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Acid Reflux

9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you’ve had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valve—your lower esophageal sphincter. That’s the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn’t close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux; the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack.

Three conditions—poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying—contribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If you’ve been having repeated episodes of heartburn—or any other symptoms of acid reflux—you might try the following:

1. Eat sparingly and slowly

When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called “grazing”—eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

2. Avoid certain foods

People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that’s no longer the case. “We’ve evolved from the days when you couldn’t eat anything,” Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Don’t drink carbonated beverages

They make you burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Drink flat water instead of sparkling water.

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Alzheimer’s Disease

15 Things No One Tells You About Alzheimer’s Disease

Every 65 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s, and their family and friends must become caregivers. Experts share the 15 things no one tells you about the challenges—and rewards.

Your loved one may do wildly inappropriate things

Senior woman with walking stick being helped by a female nurse at home. Full length shot of female doctor with elderly patient at nursing home.JACOB LUND/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Sometimes people say and do things that are out of character,” says Ruth Drew, director of Information and Support at Alzheimer’s Association. She recalls the time a woman—who had always been very proper—began taking off her clothes from the waist down. One of the residential care facilitators suspected that there was something going on and had her tested for a urinary tract infection—which turned out to be the problem. “You need to play detective and discover what is triggering the behavior,” says Drew.  “The circle of life reverses itself and sometimes the child becomes the parent,” notes Gail Pearson, Memory Care Unit Manager, Jeffrey and Susan Brudnick Center for Living.

Loss of inhibitions

Pleasant memories. Portrait of old charming couple remembering sweet moments. Woman is looking at husband while laughing. Man is regarding at picture while tenderly cuddling wifeOLENA YAKOBCHUK/SHUTTERSTOCK

“It is not uncommon that my husband opens his zipper. He doesn’t do it to be sexual. He thinks it’s funny,” reports a family caregiver. “He also tries to kiss strangers because he truly believes everyone likes him.” 

Expect delusions and hallucinations

15 Things No One Tells You About Alzheimer's DiseaseLOGOBOOM/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Delusions can turn on a dime,” notes Pearson. Patients may say sexually inappropriate comments because they have no filter, she says.

Speech may disappear

Thoughtful retiree looking what going onOLENA YAKOBCHUK/SHUTTERSTOCK

Even though she had been a social worker for over two decades, Tanjulla Tyson-Wearren was surprised when her mother suddenly couldn’t speak. “It was an emotional roller coaster. I was not prepared to never hear her sing a song or say hi,” says Tyson-Wearren. “Even when they cannot speak, there are still ways to connect, “says Drew. 

They may forget how to shower

shower-headJANNY2/SHUTTERSTOCK

“Confusion becomes the central way of thinking,” notes Crystal Polizzotti, Healthy Aging Program Manager at Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley. Polizzotti notes that there are about 15 steps to taking a shower that we don’t even think about—but that a person with Alzheimer’s may find impossible to complete. One of the caregivers told Polizzotti that the only way she could get her husband to shower was to go in first. “You have to get creative,” notes Polizzotti.

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Acid Reflux

10 Things to Stop Doing If You Have GERD

When you suffer from chronic heartburn that can be associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), this condition can affect your entire life. It may be necessary to stop eating some of your favorite foods. The heartburn may interfere with your sleep. It may even interfere with your availability to work well.

Even when you and doctor decide on for your GERD treatment, it’s also important to know what not to do as it is to know what to do. The following are 10 things you may be doing and should stop if you don’t want to suffer from a bout of heartburn.

1. Don’t Overeat
Man eating spaghetti
Harald Walker / Stocksy United / Getty Images

Large meals expand your stomach and increase upward pressure against the lower esophageal sphincter (LES — the valve between your esophagus and your stomach), which can lead to heartburn. Try these tips:

  • Eat six smaller meals each day instead of three larger ones. This will help keep the stomach from becoming too full and will also help prevent excessive production of stomach acid.
  • Three smaller meals and three snacks can also help.
2. Don’t Eat Too Quickly
Smiling woman eating and enjoying garden party dinner
Hero Images / Getty Images

When we eat too fast, it is harder for our digestive system to perform the way it should. We could end up suffering from poor digestion, which increases your chances of experiencing heartburn.

