Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Future-proofing your dental practice: improving x-rays for patients

With Brexit looming overhead and a rumored consumer slowdown wreaking havoc on the economy, most savvy entrepreneurs are worrying about their finances – just like you should be.

Although your private dental practice has been doing pretty well, you’re not immune to the money-related issues and fears that are plaguing the business world.

From saving cash to improving efficiency and coming up with some creative profit-boosting tactics, protecting your business’s bottom line is always on your mind.

That’s why you’ve decided to focus on improving your practice one key area at a time, starting with your x-ray service.

It’s an integral tool in dental care that’ll let you keep a closer eye on your patients’ oral health. It could bring you in a lot of extra money, but it’s also a big responsibility.

From soothing nervous patients who find the process terrifying to ensuring you meet all the strict regulations surrounding the use of radiography, we’re sharing a few top tips that’ll help you successfully introduce dental x-raying to your practice. Take a look.

#1: know your responsibilities

There are a lot of regulations and legal aspects to address before you can start administering x-rays. Fail to do so, and fines and failed inspections will soon spell the end of your business.

But don’t worry – the Care Quality Commission has put together a handy introductory guide to all the mandatory requirements and rules you need to know about. Check it out and make sure your practice ticks all of their boxes.

#2: improve the administrative side

The thorough and comprehensive patient dental records you’re obliged to keep take up a lot of space. Once you start adding x-rays to those already full files, finding room for securely storing them will become even more difficult.

There are plenty of innovative answers to this all-too-common problem. Invicta Mobile Shelving has been helping healthcare facilities better utilize their offices for years, so get in touch with their expert team to find the best medical x-ray storage solution for your practice.

#3: invest in new equipment

With horror stories about the dangers of x-rays lurking online, patients need to be reassured that your practice has the latest and safest radiography tech around.

Take your time researching lots of different brands and types of x-ray machines before buying anything, and give yourself a strict budget to stick to – remember, you’re a small private practice. You don’t need enough equipment to support an entire hospital radiography ward.

#4: create a relaxing atmosphere for patients

As we all know, some patients have a real phobia of even routine dental checkups, so x-rays can prove to be one stressful step too far. To put them at ease, work on improving the overall atmosphere of your entire practice.

Plants, a comfortable temperature and calming color scheme (blues and greens are ideal) will have a soothing effect and can be used throughout the building, from the reception and waiting lounge right through to the treatment rooms themselves.

  •  Written by Claire McPhillimy
  •  Post sent by Claire McPhillimy

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

3 Steps to Take for an Allergen-Free Home

Allergens are all around you. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 80 percent of people in the US are exposed to dust mites, and 60 percent are exposed to pet dander. Poor indoor air quality is connected to allergies and asthma attacks. Whether you or a loved one suffers from allergies or asthma, there are things you can do to improve the air qualify in your home and to keep those allergens out.

Keep the Dust and Allergens Out

The first step to allergen-proofing your home is planning to keep dust and other allergens out. One common source of allergens in the home is your shoes. Make a "no shoes indoors" policy and keep a tray or shelf by the entrances to your home, so that people have a spot to put their shoes right when they arrive. It's also a good idea to have doormats both inside and outside, so people can wipe dirt and dust off the soles of their shoes before they step inside.

Rethink the Carpeting

Are the floors of your home covered in carpets? It might be time to pull them up and replace them with hardwood flooring or another type of non-textile flooring. Carpets act as the perfect hiding spot for a variety of allergens, from pet dander to dust and from pollen to mold. To make matters worse, every time someone walks across the carpet, those allergens get kicked back into the air.

If you can't pull up your carpeting because you're renting or for any other reason, your next best option is to clean the flooring regularly. A robotic vacuum makes cleaning your floors easy. You can program the vacuum to run at a set time every day. For the best cleaning and allergen reduction, choose a robotic vacuum with HEPA filters.

Filter and Purify the Air

An air purifier and filter will help catch any remaining allergens that regular vacuuming and cleaning won't get. Air filters range in quality from very effective to not at effective at all, so it pays to do some research before you invest in one. Usually, an air purifier with a HEPA filter will be more effective at reducing dust and allergens in the air than one without a HEPA filter.

This is a guest blog entry.

The 5 most common sports injuries

Part of a healthy lifestyle is, of course, healthy eating a plenty of exercise. While most people jog or walk their dog, there are others that get hit by the sports bug. It may be the competition with others, or maybe the adrenaline of winning, but something compels people to begin a new sport or to take up an old one.

With sport or any exercise, there are risks involved, especially injuries. Some can be a minor annoyance for a while, but others are more serious and can take the time to repair. In worst case scenarios, some injuries last a lifetime.

Serious injuries caused deliberately by others can be grounds for a company such as the Merrillville personal injury law firm to become involved. Professional sports people in particular sometimes need legal help after an injury.

Hip Flexor Strain

A hip flexor is a group of muscles that helps lift the leg or knee. They can be damaged by overstretching, sudden movement or by failing to warm up properly.

In most cases, this is a minor injury that can be better in a couple of weeks, although it does show the importance of keeping your body warmed up before sport.


This can be a relatively common injury in many sports especially soccer, football, boxing, and hockey, although, any game can lead to a concussion if something goes wrong.

Time is needed to heal a concussion fully, which is usually up to a week. It is important not to return to contact sport until the concussion is healed or there could be further damage if you receive another blow to the head.

