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O.N.E 247

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Inspired by a life goal to influence the next generation of thought leaders, Nyemahame started this website. He wants to see people achieve their highest potential through his posts. Success starts one day at a time and by taking action. You can connect with his via his social media account and he will love to hear from those who got inspired. He is open to opportunities and seeks to grow his networks.

New website theme and design

Image of new site and theme

Hi everyone, welcome to the newly designed www.help247ayear.com. This new theme takes us to a whole new level and we can show our readers more and achieve better readability. We want to say thank you to everyone who has been following us actively and we will continue to serve you well in the coming months. We have a biography page coming up soon. We will write about great leaders and business men and women that have made so much impact. We will feature several YouTube videos about these people so you can learn from them. Slow and steady wins the race. Also coming up will be featured videos of the week which can be viewed directly from the homepage. Please comment below on people you will like us to feature. Suggestions are already coming in.

Previous Website look:

Our new site look:

I will love to hear your thoughts and what you think about the design.

I am glad that you visited this blog today. Thanks and leave your comments below

Breast cancer awareness month

breast-awareness-infograph
From https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and it happens that the 16th has been tagged ‘The Big Pink’ were people actively fundraise for Breast Cancer Care which supports people living with breat cancer. You can hold a pink themed event in your home, community or work place by partaking in activities of your choice such as cake bake, pot luck, dress down at work, etc. Youjust decide what to do on the day.

Remember, every little helps. You can sign up here. At the end of your event, just visit the site and pay in anything you have raised.

A little info about breast cancer

Breast cancer is a menace and devastating for the people who are affected and their families. Every year, 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK. This is the equivalent of having a packed full St. James’ Stadium or An almost full Emirates stadium down in North London. Or to put this is more perspective, about 1 person every 10 minutes. It is estimated that 1 in 8 women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and breast cancer is second most common cause of death from cancer in the UK with almost 12,000 people dying every year. These are scary numbers and they are not to be taken very likely. But the good news is that 85% of suferers survive beyond five years. The key is early detection and screening to curb it at its earliest stage.

breast-awareness-infograph
From https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk

If you notice any of these signs, seek medical attention by visiting your GP or doctor. For more info, click here.

Thank you for taking time to read this article. Please pass on the message and save a life.

P.S: I don’t work for Breast Cancer Care or affliated with it. I just want to contribute to raising awareness about breast cancer.

One sure driving factor to achieve all you want

motivation

We are human beings and decisions drive us each day. From the way we act to the way we think; everything borders on our choices. The real question is not the reason you made a choice, but why you made the choice. This topic is broad enough on its own so I am going to narrow it down to what drives most of us… Family.

Below  are some questions for you to ponder over:

  1. What is it that you see in your family that drives you?
  2. What drives you to wake up each morning, go to work, provide for your family?
  3. What drives you to hit the gym and stay in shape?
  4. What drives you to wake up every morning and go to class? Is it the dream of a better tomorrow or is it because of those close to you (family)? You make the choice, it’s your life.

– For the caring father, I will say it is to provide his wife with extra cash to go shopping or to put food on the table or to afford to take his children to the best schools, or offer them the best holiday.

– For the single mother, it is to make sure her children have enough to sustain them.

– For the mum or dad who hits the gym, it is the goal of staying healthy to take care of their children and also  to set a better example

– For the student, it is the dream to become what they have always wanted and make their family proud. To live the dream.

– For the immigrant, it is the opportunity for a better life for them and their family.

For me, it is those in my family that drives me to be the best I can. I am sure it might be the same for you.

Hope you have a beautiful day ahead and I can’t wait to share tomorrow’s post with you.

In a world where ‘good enough’ is no longer acceptable.

excellence is a habit

“There is a race to the bottom and many people are winning”.

This was said by Seth Godin, an extraordinary thinker and author who is a world renowned marketer. He has gone on to publish many books that have become best sellers. He challenges people’s thinking and this post was inspired by watching him.

