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10 Reasons to Keep Fit as You Age
10 Reasons to Keep Fit as You Age A lot of us don't get the kind of day-to-day physical activity we need, so are physically "unfit." "Physical activity" means any movement of the body that is made by skeletal muscles – and requires energy to accomplish. "Physical fitness" means the ability of a person to do physical activity. Physical fitness can be measured by determining endurance, power and flexibility. How physically independent you are depends on how well you can function physically. That is one of...
11 Ways to Raise a Healthy Child
11 Ways to Raise a Healthy Child As a parent, you are an important teacher of health care and health information for your child. Here are 11 recommendations to help you succeed at this important job. 1. Choose breast over bottle. Breast-feed and you will give your baby a health advantage from day one. Breast milk provides all the nutrients a newborn needs. It also has important antibodies that help babies fight infections. Research shows that breast-fed babies have fewer ear infections and allergies and...
5 Key Mistakes Parents Make With Car Seats
5 Key Mistakes Parents Make with Car Seats You wouldn't think of not having a car safety seat for your infant or toddler, but are you using it the right way? Safe Kids Worldwide estimates that three out of four children are too small for seatbelts are incorrectly restrained in car seats or booster seats. Don't join the crowd; avoid these mistakes: Using a defective car seat. Don't buy a used seat; you don't know its history. Avoid old ones (more than 10 years old), especially with missing parts or crack...
8 Mistakes Heart Patients Make
8 Mistakes Heart Patients Make If you've already been through one heart attack, you're at increased risk for another, but with a few smart moves you can reduce that risk. Unfortunately, many heart patients have mistaken ideas about what's good for them. Mistake 1: Thinking all heart attacks are the same. If your Aunt Mary had a heart attack even after a lifetime of eating low-fat foods and jogging every day, you may think changing your own lifestyle is not worth the trouble. Or, your friend the construc...
A Guide to Eyeglass Lenses
A Guide to Eyeglass Lenses Eyeglasses can be prescribed for a number of conditions: myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (a defect in the eye that causes blurred vision), or age-related presbyopia, which robs your eye's lens of elasticity and makes it tough to focus on nearby objects. Your vision problem determines the shape of the eyeglass lens. Nearsightedness can be corrected by lenses that curve inward (concave); farsightedness can be corrected by lenses that curve outwa...
A Heads-Up for Football Safety
A Heads-Up for Football Safety In school sports, football is the leading cause of sports-related injuries for children in the US. And, thanks to some changes, it is safer than it used to be--especially for younger, lighter kids. Thirty or more years ago, kids were often encouraged to block and tackle using their heads, a move called spearing. But that maneuver put youngsters at risk for potentially fatal head and neck injuries. Blocking and tackling with the head was the direct cause of 36 football deat...
A Positive Step Toward Fitness
A Positive Step Toward Fitness Are you having second thoughts about exercising? Good. Have some third thoughts, fourth thoughts, and fifth thoughts, as well, but make them positive thoughts. The way you think about exercise can be the crucial factor in sticking with your fitness program. If you look on it as a disagreeable chore, it becomes one. But if you develop an image as an active, dynamic person, you'll be more likely to stick to your fitness program. Some exercise advice: Find an exercise partner...
A Prescription for Health in Menopause
A Prescription for Health in Menopause The best approach to menopause is to follow a healthy regimen. That includes dealing with smoking, nutrition, exercise, weight management, and stress reduction. Smoking Smoking is a leading cause of preventable illness and premature death. It increases the risk for heart and lung disease and osteoporosis, as well as lung and cervical cancer. It increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease. Smokers also may experience menopause up to two years earlier than nonsmokers....
A Primer for Preschooler Safety
A Primer for Preschooler Safety Your little ones can learn a lot about safety if you take some time to teach them. Keep your lessons simple, say the experts, and even very young children can learn how to stay clear of danger. Here's an ABC rule that you and your children can recite together. 'A': Always ride in a car safety seat Automobile accidents are the number one cause of death for preschoolers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teach your child to get into his or her saf...
A Red Face Could Signal Rosacea
A Red Face Could Signal Rosacea Most of us have seen someone with rosacea, a chronic skin condition that can cause facial redness, bumps, pimples, thick skin, and even bloodshot eyes. But we're often not sure just what we're seeing when we look this problem in the face. About 13 million Americans, mostly ages 30 to 50, have rosacea to some degree, the National Rosacea Society estimates. Many people mistake the flushing and appearance of pimples as a recurrence of a skin condition from their teen years. ...
A Serious Look at Fainting
A Serious Look at Fainting It sounds like melodrama: People hear bad news or see blood, and the next thing you know they've fainted. But it's a reality for many Americans who are prone to fainting (called "syncope" by doctors). Fainting is a brief loss of consciousness, which leads to falling down or needing to lie down, followed by spontaneous recovery. In a young, healthy person, one episode of fainting is not usually cause for alarm, although it can be a sign of a serious health condition. It is usua...
A Warning on Medicinal Herbs
A Warning on Medicinal Herbs Herbal remedies may be popular, but just how many of the hundreds of herbs on the market act on the body isn't clear. Many herbal remedies come from folk medicine. Although many studies on herbs have been done over the years, few have been well designed by Western standards. For instance, although Saint-John's-wort is effective for mild to moderate depression, and doctors know the active ingredient, they aren't sure exactly how it works. Remedies such as chamomille, ginger a...
About Balance and Safety
About Balance and Safety Having good balance means you’re able to control and maintain your body’s position, whether you’re in motion or remaining still. Learning about the causes of balance problems can help you prevent falls and a loss of independence. Your medications Balance problems can result from taking certain medications. For example, some medicines that lower blood pressure can make you feel dizzy. Check with your health care provider if you notice a balance problem while taking a medication t...
Act Now to Cut Your Health Care Bills
Act Now to Cut Your Health Care Bills It's important to reduce your medical expenses. This is true if you are in a consumer-directed health plan, such as a medical savings account, or have more traditional health insurance. No matter what your plan, you pay at least a percentage of every health care bill you incur. Of course, the best way to keep your medical costs low is to stay healthy by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and making other healthy l...
Action Plan for Osteoarthritis
Action Plan for Osteoarthritis Stiff, painful joints are typical symptoms of osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease. Joint pain is caused by a breakdown and destruction of cartilage that allows the bones in a joint to glide over one another, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). With the cartilage no longer there, pain, swelling and loss of joint motion results. To relieve pain and increase function, joint replacement surgery is a...
ADHD Drugs Safe, Experts Say
ADHD Drugs Safe, Experts Say Parents of kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) face a tough choice: whether to medicate their children or not. And this affects a lot of families. Experts say 6 to 8 percent of school-age kids have ADHD. It's a touchy subject, and it got even thornier after recent reports linked popular ADHD drugs to increased health risks, especially risks for heart problems. But the top experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as at other professional gr...
Adjusting Your Attitude About Menopause
Adjusting Your Attitude About Menopause Baby boomers are handling menopause differently from earlier generations. Today when women reach menopause they can look forward to living another 30 or more years. That means a third of a woman's life may be lived after menopause. More women are talking about menopause, and more is being written about it than ever before. In the past, premenopausal women held divergent notions about menopause and aging. Some believed it was a natural transition that should be man...
After Rehabilitation: Here Are Some Tools
After Rehabilitation: Here Are Some Tools Seeking help for alcohol or drug dependency at a residential recovery unit is the first step toward beating addiction and regaining control of your life. And recovering people can use the tools they learned in rehab to begin the intense challenge of avoiding relapse. Patients can continue to use this support system after leaving the recovery unit to learn how to deal with daily stresses without drugs or alcohol. Below are some tips on how to continue with treatm...
Age Doesn't Matter for Yoga
Age Doesn't Matter for Yoga More than ever before, Americans older than age 65 are turning to yoga for exercise. What is yoga, and why is it so popular? Yoga is a series of stretches and poses done with breathing techniques. It offers the powerful benefits of exercise. And since yoga is gentle, almost anyone can do it, regardless of age or fitness level. Yoga's benefits Yoga can make you stronger and more flexible. It's a great way to stay limber and energetic. You'll also feel more focused and alert. A...
Aging Eyes and Glasses
Aging Eyes and Glasses As your eyes age, their lenses become less flexible, and they slowly lose their ability to focus on nearby objects. It's an ongoing, lifelong process called presbyopia, which you begin to notice between ages 40 and 45, when the condition starts to affect close-up tasks such as reading. It requires some attitude adjustment, especially if have to start wearing glasses for the first time. Presbyopia affects almost everyone over the age of 50. Until now, you could choose your own work...
Air Bags and Kids
Air Bags: Not for Children A car with an air bag is considered safer than a car without one. But for children under 13 years old, air bags can be dangerous. In fact, no child younger than 13 or under 65 pounds should sit in the front seat of a car equipped with passenger-side air bags, according to both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The safest place for children is in the center of the back seat, using a lap-and-shoulder seat belt or a child'...
All About Blood Pressure Medication
All About Blood Pressure Medication Your doctor may prescribe antihypertension medication if your blood pressure is high. There are several kinds of medication commonly taken alone or in combination, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Types of medication Diuretics Thiazide diuretics are often the first medications your doctor will try to treat your high blood pressure. They help to lower blood pressure by eliminating excess fluid and salt that accumulate in the body. The excess fluid is ...
All About Child Passenger Safety
All About Child Passenger Safety Installing your child's car seat properly and using it every time your son or daughter rides in the car is one of the best ways to help keep him/her safe in case of an accident. As your baby gets bigger, you may wonder when it's time for a larger seat. Or, maybe you're unsure about when it's safe to face the seat forward. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about child passenger safety. When is it OK to switch a child to a front-facing car seat? Babies s...
All About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
All About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Making healthy lifestyle changes alone is enough to help some people reach the cholesterol goals prescribed by their doctor. Others, however, need to take a cholesterol-lowering medication, as well. According to the American Heart Association, there are five main types: Statins (atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, simvastatin, pitavastatin). These drugs work mainly by lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol. They typically reduce LDL by 30 to 4...
All About Color Blindness
All About Color Blindness People often use the term color blind to describe trouble seeing certain colors. The medical term for this problem is color vision deficiency. Most people with color vision deficiency can see certain colors. Usually, the difficulty involves distinguishing between shades of red and green. Less often, the condition causes problems with blues and yellows. Very rarely, people with color blindness see the world in black, white, and gray. Facts about color vision deficiency In most c...
All About Kidney Stones
All About Kidney Stones A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in the kidney out of substances normally dissolved in the urine. Each year, about 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with the disorder. Kidney stones are more common in Caucasians than in African-Americans. They typically strike between age 20 and 40. Once a person gets one stone, he or she is more likely to develop others. Repeated stone attacks can affect kidneys. How stones form The urinary tract consists ...
All About Your Nails
All About Your Nails Did you know that fingernails grow faster than toenails? Or, that nails grow faster in the summer than in the winter? Nails are made of a protein called keratin that's also part of your skin and hair. Although the part of the nail you keep trimmed isn't living, the nail originates in living cells in the matrix, the area where the nail joins the finger or toe, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Nail problems Minor problems can be treated at home; more serious pro...
All Kinds of Problems Beset Your Nails
All Kinds of Problems Beset Your Nails Paronychia. Onychomycosis. Surely, these are the names of six-armed Greek monsters that might attack Jason and the Argonauts. In fact, they're microscopic monsters that will gladly attack your nails -- and may cause damage if you don't do something about them. Rarely do people hold forth about the condition of their nails while co-workers are gathered around the office coffeepot. But nail problems do cause considerable pain and embarrassment. As many as 10 percent ...
Allergies on Vacation
Allergies on Vacation If you or your child has allergies or asthma, planning can help you keep sneezes, sniffles, wheezing, and attacks under control while you're on vacation. Tips for travel The following steps can help you and your family travel safely: Meet with your doctor before you go. Let him or her know where you’re going and what medical care is available there. Work with your doctor to make sure you have what you need. Know what to do in case of an emergency reaction. Pack your allergy medicin...
An Introduction to Chinese Medicine
An Introduction to Chinese Medicine The 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) showed that over a third of Americans (38 percent) have used an alternative therapy instead of—or in addition to—Western medical treatment for their conditions. Among these therapies are acupuncture and other Chinese-medicine practices that have been used for more than 3,000 years. Ancient Chinese healers envisioned the body as a garden in which the vital energy force, called we qi or wei chi, acts as a natural immune s...
Answers to Your Diabetes Questions
Answers to Your Diabetes Questions What is diabetes? It's not an illness you can catch like a cold or cure like an infection. It's a condition in which your body can't maintain the right level of blood sugar, or glucose -- the source of energy that powers muscles, organs and other body systems. There are three types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin. This illness is believed to be a type of autoimmune disease. A person with this type of diabetes has certain g...
Appendicitis: Children and Teens
Appendicitis: Children and Teens Appendicitis is an inflammation that can lead to infection of the appendix. It affects 7 percent of Americans and is the most common reason for a child to need emergency abdominal surgery, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Young people between ages 11 and 20 are most often affected. A child, especially a boy, may have a greater risk for appendicitis if someone else in the family had it. The appendix is a small, fingerlike structure attached to the l...
Are You a Compulsive Shopper?
