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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 Exercises to Prevent an Aching Neck
5 Exercises to Prevent an Aching Neck One of the things many of us take for granted is a pain-free neck. It's only when we have a stiff or painful neck that we wish we had taken preventive measures. The exercises discussed below are to strengthen and stretch a normal neck. If you have preexisting neck pain or a spine condition, check with your healthcare provider before doing these exercises. There are several causes of neck pain, including poor posture and soft tissue abnormalities due to injury or wea...
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 Checklist for Depression
A Checklist for Depression What's the difference between a bad case of the blues and the painful mental disorder known as depression? According to the experts, impaired functioning is usually a clear-cut indication of a major depression. Here's a quick checklist of depression symptoms. If the list sounds familiar, you may want to see a counselor or a psychiatrist. Depressive mood. Do you suffer from feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or pessimism for days at a time? Sleep disturbance. Do you have ...
A Common Plastic Comes Under Scrutiny
A Common Plastic Comes Under Scrutiny Polycarbonate plastic is long-lasting, impact-resistant, and clear, making it a perfect material for baby bottles, refillable water bottles, sippy cups, and many other food and beverage containers. It is also found in eyeglass lenses, compact discs, dental sealants, and plastic dinnerware. And, as a resin, it forms the protective lining for metal food and beverage cans. But recent research has raised concerns over the health effects of a chemical used in the manufac...
A Guide to Common Medicinal Herbs
A Guide to Common Medicinal Herbs Here's a look at some of the more common medicinal herbs. Most herbs have not been completely tested for effectiveness or interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. Products added to herbal preparations may also cause interactions. Be aware that "natural" does not necessarily mean "safe." It is important to tell your healthcare providers about any herb or dietary supplement you are using. Chamomile (Flower) Considered by some to be a cure-all, chamomil...
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 Quick Look at Reflexes
A Quick Look at Reflexes What happens when your healthcare provider taps on your knee with a rubber mallet? Your leg kicks forward, seemingly on its own. And in a sense, your leg has a mind of its own — in your spinal cord. When the mallet hits your knee, it stretches the tendon just below the kneecap. That causes a signal to travel along a nerve to your spine, where a waiting motor neuron sends out an automatic command to contract the muscle attached to the tendon. When the muscle contracts, your leg k...
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 Safety Checklist for Parents
A Safety Checklist for Parents You can help keep your children safe by following these precautions and using common sense. General steps Safety tips include: Encourage your children to wash their hands often throughout the day, particularly after using the bathroom—and always before eating. Keep their immunizations up to date. Be sure you know where they are, who they're with, and what they're doing when out of your presence. Check the references of baby sitters or care givers carefully. In the home Man...
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...
Ability to Concentrate Isn't What It Used to Be
Ability to Concentrate Isn't What It Used to Be When you are rolled into the operating room at the hospital, you want to know that the surgeon is ready to concentrate on your procedure. When you board a jetliner for your next vacation destination, you want to know that the tower crew is rested and ready to direct the pilot through dense airport traffic. Concentration is vital in some professions. Even in our everyday lives, though, we all need to concentrate — to avoid traffic accidents, to get the job ...
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 Muscle Cramps
All About Muscle Cramps Most of us have experienced the pain of a muscle cramp or "charley horse." Muscle cramps--involuntary muscle contractions--are common. But even though they can be quite painful, they don't usually cause damage. Any muscle can cramp, but the muscles of the calf, back of the thigh, and front of the thigh are most commonly affected. Cramps are also common in the feet, hands, arms and abdomen, and along the rib cage. A muscle cramp can last from a few seconds to 15 minutes or even lo...
All About the Stomach
All About the Stomach Your stomach is as an organ needed for digestion. Digestion is the process of breaking down food into its smallest particles so your body can take in nutrients. The process of digestion involves the mixing of food, its movement through the digestive tract, and the chemical breakdown of the large molecules of food into smaller molecules. Digestion of food begins in the mouth. Teeth break the food into smaller particles. Next, an enzyme in saliva begins to break down starches into si...
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 Family Time Is Quality Time
All Family Time Is Quality Time Don't feel guilty about the amount of "quality time" you spend with your family. Some experts are beginning to reject the quality time movement for something much more basic. Here are some suggestions: Children want your undivided attention. When they talk, look at them and engage them in more conversation. Show your interest. Listen to their music. Who knows, you might begin liking it. Ask them what they want to do. Is baseball their love? Play catch in your backyard, or...
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...
Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous
Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous Although Alcoholics Anonymous and other abstinence-based 12-step programs are the primary form of treatment for alcoholism in the United States, many people are unable to stick with them and return to dependence on alcohol. Today there are alternatives to 12-step programs. Some treatment programs teach problem drinkers to reduce their drinking. This approach appeals to people who otherwise might not seek treatment. These programs are based on the belief that people c...
Alzheimer's Disease Quiz
What Do You Know About Alzheimer's Disease? Find out more about this degenerative disease of the brain by taking this quiz. 1. Alzheimer's is the most common form of which of these? You didn't answer this question. You answered The correct answer is It is a collection of symptoms characterized by decreasing intellectual and social abilities. A. Malnutrition B. Dementia C. Fatigue D. Psychosis 2. How is Alzheimer's diagnosed? You didn't answer this question. You answered The correct answer is No single t...
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...
Anemia Quiz
What Do You Know About Anemia? Anemia is a condition that affects the number of red blood cells in your body. A number of diseases and conditions can cause anemia. Find out more by taking the following quiz. 1. Anemia is a common condition. What happens when a person has anemia? You didn't answer this question. You answered The correct answer is These cells carry oxygen and iron to nourish all the cells in the body. Anemia isn't a single disease but a condition that has many different causes. A. The bod...
Anger Can Raise Cholesterol Levels
Anger Can Raise Cholesterol Levels When someone cuts you off on a busy highway, do you pound the steering wheel in fury and shout at the driver? Or do you swallow your anger and dwell on it later? Either way, you're not being kind to your heart, researchers say. If you respond to every anger-inducing situation by blowing your stack or by holding it in, you could be setting yourself up for serious heart problems. Why? It's simple. According to Ohio State University researchers, there's evidence that peop...
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...
Aspirin and Your Heart: Should You or Shouldn’t You?
Aspirin and Your Heart: Should You or Shouldn’t You? In addition to taking aspirin to relieve pain and fever, millions of Americans take a low-dose or “baby” aspirin daily to reduce their risk for heart attack and stroke. Should you join in? Probably not, unless you have your health care provider's OK. That's because the benefits may not make it worth the increased risk for bleeding in people who are at low risk for heart attack or stroke. The answers to the following questions can help you understand t...
Athletic Shoes: Lace Them to Fit
Athletic Shoes: Lace Them to Fit Experts say proper shoe lacing makes a difference for your feet. It's just one of many simple things you can do to safeguard your feet while you put them through the demands of an athletic workout or even a long day of walking over all sorts of surfaces. Simply lacing your shoes or sneakers properly, along with choosing a shoe that fits your foot correctly, can add comfort to your stride and prevent foot injuries. Importance of good fit Improper fit and a poor lacing met...
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...
Avoid Injury Around Barbecue Grills
Avoid Injury Around Barbecue Grills The act of flipping a row of sizzling burgers on a barbecue grill is one of summer's simple pleasures. But there is danger lurking in those glowing embers, and the potential damage is far worse than a few charred cheeseburgers. Because barbecue grills are operated in a casual, relaxed atmosphere, they tend to be taken for granted. And that can lead to serious injury, even death. Each year, Americans go to the emergency room because of injuries from carbon monoxide poi...
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 Careful With Kitchen Knives
Be Careful With Kitchen Knives Every year, about thousands of people end up in emergency rooms with injuries they receive by using kitchen knives. But with a few cutting-edge tips, you can avoid the biggest danger of kitchen work. Here's how: Halve it When chopping or dicing curved foods, such as eggplant or zucchini, start by cutting the object in half, to create a flat, stable end. Place the flat surface against the cutting board and go to work. Hold it Chefs learn a special holding technique that pro...
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...
Be in the Know When on the Go in Winter
Be in the Know When on the Go in Winter If you live in an area where winter brings snow, slush and ice, the best advice about driving in these conditions is not to drive in such conditions. But if you must venture out, be prepared. Many newer vehicles have added safety features that can take some of the hazard out of winter driving. But it is important to know how to use optional equipment such as an anti-lock brake system (ABS). Give yourself a brake In slippery conditions, using the proper emergency b...
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,...
Beware of Over-the-Counter Contact Lenses
Beware of Over-the-Counter Contact Lenses Want to make your brown eyes blue? You've got lots of company. Decorative contact lenses have grown more and more popular. The young especially find them appealing. You can even find lenses that look like cat eyes or sports team logos. You can buy contacts with no prescription at some beauty salons, flea markets, and websites. But those contacts may be trouble. The FDA warns that nonprescription lenses raise major risks of blindness and eye injuries. The dangers...
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...
