The Importance of Sleep for Health

The purpose of this article is to explain what sleep is and the importance of sleep for health.

Sleep is an indispensable part of our being.  Proper sleep is as essential as diet and exercise.  Actually, without sleep there would be no diet and no exercise—we simply couldn’t function—period.  All of the systems of the body (there are twelve) rely on sleep for efficient functioning.  After reading this article you’ll understand how.

What is sleep

Sleep is supposed be a naturally continual state of mind and body.   It involves relatively inhibited sensory activity, altered consciousness, reduced interactions with surroundings, reduced muscle activity and inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles during rapid eye movement sleep (which will be explained later).

The Importance of sleep for health

Sleep plays an important role in our physical and mental health. Decades earlier, most people thought of sleep as a passive, dormant part of our daily lives when the body simply—shut down.  However, today we have an understanding that our brains are extremely active during sleep.  Furthermore, sleep affects our daily functioning and our physical and mental health in many ways that are just beginning to be understood.  For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of our heart and blood vessels.

When the body goes into sleep mode, it begins its work like the night shift of a factory.  During this time, the healing of damaged cells takes place, the boosting of the immune system, a recovering of the day’s activities (e.g. that tension headache disappears), and as mentioned earlier, recharging of the heart and cardiovascular system.  Sleep also balances our appetites by helping to regulate levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which play a role in our feelings of hunger and fullness. So when we haven’t had enough sleep, we may feel the need to eat more, which can lead to weight gain.

The third of our lives that we use sleeping are a far cry from being unproductive and plays an immediate  role in how complete, energetic and successful the other two-thirds of our lives can be.

These vital renewal activities occur during various stages of sleep.

The stages of the sleep cycle

During sleep, we generally pass through five phases of sleep: stages 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. These stages progress during a cycle from stage 1 to REM sleep, then the cycle starts over again with stage 1.  A complete sleep cycle takes an average of ninety (90) to one hundred ten (110) minutes, with every stage lasting between five (5) to fifteen (15) minutes. We adults spend nearly fifty % of our total sleep time in stage two (2) sleep, about 20 percent in REM sleep, and the remaining 30 percent in the other stages. Infants, in contrast, spend about half of their sleep time in REM sleep.

Let’s examine these stages a little further:

Stage One Sleep

During stage one, which is light sleep, we drift in and out of sleep and can be awakened easily. Our eyes move particularly slowly and muscle activity slows.

Stage Two Sleep

When we enter stage 2 sleep, we are still in light sleep. However our heart rate slows and our body temperature drops. Our eye movements stop and our brain waves become slower, with occasional bursts of rapid waves called sleep spindles (sudden bursts of brain activity). The body is getting ready for deep sleep.

Stage Three, Four & REM Sleep

In stage 3, extremely slow brain waves called delta waves begin to appear, combine with smaller, faster waves.

By stage 4, the brain produces delta waves nearly totally.  It is especially hard to wake someone during stages three and four, which together are called deep sleep.
There is no eye movement or muscle activity. People who wake up during deep sleep don’t revise instantly and sometimes feel dazed and disoriented for a few minutes after they wake up. Some kids encounter bedwetting, night terrors, or sleepwalking during deep sleep.

During the deep stages of NREM (non REM) sleep, the body repairs and regrows tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. This is a crucial stage.

As we get older, we sleep more lightly and get less deep sleep. Aging is also linked to shorter time spans of sleep, although studies show that we still need as much sleep as when we were younger.

When we switch into (rapid eye movement) REM sleep, our breathing becomes more rapid, irregular, and shallow, our eyes jerk rapidly in various directions, and our limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed during sleep. Our heart rate increases, our blood pressure rises, and males develop penile erections. When individuals awaken in the course of REM sleep, they often describe bizarre and illogical tales – dreams.

How much sleep do we need

The amount of sleep each person needs depends on a range of factors, including age. Infants for example generally require about 16 hours a day, while teenagers need about 9 hours on average. For most adults, seven to eight hours a sleep session appears to be the most effective quantity of sleep, though some individuals may need as few as five (5) hours or as many as the (10) hours of sleep each day. Women within the initial three months of gestation (pregnancy) usually require more sleep than usual. The amount of sleep a person needs also increases if the individual has been deprived of sleep in previous days. Getting too little sleep creates a sleep debt, which is much like over drawing our bank accounts. Eventually, our bodies can demand that the debt be repaid.  We may accidentally oversleep or nod off unexpectedly.  We don’t appear to adapt to obtaining less sleep than we have a tendency to need; where as we may have a tendency to get accustomed to a sleep-depriving schedule, our judgment, response time and additional functions continue to be impaired. More on sleep deprivation to follow.

On the other hand, getting too much sleep may not be good for you, according to research. A recent study confirms that individuals sleeping on the far side of eight hours could have a greater cardiovascular related death rate.  It further revealed that people who slept more than eight hours and less than four hours each night carry the same risk of dying of coronary heart disease (CHD).  Sleep is good, but like I always say: too much of a good thing, is a bad thing!

Sleep deprivation and health

Sleep deprivation is simply the condition of suffering from a lack of sleep.  Sleep deprivation can be caused by situations that aren’t due to underlying disease. Examples include stress, school or job requirements, poor social habits, or poor sleeping habits.

