PTSD Awareness Day

June 27, 2019 is PTSD Awareness Day

Raising Awareness for PTSD

In an interview with 60 Minutes news Correspondent Bill Whitaker, Sgt. First Class John Zehring described his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as being, “…like having a monster on your back that controls your entire life.” 

Sgt. Zehring spent 15 months in the eastern province of Afghanistan fighting off daily attacks from the Taliban. Sgt. Zehring was exposed to what medical professionals might call complex PTSD, which is prolonged and/or repeated exposure to trauma. However, Sgt. Zehring’s self-described monster doesn’t come in a one size fits all, simple PTSD can arise after just a single traumatic experience. 

Simple and Complex PTSD 

Symptoms associated with having simple PTSD from a singular event usually include feelings of fear and helplessness, and a combination of behaviors that involve avoidance, confusion, and shock. Those with complex PTSD will have similar symptoms but might also have persistent changes in personality, an inability to relate to others, a loss of identity, and difficulty with decision-making. Some individuals might not display these symptoms, but may have other clinical symptoms such as anxiety and depression, and are easily prone to substance-abuse. 

Whether simple or complex, PTSD is caused by traumas that can range from a loss, a near death experience, injury, sexual assault, abuse, neglect, and violence. More importantly, these monsters aren’t only carried on the backs of our military and veterans. All types of people across all ages, including children, can be affected by PTSD. 

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence from studies reporting that women are also twice as likely to develop PTSD than men, despite having generally fewer overall traumas. Sexual abuse and violence were the major causes for PTSD among a majority of women, usually stemming from childhood traumas. Nevertheless, men, women and children all suffer from this sometimes paralyzing mental health condition. 

PTSD Therapies 

On a brighter note, there is a growing amount of awareness being raised around the subject of mental health. For instance, the #TimeToChange campaign is a movement that started in England in 2007 as an effort to end discrimination around mental health. They report that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. They advocate that even though most will say they’re fine, asking whether someone is okay, twice, can go along way. Having strong social networks is one of the key ways to help those with mental health problems, and decrease the stigma around having them. 

Alongside a strong social network, there is a growing number of therapies that help treat the symptoms of PTSD. The most common treatments include Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE). CPT will teach you new ways to think about your trauma by evaluating the facts and how they align with your thoughts, so you can ultimately decide to take on a new approach. PE will gradually teach you to confront your trauma-related memories, feelings and triggers you may have been avoiding, in an effort to help you face your fears and regain control of your life. 

There are also other more recent therapies that include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET). EMDR is where you would recall a disturbing event while a therapist guides you to shift your thoughts to more pleasant ones, in an effort to make the event less debilitating. NET is usually done in a group setting where you would share your life story so that traumatic, as well as positive, events are told in chronological order, and bad experience(s) become less fragmented, more refined and understood in a coherent autobiographical story. 

An Experimental Treatment for the Military and Veterans

In a whirlwind of media, there is an ongoing experimental treatment being funded by the US military, especially granted to those war veterans suffering from PTSD. Sgt. Zehring and other combat veterans, appear to be taking their lives back from these monsters that have so long controlled their civilian lives. The new therapy is called Stellate Ganglion Block (STG), and has been used for nearly a century as an anesthetic during low risk pain procedures. STG is an injection to a bundle of nerves in the neck called the stellate ganglion. These nerves block signals to certain sympathetic regions in the brain (i.e. amygdala), which might otherwise trigger traumatic memories. The injection serves as a kind of reboot of the brain, allowing many to go back to their pre-trauma state. It has been reported to work as soon as 30 minutes and has been said to last for years.

There is hope on the horizon for those suffering from PTSD and mental illness, a growing community, and raised awareness around mental health conditions. Different movements and treatments are gaining traction, but we must continue listening, learning and helping those in need. 

If you’re interested in learning more, please visit the following links:
https://www.ptsd.va.gov/index.asp
https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/index

Contributing Blog Writer Marpessa Rietbergen is a HealthLynked provider administrator.

References:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sgb-a-possible-breakthrough-treatment-for-ptsd-60-minutes-2019-06-16/
https://honorone.org/blogs/the-honor-one-blog/can-a-single-injection-conquer-ptsd-the-army-wants-to-find-out
https://www.voa.org/understanding-ptsd
https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/what/avoidance.asp
https://www.nctsn.org/what-is-child-trauma/trauma-types/complex-trauma/effects
https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/about-us
https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/bul-1326959.pdf
https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand_tx/cognitive_processing.asp
https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand_tx/prolonged_exposure.asp
https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/emdr-what-is-it#1
https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/treatments/narrative-exposure-therapy
https://www.anxiety.org/stellate-ganglion-block-sgb-for-ptsd-research-update

World Blood Donor Day

Happy World Blood Donor Day!
June 14, 2019

Michelle from Denver, North Carolina, had witnessed many transfusions for her late son BJ, who passed away from leukemia at 15 years old. She would tell those who would want to help, “… go give blood, because it not only helps BJ, but it also helps other kids, other people in our community. I’m thankful those donors gave me more time with my son…”

Did you know that every 2 seconds someone in the US needs blood? Or that one pint of blood could help save up to 3 lives? Therefore, if you’re looking for an easy and effective way to help your community, then go donate blood at your local blood bank. Why not donate today? Afterall, it is World Blood Donor Day today!