Are You a Compulsive Shopper? These days, shopping is as much a form of entertainment as going to the movies or playing video games. Between mall culture and convenient credit, it's easy to spend your time spending money. Shopping shifts into high gear around the holidays. Some people view shopping as a sport, some as a chore. For others, the season is just another occasion to wrestle with compulsive buying - especially if they're stressed or depressed. For these folks, the mere thought of visiting a st...
As Snack Attacks Rise, Seek Healthy Options
As Snack Attacks Rise, Seek Healthy Options If you think your kids have more snack attacks than you did as a child, you're right. Compared to two decades ago, children are taking more snack breaks. Each time children snack, they probably eat the same amount of food and get the same number of calories as they always have -- but the higher number of snack breaks adds up to more calories a day. More snacking Youths of all ages from 2 through the teen years snack more often. With 13 to 14 percent of childre...
Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults Restless. Messy. Easily distracted. These are just some of the words used to describe people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), approximately 4 to 6 percent of the U.S. population has ADHD, amounting to 8 to 9 million adults. Experts estimate that one-half to two-thirds of children with the disorder will continue to have symptoms and behaviors of ADHD as adults. Some adul...
Avoiding Joint Injuries
Avoiding Joint Injuries Most sports-related injuries involve damage to the joints. Common joint injuries include a twisted ankle, sprained wrist, overextended elbow, and damaged knee ligaments. Fortunately, you can take steps to help prevent joint damage. When exercising for health and fitness, you can be more at risk for overuse injuries, experts say. Fortunately, you can build strength in your joints and avoid joint injuries by stretching and exercising correctly. Common injuries A sprain is a stretch...
Babies and Toddlers Need Iron to Thrive
Babies and Toddlers Need Iron to Thrive Iron-rich foods may not top your list of what to feed your baby or toddler. Yet this mineral is key to your young child's growing body and mind, experts say. Iron moves oxygen around your child's body. Without enough iron, your child may feel tired and listless or have poor motor skills. Your child also needs iron for sharper thinking. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, current research studies have reported a link between maternal iron d...
Basic Training: Build Your Own Boot-Camp Workout
Basic Training: Build Your Own Boot-Camp Workout Does winter weather have you camping out on the couch? It’s time to join the ranks of the physically active. Studies show everyone from obese children to frail older adults can benefit from home-based exercise programs. This season, stay in shape with your own at-home boot-camp style workout—no personal trainer, fancy equipment, or gym membership required. The secret to this trendy tone-up is mixing calorie-burning cardio intervals with moves that build s...
Be Comfortable Walking in Cold and Wet Weather
Be Comfortable Walking in Cold and Wet Weather Don't let cold temperatures or rain deter you from your walking routine this fall and winter. Take the following weather-related precautions, and a change in the weather won't tempt you to skip your workout. If you're new to exercise, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a new program. Cold weather: Dress in layers that can be removed easily as you warm up. Clothing should be made from fabrics that wick moisture away from the body. Even when i...
Benefits of Strong Abdominal Muscles
Benefits of Strong Abdominal Muscles Strong abdominal muscles are essential for a strong body. They help stabilize your torso, which reduces aches and pains in your lower back and hips. However, if your belly is like jelly instead of a washboard, don't count on abdominal exercises to trim your tummy fat. Your genetics, diet, and overall activity level determine the amount of fat stored in the abdominal area. The best way to reduce abdominal fat is a combination of aerobic and strength training exercise,...
Bike-Helmet Safety Smarts
Bike-Helmet Safety Smarts Adults and children who ride bicycles should always wear a helmet. Many states require they do so. But even without the threat of a legal penalty, it makes sense to wear a helmet when riding a bike. Wearing a properly fitting bicycle helmet reduces the risk of serious head injuries by 85 percent, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Some parents decide to save money by buying helmets that are too large for their child. This is the same money-saving strateg...
Breaking the Habit: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Breaking the Habit: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder If you've ever caught an episode of the TV series Monk, you know about the strange behavior of Adrian Monk, the Defective Detective. The title character has obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. Without treatment, OCD is crippling and disabling. The average person with OCD suffers more than seven years before seeking help, often because he or she is embarrassed or unaware that this mental disorder can be treated. Understanding OCD People with OCD suffer...
Caring for the Caregiver
Caring for the Caregiver Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be adult children, spouses, siblings, friends or neighbors, who help with daily activities such as bathing, feeding and clothing. The caregiver may be the only person who can take a loved one to doctors' appointments. The long-distance caregiver may call weekly, help with expenses or support the main caregiver. According to the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), more than 65 million people provide a level of care to a...
Ceramics: Pretty, and Maybe Poisonous
Ceramics: Pretty, and Maybe Poisonous Those brightly colored ceramic mugs you bought at the craft show certainly liven up your breakfast table. And that old pitcher from the yard sale is just the perfect size for orange juice. It's hard to imagine that such attractive pieces of pottery could be dangerous to your health. In truth, they may cause lead poisoning and some may leach cadmium into food and drink. The glaze that gives ceramics their shiny surfaces may release toxic levels of lead into your food...
Cool Tools to Keep Your Kids From Smoking
Cool Tools to Keep Your Kids From Smoking Many teenagers think smoking is cool. This belief is supported in recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tobacco statistics. The CDC states that while the number of teens who smoke continues to drop each year, progress is slowing. This slowing decline in cigarette use among teens suggests that smoking and the health problems related to it will be issues as today's teens become adults. This trend proves there's reason to be diligent as parents. C...
Coping with Miscarriage
Coping with Miscarriage Miscarriage is common, but that knowledge may be cold comfort if you’re coping with a recent loss. In fact, many women are surprised by the intensity of their emotions after a miscarriage. The feelings can run from shock and sadness to irrational guilt and anxiety about future pregnancies. Men, too, may struggle with feelings of loss and inadequacy. This is especially true if they’re unsure about how to help their partner through this difficult period. Such feelings are perfectly...
Could Medication Be Causing Weight Gain?
Could Medication Be Causing Your Weight Gain? Eating too much and not exercising enough are the main reasons people put on extra pounds. However, some prescription and over-the-counter medications also can cause weight gain. You might gain as much as a pound a week. If you feel your pants getting tighter and you haven't changed your exercise and diet regimen, ask your doctor about your medications. The most common prescription medications to cause weight gain include drugs that treat depression, heartbu...
Creating a Positive Body-Image
Creating a Positive Body-Image Does something about your body bug you? Maybe you believe you'd be happier if only you were thinner, taller, shorter, more muscular -- whatever. If so, you may be creating frustration and anxiety by trying to reach unattainable standards of beauty. To a healthy and productive life, experts suggest that you stop trying to change your natural body shape and start changing the way you think about it, instead. Everyone has a "body concept" – a set of ideas about himself or her...
Curb Antibiotic Abuse in Children
Curb Antibiotic Abuse in Children Your child has a runny nose, a cough, a sore throat, and a fever, so you go to the pediatrician. The doctor knows a virus caused this infection, which will just run its course. You're worried, so you push the doctor to give your child an antibiotic. The doctor gives in. Who's wrong? Both you and the doctor, experts say. Children have the highest rates of antibiotic use and they also have the highest rate of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens, but antibi...
Cut Your Cholesterol, Without Drugs
Cut Your Cholesterol, Without Drugs Regarding the troublesome fat your body makes called cholesterol: Chances are good that you may not need drugs to keep it in check. True, people with a strong genetic predisposition to high cholesterol often need medication to control cholesterol. But a lot of people don't. For most people, lifestyle changes are the key to maintaining a healthy balance between bad cholesterol, which clogs the arteries, and good cholesterol, which combats the clogging process. High cho...
Cycling Safely
Cycling Safely Many biking accidents could be prevented if riders protected themselves with the right equipment and maintained their bikes with safety in mind. The following checklist from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can help you avoid accidents and have more fun when you ride. Check your bike Check your bicycle manual for safety and maintenance instructions specific to your bike. You also should: Make sure your bike is the right size for you. When you're on it, stand straddling t...
Dancing Is the Star
Dancing Is the Star The best exercise doesn't have to burn the most calories or build the most muscle. It's the activity that moves you to do it time and time again. In that sense, dancing is the belle of the ball. Besides being fun, it offers a range of benefits—physical, mental, and social. Renewed interest in dance makes this a great time to learn at health clubs, dance studios, and schools that offer a variety of classes. You'll find routines Arthur Murray wouldn't recognize. Full-body workout Dance...
Depressed Kids Need Help
Despite Antidepressant Fear, Depressed Kids Need Help A new label on some antidepressants, a so-called black box warning, cautions that they may make kids feel more suicidal. But that warning shouldn't stop parents from considering their use for depressed teens, psychiatrists say. In short, teen depression is a serious illness. The benefits of getting help, including taking medications if needed, far outweigh the potential risks. Keeping watch A specific group of antidepressants called selective seroton...
Diseases from Your Pets, Both Common and Exotic
Diseases from Your Pets, Both Common and Exotic Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), monkeypox, and a host of diseases can find their way into people from animals. Truth is, almost any critter can infect us. So the huge growth in the popularity of exotic pets--snakes, lizards, monkeys, birds--is cause for concern. Handle with care According to the American Pet Products Association 2009/2010 National Pet Owners Survey, about 6.5 percent of U.S. homes house a reptile. You may like turtles, snakes, an...
Does Your Child Have a Make-Believe Friend?
Does Your Child Have a Make-Believe Friend? You're about to sit on the couch next to your 4-year-old. Suddenly, she yells, "Don't sit there! You'll crush Jennifer!" Oops. You should have known better. Jennifer goes everywhere your daughter goes, but you don't see Jennifer. Is it OK for a child to play with a make-believe friend? Actually, it's a natural part of your child growing up. Don't stifle it. Having a make-believe friend is a normal part of your child's growth and usually happens between ages 3 ...
Don't Sell a Short Kid Short
Don't Sell a Short Kid Short Your child seems short next to other children of the same age. Should you worry? The short answer is, maybe. Some children grow more slowly than others. Height in the low normal range is still normal, doctors say. If you and your spouse are short, your child will likely join you. Ask the doctor Although being short is common, serious growth disorders are not. But don't ignore your concerns—talk with your child's doctor. If you follow guidelines for routine well-baby and well...
Driving Defensively: Rules of the Road
Driving Defensively: Rules of the Road More than 45,000 Americans lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes, and more than 2.4 million more suffered disabling injuries in 2005, according to the latest report from the National Safety Council (NSC). Driving defensively means being a safe driver yourself and keeping an eye on other drivers—because no matter how good a driver you are, high speeds or impaired or careless driving by others can place you in danger. The NSC suggests the following guidelines to ...
Drugs: Read Fine Print to Avoid Side Effects
Drugs: Read Fine Print to Avoid Side Effects Pat awoke one recent morning with cold symptoms. She reached into her medicine cabinet for a well-known over-the-counter cold remedy she had often used in the past. An hour later, Pat was on the phone to her doctor, describing in a panicky voice the heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and blurry vision she was experiencing. It turned out that Pat, whose doctor had recently put her on a prescription antidepressant, was experiencing the frightening results...
Easing a Child’s Fears and Anxieties About Medical Procedures
Easing a Child’s Fears and Anxieties About Medical Procedures As a parent, you are central to the decisions made about your children's health care. You are an important member of the health care team. Therefore, before your child undergoes any treatment, it is critical for you to have a full understanding of the diagnosis, procedure and options available. The suggestions below can guide how you manage fears and anxieties your child may feel as a result of a medical procedure. The specific ways you apply...
Eating Disorders in Men
Eating Disorders in Men Most people think it is women who believe their bodies must look a certain way because of the body types portrayed on TV, runway models, movie stars, magazines, coaches, parents, friends, classmates, heroes, and Barbie dolls. They think it is women who try to achieve these body types and may suffer from eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia nervosa, or binging. And until recently, they were right. The majority of those seeking treatment for these disorders were women. Not an...
Emergency Care: When Is It the Right Choice?
Emergency Care: When Is It the Right Choice? If you're sick or hurt and want help quickly, it may seem like a good idea to go to the ER for care. You may think of the ER as a source of the most immediate medical attention, but if your situation is not a real emergency, this isn't true. When you go to the ER, you can't take a number and get help according to when you arrived. Instead of getting quick service, you're bound to sit for hours in a crowded waiting room while more urgent cases are seen first. ...
Endometrial Cancer
Endometrial Cancer Click Image to Enlarge What is endometrial cancer? The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. Cancer of the endometrium, the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs, is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the endometrium. Endometrioid cancer is a specific type of endometrial cancer. Cancer of the endometrium is different from cancer of the muscle of the uterus, which is called uterine sarcoma. About 80 percent of all endometrial cancers ar...
Everyday Ways to Activate Your Life
Everyday Ways to Activate Your Life Moderately intense activities are good for your health. These are activities that make you feel some exertion but are mild enough that you can comfortably carry on a conversation while doing them. Examples include walking briskly from your parked car to the mall entrance and taking your dog for a quick jog after dinner. This level of exercise won't help you train for a sport, but it can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall fitness le...
Exercise for the Ages
Exercise for the Ages While regular physical activity is a cornerstone of wellness at any age, it’s during your 30s, 40s and 50s that exercise becomes especially important. These may be the busiest years of your life, and staying physically fit helps you keep up with all the demands. Plus, these are the decades when you’re setting the stage for healthy aging down the road. Staying physically active can lower your risk for developing many diseases associated with aging, including heart disease, stroke, t...
