By Howard Murad M.D.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:36:00 07/16/2009
THE WATER principle is not about drinking water. It is about getting water into the cells and keeping it there so that every cell can function at full capacity.
Next to oxygen, water is the most important substance you need, and almost everything we know about aging tells us the decline in function over the years is a direct result of water loss.
To give you a visual, think of an infant. At birth, a baby’s body weight is about 75 percent water; it’s plump, smooth and resilient. As age takes its toll, we lose the ability to hold on to that water.
Our skin becomes thin, dry and rough as water content drops to an average of about 50 percent for adult females, 60 percent for males. Holding on to this water is the secret to keeping cells youthful.
Inflammation and free radical damage have maintained their status in the headlines as the main causes of aging. Some of the world’s leading scientists have been unraveling the mystery of how these forces cause your body—and your skin—to self-destruct.
Not only are inflammation and free radicals inextricably linked to wrinkles and the aging process in general. They are also important players in chronic diseases from diabetes and arthritis to cancer.
But as important as these factors are, they still have the same net effect: destruction of the cells or tissue, causing water loss.
During over 30 years of practice, I have seen nearly 50,000 patients. Many come to me as the signs of aging set in. Their mission: to stop the results of aging skin with an injection or a facelift.
While I believe surgical procedures can provide wonderful results, I always educate my patients about the fact that these procedures do not improve the quality of the skin.
The skin can be lifted and pulled back, yet you still have the same skin. You can freeze the muscle or plump up a wrinkle with fillers, but you have not made the skin healthier.
My answer is to put the water back into the tissue by using a method that combines both topical and internal factors.
As a skincare professional, you can increase the water content in your clients’ skin by using professional treatments. I recommend products that contain these ingredients:
Exfoliators, such as enzymes, AHAs, BHAs to remove non-functioning skin cells
Natural moisture factors, such as sodium PCA and hyaluronic acid that absorb water
Ceramides and essential fatty acids, such as evening primrose oil, avocado oil, linoleic acid to protect the skin’s barrier function and help prevent water loss
Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, pomegranate extract, grape-seed extract, green tea to protect from damaging free radicals
Anti-inflammatory agents, such as licorice extract, zinc, cucumber and other botanicals to reduce inflammation
I have always believed in the importance of supplements and their role in skin health.
As the first to pioneer the use of internal skincare in 1995, I have scientific proof, through independent studies, that you can reduce wrinkles, increase elasticity, clear acne, increase sun protection and reduce cellulite with specific supplement formulas.
To optimize water content in the cells internally, I recommend a daily intake of these key nutrients:
Glucosamine to promoteconnective tissue production so it can absorb more water
Phosphatidylcholine to maintain cell walls
Antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, grape-seed extract, coenzyme Q10 to fight free radicals
Anti-inflammatory agents, such as zinc and soothing botanicals to reduce inflammation
Essential fatty acids to lock in moisture in the cells
Amino acids which are the building blocks for collagen and elastin
When these are taken in the right combination, you can increase the water content of your cells and reduce wrinkles by 34 percent and increase elasticity by 18 percent, in just five weeks.
Incorporating the water principle in your treatment areas and for your client regimen may be summarized in two ways:
1) Put it on—keep it in: On the outside, you need to trap the water into your skin. This starts with cleansing. Leave the surface of the skin slightly damp, then apply moisturizer that contains ingredients that attract water such as hyaluronic acid or sodium PCA, and ingredients that lock in water such as ceramides.
2) Drink it—keep it: On the inside, drink water and hold it in by taking glucosamine (this produces hyaluronic acid, which attracts up to 1,000 times its weight in water). Then you maintain the water you drink by taking essential fatty acids such as flaxseed, olive oil and fish oils.
As Nobel laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgi von Nagyrapolt wrote: “Discovery is seeing what everybody has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought.”
