Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stay hydrated”..RIGHT, leave me alone!

Drink even if you think you aren't thirsty: if you feel thirsty, it means you are already dehydrated and your body is trying to let you know. Of course PwMS may not get that message from the body to the brain, so keep a water bottle or wine skin attached to you, your bike, car etc. Go to any CCSVI website and the words”keep hydrated” or “drink plenty of water” will be on every page or close to it. I use to think I was a little OCD about hydration until I met Daryl. Seriously, even many of us who have had the procedure are tired of hearing about it. The truth is that it is not simply a good idea, or necessary: it is critical that we stay hydrated. I am one of the lucky ones who can tell quickly when I become dehydrated. Some people have not been as fortunate. Feeling thirsty is a sign that you are not keeping ahead of the need for drink. Due to my own severe heat intolerance I also have hyperhidrosis (profuse sweating). If you are picturing a large person with a dirty tee shirt and huge armpit sweat marks…you have the wrong picture. As long as I keep my core temperature under the red zone, I look like any other old lady on the smallish size. It takes much planning and cooling equipment, as well as an up to the minute means of weather information. An individual can be severely dehydrated, particularly in the summer, and not be aware of it until it becomes a medical emergency.. It doesn't matter if you are in constant A/C or not. People can sweat as much or more during as they do in the summer. It is quite possible to lose even more fluid during the winter months under all the flannel and knickers. Dehydration can and will be a catalyst for restenosis. Walking in public places, church, meetings etc. can be embarrassing if you let it. I don't. My health is more important to me than the “drinks are not allowed” signs in many businesses. Try to bring your sippy cup into the theater and see what happens. They all have “no dogs allowed” signs also. Well there are exceptions to every rule. The ADA allows access to service animals who are trained and certified to accompany disabled people in grocery stores, airplanes or any other building or facility open to the public.The law also makes allowance for the disabled to have “handicapped only” parking spaces. Of course enforcing the law in both the above situations has been a nightmare for many of us. I have lifetime handicap license plates and 2 placards for cars in which I am a passenger. My service animal has all of her papers and certification on a laminated card I take with me everywhere she goes. (BTW in the US you don’t have to show any paperwork to anyone but it saves a lot of confrontation opportunities from ruining your day.) So what do we do if we have to use other medically necessary non-traditional aids? You have options. You can explain quietly that you aren’t trying to stiff the theater for the price of a Coke. That rarely works. You can carry a large purse but eventually you have to take the bottle out and actually use it. You can appeal to their compassionate side and explain your situation. That works at least 10% of the time. You could also have your doctor sign a “medical necessity” form. That option works for me. Should this all be necessary? In a word,hell no! (Ok two words) But we all know the crap we have to put up with when it comes to the rights of people who are handicapped, disabled or otherwise not the “average” citizen; whoever that may be, I haven’t met one yet. What we are talking about here is not setting up a wet bar in the county courthouse. We are talking about an unobtrusive innocent container of water. I have written 7 or 8 blogs about how to beat the heat from absolutely free to $1000.00 & up. Since I have to wear a cooling vest, sometimes even in winter, I do what I must. If I needed a portable oxygen tank, I wouldn’t be as concerned about etiquette as I would be about passing out from low O2 stats. Heat intolerance may lead to heat exhaustion under severe circumstances. If you experience signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, you may need to seek emergency medical treatment. These symptoms include: • Confusion • Loss of consciousness • Vomiting • Muscle cramps • Body temperature of 104 F or higher • Elevated heart rate • Rapid breathing Some doctors may tell you that is heat intolerance is merely an inconvenience. However MS induced heat intolerance can result in heat exhaustion and stroke just like anyone else out in the sun too long. We don’t have to be in a scorching desert; a warm room can do the trick. Heat stroke can be fatal. If you have MS, heat intolerance can lead to problems with your vision. This can range from blurred vision to temporary loss of vision. An increase in body temperature amplifies the distortion of your body’s nerve signals in those with MS. This is referred to as Uhthoff’s phenomenon. What to do? Stay hydrated and keep cool.There are a myriad of different cooling methods. PURCHASE  A cooling vest with a liquid Cooling System has been proven to be the most effective, affordable portable personal solution to heat stress. This is not a vest you soak in water which becomes slimy, can't be worn under other clothing and doesn't perform well in high humidity. This is not a vest with packets of frozen liquid that are bulky, heavy and quickly lose their effectiveness. This is a vest that is lightweight, breathable and uses NASA-developed technology to cool you with chilled water circulated through a network of microtubing. It costs a little more, but it works much better. Cost: approximately $500.00 This is the system I use: Others:  An ice vest with packets of frozen gel is much cheaper and fine for most people. An extra set of gel packs is very convenient. You can have one in the freezer a while using the other.  $35.00 & up  Wrist wraps  Bandana cost: $10.00  Evaporative gardening hat: cost: $20.00 FREE  Make your own cooling vest: Cooling neck wrap  One yard of 36″ wide tan cotton muslin will make 9 neck coolers. “Magic Crystals” are the watering crystals you put in the soil of your potted plants. “Moisture Plus” and “Soil Moist” are two brand names. It is NOT vermiculite or perlite! These tiny beads absorb up to 100 times their weight in water, and swell with the water a then give it off slowly to the plants, or to a hot neck in our case. They can be found in the garden department of discount stores, or garden centers. One package will make MANY neck-coolers.  Cut the muslin into 4″ wide strips (by 36″ long). Fold lengthwise and sew across the short (selvage) end, and down the long side, using a fairly short stitch length. Leave the other end open. Turn the tube right-side out. A pencil makes this step fast and easy. Press flat.  To contain the crystals in the middle section of the neck cooler, sew a line across the tube about 10″ from the stitched end. Spoon just 1/4 teaspoon of crystals into the open end and make sure that they slide down to your sewn line. Sew another crosswise seam about 15″ from the first seam, to contain the crystals. Finally, just stitch the open end closed.  (NOTE: since crystals vary in size by manufacturer, make ONE neck cooler as a sample first, soak it for 10 to 12 minutes, to determine the correct amount of crystals to use. The fully expanded crystals should fill the tube, and not burst the seam! The tube must be able to BEND enough to be tied around the neck!)  One note of caution: You will be tempted to add more crystals, thinking that more is better. However, these crystals swell A LOT. (1/8 tsp swells to about 1/3 cup of gelatinous balls).  Soak the collars in water for 8-12 minutes until they swell and then tie them on, The crystals eventually wear out and will not absorb as much water. However, they should last a month or two. To use your neck cooler, soak the middle of the cooler in water until the crystals in the middle bulge. The first soaking may take as long as ten minutes before the crystals absorb as much water as they are capable of. You can then tie the neck cooler around your neck. The crystals will slowly give up their absorbed water and the evaporation of the water should cool you for hours. The neck cooler can be re-soaked and used again and again. It should last about two months before the crystals lose their ability to absorb water. Other Strategies:  Get a cheap spray bottle - fill it with water, adjust it to fine mist and spray it on your exposed skin for an instant chill-zing cooling effect.  Keep the back of your neck in shade (wear a cap backwards, or raise your collar) or put a wet handkerchief on the back of the neck. The sensor for our body temperature control system is in this area, and so with this method you can make the rest of your body think that you are "cool".  Place or tie an icepack behind your head.  Wet all your hair, or just all along the hairline in a pinch. The evaporation of the water will cool your head (though it may make your hair a bit frizzy if it's curly!).  Wear a bandana with water soaked in it and put it on your head. Or you can relive the 80'  Water misting fan. These portable devices are battery operated so you can take them with you wherever you go. As you mist and fan yourself, the water is evaporated on your skin, giving you an instant cooling sensation.  Soak a t-shirt in the sink, wring it out and put it on. Sit in a lawn chair (or other chair that lets air through to you) in front of a fan. Re-wet as it dries. Use lukewarm water for this so you don't "shock" your system with cold water.  Wear a short sleeved shirt and put water on the sleeves only. If there is a breeze or fan blowing on you, you can actually get cold! Use a squirt bottle, the sink or hose if outside to keep your sleeves wet. If you are outside and wearing long pants and you put water on your legs, the water will cool your legs. Long skirts are also good for this. Just sprinkle the hemline with water.  Run cold water over your wrists for 10 seconds on each hand. This will reduce your temperature for roughly an hour.  Soak your feet in a bucket of cold water. The body radiates heat from the hands, feet, face and ears, so cooling any of these will efficiently cool the body. Kids wading pools are great for adults feet too.  