We all understand the advantages of sleeping well, and we’ve all experienced the feeling of being refreshed after a good night’s sleep.  We also know the feeling of fatigue after a poor night’s sleep. But even though we know this, in our busy culture, many of us are not getting the quality sleep we need to truly receive the health benefits of sleep.

Sleep deprivation is a serious menace in our society.  It causes problems not only for the victims of sleep deprivation but others around them.

Many studies present it clear that Sleep Deprivation is dangerous. People who were sleep-deprived was tested by employing a simulating driving machine or by using a hand-eye coordination tests performed as badly as or worse than those that were intoxicated. Sleep deprivation also magnifies alcohol’s effects on the body, therefore a fatigued person who drinks will become much more impaired than someone who is well-rested.

How does sleep deprivation affect others in addition to the victim?  Driver fatigue is to blame for a probable one-hundred thousand motor vehicle accidents and fifteen hundred deaths each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since sleepiness is the brain’s final step before falling asleep, driving while sleepy will– and frequently will– cause ruinous circumstances. Caffeine and different stimulants cannot overcome the results of severe sleep deprivation. The National Sleep Foundation says that if an individual is having trouble keeping their eyes targeted, if they can’t stop yawning, or if they can’t remember driving the last few miles, they are in all probability too drowsy to drive safely.

Other ways include irritability which makes others uncomfortable.  Lack of productivity – a sleep deprived person cannot function as well as one who isn’t.  Reflexes are slower and concentration suffers which lead to inefficiency and difficulty learning new concepts.

Focusing back on the individual, ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

Obesity: poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain.  People with regular shortened periods of sleep tend to weigh considerably extra than those that get adequate sleep.  In fact, shortened sleep durations is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity.  The effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be measured by numerous factors, including hormones and the  motivation to exercise.

For one who’s trying to lose weight, getting quality sleep is absolutely crucial.

Mental health problems, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders. It has been predicted that ninety percent of individuals with depression complain regarding  sleep quality.

Poor sleep is even associated with an increased risk of death by suicide (for
more info).

Those with sleeping disorders like insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea additionally report considerably higher rates of depression than those devoid of sleeping issues.  For more information on Sleep Apnea, see my article

Sleep will have a significant result on inflammation in your body.  In fact, sleep loss is thought to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell harm.  For more information on cell damage click this link:

Poor sleep has been strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract, in disorders known as inflammatory bowel diseases (for
more info).

One study discovered that sleep-deprived individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease) were doubly as probably to relapse as patients that slept well.  Researchers ar even recommending sleep analysis to help project outcomes in people with long-term inflammatory issues.

Effects of Sleep Diprivation

Causes of sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation can occur for a host of reasons:

  • Aging: people 65  and older may have trouble sleeping because of medication they’re taking, or medical problems they’re experiencing and general aging.
  • Sleep disorder: these include sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome.
  • Illness. …
  • Stress and other factors.

How to treat sleep deprivation

If an underlying medical condition isn’t the cause, there are natural remedies for sleep deprivation.  One might try these:

  • o Exercise at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week.  But not within three (3) hours of bedtime.
  • o Get plenty of natural light exposure during the day.
  • o Avoid Caffeine late in the day.
  • o Avoid heavy consumption of alcohol.
  • o Stick to a regular sleep schedule (same bedtime and wake-up time), even on the weekends.
  • o Take a warm bath or shower before bed.
  • o Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine.
  • o Take a nap (if possible).  While naps don’t essentially structure for inadequate or poor quality nighttime sleep, studies show that a brief nap of 20-30 minutes will facilitate to enhance mood, alertness and performance.
  • o Note: keep in mind that getting enough sleep on regular basis is the best way to stay alert and feel your best. But once fatigue sets in, a fast nap will do wonders for your mental and physical stamina.

If there is no change after trying these suggestions, see your clinician.

Please feel free to leave a comment, concern or question below.

Good Health!


What Can You Do About Snoring

Snoring is a serious problem in our society. It is disruptive to sleepers and their partners. It can cause problems in a relationship and depending on the cause, reap havoc on a victim even during the day. For example: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes as well as 1,550 fatalities per year. So, it’s no wonder why a popular question today is: what can you do about snoring?

Facts about snoring

Let’s look at some statistics:

  • Up to 30% people aged thirty and above have issues with snoring; even as high as 40% in the middle-aged category.
  • Two thirds of adults in partnered relationships say that their partner is a snorer. When partners were asked individually if they snored, the response was yes 6 out of 10 times or 60%.
  •  Here’s a shocker: 5.6% of children are habitual snorers!
  •  The approximate ratio is 2:1 for suffers of snoring amongst men to women. But the gap closes when women reach menopause.

For adults that have reached their sixties the numbers rise significantly to sixty percent of men and forty percent of women. Reasons for the differences between men and women are quite simple.

More men tend to be overweight or at least have larger necks. A neck size of at least 17 inches almost guarantees a snorer. Most men, (85%) who snored do not consider it a problem and instead complain that their wives are light sleepers.

On the other hand, women snorers are usually shorter and heavier that their feminine non-snoring counterparts. When women snore it is more commonly through their noses than their mouths whereas for men it is tends to be both.

Women are more apt to try to find snoring treatment than men. The reasons women snore less on average are that they tend to have smaller necks, larger air passages and a smaller uvula (an extension at the back of the soft palate which hangs above the throat). All of which make it less likely for her to snore.