Shin Splints

Quite a painful condition, shin splints are a result of working too hard too quickly. It also affects runners and other sports such as football and rugby.

While in most cases, it will get better over time, it is important to see your doctor as in some cases; there can be a fracture to the bone.

Hamstring Strain

Another very common injury, hamstring pulls occur when the muscles at the back of the leg are overstretched or pulled. It can lead to tearing of the muscles or tendons, so it is important to get it seen by a doctor.

Hamstring pulls can take up to 12 months to heal, so you should not participate in any sport for too long and stretch at regular intervals.

Tennis Elbow

Elbow injuries account for 7% of sports injuries, and it is easy to see why. Many sports involve the repetitive movement of the elbow such as tennis, badminton, and golf.

Although the injury is a minor one, it can be very irritating and painful. Trying to strengthen the elbow muscles and wearing an elbow brace should prevent further injuries.

Other very common injuries are knee which accounts for around 55% of sports injuries, shoulder, and sciatica. As with all injuries, trying to go too fast too soon will only cause more harm than good. You need to build up slowly and allow your body to rest and repair in-between.

This is a guest blog entry.

What happens when a patient files a medical complaint?

Doctors and other healthcare professionals train for many years to obtain their license. Even then, the learning does not stop. They have regular reviews and training to update themselves with the new modern practices and medicines.

However, sometimes doctors find themselves on the receiving end of a complaint from a patient.  It might not be genuine, but the same procedures have to be followed. So, what would happen if someone filed a complaint?

Where to file the complaint

Where the complaint is filed depends on where the problem occurred. It might be at the local hospital or the doctor’s clinic. The local authority will need to be informed so the complaint can be recorded and the investigation started.

In many cases, the patient may speak to the doctor or healthcare professional themselves. In this case, they may be able to correct the error if there was one and deal with the matter there and then.

What do the patients want?

Clearly, they want someone to listen to his or her complaint and try to put things right. They want the person responsible held accountable for their actions.

There is a possibility that they may also want some financial compensation for the issue, especially if there are long-term medical problems as a result. The doctor should have already appointed a medical license defense attorney to help them with the complaint procedure and any subsequent trial if it became necessary.


Whatever the outcome of the complaint, the healthcare professional should seek support from friends and family. They should also look for support from someone outside their close personal network.

This will enable them to talk freely about any problems or worries that they might not feel comfortable mentioning to anyone else.

The hospital or place of work should be able to arrange some counseling to help them deal with the stress.

The Complaint

Once the claim is filed, the authority will look at the details and the evidence. The patient may have also appointed their lawyer to help them, so there may be an official request from them to see the medical notes.

Either the doctor or their lawyer will have collected their evidence and submitted it for consideration. The investigation will then commence, and the case will be considered.

The Outcome

If there is found to be a fault with the healthcare professionals care, then sanctions may be imposed on them. It depends on the type of complaint and the seriousness of the issue.

If there is no-one at fault, then the matter will be closed, and the doctor will be able to resume normal working practices.

Filing a complaint against a healthcare professional is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. However, if there is a problem that needs to be addressed, then the patient should feel comfortable enough to file a complaint and have it investigated. It is important that both parties get the help and support they need.

This is a guest blog entry.

5 Unbelievable (but incredible) Possibilities of Stem Cells Research

1. To bring someone back from the dead

Research currently underway by U.S Biotech company – Bioquark -  is hoping to bring brain dead patients back to consciousness.

The study taking place in India, will use implanted stem cells to regrow and stimulate neurons, and nerve stimulation techniques to jump start the nerves back into action. This technique has already been used to bring patients out of comas, and this is the next step.

Talking of the possibility of brain dead patients being able to make a full recovery, Ira Pastor Bioquark’s CEO has described it as;

“A bridge to that eventuality”

2. Reversing Heart damage

A long-term trial has shown the ability to reverse heart damage using engineered stem cells created by regenerative medicine company, Celixir.

The data collected over 5 years showed an average 40% reduction in heart damage. This is the first time that a study has shown heart scarring to be reversible.

Professor Westaby, from the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, who has been working on the technique for more than a decade, said:

“I am very excited at the prospect of a trial which will hopefully lead to the availability of this stem cell treatment to thousands of patients annually in the UK.

This would be the biggest breakthrough since the first transplants three decades ago.”

This success story has paved the way for European and US regulators to agree to global trials involving 500 patients. Trials of more than 100 patients at two London hospitals are set to begin this autumn.

3. Restoring Eyesight 

Using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), a research team in Japan have stopped further deterioration of a woman’s sight – the first time that iPS cells have been used in this way.

The woman’s sight was suffering from macular degeneration - an age related deterioration of her eyesight. Induced pluripotent stem cells were placed on a patch in the eye, and then encouraged to form retinal pigment epithelial cells, which support and nourish the retina cells that capture light for vision.

The discovery of these iPS cells earned Shinya Yamanaka a Nobel Prize, as they can be formed from adult cells that are not stem cells.

“This is a landmark study and opens the door to similar treatments for many diseases,”

Shinya Yamanaka, director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University, and Nobel Prize winner

4. An Alternative to Knee Surgery

Knee surgery is often the last resort for people with long-term knee injuries, but these can be fraught with complications, and often lead to decreased mobility.

However, a new clinical trial is testing a new approach  - filling the gap in a damaged knee cartilage with umbilical stem cells.

Sean Fair, from Massachusetts, U.S., has become one of the first people to have his injury treated in this way.

