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HERE ARE 7 KEY TIPS FOR IMPROVING HEART HEALTH

7 KEY TIPS FOR IMPROVING HEART HEALTH

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death worldwide, and it’s mostly preventable by changing your lifestyle and managing risk factors. 

Here are seven ways you can prevent becoming a statistic.

7 KEY TIPS FOR IMPROVING HEART HEALTH

1. Get moving, Your heart is a muscle and, as with any muscle, exercise is what strengthens it. The first step is to determine your target heart rate, then find an activity you enjoy and can stick with for the long run.

2. Quit smoking. Quitting smoking is tough. But you know that it’s important to quit, and one of the biggest reasons is that it’s linked to heart disease.

3. Lose weight.  Losing weight is more than just diet and exercise. It’s a personal journey that involves finding what you like and what works for you.

4. Eat heart-healthy foods. Salmon and guacamole are loaded with healthy fats that are good for the heart.

5. Don’t forget the chocolate.  The good news: chocolate and wine contribute to heart health. The bad news: only in moderation. Alcohol and cocoa (a key ingredient in chocolate) have antioxidants that have been shown to increase good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol and improve blood clotting function.

6. Don’t overeat.  Although this advice primarily applies during the holidays, when deaths from heart attacks spike thanks to copious amounts of food and temptation, it’s valid year round. Eating a lot of food at once leads to: Blood shifting from the heart to the digestive system; Faster and irregular heart rhythms, which can lead to heart attack or heart failure.

7. Don’t stress. There are more than 1,400 biochemical responses to stress, including a rise in blood pressure and a faster heart rate. If you don’t manage your stress, it can create more stress and trap you in a stress cycle.

Source: KK Publishers

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YOUR PHARMACIST: A PARTNER FOR GOOD HEALTH

YOUR PHARMACIST: A PARTNER FOR GOOD HEALTH

Just ask your pharmacist.

Pharmacists today are emerging as key players on your health care team. Hundreds of years ago, people went to the pharmacy or apothecary for medical care.

By the 1900s, our role was mostly counting pills. But that’s changed.

Pharmacy programs at universities today are 5-year programs, and the new material aspiring pharmacists learn includes helping people manage their health.

Pharmacists look at the whole person.

Here are six ways your pharmacist can help you stay healthy.

  1. Convenient vaccines. These include flu shots as well as vaccines for pneumonia – often, you don’t even need an appointment.
  2. Help with pill bottles and dispensers. If needed, ask your pharmacist to put your medications into easy-to-open containers (if there are no children in your home) with large-print labels. Your pharmacist may also be able to fill your pill dispenser for you or package medications you take regularly into daily packs so you won’t miss a dose.
  3. Easier refills. If you take multiple medications, your pharmacist can help you get them on the same refill schedule so that you can make fewer trips to the pharmacy.
  4. Affordable alternatives. Talk with your pharmacist right away if a medication costs too much.  He or she may be able to substitute a generic prescription or call your doctor to find another option.
  5. Consultations for chronic health conditions.  While your doctor is the expert about your condition—diagnosing, developing a treatment plan and evaluating your health—your pharmacist is the medication expert who can sit down with you and discuss what your medicines do and how to take them for best results.
  6. Advice about over-the-counter remedies and supplements. Thinking about a new natural remedy or a vitamin or mineral supplement? Ask your pharmacist if it could interact with medications you’re already taking. It may be fine, or you may need a different dose or a different product, or you may be better off not taking it, so you’ll have peace of mind.

Source: KK Publishers

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YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM: 5 WAYS TO SUPPORT GUT HEALTH

YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM: 5 WAYS TO SUPPORT GUT HEALTH

Digestive system problems such as heartburn, gas, bloating and constipation reflect what’s happening throughout your body. “As we age, the natural cycles slow down and don’t work as well.”

