Hypoallergenic Dogs – Is This Your Dog?

When we talk about hypoallergenic dogs, we mean that they have a less or reduced tendency to cause allergies or allergic reaction among allergy sufferers.

It has been estimated that about 10% of the US population is allergic to animals (American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology). Symptoms of the reactions can range from watery eyes to dangerous asthma attacks.

The problem is not with the pet’s hair. It is the dander, or microscopic scales of dead skin (similar to, but much smaller than the dandruff on the human scalp) which pets are constantly shedding that is the cause. They are so tiny that you seldom know that they are circulating in the air or laying on the furniture and carpets because they are so small.

Here is a list of Hypoallergenic Dogs. If I have missed any I do apologize.

  • American Hairless Terrier
  • Basenji
  • Border Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Chinese Crested (hairless)
  • Havanese
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Maltese
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Shih-Tzu
  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Standard Poodle
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Tibetan Terrier
  • Toy Poodle
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Wirehaired Fox Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Please remember that no dog is 100% hypoallergenic and also that allergic sufferers react differently to each separate breed of dog. For West Highland Terriers owners, such as myself, the news is good. They are considered good for allergy sufferers, with a relatively low dander (ranked number 7). However you need to be reminded that one person’s allergies may vary greatly from another person. It is always advisable to visit the home of the dog you wish to have, before you bring it home. I hope that you found this article of use to you

Good health and happiness

(Disclaimer: Any information contained in this site relating to various medical, health and fitness conditions of Westies or other animals and their treatments is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own veterinarian. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing the health of any animal. You should always consult and check with your own vet or veterinarian.)

Magnolia Bark: A Natural Alternative to Antidepressants?

Western medicine may consider them alternative treatment options, but in China, traditional remedies reign supreme. For more than 2000 years, the people of that land have depended on a broad range of medicine practices to promote health and treat disease. Known collectively as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it includes various forms of herbal medicine, exercise, acupuncture, and dietary therapy. The most important of the aforementioned is herbal therapy, since it is involved in the majority of treatments in TCM.

Chinese herbology

One of the world’s most complex medical systems, there are over 13,000 herbal remedies used in China and roughly 100,000 recipes for them in the literature. The ingredients to mix these remedies are so popular that the people of China consume about one million pounds of herbs each year! In fact, a well-stocked pharmacy in China would rival one in the United States, with around 450 different individual herbs for sale.

This information might surprise the Western mind, since herbal medicines are little more than dietary supplements to us. Only a few famous names such as ginseng, licorice root, Ginkgo biloba, and ginger are widely sold in the States. The hundreds of other herbs that are used in traditional Chinese medicine are generally much harder to find. One of these names is magnolia bark.

What is magnolia bark?

Every once in awhile, Americans “discover” a “new” Chinese herb that is purported to have medicinal properties. But since we know so little about Chinese herbology, these formerly humble plants are often endued with near supernatural powers by the people peddling them. Such is the case with magnolia bark, a traditional Chinese medicine that has been around for nearly a millennium now. Stripped from the Magnolia officinalis tree that is native to the mountains and valleys of China, this highly aromatic bark was traditionally used to eliminate phlegm and relieve distension. But as its popularity has grown in recent years, magnolia bark is now used to treat a plethora of ailments, from obesity to asthma and anxiety. The good news is that ancient herbal supplement may actually deliver on some of those promises.

Uses

According to numerous online sources, magnolia bark can be used to treat the following conditions:

· Constipation

· Inflammation

· Obesity

· Depression

· Asthma

· Anxiety

· Menopause

· Insomnia

For anxiety and depression

Like most herbal medications, researchers have had a hard time testing magnolia bark for many of its alleged benefits. They have, however, completed several studies on its supposed anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) qualities. The consensus is that magnolia bark is effective at reducing anxiety because of honokiol, a powerful bioactive compound found in the bark of the Magnolia officinalis. In numerous studies, honokiol compared favorably with diazepam (valium) in its ability to quell anxiety without a change in motor activity or muscle tone.

