Facts About the Kidneys

I recently wrote an article on the urinary system.  In that article I mentioned the kidneys as one of the organs involved in that system.  This article focuses exclusively on the kidneys and entails specific information and facts about the kidneys.

What are the kidneys

The kidneys are organs of the renal system.  They are two (2) bean-shaped organs that play a major role in this system.  They are located on either side of your spine, below the ribs and behind the abdomen.  Each kidney is about four to five inches long, which is roughly the dimensions of a hefty fist.

What Do the Kidneys Do

The kidneys assist the body pass waste as urine.  They also help filter blood before returning it back to the heart.  The kidneys perform many critical Facts about the kidneys - what do the kidneys dofunctions, including: regulating and filtering minerals from blood, maintaining overall fluid balance, generate hormones that help produce red blood cells, filtering waste materials from food, medications, and toxic substances, promote bone health, and regulate blood pressure.  All of the blood of the body passes through them a number of times a day.

How Do the Kidneys Function

Blood flows into the kidney, waste gets removed, and salt, water, and minerals are adjusted, if needed. This filtered blood returns back into the body.  The waste gets turned into urine that collects in the kidney’s pelvis which is a funnel-shaped structure that drains down a tube called the ureter a tube of muscle that pushes urine into the bladder.

Each kidney has around a million (1,000,000) tiny filters called nephrons. Nephrons are the most important part of the kidneys. They absorb blood, metabolize nutrients, and help pass out waste products from filtered blood.  Each kidney has about 1 million nephrons and each has its own internal set of structures.

After blood enters a nephron, it goes into the Malpighian body, also called a renal corpuscle. The renal corpuscle contains two additional structures:

  • The glomerulus. This is a collection of capillaries that take in protein from blood traveling through the renal corpuscle.
  • The Bowman capsule.  The residual fluid, called capsular urine, proceeds through the Bowman capsule into the renal tubules.

The renal tubules are a sequence of tubes that begin after the Bowman capsule and end at collecting ducts.

Each tubule has several parts:

  • Proximal convoluted tubule. This section takes up water, sodium, and glucose and places them back into the blood.
  • Loop of Henle. This section further takes up potassium, chloride, and sodium and places them into the blood.
  • Distal convoluted tubule. This section takes in more sodium into the blood and takes in potassium and acid.

By the time fluid reaches the tip of the tubule, it’s diluted and crammed with urea. Urea is byproduct of protein metabolism that is released in urine.

Disorders of the Kidneys

As you can see, the kidneys perform a major in the overall function of the body.  The body simply becomes overloaded with toxins if the kidneys can’t do their regular job. Because of all of the crucial functions the kidneys execute and the toxins they meet, the kidneys are subject to various problems.

Some of these conditions are:

Chronic renal disorder  – is the progressive and irreversible destruction of the kidneys.

The most common causes of chronic renal disorder are high blood pressure and diabetes.

As mentioned earlier each kidney contains about 1 million tiny filtering units, called nephrons. Any disease that injures or scars the nephrons is capable of causing kidney disease. Both diabetes and high blood pressure (hypertension) can damage the nephrons.

High blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels of the kidneys, heart, and brain. The kidneys are highly  vascularized, meaning they contain a lot of blood vessels. So, blood vessel diseases in general are dangerous to the kidneys.

Autoimmune diseases such as lupus can damage blood vessels and can make antibodies against kidney tissue.

There are various other causes of CKD.  For example, renal disorder may be an explanation of CKD. Glomerulonephritis can be due to lupus. It can also appear after a streptococcal infection.

The risk of CKD increases for individuals older than age 65.  The condition is also hereditary.  It is more likely to occur in African-Americans, Native Americans, and Asian-Americans. Other risk factors for CKD include:

  • obesity
  • cigarette smoking
  • high cholesterol
  • kidney stones
  • diabetes (types 1 and 2)
  • atherosclerosis
  • cirrhosis and liver failure
  • narrowing of the artery that supplies your kidney
  • obstructive kidney disease, including bladder obstruction caused by benign prostatic autoimmune disease
  • hyperplasia
  • kidney cancer
  • bladder cancer
  • kidney infection
  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • scleroderma
  • vasculitis
  • vesicoureteral reflux, which occurs when urine flows back into the kidney

Kidney stones –  Also known as renal calculi, are solid masses made of crystals. They usually originate in the kidneys. However, they can develop anywhere along the urinary tract, which consists of:

