Friday, February 16, 2007

Dialysis vs. kidney failure

In Malaysia, the popularity of dialysis has reached a point that is worrying. The people should be left puzzled with the question how easy it is for someone to be diagnosed dialysis is the treatment needed. The government and the society as well seem to give us an impression that Malaysia is lacking of dialysis facilities and that Malaysia has to build more such facilities to help needy patients. This is an alarming signal. What should be taken note is that if this has created a misleading conclusion that dialysis is the best solution to many kidney related diseases. In fact, dialysis should only be regarded as the last resort when all have failed to help to remove waste products and excess fluids from the body. We must wonder if enough has been done to create more awareness about the suitability of dialysis for certain patients.

Is it true that dialysis should always be the last resort to treatments? The answer to this question is YES. One should always try his/her best to stay healthy to keep normal kidney functions. Dialysis should only be the last resort if all other treatments fail to get rid of waste products and excess fluids from our bodies. Kidneys work hard when the body is counting on them to remove toxins and excess water, even when their functions have gone weaker. When dialysis kicks in, however, kidneys no longer have to work so hard. They then tend to lose their natural healing power to restore the functionality. And sooner than not having dialysis, the kidneys reach their failure stage.

Dialysis is a two-edged sharp blade. It can help, so can it destroy. It depends on if we know when and when not to use the tool. For temporary relief of removing waste products and excess fluid, it serves its purpose fine. For long term usage, most patients on it hardly live through 5 to 10 years lifespan. Some say one doesn’t have to be on dialysis forever, once the kidney functions get back to normal, a patient can then stop the process. This saying sounds good and promising. But how many patients could have their kidney functions recovered once they are on long term dialysis? Not many. In the end, it’s an empty promise.

Having more dialysis centers helps only terminally ill patients, but they can never be the cure to kidney related diseases. Prevention is always better than cure. We individual must seek to understand, learn how our bodies function so as to eat and live in a healthy manner. What we eat and do everyday leaves our bodies full of waste products. Shouldn’t we be eating and living healthier and with proper knowledge to ease the load on kidneys and other organs? For examples, take low-protein food to reduce acidity of the body, stay low on orange, star fruit, kiwi, banana, mandarin, tomato, wheat grass to reduce potassium in blood, no salts for water retention and for those who have consistent high blood pressure and etc. Early awareness and altered lifestyle and diet are the keys. Not being aware poses the most dangerous threat to our health, and therefore our lives. We ourselves must take control and the initiative to read and understand more. Don’t just leave everything to doctors and medicines. This body is your body, not your doctor’s body. Doctors can’t live your lives for you. Medicines can’t help much either if you keep on poisoning your body with the wrong food. And what’s more, most medicines impair kidney and liver functions…

Let me quote the following saying: “When the treatments for chronic kidney failure are no longer effective, the only option is long-term dialysis or kidney transplantation. Despite the advent of dialysis, most people with advanced kidney failure die within 5 to 10 years. End-of-life care is important.” (The Merck Manual of Medical Information, 2nd Home Edition.)

Prevention is better than cure: the ultimate truth. Early awareness is the key. Be kind to your body with what you eat and do everyday. Not having to undergo dialysis for any patients is in anyway a blessing and great help to our nation, society, family and of course, the individual.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Moon phase and menstrual cycle

Moon phase and menstrual cycle

Menstrual cycle in Chinese language is ‘moon period 月经’. As you can easily understand from the individual word, it means periodic cycle inline with the moon phase. Another name for menstruation is ‘letter from the moon 月信’. The moon periodically sends letters to ladies for them to perceive the signal (When to ovulate and menstruate). And yet another name for it is ‘moon water 月水’. Somehow it seems to connect menstruation with tides. Moon phase is about 28 days. So it’s believed that every extremely healthy woman should have their menstrual cycle that is close to 28 days. Well, nobody is perfect these days. Therefore the modern view is that as long as the cycle is from 25 to 35 days, it is normal and healthy.

Oh, by the way, “The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine《黄帝内经》” described menstrual period as ‘the story of the moon 月事’. This book dates back some more than 2,000 years old. And it’s considered the bible of TCM. Story of the moon? What story you may ask. Story of the yin () fluid of moon with that of feminine side of women.

There’s a research done by German team on the effect of moon phase and menstruation that revealed the amount of menses is double when the menstruation takes place during full moon compared with that during the new moon.

Well, you may ask moon phase comes with full moon and new moon, then what’s the ‘full moon’ and ‘new moon’ for our ladies’ menstrual cycle? Well, the answer is simple. Full moon is the time when we’re ovulating; and new moon is the time menses come. It’s pretty much like those werewolves who change themselves during full moon. These werewolves’ inner hormones are in perfect tune with the yin (female side) of the nature. I’ve seen quite a number of women who have their menstrual cycle just like the moon phase. Their menses come when it hits new moon. And it’s time for ovulation when the beautiful full moon is up there nurturing the mother earth. Yes. I know. I do keep track of moon phase simply because I practice Chinese lunar calendar everyday besides the modern calendar (The 1st and 15th day of Chinese lunar calendar correspond exactly to new moon and full moon respectively every month).

Amazing, isn’t it? There is so much more to learn from the Mother Nature. The relationship between the moon and the health of human beings will always be the topic of investigation.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Chronic Superficial Gastritis, bloating, mild pain

Question: I’ve been experiencing bloating for many years. The bloating sensation is always there in the tummy and sometimes it will get worse when I’m hungry. And there is this dull pain occasionally. What can I do about it?

Answer: Your symptom of bloating with mild discomfort around the stomach area signifies lack of function of stomach system. If left unattended, the digestive system (spleen system) will be affected and eventually it may also jeopardize the functionality of lungs system (lung-qi). There is a simple way for people with lack of stomach function to boost up its functionality: drink approximately 100cc of warm to hot water a minute or two before each meal. The reason is that stomach needs energy for its functionality to work. People with weak stomach are usually colder in the tummy region. By taking in warm water before each meal helps warm up the stomach for food absorption. Doing so consistently will gradually raise the temperature of the stomach system to normal and thus reduce bloating symptom.

Mild and dull pain especially when you’re hungry means there’s possibility you may have chronic superficial gastritis. And it’s usually manifested as having mild pain in the upper abdomen especially when one is hungry, with bloating worsened when empty-stomached. Their right pulse (of the hand) is usually weaker than the left one. The tongue manifestation is typically a little obese tongue with light white coating on top. If these symptoms are what you’re having, you belong to the syndrome (type) of deficiency of spleen-qi (Lack of function of digestive system). A basal prescription consisting these herbs is recommended: DangShen 18g, FuLing 9g, BaiZhu 9g, GanCao 6g, ChenPi 3g, ShaRen 3g, ShanYao 12g YiRen 12g BianDou 9g, JieGeng 6g.