Another even more compelling study tested both honokiol and magnolol, another bioactive compound found in the bark of the magnolia tree. Because these constituents have been used to treat mental illness in China for hundreds of years, researchers tested the pair in models of depression in rodents. The research team reported antidepressant-like effects when a mixture of honokiol and magnolol was administered orally to the rodents – in this case lab rats and mice. Without getting too technical, the scientists concluded that the combination of natural compounds reduced elevated corticosterone (a major stress hormone) levels in the anxious rodents.

Although evidence is indeed growing to support the traditional use of magnolia bark for depression and anxiety as well as improved sleep, further research is needed. What we can say with a fairly high degree of certainty, though, is that the natural bioactive compounds in the herbal supplement appear to be the real deal. They have proven efficacy and safety in separate tests for treating those specific disorders. However, that does not mean that this traditional Chinese medicine is a panacea, or even that it is effective at treating the other ailments on our list.

For everything else

Because it has relaxing qualities, it appears that magnolia bark can alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and loss of libido. At least two published studies on magnolia bark use in menopausal women corroborate that long-held belief. There is, however, scant evidence that the Chinese herb can treat any of the other afflictions we enumerated earlier.

Side effects

Although it is a completely natural remedy, some users do experience unwanted side effects when taking magnolia bark. Because it has sedative properties, the most common reaction is drowsiness, especially when combined with alcohol. Other reported problems include heartburn, shaking, headache, and vertigo. Although these side effects only occur in a small percentage of users, they can cause serious medical issues if ignored. With that said, there is almost no evidence that magnolia bark is solely responsible for the aforementioned complications. After all, the traditional Chinese medicine has been safely used by millions for nearly a millennium now.

Dosing

Although it has attracted a loyal following of late, magnolia bark is not ginseng or Ginkgo biloba. It is not a supplement that you can simply pick up at your local drug store or supermarket. As a result, it is manufactured by a number of foreign companies and is sold in a numerous forms, including pill, powder, and tincture. Moreover, the dosing instructions for these supplements are often written in Chinese. It is not surprising then that some users have had adverse effects to magnolia bark, since many of them have no idea how much of it they should be taking.

Because it is sold in different forms, we obviously cannot tell you how much of the supplement you should ingest on a daily basis. The best advice we can offer you is to look for dosing instructions online. There are several easy to find resources that provide instructions for both pill and powdered forms of the potent plant extract.

Conclusion

For the tens of millions of Americans who struggle with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, magnolia bark is an attractive alternative to prescription antidepressants. One of the few herbal supplements that has been subjected to extensive testing, all of the research that has been completed to date confirms that the traditional Chinese medicine has powerful stress-busting properties. Safe and inexpensive, magnolia bark can be purchased from reputable vendors on the internet.

Air Pollutants May Affect the Respiratory System and Cardiovascular System

Clean air is a basic precondition of our health. However, most of us living in United States and other developed countries suffer from exposure to many air pollutants that put our health at risk. Air pollution affects our health in different ways from simple to serious problems. For example, particulate matter in the air decreases life expectancy according to many researchers; Pollutants such as ozone irritate people’s breathing, trigger asthma symptoms and cause lung and heart diseases; exposure to environmental tobacco smoke causes many severe respiratory health problems such as asthma and lung cancer. Prolonged exposure to certain air pollutants can even cause human infertility according to recent medical researchers.

Air pollution and its effects on health

Air pollution effects greatly human health, mainly the respiratory and cardiovascular system. The individual reactions to air pollutants vary depending on the type of agent to which people are exposed, the degree of exposure and health conditions, and genetic factor of the person. Air pollutants can cause variety of effects on health, ranging from biochemical and physiological changes to breathing difficulties, cough, and aggravation of respiratory and cardiac disorders. It left untreated, those medical conditions may result in hospitalizations and even premature death.