  • kidneysFacts About the Kidneys - Kidney Stones
  • ureters
  • bladder
  • urethra

Kidney stones are one of the most painful of medical conditions. The causes of kidney stones differ according to the type of stone.  Not all kidney stones are made up of the identical crystals. The different types of kidney stones include:

Calcium – These are the most common. They are often made from calcium oxalate (though they will contain calcium phosphate or maleate). Eating fewer oxalate-rich foods can reduce the risk of developing this type of stone. High-oxalate foods include:

  • spinach
  • peanuts
  • chocolate
  • beets
  • potato chips

However it is important to note that, even though some kidney stones are made of calcium, getting enough calcium in your diet can prevent stones from forming.

Uric acid – This type of kidney stone is more widespread in men than in women. They can arise in people with gout or those going through chemotherapy.

This form of stone develops when urine is just too acidic. A diet heavy in purines can raise urine’s acidic level.  Purine a colorless substance found in animal proteins, like fish, shellfish, and meats is the culprit.

Struvite – This particular type of stone is found mostly in women with urinary tract infections (UTIs). These stones are often large and cause urinary obstruction. They are a consequence from a kidney infection.  The treating of an underlying infection can prevent the progression of struvite stones.

Cystine – Cystine stones are rare. They occur in both males and females who have the genetic disease cystinuria. With this type of stone, cystine — an amino acid that materializes naturally in the body, leaks from the kidneys into the urine instead of remaining in the bloodstream.

The greatest risk factor for kidney stones is making under 1 liter of urine per day.  Kidney stones are most presumably to occur in people between the ages of 20 and 50.

Different factors can increase the risk of developing a stone. In the US, Caucasian people are more likely to be inflicted with kidney stones than African American people.

Sex additionally plays a role. More men than women develop kidney stones, consistent with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

A history of kidney stones can increase the risk. So does a family history of kidney stones.

Other risk factors include:

  • dehydration
  • hyperparathyroid condition
  • obesity
  • gastric bypass surgery
  • a steady diet with excessive levels of protein, salt, or glucose
  • inflammatory bowel diseases that increase calcium absorption
  • consuming medications like triamterene diuretics, antiseizure drugs, and calcium-based antacids

Symptoms of kidney stones may not occur until the stone begins to maneuver down the ureters. Kidney stones are known to cause severe pain. This severe pain is called renal colic. There may be pain on one side of the back or abdomen.  In men, the pain may expand to the groin area. The pain of this condition comes and goes, but is intense.  Individuals with renal colic tend to be restless.

Other symptoms of kidney stones can include:

  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • discolored or foul-smelling urine
  • blood in the urine (red, pink, or brown urine)
  • fever
  • chills
  • urinating small amounts of urine
  • frequent need to urinate

Other kidney conditions include:

Symptoms of a Kidney Disorder

Kidney disorders can cause a range of symptoms. Some general ones include:

  • back pain
  • vomitingFacts About the Kidneys - Symptoms of Kidney Disease
  • trouble sleeping
  • fatigue
  • inability to concentrate
  • increased or decreased urination
  • dry, itchy skin
  • blood in urine
  • constant foamy urine
  • foot or ankle swelling
  • puffiness around the eyes
  • reduced appetite
  • muscle cramps

An individual that experiences any of the above symptoms  should contact their physician. Depending on the symptoms, he or she may do some kidney function tests to make a diagnosis.

Maintaining Healthy Kidneys

The kidneys are crucial organs and they affect many other body parts, including the heart. If we follow these tips it will help to keep them working efficiently:

Exercise – High blood pressure (Hypertension) is a known risk factor for chronic renal disorder. Regular exercise, even for just 20 minutes each day, can help reduce hypertension.

The Importance of Water to the Body
The healthiest beverage on the planet!!

Stay hydrated – Drinking adequate amounts of water helps the kidneys

perform one of their most important functions: removing toxins.  Learn more about what proportion of water you ought to be drinking a day.

Use medications with caution – Regularly taking certain over-the-counter medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can cause kidney damage over time. Occasionally taking them is all right, but work together with your doctor to seek out alternatives if you’ve got a condition that needs pain management, such as arthritis.

