Infants and small children are especially prone to acute middle ear infections. But such inflammation can also become chronic, sometimes with dramatic consequences. Our studio guest, Dr. Parwis Mir-Salim, discusses the causes of otitis media and its treatment options. We also talk about how to cope with stress, what our blood vessels do and what sort of sugar is best for our health.
Stress can lead to burnout and increase the risk of heart attack, among other things. But you can learn to deal with pressure in a number of ways: by taking regular breaks during the day, for instance, and using such techniques as autogenic training, yoga and progressive muscle relaxation. Physical exercise is also especially helpful.
An acute middle ear infection often develops after a cold or similar viral infection. Usually the inflammation is caused by bacteria that reach the ear from the back of the nose and uppermost area of the throat via the Eustachian tubes. The result can be very painful. Decongestant nose drops can help, but often an antibiotic is necessary.
If a middle ear infection is persistent or recurs, the condition can be termed chronic. One reason this can happen is that the flow of air to the ear is constantly blocked. It can cause ongoing damage to the middle ear and eardrum. Treatment is difficult, but a new technique promises long-term relief.
If all a person's blood vessels - arteries, veins and capillaries - were laid end to end, they would be 100,000 kilometers long. Arteries bring oxygenated blood from the heart to the body's organs and tissues. Veins bring oxygen-depleted blood to the heart. The tiny capillaries link the arteries and veins.
They are where the exchange of fluids, gases, waste and nutrients between the blood and the body's tissues takes place.
Sugar is a carbohydrate. There are simple sugars, or monosaccharides, and double sugars, or disaccharides. The major disaccharide in our diets is sucrose, which is produced from sugar beets and sugar cane.
Pure glucose is absorbed extremely rapidly into the blood because it is the basic sugar unit of which many others are composed, so it doesn't have to be broken down before it gets into the bloodstream. That's why it delivers energy very quickly.