Tag Archives: Health

Failing heart signs you cannot afford to ignore

Failing heart signs you cannot afford to ignore

By Sola Ogundipe

The heart is a pump and heart failure occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as it should. It can be ongoing (chronic) or may start suddenly (acute).

Between 20 to 30 per cent of all admissions in Nigerian hospitals today are related to heart diseases, notably heart failure.

Currently, heart failure has no cure. The patient will need to take medicines and follow a treatment plan for the rest of his life. Despite treatment, symptoms may get worse over time.

You may not be able to do many of the things that you did before you had heart failure. However, if you take all the steps your doctor recommends, you can stay healthy.

Why it occurs

Certain conditions, such as narrowed arteries in the heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, gradually leave the heart too weak or stiff to fill and pump efficiently.

Heart failure often develops after other conditions have damaged or weakened the heart. However, the heart doesn’t need to be weakened to cause heart failure.

How it occurs

In heart failure, the main pumping chambers of the heart (the ventricles) may become stiff and not fill properly between beats. In some cases of heart failure, the heart muscle may become damaged and weakened, and the ventricles stretch (dilate) to the point that the heart can’t pump blood efficiently. Heart failure can involve the left side (left ventricle), right side (right ventricle) or both sides of the heart.

Generally, heart failure begins with the left side, specifically the left ventricle — the heart’s main pumping chamber. Over time, the heart can no longer keep up with the normal demands placed on it to pump blood to the rest of the body.

Common signs and symptoms

There might be shortness of breath (dyspnea) on exertion or when lying down, or weakness due to heart failure and not have any fluid building up. Others are: Fatigue and weakness; swelling (edema) in legs, ankles and feet; rapid or irregular heartbeat; reduced ability to exercise; persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm; increased need to urinate at night; swelling of abdomen (ascites); sudden weight gain from fluid retention; lack of appetite and nausea; difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness; sudden, severe shortness of breath and coughing up pink, foamy mucus and chest pain if heart failure is caused by a heart attack.

Risk factors

The number one risk factor for heart failure is high blood pressure- The heart works harder than it has to if the blood pressure is high. Normal blood pressure is rises with each heartbeat and falls when the heart relaxes between beats.

While blood pressure can change from minute to minute with changes in posture, exercise, stress or sleep, it should normally be around 120/80 mm Hg (systoli/diastolic) for an adult age 20 or over.

Coronary artery disease- Narrowed arteries may limit the heart’s supply of oxygen-rich blood, resulting in weakened heart muscle.

Heart attack – Damage to heart muscle from a heart attack may mean the heart can no longer pump as well as it should.

Diabetes – Having diabetes increases risk of high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.

Certain medications. Medications that may increase the risk of heart problems are many and include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); certain anesthesia medications; some antiarrhythmic medications; antihypertensives and other prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Sleep apnea – The inability to breathe properly while you sleep at night results in low blood oxygen levels and increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms. Both of these problems can weaken the heart.

Congenital heart defects – Some people who develop heart failure were born with

structural heart defects.

Valvular heart disease – People with valvular heart disease have a higher risk of heart failure.

Viruses – A viral infection may have damaged your heart muscle.

Alcohol use – Drinking too much alcohol can weaken heart muscle and lead to heart failure.

Tobacco use – Using tobacco can increase your risk of heart failure.

Obesity – People who are obese have a higher risk of developing heart failure.

Irregular heartbeats – These abnormal rhythms, especially if they are very frequent and fast, can weaken the heart muscle and cause heart failure.

When to see the doctor

Not all conditions that lead to heart failure can be reversed, but treatments can improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure and help the patient live longer. Lifestyle changes — such as exercising, reducing salt in diet, managing stress and losing weight — can improve quality of life.

One way to prevent heart failure is to control conditions that cause heart failure, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity.

See your doctor if you think you might be experiencing signs or symptoms of heart failure. Emergency treatment is necessary for chest pain, fainting or severe weakness, rapid or irregular heartbeat associated with shortness of breath, chest pain or fainting, sudden, severe shortness of breath and coughing up pink, foamy mucus.