July 13, 2009, 5:29pm
Aside from celebrating Nutrition month this July, we also celebrate diabetes awareness week. In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that there are around 171 million people worldwide who suffer from this illness. For the year 2030, WHO has further estimated that, worldwide, diabetes could afflict 360 million people, 1/3 of which may come from the Southeast Asia Region. In the Philippines alone, people with diabetes can reach an estimated number of 7.7 million.
While diabetes can be hereditary, a type of diabetes called Type 2 diabetes can be prevented with active lifestyle and proper diet. But for most adults, having an active lifestyle and maintaining proper diet is really very difficult. This is because of the ever increasing time of inactivity among adults. On a conservative estimate, an adult can have at least 18 hours of inactive periods in a day. Well, it’s so easy to say: “then, there’s still six hours a day to be active”, but not most offices have their mini gymnasium for their employees, and in this time of crisis, to spend for gym memberships wouldn’t be that easy to include in the family budget. Oh yes, a walk in the city’s park or open-to-public university campuses would be an option where to walk, run, bike or play, but not too many could really have this done. With many people becoming inactive, we can really come close to the estimated number diabetics in our country alone. We should really exert effort to make our bodies physically active as it can be.
As always mentioned, having a high-fiber diet is another means to prevent diabetes. For you to have more idea as to what fiber your purchased products contain, here are different types of fibers that you can look for from the label’s ingredient lines:
Cellulose, a principal component of the cell wall of most plants and is therefore present in fruits, vegetables and cereals. Much of the fiber in cereal bran is cellulose. Cellulose forms about one quarter of the dietary fibre in grains and fruit and one third in vegetables and nuts.
Hemicellulose/s are polysaccharides that contain sugars other than glucose, and are associated with cellulose in plant cell walls. Approximately one third of the dietary fibre in vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts consist of hemicelluloses.
Pectin. Although fruits contain the most pectin, they also represent 15 to 20 percent of the dietary fibre in vegetables, legumes and nuts.
Beta Glucan, a major component of the cell wall material in oats and barley grains but are present in only small quantities in wheat.
Resistant Starch. Legumes are one of the main sources of resistant starch (RS1) as they have thick cell walls that make the starch inaccessible to enzymes. The cooking and processing of foods can disrupt cell walls, making the starch more available for digestion. Banana is a major source of another type of resistant starch (RS2) in the human diet; but as the banana ripens the amount of resistant decreases.
Non-digestible Oligosaccharides in general are highly fermentable while some have so-called prebiotic properties. Onions, chicory and Jerusalem artichokes are the major dietary sources of naturally occurring fructans, from which inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides are obtained.
The more types of fiber that you see on your food’s label, the better it could be for you for type 2 diabetes prevention and management.
(Write the author at email@example.com.)
By Julie Cabatit-Alegre Updated May 19, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – When the late Fernando Poe Jr. suffered a stroke from which he would not recover, many called it a heart attack, thinking that the terms “heart attack” and “stroke” mean the same thing. “They do not,” says Dr. Artemio Roxas, Jr., director of the stroke unit and chief of the neurology section at the Medical City in Pasig City. Put quite simply, while both may be the result of blocked arteries, one occurs in the heart, while the other occurs in the brain, so that a stroke is also called a “brain attack.”
“There are two main types of stroke,” Dr. Roxas explains. Ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is stopped by a blockage (bara) in a vessel, while hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened vessel bursts or ruptures. In a third type, referred to as transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke, the symptoms are temporary, but they are usually warning signs of an acute stroke that’s forthcoming. Heeding the warning signs and addressing the risk factors can prevent a major occurrence.
Stroke symptoms usually don’t involve much pain or discomfort, and are more likely associated with numbness or losing the ability to move. Often, strokes affect only one side of the body. The faster a stroke patient gets help and receives medical intervention, the greater is the chance for recovery. Up to three hours after the attack represent the window of opportunity.
