Leaderboard ad

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Medical Tourism in Mexico


Mexico is the 13th largest nation in the world and is one of the most visited countries in the world. There are many reasons why Mexico is a popular tourism destination ranging from its sprawling white beaches and resorts, warm climate, breathtaking views of the ocean and mountain ranges, delectable cuisines,  and historical cultural landmarks. More recently, Mexico has also become a popular destination for patients residing in other countries seeking effective medical care at a much lower cost (e.g., compared to the United States and Canada).

Overall, Mexico’s healthcare system is highly rated, particularly in the major cities. Some medical facilities in Mexico will make all of the travel arrangements for the patient to make the process easier. Most of the doctors in Mexico who work in medical tourism sites are comfortable speaking in English.

A few of the common reasons people from other countries seek medical care in Mexico includes:

1. Weight loss surgery: Obesity has become a world-wide epidemic and is associated with a wide variety of negative health consequences such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, high cholesterol, cancer, and high mortality rates. As such, many people who need to lose weight and have not had success with traditional weight loss methods such as diet and exercise are interested in pursuing bariatric surgical procedures to help with weight loss. There are many such procedures available, including gastric bypass surgery, the gastric sleeve procedure, the gastric balloon procedure, and the duodenal switch. These procedures reduce the input of food and liquid and some can alter functioning of gut hormones to decrease hunger and increase the feeling of fullness. For more information about these procedures in Mexico, see RenewBariatrics.com.

2. Cosmetic work: Cosmetic work is very popular in Mexico due to significant cost savings. Most cosmetic procedures are very expensive in the United States are not covered by insurance. For example, whereas as a face lift can cost $18,000 dollars at a U.S. clinic, the same procedure by a reputable plastic surgeon in Mexico can cost $4250. Thus, many patients are willing to pay out of pocket for the drastically reduced costs and make plans to recover in a relaxing resort area. 

3. Dental treatment: As featured recently by National Public Radio, medical tourism in Mexico is very popular for dental procedures that are normally very expensive in the U.S.  Examples include dental implant procedures, bridge placement, multiple root canals with crown placements, and other cosmetic dental procedures. The prices for these dental and cosmetic procedures can be two thirds of the price of these same procedures in the U.S. and Mexcio, often with the same (or better) results. The appointments can also usually be scheduled quickly due to the high number of dentists practicing in Mexico and the high number of dental labs that can make materials (such as crowns) in only a day or two.

Other popular reasons for medical tourism in Mexico include orthopedic surgery (such as hip and knee replacement surgery), heart surgery, and eye surgery.  As with medical care that you seek in any country, be sure to do your research into any company and health care provider(s) that you seek to engage with for medical tourism to be sure that it is reputable and known for providing excellent health care.

An Essential Guide to Handling Foot Pain

Many adults who experience foot pain might feel an acute pang with a certain movement or simply a growing ache over time. When it comes to evaluating your foot health and honing in the source of your foot pain, it’s important to first complete your own foot scan.

If one or more toes ache, look for:

Ingrown toenails - where the side of a toenail was cut at a curve and grew into the skin instead of away from it, you might see inflammation and a reddish discoloration, and it will feel tender. If it has become infected, there may even be a white or yellowish pus coming out of it. Other nail health issues that might cause painful sensations include cutting toenails too far back or fungal infection.

Splinters - more common than you may think, even a small splinter in your foot can go unseen but cause you pain. A keen scan of your foot from the heel to the forefoot and toes may reveal the culprit which you can typically exume yourself.

Corns/calluses - Rough patches of skin growth may be rubbing on your foot wear or causing you aches and pains when you apply pressure on them as you walk. A callus is dry, thick, and hard skin and might even appear grey or yellow. A corn is also thick but may have a tender ring in the center of it.

Enlarged joint/protrusion - a visibly swollen joint may indicate some inflammation that is associated with an injury, arthritis, or other condition. A bony protrusion on the other hand, especially adjacent to the big toe or pinky toe could indicate growth of a bunion or bone spur.

Other irritation - if friction from footwear has rubbed on your feet long enough, especially with tight fitting shoes or if you have hammer toe, you may see open sores, blisters, or cracked skin that is causing your pain.

If your forefoot, midfoot, or heel aches, look for:

PTTD: Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, or Adult Acquired Flat Foot, is the resulting drop in your foot arch when the posterior tibial tendon becomes inflamed, torn, and weakened. Look to see if your feet look flatter than usual; or if you look at your feet from behind using a mirror and can see your ankles slightly bent inwards and third, fourth, and fifth toes sticking out.

Plantar Fasciitis: Less visible to the naked eye is the inflammation and tearing of the plantar fascia tissue running down the foot from the heel to the toes. Plantar fasciitis symptoms are often characterized as a stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot, close to the heel.

Metatarsalgia: Also know as stone pain, when the ball of your foot in particular experiences mild to severe pain when walking and running, you might be dealing with the loss of cushioning around your metatarsals. This sensation could also feel like constantly having a pebble in your shoe.

Achilles tendonitis: The reinforcing band of fibrous tissue that connects the calf to the heel can become inflamed with overuse and result in severe pain at the back of the heel. Over time, the Achilles tendon can even tear or rupture which would also be noticeable in the back of the leg.

Various other injuries, ailments and foot conditions like plantars warts, athlete’s foot, and gout may also be to blame for your foot pain.

What do you do next?

Some mild foot pain may subside on its own, or simply require you to stretch and strengthen your toes more regularly. Toe and foot cramps can also be a sign that you simply aren’t getting enough vital minerals like potassium, sodium, and magnesium which you can simply correct by modifying your diet.

The next step for chronic or severe foot pain, however, is to see a doctor. A general practitioner may be able to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan for your foot pain, or they could refer you to a podiatrist. Podiatrists can more closely examine, analyze, and even x-ray or run other tests on your foot and ankle to narrow down the cause of your pain.

The bottom line is that foot pain should not be ignored, especially if it lasts more than a few weeks. Your feet are the foundation of your mobility and if even one goes out of commission temporarily that can negatively impact your ability to stay active, exercise, remain social, and complete basic day to day tasks.

This is a guest blog entry.

Latest Non Surgical Weight Loss Trends to try in 2017

The obesity crisis is looming each year a little more, with now over 30% of the people on the planet either obese or overweight, according to a recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine.

This crisis is bringing many individuals considering new ways to maintain their weight to a healthier state: whether people are looking to lose weight surgically or thanks to the latest diet trend, there is a solution for everyone. The weight-loss field keeps progressing year after year and here are some of the latest trends and discoveries.

1. Laser liposuction

It might sound too good to be true but non-surgical laser liposuction has become a firm favorite among all weight-loss methods. Laser liposuction works by set of sessions, usually three times a week for several weeks, combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise for maximum impact. It’s especially great for people looking for a little extra help to get back on track weight-wise, such as Dan Blustin, a former bodybuilder who found himself in a need of an extra push and encouragement after discovering he had put on 30 pounds over the years. While skeptical at the beginning, he quickly reaped up the benefits of the laser treatments paired with a healthier lifestyle altogether. The treatment is designed as a companion to help people already committed to changing their eating habit.

2. Hypnosis

Until recently, there was little evidence that hypnosis worked as an efficient method to keep off the weight durably. But times have changed and there are now many scientific studies that support hypnosis as a working weight-loss method. Hypnosis works in accessing unconscious parts of the mind, unlocking knowledge about food and de-compartmentalising behaviours. It also only works if the person is ready to adapt their diet to this newly found knowledge, so it might not be for everyone but it definitely has proven records of success.

3. Fat-freezing

The fat-freezing treatment Coolsculpting was launched in 2010 but it’s had a few important updates since then, making it an efficient non-surgical weight-loss alternative. Fat cells self-destruct when cold enough, and are then disposed off by the body in the following days. The procedure can last up to two hours per sessions, but usually one session per area is enough to achieve the desired result. Experts promise a fat reduction of 25% on average, with variable results depending on how firm the tissue is in the first place: the firmer the tissue, the tougher it will be to get rid of the extra fat with this particular method. Once again, this method is only truly effective and durable when associated with a good diet and healthy lifestyle.

