7 Herbs and Spices for Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief

Herbs and spices can be used as natural remedies to reduce the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis. Find out about 6 zesty options that may help.

Gingerol is the compound in ginger that gives it flavor and some of its anti-inflammatory properties. Elements in ginger were found to reduce the action of T cells, immune cells that can add to systemic inflammation, in an analysis published in the July 2015 issue of Phytotherapy Research.

Try stir-frying with ginger or eating fresh pickled ginger. Galina Roofener, a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist at the Cleveland Clinic, agrees that ginger can be a beneficial part of your plan to control arthritis symptoms and recommends working with a trained herbalist.

Animal studies have shown that essential oils of turmeric have anti-arthritis properties. In a review published in January 2013 in The AAPS Journal of curcumin, the active ingredient that gives turmeric its yellow color, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that this natural remedy may have antibacterial and anti-cancer properties, as well as anti-inflammatory properties that could help with rheumatoid arthritis.

“Both turmeric and curcumin, two parts of the same plant, have very strong anti-inflammatory activity and can be used for treatment of inflammation, especially joints,” Roofener says. But she cautions that turmeric is also a blood thinner and should be avoided in large doses if you take a blood-thinning medicine. Want to try turmeric? Opt for a curry dish like this healthified chicken curry with couscous recipe. 

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6 Signs You’re Suffering From Acid Reflux and How to Fix It

Acid Reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common medical problem. It affects millions of people, and sometimes they don’t even realize that they have it. Moreover, acid reflux can cause other diseases. According to researchers, it may aggravate asthma which is proven by the fact that the majority of asthmatics have GERD.

Bright Side found signs that will help you to diagnose acid reflux..

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First of all, you should know, that acid reflux is a long-term condition. Whatever you eat comes back up into the esophagus, and it causes unpleasant symptoms or complications. People with excessive weight, pregnant women, smokers, and those who take certain medicines are at risk of developing it.

So what are the signs and symptoms that indicate you may have GERD? Read on to find out.

1. Acidic taste in the mouth

This condition is normally caused by the muscle or sphincter at the top of the stomach. When it becomes weak, acid rises up into the food pipe. The sour acidic taste can stay for weeks and be very irritating, affecting your quality of life. This problem is especially common among pregnant women because there is more pressure on the stomach.

2. Regurgitation

6 Signs You’re Suffering From Acid Reflux and How to Fix It

Regurgitation is a backing up of acid into your throat or mouth. You may experience a bitter taste, a burp, and sometimes even vomit. Regurgitation can happen at any time, but it is especially disturbing at night. You can wake up with bitter liquid in your throat and a feeling of panic.

3. Heartburn

Many people worldwide have heard of heartburn and even experienced it, but hardly any of them think they have acid reflux. Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD. Symptoms of heartburn are usually burning or discomfort in the middle of the lower chest after eating. The discomfort may increase when bending over or lying flat on your back.

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Why Do People Beat the Average Multiple Myeloma Life Expectancy Prognosis? Or How To Improve Your Myeloma Survival Rate!

Multiple Myeloma Prognosis

I updated this post more than two years ago, and it has been very helpful to many in the myeloma patient community  One thing has become very clear to me, the pace of change and progress for myeloma has become exponential.   This is a very good thing!  We have had 4 drugs approved for myeloma since 2015 (two are new classes of drugs).

In this period, myeloma approvals have been 13 times greater than the average cancer. I can only say thank you to the researchers, drug companies, myeloma specialists, clinical trial patients, and advocates for such an outstanding achievement.  Nothing less than an ALL STAR performance.  In addition, the pipeline is packed with new drugs, CAR T, checkpoint inhibitors, MIL’s and initiatives to treat as early as practical.  As a patient advocate I find it nearly impossible to keep up with the avalanche of new data. I can not see how anyone but a skilled myeloma specialist can keep up to date with this rapid pace of change.   But Dr. Lonial, a world class myeloma specialist from Emory University, says it best.

