be of benefit
  • Try joining a support group
  • Also some ideas to help yourself at home:-
  • eat nutritious, balanced meals to bolster your immune system.
  • take vitamin supplements such as the ones mentioned above.
  • try acupressure exercises to relax.
  • take up meditation or yoga to relieve stress.
  • try to maintain a positive attitude.
  • follow a moderate exercise program approved by your doctor.
  • try inhaling or bathing with oils of tea tree and garlic.
  • ask a knowledgeable practitioner about herbs such as St.-John's-wort.


When to seek further professional advice

If you have more than one of the symptoms listed in the description section of this condition or if you think you may have contracted the disease.

Aids

An allergy is a sensitivity to a substance which does not normally cause people any problems.


What to look for

Symptoms generally show up in the part of the body which are exposed to the allergen…

  • Sneezing, wheezing, nasal congestion, and coughing indicate asthma, or drug or respiratory allergies.
  • Itchy eyes, mouth, and throat are symptoms of respiratory allergies.
  • Stomach ache, frequent indigestion, and heartburn and diarrhoea are signs of food sensitivities.
  • Irritated, itchy, reddening, or swelling skin is associated with drug, food, and insect sting allergies.
  • Stiffness, pain, and swelling of joints may indicate food or drug allergies.


Allergies come in a variety of forms and vary in severity from mildly bothersome to life-threatening.
Most allergic reactions are not serious, but some, such as anaphylaxis, can be fatal. In this case the patient’s air passages swell and close and the blood pressure falls abruptly.


Only a few allergies can be cured outright, but a variety of conventional and alternative treatments are available to relieve the symptoms. If your allergy is severe, it is vital that you visit a conventional medical doctor and get immediate treatment on an emergency basis.


Causes

No one knows why some people develop them, but heredity seems to play a role in their development.
The immune system protects the body from foreign substances - known as antigens - by producing antibodies and other chemicals to fight against them. Usually, the immune system ignores benign substances, such as food, and fights only dangerous ones, such as bacteria.


A person develops an allergic reaction when the immune system cannot tell the good from the bad and releases a type of chemical called histamine to attack the harmless substance as if it were a threat. Histamine produces many of the symptoms associated with allergies. Substances that may trigger allergic reactions, known as allergens, range from pollen to pet faeces to penicillin.


Allergies come in many distinct forms and are typically grouped in general categories according to the types of substances that cause them or the parts of the body they affect.


Skin allergiesThere is three types of allergic reactions affecting the skin.

  1. Eczema - inflamed, dry, cracked skin covered in pimples or blisters, itch.
  2. Contact Dermatitis - a type of eczema affecting adults, caused by direct, topical exposure to allergen.
  3. Hives - red irritating swelling, which can last for days.


Respiratory allergies: Such as Hayfever with typical symptoms include itchy eyes, nose, and roof of mouth or throat, along with nasal congestion, coughing, and sneezing.


Reactions are caused by the pollens of ragweed, grasses, and other plants whose pollen is spread by the wind. But the same symptoms can be produced by other airborne substances that you inhale. These can include moulds, dust, and animal dander. Mould allergies are caused by airborne spores.


Asthma:
Asthma has various causes, but the chief ones are allergies to pollen, mould spores, animal dander, and dust mites. 


Food allergies:
It is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the specific allergens responsible for a food allergy, because reactions are often delayed or may be caused by food additives or even by eating habits. However, approximately 90 percent of food allergies are caused by proteins in cow's milk, egg whites, peanuts, wheat, or soybeans.


Other common food allergens include berries, shellfish, corn, beans, yellow food dye No. 5, and gum Arabic (an additive in processed foods).


The classic symptoms of food allergies include stomach cramps, diarrhoea, and nausea. In more severe cases, there may be vomiting, swelling of the face and tongue, and respiratory congestion, as well as dizziness, sweating, and faintness.


Insect sting allergies:

Some studies speculate that people who have other allergies (food, drug, or respiratory) may be more susceptible to insect sting allergies, which affect about 15 percent of the population. Venom in stings of bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and fire ants is a common allergen. (See Insect and Spider Bites.)


Traditional Treatment

The best treatment for all allergies is to avoid the allergen that trigger them, but this can be difficult. It is especially important to avoid any foods which may trigger attacks.


The basic medications for respiratory allergies are antihistamines, which counteract the histamine chemicals that cause the allergic reactions. They come as tablets, liquid medicine, nose drops or eye drops and also as injections.  Prescription corticosteroid drugs may also be used for the severe symptoms of skin allergies.


In emergency situations… when Anaphylactic shock occurs - injections of epinephrine are used to dilate bronchial passages. Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, may cure some allergies by introducing small amounts of the offending allergens in order to help the body learn to deal with them.
These drugs are not cures they simply relieve the symptoms.


Your doctor can perform a prick test so he or she will be able to tell you which substances to avoid exposure to.
Eczema is quite often controlled by ensuring that the skin is kept supple and moist (use a moisturising cream).
Drug allergies: Once again avoid any drug which may cause a reaction and of course if you have a reaction contact a medical practitioner urgently.


Insect sting allergies: Avoidance is the best treatment, but immunotherapy may cure insect sting allergies: If you are extremely allergic and likely to go into anaphylactic shock, your doctor will prescribe an emergency kit, which you must carry with you at all times.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Since allergies can be difficult to diagnose, and are in many cases incurable, alternative remedies for them have become quite popular. But if you have a severe allergy, or in case of an emergency, you must see a conventional physician.


  •  Aromatherapy – firstly you must try to identify the trigger. But the following essential oils dabbed on the pulse points of the wrist and neck or on a handkerchief may help you cope with the symptoms: 3 drops of the following clove, lemon and myrtle with 2 drops of chamomile in 15 ml carrier oil. 


  • Herbal Therapies - Infusions of chamomile, elder flower, eyebright, garlic, goldenrod, nettle and yarrow have anti-mucus and anti-inflammatory effects.


  • Homeopathy - For a runny nose, itchy throat, and sneezing, Arsenicum album may be prescribed, for chronic thick mucus, Pulsatilla, for a runny nose, sore upper lip, and itchy eyes, Allium cepa. It is wise to seek professional advice for correct dosages.


Dietary Considerations

Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, filtered water and avoid commonly allergic foods such as chocolate, milk cheese, eggs, fish, wheat, artificial flavours. Avoid stress and pollution. Also plenty of exercise and fresh clean air.


PREVENTION

Respiratory allergies: Install a high-efficiency air cleaner to help remove pollen and mould spores, and use an air conditioner in your home and car during warm seasons to keep pollen out; regularly clean damp areas with bleach to kill moulds.
Consider hiring a special cleaning service to rid furniture and upholstery of dust mites. Isolate (or, if you can stand it, get rid of) your pets and keep them outside as much as possible. Regular baths for your pet will help reduce dander. If you are going on holiday remember there is much less pollen at the seaside than in the country.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you have violent stomach cramps, vomiting, bloating, or diarrhoea;
  • breathing becomes difficult or painful; you may be experiencing asthma, another serious allergic reaction, or a heart attack. Get emergency medical treatment.
  • you suddenly develop skin welts, with intense flushing and itching; your heart may also be beating rapidly. Get emergency medical treatment.

Allergies

This word literally means ‘no memory’, but for medical purposes it is used to mean a temporary loss of memory.


What to look for

Symptoms for Amnesia include the following:-

  • confusion,
  • inability to recall current location
  • do not know who familiar people are


Causes

  • a severe hit to the head area can cause post-traumatic amnesia. This type of blow is called ‘concussion’ and the characteristic of this is that the person cannot recall the actual impact to the head. They will however, usually recover and be able to recall the events leading up to the event and after.
  • physical illnesses can stop recall of memories
  • sudden emotional shock or terrible stress


Traditional Treatment

  • Rest
  • A mild sedative
  • Usually treatment of a person with amnesia is difficult.
  • Counselling or psychiatric assessment is needed


Alternative/Natural Treatment

Alternative treatments may aid this condition when used along with traditional medical assistance.

  • Herbal Therapies - Choline (member of B Group of Vitamins), Lecithin and Ginkgo biloba.
  • Aromatherapy - Rosemary oil rubbed on the temples.


Dietary Considerations

It is advisable to seek professional medical help… However any foods which are high in the B Vitamins, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Yeast, Kelp, Evening Primrose Oil.


When to seek further professional advice

If the person seems disoriented and confused or mentions an inability to recall past events, or look they may be in danger it is advisable that they seek medical advice.

Amnesia

An aneurism is a permanent ballooning in the wall of an artery. The pressure of blood passing through can force part of a weakened artery to bulge outward, forming a thin-skinned blister or sac.


What to look for

Although most aneurisms have no symptoms, in some cases the following symptoms may occur:

  • Severe ripping or pulsing type of pain, or a lump anywhere in your body where blood vessels are found.
  • Pain in the abdomen or lower back extending into the groin and legs may indicate an abdominal aneurism, which can sometimes be seen or felt as a throbbing lump and may be accompanied by weight loss or loss of appetite.
  • A pain in the chest, hoarseness, persistent coughing, and difficulty swallowing may indicate a thoracic aneurism.
  • A throbbing sensation or lump directly behind the knee may indicate a peripheral aneurism… The knee is a common site for this type of aneurism, especially in smokers.
  • A severe headache or very bad migraine accompanied by radiating neck pain, may indicate a dissecting or rupturing berry aneurism in the head. Dissecting aneurisms, most commonly characterised by severe pain, can also occur elsewhere in the body and are always an emergency situation.

The gravest threat an aneurism poses is that it will burst and cause a stroke or life-threatening haemorrhage…. But even if it doesn't rupture, a large aneurism can impede circulation and promote unwanted blood-clot formation.


CAUSES

Any condition that causes arterial walls to weaken or deteriorate can result in an aneurism. The most common culprits are atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. Penetrating wounds and infections can also lead to an aneurism. Some types, such as berry aneurisms, are the result of congenital, or inherited, weakness in artery walls.
Research has shown smoking and a high fat diet may cause or worsen this problem.


Traditional Treatment

The only way to get rid of an aneurism is to have it surgically removed… often a risky procedure, but highly effective when successful. Sometimes, however, surgery is impossible, or it may pose more danger than the aneurism. Careful monitoring and drug therapy may then be the best course. See your doctor.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

The following treatments… all primarily intended to prevent aneurisms and should be pursued along with, not instead of, your doctor's orders.

  • Homeopathy - a professional homeopath will recommend the best course of action for this problem.
  • Mind/Body Therapy - massage, yoga and meditation can be particularly helpful for this problem.
  • Herbal Treatments - garlic, fish oils, tea made of linden, hawthorn and nettle as well as a chamomile tea can be of help.


Dietary Considerations

Dietary changes that lower blood pressure and slow atherosclerosis may help prevent an aneurism from developing. A low fat diet is necessary.


When to seek further professional advice

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms or you suspect you have an aneurism.

Aneurism

Angina can occur when the heart is not getting enough oxygen. This is usually because the blood supply to the heart is blocked or because the heart is being overworked and therefore needs more oxygen than usual. The heart can usually function normally at rest but not when physically exerted.


What to look for

  • pain that is crushing, constricting, strangling, suffocating, sharp, or burning… It is normally felt in the chest but may also occur in other areas such as the jaw or abdomen. Location and specific sensations vary from person to person but are usually consistent from one attack to the next.
  • pain that occurs with exertion or excitement and recedes with rest.
  • pain usually only lasts for a few minutes
  • weakness, sweating, shortness of breath, anxiety, palpitations, nausea, or light-headedness… Symptoms that may or may not be associated with an angina attack.
  • patients who have had angina attacks may go on to have full blown heart attacks and vice versa


Of the many types of angina, stable, or classical, angina, triggered by exertion and receding with rest is the most common.
If you have stable angina, you should be able to predict what sort of activity will bring on an attack. Another type, unstable angina, is a more acute condition; it occurs unpredictably, even during rest, and should be interpreted as a warning sign of more serious heart trouble.


Alone, angina causes no permanent damage because the heart is only temporarily deprived of oxygen. But if your angina worsens, you should know that you are at a greater risk of heart attack. Be especially concerned if you develop unstable angina, and consult a doctor.


CAUSES

The main underlying cause of angina is coronary artery disease which describes the disease which the arteries become blocked by fatty deposits and blood is prevented from flowing through them. Angina can also result from other diseases that put exertion upon the heart unnecessarily, such as anaemia, aortic valve disease (see heart disease), heart arrhythmias, and hyperthyroidism.


Stable angina is sometimes called 'exertional' angina because it is triggered by activities that make the heart beat rapidly such as physical activity, such as heavy lifting, sexual activity to eating a large meal.
Other triggers are emotional excitement cold weather, both of which stimulate the heart.


Certain risk factors for heart disease and coronary artery disease make the development of angina more likely.

  • These include high blood pressure,
  • stress,
  • high cholesterol
  • smoking,
  • obesity,
  • diabetes,
  • and a family history of heart disease.


Traditional Treatment

Drugs may alleviate angina symptoms, but fundamental changes in diet and lifestyle are an important part of any angina treatment program. Before taking any drug, review its properties and your medical history carefully with your Doctor and Pharmacist.


Many drugs should not be mixed with other drugs or natural medicines, and you also need to be sure your Doctor knows of any pre-existing medical conditions you may have.


If you have angina, your doctor will undoubtedly mention the importance of an overall healthy lifestyle that includes proper diet, exercise, weight management, and no smoking.


Most angina patients also take prescribed medication. There are three main classes of angina drugs…

  • Nitrates,
  • Beta-adrenergic blockers and
  • Calcium channel blockers.


Physicians often use a combination of these to treat angina.
If drug therapy does not work Angioplasty or bypass surgery may be considered. Angioplasty, a catheter technique that widens blocked arteries, has become a relatively routine procedure. Bypass surgery, which diverts blood flow around clogged arteries, is reserved for very severe cases.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Always consult a doctor if you think you may have angina. The alternative therapies below may help relieve symptoms or prevent attacks, but they should be considered as complements to, rather than substitutes for, conventional medical care.


  • Herbal Therapies - Hawthorn is an excellent long-term tonic for angina because it simultaneously dilates coronary arteries and calms the heart. Raw garlic is said to help control blood cholesterol levels. Tea (made from lime flowers - linden, hawthorn and nettle) may reduce blood pressure and make the blood vessels stronger. Chamomile tea is also helpful.
  • Homoeopathy - For immediate relief during an acute attack, Cactus grandiflorus is recommended. Among the long-term remedies that might be prescribed to you are Nax vomica and Arsenicum album. However, do not self-administer herbal remedies – seek the advice of a qualified Herbalist or Naturopath.
  • Lifestyle - Stay clear of carbon monoxide and cigarette smoke, avoid alcohol or drink only sparingly while on angina medication because of possible adverse reactions. Very gentle aerobic exercise may beneficial for angina patients. Build stamina gradually, and exercise inside during cold weather. Be sure to consult your doctor before embarking on an exercise program.
  • Mind/Body Medicine - If you are stressed or easily upset find ways to relax your mind and body. You may find relief through yoga, or meditation.


Dietary Considerations

Consider a low fat diet to decrease the fatty deposits around your arteries. Eat less saturated fats and cholesterol.


Personal Care at Home

  • Use more pillows to raise your head up while you sleep to lessen the likelihood of a night attack
  • An aspirin a day, with your doctor's permission, may reduce the risk of heart attack and unstable angina.
  • Spend at least an hour digesting heavy meals… exertion after eating is known to cause attacks.
  • Be careful when starting an exercise regime as this is known to create angina attacks.
  • Stop smoking, as it greatly aggravates angina.
  • Do not take birth-control pills if you have angina. Estrogens are associated with increased risk of blood clots.


When to seek further professional advice

  • if an attack lasts more than 10 minutes; this may be a heart attack. Call 000 or your emergency number now.
  • you think this may be your first angina attack; you need to find out for sure.
  • attacks have become more intense, frequent, prolonged, and unpredictable; these are signs of unstable angina.
  • you are taking your prescribed medication and notice side-affects.

Angina

This is the inflammation of the appendix which can occur anytime from infancy to old age.


What to look for

  • dull pain near the navel or the upper abdomen that becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right abdomen. This is usually the first sign. Also pain in the upper or lower back, right leg muscle and rectum.
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and/or vomiting soon after abdominal pain begins.
  • high temperature
  • constipation or diarrhoea with gas.
  • painful urination.
  • vomiting


Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, which is narrow and tube like, it is attached to on end of the large intestine… However, no one really knows why it is there.
Appendicitis is a medical emergency that requires immediate surgery to remove the appendix. If it is left untreated, an inflamed appendix will eventually burst, or perforate, spilling infection into the abdominal cavity. This can lead to a serious infection of the abdominal cavity's lining which may be fatal unless it is treated quickly.


CAUSES

Appendicitis occurs when the tube-shaped appendix becomes blocked, often by faecal material, a foreign body, or cancer.
With today’s highly refined western diets, food moves slowly down the intestines due to a lack of roughage. This slow moving causes blockages which may contribute to appendicitis.
Blockage may also be due to infection. Like other lymphoid tissue, the appendix swells in response to any infection in the body. As it expands, its opening gradually closes.
As well as this a blockage may be the result of a seed, pip or other foreign material becoming stuck in the appendix region.


Traditional Treatment

Surgery to remove the appendix, which is called an appendectomy, is the standard treatment for appendicitis.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

If you have appendicitis you need a physician's care, but alternative therapies may be helpful in preparing for or recuperating from the operation. See your Naturopath or herbalist for advice.


Personal Care

Be sure to keep your wound clean… Apply the contents of a Vitamin E capsule to reduce scarring.


When to seek further professional advice

You have any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Appendicitis

This is an inflammation of the joints and it’s causes are varied. There are two main types of arthritis - rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.


What to look for

  • Osteoarthritis - Stiffness and pain when the joint is moved after time the pain becomes continuous. The joints which bear the weight are the worst affected - hips, knees, lower back, big toes. (Being overweight can make the condition worse).
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis - Painful swelling, inflammation, and stiffness in the arms, legs, wrists, or fingers in the same joints on both sides of the body, especially on awakening.
  • Fever, joint inflammation, tenderness, and sharp pain, chills, could be associated with an injury, illness.
  • In children, intermittent fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, anaemia, or blotchy rash on the arms and legs may signal juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.


Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in a joint ceases to act as a shock absorber and becomes eroded by the movement of the joint. There is a systematic loss of bone tissue in the joint. It tends to come on slowly over time and may not be noticeable in some people, although an accident or fracture can also cause it. More common in people over 45. It is the most common form of arthritis.


Rheumatoid arthritis is slightly more serious… It gradually becomes worse over time. The inflammation of the joints can eventually become deformed or be destroyed. It can strike anybody between the ages of 25 and 55.


CAUSES

Although the mechanism of osteoarthritis is unknown, some people appear to have a genetic predisposition to degenerative bone disorders. In rare cases, congenital bone deformation appears at an early age. Misuse of anabolic steroids can also bring on early osteoarthritic degeneration.


Each of the two major types of arthritic conditions has its own apparent causes...

  • Rheumatoid arthritis… The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not fully understood. Some researchers think it may be some sort of auto-immune disorder. Another theory suggests that it is an immune reaction to a viral infection somewhere in the body or hereditary.


  • Osteoarthritis… This common degenerative joint disease is part of the aging process. The condition may be associated with broken bones and can develop in young adults from wear and tear on the body's load-bearing joints, often as a result of athletic activity. In cases of osteoarthritis, the cartilage and bone cannot repair themselves sufficiently to keep up with the damage.


Traditional Treatment

If you think you may have some form of arthritis, do not ‘just put up with it’. Your doctor can give you a series of tests including a blood test which can detect the presence of the infection.
Sometimes arthritic damage can be slowed or stopped, but in most cases the damage continues as the disease runs its course, regardless of whether drugs or other therapies are used to relieve the symptoms.


The duration and intensity of the actual pain and discomfort depend on the type of arthritis how severe the condition is. The recovery can take a short time for otherwise healthy people or may take years for older patients.
For localised pain, stiffness, and immobility, medication is used to relieve pain and inflammation, rest should be taken to let injured tissues heal themselves, and exercise to rebuild mobility and strength.


To reduce pain and inflammation in mild cases of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, your Pharmacist and/or doctor will probably prescribe a over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Physicians may combine these drugs with regimens of heat, rest and exercise, physical therapy, and physical aids such as canes or walkers. Controlled application of deep heat and ultrasound can also soothe affected joints. Your Pharmacist will be able to assist you with these.
In more advanced cases, your Doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections to ease the pain and stiffness of affected joints.


In cases of arthritic complications from injury or infection, specific therapy will depend on the nature and seriousness of the underlying condition. The major concern is for healing the affected area before more serious complications occur. Treatment of infectious arthritis typically involves large intravenous doses of antibiotics as well as drainage of excess fluid from the joints.


Various forms of surgery may be needed to reduce the discomfort of arthritis or to restore mobility. Synovectomy is the removal of damaged connective tissue lining a joint cavity, and allows the body to regenerate new, healthy tissue in its place. This operation is most common in the knee.


In cases of severe arthritic damage to the neck or foot, bones can be surgically removed or fused. Although movement is limited after such surgery, the operations relieve excruciating pain and help prevent further damage to nerves or blood vessels.


If arthritic pain and inflammation become truly unbearable, or arthritic joints simply refuse to function, the answer may lie in surgical replacement. Today, hip and shoulder joints as well as smaller joints in elbows, knees, and fingers can be replaced with reliable artificial joints made of stainless steel and plastic.


Because one of the hardest parts of arthritis is being able to cope with the pain, many doctors recommend training in pain management, including cognitive therapy.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many people use natural therapies in a bid to ease arthritic pain as traditional treatments have not helped substantially. Arthritis sufferers should be extremely cautious, however, about practices that claim to 'cure' the disease. Furthermore, what appears to work for one person under a given set of circumstances may not work at all for someone else.


  • Body Work - In combination with other treatments, massage around affected joints or compassionate touching by a doctor or other practitioner may have a comforting effect on those who suffer from arthritis.


  • Herbal Therapies - try guaiacum, dandelion root, comfrey, black cohosh, burdock, fennel seed, meadowsweet or corn silk in teas, tablets or other herbal mixtures. A great juice for this condition is celery juice made fresh.


  • Homoeopathy - For chronic osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, remedies will be prescribed after consultation.


  • Yoga - may help relax the mind and body.


Personal Care

A balanced program of rest and gentle exercise is highly recommended for both forms of arthritis, with swimming being the best as it takes the weight off the affected areas.
Warmth (from hot water bottles or heat lamps or a warm bath) can help relieve the pain and cold packs or compresses of water can be good for serious attacks.


Regular exercise is important to keep the joints mobile. People with weakened, badly deformed fingers from rheumatoid arthritis benefit from specially designed utensils and door and drawer handles; people suffering weakness in the legs and arms from osteoarthritis can use special bathroom fixtures, especially tub rails and elevated toilet seats. Once again ask you Pharmacist about these.