How do you know if someone is having a stroke and, what can you do? Observe and remember “KAMBIO,” Dr. Roxas says, “for kamay, when one arm appears weaker than the other when raised; mukha, when the face appears distorted (tabingi); bigkas, when there’s difficulty in speaking or speech is slurred; and oras, or need to rush to the ER.” In English, the acronym is “FAST” for face, arm, speech, and time.
“Recognition of a stroke is important,” Dr. Roxas stresses, “as well as urgent admission to a tertiary hospital as acute treatment is available that can minimize disability.”
Medical City has a special team at its stroke unit that is equipped to respond within minutes a patient is brought in. “Time lost is considered brain lost.”
Stroke kills about five million people each year and is considered as the second leading cause of death worldwide. At least 15 million patients have non-fatal strokes annually, and about a third is significantly disabled as a consequence. In the Philippines, it is one of the leading causes of death, together with other cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) including coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, hypertension, peripheral artery disease, and heart failure.
“Even before a stroke happens, it is important to also understand its risk factors so that medical intervention is administered early and aggressively,” Dr. Roxas remarks. Non-modifiable risk factors or factors that we cannot control include family history, race and ethnicity, sex and age. “CVDs are still largely diseases of the elderly,” says Dr. Roxas. “However, there are modifiable risk factors for stroke which when eliminated or controlled reduce the risk of stroke significantly.” These include cigarette smoking, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol.
“There is a growing concern that because of the lifestyle and diet of Asians, particularly Filipinos, cholesterol levels are rising, resulting in an increasing risk of stroke,” Dr. Roxas notes.
The Asia Pacific Cohort Studies Collaboration, in the Journal of Epidermiology, reported a 25-percent increased risk of fatal or non-fatal ischemic stroke in the region associated with increasing total cholesterol. The same report confirms that cholesterol is rising substantially in Asia . Lipid-lowering agents, such as statins, indicate reduced cholesterol. Atorvastatin is widely prescribed for the treatment of high cholesterol, for increasing “good cholesterol’ (HDL) and decreasing “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and total cholesterol. Studies involving patients who have had a prior stroke also demonstrate that atorvastatin significantly reduces the risk of the recurrence of another stroke, a result not demonstrated before by statin in this population.
Atorvastatin is produced by Pfizer, a worldwide top-ranking investor in research and development, and leader in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
“A dreaded aftermath of a stroke is the increased possibility of the recurrence of another stroke,” Dr. Roxas observes.
Up to 40 percent of those who have experienced a first stroke suffer a second stroke within five years. There is also a high risk that they may later die of a heart attack.
“Awareness is the cornerstone to prevention,” says Dr. Roxas. “We at the Medical City stroke unit recognize that knowledge of stroke, including its recognition and risk factors, is an important strategy to prevent another stroke.”
Stroke education is given by senior stroke nurses to patients at bedside for them to be better informed about what a stroke is, how to recognize warning signs, and what to do when it occurs. The Stroke Society of the Philippines (SSP), where Dr. Roxas is 2nd vice president, has also developed a video program aimed to increase information dissemination. The 12-minute slide show is entitled “Stroke: It Could Be You.”
“Patients should ask their doctors questions,” Dr. Roxas says. “Don’t leave the hospital without knowing and understanding what you have. Be aware of the risk factors and make appropriate lifestyle changes. The best way to prevent a stroke is not to have one.”
Reduce your risk of having a stroke by following these hearty, friendly reminders:
• Check your blood pressure regularly.
• Stop smoking (if you eat nutritious food that is low in cholesterol and fats).
• Reduce your consumption of sweet and salty food.
• Control your weight.
• Control your diabetes, if present.
• Exercise regularly.
• Avoid excessive stress.
• Avoid excessive alcohol use (if you drink).
• Take medications regularly and faithfully using the proper dose prescribed as well as the duration recommended.
By Lai S. Reyes Updated May 19, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – It’s a silent killer that takes the lives of 274,000 women worldwide every year. What’s strange is that the carriers of the disease don’t even know they have it until it’s too late.