Don’t just stop there! You can donate blood as often as every 56 days. This translates to over 5 donations a year, which means you can potentially help up to 15 people with just one year’s supply of blood. Now do the math, and imagine if you were to carry on this good deed over your lifetime…. that’s a lot of blood–and a lot of people you might help!

All kinds of people, of all ages can benefit from your blood donation. For instance, if you are an O- blood type, then your blood is in the highest demand when it comes to emergency situations. That’s because carriers of O- are universal blood donors, matching across all blood types. Hospitals also prefer the O- blood type for those with underdeveloped immune systems, such as premature babies in need. The O- blood type is only common among 7% of the population. Check out this link to RedCrossBlood to see which blood types are the rarest.

Blood in three parts

Blood can be divided into three parts: red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Red blood cells are important for boosting iron and hemoglobin. They are needed for people in accidents or undertaking surgery, for those with blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, or for those needing transplants or undergoing cancer treatment. Blood transfusions are also common among pregnant women, not only during childbirth, but also in non-emergency situations such as having low iron levels. During delivery, even being slightly anemic or iron deficient can potentially lead to complications.

Red blood cells are found in plasma, a yellowish liquid made up of mostly water, proteins, and enzymes. Plasma is crucial for the transfer of important nutrients and further contains clotting factors that help prevent an injured person from bleeding out. Plasma transfusions are given to patients suffering liver failure, severe infections, and burns. Interestingly, O- blood types are not universal donors for plasma. Instead, both the positive and negative AB blood type are universal donors for plasma, making up only 4% of the US population.

Lastly, blood can be separated into platelets. You might be wondering, what the heck are those? Well, your bone marrow produces about a million of these tiny cells daily. They are extremely useful as they are especially designed to clot blood and stop bleeding. When you get a cut or scrape, the scab that forms over it is formed by platelets. Without platelets, that little cut would never stop bleeding and could easily become infected. Therefore, nearly 38% of all platelet transfusions are given to people fighting cancer because most treatments, such as chemotherapy and surgical procedures, can easily lead to internal bleeding.

Requirements for donating blood

Okay, okay. Now that we’ve covered a few facts about donating blood, it’s also important to address some key requirements before donating blood. Well the obvious requirement is…

  • You must be in good health. Don’t even think about donating blood if you’re fighting off a cold or infection!
  • You need to be at least 16 years old
  • Weigh at least 110 lbs
  • You cannot be iron deficient
  • Certain restrictions do apply for people who have lived in or traveled to certain regions or countries
  • If you have a tattoo, no problem! In the state of Florida, as long as you have received your recent tattoo(s) from a licensed tattoo parlor or professional, you’re in the clear. Otherwise there’s a 12-month wait time that applies. If you’re not in Florida, check out this link for more on eligibility requirements.

So get your blood drawn today, enjoy a free health screening that includes your pulse, blood pressure, hematocrit (red blood cell count) and temperature, and ask about your blood type if you don’t already know it. So with that, in the words of Louis from Apopka, Florida, “Just go out there and do it, you never know who you could help.”

Happy World Blood Donor Day, ya’ll!

To find a healthcare professional, use HealthLynked. It is a first of its kind medical network built as a social ecosystem with a higher purpose – improving healthcare.  Go to HealthLynked.com to learn more, sign up for free, connect with your doctor, find a new doctor, and securely store and share your health information. Download our HealthLynked app available on Apple and Android devices.

References:
www.redcrossblood.org
www.oneblood.org

Contributing Blog Writer Marpessa Rietbergen is a HealthLynked provider administrator.

National Running Day – June 5, 2019

Today is National Running Day. Running is one of the most popular fitness activities in the United States, so it is no surprise that it has its own day. Well, to be honest, so does Chocolate Chip Waffles and Shotglass Collectors, so the day itself isn’t what’s noteworthy, but the popularity of running certainly is.

But this wasn’t always the case. While running has always been an intrinsic part of some sports–soccer, lacrosse, and football, for example–it was rarely something that was done on its own simply for the joy of running. In fact, before James Fixx published his landmark book, The Complete Book of Running, a best-seller that almost single handedly changed the culture of fitness in America, Americans didn’t find a lot of joy in running. They ran if they were involved in a sport or, possibly, while being chased. Running was a means to an end, or the result of some external stimulus.

Fixx put the idea into the American mind, but Nike put the clothes on the American body. Nike made running cool. And Nike quintessentially American. The company started in a kitchen, and the first rubbery soles were molded on the founder’s wife’s waffle iron. We love that kind of thing! Inspired by a book that told us that running was fun, wearing shoes and clothes that make it look fun, and chanting a tagline turned mantra that implored us to “Just Do It,” Americans have been running up a storm for about half a century.

For many people, running creates a euphoric feeling of well-being, the famed “runner’s high.” For the rest of us, it is not so euphoric. Nevertheless, according to Runners World, running makes you happier. In fact, National Instutes for Health research has shown that running actually helps elevate the mood of persons suffering even from deep clinical depression.

