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Monday, May 08, 2017

Let’s Clear Up 3 Common Misconceptions About Anxiety

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 40 million adults in the United States are affected by an anxiety disorder. Each case of anxiety has unique causes and can be associated with other related illnesses – such as sleep or eating disorders, chronic pain and substance abuse.

From the outside, the symptoms of anxiety may look like nothing more than senseless stress or worry. Many people who are battling an anxiety disorder, however, know how impairing it can be.

There are all too many myths associated with anxiety disorders. Allowing anxiety to go unchecked can lead to harmful stigma, preventing those with a disorder from seeking help. If left untreated, some forms of anxiety can lead to other issues, such as depression and substance abuse.

Let’s take a look at three common misconceptions about anxiety and why they are inaccurate.

Myth: Anxiety Always Stems from Past Experiences 

Although a challenging childhood can be related to anxiety, the two circumstances do not always go hand in hand. Even people with fond memories of childhood can develop anxiety in their adult years. People with anxiety that does not stem from childhood can encounter further issues when forced to search for a problem that simply is not there.

Anxiety Can Be Caused by Many Factors 

It is often assumed that someone with an anxiety disorder suffered a traumatic experience in the past that he or she did not properly deal with. Most anxiety disorders are more general in nature. While certain fears and phobias do exist, in most cases, past trauma is not the root cause.

Myth: Anxious People Should Avoid Whatever Causes Anxiety 

Avoiding stressful situations is simply not possible. Anxiety has evolutionary benefits to help us focus in an emergency and power through tough situations. Not every stressful situation will cause anxiety for someone with the disorder, and experiencing little bits of anxiety at a time can actually help reduce fear of a certain situation.

Avoiding Situations Can Reinforce Fear 

By running away from situations known to cause stress, a separation is created between the feared encounters and the person with anxiety. This separation will grow every time the situation is purposely avoided, and the fear will grow with it. Rather than easing the anxiety, evasion can remind the anxious person of their fears, and he or she may begin to form a weak self-image as a result.

Myth: Anxious People Should Turn to Substances to Ease Their Symptoms 

To some, anxiety disorders are considered harmless, so those suffering from the condition may not seek professional treatment. This behavior can lead to self-medicating and eventually a dependence on alcohol. For many people, having a drink or two can help “take the edge off,” but for someone with anxiety, it can be an unhealthy escape.

Self-medicating is a way of avoiding the disorder rather than confronting it. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable with therapy and other non-invasive methods, so turning to substances should not be an option.

Substances Are Habit-Forming 

People with anxiety disorders are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to smoke than their peers. Likewise, they are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol. These substances may temporarily relieve anxiety symptoms, but they can have debilitating long-term effects that make the mental illness much worse.

Don’t Shy Away from Anxiety Disorder Treatment 

Only one-third of the people suffering from an anxiety disorder in the United States receive proper treatment. Recent research has shown that community acceptance can greatly reduce the negative impacts of anxiety. By debunking the common myths associated with this group of disorders, we hope to help those with anxiety – and their families – to reach out and ask for help.

To learn even more about anxiety disorders, visit the website for Maryland Recovery, a prestigious substance abuse and social anxiety disorder treatment center based less than an hour northeast of Baltimore.

This is a guest blog entry.

What’s New About Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring has shown promise in the healthcare field for a long time now, being regarded as a viable solution for the increasing number of the aging population and chronic diseases.

This comes as no surprise at all, especially when it brings to the table cheap technology, varying workflow degrees and accessible digital infrastructure that allow healthcare workers a centralized location to monitor patients and to intervene for those at-risk.

The current situation 

While this monitoring system comes as a panacea to healthcare, the reality is that the present healthcare system is still at baby steps when it comes to adopting this technology-influenced healthcare solution. Sure, there have been a number of successful pilots, yet looking at the bigger picture, most healthcare systems continue to operate using the traditional approach when it comes to dealing with patients with chronic disease.

On the upside, the issues that once hindered remote patient monitoring programs in the past—security, usability, implementation, and interoperability—have become less relevant at present because of how today’s technology, guidelines, and standards have matured.

Baby steps 

According to a recent survey appointed by the KPMG LLP, about three-fourths of healthcare workers are currently implementing steps in virtual care, while a third of them are already using remote patient monitoring initiatives to effectively engage patients. This leads to the possibility that more of these programs, as well as access to care, are coming for the healthcare industry.

KPMG principal, Michael Beaty, observes that this is a strategic shift in how healthcare providers perceive the importance of digital health capabilities, such as enhanced web portals, virtual health applications, and referral management tools in providing continuous and accessible patient care.

With this technology, the constraint of geography is removed from the healthcare field, overall improving patient commitment and promoting convenience, all the while delivering higher quality healthcare to far-off areas.

The fate of RPM in 2017 

One of the trending topics on last year’s Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference was the normalization of data succeeding the publication of the Health Level 7 standards, which resulted to the establishment of documented protocols to ensure a unified provider experience despite various software systems. This simplifies workflow in the clinical area in the long run.

Likewise, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act has formulated a set of requirements that allowed healthcare chief information officers to spend less time when it comes to their data security tasks. On the other hand, another trend has been the increasing awareness and development of medical sensors and devices that ingeniously collects critical medical biometrics and transmits them in a verifiable approach, as compared to manual input that proves to be more error-prone.

The emergence of these trends may prove that 2017 could be the best year for remote patient monitoring to set sail. Because healthcare systems are gradually moving on from executing electronic health records, they might be able to explore more ways to maximize their digital infrastructure—graduating from a records repository to a universal approach in the form of an electronic solution, which can produce better patient outcomes and generate savings.

RPM and beyond 

Looking at it, the reality may not be too far-fetched as it seems. Currently, remote patient monitoring seems to be gathering momentum, and it won’t be too long to witness its adoption to entire healthcare systems across the globe. Soon, health coaching can be directly done in patients’ homes. Timely alerts and tips for patients can be delivered. Patient engagement will improve like never before.

With the increasing positive trends inclined to remote patient monitoring systems, technology can be easily transformed soon from a remote tele-monitoring instrument utilized for specific chronic diseases into simpler yet more generalizable platforms that improve patient engagement and healthcare access.

This is a guest blog entry.

Friday, May 05, 2017

5 Facts About Stretching You Should Know

First introduced in 1976, the popular Stretch Armstrong action figure wowed kids across the world with his super flexibility and elastic powers. Manufactured to be about 15 inches tall, Stretch Armstrong could be pulled and stretched to anywhere between 4 and 5 feet, briefly remaining expanded before shrinking back to its original size.

Unlike Stretch Armstrong who was filled with latex rubber and corn syrup gel, humans have a little tougher time getting the hang of the stretching thing. If you’re looking to boost your flexibility or simply fight off aches and pains with routine stretching, know these important tips:

Hold Stretches for 30 Seconds

Forget quickly touching your toes, bouncing for a few seconds, and returning to standing position. This does little for long term flexibility and truly doesn’t benefit your muscles very much at all. When you stretch, your muscles experience an automatic reflex (myotatic reflex) that aims to contract the muscle back into its original position. If you hold the stretch for an extended amount of time, the message to contract gets overridden with a message to relax (autogenic inhibition), helping lengthen and stretch the muscle to maintain tone, strength, and range of motion.

Stretch After Exercise

Stretching is best done when muscles are warm and pliable, hence, stretching after exercising (cardio, aerobic, strength training) is more suitable for your muscles. Want to warm up your muscles before your workout? Take more dynamic actions like jumping jacks, a brisk walk, or burpees. Exercises like yoga and tai chi, in turn, incorporate gentle stretching into the practice itself, combined with deep breathing and held positions - mindfulness practices like these help you warm up muscles, lengthen your spine, and ramp up your flexibility.

