Pets provide unconditional love

Pets don't care what we wear or if our hair is combed.


Pets

pets
Pets provide unconditional love and companionship for people of all ages—a fact that any pet owner can confirm. But scientific research also suggests pets help people control blood pressure and manage stress. Researchers have taken an interest in pets because controlling stress and blood pressure are vital keys to reducing the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. A 2000 study, for instance, found that dogs help relieve cardiovascular stress in people who have had difficulty controlling their stress.

The study was just one of a series that demonstrated the positive health benefits of pet ownership. Dr. Karen Allen has led a team of researchers from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo in a series of pet-related studies that began more than a decade ago. Their results have repeatedly demonstrated that people show a reduced stress response (i.e., less of a rise in blood pressure or heart rate) if their pet happens to be nearby. Pets comfort us when we face life’s many challenges.

The SUNY-Buffalo research team has also studied the effects of owning a pet on a group of hypertensive people who were caring for their brain-injured spouses. Half of the caregivers adopted a dog for six months. At the end of those six months, the new pet owners were reacting to stress better than they had before, and better than the caregivers who did not have a pet. The other half of the caregivers then adopted a dog. After another six months, all of the caregivers were reacting better to stress.

Research has found that health benefits are not limited to dogs or (by extension) cats. A study found that watching brightly colored fish swim back and forth in an aquarium helped calm people prone to disruptive behavior, such as children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Nursing homes in both the United States and Europe have documented the helpful effects of bringing in pets to visit the residents, and many people have benefited from therapeutic programs that allow them to interact with horses, dolphins, and other animals.

Exactly why pets can have a positive physiological effect is not clear, but experts have a number of theories. Research in general has shown that people tend to be healthier when they have a companion. In addition, studies have shown that people enjoyed more social interaction if they were accompanied by a dog. It may also be that people have an easier time reaching out to a person’s pet than a person! Pets bridge all communication gaps.

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Other Effects of Obesity

More Than Just Cardiovascular Disease


Whenever there is talk about obesity, it is generally discussed alongside the risks for heart attack and stroke. In reality, there is a long list of conditions that obesity is associated with an increased risk for. While this article will not cover every single one, it will highlight some of the effects of obesity that people may be less aware of.

obesity

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing momentarily in your sleep. It could be a central sleep apnea from neurological impairment or obstructive sleep apnea from your airway closing off. Obesity is a cause of obstructive sleep apnea because excess fat tissue around the airway and in your neck can make the airway easier to collapse. What ultimately happens is that you would be excessively sleepy in the daytime, enough to impair concentration and put you at risk for accidents.

Keep in mind that you do not need to be obese to have obstructive sleep apnea. Upper airway obstruction has other causes, including substances relaxing the throat muscles such as alcohol and anatomical causes like enlarged tonsils. Even thin people can have sleep apnea.

Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome

Another breathing problem could occur with obesity. If you were to be massively obese, the heavy weight of fat tissue in your belly could actually make it hard to take a deep breath. Over time, you would build up carbon dioxide in your system and also have a low oxygen level, which would lead to daytime sleepiness and fatigue. This is called obesity hypoventilation syndrome, also called Pickwickian syndrome. Though it has similarities with sleep apnea, do not confuse the two because they are not one and the same.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

GERD, commonly known as acid reflux, can occur with obesity for the same reason as obesity hypoventilation syndrome. Weight from abdominal fat tissue can push the stomach upward, which then pushes its acidic contents upward into the esophagus. While medications for acid reflux can be used, they do not address the root of the problem.

Osteoarthritis

With obesity, there is an increased risk for osteoarthritis in the knees. This is because of the amount of stress put on the knees when one is obese, and there is evidence that shows this. Surprisingly, obesity is also associated with an increased risk for osteoarthritis in other joints, like the hands. This may suggest a metabolic process with obesity and osteoarthritis, not just a mechanical process.

Intertriginous Dermatitis

There are certain areas of skin that fold, allowing moisture to collect if there is a lack of hygiene. They include the groin and the skin under the breasts in women. With obesity, another place would be the skin under the protruding belly. If moisture is trapped in these tight spaces long enough, skin inflammation takes place. This is called intertriginous dermatitis.

