Spring: The sniffing, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and hives season

Ahhh, springtime. You can feel it in the air. Do you feel it in the form of sniffing, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and occasional hives? Allergies are present in many forms ranging from mild to severe. With the recent rainy winter in California and the subsequent super bloom, many Californians are experiencing worse than normal allergies. My poor husband, who is allergic to grass, is struggling right now because of all the people cutting their lawns. He will only have to struggle for another month or two, whereas I struggle year round due to allergies to dust mites. Read more for causes of allergies, anaphylaxis, and management of allergies.

So you think you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (abbreviated CTS) is used as an umbrella diagnosis with most people attributing any wrist pain to carpal tunnel syndrome. Actual CTS can be difficult to diagnose as there are similarities with neck injuries, nerve impairment, thoracic outlet syndrome, pronator teres syndrome, sprained wrist ligaments, and trigger point referral pain produce similar symptoms. Massage can be immensely helpful for CTS patients. A therapeutic massage, within pain tolerance, for carpal tunnel syndrome with specific work on the hand, wrist, forearm and shoulder may help decompress the median nerve. Massage that doesn’t exacerbate symptoms has been shown to contribute to improvement in strength, function, and symptoms of patients with CTS. Read on to find out more!

Case Study: Listening to your gut (Celiac Disease)

It is May now (where does the time go?) which is also Celiac Awareness Month! A good friend and avid reader of the blog suggested that I do a case study about her medical history and ultimate diagnosis of celiac disease. Celiac disease in adults can present as a myriad of symptoms and is often not diagnosed, or is misdiagnosed as anemia or chronic fatigue syndrome. The subject is an active female, born in 1975, living 5400 feet above sea level. Her answers are unedited. Read on!

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease, sometimes spelled as coeliac disease, is an autoimmune disease and a genetic disorder. Celiac disease can be hard to diagnose, as it is camouflaged by a variety of general, sub-acute symptoms. After diagnosis though, a gluten-free diet will provide a relatively normal life. Celiac disease and gluten-free diets are often discussed simultaneously, and below I have researched why.

Should I Ice or Should I Heat?

After posting about inflammation and swelling last week, I had a few questions about icing or heating muscle pains and injuries and how that interacts with the inflammatory process. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a good answer. Medical professionals seem quite divided on when to ice an injury and when to heat an injury. PubMed, a repository of peer reviewed science journal articles, shows a significant number of published papers with the conclusion that icing helps, icing is detrimental, or that icing has no effect, along with heating an injury helps, heating an injury does not help, and that heating an injury has no effect. So, at this point in time, it seems as though the jury is still deliberating on this case. Personally, I am in the pro-icing camp for specific injuries and in the pro-heating camp for general aches and pains. Basically my recommendation is to try something and see how your body reacts--icing, heating, or both.

Inflammation and Swelling

Inflammation is the body’s protective response to eliminate and neutralize foreign invaders and promote tissue repair. Inflammation is not the same as infection, although the two sometimes occur at the same time. Infection is the body’s response to a foreign microbe, whereas inflammation is a generalized response to tissue damage. Signs of inflammation are remembered by the mnemonic PRISH, which stands for Pain, Redness, Immobility, Swelling, and Heat. The heat and redness are a result of increased blood flow to the area, and swelling due to the plasma and white blood cells. The nerve endings in the area are painfully hypersensitive due to the increased release of chemicals in the blood and plasma in that area. Read on for information about acute inflammation, chronic inflammation, and anti-inflammatory diets.

Blood Testing

Blood is integral to every major system of your body. Because of that, much information can be learned about your general health and diet. This is why blood testing is often performed as it can contain markers for a variety of different diseases and illnesses. There are a variety of tests involving your blood--blood pressure, blood typing, CBC, BMP, and tests for specific diseases.

All About Blood

What do George Washington, Rasputin, and Lance Armstrong have in common? Blood! But not in that they are related, more that they have stories of historical significance involving blood. Blood is quite important and permeates nearly every part of our internal body. It is connected to many different aspects of our daily life: our diet, our general health, and many diseases. Read on for some basic facts of blood.

What is Motion Sickness?

My husband and I are headed on our very first cruise this week. In preparation, I have researched motion sickness. Motion sickness is brought about by motion, whether it is from riding in a car, train or rollercoaster, on a boat, or in a plane. It is sometimes referred to as seasickness, airsickness, or car sickness. But it all describes the same thing. Symptoms generally include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and headache. “Nausea” is actually Greek for seasickness, as “naus” means ship. If the unlucky person is nauseous, the person may vomit. And unfortunately, vomiting doesn’t relieve the nausea and the person will continue to vomit until the nausea is treated. Fun times--who is ready for a cruise?