Friday, March 29, 2013

Health Problems Caused by Extreme Exercise and Dieting

Sports and exercise are healthy activities for girls and women of all ages. Occasionally, a female athlete who focuses on being thin or lightweight may eat too little or exercise too much. Doing this can cause long-term damage to health, or even death. It can also hurt athletic performance or make it necessary to limit or stop exercise.

Three interrelated illnesses may develop when a girl or young woman goes to extremes in dieting or exercise. Together, these conditions are known as the "female athletic triad."

The three conditions are:

  • Disordered eating
    Abnormal eating habits (i.e., crash diets, binge eating) or excessive exercise keeps the body from getting enough nutrition.
  • Menstrual dysfunction
    Poor nutrition, low calorie intake, high-energy demands, physical and emotional stress, or low percentage of body fat can lead to hormonal changes that stop menstrual periods (amenorrhea).

  • Premature osteoporosis (low bone density for age)
    Lack of periods disrupts the body's bone-building processes and weakens the skeleton, making bones more likely to break.
Females at Risk:
Females in any sport can develop one or more parts of the triad. At greatest risk are those in sports that reward being thin for appearance (such as figure skating or gymnastics) or improved performance (such as distance running or rowing).
Fashion trends and advertising often encourage women to try to reach unhealthy weight levels. Some female athletes suffer low self-esteem or depression, and may focus on weight loss because they think they are heavier than they actually are. Others feel pressure to lose weight from athletic coaches or parents.

Female athletes should consider these questions:

  • Are you dissatisfied with your body?
  • Do you strive to be thin?
  • Do you continuously focus on your weight?
If the answers are yes, you may be at risk for developing abnormal patterns of eating food (disordered eating), which can lead to menstrual dysfunction and early osteoporosis.

Female Athletic Triad:

Disordered Eating:
Although they usually do not realize or admit that they are ill, people with disordered eating have serious and complex disturbances in eating behaviors. They are preoccupied with body shape and weight and have poor nutritional habits.

Females are five to 10 times more likely to have disordered eating compared with males, and the problem is especially common in females who are athletic. The illness takes many forms. Some people starve themselves (anorexia nervosa) or engage in cycles of overeating and purging (bulimia). 

Others severely restrict the amount of food they eat, fast for prolonged periods of time or misuse diet pills, diuretics, or laxatives. People with disordered eating may also exercise excessively to keep their weight down.

Disordered eating can cause many problems, including dehydration, muscle fatigue and weakness, an erratic heartbeat, kidney damage, and other serious conditions. Not taking in enough calcium can lead to bone loss. It is especially bad to lose bone when you are a child or teenager because that is when your body should be building bone. Hormone imbalances can lead to more bone loss through menstrual dysfunction.

Menstrual Dysfunction: 
Missing three or more periods in a row is cause for concern. With normal menstruation, the body produces estrogen, a hormone that helps to keep bones strong. Without a menstrual cycle (amenorrhea), the level of estrogen may be lowered, causing a loss of bone density and strength (premature osteoporosis).

If this happens during youth, it may become a serious problem later in life when the natural process of bone mineral loss begins after menopause. Amenorrhea may also cause stress fractures. Normal menstruation is necessary for pregnancy.

Premature Osteoporosis (Low Bone Density for Age)
Bone tissue wears away, making your skeleton fragile. 
Low bone mass puts you at increased risk for fractures.

Doctor Examination:
Recognizing the female athletic triad is the first step toward treating it. See your doctor right away if you miss several menstrual periods, get a stress fracture in sports, or think you might have disordered eating.
Give the doctor your complete medical history, including:

  • What you do for physical activity and what you eat for nutrition.

  • How old you were when you began to menstruate and whether you usually have regular periods.

  • If you are sexually active, use birth control pills, or have ever been pregnant.

  • If you have ever had stress fractures or other injuries.
  • Any changes (up or down) in your weight.