Final Words

Obesity is associated with a long list of health risks, more than what is described here. While there are treatment options for each of the individual conditions, the best way to treat them is to lose weight and eliminate the root of the problem. Maintaining a healthy weight is more than preventing cardiovascular disease and other conditions. It is about living a long healthy life.

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Recognizing an emergency and getting your bill paid

emergency call
It's every parent's worst fear. It's the middle of the night and your child is sick. How do you know when to take her to the emergency room?
It can be tempting to take your child to the ER at the first sign of trouble, but it is never a good idea to pay your local hospital a visit without good information. An unnecessary trip to the ER can result in an hours-long wait. If an occasion is non-emergent, those with urgent conditions will be treated first, and if your “emergency” isn't truly an emergency, the hospital can refuse to treat you once you've been triaged.

If your child is under one year and has a fever above 100 degrees, a call to your pediatrician and a trip to the ER is justified. If your child is over one year, a fever alone is not reason enough for an ER visit. The fever can be treated with over the counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen until you can get to your pediatrician's office. If the fever is accompanied by a headache, a rash, a stiff or painful neck, severe vomiting, convulsions or lethargy call your doctor and have him meet you at the emergency room. Other reasons for ER visits are severe pain in the right lower area of the abdomen, coughing or vomiting blood and unresponsiveness.

In addition to wasted time, your insurance company may not pay for a non-emergent visit to the emergency department. Most insurance companies have “reasonable use” policies to cover ER visits. If the claims adjuster feels that a reasonable person would think the symptoms presented at the time of the visit were an emergency, then the claim will be paid. The problem with this system is that it is highly subjective and there is little recourse if you do not agree with the outcome. Even if your insurance company does pay, there are often larger deductibles and co-pays involved with ER visits.

If your child is sick in the middle of the night, there are options. Many emergency departments have a phone nurse on staff. The nurse can provide advice or just reassurance. She can also tell you if you are facing a true emergency that requires a visit. If you call ahead and receive prior authorization, you can often avoid the long waits associated with ER visits. Your doctor's office may have a 24 hour number or a book with common child health problems and solutions.

Having a sick child can make you feel helpless, but with some forethought and good information, you can provide the best care for your child.

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What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, carbon monoxide is a gas that is hard to detect and that can kill an individual in a very short period of time. Each year hundreds of individuals die after unknowingly inhaling carbon monoxide. Being aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and preventing carbon monoxide leaks has the potential to save lives.

Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

According to the Center for Disease Control carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when an individual breathes in combustion fumes. Car exhaust, gas stoves, gas heaters, and a variety of other combustion based household appliances emit carbon monoxide. Normally this is not a problem, but if too much carbon monoxide accumulates in an area that is not well ventilated the results can be tragic.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The NY Times reports carbon monoxide causes the body to be oxygen starved because it takes the place of oxygen in the blood. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are; trouble breathing, chest pain, confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, seizures, fainting, headaches, nausea and vomiting, coma, and death.

Treatment for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning can only take place if the victim is given medical attention early enough. A victim should first be moved out of the toxic environment. Once medical help arrives the victim will be taken to the hospital for treatment. Because of the illusive nature of carbon monoxide many victims of carbon monoxide poisoning die before help is ever received.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable if individuals take precautionary measures. The Center for Disease Control makes the following recommendations in order to prevent tragedy associated with carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Have gas furnaces and water heaters checked by a professional at least once a year
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of a home
  • Do not use fuel burning appliances, grills, generators etc... near any window of a home and never use such items within an enclosed area
  • Do not leave a car running in a garage connected to a house, regardless of whether the door or garage windows are open
  • Do not leave a gas oven door open with the intent of heating a house
  • Do not burn any items in a fireplace or stove without a vent
  • Get out of the house immediately if a carbon monoxide detector starts beeping and call 911 so that authorities can check the health of individuals in the house as well as the house itself.