Elasticity and Plasticity are Different

Elasticity is simply your body’s ability to return to it’s original position and form after stretching, while plasticity is its ability for the skeletal muscles to lengthen and adapt overtime. The skeletal musculature of the human body is absolutely remarkable. Natural reflexes that cue muscles to relax and contract when you stretch are conducive to proper elasticity, and overtime as those muscles modify and physiologically restructure with routine stretching, you experience plasticity as well. A proper balance of the two supports functional flexibility that powers strong biomechanics, balance, and coordination.

Stretching Won’t 100% Prevent Injury


While flexibility is important to preventing muscle strains, tears, and inflammation, no studies have proven that it can fully prevent injury. What stretching does do is prevent muscles from becoming short and tight. Stiff muscles which lack elasticity are more susceptible to injury from a sudden onset of strenuous activity or impact - this can lead to pain and even affect joint health, as joints rely on the fluid movement of muscles and other connective tissues.

Stretching Tools Can Help


Experiencing pain specifically in the foot? Or is muscle inflammation targeted mostly in your neck and shoulders? There are stretching tools that support and promote continuous stretching movements to alleviate swelling, pain, and even help prevent injury. A calf stretcher, for example, aids the foot in helpful stretches which benefit the calf and plantar fascia muscles. Exercise balls can be used to help stretch the spine and associated muscles and tendons, while foam rollers target almost every appendage, helping stretch back muscles to your glutes, hamstrings, calves and even your ankles.

Stretching and maintaining flexibility as you age is vital to not just leading an active and healthy lifestyle, but to preventing falls as well. Flexibility might mean the difference between tripping over a cord on the floor and quickly catching your balance, or tripping over a cord on the floor and falling to the ground, hurting yourself and possibly even going to the hospital. You may not bend, stretch, and tie into knots quite like Stretch Armstrong, but with routine (and proper) stretching, you can certainly get close.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Things to Check before Choosing a Hip Replacement Surgeon

With the advancement in medical science and technology, joint replacement has become much easier with faster recovery. However, if you are planning on getting a hip replacement surgery, you need to know that it can change the way you sit, sleep, and stand or even walk. And that is why you need to be extra alert, especially in choosing the right surgeon. You must make all attempts in verifying that the surgeon chosen by you is highly skilled and experienced to give you the desired results post surgery. Reading this article, you will learn about some important things that should be checked before choosing a Hip Replacement surgeon.

Surgical Approach and Experience with it


One of the main aspects to consider before selecting a surgeon, such as Dr. Nakul Karkare for a hip replacement surgery is their approach and experience. He is known to be a specialist with years of experience in Fluoroscopy that ensures a perfect fit of the replaced joint.

Generally, the traditional posterior approach is followed in such surgeries but due to development of newer technologies, many surgeons have started trying an anterior approach and even a minimally invasive approach to conduct a hip replacement surgery. What is most important here is to know the experience of the surgeon, so that you don’t end up being an experimental patient for the surgeon trying a new approach.

Expected Results Post Surgery


Another vital aspect to check before choosing a hip replacement surgeon is to know the estimate of expected results post-surgery (e.g., successful vs unsuccessful outcomes). Although this type of replacement surgery is successful in almost all patients you must not take everything for granted. So be sure to ask about expected results in your particular case and what would be the measures to control pain after the surgery. Additionally, ask questions related to mobility and other medications required post-surgery.

Options for Replacement Prosthetic Materials

Also check with your surgeon about the various options available for replacement prosthetic materials. The common hip replacement prosthetic materials are available in ceramic, plastic, metal and sometimes the combination of any of these materials. An experienced surgeon will always consider your specific case and suggest the best material option as a replacement part for your hip.
Possible Complications and Risks

Another important question to ask your hip replacement surgeon before the actual hip replacement surgery is the list of possible risks and complications. Don’t solely be fixated on with the benefits of this surgery. You must be well aware of its complications before the surgery, especially if you are suffering from some pre-existing health problems like diabetes, heart diseases, or high blood pressure. Thus, ensure that the surgeon can frankly inform you about the possible risks related to your pre-existing health problems and the hip replacement surgery.

Precautions before the Surgery

Last of all, make sure to ask about any precautions before the surgery from your chosen hip replacement surgeon. It is in fact very important to know certain do’s and don’ts prior to the surgery such as any lifestyle changes such as losing weight or gaining muscles around the hip. You may also ask whether there are any medicines to take prior to the surgery and any specific post surgery modifications or rehabilitation required.

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Common Changes to your body during Pregnancy

From the moment you become pregnant, your body starts the wonderful process of making a baby. This can be both a joyous time and also very difficult, as some mothers need time and help to adjust to their new body and the symptoms of pregnancy.

Almost every part of a woman’s body will change during pregnancy, and if it’s your first time, these changes can seem a little overwhelming. Some things such as discharge during pregnancy can be worrying, but others are very normal. Here are some of the things that will happen to your body as the weeks and months progress.

Congestion

Because of a higher than normal blood volume you can start to suffer from nasal congestion and a runny nose. This is perfectly normal but can be a little annoying. Using a saline spray will help you to clear up the mucus and dry up the nasal passages.

Frequent Urination

Often the curse of pregnancy is the near constant need to go to the toilet. This is caused initially by a higher volume of blood through the kidneys. Later on, in pregnancy, the weight of the baby pressing down on the bladder can also have a similar effect. At this point, you may feel like you need to urinate all the time.

Heartburn

Another problem during pregnancy is heartburn and wind. This is most common during the later stages and can be triggered by almost anything. It’s the result of the baby squeezing your stomach upwards and the valve of the stomach becoming looser. This causes the stomach acid to go up into the esophagus.

Thankfully in recent years, heartburn remedies such as Tums and Rennies were deemed safe during pregnancy.

Shortness of Breath

Towards the end of the pregnancy, the same squashing that is causing the heartburn will also squeeze your diaphragm. This can lead to shortness of breath even if you are only doing very little. If this happens, it is good time to take things easy and avoid strenuous activities. Sometimes laying on your side can alleviate the feeling.

Discharge

One of the worries women have when they are pregnant is blood and discharge. It can be normal to have discharge during pregnancy, but as with anything else, if you think that something is wrong, you should consult with your doctor.

Blood again can be common in pregnancy, but it should be monitored by your doctor to make sure there is nothing amiss.

Aches and Pains

Aches and pains are an unfortunate problem and one that can happen throughout pregnancy. Not only are the tendons and ligaments stretching, but the extra pressure on the back can cause pain and in some cases lead to trapped nerves and sciatica.

These are some of the things that can cause problems during pregnancy. Others can be constipation, tender breasts, changes to teeth and nails becoming brittle.

Although all of these things could be deemed a burden, they are usually not harmful to the mother or the baby. However, it is important however to keep regular check-ups with your doctor.

This is a guest blog posting.

Cycling – A Health Boost or a Danger?

While cycling has become more popular over recent years, and people are feeling significant health benefits from cycling, there is a population of people that are too scared to take to the roads by bicycle.

This isn’t necessarily a reflection of their own cycling ability but more of a concern for their safety in terms of being hit by a vehicle. Therefore, large investment has been made to try and ensure more cycling lanes are available, but there are still many areas where people feel concerned for their safety when cycling on the road.

Cyclists often complain that drivers are unaware of how much room that they should leave when overtaking a cyclist and this can result in accidents. Similarly, not checking inside mirrors for cyclists is a common problem. Did you know that in 2013 over 900 cyclists were killed in the US and there were around half a million cyclists injured and required a visit to the emergency department? These stats are off-putting, but we must remember that everything is relative. People driving cars have much higher levels of protection than cyclists, but there are still large numbers of traffic accident related injuries each year. Additionally, if you have been injured in a traffic accident, then you should speak to a Chicago personal injury attorney from phillipslawoffices to get some advice on how to pursue a claim.

Unfortunately, there are dangers in most daily activities - even from crossing the road, so people shouldn’t be put off cycling because of the potential dangers. Cycling is great for your health and mental well-being, so you should get out on your bike as much as you can. As well as weight loss and muscle gain, being outdoors and exercising will give you a big mental boost to thanks to an increase in endorphins.