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, July 17, 2017

4 Superfoods that Health Experts Say Are Overrated

The only way to be healthy is to eat plenty of superfoods. This is what junk science and television doctors want you to believe. However, new evidence has come to light that some of the most popular superfoods are not as healthy for you as we were led to believe.

In a world which is obsessed with healthiness, the latest wellness trends always catch on but are they necessarily good for us? The latest trends become as important to people as renewing their health insurance, gym membership and getting the necessary eight hours of sleep at night. However, the evidence is stacking up against some of these so-called superfoods and below are some foods in that category which you may want to think twice about over-indulging.

Blueberries

Blueberries aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. They are usually celebrated for their antioxidant abilities, but all fruits have hundreds of antioxidants, and blueberries do not necessarily have more. One of the many problems with studies about the benefits of any food is that they are often conducted by organizations with a vested interest in the product. For instance, researchers reported that you can boost your cognitive function by eating dried blueberries on a daily basis. However, the study was funded by the US Highbush Blueberry Council.

Avocados

When substituted for unhealthier fats, the fats in avocados can help lower your bad cholesterol. There is well-documented evidence of this. Organizations like the Hass Avocado Board are trying to link consuming avocados with satiety, energy, and better diet quality. However, some people may be less likely to diversify their diet when avocados are touted as the ultimate superfood. A varied diet with plenty of different foods is the best way to eat healthily.

Dark Chocolate

Most of us could see this one coming from a mile away. If something is too good to be true, it probably is. This includes the overhyped health benefits of dark chocolate. Most of the studies stating that dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants that improve brain function and heart health are based on pure, 100% dark chocolate, which no one eats. And, don’t be confused by various studies like those carried out by Mars Inc., which maintain that cocoa flavanols and cocoa beans lead to increased blood vessel function and lower blood pressure. Mars’s processed chocolate bars rarely have cocoa flavanols in them.

Pomegranates

Research from Pom Wonderful helped get pomegranates on the list of superfoods. Since then, the Federal Trade Commission has ruled that they “deceptively advertised pomegranate products by making unsupported health claims.” Among the claims they made that were later determined to be untruthful were that pomegranates helped with cardiovascular health, erectile dysfunction, and prostate health. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to review an appeal by Pom Wonderful that it misled consumers with its advertised health claims about pomegranates.

This is a post by Jess Walters.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Some Easy Cures For Slightly Embarrassing Problems

Bad breath, urinary incontinence, and other issues often make people feel like they have no control over their own bodies, which is a very unsettling sensation. When these problems rear their ugly heads, statistics like “X percent of people suffer from chronic whatever” may be of little help, because although it’s nice not to feel alone, it’s even nicer when your chronic whatever either goes away entirely or is at least much less noticeable.

Many times, the key to a cure is a better understanding of the cause.

Flatulence

Excess gas is nearly always a dietary issue. Ironically, some of the foods that are on most healthy living lists, like whole grains, many fruits, and some vegetables, also trigger excess gas in many stomachs. But the best thing to do may be to play detective, because not all foods affect all people in the same way. If your flatulence is worse after you eat certain foods, or certain combinations of foods, don’t eat them again.

The way people eat also contributes to excess gas. Try eating steamed foods instead of fried or grilled foods. Also, cut down on the air you take in while eating by ditching the straw, the cigarette, and the stick of gum.

Flatulence is not always an annoying problem to suppress, because in some cases, it could be a warning sign of a serious illness, such as irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, or even colon cancer. So, if the food and air cures don’t seem to help, talk to a doctor.

Incontinence

Lack of bladder control is a little harder to address with diet and lifestyle changes, especially if it occurs at night. Many times, the best solution is to use an incontinence pad for beds. They are thin and they get the job done, particularly if your issue is limited to nighttime incontinence.

For daytime incontinence, try behavioral urination. That’s a fancy term for going to the bathroom at certain times of the day whether you need to go or not. Eventually, your body will adjust to the schedule. Many women conquer incontinence through Kegel exercises, and there are similar pelvic exercises for men.

Bad Breath

About 90 percent of the time, halitosis, ozostomia, stomatodysodia, or whatever you chose to call it comes from the mouth or tonsils. Everyone has anaerobic (non-oxygen consuming) bacteria in their mouth to aid in digestion. These bacteria give off various combinations of gases, or volatile sulfur compounds.

These bacteria reproduce faster in a dry mouth, and feed more on certain foods, such as proteins and dairy. Avoiding these conditions should help avoid bad breath, or at least reduce it to the point that a breath mint or mouthwash will take care of it.

Nail Fungus

Excess moisture usually causes discolored, uneven, and ugly nails. So, the solution is to restore the nail’s proper chemical balance. Fortunately, this process is a lot easier than it sounds.

Since Vicks VapoRub has a number of powerful antifungal ingredients, just a cotton swab a day is often enough to greatly reduce the infection or even eliminate it altogether. Listerine has similar ingredients, and once it is combined with the acidic properties of vinegar, there is evidence that soaking your toes in this mixture produces similar results. Finally, over-the-counter Urea paste will often dissolve the diseased part of a nail and leave the healthy part intact so it can grow unhindered.

Some people have also had success with cornmeal and oregano oil.

A few simple changes, when combined with the right intervention, can usually alleviate even chronic flatulence and other conditions, so you can feel more in control of your body.

This is a guest blog post.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tips To Help You Maintain Your Health At Any Age

A healthy lifestyle is necessary for maintaining your well-being. Everyone wants to live a long life, and that requires you to take responsibility for your wellness. There are action steps recommended for living a healthy life. Take these suggestions seriously, and you’ll be heading on the right path.

Put yourself first and start caring about your health. It matters if you plan to live a long life. The sooner you start making changes, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Accept that you’re the one in control and have the power to increase the chances for a healthier life. See these tips to help you maintain your health at any age.

Exercise Daily

Exercise doesn’t have to be a punishment. It’s also fun and feels good when you’re all done. Schedule exercise and incorporate it into your daily routine. Use your sweat sessions as a way to sustain your weight and get your heart rate up. Try to maintain a regular schedule and daily movement. Track your steps and calories if it helps you. Take a new class, run outside or head to your gym and use the machines. Mix it up, so you don’t get bored and your body stays engaged. Exercise has many benefits including improving your mood and strengthening your bones and muscles. It’s one health booster you don’t want to skimp out on.

Walk More

Walk as much as possible throughout each day. It’s good for you and has just as many benefits as working out. Instead of driving to the store, ask yourself if it’s possible to bike or walk. Take the stairs at work in place of the elevator. It’s the small changes that add up to big health improvements. Walking is also a nice opportunity to enjoy nature. Go outside and walk your neighborhood and enjoy the blue sky and birds. Ask a friend to go walking and bring your pets. Walking is a mood booster that lifts your spirits and heart rate at the same time.

Consume A Proper Diet

The bottom line is that you want to eat a healthy diet. Produce and protein are important to your health. Stay away from the processed sugar and fatty ingredients. This includes avoiding eating out as much and cooking at home more.  Cook with foods that support your health such as garlic. It prevents and treats many different medical conditions. If you don’t like the taste of garlic, use supplements. What Are Garlic Supplements? Garlic supplements come in various forms; most commonly, they can be found as pills and capsules. Garlic helps prevent and treat the flu, cough, headache, stomach aches and much more. Find them at a drugstore or on the internet.

Protect your Skin

The sun is nice for getting your vitamin D, but it also has damaging properties as well. Be careful when you’re out in the sun. Your skin needs protection from the UV rays. Wear sunscreen and sit in the shade or under an umbrella to keep your skin safe. It’s important you don’t often burn and stay out in the hot sun for long periods of time. You risk getting cancer and damage to your eyes. Not protecting your skin from the sun also puts you in jeopardy for wrinkles and aging. Be smart and wear the proper protection to keep your skin shielded from the sun.

