Kegel exercise

Kegel Exercise is away to train and improve the muscle tone of your pelvic floor. It was named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, an American gynaecologist, and it’s meant to improve your sexual function as well as the control over your urine and faeces. This applies to men and women.

So, the benefit of Kegel Exercise is mainly to treat some cases of urinary incontinence in women, and also fecal incontinence (very mild cases), and also to treat pelvic prolapse, especially in women who have suffered severe prolapse with the pregnancy. You can train the pelvic muscles to improve the muscle tone. Also to improve your sexual function as a woman who has difficulties reaching orgasm, or after giving birth and you’re noticing that your vagina has become a bit wider than normally. In men we can treat fecal and urinary incontinence (minor cases of it), and also we can help men, by doing it, to improve or laten their ejaculation, so for premature ejaculation; it’s a way to delay the ejaculation.

So this exercise strengthens the pubococcygeus muscle and also the levator ani muscle. Mainly these two muscles are affected by this exercise you’re making.

You can do it without any tools, but women can use balls, like this one for example, and they can introduce it into the vagina and do the exercise.

What we need to know now is how to do it. First you need to find the pelvic floor muscles. Let’s see here. They’re supposedly here in women, in this area, in the lower part of the pelvis, and by men you can see it with the arrow.

What you need to do is learn how to find the muscle, and the first time you find it; it would be easy to do it while you’re urinating. Try mid-stream to stop the urine from flowing. So, stop it mid-stream. So what happens is that when you stop it you’ve actually made the muscle contract. This muscle is what we’re looking for. So what you need to do is contract it as strong and often as possible but not during urination or defecation. Only the first time, when you try to locate it. Don’t make a habit of it cause this might cause problems.

Second thing is to perfect your exercise. So you do it as often as possible, and concentrate that you’re only working on that muscle and not working with other muscles, like abdominal wall or leg muscles or anything. Just that muscle. So try to count and find the muscle and keep contracting it.

The third step is to maintain your focus, so, only that muscle, and to keep repeating. So repeat: Ten seconds the contraction, and then ten seconds relaxed, and then ten seconds contraction… Try to make it as many times as possible, at least three time a day.

When to do this and where? When you’re sitting at your desk or when you’re reading emails, or in the car or when you’re waiting for the bus. You can just do the exercise about anywhere you want.

This method is not recommended for people with urinary tract infections, chronic constipation or prostate problems.

Try to repeat Kegel Exercise as often as possible and you’ll find results within 4-5 months.

Best of luck!

Alyaa Gad

Pinworm

Pinworm, seat worm, threadworm, itchy butt worm, enterobius vermicularis or oxiuris are all names of one intestinal worm that infects school children at a certain age (between 5 and 15) and it can cause a lot of trouble for them.

The children who go to school get infected and then go back home and infect the other family members and then go back to school again and infect other children. So there’s the vicious circle of infection happening around the house and the school. Maybe even the parent would infect their colleagues at work or friends, and so on. So, dealing with that worm will have to involve mass treatment of the house and the school at the same time.

That worm lives in the intestines of the infected person and actually we get infected with the egg of the worm by eating contaminated food or touching contaminated surfaces and then putting our hands in our mouth. Now, what happens next is that the worm comes out of the egg inside the intestines, in the form of larva. Larvae are very small worms. And then, they hang on the inside wall of the intestines and then grow up to be fully grown worms. In this case they can immigrate to the outside of the anus, around the anal area. So, from the rectum and the anus area you will find the adult worms laying eggs at night. And that causes the symptoms. The child will probably have nightmares about snakes crawling on them. That’s a sign that this could be an infection with a pinworm. So the problem’s that the child will wake up at night crying and itching around the anal area. And what you will see, maybe, if you check the anus at night, you might find these little worms around the anus. Sometimes you won’t see them. Some parents would take a torch and check around the anal area like this. Some other parents would take a tape and go around the anal area and stick it around the anal area like this and will see the little worms on the tape. So in fact these worms come out and have eggs laid around the anus and also might have an effect on the vaginal area of girls, so sometimes you’ll have vaginal discharge or inflammation around the vagina of the girl and then you are worried that there might have been any form of sexual assault on her. Please make sure that it’s not this pinworm.

