In today’s society, more and more people are aware of health issues that they have and what needs to be done to control those issues. Although some conditions need a pharmaceutical solution, it’s not always necessary. And often, if the pharmaceutical route can be avoided, it’s best to avoid it. Few medications come without side effects. Additionally, becoming tolerant to a medication that might be necessary later is not ideal.
This has resulted in an increase in non-pharma treatments that can provide people with a helping hand. Many people, for example, have issues of concentration and focus. Although this is on the ADHD spectrum, they might rightly be uncomfortable with stimulants. So instead of going the pharmaceutical route, they might benefit from supplements such as iron or Omega-3.
Similarly, people with depression may find anti-depressants unpleasant. Many find that St John’s Wort or tryptophan work better for them. People with digestive issues may find that they benefit more from herbal teas and supplements than from harsh antacids. All of this has created a strong, competitive market in herbal supplements. Which is certainly a boon on one front, but is it all for the best?
Are Regulations Allowing Dishonesty?
In a majority of cases, pharmaceutical drugs will not come to market until they have been tested extensively. Although some exceptions have slipped through the net, existing regulations catch a lot more. Where the issue seems to be arising for some is in the dietary supplement and health food market. Because these aren’t medicines in the strictest sense, they aren’t regulated in the same way.
That approach is hard to argue with, from a regulatory point of view. Of course, pharma-grade medications need to be seen with a firmer gaze. Doctors will be prescribing them, and there is also a natural extra level of trust that is given to them. There is, then, a gap between what we call medicine and what we use for the good of our health. If this gap is exploited in the wrong way, it can be bad for us.
For the avoidance of doubt, the FDA treats supplements as being in the “food” category of its food and drug purview. This means that supplements pass as “safe” unless they are proven otherwise. However, the FDA will challenge companies that make false claims for their produces.
This is the case for health food and for supplements. The recent Hampton Creek news story is one example of where the FDA has requested that a company change its naming approach. This is a relatively benign example and illustrates how the FDA offers guidance to companies. However, companies that make inaccurate claims for their products will face sterner challenges.
What Does This Mean For Supplement Providers?
Companies who make supplements with purported health benefits do not, strictly speaking, need FDA approval to do so. However, there is an issue of credibility involved in the sale of health foods. Without FDA approval, it is more difficult to widely sell a product with claims for health benefits. Health food stores and companies with a wide reach are naturally going to favor products with this credibility.
In order to gain approval, a provider will need to demonstrate the claims they make are accurate. It may sound impressive to claim that a product gives improved muscle mass in just a week. But if this claim is not provable, the company will not get FDA clearance to say it on the label. Without that clearance, the product is automatically less attractive in the marketplace.
For any company looking to sell foods or supplements with a range of health benefits, then, the choice is clear. You can shoot for the moon with bold claims about what the product will do. This will not be cleared by the FDA and will render your product more of a novelty item. Or you can research the benefits of your product and see what it really can do, and benefit from the regulator’s approval.
How Is That Working Out?
In truth, with the limits that exist on the FDA’s power in the food and supplement market, there is only so much it can do. Without the power to ban companies from making claims, or to take products off the shelves, it has less sway than may be ideal. It doesn’t take much time online to find companies selling treatments with outlandish claims. These can range from boasts about reversing the ageing process to boosting sexual prowess.
The FDA is not in a place to prevent these products from being sold nor to restrict the claims being made. What it does have power to do is withhold regulatory approval. This is why such products end up being advertised online in ways which most potential customers will distrust. People will still end up purchasing them, but in much reduced numbers than if they were widely stocked in stores.
For some people, this will naturally be viewed as disappointing. The truth of the matter is that in a free market, regulators will be limited in their scope. Giving them the power to take products off shelves or to dictate what someone can print on a label is difficult. Many people would see it as a restraint of free trade. So is it better that at least the FDA can have some sort of power to dictate credibility?
In the long run, the supplements that we come to trust are the ones which have been widely used and found credible. While some products will continue to be sold on the grounds of unsupported claims, their reach in the market is at least limited.
And what does all this mean for the consumer? Put simply, the decision is yours when it comes to choosing a supplement based on the claims of its manufacturers. We can choose to see for ourselves whether a product does what it says on the bottle. But when there is an option that has already been tested, why risk wasting time and money on something that may be a simple con?
Treatment of Bunions and Claw Toes
Bunions have some obvious signs, such as a deviation of the big toe and a bony protuberance in the joint. Claw toes are the result of anatomical imbalances, which cause the deformity. Do you know what is the best treatment for bunions and claw toes? Keep on reading and take notes!
