Why Do We Get Headaches? Get Rid Of Them!

Graziella

Headaches can seemingly come out of no where or gradually build up. What caused this pain and how can you get rid of it quickly?

Everyone has dealt with one of these suckers at one time or another. For some, it’s actually a long term problem that has to be dealt with on a regular basis. It’s estimated that 1 in 6 people have chronic headaches which makes life a little bit more difficult and even lowers work productivity since it’s hard to focus when it feels like someone is hammering inside of your head.

Contrary to what most people might think, it’s not actually your brain that hurts. You don’t have nerves or pain sensors in your brain. Instead your feeling the pain picked up elsewhere such as from nerves and muscles around the head or neck.

Primary and Secondary Headaches

There are actually two types of broad categories that doctors classify headaches into. Primary headaches which are non relevant to a preexisting or underlying health condition and secondary headaches which are affiliated with various medical conditions such as head injuries, fevers, infections, dental conditions, tumors and pressure in the skull or sinuses.

There are three main causes for primary headaches:

  • Migraine – Migraine headaches can be brought on by lower blood flow to various spots of the cerebral cortex. If you get one of these, the pulsating pain can last anywhere between 2 to 72 hours! It is believed that migraines are due to a mixture of environmental and genetic factors. Around 66% of cases seem to run in the family. Symptoms of migraines include nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, vomiting and an intense throbbing pain usually found on only one side of the head. They will also tend to become aggravated with physical activity.
  • Tension – Tension headaches are caused by muscle strain in the head and neck or even emotional stress. Tension headaches are usually steady aching pains on both sides of the head compared to migraines which almost always on one side. Sometimes tension headaches can develop into a throbbing pain which makes researchers think that migraines are closely connected. Poor vision or eye strain can trigger frequent tension headaches.
  • Cluster – Cluster headaches are headaches that occur repeatedly over an extended period of time such as weeks or even months. Cluster headache pain usually occurs on one side of the head like migraines but is more focused and centered around the eye. The causes of cluster headaches are unknown but may be related to changes in blood flow because substances that affect blood flow, such as alcohol, can trigger cluster headaches.

Too much blood flow can also cause primary headaches. For example, if you’ve read How Does Caffeine Work, you know that caffeine reduces blood flow in the brain. Some pain relievers contain caffeine to take advantage of this effect. If you’ve been taking caffeine every day and you suddenly stop, you very well might be getting a visit from an incredible headache because of the increased blood flow in your brain and sudden change in your routine.

Secondary headaches result from some other problem with your body

If you’re sick with the flu or have a particular health condition, it can bring on headaches which would then be classified as secondary. Once you eliminate the condition, you eliminate the secondary headaches.
Most headache pain can be treated with over the counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If you experience chronic or frequent headache pain, see your physician as it may be caused by a underlying health problem.

man headache

How to get rid of a headache

1. The most well known cure- take some pain killers. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, and aspirin are some pain relievers that will give you a quick fix to an aching head. Usually it takes about 30 minutes for the pills to kick in, but it’ll save you the pain in the long run. Just make sure you don’t give aspirin to anyone under the age of 19, especially children. Also aspirin sometimes produces a deadly syndrome called Reye syndrome, so if you are worried about it try an alternative.

2. Make sure you drink your water! A headache can come on from dehydration. Dehydration can occur from simply being out in the sun too long or even vomiting. Also beverages like coffees, alcohols, and sodas-even though they are in liquid form-can dehydrate you as well. So just making sure you sip on a glass of water several times throughout the day  to avoid the dehydration headache. If the ache has already started, chug a tall glass and in no time you will start to feel better.

3. Lay down and tune out. What you may have heard for migranes helps headaches as well. Closing the blinds and getting yourself in a dark quiet environment to rest (try at least 30 minutes) can mellow out your head ache.

4. Soak a wash cloth with cold water and place it over your forehead. This might help the pain by constricting blood vessels, especially if you ache is coming from your sinus or temple area. As soon as the cloth starts to feel warm just wet it again. You can also try putting the wet cloth in a plastic bag and freeze it for a long lasting compress.

