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LIVING WITH SPINAL CORD INJURY: BIRTH CONTROL

Both men and women with spinal cord injury who are sexually active and do not want a pregnancy must use a birth control method, even if you think ejaculation is unlikely. Keep in mind that erection and ejaculation are separate functions. Some men with paraplegia can ejaculate despite the lack of erection or sensation of orgasm. Therefore, if you are having sex and wish to avoid pregnancy, birth control is essential.All birth control options available to able-bodied people are possible for people with spinal cord injury. Birth control pills and intrauterine devices have the advantage of greater effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, but may have higher medical risks for women with spinal cord injury. Barrier methods such as the diaphragm and condoms have the advantage of also protecting against sexually transmitted diseases, but they may be difficult to use because of mobility impairments. Permanent contraceptive methods such as tubal ligation or vasectomy are an option for individuals or couples who are sure they do not want children. The best way to decide on the method that is right for you is to consult your doctor. Together you can explore the options and weigh the risks and benefits of each type of contraception.
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WHY YOU CAN’T STAY AWAKE: SYMPTOMS OF NARCOLEPSY

In addition to daytime sleep attacks, the primary symptoms of narcolepsy include sleep paralysis, hallucinations, and cataplexy. Sleep paralysis—sudden inability to move—occurs at the beginning or the end of sleep and renders immobile virtually every voluntary muscle except those around the eyes. When hallucinations are present, they usually come at the beginning of sleep; they may be vivid, realistic, and sometimes violent.Cataplexy—an attack of muscle weakness or dysfunction lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes—is one of the most disconcerting features of narcolepsy, largely because of the suddenness with which it appears. An attack can be triggered by almost any form of emotional arousal, from anger to athletic activity to excitement—even the mere anticipation of excitement. A mother of three told me she had to allow her children to run amok; she was unable to discipline them because doing so would trigger an attack. Another patient reported that his fraternity brothers considered it an evening’s entertainment to regale him with jokes, just to get him to laugh so that they could watch him collapse. Another described his sadness at having to stay away from Yankees baseball games. During any thrilling moment, he said, just as the other fans were rising to their feet, he would crumple to the floor of the stands. In one case reported in the literature a patient became cataplectic every time he had an orgasm. He had naturally come to believe that such paralysis was simply part of the sexual experience. Sometimes the consequences can be disastrous. A narcoleptic butcher fell asleep while wielding a meat cleaver and awakened to find he had lopped off three of his fingers.Cataplexy may involve all of the muscles or just a select few; the severity ranges from a slight loss of tone to complete paralysis. Victims do not lose consciousness. Not all narcoleptics experience cataplexy; in some, however, the attacks are frequent. People with narcolepsy may notice excessive daytime sleepiness as much as a year before the onset of cataplexy.Memory difficulties are also reported by about half of narcoleptics. In addition, some experience symptoms in the eyes: fatigue, difficulty focusing, double vision. Except for cataplexy, however, these symptoms are not unique to narcolepsy but are found in other disorders as well.*151\226\8*

DISEASES OF THE VEINS: HOW SERIOUS ARE VARICOSE VEINS?

For many people they are only a cosmetic annoyance. Still others have minor symptoms of mild swelling and a feeling of heaviness or aching in the legs at the end of the day. In some cases,  varicose veins are  serious enough to lead to chronic skin thickening or ulceration. For many people, support or elastic stockings to help counteract the increased pressure in the veins are extremely helpful for limiting swelling and other more serious complications.Overtime, varicose veins tend to become more prominent. You can help slow progression of your varicose veins by using elastic support stockings, by not standing for too long, or by not being too sedentary. Move around as much as possible, but periodically lie down and elevate your legs above the level of your heart (“toes above the nose”) at the end of the day to help relieve swelling. Regular exercise will also decrease the pressure in the veins.Surgery to strip or remove the varicose veins can be performed in severe cases. In one study, 85 percent of people who had surgery had no recurrence of the varicose veins during the next 10 years. If you have small and less severe varicose veins, you might be best treated with injection of the veins or with a laser.Laser therapy may be used on very small, superficial blood vessels, but injection therapy (sclerotherapy) is usually best if the blood vessels are large enough for the procedure to be performed. Sclerotherapy may be helpful alone or in combination with surgery. Sclerotherapy is done on an outpatient basis. The physician slowly injects a solution into one or several of the visible veins while you are standing. Then, a small bandage is wrapped snugly over the veins for 24 hours. It may take more than one treatment session to achieve optimal results.Sclerotherapy collapses the veins, and blood is then prevented from flowing into them and the discoloration is eliminated within about a month. The treatment has no significant effect on circulation in the leg. In about one-third of people who have sclerotherapy, a yellow-brown discoloration may appear in the area and c take weeks, months, or even longer fade.*212\252\8*