Exercise Goals for Healthy Living
Exercise Goals for Healthy Living Making exercise part of your daily life isn't hard if you make it a priority. To do that, you need to develop goals and an exercise plan that matches your needs and interests. These steps can help you define your personal goals and put them into action. Be sure to check with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program. First step Determine what you want to achieve through exercise. Do you need to lose weight? Help maintain a healthy weight? Reduce you...
Finding a Yoga Class That's Right for You
Finding a Yoga Class That's Right for You Now that yoga has become more popular, it's easy to find all kinds of classes, and not just in studios devoted exclusively to the practice. They're also offered in dance studios, gyms, health clubs, community centers, and senior centers. What's important is to find the right yoga style for you and a teacher you like. Be aware that you really can't know what a class is like until you attend it. Even when two teachers use the same names to describe their classes, ...
Fit for the Ages
Fit for the Ages Why exercise is important According to the Administration on Aging (AOA), exercise is important because a well-conditioned body can repair itself more easily and perform more efficiently. Consistent physical exercise can also slow the loss of muscle mass, strengthen bones and joints, and improve balance and mobility. Exercise helps the bones in your joints and spinal column rebuild and repair themselves, says the AOA. If you don't exercise, these bones tend to become thin and porous, a ...
Fitness From Within
Fitness From Within Tired of your regular fitness routine? Finding that your motivation to work up a sweat is lacking? Maybe it's time to take an old approach. Look to Eastern philosophies for the answer to your fitness dilemma in the forms of qigong, yoga, and tai chi. All types of exercise are generally good for you. Aerobics, strength training, and sports can all contribute to a holistic lifestyle. Exercises such as qigong, yoga, and tai chi bring body and mind together. They focus on movement, sensa...
Five Steps to a Safer Kitchen
Five Steps to a Safer Kitchen Your kitchen is a hub for family life, but it's also a place with risks. Although you can't foresee every hazard, you can make the room safer with five simple steps. 1. Pay attention to food on the stove. Cooking is the top cause of home fires and home fire injuries, according to Underwriters Laboratories. If you must leave the kitchen while food is cooking, carry a wooden spoon or oven mitt as a reminder that something is on the stove. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitch...
Five Steps to Better Memory
Five Steps to Better Memory You've met her before. You can even remember where. But her name? It eludes you, taunting you, just out of reach. Has this happened to you? Do you accept it as part of growing older? Ironically, this attitude may make things worse. Aging can make it harder to remember some things. But by focusing on your potential and continuing to exercise your mind, you may be able to boost your memory power. Get started with these strategies: 1. Take on new challenges Studies show that whe...
Five Ways to Age Gracefully
Five Ways to Age Gracefully In recent years, an increasing amount of scientific evidence has supported the idea that people can do quite a lot on their own to lengthen their life span and to enhance the quality of life as they age. Here are five steps to take every day that can promote healthy aging and boost longevity: 1. Eat healthy foods to help prevent diseases such as heart disease, cancer and stroke. In addition, maintain a healthy weight. To maintain a healthy weight, maintain strength and help p...
Follow the Road to Safety
Follow the Road to Safety No one is too young or too old to exercise. The United States Surgeon General recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, nearly every day. Exercising outdoors can be fun and enjoyable, but you should keep personal safety in mind before you head out the door. These safety tips from the American Running Association apply not only to runners, but also to people who walk, bike, or inline skate. A big part of playing it safe is paying attention to wh...
For Adults: Take Care with Antidepressants
For Adults: Take Care with Antidepressants Antidepressants are an important part of the treatment for depression. With the help of antidepressants, prescribed alone or along with psychotherapy or counseling, the great majority of adults who suffer with depression improve, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH). Depression is a complex brain disorder that affects how well nerve cells in certain parts of the brain work. Antidepressants i...
For Good Health, Know Your Cholesterol Level
For Good Health, Know Your Cholesterol Level The amount of cholesterol in your blood has a lot to do with your chances of getting cardiovascular disease (CVD). High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for this illness. In fact, the higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk of developing CVD or having a heart attack. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance produced by your liver. It is necessary for building cell walls and in the production of hormones. Cholesterol is also fou...
For Healthy Eyes, Take the Long View
For Healthy Eyes, Take the Long View Keeping your eyes healthy is important ,and if you follow basic rules for your general health, it is possible to avoid long term problems. Here are some tips: Eat right, stay at a healthy weight and exercise. Eye doctors back a diet that helps control blood pressure and blood sugars and helps maintain a healthy weight. Patients should stay fit and avoid the types of fast food that can fuel obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Any of these conditions can reduce blood ...
For Kids, Games Can Build Strong Minds
For Kids, Games Can Build Strong Minds Here's a new reason to zap video games: Those electronic playthings keep kids from games that stimulate their minds in important ways. Citing the latest research on the brain, experts say chess, Scrabble®, Monopoly®—even jigsaw puzzles or tic-tac-toe—do more to help children build analytical, organizational, and creative skills. As adults, your kids will need those abilities, which may keep their minds sharp as they reach old age. Start early Play time is essential...
For Seniors: Choosing a New Doctor
For Seniors: Choosing a New Doctor You may have had the same doctor for years. Even so, a time may come when he or she retires or your health plan changes and the doctor is not with the new program. Whatever the reason for needing a new primary care doctor, the following suggestions from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) can help you find the right doctor. Questions to consider In choosing a doctor, here are some issues to think about: Is he or she board certified? Board-certified doctors have and h...
For Seniors: How About Losing Weight Today?
For Seniors: How About Losing Weight Today? Much to our dismay, it is quite common for people to gain weight as they age. Some of the gain is unavoidable, because as your body ages, body fat increases as lean muscle mass and bone mass decrease. Body fat doubles over the five decades from age 25 to age 75. Body weight increases until you reach age 60, when it begins to decline. Less lean body mass needs fewer calories to maintain, and a more sedentary lifestyle that often accompanies aging also requires ...
For Seniors: How to Prevent Falls
For Seniors: How to Prevent Falls As you age, your risk for falling increases. According to the CDC, more than one-third of people ages 65 and older and half of those ages 75 and older fall each year. Although most falls cause only minor injuries, the CDC estimates that between 20 and 30 percent of the people who fall experience moderate to severe injuries (such as bone fractures) that severely limit independence. The risk is even greater for people who have fallen within the past year. Falls can occur ...
For Seniors: Is It More Than the Blues?
For Seniors: Is It More Than the Blues? Everyone has feelings of sadness or unhappiness now and then. When feelings of sadness or despair don't go away and interfere with daily life, depression may be the reason. Although anyone can suffer from depression, it is particularly common among older adults. Depression affects 15 out of every 100 adults older than 65, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Depression has an impact on all aspects of a person's life, taking a toll on physical and me...
Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Health Issues
Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Health Issues People of any sexual orientation can face health problems. But people who are gay, lesbian, or transgender may be at greater risk for health problems because they don't always see a doctor when they need to. This may be because they feel embarrassed, have had a bad experience, fear judgment, or have a health care provider who is uninformed. Here are some health issues you should be aware of and talk about with your doctor. Hormone issues As part of the cross-g...
Get in the Swim
Get in the Swim As exercise goes, swimming offers its own unique set of benefits. Besides providing a good workout for your heart and lungs, water offers constant, gentle pressure on every part of the body, which, in turn, helps improve circulation from the outside in, eases joint and back pain, and increases flexibility and range of motion. Learn to breathe If you're new to swimming, breathing is the most important skill to master. Practice inhaling, then exhaling under water as you're swimming, so bre...
Get the Most From Your Doctor Visits
Get the Most From Your Doctor Visits A typical doctor's office visit lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. That gives your health care provider little time to talk to you about your health problem, examine you, make a diagnosis, then suggest a treatment plan. To avoid wasting valuable time, be prepared for every visit, using the following pointers. Before the appointment: Identify your symptoms or the reason for your visit. Before your visit, review your symptoms and put them in chronological order. Writing ...
Give Your Energy Level a Tune-Up
Give Your Energy Level a Tune-Up Do you often feel sluggish during the day? It might be time to give your energy level a tune-up. Your body requires energy to function. How much energy you have available depends on several factors, including: The amount and kinds of food you eat How efficiently you convert food into energy How your body uses and stores energy The quantity and quality of your sleep Your mental and emotional states also play a role in your energy level. For example, if you're worried or b...
Give Your Health a Lift
Give Your Health a Lift Forget everything you think you know about lifting weights. First, toss out the notion that it's not for you. Weightlifting is one of the fastest-growing U.S. fitness activities. And the American Heart Association (AHA) recently threw its weight behind weightlifting, too. The AHA is promoting resistance training, a range of activities that includes working with weights, for its role in preventing heart disease. For people who think cardiovascular health is tied solely to the numb...
Guarding Against Medical Scams
Guarding Against Medical Scams From television infomercials touting the latest medical "cures," to mail-order schemes and newspaper and television ads that promise better health and a longer life with specific, but unproven, products, medical scams are everywhere. And with the Internet, health fraud is spreading fast and siphoning billions of dollars from consumers' pockets each year. The Internet has given medical scams an effective distribution method. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F...
Healing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Healing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, such as a car accident, military action, a terrorist attack, rape, or some other act of violence, undergoes severe stress related to the incident. Many people recover on their own, although it often takes time, but sometimes, professional help is needed. People who feel they're unable to regain control of their lives because of their responses to the trauma may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Th...
Health Myths and Facts
Health Myths and Facts Have you heard the one about antiperspirants causing breast cancer? It's not true, but at least believing that widespread health myth can't hurt you, although it might keep you from some perfectly safe products. There are, however, a number other health myths where knowing the facts can make a world of difference to your health. Myth: Eating too much sugar can cause diabetes. Fact: By itself, eating sugary foods is unlikely to cause healthy people to develop diabetes. But eating t...
Healthy Secrets: Avoiding the Ravages of Age
Healthy Secrets: Avoiding the Ravages of Age The process of aging is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Although your genes seem to be the most important influence, there are some changes you can make that can help you age in a healthy way. The following strategies can help you avoid the aging fast track. Eat less red meat Red meat contains saturated fat, which increases the LDL ("bad") cholesterol and total cholesterol levels in your blood, two factors associated with an increased ri...
Heartburn Medicine May Put Your Bones at Risk
Heartburn Medicine May Put Your Bones at Risk The “purple pill” and its brethren are probably no strangers to your television screen—or your medicine cabinet. These heartburn drugs, called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are the most popular acid-suppressive medications used worldwide. For this reason, recent research linking PPIs to an increased risk of hip, wrist, and spine fractures has doctors alarmed. Recent studies have found that people who took PPIs were significantly more likely to break their hi...
Help for a Child with a Cold
Help for a Child with a Cold It starts with a sneeze and a runny nose. From your child's symptoms, you suspect you're dealing with a cold. You want to help your child feel better, but choosing among countless over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medicines can be daunting, especially since The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends against using them for children younger than 2 years. Several studies show that cold and cough products don't work in children younger than 6 years and can have p...
Help for Hair Loss
Help for Hair Loss Hair loss is a natural part of the cycle of hair growth. Each hair on your head will grow for two to three years before it starts a resting phase. At that time, it begins to fall out. Typically, about 90 percent of your hair is growing at any given time and about 10 percent is resting. That makes regular hair loss minimal and even difficult to notice. When hair loss becomes excessive, resulting in thinning hair or bald patches on the scalp, factors other than the natural cycle of hair...
Help for Tension Headaches
Help for Tension Headaches Almost everyone has a tension headache from time to time. These headaches aren’t caused by an underlying disorder. They are so common they are considered to be “garden-variety” headaches. The main symptom of a tension headache is a sense of tightness around the head, according to the National Headache Foundation (NHF). Neck and shoulder muscles often become tense and sore to the touch, contributing to the intensity of a tension headache. The headache may last only a few hours,...
Help Your Children Chill Out
Help Your Children Chill Out Overscheduling. Rushed families. High parental expectations. Goading from peers. Getting into the best college. Whew! Today's kids face enormous stress. Kids must cope with all the issues, such as violence or global warming, that stress out adults. They must also handle additional stresses added by their parents and the media. The normal stresses of childhood are compounded by the pressure to succeed, whether it is at play or in academics. Media and advertisements reinforce ...
Helping Others Understand Your Migraine
Helping Others Understand Your Migraine When you have a migraine, you may get mixed reactions from family and friends. Some may be worried; others may get frustrated. You and your loved ones will benefit if they understand your condition and how best to help, advises the American Council for Headache Education (ACHE). Talk about the headaches and the problems they cause. The first step is to make sure you are getting appropriate treatment for your migraines. Medication is available to help ease the pain...
Helping to Prevent a Second Heart Attack
Helping to Prevent a Second Heart Attack Most Americans survive a first heart attack but are at increased risk for another one. By taking action, however, they can significantly reduce their chances for a second heart attack. Risk factors These factors increase your risk for another heart attack, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP): Sedentary lifestyle Being overweight or obese High cholesterol High blood sugar if you have diabetes High blood pressure Smoking Excess stress The ...
Helping Your Children Cope With Death
Helping Your Children Cope With Death The death of a loved one is difficult for anyone. But for children, such a loss can be devastating. Many parents wait until a death occurs to work with their children on dealing with the idea of death. But that can be especially difficult if the parents are dealing with grief themselves. Taking time to reflect on your beliefs about death and your experiences with it, and then sharing those with your children helps them prepare for loss when it eventually happens. Ch...
