Arthritis symptoms: Numbness and tingling in your HANDS could be early sign

Arthritis affects around ten million people in the UK, however there are a number of different forms.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common type after osteoarthritis, with around one per cent of the population suffering.

It is an autoimmune disorder that leads to inflammation of the joints, and causes them to hurt.

The condition can leave people suffering for years and make everyday activities difficult, according to Arthritis Research UK.

However spotting rheumatoid arthritis early could lead to effective treatments such as medication, surgery or physical therapies.

Interestingly, some of the initial signs of the condition seem to have nothing to do with the joints at all.

For instance, numbness and tingling in the hands may be an indicator.

This is because inflammation of the tendons can put pressure on the nerves.

Other unlikely early symptoms include a dry mouth, inflamed eyes, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, low-grade fever and weight loss.

However, changes in your joints also remain key indicators.

These include joint stiffness, which usually begins in the hands and can then progress.

This may be followed by joint tenderness or pain during movement or rest.

In the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis, pain is commonly felt in the fingers and wrists.

This may then progress to the knees, feet, ankles or shoulders too.

Signs of rheumatoid arthritis tend to begin slowly and can come and go in bouts.

The severity of the disease varies, with three-quarters experiencing some joint pain, swelling and flare-ups, however five per cent of people will develop severe disease with extensive disability, according to Arthritis Research UK.



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Blood pressure: Eating THIS 65p vegetable will lower your heart disease risk

Spinach is packed full of potassium, magnesium and folate - all of which help to lower blood pressure.

Potassium helps to get rid of more sodium through your urine, while magnesium helps to regulate blood flow.

Folate helps to break down homocysteine - an amino acid that can damage arteries.

Other leafy greens that could help to lower blood pressure include kale, romaine lettuce and turnip greens.

Spinach can also help to prevent against cancer and asthma, scientists have found.

Leafy greens’s chlorophyll can protect against some of the cancerous properties found in grilled foods.

Spinach also contains a nutrient called beta-carotene, which protects against asthma symptoms after exercising.

Its fibre and water-rich properties can also prevent constipation, and promote a healthy digestive tract.

High blood pressure - or hypertension - is estimated to affect one in four people in the UK.

The condition puts vital organs under pressure, including the brain, kidneys and heart.

There are about seven million people in the UK living with the condition undiagnosed, according to the British Heart Foundation.

Only a blood pressure test will reveal if someone suffers from high blood pressure.

Hypertension can increase the risk of other deadly conditions, including heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, and vascular dementia.

It’s caused by being overweight, not doing enough exercise, smoking, eating too much salt, or simply being over 65.

An ideal blood pressure is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg, and making small lifestyle changes will help to keep blood pressure at a normal level.

Other foods that can reduce blood pressure include berries, beetroot, skimmed milk, bananas, and fish.



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Cancer symptoms warning: Coughing up phlegm sign of THIS not Aussie flu

Lung cancer is one of the more common and serious types of cancer in the UK.

The deadly condition is diagnosed in around 44,500 people every year, and is often caused by smoking and older age.

Worryingly, it doesn’t tend to produce any noticeable symptoms in the early stages.

This means it can often go missed until it has developed to quite an advanced stage.

In 40 per cent of lung cancer patients the diagnosis is made after the disease has progressed.

Additionally, one-third of those who are told they have the condition have lung cancer that has reached stage three.

While it depends on type, location and a number of other factors, this often means the cancer has spread and life expectancy is often significantly reduced.

However, there are some early signs that you can look out for.

These include a persistent cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing, hoarse voice, bone pain and coughing up mucus.

Also known as phlegm, mucus is produced by the respiratory system which will repeatedly try to expel it by coughing.

If your phlegm is green, yellow or another colour, it usually indicates an illness.

It can be a symptom of the flu as the body tries to fight off infection, and should usually go away within a few days on its own.

In the case of lung cancer, phlegm might be red or pink - usually caused by blood.

If this happens you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Being diagnosed quickly can make a big difference to treatment and life expectancy.

According to the NHS, just one in three people currently live for at least a year after this point, while only one in 20 survive past a decade.



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Diabetes and dementia MIRACLE treatment from DEADLY snails

Insulin for diabetes patients, treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and therapies to eradicate some of the UK’s most common cancers, are just some of the potential findings of core snail venom, it was claimed.

Core snails are found all over the world, and will sting defensively when picked up by snail shell collectors.

Its sting is generally as painful as a bee sting, but larger snails’ can be deadly.

The most dangerous species, found around the Indian Ocean, can kill a human in the time it takes to finish a single cigarette.

But, unpacking the chemicals in its venom could help treat and prevent some of the most common conditions in the world.

