What is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis commonly causes sore, red eyelids and results in inflammation of the same. It is also likely that your eyelashes will be crusty if you have blepharitis and they also become red and irritated. You may feel some itchiness. Dandruff-like scales may develop on your eyelashes. This eye disorder is quite common and can be caused by a skin condition or bacteria. While it can affect people of all ages, recent studies have revealed that young people are more likely to be affected. 

However, the condition is not contagious and does not usually result in permanent vision damage. The two types of blepharitis include anterior blepharitis, which affects the outside front of the eyelid in which the eyelashes attach and posterior blepharitis, which occurs at the inner edge of your eyelid adjacent to your eyeball.

Symptoms, Causes and When to See the Doctor

Signs and symptoms of blepharitis include red eyes, watery eyes, itchy eyelids, greasy eyelids, red and swollen eyelids, a gritty and stinging or burning sensation in your eyes, flaky skin around your eyes, loss of eyelashes, increased sensitivity to light, eyelid sticking, abnormal growth of eyelashes, crusty eyelashes after sleep, and more frequent blinking. 

There are numerous causes of blepharitis and some of them include dry eyes, bacterial eyelid infection, Demodex eyelash mites, and similar parasites or Meibomian gland dysfunction among others. 

Blepharitis and dry eyes tend to take place simultaneously, thereby causing a lot of confusion regarding which one causes or comes before the other. This commonly happens and some eye practitioners now believe the two are behind the DEBS (dry eye blepharitis syndrome), which is a chronic eye problem. They also believe that dry eye represents the late manifestation of DEBS and treating blepharitis could help to prevent, minimize or get rid of dry eye symptoms.

It is important to remember that the exact causes of this condition remain unclear, but some of the factors that have been commonly associated with the same include a bacterial infection; rosacea, a form of skin condition that causes facial redness; seborrheic dermatitis, which causes the eyebrows and scalp to show dandruff symptoms; lice or eyelash mites; allergies, such as allergic reactions to contact lens solutions, eye medications, and eye makeup; and malfunctioning or clogged oil glands in the eyelids.

If blepharitis symptoms do not seem to disappear or improve even after taking the steps necessary to improve hygiene and overall cleanliness of the affected area, then it is perhaps time to visit your eye doctor before things get worse. 

Treatment

The typical blepharitis treatment should begin with a trip to the eye doctor’s office to establish what’s causing the eyelid inflammation. A thorough examination will reveal whether you have blepharitis and the doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment option. Some of the treatment options may include gentle eyelid scrubs, which gets rid of the buildup of biofilm and eliminates excess bacteria accumulated in your lid margins. Daily warm compresses can also effectively reduce the bacteria on your eyelids. 

Other cleaning agents you may use are prescription eyelid cleansers and diluted baby shampoo. Topical medicines may also be prescribed to eliminate blepharitis and microbes that cause it. Sometimes the eye doctor may recommend BlephEx treatment, Thermal pulsation treatment, or Intense pulsed light therapy.

Blepharitis is a chronic condition and may keep coming back if you do not take the steps necessary to prevent its recurrence. Always clean your eyelids daily so that there is no buildup of bacteria on your eyelid margin. However, you should always see your doctor as soon as possible to determine whether you have blepharitis and get started on the right treatment plan.

Eye Discharge and When To See an Eye Doctor

Eye discharge may signify that something is wrong with your eyes. It is often characterized by mucus, skin cells, oil, various forms of debris, and dirt collecting to form a whitish substance in the corner of your eye, especially when you are sleeping. The substance can be dry and crusty or wet and sticky, as this depends on the amount of moisture that has evaporated from the substance. Sometimes referred to as “rheum,” eye doctors Pembroke Pines says it can also perform a protective function, which typically involves removing potentially harmful debris and other waste products from your tear film, including the surface of the eye.

The eye secretes mucus all day long and it is bathed by a thin film of tears when you blink. This flushes out the rheum fast, thereby removing it from the eye before it hardens. However, when asleep, no blinking occurs. This means eye discharge accumulates and forms crusts along the eyelash line and in the corner of the eyes. This is why you are likely to develop crusts when sleeping. A few crusts in the morning after waking up is quite normal, but eye discharge secreted excessively could mean you need an eye checkup to determine whether there is a problem developing. This discharge can be yellow or green and may cause eye pain, light sensitivity or blurry vision. If that happens, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible because your eyes may have developed an eye infection or a serious disease.