Maintain your Mental Health


It takes work to maintain your mental health. Don’t ignore your thoughts and how you feel each day. Take walks, read a book or meditate to get your daily dose of positivity. Your mental health is important to your overall well-being. Love yourself and treat yourself with respect. Learn how to deal with stress and get through tough situations in life. Surround yourself with caring people who support you. Set aside time to quiet your mind and reflect. Talk to someone if you prefer to get your feelings and emotions out that way. Put yourself first and know that you’re worth it.

Get Proper Rest & Sleep

It’s necessary to get proper sleep each night. Track your sleep if you have to and know exactly how many hours you’re getting. Cut the caffeine out early and get daily exercise. Create a welcoming sleep environment in your room where it’s easy to fall asleep at night. In addition to sleep, you should take the time to rest and unwind. Schedule breaks throughout your day and use the weekends to calm down. Not getting the proper sleep has consequences to your health, mood and daily routine. Getting your sleep will have you feeling alive and energized to tackle each new day.

Engage in Laughter

It’s important to interact with others and laugh. Let yourself be silly and engage in laughter on a regular basis. Laughing is great for your mental health and overall well-being. Engage in fun activities and don’t take life too seriously. Let yourself act like a kid and be goofy. There’s a time and a place to be serious. Learn how to laugh at yourself and enjoy the moment. Even though you have a plan, it’s not always going to work out the way you envisioned. Roll with the punches and learn to let go. It’ll save you a lot of stress over the course of your life.

Reduce Screen Time

Challenge yourself to not always be connected. Give yourself a break from your phone, computer and television. Go for a long walk or have a conversation. Spend time reconnecting with yourself and relaxing. Technology is nice and helpful, but don’t let it rule you. Give it a rest once in a while and notice how good it feels to be free from your devices. They’re addicting and sometimes a waste of time. Be mindful when you’re playing on technology and ask yourself if there’s a more productive or healthy activity you could be doing. You’ll thank yourself when you feel less anxious and are sleeping better during the night.

Focus on You

The reason you may be struggling with your health is because you’re not the focus of your life. Put the attention on you and make it a point to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s hard to do and takes a deliberate commitment and positive attitude. Make yourself a priority and learn that you come first. Write down your health goals or make a calendar of activities you’re going to complete. Start tracking your progress and reward yourself when you reach certain milestones. Engage in hobbies that work your mind, body and spirit. Be kind to yourself and understand when you have setbacks. Putting yourself first is the initial step to living a healthier lifestyle. Make you a priority and push your obligations further down the list.

Set Goals

Losing weight or eating healthy isn’t magic. It’s a decision to do so, followed by an action. If you want to exercise five times a week, then write it down in a calendar and check it off each time you do. If your goal is to eat healthily, then find healthy recipes to cook each night. Set attainable goals and take steps to turn them into a reality. It won’t happen overnight, so you need to have patience. Have a journal to record your feelings and reactions along the way. It’ll help you when you’re feeling defeated or stuck. Setting goals puts your vision on paper and makes it real. This’ll help make it clear to you why you’re succeeding or not as time goes on. Reward yourself when you achieve your goals and then set new ones.

Be Careful at Work

Take care of yourself at home and at work. Wash your hands often and keep your workspace clean. This includes wiping down your desktop, screens and phone. It’s a good idea to keep hand sanitizer at your desk. Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Bring your own lunch and try not to eat out all of the time. Choose healthy options that’ll satisfy you and keep you full throughout the day. Bring nutritious snacks for a natural energy boost if you get hungry in the afternoon. Munch on small snacks throughout the day so you’re not starving and binge on unhealthy options. Coffee in the morning is fine, but don’t make it a habit to drink a lot of it throughout the day. Too much caffeine will have you feeling shaky and will most likely give you trouble sleeping at night. Manage your stress and have a plan if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Conclusion

Your health is your key to a long and fruitful life. Make yourself a priority and learn to engage in healthy choices. It’s easy to revert to bad habits when you’re not paying attention. Set goals and make a plan for how you’re going to achieve them given your busy lifestyle. Be smart about your choices and choose a path that’s going to let you live a long life. These are tips to help you maintain your health at any age.

This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Low Testosterone (Low T) 101: A Primer

Testosterone is the main sex hormone in males and plays a critical role in the development of male reproductive tissues, sex drive, voice deepening, increased bone and muscle size, the growth of body hair (e.g. especially on the face), and aggression, among other functions.

The main sex hormone in females is estrogen, which plays a critical role in the development of the female reproductive tissues, sex drive, breast enlargement, hip widening, and the development of rounded and softer facial features (compared to men), among other functions. Essentially, testosterone is what makes a man a man and estrogen is what makes a woman a woman.

Some may be surprised to know that men and women each produce testosterone and estrogen. Men naturally have higher levels of testosterone whereas women naturally have higher levels of estrogen. Sometimes, however, the natural levels of hormones in the body go awry and this can lead to significant clinical problems.

One common example of a hormonal imbalance in men is low testosterone, sometimes referred to as “low T.” When one considers what normal levels of testosterone in the body do, it is not surprising to learn that low testosterone in men can lead to loss of body hair, decreased sex drive, infertility, decreased bone and muscle mass, and erectile dysfunction (ED).

As noted by WebMD, low testosterone can also result in other problems such as decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, and mood changes (e.g., depression). Some of these symptoms can be directly related to the effects of low testosterone but they can also be related to indirect effects of low testosterone due to difficulty psychologically coping with manifestations of the condition. For example, a man may become depressed because he is having difficulty conceiving a child and/or also losing his hair.

There are many possible reasons for low testosterone including genetics, obesity, testicular injury, medication side effects, and diabetes mellitus, among other factors. If you suspect that you have low testosterone, or if your doctor does, it can easily be tested with a simple blood test.

Once low testosterone is detected, the next step is to decide if treatment is needed and if so, how to treat it. Treatment is most likely to be needed if low testosterone is causing clinically significant symptoms. Treatment often involves testosterone supplementation therapy (a type of hormone replacement therapy). One such treatment is testosterone cypionate (review here) which comes in an injectable form. Other testosterone supplements come in different forms such as skin patches, gel rubs, or tablets that dissolve on the gums.

As with any treatment, side effects of testosterone treatment can occur, which is why ongoing communication with a physician is very important. If you believe that you have symptoms of low testosterone then be sure to talk to your physician about getting tested and explore your treatment options if it is determined that you have low T.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Treating Back Pain? Don’t Forget These Essential Reminders

When it comes to treating back pain naturally, myriad options abound - from icing to bracing, exercising, you name it, there are loads of ways to fight inflammation and muscle strain. Like with any valid treatment, however, there are often right and wrong ways to go about seeking true pain relief that targets the underlying cause of stiff, strained, and inflamed back muscles.

Check out these best practices for common back pain solutions:

Ice Therapy
When it comes to applying ice packs or cold compresses to inflamed back muscles, it’s important to remember that you should only ice for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. This allows the blood vessels to constrict and cut off blood flow, helping to slow pain signals being sent to the brain and reducing inflammation. If you ice too long, however, you run the risk of getting ice burn and you don’t allow blood to rush back in and flush out built up toxins and waste byproducts like it needs to in order to start the healing and repair process.

Wearing a Back Brace
If you’re sporting a soft back brace to provide support and compression to a sore lumbar spine region, or if you’re simply utilizing a brace for added stability while heavy lifting, don’t forget to adjust your lifting form and technique as well. While back braces have been shown, mostly anecdotally, to help people avoid muscle strain and injury, they do little if you are continuing to lift large loads incorrectly. Experts typically recommend no one (not even physical labor employees) personally lift more than 50 pounds without using a leverage device or machine. And avoid lifting straight off the ground. The most effective and least strenuous lifting happens when you pick something up from your ‘power zone’, or the area from mid-thigh to mid-chest.