5. Everybody loves a massage, and in this case it could possibly relieve your headache. Start by gently massaging in circular motions near your temple and work outwards. It helps by relieving tension and improving circulation to hopefully relieve the pain. Another easy way to get this done and taking a little extra time massaging your scalp while shampooing in the shower. If you have someone else that can massage for you bribe them into doing it, it always feels better and more relaxing when someone else takes over.

Having the touch of someone else can definitely relieve a lot of tension. By getting someone to massage the back of your neck, bridge of nose and acupressure point on each hand where the thumb and index finger bones meet these can all relieve headaches depending where they are originating from. Another relief for sinus headaches can be done by putting two racket balls in a sock and lay on them at the back of your skull. It might hurt a bit at first but this pain should go away and start relieving the headache.

6. Have some fun in the bedroom! Sex releases oxytocin which then boosts endorphins in your body. Endorphins are a natural pain killer that’ll help out with that aching head of yours.

7. Do you have an activity or hobby that puts you in your comfort zone? Try doing some relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or whatever you like best. It might distract you long enough for the pain to go away.

headache

 

I’ve always found the biggest cause of headaches for me was from dehydration to the brain so unless you’re getting them from an underlying medical condition, it’s a great idea to try and prevent a headache by drinking regular amounts of water!

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For The Love Of Tea! – Health Benefits And Beyond

tea types octagon

Tea- it is the most consumed beverage in the world besides water. There is nothing better than curling up on your couch with a cup of this ancient brew. Not only is it comforting and tastes great, but it has many health benefits that are worth the drink.

People are told time and again that tea is great for your body, but why? All tea originates from the plant Camellia sinensis. This plant contains substances called flavonoids and polyphenols which contain antioxidants. The antioxidants are the important part that helps your body stay healthy. The concentrations of these antioxidants are higher in the tea plant than in fruits and vegetables. The most significant polyphenol is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

EGCG could be the markers to fight off Alzheimer’s (due to decreases in beta-amyloid plaques), Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s disease (due to rises in dopamine levels). It prevents brain cells from dying and if damaged, promotes repair. It also binds with iron and blocks pathways that cause brain deterioration. Also if you’re looking for a new inexpensive way to have glowing, fresh skin, look no more. EGCG can regenerate skin cell growth for newer skin more quickly.

We all know the four major categories of teas- green, white, black, and oolong. Have you ever wondered what makes the flavours their own if they all come from the same plant? Each tea group goes through a different process to make it its own. Green tea leaves are steamed which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized. Black and oolong tea are fermented which makes the EGCG turn into other compounds. White tea is said to be the purest in antioxidants due to its process of being steamed to inactivate polyphenol oxidation, and then dried from new growth buds and young leaves.

pouring tea

Due to the fermentation processes, the health benefits of tea are higher in white and green teas. This is because of the less EGCG that is taken away from the oxidation process. So if you are looking to get your maximal health benefits from tea go with the green or white before a black or oolong.

Research shows that antiviral and germ killers are higher in white teas than in green teas. Although green tea helps the metabolic system by getting rid of sugars quicker and not storing them as fat. Green tea kills cancer cells and inhibits growth of cancer cells. It does this without even damaging healthy tissue. Not only does this amazing brew fight off bad cells but it also helps you with weight loss!

Tea helps in the maintenance of blood pressure and blood vessels, fighting against cardiovascular disease. It is possible the reasoning why cardiovascular disease is reduced by tea is because flavonoids decrease inflammation and cholesterol which reduces the chances of blood clot formation. There is 11 times more flavonoid intake by tea drinkers than non tea drinkers. If you drink five or more cups of tea a day you are 31% more likely not to die from cardiovascular disease.

There are some things to keep in mind the next time you brew a cup. Decaf teas have less flavonoids so try to go for the natural blends. Iced teas have more sugars so either go with the naturally hot brew or try making your own so you can limit added sugars. The more processed the tea the less polyphenols present so try to go with a more organic and natural tea. Instead of added sweeteners try throwing in a slice of lemon, or a squeeze of some citrus juice, it boosts the absorption in the GI tract. Pepper does this as well if you want to add a little spice like a chai blend.