Gel containing the stem cells was injected into his knee in small holes drilled into the bone, along with the existing hole created by the accident.

Several months after the surgery, and after a strict rehabilitation process, the stem cells in Fair’s knee developed into chondrocytes, cells that secrete a matrix of cartilage, and sealed the hole in his knee. 

It is hoped that -  pending further trials - patients with knee injuries will be able to be treated with this method in the future, saving the agonising waiting and recovery times required for knee surgery.

5. To Treat Burns

An experimental technology using a device which sprays stem cells onto damaged skin, offers new hope to patients who have suffered a severe burn.

Patients with severe burns would usually have to wait for a skin graft which can be painful and require repeat procedures before it takes. The SkinGun created by U.S stem cell company, RenovaCare uses a solution made up of stem cells taken from the patient’s own body which attached to the skin and begins to grow as a cellular level.

"We don't modify the cells," said Thomas Bold, an engineer and president and CEO of RenovaCare.

 "We don't do anything with the cells. We just isolate them from the surrounding tissue, put them in a syringe within a water-based solution, and we spray them.

"What we're doing is all natural,"
he added.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Can Hypnosis Make You a More Successful Person?

Are there certain parts of your life that seem overwhelmingly difficult? Obstacles that you just can't seem to get past? Hypnosis might be the answer to unlocking your potential and achieving success despite difficult conditions.

Hypnosis is uniquely capable of transforming the way you approach these situations because it profoundly impacts the way you value them—and yourself. In most cases, where there is a challenging, personal goal a patient wishes to reach, hypnosis provides the key to making that goal a reality.

Hypnosis For Better Job Interview Performance

One popular example of hypnosis giving people the tools to improve their lives is in job interview performance. Some people, though highly educated and qualified, fail job interviews only because of the stress and anxiety they feel when confronted with a potential employer.

Stress is a natural response to an important moment like this, but succumbing to it and showing it gives off the impression that no matter how qualified you may be, you're unable to shoulder responsibility effectively.

Hypnosis can defeat that stress by digging deeply into its cause, hidden within the patient's subconscious, and subtly preventing it from manifesting in response to job interviews.

The same process can also be used to change your attitude about money or about your professional aspirations. There is no shortage of ways that you can influence the way you approach your professional life through hypnosis, and it all starts with a free hypnosis consultation.

Hypnosis to Improve Memory

Another interesting use of hypnosis for self-improvement is in broadening and deepening patients' capacity for memory. Despite being one of humanity's defining capabilities, neuroscientists and philosophers still have questions as to what memory is, how it works, or how it can be improved.

Although the scientific community's lack of concrete knowledge might seem like an intimidating obstacle, hypnosis has been found to produce significant improvements to patient memory nonetheless.

Sometimes these improvements are general, such as helping patients remember important information with greater clarity and depth. Other times, the improvement is concise and specific—helping a patient remember where she misplaced an important family heirloom or legal document, for instance.

In both cases, results have shown that you don't have to know exactly what memory is in order to know what memory does, and find ways to improve that function.

Overcoming Fear Through Hypnosis

One of the greatest ways that hypnosis can produce positive results in patients' lives is by reducing or eliminating fear. Deep-seated phobias, such as fear of heights, insects, darkness or of any number of things, can be addressed and eliminated with extraordinary efficiency through hypnosis.

Although you can't get surgery to prevent claustrophobia, you can use hypnosis to address the root of the experience that caused your claustrophobia, and resolve it on a subconscious level.

Want to learn more about improving your quality of life? Enjoy a free hypnosis download today!

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, May 22, 2017

20 Summer-fun Activities for People Over 50

With summer peaking out from just behind the corner, it’s time to think about how you will make the most out of the warm, sun-filled months. Whether you’re spending time with family or embarking on your own adventures, these activity ideas are sure to help inspire your summer schedule:

1. Pack a picnic and dine outside with friends or family. Stick with staples like sandwiches and lemonade, or class it up with wine, fruit, and cheese.

2. Try yoga or tai chi. Mindfulness-cultivating practices that incorporate gentle stretching with deep breathing and meditation will bring calm and relaxation to your summer.

3. Take a hike. Hit the trails for an outdoor excursion that also serves as a cardio workout and a great way to stretch and strengthen your leg and core muscles.

4. Volunteer. Giving back and helping others won’t just give you warm and fuzzies this summer, but can actually help you destress and even lower your blood pressure. Use sites like to find a volunteer opportunity near you.

5. Play yard games. Break out the bean bags and horseshoes - yard games are great backyard fun during warm summer months. Horseshoes, corn hole, bocce ball, croquet, and badminton will keep you and your friends busy for hours.

6. Pick up a new hobby. Try a new hobby or sport you’ve been meaning to tackle - never a better time than middle-age! Swimming, tennis, golf, playing the guitar, evening crocheting all make for great brain-boosting activities that will pay off later in life.

7. Go to a festival. Free fairs and festivals are likely to find their way to a town near you this summer. Filled with local art, great food, music, and activities, festivals make for memorable summer fun.

8. Attend an outdoor concert. Warm summer nights provide the perfect concert setting. Scour your local papers and follow local concert venues on social media to see what free, outdoor concerts are coming to a stage near you.

9. Sell your stuff. Pad your retirement account with a little extra cash by selling gently used items you no longer need, online - try Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay for safely listing your item and securely accepting transaction.

10. Dancing. Dig out your dancing shoes and hit the floor this summer! Not only does dancing give you a reason to dress up and go out, but its great low-impact exercise too.