Take Pain Medicine
While over the counter pain medicines may temporarily provide pain relief to achy back muscles, it’s important to remember that NSAIDS (like ibuprofen) perform differently than acetaminophen. In fact, the American College of Physicians reminds patients in their updated clinical guidelines that over the counter pain relievers come with their own range of adverse effects, including digestive issues from NSAIDS and liver damage from acetaminophen, and in multiple studies have been shown to have no greater impact on relieving back pain than a placebo.

Rest
Resting your sore back is important to help the body’s natural healing process do its thing, however, continuous inactivity can actually have the opposite effect you are striving for. Inactivity can lead to bad posture, poor eating habits, and weight gain, all which negatively impact the health of your back. Low-impact exercise like brisk walks and swimming have actually been shown to improve muscle and joint function, flexibility, and back pain.

Massage
A deep tissue massage can do wonders for back pain, helping break up knots and scar tissue, as well as increasing blood flow to strained and injured muscles. In fact, one 2012 study showed that massage following a workout actually stimulated cells to start tissue repair faster than they normally would. Your post-massage routine is just as important however, and this means remembering to drink lots of water. As a massage helps break up and release toxins that are built up in your muscles and other connective tissues, drinking lots of water helps the body flush those toxins to be filtered out by the kidneys and liver.

Yoga
Mindfulness-cultivating practices like yoga and tai chi have been touted as potentially transformative back pain remedies because of their incorporation of gentle stretching, deep breathing, and meditation. To truly soothe painful back muscles, however, yoga practitioners must start slow and practice yoga regularly. A quick spurt of back-bending fast-paced yoga will do little for back pain, and may even make it worse. Beginners yoga (restorative, gentle, and senior yoga too) is a good place to start for back pain sufferers, and must be practiced weekly if not daily to truly feel the effects on your overall pain levels.

Self-treating back pain with proven remedies and activities is a smart idea, but if you attempt those solutions the wrong way, you may actually worsen your condition. Always stick to best practices and when in doubt, consult your doctor.

This is a guest blog posting.

How Home Adaptations Can Benefit An Elderly Person’s Health

The adaptation to the environment and more specifically the house represents one of the main elements that can alleviate or mitigate the degree of dependence of the elderly. This concept encompasses all of the modifications that can be undertaken in the physical environment that surrounds the elderly person and which allow them to perform daily activities (cleaning, cooking, walking, etc.) in a more secure, simple and independent way.

Although at first it may seem that the effort and the money disbursed for this purpose does not compensate, the fact is that the advantages that it involves are numerous and relevant. Thus, adaptation to the house is useful:

To prevent dangerous situations

In the process of aging are frequent physical and cognitive changes that increase the risk of the elderly people suffering accidents, with the negative consequences they bring. The decline of motor skills, reasoning speed, visual and auditory loss, increased vulnerability to fatigue and exhaustion, and decreased physical reserve capacity make it difficult for the body to respond adequately. In order to deal with these complications, the physical environment can be adapted in such a way that, as far as possible, the probability of a dangerous situation (e.g., a fall) is reduced. Stairlifts are one of the best examples of home adaptations that help the elderly and prevent dangerous situations. Here’s a guide to stairlifts prices.

To facilitate the carrying out of activities

An adequate organization of a house or room may favor the elderly person to move freely. A house organized according to the person’s physical and cognitive capacity will allow, to a greater extent, that they can continue carrying out many activities by themselves, which will enhance their autonomy.

To increase the quality of life of people

By means of certain environmental modifications, an environment can be achieved that results in the privacy and comfort of people. The comfort of the environment influences positively on the emotional state of the elderly person. A comfortable and quiet place, with pleasant temperature, with good light, etc., helps to a great extent ensure that the person feels good.

To optimize the use of the functional capabilities of the person


An adapted environment can make it easier, especially for people with cognitive impairment, to continue exercising skills that otherwise would disappear (e.g.,, cleaning, moving, etc.). So much so that, sometimes, the adaptation of the environment can delay or avoid the decision to have to resort to a residence.

To avoid problematic behavior


A suitable environment can also curb the appearance of behavioral problems. A known environment (or with known elements) allows the person not to feel disoriented, confused or worried. If you feel safe and able to control the environment, it is more difficult to behave in a hectic way, wander, etc.

Because it gives benefits to the caregiver

Such an environment also favors caregivers, since they will have to pay less attention to the elderly or will not receive the same amount of demands. Therefore, the relationship with the elderly will be more pleasant and the caregiver may have more time for himself (walking, visiting relatives or acquaintances, etc.).

For psychological benefits

All the advantages obtained by modifying the environment contributes to the person feeling good (without worries), maintaining their self-esteem, fixing or increasing the feeling of control of the person, etc. All in all it would mean a lot for the elderly!

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, July 03, 2017

HIIT: An All-Purpose Training Program

As many of you already know, HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. HIIT is an exercise program where you alternately do short bursts of intense exercise with short periods of active recovery, such as slow-paced exercise. The activity pushes your heart rate up. At the same time, you are able to burn more calories in the process.

Since the 1990s various studies have been done comparing cardio workouts versus HIIT.  A study was done in Canada regarding the fat-loss effects of traditional cardio training versus high intensity interval training. While the traditional cardio regimen burned twice the amount of calories as HIIT, more body fat was lost by those who did interval training.

The continuing popularity of HIIT attracts many health buffs, body builders, athletes and even occasional exercisers. On their own, they find that HIIT is an all-around training program, for beginners and professionals. For the same reason, HIIT continues to be the subject of various researches, to determine its effects on people's health.

Benefits of HIIT workouts

1.  Promotes blood sugar regulation
HIIT helps reduce abdominal fat and lowers the level of sugar in your blood, thus it lowers the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Even a single HIIT session has the effect of modulating the increase in blood sugar after a meal, according to a research published in the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism journal in July 2014. Research leader and author of the study, assistant professor Jonathan Little from The University of British Columbia Okanagan's School of Health and Exercise Sciences explained that the muscle fibers work hard when you do HIIT and after exercise, your muscles suck up the blood sugar.

It is for that same reason that HIIT is considered beneficial to people with Type 2 diabetes. In a study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology published in March 2017, Type 2 diabetics who underwent 12 weeks of HIIT through running or walking uphill, increased their aerobic capacity. Moreover they had significant reduction in their hemoglobin A1C levels, compared to those who performed moderate-intensity walking continuously for three months.

2.  Improves function of blood vessels

In the Sports Medicine May 2015 issue, there was a review of seven random trials, where they found out that vascular function improved in exercisers that performed HIIT three times a week for three to four months. The study results were very important because good vascular function promotes the relaxation of blood vessels. Prof. Little said that this helps regulate blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart attacks.

3.  Anti-ageing benefits

In a study published in Cell Metabolism (March 2017 issue), it was revealed that HIIT helps reverse the decline of muscles, thus it slows down the ageing of skeletal muscles. This is due to the increased production of protein for improved mitochondrial function, explains Mayo Clinic's Dr. K. Sreekumaran Nair, a professor of medicine and senior author of the study.

Aside from HIIT preserving more muscles and increasing the burning of fat, the exercise regimen also improves the production of HGH (human growth hormone) by more than 450% within the 24-hour period after the workout. This also helps your body to slow down the ageing process.

These are just some of the top reasons why HIIT has become a training program of choice by many athletes in all fields of sport, exercise enthusiasts and body builders. It has also been made more accessible to the public, with “consumer-facing” high intensity workout programs becoming more and more available for the masses.

The numerous studies that have been and continue to be done to assess the many benefits of high intensity interval training reveal that it's an all-around training program. It helps in losing body fat, regulating blood sugar levels, increasing metabolism and improving a person's endurance. HIIT makes you stronger and leaner faster compared to other slower cardio workouts. You also continue to burn calories after you've finished your workout, which is a major plus.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Staying Fit Over 60

One of the latest buzzwords in wellness is the compression of morbidity. Until recently, folks over 60 could expect to deal with a seemingly ever-growing list of chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, and so on, for the last ten or fifteen years of their lives, if not more.

