Allergies are responses mounted by the immune system to a particular food, inhalant (airborne substance), or chemical. In popular terminology, the terms “allergies” and “sensitivities” are often used to mean the same thing, although many sensitivities are not true allergies. The term “sensitivity” is general and may include true allergies, reactions that do not affect the immune system (and therefore are not technically allergies), and reactions for which the cause has yet to be determined.
Some non-allergic types of sensitivity are called intolerances and may be caused by toxins, enzyme inadequacies, drug-like chemical reactions, psychological associations, and other mechanisms. Examples of well-understood intolerances are lactose intolerance and phenylketonuria. Environmental sensitivity or intolerance are terms sometimes used for reactions to chemicals found either indoors or outdoors in food, water, medications, cosmetics, perfumes, textiles, building materials, and plastics. Detecting allergies and other sensitivities and then eliminating or reducing exposure to the sources is often a time-consuming and challenging task that is difficult to undertake without the assistance of an expert.
Common symptoms may include itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; headache; fatigue; postnasal drip; runny, stuffy, or itchy nose; sore throat; dark circles under the eyes; an itchy feeling in the mouth or throat; abdominal pain; diarrhea; and the appearance of an itchy, red skin rash. Life-threatening allergic reactions—most commonly to peanuts, nuts, shellfish, and some drugs—are uncommon. When they do occur, initial symptoms may include trouble breathing and difficulty swallowing.
Talk to your Super Care pharmacist to learn more about allergies, common causes and symptoms, low allergen diet, lactose free foods etc.
Diabetes mellitus is an inability to metabolize carbohydrates resulting from inadequate insulin production or utilization. There are two types of diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes, is also called childhood-onset diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot make the insulin needed to process glucose. Natural therapies cannot cure type 1 diabetes, but they may help by making the body more receptive to insulin supplied by injection. It is particularly critical for people with type 1 diabetes to work carefully with the doctor prescribing insulin. Any change that makes the body more receptive to insulin could require critical changes in insulin dosage that must be determined by the treating physician.
People with diabetes cannot properly process glucose, a sugar the body uses for energy. As a result, glucose stays in the blood, causing blood glucose to rise. At the same time, however, the cells of the body can be starved for glucose. People with diabetes are at high risk for heart disease, atherosclerosis, cataracts, retinopathy, stroke, poor wound healing, infections, and damage to the kidneys and nerves. Unusually rapid weight gain in infancy has been associated with a one-and-a-half-fold increase in the risk of developing type 1 diabetes in childhood. Being overweight also increases the need for insulin. Therefore, people with type 1 diabetes should achieve and maintain appropriate body weight.
Type 2 diabetes, is also called adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes may also affect children and may also require treatment with insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas often makes enough insulin, but the body has trouble using it. Type 2 diabetes frequently responds well to natural therapies.
Most people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Excess abdominal weight does not stop insulin formation, but it does make the body less sensitive to insulin. Excess weight can even make healthy people prediabetic, though weight loss can reverse this problem. In most studies, type 2 diabetes has improved with weight loss. Exercise helps decrease body fat and improve insulin sensitivity. People who exercise are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who do not. Learn more about Diabetes. Talk to your Super Care pharmacist.
For healthy people, supplements may help prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies when the diet does not provide all necessary nutrients. They can also supply amounts of nutrients larger than the diet can provide. Larger amounts of some nutrients may help to protect against future disease.
People may consume diets that are deficient in one or more nutrients for a variety of reasons. The typical Western diet often supplies less than adequate amounts of several essential vitamins and minerals. Recent nutrition surveys in the U.S. have found large numbers of people consume too little calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and, possibly, copper and manganese.
Weight-loss, pure vegetarian, macrobiotic, and several other diets can also place some people at risk of deficiencies that vary with the type of diet. Certain groups of people are at especially high risk of dietary deficiencies. Studies have found that elderly people living in their own homes often have dietary deficiencies of vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, and zinc, and occasionally of vitamin B1 and vitamin B2. Premenopausal women have been found often to consume low amounts of calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
For more information on vitamins and mineral supplements, talk to your Super Care Pharmacist.
