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Diagnosing the four courses of multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis Centre


Diagnosing the four courses of multiple sclerosis

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People with multiple sclerosis (MS) can typically experience one of four disease courses, each of which might be mild, moderate, or severe.

Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)

RRMS is the most common disease course. It is characterised by clearly defined attacks of deteriorating neurologic function. These attacks, which are called relapses, flare-ups, or exacerbations, are followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions) during which no disease progression occur. Approximately 85% of people are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS.

Primary-progressive MS (PPMS)

PPMS is characterised by a continuous, gradual decline in a person’s physical abilities from the beginning with no distinct relapses or remissions. A person with PPMS does not experience acute attacks. The rate of progression may vary over time, with occasional stability and temporary minor improvements. Approximately 10% of people are diagnosed with primary-progressive MS.

Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS)

Following an initial period of relapsing-remitting MS, many people develop a secondary-progressive disease course in which the disease worsens more steadily, with or without occasional flare-ups and minor recoveries. Before disease-modifying medications became available, approximately 50% of people with relapsing-remitting MS developed this form of the disease within ten years. Long-term data are not yet available to determine if treatment significantly delays this transition.

Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS)

Approximately 5% of people diagnosed with MS appear to have PRMS. The course is characterised by a steady decline in abilities accompanied by sporadic attacks. They may or may not experience some recovery following these relapses, but the disease continues to progress without remissions.

How is MS diagnosed?

MS may not be diagnosed for months or even years after the onset of the disease due to the broad range of the symptoms. Neurologists record detailed histories and make use of the following tests to determine the presence of the disease:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans help to identify lesions in the brain
  • An electro-physiological test examines the impulses traveling through the nerves to determine if the impulses are moving normally or too slowly
  • An examination of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord may identify abnormal antibodies or cells that suggest the presence of MS.

Prognosis

Although the disorder is chronic and incurable, life expectancy can be normal or almost normal. Most people with MS continue to walk and function at work with minimal disability for 20 or more years.

Females and people who were young (less than 30 years of age) when the disease started, as well as those with a relapsing-remitting pattern who experience infrequent attacks, have the best outlook.

Most people return to normal or near-normal function between attacks. Over time, there is greater loss of function with less improvement between attacks and many require a wheelchair to get around. People with a support system are often able to remain in their homes.

Our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day if you want to know more about the four courses of multiple sclerosis. Call us on the EWP number or email us at
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2017-08-31T17:10:58+00:00

Living with multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis Centre


Living with multiple sclerosis

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Wellness is an active state of physical, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing that you can achieve even in the presence of a chronic illness or disability such as multiple sclerosis (MS).

For a person living with MS, the road to wellness involves more than treatment of the disease. Equally important are health advancement and prevention strategies, satisfying personal relationships, a strong support network, fulfilling work, relaxation and a meaningful place in the community.

Planning for the future

Although MS is a progressive disease, the rate of progression differs from one person to another. No one can predict with any certainty how far or fast a person’s MS is going to progress or what the outcome is likely to be. However, there are some factors that can help you and your family plan more effectively for the future:

Identifying options

The key message to anyone living with advanced MS is that there is always more that can be done to improve the current situation. Find a MS doctor who will partner with you and other members of the health care team to manage your symptoms and maintain your quality of life.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation programmes focus on function – they are designed to help you improve or maintain your ability to perform effectively and safely at home and at work. Rehabilitation professionals focus on overall fitness and energy management, while addressing problems with accessibility and mobility, speech and swallowing, and memory and other cognitive functions.

Learning to redefine control and independence

Sometimes MS symptoms can progress to the point that they significantly interfere with daily activities. Changes like this can threaten your self-confidence and feelings of self-worth. When this happens, remember that maintaining control and independence in everyday life doesn’t necessarily mean doing everything the same way you did it before.