“Yeah, I’ve heard that,” said Carl, my neighbor, who runs regularly. “I have never had a runner’s high. I’ve never really loved running. Mostly, I sweat a lot and can’t wait to get done with my run.” Yet Carl, dressed in a Nike shirt, Adidas shorts, and wearing an Under Armour cap, runs at least every other day. Carl took up running to lose weight and relieve stress. Years later, his body much leaner and his stress level under control, Carl runs to maintain his physical condition.

The idea that running is good for you is an accepted truth in modern America. It strengthens your knees and other joints, and there has been no evidence that running causes knee damage or osteoarthritis. The impact of running actually has been found to improve bone density. Older runners (and people of generally better fitness levels) have been found to be mentally more agile and sharper than non-running older adults. Running helps improve memory, language, and overall accuity. The Journal of Nutrition states that regular exercise (not limited to running, but certainly including it) helps reduce the risk of certain cancers.

While Carl and many thousands of people like him huff and puff in parks, on running trails, and around suburban blocks, they are doing wonders for their bodies. Carl may roll his eyes while talking about his love of running, he’s not stopping any time soon. And there is plenty of solid science that suggests that exercise, including running, is an important part of living the healthiest life possible. So, if you are already a runner or if your physician agrees that running might be a good addition to your healthy lifestyle, then be sure to celebrate National Running Day with a lap around the neighborhood!

Contributing Blog Writer Richard Williamson is HealthLynked’s Vice President of Marketing. He is a not-very-avid runner, a former national class bike racer and speed skater, and two-time lacrosse coach of the year.

References:

https://www.runnersworld.com/beginner/a20847956/6-ways-running-improves-your-health-0/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3674785/

https://www.active.com/articles/the-legacy-of-jim-fixx

To find a healthcare professional, use HealthLynked. It is a first of its kind medical network built as a social ecosystem with a higher purpose – improving healthcare.  Go to HealthLynked.com to learn more, sign up for free, connect with your doctor, find a new doctor, and securely store and share your health information. Download our HealthLynked app available on Apple and Android devices.

National Medical Transcriptionist Week

Medical transcriptionists work behind the scenes. Most of us don’t see them or use the product of their work, but they are incredibly important to the health care industry. There are about 60,000 transcriptionists in the nation. They spend their days listening to recordings by doctors and other health care workers and converting them into written reports. Often they edit medical documents and convert medical terminology and abbreviations into more complete written documentation.

Join us in celebrating them and their work this week during National Medical Transcriptionist Week. Thank you!

To find a healthcare professional, use HealthLynked. It is a first of its kind medical network built as a social ecosystem with a higher purpose – improving healthcare.  Go to HealthLynked.com to learn more, sign up for free, connect with your doctor, find a new doctor, securely store and share your health information. Download our HealthLynked app available on Apple and Android devices.

Systemic mastocytosis – Genetics Home Reference

Systemic mastocytosis is a blood disorder that can affect many different body systems. Individuals with the condition can develop signs and symptoms at any age, but it usually appears after adolescence.

Signs and symptoms of systemic mastocytosis often include extreme tiredness (fatigue), skin redness and warmth (flushing), nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, the backflow of stomach acids into the esophagus (), nasal congestion, shortness of breath, low blood pressure (hypotension), lightheadedness, and headache. Some affected individuals have attention or memory problems, anxiety, or depression. Many individuals with systemic mastocytosis develop a skin condition called urticaria pigmentosa, which is characterized by raised patches of brownish skin that sting or itch with contact or changes in temperature. Nearly half of individuals with systemic mastocytosis will experience severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).

There are five subtypes of systemic mastocytosis, which are differentiated by their severity and the signs and symptoms. The mildest forms of systemic mastocytosis are the indolent and smoldering types. Individuals with these types tend to have only the general signs and symptoms of systemic mastocytosis described above. Individuals with smoldering mastocytosis may have more organs affected and more severe features than those with indolent mastocytosis. The indolent type is the most common type of systemic mastocytosis.

The severe types include aggressive systemic mastocytosis, systemic mastocytosis with an associated hematologic neoplasm, and mast cell leukemia. These types are associated with a reduced life span, which varies among the types and affected individuals. In addition to the general signs and symptoms of systemic mastocytosis, these types typically involve impaired function of an organ, such as the , . The organ dysfunction can result in an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites). Aggressive systemic mastocytosis is associated with a loss of bone tissue (osteoporosis and osteopenia) and multiple bone fractures. Systemic mastocytosis with an associated hematologic neoplasm and mast cell leukemia both involve blood cell disorders or blood cell cancer (). Mast cell leukemia is the rarest and most severe type of systemic mastocytosis.

Individuals with the milder forms of the condition generally have a normal or near normal life expectancy, while those with the more severe forms typically survive months or a few years after diagnosis.

Source

To find a health professional, use HealthLynked. It is a first of its kind medical network built as a social ecosystem with a higher purpose – improving healthcare.  Go to HealthLynked.com to learn more, sign up for free, connect with your doctor, find a new doctor, and securely store your health information.

Crohn’s Disease & Pregnancy

Dr. Sunanda Kane discusses women with Crohn’s disease who want to get pregnant, issues around the time of birth, and breast feeding. Also discusses taking medications for Crohn’s disease during pregnancy and questions surrounding the chance of passing along Crohn’s disease to the baby.

source

To find a health professional, use HealthLynked. It is a first of its kind medical network built as a social ecosystem with a higher purpose – improving healthcare.  Go to HealthLynked.com to learn more, sign up for free, connect with your doctor, find a new doctor, and securely store your health information.

Symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia

People with Lewy body dementia (LBD) may not have every LBD symptom, and the severity of symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Throughout the course of the disease, any sudden or major change in functional ability or behavior should be reported to a doctor.Older man in a wheelchair with his wife

The most common symptoms include changes in cognition, movement, sleep, and behavior.

Cognitive Symptoms

LBD causes changes in thinking abilities. These changes may include:

  • Dementia—Severe loss of thinking abilities that interferes with a person’s capacity to perform daily activities. Dementia is a primary symptom in LBD and usually includes trouble with attention, visual and spatial abilities (judging distance and depth or misidentifying objects), planning, multitasking, problem solving, and reasoning. Unlike in Alzheimer’s dementia, memory problems may not be evident at first but often arise as LBD progresses. Dementia can also include changes in mood and behavior, poor judgment, loss of initiative, confusion about time and place, and difficulty with language and numbers.
  • Cognitive fluctuations—Unpredictable changes in concentration, attention, alertness, and wakefulness from day to day and sometimes throughout the day. A person with LBD may stare into space for periods of time, seem drowsy and lethargic, or sleep for several hours during the day despite getting enough sleep the night before. His or her flow of ideas may be disorganized, unclear, or illogical at times. The person may seem better one day, then worse the next day. These cognitive fluctuations are common in LBD and may help distinguish it from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Hallucinations—Visual hallucinations—seeing things that are not present—occur in up to 80 percent of people with LBD, often early on. They are typically realistic and detailed, such as images of children or animals. Nonvisual hallucinations, such as hearing or smelling things that are not present, are less common than visual ones but may also occur. Hallucinations that are not disruptive may not require treatment. However, if they are frightening or dangerous (for example, if the person attempts to fight a perceived intruder), then a doctor may prescribe medication.

Main Characteristics of Lewy Body Dementia

Core Clinical Symptoms

  • Dementia
  • Movement problems/parkinsonism
  • Cognitive fluctuations
  • Visual hallucinations
  • REM sleep behavior disorder

Supportive Clinical Symptoms

  • Extreme sensitivity to antipsychotic medications
  • Falls, fainting
  • Severe problems with involuntary functions (maintaining blood pressure, incontinence, constipation, loss of smell)
  • Changes in personality and mood (depression, apathy, anxiety)

Test Results Supporting Diagnosis

  • PET or SPECT brain scan showing reduced dopamine transporter (DaT) uptake in basal ganglia (brain region)
  • Abnormal 123iodine-MIBG myocardial scintigraphy showing reduced communication of cardiac nerves
  • Sleep study confirming REM sleep behavior disorder without loss of muscle tone

For more information visit the Lewy Body Dementia Association’s Comprehensive LBD Symptoms Checklist.

Movement Symptoms

Some people with LBD may not experience significant movement problems for several years. Others may have them early on. At first, movement symptoms, such as a change in handwriting, may be very mild and easily overlooked. Parkinsonism is seen early on in Parkinson’s disease dementia but can also develop later on in dementia with Lewy bodies. Specific signs of parkinsonism may include:

  • Muscle rigidity or stiffness
  • Shuffling walk, slow movement, or frozen stance
  • Tremor or shaking, most commonly at rest
  • Balance problems and repeated falls
  • Stooped posture
  • Loss of coordination
  • Smaller handwriting than was usual for the person
  • Reduced facial expression
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A weak voice

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are common in people with LBD but are often undiagnosed. A sleep specialist can help diagnose and treat sleep disorders. Sleep-related disorders seen in people with LBD may include:

  • REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD)—A condition in which a person seems to act out dreams. It may include vivid dreaming, talking in one’s sleep, violent movements, or falling out of bed. RBD may be the earliest symptom of LBD in some people, appearing many years before other LBD symptoms.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness—Sleeping 2 or more hours during the day.
  • Insomnia—Difficulty falling or staying asleep, or waking up too early.
  • Restless leg syndrome—A condition in which a person, while resting, feels the urge to move his or her legs to stop unpleasant or unusual sensations. Walking or moving usually relieves the discomfort.

Behavioral and Mood Symptoms

Changes in behavior and mood are possible in LBD and may worsen as cognition declines. These changes may include:

  • Depression—A persistent feeling of sadness, worthlessness, or inability to enjoy activities, often with trouble with sleeping or eating.
  • Apathy—A lack of interest in normal daily activities or events; less social interaction.
  • Anxiety—Intense apprehension, uncertainty, or fear about a future event or situation. A person may ask the same questions over and over or be angry or fearful when a loved one is not present.
  • Agitation—Restlessness, as seen by pacing, hand wringing, an inability to get settled, constant repeating of words or phrases, or irritability.
  • Delusions—Strongly held false beliefs or opinions not based on evidence. For example, a person may think his or her spouse is having an affair or that relatives long dead are still living. Capgras syndrome, in which the person believes a relative or friend has been replaced by an imposter, may also appear.
  • Paranoia—An extreme, irrational distrust of others, such as suspicion that people are taking or hiding things.

