What is an Anaphylactic Reaction?

An anaphylactic reaction can occur when a person is exposed to a substance that triggers an allergic response. Triggers can vary between food, medication, insect bite, or other external factors. The reaction may cause the immune system to overreact and release chemicals across the body which can lead to anaphylactic shock. In the United States, hundreds of people die each year from anaphylactic reaction symptoms such as sudden low blood pressure and trouble breathing. Therefore, it is a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention when it occurs. Those with a history of anaphylaxis should always have medication such as epinephrine readily available for prompt treatment.

If you or someone around you is having a severe allergic reaction, call emergency services right away and administer treatment medication if available. Remain calm and sit or lie down depending on discomfort and symptoms. Lay on a side and raise legs if vomiting occurs in order to keep airway clear. Take other prescribed medicine such as an inhaler or another injection of epinephrine if symptoms do not improve. Even if symptoms improve, go to the hospital anyway because untreated anaphylaxis can allow symptoms to recur.

What Can Cause an Anaphylactic Reaction?

There are many common substances that would cause an anaphylactic reaction. There are also things you would not expect to cause an allergic reaction such as a blood transfusion or the dye used for radiology tests. But for most people, they learn at a young age if they suffer from mild to severe allergic reactions to things like peanuts or seafood. The following foods are the most common one’s people are allergic to which can cause anaphylactic shock.

  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Tree nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Pistachios, Pine nuts)
  • Certain fruits such as bananas, kiwis, pears, pineapples, grapes, and papayas
  • Sesame
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs

Food additives, such as sulfites can also cause an allergic reaction which can lead to anaphylactic shock if taken in a big enough quantity depending on a person’s sensitivity. Medications like penicillin, insulin, aspirin and ibuprofen as well as material like latex are also common allergens which can trigger anaphylaxis. Another common way an anaphylactic reaction can occur is through the venom of insect stings from bees, wasps, hornets or fire ants. People with certain conditions such as asthma or eczema are more likely to have an anaphylactic reaction than people without these illnesses. It is entirely possible that the cause of anaphylactic reaction can be unknown due to a delayed allergic reaction.

Anaphylactic Reaction or Shock: Signs and Symptoms

The most common and life-threatening anaphylactic symptoms are difficulty breathing due to swelling of the airway and going unconscious due to low blood pressure. Severe symptoms include swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, trouble breathing, dizziness, fainting, and anxiety. Less severe anaphylactic reactions include hives, coughing, congestion, feeling warm or tingling, diarrhea, and nausea. However, even if you only experience mild symptoms, subsequent reaction to allergens may be more severe and cause anaphylactic shock. Therefore, those more susceptible to allergic reactions should always care appropriate treatment medication and visit an emergency center as soon as possible.

Anaphylactic Shock Treatment

When anaphylactic shock occurs, your main priority is to relax and stabilize your breathing. Taking an antihistamine can help relieve some symptoms while you wait for proper treatment. If you have asthma and use an inhaler regularly, taking a dose from a rescue inhaler during an anaphylactic reaction can help ease breathing trouble. It is recommended to take a shot of epinephrine as soon as possible. Only administer epinephrine if prescribed by your doctor and follow the instructions on the auto-injector when in use.

Anaphylaxis: Carrying EpiPen for Emergency

When using an EpiPen brand epinephrine auto-injector, please read the instructions on the label and use the following guidelines.

  1. Remove auto-injector cap
  2. Grip the injector with the pointy tip facing down
  3. Inject in the middle of your outer thigh in your upper leg area, it can pierce through clothing if necessary
  4. Press and hold down for 2-3 seconds
  5. Remove and return auto-injector to its case
  6. If symptoms do not improve after at least 5 minutes, consider using another dose
  7. Go to emergency medical services right away for further treatment

If you know what caused the anaphylactic reaction, remove it immediately. Once the initial reaction has calmed down, a doctor should monitor your condition because anaphylaxis can reoccur hours or days later. After a full examination, your doctor may prescribe additional medicine like antihistamines or steroids to help with breathing.

Preventing another anaphylactic reaction should be your next priority, especially if you do not know what caused your last reaction. Make an appointment with an allergy specialist to help identify any existing or new allergies you may have.

To learn more about what is an anaphylactic reaction, visit our blog to discover helpful health advice and treatment suggestions.

Why Does Hypothyroidism Occur?

Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland that produces an inadequate number of hormones. The hormones that the thyroid produces help regulate your metabolism and determines energy use for most of the organs in the human body. As a result, low levels of these types of hormones can cause a wide range of health conditions including mental and digestive issues. Without medical treatment, hypothyroidism can occur and lead to heart disease, obesity, chronic pain, and more.

