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
Some conditions, like sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, interrupt sleep and keep you awake. Narcolepsy is a condition that causes you to sleep, but at all the wrong times. In people with narcolepsy, the brain is unable to properly regulate the body’s normal sleep-wake cycles, leading to disjointed sleep at night and an uncontrollable urge to sleep during the day.
About 1 in 3,000 Americans have narcolepsy, and many don’t realize they live with the condition because it can be difficult to diagnose. People with narcolepsy sleep for the same number of hours each night as those without the condition; however, their sleep doesn’t follow normal patterns. Typically when people fall asleep, they first drift into a stage of light sleep. Then, after about 90 minutes, they enter the deeper rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage. Those with narcolepsy enter REM sleep right away, and may experience periods of REM sleep throughout the day.
The primary symptoms of narcolepsy are excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden sleep attacks, which can occur often enough to interfere with normal activities. Many people report falling asleep at work, in school, or in the middle of social situations. Often these sleep episodes last for just a few seconds. It’s common for people to continue what they were doing. For example, taking notes in class or cooking a meal, while they sleep. Cataplexy; a sudden loss of muscle tone and control, is another hallmark symptom of narcolepsy. Some people experience sleep paralysis during transitions between sleep and wakefulness. During these episodes, they are suddenly frozen and unable to move for seconds to minutes at a time.
Two drugs; modafinil (Nuvigil) and sodium oxybate (Xyrem) are FDA-approved to treat narcolepsy. These medicines help recharge the central nervous system to create a feeling of alertness. Tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help control cataplexy. Doctors also prescribe sedatives to improve sleep at night. Taking naps during the day, and following a set sleep schedule at night can also help with narcolepsy.
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