Touted as the second most common cancer in women, cervical cancer is a deadly disease that affects women 35 to 55 years old.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 500,000 new cases of cervical cancer have been diagnosed this year and about 274,000 will succumb to the disease annually. Sadly, most of these deaths occur in less developed countries such as the Philippines.
“Cervical cancer continues to be a big problem worldwide because there is still lack of access to screening or treatment of pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix,” explains Dr. Rey delos Reyes, president, Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of the Philippines (SGOP).
In observance of the Cervical Cancer Awareness Month this May, Dr. Delos Reyes recently conducted an informative lecture on cervical cancer at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas. With the theme “Babae, Mahalaga Ka! Iwasan ang Cervical Cancer, Magpa-screening Na!,” the event was aimed at educating women about their health, cervical cancer, cervical cancer screening and prevention, and to encourage positive action among those who are at risk of the disease.
According to Dr. Delos Reyes, cervical cancer is caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), some of which are also responsible for causing genital warts, vulvar (area outside the vagina) cancer, and vaginal cancer.
“HPV infection is a common infection and spreads mainly through direct genital contact. While most HPV infections clear on their own, there are types that can cause HPV, cervical cancer, vaginal and vulvar cancer, and genital warts,” he explains.
Genital HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). In fact, there are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of men and women, including the skin of the penis, vulva, anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, and rectum.
“You can’t see HPV. Those who become infected with HPV do not even know they have it,” notes Dr. Delos Reyes.
Warts The Matter?
Most people with HPV don’t develop symptoms or health problems. But sometimes, certain types of HPV can cause genital warts in men and women. The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are not the same as the types that can cause cancer.
“HPV types are often referred to as ‘low-risk’ (wart-causing) or ‘high-risk’ (cancer-causing) based on whether they put a person at risk for cancer. In 90 percent of cases, the body’s immune system clears the HPV infection naturally within two years. This is true for both high-risk and low-risk types,” explains Dr. Delos Reyes.
Genital warts usually appear as small bumps or groups of bumps in the genital area. Warts may appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected person. Or they may not appear at all.
A CDC fact sheet released by the Department of Health and Human Services USA states that genital warts, if left untreated, may go away, remain unchanged, or increase in size or number. They will not turn into cancer. However, HPV can cause normal cells on infected skin or mucous membranes to turn abnormal.
If the high-risk HPV infection is not cleared by the immune system, it can linger for many years and turn abnormal cells into cancer over time.
“About 10 percent of women with high-risk HPV on their cervix will develop long-lasting HPV infections that put them at risk for cervical cancer,” further explains Dr. Delos Reyes.
Cancer Warriors Unite
In 2005, the Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates showed that cervical cancer ranks fifth in the list of 10 leading causes of cancer deaths for both sexes and second in the 10 leading cancer sites among females. Every year, an estimated 6,000 women in the country are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,349 die of the disease. Approximately, 12 women die each day of cervical cancer and about five out of 10 women afflicted with this cancer will die within five years.
Alarmed by the statistics, the Department of Health and institutions like Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS), the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of the Philippines (SGOP), and Cancer Resource and Wellness (Carewell) Community will conduct a day of free cervical cancer screening on Friday, May 22 for females aged 15 to 45 years old in selected DOH-retained hospitals in Metro Manila, La Union, Pangasinan, Cebu, and Davao
“Women aged 15 to 45 years old should avail themselves of the free screening because with early detection, the chances of treatment success are higher. The best way to detect cervical cancer is through a regular Pap smear to determine pre-cancer lesions,” says Dr. Honorata Catibog, director, National Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
The free screening slated on May 22 will be provided in the following selected DOH hospitals in Metro Manila: Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, Tondo Medical Center, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, Amang Rodriguez Medical Center, Rizal Medical Center, Las Piñas Medical Center, Valenzuela General Hospital, and Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital.
It is also available in DOH regional hospitals and medical centers such as Region 1 Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, and Davao Medical Center.
Patients found positive in the screening will be referred for treatment. Information materials and support activities will likewise be available to cancer patients to assist them in their recovery.
