Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Why Exercise Alone Isn’t Enough For A Total Body Makeover

When you first learn to get back into shape, your personal trainer or class will teach you what exercises to do. When you watch a fitness DVD or read a book about fitness, this appears to be the main focus, too. You will find yourself engaged in learning and practicing how to perform each exercise properly.

While the value of diet will be mentioned by your trainers and fitness literature, it will almost seem peripheral. After all, the idea of cooking a bland meal is far less exciting than the endorphin rush that comes from a vigorous workout session in the gym.

What’s more, if you find classes through a facility like Fitness 19, you’ll have a tremendous amount of fun working with other people just like you who are also eager to get back into shape. Perhaps you’ll get quite good at Power Core Yoga or feel totally exhilarated after a session of a Total Tone workout. Thinking about proper diet might be limited to grabbing a protein bar on your way out of the gym or drinking a little more water than you usually do.

Why You May Not Be Getting Noticeable Results

Still, somewhere in your fitness journey, you’ll notice that others in your fitness classes, who are doing the same amount of work as you are getting much better results than you. They may be building up more muscle or burning off more fat.

Recalling how they first looked when you met them, their transformation has been remarkable. Yours, by comparison, are rather modest.

If you ask them about the secret of their success, ask them about what they are doing right, you will discover that they are putting an emphasis on eating healthy.

The Missing Ingredient to Success

While exercise will certainly transform your body, compared to before you got on a fitness rampage, you will notice dramatic improvements too once you add the missing ingredient, a healthy eating plan.

If you don’t eat healthy, continuing to enjoy your favorite foods, from pizzas to French fries and coffee lattes—after all, the tastiest foods have plenty of salt, sugar, and fat—then the benefits of your workout will be countered by the nutrient poor foods that you enjoy.

The way to make the most of your workout is eating healthy! Now everything is aligned. Exercise is good. But exercise and diet is better. And if you can improve how much sleep you get every night, the supplements you take, and how much water you drink every day, you will be optimizing your health.

Before we discuss how to get on track with eating the right meals on a regular schedule, let’s briefly cover the idea of supplementation.


If you’re eating a nutritious meal four to six times a day, why do you need supplementation?

Three reasons:

• 1. Your carefully-chosen foods may not contain all the vitamins and minerals that you need. Our soils are not as rich as they used to be and the fruits and vegetables you eat may not be able to give you the recommended daily allowance of certain vitamins or minerals.
• 2. When you cook food, some vitamins and minerals are destroyed.
• 3. Since you are putting an additional strain on your body, you may be in need of more micro- and macro-nutrients than you are able to get from a regular diet.

If you don’t like the idea of taking tablets, you can get your supplements in a powder form and blend it into a delicious smoothie.

3 Tips for Meal Prepping

By preparing your meals ahead of time, you will be able to stick to your diet plan.

Here are some tips for meal-prepping:

1. Spend a few hours on your day off to prepare meals for the week. Plan a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and healthy snacks.
2. Store the meals in Tupperware containers. Label everything to make it easy to find.
3. Each Tupperware container should have the perfect blend of protein, carbs, and vegetables -- for instance, chicken, rice, and broccoli.

5 Major Benefits of Meal Prepping

• 1. You are less likely to be tempted to cheat with an unhealthy snack or meal during the week when you are hungry but have no time to cook.
• 2. You are going to save time and money by not running to the store several times a week or going to a restaurant.
• 3. You’ll be able to know exactly how many calories you are eating, and how many grams of proteins and carbohydrates and healthy fats you are getting from each meal.
• 4. You’ll be able to adjust your meal plan if your current plan is not working for you.
• 5. You’ll be regularly fueling your body with what it needs throughout the day.
• 6. You will have more energy during the day, sleep better at night, and recover faster from your workouts.

A Word about Ab Sculpting

Remember that perfect abs are made in the kitchen and the gym! Whether you are trying to lose weight or to gain muscle, sculpted six-pack abs will be the central focus of attention when you are wearing a swim suit. While aerobics and specific ab exercises like crunches or leg raises will build your ab muscles, diet still plays a huge role in burning off fat around your abs, hips, and buttocks.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Monday, October 24, 2016

What is "Late Recurrence" and How to Prevent It

As a breast cancer survivor, it is no secret that you’ve fought hard. But unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that the battle is over. Recurrence is a scary thought, and even after 5 years, the cancer could come back. For most estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) patients, prognosis is very good.

However, for women who do experience a recurrence, about half of the time, this will occur after 5 years.

Though nothing is guaranteed, there are some measures you can take to help prevent late recurrence. In addition to following your treatment plan, there are some changes that you can make to reduce your risk of recurrence and help you get through the next chapter in your life — healthy and happy.

1.  Follow your treatment plan.

The first step is to follow your treatment plan.

If you’ve just completed initial treatment, one of the best ways to prevent early and late recurrence is to be consistent with your anti-estrogen therapy.  It is not uncommon for women to forget or decide to stop anti-estrogen therapy because of the side effects. But if your doctor has put you on a 5 year treatment plan, it’s really important to take your medication regularly.

For some, continuing anti-estrogen therapy after the first 5 years can significantly reduce the risk of recurrence. Studies have shown that about 3 to 5% of women with ER-positive breast cancer benefit from extending their treatment to ten years.

If you’re an ER-positive survivor coming close to 5 years of treatment, you may be wondering if you fall in that 3-5% that may benefit from extending anti-estrogen therapy beyond year 5. The good news is there’s more information available now than ever before.

To learn if you might benefit from extending anti-estrogen therapy beyond 5 years, ask your doctor about Breast Cancer Index – a test that uses your initial tumor sample to help you and your doctor understand your personal risk of late recurrence and your likelihood of benefit from extended anti-estrogen treatment.

2.  Prioritize your mental health

While there’s no direct link to stress increasing risks of cancer, stress can encourage unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking that directly impact your physical health, and reduce your overall quality of life.  So finding ways to manage stress and anxiety following your breast cancer treatment is also important.

When your initial treatment is over, cancer doesn’t need to control your life anymore. Give yourself time to prioritize your mental and emotional health. Find hobbies and passions that help you relax, and discover ways to feel like yourself again. Enjoy time with family and friends, and make yourself a priority.

Lots of women find that keeping a journal, physical activity, and other creative outlets can help them recover from the stress of treatment. Others take up yoga, meditation, or join a support group to connect with other survivors. You have lots of options, it’s just a matter of what works best for you.

3.  Eat nutrient-rich, healthy foods

Adjusting your diet to include lots of fruits and vegetable, whole-grain fibers, and fish, is a great way to maintain a healthy weight, and make sure your body gets the nutrition it needs.

Avoid processed foods, reduce the amount of red meats you eat, and cut back on saturated and trans fats. Instead, choose organic options, eat poultry and beans for protein, and incorporate healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and avocados into your meals.

If you haven’t already, cutting back your alcohol consumption to less than one drink a day is recommended. Alcohol can increase estrogen levels in your blood, and lower your folic acid levels, which are important in repairing and copying DNA.

To gain more insight on your dietary needs, speak to your doctor to help you decide what foods you should eat to fuel your body and stay healthy.

4.  Stay active

Physical activity is one of the best ways to stay in shape after surviving breast cancer. Incorporating something as simple as walking for 3 or more hours a week can help reduce the risk of death and mortality. And the benefits of exercise aren’t just physical. There are so many ways that staying active can help you recover from the emotional and psychological strain of breast cancer. It can relieve stress, improve body image, maintain bone health, and more.

So next time you’re out and about, take the stairs, bike to your destination, take a short walk on your lunch break. Join a sports team, go hiking, or sign up for a fitness class. There are so many ways to get moving in a way that’s enjoyable and fits your lifestyle!

