Archive for the ‘General Health’ Category

In the News: Myth vs. Fact – Hair Loss

The statistics can be staggering… more than 50 percent of men over the age of 50 are experiencing some form of hair loss, making the hair loss industry worth more than 3.5 billion dollars.

And while many of the creams or treatments that are currently out there for hair loss that don’t work, it is hard to determine what is a fact and what is a myth when it comes to hair loss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MYTH: Hair restoration never looks natural.  There are plenty of great hair restoration techniques out there, compared to years ago when the hair restoration process was more noticeable than present day.

MYTH: Baldness comes from your Mother’s side. Your “hair future” is actually determined from both sides of your family and you are more likely to have a mix of your parent’s hair genes.

MYTH: Pull out a grey hair and three more will grow in its place.  Repeatedly pulling out hairs can cause traction alopecia, where the trauma of plucking hairs can actually scar the hair follicle to the degree where it will no longer produce hair.  So pulling them out on a regular basis can actually make your hair go away for good.

FACT: Mistreating your hair can cause hair loss.  Overworking your hair can damage your hair, make it weak and break easily.  Hair troubles can be caused by aggressive brushing, back combing, dying and straightening.  Shampoos and even too much UV exposure can also damage hair.

FACT: Propecia works.  The majority of hair loss falls into the category of male-pattern baldness.  This inherited condition makes a man’s hair follicles stop producing hair in reaction to hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  Propecia blocks an enzyme that would otherwise turn testosterone to DHT, although it has to be taken every day and may take up to three months to see any noticeable changes.

Prevention 101: Soothe Your Sunburn

Let’s face it, no matter how lathered up you are or how cautious you are this summer, at some point you may slip up and end up with a pretty nasty (and painful) sunburn.  Here are some easy ways for you to soothe the painful effects of sunburn:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Take some aspirin to reduce redness and ease some pain.
  • Cortisone creams, if applied within 6 hours of the burn, provide some relief.
  • Pure aloe vera gel can help cool down your skin and relieve discomfort.
  • Avoid additional sun exposure while your skin heals.
  • Chill and blend cucumber slices to create a cucumber paste to apply to your burned skin.
  • Apply an ice compress, but not directly to the burned area to help constrict your skin’s capillaries.

Healthy Living: Kick that Bad Habit

From overeating to watching too much TV, there’s really only one way to break a bad habit – make a plan!

Unfortunately what may work for one person, may not work for another.  So here are some ways to break some of the most popular bad habits.  Hopefully it works for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watching too much TV. – Studies show that people watch an average of 4 hours of television each day and these studies also show that excessive TV. watching can be linked to developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Here are some ways to avoid watching too much TV: only watch when there is something specific you want to see, do chores during commercials, make a list of things you need to accomplish before sitting down to watch TV, and create a TV-watching plan and stick to it.

Drinking too much alcohol. – Tired of being hung over and sluggish? Then you should do everything you can to cut back on drinking too much alcohol.  To cut back try these tips: drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have, drink only when you are having a meal or try drinking something that looks like an alcoholic drink, like rootbeer or a drink with a slice of fruit in it.

Smoking. – While this may be one of the hardest habits to break, it’s still possible as many, many people do it every year. The best plan is to talk things over with your doctor because they can offer the best cessation treatment for you.  But some other approaches that you may consider include: hypnotherapy, exercise or electronic cigarettes.

Nail biting. – Because most nail biting habits are linked to anxiety, stress, or nervousness, your plan should start with creating a relaxation plan.  Think about what makes you bite your nails before you start.  When you get the urge to bite your nails or catch yourself in the act, do something with your hands – garden, cook, play with your kids or pets, clean or do the dishes.  Do something that takes your mind off of biting your nails.

