- Created on 20 September 2013
What does the location of your headache mean? A headache in the front of your head may be caused by something different that a pain in your temples. Or in the back of your head. Or right in the middle.
According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from headaches and of these, 28 million suffer from migraines.
What Does Your Headache Really Mean?
There are several types of headaches; in fact, according to WebMD, there are 150 different types of headaches. You can generally determine what type of headache you have depending on where exactly the pain is:
Front of your Head
- Tension headache
- Eye strain
- Sinus headache
- Dehydration headache
Temples (side of your head)
- Tension headaches
- Ice-pick headache
- Cervicogenic headache
Back of your Head
- Cervicogenic headache
- Tension headache
- Dehydration headache
- Tension-type headache
- Ice pick headache
- Cough headache
- Exertion headache
- Coital (intercourse) headache
- Cluster headaches
Cervicogenic headaches, one of the most common headache causes in the back of head, stems from the joints at the top of the neck.
Cluster headaches, which affect more men than women, are recurring headaches that occur in groups or cycles. They appear suddenly and are characterized by severe, debilitating pain on one side of the head, and are often accompanied by a watery eye and nasal congestion or a runny nose on the same side of the face.
Coital headaches, also known as “sexual headaches,” occur at the base of the skull before orgasm during sexual activity. These headaches usually have an immediate onset, with some gradually worsening during sexual intercourse. They typically last for a few minutes to a few hours.
Dehydration headaches may occur at the front or back or just on one side of the head, or it may be felt throughout the entire head. Bending the head down or moving it from side to side often worsens the headache. Simply walking can cause more head pain, LeWine noted.
Exertion headaches occur during or after sustained, strenuous exercise. Activities associated with exercise headaches include running, rowing, tennis, swimming and weightlifting.
Ice-pick headaches will often cause repeated sharp pains in the temples.
Migraines tend to cause one-sided pain, throbbing pain, moderate-to-severe pain, and pain that interferes with, is worsened by, or prohibits routine activity. Additionally, nausea and/or vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound can accompany pain.
Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of the nose. The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining. The pain is usually accompanied by other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, and facial swelling.
Tension headaches, the most common type of headache, feels like a constant ache or pressure around the head, generally on both sides of the head.
- Created on 20 September 2013
Each year Sept. 27 marks Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Because of advances in treatment, AIDS is a relic of the last century in many people's minds. Few people who came of consciousness since 1996, when highly effective antiretroviral therapy first became widely available, remember the bad old days of major losses of HIV-infected people, who were often highly visible in urban epicenters because of severe wasting and disfiguring skin lesions.
This is some of the good news. HIV is treatable, and full-blown AIDS is increasingly uncommon, but that is only part of the story.
There are now more than 1 million Americans living with HIV, and around 200,000 remain unaware of their infection. A larger number are not stably engaged in care. Moreover, more than 50,000 Americans have become newly infected with HIV each year for more than a decade, so the actual number of people living with HIV in the U.S. continues to increase.
The epidemic is increasingly affecting people of color, particularly African Americans and especially younger people. Gay and bisexual men are greatly impacted as well, with male-to-male sexual transmission accounting for more than half of new infections. A recent six-city study that The Fenway Institute participated in enrolled black men who have sex with men and transgender women and found that the overall rate of new infections exceeded 5 percent annually. The epidemic is not evenly distributed. It is more common in cities on both coasts and in towns in the South. In Washington, D.C., one in seven black men, independent of sexual orientation or injection drug use history, is infected with HIV.
Why is this happening? There is no simple reason, but some key factors are relevant. Biologically, anal sex is a more efficient way of transmitting HIV, since the gut contains more cells that can avidly bind the virus. This does not mean that vaginal sex is without risk, just that it is less efficient for HIV transmission than anal sex. Individuals who are depressed (sometimes because of social disapproval of their lifestyle), who use drugs (sometimes to forget societal stigma), or who have experienced early life stresses (including abuse) are often less capable of engaging in self-protective behaviors. There are social factors; for example, people are more likely to choose partners within their community, concentrating HIV in black communities and among men who have sex with men. There are structural factors too. Poor people have less social mobility, further concentrating HIV infection within geographically restricted areas.
So why should anyone care? First of all, this is an unprecedented time. In the past few years it has been shown that antiretroviral drugs work best if started when individuals are asymptomatic, before their immune systems fail. A secondary benefit of early treatment is that people whose HIV infection is suppressed are less likely to transmit HIV to others. Additionally, recent studies have found that HIV-negative at-risk persons who use some of the same antiretroviral medications for prevention (like taking pills to prevent malaria when traveling in endemic areas) as pre-exposure prophylaxis are much less likely to become infected.
If we do nothing to curb the epidemic, it means that 50,000 more Americans will become HIV-infected annually, that some will eventually develop AIDS and die from a treatable disease, and that almost all others will eventually need to be on lifelong treatment that currently runs about $15,000 a year for the medication alone.
So what can you do? First of all, know your HIV status. A task force within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recently called for HIV screening for all Americans aged 15 to 65. In addition, the 2010 Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) increased coverage for HIV screening for most Americans. The HIV test is easy to do and highly reliable. Individuals who find out they are infected can be referred for care and support programs and are less likely to engage in behaviors that may transmit HIV to others. Individuals who are not infected can learn about ways to stay uninfected and can be retested later if they engage in activities that put them at risk. You can find an HIV testing center near you by visiting hivtest.cdc.gov.
