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Is Stress Ruining Your Health? August 16, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Wellness.
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Stress is the root cause of anxiety and depression. Women are more likely than men to suffer from anxiety and depression. Almost everyone complains about stress and blames it for all the maladies in the world – from headaches to cancer. Stress is actually not a thing, it is a response! It refers to our intellectual, emotional and behavioural response to demands made of us by our internal and external environments. The events to which we respond are known as stressors – so a spouse, financial or work related situations are  (potential) stressors.

Everyone experiences stress. However our individual experiences- symptoms and coping mechanisms- will differ. For example public speaking might completely debilitate one person but be the most empowering activity for another. Our minds and bodies are intimately connected. When the mind perceives an event as stressful, a cascade of hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, are released. While this is extremely useful when you need to slam on your brakes to avoid a collision, it can be harmful if these hormones are not “switched off” when the stressful situation is over. Stress hormones flooding the body for days or weeks at a time can wreak havoc on the immune and cardiovascular systems.

Some amount of stress can do us good .Increased stress can result in increased productivity – up to a point, of course. This is very much like the strings of a violin – not enough tautness produces a dull, raspy sound . Too much leads to a shrill annoying noise or snapping of the string. Just the right amount however produces beautiful music.

Our bodies have a stress response, the “fight or flight” response ,that is hard-wired into our brains and represents a genetic wisdom designed to protect us from bodily harm. In addition our body is able to calm itself by the release of its own tranquilizers called endorphins.

How women differ from men in their response to stress

Women are socialized to be the caretakers of others. Many women have a career in addition to traditional household responsibilities. We are often at risk of letting other people’s needs determine our limits, while our own needs are ignored. We are more likely to experience physical symptoms of stress than men and often cope with stress in different ways than men.

Women “tend and befriend,” taking care of those closest to them, but also drawing support from friends and family. Men on the other hand, are more likely to have the “fight or flight” response. They cope by “escaping” into a relaxing activity or other distraction.

Stress Management

The following are some simple ways to manage stress.

Identify your stressors:   Become aware of your reactions to them.

Don’t major in minors: Ask yourself, “In 5 years, will this matter? Will I even remember this?”

Control Your Anger: The next time you find yourself becoming annoyed or angry at something or someone, practice making a conscious choice not to become angry or upset. RESPOND, DO NOT REACT !

Breathe slowly and deeply: Before reacting to the next “stressor”, take three deep breaths and release them slowly. (This is how you do it – inhale through the nostrils , blow out through the mouth as if you are blowing through a straw.)

Slow Down: Whenever you feel overwhelmed by stress, practice speaking more slowly than usual. You will discover that you think more clearly and react more reasonably to stressful situations.  Stressed persons tend to speak quickly and breathlessly; by slowing down your speech you will appear less anxious and more in control of any situation.

Prioritize: Choose one simple thing you have been putting off (e.g. returning a phone call) and do it immediately. Just taking care of one nagging responsibility can be energizing and can improve your attitude.

Get Some Fresh Air: Get outdoors for a brief break. This can be rejuvenating.

Avoid Hunger and Dehydration: Hunger and dehydration can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress. Drink plenty of water and eat small, nutritious meals.

Correct your posture: Bad posture can lead to muscle tension and pain. Hold your head and shoulders upright and avoid stooping or slumping.

This too shall pass: There are seasons in every life. Your life may be stormy now but storms do not last forever. After a storm, there is calm.

Take a chill pill: Leisure time must be considered a necessity, not just a reward for doing more work. Personal time for rejuvenation will never be available unless it is planned. Ladies put aside housework and family concerns for a brief period before bedtime and allow yourself to fully relax.

Remember you can’t be all things to all people all of the time. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Avoid taking on too many projects (note to self!). No is not a bad word.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

Why can’t I get Pregnant? July 1, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Vitamins and Supplements.
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The desire to have children and be parents is one of the most fundamental aspects of being human. Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that impairs one of the body’s most basic functions – the conception of children. It is defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of regular unprotected intercourse. In the United States it is estimated that as many as 15% of all couples have difficulty conceiving. About 1/3 of the difficulty is due to men, 1/3 is due to both men and women, and 1/3 is due to women. There is a worldwide increase in the number of infertile persons especially men.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to infertility.

The most common male infertility factors include azoospermia (no sperm) and oligospermia (low sperm count). At other times sperm cells are malformed or they die before they can reach the egg. Many infertile men have underlying medical diseases such as pituitary tumours, testicular cancer, liver and renal failure, diabetes, sickle cell disease and a history of mumps.

Damage to the fallopian tubes (which carry the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus) can prevent contact between the sperm and egg . Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), fibroids, endometriosis, and multiple pelvic surgeries may lead to scar formation and fallopian tube damage. Birth defects involving the structure of the uterus and uterine fibroids are associated with repeated miscarriages.

Some women have problems with ovulation. Ovulation depends on synchronized hormonal changes. These hormones cause the release of an egg from the ovary and the thickening of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) in preparation for the fertilized egg. When the hormonal changes are not synchronized , ovulation will not occur.

A small group of women may have a cervical condition in which the sperm cannot pass through the cervical canal. Other factors contributing to infertility include obesity, sexually transmitted disease, poor diet and toxic chemicals. These chemicals can damage the DNA, genetic makeup of the cell. This damage is also epigenetic, that is , it passes on the expression of the DNA to the next generation. This idea is expounded on by scientists such as Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, who explain how gene expression is carried from one generation to the next, and exposure to toxic chemicals causes trans-generational genetic damage.

