Fitness - What Is Fitness?

Aristotle helped define the standards of fitness 2,500 years ago when he taught that a thing that suits its purpose well is fit. Fortunately for us, the cardiovascular system, lungs, skeleton, muscles, endocrine system and all the other amazing components of the body function for our purpose: to live well.

Exercising aids fitness in numerous ways, each involving one or more of those systems.

Increased physical activity causes the heart to work harder than at rest. That increases blood flow, floods tissues with fresh oxygen and removes cellular waste products.

Exercise causes the lungs to draw in extra oxygen to bathe the tissues and help power the heart. Exhalation removes carbon dioxide, a waste product of certain biochemical reactions.

Regular, moderate exercise helps raise HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol (the 'good' type). It helps regulate blood sugar levels and converts stored fat into sugars that are used to provide energy. That process also prevents obesity.

The other benefits of a regular fitness program are more obvious and usually among the more direct goals of most people who make the effort: increased muscle mass, toned legs, buttocks, arms, stomach and healthier looking skin. Along the way, the individual receives the added value of greater strength, improved balance, higher endurance and (often) a better frame of mind.

Different types of routines will emphasize one area more than another. Aerobic routines help the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, weight lifting focuses on building muscle tone and mass, yoga and pilates helps balance, flexibility and muscular control. But each of these, and several more, help more than just the intended focus group. The body is an integrated system and improving one area almost always has beneficial consequences for others.

All those benefits, at least to a moderate degree, can be had for minimal daily effort. Moderate intensity activity for 30 minutes per day, at least five days per week, will go a long way toward optimizing fitness.

A brisk walk, taking the stairs up one or two flights, a short daily jog, jumping rope and many other simple activities can be carried out with no special equipment or training.

More intense activity, done properly, can raise that level even further. A vigorous tennis game, a few laps in the swimming pool, an hour on the treadmill or exercise bike, or any of a dozen others, can raise your fitness to a peak with only a moderate investment of time and money.

For the truly committed there are, of course, a thousand and one classes at the gym, and every conceivable kind of home fitness equipment to fit a variety of budgets. A daily routine using free weights, followed by a good jog around the park will keep all systems functioning well.

And, as Aristotle taught all those centuries ago, to function well is to live well.

Tennessee Teenager Cries Tears of Blood

tears of blood
Calvino Inman regularly sheds tears of blood, up to three times a day and up to an hour each time. The first time it happened his mother, Tammy Mynatt, rushed him to the Emergency Room but by the time they arrived, the bleeding had stopped. Inman was so frightened that he asked his mother if he was going to die.

Tests and Specialists Come Up Empty

Inman has had MRIs, ultrasounds, CAT scans and has seen several specialists, but nothing can give them a concrete explanation. Ophthalmologist Rex Hamilton believes he may be suffering from haemolacria, which literally means “bloody tears.” He told Good Morning America, “That is just a descriptive term of the manifestation of the bloody tears. It says nothing about what’s causing that. It’s a one-in-a-million kind of condition.”

Is Teenager Possessed?

Kids that go to school with Inman are afraid, thinking he may be possessed. While cases are uncommon, they are not unheard of. Some cultures treat this type of thing with fear, while others associate it with stigmata, meant to represent the blood of Jesus on the cross. Other examples of eye-ducts crossing wires are people who drink milk and squirt it out of their eyes, and smokers who blow smoke out of their ears.

Indian Girl Bleeds Through Skin

13-year-old Twinkle Dwivedi of India has a disorder where she loses blood through her skin without any cuts or scratches. She must undergo transfusions after pints of blood seep through her eyes, nose, hairline, neck and soles of her feet. Medics believe this is an extreme version of a rare blood platelet disorder that has no cure. Her blood is dangerously low in clotting particles, making her blood watery.

Hamilton Eye Institute Study

Dr. Barrett G. Haik, Director of University of Tennessee’s Hamilton Eye Institute, says haemolacria is common in people who have experienced extreme trauma or have recently had a serious head injury. Haik and a team of researchers published a 2004 study in the Journal of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery between February 1992 and January 2003. Only four cases were recorded and in all cases the bleeding stopped on its own.

