This is how you protect yourself from fatty liver disease

More and more men are suffering from the dangerous consequences of fatty liver, even those who are slim. Here you can find out how it arises and how to prevent it

What exactly is fatty liver?

As the name suggests, this disease is an obesity of the organ. The fatty liver – medically called “steatosis hepatis” – arises from the storage of fat in the liver. This fat is deposited in the liver in the form of fat vacuoles. Even if a fatty liver can regress, you should not underestimate the disease. Because the fatty liver is considered the preliminary stage of diseases such as hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver.

We explain the common disease, its causes and symptoms and tell you how you can protect yourself: Starting with a healthy diet to losing weight, because obesity is also one of the reasons for fatty liver.

What are the causes of fatty liver?

For a long time, liver obesity was practically only diagnosed in people who drink too much alcohol. The causes of fatty liver can also be found in the wrong diet.

This is about the so-called non-alcoholic fatty liver(after the English term non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, abbreviated NAFLD), the cause of which lies in the derailment of the metabolism, mostly triggered by improper nutrition. The liver is not only responsible for detoxifying the blood. It also ensures that the cells always have all the nutrients they need. This is why a healthy liver always has a small amount of fat on hand. However, if you overeat too quickly for too long, a chain reaction starts that causes the body to store more fat than the naturally intended amount. Doctors speak of fatty organism when more than 5 percent of the liver cells have visibly stored fat. In a full-blown fatty liver, it is even 50 percent of all cells or even more.

What are the symptoms of fatty liver?

Your liver can almost suffocate in fat, but you don’t notice anything – the organ doesn’t feel any pain. Only when the liver is already greatly enlarged is it sometimes noticeable through feelings of pressure in the upper abdomen. (If it hurts badly in this area, it is mostly migrating gallstones – completely different construction site.) A stressed liver can also make itself felt through tiredness – but who leads such a relaxed life that there are not umpteen other reasons for the dullness Question could come? Until the liver is irreversibly damaged, there are practically no symptoms. A timely diagnosis is therefore difficult.

The fatty liver can be seen on the ultrasound image, but very late: “Only when significantly more than 10 percent of the cells have stored fat,” adds Worm. More precise imaging processes are so complex and expensive that they are only used in studies. A biopsy, i.e. a tissue removal, would also be very accurate. However, nobody undertakes such drastic interventions without justified suspicion – being often tired is not a sufficient indication on its own. Fortunately, an abundance of studies has now shown that the doctor can find out about obesity by combining different blood values.

Fat trap: sick can soon become life-threatening
An obese liver suffers in a number of ways. Inflammation often occurs. The possible consequences are always the same, whether it is fat, viruses, alcohol or other poisons: If it cannot be contained, more and more liver tissue loses its function and becomes scarred – this is called fibrosis and later cirrhosis. A tumor can then develop from the fibrinous tissue. But even if that doesn’t happen: at some point a cirrhotic liver will no longer be able to perform its tasks, and without a transplant, that’s it. But as startling as these prospects may be, obesity in your liver has put your life in serious danger long before it happens, because it drastically increases the risk of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

What are the dangers of fat deposits in the body?

Not only fat people have fatty livers. Around 15 percent of slim people also suffer from it. The reasons for this are fat deposits in the body and genetic causes.

Researchers call those affected Tofis (from thin outside, fat inside – i.e. thin outside, fat inside). Their often poor blood lipid values ​​have puzzled the doctors – only now are the connections slowly clearing up. The root of fatty liver disease is how the body deals with the excess calories. Some people can park a lot of fat exactly where it belongs, namely under the skin. Even if the bacon rolls created in this way don’t exactly improve your chances of flirting on the beach: this is probably an advantage for your liver. In these people, despite being significantly overweight, their blood values ​​are often okay; their risk of developing diabetes or suffering from a heart attack is not increased. But in people whose bodies cannot store the fat in the subcutaneous tissue, it often ends up in tissues that cannot handle it. One speaks of ectopic (stray) fat. In the beginning only the liver is affected, but later almost all other organs of the body, including the brain and bones. The stray fat paralyzes the cells and can even kill them. 

Disturbed vessels: The fat wanders around dangerously in the body
The fat becomes a danger if the body doesn’t know what to do with it. A layer of fat would be a great place – but this is a highly active tissue and must therefore be well supplied with blood. However, if you eat really lavishly for a long time, you force the fat cells to grow and multiply very quickly – the blood vessels may not keep up. Then the cells are no longer adequately supplied with oxygen and send out alarm messages that fuel inflammation and thus stimulate vascular growth. “The inflammation also reduces the cells’ sensitivity to the hormone insulin,” explains expert Worm. This works like a key, without which no new fat can get into the cells provided for it.

When this happens depends on the individual and also genetically. The fact is: fat goes astray faster in men. Whatever your figure looks like: a bulging stomach is an alarm signal! The ball indicates that fat has accumulated in the abdominal cavity – then the liver is practically always fatty. And don’t try to blame everything on genes – lifestyle also plays a decisive role. Numerous factors influence whether an inflammation just flares up or blazes up – for example, whether you are well supplied with nutrients such as vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. But stress and poor sleep also fuel the process. Ultimately, two questions are decisive: How much exercise do your muscles get and where do the calories you feed come from?

Killer glucose: carbohydrates cause fatty liver

Ultimately, carbohydrates are primarily responsible for fatty liver, and most of them consume (too) many nowadays.

It may seem like a contradiction, but the connection becomes clear when you look at the role of insulin: When you eat, all the usable carbohydrates end up in the blood as individual glucose molecules. With the help of insulin, they are channeled into cells. It has to be done quickly, otherwise the sugar will damage the blood vessels. So that glucose has priority, insulin slows down fat utilization. In the cells, the glucose is either used immediately for energy production or stored in the liver and muscle cells. These memories are limited, however, because glucose is just a wild card for intense exertion. If these don’t exist, meaning you lead a comfortable life but still eat plenty of carbohydrates, the stores are full. This initially makes your muscle cells less sensitive to insulin – they keep the door closed, so to speak. In order to get rid of the excess sugar anyway, more insulin is released. And indeed the glucose disappears from the blood – but where does it go?

A study from Yale Universityshows: In this metabolic situation, the insulin resistance, the glucose is converted into fat in the liver. In this situation, however, the doors of the fat cells are often tight. You already know what happens next: the fat has to be stored in the liver or ends up in other tissues via the bloodstream. It then triggers inflammation in the vessels, which can promote arteriosclerosis on the inside of the veins. If it is the coronary arteries that seal, it comes to a heart attack, if arteries in the brain are affected, you suffer a stroke. The risk of diabetes also increases: with increasing obesity, the pancreas and liver also become insulin-resistant, they can then hardly be regulated – and the sugar metabolism derails more and more. If even enormous amounts of insulin are no longer enough,

How do you prevent fatty liver disease?

You can prevent fatty liver disease, especially by losing weight. But a lighter lifestyle, i.e. more sport and less sugar, is also a precaution.

The liver can recover if you lose weight. You don’t have to wait until your figure is fit for the beach again. Research by the University of Newcastlehave shown that you can defat the liver quickly and effectively without losing too much weight: by fasting. The test subjects (all diabetics) consumed 600 calories daily in the form of powder shakes, plus 200 calories from vegetables with a little dip – and in this way already lost 30 percent of liver fat in the first week. Both the blood lipid and blood sugar levels improved immediately. In the further course, even pancreatic cells believed dead regenerated.

“The key to this development, which was first observed after gastric surgery, is the drastically reduced energy intake,” says expert Worm. It is even better if the 800 calories allowed daily contain as few carbohydrates as possible but enough protein: “Otherwise too much muscle mass will be broken down.” If you are carrying a lot of excess weight with you, however, a 2-week fast is usually not enough to make muscles and adipose tissue sensitive to insulin again. That means: If you don’t want to bring your metabolism back on the wrong track, you either have to fast more often, lose weight significantly or shape your life a little differently – above all more actively.