Increasingly, that is no longer the case, as people are both living longer and enjoying a higher quality of life, even in their later years.

But to take full advantage of this phenomenon, physical exercise is an absolute must. And regardless of how we feel, our bodies are physically much different in their 60s than they were in their 20s.

Avoiding Injury

We see injury recovery play out all the time on the baseball field. Whereas younger players almost always recover fully from major injuries and major surgery, among older players, full recovery is a little more hit or miss.

In this context, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure, and the best way to recover from injuries is to avoid them in the first place, if at all possible.

Warm up before your workout. When your face feels slightly flushed, your breathing is a little bit labored, and your heart rate is somewhat elevated, you are probably warmed up. For most people, about ten minutes of light cardio, such as easy jogging or a workout machine on low setting, usually does the trick.

Also, cool down after your exercise routine is over. About ten minutes of walking or other very light exercise will normally lower your heart rate, cool your face, and let you catch your breath.

As we age, our bodies take a little longer to reach peak performance level and then go back to a normal operating rate. One noted exercise physiologist and Olympic trainer said that warm-up and cool down is like a bridge to exercise.

Stretching is also important for older exercisers. While this activity is essentially optional for younger people, blood flow slows with age, so a failure to stretch greatly increases the risk of muscle tears and strains. And as mentioned earlier, while a shin support or another similar wrap often takes care of shin splints and other low-grade injuries, more serious injuries, like an ACL tear, are almost impossible to overcome.

Remembering Strength Exercises

Cardio workouts, like running and swimming, get most of the attention in the upper age brackets, because that’s where most of the benefits lie. That being said, it would be a mistake to completely neglect strength exercises. Our bodies lose up to 40 percent of their muscle mass as we age, making it harder to fight off diseases and maintain an active schedule.

Strength exercises usually require a personal trainer or other professional, at least at the start, since an incorrect regimen can be quite dangerous. Many local gyms offer an hour or two with a trainer at little or no cost, so take advantage of these opportunities.

Although the “no pain no gain” mantra is not very good advice, there is a kernel of truth in this debunked saying, because muscles only grow through resistance. Your trainer can give you ways to gradually ramp up a weightlifting routine in order to maximize benefits.

Exercise over 60 is not exactly a Fountain of Youth, but it is close. And the cool thing about exercise is that it’s never too late to start.

This is a guest blog post.

Monday, June 26, 2017

3 Do’s and Don'ts of Bedsore Treatment

Do you care for a loved one with limited mobility or do you yourself spend most of your day in a bed or recliner? Your risk factors for developing a bedsore, or pressure ulcer, increase when you are confined to a sitting or lying position. Why? Because blood circulation slows down when you’re not moving, and bonier parts of the body are consistently experiencing pressure from the surface on which you’re lying or sitting.

The good news is that bedsores are preventable and treatable. With sufficient knowledge and medical help for treatment, preventing tissue breakdown and infection can be aided with the help of these three do’s and don’ts.

DO Seek Medical Attention | DON’T Try and Repair On Your Own
When it comes to bedsores, the wound can transition through stages dangerously quickly, so early detection and medical treatment is critical. A stage I bedsore may simply present as a reddish discoloration of the skin over a bony protrusion like the tailbone, elbows, shoulder blades, heels, or hips. At the first sign, seeking medical attention from your (or your loved one’s) doctor is a must, as internal tissues can quickly get cut off from blow flow, die, decay, and lead to life-threatening infections.

A primary care physician can diagnose the stage of a pressure ulcer, provide guided instruction for treatment, refer you or your loved one to a wound specialist, and even write an order for home health to visit to help monitor and treat the sore. No amount of internet searches and self-diagnosis will help you get the professional knowledge and treatment supplies with which to properly heal and prevent progression of a bedsore.

DO Get a Cushion | DON’T Get a Donut Pillow
Cushioning plays an important role in aiding and preventing bedsores as it can help redistribute weight of a mobility-limited person who spends most of their time in a bed or recliner. Your average spring-based mattress made mostly with polyester, foam, and cotton batting can increase the pressure placed on vulnerable parts of the body, cutting off blood flow and leading to tissue breakdown and therefore, pressure ulcers.

Alternating air pressure mattresses and gel or memory foam mattress toppers provide much-needed relief, comfort, and better weight distribution for patients who spend most of their time in bed. In much the same way, a memory foam or gel cushion for wheelchair allows a patient with susceptible tailbone or hip points to sit comfortably and still get out and about. Donut pillows which are round with a hole in the middle actually force more pressure on the tailbone when sitting in them and can reopen or worsen existing bedsores.

DO Treat Skin Breakdown | DON’T Over-moisturize Skin
A common misconception is that overly dry skin on a pressure ulcer is more likely to crack and break open. The flipside is just as dangerous, however, as overly moist skin can become macerated and easily tear or break open. Experts recommend applying ‘barrier’ creams to early stage bedsores or bony areas which receive a significant amount of moisture, i.e. the tailbone area of someone who experiences incontinence.

A barrier cream keeps out sweat, urine, moisture, and contaminants, helping protect skin as well as prevent infection. Oxygen also plays a significant role in helping existing bedsores heal, so for example, for a patient with a sore on their tailbone, spending intermittent amounts of time flipped on their side with the affected area open to clean, dry air can aid healing and keep skin strong.

Other beneficial do’s include:

•    Do eat a diet rich with protein, vitamin C, zinc, and calcium to boost tissue repair
•    Do quit smoking to boost blood circulation
•    Do shift weight frequently to alleviate vulnerable pressure points
•    Do stay hydrated with water
•    Do address incontinence issues and management

When it comes to pressure ulcers, what you do and don’t do can make all the difference in preventing skin breakdown, tissue decay, and infection. Stay informed and when in doubt, ask a medical professional.

 This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Lifestyle Changes I've Learned through a Simple Life

I used to be one of the busy-bodies at work. The type of person that would grind out 60-80 hour weeks between my day job and moonlighting projects. This went on for the better part of a decade but quickly hit an abrupt end after a disastrous breakup.

During that period of “high productivity” I became unhealthy:

•  I had put on an additional 30 pounds in weight

•  I had regular panic and anxiety attacks (every day)

•  I had relied on booze to calm myself after a hard day’s work

•  I had burned through my finances due to lifestyle adjustment

Sound familiar?

Americans are overworked and overstressed.

We reach a point of burn-out where it’s hard to keep going, goals go to the wayside, and we place unnecessary standards on ourselves. We hit a wall and have trouble getting back on track.

Working toward an Early Grave

I decided I needed a change.

There were three parts to my new lifestyle plan:

•  Improve my gut health to lose weight and feel physically better

•  Learn to cope and deal with the triggers that caused my anxiety/panic attacks

•  Create a cut-off where I wasn’t punishing myself for relaxing

The first of these was to set achievable goals for my diet and exercise. The actions that worked best was to simplify my diet so that I wasn’t tempted to order out because I was too tired to cook a complicated meal. I found that meal prep and budget recipes to be the most effective. I combined this with using a 7-minute exercise app (in the beginning) and then scaling to 30-minute bike rides and weight routines.

My suggestion: The Couch-to-5K program.


The second was learning how to handle my attacks. These attacks were debilitating and put me “out of it” for many hours. The actions that mattered also happened to be a simplification of my lifestyle. I used a combination of anxiety forums to read personal accounts of attacks and a journal to track on my own to learn what brought them on. The ability to identify triggers and do a routine to calm myself eliminated 90% of the attacks.

My suggestion: 3 Effective Anxiety Breathing Exercises

The third was to find a work-life balance. I was a champion of working long hours and complaining about how little I slept. It was troublesome to “turn off” because I felt guilty that I wasn’t working… but then guilty that I wasn’t relaxing. The simple act of walking away and using a better to-do list helped the most; it was having a cut-off point at the job and computer where I shut it all down.