Overeating. – No matter how hard you try to cut calories, it still seems like sometimes the cravings are still there.  Experts say that sometimes it is best to give into those cravings.  When people do give into their cravings every once in awhile they have a better chance of losing weight and keeping it off, than those who ignore their cravings and avoid certain foods.  Experts also advise that if you can avoid nighttime eating that you will be well on your way to prevent overeating as well.

In the News: Bummer Free Summer

Now that summer is upon us again, it’s time to get out and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer.  But unfortunately, there are plenty of “summer bummers” – those things that we find in nature that try to ruin our good time.  Keep these in mind the next time you are outdoors and your summer can be bummer-free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Sumac:  Coming in contact with the sap from a poison ivy, oak or sumac plant can cause a pretty nasty rash.  Symptoms start as redness and swelling at the infected site, and then progresses to a strong itching feeling.  Over-the-counter medicines will help alleviate the pain and all symptoms should be gone in a week or two.

Mosquito Bites:  Mosquitoes may be one of the most annoying bugs around.  The blood-suckers bite and can leave some major itching in its aftermath.  To protect yourself against these annoying little bugs, wear bug spray when you are outdoors for an extended period of time, use screens in your windows and doors, and don’t let water sit stagnant in your yard, as this becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.

Fireworks Burns:  Burns due to handling fireworks is one of the number one reasons why people end up in the emergency room during the summertime.  Most injuries involve the hands, arms, eyes and ears, with most of these injuries being burns.  Minor burns can be treated at home by running cool water over the burn and then put a cool, dry cloth on them.  More severe burns will need to be treated by a doctor.

Heat Rash:  Children are most commonly affected by heat rash resulting in small pinkish pimples on the skin.  Most of the rashes heal on their own, but to alleviate the symptoms take a cool bath, air dry and avoid using lotions on the affected area.

Sunburn:  Prolonged exposure to the sun and its harmful UV rays can cause pain and redness on the skin commonly known as sunburn.  Sunburn can happen within hours of sun exposure and can last for weeks depending on the grade of the burn. Over-the-counter pain relievers, cold compresses, aloe or moisturizing creams can all alleviate the pain and stinging associated with sunburn.  Burns that are expressed through blisters need to be treated by a medical professional.

Ways to Naturally Heal Sunburn

Now that spring is in full bloom and summer is just around the corner, it’s time again to be out enjoying the sun’s rays.  And while those rays can be quite enjoyable, they can also wreak havoc on your skin and cause a pretty nasty sunburn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let your sunburn turn into days of pain.  Instead try some of those natural ways to fight the pain of sunburn:

  • Use vitamin E.  While there are plenty of sunburn remedies that you can buy over-the-counter, just look in your cabinet for any lotion that contains vitamin E and aloe vera.  The vitamin E and aloe vera add nutrients back into the skin that the UV rays have left unbalanced.  The aloe vera also gives the cooling effect that is much needed for that sunburn.
  • Check the kitchen cupboard and the refrigerator.  Items like vinegar, mustard, yogurt, tomatoes and avocados all contain extra vitamin E and will help to relieve the burn just as any cream or lotion would.
  • Try Lavender Essential Oil.  When used in conjunction with aloe vera, the oil helps to promote new skin growth and heals first degree burns.
  • Opt for green tea.  Green tea is perfect for reducing the swelling of the skin associated with sunburns, as well as taking out the sting of the burn.  To make the green tea compress, bring a pot of tea to boil then pour it over 1 teaspoon of loose green tea.  Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes and then mix with an equal amount of cold water.  Once the mixture is cooled, soak a clean cloth in it and put it on the sunburned skin for five to ten minutes.  This can be applied several times a day.
  • Cool down.  Take a cool bath with 1 cup of black tea and 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to the bath water.  The black tea helps to reduce the swelling and the apple cider vinegar helps to soothe the pain.

