Tuesday, 30 July 2013

How to stay free from debt stress

Knowing how to stay free of debt stress will not solve your debt problem but it can decrease the risk of serious physical and mental illness. Any type of stress is bad news when it comes to health as worrying about debt can lead to a number of serious health issues.
Debt stress and health
People who are in serious debt can add to their problems simply by worrying too much. The debt stress/ill health connection has been well documented and it doesn’t just amount to a few nights without sleep. Debt stress has been known to lead to serious health problems ranging from migraines, ulcers, and depression, to severe anxiety attacks. The worst case scenario is that the stress can lead to cardiac problems and ultimately to heart attacks.
High stress levels from debt
Medical reports have shown that people who experience high stress levels due to debt are more prone to health problems. These health problems can be physical, mental or both. People who suffer from stress will usually have trouble sleeping and be more prone to bouts of bad temper. The knock-on effects of this stress will include absenteeism from work and seeking relief in alcohol or other addictive substances. Worrying about debt will not solve the debt problem but only increase the risk of serious illness.
Avoiding debt stress
A great many people who find themselves in uncontrollable debt have a tendency to simply bury their heads in the sand. This is not the way to avoid the problem; it is simply putting off the inevitable and will lead to greater amounts of stress. Debt problems should be confronted as soon as the problem looks serious and there are a great number of agencies that will be able to offer advice and assistance. If you are having problems coping with debt, then talking to the lender should be the first port of call. Lenders should be able to reduce payments or offer longer repayment terms as an alternative.
The main priority
The main priority when it comes to debt problems is to reduce the payments. If you simply let payments mount up then the interest will also mount up. The next step for lenders will be read letters and phone calls to the debtor. This is when stress comes into play. The debtor will avoid phone calls and avoid opening letters. Inevitably the debt will be passed on to a debt collection agency. Talking to lenders should prove to be positive when it comes to reducing payments; it will also immediately reduce your own stress levels.
Understanding stress
•Debt stress is no different from any other type of stress, the only difference is the cause of the stress. There are certain ways to counteract the stress and these can include:
•Decrease stress inducers such as caffeine or fizzy drinks
•Smoking will not reduce stress but stress can lead to increased smoking, so avoid this if possible
•Maintain a healthy diet including vitamin B rich foods such as tuna, eggs and whole-wheat foods
•Exercising each day is a good stress reducer
•Take breaks to reduce stress and do an activity that brings pleasure
•Talk to other people about your problems, do not isolate yourself
•Think positively; this situation will not last forever
Talking will help
As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved and when it comes to debt you are not alone. A huge number of people have found themselves in uncontrollable debt situations at one time or another throughout their lives. Debt is one of the most common problems and also one of the most stressful for a great many people. Talking to people will help alleviate some of the stress. Simply talking to someone will reduce stress levels and bring real solutions to the problem.
Source: goingdebtfree.co.uk
culled from Punch

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Here’s why you can’t ignore sexually-transmitted diseases

Sometimes, the way alternative medicine hawkers trivialise issues relating to sexually-transmitted infections/diseases is astounding. For one, they dwell more on obscene description of sexuality; while they also call STIs the diseases of the socially active persons.

Well, whether this latter aspect is true or not, the undeniable fact is that STDs are dangerous infections that can wreak systematic havoc on the body, internally and externally; and, in extreme cases, they can result in agonising death.

Epidemiologists say there are more than 20 STDs, including crabs, scabies, genital warts, syphilis, AIDS, Chlamydia, Herpes, among others.
Researchers say every year, millions of STDs are passed from person to person, primarily through sexual contact, though some infections are also transmitted non-sexually.

They note that because the infections are sexually-transmitted, people don’t like to talk about them and therefore leave them untreated.

“Sometimes, the infections will go away; but usually, an untreated STD will return and the infected person will suffer grave consequences as a result,” epidemiologist, Mr. Segilola Araoye, warns.
Doctors also warn that STDs are dangerous for a pregnant woman and her unborn baby.
Family physician, Dr. Damilare Okikiolu, notes that a pregnant woman with an STD can infect her baby before, during, or after delivery.

“She may also go into early labour or suffer early rupture of the membranes surrounding the baby in the uterus.”

Worse still, doctors say, the complications of STIs in pregnant women can result in   cervical cancer and other cancers for the mother. As for the unborn baby, he may suffer chronic hepatitis, neonatal sepsis (infection in the blood), damage to the brain, blindness, deafness, acute hepatitis, meningitis, and chronic liver disease.
Okikiolu laments that some of the effects of birth-related sexually-transmitted diseases may not be detected for months or sometimes, even years.
Physicians warn that there are no vaccines for the prevention of some of these STDs and that even after a patient must have been treated for any of them, he or she could still get a new infection if they don’t adhere to strict sexual health practices.
Okikiolu advises sexually active people who have more than one partner or those who engage in risky sexual behaviours to regularly screen for STIs.
While we may not be able to mention all the STDs in the books, a brief examination of some of them would do. So, here we go…
Okikiolu says typically, most people who have Chlamydia don’t know they do because the bacterial infection often has no symptoms, though it’s one of the most reported STDs.
He warns, “Chlamydia is easy to cure, but if left untreated, it can affect a woman’s ability to conceive; just as it can affect the genitals, rectum, eyes and eyelids.
“Indeed, about 10-15 per cent of women with Chlamydia will develop pelvic inflammatory disease, which affects the upper genital tract. This may cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding tissues, and can lead to infertility. It may also lead to ectopic pregnancy. In men, Chlamydia infection can spread to the testes, and can result in sterility,” the doctor warns.
The signs and symptoms of Chlamydia, Okikiolu says, usually include painful urination, lower abdominal pain, vaginal discharge in women, discharge from the penis in men, pain during sexual intercourse in women, and testicular pain in men.”
He warns that any sexually frivolous person can get Chlamydia, “but female teens are more likely to be infected because of immature cervix.”