My suggestion: Work Harder, Not Smarter

The Importance of Simplicity


We tend to think that change is a complex set of actions – mainly because we look at the end-goal and find fear in how much work is required to reach these goals. The better way is to break these goals down into small, actionable chunks so they’re not overwhelming yet takes us one step closer to them.

It’s all about simplicity. It’s about taking the time to understand life and where we want to go.

The past is behind us and the future we can’t predict. If we live in the moment and make positive changes then we will gain control of our lives. We remove the convoluted, foggy thoughts that distill fear and doubt – we return to a simpler existence that brings wonders and change every day.

How do you approach simplicity in your lifestyle? 

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

How To Put Away Your Pills And Manage Arthritic Hands

Many arthritis sufferers are caught betwixt and between. Advil and other analgesic over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t strong enough, but Oxycontin and other opioid prescription painkillers are highly addictive. Perhaps the problem is that many of us view medication as the entire solution as opposed to a piece of the puzzle.

Medical intervention is ideal for flare-ups, and although some people claim it is possible to deal with conditions like trigger finger with some natural remedies, it’s usually a much better idea to just use a good trigger finger splint.

But since there is no splint or wrap for everyday chronic pain, dealing with this discomfort requires a more thoughtful approach.

Meditation

It may sound far-fetched to some, but there is considerable evidence that mindfulness reduces arthritis pain and makes it more manageable.

Pain messages are a lot like news stories. “Breaking News” headlines are hard to ignore, but when a commentator appears to tell us what’s wrong with America, it is a little easier to change the channel. Likewise, when nerve endings declare that “something is wrong” and send intense pain signals, these signals are almost impossible to drown out. But non-emergency messages are a little easier to muffle.

That’s where meditation comes in. By focusing on something other than pain messages for a few minutes, some people can effectively ignore the pain for several hours thereafter.

The goal should probably not be to meditate the pain away altogether, because that is not very likely to happen, at least after just a few minutes of deep breathing once or twice a day. But meditation can, and usually does, reduce your dependency on painkillers and often also reduces the pain enough to the point that analgesics are much more effective.

Diet

This one may seem a bit far-fetched as well, but once again, there is evidence that certain kinds of fat reduce joint stiffness.

Omega-3s, which are in fish oils and some other foods, have shown considerable promise in surveys and chemical trials, but since you’ll need to consume a lot of these fats, consult a doctor before taking any supplements. The same goes for the plant-based fat GLA (gamma-linolenic acid).

Some herbs, like turmeric, may help reduce arthritis pain as well, but there is little research directly on point.

Like meditation, curry and cod will not make your arthritis go into remission, and it probably won’t be anywhere nearly that effective. But diet can take the edge of arthritis pain and make the day more manageable with fewer pills.

Exercise

Skip the weightlifting exercises, because excessive and strong gripping can lead to the aforementioned trigger finger.

Instead, focus on flexibility exercises. Here are a few good ones. Taking up a string instrument, like a violin or a guitar, often helps flex fingers as well. For the first few days, most people experience significant discomfort, but this short-term pain is basically like an investment in long-term pain relief, and the investment is almost always worthwhile.

Temperature Therapy

Well-applied hot and cold therapy can greatly reduce your medication use as well.

Heat eases joint stiffness, especially at the beginning and end of the day. Some people respond to a good hand soaking in warm water, and for others, a heating pad might do the trick. Commercial hot packs are available as well that don’t radiate as much heat or use electricity.

While warmth reduces the stiffness that triggers pain signals, ice dampens the nerve endings and decreases inflammation. Ice your hands for about fifteen or twenty minutes to get the most benefit, so if you use a commercial ice pack, be sure it stays cold for a long time.

By changing the way you think about medicine, your pills will go much further than they did before.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

7 Summer Health & Safety Reminders for Seniors


With the official start of summer comes important safety reminders and checklists for seniors. From beating the heat to remembering to stay hydrated, small, proactive actions can keep you in on the summer fun and out of trouble. Don’t miss these top 7:

Don’t Overdo It
As the warm sun beckons you outside to spend all day working in the garden, tending to the landscaping, or clearing out the garage, it’s important to remember not to overdo it. While your body may not recognize strain and joint stress right away, especially on lower back muscles, over a few days you will feel the ache and pain in your inflamed muscles and joints. Avoid spending a significant amount of time bending over, stooping, leaning, and reaching - instead use sitting stools, reacher grabbers, and frequent breaks to ease up on your body and place less stress on internal joints and muscles.

Stay Hydrated

Did you know that you may not feel thirsty even when you’re dehydrated? Metabolic imbalances can hinder thirst function and the general wear and tear of aging makes it more difficult to conserve water. The resulting dehydration can quickly sneak up on you and lead to serious medical complications. Setting reminders to drink water regularly throughout the day, as well as in-taking lots of water-rich fruits, vegetables, and soups, and drinking additional electrolyte-based beverages (with sodium and potassium) can ensure your body’s cells get all the hydration they need to function normally.

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke
With temperatures soaring above 100 degrees in many towns across the U.S. at just the start of the summer, it’s critically important for older adults and their caregivers to recognize signs of heat stroke. Hyperthermia, or heat stroke, can quickly spiral out of control and become life-threatening. Seek medical attention immediately if your body temperature spikes and you experience:

•    Headaches
•    Nausea or vomiting
•    Confusion, disorientation, or agitation
•    Dry, flushed skin
•    Rapid pulse
•    Heavy breathing
•    Not sweating and even fainting

Dress Lightly
Wearing loose, breathable clothing made with less synthetic materials (like cotton) during the summer does more than you may know. In addition to helping you stay cool, it provides greater comfort, is easier to put on, and allows for more active, fluid movement. A dressing aid for the disabled may help a senior with limited range of motion or mobility continue to be able to get dressed on their own. One item that should never be loose however? Shoes. Proper fitting shoes with smooth bottoms help support and stabilize strong mobility as well as potentially prevent falls.
 
Beat the Heat

Properly cooled environments may be a luxury for some seniors, though some local nonprofits and programs could potentially help you acquire a free or discounted unit. If you don’t have air conditioning or your unit breaks on a very hot day, try to get out of your house until it is fixed. Go to a friend’s house or area with air conditioning like a movie theatre or coffee shop. Don’t wait outside in scalding heat for a bus, but instead call a friend, neighbor, or local rideshare service for a ride if you cannot transport yourself. If you are unable to leave the house, cool off in cool shower or bath until help arrives.

Practice Sun Safety
Just as you would in your younger years, practice sun safety by wearing hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen when spending extended amounts of time outdoors. According to SkinCancer.org, an estimated 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. SPF 30+ is a safe recommendation when it comes to sunscreen, but it is also important to remember that limited sun exposure is healthy for the body which converts UV rays into Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays an important role in helping your body absorb calcium and grow bones as well as lowering your risk of developing some chronic diseases.

Watch Out for Water
Much of the fun of summer is cooling off with water! When traveling and having family over during the warm summer months, be careful of puddles and spills that come with grandkids tracking in water from the beach or dogs knocking over their water bowls after a hike. Slick and slippery surfaces turn your home into a dangerous environment with increased risk of you falling and injuring yourself. One out of three seniors over 65 will experience a fall, and many in their own home. Be smart about cleaning up spills and asking guests to dry off prior to entering your home after a dunk in the pool or ocean.

Ultimately, seniors should always have multiple emergency contacts whom they can reach out to if an issue comes up including air conditioning breaking, running out of clean, drinkable water, or needing help with a big summer project. Storing emergency numbers in a smartphone as well as printing them off and posting them in a common area, like the kitchen, can ensure that in the event of an emergency, help isn’t far away this summer.

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Why You Should Consider Enrolling in a Health Informatics Degree


Are you unsure about which course you want to take? Thousands of people have been in the same position as you in the past and some have decided to enroll in a health informatics degree course. For many of these individuals, this is the best career decision they have ever made. Health informatics is a relatively new health care discipline and it is an area that will continue to develop and grow for many years to come. Below are some of the main reasons why you should consider starting a health informatics degree course.