Couples are generally advised to seek medical help if they are unable to achieve pregnancy after a year of unprotected intercourse. The doctor will conduct a physical examination of both partners to determine their general state of health and to evaluate physical disorders that may be causing infertility. Conventionally infertility can be treated in a number of ways – medication, surgery, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization.

Natural therapies also play a role .

DETOX

The hormone oestrogen can have a negative effect on the development of the male reproductive tract, semen volume, and sperm count. Therefore, it is important to reduce or eliminate excess estrogen or estrogen-like chemicals in the body. This can be done by avoiding dairy products produced from hormone fed cows. Avoid the use of toxic substances such as fertilizers, and cleaners as they contain chemicals that are weakly estrogenic and “hang around” for years in our environment.

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU EAT

We all know the benefits of a healthy diet but it is imperative that both partners eat the right foods when trying to become pregnant. A high fibre diet helps to remove oestrogens by preventing their reabsorbtion during digestion. Legumes such as beans and peas are a great source of “isoflavones”, plant chemicals that act to block oestrogen receptor sites and prevent the stronger oestrogens from having an impact.

AVOID CAFFEINE & ALCOHOL

Both can impair female fertility. Caffeinated soft drinks can also reduce the

chance of conception.

LOSE WEIGHT

Weighing too much or too little is associated with primary infertility in about 6% of women

IMPROVE SPERM QUALITY

There has been a decline in quality and quantity of sperm. This situation can be improved by:

1)  keeping the scrotal sac cool. The temperature of the scrotal sac is higher in infertile men. As temperatures climb above 96 degrees, sperm production can be inhibited or stopped.

2) wearing breathable and loose fitting underwear

3)  avoiding synthetic and tight fitting material

4 )  avoid taking too many hot baths or saunas.

AVOID HEAVY METALS

There is much evidence to suggest a connection between heavy metal toxicity and infertility. Mercury, lead and cadmium and aluminium are particularly related to conception issues in addition to miscarriage, pre-maturity and low birth weight. Cigarette smoke (first hand and passive), unfiltered water, tinned tuna, and old paint contribute to heavy metal toxicity.

AVOID FREE RADICALS

Free radicals ( unstable oxygen in our bodies) can cause cancer, heart disease, and increase the aging process. They also damage sperm. A common source of free radicals is cigarette smoke.

Anti oxidant vitamins- beta carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and selenium- counter free radical damage

TAKE VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS

Zinc aids in sperm formation and motility. Zinc is found in whole grains, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and legumes. Zinc supplements are readily available Vitamins B12, arginine, and carnitine are also recommended for men

Deficiencies of folic acid, vitamin B12 and iron may contribute to infertility in women.

ENERGY THERAPIES

Acupuncture and reflexology have gained recognition for assisting many couples in conceiving. These therapies work on the energy systems of the body to create harmony and allow the body to heal itself. Other useful energy therapies are reiki, and bowen technique, which fight stress and bring the body back into balance, increasing the chances of conception.

MOBILE PHONES

The radiation from mobile phones has been linked to low-sperm count and other infertility issues, especially in men. Keep mobiles away from trouser pockets and switched off when possible.

HERBS

Herbal remedies have long been used to address problems with fertility

Common herbs for female fertility include dong quoi , chasteberry , red raspberry leaf , red clover and black cohosh.

Astralagus , panax ginseng ,sarsaparilla and saw palmetto have been used to target male fertility issues. Herbs are potent and should be used under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care professional.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

THE STORYTELLER June 29, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Motivation, Wellness.
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As a doctor, I wear many hats – that of healer, teacher, confidante, mentor,  friend and cheerleader.  I love my patients.  We have spent many hours talking, laughing and dreaming. They have taught me so many lessons about life.  One of the ways in which I help them is by telling little stories.  I inherited the storyteller gene from Mummy who  “speaks in parables”. To be honest with you, the stories also help me in my personal development.

CHANGE

One day all the employees of a company were sad when they saw a notice announcing the death of one of their colleagues,  a person who, the statement said “had been hindering your growth in the company”. They were invited to attend the funeral service.  Intrigued, they rushed to view the body of this individual.  Everyone thought “Who is this guy who has been hindering my progress? Well at least he died!” One by one the thrilled employees got closer to the coffin and when they looked inside, they suddenly became speechless.  What happened? There was a mirror inside the coffin – everyone who looked inside it could see himself. There was also a sign next to the mirror that said “There is only one person who is capable of setting limits to your growth – IT IS YOU!”

Your life does not change when your husband, wife,  friends, boss or status changes. Your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs.

HAVE FAITH

If you put a buzzard in an open space that is 6 feet by 8 feet, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. Why ? Because a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without its usual space to run, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once it takes off like a flash.

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will stay there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up!

Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, But faith looks up!

CONTROL YOUR TEMPER

There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 20 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. So he told his father who suggested that he pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. Finally the boy was able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. His father led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. It will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like these holes . You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It will not matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry’, the wound is still there.”

A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one

LOVE YOURSELF

A water bearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. This went on each day for a year with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. The cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do; while the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments

The cracked pot apologized to the bearer for not being perfect “I have been able, for this past year, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. You don’t get full value for your money”.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path”.

As they went up the hill, the old cracked pot noticed the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and it felt a little better .

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walked back from the stream, you’ve watered them, producing these beautiful flowers. Without you being just the way you are , this would not have happened”.

