Friday, 6 February 2015

Consider the Alternatives to Prescription Drugs

I have neglected this blog over the past couple of months due to a move to facilitate my retirement which involved moving from the United Kingdom, where I have spent many happy years, back to the land of my birth- Ireland. I always heard that moving home is a stressful time to which I will add: if you are moving country as well as home, it can be twice as stressful.

I arrived in Ireland only to find my older brother, Kevin, in a very poor state of health. Kevin has a complicated medical history due to which he has been on drugs, prescribed by his local doctor, for bronchritis, blood pressure, prostate problems and sleep deprivation to name just a few. Then two years ago, he was diagnosed as having colon cancer as well as all the other health problems.

Kevin was referred to the local cancer hospital for treatment on the discovery that he had the disease. The hospital recommended that he undertook chemotherapy for his cancer to which he agreed in principle. However, the chemotherapy drugs in addition to the other drugs have had a signifaicant impact on his mental and physical wellbeing due to which he suffered irrational moments, blackouts and falls.

The compunded effects of many prescription drugs acting within a person's body can bring about such reactions as suffered by Kevin. When you consider the possible adverse side effects that a single drug can have on a person, many drugs administered at once can have multiple side effects as well as the possibility of clashes between individual drugs within the whole cocktail administered.

The best way to avoid the compounded effects of many prescription drugs, as suffered by Kevin, is not to go down the drug route to the solution of a health problem in the first instance. You may say this is easier said than done but, if you are computer literate, it can easily be done by entering a search term such as " natural cures for bloodpressure " in a search engine such as Google as an example, and then going through each of the results thrown up by the search.

Whilst doctors across numerous developed counteries may vary in skill and competence, their attitude to prescription drugs is generally much the same in that they consider them safe because their use has been approved by the health authority in the particular country in which they are domiciled. They rarely give thought to, or are ignorant of, the side effects; and don't appear to take into account the compounded effects on a patient of numerous drugs for different health problems at all. Lack of time can also have a bearing on a doctor's decision to prescribe drugs.

You therefore would be well advised to bring up on a visit to a doctor about a health problem what the alternatives to prescription drugs are in its treatment, thereby forcing him or her to at least outline the different courses of action available. Some of the alternative methods of treating a heath problem may involve you in engaging in something on a daily basis, such as doing an adequate amount of exercise for example, which may put some patients off. However, in most health instances there is no " magic pill " that can replace the pursuing a healthy diet, taking sufficient amounts of exercise, and drinking six glasses of water on a daily basis as preventative measures against health problems occurring in the first instance.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

How to Prevent Prostate Problems

Most men over the age of 50 suffer an enlargement of the prostate to some extent. The prostate is a walnut-sized organ that surrounds the male urethra at the base of the bladder. The prostate secretes semen, a milky fluid that is ejected with sperm. The urethra is the canal from the bladder to the exterior of the body. When the prostate enlarges it squeezes the urethra diminishing the flow of urine. In extreme cases, it can stop the flow altogether. Unless problems in this area of the body are detected early, one of the consequences could be prostate cancer.

The causes of prostate problems are as follows: lack of proper nutrients; clogged artries causing slow circulation in the prostate thereby depriving it of the nutrients it needs; poor circulation; high fever; atherosclerosis- which slows the circulation of blood in the tiny capillaries of the prostate; arteriosclerosis- where the arteries and capillaries become hardened and lose efficiency; a silica deficiency.

Conventional medicine has responded to prostate problems with the following treatments: surgery to remove the prostate; transurethrai resection involving scrapping away the inner core of the prostate either using instruments or a laser; hormonal therapy. The effects of surgery can leads to problems with scar tissue and a weakening of the immune system. Hormonal therapy only provides temporary respite from the symptoms and does not address the underlying cause of the problem.

It is therefore best to try and prevent prostate problems from occurring in the first instance by paying proper attention to diet. First, avoid a silica deficiency. Silica acts like an internal cement combating the effects of aging. Good sources of this mineral are plants which have strong leaves and stems like horsetail. Other sources include the peel of fruit, the husks of grains, onions, garlic and shallots.

Eat tomatoes regularly. Tomatoes are rich in a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. The higher your intake of tomatoes on a daily basis the lower your risk of developing prostate cancer. Ten or more portions of tomatoes (or products derived from them) weekly is recommended.