Causes

You don’t have to be worried that your eyes are producing some discharge unless it is excessive and yellowish or greenish. Inconsistency in discharge may also mean you have an eye infection or a serious eye disease. Some eye conditions can cause abnormal eye discharge, including blepharitis, conjunctivitis, dry eyes, corneal ulcer, and more. Conjunctivitis is characterized by eye discharge. The white, green, or yellow eye mucus is often accompanied by eye irritation, redness, or itchiness. Other eye infections associated with eye discharge include eye herpes, a viral eye infection that seems to recur; fungal keratitis, which is rare but a more serious form of inflammation of the eye’s cornea; blepharitis, inflammation of the lash line along the eyelash hair follicle; and dry eyes, which is the insufficient production of tears that causes the eyes to be irritated.

When to See Your Doctor

If you’ve experienced moderate eye discharge for a few days then there is no need to worry about it because it may be due to dirt and debris. The eye has a mechanism of cleaning itself. However, if the discharge is green or yellow and seems to persist, you may have to seek medical attention. Eye pain and blurred vision accompanying eye discharge may also require medical attention.

Treatment

While minor eye discharge is generally harmless and does not require any medical attention, excessive yellow or green discharge may signal a serious eye disease or infection and you should consult your eye doctor immediately. Your eye doctor may prescribe antiviral or antibiotic eye drops to help get rid of an eye infection that causes the eye to produce mucus. Some ointments can perform the same function. There are also over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops that you can use to treat eye allergies that make your eyes watery. For itchy eyes, you may try placing warm compresses over the eyes may also help you relieve some symptoms of eye discomfort and itching.

Eye discharge can be a sign of eye irritation or infection. If the symptoms do not disappear after a few days and over-the-counter eye drops do not work, it is best to consult your eye doctor because your eyes may be infected.

The Fundamentals of Physical Fitness

Fitness—hearing this word makes people think of huge guys with bulging muscles and it carries the image of the Incredible Hulk. However, it also adds up to the fire in the hearts and minds of those endeavoring to achieve physical fitness. Although a Hulk-looking physique may be an indication of a fit person, it is just the icing on the cake. In this article, we are going to break down the basics of physical fitness: what it is, its components, why it is important, and how to achieve a physically fit body. Without further ado, let’s get down to business. 

What is physical fitness? The very essence of it is when your body systems work efficiently, thus allowing you to perform daily tasks without tiring out easily. Hence, you can do schoolwork, household chores, and still, have enough energy for sports and other recreational activities. It also allows a person to meet the demands needed in an emergency, such as when a friend runs into an accident or if immediate help is needed at home. 

What are its components? The five components commonly taught in school curriculums, gyms, as well as health clubs are cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. The first one, cardiovascular endurance, refers to the ability of the heart and lungs to work together, fueling the whole body to sustain loads for long periods. 

Activities in this category include swimming, jogging, and cycling. Muscular strength or simply called ‘strength’ refers to the amount of force the muscles can produce. Activities include bench press, bicep curls, and deadlifts. Usually, this component can be measured by a push-up test to see how much weight an individual can lift or how much resistance a person can withstand. 

On the other hand, muscular endurance, as the name itself tells us, uses certain muscles that are forced to perform repeatedly and continuously without fatigue. Stationary bikes, elliptical machines, and cycling are all activities that fall under muscular endurance. Next, flexibility refers to the joints and their ability to move through a wide range of motion without getting injured. Gymnasts and ballet dancers are excellent examples of people with flexibility. This aspect is often measured using the sit-and-reach test. 

Finally, body composition, as the name stands for, refers to tissues such as fat, muscle, organ, and bone that make up the entire human body. Body composition is usually shown as your body fat percentage versus your lean body mass. Hydrostatic weighing, skin calipers, bioelectrical impedance, are examples of the most common ways to measure body composition.

Why is being physically fit considered as important? As you might expect, there are countless benefits in being fit—both immediate and long term. In the US alone, 86% of healthcare costs and 7 out of 10 deaths are due to chronic diseases, and basically, people who ignore the significance of physical fitness. Although conditions such as stroke, diabetes, and heart disease cannot be prevented, the risks of getting these can be greatly reduced by staying physically active. 

So, being physically fit will not only save you money, but it will also save your life. Life expectancy and reduced risk of getting injured are also some of the benefits of being fit. A stronger muscle means you’re less prone to fall and good bone health minimizes the risk of getting a fracture or the like should you tumble.