Hamilton Eye Institute to Do Analysis

Dr. James C. Flemming, ophthalmologist at the Hamilton Eye Institute, is reviewing Inman’s medical records, looking for complications such as blood clots, growth or tumor near the eye, or even a simple infection. An analysis will also include a psychological evaluation to rule out the possibility the tears were faked. There have been cases where children seeking attention found creative ways to simulate haemolacriatic symptoms. Tammy Mynatt just wants someone to help her son.

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10 Tips For Day Surgery Procedure Patients

day surgery procedure

Day Surgery admission enables a surgical procedure to be undertaken with preparation, recovery and discharge home all on the same day. As successful Day Surgery is a streamlined and time-efficient process, the patient should be well-prepared and organised to minimise delays and maximise safety. Follow these ten handy tips that address areas of concern for patients and staff to achieve a Day Surgery procedure experience that runs smoothly from start to finish.

1. Day Surgery Information is Important

  • Patients must read the pre-surgery instructions provided by the hospital or Day Surgery Unit.
  • Always follow exactly the advice given by the doctor and hospital.
  • Patients should arrive on time. Day Surgery Unit schedules are carefully arranged. Check where and when the patient needs to present. Allow time for traffic, parking and finding the location of the Day Surgery centre within the hospital.

2. X-rays and Scans

  • The most recent X-rays and scans of the area on which surgery will be performed should always be brought to hospital.
  • Surgery may be cancelled if the surgeon cannot access the images.

3. Fasting For Day Surgery Procedures

  • Patients must remember to keep fasting before surgery, following the times given by the doctor or hospital. Fasting for surgery requires abstaining from all food and drink including throat lozenges, cough syrups, bubblegum and dissolvable sweets.
  • If food or drink is consumed by mistake, patients should note the time and inform the Day Surgery nurse on arrival. This is of extreme importance as insufficient fasting time before anaesthetic has the potential to cause life-threatening complications.

4. Medications and Day Surgery

  • If fasting from midnight for surgery, it is usual for patients to take their morning medications with a sip of water, but always follow the instructions given by the doctor or hospital. These instructions may include stopping some medications days before surgery, especially if they promote bleeding, and other medications like diuretics (fluid tablets) may be with-held on surgery day only. Bring medications to hospital if clarification of the instructions is needed.
  • Diabetic patients will not be eating before surgery so should have instructions from the doctor regarding with-holding diabetic medications and/or reduction of insulin dosage. The patient’s blood glucose level will be checked at regular intervals by the Day Surgery nurse. If the pre-surgery patient notices any symptoms of hypo-glycaemia they should alert the nurse immediately.

5. Provide Patient Information to the Day Surgery Nurse

Patient safety and well-being will be enhanced if this information is prepared for Day Surgery
  • a list of the regular medications the patient takes
  • the date that any medications were ceased before surgery
  • any patient allergies
  • any pain-killers taken on surgery day before arriving at hospital
  • a list of phone numbers of the person (plus back-ups) to collect patient after recovery from the Day Surgery procedure.

6. Sight and Hearing

  • Day Surgery patients who wear glasses or contact lenses should bring the corresponding case for safe storage as they cannot be worn to the operating theatre.
  • Patients who wear spectacles for reading should bring them to hospital as they may need to read or sign consent forms or paperwork.
  • Hearing aids should be worn to hospital so the doctors and nurses can communicate well with the patient before and after surgery.

7. Teeth

  • Dentures should be worn to hospital. A decision on whether to remove dentures will be made by the anaesthetist as dentures left in place may allow a better fit of the anaesthetic equipment.
  • For fragile partial plates or teeth on wire fittings removal before surgery may be safer so bring a case for storage. If patients have any loose teeth or removable capped teeth they should inform the Day Surgery nurse.

8. Personal Care Before Day Surgery

  • Surgery patients should shower in the morning on the day of operation. Depending on the procedure to be done and the hospital protocols, patients may be asked to use an anti-bacterial wash. Menstruating patients should use pads not tampons.
  • Loose clothing should be worn to make it easier to dress and be comfortable after surgery.
  • Makeup or nail polish should not be worn for Day Surgery procedures.