Eastern men who consume soya regularly have a much lower incidence of prostate problems than their counterparts on a Western diet. Therefore add cooked soya beans to stews, and add mashed tofu to mashed potatoes or other vegetables. Soya flakes, milk and yogurt can also be used, where appropriate, at meal times.

Strict vegetarians only have prostate problems at half the rate of meat eaters. Therefore derive most of the protein that you consume daily from vegetal sources. Therefore consume whole grains, nuts, beans, lentils and leafy green vegetables on a daily basis. Fish is also preferable as a source of protein to red meat.

Pursue a high fibre diet as studies have shown that people who do this have a much lower incidence of prostate problems. Brown bread, rye bread, brown rice, wholegrain pasta, baked beans, potatoes with their skins, wholegrain breakfast cereals and fruits with their skins are good sources of fibre in the diet.

Drink at least six glasses of water daily. Water helps keeps the whole urinal tract in a good condition, and the tendency to cut back on water intake if one is experiencing difficulty urinating due to an enlarged prostate is not recommended.

Herbal capsules containing saw palmetto berries, taken three times daily, can help heal the problem; taking magnesium chloride supplements, two or three every morning, can help prevent prostate problems; and chelated zinc capsules, 50mg taken three tomes a day, can help shrink an enlarged prostate.

Things to avoid in the diet are saturated fats found in red meats and dairy products. When you eat meat, favour skinless white meat such as chicken or turkey, and go for low-fat dairy products. Avoid smoking, alcohol and overly spicy foods. If your prostate is in an enlarged state, avoid sugar-laden foods and soft drinks as they make the problem worse. 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

How to Combat Obesity

You are said to be obese if you are 20% or more above the normal bodyweight for a person of your sex, height and build. If you consider yourself to be overweight, you should consult your doctor who should confirm whether or not you are in this category by applying a measure such as the BMI (Body Mass Index) to establish the facts. Being obese can put you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, arthritis and cardiovascular problems so it needs to be addressed as a health problem

Obesity can arise from many causes as follows: pathological-caused by a mental or physical malfunction; genetic; linked to stress; caused by overeating; eating the wrong type of foods; and lack of exercise. It is best to first establish which of these causes give rise to your obese state, in order to consider the most appropriate treatment options available. Whilst obesity arising from a pathological problem needs specialist treatment to overcome it, all other causes can be treated by paying attention to diet, and the amount of daily exercise you execute.

In order to reduce weight, your primary goals should be to: reduce your intake of saturated fats; engage in any daily exercise for at least 30 minutes per day in order burn off excess calories. Carbohydrates are the main source of fat in the diet: but they spit into simple carbohydrates containing fast assimilation sugars which are bad for you, and complex carbohydrates containing slow assimilation sugars which are beneficial in moderate amounts.

You therefore should avoid sweets, cakes. candy, soft drinks, crackers, crisps, chocolate, ice cream, bananas, sweetened fruit juices, canned fruit in syrup, fresh cream, honey, white bread, white rice, cocoa and coffee. You should also avoid almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, coconuts, pine nuts and cashew nuts. Also avoid heavily salted foods such as processed meats, smoked meats, smoked fish, olives, shrimps or commercial salad dressings or sauces. Try and avoid fried foods in general, and especially fried or scrambled eggs- eat boiled or poached eggs instead.

The best diet for people who are obese is a high protein, low carbohydrate one. You should concentrate on getting protein from fish, white meat, low fat yogurt with live cultures, and from foods in the complex carbohydrate category such as potatoes with their skins, wholegrain bread, rye bread, brown tice, wholegrain pasta, whole grain cereals , oatmeal, beans, vegetables and dried fruit. The following vegetables/herbs stimulate the evacuation of waste: celery, chicory, fennel, parsley and dandelion. You should try and get 6 grams of protein daily per kilogram of weight ( 2.2 pounds), and balance animal and vegetable sources of protein evenly.

It is beneficial to your condition to drink 6-8 glasses of water daily preferably in between meals. Drinking water frequently fills you up so you will eat less at mealtimes; it also aids the clearing out of your internal organs so they work more efficiently. Other drinks which can be employed gainfully are green tea, ginger tea , dandelion tea and raspberry tea.

