Leaderboard ad

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Essential Reference Guide to Overlapping Toes

Foot pain is no stranger to most anyone who spends time each day on their feet, and it can be caused by an array of factors - hammer toes, bunions, corns, plantar fasciitis, the list goes on. Luckily, for conditions like overlapping toes, there are non-invasive ways to treat and realign the foot structure to prevent pain and discomfort. Don’t miss this essential reference guide to overlapping toes:

What are “Overlapping Toes”?
Exactly what it sounds like, “overlapping toes” is a condition where one or more toes extends and overlaps another toe. Common to the big toe or pinky toe, overlapping toes can result from everything from your genetic heredity to improper footwear. Similarly, underlapping toes, where the second, third, and fourth toe extends under an adjacent toe, can also develop from genes and footwear, or potentially even from muscle weakness in the foot.

Additional risk factors for incurring issues with overlapping toes include the development of hammer toes or bunions. Hammer toes (also known as mallet toes) occur when the top joint of one or more toes abnormally bends down in a permanent position, making the toe hard to move and putting you at risk for developing painful corns and calluses. Bunions form most commonly at the joint where your big toe connects to your foot; they are a bony prominence that forces your big toe to push inward against your second toe, enlarging the joint and leading to painful irritation and potential deformity.

Do Overlapping Toes Cause Serious Problems?
While you may think the visual aspect of overlapping toes is the most unappealing symptom, you would be wrong. Overlapping toes can progress to states that actually impact your gait, mobility, and comfort levels.

When overlapping toes continuously rub against one another or against tight footwear, redness, tenderness, irritation, and foot sores can occur. Even the slightest blister in just the right place on your foot can make walking painful. The pressure and friction of overlapping toes can cause the skin to harden in places and become thick and raised. This can lead to corns which often grow on the outsides and knuckles of your toes and may require medical treatment.  Corns are often tender and painful to touch.

When walking and running become uncomfortable, your body will naturally compensate by altering your gait, or the way you walk, as well. This may seem natural at first but overtime can lead to musculoskeletal issues with your ankles, knees, hips, and even your back.

How Are Overlapping Toes Treated?

If you suffer from overlapping toes, before considering surgical intervention, make sure to discuss at-home alternatives with your podiatrist. Taking steps to address what caused your overlapping toes in the first place, i.e. tight-fitting shoes, as well as using simple aids to separate and realign your toes can go a long way in preventing painful symptoms and a worsening of your condition.

Orthotic aids - a variety of over-the-counter and custom orthoses can help address overlapping toes. These aids include toe separators, toe spacers, toe loops, toe bandages, and hammer toe crest pads. Start a dialogue with your podiatrist about which orthotic aid will best serve your condition and where you can find them (i.e. at a pharmacy, online, special order).

Proper fitting shoes - wearing proper-fitting shoes when running, walking and jumping goes a long way in preventing overlapping toes, but it can also help with comfort levels while you work on a treatment. A roomy toe box that allows toes to spread and even offers room for an insole is a must. High heels and other tight-fitting footwear that tends to narrow and squish the toes into a point should be avoided.

Surgery - in extreme cases, surgery may be conducted to cut and lengthen connective tendons in the toes or to release tight ligaments. This can help toes return to a normal alignment and proper functioning.

Like other painful foot conditions, overlapping toes can be especially precarious when they start to impact mobility and fitness levels. With a keen body awareness and early action from you and your doctor, however, you can avoid these negative impacts and stay as active as ever.

This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Skin ulcer prevention for bed-bound patients - complete guide on choosing a low air-loss / alternating pressure air mattress


One of the most expensive aspects of caring for bed-bound patients are pressure ulcers and wound care. In those terms, they heavily affect both the families of the patients and, in the bigger picture, the economics of the healthcare system.

However, it's fair to say that the highest "cost" is the suffering of the affected patients.

The problem

There is no way of avoiding it altogether. However, the data shows a problematic trend that we want to talk about today.

It's the fact that the technology of low-air-loss and alternating pressure air mattresses has seen significant improvements over the last decade (best medical mattresses today even include both technologies working in synergy). BUT the incidence and prevalence of wound and ulcers development have not followed the significant leap in technology.

Our research shows that the two factors that play the biggest role in the disparity between the numbers are:
  1. The difference in the expertise between nursing and non-nursing facilities (as reported by the study conducted in Philadelphia between 1998 and 2001, you can see it here)
  2. Inadequate choice of medical mattresses, which especially goes for home settings
The bottom line is that the prevalence has not followed the technological advancements in the area of specialized mattresses. The debate about whether ALL pressure ulcers can be prevented is ongoing and is not likely to end any-time soon. With that in mind, we believe that the energy spent on debating the issue of occurrence and prevalence is (as far as the comfort of the patient goes) wasted and our efforts are better used minimizing the risks.

In the post below, we'll address some of the ways the choice can go wrong and look at some actionable tips to help those in need choose an alternating pressure mattress  to lower the risk of wound injury development.

Issue 1 - not adjusting the choice to wound staging

One of the most common mistakes you can make when choosing the right mattress is not taking the time to properly assess the risk and adjust.

It happens with people in home care if the physician is not consulted. To put it simply - people tend to think that all low air-loss and alternating pressure mattresses are created equal.

The proper way to choose a mattress is to make sure that it fits the wound staging as here defined by the NPUAP.org  - National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel.

Note: Don't be confused by the terminology, NPUAP changed "pressure ulcers" to " pressure injury" back in 2016.

Following the guidelines defined by NPUAP, your physician will determined what type of injury-prevention mattress is the right fit.

Once you know this, you can take it there...the part where you have more "leeway" is choosing a specific product, NOT the mattress type.

Issue 2 - specific product choice

This is where we'll get more specific and even mention some trusted brands.

Mattresses and overlays of this type are regulated by the Part 880 Section 5500 of the Code of Federal regulations about "General and personal use devices."

This, of course, doesn't mean that all low air loss and alternating pressure mattresses are created equal.

It is still fair to say that your safest bet is going with a trusted brand.

In this year's update to their guide, TheSleepStudies.com has found that that, based on statistics, the most well-trusted brands among low air loss and medical alternating pressure air mattresses are Drive Medical, Vive and Invacare.

What to look for


Now that we've looked at some specific brands, let us take a step back and analyze types of mattresses available and look into some advantages and shortcomings of each.

Choice of a bed

The systems can come as independent products (overlays of mattresses) or with a bed.

Beds used with the systems can range from classic frames (in lower risk groups) to dedicated beds (the type you'd see in a hospital). The later usually use electric profiling, which reduces the need for manual repositioning and, in turn, the overall risk of injury.

Surfaces

First things first - let's make sure we fully understand the terminology you might come across.
You might see the surface of the mattresses and overlays described as: pressure relieving, reducing or redistributing.

The only term that can be universally applied to air mattress with alternating chambers is "relieving", the latter two indicate that the surface of the mattress plays the role of distributing weight across the surface.

For low risk patients

Classic hospital beds are sufficient for low-risk patients. Foam used for hospital beds offers enough comfort as per a study conducted in 2004 - you can see it here.

Dedicated foam mattresses

If there is any risk of pressure injury development but the risk is not as high as to require dynamic mattresses (we'll get to these in a minute), mattresses made of visco-elastic foam will be superior to standard hospital beds in terms of lowering the risk of pressure skin injury.

Overlays

Dedicated overlays are usually made of fibre or foam (one piece or chunks). On the higher end of risk scale, the physician might recommend a fluidized overlay or mattress.

Non-dynamic fluid filling might be a good choice if access to power (electricity) is limited.

Dynamic systems

This is where low-air-loss and alternating pressure medical mattresses belong. The "dynamic" refers to the fact that these mattresses alternate the pressure in the air-filled cells.

We mentioned a few brands tested and recommended by TheSleepStudies.com above.