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When to Change TED Hose

TED hose, also known as anti-embolism stockings, are recommended by health care providers for individuals who are prone to poor leg circulation, deep vein thrombosis, extended periods in bed, etc. TED hose are worn to help reduce swelling and increase circulation in the legs. They are available in both thigh and knee high lengths in a variety of sizes. TED hose should be worn as recommended by a health care provider. The stockings must be taken care of properly to maximize their effect. Knowing when to change and replace them helps to insure they are being used properly.

TED Hose

TED hose are worn for specific periods each day. A health care provider will determine the amount of time per day an individual wears TED hose. After each recommended amount of time wearing the hose is reached, the hose should be removed and properly cleaned. Changing TED hose after each use can help lengthen the amount of time each pair will last before needing replaced. This also allows the TED hose to be washed and dried completely before their next use.

TED hose should be changed immediately if the become wet or soiled. If the recommended amount of time the hose should be worn has not been met when they become dirty, change them and replace with a clean, dry pair. Wearing TED hose that are damp or wet can lead to skin irritation and discomfort. When the hose become dirty they need to be removed and cleaned before their next use. Dirty TED hose can hold germs and bacteria which can lead to infections if allowed to enter the body.

Change TED hose if they become ripped or snagged. Anti-embolism stockings are designed to (and made of material that allow them to) gently compress, or squeeze, the legs to increase circulation and decrease swelling. Anti-embolism stockings that become torn or snagged cannot work properly since tears and snags prevent the hose from compressing the legs as desired. Change TED hose when they become ripped and throw the torn pair away.

TED hose should be changed if they become too loose or too tight. They are designed to squeeze the legs gently. If the hose become too tight, they can cause harm and impair circulation in the legs. Anti-embolism stockings that fit loosely prevent them from doing their job by not allowing the legs to be compressed by the hose. Proper fitting hose are important to ensuring they do the job for which they were designed. Ill-fitting hose should be changed and replaced with a properly fitted pair.

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Cell Phone Use and Cancer

Several medical studies have shown possible links between cell phone use and health problems, including cancer. Although there are no definitive links, a number of medical professionals are now calling for people, especially children, to limit their use of these devices.

Cell Phone Use

Warning Sent to Staff to Limit Cell Phone Use

In July 2008, Dr. Ronald Herberman, Center for Environmental Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center, warned 3,000 staff and faculty about cell phone use. Dr. Herberman’s memo included a recommendation that children should use cell phones only in emergencies and adults should use the speakerphone feature or wireless headsets. There is not enough information available on the effect of electromagnetic radiation on developing brains to determine if there is a cause for concern; however, Dr. Herberman believes that there is no reason to wait for science to provide an answer. Instead, limiting use is a more proactive approach.

Possible Link Between Cell Phone Use and Salivary Gland Tumors

Another study, which appeared in the February 2008 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, suggested a link between heavy cell phone use and salivary gland cancer. This study was the first study to examine long-term use of cell phones. According to the study, people who used a cell phone held up to their face for several hours per day were 50% more likely to develop a tumor in the salivary gland.

Behavioral Problems and Cell Phone Use

In May 2008, a study completed by UCLA and Danish researchers released data linking behavioral problems in children to cell phone use by mothers while pregnant. According to the study, when a mother used a cell phone during pregnancy, children had a higher risk of being hyperactive, having conduct problems and difficulties with emotions and social relationships. If these children used cell phones before the age of seven, the risk became higher. The researchers, however, could not explain why such a connection may exist and accept the results may not reflect cell phone use but may be caused by other reasons, such as the mothers that spent a great deal of time on their cell phone were not paying attention to their children.

No Definitive Link Has Yet Been Shown

Despite the studies that suggest health problems as a result of cell phone use, there has not been any study showing a definitive link between cell phone use and cancer, or any other health problems. A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in December 2006 indicated that there was no link between cell phone use and cancer. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the results of a long-term Swedish study that found a link between brain cancer and cell phone use and found the results to be inconsistent with earlier studies and difficult to interpret.

Researchers will continue to review the present information as well as conduct additional studies to determine if there is any link between cell phone use and health problems. However, for anyone concerned with the risks, using a wireless headset and keeping the phone away from your body (either by using a holster or keeping it in a purse or briefcase) can help eliminate risks.