By allowing yourself to do things differently, you gain access to the world of assistive technology (AT) and labour-saving tools and devices that allow you to stay active and productive. Rehabilitation professionals can help you navigate the world of AT and modify your environment at home and at work to optimise control and independence.

Dealing with emotional ups and downs

Depression and other mood changes are common in MS and grief is a normal reaction to the changes and losses that can accompany advanced MS. Remember that your physical health can affect your mental health. A counsellor or therapist may help you put things in perspective, as well as teach you coping skills and relaxation techniques that may be helpful.

A positive approach is to join a support group where you can share experiences and feelings with other people who have similar concerns.

Avoiding complications

People with more advanced MS are at greater risk for certain kinds of complications, such as osteoporosis, pressure sores, aspiration pneumonia and bladder or kidney infections. Schedule regular check-ups with your MS doctor to reduce your risk of complications and report any unusual fevers or changes in your symptoms.

Our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day if you want to know more about living with multiple sclerosis. Call us on the EWP number or email us at
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2017-08-31T17:10:39+00:00

Multiple sclerosis and your diet

Multiple Sclerosis Centre


Multiple sclerosis and your diet

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Like everyone else, people with multiple sclerosis (MS) benefit from a healthy diet. Eating nutritionally balanced meals helps your body work to its full potential, which is particularly important for people living with long-term, unpredictable conditions like MS.

Benefits of a well-balanced diet

The effects of MS vary from person to person and can change from one day to the next. MS fatigue, steroid therapy and depression can all lead to unwanted weight gain. You can improve your quality of life and sense of well-being by focusing on aspects of health that can be controlled and changed – such as diet. A well-balance diet, combined with appropriate exercise, has the following benefits for the person with MS:

  • Controls weight
  • Decreases fatigue
  • Maintains regular bowel and bladder function
  • Minimises the risk of skin problems
  • Keeps bones healthy and strong
  • Maintains healthy teeth and gums
  • Strengthens the heart
  • Improves muscle strength and range of motion
  • Increases flexibility.

What makes up a healthy well-balanced diet?

A healthy diet contains a balance of the major food groups:

  • Proteins – for growth and tissue repair
  • Carbohydrates and sugars – for energy
  • Fats – to absorb certain vitamins and for essential fatty acids
  • Fibre – for healthy digestion
  • Vitamins and minerals – for numerous processes in the body, including tissue repair, bone strength and the absorption of other nutrients
  • Fluids – for optimum working of the body.

Maintenance of general good health is very important for persons with MS. A well-balanced and carefully planned diet will help you to achieve this goal. MS specialists recommend that people with MS follow the same low-fat, high-fibre diet that is recommended for the general population. Some MS researchers firmly believe that people with MS would greatly benefit from a low-fat vegetarian diet.

Exercise

A good exercise programme in combination with a healthy diet can help to develop the maximum potential of muscle, bone and respiration, thereby avoiding secondary complications. Regular aerobic exercise may offer some benefits if you have mild to moderate MS. Benefits include improved strength, muscle tone, balance, coordination and help to fight depression. Swimming is a good option for people who are bothered by heat. Activities such as yoga, tai chi, massage, meditation or deep breathing may help to relieve stress and improve your sense of wel-being.

Our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day if you want to know more about multiple sclerosis and your diet. Call us on the EWP number or email us at
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2017-08-31T17:10:25+00:00

Early warning signs of multiple sclerosis (MS)

Multiple Sclerosis Centre


Early warning signs of multiple sclerosis (MS)

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) can inflict serious damage during the first year it manifests. Early detection and treatment is therefore crucial. Here’s how to check out the early warning symptoms.

Identifying the condition

MS, multiple sclerosis, is an inflammatory disease that attacks the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) by damaging the (myelin) sheath surrounding the nerve cells. When this happens multiple areas of scar tissue (sclerosis) develop and slow or block the transmission of nerve impulses in that area.

Attacks can last days, weeks or months and then disappear only to return with a vengeance. These relapses are usually unpredictable and get progressively worse with time. Early detection and treatment is crucial as MS causes more damage during the first year of the disease than later.