So, why does hypothyroidism occur in the first place? It occurs when the thyroid gland becomes inflamed due to issues with the immune system. A damaged thyroid might not be unable to make enough hormones for the body to function efficiently. This type of thyroid gland failure can be caused by an autoimmune disease but can also be the result of surgical procedures conducted to treat thyroid cancer. Therefore, hypothyroidism can occur for some people while they are trying to manage other health conditions. For example, iodine treatment for a goiter kills a portion of the thyroid to prevent further growth of the goiter itself. It is also possible that your thyroid gland is fine but your pituitary gland in charge of stimulating your thyroid is not functioning properly.

Signs of Hypothyroidism

Now that we have discussed why does hypothyroidism occur; we’ll cover some of the common symptoms to look out for. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can slowly develop and increase in severity as the level of hormones produced by the thyroid decreases over time.

Common hypothyroidism symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Muscle aches, cramps, and weakness
  • Slow movement or heart rate
  • Memory issues
  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Low sex drive
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Irregular or heavy periods
  • Jaundice or late development in children

Talk to your doctor if one or more of these symptoms become problematic. Due to the similarity of many underactive thyroid symptoms that are present in other health conditions, when hypothyroidism occurs, it can be difficult to diagnose effectively. Your doctor will perform a thyroid function blood test to measure if your thyroid is getting enough stimulation or not. An antibody may also be conducted to rule out an autoimmune thyroid condition. Based on your condition and test results, you may be referred to an endocrinologist to help treat your hormone imbalance.

Hypothyroidism Treatment Options

Treating an underactive thyroid requires taking medication that balances your hormone levels. Your doctor will determine the right treatment option based on your specific hormone deficiency. Each medication provides different hormones at different levels. Your doctor will monitor your hormone levels regularly to ensure that you are receiving the right amount. One thing to note when taking thyroid hormones is that they stay in your system all day and should therefore not be taken with food because it can affect proper absorption. There are many kinds of thyroid replacement therapy options available, including:

How Does Nature-Throid Cure Hypothyroidism?

As the name would suggest, Nature-Throid is made with natural ingredients, specifically the hormones are derived from dried pig thyroid. This hormone replacement therapy is recommended to those who require a gluten-free option and prefer no food artificial additives in their medication. For those with specific food allergies, it is also free of any soy, yeast, egg, fish or shellfish, corn, peanuts, or rice. It also comes in a wide variety of strength which makes it easier to get the exact dosage of hormones you need. Talk to your doctor before taking any kind of thyroid hormone replacement medication to prevent side effects and overdosing.

Hypothyroidism: Should I Take Iodine Supplements?

No, you should not take iodine supplements. Iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism, but generally, a lack of salt in a person’s diet is usually not the cause of the condition. Most people do not have a problem consuming enough salt in a day to prevent hypothyroidism. In fact, we tend to eat too much salt which can cause other health problems. Therefore, do not take iodine supplements when hypothyroidism occurs unless directly ordered to by your doctor.

Hypothyroidism Management Tips

There are natural and over-the-counter remedies you can use to balance thyroid hormone levels. In terms of supplements, taking Selenium, vitamin D, and probiotics may help reduce symptoms when hypothyroidism occurs. But talk to your doctor before taking any kind of supplement as it may interact with any ongoing hypothyroidism treatment you are currently taking. A balanced healthy diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is the best way to stabilize a thyroid hormone imbalance. However, you should avoid foods high in fiber and things that contain soy because these foods may interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone medication. A gluten-free and sugar-free diet has also been shown to reduce symptoms when hypothyroidism occurs.

To learn more about why does hypothyroidism occur, visit our blog to discover helpful health advice and treatment suggestions.

What Is a Diabetes Diet?

What Is a Diabetes Diet?

While there is no specific diet for people with diabetes, your diabetes diet is an eating plan that covers three important areas: Healthy foods in healthy amounts, eaten with healthy timing in mind.

It helps you control your blood sugar, maintain a healthy weight, and keep your risk of heart disease low.

This way of eating can prevent, control, and may even reverse the disease — and it’s not just for people with diabetes.

Diabetes Diet Recommended Foods

There are four types of nutrients in food that can affect your blood sugar:

  1. Carbohydrates (the sugars, starches, and fiber in food)
  2. Protein
  3. Fat
  4. Fiber

Carbohydrates raise blood sugar faster than proteins or fats. They also have the biggest effect on your blood sugar. Fiber, protein, and fat may curb the rise in blood sugar after a meal.