“Cone snails are so unusual,” said Frank Marí, snail researcher from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

“They are not really like any other creature on Earth, and working with them is almost like working with an extraterrestrial.

“But that's also fun. The cone snail system is like a candy store to someone like me.

“It is scary stuff, but that power could be used for a different kind of good in real life.”

This year, scientists have made several discoveries about the venom, which may lead to new medicines for hard-to-treat diseases.

The poison could be used to prevent any new cases of gastric, breast and lung cancers, scientists revealed.

It could also be used to help women get pregnant in couples that are struggling to conceive.

The researchers also revealed last month that core snail’s venom could be used to treat Parkinson’s disease, and may even help people to quit smoking.

“The pattern on a cone snail shell is very beautiful, but I think the biology and biochemistry are even more beautiful,” said Marí.

“As we explore all the different aspects of the venom, we can open all kinds of new opportunities for medical use. We are finally able to crack the code.”



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Cancer sign: Bleeding from the vagina linked to THIS condition

In women that started the menopause more than a year ago, bleeding from the vagina is a sign to see your GP as soon as possible, the NHS said.

It could be a sign of womb cancer - or endometrial cancer, as it’s known - and 90 per cent of the cancer patients suffer from vaginal bleeding.

While postmenopausal bleeding could be a symptom of the cancer, it could also be caused by inflammation and thinning of the vaginal lining, or non-cancerous cervical growths.

Between one and 14 per cent of women with postmenopausal bleeding will have womb cancer, according to scientists.

But, testing for womb cancer can be challenging, they added.

There was a need to find a way of accurately diagnosing the cause of postmenopausal bleeding with such high stakes.

No single way to detect the cancer has proven 100 per cent accurate for all patents, the scientists said.

Healthcare providers should be educated on providing treatment catered to each individual patient, they added.

“There continues to be confusion in the way postmenopausal bleeding is treated,” said Dr Steven Goldstein, from the New York University School of Medicine.

“It is not effective to just rely on routine triggers for further evaluation.

“Rather, an individualised assessment based on patient characteristics and risk factors is appropriate.”

Other symptoms of womb cancer include a tummy pain, pain during sex and loss of appetite.

Currently, a vaginal ultrasound scan is used to diagnose the cause of postmenopausal bleeding.

Other tests include a pelvic exam, analysing samples of womb lining and a camera test known as a hysteroscopy.

Treatments for the bleeding include removing any growths with forceps, and using a simple oestrogen cream.

If the cause of the bleeding is womb cancer, a total hysterectomy will most likely be recommended.



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WARNING: Suffer with a bad sense of SMELL? It could be a sign of dementia

A smell test could find early signs of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and their underlying cause.

Losing your sense of smell has been linked to the neurological diseases, but current tests face challenges in spotting the conditions early.

Detecting the neurological disorders early would improve treatment, according to researchers form The Rockefeller University, in New York.

The new test would also be used to detect smell loss in patients more reliably than current options, they said.

“We're really excited about these new tests,” said Leslie Vosshall, researcher working on the study.

“They focus on the problem of smell itself, because they don't force people to match smells to words.

“People have their vision and hearing tested throughout their lives, but smell testing is exceedingly rare."

Julien Hsieh, another scientist working on the smell test, added: “The goal is to use changes in the sense of smell, along with other biomarkers, to identify underlying causes of these neurological disorders very early, and so potentially improve treatment.”

People have different sensitivity to individual smells, so current smell tests have struggled to isolate those with difficulty sensing smells.

Smells can also be remembered - the smell of a flower on a park walk could be remembered for years.

So, bias impacts current tests, and researchers have struggled to overcome this challenge.

The new smell test uses a ‘white smell’ to overcome this bias. A white smell is a unrecognisable, strange smell which nobody would ever have come across before.

People lose their sense of smell for a number of reasons, including head trauma, sinus infection or even a common cold.

But, doctors and society can overlook the condition - which is known as olfactory dysfunction, the researchers claimed.

One of the smell test trialists, Nisha Pradhan said people with a normal sense of smell “think not having a sense of smell just affects our ability to detect gas leaks, smoke, and bad body odour.

“But, it deprives us of so much more, including emotions and memories that are so intimate and integral to the human experience.”

About 6,000 people in the UK are born without a sense of smell, according to the NHS.



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Pregnant women, OAPs & babies can now safely eat runny eggs 30 years after salmonella fear

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said its revised advice that those vulnerable to infection could now safely eat raw or lightly cooked eggs produced under the British Lion Code of Practice followed a thorough review of new scientific evidence. 

It had previously advised that vulnerable groups should not eat runny eggs because they could contain salmonella bacteria which can cause serious illness. 

A report published by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) in July last year said the presence of salmonella in UK eggs had been “dramatically reduced” in recent years, and the risks were “very low” for eggs which had been produced according to the British Lion code. 