Overall you cannot go wrong with drinking tea. Even fitting a cup a day into your life will reward you with some amazing health benefits. From renewing your skin, to fighting off cancer and degenerative diseases, tea’s natural antioxidants are helpful and tasteful. So what are you waiting for? Go and make yourself a cup!

tea glass

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References

Schoenhals, K. (2005). Healthy indulgence: take time each day to sip this treasure from the orient — white tea. Better Nutrition, 67(7), 22-24.

Sinija, V., & Mishra, H. (2008). Green tea: health benefits. Journal Of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine, 17(4), 232-242.

Welland, D. (2007). The latest international research brews up more big benefits for tea. Environmental Nutrition,30(12), 1.

Sleep Deprivation – Why Do We Get It And How Do We Get Rid Of It?

Sleep deprivation- It’s a big problem our western culture has. In our younger years, we’d have to fight to stay up all night and now we are fighting to keep our eyes closed to doze off. Forty seven percent of American’s are getting less than a 7-8 hour sleep. A quick answer to our sleep deprivation diagnosis is usually insomnia. Really we need to start thinking of smaller issues like that large cappuccino we downed before supper or maybe how hot it is in the house. Sleep is very important for our bodies to process the information we have obtained throughout the day. This is a time where our memories are being developed from things we have learned and also endocrine and immune system activity is in action.

There are many diseases or conditions that also have a toll on our sleep. Cancer, diabetes, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux, and back pain are just some.

Caffeine can be a big reason on why we lose our sleep. It actually sends signals to our brains that block the sleep inducing hormones to our biological clocks. The best way to prevent this substance from affecting our zzz’s is to limit our intake- which should be about 16 ounces a day. Also ALWAYS drink in the morning or at least try to quit around lunch time. At least this will help to limit the amount of caffeine you still have in your system when it’s time to “hit the hay.”

Light, as no surprise, is another sleep killer. Melatonin is a hormone produced in our body that sets our biological clock and produces the initiation of sleep. Light stops the production of melatonin being produced, therefore blocking our sleep. So next time before you go to bed, try shutting off the T.V., laptop, and phone and wind down in a little darkness before you get into the covers.

Temperature is another factor to our sleep. Colder temperatures also stimulate a better production of melatonin to induce our sleep. Try taking a hot bath so when you come out, you have a cold rush that will help out this hormone. Or you could simply just turn down the temperature to that cool, medium!

group yawning

You know those times when you wake up in the middle of the night and start worrying you will never get back to sleep? The worries or stress may get the worst of you! By simply calming yourself, getting up to go to the washroom, or doing a small task like praying could calm your brain down and make you ready to go right back to sleep. Also try not to spend time in bed unless you are going to sleep, like the times when you’re sitting for a few hours in bed reading a book or watching T.V. The fact that you’re in bed and resting already may have something to do with your tough time getting to sleep. OH yeah, and as for the worries and depression, try to think positively and try some meditation techniques. This may help your ability to fall asleep.

Alcohol is known to help you pass right out, although it does have symptoms of disrupted sleep by waking up and having a hard time getting back to sleep. For the ladies, research has shown it’s worst for us! Try not to excessively drink, or drink earlier in the evening to avoid these effects.

Four random foods that surprisingly help well with activating your fatigue:

  • A bowl of cornflakes
  • Cherry juice, preferably tart
  • Trail mix with pumpkin seeds
  • White carbs; they can be good for something

Most of these foods have tryptophan or minerals that are melanin inducing. So give ‘em a try!

With the right amount of caffeine, light, temperature, alcohol, foods, and managing anxiety levels, you may have a good cure to your lack of sleep. Also check into any diseases or conditions you have been diagnosed for and see with your doctor what may help for your case.

Foley, D. (2013). Still awake at 3 a.m.?. Good Housekeeping, 256(1), 89.

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How Does Caffeine Work And Is It Good Or Bad?

caffeine coffee beans

A vast majority of people make or buy a nice cup of coffee as part of their ever lasting routine to “wake up” or get that boost of energy, but what’s the real deal with this drug?

It’s extremely common for someone to be tired and think that they need a beverage with caffeine because it will pick them up. This magical thing gives us a boost and makes our minds alert right? Actually it doesn’t! Caffeine in fact BLOCKS the receptors that make you feel tired. So all of a sudden you feel like you have all this energy when a moment ago you were tired, in reality you’ve just stopped feeling tired. Your brain has actually been tricked. There are some other side effects that the body endures but energy wise you’re not getting a real “boost” to your system.