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A Night at the Sleep Center

Sleep Center

Diagnosing sleep apnea starts with an appointment with your family doctor. A history of possible sleep apnea symptoms is recorded. As sleep apnea symptoms are often seen alongside depression, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), asthma, obesity, and impotence, the doctor may ask questions that, on the surface, seem to have little to do with sleeping habits.

During the appointment the doctor also performs a physical exam, looking for evidence of physical sleep apnea causes. He or she will check the mouth, nose, and throat for possible obstructions.
As bed partners often that notice sleep apnea symptoms first, their input and observations can be very helpful when diagnosing sleep apnea. If bed partners can attend the doctor's appointment they can provide valuable information that aids in making a diagnosis.

Sleep Apnea Clinics

If the doctor suspects sleep apnea, the patient is usually referred to a sleep apnea clinic or sleep center for further tests. There the patient will meet with a sleep apnea doctor, who will ask further questions about the patient's symptoms.

If the sleep apnea doctor believes testing is required, the patient will return to the sleep center for a sleep apnea test.

A polysomnogram, or sleep recording, uses electrodes and other measuring devices to record the patient's sleep pattern. A polysomnogram is a painless procedure: sleep center staff fit the patient with the measuring equipment in the evening and the patient then sleeps in one of the sleep clinic's rooms under the watchful eye of the staff.

A polysomnogram sleep apnea test measure a wide range of sleep-related body functions, including:
  • Air flow through the lungs
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Brain activity
  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Muscle movement
  • Rapid eye movement while dreaming.

In cases where patients cannot visit a sleep apnea clinic it is possible to take a sleep apnea test at home. This is not the usual procedure: sleep apnea tests are best performed at a sleep center. If circumstances require a home test, however, a sleep center can send a staff member to the house in the evening. The staff member will set up a portable version of the polysomnogram test, which records the sleeper's activity. In the morning, the machine is picked up and returned to the sleep center.

Sleep Apnea Test Results

After the sleep apnea test results have been analyzed, the patient has another appointment with the sleep apnea doctor to discuss his or her condition. At this time the sleep specialist will explain the causes of sleep apnea and discuss sleep apnea treatment options with the patient.

Disclaimer: The information contained within this article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute in any way for care and treatment by a qualified health professional.

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What is Involved in Rhinoplasty

rhinoplasty

Noses present with all kinds of bumps and humps that can cause emotional distress and anxiety. Rhinoplasty is the name given to the procedure to remodel a nose.

How is Rhinoplasty Performed

A closed rhinoplasty is done through incisions inside the nose. This method is suitable for adjusting or reducing the nose’s size and shape. In an open rhinoplasty, an incision is made across the strip of skin between the nostrils. This allows easier access for more extensive work.

Who will Benefit from Rhinoplasty

Rhinoplasty is suitable for adults whose noses are fully grown and developed. It may also be performed on children who have sustained damage through an accident or who were born with a nasal defect.

What can Rhinoplasty Achieve

A successful rhinoplasty can change a person’s appearance, profile and mindset. Even a minor physical adjustment can have a major psychological effect.

What Rhinoplasty Cannot Do

Plastic surgeons have to work with the original nose and there are limits to what they can do. It is important to trust the surgeon who sees the whole picture of how the remodelled nose will fit into the face. Have realistic expectations and work with the experts.

What Form of Anesthesia is used

Most rhinoplastys are done under general anesthetic but minor remodelling can be done under local anesthesia. This is normally accompanied by sedation so the patient doesn’t remember much of the procedure.

What are the Steps of a Rhinoplasty

A typical rhinoplasty will follow these steps:
  • The surgeon makes small incisions inside the nose
  • The cartilage is reshaped and trimmed as necessary
  • In some cases, the nasal bones will be broken and repositioned
  • Tissue can be removed and cartilage and bone grafts introduced to build up areas as needed
  • The incisions are sutured closed
  • The nose is packed with gauze and taped to maintain its new shape and reduce swelling

Caring for the Nose after Rhinoplasty

It is important to rest after rhinoplasty. Avoid talking too much and lie still and relax. Don’t try and blow the nose and avoid bending and lifting.