More exercise and less sugar than prevention

To prevent your liver from becoming fatty again after such a fast, it is best to try a double strategy:

  1. Increase movement: More endurance training is good, more strength training is even better. Because the more muscle mass you have, the more blood sugar you can store. In addition, thicker muscles consume more energy with every movement. Studies show: Even in people who are already insulin-resistant, every burst of activity improves their current situation, and the effect lasts for the rest of the day. 
  2. Lower insulin requirements: Eat in such a way that the body can get by on smaller amounts of the hormone. Reduce your carbohydrate intake and give your metabolism as much relief as possible during the night. Do not add anything after dinner, especially no carbohydrates (so no beer, no apple carvers). About 4 hours after the last bite (which you slept through blissfully), the healing mini-fast begins until the first meal of the new day. Increase the effect by having a low-carb dinner or (if breakfast is not your cup of tea) extending the insulin break until morning. Even coffee without milk and sugar does not destroy the effect. This is how you keep your metabolism on track – and your liver fit.

How do I eat properly if I have fatty liver?

Now you know how to prevent fatty liver disease. But what to do if you already have fatty liver? First of all: don’t panic! Fatty liver is basically a benign disease. Only if the causes that led to the liver damage are not eliminated in good time can it become a serious danger and in the worst case lead to liver cirrhosis or hepatitis. Otherwise, fatty liver disease can usually even completely regress. Here are a few tips on which diet can contribute to the regression of fatty liver:

  1. Goodbye alcohol:   If you suffer from fatty liver, you should completely avoid alcohol.  
  2. Drink plenty of water: The basic requirement for a balanced and healthy diet is to drink enough fluids: At least 2 liters a day. Conventional mineral water or tea is recommended. Fruit or vegetable juices should only be drunk diluted.
  3. Rely on whole grain products: If you have the choice between whole grain bread or white bread, then it is best to opt for the former and avoid the quickly digestible sugars that are found in white bread, cakes or sweets, for example.
  4. Fruit and vegetables: True to the motto: “One apple a day, keeps the doctor away”, you should buy fruit and vegetables, because they contain many vitamins and minerals. Already knew? In order not to lose such valuable substances when cooking, it is advisable to only briefly cook or stew the vegetables. 
  5. Protein, protein, protein: foods containing protein are particularly helpful in combating fatty liver. Hard-boiled eggs, (lean) quark, yoghurt or cheese are ideal sources of protein. But be careful: it is better not to grab cheeses that are too fatty and avoid the mostly fatty fried eggs or scrambled eggs with bacon. 

The general rule is: Avoid a diet that is (too) high in fat. You should also make sure not to consume too many carbohydrates, but rather to follow a protein-based diet – with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. 

Medical check-up: this is how you recognize fatty liver

Perhaps it will soon be enough to take a single blood test to detect fatty liver disease. Until then, your doctor has to collect several values ​​and combine them correctly. A check overview.

1. Collect classic blood values: For a meaningful indication of the state of the metabolism, you need two blood values ​​that your doctor may have already collected during a check-up: the triglycerides (free fats) and the “good” HDL cholesterol. Then you do the math: Triglyceride value divided by the HDL value. The result should be less than 2. Significantly higher values ​​(in men from 3.5, in women from 2.5) are typical for insulin resistance – thus also for fatty liver and an increased risk of diabetes and heart attack.

2. Measure blood sugar levels:The fasting value is usually measured, but this is the last to react conspicuously. The result – usually given in milligrams per deciliter (mg / dl) – becomes more meaningful if you also have the insulin content in the blood measured. This is given as a thousandth of a standard unit (mU for milli-unit) per milliliter. You multiply the glucose value with the insulin value and divide the result by 405. Values ​​greater than 2 indicate insulin resistance. Diabetics are at 5.

3. Analyze typical liver values:There are 3 blood tests that indicate liver cell damage. You will find the abbreviations GPT, GOT and GGT on the laboratory slip. But these values ​​are not always reliable: even if they appear normal, the liver can be fatty or even inflamed. In any case, increased values ​​are an occasion to check whether a fatty liver is present.

Vitamins B and C make you beautiful and strong

Water-soluble vitamins strengthen the body: They ensure firm connective tissue, promote physical fitness and support the immune system. Without it, the metabolism would not function.

If you want to stay healthy, you should regularly eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables in order to always have enough vitamins. Because these organic substances are vital and regulate many metabolic processes. With a few exceptions, the body cannot produce them itself, so they have to be ingested through food.

Some vitamins are water-soluble, we are talking about them here, others need fat as a transport medium so that the body can use them.

The water-soluble get into the blood via the intestines , where they have different functions: some strengthen the skin and nerves, others support the immune system or help detoxify the body. The body cannot store excess supply – it eliminates it. A deficiency, on the other hand, often has much more serious consequences.

The individual vitamins are described in more detail on the following pages.

vitamin C

Vitamin C strengthens the connective tissue

The best-known water-soluble vitamin is vitamin C. If it is missing, the consequences are fatal: Centuries ago many seafarers suffered from what is known as scurvy. At first the skin turned pale, later it bled, then the sailors’ teeth fell out. In the terminal stages, her heart also began to beat irregularly, and many died.

Today such severe deficiencies are unthinkable in the industrialized countries. Those who eat healthily get all the vitamins they need with their food. Vitamin supplements can also help sick and pregnant women .

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is the universal talent among vitamins. Thus ascorbic acid apparently protects the body from the attacks of cell-destroying substances, so-called free radicals. It supports the absorption of iron from food, strengthens the connective tissue and the gums.

Long cooking destroys the vitamin

Apparently, vitamin C also strengthens the immune system . However, it has not yet been proven whether it helps against flu-like infections . Anyone who regularly consumes fresh fruit and vegetables can easily cover their daily requirement of 100 milligrams.

Ascorbic acid is mainly found in the skin of the fruit and directly below it. Good sources are citrus fruits, potatoes, peppers, and kiwis. Kale, fennel, Brussels sprouts or spinach also contain plenty of vitamin C. However, when prepared traditionally, they lose a lot of it, as long cooking and keeping the food warm destroy the vitamin. Deficiency leads to fatigue, irritability and delayed wound healing.

Vitamin B1 and B2

Vitamin B1 strengthens the condition

As an accompanying enzyme, vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps to break down carbohydrates and thus quickly supplies muscles and nerve cells with energy. This increases the energy metabolism of the cells and thus strengthens concentration and physical condition.

Since the vitamin is contained in many foods, a balanced diet is usually sufficient to cover the daily requirement of around one to 1.3 milligrams. Pregnant women and athletes need more. If there is a lack of thiamine, tiredness, muscle weakness and poor concentration can occur. Larger amounts of it can be found in meat, especially pork, as well as in liver, whole grain products, oatmeal, pulses and potatoes.

Vitamin B2 gives energy

As a typical milk vitamin, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) stimulates the metabolism and in this way provides energy. With a large glass of milk, the daily requirement of 1.2 to 1.5 milligrams is already half covered.

In addition to dairy products, eggs, liver, fish, spinach, kale, broccoli and mushrooms are also rich in vitamin B2. Deficiency or excess are rare.

Niacin and pantothenic acid

Niacin strengthens the skin and nerves

Niacin (nicotinic acid / nicotinamide, also obsolete vitamin B3) is involved in the build- up and breakdown of sugar , fatty acids and amino acids. It is important for the transport of electrons. Niacin is found primarily in meat and offal, milk and fish, but also in whole-grain bread and coffee . The body can also produce some of it itself from the essential amino acid tryptophan.

The daily requirement is between 13 and 17 milligrams. A deficiency in niacin first becomes noticeable through physical weakness and loss of appetite, followed by skin inflammation and diarrhea.

Pantothenic acid stimulates the metabolism

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates , fatty acids and proteins in all tissues . It is also needed to make hormones like estrogen and testosterone. It is found in almost all foods.

Good sources are meat, liver, grains, and legumes. The recommendations for daily intake are around six milligrams per day. A deficiency is extremely rare, then manifests itself in headaches and tiredness.

Vitamin B6 and biotin

Vitamin B6 supports the immune system

The vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is a companion of many enzymes in the protein metabolism. The amino acids contained in the food proteins are processed and finally converted into the body’s own proteins. The vitamin supports the immune system and helps with blood formation.

B6 is contained in almost all foods, so deficiency is very rare. Daily doses of 1.2 to 1.6 milligrams are sufficient. Particularly good suppliers are meat, fish, whole grain products, wheat germ, cabbage, green beans, potatoes, and bananas.

Biotin is used by the skin and hair

Biotin (vitamin B7 or vitamin H) helps to build up skin tissue , hair and nails . It is made by microorganisms in the intestine and is found in many foods, such as liver, egg yolks, soybeans, spinach, mushrooms and nuts.

