Viewing: March, 2014

The History of BMX

It’s not 100% clear just how far back the history of BMX goes. Most accounts will tell you that BMX and BMX racing first got its start in California sometime in the 1960s. At least one account traces the history of BMX back at least 10 years prior to that time when races involving young children on BMX-like bicycles were being held in the Netherlands. It was sometime in the 1950s apparently when those BMX races were held, although it’s unclear whether or not they were officially sanctioned by any sporting organization. The idea for BMX took hold in part due to the popularity of motorcycle racing in Europe at the time.

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The Wonderful World of BMX Riders

Perhaps your goal is to be one of the top BMX riders in the country. That could mean an eventual trip to the Olympic Games. It could also mean some money if at some point you elect to turn pro. The immediate problem is, where to start? You’ll want to have the proper bike of course, and you’ll want to find a track nearby where you can start practicing.

Getting Started

If you’re new to BMX racing, it would make sense to talk to someone who has had some experience, preferably a great deal of it, to find out which BMX bike would be best for you. If you’re just getting started you don’t necessarily need to purchase a top-of-the-line model, but you do want one that’s at least rugged enough to get you through a fair number of competitions. Insofar as handling is concerned, most BMX bikes are easy to maneuver, but some are easier than others.

bmx riderSelecting a Bike

There are different styles of bikes for BMX riders, and of course there are many different brands. The days are long past when all of the bikes were Schwinn Sting-Rays, followed a few years later by Mongooses. Wheel base and wheel size are two important considerations, so you’ll want to look into which size might be best for you. Here again, you would do well to ask someone who knows what he or she is talking about.

While a 20″ wheel is more or less standard, there are also 24″, 26″, and 29″ BMX bikes. There are also bikes with 18″ wheels and bikes with 16″ wheels. Naturally, there are both boy’s and girl’s bikes, as well as bikes especially designed for dirt jumping and freestyle events. Some of the better known brands include Colony, Cult, FBM, Premium, and SE to name a few.

Finding a Track

Finding a track near you may to may not be difficult. Not finding one shouldn’t keep you from practicing however. BMX riders tend to be an innovative lot, especially when it comes to finding a challenging course to practice or race on, or making one. If you build your own course, keep safety in mind. You don’t want a course filled with challenges, or even one challenge, beyond your ability.

If you are fortunate to find a race track, take note of the hours. Many tracks are open from dawn to dusk. Others are open from a set time to another set time. A few are lighted. Operating hours often depend on the neighborhood and the noise tolerance of its residents. BMX bikes aren’t noisy, but the riders and especially the spectators can be.

You’ll also want to check to see which hours or days are available for practice and which are dedicated to racing. There may also be guidelines for beginners posted, which are well worth taking note of if you happen to be one. Here again, safety is always an issue as there is sometimes a fine line between bravado and stupidity. Speaking of stupidity, never race without a helmet, or practice without wearing one for that matter. You’re unlikely to be allowed to participate in any sanctioned race without a helmet, and most public skate or bike parks require wearing a helmet as well. When you purchase your first bike, make sure you have enough left over for a quality helmet.

BMX Racing is For Almost Everyone

One of the great thing about BMX racing, besides being fun and exciting, is that it can be a family event. Most of the participants tend to be in their teens, with many if not most of the pros being in their late teens and early twenties. Don’t be too surprised however to occasionally catch a glimpse of a senior citizen practicing or racing, or witness a BMX race dedicated to senior bikers. There are no doubt many senior citizens who, when seeing BMX racers in action, secretly wish they were out there. A few do more than simply wish; they get involved, although you usually won’t see seniors getting as much ‘air’ as is normally the case with the younger riders.

It’s Not Always Reaching the Goal That Counts Most

A worthwhile goal for anyone who truly wants to be involved in BMX racing is to work towards membership in the ‘20,000 Points Club.’ The only way to become a member is to compete in a great number of races and win more than a few of them. A victory in a district expert race is worth 100 points, so all you have to do is win 200 such races. The custom jacket you’ll receive once you become a member is nice, but the experience you gain when aiming for your objective can be priceless. Next step, the Olympics.

Even if you don’t ever become a member of that somewhat exclusive club, or don’t care whether you do or not, you’ll make many friends. You’ll also find that, as is the case in many sports, the participants, while mostly younger, come from all walks of life. Many will have other interests aside from BMX, and despite the negative publicity that sometimes accompanies an activity in which the participants seem to be having ‘too much fun,’ most if not all participants can legitimately claim to be achievers.

Causes of Fluid in Lungs and Possible Treatments

breathingPulmonary edema is a condition in which excess fluids fill the lungs making it difficult to breathe and, draining the body of sufficient oxygen. This usually results from fluids draining from the blood vessels that network between the lungs and heart. It can also result from an allergic reaction in which the body produces histamine which triggers excess mucus production in the lungs. Although believed to primarily affect senior citizens, it is now common to find young people diagnosed with fluid in lungs.