9. Possessions

  • Patients can minimise stress by not bringing money or valuable items to hospital. Mobile telephones are not necessary as the Day Surgery nurse will contact the relative or friend on the patient’s behalf to advise of discharge time.
  • Jewellery and body piercings should not be worn as they will have to be removed before surgery. The Day Surgery nurse cannot take responsibility for valuables while the patient is in theatre or recovering from anaesthetic after surgery.

10. Discharge Time Expectations

  • Day Surgery patients should not expect any discharge time quoted to be definite; it can only be an estimate as discharge time is dependent on known and unknown variables. Patients will avoid undue stress if they relax and anticipate Day Surgery may take the whole day, perhaps into the evening, and refrain from making arrangements based on exact time-frames for discharge.

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Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder Overview

temporomandibular joint

The most complex joints in the body are the two temporomandibular joints (TMJ). These joints are located in front of the ears and connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull. Temporomandibular joints are complex, both rotating and sliding, and involve numerous components: muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, bones, connective tissue, and teeth.

TMJ Symptoms are Varied and Mimic Other Health Issues

TMJ is difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms of TMJ are also symptoms that can be attributed to other heath problems. Some symptoms are periodic; some improve over time while others can worsen. Symptoms of TMJ are described as:
  • pain in the shoulders or neck
  • migraines or chronic headaches
  • stiffness of the jaw muscle
  • limited movement of the jaw or locking of the jaw
  • painful clicking jaw
  • popping, or grinding of the jaw when opening or closing the mouth
  • ear pain such as pressure or ringing in the ears
  • decreased hearing
  • dizziness or vision problems
Other health issues have to be ruled out before a TMJ diagnosis is considered. TMJ patients may see a multitude of providers that include primary doctors, specialists such as ear, nose and throat doctors, chiropractors and dentists before a diagnosis of TMJ is made.

Causes and Treatments for TMJ

Not all causes of TMJ are known but genetic, hormonal, and biological factors can influence the development of TMJ disorder. Factors that can contribute to developing TMJ are teeth clenching or grinding of teeth, nail biting habits, an injury to the area, infections, previous dental treatments, or auto immune disease. Most TMJ patients report a hypersensitivity to pain.

TMJ is not recognized as a specialty in either the American Dental Association (ADA) or the American Medical Association (AMA) due to the lack of basic or clinical science; and most insurance companies will not cover treatment for TMJ because there is no standardized method of treatment. There is also no empirical evidence that TMJ can be prevented by any treatment. However, there are some treatments that seem to help diminish TMJ pain.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) suggests the following treatments:
  • self-care practices (eating soft food, avoiding extreme movements of the jaw such as yawning, avoiding repetitive movement such as chewing gum, or applying moist heat or cold to the area)
  • avoidance of treatments that cause permanent change to the bite or jaw such as crowns, bridges, grinding down of teeth
  • avoidance of surgery on the teeth or jaw area
  • replacement of the temporomandibular joint as a last resort
Many TMJ patients are fitted with a mandibular repositioning (MORA) device. Though this is a widely used treatment option; the scientific validity of the device is unproven. Over time, some symptoms go away without any treatment. Others seem to improve temporarily with some self-care practices. Other treatments include using a stabilization splint which is a nightguard that is fitted to the patient’s teeth. Over-the-counter bite guards are not recommended as they may actually increase pain if they shift the teeth.

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The Dog Days of Summer

dog days of summer
No matter your age, if you don’t take certain precautions, the hot weather can be a miserable experience. A lot of what we know about protecting ourselves is common sense but some people live more dangerously than others.

The hottest and muggiest days of summer have been known to fall between early July and early September. During this time period, the reward comes from an opportunity to move a bit slower, dress in clothes that reveal some skin and go to the beach or have a holiday cookout. This and more can be the result of experiencing the sultry days of summer as long as you follow these simple rules first.