11. Travel. Go to the beach, book a cruise, visit family far away - just travel! Even road trips can be great fun during the summer, offering you a glimpse of parts of the country you’ve never seen and taking you on adventures you’ll remember for a lifetime.

12. Start Dating. If you find yourself single and yearning for a summer of love, what are you waiting for? Dating websites like eHarmony,, and are a great place to start meeting new people.

13. Meet new people. So you don’t need a date, but you are looking to meet new friends and do fun things in your own city? Try to find groups of people near you who share similar passions and get together occasionally.

14. Take control of your health. Never a better time to take control of your own aging and set your body and mind up for success later in life. Use apps like MyFitnessPal or wearable technologies like FitBit to track your diet, exercise, and other fitness stats.

15. Participate in a local charity event. Find out if your favorite local charities are hosting fundraisers like a fun run or walkathon this summer and sign up to take part. Not only will you be getting heart-healthy exercise, but you’ll be supporting a cause you care about.

16. Start your bucket list. Find time this summer to start your bucket list, or the wish list of things you want to do in the next couple decades.

17. Become a mentor. Turn your life lessons and wisdom into a way to help the younger generation by becoming a mentor to kid in your area. Check out Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to learn more.

18. Eliminate pain. Quit letting chronic pain hold you back from staying active and doing the things you love. See your doctor about chronic pain and try medical aids like a toe crest pad for foot pain or a rotator cuff brace for shoulder pain.

19. Take a college class. Transform your free time this summer into a window of opportunity to learn something new. Subsidized or free college classes may be available near you or online, check with your local university or community college for more info.

20. Listen to a podcast. Make a goal this summer to check out new podcasts on your commute to and from work. Most podcasts can be downloaded and streamed on mobile devices including smartphones and tablets.

This is a guest blog post.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Common Causes of a Phlegmy Cough

A cough is an umbrella term that covers a number of different coughs with different causes. Dry coughs cause intense irritation and a sore throat whereas a hacking, chesty cough can sometimes make us sick.

A phlegmy cough is your body’s attempt to clear the airways and chest of mucus. In small amounts, mucus is helpful as it traps nasty bacteria and viruses, but if there is a build-up, it triggers a cough reflex.

There are a number of causes of a chesty cough. Here are the most common.

Common Cold

A chesty, productive cough that produces sticky phlegm is common. Most people develop a cough of this nature when they catch a cold or viral infection. Viral infections of the respiratory system cause an overproduction of mucus, which manifests as a streaming nose and a horrible phlegmy cough.


Cigarette smoke is an irritant. Smokers often develop a smoker’s cough over time, as the exposure to smoke causes long-term inflammation in the lungs. This damage leads to an overproduction of mucus and the person develops a chesty cough. The best treatment is to stop smoking.

Exposure to Other Irritants

Exposure to second-hand smoke, pet dander, dust, and toxic fumes can cause a phlegmy cough to develop. In the long-term, inflammation develops and it can turn into COPD. Most people develop COPD in middle-age or beyond, but it sometimes affects younger patients. COPD is one of the biggest killers in the US, so do not ignore a persistent cough. Medication will control the symptoms, but if your COPD is severe, stem cell for COPD treatment could be your best option.


Coughing up mucus is the main symptom of bronchitis. A viral infection is the most common cause of bronchitis and it usually develops after a bad cold or the flu. Sometimes, however, a bacterial infection triggers inflammation in the bronchi and the patient develops bronchitis. Acute bronchitis will clear up within a few weeks, but chronic bronchitis is a long-term health problem and associated with COPD. If the infection is bacterial in nature, antibiotics will clear it up.


Pneumonia is serious inflammation of the air sacs inside the lungs. A thick, phlegmy cough, difficulty breathing, and fever are all symptoms of pneumonia. Pneumonia can come on quite quickly, so it is important to be alert to the main symptoms and seek medical help if you feel unwell.


Many people do not draw a link between a chesty cough and asthma, but coughing can be a symptom of undiagnosed asthma. Asthma can develop quite suddenly in adulthood. Shortness of breath, a chesty cough, wheezing, and tightness in the chest are all symptoms of adult asthma. The problem is that many doctors misdiagnose these symptoms as a respiratory infection. The correct treatment is essential, as asthma is a killer.

Whilst a phlegmy cough is unpleasant, most rarely last more than a few days. And a cough that lingers on for more than two weeks is cause for suspicion and needs further investigation.

This is a guest blog entry.

The State Of Health Care Insurance In Singapore

Notably, the government of Singapore has taken the role of regulating both private and public health care health insurance. Its primary role is to plan, develop and build the overall welfare of the nation’s health care in the country.

Through the ministry of health – which represents the activities of the government – it plans on how to handle all the nursing homes, hospitals, and clinics. In fact, the health care department in Singapore works under two main ideologies: affordable health care for every person and personal responsibility. Understanding how the health insurance coverage works while in Singapore will help you go through the processes when there is a need.

Categories of health insurance covers

While deciding on company registration options in Singapore, it is crucial for employers to understand the type of health care insurance covers their staff can take. Since the government is the overall controller of the health care sector, all employers are supposed to comply. There are two types of health care covers in Singapore.

Privately financed

Employers have the option to cover their staff under this category which takes care of their inpatient and some outpatient services. This comes as one of the employee benefits. Additionally, people can have a plan with Medisave, like insurance companies which operate privately for profit. If one has such a cover, they will be able to enjoy private hospital services or class-A wards in any public hospital in Singapore.