Therefore, how do you get a physically fit body? There’s no secret, no shortcut, no easy way to achieve this. But, to spare you the effort, here’s the equation: proper nutrition + regular exercise + adequate rest = physical fitness.

The Telltale Signs of Drug Addiction

If you ask someone as to whether they want to live a happy life, what do you think would be their answer? Needless to mention, we all want a satisfying and enjoyable life as much as possible. However, we are aware that not everyone has the same circumstances. We come from different walks of life and some struggle with drug use. It can be very difficult to quit once it has been started, but let’s dig deep into the details.

How It Begins

Many people who have been into drug addiction before, but were able to quit, pointed out that they did so because their friends were doing it, that they were depressed, that they wanted to have a good time, and that they were overly stressed and anxious with family and/or personal problems. Some, however, tried it just by curiosity alone. When we talk about drug addiction, it can be both caused by illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and the like; or by prescription drugs like tranquilizers, painkillers, and sleeping pills. How serious of a problem is drug addiction in the US alone? Statistics show that every day, more people die in drug addiction than from traffic accidents and guns. So, how can you save yourself or a friend from this?

Signs of Addiction

Just as a doctor would not perform surgery without knowing what happened to the patient, let us first identify the symptoms of drug addiction. The most common drugs are alcohol, stimulants, opioids, and marijuana. These are the specifics since the word “drug” is a very broad term. You might be surprised, but alcohol is a drug. Signs of alcohol addiction include blackout, or the inability to remember what has previously happened over and over again. The influence of alcohol drives the person to do illegal acts such as stealing and physical and verbal harassment. 

If there is “stress eating”, then there’s also “stress drinking”, pun intended, and it is already a sign of drug addiction. Neglecting family, work, and school responsibilities due to alcohol overconsumption is also a very obvious sign that alcohol use has gone out of control. 

Aside from alcohol, many are addicted to stimulants like methamphetamine or cocaine. Symptoms, in this case, are more similar to that of alcohol. But in addition to those, there may be changes in appetite, facial tics or jerky movements, dilated pupils, and rapid blinking or eye movement. There can also be mood swings, anger management issues, disrupted sleeping patterns, and tooth decay. “Crash phase” as they call it, is also a symptom of meth use. This is caused by the lack of dopamine previously supplied by the use of such drugs and is shown by unusually long sleeping hours, drug cravings, and even depression.

Opioids like oxycodone, methadone, and codeine may sound unfamiliar but are also addictive. The use of these substances stimulates the release of dopamine from the brain, one of what we call the ‘happy hormones’. This experience, if left untreated and taken for high amounts, causes addiction. Symptoms include needle marks from a syringe on legs and arms. Constricted pupils, impulsive actions, withdrawal from social activities, and visiting several doctors to get more supplies can be all signs of opiate addiction.

One of the drugs we don’t even have to describe for people to know is marijuana or cannabis. Addiction to this can be spotted by difficulty in concentrating, red eyes, and uncontrollable laughing and talking. It can make users feel that they’re starving which makes them binge on unhealthy foods. They also have a noticeable smell different from that of a cigarette, just slightly sweeter. Now that you have an idea of some of the signs of drug addiction, go ahead and save a friend, or even a life.

Top 5 Most Popular Types of Diet for Weight Loss

Good health is an invaluable asset. It’s not just because a healthy weight is aesthetically appealing, but also because it indicates self-control, discipline, and dedication. Unfortunately, misleading information, insufficient knowledge, and people purposely lying to their fellow humans have confused us which road to take to achieve the body we’ve always dreamt about. 

Aside from exercise, proper diet is also one of the essential steps to see the figure that you have always wanted to see when you step on the scale. One thing, however, that people always think when they hear the word “diet” is to eat less when it is not. You can eat all the favorite foods you want, sate your hunger, satisfy your cravings, but still, stay on track. It’s not about eating less; it’s about eating right. That’s what diet is.

With hundreds of diet fads being promoted, people striving to be fit, if they don’t end up getting the opposite results, get confused and discouraged. Currently, five of the most popular diets right now are ketogenic, paleo, whole30, vegan and vegetarian, and the MIND diet. Let’s break them down one-by-one.

The ketogenic diet is probably one of the most popular diets out there. The idea behind this diet is to induce the kidneys into producing ketones (where this form of diet got its name from), by the state of ketosis. Simply put, you go into a low-carb, high-fat diet. Since insulin level is directly related to carb intake, lower carbohydrate intake equates to lower insulin levels. The body then uses the water stored within the fat cells to be burned as fuels for there is very little to no carbs to burn. One reason why most people fail at this diet is that they cannot keep it up. Results can vary depending on the individual. Someone may concentrate, sleep, and lose weight better, while the other, also consuming the same diet may experience the exact opposite. 