On the underwear of the children, on the towels, on the bed sheets and especially on the toilet seats and on everything they touch with their little hands, especially their toys, all these toys can be affected with the eggs of the worm. The biggest cause of the spread of the infection is actually having long nails. So, the child has to have always very short nails and also other members of the family, the mother especially. So, you have to be careful that this should be a ritual, that you’re always clipping your child’s nails. Now we have the problem of itching at night, that might cause nightmares, and it might cause insomnia, and then the child would go to school not having had enough sleep, and this could affect their educational process. So, you will have to make sure that your child is having a good night’s sleep. How can you do that? As soon as your child cries and complains of the itching there’s an idea to use zinc oxide cream or Nivea cream, any thick cream. Take a little bit of it and put it around the anal area and a little bit inside the anus or around the infected area or inflamed area. Just put the cream around this area, like this. In this case, the worm will get kind of trapped into the cream and will not cause this irritation of the skin anymore. So, that’s a good way to make your child sleep peacefully.

Sometimes children will suffer from bed wetting because of that, so don’t get angry at them, make sure that they don’t have that infection.

And now, let’s see what we should do around the house to prevent the infection from happening and re-happening. First of all, prevent autoinfection. Autoinfection means to infect yourself. So, the child would scratch around the anus and then go eat something, the eggs are inside the nails, and then the eggs come inside again and have new worms. So, what you need is to cut the circle. So,  you will have to cut the nails always, you’ll have to spray the toilet seat everyday with disinfectant spray, there’s special spray to spray the toys of the child. Change there underwear everyday and wash them on very high temperature. Also towels and bed sheets, be very careful that they are clean and washed regularly. Don’t forget that one of the most important measures to prevent getting infected with this worm is washing hands before eating and after using the toilet. Teach your child to always do this. “Never forget to wash your hands after the toilet and before eating.” It’s very important also to inform the school and ask them to contribute to a sanitation program also around the school. So, maybe send out messages to other parents to do the same program at home. Also the toilet seats and the toys at school should be sprayed with disinfectant spray regularly.

At a doctors office you will take medication that can treat the worms from inside the intestines. But also you need to repeat it two weeks later. But remember that the worms outside are not affected by the medication, so washing everyday very well the anal area is very important.

Remember that this is not such a harmful worm, in the sense of doesn’t affect your child’s health and doesn’t cause any disease from inside, but it disturbs their sleeping pattern, and that’s the main problem. So, you need the child to get enough sleep to make sure that the educational process and his development would not be affected.

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad

Testicular Self Exam

TSE or Testicular Self Examination is a way to examine your testes to find out if they have a normal or an abnormal condition.

We actually check for lumps or any swellings or abnormalities in the testes and an early detection can save your life. So if you do it once a month and if you know what to look for you might be able to save your life. Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in young men between 15 and 35 years of age. So, you check regularly, to know what’s normal, and then if there’s something abnormal you’ll be able to detect it.

So let me show you how to do that examination. Right after the shower, or even during the shower, you can do the examination by standing straight and holding the testes with one hand at the top and the other hand is checking if they’re both sides at the same level. You might find that one is higher than the other, that’s ok. But you just have to check, what is normal in your case and remember that. So, if the right one is higher, you remember, or the opposite.

And then you’ll be holding with one hand, say the left hand, and with the right hand you check the right side. Initially you’ll start to fell it and then you’ll feel that something is like running, escaping from you. And gradually you’ll start to learn to hold it tight and fell what’s inside that bag. This bad is called the scrotum. So, with rolling movements between two fingers you will start to feel what’s inside. And once you finish the right side, you hold the top with the right hand and then do the left hand to check the left side, with a rolling movement, in a circle.