Although these signs and symptoms may be due to heart failure, there are many other possible causes, including other life-threatening heart and lung conditions. Don’t try to diagnose yourself. If you have a diagnosis of heart failure and if any of the symptoms suddenly become worse or you develop a new sign or symptom, it may mean that existing heart failure is getting worse or not responding to treatment. Contact your doctor promptly.

Follow a treatment plan

Treatment can relieve symptoms and make daily activities easier. It also can reduce the chance that you’ll have to go to the hospital. Thus, it’s important to follow your treatment plan. Take your medicines as your doctor prescribes. Get advice from your doctor about how active you can and should be. This includes advice on daily activities, work, leisure time, sex, and exercise. Your level of activity will depend on the stage of your heart failure (how severe it is.

Take precautions

Certain actions can worsen your heart failure, such as forgetting to take your medicines, not following your diet (for example, eating salty foods) and drinking alcohol. These actions can lead to a hospital stay. If you have trouble following your diet, talk with your doctor. He or she can help arrange for a dietitian to work with you.

Avoid drinking alcohol. People who have heart failure often have other serious conditions that require ongoing treatment. If you have other serious conditions, you’re likely taking medicines for them as well as for heart failure. Try to avoid respiratory infections like the flu and pneumonia. Ask your doctor or nurse about getting flu and pneumonia vaccines.

Plan ahead

If you have heart failure, it’s important to know when to seek help. Know when to get emergency care. Keep handy the phone numbers for your doctor and hospital and a list of medicines you’re taking.

Emotional issues and support

Living with heart failure may cause fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. Support from family and friends also can help relieve stress and anxiety. If you have heart failure, your outlook depends on the cause and the severity, your overall health, and other factors such as your age. Some people’s symptoms and heart function will improve with proper treatment.

However, heart failure can be life-threatening. People with heart failure may have severe symptoms, and some may require heart transplantation or support with a ventricular assist device.

Credit: Vanguard

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Early signs of depression

Early signs of depression

by Kehinde Matthew

Depression is real. As unlikely for you to think you can ever be depressed, depression can set in very subtly. It can creep in ever so quietly that you might not even know you are depressed.
It can affect anyone; young or old, rich or poor, female or male and last for years! This is why it is important to take note of the early symptoms of depression so that you can take necessary actions.

FEELING HOPELESS:

“What’s the point?”, “It can never get better”, “it’s no use”. These general outlooks about life can be early signs of depression. Feelings that there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation and that things will remain the way they are forever, feelings of emptiness, helplessness, sadness, and despair are indicators of depression.

LOSS OF INTEREST:

When you begin to lose interest in what gives you joy, depression might just be around the corner. Depression can rob you of the joy or fun you used to derive from sports, social activities, reading, cooking, etc. You could be more withdrawn socially and lose interest in everything.

SELF-LOATHING:

When the feeling of being empty, valueless, worthless, insignificant, useless and unloved overwhelms you and refuses to go, depression may be underway. When all you see are the wrongs in your life and hate yourself, your body or your situation for one reason or the other, these are signs of depression.

CONCENTRATION PROBLEMS:

Usually, because of a general loss in interest, you could find your mind drifting off in the middle of some conversations or situations. You may begin to have problems remembering things and concentrating even in very serious conversations.

LOSS OF ENERGY

Exhaustion, severe fatigue, weariness, lack of energy and general tiredness especially to engage in daily activities and relationships, may also be indicators of depression.

SLEEPING ISSUES:

This can be in two ways; excessive sleeping and lack of adequate sleeping. The loss of energy can make you oversleep while self-loathing can lead to insomnia.

Insomnia can, in turn, lead to anxiety which in turn leads to mood swings, feelings of tearfulness, tension as well as feeling out of control.

If you have identified two or more of these symptoms, reach out to mental health professionals or those who can lead you to them. You can click here for help from MANI https://www.mentallyaware.org/contact/

Understanding causes, symptoms of piles

Understanding causes, symptoms of piles

By Anthony Nwaoney

Haemorrhoids (also known as piles) are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum or anus

Haemorrhoids (also known as piles) are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum or anus.
Typical symptoms are pain, itching and bleeding around the anal area.

