The Healthy Coffee-break Ep.1

Nitro-glycerine as a Medicine

First aid treatment, and the most common prescriptions in Angina Pectoris, are drugs containing nitroglycerine. Nitroglycerin dilates the arteries and as such permits an increased  volume of blood to flow through the vessels. Nitro-glycerine is a conventional drug and a homeopathic remedy.

‘The Healthy Coffee-break!

The Healthy Coffee-break is the place where, within the length of a coffee-break, we share gentle and holistic health tips that are easy to follow up and do at home. We share news and information that is interesting and good to know; and we discuss matters of health & wellness, and holistic & homeopathic health choices; For a gentle holistic health care for you, your family and loved ones.
An affiliate program of ‘CareClin’ – Homeopathy because we care! – Gentle Holistic Healthcare for all the Family!

In a nutshell…Sleep Apnoea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a relatively common sleep disorder that is characterized by prolonged breathing pauses. While asleep, the individual suffering of Sleep Apnea repeatedly stops breathing for the duration of at least 10 seconds, or longer. This is problematic as the reduced respiration leads to interrupted sleep, and deprives the body of oxygen, impacting its saturation in the blood and consequentially posing a great risk to the sufferers health.

The greatest health risks are the development of high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, heart attack, or stroke. However, in particular the daytime micro-sleep that sufferers can experience, can pose a threat to the life of the sufferer and potentially others, if occurring at work while operating machinery, or if in traffic while driving a car.

Persons who snore loudly during their sleep, who experience interrupted sleep patterns, wake after a full nights sleep feeling tired and exhausted, and who suffer of day sleepiness, are irritable, have memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and feel depressed, should become aware of this disorder.

There are three types of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is the most common form of the sleep disorder and occurs when, during the process of inspiration, the muscles relax in the back of the throat, and fail to open the airway, obstructing airflow to the lungs. The brain, in turn, receives the signal that breathing is impaired and consequentially stirs the individual to awaken and begin breathing again. These breathing pauses are either an ‘Apnea’, where the airway is blocked completely, or an ‘hypopnea’ where the occlusion is only partial, of 50% or more.

Central Sleep Apnea: This is the more severe form of Apnea, as this is a failure of the brain to properly command muscle contraction during respiration. There is hence, no effort made to actually breath.

Complex Sleep Apnea: This is a combination of the obstructive and the central form of Sleep Apnea.

What factors contribute to the development of Sleep Apnea?

The prevalence of Sleep Apnea is on the rise. Factors promoting the development of Sleep Apnea are excess weight, menopause (in women), the use of medicines such as sedatives, tranquilizers or narcotics, the consumption of alcohol, and smoking. However there is also a hereditary factor, with the prevalence being increased in families where there is a history of Sleep Apnea, and there are factors such as being male, of advanced age, having a strong neck, or an anatomically conditioned nasal congestion that can contribute to the development of Sleep Apnea.

How is Sleep Apnea treated?

Whilst preventative measures are recommended in the treatment of Sleep Apnea, such as limiting alcohol intake, quitting smoking and losing weight, these will not suffice to overcome the syndrome. Sleep Apnea cannot be treated to its full resolution as of yet.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the main treatment option for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It is also the most successful therapeutic intervention. With the night time use of a CPAP equipment, a constant flow of air pressure is brought, through a face mask worn by the patient, into the respiratory tract. This pressurized air is adjusted to overcome the muscular obstruction, and thus to maintain the airway open. The patient can continue breathing, most episodes of Sleep Apnea are removed, and most symptoms associated with the disorder are alleviated. The sufferer of Sleep Apnea will have to continue this treatment for life whenever he or she goes to sleep.

Is homeopathy effective in treating the symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

There is little to no research investigating the use of Homeopathy for the treatment of Sleep apnea. However, Homeopathy has in its Materia Medica diverse remedies that can provide relief of the symptoms, and can be supportive in the treatment of the concomitant complaints associated with the disorder. Such treatment though requires an in-depth case-taking and thorough evaluation of the case history presented. Some of the remedies that may be helpful for sufferers of Sleep Apnea are:

Arsenicum Album: There is a shortage of breath with every exertion and upon lying down during the night. There is a violent sensation of constriction about the throat with anxiety felt near the heart that prevents deep breathing. He or she fears to suffocate. The individual needing this remedy is clearly vitally weakened, restless and exhausted. Sleep is disturbed, restless and the individual is anxious. Sleep is disturbed by with suffocative fits.

Grindelia Robusta: This remedy in affections associated with a paralysis of the vagus nerve. This nerve runs from the brain through the body and diverse systems, including the throat. It is in charge of giving off impulses to the pharyngeal and laryngeal area. As such this remedy is indicated for individuals that stop breathing upon falling asleep, and consequentially wake with a start, gasping for breath, as may be the case in Sleep Apnea. The individual needing this remedy is afraid to fall asleep again, because he or she fears the feeling of suffocation.

