Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Do You Have Ringing In Your Ears?

Tinnitus, or chronic ringing in your ears, affects about 1 in 5 people. While it’s typically not serious, it can significantly impact your quality of life, and it may get worse with age or be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder.1

In the majority of cases, tinnitus is diagnosed after the age of 50 years, however, recent research has shown that tinnitus in youth is surprisingly common and on the rise, likely due to increased exposure to loud music and other environmental noise.2

Worse still, it may be a sign of permanent nerve damage that could predict future hearing impairment.

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One-Quarter of Youth May Experience Tinnitus, Risk Hearing Loss Later in Life

In a study of 170 students between the ages of 11 and 17 years, researchers from McMaster University in Canada found “risky listening habits,” including exposure to loud noise at parties or concerts, listening to music with ear buds and use of mobile phones excluding texting, were the norm.

More than half of the study participants reported experiencing tinnitus in the past, such as experiencing ringing in the ears for a day following a loud concert.

This is considered a warning sign; however, nearly 29 percent of the students were found to have already developed chronic tinnitus, as evidenced by a psychoacoustic examination conducted in a sound booth.3

Youth with and without tinnitus had a similar ability to hear, but those with tinnitus had significantly reduced tolerance for loud noise and tended to be more protective of their hearing.

Reduced sound level tolerance is a sign of damage to the auditory nerves because, when nerves used to process sound are damaged, it prompts brain cells to increase their sensitivity to noise, essentially making sounds seem louder than they are.

Prevention Is the Best Solution to Tinnitus

Auditory nerve injury that’s associated with tinnitus and heightened sensitivity to loud noises cannot be detected by typical hearing tests, which is why it’s sometimes called “hidden hearing loss.” Further, such damage is permanent and tends to worsen over time, causing increasing hearing loss later in life.

Because there is no known cure, the best solution is prevention. Study author Larry Roberts, Ph.D., of McMaster University’s Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour has compared the emerging risks from loud noises to early warnings about smoking.

At this point, many people are unaware that listening to loud music via earbuds or at parties may be permanently damaging their hearing, particularly since they may still hear normally at this point in time.

If more people were aware of the risks, more would take steps to turn down the volume and give their ears a break. Roberts told Science Daily:4

“It’s a growing problem and I think it’s going to get worse … My personal view is that there is a major public health challenge coming down the road in terms of difficulties with hearing …

The levels of sound exposure that are quite commonplace in our environment, particularly among youth, appear to be sufficient to produce hidden cochlear injuries … The message is, ‘Protect your ears.'”


Tinnitus Is Associated With Psychiatric Disorders and Stress

In adults, the majority of people with tinnitus (77 percent) may suffer from co-existing psychiatric disorders ranging from anxiety to personality disorders. Further, 62 percent of tinnitus patients may suffer from depressive disorders while 45 percent may have anxiety disorders.5

Further, there appears to be a close link between tinnitus and stress, such that stress may make tinnitus worse and vice versa. In one study, emotional exhaustion — or the feeling of being drained due to chronic stress — was a strong predictor of tinnitus severity.6

In addition, chronic stress may be as large a risk factor for developing tinnitus as exposure to occupational noise. Research has found that exposure to highly stressful situations and occupational noise each double the risk of tinnitus.7

Further, stress is especially influential in the transition from mild to severe tinnitus, with researchers concluding, “Stress management strategies should be included in hearing conservation programs, especially for individuals with mild tinnitus who report a high stress load.”8

Also of note, many people with tinnitus first noticed the ringing in their ears during a stressful life event, such as divorce, being laid off, sickness in family members, accidents or surgery. As noted in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry (JNNP):9

These events can heighten the brain’s arousal, and the tinnitus may be noted cortically [by the cerebral cortex]. This interaction between reduced auditory sensation and brain compensation might explain why some people are very bothered by their tinnitus and others just adjust to it.”

The researchers have suggested that tinnitus is not simply a condition affecting the auditory system but rather is neuropsychiatric in nature, which would explain why it often occurs alongside cognitive and behavioral symptoms.