Types

There are four types of MS:

  1. Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). Between 85 and 90% of people with MS fall in this group. As the name indicates, people with RRMS have clearly defined relapse (flare-up) periods followed by partial or complete remission (recovery) periods when the disease stops progressing.
  2. Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS). In SPMS, symptoms progress (worsen) steadily over time despite the occurrence of relapses and remissions.
  3. Primary-progressive MS (PPMS). This rare type of MS is characterised by slowly worsening symptoms without relapses or remissions.
  4. Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS). An even rarer form of MS characterised by a steadily worsening disease state with acute relapses but no remissions.

Identifying and promptly treating MS in the relapsing-remitting stage is of the utmost importance to try and avoid developing more progressive forms of the illness.

Early warning signs of MS

People with MS tend to have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40, and more women are affected than men. The following are some of the more common, early symptoms:

  • Vision problems such as inflammation of the optic nerve (optic neuritis) is one of the most common, early symptoms of MS. It affects and disrupts a person’s central vision, causing blurring and difficulty seeing or loss of the ability to see contrast or vivid colours. The degeneration of clear sight may be gradual and may also be accompanied by pain when a person looks up or to one side.
  • The two most common warning signs of MS are numbness in the face, arms, legs and fingers and a “pins and needles” tingling sensation.
  • Up to 80% of people in the early stages of MS experience unexplained fatigue and weakness that appear suddenly and may persist for weeks on end before improving.
  • For about 40% of people involuntary muscle spasms, especially in the legs, are early symptoms of MS. Chronic pain in both the legs and the back is also common.
  • Cognitive problems such as attention, thinking and memory problems are early symptoms of MS and will be present in about 50% of people with MS. Difficulties with language and speech may occur later.
  • Up to 80% of people with MS experience bladder problems such as the urgent and frequent need to urinate or the inability to hold in urine or empty the bladder fully as well as bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhoea or loss of bowel control.
  • Mental and emotional problems such as depression, irritability and mood swings usually develop later due to the stress of living with MS and should not be ignored. A condition called “pseudobulbar affect”, bouts of uncontrollable crying and laughing, may also emerge.
  • Sexual arousal begins in the central nervous system, the very place where MS usually strikes and may cause vaginal dryness in women and erection problems in men. Both may have a lower sex drive or have trouble reaching orgasm.
  • MS can also cause other symptoms such as hearing loss, difficulty swallowing, seizures and uncontrollable shaking.

Not everyone with MS will have the same symptoms but if you have experienced any of these symptoms, please have them checked out by your doctor immediately.

Sources

Early signs of Multiple Sclerosis. 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/multiple-sclerosis
Early warning symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/guide/multiple-sclerosis-diagnosis/ multiple-sclerosis-symptoms-types
Multiple Sclerosis. Retrieved from: http://www.cure.co.za/ms.htm
Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Retrieved from: http://www.multiplesclerosis.com/us/treatment.php#a1

2017-08-31T17:07:58+00:00

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis Centre


Multiple sclerosis

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another.

Causes

MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, which is the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. The nerve damage is caused by inflammation when the body’s own immune cells attack the nervous system. The damaged myelin forms scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name. When any part of the myelin sheath is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses travelling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing the variety of symptoms that can occur.

Symptoms

Because nerves in any part of the brain or spinal cord may be damaged, people with MS can have symptoms in many parts of the body. They may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness and pain
  • Visual disturbances
  • Trouble with coordination and balance
  • Sensations such as numbness, prickling, or pins and needles
  • Thinking and memory problems
  • Bowel and bladder dysfunction
  • Depression or feelings of sadness
  • Sexual dysfunction.

The following symptoms can also occur in MS, but much less frequently:

  • Speech disorders
  • Swallowing problems
  • Respiration and breathing problems
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Hearing loss
  • Headaches
  • Itching.

