Sunday, December 27, 2009


Malaria is an infection characterised by fever, shivering, chills, malaise, headache and sweats, but it can present as a respiratory or gastrointestinal illness. It is caused by any of four different species of the Plasmodium parasite, passed on via the bite of an infected mosquito. Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum is life threatening. Infants, the elderly and those with comprised immunity may be at greater risk. The incidence of malaria is on the rise, with around 220 million new infections worldwide every year. Australia is free of endemic malaria, but Australians can catch the disease when travelling to tropical regions in Asia, Africa, and Central or South America. Most Australian cases of malaria are contracted in Papua New Guinea. Effective treatment relies on early diagnosis and specific anti-malarial medications.

Symptoms of malaria include:
  • A slow rising fever that escalates to a rapid temperature rise and fall
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Shivering
  • Excessive sweating
  • Diarrhoea
  • General malaise
  • Anaemia and associated symptoms.
Avoid mosquito bites:
  • Avoid outdoor activity around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear loose, long, light-coloured clothing.
  • Use mosquito repellents on exposed skin and clothing.
  • Don't wear perfumes, colognes or aftershave.
  • Use 'knockdown' sprays, mosquito coils and plug-in vaporising devices indoors.
  • Sleep under mosquito nets treated with repellents or insecticides if you don't have fly-wire screens on windows.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lyme Disease for teens

Lyme disease
Teens are at high risk for Lyme disease because they spend a lot of time outdoors. You may play sports, or have an outdoor job, or just like to walk through the woods. Unfortunately, all these activities expose you to the hundreds of tiny ticks living in the brush and grasses, and some of those ticks carry Lyme disease.

Lyme disease - It is an infection caused by bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that causes skin rashes, fatigue, fever, chills, and pain and swelling in the muscles and joints. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to heart problems and even neurological (pertaining to the brain) disorders, such as the inability to move certain muscles.

What can you do about it? You might be tempted to stay inside during the summer (when ticks are most active), but there’s no need for that. There are plenty of ways to avoid ticks when you are outdoors in grassy and wooded areas. Even if a tick does bite you, there is only a small chance that the tick is carrying the Lyme bacteria, and even if it is, it takes 24-48 hours for a tick to infect you with the bacteria, so it is important to remove it as soon as possible. Also, it is useful to determine what kind of tick it is. Certain kinds of ticks don’t carry Lyme disease, but some carry other diseases.

If you are bitten by a tick that could carry Lyme disease (such as a Deer Tick, Western Black-Legged Tick, or Lone Star Tick), you need to watch for the first symptoms of the disease. Most people who have Lyme disease develop a bull’s-eye rash around the tick bite, but many people do not. Other early symptoms of Lyme are similar to the flu or mono, such as fever, fatigue, chills, headaches, and joint and muscle pain. If you have symptoms like these for several days, you should see your doctor. He might give you a blood test to see if you have Lyme disease.

If Lyme disease is left untreated, it can develop into late Lyme disease. Most people with late Lyme disease have an intense fatigue, arthritis, stiff neck, and fever, and a few experience paralysis in (inability to move) their face muscles or an irregular heartbeat.

Doctors usually treat Lyme disease with an antibiotic called doxycycline, taken in pill form for about a month. In more severe cases, however, you might have to take the pills for several months, or receive injections of antibiotics instead.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good fats? Bad fats?

FatsFats are often labelled as the bad guys but actually we need some fat to keep us healthy.

Fats are a source of energy, they help us to absorb some vitamins and contain important things called essential fatty acids.

But lots of people eat more fat than they need or is good for them. And some types of fat are worse than others.

cookies stacked Saturated fats are the ones we need to watch out for. They raise cholesterol and can block up the arteries to the heart.

So instead of having saturated fat we should have fats that are high in polyunsaturates and monounsaturates instead.

