Archive for the ‘STRESS & TENSION’ Category

Doctors stunned by extremely rare case of Italian woman who sweats blood

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Washington: Doctors were baffled when a 21-year-old woman was admitted into an Italian hospital for “sweating blood” from her face and her hands, a condition she’s had for three years, according to two physicians from the University of Florence.

It’s a condition few doctors have seen, and some have questioned whether sweating blood is even possible. Cases of people sweating blood are uncommon, and the Italian had floated the idea that the woman may be faking her symptoms.

The bleeding has no clear apparent trigger and can happen while the woman is asleep or during physical activity, wrote doctors Roberto Maglie and Marzia Caproni in a case report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Monday. The bleeding becomes more intense, she told doctors, during times of stress, and the episodes can last from one to five minutes. The woman has isolated herself out of embarrassment, and reported symptoms associated with major depressive and panic disorders, doctors said.

After a round of tests and observations, and after ruling out the likelihood that she was faking her condition, doctors diagnosed the woman with a rare condition called hematohidrosis, in which patients spontaneously sweat blood through unbroken skin. But what causes the woman to “sweat” blood remains unclear: Despite the blood’s sweat-like appearance, doctors aren’t certain whether blood is passing through sweat glands. The bleeding reportedly has occurred through areas without sweat glands or through follicles, the doctors said.

Jacalyn Duffin, a hematologist and medical historian at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., said she had never come across a case of patient sweating blood herself, and that few doctors have. In a commentary that accompanied the case report, she wrote that she was initially skeptical about the condition of the woman in Italy until she dove into medical literature and found that at least two dozen similar cases had surfaced around the world since about 2000.

Of the 42 reports Duffin came across dating back to 1880, almost half had appeared in the last five years, making her wonder whether there has been an increase in cases or if it’s becoming more recognised by doctors. Medical writers have previously traced the condition of sweating blood to the story of Christ’s suffering and the crucifixion, but hematohidrosis has appeared in scientific literature, too. Two treatises by Aristotle from the third century B.C. reference sweat that either looked like, or actually was, blood.

Still, Duffin believes the condition’s association with Christianity and religion may make it more difficult for doctors to accept. Since publication of the Italian case Monday, three people have contacted Duffin to tell her they believe they have the condition.

“That suggests to me that there may be more people who get it,” she said. “They either aren’t taken seriously by their doctors, or they hide it because it’s stigmatized.”

Recently reported cases make Duffin believe the condition is both “possible and plausible,” as the reports are credible, she said. Patients with hematohidrosis have their blood tested and are monitored by doctors, who look to see whether patients are scratching themselves. The majority of cases involve young women or children from around the world, making it difficult for Duffin to believe that the cases are a result of copycat behaviour.

Many of the reports Duffin analysed documented that the bleeding was preceded by emotional trauma, such as witnessing violence at home or at school. In all cases, the condition was transient, lasting anywhere from a month to four years. But little else about the bleeding, such as its causes or how to stop it, is known, she said.

The woman in Italy so far has been treated with propranolol, a heart and blood pressure medication, which has reduced but not completely stopped her bleeding.

Washington Post

Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Fight Stress by Healthy Eating

Whenever we get too busy or stressed, we all tend to make poor food choices that will actually increase stress and cause other problems. To get the most of your healthy eating and avoid stress, follow these simple tips. Always eat breakfast, even though you may think you aren’t hungry, you need to eat something. Skipping breakfast makes it harder to maintain the proper blood and sugar levels during the day, so you should always eat something. Keeping some protein rich snacks in your car, office, or pocket book will help you avoid blood sugar level dips, the accompanying mood swings, and the fatigue. Trail mix, granola bars, and energy bars all have the nutrients you need. If you like to munch when you’re stressed out, you can replace chips or other non healthy foods with carrot sticks, celery sticks, or even sunflower seeds.

Although a lot of people prefer to eat fast food for lunch, you can save a lot of money and actually eat healthier if you take a few minutes and pack a lunch at home. Even if you only do this a few times a week, you’ll see a much better improvement over eating out. As important as it is to get the bad food out of your house, it’s even more important to get the good food in! The best way to do this is to plan a menu of healthy meals at snacks at the beginning of the week, list the ingedients you need, then go shop for it. This way, you’ll know what you want when you need it and you won’t have to stress over what to eat. *

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, June 7th, 2010


MADISON, Wis. (UPI) — U.S. researchers confirm calling mom reduces stress.