Publicly financed

In Singapore, there is a mandatory contribution by all staff to their health insurance saving scheme and the employers contribute an equal amount to the same. Employers deduct this percentage of the remuneration and contribute to the Medisave scheme under each employee’s account.

Additionally, all citizens and permanent residents of Singapore are covered by the low-cost health insurance called MediShield. It caters for long term illnesses which surpass the Medisave limits. This is a government initiative and very effective.

Common services that are covered

Any insurance policy has a guideline on what it covers and what it does not. Similarly, these health insurance covers in Singapore will mostly cover the following.

Primary care

There are over 1400 private and 20 public clinics in Singapore. All of them offer services to people under the program at subsidized rates which include immunization and vaccination, dental services and pharmacy. With the recently introduced community health assists scheme, most low income earning people in Singapore can access health care services. So, the government pays an agreed subsidies to the institutions that provide primary care services to citizens.

General hospital services

The hospitals offer various services to patients which include, but are not limited to, specialized treatments and serious in-patient services to citizens. The general hospitals are funded by the government through budget allocation.

Elderly care and social support

These services provide health and general care to elderly people. Mainly, they are run by private welfare organizations. Their financial support is through government subsidies and the family also pays an agreed amount. They may also run under sponsorship, particularly those that take care of the poor elderly people.

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

4 Ways to Improve your Sleep

One of the things you will want to do every night is to sleep well. This one thing can drastically improve your quality of life and allow you to enjoy better health. However, life is busier than ever these days for most people, and there are numerous stresses that can take its toll on your mental and physical well-being.

This makes it essential to find ways that will help to reduce your anxiety and improve your sleep on a routine basis. Being aware of effective methods you can do on a nightly basis may well be the way to get more slumber nightly.

Sleep chair

You may want to seriously consider investing in a chair that encourages sleep. These are designed to fit the body and can be adjusted to accommodate some positions that may help you relax with ease.

Some of the reasons you may want to consider this device are because you can use it during the day to take a nap or even at night before going to bed to help you unwind. You may want to visit to look at the wide variety of selections that are readily available for you to purchase today.

Yoga before bed

If you enjoy doing yoga, you aren’t alone. This exercise is enjoyed by millions of people and the stretching involved may offer some health benefits for your body. Getting your body more relaxed can be done quickly by doing the right movements.

Some of these include lower blood pressure, more flexibility and even increasing your ability to sleep better each night. Taking the time to do a few of the more relaxed yoga poses before turning in for the night may help you enjoy a deeper state of sleep.

Studies show that 36.7 million people have been known to practice yoga in 2012. This stat shows you just how many individuals enjoy partaking in yoga and this could partially be because of seeing a vast improvement in overall sleep.

Listening to soft music

One of the key ways to help you get your mind and body in a more relaxed state is by listening to soft music before turning in for the night. You may want to start winding down a couple of hours prior to going to bed, and this can be done by closing your eyes and simply enjoying some tunes.

Of course, you will want to find music that you enjoy the most. For some people, this may include instrumental tunes that offer you an increased ability to relax and forget the stresses of the day.

Comfortable bedding

You will want to choose the mattress that suits your body the best and allows you to feel as relaxed as possible. This may include getting either a firmer or a softer mattress which will totally depend on the one you like the most.

It’s also a great ideal to find the bedding that looks the most attractive and can be the key to helping you relax as much as you can. For some individuals, this may mean choosing colors that promote relaxation, such as lavender or blue.

Another thing to consider is the mattress topper you’d like to use. You can choose a higher quality one that offers more cushion and comfort for you to enjoy and this may increase your ability to sleep.
Don’t forget the more pillows you have and the softer these are, the better sleep you may be able to obtain. Your pillow could play a significant role in sleeping well or not each night.

The benefits of getting your rest on a nightly basis are many. You can have more energy, stress less and even look better in the process. There’s no doubt that your mind will even function better when you have the sleep you need each night. Simply take the time to plan your nights and work to get all the sleep your body will need. This is the key to helping you feel your best each and every day!

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Keep Your Brain Young!

As we age, it is important to keep our brains healthy and functioning so that we do not lose the ability to do all of the things we love to do. There are a number of ways to keep the brain youthful and fit, such as taking up a new language or memorizing poetry. Just like the other muscles in your body, our brains need exercise to maintain their fullest potential.

For those of us who may not have the time to be actively learning something new each day, there are numerous brain tips that are quite simple to keep the mind feeling young and healthy.

Improve Your Diet

Like the rest of our body, our brains will be grateful for healthy foods that supplement its main functions. Good nutrition is always a good idea for all parts of the body, especially as we age. Useful online calorie calculators can help to determine the amount of calories we should be eating each day, based on weight and everyday physical activity. Reducing the calories we consume each day during meals has been proven in both humans and animals to lower the risk of cognitive decline in old age.

It is also important for our brains that we are getting plenty of the good stuff (B vitamins, such as folic acid, B6, and B12) and less of the bad stuff (saturated fat, cholesterol from animal protein, unhealthy oils). Leafy green vegetables are a particularly useful source of the B vitamins that our bodies need to decrease the likelihood of dementia and other mental issues in old age.

In addition to eating more healthy, it is a wise decision to take a vitamin that can strengthen cognitive and mental performance. Vitamins are an easy and quick way to enhance general health and can guarantee rewarding benefits for the entire body.