Many people have remained at their comfort zones while their security zones have moved. People are now doing what they are told to do and this leaves them in an insecure zone. He gave an example that workers in a factory who the same things and have the same skills are in the same position. The danger is this; when it comes to laying off, they all get fired and this is usually in the tens of thousands. This is seen in organisations with a large work-force. These workers all get laid off at once because they are all similar with the same skill set. The ones who did not follow the status quo never got fired. These are people who are not good enough but simply extraordinary. They are different from the pack and do extraordinary things. In our world today, good enough is no longer acceptable and you might not need to look too far to see this because many people are dispensable and easy to replace.

We must demand more of ourselves and our skills. To get more information about this, read Seth Godin book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? today and find out how you can accomplish extraordinary things. The world is waiting for you to bring out the best in you.

In closing, come up with your best work and give it your best. Don’t wait another moment, the world is waiting for you. Today is your day and you are the person. It doesn’t matter if you fail or if an average Joe fails to notice at first and labels you an outcast. Follow Seth’s work here as he shares valuable ideas that might cause you to see life from a different view point.

Shocking find… prolonged sitting is now the NEW SMOKING.

from http://www.wired.com/2011/01/are-you-sitting-down-i-have-bad-news-for-you/

This will be coming as a shocker for most of you. According to a recent finding by scientists at Queen’s University, sitting for prolonged hours is now as dangerous to the health as smoking is. A simple equation to illustrate this fact is shown below:

Prolonged sitting time = smoking ( where both affect health).

According to the web article published by the university’s website,

“it is now believed that sitting for long periods of time is linked to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even early death, and could be just as big a threat to public health, if not more so, than smoking”.

Taking a look at the above quote, these words stand out for me: heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even early death. I find this hard to believe and it is serious because these researches are part of a consortium that received €4.5 million European grant to help tackle sedentary behaviour and increase physical activity in older people. You don’t just give away huge sums of money to a cause if it does not solve a great problem.

Researches from powerhouse countries such as Germany, Spain, and France will partake in a four-year study with Queen’s staff but first, the scientists at Queen’s will develop effective ways to sit less and become more active before rolling out to over 1300 people.

I am excited about this study and will want to see the results as Dr Mark Tully, from the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health at Queen’s University, heads the team in Northern Ireland.  According to the article, “One of the biggest threats to health is the amount of time spent sitting. On average people spend over nine hours, or up to 80 per cent of their waking day, sitting down”.

This also is very fascinating to me as public scientists have seen the need to develop methods for addressing high levels of inactivity. It might interest you to know that Sitting is now considered the NEW SMOKING as adults who spend most of their time sitting were 50% more likely to die compared to those that sat less.

For pregnant women, this one is for you. It was quoted in the article that mothers who sat more during pregnancies were likely to have heavier babies compared to those who did not and also, poor kidney function was linked to men who sat more at work.

Let’s all wait for this study, keep our fingers crossed, and see the methods they identify as effective that will help our ageing society make +ve changes to live a better life. It will then be rolled out through the health system as stated in the article. Some suggestions to help people become more active at work as stated in the article are:

  • treadmill and
  • height adjustable desks.
Dr Mark Tully using a treadmill at work
Dr Mark Tully with his treadmill desk at work.

The head of the study, Dr Mark Tully simply practising what he preaches. I think this goes to show you that this is a very important issue to him. I don’t know what changes you will be making to the way you sat at work but few simple changes might help.

My top suggestions for solving this problem are:

  1. using an adjustable chair or table
  2. going for a health course on posture during work. I think the NHS organises one but I am not sure.
  3. regularly stretching your legs when sitting at your desk
  4. taking a break for 5 minutes stretch break for lets say every hour you work

You can come up with your own and I think your main aim should be to try and reduce sitting for prolonged hours.

Share your thoughts and comments below.

Over and out,

Nyemahame.

