Monthly Archives: June 2011

ALLERGIES, CANDIDA AND ASTHMA

Many asthmatics and other allergy sufferers find that after a few bouts of vaginal, oral or intestinal thrush, they become allergic to more and more foods. This often causes blood sugar fluctuations and hypoglycaemia sets in with its inevitable symptoms. As the immune system is overworked by its fight against the fungi, its ability to cope decreases and a vicious circle begins. The more allergies, the more blood sugar will tend to fluctuate — then less resistance causes more infections, and so on. To break the vicious circle one must do several things:Eradicate the Candida from the gut.Starve the yeast so it will not grow unchecked again.Increase natural resistance to the organism by normalising gut flora.The first step requires special anti-fungal medications; the second consists of special anti-candida diets free of fungi, moulds and ferments. The third step involves the administration of suitable nutrients, the differential diagnosis of coexisting bacterial, fungal, parasitic or viral intestinal infections and their possible effects, such as leaky gut syndrome, as well as the assessment of the liver’s capacity to clear endotoxins and exotoxins.Differential DiagnosisThe differential diagnosis of Candida syndrome uses a combination of several methods, including questionnaires, immunology tests, physical examination, symptomatology, clinical trials with special diets and/or anti fungals and a variety of allergy tests. Most important however, is what we call ‘the clinical picture’, a composite of the patient’s family and personal history, presenting symptoms and clinical evidence which may result from an examination. Far from being simply a matter of reading a questionnaire or asking to name a list of symptoms, the differential diagnosis of the Candida syndrome is a complex procedure requiring considerable diagnostic experience.Kinds of SymptomsThe wide variety of symptoms which Candida can cause fall into the following categories: Loose or irritable bowel, diarrhoea or constipation, alternate constipation and diarrhoea, excessive flatus, malabsorption, abdominal bloating, heartburn and nausea.Although these do occur in patients with other diseases, especially parasitic, viral or helicobacter intestinal infections, they are quite common with intestinal thrush. When they do occur in asthmatics the doctor must suspect that candidiasis is a major contributing factor. Naturally there must be a differential diagnosis to exclude other organisms and the possibility of food allergies or intolerances.Allergic SymptomsAsthma, sinusitis, hay fever, post-nasal drip, throat mucus, headaches, skin rashes, sneezing and chest or bronchial congestion.Again, these could be just signs of allergies to many other factors, including chemicals or foods, rather than Candida; so it is important to make an accurate diagnosis.Mucocutaneous SymptomsThrush; tinea; exzema; skin rashes; ear, nose, throat, mouth, vaginal and rectal infections, inflammation or irritation, discharges and itching; and nail infections, known as ‘paronychia’.Emotional/Mental SymptomsPremenstrual syndrome, anxiety, depression, agoraphobia, nervousness, short temper, poor concentration, poor memory, mood swings.These are common in both candidiasis and many allergies, as well as in hypoglycaemia. In addition, please remember that candidiasis, like viral illness and allergies, is a great masquerader, as we saw earlier, and can provoke a whole range of symptoms which mimic many quite different illnesses.Dermatological SymptomsTinea, skin rashes and skin, rectal, vaginal, ear and throat itchiness.These signs of candidiasis are also experienced by allergic individuals.*58\145\2*