Biking Your Way to Better Health
Biking Your Way to Better Health Riding a bicycle can be an excellent fitness activity. Cycling is also a good way to cross-train, because it puts much less stress on your joints, knees, and hips than running or walking. Getting a good workout on a bike isn't always easy, though, because you have more time to recover — or to just coast. With this in mind, here's how to get the most out of your ride, whether you're cycling on vacation, around your neighborhood, or to and from work. Size up your bike Your...
Binge Drinking Dangers for Young People
Binge Drinking Dangers for Young People For millions of young adults in this country, the weekend will pass in an alcoholic blur. They'll toss down drink after drink as fast as they can, throw up, pass out, revive themselves, then reach for more booze. For one or two of these otherwise healthy kids, the next drinking binge could end in death. Binge drinking is drinking to get drunk—the point at which the drinker is risking health or behavioral problems as a consequence of drinking. For men, that means h...
Bone Spurs Are a Thorny Problem
Bone Spurs Are a Thorny Problem If you wonder what that stabbing pain is in your heel, it may be a bone spur. Bone spur is a general term used to describe a knobby, abnormal bone growth. Bone spurs are also known as osteophytes. Scientists believe bone spurs happen because of osteoarthritis or when the body tries to heal itself after a trauma by replacing bone. The growth is usually small and often unnoticed. Although bone spurs can form on any bone, they usually happen on joints where 2 bones come toge...
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...
Buying a Bike for Your Child
Buying a Bike for Your Child Is your child ready for his or her first bicycle? Most youngsters learn the basics of pedaling, steering, and braking on a tricycle or "big wheel" cycle, and around age 4 are ready to try a two-wheeler with training wheels. A bicycle with training wheels gives children more practice riding without worrying about balance. Between ages 4 and 8, your child will probably develop enough coordination, agility, and a sense of balance to graduate to a bike without training wheels. Y...
Buying Guidelines for Safe and Fun Toys
Buying Guidelines for Safe and Fun Toys The right toys can help children develop imagination and coordination. The wrong ones can do more harm than good. Toy-related injuries send tens of thousands of children to the emergency room each year. Many injuries occur when parents give their children toys meant for older children. Although many toy manufacturers follow safety guidelines for their products, some don't. Your challenge is to find toys your children will enjoy and that you know are safe. These su...
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...
Celiac Disease Can Harm Digestion
Celiac Disease Can Harm Digestion Suppose you or a friend has frequent abdominal distress, bloating, and other symptoms that seem to puzzle doctors. Today, experts believe those doctors should consider celiac disease. Also known as celiac sprue, this illness can cause a range of symptoms and problems. Among them: diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, irritability, infertility in women, depression, and anemia. Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and...
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...
Child Health Emergencies
Child Health Emergencies Having a very sick or severely injured child is a parent’s worst nightmare. If it happens to your child, would you know the best way to go about getting treatment? Knowing when to call an ambulance is important. Signs that need your attention Many emergencies involve sudden injuries caused by bicycle or car crashes, falls, burns, near drownings, electric shocks, or poisoning. If your child has any of the following signs or symptoms, remain calm, and call 911: Unconsciousness, fa...
Choosing a Hospital
Choosing a Hospital You don't have time to choose a hospital if you have a health emergency. But if you’re facing surgery or treatment for a particular health condition, taking time to find a hospital that meets your needs is well worth the effort, says the American Hospital Association. The following information can help you understand and research hospitals in your community. Hospital types Many communities have several kinds of hospitals: General and community hospitals. Most of these hospitals can t...
Clinical Guidelines for Heart Failure
Clinical Guidelines for Heart Failure To receive the best care for heart failure, talking frankly with your healthcare team is a good place to start. It’s also helpful to know about a resource published by health experts that outlines treatment plans recommended for patients with chronic heart failure. Since 1980, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have jointly published clinical guidelines to help healthcare providers create good care plans for their patients. The gui...
Clinical Trials: Should You Participate?
Clinical Trials: Should You Participate? Being involved in a clinical trial has risks and benefits. Being informed and asking lots of questions can help you make a decision. A clinical trial is a research study that uses human volunteers to try to answer a specific question. Whenever a new arthritis drug or breast cancer treatment hits the market, clinical trials are an important step in the approval process. Clinical trials are held for different reasons, says the National Institutes of Health (NIH): T...
Common Injuries of the Shoulder
Common Injuries of the Shoulder Whether throwing a ball, paddling a canoe, lifting boxes, or pushing a lawn mower, we rely heavily on our shoulders to perform a number of activities. Normally, the shoulder has a wide range of motion, making it the most mobile joint in the body. Because of this flexibility, however, it is not very stable and is easily injured. The shoulder is made up of two main bones: the end of upper arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula). The end of the humerus is round a...