This means cutting down on these sorts of foods:
  • meat pies
  • sausages
  • pastry
  • cakes and biscuits
  • cream, soured cream, crème fraîche
  • lard, suet
And trying to have more of these, which are high in unsaturated fats:
  • oily fish
  • nuts and seeds
  • avocados
  • sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil spreads and vegetable oils
Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring are also high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are really good for us.

But this doesn't mean you should never have foods that contain a lot of fat. It's just that if you want to be as fit as you can, you should try to choose foods that are low in saturated fat as often as you can.

And many of your favourite foods are probably already low in fat, such as pasta, breakfast cereals, bananas, fish fingers and fruit smoothies, so you can still eat them regularly.

Do you ever look at food labels? If you do, here's how to work out if a food is high in fat.

High is more than 20g fat per 100g
Low is 3g fat or less per 100g

If the amount of fat per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of fat.

Here’s how to work out if a food is high in saturated fat.

High is more than 5g saturates per 100g
Low is 1.5g saturates or less per 100g

If the amount of saturates per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of saturated fat.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Back pain

Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem. Around eight in 10 people in Western countries suffer from backache at least some of the time. Back pain is usually not due to any serious disease. Most episodes of back pain get better quickly. Simple analgesics (pain killers) and a change of activity are generally all that is needed.

About half of all people who get back pain will have further episodes. The first step to managing back pain is to rule out the possibility of any medical problem, such as infection or fracture (although these are rarely the cause).

Preventing back pain

In most cases, back pain can be prevented by making a few lifestyle changes. Some suggestions include:

  • Exercise regularly – this is important to improve posture and increase muscle support of the spine. Try walking instead of using the car. Work towards doing 30 minutes of gentle exercise each day. This can be broken into shorter periods for equal benefit.
  • Lift and carry safely – if you are picking up a heavy load: squat down, hold the object as close to your body as practical and lift by using your legs, keeping your back straight. Get some help from another person or use equipment (such as a trolley) if the load is too heavy to manage comfortably on your own.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight – being overweight or obese puts extra strain on your back.
  • Be aware of your posture – consider your posture, particularly in seated positions such as when driving or sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Don’t slump, keep your back upright and use support where necessary (such as a lumbar support cushion or footstool).
  • Take regular breaks – when driving, standing or sitting for long periods of time, take a break at least every hour. This will help change the position of your joints and loosen your muscles. Include a short walk and a few stretches as part of your break.
  • Relax and manage your pain – learn some relaxation techniques to reduce stress levels and related muscle tension. Try massage, heat or cold packs and gentle exercise. Seek advice from a physiotherapist.
  • Change your mattress – surfaces that are too soft or too hard can aggravate a sore back. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating Disorder
An eating disorder is marked by extremes. It is present when a person experiences severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme reduction of food intake or extreme overeating, or feelings of extreme distress or concern about body weight or shape.

A person with an eating disorder may have started out just eating smaller or larger amounts of food than usual, but at some point, the urge to eat less or more spirals out of control. Eating disorders are very complex, and despite scientific research to understand them, the biological, behavioral and social underpinnings of these illnesses remain elusive.

The two main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. A third category is "eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS)," which includes several variations of eating disorders. Most of these disorders are similar to anorexia or bulimia but with slightly different characteristics. Binge-eating disorder, which has received increasing research and media attention in recent years, is one type of EDNOS.

Eating disorders frequently appear during adolescence or young adulthood, but some reports indicate that they can develop during childhood or later in adulthood. Women and girls are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder. Men and boys account for an estimated 5 to 15 percent of patients with anorexia or bulimia and an estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders are real, treatable medical illnesses with complex underlying psychological and biological causes. They frequently co-exist with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders. People with eating disorders also can suffer from numerous other physical health complications, such as heart conditions or kidney failure, which can lead to death.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Childhood Overweight and Obesity

Obesity and overweight
Obesity is a serious health concern for children and adolescents. Data from NHANES surveys (1976–1980 and 2003–2006) show that the prevalence of obesity has increased: for children aged 2–5 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 12.4%; for those aged 6–11 years, prevalence increased from 6.5% to 17.0%; and for those aged 12–19 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 17.6%.