Prevention Is Key
Cervical cancer develops due to the following risk factors: HPV, many sexual partners, smoking, multiple pregnancies, and having a family history of cervical cancer, among others.
“Even women with only one lifetime sex partner can get HPV if her partner has had prior sexual partners,” stresses Dr. Delos Reyes. “Cervical cancer in its early stage doesn’t have a particular clinical manifestation. There’s just the foul-smelling vaginal discharge, which most women attribute only to infection.”
Other symptoms are bleeding and spotting between menstrual periods that are longer and heavier than usual, unusual discharge from the vagina which may contain blood and occur between menstrual periods or after menopause, and pain during sex.
“Due to lack of awareness and knowledge about cervical cancer, most of the patients are diagnosed at the late stage of the disease. Most of them are already in their third and fourth stage,” relates Dr. Delos Reyes.
There are important steps females can take to prevent cervical cancer. A vaccine can now protect them from the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers and genital warts. The vaccine is recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls. It is also recommended for girls and women aged 13 to 26 who have not yet been vaccinated or completed the vaccine series.
Even women who got the vaccine when they were younger need regular cervical cancer screening because the vaccine does not protect against all cervical cancers.
“Cervical cancer can also be prevented with routine cervical cancer screening and follow-up of abnormal results. A Pap smear test can identify abnormal or pre-cancerous cells. Listen to your body. Huwag ipagwalang bahala ang mga sintomas. Cervical cancer, if detected early and treated properly, is preventable and curable,” stresses Dr. Delos Reyes.
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By Angel S. Respicio, Jr. MD Updated May 19, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – There’s so much emphasis on the positive role of soy in preventing osteoporosis. Soy was hailed as the wonder food ever since soy lobbyists successfully persuaded the USFDA to approve it in 1999. Taking their cue, the American Heart Association fell to the soy industry’s ploy in 2000 despite concerns from Dr. Francis Crinella, Dr. Joseph Mercola, and Kaayla T. Daniel PhD.
According Dr. Francis Crinella at the University of California, the soybean plant lifts up manganese in the soil and concentrates it, creating levels of manganese in soy formulas that are 200 times the level found in breast milk. A newborn cannot excrete this extreme manganese load, creating high manganese levels in the blood, liver, kidneys, and other soft tissues of the body, including the brain. Manganese overload has been implicated in cases of brain damage and movement disorders.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, on the other hand, notes in his newsletter that soy formulas contain high levels of aluminum (1,000 percent higher than cow’s milk formulas) and the phytoestrogen substance isoflavones. He says that a soy-fed baby receives the equivalent of five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen every day. These babies’ isoflavone levels were found to be from 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than in non-soy-fed infants. Early onset of puberty in girls and abnormal development of testes in boys have been linked to this unnatural surge of hormones in early life.
Some health practitioners advise us to avoid meat and eat tofu for better bone health, but Kaayla Daniel, PhD thinks otherwise. In her absorbing article “Soy and Osteoporosis: Not a Leg to Stand On,” she busts the myths head on.
Soy as the all-natural solution for osteoporosis? The latest ploy of the soy industry is to fan women’s fears about bone loss and distract them from recent news that soy does not prevent heart disease, and that it worsens cardiomyopathy, impairs fertility, and may increase breast cancer risk.
Consumers who bone up on the issue, however, will find that the research is inconsistent and contradictory at best, and that soy truly does not have a leg to stand on. A recent study that the industry has chosen not to promote came out of Yale New Haven Hospital in July and compared calcium bioavailability in women eating soy versus those eating meat. The researchers concluded in the Journal of Nutrition, “These data indicate that when soy protein is substituted for meat protein, there is an acute decline in dietary calcium bioavailability.”
This finding explodes a myth widely propagated by vegetarians, namely that meat and eggs cause a loss of calcium, leading the body to strip calcium from storage in the bones, ultimately resulting in osteopenia or osteoporosis.