So, before we go further, what is snoring? 

What is snoring

Snoring is a hoarse and harsh sound from nose or mouth that occurs when breathing is partially obstructed while sleeping. It is the result of a partially blocked airway. See the diagram below:

Snoring Diagram

Notice the difference in the two airwaves

What causes snoring

Snoring can be a symptom of a disease such as obesity and sleep apnea. For more information on sleep apnea, logon to my article: But, snoring can also have causes that aren’t due to an underlying disease. Examples include nasal congestion, deviated septum, or alcohol consumption (more on that below). In chronic cases of snoring, it’s important to seek a doctor’s care in order to get the medical treatment you need to address the underlying condition.

How can you stop snoring

Cases of snoring caused by benign factors such as sleeping position — can often be treated with simple home remedies. The key is to increase air flow through your throat. Some suggestions are below:

If you are overweight, lose weight This will help reduce the amount of tissue in your throat that might be causing your snoring. You can lose weight by reducing your overall caloric intake by eating smaller portions, healthier foods and exercising. Make sure you exercise daily. You may additionally take into account seeing your doctor or a specialist (nutritionist) for assistance.

Sleep on your side Sleeping on your back can cause the tongue to move to the back of the throat, which partly blocks airflow through your throat. Simply sleeping on your side may be all you need to do to allow air to flow easily and reduce or stop your snoring.

Raise up the top of your bed Elevating the top of your bed by four inches could facilitate cutting back your snoring by keeping your airways open.

Use nasal strips or an external nasal dilatorAdhesive nasal strips will be placed on the bridge of the nose to assist increase the area within the nasal passage. This can build your respiration more effectively and scale back or eliminate your snoring.

You could additionally attempt using a nasal dilator, which is a stiffened adhesive strip that’s applied on top of the nose across the nostrils. This can decrease flow of air resistance, making it easier to breath.

Use an oral appliance You may want to try an easy to use, one size fits all mouthpiece designed to stop snoring. It opens up your airways to allow you to breathe better while you sleep, stopping you from snoring. For more information, click this link.

If you have chronic allergies treat themAllergies can reduce airflow through your nose, which forces you to breathe through your mouth. This increases the likelihood that you’ll snore. Consult with your doctor about what kind of over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications may improve your condition.

Correct structural issues in your nose Some individuals are born with or encounter an injury that offers them a condition known as a deviated septum. I mentioned this earlier which is the misalignment of the wall that separates both sides of the nose, which restricts airflow. It can cause you to breathe through your mouth during sleep, causing snoring. It may be necessary to seek surgery to correct this condition. Talk to your doctor, preferably an otolaryngologist.

Limit or avoid alcohol before bedMake an effort to not consume alcohol for a minimum of two (2) hours leading up to your retirement. The depressant, sedative effect of alcohol relaxes your jaw and throat muscles. As a result, these muscles collapse onto your airway, restricting airflow causing snoring.

Avoid taking sedatives before bed If you take sedatives and snore, talk to your doctor to discuss what your options are. Stopping sedative use before bed could ease your snoring.

Stop smoking And we have yet another reason to stop smoking. Smoking is an unhealthy habit that can increase your snoring problem. Talk to your doctor regarding therapies — like gum or patches that may assist you to quit.


Snoring will disrupt your sleep as well as your partner’s. Trying one or more of the above treatment options is a good place to start to help you get your sleep under control. But if that doesn’t work, besides being annoying, it may indicate a serious health condition. In that case, seeing your doctor is advisable.

Feel free to leave a question, concern or comment below.

Good Health!





All About the Endocrine System

The endocrine system (pronounced: EN-duh-krin) is one of the governors of the body. It governs the hormones’ that control almost every organ, cell and function in the body. There are twelve systems (governors) in the body. This article’s focus will be all about the endocrine system.

What is the Endocrine System

The main components of the endocrine system are glands. A gland is an organ that makes and Secrets hormones’ that does a specific job in the body.

Therefore, the endocrine system is a system made up of glands that produce hormones’. Hormones are like chemical messengers to the body that carry data and directions from one set of cells to a different one.

The glands that are involved are:

  • pituitary
  • hypothalamus
  • thyroid
  • parathyroid
  • adrenals
  • pineal body
  • the ovaries
  • the testes
  • The pancreas – belongs to both the endocrine system and the digestive system. Because it secretes hormones’ into the bloodstream, and producers and secretes enzymes into the digestive tract.

What is the function of the Endocrine System

The endocrine glands release hormones’ into the bloodstream. This allows the hormones’ to travel to cells in other parts of the body. As a result these hormones’ help control mood, growth and development, the way our organs work, metabolism (the chemical processes that occur within the body in order to maintain life), and reproduction.

Additionally, the endocrine system regulates how much of each hormone is released. This can depend upon levels of hormones’ already within the blood, or on levels of other substances in the blood, like calcium. Many things affect hormone levels, such as certain diseases, conditions, stress, and infection. They can also be subject to changes in the balance of fluid and minerals in the blood, and aging, the environment, and genetics

Too much or too little of any hormone can cause the body harm. However, medication can be administered to treat a great number of these problems.

The Importance of the endocrine system

The endocrine system is vital to our existence. We need it because without it, there would be mostly no trace of the vital biochemicals I mentioned, hormones’.