Dietary Considerations

Avoiding specific foods may stop arthritic symptoms, especially… grains, nuts, meats, eggs, and dairy products, alcohol, tea and coffee.
Avoid plants in the nightshade family… tomato, potato, eggplant, and capsicum.
Eat more fish (especially tuna and salmon) avocado, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice and plenty of filtered water. Generally low-fat, low-protein vegetarian diets may ease the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.


Vitamin therapy may relieve certain arthritic symptoms…

  • Beta carotene (vitamin A) has an antioxidant effect on cells, neutralising destructive molecules called free radicals.
  • Vitamins C, B6, B3 and E, as well as Zinc. Vitamin C may also be advised for people taking aspirin, which depletes the body's vitamin C balance.
  • Niacin (vitamin B3) may also be helpful, although excessive use may aggravate liver problems.


Always take vitamin supplements under professional guidance, since overdoses of some vitamin compounds can have side effects or undesirable interactions with drugs.
Some therapists recommend cherries or dark red berries to stimulate the production of collagen, essential to cartilage repair.


When to seek further professional advice

  • the pain and stiffness come on quickly, whether from an injury or an unknown cause;
  • the pain is accompanied by fever;
  • you notice pain and stiffness in your arms, legs, or back after sitting for short periods or after a night's sleep;
  • a child develops pain or a rash on armpits, knees, wrists, and ankles, or has fever swings, poor appetite, and weight loss

Arthritis

Asthma is a condition that is caused by inflammation and narrowing of the airways. This results from the contraction of the muscles lining them and causes breathing difficulties particularly in breathing out.


What to look for

  • sudden shortness of breath and wheezing and occasionally coughing
  • chest infections
  • nose irritations and sneezing, even hay fever may accompany an attack
  • restlessness or insomnia.
  • tightness in chest.


These symptoms are not always present. It is not completely understood why some people get asthma, however, it is known that asthma is made worse by certain irritants called trigger factors.
Inflammation of the airways is the body’s reaction to these triggers and this results in an asthma attack. Some people only suffer very mild attacks and for others the condition is serious enough to warrant specialised medical care.
If you have asthma, you should be monitored by a Health Professional regularly, and you must seek immediate medical intervention for a serious episode. By identifying your triggers, you can learn to lessen the intensity and frequency of asthma attacks and perhaps even avoid them completely.


Asthma is not a problem with breathing in, but with breathing out. During an asthma episode, muscle spasms and swelling bronchial tissues narrow the lungs' tiny airways, which then become clogged with excess mucus. Stale air gets trapped in the bottom of the lungs, forcing you to use the top part to gasp for air. Mild and moderate episodes consist of short incidents of breathlessness and wheezing. In severe cases, the lungs' airways become so narrow and clogged that breathing is impossible.
Asthma is fairly common. Up to one in every 10 adults and about one in every 5 children and young people are affected by asthma.


Causes

If you have asthma it means that your airways are sensitive to certain trigger factors. The most common substances to cause attacks or at least asthma type symptoms are pollen, grass, dust mites, animal fur, certain foods and food additives, mould, cigarette smoke and animal dander.


When inhaled, these substances can trigger the release of histamine and other body chemicals, causing an allergic reaction and asthma episodes. An allergic reaction is an over reaction to something by the body’s natural defence system.
Other changes in environment can bring on an attack and these are also known as trigger factors - exercise, changes in air temperature, coughing, laughing, breathing deeply, strong smells, and certain medications.


Certain chemicals can trigger asthma - perfumes, paint fumes, grain and flour dusts, sawdust from timber. The symptoms may occur several hours after you were exposed to the chemical.
Other triggers are medications such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs, beta-blockers.
Viral respiratory infections are common triggers. Therefore try to avoid people with these infections.


Traditional Treatment

To determine if you have asthma, your doctor will probably administer a pulmonary function test, which measures the strength of your exhalation. Certain medications may be prescribed for this condition.
If you have asthma, you should see a doctor regularly… For severe episodes, conventional medical treatment is always necessary. However, a number of alternative treatments can be helpful when used in conjunction with conventional therapy.
Following a diagnosis of asthma, your first step should be to work with your doctor to develop a treatment or management plan. As part of this plan, the physician might ask you to keep a daily diary, noting environmental and emotional factors that bring on asthma episodes. This not only will help the doctor monitor the disease but will help you recognise and avoid your asthma triggers.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many people have had success with alternative asthma treatments, but even advocates recommend these methods only as complements to conventional therapies. Remember: Once diagnosed, asthma should be monitored by a doctor.


  • Aromatherapy - Clary Sage, Cypress, Frankincense, Rosemary, Thyme. These herbs are not to be inhaled, they can be used in a vapouriser or put in a carrier oil and used for massaging purposes.


  • Herbal Therapies - Elecampane (Inula helenium), acts as a soothing expectorant, may help clear the body of excess mucus.


  • Homoeopathy - For more remedies and appropriate dosages, you will need professional help.


  • Yoga - Yoga can help you learn to breathe deeply and to relax,


  • Soy milk as alternative to milk


  • Be able to identify your triggers


  • Avoid foods and drinks that contain artificial colourings, flavourings, and preservatives, dairy products (as they are mucus forming)


  • Gentle aerobic exercise can help strengthen the heart and lung areas.


When to seek further professional advice

  • You or a person with you suffers from any of the symptoms above for the first time or if they are suffering from a particularly severe episode


  • the prescribed asthma medicine does not work in the time it is supposed to… You need a new prescription


  • you or the person with asthma feels as if they are suffocating, making it difficult to talk; Get immediate emergency treatment.


Asthma

This is a fungal infection, usually between the toes or under the arch of the foot.


What to look for

  • itching and irritation between the toes, this area may peel and crack.
  • rash and redness in this area;
  • dry, flaking skin on the soles of the feet.
  • unpleasant foot odour.
  • whitish, brittle, flaky toenails in severe cases.


Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection, and you don't have to be an athlete to get it. Athlete's foot is caused by feet enclosed in shoes consistently.


CAUSES

The main cause is the failure to observe necessary personal hygiene as well as not drying the area between the toes adequately after bathing.
People who suffer from Athletes Foot that perspire frequently are prone to develop this complaint. The situation can become worse from wearing certain types of plastic shoes which do not allow the foot to breath.
When the moist area between the toes becomes sweaty, it is a breeding ground for fungus. The fungus likes to live there and it digests the dead skin that the body sheds each day. Once the fungus starts eating the dead skin it may cause inflammation and damage to the living skin.
It is often spread by using the showers and toilets at the gym or changing rooms after sporting activity.


Traditional Treatment

You should treat athlete's foot at the first sign of itchy feet or redness between your toes. Most cases of athlete's foot can be cured with over-the-counter products and basic good hygiene.
Wash and dry your feet thoroughly morning and evening, change your socks or stockings daily, and don't wear the same shoes day after day. Sprinkle anti-fungal powder on your feet and in your shoes daily. Expose your feet to sunlight and air as much as possible. Keep your feet dry so avoid nylon socks and stockings.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

  • Aromatherapy try 2 drops of Tea Tree oil, 2 drops of Myrrh in 15g of base cream. Mix the oils into the base cream, and apply to the affected area twice a day. Also foot baths with sandalwood and tea tree oil. Patchouli and tea tree oil in a base cream.


  • Herbal Therapies - a footbath of red clover & hot water can help. Also try aloe, calendula, comfrey compresses. Always seek professional advice for your particular condition/s before taking herbal mixtures.


  • Homoeopathy - to soothe inflammation, try an over-the-counter preparation containing Calendula. You may recommended Graphite for this condition.


  • Personal Care - Soak your infected feet in warm, salted water (1 tsp salt per cup) for 5 to 10 minutes every day. Dry your feet thoroughly, then apply a bi-carb soda paste between your toes. You may prefer using an over-the-counter antifungal powder, cream, or spray.


PREVENTION

  • Always wear sandals, thongs while using communal areas
  • Wear cotton socks, and shoes that breathe;
  • Never share shoes, socks, or towels.
  • If you get athlete's foot, wash your socks and towels in the hottest water possible—or boil them.
  • Always keep feet dry during the day
  • Showers at home should be cleaned after use to avoid spreading the infection to other household members
  • Do not walk around barefoot as this can also spread the infection.


Athlete's Foot

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a difficulty in paying attention is the problem which defines this disorder and it is among the most common developmental problems of childhood.


What to look for

(Bear in mind that attention deficit disorder (ADD) is often misdiagnosed because so many of the symptoms are related to normal child development)

  • habitual failure to pay attention.
  • problems with school work.
  • easily distracted - continually.
  • an inability to organise
  • impulsiveness.
  • hypoactivity
  • excessive talking and frequent interrupting.


Although this condition does exist it is hard to define and often misdiagnosed. It is overused by lay people and often used as an excuse for poor behaviour.
Most ADD children are of normal or high intelligence. Their activity levels may be normal, lower than normal (hypoactivity), or higher than normal (a version that has its own diagnostic label: attention deficit hypoactivity disorder, or ADHD).
An ADD child may also have a specific learning disability that prevents him from taking in and sorting out information in the same way other children do. His brain is unable to process the messages his ears, eyes, or muscles give him.


Causes

Although the causes of ADD are poorly understood, biological inheritance appears to be important in many cases. The disorder seems to run in families. A number of non-genetic factors can also play a causative role. Among them… drug or alcohol abuse or other problems in a mother's pregnancy, birth trauma, early child abuse, brain injuries from accidents, meningitis, encephalitis, low-level lead poisoning, and psychological disorders.


In the late 1970s and early 1980s, some researchers thought ADD was caused or intensified by sugar and artificial food additives. This theory is now controversial, but some studies still show that specific foods such as chocolate, wheat, cow's milk, and oranges may exacerbate the condition in some hypoactive children.


There are a variety of tests which may be used by doctors to diagnose this condition. Tests include:

  • a medical and social history of both the child and his family.
  • a physical exam and neurological assessment, as well as tests for blood levels of lead, a mineral that has been implicated in hypoactivity.
  • a quantitative evaluation of intelligence, aptitude, personality traits, and processing skills.
  • Allergy test.


Traditional Treatment

The best treatment is thought to be a combination of medication and psychological therapies.
Although there is considerable controversy about their possible overuse, stimulants such as amphetamines or, more usually, methylphenidate (better known by the brand name Ritalin) are the medications often prescribed for ADD. (Strange as it seems, stimulants often calm hypoactivity).


A Health Professional needs to monitor the dosage closely (about twice a month), both to check for the right level and to watch for side effects.
Of the psychological therapies, behaviour modification may be best, particularly if the therapist helps parents learn some of the techniques for behaviour control. It is often given in conjunction with specific educational interventions, such as help with learning skills. Psychotherapy is a valuable option, particularly if the child suffers from low self-esteem.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Several different alternative therapies may prove helpful, among them Homoeopathy; consult a Homoeopath for guidance.


Dietary Considerations

Although the effectiveness of dietary restrictions is controversial, some doctors recommend a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, and sugar-free diet. Some children may also benefit from the B-vitamin supplements niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), and possibly thiamine (B1).
Depending on the results of your child's tests for mineral blood levels, he/she may benefit from certain supplements.


Personal Care

  • Join a support group.
  • Because an ADD child may process directions and other information in faulty ways, he probably feels bombarded with corrections, leaving him with a low opinion of himself. Do whatever you can to promote your child's self-esteem.
  • Praise and reward good behaviour promptly.
  • Be consistent with discipline, and make sure baby-sitters follow your methods.
  • Make instructions simple and specific ('Brush your teeth; now, get dressed'), instead of general ('Get ready for school').
  • Encourage your child's special strengths, particularly in sports and out-of-school activities.
  • Have set routines for meals, sleep, play, and TV.
  • Don't let homework monopolise all of his time after school; play and exercise are important.
  • Simplify your child's room. Store toys out of sight.


When to seek further professional advice

  • your child shows symptoms of ADD.

Attention Deficit Disorder

Alzheimer's disease is a disorder in which there is a progressive decaying of brain tissue. It is characterised by a decline in mental and emotional capabilities.


What to look for…

  • mood changes: depression, paranoia, agitation, anxiety, selfishness, childish behaviour.
  • disorientation, confusion, inattention, loss of memory for recent events, inability to retain new information.
  • tendency to misplace things.
  • dizziness.

Memory, comprehension, and speech deteriorate in a person affected by this disease. The person’s world begins to change as they cannot function as they once had - simple arithmetic skills are impossible and they find it hard to keep their attention on one thing for too long.
Dramatic mood swings occur ending up with the person becoming confused. Alzheimer’s patients often become lost and may quite frequently wander off causing havoc for their families. Eventually, the person may become totally introverted, not able to communicate, helpless, and incontinent. The disease is usually fatal.
Once diagnosed with the disease, the person usually lives about 7 years. However the person may continue to function for longer.


Causes


Many people develop Alzheimer's as they grow older, however the disease is not a normal process of growing old.
The gradual loss of brain function that characterises Alzheimer's disease seems to be due to two main forms of neural damage: Nerve fibres grow tangled, and protein deposits known as plaques build up in the affected tissue. Researchers are not yet sure why or how this occurs.
Another theory suggests that aluminium from cookware, for example may lead to Alzheimer's. But this has not been proven.
Too much zinc in the diet has also been sited as a possible factor but this is also debateable.
In a minority of cases, trauma may be a contributing factor. About 15 percent of Alzheimer's sufferers have a history of head injury.


Traditional Treatment


Unfortunately Alzheimer's disease is incurable. There are medications that can slow the onset of the disease, however.
Caring for an Alzheimer's patient is often very stressful for family members. Eventually, full-time nursing care will be necessary.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

The treatment of Alzheimer's with alternative remedies may help slow the progress of the disease or help with the symptoms.

  • Chelation Therapy - a non surgical way of removing the traces of accumulated metals such as aluminium in the body. This may have side effects so it is important to seek medical advice before attempting this.
  • Herbal Therapies - Ginkgo Biloba extract is said to alleviate early symptoms of Alzheimer's. Also taking a good antioxidant vitamin supplement may help in the early stages of the disease.
  • Vitamins A, B, C and E may be helpful.
  • Dietary considerations - avoid eating deep fried foods and other foods with unsaturated fats such as fast food and butter. Try to eat more fish and fruit, vegetables and steamed white meat. Avoid salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine. Drink plenty of filtered water daily.
  • Homoeopathy - Seek Professional advice for remedies that may help in treating unusual or disruptive behaviour.


Personal Care 

  • Maintain a stable and familiar household
  • Have the patient wear an ID bracelet with a phone number on it.
  • Talk to the Alzheimer’s patient about memories or positive events that happened long ago. It will be something they can remember and recall.
  • See Organizations or professional associations that may help you and the patient cope.

Although some studies suggest a link between Alzheimer's and zinc, doctors do not recommend that you attempt to limit your daily intake. Talk to your doctor in depth about this.


When to seek further professional advice

  • Someone in your family is displaying signs of this disease.

Alzheimer's

Anaemia is a disorder of the blood in which the red blood cells are defective in some way.


What to look for

  • weakness, fatigue, and a general feeling of malaise… You may be mildly anaemic.
  • your lips look bluish, your skin is pasty or yellowish, and your gums, nail beds, eyelid linings, or palm creases are pale… You are almost certainly anaemic.
  • in addition to feeling weak and tired, you are frequently out of breath, faint, or dizzy… You may have severe anaemia.
  • your tongue burns… You may have vitamin B12 anaemia
  • your tongue feels unusually slick and you experience movement or balance problems, tingling in the extremities, confusion, depression, or memory loss… You may have pernicious anaemia.
  • other possible symptoms: headaches, insomnia, decreased appetite, poor concentration, and an irregular heartbeat.


To stay healthy, the organs and tissues of the human body need a steady supply of oxygen. anaemia, in which body tissues are deprived of oxygen, is caused by a reduction in the number of circulating red blood cells or by inadequate amounts of an essential protein called haemoglobin. The severity of anaemia can range from mild to life-threatening.
Normally, the heart pumps oxygen-depleted blood to the lungs, where haemoglobin in the red blood cells binds to oxygen collected there… Oxygen-rich blood then travels through the circulatory system to the rest of the body.
Oxygen starvation occurs if the body lacks sufficient numbers of red blood cells, which survive for only about 120 days and must constantly be replaced. Anaemia can occur if large amounts of blood are lost or if something interferes with the production of red blood cells or accelerates their destruction. Because haemoglobin is the main component of red blood cells and the carrier for oxygen molecules, anaemia also occurs if the haemoglobin supply is insufficient or if the haemoglobin itself is dysfunctional.


More than 400 different forms of anaemia have been identified, many of them rare. An anaemic person often appears pale and weak and may feel breathless, faint, or unusually aware of a pounding heart.
The disorder may arise from a number of underlying conditions, some of which may be hereditary, but in many cases poor diet is to blame. Although some forms of anaemia require supervised medical care, those stemming from improper nutrition can typically be treated at home once a physician has determined the cause.


CAUSES

Anaemia can be the result of the body’s bone marrow not making sufficient levels of red blood cells, the body destroying too many blood cells, loss of blood (through heavy periods or unnoticed bleeding) or through a Vitamin deficiency in B12, B6, folic acid and iron.
Vitamin C has also been found to be helpful for iron-deficient anaemia. The problem can be traced to dietary deficiencies. Anaemia in alcoholics arises because they fail to eat properly. Anaemia can also result when the digestive system loses its ability to absorb key vitamins and minerals.
Iron deficiency anaemia, occurs when the body does not store enough iron, the primary raw material of haemoglobin. Iron deficiency is usually a dietary problem, but in many cases other conditions complicate the picture. For example, women who lose excessive amounts of blood through heavy menstrual flows (see Menstrual Problems) may have a lower-than-average iron level. Women who are pregnant or nursing may also have low iron levels because of loss to the developing foetus or because of milk production.
Iron deficiency anaemia also afflicts people who have had surgery to remove part of the stomach, thereby impairing the ability to absorb iron.
The most common megaloblastic anaemia is the type caused by folic acid deficiency. People with this form of anaemia usually aren't getting enough folic acid in their diet. While just one cup of spinach provides enough folic acid to meet the recommended daily allowance. For some people, the problem is caused not by dietary inadequacies but by an inability to absorb sufficient amounts of folic acid.
Certain intestinal disorders, such as some inflammatory bowel diseases and Crohn's disease, as well as some drugs can interfere with folic acid metabolism. Heavy consumption of alcohol can also lower blood levels of folic acid by interfering with proper nutrition and by hindering the digestive system's ability to absorb the vitamin.
Because most people, especially those who consume meat and eggs, get plenty of vitamin B12 from their diet, anaemia linked to a vitamin B12 deficiency usually signals the body's inability to absorb the vitamin. This type of anaemia can occur in people who have had surgery along the digestive tract.
However, the most common form of B12 deficiency anaemia, known as pernicious anaemia, results when the stomach fails to produce a chemical that normally combines with vitamin B12 to aid its absorption in the small intestine. Pernicious anaemia is a rare condition that most commonly affects older people.


Traditional Treatment

Conventional remedies for anaemia range from simple dietary changes and vitamin supplements to hormone treatments and, in severe cases, surgery.
Once blood tests reveal the underlying problem, treatment is relatively simple.
WARNING: Iron is extremely toxic in large quantities. Excessive use of supplements can lead to iron overload, possibly resulting in abdominal pain, nutritional imbalances, digestive problems, or even death, especially in children.
Since vitamin B12 anaemia is almost always linked to the body's inability to absorb the vitamin through the digestive tract, regular B12 injections are the only recourse. Most people learn to self-administer B12 injections at home.
In some cases of anaemia caused by excessive blood loss, surgery is the only solution. To determine whether surgery is necessary, your doctor will run extensive tests to identify the cause of the bleeding.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Some alternative practitioners approach the disorder through dietary modifications… Others emphasise techniques to improve circulation and digestion.
Some remedies treat anaemia by promoting better circulation, others by increasing iron absorption, stimulating digestion, or adjusting the diet to include more iron- or vitamin-rich foods.

  •  Chinese medicine

According to traditional Chinese medicine, anaemia is a symptom of a weak spleen. Treatment would involve ways to stimulate the spleen. A healthy spleen maintains the health of blood vessels and nourishes the blood itself, while a weak spleen produces deficient blood.

Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is useful as a general tonic to eliminate fatigue. Dong Quai(Angelica sinensis), another Asian herb, might be prescribed for women with heavy menstrual flow. For anaemic patients that have a sallow, yellowish complexion, a Chinese herbalist might recommend a combination of Dong Quai and Chinese foxglove root (Rehmannia glutinosa). For patients that have a stark white complexion, the remedy might be a mixture of ginseng and astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus).

  •  Homoeopathic -

There are a number of remedies that may be helpful in treating anaemia. You will need professional advice where this is concerned.

  • Herbal Therapies -

Gentiandandelionparsleynettle, anise, caraway, cumin and liquorice may help this condition. However it is advisable to seek the assistance of a suitably qualified practitioner.

  • Bach Flower Remedies -

Olive for exhaustion, Hornbeam for energy loss.


Dietary Considerations

Adjusting your diet to include foods which contain iron to eliminate anaemia, including… enriched breads and cereals, rice, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, dried beans, blackstrap molasses, lean red meat, liver, poultry, dried fruits, almonds, shellfish, deep green leafy vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, lentils, lima beans, whole grains, mushrooms and egg yolk.
Evidence also suggests that vitamin C and copper help the body absorb iron, so drink citrus fruit juice with your meals and make sure that your daily multivitamin contains copper.
Avoid caffeinated or carbonated beverages, antacids, calcium supplements, and black tea, all of which contain ingredients that interfere with iron absorption.
If you're low on folic acid, increase your intake of citrus fruits, mushrooms, green vegetables, liver, eggs, milk, and bulking agents like wheat germ and brewer's yeast. Pumpkin is also an excellent source of folate, which is the vitamin B complex component of folic acid. Keep in mind that folic acid is destroyed by heat and light, so fruits and vegetables should be eaten fresh and cooked as little as possible.


When to seek further professional advice

  • You have any of the symptoms mentioned above
  • You have been taking iron supplements and experience symptoms such as vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, fever, jaundice, lethargy, or seizures… You may be suffering from iron overload, which can be life-threatening, especially in children



Anaemia

Baldness is the loss of hair anywhere on the body, usually on the scalp region. It is usually hereditary and affects men. However females can be affected by baldness also.



What to look for

  • thinning of hair in general, however, each hair strand becomes thinner and shorter until the roots produce nothing but fine down.
  • thinning of hair in temple region or on the top of the head usually signals male pattern baldness.
  • a patch of skin may suddenly become visible anywhere on the scalp as the hair has fallen out. It may be as small as 1cm across or it can be 10-15 cm in diameter. This condition is quite rare and can affect both men and women.
  • patches of hair can fall out anywhere on the body in either men or women
  • the person may wake up to find tufts of hair on their pillow or the loss can be more gradual
  • hair may fall out after it is coloured or bleached or you may notice it falling after the hair has been pulled back in tight pony tails or braided or even frequent tugging at it can cause it to fall out.