Biological anthropologist Leslie Seltzer and psychology professor Seth Pollak, both of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tested the stress levels of a group of girls ages 7-12 by requiring them to deliver an impromptu speech and do a series of math problems in front of strangers.

“Facing a challenge like that, being evaluated, raises stress levels for a lot of people,” Pollak said in a statement.

Once stressed, one-third of the girls were comforted with a hug by their mothers, one-third watched an emotion-neutral 75-minute video and one-third were handed a telephone with their mother on the line.

“The children who got to interact with their mothers had virtually the same hormonal response, whether they interacted in person or over the phone,” Seltzer says.

The levels of oxytocin — the “love hormone” strongly associated with emotional bonding — rose significantly and the stress-marking cortisol disappeared, the study found.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, might explain why many college students call their mothers as soon as they hand in an exam.

“I used to think, ‘How could those over-attentive, helicopter parents encourage that?’ Maybe it’s a quick and dirty way to feel better. It’s not pop psychology or psychobabble,” Pollak said.

Received and published by Henry Sapiecha 7th June 2010


Monday, June 7th, 2010

Depression & Vitamin D: The Emerging Link

Vitamin D has been linked to many health conditions before. A recent study links insufficient levels of the vitamin with the disabling condition depression

In a recent study performed by researchers from the National Institute of Aging in the United States, insufficient levels of vitamin D may be the reason why many individuals over the age of 65 are experiencing symptoms of depression.

Senior individuals often have low levels of the important vitamin because they tend to stay indoors more often, as opposed to younger, more sprightly individuals with more active lifestyles. The study was published in a medical journal on endocrinology this year.

According to Luigi Ferrucci, the lead researcher, the emerging link between vitamin D deficiency and the occurrence of depression must be further investigated.  The study involved a follow-up testing of nearly one thousand male and female respondents within a six-year period.

The researchers used a specialized scale that measured the symptoms of depression called CES-D.  The researchers discovered that those with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood tended to have poorer score in the CES-D test.  Those with higher vitamin D percentages in their blood scored better in the same test.

Alarming, global trend

Depression is fast becoming one of the leading causes of disability around the world, not just in the United States.  It is estimated that today, there are 120 million people afflicted with the condition.  Ferrucci’s study is not the first to point at the possible link between the vitamin and depression.

In an earlier study carried out two years ago, Dutch researchers reported that insufficient levels of the vitamin in the body resulted in a higher percentage of the parathyroid hormone.

This hormone, which is used by the body to regulate calcium loss, has been directly linked to a higher incidence of depression in some one thousand two hundred respondents in yet another independent study.  This is the reason why a causal pathway must be mapped out to determine just how this vitamin affects the human brain.

In a fourth related study, researchers McCann and Arnes noted that vitamin D is important for the proper functioning and health of the human brain.  The widespread presence of vitamin D receptors throughout the human brain is evidence of the vital role of the nutrient in brain health.

According to yet another scientific review, vitamin D has been associated with affecting proteins in the human brain that are responsible for governing the learning process and remembering.  If an imbalance occurs in these areas, you can just imagine a chain reaction occurring throughout the brain.

Benefits of vitamin D

There are several ways that you can get vitamin D: natural exposure to sunlight, food (like dairy products, e.g. yogurt, milk, etc.) and through vitamin supplementation.  The body only needs about 10 – 15 minutes of exposure to natural sunlight to produce vitamin D on its own.

If this is not possible, people with low levels of vitamin D should explore vitamin supplementation; this applies most especially to senior individuals who may not be eating well or are unable to engage in a more active lifestyle.  Instead of using sunscreen when going out to get your healthy dose of sunshine, you can protect your skin naturally by taking natural antioxidants like fresh wheatgrass juice and citrus fruits.

The usual recommended dose for adults is between 400 to 800 IU (international units) of vitamin D everyday. Pregnant women should be given a higher dose (800 IU) to ensure optimum bone health and proper development of the fetus.

And there are more reasons to love vitamin D! Here are some of the most important benefits:

1. It is needed for proper absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorous.  It is needed for the proper maintenance and repair of the bones and skin.

