3.29.2007

How Well Do You Know Your Skin

The largest by far of our body organs, skin ranks among the least understood by most people. Most of us know about UVB radiation causing skin cancer, but not so many know that that is only when an excessive amount of sunlight strikes the skin over a long period of time. At that, only after many years does the cancer appear, often as much as two decades. Skin cancer mostly appears at the former sites of bad sunburns.

Many know that our skin needs sunlight-about 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight per day-in order that our bodies can make vitamin D, which we can't do on our own. Vitamin D, among its many purposes, keeps us from suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a condition we might call depression or the winter blahs because those of us in cold climates tend to stay inside more when the outside is cold.
SAD is a real threat for almost everyone in areas that get very cold in winter. Even in the middle of the day, when sunlight is brightest, we can't get enough ultraviolet radiation to help us make the vitamin D we require for good physical and emotional health because of the sun's low angle. We must either supplement with OTC (over the counter) tablets of vitamin D or use a lamp that mimics the sun by
giving off UV rays directly onto our skin.

The amount of vitamin D supplement varies considerably from one person to another. Not enough has been studied of the effects of low levels of vitamin D in our systems to know how many of the eccentric, obsessive or just excessive behaviors we see during winter in people who live in cold climates may be attributed directly to vitamin D deficiency.

Nor do we know for certain how the deficiency may affect our personal relationships with spouse, family, friends or workmates. However, when something seems to be wrong about the behavior of someone close to us during the wintertime, a suggestion to consult a doctor or pharmacist about taking a vitamin D supplement might be in order.

Every time we look into a mirror we see this large body organ, our skin, but we tend to think of what we see as "me" rather than as one part of us that may require attention other than by using cosmetics. For example, dry skin indicates insufficient water is reaching skin cells.

Drinking more water is a more efficient and cheaper method of re-hydrating skin than covering it repeatedly with topical lotions.

Here are several more facts about skin that few people know.

The skin of an average adult weighs in at nine pounds and contains more than 11 miles of blood vessels. Its mass alone makes it worth taking
seriously.

In hot weather, the skin releases as much as three gallons (over 10 liters) of water each day in the form of sweat. (Okay, perspiration, for those more sensitive readers, but it still comes from sweat glands.) As water is the major component of every part of the body, not replacing
lost water sufficiently will impact health.

Body odor begins with the release of a different kind of sweat, a fatty liquid secreted by the apocrine glands which are found mostly around the armpits, genitals and anus. Bacteria on the skin eat the fatty stuff and leave behind a smell that is considered unpleasant in western cultures
(but not in all cultures).

Human breasts mostly consist of fat, as they are a modified form of the apocrine gland. Yes, they are mostly bags of fat.

Some people are born without skin ridges we call fingerprints. They have rare genetic defects known as Naegali syndrome or dermatopathia
pigmentosa reticularis.

Our atmosphere at any given moment contains about one billion tons of dead skin and other organic matter (such as hair). The skin of each person shucks off about 50,000 cells every minute. House dust mostly consists of dead skin cells.

The skin contains about five different kinds of receptors that account for our sense of touch. Which are the most sensitive parts of the human
body?

The lips (the most sensitive), fingertips, palms, lips, tongue, nipples, penis and clitoris have a kind of receptor known as Meissner corpuscles.
They respond to pressure as light as the weight of a fly--that's the insect variety--about 20 milligrams.

Do blind people really develop greater sensitivity to touch and hearing? The visual cortex of blind people rewires itself in the brain to respond to sounds and touch stimuli. Blind people "see" (process information coming into the brain) the world through touch and sound.

The term "in the buff" to refer to being naked began in the 17th century in England where soldiers wore leather tunics known as buffs. Their light brown color supposedly looked to some like the color of English buttocks.

White skin developed between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago when darker-skinned peoples moved to colder climates in Europe and Asia. The lighter skin color (less of the coloring agent melanin) allowed northerners to absorb more of the sun's then-precious ultraviolet, making them healthier.


Finally, a 16th century anatomy book by Andreas Vesalius, called 'De Humani Corporis Fabrica' (On the Fabric of the Human Body), had a cover topped with human skin. Harvard Law School, Brown University and the Cleveland Public Library all have books with covers topped with human skin stripped from executed prisoners or the poor.