Some effects that caffeine causes

  • Heart beats faster
  • Muscles tighten up
  • Pupils dialate
  • Breathing tubes open up
  • Blood flow to the stomach and some blood vessel slow down

How Does Caffeine Work?

Our brains produce a neuro-chemical called Adenosine which builds up throughout the day and finally gets to the point that you have to go to sleep to have it released. The trick that caffeine plays is that it resembles adenosine’s shape and size and enter the receptors without activating them. So instead of feeling sleepy those particular receptors are then effectively blocked. Once those receptors are blocked, your brain’s natural stimulants such as dopamine and glutamate can function more freely.

Stephen R. Braun, author of a 224 page paper in 1997 explained caffeine in an excellent metaphor. Think of it like a vehicle. Instead of hammering the gas, caffeine simply blocks the brake. This drug has many uses but it doesn’t boost your actual skill level but it can bump up your speed in certain abilities. For mundane tedious tasks you do everyday in the office, caffeine can actually improve your output and quality of work. On the other hand something more creative or complex doesn’t appear to have any benefit.

Offduty: Caffine Drinks

What products or drinks have the most caffeine?

  • Coffee
  • Energy drinks
  • Tea
  • Soda

How Does Caffeine Affect The Body?

Like many other consumables, you build up a tolerance. The first time you have coffee, tea or pop you might be feeling quite the “jolt”. After having these items for a while, the same amount doesn’t seem to give you as much of a boost. This isn’t that surprising really because that’s simply the way the body works. You build up a tolerance to anything that you continue to consume regularly.

Caffeine takes around 5 – 6 hours after ingestion before the dose wears off from the human body. Women who take oral birth control actually take around twice as long to process caffeine. Smokers take around HALF the time to process. This is actually a funny fact because all stereotypes aside, I tend to notice that smokers drink a lot of coffee and more often!

Something a little interesting is that you can feel withdrawal from caffeine fairly quickly. This can be anywhere between 12 – 24 hours after your last use. This is a huge indicator of why the first drink of coffee in the morning seems like such a big deal. It’s staving off that withdrawal in addition to the normal effects! Withdrawal is the same as with any substance. Your brain has become accustomed to functioning with this consumable and now all of a sudden things have changed.

Headaches are the most common side effect of killing off your caffeine intake. In fact you may have noticed that a lot of patients who come out of anesthesia after a major surgery feel a headache. This is usually because they’re not used to being without caffeine for so long. Depression, irritability, nausea, fatigue, lethargy, eye spasms and even vomiting can be a part of the caffeine cut off. This is something you’ll just have to deal with for around 10 days or so if you’re trying to quit cold turkey.

sad woman

What are the top health concerns from caffeine intake?

  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Stress
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Blood sugar and Insulin problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Adrenal exhaustion
  • Accelerated aging

When it comes down to it, caffeine seems a little more dangerous and undesirable once you know the facts. Sure all the drinks with it taste great and yes it does help with some fatigue but there is a cost. The cost isn’t all short term too. A lot of it is long term and can negatively impact you in a critical way. That being said, caffeine has it’s uses but should be taken in moderation and wisely. I’d recommend trying to limit your intake so that you can live a longer and healthier life, but I know it’s pretty hard to pass up a nice fresh cup of coffee!

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Why Do We Hiccup And How Can You Stop Them?

holding breath

These bad boys can be extremely annoying and come on at some very inconvenient times, but what exactly triggers them?

Hiccups are an involuntary activity of the diaphragm. The muscles used when you breath are the intercostal muscles located in the spaces between the ribs. Two things occur in rapid succession: first there is a quick and involuntary inhalation of air and second as the muscle contracts, the glottis (space between your vocal cords at the top of the larynx) quickly slams shuts which is what makes the “hic” sound.

Science doesn’t even know what the purpose is and there is no obvious function. This isn’t to say there is no definite function, but more so to say it hasn’t been discovered yet if there is one. Perhaps it is a remnant of some evolutionary function that is no longer needed in humans but still lingers. Maybe it is something that we need for development in our bodies when we’re young (fetuses hiccup in the womb after the 8th week from conception) but isn’t necessary later in life as we get older. Children tend to hiccup more often and in fact the chances to trigger this phenomenon declines with age.