In the last two years, the average life expectancy has gone from 4 years to 5.5. years, according to The SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) data for multiple myeloma published in April of 2017 by the National Cancer Institute.  This is outstanding progress in that life expectancy had been stagnant at 4 years for 5 consecutive years.   Some patients beat the odds and live 10 to 20 years or more. When I was first diagnosed, the data for a person with dialysis-dependent kidney failure was just 3 months, and the average for myeloma patients overall was about 3 years. Now, I am beyond thankful to be an 11 & 1/2 year survivor.   I believe there are three critical components to beating the odds: Part one is early diagnosis and treatment before end organ damage.  Part two is disease dependent, or the hand that you were dealt.  Part three is related to the level of care that is available to you.

Part 1 – Early Diagnosis and Treatment

If you are lucky enough to have a general practitioner who picks up high protein in the blood and finds the disease early while it is smoldering, or stage one, you have won the Myeloma Lottery.  Life expectancy of stage one disease is 3 times greater than if you have been found in stage three.  Treatment guidelines were published in November of 2014 with the express purpose of finding and treating the disease before it has progressed and  causes end organ failure.  A National Institute of health article states the intent of this clearly;

“The concept of initiating therapy after end organ damage is analogous to initiating treatment after the development of metastatic cancer in solid tumors. Indeed, screening, early detection and intervention have played a large part in the major curative advances that have been achieved in solid tumors whereas metastatic cancer remains incurable in these same malignancies. It is, therefore, not surprising that MM remains incurable, in spite of all the advances in therapeutic interventions. Could it be because we are waiting too long – until metastatic myeloma occurs – to treat our patients? In such a condition, watchful waiting may actually be more harmful to the patient than early intervention.”

If you are one of the lucky ones who are found in the early stages of active myeloma or smoldering myeloma, you will have the luxury of time to understand the treatment options. Dr. Rajkumar of Mayo Clinic did a wonderful job of explaining  the new criteria for myeloma diagnosis. Dr. Irene Ghobrial is doing some great work to follow MGUS and smoldering stages of the disease, to  develop treatments to cure, or at least prevent end organ damage.   to view a myeloma crowd interview with Dr. Ghobrial on the subject.  Just as a note, the country of Iceland is testing all of its adult population over 40 to screen for MGUS, Smoldering, and active myeloma.  They call it iStopMM, a clinical trial supported by the IMF(International Myeloma Foundation).  This is a future I pray we will all see where we could cost effectively find MM early and treat it before end organ damage. 

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8 Early Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms That Are Too Easy to Miss

This movement disorder is more treatable when caught early, but Parkinson’s disease symptoms can appear quite differently from one person to another. Talk to your doctor if you’re worried about any of these signs.

Changed handwriting

writing

If your handwriting starts to go from big and loopy to small and cramped, this could be one of the earliest Parkinson’s disease symptoms. “Teachers with Parkinson’s will notice students complaining that they can’t read their handwriting when they write on the blackboard,” says Deborah Hall, MD, a neurologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Look for letters getting smaller and words crowding together. Many patients have slower movement and trouble with repetitive tasks, like handwriting. There’s a wrist gadget that can stop Parkinson’s tremors.

Reduced sense of smell

36-smell-Secrets Your Brain Wishes You Knew_685133872-Kasefoto

If you’re having trouble smelling pungent foods or no longer pick up your favorite scents, see a doctor. It’s not the most common symptom of Parkinson’s, but Dr. Hall says patients who suffer a loss of smell report it being the earliest sign they experience. The link between reduced sense of smell and Parkinson’s isn’t clear, but one theory is that the clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein, found in the brains of all Parkinson’s patients, may form in the part of the brain responsible for smell before migrating to other areas and affecting motor function. Also, if you can’t recognize these 5 smells you could develop dementia.