5.  Maintain a healthy weight

Diet and exercise may help to prevent recurrence because they’ll help you maintain a healthy weight.

As a survivor, it’s very important to consider your BMI (or body mass index) to help prevent recurrence.

Weight is such a significant factor in recurrence because of the way fat cells work in a woman’s body. Fat cells produce estrogen — and increased estrogen levels can directly impact ER-positive survivors. In fact, women who are overweight are at an increased risk for recurrence.

There’s always time to adopt new healthy life choices, so if you’re a survivor who is overweight, work with your doctor to come up with appropriate goals and a weight loss plan that will help you reduce your risk of recurrence.


Whether you just finished your initial treatment, or you’re further along and are wondering what to do after the first 5 years of survivorship, these tips will help you live a healthy life and discover ways to prevent late recurrence.












This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Having Sleepless Nights? Sleep Disorders You Should be Wary Of

Most of us have experienced having problems like falling asleep at one time or another, but what constitutes a real sleeping disorder? Sleep disorders are conditions that prevents a person from getting a restful sleep and, as a result, may cause daytime sleepiness, stress, and dysfunction.

There are different types of sleep disorders, and it can be confusing what you have if you don’t know which symptoms to look out for. Here’s a quick list of the most common types of sleep disorders you should be wary of.

Sleep apnea. A sleep disorder that is easily construed as normal snoring, but this is actually a more serious issue since it virtually stops a person’s breathing during sleep. While medical devices like Resmed CPAP machine are aplenty right now for effectively treating sleep apnea, many people still don’t know they have this life-threatening disorder.

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. The ‘obstructive’ sleep apnea is more common. It is caused by a blockage in the airway, usually when the soft tissue of the throat collapses during sleep, blocking oxygen throughout the body, and thus causing a person to wake up. Central sleep apnea (CSA) is related to the brain’s function where no obstruction happens, but it fails to tell the body to breathe.

Symptoms of OSA include snoring, daytime sleepiness, stress, lack of motivation, restlessness, gasping for air when sleeping and trouble focusing. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to clinical depression, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and many other dire health complications.

Restless Leg Syndrome. A sleep disorder that can cause an irresistible, and often intense urge to move the legs. This is brought on by resting as when you sit, lie in bed, or prolonged periods while driving or at a show. RLS usually occurs in the evening, which make it more difficult for people with this disorder to fall and stay asleep.

RLS can also be associated with daytime sleepiness, lack of concentration or irritability. People with this disorder also tend to move around and shake their legs to somehow relive the uncomfortable sensation.

Narcolepsy. This is a neurological disorder of sleep regulation that can affect the control of sleep and wakefulness. Sufferers experience daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep regardless of time. The sudden sleep attacks can occur during any type of activity as well. Many people with narcolepsy experience sudden muscle weakness with emotions, such as laughter. This disorder happens typically between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can happen at any age as well. Many such cases are undiagnosed, and therefore, untreated.

Getting help. If you suspect that you or a loved one has a sleep disorder, then immediately discuss the symptoms with a physician or a sleep expert. They can perform a physical test and assist you in identifying the difficulties that you’re having with sleep.

Your doctor may suggest a medical device like Resmed CPAP machine if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. This treatment is the most utilized treatment for people with this type of sleeping disorder. A sleep study can also be done at home for some patients as well.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Common Skin Ailments Many Moms Have and What to Do About Them

During pregnancy, many women get to enjoy the healthy glowing skin, but that gorgeous glow typically fades soon after your bundle of joy has arrived. After pregnancy, it's common to notice an assortment of skin problems that you may have never even had before. Before you panic, it's important to understand that you are not alone and there are ways to correct these problems.


Wrinkles are a sign of aging that no one is ever prepared to embrace. Children can really seem to speed up the aging process, especially with sleepless nights and insanely busy schedules. If you've begun to notice fine lines, there are ways you can make your skin appear smoother and younger. Consider trying topical treatments such as Alpha-hydroxy acids, retinoids, and topical vitamin C, including products like Dermaclara Advanced. There are ways to slow down the aging process of your skin by protecting it from the sun, avoiding smoking, getting plenty of sleep, and including more fish in your diet, especially salmon.

Stretch Marks

Stretch marks can appear on almost any part of your body, especially breasts, the belly area, and legs. Some stretch marks do fade over time, but some can take longer to fade than others. The best time to work on getting your stretch marks to fade is while they're still reddish. A dermatologist can prescribe a retinoid to help promote new collagen growth which will plump the problematic areas up, reducing the appearance of stretch marks. Other ways to get rid of stretch marks include lasers to boost collagen and dermabrasion which helps renew skin.


Even if you've never had a problem with acne before, you can still get hormonal acne after pregnancy due to fluctuations in estrogen. Hormonal acne usually appears on the neck and lower facial area and appears in red painful to touch bumps. Typically, this acne will go away within a few months, but it can be aggravating to deal with. One of the best ways to combat acne is to have a proper skincare routine. It's very important to cleanse your face daily and moisturize. Your diet also plays a very big role on your complexion. Try to consume foods that are high in antioxidants and vitamin C. Try to avoid sugar because this can only increase hormones, which can lead to worsening acne.

Dry and Flaky Skin 

Hormone changes can also cause your skin to become dry and flaky. One of the easiest things you can do for dry skin is to drink more water. You can also try switching to a gentle body wash, one that won't dry your skin out. It also helps to use a gentle facial cleanser and follow up with an ultra-hydrating moisturizing cream afterward. Another thing you can do for your dry skin is to apply a rich lotion or a body oil to your body right after you take a shower while your pores are still open.

Skin problem can cause low self-esteem and frustration, but understand that many moms of all ages are in the same boat as you are. Make time to take care of your skin and drink plenty of water.

Getting plenty of sleep might be a challenge if you're a new mom, but definitely snooze when you can. Many post pregnancy skin problems are just temporary and will go away after a few months when your hormones get back to normal levels. If you have really persistent skin problems, don't hesitate to talk to your dermatologist to figure out a solution that works for you.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

5 Benefits to Christian Drug Rehab Centers

Like the Prodigal Son, everyone loses their way every now and again.  Despite this, however, the Son is still forgiven by the Father, giving them the opportunity to start anew and live a more meaningful life.

Here are some of the rewards and benefits you can get out of your Christian addiction treatment:

1. Strengthen your faith in Christ.

By joining Christian recovery programs, you can trust that the counselors, staff, and other members will tap into your faith to help you heal.  Here, you will be encouraged to refer to your pre-established core of values and beliefs. 

Think of the recovery process as a way to apply your faith to your past experiences.  Make it stronger by applying your faith to your futures as well: when you think about how your faith has helped you before, think also of how your faith will help you move forward.  Your faith can only grow stronger from there.

2. Find that extra boost to begin your path to healing.

Once you have reaffirmed your faith in Christ and regained your bearings, you will become reinvigorated and more motivated to pursue a better life.  After living with the pains of addiction for so long, you’ll find that a renewed faith in Christ will refresh you completely. 

With this shift in attitude, you will be able to feel more significant changes, like a change in the way you view things and a renewed love for life.

3. Join a new community of friends and family.

Christian drug rehab centers are all about community – this sense of community, after all, is one of the main principles of the faith.  Not everything has to be done alone, and with your new community, you will find more than just a new network of friends.  Because all of you have the same shared experiences, you may even be able to consider them your new family as well.

4. Experience no judgment from other like-minded individuals who share your faith.

With your newfound community, you share not just the experience of addiction, you also share the same faith in Christ.  With them, you need not fear judgment or disapproval for your mistakes. 