The study most often cited to justify this claim came out in 1988 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Those who got their protein from animal products lost 50 percent more calcium from their bodies than did those who had only soy protein. The researchers concluded, “The inability to compensate for the animal protein-induced calciuric response (meaning calcium in the urine) may be a risk factor for the development of osteoporosis.”
What is never mentioned in this study is that the 15 subjects spent a grand total of 12 days testing each type of food. This was just enough time for their bodies to react to unexpectedly high levels of sulfur proteins, but not enough time for the body to normalize and handle the sulfur load. Calcium homeostasis is normally well regulated so that increased calcium loss through the urine results in increased calcium absorption from the gut. This adaptive process may fail to occur during short-term studies but the human body is more than capable of adjusting to the sulfur load of real foods, given a proper time frame.
The evidence that soy isoflavone supplements stem bone loss was based on the results of bone density tests. These tests measure bone quantity but not quality, and fail to acknowledge that thin bones can be strong, flexible, and healthy while thick bones can be brittle and friable. If soy isoflavones, in fact, stop bone resorption, the result could be chalky big bones that crumble. This is exactly what’s happening with some women whose bone mass has been “preserved” with drugs like Fosamax.
Notably, people and animals fed real food have not experienced the same problems, so cutting back on sulfur-rich foods is not the solution to osteoporosis.
Malnutrition in Children
Evidence that soy milk does not promote healthy bone growth in children has even begun to appear in the mainstream press. A May 8, 2006 Newsweek article entitled “Does Milk Hurt Kids?” warned readers that children given rice and soy-based milk substitutes were showing rickets and other signs of malnutrition once found almost exclusively among the famished in third world countries. Soy milk, of course, contains phytates, which block the proper absorption of calcium, zinc, and other minerals needed for proper bone growth.
Although calcium supplements are added to soy milk to compensate for theft by phytates, the cheap powders are hard to absorb or not swallowed at all because of the powder’s tendency to either clump at the bottom or stick to the walls of the container.
Commercial soy milk also contains vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), the ineffective vegetarian form of vitamin D that offers few of the benefits of true vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and has been linked to hyperactivity, coronary heart disease, and allergic reactions. Even the cheapest dairy milk sold in supermarkets uses vitamin D3, but soy milk manufacturers use D2, the only form accepted by soymilk-swigging vegans.
Dr. Daniel reminds us that soy milk is high in sugar, a well-known bone hazard. Most brands add between one teaspoon and one tablespoon per glass.
On January 17, 2006, the American Heart Association has had enough and withdrew their support for soy and soy-based products. The health claims from the soybean-funded studies were actually exaggerated and false.
D Bare Facts
Now, to make that calcium prevent osteoporosis, you need vitamin D. Let me clear a misinformation. The sun is not a source of vitamin D, it will never be! It only activates the “inactive” form of vitamin D which is found under the skin. The best time to maximize the activating power of the sunlight is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Avoid taking a bath in your house or soaking in chlorinated pools for at least an hour for the sun-activated vitamin D to be absorbed properly. Vitamin D occurs naturally in fatty fish, cod liver oil, liver, animal fat, and egg yolk. It is also synthesized (manufactured) by the body from cholesterol. Egg yolk, therefore, should be consumed regularly and if you have concerns with stroke, fear no more. Dr. Anthony L. Komaroff of the Harvard Health Letter assured us when he said, “People who eat an egg a day are no more likely to have heart disease than those who eat eggs less than once a week.”
By the way, vitamin D can only be absorbed in the gut in the presence of fat. If you are taking vitamin D supplements without the required fat, you are just putting that essential vitamin down the drain. Did you ever wonder why skim milk, low-fat milk, and fat-free milk, even if fortified with calcium and vitamin D, do not benefit your bones if at all?
View previous articles from this author.