Causes

Male-pattern baldness is caused by hereditary factors. It is usually inherited from the mother’s side of the family and involves the presence of an active form of testosterone to set off the gene-programmed balding process. Men whose mother’s fathers became bald early in life are very likely to follow a similar pattern. Hereditary hair loss is usually gradual and permanent, beginning with a thinning of the hair at the temples and or on the crown as early as in the teenage years.
Women can experience a natural thinning of the hair after menopause because of changing hormonal levels. Women who have just had a baby can also experience thinning hair or hair loss in patches. Hormonal change in this instance is temporary and will be replaced with new hair in just a few months.


Other factors which can contribute to the loss of hair are scalp infections and persistent dandruff, poor diet, stress and sluggish circulation.
Alopecia Areata describes the condition whereby hair falls out in clumps all over the head and body. This is usually to do with emotional stress. The hair usually returns after the stress has gone away in a few weeks or months. However, despite research, there is no clear indication as to how this condition arises. It also may occur in people with certain disorders such as pernicious anaemia or diabetes. If large areas are involved and all the hair on the head is lost, this is called alopecia totalis. If the person loses all body hair as well it is called alopecia universalis. In both these conditions, regrowth is not likely.
The medical profession are still unsure what exactly causes some types of baldness.


Traditional Treatment

There is no satisfactory treatment for alopecia areata. If the areas are small, a doctor may try injecting the areas with small amounts of steroid drugs to try to trigger regrowth, but this is seldom successful.
The most common way of treating baldness has been by disguising it through the use of wigs, toupees and hair-pieces. They can be made to measure and fitted carefully.


Hair transplantation is another possible solution, although the end result does not always look natural.
A drug is available which has been found to promote hair growth on previously bald areas. This drug appears to be successful and is called minoxidil. It’s retail name is Regaine and is available on prescription. It is available also as a lotion formulation to be applied onto the scalp. It must however, be used every day to maintain the growth of hair.


Alternative/Natural Treatment

Body Work - Scalp Massage is often successful in increasing the circulation to the hair follicles. This can be performed with the essential oil of Rosemary 5 drops diluted in 15 ml of a carrier oil (preferably jojoba).


Herbal Treatments - Rinse your hair with tea made from sage and/or rosemary.


Chinese Herbal Treatments - Chinese medical practitioners believe the hair is nourished by the kidneys and the liver. These organs need to be functioning properly in order for the hair to grow properly. They recommend - Polygonum, lycium fruit, Chinese foxglove root, Chinese yam and cornus.


Meditation and relaxation techniques to decrease stress levels can be helpful.


Personal Care

Treating the hair with care, loosening tight pony tails, and other hair styles which may pull the hair out. As well as not damaging hair with bleach and other strong chemicals.
Creating a stress free environment; learning how to control stress in your life.


Dietary Considerations

  • Supplements such as the B Complex, Zinc, Silica, Chelated Multi Vitamins, Brewers Yeast, Kelp.


Baldness

The bladder is the hollow, muscular organ that lies in the pelvic region. It looks like an upside down pyramid. The bladder stores the urine that is produced in the kidneys.


What to look for

Bladder cancer may not have symptoms in the beginning, however, later on, symptoms may include:

  • blood in the urine.
  • frequent urinary tract infections, painful urination, and a need to urinate often.
  • weight or appetite loss.
  • abdominal or back pain, fever, anaemia.


The bladder is lined with specialised cells, and when it is irritated, extra layers of these cells develop. This process may increase the chance of a cell turning cancerous.


Malignant tumours begin as small lumps on the inside of the bladder, the cancer then spreads by going deeper into bladder fibre and the surrounding tissue. If left untreated the cancer will eventually invade the bloodstream and lymphatic system.
Like all cancers, the earlier it is detected the more effective the treatment will be. Sometimes bladder tumours recur, however, prompt detection and treatment means they can be stopped while they are still superficial.


Causes

Cancer is more likely to occur if the bladder has been chronically irritated. People with inborn disorders of the bladder, chronic bladder infections, or persistent cystitis are more susceptible as well as people who have benign bladder tumours.
The is a strong link with bladder cancer and carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). Such as smokers, painters, truckers, leatherworkers, machinists and metalworkers, rubber and textile workers, and people exposed to industrial dyes. It has been reported that consumption of nitrates in smoked and cured meats such as hams, may also be associated with bladder cancer, as may consumption of caffeine and saccharin.


Traditional Treatments

Treatments for cancer in general can be investigated more in the entry on ‘cancer’. There are a number of alternative therapies that may ease the pain of the disease and the side effects of conventional treatment but at this point none have been scientifically proven to cure cancer.


If detected early, superficial malignancies can usually be treated successfully. Certain bladder cancers may require the bladder to be removed. This will need to be investigated with your doctor.


After surgery, a combination of radiation and chemotherapy may be required to stop the cancer recurring. It is advisable for bladder cancer patients to have check ups regularly as these tumours may recur. If the cancer has spread surgery will not usually help. Chemotherapy would be the next option.


Complementary Therapies

Research suggests that bladder cancer is less likely among people with adequate vitamin B6, beta carotene, and selenium in their diets.


Prevention

To prevent any cancer it is strongly advisable to avoid any possible carcinogens.

  • Don't smoke and avoid frequenting places with lots of smokers to lessen the likelihood of ingesting smoke.
  • Avoid smoked or cured meats
  • Try to limit processed food intake to only occasionally.
  • If you work around carcinogenic chemicals, follow safety guidelines to avoid undue exposure.
  • Arrange regular screenings with your doctor to ensure early detection if you feel there is a chance you may be a candidate for this disease.


When to seek further professional advice

  •  you have any of the symptoms listed in the description section


Bladder Cancer

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder which based on a terrifying fear of becoming fat. But it is far more complex than a simple desire to lose weight.



What to look for

  • significant weight loss.
  • fear of becoming fat, even when emaciated.
  • excessive dieting and exercising
  • distorted body image.
  • abnormal food preoccupations, such as counting all calories or obsessively studying cookbooks.
  • constipation.
  • dry, sallow skin.
  • increase in facial and body hair; loss of some head hair.
  • cessation of menstrual periods.
  • suppression of sexual desire.
  • hands and feet cold at normal room temperature.
  • chronic insomnia
  • bad school results, the committing of anti-social behaviour - stealing, becoming noticeably withdrawn and destroying things.


Anorexics starve themselves as a result of the fear of gaining weight which results in major weight loss… in addition to emaciation, under-nourishment, anaemia, irregular heartbeat, brittle bones, and many other problems.
Anorexia is dangerous, and professional help should be sought early on. Prompt treatment will usually keep the condition from progressing, but some cases are very resistant to treatment and may require hospitalisation.
Although its focus is on food, anorexia is an illness of the mind. Often it begins with a relatively normal desire to lose a few pounds. But it soon becomes compulsive. Food intake is gradually minimised until eating is almost eliminated. The victim becomes obsessed with his/her body image and frequently sees herself as fat even though she is not over weight.
Ironically, she ritualises food preparation and consumption. She becomes obsessed with recipes and cooking yet will not eat the food herself. She may alternate fasting with periodic bingeing and purging (see Bulimia), particularly when she is trying to regain normal eating habits.


Anorexics tend to come from families that have high standards of achievement, and they are often perfectionists, compulsive in many aspects of their life, especially school.


Denial often accompanies their intense focus on remaining thin. Anorexics will typically refuse to admit that anything is wrong, and they become angry or defensive at expressions of concern by others.


CAUSES

While some studies indicate that genes can play a predisposing role in anorexia, most researchers believe that psychological factors are key.
Anorexics tend to have low self-esteem and feel undeserving of love. In adolescence, such feelings may be reinforced by sexual changes, fear of growing up, cultural messages that portray thin as beautiful, and pressures or tensions within the family. Extreme fasting may be an anorexic's way of attempting to exert control over her life.


Traditional Treatment

Families should call for medical assistance straight away in order to increase the weight to a safer level. Then psychotherapy, regular medical monitoring, and nutritional guidance should be the other part of any treatment program for anorexia.
Close cooperation among all health professionals involved is important. All these professionals should be experienced specifically in treating eating disorders.
Hospitalisation is usually necessary if the patient has lost more than 25 percent of normal body weight. A system of coaxing the patient to eat is usually set into place as the patient will avoid eating at all costs.
Psychotherapy is the main treatment to attempt to unravel to causes of the individuals problems and difficulties.
Supplements of zinc sulfate will aid any zinc deficiencies. Other nutritional supplements, appetite enhancers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs are often prescribed as well.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapies may help with some of the symptoms of anorexia, and can serve as useful additions to treatments that address nutrition and the emotional roots of the disorder. It is thought that sufferers of this complaint, have zinc deficiencies and this may be worth getting your doctor to look into.


When to seek further professional advice

If your child or person close to you engages in any of the symptoms mentioned above it is vitally important that you seek medical advice immediately.


Anorexia Nervosa

Anxiety is a state of being worried about certain real or imagined events or situations.


What to look for

  • heart palpitations.
  • tics or twitches
  • recurring headaches or migraine
  • indigestion and bowel irregularity
  • sense of impending doom.
  • inability to concentrate.
  • muscle tension; muscle aches.
  • diarrhoea.
  • chest pain.
  • dry mouth.
  • excessive sweating.
  • undereating or overeating.
  • insomnia.
  • irritability.
  • breathlessness; hyperventilation.
  • loss of sex drive. (See impotence.)


For school-age children:

  • fear of being away from home.
  • refusal to go to school.
  • fear of strangers.
  • unnecessary worry.


Anxiety is a normal human response. Sudden intense stress or fear questions our survival instinct, causes a chemical and a physical response… Which is all to do with the way the body prepares to deal with danger.
Adrenalins and cortisone are released in the bloodstream; heart rate quickens; breathing becomes shallow and rapid; muscles tense; sugar is released by the liver; and the mind goes on full alert. But when anxiety is not tied to an identifiable threat or is more severe and long-lasting than warranted, it is a clinical disorder.

Many different anxiety disorders are recognized. Among them are

  • Phobias (fear of certain situations, such as confining spaces, or of particular things, such as insects);
  • Panic attacks (a sudden onset of extreme fear or tension, for no evident reason);
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (persistent, irrational thoughts, such as a dread of infection, or repetitive behaviour, such as checking that doors are locked);
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (prolonged anxiety after a traumatic event); and
  • Generalised anxiety (an inexplicable feeling of apprehension that may last for months).


Anxiety disorders can vary greatly in their severity, they may be mild or completely debilitating. The incidence of the different disorders also varies: Phobias, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, for example, occur less frequently than generalised anxiety (which afflicts twice as many women as men). The disorders usually become noticeable during the teen years or early adulthood and are considerably more common among adults than children.
Some anxieties are very difficult to treat; others respond well to medications, psychotherapy, and alternative therapies.
What does not work is self-treatment with alcohol or recreational drugs to alleviate the symptoms. Many sufferers choose this path, but ultimately it will only make the condition worse.


CAUSES

Anxiety can be caused by a recognisable stress such as a bad accident, a death, or the loss of something important to us… In such cases, adjustments to the situation, along with the passage of time, will have a healing effect. In other cases, the stress is invisible a buried memory of some unhappy or frightening event in childhood, lurking below the surface of the conscious mind and revealing its presence in anxiety.

  • Hereditary factors may play a role in some individuals becoming prone to anxiety. Food sensitivities and allergies may also contribute to anxiety, although more research must be done to certify this connection. In addition, anxiety frequently follows a sudden withdrawal from alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.


The first step is to ensure the stress symptoms are not the result of another disease or disorder. Check with your Medical Practitioner.


Traditional Treatment

Anxiety can be treated with conventional medications, psychotherapy, and many alternative approaches.
Psychotherapy aims at identifying conflicts and other stresses that may lie at the roots of anxiety. Behaviour modification, a therapy that concentrates on changing patterns of behaviour can help the patient with coping with anxiety, as can cognitive therapy, which concentrates on changing ways of thinking and mental processes.
Medication is useful for alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and is often prescribed in conjunction with other therapies.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many alternative practices and treatments can relieve the symptoms of anxiety. Meditation, exercise (especially aerobic exercise), and relaxation techniques are among the most effective.
Chinese medicine uses various herbal preparations that can serve as a tonic for the whole system and reduce stress.
Taking regular massages will be extremely beneficial as it relaxes the whole body and mind.

Other popular choices to reduce anxiety are…

  • Aromatherapy - Bergamot (in a burner or massage), Lavender (Massage, burner or bath), Neroli (massage), Vetiver (burner), Ylang Ylang (massage, bath or burner)
  • Bach Flower Remedies - Agrimony helps if you hide your worry behind a ‘happy face’, white chestnut leads to insomnia and is needed if you continually have mental arguments with yourself and unwanted thoughts - you may find it hard to concentrate on you daily happenings because of this worry. If you are over protective of your family, worry incessantly about what could happen to them and friends (to the point of making them concerned about these imagined happenings) you could take red chestnut. If you are worried about justice and fairness happening and are over-involved in causes etc - try vervain.
  • Herbal therapies - You may be recommended to astragalus, bilberry, catnip, hops,kava, passionflower, peppermint, valerian, lemon balm, motherwort (if anxiety occurs with palpitations), scullcap, yarrow. There are also various herbal formulas available and it is strongly advisable to consult with a qualified herbalist or naturopath for assistance.
  • Homoeopathy - If the anxiety is the result of a sudden shock, try Aconite. Ignatia it is the 'grief remedy,' said to benefit someone who is upset by a sudden loss. Gelsemium is recommended for stage fright or anxiety over your performance. If none of these prove effective, Ask for professional advice.
  • Mind/body medicine - such as meditation, Tai Chi and relaxation exercises. Daily exercise can be very helpful and enjoyable
  • Magnesium supplements may be helpful, especially if you suffer from muscle spasms. Be careful with the amounts that you take.
  • Avoid alcohol, and reduce or eliminate your consumption of sugar and caffeine.
  • Try to avoid activities you do not enjoy or find relaxing and pursue activities that you do enjoy.


Dietary Considerations

Try to sustain a healthy mix of fresh fruit and vegetables, low-fat diet with plenty of filtered water and exercise.


When to seek further professional advice

  • If your anxiety seems more extreme than the situation warrants.
  • If your anxiety inhibits normal activities.
  • Your anxiety persists for many weeks.
  • Your symptoms suddenly become severe or uncontrollable. You may be experiencing a panic attack.

Anxiety

What to look for


  • persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along your spine, from the base of the neck to the hips.
  • sharp, localised pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back, especially after lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activity.
  • chronic ache in the middle or lower back.


Back aches are a major health issue in the community today.
The spine supports our upper body and is the pivot for all movement. The spinal column is an extraordinary mechanism, providing the stability we use to stand upright and the flexibility we need for active movement. The spine, or backbone, is actually a miraculous piece of machinery consisting of 33 vertebrae (24 of them flexible) with shock absorbing pads in between them.


A healthy spine is S-shaped when viewed from the side, curving back at the shoulders and inward at the neck and small of the back. As well as being the body's main structural member, it houses the spinal cord. The intricate sensory network that runs through the vertebrae to transmit feeling and control movement throughout the entire body.


Causes

Back pain is caused by inflammation of the joints, or the bruising of muscles and ligaments by some means. More commonly thought, back problems are related to posture. Problems can occur when we stand in a slumped position, or sit hunched or sleep on a too soft mattress. Being overweight magnifies back problems.
Backache can also be due to a physical defect in the spinal column or as the result of another disease or condition in some other part of the body. It can even be psychological.


Most of our back troubles happen because of bad habits, generally developed over a long period of time…

  • Poor posture;
  • Overexertion in work and play;
  • Sitting incorrectly at the desk or the steering wheel;
  • Pushing, pulling, and lifting things carelessly.


Sometimes the effects are immediate, but in many cases back problems develop over time.
One of the most common types of back pain comes from straining the bands of muscles surrounding the spine. Although such strains can occur anywhere along the spine, they happen most often in the curve of the lower back.
The majority of the population today is more sedentary than our ancestors used to be, a high proportion of people spend the better part of their working day sitting at desks, at work stations, or in cars and trucks. These recent changes in human behaviour have had a profound and largely negative impact on human physiology.


People who walk a lot or do physical labour develop good muscle tone in their backs and legs. People who sit most of the day lose that muscle tone, and their backs are the first place to show it. However this can be improved significantly by starting exercise programs to strengthen the back muscles.


Lumbago

The most common form of backache is lumbago. It can occur quite suddenly or develop over hours or even days and is caused by lifting or twisting, following an injury or over use or there may not be any apparent reason for the pain. The result is a tearing of the ligaments an inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae.


Slipped Disc

The disc are pads of tissue situated between each of the vertebrae which make up the spine. Each disc is made up of a tough, fibrous outer layer and a softer, jelly-like inner layer called the nucleus.
A slipped disc simply means that the tough outer layer cracks open and the softer inner layer protrudes out through the crack. The disc protrusion happens where the outer layer of the disc is weakest, (usually just in front of the nerve roots which emerge from the spinal cord at each vertebrae level).


If the person has a slightly narrow spinal canal, the protruding disc material presses on the nerve root at that level and causes the symptoms of a slipped disc. Most affected discs are in the lower back region. When the disc presses on a nerve root, symptoms occur in the area that the nerve root supplies.
Symptoms in the back include a severe backache, painful muscle spasms with more pain when moving and relief when lying flat.


Wear and Tear

Spinal discs can be subject to normal wear and tear and can actually wear away. This is very painful and disabling. This is usually a result of normal aging processes.


Disease

Cancer of the vertebrae is very rare, but it can spread to bones from other sites in the body. This disease is extremely serious and makes the patient feel very run down and unwell and should be confirmed by an X-ray or bone scan.
Sometimes, however, backache occurs for no apparent reason. Weak muscles can cause back pain as muscles cannot stand normal lifting and general movement. Stress or tension can also aggravate the pain. A condition called fibrositis causes chronic backache from localised muscle tension, which may in turn be psychosomatic in origin. Whatever the reason, the pain is still horrible.


Pregnancy commonly brings on back pain, as do injuries from physical sports, accidents, and falls.


Traditional Treatment

When you visit your doctor he or she will want to know if the back pain is associated with any other problems such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting etc. Doctors usually test your range of mobility to identify the type of back problem you have. Blood and urine tests will make sure the pain is not due to an infection or other systemic problem. X-rays are used in pinpointing broken bones or other skeletal defects, and can sometimes help locate problems in connective tissue.
It is important to rest, relieve the pain and slowly restore mobility and any treatment that is undertaken will focus on these stages.


The basic treatment for relieving back pain from strain or minor injury is immediate bed rest with an ice pack and a pain reliever or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug to reduce pain and inflammation. After the inflammation subsides, applying heat can soothe and restore muscles.


Continuous bed rest can actually do more harm than good as a program of regular exercises is needed to keep the back muscles working. Physiotherapists can help in this area and also give advice as to which exercises are appropriate for each individual case. A chiropractor can help manipulate the back. Bed rest and pain killers are the best remedy for patients with slipped discs.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Natural therapies have been successful in aiding patients with back problems.

  • Body Work - massage by a trained professional. Yoga may also helpful.


  • Herbal Therapies - Angelica Root. For general pain relief, drink infusions of white willow (Salix alba) or vervain (Verbena officinalis). For inflammation, try teas - lobelia(Lobelia inflata), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), cramp (Viburnum opulus), or white willow. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), available as a tincture and in capsules, is particularly recommended as a muscle relaxant and sedative


  • Homoeopathy - Over-the-counter remedies that are usually very helpful are Arnica for bruised or sore muscles, Bryonia and Rhus toxicodendron for sharp pain that gets worse when you move, and Nax vomica for persistent backache.


Prevention

  • Practicing good posture
  • Exercise regularly - swimming especially
  • Don’t stay in the one position for too long. Stand up and stretch after you have been sitting for a while or crouch for a few moments if you have been reaching up.
  • lift correctly with your legs, not your back. Do not bend at the waist to lift.
  • Support your lower back when sitting. Buy a special cushion if necessary, particularly for driving
  • Try and sleep on your side - ensure you have a firm mattress.


Dietary Considerations

Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, wholemeal bread, pasta, brown rice low fat dairy food. Fish and plenty of filtered water.


Call Your Doctor If

  • you feel numbness, tingling, or loss of control in your arms or legs;
  • the pain in your back extends downward along the back of the leg;
  • the pain increases when you cough or bend forward at the waist;
  • the pain is accompanied by fever; you may have a bacterial infection.
  • you have dull pain in one area of your spine when lying in or getting out of bed
  • The muscle starts to spasm and throb.

Back Care

Bad breath could be described as an unpleasant odour coming from the mouth region.


What to look for

  • a stale, unpleasant odour coming from the mouth.
  • a foul, putrid odour coming through the mouth from the stomach or other internal organs.


Bad breath affects most people at some time, however usually just resuming normal healthy oral hygiene helps re-establish a fresh smelling mouth. Occasionally people worry they have bad breath when in fact they do not. There are three types of causes of bad breath…

  1. Oral,
  2. Respiratory and
  3. Digestive.


Causes

Regular cleaning is vital for a healthy mouth and pleasant breath. Without it, bad substances develop in the mouth which cause tooth decay and gum disease and odour.
The most dangerous is Plaque… a sticky coating of food particles, saliva, and bacteria on the teeth. Dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease can also cause breath problems.
Residual traces of coffee, alcoholic drinks, tobacco smoke, and highly spiced or strong-smelling foods can also contribute to mouth odour. Skipping meals can cause stale breath because eating stimulates saliva flow.


Bad breath can be caused by indigestion, and post-nasal drip. Some diseases cause foul breath, including lung and gastrointestinal ailments, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, tuberculosis, sinusitis. Taking certain drugs, especially some antidepressants, may cause dry mouth and bad breath.
Anyone who has persistent bad breath that doesn't seem related to oral hygiene or temporary indigestion should ask a Doctor about the potential cause.


Traditional Treatment

Good oral hygiene will take care of most bad breath. Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, especially after meals when food particles may be trapped in your mouth. Eliminating strong-smelling food can help reduce the problem, as can stimulating the flow of saliva and drinking plenty of water. Mouthwashes, mints, and chewing gum often only mask the problem.


Plaque build-up is a major cause of bad breath, so have your teeth cleaned by a dental professional regularly. Chronic bad breath should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor or dentist.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Homoeopathy - If your breath is particularly bad on awakening, after meals, or after drinking alcohol, try Nux vomica or Kali phosphoricum. Both are available over the counter.


Herbal Therapies - alfalfa (Medicago sativa), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), Echinacea(Echinacea spp), myrrh (as a gargle). Fenugreek or peppermint tea taken after meals used everyday can help, parsley chewed can also be of benefit. Preparations containing cloves, aniseed, and fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) also are popular.


Personal Care

  • Good oral hygiene
  • Clean your tongue as far back as feels comfortable
  • Always rinse out your mouth with water after cleaning with toothpaste.