Now, what do we actually look for? What should you be feeling inside? Let’s see.

This is an example of what you should be feeling. Inside the scrotum you’ll feel on testis on the right, and the normal size is about 5×2.5cm (2.5x1inch). In the bag of this bag you’ll find yet another structure, and that is called the epididymis. You will actually find sort of on top back of the testes another mass, and that’s normal. That’s the epididymis, and on the other side as well.

Sometimes you might be feeling that one testis has gotten slightly bigger. If you have any pain or feeling that it’s gotten bigger than normal you should contact your doctor. Sometimes you might also feel that one of the testes is smaller than the other, but this is abnormally small, or both have been shrinking very strangely, you’re not used to it, this is also a sign that you should see the doctor.

You might also find a small swelling in the size of a pea, right on the surface, so you feel it from outside, and this is a strange swelling. This is an abnormal swelling. This needs contact with a doctor. And also maybe a swelling even this size, as small as a rice, also this is strange.

So, what you need to do is get used to the normal feel of your body, of your testes, so that you would immediately know if there’s something abnormal there. Usually you would feel the surface, and its very soft and there’re no swelling or tumors. There’s only a mass in the back, and that’s the epididymis

Another thing you might feel is the sensation that there is a bag of worms at the back of the testes, and that’s a sign of varicocele. This is also a problem that demands us to seek medical help.

What should you be feeling? So, let’s see what’s normal.

This is a normal testis, so you see here, this is the front side and it’s a normal, soft egg-like structure, and in the back there’s a group of tubes, very small tubes, collecting together, called the epididymis, this is the two structures that you feel. So, what’s abnormal is to feel a swelling or a change in size, so, has gotten very much bigger or very much smaller than normal. Or if you notice any lumps, any tumors in the size of a pea or rice or bigger or smaller. Or if it changes in color, so the color suddenly changed to blue or very red, this is not normal. If there’s pain that you’re not used to, this is abnormal, and if the testis is not there or has never been there, please remember that, so, any change in the position of it, please tell us. And this bag of worm sensation, this is a sign of varicocele.

Do it every month to save your life maybe one day.

All the best!

Alyaa Gad

Recovering from Antibiotics

“How to recover from antibiotics.” – What does that mean? If you’ve been treated with a course of antibiotics for a long or a short time, or if you’ve been using food that has antibiotics in it, without you knowing, or if you’ve been misusing antibiotics in any way, you might start to have health problems. You might suffer from certain complaints that will make your life a little bit more difficult.

Side Effects of Antibiotics

Let me discuss the complaints that you might have from use of antibiotics. The most affected organs would probably be your intestines. That’s because the antibiotics are going to kill the bacterial flora, which is the friendly bacteria in your intestines that is responsible for digestion and making vitamin K, which is important for you. So, you will notice that you’re having trouble in your gut, so, you will start to have bloating, gas, irregular bowel movement, so, you will have constipation, then diarrhea and then bloating again and so on. You might also suffer from heartburn and feeling generally unwell. You might also start to notice bleeding from the gums or from the nose. That’s also related to the lack of vitamin K. You might also suffer from yeast infections, which is a fungal infection that can be anywhere on your body, either on your skin or in your mouth or in the genital area. All that is because your bacteria flora – the friendly bacteria in the gut – has been affected by the antibiotics.

So, what we need to do now is correct the level of bacterial flora in your gut. How do we do that?