The above article was recently found on scribd and sent to me via email. (Thanks Tatit)

3.24.2007

9 Don'ts When Sleeping

I found this circulating in emails with the subject 5 Don'ts When Sleeping and I have added some of my own:

1. Don't sleep wearing a watch.
Watches can emit a certain level of radioactivity. Though small, but if you wear your watch to bed for a long time, it might have adverse effects on your health.

2. Don't sleep wearing a bra
Scientists in America have discovered those that wear bras for more than 12 hours have a higher risk of getting breast cancer. So go to bed without it.

3. Don't sleep with the mobile phone near you
Putting the phone beside your bed or anywhere near you is not encouraged. Though some of us will use phones as alarm clocks, but please put the phone as far as possible. Scientists have proved that electrical items including mobile phone and television sets emit magnetic waves when used. These waves can cause disruptions to our nervous system. Therefore if you need to put your mobile phone near you, switch it off first.

4. Don't sleep with make up on
People who sleep with make up might have skin problems in the long run. Sleeping with make up will cause the skin to have difficulty in breathing and problem in perspiring. You will also need a much longer time to go into deep sleep.

5. Don't sleep when you just had a heavy meal.
Sleeping after eating a big meal could lead you to a disease called Gastroesophageal reflux , a common heartburn.

6. Don't drink too much water before sleeping.
The urge to urinate may interfere with your sleep.

7. If you're pregnant, don't sleep atop your stomach
But doctors say it is safe for the first 6 weeks.

8. Don't watch television before going to bed.
Research has shown that the light from the screen can disrupt your or body clock, and cause you difficulty in falling asleep.

9. Don't sleep with your shoes on.
It is best to release your feet from stress during sleep and also keep your bedsheets from getting dirt.


You have something worth adding to the list? Put it in the comments.

3.17.2007

Loose Weight By Wearing Comfortable Clothes

To burn kilojoules at work, take the stairs, not the lift, or hang up the phone and walk to your colleague's office.

Great advice, but when you're in an uncomfortable suit and tie or toe-crunching high heels, taking even one step can feel like climbing Everest. Dress less restrictively and you're more likely to move, according to a study at the University of Wisconsin.

They gave 53 people who work in bank, nursing home, schools and book-shops a pedometer to track their activity. When the workers wore jeans or khakis, cotton shirts and comfortable shoes, they took about 500 more steps and burned more kilojoules than on dressier days.

Most of us add up to one kilo a year; dressing down daily could prevent this weight gain, says lead researcher Katie Zahour, an exercise physiology graduate student.

Dress Down, Slim Down - Reader's Digest Asia

3.13.2007

Garlic Doesn't Really Lower Cholesterol

A recent study has concluded that garlic, whether fresh or in supplement form, doesn't help in lowering cholesterol. This is a disappointing news to everyone who has been depending on garlic all these years.

"We did a bigger and better trial than has ever been done before and with NIH (National Institutes of Health) funding, not with supplement-manufacturer funding. And as far as lowering cholesterol, garlic didn't work," said Christopher D. Gardner, study lead author and nutrition scientist and assistant professor with the Stanford Prevention Research Center in Stanford, Calif.
Beliefs in garlic as a cure for many serious illnesses started way back the Egyptian era and doctors have even backed up that. Don't worry, your suffering for bad breath caused by the garlic is not really gone to waste. Even if it may not lower cholesterol, it does in fact lower your blood pressure.


Study Crushes Garlic's Claim to Lower Cholesterol - Yahoo Health

Health Finds Has Been Nominated

While checking on Health Finds' external links via Google Webmasters, I noticed a link from Philippine Blog Awards and was surprised this blog got nominated. Woohoo! Thanks to all the readers and visitors of Health Finds and hope we win the award come March 31 :)

3.12.2007

Cure Diseases By Drinking Water

Water Therapy has become very popular in India and is said to cure many diseases by following a routine of drinking lots and lots of water everyday. Some of the diseases that can be cured by water therapy are headache, hypertension, diabetes, rheumatism, cough, even eye disease. Here's how to do water therapy:

  • Drink 1.5 liters of water or about 5 to 6 glasses every morning. Remember that you must not brush your teeth nor take any liquids or eat anything an hour before and after doing this.
  • Please note that you should not have taken any alcohol the previous night.
  • At first, you may find it difficult to drink 1.5 liters of water. You can take 4 glasses of water first, then make a 2-minute rest before drinking the last 2 glasses.
The following diseases can be cured within the number of days/months indicated below:

Constipation: 1 day
Acidity: 2 days
Diabetes: 7 days
Hypertension: 4 weeks
Cancer: 4 weeks
Pulminory TB: 3 months

I have personally tried this one and noticed changes in my blood pressure after doing this for 2 weeks. Now my BP's up again, I guess I got to do water therapy again.


Water Therapy From India - Anvari.org

3.11.2007

5 Ways to Prevent Migraine

Migraine is one of the ailments you wished doesn't exist. Once you're under migraine attack, you can't do anything else. Here are some tips to prevent migraine:

  1. Know what triggers your migraine. The most common triggers are the food that we eat. Some of these are chocolate, caffeine, cheese, MSG, alcohol, and bacon. Other triggers are too little or too much sleep, stress, and change of weather. If you have been experiencing migraine after you have eaten something, take note of the food that you have just taken and get rid of it the next time.
  2. Maintain regular sleep patterns. Sleep and wakeup at the same time everyday. Don't nap. Take a long sleep instead of just napping. There is a greater chance of migraine attack if you just nap for a couple of minutes compared to sleeping for a couple of hours, just don't oversleep. Also, sleep with the lights turned off. Lights can add stress to your brain that might trigger migraine.
  3. Don't skip meals. An empty stomach sometimes lead to headaches, nausea, or vomiting. Always eat the right food at the right time.
  4. Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise for at least 20-30 minutes three times a week will help reduce frequency or severity of migraine.
  5. Avoid stress. If your work is too much for you that it gives you a headache, maybe you should consider looking for another job with less stress. Also, avoid getting arguments and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
There's nothing better than preventing it from attacking again. As the saying goes, an once of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

3.09.2007

Why Pills Are Best Taken With Water


You may be tempted to take pills with a sip of juice, coffee or beer. Pharmacist Mary Euler explains why water is a safer bet:

Grapefruit juice. It may inhibit enzymes that help metabolise certain pills, including some heart drugs and antidepressants. That can make them less effective and worsen side effects.

Coffee, tea, cola. Consuming caffeine while using certain asthma drugs may increase side effects. Caffeine can irritate the stomach, so avoid with NSAIDS such as ibuprofen.

Milk. Calcium prevents absorption of some antibiotics.

Alcohol. You risk liver damage if you drink regularly and use acetaminophen. Alcohol can diminish the effects of antidepressants and worsen side effects of other drugs.

Cranberry juice. Reports suggest drinking it while on warfarin, an anticoagulant, may increase bleeding.

Fibre drinks. Fibre can bind with many drugs, decreasing effectiveness.

6 Ways to Strenghten Your Back

Common backaches are usually due to the wear and tear of the spine. Reader's Digest Asia has some tips to strengthen your back:

  1. Sit properly. Sit maintaining the natural curve in the small of your back. Sitting puts more pressure on the discs, which is why many people with sore backs prefer to stand.
  2. Strengthen the back muscles, or perispinals. The back muscles, along with the abdominals, work together to support your spine. It's not strength you're after but endurance. The more endurance your back muscles have, the better chance you will avoid significant back pain.
  3. Get flexible. Yoga and tai chi use deliberate breathing movements to develop flexibility. Another great exercise is swimming. Water exercises reduce the load on your back by countering the effect of gravity.
  4. Keep active. Aerobic activities such as walking and fitness classes help keep the back limber and help maintain healthy weight.
  5. Avoid standing or sitting in one position for long periods of time. Gravity compacts the spine, so get up or change positions every 20 to 30 minutes. Movement of the joints helps lubricate joint surfaces.
  6. Back off. Never overdo weekend activities. When lifting, bend at the knees, not the back, and hold the load close to your body. keep your back erect, and avoid lifting anything too heavy. Balance any load in both arms. If you're traveling with luggage, get a suitcase with wheels.