Dietary Considerations

A high-fibre diet with plenty of whole grains, fresh fruit, and raw, leafy vegetables helps good digestion and reduces the chance of bad breath. Also eating quality yogurts containing acidophilus and bifidus. Eating apples, oranges, and celery can help by cleaning the teeth, dispersing bacteria in the mouth, and stimulating saliva flow.
Try chewing fresh parsley or peppermint leaves, a method used by ancient Romans to sweeten their breath.
Try taking certain supplements such as B Complex, Magnesium, Digestive Enzymes.


When to seek further professional advice

  • the odour is accompanied by inflamed or bleeding gums noticeable after you clean your teeth. These may be signs of tooth decay or gum problems.
  • foul breath persists without any obvious cause after brushing and flossing the teeth and cleaning the gums and tongue. You may have an internal condition that requires medical diagnosis and treatment.

Bad Breath

These are reddened painful skin caused by the loss of blood supply to the skin due to continuous pressure on the affected parts.


What to look for

  • a painful and swollen red patch of skin, on any part of the skin which is pressed against something with pressure for a period of time.
  • a raw, open sore.

Bedsores are common among those people who are bedridden.


Causes

Bedsores are caused by the loss of blood supply to the skin due to continuous pressure on the affected parts. The areas usually affected are the heels, ankles, knees, base of the spine, buttocks, hips, elbows and shoulders. They begin being red and sore and can quickly turn into a slow healing, painful open sore.
Care must be taken to keep the patient with bedsores dry at all times as the bedsores can easily become infected if the skin is left damp. The people most prone to bedsores are those with diabetes, who are underweight, overweight, paralysed, people with poor circulation or heart problems.


Traditional Treatment

The normal treatment for bedsores is to clean the wound, remove any dead skin, and cover the area with a dressing that does not stick to the damaged skin.
To prevent bedsores from occurring try at all costs to avoid putting excess pressure on any one area of the skin for too long. Anyone who is bedridden must be turned regularly by a nurse. A soft material such as sheepskin can be placed under pressure points to help lessen the likelihood of bedsores developing.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative treatments can relieve pain. The patient must also be moved often.

Herbal Therapies -
Comfrey ointment promotes healing. To ease minor inflammation, apply a marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) root ointment; or try a poultice made from slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) bark, marsh mallow root, and echinacea (Echinacea spp.) blended with a small amount of hot water. Two drops of essential tea tree oil (Melaleuca spp.) in a cup of water makes an infection-fighting rinse.


Dietary Considerations

People with bedsores need to drink plenty of water. Certain vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C, E, and B complex, and zinc, will benefit their skin. Vitamin C in particular has been shown to be effective in healing bedsores.


Personal Care at Home

Care always needs to be taken when caring for the elderly or invalids at home.

  • Make sure the person confined to bed or a wheelchair moves his body as often as possible when awake.
  • Proper cushioning is vital to prevent bedsores.


Prevention

As mentioned previously, people confined to wheelchairs or beds should move frequently as well as be completely dry to avoid bedsores. Moisturiser should be used to keep the skin supple and their sheets should be clean and dry. Also a healthy diet will help their skin stay in good condition.


When to seek further professional advice

  • the sore produces a discharge or pus.

Bed Sores

Usually occurring in children under the age of 6 years who are having difficulties controlling their bladders at night.


What to look for

It is not abnormal for young children to wet the bed at night - even when they have learnt to use the toilet during the day. 


However there may be a need to be concerned if -

  • your child is older than six and has never been dry at night 
  • your child suddenly starts wetting at night after a period of having been dry through the night.


The most important thing to remember about bedwetting is that it is not a wilful act. Do not whatever you do, become angry or make the child feel guilty or ashamed as this will make the problem worse.
Don't be unduly concerned about bedwetting unless your child is older than six. Before then, your child's body may not have developed enough to control bladder actions at night. Time usually heals the problem: Most children resolve any difficulties on their own by the age of seven.


Causes

It is not fully understood why bedwetting occurs. It is thought be a stage whereby the child has not fully developed his or her bladder control mechanisms fully for use at night. Very rarely is it an infection, however, if you are concerned it is a wise idea to take your child to a doctor for a check up.


The child may be consuming too much fluid before going to bed which could exacerbate the problem.
Any new, stressful situation may cause a child to revert to bedwetting, as can being overtired or sick. Once your child adjusts to the situation, the problem should resolve itself. If your child does not improve, the treatments listed here may help. In addition, you may want your child to talk through his/her fears.


Traditional Treatments

It is wise to go to a doctor who may perform numerous tests to ensure the problem is only minor and is not disease-related.
There are three primary ways to treat bedwetting in an otherwise healthy child…

  1. Waiting for spontaneous resolution,
  2. Employing behavioural conditioning, and
  3. Undertaking drug therapy.


Waiting, though often the preferred course, may make your child anxious. However, if he/she is old enough to benefit from counselling, this may be of benefit to him/her and the whole family.


Using a device with a sensor that detects wetness and sets off an alarm has proved very effective. The child begins associating bladder distension with being awakened and in time 'learns' to awaken before losing control.


Drug therapy is considered less effective because most children relapse after stopping medication. It has its place, however. For short-term help when your child sleeps at a friend's.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Exercise - Bladder-stretching exercises may help your child increase bladder capacity.


Homoeopathy - There are several Homoeopathic formulas available which are usually beneficial. These include - causticum, pulsatilla and equisetum.


Herbal Remedies - Small does of tea made from St. John’s Wort or Corn Silk can help.


Mind/Body Medicine - Hypnotherapy has been helpful for some patients.


Dietary Considerations

Sometimes bedwetting is associated with food allergies. Try eliminating milk products, citrus fruits, and chocolate foods most frequently linked to allergies from your child's diet.


Personal Care

Allow the child to wear new pyjamas to bed each night and to make his bed with fresh sheets everyday. This will make him/her feel it is his/her responsibility to keep the bed linen and himself clean and fresh. Also it will give him/her a sense of independence in that he/she does not have to rely on you.


If you are using an alarm device for behavioural conditioning, avoid heavy sheets and pyjamas which can cause sweat, and can set off the alarm.


Prevent the mattress from getting wet by using a plastic-lined mattress cover (which may cause the child to sweat) or, better yet, provide him/her with a smaller, rubberised, felt-covered pad that he/she can place over the wet area on the bed after an accident.


When to seek further professional advice 

  • your efforts to help your child learn to stay dry through the night are not working, or your child wants additional help in managing the situation.
  • your child is wetting the bed and has frequent or painful urination, dark brown urine (a sign of bleeding), abdominal pain, or fever; these symptoms may indicate a urinary tract or bladder infection.
  • your child experiences side effects from any medication he/she is on for bedwetting.

Bedwetting

Bites from a bee which in certain individuals can provoke an allergic reaction.


What to look for

In most cases, a bee or wasp sting causes only minor symptoms such as:

  • pain.
  • swelling and inflammation
  • redness.
  • itching or burning.


Swelling can be considerably worse with people who are allergic to this type of sting. At worst, allergic people can go into shock with the sting of a bee and these are the symptoms which they may display-

  • rapid swelling on and around the face area.
  • breathing may be hard.
  • wheezing or hoarseness.
  • severe itching, cramps or even numbness.
  • dizziness.
  • a reddish rash
  • stomach cramps.
  • loss of consciousness.


The swelling usually dissipates within an hour for non-allergic people however this is not the case for people who are allergic.
Anaphylaxis is the name given to the allergic reaction that can be fatal in some people. These people’s breathing passage are blocked off when stung, causing collapse and ultimately death, if no treatment has been given.


Causes

The venom of bees, wasps and hornets contains substances which cause the local pain and swelling that usually go after a few hours. However in some people, the venom causes more severe reactions, which can range from more problematic swelling to the potentially fatal anaphylactic shock.


The allergic reaction some people suffer may be hereditary, however scientists are still unsure why such a large percentage of the population suffer from this.


Traditional Treatment

Home treatment bee stings may include placing a cold compress of ice onto the wound. If you have multiple stings or a severe allergic reaction, you need medical help at once.


For pain, take a general pain killer. For strong reactions, try a nonprescription antihistamine. For children, use cough medicine containing antihistamine.


For anaphylactic shock, the usual treatment is the bronchodilator epinephrine. See a doctor immediately for further treatment. (Note: Bee-sting kits are designed for adults… for children, read the directions.)


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Apply aloe or apply calendula ointment four times a day.


Homeopathy - A few drops of Pyrethrum tincture, available over the counter, to a sting. If the area swell, take. Speak with your pharmacist or herbalist for dosage information.


Aromatherapy - Lavender or Tea Tree Oil applied neat may sooth the sting and reduce the chances of infection.


At-Home Remedies

If the sting remains in the skin, scrape it away with a knife or fingernail. Do not use tweezers as more venom can enter into the skin. For bee stings, a paste of baking soda will ease the itching. Wasp stings are alkaline and can be neutralised by vinegar or lemon juice. If you're far from home, apply mud; as it dries, it will draw out some of the toxin.


Prevention

If you are allergic always carry a fully operable bee-sting kit.


When to seek further professional advice

  • if you are stung and have any allergic type reactions; or if you know you are allergic and you get stung. (See your doctor )

Bee Stings

Bells Palsy occurs when the nerves of the face become paralysed. It is difficult for the eye to shut properly as the muscles that keep the eye closed become weak. Bell's Palsy tends to inflict those convalescing from viral infections, diabetics and, generally, people between the ages of 30 and 50. This problem usually affects just one side of the face at a time. If you are afflicted with Bell's Palsy, it is highly unusual for you to have it twice.


What to look for…

It is usual for Bell's palsy to occur quickly with very little warning signals. However, some have noticed either a type of pain near the ear or an intolerance to certain sounds before the onset of the other paralysing symptoms. After a day or two, the paralysis usually crescendos. The good news is that the problem does not usually last forever. The majority of people will begin their recovery within two weeks. Within three months most sufferers are generally fully recovered.

It is very important to consult your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms as there could be other ailments that could be the problem.

  • The muscles droop on one side of your face
  • Closing the eyelid on the drooping side of your face is difficult
  • You cannot blink
  • Less sense of taste on the affected side
  • You either become teary or are less teary than usual
  • Numbness
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Muscles on the affected side may twitch
  • Pain


Causes

Scientists believe the cause of Bell's Palsy can be linked to viral infections. Recently they have discovered evidence which indicates that the same virus that causes cold sores may be responsible for the majority of Bell's Palsy cases. Research is still being conducted and this is by no means a definite cause as yet.


Traditional Treatment

There are no treatments to stop Bell's Palsy totally. Yet it is vital that you visit your doctor in order for him/her to diagnose you correctly and rule out other possible causes. Your doctor may also attempt to reduce the inflammation of the nerve in the face which has been successful in shortening the course of Bell's palsy. If you experience decreased tearing, you may need to use eyedrops to prevent drying in the eye. Your doctor will recommend an appropriate brand. In severe cases surgery may be recommended. This is rare however.


Prevention

There are no known ways to prevent the development of Bell's palsy.


When to Seek Further Professional Advice

  • You notice any of the symptoms listed above.

Bells Palsy

Bites and stings can be either poisonous or non-poisonous. The most dangerous Australian animals and insects are the taipan, tiger snake, death adder, the funnel-web and red-back spiders , the blue-ringed octopus, cone shells, stonefish, bullrout, box jellyfish and sting-rays


The bites of most spiders and insects, including mosquitoes, fleas, and flies are usually not dangerous to the majority of the population. The swelling and pain usually lasts a few days. Mosquitoes in certain areas may transmit diseases such as malaria.
If you are bitten or stung by a non-venomous animal, medical attention may still be needed. This is especially the case if their is an allergic reaction to an otherwise non-venomous sting or bite.
However, for people allergic to insect or spider bites, these bites can cause severe trauma and shock. Also, the bites of a few spiders, ticks, and insects are poisonous or associated with specific diseases.

Although most ticks bites are harmless, several species can cause life-threatening diseases.
Bites from spiders can be poisonous or non-poisonous. If bitten by a funnel-web or red-back you need to seek immediate emergency attention. Bites from other spiders are seldom fatal, however some are at risk - infants, the elderly, and people with allergies. Other less venomous spiders can also require medical attention.


Non-Venomous Animals

Action

  • Wash the wound thoroughly with a mild antiseptic and water.
  • Cover the clean wound with a dressing and bandage or bandaid.
  • Call the emergency number and seek help (unless the wound is obviously only minor). The person may not be up to date with their tetanus injections and need a shot.


Snakes

  • Apply first aid immediately and seek professional help- do not worry about the snake or trying to identify it. Severe problems may commence very quickly.


What to look for

  • puncture marks on the skin are the most obvious sign
  • red and swollen areas around the bite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhoea 
  • headache
  • vision problems
  •  faintness
  • tightness in the chest
  • breathing difficulties
  • unconsciousness


Caution

  • Never cut the area where the snake bit to try to suck out the venom.
  • Never apply a tourniquet or a restrictive bandage
  • Never wash the venom off the skin - (the doctors may use this venom to identify the snake).


Action

  • Lay the victim down comfortably and try to keep them calm and still.
  • Never elevate the bitten limb.
  • Apply pressure to the bitten area with your hands.
  • Apply a firm bandage over the bite as soon as you can. You may have to use whatever is available - a stocking or part of clothing.
  • Apply a second bandage wrapping upwards from the toes or fingers to above the knee or elbow.
  • Immobilise the limb in a splint or a sling (see entry on splints or slings).
  • If the person is unconscious, place them in the lateral position, check the airways, breathing and pulse and begin EAR or CPR if necessary (see emergency techniques).
  • Dial 000 or your emergency number immediately.


Funnel-Web Spider

This spider is a particularly venomous insect. The male is more so than the female and is smaller and more slender with a body of about 3 cm in length. This spider is large, black or can be reddish brown and is hairy. It is largely in the Sydney area and the coastal areas of New South Wales.


What to look for

  • intense pain around the affected area
  • abdominal pain and nausea
  • numbness
  • weakness
  • breathing difficulties
  • watery eyes
  • sweating
  • cold skin
  • shivering
  • coughing up secretions


Actions

  • Treat as for bites from snakes (above)
  • Seek medical help urgently - this spider is life threatening.


Red-Back Spider

The red-back spider is only the size of a pea and is black with a reddish stripe on it’s back. The female is the dangerous of the species.


What to look for

  • sharp, stinging sensations
  • pain around the bite (sometimes)
  • swelling and sweating around the bite
  • shock


Sometimes, an insect or spider bite causes a potentially fatal allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock. Its symptoms include:

  • rapid swelling around the eyes, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • difficulty breathing.
  • wheezing or hoarseness.
  • severe itching or cramping, or numbness.
  • dizziness.
  • a reddish rash, or hives.
  • stomach cramps.
  • loss of consciousness.


Caution

  • Do not apply pressure immobilisation.


Action

  • Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the bite to ease the pain. (see sprains and lacerations).
  • Seek medical help urgently
  • Watch the person for signs of shock.


Bush Tick

The tick is only small, is oval-shaped and is commonly found along the eastern coast of Australia. This tick buries its head under the victim’s skin. It’s venom can cause paralysis, skin irritation and should be removed as soon as possible.


What to look for

  • irritation at the affected area
  • weakness of the facial area then the arms
  • breathing difficulties


Action

  • Apply a drop of turpentine or kerosene to the tick (do not do this if the bite is near the eyes or the mouth), which may cause the tick to jump off.
  • Use tweezers to lever the tick out. Make sure you remove the head. Never pinch or squeeze the tick. And do not try to pull the tick off.
  • Ensure that there are no other ticks on the person.
  • If the symptoms persist, or the victim is a child - seek medical help urgently.


Bees and Wasps

See the section on insect bites and stings as well.


What to look for

  • local pain
  • swollen area where stung
  • itchiness
  • rashes
  • puffy eyelids and face
  • breathing difficulties


Action

  • ·If it is a bee sting, remove the sting by rubbing it sideways with a knife blade or your fingernail. Never pull out the sting.
  • Wipe the area and apply a cold compress.
  • If the person is allergic, the person should take their medication immediately.
  • If the person’s reaction if severe, apply pressure immobilisation and begin EAR if necessary (see emergency techniques) and seek medical assistance immediately.


Blue-Ringed Octopus and Cone Shells

The blue ringed octopus are found along the Australian coastline, usually in rock pools. They are up to 20 cm in length (from end to end when their tentacles are spread) and the bite is often painless. The venom however is very dangerous and can bring on symptoms straight away. They often look attractive to children and they must be warned to stay away from them.


What to look for

  • Blurred vision
  • lips and tongue may be numb
  • swallowing is difficult
  • breathing difficulties


Action

  • Apply pressure immobilisation
  • Get urgent medical help immediately.
  • When breathing becomes difficult, apply EAR (see emergency techniques) and continue until the ambulance arrives.


Box Jellyfish

These water creatures are found in the areas off tropical northern Australia. The tentacles may cause breathing and circulation failure and is fatal.


What to look for

  • intense pain
  • deep red welts on the skin
  • irrational behaviour
  • breathing difficulties
  • unconsciousness
  • circulation failure
  • breathing failure


Caution

Check the best time of the year to swim in certain areas, before you go swimming.


Actions

  • If the person is unconscious or becomes that way, placethem in the lateral position, check the airways, breathing and pulse and begin EAR or CPR if necessary (see emergency techniques).
  • Wipe carefully the stung area with household vinegar, which will make the tentacles harmless, or remove the tentacles yourself.
  • Do not cease EAR or CPR to do this. Do Not rub the area.
  • Seek medical help urgently.
  • Apply pressure immobilisation.


Sting-Rays

The lethal part is attached to the long tail on this creature.


What to look for

  • Burning intense pain
  • breathing difficulties


Action

  • Gently remove the barb if you can see it.
  • Wash the area with hot water.
  • Monitor breathing and give E.A.R if it is necessary (see emergency techniques).
  • Call an ambulance immediately.


Stonefish

Always wear shoes when walking in rocky beaches and coral reefs and do not pick up odd looking rocks.


What to look for

  • severe spreading pain
  • sometimes the spine may be still in the skin
  • swollen skin
  • skin may be slightly discoloured
  • sweating
  • irrational behaviour
  • shock


Caution

Do not apply pressure immobilisation.


Action

  • Call for medical assistance immediately
  • Soak the area in hot water for 20 minutes at least
  • Remove the spine if possible
  • Watch the person’s breathing and start EAR if you need to (see emergency techniques).


Alternative/natural Treatments

For minor bites some naturopaths recommend calendula ointment or tea tree oil.


Homoeopathy - Pyrethrum tincture may help relieve pain. For allergic reactions, Apis is often helpful to take before the medical person arrives.


Dietary Considerations - Large doses of B-complex vitamins and/or garlic taken orally may act as an insect repellent. Large doses of vitamin C, pantothenic acid, calcium/magnesiumcombination may benefit.


Aromatherapy - Try applying lavender or tea tree oil neat on the bites for relief.


Prevention

There are a few things which may help repel insects from you -

  • Essential oil of eucalyptus (add 5 drops to a cup of water and dab on your skin).
  • Essential oil of citronella.
  • Calendula ointment.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you think you have been bitten by a poisonous insect, animal, plant or spider.

Bites & Stings

Black eyes are bruising and swelling around the eye and the eyelid


What to look for

bruising and swelling of the eyelid and the area around the eye. The bruising may last up to 10 days and changes colour from purple/blue to yellow within that time.
Usually this type of bruise will heal quickly and of its own accord however there are times when this bruising signifies a more serious injury particularly if the eye is bloodshot. It is possible that an eye injury of this sort could involve a detached retina or lead to glaucoma. A fracture impair vision and surgery may be needed.


Causes

Most black eyes are the result of a strike that causes bleeding beneath the skin, producing the characteristic blue-black discolouration. A fractured skull can cause black eyes. There are occasions when people with allergies can get black eyes (usually under the eye itself).


Traditional Treatment

The best remedy is to put something cold (such as an ice pack) onto the affected area for about 10 minutes at a time which helps reduce the swelling and constrict the blood vessels.
If you need to take a pain reliever do so to relieve any associated pain. However it is not wise to try to prise open the eye or touch the area too much.
If the eyeball is obviously damaged or protruding seek medical attention immediately.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Remedies - Camomile may help sooth the area. Make up as a tea and bath the area with the preparation


Homeopathy - Arnica, Ledum, Symphytum, Hypericum are very useful for black eyes.


Dietary Considerations

It is important to have a balanced diet with plenty of protein, vitamins, minerals, filtered water.


When to seek further professional advice

  • If two eyes are black out at the same time
  • your eyeball hurts.
  • you have an open cut around or in the eye.
  • your vision is affected in any way; or if you see anything different such as spots etc

Black Eye

Blood Clots are when blood which thickens or masses or lumps together and stops circulation.


What to look for

Our blood clots as part of a normal, healthy protective process however if any of the symptoms below occur blood clotting may be the cause…

  • Unexpected and remote pain in an arm or leg which can also include pins and needles sensation, numbness, or a cold feeling below the pain. Gangrene (tissue death) may occur if this is not seen to and treated.
  • A hard, bluish lump in a vein.
  • Sudden blindness in one eye may be due to a blood clot blocking a retinal artery.
  • Violent dizziness, or vertigo, that impairs your ability to stand or walk may be caused by a small blood clot blocking a cerebral artery.


Our blood flows normally and freely through our veins and arteries and will clot as a normal, healthy defensive process. This is how any bleeding is stopped and our healing can begin.
It is desirable, even vital, when a blood vessel is injured, but clot formation inside a healthy blood vessel is not normal and can be fatal. These types of clotting can indicate heart disease or venous diseases such as phlebitis.


A clot that forms in the heart, blood vessel or vein and blocks circulation is called a thrombus. Tiny thrombi develop on blood vessel walls to heal minute injuries, then normally dissolve. If they don't dissolve, they tend to slow the circulation and flow with the blood.
When thrombosis occurs in one of the coronary arteries of the heart, a patient has a heart attack. If it occurs in the brain the patient has a stroke, in the leg vein can cause phlebitis and if it occurs in the artery supplying a limb, gangrene may be the result.
 

Causes

Abnormal clotting results usually from one of the following - coronary heart disease, artery disease, prolonged immobilisation in which the blood clots because of poor circulation, after major surgery, pregnancy, taking the contraceptive pill, or it may be associated with cancer.


Some individuals however may be more susceptible to this condition than others in which their blood clots more readily and easily than others.
Blood will coagulate inside blood vessels if vessel walls are damaged or if circulation becomes unusually sluggish, as in atherosclerosis.


Traditional Treatment

Your doctor should prescribe drugs to help with this condition as well as aspirin. Blood clots may be removed during another heart operation but surgery to remove blood clots is rare and only performed in severe cases.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Always inform your doctor before starting any other herbal remedies to ensure they will not interfere with your prescribed medication.