First of, you will need to lead a healthy lifestyle. So, you drink a lot of water. Avoid bad foods. Bad foods are rich in sugar, carbohydrates that are unhealthy, like pasta, packed foods, processed foods – these are all unhealthy foods. Instead of that you should eat vegetables, fruits, grains, healthy fats (that’s vegetable oils mainly)

Probiotics and Prebiotics

You can also use probiotics. These are very healthy foods that are fermented, so that helps the growth of the good bacteria in the gut. Probiotics are mainly: yogurt, kefir and yeast. If you are suffering from any problems with kefir or yeast, I would suggest that you take it slowly. So you start with very small amounts, like one spoon a day, and then increase it gradually. If you go to the shop and want to buy probiotics, look for the name lactobacillus on it – that’s the good bacteria for you.

You can also use foods that are called prebiotics. Prebiotics are foods that help the growth of bacteria, because they don’t get absorbed in the body, they stay for a long time in the intestines. Like, leeks (garlic, onions), honey, bananas, these are all very good foods for your bacteria flora.

You can also try fermented fresh vegetables. That means, pickles that are pickled in a healthy way. So, you can try to pickle at home. So, try for example the ginger, to pickle it at home, or maybe cucumbers, also are healthy. But don’t add too much salt. So, pickled vegetables are very good for your gut flora.

If you’re a fan of soups you can try bone broth or gelatin soups. You can buy bones from the butcher, and what’s inside – the broth – you can make soups with it, and that’s very good for your gut flora. You can also add onions to it, or any vegetables of your choice.

It’s very important to know that your gut flora affects the function of your intestines, and healthy intestines affect the whole body. So it’s very important to replace the gut flora that has been affected by your antibiotic abuse.

I wish you all the best!

Alyaa Gad

Constipation

Constipation is the inability to have regular bowel movements, to the extent that it could cause annoyance and health problems. Is there a fixed rate for defecation for everyone? Not really. Some people defecate 2-3 times a day, others 2-3 times a week. What matters the most is that you’re not having problems or complaining due to the inability to evacuate your bowels.

What’s the problem with constipation? Or, why is constipation dangerous to your health? When you have too much accumulation of stools in your colon, it’s like keeping toxins in your body. Some of which could move into your blood stream and cause problems like headache or bad breath, or general issues, like feeling exhausted or being in a bad mood most of the time. Stool retention over long periods of time can cause dangerous health problems as well. One of the possible risk factors of colon cancer is thought to be bad nutritional habits and chronic constipation. Also, with chronic constipation some people end up having problems like anal fissures or haemorrhoids. The accumulation of stool masses due to untreated constipation due to for example intestinal obstruction, especially in elderly people, could result in acute deadly complications, like faecal vomiting, in which the patient would throw up his own stools. And this is a very dangerous sign and need immediate medical treatment, or else the patient would die.

 Causes and reasons of constipation are based on three main points:

  • Inadequate water intake
    People who don’t drink enough water are often constipated
  • Inadequate activity or exercise
    People who don’t move enough to provide stimulating massage to the intestines using the abdominal muscles
  • Malnutrition
    A lack of certain elements, that could be vitamins or minerals or fibres

The most important elements for your intestinal functions are mainly fibres, vitamin D and calcium. People who are put on a strict diet will notice that they have sluggish bowel movements as well. Also guys who use whey protein at the gym will get constipation as a side effect.

Women are more likely to become constipated than men. That’s probably due to the female and pregnancy hormones, and the birth control pills. Unfortunately they cause our intestines to become slower or more sluggish. So you probably see many women who are suffering from constipation most of the time. Even though they might not have any bad health habits, yet they would still have to do some extra effort to get the process done.

Some women who have uterine fibroids, or myomas – myomas are benign tumours of the uterus – those tumours can squeeze up against the colon and cause chronic constipation. That’s why I’d recommend that women with family history of fibroids visit their gynaecologist to make sure there’s nothing in the uterus hindering their bowel movements.

Hypothyroidism, or slow thyroid gland, pregnancy, and some intestinal diseases in general, or any general health issues could cause constipation. That’s why if you’re suffering from any general disease, you should consider constipation symptoms and take them seriously.