So aim for variety. Eat a mixture of carbohydrates, protein, and fat to manage your blood sugar better and stay full longer. But make sure to choose quality carbohydrates and smart fats that are:

  • Fiber-rich: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, peas, whole grains
  • Heart Healthy: Fish like salmon and tuna
  • Healthy carbs: Vegetables, beans, whole grains, and fruit
  • Smart fats: Fish, nuts and seeds, avocado, olives, extra virgin olive oil, and canola oil

Check your blood sugar after meals. Look for patterns between what you eat and drink and your blood sugar levels after. You also may want to track how many grams or servings of carbohydrates you eat with each meal and try to keep it about the same from meal to meal. This can also help you take charge of your blood sugar.

Diabetes Diet Foods to Avoid

Saturated Fats: Saturated fat raises your blood cholesterol. You can find it in high-fat animal protein like bacon and sausage, high-fat dairy like butter, full-fat cheese, and ice cream, plus coconut oil and chicken skin.

Trans Fats: Also called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, trans fats are liquid oils that become a solid fat. Ingredients like stick margarines and shortening contain trans fats, as do processed foods like some chips, cookies, and fast food French fries.

Cholesterol: Your cholesterol count is made up of the natural cholesterol in your blood, plus the cholesterol that comes from food. Watch out for high-fat dairy and high-fat animal products, plus egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats.

Sodium: Don’t forget to watch salt, too. That’s part of healthy eating with diabetes. Eating less sodium has been shown to help prevent and treat high blood pressure. Read labels and choose foods that are low in sodium. Learn more about reading food labels and grocery shopping with diabetes.

Creating a Diabetes Meal Plan

Eating a healthy, balanced diet when you have diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t eat foods that taste good. In the sample menu and recipes below, the meals have a good balance of protein and fat and a great source of fiber. You can plug them into your diet — in the right portion sizes — along with the other fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein, or fats in your plan.Breakfast

Here’s how you might work in a high-fiber carbohydrate along with some lean protein and “good” fat.

High-fiber carbs:

  • Whole-grain cereal (hot or cold) with fruit
  • Whole-grain bread, English muffin, or bagel
  • Whole-grain waffles or pancakes with fruit

Lean protein (low in saturated fat):

  • A higher omega-3 egg blended with 2 egg whites for an egg dish. Add vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, or tomatoes.
  • Low-fat milk or soy milk for your cereal or as a beverage
  • Part skim-milk cheese added to your omelet
  • Low-fat or nonfat yogurt with fruit or cereal, or in a smoothie

Smart fats:

  • Avocado added to your omelet
  • Nuts for cereals or a yogurt parfait
  • Extra virgin olive oil used in omelet
  • Canola oil used in whole-grain muffins, pancakes, or waffles

Lunch

A sandwich or wrap with whole-grain bread or tortilla and a lean protein such as:

  • Roasted turkey, skinless chicken, or lean beef or pork
  • Part skim-milk cheese or soy cheese
  • Water-packed tuna dressed in vinaigrette, yogurt, or light mayo

A bean-based lunch such as:

  • Bean burrito with whole-grain tortilla
  • Hummus with whole grain-bread or vegetable dippers
  • Vegetarian or lean-meat chili or bean stew

Main-course salad made with:

  • Dark green lettuce
  • Lots of vegetables
  • Lean meat, fish, beans, or cheese plus avocado and nuts, if desired
  • Dressing made with extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, or yogurt

Dinner

High-fiber carb choices:

  • Cooked grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley, bulgur, or amaranth
  • Whole wheat bread, tortilla, pita bread, or buns
  • Colorful vegetables on the side or in the main course
  • Dark green lettuce for a side or dinner salad
  • Fresh fruit on the side or with the entrée

Lean protein (low in saturated fat):

  • Grilled or baked fish, by itself or in a mixed dish such as tacos
  • Skinless poultry — grilled, baked, or stir-fried
  • Lean beef or pork — sirloin, tenderloin — with no visible fat
  • Part skim-milk cheese in entrees, such as eggplant parmesan, vegetarian pizza on whole wheat crust, vegetable lasagna, or enchiladas

Smart fats:

  • A sensible amount of extra virgin olive oil or canola oil used for cooking
  • Nuts added to entrée or side dishes
  • Avocado or olives with entrée or side dishes

Healthy Snacks

  • Cucumber slices with hummus
  • Canned tuna on whole grain crackers
  • Frozen grapes
  • Apples with peanut or almond butter
  • Popcorn is a whole grain

Diabetes Diet Sample Recipes

Homemade Napa Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich

To add a couple of servings of higher-fiber and nutrient-rich whole grains, serve this chicken salad on two slices of 100% whole-grain bread or in a whole-wheat pita pocket. Or make a wrap sandwich with a whole-wheat flour tortilla.