Other precautions:

  • Eat less red meat – Red meat contains a hefty amount of iron, which can be really good for overall health, however, eating too much of it can damage the kidneys over time. This may be due to the fact that red meat produces too much dietary acid.
  • Drink less soda – Soda contains copious amounts of sugar, artificial color, and sodium. It has very little nutritional value. Staying hydrated is crucial for kidney health, but it is better to get hydration from water rather than sugary sodas.

Drinking two or more sodas a day doubles the risk of kidney disease. Cola in addition contains phosphoric acid which has been confirmed to increase the risk of developing kidney disease. It is wise to limit soda intake to one can per week.

  • Eat less shellfish – Fish and shellfish are a good source of protein, but, a 2014 study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that shellfish contain a toxic chemical called domoic acid. A condition:“Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning” can occur when too much shellfish is consumed, and this toxin can do irreparable harm to the kidneys. It’s the kidneys’ job to flush out toxins from your body, excessive amounts of this domoic acid passing through the kidneys, can simply overtax the system.
  • Consume less salt – Eating too much salt can considerably increase the risk Consult with your physicianof developing kidney disease. Consuming excessive salt changes the level of sodium in the blood which can cause the kidneys to struggle to flush out excess water.  It is wise to reduce salt intake, by eating fewer processed foods, cook at home more instead of eating out, and use herbs to add flavor to food to avoid relying too heavily on salt.  Processed foods also contain high amounts of potassium and phosphorus.
  • Limit energy drinks – Energy drinks contain lots of caffeine.  Excess caffeine yields high blood pressure and stress, both of which lead to kidney damage.  Another worry circles around the amino acid taurine. Frequently found in energy drinks and sports supplements, taurine tackles the kidneys head-on and is potentially dangerous to those with chronic kidney disorders.
  • Beware of painkillers – Taking too many pain relievers can lead to a decrease in kidney function.  According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, excessive use of pain relievers like Tylenol results in an outcome of 5,000 cases of kidney failure in the U.S. annually. These painkillers are most damaging to the kidneys when taken on an empty stomach. These painkillers should be consumed in moderation, and on a full stomach.
  • Limit alcohol intake – Alcohol is a toxin that your body eventually needs to filter out. Drinking too much can put a real strain on the kidneys. The National Kidney Foundation defines over-drinking as “more than four drinks daily.” One drink equals a single glass, 12-ounce bottle, or shot.  Not need to stop completely.  Actually, a 2007 study found that people who drink in moderation actually reduce their risk of developing kidney disease by 30%.
  • Don’t stop the flow – Holding urine is dangerous.  It may sound strange but holding in urine is a primary cause of kidney problems.  Urine contains bacteria, and the longer it stays in the body, the more bacteria it produces.  It is very unhealthy for all of that bacterium to travel back up to the kidneys.
  • Beware of butter – A recent health trend promotes replacing margarine with butter. In terms of the kidneys, this is not a good option. Butter contains saturated fats which, in high amounts, can damage the kidneys. According to the National Kidney Foundation, these fats raise LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) that harms the kidneys.  It’s okay in small amounts.  If margarine is used instead, it’s best that it be one with no Trans fat or “hydrogenated” fats.  Trans fats are worse than saturated fats in raising LDL cholesterol.
  • Watch the muscle building – Athletes who use steroids may gain muscle, but they’ll damage their kidneys. During a 2009 study, researchers found that nine out of ten bodybuilders resulted in kidney scarring from bodybuilding medications. When they ceased using these steroids, their kidneys healed over time.  The American Society of Nephrology advises against steroids. They can elevate cholesterol levels, lower protein in the blood, and cause swelling–all of which harm the kidneys. While steroids can be used for some kidney treatments, it is not advisable to take bodybuilding medications recreationally.

There are more but bottom line: everything can have an effect on the kidneys because everything passes through them by way of the blood making them vulnerable to damage.  Moderation is the key.  Too much of anything can affect the kidneys.  While there is so much in what we consume that is good for us, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

Good balance is the key to life!

Any question comment or concern is welcomed below.

Good Health!!




What About Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky Gut Syndrome, also known as increased intestinal permeability is a About Leaky Gut Syndromecondition that is not typically diagnosed individually, but could affect the health of many people. In this article: what about leaky gut syndrome, light is shed on this condition.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome

Leaky gut syndrome is a digestive disorder that affects the lining of the small intestines. In this condition, gaps in the intestinal walls allow bacteria and other toxins to pass into the bloodstream.