Other Tinnitus Associations to Be Aware Of: Sleep, Trauma, Headaches and More

Tinnitus is often described as a symptom, not a disease in itself, and it may result from a variety of conditions. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one common cause, with nearly 40 percent of military personnel with TBI also experiencing tinnitus.10

Tinnitus is also associated with pain disorders and headaches, including migraines, and often leads to sleep difficulties such as delayed sleep, mid-sleep awakenings and chronic fatigue. In addition, tinnitus is also associated with cognitive deficits, including slowed cognitive processing speed and problems with attention.11

There are different types of tinnitus as well, and the variety may give clues as to its origin. For instance, tinnitus may occur in one or both ears and be described as:12

  • Throbbing or pulsing, which may be due to vascular tumors near the ear
  • High-pitched and continuous (this is most common)
  • Clicking, which may be related to muscle spasms in the roof of your mouth, which cause the Eustachian tube in your ear to open and close; temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues may also cause a clicking sound in your ear
  • Buzzing or humming

Abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, known as otosclerosis, may also cause tinnitus, as can damage to your vestibulocochlear nerve, which transmits sound from your ear to your brain. Such damage may occur from acoustic neuroma tumor or drug toxicity, for instance.

Additionally, certain medications, including certain cancer drugs, sedatives, and anti-inflammatories like ibuprophen and aspirin may also trigger tinnitus.

If this condition is causing you serious emotional or physical distress, seek professional help. In many cases, however, natural interventions such as those described below may help.

Effective Tinnitus Treatments

A slew of pharmaceuticals, including antidepressants, anxiety drugs, mood stabilizers and anticonvulsants, have been used to treat tinnitus.  A meta-analysis of a range of tinnitus management strategies revealed only antidepressants had a possible benefit, but even that study could not conclude that antidepressants were the answer.13

Considering their risks, and the fact that some antidepressants may cause ringing in the ears, non-drug options present the best course of action — and of these there are many.14

In many cases natural interventions, including the following, may help:

Cognitive behavioral therapy: which has been shown to improve quality of life in people with tinnitus.15 Even internet-based guided CBT has been shown to effectively manage tinnitus.16

Acupuncture: which was found to improve tinnitus severity and patients’ quality of life.17

Nutritional interventions, herbal remedies and melatonin: specifically, zinc deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiency may be associated with tinnitus.18,19 Herbal remedies, including Japanese cornel, dogwood, bayberry, hawthorn leaf, ginkgo and black cohosh may also be useful.20

In animal studies, ginkgo extract led to significant improvement in tinnitus, including complete relief in some cases.21 Melatonin also shows promise, and in one study melatonin supplementation led to a significant decrease in tinnitus intensity and improved sleep quality in patients with chronic tinnitus.22

Organic black coffee: research has shown that women who consumed higher amounts of caffeine (mostly in the form of coffee) were less likely to have tinnitus.23

Specifically, women who consumed less than 150 milligrams of caffeine a day (the amount in about 12 ounces of coffee) were 15 percent more likely to develop tinnitus than those who consumed 450 milligrams to 599 milligrams.24 The researchers weren’t sure why caffeine may reduce tinnitus risk, although past research has shown it has a direct effect on the inner ear or may be involved through its role in stimulating your central nervous system.

Stress management: including exercise, relaxation exercises and the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), is important for tinnitus treatment and prevention.

Simple Home Remedies May Provide Relief

If tinnitus is interfering with your quality of life, home remedies may help to relieve your symptoms (and if not, there’s no harm done in trying). Organic Facts compiled several examples worth considering:25

Warm salt pillow: fill a fabric bag with warm salt. Lie down on the pillow and alternate each ear on the bag. Reheat the salt as necessary and repeat several times a day. Foot baths: alternate your feet in hot and cold foot baths. This may dilate your blood vessels and stimulate blood flow toward your head, helping to relieve tinnitus symptoms.
Garlic oil: blend six cloves of fresh garlic with 1 cup of olive oil (the garlic should be finely minced in the process). Let the mixture steep for a week then strain out the garlic. Apply a few drops of the oil in each ear. Music: soft soothing music, white noise, nature sounds or even humming to yourself may help relieve tinnitus.
Stimulate your little toe: use a toothpick to gently stimulate the edge of your little toe near the toenail. This should result in a tingling sensation near the top of your toe. Doing this once a day may relieve tinnitus symptoms. Ear drumming: gently drum on each ear using your fingertips for two to three minutes twice a day to help relieve ringing.
Jawbone massage: massage the hollow and top areas of your jawbone behind your earlobes using coconut oil or sesame oil. You can also apply a hot compress to this neck area for relief.

