You scraped your knee a few days ago. Now your cut is surrounded by angry, red skin that’s sore, warm to the touch, and emitting a gross amount of pus. Are you suffering from an infected wound? Chances are the answer is “yes.” Here’s what to … Read More
The heart normally beats in a consistent pattern that sounds like ?lub-dub, lub-dub.? This sound, which your doctor hears while listening to your heart through a stethoscope, is the noise the heart valves make as blood moves through them. The heart has four valves that control the movement of blood from the heart?s upper chambers?the atria?to the bottom chambers?the ventricles. Blood flows into the heart through the atria, and back out of the heart to the lungs or the rest of the body through the ventricles.
If you have a heart murmur, your doctor will hear an abnormal sound?often a whooshing or swishing?as blood flows through the heart?s chambers and valves. A heart murmur isn?t a condition, but a symptom.
Sometimes a heart murmur doesn?t indicate a problem with the heart. This is called an innocent heart murmur. It doesn?t produce any symptoms or problems?other than the murmur itself. And, it doesn?t need to be treated. Innocent heart murmurs are common in newborns and children, as well as during pregnancy. They may go away on their own over time.
Abnormal murmurs are usually due to a heart defect or valve disease. You?re more likely to develop this type of heart murmur if you have a family history of heart defects, or a condition like high blood pressure, an infection of the heart lining (endocarditis), lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or a weakened heart muscle. In addition to the heart murmur, you may have symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and a bluish color to the skin as the body doesn?t get enough oxygen. An abnormal heart murmur is more serious. You may need treatment such as medicine or surgery to manage the condition that?s causing the murmur. Medicines for abnormal heart murmurs include anticoagulants to prevent blood clots in the heart, water pills (diuretics), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or beta-blockers to lower blood pressure, and statins to lower cholesterol. Surgery can be done to repair or replace a damaged heart valve.
Fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains and low-fat/fat-free dairy products, are cornerstones of the heart- and blood-pressure-friendly DASH diet. Not only are they generally low in sodium, but many of them are good sources of other nutrients that are associated with lower blood pressure:
- Potassium: Good dietary sources include … Read More
The sensation of twitching while sleeping is a common occurrence, but many people who experience sudden but brief muscle movements at night aren’t even aware that they’re happening. Sometimes, however, the twitching or jerking of your hand or foot—a condition known as sleep myoclonus—is enough to … Read More
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a rating system that measures how much a carbohydrate-containing food raises your blood-sugar levels. The lower a food is on the GI, the lower the effect on your blood sugar. Low-glycemic foods also can reduce your risk … Read More
Alternative treatment options can be a good adjunct to medication when it comes to managing arthritis symptoms. Some of the options address physical causes of pain, but don’t forget that chronic pain is complicated.
In arthritis, tissue inflammation, bone erosion, and nerve impingement can combine to “rewire” your nervous system, making … Read More
Have you ever been warned that you should cut bread out of your diet because it's full of carbohydrates, makes you gain weight, and is bad for your health? If you’re a bread lover, sourdough bread may be a great option.
Sourdough bread's health benefits make it an … Read More
Close your eyes and sit up straight. Take a deep breath while you count to five, then count to five again as you exhale. Go ahead and try it right now for six breaths. It feels good, doesn’t it? Here’s what happens when you do easy breathing exercises:
- First, you … Read More
There are several reasons why certain foods are good for your cholesterol and your heart health. Some have direct effects on reducing LDL and/or triglycerides. Others are more filling and, if they’re low in calories, will help with weight loss. Plus, by filling up on these healthier options, you’re not … Read More
The “abs” get most of the attention in advertisements for strength devices, and a big waist is something almost everyone tries to avoid. But the first sign of weak core muscles is poor posture—both standing and sitting. Other signs are back pain and muscle weakness.
The American Physical Therapy Association … Read More
SIBO treatment (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is often needed for many people with chronic gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. (Find a full discussion of SIBO symptoms by clicking here.)
An increasingly recognized problem, SIBO occurs when bacteria that normally occupy the colon migrate to the Read More