All posts filed under “Wellness

Erase Stress
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Stress: how to cope better with life’s challenges

What causes stress

Imagine you are walking down a beautiful trail, taking in the scenery, smelling the flowers and enjoying your day. Your brain is having a positive response to the relaxing environment, serotonin is released, and you feel happy, at ease. Now imagine, around the next turn you are face to face with a brown bear. In an instant the chemicals in your brain change drastically, digestion in halted, your heart beat speeds and blood flow to your muscles increases. These chemical changes are your body’s instinct to defend itself, your fight or flight response. These changes are also called stress.

Stress can be a good thing in moderation, or when you need that boost to dive out of harm’s way. But stress can cause unhealthy physical symptoms when it goes on for too long. Stress in everyday life can negatively impact physical and mental health. Most often, there is no fight or flight response needed, yet your body prepares to run, working overtime. This can cause you to feel anxious, worried, afraid or uptight.

What changes may be stressful

Simply, any change can lead to stress. This can be good change or bad change. Although, it may not be the change itself causing stress, rather how you react to it. It is also important to remember that stress is different for everyone. Going to the grocery store might be stressful for one individual and therapeutic for another.

Can stress hurt my health

Stress can cause or complicate health problems. A few possible signs of stress can include

  • Anxiety
  • Neck and back pain/tightness
  • Head aches
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Depression

How can stress be managed

Firstly, try and recognize the common signs of stress. Shoulder and neck tension, as well as clenched fists are often early warning signs of stress. The next step is to select a method to deal with your stress. Ideally, avoiding the thing that causes your stress is best, but that is not always an option. Here are some tips for dealing with stress,

  • Choose a hobby – something you love, or want to get better at
  • Try not to worry about the things out of your control
  • Take care of your little problems first – this can help you to feel more in control
  • Try to prepare for the stressful things in advance
  • View change as a positive challenge, forward momentum
  • Exercise regularly
  • Choose healthier food options

Why Exercise

Exercise is a great way to release pent up energy, as well as release your “happy” brain chemicals. For example, serotonin production is increased during exercise. Serotonin increase has been shown to improve mood and increase energy.

The silver lining

If you are feeling stressed, you get to choose your hobby, something you love. These hobbies can include music, puzzles, walking, yoga, and video games; the list is infinite, because there isn’t a correct answer.  Get lost in the things you enjoy, and remember to take a deep breath.

Contact your doctor if you want help or advice on how you can tackle stress.

Sources:

FamilyDoctor.org

For the full article, follow the link here.

  Feature photo by  Alan Cleaver

diabetes
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Type 1 and type 2 diabetes – what’s the difference?

Diabetes occurs in two forms: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 usually develops at a young age. It’s caused by a damaged pancreas that produces very little or no insulin – the hormone your body needs to carry glucose to your cells. Only about 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1.

Type 2 diabetes is often diagnosed later in life. With this type, it becomes harder and harder for your body to use the insulin it produces. Type 2 is much more common than type 1 – at least 90 percent of people with diabetes have this form.

Prevention and treatment

Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented or cured. Genetics most likely play a role – its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin and follow other measures to manager their blood sugar.

On the other hand, type 2 diabetes can sometimes be prevented or delayed through a healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. For some people with type 2, these practices may be enough to keep their blood sugar under control. Others may need to take medication or insulin.

Sources: American Diabetes Association

 

caption-arrow  Feature photo by : Alden Chadwick

Brain
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4 types of foods to help boost your memory

Do you sometimes feel forgetful? There could be a number of factors causing forgetfulness, but according to a recent study, certain food choices might improve brain function. A healthy diet may lead to a sharper brain by improving cognitive function, alertness and memory.

Strengthen your brain by adding more of these foods to your diet

More vegetables please: Vegetables, especially broccoli, cabbage and dark leafy greens can help improve your memory. If you struggle finding ideas to increase vegetable intake, these suggestions might work for you.

  • Stir fry – add onions, broccoli or any other vegetable of your choosing. Make it fun and celebrate “Stir-Fryday” with the entire family!
  • Get rid of the bun – choose to eat your favorite sandwich wrapped in collard greens, cabbage or kale.
  • Dip it – hummus and veggies can be quick, easy and delicious. Some popular choices include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and cucumbers.

Don’t forget to be sweet: Berries contain high amounts of flavonoids and other potential brain boosters. Darker berries, like blackberries, blue berries and cherries, are high in flavonoids. Add berries to your cereal, or yogurt for a little extra.  If that doesn’t work, a handful of berries on the fly might be just what you need.

Fishing for answers: Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve memory as well. To increase your omega-3, look for seafood including salmon, bluefin tuna, herring and sardines. If you find it difficult to get seafood in the mix, try to replace a few meat dishes with a seafood alternative.  Fish tacos and tuna fish can be a good option when pressed for time.