The main drivers of gut health change are shifts in stomach acid, gut immunity, and gastrointestinal flora—the complex ecosystem of bacteria in your digestive system. When gut health is good, you’re less likely to experience damaging inflammation and lapses in immunity.

The following ways to protect your digestive system may sound surprising because they’re not just about diet. “Everything ties together.”

  1. Eat the right foods. Americans’ fiber intake is 40 to 50 percent of what it should be. A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides the fiber that builds good bacteria and gut health. Other foods that build a healthy digestive system include yogurt that is rich in probiotics and other fermented or pickled foods such a sauerkraut and pickled ginger.
  2. Get more sleep. Not getting enough sleep is linked to a higher prevalence of obesity, which sets you up for digestive system disorders.
  3. Move more. As with other aspects of health, exercise is the best way to lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight to ward off digestive system problems.
  4. Manage stress. Reducing stress is fundamental to reducing heartburn. There’s no magic diet that works. Try relaxation therapies along with other distraction techniques.
  5. Get help for issues like anxiety and depression. Mood and digestive system health (especially disorders like irritable bowel syndrome) are closely linked via the brain-gut connection.

Source: KK Publishers

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6 Signs You May Have Had COVID-19 Without Realizing It

Experts say some signs can be tip-offs that you might have had COVID-19 already. Here are the top ones to know, plus what it means for immunity.

You had a “bad cold.” It can be tough to distinguish a cold from a mild form of COVID-19 without a test, depending on which symptoms you experience, but colds don’t typically cause shortness of breath, severe headaches, or gastrointestinal symptoms like COVID-19 can.

You lost your sense of smell or taste at one point. Loss of smell and taste has been a big hallmark of COVID-19. While this symptom doesn’t occur for everyone, it’s now strongly linked with this coronavirus in COVID-19 patients who lost their sense of smell, 27% had “some improvement” within about seven days, while most were better within 10 days.

You feel breathless sometimes. Research has found that people with COVID-19 can have after-effects of the virus, including shortness of breath. It’s not entirely clear why at this point or how long this can last, but it’s likely due to lasting inflammation in the lungs.

You have a cough that will not go away. A lingering cough is another symptom that people who participated in a recent study reported. The cough is often dry, meaning that nothing comes up, like like phlegm or mucus,

You’re really, really tired. This is one of the biggest lingering effects after a person has had COVID-19. Research found that 53% of patients said they were struggling with fatigue around 60 days after they first showed signs of the virus.

You have unusual symptoms that seem to be lasting forever. If you’ve been feeling off and your symptoms are persistent, it’s a good idea to get checked out by your health professional , whether you think it’s related to COVID-19 or not.

Source: KK Publishers

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Hay fever

Hayfever

The term hay fever is a misnomer:  the condition is not caused by hay, nor does it produce fever. The clinical name is seasonal allergic rhinitis, which is a type of allergy.

In some people the immune system is overactive and identifies normally harmless particles as dangerous, producing an excessive reaction. This reaction results in the release of powerful chemical agents of which histamine is the best known.

These substances cause very severe swelling of the mucous membrane lining the nasal passages and conjunctiva of the eyes, intense itching and sneezing and the production of large amounts of watery mucus.

A person may have any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Severe bouts of sneezing, especially in the morning;
  • Intense itching of the nose and of the palate and even the ear canals;
  • Watery nasal mucus; Stuffy nose all the time or during specific seasons;
  • Itchy and teary eyes;
  • Eyes are sensitive to light;
  • Reddened, pebbly lining in the lower eyelids;
  • Dark circles under the eyes as a result of pressure from blocked nasal passages on the small blood vessels;
  • Headaches because of pressure from inside the nose or from the sinus canals being blocked and a negative pressure-sinus headache;
  • Nasal blockage associated with headache, persistent dripping at the back of the throat, and bad breath, suggests chronic sinusitis rather than rhinitis.

Allergens which cause hay fever are the pollens of grass, trees and a few weed species, all of which are wind-pollinated. It is only the small, light wind-borne pollens which cause the allergic reaction in the nose. Allergic rhinitis that occurs all year round is mainly caused by house dust mite, animals and moulds.