Treatment and prevention will often involve non-prescription ointments, other home treatments and lifestyle changes.

Haemorrhoids that don’t clear up may require a visit to your doctor and, in some cases, minor surgery.

Causes
The exact cause of haemorrhoids is unknown. However, they are associated with an increase in pressure in the lower rectum, which can cause the blood vessels in the lower rectum to become swollen and inflamed.

The following factors can increase pressure within the lower rectum and hence may increase the risk of developing haemorrhoids: Straining to have a bowel movement; Sitting for long periods of time, especially on the toilet; Chronic (long lasting) constipation or diarrhoea; Being overweight or obese; Pregnancy; Anal intercourse; Low-fibre diet; Spinal cord injury; Poor posture; and Family history of haemorrhoids.

Haemorrhoids are common and occur in most people at some stage during their lives. They tend to occur more frequently later in life due to age-related weakening and stretching of the tissues supporting the veins in the rectum and anus.

Signs and symptoms of haemorrhoids may include: Pain or discomfort, especially when sitting; Pain during bowel movements; Itching or irritation around the anal region; Bright red blood on your stools, toilet paper or in the toilet bowl; Swelling around the anus; and one or more lumps near the anus, which might be tender or painful.

Treatment
Most cases of haemorrhoids can be self-treated. More serious or repeat cases may require medication or a surgical procedure. Haemorrhoids can recur after treatment; hence, they are controlled rather than cured.

Self-treatment
Home treatment is often all that is required to relieve mild pain, swelling, and inflammation associated with haemorrhoids.

Home treatments include: Use of non-prescription haemorrhoid ointments, creams, suppositories, or pads containing a mild corticosteroid, e.g. hydrocortisone, or witch hazel extract; Soaking the anal area in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes two or three times a day; Using stool softeners, which help stools to be passed more easily; Ensuring that the anal area is kept clean by bathing or showering daily – soap is not necessary, and the affected area can be dried with a hair dryer; Using moist towels or wet toilet paper (that do not contain perfume or alcohol) rather than dry toilet paper, to help keep the anal area clean after passing a stool; Applying ice packs or cold compresses on the affected area can relieve swelling; Taking oral pain medication, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can help to relieve discomfort.

Prevention
Keeping your stools soft is the best way to prevent haemorrhoids from occurring.

The following steps can help to prevent haemorrhoids from occurring and reduce symptoms of existing haemorrhoids: Eat high-fibre foods; Drink plenty of fluids; Consider using fibre supplements; Avoid straining when on the toilet; Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge; and Get plenty of exercise.

• Lose weight if you are overweight

• Avoid sitting for long periods

• Avoid taking medication that can cause constipation, example codeine-based painkillers

Credit: The Guardian

Cure for diabetes imminent- scientists

Scientists near cure for diabetes
By Chukwuma Muanya

Scientists claim they are closer than ever to cures for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
According to researchers beginning a world-first trial in the south of England, type 1 diabetes could be prevented by feeding babies powdered insulin.

Pregnant women are being asked to sign up to the National Health Service (NHS) trial in the Thames Valley in a bid to protect at-risk babies from type 1 diabetes for the rest of their lives.

People with the condition do not produce the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar, and scientists suggest feeding it to babies who show signs of diabetes.

This could train the immune system not to stop the body producing vital insulin, and prevent type 1 diabetes from ever developing, the researchers say.

Researchers from Oxford University say the trial is ‘an enormous breakthrough’ and hope they can stop the potentially deadly condition from developing.

And scientists at the University of Alabama have revealed a cheap drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure could improve diabetics’ symptoms and reduce the amount of insulin they need to take.

Pregnant women in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire are being invited to take part in the NHS’s world-first trial.

It is the first to ever look into preventing type 1 diabetes, the researchers say, and will involve screening all babies for diabetes risk at birth.

The findings were published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Experts expect one per cent of the children to have a high risk – a greater than 10 per cent chance of developing type 1 diabetes – because of their genes.

Parents of those children will then be offered powdered insulin to give their child until they are three years old, with the aim of giving them protection for life.