Go nuts: Walnuts are known for making a positive impact on health. Keep a sandwich bag full at work, and enjoy an easy snack while refueling your brain. If you are looking for a little extra, add chopped walnuts to your morning oatmeal.

 

For the full article, please click Here

 

  Feature photo by NIH Image Gallery

Healthy Snack
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Five myths about colorectal cancer

March is colorectal cancer awareness month. It’s easy to forget which cause is associated with each color awareness ribbon . In fact, you may have never seen the blue awareness ribbon at all. The blue ribbon raises awareness and supports individuals with colorectal cancer.

blueribbon

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in men and women in the United States. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related death in the United States. Even with thousands diagnosed, there are still a number of myths surrounding colorectal cancer. Test your knowledge with the 5 myths below.

Myth: Colorectal cancer is a man’s disease.

Truth: Women are almost as likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer as men. Each year approximately 71,000 men and 64,000 women are diagnosed.

 

Myth: Colorectal cancer cannot be prevented.

Truth: Colorectal cancer almost always begins with a small growth called a polyp. Early polyp detection and removal can help prevent colorectal cancer. Common detection tests include: colonoscopy, Flexible sigmoidoscopy, double-contrast barium enema, or CT colonography.

Other ways to lower your chances of getting colorectal cancer include:

  • Healthy weight can lower chances of colorectal cancer.
  • Engage in physical activities; Walk, hike, sports swim, etc.
  • Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Avoid refined grains. Choose grains that are whole wheat.
  • Limit your red meat and processed meat intake.
  • If you drink alcohol, limit the amount to 1 drink per day for women, 2 per day for men.
  • Avoid Tobacco use.

Myth: African Americans are not at risk for colorectal cancer.

Truth: In the US more African American men and women are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year. At this time the cause is unknown.

 

Myth: Age doesn’t matter when it comes to getting colorectal cancer.

Truth: Colorectal cancer is more prominent in individuals over 50.

 

Myth: It’s better not to get tested for colorectal cancer because it’s deadly anyway.

Truth: Colorectal cancer is often treatable. However, only 4 in 10 people are diagnosed at an early stage when treatment is most effective.

So, remember the blue. To find out if you’re at an increased risk for colorectal cancer and what you can do to help decrease your chances of getting this disease, please read Colorectal Cancer Early Detection.

For the full article Visit: Five Myths About Colorectal Cancer

 

 caption-arrow  Feature photo by : Matteo Paciotti

Blazers Win!
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NBA Players Putting Their Hearts Into Medical Research

Despite the excellent shape of most NBA superstars, professional basketball players have the highest rate of sports related sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the United States. In fact, NBA players are close to 30 times more likely to die from SCD. Unfortunately, there is limited information on the structure and function of professional athlete’s hearts.  As a result Doctors and researchers have been unable to conclude why NBA players have greater risk. A new study from Columbia University Medical Center and lead researcher Dr. David Engel has examined over 500 current NBA players. This baseline data is just the start of research that will track the player’s heart structure and function through retirement.

The tallest current NBA player reaches a whopping 7 feet 3 inches! The league wide average is a height of 6 feet 7 inches and 222 pounds. There is no denying that these men are huge; but how do their hearts size up? The study revealed that the heart and Aorta size increase with the size of the athlete. This was expected. The researchers also found that the left ventricle, which pumps blood from the heart to the rest of the body, was larger than most adults. Further, the left ventricle was still proportional to the size of the athlete; however there were some noticeable differences.  The wall of the left ventricle was noticeably thicker among many athletes. This can be a sign of decreased heart function.

The research also established a correlation between the left ventricle thickening and ethnicity; as well as total heart mass and ethnicity. With the new data, the research team is able to consider possible treatment for some of the world’s biggest stars. However, at this time, researchers find it very challenging to link a specific physiological difference to an increased risk for SCD. Over the next few years, the research will continue, hopefully pinpointing the cause of increased SCD in NBA players.

For the full article, visit: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_157439.html

Source: Healthday. “NBA Players Putting Their Hearts Into Medical Research: MedlinePlus.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 24 Feb. 2016. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Loren Kerns

 

laughter
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Laughter just may be the best medicine for your heart

In recent years, studies have found a strong connection between our emotions and heart health. Research suggests that laughter can protect your heart by decreasing stress hormones, thereby reducing inflammation in your arteries. These changes appear similar to the benefits of aerobic exercise and cholesterol-lowering drugs.

In short, laughter is a powerful remedy for stress, pain and conflict. Nothing works faster than a good laugh to bring your mind and body back into balance.

Make it part of your everyday life

Make laughter one of your daily heart-healthy activities. It’s as important as being physically active and eating healthy foods. Here are some ideas:

  • Watch a funny movie or TV show.
  • Ready the funny pages.
  • Share a good joke or a funny story.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Goof around with your children.
  • Do something silly.
  • Seek out funny people.
  • Look for the humor in everyday situations.
  • Host a game night with friends.
  • Go to a comedy club.
  • Check out your bookstore’s humor section.
  • Plan fun activities, like bowling, miniature golf or karaoke.

