Monday, June 21, 2010

Sudden Cardiac Death

Chest pain, the occurrence of which sends terrifying images to mind, of someone clutching his chest before finally falling to the ground in a heap… Yes, chest pain may indeed be the first sign of something gone awry, a condition called angina, in which the arteries which carry blood and oxygen to the heart are narrowed, the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen, lactic acid accumulates and stimulates pain nerves in the heart. While at rest, the blood supply may be adequate; however, whenever the heart pumps faster or harder, such as during exercise, after a meal, emotional stress (anger, excitement) or sexual activity, the increased need for oxygen is unmet by the already narrowed arteries, and therefore chest pain results. As the heart returns to its resting state, the oxygen demand is reduced and supply is again adequate, resulting in relief of chest pain. Hence angina is a reversible state, in which the pain is relieved when the activity or situation which produced it, is removed.

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction is what happens when the blood supply to the heart is cut off, usually by a blood clot within the artery. No oxygen reaches the heart muscle and the muscle cells die. If blood flow is restored quickly, permanent damage to the heart muscle can be avoided. Otherwise, the muscle cells die and are replaced by scar tissue over time. Indeed, the most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain, lasting usually for more than 20 minutes. Common descriptions of the pain are "crushing”, "burning", "pressing" or  "heavy feeling". It is uncommon for the pain to be "poking", "pricking", "fleeting” or "ants biting”. Along with the pain, other symptoms may be cold sweat, breathlessness, giddiness, fainting, nausea and vomiting. Although the most common location of the pain is central or slightly to the left, uncommon locations may be in the upper abdomen, inner part of the left arm, left shoulder, neck or jaw. In myocardial infarction, the pain persists long after the initial activity or stimulus, which triggered the attack has ceased.

While pain is the most prominent symptom of myocardial infarction, a minority may present with no pain at all. Instead, other symptoms like breathlessness, fainting, palpitations or indigestion may be the only indication. Very rarely, the first, and only symptom may be collapse and sudden death. The unusual, or atypical symptoms, of myocardial infarction, are more often seen in women below the age of 65 years.

Usual investigations for chest pain include an electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram (echo), cardiac enzymes (a blood test), chest X ray, exercise treadmill test, exercise perfusion scan (MIBI scan), exercise echo, CT scan and coronary angiography. Elderly or infirm patients who are unable to exercise may be tested using pharmacological methods (injection of drugs). An assessment of risk factors is mandatory. This includes enquiry into family history, smoking habits and checking the blood pressure, blood cholesterol, glucose, homocysteine, C reactive protein and other tests as indicated.

Once a diagnosis of myocardial infarction is made, it is a medical emergency, which must be treated as soon as possible to minimize the amount of heart muscle damage (hence, the adage, "time is muscle”). This includes the use of clot busting medication (thrombolytic drugs), emergency catheter procedures to open the blocked artery (angioplasty or stenting) or emergency heart bypass surgery.

With stable angina, there is time to do the various investigations and try medical therapy and assess the need for widening the narrowed arteries by angioplasty or heart bypass surgery.

Not all chest pain equates to heart attack or angina. Non-cardiac causes (i.e. not due to the heart) include musculoskeletal chest pain (due to muscle and ribcage), lung inflammation (pleurisy or pneumonia), pneumothorax (air leak in the lung), pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung), breast disorders (cancer, fibrocystic disease), aortic dissection (a split in the wall of the aorta) and shingles (herpes zoster infection) affecting the nerves supplying part of the chest wall. Lastly, psychological factors such as anxiety and panic disorders may play a role. Careful history, physical examination and appropriate investigations will help to delineate the actual cause by a process of elimination.

Article courtesy of
Dr Ruth Kam
Consultant Cardiologist

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sleep Disorders: 6 Things You Can Do To Get A Better Night Sleep Tonight Next 6 Things You Can Do To Get A Better Night Sleep Tonight

by: Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS

Let's face it-we live in a "go-go" world! Our lifestyle is harried, our food is fast and statistics now show it's taking a toll on one of the most important parts of our life--our sleep. The 2002 National Sleep Foundation (NSF) Sleep in America poll found that 74 percent of American adults are experiencing a sleeping problem a few nights a week or more, 39% get less than seven hours of sleep each weeknight, and more than one in three (37%) are so sleepy during the day that it interferes with daily activities. Our fast paced way of life is getting the best of us. What about you?

