Archive for March, 2011

DRUG THERAPY FOR INSOMNIA

The more we learn about sleep, the more we know about how to manage sleep disorders. In recent years, as data from sleep labs and other sources have become increasingly available, many physicians have begun to realize that in most cases pharmaceutical management of insomnia is at best a temporary solution. As a result of our growing knowledge, there has been a decided change in the way doctors deal with the problem. In 1964, the first year such data were collected, over 32 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were written. By 1971 the number peaked at over 42 million; by 1982, however, that figure had been cut exactly in half.
“Treating” insomnia by administering medicine may produce sleep for a few days or a few weeks, and the careful use of drugs can help especially if you are severely troubled by your insomnia or if inadequate sleep poses a threat to your health, safety, or well-being. However, unless your doctor uncovers the physical or mental disorder that is causing your sleeplessness, the problem will simply persist. In a sense sleeping pills are like throat lozenges, which soothe the irritation but do not cure the cough. No pill yet conceived cures insomnia. A more effective approach to chronic insomnia is some combination of psychological and behavioral therapies, the goal of which is to encourage poor sleepers to quit dwelling on the symptoms and bring about changes in sleep habits.
There is one exception to the rule: in rare cases of true organic insomnia—sleeplessness without any identifiable medical or psychological cause—long-term therapy with sleep-inducing drugs may be required. Even then, treatment is most effective if the patient takes frequent drug “holidays,” or respites, from the use of medication.
From the pharmaceutical fact file:
* Sleeping medications are the most widely used class of drugs in this country.
* Doctors write between 20 and 30 million prescriptions a year for sleeping pills and tranquilizers.
* Americans spend over $200 million a year for sleeping medications.
* Over 4 percent of the population—nearly 11 million people—use prescription sleep medicines.
* An even larger group uses over-the-counter preparations.
* About half of all patients in hospitals receive sleep medications at some point during their stay.
* Approximately 600 tons of sleeping medications are consumed each year.
Here’s the kicker:
* In many cases these pills don’t work, make the problem worse, or result in serious side effects. About a third of drug-related deaths reported to the Department of Health and Human Services involve sleeping pills.
*265\226\8*

DRUG THERAPY FOR INSOMNIAThe more we learn about sleep, the more we know about how to manage sleep disorders. In recent years, as data from sleep labs and other sources have become increasingly available, many physicians have begun to realize that in most cases pharmaceutical management of insomnia is at best a temporary solution. As a result of our growing knowledge, there has been a decided change in the way doctors deal with the problem. In 1964, the first year such data were collected, over 32 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were written. By 1971 the number peaked at over 42 million; by 1982, however, that figure had been cut exactly in half.”Treating” insomnia by administering medicine may produce sleep for a few days or a few weeks, and the careful use of drugs can help especially if you are severely troubled by your insomnia or if inadequate sleep poses a threat to your health, safety, or well-being. However, unless your doctor uncovers the physical or mental disorder that is causing your sleeplessness, the problem will simply persist. In a sense sleeping pills are like throat lozenges, which soothe the irritation but do not cure the cough. No pill yet conceived cures insomnia. A more effective approach to chronic insomnia is some combination of psychological and behavioral therapies, the goal of which is to encourage poor sleepers to quit dwelling on the symptoms and bring about changes in sleep habits.There is one exception to the rule: in rare cases of true organic insomnia—sleeplessness without any identifiable medical or psychological cause—long-term therapy with sleep-inducing drugs may be required. Even then, treatment is most effective if the patient takes frequent drug “holidays,” or respites, from the use of medication.From the pharmaceutical fact file:* Sleeping medications are the most widely used class of drugs in this country.* Doctors write between 20 and 30 million prescriptions a year for sleeping pills and tranquilizers.* Americans spend over $200 million a year for sleeping medications.* Over 4 percent of the population—nearly 11 million people—use prescription sleep medicines.* An even larger group uses over-the-counter preparations.* About half of all patients in hospitals receive sleep medications at some point during their stay.* Approximately 600 tons of sleeping medications are consumed each year.Here’s the kicker:* In many cases these pills don’t work, make the problem worse, or result in serious side effects. About a third of drug-related deaths reported to the Department of Health and Human Services involve sleeping pills.*265\226\8*