What is the Cause of Leaky Gut Syndrome

The exact cause of leaky gut is somewhat of a mystery. However, it is well-known that increased intestinal permeability transpires alongside several chronic diseases, including celiac disease and type 1 diabetes.

The problem with this condition is it causes the pores in the small intestine What About Leaky Gut Syndrometo widen. When this occurs, the undigested food particles and toxins that are supposed to be blocked are allowed make their way into the bloodstream. Because these items are not normally allowed in the blood, they trigger the immune system to go into attack mode, which can often initiate allergies.

For example, if an individual has leaky gut syndrome and eats a piece of fruit. As it makes its way into the small intestine, bits of the undigested fruit that should remain in the small intestine will slip through the enlarged pores directly into the blood stream. Since these particles are not intended to be in the bloodstream, the immune system identifies them as dangerous invaders.

The problem is the immune system doesn’t just build up antibodies to the food particles; it attacks the healthy cells as well. This is one of the ways food allergies and autoimmune illnesses develop.

There are a few other varied ways leaky gut can develop. Case in point, if an individual is chronically constipated, overtime the toxins in their stool will irritate the lining of the intestines. This irritation leads to inflammation which will in turn cause the pores in the small intestine to expand. If the irritation and inflammation are allowed to continue for an extended period of time it can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or colitis.

With leaky gut syndrome, damaged cells in the intestines don’t produce the substances (enzymes) needed for proper digestion. As a result, the body cannot absorb essential nutrients, which can lead to hormone imbalances and a weakened immune system.

Zonulin is one of such substances produced in the intestines that regulate the tight junctions in the small intestines. It modulates the permeability of tight junctions between cells of the wall of the digestive tract.

Another common cause of leaky gut is an imbalance of the flora inside the gut. We all have good and bad bacteria in our digestive systems. When our gut flora is in balance the bad bacteria pose no threat. But when the bad bacteria outweigh the good quality, irritation and inflammation occur, again, causing the pores of the intestine to open up.

In scores of cases, leaky gut is caused by the diet. Certain foods that we consume every day, including gluten, soy and dairy, can be treated by the body as foreign invaders that had to be fought off. When these foods are consumed, the body goes to war, producing antibodies, which can trigger an immune response that includes diarrhea, headaches, fatigue and joint pain.

Leaky gut can additionally be commenced by medications including antibiotics, steroids or over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and acetaminophen, which can inflame the intestinal lining and damage protective mucus layers. This irritation can begin or continue the inflammation cycle that leads to intestinal permeability.

What are the Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome

The following symptoms could be signs of leaky gut:

  • Excessive fatigueWhat About Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
  • Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
  • Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
  • Poor immune system
  • Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
  • Cravings for sugar or carbs
  • Arthritis or joint pain
  • Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn’s

How is Leaky Gut Syndrome Diagnosed

The standard test for leaky gut syndrome is called the mannitol and lactulose test. Both of these are water-soluble molecules that the body can’t use. Mannitol is easily absorbed by individuals with healthy intestinal linings. Lactulose on the other hand is a larger molecule and is only slightly absorbed. A patient drinks a solution containing both mannitol and lactulose. Urine is collected for six hours and the amount of these molecules present in the urine reflects how much was absorbed by the body. A healthy test shows high levels of the mannitol molecule and low levels of lactulose molecule. If high levels of both molecules are found, it points to a leaky gut event. If low levels of both molecules are found, it indicates general malabsorption of all nutrients.

How to Treat Leaky Gut Syndrome

One thing you can do to heal a leaky gut is to take a supplement. The main one is glutamine. Glutamine, also known as L-glutamine, is a powerful amino acid that has the ability to heal soft tissue like the lining of the small intestines. It is very good for improving the health and integrity of the gut.

Another thing you can do is take a probiotic. Probiotics are filled with good bacteria which can help to revive the balance of your gut flora. You want to possess more good bacteria in your gut. For more information on probiotics read the article: What are the Health Benefits of Probiotics.

Leaky gut is by and large recognized as a symptom, but not a condition, by conventional medicine. The majority of clinical studies have focused on association as opposed to cause and effect, which makes it difficult to establish the amount of time needed to heal leaky gut.

The healing time will be based on the core condition, such as IBS or IBD, and the time it takes an individual and their doctor to get that condition under control.

How to Treat Leaky Gut Syndrome Naturally

Dairy is not recommended, but for an individual who enjoys eating yogurt, Kefir is worth a try, which is full of probiotics.