Approximately 90% of people with high blood pressure have “essential” or “idiopathic” hypertension, for which the cause is poorly understood. The terms “hypertension” and “high blood pressure” as used here refer only to this most common form and not to pregnancy-induced hypertension or hypertension clearly linked to a known cause, such as Cushing’s syndrome, pheochromocytoma, or kidney disease.
Hypertension must always be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Extremely high blood pressure (malignant hypertension) or rapidly worsening hypertension (accelerated hypertension) almost always requires treatment with conventional medicine. People with mild to moderate high blood pressure should work with a doctor, as blood pressure requires monitoring and in some cases the use of blood pressure-lowering drugs.
As with conventional drugs, the use of natural substances sometimes controls blood pressure if taken consistently but does not lead to a cure for high blood pressure. Thus, someone whose blood pressure is successfully reduced by weight loss, avoidance of salt, and increased intake of fruits and vegetables would need to maintain these changes permanently in order to retain control of blood pressure. Left untreated, hypertension significantly increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. Essential hypertension is usually without symptoms until complications develop. The symptoms of complications depend on the organs involved.
Smoking is particularly injurious for people with hypertension. The combination of hypertension and smoking greatly increases the risk of heart disease–related sickness and death. All people with high blood pressure need to quit smoking.
Consumption of more than about three alcoholic beverages per day appears to increase blood pressure. Whether one or two drinks per day meaningfully increases blood pressure remains unclear.
Daily exercise can lower blood pressure significantly. Progressive resistance exercise (e.g., weight lifting) also appears to help reduce blood pressure. At the same time, blood pressure has been known to increase significantly during the act of lifting heavy weights; for this reason, people with sharply elevated blood pressure, especially those with cardiovascular disease, should approach heavy strenuous resistance exercise with caution. In general, people over 40 years of age should consult with their doctors before starting any exercise regimen.
Most people with high blood pressure are overweight. Weight loss lowers blood pressure significantly in those who are both overweight and hypertensive. In fact, reducing body weight by as little as ten pounds can lead to a significant reduction in blood pressure. Weight reduction appears to have a stronger blood pressure-lowering effect than dietary salt restriction.
For more information, please talk to your Super Care Pharmacist.
Although it is by no means the only major risk factor, elevated serum (blood) cholesterol is clearly associated with a high risk of heart disease.
Most doctors suggest cholesterol levels should stay under 200 mg/dl. As levels fall below 200, the risk of heart disease continues to decline. Many doctors consider cholesterol levels of no more than 180 to be optimal. A low cholesterol level, however, is not a guarantee of good heart health, as some people with low levels do suffer heart attacks.
Medical laboratories now subdivide total cholesterol measurement into several components, including LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which is directly linked to heart disease, and HDL (“good”) cholesterol, which is protective. The relative amount of HDL to LDL is more important than total cholesterol. For example, it is possible for someone with very high HDL to be at relatively low risk for heart disease even with total cholesterol above 200. Evaluation of changes in cholesterol requires consultation with a healthcare professional and should include measurement of total serum cholesterol, as well as HDL and LDL cholesterol. Because high cholesterol is linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease, people concerned about heart disease should also learn more about atherosclerosis.
This condition does not produce symptoms. Therefore, it is prudent to visit a health professional on a regular basis to have cholesterol levels measured.
Exercise increases protective HDL cholesterol,an effect that occurs even from walking. Total and LDL cholesterol are typically lowered by exercise, especially when weight-loss also occurs. Exercisers have a relatively low risk of heart disease. However, people over 40 years of age, or who have heart disease, should talk with their doctor before starting an exercise program; overdoing it may actually trigger heart attacks.
Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, in part because weight gain lowers HDL cholesterol.Weight loss reduces the body’s ability to make cholesterol, increases HDL levels, and reduces triglycerides (another risk factor for heart disease). Weight loss also leads to a decrease in blood pressure.
Smoking is linked to a lowered level of HDL cholesterol and is also known to cause heart disease. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of having a heart attack.
The combination of feelings of hostility, stress, and time urgency is called type A behavior. Men, but not women, with these traits are at high risk for heart disease in most, but not all, studies. Stress or type A behavior may elevate cholesterol in men. Reducing stress and feelings of hostility has reduced the risk of heart disease.
For more information, please talk to your Super Care Pharmacist.
Studies show that 70% of smokers would like to quit. In UAE, major public health efforts are in place to encourage smokers to quit. Since many attempts to quit smoking are not permanent, it may be important to take advantage of a variety of strategies to increase the chances of success.
Smoking cessation can result in improved health, including reduced risk of heart and lung diseases, many cancers, pregnancy complications, and other health problems. Soon after quitting, most smokers notice that coughing declines and that ordinary activities no longer result in shortness of breath. Also, smokers find that their teeth stain less easily, their breath is fresher, and food tastes better as their senses of taste and smell return to normal. However, smoking cessation can lead to short-term symptoms such as irritability, depression, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, headaches, and fatigue, due to the physical effects of nicotine withdrawal and the psychological effects of giving up a habit. Quitting smoking often leads to weight gain as well.
Smoking cessation often leads to weight gain, which can dissuade smokers from trying to quit or cause them to resume smoking. Increasing physical activity after quitting smoking can minimize weight gain, and a controlled trial found that adding exercise to a smoking cessation behavioral counseling program improved abstinence rates. However, other, smaller studies have not shown that exercise either alone or added to a comprehensive program helps to maintain abstinence. Adding weight control through dieting to smoking-cessation programs has resulted in either an increase in smoking relapses or no effect. Changing the diet at the same time as quitting smoking may require more discipline than most people can achieve. People tend to smoke more often under conditions of stress.
Those who achieve long-term success in quitting smoking have been shown to have more social support and less stress than people who eventually relapse. Stress-reduction techniques have been shown in controlled trials to be effective for assisting smoking cessation.
Learn more from a Super care pharmacist on various smoking cessation options to suit your lifestyle and will power.
We all shed some of our hair every day as part of our body’s natural process. Serious thinning, however, is a concern for many people whether you are young or old, male or female, blond or brunette. The good news is that science and medicine continue to discover solutions for slowing or halting hair loss.
Get to the root of the cause
Before seeking out the “cure,” you will first want to determine the cause. Treatments may vary depending on the nature of your hair loss:
- “Pattern baldness” (most often referred to as “male-pattern baldness”) is a common, inherited type of hair loss that is usually associated with men, but may occur in women, too.
- Underlying medical conditions, such as iron-deficiency anemia, hormonal imbalances, and thyroid problems can cause shedding. Hair loss may also be a side effect of certain medications.
- Intense stress or trauma can trigger telogen effluvium, a temporary hair loss condition most common in women. This kind of hair loss can also occur post-pregnancy.
Take steps now to end the thinning
The sooner you act, the greater your chances of holding on to the hair you have. Start by talking to your Super Care hair loss specialist. They will help you separate fact from fiction so you can avoid products that are known to over-promise and under-deliver. Register today for a scalp analysis at any of our Pharmacies to have a closer look at the problem.
A cough is a symptom of many diseases. Most coughs come from simple viral infections, such as the common cold. Sometimes, but not always, mucus is produced with the cough. If the color is green or yellow, it may be a hint of a bacterial infection, although this is not always a reliable indicator. If the color is red, there may be bleeding in the lungs. Any cough that produces blood or bloodstained mucus, as well as any cough that lasts more than two weeks, requires a visit to a medical professional for diagnosis.
Yeast infections usually result from an overgrowth of a species of fungus called Candida albicans. They can occur on the skin, under nails or mucous membranes of the mouth, vagina, bronchi, and lungs.