You should engage in at least 30 minutes of physical exercise daily. This could be walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing or anything else that takes your fancy. Alternatively, you could go for a brisk walk for 15 minutes duration after each of your main meals of the day. Exercise burns up excess fat and improves the whole digestive system. 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Benjamin Netanyahu Is Blocking Peace

Since my post in November 2012 titled " Imagine ", I have not commented on this blog on world events affecting the welfare of people generally, or in a specific area of the planet. In the past few years, great numbers of people have been displaced as a result of ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Palestine to name a few. I intend to solely concentrate on the Palestinian issue in this post simply because it has gone on for the longest period of time, and generates lots of emotions worldwide relating to its ultimate resolution.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister of Israel, is an impediment to peace in the Middle East in my view. During periods of calm, he refuses to negotiate freely with all the Palestinians. He says he cannot negotiate with Hamas because they refuse to recognise the state of Israel. Yet, as the present troubles testify, Hamas represent the people of Gaza, and he is therefore bound to negotiate with them if there is to be a meaningful and lasting settlement. His refusal to negotiate with this wing of the Palestinians means he doesn't want a settlement of the problem during his premiership.

The siege of Gaza by Israel due to which all land, sea and air routes into this narrow strip of land are blocked creates " prison " conditions within it, and greatly interferes with all normal living conditions for the 1.8 million people affected by it. This continued siege gives rise to hatred starting at an early age, and support for Palestinians who want to destroy Israel by force. Therefore Netanyahu's policy towards Gaza is only serving to continue a very unstable situation, thereby ensuring continued suffering and bitterness for Palestinians down the generations.

If Netanyahu thinks there is no precedent in world history for negotiating with "terrorists" , he should talk to the British. In October 1921, both the then British prime minister, David Lloyd George, and Winston Churchill, sat down at a table with Michael Collins to negotiate what has become known as "The Irish Treaty". In November 1920, less than a year earlier, Collins and his men had scores of British agents operating in Dublin rounded up and killed, and the British press at the time labelled him " a terrorist and number one enemy of the country ". Collins didn't see himself as a terrorist but a freedom fighter who did not recognise Britain's right to rule Ireland.

In more recent times, the British cleverly used Sinn Fein to arrive at an understanding with the IRA in Northern Ireland that if significant concessions were made at the negotiating table in favour of the nationalist community then the violence would cease. At the present time, the agreements so reached on many issues, and embodied in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, appears to be holding. The lesson to be learned from Ireland says: there is a good chance violence will stop if the underlying issues giving rise to the violence are addressed and fixed in a way that allows peace to prevail.

I do recognise Israel's right to defend itself. However, the corresponding right of the Palestinian people to a state operating alongside Israel is what has been neglected for the past 60 years or so. The onus therefore is on all parties with an interest in the region, peace and justice to deliver to the Palestinian people a viable functioning state they can call home. If such a state were delivered to the Palestinians, would there then be any support in a place like Gaza for people who want to launch rockets into Israel ? I don't think so, and if it did happen they would be quickly apprehended by Palestine's own security forces. The main stumbling block to peace appears to be Benjamin Netanyahu in that, judging by his performance to date, I cannot see him making the big moves necessary to deliver it.

If you have got anything to say on this post, use the comments box below for that purpose.

Monday, 4 August 2014

How to Prevent Constipation

Constipation is the cause of lots of health problems including colon cancer. Whilst definitions of what constitutes constipation can vary dependant upon who you listen to, my definition is that you are constipated  If your bowels do not move once per day on average. What I am saying is If you do not go to the toilet for a pooh at least once per day, you should assume that you are constipated and take action as outlined in this post. If you bowels are sluggish and only move two or three times per week, then you are constipated and should take action to remedy the problem.

The main causes of constipation are as follows: insufficient intake of water or other suitable liquids; lack of fibre in the diet; lack of raw fruit or vegetables in the diet; drinking too much coffee or tea; eating too many fried foods; consuming too many sugar- laden foods and drinks; and lack of exercise. One of these, or a combination of more than one, can give rise to constipation thereby having a negative effect on your health.