Obese children and adolescents are at risk for health problems during their youth and as adults. For example, during their youth, obese children and adolescents are more likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes) than are other children and adolescents.

Obese children and adolescents are more likely to become obese as adults.3, 4 For example, one study found that approximately 80% of children who were overweight at aged 10–15 years were obese adults at age 25 years.3 Another study found that 25% of obese adults were overweight as children.5 The latter study also found that if overweight begins before 8 years of age, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thyroid Diseases

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, just above your collarbone. It is one of your endocrine glands, which make hormones. The thyroid helps set your metabolism - how your body gets energy from the foods you eat.

Millions of people in the U.S. have thyroid diseases. Most of them are women. If you have a thyroid disease, your body uses energy more slowly or quickly than it should. A thyroid gland that is not active enough, called hypothyroidism, is far more common. It can make you gain weight, feel fatigued and have difficulty dealing with cold temperatures. If your thyroid is too active, it makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs. That condition is hyperthyroidism. Too much thyroid hormone can make you lose weight, speed up your heart rate and make you very sensitive to heat.

There are many causes for both conditions. Treatment involves trying to reset your body's metabolism to a normal rate.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fat Diet will help to Reducing Heart Risks

Healthy Eating
A moderate-fat diet may work better than a low-fat regimen for people suffering from metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions putting them at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, new research finds.

"This is a good study that essentially confirms that the current recommendations are appropriate," said Alice Lichtenstein, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association (AHA). "Since 2000, the AHA has been recommending not a low-fat diet, but one that is low in saturated fats and trans fatty acids."

People with metabolic syndrome are glucose-intolerant, meaning they can't process blood sugar well. Low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets exacerbate this condition, Lichtenstein explained.

To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have three or more of the following risk factors for heart disease: belly fat, high triglycerides, low good cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.

The study was among several to be presented Monday at the AHA's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle randomized 71 men and women with metabolic syndrome into one of two diet arms, the first made up of 40 percent fat, 45 percent carbohydrate and 15 percent protein (the moderate-fat diet) and the other, the low-fat diet, containing 20 percent fat, 65 percent carbs and 15 percent protein. Saturated fat content was about 8 percent in each, and each had about the same amount of fiber.

Levels of LDL (or "bad") cholesterol fell 3.4 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) on the low-fat diet compared with 11.6 mg/dL on the moderate-fat plan. HDL (or "good") cholesterol also fell, by 4.9 mg/dL on the low-fat plan and by 1.9 mg/dL on the other.

C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation linked to heart disease, fell more in the low-fat group than in the moderate-fat group (0.82 mg/L versus 0.63 mg/L), but the authors considered it a good drop in both cases.

While triglycerides, another measure of heart health, increased 11.1 mg/dL on the low-fat diet, they dropped 28.6 mg/dL on the other plan.

Experts familiar with the study aren't surprised by the findings. "This sort of falls within the boundaries of what we used to call the Atkins diet, which was a high-lipid and low-carb diet. Normally this kind of diet suppresses appetite, improves diabetes," said Dr. Alfred Bove, president of the American College of Cardiology. "This diet looks like it does a good job of altering the negative metabolic effects of early diabetes or high carbohydrate stimulation," he said.

"Much of this we've known before, but the idea is that a moderate-fat diet is something most people can tolerate," Bove said. "It probably affects the way insulin is released because if you have a lot of carbohydrates in the diet, you tend to generate a lot of insulin, and insulin is the hormone that lowers blood sugar," Bove explained. "In addition to lowering blood sugar, it also increases appetite so a lot of people on high-carb diets are restimulated to eat more."

Another study found yet more evidence to recommend the famed DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, an eating plan that has been found to lower blood pressure. DASH calls for a diet high in fruits and veggies and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Red meat and sweets are limited as well.

This study showed that the diet lowered coronary heart disease risk for a decade by 18 percent compared with people eating as usual and 11 percent compared with people in a fruit- and vegetable-rich program.