Bunions and Claw toes Facts
When suffering with bunions it is common to have joint swelling and pain, caused by the deviation of the first toe towards the second toe, accompanying the bone prominence on the outside of the foot. Further deformities may also develop, such as hammer or claw toes. Bunions and claw toe deformities do not appear from one moment to another; the deformity develops gradually throughout life, although in some cases it can evolve fast.
Are bunions and claw toes common all over the world? No, because bunions occur almost exclusively in people who wear shoes. So it may be strange to find similar cases in populations that walk barefoot.
The bunion deformity, or hallux valgus, can be classified in different ways. The Manchester scale is the most common one, it classifies bunions into four grades of deformity. Grade 1 is when the person does not have any deformity, grade 2 is a mild form, grade 3 corresponds to a moderated one, and grade 4 corresponds to the most severe form.
Why does the deformity develop? The enlargement of this deformity is caused by a combination of factors. The most common one is the continuous friction and pressure of the shoe on the bone protrusion. Although, other factors can affect its growth, such as the foot type, abnormal shortening of the first metatarsal bone, trauma, hypermobility, inflammatory diseases and footwear with narrow toebox and heels.
How to Deal With Bunions
Did you know bunions are also transmitted from one generation to the next? In some cases a generation is skipped. According to Coughlin & Jones (2007), up to 83% of patients who suffer hallux valgus have a family history. This alteration in the foot structure could be due to the bone, soft tissue, or both. Which does not mean that all inherited alterations will develop bunions.
On one hand, women are seven-to-nine times more likely to suffer from bunions than men. It increases if they have a low body mass index and wear high heels habitually. On the other hand, men with flat feet and high body mass index are more likely to have them.
Treating bunions is recommended because with time the deformity can affect the other toes, and unfortunately, they cannot be resolved or corrected without surgery. There are silicone separators which can align the big toe slightly, and orthotics which can be used to stabilize the joint of the first toe. But there is no way to fully correct the problem.
Minimal Invasive Surgery Technique
The best way to correct bunions and claw toes is by performing minimal invasive surgery. This operation is accomplished by medical specialists and podiatrists with extensive experience in this field.
The minimal invasive surgery technique has been used for about 40 years. These are some of its advantages:
- Avoids complications that may arise from general anaesthetics.
- Ambulatory surgery: this allows patients to come and leave walking unaided from the clinic.
- Great long term results.
- A faster recovery due to a minimal incision, which leaves little post-operative pain.
- Better scar healing and low risk of infection.
- No screws or implants are required.
Consult a foot specialist on time, such as Dr. I. San Román Sirvent or Dr. José Manuel San Román Pérez, who are specialists in minimal incision surgery at Clínica San Román. You will have a complete exam of the foot performed. X-rays will establish the degree of bunion deformity and other problems that may have developed.
Cryotherapy, the hidden beauty secret of celebrities to burn 600 calories in 3 minutes
Cold and ice have been used as a treatment for physical ailments for a long time. In ancient Greece,
Nowadays, is used as a fundamental therapeutic treatment of physical complaints such as sprains, dislocations, contractures, spams, pulled muscles and swollen tissues.
As well, to manage diverse pathologies symptoms as fibromyalgia, psoriasis, chronic pains, among others.
Cryotherapy benefits have gone way beyond of what we can imagine. Not only is a pain management treatment but has become a top model treatment of celebrities and supermodels.
Film stars, high performance athletes and celebrities like Tom Cruise, Jennifer Aniston, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kim Kardashian are a few example of the many followers of this therapy that recommend it in their social media by showing their experience after each session because of it multiple benefits
What is cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy is the exposure of the skin surface of the body to very low temperatures (between -110ºC and -196ºC) by using a cryotherapy cabin which uses “vaporized” liquid nitrogen.
Because nitrogen has a very low temperature without applying extra cold, it can easily achieve the extreme temperature required for this treatment.
At a room temperature, liquid nitrogen can easily pass from a liquid state to a gaseous state. This is the reason of nitrogen use in this kind of treatments and this is why it is said that uses nitrogen “vaporized”.
When exposing the body to very low temperatures because of liquid nitrogen evaporation, the body responds at different levels involving the circulatory system, muscles and the neuroendocrine system. This happens because the brain receives a cold shock caused by a drastic reduction of body’s temperature. The hypothalamus releases series of substances in our body to combat an imminent hypothermia situation. Among these substances we can find dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, which increases blood flow, lipolysis and the production of free radicals catalytic enzymes, while reducing the production of inflammatory cytokines.
One of the main benefit of cryotherapy -and the reason why it is so popular, is the burn of calories. The extreme cold application causes a decrease in body’s temperature, and to compensate this situation the body generates energy by burning localized fat deposits –such as the fat in the belly, therefore a loss of weight occurs togheter with a swelling in the lower abdomen. This same process works for all the body fat deposits. It also reduces, considerably, the annoying cellulite giving an appearance of youth to the body. Additionaly, cryotherapy builds up tissues tone and prevents flaccidity, allowing the body to remain firm and giving the skin a smoothly and healthy look.