Whatever natural method you decide to go with to treat your next sunburn, be sure to treat the burn right away.  Prolonging the treatment of the burn will only prolong the agony of the pain, so take care of your burn on day one.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

For more than 120 years, experts have been researching the benefits of massage therapy, and besides the obvious stress-free feeling that people have following a massage, there are plenty of other benefits to this ancient healing procedure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One major benefit of massage therapy that researchers have found is that people who get massages on a regular basis have noticed a decrease in their blood pressure.

Massages also help to alleviate the pain of those who suffer from migraine headaches.

Massage can also: reduce your heart rate, increase blood circulation and lymph flow, relax your muscles, improve your range of motion, and increase endorphins.

Research has also shown that while massage therapy does not increase your muscle strength, it can stimulate your weak and inactive muscles and can thereby aid muscles that you may not have worked out in quite some time.

Massage therapy can also speed up your recovery process if you do have an injury.

Some other physical benefits of massage therapy include: relieving muscle tension and stiffness, alleviating discomfort during pregnancy, reducing

muscle spasms, promoting deeper and easier breathing, enhancing the health and nourishment of your skin, and improving your posture.

Massage therapy, while a physical act, is not all about physical benefits.  There are plenty of mental benefits that having a massage can give you.

Some of these mental benefits include: promoting mental alertness, relieving mental stress, reducing levels of anxiety, improving motor skills, creating   body awareness, and fostering a feeling of well being.

Healthy Living: Clean Your Allergens Away

Spring is here and it’s time to break out the mop, dust off the duster, get out the cleaners and get your spring cleaning underway.  Spring also brings with it a whole new host of allergens that cause sneezing, wheezing, coughing and other seasonal symptoms.  To kill two birds with one stone, here are some ways to tackle those allergen hot spots in your home while getting a jump start on your spring cleaning at the same time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Avoid “bringing the outdoors inside.” If you know that you are allergic to pollen, then you will want to avoid keeping your windows open on a high pollen day.  If you spent a good deal of time outdoors, be sure to launder your clothes right away and shower and wash your hair to avoid spreading those allergens throughout your house onto your furniture and bedding.  Allergens tracked indoors can be potent enough for symptoms to last a few days
  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.  HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filters trap allergens better than normal vacuums.  You should use a vacuum with a HEPA filter at least once a week to remove allergens, if not more often.
  • Wash your bedding once a week.  Dust mites are the most common allergen that cause indoor allergy and asthma symptoms, and these mites thrive on soft surfaces.  Your mattress is your greatest exposure to these harmful allergens.  To decrease your exposure to dust mites, wash your bedding weekly in hot water (approximately 130 degrees Fahrenheit) and dry them on a hot dryer cycle.  It’s also good to encase your mattress, box springs and pillows in allergen-proof covers.
  • Clean your upholstery and drapes.  Again, because allergens cling to soft surfaces, your upholstery and drapes are also susceptible to seasonal allergens. Wash or dry clean your drapes when possible and vacuum sofas and chairs to remove any dust mites from your furniture.  You should also wash or dry clean any throw rugs you have lying around.  Whenever possible, you should use roller shades or vertical blinds as they accumulate less dust mites than drapes and other window coverings.  If you are renovating in the future, you should also avoid wall-to-wall carpeting and shoot for hardwood or tile floors instead, which are easier to clean and do not harbor allergens.

Healthy Living: It’s All About the Feet

As odd as it may seem, your feet may be the window to your overall body health. Here are some things to look for that will give you clues that there may be other important body issues to consider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No hair on your feet or toes –

If your feet or toes are lacking hair, it can be a sign of having poor circulation because of vascular disease.  If you notice that your feet and toes do not have any hair on them, you will want to consult your doctor to find out ways to improve your circulation thereby reducing your risk of acquiring vascular disease. 

A wound that won’t heal on your foot – Wounds on your feet that just won’t heal could be an indication of diabetes.  Over time, elevated blood glucose levels can lead to serious nerve damage in your feet that you may not feel when you have a sore or a wound on your foot.  If your wound continues to go unhealed there could be major problems, including amputation.  If you notice a wound that won’t heal on your feet be sure to contact your doctor to discuss your wound.  If you are currently living with or being treated for diabetes, be sure to check your feet often and mark any changes.