How to Protect Your Ears From Loud Noise Exposures

While there are many causes of tinnitus, loud noise exposure is a primary culprit, especially among youth. It’s far easier to prevent related damage to your ears than it is to treat it. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends teens and young people take the following steps to protect their hearing and avoid hearing loss (although the advice applies to people of all ages):

Turn down the volume on personal audio devices Try a decibel meter app for your smartphone, which will flash a warning if the volume is turned up to a potentially damaging level Wear earplugs when you visit noisy venues (or when using loud equipment like lawnmowers or leaf blowers)
Use carefully fitted noise-cancelling earphones/headphones, which may allow you to listen comfortably at a lower volume Limit the amount of time you spend engaged in noisy activities Take regular listening breaks when using personal audio devices
Restrict the daily use of personal audio devices to less than one hour

J Mercola

P Carrothers

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Common Painkiller Increase Risk of Heart Attack

commonheartattack

Common Painkillers Boost Heart Attack Risks

 

Common prescription and over-the-counter painkillers, including ibuprofen, boost the risk of heart attack, according to new research that backs earlier findings linking such drugs to cardiac hazards.

 

The study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), finds that higher risk of heart attack depends on dose and arises as early as the first week of use.

But the researchers said the new findings indicate doctors and patients should more carefully weigh the risks and benefits of so-called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Such medications include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cambia), celecoxib (Celebrex), and naproxen (Midol, Aleve).

 

Asprin, which is also an NSAID, was not among the painkillers linked to heart attacks and has consistently been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer.

“Given that the onset of risk of acute myocardial infarction [heart attack] occurred in the first week and appeared greatest in the first month of treatment with higher doses, prescribers should consider weighing the risks and benefits of NSAIDs before instituting treatment, particularly for higher doses,” the researchers concluded.

 

 

The findings are based on an analysis of studies by an international team of researchers led by Michèle Bally of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center (CRCHUM), formerly an epidemiology doctoral student at McGill University in Canada.

The researchers examined the medical records of nearly 447,000 people, more than 61,000 of whom had a heart attack, from Canada, Finland, and the United Kingdom.

 

The findings showed that taking any dose of NSAIDs for one week, one month, or more than a month was associated with an increased risk of heart attack.

Overall the increased risk of a heart attack was between 20 percent and 50 percent greater for those using NSAIDs than those not taking them.

The findings also indicated the higher the dose or frequency of taking the drugs, the greater the risk of heart attack.

 

The study is the largest investigation of its kind to examine real-world patient experiences.

 

After previous studies reached similar conclusions, the Food and Drug Administration required cardiovascular risk warnings be added to the labels of all NSAIDs (except aspirin) in 2005, updated those requirements in 2015.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Nick Tate

312-972-WELL

 

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Can Aspirin Reduce Your Risk of Cancer?

aspirin

Can Daily Aspirin Lower Cancer Death Risk?

Millions of Americans take low-dose aspirin every day for heart health. In doing so, they may also slightly lower their risk of dying from several cancers, a large new study suggests.

Researchers found that among more than 130,000 U.S. adults, those who regularly used aspirin were 7 percent to 11 percent less likely to die of cancer over the next few decades.

The risks of dying from colon, breast, prostate and — for men — lung cancer were all lower among regular aspirin users, compared to non-users, the findings showed.

The findings add to evidence that aspirin has cancer-fighting abilities, the researchers said. But they also stressed that people should not start popping a daily aspirin in the hopes of avoiding cancer.

There is strong evidence, from research in general, that low-dose aspirin may lower the risk of colon cancer, said Dr. Ernest Hawk, a professor at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) already recommends that certain older adults consider taking low-dose aspirin to curb their risk of colon cancer — as well as heart disease.