In lots of cases, the problem of constipation is not reported to the doctor at all because the patient is unaware of the problem. In cases where it is reported, doctors have generally responded by prescribing laxatives, stool softners, bulking agents or mineral oil. The first three bring about a dependency on a substance to cure a problem which could be solved naturally by paying particular attention to what constitutes diet; and mineral oil can remove essential minerals and vitamins from the body as a side effect of its use.

The first measure you should take to combat constipation is to make sure you are drinking 6-8 glasses of water or other suitable liquids daily. Water softens stools and aids their elimination from the body via the anus. Other suitable liquids can be fruit or vegetable juices which have no sugar added. Green, herbal, dandelion  or ginger teas are also in this category.

With regard to your solid food intake, it is essential that you are getting enough fibre in the diet. An adult needs 20 grams or more (about an ounce) of fibre a day. Good sources of fibre are wholegrain bread, brown rice, potatoes with their skins, rye crispbreads, wholegrain breakfast cereals, natural green vegetables, fruits with their skins (after washing thoroughly in order to get rid of any preservative sprays). Fibre aids the excretion of digested foods from the body in a timely manner so they do not hang about inside and cause constipation.

Other foods which alleviate constipation are almonds, apricots, asparagus, blackberries, cabbage, carrots, cherries, figs, baked beans, french beans , kidney beans, leeks, lettuce, oats, oranges, peaches, plums. raspberries, red currants, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, swiss chard, tomatoes, garlic and unsweetened yoghurt. For more on this, go to my June 2013 post titled "  Make Use of the Cleansers ". Foods and drinks to be avoided are fried foods, biscuits, cakes, tea, coffee, bananas, and both white rice and white bread.

Vitamin C taken to bowel tolerance (stop when diarrhoea occurs) can immediately bring relief from constipation. The latter taken in higher than recommended doses has proven to be safe. Magnesium oxide, up to 2000 mg daily, can also help. Psyllium husks taken as directed on the label can help combat a deficiency of fibre in the diet. The herb cascara sagrada increases the secretions of the stomach, liver and pancreas thereby aiding the breakdown of food. It also cleanses the colon and helps rebuild tissues. The herb senna increases intestinal movements and aids the removal of toxins from the body.

One adjunctive measure you should employ is to engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. This could be brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing or anything else that takes your fancy. Regular exercise aids digestion and the efficient elimination of waste materials from the body.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Drug Companies Are Under Scrutiny Worldwide

In my July 2012 post titled " Fraudulent Practices by Global Pharmaceuticals ", I brought to the attention of the readers of this blog some of the illegal an unethical practices used by the world's top drug companies in order to win business. Since then, things appear to have got worse in the fight of the top companies for global market share. However, some countries' regulatory authorities and police forces have now got drug companies in their sights in relation to the withholding of information about their drugs which should be readily available to the public, and any illegal activities practiced by them.

In the aforementioned post, I highlighted GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) , who are Britain's biggest drug company, who had just been fined three billion dollars by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the USA for withholding information and fraud in relation to some of their drugs on sale in that country. Since then, GSK has been accused of illegal activities by the Chinese in the form of attempting to bribe doctors and hospital officials to favour their drugs in preference to the competition. As a consequence of the accusation, GSK's chief executive in China at the time of the alleged wrongdoing has been moved elsewhere within the company. GSK are also under investigation on home soil by the Serious Fraud Office in the UK into the " commercial practices employed by the company and its subsidiaries" .

From interviews that I have seen done with GSK executives, they resent the fact that they appear to have been singled out for special scrutiny in many countries when the standards employed by the competition in order to win business are no better. There is some truth in this. Pfizer, Merck and Abbott Laboratories, for instance, have been fined billions of dollars between them over the last five years by the FDA in connection with their drugs on sale in the USA. In the case of China, GSK probably feel that if they did not employ underhand methods to win market share then an American or continental European drug company would probably use the same or similar tactics.
Should you trust the products of a drug company who have a history of either withholding information or lying about the drugs they sell ? The ethical standards of the top drug companies appear to be much the same as the top banks. The banks have got into trouble with the regulatory authorities over mis-selling, misrepresentation, manipulating the LIBOR rate and breaking sanctions in many countries. We know the banks are only in it for the money, but the idea that the top pharmaceutical companies care about your health is a big lie: they are just using health as a means of making the maximum amount of money possible.