Updated May 12, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. These develop from crystals that separate from the urine and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney. If the crystals remain small, they can travel through the urinary tract and pass out unnoticed while urinating. However, if the crystals accumulate and form a large stone or stones, they can impair the function of the kidneys that can obstruct the flow of urine and cause excruciating pain. In cases like these, treatment should be done. If left untreated, kidneys may be permanently damaged by an obstructing stone in only a few days.
Diet, dehydration (not drinking enough water when doing manual labor or indulging in sport), and family history are just a few of the reasons why stones occur.
The common symptoms of stone disease are sharp pain in the abdomen or lower back, fever, blood in the urine, and pain when urinating.
Kidney stones can be treated through surgery, the most common form of treatment. Surgery is painful, leaves a scar, and requires a long recovery period — about four to six weeks. Lithotripsy or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is the therapy of choice. This non-invasive technique uses shock waves instead of a knife to remove the stones from the kidney and urinary tract. The shockwaves pass harmlessly through body tissues. When the shock waves strike the kidney stone, cracks appear in the kidney stone’s surface. After about one hour, the stone is pulverized. The fragments pass out naturally during urination for a number of days or even weeks after lithotripsy.
Lithotripsy uses a simple device called a lithotripter. The physician localizes and then focuses shock waves directly on the stone. The lithotripter is very precise, delivering the right amount of energy to break the stone without damaging organs or surrounding tissues. The treatment usually consists of several thousand shocks which break the stone into very small fragments. These fragments are passed spontaneously during urination. The procedure usually lasts about one hour and is performed on an outpatient (OPD) basis. Re-treatment may be necessary in some cases to completely disintegrate larger stones.
The procedure is safe and performed worldwide with excellent results. It is non-invasive and conducted under the supervision of a highly-trained physician and technician. Occasional side effects are bruising around the treatment area, blood in urine, and pain for a few days following lithotripsy. While most people can undergo lithotripsy, inform your doctor if you have high blood pressure, a blood clotting disorder, or a urinary tract infection. Pregnant women must not undergo lithotripsy. To date, over 25,000 patients have been treated in the Philippines in the last 15 years with stone-free rates ranging from 70 to 100 percent, depending on the stone burden, location, and number of treatments.
For more information on non-surgical kidney stone treatment and related concerns, call De Los Santos Medical Center Stone Center at 723-0041-54 local 127 and 129 or direct line 726-3572 from Monday to Friday.
WELL-BEING By Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit Updated May 12, 2009 12:00 AM
A reader asked in relation to our last feature on night cramps, “Which foods are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium? I’m always on the go and usually have to eat out?”
Cramps on the legs and feet at night are due to several factors, primary of which is dehydration (easily remedied by drinking eight glasses of pure and clean water daily), followed by deficiency in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Her question led me to a very helpful site — http://www.whfoods.com developed by author George Mateljan of Cooking Without Fat fame.
Voted best in 2004 of the Web’s Greatest Hits, this site has a list of the most wholesome foods that should be eaten every day. There is also a food advisor facility, as well as quick and easy healthy cooking techniques.
Top Ten Sources
Armed with three lists from the site of the world’s healthiest foods ranking quality sources of potassium, magnesium, and calcium, we tabulated the results for the 10 top sources for all three nutrients:
• Spinach should not only be Popeye’s favorite source of strength but ours, too. because it tops the list as an excellent source of all three macrominerals — potassium, calcium, and magnesium! One cup of boiled spinach, which is only 41 calories, provides 839 mg. of potassium, 157 mg. of magnesium, and 245 mg. of calcium.
• Swiss chard is next best, ranked as an excellent source for potassium and magnesium and a very good source for calcium. A cup of boiled Swiss chard is only 35 calories and provides 151 mg. of magnesium, 961 mg. of potassium, and 102 mg. of calcium.
• Cooked green turnips is an excellent source of calcium and a very good source of potassium and magnesium. One cup, only 29 calories, provides 197 mg. of calcium, 292 mg. of potassium, and 32 mg. of magnesium. A cup of boiled green mustard, only 21 calories, is a source of 104 mg. of calcium, 283 mg. of potassium, and 21 mg. of magnesium.