Don’t Hold Back Your KEY DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH

Copied from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/My-Life-Check---Lifes-Simple-7_UCM_471453_Article.jsp#mli

Here’s a brief introduction about Barry, a man who wanted to find out key determinants for his health. Barry was more than the average Joe with a lovely family, home, and well paying job that made him inactive during most parts of the day and caused loads of stress due to heavy demands. Barry was getting worse everyday and he knew his heart was falling. He could not afford to see his family suffer due to his absence as he thought death was near as he just suffered his first heart attack at 35. Then Barry came across Life’s Simple Seven (LSS) and the tool made available by the American Heart Association (more on this towards the end). LSS was coined by the American Heart Association to measure the health of Americans by following seven very vital health factors and behaviours that increases the risk of getting stroke and heart disease. The goal is to measure if America is making progress towards 2020 in improving the cardiovascular health of every American by 20% and reducing death by the same percentage. The measures being tracked (simple seven) are: not smoking, physical activity, healthy diet, body weight, control of cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. I have discussed these below and added my own thoughts to these.

  1. Not smoking: smoking is one of the leading risk factors for diseases and over 6 million deaths due to smoking occurred in 2010 alone. There are over 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette smoke and has been linked to several cancers because it is a major risk factor. Cigarette causes damage to the inner lining (intima) of blood vessels especially arteries and when there is damage, the body system tries to repair it by healing. Inflammatory mediators are recruited in the process which can have negative effects on the body system. The repair of damaged lining can lead to the formation of atheroma which can increase blood pressure. Smoking destroys cilia lining the airways which is necessary for sweeping mucus and bacteria. If cilia is destroyed, this clearance is difficult to achieve. This can become a breeding ground for bacteria leading to infection. I believe you now have an idea of why people say smoking kills and it really does. It reduces quality of life.
  2. Physical activity: according to WHO, this is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases e.g. Diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Statistics are not very encouraging as 1 in 4 adults is not active. It is recommended that children and adolescents do at least an hour of moderate to vigorous intense physical activity. For adults, this time increase to at least 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week. If this sounds like too much time for you, it is recommended that you do 75 minutes of vigorous intense exercise during the week. Activities recommended are walking or doing sports. Benefits of doing exercise as highlighted by the website are: improvement in muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness, reduction in hypertension risk, stroke reduction, improving bone and functional health. Policies aimed at improving physical exercise are making accessible and safe means of transportation for all, making changes to the workplace to encourage activity, making safe spaces for schools and also for everyone in the society. To fit exercise into your day, try out simple things such as walking, jogging, not taking the lift etc. Even if you fail to meet the necessary requirements, know that at least you are consistent in the simple things you do. For more about physical activity, visit here.
  1. Healthy diet: many people are lacking in good diet and one major challenge in this area is reducing sodium content and encouraging people to eat more whole grains. From studies conducted, it has been observed that it is easier to change a diet than to place someone on a exercise plan. Better results are achieved with a change in diet. So many people find it hard to maintain their motivation to exercise and also to fit it within their day. See my post on fruits.
  2. Body weight: most Americans over 20 are overweight with the numbers looking overwhelming. Gaining of weight starts slowly and people do not see any difference at the beginning stage until later in life when people start seeing visible signs. It takes a great deal of work to shed weight.
  3. Control of cholesterol: this is another major challenge as one in three Americans have high levels of cholesterol. Cholesterol has been linked to low density lipopolysaccharides that has been associated with atherosclerosis. If you have not known, atherosclerosis is a risk factor for many diseases especially cardiovascular disease such as angina, heart attack or stroke.
  4. Blood pressure: many people are affected and this leads to heart attack. Blood pressure starts slowly and goes undetected until the case gets worse. Since there are no associated symptoms, many people usually do not go for checkup until it is very late. It causes untold damages to the blood vessels and can affect organs such as the heart, kidney, and eye.
  5. Blood sugar: normally associated with diabetes and globally, the numbers are expected to rise from 285 million in 2010 to 439 million by 2030. The impact of diabetes have not being completely made fully known to the public and not much has been going on concerning educating the general public. It causes tiredness, frequent urination, diabetes, problems with kidney, and amputation in severe cases. You should know your blood sugar today and save yourself the agony of diabetes. See my post on diabetes

Wrapping up, LSS is simple enough to be initiated and carries huge benefits just as it did for Barry. LSS is linked to lifestyle and changes in lifestyle is one of the easiest and best things anyone can implement. For statistical information, visit Heart.Org

I cannot leave you hanging without introducing you to the tool that saved Barry. After Barry got his results from using the tool initially, he vowed to make changes and with the support of his doctors and friends, he was able to quit smoking, change his diet, and started exercising. He still lives today and he just turned 45. You need to check yours using American Heart Association’s tool. Screenshots of the welcome page and others are below which explains why you need to check out the tool.

life simple seven pic 1
The introductory screen with what it is in it for you.

