Monday, January 31, 2011

Look Out for Barrett's Esophagus

Barrett's esophagus may result from complication of gastroesphageal reflux disease (indigestion). When stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, it can cause changes in the esophageal lining, triggering Barrett's esophagus. In some cases, it can lead to cancer.

The American Academy of Family Physicians says these warning signs could indicate Barrett's esophagus:
  •  Having three or more instances of heartburn per week.
  •  Having heartburn over a number of years.
  •  Difficulty or painful swallowing.
  •  Losing weight without trying.
  •  Bloody or very dark stools.
  •  Unexplained vomiting.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Causes of a Stress Fracture

A stress fracture often results from a sudden increase in activity. Abrupt overuse of the muscles means they can no longer absorb the shock of a particular activity. This causes a small crack to develop in nearby bone.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers this list of common reasons for stress fractures:
  • Suddenly exercising more frequently or more intensely.
  • Exercising on a new type of surface, such as when a tennis player changes from soft clay to a harder surface.
  • Using worn or inappropriate exercise equipment, such as shoes without adequate support.
  • A sudden increase in physical stress, such as when a sports player is abruptly given more playing time.
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder characterized by episodes of mania and depression. It causes major mood swings, varying from depression to manic (elevated) mood. The Journal of the American Medical Association says the following symptoms may be a sign of bipolar disorder:

Manic phase:
  • Unusually elevated mood.
  • Anger or irritability.
  • Speaking and thinking quickly.
  • Quickly jumping from topic to topic.
  • Engaging in high-risk behaviors and making poor choices.
  • Not feeling the need to sleep much.
Depressive phase:
  • Feeling very sad and down, without interest in things you once enjoyed.
  • Feeling anxious, guilty, and hopeless or crying.
  • Abrupt changes in your weight.
  • Abusing drugs.
  • Having thoughts about suicide.
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Body piercing creates Health Risks

Body piercings are becoming increasingly popular and trendy, but they also pose potential health risks.

The Journal of the American Medical Association says possible risks from body piercing include:
  •  The wound may not heal properly.
  •  You may have pain.
  •  Nearby tissue may swell.
  •  You may have an allergic reaction to the metal.
  •  A scar may develop.
  •  Piercings in and around the mouth may damage the teeth.
Bookmark and Share

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tips to Help Reduce Snoring

People snore irrespective of their age and gender. Both the quantity and quality of sleep gets affected by snoring. Some people snore really loud that people around them are unable to sleep. It is caused due to narrowing of the airway passage that can occur either due to bad posture while sleeping or abnormalities of the soft tissue of the throat. 

Given below are few remedies for snoring:
  • Obese people tend to snore more loudly. Losing weight helps reduce the fatty tissue at the back of the throat and thus reduces snoring.
  • Suffering from a bad cold or a stuffy nose makes it difficult to breathe. This creates a vacuum in the throat, which in turn leads to snoring. Using nasal sprays helps to clear out the blocked nasal passage and makes it easier to breathe.
  • Sleeping at odd hours can worsen one's snoring. Having fixed and a regular sleeping routine would help to promote better quantity and quality of sleep.
  • Avoid smoking, as smokers tend to suffer from a higher chance of smoking.
Bookmark and Share

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Meditation connected With Structural Changes In The Brain

Just a few weeks' worth of light meditation can modify the structure of your brain, seemingly for the better. Thirty minutes a day can in fact increase people's capacity for learning while shrinking the parts of the brain accountable for stress.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital asked their sixteen study participants to take part in an eight-week meditation program centered on building non-judgmental recognition of one's own feelings and sensations. The participants only had to meditate for 30 minutes a day.

After the program was over, the researchers imaged the participants' brains. The gray-matter in the hippo-campus had consistently increased, which implies an increase in their capacity for learning and memory building. Meanwhile, the density of the amygdala had actually decreased, specifically in the areas governing anxiety and stress. However, there wasn't any apparent change in the insula, the part of the brain in charge of self-awareness. That seems like an obvious part of the brain for meditation to affect, but the researchers suspect more long-term meditation would be required to alter its structure.

Indeed, it's important to keep in mind just how little the participants were really asked to do. It wasn't as though they were locked away in a yoga prison or anything similarly strenuous - rather, they just did a total of 28 hours of meditation spread out over eight weeks, and yet this was enough to alter the structure of their brain. It's a powerful reminder that our brains are incredibly malleable and structurally responsive to even modest changes in our lifestyle.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tips to Protect against Peanut Reactions

If your kid is allergic to peanuts or nuts, taking strict precautions can help avert a life-threatening reaction.

