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How to Tell If You’re Allergic September 30, 2009

Posted by paripl110707 in Uncategorized.
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If you suspect that you or someone you love has a food allergy, consult your doctor or pediatrician, who will probably send you to an allergist for testing.  Following are some of the most common methods used to diagnose potential problems.

  Food Diary:  One way food allergies are diagnosed is with a food diary.  A log is used to chronicle what has been eaten and drunk and where allergic reactions occurred.

  Elimination diet:  Sometimes an allergist thinks a patient is allergic to one food.  In such cases, a diagnosis can often be made if the food is omitted from the patient’s diet (for anywhere from two days to six weeks) and symptoms go away.

  Scratch skin test:  Another test at the allergist’s disposal is the scratch skin test.  It involves having a small amount of liquid extract derived from the suspected allergens scratched into the skin on the back of the arm.  The development of red welts within 20 minutes indicate a possible allergy.  The test is safe, simple and quick, but can result in false positive results and trigger allergic reactions.

  Blood tests:  Those patients who are too allergic to undergo skin tests may instead be given blood tests such as the RAST and ELISA.  What these tests are looking for is food-specific IgE in the blood.  Results of these tests are about as precise as skin testing.  Like skin tests, they can result in false-positive results, so positives are not considered adequate to make a firm diagnosis.

  Double-blind food challenge:  In this test, a tiny amount of food is formed into a capsule that the patient takes.  Neither the patient nor the doctor knows what the patient is taking.  This is done with many foods including some that are believed to be allergenic.  If a reaction occurs, a diagnosis can be made.  For this reason, the double-blind food challenge is the good standard of allergy testing.  – Alyssa Shaffer

 

Matters of the heart September 24, 2009

Posted by paripl110707 in High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol.
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Some may ask if they have moderately high cholesterol but healthy blood pressure, is it possible that they will have a greater chances of getting hypertension?

You can have high blood pressure simply because you have larger-than-life lipids.  However, while there’s no direct connection between the two, they do have some risk factors in common, explains Edward D. Frohlich, M.D., of Alton Oschner Medical Foundation and editor of the medical journal Hypertension.  Among them:  being overweight and not exercising.  So if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol by losing weight and increasing your activity level, you’re actually lowering your risk for getting hypertension, too. – Greg Gutfeld and Joe Kita

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) September 4, 2009

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Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Used as a mild sedative and calming agent. Approved by German health authorities as a treatment for insomnia. Although some clinical trials report fast onset of action, full effects may take two to four weeks. Products standardized to 0.8% valerenic acids. Typical amount for insomnia is 400 to 600 mg of a standardized extract, 30 to 60 before bedtime. Generally considered safe but should bot ne taken with other types of sleeping medications or tranquilizers. Not prescribed during pregnancy.

Visual courtesy:   starwest-botanicals