Fill your bathtub with cool water and get in. Once you are used to the temperature, let some water out and refill with cold water. Keep doing this until you are sufficiently cold. Your body will stay cool for a long time after you get out. For a fast cool-down, add ice! Clothing:  Wear nothing. (or as we say at our house, “ run around nakie” .If you're in a situation where you can go without clothes, this can be the most comfortable and natural way to stay cool.  Wear next-to-nothing. Put on a swimsuit, or wear your underwear at home.  Wear summer clothing. Wear loosely-woven natural fabrics (cotton, silk, linen) rather than polyester, rayon, or other artificial fibers (with the possible exception of performance fabrics).  Wear light colors. Darker colors will absorb the sun's heat and stay warmer longer than light or white clothing, which reflects light and heat. Wear natural summer clothing.  Cover yourself up. Covering up may actually keep you cooler, especially if the heat is low in humidity. In the scorching temperatures of the Middle Eastern deserts, traditional cultures wear clothing covering from head to toe. By protecting your skin from the sun beating down, you'll also shade your skin. Be sure your clothing is made of natural fabrics and loose-fitting.  Lie on the floor. Warm air rises (since it's less dense than cooler air) so it's layered on top of the downward moving cooler air, which sinks lower. If you're in a house, for example, stay lower than the warm air. Make your way to the basement or lower level. It will be coolest near the floor on the ground level.  Snorkeling system. Take a glass and fill it almost to the brim with ice cubes. Hold it up to your mouth and blow gently into the cup. The ice causes the air you are blowing into the cup to cool down drastically, and since the air only has one way out of the cup (the hole which should now be aiming right at your face) the cold air is forced out over your skin.  To put the "snorkeling system" to more efficient use, point a fan into a square of four cups filled with ice water and ice cubes. The cooler air in the cups have no where to go but out. Each night, refreeze the cubes and open the windows instead.  Sit in the shade. Find a shaded area and set up a water misting system that connects to an ordinary garden hose that can be found at home improvement stores. Sit there and let the mist cool you off.  Avoid peak sunlight hours. Take a cue from people in extremely hot climates and avoid going out between 10 a.m. and 3p.m., when the sun's rays are hottest. You'll also avoid a sunburn this way.  Close your blinds. Shutting your blinds and curtains during the day will help block the sun's heat. As soon as the sun hits your building in the morning, close all windows and keep exterior doors and windows closed throughout the hottest part of the day. Do this until night falls and it's cool enough to open the windows for the night.  Open the windows at night. Open selective windows so that cooler night air is blowing in throughout the evening. Leaving all interior doors open (including closets and kitchen cabinets) helps, too. If you leave them closed, they store the daytime heat and your house won't cool off as much at night.  Cool down your house with fans. Position a ceiling fan, an upstairs window fan or an attic fan to draw off the heat collected in upper rooms and push the heat outdoors. Set up your portable fan so that the fan sucks up cooler air from the floor below, and blows hot air upwards towards the ceiling.  Make a DIY air conditioner. Put a metal bowl of salted ice in front of a fan, and adjust the fan so that the air is blowing over the ice. Or, use one or more 2 liter bottles and fill them mostly full of (water - 70%) & (rock salt - 10%) (air - 20% for expansion) (the salt brings the temp of the frozen water down to a lower ºF), freeze them, then place them in a large bowl (to catch dripping condensation). Position a fan to blow on them. As the salty ice in the bottles melts, the air cools around them. The fan will blow that air at you. The water & salt in the bottles can be refrozen every night and used again repeatedly.  Turn off all heat sources. Don't use the stove or oven to eat. Eat cold food, or use the microwave. Incandescent light bulbs also create heat - switch to compact fluorescents or LEDs. Turn off your lamps and your computer when you're not using them. You should also turn off your TV since it gives off a lot of heat, as well as some plug-in power adapters.  Avoid steam. During the day, don't take a hot shower, wash dishes and clothes or cook until after dark. Make sure your pot lids are tight-fitting. Make sure the door gasket seals on your oven, washer and dishwasher are in good shape and have no breaks or rips.  Adjust your pilot light. If you have a gas stove with pilot lights, make sure they are set correctly. If they are set too high, they will produce excess heat.  Put smooth white fabrics over anything in your house that's fuzzy. For example, you could cover corduroy pillows with white satin pillowcases for summer, put linen slipcovers over wool sofas, or just throw white sheets over furniture. Light-colored fabric will reflect heat instead of absorbing it, and the smooth texture will give you an impression of coolness. Okay what else?