Some medications could cause constipation. So, it would be a good idea for those who use any over-the-counter medications to read the patient info leaflets, in order to make an educated decision. Remember: antacids, antidepressants, iron tablets and painkillers can cause constipation.

Some people won’t have any known reason for constipation. It’s just their body nature. That’s why I’d suggest following to them:

How to cure chronic constipation:

The most important thing is to get rid of the reason.

Move enough, drink enough healthy fluids, eat healthy foods, and restore what you might lack of vitamins and minerals.

Here are also some good habits to consider:

Try using the toilet in a certain time of the day every day, for example in the morning, before going to work. Listen to soft music or even listen to the water drops dripping from the tap.

Research claims that if you seat on the toilet seat with a 70° angle, or less, with your feet lifted on something that relaxes the pelvic floor muscle, that would help you to excrete easier.

Some people say that they feel relieved if they massage their abdomen. How would you massage your abdomen? Here’s the right way. As you can see here, these are parts of the colon. There’s the ascending colon, transverse colon and the descending colon. And that’s the direction of traffic. If you massage yourself the right way, it will help you. So, you can start massaging your abdomen from your right side, then upwards, then to the left side, and then downward, so, clockwise.

Don’t ignore your urge to go to the toilet whenever you feel it. Whenever you feel like going to the toilet you MUST GO.

Nutrition is very important. That’s why I will tell you what we should eat that helps in the excretion process. It’s really very important to eat fruits that contain fibres, such as bananas and oranges. Dried fruits like dates and plums and raisins, they’re also very good. I’d also suggest seeds like sesame seeds or black seeds. Also oils are very important. We can increase the amount of vegetable oils in our food, and that will help our bowel movements. Herbs like peppermint and thyme are excellent for you. We can also use honey.

There’re also useful over-the-counter medications like bran. Bran is very beneficial as a medicine as well as for nutritional purposes. Also we should always consider having enough calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D is the sun vitamin, so you should sit in the sun for some time everyday to make enough vitamin D. Some people use over-the-counter medications like milk of magnesia. It should be able to help you with the excretion process. Also others say that they are relieved with aloe. It comes in the form of gel or you can prepare it at home if you have an aloe plant. You can scrape a small teaspoon of aloe, mix it with a big glass of water and drink the mix. But be very careful not to overdose because this would cause diarrhea.

You shouldn’t have constipation for a long time, and you should not rely on medications to relieve it, because this will cause your intestines to lose their normal movement over time. You can find several over-the-counter medications for your tough constipation in the pharmacies and drug stores, but please don’t rely on them on the long run. Try to depend mainly on a healthy lifestyle as the best way to facilitate your excretion process.

Constipation could be a symptom for a serious illness if it’s acute or unusual.

For the problem of chronic constipation that has no apparent cause the best way is to learn to deal with it with some extra health awareness. And make sure to observe your diet and see what affects your bowel movements to the better or to the worse. Try to see what makes you constipated and avoid it. Keeping a healthy pattern of your bowel movements will save you from many health problems like haemorrhoids, anal fissures and perhaps cancer.

I wish you good health!

Alyaa Gad

Blood Types

Knowing your blood group might one day save your life or the lives of others, including those of your future children. In this video I’ll explain blood groups and the important points we all need to know about them.

Scientists have classified our blood into groups, according to the presence of certain proteins on the surface of the blood cells, the red blood cells to be exact. One group of people who have the same certain protein, say, protein A, scientists have named them group A. Another group of people who have another certain protein, say, protein B, they named them group B. Another group of people, who have both of the two previous proteins – A and B – they named them group AB. Another group of people, who have neither of the two previous proteins, they named them group 0.