A daily amount of 30 to 60 micrograms is recommended. People who take antibiotics, alcoholics and smokers are more prone to deficiency symptoms such as abnormal changes in hair and skin . Alcohol reduces the absorption of the vitamin in the body, nicotine increases the consumption of biotin.

Folic acid and vitamin B12

Folic acid is important for the embryo

This substance plays a special role in all growth and development processes. The body needs folic acid (vitamin B9) above all for the formation of nucleic acids, the building blocks of the genome. Folic acid is therefore particularly important during pregnancy, especially in the first few months, as the embryo needs the vitamin for its development. Pregnant women should consume at least 0.6 milligrams a day , as deficiency can lead to deformities in children. This dose is also recommended for breastfeeding women.

The 0.4 milligrams per day otherwise required for adults can usually be covered with food. A 200 to 250 gram portion of spinach covers more than half the daily requirement. Folic acid is also found in lettuce, leafy vegetables and tomatoes, as well as in wheat germ, egg yolks and liver. Folic acid is sensitive to heat and light. For this reason, vegetables should be eaten fresh if possible or, if stored for a long time, be kept in a cool and dark place.

Vitamin B12 helps with cell growth

The body only needs vitamin B12 (cobalamin) in very small amounts, around three micrograms a day. Nevertheless, it plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells and supports the growth of the cells.

Vitamin B12 is only found in foods of animal origin, including meat, offal, milk, cheese, eggs, and mackerel. Since the body cannot manufacture the substance itself, vegans are particularly at risk of not getting enough of it.

In sauerkraut and beer, the vitamin is produced in small quantities by bacteria that are involved in fermentation. It can take years for a B12 deficiency to manifest itself. Symptoms are, for example, impaired perception, depression , changes in the blood count or damage to the nerves and mucous membranes.

When the environment makes you sick

More and more often people suffer from unspecific hypersensitivity that cannot be clearly grasped. Since there is no uniform clinical picture, the search for triggers is difficult.

For some years now, more and more people have appeared in doctors’ offices who suffer from unspecific and elusive hypersensitivities. Some of them have very different symptoms that cannot be clearly assigned to either allergic or pseudo- allergic causes. Often those affected have already been to numerous specialists or also to naturopaths, environmental consultants and miracle healers – each without success.

The list of suspected disease triggers is headed by wood preservatives, molds and solvents; fragrances also cause many problems. In most cases, however, analytical methods cannot clearly confirm that these substances are the cause of the symptoms. The symptoms described cannot usually be narrowed down precisely and range from persistent tiredness, exhaustion, headaches and dizziness to severe skin and mucous membrane diseases to memory disorders, irritability and depressive moods.

Whether environmental pollutants are actually involved is still highly controversial. The fact that often no triggers can be detected could also be due to the fact that the diagnostic possibilities in this area are still very limited. Some scientists suspect an increased sensitivity to smell, others believe it is due to neurophysiological changes in the transmission of stimuli. In some cases, however, it is possible to prove genuine hypersensitivity reactions with a thorough, professional detection method. A study by the Robert Koch Institute has shown that behind unspecific complaints there is a difficult to unravel variety of partly allergological, partly psychosomatic and only very rarely toxic reactions.

Chemical intolerance: eco or MCS syndrome

The symptom complexes are summarized by various authors and experts in a large number of disease descriptions, for example as eco-syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS syndrome) or sick building syndrome, a phenomenon in which those affected become ill due to a “disease-causing” Building feel sick. According to current estimates, around 400,000 people in Germany are affected by such hypersensitivity to chemicals, reports the German Allergy and Asthma Association (DAAB).

According to the “White Paper on Allergy”, an eco-syndrome is understood to mean clinical pictures that are associated with different, very subjective complaints, “combined with the conviction that one is ill from environmental pollutants”. In the public discussion, the term is often used synonymously with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS syndrome). However, medical professionals mainly use the term to define complaints that are associated with chemical substances. However, these are present in extremely low concentrations, so that they are generally no longer considered harmful. With conventional detection methods, no clear cause of the disease can be determined.

In a study, scientists from the Technical University of Munich were unable to find a connection between exposure to certain chemicals and the corresponding complaints. The head of the study, Thomas Zilker, therefore believes that the assumption that there actually is such a thing as an eco-syndrome is a misconception that is reinforced by medical treatment and socially – an assessment that other experts do not necessarily share. The doctors examined more than 300 patients with such unspecific symptoms, which were attributed to environmental pollutants. They compared this group with around 60 workers from the semiconductor industry, who frequently come into contact with small amounts of chemicals due to their work. In both groups, the researchers looked at exposure to solvents, Heavy metals and other poisons and checked the psychological state of the people on the basis of surveys. The research found that nearly half of MCS patients suffered from psychosomatic disorders, compared with about eight percent for workers. Depression was in a ratio of 19 to 3.5 percent and anxiety disorders even in a ratio of 18 to 0 percent. There is therefore much to suggest that psychosomatic and personality disorders as well as emotional problems are causally closely linked to MCS syndrome. 5 percent and anxiety disorders even in a ratio of 18 to 0 percent. There is therefore much to suggest that psychosomatic and personality disorders as well as emotional problems are causally closely linked to the MCS syndrome. 5 percent and anxiety disorders even in a ratio of 18 to 0 percent. There is therefore much to suggest that psychosomatic and personality disorders as well as emotional problems are causally closely linked to MCS syndrome.

“It should be emphasized that these are unconscious processes,” says Torsten Zuberbier, head of the Allergy Center at the Berlin Charité and the European Foundation for Allergy Research (ECARF). “Smells in particular have a high level of significance from the history of evolution.” Those affected could unconsciously associate negative experiences with supposed danger. “The discomfort that arises when reliving the smell is evolutionarily to be understood as a protective mechanism, even if this is objectively not necessary,” says the allergist.

Buildings that make you sick: sick building syndrome

According to an international convention of the World Health Organization (WHO), the term sick building syndrome occurs if more than 10 to 20 percent of the residents or employees in a building experience unspecific complaints that quickly subside after leaving the building. The presumed connections between staying in certain rooms and certain complaints often cannot be refuted, but they cannot be proven either.

In part, the causes can be found in inadequate air conditioning. The problem, however, is that there are many factors that can play a role that may also affect one another. If even an elaborate analysis and diagnostic procedure does not produce a clear result, one must assume that psychological factors probably also play a role.

Best therapy: avoid triggers

A therapy is based on the results of the studies, write the authors of the “White Paper on Allergy”. It is particularly important to avoid the trigger factors recognized as relevant. If, for example, technical building facts such as air conditioning play a role, renovation must take place here. “If no causes are found, psychosomatic or psychiatric therapy can be helpful,” says Zuberbier. “In doing so, the person affected learns to develop strategies on how to cope with at least those subjectively perceived triggers that he cannot avoid in everyday life and at work.” Overall, the need for research in this area is still very great.

You shouldn’t ignore these 7 pains

As a real guy, you know exactly what to do when you are in pain: grit your teeth – and through! With these 7 pains, however, you’d better accept help

1. Sudden, severe pain in the groin area

The pain is as intense as a Roberto Carlos free kick that goes straight to your abdomen. The testicles are more likely to swell later.

Diagnosis: It could be testicular torsion. Usually the testicle dangles from the spermatic cord and is anchored to the bottom of the scrotum. If the anchorage is weak, the spermatic cord can be twisted in dangerous situations, which also cuts off the blood supply. A doctor has to untangle the testicle within six hours, otherwise the last hour has struck.

Treatment: The urologist feels the testicles and makes an ultrasound scan. Surgery is often indicated.

2. Constant pain in the feet or in the shins

The worst hurts when you exercise. But even when doing nothing you can feel it either in the back of the foot or in the shin.

Diagnosis: Presumably it is a fatigue fracture. Like any other body tissue, bone is continually regenerating itself. “But if you train so hard that the bones don’t have a chance to heal themselves, they can break,” says Dr. Andrew Feldman, doctor for the New York Rangers NHL ice hockey team.

Treatment: Radioactive markers make a stress fracture visible on the X-ray. Then there’s an end to running. In the worst case, you might have to wear a cast for a few weeks.