Kefir is a cultured, fermented beverage that tastes a good deal like a yogurt What About Leaky Gut Syndromedrink. It’s made using “starter” grains, just as sourdough bread has a “starter.” This starter is a combination of yeasts, milk proteins, and bacteria. It has a tart, creamy flavor, and it’s loaded with probiotic health benefits.

Kefir is most commonly made with dairy milk, but it can be made with non-dairy alternatives including:

  • coconut milk
  • goat’s milk
  • rice milk
  • coconut water

Because kefir is fermented, most people who are lactose intolerant can actually drink kefir.

Kefir is now widely available in most places. It is found in some form in most grocery stores near the dairy or yogurt. It’s often used to improve digestion.

Part of the rationale for kefir becoming more available and prevalent within the past few years is perhaps thanks to its health benefits. Kefir is nutrient-dense, with lots of protein, B vitamins, potassium, and calcium. Calcium helps to produce strong bones, protein builds strong muscles, and potassium is crucial for heart health.

Additionally, fermented foods like sauerkraut are good choices, which help balance the gut flora out. It is obvious that one of the main causes of leaky gut is inflammation. OMEGA-3 is known for its capability to combat inflammation. You can increase the quantity of omega-3 in your diet by eating more fatty fish like salmon, or by taking a fish oil supplement.

For a reasonable and reliable on-line source for the supplements mentioned in this article click here.

Preventing Leaky Gut Syndrome

Taking self-care steps that promote overall digestive health could also be the simplest avenue to protect yourself from leaky gut.

  • Increase the ingestion of high-fiber foods. The soluble fiber found in vegetables, legumes, and fruit support your gut’s beneficial bacteria, according to a 2016 study.
  • Reduce the ingestion of refined carbohydrates. Too much sugar can negatively impact gut barrier function, consistent with a 2014 study Trusted Source.
  • Reduce the use of NSAIDs. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, can increase intestinal permeability, according to a 2009 study Trusted Source.
  • Take probiotic supplements. The favorable bacteria of probiotics are deemed as helpful for many gastrointestinal conditions, such as IBS, according to a 2009 study.
  • Reduce the stress levels. Gut bacteria can be harmed by persistent stress, according to a 2017 study Trusted Source.
  • Reduce the alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol intake may increase intestinal permeability, according to a 2014 study Trusted Source.
  • Stop smoking. Tobacco smoke may increase gastrointestinal tract inflammation and may be a risk factor for a variety of bowel conditions, consistent with a 2013 study Trusted Source.

If after trying the above suggestions the condition persists, it is recommended that a physician, be consulted, preferably a gastroenterologist.

Please leave any question, comments or concerns below in the comment section.

Good Health!!




The facts about Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome – ever heard of it? It only came on the scene in 1998 but 47 million US citizens have it. If you want to know more about it, this article contains the facts about metabolic syndrome.

What is Metabolic Syndrome

Believe it or not metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X is not a disease. It is a group of risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Because of this, it is debated All About Metabolic Syndromeby the medical experts because not all doctors agree that metabolic syndrome should be viewed as a distinct condition.

The American Heart Association (AHA) concludes that 23 percent of adults in the US currently have metabolic syndrome.

What is the cause of Metabolic Syndrome

Experts aren’t sure why metabolic syndrome develops. Metabolic syndrome is caused by a group of five risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

The five (5) risk factors are:

  • high blood sugar levels (insulin resistance)
  • increased blood pressure (greater than 130/85 mmHg)
  • excess fat around the waist
  • low levels of good cholesterol, or HDLThe Facts About Metabolic Syndrome
  • high triglyceride levels

It is important to note that having one of these risk factors does not indicate having metabolic syndrome. However, having one will increase chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Having three or more will result in a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome and it will increase the risk of health problems.

There are underlying conditions that lead to the above risk factors that are detailed below.

  • Insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose — a simple sugar made from the food we eat — as energy. In people with insulin resistance, the insulin doesn’t work as well; as a result the body keeps making more and more of it to cope with the rising level of glucose. Eventually, this can lead to diabetes. Insulin resistance is closely connected to having excess weight within the belly.
  • Obesity –– especially abdominal obesity. The experts say that metabolic syndrome is becoming more frequent because of the increasing obesity rates. Additionally, having extra fat in the belly — as opposed to elsewhere in the body — seems to increase the risk. For more on obesity, read the article: All About Obesity
  • Harmful lifestyle. Eating a diet high in unhealthy processed foods and not getting enough physical activity can be a contributing factor.
  • Hormonal imbalance. Hormones may also play a role. For example, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — a condition that affects fertility — is related to hormonal imbalance and metabolic syndrome.
  • Smoking. Smoking causes a plethora of health issues and metabolic syndrome is on the list as well.