This STI, also called Trich, presents no symptom, physicians say; and is one of the most common causes of vaginitis — an irritation of the vulva or vagina. It takes between three and 28 days for symptoms to appear, if ever they do. Consequently, victims — especially men — don’t know they have it until they start having discharge from the urethra, or when they feel the urge to urinate frequently — often with pain and burning.
Okikiolu notes that when women have Trich symptoms, they may have frothy, often unpleasant-smelling vaginal discharge, blood spotting in the discharge, itching in and around the vagina, and swelling in the groin.

This STD is one of the most versatile, as it presents in four stages —primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary — when left untreated.
Okikiolu explains that, “The primary stage classically presents with firm, painless, non-itchy skin ulceration (chancre); secondary stage comes with a diffuse rash which frequently involves the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Latent syphilis presents little or no symptoms, but by the time it graduates to tertiary stage, you can have a soft, non-cancerous growth (gummas, commonly found in the liver, brain, heart, skin, bone, testis, and other tissues). These can lead to a variety of potential problems, including neurological disorders or heart valve disease.”
Signs and symptoms of syphilis include a firm, round, small, and painless sore on the genitals, anus, or mouth; or a rash on the body, especially on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet, researchers say.

This STD is also called pubic lice, which physicians describe as “small parasites that feed on human blood and usually found on the pubic hair.” They can also be found on other parts of the body where a person has coarse hair, such as armpits, eyelashes, and facial hair. Crabs rarely infest head hair, scientists say.
“The most noticeable symptom of crabs is itching in the pubic area, which usually starts about five days after infection,” Okikiolu says.
Doctors warn that crabs are also transmitted non-sexually when one sleeps in an infested bed or uses infested towel, wears infested cloth or uses an infested toilet seat.

While all the aforementioned STDs are treatable, not so herpes. Doctors say “there is no cure for this infection, though treatment can reduce symptoms and decrease the risk of transmission to another person.”
Okikiolu says herpes presents no symptoms or have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed or are mistaken for another skin condition.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warns that when symptoms do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. “The blisters break and leave painful sores that may take two to four weeks to heal. The first time someone has an outbreak, they may also experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches and swollen glands.”
As deadly as herpes is, scientists say, the infection can remain in the body indefinitely; and if a person with genital herpes touches his/her sores, he may transfer the infection to another part of the body, including the eyes.
Again, physicians warn, “The genital sores caused by herpes can bleed easily. When the sores come into contact with the mouth, vagina, or rectum during sex, they increase the risk of HIV transmission if either partner is HIV-infected.”

Genital HPV infection
Okikiolu says there are more than 40 types of Human Papilloma Virus that not only infect the male and female genitals, but can also infect the mouth and throat. Also incurable, as HPV lingers in the body, it can cause serious health problems such as genital warts and certain cancers, physicians warn.
Experts say though in about 90 per cent of the cases, HPV infections go away by themselves within two years, sometimes, they may persist and cause a variety of serious health problems such as genital warts, recurrent respiratory papillomatosis — a rare condition in which warts grow in the throat; cervical cancer, cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus; and a type of head/neck cancer called oropharyngeal cancer (cancer in the back of throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils).
Culled from Punch

Protein and chronic diseases

Cardiovascular disease: One concern about the high-protein diet craze has been that eating diets high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrate, would harm the heart. Recent research provides reassurance that eating a lot of protein doesn’t harm the heart. In fact, it is possible that eating more protein, especially vegetable protein, while cutting back on easily digested carbohydrates may benefit the heart.

A 20-year prospective study of 82,802 women found that those who ate low-carbohydrate diets that were high in vegetable sources of fat or protein had a 30 per cent lower risk of heart disease, compared to women who ate high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets.

Diabetes: Although proteins found in cow’s milk have been implicated in the development of type 1 diabetes, ongoing research has yielded inconsistent results. The amount of protein in the diet doesn’t seem to adversely affect the development of type 2 diabetes, although research in this area is ongoing. A recent 20-year prospective study in women suggests that eating a low-carbohydrate diet that is high in vegetable sources of fat and protein may modestly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Cancer: There’s no good evidence that eating a little protein or a lot of it influences cancer risk. Eating a lot of red meat is linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, however, as is eating processed meat.

Osteoporosis: Digesting protein releases acids that the body usually neutralises with calcium and other buffering agents in the blood. Eating lots of protein, such as the amounts recommended in the so-called low-carb or no-carb diets, takes lots of calcium. Some of this may be pulled from bone. Following a high-protein diet for a few weeks probably won’t have much effect on bone strength. Doing it for a long time, though, could weaken bone.
Source: www. hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/protein-full-story
Culled from Punch