Archive for February, 2007

Gout and Exercise Some Surprising News

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 27th, 2007

One of the best ways to prevent kidney stones and the recurrence of gout is to exercise.  Aside from helping you stay in shape and maintaining a healthy body weight, exercise provides your body with many benefits, some of which include:

- Strengthening, building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints
- Improve mobility and flexibility
- Improves circulation
- Reduces the risk of heart disease and premature death
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Reduces the risk of developing diabetes
- Reduces the risk of high cholesterol and lowers high cholesterol
- Reduces stress and improves your mental state of mind
- Gives you more energy

All of the exercise benefits listed above help to prevent the recurrence of gout.  This is because regular exercise combined with a healthy controlled diet, helps to lower and control uric acid levels.  Thus, engaging in regular exercise is particularly important for those who are overweight or obese, as both of these conditions can cause high uric acid levels.  That being said, one should not engage in rapid weight loss by overexercising or taking part in crash diets.  Losing weight too quickly can have the reverse affect and actually cause the uric acid levels in the blood to rise.

In addition, it is imperative that you learn how to do exercises correctly.  The last thing you want is to injure your joints or cause inflammation as a result of excessive exercise or improper movements.  Your goal when exercising is to protect your joints at all time.

Exercises for gout – The following are exercises that are particularly helpful in preventing gout.  Note:  Always remember to consult your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.

- Range of motion exercises – This type of exercise is designed to keep your joints flexible and mobile and reduce stiffness.  An example, involving your foot, would be rotating your ankle in a circular motion.
- Strengthening exercises – These exercises are designed to increase and/or maintain the strength of your muscles.  Strengthening exercises are usually performed using weights.  However, they can also include resistance exercises such as holding a giant rubber band in your hands and stretching it.  This type of exercise helps to build muscles.
- Endurance exercises – These exercises are designed to strengthen your heart, increase circulation, boost your energy and control weight.  Exercises include aerobics, walking, cycling, swimming, etc
- Stretching exercises – Stretching exercises help to increase flexibility and muscle strength.  Good exercises including yoga, pilaties and tai chi.   However, it is important that you engage in moderate stretching exercises, especially in the beginning, so you don’t risk pulling, twisting or injuring a joint.  You should receive proper instructions before doing any of these exercises on your own.
Important information about exercise and gout - Although exercise is ideal for gout sufferers, it is imperative that one knows when it is best to exercise and when it is not.  It is also important that one understands what exercise can and can’t do for gout.

First of all, you should never exercise a joint that is inflamed, regardless if the inflammation has been caused by gout or not.  Exercising an inflamed joint can worsen the condition by causing more pain and prolonging inflammation.   Only begin exercise after the inflammation has eased and take it slow.

When a joint is inflamed you need to focus on easing the inflammation by ensuring the joint is well rested and relaxed.  You can also treat the inflammation by applying warm and cool compresses, or with anti-inflammatory medications.  Talk to your doctor about the best treatment during this time.

In addition, exercise has no effect on breaking up uric acid crystals, stones or tophi.  Exercise helps to control uric acid levels and prevent gout; it can’t do much during a gout attack.

 By Lisa McDowell. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover how to treat your gout symptoms with a exercise as an effective natural cure for gout. Discover how lifestyle changes can get rid of gout.

Gout and Exercise Some Surprising News

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 27th, 2007

One of the best ways to prevent kidney stones and the recurrence of gout is to exercise.  Aside from helping you stay in shape and maintaining a healthy body weight, exercise provides your body with many benefits, some of which include:

- Strengthening, building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints
- Improve mobility and flexibility
- Improves circulation
- Reduces the risk of heart disease and premature death
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Reduces the risk of developing diabetes
- Reduces the risk of high cholesterol and lowers high cholesterol
- Reduces stress and improves your mental state of mind
- Gives you more energy

All of the exercise benefits listed above help to prevent the recurrence of gout.  This is because regular exercise combined with a healthy controlled diet, helps to lower and control uric acid levels.  Thus, engaging in regular exercise is particularly important for those who are overweight or obese, as both of these conditions can cause high uric acid levels.  That being said, one should not engage in rapid weight loss by overexercising or taking part in crash diets.  Losing weight too quickly can have the reverse affect and actually cause the uric acid levels in the blood to rise.