Other LBD Symptoms

People with LBD can also experience significant changes in the part of the nervous system that regulates automatic functions such as those of the heart, glands, and muscles.

Source link

To find a health professional, use HealthLynked. It is a first of its kind medical network built as a social ecosystem with a higher purpose – improving healthcare.  Go to HealthLynked.com to learn more, sign up for free, connect with your doctor, find a new doctor, and securely store your health information.

Making healthier eating choices at home, at the store, and eating out

Confused about how to make healthier eating choices? Should you buy organic? What healthy substitutions can you make when cooking? Below are some dos and don’ts when shopping, cooking, and ordering food.

How do I make healthier choices at the grocery store?

Dos

  • Make a list and stick to it. It takes a little more time and effort, but it will help you eat healthier and save money.
    • Healthier eating usually includes cooking some of your meals at home. Find some simple recipes you’d like to make regularly.
    • Plan your meals for the week ahead of time.
    • Make a shopping list of ingredients for the meals, plus any basics and snacks, like low-fat milk, whole-grain breads, whole fruit, and nuts.
  • Buy fruits and vegetables in season. In-season produce is usually tastier and less expensive.
    • Check your local supermarket for the best in-season buys.
    • Fruits and vegetables from local farmers at a farmer’s market are always in season.
    • Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are also good choices, because they are usually picked at the peak of ripeness and packaged right away.
  • Spend most of your time and food budget in the outer aisles of the store. The outer aisles of the grocery store usually have whole foods, not processed foods. There you’ll find healthier choices like fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, eggs, dairy products, and whole grains.
    • The inner aisles are more likely to have processed foods that are higher in fats, added sugar, and sodium.
    • Look for low-fat or fat-free dairy products and lean meats, such as ground beef or poultry with 7% fat or less (93% lean).
  • If you do buy packaged food, read the food labels and ingredients. Learn how to read food labels.
    • Compare similar items, like two types of cereal, to see which has more of important nutrients.
    • Look for foods with lower amounts or no trans fats or saturated fats  and added sugar.
  • Reduce sodium. Sodium is in table salt, but most of the sodium we eat is in processed foods. Sodium is hidden in a lot of prepared foods, such as pizza and bread, because it is a natural preservative and can make food taste better.
    • Look for the “no salt added” label on canned vegetables.
    • Buy soups and broths with lower sodium.
    • Choose lower-sodium versions of packaged foods.

Don’ts

  • Don’t shop when you’re hungry. We’ve all been there, but it’s best to snack on a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit before you go grocery shopping. If you’re hungry, you may be more likely to grab foods that are convenient but less healthy.
    • Bring along a healthy snack for your kids while you shop.
    • Buy some cut-up fruit or vegetables from the produce section before starting down the aisles.
  • Don’t eat a lot of sugar. Stay away from foods that have sugar added to them. Added sugar means unneeded calories and has no nutrition value or essential nutrients.
    • Drink water or unsweetened tea instead of sugary drinks or energy drinks.
    • Limit the amount of sugary treats you buy.
    • Choose canned fruit packed in water rather than syrup.
  • Don’t overdo solid fats. Fats that are solid at room temperature, like butter, are usually high in saturated fats or trans fats, which you should limit.
    • It’s okay to cook with oil, but the type of oil you choose is important. Look for healthier choices, such as olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, corn oil, and safflower oil.
    • If it fits into your budget, look for spray oil so that you can use less oil when cooking.
    • Packaged baked goods like cookies, cakes, and muffins often have saturated fats and trans fats, in addition to added sugar. Buy them only once in a while.

How do I make healthier choices when eating at home?

Dos

  • Make a weekly meal plan. Whether you’re single or cooking for a family, committing to a meal plan will help everyone be healthier.
    • Decide ahead of time who is cooking which meal on which day.
    • Meal plans do not have to be complicated. Just knowing that Monday night is pasta night, Tuesday night is taco night, and Wednesday night is homemade pizza night will help you tackle meal planning.
    • Don’t forget about healthy sides. Vegetables don’t have to be fancy or take a lot of time to prepare. Look for pre-cut salads or microwavable steamed vegetables without added sauce or seasonings.
  • Make healthy substitutions and additions. Find substitutions you can make in your favorite foods when cooking.
    • Use low-fat options, like low-fat cottage or ricotta cheese, in pasta dishes.
    • Cook with and drink fat-free or low-fat milk or fortified soy beverages instead of whole milk.
    • If you eat meat often, try swapping in some seafood or bean dishes.
    • If you have kids who don’t like vegetables, try cutting the vegetables up very small or blending them into dishes like spaghetti, homemade pizza, or mac and cheese.
  • Eat most meals at home. Studies show that people who eat at home more often eat healthier and have a healthy weight.2
    • Turn off the TV and put any other screens away so you can focus on how much you’re eating and how it tastes.
    • Cook together with others so everyone knows how to prepare healthy meals.
    • Search for recipes on the USDA’s What’s Cooking Web section.
  • Have healthy snacks cut, portioned out, and ready to go.
    • Great snacks include fresh veggies with a low-calorie dip or fruit with low-fat or plain yogurt.
    • Instead of regular potato chips, buy baked chips, vegetable chips, or healthy nuts.
    • Try air-popped popcorn without added butter.
    • Keep whole fruit on the kitchen counter where everyone can see it.