Final thoughts

The choice of the right mattress or overlay for pressure relief is sensitive and it has a long-term, both in terms of comfort of the affected patient and, in the big picture, the economics of the healthcare system.

It is not a choice that can be rushed or made randomly.

Sources:

NPUAP.org

National Center for Biotechnology Information

TheSleepStudies.com

Onlinelibrary.wiley.com

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

3 Advancements in Mesothelioma Diagnosis that You Should Know About

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer. But in the US in 2017 it’s estimated that at least 13% of all cancers will be considered rare forms of the disease. That means mesothelioma is a big problem. The various forms of the disease are currently without a cure.  There are 4 types which are pleural, peritoneal, pericardial and testicular.

www.survivingmesothelioma.com offers an in depth peritoneal resource, as well as sources for the other 3 types.

In the next few years,’ mesothelioma is going to become a bigger problem because the latency period is more than 20 years. And we only stopped using asbestos 30 years ago.

That’s why these advancements in mesothelioma diagnosis are so important.

Mesothelioma Breath Test

A brand new breath test is changing the way that people are diagnosed with mesothelioma for the first time. Belgian scientists tested the breaths of different people for evidence of volatile organic compounds.

They discovered that sufferers of mesothelioma have certain volatile organic compounds in their breath that healthy people don’t. This simple breath test is cost effective, easily distributed to healthcare centers, and takes mere minutes to administer.

With more research, this new test could offer suitable screening for mesothelioma that has been lacking up to now.

Rosetta Mesothelioma Test

The Rosetta Mesothelioma Test is a brand new diagnostic test that has gone into use in some private clinics. It addresses the issue of doctors misdiagnosing mesothelioma as another form of cancer.

Sadly, this is a common problem that leads to the wrong treatment being given. By the time the mistake is found the cancer has already spread and the patient has little hope of surviving.

The way this test works is it takes a genetic sample from the patient and checks the microRNA inside the tumor. Someone who has a tumor will have different amounts of microRNA depending on the type of cancer.

This will give doctors a better chance of detecting mesothelioma early.

Selected Reaction Monitoring

Selected Reaction Monitoring is a non-invasive blood test that can provide doctors with the tools they need to determine whether someone is suffering from mesothelioma.

It was developed by researchers in Switzerland. The way it works is that it can discover biomarkers within the tumor cells that have made it into the person’s circulatory system. It searches for the biomarkers, which comes from proteins. The information feedback will help to discover whether a person is suffering from mesothelioma.

Last Word – How Far Advanced are these Diagnostic Tests?

It’s important to understand that these diagnostic tests are in the early stages of their development. They have been tested on mesothelioma patients, but it will take a lot more studies before they start to be used across the world.

However, they offer hope. They provide hope that mesothelioma sufferers will be able to be diagnosed with the correct illness early. The earlier that a diagnosis can be made the better the chance of a patient surviving in the long-term.

The longer it takes for a patient to be diagnosed the more likely it is that the cancer will spread to other organs and become nearly impossible to treat.

Do you believe these mesothelioma diagnostic advancements will change the playing field?

This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Parkinson's Disease and Tips for Patient Care

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the brain, leading to shaking, stiffness, and movement difficulties that worsen over time. Currently, there is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease.

In the United States, approximately 1 million people have the disease. This record continues to climb as 60,000 more are being diagnosed every year, leading to $25 billion in annual medical costs. Worldwide, around 10 million people have to deal with Parkinson’s disease in their everyday life.

The Nature of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by a gradual degeneration and death of your nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain area that controls body movement. These neurons are important because they produce dopamine, a chemical that sends signals to other neurons.

When the brain cells that produce dopamine die, the dopamine levels also decrease. This leads to the manifestations of the disease such as stiffness, shaking that is out of one’s control, and balance and coordination difficulties that make it hard to walk. The exact reason why these neurons die is still unknown.

In the earlier stage of the disease, the symptoms usually manifest on one side of the body. As the disease progresses, the symptoms become generalized.

Risk Factors for Parkinson’s Disease

The development of Parkinson’s disease is being linked to genetics. However, only around 10% of cases are believed to be due to certain genes. Individuals with no family history also develop the disease. Old age is also a risk factor but there are also cases of Parkinson’s in the younger population.

Environmental factors are also associated with Parkinson’s such as exposure to certain herbicides and pesticides, drinking well water, living in rural areas, and living near quarries and industrial plants. Research has shown that exposure to pesticides and fungicides can increase your likelihood of having Parkinson’s disease by as much as 80%. The longer your exposure to these chemicals, the higher the risk. Interestingly, studies have found an inverse relationship between Parkinson’s disease risk and caffeine intake, although the underlying biochemical rationale behind this relationship is not fully understood.

Signs and Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

The common physical signs of Parkinson’s disease are tremors, bradykinesia, and dystonia.

  • Tremors. Patients commonly manifest with tremors in the early stage of the disease. They usually describe it as nervousness or shakiness and it gets worse when the person is experiencing a high level of stress, fatigue, or anxiety. It is initially experienced unilaterally, in one upper extremity, before becoming generalized. Some patients have resting tremors that occur when they are at rest that disappear upon movement. Tremors are often initially observed when the person is eating.
  • Bradykinesia. People with Parkinson’s move slower. This slowness of body movement is known as bradykinesia. Every patient describes bradykinesia differently. Some describe it as weakness while others report a loss of dexterity (or the skill in doing tasks). Some patients experience body-aches when doing actions repeatedly. Due to bradykinesia, patients with Parkinson’s find it hard to do fine motor activities such as using eating utensils and writing.
     
  • Dystonia. This symptom is common in patients who develop Parkinson’s disease before they reach 40 years old (early-onset Parkinson’s disease). Dystonia is characterized by muscle spasms, causing involuntary foot inversion (turning in) or flexion (turning down). It is often accompanied by leg cramps. Due to this, people with Parkinson’s can have gait problems and might find it hard to walk.

Living With Parkinson’s Disease

Although there is no available cure for the disease, it is still important to address safety issues and emotional and social problems that a Parkinson’s disease patient might be having.
  • Patients must undergo routine medical checkups. Encourage them to verbalize the symptom that they are having trouble managing. Some medications can help alleviate the symptoms to help the patient live a more comfortable life.
  • Reduce the sources of stress. Stress can exacerbate symptoms like tremors. Make the house as calming and refreshing as possible to prevent agitation and anxiety.
     
  • Parkinson’s disease has no specific dietary restrictions and recommendations. A healthy and balanced diet is generally preferred. Increasing the amount of high-fiber foods in the diet can help relieve constipation. Utensils for individuals with Parkinson's can make eating easier and more comfortable. Ensure patients are adequately hydrated by drinking lots of water and caffeine-free beverages, which can lessen muscle cramping.
     
  • People with Parkinson’s disease can still benefit from exercise and physical activities. Doing activities like walking, cycling, dancing, strength training, and even swimming has been shown to improve body coordination, mobility, and balance in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
     
  • Since Parkinson’s sufferers have balance and coordination problems, make sure that the house is free from tripping and slipping hazards like uneven flooring, trailing wires, and broken furniture. 
Using a bed rail in the bedroom and grab bars in the bathroom can also help prevent injuries secondary to falls.

Overall, the care for patients with Parkinson’s largely focuses on delaying the progression of the signs and symptoms and improving the quality of life.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Your Guide to Assembling the Perfect First Aid Kit

A good first aid kit is just like a smoke alarm or a spare tire. You may not always need it, but when you do it really needs to function! Sure, everybody recognizes a first aid kid should have some bandages, a pair of scissors, and some topical ointment. But what really goes into assembling a truly first class first aid kit? Let’s look now.