 Freeze a water bottle and keep it with you. Drink from it, or just put it on your skin.  In front of a fan (that is running) put a cup of ice. Stay in front of the fan and colder air will get to you.  Do not leave a fan on in an enclosed room when no one is present (unless it's an attic fan). A fan does not cool the air already in the room; in fact, it heats it. The fan's motor generates heat and even the circulating air creates a less significant amount of heat from friction. It just feels cooler when you are present because of natural moisture evaporation from the skin, which only cools your body if you are in the room. Save electricity and turn off all fans in enclosed rooms that are not occupied.  If your garage is under living areas of your home, leave your hot car outside to cool off before putting it in the garage.  If all else fails, go to the mall, library, church, movie theater or some other air-conditioned public building.  The early morning and evening are usually cooled down enough to enjoy your walk, run, hike, bike, gardening, or yard work.  During a heat wave, many towns and cities open up air-conditioned "cooling centers" in nearby schools and community centers, and will help you reach them. People with MS (or other medical conditions) can call their local government services for a list of cooling centers.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dysautonomia and MS/CCSVI Part 1

and MS/CCSVI Part 1 Dysautonomia is a medical term used for a group of complex conditions that are caused by a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS regulates all of the unconscious functions of the body, including the cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, metabolic system, and endocrine system. A malfunction of the ANS can cause debilitating symptoms and may pose significant challenges for effective medical treatment. This means that the automatic things your body always does may not be happening so well. Dysautonomia is a dysfunction of your autonomic nervous system. Obviously, the autonomic nervous system is very important to our bodies. The heart, stomach, intestines, blood pressure, body temperature regulation, endocrine system (glands), pupil dilation, and muscles (in the skin, around blood vessels, in the eye, stomach, and in the heart) are all controlled by the autonomic nervous system. A malfunction of this system impacts every organ of the body. Most of the time we are unaware of our autonomic nervous system working in its usual "involuntary" manner. It controls our systems automatically and we usually take it for granted. It works 24/ so we don’t have to rely on reminding our hearts to beat for instance. Some patients develop symptoms after a viral illness, immunization, or trauma. Vaccines play a larger role in chronic illness than is generally known. Children may have symptoms after a growth spurt, common in early teens. Dysautonomia conditions are widely unknown to society at large. As a result, most people do not realize the impact such conditions have on those afflicted and their families. When we stand up - gravity pulls about 1/3 of our blood to the lower part of our body. Then our autonomic system responds and immediately tells our brain we are standing up and to do three things: 1. make the heart beat faster 2. increase the force of the heart's contractions and 3. tighten blood vessels in the lower part of the body to about three times it's previous tightness. The effect forces blood from the lower half of our body into the upper half. Then, our blood pressure regulates properly and we are good to go. In some people with dysautonomia the brain does not get these messages correctly and their blood stays in the lower part of their body and then their blood pressure drops and their heart rate increases. Low blood pressure has nothing to do with our intelligence or how smart or clever we are. It can cause cognitive dysfunction such as short term memory loss .It affects their ability to think clearly and to concentrate. This impact on concentration is usually brief or transient. Some people are overwhelmed by their symptoms and have to lay down all the time. The heart rate often shoots up as the body responds to a drop in blood pressure. This can be the cause for a lot of tiredness and fatigue and generally feeling washed out. It is often difficult to see the symptoms of dysautonmia. A general physician sometimes misses the clues leading to a proper diagnosis. Cardiologists and cardiac electrophysiologists can efficiently diagnose and treat dysautonomia children. Sometimes neurologists get involved though personally I wish they didn’t. Research is being done at the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, Medical University of Ohio, National Institutes of Health, NY Medical College, Vanderbilt Medical Center and others. It is exciting and revolutionary, and there is tremendous hope on the horizon. Tragically, there are