In addition, it is imperative that you learn how to do exercises correctly.  The last thing you want is to injure your joints or cause inflammation as a result of excessive exercise or improper movements.  Your goal when exercising is to protect your joints at all time.

Exercises for gout – The following are exercises that are particularly helpful in preventing gout.  Note:  Always remember to consult your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.

- Range of motion exercises – This type of exercise is designed to keep your joints flexible and mobile and reduce stiffness.  An example, involving your foot, would be rotating your ankle in a circular motion.
- Strengthening exercises – These exercises are designed to increase and/or maintain the strength of your muscles.  Strengthening exercises are usually performed using weights.  However, they can also include resistance exercises such as holding a giant rubber band in your hands and stretching it.  This type of exercise helps to build muscles.
- Endurance exercises – These exercises are designed to strengthen your heart, increase circulation, boost your energy and control weight.  Exercises include aerobics, walking, cycling, swimming, etc
- Stretching exercises – Stretching exercises help to increase flexibility and muscle strength.  Good exercises including yoga, pilaties and tai chi.   However, it is important that you engage in moderate stretching exercises, especially in the beginning, so you don’t risk pulling, twisting or injuring a joint.  You should receive proper instructions before doing any of these exercises on your own.
Important information about exercise and gout - Although exercise is ideal for gout sufferers, it is imperative that one knows when it is best to exercise and when it is not.  It is also important that one understands what exercise can and can’t do for gout.

First of all, you should never exercise a joint that is inflamed, regardless if the inflammation has been caused by gout or not.  Exercising an inflamed joint can worsen the condition by causing more pain and prolonging inflammation.   Only begin exercise after the inflammation has eased and take it slow.

When a joint is inflamed you need to focus on easing the inflammation by ensuring the joint is well rested and relaxed.  You can also treat the inflammation by applying warm and cool compresses, or with anti-inflammatory medications.  Talk to your doctor about the best treatment during this time.

In addition, exercise has no effect on breaking up uric acid crystals, stones or tophi.  Exercise helps to control uric acid levels and prevent gout; it can’t do much during a gout attack.

By Lisa McDowell. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover how to treat your gout symptoms with a exercise as an effective natural cure for gout. Discover how lifestyle changes can get rid of gout.  

Does Losing Weight Help Acid Reflux?

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 26th, 2007

Regular exercise is a must for everyone, regardless if they suffer from chronic acid reflux or not.  Exercise is what helps to keep our bodies strong and healthy.  Exercise is what also helps us lose those extra pounds; extra pounds that many researchers believe may be encouraging acid reflux.

Research has found that for those who are overweight and obese, losing weight can actually help reduce the risk of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms.  Why?  Many studies have been conducted on the link between BMI (Body Mass Index –a method of measuring body fat) and GERD.  Virtually all studies concluded that as the participants’ BMI increased, so did their GERD symptoms.

How does obesity increase the risk of developing GERD?
Researchers are not entirely sure of the exact cause, but there are many theories being closely considered.  For instance, some believe that excess body fat that occurs around the stomach, increases the pressure against the stomach, and causes fluid to rise up into the esophagus.  Thus, the more weight a person accumulates, the more fat and pressure is placed on the stomach.

Another theory is that many of those who are overweight and obese tend to lead a more sedentary lifestyle, indulge in a diet rich in fatty foods and overeating.  This type of lifestyle dramatically increases the chance of chronic acid reflux, heartburn and GERD.

One recent study that was conducted on women with normal BMI in Boston, Massachusetts, found that as these women increased their weight (gaining 20 pounds or more) during the study, they increased their risk of developing acid reflux symptoms by three times.  Thus, this study actually discovered that a person doesn’t need to be obese in order to increase their risk of heartburn and GERD symptoms.  Simply gaining 10 pounds, a slight change from their regular weight could tip the scale.

Therefore, if you are prone to acid reflux or have GERD, be mindful of your weight.  If you are maintaining a normal weight (BMI 18.5-24..9) there is no reason for you to consider losing weight, unless you have gained a few pounds and notice a change in your heartburn symptoms, even if you are still in the normal weight range.  Other than that, keep in mind that a BMI of 25 and over is considered overweight, and a BMI 30 or higher is a sign of obesity.  To help monitor your weight, you can find free BMI calculators online.