• Boiled collard greens provide 494 mg. of potassium, 32 mg. of magnesium, and 226 mg. of calcium for a cup (49 calories). Blackstrap molasses yield 118 mg. of calcium, 29 mg. of magnesium, and 341 mg. of potassium for a serving of two teaspoons (32 calories).
• The more readily available broccoli and basil join the elite list as seventh and eighth best sources, respectively. A cup of steamed broccoli, only 44 calories, has 505 mg. of potassium, 39 mg. of magnesium, and 75 mg. of calcium. While a serving of two teaspoons of dried ground basil, only eight calories, provides 63 mg. of calcium, 13 mg. of magnesium, and 103 mg. of potassium.
• Completing the list of 10 are kale and brussel sprouts. A cup of boiled kale, only 36 calories, is a source for 296 mg. of potassium, 23 mg. of magnesium and 94 mg. of calcium. While a cup of boiled brussel sprouts, 61 calories, provides 56 mg. of calcium, 31 mg. of magnesium, and 495 mg. of potassium.
To clarify, the question was for a single food source for all three macrominerals. Incidentally, the 2004 advisory of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, according to the website, lists the adequate intake for these macrominerals for women 19 to 50 years of age as 4.7 grams of potassium, 1000 mg. of calcium, and 360 mg. of magnesium.
Each Nutrient Up Close
All three nutrients under study — magnesium, potassium, and calcium — are macrominerals, meaning our food must provide us with hundreds of milligrams of these minerals every day.
Magnesium is dubbed a “smoothie” mineral since it has the ability to relax our muscles. The nerves also depend upon magnesium to avoid becoming overexcited. Muscle weakness, tremor or spasm, imbalanced blood sugar levels, headaches as well as elevated blood pressure may indicate the need for more high-magnesium foods.
The World’s Healthiest Foods rich in magnesium rated boiled spinach and Swiss chard as best sources as already explained above. Other foods that belong to the top 10 sources include raw pumpkin seeds (1/4 cup at 187 calories provides 45 percent of daily value required) and baked or broiled halibut (four ounces at 159 calories provides 35 percent of the daily value required). Other great sources are cooked soybeans, chinook salmon, raw sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cooked black beans, and navy beans.
While there is no limit set on magnesium intake through food sources, a limit of 350 mg. has been set for dietary supplements. Toxicity symptoms for high levels of magnesium intake through supplementation include diarrhea, drowsiness, and a sense of weakness.
Magnesium and calcium act together to help regulate the body’s nerve and muscle tone. Frequent bone fractures, muscle pain or spasms, tingling or numbness of feet, bone deformities, and growth retardation in children indicate a need for more high-calcium foods.
While spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, and blackstrap mollasses have already been included not only as excellent sources of calcium but magnesium and potassium as well, others that made the top 10 sources of calcium are low-fat yogurt (one cup at 155 calories provides 45 percent of the daily requirement) and sesame seeds (1/4 cup at 206 calories provides 35 percent of the daily requirement). Other good sources are goat’s milk, cow’s milk, and mozzarella cheese.
Muscle weakness, confusion, irritability, fatigue, heart problems, chronic diarrhea, regular intense exercise, and the use of diuretics increase the need for high-potassium foods. The top 10 sources listed by World’s Healthiest Foods do not include potassium-rich banana. Why? Because the sources are ranked based not only on the percentage value of the daily requirement served but also in terms of calories. One banana, 109 calories, provides only 13 percent of the daily requirement of potassium. Providing 25 percent or more of the daily requirement are one cup boiled Swiss chard (35 calories), one cup cooked lima beans (216 calories), one cup cooked and diced yam (158 calories), one cup baked and diced winter squash (80 calories), one cup cooked soybeans (298 calories), and one cup avocado slices (235 calories).
Four more almost made the mark, namely boiled spinach, cooked pinto beans, papaya, and cooked lentils.
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