As community prayers, healing sessions, and group counseling are all highly encouraged in these recovery programs, you will be forming strong bonds with both Christ and your community.  In this environment, you can feel at ease when talking about your most despairing experiences, and find comfort in listening to other people's’ stories as well.

5. Get the opportunity to help others.

Possibly the most rewarding benefit of joining Christian recovery programs is gaining the chance to help other Christians who’ve lost their way.  After receiving all the help you needed with the program, you can now pass on what you’ve learned to new, incoming patients. 

Truly, there is nothing more satisfying than getting the chance to pay it forward.  More than anything, the knowledge that you’ve helped save a life is much more fulfilling than anything else.

There is hope for everyone, no matter the sin and no matter who the sinner is.  To begin your path to recovery, you must first recognize that you have done wrong and express a desire to change.  Before signing up for a treatment program, it’s important to note that this is the attitude to have.  Truly, you cannot begin your path to recovery if there is no admission of the fact that you have made a mistake in the first place.  Only then can you begin to seek out Christian drug rehab centers to help you along the recovery process.

This is a guest blog entry.

How to Support Your Loved One Through Addiction Treatment

Family members have a vital role to play when it comes to women’s addiction treatment.  Women need to feel the support of family members as they seek treatment for drug or alcohol issues.  It is important for family members to learn how to support a female member of the family during Christian addiction treatment programs.  From attending therapy sessions yourself to helping with medications, there is a role for family members to play in the recovery process.  You can help them be successful by learning what roles you can play in their process.

Remember to Take Care of Yourself

While your family member is the actual addict, you have to recognize that you were affected by their behavior and actions.  Because of this, you have to be involved in the treatment process of your loved one.  Educational workshops, family visits, and therapy sessions should all be included when considering women’s addiction treatment.  Family members will need to work on themselves as well as learn how to be supportive of the addict.  It can also help to go through therapy sessions with the addict to be able to better understand what is going on and to be able to help with recovery.  Be prepared to hear things that might shock you or sadden you.  It’s all part of this process.

Providing Support

Providing actual support can be difficult for family members, especially if you have no idea where to start.  Start by understanding that your loved one is in recovery and must take ‘me time’ to be able to focus on what they are dealing with.  Try not to feel neglected or resentful of the time an addict takes for themselves as they must begin to feel emotions and deal with feelings before being able to have a strong relationship with others.


Be there for your family member by educating yourself.  Learn the steps of the recovery process as well as risk factors involved with relapse.  Have an open line of communication with your loved one, helping them to feel comfortable talking with you about anything.  It is important to be patient at this time as you are dealing with an addict who needs to go through a great deal before even being ready to be sober.

Continue to praise the success of your loved one.  Celebrate milestones and even offer to go to meetings with them if it will help.  By simply showing that you are supportive of the actions they are taking will mean a great deal.

Relapses Happen

As a family member, it is important to realize that relapses can happen.  Christian drug and alcohol treatment centers provide quality care but a relapse can happen at any time.  Be supportive of your loved one and help them get treatment once again if a relapse does occur.  Try not to pass judgment on them as it does happen.  Finding a solution that will help them go through the relapse is a better way to approach the situation.  Perhaps a different type of Christian addiction treatment program needs to take place.  Find alternatives to treatment to ensure your loved one receives quality care.

Being supportive means something different to every individual.  Speak with your loved one openly to find out just what they need.  Perhaps they just want you to be willing to listen when they need to talk.  Or maybe they want you to attend meetings or therapy sessions with them at Christian drug and alcohol treatment centers.  Whatever the case may be, make sure you are willing to help to assist in the recovery process. 

This is a guest blog entry.

Making a Healthy Lifestyle Choice with Green Cleaning Services in Dallas

Everywhere around the world, people are adapting healthy and green products that are good for Mother Nature as well as for their own well-being and that of their families’. The choice of green, healthy, and environment-friendly products can be seen anywhere you go.

The concept has also crept its way into the home cleaning business, with more and more homeowners going green for a healthy home cleaning session.Whenever home owners get their homes cleaned by a home cleaning service, they choose the green option as it is much healthier for them and their families.

Most of the cleaning services in Dallas working in the market make use of harsh chemicals in cleaning products to get quick results. These chemicals can be extremely dangerous for the entire family due to the fumes they give off and also due to their poisonous nature. They can cause harm to anyone who comes in contact with them, which is mostly unsupervised children. When you hire a cleaning service, you must make sure that company does not bring any of those chemicals with them. You must ensure this to ensure the health of your family and kids.

The market is full of products that contain naturally occurring ingredients that cause no harm whatsoever to you, your family, or your kids; and more and more products are being released every day. But you need to be careful. When the cleaning company comes over, make sure to check the products yourself. Not all brands list all the chemicals they use in the products, but if you have a definitive idea about the majority of ingredients, then you are good to go. Extra precaution is always a good idea, as not only your kids, your pets may even get harmed by the harmful chemicals. So always plan to be extra careful.

The green products are usually affordable in price, as they are made from natural ingredients. So any professional cleaning services in Dallas can easily afford them to put them to good use at your home. These products can also be purchased from eCommerce websites, which often offer lucrative deals and discounts on bulk purchase. So you really will not have a hard time in finding a company that uses such products.

Researches and studies are being conducted all over the world, that point to one same conclusion that green products are quite healthy, as the chemical ones can cause severe damage on first contact. Doctors are of the opinion that homeowners need to discard these chemicals as soon as possible to ensure that their kids grow up in a healthy environment, free from poisonous pollutants.

The research further suggests that exposure to harsh chemicals over an extended period of time may cause skin cancer and blindness, which definitely can be very painful for a human being of any age. The rise of different kinds of cancers is also being attributed to the regular use of harsh chemicals. So, to make things better and healthy, preventive measures must be taken, in the form of green cleaning products.

This is a guest blog entry.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What to Expect from a CT Scan

CT scans, or Computed Tomography, is a diagnostic procedure that helps in the diagnosis of different conditions within the body. CT scans can provide a closer look at different areas within the body such as muscles, tendons, soft tissues, blood vessels and bone.

Like any diagnostic procedure you might have some questions about what it looks for, how it works and what to expect during the procedure. Sevenoaks Medical Centre explains what a patient can expect from a CT scan.

What is a CT scan?

A CT scan uses X-Rays and sophisticated software to produce detailed 2D and 3D images of the body.

These images are used to help diagnose a variety of conditions, including:

•    Vascular diseases
•    Musculoskeletal disorders
•    Muscle injuries
•    Joint injuries
•    Heart disease
•    Cancers

A CT scan may be part of a range of diagnostic procedures you have to undertake in order to reach a diagnosis.

How does the procedure work?

Essentially a CT scan involves a patient wearing a gown, removing all metallic objects and lying down on a motorized bed that then moves through the circular scanner taking pictures at intervals.

This process takes a number of images, individual cross sections of a body, which allow for analysis of different tissues at intervals along the body.

Once the scan is complete the images can then be sent to a Consultant for analysis.

What else should I be aware of?

Prior to the procedure, depending on the focus of the scan a patient may be asked to fast, or may be asked to refrain from drinking before the procedure takes place. This is to allow for clearer images to be taken.

The scan itself is completely painless, however it is worth noting that much like with an MRI the patient will be in the testing room by themselves, although they will be in contact with the radiographer.

This can be unsettling for some patients, especially children, in these cases it is possible for a parent or guardian to remain in the room, however they will be required to wear protective clothing due to the radiation used as part of the scan.

Following a CT scan the images are sent to the required consultant for analysis before the findings are discussed with the patient. In some cases this could be on the same day as the scan takes place (normally in the event of a private CT scan), otherwise it could require a follow-up appointment.