Concussions: Caution Is a No-Brainer
Concussions: Caution Is a No-Brainer Concussions are a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow or jolt to the head. It forces the soft tissue of the brain to knock against the skull's bony surface. Although they range from mild to severe, they're all serious injuries that can harm the way the brain works. For many of these injuries, the athletes never lose consciousness yet still suffer serious damage. Common immediate signs and symptoms of concussion include: Headache Dizziness Nausea Vomiting Fatigue ...
Conditioning Strategies for Peak Athletic Performance
Conditioning Strategies for Peak Athletic Performance No matter what sport or athletic activity you do, conditioning will make you better at it. Every sport is a power event, whether you're hitting a ball or riding a bike up a hill. In addition to working on the specific skills of the sport, you also want to build up the power you need to get the job done faster, harder and better. You increase your power in 2 key ways: Doing resistance training, such as working with weights, to build basic muscle stren...
Contact Lens Safety Tips
Contact Lens Safety Tips Here is a list of safety tips from the American Optometric Association: Visit a reputable eye care professional for a complete eye exam every 12 months or more often if directed by your eye care professional. Use only contact lenses approved by the FDA and prescribed by a licensed eye care practitioner. Never swap contact lenses with another person. Don't wear lenses longer than prescribed. Also, don’t wear them when sleeping unless otherwise directed. If eyes become red or irri...
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...
CPR Training and You
CPR Training and You Should I get CPR training? Yes, you should get CPR training! Every year, thousands of people have a cardiac arrest. This is when their heart stops beating. It happens at home or in other places outside of a hospital. Most people who have cardiac arrest die before they reach the hospital, but CPR can greatly increase their chances of surviving. Unfortunately, few people who have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital get CPR. If you know CPR, you can help save a life. You may not want ...
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...
Curbing Mental Health Costs
Curbing Mental Health Costs Each year, 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. suffer from a mental health problem. The most common mental health problems are anxiety, substance abuse, and depression. Mental health care can be costly, even for people with health insurance. Medications for these conditions are costly. Also, therapist charges per counseling session vary. Costs depend on where you live, the therapist's level of training and years of experience. What to think about These tips can help control your costs ...
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...
Depression Not a Normal Part of Aging
Depression Not a Normal Part of Aging Depression is not a natural part of growing old. Instead, it's a medical condition that should be treated aggressively. Depression in older adults, or in anyone, is a serious illness. Some groups are at higher risk, but the average older person is not depressed any more than a young person. Depression affects about 7 million out of the 39 million adults older than 65 in the U.S. Non-Hispanic white men older than 85 have the highest rates of suicide. Many of these me...
Diabetes and Sensitive Topics
Diabetes and Sensitive Topics Diabetes affects every part of your life, and it can create problems that aren't easy to talk about with your healthcare provider. It's important, however, to bring them up, because most problems are treatable. And though you might feel embarrassed, it may help to know that providers see these problems every day. Here are some common sensitive topics that people with diabetes deal with and suggestions for how to talk about them. Depression Depression refers to feelings of s...
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...
Do I Really Need a Fire Extinguisher?
Do I Really Need a Fire Extinguisher? You probably know already that a smoke alarm is by far the best home-safety investment you can make. For as little as $10, a smoke detector can help you literally rest assured that a fire won't catch you sleeping. But you'd like to take the next step in fire protection. Perhaps you'd like to be able to fight a fire before it spreads through your home. Should you buy a fire extinguisher? Yes, provided you know when and how to use it. Fire extinguishers can be a small...
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 Ignore Dry Eyes
Don't Ignore Dry Eyes You might feel a sand-like grittiness in your eyes that can range from mild to severe. People describe the feeling as a lack of lubrication. That’s exactly what it is. Your body isn't making enough tears, or the chemicals in your tears are out of balance. When this happens, you have dry eye. Dry eye is a medical diagnosis that at times is not taken seriously, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Optometric Association (AOA). According to the AAO and the...
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...
Dress for Success--and Your Health
Dress for Success—and Your Health Are you a slave to fashion? You might be doing damage to more than just your pocketbook. For women, ill-fitting, irritating, or otherwise inappropriate clothing and accessories could contribute to health issues ranging from back pain to crooked toes to eye infections. Avoid these faux pas by shopping smarter—and healthier. What lies beneath First things first: Good undergarments are the foundation of any look. Given their important functions and their close proximity to...
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...