If you are thinking about starting cycling and want to know how to stay as safe as you possibly can, you should check the cdc.gov website for ways to prevent injuries. So for example, wearing a helmet is highly important, and many of the serious accidents could have been prevented if the person was wearing a cycling helmet. You might think that they look silly, but that should be the least of your concerns when you are going out on a bike. Other measures that you can take are wearing highly visible clothing with reflectors on and having good quality lights on your bike.

You obviously also have a responsibility as a cyclist to use the road in a safe manner, so make sure that you are aware of the necessary road laws to help you to stay safe and to protect the safety of others. If you are cycling for leisure, you can find routes that are specifically designed for cyclists or that are particularly safe from road hazards. You can download apps for your phone to find routes near to you or visit the adventurecycling.org website to find out more information and to download maps.

Cycling is a great way to see the world, boost your health and save on travel expenses so get on your bike and stay safe!

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

When Is It Time to See a Doctor About Foot Pain?

Foot pain is an increasingly common complaint that doctors surprisingly hear little about. 87% of older adults report experiencing foot pain according to an International Council on Active Aging study, but alerting this change to caregivers or healthcare providers is rare.

Why? As we age, many of us assume foot pain is simply par for the course and we shouldn’t think much of it. Any type of pain that negatively affects day to day living, however, is detrimental to your health. Foot pain is especially jeopardizing - it can impair mobility and prevent adults from staying active and exercising. Those unhealthy behaviors then quickly translate into weight gain, diminished heart health, weakness, and even cognitive decline. So when exactly is it time to see a doctor about foot pain?

When Other Treatments Aren’t Working

A simple search online reveals loads of non-medicinal paths you can take towards alleviating foot pain. Orthotic inserts that provide arch support and cushioning, bunion night splints that help prevent bunions from progressing, Epsom salt soaks, electrolyte supplements, even getting your foot measured and buying a new pair of well-fitting shoes - if none of these tactics seem to relieve your chronic foot pain, it is time to visit your doctor and see if you need a referral to a podiatrist.

When You Are Experiencing Multiple Falls

Experiencing a fall can be life-threatening for older adults - bruises, hip fractures, lacerations, and sprains can result in hospitalization and long recovery times. Say your fall doesn’t warrant a trip to the doctor? Don’t get ahead of yourself. If foot, ankle or leg pain have you falling multiple times within a month, visiting a doctor as soon as possible is a must. In order to maintain your mobility, addressing your foot pain and any other potential causes of your falls (environmental barriers, loss in vision, reduced balance, etc.) needs to happen right away.

When Pain is Moving Up Your Leg

If your chronic foot pain is beginning to radiate up your leg, get to an MD right away. Serious conditions like Achilles tendinitis (where the tissue connecting your calf and heel becomes inflamed) can cause throbbing pain in your leg, while foot pain from heel spurs and stone bruises which obstruct your normal way of walking can result in strain and inflammation in your ankle and surrounding tissue.

When You Notice Visible Deformities

Feet so often go under the radar that visible inspections of them might not be on your daily schedule. Visible deformities like hammer toe (where one of your toes becomes permanently bent downwards), bunions (a bony swollen bump next to your big toe) and even swollen infections from ingrown toenails should be addressed by your doctor so a treatment plan can be developed quickly.

Being proactive is a key ingredient in the recipe of aging. Just as you get preventative screenings and wellness checkups for your lungs, colon, prostate, breasts, heart, eyes, ears, and muscles, so should you pay attentive care to your feet. Don’t let foot pain get the better of you - early conversations and proactive action can relieve pain, extend your mobility, and help you live a longer, fuller life.

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, April 24, 2017

4 Tips for Reducing Serious Medical Conditions

The challenges of staying as well as possible as the years keep rolling on can be numerous.  When it comes to battling age and the many health issues that can occur, you may be a bit overwhelmed. However, the key to getting through the years with as few health problems as possible will rest in what you do each day.

Taking care of your body should be high on your list of priorities and is sure to allow you to suffer less with high cholesterol, diabetes or even coronary heart disease. These are devastating illnesses that may require you to seek one of the Top 50 prescription drugs filled in the U.S. Being aware of ways you can work to have the best health possible and avoid these serious medical conditions is sure to be in your best long-term interest.

Tip #1:  Stay active

The key to keeping your heart and body strong may rest in the amount of exercise you do on a routine basis for increased fitness.  You can work to do this by doing various types of activities that you truly enjoy.

In fact, studies show that 42 million women are currently suffering from some cardiovascular disease. This is an astounding number, and many of these females may not even be aware of this issue.

Of course, the first thing you will want to do is to check with your doctor to ensure you’re well enough to exercise. Then, simply get started moving each day for a healthier you and a stronger heart.

Tip #2: Eat well

Being able to enjoy a diet that is full of nutritious foods and loaded with the right essential ingredients for good health is ideal. This will allow you to enjoy the potential of having better health and a reduced possibility of suffering from any of the medical conditions listed above during your lifetime.

You will want to be sure to avoid eating foods that are loaded with sugar or sodium if you want to feel your best on a daily basis. These can cause a multitude of issues over time and are sure to sneak up on you as you get older.

However, eating a diet that is loaded with fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and other key nutritional ingredients is sure to be the ideal way to be your healthiest. Taking the time to add these to your day, week and month are sure to be the best method for feeling your best and stressing less in the process.

Tip #3: Manage stress

One of the biggest problems in your life that can hurt your health is stress. The body doesn’t act in a positive way to stress, and this means you will want to take the time to have better control over it.
Stress can contribute to heart issues and high cholesterol over time. The more upset and full of anxiety you may be the more likely you will suffer problems in these areas.

Take time out for yourself on a daily basis by meditating or simply finding easier ways to handle the challenges of your life. This may be the key to reducing some of the anxiety you have and could enable you to feel much better mentally and physically.

Tip #4: Become more spiritual

One of the things that truly helps some people not only feel better but to have more faith during challenging times is to become more spiritual. This means taking the time to invest in going to church or learning about a higher power that allows you to believe in it.

You can make your life much better when you simply believe it can happen and look for guidance from other sources along the way.

The key to having the life you want and working to avoid many of the problems that may start to happen with age is to take care of your body. By investing a small amount of time each day into doing the things listed above, you may be much more likely to reach your goals of doing so and avoiding medication and doctors in the process. You’re worth the effort it takes, and the key to your success will rest in what you do!

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Five Energy-Boosting Snacks to Get You through Studying for Finals

Whether you’re studying for your masters in health informatics online or on-campus, there’s no denying that finals are one of the most stressful periods for students. No matter which level of degree you are studying for, the results for your final exams often have a lot riding on them – including the overall grade that you get when graduating from your degree program.

So, it’s no surprise that when combined with the other commitments and stresses of life, finals can quickly tip a student over the edge and leave them neglecting to look after themselves. But, fueling yourself with energy drinks and junk food, or even worse – forgetting to eat altogether – can be disastrous not only for your health but also your grades. So, we’ve listed some healthy, convenient energy-boosting snacks to stock up on for finals.

1. Fresh Apples and Bananas

Most fresh fruit is easy to snack on since it comes prepared or is easy enough to prepare with little effort. Popular fruits such as apples and bananas can easily be thrown into your study bag and taken to the library to munch on whilst you get on with your revision. Since these fruits and many others are loaded with vitamin C and other antioxidants, they’ll help to keep you alert and energetic for much longer.

2. Berries

Blueberries have long had a reputation for being a ‘brain-booster’. But, don’t just go for the blue variety – strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are all rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that go a long way for giving you an energy boost. For even better results, snack on berries with nuts for added protein and healthy fat.

3. Popcorn

Popcorn isn’t just for a trip to the cinema or a cozy movie night with your friends! In fact, snacking on your favorite mid-blockbuster treat can help to raise your energy levels and help you get the most out of your final revision sessions for your online MSHI degree at Adelphi University. But, be careful – some popcorn is laden with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients; this will have the opposite effect. Instead, air-pop some kernels yourself and top them with a small amount of olive or coconut oil for flavor.