It is impossible to avoid the allergens which cause this form of rhinitis, e.g., grass pollens, so medical treatment is unavoidable in most cases. Speak to your pharmacist about the most appropriate treatment for you. Treatment for hay fever almost always includes antihistamine tablets and antihistamine nasal sprays and steroid sprays.

Source: KK Publishers

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TOP 8 HEALTH TIPS FOR WOMEN

TOP 8 HEALTH TIPS FOR WOMEN

1. Zap your stress. Stress can have significant health consequences, from infertility to higher risks of depression, anxiety, and heart disease. Find the stress-reduction method that works for you and stick with it.

2. Stop dieting. “Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to forgo your favourite glass of wine or a piece of chocolate cake now and then. The key is moderation. Get a mix of lean proteins, healthy fats, smart carbs, and fibre.”

3. Don’t “OD” on calcium. “Too much absorbed calcium can increase the risk of kidney stones. If you’re under 50, shoot for 1,000 milligrams per day, while over-50 women should be getting 1,200 milligrams per day mainly through diet — about three servings of calcium-rich foods such as milk, salmon, and almonds per week.”

4. Do more than cardio. Women need a mix of cardio and resistance or weight-bearing exercise at least three to five times a week to help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. “Exercise also promotes good self-image, which is really important to a woman’s mental health.”

5. Appreciate birth control. “Birth control often gets bad publicity, but not only can it keep you from getting pregnant before you’re ready, studies show it can lower the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer as well as regulate your cycle.”

6. See your doctor every year. Make sure you get a Pap test to check for cervical cancer every 3 years if you are 21 or older. If you are 30-65, you can get both a Pap test and HPV test every 5 years. If you are sexually active and have a higher risk for STDs, get tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis yearly. “Don’t skip your yearly check-up. Your doctor needs to annually assess many other issues such as potential infection, your need for contraception, and sexual complaints.”

7. Get more sleep. “Sleep needs differ, but if you have trouble getting out of bed, tire easily, or have trouble concentrating, you likely aren’t getting enough. Recent studies suggest this can put you at greater risk of heart disease and psychological problems.”

8. Consider genetic testing. Your gynaecologist can now screen women with a family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and chronic diseases to assess their risk — and then consider preventive measures. 

Source: KK Publishers

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COVID-19 & Breastfeeding

COVID-19 & Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the cornerstone of infant and young child survival, nutrition and development and maternal health. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to 2 years and beyond. Early and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact, rooming-in and kangaroo mother care also significantly improve neonatal survival and reduce morbidity and are recommended by WHO.

However, concerns have been raised about whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus to their infant or young child through breastfeeding. Breastfeeding protects new-borns from getting sick and also helps protect them throughout their infancy and childhood.

Breastfeeding is particularly effective against infectious diseases because it strengthens the immune system by directly transferring antibodies from the mother. As with all confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, mothers with any symptoms who are breastfeeding or practicing skin-to-skin contact should take precautions.

Actions for breastfeeding mothers: Practice respiratory hygiene, including during feeding. If you have respiratory symptoms such as being short of breath, use a medical mask when near your child.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap or sanitizer before and after contact with your child. Routinely clean and disinfect any surfaces you touch. If you are severely ill with COVID-19 or suffer from other complications that prevent you from caring for your infant or continuing direct breastfeeding, express milk to safely provide breast milk to your infant.

Source: KK Publishers

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How to Keep Your Child Healthy

How to Keep Your Child Healthy

It goes without saying that your child is very important to you. Part of caring for your child involves keeping them happy and healthy. To create the best health for your child, keep an eye out for possible injury dangers and avoid exposing them to illness. Make sure that your child stays physically active and spends time outdoors. Monitor their mental health as well by communicating openly and regularly with your child.