3. A sharp pain in the stomach

The stomach ache almost feels like a knife stab – but the attack comes from within.

Diagnosis: Because the space behind your washboard abs is crammed with organs, the pain can indicate inflammation of the appendix, pancreas, or gallbladder. None of these organs should burst and possibly pour pus into the abdomen. Then there would be mortal danger.
Treatment: “If it hurts in the lower right corner, the appendix is ​​probably to blame,” says Professor Siegfried Kra from Yale University. One can suspect the gallbladder behind pain in the upper abdomen. In contrast, the pancreas (the pancreas) reports with agony below the breastbone and increased enzyme levels in the blood.

4. Temporary chest pain

Severe chest pain that comes on suddenly and goes away quickly.

Diagnosis: In this case, it could be an upset stomach – or a heart attack. “Even if the pain is short-lived, it can be a sign to be taken seriously,” warns Dr. John Stamatos, Medical Director of North Shore Pain Services in Long Island. A blood clot in one of the coronary arteries could block blood flow to an area of ​​the heart. In around half of all heart attacks, death occurs after three to four hours.
Treatment: A blood test will show evidence of damaged heart tissue. Treatment options: balloon dilatation, bypass.

5. Leg pain with swelling

Your calf is killing you in pain. It is swollen, tender to the touch, and warm.

Diagnosis: You sit in place for six hours or more, for example on a long-haul flight. The blood sinks into your lower legs and clumps into a clot. If it is large enough, it clogs a deep vein in the leg. Unfortunately, the first thing you want to do, namely scratch, is also the worst: “Movement can cause the lump to migrate to the lungs. With fatal consequences,” says expert Stamatos.
Treatment: An X-ray venography detects thromboses. The phlebologist (vein doctor) will try to break up blood clots with medication.

6. Sudden, severe back pain

You have back pain, as if you had just lifted yourself on the closet. Usual treatment methods (warmth, rest, painkillers) do not help.

Diagnosis: “If you have nothing to do with lifting, sudden back pain can be an indication of an aneurysm,” says Professor Kra. The pathological dilatations of your blood vessels are most dangerous when the aorta is affected. But don’t worry, eventually the pain will subside – right after the main artery bursts.
Treatment: Computed tomography reveals where the aneurysm is and how big it is. Then there’s medication or an operation.

7. Pain when urinating

You moan while peeing, but not with pleasure. Plus, you could swear your urine stream is a rusty hue.

Diagnosis: the worst case? “Bladder cancer,” says Dr. Joseph A. Smith, Senior Consultant Urologist at Vanderbilt University. Incidentally, smoking is the most important risk factor for this fourth most common cancer in men. But maybe it’s just a bladder infection.
Treatment: If there are no inflammatory bacteria in your urine, the urologist will take a look inside the bladder. The doctor treats a tumor surgically or orders chemotherapy and / or radiation.

So now you finally become a non-smoker

Smoking even increases the risk of corona disease. The best tips and strategies on how you can actually quit smoking permanently now

Exactly what could make smokers more susceptible to Covid-19. You have wanted to quit smoking for a long time, but it has never worked, at least not in the long term? You are not alone with the problem. According to the Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 28 percent of all smokers have tried at least once to renounce the vice. But 73 percent relapsed. So that this doesn’t happen to you (anymore), we have put together the most important tools for you that will make you a non-smoker for good.

What is the most proven way to quit smoking?

Definitely the final point method, according to which 90 percent of ex-smokers made it. The cigarette consumption is not slowly reduced, but given up completely from one moment to the next.

Many health insurance companies offer a ten-week program in which the smoker should slowly ignore his consumption. If you try it out yourself, you’ll quickly notice that it works badly. With a lot of willpower, you might get five cigarettes a day, but it doesn’t actually make quitting easier. Also, hypnosis and acupuncture are recognized methods by which it have some ex-smokers managed to get the fags go. But here too, your own motivation is decisive. If you want, you stop, if you don’t, then don’t.

When is the right time for the end point method?

New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be the best time to become a non-smoker, any other day is just as good. If you are having a hard time figuring out the right time, set a date in the near future. In the meantime, do your research on the dangers of smoking for your body and read about the benefits of a nicotine-free life. And then imagine the advantages you will benefit from immediately after quitting smoking: Your immune system will be strengthened, you will no longer smell like cold smoke, have more money … Find alternatives to smoking when you are relaxing or have your time-out want. It makes sense to have ideas up your sleeve here.

The best time, however, is to quit on a day when you’re really fed up with the smoke. Take advantage of such an opportunity and stop smoking immediately, without intent, without planning. It works amazingly well!

What happens in the body when you stop smoking?

Need a little motivation? You are welcome! The following effects happen after you’ve smoked the last cigarette:

  • After 20 minutes  , your heart rate and blood pressure will normalize. The body temperature of the hands and feet rises to normal.
  • After 8 hours  your breath will smell fresh. In addition, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood decreases and the level of oxygen increases to normal.
  • After 12 hours  your body is almost nicotine free.
  • After 48 hours,  the physical consequences of nicotine withdrawal will subside. Your nerve endings grow back. You start to smell and taste better again.
  • After 3 months  , your lung function increases by 30 percent.
  • After 9 months  your energy level increases. Fatigue and shortness of breath decrease. Your cough will go away, the congestion of the frontal and sinuses will subside. The cilia in the lungs are regenerated to such an extent that they can carry out infectious agents.
  • After a year  , the risk of having a heart attack drops by 50 percent.
  • After 5 years  , the risk of dying from lung cancer has halved. Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker.
  • After 6 years  your weight will only increase as much as a never-smoker (about a pound per year of life).
  • After 15 years  , the likelihood of developing lung cancer is similar to that of non-smokers. Your personal heart attack risk has returned to normal.

Conclusion: Your body needs 72 hours to break down the pollutants from just one cigarette. If he can no longer do this, there is a risk of lung cancer or emphysema. Therefore: It pays to quit, no matter how long you’ve been smoking.

What are the dangers if you don’t quit smoking?

We can also increase your motivation by telling you how nicotine is specifically sabotaging your health:

Smoking endangered …

  • … your back:  Smoking is partly responsible for back pain and damage to your intervertebral discs. Because smoking creates deposits in the blood vessels around the spine. As a result, the intervertebral discs are poorly supplied with nutrients and become brittle.
  • … your loved ones:  Anyone who lives with a smoker has a four times higher risk of cancer, according to a study by the British Imperial Cancer Research Campaign .
  • … your feet:  And we’re not even talking about the notorious smoker’s legs! No, smokers have athlete’s foot more often: because the feet have less blood, the fungi can spread more easily.
  • … your wound healing:  The tissue of smokers is poorly supplied with blood and therefore receives too little oxygen. In this way, wounds and broken bones heal more slowly – smokers are incapacitated longer than non-smokers.
  • … your kidneys:  In men without a particular kidney risk, smoking increases the risk of damaging this organ three times.
  • … your image: It  may be that smokers were just as cool in your youth as the Marlboro Man. In the meantime, however, this image has changed: Anyone who smokes is shy, insecure, nervous, dependent … The Marlboro Man is a wimp.
  • … your teeth and your gums:  Take a look at the teeth of long-term smokers. Brrrrh!
  • … your life in the next six hours:  Cigarettes have an immediate deadly effect, discovered researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Infarcts are usually caused by blood clots that detach from vascular deposits and are flushed to the heart. The larger the lump, the more severe the infarction. In people who smoked in the six hours prior to the heart attack, the blood clots are larger: an average of 23 compared to 6.7 square millimeters if the last cigarette was at least 24 hours ago.

Where is the risk of relapse lurking for a new non-smoker?

The first two weeks are the most dangerous. For withdrawal symptoms and the whimpering in the first few days after quitting smoking, walks, drinking plenty of water and, in the worst case, biting a chilli pepper have proven effective. If the first 14 days are over, there are four main triggers for possible relapses:

  1. alcohol
  2. Cozy rounds with smokers
  3. Frustration and stress with superiors or the partner, as well as breakdowns and accidents
  4. The conscious decision to return to smoking because pleasant memories prevail

You have to learn to cope with this situation and not to misunderstand the cigarette as a problem solver.

What is the significance of my smoking biography?

It doesn’t matter whether you quit after five or thirty years. The starting age is also irrelevant. But be prepared that the more and the harder you smoke, the more difficult it will be.