Vaginal yeast infections are one of the most common reasons that women consult healthcare professionals. Yeast infections are a type of vaginitis. The hallmark symptom of a yeast infection is itching of the external and internal genitalia, which is often associated with a white discharge that can be thick and/or curdy (like cottage cheese). Severe infections lead to inflammation of the tissue and subsequent redness, swelling, and even pinpoint bleeding.
According to one study, yeast infections are three times more common in women who wear nylon underwear or tights, than in those who wear cotton underwear. Additional predisposing factors for Candida infection include the use of antibiotics, oral contraceptives, or adrenal corticosteroids (such as prednisone).
Underlying health conditions that may predispose someone to Candida overgrowth include pregnancy, diabetes, and HIV infection. Allergies have also been reported to promote the development of recurrent yeast vaginitis. In most cases, sexual transmission does not play a role in yeast infection. However, in persistent cases, sexual transmission should be considered, and the sexual partner should be examined and treated.
The common cold is an acute (short-term) viral infection of the upper respiratory tract that may be spread through the air (by sneezing, for example) or by contact with contaminated objects. A note about children’s cold medicine:
Concerns in the news about the safety of cough and cold medicines have left many parents confused about the safest ways to treat their children’s cold symptoms. At a hearing, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that, until more research shows safety and efficacy, these medicines should not be given to children under two years old unless instructed by a healthcare provider. For parents who may want to continue giving over-the-counter cold medicines to their children, the FDA has the following recommendations:
- Read all of the information in the “Drug Facts” box on the product label.
- Do not give children medicine more often or in greater amounts than what is listed on the product label and use only as directed.
- Do not give children medication that is intended for adult use.
- Be aware that using various cough and cold medicines in combination may pose health risks; parents should ask a doctor whether or not it is safe to use products in combination.
- Use appropriate measuring devices; parents should contact their doctor or pharmacist if they do not understand the dosing directions.
The common cold often causes runny nose, sore throat, and malaise (vague discomfort). Sore throat is sometimes a symptom of a more serious condition distinct from the common cold, such as strep throat, which may require medical diagnosis and treatment with appropriate antibiotics. Since colds are caused by a viral infection, antibiotics are not effective against the common cold.
One study found that a daily saltwater nasal rinse may be beneficial for children with colds. The children who used saline nasal rinses (six times per day initially and three times per day during the rest of the 12-week study) had fewer nasal and throat symptoms, they were healthier, and fewer of them used medications to manage their symptoms than the children who did not use the rinses. They were also less likely to have been sick again, and they missed less school. The nasal rinse was a standard 0.9% saline (sodium chloride) solution with trace elements and minerals in concentrations similar to those in seawater. Neti pots (small pots for nasal rinsing) and mineral salts to use with them are now widely available.
Lifestyle habits that may support the immune system and speed recovery include the following:
- Drink plenty of fluids in order to maintain water balance and to thin secretions.
- Gargling with plain water three times a day removes mucus and keeps bacteria and viruses from sticking around.
- A warm, humid environment created by a humidifier may provide some comfort while riding out a cold.
Pain is a sensation that is transmitted from an area of tissue damage or stress along the sensory nerves to the brain. The brain interprets the information as the sensation of pain. Substances that decrease pain either interfere with the ability of nerves to conduct messages, or alter the brain’s capacity to receive sensations.
Symptoms of pain include discomfort that is often worsened by movement or pressure and may be associated with irritability, problems sleeping, and fatigue. People with pain may have uncomfortable sensations described as burning, sharp, stabbing, aching, throbbing, tingling, shooting, dull, heavy, and tight.
Pain may be a symptom of an underlying pathological condition, such as inflammation. It may also be due to other causes, such as bruising, infection, burns, headaches, and sprains and strains. Use caution when treating pain without understanding its cause—this may delay diagnosis of conditions that could continue to worsen without medical attention.