 

life simple seven pic 1
Getting started screen where you fill in your details. Try to be as accurate as possible.

 

life simple seven pic 3
Your results from the tool with recommendations about the next steps you need to take.

 

life simple seven pic 1
A summary page with your heart score. I rushed through mine but tried to make it as accurate as I could

You don’t want to miss using this tool after reading this article. The tool is great and I must say KUDOS to the creators of such a tool as this with so much information that is helpful. You can access the tool here.

Thank you so much for taking out time to read this article. It is because of your constant visits and support that I am able to write at least two posts a week. Do take out time to read other articles on this site and drop a comment before you leave.

P.S: Barry is a fictional story and I don’t work for American Heart Association or any other organisation. But don’t be decieved, real people have made changes to their health for the better using this tool. I just share useful information regarding health to audiences who would have not normally seen the resources I share.

The Dummies’ Guide to SAVE A LIFE DURING STROKE

stroke image
from http://www.pivotphysicaltherapy.com/blog/how-physical-therapy-can-help-in-stroke-rehab/

Are you confident that you might know what to do in the case where someone suffers a stroke? This is a quick post to educate you on what to do in the event of a stroke.

There is a popular acronym which is F.A.S.T. which makes the whole process simplified and easy to remember.

What it represents:
F stands for Face Dropping – can you notice if the person’s face is dropping or if it is numb? Ask the person to smile and watch out for differences between the two sides of the face.
A stands for Arm Weakness – can the person feel weakness in one arm? The best way to find out is to ask the person to raise both arms up. If the person finds that he can raise both hands but one drops involuntarily, then this is a signal.
S stands for Speech Difficulty – during the conversation, is the speech slurred and difficult for you to understand the person even if you strain your ears. The sufferer even finds it difficult to make simple sentences.
T stands for Time to call 9-1-1 – yes, you should do this even if you notice just one sign and it looks like if the situation is getting worse. The person needs to go to the hospital for immediate treatment because if untreated, it is very lethal and its damages are irreversible.

Therefore, you should act FAST. Try to keep note of when the symptom started.
This acronym helps you recognise stroke symptoms but the symptoms are not limited to this. Doing this alone will help you save a life during stroke. You must ensure you can remember this when the situation arises. Also occurring are headaches, lack of balance or coordination, and or dizziness. Try to make the person feel comfortable and at rest so that he/ she is not panicking.
We have so far discussed how you can save a life. Now, below are reasons why you should treat this as serious a why.

SOME STATISTIC ON STROKE:

  • Cardiovascular disease is the number one leading cause of death in the world and the number is to rise to 23.6 million by 2030 and causes 30% of global deaths in 2008.
  • Prevalence of stroke stands at 33 million in 2010
  • In the US alone, stroke kills one in person every four minutes and causes 1 out of every 20 deaths.
  • Every 40 secs, one suffers stroke in the US
  • Stroke is the fifth cause of death in the US (1) and is known as a leading cause of physical disability in people who suffered from stroke.
brain functions
Picture of the areas of the brain and their functions. Image from http://ms442science.webs.com/n-parts

You should check out this page from WHO about stroke  and the damage it causes. It normally arises when the blood vessels supplying the brain is blocked by a clot or ruptures and preventing blood flow to the brain leading to death of the area of brain tissue affected. As you might know it or not , brain cells are made up of neurones which cannot reform when damage and there is no cure from this. We all know the brain to be very important as it coordinates many of our activities such as walking, eating, thinking, etc.
Depending on the part of the brain affected, the symptoms will arises.