Body/Mind - Massage may be very helpful if the blood clot is due to poor circulation. This should always be performed by a trained professional


Herbal Therapies - Cayenne and ginkgo, Turmeric, bilberry, ginger, grape-skin extract, and gugulipid, an extract of myrrh, Garlic and onion, as is bromelain, a pineapple enzyme.


Dietary Considerations

Eat more oily fish such as tuna and sardines, fresh fruit and vegetables, fibre filtered water. Certain vitamins and minerals may also act as natural anticoagulants. Ask for advice about supplemental vitamin E and magnesium to prevent abnormal clots from forming.


Prevention

  • Stick to the above recommended dietary lifestyle
  • Try to stay within your recommended weight range by exercising regularly and carefully.
  • Some doctors recommend daily doses of aspirin for patients at risk of abnormal clotting. But always do this under supervision of your doctor.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you have angina or have any symptoms associated with stroke.
  • you experience sensory impairment.

Blood Clots

Bronchitis is the inflammation of the main bronchial tubes of the lungs caused by a bacterial or viral infection.


What to look for

Acute bronchitis:

  • initially a head cold, running nose, fever and chills,
  • aching muscles
  • back pain
  • hacking cough.
  • yellow, white, or green phlegm, usually appearing 24 to 48 hours after a cough.
  • fever, chills.
  • soreness and tightness in chest.
  • some pain below breastbone during deep breathing.


Chronic Bronchitis:

  • persistent cough producing yellow, white, or green phlegm (for at least three months of the year, and for more than two consecutive years).
  • wheezing, some breathlessness.


Generally Bronchitis occurs more often in winter, in damp, cold climates and places that are heavily polluted. Bronchitis is an upper respiratory disease in which the mucous membrane in the lungs' upper bronchial passages becomes swollen.
As the irritated membrane swells and grows thicker, it narrows or shuts off the tiny airways in the lungs, resulting in coughing spells accompanied by thick phlegm and wheezing. The disease comes in two forms: acute and chronic.
Acute bronchitis is responsible for the hacking cough and phlegm that sometimes accompany an upper respiratory infection; in most cases the infection is viral in origin. If you are otherwise in good health, the mucous membrane will return to normal after you've recovered from the initial lung infection, which usually lasts for several days.


Like the lung disease emphysema, chronic bronchitis, is a serious long-term disorder that requires regular medical treatment.
If you are a smoker and come down with acute bronchitis, it will be difficult for you to recover since as you continue smoking, you do so much damage to the cells, known as cilia, to prevent them from working properly. This often leads to chronic bronchitis. If you smoke heavily the cilia can stop working altogether. Clogged with mucus, the lungs are then vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections, which over time distort and permanently damage the lungs' airways.
Acute bronchitis is very common .


Causes

Acute bronchitis is generally caused by lung infections; Chronic bronchitis may be caused by one or several factors. Repeated attacks of acute bronchitis, which weaken and irritate bronchial tubes over time, can result in chronic bronchitis. Industrial pollution is another culprit. But the chief cause is heavy, long-term cigarette smoking.


Traditional Treatment

Conventional treatment for both acute and chronic bronchitis may consist of antibiotics, aspirin and a cough syrup and a good deal of bedrest in a warm room. In severe cases of chronic bronchitis, supplemental oxygen may be necessary. Remember to drink lots of water.


If you have chronic bronchitis, your lungs are already damaged and the obstruction of the airways is not easily helped. Bronchodilator drugs may be given to relieve any such obstruction, as well as physiotherapy to help the patient get rid of any sputum. Oxygen therapy may be required as well.

Flu vaccinations are available against most strands of flu and pneumonia.


Do not take an over-the-counter cough suppressant to treat chronic bronchitis unless told to do so by your doctor. As the coughing assists in getting rid of any excess phlegm. In fact, your doctor may even prescribe an expectorant if your cough is relatively dry. Tell your doctor if you notice any changes in your phlegm.
The best course of action is to remove anything that irritates the condition. If you are overweight, your doctor may insist that you diet to avoid putting excessive strain on your heart.
If you smoke, your doctor will urge you to quit.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

A number of alternative therapies can be used to complement a conventional doctor's care. You must however continue to use conventional medical care.


Aromatherapy - Essential oils such as eucalyptus,hyssop, aniseed, lavender, pine, and rosemary may help ease breathing and relieve nasal congestion.


Inhaling deeply through your nose, breathe the aroma from a few drops of one or more of these oils dabbed on a handkerchief, try a steam inhalation or sniff directly from the bottle. 


Chinese Herbs - The Chinese herb ephedra (Ephedra sinica) is a potent bronchodilator. Only use this herb under the supervision of an experienced practitioner. Do not use ephedra if you have high blood pressure or heart disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified practitioner.


Herbal Therapies - There are a wide variety of herbal formulas that help this condition, It is wise to get professional advice before choosing the herbs.


Coltsfoot may relax constricted or spasming bronchial tubes and gently help to loosen phlegm.
To treat acute bronchitis, hyssop may be used.


Herbal expectorants include aniseed (Pimpinella anisum), elecampane (Inula helenium), and garlic (Allium sativum).


Homoeopathy - For acute and chronic bronchitis, try the following -
for fever, cough, and tightness in the chest, use Aconite.
For loose white phlegm, cough, and irritability, use Kali bichromicum.
For loss of voice, cough, thirst, and sore throat, use Phosphorus.


Dietary Considerations

To strengthen the immune system and protect against infection, nutritionists often recommend vitamins A, B complex, C, and E, along with the minerals selenium and zinc. Some experts suggest that you also avoid mucus-producing foods, found mainly in the dairy group (although goat's milk generally causes less mucus production than cow's milk), as well as in refined starches (white- flour-based products) and processed foods.

For chronic bronchitis:
Avoid exposure to paint or exhaust fumes, dust, and people with colds. Consider using a vaporiser or inhaling steam over a sink full of hot water. Dress warmly in cold, dry weather.


When to seek further professional advice

  • your cough is very persistent and severe, you may be causing damage to your lungs.
  • changes in your mucus and your symptoms last longer than a week
  • you display symptoms of acute bronchitis and have chronic lung or heart problems or are infected with the virus that causes AIDS
  • you have great difficulty breathing.

Bronchitis

Bunions are an abnormal enlargement at the joint between the foot and the beginning of the big toe, which is the result of pressure.


What to look for

  • an angular protrusion at the side of the foot behind the big toe, sometimes accompanied by hardened skin or a callus.
  • swelling, redness, unusual tenderness, or pain at the base of the big toe and in the ball of the foot, especially if the area becomes shiny and cool to the touch.

A bunion is an unnatural bump or bend in the bone that forms the ball of the foot at the base of the big toe. The result is an unsightly swelling at the inside of the foot, sometimes pushing the big toe inward so it overlaps one or more other toes.
Because a bunion occurs at the joint where the toe bends in normal walking, your entire body weight rests on it at each step. While most bunions don't affect normal walking, they can be extremely painful.


Causes

Bunions are caused by wearing shoes which are too tight for your toes. Foot problems typically develop in early adulthood, becoming more pronounced as the foot spreads with aging. Bunions can be hereditary and occur along with other problems associated with weak or poor foot structure, as well as with corns and calluses. Bunions sometimes develop with arthritis.
Most of the time, bunions are so obvious from the pain and the unusual shape of the toe that further diagnosis is unnecessary.


Traditional Treatment

Relieving a bunion's discomfort generally consists of steps to reduce pain and inflammation, followed by measures to prevent recurrence.
Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain remedy, or may prescribe a specific medication to relieve the swelling and inflammation. A warm footbath or spa may also help relieve the immediate pain and discomfort, as may an analgesic cream containing a chili-pepper extract.
If your bunion isn't persistently painful and you catch it early, wearing well-made, well-fitting shoes may be all the therapy you need.
In some cases, a specialist can prescribe shoes with specially designed insoles and uppers that take the pressure off affected joints and help the foot regain its proper shape.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Various therapies for reducing pain and inflammation can be used effectively on bunions.
Homoeopathy - Following an examination of your feet, you can be prescribed remedies that may relieve the pain of a bunion. .
Herbal Treatments - Try drinking nettle tea everyday for some relief. Also a warm poultice using rosemary, mustard or calendula oil followed by an ice pack can be soothing.


Personal Care

  • When a bunion causes sore feet, a hot compress or soaking in warm water will ease the pain.


Prevention

Always wear well fitted shoes in childhood to avoid problems later on. Exercising your feet can strengthen them, particularly if you learn to pick up small objects with your toes.


When to seek further professional advice

  • When you discover any of the symptoms mentioned above

Bunions

Cataracts are the clouding of the lens in the eye.


What to look for

  • hazy vision.
  • impaired vision at night; difficulty in discerning movements, details, or objects.
  • blinding or uncomfortable glare from automobile headlights or bright sunlight.
  • seeing halos around lights.
  • unexpected improvement in near vision.
  • double or triple vision in one eye only.
  • in an advanced case, a milky white or opaque appearance to the normally transparent lens of the eye
  • painful inflammation and pressure within the eye (very advanced case).


The lens of the human eye focuses light so that you can see objects clearly at various distances. It has no blood supply of its own; therefore, when it is damaged it cannot form new cells and responds by becoming opaque, forming a cataract. The cataract causes a gradual and painless loss of vision.
Despite how common the disease is, it is actually one of the less serious eye disorders, because surgery can restore the lost sight in most cases.


Causes

The most common cause is aging. If this is the case, the centre of the lens will be affected first. There is vision for several years until the whole lens is affected.
Some people are born with cataracts due to an injury or disease while in the womb.
Exposure to bright sunlight can react with the protein in the lens and create cataracts earlier than usual as well as cigarette smoke, air pollution, vitamin deficiencies, and heavy alcohol consumption. A low level of calcium in the blood can cause this complaint, sudden increases in blood sugar levels in young people can result in a clouding of the lens. They can develop as a result of accidents, sports injuries and exposure to electromagnetic, microwave or infra-red radiation.


By shining a pen-light on your pupil, your doctor may detect the cataract. Using special instruments and techniques, your ophthalmologist will identify its precise character, location, and extent.


Traditional Treatment

At present the only corrective treatment for a developed cataract is surgery. However, both conventional and alternative therapies are seeking ways to prevent cataract formation.
Cataract surgery is one of the most successful of all operations.


The operation, usually performed under local anaesthesia on an outpatient basis, is safe, fast, and nearly painless.
The single most important thing you can do to prevent cataract development is to avoid bright sunlight outdoors by wearing sunglasses that filter out UVB. Dark glasses that do not filter out UVB can actually increase your risk, because your pupils widen to adjust to the decreased light, thus exposing your eyes to more of the dangerous UVB radiation.


Dietary Considerations

Antioxidants, which reduce free radicals (unstable chemical compounds) that can damage lens protein, offer protection against cataract development by lessening or retarding protein deterioration in the lens brought on by environmental factors.
Naturopaths recommend a diet high in fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants such as beta carotene (vitamin A), selenium, and vitamins C and E, including citrus fruits, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, and broccoli.


When to seek further professional advice

  • You develop any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Cataracts

Bladder Infections are an inflammation of the urinary bladder which results in a prickling pain, which quickly becomes a burning, scalding sensation during urination.



What to look for

  • a burning sensation when urinating;
  • frequent need to urinate with little result
  • urine with a strong, foul odour and sometimes a dark brown/orange colour.
  • in the elderly: lethargy, incontinence, mental confusion.
  • In severe cases, these symptoms may be accompanied by fever and chills, abdominal pain, or blood in the urine.


Cystitis is a common condition which affects women much more than men. Women’s physiological make up makes it all too easy for bacteria to travel from the bowel opening to the urethra (this is the tube coming out of the bladder). This relatively short passageway, only about an inch and a half long, makes it easier for bacteria to migrate into the bladder.
Bladder infections are not serious if treated promptly. But recurrences are common in susceptible people and can lead to kidney infections, which are more serious and may result in permanent kidney damage. So it's very important to treat the underlying causes of a bladder infection and to take preventive steps to avoid recurrences.
In elderly people, bladder infections are often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are less specific and are frequently blamed on aging. Older people should be checked for this complaint if they have these specific symptoms.


Causes

Most bladder infections are caused by various strains of 'E. coli', the bacteria commonly found in the intestines. Women sometimes get bladder infections as a direct result of intercourse, which can push bacteria up into the bladder through the urethra.


Some women contract the infection, dubbed 'honeymoon disease' almost every time they have sex. Bacteria then rapidly reproduce in the stagnant urine left in the bladder. Some people develop symptoms of a bladder infection when no infection actually exists. These disorders are usually benign but are difficult to treat.


While they can be quite uncomfortable and potentially serious if complications set in, the bladder infections that most women get, clear up quickly and are relatively harmless.  In men, however, a bladder infection is almost always a symptom of an underlying disorder and is generally regarded as cause for more concern.  Hormonal imbalances can affect the balance of acidity and alkalinity in the urine and this can affect the likelihood of an attack of cystitis.


The contraceptive diaphragm or cap may lead to an attack of cystitis as leftover amounts of urine can get trapped in it and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Also the contraceptive pill affects the hormonal system and has been shown to make women using it more susceptible to common ailments such as thrush which can also trigger cystitis.
Bladder infections usually can be diagnosed readily with a urine test.


Traditional Treatment

Mild bladder infections often clear up quickly in response to simple home remedies. But if you experience no relief within 24 hours, you should consult a physician for more aggressive treatment. Do not just ignore the problem and hope it goes away.
Bladder infections are treated with a wide variety of antibiotics to clear up the infection and by increased intake of fluids to flush out the urinary tract. The antibiotic your physician prescribes and the number of days you will need to take it will depend on the type of bacteria that are causing the infection.


After the treatment has run its course, you may be asked to come in for a follow-up urine test to make sure your bladder is free of all signs of infection.  People with frequently recurring bladder infections are often prescribed low daily doses of antibiotics for an additional six months or longer. Patients whose infections are related to sexual activity may be given a small dose of antibiotics to take each time they have intercourse.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

If begun promptly at the first hint of burning during urination, alternative means of treatment can be very successful in relieving the symptoms of a bladder infection. But if these methods do not bring relief within 24 hours, you should call your doctor for antibiotic treatment. Consult with your doctor if you wish to continue with alternative methods while on the antibiotics to speed up the recovery process.


Herbal Therapies - Cranberry is the most popular herbal remedy for cystitis sufferers. It comes in tablet or capsule form and should be taken as per the bottle description or professional recommendation.
Another herb useful in treating bladder infections is nettle, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Women who are prone to bladder infections after sexual activity can help prevent recurrences by washing their perineal area with a medicinal solution of the herb goldenseal before and after intercourse.


Homoeopathy - Depending on the symptoms, Homoeopaths recommend a number of different remedies to help relieve the pain of a bladder infection. Here are three of the most commonly prescribed…

  • If the urge to urinate is very strong and the burning is intense - Cantharis.
  • If you experience painful cramping with urination or your urine is very dark or bloody - Mercurius corrosivus.
  • For women whose infections are brought on by sexual contact - Staphysagria.Seek professional help for exact dosages.


Aromatherapy - Adding certain essential oils to the bath can alleviate the symptoms of this problem. Try putting in a 5 - 6 drops of the essential oils of juniper, eucalyptus, sandalwood, pine, parsley, cedarwood, chamomile, or cajuput.
You can also try a massage oil made with 1 oz carrier oil and 5 drops each of any combination of the herbs mentioned. Massage daily, rubbing the oil over your lower back, abdomen, stomach, and hips. (see the aromatherapy entry for more information).


Dietary Considerations

Both conventional and alternative practitioners agree that drinking plenty of water to keep you urinating frequently and to flush out your urinary tract thoroughly is one of the most effective means of combating a bladder infection. However, you should avoid beverages that might irritate the urinary tract and aggravate the burning. Culprits include alcohol, coffee, black tea, chocolate milk, carbonated beverages, and citrus juices.
Until clear of the infection, you should also avoid potentially irritating foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, and heavily spiced dishes. Wait 10 days after the burning is gone before reintroducing these foods and drinks one at a time into your diet.  Eat a balanced diet in general.


Supplements of vitamin C and vitamin may also aid recovery. But check with your Doctor before taking the supplements. Vitamin C increases the acidity of urine, which hampers the growth of bacteria but can also interfere with the action of some antibiotics, making them less effective.


Personal Care

  • Drink cranberry juice daily and take Cranberry Tablets to relieve the symptoms
  • Saline drinks may help relieve the burning in the area
  • Always wipe from front to back when going to the toilet
  • Urinate as soon as possible when you feel the urge, and make sure you empty your bladder completely each time.
  • urinate immediately after intercourse - it flushes out any bacteria that have got into the urethra
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose, nonbinding clothing that does not trap heat and moisture in the crotch.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • If you use a diaphragm for birth control, make sure it is well fitted and don’t leave it in too long.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you have the pain and burning sensation more than 24 hours after you begin trying self-help treatments. Untreated, bladder infections can lead to more serious conditions.
  • painful urination is accompanied by vomiting, fever, chills, bloody urine, or abdominal or back pain; it may indicate potentially life-threatening kidney disease, a bladder or kidney tumor, or prostate infection. Seek medical help immediately.
  • the burning is accompanied by a discharge from the vagina or penis, a sign of sexually transmitted disease, pelvic inflammatory disease, or other serious infection. See your doctor without delay.


Bladder Infections

Blood pressure is pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps blood around the body.


What to look for

  • There are generally no symptoms for high blood pressure as the early stages of hypertension may take a few years to develop
  • A higher than normal blood pressure. Normal for young and middle aged adults is a pressure of 120/80. A pressure of 140/90 is definitely something to be concerned about. If the pressure is 160/95 it requires treatment.
  • Blackouts, a minor stroke are indications that your blood pressure is too high and can be fatal if it is not treated.
  • swollen ankles
  • shortness of breath
  • headaches, dizziness and nose bleeds


Traditional Treatment

Your doctor will give you a thorough examination to check if your blood pressure is the result of another disease such as Cushing’s disease or kidney problems however, usually there is no immediate cause for the high blood pressure.
It is advisable that if over weight, the patient try to stay within your recommended weight level. Also try to avoid salt in your diet and reduce stress levels in your lifestyle. Exercise is also recommended.


If you have a stressful job, some doctors will advise you to give it up and take some time off to rest completely.  These lifestyle changes quite often bring the blood pressure down considerably.


A doctor will prescribe medication for you if the above approaches and lifestyle changes still do not bring the blood pressure down. Some of these drugs will have side effects which can be serious. Your doctor will know which drugs should be given to you and will explain all the side effects to you. The doctor will keep a close check on the patient to take the blood pressure and watch for possible side effects.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Body/Mind Work - Yoga, Meditation and other relaxation techniques can help relax the patient and lower the stress levels.
Herbal Remedies - Hawthorn, dandelion and linden, garlic and ginger are helpful for blood pressure problems.
 

Dietary Considerations

  • Eat less salt - best of all try to avoid it altogether (use herbs, garlic and ginger instead)
  • Avoid heavily salted food (such as packaged food)
  • Try to eat more dairy products - low fat one only. You may be low on calcium.
  • Avoid too much alcohol as this can raise blood pressure.
  • Give up smoking as this can harden the arteries and cause coronary heart disease.


When to seek further professional advice

  • if your blood pressure is over the recommended level
  • if you have any of the symptoms listed above
  • if you are on medication for high blood pressure and are suffering any side effect - see your doctor immediately.


Blood Pressure

Breast problems can include breast pain or masses or lumps within the breast.


What to look for

  • tenderness, pain or swelling in one or both breasts, most likely caused by premenstrual swelling.
  • pain accompanied by redness and warmth or a discharge from the nipple; this may indicate an infection or a benign growth or breast cancer.
  • a lump that is movable may be a cyst or a fibroadenoma.
  • a lump that is hard, is not movable, or feels attached to the chest wall, with or without pain, perhaps with dimpling or puckering of the breast; this may be a sign of breast cancer.


Breast can change for a number of different reasons such as puberty, age, monthly with onset of the periods. Most changes in your breast are perfectly normal and no cause for concern. However, you may experience any of several conditions that require medical attention. Especially breast pain or lumps.


Starting at puberty, you should examine your breasts every month, so that you become familiar with their structure - you know what they look like and feel like so you can detect any changes that occur and have them checked out by a doctor.

Premenstrual changes can cause temporary thickening that disappears after the period, so it is best to check your breasts about a week after your period. If you are no longer menstruating, examine your breasts monthly on a day you will remember. Look for dimpling or puckering, and using light pressure, check for lumps near the surface and firm pressure to explore deeper tissues. Check each nipple to see if there is any discharge. If there is discharge - consult your doctor.
Mammograms (specialised breast x-ray) can reveal tumours too tiny to be felt by hand. These tests should be done every 2 year from the age of 35 then increasing the frequency to once a year at age 50. If you have a family history of breast cancer, especially in your mother or sister, your physician may advise a different schedule.


Breast Pain And Lumps

Breast pain can have many causes, including the normal swelling of breast tissue during the menstrual cycle. Other causes include infection or injury; growths, including cancer; and perhaps diet.
The general swelling of breast tissue with the menstrual period can be painful, but it is not dangerous, and no treatment is necessary if you can tolerate the discomfort.


Breast lumps include cysts, adenomas, and papillomas. They are all different sizes and shapes and can be in different places within the breast. It is quite common for women to have lumps in their breasts, (or fibroadenosis), which is sometimes associated with hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle. Most lumps are benign and do not signal cancer; however, any time you find a new or unusual lump, have your doctor check it to make sure it is not cancerous or pre-cancerous.
Cysts, which can be large or small, are benign fluid-filled sacs. They may be very painful. The best tool for distinguishing a cyst from a solid tumour is ultrasound; a needle biopsy may also be done.
Infection in the breast produce the same symptoms you would see elsewhere in your body, except that in your breast, infections tend to become walled off from surrounding tissue, producing small abscesses. This may give them the appearance of cysts. Infections occur almost exclusively in breast-feeding mothers. If you suspect you have an infection, see your doctor.
Cysts may produce pain, but breast cancer rarely does - although pain does not rule out the possibility of cancer.


Traditional Treatment

Practitioners of both conventional and alternative medicine use diet and nutrition to prevent and treat monthly swelling of the breasts. It is a good idea to maintain a healthy weight and eat a balanced diet. Avoid salt at this time as it can contribute to fluid retention. For some women, eliminating caffeine and related substances, can alleviate breast pain.
In recent years, some conventional doctors have suggested vitamin E supplements, to treat breast pain not caused by cancer. In addition, a conventional physician may suggest relieving pain with an analgesic or general pain reliever.
If the pain still persists your doctor may prescribe other drugs to help.
If you suffer from breast lumps, a doctor may insert a needle into the cyst and draw the fluid out and examine it. This also rids you of the cyst. If however the fluid is bloody the doctor will want to investigate this further. It may be an indication of cancer.
Fibroadenomas can be diagnosed only by biopsy. Surgical removal, usually in a same-day surgical procedure, is considered the only treatment.
Some conventional doctors recommend eliminating caffeine and saturated fats to shrink breast cysts.
Breast infections are treated with antibiotics. If an abscess exists, your doctor may also make a small incision to drain it. If this doesn't work, minor surgery is the next step.