The importance of blood groups is vital during operations and blood transfusions. We must know your group to know from whom you can receive blood or to whom you can donate blood. Our body reacts against foreign proteins, so if you’re group A, group B will be foreign for you. And the same you’re group B, group A will be foreign to you. If you are from group A and received blood from group B, your body will recognize it as foreign bodies and will react against the protein B. So, A cannot receive from B, but if A donates blood to AB, the body of AB will recognize A as a friend, not a foreign body, and will not react against it. So, know we have understood that A can donate blood to AB without considerable problems, and the same if B donates blood to AB, the body of AB will recognize both A and B as familiar proteins. So, blood group A can donate blood to AB and to itself of course, group B can donate blood to AB and to itself of course, group AB can donate blood to itself only. Group 0 means that there are no proteins on the surface that belong to that classification. So, 0 will not be recognized as a foreign body by any other type. That’s why group 0 can donate blood to group 0, group A can receive blood from group 0 as well, the body will not recognize anything wrong. 0 can donate blood to B and also to AB. Group AB can receive blood from all blood types and 0 can donate blood to all blood types. So, 0 is called a universal donor and AB is called a universal recipient.

But hold it right there. Another scientist came along and said “hey, I found out from my researches on Rhesus monkeys, that there’s a certain protein, and I call it the RH factor, that may be present in all blood groups, or may be absent”. Now we know that group A individuals who have Rhesus factor are called A+ (A positive), so the group A individuals who have not got the Rh factor are called A- (A negative). The same for blood group B, AB and 0. They might be Rhesus positive (Rh+) or negative (Rh-). During blood transfusion Rh+ can receive from Rh-, which has no protein on the surface, and from Rh+ as well of course, because the body will recognize it as a friend and won’t do anything against it. So in fact AB+ is the general or universal recipient, which can receive blood from all blood groups, and 0- is the general donor, that can donate blood to all the other groups.

In addition to the importance of blood groups during operations and blood transfusion, they’re also important to know around the time of pregnancy and childbirth. One common example is when the parents are different in the Rhesus factor. Especially when the mother is negative and the father is positive. Rhesus factor may be inherited by the baby from his father’s side, so the mother would recognize the blood of her baby as foreign body and would react against it. The first pregnancy may pass safely, but during delivery some of the fetal blood may enter the maternal circulation and the body of the mother will recognize the Rhesus factor (the positive Rhesus factor) as foreign body, and will form antibodies against it. If the second baby is Rhesus positive like the first baby, the previously formed antibodies will react against the foreign protein, killing the fetus and causing abortion. To save the baby the mother is given a drug that can prevent Rhesus negative mothers’ antibodies from being able to react against Rhesus positive fetal blood. Rhesus negative women are given the drug around the 28th week of pregnancy. So it’s very important before marriage to do blood group testing and if the mother is Rhesus negative and the father is Rhesus positive the mother must be given a drug by the end of the first pregnancy or during the second pregnancy.

That was a summary of blood groups including the most important points we should know about this topic.

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad

First Aid: Bleeding Arm

If a person bleeds from his or her arm due to a severe wound, what should we do? What are the first aid measures?

It is very important that the bleeding stops and that the victim stays conscious. You should lay down the victim in a supine position. A “supine position” means lying flat with the face up. Then apply pressure on the site of the bleeding while raising the arm upwards. When the arm is raised, use a clean towel or tissue paper and place it on the bleeding spot. And hold on continuous pressure for the longest period of time. It could take ten to twenty minutes. Don’t keep checking whether the bleeding has stopped. Just keep applying pressure. You should keep the injured arm raised and make sure that the fingers do not turn blue. When possible, use latex gloves or a clean plastic bag to protect yourself from the blood.

If the bleeding is profuse, this means that an artery is injured. And this means that we should stop the bleeding from the main artery in the upper arm. This should only be done if the bleeding is profuse and it doesn’t stop when you apply pressure on the local site.

Now imagine that you’re going to shake hands with the victim. So you’re going to use the hand of the side that is same as that of the injured arm. Go with the heel of your hand against the victims elbow and use your thumb to try to locate the site of the artery. Once you feel the position squeeze against the bone with your thumbs to stop the blood flow to the arm. Now, while keeping pressure on the site of the wound keep pressing with the thumb. So you have two points of pressure now.