Area Symptoms
Back of the brain Vision affected
Left area of brain Right side of the body affected,speech
Right area of brain Left side of the body affected
Brain Stem Affects both sides and the person is unable to move

But remember, every stroke is unique but there are symptoms which are common to people. Some people do have TIA (transient Ischaemic Attack). The difference between a stroke and TIA  is that the later is temporary and only lasts a short time.
I wanted to have a video  show up on this post but I cannot. Simply go to and watch this video.

deaths due to stroke
Deaths caused by STROKE according to WHO. Adapted from http://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/en/cvd_atlas_16_death_from_stroke.pdf?ua=1

Simply remember, how quickly you can identify an attack can determine the amount of damage you can prevent. To ensure you act FAST, you need to know stroke symptoms. Until next time, have a great week.

 

WARNING… KNOW YOUR DIABETIC STATUS AND HERE IS WHY.

Diabetes is a serious case today affecting lives, economies, and nations alike with its disastrous effects being untold.

According to ABC Diabetes, an estimated 300 million people will be affected with diabetes globally by 2025.

Diabetes can also be known as high blood sugar or glucose in the blood. I aim to quickly establish what diabetes mean and why different symptoms arise. After this, then I discuss treatment. It should be noted that this is just researched information and you should see your doctor is you recognise some symptoms discussed in this post. To not take this as health advice as this is not what this post sets out to do. To reiterate, please consult the services of a doctor.

After learning about diabetes, I can tell you that there are two types; type 1 and 2.

Type 1 diabetes is where your B cells of the pancreas that manufacture insulin in your body are defective and non-functional. There are other cells in the pancreas that serve other functions. Insulin is important as they sense glucose and stimulate it absorption. Glucose is gotten from carbohydrates when eaten. You should understand that insulin is a hormone and stored in the liver. T1D can be due to autoimmune disease but sometimes, causes are not known. Also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or IDDM.

Type 2 diabetes, previously known as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or NIDDM is when B cells of the pancreas are present but they fail to produce enough insulin to sense glucose in the body or if insulin resistance is present. Normally happens due to lifestyle. This is more common T1D and affects a lot of young people.

Both of these scenarios are deadly as your body needs glucose to manufacture ATP which is used for work. If energy levels are high in the body, then glucose is present and already broken down. Therefore, it will be futile if your body keeps breaking down glucose. Hence, it needs to store glucose and save it for later use.

In affected person, the body fails to sense glucose. Hence, glucose is not reabsorbed into cells. The body goes to a state of trying to get energy from somewhere. You need to know that glucose is the major source of energy and only fats can provide more energy than carbohydrate.

Recognising diabetes symptoms:

  1. low energy
  2. frequent urination
  3. feeling very thirsty
  4. never being filled
  5. tiredness
  6. affected vision
  7. weight loss

Explanations why these symptoms occur

  1. Low energy: to simply put it in an understandable way, your cells lack energy which is gotten from the conversion of glucose to ATP. When glucose is not absorbed into these cells, then you feel weak even though you eat. Before glucose is passed to these cells, they are first sent to the blood. The resultant effect of not absorbing glucose is sugar overload. Hence, your doctor’s say you have high blood sugar
  2. Frequent urination: the excess blood sugar must be reduced to maintain your body electrolytes and other functions. Hence, this excess is sent to the urine. This acts to increase the osmolarity or simply put, concentration of urine. This is called hyperglycaemia meaning high glucose. Due to the action of osmosis, water follows immediately resulting in frequent urination. In type 2 diabetes, your urine is sugary and might attract ants which was one of the ways it was detected in the past. A normal person might urinate four to seven times but a diabetic is usually a lot more
  3. Feeling very thirsty: you might consume water as a result of excess water lost via osmosis to the urine. Thirst is stimulated to help you maintain the right volume.
  4. Never being filled: you eat but are never satisfied as your body tells you there is no energy and need to eat food.
  5. Tiredness: as a result of no energy, you feel very tired and you cannot do any meaningful work. This can be very bad as it brings great toil on people and on the economy as a whole
  6. Affected vision: changes in fluid levels affect the way the lenses in your eyes focus on objects to bring about accurate vision
  7. Weight loss: remember I told you about your body getting to a state where it needs to draw energy from other sources. Well, this is the reason why. Your body turns to fat then to protein to supply its energy requirements. This leads to loss of body weight and you are sometimes left to wonder what is happening to you.
  8. Injuries take long to heal: this might be due to the effect of excess sugar affecting the way blood clots.