A good kit is versatile

The best first aid kid will always be as universal as possible. While each kit should be a little tailored to some unique needs (more on that to follow), ultimately a good kit is one anybody can use. Whether it’s used to treat someone who is 7 foot tall and 200 pounds, or 4 foot tall and 50 pounds, or any combination in between, a kit should be versatile.

Further, while certain kits will cater to the specific needs of certain pursuits - such as camping, sailing, or mountain climbing - ultimately each should come with the ability to treat an injury and minimize its pain. Beyond this, it should also provide a temporary solution for the injured person if it’s a serious injury that requires further medical attention.

A good kit is a little overstocked

Depending on your needs, it’s often ideal to have 1 first aid kid per person. This can be particularly important for big adventures like a camping trip or an overseas holiday. Obviously, this is not always practical, and won’t always be necessary.

Nonetheless, it is always useful to play the ‘what if?’ game a little. What if 2 people get injured at once? What if someone needs a second round of ointment or bandages? By packing a little extra you’ll increase the odds dramatically of your first aid kit having too little when the need arises.

A good kit meets your needs and environment

Packing a first aid kit also requires some reflection on your needs and environment. A 300 piece first aid kit will offer more supplies than a compact one, but it’s ultimately about what you need.

It’s really great if your first aid kid has some vinegar to apply on a jellyfish sting. But a jellyfish sting is unlikely to occur if you’re taking an afternoon walk through the forest in the winter. Similarly, poison ivy may be nasty, but you won’t encounter it if you’re swimming in California this summer.

It is great to have a versatile first aid kid, and to overstock it a little on essential supplies. That’s why it is important to be conservative when including any extras you don’t need. Speaking of….

A good kit minimizes perishables where possible

Certain medical supplies will only last for so long.  This is just a fact of life and it is totally OK if your first aid kit needs fresh supplies now and then. Nonetheless, it’s important to avoid stocking your kit with goods that expire quicker than others. Examples of this can be spray on sunscreen, liquid bandages, and similar goods.

Even if the expiration date seems a long time when you first buy it, time really flies when you're kit goes unused. Supplies that expire quicker are fine for small uses day by day such as when working around the home, gardening, or playing sport, but are not good to keep in a first aid kid. Always look to buy supplies for your kit with the longest possibly expiration date.

But a first aid kid won’t replace the need for medical attention

It’s fantastic if you’re first aid kit is versatile and a little overstocked. It is not good if it's trying to replicate the emergency department of your local ER. Overstocking your first aid kid can cause a number of problems.

If your kit is really overstocked, it can be harder to do routine checks that ensure your kit’s equipment works, and its perishable supplies are in-date. It can also mean it takes longer in an emergency to locate the supplies you need. For someone injured and in pain, that extra time taken could mean their condition will worsen, and treatment will become more difficult.

[Conclusion]

We’ve shown here the principles that’ll help you when choosing the best first aid kit.

There may be some variables depending on your particular needs, but there are two golden rules: it’s vital to actually have and carry a first aid kit. Do these 2 things, follow the principles above, and you’ll be prepared to meet any first aid situation that arises.

This is a guest blog entry.

Is Your Tap Water Good Enough To Drink?

In most modern countries the water which comes out of your tap has been collected and then processed through a treatment works before being piped to your home.

Treatment can include a large filtration system to remove debris and a smaller filter system to remove microscopic debris and bugs. The water will also have chemicals added to it to kill any bacteria, effectively making it safe to drink.

If this is the case then you might think that answers the question. However, there is a good reason why many homes have an undersink water filter fitted.

There are several reasons to be concerned regarding the water coming from your tap:

          •    Contamination

In 1998 the Sydney water board announced there were dangerous parasites in the water and that it was not safe for consumption. This was a testimony to their testing abilities as the parasites were noticed and the warning issued before anyone became ill.

However, it highlights the fact that contamination can infiltrate the treatment plant and result in unsafe water arriving at your home. It is possible you could become ill before the issue is supported by the water board.

          •    Pipe Work

There are thousands of miles of pipe work laid across the country which moves the water from the treatment works to your home. Unfortunately, the water is tested at the treatment works. Any break in these pipes which has allowed microbes or bugs into your water is unlikely to be spotted. This means you don’t actually know what you will be drinking.

Pipes also perish over time, leaching chemicals and other substances into your water supply. This might be in tiny amounts which will not affect you until the toxin has built up in your system.

          •    Chemicals

The main chemical which is added to water is chlorine. Unfortunately this has now been linked with some health issues including birth defects and miscarriages. While this is a result of high consumption levels over a long period of time, it is impossible to say just how much chlorine is dangerous to you and how much is in the water you are drinking.

The Answer

The question of is tap water safe to drink cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. There are many variables which can affect the quality of the water coming out of your tap.

To ensure your safety it is best to look at one of these solutions:

          1.    Bottled Water

This can be an expensive way of ensuring your water is safe to drink as you will need to purchase a significant amount of water every week. The average person uses 1 gallon per day for drinking, washing and cooking!

          2.    Fit a Filter

If you add a filter into your main line you will simply need to replace the cartridge periodically. This will ensure your water is always clean and ready to drink from the tap. Not only will this give you peace of mind, it is very convenient!

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Six Common Liposuction Myths Finally Busted


Cosmetic procedures are becoming a lot more popular these days, which has caused a few problems. When more people begin discussing a subject, myths magically appear out of thin air. There are lots when it comes to liposuction.

This doesn't bode well for anyone considering it in the future. They'll be basing decisions on a few false truths. I think it's time we finally set the record straight. Let's bust a few common liposuction myths once and for all.

Myth 1. Liposuction Is Only for Women

There is a certain stigma attached to liposuction when it comes to men. It's long been considered something only women can enjoy for many years. Luckily, a quick look at the numbers shows attitudes are changing.

One big liposuction benefit is attracting men in droves. Once you've had liposuction your muscles will look a lot more defined. Why spend months in the gym when you can get the same results with a quick procedure?

Myth 2. It's a Great Weight Loss Tool


Liposuction can help you lose fat in stubborn areas around the body, but it's not a great weight loss tool. After you've recovered from your procedure you will still have to hit the gym.

Fat cells in other parts of your body will always find ways to pick up the slack. When you stop exercising you'll end up with problems somewhere else. Think of liposuction as a supplement to working out.

Myth 3. A Tummy Tuck Isn't the Same Thing


Even though a tummy tuck sounds like a fancy name for liposuction it's not the same thing. It's easy to get confused because they're usually carried out at the same time. Tummy tucks have to do with loose skin.

If you have lots of loose skin around your abdominal area, tummy tucks will remove it and tighten everything up. Liposuction comes into play when there is also a significant amount of body fat.

Myth 4. You're Too Old for Liposuction

When you have a medical procedure carried out your chronological age doesn't come into the equation. It's got more to do with your physiological age. That means if you're in good health liposuction isn't dangerous.

Obviously those who exercise on a regular basis will have a body much younger than their date of birth. The only real problem with older people is the fact there is less elasticity in their skin.

Myth 5. Your Cellulite Will Disappear

Women used to think liposuction got rid of cellulite, which was one of the reasons it was so popular. It does kind of make sense when you think about it. Sadly, we now know it's a myth that won't disappear.

There are a few treatments you can opt for if you're desperate to get rid of cellulite. Combine any with liposuction for even better results. Just don't think a miracle is going to happen when your fat is sucked out.

Myth 6. It's Ideal for Maximum Fat Loss

Do you want them to take out as much fat as possible during your liposuction procedure? Common sense says yes, but it's actually the wrong answer. It's not designed for maximum fat loss.

Liposuction is supposed to sculpt your body so you look great. This doesn't have anything to do with a specific amount of fat. Your surgeon will know the perfect amount to extract from your body.

Liposuction Can Easily Change Your Life


When you undergo liposuction it can change your life for the better, so it's important to dispel any myths surrounding it. You can't decide whether or not to try it if you don't know the facts.