Some way to help you slow down while eating:

  • Put your fork or spoon down between bites.
  • Chew your food thoroughly before swallowing.
  • Chew 20 times or count to 20 before the next bite.
  • Take smaller bites.

3. Don’t Eat the Foods That Can Trigger Your Heartburn

BLT
Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

There are a couple reasons why some foods cause heartburn: 1) When the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes when it shouldn’t; or (2) when the stomach produces too much acid.

When the LES is the culprit, food and stomach acid come back up into your esophagus. Some of the foods that can relax the LES include:

  • Fried (greasy) foods
  • High-fat meats
  • Creamy sauces
  • Whole-milk dairy products
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint
  • Caffeinated beverages (e.g., soft drinks, coffee, tea, cocoa)

Foods that may stimulate acid production and increase heartburn include:

  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Citrus fruit and juices (e.g., orange, grapefruit)
  • Tomato-based products

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Categories
Tuberous Sclerosis

31 FACTS ABOUT TUBEROUS SCLEROSIS COMPLEX (TSC)

1. TSC is genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in vital organs.

2. It is estimated that TSC affects 1 in 6,000 births.

3. More than 50,000 people in the USA have TSC; 1 million worldwide.

4. TSC is the leading genetic cause of epilepsy and autism.

5. TSC is more common than Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).

6. In TSC, there is no difference in the rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) between males and females, as compared to the non-TSC population where there is a male predominance.

7. There is no cure for TSC.

8. Research into TSC may lead to better understanding of other diseases, like cancer, autism and epilepsy.

9. Seizures occur in 85% of people with TSC.

10. TSC affects everyone differently; some have very mild symptoms while others are severely impacted.

11. TSC shows no gender bias and occurs in all races and ethnic groups.

12. About 45% to 60% of people with TSC have intellectual disabilities including hyperactivity, developmental delay, autism or aggression.

13. TS Alliance-funded research led to the identification of two genes that cause TSC; these genes are called TSC1 and TSC2.

14. Current molecular testing for TSC identifies a TSC1 or TSC2 mutation in up to 85% of individuals with a definite diagnosis of TSC by clinical criteria.

15. Somewhere in the world, a child is born with TSC every 20 minutes

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Type 2 diabetes

15 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Sugar Levels Naturally

High blood sugar occurs when your body can’t effectively transport sugar from blood into cells.

When left unchecked, this can lead to diabetes.

One study from 2012 reported that 12–14% of US adults had type 2 diabetes, while 37–38% were classified as pre-diabetic.

This means that 50% of all US adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Here are 15 easy ways to lower blood sugar levels naturally:

1. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can help you lose weight and increase insulin sensitivity.

Increased insulin sensitivity means your cells are better able to use the available sugar in your bloodstream.

Exercise also helps your muscles use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction.

If you have problems with blood sugar control, you should routinely check your levels. This will help you learn how you respond to different activities and keep your blood sugar levels from getting either too high or too low.

Good forms of exercise include weight lifting, brisk walking, running, biking, dancing, hiking, swimming and more.

2. Control Your Carb Intake

Your body breaks carbs down into sugars (mostly glucose), and then insulin moves the sugars into cells.

When you eat too many carbs or have problems with insulin function, this process fails and blood glucose levels rise.

However, there are several things you can do about this.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends controlling carb intake by counting carbs or using a food exchange system.

Some studies find that these methods can also help you plan your meals appropriately, which may further improve blood sugar control.

Many studies also show that a low-carb diet helps reduce blood sugar levels and prevent blood sugar spikes.

What’s more, a low-carb diet can help control blood sugar levels in the long run.