Answer True or False?

1. Five hours of sleep at night is good enough.
2. It's ok to skimp on sleep during the work week as long as you make up the time over the weekends.
3. The effects of sleep deprivation are short-term (e.g., darkness under the eyes and dull and/or splotchy skin after a bad night's sleep) and has no effect on long-term health.
4. Drinking caffeine early in the evening does not affect sleep.
5. Keeping a TV or computer in the bedroom has no effect on sleep.
6. The amount of sleep I get has nothing to do with my weight.

If you answered "true" to two or more questions you may need to make a few changes in order to achieve the highly coveted "goodnight's" sleep and keep yourself in optimal health.

Experts suggest that most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night but that doesn't apply to everyone. Some people only require 6 hours while those who are more active or have an illness may require more.

So how do you know if you are getting enough quality sleep? Those who are sleep deprived often look the part. Dark circles and the "sleepy" look are common, but they also can have unpredictable moods, drowsiness during the day, have difficulty concentrating, weak immune systems, recover poorly from injury and get sick more often. Sounding a little too familiar?

In fact, poor sleep has been found to impair the ability to perform tasks involving memory, learning, and logical reasoning. This may contribute to mistakes or unfulfilled potential at school or on the job as well as strained relationships at home. Even more disturbing, inadequate amounts of sleep have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain, obesity, heart disease and depression, to name just a few.

But what if you go to bed early, have every intention on logging in your 7-9 hours but only to lie awake watching the clock...eyes wide open? Well, there are several simple adjustments you can make to stack the cards in favor of a better night's sleep.

1) Avoid watching TV before bed...especially in bed!- The bed should be reserved for two things...sleep and romance...not Desperate Housewives or football! Research shows that those who experienced the most sleep disturbances had televisions in their bedrooms and used the TV to fall asleep.

2) Try a different pillow or mattress. It's scary to think how long some of us have been sleeping on the same pillows and mattresses for years and years. Does your mattress provide the support you like? Do you wake with your back aching? Is there enough room for you and your sleep partner? Do you sleep better, or worse, when you sleep away from home? These are all things to ask yourself to determine if your mattress could be the "sabotager" of your good night's sleep. Or more simply, just replacing your pillow with a new, fresh, higher quality version could be all that you need.

3) Avoid caffeine late in the day. Did you know that even a small amount of caffeine even 10-12 hours before bedtime can cause problems falling asleep! Try eliminating the tea, soda and even chocolate and see if sleep improves.

4) Listen to relaxing music. Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, such as listening to music, could be just the thing you need to signal your body it is time to sleep. So, dim the lights and throw some slow jazz or purchase a "relaxing sounds" CD to help slow your mind and body down for an evening of peaceful sleep.

5) Try mind- body techniques. After an action-packed day, your brain and body need to unwind and detox before sleep can occur (a.k.a. you need to chill!) Create a "ritual" for bedtime - take a bath, meditate, do some easy stretches or yoga. Try to do your "ritual" in the same way, in the same place, at the same time each night. The repetition will trigger your mind and body that it is time to relax and sleep.

6) Try a natural sleep aid. For many people, while the above tips and suggestions may help, it often isn't enough. if you are one of those people who really have a hard time getting to sleep and staying asleep, you may want to try a natural sleep aid.

While over the counter sleep medications may help you fall asleep, they cannot be taken long-term and have risky side effects. A sleep aid that uses natural ingredients is a better approach to getting a solid night's sleep.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Dangers of Cigarette Smoking

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the world.  Every year, thousands of Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer that was brought about specifically from smoking. 
Most smokers are bombarded with reasons to quit smoking every day, and there are hundreds of quit smoking tips, quit smoking aids and quit smoking support groups.  However, none of the ways to quit smoking can work for you if you are not ready to give up your habit.  Knowing what cigarette smoking does to you can help you make up your mind to begin your trek toward a healthier life.

People Should Smoking Stop Why?