also extremely rare fatal forms of dysautonomia but this is not at all common in children. The average person may have never heard of dysautonomia before, but progress is being made in this field of medicine every day and word is getting out. With time and awareness, more and more people will start to understand the various forms of dysautonomia and more and more people will know what it is. Thanks to medical science and compassionate physicians and researchers, there is tremendous hope. For additional information on the history of dysautonomia: Dysautonomia: A family of misunderstood disorders Symptoms of dysautonomia may include: • tachycardia (extremely fast heart rate) • bradycardia (slow heart rate) • palpitations • chest pain • dangerously low blood pressure • wide swings/sudden drops in blood pressure • orthostatic intolerance (the inability to remain upright) • excessive fatigue • exercise intolerance • Dizziness • Fainting • near fainting • gastrointestinal problems • nausea • insomnia • shortness of breath • anxiety • tremors • frequent urination • convulsions • cognitive impairment • visual blurring or tunneling • migraines

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

Steroids: a Band-aid Not a Cure

I am on another anti-steroid campaign. I’m not sure that I am capable of re-wording the information to make it more palatable, but I’ll give it a go. For over 30 years we've known that steroids can routinely cause over-activity of adrenal hormones, which produces Cushing's disease. They can also cause muscle wasting, hyperglycemia, water retention, bruising, insomnia, serious mood changes, menstrual problems, impotence, loss of libido, or even allergic shock and diabetes and its evil twin, reactive hypoglycemia. I know because I have both. Like antibiotics, steroids are one of the most abused class of drugs in this country. Daily low doses of prednisone can double your risk of hip fractures and cataracts. I have had my share of fractures and recently learned I have cataracts. Steroid treatment is the cornerstone of managing diseases and conditions where inflammation is the prime issue. Intractable pain is good motivation for steroid therapy. Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disorders respond well to steroids. They have a place in medicine, just not the prime spotlight. Irreversible damage from steroid treatment is no longer the rarity it was when it was used in emergency situations 15 to 20 years ago. Some of the most dangerous among them include: • liver damage, jaundice • Fluid retention • High blood pressure • Increases in LDL (bad cholesterol) • Decreases in HDL (good cholesterol) • Renal failure, • Severe acne • Trembling Men: • Shrinking of the testicles • Reduced sperm count • Infertility • Baldness • Development of breasts • Increased risk for prostate cancer Women: • Growth of facial hair • Male-pattern baldness, • Changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle • Deepened voice Why do physicians make steroids a first line of attack? They give the appearance of the instant miracle cure the patient expects Too many doctors prescribe these drugs and cross their fingers that the patient feels better quickly and find a different practitioner before the next bout. They refuse to believe that steroids can cause the terrible damage that drug companies have long admitted to. Even they can’t give us a line of BS with a straight face when it comes to these drugs because the side effects easily lead straight back to them. The fastest relief is what medicine in this country is all about. (After profits of course). The answer to what ails us is to suppress inflammation and the immune response, working against the body. If there is a fever lower it, if inflammation is present provide steroids to remove it. If it appears we may have a virus or a bacterial infection just quell it with antibiotics. This way of doing things can be effective in the short term, and important in life threatening situations, but potentially devastating in the long term especially when over-used. Many of our most debilitating diseases can be traced to some form of inflammation. Those of us with Multiple Sclerosis are learning this and hoping our doctors follow suit. This type of medical care eventually weakens our immune system making it less effective while the disease burrows deeper into the body and must be dealt with in the future. Doctors seek immediate resolution of present symptoms merely to treat a chronic condition later on. Why do you think so many of us have chronic illnesses? The key is to NOT suppress symptoms unless it it becomes perfectly clear that it is absolutely necessary. Symptoms are a sign the immune system is working and doing its job. We cannot continually weaken he immune system hoping to kick start it further down the road without some unfortunate outcomes.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Keeping an eye on Lyme and the CDC..