Endocrine glands are responsible for the secretion of hormones’ like adrenaline, insulin, thyroxine, and so on. There are 9 main endocrine glands in a human individual that I mentioned earlier. They are known as endocrine because they are a class of glands that pour their secretions directly into the bloodstream, without any ducts to regulate the flow. The pancreas is an exception to this, as it has both endocrine and exocrine parts.

Endocrine glands release chemical substances (hormones’) directly into the bloodstream or tissues of the body. Alternatively, Exocrine glands unleash chemical substances through ducts to the skin of the body or onto another surface inside the body. Some examples of exocrine glands are: salivary glands, sweat glands and pancreatic fluid. Portions of the pancreas secrete pancreatic fluid into the small intestine to digest food. This is what makes it is part of both the endocrine and digestive systems.

The endocrine system interacts with the neural (nervous) system in the body when it comes to communication, and also when it comes to regulation of a particular endocrine gland function in itself. For example, being in dangerous situations triggers our fight/flight response, which happens due to an adrenaline surge from the adrenal glands.

Therefore, endocrine glands are needed because they are crucial to processes like communication, growth and just about every major bodily function.

Glands of the endocrine system

There are nine glands which make up the endocrine system. Their descriptions follow.

Hypothalamus The hypothalamus is a small region located at the base of the brain, near the pituitary gland. While it’s terribly little in size, the hypothalamus plays a vital role in several important functions, including: discharging hormones’, maintaining daily physiological cycles, regulation of emotional responses, and regulation of body heat, managing of sexual behavior, and controlling appetite.

Pituitary Gland This ductless gland is relates to the scale of a pea. It is usually referred to as the master organ of the glands because it controls many different hormone glands within the body, together with the thyroid and adrenals, the ovaries and testicles.  It uses information it gets from the brain to tell other glands in your body what to do. It in addition makes many necessary hormones’, as well as the expansion hormone; luteotropin, that helps breastfeeding moms build milk; and also the interstitial cell-stimulating hormone, that manages the estrogen in women and androgenic hormone (aka testosterone) in men.

Pineal gland Makes a chemical called melatonin that helps your body get ready to go to sleep. It is a hormone which modulates wake/sleep patterns and seasonal changes. The gland is additionally called the third eye. And it’s called the third eye because it is a third eye you have within your brain. Darkness causes the Pineal gland to produce the Melatonin.

Thyroid glandThis gland makes a  hormone which controls your metabolism. It is a bow-tie shaped gland located in the neck. It actually makes two hormones’ that are secreted into the blood: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones’ are required for all the cells in your body to work properly.

ParathyroidThis is a collection of four (4) tiny glands behind your thyroid. They play a role in bone health. These glands control the levels of calcium and phosphorus.

Thymus The thymus starts to shrink after puberty which is why I didn’t mention it in the above list of glands. But for the record, this gland makes white blood cells called T-lymphocytes that fight infection and are crucial as a child’s immune system develops.

Adrenals – The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of each kidney. They generate hormones’ that you just cannot live without, including sex hormones’ and cortisol. Cortisol helps you react to stress and has several alternative necessary functions. They also affect your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to worry (stress) and other alternative functions.

Pancreas As mentioned earlier, this organ does double duty. The Pancreas is an element of both your digestive and endocrine systems. It makes digestive enzymes that break down food. As for the endocrine system, it also makes the hormones’ insulin and glucagon. These guarantee that you have the proper quantity of sugar in your blood and cells.

Ovaries In females, these organs create estrogen and progestin. These hormones facilitate the development of breasts at adolescence, regulate the menstruation cycle, and support a pregnancy.

Ovaries also perform double duty in that they produce eggs to be fertilized to commence a pregnancy; making them part of the reproductive system as well.

Testes Lastly, in men, the testes make testosterone. It helps them grow facial and hair at adolescence. It further plays a major part within the development of male generative tissues like testes and prostate, and promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as like augmented muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair.

Below is an illustration of the endocrine system.

The Endocrine System



Diseases of the endocrine system

Unfortunately, with bodily systems, life happens and the endocrine system is no exception.

Most of them follow below.

Hypopituitarism (hypothalamus and pituitary glands) – Is a condition in which the pituitary gland does not produce one or more of its hormones’ or not enough of them. This condition can occur because of disease in the pituitary or hypothalamus. When there’s low or no production of allthe pituitary hormones’, the condition is called panhypopituitarism.

Hypothyroidism (thyroid gland) is a condition in which the thyroid gland is not able to produce enough thyroid hormone. Since the foremost purpose of this endocrine secretion is to “run the body’s metabolism,” it is reasonable that individuals with this condition can have symptoms related to a slow metabolism.

The estimates vary, but approximately 10 million Americans are likely to have this common medical condition. Additionally, as many as 10% of women may have some degree of thyroid hormone deficiency.

Hypothyroidism is more common than many would believe, and millions of people are currently hypothyroid and don’t even know it. For an summary of how this hormone is made and the way its production is regulated, check out this thyroid hormone production page.

Hyperthyroidism (thyroid gland) – this is the opposite of Hypothyroidism. With this condition, the thyroid is overactive and occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. It therefore can accelerate your body’s metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Parathyroidism (parathyroid glands) – the single major disease of parathyroid glands is over activity of one or more of the parathyroids; that’s known as hyperparathyroidism. Under this condition, one or more of the parathyroid glands behaves inappropriately by making excess hormone (PTH) regardless of the level of calcium. In different words, the parathyroid gland still create  giant amounts of parathyroid hormone, even once the calcium level is regular and it shouldn’t be making any at all.