A CT scan is a routine procedure and not something to worry about. If you do have any concerns or other questions then it always best to raise them with your GP when you are referred.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Importance of an Active Social Life for the Elderly

Depression is, unfortunately, a common affliction for many elderly people in New York City. Isolation, mourning, and in some cases, dementia-related illnesses are all common reasons for depression in seniors. When it’s your own mother, father, or another older relative (like a grandparent or an uncle), you want to spend as much time with them as possible. But you’re busy raising your own family and staying on top of your job. You can’t spend all day with them, or even visit as much you would like.

You’re not the only one facing this dilemma and help is available. Home care for the elderly is not restricted to seniors suffering from dementia or recovering from a surgery. Home care with the right agency evolves as your family needs it to, and it can begin with senior home care services in NYC. That means a personal support worker will come to your home to socialize with the loved one you’re worried about. If the elder in your life also suffers from limited mobility or they can’t manage household chores like they used to, a home caregiver can also help out. If your needs increase, the tasks you need to be done and the frequency of visits can change as well.

What does companion care look like?

To take New York City-based Mavencare as an example, companionship with an at home caregiver involves everything from shopping trips and doctor’s appointments to mealtimes and medication reminders.

Meal preparation – As mobility becomes an issue, your older parent may find it harder to reach frying pans or lack the strength to safely empty pots of boiling water. That can mean that they aren’t cooking what they may have for most of their lives, and aren’t getting enough nutrition. A caregiver can help with meal preparation, making sure your parent’s nutritional needs are satisfied, as well as providing some much-needed company at meal times.

Going shopping – If, whether it’s due to visual impairment or decreased mobility, your loved one has lost the ability to drive or safely take public transportation, it can be difficult for them to get the grocery store or go shopping for other necessities. A good sign that this is an issue is spoiled food or empty cupboards in your loved one’s kitchen.

Getting to the doctor’s – Another side effect of decreased mobility is trouble getting to the doctor. If they’ve missed a critical appointment because of bad weather or troubles with public transportation, caregivers with companies such as Mavencare can help them get where they’re going. You can also enjoy peace of mind knowing that your loved one has arrived safe, sound, and on time with a digital app that connects families with caregivers. Get live updates on your loved one throughout the day and always know that they’re safe.

Getting outdoors – While shopping and making doctor’s appointments is important, don’t undervalue the importance of getting outside for pleasure. If your loved one was always a gardener, spending a little time planting bulbs and pulling weeds in the sun can go a long way for their mental health. Bringing a caregiver into your loved one’s home (or your own) is a great way to prevent depression and improve the health of the senior in your life.

This is a guest blog post.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Moving Mountains Together Through Faith

If you are struggling with a substance abuse problem and need help, a residential treatment center is often the best solution. Inpatient treatment allows you to recover in a safe environment, free from outside distractions. You will have the opportunity to learn tools and strategies to help you deal with cravings, and to learn life skills that will help you cope with life on life's terms.

Spiritual Growth And Recovery

A lack of spiritual connection may alternatively be thought of as a cause or a symptom of addiction. It's true that for those in the midst of the struggle, the feelings of loneliness, disconnection and desperation can make recovery seem impossible. You may be feeling alone, ashamed and desperate.

For many people, the solution lies in uncovering and nurturing a spiritual connection that builds faith and offers solutions through a closer connection with that faith. A Christian rehab center is an ideal way to achieve this.

Christian rehab centers offer the best of evidence-based addiction treatment while nurturing the spirit. Many are twelve step based, and offer a combination of clinical and spiritual counseling which may include one-on-one sessions with on-site clergy, bible study and prayer groups and weekly church services as well as topic-based group counseling, substance abuse education and twelve step meetings.

Issues Faced By Christians Who Suffer From Addiction

Most people who face substance abuse problems will also find themselves feeling guilt and shame, but for those of faith, these powerful feelings are often magnified. Many will feel abandoned, unworthy and unable to access or draw comfort from their faith. This is not only an addiction crisis, but also a crisis of faith. By getting help from a rehab with a strong Christian message to share, and counselors who understand and can offer support and guidance from a Christian perspective.

Christian Rehab Is Real

Some people may wonder if a Christian rehab offers the same benefits as a non-secular rehab. The answer is yes. These are credentialed, professional facilities. Staff members are certified and knowledgeable about addiction and treatment practices. What you get with a Christian rehab is quality care that also offers faith-based teachings, support and practices. For many people who have struggled with addiction, their faith and Christian beliefs are integral to their recovery. Not only that, but the support they gain from a Christian fellowship that understands their struggles is an invaluable source of support they are able to draw on.

Another advantage to Christian rehab centers is that they don't just treat the addiction, they treat the whole person. More and more, addiction professionals are realizing the addiction isn't just about the lack of ability to stop using drugs. There are underlying issues and crisis that must be addressed in order for recovery to take place. People have needs for fulfillment and connection, and many turn to substance abuse to fill their need to belong, to fit in and to be a part of something. They also turn to substance abuse to cover up pain, or to help them cope with the feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression that they feel. Christian rehab centers offer a more holistic treatment that addresses these often overlooked issues that can keep people from achieving sobriety in the long term.

If you are seeking relief from active addiction, a Christian rehab center may be the solution you need. It's important to understand that Christian rehab isn't something that should be forced on someone who doesn't want it. While there are other options that can be explored, many people have finally found the help and healing they need through Christian rehab.

This is a blog post by Joyce Kim.

No Stigma: Why More People are Getting Help Than Ever

Today more Americans are seeking out mental health treatment centers than ever before. While many people still cite the cost of treatment, as well as lack of insurance, as barriers to seeking help, they note the stigma which used to surround mental health treatment is less of an obstacle than it once was.


Less Stigma

Young people have more accepting views of mental health than older adults. In fact, a 2015 Harris Poll showed the majority of adults aged 18 to 25 viewed seeing a mental health professional as a sign of strength, not weakness.

When it comes to college students, their rates of anxiety and depression have soared in the past decade. Nearly 65% percent of those surveyed in the Harris Poll said they believe they have, or had, suffered from a mental illness. Students have more of an awareness to their problems because mental illness is discussed more openly today. Schools often address the problem, providing counseling and courses for treatment.

This year nearly half of all American households will have someone seek mental health treatment. The APA's Practice Directorate conducted a telephone survey of 1,000 randomly selected Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 and those Americans agreed the stigma about seeking mental health treatment is becoming less of an obstacle to getting treatment. In fact, 91% of those polled said they wouldn’t hesitate to consult or recommend mental health treatment if they or a family member needed it. The Practice Directorate conducts this poll every few years to gauge public sentiment regarding mental health care.

Nearly everyone surveyed, 97%, said they considered access to mental health treatment centers "important”. Only 30% of those surveyed said they would be concerned if anyone found out they were seeking mental health treatment, and only 20% said the stigma would keep them from seeking help.


The National Alliance of Mental Illness, or NAMI, says society is changing. In fact, in an article by Dr. Bernice Pescosolido called ‘The Stigma Complex’, published in The Annual Review of Sociology 2015, she says Americans are finally understanding that mental health issues are simply brain disorders and need not be stigmatized. She wrote that while society doesn’t change quickly, it will change, we just have to stay the course and continue to educate people and continue to try and raise awareness of these issues.

Seeking Treatment

More Americans are finding it easier to seek treatment because of the Affordable Care Act. To date the Obama Administration has provided the largest expansion of insurance coverage for behavioral health services; this has been made possible by the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. These acts have helped to increase access to mental health services for all segments of society. It has provided Americans who experience mental and substance use disorders with treatment and services that have transformed and revitalized their lives.