Hiccup Remedies
Hiccup Remedies Hic. Hic. There it goes again. Hic. Although a momentary nuisance for most people, hiccups have engendered a legion of home remedies, each with its own army of true believers. The best remedies try to block the reflex in your diaphragm--the muscle wall that controls breathing from the bottom of the rib cage. Hiccups happen when the diaphragm becomes irritated and contracts irregularly. The contraction causes you to inhale, but your breath is blocked by the glottis, the opening of your wi...
Home Remedies: What Works? What Doesn’t?
Home Remedies: What Works? What Doesn't? You might like the idea of treating common health problems with home remedies. In some cases, such as putting cool cucumber over your eyes as a beauty treatment, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. But if you're looking for relief from a serious and painful condition, like an ulcer or a urinary tract infection, it's a good idea to know whether that home remedy has any evidence behind it. Read on to learn about home remedies that could help—and those ...
Hope for Macular Degeneration
Hope for Macular Degeneration There is no cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) at this time, but treatment can slow progression of the disease and new treatments are in development. People who lose their central vision to macular degeneration can often be helped by low-vision specialists. With the help of special low-vision devices, such as magnifying devices, large-print reading materials, or closed-circuit computers, people with macular degeneration can learn to use their remaining vision. ...
House Fires: Don't Underestimate Them
House Fires: Don't Underestimate Them You just threw a party at your home. The last guest just left, and you're going to bed. But there's something you don't know: One of your guests accidentally dropped a cigarette butt on the living room sofa earlier in the evening. It's smoldering between the cushions. How long do you have to escape between the time the cigarette fully ignites the sofa and the fire becomes deadly? If you answered more than two minutes, you're dead wrong. According to a survey a few y...
How Does Your Garden Grow?
How Does Your Garden Grow? For many of us, spring means gardening -- and our pursuit of greener grass or pest-free flowers may lead us to fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Recent studies, however, raise a red flag on chemical use, pointing to a possible link between herbicides and pesticides and diseases such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, other lymphoproliferative cancers, Parkinson's disease and other neurological problems such as memory loss. Experts are calling for more research, but the home gard...
How Intense Is Your Workout?
How Intense Is Your Workout? Light, moderate, or vigorous. When it comes to exercising, which do you choose? Although you might think that exercise must be vigorous to be healthy, moderate exercise can provide many of the same health benefits. And if you haven't been active, light exercise may be enough of a challenge for you at first. How can you tell the intensity of your exercise? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that there are several ways to determine your exercise intensit...
How Much Do You Know About Kidney Health?
How Much Do You Know About Kidney Health? 1. How much blood do your kidneys filter daily? a. 15 gallons b. 25 gallons c. 50 gallons d. 125 gallons 2. Your kidneys are what part of the body? a. central nervous system b. respiratory system c. gastrointestinal tract d. genitourinary system 3. What is the most common cause of kidney failure? a. drug abuse and smoking b. high blood pressure c. diabetes d. b and c 4. How do most kidney-damaging diseases affect the kidneys? a. They damage nephrons, the kidney'...
How Much Exercise Is Enough?
How Much Exercise Is Enough? Exercise is a cornerstone of good health—but how much do you need? First, let’s consider how exercise is defined. It’s the same as physical activity, or any movement that causes your body to work harder than usual. Experts divide exercise into two types: aerobic and muscle strengthening. Aerobic exercise This type of exercise works your heart and lungs. It can be of moderate intensity or vigorous. If you are new to exercise, start slowly and work your way up to a more vigoro...
How Older Adults Can Prevent Hypothermia
How Older Adults Can Prevent Hypothermia You probably know winter can spell trouble. You can fall on ice or overdo it shoveling snow, for instance. But did you know cold itself can cause a problem? It's called hypothermia, and it takes place when your body temperature drops below normal. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) says older adults are especially prone to hypothermia, which can prove deadly if it's not treated quickly. Staying in a cold place for too long can cause the problem. Older adults a...
How to Cut Down on Drinking
How to Cut Down on Drinking You might want to cut down on your drinking for many reasons. Unfortunately, the best of intentions don't necessarily make the effort any easier. If you are going to drink alcohol, you should use it wisely and in moderation. And if you are one of the 10 to 15 percent of the population with alcoholism in your family, you should be careful not to drink too much or too often, or not to drink at all. You should not drink at all if you have certain health conditions or are taking ...
How to Fight Stress-Related Diseases
How to Fight Stress-Related Diseases Stress-related health problems can be the basis for many doctor visits. For example, suppose Joe has inherited a predisposition to develop a depressive disorder. For him, a difficult breakup with his girlfriend may be all that's needed to trigger a bout of severe depression and the need for a doctor's visit. Then, there's the natural "fight or flight" response, in which the body instinctively reacts to stressful situations by priming the body for lifesaving physical ...
How to Get Optimal Medical Care
How to Get Optimal Medical Care To get the best medical care you can, you should be an informed patient who works closely with your health care provider. To get the most from a doctor visit, follow this advice from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): Start with open communication. Don’t assume your doctor has all the information he or she needs. If you think of a detail you forgot to mention during an appointment, jot it down. Then, call your doctor or nurse. Mind your medications. Ta...
How to Keep Your Baby or Toddler Safe
How to Keep Your Baby or Toddler Safe Keeping your baby safe isn't difficult, but you do have to pay careful attention at all times. The following tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission review the basics. Motor vehicle Strap your baby into a child safety seat in the car's back seat. Be sure the child safety seat is properly secured with the vehicle's seat belt. Follow the manufacturer's directions and check your car owner's manual to be sure you are installing the car seat properly. Never put ...
How to Manage Prehypertension
How to Manage Prehypertension Prehypertension is a new term that alerts people to the very real risk of developing chronic high blood pressure if they don't take timely steps to improve their lifestyle habits, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Prehypertension is defined as a blood pressure with the top (systolic) number between 120 and 139, or the bottom (diastolic) number between 80 and 89. Someone who ends up with full-blown high blood pressure may, in time, develop heart dis...
How to Prepare for Scheduled or Elective Surgery
How to Prepare for Scheduled or Elective Surgery If you are facing surgery, you are not alone. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), more than 15 million Americans have surgery every year. The AHRQ recommends you take the time to learn about the surgery your doctor has recommended so you understand what's involved and feel comfortable that it's the best treatment. It also recommends that you take the time to find the right surgeon and hospital and to ask your surgeon questi...
How to Properly Manage Medical Devices
How to Properly Manage Medical Devices Whether it's placing a thermometer under your tongue or standing on a scale to weigh yourself, chances are good you've used a personal medical device at one time or another. Many people with chronic illnesses depend on more elaborate medical devices, such as cardiac pacemakers or blood-glucose monitors, for their health and well-being. Countless others help their loved ones, young or old, deal with an oxygen machine, asthma medication inhaler, or other device. No m...
How to Stay Out of the ER
How to Stay Out of the Emergency Department Emergency Departments (ED) are becoming more crowded and, as a result, patients are being required to wait longer for care. We can all help reduce the complications of this by visiting the ED only when we have an urgent medical problem. Emergency treatment costs significantly more than a doctor visit. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 10 percent of ED visits every year are for non-urgent medical problems. It is important to ...
In Support Groups, You Get (and Give) Help
In Support Groups, You Get (and Give) Help What if you were diagnosed with cancer? What if your spouse died and you suddenly found yourself a single parent? What if you were living with an alcoholic and didn't know how to cope? Any of these situations—and a host of others—would leave you feeling alone and in need of an ally. You could find help in a mutual support group. Sure, you've got family and friends, but do they really understand what you're up against? Your doctor, social worker, or counselor ma...
Independence Day: Granting Freedom to Kids
Independence Day: Granting Freedom to Kids Letting go is something all parents try to prepare for—letting go when your child goes off to college, gets married, or joins the Army. About the only way you can prepare for those big "Letting Go" events is to practice on the small ones. And those small ones, unfortunately, are often the hardest. Parenting books can offer advice, but you know your own children and you're the one who has to make the judgment call on questions like: When is your little girl old ...
Interval Training Can Spice Up a Workout
Interval Training Can Spice Up a Workout When it comes to fitness, a lot of people think the only way to improve is to do more, more, more. But one way to enhance your workout makes do with "less": interval training. Interval training alternates short bursts of intense activity with periods of "active recovery," which means more moderate forms of that same activity. Elite athletes use the technique to improve their speed, endurance and overall fitness. But moderate or beginning exercisers can use the sa...
Is It Too Hot To Trot?
Is It Too Hot To Trot? When the first warm, sunny day of spring arrives, you're rarin' to take your exercise program back to the great outdoors. Whoa, hold your handlebars. If you're not careful, you could wind up with a case of heat exhaustion just as easily as the couch potato next door, no matter how fit you might be. Indeed, although being fit increases your tolerance to heat and cold, your body still needs time to acclimate itself to warm weather. In winter, your body has had a relatively easy time...
Is Your Medication Working for You?
Is Your Medication Working for You? Prescription drugs can enhance your life, but when not used correctly, they may have the opposite effect. Medications are serious business and should never be taken lightly. Ask these questions each time you’re prescribed a medication: Q: How should I take this drug? A large percentage of people don't take their medications correctly, according to recent surveys. Some never bother to fill their prescriptions in the first place. Others stop taking a drug without first ...
Jog or Walk? Both Boost Your Health
Jog or Walk? Both Boost Your Health Which is better for you, jogging or walking? Nearly all studies show that jogging provides slightly more benefits for your bones, muscles, heart, and lungs. But walking has gained a lot of ground in the last decade or so as a viable exercise. It strengthens bones, tones muscles, and helps your cardiovascular system. Walking is easier on the body's joints. It causes far fewer injuries to heels, shins, knees, and hips than jogging or stair climbing, according to the Nat...
Jumping Rope: A Kid Favorite with Grownup Benefits
Jumping Rope: A Kid Favorite with Grownup Benefits If you're searching for a great piece of exercise equipment, just ask the nearest grade-schooler. Kids jumping rope on playgrounds and at parks are getting a great workout while having fun. A jump rope is simple and rugged. You can work out with it at the gym or in your living room (if your ceiling is high enough). It's easily portable and fits into your purse or even your pocket. Better still, you can pick one up for less than $15 at a department or sp...
Keep Kids Safe from Bugs
Keep Kids Safe from Bugs Lyme disease. Rocky Mountain spotted fever. West Nile virus. Flying fiends and crawling critters can spread such diseases with a bite. Few cases put kids' lives at risk, say experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Still, some insects can threaten children's health, and you'd be wise to take precautions. Many products seek to prevent bug bites, but one that can be applied to skin is very effective: DEET (usually listed on labels as N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). The AAP...
Keep Kids Safe in the Car
Keep Kids Safe in the Car All 50 states have a combination of laws that require drivers to restrain children in car seats, booster seats, and seats belts. Specifics vary by state, based on the child's age and size. In 2005, Safe Kids USA reported that more than 1,400 child occupants died in motor vehicle crashes and nearly half were unrestrained. In addition, young children restrained in child safety seats have an 80 percent lower risk of fatal injury than those who are unrestrained. Another potential p...
Keep Your Brain Functioning
Keep Your Brain Functioning You take good care of your body to stay in good physical shape. Likewise, for good mental health, you need to keep your brain in top condition. If your brain gets too much or too little of what it needs, vital processes are disrupted. When things are out of sync in your brain, it can play havoc with your thoughts and emotions. Depriving your brain of sleep, for example, will impair your ability to concentrate and make decisions. Maintain your brain These strategies will help ...
Keeping Depression at Bay
Keeping Depression at Bay Some people have only one episode of depression, but many have problems and recurrences that may last a lifetime. Approximately one-third of patients with a single episode of major depression will have another episode within one year after discontinuing treatment, and more than 50 percent will have a recurrence at some point in their lives. The risk of recurrence Some people are more at risk for recurrence than others. Depression is more likely to recur if: You've had more than...
Keeping Your Anger Under Control
Keeping Your Anger Under Control Anger is a natural, and sometimes healthy, emotion. Unfortunately, if anger is handled the wrong way, it can damage relationships and affect professional and social growth. Learning where your anger comes from and how to deal with it can help lead to a happier, more productive life. Understand your anger's origins. Some people are born with a tendency to be irritable or easily angered. If you have a history of dysfunction or chaos in your family, you are more likely to h...
Kids Need Safety Gear for In-line Skating
Kids Need Safety Gear for In-line Skating In-line skating is a zippy way to get exercise, but sometimes it's also a quick way to end up at the hospital. Each year, about 100,000 people are treated in emergency departments for injuries related to in-line skating, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Experts say having your child wear the appropriate safety gear, read the safety instructions, and use common sense when skating can help reduce the risk of injury. No protection Nearly ha...
Labor Pains: Reducing Your Desk-Job Ailments
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Learning to Live with Heart Disease
Learning to Live with Heart Disease Millions of people diagnosed with heart disease enjoy active, satisfying lives. By using your mind to help your body, obtaining appropriate medical care, and making changes in your lifestyle, you can learn to live life to the fullest despite your condition. These steps can help you take charge of your heart health and your life: Learn all you can Empower yourself. Start thinking and acting proactively. Learn about your condition, treatment options, and the steps you c...