  • Any medications you are taking or symptoms of other medical problems.

  • Family history of diseases (i.e., thyroid disease, osteoporosis).

  • Factors that cause stress in your life.
Your doctor will give you complete physical examination and may use laboratory tests to check for pregnancy, thyroid disease, and other medical conditions. In some cases, a bone density test will be recommended.

Treatment for female athletic triad often requires help from a team of medical professionals including your doctor (pediatrician, gynecologist, family physician), your athletic trainer, a nutritionist, and a psychological counselor.

How to prevent kidney stones with daily foods

Passing them is described by those who have experienced their terror as one of the worst pains known to man, exceeding even the pain of childbirth. But kidney stones do not have to be a constant worry on your mind, especially if you are taking proactive nutritional steps on a daily basis to dissolve and eliminate any that might be cropping up. Here are a few helpful tips for preventing kidney stones with everyday foods and dietary interventions:

1. Drink plenty of clean water:

This point simply cannot be overstated, as pure, fluoride-free water truly is the master cleanser when it comes to maintaining clean kidneys that are free of stones and other toxic buildup. Drinking at least four liters of water every day will not only help prevent kidney stones from forming, but also quickly eliminate any small stones that may have already formed. Some health practitioners also recommend drinking distilled water to prevent and flush kidney stones.

"The single most important step for preventing kidney stones is to drink plenty of fluids each day," explains a 2001 issue of Healthwire.   "Water is best and most physicians recommend three to four quarts daily. Patients who do no more than increase their fluid intake cut their rate of stone recurrence by 50 percent."

2. Add fresh lemon, lime and apple cider vinegar to daily beverages:

Taking this a step further, adding fresh lemon or lime juice, or apple cider vinegar, to your beverages throughout the day will help alkalize your body, effectively blocking the formation of kidney stones. These alkalizing juices will also help quickly dissolve any existing stones that might be present in your kidneys, keeping them clean and stone-free.

"At the first symptom of stone pain, mix 2 oz of organic olive oil with 2 oz of organic lemon juice," writes Dr. Ed Group on his Natural Health & Organic Living Blog about how to eliminate kidney stones naturally. "Drink it straight and follow with a 12 oz glass of purified water. Wait 30 minutes. 

Then, squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon in 12 ounces of purified water, add 1 tablespoon of organic raw apple cider vinegar and drink. Repeat the lemon juice, water and apple cider vinegar recipe every hour until symptoms improve."

3. Eat foods that are naturally high in calcium:

This point may run contrary to your existing line of thinking as far as kidney stones are concerned, but natural calcium is actually beneficial for preventing kidney stones. According to a recent study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, dietary calcium actually binds with calcium oxalate, the substance that makes up most kidney stones, and crystallizes and flushes it from the body before it has a chance to form into stones.

Because of this, many experts recommend eating more foods that are naturally high in calcium to prevent kidney stones. Based on actual calcium absorption rates, the best foods in this category include leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, nuts and seeds, and raw, grass-fed milk and butter. As a side note, studies have found the exclusively vegetarian diets are linked to higher rates of kidney stones, so be sure to include saturated fats from coconut or palm oils to help balance your fat intake if you do not eat meat products.

4. Supplement with magnesium citrate, B vitamins everyday:

One of the first things that hospital ERs administer to patients admitted for kidney stone pain is magnesium citrate, a natural mineral substance that counteracts the oxalate minerals in many foods. 

For maximum kidney stone prevention, be sure to eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods every day....these include avocados, broccoli, raw cacao, beans, bananas, and lentils.....and take a high-quality magnesium citrate supplement like Natural Vitality's Natural Magnesium Calm. Also, it is recommended to supplement with a whole food-based B vitamin complex supplement like MegaFood's Balanced B Complex every day to prevent kidney stone formation.

5. Stop drinking soda pop:

One of the worst foods you can consume for kidney stones is soda pop beverages, which greatly acidify the body due to their high phosphoric acid content. 