  1. Establish a sleeping schedule. It is important for your child to get around 10 hours of sleep every night, depending on age. Going to sleep at the same time each evening will help this happen. Stick carefully to this routine and only push back the bedtime if it is absolutely necessary. When possible, allow your child to sleep in if they went to bed late. Sleep is important to health in many ways. It allows your body to recover quickly from illness or fight off potential infections. It also boosts your metabolism. Good sleep can calm your emotions and result in a healthier mindset as well.
  2. Encourage a healthy diet. Purchase a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain products, and lean meats for your household. Go for fresh produce whenever you can. Offer healthy snacks, such as hummus and carrot sticks, throughout the day.
  3. Offer lots of drinking water. A child should drink the number of 200ml water glasses that correspond to their age (up to a limit of 1500ml total at 8 years of age). So, a 4-year-old child should drink 4 glasses containing 200ml of water per day. This total does not include milk, juice, or other liquids, just water. Your child should only start drinking water after they reach 6 months of age. Prior to this, they should drink formula and/or breast milk. To add some variety, a child can also drink milk after their first birthday. A 2-year-old should drink up to two200ml glasses of milk per day. You can also offer juice, in moderation.
  4. Keep junk foods to a minimum. Avoid purchasing sugary, fatty, or heavily processed foods. If you don’t buy them, then your child will turn to a healthy alternative that is available in your fridge or pantry. Watch out for ‘sneaky’ foods that appear healthy but are actually the opposite.

Source: KK Publishers

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Facts about Vitamin E

Facts about Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful, fat-soluble antioxidant that helps protects cell membranes against damage caused by free radicals and prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. The term vitamin e encompasses a group of eight compounds, called tocopherols and tocotrienols, with various subsets of each, that comprise the vitamin complex as it is found in nature.

Vitamin E is necessary for structural and functional maintenance of skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle. It also assists in the formation of red blood cells and helps to maintain stores of vitamins A and K, iron, and selenium. It may have a positive effect on immune health, protect against the oxidative damage that can lead to heart disease, have preventative effects against cancer, help relieve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and may help prevent damage, particularly to the eyes.

Good vitamin E food sources include vegetable oils, avocados, spinach, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, nuts, and whole grains. Except for an anticoagulant effect, vitamin E has no know toxicity or side effects.

Other special considerations for Vitamin E:

  • Because vitamin E is fat-soluble, it’s best absorbed when taken with a meal containing some fat.
  • Vitamin E loses its potency when exposed to air, heat, and light, so supplements should be stored in a dark, cool place.
  • People who are taking anticoagulants (blood thinners or aspirin) should take vitamin E supplements only under physician supervision.
  • If you are taking statins, do not exceed 400 IU of vitamin E because it can dramatically reduce the benefits of some cholesterol drugs.

Source: KK Publishers

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Menopause Symptoms and Chronic Pain

Menopause Tips

If you’re going through menopause, have you notices that along with the hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes, you also feel more pain?

It’s not just your imagination. A new study has found that women with menopause symptoms are nearly twice as likely to have chronic pain diagnoses, such as fibromyalgia, migraine, and back pain.

“Chronic pain is a huge issue across the United States, but not a lot of attention is paid to the fact that it’s particularly acute for women in midlife,” says a clinical research psychologist with the San Francisco VA Medical Centre.

Four tips to manage chronic pain in menopause

1. Practice relaxation techniques: Try yoga and mindfulness meditation

2. Stay active: “Even on the days you have pain, set minimal goals for activity, like walking 3,000 steps each day. If you sit on the couch you become deconditioned and the pain gets worse.”

3. Say no sometimes: Stress increases your perception of pain. It’s OK to say no to attending this event or that extra project if it will add unnecessary stress.

4. Protect your sleep: Lack of sleep makes the pain seem worse, and research has found that making sleep a priority leads to longer and better sleep even for those with chronic pain. Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption in the evening, turn off those glowing screens and keep the bedroom cool and dark.

Source: KK Publishers