We all have our little cracks and flaws . However they make our lives interesting and rewarding.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

THE PERILS OF TOBACCO June 22, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Smoking.
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In the 1550’s when Jean Nicot, the French diplomat promoted the importation and cultivation of tobacco because of its perceived medicinal properties ,little did he know that he was helping to unleash one of the greatest poisons on mankind. In those days, tobacco was treated as a medicine and many claims were made of its fantastic curative powers – it was reported to be effective in the treatment of ulcers, asthma,  rheumatism and headaches.  In 1604 King James I of England wrote an anti- tobacco treatise called “A Counterblaste to Tobacco” in which he expressed his distaste for tobacco, particularly tobacco smoking. He stated that smoking affects “the inward parts of man ,soiling and infecting them with a vicious and oily kind of Soote , as hath been found in some great tobacco takers , that after their death opened”.   He even commented on the effects of second hand smoke.

We now know that King James I was correct in his warnings about the ill effects of tobacco use. Tobacco use is now one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced and is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Worldwide, tobacco use claims nearly five million lives a year and is projected to kill one billion people this century unless current trends are reversed. Globally, the use of tobacco products is increasing in developing countries with more than 80% of the world’s smokers now living in low – and middle-income countries; use is decreasing in high-income countries. In the Caribbean it has been estimated that about 15% of youths and 10 – 15% of the population over age 15 years use tobacco. If adult smoking rates are cut by 50 percent worldwide, more than 300 million deaths could be prevented within the next 50 years.

Tobacco is a plant grown for its leaves, which are smoked, chewed, or sniffed for a variety of effects.  When burned, tobacco leaves produce a smoke containing roughly 4000 (four thousand) chemicals. These include over 19 known cancer-causing chemicals (collectively known as “tar) and more than 4,000 other chemicals including acetone, ammonia, carbon monoxide, cyanide, methane, propane, and butane. Tobacco is considered an addictive substance because it contains nicotine, a chemical that principally affects the nervous system. Nicotine’s effects are complex and include stimulation or sedation, depending on the amount inhaled and on the smoker’s state of mind. When used over a long period, tobacco and related chemicals such as tar and nicotine can increase the risk of:

• blood clots, which may lead to strokes

• cancer (especially in the lung, mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix)

• angina and heart attacks

• high blood pressure

• chronic bronchitis and emphysema

• poor healing of wounds

• miscarriage, premature labour, low birth weight

• sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

• gum diseases

The risks are the same if smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco, snuff) is used for a long time. In addition, smokeless tobacco users have a 50 times greater risk for mouth cancer than those who do not use such products.

SECONDHAND SMOKE

Those who are regularly around the smoke of others (secondhand smoke) have a higher risk of developing irritations of the eye, nose, throat, and respiratory tract, coronary artery disease and lung cancer. Infants and children exposed to second hand smoke are at risk of developing frequent upper respiratory tract infections, ear infections, and asthma (in fact whenever a child keeps visiting my practice with recurrent colds, wheezing or ear infections, I always ask the caregiver “Who smokes at your house?”.  In variably there is a smoker in the house.

THIRD -HAND SMOKE

It does not stop there as experts have identified a related threat to children’s health that is not easy to get rid of- third-hand smoke.

That term is used to describe the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, cushions and carpeting, that lingers long after second hand smoke has cleared from a room. The residue includes some of the thousands of chemicals produced by burning tobacco. Small children are especially susceptible to third-hand smoke exposure because they can inhale these chemicals when they crawl and play on, touch and place their mouth contaminated surfaces.

THE HEART FOUNDATION OF JAMAICA/JAMAICA COALITION FOR TOBACCO CONTROL PROJECT

The establishment of the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control was spearheaded by the Heart Foundation of Jamaica and launched on May 31, World No Tobacco Day, 2002. The Heart Foundation of Jamaica/Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control Project‘s primary objective is to achieve a strong CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) cigarette labeling standard and to ensure implementation of the standard in four target countries:  Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The Project aims to ensure the implementation of rotating picture-based package warnings on tobacco products sold in Caribbean countries, of a minimum size of 50% of the top of each main face of the packaging. Picture based health warnings on tobacco packaging deliver important information directly to smokers, motivating them to stop smoking. These health warnings also inform potential adolescent smokers of the harms of tobacco use and inform smokers of the dangers of second hand smoke. These measures are inexpensive for governments to implement and tobacco companies pay the costs of printing them. Large health warnings also reduce the attractiveness of cigarette packages and help create an environment where smoking is less acceptable. World No Tobacco Day is observed worldwide each year on May 31. This year’s theme is “Tobacco Health Warnings”.

HOW TO STOP SMOKING

The benefits of quitting smoking are substantial and include a decrease in the risk of heart attack, stroke, chronic lung disease and cancer.

Smokers who are quitting report intermittent cravings for cigarettes. The physical and psychological reactions related to smoking cessation, unlike some other drug withdrawals, are not life-threatening but can be barriers to quitting smoking. On quitting, a number of symptoms may occur. Here are some tips to deal with them.

Symptom: Cough

Cause: Body is getting rid of mucous which has blocked airways.

What to Do: Drink plenty of fluids, take cough drops or cough syrup

Symptom: Lightheadedness, Headache.

Cause: More oxygen in system and less carbon monoxide.

What to Do: Be careful when getting up and changing positions. Take pain killers, increase water intake.

Symptom: Irritability

Cause: Body is craving nicotine.

What to Do: Relaxation exercises, walk, cut down on caffeine.

Symptom: Insomnia

Cause: Nicotine affects brain wave function.

What to Do: Relaxation exercises, cut down on caffeine

Symptom: Difficulty concentrating.

Cause: Body needs time to adjust to lack of stimulation from nicotine.

What to Do: Plan workload, avoid additional stress, relaxation exercises.

Symptom: Hunger, increased appetite.

Cause: Craving for cigarettes may be confused with hunger pangs.