3. Increase Your Fiber Intake

Fiber slows carb digestion and sugar absorption. For these reasons, it promotes a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

Furthermore, the type of fiber you eat may play a role.

There are two kinds of fiber: insoluble and soluble. While both are important, soluble fiber specifically has been shown to lower blood sugar levels.

Additionally, a high-fiber diet can help manage type 1 diabetes by improving blood sugar control and reducing blood sugar lows,

Foods that are high in fiber include vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.

The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. That’s about 14 grams for every 1,000 calories.

4. Drink Water and Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water may help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy limits.

In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out the excess blood sugar through urine.

One observational study showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels.

Drinking water regularly re-hydrates the blood, lowers blood sugar levels and reduces diabetes risk.

Keep in mind that water and other non-caloric beverages are best. Sugar-sweetened drinks raise blood glucose, drive weight gain and increase diabetes risk.

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DYSLEXIA

5 Things Not to Say to Your Child About Dyslexia

Even the best-intended comments can make a child with dyslexia feel discouraged or inadequate. We talked to dyslexia advocate Ben Foss, author of The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan. He shared tips about what words can hurt—and what to say instead.

1. “If you try harder, you’ll read better.”

Imagine asking a student who uses a wheelchair to get himself up a flight of stairs without any help. He makes his way to the top, but naturally he takes longer to do it than his classmates. Would you think he wasn’t trying hard? Of course not. Kids with dyslexia already work harder than their peers just to get to baseline when it comes to reading. If your child is struggling, you might say, “I know it’s tough to always have to work so hard at reading. What can we do to make it less frustrating for you right now?”

2. “Other kids don’t need to know about your dyslexia.”

Dyslexia is an important aspect of your child’s identity. It’s a part of him, just like his sense of humor and the color of his hair. Encouraging him to hide his dyslexia from other kids tells him it’s something he should be ashamed of. Instead try, “Your friends can see how creative and good you are at so many things. Telling them about your dyslexia might help give them a fuller picture of who you are.”

3. “Maybe we should think about alternatives to college where reading isn’t so important.”

People often lower their expectations for students with learning and thinking differences. But kids with dyslexia (and other issues) can go on to achieve great things if they’re given the proper supports and play to their strengths. Try instead: “I believe you can achieve anything. If you want to go to college, let’s find a place that provides the support and opportunities that will help you reach your goals.”

4. “If you don’t learn to read, you’ll never be successful.”

Every child with dyslexia should have the opportunity to learn how to read with his eyes. But if it’s not clicking, it might be time to look at other methods. The message you can share: “There are many different ways to read. Some people read with their eyes. Many blind people use Braille and read with their fingers. You might like reading with your ears—by listening to audiobooks, for example. We’re going to find a way for you to read that suits your strengths.”

5. “Using a spell-checker is cheating.”

Would you tell a person in a wheelchair that using a ramp is cheating? No! A key point in this comparison is that both stairs and writing assignments are often poorly designed for certain people. Assistive technology can help people to maximize their potential. Consider saying, “Lots of people use technology to become better learners. Some people use glasses. Some use hearing aids. Some use computers. We’re going to teach you how to use various tools to help you become more independent.

More to read:

20 Things to Remember If You Love a Person With Dyslexia


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DYSLEXIA

20 Things to Remember If You Love a Person With Dyslexia

It’s hard to understand it, isn’t it?

If you’re not one of the ten to fifteen percent of the population with dyslexia, it’s really hard to understand what it’s like.

It’s easy to think that it’s a bit of a scam. That if people with dyslexia worked harder, and really applied themselves, they could “get over it.” But that’s not the case.

Life is actually much more difficult for people with dyslexia. They have brilliant minds, but they’re hard to focus.

Dyslexia is a gift—the gift of being able to see things from lots of different points of view, all at once. But the gift comes with a curse, and the curse is that it’s hard to prioritize, or make sense of, all those perspectives.