There are other risk factors that can increase the risk of metabolic syndrome: age, family history of metabolic syndrome.

Additionally, the syndrome tends to run in families and is more frequent among African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.

The complications of Metabolic Syndrome

The problems that can result from metabolic syndrome are commonly serious and long-term (chronic). They include:

  • hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • cardiovascular disease
  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • peripheral artery disease
  • diabetes
  • kidney disease
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Should diabetes develop, an individual may be at risk for additional health complications, including:

  • kidney disease
  • nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • eye damage (retinopathy)
  • amputation of limbs

How is Metabolic Syndrome determined

To identify metabolic syndrome, a physician will need to perform several different tests. The results of these tests will be used to look for three (3) or more signs of the disorder. The doctor may check one or more of the following:

  • blood pressure
  • fasting blood triglycerides
  • cholesterol levels
  • fasting glucose level
  • waist perimeter

Irregularities recorded on three or more of these tests will point toward the presence of metabolic syndrome.

Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome

The good news is that metabolic syndrome is controlled, largely with

The Importance of Medical checkups
The Symbol of Healing

changes to your lifestyle.

In most cases, the best treatment for metabolic syndrome rests with the individual. Changes to their behavior — such as healthier eating and getting further exercise — are the first things a physician will suggest. By adopting some healthier habits, one may be able to eliminate their risk factors completely.

In summary:

  • Exercise. Start slowly.
  • Eat a healthier diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low fat dairy, and go light on the saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, and salt.
  • If you smoke, quit smoking – NOW!
  • If you’re overweight, lose it.
  • Schedule regular checkups with your doctor.

The overall perspective for people with metabolic syndrome can be quite good if symptoms are managed. Individuals who take their doctor’s advice, eat right, exercise, stop smoking, and lose weight will reduce their chances of developing serious health problems such as a heart attack or stroke.

Although symptom management can reduce health complications, most people with this condition have a long-term risk of cardiovascular disease. If you develop this condition, you’ll be required to be monitored by your doctor to assist preventing serious health problems like heart failure and stroke.

Bottom line: If you’ve just been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you might be anxious. But think of it as a wake-up call. That means it’s time to get serious about improving your health. Making straightforward changes to your lifestyle now can prevent severe illness in the future.

We need to take a different approach to our health overall. Conditions such as this can be prevented for the most part of we take a proactive approach to our healthcare rather than a reactive approach. Common place is for us to address a health issue after it has occurred rather than to head it off in the first place. Some of us take better care of our cars than our bodies. It isn’t just how long we live, but how well.

Prevention is always better than cure!

Questions, comments and concerns are welcomed below.

Good Health!!




All About Colonoscopy

Efforts of preventing and curing cancer have made great strides. Prevention Consult with your physicianis always better than cure. A colonoscopy is one way to prevent cancer. This article is all about colonoscopy.

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination of the lower intestine also known as the colon. The colon is the lowest portion of the gastrointestinal tract that takes in food, absorbs nutrients, and disposes of waste. The colon is attached to the anus through the rectum. The anus is the opening in the body where feces are expelled. For more information on the digestive tract, see the article The Important Digestive System.

What is the purpose of a colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is performed as a screening for colon cancer but it can also be done as for other problems. The screening can aid a physician:

  • monitor for signs of cancers and other problems
  • determine the source of unexplained changes in bowel habits
  • appraise symptoms of pain or bleeding located in the abdominal area
  • find the reason(s) for weight loss, chronic constipation, or diarrhea

How is a colonoscopy performed

It isn’t a very complicated procedure. During the procedure, the patient lies on their side on a padded examination table. The physician positions the patient with their knees close to the chest to get a better angle of the colon.

While on the side and sedated, the physician will guide a flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope into the anus. Slowly and gently, it will be guided up through the rectum and into the colon. A camera on the end of the colonoscope transmits images to a monitor that the doctor will be observing.

Once the scope is positioned, the physician will inflate the colon using

All About Colonoscopy
The Scope

carbon dioxide gas to yield a better view.