One thing is that it is actually possible to hiccup for longer than most of us think. Imagine hiccuping for an entire day non stop? What about a week or even a month?! I remember a while ago when watching TV, there was a show talking about a man who’s be hiccuping for 68 YEARS straight. This poor man apparently hiccuped around 40 times a minute. Now that is tough.

So what on earth actually causes this series of actions to occur? There are a number of theories on why we hiccup with a few of the leading ideas listed below.

Drinking or eating too fast

This is probably the most common trigger. You are so pumped to gulp down that tasty beverage or food you’ve been thinking about all day that you can’t help but chug the sustenance as if there would be nothing left on earth in 10 seconds. You can also swallow air in addition to the intended “payload” to be delivered into the put of your belly. The stomach becomes distended and irritated. The diaphragm ends up contracting like it does when breathing.

Drinking or eating too much

This is especially true with fatty foods or of course drinking alcohol because you feel the need to consume ridiculous amounts proving to everyone how “awesome” you are. Same as above this is an action that can irritate the diaphragm.

Disturbance to the nerve pathways from the brain

Sometimes hiccups can be brought on by temperature changes or emotional situations. On the other hand this is also the reason why an abrupt shock can sometimes “cure” the attack.

A sign of disease or illness

Normally hiccups are just minor annoyances but persistent hiccups can be a sign of disease. Sources suggest that they can be brought on by many ailments including: brain trauma,  spinal cord integrity, infections, lesions, central nervous system conditions, metabolic disorders, peptic ulcers and even anesthesia.

cover mouth guy

So how can I get rid of these buggers once I start hiccuping?

  • Hold your breath (This is the one I use and it almost always works)
  • Breathing into a paper bag
  • Drink a glass of water quickly
  • Get scared or surprised abruptly

Some odd potential cures I’ve heard but have no idea on the validity of them:

  • Swallow a teaspoon of sugar
  • Sip on some lemon juice
  • Put your fingers in your ears to block the canals
  • Use smelling salts
  • Pull hard on your tongue

Conclusion

Even though you might be excited for that special drink or that meal you’ve been craving, take some time and eat slow! Also don’t overload yourself just because it tastes awesome. Try and do your best to drink in moderation.

Chances are those pesky hiccups are in fact going to show up from time to time and you can’t really avoid it until it’s too late but when they do my top 3 suggestions would be to hold your breath, drink a glass of water fast or if you happen to have one laying around you: breathe into a paper bag. If you’re like me you might not think much of the evil hiccups, but when they kick in it’s usually at the most inopportune time and you’re frantically trying to get rid of them!

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Don’t Use Q-Tips To Clean Your Ears, How Else?!

qtips pigtails

I’m sure we’ve all been told not to use Q-Tips or at least not to put them far into our ears but how else are we supposed to clean them?!

Ears are naturally developed to be protective and self-cleaning. The wax (cerumen) coats the ear canal and serves to repel water and help protect it against infection or injury. It also aids in keeping the skin inside the ears from drying out or getting itchy in addition to trapping dust, germs and other unwanted things from reaching into the depths of our ears.

In truth we should probably just leave our ears alone and let nature take it’s course. Maybe this would be okay for me if I wasn’t introduced to q-tips and what seemed like their ONLY function was. I mean when someone asks you what you’re supposed to do with a q-tip what do you think of? Maybe it’s cleaning your computer keyboard or using them as makeup brushes because that’s exactly what’s on the back of some of the boxes. Or maybe you’re like me and thought it’s sole purpose is for ear digging!

Now I’ve been scolded and told all the same by my mother while growing up and my girlfriend too, but let’s be honest: How can something that works and feels so good be so wrong?! Well it’s about the potential damage to your eardrum in addition to accidentally pushing wax further into your ear. If wax went too far down you’d have to get it removed by a professional and it might not be the most comfortable thing to do.