Effects of air pollution on human Respiratory system

The quality of the Air we breathe affects the quality of our health. Air quality has an impact on the health of our lungs and the entire respiratory system. In addition to oxygen, the air contains other substances such as pollutants, which can be harmful to health. The inhalation of those pollutants may have harmful effects on the lungs and other organs of the body. The respiratory system is particularly sensitive to air pollutants because it is made up of a mucous membrane covering its internal surface. The lungs are designed to absorb large amounts of air (400 million liters on average over a lifetime) in close contact with the bloodstream and facilitate the transport of oxygen.

The cells of the lung tissue can be damaged by air pollutants such as ozone, metals and free radicals. Ozone can cause damage to the alveoli – air sac in the lungs where exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is produced. More specifically, the airway tissues, which contain a large number of bioactivation enzymes, can transform organic pollutants into reactive metabolites, which can cause lung injuries, neurobehavioral disorders, and cancers possibly including breast cancer.

Effects of air pollution on human cardiovascular system

Air pollutants, once inhaled, are absorbed by the blood and transported to the heart. A wide range of chemical and biological substances can directly affect the cardiovascular system and lead to structural damages, such as necrosis degenerative and inflammatory reactions. Some pollutants may also affect contractility of the heart. If these functional changes are sufficiently serious, they can cause fatal arrhythmias.

The changes in the organic systems may also have effects on the endocrine system. Some cytokines released by other inflamed organs (due to air pollutants) may also produce negative effects on the cardio-vascular, including the reduction of the mechanical performance and metabolic efficiency of the heart and blood vessels.

What can you do?

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Doctors Are Finding Chronotherapy More Effective in Treating a Wide-range of Diseases

In a recent news piece on ABCnews.com, it was reported that “…..Many of our body’s internal processes are cyclical. There are daily patterns, like waking and sleeping, monthly patterns, like a woman’s menstrual cycle, and even seasonal patterns, like those that cause seasonal-affective disorder (SAD) during the winter months. But doctors are only recently beginning to understand these rhythms’ impact on other conditions well enough to more effectively treat their patients. The idea that medical treatments can be improved based on when they are given to a patient is called chronotherapy. And by making use of this good timing, doctors are finding that they are more effectively treating a wide-range of diseases such as asthma, arthritis and cancer, all while reducing side effects.”

According to Dr. Michael Smolensky, co-author of the book The Body Clock Guide to Better Health, “When cancer medications are given in a chronobiological manner, patients may be able to tolerate higher, more potent doses than would be possible otherwise.”

Keith Block, MD, one of the nation’s leading cancer specialists has been using chronotherapy with his patients since 1999. “This method of administering chemotherapy is revolutionary and has demonstrated in large randomized trials its potential to improve survival,” states Dr. Block, Dr. Block, who is also Medical/Scientific Director of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care and Optimal Health in Evanston, Illinois. “Current research indicates that Cis-Platin is best given between 4 and 6 pm, as opposed to the evening, as advised in the ABC News piece.. Adriamycin should peak at 4 am, with a 4 to 6 am infusion window. We have found that often patients receiving chronotherapy reduce what would have been recurring side effects of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. This is important because the debilitation caused by chemo can cause patients to reduce or even stop treatments that could otherwise help them win their battle with cancer.”

Randy Lopez was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer at 35. Fighting for his life, he underwent chemotherapy that left him weak and debilitated. In less than a year, he received more devastating news – the cancer had metastasized to his liver. The prognosis was grim. In fact, Lopez and his doctors believed he was running out of time. After working with Dr. Block and undergoing chronotherapy, Lopez, now 42, is cancer free. He will attend the September 30th national meeting of the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) in New York where Dr. Block will address the CCA and explain how even though time was not on Randy’s side, timing was literally the key to his successful recovery.

One of the main problems with this type of treatment has been logistics – figuring out how to deliver chemotherapy in exactly timed doses. Dr. Block has brought technology to the U.S. that administers chemotherapy via a pump designed to precisely time up to four channels of infusion simultaneously to the individual needs of a patient. Highly portable and small enough to fit in a fanny pack, patients are able to maintain full mobility, play sports, and enjoy a full night’s sleep – while receiving their specifically timed cancer therapy.