Insulin is a hormone, which controls the levels of sugar in people’s blood, and those with type 1 diabetes do not produce any, so their sugar levels get dangerously high.

People with the condition have to regularly check their blood sugar levels and inject themselves with insulin to keep steady levels of glucose in their body.

Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured, and can lead to complications such as blindness, kidney failure and limb amputation because of nerve damage.

It also makes people much more like to have a stroke or heart attack.

The Primary Oral Insulin Trial, called POInT, aims to prevent the condition ever developing in people who have a high risk when they are born.

In people with type 1 diabetes, a faulty immune system causes the body to attack its own insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and destroys them.

By feeding babies insulin, scientists hope the immune system will become used to the hormone and not attack pancreatic cells in the future.

Also, new research suggests a single injection could cure both obesity and type 2 diabetes without any side effects.

A study found injecting a hormone, known as FGF21, into obese mice causes weight loss and greater insulin sensitivity for more than a year.

Insulin resistance is the reduced ability of cells to respond to the hormone, which transports glucose out of the bloodstream and is associated with the onset of type 2 diabetes.

FGF21 is thought to lead to weight loss by boosting animals’ energy levels, making them more active.

The hormone also raises their body temperatures, which causes rodents to burn calories.

The study was published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition, which causes a person’s blood sugar to get too high.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight and you may be more likely to get it if it’s in the family.

The condition means the body does not react properly to insulin – the hormone that controls absorption of sugar into the blood – and cannot properly regulate sugar glucose levels in the blood.

Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as the buildup makes it harder to control glucose levels, and also makes the body more resistant to insulin.

Weight loss is the key to reducing liver fat and getting symptoms under control.

Symptoms include tiredness, feeling thirsty, and frequent urination.

It can lead to more serious problems with nerves, vision and the heart.

Treatment usually involves changing your diet and lifestyle, but more serious cases may require medication.

How was the research was carried out? The researchers, from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, fed adult mice either a standard or high-fat diet for 10 weeks.

The weight of the animals fed the standard diet increased by 27 per cent, while the other rodents’ increased by 72 per cent, making them obese.

The obese mice were then injected with FGF21. Those of a healthy weight were given a placebo-style jab.

All of the rodents were then fed their respective diets for around one year, with their body weights being monitored throughout.

Results suggest the weight of the mice injected with FGF21 normalised within a few weeks of the jab, making them a similar size to the rodents given a standard diet.

The obese animals, which were suffering from insulin resistance, also had normal levels of the hormone after being given the jab.

FGF21, which has been associated with bone loss, did not cause any change to the mice’s bone density or volume.

When the researchers fed a high-fat diet to older adult mice and then injected them with FGF21, the rodents initially lost 10 per cent of their body weight, with them continuing to shed the pounds until they were the same size as healthy animals.

The scientists carried out this second experiment due to the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes increasing with age.

Although the findings, published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, are promising, the researchers add larger, longer studies in animals are required before FGF21 can be considered for treatment in humans.

Source: The Guardian

Tooth decay

Tooth decay

By Dr. Sylvester Ikhisemojie

Tooth decay is one of the most common disease conditions in the world today. It is very common in Nigeria and it affects people of all ages and both sexes. It is a preventable disease as well and affects an estimated 1.5 million people every year in Nigeria according to some estimates. This disease is caused by the presence of certain foods in our mouth which are broken down by different types of bacteria that act on such foods. Unfortunately, there is no way we can live without some of those bacteria because they are also natural inhabitants of the mouth. This disease has a technical term called dental caries which is a diagnosis made by a dental surgeon who is more usually just known as a dentist in everyday communication. This essay is provoked by two people close to yours truly who had some rather serious experiences and that is why we need to share their travails in order to increase the level of awareness.

The first person is a polytechnic graduate who began to experience toothache about two years ago. Soon, the pain became so severe that it was impossible to chew anything with that side. Still, he refused to go to a hospital not to mention a dentist. When the tooth became so diseased that it began to shake, he took a pair of pliers one fateful evening and removed the offending tooth. He simply grasped it in the curved hooks of the device and twisted the tooth until it came off. That device was not sterilised; it was the same one the mechanics and electricians use for their daily work and no form of pain relief other than his sheer determination to get the bad tooth off. He claimed that the pain he endured in doing so was nothing compared to what he suffered up till that point. He removed it by sheer brute force. Now, he has another bad tooth and thinks it is wiser to seek expert help.