Conclusion: Yes, you can quit smoking too!

In theory, you now know that and how it works to quit smoking. Don’t wait long to put your knowledge into practice. Use the next day when you are really fed up with smoking. And then put out your last cigarette. Without long planning, but immediately. Follow our timeline to see how much better your body is with every smoke-free hour.

Does honey really help against coughs?

The throat hurts and the bronchi whistle: coughing attacks are among the most unpleasant symptoms of a cold. Can honey ease the agony?

Coughing is a practical thing in itself: it removes foreign bodies from the airways and lets us breathe freely again. This is especially useful in the case of a cold , when tough mucus forms in the bronchi that has to be transported outside. That makes us cough and cough – sometimes without ceasing.

Now you have to drink a lot, for example herbal teas with thyme are useful . A spoon with honey often goes into the glass – this sweetens the tea and is also said to help against the cough. But does that even bring anything?

The thought does not seem completely absurd. Bee products are known for their healing properties, such as the putty resin of animals, also called propolis. Bees collect it from tree buds and use it in the beehive for disinfection . In experiments, propolis was bactericidal and fungicidal, i.e. it killed bacteria and fungi. Applied as a tincture, the remedy is supposed to combat skin eczema and inflamed corners of the mouth.

Honey – an ancient home remedy

Similar beneficial effects are attributed to honey, and the bee product is particularly popular in folk medicine . In any case, the list of potential health makers is long: Honey consists of more than 200 ingredients – in addition to various sugars, it contains minerals , vitamins , antioxidants, enzymes and phenols. The latter should have disinfecting and antiseptic properties.

In a small study, US researchers investigated the question of whether honey can relieve cold symptoms. To do this, they divided 105 boys and girls with a cold into three groups: The first group received some buckwheat honey before going to bed, the second a common cough suppressant and the third none of the two. The next morning the parents were asked: How well had the child and parents slept? Were you often woken up by coughing attacks at night? In fact, the honey got the best results: it relieved the kids’ nightly coughing fits and made them sleep better.

Sore throat The name of the sage plant is derived from the Latin word "salvare", meaning to heal. In fact, the plant has an antibacterial effect and inhibits the growth of viruses and fungi. In addition to the antiseptic effect, there are also decongestant and vascular sealing properties, the thujone contained in the essential oil has a pain-relieving effect. The experts of Commission E, an expert committee for herbal medicines, therefore advise gargling with sage tea in the case of mouth and throat infections. Recipe ➝ Pour half a liter of boiling water over a teaspoon of dried sage leaves. ➝ Let it steep for ten minutes and drain the tea. ➝ Gargle with it several times a day until the symptoms subside.

What could be responsible for the effect?

Another small study from 2012 seems to confirm this effect: The researchers divided 300 children with a cold between one and five years into groups. They each administered one of three types of honey to the first three groups, while the fourth received a placebo. And here, too, it was found that the children who received honey before going to bed tended to sleep more calmly. Although the cold symptoms improved in the placebo group, the changes were not statistically relevant here.

The conclusions that can be drawn from these small studies are limited, but at least there is evidence that could explain an effect: It is known that honey accelerates wound healing and has anti-inflammatory effects. Antioxidant and antimicrobial properties are also attributed to it. It also contains a lot of sugar and stimulates saliva production. This moisture could settle on irritated mucous membranes and help provide relief.

Red light against colds - a classic. But does the deep heat also help?

FACT OR FALLACY

Does red light help with a cold?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends tea and honey for a cold: “Most home remedies are harmless, in contrast to commercial remedies, which may contain harmful substances.” The use of gentle and safe means should therefore be supported.

Conclusion

The definitive proof that honey works against coughs is still pending. However, a corresponding effect is being discussed – at least it appears theoretically possible. If you want, you can take one or two spoons of honey before going to bed, preferably before brushing your teeth. On the other hand, the product is not suitable for children under one year of age: honey is a natural product and can contain germs that lead to symptoms of poisoning in young children.

Sick after orgasm – that’s how dangerous POIS is

Fever after sex? Bitter reality for some men. An allergy to your own sperm is that dangerous

an hour’s nose begins to run, shortly after the headaches start and after a day following the fever. This is not how it should go for men after sex. But it’s not a made-up story: for some men, this is exactly what happens – every time after orgasm and ejaculation. We are talking about the “Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome” (POIS). Put simply, this means an allergy to one’s own sperm. But what is this disease all about?

What is POIS?

“With this syndrome, those affected get sick after orgasm and ejaculation,” says Christian Wülfing, chief physician of the department for urology at the Asklepios Klinik Altona. The “Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome” is a type of flu that occurs after men have sperm – regardless of whether they have had sex or have masturbated. The disease is extremely rare: “Very few urologists have ever experienced this in a patient,” emphasizes Wülfing. According to vague estimates, 0.25 to 1 percent of the population could suffer from it.

What are the symptoms of a semen allergy?

The disease feels like the flu for those affected, says Wülfing: Patients describe flu-like symptoms – from sweating and chills to fever and nausea. Some also feel weak and have headaches, as is the case with the flu.

“In the men examined, the symptoms appear in the first hour after orgasm and last 2 to 7 days,” says Wülfing. When the disease first occurs in men is still unclear. However, some patients report that they already felt the symptoms while masturbating as adolescents.

What are the effects of a semen allergy in men?

It is important to emphasize again: the symptoms only appear after a sperm effusion. So if you can’t orgasm, the syndrome won’t happen either. However, it is precisely this knowledge that leads many men to avoid behavior. “The men affected often adapt their sexual behavior and may also lose the desire to orgasm,” says the expert.

Many of those affected are also less sexually active and relationships also suffer. “The illness has a major impact on self-esteem. It can almost feel like a punishment to get the ‘flu’ after an orgasm,” said Wülfing.

The flu-like symptoms are not life-threatening, but the syndrome can have consequences, especially if the illness lasts for several days, for example for the job or the partnership.

What are the causes of an allergy to your own sperm?

“It is still not known exactly what causes this disease,” says Wülfing. Because there is a lack of empirical values ​​and comprehensive examinations because the disease is so rare. There are now a number of theories that describe possible causes.

  1. Autoimmune disease: the immune system reacts to the body’s own tissue: In a Dutch study, 45 POIS patients were examined to determine the possible cause of the disease. 33 of the subjects underwent an allergy test. The result: 29 of the men had reddened skin after the skin prick test with their own sperm. This suggests an autoimmune disease. “In an autoimmune disease, the body acts against its own components,” says urologist Wülfing.
  2. Allergic reaction to one’s own sperm: Since the symptoms only appear after a sperm effusion, it is reasonable to assume that it is an allergic reaction. “If it really is an allergy to one’s own sperm, the allergic reaction should take place shortly before the seminal fluid emerges in the tissue of the urethra,” says the expert.
  3. Psychological causes: “In another thesis it is assumed that the POIS has psychological causes,” says Wülfing. Because many affected men show signs of depression. Researchers asked themselves the classic “chicken-or-egg” question: Did the psychological problems or the POIS come first? However, according to the Dutch study, this thesis is largely refuted.

What therapy options are there for POIS patients?

The rarity and lack of examinations make treatment very difficult. “There are currently no real treatment options for those affected,” says Wülfing. However, there are some approaches that have already shown success with some of those affected. In treatments with a desensitization , as it is also used in patients with a pollen allergy, the symptoms were alleviated by 60 to 90 percent. Men are injected under the skin once a month with their own semen in a low dose. The therapy lasts about 15 to 31 months.

Another treatment option: “Treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs such as diclofenac was investigated ten years ago – and gave those affected an improvement of up to 80 percent,” says Wülfing. However, it has not yet been adequately tested whether it also achieves the desired effect in most men.

“One patient reported that his symptoms eased during his wife’s pregnancy. Therefore, it was considered whether it could have something to do with the hormone progesterone,” says the expert. The hormone is increasingly released during pregnancy. In theory, treatment with the hormone could therefore be a therapeutic approach.

What should I do if I have symptoms of a semen allergy?

Even if it is a very rare disease: do not hesitate to see a doctor. It is best to see a urologist directly if you have had flu-like symptoms after an orgasm for a long time. Far too few men do that: “I assume that there is a higher number of unreported cases with this syndrome because many men are ashamed of their symptoms,” says the urologist. It is therefore important to seek treatment. Because only with many examinations on patients can progress in research be made.