While you’re doing this someone should be calling the ambulance while you all wait for the help of paramedics.

Now suppose that you want to transport the victim to a nearby hospital and you should dress the bleeding wound, let me show you what to do. To dress a wound you will need gauze to be placed directly on the wound and an adhesive bandage. And here’s how to dress a wound. First of all tear the gauze pack from the middle on the two sides. Now hold it firmly at one side while packed and pull the other half open. Place it on the wound and avoid touching the surface that faced the wound. Place your hand on top of the gauze to stabilize it, then pull out the other half of the package and make sure that you didn’t touch the surface facing the wound.

And now it’s time to apply the gauze roll. Open a sterile gauze roll and place it near the wound distally – “distally” means away from the heart – and you should be moving towards the heart while rolling up. Now start wrapping the gauze around the wound in the direction towards the heart. Keep observing that the fingers are remaining red and not turning blue. The best way to prevent this is that you should not apply too much pressure. Otherwise you will have blue fingers. Try to cover around the wound in a fit rather than a tight manner. As you can see how the wound is covered now, please remember that the end point is closer to the heart. It is up to you to decide whether you would like to cut the gauze or continue till the end. That’s mainly according to the severity of the bleeding.

After you finish either put the free end under the tight gauze or better use a piece of adhesive bandage to secure it in place.

While transporting the victim, make sure that their arm is raised as long as possible to minimize the bleeding.

I wish you good health!

Alyaa Gad

HDL & LDL Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance present in our body and it’s produced from what we eat – mainly from fats and carbohydrates. Some people have the ability to make more cholesterol than others. But what is cholesterol? And does it have a function?

Like I said, cholesterol is a waxy substance. It helps the functions of our cells.

  1. It strengthens the wall of a cell.
  2. It helps the formation of bile, which is produced by the liver to properly digest fats.
  3. It helps the formation of vitamin D, which is being produced in the skin after sun exposure. And then cholesterol jumps in to help the formation of an active form vitamin D, that’s D3. Vitamin D is a very important vitamin and it helps several functions in our body.
  4. The fourth function of cholesterol is that it helps the formation of male and female sex hormones.

Cholesterol in general is not a harmful substance as some people might think. It has good and bad types. Generally speaking, cholesterol has two main types. HDL- that’s High Density Lipoprotein, and LDL – Low Density Lipoprotein. HDL has molecules that are big. And LDL has molecules that are small.

Let’s understand more of this by illustrating it on our model. Here: Cholesterol is integrated into the cell wall and appears here as these yellow balls. This is HDL, and it’s responsible for strengthening the cell wall. The other part – LDL – looks like this tiny Christmas tree with spikes. These spikes are bad. How? For illustration purposes let’s imagine this sock as a blood vessel. LDL molecules stick to the blood vessel’s wall and if it accumulates in large quantities it may cause arthrosclerosis – that’s hardening of the blood vessel wall, and thrombosis – that’s clots blocking the blood flow. However, HDL molecules (these big yellow balls), in spite of being so big, they have smooth edges, and they travel easily in the blood stream. HDL helps remove LDL from the blood vessel’s wall – that’s why we should increase HDL and decrease LDL. Have more of HDL and less of LDL.

If we undergo a blood cholesterol test, we will have three readings in our reports. You’ll find HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol (after adding HDL to LDL values). As a healthy person you must keep the LDL low and the HDL as high as possible within the normal ranges. Then see if the total cholesterol is elevated or not. This will affect your future health, especially your heart and blood vessels. If the total cholesterol is elevated you’re at higher risk of getting arthrosclerosis, heart disease and stroke at an older age.