Ease the Pain of Muscle Cramps
Ease the Pain of Muscle Cramps You're on the final leg of your daily run when a cramp strikes your lower leg. What causes this painful problem that's sometimes called a Charley Horse? Experts aren't exactly sure. Cramps can occur during exercise when a muscle becomes tired from repeated activity and when there's a salt/fluid imbalance. The muscle suddenly contracts, often causing a very tight ball or knot. Some cramps occur at night, long after exercise. Cramps do not mean there is a problem with the mu...
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...
Easy Ways You Can Safeguard Your Sight
Easy Ways You Can Safeguard Your Sight Every year, thousands of Americans injure their eyes or damage their vision. Follow these guidelines to help protect yourself and your family. Everyday eye care precautions These suggestions will help protect your eyes while following your daily routine: Wear plastic safety goggles when working with household cleaning products, weed-killers, fertilizers, and other chemicals or with power tools like electric drills, saws, sanders, and yard equipment. Wear 1-piece pl...
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. ...
Emotional Eating: How to Cope
Emotional Eating: How to Cope If you raid the fridge when you’re stressed or upset, that’s called emotional eating. Emotional eating affects most everyone from time to time, but regularly letting your feelings guide your food intake can affect your health. Sadness, boredom, and other negative emotions can drive emotional eating. Emotional eating includes polishing off a container of ice cream after a romantic breakup or devouring a bag of potato chips when you’re home alone on a Saturday night. But happ...
Essential Guidelines for Fireworks Safety
Essential Guidelines for Fireworks Safety Thousands of Americans, many of them children, are injured each year in incidents associated with fireworks, according to the National Council of Fireworks Safety. Most of these injuries occur during the Fourth of July holiday and include serious burns, loss of fingers, and blindness. Though the most disabling injuries occur with illegal firecrackers, such as M-80s, the majority of injuries are caused by bottle rockets, sparklers, and Roman candles. Staying safe...
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...
Eye Care Essentials for Computer Users
Eye Care Essentials for Computer Users If you spend hours each day working at a computer screen, you may suffer from eyestrain, blurred vision, itchy eyes, and occasional double vision. However, studies have found no sign that working on a computer screen causes permanent vision problems. Short-term problems, like tired, irritated, or watery eyes, do bother many people who work at computers. These problems can usually be corrected by wearing a special pair of glasses for computer work. Also, adjusting l...
Eye Protection Critical in Sports
Eye Protection Critical in Sports Your budding baseball star steps to the plate hoping to whack the ball—but sometimes the ball whacks back. Each year, thousands of children suffer sports-related eye injuries, says the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Optometric Association (AOA). Sports is the leading cause of school-age children's eye injuries, but most of those injuries are preventable. The AAO, the AOA, and the American Academy of Pediatrics say all kids in organized sports s...
Eye Protection Keeps Kids in the Game
Eye Protection Keeps Kids in the Game Protective eyewear can help prevent many of the 40,000 eye injuries related to sports that happen to children each year. The sports that cause most of these injuries are basketball, baseball, pool sports, and racket sports. But any sport that involves something that is fired or thrown is considered hazardous to the eyes, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA). To help prevent sports eye injuries, children should use protective athletic eyewear, even ...
Eye Quiz
The Eye Quiz Don't sit too close to the TV. Don't watch TV without a light on in the room. Don't use over-the-counter eyedrops. Are these statements true? Find out by taking the following quiz. 1. Sitting too close to the television will harm your eyes. You didn't answer this question. You answered The correct answer is This is one of the biggest myths, eye experts say. Sitting too close to the TV does not make vision worse. A. True B. False 2. If I see well, then I don't need eye checkups. You didn't a...
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 Fresh Forms of Indoor Fitness
Five Fresh Forms of Indoor Fitness When the temperature drops this winter, don't let your motivation for exercise fall along with it. Cold weather doesn't have to put a chill on your fitness routine, even if the treadmill or stair-stepper seems boring compared with jogging or riding your bike outside. It is important to ask yourself: How can I make exercise different to make it more motivating? If you're seeking an answer, you may want to consider these 5 indoor fitness choices, the American Council on ...
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...
Food and Emotion: Why Some People Eat Too Much
Food and Emotion: Why Some People Eat Too Much America has a weight problem. More than one-third of U.S. adults are classified as overweight or obese. And the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Overeating is at the heart of this troubling trend. And, in some cases, you may overeat as a desperate attempt to answer emotional needs. How can you address your emotional needs in healthier ways? Try these tips: Look for responses to emotional discomfort other than food. The next time you’re feeling blue, ta...
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 healthcare provider when they need to. This may be because they feel embarrassed, have had a bad experience, fear judgment, or have a healthcare provider who is uninformed. Here are some health issues you should be aware of and talk about with your healthcare provider. Hormone issu...