Trouble sleeping

woman

If you were once a peaceful sleeper, but now toss and turn, flail your limbs, or even fall out of bed, those sleep problems could be Parkinson’s disease symptoms. It’s normal to have an occasional restless night, but talk to your doctor if you or your partner notices extra movement when you’re in a deep sleep, or if you start sleep-talking. More research is needed to discover why disturbed sleep and Parkinson’s are related, but one theory is that the degeneration of specific regions of the brain stem that can cause disordered sleeping may play a role in other Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

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Parkinson’s disease: New surgical technique providing fresh hope for sufferers

In the past few years Fady Al-Sarouny’s Parkinson’s disease tremors had became so debilitating the Melbourne man was unable to perform simple of tasks, such as pour a glass of water or put himself to bed.

“It was very hard … I couldn’t even step outside. I felt like I was nothing,” Mr Al-Sarouny told 9News.

Now the 54-year-old’s incapacitating shaking has subsided – thanks to a new and improved form of brain surgery.

Fady Al-Sarouny, 54, with his daughter and wife.

Royal Melbourne Hospital is pioneering a new surgical technique which is having remarkable results, and delivering health and hope for sufferers such as Mr Al-Sarouny.

For decades doctors worldwide have been conducting Deep Brain Stimulation – or DBS for short.

The therapy involves implanting electrodes into the areas of the brain which control movement.

These are connected to a device under the skin which triggers electrical impulses to minimise the shakes.

Royal Melbourne Hospital neurosurgeon Girish Nair likens the therapy to a “pacemaker for the brain”.

The therapy involves implanting electrodes into the areas of the brain which control movement.

“For people that are debilitated with tremors and unable to maintain a social lifestyle or even take care of themselves, deep brain stimulation (DBS) makes a huge change,” Mr Nair told 9News.

For some however the procedure has been intolerable and unsuitable. 

Traditionally patients were secured to an operating table with a cumbersome head frame for more than five hours.

The secure frame kept them still during scans and skull incisions.

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4 Quick and Natural Home Heartburn Remedies

That sharp, burning pain… it shoots through your chest… it rises up your throat.

Is it Cancer? A heart attack? Nope, it’s heartburn.

Acid reflux and heartburn are an extremely common problem, 60% of adults in the U.S. will suffer this year alone. I used to be part of that statistic, I used to have that nasty taste in my mouth and constant burning in my throat.

I struggled for years with these pains. They always seemed to strike at the most inopportune times like right before job interviews, at family dinners, and on dates.

So, naturally the first thing I wanted is relief. But what kind… the natural, non-toxic kind? The prescription drug kind? The over-the-counter kind?

I don’t know if you can relate but I hated carrying Tums in my car, having them in my desk drawer and my medicine cabinet. And the last thing I wanted was to be stuck on PPIs.

So, I researched, tested and started using the following 4 very safe and natural methods. However, I think it’s worth mentioning why they actually work. I find that most people I talk with actually need to know WHY things work, before they actually stick to using them.

Why Do These Natural Methods Work?

The natural methods presented here are, in my opinion, actually better for you than PPIs, H2 blockers, or Antacids because most of them actually support your body in working properly. The unnatural options above actually stop your body from doing it’s job and contribute to ill health.

What do I mean? Well, acid reflux typically happens after eating right? Sometimes it happens right away or hours later when you lay down to sleep.

Why?

Most people think it has to do with too much acid… but turns out that’s a lie we’ve all been sold for a LONG time… and it’s the same lie that keeps us stuck on drugs to keep the symptoms at bay.

It’s Extremely RARE to Have High Acid Levels!

And yet tv ads, friends and even doctors tell us, “You have too much acid, so you need to stop all that acid production.”

They are making assumptions about the pain, rather than taking the time to think about the physiology of the body. Even if you had too much acid, it wouldn’t mean that you’d have reflux.

Jumping to conclusions like this is actually a big deal! Besides wasting your money, as I explained here, acid suppressing options could be making you even sicker.