Posted on March 25th, 2011 by admin  |  No Comments »

WHAT CAUSES ASTHMA: PREDISPOSING FACTORS

IT IS NOT known with certainty what exactly causes the development of asthma, but it appears to be a complex interaction of many factors.
Predisposing factors
A hereditary predisposition makes a child inherently susceptible to the disease. This includes the propensity to produce abnormal amounts of harmful IgE (Immunoglobulin E) antibody leading to an allergic reaction which causes inflammation of the bronchial tissues in response to environmental allergens. This phenomenon is also called atopy.
Children from families having a history of asthma are more likely to suffer from this problem. The greater the degree of inheritance, the greater the likelihood of the offsprings becoming sensitive. Further, when both the parents are affected, the disease in the children appears earlier, and often before puberty. However, heredity alone does not produce asthma. It only makes the child more suscetible.
Children inherit an allergic predisposition rather than a specific allergic disease; children of a parent suffering from hay fever may develop asthma or eczema, and not necessarily hay fever.
*17\260\8*

WHAT CAUSES ASTHMA: PREDISPOSING FACTORSIT IS NOT known with certainty what exactly causes the development of asthma, but it appears to be a complex interaction of many factors.Predisposing factorsA hereditary predisposition makes a child inherently susceptible to the disease. This includes the propensity to produce abnormal amounts of harmful IgE (Immunoglobulin E) antibody leading to an allergic reaction which causes inflammation of the bronchial tissues in response to environmental allergens. This phenomenon is also called atopy.Children from families having a history of asthma are more likely to suffer from this problem. The greater the degree of inheritance, the greater the likelihood of the offsprings becoming sensitive. Further, when both the parents are affected, the disease in the children appears earlier, and often before puberty. However, heredity alone does not produce asthma. It only makes the child more suscetible.Children inherit an allergic predisposition rather than a specific allergic disease; children of a parent suffering from hay fever may develop asthma or eczema, and not necessarily hay fever.*17\260\8*

Posted on March 15th, 2011 by admin  |  No Comments »

DEALING WITH UNPREDICTABLE PERIODS: I BLED SO MUCH I THOUGHT I HAD A MISCARRIAGE

My period is normally like clockwork, but last month I was a week late and I had cramps, which I usually never have. I bled extremely heavily for three days. I couldn’t get out of bed the first day at all. I’ve been trying to get pregnant and I think I might have had a miscarriage. Could it be?
—T.P.
Springfield, New Jersey
If this woman was under stress of some sort, anxiety might have caused the lateness of her period. During this delay her uterine lining continued to develop. When menstruation finally began, her flow was unusually heavy because by then the sloughed-off endometrium was much thicker and more vascular than it would have been if she had had her period on time.
Since this woman was trying to conceive, there is, of course, a possibility that she was suffering a miscarriage. Her period was a week late. A conception which became defective—perhaps the fertilized egg did not implant itself properly in the womb—might have taken place. Women who are completely in tune with their systems can often sense whether they are pregnant. If this woman knows her body, then she probably knows what happened.
*48\333\2*

DEALING WITH UNPREDICTABLE PERIODS: I BLED SO MUCH I THOUGHT I HAD A MISCARRIAGEMy period is normally like clockwork, but last month I was a week late and I had cramps, which I usually never have. I bled extremely heavily for three days. I couldn’t get out of bed the first day at all. I’ve been trying to get pregnant and I think I might have had a miscarriage. Could it be?—T.P.Springfield, New JerseyIf this woman was under stress of some sort, anxiety might have caused the lateness of her period. During this delay her uterine lining continued to develop. When menstruation finally began, her flow was unusually heavy because by then the sloughed-off endometrium was much thicker and more vascular than it would have been if she had had her period on time.Since this woman was trying to conceive, there is, of course, a possibility that she was suffering a miscarriage. Her period was a week late. A conception which became defective—perhaps the fertilized egg did not implant itself properly in the womb—might have taken place. Women who are completely in tune with their systems can often sense whether they are pregnant. If this woman knows her body, then she probably knows what happened.*48\333\2*

Posted on March 8th, 2011 by admin  |  No Comments »