If you need to lose weight, your goal is to do so effectively and sensibly.  This means avoiding crash diets, and adopting a new lifestyle focused on healthy eating habits that involve smaller portions, and include exercise.  Your goals is to gradually lose weight and keep the excess pounds off by making a lifestyle change you can realistically live with, which doesn’t compromise the health and wellbeing of your body.

There are many exercise and diet programs and books that can help you lose weight.  However, before you jump headfirst into a weight loss program, you should first visit your doctor and discuss your weight loss plans with them before you take action.   Your doctor can provide you recommendations and lead you down the path to healthy weight loss.

Another good idea is to visit a licensed dietitian.  This is a health care professional who specializes in advising people about meal planning and controlling their weight.  They can help you make nutritional and healthy eating choices.

In addition, talk to others who are watching their weight.  Find out what they are doing to help keep off the extra pounds.  Exercising with others and introducing your family or friends to healthy meal choices, is an effective way to lose weight successfully, because it’s always easier to change when you’re not going it alone.

By Kathryn Whittaker. Sign up for a free newsletter that has proven methods for tackling Acid Reflux, Heartburn and GERD head-on at Stop Acid Reflux Now . On the site you’ll also find more about the different kinds of acid reflux help  and what to do if you have severe heartburn.

The Link Between Esophageal Spasms and Acid Reflux

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 22nd, 2007

Those who suffer from acid reflux and are looking for some acid reflux relief may experience more than complications other than bile reflux. Some acid reflux sufferers experience spasms in their esophagus. Your esophagus connects your throat to your stomach and is structured like a long tube. A healthy esophagus moves food to the stomach through a series of synchronized muscle contractions. Esophageal spasms upset this natural process creating many unpleasant symptoms.

What is an esophageal spasm?
Esophageal spasms occur when the muscle contractions within the esophagus lack coordination and prevent food from properly moving through your esophagus to the stomach. Esophageal spasms affect the muscles that are situated within the walls of the lower esophagus. They can occur in the following two ways:

1. Diffuse spasms – This is when food traveling to the stomach is slowed due to irregular or simultaneous contraction of the esophageal muscles.
2. Nutcracker esophagus – This is when food progresses normally to the stomach, but the muscle contractions are abnormally strong and painful.

Researchers are not exactly sure what causes esophageal spasms, but one theory is that extremely cold, hot or spicy food can trigger a spasm. Another theory is that GERD or heartburn, which causes irritation and inflammation in the esophagus, can trigger a spasm. Whatever the real reason, one fact remains – People who are prone to acid reflux and have GERD are more prone to esophageal spasms, and the chances of developing this condition increases as they age.

The following are some symptoms of this condition that you should be aware of:
- Chest pain that is usually intense and is often mistaken for heart pain. This is the most common symptom.
- Pain when swallowing
- Trouble swallowing
- Feeling something is stuck in the throat
- Regurgitating food
- Heartburn

How are esophageal spasms diagnosed?
This condition can be hard to diagnose due to the fact that its symptoms closely resemble other disorders such as GERD. Nevertheless, should your doctor expect that you suffer from esophageal spasms; the condition may be diagnosed through -

- Barium esophagram – This is the most common test for people who suffer from trouble swallowing. The Barium esophagram utilizes X-rays to examine the esophagus and is the best test for detecting esophageal spasms.
- Esophageal CT scan – This is a test that uses computerized tomography (CT) scans to create and capture cross-sectional sliced images of the inside of the body. The test may reveal that the esophageal muscles have abnormal thickness which could mean esophageal spasms.
- Esophageal manometry test – This test involves the insertion of a thin tube into the esophagus via the mouth or nose. The purpose is to measure how effective the esophageal muscles are during the swallowing process.