More than 90 per cent of UK eggs are produced under this scheme. 

FSA chairman Heather Hancock said: “It's good news that now even vulnerable groups can safely eat UK eggs without needing to hard-boil them, so long as they bear the British Lion mark. 

“The FSA has thoroughly reviewed the scientific evidence about the safety of these eggs, and we're confident that we can now change our advice to consumers. 

“The major reduction in the risk of salmonella in Lion eggs is testament to the work carried out by egg producers. The measures they've taken, from vaccination of hens through to improving hygiene on farms and better transportation, have dramatically reduced salmonella levels in UK hens.” 

The revised advice does not apply to severely immunocompromised individuals who need medically supervised diets prescribed by health professionals. 

The existing advice on UK eggs that do not carry the Lion mark, non-hen eggs and eggs from outside the UK is that they should always be cooked thoroughly for vulnerable people. 

Fears over salmonella peaked in the late 1980s when two million chickens were slaughtered and pregnant women were told to avoid undercooked eggs. 

In 1988 Edwina Currie, then a junior health minister, said most egg production in Britain was infected with salmonella. Her comments sparked a public outcry and two weeks later she was forced to resign. 

By early 1989 the link between eggs and salmonella poisoning was proved beyond doubt. 



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Children & teenagers fatter than they have been in 40 years but 200million are underweight

Between 1975 and 2016 the estimated number of obese boys in the world increased from six million to 74 million. 

Girls showed a similar trend, with their obesity figure rising from five million to 50 million over the same period. 

Much of the increase in recent years has taken place in developing countries while obesity rates among young people in Europe and the US were said to have plateaued. 

Study author Dr James Bentham, from the University of Kent, said: "This is not an excuse for complacency as more than one in five young people in the USA and one in 10 in the UK are obese. 

"Rates of child and adolescent obesity are accelerating in east, south and south-east Asia, and continue to increase in other low and middle-income regions." 

Despite the trend, more children around the world are severely underweight than overweight, the research showed. 

Overall, the global prevalence of child and adolescent obesity had increased from 0.7 per cent to 5.6 per cent for girls, and from 0.9 per cent to 7.8 per cent for boys.

Current childhood obesity rates were highest in some Polynesian islands, where they exceeded 30 per cent. 

A fifth of children and teenagers in the US and a tenth of those in the UK were obese. 

In total, 124 million children and adolescents around the world had a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, categorising them as obese. 

A further 213 million fell into the "overweight" range, with BMIs of between 25 and 29.9. BMI is a standard measurement that relates weight and height. 

The researchers pooled together 2,416 studies looking at BMI and obesity to analyse data on 128.9 million participants from around the world, including 31.5 million children and teenagers aged five to 19. 

The results appear in The Lancet medical journal ahead of World Obesity Day on October 11. 

The research also showed that around the world 75 million girls and 117 million boys were moderately or severely underweight in 2016. 

Almost two-thirds of underweight children lived in southern Asia. 



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Cough symptoms warning: Three ways to tell DIFFERENCE between cold and Aussie flu

The flu and colds both share many symptoms, meaning it can be difficult to tell the common winter illnesses apart.

These include a sore throat, headache and stuffy, runny nose.

However, while both are respiratory infections, catching the flu can be far more serious than having a cold.

The former can prove fatal, with the Aussie flu causing dozens of deaths and leaving thousands hospitalised.

For this reason it is important to be able to tell the difference people can seek the correct medical attention - here are three ways.

Coughing

While it may be a sign of both, the type of cough you experience can indicate whether it is flu or a cold.

If it’s a dry, hacking cough - meaning short, dry and frequent - then you are likely to have flu.

Length of symptoms

Colds tend to come on gradually over the space of a few days.

They then usually clear up within seven to ten days.

However, flu symptoms are much more severe and generally come on more quickly.

Additionally, you can remain ill for up to two weeks.

Fever

A cold rarely gives off a temperature that’s above 38.3 C - the point at which you should seek medical attention - however the flu can trigger an initial fever.

However, not everyone with flu will develop a high temperature.

Other flu symptoms that can differentiate it from a cold include severe muscle or body aches, shaking chills, severe fatigue that can last for two weeks, and nausea and vomiting in children.

Colds usually clear up on their own, and it is recommended sufferers drink plenty of fluids.

According to research published in 2013, vitamin C won’t prevent a cold but taking it consistently can lessen symptoms.

You should see a doctor if your cold hasn’t improved within a week, if you have a fever and if your fever doesn’t go down.

If you have the flu you should also drink plenty of fluids.

Certain groups are at risk of serious complications if they catch the flu, such as the elderly, children or those with chronic diseases, and they should have medical attention if they get it.