Cigarette smoking is perhaps the worst thing you could do to your body.  There have been a variety of studies that show that smoking shortens your life by six minutes for every cigarette you smoke.  When you think about this in terms of packs a day, you are shortening your life by two hours for every pack of cigarettes you smoke.  That is quite a sacrifice to make just for smoking.
Another reason to quit cigarette smoking is that it is expensive.  Cigarette prices are always on the rise as more and more sin taxes are added.  In states such as New York, one pack of cigarettes can cost more than seven dollars.  If you add up all of that money, a pack a day smoker could save more than two thousand dollars a year if he or she quit smoking. 
Cigarette smoking individuals are also twice as likely to have heart attacks than non-smokers.  They are also five times as likely to die from these heart attacks than those who do not smoke or who quit smoking at a young age. 
Cigarette smoking stops circulation in some individuals, and this can lead to stroke.  In fact, smokers are five times more likely to suffer strokes than non-smokers.  This is especially dangerous if you are taking birth control pills, as the risk for stroke is even greater, especially if you are over the age of thirty.
The most dangerous part of cigarette smoking, however, is what it can do to your lungs.  Smoking is leading cause of lung cancer in the world.  Though non-smokers can also get lung cancer, smokers greatly increase their chances beyond those of non-smoking individuals.  Smokers are also at risk for developing emphysema, an incurable breathing disease.
Though cigarette smoking causes some irreversible damage, there is good news for those who decide to quit smoking.  It only takes ten years after you quit smoking before you lungs return to normal.  This means that if you quit smoking now, you can have a new lease on life within ten years.  In addition, the immediate effects of quitting smoking are even more exciting.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Build Your Body With Supplements

Nowadays bodybuilding supplements have become a very important part of the entire process of building up your body. You need it if you want to get some bulk into that body of yours. In that case, just working on the weights and the lifts will not be enough for you.
These supplements will fill up your body with the kind of calories or nutrients that your body needs. The food which you have on a daily basis is not always enough for providing the right amount and kind of nutrients. This is where the supplements really come in handy.
However, the supplements that you need depend on your age, body and also the kind of fitness that you have in general. There are a few supplements which won't be of any use to you if you are just an amateur who is starting out. Here are those:
  • HMB
  • Glutamine
  • Fat burner
  • Prohormones
Unless you are at an age which will truly benefit from these supplements, do not waste your time and money in trying these out. You will not get anything out of it at all.
Some useful supplements for body building:
Instead of spending a lot of money on expensive supplements, it is time to try out cheap and good. Go for the basic supplements that will really help your body.
The first one would be the basic multivitamin. This is because a multivitamin will give you all the basic nutrients that you body will need. Most of what your system will need will from these multivitamins.
You will also need some body building protein. Amino acids are extremely important for your body and growth. However they need to be taken in limited quantities. For your body building there has to be supplementation of amino acids of sorts. So don't waste money getting things like glutamine and arganine. The amino acids will help in creating new tissue for the body. This will help in creating new bulk in a very healthy and natural way.
You will also need something called a weight gainer. This is needed since you will want some bulk in your body. The calories will need to pile up inside your body. Again the number of calories will have to be strictly regulated so that you don't turn fat and obese. You will not always be able to count all the calories from the meals that you eat. On the other hand if you have a weight gainer then you can know exactly how much of calories you are consuming for the bulk addition.
With all these supplements you are guaranteed to get a really great body without having to burn a hole in your pocket for doing so!
For any help on no xplode, check out the info available online; these will help you learn to find the buy protein powder!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

5 Great Health Tips to Give You More Energy

Fitness Levels
During the winter months we tend to get out of the habit of exercising. Spring time is a great excuse to renew that exercise regime and get back into shape. This will also help to increase your energy levels. The key is to begin slowly and gradually. All you need is 15 to 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day. You do not even have to leave the house to do this as simple household chores or running up and down the stairs can give you a good workout.
Energy levels
We tend to cover ourselves up and hide in doors during the winter months. We also tend to use coffee and other caffeine drinks to give us a boost of energy. However, with the brighter and warmer days it is a great opportunity to get outdoors and catch a natural energy booster through the sun's rays. You can combine this with simple deep breathing exercises to re-energise you and get your blood flowing through the body. Begin by breathing in slowly for a count of six and then hold for a second and release slowly for a count of six. Ensure you breathe right down to the pit of your stomach.
Your Mental Well Being
As well as your body your mind plays an important role in regulating your energy levels. Therefore, it is important to keep it active and stimulated. If you are in the habit of crashing on the sofa and watching TV in your spare time this will lower your energy levels as most TV is not very stimulating. Break the habit by getting involved with activities that are going to use more brain cells. This can involve playing card or board games with family or friends.
Your Free Time
During the warmer and brighter days it is wise to make the most of outdoor activities. If you are fortunate to live by or close to the sea use a warm sunny day as an excuse to take you and the family to the beach for a picnic. The combination of being outdoors and breathing in that refreshing sea breeze will do wonders for your energy levels. You may also find that a day at the sea seems to make you sleep deeply at night.
The Food You Eat
What you eat plays an important role in how you feel and the energy levels you have. The foods to eat that will boost your energy levels are plenty of fruit, vegetables including salads, lean meats and plenty of water.
James Mako has been writing articles for over 2 years on subjects he is passionate about. Why not check out his new website that discusses bathroom accessories including luxury shower curtains and country shower curtains to help transform the look of your bathroom.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Another Israeli crime against humanity