Conclusion: Affected men with POIS have a high level of suffering

The disease is very humiliating for patients: a “flu” after every orgasm, hardly any therapy options and sex life is impaired. But hope is not lost: some treatments have shown success in the past. If you have flu-like symptoms after sex or masturbating, don’t hesitate to see a urologist. Because the more men seek treatment, the sooner scientists can develop antidotes.

That is how much protection against coronavirus face visors offer

T extilmasken in this country are still new and unfamiliar to many or even strange. And many finally want a little normalcy and a little lightheartedness back. Couldn’t transparent face visors be a good compromise?

The short answer: yes and no. For the long answer, we spoke to a doctor and manufacturer of such visors. They explain to us how much the visors bring and what you have to consider when using them.

How is a face visor constructed?

Such a visor is very simple: “It consists of a headband with a flexible band for the head, and the actual visor, a transparent film that is usually made of PET,” describes Dominik Wilming from the Vechta against Corona initiative, the face visors against Covid19 produced. PET is the same material that is used, for example, in returnable bottles. With some models, the foil lies against the forehead, with others there is an extra arch between the head and the foil so that you can carry it more comfortably. The film does not lie on the bottom or on the side, but is open so that the air can flow along there.

When is a face visor useful?

“There is a particular need for such visors, especially in kindergartens and schools, but also in nursing,” explains Wilming. The textile masks currently on offer are particularly a hindrance in areas where you speak a lot and loudly (e.g. at school) or where facial expressions and personal contact are important. Even in people with shortness of breath, the physical and psychological barrier can make the problem worse. This is one of the reasons why the demand for such visors is increasing enormously, in the hope that they can offer a compromise between infection protection and a free face. This is practical, but only works to a limited extent.

What does a face visor do?

“A clear advantage of the visors is that the eyes and thus potential entry points are protected from the virus,” explains Dr. Lutz Graumann from Sports Medicine Rosenheim. It can also stop any coarse droplets that you or someone else releases into the air when you sneeze, cough, or speak. But: “With every cough, around 3000 droplets are ejected at a speed of 90 km / h, while sneezing there are even 100,000 droplets at 160 km / h”, describes Graumann. It is very likely that some of the droplets will simply be pushed past the film and then enter the environment unhindered.

Face visors do not protect against aerosols!

Both experts, doctor and manufacturer, agree that the visor does not help against so-called aerosol transmission. Aerosols are droplets that are so small that you can hardly see them and do not immediately fall to the ground, but “stay” in the air. There is increasing evidence that this is a relevant transmission route for Covid19. Air with aerosols can flow past the visor unhindered. “Some visors get wider towards the bottom and are shaped like a kind of funnel, which could make transmission via the breath even more likely,” warns Wilming.

Does a visor replace a mask?

A visor is therefore very likely to protect your own eyes and, to a lesser extent, perhaps also the environment. However, this effect is not great enough to replace a mouth and nose protection, even the handmade ones probably hold off significantly more droplets than the non-fitting visor. For this reason and also because the effectiveness of non-certified visors has hardly been researched, you cannot meet the mask requirement with face visors in most federal states. However, there are a few exceptions and regional differences.

What is definitely allowed, however, is a combination of both. This gives you external protection through mouth and nose protection and self-protection through the barrier for large droplets and eye protection. “In medical areas where a lot of aerosols circulate, a combination, or a mask and protective goggles, is recommended,” says Graumann.

What do you have to consider when buying a face visor?

If you are looking to buy a visor to protect your eyes and keep out coarse droplets, there are a few things to consider. The two experts have these 5 tips:

  1. Harmless material: “Especially with products from 3D printers, you should be careful that the material is harmless and robust. PLA, for example, is harmless, but a bit brittle,” says the manufacturer. Visors from the so-called injection molding, on the other hand, usually consist of harmless and resistant PET.
  2. Proper care and disinfection: One advantage of the visors is that they are easy to clean. “It is particularly important that a soft cloth is used that does not scratch the material,” warns Wilming. To disinfect you can use all commercially available agents that are labeled as “virucidal” in any form. “Only chlorine and acetone, such as those found in nail polish remover, should be avoided because they attack the material.” Be careful not to inhale the fumes from it when you put on the visor.
  3. A smooth surface: if the visor is scratched, visible or invisible grooves can appear. “On the one hand, they can impair the view, but above all, they are much more difficult to disinfect,” emphasizes Wilming. So always be careful and thorough when cleaning.
  4. Correct use: Visors protect against infection, among other things, because they make it difficult to touch your face. At least as long as they are properly seated and used. “But if you put your face more than usual with the unfamiliar visor or neglect other hygiene measures out of a supposed sense of security, it makes it worse than better,” warns Graumann.
  5. The wearing comfort: You can theoretically wear face visors for many hours as long as you clean them every now and then. “The headband in particular should have a certain width to sit comfortably and firmly,” advises Wilming. Applications such as foam or textile can make the headband more comfortable, but are more difficult to clean from the corona virus.

This is how you can now avoid tick bites and protect yourself from Lyme disease

The risk of getting sick from a tick bite while doing outdoor sports is increasing. These tips will help prevent a tick bite. Plus: This is how you act correctly after a trick

 

Social distancing and good weather are increasingly bringing people to the surrounding parks and forests this summer, for running, outdoor workouts or simply relaxing. But be careful: This year, due to the mild winter, there are a particularly large number of ticks that can transmit dangerous diseases. In addition, according to Robert Koch Institute (RKI) 3 new are R isikogebiete added to the already existing 161. Virologist Dr. Gerhard Dobler explains what you can do to avoid a tick bite and what measures you can take to protect you from illness after a bite:

Why are tick bites so dangerous?

A tick bite is harmless as long as the tick does not carry any pathogens. However, if the tick is infected with early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) viruses or borreliosis bacteria, these can get into the body of the ‘blood host’, i.e. your body, via the bloodsucker.

It is most dangerous when you are infected with TBE viruses : These attack the meninges and the central nervous system of humans and in some cases can lead to severe disease and even death. According to the Robert Koch Institute, a total of 444 TBE diseases were reported in Germany in 2019, two sick people died from it.

By Lyme disease bacteria , also called Borrelia, also tens of thousands of people are diagnosed each year in Germany. They can cause severe pain, heart problems, meningitis, and joint inflammation.

What parts of the body do ticks bite?

“A tick bite can occur on any part of the body,” says Dr. Gerhard Dobler, specialist in microbiology, virology and infection epidemiology and head of the department for virology and rickettsiology at the Bundeswehr Institute for Microbiology in Munich, “However, it is known that ticks particularly love soft, moist, well-perfused and thin areas of skin.” Therefore, these parts of the body are very popular with ticks:

  • Belly folds (especially in men),
  • Breast folds (especially in women),
  • Armpit,
  • Groin area,
  • Back of the knees.

In contrast to adults, children are more likely to have a tick on their head. “A tick on the head, for example on the neck or ear, is no more dangerous than on other parts of the body. Pathogens such as the TBE virus and Borrelia, which ticks can transmit when biting, can be dangerous,” says Dr. Dobler.

How do you remove a tick correctly?

  1. Grab the tick as close as possible and remove it slowly and in a controlled manner. This prevents the tick from being squeezed and thus the release of possibly dangerous body fluids.
  2. Don’t despair if the tick can’t be removed on the first try. Sometimes several attempts are necessary.
  3. Do not use alcohol, oil or glue! This irritates the tick and can ‘vomit’. The pathogens get into the blood even faster.
  4. Particularly important: Do not hesitate long to remove the ticks, because the longer the suction process lasts, the more likely it is that pathogens will be transmitted and the more pathogens can be transmitted.
  5. After removing the tick, disinfect the bite site with alcohol or an ointment containing iodine.

Does quick removal protect against disease transmission?

Lyme borreliosis bacteria are usually not transmitted until 12 to 24 hours after the tick bite or after the start of the sucking process. So if you manage to remove the tick early on, a Borrelia infection can be avoided. If borreliosis pathogens have already been transmitted, quick action is required: the doctor can treat the infection with antibiotics in the early stages. There is currently no vaccination against Lyme disease.

In the case of early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE), on the other hand, the pathogens are viruses that are transmitted with the tick’s saliva directly when it bites. There is no causal treatment against a TBE infection, only immunization through a vaccination effectively protects in this case.