Living With a Chronic Health Condition
Living with a Chronic Health Condition Learning you have a chronic disease is frightening. Depending on what it is and the treatment options available, you may feel panicked or sad. But learning about your condition and doing your best to manage it can help you live a less fearful and more expansive life. Understanding chronic conditions Unlike acute illnesses such as sore throats, a cold, or the flu, which are largely treatable and short in duration, chronic conditions can last for months, years, or a ...
Living with Parkinson’s Disease
Living with Parkinson's Disease Coping with Parkinson's disease, the motor system disorder, can be frustrating because of its common symptoms—trembling, stiffness (often called rigidity), slow movements, and the loss of balance and coordination. A good deal of that frustration comes from the loss of control that you once had over your body. It can also be emotionally overwhelming to know that there is currently no cure for the disease. Nonetheless, people have a number of tools at their disposal for bet...
Make a Splash with a Water Workout
Make a Splash with a Water Workout Use water as your medium for an effective workout and you'll be joining a diverse group of young and old, male and female, beginners and professional athletes alike who are all wet when exercising. Range of goals Pregnant women, teenagers, and baby boomers take classes to get in shape, cross-train, or train for a specific sporting event. In fact, people who are at many different levels of fitness can be in the same class; the advanced participants simply do more repeti...
Make Exercise a Family Affair
Make Exercise a Family Affair An estimated one in five American children is overweight, according to the National Institutes of Health. Serving them healthier meals and exercising as a family can improve their short- and long-term health. Being obese increases a child's risk for several serious childhood medical problems, including diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and psychological disorders. And, in addition to childhood health risks, studies have found overweight kids are at greater risk of becom...
Make Sure Bunk Beds Meet Safety Rules
Make Sure Bunk Beds Meet Safety Rules Do you breathe a sigh of relief after you tuck your child into bed at night? If your child sleeps in a bunk bed, your sense of security could be a false one. Each year, thousands of children visit emergency rooms for injuries linked to bunk beds. Most are minor, caused by horseplay, but some children have died after being trapped in bunk beds, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Experts blame the potentially dangerous injuries on the beds' struc...
Make Variety a Goal in Kids' Sports
Make Variety a Goal in Sports Venus Williams was practicing her backhand before she started kindergarten. Tiger Woods showed off his putting skills on the evening news at age 2. But for every prodigy who grows into a successful athlete, thousands of youths suffer physically or psychologically from being pushed to compete at a young age. For that reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children avoid specializing in a sport until they reach adolescence. The repetitive motions often de...
Making Sense of Medical Notes
Making Sense of Medical Notes If you’ve ever tried to read a medical chart but couldn’t understand the doctor’s shorthand, the following definitions may help. a.c.—Before meals, as in taking a medicine before meals. Ad lib—At liberty. For example, a patient may be permitted to move out of bed freely and orders would, therefore, be for ad lib activities. BP—Blood pressure. C&S—Culture and sensitivity, a test performed to detect infection. CBC—Complete blood count. CC—Chief complaint, the patient’s ma...
Making the Most of Family Moments
Making the Most of Family Moments The time you spend with your children each day doesn't have to be scripted or scheduled. In fact, if you set aside only specific times as "family time," it may put pressure on both you and your kids. Instead, family time can take place spontaneously in many different ways during ordinary interactions between parents and children, whether it's rocking a baby to sleep or driving a teenager to the mall. You can take steps to make the most of these moments. One place to sta...
Managing Adult Acne
Managing Adult Acne You're not a teenager anymore, so why is your skin breaking out after all these years? Could it be adult acne? Hormones can lead to acne in adults, just as they do in teenagers. This is because they make your sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, an oily substance that lubricates your skin, says the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). When this occurs, the hair follicles connected to these glands can become clogged with sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. The skin becomes infl...
Martial Arts: Something for Everyone
Martial Arts: Something for Everyone Looking for more variety in your workout? Give martial arts a try. People of all ages and abilities use the martial arts to get in shape. Martial arts such as karate, kickboxing and tai chi are self-defense techniques. They teach you to focus your mind while making your body stronger and more flexible. Some people practice martial arts for self-defense, while others do it for the physical and mental rewards. The variety of martial arts makes it easy for people to fin...
Massage Therapy for Back Pain
Massage Therapy for Back Pain Many American adults seek medical treatment for back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, it's estimated that eight out of 10 people will experience back pain and that it's one of the most common medical problems. When traditional medicine doesn't relieve the pain, many people turn to alternative treatments such as massage therapy. The treatment is tailored specifically to each individual's needs, and the therapist is responsible for determining the appropriate touch...
Medications that Can Treat Alzheimer's Disease
Medications that Can Treat Alzheimer's Disease Many people believe that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can't be treated. The truth is that medications are available that may help slow the progression of symptoms. Although these drugs don’t work for everyone, they offer some hope for the more than 5 million people who have AD. The FDA has approved five medications to treat Alzheimer’s disease. All the drugs may help temporarily prevent some AD symptoms, such as confusion and forgetfulness, from getting worse. ...
Medications to Treat ADHD in Children
Medications to Treat ADHD in Children Children who have ADHD are often given medication as part of their treatment plan. The type of medication most often chosen is a psychostimulant, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin, Metadate and Concerta). Psychostimulant drugs help balance chemicals in the child's brain that help to control behavior and focus attention. Other psychostimulants prescribed for ADHD in children include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), a mixture of amphetamine salts (Adderall), and atomoxet...
Medicine 2.0: How Technology Can Help Your Health
Medicine 2.0: How Technology Can Help Your Health You may already use Facebook to find old friends and your smartphone to check email. But did you know high-tech gadgets and networks can also connect you with medical resources? Depending on your health needs, technology may be just what the doctor ordered. If you’re looking for: Up-to-the-minute news about disease outbreaks and disasters. Turn to Twitter. The CDC sends instant updates , or “Tweets,” that are 140 characters or less. Personal stories abou...
Memory Boosters
Memory Boosters Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to remember names, appointments, and where you left your keys just by taking an over-the-counter (OTC) memory pill? Some natural supplements are supposed to improve memory and concentration. But is staying sharp as simple as taking a supplement? Most experts agree that there is no solid proof that memory-enhancing supplements work. These products may not even contain much of their "active herbal ingredients." The strength and purity of natural suppleme...
Men and Depression
Men and Depression Women who are depressed often feel sad, guilty, hopeless, and worthless--and many find that their appetites and sleeping habits have changed. Many men with depression may likely have different symptoms. These can include fighting with their spouses, losing interest in sports or sex, working six or seven days a week, and becoming withdrawn or even more uncommunicative. They may also express an increase in physical complaints. More than six million men have depression in the U.S. each y...
Migraines and Endometriosis
Migraines and Endometriosis Women who have endometriosis may also be more likely to have migraines, according to a recent Italian study. Researchers from the University of Genoa found that women who had endometriosis were twice as likely to also have migraines. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that is normally found only in the womb grows outside the uterus, causing bleeding, inflammation, pain and infertility. The researchers, who published their results in the December 2004 issue of the jo...
Migraines: Should You Take Preventive Medication?
Migraines: Should You Take Preventive Medication? What if you could stop a migraine before it even started? For some people, taking medication every day can help prevent migraines and make them less painful when they do occur. Although these medications may not eliminate your migraines entirely, they can provide some relief from chronic migraine pain. According to the American Headache Society, you may benefit from taking a preventive migraine medication if you: Have two or more migraines a month that k...
Night Terrors Usually No Cause for Concern
Night Terrors Usually No Cause for Concern Night terrors, also known as sleep terrors, are not the same as nightmares. Nightmares are quite vivid and memorable, and may cause a significant disruption of sleep. Night terrors are sudden arousals from sleep often marked by a shriek, cry, or some other sound just before awakening. After a night terror, children usually fall quickly back to sleep, although they may seem a bit confused or befuddled immediately after the event. In the morning, the child usuall...
On the Road in Retirement
On the Road in Retirement Now that you're retired, you have time to travel. So you choose a destination, develop an itinerary, order the passport, and pack the bags. But wait, you forgot one important detail: your health. You've got company. Millions of travelers may ponder every aspect of their itinerary, but forget to take health care precautions. Yet this can be a costly and even life-threatening mistake. Whether you plan to see the pyramids in Egypt or visit your cousin Vinny in the Bronx, you need ...
On the Road to Recovery
On the Road to Recovery Recovering from a serious illness or surgery is hard work. You may need help doing some things that you used to take for granted, such as walking, bathing, getting dressed, or preparing meals. Or, you may have to make lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, starting to exercise, or quitting smoking. Although you can get support from others, including doctors, friends, and family, you play the biggest role in your own recovery. This means that to reach your recovery goals, you n...
OTC Medications: Understanding the Risks
OTC Medications: Understanding the Risks Over-the-counter (OTC) medications may seem risk-free – after all, you don't need a doctor's prescription to buy them. But just because they are readily available doesn't mean you don't need to follow an OTC drug's directions carefully. Some OTC medicines pose risks for people with certain medical conditions, as well as for pregnant women. Some drugs can interact adversely with other medications, food, or drinks. And if you take too much medication, use it for to...
Over-the-Counter Remedies for Seniors
Over-the-Counter Remedies for Seniors Over-the-counter (OTC) remedies are wonderful. You don't need a prescription, and relief is as close as the nearest drugstore. You may already use several OTC remedies. It's easy to forget that OTC remedies are drugs that can cause side effects and affect other medications. That's why it's important to read the dosage instructions, health risks and warnings on the packaging. Keep in mind that as an older adult, you may be more sensitive to some drugs or you may be t...
Paging Dr. Mom
Paging Dr. Mom One of the many hats that parents wear is that of a “first responder.” When their child is sick, they are the first to assess the symptoms and treat the illness. It’s a role that parents should become comfortable with, considering that most children develop the flu or an ear infection at least once in their first years of life and catch eight to 10 colds before age 2. Resist antibiotics When your child is sniffling and feeling miserable, you may think that a prescription medication will b...
Periods, Pregnancy, Menopause—And Sleep
Periods, Pregnancy, Menopause--and Sleep Sleep disorders affect men and women differently. Although men apparently suffer more from sleep apnea, women are more likely to report spending their nights tossing and turning. Researchers aren't sure why women seem to have more trouble sleeping than men, but they have noticed that women have the most difficulty when hormone levels fluctuate. In other words, women are most likely to have problems sleeping soundly during pregnancy, early motherhood, menopause, a...
Pets and People: The Health Connection
Pets and People: The Health Connection Psychology pioneer Sigmund Freud loved dogs, yet he never mentioned them in his research. It's only in recent years that scientists have begun to analyze the way we humans relate to other species. Perhaps that's because we need to make sense of the close connections so many people have with their pets, from pythons to parrots, German shepherds to Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs. Here are some of the most common questions people ask about their pets: Is a dog's mouth cl...
Pets Fill a Special Role in Seniors' Lives
Pets Fill a Special Role in Seniors' Lives Having a pet can be a boon to body and soul—especially as we age. Seniors can benefit greatly from pet ownership Pets offer companionship, something to nurture, unconditional love, and a sense of security in new situations. And pets can relieve stress, which may help explain why studies have found that pet owners have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The nurturing role Taking care of an animal that cares about you and responds to you can help with l...
Pilates: A Core Conditioning Program
Pilates: A Core Conditioning Program If you want to work your body to the core, try Pilates (pi-LAH-teez). First developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s as a therapeutic regimen for soldiers, the Pilates method has been performed by dancers, athletes and movie stars, among others, to release tension while gaining muscle strength, joint flexibility and energy. Pilates benefits include: Prevention of and relief from back pain and muscle tension Increased muscle strength and joint flexibility Improved men...
Planning for End of Life
Planning for End-of-Life No one likes to think about the end-of-life, let alone consider questions about how one's final days will be spent. It's important to remember that we have medical choices that weren't available even 50 years ago. Planning for the end of life makes sense for everyone, regardless of health or life circumstances. Thinking it through It's always best to make important decisions without pressure. You need to understand your options and take time to consider what will help you reach ...
Play It Cool in the Hot Tub
Play It Cool in the Hot Tub What's more relaxing than a good soak in a hot tub? Hot water sure makes you feel great, but hot tubs and whirlpools can sometimes be dangerous—and even deadly. Let's take Joe, who's just finished a grueling workout on the stair climber. He jumps straight into his hot tub and cracks a cold beer to relax. What's wrong with this picture? Plenty. Your body can't cool itself when it's immersed in water that's hotter than body temperature. So Joe, already hot from his workout, has...
Play It Safe With Kitchen Fires
Play It Safe with Kitchen Fires Almost half of all fires in the home start in the kitchen, and kitchen fires can quickly become serious. Because of that, it's important to take steps to avoid a kitchen fire, and know what to do in case one occurs. Prevention tips Here are tips from the National Fire Prevention Association to help prevent kitchen fires: Always take a few minutes to wipe up spills on the stove. Keep combustible materials such as dish towels and pot holders away from burners. Do not wear l...