The next one is the paleo diet, with the idea coming from the Paleolithic era where people used to eat vegetables, meat, fruits, and healthy oils. This eliminates grains, sugars, dairy, sugars, and all processed foods—the culprits of weight gain. People did this by going back to the old way humans eat to achieve better nutrition and health, which is the essence of any diet in the first place. This promotes better hydration levels, lowers body fat percentage, increases bone density, and promotes muscle growth.

In our bucket list also comes the Whole30 diet. The “30” at the end of what they call this diet stands for 30 days. But 30 days of what? Eliminate foods that cause inflammation, and instead, eating foods from their sources or “whole” foods. The catch about this is to “reset” the body and rid it of any toxicity. 

Also comes the vegan and vegetarian diet. To simplify things, both the vegan and vegetarian diet abstain from “all animal protein,” but vegetarians eat anything except meat and seafood, while vegans only stick to plant-based sources so they avoid milk since milk comes from cows. The main purpose of this type of diet is health; such as reducing the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. But who wouldn’t love its other objectives such as maintaining ideal body weight and a fit body? Additionally, this diet promotes the proper treatment of animals. 

And the last but not the least is the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay or MIND diet. The key here is eating similar to the Mediterranean: fruits, whole grains, low-fat and high in protein. Paired with reducing sugar intake, this is one of the best diets for weight loss. Fans of this diet dub this as “brain-healthy” that’s why it suits its acronym. This kind of diet also reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Acid Reflux: What It Is, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Good health isn’t something money can buy. It is also something no one can take away or ask from us. It is earned and when you have it, there’s no better feeling like it. Life isn’t always sunshine, though. There may be days when you feel better, but there may also be times when you feel worse. This is especially true when your gut is affected. Research says that gut health is directly related to emotional health. Thus, your mood swings are truly inevitable if you’re suffering from digestive problems such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as acid reflux.

The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a ring of muscle located between the lower part of the esophagus and the stomach. Its normal function is to open to allow food to pass through then close afterward. However, if the LES doesn’t fully close, or if it opens unnecessarily, the acid and other digestive juices from the stomach rise all the way up into the upper part of the esophagus, thus causing what is known as acid reflux. 

Symptoms

The symptoms can vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms are heartburn, the burning feeling moving from your abdomen, chest or throat. Heartburn can last for long hours and most often occurs after a meal. Another notable symptom most of us may have experienced is regurgitation. It the sour-tasting liquid (but is acid) taste we feel rising from the throat into the mouth. Other symptoms include bloating, dysphagia (the discomfort that something is in your throat), sore throat, black stools, burping, nausea, and even weight loss.

Causes and Treatment

Treatment of acid reflux or GERD usually includes over-the-counter medicines or herbal remedies, and without visiting the physician. Having a healthy lifestyle by exercising which will aid in losing weight, quitting smoking, and eating smaller meals usually help to avoid this disease from recurring. Practical suggestions such as avoiding tight clothing, not lying down right away after eating, avoiding foods that trigger acid reflux can do greater good than treatment. Also, slippery elm, chamomile, and licorice root are the most commonly used herbs to treat acid reflux.

But, in the worst-case scenarios and you feel like you need medical attention, do not hesitate to do so. You can expect the doctor to let you swallow a barium solution, and afterward, you will undergo an x-ray imaging for examination. Other diagnostic procedures include esophageal pH monitoring, upper endoscopy, and esophageal manometry. These procedures may vary slightly differently depending on the information that the doctor wants to know about your current condition and the severity of your case.

Prevention is Always Better than Cure

But, of course, the cure will never be better than preventing this condition at all. This can be done if you avoid lying down right away after eating, or simply avoid overeating. If you are really tired and want to rest after a meal, try sleeping on your right instead of lying on your back, especially if you just ate a heavy meal. This will go in favor of the position of the stomach and allow your digestive system to break down food efficiently. Eating early in the evening and not close to bedtime will also help you not to keep yourself awake when you have just finished eating. 

There are cases where alcohol triggers acid reflux. Thus, it can be avoided by drinking only small amounts or taking it in moderation. In the case of pregnant women, the change in the production of hormones coupled with the growing fetus inside the womb causes the esophageal muscles to relax, increasing the risk of acid reflux.