Alternative/natural Treatments

In addition to conventional dietary changes and supplements, naturopaths will treat breast pain with higher doses of nutritional supplements and with herbs.
Herbal Therapies - Evening primrose oil and Vitamin E may be helpful for this problem.
Personal Care - It is often helpful to warm the area with a warm washer or compress.


Dietary Considerations

  • Because fat in the diet is associated with oestrogen production, you can reduce oestrogen levels in your body by eating a low-fat diet.
  • Eat a low fat, high fibre diet and avoid stress for long periods.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice any kind of new or unusual lump in your breasts, especially one that remains throughout your menstrual cycle.. Have your doctor check any lump.

Breast Problems

If breastfeeding is not appropriate for you or your life, it is possible to bottle-feed. Mothers who wish to bottle-feed their babies should use a commercial infant formula.  These formulas are very similar nutritionally to breast milk. Your baby should grow and become strong and healthy in a similar way to breastfed babies.


There are many different varieties available and you can choose between ones based on cow’s milk or soya bean. Read the label carefully before making up the feed and contact your family doctor about how much or how often to feed your baby.
The advantages are that other people can help feed your baby which can be great for working mums.

Here are a few tips for a happy, healthy bottle-fed baby:

*  It is advisable to give your baby an infant formula until he is about 12 months of age or until he is eating regular meals.

*  Always sterilise the bottles and teats, and boil any water used for the milk mixture.

*  Check the expiry date on the formula.

*  Use formula within one month of opening the can.

*  Hold your baby close to you every time you give him the bottle.

*  Never leave your baby alone while feeding and don’t prop up your baby’s bottle while feeding.

*  Burp your baby during and after a feed.

*  When your baby has finished feeding throw away any left over milk, then rinse the bottle and teat with cold water. Do this immediately after each feed.

*  Your baby doesn’t need to finish all the milk in a bottle at each feed.

*  If formula based on cow’s milk appears to upset your baby, try milk based on soya bean. Speak with your doctor or our Pharmacist.


Young babies will usually take about 60 to 120mL of milk at each feed. They usually feed about every 3 or 4 hours.
As your baby gets older, he will gradually take more at each feed until he reaches about 180 to 250mL.


Bottle Feeding Considerations

This is one of most important things you can do for yourself and your new baby. However it is not always easy to get started, it is not necessarily instinctive. 

Here are a few tips for you:

*  Start early - within the first few hours.

*  Make sure someone experienced (a midwife) shows you how to do it properly.

*  Feed your child from both breasts

*  Make yourself comfortable before you begin

*  You will have plenty of mild if you eat a variety of foods each day as well as lots of filtered water

*  Demand feed your baby right away

*  Feed the baby for however long he or she wants to feed. However make sure your baby is actually swallowing and that the position is correct.

*  If your nipples are sore, something needs readjusting - his position or attachment.

*  Do not use milk from the bottle in addition to your breastmilk as this may lessen your supply. It could also encourage your child to prefer sucking on the teat and not your nipple

*  Feeding at night helps your milk supply and may help you sleep better.

*  Do not put any creams, lotions or ointments on your nipples. They emit a smell which attracts your baby.


Why Breastfeed?

*  Human breast milk is made for human babies, it is the most perfect food for them to have. It’s the right kind of milk for your baby.

*  Breast feeding brings about a special close feeling between mother and baby. The breast is a comfort to a baby when the child is not feeling well or experiencing some discomfort.

*  It is safe. The mother’s milk, especially the first milk (colostrum) has antibodies in it which helps protect the baby from many diseases and disorders.

*  Reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

*  It is convenient. Mothers who breast feed don’t have to bother with sterilising bottles and teats or worry about the milk spoiling in warm weather.

*  It is nutritious. Breast milk contains all of the nutrients needed by the baby for the first 4 or 6 months of life. These nutrients are in the right amounts and in easily digested form.

*  Breast feeding is encouraged for the first year but after 4-6 months solids may also be introduced.

*  Breast feeding helps the mothers’ womb resume to normal shape faster.

*  It is cheaper.

*  The best advice about breast feeding is for you to be relaxed and calm, and enjoy your new baby. If you are having any problems breast feeding, seek help from your doctor or midwife.


Problems with breastfeeding

Blocked milk ducts:
Sometimes this can occur when the breast hasn’t emptied fully, you are not nursing your child in the correct position, missing feeds or the child is not nursing for long enough periods. Your breasts may feel uncomfortable. You can try to express some milk yourself.


Engorgement:
This can occur when your breasts are too full. This usually occurs when the milk first comes in. You can usually relieve it by having a warm shower and expressing some of the milk.
Sometimes the breasts are too tight for the baby to feed properly - just express a little before feeding to soften them up.


Sore nipples:
If your baby is not sucking correctly on your nipples, they can become sore. They will heal quickly if the position is corrected. If your nipples are cracked or blistered, feed on the other side. Nipples tend to heal quickly, so try to keep going with your breast feeding.


Too little milk:
Usually people worry about this for no reason. If your baby looks well, has clear skin and eyes, is wetting 7 - 8 nappies per day, having some bowel movements and is putting on weight you should be assured that you are feeding him or her enough. The more the breast is sucked and the more milk is withdrawn from it, the more milk there will be produced.


Is there anything You should be aware of?

Please see your doctor before taking any medications, these days you are able to breastfeed while taking a variety of medications but it is best to be sure. You definitely should not be smoking or have your baby anywhere near a smoker.


Weaning

This must be done properly and not rushed as you may stress yourself and your baby. Breastfeed for at least three months as it can give your child a good healthy start in life.  To avoid having to wean from a bottle as well, wean your child off breastmilk when he or she is ready to drink from a cup. This is usually when they are about 6 to 9 months old. However, there are no hard rules and if you and your child are both happy breastfeeding, continue to do so.


Take your time in weaning - ideally it should be done over 3 or 4 weeks.  Start to replace a feed with milk from a cup.
If your child puts up a fight or looks miserable with the idea. Do not push it - just give your breast again and try again at another feed. If however this continues, you and your partner will need to be a little firmer and not give your breast as an alternative. Eventually the child will accept this. They may still wish to breastfeed morning and night however, for a while.

Breast Feeding Considerations

A fungal disease which affects many parts of the body, but is particularly likely to affect warm, damp areas.

What to look for

  • Discharge
  • itching and burning in the affected areas
  • infection in the mouth causes small white patches on the gums, lips and inside the cheeks. These may be painful.
  • diarrhoea or constipation, adverse reactions to certain foods, depression, anxiety, irritability, inability to concentrate, chronic fatigue, headaches and recurring cystitis. (more chronic candidiasis)


Causes

Candida is caused from the actual Candida bacteria which is an organism which is often on the skin or in the gut of most people. If the patient starts to get symptoms, it is because that another problem has caused the bacteria to flourish more than usual. (Except in vaginal thrush - it can be healthy and still be afflicted with thrush).
The elderly may get Candida in the mouth. This is usually caused by ill fitting dentures, cuts or abrasions.
Babies are prone to getting thrush in their mouth areas and this is quite normal.
Re-occurring thrush in women can because of reinfection from a sexual partner or because of the continued use of contraceptive pill.


Traditional Treatment

In the case of vaginal infection, pessaries and creams are available and usually help to control the problem.
Mouth infections are usually treated orally. If systematic infection has been diagnosed, it is essential to us treatment which can get to the bloodstream.


Alternative/Natural Treatment

This condition is usually kept in check by other ‘friendly’ bacteria, but if a person is ill, run-down, or being treated with antibiotics, the fungus can grow. The virus does not live in acid environments therefore douse the area in vinegar solution. Tea tree oil can also be useful.

Echinacea, comfrey or golden seal, barberry, thyme and rosemary are very useful herbs for this condition. You will need professional help on these herbs and the required doses.


Dietary considerations

It is important to build up your immune system so it can fight off any overgrowth of the virus. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates and foods which contain yeast. Eat plenty of live yoghurt and try supplements of acidophilus. Vitamin E and Evening Primrose Oil are helpful as well. Garlic tablets are good as well.


When to seek further professional advice

Thrush can usually be controlled by topical creams and alterations to the diet.


Candida

What to look for


  • a tingling or numb feeling in the hand or fingers
  • shooting pains in the wrist, forearm, and sometimes extending to the shoulder, neck, and chest, or foot.
  • difficulty clenching the fist or grasping small objects.
  • dry skin and fingernail deterioration.


Occurs when a worker spends long periods at a keyboard. It produces symptoms of pain in the affected joints which is difficult to relieve and is aggravated by movement of the joint.
Many people think this disorder came about with the onset of the computer keyboard. In fact, it has been around a long time but with the amount of keyboard users now, the problem has become more widespread.


CTS and other forms of RSI are most common in middle age and tend to affect women more than men, especially if the women are overweight, pregnant, or menopausal. The injuries are easily prevented and entirely correctable if recognised early. It is vitally important for injuries involving repetitive stress that the patient stops or changes the activity that brings on the problem. Failure to do so can result in permanent, irreversible damage to the nerves and muscles in the hand, wrist, or other parts of the body.


Causes

Repetitive stress injuries can happen to anyone whose work calls for long periods of steady hand movement, from musicians to meat cutters.


As well as work related causes, a number of sports can bring on repetitive stress injuries. Some authorities believe that a pyridoxine (vitamin B6) deficiency can also induce the symptoms.


Traditional Treatments

Your doctor will perform a range of tests to determine the extent of the injuries. Recommendations usually include rest, cold compresses, and refraining from using the affected area.
To relieve long-term pain, the doctor may prescribe aspirin or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Non-conventional treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome complement the need to reduce inflammation, rest the damaged wrist, and take the necessary steps to correct the habits or activities that caused the problem in the first place.


Exercises that strengthen the hand and wrist can be useful in preventing further stress injuries. Warm up exercises before tackling your work will help.


Herbal Therapy - Make a soothing compress ginger and making an infusion with half a cup of hot, but not boiling, water. Dip a soft, folded cloth into the infusion and apply the compress to the affected area, covering it with a dry cloth to retain the heat.


Homoeopathy - Over-the-counter Homoeopathic remedies may provide relief of carpal tunnel symptoms: Arnica for swelling and bruising caused by overuse or misuse of the joints; Ruta for tendon inflammation; and Rhus toxicodendron for pain.


Personal Care - A few simple exercises and a cold pack may be the most effective on-the-spot treatment for reducing the discomfort and numbness of a repetitive stress injury.


Opening and closing your fist a dozen or more times is a way to help your pain - do this throughout the day.


Dietary Considerations

Vitamin E is reported to help reduce tissue inflammation. Vitamin C supplements be beneficial in tissue restoration. Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is reported to help nerve inflammation and enhance blood circulation, and serves as a mild diuretic or try a vitamin B complex supplement; symptoms should ease within the month.
Avoid refined sugars.


When to seek further professional advice

  • You feel pain in your wrist, hand, or fingers after a fall or other accident; you may have a broken bone.
  • You have any of the symptoms above.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

So you have done the pinch test and yes, there is no getting away from the fact that there are unwanted dimples and bulges on your legs. Cellulite is the culprit for all those lumps and dimples on our thighs, hips, stomach and butts. Well, be assured that this annoying problem is not only troubling you but a high percentage of women today.


Cellulite is caused by uneven distribution of fat deposits under the skin and is most common in females! The bad news is that most of us will develop it at some time regardless of what we eat or don't eat and how often we work out. Once you have cellulite you will find that it is very difficult to budge.


There are four stages in cellulite development, and you may start on any of the stages:

  • Normal cellulite - thighs, butts and stomach are smooth when standing or lying down. It is only when you do the 'pinch test' that you notice the folding and uneveness in the skin.
  • Early Cellulite - Skin on the areas is smooth when standing or lying but after the pinch test you will notice the dimples and fat pockets.
  • Medium Cellulite - Skin is still smooth when you are lying down but when you stand up, pitting, bulging and unevenness can be noticed.
  • Advanced Cellulite - The 'mattress phenonomen' is evident if you stand or lie down.


There are many apparent remedies for this condition but we believe that it is best to be very wary of any claims to cure this problem. Some practitioners believe that the following may help the condition, there is usually no harm in trying!


Massage

Gentle self massage with your hands or a bristle brush supposedly helps stimulate circulation. Always be gentle and massage towards the heart. It can be useful to add some diluted aromatherapy oils such as grapefruit and fennel.


Weight Loss and Exercise

Even if these two do not shift the cellulite, they will be of benefit to your body regardless (if you are overweight). Try to lose weight gradually and sensibly. Eat from the five main food groups and see your health practitioner about ensuring that the proper nutrients are eaten while dieting.
Fat intake should only be approximately 25% of your daily food intake. Eat lots of fresh foods and fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, raw nuts, skinless poultry and fish. There have been good reports about the benefits of raw juices. Of course try to avoid all highly refined carbohydrates.
Proper exercise is beneficial to all aspects of your body and lifestyle (not just the cellulite). Exercise regularly (after a doctor's check up) and start off slowly.


Herbal Formulas

A lot of products have been given a lot of publicity lately. They claim to remove and prevent cellulite in just 8 weeks.
The makers say that after taking for 8 weeks, it will eliminate the visible signs of cellulite. They state you do not even have to exercise or make any other changes in your life. Apparently, the product works by increasing the blood flow to the fat deposits under the skin in the prone areas and it also increase the metabolic rate.
This idea of taking a pill and having your cellulite go away is very appealing to most women, but does it really work??
The makers have not had to go through the rigorous testing that prescription and over the counter drugs have had to go through and they also have a very potent marketing department. They apparently conducted two test in Italy but the results were not published in any scientific magazine or journal, so you make up your own mind.


Cellulite

As with most cancers, cervical cancer causes no pain or other symptoms in its early stages. The first identifiable symptoms of the disease are likely to include:

  • watery or bloody vaginal discharge.
  • vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between menstrual periods, or after menopause; periods may be heavier and last longer than normal.


If the cancer has spread symptoms may include:

  • difficult and painful urination and possible kidney failure.
  • blood in urine.
  • dull backache or swelling in the legs.
  • diarrhoea, or pain or bleeding from the rectum upon defecation.
  • fatigue, loss of weight and appetite, and general feeling of illness.


The cervix is the neck of a woman's womb. In some women, healthy cells enter an abnormal phase called dysplasia; although these cells are not cancerous, they can become so. When dysplastic cells turn malignant some may invade the lining of the cervix itself, spread to nearby tissue, and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system.
It usually takes many years for dysplasia to become carcinoma, and from there it often takes months or sometimes even years for cervical cancer to become invasive. Because of this long time factor, and also because of the Pap smear, cervical cancer is becoming less threatening. When caught early, it is curable.


Causes

Many cases of cervical cancer are linked to sexually transmitted viral infections, such as genital herpes and some strands of the human papilloma viruses (HPV) that often cause genital warts.
But these are not always indicative of the likelihood of developing these types of cancers as many women who have a sexually transmitted viral infection do not develop cervical cancer, while others who get cancer have never had such infections.
Slightly more at risk are women who began having sexual intercourse before age 18, have had many sexual partners, have had several full-term pregnancies, or have a history of sexually transmitted disease. Genetics can also play a role in the development of cervical cancer.


Cervical cancer is also more common among women who smoke. Women with weaker immune systems, caused by other diseases, by treatments, or by organ transplants are more vulnerable to cervical cancer. Women who are obese or who use birth-control pills may be at slightly increased risk.


Every woman should have an annual Pap smear, which tests a cervical cell sample for abnormalities. This screening test can usually detect abnormal cells 95 percent of the time, often long before the disease produces symptoms.
If your Pap smear is abnormal your doctor will advise on the next steps and may also refer you to a specialist for treatments.


Traditional Treatments

Most cases of cervical cancer are cured by a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. (See Cancer for more information on therapies).


Women with genital warts and mild dysplasia should be carefully monitored for signs of cancer but usually require no immediate treatment. You should continue to have pap smears every 6 months to ensure the condition does not worsen. Severe dysplasia, and mildly invasive cancers are normally treated surgically.


If cancer has spread deep into the cervix or to organs close by, hysterectomy (removal of the cervix, uterus, and possibly other organs) is imperative. If cancer spreads beyond the pelvic area, radiation therapy and perhaps chemotherapy suppress the spread but rarely result in cure. It is important to have regular check ups if you have had cervical cancer or severe dysplasia.


Complementary Therapies

Research is currently being done in the field of nutrition and diet. Some evidence suggests that folic acid and beta carotene help eliminate pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions of the cervix. Patients with these conditions may benefit from supplements of vitamin B6. Ask your doctor about other dietary recommendations or nutritional supplements.


Prevention

  • If you are a woman over age 18, or are under 18 and sexually active, have a pelvic exam and Pap smear yearly.
  • Speak with your doctor about the benefits of different types of contraception - some may be less of a risk than others with relation to cervical cancer.


When to seek further professional advice

  • abnormal bleeding, discharge, or any other symptoms last more than two weeks without explanation.

Cervical Cancer

The cervix is at the neck of the uterus (womb), is about 2.5 cm long and has a small break through it.


What to look for

  • vaginal discharge.
  • painful intercourse.
  • vaginal bleeding, sometimes during or after intercourse.
  • unusually heavy menstrual periods.
  • crampy pelvic pain or a feeling of heaviness.


Many cervical problems have no symptoms.  The cervix is the part that connects the uterus to the vagina. At its center is the external opening of the cervix, that provides an exit for tissue of the uterus and blood during menstruation and allows sperm to enter. On the uterine side is the cervical canal, a narrow, inch-long passageway leading into the uterus. During childbirth the cervix thins and gradually opens, or dilates, to allow for the delivery of the child.
The part of the cervix that protrudes into the vagina is covered with pink tissue. The part that extends into the cervical canal is covered with red, mucus-producing tissue.


Cervicitis is the inflammation of the cervix. Symptoms include a discharge that is grayish, green, white, or yellow. Other symptoms may include pain during intercourse or backache.


Another common condition of the cervix is cervical erosion. Cervical erosion occurs when the cells on the inside of the cervix start to grow on the outside. There are usually no symptoms, although occasionally the conditions may cause a whitish or slightly bloody vaginal discharge.


Other conditions involving the cervix include cervical stenosis (partial or total narrowing of the cervix, which can lead to obstruction) and cervical incompetence, the premature opening of the cervix during pregnancy, which creates a high risk of miscarriage.


Cysts and polyps may form on the cervix. Cervical cysts occur without symptoms and require no treatment. Cervical polyps are also usually harmless, although they may cause irregular bleeding and discharge. Polyps can be removed surgically because of the uncomfortable presence of irregular bleeding and they may affect fertility.
Genital warts can also infect the cervix. These warts are caused by the human papilloma virus, and there are many subtypes, several of which are associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer.


Dysplasia is another potentially serious cervical condition. It describes the abnormal development of cervical cells. Dysplasia is considered a pre-cancerous condition because, if untreated, it leads to cervical cancer in 30 to 50 percent of cases. Although cervical dysplasia strikes women of all ages, it most commonly afflicts women aged 25 to 35. The only way to detect the condition is with a Pap smear test.


Causes

The causes of cervical problems are many and varied. Cervicitis may be to do with sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea, syphilis or Chlamydia. In some instances a difficult childbirth can cause an infection.
What causes cervical erosion is not always clear however, the friction of intercourse appears to be a factor as well as the contraceptive pill and IUD.


Cervical polyps often develop after an infection as the body grows new cells to cover the old, inflamed ones or they can develop due to hormonal changes.


Cervical warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is transmitted by sexual contact.
Cervical dysplasia is caused by a subtype of the human papilloma virus, which also causes cervical cancer, but not everyone who is exposed to the virus develops dysplasia or cancer, indicating that other factors are also at work.


The first test used to diagnose cervical problems is the Pap smear, a simple procedure in which cells are collected from the cervix and examined under a microscope. If the Pap smear indicates a pre-cancerous or cancerous condition, a cervical biopsy (removal of tissue from the cervix for examination) will also be done.


Traditional Treatment

Some harmless cervical problems, such as erosion and cysts, often require no treatment. Other conditions can be treated with both alternative and conventional methods. For dysplasia or cancer, however, you should always seek conventional treatment.
Conventional medical treatments for cervical problems depend on the condition.
Cervicitis is usually treated with an antibiotic or sulfur drug. Your doctor will probably recommend that you refrain from intercourse until the infection has cleared up to keep it from spreading.
If necessary, cervical cysts and polyps can be removed surgically in your doctor's office. Surgery to remove blockage caused by cervical stenosis is usually done in the hospital.
Mild cases of cervical dysplasia are treated with laser surgery, which uses a high-energy beam of light to destroy the affected tissue. If you have recurring dysplasia that fails to respond to treatment, you should be screened for HIV infection.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative treatments may help to heal minor cervical problems when used along with traditional medicine.
Herbal Remedies - Goldenseal douches are recommended for cervicitis and cervical erosion.

Prevention

  • Practice sexual abstinence or use condoms during sexual intercourse
  • Use barrier methods of birth control (condoms, diaphragms, or cervical caps) when having sex. Such methods offer some protection against sexually transmitted diseases, which can lead to cervical problems.
  • To help prevent cervicitis, eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. These foods are rich in vitamin C, beta carotene (vitamin A), folic acid, and other nutrients that strengthen the immune system and help fight off some infections.
  • Stop smoking

When to Seek Professional Advice

  • You should seek a medical diagnosis if you have any of the above symptoms.



Cervical Problems

Chicken Pox is a highly infectious illness easily recognized by the distinctive rash that it causes, which occurs mainly in children.


What to look for

  • a very itchy rash that spreads from the torso to the limbs. The rash advances from red spots to blisters with fluid in them that drain and scab over.


Chickenpox, a viral illness characterised by a very itchy red rash, is one of the most common infectious diseases of childhood.
People who have had chickenpox develop lifetime immunity. But the virus remains dormant in the body. People who are wishing to start a family are advised to become vaccinated against this disease before doing so.


Causes

Chickenpox is caused by the herpes zoster virus. It is spread by droplets from a sneeze or cough, or by contact with the clothing, bed linens, or oozing vesicles of an infected person. The incubation period is 7 to 21 days; the disease is most contagious a day before the rash appears and up to 7 days after, or until the rash forms scabs.


Traditional Treatment

Chickenpox is extremely contagious. Keep your child home until most of the vesicles are dry and scabs have fallen off.
Your paediatrician may prescribe an antihistamine, to relieve pain and swelling. Antibiotics are called for if a secondary bacterial skin infection arises or if an adult with chickenpox contracts bacterial pneumonia.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - For itching: Add 1 gram each dried rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and calendula (Calendula officinalis) to 1 litre water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes. Strain, discard the herbs, and allow the wash to cool. Press a washcloth dampened in the solution to the child's skin after a bath. The wash can be reused for three days if refrigerated.