Lachesis: This remedy has a great impact on the nervous system. Here there is a dominant feeling of strangulation and suffocation upon going to sleep, and the individual cannot bear any tight clothing around his or her neck. There is a distressed feeling about the chest. He or she is impelled to breath deeply. While falling asleep breathing almost stops entirely. There is a sudden starting from sleep.

Opium: In this remedy there is a strong general sluggishness and reduced vital reactivity. The cerebrospinal functions are weakened. This individual snores deeply and his or her breathing is rattling and stertorous. The respiration is unequal and intermittent. He or she stops breathing upon falling asleep, and must be shook to begin breathing again.

Spongia tosta: There is cramping and constriction about the throat. The individual is breathless. Respiration is short, panting and hindered. The airway feels dry. There is strong palpitation, anxiety and a fear of dying on account of the impaired respiration. He or she wakes in a start feeling close to suffocation.

Sulfur: Shortage of breath occurs in the middle of the night and must sit up. He or she cannot lie on the back and cannot breath deeply. There is the sensation of much oppression and burning about the chest. He or she jerks and twitches during sleep, and wakes up frequently during the night and then is wide awake. There is an inclination to take day time naps.

References:

Boericke, W. (2004) Pocket manual of homeopathic Materia Medica and repertory New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

Davis, K. (2018) What you need to know about sleep apnea, Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/178633.php(Accessed: May 2019).


Franklin, K.A. and Lindberg, E. (2015) ‘Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder in the population—a review on the epidemiology of sleep apnea’, Journal of Thoracic Disease, 7(8), pp. 1311–1322..


Mayo Clinic (2019) Sleep Apnea, Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20377631(Accessed: May 2019).


National Sleep Foundation (2019) Sleep Apnea, Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-apnea(Accessed: May 2019).


UCI Health (2019) Sleep Apnea, Available at: http://www.ucihealth.org/medical-services/sleep-services/sleep-apnea(Accessed: May 2019).

Voisin, H. (2018) Materia Medica für den homöopatischen Praktiker, 1 edn., Kandern: Naranaya Verlag.

In a nutshell … Ankylosing Spondylitis

[Also known as: Morbus Bechterew or Bechterew’s diseases, Marie Strumpell disease, or rheumatoid spondylitis.]

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a disease that belongs to the family of arthritic affections.

Spondylosis alone refers to degenerative changes at the affected site, such as osteoarthritis, of the vertebral joints and the intervertebral discs [1]. Ankylosis indicates that new bone formations are developing at the affected sites on the spine, fusing the vertebrae and eventually restricting mobility of the spine in that area [2].

AS is characterized by chronic inflammation that primarily affects the vertebrae of the spine. In its progression it may lead to gradual stiffening of the spine. A major location of the disease is the sacroiliac joint, however the upper areas of the spine and other joints, such as the shoulders, hips, ribs and smaller joints of the extremities, may also be affected [2, 3].

The inflammation and stiffness of AS may be experienced as severely painful and very restricting to the mobility of the sufferer. The symptomatology is variant, as is the time of first appearance of symptoms. It is commonly in early adulthood that symptoms begin to show. There is a diffuse dullness and discomfort that may initially be felt, with pain and stiffness, gradually aggravating during the night and in the morning. Sufferers may also have symptoms of light fever, fatigue and lack appetite initially. Pain, tenderness and stiffness will become more persistent over months and years, spreading along the spine into the neck. It is not uncommon that sufferers may also have symptoms of bowel and eye inflammation, and concomitant involvement of the heart and lungs [2, 3].

Ankylosing spondylitis is believed to be a genetic / hereditary disorder. It is assumed that a hereditary marker (HLA-B27) is a strong indicator for this disorder. However the HLA-B27 marker is not a precise diagnostic test, and researchers have identified over 60 other genes that stand in connection to the disorder. A distinct cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis has to date not been identified. It has though been observed that AS could stand in connection to an immune response. AS frequently broke out in patients following an infection of the bowel or urinary tract [2, 3].

The symptoms of Ankylosing spondylitis are often mistaken for other more common back problems, which makes it difficult to identify AS from the patients presenting complaints and symptoms alone. Usually x-rays, MRIs or the detection of the HLA-B27 marker are needed to make a more precise diagnosis. However, particularly in the early stages of AS, x-rays cannot provide evidence of the presence of this disorder as the deformity of the vertebrae is not yet visual in the imaging [2, 3].

Strong symptomatic indicators for the presence of this disorder are restricted flexibility in the lumbar spine, un-symmetric inflammation of a single joint (knee-, or hip-joint), iritis / uveitis, and the stiffening of the vertebrae. Characteristic of AS is also, that patients complain about back pain during the night, which is improved by movement. Most other, more common back problems find relief by rest and aggravation by motion. The appearance or aggravation of symptoms is usually in episodes or flare-ups, that are interrupted by phases of symptom remission and amelioration [2, 3].