Among other benefits, cryotherapy has been proven to be a non-invasive treatment helping to manage and alleviate symptoms of chronic skin diseases such as psoriasis, neurodermatitis, dermatitis, seborrheic complex syndrome, eczema, erythematosis and scleroderma. This due to the peripheral vasodilatation that occurs because of the decreasing in body’s temperature, carring a large amount of oxygen to the body and increasing the blood flow.
Experts explain that there are several and diverse cryotherapy benefits:
- It helps fight migraine and insomnia.
- It improves blood circulation and inhibits varicose veins.
- It reduces inflammation, stress, anxiety and fatigue.
- It accelerates metabolism generating a boost of energy.
- It increases the caloric expenditure -between 500 and 800 kilocalories in the next few hours after a 3-minute session.
Finally, research show that cryotherapy helps in recovery processes and chronic pain issues, and it is also recommended for diseases such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, or multiple sclerosis.
Is cryotherapy dangerous?
Like any other medical-aesthetic treatment, if handled properly there is no risk for our health and integrity.
Provided temperatures reached by liquid nitrogen are very low, it could cause burns when used incorrectly. This is why the skin is only exposed for a very short period of time on the skin -from 2 minutes to 4 minutes, and always in a controlled environment under medical supervision.
As a general rule, cryotherapy is a safe treatment for everybody. However there are exceptional cases where the use of cryotherapy is not recommended:
- People with heart problems and serious health problems, because the sudden decrease in temperature could have a negative effect on the health of people suffering from heart problems.
- People with little resistance to cold, as they would suffer excessively during the session due to the low threshold of pain towards the cold.
- Pregnant women and children. This due to negative effects this treatment could have on fetus of a pregnant women and in children it is not advised because of they are still developing their bodies.
Dental tourism, actually one of the most popular
Commonly known as dental holidays in Europe, it is actually a subset of medical tourism which is experiencing an important growth in this late times, since people from all around the globe is on a more frequent basis using their vacations to seek dental care outside their local healthcare systems. Today, globalization has created an interdependent market which is developing exponentially, where technologies spread out throughout the world quicker than ever, allowing people to find good dental care services at locations where costs are way lower than those at their places of origin.
But, why is this happening?
This has become an unstoppable phenomenon due to the economical differences existent nowadays amongst countries, especially between those that share borders. Obviously people seeking dental care, travel for a huge variety of reasons but an undeniable fact that affects decisions is driven by money, being able to have access to the necessary solution at a significant lower cost, is a strong element in decision making, even more when the quality of the service is as good as the local one only by passing over to a neighbor country.
For example, people from Austria travel to Albania, Hungary, Ukraine, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Bosnia. Citizens from the United States and Canada go to Dental Solutions Algodones Mexico in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru and Ecuador; patients from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Hungary, Ukraine and Poland; and from Australia to other countries of South-East Asia. Some people travel because the funding of public healthcare at their place of choice turns out to be more convenient, or the general access to healthcare at that specific place fits their personal needs.
Freedom of practice
But not all the reasons for dental tourism are due to economics. In Europe, dental professionals are allowed to move their practice from one country to another and they are required only a minimum set of qualifications approved by the country of destination, giving them a greater freedom of practice. This is intended by the union to standardize dental services all over the areas of its members. Furthermore, dentistry universities of the union have developed programmes to help their students on completing some of their education at foreign facilities. This standardization brings down barriers for patients mobility within the area.
How about quality?
Since the main reason in most cases is related to pricing, low prices come with dentists that offer minimum fixed costs, less government issues and lower expenses including those derived from insurance to patients with a high income. Outside the country of origin, many bureaucratic steps are inexistent, allowing dentists to focus more freely on their task. Procedures such as porcelain veneers or dental implants become affordable for many people that can not pay for them back at home. And right here is where the main questions about this matter are focused. First, does price differentials imply lower quality results?, and second, Is it safe to undergo a large scale dental procedure abroad on a short period of time?.
The answers here are NO and YES, and here is why. As previously mentioned, globalization has a lot to do with this, because the latest technologies, materials and techniques are more accessible today than ever before anywhere in the world. In the first case, a dentist with a proven professional record, will charge the appropriate fees according to the country where they work, and the lower price does not necessarily mean poor quality, it means that the patient comes from a place where income is higher but expenses are higher too. In the second case, it is easy to figure out that the answer is affirmative since, as stated in the previous point, quality has nothing to do with the price in this case, and regardless of whether the procedure is something simple or complex, if the work is well done, there is no reason to expect any further problems.
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