Is there treatment for esophageal spasms?
Yes. The following are some suggested treatments:
- Manage underlying conditions – If you are prone to heartburn or suffer from GERD, manage these conditions to reduce your chance of spasms.
- Lifestyle changes – Change your eating habits such as avoid eating certain foods including those that are spicy or acidic, and avoid lying down directly after eating meals. Lifestyle change is also the best way to prevent esophageal spasms from occurring.
- Biofeedback – This is an alternative therapy that teaches you to use your mind to control your body. Electrical sensors help you recognize the way your body responds to psychological stress so you can control it.
- Medication – Muscle relaxants including nitrates or calcium channel blockers are often prescribed to reduce the severity of muscle contractions. Tricyclic antidepressants may also be recommended to help relieve pain.
- Surgery – This treatment is extremely rare but sometimes is the only option in serious cases. Myotmy may be performed to help weaken muscle contractions, or an esophagectomy (the removal of the esophagus) may be needed.

By Kathryn Whittaker. Sign up for a free newsletter that has proven methods for tackling Acid Reflux, Heartburn and GERD head-on at Stop Acid Reflux Now. On the site you’ll also find more about natural cure for heartburn and information on the various cause of heartburn.

Breaking the Emotional Connection to IBS 5 tips that you can try today

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 10th, 2007

Regardless if lactose is aggravating your IBS or not, there is a good chance that your emotions are. Negative emotions and feelings such as anxiety, nervousness, fear, embarrassment and depression put a lot of stress on our body.
Studies revealed that those with IBS tend to have a harder time coping with stressful situations than the average person. Moreover, they are far more likely to react negatively, which consequently, has devastating effects on gut functioning.

A person who is under stress with IBS may experience dizziness, insomnia, and/or muscle aches, as well a severe case of IBS symptoms such as:
• Diarrhea
• Constipation
• Alternating diarrhea and constipation
• nausea
• Abdominal pain
• Back pain

Stress does not cause IBS, but it can make symptoms more severe. This may be due to the fact that stress makes the mind more aware of spasms that occur in the colon, or because IBS might be set off by the immune system when compromised under stress.

To enable you to find help for IBS, you need to find ways to limit the stress in your life. The following are 5 tips you can try:

1. Exercise – Exercises, especially those that focus on the mind and body simultaneously, are excellent stress relievers without straining your gut. Exercises like Yoga, help you to clear your mind, focus on breathing, and stretch and strengthen your muscles.

2. Meditation –If you feel overwhelmed, learn how to clear and focus your mind through meditation. Take 20 minutes and clear your mind by concentrating on slowly inhaling and exhaling, or repeat a single positive word until this word is all you think about. You can meditate sitting, standing or lying down, but it’s a good idea to meditate in a quiet room or outdoors.

3. Be good to your body – You need to develop a relaxing eating routine. Eliminate the foods that aggravate your IBS from your diet and eat your snacks and meals around the same time each day. You don’t need to eat the same foods everyday, but you should ensure that your body is being properly fed and well hydrated.

When we are hungry and dehydrated, it is easier for us to become stressed and pick up bad eating habits that can aggravate IBS. Furthermore, don’t rush through your meals. Relax and eat slowly.

4. Rest and relaxation – You need to find peace of mind. This may mean listening to soothing music, taking a warm bath, enjoying a cup of tea and snuggling up with a good book, watching your favorite movie or program, taking a walk, shopping, or enjoying a favorite hobby. Whatever it is you find relaxing, you need to make sure that you take time out of your busy day and enjoy it. Taking a break rejuvenates the mind, body and spirit. In addition, proper sleep is essential to ideal rest and stress reduction.

Peace of mind is also feeling good about your body. If your IBS symptoms are aggravating you, talk to you doctor about different treatments to help you find relief.

5. Find support - Release pent up emotions by talking to your partner, family member or friend, writing in a journal, or find support through other IBS sufferers.

IBS can be embarrassing, and often leaves many sufferers worrying about how close they are to a toilet at all times. These are feelings felt and understood by the vast majority of those with IBS. Joining an IBS support group will not only make you feel less alone, but you can also share your opinions and feelings with others, and may be able to find solutions to problems by learning through their experiences.

One of the best places to look for help for IBS is through support groups online.

If you are looking for more help for IBS symptoms please visit NaturalIrritableBowelSyndromeRelief.com and sign up for a free newsletter.

By Susan Reynolds. To find out more about ibs symptom and for information on Irritable Bowel Syndrome please visit Natural Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief , where you can sign up for a free newsletter focusing on managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome naturally.