Treatment

MS is generally diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, but can occur at any age. It affects more women than men. The disease is usually mild, but some people lose the ability to write, speak or walk. There is no known cure for MS, but there are treatment strategies available to control symptoms and to slow the progression of MS. These strategies include:

  • Medication
  • Physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and support groups
  • Assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, bed lifts, shower chairs, walkers and wall bars
  • A planned exercise programme early in the course of the disorder
  • A healthy lifestyle, with good nutrition and enough rest and relaxation
  • Avoiding fatigue, stress, temperature extremes and illness
  • Making changes around the home to prevent falls.

Prognosis

Although the disorder is chronic and incurable, life expectancy can be almost normal. Most people with MS learn to cope with the disease and continue to lead satisfying, productive lives.

Our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day if you want to know more about multiple sclerosis. Call us on the EWP number or email us at
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2017-08-31T17:11:14+00:00

Multiple sclerosis and your emotional wellbeing

Multiple Sclerosis Centre


Multiple sclerosis and your emotional wellbeing

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In addition to its physical symptoms, multiple sclerosis (MS) has powerful emotional implications and you may find the emotional impact the most challenging aspect of the disease. It is a difficult task to adjust to the diagnosis of a disorder that is unpredictable, has a fluctuation course and carries a risk of progressing over time to some level of physical disability.

Some of the emotional changes observed in people with MS include the following:

Major depressive as well as less severe depressive periods. Clinical depression is more common in people with MS than in the general population. Researchers are not sure if this higher rate of depression is due to an emotional response to having the disease or is related to the physiology of the disease.

Grieving for losses related to the disease. People with MS often experience losses, such as the loss of ability to walk or participate in certain leisure activities. Grief is time-limited and although it may resemble depression, it generally resolves on its own.

Stress and reactions to stressful situations. MS is unpredictable and just anticipating the next attack can be a significant source of stress. MS can lead to some major life changes such as loss of mobility or the ability to work and the person with MS faces significant challenges.

Generalised anxiety. MS is a generally disabling, progressive and unpredictable disease that can cause significant anxiety, anger and frustration. The tremendous uncertainty associated with MS is one of its most distressing aspects.

Mood swings. Moodiness manifests as rapid and generally unpredictable changes in emotions and can be one of the most challenging aspects of MS from the family’s point of view.

Uncontrollable laughing and/or crying. Approximately 10% of people with MS experience uncontrollable episodes of laughing and/or crying that are unpredictable and seem to have little or no association to actual events or the person’s emotions. These episodes are thought to be the result of damaged areas in emotional pathways in the brain.

Inappropriate behaviour. A very small proportion of people with MS show inappropriate behaviour such as sexual aggressiveness. This type of behaviour is generally beyond the control of the individual and is not a sign of moral weakness.

Treatment

If you are experiencing depression, anxiety, stress or other emotional difficulties, you should tell a friend or family member and your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Your healthcare provider will be able to refer you to a counsellor, social worker or therapist who can help you find the appropriate way to address your needs. Getting the support you need to deal with these emotional challenges is essential to maintaining your quality of life. Here are some suggestions to help you even out the ups and downs:

  • Maintain normal daily activities as best you can
  • Stay connected to friends and family
  • Continue to pursue hobbies that you enjoy and are able to do
  • A healthy diet and regular exercise also go a long way toward helping you cope emotionally. Doing yoga, practicing relaxation techniques and spending time doing things you enjoy can also relieve emotional distress.

Our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day if you want to know more about multiple sclerosis and your emotional wellbeing. Call us on the EWP number or email us at
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2017-08-31T17:11:30+00:00

Some questions on lung embolism answered


Some questions on lung embolism answered

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Lung embolisms can be life-threatening and also very difficult to diagnose as some of the symptoms are similar to symptoms of other illnesses. Also, even otherwise healthy people can be at risk of developing an embolism.


What is a lung embolism?