Over-production of this hormone can rob one of their health, causing them to feel run down and tired, causing osteoporosis, and many other serious problems. Fortunately, hyperparathyroidism can be fixed with new minimally invasive surgery techniques in less than 20 minutes in most cases.

In roughly 3 percent or 4 percent of all patients with primary hyperparathyroidism can have an enlargement of all four of these endocrine glands, a term called parathyroid hyperplasia. In this case, all the parathyroid glands become enlarged and produce too much of the parathyroid hormone. This is a much less common condition, but the end results on the tissues of the body are equal.

An even more unusual situation occurs in less than 1% of the people who have 2 parathyroid adenomas while having 2 normal glands. However, this is very infrequent and can make the diagnosis and treatment of this disease a bit complex.

Another disorder of the parathyroid glands occurs when there is not enough parathyroid hormone, leading to under activity. This condition is known as Hypoparathyroidism. This leads to decreased blood levels of calcium and increased levels of blood phosphorus.

This condition is also remedied with surgery which consists of removing the malfunctioning parathyroid gland.

Adrenal gland disorders With adrenal gland disorders, your glands make too much or not enough hormones’. In this condition, Cushing’s syndrome, there’s too much cortisol, while with Addison’s disease, there is too little. Some people are born without the ability to make enough cortisol.

With Cushing’s syndrome, sometimes taking synthetic hormone medicine to treat an inflammatory disease can lead to Cushing’s. Also, some kinds of tumors produce a hormone that can cause your body to make too much cortisol. This
can result in accelerated weight gain, skin that bruises easily, muscle weakness, diabetes, and many other health problems.

With Addison’s disease, it’s usually caused by a problem with the immune system. The immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues, damaging the adrenal glands. Other causes include infections and cancer. This can lead to weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and sometimes darkening of the skin. If untreated, it can be fatal.

Diabetes (Pancreas) A constellation of diseases that allows too much sugar in the blood (aka high blood glucose). Diabetes is the most common disease of the endocrine system.

There are three (3) major diabetes types: Type 1-  juvenile diabetes, type 2- adult onset diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

In type 1, occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. Insulin the hormone that is accountable for permitting glucose in the blood to enter cells, providing them with the energy to function. A lack of this effective hormone plays a key role within the development of diabetes. Insulin is essential for life. Therefore, people with type I diabetes are insulin-dependent, which means they must take artificial insulin daily to stay alive.

In Type 2, the consequence is the way the body uses insulin. Although the body still makes insulin, unlike in type I, the cells in the body do not respond to it as effectively as they once did. This is the foremost common variety of diabetes, Consistent with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and it has strong links with obesity.

In Gestational diabetes, the occurrence is in women during pregnancy when the body can become less responsive to insulin. Gestational diabetes does not occur in all women and usually terminates after giving birth.

Less familiar types of diabetes include monogenic diabetes and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.

Premature ovarian failure (Ovaries) – Also known as (POF) is when a woman’s ovaries stop working (producing eggs) before she is 40.

POF is different from premature menopause. With premature menopause, menstrual periods stop before age 40. You can no longer get pregnant. The cause could be natural or it could be a disease, surgery, cancer therapy, or radiation. With POF, some women still have occasional periods. They may even get pregnant. In most cases of POF, the cause is unknown.

Missed periods are usually the first sign of POF. Later symptoms may be similar to those of natural menopause.

Ovarian cysts (Ovaries) are fluid-filled sacs in or on an ovary. They generally form during ovulation, when the ovary releases an egg. They are typically harmless and disappear by themselves. Most women have them sometime during their lives.

Most cysts of this type are minute and don’t cause symptoms. Women may not find out that they have them until they have a pelvic examination.

Rarely do ovarian cysts become cancerous. This risk increases with age.

A health problem that involves these cysts is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Women with PCOS will have high levels of male hormones’, irregular or no periods, and small ovarian cysts.

Ovarian torsion (Ovaries) – is the twisting of an ovary. The ovary and often the fallopian tube as well become twisted around tissues that contain veins and arteries. It is uncommon but it can cause severe-acute abdominal pain in females, and it is a gynecologic emergency – delay in diagnosing this condition can result in loss of the ovary.

Ovarian Cancer (ovaries) – Cancer of the ovary is not common, but it causes more deaths than other female reproductive cancers. The sooner this cancer is found and treated, the better the chance for recovery. But ovarian cancer is hard to detect early. Women with this particular cancer may not have any symptoms or just minor symptoms until it is in a progressive stage. Then it is difficult to treat.

Testicular Torsion
(Testes) –
Torsion is another word for twisting and for a testicle, that’s not good. When testicular torsion occurs, the twisting kinks as what happens to a garden hose, and blocks the blood vessels to one testicle. Certain men developed a problem during their gestation

that made them susceptible to this male reproductive gland torsion. Although testicular torsion is rare, as with an ovarian torsion, it is an emergency. Sudden pain in a testicle demands an urgent trip to the nearest hospital emergency room. If treatment is delayed, the testicle can die. This condition is most common during puberty – between ages 10 and 15 — so it’s important to let young teens know that any pain should be reported, even in spite of the possible embarrassment.