PAIN WITHOUT A CAUSE: FIBROMYALGIA AND MYOFASCIAL PAIN SYNDROMES

Fibromyalgia patients have widespread pain in many parts of their body, particularly in parts of the spine. They have many tender points where firm pressing with a finger produces pain. These points are particularly likely to occur in the lower back, neck, shoulders, hips, hands, knees, chest wall and feet. In addition to feeling pain, the patients tend to be fatigued, wake unrefreshed from sleep and be very stiff in the morning. Some 25 per cent of these patients have less common complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome, headaches and distress. The general state of fibromyalgia can be a common but temporary state.An early-morning visit to one of the airports in London reveals the sad sight of hundreds of passengers off the red-eye specials from the east coast of the United States. They are tired, missing sleep, their biological clocks are set five hours behind, and they are irritable, anxious and stiff. They drag along looking like a mass migration of fibromyalgia patients. Most of the travellers will recover but, in the patients, it is a chronic state. It is ten times more common in women than men. Muscle and tissue taken from the tender points is vaguely abnormal but it is possible that these abnormalities result from inactivity and so are secondary to the pain. There is a suspicion that there is something wrong with their immune systems, and the condition sometimes occurs with frank disorders of the immune system such as rheumatoid arthritis.The response to treatment is disappointing. Some patients improve when given antidepressive drugs, which are known to have an analgesic action as well as an effect on depression. A vigorous fitness training regime improves some patients, as does specific muscle training. A three-week course of cognitive behaviour therapy improves the ability of some patients to cope with the miserable state.*49\219\2*

THE STOMACH AND IBS: FOOD INTOLERANCES

It has been said that one of the main causes of food intolerances is faulty digestion in the stomach. This needs to be looked at first and before embarking on drastic exclusion diets, which can cause dramatic weight loss and severely affect the immune system and the nervous system. Try simply cutting out junk foods and eating a clean, well-balanced rotational diet. Cleansing the colon can also be very helpful. (Send for The New Colon Cleansing Programme and Beyond’ from Higher Nature, price at the time of writing 30 pence.)If the bowel is inflamed you might have to go very gently with your cleansing programme. All the nutritionists in the Useful Addresses section can give expert advice on colon cleansing and can supply you with the necessary products. Describe your symptoms carefully and remember that self-help programmes should not be embarked upon before you have had a firm diagnosis from your doctor.Some people find Medical Herbalists or practitioners of Chinese Medicine very helpful for cleansing the colon of old faeces.*33\326\8*

ASTHMA IN CHILDREN: PROTECTING YOUR CHILD FROM FOOD ALLERGIES – MILK ALLERGY

Cow or buffalo milk is not an uncommon allergen in infancy, probably because it is the major outside protein food during the early months of life. It has been estimated that milk allergy occurs in approximately 0.5 per cent of all children.Milk allergy manifests itself with a variety of symptoms. The most common symptom is of the infant crying with abdominal pain when he is put on milk other than that of his mother, or when the need is felt to change from one type of milk to another. There may be loose motion and cough. There may also be eczema or urticaria.Whenever possible, infants should be breastfed. This reduces the chances of development of allergic symptoms. Cow milk should not be given till the age of one year to a potentially allergic baby from a family which has a history of allergy.Diagnosing Milk Allergy. In many cases diagnosis cannot be made because allergy to milk is not suspected. The best way to make a diagnosis is by first eliminating milk from the diet, and then reintroducing it. Milk should be eliminated from the diet for a period of at least two weeks. If during this period, there is a marked improvement in the health of the child, or if reintroduction of milk brings back the symptoms, a diagnosis can be established.After the diagnosis is clinched, the offending food must be removed from the diet. Milk prepared from soya beans is a good substitute. If it is not locally available, it can be prepared at home. The soya bean milk should be given for a year or so, and then milk introduced again into the diet. If the child is still not able to tolerate it, soya bean milk should be continued; if fewer symptoms appear, then cow milk may gradually be included into the diet.Soya bean milk is as nutritious as mother’s milk; however, it has to be supplemented with vitamins and minerals.*37\260\8*

BACH FLOWER REMEDIES

KEY-NOTE SYMPTOMS – OAK REMEDYA’NEVER GIVE UP” attitude in life. Never gives up hope and continues to work against all odds. Like an oak tree, he stands strong and holds his ground against the most difficult weather conditions. He may get tired, despondent and discouraged by his failures. His well-wishers and the experts may advise him to discontinue his pursuit. His doctor may tell him that his case is hopeless, but he would not lose hope and would not give up.However, with all the attributes of the winner i.e tremendous will-power, invincible power or resistance, super human endurance, courage, faith and hope, if he lets endurance an aim in itself, and does not allow his body a moment’s rest from the ceaseless physical strain, he ends up as a loser with a nervous collapse, with physical rigidity, and loss of flexibility.*40\308\8*

OUTSMARTING THE FEMALE FAT CELL: GETTING STARTED – DESIGNING YOUR 3-MONTH OFF PLAN – DO YOU NEED TO FEED YOUR BODY, NOT YOUR FAT CELLS?