Lung embolisms, also known as pulmonary embolisms, occur when one or more of the arteries in the lungs become blocked with coagulated blood. These clots usually travel to the lungs from another part of the body. A lung embolism usually occurs as a complication from a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – where the veins furthest from the surface of the body becomes blocked or clogged.

Who gets lung embolisms?

Lung embolisms do not occur only in people with a history of heart or lung disease – otherwise healthy people are just as much as risk of developing a pulmonary embolism as people with a history of these diseases. But there are some risk factors: being elderly, being overweight, being a cancer patient, people who have pelvic or lower limb fractures and women who are pregnant and giving birth are more at risk. There also seems to be a family tendency towards developing these embolisms.

What are the symptoms of a lung embolism?

There are no exact set of symptoms that point directly to lung embolisms as the symptoms vary greatly according to where the embolism is situated and how much of the lung or lungs are involved and affected.

The more common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden chest pain
  • A cough that produces phlegm with blood
  • Wheezing
  • Sweating
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Weak or slow pulse
  • Light-headedness or fainting
  • Leg swelling
  • Skin that goes clammy and turns bluey.

When must you see a doctor?

If you experience any one of the first three symptoms listed above, you should see a doctor immediately. Embolism can re-occur, so it is advisable for all people with embolisms to see a doctor to take preventative care.

Sources
www.mayoclinic.com
ww.netdoctor.co.uk

2017-08-24T03:07:08+00:00

Is cancer on the increase?


Is cancer on the increase?

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It seems that these days, in whatever company you find yourself, you hear about someone diagnosed with cancer.


World trends

The World Health Organisation has conducted research on cancer trends around the world and has made predictions based on these trends. The news is not good: it is expected that cancer in South Africa will increase with a staggering 75 to 81% from 2008 to 2030. Even if cancers caused by infections such as cervical cancer and cancers associated with Aids can be prevented, it is expected that lifestyle-related cancers will increase.

In rich and average countries, prostate and breast cancers are increasing while stomach and cervical cancers generally are declining. Lung cancer is decreasing among men but increasing among women. The seven most common types of cancer worldwide are lung cancer, female breast cancer, colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, prostate cancer, liver cancer and cervical cancer.

In men of the UK, 6.1% (9,600) of cancer cases were linked to a lack of fruit and vegetables, 4.9% (7,800) to occupation, 4.6% (7,300) to alcohol, 4.1% (6,500) to overweight and obesity and 3.5% (5,500) to excessive sun exposure and sunbeds. In women, 6.9% (10,800) were linked to overweight and obesity, 3.7% (5,800) to infections such as HPV (which causes most cases of cervical cancer), 3.6% (5,600) to excessive sun exposure and sunbeds, 3.4% (5,300) to lack of fruit and vegetables and 3.3% (5,100) to alcohol.

Expensive price of progress

As the living standards of South Africans rise, they have more money to spend on luxury items, and tend to start following a westernised lifestyle, which includes a poor diet, lack of exercise and other bad habits associated with affluence. A westernised lifestyle increases the incidence of breast, prostate and colorectal cancers. Research has shown that this has already happened in other countries and, as third-world countries become more westernised, they too will succumb to this trend.

It is said that over 40% of cancers are due to lifestyle and therefore can be prevented. These include:

  • Breast cancer
  • Oesophageal or gullet cancer
  • Stomach, bowel, gastric cancer
  • Mouth and throat cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Skin cancer.

Although leading a healthy lifestyle cannot guarantee that you would never get cancer, you can significantly stack the odds in your favour. It is your decision whether you are going to follow a healthy lifestyle to decrease the risk.

Sources
http://www.bbc.co.uk
http://www.guardian.co.uk
http://www.msnbc.msn.com

2017-08-24T03:07:06+00:00

Foot problems and how to deal with them


Foot problems and how to deal with them

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In summer we like to show off our feet, but in winter they’re hidden inside our shoes and boots. Unfortunately this may exacerbate some foot problems. Here are tips on how to deal with these problems at home, as well as a recipe for a foot lotion.


