Generalized Anxiety Disorder Basic Facts

anxiety disorder

It is not unusual or abnormal to have worries in life about problems regarding family, employment, school and health to a reasonable degree but when worry crosses over the line and becomes obsessive and chronic, it becomes an anxiety disorder. GAD is the term for this type of anxiety but treatments are available for those who are diagnosed with it.

Symptoms and Manifestations of GAD

People, who experience GAD, will have chronic excessive worry for at least six months, to meet the diagnostic criteria as described by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health. The worry will often keep them from getting proper rest and sleep, due to the continued troubling or racing thoughts that they find very difficult not to entertain and to ponder repeatedly in their minds. People with GAD often feel they are experiencing a nervous breakdown.

GAD patients often worry about things such as contracting a terminal illness or that it might happen to one of their loved ones or that a tragic event will strike their family. They may also worry about losing their job or that their spouse will leave them when there is no rational reason for these concerns to occur.

They may also obsess over the possibility of being a failure at their job or other pursuits in life that are important to them. They often feel on-edge and very apprehensive in these areas and this will often cause avoidance behaviors, meaning they resist attempting to succeed at new endeavors of self-improvement for fear of failure or disappointment.

Patients with GAD often feel highly stressed (stressed-out) due to the many things they continually worry about. This can contribute to feelings of low mood and depression, which commonly co-exist with GAD. Panic attacks may also occur in some patients with this anxiety disorder, as can elements of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Some GAD Patients are Over-Achievers

Another aspect of this anxiety disorder can be obsessive thoughts in the area of self-achievements. People with GAD may constantly feel they have not achieved enough success in life and as a result they will push their selves toward unreasonable goals, rather than allowing achievements to occur at a reasonable pace for them. This can create a vicious cycle of added stressors, followed by disappointments over not achieving the unreasonable goals they set for themselves.

People with Gad may also multi-task to an unreasonable degree due to their worry that duties and obligations will mount and become overwhelming to them. They become obsessed with staying ahead of their tasks, to the point that they cause added stress and become sensitized to anxiety rather than achieving the stress-relief they are seeking. Some people who appear to be “work-a-holics”, may actually be suffering from GAD.

Treatments for GAD

Medications, including anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants are often prescribed to help reduce the symptoms of GAD. These may include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI-a type of anti-depressant) which, comes in brands such as Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft. Some patients may also be prescribed benzopines (anxiety drugs) that help to offer immediate relief of anxiety symptoms as-needed which comes in brands such as Xanax, Kolonopin, and Adavan.

Psychiatric therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can also help a great deal in gaining patients coping skills or the ability to overcome their anxiety disorders completely over time. Some prescribed treatments may include a combination of therapy and anxiety-reducing medications.

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FDA Warns Against Zicam Swabs

zicam swabs

Zicam is a popular all natural cold remedy that can shorten the length of the cold and flu symptom period with the use of Zinc. It is this homeopathic natural base that has been such a good selling point among consumers, especially those trying to cut their use of non natural and chemical consumption.

Even though their website makes one believe that they are FDA approved, in reality they have never been officially approved as they are homeopathic and did not need FDA approval to begin being marketed and sold.

Zicam Receives Official Warning

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 the FDA came out with a warning against the Zicam cold and flu remedy, especially the nasal gel and the nasal swabs. There have been 130 consumer complaints that after using the Zicam nasal swab and gel products they lost their sense of smell. Scientists say this is traceable back to the zinc in the gel that is used to cut the cold symptoms length of time.

The FDA gave the makers of Zicam nasal gel and nasal swabs, Matrixx, an official warning but did not issue a complete recall. Now if Matrixx wants to submit to actual testing and go through the FDA guidelines to seek approval, they will be allowed. However, for now the company is thinking about pulling the product until they can get it all sorted.

Matrixx’s Message to Consumers

Matrixx released an official statement regarding the FDA’s warning and complaints made from consumers on its website on the same day the warning was released. This comment was (in part):

“Matrixx Initiatives’ primary concern is consumer safety. Based on the FDA’s action, the company has suspended shipments of these products and will reimburse any customer desiring a refund. However, the company believes the cumulative body of independent scientific and medical evidence supports both the safety and efficacy of Zicam intranasal cold remedy products. Matrixx Initiatives stands behind the science of its products and its belief that there is no causal link between its intranasal gel products and anosmia.”

Zicam’s Final Word to FDA Warning

Matrixx’s message went on to say that it felt that the warnings given to Zicam products was “unwarranted” and that they plan to review the company’s safety data for Zicam with the FDA. They were very quick to point out that only three of the nineteen Zicam products were mentioned in the warning, and that the oral Zicam was not. Only the Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, the Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, and the now discontinued Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs (Kids Size).

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Global Warming Increases Heart Disease Say Researchers

Heatwaves during 2003 in England and France swelled the numbers of those with heart conditions. In France 11,000 people died in the first half of August in that year when the temperature peered over 40C. Many deaths occurred from cardiac problems relating to heart ailments other than a heart attack.

global warming

Record temperatures in the UK also led to an extra 2,000 deaths, and experts predict heart mortality rates will increase as the effects of global warming worsen.