As I mentioned before, the source of cholesterol is mainly fats. And there are good fats and bad fats. Good fats will produce useful cholesterol for you, and the bad ones will produce harmful cholesterol. How can we differentiate between the good and the bad ones? So, the good fats are: any liquid fats at room temperature or in the fridge, such as plant oils. All solid fats at room temperature or in the fridge are not good, contain LDL: Butter, hydrogenated fats or margarine. All these are not healthy because they form the harmful LDL.

If we want to lower our bad cholesterol and increase our good cholesterol, what should we do? First of, we should add liquid fats to our diet, like plant oils. Add them to your salad and avoid heating them. Also avoid using solid fats that are solid at room temperature or in the fridge.

There are medicals that we can use under medical supervision. There are also studies that show the benefits of omega-3, which is present in nuts and fish oils. Nuts and fish oil help in lowering the level of bad cholesterol, because they belong to the good cholesterol producing food groups.

Don’t forget to practise regular exercise, as this helps in getting rid of the bad cholesterol and maintains good cholesterol within the normal range.

I wish you good health!

Alyaa Gad

First Aid: Nosebleed

If we experience nosebleeds, what should we do?

First we should assure the patient, especially if it’s a child, that everything will be fine. Sit him down and tell him it’s going to be okay.

His face should be looking forwards in an almost horizontal position. Why? Because if the head is tilted backwards; he might swallow the blood. And this may cause him to gag, or inhale blood. And if the head is too much lower than his heart bleeding may increase. So the best position is situating the head to look almost straightforward with a slightly leaning forward sitting position.

If you feel your nose you’ll find the bone first, from upward, then go downwards, there is cartilage. The site between the bone and the cartilage should be pressed upon from both sides towards the face. Squeeze the nose and instruct the person to breathe from his mouth. Keep pressing for five to ten minutes and ask the patient not to blow his nose forcibly for an hour after stopping bleeding.

If nosebleeds occur frequently or in large amount or if they leave you feeling weak or faint, a doctor’s consultation is needed. However, it can be normal if it happens sometimes in very hot or very cold weather, or if you’re sitting in a warmed or a conditioned room.

The patient’s dry blood can be wiped off using a wet towel. Until one hour after the bleeding stops the patient should not insert anything into the nose and should avoid blowing the nose or straining during bowel movements.

I wish you good health!

Alyaa Gad

First Aid: Introduction

With the first aid course you will learn to provide initial care in case of illness or injury until medical help arrives. In this course I will tell you about the basics of first aid measures.

We will need some tools in this course as first aid kit. I’ll tell you more about its contents. For those families with small children I’d recommend that you keep a book about first aid at home, as it contains emergency solutions for any health problems you might face.

We are a work team. Myself and my kids Gabriel and Noah. And I’m going to tell you about the basics of first aid.

There are 5 principles of first aid that you should always bear in mind. They are:

  • Stay away from danger. Please protect yourself first.
    Eg.: If there’s an accident, do not endanger yourself in order to rescue the victim. Please first make sure that you are save or offering help to others.
  • Find out what the victim’s problems are. Collect the vital data.
    Eg.: You should check the victims breathing, pulse, and if there are any wound on the body, and if there’s any bleeding or any signs of bleeding. Was the victim hit? Did he/she drown? Try to collect as many information as possible about the victim. It’s also important to know the victim’s name and address, and the others of the place in which you are present.
  • Call the emergency number.
    I’d recommend that you save emergency numbers on your mobile phone and at home you should write it down on a sticker beside your phone or stick it on the refrigerator. It should be in a clear and obvious place in order to find it easily and call quickly.
  • Help the victim by doing the needed first aid measures.
  • Wait for ambulance arrival while sitting beside the victim.

So the 5 points of first aid that you should always remember are:

  1. Stay away from danger.
  2. Collect information about the victim’s identity, problem and location.
  3. Call the emergency number.
  4. Help the victim by doing the first aid measures.
  5. Wait with the victim until medical help arrives.

I hope you’ll find this course useful!

Alyaa Gad