There is a lot of misinformation out there about soda and its effect on kidney stones....a 2010 study actually purported that diet soda can help prevent kidney stones....but the truth of the matter is that regular consumption of soda pop is a direct contributor to kidney stones.

6. Stick to a 'low oxalate' diet:

Though most of the previous recommendations will help naturally counteract the effects of oxalates in your body, you can also eliminate high oxalate foods from your diet if you have a propensity for kidney stones. Such foods include black tea, grains, and certain nuts and vegetables. You can learn more about a "low oxalate" diet by visiting:

Yoga benefits for men

Once upon a time, when you spoke to men about yoga, they almost immediately had images of Lululemon-clad women chanting verses of Sanskrit while bending their bodies into impossible positions. 

For the hockey-playing, basketball-watching, sports-obsessed male species, the practice of yoga was about as appealing as watching a Julia Roberts romantic comedy -- twice. 

However, times.....and old-standing stereotypes.....have changed thanks, in part, to the evolution of male-specific sport versus female-specific sport. More women are tackling the football field while more men are doing the downward dog. 

Yoga has become the new cross-training for men looking to increase their flexibility and improve their muscle conditioning so the next time they hit the field or the rink, their bodies will bend into nearly impossible positions -- willingly.

1. Yoga works the entire body
In sports such as hockey, tennis or football, you tend to utilize only 10 to 15 per cent of the body, whereas yoga provides a workout that covers every muscle, joint and organ. 

The practice oxygenates the blood, creating more energy when you finish the exercise as opposed to depleting the body of it. 
You work every system: cardiovascular, skeletal, muscular and endocrine.

2. Yoga has benefits in the bedroom
Eagle Pose, is a posture that sends fresh blood and oxygen to the sexual organs, so this is a particularly beneficial exercise for men in revitalizing their bedroom prowess

Triangle  pose, is a marriage of the heart and the lungs, two organs that don't usually interact. Not only does this posture increase cardiovascular endurance, but it is also the only known yoga posture that utilizes every organ, muscle and joint in the body.

3. Yoga works for every size
It does not matter how you look when you practise yoga. Whether you're a 250-pound linebacker or a 150-pound triathlete, yoga will push your personal boundaries by increasing your own flexibility, endurance and muscle strength.

4. Yoga decreases muscle soreness
Yoga is hugely beneficial in working out stiffness from other sports. When muscles are fatigued, they build with lactic acid, and yoga, which stretches and releases tension, helps flush that away. Runners in particular find yoga the best activity after a long endurance jog.

5. Yoga restores energy levels
Yoga practice doesn't deplete your body of all of your energy after a, say, a gym workout, where your body is entirely fatigued after your session. Instead, it actually increases your vigour, making you feel more aware and revitalized.

6. Yoga trains your focus
By combining mental, physical and emotional strength, they became better athletes at their chosen sport. Men can't seem to let their egos go, and in yoga, you have to train your mind to shut stop thinking about work, what you're going to have for dinner or whether the Raptors are going to win the game. 

Traditionally, men have a more difficult time doing that than women, although, once they do let go, their focus on the positions....and the difficulty in holding them....improves vastly.

7. Yoga flushes your system
The practice of yoga is often referred to as "intense," especially in Bikram. When you are working in a room heated higher than your body temperature, you sweat a considerable amount. 

The pounds dramatically shed off your body and, more importantly, you rid yourself of all the pent-up toxins. Due to the heat in Bikram, it has been noted that you are essentially creating an artificial "fever" in the body, therefore enhancing the immune system.

8. Yoga balances the mind
Yoga has such a great sense of community to it and it really allows for mental clarity and focus. After you practise, you feel more grounded, less self-absorbed and calmer. 

This type of mental clarity really helps in other sports or activities you may be involved in.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rotator Cuff Tears


Rotator Cuff Tears

A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of pain and disability among adults. In 2008, close to 2 million people in the United States went to their doctors because of a rotator cuff problem. 