"We took our data and plugged it into the Framingham risk equation used to estimate heart disease risk and found a 20 percent reduction in risk of heart disease," said study senior author Dr. Lawrence Appel, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. "We don't have a 40,000-person randomized trial but, next to that, this is probably one of the best analyses to show that the DASH diet should reduce heart disease as well as blood pressure."

Although the DASH diet is recommended to reduce blood pressure, there had been some "quirks" in previous data leading people to question the program's net effect, Appel said.

A third study confirmed that even small helpings of fruits and veggies can boost your health.

In a Columbia University Medical Center study of 501 patients, just one extra serving of fruits or vegetables was linked with lower levels of both CRP and cholesterol. And adding another gram per day of omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish as well as plant-based oils, also was associated with a drop in CRP levels.

Lowering intake of saturated and trans fats meant reductions in both total and LDL cholesterol, the researchers, led by Dr. Lori Mosca, found.

And more calories from alcohol seemed to move HDL cholesterol levels down, although other measures did not change.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

All About Asthma

Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening respiratory disease that affects the quality of life for millions of Americans. Although there is no cure for asthma yet, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers. EPA is committed to educating all Americans about asthma so that everyone knows what asthma is, how the environment can affect asthma patients and how to manage environmental asthma triggers.

Preventing Asthma Attacks:

Step 1 - Talk to a doctor

Talk to a doctor about your child’s asthma. If your child has asthma or if you think your child may have asthma, take your child to a doctor. Your doctor will work with you to keep your child from having asthma attacks.
  • Learn what triggers your child’s asthma attacks.
  • Identify asthma triggers in your home.
  • Talk about ways to get rid of triggers in your home.
  • Find out what medicine your child should take.
  • Make sure that you are prepared for the Transition to Ozone Safe Metered Dose Inhalers.
Learn more about asthma from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's "What Is Asthma?"

Step 2 - Make a Plan

Ask your doctor to help you create your child’s Asthma Action Plan. Work with your doctor to create an Asthma Action Plan that will help you learn to prevent your child’s asthma attacks. An Asthma Action Plan will help you control your child's asthma on a regular basis.

Step 3 - Asthma-Proof Your Home

Triggers are a part of everyday life. Asthma attacks can be triggered by things like mold growing on your shower curtain or tiny dust mites that live in blankets, pillow, or your child's stuffed animals.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Eyelid twitching

Eyelid Twitching
An eyelid twitch is a general term for involuntary spasms of the eyelid muscles. In some instances, the eyelid may repeatedly close (or nearly close) and re-open.This article discusses eyelid twitches in general.


The most common things that make the muscle in your eyelid twitch are fatigue, stress, and caffeine. Once spasms begin, they may continue off and on for a few days. Then, they disappear. Most people experience this type of eyelid twitch on occasion and find it very annoying. In most cases, you won't even notice when the twitch has stopped.

More severe contractions, where the eyelid completely closes, are possible. These can be caused by irritation of the surface of the eye (cornea) or the membranes lining the eyelids (conjunctiva).

Sometimes, the reason your eyelid is twitching cannot be identified. This form of eyelid twitching lasts much longer, is often very uncomfortable, and can also cause your eyelids to close completely.


In addition to having repetitive, uncontrollable twitching or spasms of your eyelid (usually the upper lid), you may be very sensitive to light or have blurry vision.


Eyelid twitching usually disappears without treatment. In the meantime, the following steps may help:

  • Get more sleep.
  • Drink less caffeine.
  • Lubricate your eyes with eye drops.

If twitching is severe, small injections of botulinum toxin can temporarily cure the spasms.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outlook depends on the specific type or cause of eyelid twitch. In some cases, the twitches usually stop within a week.