Sites such as ‘No More Stigma’ and ‘No Stigmas’ on social media are helping reduce the stigma, allowing people to come together and see mental health is no joke; these sites allow sufferers to know they are not alone and that there is no shame in mental health disorders.

Mental Health Treatment

There are a variety of treatment options available to those who need it. From mental health outpatient treatment centers where patients come and go, to mental health residential treatment centers where patients live for a specified period of time and receive supervised care around the clock; these residential treatment settings offer more intense benefits than multiple outpatient sessions each week. However, residential settings are less intensive and less restrictive than mental health inpatient treatment centers.

This is a blog post by Joyce Kim.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Is Gambling a Medical Addiction?

Gambling can be a lot of fun, when enjoying in moderation, of course, pretty much like every other source of pleasure. People have always been aware of the dangers of gambling too much or too often, but it seems that nowadays, the awareness of compulsive gambling is higher than ever. Casino operators cooperate with other independent bodies, trusts, government and non-governmental organizations in order to tackle problem gambling and especially compulsive gambling. Check out this responsible gambling guide if you want to know how to recognize and how to avoid becoming a problem gambler. We all think that we can recognize when someone has a gambling problem, but it is not as easy as it may seem. Gamblers are often not aware themselves and don’t realize who serious things are.

Cause of Gambling Addiction

There is a part of the brain that is believed to play a role in gambling addiction and it is called the insula. Whenever a person has a hyperactive insula they are prone to compulsive gambling. The activity of the insula can give a person an unrealistic view on what is going on. Those people tend to see regularities in arbitrary sequences of number and they are convinced that they can predict outcomes which they can’t possibly do. A gambling addiction makes the addicted person react to gambling just like an alcoholic reacts to a drink. Just like with alcoholism, there are people who have a natural tendency to become gamblers. The more they gamble the more likely it is for them to become addicted. However, if they learn how to control themselves, they may overcome the addition. So, in short, it is a medical addiction.

It Is a Serious Problem

Moderate gambling, wagering and all other forms of risking a small amount of money for an opportunity to earn more, is accepted. It is fun, it is a social activity and there is nothing wrong with it. But addictive, compulsive gambling hurts not only the person’s financial well-being, but also their personal relationships and their general well-being. Addicted gamblers tend to be depressed and gambling often causes them to lose their job and/or partner. The story of Justyn Rees Larcombe who lost three quarters of a million, shows just how serious gambling problems can be.

It Can Be Cured

Fortunately, like all other addictions gambling can also be treated and cured. Sure, there are many people who are addicted to gambling, but there are even more who are able to gamble in moderation, have fun and still not suffer financial or other losses. There are several approaches that can help cure compulsive gambling. Organizations like Gamblers Anonymous, GambleAware, GamCare and few other have a lot of programs that help people with a gambling addiction. 


The first thing that you need to do if you suspect that you, or a person who is close to you has a gambling problem is to check if the person in questions is experiencing some of the symptoms. The list of symptoms includes, but is not limited to:

• Postponing other commitments in order to gamble.
• Being obsessed with gambling and using every opportunity to engage in some form of gambling.
• Constantly stating “I can give up whenever I want, I just don’t feel like it right now”, and “I am going to get very lucky soon, I can feel it”.
• Lying about gambling and their gambling habits.
• Feeling guilty about gambling, but not being able to stop it.
• Spending money that was planned for something else on gambling.

Gamblers often lose their possessions, including their houses and cars, because they sell them in order to have more gambling money available. Remember that the frequency is not the only indicative of a gambling habit. Some people may gamble more frequently without being addicted. The strongest indication is not being able to stop once you start gambling.

Treatment Methods 

There’s more than one method to treat problem gambling and they could be combined. The first important step, and probably the most difficult one for every person with an addiction is to stop gambling altogether, at least for a certain period of time. That is why most operators nowadays offer self-exclusions that can last from several months up to few years.

• People whose problems are very serious may enter a treatment programme at a rehabilitation centre. That measure should be a last resort only and most people would be able to cure their gambling addiction without staying a facility.

• Psychological and regular medical therapy in combination with other hobbies and activities that will take their mind off gambling is a viable option. Patients will still be able to function normally and do their everyday chores.

• Gamblers Anonymous has its own 12-step program which might be helpful as well. People meet other people who have the same problem and together they fight to overcome the addiction.

• In some cases the gambling addiction is caused by another mental illness or condition and in such cases it is essential for the person to take the prescribed medication regularly, as that will not only help them with their condition, but it may also lead to overcoming the gambling addiction.

• Gambling condition like other conditions is a state of the mind and the reasons why people resort to gambling are mostly psychological. It takes a lot of willpower and determination to be able to defeat the problem and the help from friends and family is essential. Addicts should always be honest with their close ones.

This is a guest blog post.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

How Liposuction Can Bring Hope to Cancer Sufferers with Lymphoedema

For most cancer patients, early detection and timely treatment is usually enough to contain or even end the problem. However, after treatment, there are those who may end up experiencing swollen limbs (either legs or hands). This usually happens due to a condition known as lymphoedema, which is caused by accumulation of lymph in tissues.

The consequences of this rarely-talked-about problem can be dire. The swelling can significantly alter one’s physical appearance and even paralyze them psychologically and physically. Such is the story of Sharne Willoughby, a cervical cancer survivor who shared her experience with the debilitating problem in a recent interview.

“I was unable to work full time, moving was difficult. It was debilitating, both physically and emotionally. I felt uncomfortable around people” said Sharne Willoughby.

The 46 year old talked about her struggles with a problem that only seemed to get worse by the day. How she battled low self-esteem. How she struggled accomplishing daily tasks. And finally, how she triumphed amidst all odds – all thanks to liposuction surgery.

Effectiveness of Liposuction in Dealing with Lymphoedema 

Liposuction is an excisional procedure through which fatty tissue is removed from under the skin using a vacuum tube. In the case of lymphoedema, the fat tissue is not the only one removed but also the swollen lymph vessels that are embedded on it.

The decrease in the volume of fat cells can reduce the swelling because the lesser the size of fatty tissue there is, the lesser the fluid it retains.

It’s a delicate procedure that is only handled by trained surgeons (do your research and preferably choose a clinic with positive reviews). And while it is highly effective, the surgery should be limited to cases where the excess tissue is comprised of adipose tissue, which is often the case in the late stage of lymphoedema.

Scientific literature suggest that large amounts of excess tissue can be removed when liposuction is performed correctly. In addition, the incidence of bacterial infection can be reduced by up to 75%.
What You Should Know About Liposuction

Lipo is considered safe, effective and minimally invasive. It makes a very tiny incision to the skin through which the excess liquid is sucked out. And although that alone may not entirely eliminate the problem, it can control lymphoedema to manageable levels.

It’s An Outpatient Procedure

One good thing with lipo is that it is an outpatient procedure. You can be up and about in just a few hours after the surgery. To top it up, the results are apparent immediately after. Usually, the swelling reduces and normal movement is restored within days.

Side Effects

Bruising and scarring are the main side effects of liposuction. The incision, which is just about a quarter of an inch long can be painful in the first few days but it is gone in several weeks’ time. Also, one may need to wear a compression sleeve to prevent lymphoedema from coming back in the long term.


On the flip-side, though, the liposuction costs can be prohibitive. In addition to the procedure itself, you may need to pay various fees including medications, surgical garments and appropriate medical test fees. However, considering the great benefits it provides to cancer survivors, the cost is definitely worth paying.

Additional Tips for Dealing with Lymphoedema after Liposuction


Taking care of your skin is vital, because it reduces the risk of developing an infection such as cellulitis.

Exercises and movement

Lymphoedema can damage your limb muscles. It is therefore important to devise a movement and exercise plan to help strengthen the tissues involved in lymph drainage. Exercise may involve limb exercises alongside gentle activities that encourage whole body movement such as walking and swimming.