Curb Those Cravings

In addition to choosing more health-conscious foods, which will help to lower cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure, it is also important to curb other cravings unrelated to food. Drinking alcohol and smoking or chewing tobacco are extremely detrimental to our overall brain health, especially as we age.

Excessive drinking is known to be a factor in early onset dementia. However, if we drink responsibly and have less than two drinks on a regular basis, studies have shown that we can actually reduce our risk of dementia.

It is essential that we know the variety of actions we can take to improve our brain’s functions on a daily basis, such as making healthy choices and curbing our cravings. With the correct combination of living a healthy lifestyle in mind, body, and spirit, we can have fully-functioning brains and lead the best life possible as we age.

This is a guest blog posting.

5 Hand Exercises To Aid Arthritis Pain

The human hand is a magnificent work of biological design - with 27 bones strong and loads of connective tendons, ligaments, and joints, hands are the first point of contact for you and the world around you. Hands allow you your sense of touch, help you communicate, and afford you the capabilities few other animals have.

As you age, natural wear and tear can degrade your body’s joints and connective tissues, you can lose bone density, and even experience growing weakness in pinch and grip strength. While some age-related degeneration is normal, diseases like arthritis, the inflammation of one or more joints, can amplify hand weakness and even result in acute pain. Stiff, painful joints might prevent you from doing the things you love or even completing simple tasks in your day to day life.

The bad news? According to the Arthritis Foundation, 1 in 5 Americans over 18 experience doctor-diagnosed arthritis, that’s about 50 million people. Arthritis doesn’t discriminate based on age, sex, or race either - even kids and babies can be afflicted with some type of arthritis.

Time for some good news. There are noninvasive and nonsurgical routes towards pain relief that can aid arthritis sufferers and boost their quality of life. In addition to topical aids, hand splints, gloves for arthritis, ease-of-use tools, and diet modifications, exercise and physical therapy can alleviate some arthritis pain and target joint inflammation naturally. These 5 hand exercises are a good place to start:

Finger Bends

Holding your right hand out in front of you with fingers spread, bend one finger at a time towards your palm and hold for a few seconds. Release and repeat with every other finger including your thumb. Switch and do the same thing with your left hand. Repeat daily.

Table Wave
Make a fist and rest it on a flat surface, like a table, in front of you, pinky side down. Raise your thumb so its point of vertically, and then with all four fingers unroll your fist to straighten your fingers out completely, hold for a few seconds, and then bring them back in (like a flag waving). Repeat 10 times and then try with the other hand.

Finger Lifts

Place one hand palm down flat on the table. Lift one finger at a time up towards the ceiling, keeping the rest flat on the table - hold each lift for a few seconds and then repeat with the other hand.

Simple Fist

This one is easy - make a fist with your hand. Don’t squeeze too hard, but make sure it is tight with your thumb wrapped over your fingers. Hold the fist for 30 to 60 seconds and then release fully, spreading your fingers wide. Complete the exercise with the opposite hand and repeat 4 times.

Claw Stretch

Hold your hand out in front of you with the palm facing you. Bend all your fingertips and thumb down at once so they are touching the base of the finger joints and mimic a little bear claw. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and then repeat with the other hand. Do this exercise four times a day.

In addition to boosting blood flow to inflamed joints in the hand and wrist, hand exercises can help increase range of motion, strengthen the muscles that control the fingers and hand, as well as improve grip and pinch strength. All those improvements add up to pain relief and a higher quality of life when living with arthritis.

This is a guest blog posting.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee

When you’re pregnant, coffee is one of the things that doctors tell you to limit or avoid altogether. For just about everyone else, moderate amounts of coffee can actually be very good for your health.

Espresso Can Improve Long-Term Memory

Improving your memory could be as easy as drinking a few cups of espresso. Neuroscientists at the University of California (UC) discovered that caffeine, as found in espresso, can boost memory consolidation. The process strengthens memories from the time they are acquired to the time they are retrieved (remembered). This, in turn, can improve long-term memory.

Scientists have known for some time that caffeine can temporarily improve attention, and it was thought this could be the reason behind enhanced memory. However, the UC researchers accounted for this by having 160 participants study images before half of them randomly receiving 200mg of caffeine (the equivalent of two espressos). Twenty-four hours later the participants took a memory test involving the images from before, similar images and new images.

There were no accuracy differences between the two groups for identifying old versus new images. But the group that received caffeine was markedly better at distinguishing the old images from the similar images. The study also found caffeine must be consumed before the memories are formed for it to enhance memory consolidation.

Coffee Can Reduce the Risk of Developing Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

As scientists look for Alzheimer’s treatments, they’re also looking for evidence of things that can prevent the disease from forming in the first place. Among the most promising findings is coffee’s ability to protect cognitive function and reduce the risk of developing dementia.

The Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) study showed that people who drank 3-5 cups of coffee a day in mid-life decreased their risk of dementia by 65%. Another long-term study published in the Journals of Gerontology found that women between the ages of 65-80 who drank approximately three cups of coffee a day had a 36% lower risk of dementia. Further studies are being conducted to identify the cause-effect relationship between caffeine intake and cognitive decline.

Coffee Can Decrease the Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Last year the University of Southern California published a study that found coffee could potentially decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. The best news could be it doesn’t matter what type of coffee you drink. Regular coffee, espresso, instant mixes and decaf all appear to provide the same benefit. Plus, the more you drink the lower your risk of colorectal cancer becomes.