Homoeopathy - Consult a Homoeopath for appropriate remedies and dosages for children. To relieve itching, Rhus toxicodendron is often prescribed. Sulphur may help when the vesicles are burning.


Personal Care - Trim your child's fingernails or cover her hands with socks or mittens to keep her from scratching, which could lead to infection as well as to possible scarring.


Prevention

  •  A vaccination is available to prevent this disease.


Pregnancy Concerns

If you have not had chickenpox and are exposed to the virus while pregnant, contact your doctor immediately.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you think your child has chickenpox.
  • the rash produces a greenish discharge
  • your child is recovering from chickenpox and begins running a fever, vomiting, has convulsions
  • an adult family member gets chickenpox
  • you are pregnant, have never had chickenpox, and are exposed to the disease.

Chickenpox

Chilblans are a painful sore appearing on the foot or the hand which is caused by exposure to cold.


What to look for

  • red, itching on the extremities of the body such as fingers, toes, nose, ears
  • swelling can occur


Causes

This condition may be associated with poor circulation.
Traditional Treatments
The best treatment is to avoid getting cold and wet. Try hard not to scratch them.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Remedies - A herbal poultice which may be useful can be made from one part cayenne pepper, one part slippery elm powder and two parts vegetable oil, mixed together and applied morning and night.


A poultice of chickweed is also known to ease the pain of chilblains. Another good herb for chilblains is prickly ash - available as a tincture or in fluid extract.


Try a cup of ginger tea twice a day. Eat garlic or take garlic capsules.
Ginkgo may also be very helpful for this condition.


Aromatherapy - Try black pepper essential oil in a foot bath or diluted in a light base cream.


Dietary Considerations

Eat more fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, fibre, filtered water and get plenty of gentle exercise.


When to seek further professional advice

  • if you are taking any prescribed cardiovascular mediation, speak with your doctor before taking any supplements. 

Chilblains

In Men:
  • a whitish yellow discharge from the penis.
  • a frequent urge to urinate
  • burning sensation while urinating.
  • redness at the tip of the penis.


In women:

  • no symptoms, or mild discomfort that you may mistake for menstrual cramps.


This disease is very common throughout the world.  Chlamydia can be cured easily by antibiotics as long as the patient realises that they have the disease. Women usually do not know that they are infected until they develop serious complications. Men will tend to notice it sooner as there is an obvious discharge from the tip of the penis.


If you are sexually active and a woman who is not in a monogamous relationship or previously was not in a relationship of this type, ask your doctor to test you for Chlamydia when you next go for a pap smear. This is especially important if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby.


Causes

Chlamydia is caused by Chlamydia Trachomatis, a microscopic organism that has the characteristics of both a virus and a bacterium. the disease is spread by vaginal or anal sex, and if you touch your eyes with a hand that has been contaminated (it can also be spread by flies), you may also develop conjunctivitis.


If you suspect you have chlamydia, your doctor may want to test your cervical fluid or penile discharge.


Traditional Treatments

In most cases of Chlamydia, the cure rate is 95 percent, the treatment is with antibiotics. However, because most women don't know they have the disease until it has caused serious complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually active women should be tested for Chlamydia once a year.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

You must always take the medication that your doctor prescribes for you with this disorder. Never attempt to treat Chlamydia yourself or self diagnose. Natural remedies may help relieve the symptoms and speed recovery however, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of your doctor.


Chinese Herbs - A typical prescription may include 10 to 20 herbs, such as Chinese foxglove root (Rehmannia glutinosa) and dong quai (Angelica sinensis). It is best to see a Chinese Herbalist for an accurate prescription for you.
Herbal Therapies - Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), which contains berberine and stimulates the immune system, is useful in treating genital infections, especially in men. You may drink it as a tea or take capsules.


Dietary Considerations

Fasting for short periods under the care of a qualified practitioner can be of assistance when trying to fight off infection as it cleanses the system. In addition to taking antibiotics prescribed by your physician, you might consider fasting for one to three days. Be sure to ask your doctor’s advice before beginning a fast.


Juices that may help to rid your body of toxins cranberry and celery-parsley-cucumber. To increase your body's resistance to this infection, supplement your daily diet with vitamin E and zinc.


To restore healthy intestinal flora after you have taken antibiotics, try eating yogurt with live Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures, or take 1/2 tsp Lactobacillus acidophilus powder, 1 tsp Bifidobacterium powder, and 1/2 tsp Lactobacillus bulgaricus in a glass of water, three times a day. The preparations are also available in capsules and tablets.


Prevention

Always use a condom to prevent transmission of Chlamydia. Women whose partners have symptoms of Chlamydia should be tested as well.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you develop any of the symptoms listed above;
  • you are a woman and you experience high fever and other flu like symptoms, along with severe pelvic pain, bleeding after intercourse, severe nausea, or recurring back pain.

Chlamydia

Cholesterol is a crystalline fatty alcohol found especially in animal fats, blood and nerve tissue and bile.


What to look for

A high level of cholesterol in the blood does not have obvious symptoms but it can be a risk for other circulatory conditions that do have recognisable symptoms.

  • Obesity and diabetes.
  • impotence


Cholesterol is a paradox: Everyone needs it, but you can have too much which can prove to be fatal. A naturally occurring fat, cholesterol performs functions which are vital to the body such as cell building, insulating nerves, and producing hormones. The liver makes all the cholesterol the body normally needs, but because this substance is found in all animal products, you get a new stock of it whenever you eat meat and dairy foods. For people genetically predisposed to cholesterol problems, a diet high in saturated fats is the chief cause of high cholesterol levels.


There are two basic types of cholesterol - HDL and LDL - high and low density lipoproteins respectively. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is a larger, less dense particle that tends to remain in the body. Excessive amounts of LDL cholesterol can overload the circulatory system and it can leave deposits in blood vessels that eventually block them and lead to heart disease.


Causes

Hereditary does play a part in having or not having cholesterol. If you have a predisposition to cholesterol and eat a heavy saturated fat diet, you are more likely to have cholesterol and the related diseases.
A laboratory test to determine your blood cholesterol level is now a routine part of most physical checkups.


Traditional Treatment

Your doctor, Pharmacist as well as many Health Professionals will all say the same thing with regards to diet - Adopt a diet low in fat and cholesterol, lose weight, exercise regularly, and if you smoke, quit.
There are cholesterol reducing drugs available however they are expensive and can produce serious side effects.


Alternative Treatments

Alternative therapists offer a range of natural ways to control your cholesterol levels. All can be pursued independently, many in conjunction with drug therapy.


Chinese Medicine - Traditional Chinese healers treat various forms of chronic heart disease, along with factors like high cholesterol, a herbal therapy that uses polygonum (Polygonum multiflorum). You should professional advice for an appropriate prescription.


Herbal Therapies - A highly valued remedy for fighting high cholesterol is gugulipid (Commiphora mukul).

Other herbs reputed to have cholesterol-lowering properties include alfalfa (Medicago sativa), turmeric (Curcuma longa), Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), and fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum).


Lifestyle - Exercise several times a week can help this complaint.


Dietary Considerations

Avoid saturated fats and dietary cholesterol. Experts recommend a diet with between 30 and 20 percent of your daily calories from fat. Animal fat should be avoided. Eat more vegetables, fruits, and grains, which are cholesterol free, virtually fat free, and rich in fiber.


Garlic and onion are believed to lower cholesterol.


Prevention

  • Watch your weight.
  • Eat wisely
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Get your cholesterol checked regularly and monitor your progress


Make Healthy Food Your Ally

Replace saturated fats that are solid at room temperature, with olive or grape seed oil. Eating moderate amounts of such foods as nuts, seeds, and avocados may actually lower LDL cholesterol. Eating grapes may help reduce blood cholesterol.
Do not eat too many eggs per week as one egg yolk contains almost an entire daily recommended allowance of cholesterol. Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that have reputed cholesterol-reducing properties include vitamins E, C, and A (beta carotene), zinc. Add rice, bran, artichokes, shiitake mushrooms, and chili peppers to your salads and foods as these all may help lower cholesterol.


When to seek further professional advice

  • You develop any of the symptoms listed above.

Cholesterol Problems

Pain that tends to last longer than 6 months can be termed chronic.


What to look for

The condition may include weakness, numbness, tingling, or other sensations, along with sleeping difficulties, a lack of energy, and depression. Some common forms of chronic pain are:

  • this type of pain can include headaches, muscle, back or joint pain that is enduring and debilitating or uncomfortable.


This type of pain can be sporadic, continuous, uncomfortable or Chronic pain can be mild or agonising.
The areas described above are the most common, however chronic pain can also include Achilles problems, sinus, other forms of degenerative joint disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, and localised pain.


The state of your mind has a lot to do with your perception of pain. And your state of mind is influenced by the surroundings you find yourself in and your attitudes as well. The psychological effect pain can have on us is substantial. Persistent severe pain can erode our natural threshold to pain and cause our personality to alter as a result. We can tend to perceive the pain as worse than it actually is or that it is becoming worse and worse. The immune system may also become affected adversely from persistent pain.
 

Causes

The causes of chronic pain are many and varied, some possible causes are as follows:-

  • aging (may affect bones and joints)
  • nerve damage and injuries that fail to heal properly.
  • Back pain
  • being overweight
  • curvature of the spine
  • to a traumatic injury
  • or to no obvious physical cause.


Disease can also be the underlying cause of chronic pain.
Sometimes it is a very difficult thing to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain as any possibility alludes healers and doctors. A process of elimination is then commenced to find the cause.
 

Traditional Treatment

People who suffer from chronic pain may need professional help.
The aim in many cases is not only to alleviate pain but also to teach the chronic sufferer how to come to terms with pain and function in spite of it. The first step in many cases is to wean the patient from a dependence on pain killing medications.


Other methods used by pain specialists include relaxation techniques to control brain-wave activity, behaviour-modification therapy to revise the way pain is perceived, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, and other forms of alternative therapy.
Over-the-counter pain killers can control milder cases of musculoskeletal pain and reduce inflammation.
Your doctor may prescribe stronger drugs if these others do not help.
 

Alternative Choices

A broad array of alternative options exists to address chronic pain.


Aromatherapy - Mix together the following essential oils with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, apricot kernel, or jojoba oil, and massage the blend into your skin at the site of the pain: lavender (Lavandula officinalis) to reduce inflammation and relax muscles; eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) to bring down swelling and accelerate healing; ginger (Zingiber officinale) to relieve pain and stiffness associated with arthritis and other types of degenerative joint disease.


Massage - Massage therapy may provide temporary relief of muscle tension, stiffness, and spasms.


Herbal Therapies - Capsicum, the active ingredient in cayenne (Capsicum frutescens), is believed to increase blood flow to joint tissues, thereby reducing inflammation.  An over-the-counter ointment made with cayenne may bring temporary relief of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, although it is very hot and should be used for only short periods.

Infusions of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) or evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) may also lessen inflammation. Rubbing a dilution of peppermint (Mentha piperita) oil on the affected area may have a temporary numbing effect.


Topically applied dilutions of wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) oil, which contains a substance similar to what is found in aspirin, may have an analgesic effect. Geranium(Pelargonium odoratissimum) and white willow (Salix alba) bark are also natural painkillers. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may also be helpful.


You must take special precautions if you are pregnant. Always seek the advice of a qualified practitioner.


Homoeopathy - Try Rhus toxicodendron for joint, back, and arthritic problems that feel worse when first rising in the morning and become better with warmth. Persistent pain may be relieved by Kali bichromicum. Calcarea fluorica. Sepia may be good for lower-back pain that is worsened by sitting.


Topical homoeopathic creams that have Arnica as a main ingredient can help with muscle and joint pain.


Lifestyle

You should take some time out when you feel the pain, however too much rest in also not going to do your problem much good - it can actually make your muscles weaker and cause more pain eventually.



Research has shown that regular exercise can diminish pain in the long run by improving muscle tone, strength, and flexibility and also release the body’s natural pain killers to help you. Try low impact types of exercise.


Visualisation may be another worthwhile pain-controlling technique - seek out places in your area that teach this very worthwhile technique.
Hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis may help you block or transform pain through refocussing techniques.
Relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga are also very helpful for chronic pain sufferers.


Dietary Considerations

Certain supplements have been known to help tremendously with chronic pain. These are:- DL-Phenylalanine (amino acid), Valerian, white willow bark.
See the entry for rheumatoid arthritis and allergies for dietary considerations and foods to eat and avoid.
At-Home Remedies
Remember 'RICE'
- Rest
- Apply ice to the affected area
C - Compress the area
E - Elevate the area.

  • Take herbal remedies suggested by a qualified herbalist
  • Do some low-impact exercise.


When to seek further professional advice

  •  your pain continues for several weeks and doesn't respond to over-the-counter products or rest.

Chronic Pain

This is problems to do with circulation. (Is the closed network of blood vessels in the body).


What to look for

  • aching legs
  • bulging, bluish vessels in an aching leg.
  • a painful vein.


Everybody may experience circulatory problems infrequently. Many people, however, must cope with this sensation on a daily basis. This condition, called intermittent claudication, is caused by lack of blood to the affected area. This can be due to hardening of the arteries. There are many other forms of circulation problems as well. Most circulation conditions can be treated at home or with a doctor’s supervision.


Circulation starts with vessels known as arteries which carry blood filled with oxygen from the heart to the rest of the body; veins return blood with no oxygen to the heart. These vessels can become blocked and this is when circulatory problems arise. These problems can start in a number of ways.


Causes

There is usually more than one cause to circulatory problems. Hardening of the arteries can become more prolific with age. Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins. Hereditary plays a part as does the type of lifestyles people lead.
Other risk factors for poor circulation are smoking, obesity, and prolonged periods of sitting or standing. Women taking the contraceptive pill are more prone to circulatory problems, as are people with diabetes.


Traditional Treatment

There is a great deal the patient can do for themselves at home to improve circulation. If these do not succeed, many other options are available to those who suffer from circulatory problems. Take the time to learn about your options, then decide which treatment program will work best for you.


Of course the cause of the circulatory problem will have to be diagnosed by your doctor before suggesting a treatment.
Normally a treatment consisting of…

  • regular aerobic exercise
  • good balanced nutrition.
  • to lose weight if obesity is the problem
  • and to stop old habits that interfere with circulation such as smoking.
  • aspirin can also aid swelling


For more severe cases, treatment options range from drug therapy to surgery.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many non-conventional treatments for poor circulation attempt to strengthen and widen the blood vessels to get more blood circulating throughout the system.


Body/Mind Treatments - Yoga - can help blood flow and help to alleviate the discomfort caused by poor circulation.
Water Treatments - A long soak in a warm bath, followed by a brisk rub with a towel dipped in cold water, can ease general discomfort caused by poor circulation.


You might add a solution of thyme leaves or larch needles to the bathwater for a stimulating effect.
Soak cold feet in a warm footbath for 15 minutes.
To promote circulation in the legs, alternate hot and cold footbaths (1 to 2 minutes in hot water, 30 seconds in cold water) for 15 minutes.


Herbal Therapies - An extract of the small, thorny hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) tree promotes circulation by dilating blood vessels, particularly coronary arteries. And ginkgo(Ginkgo biloba) has a well-documented record of medicinal success.
Studies show that concentrated extracts from the leaves of the ginkgo tree may help improve circulation by dilating the arteries. If you have a blood-clotting disorder, consult a doctor before using ginkgo, since the plant can, in some people, suppress the blood's clotting ability. Ginkgo has also been shown to cause mild side effects, including excitability and digestive problems. (see the section on herbs for more information).


Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens) and ginger (Zingiber officinale) may stimulate circulation by dilating arterioles and capillaries near the skin's surface. Butcher's-broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is believed to alleviate swelling and inflammation caused by many circulatory disorders. Butcher's-broom can be prepared and eaten much like its cousin, asparagus, or brewed into a tea.
Chinese Herbal Treatments - Taken orally, Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) appears to benefit circulation.


Dietary Considerations

As a general rule, your diet should be low in fat and high in fibre. Eat more whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid caffeinated drinks.
If you suffer from hardened arteries, eat more fish. For dessert, try pineapple, it is very good for the circulation.
Healthful doses of certain vitamins and minerals may also improve your circulation. vitamin C, vitamin E, and niacin, all of which are believed to have a dilating effect on blood vessels, may help to get the blood flowing and make walking less painful. However, consult a doctor or nutritionist before using niacin, as it can cause uncomfortable flushing. Magnesiumsupplements also may help dilate the vessels and alleviate arterial spasms.


Personal Care

  • Regular exercise
  • If you are taking birth-control pills, switch to another form of contraception.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Dress warmly in winter especially keep your feet warm


When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience sudden and severe pain
  • you develop skin ulcers, skin discolouration, or sores that don’t heal.


Circulation Problems

This is a liver disease characterised by a gradual annihilation of the liver cells. These cells are progressively replaced with fibrous tissue, which then leads to hardening.


What to look for …

Usually no symptoms appear until the disease has entered the late stages as the disease tends to come on gradually. When they occur, symptoms can include:

  • nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
  • unusual gain or loss of weight.
  • yellow coloration of the skin and eyes (see Jaundice).
  • dark urine.
  • bloody, black stools, or unusually light-colored stools.
  • vomiting of blood.
  • thinning hair
  • abdominal swelling.
  • itching.
  • swollen feet or legs.
  • red palms.
  • sleep disturbances and confusion.
  • fatigue or loss of stamina.
  • enlarged breasts in men.
  • loss of sex drive and menstrual problems in women.
  • spider like blood vessels on chest and shoulders.
  • in severe cases, mental disturbances


With Cirrhosis, the liver eventually loses ability to function as required. With severe damage, the patient cannot function mentally and coma and possibly death can result. As well as this, because the blood cannot flow through the liver due to the scarring, it collects in the veins and they may burst under the enormous pressure. In some cases this pressure becomes so great that the vessels rupture.
Once the liver is damaged through cirrhosis, it cannot be cured except through a liver transplant. It can often be helped in the early stages though.


The wellness of the liver is important as it has many duties to perform for the proper functioning of the body. The liver is the largest of the body organs and performs the following essential functions-

  • detoxifies and rids the body of harmful chemicals, alcohol, caffeine by acting like a filter.
  • produces bile which it stores in the gall bladder. Bile is then released into the small intestine as needed to help break down fatty foods.
  • regulates the composition of the blood
  • traps old red blood cells
  • helps remove virus and bacteria (it performs this function as part of the immune system).


With so many tasks to perform it is essential to have a fully functioning and healthy liver however, it can still function but not quiet as effectively. The liver possesses an amazing ability to repair itself, especially if the cirrhosis is caught in the early stages and the causes of it’s malfunction have been removed.


The parts of the liver that are scarred will never be returned to normal. If the causes of cirrhosis are not removed and more and more cells are affected, the rest of the healthy cells are left to do all the work - this is where problems will become obvious. This is why it's important to identify the underlying causes as soon as possible and begin taking steps to eliminate them.


Causes

The most common cause of Cirrhosis is the excessive consumption of alcohol over a long period. Other possible causes include viruses, genetic deficiencies, prolonged obstruction of bile flow, and long periods of exposure to drugs and other toxic substances.


The link between alcohol and cirrhosis is well documented. Studies show that while moderate drinking may actually help prevent strokes and heart disease, heavy drinking has a clearly harmful effect on the liver.
Excessive drinking almost inevitably causes some liver damage, but it does not always lead to cirrhosis however the liver can become inflamed. This only lasts for a week or two but can eventually lead to Cirrhosis. Even light drinkers who go on a binge for several days can develop a condition known as fatty liver which causes the cells of the liver to become swollen. This condition can be painful and can cause the eyes to take on a yellow appearance.


Hepatitis is the next most common cause of cirrhosis after alcoholism the most frequent cause of cirrhosis is hepatitis, which inflames the liver.


Traditional Treatment

Treating the cause of cirrhosis is the best way to recovery from this disease.
Remedies are dependant on the cause of the disease and what stage it is up to. If alcohol is the cause of your cirrhosis you must stop drinking immediately. If you continue to drink after you have been diagnosed with cirrhosis, there is more chance of the condition becoming fatal.


Liver transplants are available to people as a last resort and there are certain people who are not permitted to undergo this operation. People whose cirrhosis is due to alcohol abuse must abstain from alcohol for a period of time before this operation will be performed.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Chinese Medicine - Various Chinese herbs, used in combination, may promote healthy liver function. However, self-medication can be dangerous; remedies should be prescribed only by a Professional.


Herbal Therapy - Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is believed to promote healthy liver function. However, consult a Professional before using this remedy.


Homoeopathy - Certain Homoeopathic remedies, including Taraxacum officinale and Chelidonium majus, may help improve the efficiency of healthy liver cells in cases of cirrhosis. Consult a Professional for their proper use.


Dietary Considerations

Good nutrition can help the liver. Freshly squeezed juices from carrots, beetroot and celery, carrot and apple, grapefruit and pear juice. Eat more leafy green vegetables, tossed salads including cabbage rocket lettuce, dandelion and thistle leaves with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice. Alfalfa sprouts, beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts and all the range of leafy Chinese and English spinach’s.


Protein is needed for the healthy functioning of the liver but it is important to monitor how much you are consuming - too little is as bad as too much. Check with a doctor or nutritionist for the amount of protein that's right for you.
Also check with your doctor about the taking of high doses of vitamins as these can be harmful to your liver. (The liver has to filter substances that are taken into the body).


Prevention

  • Do not drink to excess and if you have been diagnosed with Cirrhosis stop drinking immediately.
  • Avoid uncooked shellfish.
  • Avoid mixing alcohol and drugs.
  • Avoid exposure to industrial chemicals, which can enter the bloodstream and cause liver damage.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Be careful to avoid contracting hepatitis.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice any of the symptoms listed in the description section.

Cirrhosis

What is it?

Acute abdominal pain probably caused by abnormal bowel functions and wind.


What to look for

Colic is thought to occur when the bowel in a baby contracts more regularly than an adult’s slower peristaltic movements. It is characterised by:

*  loud screaming lasting for hours, three or more days a week and the baby is usually difficult to comfort.

*  crying for long periods after a baby has been fed.

*  while crying, the baby draws his knees up over his stomach as if he has a stomach ache.

*  bowel movement or wind at the beginning or end of crying episodes.


It is very common for children to experience colic and although uncomfortable for the child and exhausting for the parents it is a relatively harmless condition that ends after the child is 4 months old.


Causes

The cause of colic is not known. Experts attribute it to any number of things, including an infant's immature digestive system, weaning the child too early, allergies, hormones in breast milk, and overfeeding. It is worsened when the baby cries as he or she takes in extra air which can exacerbate the problem.


Traditional Treatment

There is no actual cure for colic, although you can often find relief from many at-home remedies have proved helpful in soothing colicky babies. Always try to be calm and curb your anxiousness as this can inadvertently be communicated to your child and it will make the condition worse.


Do not ever punish a child with colic. If you feel you cannot cope, leave someone else with the child for a few moments while you relax calm yourself.


If you suspect your child has colic, call your paediatrician. After ruling out possible medical causes of prolonged crying, most doctors recommend simple remedies you can perform at home.