Health Informatics Courses Are Recognized by a Wide Range of Organizations

The leading masters in health informatics programs are high-quality, accredited programs that are recognized worldwide by many of the world's leading research libraries, health care organizations, and colleges and universities. The latest research carried out in this area and the information and skills you learn and develop through an online MSHI degree are invaluable and have the potential to open many doors when you graduate from this type of course.

Health Informatics Professionals Are In-demand

Information Technology is playing a bigger role in the health sector and the people who work on these systems are in high demand at the moment. This is a trend that looks set to continue long into the future, which means you can face the future with more certainty because you will always be employed to carry out this type of work for many years to come.

You Have Better Career Opportunities

As well as having job security, the type of jobs you can apply for are high quality, high paying positions, with excellent working conditions and benefits. This is reassuring to know and it means you can have a higher standard of living compared to other roles and provide a better lifestyle for yourself and your family in future years.

You Will Be Helping a Large Number of People

As well as the personal benefits that come with completing this type of program, the skills you develop will be used to help large numbers of people. You may eventually be the person that ensures that health care systems are secure and that the details of patients are kept safe.

You Can Have a Role in Shaping the Future of Health Care

As mentioned earlier, health informatics is a new health care discipline and the people working in this area are pioneering many new ideas and approaches to health care. Once you qualify in this area, you can join these health care professionals and start shaping the future of the health care sector and find ways to improve the way things are done.

If you're sitting on the fence about which degree course to take, it's worth your while finding out more about the health informatics degree courses that are currently available. You may find that this type of FE course is the perfect fit for you and you could eventually benefit from doing this type of course in the ways mentioned above.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Why You Shouldn’t Skip Your Annual Checkup

Have you put off your annual checkup with a doctor for a few years now? Sure you feel healthy, have no major complaints, and rarely get sick; but did you know that underlying conditions with serious consequences down the line may be completely unnoticeable to you?

You can’t feel cholesterol building in your blood, and you may not recognize early warning signs up Type II diabetes. A doctor will.

Check out 6 reasons why you shouldn’t skip your annual exam:

May Not Cost a Thing
Since an annual exam or physical can help prevent issues down the line, many health insurance companies write it off at no expense (or at least a discount) to you. Your doctor may also, depending on your sex, age, and condition, refer you to other free preventative screenings and tests like a colonoscopy, mammogram, or prostate exam. The only cost is often your time, and for potential early detection, it is worth it.

Starts a Conversation
An annual checkup with your doctor is largely about opening a dialogue around lifestyle and habits, good and bad. It’s a chance for you to bring concerns to the table, to talk about fitness levels and exercise, as well as diet, sleep, and other factors which impact your health. Syncing you up with resources like smoking cessation counseling or a mental health specialist will also be easier once you see a primary physician and speak with them about your health.

Gives You a Professional Opinion
You can scan online resources and self-diagnose until you are blue in the face, but the opinion of a medical doctor who completes a full evaluation of your health is priceless. In addition to a regular physical, a doctor may order tests to check blood sugar, cholesterol, urine, and other metabolic functions and body processes. Hard data is actionable, which means that if your doctor notices something irregular in a blood panel for example, they may be able to issue treatment or further tests right away.

Emphasizes Early Detection
When it comes to cancer and chronic illness, any expert will tell you that early detection is the best possible way to get ahead of your disease. An annual checkup provides that window of opportunity for doctors to track down potential issues that may progress into life-threatening illnesses. Something imperceptible like a new mole on the back of your neck, a fluttering heartbeat, or a swollen lymph node will be picked up on by your doctor during an annual exam and addressed right away to rule out any issues.

Sets a Baseline
Understanding what is “normal” when it comes to your vitals, including respiration and pulse rate, temperature, and a healthy blood pressure reading, helps your doctor update your medical record and have recent data on hand in case of an emergency. This baseline indicates what health trends you exhibit as far as normal functioning of your body’s processes, and if treatment is needed for a developing condition, helps your doctor understand what to get back to.

Is Simple Math
Did you know 1 in 5 Americans has high blood pressure which can lead to heart and artery problems? Or that 1 in 4 women die from heart disease? Or that 86 million adults over 20 in the U.S. have prediabetes? The statistics are shocking, but a diagnosis doesn’t have to be. Lifestyle changes, education, and early detection can significantly reduce your risk of developing preventable diseases as well as improve the success rate of early treatment.

Annual exams are simply a nice “to do” to check off the list. Getting a checkup and knowing you are healthy and doing all the right things for your mind and body can be a huge confidence and energy boost too. So why not go ahead and schedule a quick visit to the doctor? You’ll be glad you did.

This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, June 16, 2017

How to Tell Whether You Have Allergies or a Cold?

You wake up and your throat is sore, your head feels like a million pounds, and your nose is dripping away. Immediately you think the worst - strep, sinus infection, a cold, eek! Before you let your imagination run wild and potentially run up an expensive urgent care or doctor’s bill, run down a quick checklist to gauge if what you have may actually be allergies.
 
Have you been in close contact with anyone who has a cold?

Unlike allergies, cold viruses are contagious. Allergies occur when your body believes external bodies like pollen, dust, or grass are actually harmful germs. It triggers an immune reaction to fight them off, and this production of histamine and other chemicals by the body causes your nose to stuff up and drip, and for you to cough or feel itchy.

A cold on the other hand is in fact the presence of a virus in your system which causes your body to rightfully man a defense to ward off further infection. This immune reaction may also involve a stuffy nose, cough, etc. Cold viruses can live on the hands of people with a cold who have sneezed or coughed into their hands, for example, and they can spread the virus by touching doorknobs and other common surfaces.

Do you have a fever?
A fever is typically the body’s response to fighting off foreign bodies like viruses or bacteria. Specifically, the hypothalamus portion of the brain which regulates temperature will raise the setpoint of your body’s temperature to help your immune system fight off invading viruses or bacteria. An increase in body temperature fosters a more hostile environment to prevent bacteria and viruses from replicating and getting worse.

Allergies will never cue a body temperature change like a fever, while occasionally a cold virus will. If you are not sure if you have a fever, get a thermometer from your local pharmacy. Gone are the days of under the tongue thermometers which can carry germs if not used with protective covers. If you are looking for the best forehead thermometer, find one with features like easy to read digital display and digital memory for recording recent readings.

Are you itchy?
Itchy, irritated eyes, throat, ears, and nose are often a body’s histamine response to allergens, and not a cold. As mentioned, histamine is a protein produced by the body as an immune response to infection or abrasion. It travels up the spinal cord to the brain which then activates specific nerve fibers to induce an itching response.

When you scratch an itch you slow key brain activity and the result is a pleasurable feeling. Colds will rarely cause itchy symptoms while itchy skin, throat, and ears as well as itchy and watery eyes is a common effect of allergies. Unlike allergies, however, colds may cause feelings of achiness and soreness in your joints and muscles because your body is diverting white blood cells from those areas to fight off the virus.

Are symptoms sticking around?

While cold symptoms typically take a few days to develop, contact with an allergen can trigger an allergic response, like sneezing, almost right away. Are your symptoms starting and sticking around? Seasonal allergies flare up with changes in weather between seasons, most commonly in spring and summer, and can last for months. A cold virus is typically wiped out by the body’s immune system within a couple weeks.

Allergies may even cause frightening looking white spots in the throat or eczema bumps, however, without further evaluation this can be hard to decipher from a potential infection. If you’re able to gauge the severity of your symptoms and potential cause, great! If you need a little more help and simply feel awful, it’s always worth seeing the doctor. Even if your symptoms are simply related to “allergies,” your healthcare provider may be able to provide antihistamine and steroid medications to aid with your body’s overreaction to seasonal allergens.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

3 Types of Transportation Which Help Increase Mobility Among the Elderly

Staying active and doing daily tasks as you get older can be a challenge. You may find that neither your body nor your mind works as well or quickly as it once did. Regardless if you suffer from a debilitating medical condition or you have arthritis that impairs your ability to function with ease, there is help. The Disabled World states 6.1 million people rely on canes, crutches, and walkers annually.