Epididymitis (Testis) – The epididymis is a long, coiled tube that sits alongside the testicle. Its job is to store male reproductive cells (sperm) where they mature. Epididymitis happens once the channel becomes inflamed or infected. Sometimes, this is a sexually transmitted infection. More often, epididymitis comes from injury, a buildup of pressure such as after a vasectomy, or from urine draining back into the tubules during heavy lifting or straining. Epididymitis can cause symptoms ranging from a mild irritation to severe testicle pain, swelling, and fever.

Varicocele (Testis) – is a dilation of the veins above the testicle. It’s basically a varicose vein and is usually harmless. Occasionally, however, varicoceles can impair fertility or cause mild to moderate pain. If there’s a bulge above the testicle, especially when standing or “bearing down,” then an examination by a doctor is advisable, preferably an urologist.

Hydrocele (Testis) – This is a fluid collection surrounding the testicle and is usually benign. But if it is large enough, it can cause pain or pressure. Though men can develop a hydrocele after an injury, the majority of men with hydroceles have no obvious trauma or known cause.

Testicular cancer (Testis) like any cancer, testicular cancer happens when cells in the testicle develop mutations that cause them to go haywire. These cells may multiply recklessly and invade areas where they don’t belong. In this carcinoma, this method typically creates a slow-growing painless lump or firmness in one of the testicles. In most cases, the man himself discovers it at an early stage. If an individual gets medical attention soon enough, testicular cancer is almost always curable.

How to prevent endocrine diseases

Some endocrine issues, like type 1 diabetes, can’t be prevented. But there are things we can do to prevent other problems or make them better:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Eat healthy foods and get plenty of exercise. This can help avert or delay type 2 diabetes.
  • Include iodine in your diet. It can help prevent thyroid problems. When you use salt, select element (iodized) salt over other forms of salt.
  • Use dietary supplements to insure you’re getting the proper nutrients.
  • Make sure all your doctors know about any hormones’ you’re taking. These may involve contraception drugs, thyroid hormone, insulin, or endocrine medical aid for menopause.

Isn’t it amazing how all the components of the endocrine system work together to help the body function? But none of this can work without the central nervous system. I explain the importance of the central nervous system in my article www.whatisthecentralnervoussystem

Just imagine this is only one of the systems in the body. I will be covering the others in future articles.

In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment or question below.

Good Health!!






What Are the Health Benefits of Probiotics

What Are  Probiotics

One of the lessons I’ve learned in life is, there is good and bad to everything. The purpose of this post is to address the question: what are the health benefits of probiotics.

For starters, what do you think when you hear the word, bacteria? Good or bad? Most of the time, as soon as we hear the word bacteria, we think – bad. After all, they’re the cause of diseases such as pneumonia, strep throat, urinary tract infections and the dreadful methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (aka MRSA) and a host of others including the dreadful flesh eating vibrio vulnificus.

But, believe it or not, there are good bacteria! The bacteria in our bodies outnumber our body’s cells 10 to one. Most of these bacteria reside in our gut, and the majority is quite harmless.

The human gut is very complex and has a huge impact on overall body health. A healthy gut contributes to a powerful defense system, brain health, heart health, healthy sleep, improved mood, and effective digestion, and it may help prevent some cancers and autoimmune diseases

The gut is basically the gastrointestinal tract. It is the passage way food travels as it supplies the nutrients for our bodies. It consists of the long tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the back passage known as the anus.

The gut processes food from the time it is first eaten until it is either absorbed by the body or passed out as stools (feces).

Most of these good bacteria reside in the intestines where most of the digestion and absorption of nutrients take place. While some foods and liquids are absorbed through the liner of the abdomen, the majority are absorbed in the small intestine.

So we have good or friendly bacteria and bad or unfriendly bacteria, just as there’s good and bad cholesterol.

The goal is to achieve a balance between the two for optimal health. Studies have shown that the balance or imbalance of bacteria in our digestive system is linked to overall health and disease. Having the right gut bacteria balance is even linked to numerous additional health benefits, including weight loss, healthier skin and a reduced risk of many diseases.

Probiotics are friendly bacteria and aid in keeping this essential balance.

What are the health benefits of probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms that are of a certain type of friendly bacteria, which provide health benefits when introduced into the digestion equation. Probiotics are live microorganisms which are consumed through hard (fermented) foods or supplements. They seem to be safe for most people.

They are often taken as supplements that are supposed to colonize our gut with these health-boosting microorganisms. One thing to note is that there are different cultures or strains of probiotics. Each one yields different effects to the body. For example, one strain can lead to weight loss, while another can lead to weight gain. More detail on this to follow.

These benefits are the result of the ability of probiotics to restore the natural balance of gut bacteria. An imbalance means that there are too many unhealthy microorganisms and not enough healthy-good bacteria. This can be the result of illness, medications such as antibiotics, poor diet and other factors. Consequences can include digestive issues, allergies, mental health problems, obesity and more.

Probiotics can help prevent and treat Diarrhea – Diarrhea is a common side effect of taking antibiotics. It occurs because antibiotics can negatively have an effect on the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.

Probiotics may also facilitate with different varieties of diarrhea not associated with antibiotics. Depending on the type and dose of the probiotic taken, effectiveness varies.

Probiotics can improve some mental health conditions – An increasing number of studies link gut health to mood and mental health. Both animal and human studies indicate that probiotic supplements will improve some mental state disorders.