Don’ts

  • Do not add extra fat to meat, fish, and poultry.
    • Grill or bake instead of fry.
    • If you do fry, use healthier fats, like olive, canola, or sunflower oil, instead of butter, lard, or shortening.
  • Do not have many treats (especially processed foods) like packaged cakes and chips every day. These often have fewer healthy ingredients, like fiber, and more of items you should limit, like sodium.
    • Choose whole foods, like eating apples instead of drinking apple juice.
    • Put a bowl of cut-up veggies in the fridge to grab for a snack.
  • Don’t forget about portion sizes. Many packages that look like single servings may actually have several servings.
    • Take a large package and divide it into single servings in smaller bags or containers.
    • Eat from a small plate, which can help you eat less.

How do I make healthier choices when eating out?

Dos

  • Look for healthier options without depriving yourself. Eating out can be a special occasion or a treat for many people. It’s okay to splurge at a restaurant every once in a while if you eat healthy the rest of the week.
    • Some restaurants make it easy to spot the healthier items with symbols like a small heart on the menu.
    • Look for foods that are broiled, baked, roasted, or lightly sautéed instead of fried.
    • Look for menu items that are low-sodium, and ask your server about low-sodium options.
    • If you pick a less healthy option like a burger or fried chicken, ask for a side salad instead of the fries.
  • Make special requests. Ask for sauces, dips, and dressings on the side and for steamed vegetables instead of vegetables cooked with butter or sauce.
  • Put half of your meal in a box to go right away. Or order a meal to share.
  • Order a broth-based soup to start your meal. This will help you feel fuller without lots of extra calories or fat.
  • Compare nutrition information for options at your favorite chain restaurants by checking out their menus online. You may also find nutrition information displayed on menus, posters, brochures, or tray liners.

Don’ts

  • Don’t eat at fast-food restaurants several times a week. Fast-food restaurants are time-savers, but if you eat fast food several times a week, you might pay later with health problems. When you do eat fast food, make smarter choices:
    • Order your burger or sandwich on whole-wheat bread.
    • Choose grilled instead of fried chicken or fish sandwiches.
    • Do not order cheese or bacon on your sandwich.
    • Load up with tomatoes and lettuce, and be mindful about extra toppings like ketchup or mayonnaise, which can add unnecessary calories.
    • Choose sweet potato fries instead of French fries.
    • Order a side salad instead of fries.
    • Order a small meal or a child’s meal to keep calories lower.
  • Don’t go to “all-you-can-eat” restaurants and buffets. If you do go:
    • Use the smallest plate possible.
    • Try to fill up on healthier choices, like salads and vegetables.
    • Keep your back to the buffet so that you are less tempted to go back for seconds.
  • Don’t forget to take snacks on longer trips.
    • Pack bags of unsalted nuts or popcorn.
    • If possible, take cut-up veggies or whole fruit.
    • Try refillable water bottles instead of sugary drinks like sodas or fruit drinks.

Are foods labeled “organic” better for my health?

Maybe. To get the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic label, food must be grown without the use of most types of pesticides or other chemicals, and animals must not be fed antibiotics or growth hormones.1 But the USDA does not claim that foods labeled organic are safer or healthier than foods that are not labeled organic. You will still need to look at the Nutrition Facts label and ingredients list to tell whether the food is healthy.

Whether you buy organic foods depends on your personal preferences and budget. Organic foods may be more expensive. You can save money by buying organic fruits and vegetables in season and from local farmers markets.

Sources

  1. Gold, M.V. (2016). Organic Production/Organic Food: Information Access Tools. National Agricultural Library. U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  2. Bezerra, I. N., Curioni, C., Sichieri, R. (2012). Association between eating out of home and body weight. Nutrition Reviews, 70(2), 65–79.

This content is provided by the Office on Women’s Health.

Syndicated Content Details:
Source URL: https://www.womenshealth.gov/healthy-eating/how-eat-health/making-healthier-eating-choices
Source Agency: Office on Women’s Health (OWH)
Captured Date: 2018-10-19 21:21:00.0
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Managing Money Problems in Alzheimer’s Disease

People with Alzheimer’s disease often have problems managing their money. In fact, money problems may be one of the first noticeable signs of the disease.

Man with Alzheimer's writing checks while caregiver supervisesEarly on, a person with Alzheimer’s may be able to perform basic tasks, such as paying bills, but he or she is likely to have problems with more complicated tasks, such as balancing a checkbook. As the disease gets worse, the person may try to hide financial problems to protect his or her independence. Or, the person may not realize that he or she is losing the ability to handle money matters.

Signs of Money Problems

Look for signs of money problems such as trouble counting change, paying for a purchase, calculating a tip, balancing a checkbook, or understanding a bank statement. The person may be afraid or worried when he or she talks about money. You may also find:

  • Unpaid and unopened bills
  • Lots of new purchases on a credit card bill
  • Strange new merchandise
  • Money missing from the person’s bank account

A family member or trustee (someone who holds title to property and/or funds for the person) should check bank statements and other financial records each month to see how the person with Alzheimer’s disease is doing and step in if there are serious concerns. This can protect the person from becoming a victim of financial abuse or fraud.