The Nemours Foundation offers these suggestions:
  • Ban nuts from your home, or take safety measures to avoid cross-contamination of foods.
  • Avoid serving your child meals that you didn't make, or meals for which you haven't seen a complete ingredient list.
  • Talk to all food service people in a restaurant about the nut allergy. Before you eat, make sure they're confident they can avoid cross-contamination.
  • Prepare your child's snacks and meals for school, and for outings with friends.
  • Have the child or caregiver carry an epinephrine pen. Prepare an action plan, in the event of anaphylaxis, for your child's teachers, principal or day-care workers.
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Elders need to Focus on Nutrition

It's essential to eat properly at any age, in particular seniors. The American Academy of Family Physicians says malnutrition in elders can result in a range of additional health problems:
  •  Unintended weight loss.
  •  Fatigue.
  •  Muscle weakening and lack of strength.
  •  Feeling depressed.
  •  Memory loss.
  •  Compromised immunity from infection.
  •  Anemia.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tips to prevent Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are veins that have become swollen and tortuous. The term commonly refers to the veins on the leg, They can make standing and other activities painful.

Although not all cases are preventable, the Web site suggests few tips to help prevent varicose veins:
  •  Apply sunscreen to your skin daily.
  •  Do exercise regularly to aid in making your legs stronger and improve circulation. Concentrate on activities that benefit the legs.
  •  Sustain a healthy body weight.
  •  Don't cross your legs, and elevate your legs when you can.
  •  Move about frequently, avoiding long periods of sitting or standing.
  •  Don't dress in clothes that are too tight. Also avoid high-heeled shoes.
  •  Put on elastic support stockings.
  •  Eat more fiber to help prevent constipation, which can trigger varicose veins. Also, decrease salt intake in your diet.
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tips to Manage Stress

Stress can bring you down emotionally, and it can also affect your physical health. The American Heart Association offers these suggestions for dealing with stress:
  • Talk to yourself in a positive way. Say to yourself, "I'll do the best I can," when dealing with a significant problem or task.
  • Find things that make you happy, and do them often, whether it's beginning a craft project, watching a favorite movie or a taking on a new hobby.
  • Relax yourself each day, using techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga.
  • Carry out activities to help stop stress as it occurs, such as by taking a quick walk or stepping away from a problem for a few minutes.
Bookmark and Share

Monday, January 17, 2011

Slow down while you Eat

If you have decided to lose weight, then taking time to relish your food may be a simple way to help you eat less.

The American Dietetic Association suggests how to eat slower:
  •  Put down your utensils between each bite.
  •  Use chopsticks instead of Western utensils.
  •  Chew your food completely before swallowing.
  •  Make meal time a social time. Engage in conversation to stretch out the meal and interrupt your eating.
Bookmark and Share

Your diet's role in Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It is first detected while a woman is pregnant.

The U.S. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse says dietary changes can be a key to deal with the disease. The agency offers these examples of what a gestational diabetes meal plan may comprise of:
  •  Restricting sweets.
  •  Eating three small meals each day, with one-to-three snacks in between.
  •  Watching the amount of carbohydrates that you eat, and when you eat them.
  •  Increasing fiber intake by eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Bookmark and Share

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Drinking coffee decreases Diabetes risk

Numerous researches have shown that coffee defends against type 2 diabetes. Yet no one has really understood why.

Now, researchers at UCLA have found a possible molecular mechanism behind coffee's protective effect.

A protein called sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG) regulates the biological activity of the body's sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen, which have long been thought to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. The plasma levels are required by the body in order to function properly. Consumption of coffee results in an increase in plasma levels of SHBG.

First author Atsushi Goto, a UCLA doctoral student in epidemiology, and Dr. Simin Liu, a professor of epidemiology and medicine with joint appointments at the UCLA School of Public Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, showed that women who drink at least four cups of coffee a day are less than half as likely to develop diabetes as non-coffee drinkers.

When the findings were adjusted for levels of SHBG, the researchers said, that protective effect disappeared.
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some Devices May lead to Pacemaker Problems

A pacemaker is a tiny implanted device that helps stabilize an irregular heartbeat.

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggest people with a pacemaker should avoid close and prolonged exposure to devices with strong magnetic fields. These devices have the potential to interfere with a pacemaker's operation. Examples include:
  •  MP3 music players and cellular phones.
  •  Home appliances, such as a microwave oven.
  •  High-tension electrical wires.
  •  Electrical generators or metal detectors.
  •  Industrial welding machines.
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chronic Cough could indicate Lung Disease

If all sorts of lung disease were combined, it would be the 3rd largest killer in the United States, the U.S. National Women's Health Information Center says.