Makes four or more servings.

3 cups shredded roasted or rotisserie chicken, skin removed

1 cup red grapes, cut in half

2/3 cup finely chopped celery

1/3 cup sliced almonds, honey roasted or plain roasted

Dressing:

1/2 cup low-fat or light mayonnaise (or nonfat plain Greek yogurt)

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Garnish (optional):

8 leaves romaine lettuce

8 slices of tomato

  1. In a medium bowl, combine shredded chicken, grapes, celery, and almonds.
  2. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients with whisk or spoon until smooth and blended. Drizzle dressing over the chicken and grape mixture and stir to blend.
  3. Spoon chicken mixture onto bread to make four or more sandwiches. Garnish with lettuce and tomato, if desired.

Per serving, including bread (if four per recipe): 500 calories, 42 g protein, 51 g carbohydrate, 14 g fat, 2.6 g saturated fat, 6 g monounsaturated fat, 5 g polyunsaturated fat, 96 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 764 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 25%. Omega-3 fatty acids = 0.4 gram, omega-6 fatty acids = 4.5 grams.

Spinach & Mushroom Bagel Pizza

Compared to a personal pan pizza at a popular pizza chain, a serving of these spinach and mushroom bagel pizzas has about half of the calories, fat, and sodium. It also has two-thirds less saturated fat and cholesterol and three times the fiber.

Makes two servings (two bagel pizzas each)

2 whole wheat bagels

1/3 cup pizza sauce (or 2 tablespoons pesto or light garlic & herb spreadable cheese)

2/3 cup shredded, reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (button, crimini, or baby portobello)

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Black pepper to taste

  1. Cut whole wheat bagels in half with a serrated knife to make four pizza crust circles. Place them cut side up on a baking sheet. Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons of pizza sauce (or 1/2 tablespoon of pesto or light garlic & herb cheese spread) over each pizza half.
  2. Top each bagel half with 1/4 of the shredded cheese.
  3. Heat a medium nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, until lightly browned. Stir in the spinach leaves and minced garlic. Stir and sauté until the spinach is bright green and shrunken down (about 1 minute). Add black pepper to taste.
  4. Spread the spinach and mushroom mixture evenly over the pizza halves and broil about 4 inches from the heat until the cheese is bubbling. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.

Per serving (using pizza sauce): 452 calories, 25 g protein, 62 g carbohydrate, 12.5 g fat, 4.7 g saturated fat, 4.8 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g polyunsaturated fat, 21 mg cholesterol, 11.5 g fiber, 836 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 25%. Omega-3 fatty acids = 0.2 grams, omega-6 fatty acids = 2.8 grams

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken Casserole

This provides you with veggies, whole grains, and lean meat all in one delicious dish. You can use light coconut milk instead of the fat-free half-and-half and coconut extract.

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or canola oil)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Ground pepper

Salt to taste (optional)

2 cups fat-free half-and-half

2 teaspoons coconut extract

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons red curry powder

3/4 cup uncooked brown rice

2 small red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), cut into thin strips or 1-inch pieces

3 cups fresh or frozen green beans (stem ends removed), cut into 1-inch long pieces

Garnish: 2 tablespoons toasted coconut, natural unsweetened or flaked (optional)

  1. Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with pepper and salt (if desired) and add to skillet. Brown well on both sides (about 3 minutes each).
  2. While chicken is browning, combine fat-free half-and-half, coconut extract, chicken broth, red curry, and brown rice in slow cooker dish. Add browned chicken on top and arrange bell pepper and green beans over it. Cover the slow cooker and heat on low for 4 to 6 hours, or until rice is tender.
  3. Serve chicken with some of the rice, vegetables, and curry coconut sauce. Sprinkle on some toasted coconut, if desired. (To toast coconut on a stove, spread it in the bottom of a nonstick skillet or frying pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the coconut is golden brown.

Per serving: 371 calories, 36 g protein, 40 g carbohydrate, 7.5 g fat, 1.7 g saturated fat, 4 g monounsaturated fat, 1.4 g polyunsaturated fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 5.5 g fiber, 271 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 18%. Omega-3 fatty acids = 0.1 gram, omega-6 fatty acids = 1.3 grams.