The second person is a university graduate of many years who suffered for a long time and endured many sleepless nights that the use of different types of pain killers simply did not ameliorate. She decided to seek medical help when the gum on that side became noticeably swollen and her mouth began to smell. There is no toothpaste she did not try but the smell simply did not go. One fateful night, after she managed to sleep despite the pain, a sudden rush of pus into her mouth woke her from sleep. The volume of pus was so much and the smell was overpowering that she knew she must seek help. At daybreak, she feverishly sought the hospital attention she had avoided for years. The tooth was extracted to her immense relief and she was placed on some antibiotics and more pain-relievers.

Now, the two cases described above are people who are well educated and live in metropolitan Lagos, not some village dwellers with little or no access to proper health care. It can only be imagined what the situation is in the hinterland. As stated earlier, dental caries is a preventable disease. It is a persistent condition and it is widespread. Many people take poor care of their teeth. Sometimes, it is an embarrassment to take a look at the teeth of some people your age and you see what they are taking around. Some of them have teeth that have grown from white or off-white to gray and even green.

They retain coloured plaques on the teeth and also between them and end up with some quite disappointing optics when you take a close look at such dentition. Worse, when they have cavities in their teeth, decayed teeth as we have seen above, and they acquire a mouth odour that makes their breath offensive.

Tooth decay is most commonly found in two aspects of the teeth. One area is at the top of the teeth which are most often the portions in constant contact with the food we eat. The other area is the zone between the teeth which are usually more hidden and are protected from basic tooth cleaning by the poorly motivated person who just does some perfunctory washing of their mouth. But such washing is seldom sufficient to keep the teeth healthy. It may clean the mouth but not the teeth. Good cleaning of the teeth must include efforts to use a brush which is now a commonplace tool everywhere for at least two minutes at a time and with stroking motions conducted in an up and down manner. The usual practice for most people is to do it across.

On top of that, many people also fail or forget to brush their tongue. Both of them must be done in tandem in order to ensure a healthy mouth. And tooth brushing should be done at least two times a day.

The decaying tooth starts first to develop a hole either at its top or at the side between the two adjacent teeth. Afterwards, the acids produced by the action of bacteria in the mouth causes the enamel to begin to wear much like the tyre of a car. At some points of wear or corrosion, holes develop. These holes get progressively deeper until they reach the layer beneath the hard, bonelike enamel called the dentine which is where the nerves are. That is when the pain begins. It is also the softer part of the tooth and when the damage reaches that area, the tooth is guaranteed to literally get destroyed from the inside. It is these various stages of tooth damage that a dentist looks out for during their examination that will guide the treatment you get. They use reflective mirrors to conduct these tests and X-rays are also included. Following all of that, it is possible to determine what kind of treatment you should be getting.

Treatment for dental caries, or tooth decay, is divided into four different types. The most common type of treatment is the filling of the tooth which almost everyone has heard of. There are various materials for doing this and the aim is to patch over the defect that has formed in the affected tooth so that it can function normally. The other mode of treatment is to have a crown done especially when the resulting defect in the tooth has left a rather large gap. In another form of treatment, the pulp of the tooth which contains the damaged nerves together with the blood vessels is removed by a dental surgeon and the whole area is filled up and reinforced with a crown. That is known as the root canal treatment. The last type of treatment available is the one everyone seems to know about and perhaps go for; that is extraction. The reason for this last option is perhaps that most people will present late in the hospital and often there are no meaningful choices left and the tooth is simply removed.

Source: The Punch

How to manage Asthma

How to manage Asthma

Adelani Opeyemi

Asthma is a condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, narrow, swell and produce extra mucus which makes it difficult to breath.

According to Dr. Chiosa Enubele, Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also appear for the first time in adults.

Enubele stated that there is currently no cure for asthma, but there are simple treatments that can help control early stages so it doesn’t have a significant impact on someone’s life.