Researchers Say Action on Greenhouse Gasses Will Improve Health

An accompanying editorial, written by Dr Paola Michelozzi and Manuela De Sario of the Lazio Region Department of Epidemiology in Rome, said that health problems associated with heatwaves would outweigh any health benefits from global warming. They also said that action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by lifestyle choices would improve health.

For example saturated fat consumption would be lowered if diets included fewer animal products that lead to greenhouse gas emissions through grazing. Healthier diets would reduce the rates of heart disease and be a key part of a strategy for greenhouse gas management.

British Heart Foundation Advise on How to Counter Cold Winters

The British Heart Foundation have responded to the study by warning heart patients they should stay warm in winter. Increased risk from heart problems can be countered by wearing suitable clothing and keeping houses sufficiently warm.

A senior cardiac nurse for the charity told the bhf.org.uk website “Although the increased risk is small, if there is a nationwide drop in average temperature it could equate to a significant number of heart attacks each day... This timely piece of research reminds us that older people and anyone with heart disease should keep warm in their homes after the summer draws to a close.”

Low temperatures last winter resulted in more ‘excess deaths’ - the amount of those who died compared to the same time in previous years - than in over a decade.

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Get Relief from Bunions: Non-Surgical Treatment for Bunions

Before opting for bunion foot surgery, try non-surgical bunion treatments and methods such as wearing sensible, well-fitting shoes, using padding or orthotics to protect the foot and take the pressure off the bunion or taking medication for pain and inflammation.

bunions

Early treatment works best. Delaying bunion treatment increases the risk of developing joint deformities that require bunion removal surgery.

For Preventing and Treating Bunions, Wear Low Heel, Better Fitting Shoes

The Consumer's Report on Health and the Mayo Clinic emphasize the importance of not wearing ill-fitting high heel shoes. Flat, good-fitting shoes help decrease the chances of bunions worsening, while relieving the pain and pressure of existing ones.

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society has developed a ten-point list for choosing good shoes, some of which are detailed below:
  • Go shoe shopping late in day when your feet are at their widest.
  • Most people have one foot that is bigger. Fit your bigger foot and use padded inserts to fit the shoe for the smaller foot.
  • Look for a deep, wide toe box. If your toes can't wiggle or if they are touching the front end of the shoe, that shoe is too tight and too small. There should be about a half-inch space of free area in front of your longest toe.
  • Look for comfortable shoes that are comfortable right away. If they are tight in the shoe store, leave them there. "Breaking in" shoes that are too small or tight can damage your feet, causing additional pain and pressure on existing bunions.
  • Don't get caught up in a number. Different manufacturers size their shoes differently. Always try on shoes and buy what fits.

Not willing to give up high heels entirely? Wear flats or lower heels while walking and switch to higher ones when sitting or for short periods of time. The best choices for shoes are:

  • athletic shoes,
  • shoes with soft-leather uppers that mold to the foot
  • open toed sandals that don't touch the affected area

Bunion Treatment Includes Padding, Bunion Taping or Bunion Night Splints for Bunion Pain Relief

Use a moleskin doughnut over the bump or foam or lamb's-wool between your toes to help reduce both pain and pressure. Other types of bunion apparatus include a bunion pad, bunion night splints and toe spreaders. While devices such as bunion splints can relieve pain and pressure, they may not be able to correct the alignment of the big toe or prevent your bunions from getting worse.
For more serious bunion pain and pressure, see a podiatrist, chiropodist or chiropractor to learn how to tape and pad your foot or check out Lisa Howell's bunion taping demonstration.

Medications and Treatments to Reduce Bunion Pain and Inflammation

Both over-the counter (OTC) and stronger prescription drugs can help control inflammation and pain of bunions. OTC medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) help in bunion pain relief.

To temporarily ease pain and swelling, try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDS include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). Be careful. Long-term use increases the risk of stomach bleeding, ulcers and heart problems.

Cortisone injections were thought to be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation and may be helpful when the fluid-filled sac (bursa) inside the joint is inflamed. However, according to Consumer Reports on Health, new research indicates these injections may do more harm than good. By weakening the ligaments that hold the big toe in place, cortisone may worsen the bunion.

For a non-medical bunion pain relief, ice your foot for about twenty minutes several times a day to reduce swelling. Keeping your foot elevated can also help bring down some of the swelling.

Note: Always speak to your health practitioner before trying any treatment.

Go for No-Impact or Low-Impact Activities to Relieve Foot and Toe Pressure

Activities such as running and jogging put a lot of stress and weight on the front of the foot and add extra pressure on the toe joint. For some people, even standing and walking cause pain.

Substitute no-impact or low-impact activities such as swimming and cycling and don't stand for too long.

Using Shoe Inserts or Prescription Orthotics for Bunion Correction and Bunion Pain Relief

If your bunion is caused by flat feet, a prescription orthotic can support the arch of your foot and relieve pressure on the big toe. A properly fitted shoe insert can also slow the bunion's growth and help with bunion pain relief.