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 ...
Get the Right Help for Headaches
Get the Right Help for Headaches Most people who suffer from headaches tell their doctors about their pain only as an afterthought. And many sufferers have never even seen a health care provider for their condition, according to the National Headache Foundation. The result is a lot of needless suffering. If headaches disrupt your work, social life, or home life, it's time to make an appointment for a medical evaluation. When seeking treatment for headaches, start with your primary care provider. Discuss...
Get to the Heart of Oral Health
Get to the Heart of Oral Health Research shows a link between gum disease and heart disease and stroke. Evidence is mounting that people with periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection, may be more at risk for heart disease and stroke. In fact, gum disease may also worsen existing heart problems. The inflammation caused by gum disease may contribute to the buildup of fatty deposits inside heart arteries. Although gum disease is not an independent risk factor for heart disease or stroke, there are ...
Getting the Most for Your Health Club Dollar
Getting the Most for Your Health Club Dollar Joining a fitness facility is costly—from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000 per year. To make sure your money is well spent, manage your membership the same way you would any other major investment—by keeping your eye on your goals. If you know what you want to get out of your club, in terms of health, fitness, and lifestyle, you're more likely to use it in ways that will keep you motivated and satisfied. Keep your goals in mind and shop around if you...
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...
Glasses Can Help Even Young Children
Glasses Can Help Even Young Children When should a child get his or her first pair of glasses? When he or she needs them. That may be as young as a few months of age. Healthcare providers who specialize in children's eye care say kids usually become near- or farsighted between ages 6 and 12. Farsightedness may be diagnosed even earlier, sometimes in infancy. Even infants can wear glasses if they need help to see well. Experts agree that all children should have an eye screening before they enter school....
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...
Hand Tool Safety
Hand Tool Safety Despite the advent of power tools that do everything from drilling holes to driving nails, conventional hand tools are still strong sellers. You may have some in your house, and you might assume they're much safer than their electric brethren. But don't get overconfident. While hand tools do not pose the same lethal threat as some power tools, they are still a factor in a number of accidents each year. Here are some guidelines for safe use of simple tools: Always wear safety goggles. Yo...
Handling Hazardous Materials at Home
Handling Hazardous Materials at Home Many common household products contain chemicals that can cause injury or death if they are not handled, stored, or used properly. Some of the household products that contain hazardous chemicals are oven cleaners, tile cleaners, toilet-bowl cleaners, liquid drain openers, antifreeze, chrome-wheel cleaners, rust removers, gasoline, motor oil, lead paint, turpentine, lacquer thinner, and muriatic acid. The following safety precautions can help keep you and your family ...
Have a Hazard-Free Halloween
Have a Hazard-Free Halloween When we think of Halloween, we picture children laughing in colorful costumes, jack-o'-lanterns glowing in house windows, and buckets brimming with candy and treats. Experts warn, however, that this fun-filled night can pose safety hazards. An alternative is to throw a Halloween party and invite kids, rather than have them out on the street. If your kids will be going door-to-door trick-or-treating, however, some precautions can make the evening safe and enjoyable for everyo...
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...
Health Newcomer: The Patient Advocate
Health Newcomer: The Patient Advocate The average health care provider visit lasts less than 15 minutes, so if you've got lots of questions about your illness or medical bills or insurance claims, what do you do? Until now, your choice has been to ask a nurse, social worker, or the staff at your health insurance company. Over the past decade, however, a go-to person known as a patient advocate has appeared on the health care list. This person can provide answers, education, support, and care to patients...
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...
Heart Disease: Communicating with Several Providers
Heart Disease: Communicating with Several Providers If you are like most people with heart disease, you have several healthcare providers who each treat you for a different health issue. When a team of healthcare providers cares for you, it's important to keep each one up-to-date on your overall health. Doing so helps them understand the "big picture" of your treatment, while preventing medicine interactions. Keep these tips in mind: Tell your healthcare providers the names and specialties of all your o...
Heart Disease: Considering Cold Relief
Heart Disease: Considering Cold Relief Colds and the flu can be serious for people with heart disease. Not only are you at risk for pneumonia, but it’s hard to tell whether your symptoms are a sign of a cold or of worsening heart failure. And if you do have a cold, you may not be able to take over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to help you feel better. Medicines such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or diclofenac, for example, also called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can cause you to retain fluid ...