The doctor may remove polyps or a tissue sample for biopsy during this procedure .

The entire procedure takes about 20-40 minutes.

After the procedure is completed, it will take about an hour for the sedative wear off. The patient will be advised not to drive for the next 24 hours, until the full effects fade.

In addition, there will likely be some gas and bloating from the gas the doctor placed into the colon. Time must be allowed for it to get out of the system. If it continues for days after, it could mean there’s a problem and the doctor should be contacted.

Additionally, a small amount of blood in the stool after the procedure is normal. However, the doctor should be called if the patient continues to pass blood or blood clots, experience abdominal pain, or have a fever over 100°F.

If the physician removes tissue or a polyp during a biopsy, it will be sent to a laboratory for testing. The physician will notify the patient the results when they’re ready, which is generally within a few days.

Who should have a colonoscopy

Anyone over the age of 50 who is at average risk of colon cancer should get a colonoscopy once every 10 years. If an individual is at an increased risk, they may need more frequent procedures. The American College of surgeons estimates that between 76 and 90 percent of colon cancer can be prevented through colonoscopy screening.All About Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is aimed and designed to detect pre-cancerous polyps with the goal of actually removing these polyps before they can turn into cancer – this is how a colonoscopy can actually prevent colon cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the most preventable cancer, yet it is the third leading cancer-related cause of death in our country? The answer is : not enough individuals are having the colonoscopies. According to Dr. Feingold, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery, Division of Colorectal Surgery at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, “Almost all patients who get colorectal cancer do so because they have failed to get screenings. Almost all the colorectal cancers would be prevented if people had their recommended screenings.” Again, prevention is better than cure!

What are the risks of a colonoscopy

In view of the fact that a colonoscopy is a routine procedure, there are usually few lasting effects from this procedure. In the considerable majority of cases, the benefits of detecting problems and initiation of treatment far outweigh the risks of complications from a colonoscopy.

However, some rare complications include:

  • a reaction to the sedative or anesthesia
  • bleeding from a biopsy site if a biopsy was done
  • a tear in the rectal wall or colon

Again, these complications are rare.

Reasons for not getting a colonoscopy

Below are some of the excuses for not getting a colonoscopy.All About Colonoscopy


None of my family members has had colorectal cancer, so I don’t need a screening.

  • Fact: In the US, about 150,000 develop colorectal cancer each year, making it the third most common cancer-related cause of death in the country. Additionally, 85% of these patients have no family history of the disease.

My insurance won’t pay for a colonoscopy.

  • Fact: Practically all insurance plans do pay for screening at the correct time frames. For people at average risk, with no known risk factors, the initial screening should occur at age 50, and then every 10 years thereafter, if the previous results were normal.

It takes too long to get an appointment.

  • Fact: In some cases it may take a while to get scheduled but to not get colon cancer is worth the wait. This really tends to be a product of procrastination.

The preparation is taxing. The solution you have to drink tastes awful, and I don’t want to have to spend the evening running to the bathroom.

  • Fact: There’s no denying that! But there has been an improvement. Today, patients are given just two (2) liters in what is called a Low Volume Preparation – this is half of what was used in the past to clean us out before a colonoscopy.
  • – Also, it’s better to run to the bathroom for one evening than to run to the hospital weekly for numerous chemo treatments.

Colorectal cancer is so unusual. Why do we have to go looking for it?

  • Fact: Well, if you don’t look for it you won’t find it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Remember almost all colorectal cancers begin as a tiny polyp. If a polyp is found during colonoscopy, it will be removed and this prevents the polyp from ever turning into cancer. But if a colonoscopy isn’t performed in the first place, then you are throwing away the chance to detect polyps when they are easily treated.

Sometimes we focus too much on inconveniences. Yes this procedure causes some inconvenience, but we must look at the long-term gains. Anything worthwhile takes some kind of effort—that’s life! No pain, no gain!

Colorectal cancer is an insidious disease. It has no symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms do appear, it’s more difficult to treat and treatment isn’t always successful at that point. Prevention is always better than cure!

There are other types of screenings known as stool based screenings. However, they are said to be not as accurate and if the result is positive, a colonoscopy is required anyway. I would recommend this route only if it isn’t covered by insurance and would cause financial hardship.


So, if you are in the required age group and you haven’t had a colonoscopy, DO IT!  Be a survivor!!

If you have any question comment or concern, leave them below.

Good Health!!