Regardless of it feeling good using cotton swabs, it is in fact dangerous and even Q-Tips themselves say not to use them in your ear canal. It’s all about being careful because the last thing you want to do is damage the lining or eardrum by accident. Even washing the outside of your ears is supposed to be avoided. If you must clean them, either use a soft washcloth with a tiny bit of soap or simply a wet q-tip. Make sure to dry the ears well as not to get them infected and attract the well known “swimmers ear” especially if you are in the water a lot.

qtips box

Personally I can’t help but carefully use the standard q-tips for my ears, but for those more adventurous and wanting a “safer” way to clean your ears, read on. I did some research on some alternatives and although it seems a bit silly, it would in fact do the trick.

Create A Wax Softening Solution

You can buy a carbamide peroxide cleaning solution from the local pharmacy or you can always make your own.

Combine warm water with one of the following:

  • A teaspoon or two of 3-4% hydrogen peroxide solution
  • A teaspoon or two of mineral oil
  • A teaspoon or two of glycerin

Lie on your side if possible so the ear is completely vertical and put in the solution with an applicator if possible or a small bowl. (Peroxide may cause popping or bubbling sounds so don’t be alarmed, this is normal)

Wait 5-10 minutes or if using peroxide, until the bubbling stops.

Take out the solution and use a rubber bulb syringe with lukewarm water to flush out the wax.

Pull on the ear lobe up and down to open the canal to release the last bit of wax.

You can repeat this process for a few days if necessary but shouldn’t do it more often than this.

ear doctor

See A Specialist

If you’re serious about cleaning your ears safely and are not interested whatsoever in using the home remedy route, then you should consult your doctor or get a professional to take care of it for you. In addition if you suffer from repeat problems, hearing loss or blockage you should seek help from a doctor.

When it’s all said and done, the point is to be careful and avoid causing any harm to your ear canal. The last thing you want to do is permanently damage your ears or have a hard time listening to words, sounds and music!

Do you use Q-Tips in your ears?

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Why Do We Yawn And Why Is It Contagious?

girl yawning

Everybody does it. Sometimes it’s early in the morning, sometimes it’s the middle of the day and your at work or school and sometimes it’s at night. So what actually causes us to yawn?

Yawning is an involuntary action and once you start it’s pretty hard to stop yourself. A yawn is a coordinated movement of the thoracic muscles in the chest, diaphragm, larynx in the throat and palate in the mouth. It coats the lungs with a wetting agent (surfactant) to coat the alveoli (tiny air sacs) in the lungs. We generally cannot yawn on command and it is triggered by neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus of the brain.

Surprisingly even with all the time, science and technology we have today there isn’t a definitive answer! Yes believe it or not, we STILL don’t know exactly why we yawn! There are several leading theories but there aren’t any proven facts that highlight one above others.

Let’s go through a few of the main theories.

Yawning Gives Us More Oxygen And Releases Carbon Dioxide

There are theories on this benefiting the respiratory and circulatory system. Could we need more oxygen in our lungs or do we need to expel more carbon dioxide that has been building up?

Modern day evidence makes it seem unlikely that yawning is a function of the respiratory system though. The circulatory system however could be affected by yawning to increase blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen in the blood thus improving alertness and motor functions.

Yawning Cools The Brain

Recent studies have suggested that yawning could be related to brain temperature (Gallup and Gallup, 2008). Basically when the brain goes beyond the normal temperature, yawning could cool the brain. This may involve the body’s cooler blood flowing into the brain and warm blood circulating out through the jugular vein.

An odd contradictory in my opinion is that you are more likely to yawn in colder temperatures such as winter than in the warmer summer which I’d expect the opposite considering the environments temperature should affect a body as well.

Yawning Stretches The Lungs And Lubricates Them

The idea here is that stretching and yawning may be a way to flex the muscles, joints, increase your heart rate and feel more awake.

Along with this is the theory that yawning is a protective reflex that redistributes surfactant (oily substance) that helps lubricate the lungs and keep them from collapsing. This is supposed to suggest that if we didn’t yawn, taking deep breaths would become increasingly more difficult as time goes on.

Yawning Indicates A Change In Behavioral State

This would be associated with the change from wakefulness to sleep or boredom to alertness for example. This could potentially have a correlation with physical states as well, such as going from exercising or doing some activity like walking to sitting in a chair and not moving much for an extended period of time.

group yawning

So How Come Yawning Is Contagious?