Also arising from diabetes are renal failure and stroke, cardiovascular diseases, amputations, morbidity, and premature mortality. These are when diabetes is left untreated and worsens. As a result, the person is left worse off. Don’t let this happen to people close to you. Let them know about this post so they can identify diabetes very early with the help of their doctor.

Treatment:

  • A change in nutrition is needed and make sure you control your diet. According to WHO, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity are the leading global risks to health. They recommend health dietary practises early in life as it encourages growth and development of a child. From my research and according to WHO’s website, energy intake should try and balance expenditure and fat should not surpass 30% of total energy to prevent people putting on weight. Also, limiting free sugars to at most 10% of total energy constitutes a healthy diet (1).
  • Adults have a different requirements than kids and a healthy diet should include fruits, vegetables, legumes such as beans, nuts and whole grains (brown rice, wheat, etc.) Free sugars as highlighted earlier should be at most 10% of total energy and this is equivalent to 50g or 12 teaspoons.
  • Try to maintain an active lifestyle balanced with food but seek the services of a doctor. It may interest you to know that according to WHO, 1 in 4 adults are not active enough.
  • Check your blood glucose levels periodically and there are handheld devices you can purchase online or in stores near you that measures your glucose level. In trying to control your blood sugar, make sure you don’t go into a state of hypoglycaemia (shakiness, anxiety, feeling cold, sweating, headache, numbness etc.)
  • For T1D, since the beta cells are destroyed, they can be replaced through a pancreas transplant. For diet, food low in fat, salt are ideal as well as fruits and vegetables. This diet change also applies to T2D.
  • Medications given in the hospital

You should understand that there are risk factors associated with diabetes whether it is type 1 or 2. These include age, ethnicity, family history of diabetes, cardiovascular problems etc.

I feel I have educated you enough on diabetes and why people affected experience what they experience. I want to stress that you need to see a doctor and a nutritionist if you are affected to better plan your lifestyle and diet to help you cope with diabetes.

But before I go, I feel it is necessary I talk about the 10 facts aboout diabetes as highlighted by WHO which I found during my research. They are:

  1. An estimated 347 million people worldwide have diabetes: this can be traced to overweight, obesity and physical inactivity
  2. Predicted to become the 7th leading cause of death in the world by 2030: current number is projected to rise by more than 50% in the next ten years
  3. Two major forms: T1D and T2D
  4. Gestational diabetes is the third type: occurs during pregnancy
  5. T2D much more common than T1D with T2D accounting for around 90% of global diabetes
  6. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for between 50% and 80% of deaths in people with diabetes
  7. In 2012, diabetes led to 1.5 million deaths directly
  8. An overwhelming 80% of deaths due to diabetes happen in low- and middle-income countries
  9. A leading cause of blindness, amputation and kidney failure.
  10. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with 30 minutes of moderate-intense physical activity and T1D cannot be prevented. A healthy diet reduces risk of developing T2D

Until next post, see you and make time out to exercise this week even if it is taking a walk.

Heartburn: what causes it and how can it be prevented

Image gotten from http://shavana.com.au/2015/02/festive-heartburn/

Heartburn is something that affects almost everyone and might not cause any serious concern. Credible sources have highlighted that almost everyone will experience heartburn with many linking their heartburn to food. The feeling that comes with it is very uncomfortable and annoying. You could give anything in the world for this burning sensation to go away and never return. This is where I come in as someone who spent over 24 hours researching this topic and gathered much information from the scientific and non-scientific communities. Heartburn is normally felt below the breast-plate. If you are reading this, chances are that you have experienced heartburn especially if you have tried beans (many people identified with this).