Beating The Heat

  • Always dress children in light-colored cotton clothing. Babies should wear cotton t-shirts instead of going to an outing shirtless. Cotton can absorb heat and keep babies cooler. Also try shirts made from 100 percent Bamboo to reap the benefits of staying cool without perspiration.
  • If babies get sunburn, never put medicated lotions on their bodies unless instructed by a physician first. Instead, be sure to buy baby lotions with the necessary sunscreen protection already in them.
  • Choose sunscreens that have a broad spectrum of protection. Dry skin is not the only cause of wrinkles. Intense sunshine exposure is one of the leading causing of skin damage and wrinkles. Your options for sun protection are SPF moisturizers, basic sunscreens or tinted moisturizers.
  • Drink plenty of liquids and stay away from sugar filled carbonated drinks. Carbonated drinks have an alarming amount of sugar, overwhelming calories, harmful additives and can ruin your appetite for healthy foods that your body needs.
  • Senior citizens should try to stay in cool places during warm weather. Now that the dog days of summer are upon us, the risk of heatstroke among older people is much higher. If you do not have air conditioning, go somewhere that does. A movie theater, the mall, a friend or relatives or a community center for seniors are a few good places.
  • Try to do all chores in the morning or afternoon when it's cooler, instead of the peak hours between noon and 5 p.m. Never try to overexert yourself in warm weather. It slows you down and increases your chances of passing out. Arm yourself with water bottles and damp towels to keep cool even if you're just outdoors at a cookout.
  • If you have been out in the sun for an extended period of time and feel tired, weak and nauseated, drink plenty of liquids, soak in cool water and seek medical attention if symptoms are severe.

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The United States Nursing Shortage Crisis

nursing

In The Desperate United States Nursing Shortage, we examined the statistics that define the nursing shortage in the U.S., particularly in California. Here, we will go deeper into the issues and offer possible suggestions.

There are so few spots available in academic nursing programs because there are just not enough educators. To be a nurse educator, you must possess a bachelor's degree, at the very minimum. A master's prepared educator is ideal. Additionally, all nurse administrators in hospital settings must be bachelor's prepared or higher as well. Hospital administration pays more than education, so the candidates that are qualified for both, often pursue administration. As hospitals become more expansive and service-oriented - which they must do to survive in this precarious industry - they will have to increase salaries to draw highly qualified administrators. This, in turn, increases the salary gap between hospital administrators and nurse educators even more.

According to Diana Christiansen, president of The Atticus Group, a health care consultancy, "In California alone, enrollment must expand by 90 percent to meet the expected need for nurses. However, nursing schools are struggling to hire the faculty to meet the current 16 percent expansion in place. And 2010 this is predicted to be the biggest year for nursing faculty retirement in history."

Consider the pipeline behind those retiring nurses. There aren't enough BSNs to replace the retirees, much less support a large expansion, which will be necessary to replace the Baby Boomers. "We know the nursing doctoral programs are expanding," says Christiansen. "But 50 percent of the people in the programs do not plan to teach. So, this whole expansion effort on the part of the schools is a house of cards."

Ideas for Nursing Recruitment and Retention

In order to recruit new nurses, hospitals need to develop an expansion or recruitment partnership with their supporting schools. Riverside Community Hospital (www.rchc.org) in Riverside, California and Long Beach Memorial Hospital (www.memorialcare.com/long_beach/) in Long Beach, California created proprietary partnerships with their local colleges and universities with nursing programs, which allowed the institutions to double their enrollments.

The other storm brewing and gaining strength is the aging of nurse leaders. Have those nearing retirement had replacements identified and are they receiving the education and support they need to be ready? It is already extremely difficult for nursing schools to maintain enrollments, and this will occur at the time hospitals and colleges are losing staff to retirements. Meanwhile, part of hospital expansion efforts include adding more and more beds, which again expands the nurse-to-patient ratio into a greater, desperate deficit. And the cycle continues.

Another issue is that graduates of two-year RN programs have their choice of jobs unpon graduation. After spending at least two years of completing prerequisite classes and general education, and perhaps idling at least a year on a waiting list, they are eager to get out and get to work. They know that for future advancement they will need their Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN), but they feel they need to work first and they can eventually go back. Many never do.