Possible Complications

Permanent eye injury from unrecognized cornea injury is possible, but rare.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your primary care doctor or eye doctor (ophthalmologist) if:

  • Eyelid twitching does not go away within 1 week
  • Twitching completely closes your eyelid
  • Twitching involves other parts of your face
  • You have redness, swelling, or a discharge from your eye
  • Your upper eyelid is drooping
Alternative Names

Eyelid spasm; Eye twitch; Twitch - eyelid

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hair loss treatments

Hair Health

For most people, hair loss is mild and occurs later in life. However, when hair loss is premature or severe, it can be a source of distress. Although there is no cure, a number of treatments are available that can effectively slow or reduce hair loss and stimulate partial regrowth. Surgical treatment involving hair transplantation is available from some specialist dermatologists and can be helpful for some men with advanced balding.

Why hair loss occurs
Hair is in a constant cycle of growth, rest and renewal – it is natural to lose some hair each day. Androgenetic hair loss is caused by androgen hormones and occurs in people with a genetic susceptibility. It is likely that around five separate genes determine the susceptibility to baldness. Some of these genes come from the mother’s side and some from the father’s side of the family. Hormonal imbalances, the contraceptive pill or the effects of corticosteroids can also be responsible for baldness in women.

Other possible causes of hair loss include alopecia areata (an autoimmune disorder characterised by inflammation of the hair root), cancer chemotherapy, burns or injuries, nervous habits such as continual hair pulling or scalp rubbing, ringworm of the scalp and rough handling. Long-term illness, major surgery and high fever may cause temporary hair loss.

Treatment options
Treatment aims to slow or reduce hair loss, stimulate partial regrowth or replace damaged hair. Surgical treatment involving hair transplantation is available from some specialist dermatologists and can be helpful for some men with advanced balding. Non-surgical treatments include lotions and tablets. In general, these must be used continuously to maintain regrowth. If treatment is stopped, regrowth ceases and hair loss will start again. Cosmetic options include wigs and hairpieces.

A number of other treatments have been suggested for hair loss including massage, vitamin supplements, herbal remedies (such as saw palmetto), zinc, amino acids, hair lotions and tonics. None of these has been shown to promote hair growth or prevent hair loss. There is also no scientific evidence that the use of lasers is effective. If unsure, consult with your doctor before commencing treatment.

Minoxidil lotion has been available in Australia since the 1970s. A number of different brands are available over-the-counter from pharmacies without a prescription. Drops are applied to the scalp morning and night and rubbed in. Hair regrowth generally takes six months to appear. Patients considering taking minoxidil should tell their health care provider if they are taking any other medicines, especially high blood pressure medication. Minoxidil is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Finasteride is the active ingredient in the hair loss treatment Propecia. Propecia has been available in Australia since the late 1990s. One tablet a day will arrest further hair loss in over 90 per cent of men and stimulate partial hair regrowth in over two-thirds. Regrowth may be visible at six months, but can take up to two years to become apparent. Side effects are uncommon; however, Propecia does require a prescription from your doctor. Finasteride is not recommended for women.

This tablet has been widely used to treat high blood pressure and fluid retention in Australia since the 1960s. It blocks the effect of androgen hormones. In women, androgens can cause oily skin, acne, unwanted facial and body hair, and scalp hair loss. Spironolactone can be used to treat all of these conditions but requires a prescription from your doctor. Spironolactone is not recommended for men. Pregnant and breastfeeding women or women with severe kidney disease, hyperkalaemia or Addison’s disease should not take minoxidil.

Cyproterone acetate
This tablet was also developed in the 1960s. It blocks the effect of androgen hormones. It is also a weak progestogen and is used as a component of some oral contraceptives. Cyproterone acetate can also be used to treat acne, unwanted facial and body hair, and hereditary hair loss in women. Cyproterone acetate requires a prescription from your doctor. Cyproterone acetate is not recommended as a treatment for hair loss in men.

Hair transplantation
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure for the treatment of hair loss that first became popular in the 1950s. Originally, large plugs of hair were used, which sometimes led to unsatisfactory and unnatural results. Nowadays, very small mini- and micro-plugs of skin, containing one to five hairs, are used. Unlike the original large plugs, this modern technique does not produce very thick or dense hair growth. It appears more natural and, in many cases, is undetectable as a transplant.