You can use self-massage techniques in addition to manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) which are usually carried out by a therapist. Specialized massage routines can play a huge role during the maintenance phase of recovery, to help avert long-term effects of lymphoedema.

Final Word

If left unattended, lymphoedema can significantly affect your day-to-day life and ruin your self-esteem. The condition can impair your physical movement and even cause a skin infection. Fortunately, like in the case of Sharne Willoughby, there is a scientific way to manage the problem – and that is through liposuction. That’s the kind of hope cancer survivors need to overcome all odds.

This is a guest blog entry.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Fighting Through Withdrawal Symptoms

Perhaps the least-discussed topic in addiction recovery is the process of handling withdrawal. As a person's body begins to adapt to functioning without the presence of drugs or alcohol, there can be a very painful process of readjusting to a chemical-free life.

Withdrawal can be the strongest force drawing an addict back to substance abuse. The pain is real, and the misery is so deep that even the strongest willpower can give way simply in search of relief from the withdrawal symptoms.

When a person is making progress in a 12-step or other program to conquer addiction, withdrawal must be managed to help solidify the gains being made. If these symptoms are left untreated, the entire process can fail.

There are several ways that addicts can combat withdrawal symptoms.

Getting Monitored Medically

The most important thing throughout the entire withdrawal process--both acutely and over the long term--is to make sure that health is monitored and maintained. Because withdrawal can last for months, there may be multiple withdrawal episodes that require medical care.

Bear in mind that most addictive substances being dealt with today are not conducive to "cold turkey" treatment. Cigarettes and other milder addictions can largely be conquered with this mental approach, but opioids and many other hard narcotics have chemical triggers that cannot be overcome with sheer willpower. As a result, certain medical interventions may be needed to treat withdrawal effectively and keep recovery on track.

Nutritional Management

Because most people take on a very poor diet while in the throes of a chemical addiction, most are badly malnourished. As recovery begins, the addict needs every bit of strength available to be able to withstand the withdrawal process, as well as to maintain the energy needed to sustain the psychological elements of recovery.

Eating a diet with appropriate levels of needed nutrients and adequate fiber, water, and vitamins can be very helpful. Proper hydration and fiber intake encourage good excretory function, which in turns helps to eliminate substances of addiction from the body. Vitamins and minerals help improve overall health so that the person is as strong as possible in this battle for life. The combination of a balanced diet and therapy for the psychological demands of recovery can give a person a good chance at sustaining the withdrawal process.

Redirecting Attention

Often it's simply the need to get the addict's mind off the withdrawal symptoms that is necessary to get through the process. Obviously, it takes more than a crossword puzzle or a game of Frisbee, but an activity that requires a lot of concentration and activity can do wonders for helping the person push through. And exercise in between withdrawal flare-ups can strengthen the body to fortify it for the next episode.

It doesn't take intense exercise if the person is unable to do it. Yoga, stretching, or simple aerobics can be enough. These activities build physical strength, improve cardiovascular health, and pull mental focus away from addiction and onto something more constructive.

Withdrawal is an inescapable process. For some people, it can be incredibly difficult. A good detox process and a strong recovery program, accompanied by skilled medical monitoring, can help the addict conquer all the powerful side effects of overcoming addiction. The key is to find what works and to stick with it.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What Is an Electrocardiogram?

In traditional pictures, doctors always examine their patients using a stethoscope. This is a useful tool that allows them to listen to some of the body’s internal functions, including the intestines, lungs, and heart. However, what it doesn’t do is really tell you how something is operating.

If a doctor wants to know if the heart is beating, a stethoscope is more than enough. If, however, they want to know how it is beating, they will need a bit more information. This information can be measured through ECG electrodes. So what do they measure and how?

Resting ECG

ECG stands for electrocardiogram. A resting ECG shows physicians how the heart works when the person is resting. This allows them to check on the overall condition of the heart. Resting ECGs are often used after someone has had cardiac surgery, angioplasty, an angiogram, or if their heart medication has changed. It takes between 15 and 20 minutes to complete a resting ECG.

Exercise ECG

The exercise ECG is better known as the stress test. Patients are placed under stress by exercising or through medication, determining how the heart works when it has to beat harder. This shows whether blood is flowing to the heart tissue properly. Stress tests have to be completed in controlled environments at all times. It is often used if coronary artery disease is suspected and can help people prevent heart attacks.

Holter ECG

The Holter is a portable monitor that measures the heart’s electrical activity for a 24 hour period or more. This allows doctors to diagnose a heart arrhythmia, whereby they can find out whether there are specific irregularities within the heart. To complete this test, ECG electrodes are placed over specific bones, which means they won’t accidentally pick up on muscular activity. The electrodes are attached to the Holter device, which the patient wears around their belt or neck. This is usually done after someone has had a heart attack, requires new heart medication, or is believed to have an arrhythmia.

ICU Monitoring

When someone is in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), it is quite common for them to be attached to an ECG. In fact, it is one of the ICU’s most commonly used pieces of equipment. If someone is in the ICU, they must be monitored properly 24/7, and a problem with the heart is often indicative of something else going wrong. As a result, it is almost standard procedure to ensure someone is constantly monitored with an ECG.

OR Monitoring

While it is very common for someone in the ICU to be attached to an ECG, it is even more common for this device to be used in the OR (Operating Room). When someone is going through surgery and are under the effects of the anesthetic, they are no longer able to vocalize any problems. As a result, should they be in distress, they would be incapable of telling the physicians about this. By attaching them to an ECG, any changes can be detected immediately.

This is a guest blog post.

Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins - What's the Difference?

Spider veins and varicose veins have similarities, but they look different and have a different diagnosis. Learn more about their differences and similarities below, including how to treat them.

Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins - What are they?

The main difference between spider veins and varicose veins is their appearance.

Spider veins are small, thin blood vessels visible underneath the skin on the legs or face. Though typically harmless, spider veins can be caused by poor circulation and lead to varicose vein formation.
Varicose veins are enlarged, “ropey” veins which protrude beneath the skin. They often develop on the legs and feet when valves in the veins aren’t working properly.

What Causes Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?

Spider veins and varicose veins are often caused by increased pressure on the lower body due to standing or walking.

Other risk factors can include:

Age – As you get older, veins often lose elasticity. Valves in your veins may weaken allowing blood to flow backward instead of moving to your heart. As the blood pools, your veins can enlarge and often appear large and blue because they contain deoxygenated blood being re-circulated through the lungs.
Pregnancy – Pregnant women often develop spider veins or varicose veins due to increases in blood volume and decreases in blood flow from the legs to the pelvis. This supports a growing baby, but can cause enlarged veins in the legs. Symptoms often worsen late in a pregnancy, but most women are symptom-free three to 12 months following delivery.
Genetics – If you have a family history of spider veins or varicose veins, there’s a high chance you may get them too.
Obesity – Extra weight puts pressure on the veins causing blood to pool.
Sitting or Standing – When sitting or standing for long periods of time, blood flow in the legs decreases. 

What Are the Symptoms?

Often, spider veins or varicose veins have no symptoms other than an undesirable cosmetic appearance. Symptoms may include:

• Blue or dark purple veins
• Twisted, bulging veins
• Achy or heavy feeling in your legs
• Pain after sitting or standing for long periods of time
• Muscle cramping, throbbing, or burning in your lower legs
• Itching around your veins
• Inflammation of the skin near your ankle, color changes, and hardened veins that could be symptomatic of vascular disease, which requires medical attention

How Are Spider Veins and Varicose Veins Treated?

A health care professional can examine the affected area to diagnose spider veins or varicose veins. Most cases don’t require treatment except for complications or cosmetic reasons.