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Swollen toes? Arthritis symptoms similar to THIS painful condition

Gout symptoms include severe pain in one, or more joints, and a sensation of hot joints.

They can swell up, and become red and shiny all over the affected area.

Most people that get gout will end up with the condition again at some point, according to the NHS. Symptoms progress quickly over a couple of hours, and can last up to 10 days.

Gout now affects one in forty people in the UK, and those most at risk are men over 30, and women after the menopause.

The type of arthritis is caused by small crystals inside and around the joints.

The crystals are formed after a build-up of uric acid in the blood. 

Joints become swollen and painful after the crystals have formed.

The risk of gout is increased with high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney problems, or obesity.

Drinking large amounts of beer or spirits could also lead to the condition.

The condition can lead to further complications if left untreated.

These include kidney stones and permanent joint damage.

In some cases, the crystals can build-up underneath the skin and form yellowy, pale lumps known as tophi.

Tophi can develop anywhere on the body, but are most common on the toes, heels, knees, fingers and ears.

The best way to treat gout is to visit your GP if the condition persists. 

The NHS recommends visiting the doctor if you’ve never had the condition before, and you think you may it.

Anti-inflammatory drugs and other medication can be prescribed to help relieve some of the symptoms during a flare up.

Long-term preventatives include losing weight, and taking medication to lower the amount of uric acid in your body.



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Acid reflux? THESE drugs could be making liver disease worse

About 70 per cent of chronic liver disease patients take medication to prevent the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux.

But, suppressing stomach acid stops gut bacteria from killing unwanted micro-organisms in the body.

Those micro-organisms could be promoting liver injury, and three types of chronic liver disease, researchers have warned.

The acid reflux drugs - known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) - block the enzymes that make stomach acid. Common PPIs include the brands Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid.

Senior author of the research, Bernd Schnabl, from the University of California, said: “Our stomachs produce gastric acid to kill ingested microbes, and taking a medication to suppress gastric acid secretion can change the composition of the gut microbiome.

“Since we found previously that the gut microbiome - the communities of bacteria and other microbes living there - can influence liver disease risk, we wondered what effect gastric acid suppression might have on the progression of chronic liver disease. 

“We found that the absence of gastric acid promotes growth of bacteria in the intestines and translocation to the liver, where they exacerbate inflammation and worsen chronic liver disease.”

The researchers used mice trials to find how the drugs impact liver disease. 

Mice were given PPIs, and then their poo was analysed to find which bacteria were still in their stomach.

They found the mice had more bacteria that promotes liver disease.

The changes also meant the mice had more inflamed livers, and three types of liver disease was progressing in them.

The scientists also tested the link between the drugs and liver disease in humans that abuse alcohol. 

4,830 patients that had a history of chronic alcohol abuse were analysed, including more than 1,000 patients actively taking heartburn medication.

Similarly to mice, they found more of the liver disease-causing bacteria in the humans’ stool.

Liver disease development in patients that chronically abused alcohol was more than eight per cent higher in those that used PPIs.

The finding could lead to a new therapy who focuses on reducing the amount of bad bacteria in the stomach, the researchers said.



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Cancer diet: Drizzling THIS oil on your food could help ward off disease

Cancer could be prevented by adding a particular oil into your diet, according to scientists.

A study by Iowa State University found that drizzling soybean oil on food boosted absorption of several key nutrients.

Researchers showed that the oil helped the body’s uptake of four carotenoids—alpha and beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene—two forms of vitamin E and vitamin K.

Better absorption of nutrients has been linked to a range of health benefits, from warding off cancer to preserving eyesight.

Soybean oil is a common ingredient in salad dressings, and is also used regularly in Thai dishes.

The researchers found that the more soybean oil consumed - in this case it was added as dressing to salad - the better the absorption of nutrients was.

“The best way to explain it would be to say that adding twice the amount of salad dressing leads to twice the nutrient absorption,” said Professor Wendy White, at Iowa State University.

“For most people, the oil is going to benefit nutrient absorption.”

In the study, researchers tested female participants’ blood to monitor nutrient levels.

They found that 32g of oil - or two tablespoons - was the point of maximal nutrient uptake.

Soybean oil is rich in healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats.

Previous research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004 showed that dietary fat is necessary for the body to absorb nutrients from fruits and vegetables. 

In the study, people who ate fat-free salad dressing accessed far fewer helpful phytonutrients and vitamins from spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and carrots than others who consumed their salads with a dressing containing fat.

If you are not a fan of oil, eating avocado and nuts also provides plenty of dietary fat.

According to Cancer Research UK, diet has been linked with several different types of cancer including lung cancer, stomach cancer, mouth cancer and bowel cancer.

They recommend eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, as well as fibre.



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