The study involved 5,100 people who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the previous six months as well as 4,000 people with no history of colorectal cancer. Participants were asked about many dietary factors, including coffee consumption. The researchers found that people who drank 1-2 cups of coffee had a 26% lower risk of colorectal cancer. Up the intake to over 2.5 cups a day and colorectal cancer risk is decreased by 50%.

Coffee Can Ease Post-Exercise Aches and Pains

After a workout your natural reaction may not be to reach for a cup of coffee, but it could actually help relieve soreness and pain. A decade ago the University of Georgia conducted a study that examined the effects of caffeine on sore muscles. Two cups of coffee after exercising proved to be better at easing muscle soreness than some medications.

Researchers believe coffee’s ability to block adenosine receptors is at play. Adenosine is a chemical that’s released in response to inflammation.

Caffeine Can Reduce Heart Disease Risks

A few years ago a systematic review of 36 studies involving 1,279,804 participants found that people who drank moderate amounts of coffee (3-5 cups a day) had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease. Lower amounts of coffee had less of a benefit, and drinking more than five cups a day appeared to have no benefits or drawbacks in reducing heart disease.

However, it should be noted that plain, black coffee is the recommendation. Coffee with added sugar and fatty creams can outweigh the benefits of drinking coffee.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Friday, May 12, 2017

How to Combat the Aches and Pains of Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a wonderful time in your life! But it can also be one of the most miserable. After you get over the morning sickness – which can really be all-day sickness and last for months – you start to deal with the aches and pains brought on by your growing body. It can hurt to sit down. It can feel impossible to get comfortable so you can sleep. Then you add total exhaustion to feeling achy all the time, and it can be awful.

There are some things you can do to get more comfortable even in the latest stages of your pregnancy when the aches and pains can be at their worst. Here are a few ways that you can find relief:

Get a Good Mattress

Old spring mattresses are not very comfortable. They can be thin, and they can lose their support quickly over time. You might feel like you are sleeping on a thin blanket covering the floor for as much comfort as such a mattress provides. Memory foam mattresses can provide a more comfortable night’s sleep since they conform to the shape of your body, giving you support all over. However, the foam can be a bit too soft sometimes, creating more problems for some.

The ideal solution is a hybrid mattress, which combines layers of foam with a spring coil base for the maximum support. The mattress is soft yet supportive for ultimate comfort. You’ll get the support you need on all your pressure points.

Use Special Pillows

Sometimes, no matter what position you get into, you might not feel comfortable enough, even with a quality mattress. Special pillows are made to support pregnant women where they need it most. For example, one of the most popular options is a curved body pillow that runs from your head, under your belly, and through your legs. You can wrap your body around it for comfort and support of your growing belly.

You can also get special pillows to support your knees, your back, and your neck, which can all feel sore from the strains on your pregnant body.

Stretch and Exercise Daily

Pregnancy can be exhausting, which can sap many women of the energy to exercise. But daily exercise and stretching can actually strengthen your body and combat some of the harder symptoms of pregnancy, such as fatigue. It can also help with muscle and joint pain.

For example, exercise can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can provide more support for the belly and put less pressure on the back and legs. Stretching can also relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve, which often causes intense pain in the buttocks and legs for pregnant women. You don’t have to do intense exercise to get the benefits. Just do some light stretching and take a walk around your neighborhood in the mornings or evenings.

Drink Plenty of Water

Muscle cramps can cause aches and pains, and dehydration can cause your muscles to cramp up. You may not feel dehydrated, but your muscles may still be needing more water. During pregnancy, your body uses a lot more water to support the growing baby and your growing body. You will need to increase your water intake to not only support a healthy pregnancy but also to reduce the likelihood of muscle cramps.

Take Supplements

A painful muscle cramp in the calf is a common symptom of pregnancy. For some women, the pain can be so bad that it can wake them from a deep sleep. Stretching may be able to help with this problem, but so can taking certain supplements.

Research has shown that a deficit of nutrients like calcium, potassium, and magnesium can increase the incidence of muscle cramps in the legs. You can take these supplements under the guidance of your doctor to see if they help. Talk to your doctor about other changes you can make to your diet to improve symptoms.

You don’t have to submit to the aches and pains of pregnancy. You can make changes that can help you find relief. After all, you need all the rest you can get now so that you are prepared for those sleepless nights with your baby!

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Vaping Backed by Science as Healthier Alternative to Cigarettes

After successful completion of the first long-term study on the effects of vaping on your health, experts have given e-cigarettes the thumbs up as an alternative to smoking cigarettes. A fairly new form of nicotine replacement therapy, vaping is popular today with both smokers and non-smokers.

It has long been thought of as a healthier and alternative to smoking, since it allows ex-smokers to continue to ‘smoke’ without nicotine withdrawal symptoms or inhaling dangerous chemicals such as carbon monoxide and tar. Here are some of the main things found by the six-month study.

Switching to Vaping Improves Health

After six months, smokers in the study who switched to vaping were found to have far fewer toxins in their bodies and less cancerous substances than those who continued to smoke traditional cigarettes. This result finally debunked past claims made that vaping may be just as harmful to your health as smoking, and experts hope that it will encourage more smokers to quit using an e-cigarette.