Heart Disease: How Disease Management Helps
Heart Disease: How Disease Management Helps Regular physical activity and a heart-healthy diet are essential components of managing heart disease. On some days, though, it may be difficult to keep up with your exercise routine or meal plan. It’s not always easy coping with heart disease on your own—but the good news is you don’t have to. When you participate in a disease management program for people with heart disease, you get lots of help and support. That can help motivate you to stick with your trea...
Heart Disease: Keep Your Gums Healthy
Heart Disease: Keep Your Gums Healthy People with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease than people with healthy gums. Gum disease occurs when too many bacteria are thriving in the mouth. Gum disease is associated with an increased risk for heart disease, possibly because of overall increased inflammation. Here’s what you can do to keep your gums healthy and protect your heart: Brush and floss your teeth every day. See your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. Let your dentist know wh...
Heart Disease: Managing Multiple Medications
Heart Disease: Managing Multiple Medications Like many people with heart disease, you probably take more than one medication. Heart medicines may help you be more active, and live longer and more comfortably. Using them correctly is essential to your health. Whether you take prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) medicine or both, there are important guidelines to follow to get the most from your medicines—and to avoid unpleasant or dangerous side effects: Always follow the label directions. Follow ...
Heart Failure and Physical Activity
Heart Failure and Physical Activity If you have heart failure, you may wonder if physical activity is good for you. You may worry that putting more strain on your heart could make your heart worse. But remember, the heart is a muscle, and like other muscles, it gets stronger with use. Regular and moderate physical activity, such as walking, swimming, dancing, or biking, can improve heart failure symptoms. It can also reduce stress, and increase energy levels. Physical activity also decreases blood press...
Heart Failure: After Hospitalization
Heart Failure: After Hospitalization Being in the hospital for heart failure can be a difficult and frightening experience. Once you’re back at home, you may worry about your health. Here’s how you can stay healthy and prevent the problems that can lead to a stay in the hospital. Eat healthy foods You’ll need to consume less salt and sodium. Try to eat fewer fast foods and packaged foods, such as canned soups, frozen meals ("TV dinners") and snack foods, which are high in sodium. Anything brined, such a...
Heart Failure: Breathe More Easily
Heart Failure: Breathe More Easily One of the earliest symptoms of heart failure is shortness of breath. When your heart can't function well enough to pump the blood out of your heart, this causes blood to back up in the blood vessels leading to the lungs. Fluid then leaks from your blood vessels into the air sacs in your lungs. This makes it difficult for oxygen to enter the blood, causing shortness of breath. You may experience breathlessness during exertion, such as when carrying groceries, climbing ...
Heart Failure: Getting the Care You Need
Heart Failure: Getting the Care You Need If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with heart failure, you probably have a lot of questions. What can I expect from treatment? What can I do to manage the condition? What kind of care will be needed in the future? It's important to have an open and honest discussion with your healthcare provider about these concerns. These tips can help you make sure your needs are met. It's important to ask your health care provider questions during your visit to make sure...
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 Back Work for You
Help Your Back Work for You Your back is important to almost every move you make, but you probably won't realize that until you hurt it. Then you may wish you could return to the days when you took your back for granted and didn't have any pain. Even though you can't turn back time, you can recover from most back injuries. You can also learn how to protect your back so you'll keep moving and stay comfortable in the future. For people younger than 45, back pain is the most common cause of disability. A v...
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 Someone with Memory Loss
Helping Someone with Memory Loss Diagnosing memory problems can be puzzling. In older adults, it’s easy to mistake such problems as part of the everyday memory loss that some people experience as they grow older. Memory problems, however, may be a sign of a more serious diagnosis, such as Alzheimer disease or dementia. Check with a healthcare provider if your loved one is: Unable to remember familiar things or people More and more forgetful or has trouble remembering recent events Having trouble doing f...
Helping Teens Embrace Self-Care
Helping Teens Embrace Self-Care Before teens leave home, parents need to teach them to make their own health care decisions. One way is to provide information and involve them in their own self-care from an early age. It is important to remember that adolescents' ability to cope with increasing responsibility is often enhanced by the parents' willingness to support them as they face new challenges. By involving teens as full participants in their self-care, they're more likely to choose healthy behavior...
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...
Hepatitis C: A Threat from the Past
Hepatitis C: A Threat from the Past Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Over time, HCV can lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. Most people who have hepatitis C don’t have any symptoms for years. Many don’t know that they are infected until their liver is already damaged. Are you at risk? Hepatitis C is spread by contact with the blood of someone who has HCV. These factors raise your risk for hepatitis C: Injecting yourself with illegal drugs, even if it was ...