Types of hair loss that respond best to hair transplantation include:

  • Androgenetic hair loss in men – this is the most common type of baldness that can be helped by hair transplantation
  • Hair loss due to accidents and operations.
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure
Hair plugs are taken from the back or sides of the scalp where the hair is less likely to fall out. These plugs are transferred to the bald areas and placed in such a way that they receive adequate blood flow during the healing process. The transplant session may take several hours. One to three months later, more grafts can be added. Several treatments are required to give a progressive increase in the amount of hair. Hair will regrow in the area from which the hair plug was taken for transplantation.

A sedative is usually given prior to the procedure. Local anaesthetic is also used at the hair removal (donor) and recipient sites. As the anaesthetic wears off, you may notice some discomfort. This can be eased with simple pain-killing medications.

Possible complications of hair transplantation
Possible complications include:
  • Infection – this can occur because the skin is broken to perform the procedure. It can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Bleeding – this is usually controlled through careful postoperative care.
  • Scarring – approximately 11 per cent of the population have a tendency to scar.
  • Temporary, operation-induced hair loss – known as telogen effluvium, this can occur with hair transplantation as well as some other operations. It occurs in approximately five per cent of patients.
  • Unacceptable cosmetic results – scarring and unacceptable cosmetic results are more common when hair transplants are carried out by inexperienced practitioners.
Seek advice from a specialist dermatologist
Many hair clinics offer hair transplantation. However, specialist dermatologists are best qualified to properly advise about this surgery, as they generally have the most knowledge about hair in health and disease.

What you can expect from treatment
Despite advances in our understanding of hair loss, there are limits to current treatment. In particular, age-related hair loss and inherited forms of hair loss are difficult to reverse, although treatment may prevent further loss. There are also limits to controlling alopecia areata. In many conditions, hair loss or thinning will stabilise and may not progress to baldness.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Australasian College of Dermatologists Tel. 1300 361 821
  • Wigmaker
  • Plastic surgeon
Things to remember
  • Permanent hair loss is caused by genetic and hormonal factors.
  • A number of options are available to treat hair loss.
  • Hair transplantation is most effective for male pattern baldness.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

About Tinnitus


Do you hear a ringing, roaring, clicking, or hissing sound in your ears? Do you hear this sound often or all the time? Does the sound bother you a lot? If you answer yes to these questions, you may have tinnitus (tin-NY-tus).

Tinnitus is a symptom associated with many forms of hearing loss. It can also be a symptom of other health problems. Roughly 25 million Americans have experienced tinnitus. Some cases are so severe that it interferes with a person's daily activities. People with severe cases of tinnitus may find it difficult to hear, work, or even sleep.

What causes tinnitus?

  • Hearing loss. Doctors and scientists have discovered that people with different kinds of hearing loss also have tinnitus.

  • Loud noise. Too much exposure to loud noise can cause noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus.

  • Medicine. More than 200 medicines can cause tinnitus. If you have tinnitus and you take medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be involved.

  • Other health problems. Allergies, tumors, and problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaws, and neck can cause tinnitus.

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

The most important thing you can do is to go see your doctor. Your doctor can try to determine what is causing your tinnitus. He or she can check to see if it is related to blood pressure, kidney function, diet, or allergies. Your doctor can also determine whether your tinnitus is related to any medicine you are taking.

To learn more about what is causing your tinnitus, your doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist (oh-toe-lair-in-GAH-luh-jist), an ear, nose, and throat doctor. He or she will examine your ears and your hearing to try to find out why you have tinnitus. Another hearing professional, an audiologist (aw-dee-AH-luh-jist), can measure your hearing. If you need a hearing aid, an audiologist can fit you with one that meets your needs.

How will hearing experts treat my tinnitus?

Although there is no cure for tinnitus, scientists and doctors have discovered several treatments that may give you some relief. Not every treatment works for everyone, so you may need to try several to find the ones that help.