What to Do: Drink water and low-calorie drinks, eat low calorie snacks

If you relapse, do not give up. Many smokers quit a few times before achieving success.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

What to do when a cold strikes June 13, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Alternative Medicine, Health, Wellness.
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A patient recently complained that she thought her body had let her down because “I’m always boosting my immune system with supplements”.  She further informed me that like many women who were busy juggling careers, children and home life, she was too busy to get a cold. I reminded her that there is a reason why it’s called the common cold. It is the most common illness known. A cold is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work. Women tend to get more colds than men. The reason for this is that women spend more time with children – whether at home or at work. Children catch colds easily and so if you are frequently around children, your chances of catching a cold will increase significantly.

The first step in fighting a cold is to make sure that you do have one. Many persons confuse the common cold with the flu. The common cold is a viral infection of the upper-respiratory tract that attacks the nose and nasal passages. Some of the symptoms include – sneezing, itchy throat, runny and stuffy nostrils. If you develop a persistent fever, hacking cough or a rash, you may have a more serious viral infection. Since the common cold is a viral infection, antibiotics, which fight bacterial infections, will not help in its treatment.

To shorten the life of a cold why not try the following?

1.   Stay hydrated-drink a lot of water coconut water and fresh fruit juice as these may help loosen and clear out mucous, soothe a sore throat, and replace fluid lost due to a fever or runny nose. The heat from soups, green and other herbal teas also help fight off the infection and relieve congestion. A favourite home decongestion remedy is drinking hot ginger tea with lime or lemon and honey.

Cold viruses thrive in cold, dry environments. By staying warm and raising humidity levels you can help to keep cold viruses at bay. This can be done by using a humidifier. Nasal passages can be cleared with the use of a neti pot and/or menthol inhalations.

2.   Rest and relax When the body is relaxed there is an increase in the production of interleukins, substances produced by the immune system to help it fight infections.

3.   To treat a sore throat –  gargle with warm salt water or use a mouthwash of sage tea or extract in water. Drinking licorice root tea is also good for sore throat and coughs. If this tastes too “strong” for you, add some peppermint. Slippery elm bark tea helps to soothe a sore throat because it contains mucilage, a gelatinous substance that coats the throat and reduces irritation.

4.   For congestion try the wet sock treatment as recommended by the physicians at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in the USA. In the evening before going to bed, warm your feet in a basin of hot water (be careful!); meanwhile soak a pair of thin cotton socks in ice cold water. Take your feet out of the hot water, put on the cold socks and then layer on a pair of thick, dry wool socks. Keep the socks on overnight.

Dr. Jamey Wallace, clinic medical director at Bastyr Center for Natural Health states that this treatment, known as a heating compress, rallies the body’s natural defenses. “The body reacts to the cold socks by increasing blood circulation, which also stimulates the immune system. You have to ‘rev up’ the immune system, so it’s ready for battle against the affliction or condition.” People with chronic illnesses should consult with a doctor before starting this treatment.

5.   If you blow your nostrils too much chances are that you will develop a chafed nose. Apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to the irritated areas. If you are lucky and have an aloe plant in your backyard, slit open a leaf, scoop out the gel and apply it to the irritated areas. Failing that, aloe gel can be purchased at the health food stores.

6.  Boost your immune system with supportive supplements These include:

• The anti-oxidants-Vitamins A,C E and the mineral selenium . I routinely recommend that my patients who are fighting a cold or flu, take at least 4000mg of Vitamin C daily. These amounts are usually tolerated by most people but may cause diarrhoea in others.

• Rosmarinic acid – found in rosemary, sage, mint, and perilla leaf.

• Echinacea – some studies have shown it may shorten the duration of a cold in adults if taken at the onset of the illness. It should be taken for a total of seven to ten days.

• Zinc lozenges -taken at the onset of a cold may shorten the illness.

• Garlic supports healthy immune function while exerting antiviral effects. My grandmother used to make garlic and onion cough syrup for me when I had a cold. She always had a peg of garlic in her mouth and my mother says that she as far as she can remember, her mother had never had a cold or flu.

7. Eat healthily – make sure that your diet is full of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

While you are ill try to avoid dairy products, fried and sugary foods, alcohol and smoking. Alcohol suppresses the immune system making it difficult for the body to rid itself of the cold virus. Smoking irritates the throat and interferes with the cilia, microscopic “fingers”, that remove viruses and bacteria from your throat.

If your “cold” symptoms persist or worsen, please seek medical attention

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

Are You Out Of Balance? June 5, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Wellness.
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Has this ever happened to you? You feel frazzled, have difficulty concentrating, sleeping and “getting your life together. You feel like a “walking dead”. You have been told that your problems are stress related, but you are not sure why you are stressed. All the medication that you are taking is not working. Well it is possible that your problems are a result of unbalanced energies.

I frequently see patients who have symptoms which somehow do not appear to “add up” to a definite diagnosis. Many times they have an imbalance in their energies.

Eastern philosophy is based on the premise that all life occurs within the circle of nature. All things within this matrix are connected. They are mutually dependent on each other. The source of all things is the tao, with complementary aspects:  yin and yang. It is the play between yin and yang, which creates ki (chi)energy.  Nature is in constant motion. When the elements of nature are in balance, life is harmonic and flourishes. When the balance of polar forces is upset, disaster looms.

The course of our everyday lives require that we balance the yin(the interior process of nurturing the self) with the yang (the exterior work of the world). Our activity in the world is necessary for our productivity. As the day draws to a close we retreat from the business of the day to rest, relax and sleep in order to replenish our store of chi for the day that follows.