Keith I. Block, MD is co-founder and Medical/Scientific Director of Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care and Optimal Health in Evanston, Illinois (www.blockmd.com). Block uses research-based treatment methodologies that combine the best of western medicine with complementary treatments in nutritional pharmacology, psychotherapy, meditation, exercise, yoga, etc. Block is editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal, Integrative Cancer Therapies, published by SAGE Science Press and indexed in MEDLINE and Index Medicus. He serves as Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, and as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pharmacognosy (the branch of pharmacology that deals with drugs in their natural state and with medicinal herbs and other plants) in the College of Pharmacy at UIC. In addition, Dr. Block is involved in collaborative research with university facilities in the United States and Israel.

Dealing With Sudden Episodes of Shortness of Breath

With COPD, there are many things that can cause difficult breathing, or shortness of breath. Different things trigger short breathing in different people, but sometimes it just seems to happen for no reason. What can you do if this happens?

First, do your best to stay calm. I know, it’s very challenging to stay calm when it seems like there is no air. Practice your Pursed-lip breathing, and try this mantra: slowly say to yourself, “I’m breathing in… I’m breathing out”.

If you have a quick relief inhaler, use it. If you wear oxygen, put it on. Do a quick scan of your surroundings: is there anything there that could have triggered this? If you have accompanying chest pain, or your breathlessness is getting worse by the second, call Emergency Services right away. If you can stand, assume the position: hands on a chair back, or on a table or counter, leaning slightly forward. This expands the rib cage, allowing you to exhale excess carbon dioxide, and to take in a bigger breath of fresh air.

There are many factors that can cause shortness of breath. It’s important to know what can cause these frightening episodes. Often, it’s not so much a physical trigger, but a lack of best practices. For example:

(1) Did you take your medications and inhalers today? Often, people with a good maintenance routine feel good and forget to take their maintenance inhalers, or other important drugs.

(2) Were you doing too much at once? COPD tends to slow people down. Then, on a feel-good day, said person will try and catch up on all the things that didn’t get done in the past week. Remember to pace yourself with all of your daily activities.

(3) Were you holding your breath? Sometimes we just forget to breathe, much less practice our Pursed-lip techniques. Something seemingly benign such as watching a scary TV show or movie (how about the news?) engrosses us and we hold our breaths in the suspense of it all.

(4) If you are prescribed oxygen with activities, did you skip wearing your oxygen with activity? I can’t tell you how many of my patients need oxygen with activity, but tell me that they put it on while sitting, but take it off to use the bathroom or go get something from the kitchen. This is backwards! I know those 100-foot oxygen hoses are a pain, but please don’t risk low oxygen levels and heart damage just to do something for a few minutes.

So, what can you do to prevent these episodes from striking unexpectedly? Here are a few tips. Again, if you cannot catch your breath or are having chest pain, call Emergency Services immediately.

Make sure your medications are optimized. Schedule a medication review at least once a year with either your MD or a pharmacist, to ensure you are not taking any duplicate or conflicting medications.

Scan your home environment. Do you need to de-clutter a little? Dust a bit more? Do you need help with these chores? If you find that doing chores leave you breathless, (especially ones that fluff up a lot of dust) hire someone to do them for you. Splurge once a month to have someone deep-clean, dust, and vacuum. YOU are worth it!

Post your Personal Action Plan to remind you what to do in what order. The panic of the episode may cause you to forget to even use your inhaler, or forget to use your pursed-lip breathing techniques.

Keep a fan handy, whether it’s a personal hand-held fan or a larger floor-stand fan. Turn it on and stand or sit right in front of it for a few minutes.

For long-term benefits, consider joining a Pulmonary Rehab program, or starting a regular exercise program. Regular exercise has been proven to help people with COPD. Make sure you are exercising within safe limits for YOU.