The good news is you can choose from a variety of these transportation devices and which can lessen your burden and enhance your mobility in the process. Knowing basic information about your options is the key to making the best choice and having a higher quality of life.

Type #1: Motorized scooters

One of the biggest challenges you may face is going where you need to without the assistance of others. Of course, being independent is sure to be high on your list of priorities as you get older. The last thing you will want is having to rely on friends and family to always be there to help you get through the day.

Taking a brief amount of time out of your day and visiting Quingo USA can allow you to see a variety of motorized scooters. This device is compact and easy to navigate regardless where you’re headed.

Listed below are other benefits of using a motorized scooter:

1.  Improved lifestyle – Do you love to go grocery shopping, but getting around the store is a problem? If so, relying on a scooter of this type can have you moving along the aisles with ease.

2.  Comfortability – The last thing you want is to be stuck in a device that isn’t comfortable when you’re trying to get help moving. This item can be custom made to assist you in moving with ease and aid you in remaining healthy in the process.

3.  Affordable – Most elderly people are on a strict budget and are looking for an affordable option. Choosing a scooter can help you remain mobile and may be covered by your health insurance in some cases.

Type #2: Canes

One of the more basic ways to provide you with stability as you get older is a walking cane. These are inexpensive and easy to use to assist you in remaining mobile over time.

Walking canes provide lots of support for your body and can be the ideal way to assist you staying active over the years. This item can additionally help reduce the stress on your knees, and is beneficial to any person that is getting older. Additionally, using a walking cane in the right capacity may even be helpful in strengthening your upper body.

Type #3: Walkers

Not being able to maintain your balance and walk with ease isn’t uncommon among seniors. One way to allow you to do so is by purchasing a walker to assist you with walking.

There are a variety of walkers on the market today, and it’s essential to consider your basic needs. For instance, if you’ve suffered a stroke and have partial paralysis, you may benefit the most from a hemi walker. These are designed to help individuals that don’t have full control of the entire body and can be extremely helpful in allowing you to be mobile.

Getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop living or enjoying life. You simply need to find the right mode of transportation to allow you to keep your body moving and make the most out of every day. Taking time to find the device that suits your needs and enables you to do the things necessary daily is entirely possible!

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Simple Steps to Help You Lose Weight

Today, many people desire to lead a healthy lifestyle by losing weight. Maintaining a manageable weight is known to help prevent various lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart-related complications. Apart from that, losing weight uplifts an individual's self-esteem, improves moods, and enables them to have better sleep.

The ideal weight loss diet should consist of all the necessary nutrients vital for body nourishment, help one stay satisfied for longer, and enhance metabolism. The following steps can guide one on how to achieve their weight loss goals in 30 days.

1. Eliminate artificial and refined sugar from the diet

Consumption of foods that contain refined or artificial sugars stimulates the production of insulin in the body. Insulin is also known as the fat storage hormone. Eliminating these sugars lowers insulin production hence enabling fat to leave the fat stores. This way the body starts burning the fats. In addition lowering insulin levels enable the kidneys to flush excess water and sodium out of the body hence reducing water weight and bloating.

2. Exercise

Exercising is more often than not associated with going to the gym. However, many people have limited time or can't afford the gym. There are many exercises that one can do at home such as stair climbing, rope skipping, jogging, and walking briskly. Doing house chores can also contribute a great deal in weight loss. Incorporating exercises in a weight loss diet plan helps accelerate the burning of fats and calories.

3. Embark on a healthy diet plan


A balanced meal should contain essential nutrients to the body such as fats, vegetables, and proteins. A weight loss diet should be low on carbs and high on proteins. A high protein diet is filling and reduces appetite and cravings. Proteins can be sourced from fish, meat, and eggs. Low carb sources include broccoli, spinach, kale, and cucumber. Healthy fats can be sourced from coconut oil, olive oil, and butter. Any weight loss program should contain a considerable amount of fiber which can be sourced from nuts, lentils, and flax seeds.

4. Drink sufficient water

Drinking enough water helps keep the body sufficiently hydrated. Water helps flush out toxins out of the body and aids metabolism. Water is also calorie-free and can be a contributing factor to fast weight loss. This healthy drink though is not a favorite of many people. It is said to have a flat taste. Thankfully, there are various healthy ways of flavoring water to give it a pleasant taste. Individuals can infuse it with their favorite fruits or even vegetables. Additionally, one can purchase flavored water. It is important to check the ingredients to ensure there is no presence of added sugars or even sweeteners.

Conclusion

After consistently following this weight loss program, one can evaluate their diet outcome after one month. It is paramount to understand that different people respond differently to weight loss diet programs. While some may lose weight fast, others may lose a few calories.

This is a guest blog entry.

Is Golf Exercise?

Looking to spice up your daily exercise routine? Golf may not seem like a fitness regimen that is going to benefit your physical and mental health. Isn’t it just a lot of standing around and hitting balls and standing around some more? Surprisingly, golf has loads of health benefits when you tackle it as more of an exercise and less of a leisure activity.

A 2015 NPR poll found that over soccer, softball, and tennis, of the sports that adults enjoy playing the most, golf topped the list. For many retirees, golf provides an entire day’s worth of enjoyment plus exercise and social interaction.

The average 18-hole golf course ranges between 5.7 and 7.8 miles roughly according to an interesting experiment from Golf Monthly. If you walk the distance between holes you’re clocking thousands of steps and potentially burning 1,500 - 2,000+ calories on an 18-hole course. That is substantial considering a 175 lb. runner in a more high-impact situation would need to run 5 miles straight in an hour to burn just around 650 calories.

Other health benefits of playing golf include:

Cardiorespiratory Activity
Logging thousands of steps between holes means a boost in blood circulation. With an increase in heart rate, golfers exercise and strengthen the heart muscle, as well as increase blood flow around the body all the way from the toes to the brain. Being outside and increasing breath intake means strengthening respiratory muscles as well for better, stronger lung capacity.

Muscle Engagement
The pull back, swing, and follow through of hitting golf balls, from long drives to short putts, engages an array of key muscle groups. The glutes help control hip rotation and extension, the pectoralis and latissimus muscles give strength to the swing and stabilize shoulder motion, the core abdominal and back muscles hold the swing together and tighten up torso rotation, and the forearm springs the body’s energy of the swing down into the club for the strike.

Low Injury Risk
As a low-impact sport, golf plays an important role in providing fitness opportunities, especially to older adults, with a lower risk of injury than high-impact sports like soccer or running. This is important for helping seniors with arthritis or osteoporosis stay active. Even with some muscle or tendon strains, medical aids like a knee or wrist brace for golf can keep golfers playing with less pain and stress to important joints.

Cognitive Boost
The focus golf requires stimulates cognitive activity, getting neural pathways humming and honing skills of concentration. This type of mental exercise is important for combating dementia and Alzheimer’s down the line. Spending a significant amount of time outdoors surrounded by the natural setting of a golf course has also been linked to more attentive, positive, and happier moods.

Extended Longevity
This one might seem far-fetched, but a 2008 study out of Karolinska Intitutet in Sweden actually found that the death rate for golfers was a whopping 40% lower than for people of the same age, sex, and socioeconomic status who did not golf. In addition to the positive effects on physical health, golf also is a social game often played with friends, engaging players in regular conversation and emotional stimulation.

The key to getting the most out of golf as a fitness activity is to skip some of the components that focus on golf as a leisure activity like high-calorie meals at the country club, riding in golf carts between holes instead of walking them, and using a caddy to carry your clubs instead of carrying them yourself.

When it comes to revamping your exercise routine and exploring a new hobby, tee up for a little golf action - it generates more physical and mental benefits than you know!

This is a guest blog entry.