Modern life is filled with constant, often frenetic activity. We are often so consumed with productivity that we neglect giving time for the self to be replenished. To over exercise, overwork or over party is to overindulge in yang, which leads to burnout of yin. The fact is that the body cannot tolerate for long, consuming more than is replaced. Some of the consequences of this imbalance may be problems with the muscles, bones, joints, heart or kidneys; other consequences can be as serious as a heart attack.

On the other hand to be preoccupied with matters of internal health could mean an overemphasis on the yin phase. An analogy is that of an avid collector who keeps acquiring so many objects that have potential value, that he has no energy to put his hidden treasures to use in a productive manner. So in this case the yin is protected but the yang is without life.

Webster’s New World Dictionary describes balance as “a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equality in amount, weight, value or importance as between two things or the parts of a thing; mental or emotional stability”.  Ms.  Donna Brown, a Reiki Master/energy practitioner who practices in Jamaica, states that “balance pertains to optimum health within our life cycle. For instance one cycle can be the career, another home and family.” The challenge is to balance body, mind and spirit within that life cycle focus. We need to remember that life is not static and our focus changes as we grow.

We are rarely balanced in everything at the same time. The importance of balance is that it keeps body systems in optimum working order. The body was created for balance.

We need to pay attention to what helps keep us in balance, especially in these times of pollution, high stress living and immune system breakdown. I recommend a wholistic approach for achieving balance.

SPIRITUAL FOCUS

It is important that we understand and accept the mind body spirit connection. We tend to underestimate our individual power to heal. We are composed of trillions of cells which are imprinted with divine intelligence and wisdom. We need to frequently and regularly connect with our divine source through prayer, meditation and quiet contemplation.

EXERCISE

The following are some practical tips to incorporate regular exercise into a busy schedule.

• Include exercise in activities of daily – this includes vigorous housework. Walk vigorously for at least twenty minutes, three times each week; while doing this swing the arms and legs. There are numerous video tapes and television programmes which are made for guiding viewers with specific exercises.

• If one is sitting at a desk for long hours, stretch every couple of hours and walk around every two to four hours. If you have been cooped up in your office, go outside, stand in the sun and inhale fresh air.

• Walk instead of driving

• Use the stairs instead of the elevator

ENERGY BALANCE

There are a number of universal energy healing modalities, including Bowen technique, Reiki , Quantum touch and emotional freedom technique (EFT).

Energies can also be balanced through deep breathing exercises, meditation

and living simply by un-cluttering the mind .

Ms. Donna Brown has provided this simple exercise designed to relieve stress

  1. deep breathe in through the nostrils and out through the mouth (as if blowing through a straw)
  2. lightly place the fingertips of both hands on the forehead covering the “Oh my God” points . Place the thumbs on the temples next to the eyes. Breathe deeply. Relax and remove the hands. Repeat as necessary.

NUTRITION

We must not underestimate the importance of good nutrition. This is essential to balance. Food can have a profound effect on the functioning of the body. If you are experiencing prolonged stress, you are at risk of developing heart disease, cancer, infections, gastritis,  peptic ulcer disease. Numerous studies have demonstrated that adequate nutrition can help to prevent or minimize the effects of these diseases .

The solution to this problem is to elevate the quality of the food we consume – that means that we need to limit the anti- nutrients in the diet – These include poor quality fats, poor quality white flour,  poor quality sugar, poor quality dairy and poor quality meats.

So practically how can we achieve balance in our lives? This can be done by the use of nutrition, supplements, herbs, physical exercise, magnetic therapy, aromatherapy massage, energy balancing, mental discipline and modification of life style habits. These forms of therapy can reestablish the rhythmic swing of the Yin- Yang pendulum.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

The Cholesterol Story May 27, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Cholesterol, Health, Wellness.
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Many persons become frightened when told that their cholesterol levels are elevated.  They immediately think that just the elevation of cholesterol places them at “heart attack door”.  The truth is that there is more to cholesterol than that! High cholesterol does not reliably identify all people with hidden heart disease, nor does just lowering it cure anyone of heart disease.

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance made by the body.  It is found among the fats in the bloodstream and in all your body’s cells.  Cholesterol is not a “bad guy”.  It is beneficial to the body.  Our bodies need it to form cell membranes, to produce bile acids for digestion and to make hormones and vitamin D.  Cholesterol and other fats cannot dissolve in the blood.  They have to be transported to and from the cells by special carriers called lipoproteins.  There are several kinds, but the ones I will be focusing on are low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so called “bad cholesterol”) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the “good cholesterol”).   LDL transports cholesterol to the cells, whereas HDL transports cholesterol away from the cells.  Think of LDL as a dump truck that drops garbage on the street (blocking your arteries) and HDL as the street sweeper that cleans it up.  If there are more dump trucks than street sweepers, the street will be congested.

When one has excess LDL, too much cholesterol can be deposited into the walls of the arteries.  On the other hand, insufficient HDL impairs cholesterol transport away from the walls of the arteries for disposal in the liver. Therefore too much LDL and or not enough HDL can set the stage for atherosclerosis.  This is the process in which deposits of fats, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery forming plaque.  Plaques can grow large enough to significantly reduce the flow of blood through an artery.  They can rupture and cause blood clots to form.  These clots can block blood flow or break off and travel to another part of the body.  If either happens and blocks a blood vessel that feeds the heart, it causes a heart attack.  If this occurs in the brain, it causes a stroke.  And if blood supply to the arms or legs is reduced, it can lead to poor circulation.