This is an extremely interesting concept and one that tends to be true. If you are in a classroom or in a group of people somewhere and you visibly yawn, more than likely other people will yawn within 5 minutes of you. Even thinking about yawning can start to trigger this contagion.

One idea is that it is a physical signal that our bodies are saying it’s time to sleep or get up kind of like an internal 24 hour clock. If one person is yawning and then other people start yawning because of it, then they all may go to sleep around the same time and thus have a synchronized cycle.

Conclusion

The truth regarding yawning is that it is still a mystery. Even after all the time passed and resources available to us, we still don’t know everything about the eluded “yawn”. Most the theories seem logical and possible so it’s very interesting that a large scale official study has not been conducted to get the 100% correct scientific truth.

For now I’ll just say we yawn because our bodies are telling us we need more sleep to function properly, but that’s just me!

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ABCDE’s of Skin Cancer

skin cancer

Have you ever noticed a new, strange looking mole that has appeared on your body? How about a mole that has changed in shape or colour? What may have popped up in your mind is “oh my god, what if it is skin cancer”?! There are five simple rules for detecting cancerous moles.

A

Asymmetry – If you take a look at your mole and the shape is not even or symmetrical this could be a sign of a cancerous mole.

B

Border - If you notice an irregular border on your mole this could also be a bad sign. This includes borders that are broken and straying from a circular shape.

C

Colour - If you see that there are two or more different colourings to one mole this could be a sign of skin cancer. One example would be a mole that is light brown with a smaller black colour inside of it.

D

Diameter - If you have a mole that is 6mm or larger in diameter then you might have a problem.

E

Elevation - If there is any elevation to your mole this could be a sign of skin cancer, although there are many normal moles that have elevation also called an elevated nevus.

If you have one or more of the signs above in your mole, refer to your physician. It is also good to get a professional opinion even if your mole does not have any of the signs above.

Jarvis, C. (2009). Physical examination and health assessment. (1st Canadian Ed.). Toronto: Saunders Elsevier. Chapter 3: Assessment of the skin, hair, and nails (Page 280).

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Cure For Cancer Found In Canada – Dichloroacetate (DCA)

This is one of the most ground breaking things imaginable with a certain impact if it came to fruition. The cure for cancer. Yet why have we not heard much about it?

breast cancer

One of the most feared things a doctor could tell you, is that you have cancer. For most this means you completely tune out every other word the doctor says and your mind goes racing into another dimension. You probably think about your life, the things you have and have not done. The road ahead of you to attempt to combat this horrible disease. Maybe even the costs and potential debt you or your family may accrue from the dreaded C word.

There are many different types of cancer and they can invade almost every part of the human body. As a society we have been fighting it forever and shelling out millions of dollars into potential cures and research. Even former United States president Richard Nixon declared war on cancer in 1971. This is a serious and seemingly unending battle.

What if the cure was readily available? Better yet, what if it only cost pennies?!

That’s exactly what a Dr. Michelakis and his team at the University of Alberta are claiming. The drug, dichloroacetate (DCA) can alter the metabolism of cancer cells and thus causes them to age and be destroyed. It’s important to note that it kills the cancer cells but only the bad ones. Michelakis have been researching the effects of DCA on non-human subjects since 2007. It has been proven successful and consistently reduced the cancerous cells. Since then, and perhaps more importantly the team has accomplished the same results in human trials. This project is in desperate need of funding to make it a wide spread available treatment and the likely candidates: the pharmaceutical companies are not interested as there isn’t millions of dollars to be made.

It’s sad that something this useful comes down to greed but that is exactly the case. The drug does not have a patent and therefore anyone can manufacture it without paying a fee and furthermore the drug is so cheap to make it costs pennies! This from a business point of view is not profitable and thus not worth investing in.

From a life stand point it is INVALUABLE

We are so close but yet so far from banishing the leading cause of death in Canada and other countries around the world. A 2011 report from Cancer.org claims that 40% of woman and 45% of men in Canada will develop cancer during their lifetimes. That is ASTRONOMICAL. It’s estimated that 177, 800 new cases of cancer and 75, 000 deaths from cancer occur each year in Canada.

All I can hope for is someone generous to step up to plate and realize how little money means in comparison to a true cure.

 

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