Potato's Potential Lies Far Beyond French Fries
Potato's Potential Lies Far Beyond French Fries Bake it, boil it, steam it, fry it. There's no question that America's favorite vegetable is the potato. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) each American eats an average of more than 100 pounds of potatoes annually. Fresh potatoes accounted for half. Frozen fries, chips, or dehydrated mashed made up the rest. A potato is low in calories and has no fat. It's a good source of vitamin C, folate, and other B vitamins. Potato skin is a good ...
Preparing Your Daughter for Changes
Preparing Your Daughter for Changes If your daughter had grown up 150 years ago, she could have expected her first period around age 16. Today, the average age for that milestone is 12. Nutrition, evolution, and hormones in our food contributed to that change. But whatever the reasons, girls are left with questions about their sexuality earlier in life--and parents have to know how to handle them. Tips for talking Begin appropriately naming body parts by the time your child is a toddler. Teach your daug...
Preventing Broken Bones
Preventing Broken Bones Bones are tough and resilient, but if you push them hard enough—if you fall on a hard surface, for instance—they can crack or break. Common sense and certain safety precautions, however, can head off a trip to the emergency room. The CDC and other experts offer these safety tips to help prevent broken bones: Wear the right gear when exercising or playing a sport. Make sure your home is safe from hazards that can cause falls. Wear a seat belt when driving and make sure children ar...
Preventing Falls One Step at a Time
Preventing Falls One Step at a Time Although it's impossible to prevent all falls, you can help keep yourself safe as you grow older by improving your balance and employing "fall-proofing" behaviors in and around your home. According to the CDC, one out of three adults age 65 and older falls each year. The CDC estimates that up to 30 percent of adults who fall injure themselves seriously enough to impair their independence and increase their risk for premature death. Change your home To help prevent fal...
Protect Your Eyes When Jump-Starting a Car
Protect Your Eyes When Jump-starting a Car No one likes the idea of being stranded with a dead car battery. But many car owners don't know how to jump-start a battery safely. This lack of knowledge causes many Americans to lose their sight or suffer serious eye injuries each year in auto battery accidents, according to the group Prevent Blindness America (PBA). All vehicle batteries contain sulfuric acid and produce hydrogen and oxygen gases. If the gases come into contact with a spark, flame or a lit c...
Protecting Your Child from Sports Injuries
Protecting Your Child from Sports Injuries Most children depend on recreational and school sports for exercise and fun. But too many young athletes suffer needless injuries. Each year, more than 3.5 million children suffer sports-related injuries severe enough to require emergency-room treatment. Sports are the second-most frequent cause of injury to teenagers, although, after puberty, boys are more likely to be hurt than girls of the same age. Any physical activity involves some risks, but injury rates...
Putting Disease Risk into Perspective
Putting Disease Risk into Perspective Are you terrified you might get mad cow disease? Does news of E. coli outbreaks make you swear off spinach salads for life? True, a few people will get those illnesses. But most of us never will. The things most likely to make us sick seem less dramatic: heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, to name just some of them. Even when we think about these real threats, we may conclude our risk is far higher or lower than it is. Risk perception The way we gauge the p...
Putting the 'Fun' Back Into Fitness
Putting the 'Fun' Back Into Fitness Top athletes and movie stars have the time and motivation to stay in great shape. The rest of us, though, often find it a challenge to fit fitness into our lives. It's a matter of attitude. If you view exercise as a chore or punishment, that makes it hard for you to do what's necessary. You'll secretly try to avoid it. Instead, start thinking of fitness as fun. If it's something you want to do, then you'll figure out ways to find time for it. For example, if the word ...
Ready to Exercise? Take It Inside
Ready to Exercise? Take It Inside Exercising at home can be just as effective and enjoyable as taking a walk or a bike ride outdoors. It can also save you time and money compared with joining a health club or gym. What's important is to have equipment that works well for you. Here are some guidelines that can help you make the right choice when shopping for gear. Take a test run Decide what type of exercise equipment you are looking for, then give yourself plenty of time to shop around. It is important ...
Rev Up Your Walking Workout
Rev Up Your Walking Workout Put one foot in front of the other. Repeat … again, and again, and again. If that’s the only recipe you know of for fitness walking, then maybe it’s time to spice up your routine. Walking every day is good for you. It has wonderful benefits for the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. It can help you manage your weight and control your blood pressure and cholesterol. But it’s like a daily bowl of oatmeal—healthy but pretty bland until the cinnamon, dried fruit, or brown suga...
Safety Checklist: How Does Your Family Rate?
Safety Checklist: How Does Your Family Rate? Keeping your family safe and sound can be as easy as following simple safety rules consistently. The following checklist from the National Safety Council can help you assess your family's adherence to essential safety precautions. If you say "false" after any of these statements, correct the safety issues they address. General safety No one in your family drives after drinking alcohol. All of your family members buckle their seat belts every time they ride in...
Safety Precautions for Kids in Cars
Safety Precautions for Kids in Cars Motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of childhood death in the United States. In 2008, 968 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes, and approximately 168,000 were injured, according to the CDC. That’s an average of 4 deaths and 529 injuries each day. When properly installed and used, child safety seats reduce the risk of death by 70 percent for infants and 55 percent for toddlers. Adults can protect children by wearing seat...
Say Goodbye to Dry Skin
Say Goodbye to Dry Skin Does your smooth skin head south as soon as winter sets in? The combination of cold, less-humid air outside and artificial heating indoors may leave you dry and itchy. What can you do to avoid scratching and flaking your way through the winter months? Try these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology for keeping your skin supple until the spring thaw. Be shower-savvy You may love the way a long, hot bath, or shower feels on a cold day—but it can wreak havoc on your skin. Ho...
Self-Treat? Or See a Doctor?
Self-Treat? Or See a Doctor? When you’re sick, knowing whether you should treat yourself at home or see your doctor can save you time and hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars a year. For example, you could treat a head cold by taking a $6 over-the-counter (OTC) medication for congestion and cough. The bill just for walking in the door of your doctor’s office could be $50 to $80 or more. Even if you only have to pay $10 to $20 in co-pay for an office visit, using an OTC medication still saves you -- ...
Shape Up to Hit the Slopes
Shape Up to Hit the Slopes Getting ready to ski or snowboard often consists of trying to remember where you stashed your gear last spring. That approach may get you to the slopes, but it can reduce your enjoyment once you're there. Skiing and snowboarding use muscles that don't normally do so much work. And high altitudes put even more stress on your body. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting in shape prior to the ski season to minimize injuries. Luckily, a little preparation can g...
Should Tattoos Be Taboo?
Should Tattoos Be Taboo? Approximately 40 million Americans have some type of tattoo, and the popularity is increasing. But people who are thinking about getting a tattoo should slow down and think twice. In most states and cities, you need to be 18 or have a parent's permission to get a tattoo. And, there are multiple risks that should be considered before making this very permanent decision. Risks of getting a tattoo Tattoo inks are not FDA-approved for injection into the skin. The FDA says that many ...
Six Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
Six Symptoms You Should Never Ignore Some people rush to the doctor's office every time they feel a little ill. Others try to tough it out and hope the problem will go away. In either case, there are some symptoms no one should ignore. Many health problems do take care of themselves over time, but some symptoms may indicate the possibility of a serious condition and should be evaluated immediately by a health care provider. To determine if something could be serious, look for changes in the way your bod...
Skin, Eyes and the Sun
Skin, Eyes and the Sun Along with warmth, the sun also produces light and an invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation can cause sunburn, wrinkles, sunspots, cataracts and skin cancer, and probably contributes to macular degeneration. The tan was once a symbol of health, but now has been shown to be the result of exposure to UV radiation. You can protect yourself from skin cancer and other sun damage by using sunscreen, covering up and wearing sunglasses that block UV rays. Some UV radiation, h...
Smoking Adds Another Wrinkle to Aging
Smoking Adds Another Wrinkle to Aging Everybody knows smoking is bad for your health. Now here's something you may not know: Smoking is bad for your looks. It's true. From your rosy cheeks to your pearly whites, smoking doesn't just push you toward an early date with the grim reaper. It also makes you look that way. Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco have found that female smokers are three times as likely to have moderate to severe wrinkling as female nonsmokers. Male smoker...
Special Foot Care for Diabetes
Special Foot Care for Diabetes It's not high blood sugar, heart disease, or stroke that most often puts people with diabetes in the hospital. It's their feet. Foot wounds are the most common diabetes-related cause for hospitalization. Foot wounds in a person with diabetes can also lead to amputation. Fortunately, people with this disease often can prevent these serious wounds with daily foot examinations. Here's what you can do to help prevent foot problems: Take care of your diabetes. Work with your he...
Spice Up Your Workouts with a Little Variety
Spice Up Your Workouts with a Little Variety Somehow, your workouts have lost their zest appeal. You go to the gym or go out for a jog, but your heart just isn't in it. Maybe what you need is a challenge. To get results, you have to keep challenging your body. You build strength and aerobic capacity by responding to physical stressors--by lifting a certain amount of weight, for example, or by walking at a certain pace up a hill. But after three weeks, your body adapts to these stressors. At that point, ...
Stay Fit When You Have a Health Challenge
Stay Fit When You Have a Health Challenge Working out when you have a serious illness or health problem can be challenging. But for most people who have health issues, exercising can improve their prognosis and well-being. Exercise can play an important role in helping you cope with or recover from a health challenge or accident. Physical activity can help increase endurance, strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, as well as ease pain and improve sleep and mental attitude. Certain guidelines ...
Steroids, Sterols, Anabolic Steroids, and Corticosteroids: What's the Difference?
Steroids, Sterols, Anabolic Steroids, and Corticosteroids: What's the Difference? Steroids are important compounds used in medicine, but people often misunderstand what they are. The term steroid and sterol simply refer to chemical molecules that share a common chemical ring stricture. There are many steroids and sterols that are important in health and medicine, and some that may be used as medications. Some steroids are called hormones. Hormones are chemicals that are made in the brain, kidneys, or se...
Strength-Train with Yoga
Strength-Train with Yoga Many people think yoga is essentially a stretching regimen. If you happen to be seeking stronger muscles, yoga can provide that, as well. Yoga also helps people relax and focus, and if done gently can promote improved joint motion. Examples of strengthening yoga postures include: The downward facing dog posture, which strengthens arms and legs The half moon pose, which strengthens legs and ankles The plank pose, which strengthens arms, wrists, and back The locust pose, which str...
Stress and Older Adults
Stress and Older Adults Stress is an unavoidable part of life. The quickening of your heartbeat and the heightening of your senses that you experience with normal stress is just your body preparing for a fight-or-flight response. But when stress goes on for too long it can be dangerous. For older adults, prolonged stress can come from chronic illness, disability, or the loss of a spouse. These types of stressors are long term and can be more difficult to deal with. Stress causes your body to release str...
Stress Can Pack on Pounds
Stress Can Pack on Pounds Some people respond to impending deadlines, financial problems, relationship meltdowns, and other difficulties by eating less. But if you respond to added stress by eating more, you could end up with added pounds. Fortunately, you can take steps to avoid stress-related weight gain. To begin, consider which of the following behaviors you’re prone to, and then take steps to counteract your usual behavior. Behavior: You don’t have time to prepare healthy meals. If having a lot to ...
Striking a Match: Ideal Doctor/Ideal Patient
Striking a Match: Ideal Doctor/Ideal Patient Are you and your doctor a good fit? If you feel that way, it’s a good sign. Your health is so central to who you are, so important to how well you function and enjoy life, your doctor can be one of your most valued life partners. Ability to communicate A doctor should explain your condition clearly enough that you can make important treatment choices and self-manage your own care. But while some patients want to know all the risks they face, others prefer to ...
Sweet Dreams as You Age
Sweet Dreams as You Age Poor sleep is not a normal part of aging. But if you can’t sleep, remember that you’re not the only one. Many adults 60 and older say they suffer from insomnia, according to the National Institute of Aging (NIA). When you get enough sleep, you feel restored and refreshed, both physically and mentally. Too little sleep or poor-quality nighttime sleep can make you irritable or depressed; disrupt your concentration; cause memory problems, depressed mood, excessive daytime sleepiness...
Swing’s the Thing
Swing’s the Thing You can call them the Lindy Hop, the Charleston Kick, the Helicopter, or the Fireman's Toss. But whatever you call the steps and moves couples perform while they swing dance, label them cardiovascular fun. Thanks to a revival generated by a flair for yesteryear, swing dancing--once king during the 1920s, '30s and '40s--is back. And this fast-paced fun can be serious exercise. Dance and fitness instructors say swing dancing or swing aerobics can elevate your heart rate quickly. An hour ...
Take a Lap With Indoor Cycling
Take a Lap With Indoor Cycling When you cycle outdoors, weather, traffic and rough terrain can conspire to foil your good intentions to work out. That’s one reason people are taking their cycling workouts inside, where they do intense aerobic exercise with a roomful of people on stationary bikes, with music and an instructor’s motivating encouragement. In indoor cycling workouts (also known as spinning classes), participants ride stationary bicycles specially designed to mimic outdoor bikes. They have f...
Take Care With Nasal Sprays
Take Care With Nasal Sprays Many people turn to a medicated nasal decongestant spray to offer fast relief for a congested and running nose. It can reduce swelling and clear mucus from nasal passages quickly. In fact, these products often work so well that people are tempted to use them for too long. If you use a medicated nasal spray for more than three days in a row, you may develop rebound rhinitis medicamentosa (RM) when you do stop using the spray. This condition can cause prolonged sinus congestion...
