Medical Medley

Are ampalaya capsules effective?

Ampalaya (bitter melon), a popular vegetable, is known to have a sugar-lowering property. Taking advantage of this, some enterprising companies put powdered bitter melon in capsules and widely marketed them as “good for” T2 diabetes mellitus. Some unsuspecting gullible diabetics stopped their prescribed medications and took ampalaya capsules instead as their sole “medication.” Deaths have been reported among them because ampalaya was (is) too weak and ineffective in truly controlling the blood sugar among these patients. While eating ampalaya is good for us, diabetics or not, replacing medications for diabetes with ampalaya and other herbal formulations is very dangerous.

Are fruits juices harmful?

Fruits juices, fresh, bottled, or canned, are loaded with sugar. With studies showing carbohydrates (sugar, soft drinks, rice, bread, sweets) as unhealthy food items for anyone because they all (especially rice and soft drinks) increase the risk for diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular illnesses, like heart attack and stroke. Cutting down or eliminating rice, reducing consumption of fruit juices, especially processed (most processed foods are unhealthy), abstaining from soft drinks (which are all gradually toxic), for adults and especially for children, are healthy and wise strategies for reducing health risks for major illnesses.

What causes dandruff?

The cause of dandruff is not known in majority of cases. Excessive greasiness of the skin and hair among adolescents has been found to initiate dandruff. The contributory factors implicated include heredity, diet, hormonal imbalance. The existing dandruff can be aggravated by stress and emotional turmoil. Among some people, a vacation or rest might totally eliminate dandruff. Anti-dandruff shampoos (coal-tar based or those containing selenium suplphide or zinc pyrithione) have been prescribed by physicians to arrest dandruff. Overzealous use of this shampoos is not recommended.

What is dyslexia?

“Word blindness” is a term commonly used to describe this condition where the person, starting from childhood, ad extreme difficulty with reading and writing.  About 10% of children are dyslexic, and more common among boys. Dyslexia, which may be inherited, is caused by a localized brain lesion, where there is a certain number of brain cells being “faulty,” or there is delayed or incomplete development of the brain. These children are NOT brain damaged. Usually these youngsters are not recognized as dyslexic and may be thought of as lazy, disobedient, bored, problem kids and be relegated to the background as dumb. Early detection is important for those affected to be able to benefit from special schooling and catch up in their learning skills. With early and proper training, many of them can grow up to be very successful individuals.

What is “HELP” syndrome?

The acronym stands for “high enzyme, low platelets,” a condition in a pregnant woman ready to deliver. The blood pressure skyrockets, the liver enzymes go up and the platelets (tissues needed for normal coagulation to prevent bleeding) drops, causing bleeding during delivery. The cause is not known. The condition could lead to severe, uncontrollable hemorrhage, and some maternal deaths have been reported from this syndrome. This is one of the reasons why prenatal medical checkups are very important to rule out any conditions that may complicate an otherwise normal delivery.

Is text messaging bad for our health?

Anything in excess, even water, oxygen, talking, food, rest, etc, is bad for us. Wise and appropriate use of cellphones and their nice features, like text messaging in moderation does not pose any health hazard to the user. Cell phones and text-messaging are technological wonders of our times, which, when utilized properly, provide great convenience, advantage, and security for the users and their family and friends. Exceptions to this is the use of cellphone while driving or doing activities that require full attention. Accidental deaths (while driving or even while walking and texting) have been reported. While on a night out, 100% attention on your date is a must. In this situation, the repeated use of a cell phone for calls, or frequent text-messaging, could be hazardous not only to user’s physical health but to the relationship. Besides, this unwelcome practice is rude and anti-social, vehemently frowned upon in polite society.

Are female tampons safe?

If used properly, yes, the new tampons are fairly safe. In 1978, a worldwide phenomenon called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) was first described, with symptoms ranging from high fever, skin rash, fall in blood pressure, severe eye infection, headaches, disorientation, joint and muscle pains, diarrhea and kidney failure. The victims were females (average age 23) having their normal menstrual period. A number of deaths from TSS has been reported. Implicated was the use of super-absorbency tampons, which acted as a culture medium for the staphylococcal infection in the vagina. The longer the tampon was left in the vagina, the greater the risk. The toxin or poison produced by the staphylococci caused the serious illness described above. Most patients recovered after appropriate treatment of intravenous fluids and antibiotics, but at a later stage lost the skin of their palms and soles, the face and even the tongue. Mortality rate for TSS is about 2 or 3 percent. Tampons should be changed 3 to 4 times a day, even if not fully stained to prevent TSS. This makes it a bit too expensive. A time-proven safer alternative is the use of sanitary pads.

Does having a pet help pre-menopausal women?

Yes, this is no fable. It has been shown that pre-menopausal women who owned a pet they could communicate with (like a dog or a cat), and who kept them company, went through this change in their life and physiology with much less pain and agony. The constant companionship and love the pets gave these suffering women provided the much needed love, sense of loyalty and security during this formidable stage in their life. Hormonal changes could be brutally bothersome and painful. For one thing, these pets do not complain and do not answer back. They give their love totally, genuinely, and unconditionally. They even emphatize with their masters, who are suffering. Because of these attributes, pets are considered by some people as “better than some friends and family members.”

The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.

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