Specifically, the task force suggests that people in their 50s and 60s talk to their doctor about whether the benefits of daily aspirin outweigh the risks. The USPSTF is an independent medical panel that advises the federal government.

For one, he said, aspirin has risks, such as stomach bleeding and hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke. So people need to discuss those potential harms with their doctor.

Plus, even within the 50-to-69 age group, not everyone stands to benefit from aspirin to the same degree. The task force recommends that low-dose aspirin (typically 81 milligrams a day) be considered only for people at increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years.

Yin Cao, the lead researcher on the new study, agreed that people should not start using aspirin without talking to their doctor.

She said her findings “add evidence to support the USPSTF recommendation on colon cancer.”

But research has been more mixed regarding breast, prostate and lung cancers. And, the new findings don’t prove that aspirin use prevents those diseases, said Cao, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.

The study included more than 130,000 U.S. health professionals who were followed for up to 32 years. They were asked about their aspirin use at the outset, and again every two years.

Nearly 13,000 study participants died of cancer over the next few decades. But the risks were somewhat lower for regular aspirin users, the study authors said.

The biggest difference was seen with colon cancer: Aspirin users were about 30 percent less likely to die of the disease.

In addition, women who used aspirin were 11 percent less likely to die of breast cancer, while men showed a 23 percent lower risk of dying from prostate cancer and a 14 percent lower risk of lung cancer death.

However, Hawk said, the findings can only point to correlations. “It’s always possible that aspirin use is a surrogate for a healthy lifestyle, in general,” he said.

Cao said her team tried to account for other lifestyle and health factors. But she agreed the findings don’t prove cause and effect.

Another issue is that no one knows how much aspirin is needed to see a benefit — or how long it takes to kick in, said Dr. Robin Mendelsohn.

“Many of the studies in colorectal cancer,” she said, “indicate that it takes many years to see a decrease in cancers [with aspirin use].”

Cao was scheduled to present the findings Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C. The results should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

 

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Rx to Wellness

Aspirin Slows Spread of Pancreatic and Colon Cancer.

aspirin

Aspirin Slows Spread of Colon, Pancreatic Cancer

 

The humble aspirin, already a recognized ally in the battle against heart disease, is also a partner in slowing the spread of colon and pancreatic cancer.

Aspirin has already been found to reduce the risk of some gastrointestinal cancers, but scientists didn’t understand the mechanics behind the benefit.

Researchers knew that platelets, the blood cells involved with clotting, promoted spread of cancer by releasing chemicals that spurred the growth of cancerous cells, and by increasing the response of certain proteins that regulate tumor cell development (oncoproteins).

“The current study was designed to determine the effect of inhibition of platelet activation and function by aspirin therapy on colon and pancreatic cancer cell proliferation,” the researchers wrote.

Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University combined platelets with three groups of cancer cells: metastatic colon cancer (cells that have spread outside the colon), nonmetastatic colon cancer (cells growing only within the colon), and nonmetastatic pancreatic cancer cells.

When aspirin was added to the mixture, they found that the platelets were no longer able to stimulate growth and replication in the pancreatic and nonmetastatic colon cancer cells. However, the metastatic colon cancer cells continued to multiply when treated with aspirin

In pancreatic cancer cells, low doses of aspirin stopped the platelets from releasing growth factor and hindered the signaling of the oncoproteins that cause cancer to survive and spread.

Only very high doses — larger than are possible to take orally — were effective in stopping growth in the metastatic colon cells, said the researchers.

The study was published in the American Journal of Physiology — Cell Physiology.

 

Other research has also found that aspirin can be a powerful weapon against cancer.

An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that patients who used aspirin after being diagnosed with colon cancer had a 29 percent lower risk of dying from cancer than aspirin nonusers. In addition, those who used aspirin for the first time after a diagnosis of colon cancer reduced their risk of colorectal death by 47 percent.

A study from the University of Oxford found that a daily aspirin reduced the risk of developing cancer of any kind by about 25 percent when compared to controls who didn’t take aspirin. After five years, the risk of dying in the group taking aspirin was reduced by 37 percent.

Chinese researchers found that women who took aspirin lowered their risk of developing lung cancer by 50 percent if they’d never smoked — and a whopping 62 percent if they smoked.

 

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