You are probably thinking, “So you’re telling me you’re smarter than my doctor?” Who knows, but I’ve researched this topic for a long time and healed my own issues. What I am saying is that there are doctors out there, like Dr. Jonathan Wright, MD, who’ve spent a good portion of their lives understanding this issue and writing books on it. In this 10-minute video he explains…

“And we do the [stomach acid] tests exactly according to the specifications. What we find 99% of the time is when people have those symptoms [acid reflux, heartburn, GERD] there isn’t enough acid down there [in the stomach].”

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5 things to know about celiac disease

Gluten-free foods are becoming more commonplace and are essential to the well-being of individuals with celiac disease. Celiac disease is easily managed, but it is important to reduce the intake of gluten if you are diagnosed with it.

Barbara Paolucci is a family nurse practitioner with Novant Health Gastroenterology Brunswick in Supply at 13 Medical Campus Drive, Suite 102. She has some points on celiac disease that you should know.

1. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in the small intestines

If someone has celiac disease, they should avoid eating gluten in their diets. I“What happens when someone has this disorder,” said Paolucci, “is that it impairs the body’s ability to break down certain food, and because of that you have inflammation in the gut.” This can cause varying symptoms and can lead to more serious health problems down the road.

2. Celiac disease has varying symptoms and increases the risk of cancer

“Everybody is very different,” said Paolucci “and so some people can be not symptomatic at all, and some people can be severely symptomatic.” Patients might experience abdominal pain and bloating, frequent bowel movements and diarrhea. A decrease in appetite also can come with celiac disease, and even malnutrition that results in weight loss. One symptom many might not consider is that children with celiac disease can experience slow growth. They are not growing at the rate they should be on a healthy growth chart, for example. Cancer is another thing to consider. Intake of gluten can affect the structure of the intestines and mutate the cells. Repeated mutations of the cell can eventually put you at risk for small bowel cancer. Paolucci says this is why it is so important to stay on a gluten-free diet for those with celiac disease. Even taking in small bits of gluten is repeated injury to the intestines, and over time that can increase the chances of getting cancer.

3. Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are different

While those who have celiac disease and gluten intolerance should avoid gluten in their diets, there are some differences between the two. There are tests done to see if a patient has celiac disease, including a bowel biopsy which would show structural changes within the colon. There is also a blood test. Another component to celiac disease is genetics. “Somebody who has gluten intolerance may have tested negative for the genetic component,” said Paolucci, “or even possibly negative for the biopsy and the blood test. So, there was no definitive diagnoses for celiac, but still when they got on a gluten-free diet, had improvements of their symptoms.” Both those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance benefit from being on a diet free of gluten. Paolucci also notes that a person should be on a gluten diet at the time of the testing, or else the results could be falsely negative.

4. Gluten-free options are more readily available

Treating celiac disease includes a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in rye, wheat, barley and other types of flours, and that means that options might appear to be limited. Pastas, pizza, crackers, and cereal are typical foods that contain gluten and should be avoided if a patient has celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Today, there are many different kinds of flours, such as almond flour, that do not contain gluten. “Many more restaurants are now having gluten-free products there,” said Paolucci. All you have to do is ask for gluten-free options. Even grocery stores are broadening their offerings of gluten-free food, so it is not as hard as it may seem to avoid food filled with gluten.

5. Experiment with your diet, and pay attention to labels

There are a lot of gluten-free foods out there, but some people might still be hesitant that they can’t enjoy food like someone without celiac disease. This is not the case. “Gluten-free foods are not terrible in taste,” said Paolucci. While bread, for example, might not be as fluffy, there are different types of gluten-free bread, so it’s all about preference. Explore all the different options and find what you enjoy. It’s also important to pay attention to labels, because some gluten-free foods like nuts might have been processed on the same equipment as wheat. An important thing to remember is that celiac disease doesn’t prevent you from enjoying the great taste of food, but it is also essential to avoid gluten with the disorder.

5 FAQs About Tinnitus

Tinnitus is an issue faced by more and more people, but there are still misunderstandings about it and many are uncertain as to what it is. It is not a disease or illness of its own, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition. It’s when you experience the perception of noise without a source and can vary a lot. To better understand tinnitus, consider the following five frequently asked questions.