Symptoms can be alleviated by lifestyle changes including regular exercise, weight loss, and avoiding sitting or standing for extended periods. Elevating the legs while sitting or sleeping can also improve circulation and decrease leg swelling.

If spider veins or varicose veins are painful or irritating, innovative vein treatment can eliminate them for good. At Coastal Vein Aesthetic Institute, we help patients get relief from spider veins and varicose veins through non-invasive vein treatments. Contact us to learn more about our vein services.

This is a guest blog post.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Choose Low Cholesterol Alternatives

If you have been surprised by high cholesterol readings from your latest visit to the doctor, you are not alone. Whether through heredity, lifestyle, or a combination of both, having high cholesterol is a common health problem that raises the chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

The good news is that cholesterol numbers can improve through lifestyle changes. Healthy eating is one of the most significant lifestyle changes recommended by the Mayo Clinic to help lower cholesterol. Here are some ways you can choose low cholesterol alternatives to help improve your health.

Better Snacking

Potato chips are on their way out as a snack food, but that does not mean that you have to feel deprived. In addition to snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts are a great option. They quiet a rumbling stomach before dinner time, and are full of protein, omega-3 and essential minerals. They may even lower LDL cholesterol levels. Walnuts are a great source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. To make vegetables more palatable to snack on, try a mashed chickpea dip called hummus. It has tons of fiber and no saturated fat.

Healthy Salad Toppings

Salads full of nutritious and high fiber fruits and vegetables are great, but their benefits can almost be cancelled out by creamy high fat dressings and high sodium croutons with little nutrition. Choose a simple dressing made from olive oil, your choice of vinegar, and a salt free spice blend. Add some canned beans such as kidney or cannellini for extra color and texture in your salad that will add extra nutrition without cholesterol. Here are some great ideas for assembling a great heart healthy salad. They include adding extra vegetables, whole grains, fruit, herbs and proteins to the standard salad that make it a meal.

Good Meat Choices

In order to increase the effectiveness of your efforts to lower your cholesterol, consumption of red meat must be reduced. Increasing fish consumption is one way to promote lower cholesterol. Replacing red meat with fish such as salmon gives you a rich taste that is full of fats that are good for you. Lean ground turkey can replace ground beef in your favorite casseroles and burgers, especially if you season it with a high quality herb and spice blend. There are some good turkey bacon options that can satisfy your craving as well. Even if you are a pork bacon purist, there is an option for you. Canadian bacon is actually lean ham slices and contains one quarter of the fat of standard bacon.

Go Plant Based

By choosing more foods made from plants, you are reducing your exposure to foods that are heavy in saturated fat and carbohydrates. Vegetables, fruits, and legumes should be the centerpiece of your low cholesterol diet. Thanks to forward thinking food producers, the choices will not need to be so hard into the future, because even foods that are in packages at the market can be healthy and plant based. Hampton Creek is a company that started out by making Just Mayo, a mayonnaise alternative that substitutes yellow field peas for eggs in order to emulsify its spread.

Smarter Bread Choices

Skip the saturated fat-laden pastries made with butter and sugar for breakfast. Instead, choose whole grain toast dressed up with a little peanut butter or no sugar added jam. You will avoid the fat while adding fiber to the first meal of the day.

Choose Dark Chocolate

Even though you want to adapt to a healthier diet, you can still have a treat once in a while. Skip the carbohydrate heavy candy and opt for dark chocolate. The oleic acid in cocoa butter is a monounsaturated fat that can lower LDL cholesterol. You will want to skip milk chocolate because it contains saturated fat, but dark chocolate with 70 to 80 percent cocoa is a great treat choice that may raise the level of your good HDL cholesterol.

There have been many advances in the treatment of high cholesterol, from the awareness of the importance of diet to cholesterol lowering medications. Treating high cholesterol as soon as possible after its onset will decrease your chances of a heart attack or stroke. Proper low fat eating, combined with exercise and quitting smoking, may be enough to avoid having to take statin medication. Even if you inherited your high cholesterol, making modifications to your eating habits and lifestyle can positively impact your cholesterol numbers.

This is a guest blog post.

Friday, July 15, 2016

How Technology Is Changing the Face of Healthcare

When we think about medical tech, big things like MRIs come to mind. Biotech like automatic insulin injectors might also make the list. Then, there is the more fanciful sci-fi solutions like medical tricorders, Emergency Medical Holograms, and pills that can grow back kidneys.

While these technologies capture the headlines, and our imaginations, the healthcare tech that most affects your outlook is likely much smaller, less expensive, more common, and something you might already have. These less ambitious technologies have the benefit of being available now, and are already being implemented.

In many parts of the world, a health app like Epocrates can do more to prevent deaths than an MRI machine. Here is how current medical tech is saving the lives of people closer to home, perhaps even yours:

Healthcare Management Software

Electronic health record (EHR) software has got to be tied with payroll software for the most boring technology to a consumer. But that boring software distinguishes itself by helping doctors save lives.

The top EHR software does this by:

•    Allowing doctors to share notes
•    Facilitating the sharing of test results in an accurate and timely manner
•    Providing patient care via chat

These are just a few of the things being enabled with software in more healthcare systems across the US and around the world.

But when it comes to EHR, we still have a long ways to go. As the world becomes more mobile, it has to get easier to share and transfer records across various systems. The EHR silos still have to be broken.

Medical records also need to travel across borders. This can be especially useful in tracking, or even preventing the spread of disease from one part of the world to another. Finally, EHR has to become a lot more portable so that it can benefit people in developing nations and remote villages.

None of these changes will happen overnight. And they will require more than technology. Certain geopolitical realities have to be addressed. But once fully implemented globally, EHR might be the biggest advance to healthcare in the 21st century.

Fitness Tracking and the Quantified Self

Apple Watches and Fitbits have done a lot more than give the tech press another meaningless fan war to cover. They have given people a reason to care about their health. Once people have a simple and compelling way to track certain health metrics, they do.

Among others, one of the benefits of this sort of tracking is that people can have a better idea of when they need to visit a doctor. One instance of elevated blood pressure after a big fried chicken dinner is not overly concerning. But a pattern of high blood pressure is reason enough to make an appointment.

People who think they are getting enough exercise are often surprised by how little they stand, have productive movement, or get their heart rate up to the level of exercise. Equally, people are often unaware of how poorly they sleep. This is the sort of data fitness trackers can provide.

But until the average fitness tracker can provide things like blood pressure and glucose monitoring, they will have limited appeal. Right now, the people interested in such devices tend to be some of the fittest people in the world. Progress will have taken a leap forward when less healthy people get more benefit from these devices.

A Call for Help

At WWDC 2016, Apple introduced a feature to the Apple Watch via watchOS 3 that is sure to see uptake from all other competitors in the space. It turns the device into an emergency call button. Press and hold the side button, and the watch will make an emergency call wherever you happen to be in the world. Because it knows your location, it also knows the proper number to dial.

Simultaneously, it sends a message to a predefined contact list and a map location letting them know where you are. There are plenty of ways for this kind of feature to go wrong but even more ways for it to go very right.

We needn't look to science fiction to find lifesaving technology. Look no further than your computer, smartphone, and wrist.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The History of Health Records

While health records have become big business in recent history, the keeping of health records is actually less than 100 years old. Though today we take for granted the easy access that can provide connections between past and current illnesses, symptoms, and health providers; catch drug interactions and allergies; and provide on overall picture of our lifetime of health, our health information systems have come quite a ways from their simple beginnings.

The Beginning of Health Records

Keeping health records goes back to the 1920s, when medical professionals recognized the need for access to previous health information for accurate treatment of patients.