Once they begin working, the nurse to patient ratios are extremely high. Why? The nursing shortage. When nurses come in they are often extremely excited to begin the careers that they trained so hard and sacrificed so much for. However, because of hospital politics, the high nurse-to-patient ratio and the stereotypical dynamic that rookie nurses are often treated badly by their senior counterpoints and patronized by doctors frequently leads to disillusionment and then burnout.

Develop Academic Partnerships

So what can be done? For starters, adises Christiansen, hospitals need to be aggressively proactive. A head-in-the-sand approach simply will not do. In essence, this has what has brought us to this potentially catastrophic brink as it is. "Hospitals need to partner with their academic institutions and develop innovative programs that will increase enrollment and nurture their nurses once they have entered the workforce." Christiansen adds that the first year of a nurse's career is the most tenuous. Many dropout and never come back to the profession.

Next, employee mentoring programs must reverse the traditional hospital culture. Like the residency programs that are essentially a baptism-by-fire, it's a catchphrase in the industry that nurses "eat their young." In other words, the veterans had to endure strict treatment when breaking in, why shouldn't this generation of rookies do the same? Well, because in the situation the industry is in, they simply cannot afford to lose a single, qualified nursing professional to such treatment. Their jobs are difficult enough as it is, as they struggle to accomodate the needs of their patients, the demands of the doctors and the rigorous policies of the hospitals - talk about your perfect storms ...

Educating and nurturing baccalaureate-trained nurses should be the utmost priority for any hospital that expects to weather this storm that is already causing a deluge of debt and devastation in hospitals in many regions of the country. California is particularly vulnerable because of its enormous population. Offering nurse educators comparable salaries is another step. Or, perhaps balance the two by allowing hospital nurses to teach one or two days a week, alleviating their burnout, while maintaining their salaries and allowing them to educate the next generation of nursing professionals.

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The Symptoms of Piles and How To Deal With Them Effectively

symptoms of piles
Piles (also called hemorrhoids) can make life quite uncomfortable for those who need to deal with them. Even simple things like sitting, lying, or standing can become a hardship; people dealing with the symptoms of piles may find it almost impossible to find a comfortable position. This condition is caused by enlarged veins in the anal area. It can be triggered by a number of different events such as straining too hard when trying to pass a stool, spending too much time sitting or standing, or as a result of pregnancy.

The Symptoms of Piles

Sometimes the symptoms of piles can pass quickly with minor inconvenience and only mild discomfort. Other people may have a much harder time of it, and these hemorrhoids can really interfere with life. The usual pile symptoms include;
  • Itching in the anal/rectal area
  • Fresh blood on toilet paper (if the blood is a darker color then this could indicate a problem higher up in the bowel). People might also notice stained underwear or even blood dripping when they try to pass a bowel motion.
  • There may be a lump in the anal area if the hemorrhoid has prolapsed. Sometimes a prolapsed hemorrhoid can be eased back under the skin, but other times it becomes stuck and this will increase the symptoms.
  • Individuals may find it hard to get comfortable in any condition because of pain and discomfort
The symptoms of piles can be unpleasant but hemorrhoids rarely cause serious problems. It is important though that anyone noticing blood in their stool gets this checked out by their doctor. This is due to the possibility that it might be caused by something more sinister than piles.

How to Deal with Piles

There are a number of options for people who have to deal with the symptoms of piles. It is recommended that people speak to their doctors about the problem but there are some home treatments that might help.
  • Many people how have needed to deal with piles have found that sitting in a warm bath can provide some relief which lasts for an hour or two afterwards.
  • Most chemists will have a selection of creams that can be used to help ease the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
  • It is important to not spend too much time sitting or standing; this can exacerbate symptoms.
  • Eating more fiber and drinking plenty of fluids can make help people cope better with the discomfort caused when passing a stool.
If the symptoms of piles persist or get worse then people need to return to see their doctor for other options to deal with the problem.

The symptoms of piles can be hard to deal with. Most people will be able to deal with the problem without too much hardship, but all rectal bleeding should be investigated by a doctor to rule out more serious complaints.

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