This is a guest blog entry.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Cold and allergy season is here! What to do with winter upon us

We stand at the threshold between autumn and winter, which can be a time fraught with illness and allergic responses. Not only are many of the plant-born allergens present, as many common irritants bloom and seed before winter, but the sudden change in weather can fuel the spread of the common cold.

While those suffering from allergies often have their regimen well in hand, how can we better combat the passage of the rhinovirus and shorten the duration of a cold if we succumb? In the article below, we’ll discuss cold medications and cold and allergy palliative measures to help you stay healthy and resilient this winter.

Know the Enemy

Several viruses cause colds, formally known as coronaviruses or rhinoviruses. Many lack this basic understanding and believe that once caught that a cold can be “cured” by various methods. This belief is patently false. To date, there is no vaccine for any form of the common cold. Some individuals believe that antibiotics are effective. However, due to the nature of broad-spectrum antibiotics, the result is often to compound the illness; unnecessary antibiotics weaken your body’s ability to repel additional infections and fight existing viral incursions.

So, you might wonder what use many OTC medications are if they don’t cure the disease. The good news is that, while that’s true, what you can do is bolster your body’s natural ability to fight the cold virus and shorten the duration of the cold. This is the purpose of many of the over the counter cold medicines currently available. For very young individuals suffering from colds, be wary about what remedies you apply, since some OTC medicines can cause dangerous side effects in children.

An Ounce of Prevention

Of course, if you can, improve your chances of deflecting the cold viruses to which you are exposed. Wash your hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Avoid touching your face during the day, since the human fingertip picks up more contaminants and particulate matter than any other part of your body.

Stay hydrated. The drying impacts of central heating and sudden temperature changes when transitioning from indoor to outdoor activities render your mucous membranes—sinus, throat, and eyes—vulnerable to infection. And take plenty of vitamin D, since less sunlight and more clothing naturally lower our body’s ability to produce this essential vitamin, which is responsible for respiratory health, among other things.

Of course, if you do succumb to a cold, there are measures and OTC cold medications that can shorten your illness. Most medical professionals recommend hydration with broth, tea, water, and juice paired with plenty of restorative sleep. Rest is the ultimate weapon against disease.

Zinc and magnesium are two substances that will also help shorten the duration of symptoms and can be found in remedies from lozenges to nasal swabs. Throat sprays and lozenges are great ways to soothe sore throats, and saline will alleviate congestion when applied through the nostril.

If you suffer from frequent respiratory illness, it might be a good idea to focus on boosting your immune system with preventative measures. However, for most of us, cold medications and therapeutic strategies can alleviate the worst impacts of these viruses. During cold and allergy season, it’s important to know what can work and what just won’t suffice to ameliorate the agony of the common cold.

This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Factors To Think About When Purchasing A New Mattress


Each day is only 24 hours long. When you consider that 8 of those hours are spent sleeping, it is easy to see why it is so important to buy a well-made mattress that will help you get the sleep that you need. Luckily, finding the ideal mattress is easier than you might think.

The key is to focus on quality. If you choose a poorly made mattress, you can wind up experiencing countless problems ranging from back pain to poor sleep quality. These factors can have a negative impact on your life, leaving you feeling exhausted, sore, and unmotivated.

Although there is no cut-and-dry formula that works for everyone when it comes to choosing a mattress, the tips in the following section can help make the process of choosing the right mattress easier.

1. Do Research Ahead Of Time

One of the best ways to make sure that you are buying a high-quality mattress is by doing research ahead of time. This includes reading reviews from other people who have already purchased any of the mattresses that you are interested in. Try to find reviews that are written by people who are dealing with similar issues to your own. For instance, if you experience back pain on a regular basis, you should try to find reviews from other back pain sufferers. This can give you a better idea of how well the mattress will suit your unique needs.

Of course, nothing compares to being able to try out a mattress in person before you buy it. Once you have an idea of which mattresses you are interested in, you can visit stores in your area to view them in person. Because you educated yourself ahead of time, you don't have to worry about falling victim to a slick salesman.

2. Choose How Firm You Want Your Mattress To Be

There is a common misconception that firm mattresses are the best choice for back pain sufferers. In fact, however, that isn't always true. Many people who suffer from back pain do best with a mattress that has a medium firmness such as this T&N mattress. These mattresses are soft enough to be comfortable yet firm enough to provide support. When testing mattresses in the store, don't just get on them and get right back off again. Instead, lay on them for a minimum of 10 minutes. Although you may feel a bit self-conscious about doing this, it really is the best way to get a feel for whether or not a mattress is right for you. If you spend any less time than that, you won't really be able to get a sense of how comfortable the mattress is.

3. Consider Getting Input From A Chiropractor

If you regularly experience back pain, a chiropractor may be able to advise you on which type of mattress is best. If you already see a chiropractor for your pain, try bringing it up at your next appointment. Chances are, your doctor will be more than happy to help you find a mattress that will give you the support that you need.

4. Think About Getting An Adjustable Mattress
Today's most innovative adjustable mattresses allow you to not only adjust the angle of the mattress but also its firmness. This can provide you with a lot more flexibility in terms of your sleeping arrangements. You can experiment with different levels of firmness or bed positions until you find the settings that provide you with the best night's sleep.

5. Invest Your Money Wisely

Be prepared to pay a relatively large amount of money for a high-quality mattress. Cheaper mattresses may seem like a good deal. In fact, however, they rarely provide enough support for a good night's sleep.

Make sure that the mattress you choose has a warranty available. Most reputable manufacturers guarantee their products for a minimum of 10 years. Some companies even provide a guarantee where you can get your money back if the mattress doesn't live up to your expectations. At the very least, the company that you buy the mattress from should be willing to give you your money back within a 30-day window of your purchase if the mattress fails to meet your needs.

This is a guest blog entry.

Is surgery the only solution for treating hernia or it's possible to treat it without surgery?

A hernia is a somewhat unusual condition that can look like a bulge or swelling coming through your body. A hernia is when an organ or fatty tissue protrudes through a weak spot (abnormal opening) in the surrounding muscle or tissue that normally holds it in place. This can makes the organ/tissue clearly visible on your body.

All hernias occur due to the heavy pressure exertion combined with weakness of the muscles or tissue. There are many different types of hernia that can occur in your body such as the stomach groin, and belly button. They can occur in adults and children. Hernias can be very painful although not all hernias cause pain.

Most cases of hernia are treated with surgery. However, if the condition is not posing a significant health risk, then there are non-surgical approaches that can be used.  One option is a natural herbal medicine from Grocare known as Hernica which is used to treat hernia by strengthening digestion, reducing constipation, reducing inflammation, and making the muscles loose. This reduces pressure on the muscle wall. Another herbal medicine from Grocare is known as ACIDIM , which is designed to improve the ph acid balance of the intestinal and abdominal system.

Here is some more information on natural remedies to follow and options on how to get rid of a hernia naturally. In addition, here are some other tips that can help prevent hernia.

Proper Dietary Intake:

Proper daily dietary intake is important in reducing harmful impacts on your body. Food should be consumed in proper quantity, being careful not to overstuff yourself as this puts unnecessary pressure on the intestines and abdominal area. Natural foods such as vegetables (e.g., salad), fresh fruit, and juice have positive health impacts on your intestines as they help keep the intestines moving in a healthy way and provide many important vitamins and minerals.

Exercise and Yoga:

Exercise is one of the best ways to remain physically fit and conveys mental health benefits as well. A daily exercise routine between 20 and 60 minutes is ideal. Exercise can strengthen the abdominal wall when done properly but when done improperly it can lead to hernia. Thus, make sure you are using proper form when exercising. If you have already been diagnosed with a hernia, please consult with a doctor before exercising to make sure you are not doing anything to worsen the situation.

Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that also conveys many health benefits. Yoga contains many different types of stretching exercises that can help strengthen and loose muscles. This may provide some benefit in hernia treatment, although yoga cannot cure hernia in isolation. Yoga can also reduce fatigue and improve motivation, which can make you more likely to exercise.

Lastly, be sure to consult with your doctor for additional hernia prevention and treatment options.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Essiac Tea Powder - Pros And Cons

Essiac was introduced to the public through all of the tireless work of Rene Caisse, who was a Canadian nurse.  She used Essiac for treating cancer patients for more than 50 years, with a multitude of successful cases being reported.

Over her decades of working with Essiac, Rene Caisse used the mixture exclusively in tea form, except for the sheep sorrel's component for intramuscular injection during her early days.  As more people started using Essiac, other forms for ingesting herbs started appearing in the market, specifically capsules, tonics, and tinctures.  And although consumers have the freedom now for choosing among various forms, you do need to be aware of what the advantages and disadvantages are that are associated with them.

Essiac Capsule Advantages  


A majority of people agree that the most convenient way for ingesting herbs is to take Essiac in capsule form.  That is probably the most compelling reason why to choose capsules instead of other forms.  Tinctures and teas both require a degree of having to measure an Essiac dose and mixing with a beverage like water.  On the other hand, capsules may be taken right out of the bottle.  Capsules, like tinctures, have an advantage over tea due to how convenient they are to store based on their small volume and not having to be refrigerated.  In addition, capsules are very well suited to continue using Essiac while you are traveling.

Essiac Capsule Disadvantages    

The benefits received from Essiac depend on what the bioavailability is from the molecules that are in the constituent herbs.  What that means is the molecules need to be extracted from herbs in some way.  To release these biologically useful molecules out of the herbs that are contained in Essiac (or another herbal mixture), these herbs need to be immersed in some kind of solvent, which is usually water and/or alcohol.  When it comes to teas, boiling water is used to extract molecules.  With tinctures, the process takes place through using alcohol to steep the herbs for days or even weeks.  When it comes to capsules, there isn't any extraction before ingesting the Essiac.   

The extraction that Essiac capsules rely on is through exposing the capsules to oral water, digestive enzymes, and stomach acid intake.  Many people think that results in decreased potency and reduced absorption of essential compounds for capsules.  Also, the constituent herbs going into capsules are in the form of powder, which tends to decrease potency when it has been a long time since the herbs had been pulverized.  There is one potential solution to the problem of unknown periods of time since the powdering herbs happened is creating your own capsules completely from scratch.  It is possible to get the supplies from a health store.  Many individuals who are open to making capsules are much more likely to do it mainly to use while they are traveling when they empty the contents of the capsule into their boiled water for making tea.   

In addition, there are numerous Essiac fans who are strongly opposed to any other form besides traditional tea.  For this perspective, all of the decades worth of positive outcomes that Caisse experienced were solely from tea, and therefore Essiac consumers should stay faithful to this form.  All of the evidence for the efficacy of Essiac comes from research and using the tea, where capsules and tinctures are not studied too much.  For people who are reasonably healthy, it is a very convenient way for ingesting beneficial herbs. 

There are several forms that Essiac comes in, from the traditional, well-studied tea, to capsules and tinctures.  Although there is a strong argument that capsules are the most convenient form, there are also concerns about their potency as well as their ability to providing the key compounds that are responsible for the proposed health benefits of Essiac.

This is a guest blog entry.

Why Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a Growing Health Problem


Imagine what you would feel if you want to go outside to enjoy a beautiful summer day but your feet refuse to take you there. Imagine wanting to pinch the cheeks of your cute nephew but your arms lay limp beside you. You cannot move them even if you want to. That’s what it feels like to live with a condition known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, approximately 30,000 people in the United States are living with ALS. Although the disease usually develops between ages 40 and 70, there are also reported cases of ALS in individuals who are in their 20s and 30s.

Understanding the Nature of ALS

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is not a communicable disease. It is a group of progressive neurologic diseases affecting the neurons (nerve cells) that control the voluntary movement of your muscles. Your voluntary muscles are the ones that allow you to move, eat, talk, and walk. They also affect your breathing.

In order for you to move, your brain sends signals to your motor neurons (the ones responsible for voluntary movement) to stimulate your voluntary muscles to move. In ALS, your motor neurons slowly deteriorate and die. This cuts off the connection and path of communication between your brain and your voluntary muscles. Without this connection, your muscles will no longer be able to execute what your brain wants them to do because they cannot receive the impulse (the command or the message) anymore.

Although the progression of the disease varies from person to person, a majority of patients with ALS die due to respiratory organ failure within 3-5 years from the first appearance of the signs and symptoms. Only 10% of the diagnosed cases survive for longer than 10 years.

Who are at Risk?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis doesn’t discriminate among the different ethnicities. It can affect people from any racial background. The following identified risk factors can predispose you to have ALS:

Age group. ALS can affect any age group but reports have shown that people who are 55 to 75 years old are more at risk.
Sex. The disease is more common in men by 20% but it still affects both sexes.
Ethnic background. Although ALS can occur is any ethnicity, the disease more commonly develops in Caucasians.
Military veterans. The US Department of Veterans Affairs classifies ALS as a service-connected disease. This is because it has been shown that veterans are twice more likely to develop ALS. The rationale for this remains unclear but exposure to environmental hazards and toxins is being considered.

Signs and Symptoms of ALS
The onset of the signs and symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is gradual in nature. Hence, it is often dismissed or overlooked until it develops into a more severe form of weakness.

In the early stage of the disease, the following usually develops:
•    Cramping or twitching of the hand and feet muscles
•    Muscle tightness or stiffness
•    Loss of muscle control in the arms
•    Fatigue and weakness
•    Falling and tripping incidents
•    Inability to grasp things well
•    Period of uncontrollable crying or laughing
•    Slurred speech

As the condition worsens, the following might be observed:
•    Difficulty of breathing
•    Shortness of breath
•    Difficulty in swallowing and chewing
•    Weight loss
•    Generalized muscle weakness and muscle atrophy
•    Paralysis

One of the earliest symptom that the patient might observe is difficulty doing tasks that require fine motor skills such as writing and buttoning a shirt. Aside from their chewing and swallowing problem, people with ALS metabolize and burn their calories faster, making them lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time.

Taking Care of People with ALS
• In the early stages of the disease, safety is important. Remove tripping and falling hazards from your home. They can still do daily activities on their own with minimal help. As the disease progresses, they might need more assistance with mobility.
• ALS doesn’t affect a person’s memory, understanding, and problem-solving skills. It means that they are aware of the deterioration in their body’s functions, making them at risk of suffering from depression. Communicate with them and be as empathetic and encouraging as you can.
• Because they find it difficult to chew and swallow, assist them to a sitting position during mealtimes. Give them foods that are soft or pureed.
Bedsore prevention measures are important when the person has already reached the stage of paralysis. Using an air mattress can prevent bedsores by relieving the pressure on their back and improving blood circulation.

ALS has no known cure to date but some medicines are being prescribed to delay the progression of the disease. In the US, more than 6,000 people are being diagnosed with ALS annually. Raising public awareness of the condition can lead to a better support system for patients with ALS.

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Five Accessories Every Runner Should be Using to Help with Recovery


Whether you’re a casual jogger or a competitive runner, you’re probably well acquainted with stiffness and muscle soreness.

Recovery for runners isn’t just about feeling less sore. It’s also important for preventing injuries and improving overall performance.

If you’ve been overtraining -- or just not maximizing your off-days as much as you could -- keep reading. Listed below are five accessories that can help runners (and other athletes) speed up the recovery process.

1. Massage Stick

Whether it’s your quads, calves, hamstrings, or even your feet that could use a little extra attention, a massage stick will help relieve your pain, relax your muscles, and get you ready for your next run.