By making humor a regular part of your life, you can have a big impact on your heart health.

Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Kellinahandbasket

heart health
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How to tell if it’s a heart attack

The most common signs of a heart attack are:

  • Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest – like pressure, squeezing, fullness, heartburn or indigestion.
  • Upper body pain or discomfort – in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw or upper stomach.
  • Shortness of breath – may be the only symptom.

Less typical symptoms include breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling unusually tired, nausea or vomiting, light-headedness or sudden dizziness.

Every minute counts

If you think you or another person might be having a heart attack, don’t ignore it or feel embarrassed. Call for help! Dial 9-1-1 even if you’re not sure the symptoms mean a heart attack. Here’s why:

  • Acting fast can save your or someone else’s life.
  • Ambulance personnel can start life-saving measures right away.
  • People who arrive at a hospital by ambulance often receive faster treatment.

If you can’t reach 9-1-1, have someone else drive you to the hospital right away. The sooner you get to the emergency room, the better your chance of survival. Prompt medical treatment can also reduce the damage to your heart.

Sources: Cleveland Clinic, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Library of Medicine  

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Nicholas Raymond

Hand Washing. Sept 2009Photo by Stephanie Schupska
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How to stay flu free in 11 simple steps

Chances are you know somebody with a cold or a flu right now. Find out how you can protect yourself and others with these simple tips below.

Tips on how to stay healthy

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • Don’t share personal products (lip balm, eating utensils, etc.)
  • Try not to touch your face
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Get enough sleep
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Avoid large crowds of people
  • Use tissues and dispose of them properly
  • Wipe down commonly used items (door knobs, computer mouse, etc.)

Even if you are feeling a bit run down it is best to keep your distance from loved ones and take time to rest. The flu is contagious up to 1 day before symptoms occur and up to 7 days after becoming sick. If you have a cold you are contagious the first 3 days you have symptoms. Also if you know somebody who is sick make sure to take the necessary precautions such as those listed above so you stay healthy and happy.

 

caption-arrow  Feature photo by UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences

5944073211_8b58ba5379_o
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What is manlier than a well groomed moustache?

November is Movember, a month long campaign focused around men’s health. The Movember Foundation is an international non-profit organization that is all about spreading awareness and raising funds for men’s health issues. Their main areas of focus are on are prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health, and physical inactivity in men. Their cause is represented by growing a moustache (mo), getting active, or donating during the month of November. The Movember Foundation uses the funds that are raised to improve programs that save lives. Ladies are welcome to take part in the events as well, sign up and take the pledge to move  or donate during the 30 days of Movember. Below are facts about men’s health as well moustache facts, do your part and help spread awareness.

Men’s Health Facts

  1. 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
  2. Men 65 years and older are at a higher risk for prostate cancer
  3. 1 man out of 38 diagnosed will die of prostate cancer
  4. Half of testicular cancer cases are in men 20-34 years of age
  5. Most cases of testicular cancer can be treated and cured
  6. The highest rate of depression is in men 40-59 years of age
  7. 41% of men do not exercise enough

Weird Moustache Facts

  1. Mo is Australian slang for moustache
  2. There is a World Beard and Moustache Championship competition
  3. The average moustache has 600 hairs
  4. Albert Einstein had a moustache for over 50 years
  5. A man touches his moustache an average of 760 times a day
  6. Facial hair grows half an inch a month
  7. The world’s longest moustache is 14 feet long

There are lots of ways to grow, give and move for men’s health in November. Help raise awareness about conditions like prostate cancer, mental health and physical inactivity. Since 2003, Movember has raised $650 million and funded more than 1,000 men’s health programs around the world. Let us know in the comments below how will you grow, give, or move this Movember.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Anna Gearhart

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Recognize the signs of breast cancer

With October coming to a close, we have one last post on the topic of breast cancer awareness. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help in early detection. Below are some common symptoms related to breast cancer.

  • A new lump in the breast
  • A new lump in the armpit
  • Swelling or thickening in part of the breast
  • Dimpling of the breast skin
  • Irritation of the breast skin
  • Pulling in of the nipple
  • Pain in the nipple area
  • Nipple discharge (other than milk)
  • Change in shape or size of the breast
  • Pain anywhere in the breast

If you are showing any of these symptoms it does not automatically mean you have breast cancer. These signs and symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions. It is important to be looked at by your doctor should you have any concerns.  On the other hand, some women have no symptoms at all. Even if you are not showing any signs of breast cancer it is important to get regular screenings.

Comment below how you plan to stay on top of your health. Also how will you share this information with others?

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  North Charleston