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Quick fixes to common health problems

 | October 9, 2012

Some quick fixes to help you get on with your day with relative ease.

FEATURE

Loud hiccups or popping ears are embarrassing and annoying especially when you’re at work, out with friends or attending an important meeting. Ever wondered what the fastest way was to remedy the situation?

Here is a list of the most common problems that plague us and some quick fixes to help you get on with your day with relative ease.

Hiccups

Symptoms: Hiccups occur when your diaphragm contracts due to a spasm. This spasm causes a sharp intake of breath that is suddenly stopped by the closure of the vocal chords, resulting in that ‘hiccup’ sound.

Causes: You’ve either eaten too much, too quickly or drunk too much alcohol. Sometimes swallowing too much air also results in hiccups. Some people hiccup when the temperature of their stomach changes too drastically as when you drink a hot beverage followed by something chilled.

Quick Fix: While many people can successfully halt hiccups by holding their breath and counting till 10, others gargle with water to stimulate the back of their throats. Compressing your diaphragm by pulling your knees up to your chest might also bring relief as would breathing repeatedly into a paper bag for a short while.

Eyelid twitches

Symptoms: Your upper or lower eyelid twitches and although harmless most of the time, can be a tad annoying.

Cause: In most cases, eye twitching is the result of excessive caffeine, lack of sleep, eye-strain and stress. It can also be indicative of a more serious problem like irritation of the cornea or a deficiency in either calcium or magnesium.

Quick Fix: Cut back or give up coffee for a while, get enough sleep and try eye-drops to lubricate your eyes. To reduce eye-strain, take more breaks from the computer and clear your mind with some calming meditation. If twitching persists, see your doctor as it could be indicative of something way more serious.

Popping ears

Symptoms: You experience discomfort in your ears like it’s about to burst. In some cases, it is painful.

Causes: Your ears ‘pop’ as a way to prevent your ear drum from rupturing when the pressure inside your ear is vastly different from the pressure outside.

Quick Fix: Swallowing, chewing gum or making yourself yawn helps stabilise the internal pressure of your ears. Sometimes wearing earplugs will help limit the vacuum and external pressure.

Leg cramps

Symptoms: Sometimes called a Charley Horse, leg cramps are a spasm in your calf muscles that causes a sharp pain lasting anything from a few seconds to a few agonising minutes. Leg cramps tend to occur at night while you are in resting mode.

Causes: Walking in high heels all day or over-doing a work-out session at the gym can stress out your calf muscles. Another probable cause is an electrolyte imbalance in your body’s fluids, most often the result of dehydration. In more serious cases, people with kidney failure, an underactive thyroid gland and disorders of the nerves will experience persistent cramps in which case a visit to the doctor is in order.

Quick Fix: Stretch and massage the affected muscle until the cramp eases off. To prevent cramps from recurring, wear shorter heels, keep hydrated by drinking lots of water and ensure your diet is rich in electrolytes like calcium, potassium, and magnesium that you can easily get from bananas and nuts.

Light-headedness

Symptoms: When you stand after stooping to pick something up, you feel dizzy. It can cause you to lose balance or momentarily lose the use of your motor skills.

Causes: Light-headedness could be the result of low blood pressure triggered by dehydration. It could also be the result of high temperatures that prompt your blood vessels to dilate.

Quick Fix: If you are prone to light-headedness, remember to drink lots of water and stand up slowly after bending for any length of time. If the dizziness persists, sit down until you recover or lie down with your feet elevated above your heart. See your doctor immediately after.

Brain freeze

Symptoms: The pain is sudden and excruciating causing you to feel like your mouth and tongue is frozen. It usually ends with a pounding headache.

Causes: Brain freeze occurs when cold hits the roof of your mouth like when you eat ice cream. This action triggers blood vessels to rapidly constrict and expand while the nerves in your mouth interpret this as pain, sending pain messages to the brain.

The Fix: Your best bet is to put your tongue to the roof on your mouth in the hope that the heat from your tongue will calm the nerves and reduce the pain faster. Then there’s the other more boring (and ultimately harder!) solution – abstinence. Just don’t eat the ice cream!

LINKS

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/tc/hiccups-topic-overview

http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/eyelid-twitch/overview.html

http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Cramps-in-the-Leg.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/271139-cures-for-lightheadedness/

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/relief-airplane-ear-pain-63735.html


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