Some statistics:

  • Everyone apart from a select few will experience heartburn one point in life or the other
  • More than half the number of pregnant women will experience heartburn with most of those affected experiencing this in their third trimester
  • Close to 95% of people link heartburn to a certain food

Cited from FloridaHospital and HealthLine

What really causes heartburn?

Heartburn is

simply the re-emergence of acid or to be more specific, gastric acid

in the oesophagus which can mean the presence of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) but this is not the case for everyone because it can be due to eating certain foods that stimulate the production of acids. GERD can lead to inflammation of the oesophagus or food pipe

Other names for heart burn

  • GERD
  • Acid indigestion
  • Acid reflux
  • Chest burn

Anatomy of the digestive system:

The beginning of the digestive system is the mouth where food mixes with the saliva. This travels down the oesophagus as bolus in a characteristic nature known as peristalsis. Bolus moves to the stomach where enzymes act on it and processes it to chime. Acids are then added to it kill bacteria and help with the digestion of some compounds. Next, food moves to the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed and sent to the needed cells. The remaining moves to the large intestine where it is processed and excreted from the body. Digestion of food is an involuntary process and one that is not under conscious control.

Symptoms experienced during heartburn:

The production and presence of acids causes the burning sensation many people experience. This is the major symptom associated with heartburn and is located centrally in the chest. From this article, it said that the oesophagus just like the stomach has protective cells that line it and prevent refluxed acid from causing inflammation and damage to the oesophagus. Just before the entrance of the stomach, muscles are modified to form sphincters that close and prevent passage of food back into the oesophagus. This is called the Lower esophageal sphincter. If this does not close quickly once food passes, then stomach contents or acids can flow backwards.

This burning sensation is made worse when the person bends, stoops or lies down.

Causes of heartburn:

  1. Common foods that cause increased production of acid from the stomach such as beans
  2. Alcohol
  3. Some drugs such as aspirin, buprofen,
  4. Acidic fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, grapefruit and oranges
  5. Smoking which cause changes in the esophageal lining from squamous cells to metastatic columnar cells that characterise Barrett’s oesophagus and this is diagnosed by endoscopy.

Visit here for more information.

How you can avoid it naturally:

  • Some people say you should avoid eating foods that cause heartburn especially before bedtime as lying down worsens it. This should be your first line of defence. But I recognise that many people like me will have a favourite food that causes heartburn and mine is beans. I can’t do without eating beans and this keeps me frustrated knowing I have to avoid beans. Subsequent ways of dealing with heartburn shown below can be adopted if you are like me.
  • Eating smaller foods often. This is great when you identify foods that cause heartburn and trying to balance this with another food that does not cause heartburn for you.
  • Stop things like smoking although this is easier said than done.
  • Alcohol and carbonated drinks that affect you can be reduced or stopped.
  • A reputable source also highlighted not eating too fast and reducing fatty foods.
  • So many other sources also highlighted eating gum as this stimulates the production of saliva.
  • Baking soda mixed with water can also be used but you should be careful about this  as it could cause nausea or retention of water which could increase your blood pressure.
  • I also recommend drinking lots of water during and after eating. I always try this and it takes a while for it to go completely. I recommend having water by your side as it always resurfaces. Also get ready to urinate more often. Other times, not eating hot food can also help you with heartburn. This paragraph is my own suggestion and someone also told me drinking loads to milk can also help as it is basic in nature. I tried it but didn’t notice much difference. These guys talk about using water but warn about using milk to relieve heartburn.
  • Another home remedy I saw was eating banana as described by Freedrinkingwater. This quickly sent me to research mode. I had already talked about banana in a previous post but missed out on its alkaline properties. From what I know about banana, it is high in fibre and great as a form of antioxidant. Further research revealed that it was alkaline and gets rid of heartburn quickly. I know it is rich in potassium which can also help neutralise acidity (pH of potassium is 14 and 5.6 for banana). I feel it might subside the heartburn and I spoke to someone who told me banana worked to  an extent for her. Read 1, 2, 3 for more info with naturallifeenergy discussing about alkaline and acidic foods. P.S. I have not yet tried this one out but the data out there shows it is effective and will try it out very soon. Then and only then will I update this article and tell you about the experiment that I will have conducted by then and how long it took me to get rid of heartburn.
  • The final remedy I have tried is eating another food which does not cause your heartburn. It works for me and keeps the effect of my heartburn to a bare minimum. Seek your dietician to know what you can have for snacks or if you are the healthy type, look for healthy fruits or food you can eat.