Probiotics can help keep our hearts healthy – Probiotics may help keep our hearts healthy by lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and blood pressure.

Certain dairy lactic acid-producing bacterium scale back cholesterol by breaking down bile within the gut. Bile, a natural produced fluid largely a product of cholesterol, helps digestion. By the breaking down of bile, probiotics can prevent it from being reabsorbed in the gut, where it can enter the blood as cholesterol. Five studies have found that eating a probiotic yogurt for 2–8 weeks reduced total cholesterol by 4% and LDL cholesterol by 5%.

Lowering cholesterol keeps arteries clear which keeps our blood flowing properly and our hearts happy and healthy.

Probiotics may also lower blood pressure – Studies have found that probiotic supplements reduce blood pressure, but only modestly.

A proper blood pressure also keeps our hearts happy and healthy.

Probiotics may reduce certain allergies – Probiotics may reduce the risk and severity of certain allergies, such as eczema in infants. However, more research is needed.

Probiotics may help reduce symptoms of some digestive conditions – Over one million people in the US suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (28Trusted Source). Probiotics could facilitate  the scale back  of the symptoms of gut disorders like colitis, IBS and necrotizing enterocolitis.

Probiotics may help boost the immune system – Probiotics may help give our immune system a boost and inhibit the growth of the harmful gut bacteria I mentioned earlier.

Also, some probiotics are shown to support the assembly of natural antibodies in the body. They may also boost immune cells.

A large review found that taking probiotics reduced the chance and extent of metastasis (respiratory) infections. Some has also been shown to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women by 50% (39Trusted Source).

Probiotics may help to lose weight – Probiotics may help with weight loss through a number of different mechanisms. I touched upon this earlier.

For example, some probiotics stop the absorption of dietary fat within the gut. The fat is then excreted through fecal matter instead of being stored in the body.

Probiotics can also assist you in feeling fuller for longer, burn additional calories and store less fat. This is partly caused by increasing the levels of certain hormones.

They may also help with weight loss directly. In one study, dieting women who took a certain probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus for 3 months lost 50% more weight than women who didn’t take a probiotic. Another study of 210 people found that taking even low doses of Lactobacillus gasseri for 12 weeks resulted in an 8.5% reduction of belly fat (46Trusted Source).

However, it is vital to remember that not all probiotics aid in weight loss. For example, surprisingly, some studies found certain probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, can even lead to weight gain.

Also, important to note that more studies are needed to clarify the link between probiotics and weight.

Where to buy probiotics

You can get probiotics from a range of foods or supplements.

If you want to buy a probiotic supplement, then there is an excellent selection online at the Vitamin Shoppe. You can take probiotics as tablets, capsules and powders that contain the bacteria in dried form.

Live probiotic cultures are typically  found in a soured dairy farm product like yogurts and milk drinks. Fermented foods like preserved (pickled) vegetables, tempeh, miso, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and soy products may also contain some lactic acid bacteria.

However, be aware that some probiotics can be destroyed by stomach acid before they even reach the intestines where they are effective — meaning that you get none of the intended benefits.

If you want to experience any of the health benefits, it’s important that you consume adequate amounts.

Most of the studies showing advamtages used dosages of one billion to a hundred billion live organisms or colony-forming units (CFU) per day.

Please feel free to leave any comment, question or concern below.

Good health!

What is the Central Nervous System

If someone were to ask you, what is the most important organ in the body, what would your answer be? Would it be the heart…the brain…the lungs…the kidneys…the liver…the eyes? What about the intestines (large or small)…the stomach or the spleen?  Have you ever asked, what is the central nervous system?

Additionally, if someone were to ask you, what is the most important system in the body, what would your answer be? Would it be the digestive system…the endocrine system…the respiratory system…the urinary system? What about the circulatory system?

Well, if someone were to ask me what is the most important organ in the body, my answer would be the brain. Why? Well, because the brain controls every organ and every system in the body. Without the brain, nothing happens—Zero action! There is no organ in the body that is independent of the brain. Therefore, it’s safe to say, the brain is the most complex organ in the human body.

If someone were to ask me, out of the systems listed above, which is the most important one in the body, my answer would be…none of the above. Why? Well, because the ones listed above are the most commonly recognized ones…the ones we hear about the most…the ones we are told to protect the most.

Question: if the brain controls all the systems and organs in the body from the top of the body, the head, how does it control all the rest of the body? Well, it’s done with the system that’s not listed. The unpopular one!

So which one isn’t listed? The Central Nervous system. Without the brain, as I mentioned, there’s zero action. But without the central nervous system, the brain cannot carry out its function. So without the central nervous system there’s zero action.

What is the central nervous system

The central nervous system (CNS) comprises the brain (the popular aspect) and the spinal cord (not so popular).

Central Nervous System

It is the complicated network of nerve tissues that controls the activities of the body. The brain is the center of our thoughts, the analyst of our external environment, and the source of control over body movement.

Again, The brain is the most complex organ in the human body; the cerebral cortex (the outermost part of the brain and the largest part by volume) contains an estimated 15–33 billion neurons, each of which is connected to thousands of other neurons. Neurons ar cells inside the nervous system network that transmit data to alternative nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells.

In total, around one hundred billion neurons and one thousand billion glial (support) cells make up the human brain. That’s a lot of horse power! Our brain uses around twenty (20%) percent of our body’s total energy.