Treatments can include

  • Hearing aids. Many people with tinnitus also have a hearing loss. Wearing a hearing aid makes it easier for some people to hear the sounds they need to hear by making them louder. The better you hear other people talking or the music you like, the less you notice your tinnitus.

  • Maskers. Maskers are small electronic devices that use sound to make tinnitus less noticeable. Maskers do not make tinnitus go away, but they make the ringing or roaring seem softer. For some people, maskers hide their tinnitus so well that they can barely hear it.

    Some people sleep better when they use maskers. Listening to static at a low volume on the radio or using bedside maskers can help. These are devices you can put by your bed instead of behind your ear. They can help you ignore your tinnitus and fall asleep.

  • Medicine or drug therapy. Some medicines may ease tinnitus. If your doctor prescribes medicine to treat your tinnitus, he or she can tell you whether the medicine has any side effects.

  • Tinnitus retraining therapy. This treatment uses a combination of counseling and maskers. Otolaryngologists and audiologists help you learn how to deal with your tinnitus better. You may also use maskers to make your tinnitus less noticeable. After a while, some people learn how to avoid thinking about their tinnitus. It takes time for this treatment to work, but it can be very helpful.

  • Counseling. People with tinnitus may become depressed. Talking with a counselor or people in tinnitus support groups may be helpful.

  • Relaxing. Learning how to relax is very helpful if the noise in your ears frustrates you. Stress makes tinnitus seem worse. By relaxing, you have a chance to rest and better deal with the sound.
What can I do to help myself?

Think about things that will help you cope. Many people find listening to music very helpful. Focusing on music might help you forget about your tinnitus for a while. It can also help mask the sound. Other people like to listen to recorded nature sounds, like ocean waves, the wind, or even crickets.

Avoid anything that can make your tinnitus worse. This includes smoking, alcohol, and loud noise. If you are a construction worker, an airport worker, or a hunter, or if you are regularly exposed to loud noise at home or at work, wear ear plugs or special earmuffs to protect your hearing and keep your tinnitus from getting worse.

If it is hard for you to hear over your tinnitus, ask your friends and family to face you when they talk so you can see their faces. Seeing their expressions may help you understand them better. Ask people to speak louder, but not shout. Also, tell them they do not have to talk slowly, just more clearly.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oil Pulling a Heathy Practice

Oil Pulling
Oil pulling has been used extensively for many years, without scientific evidence or proof, as a traditional Indian folk remedy to prevent teeth decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, dryness of throat and cracked lips, and for strengthening the teeth, gums, and jaws. AIMS: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of oil pulling with sesame oil on the count of Streptococcus mutans in plaque and saliva of children, using the Dentocult SM Strip mutans test, and to compare its efficacy with that of chlorhexidine mouthwash. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty age-matched adolescent boys were selected based on information obtained through a questionnaire. They were divided randomly into two groups: the control or chlorhexidine group (group I) and the study or oil pulling group (group II); there were ten subjects in each group. Plaque and saliva samples were collected from all the 20 subjects on the strips from the Dentocult SM kit and, after incubation, the presence of S. mutans was evaluated using the manufacturers' chart. The study group practiced oil pulling with sesame oil and the control group used chlorhexidine mouthwash for 10 min every day in the morning before brushing. Samples were collected from both groups after 24 h, 48 h, 1 week, and 2 weeks and the efficacy of oil pulling was compared with that of chlorhexidine mouthwash. RESULTS: There was a reduction in the S. mutans count in the plaque and saliva samples of both the study and the control groups. The reduction in the S. mutans count in the plaque of the study group was statistically significant after 1 and 2 weeks (P=0.01 and P=0.008, respectively); the control group showed significant reduction at all the four time points (P=0.01, P=0.04, P=0.005, and P=0.005, respectively, at 24 h, 48 h, 1 week, and 2 weeks). In the saliva samples, significant reduction in S. mutans count was seen in the control group at 48 h, 1 week, and 2 weeks (P=0.02, P=0.02, P=0.008, respectively). CONCLUSION: Oil pulling can be used as an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

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