Research has shown that it is the oxidation of LDL that causes the most damage to the arteries.  Oxidation or free radical development is the process that changes the composition of this essential nutrient, turning it into a destructive compound. This oxidized LDL injuries the innermost lining of the arterial wall called the endothelium and causes inflammation.  So it is the absolute LDL level and LDL oxidation that are involved in atherosclerosis and increasing heart attack risk.

Apart from LDL-cholesterol, there are other risk factors for developing a heart attack or stroke.  They include high levels of homocysteine, fibrinogen, triglycerides (another blood fat) and C-reactive protein.  The presence of high levels of these other risk factors can result in a person suffering a heart attack or stroke, even though their cholesterol level is low.

Low Cholesterol

Studies have shown that low total cholesterol levels are associated with depression and anxiety, perhaps because low cholesterol may reduce levels of the brain chemical serotonin.  Other research suggests that low LDL levels may be associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer.  Pregnant women who have low total cholesterol may be more likely to give birth prematurely and have babies low birth weight babies.

A low HDL level increases the risk of heart disease.  For menopausal women, a low HDL level coupled with excess weight may increase the risk of breast cancer.

What about Cholesterol and Diet?

Typically the body makes all the cholesterol it needs. The liver manufacturers about 800-1500 mg of cholesterol per day and this contributes much more to total body cholesterol than does diet.  The liver can also make cholesterol from carbohydrates, proteins or fat.

Only animal foods -egg yolks, meat (that includes mutton and oxtail!), poultry, shellfish, milk and cheese- contain cholesterol.  Foods from plants do not contain cholesterol.  (So ackee and pear do not contain cholesterol). The intake of saturated fats (found in animals and some plants) and trans fats in the diet is the main culprit in raising blood cholesterol.  Trans fat is made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil–a process called hydrogenation; this increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats.  They can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines,  cookies,  snack foods,  and foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils.

The Good News

Simple changes can reduce your bad cholesterol and increase the good.

• Maintain a level of physical activity that keeps you fit. Walk or do other activities for at least 30 minutes on most days.  If you need to lose weight, do enough activity to burn more calories than you eat every day.

• Limit your intake of foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition; especially limit foods like soft drinks and candy.  Add foods that are high in soluble fibre – whole grains, oats, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Research suggests that the Mediterranean diet—low in saturated and trans fat, high in healthy unsaturated fats, and low in calories—reduces LDL cholesterol significantly better than other diets.   This diet is rich in vegetables, lean fish, and chicken and low in red meat.   A really low- or no-fat diet does a good job of lowering LDL , but may also reduce HDL.   Eating foods and drinks with added phytosterols (plant stanols and sterols) is another way to drop your LDL. The American Heart Association recommends 2 to 3 grams a day of plant sterols .

In addition I recommend the following supplements

• B vitamins in particular B 6,  B12,  folic acid and Niacin.  Niacin,  is particularly effective at promoting a healthy balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol.  Take a minimum of 100 to 200 mg a day.  It can cause the skin to turn red and tingly.  To counter this effect,  I tell my patients to take a baby aspirin and/or 500 mg of Vitamin C with their Niacin.

• Fish oil 1,000 to 3,000 mg daily

• Anti-oxidants. These include garlic, Vitamins A, C, E , the mineral selenium.

• Red yeast rice extract 600 to 1,200 mg a day.  Do not use this supplement if you are taking a statin (prescription medication for lowering cholesterol)

• Artichoke leaf extract.  Take 1800 mg daily

• Policosanol Take 10 mg daily

• Coenzyme Q 10 This antioxidant is essential for the production of energy in little cellular engines called mitochondria.  Statins deplete the body’s natural supply of this antioxidant.  Take 100 to 200 mg daily

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

We Have Come A Long Way! May 20, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Narcotis, Wellness.
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The use and abuse of drugs has always fascinated me.  Humans have used drugs of one sort or another for thousands of years.  Many common drugs of abuse were originally used as medicine.

Cannabis

For thousands of years Cannabis has been used as a medicine.  It was described in a Chinese medical compendium traditionally considered to date from 2737 B.C.  Its use spread from China to India and then to North Africa and reached Europe at least as early as A.D. 500.  Prior to the 10th century B.C., bhang, a Cannabis preparation, was used as an anesthetic and anti-phlegmatic in India.  In China , in the 28th century B.C , cannabis was prescribed for beriberi, constipation, “female weakness,” gout,  malaria, rheumatism and absent mindedness.  In ancient Greece, the drug was used as a remedy for earache, edema and inflammation.  In Africa,  it was used to restore appetite, relieve haemorrhoidal pain and as an antiseptic.

During the 19th century, Cannabis was sold by major drug companies such as Eli Lilly, Squibb and Parke-Davis.  A potent extract of the drug was one of the top three most prescribed medical agents in the United States.  The United States Pharmacopeia listed the drug until its removal in 1942 under political pressure.  Cannabis was recommended for the treatment of over 100 illnesses including fatigue, cough, rheumatism, asthma, migraine, and menstrual cramps.

In 1890, Dr. J. Russell Reynolds, Fellow of the Royal Society and the Physician in Order to Her Majesty’s Household, stated in the journal The Lancet that Cannabis is  “one of the most valuable medicines we possess.”

He prescribed the drug for Queen Victoria to treat her PMS ( pre-menstrual syndrome ).