What are the causes of tinnitus?

As it is a symptom, not an underlying condition, finding the direct cause of tinnitus can be difficult. However, there is a range of potential causes and risk factors that you should be aware of. These include: hearing loss due to wear and tear in the ear, exposure to loud noise, ear infections and earwax build up. Conditions like glue ear and Meniere’s disease can cause tinnitus and it may even be a symptom of psychological issues like stress and anxiety.

Can tinnitus be cured?

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for tinnitus at the moment. If it is caused by issues like earwax buildup or ear infection, treating these conditions can sometimes stop it, but that is a minority of cases. Tinnitus can affect people of any age, it can be intermittent or constantly present, and it can suddenly stop at any time, though most people living with tinnitus will experience it for years; even their whole life.

What are the signs and what should I do if I experience them?

As tinnitus is a symptom and not a condition, the definition of the symptom is simple. If you hear any persistent buzzing or ringing, either in your ears or your own head, you should see your audiologist. An audiologist will be able to help clear up or diagnose most physical causes through a hearing test and an earwax cleaning. Tinnitus varies from person to person. It might sound like ringing to some, but it may sound like a tune or song, also known as musical tinnitus. On the other hand, if you hear tinnitus in sync with your heartbeat, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. Experiencing any of them are reasons to see an audiologist.

What are the treatments for tinnitus?

While there may be no guaranteed cure for tinnitus, there are a variety of treatments used to improve quality of life. In a lot of cases where tinnitus is heard in the air, an audiologist can equip you with a hearing aid that can amplify external noise and mask the sound, drowning out tinnitus. The use of white noise and sound masking has proven one of the most effective treatments, but there’s a wide range of treatments used, from drug therapy to tinnitus retraining therapy.

What if my tinnitus changes?

It’s very common that tinnitus will change throughout your experience with it. It may change from intermittent to constant, from pulsatile to erratic, even from being in your ear to in your head. If you experience any changes, note them and see your audiologist to see if a change in treatment may help.

Because tinnitus can be brought on from a wide range of causes, treatments can differ from person to person. It’s important to start seeking help with tinnitus as soon as possible, as leaving it untreated can result in problems like stress, depression and insomnia.

Lung Cancer Management and Treatment

How is lung cancer treated?

All relevant information about the patient, including his or her health status, the kind of tumor and how far it has spread are brought together to design the most appropriate therapy for that individual’s cancer.

Lung cancer is a very challenging cancer to treat. The most critical factor in determining the survival rate is the stage at the time of diagnosis. Those that are diagnosed at a localized stage are curable. Unfortunately, most people are diagnosed when the disease has spread outside the chest (advanced or distant) or involves the nodes in the chest (regional). Also, the lungs are very sensitive organs and may not handle some forms of treatment easily. This helps explain why lung cancer has one of the poorest survival rates of all cancers. Two-year survival rate of those diagnosed with lung cancer is 25 percent. At five years, survival rate drops to 15 percent.

It is important to discuss the goals of lung cancer treatment with your doctor. Some treatments may be used to control the cancer. Others are used to improve quality of life and/or reduce symptoms. These treatments may be used alone or in combination.

Chemotherapy and targeted therapies

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs that are designed to kill rapidly growing cells, such as cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be injected directly into a vein (by IV, or intravenously) or given through a catheter, which is a thin tube placed into a large vein and kept there until it is no longer needed. Some chemotherapy drugs are taken by pill.

Targeted agents are a newer class of drugs that are designed to act against specific weaknesses in cancer cells or surrounding supportive tissues, such as blood vessels. These drugs can also be taken by pill or by IV. They are most effective in cancers with specific changes in their genes.

In early stages of non-small cell cancer, chemotherapy may be used in conjunction with surgery to improve survival rates. In more advanced stages of non-small cell cancer and in all stages of small cell cancer, chemotherapy and targeted therapies may be used to relieve symptoms and extend life.