Vaping Reduces Your Risk of Lung Cancer

For smokers, the risk of getting lung cancer is very real and scary, with a huge percentage of lung cancer cases across the world related to smoking cigarettes. According to the study, smokers who switched to vaping for just six months had 97% less of the toxic chemical NNAL in their bodies, which is strongly linked to lung cancer. Other cancer-linked substances, known as volatile organic compounds, were also significantly less in those who switched to vaping for six months.

It’s Important to Make a Clean Break

Scientists stressed that the result of the study made it clear that only those who made a clean break from smoking to vaping reaped the health benefits. If you are considering switching to vaping, smoking a cigarette occasionally isn’t going to be as harmful, but those who continue smoking regularly whilst vaping, even if they cut down on cigarettes, are unlikely to see much health improvement. Since e-liquid comes in different levels of nicotine, most vapers don’t suffer from nicotine cravings. A good way to make sure that you’re always stocked up on e-liquid is to buy cheap eliquids in bulk online.

Advice for Staying On Track

If you have decided to quit smoking and switch to vaping, there are many things that can help you stay on track and give up the cigarettes for good. For example, using a local stop smoking support group is a good way to meet like-minded people and openly discuss any quitting-related problems that you’re having. You can also download apps onto your smartphone or tablet that are designed to help you quit smoking and track your progress, which will motivate you to continue. It’s also a good idea to prepare for temptations, for example, having two e-cigarettes (or a spare battery) and making sure that you always have plenty of e-liquid available so that you don’t have to turn to a cigarette to curb a craving.

It has been confirmed by science: vaping is a safer, cleaner alternative to smoking.

This is a guest blog posting

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

10 Common Conditions that May Result in Seizures – How Many Are Misdiagnosed?

When it comes to conditions that result in seizures, there is often a fine line between the actual cause of the seizure and the best treatment for that particular underlying condition. The truth is, just because someone has a seizure, even a grand mal seizure, it doesn’t mean they have epilepsy. It could be triggered by any number of conditions such as, believe it or not, low blood sugar or even a stroke.

Because there are so many underlying conditions and illnesses that can trigger a variety of seizures, they have often been misdiagnosed and as a result, anti seizure medications were wrongly prescribed leading to unwanted and often severe side effects. You would be surprised at the number of lawsuits which have ensued following a misdiagnosis and improper prescriptions stemming from those errors.

Before Taking Any Medications or Treatments

If you, or someone you love, has had one or more seizures, it is important to get a full battery of tests prior to taking any medications or treatments whatsoever. This often means seeking a second or even third opinion and consultation with one or more specialists.

Also, the type of specialist you see is dependent upon the diagnosis you receive. A patient suffering from bouts of dangerously low blood sugar wouldn’t need to see the same type of specialist who treats epilepsy, for example, and vice versa. Without these diagnostics, you could be taking the wrong medication for what ails you!

A Brief Look at Common Conditions Which Can Result in Seizures

When you think seizures, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Of course, it would be epilepsy because everyone who has had any kind of first aid training knows that epileptics are prone to grand mal seizures and there is a danger of choking on their tongue. You are taught how to use a tongue depressor to keep them from swallowing their tongue and in the absence of one, you are taught to use any object at hand, including your finger or a Popsicle stick! But there are other triggers leading to seizures which begin with epilepsy. The list would look something like this:

1. Epilepsy – A neurologic disorder resulting in a disturbance in electrical activity within the brain, leading to recurrent seizures.
2. Injury to the Brain – Usually blunt force trauma of some kind that disrupts electrical activity of the brain.
3. Eclampsia – Seizures brought about as the result of pre-eclampsia (e.g., high blood pressure and organ damage) in pregnant women.
4. Withdrawal from alcohol or drugs – Withdrawal can also trigger a disruption in electrical activity of the brain.
5. Cerebral Palsy – Impairment of motor function from birth which can lead to seizures.
6. Low Blood Sugar – Can lead to more episodes and brain damage which results in seizures.
7. Low Blood Sodium – Causes an imbalance of electrolytes in the system, leading to imbalance in brain activity.
8. Intracranial Hemorrhages – Bleeding in the brain.
9. High Fevers – Triggers a disruption in brain activity leading to seizures in some cases.
10. Brain Hypoxia – A reduction in oxygen within the brain.

As you can see, each of those conditions that can lead to seizures would be treated in different ways and sometimes are absent by the time a patient sees a doctor about seizures they’ve experienced. For instance, you may not still be running a very high fever when you saw your doctor so he or she might assume you have neurological issues. This can result in a misdiagnosis and an erroneous prescribing of anti-seizure medications or treatments.

Your Health Is in Your Hands

When it comes right down to it, your health really is in your hands. Before accepting a serious diagnosis, you always have the option of getting a second, or even a third, opinion. One thing to be aware of, as in the case of epilepsy, is there really is no one test or string of tests which can lead to a diagnosis. Patterns of seizures are observed and a number of other factors can lead to the prescription of a medication which ultimately isn’t necessary.

Those who have been misdiagnosed can sometimes claim medical malpractice and a lawsuit can ensue. However, your health is at stake here so it is important that you understand that you have an active role to play in any treatments ordered by your physicians. If you are in doubt, always seek secondary consultations with specialists pertinent to the diagnosis you have been given.

The most common side effects of anti-seizure medications are not typically severe. While they can include such things as blurred vision, nausea and headaches, few people do experience side effects that are much more serious resulting in secondary issues. If you have been misdiagnosed, consult an attorney. However, don’t let it get to that stage! Be proactive in your treatments to avoid complications.

This is a guest blog entry.

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.