4. Trail Mix


Nuts, seeds and dried fruits all make for awesome energy-boosting snacks, so, why not combine your favorites to make a tasty trail mix? For the best results, include dried fruits with minimal sugar and add complex carbs in the form of whole grains to help keep you fuller for longer and provide the ultimate stamina boost.

5. Peanut Butter

A peanut butter dip for your fruit is a tasty treat that will keep you feeling awake and energetic as you study. Organic nut butter is the best option; try to avoid anything that’s filled with additional sugars, flavorings, and additives. Or, you can save money with delicious home-made peanut butter.

What are your favorite healthy snacks to take to the library when you’re studying for exams at college? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Five Keys to Fitness Success


When you decide to get fit, you’re deciding to go on a journey and reach a specific goal. It takes more than you would think to achieve and maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. One of the first major keys to successfully living that fit lifestyle is learning how you can transform yourself through capabilities you didn’t even know you had. Every step you take could potentially push your fitness journey further than you can possibly imagine.

Here are the five keys to fitness success.

Motivation 

The first key to success is to decide your goal and the reasons you have for achieving it.

You need a motivation that is powerful enough to leave you feeling it when you don’t reach your goals. It could be something like losing 15 pounds to get back in your favorite jeans. It’s as simple as that. You have your motivation to lose just 15 pounds. Everything needs to be focused on the motivating factor. This should be a singular goal that carries no attachments. Just the desire to lose those 15 pounds. Now you’re ready for the next step; which is actually losing the weight.

Determination 

In order to achieve your goal of losing 15 pounds, you need to have the belief that you can do it. This uncompromising faith and belief in yourself is going to be the key to success. Don’t tell yourself excuses or let reasons to not succeed settle. Tell yourself that you can – and will – lose the weight.

Commitment 

You’re getting there. You have an understanding of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and that you won’t let anything stop you. The next step is to fully commit to the journey. It’s not going to always be straightforward or easy – and you are going to have to some work – but you can be sure it will all be worth it. Understand that every productive thing you do will bring you one step closer, and keep reminding yourself of this.

Planning 

The truth is that failing to plan means planning to fail. You should plan out every day you can:

•    When – and for how long – are you going to exercise?
•    What food are you going to eat, and when are you going to eat it?
•    When are you going to cook your food, and how often will you do it?
•    How much food will you have to buy to keep to your goal?
•    What exercises will you be doing?
•    What about taking time for yourself and your family?

These questions should be thought of milestones on the journey to success. You have to answer every question. You’ll find that it takes less time to do things consistently when you spend longer answering the questions honestly and creating a plan around them.

A Sense of Humor

Having a good sense of humor is the final key for fitness success. It’s important to have a sense of humor because laughter literally burns calories, and it gives you the freedom to be able to laugh at yourself. If you can laugh at yourself, you’ll be able to see the funny side when things aren’t going perfectly.

That’s the thing; no one said things would go perfectly. There will be some missed workouts, broken equipment, things that eat up your time, lack of support, and even those days where you just don’t feel like it on your journey. If you can keep your sense of humor along the way though, you’ll have some gems for the next person you see who needs to be cheered up and could do with a good laugh to push them along their own journey.

If you are able to put all these keys together, you’re guaranteed to succeed. Given how hard you work to reach your fitness goals, you shouldn’t have an issue maintaining the healthy lifestyle it took to reach them. This page is a great way to get started!

This is a guest blog post.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The 5 C’s for Taking Care of Elderly Parents in Your Home

Expecting the extended company of your elderly parent? When taking care of elderly parents in your home, there are numerous considerations to take into account and prepare for - where will they sleep, who will handle transportation, what will they do, the list goes on. When bringing your elderly parent into your home to live, remember these 5 c’s:

Comfort: Comfort doesn’t just mean a warm bed and a TV to watch. Comfort for your elderly parent takes into consideration all those things which make them feel safe, healthy, and purposeful. Safety comes about through helping prevent falls by clearing away clutter, laying down reflective guide tape on stairs and ledges, and installing grab bars and rails where necessary by stairs and bathtubs.

The comfort of knowing their health is under control is also a huge stress-reliever for elderly parents. Organized medicine cabinets and pill boxes, regular check-ups with the doctor, help managing refills on prescriptions and supplies - all of these types of small assistance really add up to preventing stress and frustration with your elderly parent.

Communication: Learning to live with a new person is one thing, learning to live with your elderly parent when you’re an adult yourself is another. There can be an adjustment period as you work on communication in close proximity and feel each other’s expectations out. Remember, your parent might be frustrated or anxious about losing their own living independence, so recognizing this and communicating your own understanding can be incredibly helpful.

Schedules can also serve as vital communication tools. A set structure for the day can help elderly parents, especially those experiencing early stages of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, feel more confident and operate more successfully in their day. An agenda for waking up, taking medicine, eating meals, exercising, watching TV, and doing hobbies not only gives your elderly parent more control over their day and activities, but helps them plan ahead and commits certain actions to body memory.

Cooking: Nutrition and hydration play important roles in the mental and physical health of any human being, but in particular to an elderly parent who lives with you. Senior citizens can quickly become dehydrated because they often don’t get up for food or drink unless it is readily made available to them.

In addition to that, special diets and restrictions might make regular eating a bit more complex for your elderly parent - low-sodium diets to control blood pressure and heart disease, low-sugar and low-carb diets to control diabetes, foods high in calcium to fight bone loss, the list goes on. Avoiding processed and junk foods as well as sugary beverages like juice cocktails and soda, is a great first step in fostering a food environment that benefits your parent’s health. Planning out a menu together, understanding the dietary requirements handed down from their doctor or dietitian, and getting your parent in on the fun of cooking will also encourage healthy eating and drinking habits while they live with you.

Cleaning: Over half of all falls experienced by seniors happen in the home, and sadly, 1 in 3 seniors over the age of 65 will experience a fall. Having an elderly parent living with you means you need to be extra aware of clutter, trip hazards, and the health consequences of falling for older adults, including hip fractures, sprains and broken bones, head injuries, and hospitalization.

Removing large, unused furniture from your loved one’s room frees up space for them to move around with ease. Making sure small objects, cords, curled up corners of carpets, even pets aren’t in common walkways can also help keep your parent from tripping.

Connection: Helping your elderly parent rediscover passions and purpose in their life will combat the feelings of loss and anxiety that accompany no longer being able to live on their own. Social isolation quickly targets the elderly, especially those who need to arrange transportation to get out or who feel like a burden because their now-limited ability requires them to live with you.

Connecting your elderly parent with resources in the community - whether it’s a program at the local senior center or library, an exercise class at the YMCA, or a club or group they can join for social outings - demonstrates a willingness on your part to not just provide a home for them, but care about their well-being and happiness in old age.

Finally, don’t forget the the legal conditions that come with having an elderly parent live with you. Updating their address with Medicare, the Social Security Administration, and the postal service, in addition to handling durable and healthcare power of attorney documents are important administrative duties that will fall to you.

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, April 10, 2017

6 Natural Foods That Aid in Digestion

Tired of daily digestive problems like constipation, nausea, and gas? Before you head to the digestive support aisle of your pharmacy, consider natural, food-based alternatives that can be just as effective and even healthier.

Ginger

The ginger root has a unique way when consumed to stimulate saliva, bile and gastric juices that aid in digestion. When made into tea, ginger offers muscle relaxant properties that can help relieve built up pockets of gas in your intestines and alleviate bloating too. Instead of tea, you can also drink a ginger “shot” - buy in a whole or natural foods store, or make your own with grated ginger root, a little honey, orange juice and pinch of turmeric. Ginger shot benefits include reducing feelings of nausea and indigestion as well as a reduction in blood sugar, inflammation and muscle pain.

