Friday, September 26, 2014

What is inflammation?

In recent years, Inflammation has gotten a bad reputation. It’s known to cause many ailments and anti-inflammatory foods and products are flying off the shelves. What exactly is inflammation? What’s it for and when does it become problematic? Is inflammation something you should be worried about? This essay summarizes an article published by Medical News Today (MNT). It will give you an overview of the purpose of inflammation and problematic inflammatory conditions. 

MNT says inflammation is “the body's attempt at self-protection; the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens - and begin the healing process.” Inflammation is the bodies complex response to heal itself from injury or abnormal physical, chemical or biological substances that cause infection. Inflammation is an immune response, one that is often beneficial. Wounds and infections would never heal without inflammation. A sprained ankle becomes inflamed when the tissues need extra protection. It is common for mothers and health practitioners to immediately try to decrease inflammation but according to MNT, “inflammation is an essential part of the body's attempt to heal itself, patients and doctors need to be sure that the treatments to reduce swelling are absolutely necessary and to not undermine or slow down the healing process.”
Signs of inflammation are: redness, calor, heat, swelling, pain, and inhibited or lost function. All or none of these signs may be present during inflammation. Sometimes inflammation is self-perpetuating and can become chronic. Chronic inflammation is frequently problematic to ones overall health and wellbeing. For example, it can cause some cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, and hay fever.
Why does inflammation cause pain?
Inflammation causes pain, stiffness, discomfort, and occasionally agony. The level of pain is contingent on the severity of the inflammation. Pain is a result of the swelling, which pushes against nerve endings that send pain signals to the brain. These signals can be sent continuously throughout the day, however the brain will frequently ignore them when that are sent over an extended period of time.
Chronic inflammation versus acute inflammation
Acute inflammation occurs for a few days or occasionally a few weeks. Examples of conditions that cause acute inflammation are: acute bronchitis, an infected ingrown toenail, sore throat from a cold, a scratch on the skin. acute appendicitis, among many other conditions.
Chronic inflammation can occur for months or years. Chronic inflammation can result from the bodies inability to remove what caused acute inflammation, an autoimmune response or disease, or a chronic and persistent irritant. Asthma, tuberculosis, chronic peptic ulcer, Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, and chronic sinusitis are examples of chronic inflammation. There are many more examples of chronic inflammation.
The link between inflammation and autoimmune disorders
An autoimmune disorder happens when the immune system responds to healthy tissues because it has mistaken them for being harmful. When the immune system is triggered, an inflammatory response is initiated as well.
Of the hundreds of autoimmune diseases, almost all have inflammation as a sign. For example, in celiac disease, inflammation happens when the inner lining of the small intestine is destroyed. Allergies cause inflammation of the nose, ears, and throat mucous membranes. Anaphylaxis is a serious condition when inflammation affects the entire body.
According to an article published by US News, poor health habits are linked to an increase in inflammation throughout the body. Research is still forthcoming, and established, clear cut links have yet to be defined. It is clear however, is that poor health habits lead to an increase in inflammation. This is problematic because chronic inflammation leads to diabetes, depression, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Hidden and chronic inflammation occurs when the immune system is triggered to become inflamed in order to heal itself, yet doesn’t ever stop the inflammation from continuing indefinitely. Smoking, obesity, infections, can all kick start inflammation that becomes hidden and chronic. This can result in the steady stream of immune cells that interfere with healthy tissues and “triggering genetic mutations that can lead to cancer or the bursting of plaque in an artery wall.”
What are the possible treatments for inflammation?
According to MNT, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, stop inflammation induced pain because they inhibit inflammation. Acetaminophen (paracetamol, Tylenol) do not prevent inflammation but can reduce pain associated with inflammatory conditions. These are acceptable to use for acute inflammation but are not advisable to treat chronic inflammation due to adverse health effects of these drugs when used long term.
Herbs also have anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial. Ginger, has been found to reduce the markers of colon inflammation according to researchers from the Michigan Medical School. Research is on going about the anti-inflammatory effects of Turmeric, to treat arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and some other inflammatory conditions. Something as simple as ice can reduce inflammation. Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science reported that the daily consumption of fish oil, omega-3 was able to reduced anxiety and inflammation and anxiety in healthy young people. Green tea has been shown to reduce inflammation in postmenopausal women, according to the Laura W. Bush Institute.
The article published by US News also highlighted the need for a healthy diet and a healthy waist measurement. A 35 inch waistline for women and 40 inch waistline for men or higher is indicative of excess inflammation. High blood pressure, high levels of blood glucose, and higher levels of trigycerides, are also signs of hidden and chronic inflammation. The article states. “according to the American Heart Association, these all point to an inflammatory condition called metabolic syndrome, a common precursor of diabetes and heart disease. The best way to reduce belly fat? Eat less and move more.”
That is easier said than done of course. Kay’s was created to make dieting and wellness as easy and as simple as possible. As a high protein, low sugar, low fat snack that packs in a lot of crunch- our snacks and cereals help individuals walk the path to wellness everyday! To learn more about how we can help you, visit our website.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sharing the Good News About Your Coffee Habit