Side Effects of Rhinoplasty

The most common effect is severe bruising and swelling around the eyes. This is more evident when the nasal bones have been broken.

How Long will Recovery Take

The nose will be swollen for about six weeks and it often takes a year for the final result to be seen. Areas of numbness are common as is a sensation of pins and needles. The bruising and discoloration take two to three weeks to subside and can be hidden to a certain extent with makeup.

A rhinoplasty can greatly improve the appearance of a nose and so give confidence to a person. It is essential that this type of surgery is fully understood and the limitations accepted before going ahead with it. With time and a positive outlook, rhinoplasty can transform a person’s life.

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What is Frostbite?

Most people living in northern climates have heard about frostbite. Exposing the skin and underlying tissues, especially of the extremities including the hands and feet, to extremely cold temperatures can lead to the development of frostbite. If cold exposure is severe enough, tissues can actually die.

frostbite

Ice Formation Inside Tissues

The body works hard to maintain the temperature of all of its tissues, both at the core of the body and at the periphery. Peripheral tissues such as the fingers, the toes, the ears, the nose and the lips are, however, at highest risk for damage as a result of exposures to extremely cold temperatures. When conditions are most dangerous, this extreme exposure can lead to the actual formation of ice crystals inside the tissues, first occurring near to the surface tissues just below the external skin, and then progressing to deeper tissue structures. When this happens, frostbite develops.

How Ice Damages Tissues

When ice crystals start to form in tissues, the cells that make up the tissues are not equipped to deal with its effects. Cells start to get injured because of disruption of cell membranes and the loss of cellular integrity. If the exposure continues, the body tries to deal with the exposure to the cold by regulating the performance of the circulatory system. Unfortunately, this typically means that the first response is to shunt more of the blood to the vital organs at the core of the body, worsening the cooling of the extremities. Soon afterwards, the blood vessels in the extremities try to overreact and start dilating and then constricting before the body recognizes that it needs to stop supplying blood to the extremities altogether to preserve as much heat in the core as possible.

Loss of Tissue Oxygenation

As the freezing progresses, a reduction in blood flow and the damage sustained by the blood vessels themselves can lead to loss of oxygenation of the tissue, what is known as necrosis. When tissues stop getting the oxygen that they need, the tissue begins to die. After a frostbite injury it is not uncommon for surgeons to have to wait for several days before they can determine how much of the tissue has actually died. Injuries to tissues can be severe enough to warrant amputation, and rewarming of the tissues must be done carefully in order to minimize further injury.

Preventing Frostbite

When it comes to frostbite, prevention is absolutely the best approach. It is not simply enough to dress more warmly as the temperature drops. Awareness of overall conditions can be very important. For those into mountaineering, exposure to a low temperature at higher altitudes can be more rapidly destructive. Combining low temperature with exposure to water can also be extremely problematic. And frostbite is not only a province of winter extremes, it can occur in those people who work with dry ice or with liquefied gases such as liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen.

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Vitamin D Essential to Good Health

vitamin d

The results of the first Canadian study of the effects of vitamin D deficiency have been released by Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, and they look worrying.

Northern Latitudes Lack Vitamin D

Health Canada says that “Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin upon exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.” That, of course, comes from the sun, so Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin.”

However, Canada being a northern country means that the sun’s UVB is weaker than in tropical regions. The result, according to Health Canada is that “Vitamin D synthesis in the skin is absent during the winter months (October to March), and for an even greater part of the year in far northern latitudes. This means that for a significant portion of the year, Canadians must rely on dietary intake of vitamin D to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D in the body.”

Sources of dietary vitamin D include milk, fatty fish, and egg yolks. Also, inexpensive supplements in pill form are available at pharmacies and health food stores.

Canadian Kids Don’t get Enough Vitamin D

Doctors at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children say that one third of Canadian youngsters living in urban areas don’t get enough of the sunshine vitamin. In a report released on May 4, 2009, researchers say their “finding is markedly higher than the data from a previous study of toddlers in Boston that found 14 percent of that population was lacking Vitamin D.”