People with dyslexia can be hard to live with, and hard to love, because their brains work so differently to ours. Even if you love someone with dyslexia, the day-to-day living with it can drive you insane. Because they can forget things, believe they’ve said or done things they haven’t, be incredibly messy and disorganized, and be less socially aware than other people.

The best thing you can do is to understand more about dyslexia, so you’re less exasperated and more sympathetic.

This is an insight into how their minds work.

1. They have lifestyle challenges.

Dyslexia is much more than just having difficulty reading, writing, and using numbers. They see the world in a completely different way, communicate differently, and have trouble organizing things.

Some people describe it as a lifestyle challenge, others as a lifestyle curse, because it affects almost all aspects of their lives.

2. They can seem weird.

Despite their high intelligence, and because they see so many different perspectives at once, they can appear incoherent in conversation. They can come out with strange ideas, and lack the ability to check if their thoughts are suitable for conversation. They can seem almost autistic because they’re often unaware of social rules.

3. They find details exhausting.

Because their brain is less efficient at processing letters and sounds, it has to work harder—much harder. So any time spent reading, using numbers, or focusing on details is really, really exhausting.

4. They function differently on different days.

Some days they seem to function better than others, and can appear to be improving. Other days, it’s like everything is getting worse. There’s no reason, and no pattern. It just is.

5. They are highly creative.

Their ability to view the world from all perspectives makes them highly creative. They can come up with wildly creative ideas, partly because they’re not constrained by the laws of physics, mathematical logic, or the impossible.

6. They see things that others don’t.

Like words moving on the page, or even off the page, and letters flipping about. You know how challenging it can be to read letters and numbers in captcha? Imagine reading a whole book like that. Or reading a book through a magnifying lens that a child is holding, and moving about.

They can even see the word cat more than 40 different ways.

7. They get overwhelmed by what they see.

They see so many possibilities that their thoughts can become garbled and distorted. It’s hard to sort through all that information and work out what’s important or appropriate. Without the ability to filter, this special gift becomes a tragic, confusing, disability.

8. They are more likely to have ADD.

People with dyslexia are more likely to have ADD. About 40% of people with dyslexia have ADD, and 60% of people with ADD have dyslexia.

9. They can experience thoughts as reality.

They can fully believe they’ve told you something, that they haven’t, or swear that you haven’t told them something that you have.

Often they express themselves in such a unique way that their message hasn’t come across coherently. And they may not realize that this aspect of their communication is part of their dyslexia.

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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis – Symptoms and causes

Overview

Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.

Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone.

Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races. But white and Asian women — especially older women who are past menopause — are at highest risk. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.

Symptoms

There typically are no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you might have signs and symptoms that include:

  • Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture
  • A bone that breaks much more easily than expected

When to see a doctor

You might want to talk to your doctor about osteoporosis if you went through early menopause or took corticosteroids for several months at a time, or if either of your parents had hip fractures.

Causes

Your bones are in a constant state of renewal — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone and your bone mass increases. After the early 20s this process slows, and most people reach their peak bone mass by age 30. As people age, bone mass is lost faster than it’s created.

How likely you are to develop osteoporosis depends partly on how much bone mass you attained in your youth. Peak bone mass is somewhat inherited and varies also by ethnic group. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have “in the bank” and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.

Risk factors

A number of factors can increase the likelihood that you’ll develop osteoporosis — including your age, race, lifestyle choices, and medical conditions and treatments.

Unchangeable risks

Some risk factors for osteoporosis are out of your control, including:

  • Your sex. Women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than are men.
  • Age. The older you get, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Race. You’re at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent.
  • Family history. Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk, especially if your mother or father fractured a hip.
  • Body frame size. Men and women who have small body frames tend to have a higher risk because they might have less bone mass to draw from as they age.

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Osteoporosis

8 Mistakes People With Osteoporosis Make

What to Do—and Not Do—If You Have Low Bone Density

Osteoporosis is a chronic, common condition causing bones to weaken and become fragile. If you have this condition or are at risk for it, there are things you can do to help preserve the bone you have—and even add new bone. But there also are mistakes you can make that can slow this progress, often based on misconceptions or misunderstandings. By avoiding these common missteps, you can reduce your risk and keep your bones at their best.