A torn rotator cuff will weaken your shoulder. This means that many daily activities, like combing your hair or getting dressed, may become painful and difficult to do. 


 Your shoulder is made up of three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle). The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint: The ball, or head, of your upper arm bone fits into a shallow socket in your shoulder blade.

Your arm is kept in your shoulder socket by your rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a network of four muscles that come together as tendons to form a covering around the head of the humerus. The rotator cuff attaches the humerus to the shoulder blade and helps to lift and rotate your arm.
There is a lubricating sac called a bursa between the rotator cuff and the bone on top of your shoulder (acromion). The bursa allows the rotator cuff tendons to glide freely when you move your arm. When the rotator cuff tendons are injured or damaged, this bursa can also become inflamed and painful.

This illustration more clearly shows the four muscles and their tendons that form the rotator cuff and stabilize the shoulder joint.


When one or more of the rotator cuff tendons is torn, the tendon no longer fully attaches to the head of the humerus. Most tears occur in the supraspinatus muscle and tendon, but other parts of the rotator cuff may also be involved.

In many cases, torn tendons begin by fraying. As the damage progresses, the tendon can completely tear, sometimes with lifting a heavy object.

There are different types of tears:

Partial Tear:  

This type of tear damages the soft tissue, but does not completely sever it.  

 Full-Thickness Tear:
This type of tear is also called a complete tear. It splits the soft tissue into two pieces. In many cases, tendons tear off where they attach to the head of the humerus. With a full-thickness tear, there is basically a hole in the tendon.


There are two main causes of rotator cuff tears: injury and degeneration.

Acute Tear
If you fall down on your outstretched arm or lift something too heavy with a jerking motion, you can tear your rotator cuff. This type of tear can occur with other shoulder injuries, such as a broken collarbone or dislocated shoulder.

Degenerative Tear
Most tears are the result of a wearing down of the tendon that occurs slowly over time. This degeneration naturally occurs as we age. Rotator cuff tears are more common in the dominant arm. If you have a degenerative tear in one shoulder, there is a greater risk for a rotator cuff tear in the opposite shoulder -- even if you have no pain in that shoulder.

Several factors contribute to degenerative, or chronic, rotator cuff tears.

Repetitive stress:

 Repeating the same shoulder motions again and again can stress your rotator cuff muscles and tendons. Baseball, tennis, rowing, and weightlifting are examples of sports activities that can put you at risk for overuse tears. Many jobs and routine chores can cause overuse tears, as well.

Lack of blood supply:

As we get older, the blood supply in our rotator cuff tendons lessens. Without a good blood supply, the body's natural ability to repair tendon damage is impaired. This can ultimately lead to a tendon tear.

Bone spurs:
 As we age, bone spurs (bone overgrowth) often develop on the underside of the acromion bone. When we lift our arms, the spurs rub on the rotator cuff tendon. This condition is called shoulder impingement, and over time will weaken the tendon and make it more likely to tear.

Risk Factors
Because most rotator cuff tears are largely caused by the normal wear and tear that goes along with aging, people over 40 are at greater risk.

People who do repetitive lifting or overhead activities are also at risk for rotator cuff tears. Athletes are especially vulnerable to overuse tears, particularly tennis players and baseball pitchers. Painters, carpenters, and others who do overhead work also have a greater chance for tears.

Although overuse tears caused by sports activity or overhead work also occur in younger people, most tears in young adults are caused by a traumatic injury, like a fall.


The most common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:
  • Pain at rest and at night, particularly if lying on the affected shoulder
  • Pain when lifting and lowering your arm or with specific movements
  • Weakness when lifting or rotating your arm
  • Crepitus or crackling sensation when moving your shoulder in certain positions

Tears that happen suddenly, such as from a fall, usually cause intense pain. There may be a snapping sensation and immediate weakness in your upper arm.