While OTC arch supports provide relief if you do not have serious foot effects, they are not for everybody. Poorly fitting, ready-made orthotics can introduce new problems or make old problems worse by changing the position of your foot and other joints. See a podiatrist, chiropodist or chiropractor for prescription orthotics.

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Health, Happiness, and Intelligence Comes With Tending a Garden

tending garden

Before more people join the urban and suburban gardening movement, a warning should go out that growing fresh vegetables and herbs, lovely flowers and shrubs, and gaining a sense of accomplishment are not the only favorable returns. Improved physical and mental health from the exercise and increased brain neuron growth stimulated by bacteria in the soil are also possible.

Gardening Relieves Stress and Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Anxiety affects both the brain and the body. Muscle weakness, fatigue, headaches, and other ailments often accompany anxiety attacks. Irritability, restlessness, nightmares, and insomnia are some of the mental manifestations.

An online article by Mayo Clinic staff titled: "Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms" details the benefits exercise can have on easing anxiety attacks. ". . . Research on anxiety, depression and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help reduce anxiety and improve mood."

Tending a garden is physical exertion. The bending required uses the back, legs, and abdomen muscles. A second Mayo Clinic article titled, "Exercise and stress: Get moving to combat stress" states, "One way to take control of the stress in your life is through physical activity. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries." Raking the garden gets the body moving by working the core, shoulders and arms, and refocuses the attention.

Gardening is Bone Density Exercise and it Burns Calories
Gardening is strenuous exercise that involves lifting bags of fertilizer, turning soil, pushing a wheelbarrow, and squatting for lengthy periods. This type of exercise strengthens the bones. As pointed out in an article published by the National Institute of Health, "Vital at every age for healthy bones, exercise is important for treating and preventing osteoporosis. Not only does exercise improve your bone health, it also increases muscle strength, coordination, and balance, and it leads to overall health."

Gardening is bone density exercise, which helps restore bone health by strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, chest, shoulders, arms, and back.

Lose weight naturally by gardening. Gardening calls on the use of nearly every body muscle. One hour of digging and pulling weeds can burn off 300 calories without the help of any diet aids.

Gardening Raises Serotonin and Intelligence Levels

Dorothy Matthews, a Microbiology Researcher at The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York and her colleagues were cited in a recent Science Daily article as having discovered evidence that breathing in bacteria from the outdoor environment and soil has antidepressant qualities that may increase learning behavior. At the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego, Matthews presented research findings that showed.

"Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural soil bacterium which people likely ingest or breath in when they spend time in nature."

Digging and raking soil exposes gardeners to the Mycobacterim vaccae soil bacteria. The research done with mice showed those fed live M. vaccae bacteria learned twice as fast as those not given M. vaccae. "We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice," Matthews said.

Gardening can quite possibly increase serotonin in the brain and improve the gardener's intelligence level. Luckily, not all gardening health benefits end with the growing seasons. Digging up the soil for the next spring or fall garden, raking leaves, composting, and engaging in other outdoor activities can increase exposure to M. vaccae.

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Good and Bad Cholesterol

good bad cholesterol

HDL and LDL levels show up on what the doctor calls a lipid panel. Then the total cholesteral level is known by adding the two together. HDL is considered "good" cholesterol and LDL is considered "bad" cholesterol. Understanding what the good and bad cholesterol does and how to increase the good and decrease the bad is the first step to regulating cholesterol levels.

The Bad Cholesterol

LDL is known to settle in the walls of arteries and heart tissue which causes clogging. The reduced blood flow makes the heart work more, and can lead to a heart attack. LDL levels of 100 milligrams per deciliter or below is optimal.

When LDL gets above 120 milligrams per deciliters, doctors start to worry and suggest diet and exercise changes. The best practice is to keep the LDL values as low as possible.

What Else Does LDL Do?

It has been discovered that LDL inhibits the rate of fat breakdown in the body. Thus LDL levels that are high can discourage the body from losing weight by restricting fat processing. This effects the homeostasis and leads to other problems.

The Good Cholesterol

HDL is the good cholesterol. 60 milligrams per deciliter or above is optimal.

Typically the more HDL, the better. HDL is a transporter of fat and helps remove it from the body. It also helps filter bad cholesterol out. Its been shown that the HDL levels increase and LDL levels decrease when people eat right and exercise.

Getting a Healthy Cholesterol Score

The key to maintaining a healthy level of good and bad cholesterol is to exercise and eat right. Exercising 30 minutes a day, three to four times a week will reduce cholesterol issues and have a strong effect on the body and mind. Learning to choose healthier foods will complement the exercising.

This typically means reducing the intake of red fatty meats and increasing fruits and vegetables, as well as non-processed grains. Another diet tip is to reduce consumption of high amounts of processed sugars. This includes reducing the number of artificially sweetened soda pops and drinking more water. Water helps HDL attach to fiber and leave the body.

Last but not least, the New England Journal of Medicine shows that studies indicate exercise is required, regardless of diet. The basics remain: eating right and exercise are the main way to stay healthy. With any diet and exercise suggestion, balance is the key. Consult a physician before starting an intense exercise regiment.

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