Thick, yellow toenails –

Toenails are not supposed to be thick and/or yellow.  Thick, yellow nails are most often an indication of a fungal infection living beneath your toenails.  People that have other medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other immune deficiencies are more likely to get a fungal infection than those that do not have these conditions.  To treat thick, yellow toenails, you will need to consult a podiatrist.  By the time your nails are already discolored and thick it is too late for any over-the-counter creams or medicines to work.

An enlarged big toe –

Gout is the condition when the big toe suddenly swells up to an uncomfortable size. Gout is a form of arthritis due to the buildup of uric acid. This condition typically shows up in your big toe because it affects the part of your body with the lowest temperature, which is often the big toe.  It can also occur in your knees, elbows, Achilles tendon and the instep of your foot.  If you discover that your big toe has swollen to an abnormally large size, contact a foot care specialist, who with diet recommendations and medication, can help to cure this condition.

Soothe Your Sore Throat

There are so many reasons why you may have a sore throat – it could be the onset of a cold, or it could be something more serious like strep throat – but regardless you just want the burning, itching and painful feeling to go away.

While many people turn to the doctor to help get some relief from a nagging sore throat, some of the best remedies can be found at home or over-the-counter. Here are some remedies and quick fixes for your next sore throat:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines – Believe it or not you probably already have some of these in your medicine cabinets for a host of other reasons.  Over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve and Advil are combination pain killers and reduce some of the swelling associated with a sore throat.
  • Saltwater gargle – You may have seen your parents or grandparents doing this a time or two, as this old home remedy has been around for quite some time.  Doctors recommend dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and gargling with it several times a day to reduce swelling and loosen mucus.
  • Sprays and lozenges – Sucking on a lozenge or using a throat spray may help alleviate sore throat symptoms because these products help to stimulate saliva production.  For an added benefit choose brands that have menthol or eucalyptus for the cooling and numbing effect.
  • Cough syrup – Just like lozenges and sprays, cough medicine help to coat the throat and provide temporary pain relief.  Even if you aren’t experiencing a cough, it’s still ok to try using cough medicine to help ease the soreness.
  •  Lots of fluids – As with any sickness, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids when you have a sore throat, too.  You should be drinking enough water that your urine is light yellow or clear.  If it is not, then you are not taking in enough fluids.  Water is always your best options, but you can also hydrate with watered-down fruit drinks, or something salty if you prefer like chicken broth.
  • Rest – While it may not be the quickest way to alleviate the pain, it is an effective way to battle any infection, including a sore throat.

Sleeping Mistakes We Make Every Night

We have all been there a million times… checking the clock every few minutes and telling yourself that you NEED to fall asleep that very second or else tomorrow is going to be a super long day! But what typically happens? We have a terrible time falling asleep when we are under pressure of having to fall asleep!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to scientists, this condition is called psychophysiological insomnia and feeling pressure to fall asleep causes fragmented sleep and worsened sleep quality.

Psychophysiological insomnia affects nearly 15% of all chronic insomnia patients, and while you can’t make yourself fall asleep exactly when you want to, there are some things you can do to help your cause.

Instead of having negative thoughts like “I’m going to be worthless tomorrow if I don’t fall asleep now,” tell yourself “I’ve had sleeping problems before and have been able to function.”

Another suggestion from insomnia researchers is to delay your bedtime until you are truly sleepy, instead of when you think you should be in bed.

They also suggest having a bedtime snack like cheese and crackers or cottage cheese, to combine complex carbohydrates with tryptophan to help you sleep.

Lastly, don’t be a clock watcher as this will only give you more anxiety. Instead turn your clock around so that you cannot see what time it is during the night.