Zucchini

The water-rich, non-starchy zucchini is a member of the summer squash family and is technically a fruit, though many refer to it as a vegetable. Low in calories but offering appreciable amounts of potassium, Vitamin C and fiber, zucchinis are believed to help fight inflammation in the gastrointestinal system as well as clean the walls of the intestines helping eliminate potential toxins.

Water

That’s right, simple clean water is a must for healthy digestion. In conjunction with eating fiber-rich meals and cutting back on fatty, processed foods, drinking water with meals can help break food down faster and aid in constipation. Experts recommend getting 8 to 9 cups of water a day with the most common reminder being to drink a cup of water with each meal.

Greek Yogurt

The healthy probiotics found in greek yogurt play a miraculous role in fighting off bad bacteria in your gut that can make you sick. Probiotics are simply “good bacteria” that can be found in full force in greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is technically the thicker, more protein-rich product after the whey is strained out from yogurt. With live active cultures of bacteria including S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei, greek yogurt helps balance your gut flora and replace the good bacteria that may be lost (like when you take antibiotics).

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut, or shredded cabbage that is fermented, is what experts call a lacto-fermented or “cultured vegetable.” Sauerkraut offers health-promoting detoxifying powers, beneficial enzymes, vitamins and gut-pleasing probiotics. When consumed, naturally fermented sauerkraut assists in breaking down other foods and making them easier to digest. Other fermented foods like kimchi, pickles, and kefir play similar roles in activating healthy digestion.

Black Beans


Potent black beans pack a serious fiber punch (116% of your daily value per serving!), helping prevent constipation and encourage regular bowel movements. Fiber helps keep things moving in your digestive tract and removes toxins, waste and materials your body doesn’t need. In addition, it absorbs fluid and adds bulk to your fecal material making it easier for your body to eliminate.

If it sounds like your stomach is talking to you sometimes, you might want to consider holding off on taking another pill or powder and try natural digestive aids instead. Fiber, probiotics, and other naturally occurring vitamins and nutrients found in foods like ginger, cultured vegetables, and greek yogurt could be your ticket to digestive wellness.

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

New Hope for Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients

New research offers hope for patients with advanced metastatic breast cancer. Most breast cancer is estrogen receptive, and although treatments are often successful at the beginning, patients become resistant over time. Researchers have now discovered a molecular cause for hormone therapy resistance, which could lead to better cancer treatment for millions of women (and men).

Metastatic breast cancer is a progression of cancer to other areas of the body. This aggressive form of cancer, which is also referred to as advanced cancer or stage 4, can spread if the initial cancer treatments were not successful.

There are several ways that breast cancer can spread throughout the body, and they all occur if cancer cells:

•    Produce new tumors
•    Travel in the bloodstream
•    Invade and replicate in normal cells
•    Move into tissue

The Symptoms

One of the main symptoms that Arizona State University online nursing degree professionals say is a sign of metastatic breast cancer is confirmation that cancer has spread to a nearby area of the body.

The symptoms of lung cancer are often non-existent, but if the patient does experience symptoms, they usually suffer from chest pain, the coughing up of blood or shortness of breath.

In a patient that notices an increase in headaches, nausea, vomiting or changes in their vision, cancer may have possibly spread to the brain.

A diagnosis of liver cancer usually occurs after an individual has complaints of a rash, itchy skin, yellowing of the skin and eyes and a loss of appetite.

If cancer spreads to an individual’s bones, the person may experience swelling, moderate to severe pain and compression of their spinal cord. A decline in mobility and an increase in bone fractures are also common symptoms.

Although these are these are the common symptoms of stage 4 breast cancer, online RN to BSN degree nurses stress the importance of patients not self-diagnosing nor ignoring these symptoms.

The Treatment

Different treatment regimens can be used for patients with metastatic breast cancer. However, the treatment that is used will be dependent on the type of cancer the patient has, or the hormone receptor status of the patient.

Almost two out of every three breast cancer cases have positive results for these hormone receptors. The patients are then diagnosed as Progesterone receptor positive breast cancer or Estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancer.

Hormone therapy can help to lower progesterone and estrogen levels in the body, and this therapy can also be used to block these hormones’ effects on the patient’s body. This type of treatment is generally used when a patient has ER-positive breast cancer. Chemotherapy and surgery to remove the cancerous cells are also treatment options for patients.

What is the Outlook?

Again, the outlook for the disease is dependent on the type of cancer the patient has. It will also depend on where cancer has spread to and how much of the area is affected. The predicted survival rate is up to two years, but the time-frame varies. In fact, the ACS (American Cancer Society) has released several reports that have shown over 20 percent of patients with metastatic breast cancer have survived over five years after treatment.

This shows that people may live productive lives after a diagnosis and treatment regimen. However, it always best to speak with your physician regarding your specific circumstances.

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, April 03, 2017

5 Rainy Day Indoor Exercises for Seniors

We all know the saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” right? If you’re stuck indoors on a rainy or overcast day this season, don’t let that keep you from staying active and even exercising. Check out these 5 fun, effective exercise ideas for seniors on a rainy day:

Chair Yoga: Worried that any type of yoga means twisting yourself up like a pretzel? Think again. Chair yoga and gentle yoga are go-to mindful exercises that focus more on relaxation, meditation, gentle stretching, and deep breathing. Perfect for rainy days, yoga can be done indoors without a chair, bracing yourself against a chair, or even sitting down in a chair (good for seniors with mobility issues). Yoga is proven to help relieve back pain, lower high blood pressure, and alleviate feelings of stress.

Livestream instructional yoga videos right to your TV or computer, and practice yoga in the comfort of your own home. Search online at Youtube.com or DoYogaWithMe.com for “senior yoga,” “chair yoga,” “beginners yoga,” or “restorative yoga,” to find helpful, motivational videos that both introduce you to yoga and take you through a beginners routine.

Pedal Exercising: Catching up on your favorite classic movies while it pours outside? What if you could be exercising while you sit and watch? Pedal exercisers are the latest trend in at-home exercise equipment that is especially beneficial for seniors.

Basically a small, portable piece of equipment that mimics a stationary bike, pedal exercisers can be used with the feet to strengthen leg and feet muscles, or with the hands to help build arm muscles and bone density. The best pedal exercisers offer adjustable resistance settings, non-slip rubber pedal grips, and lightweight portability. Shop online or ask at your local pharmacy to find one for yourself.

Hand Hobbies: How is knitting a scarf exercise you ask? Knitting, crocheting, origami, needlepoint and other hobbies that employ fine motor skills are amazing exercise for your dexterity and cognitive facilities, helping you practice hand eye coordination and critical thinking.

Brain Games: Exercising the mind is just as important as physical fitness for seniors. Games, puzzles, and activities that stimulate brain function and neural pathway connections are vital to lowering seniors’ risks for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

If rainy cloud cover is keeping you inside, trying playing brain games for an hour - Chess, Scrabble, and Sudoku are great examples. If you are without the physical games, look online or in an app store to download digital versions to your computer or mobile device.

Walking: Whether it’s the halls of your apartment or living facility, or joining a local mall-walking group, regular, brisk walking is one of the best exercises you can commit to as a senior. Simple, effective and practical for a rainy day, walking indoors helps boost heart and lung health as well as fight bone loss and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Safety Tips

Whether indoors or out, seniors always need to be careful about exercise - it is vitally important to staying healthy both physically and mentally, but these simple reminders make sure you’re getting the most out of your activity as possible:
  • Depending on your own health and mobility, talk to your doctor before pursuing a brand new exercise activity
  • Always wear proper fitting shoes for any type of exercise to prevent trips and falls
  • Warm up before physical exercises with gentle stretching, and drink lots of water
  • Don’t push yourself to pain - exercising might wear you out but you should never hurt yourself
  • Exercising is more fun with friends! Invite a buddy over to join you in staying active
There’s no excuse for being a couch potato on a rainy day - just because you are indoors doesn’t mean you can’t do your body (and brain) good! Whether it’s playing games, pedal exercising, or even crocheting, rainy day activities can surprisingly benefit your health in more ways than you know.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

6 Tips for Switching to Vaping from Smoking

Recently, scientific studies have shown that smokers who switch to vaping or e-cigarette devices tend to be at a lower risk of smoking-related conditions such as heart disease or lung cancer than those who smoked both electronic cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, or those who continued smoking as normal.