MANAGING YOUR WEIGHT: MEASURES OF BODY FAT

Hydrostatic Weighing TechniquesFrom a clinical perspective, the most accurate method of measuring body fat is through hydrostatic weighing techniques. This method measures the amount of water a person displaces when completely submerged. Because fat tissue has a lower density than muscle or bone tissue, a relatively accurate indication of actual body fat can be computed by comparing a person’s underwater and out-of-water weights. Although this method may be subject to errors, it is one of the most sophisticated techniques currently available.
Pinch and Skinfold MeasuresPerhaps the most commonly used method of determining body fat is the pinch test.Numerous studies have determined that the triceps area (located in the back of the upper arm) is one of the most reliable areas of the body for assessing the amount of fat in the subcutaneous (just under the surface) layer of the skin. In making this assessment, a person pinches a fold of skin just behind the triceps with the thumb and index finger. It is important to pinch only the fat layer and not the triceps muscle. After selecting a spot for measure, the person assesses the distance between the thumb and index finger. If the size of the pinch appears to be thicker than 1 inch, the person is generally considered over-fat.Another technique, the skinfold caliper test, resembles the pinch test but is much more accurate. In this procedure, a person pinches folds of skin at various points on the body with the thumb and index finger. This technique uses a specially calibrated instrument called a skinfold caliper to take a precise measurement of the fat layer. Besides the triceps area, the points most often used in these measurements are the biceps area (front of the arm), the subscapular area (upper back), and the iliac crest (hip). Once these data points are assessed, special formulas are employed to arrive at a combined prediction of total body fat.In the hands of trained technicians, the skinfold caliper test can be fairly accurate. If the person doing the test is inconsistent about the exact locations of the pinch or if there is difficulty in determining the difference between fat and muscle, the results may be inaccurate. In addition, the heavier a person is, the more prone this technique is to error. For obese people, difficulties in assessment are magnified because of problems in distinguishing between flaccid muscles and fat. Also, most currently available calipers do not expand far enough to obtain accurate measurements on the moderately obese (20 to 40 percent overweight) or the morbidly obese (more than 50 percent overweight). Additional errors in skinfold assessments may occur as a result of failure to account for certain age, sex, and ethnic differences in calibrations.
Girth and Circumference MeasuresAnother common method of body fat assessment is the use of girth and circumference measures. Diagnosticians use a measuring tape to take girth, or circumference, measurements at various body sites. These measurements are then converted into constants, and a formula is used to determine relative percentages of body fat. Although this technique is inexpensive, easy to use, and commonly performed, it is not as accurate as many of the other techniques listed here.
Soft-Tissue RoentgenogramA relatively new technique for determining body fat, the soft-tissue roentgenogram, involves injecting a radioactive substance into body and allowing this substance to penetrate muscle (lean) tissue so that distinctions between fat and lean tissue can be made by means of imaging.
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Another method of determining body fat levels, bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), involves sending a small electric current through the subject’s body. The amount of resistance to the current, along with the person’s age, sex, and other physical characteristics, is then fed into a computer that uses special formulas to determine the total amount of lean and fat tissue.
Total Body Electrical ConductivityOne of the newest (and most expensive) assessment techniques is total body electrical conductivity (TOBEC), which uses an electromagnetic force field to assess relative body fat. Although based on the same principle as impedance, this assessment requires much more elaborate, expensive equipment, and therefore is not practical for most people.Although all of these methods can be t they can also be inaccurate and even harmful unless the testers are skillful and well trained. Before agreeing to undergo any procedure, be sure you are aware of the expense, potential for accuracy, risks, and training of the tester.*7/277/5*

WEIGHT CONTROL: HEALTH RISKS OF OBESITY

- Hypertension (High blood pressure)- Diabetes- Cardiovascular diseases- Cancer- Osteoarthritis- Gout- Depression- Respiratory Problems: Sleep apnea
HypertensionHigh blood pressure can lead to development of heart disease, kidney failure and stroke. Obese people are six times more prone to develop heart disease. Obese people generally have elevated blood lipids thus leading to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular problems.
Diabetes type IIObese people are ten times more likely to develop type II diabetes and obesity is the principal risk factor especially when it is central obesity (higher waist circumference) or (higher waist hip ratio).
Respiratory problemsObesity puts pressure on lungs thus reducing their size, chest wall is heavy and is difficult to lift, thus causing difficulty in breathing, sleep apnea is another disorder where subjects stop breathing in their sleep due to collapse of soft tissues in the throat. On long-term basis sleep apnea can cause hypertension, arrhythmia and sudden death.
Musculoskeletal problemsArthritis and low back pain are common. Joint replacements are also difficult to perform.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)Increased stomach pressure results in high rate of reflux where acid from the stomach backs up into the oesophagus. Other problems include decreased or irregular menstrual cycle, infertility, ovarian cyst, etc. Obese women are also more prone to cancer of breast, uterus, cervix, ovaries or gall bladder.Psychological problems include negative image, shame, depression, rejection, etc. Studies have shown that each kg of weight loss is associated with 3- 4 months of prolonged survival; 10 kg weight loss is predicted to restore 35% of life expectancy; 10% of total body weight loss reduces HbAlC by 1.6%, reduces hypertension by 26%, reduces triglycerides, LDL (low density lipoprotein) and increases HDL (high density lipoprotein).
Weight ReductionMost recent WHO recommendation for dietary improvements and increased level of physical exercise provides the basis for the development of strategies to challenge rise in obesity. The more effective obesity therapies should prevent or delay the onset of chronic degenerative diseases like diabetes, hypertension and to maintain the weight loss.*2/356/5*