Take Steps Early

Many older adults will be suspicious of attempts to take over their financial affairs. You can help the person with Alzheimer’s feel independent by:

  • Giving him or her small amounts of cash or voided checks to have on hand
  • Minimizing the spending limit on credit cards or having the cards cancelled
  • Telling the person that it is important to learn about finances, with his or her help

To prevent serious problems, you may have to take charge of the person’s financial affairs through legal arrangements. It’s important to handle the transfer of financial authority with respect and understanding.

You can get consent to manage the person’s finances via a durable power of attorney for finances, preferably while the person can still understand and approve the arrangement. You can also ensure that the person finalizes trusts and estate arrangements. For more information, see Legal and Financial Planning for People with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Guard Against Financial Abuse and Fraud

People with Alzheimer’s may be victims of financial abuse or scams by dishonest people. Sometimes, the person behind the scam is a “friend” or family member. Telephone, email, or in-person scams can take many forms, such as:

  • Identity theft
  • Get-rich-quick offers
  • Phony offers of prizes or home or auto repairs
  • Insurance scams
  • Health scams such as ads for unproven memory aids
  • Threats

Look for signs that the person with Alzheimer’s may be a victim of financial abuse or fraud:

  • There are signatures on checks or other papers don’t look like the person’s signature.
  • The person’s will has been changed without permission.
  • The person’s home is sold, and he or she did not agree to sell it.
  • The person has signed legal papers (such as a will, power of attorney, or joint deed to a house) without knowing what the papers mean.
  • Things that belong to you or the person with Alzheimer’s, such as clothes or jewelry, are missing from the home.

If you think a person with Alzheimer’s may be the victim of a scam, contact your local police department. You can also contact the State consumer protection office or Area Agency on Aging office.

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Lung Regeneration

There are hundreds of thousands of patients in the United States with end stage lung disease. Many of them are not candidates for lung transplantation or other therapies. Learn now lung regeneration, through the use of existing cells to build an artificial lung, is building a brighter future for patients with few treatment options.

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Sticks and Stones Break Bones, So Does the Silent Disease Osteoporosis

The World Osteoporosis Day (WOD) 2018 campaign calls for global action to improve bone health and prevent fractures due to osteoporosis, including vertebral (spine) fractures — which often remain undiagnosed and untreated.  The public, healthcare professionals and organizations worldwide are joining together to raise awareness of bone health and call for action on osteoporosis and fracture prevention in their communities.

Facts About Osteoporosis

  • Osteoporosis is ahidden, underlying cause of painful, debilitating and life-threatening fractures
  • The most common of osteoporotic fractures are spine (vertebral) fractures, a major cause of pain, disability and loss of quality of life
  • Up to 70% of spine fractures remain undiagnosed, leaving sufferers unprotected against the high risk of more fractures
  • Back pain, height-loss and stooped back are all possible signs of spine fractures – ask for testing and treatment!
  • A family history of osteoporosis and broken bones is a sign that you too may be at higher risk
  • Osteoporosis is a growing global problem that respects no boundaries: worldwide, fractures affect one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50.

What is Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle — so brittle a fall or even mild stresses, such as bending over or coughing, can cause a fracture. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.

Bone is living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the removal of old bone.

Osteoporosis affects men and women of all races. But white and Asian women — especially older women who are past menopause — are at highest risk. Medications, healthy diet and weight-bearing exercise can help prevent bone loss or strengthen already weak bones.

What are the symptoms of Osteoporosis

There typically are no symptoms in the initial stages of bone loss. But once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may have signs and symptoms that include:

  • Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture
  • A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected

What causes Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis weakens bone.  Your bones are in a constant state of renewal — new bone is made, and old bone is broken down. When you’re young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass by their early 20s. As people age, bone mass is lost faster than it’s created.

How likely you are to develop osteoporosis depends partly on how much bone mass you attained in your youth. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have “in the bank” and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.

What are the risk factors of Osteoporosis?

A number of factors can increase the likelihood that you’ll develop osteoporosis — including your age, race, lifestyle choices, and medical conditions and treatments.

Unchangeable risks

Some risk factors for osteoporosis are out of your control, including:

  • Your sex. Women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than are men.
  • Age. The older you get, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Race. You’re at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you’re white or of Asian descent.
  • Family history. Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk, especially if your mother or father experienced a hip fracture.
  • Body frame size. Men and women who have small body frames tend to have a higher risk because they may have less bone mass to draw from as they age.
  • Hormone levels

Osteoporosis is more common in people who have too much or too little of certain hormones in their bodies. Examples include:

  • Sex hormones. Lowered sex hormone levels tend to weaken bone. The reduction of estrogen levels in women at menopause is one of the strongest risk factors for developing osteoporosis. Men experience a gradual reduction in testosterone levels as they age. Treatments for prostate cancer that reduce testosterone levels in men and treatments for breast cancer that reduce estrogen levels in women are likely to accelerate bone loss.
  • Thyroid problems. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. This can occur if your thyroid is overactive or if you take too much thyroid hormone medication to treat an underactive thyroid.
  • Other glands. Osteoporosis has also been associated with overactive parathyroid and adrenal glands.
  • Dietary factors

