Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Stress goes by many names, but on a cellular level that name is inflammation. A number of biological activities can cause inflammation, so can the stresses of unhealthy lifestyles.
It is easy to appreciate that some things, like a bacterial infection, cause inflammation. Fever, swelling and redness are all the classic signs.
But while the stress from a poor diet, obesity, or emotional turmoil is not as noticeable, the effects can be just as bad.
Consider taking steps to lower the levels of stress in your life.
In a recent journal article, a medical doctor from Johns Hopkins explained the molecular basis of stress and inflammation in , and concludes that stress is a definite risk factor in the development of of the disease.
And the principles explained are just as applicable to any other form of cancer, or any other cell in the body.
Mingzhao Xing, M.D., from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine states that oxidants are molecules that are unstable. That means that in order to regain their stability, they have to steal a piece of another molecule nearby. This creates a chain reaction, where each molecule steals from its neighbor, until they are all slightly different than they used to be.
Stress is normal, and the inflammation that stress creates can be the result of exercise, as well. But when the cellular repair mechanisms never get a break to catch up with the damage, all kinds of problems can surface.
The kind of constantly changing environment present in is one of the major pre-dispositions to cancer formation. So, cancer can be thought of as a series of changes in a cell until all of the normal protective mechanisms are no longer present, and the cell starts to reproduce wildly.
The term in scientific literature that refers to the stress produced in inflammation is oxidative stress, in reference to the most powerful oxidant, oxygen.
In comparison to the series of molecular thefts started by an oxidant, anti-oxidants are generous molecules. They freely give pieces of themselves to all of the oxidants, without starting that chain reaction, and without turning into an oxidant themselves.
In the context of thyroid cancer, Dr. Xing supports her conclusion by referencing earlier research that shows high measured levels of oxidants correlates with levels of thyroid cancer in patients.
This makes sense, because medical literature has known for a long time that the thyroid is an especially sensitive organ to levels of radiation, and radiation itself is another cause of oxidation, the chain reaction of molecular stealing.
Dr. Xing says that , such as Grave's Disease of the thyroid, diabetes, and others, are associated with higher development of cancers, as well as a finding showing a naturally higher level of oxidation in patients.
Similarly, inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis are well known to be closely associated with colon cancer development.
She concludes, as have many, that while the topic of inflammation is complicated, there seems to be a great deal of theoretical evidence that antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E should lower levels of cancer formation.
Unfortunately, inexplicably, decades of research have found this to not be the case, but support the role of supplements like fish oil in reducing inflammation, and other dietary influences such as a diet heavy in animal fat and red meat in raising the index of inflammation in the human body.
Other studies suggest that long term use of non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen may lower of cancer formation, and studies looking at the use of aspirin in patients with heart disease tends to support this.
If given a chance, the body naturally has many mechanisms to repair lifestyle stress and the cellular damage it causes.
Dr. Xing states that her research is supported by the National Institutes of Health.
The Society estimates that there are over 48,000 new cases of thyroid cancer each year in the United States, and 1,700 of these patients will succumb to the disease. Three out of every four diagnoses will be made in women, and in contrast to many other cancers, the diagnoses are often in younger people between the ages of 20 to 55.
The thyroid is an endocrine gland located in the front of the neck below the “Adam’s Apple”. It produces the thyroid hormonestriiodothyroinine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) in response to hormonal signals from the brain (anterior pituitary gland), which help control the body’s rate of metabolism. It also produces the hormone calcitonin, which helps regulate the amount of calcium in the body.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
By Lisa Fayed, About.com Guide
Updated April 02, 2012
About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board
Dry mouth is a common side effect of radiation therapy that affects cancer patients who have undergone treatment to the head and neck region. It is caused by damage to the salivary glands when they are exposed to radiation. When someone has dry mouth, eating can be a challenge, resulting in difficulty with chewing and swallowing, as there is little or no saliva to help break down the food. Mouth sores and infections can also develop, contributing to eating problems. Even speaking can be difficult for dry mouth sufferers.
Some foods are easier to eat than others. For many, learning which foods can be tolerated is through trial and error. However, there are some foods that people with dry mouth should avoid for several different reasons.
Foods to AvoidCrusty Breads: Crusty breads can be difficult to chew and swallow. They can also irritate the inside of the mouth. If you like to eat bread, choose a softer variety. You may also try dipping bread in sauces or gravies. Basic Recipe for White BreadAcidic Foods: Foods with acidic ingredients like lemon and vinegar can definitely irritate the inside of the mouth, especially if you have mouth sores.
Salty Foods: Like acidic foods, salty foods can irritate the inside of the mouth.
Spicy Foods: Without saliva to protect the mucosa (the lining of inside of the mouth, spicy foods can be especially irritating.
Sugary Foods and Drinks: Saliva serves many purposes in digestion and one of them is to breakdown the sugars in food. One of the reasons why people suffering from dry mouth are at an increased risk of developing dental problems like decay and infections is because sugars aren't properly being properly broken down. Due to the increased risk, it's best to avoid foods and drinks that contain sugar. How to Choose a Dentist
Dry Foods: Dry foods likes crackers, toasted breads, and chips can be extremely difficult to swallow if you have dry mouth. These types of foods depend on saliva to become soft for easier chewing and swallowing. Dry foods with sharp edges like crackers and tortilla chips and can also irritate the inside of your mouth. You can dip crackers and toasted breads in dips and sauces to make swallowing easier, but it may not not work for everyone. Some find success in dipping crackers in water or milk before eating.
Tough Meats Meats can be especially challenging to eat for dry mouth sufferers. It is best to avoid tough meats altogether, but softer meats can be tolerated by many with a little modification. Try adding sauces and gravies to meats to help effectively chew and swallow. Remember to frequently take sips during meals -- it can help with swallowing and to also keep the mouth wet during meals. Gravy and Sauce Recipes