Between November 2007 and June 2008, the study team “evaluated 92 healthy children aged 24 to 30 months who were attending routine well-child visits at a community-based pediatric practice in Toronto.” They monitored dietary intake through questionnaires filled in by parents and established Vitamin D levels through blood tests.

“The study revealed that factors associated with lower levels of vitamin D included lower milk intake, higher Body Mass Index (BMI), and watching television while snacking.”

Negative Health Effects of too little Vitamin D

The study’s lead author is Dr. Jonathon Maguire, an Academic Fellow in the SickKids Division of Pediatric Medicine who is pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto. He is quoted by the hospital as saying, “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a number of chronic medical conditions.”

He lists these as including rickets (a disease that may cause severe bone deformities and seizures), Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and certain types of cancers.

Other researchers have suggested that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with tuberculosis, high blood pressure, seasonal affective disorder, and memory loss.

Writing about the study in The Globe and Mail (May 4, 2009) Martin Mittelstaedt noted that researchers believe babies get enough vitamin D from fortified formula and/or breast milk. He added that the story with toddlers seems to be different: “The finding of widespread insufficiency indicates most children aren’t getting enough vitamin D either through diet or through sunlight exposure. Dr. Maguire said that developing strategies to prevent deficiencies “would seem to be a prudent thing to do.’ ”

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Using Generic Drugs

generic drugs

Generic drugs can save you money because they cost less than brand-name prescriptions.

Unlike other types of generic products such as cereal or soup where the brand is often better, generic medications are just as pure, effective and high quality as their brand counterparts.

Generic drugs, by law, must have the same active ingredients than the brand names, and they are plentiful – generic options are available for about half of all prescription drugs currently on the market, a recent Consumer Reports report stated.

According to the Consumer Reports article, “Shopper’s Guide to Prescription Drugs” from 2006, generics are simply copies of the medications that have expired patents. It can take any where from 10 to 14 years for a patent to expire, at which point the brand-name manufacturer loses the right to be the only seller of the drug.

What’s Causing All the Confusion?

The confusion between choosing a generic or name brand often is because the name brand stays on the market while the generic is being sold. Seeing the two together, many people tend to choose the name brand because, as is the case with the soup they like to eat, they think the name brand must be better.

Another reason people are not using generics is because they may have been using the brand name for a while and don’t want to switch for fear it won’t work as effectively.

Still another reason generic medications haven’t caught on is because they often look different from the name brands. Again, this goes back to the comfort level of the patient. People like to stick with what they know without considering other options. Pharmaceutical companies have spent millions selling the image of their drugs to people, and, according to this logic, it’s no wonder. Once the idea is planted, it’s hard to uproot and plant another.

Ask Your Doctor About Generics

According to Providence Health Plans’ Web site, generic drugs are now available in all major therapeutic drug classes and are usually subject to a lower copayment or coinsurance, and generics offer effective treatment for many of the common conditions treated in routine care and are equivalent to brand-name products in safety, quality and performance.

If you are interested in trying generic medications, you must speak with your doctor. Pharmacists can change a doctor’s order from brand name to generic, but they have to ask you, by law. If you want more information, even after speaking to your doctor, consult your pharmacist. He or she will be able to provide additional insight about whether or not you should choose a name brand or generic.

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How to Recognize and Prevent Burnout

burnout
What is it?
Burnout occurs when a person feels overwhelmed by work and/or social circumstances and is unable to cope due to high levels of stress and emotional and physical exhaustion. Experiencing burnout can cause a person to feel unmotivated and extremely unhappy. High stress levels in all areas of life can reduce productivity and interrupt normal work, family and social relationships. It may also have an adverse affect on one’s health. It may be caused by lack of control, job boredom or monotony, extreme pressure to meet constant and excessive demands and lack of recognition.

Who is at Risk?
People who are dealing with a stressful environment on a daily basis, who must fulfill certain objectives and are under pressure due to time, financial or employer constraints. These people could be executive high flyers or even carers for the disabled. Any job or environment that can become monotonous and make a person feel like their achievements go unrecognized has the potential to increase the likelihood of burnout.