Second, we all live in communities and are part of networks. Encourage your loved ones, family and friends to be tested and to talk about their risks. More than 30 years after this global pandemic appeared, we are at a point where we can substantially turn the tide in the U.S. and throughout the world. If we ignore the persistence of the virus, because of the stigma associated with the behaviors that can transmit it, we are part of a conspiracy of silence that will ensure that the epidemic continues to grow. The virus is the problem, not sex, not people who are infected with HIV or those at risk, and the more we normalize the conversation without value judgments, the quicker we will identify those who can benefit from the highly effective treatments and prophylaxis currently available.
- Created on 20 September 2013
How do you lose belly fat? Why is it so important to take control of your midsection?
Aside from aesthetics, belly fat is the most dangerous type of fat. Large waistlines are indicators of multiple conditions and diseases.
But how do you lose it? Unfortunately, it does take more than just crunches. But to get rid of it, it may help you to understand a little more about where it comes from in the first place:
* One source of belly fat is obvious: lifestyle. A poor diet and/or lack of exercise can influence the accumulation of fat cells.
* Another source of belly fat are genes – look at your parents/relatives. If they tend to have more belly fat, you probably will, too.
* Yet another source of midsection weight gain is a fat-inducing hormone called cortisol. Stress is one of the primary culprits for high levels of cortisol secretion. When you're stressed, cortisol breaks downs lean muscle (the type of tissue that burns calories most efficiently) and also holds on to fat storage in the abdominal region. Things can even get even worse with poor lifestyle choices mixed in.
So how can you fight back?
If you want to work late at night, think again. When your biorhythms are off, you end up eating more. When you're tired you produce more ghrelin, which triggers cravings for sugar and other fat-building foods. Losing sleep can also alter your hormone production, affecting your cortisol levels that cause insulin sensitivity, prime reasons for belly fat! Getting about 7 hours of sleep a night is one of the best things you can do for your body shaping goals.
2. Perform short bursts of exercises
1000 crunches a night may get you strong abdominal muscles, but with a full layer of fat on top, you will not get the results you really want. Instead of all those crunches, do exercises that engage multiple muscle groups and work your cardiovascular system. Try planking, where you hold yourself in a push-up position, resting your forearms on the ground. Try 3 or 4 sets of holding for 30 seconds each. Getting up and moving throughout the day by going for walks will also help.
3. Reduce your sugar intake
Fighting belly fat is 80% healthy diet. Reduce calories by filling yourself up with protein, vegetables, whole grains, and replacing bad habit snacks with good ones. For example, if you have a sugar craving, replace your calorie laden latte with a Muscle Milk lite, which has zero sugar and is a great source of craving-busting protein.
Another great trick is a sprinkle of cinnamon in your morning coffee or oatmeal. This spice has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar. It also slows the rate at which food exits the stomach, which helps you feel fuller longer.
4. Get your Vitamin C
When you're under extreme stress, you secrete more cortisol. Vitamin C helps to balance cortisol spikes – and is also a great way to support your immune system, limiting colds. In addition, Vitamin C is essential to your body's carnitine production. Carnitine is a compound used by the body to turn fat into fuel.
If you're going through an emotional crisis, stress from work, or a bad eating splurge, increase your vitamin C – it'll help counteract the negative side effects. Try bell peppers, kale or kiwi fruits...and oranges, of course.
5. Eat Fat
Though it sounds counterproductive, it takes fat to burn fat. Like I said above, it's sugar that gets you fat, not fat. Good fats include foods rich in Omega 3′s, like salmon, avocados & walnuts. These foods are full of nutrients that help keep you satiated throughout the day.
6. Slow down your breathing
This is a very simple method that you can use even when you're in the midst of doing something else. Whenever you notice you're feeling tense and uptight check and see how you're breathing. Most people under stress either alternate holding their breath with short breaths, or take rapid shallow breaths. After you become aware of your own breathing, consciously relax your belly and slow down the breathing. This works best if you focus on slowing down the exhalation rather than your inhalation. With each exhalation you can say to yourself "slow down".
- Created on 19 September 2013
Although the allergy season has gotten off to a late start, this fall could be a "perfect storm for allergy sufferers," according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. And residents in 10 cities across America will be feeling it more than others.
AAFA has published their annual ranking of fall "allergy capitals" - the most-challenging places in the United States to live in for people with allergies.
The rankings are based on average pollen levels, resident reliance on over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications, and the number of board certified allergists in each city. Topping the list this year is Wichita, Kansas, which ranked second last year.
The remainder of the top 10 for 2013 are:
2. Jackson, Mississippi
3. Knoxville, Tennessee
4. Louisville, Kentucky
5. Memphis, Tennessee
6. McAllen, Texas
7. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
8. Dayton, Ohio
9. Chattanooga, Tennessee
10. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The full list includes 100 cities across the country. Charleston, South Carolina, made the biggest jump on the list from No. 42 to No. 26.
Ragweed is the biggest culprit in causing fall allergies, according to AAFA; there are 17 different species found in the United States, and it's found most often in rural areas in the Northeast and Midwest.
"Scientists estimate that a single ragweed plant can release one billion grains of pollen over the course of ragweed season," an AAFA fact sheet states. "Ragweed pollen grains are light and are easily dispersed by the gentlest of breezes."
Weather plays a big role in the severity of allergy season. Higher-than-average temperatures in the fall can produce more pollen, which is distributed over wider areas by strong winds. Mold caused by flooding or storms is also attributing to outdoor allergens, the AAFA says.
"Extreme weather conditions are resulting in greater exposure to allergens, triggering seasonal allergy symptoms to peak earlier and last longer for many people."