Switching to vaping has long been a popular form of nicotine replacement therapy for smokers; it provides a convenient, familiar method of smoking whilst avoiding the harmful toxins found in traditional cigarettes such as tar and carbon monoxide. If you are considering switching to vaping as a method of giving up cigarettes for good, here are some top tips to help you make the right choices.

Choosing a Type of E-Cigarette

Before you can switch to vaping, you must have your own e-cigarette or vaporizer device. For those just starting out, you might want to consider beginning with a set such as the Evod starter kit, which provides vaping newcomers with everything that they need to get the best start including a battery, atomizer, and a charging cable. In general, most new vapers will begin with a starter kit such as this, before upgrading to a larger style of e-cigarette, such as a box mod vape, if needed.

Understanding E-Liquid

E-liquid tends to be made of three main ingredients; vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and nicotine, along with various flavorings. One of the best parts of switching to vaping from smoking is the wide range of flavors available; no longer will you be limited to simply smoking plain tobacco! Whether you’re into fruity flavors, creamy tastes such as milkshakes or cheesecakes, or even if you want to try vaping something more weird and wonderful, there’s sure to be something available for you. On the other hand, if you decide that you prefer the taste of standard tobacco, you can find a range of tobacco-flavored e-juices, too.

Adjusting Your Nicotine Level

Since it was introduced just a few years ago, vaping has gone from strength to strength, significantly increasing in popularity to become one of the most popular methods of nicotine replacement for giving up smoking. When using vaping as a quitting aid, one of the best ways in which to do this is to gradually reduce the nicotine content in your e-liquid. Remember that a higher concentration of nicotine in your e-liquid is not always a good idea, even if you were previously a heavy smoker. This is because when vaping, you’re more likely to inhale more than you would with cigarettes, which can lead to symptoms of nicotine overdose. So, if you vape a lot, a lower concentration of nicotine is usually the best option.

Finding Out What Works for You

Successfully switching from smoking cigarettes to vaping often requires you to find out what works best for you. For example, whilst some vapers prefer smaller pen-style models or even starter kits, others want to get more technical, combining larger batteries, box mods and atomizers to provide a better vaping experience. Bear in mind that mechanical mods, for example, could be confusing for a vaping beginner. So, be sure to make a choice depending on your level of experience, too. Additionally, don’t be too bothered about appearance – devices that look like cigarettes may be great to start off with, but they are not always suitable for a long-term switch.

Get Social Support


Even with the added benefit of the nicotine found in e-liquid for vaping, it can be difficult to make the switch and get used to the different tastes and experiences. So, it’s important to ensure that you approach the switch in a similar way to how you would approach quitting smoking in general. Social support is often necessary for successfully quitting smoking; it allows smokers to meet people who can offer shared experiences, support and advice. Whether you join a designated support group or seek advice from a friend or family member in a similar situation, this will help you to make an easier switch to vaping.

Choose a Good Vape Provider


Lastly, when switching from smoking cigarettes to vaping, it’s important to make sure that you select products from a reputable, helpful and high-quality manufacturer or supplier. Ideally, you will want to visit a supplier who has a lot of experience in helping smokers choose their first vape for making the switch. A good supplier will be able to consider your personal needs, requirements and wishes to find the perfect vaporizer device for you.

Have you successfully switched from smoking to vaping? Let us know in the comments.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Importance of Footwear for Older Adults

For decades and decades your feet have taken a beating - carrying you over a hundred thousand miles in your lifetime, literally! As we age, a few things can happen that affect foot health including losing feeling in the feet, developing an illness that affects blood circulation to the feet (like diabetes), or incurring an injury or ailment the requires treatment and recovery.

In addition to basic foot care like washing and drying feet regularly, moisturizing them, exercising ankles and toes, and monitoring foot sores, one of the most important things you can do for your health is to wear proper footwear. Here’s why:

Helps Prevent Falls

1 out of 3 seniors will experience a fall, and falls can lead to serious injury including fractured hips, lacerations, broken bones, and bruising. Footwear is a crucial factor in preventing falls in the home and other places because it provides stability and support when walking or standing.

Open-toed shoes that can catch corners of rugs or items on the floor are a recipe for disaster, while closed-toe shoes that are too large and let your foot slip out easily are just as bad. Shoes with larger than a 1-inch heel can also affect balance and coordination, and lead to a fall. Proper fitting shoes should be snug but not too small, hug the heel, provide good arch support, have decent heel cushioning and ankle padding, and be flexible to allow for bending while walking.

Addresses Pain

Foot pain is an increasingly common complaint of older adults with 87% of seniors reporting experiencing at least one foot problem. Foot ailments can include bunions, hammertoes, corns, calluses, heel pain, arthritic affliction, athlete’s foot, and discolored or ingrown toenails. Increased pressure or irritation from any or all of these ailments can be extremely painful, while others can lead to infection if not treated.

Appropriate footwear that does not rub and cause sores or blisters on any part of the foot is super important. Custom orthotics or inserts like plantar fasciitis insoles can take footwear to the next level too by providing added support and pain relief which addresses muscle strain and improper gait.

Promotes Activity

Well-fitting walking shoes can empower regular exercise which is vital to senior health, aiding in preventing hypertension, fighting osteoporosis and heart disease, as well as combating bone loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Depending on your stride, gait, weight, and level of activity (i.e. are you taking brisk walks on a flat road or hiking), the type of walking shoe you need will vary.

So how you do find a great shoe that is going to support you and keep you mobile for years to come? If experiencing a problematic foot issue, visit your doctor or a podiatrist first to seek treatment and discuss footwear needs, i.e. if you experience over pronation (or an exaggerated inward rolling of the feet when you walk), you will need to look for motion control shoes.

On your own, you can do a simple “wet test” to check out what your arch or lack thereof is. Step out from a shallow pool of water (say, in your tub) onto a towel or piece of paper to make a visible footprint. If your footprint is flat, you are lacking an arch (over pronation), if it is crescent shaped, you have an arch (neutral), and if there is barely a crescent shape, you have a high arch (supination).

Visit a local shoe store to find the right shoe for you based on what you know and simple reminders like:

    Ask the salesperson to take an accurate foot measurement

    Request velcro shoes over ones that tie, easier to manage

    Look for wider based shoes that provide more stability

    Make sure there is room for additional inserts if needed

    Avoid backless shoes for walking

    Remember thick rubbery soles can get caught on some surfaces

    Choose lightweight footwear that won’t wear you down

Remaining mobile and staying active as you age is dependent on a combination of factors and actions you take in life. Proper footwear plays such an important role - make sure you have the right shoes for your feet, and happy walking!

This is a guest blog entry.

How buying a new mattress can benefit your health


If you have owned your mattress for several years, chances are it has seen better days. If this is the case, you should not put off buying a new one. Many people pay close attention to replacing their bedding regularly but are less inclined to do the same with their mattress. This is not a good idea as a new mattress does not just help you sleep better; it can also be beneficial to your health.

Let’s examine five ways in which your health can benefit from the purchase of a new mattress. Hopefully, we can help you see why your mattress should be one of the priorities in your life.

Reducing problems with allergies

One of the biggest advantages of having a new mattress is that you can reduce issues with allergies you may have to pests such as dust mites. Even if you replace bedding over the years there is still a good chance that this type of pest could become a problem as your mattress gets older. This type of problem is often of particular concern to people who already suffer with health problems such as asthma.

Helping with the immune system

Your immune system benefits from you getting enough sleep each day. If your mattress needs to be replaced it can prevent you from sleeping as you should. This can reduce the effectiveness of your immune system and lead to you becoming ill more often.