Tears that develop slowly due to overuse also cause pain and arm weakness. You may have pain in the shoulder when you lift your arm to the side, or pain that moves down your arm. 

At first, the pain may be mild and only present when lifting your arm over your head, such as reaching into a cupboard. 

Over-the-counter medication, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may relieve the pain at first.


Your MD or your therapist will test your range of motion by having you move your arm in different directions.

Medical History and Physical Examination
After discussing your symptoms and medical history, your MD or your therapist will examine your shoulder. 

He or she will check to see whether it is tender in any area or whether there is a deformity. To measure the range of motion of your shoulder, your doctor will have you move your arm in several different directions. He or she will also test your arm strength.

Your MD or therapist will check for other problems with your shoulder joint. He or she may also examine your neck to make sure that the pain is not coming from a "pinched nerve," and to rule out other conditions, such as arthritis.

Imaging Tests

Other tests which may help your doctor confirm your diagnosis include:

The first imaging tests performed are usually x-rays.
Because x-rays do not show the soft tissues of your 
shoulder like the rotator cuff, plain x-rays of a shoulder 
with rotator cuff pain are usually normal or may show a 
small bone spur.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound.
These studies can better show soft tissues like the 
rotator cuff tendons. They can show the rotator cuff 
tear,as well as where the tear is located within the 
tendon and the size of the tear. An MRI can also give 
your doctor a better idea of how "old" or "new" a tear is 
because it can show the quality of the rotator cuff 


If you have a rotator cuff tear and you keep using it despite increasing pain, you may cause further damage. A rotator cuff tear can get larger over time.

Chronic shoulder and arm pain are good reasons to see your MD. Early treatment can prevent your symptoms from getting worse. It will also get you back to your normal routine that much quicker.

The goal of any treatment is to reduce pain and restore function. There are several treatment options for a rotator cuff tear, and the best option is different for every person. 

In planning your treatment, your MD will consider your age, activity level, general health, and the type of tear you have.

There is no evidence of better results from surgery performed near the time of injury versus later on. For this reason, many MD first recommend nonsurgical management of rotator cuff tears.

In about 50% of patients, nonsurgical treatment relieves pain and improves function in the shoulder. Shoulder strength, however, does not usually improve without surgery.

Nonsurgical treatment options may include:

Your doctor may suggest rest and and limiting overhead activities. He or she may also prescribe a sling to help protect your shoulder and keep it still. 
Activity modification:
Avoid activities that cause shoulder pain.           

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication:
Drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen reduce pain and swelling.

 Strengthening exercises and physical therapy:
Specific exercises will restore movement and strengthen your shoulder. Your exercise program will include stretches to improve flexibility and range of motion. Strengthening the muscles that support your shoulder can relieve pain and prevent further injury.

Steroid injection:
If rest, medications, and physical therapy do not relieve your pain, an injection of a local anesthetic and a cortisone preparation may be helpful. Cortisone is a very effective anti-inflammatory medicine.  

The chief advantage of nonsurgical treatment is that it avoids the major risks of surgery, such as:
  • Infection
  • Permanent stiffness
  • Anesthesia complications
  • Sometimes lengthy recovery time
The disadvantages of nonsurgical treatment are:
  • No improvements in strength
  • Size of tear may increase over time
  • Activities may need to be limited
Surgical Treatment
Your MD may recommend surgery if your pain does not improve with nonsurgical methods. Continued pain is the main indication for surgery. If you are very active and use your arms for overhead work or sports, your doctor may also suggest surgery.

Other signs that surgery may be a good option for you include:
  • Your symptoms have lasted 6 to 12 months
  • You have a large tear (more than 3 cm)
  • You have significant weakness and loss of function in your shoulder
  • Your tear was caused by a recent, acute injury
Surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff most often involves re-attaching the tendon to the head of humerus (upper arm bone). There are a few options for repairing rotator cuff tears. Your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss with you the best procedure to meet your individual health needs.