He said: “Some people, particularly children, may eventually grow out of asthma. But for others it’s a lifelong condition, but before then there are some early symptoms they might exhibit like wheezing, a tight chest and also coughing.”

He explained that the severity of symptoms varies from person to person and often comes and goes but can be more persistent for some. Moreover, several conditions can cause similar early symptoms of asthma, such as chest infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis to have the right treatment.

How asthma occurs

Dr. Enubele noted that inflammatory swelling of the breathing tubes that carry in and out of the lungs could cause asthma. “The inflammation makes the breathing tubes highly sensitive so they temporary become narrow, this occur randomly, or after exposure to a trigger. The tubes may also sometimes become clogged with sticky mucus, he added.”

How to manage asthma

Enubele stated that Pet Dander, a common asthma trigger is often difficult to avoid entirely because for many, our pets are just like members of the family, Fumes from household cleaners can trigger asthma. Avoid inhaling fumes at home and prevent exposure away from home as much as possible.

He advised people to remove household plants and keep bathrooms clean and dry by opening a window or using a bathroom fan during showers or baths. Breathing smoke even secondhand smoke and smoke on clothing, furniture or drapes can trigger an asthma attack, revealed Enubele.

“Be sure to ask for a smoke free hotel room when traveling. Intense emotions and worry often worsen asthma symptoms so take steps to relieve stress in your life.”

Extremely hot and humid weather and poor air quality can exacerbate asthma symptoms for many people. Asthmatic patients should limit outdoor activity when these conditions exist or a pollution alert has been issued.

According to Enubele, physical activity is also important even for people with asthma. One can reduce the risk for exercise-induced asthma attacks by working out inside on very cold or very warm days, so talk to your doctor if you have hay fever. Use medications as directed and stay inside as much as possible when pollen counts are high.

Make sure people around you know you have asthma because it is important for family members, friends, co-workers, teachers, and employers to be able to recognize symptoms of an asthma attack and know what to do if one occurs.

Enubele said, “Everywhere you go, keep quick-relief asthma medicines readily available. Follow policies at your child’s school to make sure he or she is allowed to carry an inhaler and any other emergency rescue medications that may be necessary.”= As a parent, make sure the school nurse knows your child has asthma, and also note that chalk dust can trigger an asthma attack so it may be helpful for your child to sit away from chalkboards in class.

“If you are asthmatic or have a love one who is asthmatic, know the location of the nearest hospital to your home, your job and your child’s school. When you are traveling, locate the nearest emergency facility beforehand, in case of an asthma attack, advised Enubele.”

What asthmatic patients should avoid

Enubele said that keeping your asthma under control can be a matter of life and death. If you struggle with asthma, then you should know to avoid these things:

It can be a tough thing for many people to avoid, but getting extremely frightened, anxious, or angry can be especially harmful for asthmatics. All three emotions, experienced at a high level, can cause stress, which can alter your breathing and lead to an asthma attack. It turns out not regularly vacuuming and preventing dust from accumulating can have a negative impact on your health if you are asthmatic. While you might not see the dust, dust trapped in your carpet and kept on furniture can induce asthma related symptoms.

Although a glass of red wine a day is said to help with heart health, ingesting wine regardless of whether it is red, white, pink, black, or purple, can harm someone with asthma more than it can benefit them. The reason is that wine contains sulfites, a type of preservative put into different types of food and beverages.

Sulfites, also known as sulfur dioxides, are known to trigger symptoms in asthma. While lemon juice might not cause issues for most asthmatics, artificial lemon juice can. The triggering factor, similar to that of wine, is the sulfite put into artificial lemon juice in an effort to keep it fresh for a longer period of time. Squeezing your own lemons for a zesty flavor can allow you to breathe easier while enjoying the fruity flavor.

Everyone’s asthma may not be triggered by perfume, but a considerable amount of people consider perfume to be a trigger for their asthma. If you are one of those people, it can be hard control your exposure to the loud fragrances that cause you to cough, wheeze, and struggle for air when you are outside of your home.