Cocaine

Cocaine is an alkaloid found in the coca bush Erythroxylum coca, which grows in the Andes regions of South America.  Coca leaves were chewed by some  South American tribes as early as 600 to 800 A.D.  Early myths and legends suggested that the coca plant was of divine origin.  During the Incan period, consumption was restricted to the priesthood and aristocracy.  After their conquest,  the Incas increased their coca leaf chewing possibly because of a decline in food supplies and the obvious enhancement of their ability to perform heavy physical work under poor conditions.  This habit of chewing coca leaves never became popular with North Americans and Europeans. Instead various drinks made from the coca leaf were concocted and subsequently became popular.  One of them was Mariani’s wine which was endorsed by notable artists and religious leaders.  In 1885, in the United States , John Styth Pemberton introduced a product similar to Mariani’s wine and promoted it as a nerve and tonic stimulant.  The next year, Pemberton concocted another coca product,  a syrup that he named Coca Cola.  This new “remarkable therapeutic agent” contained both coca leaf ( cocaine ), flavouring and caffeine.  Eventually all references to Coca Cola’s medicinal properties were dropped and cocaine removed from the drink.

Dr. Sigmund Freud promoted cocaine use for numerous physical and mental disorders and is said to have used the drug to cure his own depression. Between 1890 and 1906 , the “ golden age of patent medicines“, cocaine was a basic ingredient found in many products advertised as cures for depression, toothache, asthma, colds,  eczema,  alcohol and morphine addiction.  Prospective buyers were advised (in the words of pharmaceutical firm Parke-Davis) that cocaine “could make the coward brave, the silent eloquent, and render the sufferer insensitive to pain“.   By 1902 about 92 % of all cocaine use in the United States was in the form of non prescription tonics and beverages.  With growing concern about its toxic effects, laws were passed in the USA and Canada severely limiting the transport and sale of the drug.

Heroin

Heroin was introduced into medical practice in 1898 as a cough suppressant. It was initially met with worldwide acceptance, because there were fewer side effects when compared with morphine and also because physicians were unaware of the drug’s potential for dependency. By 1924 the production and importation of the drug was outlawed in the United States.

Tobacco

The ” native peoples of North America” were observed smoking cigars and chewing tobacco by various explorers.  It was the Spanish who first brought tobacco to Europe.  At first it was treated as a medicine and many claims were made of its fantastic curative powers – it was reported to be effective in the treatment of ulcers, asthma, rheumatism and headaches.  Jean Nicot,  a French diplomat promoted the importation and cultivation of tobacco because of its perceived medicinal properties.  His name was given to the genus Nicotiana and subsequently to the alkaloid nicotine.  As tobacco use spread as a wonder cure,  it did not take long to catch on as a recreation  (although many persons stated that they were actually using it to prevent diseases such as the plague).   In 1604 King James I of England wrote an anti- tobacco treatise called  “A Counterblaste to Tobacco” in which he expressed his distaste for tobacco, particularly tobacco smoking.  He stated that smoking affects “the inward parts of man,  soiling and infecting them with a vicious and oily kind of Soote,  as hath been found in some great tobacco takers, that after their death opened“.   He even commented on the effects of second hand smoke.  The king rightly blamed Sir Walter Raleigh for the popularity of smoking in England.  Raleigh like any true smoker, smoked one last pipe before he was beheaded, in order “to settle his spirits”.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

Pets – Man’s Best Friends May 13, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Wellness.
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Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.  – George Eliot

When I gave him the pain killing injection he just opened his eyes and blinked. He did not move, he just made a small sound. It was then that I began to acknowledge that my beloved dog Caesar was dying . Caesie as I loved to call him, came into our family in 1992. He could talk – he used to greet us in the morning by saying “Hello “and “ Morning “. That used to both freak out and amuse people! He also loved to greet me by lifting his front right paw to shake hands. Caesar had a penchant for lifting up my skirt and looking under me. I was even advised by an elderly female relative to “not wear skirts around that dog – Mind he does not rape you”. He was the ultimate alpha dog. He did not take kindly to any other male dog (at one time I had seven dogs and had to resort to inventive ways to separate him from the other males). At the time of his passing his companions were two female dogs. Even in his old age, he loved to exert his power over them.

I have always kept pets – not only dogs, but birds, guinea pigs ,rabbits and fish and for a short time when I was in primary school , a lizard . That is until Mummy discovered my beloved Lizzie who lived in my bedside lamp shade. Well the rest is history – my Mummy killed Lizzie.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “pet” as “an animal that is tamed and treated with affection, kept for companionship or amusement”. I estimate that more that half of Jamaican households have pets. They play an important part in our lives and many are treated as ‘one of the family’. Pets provide a constant source of enjoyment, companionship and fun, and many thrive in a family and household environment.My pets make me feel good and I daresay that those good feelings stem from the unconditional love that I receive from them.

Many studies show that pets literally make their owners healthier. Research conducted by the University of Minnesota highlighted the importance of regular contact with domestic animals. According to this study, having a cat around the house can cut the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by almost half. “For years we have known that psychological stress and anxiety are related to cardiovascular events, particularly heart attacks, says Dr Adnan Qureshi, executive director of the Minnesota Stroke Institute at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. According to Qureshi, the research shows that “essentially there is a benefit in relieving those inciting factors from pets”. In a recent study, Dr Deborah Wells of Queen’s University Belfast found that dog owners tend to suffer less from ill health, have lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. “It is possible that dogs can directly promote our well-being by buffering us from stress,” says Dr Wells. A large-scale survey of more than 11,000 Australians, Chinese and Germans also proved pet-owners enjoy better health. Over a five year period, pet owners made 15 – 20% fewer annual visits to the doctor than non pet-owners. The results showed that the healthiest group – those who went to the doctor least – was those who continuously owned a pet. The unhealthiest groups were people who had never owned a pet, or no longer did. The benefit of pet ownership isn’t limited to physical well-being. Owning a pet can help recently widowed people in dealing with stress in that they are able to talk to their animals at a time when they feel unable to share their feelings with other people.