The Israeli commando attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla on May 31, 2010 has again proved that the Zionist state does not care for any international law when it comes to dealing with the Palestinians. The attack was launched at night, on open sea in international waters (about 60 miles from the coast of Gaza), on the flotilla carrying about 700 unarmed peace activists (including the Swedish author Henning Mankell) and aid workers from several countries including Turkey. The ships were carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid including medical supplies and construction materials, but no arms. The aim was to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, being rigorously enforced for the past four years, in violation of a UN resolution.

At least 19 persons are reported to have been killed (Al-jazeera) on board the 'Mavi Mamara' with a large number injured. Due to 'media curfew' imposed by the Israeli authorities, the exact numbers of dead and injured are not yet fully known. Western media quotes Israeli sources to put the number of dead at 10. The Israeli military said that five of its personnel were also injured.

The unprovoked attack on an unarmed flotilla, whose main aim was to bring much needed relief materials to the people of Gaza under a deadly Israeli blockade is the latest example of Israeli brutality towards the lives, properties and dignity of the Palestinian people as a whole but especially of those living in Gaza strip. The Israeli rulers launched a barbarous war on Gaza during December 2008-January 2009 and used all types of modern weapons (except nuclear bombs) including chemical weapons (phosphorus bombs). Their aim to eliminate the Palestinian resistance once for all failed then due to the stiff resistance of the people and public protests throughout the world.

Since the Palestinian people refuse to accept the realities of the Israeli colonial conquest in West Bank and Gaza, they are facing the 'collective punishment' of the occupiers. Tactics such as constant harassment, denial of free movement, and limiting the sources of food, medicine, shelter, water, and other necessities for survival have long been Israel's strategy to force the Palestinians into total subjugation. Since February, 2009, the Gaza strip has been turned into a large scale 'detention centre' by Israel's military blockade on the land and on the sea. Tragically, the Mubarak regime in Egypt is also an indirect partner in this crime against Gaza.

The incident has provoked widespread reactions and protests throughout the world, including Western Europe. Turkey was furious since the attacked flotilla had Turkish flags and many of those on board were its citizens, including 9 killed. Moreover, the attack occurred in international waters outside the legal jurisdiction of Israel. It was indeed a gross violation of Turkey's sovereignty and insult to its national dignity.

While most Muslim countries in the Arab world and elsewhere have no diplomatic relations with Israel due to its illegal occupation of Palestinian and Syrian lands and its hostile policies towards the Arabs and Muslims, Turkey has maintained good diplomatic and other relations with Israel for many years. In recent years, Turkey has been helping the negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. But now, Israel's relations with Turkey are bound to deteriorate. Whether Israel's displeasure at the recent role of Turkey along with Brazil to play a significant role in defusing the crisis on Iranian nuclear issue played any part in storming the Turkish flag bearing flotilla is not very clear.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, described the storming of the flotilla as a "massacre". The Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, described it as a "war crime".

The UN, Turkey, Spain, Sweden, Greece, Russia, France and many other countries have severely criticised the Israeli actions, while the US and Britain have asked for 'credible investigations'.

Israel's propaganda offensive

Israel was quick to mount a PR offensive to face the growing international criticism and anger by setting out its version of events. It said that the 'extremists' on board attacked the commandoes with 'knives' and 'rods', and that they were looking for 'confrontation'.

"We found ourselves in the middle of a lynching," an Israeli spokeswoman told reporters in the Israeli port of Ashdod. "It was a massive attack," she said. "What happened was a last resort." She defended the indefensible, i.e., Israel's action in international waters was permissible because its security was threatened. Israel's deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, went one step further and described the activists as 'allies of Hamas and al-Qaida'. They would have opened an arms smuggling route to Gaza if they had been permitted to land there, claimed Mr. Ayalon.