Assisting with memory

You may not realize it but your memory sets as you sleep. This means that anything you have learned that day is consolidated. If your mattress causes you to have disturbed sleep this can have an adverse effect on your memory.

Improving attention levels

If you have ever driven a car after not having enough sleep you know that the situation is not ideal. The fact is that not getting enough sleep can seriously deplete your attention abilities. As you can imagine, when it comes to driving, or actions such as operating machinery, not being able to concentrate can be dangerous.

Helping with back pain

Chronic back pain is something many people suffer with. Having a supportive mattress is essential if you want to relieve back pain as much as possible, to enable you to sleep. If you sleep on an old mattress you risk making your back problems worse.

You can see how buying a new mattress can be important to your health. The good news is that you do not even have to leave your home to make the purchase. If you search for online mattress firms, you can buy a mattress online and have it delivered to your home. Retailers that sell their own brand of mattress solely online will often allow you to test a mattress at home before you buy. This means you get the benefit of affordable online prices while also being able to see if the mattress is suitable before you finalize your purchase.

This is a blog post by Frank Apodaca.

Friday, March 24, 2017

How to supercharge your brain in your spare time


Relaxation is an incredibly important part of our daily lives, and we all need to ensure that our bodies get a regular dose of rest to make sure that they recuperate.

But just because our bodies are relaxed doesn’t mean that our minds have to stagnate, as there is plenty that we can do to give our grey matter a boost even whilst we’re taking it easy.

We’ve already featured a few simple ways that you can improve your mental health. And so if meditation isn’t for you, here are some other ways that you can supercharge your brain in your spare time.

The power of learning

Learning a new skill is a great way to strengthen the connections between different parts of the brain. Whether you’re taking up a new hobby like quilting, or even something like photography, complex tasks can improve our memories and also help stave off a number of mentally debilitating illnesses.

It’s learning a second language that can really pay dividends in boosting the actual size of our brains. And with something as simple as learning French on a handy app like Duolingo giving us an easy way to boost our brainpower, it shows that even if our bodies are stationary, our brains can be getting a good workout!

Games to test your brain

Brain games are not only fun, but they can also boost our short-term memories too. There are plenty of scientifically developed titles like Lumosity out there that can provide a pocket-sized way to expand the power of your minds.

Thankfully, for something more fun, there are many great puzzle games like Dots that can also do a good job in keeping your brain active. As well, poker and blackjack, that can be practiced online on sites such as MrSmithCasino, are giving us chance to improve our long-term strategy skills. We can all get some good brain exercise no matter where we are!

Get social

And regardless of whether you’re playing online blackjack, or learning a new language, it’s become evident that socializing has a massive benefit for our mental faculties.

This is because interacting with others helps to stave off depression and increases our feelings of well-being. People who regularly connect with others also have been shown to have a better aptitude for problem-solving and perform better in memory tests.

So by learning new things, playing challenging games, and even just having a chat we can all improve our brainpower in our spare time!

This is a blog post by Diego Martin.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How to Remain Mobile in Retirement


The freedom and renewed vitality that retirement offers is most strongly linked to your ability to stay active as you age. Retaining your independence and mobility shouldn’t be based on luck; in fact, there are a handful of preventative and empowering things you can do now that will keep you ambulatory in the years to come:

Prevent Falls

With 1 in 3 seniors over 65 experiencing a fall, this is a huge factor when it comes to the discussion of mobility. Preventing falls and therefore hip and leg fractures, sprains, strains and other injuries means preventing many of the causes of immobility. When preventing falls, don’t forget to:

  • Remove clutter and other items around the home which might trip you
  • Add reflective guide tape around doorways, stairs and ledges
  • Install grab bars and assistive equipment to traverse stairs and tricky environments
  • Wear proper fitting shoes with tread that power fluid movement
  • Add non-slip mats to slick kitchen, bathroom & hardwood floors 

Use a Mobility Aid

Experiencing difficulty walking? Is standing for longer than 10 minutes at a time uncomfortable or painful? Rather than resigning oneself to spend most of the day sitting or lying down, taking advantage of a mobility aid could be your key to staying active.

Mobility aids are simply assistive devices or equipment, like canes, walkers and knee scooters, that aid you in getting around by supporting your weight and easing your ability to maneuver multiple environments. Spending any significant amount of time off your feet is actually one of the worst things you can do as you age, leading to weight gain, muscle inflammation and pain, and heart disease, among other things.

Talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about your trouble walking or frequent falling, and ask if a mobility aid is right for you. Oftentimes insurance will cover them with a doctor’s order, or you can buy gently used ones or lease them, like with knee scooter rentals.

Exercise More

Physical activity seems almost antithetical as adults age. Won’t exercising cause injuries that will be harder to heal from? Isn’t exerting myself worse for my older heart and organs? The honest answer: absolutely not. Exercising is actually more important as you age than it was when you were younger.

Why? The health benefits (including maintaining mobility) of routine fitness are even more powerful in retirement because they far outweigh the risks of not exercising. Exercise strengthens muscles as older bodies start to lose muscle mass, it can reverse bone loss which causes osteoporosis, and it helps older adults maintain a healthy weight and heart function as metabolism slows and risks for heart disease and obesity go up.

Engaging, low-impact exercise practices like swimming, yoga, ballroom dancing, playing tennis, brisk walks, and light weightlifting are a great place to start. In addition to physically benefiting your bones and muscles, regular exercise helps lower blood pressure, reduces joint and muscle inflammation, powers healthy sleep, and boosts overall mood.

Get Mental Practice

How can brain stimulation and task-based activity help with your mobility? Your balance, coordination, and memory are crucial components to getting around safely and with ease. Hobbies and games that employ fine motor skills (like quilting, crocheting and Chess) help older adults retain hand eye coordination skills that enable stronger movement and reach as you age.

In addition, mental exercises that stimulate brain function and energize neural pathway connections can help combat dementia and Alzheimer’s - memory loss diseases that can negatively affect day to day function and mobility.

Staying mobile in your Golden Years isn’t a matter of crossing your fingers and wishing for the best. Act now and take the simple but effective steps towards retaining your mobility through exercise, fall prevention, and the use of aids and support - in ten years, you’ll be glad you did!

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Revolutionary Cosmetic Surgery Trends You Should Know About 2017


Over the past few years, cosmetic surgery has come a long way. Modern technological advances are now making it possible to iron out even the minutest of imperfections. In the coming months, it is likely that we will witness a complete revolution in the industry – lending new opportunities to anyone looking to improve their bodies.

Consider the following cosmetic surgery trends that will pan out in 2017:

Plastic Surgery 

As the year progresses, it is likely that plastic surgery will be in a class of its own. According to a Persistence Market Research Report, Europe and America will dominate the international plastic surgery scene due to the growing population of geriatrics. Going by Dr Joseph Ajaka reviews, industry players expect Australia to join these continents as more people in the region start undergoing various procedures to firm up the skin and look younger.

Transgender Tipping Points

The Trans question is now fully in the limelight. With celebrities such as Caitlin Jenner capturing global attention, more individuals will continue transitioning publicly. As such, cosmetic surgeons predict that the industry will reach a tipping point in 2017 – and have a spillover effect into cosmetic surgery.

Jeffrey Spiegel, MD says that cosmetics now have experience feminizing masculine faces. He also mentions that this experience has increased global understanding among medics about what it takes to make women look beautiful. According to him, new tweaks will come up to help cosmetic surgeons learn how to improve the attractiveness of the transgendered and those unhappy about their looks.

Designer Fillers

2017 is also braced to be the year of designer filler. What with the advent of plump pouts and sweet cheeks, it is likely that doctors will come up with new and innovative ways to fill up specific areas of the skin and face.