Our feet consist of 52 bones which are 25% of the body’s total number of bones. Together with 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles of each foot, our feet absorb about five times our body weight in pressure every day. No wonder that we need to take special care of our feet to keep them in good working order for the rest of our lives!

Calluses and corns

Calluses and corns form when the skin of the feet is exposed to friction and pressure, leading to areas of hard, thickened skin. Calluses usually form on the soles of the feet and on the heels, whereas corns usually from on the toes where shoes press and rub against bone.

Treat these problems by avoiding shoes that pinch or cramp your toes and use insoles and moleskin pads for protection. Soak calluses and corns in warm water and rub them with a towel or pumice stone daily until the thickened skin has been removed. Use a foot lotion to keep skin soft.

Bunions and hammer toes

A bunion is a swelling caused by a misshapen joint at the base of the big toe. A hammer toe is one that bends up permanently at the middle joint of the toe.

Home treatment usually cannot get rid of bunions and hammer toes but may help keep them from getting worse. To get relief, wear low healed, roomy shoes with a wide toe box and good arch support. Cushion the area with pads to prevent rubbing and irritation. Around the house, wear soft shoes that have been cut out at the areas pressing against the bunion or hammertoe. Sometimes surgery to correct this problem is an option.

Ingrown toenails

Ingrown toenails are caused when the edge of the nail grows into the skin at the edge of the toe. It is usually the big toenail that is affected.

To prevent this, wear shoes with a wide shoe box and keep feet clean and dry. Cut toenails straight across and leave the nails a little longer at the sides so that the sharps ends do not cut into the flesh. For pain relief, soak the feet in an Epsom salt bath for 15 minutes twice a day.

Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a common fungal skin infection with symptoms of cracked, blistered and peeling skin between the toes, itching and redness and scaling on the soles of the feet.

To prevent athlete’s foot, keep the feet clean, cool and dry, especially between the toes. Wear shower sandals in public pools and showers. Wear shoes or sandals that allow feet to “breathe” and cotton socks. Use an over-the-counter antifungal spray or cream for two weeks after the infection has cleared to prevent reinfection.

Plantar warts

Plantar warts are caused by a virus infection. They appear on the soles of the feet looking like a little piece of cauliflower with tiny dark spots.

Apply an over-the-counter wart removing product containing salicylic acid. For some people, it helps to keep the wart covered with a small piece of duct tape, changing it daily, until the area of infected skin peels off (at least two weeks). It is thought that the duct tape diminishes oxygen to that area of the skin. Sometimes warts appear and disappear spontaneously, but it can take months or even years to get rid of them. They can also be surgically removed by a doctor.

Foot odour

Foot odour can be an embarrassment. It is made worse by closed shoes or boots and sweaty feet. Rubbing cornstarch or antiperspirant directly on the soles of feet, wearing moisture-wicking socks, and avoiding wearing the same shoes two days in a row, may help. An antibacterial product sprayed directly into the shoes may kill the bacteria that cause the odour.

Plantar fasciitis

When the thick, fibrous tissue that covers the bottom of the foot and connects the heel to the base of the toes becomes inflamed, it is known as plantar fasciitis. Athletes, middle-aged people and those who are overweight tend to suffer from this condition.

For relief, reduce the activity to a level that does not cause pain. Do low-impact exercises until healed. Do not run, walk or jog on hard surfaces. Do daily stretches. Apply ice to the heel twice a day. Take painkillers if necessary.

Neuroma

A neuroma is a swelling of a nerve, commonly one that connects the third and fourth toes. The burning or tingling pain is felt in the front of the foot between the toes or in the ball of the foot.

To feel better, keep off your feet, wear roomy shoes, and take a painkiller or anti-inflammatory medication.