What the scientific community had to say about this:

Drugs for heart burn
Drugs for heartburn. Image shown above was gotten from Kumar and Clarks Clinical Textbook page 240
  1. Take antacids after meals or when needed. Antacids work through a process of binding to the excess acids and lining the gut wall. Antacids have different mode of actions (some containing calcium carbonate or preventing production of acids) but they all serve the same purpose of reducing heartburn by neutralising acidic nature.
  2. Antagonists of histamine (H2) stop the action of histamine that encourages the stomach cells to produce acids. Examples of these class of drugs are Cimetidine or Ranitidine
  3. Another family of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPI) block the production of acids and these include drugs like Omeprazole or pantoprazole as described here.

This site lists other medications that might help and IQWiG gives a general overview which can be found in PubMed Health.

Surgery was also recommended but depends on the extent of the symptoms.

Summarising this section, I will say that you should consult with your doctor or GP to get more advice because some drugs react with some other ones and have side effects.

Having gotten to the end of this article, I want to comment that a change in lifestyle is necessary to combat heartburn. Everyone is different and if you identify what causes heartburn for you, then you can effectively tackle it and reduce it occurrence. It takes trial and error for you to properly know how to treat your heartburn and the services of a doctor should be consulted.

We will love to hear your comments about how you solved your heartburn issues in the comments section below.

SHORT NOTES ON HICCUPS

clip art of hiccups
copied from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9896.php
Copied from http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://cdn1.medicalnewstoday.com/content/images/articles/181573-hiccup-diagram.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9896.php&h=877&w=1200&tbnid=TndgoNWyOqfAwM:&docid=XUSSRDjRoRpXyM&ei=laK_Vf-5ItSR7Ab94oOQDA&tbm=isch&ved=0CDYQMygFMAVqFQoTCL_Y2vS1jccCFdQI2wodffEAwg
Copied from ULeadme

We have all had hiccups at one stage or the other and you need to understand why this comes about and the mechanism behind it. A hiccup is an involuntary action caused by the movement of the diaphragm (a sheet of muscle responsible for quite inspiration or breathing). The contractions of the diaphragm causes the characteristic sound you hear because the vocal cords closes as the contracted diaphragm draws in air. This is why the vocal cord snaps shut as a result of contraction. The vocal cords found in the larynx are very important for voice (sppech) and singing. Now there are different reasons why contractions of the diaphragm occurs which leads to hiccups and these are listed below. These causes were researched by me and  also from from my own experience.

What causes hiccups?

  1. Excitement
  2. Eating too fast
  3. Not drinking water especially after a meal (my personal experience)
  4. Drinking much alcohol or beverages
  5. Damage to vagus or phrenic nerves which connects to the larynx and pharynx.
  6. Medications

Hiccups does not last for too long but in a case where it does, then it might be an underlying medical condition and you should see your doctor if this persists for too long. I normally take a lot of water when hiccups do arise

Treatment:

  • Drugs can be used to treat hiccups.
  • For me, I normally prefer drinking water and this works everytime for me.

I don’t know about what other people do to stop hiccups and I will like to hear your opinions below.

P.S. This is a short post and was written for information purposes. You should consult your doctor for medical advice.

A quick information about my next post: I’m currently researching about heart burn and will be posting an article by lunch time tomorrow. It should be a great article and you should not miss it for anything. Heart burn affects many and leaves people feeling frustrated. I will also highlight how to go about solving this issue in the article tomorrow.

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