The brain is the central management module of the body and coordinates all activity from physical motion to the secretion of hormones, the creation of memories, and the sensation of emotion.

To carry out these tasks, some areas of the brain have specific roles. However, several higher functions — reasoning, problem-solving, creativity — involve different areas working together in networks.

However, the brain cannot carry out its function without the spinal cord.

What does the central nervous system do

The spinal cord runs almost the full length of the back and carries information between the brain and the body, but also carries out other tasks as well.

From the brain stem, where the spinal cord meets the brain, there are 31 spinal nerves that enter the cord. Further down, it connects with the nerves of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) that run in from the skin, muscles, and joints.

Motor instructions from the brain journey from the spine to the muscles and sensory data journey from the sensory tissues — like the skin — toward the spinal cord and finally up to the brain.

The spinal cord additionally contains circuits that manage particular reflexive responses, such as the involuntary movement your arm might make if your finger were to touch a flame. The circuits inside the spine also can generate additional complicated movements like walking. Even without input from the brain, the spinal nerves can coordinate all the muscles necessary to walk.

Most systems and organs of the body manage only one task, but the central nervous system does many jobs at the same time. It controls all voluntary movement, such as speech and walking, and involuntary movements, such as blinking and breathing as well as our heartbeats. It is additionally the core of our thoughts, perceptions, and emotions.

What is the function of the spinal cord

The spinal cord is the main road for communication between the body and also the brain. It is the Super High way of the body. When the spinal cord is wounded, the exchange of data between the brain and alternative parts of the body is disrupted.

What protects the spinal cord

The vital parts of the central nervous system are crucial for the operation of the body. Therefore, it is important for them to be protected from irreparable damage as much as possible. Now the brain is protected by the skull (another popular component), but what protects the spinal cord?

The spinal cord is protected by the spine. The spine consists of bones, discs, ligaments, and muscles. It is made of 33 bones called vertebrae. The spinal cord passes through an opening in the center (called the spinal canal) of each vertebra. Sandwiched between the vertebrae are discs that act as protective cushions, or shock absorbers for the spine. Ligaments and muscles help keep the vertebrae in the right position.

The Central Nervous System with disk detail

As you can see from the diagram, nature has provided ample protection for this essential part of our anatomy-the spinal cord.

But…life happens. Accidents as well as general wear and tear occur to this valuable protection which can leave the spinal cord vulnerable to damage. Trauma resulting from auto accidents and falls are the major cause of spine and spinal cord damage. Damage to the spinal cord causes serious consequences such as: paralysis, loss of sensation, severe pain, and loss of function.

Additionally, there are many potential complications related to spinal cord injury that may require specific treatment. These complications include: urinary tract infections or urinary incontinence (inability to control the flow of urine), bowel incontinence (inability to control bowel movements), depression, blood clots, pressure sores, infections in the lungs (pneumonia), muscle spasms, and chronic pain.

So how do we protect the protector? How do we protect our spines? How do we contribute to the efficient functionality of our spines? A little preventive effort could go a long way to reducing your chances of suffering from wear and tear on our spines resulting in debilitating back pain. After all, muscles, ligaments, and nerves from the spine provide support to our entire body. Just as we take preventative measures for our hearts, livers, kidneys, etc., we must do the same for our central nervous systems that these organs rely on.

Here are some things we can start:

  • Exercise good posture by standing, walking, sitting, lifting and lying in positions where minimum strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments.
  • Avoid sitting for long periods.
  • Proper nutrition always plays an important role in the efficiency of the body. In my post I explain the importance of nutrition from supplements as well as diet.
  •  Retain a weight that is appropriate for your height and frame.
  •  Participate in strength, stretch and aerobic curriculums.
  •  Wear proper footwear
  •  If you’re a smoker, stop smoking.

Last but not least, get evaluated by a professional. Things have a way of sneaking up on us and as I like to say, prevention is better than cure! It is so important to be proactive with our health instead of reactive. When it comes to our backs especially, we tend to do nothing until we’re in pain. I am guilty!

But to have your spine evaluated and maintained by a competent chiropractor can stave off problems down the road. Therefore, a good place to start would be to consider preventive chiropractic care.

If you’re already in pain, seriously consider chiropractic for finding a solution. Chances are you have a Vertebral Subluxation. This is when one or more of the vertebrae in your spine move out of alignment and create pressure on the nerves. Why does this matter? The pressure on the spinal nerves causes them to malfunction and send confused signals throughout your body. These interruptions essentially mean that a part of your body isn’t engaging at 100 percent. As a result, your body’s innate ability to heal itself is compromised.

Again, Life happens! Subluxations occur by on or more of the “Three T’s: Trauma, Toxins, and Thoughts. Get help – it will only get worse if neglected.

Besides the obvious pain reduction in the back and or neck, chiropractic care also helps to eliminate pain in other areas of the body as well. When the spine is correctly aligned, it reduces pain from top to bottom. This means that from the lower back up to the neck experiences a decline in the total pain felt.

A properly aligned spine allows the body to operate more efficiently, allowing it to heal itself in many instances.

I have started chiropractic recently and I have one regret…I didn’t start sooner!!

It behooves us to have a strong focus on our spine care as it plays a most vital role in the function of our entire body. Remember – Good health is our best asset!


Good Health!


Please feel free to leave any comment, question, or concern below





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