 
Man golfing

1. They think it can’t happen to them.

While most people with osteoporosis are post-menopausal women, it can affect both men and women at any age. All kinds of factors can cause osteoporosis: medications you take (corticosteroids, for example); other medical conditions you may have, such as cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, anorexia or rheumatoid arthritis; being sedentary; smoking; drinking excessively; and many more. Talk to your doctor to see if you are at risk.

 
Doctor examining patient's leg

2. They don’t take fractures seriously.

About 80% of older Americans who get low-impact fractures (such as a fall from a standing position) don’t get follow-up scans to check their level of bone density. Yet fractures are often the first sign of osteoporosis, and also can have a severe impact on your life (especially hip fractures, which can result in life-long disability, loss of independence and even death). About half of osteoporosis-related repeat fractures are preventable—if you get proper treatment.

 
Female doctor talking to female patient

3. They let alarming headlines scare them off medication.

Certain kinds of drugs called biphosphonates, such as Boniva or Fosamax, have been in the news for possibly causing jaw cancer or femur fractures. But your risk for fracture is almost always much higher than your risk of encountering any of these rare side effects. Medications can cut your fracture risk in half. Before quitting your medication, talk to your doctor about your risks and any alternative treatments, such as other types of drugs.

Medication for strong bones

4. They shy away from calcium or supplements for fear of side effects.

Recent studies have raised concern that excess calcium or calcium supplements can lead to heart problems. However, the National Osteoporosis Foundation says its experts and those from the American Society for Preventive Cardiology have reviewed the research and believe calcium (including supplements) is safe at recommended levels. The foundation recommends people get 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily (depending on age and gender) from food sources if possible and supplements if needed, but not to exceed 2,500 milligrams daily.

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Ankylosing Spondylitis

10 Common Symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a protracted inflammatory condition that can affect various joints, as well as the eyes and intestines. Most frequently, however, the disease targets the spine. Doctors classify ankylosing spondylitis as a form of spinal arthritis to clearly distinguish it from common back injuries. The condition can be more harmful than common back problems because it may eventually impede mobility and damage eyesight. Ankylosing spondylitis usually develops between the ages of 17 and 45, although children can get it too. It’s more common in men, although some experts believe this is due to under-diagnosis in women.

1. First Noticed After a Muscle Strain

Ankylosing spondylitis and regular back injuries may start in the same way. The patient tells the doctor that they strained a muscle, and shortly afterward, the back pain begins. However, the pain associated with ankylosing spondylitis comes from inflammation around the spine rather than trauma and therefore requires different treatment.

2. Pain Develops Over Time and Varies

Pain from ankylosing spondylitis may occur in any part of the body where tendons or ligaments connect to a bone, often developing slowly over the years, although it can flare up suddenly. The symptoms may lessen or worsen as time passes. Sometimes, pain builds after a period of rest, though it may also wake an individual during the night. In the mildest cases, it is barely noticeable, but severe ankylosing spondylitis can make it extremely painful to bend, turn around, or perform other movements usually carried out unconsciously. Teenagers do not normally experience pain in their lower back, so this symptom indicates the need for immediate medical attention.

3. Exercise May Help

Exercise generally aggravates back pain while rest eases it, but in the case of ankylosing spondylitis, the opposite holds true. This is one reason why the pain is frequently worse in the morning. Because exercise brings relief, people with the condition are often encouraged to lead active lifestyles.

4. Pain that Spreads Around the Body

Even though the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis generally first develop where the spine joins the pelvis, this arthritis-like inflammation may spread to joints in the shoulder, elbow, ankle, knee, heel, and other areas. Swelling may accompany pain and stiffness, as may a sensation of warmness. The exact course the disease takes, and its severity, differs greatly from person to person, so it is difficult to predict.

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