General foot care

  • Soak feet in a bath of salts, green or black tea, or essential lavender or peppermint oils.
  • Use a foot scrub and a pumice stone for problem areas.
  • Apply a moisturising cream or lotion. For a home-made lotion, use 1 tablespoon each of almond oil, olive oil and wheat germ and 12 drops of eucalyptus essential oil or fragrance oil. Mix all the ingredients well and store in a dark coloured bottle in a cool place.
  • Buff the nails for a shiny, healthy look.

Please note: If you suffer from diabetes, you need to take extra care of your feet. Because you may have reduced feeling in your feet, you should inspect them regularly for small cuts, bruises, sores and ingrown toenails that may become infected. Work gently when you care for your feet.

Sources
Healthwise for Life. 2000. Healthwise Inc, Boise, Idaho
http://www.dailyglow.com
http://www.ivillage.com

2017-08-24T03:07:06+00:00

Protect your skin from winter


Protect your skin from winter

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Because our winter is relatively short, we tend to refrain from following a winter care programme for our skins. However, South Africans of all ages can benefit from winter skin care.


The main effects of winter weather conditions on our skin are dryness, flaking, cracking and even eczema, especially in the dry areas of the country, and the main cause of these conditions is heating up of indoor spaces. Affected skin includes the face, lips, hands and feet, but the rest of the body may also suffer.

So, what can you do about it?

Keep the skin dry

Make sure that you dry your skin properly after a shower or bath. Pay particular attention to the folds of the skin and to the areas between the toes and the fingers. All clothing must also be completely dry before you put it on or it may irritate the skin, which can lead to eczema.

Moisturise

Your summertime moisturiser will not do the trick in winter. Look out for a non-clogging oil-based moisturiser to help create a protective layer on your skin. Avocado, mineral, primrose or almond oils are good for this purpose. Lotions containing glycerine, sorbitol and alpha-hydroxy acids may also attract moisture to the skin.

Lotions containing petroleum jelly or glycerine should be applied to the feet after dead and hardened skin has been removed.

Use lip balm to keep lips soft en healthy. For chapped lips use a gentle lip exfoliant every night followed by an emollient or prescription-strength hydrocortisone ointment.

Apply suncreen

Sunrays always have UV rays, whether it’s summer or winter. Therefore, apply a sunscreen daily to your face and hands, and re-apply if you are going to be outside for a while.

Give special hand care

Did you know that the skin on your hands is thinner and has fewer oil glands than on most parts of your body? To keep hands soft and healthy, apply hand cream liberally and regularly. It will also help to wear gloves when you go or work outside.

Attend to facial skin

Rather avoid harsh peels, masks and alcohol-based toners or astringents during the winter months as they can strip the protective oil from your skin. A mild cleanser and a toner without any alcohol should be used. Deep hydrating masks can also be used, albeit less often than in summer.

Humidify

Heaters and air conditioners dry out the air in a room. Try the following to humidify the air without making use of electricity:

  • Add potplants to the interior decorating. Through transpiration, the plants will add moisture to the air.
  • Add a fish tank with a lid that can remain partially open so that it can add moisture to the air.
  • Place a flat container of water near the heater, stove or air conditioner. As the water heats up, it will evaporate into the air, increasing moisture.
  • Vases of water placed on sunny windowsills will help moisturise the air. Coloured stones or marbles can be added for a decorative touch.
  • Hang your laundry on an indoor clothes drying rack or hang it over the back of a chair. It will add moisture to your indoor air. Just remember never to put laundry on a heater to dry as it can easily catch fire.

Avoid very hot water

Although it feels good to soak in a bath of hot water or to stand in a hot-water shower, keep in mind that very hot water breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. Warm water and shorter bath or shower times, will benefit your skin.

Always apply a good quality moisturiser after every bath or shower to help keep your body’s natural oils sealed inside.

Sources
http://winterskincare.net
http://www.livestrong.com
http://www.skinway.com
http://www.webmd.com

2017-08-24T03:07:04+00:00
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