It's vital to identify and treat symptoms of lung disease early. The American Lung Association suggests this list of possible warning signs:
  •  Having a persistent cough that lasts at least a month.
  •  Having trouble catching your breath or finding it difficult to breathe.
  •  Producing mucus continually for at least a month.
  •  Making a noisy, wheezing sound when you breathe.
  •  Coughing up blood.
  •  Having persistent chest pain that lasts a month or more, particularly when you inhale or cough.
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

High-sugar diets raise risk of Heart Disease

A new study says teenagers who consume high sugar foods in their diets may be at an increased risk of heart disease later in life.

The study showed that teens who consume elevated amounts of added sugars in drinks and foods are more likely to have poor cholesterol and triglyceride profiles, making them vulnerable to heart diseases later.

And overweight or obese teens with the highest levels of added sugar intake had increased signs of insulin resistance.

"Adolescents are eating 20 per cent of their daily calories in sugars that provide few if any other nutrients," said Jean Welsh, at Emory University School of Medicine.

2,157 teenagers (ages 12 to 18) were studied; results found that the average daily consumption of added sugars was 119 grams (28.3 tsp. or 476 calories), accounting for 21.4 per cent of their total energy.

Teenagers with the highest levels of added sugar consumption at more than 30% of total energy had 49.5 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) compared to 54 mg/dL of HDL levels in those with the lowest levels of added sugar consumption — a 9% difference.

Two days of dietary data were used among a subsample of 646 adolescents and the key findings remained consistent: Those with higher intake of added sugar had higher LDL levels of 94.3 mg/dL compared to 86.7 in those with the lowest levels, a 9% difference. Triglyceride levels in those with the highest consumption were 79 mg/dL compared to 71.7 mg/dL among the lowest, a 10% difference.
Bookmark and Share

Monday, January 10, 2011

Infections might strike Bones

Osteomyelitis is a bone infection usually caused by bacteria or, less frequently, a fungus.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine says these factors increase your risk of developing osteomyelitis:
  •  Being diabetic.
  •  Undergoing hemodialysis.
  •  Injecting drugs.
  •  Having a poor supply of blood.
  •  Having had a recent trauma.
Bookmark and Share

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eating carrots and plums makes people more attractive

People who eat fruit and vegetables such as carrots and plums are considered more attractive, say scientists.

Their research has revealed that men and women whose skin has a yellow glow are thought to be particularly attractive and healthy – and yellow pigments called carotenoids, found in certain fruit and vegetables play a key role in giving the skin that hue.

Study's co-author Ian Stephen said that just 2 months of increased consumption could produce visible results. It could lead to new strategies for encouraging the young to eat more fruit and vegetables, he said.

"Telling people they might have a heart attack in 40 years' time if they don't eat more healthily is one thing," the Daily Mail quoted him as telling The Grocer magazine.

"What we can do is say, "This is what you could look in a couple of months if you increased your fruit and veg intake",' he added.

As part of the study by St Andrews and Bristol universities, 40 volunteers rated 51 Scottish Caucasian faces for healthiness and attractiveness.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tips to prevent COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a general term for the narrowing of the small bronchi, the smaller airways that carry air to the lungs. The two major diseases that make up COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

The American Lung Association suggests these steps to help defend you from COPD:
  • Don't smoke, and quit if you currently smoke.
  • Stay away from secondhand smoke, and don't allow other people to smoke in your home.
  • Avoid exposure to lung-damaging chemicals.
  • Take steps to help promote clean air in your community.
  • Schedule a visit with your doctor if you suspect that you may have COPD, particularly if you are 45 or older and have a history of smoking.
Bookmark and Share

Health care reform changes for 2011

FLINT: While the conflict goes on over health care on Capitol Hill, some key provisions of the reform law have gone into effect for 2011.

Lawmakers feel that the alterations will give seniors the medical care they need, and health officials are optimistic the new laws will make Mid-Michigan residents live longer lives.

Vast changes are taking place in the health care industry. As part of the Health Care Reform Law, starting this year many Medicare recipients will pay less for prescription drugs.

“If they have high costs and fall in the gap of medicine, they're going to be able to cut their costs in half, and they are going to be able to get doctor’s visits and cancer screenings without any out of pocket costs,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.

As there is going to be a focus on preventative health services, health officials say there may be fewer people in the waiting room. “If we intervene earlier in these diseases we can reduce health care costs,” said Mark Valacak, the Director of the Genesee County Health Department.

Also starting this year, restaurants with 20 or more locations will be required to post calorie counts on their menus, with Flint being one of the top ten cities for obesity rates, the Genesee County Health Department hopes this will make a difference. “Being informed, having the information there, will allow us to make better food choices,” said Valacak.

Tax season is almost here, now small businesses will get a tax cut to help pay for health insurance for their employees.

“We want to turn this around so that families have freedom from worrying about whether or not they will be able to get medical care,” said Senator Stabenow. And he says health insurance companies are now held accountable.