The prognosis of disease progression is variable, as in each individual patient the expression of the disorder is different. Some patients may largely only suffer of intermittent discomfort and pain, while others may have more of the stiffness for lasting periods of time, and yet others may experience mostly deformity and even disability. With certain patients symptoms are so mild they rarely even are diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis [2, 3].

The treatment of AS is focused on the amelioration of the presenting symptomatology. Until today, there is no ‘cure’ for AS. The aim of treatment is to reduce pain, to retain mobility and to restrict deformity. As such exercise and physical therapy is suggested, as are inflammation and pain reducing medications. Surgery is a treatment option where a destroyed joint needs to be replaced or posture requires to be corrected [2, 3].

In terms of the CAM therapies, it has been found that sufferers of arthritis and related disorders seek complementary and alternative treatment in order to find “relief for pain and suffering that traditional medications have not provided”; in order “to avoid potentially serious side effects associated with [conventional] medications”; and to avoid costs of “certain conventional medical and surgical treatments” [4, n.p.]. Sufferers of AS have reported finding relief from CAM treatment [4].

The treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis with homeopathy has to be individualized. Accordingly, the remedies below may be helpful in the treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis [5, 6]:

Aesculus, Agaricus, Asa foetida, Aurum, Bryonia, Calc. Carb., Calc. Fluor., Calc. Phos., Causticum, Cimicifuga, Colchicum, Conium, Ferr. Phos., Formica rufa, Harpagophytum, Hecla lava, Kalium carbonicum, Kalmia, Natrium muriaticum, Phytolacca, Rhus tox., Solidago virgaurea, Silicea.

References:

[1] emedicinehealth (2017) Spondylosis, Available at: https://www.emedicinehealth.com/spondylosis/article_em.htm (Accessed: 15th November 2017).

[2] Spondylitis Association of America (2017) Overview of Ankylosing Spondylitis, Available at: http://www.spondylitis.org/Ankylosing-Spondylitis (Accessed: 15th November 2017).

[3] WebMD (2017) Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis, Available at: https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/ankylosing-spondylitis#1 (Accessed: 15th November 2017). [4] Spondylitis Association of America (2017).

[4]Complementary Treatments, Available at: http://www.spondylitis.org/Complementary-Treatments (Accessed: 15th November 2017).

[5] Asa Hershoff (1996) Homeopathy for Musculoskeletal Healing , Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books.

[6] DHU (2011) Homöopathisches Repetitorium  Karlsruhe: Deutsche Homöopathie Union.

[7] Clarke, J. (1994) A Dictionary of practical materia medica New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

In a nutshell…Tinnitus

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

A persistent wheezing, buzzing, whistling or ringing noise perceived in the head, or experienced in one or both ears is referred to as Tinnitus. This noise is permanent. It cannot be heard by others, and does not originate from an external source. It is not a psychiatric, but a physical condition. It is frequently traced to some malfunction of the hearing system. This can be as simple as earwax logged near the eardrum, can originate from an underlying condition such as Meniere’s disease, can be caused by more serious conditions such as tumor growth, or can be triggered by prolonged exposure to noise. Research has to date not been able to source the precise underlying mechanism.

Photo by Angela Roma on Pexels.com

There are other potential causes that may favor the emergence of tinnitus. Injuries or trauma to the head, a malposition of the jaw at the joint to the skull, large doses of aspirin, and even stress have been linked to the appearance of tinnitus.

The exposure to loud noise is the most common cause of tinnitus. The use of noisy machinery without hearing protection, concert noise without ear plugs, or even the extended listening to music at high volume can promote the ‘outbreak’ of tinnitus.

Sufferers may experience concomitant adverse effects as a consequence to tinnitus. Stress, depression, fatigue, exhaustion, and emotional impairment are common.

Most sufferers develop some sort of coping strategy to be able to manage their life with the complaint. Conventional medicine offers diverse therapeutic approaches such as ‘cognitive behavior therapy’, or ‘tinnitus retraining therapy’ aimed at reducing the perception of tinnitus. There is to date no medication that can treat tinnitus. Avoiding is key with this condition.

The following homeopathic remedies may be useful in the treatment of tinnitus: Antipyrine, Cannabis indica, Carbonicum sulphuricum, Chininum sulphuricum, Kalium iodatum, Lachesis, Natrium Salicylicum, Phosphorus, Salicylicum Acidum, Theridion, Thiosinaminum.

References:

Australian Tinnitus Association (2014) Tinnitus – what is it?, Available at: http://www.tinnitus.asn.au/tinnitus.htm (Accessed: December 2017).

Boericke, W. (2004) Pocket manual of homeopathic materia medica and repertory New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

Clarke, J. (1994) A Dictionary of practical materia medica New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

DHU (2011) Homöopathisches Repetitorium  Karlsruhe: Deutsche Homöopathie Union

hear-it.org (n.d.) Tinnitus, Available at: https://www.hear-it.org/Tinnitus-1 (Accessed: December 2017 ).