Keeping an eye on Lyme and the CDC.. by Linda Rousay (Notes) on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 1:39pm With the current interest (and consequently little or NO interest from Healthcare providers, I thought we should explore Lyme related issues. The same tick that carries Lyme disease has another little nasty critter that can infect people with or instead of Lyme disease. Many people who are infected with Babesia microti feel fine and do not have any symptoms. Some people develop flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue. Babesia parasites infect red blood cells so babesiosis can cause hemolytic anemia (from destruction of red blood cells). Babesiosis can be a severe, life-threatening disease, particularly in people who: do not have a spleen have a weakened immune system for other reasons have other serious health conditions (such as liver or kidney disease) over 55 years old BTW: The CDC (Center for Disease Control) in the US doesn’t want you to bother reporting or having your doctor report a diagnosis of Babesiosis. Tickborne transmission of B. microti primarily occurs in the Northeast and upper Midwest, however it has been reported sporadically nationwide. Of course if we aren’t to report these occurrences than how accurate can the statistics be? There have also been isolated reports from western Europe though the governments don't seem overly concerned. Anaplasmosis is another disease transmitted the same way, however the treatment for Lyme will effectively take care of this bad boy also. Human anaplasmosis (HA) wasn’t officially recognized until 1993. (Doesn’t that sound familiar?) Fever (over 102°) Severe headache Muscle aches Chills and shaking Nausea Vomiting loss of appetite weight loss abdominal pain cough diarrhea aching joints change in mental status including short term memeory loss and instant recall. Although people of any age can get human anaplasmosis, it tends to be most severe in the aging or immune-compromised. Severe complications can include respiratory failure, renal failure and secondary infections. The number of anaplasmosis cases has been increasing since the first cases of HA were reported in Minnesota in the mid-1990s.1,500 cases of HA were reported in 2011 in the state of Minnesota alone, which is remarkable given that reports are not encouraged, remember? In 1999 the CDC offered this in answer to the question, “If I get Lyme disease will I always have Lyme disease?” ‘NO; patients treated with antibiotics in the early stages of the infection usually recover rapidly and completely. Most patients who are treated in later stages of the disease also respond well to antibiotics, although some may have suffered long-term damage to the nervous system or joints. Approximately 10-20% of patients experience fatigue, muscle aches, sleep disturbance, or difficulty thinking even after completing a recommended course of antibiotic treatment. These symptoms cannot be cured by longer courses of antibiotics, but they generally improve on their own, over time.’ In 2012 the same question was answered with this; “Updated statistics and better reporting by physicians will require an amendment of the CDC’s findings from 1999.” IS THAT EVEN AN ANSWER, OR AM I REACHING HERE?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Clinical drug trials: real or fabricated?