The bulk of adult American’s are replenished, re-energized, and re-fueled by the black elixir. Coffee is the second most-traded commodity in the world, second only to crude oil. Americans drink about 587 million cups a day. That’s about three cups per person, daily. According to an article published in USA Today, about 83 percent of adults drink coffee in the U.S. Bob Thompson, a coffee professor was quoted in the article as saying, "you could say this nation runs on two dark liquids — petroleum and coffee."  Our coffee habit is a $30 billion-a-year national industry, is “a foodie fixation, an affordable luxury, a boost of disease-fighting antioxidants, a versatile ingredient, an intoxicating aroma and a beverage that brings people together.”
For such a small bean, it packs a lot of punch. Health research frequently advises us to stop consuming the things we love  Namely, all of our feel-good foods: fat, sugar, and wheat. It is a delight to learn that our beloved coffee is a healthy habit we can keep.
“Mounting scientific evidence continues to suggest that individuals can obtain several health benefits from drinking coffee in moderation. Studies indicate coffee consumption is inversely related to weight gain, may improve glycemic indicators that help prevent type 2 diabetes, and may even facilitate weight loss because of the thermogenic effects of caffeine and other pharmacologic elements found in coffee beans,” was published in an article in Today’s Dietitian. Yes, you read that right. Coffee in moderation can help you lose weight and prevent type 2 diabetes. According to National Cancer Institute, those who drink coffee daily have a 10-13% chance of living longer than those that do not. Moreover, as quoted in the USA Today article, “other research suggests coffee lowers the risk of diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes.”

We can all raise our cups and toast to that! It's important, however, to be mindful to consume caffeine in moderation. According to the Mayo Clinic, 400 milligrams of caffeine appears safe for adult consumption. That is the equivalent of four cups of coffee. Adolescents should limit caffeine consumption to 100 mg and children should have none.

Caffeine is not healthy for everyone. Some diseases, such as celiacs, may make individuals more prone to jitters and caffeine sensitivity. Others factors, such as medication use, age, body mass and health conditions such as anxiety disorders, may make people more sensitive to caffeine. Be mindful if your coffee habit is contributing to an unhealthy sleep pattern- this can cause multiple adverse health effects. Finally, be aware that more than 500 to 600 mg a day of caffeine can cause negative consequences such as:

  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Stomach upset
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors
  • Insomnia

At Kay’s we celebrate health and wellness. That’s why we have this blog- to help the public be abreast of recent health research. Making health studies accessible contributs to everyone to knowing how to treat their bodies right and live life to the fullest. It is our mission to help everyone live a healthy lifestyle, no matter what obstacles stand in their way. To see all 21 of our high-protein, low-sugar, diabetes-friendly, gluten-free, and delicious snacks and cereals, visit our website!

Friday, September 12, 2014

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome that affects five millions of people (18 and over) in the United States. As awareness of fibromyalgia spreads, so do the questions. The purpose of this blog article is to answer basic and fundamental questions about the syndrome, with the overarching goal of spreading awareness and wellness. Information about fibromyalgia presented in this blog are derived from two sources: an article published on the U.S. Library of National Medicine (NCBI) website and an article published on the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by long-term pain exists throughout the body. Frequently, the pain is linked to anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep problems, and/or fatigue.  In addition to pain, there is often tenderness in the joints, tendons, muscles and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia is sometimes thought of as arthritis-related condition, although it is not a true form of arthritis because fibromyalgia does not cause inflammation or damage to muscles, joints, or other tissues. Fibromyalgia can be very painful and cause severe fatigue. Enough to interfere with a person’s ability to carry on daily activities.
What causes fibromyalgia?
Research has been inconclusive, and the exact cause is unknown. The following are believed to be triggers of fibromyalgia:
  • Abnormal pain response (A  different neurological responses to pain than the general population)
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Infection (although, as of yet, none has been identified)
  • Illness
  • Repetitive injuries
  • Emotional or physical trauma
Who is at risk of having fibromyalgia?
It is most common among 20-50-year-old women, although it can effect anyone. Researchers are currently investigating the role of genetics.
According to NCBI, the following conditions “may be seen with fibromyalgia or have similar symptoms:
  • Chronic neck or back pain
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Lyme disease
  • Sleep disorders”
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
The underlying symptoms of fibromyalgia is mild to severe chronic pain across the body. Additionally, there be by tender points, such as the soft tissue on the back of the neck, shoulders, or chest (among other areas) Pain spreads out from tender points. Pain can feel like shooting pain, aburning sensationpain, or a deep ache. Unlike Arthritis, the joints are not affected or harmed by fibromyalgia. Those afflicted with fibromyalgia often wake up sore and stiff. For some the pain alleviates during the day and returns at night, for some the pain remains consistent. Activity, cold weather, stress and anxiety may exacerbate the pain. Fatigue, sleep difficulties, and depressed emotions are a consistent among most people with fibromyalgia.
NCIB lists the following as additional symptoms of fibromyalgia:
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Tension or migraine headaches
In order to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, one must have a minimum of widespread pain for three months, as well as at least one of the following:
  • Problems with sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty thinking or remembering
How is fibromyalgia treated?
Treatment is designed to alleviate pain and other symptoms and assist individuals with coping with the symptoms, as there is currently no cure. Treatment may consist of physical therapy, exercise program, and stress-relief methods such as relaxation techniques and massage. Doctors may prescribe drugs, such as  antidepressants, sleep aids, muscle relaxants, Duloxetine (Cymbalta), pregabalin (Lyrica), or milnacipran (Savella) (the last three are drugs approved specifically for treating fibromyalgia). In addition, cognitive-behavioral therapy is significant part of treatment. According to NCBI, it will help individuals learn how to:
  • “Deal with negative thoughts
  • Keep a diary of pain and symptoms
  • Recognize what makes your symptoms worse
  • Seek out enjoyable activities
  • Set limits”
Individuals can also help to treat their fibromyalgia by doing the following
  • Sustaining from caffeine
  • Establishing a good sleep routine.
  • Regular exercise
  • Acupressure or acupuncture treatments
  • Consume a healthy and well-balanced diet.
For more information about fibromyalgia continue reading at www.niams.nih.gov. Kay’s Naturals can help you eat a well-balanced diet. All of our snacks are all-natural, gluten free, very low-sugar, and  are high in protein! To learn more, visit out website!