2. It strengthens and helps maintain the immune function of the body. Conditions like flu and the common cold can be warded off more efficiently if the immune system is strengthened by vitamin D.

3. It is an important nutrient that prevents the occurrence of MS (multiple sclerosis).  According to researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University, MS is less frequent in tropical countries because there is more available sunshine in these places than in temperate regions.

4. Vitamin D has also been linked to the maintenance of normal body weight (according to research from the Medical College of Georgia).

5. Vitamin D is important for brain health in the later years (60 – 79 years of age).

6. In a recent study from the Harvard Medical School, vitamin D can also reduce asthma attacks in asthmatic individuals.

7. We are exposed continually to low levels of radiation.  The good news is vitamin D can also help protect us from such exposures.

According to US cancer researchers, people with adequate levels of vitamin D have a lower risk for many types of cancer than people with low or inadequate levels of the vitamin.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 7th June 2010


Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Irregular Work Schedule Bad for Regularity

Study:  IBS More Common Among People with Rotating Shifts

The unpredictability of your job may affect your risk for irritable bowel syndrome.

It’s said that the only constant thing people can expect in life is change, a frustrating fact of life for we are creatures of habit.

While change is almost always uncomfortable, change, for the most part, is a good thing.  It enables us to grow.  It enables us to adapt to circumstances both within and beyond our control.

Knowing that change is a good thing doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, though.  In fact, even small changes, like never having a consistent work schedule, can really throw off the body’s body clock.

All of us have an internal body clock.  We all develop patterns of behavior that our body remembers, where we wake around the same time every morning, go to bed around the same time every night, and eat around the same time for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Where we also develop patterns is in our bowel habits.

If you’re anything like me, you tend to use the facilities around the same time every day (yes, I know that’s too much information, but there’s a point to my mentioning this).   Here, a lack of change is a good thing because it indicates that you’re getting a good amount of fiber in your diet and that you’re staying “regular.”

But according to researchers, a work schedule that’s constantly in flux spells bad news for your bowels by putting you at risk for irritable bowel syndrome.

Researchers from the University of Michigan discovered this after evaluating 400 people whose profession epitomizes unpredictability:  nurses.

About half of the participating nurses had the fortune of working pretty consistent schedules, but 75 of them had very irregular schedules.

After taking into account potential contributing factors for IBS diagnosis (e.g. gender, stress levels, age, etc.), they found that the nurses whose schedules were constantly in flux were far more likely to have IBS.

They found that about 50 percent of the nurses who had rotating shifts reported symptoms indicative of IBS, which is a stark contrast to the 40 percent of nurses with IBS on the graveyard shift and the 31 percent that work dayside.

This is an interesting finding because even though the rate is highest among those working the unpredictable shift, it’s a high rate of IBS among all three groupings, especially when you compare their rate of IBS to the country at large (about 20 percent of the population has IBS, or 1 in 5).

Then again it’s not too surprising the rate of IBS was high among all the groupings when you factor into the equation that most of the participants were young women (IBS is more common among women, especially those who are in their 20s and 30s).

The study was published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

If these nurses’ situation is in anyway similar to yours, ask your boss if you can work a more regular schedule.  It may be embarrassing for you to explain why you want a regular schedule, but keep in mind that IBS is an extremely common condition that LOTS of people have.  Plus, if your work schedule is causing your IBS, a steadier work schedule will enable you to work more effectively and efficiently—a win-win for your employer!  A 1995 Mayo Clinic study found that IBS costs the economy $20 billion every year in lost work productivity.

If your work schedule isn’t the cause of your IBS, it may be your diet.  There’s no such thing as a food that fixes or causes IBS, as the cause of IBS flare-ups tend to vary from person to person.  It may be because your diet’s too low in fiber or you’ve started to eat a food that you haven’t eaten in a while.   Take inventory of your diet.

Then again, your IBS may be a result of your emotional state.  Have you been feeling a lot of stress at work lately?  How’s life been at home with your spouse or your kids?  Stress plays a significant role in IBS onset, so do everything you can to de-stress your life (e.g. start an exercise routine, do yoga, or get a massage).

A gastroenterologist will be able to identify if you have IBS, but there are some all-natural supplements you should consider if you’d rather not deal with the doc.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 17th March 2010