Massage sticks are light and portable, so they’re ideal for runners who frequently travel (or just don’t have a lot of storage space at home).

With a foam roller, you can roll out large muscle groups easily, but it’s a little harder to focus in on the specific areas that are in need of the most TLC. Massage sticks help you get a more targeted massage, and you have more control over how much pressure you use.

2. Compression Socks

Many athletes, especially runners, swear by compression socks to help reduce swelling, soreness and fatigue after a long workout.

The idea behind compression socks (and all compression clothing) is that they put gentle pressure on the blood vessels, which prevents the blood from pooling in the extremities, particularly the legs and feet, while you are sitting or lying down.

Compression socks are particularly helpful for runners who suffer from plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the connective tissue that runs along the feet). There are even compression socks specifically designed to help treat this condition. You can learn more about them by checking out this list of plantar fasciitis socks.

3. Yoga Strap

Stretching is an essential part of recovery, but many runners tend to neglect it.

A yoga strap makes stretching a little easier, especially for people with tight hamstrings. Wrap the strap around the balls of your feet and think of it as an extension of your arms when doing forward bending stretches.

Straps are another great on-the-go recovery tool. They take up even less space than a massage stick!

4. Epsom Salts

Sometimes, a hot bath is the only thing that will cut it after a long day of training.

To make your bath even more effective for easing sore muscles, add two cups of Epsom salt to the water.

Epsom salt is not actually a salt, but a mineral compound also known as magnesium sulfate. When you soak in a bath with Epsom salts, the minerals are absorbed into the skin to help with aches and inflammation.

There are several different types of Epsom salts that you can use in your bath, including aromatherapy styles that contain essential oils. Try some lavender or peppermint oil for even more relief and relaxation.

5. Topical Pain Relief Products

Runners with sore muscles can also benefit from topic pain relief products. These products come in many forms, including creams, gels, and balms.

Many topical pain relief products contain ingredients known as counterirritants. Popular counterirritants include menthol, methylsalicylate, and camphor. They cause either a burning or cooling sensation that helps to distract you from your pain.

Topical products often contain salicylates as well. Salicylates are found in aspirin and help relieve pain and soreness.

Final Thoughts

Sore muscles and stiffness are part of life for runners. However, these five recovery tools can help your aches and pains and get you back on the road as soon as possible. Give one (or more) of them a try today!

This is a guest blog entry

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Five Easy Ways to Soothe Aching Joints at Home

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that nearly 15 million Americans suffer from severe joint pain (ranking a seven or higher on a scale from one to ten) on a regular basis. If you’re part of this group and find that joint pain is affecting your daily life, keep reading.

Listed below are five tips to help you ease your pain and home and get back to doing the things you enjoy most.

At-Home Treatments

These five at-home treatments will help ease your aches and pains and leave you feeling better than ever.

1. Take a Bath

A warm bath can work wonders for aching joints. You can up the ante even more by adding Epsom salts to the water.

Epsom salt is a chemical compound known as magnesium sulfate. Magnesium sulfate has been proven to help reduce inflammation and muscle spasms while relaxing tense spots in the body.

Add two cups of Epsom salts to your bathwater and soak for at least twenty minutes for relief from pain and stiffness.

To make your bath even more effective, add some essential oils to the water as well. Lavender oil is a great addition when your pain is caused by stress or anxiety, and peppermint oil can help further reduce swelling and inflammation.

2. Try Topical Treatments

There are also many topical creams and gels out there that are helpful for people dealing with joint pain and soreness.

Some of these products are meant for general pain relief, while others are specially formulated to help with conditions like arthritis. For more information on arthritis cream click here.

If you don’t want to go out and buy arthritis cream or a topical pain reliever, you can make your own with products you might have in your own condition.

Mix a couple dashes of cayenne pepper with 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil. Use gauze or a cotton ball to apply the paste to the skin around the joints that are experiencing pain. You can apply the paste several times per day. You’ll feel a mild burning sensation at the beginning, but most people get used to it fairly quickly.

3. Move More
 

It might seem counterproductive at first, but more movement is actually beneficial for people dealing with joint pain and stiffness.

When you remain sedentary, your muscles tense up and weaken. This increases your risk of injury and also causes you to compensate for weak muscles when you do have to move. Compensation leads to imbalances throughout the body that will only result in more pain and tension.

If you’re feeling stiff and sore, try to get up and do some kind of low-impact exercise. Walking, cycling, or yoga are all great options that will help loosen up your muscles and give you the relief you’re looking for.

Incorporate these movements into your schedule regularly, as well, to prevent soreness from occurring in the first place.

4. Eat (or Drink) More Ginger

Ginger is an anti-inflammatory herb that has been found to mimic the effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

There are several different ways that you can incorporate ginger into your diet. One of the easiest is to simply add a few slices of fresh ginger to boiled water to make tea.

You can also make a ginger poultice by making a paste of minced fresh ginger and olive oil. Apply the paste to the painful joint, wrapping in place with gauze if necessary. Leave it for 10-15 minutes.

5. Try Aromatherapy

Lavender and peppermint essential oils are some of the most popular pain- and stress-relieving aromatherapy options. However, plenty of others, including marjoram and rosemary oil, have also been found to soothe aching joints.

To experience the benefits, mix a teaspoon of any of these oils with a quarter-cup of almond or coconut oil. Then, simply take a deep inhale whenever you need some relief.

Preventing Joint Pain

All of these tips are great for soothing aching joints. But, it’s also important to take steps to prevent joint pain from occurring in the first place.

Some options for preventing pain and inflammation include:

•    Regular exercise
•    Managing weight to prevent excess pressure on the joints
•    Taking joint-protecting supplements like collagen, Omega-3 fatty acids, and glucosamine
•    Staying hydrated

Final Thoughts

Lifestyle changes like improving your diet and getting enough exercise can help prevent joint pain. When it does occur, though, the tips discussed above can help relieve the pain and allow you to continue living your life. Try them out today!

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, December 11, 2017

How To Improve Your Chances Of Successfully Recovering From An Addiction

Overcoming an addiction is not an easy process. When you first start down the path toward recovery, it may feel like you aren't making progress as quickly as you would like. Keep in mind that you won't recover overnight. However, as long as you commit to the process, you will eventually beat your addiction. Try using these steps to improve your chances of successfully recovering from an addiction:

1. Participate in regular counseling sessions. People who meet with a counselor or therapist on a regular basis are far more likely to recover than those who try to go it alone. These professionals can help you stay on the right path.

2. Don't expect immediate results. Chances are, you didn't become addicted overnight. You also won't recover overnight. Old patterns of thinking can be extremely hard to break. You may find your thoughts returning to drugs or alcohol again and again. Don't feel discouraged. The longer you stick with it, the less intrusive these thoughts will become until eventually you are free from your addiction.

3. Fill up your free time. As an addict, nothing is worse than having too much free time. If you don't keep yourself busy, you are far more likely to spend time thinking about your addiction. Pick up some new hobbies and do your best to stay occupied.

Consider looking for hobbies that involve other people. Being able to get together with friends who share your interests can be a great way to keep yourself occupied so that you don't return to old, negative patterns.

4. Focus on the present. One of the first things that people learn when they seek treatment for drugs or alcohol is that you have to take the process one day, one hour, or one minute at a time suggest the experts at Sage Recovery Villa. Anytime you are tempted to drink or do drugs, stop yourself. Tell yourself that you can make it one more day without. If necessary, you can even break it down into smaller increments, telling yourself you can make it another hour or another minute without. Typically, cravings pass quickly. By the time you get through the next hour or day, you will most likely be in a much better position to resist.

5. Figure out what to do with all of your time. One of the hardest parts of recovering from addiction is suddenly finding yourself with a ton of free time. If you don't find new activities to fill your time, you will be more likely to relapse. Try to come up with some productive activities that you can do to keep yourself from drifting aimlessly through the day.