The global publicity created by their past misdeeds have put drug companies on the radar of the regulatory authorities and the police in many countries. There is evidence to suggest that countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Holland,Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Canada and others will not tolerate such behavour in future. Because there is such profits involved, a billion dollar fine for a global pharmaceutical is only like a light slap on the wrist which they can easily absorb. What needs to be done if they are found guilty of either withholding information or fraud, is to fine the company the equivalent of two years profits in relation to the particular jurisdiction involved, as well as jailing the top executives for up to five years.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

How to Prevent Headaches

Headaches are characterised by pain and pressure in different parts of the head. Headaches are not a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition. Sinus headaches are caused by the overproduction of mucous in the membranes; vascular headaches result from the tightening and contraction of the muscles in the area of the neck, forehead and scalp; and migraine headaches are caused by the alternating constriction and dilation of blood vessels in the brain. The common migraine is accompanied by an uneasy feeling, nausea, depression and tingling in the arms and legs. The severe migraine is preceded by visual disturbances such as flashing lights, sensitivity to noise, weakness and dizziness.

Headaches can result from many causes, as follows: nutrient deficiencies such as a deficiency in vitamins B6 or C; food allergies; side effect of medication; caffeine withdrawal; lack of sleep; premenstral syndrome; birth control pills; hunger; constipation; reaction to food additives; alcohol abuse; air pollution; bacterial and viral infection; eye problems including improper eyeglasses; tension; low blood pressure; overexposure to the sun; dehydration; a deficiency in red blood cell chlorine levels; and a reaction to foods containing tyramine which include some cheeses, chocolate and bananas.

Doctors have responded to headaches by prescribing painkillers, anti-depresssants, ergotamine, or metbysergide for the prevention of migraine headaches. There are problems with all of these. Strong painkillers can be addictive; aspirin can cause bleeding from the stomach; and Phanacetin can lead to chronic kidney disease. Anti-depressants may cause drowsiness, blurred vision, nervousness and weight gain. One side effect of ergotamine can be the destruction of arteries in the limbs, eyes or heart. Metbysergide may lead to fibroid growth in the kidneys.

It is therefore best to concentrate on diet as a natural cure for headaches. If one food or drink is the root cause of your headaches, it is best to eliminate it from your diet completely. Avoid drinks containing caffeine such as coffee, tea or cola; or drink decaffinated versions of them instead. Avoid foods containing tyramine such as aged cheese, nuts, shell fish, pork, bananas, chocolate and wine. Avoid dairy products, in so far as you can, if they are the cause of your headaches. Eliminate cold foods, ice cream, and ice cubes from your diet; and cut down on or eliminate alcohol.

Some headaches, such as migraine ones, result from the body being in an acid condition. It is best therefore to try to keep the body as alkaline as possible by eating raw fruits, vegetables and sprouts. There is also evidence that almonds, brown bread, salmon, lettuce, cucumber, spinach, mushrooms and watermelon can provide some relief from headaches. Vegetable juices such as carrot and celery juice can also provide some relief.

The following food supplements can also be employed constructively to get relief from headaches: niacin, 100mg. three times daily; magnesium citrate, 400mg.three times daily; vitamin B complex, 50mg.three times daily; vitamin E, 400 I.U.twice daily; fish oil, two 1,000mg. three times daily; and vitamin C, 1,000mg. three times daily.

The following herbs, for the reasons stated, can also be used to treat headaches: feverfew gives relief from the pain of migraine headaches; basil draws poison out of the body; blessed thistle helps oxygenate the brain and improves circulation; ginger removes congestion; peppermint allows oxygen into the bloodstream; white willow bark relieves pain; and thyme brings general relief.

Other measures that can complement the foregoing are:
(a) Relaxation techniques such as meditation and imagery in order to reduce stress.
(b) Daily aerobic exercises to strengthen and enhance lung capacity in order to improve oxygen intake.
(C) A 3-4 day fast taking liquids such as apple, carrot or celery juice only, in order to eliminate toxins from the body.

You now have sufficient information, above, in order to tackle the problem of headaches without resorting to prescription drugs.