Causes of pulmonary edema

My interest in this condition sparked after I had to cancel a trip that took me biking in the mountains. I suddenly couldn’t breathe well on the first day and had this painful cough that was accompanied by clear mucus. After diagnosis, my doctor prescribed diuretics which were meant to clear fluids which had accumulated in my lungs. It was a scary encounter and I decided to find out some of the causes of this condition and possible treatments.

Like I mentioned, I was to cycle in high altitudes when pulmonary edema suddenly caught up with me. High altitude sickness is one of the conditions known to prompt this condition. High altitudes have a low oxygen supply and this can result in the heart working harder to supply oxygen to all organs. This can result in the leakage of fluids from blood vessels in the lungs to create more space for oxygen supply.

Another known cause for the development of fluid in the lungs is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The condition occurs when the lungs suddenly fill with inflammatory white blood cells and fluid. ARDS is caused by a variety of conditions including direct trauma to the lungs and pneumonia.

Reaction to various drugs including illegal and prescription drugs can also cause pulmonary edema. Such drugs increase toxin levels in the lungs which in turn results in the production of histamine.

Cardiovascular conditions such as heart failure, heart attack and narrowed or leaking blood vessels can also cause pulmonary edema. These conditions exert pressure on the heart to pump more blood to the lungs for oxygenation. To create more space for oxygen, fluids will leak into the lungs making it more difficult to breathe and get more oxygen into the lungs.

Treatment methods

Pulmonary edema can be treated using prescription drugs such as diuretics. These drugs drain the excess fluids from the lungs allowing the patient to breathe more easily.

In severe cases, a tube is inserted in the throat and the excess fluid drawn out of the lungs. This procedure is known as aspiration.

If the condition is linked to heart problems, treatment of the heart condition is recommended. This reverses the pulmonary edema.

In cases where the condition is induced by the production of histamine in the lungs, antihistamines can be prescribed. These counter the action of histamine in the lungs reducing the amount of fluid produced. In less severe cases, the patients can also take foods containing natural antihistamine such as fruits and vegetables.

Types of Pimples under the Skin and Treatment Types

I remember the ridicule I had to endure during my teen and young adult years because of the papules that dotted my face. The chest was worse and I couldn’t walk shirtless on the beach. I tried numerous gels and creams but as soon as one gel seemed to start working, the papules reappeared with even more viciousness. I thought that I was alone but soon discovered that there are other patients suffering from different types of pimples under the skin. Some even more painful and conspicuous than my papules.

Types of acne under the skin

Whiteheads are a common type of acne and usually inconspicuous. They are characterized by a small bump with a white center and hence their name. They form as a result of the skin secreting excess sebum which clogs hair follicles. Besides sebum, the clogged pore also contains bacteria. Whiteheads are usually painless.

Papules like the one I suffered from are inflamed pimples that are visible to the naked eye. Inflammation usually causes itching and, these pimples won’t usually have any sebum or pus in them.

A larger type of pimple found under the skin is the pustule. These are larger than the papules and are characterized by a large bump with a yellowish center. The yellow coloration is the result of accumulation of pus under the skins surface. These are quite painful.

Nodules are a type of acne that forms deep within the skins surface. They are characterized by inflammation and accumulation of pus on the skins surface. They are also larger than the aforementioned types of pimples that form under the skins surface.

Cysts are an advanced form of nodules and are quite painful. These form as a result of nodular acne going untreated. This results in the accumulated pus seeping deeper into the skin causing further inflammation.

Treating pimples found under the skin

acne treatmentThere are a couple of treatment methods available for acne under the skin. The treatment method is usually determined by the type of pimple and, the primary cause. Some of the treatment methods available include the following.

Antibiotics are a common treatment for pimples found under the skin. Such antibiotics contain compounds that combat acne causing bacteria and also help the skin regulate sebum production. Some antibiotics target the oil gland shrinking it such that the acne spots disappear.

Vitamin A supplements commonly referred to as retinoids are another common acne treatment. They are also recommended for the prevention of acne. Vitamin A works on the oil glands by shrinking it. This results in reduced production of sebum.

In severe cases such as nodules, the doctor might opt to draw out the infected fluids from under the skin using a syringe. This not only prevents further inflammation and swelling, it helps get rid of the acne.

Besides conventional treatment methods, my research led me to alternative medicine as a way of treating pimples. These include home based remedies such as vinegar, garlic, citric acid and honey. I cannot vouch for any of these remedies as I haven’t tried any out. If you want to use a home based remedy, it’s advisable to learn more about its safety and possible side effects from a qualified professional.