How do I know if I have been infected with Lyme disease?

Ticks can transmit up to 50 diseases. “In Lyme disease, the so-called wandering reddening – a large, circular reddening around the puncture site – is a typical sign of the disease,” says Dobler. The puncture site should be observed further in the following weeks. The expert: “If the reddening does not go away or if a new reddening occurs after a few days, contact a family doctor immediately. However, wandering reddening does not occur in all Lyme disease patients and headache observed. ” However, these flu-like symptoms can take weeks to appear. ” After that, severe disease courses are possible – from severe pain to heart problems to meningitis. Facial paralysis is also rarely observed. In the chronic late stage, joint inflammation often occurs, which can be the long-term consequences of Lyme disease, “says Dobler.

When should I see a doctor after a tick bite?

“A doctor should be consulted if a possible reddening at the injection site does not go away or if after a few days a reddening develops that enlarges. The same applies if the injection site swells heavily, hurts, becomes hot and throbbing or if symptoms similar to flu, such as fever or body aches occur, “advises Dr. Dobler.

What should I watch out for after a tick bite?

If the tick has been removed successfully, how do I properly dispose of the arachnid? Dr. Dobler: “Make sure to kill the tick safely without coming into contact with the body fluids of the bloodsucker. Alcohol (at least 40 percent) or disinfectants kill the tick effectively.” Also helpful: crush the tick with a solid object. “Under no circumstances should you dispose of the parasite in the toilet or try to kill it in the washing machine. Because ticks can survive in water for up to 3 weeks,” says the doctor and adds: “If you are unsure how to remove a tick correctly, you should see a doctor immediately.”

How do I prevent a tick bite?

  • Avoid tick biotopes: Ticks prefer to live on the edges of forests and in clearings. But ticks can also lurk in the hedges or bushes in the home garden, city parks or on soccer fields. If possible, do not move with bare parts of the body through the undergrowth or tall grass. Ticks are particularly active after a rainy day in summer: they love moisture.
  • Closed clothing: Choose long-legged trousers and closed-toe shoes for your outdoor activities. Also pull the stockings over your pants. In this way you make it more difficult for the tick that is waiting for a host on tall grass to hold on to you.
  • Search the body: Search your body thoroughly after a stay in a typical tick biotope. Ask your partner for help to control your back and other areas that you cannot see yourself.
  • Vaccination: You can get vaccinated against early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). The TBE virus can be transmitted to humans by an infected tick and attack the central nervous system. A vaccination is particularly recommended for people who live in TBE risk areas, work there or plan to spend their vacation there. 

Where is the risk of ticks greatest?

Ticks love mild temperatures and a humid environment. They find these conditions in forests and gardens, in tall grass and in bushes. You have to expect ticks at every picnic in the grass or a walk in the woods off the beaten track.

Do ticks bite in winter too?

Ticks become active as soon as it is 7 degrees Celsius or warmer for several consecutive days. In Germany, the tick season usually lasts from February to October. In our latitudes, ticks have no problem easily surviving the winter. Because the little parasites know exactly where to find the warmest and most humid winter spots – such as leaf litter, mole burrows and fox burrows. They would only die in long cold spells with temperatures constantly below minus 20 degrees.

How you never sleep badly again

Sleep disorders can make you physically and mentally ill. These are the 10 most common causes of sleep problems. And the most successful strategies that are sure to help

Falling asleep sounds so easy: Lie down, close your eyes and you’re done. Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! “Above all, sleeping is an extremely complicated work of the brain, while the rest of the body is resting,” says Professor Wolfgang Hartmann, former head physician in the Department of Psychiatry at Ingolstadt Clinic. “It is a miracle that it works in most cases.” If it doesn’t work for you sometimes or more often, we have put together the most common causes of insomnia and what works best:

The 10 most common causes of insomnia

  1. Waking up too early
    Causes: Sensitive sleepers wake up when the heating starts or the first tram rattles past without them later remembering the sound. Most of the time, however, it is depression or problems that wake you up prematurely and keep you from going back to sleep because of all the brooding. “But it is also possible that your personal need for sleep is simply overestimated,” says sleep expert Jürgen Zulley, chronobiologist and former head of the Institute of Sleep Medicine at the University of Regensburg.
    Remedy: If another attempt at sleep is not worthwhile, get up and look forward to it about a longer breakfast.
  2. Difficulty falling asleep
    Causes: It is above all the various events of a day that set off the brooding in the pillows. Although you feel sufficiently tired, it doesn’t work out to fall asleep at first. But caffeine, alcohol and nicotine can also cause problems falling asleep.
    Remedy:Try the exclusion principle: only drink coffee until 2 p.m. and leave out alcohol altogether. It is not recommended to do sports after 5 p.m. because the circulation is still set for performance even after hours. Fall asleep rituals are good: “Just like children who can only nod off with the help of a slumber song, a certain fall-asleep routine helps adults too,” says Professor Hartmann. For example, relaxing music, a book or a short warm bath are suitable.
  3. By sleep disorder
    causes: “Everyone has his night depressive phase,” says Jürgen Zulley. Frequent problems sleeping through the night are mainly caused by depression or highly stressful emotional conflicts that have existed for a longer period of time.
    Remedy: If you wake up at night, you shouldn’t hope for sleep with closed eyes. “After 20 minutes at the latest, it’s advisable to do something irrelevant until you get tired again,” says Zulley. Since unresolved problems create tension, soft music or a bath before bed can go a long way. If the problem of staying asleep becomes a perennial issue, consult a sleep specialist, neurologist or psychiatrist.
  4. Nightmares
    Causes: Frequent nightmares in adults point to a deep-seated and unresolved emotional conflict that the person concerned calls up again and again in order to resolve it. But acute stress and excessive demands are also possible causes.
    Remedy:Relaxing sleeping pills usually do nothing for nightmares. However, there is a risk that the causal conflicts will remain hidden. The psyche then no longer finds an outlet in the nightmares and looks for it in another psychosomatic illness. “If nightmares become a problem, then one should not hesitate to seek psychotherapeutic help,” advises Professor Hartmann. Sometimes it also helps to defuse acute stressful or stressful situations.
  5. Sleepwalking
    Causes: Not known. Usually it is children who suddenly crawl out of bed towards the end of their deep sleep phases and wander around. In adulthood, sleepwalking is an indication of a deep-seated emotional conflict. Stress, on the other hand, is the cause of what is known as sleep behavior disorder. “Those affected suddenly start beating out of the dream, but don’t wander around,” explains Jürgen Zulley.
    Remedy:Sleepwalking children don’t need therapy. However, adults who unconsciously take night walks should seek medical help. On the one hand, it is a matter of resolving the underlying emotional conflict. On the other hand, there is a risk of injury, because only in familiar surroundings is there such a thing as “sleepwalking security”.
  6. Sleep apnea
    causes: The walls of the palate and throat come together in front of the windpipe and block the airways. Breathing stops until the brain reports a lack of oxygen. The person concerned wakes up for a few seconds, but initially does not notice any of this. In the morning he feels so bruised as if he hadn’t slept.
    Remedy:There are no self-help measures for sleep apnea sufferers. “One should see a pulmonologist or ENT doctor to confirm the diagnosis with the help of portable measuring devices,” advises sleep researcher Zulley. The therapy initially consists in avoiding heavy meals and alcohol in the evening, and also losing weight. Mostly, however, it boils down to wearing a positive pressure breathing mask at night. Its purpose is to prevent the walls of the throat from blocking the airways.
  7. Causes of jet lag : After an overseas flight with a time difference, only the body is already in the new time zone. The internal clock that controls the sleep-wake cycle, on the other hand, is still on its home course.
    Remedy: In order to optimally prepare for jet lag, you should start to approach the day-night rhythm of the time zone that awaits you before you travel: For example, if you fly to the USA, you postpone your habits a few days earlier the departure to the rear. At the travel destination, you should then fully expose yourself to the new day-night rhythm and thus to social life. If you only stay in a different time zone for a day or two, you should do exactly the opposite and do everything you can to ensure that your rhythm does not change in the first place.
  8. Excessive Sleep
    Causes: There are many possible causes for an excessive need for sleep. The most common is illness, since sleep is one of the most vulnerable functions of the organism and is controlled by numerous substances and unexplained mechanisms.
    Remedy:First of all, clarify whether it is actually an excessive need for sleep or whether you are one of those people who just need a lot of sleep. If the latter is not the case, a sleep doctor needs to find out what is causing the abnormal fatigue. In the worst case, it is important to consider how the day can be made more active. “If there is no reason for the excessive need for sleep, light therapy is worth a try,” advises expert Zulley. “Light activates the organism and brightens the mood.”
  9. Shift work
    Causes: The constant rhythmic change from day to night life upsets the internal clock. The constant alternation between light and darkness also plays a role.
    Remedy:Some people tolerate shift work better than others. “The so-called evening type and young people cope better with it than morning types and older people,” says Jürgen Zulley. But even younger people should only work in a shift system for a few years, otherwise the susceptibility to illnesses increases. If there is no professional alternative, you sleep preferably in two blocks in the morning and in the afternoon.If you have alternating shifts, for example four days in the morning shift and then the night shift, you can treat the sleep disorders with medication with the help of a doctor.
  10. Restless Legs
    Causes: Before going to sleep and at night there is repeated tingling, pulling or tension in the legs. People wake up and have to move their legs or even get up to calm their troubled legs. The causes are unclear; Stress and emotional conflicts as well as genetic predispositions probably play a role.
    Remedy:
     About five percent of people in Germany suffer from restless legs. However, it is often not recognized because the doctor usually meets the patient at a symptom-free interval. If you are affected, it is best to see a neurologist. So-called dopamine agonists (dopamines are messenger substances in the nerve tracts) can sometimes alleviate the symptoms.