These therapies affect both normal cells and cancer cells. Your doctors will try to prevent side effects as much as possible while treating the cancer appropriately. Side effects depend largely on the specific type of drug and the amount given. They can be different for each person and may be only temporary. Common side effects of chemotherapy include nausea and vomiting, hair loss, mouth sores and fatigue. Your health care providers can suggest ways to make any side effects more manageable and to help relieve symptoms that may occur during and after procedures.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a form of high energy X-ray that kills cancer cells. It can be used as a primary treatment, or in combination with chemotherapy (with or without surgery). It often can play an important role in advanced cancer patients by providing relief from pain, blockage of the airways, shortness of breath or coughing.

Radiation therapy is a “focused” treatment, meaning it is designed to maximize its effect on the cancer cells while minimizing any injury to normal cells. Radiation to treat lung cancer most often comes from a machine (external radiation). Occasionally, the radiation may be delivered internally using tubes that place a radioactive seed directly into or near the tumor (internal radiation or brachytherapy).

Side effects of radiation therapy depend mainly on the part of the body that is treated and the treatment dose. Common side effects of radiation therapy to the chest are a dry, sore throat; difficulty swallowing; fatigue; skin changes at the site of treatment; and loss of appetite.

An area of particular innovation in radiation therapy is a high-technology approach, sometimes termed “radiosurgery.” In very select patients who have small tumors but for whom surgery is unsafe, radiosurgery using very high doses of precisely focused radiation aimed only at the small tumor in the lung, is an effective alternative.

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11 Facts About Parkinson’s Disease You May Not Know

Most people know of Parkinson’s disease and have a good idea of its symptoms, but very few know much more than that about this progressive illness. Since April is Parkinson’s disease awareness month, we’ve put together some simple stats and facts that you can share near and far.

With help from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundationeverydayhealth.com, and ecaring.com, here are 11 facts about the disease most people don’t know. (Some of them may even surprise you!)

It’s a movement disorder. 
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease whereby cells responsible for producing dopamine die off in the substantia nigra area of the brain. Dopamine is essential for movement as it acts as a transmitter for signals from the brain to other parts of the body.

Who found it?
Parkinson’s disease was discovered by British surgeon Dr. James Parkinson in 1817.

How prevalent is it?
Approximately one million people have Parkinson’s disease in the U.S. and there are around 50,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

Most patients are middle-aged. 
The average age of someone diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is 56. Around 4 percent of Parkinson’s patients are diagnosed before the age of 50 and it’s considered young-onset if diagnosed before the age of 40.

When is it considered young-onset Parkinson’s disease?
It’s considered young-onset if diagnosed before the age of 40. The youngest recorded case of Parkinson’s was a 12-year-old patient.

How is it diagnosed?
There is no blood test or scan that can diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Doctors look for four classic symptoms of the disease before reaching a diagnosis: tremors, rigidity in the wrist and elbow joints, lack or slowness of movement, and an unstable posture.

It affects mostly men. 
Parkinson’s disease is twice as likely to affect men than women.

There’s no known cause. 
There is no known cause of Parkinson’s disease although a family history of the disease will increase your risk. Researchers think environmental factors such as smoking, pollution, heavy metals, medications and illegal drugs may be responsible for the onset of the disease. Head trauma, brain inflammation, and stroke have also been associated with the disease.

Parkinson’s is expensive. 
Treating patients with Parkinson’s disease costs the U.S. around $25 billion a year. The average patient will need $2,500 worth of medication each year and therapeutic surgery could cost up to $100,000.

How do you treat it? 
There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease but there are medications that can help patients with the symptoms. Patients can also undergo deep brain stimulation where electrical current is used to help block tremors and other movement symptoms of the disease.

There’s a correlation between Parkinson’s and depression
Dopamine is also associated with mood as well as movement. It’s estimated that more than half of Parkinson’s disease patients suffer from depression and around 40 percent suffer from anxiety.

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