Rate each of the following statements as follows:0—Never, 1—Seldom, 2—Frequently, 3—Always1. I feel uncomfortably full after I eat. 2. I clean my plate. 3. I eat quickly. 4. I divide food into two categories, “good” and “bad.” 5. When I eat “bad” foods, I feel guilty. 6. I restrict “bad” foods and deprive myself. 7. If a food says “fat-free,” I eat as much as I want. 8. I overeat healthful foods. 9. I overeat at restaurants and special events. 10. I eat standing up. Total  If you scored 15 or more points, put special emphasis into Strategy #3 Feed Your Body, Not Your Fat Cells. It will help you to eat a wide variety of foods—moderately. Overeating means eating more calories than your body needs at a given time to function. Whenever you are overeating, you are feeding your fat cells. Those excess calories, whether they are from iceberg lettuce or ice cream, are not needed by your body, so they are stored in your fat cells. You may overeat for many reasons: sometimes simply from habit, and other times because you are socially conditioned. Do you give yourself permission to overeat when .. . ?• You’re at a party.• You’re at a party and do not want to offend the host.• You’re at a restaurant.• You’re at a restaurant and want to get your money’s worth.• You’re watching TV.• You’re watching TV, and a food commercial comes on.• You’re in the kitchen.• You’re in the kitchen preparing dinner.• You’re celebrating your birthday.• You’re celebrating someone else’s birthday.Feeding your body does not mean eating low-calorie diet foods such as salads and carrot sticks. It means eating a wide variety of foods in moderation when you are hungry. There are no “good” or “bad” foods in the OFF Plan. All food choices are created equal as long as you are feeding your body.This strategy is extremely important. You could be following all the other strategies, but if you’re overeating, you are feeding your fat cells, and you may never see a change in your body.*44\250\8*

GLOSSARY: ANTIOXIDANTS / THE VITAMINS AND GREEN TEA EXTRACTANTIOXIDANTS /

THE VITAMINS

It is such a vicious cycle that it’s hard to believe that it’s one that most people happily bring upon themselves. I’m talking about sun damage, often glamorously referred to as sunbathing. When the sun’s ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB, hit the skin, the process of skin destruction is immediately activated. If the skin’s natural reserves of antioxidant ingredients are ample enough, this process can sometimes be slowed down significantly. Naturally, using a skin care line rich in numerous antioxidants is a step in the right beautifying direction.I will be reviewing some of the most proven antioxidants, such as green tea extract, grape seed extract and vitamin C. Others include: vitamin A, coenzyme Q10, lycopene and alpha lipoic arid.GREEN TEA EXTRACTGreen tea is proving to be as potent on the skin as it is inside the body.iThe data that has been released on the powers of green tea is just too impressive to ignore. I was already a believer and I had already incorporated a high amount into my skin care line, but after reading up on the latest data, I decided to boost the levels of green tea in the products.    A lot of the medical studies that have been released on green tea showt hat when applied on the skin it protects it from ultraviolet light and may even help prevent skin cancer. In the medical field, daily oral intake of green tea helps to prevent prostate cancer.*42\82\8*

HIV INFECTION AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE EMOTIONS: FATIGUE AND ACCOMMODATION-THE EFFECTS OF FATIGUE

Although the causes of fatigue may be physical, the effects are psychological. In fact, depression not only causes fatigue but is also caused by it. Dean said he has had good days and bad days. On the good days, he has more energy. After a rough night and diarrhea, he will be tired the next day: he said, “Those are the crying days.” “Fatigue is my son’s biggest obstacle,” said June. “He sleeps 18 hours. By ten in the morning, he’s done. He says to me, ‘Why aren’t I beating this?’ I don’t think he could get through a work day. He loses motivation and courage. Sometimes he stops caring for himself, stops eating. He’s too tired to eat.”     Another psychological effect of fatigue is irritation. Lisa Pratt’s husband “had always been a go-getter,” she said, and resented his fatigue. “For my husband,” Lisa said, “AIDS was a series of little deaths. He had to give up little things he liked because he had no stamina. For years, he had been an actor in our local community theater. After he got AIDS, he couldn’t keep up with the rehearsal schedule and thought he was going to have to quit. It hurt to not go. And it made him mad to give in.” Dean said that until he learned to pace himself, he regularly worked fourteen hours a day running a small newspaper, came home angry, then “got the blues.”
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