The most you can really do is politely ask others not to spray their perfume around you, or stay away from areas you know will have strong scents for example, the fragrance section in a department store. If perfume, fortunately enough, does not trigger your asthma, be courteous of those who can’t say the same and avoid spraying perfume heavily or in public areas.

While avoiding intense negative emotions, dust, wine, artificial lemon juice, and perfume may not always be possible, for your own sake, try to stay away from these things if you notice that they affect your asthma. You will certainly be better off in the long run if you avoid these possible triggers.

Source: The Sun

Causes of excessive farting

What Causes Excessive Gassing- Fatulence?

The human body is a massive machine, working 24/7, doing all manner of functions and working to keep you alive. In performing all of these functions, certain by products will be produced, which must be passed out of the body, to avoid toxicity and to make you comfortable.

When things also go wrong, it would also show up in the excess production of these by products. And one of such product is gas.
Flatulence, also known as farting, is the act of passing intestinal gas from the anus. Flatulence is passing gas from the digestive system out of the back passage. It’s more commonly known as “passing wind”, or “farting”.

The average person farts less than 20 times per day. Gas in the gastrointestinal tract has only two sources. It is either swallowed air or is produced by bacteria that normally inhabit the intestines, primarily the colon. Swallowed air rarely is the cause of excessive flatulence.
The source of excessive gas is intestinal bacteria. The bacteria produce the gas (primarily hydrogen and/or methane) when they digest foods, primarily sugars and nondigestible polysaccharides (for example, starch, cellulose), that have not been digested during passage through the small intestine. The bacteria also produce carbon dioxide, but the carbon dioxide is so rapidly absorbed from the intestine that very little passes in flatus.
Your diet or even a health problem can lead to problems with excessive gas.

Farting is often laughed about, but excessive flatulence can be embarrassing and make you feel uncomfortable around others. However, it can usually be controlled with changes to your diet and lifestyle. Flatulence is a normal biological process and is something everyone experiences regularly. Some people pass wind only a few times a day, others a lot more, but the average is said to be about 5 to 15 times a day.
Intestinal gas, or air in the digestive tract, is usually not noticed until we burp or pass it rectally (flatulence). The entire digestive tract, from the stomach to the rectum, contains intestinal gas as the natural consequence of swallowing and digestion.
In fact, certain foods, such as beans, are not fully broken down until they reach the large intestine (colon), where bacteria act on (ferment) them.
Excessive intestinal gas sometimes indicates a digestive disorder, but everyone passes gas several times daily, and occasional burping or belching is normal.

CAUSES:
Excess upper intestinal gas can result from swallowing more than a usual amount of air, overeating, smoking or chewing gum. Excess lower intestinal gas can be caused by eating too much of certain foods, by the inability to fully digest certain foods or by a disruption in the bacteria normally found in the colon.
When you swallow food, water or saliva, you also swallow small amounts of air, which collects in the digestive system. Gases can also build up when you digest food. The body needs to get rid of the build-up by farting (flatulence) or burping (belching).

Sometimes you may not notice you have passed wind because most of the gases are odourless and often released in small quantities. Flatulence usually only has a bad smell if it contains gases that smell, such as sulphur. However, it’s important to remember it’s normal for the gas you pass to sometimes smell a bit.
Excessive flatulence can be caused by swallowing more air than usual or eating food that’s difficult to digest. It can also be related to an underlying health problem affecting the digestive system, such as recurring indigestion or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Swallowing air :

It’s perfectly normal to swallow air while breathing and eating. However, it’s easy to swallow a lot more air than usual without realising it. This can cause excessive flatulence.