Some of the procedures that have emerged in this field include Restylane Lyft and Juvederm Volbella for the lips as well as Juvederm Voluma for adding volume to the areas around the middle of the face.
In the coming months, more companies and surgeons will introduce freshly-targeted products to the cosmetic surgery landscape. Some of the products that are already making headlines include the Belotero line and Defyne and Refyne from Restylane.

Due to these new discoveries, cosmetic surgeons will have an ever-expanding palette with which to recontour and rejuvenate the face without necessarily resorting to active surgery.

PRP Injections 

The possibilities for platelet-rich plasma continue growing as cosmetic surgeons take it up for vaginal rejuvenation, lip enhancement, facial recontouring, and hair restoration. This procedure is expected to surge in popularity over the course of 2017.

These injections contain platelets contained in blood, which are also rich in growth factors. Centrifugation experts separate platelets from other blood cells and increase their concentration before mixing it in the remaining blood to achieve desired results.

Concluding thoughts

Over and above everything else, 2017 looks to be an exciting year for cosmetic surgery. The trends discussed above (and others that are yet to emerge) will go a long way in shaping the industry, getting more people interested in new procedures, and improving final results.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Atrial Fibrillation and Its Common Signs and Symptoms


Atrial Fibrillation or also known as AFib or AF is a condition where an individual experiences irregular heartbeats. Based on a recent survey conducted, there are 2.7 million Americans who have this kind of condition. Patients may reveal that their hearts seem to bang against their chest walls especially when they are moving around to perform activities. Others may disclose that they feel no symptoms or signs at all.

You will be able to know the common signs and symptoms associated with atrial fibrillation in this article. Read on to learn and share with your loved ones.

Different Types of Atrial Fibrillation

There are four known types of atrial fibrillation, and these are:

•         Occasional

This is also known as paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. The symptoms come and go. They may last for a few minutes to a couple of hours and stop suddenly.

•         Persistent

This type of atrial fibrillation means that your heart does not return to its normal rhythm. You have to get electrical shocks or medications to have your heart rhythm restored.

•         Long-standing persistent

This one lasts longer than the first two and may last for more than twelve (12) months.

•         Permanent

The abnormal heart rhythm is not possible to be restored any longer. The patient is given medications to control the heart rate.

Common Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Individuals who have atrial fibrillation may experience palpitations or sensations of uncomfortable, irregular, racing-like, and flip-flopping heartbeats. They also may feel weakness and fatigue. Light-headedness and dizziness are also a common symptom. The patient may experience confusion as well. Shortness of breath and chest pain are also included.

When to See a Doctor


If you have any of the aforementioned atrial fibrillation symptoms, it is better if you see your doctor right away. The doctor will then instruct you to undergo electrocardiogram to see if the symptoms that you feel belong to the atrial fibrillation condition. What should alarm you most is when you experience chest pain as it may indicate that you are having a heart attack.

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is an often and irregular heart rate that happens when the two chambers of your heart undergo mixed and chaotic electrical signals. The electrical connection between the atria and the ventricles are being bombarded with signals as they try to get through the ventricles. This then results to a wild and irregular heart rhythm. The heart rate in atrial fibrillation ranges from 100 to 175 beats per minute, wherein the normal range is 60 to 100 beats per minute. Other causes can be due to high blood pressure; heart attacks; coronary artery disease; abnormal heart valves; congenital heart defects; overactive thyroid gland; exposure to stimulants like medications, caffeine, tobacco or even alcohol; lung diseases, previous heart surgery; sleep apnea and stress due to pneumonia, viral infections or other illnesses.

Conclusion

Atrial fibrillation may increase your risk of a stroke. It is advisable that you discuss it with your doctor since atrial fibrillation, if not controlled, can weaken the heart and worst, lead to heart failure.

This is a guest blog post.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Tips for Managing a College Degree When You Suffer From Chronic Pain


Studying at college is no easy experience, but for students who suffer with chronic pain or a condition that causes them to experience a lot of pain throughout the day, it can be even more difficult. However, with a huge range of alternative and potential plans that can be put in place to help students with special needs and requirements at college, there’s no reason to let chronic pain get in the way of your academic and educational goals. We’ve put together some top tips for students who want to succeed at college despite suffering from regular pain.

Study Online

Online education is becoming more and more popular, and the good news for students is that online degrees are today widely recognized by employers and are worth exactly the same as degrees obtained from a traditional, campus-based institution. Along with this, students who suffer with chronic pain can also benefit from reduced stress due to lower tuition fees for online programs, and with a wide range of options available from nursing degrees, marketing masters or an undergraduate public health degree online from The University of Arizona, you are likely to find an online program that suits you well.

Speak to Your Doctor

As a college student, pain management will be more important than ever before to help ensure that you get the most from your studies and avoid letting your grades suffer. Without good pain management techniques, your education could begin to slip and this could lead to stress and anxiety, negatively impacting your overall health and well-being. Before you enroll on a college MPH degree program, be sure to speak to your doctor and work with them to put together a personalized pain management plan for during your time at college. You should also meet regularly with your doctor for reviews throughout your studies.

Get Educational Support

Colleges do their best to help their students succeed, therefore students who do have special needs and requirements are usually offered extra support and personalized plans in order to help ensure that they can reach their full potential. Alert your college to your condition as soon as possible so they will be able to put any plans in place quickly and will be aware of your mitigating circumstances for the future. You may also be able to get extensions on assignment deadlines or special support in exams if needed.

Know Your Limits

If you suffer from chronic pain, then it’s even more important to look after yourself when you are studying for a college degree. Obtaining a college degree will take a lot of hard work and dedication, so it’s important to ensure that you know your limits. Don’t overdo things, as this could lead to your condition worsening, which could leave you unable to work for a while. Sticking to a carefully drawn up study timetable can help you make sure that you don’t push yourself to hard and can aid in good pain management.

Share your top tips for managing college with chronic pain in the comments!

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

How to relieve chronic pain without taking painkillers

If you have ever had to live with chronic pain, then you will know that one of the only ways to get proper pain relief is through prescribed medication, generally of a strong level. When you are feeling extreme, constant pain it is easy to depend on painkillers as your main source of pain relief, but this can become a bigger problem.

Statistics show that the number of accidental overdoses in recent years has increased year-on-year and this is a very worrying pattern. The data covers all forms of overdose, from illegal substance abuse to taking too many painkillers by mistake.

One of the reasons that people can accidentally overdose is because when people first start taking the medication, the impact on pain relief is very high. Over time and continual use, your body becomes tolerant to the drug, and you won’t feel the same pain relief due to this. This can tempt people to take more of the drugs and often significantly more than they have been prescribed in an effort to reduce their pain.

As well as the risk of overdose, becoming dependent on painkillers has a number of other problems associated with it. Becoming addicted to painkillers is a growing concern and there are an alarming number of people that this has happened to. Side effects can include sickness and diarrhea, but can also lead to increased chances of heart attack. Short-term effects show that the body can be less aware of surroundings and are advised not to drive or operate machinery on certain types of painkillers.

If you’re in the unfortunate population of people that suffer from chronic pain then you should be getting help and advice from your doctor regarding other alternatives to taking painkillers. Exercise is one of the main recommendations for pain management. If you are referred to a physiotherapist, they will be able to draw up an exercise routine for you to complete that will be specific to the type and frequency of pain that you suffer from.

Advisable exercises include swimming, walking, or cycling on an exercise bike, as these are moderate exercises with minimum amounts of weight bearing. By performing regular exercise, you can build up muscles around the body that will be able to support your joints more effectively and help relieve some of the pain.

In addition to exercise, you may be advised to try treatments such as acupuncture. This is particularly recommended if you have back and neck problems, and sometimes physiotherapists will massage or manipulate your back to try and reduce the level of pain.

The use of heat therapy can provide quick relief to areas of pain, so either a hot bath or a heat pack applied to the affected area tends to work well. If your chronic pain is related to your joints, then you can also try fish oil supplements such as Omega-3, which as well as relieving your joints, are said to have several other benefits to the body.

This is a guest blog entry.