Taking Care of Head Injuries
Taking Care of Head Injuries Head trauma can cause swelling inside the brain. This can lead to a potentially deadly increase in pressure inside the skull. Head injury also can seriously damage brain cells. Each year in the United States, head injuries result in more than 1 million emergency room visits and more than 50,000 deaths, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). In addition, approximately 230,000 people are hospitalized for traumatic brain injury in the ...
Taking Steps Against Athlete's Foot
Taking Steps Against Athlete's Foot You don't need to play a sport to get athlete's foot. But, having a game plan for preventing this pesky infection can help your feet stay healthy. The cause Athlete's foot is a common infection that's caused by several fungi, says the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). You can come in contact with fungi by walking barefoot almost anywhere that's warm and damp, such as the pool area or the locker room at your gym. Wearing someone else's shoes or borrowing a...
Talking with Your Doctor About Alternative Medicine
Talking with Your Doctor About Alternative Medicine Many people with arthritis, cancer, and other illnesses use alternative or complementary therapies such as acupuncture, herbs, or vitamins and minerals without telling their doctor. Besides the methods listed above, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) includes dietary changes, dietary supplements, massage, exercise, and mind/body therapies. Steps to take The following suggestions can help you work with your doctor if you choose to use CAM: Kee...
Target Your Heart Rate for Better Health
Target Your Heart Rate for Better Health Moderate exercise for 30 to 60 minutes on most days is good for your heart -- and your overall health. Your watch can remind you how long you've been working out, and a calendar can confirm how many days in the week you've worked out. But, how do you know if you're exercising at a moderate pace? That's why knowing your target heart rate is so important. Your target heart rate is 50 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate, or how much work your heart can handle. ...
Teach Teens to Stretch
Teach Teens to Stretch Jordan D. Metzl, M.D., and his staff have a saying: "An adolescent athlete can never stretch or study too much." Stretching to stay flexible is vital -- particularly when your child reaches puberty and goes through a growth spurt, says Dr. Metzl, a specialist in sports medicine. For a child or teen who is active in sports, failing to stretch can cause problems, adds Dr. Metzl, author of The Young Athlete: A Sports Doctor's Complete Guide for Parents . Too little stretching can mak...
Teens and Talk: What's a Parent to Do?
Teens and Talk: What's a Parent to Do? Even if you think you have a wonderful relationship with your child, when he or she becomes a teenager, communication may become a problem. A simple parent-child conversation often isn't simple anymore when the child turns into an adolescent. When kids get to be teenagers, they think differently than children. There's a shift from concrete to abstract reasoning. As kids move into adolescence, they no longer accept things just on face value. All of a sudden they hav...
The Benefits of Laughter
The Benefits of Laughter Laugher really is the best medicine, or at least a good one. Laughter is so much a part of us that even babies can laugh well before they can walk or speak. And mirthful laughter–the kind associated with humor–can help keep you healthy and happier. Although no one really knows exactly how laughter so positively affects health, researchers do know that when you are laughing, you're providing healthy stimulation for your heart and blood vessels. Laughter can actually reduce the am...
The Cluster Headache: Just Like Clockwork
The Cluster Headache: Just Like Clockwork Like the ringing of an alarm clock, a cluster headache announces itself every morning or night. If you suffer from cluster headaches, you know that timing is everything. These headaches--called "cluster" because of their pattern of striking in groups or clusters--hit at the same time of day for a period of weeks or months, then vanish as suddenly and as mysteriously as they appeared. The pain of cluster headaches can be very intense. Most sufferers cannot sit st...
The Do's and Don’ts for Children's Meds
The Do's and Don’ts for Children's Meds Johnnie or Janie wakes complaining of a headache. You don't want to call your pediatrician at 3 a.m. What do you do? There are some simple rules for using over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for children. The first and most important: NEVER give any OTC medicine to children 2 years and under without consulting a health care provider, says the FDA. But what about older children, those between 2 and 12? Here is some advice: Aspirin Don't give aspirin to a child under t...
The Good and Bad News About Stomachaches
The Good and Bad News About Stomachaches Most stomachaches are nothing more than indigestion or gas. But stomach pain also could be appendicitis, gallstones, or a tubal pregnancy. The characteristics of the pain and its severity, location, and duration are clues to its cause. What to ask These are questions to consider when describing the pain to your health care provider: Where is the pain? Is it in the upper, middle, or lower abdomen? Is it on one side only or on both sides? Does the pain stay in one ...
The High Cost of Smoking
The High Cost of Smoking Most people quit smoking because of the damage it does to their health. But if you need an extra reason to kick the habit, consider that smoking could be costing you as much as $10,000 a year. When people consider the cost of smoking, they usually focus on the cost of the cigarettes alone. Someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, for instance, can spend up to $1,965 a year. But this is only the beginning. Add to that figure the cost of extra over-the-counter and prescripti...
The Inside Scoop on Outdoor Fitness
The Inside Scoop on Outdoor Fitness A lot of us have grown used to spending most of our time sitting around indoors. We've grown bigger, too: Two out of three Americans weigh too much. If we could just get more exercise, doctors say, we could reap health benefits ranging from reduced weight and longer lives to greater well-being. With warm weather on the way, now's the time to embrace the great outdoors. Want to go out and play? Here are some ideas. Water world The water attracts all types of people, fr...
The Lowdown on Low Blood Pressure
The Lowdown on Low Blood Pressure Most people worry about having high blood pressure. For a few people, however, low blood pressure, or hypotension, is a major concern. Current guidelines identify optimal blood pressure as less than 120/80. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute defines hypotension as a blood pressure lower than 90/60. There is no specific lower limit that is defined as unhealthy. Elderly people, however, may have symptoms of dizziness and lightheadedness when there blood pressure ...
The Skinny on Skin
The Skinny on Skin The skin is your body's largest organ. It protects you against bacteria, viruses, dirt, wind, heat and cold. And it serves as a "window" to the body, alerting doctors when something is wrong. Your skin needs a steady supply of new cells to protect the organs against infection, the elements and other invaders. New skin cells, manufactured in the epidermis, migrate to the outer layer of skin. One square inch of skin contains millions of cells, blood vessels, nerve endings and sweat glan...
The Truth About Triglycerides
The Truth About Triglycerides You’ve probably had your blood tested for cholesterol by your health care provider. This lipid, or fat, test measures your total cholesterol, HDL (“good”) cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. It also measures your triglycerides, which can tell your provider a lot about your health. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your body. Most of your body's fat is stored as triglycerides. Cholesterol and fat Cholesterol and other fats in your blood are needed for cer...
The Word on Talk Therapy
The Word on Talk Therapy We all need someone to talk with now and then. At times, friends and family will do. But, if you’re struggling with strong emotions, a troubled relationship, depression, or other mental health issues, a sympathetic ear may not be enough. You may need to try psychotherapy, or “talk therapy” with a mental health professional. Talk therapy is a way to treat people with a mental disorder by helping them understand their illness. It teaches them strategies and gives them tools to dea...
There's Hope for Sciatica
There's Hope for Sciatica Pain or discomfort that travels along the sciatic nerve is called sciatica. The sciatic nerves run from your lower back, down through each hip and buttock and into the back part of each leg. It usually affects only one side. Sciatica is often painful, but rarely causes serious or permanent damage. Most sciatica is caused by inflammation, which may be related to an underlying condition. Most often, it can be diagnosed and treated conservatively. Sciatica pain may feel dull, achi...
Think Before Buying a Treadmill
Think Before Buying a Treadmill There was a time when the only place you'd find a treadmill was in a physiology lab or a sports medicine clinic. Not anymore. Treadmills have become one of the hottest-selling exercise machines in the country, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. Thousands have run out to stores so they could bring home a treadmill and do their walking in the comfort of the living room or den. Unfortunately, starting an exercise program is not as simple as plunking d...
Thriving After a Heart Attack
Thriving After a Heart Attack If you've had a heart attack, you're probably wondering how your life is going to change. Over the long term, your quality of life is tied to how severe your heart attack was and how it was treated. Beyond that, any change will depend largely on you. If you make it happen, your life can be healthier and more active than before. Work with your doctor on a plan. Recovery and prevention The first step is to work with your doctor to find the cause of your heart attack and to di...
Tinnitus: Stopping the Sound in Your Head
Tinnitus: Stopping the Sound in Your Head In a silence where some people could hear a pin drop, people who suffer from tinnitus will hear a constant ringing in their ears--or, the sound may be a popping, rushing, pinging, chirping, whistling or roaring. Some people describe it as a freight train constantly rolling through their brains. Yet, for all the distress this common condition can cause, tinnitus has nothing to do with actual sound waves hitting the ear. What causes tinnitus About 50 million Ameri...
Tips for Using Home Medical Tests
Tips for Using Home Medical Tests Visit a drugstore and you'll find lots of home health tests -- everything from blood pressure monitors to drug abuse detectors. As technology advances and consumers become more actively involved in their healthcare, options keep growing. But just because the tests exist doesn't mean they're right for you. The question shouldn't be which brand is the most accurate? But, is a home health test appropriate for me? Still, some home tests can reduce doctor visits and medical ...
Toss Your Baby Walker, Pediatricians Say
Toss Your Baby Walker, Pediatricians Say Safety is your top concern for your child. Just as you put your infant in a car seat, you may think that putting your child in a baby walker is safe, too. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls baby walkers dangerous and says you should throw them out. According to the AAP, one of the reasons why a baby walker is not safe is because a child is able to move more than three feet in one second. In children younger than age 15 months, the U.S. Consumer Produc...
Treadmill Routines Make Indoor Exercising Less Routine
Treadmill Routines Make Indoor Exercising Less Routine Treadmills have become a staple of millions of indoor workout rooms across the country. And with their presence has come a storm of ideas about how to spice up the walking and running routines. With a little creativity, a treadmill workout can be just as satisfying as an outdoor jaunt. Tips and warnings Because you are walking indoors on a rotating belt, there is no wind resistance. You can compensate by using a 1 percent incline. This will simulate...
Treating Teen Acne
Treating Teen Acne It's a fact of teenage life: When puberty hits, acne often does, too. Just about every teen will find at least one blackhead or whitehead on his or her skin by age 17, and some teens will develop more severe acne, which can leave scarring. The prime culprits of acne, experts say, are heredity and hormones. At puberty, the sebaceous or oil glands around the hair follicles on the skin enlarge. Oil production also increases. Then, the ducts surrounding the follicles become clogged, and a...
Try Team Sports for Fun and Fitness
Try Team Sports for Fun and Fitness Do you ever feel lonely or bored while running, walking, or lifting weights by yourself? If so, it may be time to join a team. Many people find exercise more rewarding when they can share the experience with others. People who play on a team reap the benefits of meeting new people and learning new skills. Not only are they getting exercise, they're making new connections and watching themselves become better athletes. The object of the game No matter who you are or wh...
Understanding Alcohol's Effects
Understanding Alcohol's Effects What happens when you drink an alcoholic beverage? Although alcohol affects different people in different ways, in general, it is quickly absorbed from your digestive system into your blood. The amount of alcohol in your blood reaches its maximum within 30 to 45 minutes, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Alcohol is metabolized—that is, broken down chemically so it can be eliminated from your body—more slowly than it is absorbed. ...
Understanding Compulsive Overeating
Understanding Compulsive Overeating People who chronically overeat may be suffering from a common eating disorder known as compulsive overeating, also known as binge eating. This eating disorder is characterized by eating large amounts of food, by eating quickly (often to the point of discomfort), and eating when no longer hungry. While many people experience a food binge periodically, the compulsive overeater averages binging two times a week for at least six months. Gradual start Compulsive overeating...
Understanding Diuretics
Understanding Diuretics Lifestyle changes aren't always enough to lower high blood pressure. If so, prescription medicine may be the next step, according to the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Many different types of blood pressure medications are available. Even so, a diuretic, or water pill, may be among the first options that your doctor recommends. The diuretics most commonly prescribed are called thiazides. P...
Understanding Outpatient Surgery
Understanding Outpatient Surgery If you need surgery, there's a better-than-average chance that you'll have it and go home the same day. Thanks to advances in technology and anesthesia, nearly 6 of every 10 surgeries performed at hospitals are done as "outpatient" procedures, which means you go home the same day you have your surgery. Nearly 35 million such surgeries are performed each year in the U.S., according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Why? Some reasons outpatient surg...
Understanding Prehypertension
Understanding Prehypertension Prehypertension is a new term that alerts people to the risk of developing chronic high blood pressure if they don’t take timely steps to improve their lifestyle habits, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Someone who ends up with full-blown high blood pressure may, in time, develop heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, or dementia, and may have to stay on prescription drugs for life. The numbers to remember are 120 over 80—the bl...
Using Dumbbells for a Fast and Effective Workout
Using Dumbbells for a Fast and Effective Workout Dumbbells, one of the most underrated and versatile types of exercise equipment, can help you build strength and muscular endurance. Although you can get the same results at the gym using a variety of machines, dumbbells—free-weights you can lift with one hand are easier for most people to use, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). If you're new to working with weights, be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. ...
Using Yoga to Relieve Stress
Using Yoga to Relieve Stress To combat stress, many people turn to meditation or other mental stress reduction tools. But stress also creates physical response in the body and, as such, can be managed with exercise—in particular, with yoga. Stress sends the entire physical system into overdrive. The muscles tense, the heart beats faster, breathing patterns change, and if the cause of stress isn't discontinued, the body secretes more hormones that increase blood sugar levels, raising blood pressure. The ...