Excess air can be swallowed by:
• chewing gum
• smoking
• sucking on pen tops or hard sweets
• having loose-fitting dentures
• not chewing food slowly and thoroughly – swallowing large pieces of food causes you to swallow more air.
• Hot and fizzy drinks also increase the amount of carbon dioxide in your stomach, although this is more likely to cause belching rather than flatulence.
Foods that cause excess gas:
• Foods that cause gas in one person might not cause it in another. Common gas-producing foods and substances include:
• Beans and lentils
• Vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts (cruciferous vegetables)
• Bran
• Dairy products containing lactose
• Fructose, which is found in some fruits and used as a sweetener in soft drinks and other products
• Sorbitol, a sugar substitute found in some sugar-free candies, gums and artificial sweeteners
• Carbonated beverages, such as soda or beer

Digestive disorders that cause excess gas:
Excessive intestinal gas — belching or flatulence more than 20 times a day — sometimes indicates a disorder such as:
• Autoimmune pancreatitis
• Celiac disease
• Crohn’s disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)
• Diabetes
• Dumping syndrome
• Eating disorders
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
• Gastroparesis (a condition in which the muscles of the stomach wall don’t function properly, interfering with digestion)
• Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
• Intestinal obstruction
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Lactose intolerance
• Peptic ulcer
• Ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)

Medicine:
Flatulence, often caused by indigestion, is a possible side effect of many types of medicine, including:
• non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
• some laxatives
• antifungal medicines
• statins
• varenicline (Champix) – used to help people stop smoking

TREATMENT:
Excessive flatulence can usually be treated by making changes to your diet and lifestyle. Several over-the-counter treatments are also available if your flatulence is becoming a problem.
By itself, intestinal gas rarely indicates a serious condition. It can cause discomfort and embarrassment, but it’s usually just a sign of a normally functioning digestive system. If you’re bothered by intestinal gas, try changing your diet.
However, see your doctor if your gas is persistent or severe, or if it’s associated with vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, unintentional weight loss, blood in the stool or heartburn.

Diet:
You should try to avoid eating foods high in unabsorbable carbohydrates. Certain processed foods should also be avoided as they can contain ingredients that cause flatulence, including:
• any foods with artifical sweeteners
• sugar-free sweets or chewing gum
• fizzy drinks
However, it’s still important to eat a healthy balanced diet, including at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Choose foods containing carbohydrates that are easy to digest. These include:
• potatoes
• rice
• lettuce
• bananas
• grapes
• citrus fruits, such as oranges
• yoghurt
It’s important to note that people react differently to certain foods, so some foods listed above may still cause flatulence. You may find it useful to keep a food diary to see whether certain foods make your symptoms better or worse.
You may also find it useful to eat 6 small meals a day rather than 3 large ones. Smaller meals are easier to digest and may produce less gas.
There’s some evidence to suggest drinking peppermint tea can help improve the symptoms of flatulence. There’s also some evidence that small amounts of ginger can help with digestion or an upset stomach, which may be causing flatulence. However, pregnant women should consult their doctor before taking ginger.
Swallowing air:

When eating, make sure you chew food slowly to reduce the amount of air you swallow. This will also help with digestion. Avoid chewing gum as it can also cause you to swallow more air than usual.
You should also give up smoking, if you smoke. Smoking can cause you to swallow more air than usual, and tobacco smoke can irritate your digestive system. See stop smoking for more information and advice about quitting smoking.

Exercise:
Getting plenty of exercise can help improve the functioning of your digestive system and bowel. It has also been shown to help with bloating and the passage of gas.

Medications and other remedies:
There are several over-the-counter remedies that can help treat the symptoms of flatulence.
• Charcoal tablets:
Charcoal tablets are a type of medication available over the counter from pharmacists. The charcoal absorbs gas in the digestive system, which helps reduce symptoms.
Charcoal tablets may not be suitable for you if you are currently taking other medication. This is because the charcoal might absorb the medication and make it less effective. Please see your doctor before taking any medication.
Clothing containing activated charcoal, or charcoal pads placed inside clothing, can help absorb foul-smelling gas released during flatulence.

Dietary supplements:
Probiotics may also be useful in treating flatulence. Probiotics are a dietary supplement, usually sold in liquid or capsule form, which encourages the growth of “friendly bacteria” in your digestive system.
The “friendly bacteria” should help digestion and reduce the symptoms of flatulence, particularly in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Probiotic yoghurts may also help, but avoid those with artificial sweeteners or added fibre.
It may also be necessary to carry out ultra sound, CT scans, MRI, x rays and identify what type of gas is being produced , absorption tests can all be carried out, depending on the diagnosis by your doctor.

Source: ThisDay