This is a typical ploy by a powerful aggressor to justify its actions by blaming the victim. An act of piracy and murder by the Israelis is justified on the excuse of the so-called 'massive attack' by those on board the ship. To suggest that Israel's security was threatened by a few 'knife' welding peace activists is not only laughable but also a clear insult to our intelligence. The claim that the activists were 'allies of Hamas and al-Qaida' nothing but a piece of ultra-Zionist propaganda to gather support from powerful western leaders and ignorant/misguided supporters of the discredited 'war on terror'.

After the massacre, the dead and surviving activists were all taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod. They are "expected to be processed in a large white tent on the quayside, where they would be offered the choice of immediate deportation to their country of origin or going through the lengthy process of the Israeli courts system." But the Israeli authorities have not yet disclosed the names, nationalities, and physical and mental health of the 'detainees'. They will probably wait until international criticism slows down in tone and intensity.

Role of the US and Britain

Consider a hypothetical incident where the Iranian Navy personnel illegally board ships of Israel or other countries in international waters (Arabian sea, for example) and kill some passengers on the pretext of threat to its security. What would happen in such a scenario? One can easily guess that, in such a situation, the US, Britain and Israel would immediately muster worldwide condemnation of Iran (with or without UN resolution), demand unequivocal apology, impose all pervasive sanctions, give an ultimatum of say 24 hours, and then launch aerial and missile attacks on Iranian targets. Just remember the deadly fire works on Iraq in 2003! And the attack would be launched in a lightning speed to protect 'freedom of international navigation' and to change an 'evil regime' in Tehran on charges of 'threatening regional and world peace'. Is this a simple fantasy?

But what they do when it comes to similar actions (and more including illegally occupying other people's lands and resources, forced evictions, racist-apartheid policies to the Arabs, etc) by Israel? Although the US and Britain are the only powers to stop Israel's various criminal and genocidal acts, they would not do anything.

In this context, the question arises: are the US and Britain unwilling or unable to deal with Israel's aggressive policies? Many people believe that Israel is a military and strategic or 'colonial' outpost of these two imperialist powers, while others would suggest that Israel is the 'master' and the US and Britain are its 'neo-colonial' domains. It is argued that no US administration can go outside the boundaries set by the all powerful pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC (America Israel Public Affairs Committee), which is the most influential player in American politics. AIPAC sets the agenda of the US administration, especially in the foreign and war policies related to the Middle East. The pro-Israel lobby in Britain is also very powerful although it advances the Israeli cause with great finesse. The question of war and peace in the Middle East is, of course, much more complicated and involves several dimensions related to history, culture, economy and regional hegemony.

The role of western media has been mostly one-sided, directly or indirectly giving credence to the Israeli version of all events related to the Middle East. They talk about democracy, freedom, human rights, justice and fair-play but seem mostly indifferent to the terrible injustices caused by Israel's aggressive policies in the region.

Jonathan Cook, an eminent writer and journalist, has made the following comments on the massacre on the Gaza bound flotilla ( May 31, 2010).

"Israeli soldiers invaded these ships in international waters, breaking international law, and, in killing civilians, committed a war crime. The counter-claim by Israeli commanders that their soldiers responded to an imminent "lynch" by civilians should be dismissed with the loud contempt it deserves."

"The Israeli government approved the boarding of these aid ships by an elite unit of commandoes. They were armed with automatic weapons to pacify the civilians onboard, but not with crowd dispersal equipment in case of resistance. Whatever the circumstances of the confrontation, Israel must be held responsible for sending in soldiers and recklessly endangering the lives of all the civilians onboard, including a baby and a Holocaust survivor."

"Israel has no right to control Gaza's sea as its own territorial waters and to stop aid convoys arriving that way. In doing so, it proves that it is still in belligerent occupation of the enclave and its 1.5 million inhabitants. And if it is occupying Gaza, then under international law Israel is responsible for the welfare of the Strip's inhabitants. Given that the blockade has put Palestinians there on a starvation diet for the past four years, Israel should long ago have been in the dock for committing a crime against humanity."

"Today Israel chose to direct its deadly assault not only at Palestinians under occupation but at the international community itself."

But the big question remains: would the western leaders, especially in the US and UK, finally act to prevent the Israeli atrocities in the occupied territories?

[The author is a former Professor, Dhaka University (Bangladesh) and Lecturer, Cardiff University (UK)].

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Man Rules