6. Tell people about your addiction. One of the worst things that you can do when you are recovering from an addiction is to try to hide it from others. Although you don't have to tell everyone, you should tell a few key people in your life. Find trusted friends or family members that you can confide in. That way, you will have a support system in place that you can count on if you find yourself tempted to relapse.

7. Stick with it. No matter what happens or how tempted you are, stick with your recovery. The more dedicated you are to getting better, the more likely you are to succeed. Don't allow minor setbacks to throw you off the path toward recovery. Instead, stay focused on your goal and you will eventually get there.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

3 Common Challenges for People with a Chronic Disease


Managing chronic illness is nothing new for older adults. In fact, AARP reports that over 70% of adults 45+ have at least one chronic condition, and 20% are reported to have three or more. Most commonly older adults suffer from obesity, heart disease, depression, diabetes, cancer, and emphysema, though as you age, rates of conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia rise as well.

Medication Management
Many chronic conditions are managed in part by a fixed medicine schedule aimed at keeping symptoms at bay and even reversing recent damage. Unfortunately, prescriptions and supplements for a chronic disease can be numerous and complex. Take, for example, a patient with advanced Parkinson’s Disease who also has seizures, arthritis, and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). They may need to have seizure medicines crushed up and administered with applesauce, Parkinson’s medication applied as a patch to a different part of the body every day, topical arthritis aids applied to their joints, and then additional liquid supplements and over-the-counter medicines thickened and given orally multiple times a day.

The Mayo Clinic reports that upwards of 50% of patients with chronic disease don’t actually take their medicine as prescribed, leading to countless hospitalizations and alarming mortality rates. For a number of reasons including confusion, complicated medicine schedules, cost, health illiteracy, lack of caregiver support, and communication barriers between doctors and patients, it’s no surprise that many suffering from chronic illness are unable to adhere to their prescribed treatment plans.

Experts recommend that patients with chronic conditions use pill organizers to sort and manage daily medicines as well as alerts - be they smartphone apps or alarm clocks. Alerting caregivers when medicine hasn’t been taken has also been shown to increase adherence rates for patients. Continuing a dialogue with medical providers is also key as they can help simplify medicine schedules by altering frequencies or dosages, and provide greater insight into side effects, drug interactions, and more.

Completing Basic Daily Tasks
Whether it’s neuromotor changes like you see with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease, peripheral neuropathy like is common with diabetes, joint stiffness and pain like with osteoarthritis, or confusion and disorientation like someone suffering from dementia may experience, varying symptoms of chronic disorders can negatively impact a person’s ability to complete daily tasks. Dressing, showering, brushing teeth, eating, toileting, etc. are all key markers of basic functioning, however, they often become more and more difficult as a person’s disease progresses.

Patients and their caregivers can benefit from adaptive equipment and ease-of-use tools which simplify everyday tasks and empower greater independence and self-reliance. The best grabbing aids, for example, will allow a person to reach up to a shelf or down to the floor to pick things up (i.e. keys, jars, etc) without having to bend or stoop over, or awkwardly strain up and possibly lose their balance. Additional tools might include bed rails, shower stools, dressing aids, and mobility aids like walkers, canes, or knee scooters.

Organizing Care Networks
Sometimes a chronic condition will qualify a patient for in-home health care which simply means medical professionals like nurses, physical therapists, home health aides, and speech therapists can come to the home to administer treatment and train caregivers. Unfortunately, the rules for receiving this type of skilled care are strict and not every patient with a chronic condition will qualify. Broadening the care network and finding ways to coordinate friends and family to pitch in becomes of utmost importance.

Some free online tools like CaringBridge.org and LotsaHelpingHands.com help people set up online signups, care calendars, meal trains, and other resources to organize a network of friends and family who can help with caregiving tasks like transportation to appointments, picking up prescriptions, making meals, etc. New hospital and family caregiver laws, like the one that passed in California in 2015, are also requiring hospitals to communicate with family caregivers when their loved one is discharged from the hospital. Hospitals must provide counsel and training about continuing care at home, medication management, and even skilled tasks like dressing wounds and managing incontinence.

This is a guest blog post.

All You Need to Know About the Vampire Facial

Have you ever wanted a rejuvenated look but was too scared to go under the knife and commit fully to the procedure? Well, you might've missed out on a brand new treatment called the Vampire Facial.

Royalty Free Photo
This method is being used by many celebrities throughout the world and it utilizes non surgical techniques, making it a great option for those who are scared of going under the knife. In this article, we’re going to introduce you to what they are exactly and let you judge whether they’re the good choice for you.

What Exactly Is a Vampire Facial?

The whole procedure is rather simple compared to surgery. First, a blood sample is taken and Platelet-Rich Plasma, also known as PRP, will be separated from it. The areas to be treated will be injected with a hyaluronic acid filler that will help sculpt and change the shape of the face.

After that portion of the procedure is finished, the PRP is injected to promote collagen and fatty tissue production while improving blood flow and refreshing the look of your skin.

The effectiveness of the facial is owed solely to the PRP portion of the therapy. PRP is what promotes those rejuvenating effects you will experience after getting this treatment. The plasma helps stimulate collagen located in your face while at the same time encouraging your body to regenerate new skin cells.

What Are the Benefits of the Vampire Facial

One of the major benefits of the vampire facial is the skin rejuvenation and revitalization. After receiving the treatment, you will automatically notice an increase in your skin's tightness and firmness and some areas will look less saggy. Aside from the cosmetic benefits, the vampire facial comes at a far more reasonable price than many other facial treatments. Not to mention that these treatments also use artificial, synthetic materials which may leave you with unwanted consequences.

In regards to safety, the vampire facial has almost no side effects and your body will easily accommodate to the filler material since it came directly from you and your body.

What is the Price of the Treatment?

The whole process, including extraction of PRP and the process of injection that takes place almost immediately after can cost anything from 800 to 1500 dollars, depending on where you choose to take the procedure. Bigger cities like New York or Los Angeles will require you to pay slightly more than you would in some smaller ones. The recovery period is only a couple of hours after the procedure.  During that time, you might experience a reddened face but nothing dramatic.

Many new patients decide to go for this treatment over a surgical procedure because of the low risk and less dramatic results it offers. The recovery time is also considered quite low which will allow you to get back to your usual routine much faster. The procedure itself takes a small amount of time and the pain is almost non-existent. This is probably the best, non-invasive to rejuvenate your face and improve your appearance.

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

5 Bath Accessories That Benefit Your Health

A warm bath at the end of a long day can do wonders to help relax tense muscles and bring you peace of mind, but did you know that with the right accessories it can also benefit your health? Don’t miss this essential guide to bath accessories that are good for your body and mind:

Essential Oils
The oils extracted from various plants like lavender, sandalwood, bergamot, peppermint, and rosemary, have been used homeopathically for centuries to aid all types of ailments including headaches, anxiety, and brain fog. A warm bath serves as a great carrier for an essential oil which can benefit your mental clarity and calmness. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil straight to your bathwater, or if you are taking a shower, add a few drops to a washcloth you leave on the shower floor (the essential oil will aerosolize when hot water runs over it).

Back Scrubber
Straining to scratch and scrub hard to reach parts of your back can seem impossible and cause you to awkwardly twist and contort your body. This might do more harm than good leading to tense and inflamed low back muscles and neck pain. Using a back scrubber solves this issue by giving you an extendable loofah-like scrubby on an ergonomic handle or belt with which to rub and clean your back. Different types of scrubbers for your shower or bath can be found online or in many drugstores and grocery stores.