We are led to believe that Clinical trials, particularly drug trials are designed to facilitate symptom relief for a myriad of diseases and conditions. Doctors base their treatment, in part by the information garnered by these well planned and executed trials. Unfortunately the unvarnished truth is that results are manipulated even fabricated in order to facilitate profit sharing for drug companies and health care providers in too many instances. Multiple Sclerosis is only the tip of the iceberg as we are learning with great speed via the technology which brings the world into our homes and offices where we can peruse it at our leisure. The family doctor is a distant memory as is the trust we placed in them. The practice of medicine has become as politically charged as any other industry. The CDC (Center of disease Control) recently revealed that prescription drugs are now killing far more people than illegal drugs. Most major causes of preventable deaths are declining, yet those from prescription drug use are increasing. In 2009 for the first time ever in the US, more people were killed by drugs than motor vehicle accidents. Overdosing on prescription pain and anxiety medications has grown to epidemic proportions. Drug fatalities more than doubled among teens and young adults between 2000 and 2008, and more than tripled among people aged 50 to 69. The most commonly abused prescription drugs, Oxycontin, Xanax, Vicodin, and Soma now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Many medication studies published in leading journals have been found to be sponsored by drug manufacturers and include deceptive statistical reporting and wording. The flu vaccine is a perfect example of medical manipulation, with research concluding the effectiveness of the shots to be as low as one percent. A recently released government audit shows nearly one in seven elderly nursing home residents are given antipsychotics ; nearly all of them dementia patients for whom the drugs can be lethal. With the advent of easy internet access, the responsibility for our own health care becomes clear. We are the only ones we can trust to monitor the medical professionals we once deemed omnipotent.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Stress: Good or Bad? Stress in small amounts is necessary in order to live a productive and healthy lifestyle. First and foremost, stress is positive in that it can be a great motivating force at times and this is partly probably why we developed stress in the first place. Stress improves some aspects of our intelligence. Stress is actually a cognitive enhancer which can boost several aspects of our mental prowess and so help us in professional and academic capacities. Hormones are released into an individuals system as a response to a stressful event. These hormones increase the heart rate and heightens the alertness and focus level of the individual. This response is known as “fight or flight “ which we are born with. Stress appears each time something changes, when we have to adapt to a new situation. If we manage to react in a positive way, we can use this energy. Stress then becomes a chance, an opportunity for growth. A negative reaction, however, turns this energy against us and can become fatal. Stress helps our brain to focus. It can help you to narrow your attention and to focus on the task in hand. Stress helps to increase memory and recall .This results from higher levels of cortisone. When levels of cortisone are too high it causes damage to the hippocampus. Stress causes the release of adrenaline which in turn raises the metabolism and heart rate. This can then result in increased reactions and reflexes, while also acting as a painkiller giving us a higher endurance level. Adrenaline can also help to fight tiredness and fatigue. ‘Good' stress should be acute and not something that exists over a prolonged period. This is because an increased heart rate and lack of tiredness or pain might increase your endurance over short amounts of time, but over a long period of time the stress to the body can be too great and damage your immune system and cause heart problems. However in the right circumstances, stress can be perceived as the 'spice of life' and can be what creates challenge, suspense and excitement. For instance some of the most important and happiest moments of your life were probably also very stressful – your first day at work, your marriage, the birth of a child, traveling, holidays special achievements. These are highly stressful because they represent exciting positive life changes. A complete lack of stress in your life might suggest that you haven't had any such major changes in your life and that might suggest likewise that you are not challenged in your life and not moving forward. Stress becomes negative when the body stays uptight and alert, ready to take action as required. Too much stress leaves a body exhausted, anxious, frustrated or angry and leads to depression. Excessive stress is overwhelming we become unable to cope with the smallest task or event. Stress and excitement upset breathing and muscle tone. To know how to breathe properly is as such of vital importance. Chronic and ongoing stress which is not counterbalanced with periods of release can lead to emotional problems, manifesting itself into physical illnesses. However, insufficient stress can act as a depressant and leaves many people feeling bored, dejected and unable to seek goals. The first step toward handling positive stress is to acknowledge that it exists and to seek ways to correspond an equal amount of time relaxing and regenerating. Handling stress, whether positive or negative, is important for long term health. For a good and happy life, stimulation is necessary. Too much stimulation is also harmful. We need to learn to understand the difference.