Therapy

In the United States, more than half of all nursing homes, clinics and hospitals use animals in a therapeutic capacity. The effect of dogs or cats is especially dramatic in the clinically depressed patient whose withdrawal can be lessened by the introduction of the pet.

Relaxation

Tests have revealed that stroking dogs and cats can lower the blood pressure and heart rate of humans. This may be related to the simple fact that caring for certain pets introduces added responsibilities, such as exercising the dog and leading a more active life.

Recovery from illness

Pets can aid recovery from illness. Research indicates that owning a pet can improve a person’s chances of survival after a life-threatening illness such as a heart attack. Research by psychologist Dr June McNicholas showed that women with breast cancer reported significantly better feelings of control over their disease and treatment if they owned a pet. Animal owners also felt less disfigured after breast cancer surgery and more than 87 per cent said their pet provided them with support in their illness.

Children

It has been scientifically proven that children who grew up with a pet developed better social skills and had a greater respect for all living things around them, than those who did not have the benefits of pet ownership. This happens because children learn that animals consistently show non-judgmental love and loyalty in addition to experiencing pain, hunger, illness and death. Pet ownership helps prepare them for life.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

HOW TO LIVE TO BE 100 May 5, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health.
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I just celebrated my “ I’m 26—- again! “ birthday. In my reflections on my life, I keep asking myself if I would want to live to be 100 . I suppose that would be quite an achievement if I could live to be that age and be in good mental and physical health. It is not an impossible achievement.

A study conducted by the Government Actuary’s Department in Britain, following the trends in mortality rates, found that a typical professional woman in her 20s will likely live into her mid-90s. Women born 20 years from now, are in line to hit triple digits if current trends continue. Although the projected life expectancy of men is less, the rates are on the rise. Dr. Robert Butler, founder and president of the International Longevity Centre says that there are a number of reasons why people are living for longer periods . He says that “ infectious and respiratory diseases that affect babies in the womb are on a steady decline; more babies are born healthy, and that increases their longevity. “ Advances in medicine and improvements in hygiene have increased our life expectancy. Centenarians are the fastest growing age group in America. There are currently about 54,000 centenarians in the United States, and there may be as many as 840,000 by 2050. 85 percent of that country’s centenarians are women. The fastest growing age group among the elderly population in Jamaica is that of those over the age of 60 years. Keisha Shakespeare-Blackmore , in an article published in the Gleaner January 15, 2008, referred to a community of centenarians living in the hills of Bellfield , Manchester.

The following are some steps you can take to improve your health and longevity.

1. Food for Thought

There are two basic theories of aging – Oxidation Reactions and Sub-optimal Hormone Levels. An oxidation reaction occurs when oxygen, which is essential for life, combusts and produces by-products referred to as free radicals. When an oxidation reaction occurs in metals such as iron, rusting occurs. When this process occurs in people, it is called aging.

Regardless of age, fill your body with an abundance of antioxidants, while doing your best to avoid oxidant poisons. This is done by eating a balanced, healthy diet and taking supplements . In addition, there are specific substances that have been shown to have anti- aging benefits. They include resveratrol (in grapes, grape juice and red wine) ; polyphenols found in blueberries, raspberries and cranberries ; walnuts ; pomegranate and green tea. Supplementing with and eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish, flaxseed, olive oil) may help prevent cognitive decline. (Cognition is the mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment) Turmeric a major ingredient in curry also confers cognitive benefits. Its main component is anti-oxidant rich curcumin, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve learning and memory. Turmeric is also being studied for its ability to help treat Alzheimer’s disease. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s among adults in India aged 70 to 79 is among the world’s lowest.

2. Eat less Food

Caloric restriction—the practice of restricting calorie intake while maintaining good nutritional status—improves many aspects of age-related decline. According to researchers at Washington University, reducing your intake by just 300 to 500 calories a day (cut out the sugary snacks at coffee break and the soda for lunch ) may slow the aging process .

3. Keep fit

People age 50 and older who engage in moderate or high levels of physical activity live longer and have less heart disease , according to a study that followed a group of men and women for more than 40 years. As we age , exercise keeps the body strong and flexible , increasing blood supply to the brain , maintaining bone density and controlling stress and anxiety. Any physical activity is better than none . Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise three to five times each week.

4. Use it or lose it

Our brains need exercise . To stay sharp and stave off cognitive decline challenge your mind. Learn a new language, play a musical instrument, do daily puzzles.

5. Balance your hormones

As we grow older, some of our hormones begin a steep decline that strongly parallels the beginning of many visible aging signs and symptoms. These hormones include human growth hormone, melatonin, DHEA, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. On the other hand , insulin levels tend to rise, causing adult-onset diabetes in many aging people. Hormone balancing can be helpful in an anti-aging programme.

6. Do not be afraid of the sun

Vitamin D plays a very important role in our health as we age . However an increasing number of persons worldwide are deficient in it. Our bodies make Vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight . Low vitamin D levels have been linked to poor bone health , heart disease , cancer , diabetes and hypertension. For protection against vitamin D deficiency, expose yourself to 15 minutes of sunshine daily (without sunscreen). Dietary sources of vitamin D include salmon, tuna, eggs and enriched dairy products.

7. Take a chill pill

Anxiety is the enemy of longevity.

8. Passion for living

Purpose and passion for living are essential. Older people need to keep busy and continue to give themselves a good reason to get out of bed each morning. While work is important, so is play. So stop and smell the roses.

9. Friends

Socializing, including staying in touch with your friends and family, as well as being part of some kind of community, becomes more important as you age. Social isolation in older persons is a risk factor for stress, health problems and early death.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

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