“If they spend too much money on administrative or profits they are going to have to refund money to families with insurance,” said Senator Stabenow. Moreover, the Health Care Reform Law also includes a provision that lets early retirees stay on their former employer’s insurance plan until they qualify for Medicare.
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tips for Healing Heel Pain

Heel pain is generally caused by activities that continually pound the heel. Such injuries include Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis.

Whatever the cause, these suggestion from the U.S. National Library of Medicine may aid to ease your heel pain:
  •  Rest your feet for at least a week.
  •  Apply ice to the sore heel, twice a day for about 10 or 15 minutes at a time.
  •  Take over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen, to ease inflammation and pain.
  •  Wear shoes that fit correctly.
  •  Place an orthotic, heel cup or felt padding in the heel of your shoe.
  •  Work with a physical therapist to help prevent the injury from recurring.
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Identify Symptoms of Shingles

Herpes zoster virus, the same one that causes chickenpox is responsible for Shingles.

After chickenpox subsides, the virus becomes inactive (dormant), until an unknown factor triggers its recurrence as shingles-- a painful, blistering rash.

The ADAM Encyclopedia says you're more likely to develop shingles if you're 60 or older, had chickenpox before you were 1 year old, and have a condition that's caused a weakened immune system.

ADAM says these symptoms are typical of shingles:
  •  One-sided pain, tingling, or burning.
  •  Pain in the abdomen.
  •  Difficulty moving facial muscles.
  •  Droopy eyelids.
  •  Fever and chills.
  •  Lesions near the genitals.
  •  Headache.
  •  Hearing loss.
  •  Joint pain.
  •  Inability to fully move the eyes.
  •  Swollen glands.
  •  Taste and vision problems.
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Signs of aging evident in facial bones as well

A new study has unveiled that wrinkles and sagging result not only from changes in the skin, but also from aging-related changes in the facial bones.

Robert B. Shaw, Jr. and colleagues of the University of Rochester Medical Center, analyzed computed tomography scans of the facial bones in young (age 20 to 40), middle-aged (41 to 64), and older (65 and up) age groups.

The detailed measurements in three-dimensional reconstructions of the CT scan showed some important differences in the facial bone structure (or facial skeleton) between age groups.

"The facial skeleton experiences morphologic change and an overall decrease in volume with increasing age," wrote the researchers.

One prominent change was an increase in the area of the "orbital aperture"- that is, the eye sockets. In both men and women, the eye sockets became wider and longer with age.

Aging also affected the bones of the middle part of the face, including reductions in the glabellar (brow), pyriform (nose), and maxillary (upper jaw) angles.

The length and height of the mandible (lower jaw) decreased with age as well. Although these changes occurred in both sexes, many occurred earlier in women-between young and middle age. In men, most of the changes occurred between middle age and old age.

"The bony components of the face are important for overall facial three-dimensional contour as they provide the framework on which the soft-tissue envelope drapes," wrote the researchers.

By using materials and techniques for skeletal augmentation, plastic surgeons can improve the outcomes of facial rejuvenation, they noted.
Bookmark and Share

Monday, January 3, 2011

Healthy Habits can help Parkinson's Symptoms

Although there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, making certain lifestyle change can aid you in managing symptoms.

The University of Maryland Medical Center offers these suggestions:
  •  Eat a healthy diet.
  •  Exercise regularly, but don't try to do more than you have the energy for.
  •  Allow your body to rest, and do your best to minimize stress.
  •  Consider physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy.
  •  Think about special accommodations, such as utensils to make eating easier or the addition of handrails at home.
  •  Consult with a social worker or counselor to find out if they may be of help.
Bookmark and Share

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Study reports age 16 "tipping point" of unhealthy lifestyle

Researchers at University of the Basque Country have said that parents should enforce good lifestyle habits even before children turn 13.

Drinking, eating junk food and all other unhealthy life habits that are already being detected in early adolescence and that are especially predominant amongst women and young people between the ages of 19 and 26.

Marta Arrue and colleagues studied 2,018 young people from the CAV-EAE. She collated and analyzed habits of life according to sex and age (adolescents from 13 to 17; young persons from 18 to 26).

According to the thesis, the least healthy habits turned out to be eating ones, followed by ingestion of alcohol, sedentarism, risks involving sexual relations, the consumption of tobacco and drugs and, finally, low quality or insufficient sleep.

Arrue concluded that special attention has to be paid to adolescents of 16 years; the age in which either healthy activities are opted for or risk behavior patterns arise. She also said that risk factors tend to be associated in a simultaneous manner, although healthy behavior also. Apart from the psychological factor, she suggests that cultural and economic factors should be considered, as well as legal.

The results show that adolescents and young people with healthy life habits have higher self-esteem, better psychological well-being, greater satisfaction with their bodies and fewer psycho-pathological indicators.
Bookmark and Share