Does insomnia cause health problems?

“Sleep is part of the human biological rhythm,” says Zulley. The more regularly you go to bed in the evening, the better you sleep. “The influence of the night’s rest on the physical and mental balance is often completely underestimated.”

Those who do not get enough sleep for a long time must fear serious consequences for their health. Experiments with rats showed that the animals die if they do not sleep for a long time. First there are feeding attacks, but the rats keep losing weight. Shortly after their immune system breaks down, death eventually occurs. It is hardly different with humans. The night’s sleep makes it possible to be unavailable for a few hours and to switch off the sensory organs. For this reason, red eyes are one of the first signs of tiredness.

Due to the weakened immune system, the risk of illness increases significantly with persistent lack of sleep. Diabetes, depression, high blood pressure and gastrointestinal disorders are more common among sleep-disturbed people than in the general population. “According to a new American study, people age faster with sleep deprivation,” adds Jürgen Zulley. Humans can go up to eleven days without sleep – at least that’s the world record set by the American Randy Gardener in 1964. “Usually, however, you fall asleep after three nights of being awake at the latest,” says Zulley. Scientists suspect that extreme sleep deprivation can also lead to death in humans.

What are the consequences of bad sleep the day after?

Those who are tired do less. For example, the participants in a study at the University of San Diego (USA) solved simple memory tasks 50 percent worse than when they were rested after a sleepless night. Monotonous activities such as driving are also more difficult. “Statistically speaking, this means that more accidents happen around lunchtime,” says Wolfgang Hartmann. If it becomes more interesting and varied, a lack of sleep is hardly of any consequence. “Especially tasks that require speed are often easier to handle,” says Jürgen Zulley.

What happens if I lie awake sleepless?

If you get less than 5 hours of sleep, these important processes in your body cannot run optimally: As a kind of compensation for the performance during the day, many body functions, under the direction of the brain, settle down to lower resting values ​​after falling asleep. The temperature drops by up to half a degree, blood pressure and pulse run gently, and metabolism is reduced by 25 percent. Only the concentrations of the growth hormone HGW (Human Growth Hormone) and the immune substance interleukin increase. Both are necessary so that cells and the immune system can regenerate during the night.

Without the deep sleep phases, which are mainly within the first five hours after falling asleep, people would not be productive at all the next day. Why, however, according to a study by the University of Regensburg, the average German, statistically speaking, sleeps from 11:04 p.m. to 6:18 a.m. and thus slightly more than seven hours a night, is still unclear. “This may give the body a reserve in order to get a minimum of deep sleep in any case,” supposes Jürgen Zulley.

Dream phases interrupt deep sleep at intervals of around 90 minutes. Because of the violently rolling eyeballs in these sections, they are also called REM sleep phases (for Rapid Eye Movement). It is possible that – analogous to the blinking control lights of a computer – these are signals from the brain, which then stores what has been experienced during the day in the long-term memory and deletes superfluous information. “These processes can be compared with copying data from the main memory to the main memory of a computer’s hard drive,” explains Professor Hartmann. “The body uses just as much energy in this process as in the waking state.”

Despite all previous knowledge about the necessity of sleep – its origin is unknown. “There is no such thing as a sleep gene that you will be able to influence at some point,” says psychiatrist Wolfgang Hartmann. Scientists have also been unsuccessfully researching a sleep center in the brain so far our brain is controlled at the same time, “says Professor Hartmann. However, genes have been discovered that set the pace for the internal clock.

How much sleep do i need

“The absolute lower limit is five hours per night,” says sleep expert Jürgen Zulley. When our body sleeps and when it wants to be awake is hereditary and cannot be influenced, or only to a limited extent. For this reason, trying to train yourself to sleep less only works within certain limits – if at all. How sensitively our internal clock is ticking is shown, for example, by the fact that more traffic accidents occur on the first Monday after summer time than on a normal Monday. Whether a night is really relaxing, however, depends less on the duration than on the quality of the deep sleep. Ultimately, everyone has to find out their own individual sleep level for themselves. “The optimum is usually between seven and eight hours”,But if you deviate from it, you don’t need to worry. The need for sleep changes several times in the course of life. If an infant needs 16 to 18 hours a day, the quantum levels off at around eight hours at the age of 20 and then continues to decrease with increasing age. Women take a little longer than men, and both sleep longer in winter than in summer. Those who are sick also need more sleep, and of course those who have got used to sleeping for a long time also need. In addition, everything that promises relaxation is permitted – there is no ideal sleep type. “It is important to experience sleep as a balance and to feel relaxed in the morning,” says Wolfgang Hartmann. “Length of sleep, room furnishings and temperature are purely a matter of taste.” This also applies to bedtime. So it can make sense to fall asleep a few hours early because of a party. “You simply anticipate the deep sleep and accordingly need less total sleep later,” explains Jürgen Zulley.

What helps if you can’t fall asleep?

Of course, something can be done about sleep disorders, the range of sleep aids ranges from home remedies such as the famous glass of warm milk with honey to more exercise.

For a 1997 study by Stanford University in the USA, 43 women and men had trained endurance and strength for twelve weeks. All participants then reported falling asleep faster and waking up less often at night.

But the solution to sleep disorders is not always obvious. “Sleep problems are often symptoms of our hectic times”, says Professor Hartmann. Anyone who understands that a stressful situation at work or in a partnership keeps him awake at night, for example, is one step closer to a restful night’s sleep. Then there are the questions of personal sleep hygiene: Is my bedroom quiet and dark enough for me, is the room temperature comfortable, am I relaxed before going to bed or did I eat too much or drink coffee too late? “If you have trouble falling asleep, you should get up after 20 minutes at the latest and only go back to bed when you are tired,” advises expert Zulley. An appointment with a neurologist or psychiatrist, on the other hand, is only pending

When should you treat sleep disorders with sleeping pills?

Sleep medication should only be the last of all options: only when neither tricks nor targeted sleep hygiene bring the longed-for slumber are they used and only in consultation with the family doctor. Depending on the cause of the sleep disorder, you should weigh up with the doctor whether the sleep disorder or ultimately the drug poses a greater health risk. With sleeping pills there is a risk of addiction, the health consequences of which should not be underestimated. In any case, it would be better to research the causes of the sleep disorders in a sleep laboratory. “Everyone can contact a sleep laboratory directly,” says Jürgen Zulley. “A referral from a doctor is not required for this.”

Herbal remedies are worth a try. For example, extracts from valerian, hops, lemon balm and passion flower often help with mild insomnia. The substance tryptophan – contained in large quantities in milk, for example – can have a soothing effect.

What some sleep disturbed people dream of, however, will not come true in the near future: a drug that on the one hand brings immediate sleep and on the other hand is completely free of side effects. “Sleep is too involved in our everyday conditions,” says Zulley. “Different body systems have to interact, and that can’t be organized with one pill.”

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