Some encourage parents to talk with other parents for support. Give the baby something safe to suck, this will distract them from the pain. Also rhythmic rocking or walking with the baby is soothing.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Remedies - Teas made with herbs containing carminative oils, which reduce inflammation in the bowels and lessen gas production, may help a colicky child.  (Try teas made of chamomile, lemon balm, peppermint, or dill).


Homoeopathy - Homoeopathic medicine offers several over-the-counter colic remedies that are considered safe to use without prior consultation with a Homoeopath. Seek help from a professional if your child does not respond to a remedy within 24 hours.


Aromatherapy - Try massaging your child’s stomach with chamomile or peppermint in a clockwise direction. Never give aromatherapy oils to children younger than 2 weeks. (see our section on aromatherapy).


At-Home Remedies -

*  Be consistent with the ways in which you pacify the child

*  Give your baby things to distract him or her.

*  Motion can relieve colic. So take them for a walk, or drive or gently rock them.

*  White noise may soothe your child.

*  Wrap the child snugly in a blanket to provide a sense of security and comfort.

*  Use a warm water bottle to sooth the pain

*  Ask a relative or friend to take over when you feel yourself getting frustrated or exhausted.


When to seek further professional advice

*  your baby has never had colic before

*  bouts of colic are accompanied by fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, or constipation.

*  your baby's crying sounds painful, not fussy - indicating injury or illness is causing the distress.

*  your baby is older than three months and still acting colicky; behavioural problems or illness may be the cause.

*  your colicky child fails to gain weight and is not hungry, which suggests illness.

*  you're exhausted or fear stress might lead you to hurt your baby.


Colic

Conception is a lot more complicated than the act of joining the sperm with an egg. The timing and conditions must be right to ensure that it is successful. People naturally assume that conception will take place soon after they stop taking ‘the pill’ - it is a presumed natural and straightforward event.

Each time a man ejaculates, he produces sperm. However, for women it is usually only once that she will be ready to conceive in the month. Usually a fortnight before the first day of your period, you will produce a single egg from your ovaries. The egg swims to the fallopian tubes and lives there for approximately 12 hours. If it is not fertilised at this time, it dies and is absorbed back into the cells of the tube and the cycle starts again.


If you have sexual intercourse around the time you ovulate there is a big chance of conception taking place. Once ejaculation has occurred, the sperm (there could be up to 1000 million of them) separate from the seminal fluid and move up towards the cervix. The strong sperm survive this journey and the weaker ones die.


The vagina is quite an acid environment for the sperm and it takes resilient ones to withstand it. By the time the sperm reach the fallopian tubes, there are only two thousand left. The sperm struggle and fight to be the one to fertilise the egg when it is released. The one that connects with the egg is the fittest and strongest and this is natures way of ensuring that unhealthy or damaged sperm are not able to fertilise an egg.


Fertilisation occurs when a sperm penetrates the outer surface of the egg. Once the egg is fertilised, the tail drops off and the rest of the sperm die. The egg and sperm each with there own genetic information now combine together and form a single nucleus.


All this genetic information will determine the sex and characteristics of your child. The nucleus divides into two and over the next 3 days will continue to divide until there are 64 cells.  As this is happening, the egg travels through the fallopian tube towards the uterus. After the seventh day, the egg is able to snuggle into the lining of the uterus - now it can be nurtured and a pregnancy can start.  Once this happens conception is complete. The egg can be nourished by the blood supply in the uterine lining. At this time the ovary is informed that fertilisation has occurred and it stops ovulation and the body also ceases menstruation.


Twins

Occasionally however, the egg divides into separate halves, instead of doubling the cells in a single cell. The two separate embryos will be identical twins as they started off from the same egg and sperm. Non-identical twins will occur when two egg cells are released at ovulation and are fertilised by two different sperm.


Most couples find it reasonably easy to conceive, however sometimes it may take up to two years or so before it occurs. Other couples have great difficulties in conceiving and the problem can be with either partners or both.


Conception

Constipation refers to hard, inadequate, incomplete, or infrequent bowel movements.


What to look for

  • hard stools that are difficult or painful to pass.
  • no bowel movements in three days for adults, four days for children.
  • nausea, anxiety, headache and general discomfort


Your food is normally passed along the intestines by muscle action called peristalsis. Constipation is simply interference with this process.


How many times you have bowel movements is entirely dependant on what and how often you eat, your lifestyle and the type of person you are. There is no ‘right’ amount of bowel movements, however if there is a gap of about 3 days since your last movement, and this is not normal for you, you may have constipation.


Causes

There are a number of possible causes of this condition -

  • your lifestyle
  • not eating enough fibre or
  • drinking enough water,
  • not getting enough exercise,
  • avoiding going to the toilet when you know you need to.
  • Emotional and psychological problems.
  • Persistent, chronic constipation may also be a symptom of more serious disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, colorectal cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and depression.


Children can become victims of constipation especially when starting school or a new venture. Bottle-fed babies tend to have more constipation than breast-fed babies. Being sensitive to pain, children may avoid the toilet if they have minor splits or tears in the anus from straining or other irritations.


Constipation tends to be more pronounced during pregnancy. Constipation in the elderly usually occurs for lack of dietary fibre and lack of exercise. Some drugs and vitamin supplements can cause constipation, as can some dietary iron and calcium supplements.


Traditional Treatment

Your constipation is generally helped by changing your diet to include more fibre and if necessary, taking a laxative. However, be aware that the prolonged use of laxatives is not desirable and may lead to a dependency. If it is more severe, other action may have to be taken.


Alternative/Natural Treatment

Alternative practitioners will attack this problem by encouraging the patient to correct their lifestyle. This will include such things as dietary changes to include more fibre, drinking plenty of filtered water and exercising regularly.


Exercise - Exercise at anything you enjoy doing as long as it is safe and gets your heart working. Usually for about 20 - 30 minutes per day. However, if you have not exercised in a while you may have to work up to this length of time.


Herbal Therapies - You can purchase potentially useful herbal remedies. Try small amounts to test the effect they have on you or take them as recommended by a Professional. Liquorice, aniseed and valerian root with chickweed.


Homoeopathy - There are specially prepared remedies that may assist you.


Dietary Considerations

You should start with increasing the amount of fibre in your diet and this is not difficult. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables, especially peas, beans, and broccoli, bran cereals, whole-wheat bread, and dried fruits such as raisins, figs, and prunes. These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals as well! Avoid red meat, chicken, milk and cheese
Otherwise, try a fibre supplement.. But remember to have lots of water with these.
Another way to treat constipation is to drink a glass of warm water with the juice of a whole lemon in it after waking up in the morning.


To Sum Up

  • Eat more fibre. Some good sources are bran and other whole-grain cereals, raw or cooked dried fruits like raisins and prunes, cooked dried beans, popcorn, and nuts.
  • Drink six to eight glasses of filtered water daily, in addition to your regular beverages with meals.
  • Go to the toilet at the same time every day (preferably after a meal) and take enough time to let your bowels move fully. If you need to move your bowels at other times, don't stop yourself.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you have lower abdominal pain when trying to pass stools
  • you have blood in your stools;
  • your constipation develops after you start a new prescription drug or take vitamin or mineral supplements you may need to discontinue or change dosage.
  • you or your child has been constipated for two weeks, with recurrent abdominal pain
  • you are elderly or disabled and have been constipated for a week or more; you may have an impacted stool.

Constipation

A corn is a localised area of hard, horny skin which forms as a result of constant rubbing or pressure. A calluses are larger versions.


What to look for 
Corn...

  • an area of hard, thick skin, which may look a yellow colour
  • Corns between the toes can be soft


Callus...

  • A callus is an area of hard, dead skin up to an inch wide on the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands, or any area subject to friction.


Corns and calluses are formed to protect the skin against friction or pressure. Corns generally occur on the toes and balls of the feet, while calluses can develop on hands, feet, or anywhere there is friction.


Causes

These are likely to develop whenever there is pressure or excessive wear on the skin. Most are caused by ill-fitting shoes. If your child develops a callus that has no clear source of pressure, it may be hereditary. Feet spend most of their time in a closed, moist environment ideal for breeding bacteria; staph infections can start when bacteria enter corns through breaks in the skin and cause the infected corn to give off fluid or pus.
Calluses are usually easy to fix.


Traditional Treatment

When the friction or excess pressure is gone, the callus or corn will usually disappear as well. Always wear shoes that fit you well, and usually leather will mould with the foot better than synthetic materials.


You can buy over the counter ointments and topically applied corn plasters, however be careful of the healthy tissue surrounding the corn. Oral antibiotics are available if your corn is infected.


It is a good idea to scrap the excess dead skin with a sharp scraper or scalpel knife. Do this until you can see the soft skin underneath. Be very careful not to scrape away too much skin as this can cause bleeding or introduce infection.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Apply a calendula (Calendula officinalis) salve two or three times a day to corns or calluses to soften tissue and prevent inflammation.


Personal Care - The best solution to this problem is to remove the cause of the friction, but until you do that you can follow the remedies below for good results.

  • Soak yourself in a bath to soothe and soften the skin, then use a pumice stone to rub over the corn..
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream or a calendula-based ointment to a cracked callus. Aloe cream is also good for soothing and healing the skin.
  • Elevate your feet and expose them to fresh air whenever possible.


Prevention

Buy appropriate and comfortable shoes and beware of tight, high heels. If you wear high or otherwise constricting shoes for fashion reasons, try to take them off whenever possible during the day to give your feet a rest. You can also wear other more comfortable shoes to and from work.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you cut a corn or callus
  • a corn discharges pus or clear fluid; it is infected or ulcerated.
  • you develop a corn and you suffer from diabetes, Atherosclerosis, or other Circulatory Problems.

Corns & Calluses

Depression is a state of feeling ‘down’ which lasts for a long but indefinite period of time.


What to look for

For major depression, you may experience four or more of the following:

  • persistent sadness, pessimism.
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness.
  • loss of interest or enjoyment in nearly every aspect of life.
  • lack of concentrating.
  • insomnia or oversleeping.
  • weight gain or loss.
  • fatigue, lack of energy.
  • loss of interest in sex
  • physical symptoms such as headaches, backaches, stomach troubles, constipation and blurred vision
  • anxiety, agitation, irritability.
  • thoughts of suicide or death.
  • slow speech; slow movements.
  • drug or alcohol abuse, a drop in school performance, difficulty concentrating (In children and adolescents)


We all feel down at times for different reasons. But ongoing depression is another matter.  Depression can last from a few weeks to 6 months or more.


Major depression, or depressive illness, is a serious condition that can lead to an inability to function or even to suicide. Sufferers experience not only a depressed mood but also more harmful symptoms such as those listed above. It is a cyclical illness, so though most patients recover from their first depressive episode, the recurrence rate is high.
Major depression often appears unexpectedly, is seemingly unprovoked, and often disappears unexpectedly as well, usually in 6 to 12 months. Because of its disabling effects or the possibility of suicide, major depression needs treatment.


Causes

There are many cause of depression. Depressive reaction, or 'normal depression,' occurs as a result of a particular event for example, when a family member dies.


Depressed moods can also be a side effect of medication, hormonal changes (such as before menstrual periods or after childbirth), or a physical illness, such as the flu or a viral infection.


Although the exact causes of major depression are unknown, researchers currently believe that both forms are caused by a malfunction in the brain chemical (these chemicals help monitor and regulate moods).


The elderly who suffer from depression are often misdiagnosed as having senile dementia which is incurable. This is unfortunate as depression is treatable and there is a high success rate once properly diagnosed.


You should consult a psychiatrist in order to be properly diagnosed if you have any of the above symptoms.


Traditional Treatment

There are many therapies, both conventional and alternative, that are available for depression. Treatments may vary according to the cause of the depression and its severity. Conventional methods include psychotherapy, antidepressant drugs, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or electric shock treatment is still rather controversial but has been refined over the last 20 years. This form of therapy should only be considered once all other options have been explored.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many alternative therapies are effective but should only ever be thought of as complementary to conventional medical treatments.


In addition to your conventional therapies you might want to investigate yoga and acupuncture both having had some success with other people suffering from depression.


Aromatherapy - Aromatherapy may ease mental fatigue and help with sleep. The essential oils that may benefit depression are basil, clary, jasmine, rose, and chamomile (Matricaria recutita). The oil may be inhaled, put in a bath, or on the edge of your pillow (1 or 2 drops).


Chinese Herbs - There are a number of Chinese Remedies for depression - see a Professional for advice on the one that will suit you.


Exercise - Exercise should be a part of any therapy for depression; it improves blood flow to the brain, elevates mood, and relieves stress.


Herbal Therapies - An experienced herbalist will recommend a particular combination of herbs tailored to your specific symptoms. St Johns Wort is a popular choice for depression.


Bach Flower Remedies - Gentian for those of you who are easily discouraged, gorse for feelings of hopelessness and despair, wild rose for apathy and mustard for depression for unknown reasons. (see our section on Bach Flower Remedies).


Dietary Considerations

Because depressive symptoms are exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies, good nutrition is important.
Try supplements such as B complex, potassium, zinc. L-tryptophan, L- tyrosine, Lecithin, ginseng and valerian.


Prevention

Proper diet, exercise, vacations, no overwork and stress, doing things you enjoy all help keep the blues at bay.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you or your child has suicidal thoughts


NOTE: There is a distinct difference between feeling 'depressed' and having a depressive illness. If you have low spirits for a while, don't be concerned. However, if you feel you can't lift yourself out of your misery, seek help.

Depression

Dermatitis is a red and itching inflammation of the skin


What to look for

Contact dermatitis (an allergic reaction)

  • A red rash that is restricted to the area of skin exposed to an irritant.


Nummular dermatitis

  • Red, itchy, circular lots of weeping, scaly, or encrusted skin, common in older people who have dry skin or live in dry environments.


Seborrheic dermatitis

  • Greasy, yellowish scales on the scalp and eyebrows, behind the ears, and around the nose; in infants it is called cradle cap.


Stasis dermatitis

  • Scaling, greasy-looking, sometimes ulcerated skin appearing inside the lower legs and around the ankles.


Atopic dermatitis, or eczema

  • Extreme, persistent itchiness.


Dermatitis simply means skin inflammation, but it includes a wide range of sicknesses. In nearly all cases the early stages are distinguished by dry, red, itchy skin, although later stages may include crusty scales or blisters that ooze fluid.


Causes

The following are the most common general types of dermatitis and their typical causes:
Contact dermatitis

  • pink or red rash, which may or may not itch.
  • causes include contact with poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, and certain flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables irritates some people. detergents, soaps, chlorine, some synthetic fibres, nail polish remover, antiperspirants. The inflammation is often caused by cosmetics and skin-care products.


Nummular dermatitis

  • Living in a dry environment or taking very hot showers can cause this condition,
  • stress.


Seborrheic dermatitis

  • a biotin deficiency in infants (where it is known as cradle cap)
  • or with overproduction and blockage of oil glands in adults.
  • stress
  • common in AIDS patients.


Stasis dermatitis

  • poor circulation.


Atopic dermatitis,

  • Eczema is usually hereditary
  • allergies, asthma, and stress.


Traditional Treatment

The cause of dermatitis must first be identified and removed before treatment can get under way.
Most mild skin inflammations respond well to warm baths followed by application of petroleum jelly or over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.


Seborrheic dermatitis may respond to coal-tar-based shampoo; avoid sunlight immediately after using it, as it can cause sunburn on the scalp. Once irritants causing contact dermatitis are identified, avoid them and obviously the condition will improve.


To help dry the sores of nummular dermatitis, soak the area in salt water, then apply a corticosteroid cream.
If you suffer from stasis dermatitis, wear support stockings and rest often with your legs elevated to help improve circulation.
To reduce inflammation and heal the irritation of most types of dermatitis, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription cream.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapies are good for relief of symptoms of this chronic disease.


Herbal Therapies - Always seek the assistance of a Professional. But here are some tried and true herbs that have been successful in relieving some patients.


Burdock (Arctium lappa) boosts the immune system and helps reduce inflammation.
Some practitioners believe evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) works as well as corticosteroids for itchy skin and has fewer potential side effects.
Topical ointments made with calendula (Calendula officinalis) or chamomile (Matricaria recutita) are effective for treating many types of dermatitis.
You can make a herbal remedy by mixing tinctures of nettle (Urtica dioica), cleavers (Galium spp.), and either goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) or myrrh (Commiphora molmol) in equal parts.
You can also make a tea from fresh nettles or fresh cleavers.


Homoeopathy - For benign, short-term skin problems, an over-the-counter Calendula cream may soothe the inflammation. Taking Rhus toxicodendron three or four times a day may relieve the itching of contact dermatitis.


Dietary Considerations

doctor may suggest vitamin B complex, Vitamin A and zinc which may aid in skin healing, while vitamin E ointment can help relieve itching and dryness. Always have your doctor check the doses of all supplements you take to avoid over dosing.


At-Home Remedies

  • For dryness, rub petroleum jelly or olive oil on affected areas after a bath, or use a topical ointment containing aloe or zinc.
  • Avoid eating potential allergens. You may get help from supplemental vitamins A, B complex, and E, as well as zinc.
  • If you suspect an allergy to a chemical or cosmetic, try an at-home patch test. Apply a small amount of the suspected irritant to a spot on your arm or back for seven days. If you have a reaction, you know it is a potential irritant.


Prevention

The best way to prevent a rash caused by contact with toxic plants like poison ivy is to wash the exposed skin with soap and water as soon as possible after contact. If you feel you are at risk, consider these preventive steps:

  • Use a humidifier at home and at work.
  • Wear natural loose-fitting.
  • Avoid plated jewellery.
  • Be careful choosing watches with tight plated watchbands as these can cause problems by rubbing on your sensitive skin.
  • Supplement your diet with vitamins A, B complex, and E, and zinc.
  • Lubricate your skin after a bath using an unscented, preservative-free lotion or ointment such as sorbolene cream.


When to seek further professional advice

  • if your skin has pus or is oozing
  • if your skin does not respond to your treatment
  • if your skin is affected and you are exposed to anybody with a viral skin infection such as cold sores etc.


Dermatitis

This is a condition where there is an abnormally high level of sugar in the blood.


What to look for

The symptoms vary depending on which type of diabetes is the cause:

  • excessive thirst and appetite.
  • increased urination both in the frequency and amount passed.
  • weight loss.
  • fatigue.
  • nausea, perhaps vomiting.
  • blurred vision.
  • in women, frequent vaginal infections and perhaps the cessation of menstruation.
  • in men, impotence.
  • in men and women, yeast infections.


Type 1 diabetes:

  • Very thirsty, hungry, and tired. Need to urinate often. Unintentional, rapid weight loss. May have stomach pain.


Type 2 diabetes:

  • No noticeable symptoms usually or may have unspecific symptoms such as fatigue, blurry vision, or frequent infections. May be thirsty and urinate often.


Gestational diabetes:

  • Symptoms are rare; may feel tired.


Causes

In diabetes sufferers, there is too much glucose in the blood (glucose is made when the food we eat is being digested). Glucose is then converted into energy as it travels through the bloodstream. Diabetes causes this natural process to fail because of a lack of one of the body’s hormones - insulin.


Insulin keeps the level of sugar in the blood down to normal levels. Insulin is made and released when necessary from the pancreas. Insulin lets glucose enter the cells and be used for energy. Insulin is absent in diabetes sufferers. Therefore, glucose stays in the bloodstream and cannot be used for energy.


High glucose levels in the blood can cause many complications and any treatment is aimed at reducing the amount in the blood.  Your doctor is able to diagnose diabetes through a urine test.


Treatment for both forms of diabetes mellitus requires adjustment of insulin levels in the body and strict management of diet and exercise. By paying close attention to the content and timing of your meals, you can minimise or avoid the 'seesaw effect' of rapidly changing blood sugar levels, which can require quick changes in insulin dosages.


Traditional Treatment

Diabetes is treated with food planning, oral medications, and/or insulin injections. Treatment methods for the different types of diabetes are:

  • Type 1 diabetes: Daily insulin injections, food plan, and exercise.
  • Type 2 diabetes: Food plan, exercise, and sometimes oral medications or insulin injections.
  • Gestational diabetes: Food plan, exercise, and sometimes insulin injections.

With your doctor’s supervision , you must work at maintaining your diet and lifestyle to keep this condition in control. You can avoid the disease’s serious symptoms if you are able to do this yourself. Also try to keep to healthy weight
If you have type 1, you need to closely monitor your blood sugar levels every day to prevent an attack of hypoglycaemia. This occurs when the levels of blood sugar are too low to fulfil your body's energy needs. Hypoglycaemia is not dangerous if you can recognise the symptoms.


Hyperglycaemia, or high blood sugar, can bring on a serious diabetic condition known as ketoacidosis, in which the blood becomes increasingly acidic from the accumulation of toxic by-products. This can occur if they do not have enough insulin or if the insulin and glucose levels are not properly balanced or if the body suddenly comes under shock or stress or illness. The symptoms are - nausea, excessive thirst, wanting to urinate frequently, feeling weak, abdominal pain, rapid deep breathing.
Long-term problems caused by diabetes are - eye damage, problems with the nervous system, kidneys, and cardiovascular and circulatory systems. Cuts and sores heal more slowly for people with diabetes, and diabetics are also prone to gum problems, urinary tract infections, and mouth infections such as thrush. Heart disease, ciruclatory problems, strokes, kidney failure are also potential threats to the diabetic.


For some Type 2 diabetics, diet and exercise are usually sufficient to keep the disease under control, however you must see your doctor regularly and if you have any change of symptoms.
Exercise should be an important part in the diabetics daily program - see your doctor before starting anything strenuous.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

You should always be under the supervision of a medical doctor, however here are some alternative treatments which can be used in addition to your conventional treatment.
Chinese Herbs- Chinese herbal medicines, including ginseng root (Panax ginseng), are frequently used to alleviate some symptoms of diabetes; consult a practitioner for a comprehensive treatment plan.
Herbal Therapies - Check to make sure herbs are appropriate for your particular condition.
Remember: If you need insulin to manage your diabetes, there is no herbal substitute for the hormone.
Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) leaves in a decoction may lower blood glucose levels and help maintain the vascular system. This remedy may also help to keep the blood vessels of the eye from haemorrhaging if you develop diabetic retinopathy.
Supplementing the diet with fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seeds has been shown in clinical and experimental studies to reduce blood glucose and insulin levels while lowering blood cholesterol.
Garlic (Allium sativum) may lower blood pressure as well as levels of blood sugar and cholesterol.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) extracts have been used to help vision in patients. Other reported benefits of ginkgo include reducing the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol levels.
Onion (Allium cepa) may free up insulin to help metabolise glucose in the blood.


Dietary Considerations

It is vitally important to maintain a balanced meal plan so get your doctor to help you devise one to suit you.
Diabetics should avoid sugar, as it can lower the body's glucose tolerance and worsen circulatory problems. Nutritionists also emphasise the importance of certain foods, vitamins, and minerals.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the above symptoms more than usual


Diabetes