Signs of Burnout
Early signs of burnout relate closely to high levels of stress and the mental rather than physical state of a person’s well-being. Feelings like frustration, hopelessness, irritability and lack of emotional energy are all early signs. As they are also feelings experienced with depression fast diagnosis and early prevention of further burnout is required to.

Introduce positive change. As the state of burnout progresses physical symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, weight gain or weight loss may manifest and a person is at higher risk of developing extreme mental depression and even other emotional problems, for example, anxiety attacks.

Prevention
Burnout can be prevented or alleviated with the same methods used to combat stress. Having good physical health and maintaining strong relationships within the family and workplace will ensure a foundation of support, if and when it’s needed. A person that can socialize and connect with like-minded people is able to relax easier and counter stress more effectively. To prevent burnout a person may request different duties in a monotonous job or indeed make a career change altogether. A clear expectation of work duties may help as will a clean and relaxed office environment. If the first signs of burnout are being experienced, a person may reassess personal and private life goals and realise and set limits on their capabilities in certain situations. Taking regular breaks may help reduce stress in a highly demanding work environment. Once burnout has occurred, positive changes may be undertaken through counselling, doctor’s advice and help from family and friends. The best defense against burnout is for a person to remain connected with others and practice good communication within work, social and family circles.

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What You Really Need to Know About Cholesterol

cholesterol
When a person eats fatty foods, those fats are ultimately absorbed by the small intestine and sent along to the liver, which breaks them down into various other fat products, but mostly cholesterol. The liver then transforms 80 percent of this cholesterol into cholic acid (bile), which is necessary to digest fats and proteins.

The rest of the cholesterol is then used as building blocks for all cell membrane construction, all hormone fabrication, stem cells and the insulation of nerves cells in the brain. Pretty important stuff. In fact, huge amounts of cholesterol are required for these functions. Remember that the brain is 80 percent fats by weight, mostly cholesterol and omega-3.

Cholesterol's Bad Rap

Then why does cholesterol have such a bad reputation? It’s because there are two types of cholesterol. The first is high density lipid (HDL) cholesterol, which is beneficial and does not harm blood vessels. In fact it protects them because it actually collects some of the negative cholesterol and carries it back to the liver for removal.

The negative cholesterol is low density lipid (LDL) and it acts as a free radical in the body. A free radical has nothing to do with the 1960s. It is an unstable protein molecule that can do great damage to the body and cells. The damage done by LDL cholesterol attracts inflammation which obstructs blood vessels and allows excess cholesterol in the circulation to be deposited in the damaged vessel walls. It is when clots form on these blockages in the blood vessels that flow is restricted and heart attacks or strokes may result. That is the cause of cholesterol's negative reputation.

Arteriosclerosis

This inflammation and blockage of the blood vessels is called arteriosclerosis. (By the way, calcium is also deposited in the vessels when inflamed and in this case is as dangerous as cholesterol.) And since it can have such dangerous consequences for human health it's worth understanding more clearly how it develops.

The lining of blood vessels can be damaged by many factors, not just cholesterol. The inflammation caused by the free radicals actually tries to repair damage, but the swelling it causes allows cholesterol and calcium to deposit. There has to be damage for cholesterol to stick and cause and arteriosclerosis.

So it's not so much LDL cholesterol, but the damage done by free radicals that are created by LDL cholesterol, that eventually lead to heart attacks and strokes. The blockages in the blood vessels cause protrusions, which lead to clots, which deprive the heart or brain of oxygen.

Guarding against arteriosclerosis

  • Exercise is the best cure. It can actually reverse arteriosclerosis.
  • Maintain a high intake of potassium. Bananas, orange juice, tomato paste and potatoes are among the foods high in potassium, or take a supplement.
  • No smoking.
  • Eat a balanced diet, low on toxins, fats and meat. Also avoid high amounts of sugars, starches and prepared foods.
  • Lower intake of saturated fat, but don’t cut it out entirely.

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