Dry Brush
Dry brushing prior to your shower or bath can do wonders for your appearance and health. As a type of exfoliator, a dry brush helps to slough off dead skin cells and built-up impurities on the surface of your skin that are clogging up your pores. As well, the long, upward strokes up your legs and arms towards your heart help to stimulate lymphatic drainage, boosting your immunity and encouraging the flow of lymph which helps to pull toxins out of your tissues. Experts recommend dry brushing while standing nude in the shower and then rinsing off before you take a bath to experience the best effects.

Music
Listening to soothing music while you soak in the tub can have more powerful effects on your mental well-being than you may know. Music bears a unique connection to specific parts of the brain linked to emotion and research has shown its ability to play a positive role in your health. Researchers at McGill University, for example, reviewed 400 research papers covering the neurochemistry of listening to music and discovered that it aided mood and stress management and even gave the immune system a boost.

Shower Chair

For older adults especially, easy-to-use equipment that both simplifies the bathing process and helps prevent falls is a must for staying safe and mobile. Shower chairs can provide a much needed non-slip seat on which to sit when legs feel weak or tired, grab bars help to support and stabilize you when standing or sitting in the bathtub, and non-slip tape or textured mats on the floor of the bath or shower can prevent you from slipping when the water is running or soap bubbles build up.

In addition to mental wellness and relaxation, baths offer myriad health benefits including helping to clear nasal congestion, alleviate muscle aches, cleanse and hydrate skin, and even induce sleep when taken right before bed. It’s important to remember that you want your bath water to stay between lukewarm and very warm; water that is too hot can actually increase your heart rate, make you excessively sweat, and potentially dehydrate you.

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, December 04, 2017

What Really Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in America, resulting in heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke. Despite the common knowledge that habitual smokers live an average of 12 years less than non-smokers, many people still feel daunted by the thought of quitting even though they’re anxious about the risks.

If you’re looking to kick the habit, don’t expect just to stop overnight. Instead, consult your doctor and ask for a nicotine alternative to help your body adjust. These days, there are numerous options available to former smokers, including gums, patches, and e-cigarettes. Quitting can be hard, even if you are using a vaporizer, so ease the process with a treats e juice.

However you decide to give up smoking, you’re probably wondering what will happen to your body after you quit, so here’s what to expect in those first days and weeks as a non-smoker.

Heightened Senses

As early as two days after your last cigarette, the nerves that control your sense of smell and taste start to heal. As a result, you will notice you have a heightened sense of smell and are able to taste flavors you’ve probably been missing for years.

Withdrawal Symptoms

If you stop feeding your body nicotine altogether, you will start experiencing withdrawal symptoms around three days after you quit, such as headaches, irritability, and cravings. Nicotine withdrawal is far from pleasant, which is why most people struggle to stop smoking. If you decide that going cold turkey isn’t for you, then you may decide to use a nicotine replacement to help your body readjust.

Less Coughing

After your first month as a non-smoker, you will realize you are coughing far less. This is because your lung capacity is improving and the damage caused by inhaling toxins and carcinogens is beginning to heal. You may find it easier to exercise and find you don’t get out of breath so easily.

Increased Body Temperature

Because smoking damages your heart and blood vessels, smokers often feel cold due to poor circulation. In the first few months after quitting, you will notice that your body feels warmer as your blood circulation improves. After your first year as a non-smoker, your risk of developing coronary heart disease has decreased by half, which has dramatic implications for your long-term health.

Lower Health Risks

Although smoking can be incredibly detrimental to your health, many of the risks can be lowered or eliminated by stopping smoking altogether. According to medical professionals, after 15 years of not smoking, your risk of developing heart disease or pancreatic cancer is reduced to the same level as a non-smoker; and after 20 years, your chances of dying from all smoke-related causes drop to the equivalent as someone who has never smoked at all.

So, while stopping smoking can be a momentous challenge, it’s worth knowing that your efforts will have a considerable impact on your health, almost immediately. Although it’s helpful to view the whole picture and see that your goal has an end-result, try to go one step at a time when you first quit. Treat each hour, day, week, and month without cigarettes your own personal victory, and soon it won’t feel like such a struggle.

This is a guest blog entry.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Underarm and Forearm Crutches as Mobility Aids

Whether you have a chronic disability in your lower extremities or you sustained an injury to your lower-limbs, crutches are your go-to tools to help with your mobility. Research shows that strains and ankle sprains account for a majority (36%) of lower extremity injuries in the United States. Mobility aids are needed to facilitate ambulation while recovering from these type of injuries.

According to the University of California - Disability Statistics Center, 6.1 million people in the United States make use of devices, such as crutches, canes, and walkers to help with their mobility.

Crutches can facilitate your movement and ambulation by letting your upper body carry the weight of your lower limb. Physical movement while recovering from an injury can improve the blood circulation in your injured limb and speed up healing. It also helps in improving lung and kidney functions, thanks to better perfusion, and prevents the loss of calcium from your bones as a result of prolonged immobility.

Crutches can also help you do some tasks on your own. In fact, statistics show that compared to wheelchair users, the chance that a crutch user has in landing a job is more than double. It allows you to navigate to places where wheelchairs cannot.

There are several types of crutches you can choose from depending on your needs but the most commonly used are underarm crutches and forearm crutches.

Underarm crutches
An underarm crutch is also known as an axillary crutch. It is the most common type of crutch and is usually made of wood or aluminum.

Underarm crutches are commonly used in pairs. They can be easily adjusted to suit your height. When in a standing position, the shoulder rest (the topmost part of your crutches) should be placed 1-2 inches below your armpit. You should push yourself upright with your hand holding the handgrip. The handgrip must be at the level of your hips so that your arms are slightly flexed at 30°.

When using underarm crutches, you should never let your underarms support your weight by resting them on the shoulder rest. Doing so might compress the blood vessels and nerves in your armpits.

Crutch paralysis is a condition caused by chronic compression of the radial nerve located in your armpit as a result of improper use of crutches. To prevent this from happening, you should ensure that the distance between your shoulder rest and your armpit is maintained at 1-2 inches. The shoulder rest must also have adequate cushioning and padding. People with crutch paralysis have a good chance to recover after physical therapy and axillary crutch discontinuation.

Forearm crutches
A forearm crutch is also known as an elbow crutch or a Lofstrand crutch. It is used to maintain balance and stability. It is generally lightweight and made of aluminum material. The defining feature of a forearm crutch is its adjustable arm cuff, where you should insert your arm before gripping the handgrip, that adds additional support to the user.

Forearm crutches are popular in Europe. In the United States, however, forearm crutches are generally used by people with chronic ailments or disabilities. There is quite a number of options on the list of the top forearm crutches on the market you could choose from, each having features to suit your needs.

When using forearm crutches, your elbow should be flexed at 15-30° to maximize your upper body strength and allow you to bear more weight. When standing upright, the rubber tip of your crutch must be positioned 6 inches in front and 2-4 inches outside of your foot. The arm cuffs should be snug, comfortable, and should secure your forearm 1-1.5 inches below your elbow.

In forearm crutch users, the pressure and weight of your lower limb are being carried by your ulna (one of the two bones in your forearm). To prevent secondary ailments attributed to long-term use of forearm crutches such as pain and injuries, make sure that you are using an arm cuff that is properly sized for your forearm.

Home Safety Tips for Crutch Users
Balance and mobility problems following an injury are the reasons why people are using crutches for support. For these reasons, home safety is important to prevent them from sustaining injuries secondary to slips and falls.
  • Keep your everyday items within reach
  • Remove clutter, clean up food spills, and roll up trailing electrical cords
  • Remove slipping hazards from your bathroom by installing grab bars, handheld showers, and non-slip bath mats
  •  Keep your house well-lit
  • Create a clear pathway by rearranging your pieces of furniture
Crutches are great aids for mobility that let you maneuver on your own. You can ask your healthcare provider for assistance and demonstration on the proper use of this equipment to prevent you from developing another complication.

This is a guest blog entry.