The concept of keeping and using records to provide better care spread quickly. In 1928, the Association of Record Librarians of North America was established by the American College of Surgeons to facilitate accurate record keeping. The organization went through several incarnations, eventually becoming the American Health Information Management Association in 1991.The scope of their work has greatly expanded over the years, but they started out keeping basic health records for hospitals and clinics.

Records in this era were kept on paper, and that continued to be the case for many decades until the technology revolution started to change the face of health record keeping.

Evolution to Electronic Records

The evolution from paper to electronic record keeping actually took many decades as well. The idea to create an electronic system for health records goes back to the first days of computers in the 60s and 70s. The technology was slow to develop and cost-prohibitive in the early years.

Computers were very expensive, very large, and limited in their capabilities during those first record-keeping steps the 60s and early 70s. It took the technological advancements of the late 70s and early 80s to make the consistent use of electronic record keeping feasible on a large scale.

Early healthcare software focused on very narrow areas and was useful only for specific departments. In the 80s, however, software began to advance and develop at a rapid pace, though it was still lacking an all-encompassing system of electronic record keeping that could connect the access to patient information in new and multiple ways. This more robust integration came with the advent of the Internet age, when networks began allowing the sharing of information that healthcare software needed to be more effective.

Electronic Health Records in the New Millennium

As the new millennium dawned, technology advanced expeditiously in nearly every industry. Healthcare records were one of the areas that grew by leaps and bounds.

New Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems appeared on the market, and by 2004 the government began backing a push to move health records to a new electronic system. In 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law. This law included a provision requiring all medical records to be transferred to electronic systems and 70% of healthcare providers to comply by 2014.

Naturally, the move to widespread adoptions of electronic health records brought hurdles with it, including problems with the security of sensitive information as it was passed through insurance and billing systems.

This was addressed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which was enacted to provide safeguards and rules to ensure all patient data are handled carefully and securely. HIPAA compliance became a large part of the health records industry, requiring that all healthcare entities ensure that their systems were aligned with the rules.

Health Records Today

From the humble beginnings of doctors’ basic handwritten notes, the health information industry has taken on a new life. Records no longer simply track the history of a patient. Today they provide a vast pool of knowledge that improves patient care and makes the work of doctors easier.

Now there are Regional Extension Centers of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology across the nation, offering support and assistance as providers make the shift to new electronic systems. These systems are continuously improving with the fast pace of technology.

With many providers already working on a 100% electronic system, the handling of security, backup and recovery, and accurate record keeping has created an even larger health record industry that will continue to grow into the future.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

CT vs. MRI – What’s the Difference?

Has your doctor ever told you that you may need further testing with a CT scan or an MRI? Maybe you’re familiar with taking x-rays for broken bones, but what are CT scans and MRIs? And how are these two tests different?

Here we’ll explain how CT scans and MRIs work and why one may be better than the other depending on the medical issue and the patient.

What Is a CT Scan?

Computerized Axial Tomography, often shortened to CAT or CT Scan, uses rotating x-rays to generate images of the body. These tests are often recommended for diagnosing serious injuries or fractures to the head, chest, spine, abdomen, and pelvis. They may also be used to find the location and examine the size of tumors.

Radiation exposure can occur during CT scans and is not recommended for pregnant women or children unless absolutely necessary.

Advantages of a CT Scan

CT scans offer many advantages. The following are a few reasons why doctors may choose a CT scan over an MRI.

•  CT is great for viewing bone structures, soft tissue, and blood vessels at the same time.
•  CT scans are cheaper than MRI scans and take less time to complete. The process typically takes five minutes with only 30 seconds of actual scanning.
•  CT can be a more comfortable test for patients who are claustrophobic (although open MRIs are available).
•  CT is widely used for emergency rooms patients.
•  Patients with cardiac monitors, pacemakers, and certain metallic fragments or surgical clips cannot have an MRI, but they can have a CT scan.

What Is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, uses powerful magnets and pulsing radio waves to collect images. An MRI is best used for collecting soft tissue images.

MRI is more versatile than CT and can be used to examine a wide range of health conditions. An MRI scan may take 10-15 minutes to complete or can take as long as two hours.

Advantages of an MRI

MRIs offer different advantages than CT scans. The following area few important advantages.

•  MRI scans offer better detail for soft tissue structures, spinal cord injuries, brain tumors, and ligament or tendon injuries.
•  MRI uses a magnetic field to build an image without the use of radiation. Radiation exposure is not a concern when getting an MRI.
•  With MRI, the imaging plane can be changed without moving the patient.
•  The contrast agent used in MRI does not contain iodine.
•  MRI offers the ability to adjust the sharpness of black, white, and gray images by making subtle changes to the magnetic fields and radio waves. These different settings can highlight many types of tissue.

When scheduling a CT scan or an MRI, it’s crucial to choose professional, trained doctors and nurses who use the latest technology and offer quality healthcare services. Vidius Healthcare Solutions offers doctors and clinics innovative radiology IT solutions and services so you always get the experience you deserve.

This is a guest blog post.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Why A Specialist's Opinion Is Necessary For Varicose & Spider Veins

Age, work stress, obesity, and hormone fluctuation are just a few factors causing you to suffer from unpleasant varicose and spider veins. Though generally harmless, the appearance of these veins can make you want to cover up, even during the summer months.

Varicose veins are blue or purple in color and appear inflamed. Spider veins are somewhat similar to varicose veins, but they’re closer to the skin’s surface and smaller in size. Spider veins can expand to the face.

Millions of people suffer from varicose and spider veins, so it’s surprising how little is known about treating these ailments. If left untreated, they can cause long-term health problems, including general discomfort, leg swelling, deep vein thrombosis and leg fatigue.

Due to these reasons, people suffering from varicose and spider veins are encouraged to educate themselves by reading expert resources and seeking specialist treatment. Listed below are some benefits of taking a specialist's opinion and seeking treatment under their guidance.

Specialists Help You Understand the Disease

iVein and other top specialist treatment centers will educate you on these venous diseases. They do this through informative articles, visuals and videos about the signs and symptoms of the disease. For instance, you may not be aware that a large quantity of reflux inside the venous system feeds spider veins. You are then informed if their treatment requires non-invasive, minimally-invasive or invasive procedures. Some centers will also provide free screening to patients who have noticed signs of venous diseases.

Specialists Address the Root Cause of a Disease 

While several home remedies exist for treating varicose and spider veins, they rarely address the root cause of these diseases. While some patients are fortunate enough to treat the venous diseases through home-based cures, the majority continue to suffer from symptoms even after attempting all types of “natural cures." When natural remedies don’t work for you and you don’t want to take further risks, specialists will inform you about treatment options that will address the root cause of your disease. By addressing the root cause, you would increase your chances of being free from venous diseases for life.

Specialists Have More Experience in Treating Patients

There are a number of general doctors who have experience in treating varicose and spider veins, when the symptoms are minimal, collaborating with specialists on a regular basis if there is a slight increase in the intensity of the symptom. However, the majority of general doctors are inexperienced in treating patients with profound symptoms of venous diseases. These patients usually find comfort in specialists, who not only have more experience in treating patients, but also use advanced treatment principles to address the disease. When you have venous disease symptoms beyond what a general practitioner can handle, it’s a smart move to visit a specialist.

Specialists Ease Your Worries

Perhaps the most underrated benefit of visiting a specialist to get varicose and spider veins treated is that they know several others like you. Top specialists may even give you contact details of previous patients so that you’re able to connect with them and ask about their struggles. Specialists ease your worries by telling you that anyone can suffer from varicose and spider veins and that you’ll be able to get back your flawless skin and health after treatment.

Due to these reasons, a specialist opinion is recommended for treating varicose and spider veins. 

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.