Walk Your Way to Better Health
Walk Your Way to Better Health A growing body of research has found that a regular program of moderate exercise -- such as walking -- may add years to your life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that moderate exercise requires some exertion, but not so much that you can't carry on a conversation while doing it. A moderate pace of walking is 3 to 4.5 mph; vigorous walking is 5 mph or faster. A moderate walking pace uses 3.5 to 7 calories per minute; vigorous walking uses 7 calori...
Walking Works for Everyone
Walking Works for Everyone Fit people may think walking is "too easy" to keep them fit. Overweight people may wonder if they really can become trim by walking. Older people and those with medical conditions such as osteoporosis or heart disease may wonder if walking is safe. In fact, walking works for people of all ages, fitness levels, weights, and health conditions. Appreciate the benefits Walking is easy because you can do it almost anywhere and at any time. It also offers a range of health benefits....
Want to Get Pregnant? Follow the 90-Day Guide
Want to Get Pregnant? Follow the 90-Day Guide As with so many things in life, it pays to be prepared—and conception is no exception. At least 90 days before starting to try to conceive, both men and women should take steps to improve their diet and exercise routines, as well as fine-tune any medications they may be taking to make sure they are friendly to the developing fetus. "If you optimize all those things, you'll improve your fertility, reduce the risk of miscarriage and enhance the outcome of preg...
Ways to Improve Your Workout
Ways to Improve Your Workout A proven way to improve your health is finding -- or making -- the time to exercise. But just going through the motions won't give you the health benefits you want. Experts say doing the same workout over and over can get boring, and you're unlikely to improve because you're always using the same muscles. Changing elements in your routine over time can bring amazing results, which in turn are likely to inspire you to make regular exercise part of your life. Make changes Chan...
We Can Head Off Teen Tragedies
We Can Head Off Teen Tragedies When our schools erupt in violence, we're shocked. Preventing teen turmoil starts at birth. Parents set examples in the way they interact, express anger, and treat substance abuse, experts say. As children grow, communication is critical. When your kids are young, talk about peaceful problem solving, the importance of not hurting others, and avoiding drugs and cigarettes. And as your children get older, define clear limits for acceptable behavior. Other suggestions Here ar...
What Do You Really Know About Sleep?
What Do You Really Know About Sleep? A good night's sleep -- everyone needs it, but not everyone gets it. We stay up late and get up early, and then wonder why we always feel tired. Why is sleep important? See how much you know about snoozing by taking this quiz. 1. What physiological changes occur in the brain during sleep? a. blood flow increases b. blood flow decreases c. brain consumes more oxygen d. a and c 2. The rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage is when dreaming occurs. How often does REM happ...
What to Do About a Pain in the Neck
What to Do About a Pain in the Neck The neck is the most flexible part of the spine, but because it isn’t well-protected by muscles, it’s also easy to injure. Neck pain can result from many different causes--from arthritis to inflammatory disease. Causes of neck pain and problems may include the following: Injury (damage to the muscles, tendons, and/or ligaments) Stress Herniated cervical disk Arthritis (i.e., osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis) Congenital abnormalities of the vertebrae and bones Tumo...
What to Do if You Get Something in Your Eye
What to Do if You Get Something in Your Eye When you get something in your eye, you may feel an impulse to rub furiously until the dust or dirt is gone. Don't. Rubbing the eyelid can drag foreign bodies across the cornea, causing increased irritation and possibly scratching the cornea. The cornea, the clear portion of the eye covering the iris and pupil, has lots of nerve endings and is very sensitive. Scratching the cornea can cause excruciating pain, as many contact lens wearers know. In addition, vig...
What You Must Know About Suicide
What You Must Know About Suicide In 2007, over 34,000 Americans committed suicide, making it the tenth leading cause of death. At one person every 16 minutes, it’s a national tragedy, but one each of us can help prevent. Depression is the major underlying cause of suicide. Understanding and recognizing the warning signs of depression, and suicidal behavior, are helpful in preventing suicide. The following answers to important questions can help you understand suicide and take steps to stop it. The reaso...
What You Need to Know About Vomiting
What You Need to Know About Vomiting Although nausea and vomiting can make you feel miserable, it's important to remember that these are not diseases, but rather symptoms of many illnesses. Nausea is a feeling of uneasiness in the stomach often tied to an urge to vomit. Nausea doesn't always lead to vomiting, however. Vomiting, which is often also called "throwing up," is the emptying of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Typical triggers These are some of the more common causes of nausea an...
What's Up With Sinusitis?
What's Up With Sinusitis? Millions of Americans are affected by sinusitis every year. Even so, it's often misdiagnosed and misunderstood by people with the condition. Sinusitis affects the sinuses, which connect to the nasal passages. Sinusitis is an infection in these sinuses. An infection can be caused by allergies, certain medications, changes in the air or abnormalities in the sinuses themselves. Acute sinusitis is the most common form of this condition. Because your nose can get stuffy when you hav...
What's Your Healthy Weight?
What's Your Healthy Weight? In today's society, the media hound celebrities whether they lose a pound or gain one, so it's hard to grasp the concept of a healthy weight. Obesity is determined by percentage of body fat and weight, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Having a large percentage of body fat, regardless of how much you weigh, is unhealthy. You could be of normal weight or underweight and still have an unhealthy amount of body fat. Being overweight means that you...
When and How to Stop Antidepressant Medication
When and How to Stop Antidepressant Medication Each year millions of Americans are prescribed antidepressants. There are many types of antidepressants. Medications include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft, Celexa and Paxil, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like Cymbalta and Effexor, tricyclic antidepressants including Elavil, Norpramin, Tofranil and others including Remeron, Wellbutrin, and Emsam. Many of these medications are used ...
When Exercising, Don't Skip Stretching
When Exercising, Don't Skip Stretching It's no stretch to say that a lot of us underestimate the value of flexibility. While it's true that stretching won't strengthen your heart or flatten your stomach, it can help you reach those goals more efficiently. Aerobic exercise and strength training need muscles that are in balance and work smoothly. That's where stretching comes in -- as a complement to the activity you choose. It's so important the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) includes flexibi...
When to Call 911, Your Doctor, or the Hospital
When to Call 911, Your Doctor, or the Hospital When a medical emergency occurs, it's not always easy to think clearly. But a crisis means that you need to act quickly. Learning about your choices in care ahead of time will help you when an emergency does happen. You should know what's an emergency if you are in a consumer-directed health plan, such as a medical savings account. These plans place more responsibility for health care decisions on your shoulders. When you need immediate medical help, you ha...
When to Call the Doctor for Childhood Illnesses
When to Call the Doctor for Childhood Illnesses Many childhood illnesses, including colds and stomachaches, are mild enough to be treated at home. But what about when the symptoms are more severe? When should you call the doctor? Treat at home In most cases, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can treat your children yourself if they have the following conditions: Cold or flu Mild fever Stomachache Vomiting and/or diarrhea Headache Minor cuts and scrapes Poison ivy or oak If you have questions ...
When to Call the Doctor for Chronic Disease Problems
When to Call the Doctor for Chronic Disease Problems Once you've been diagnosed with a chronic illness, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes, one of the best things you can do to help keep your condition under control is work closely with your health care provider. That means regular appointments, of course. But between office visits, symptoms may flare or new ones may crop up. How do you know if you're experiencing "just the usual," or if a headache, chest pain or shortness of breath is worthy of ...
When to Keep Your Child Home From School
When to Keep Your Child Home From School You have plenty of other things to do at 6:30 in the morning than play amateur doctor. Yet that's the situation many parents face when a child awakens with a health complaint and you must determine whether the complaint is serious enough to warrant a sick day. Here are some tips for deciding whether to keep a child at home: Monitor any symptoms of illness before your child goes to sleep at night. Make time to evaluate the symptoms in the morning. Symptoms can get...
When to Seek Help for Your Mental Health
When to Seek Help for Your Mental Health If you are in good emotional health, you are aware of your thoughts and feelings, generally can control your behaviors, and feel good about yourself. That doesn't mean a person with good emotional health won't ever have emotional problems, or even mental illness. But a person with good emotional health may be more likely to realize when a problem becomes troublesome enough to see a health care provider or a counselor, says the American Academy of Family Physician...
When You Have an Eye Allergy
When You Have an Eye Allergy Eye allergies affect more than seven in 10 people with allergies. Although not contagious, this type of eye problem can cause discomfort and aggravation to sufferers. An eye allergy can be seasonal when caused by pollens at a certain time of year, or year-round when caused by pets, feathers, perfumes, or eye makeup. Eye allergies are usually, but not always, associated with other allergic conditions, particularly hay fever and eczema. Symptoms Eye allergies usually affect bo...
When You Think Your Child Is Faking an Illness
When Your Child Refuses to Go to School It's Monday morning, time to get moving, but instead of getting ready for school your child is complaining about a stomachache, a headache, dizziness, or something similar. Is your child sick, or are they afraid to go to school? School avoidance syndrome is one of the most common causes of vague, unverifiable symptoms in school-age children. This syndrome may be triggered by stress. How does a parent distinguish between a real illness and anxiety? Ask yourself the...
When You’re Taking Heart Medications
When You’re Taking Heart Medications Millions of Americans take some kind of heart medication. For some people, this means downing a single daily pill to help lower blood pressure. For others, it may mean taking a wide variety of different drugs to strengthen heart function, decrease cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots, or stabilize heart rhythms. These little pills and potions are life-giving—and powerful. Even a small drop in your blood pressure reading can cut your risk of having a heart attack. ...
Who's Who in Health Care
Who's Who in Health Care When you have a health problem, a doctor, nurse, or other health care provider may care for you, depending on your condition. The following list of health care professionals can help you understand the wide array of people called upon to render care: Chiropractors practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis, and treatment. According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are...
Why Doctors Remove Cataracts
Why Doctors Remove Cataracts Perhaps the first thing you'll notice is a glare from oncoming headlights at night. Usually, a haze surrounds the lights. Then, you're likely to find reading more challenging. It's harder to see the letters, and they tend to blur together. This is what happens when you develop cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens, a clear, soft gelatinous structure behind the pupil that works much like a camera lens. The leading cause of cataracts is aging. Other contributin...
Why the Doctor Asks for a Urine Sample
Why the Doctor Asks for a Urine Sample It's probably safe to say that no one really likes giving a urine sample. But the fact is that few tests can match the routine urine analysis for telling your doctor about what's going on inside your body. The bladder can hold almost 2 cups of urine for two to five hours comfortably, and excretes about 2 quarts of waste products and additional water daily. And just as you use a dipstick to check your car's engine oil, doctors rely on a specially treated "dipstick,"...
Why the Doctor Looks at Your Fingernails
Why the Doctor Looks at Your Fingernails Did you know that certain medical problems can be detected when your health care provider examines your fingernails? Their color, shape and condition can tell your doctor a lot about your health, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). If you're in good health, your fingernails tend to be smooth, somewhat curved and slightly pink in color. These are some of the changes that may indicate a medical problem: Color. A bluish tinge to the nails suggest...
Why the Doctor Takes a Blood Sample
Why the Doctor Takes a Blood Sample You probably don't enjoy giving a blood sample, but it's an important part of a physical exam. From a small sample of your blood, your health care provider can order scores of tests and find out a lot about your overall health. Here are four common tests, according to the American Association of Clinical Chemistry: blood lipid level, red blood cell count, blood sugar level, and thyroid function tests. Blood lipid level: The levels of total cholesterol, LDL (low densit...
With Help, You Can Break a Bad Habit
With Help, You Can Break a Bad Habit Whether it's a minor habit like biting your nails or a more serious one, like habitual drinking, stopping a damaging or bothersome behavior is difficult. With a little hard work and strategy, however, it's possible to break a bad habit. One approach is called the transtheoretical model, and it can help you break habits by following specific strategies at certain points in your transition. Developed by psychologist James Prochaska in the late 1970s and early 1980s, th...
Women and Depression: Understanding the Gender Gap
Women and Depression: Understanding the Gender Gap Everyone feels worried, anxious, or sad from time to time. But when a woman has a true mental health disorder, including depression, she finds it hard to function normally. Cultural, biological, and social factors influence the role of women in society. Expectations within these frameworks may increase the risk of depression. Stress compounds the risk for depression, and when a person feels as though she cannot function within the established norm, symp...
Your Child's Diabetes Care Team
Your Child's Diabetes Care Team Having a child with diabetes can be overwhelming. Fortunately, a team of experts can guide you now and in the years to come. Diabetes care team Your child may see the following specialists. Doctor. Your child's doctor may be a diabetes specialist, pediatrician or general practitioner who has experience caring for people with diabetes. Make sure both you and your child feel comfortable asking questions and that you understand the explanations given. Diabetes educator. A ce...
Your Pancreas
Your Pancreas The pancreas is an oblong flat gland, about six inches long, located below the liver, deep in the abdomen, between the stomach and the spine. It is about as long as your hand in an irregular tube shape. The pancreas has two types of cells: Endocrine. The endocrine cells, the beta islet cells, produce and secrete the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These two hormones work together to regulate the level of sugar in the blood. Exocrine. The exocrine cells produce and secre...