Osteoporosis is more likely to occur in people who have:

  • Low calcium intake. A lifelong lack of calcium plays a role in the development of osteoporosis. Low calcium intake contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
  • Eating disorders. Severely restricting food intake and being underweight weakens bone in both men and women.
  • Gastrointestinal surgery. Surgery to reduce the size of your stomach or to remove part of the intestine limits the amount of surface area available to absorb nutrients, including calcium.
  • Steroids and other medications

Long-term use of oral or injected corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone and cortisone, interferes with the bone-rebuilding process. Osteoporosis has also been associated with medications used to combat or prevent:

  • Seizures
  • Gastric reflux
  • Cancer
  • Transplant rejection
  • Medical conditions

The risk of osteoporosis is higher in people who have certain medical problems, including:

  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Lupus
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lifestyle choices

Some bad habits can increase your risk of osteoporosis. Examples include:

  • Sedentary lifestyle. People who spend a lot of time sitting have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do those who are more active. Any weight-bearing exercise and activities that promote balance and good posture are beneficial for your bones, but walking, running, jumping, dancing and weightlifting seem particularly helpful.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption. Regular consumption of more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Tobacco use. The exact role tobacco plays in osteoporosis isn’t clearly understood, but it has been shown that tobacco use contributes to weak bones.

How does osteoporosis cause vertebrae to crumple and collapse?

Bone fractures, particularly in the spine or hip, are the most serious complication of osteoporosis. Hip fractures often are caused by a fall and can result in disability and even an increased risk of death within the first year after the injury.

In some cases, spinal fractures can occur even if you haven’t fallen. The bones that make up your spine (vertebrae) can weaken to the point that they may crumple, which can result in back pain, lost height and a hunched forward posture.

How can you prevent Osteoporosis?

Good nutrition and regular exercise are essential for keeping your bones healthy throughout your life.

Protein

Protein is one of the building blocks of bone. And while most people get plenty of protein in their diets, some do not. Vegetarians and vegans can get enough protein in the diet if they intentionally seek suitable sources, such as soy, nuts, legumes, and dairy and eggs if allowed. Older adults may also eat less protein for assorted reasons. Protein supplementation is an option.

Body weight

Being underweight increases the chance of bone loss and fractures. Excess weight is now known to increase the risk of fractures in your arm and wrist. As such, maintaining an appropriate body weight is good for bones just as it is for health in general.

Calcium

Men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. This daily amount increases to 1,200 milligrams when women turn 50 and men turn 70. Reliable sources of calcium include:

  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Canned salmon or sardines with bones
  • Soy products, such as tofu
  • Calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice

If you find it difficult to get enough calcium from your diet, consider taking calcium supplements. However, too much calcium has been linked to kidney stones. Although yet unclear, some experts suggest that too much calcium especially in supplements can increase the risk of heart disease. The Institute of Medicine recommends that total calcium intake, from supplements and diet combined, should be no more than 2,000 milligrams daily for people older than 50.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D improves your body’s ability to absorb calcium and improves bone health in other ways. People can get adequate amounts of vitamin D from sunlight, but this may not be a reliable source if you live in a high latitude, if you’re housebound, or if you regularly use sunscreen or avoid the sun entirely because of the risk of skin cancer.

Scientists don’t yet know the optimal daily dose of vitamin D for each person. A good starting point for adults is 600 to 800 international units (IU) a day, through food or supplements. For people without other sources of vitamin D and especially with limited sun exposure, a supplement may be needed. Most multivitamin products contain between 600 and 800 IU of vitamin D. Up to 4,000 IU of vitamin D a day is safe for most people.

Exercise

Exercise can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss. Exercise will benefit your bones no matter when you start, but you’ll gain the most benefits if you start exercising regularly when you’re young and continue to exercise throughout your life.

Combine strength training exercises with weight-bearing and balance exercises. Strength training helps strengthen muscles and bones in your arms and upper spine, and weight-bearing exercises — such as walking, jogging, running, stair climbing, skipping rope, skiing and impact-producing sports — affect mainly the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine. Balance exercises such as tai chi can reduce your risk of falling especially as you get older.

Swimming, cycling and exercising on machines such as elliptical trainers can provide a good cardiovascular workout, but they’re not as helpful for improving bone health.

When to see a doctor

You may want to talk to your doctor about osteoporosis if you went through early menopause or took corticosteroids for several months at a time, or if either of your parents had hip fractures.

You’ll probably first bring your symptoms to the attention of your family doctor, who may refer you to a rheumatologist — a doctor specializing in the treatment of diseases of the joints, muscles and bone. To get the right help, find a rheumatologist or other physician who knows how hard it is to endure bone deteriation.  Go to HealthLynked.com today to build a Free patient profile and begin communicating there with those who will collaborate on your wellness.

To find a health professional, use HealthLynked. It is a first of its kind medical network built as a social ecosystem with a higher purpose – improving healthcare.  Go to HealthLynked.com to learn more, sign up for free, connect with your doctor, find a new doctor, and securely store your health information.

How to Keep Your Mind Sharp

As crazy as it sounds, your brain can actually shrink 5% every 10 years after the age of 40. The good news is you can turn it around. Here are some tips to help boost your brain.

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