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 COPD Affects the Lungs
How COPD Affects the Lungs Every breath can be a chore when you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The term COPD includes conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, the American Lung Association says. Each of these conditions prevents the lungs from working properly. Airway swelling All people who have COPD develop swelling in the airways. This decreases the airways’ natural elasticity, restricts the flow of air through the airways, and limits lung capacity. With emphysema, the...
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 Old Is "Old Enough" for Contacts?
How Old Is "Old Enough" for Contacts? Is your child ready for contact lens wear? How old is "old enough"? These are among the questions asked most often when it comes to contact lenses, says the Contact Lens Council, a nonprofit organization. There are no set rules with children and lenses. Much depends on how responsible your child is. Children as young as 8 may do well with contact lenses, but there are some older teens who may be too immature to handle the responsibility. Eye care providers usually w...
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 Avoid Common First Aid Mistakes
How to Avoid Common First Aid Mistakes When you're scrambling to make a burn feel better or find an antidote for someone who has mistakenly swallowed a poisonous chemical, you might fall back on some of the folklore of first aid. Rather than helping, these common first aid mistakes can actually make matters worse. Here are a few common first aid falsehoods and what you should do instead. Mistake: Putting butter on a burn. You've probably heard the tip to put butter on a burn, but bear in mind that it's ...
How to Be a Well Informed Health Care User
How to Be a Well Informed Health Care User Taking the time to become a well informed health care user is a matter of self-protection. The benefits of being an active health care user include better health, more effective health care, and lower health costs. It takes time and patience, but the peace of mind is worth it. Here are some tips for getting the best value for your health care dollar. Learn how to work with your health plan The more you know about your health plan, the better you can use it in y...
How to Be a Wise Healthcare Consumer
How to Be a Wise Healthcare Consumer Every healthcare provider visit or medicine treatment presents you with choices and responsibilities. Sometimes the right choice isn’t so clear. Here are common problems you may run into as a healthcare consumer, with tips for wise responses: The treatment your healthcare provider prescribed isn’t working. Maybe it’s the wrong treatment for you. Or maybe you’re taking the right treatment in the wrong way. In any case, your healthcare provider needs to know. Ask him o...
How to Be an Active Patient
How to Be an Active Patient People who are actively involved in their medical care stay healthier, recover quicker when they're ill and live longer, healthier lives, says the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Active patients participate as partners in their health care with their health care providers. They don't make health care decisions on their own, but they're in charge of the process. They schedule appropriate visits to their health care providers, plan ahead to get the most out of those...
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 Cut Your Hospital Bills
How to Cut Your Hospital Bills Even with health insurance, being hospitalized can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. You may not be able to avoid a hospital stay, but you may be able to trim costs. If you are in a consumer-directed health plan, like a medical savings account, knowing how to cut your costs is even more important. These plans place more responsibility for health care decisions on your shoulders. Before your stay Be sure you understand your health insurance policy. Read your manu...
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 Find Dr. Right
How to Find Dr. Right Your relationship with your health care provider is one of the most important in your life. You should be able to trust your health care provider with your most private health issues or problems and should feel certain he or she is your partner. You may need to choose a new health care provider if your current one stops participating in your health insurance plan or no longer satisfies your particular needs. Steps to take The following suggestions can help you find a new health car...
How to Get Medications for Less
How to Get Medications for Less The best way to reduce your prescription drug costs is to follow a healthier lifestyle. Improving your diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking can improve your health enough that you may be able to give up or take lower doses of expensive medications. The following tips from the FDA can help you cut your prescription costs by a lot. Ask for generics If your health care provider prescribes a brand-name drug, always ask if there’s a dr...
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 Keep Your Gums and Teeth Healthy
How to Keep Your Gums and Teeth Healthy Brushing and flossing your teeth isn't hard to do. And doing both properly can help prevent gum disease and tooth loss. Gum disease is caused by bacteria found in plaque and tartar. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the teeth and is mostly comprised of bacteria, mucus, food, and other particles. When plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar, which gives a home to bacteria, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Bacteria in plaque and tartar c...
How to Make Heart-Healthy Food Choices
How to Make Heart-Healthy Food Choices Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease and other heart conditions. Assuming most Americans know this fact, why is heart disease still the number 1 killer among adults? A major reason is that most Americans eat too many high-fat, high-calorie foods. These steps will help you reduce your risk for this condition: Eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2½ to 3 cups of vegetables every day. Produce is full of vitamins, minera...
How to Manage Diabetes During Illness
How to Manage Diabetes During Illness Battling a cold, getting over an injury or undergoing surgery is no fun for anyone. For people with diabetes, managing blood sugar is an extra concern. The stress of illness or injury can cause blood sugar to rise and make insulin less effective. This can lead to serious problems, including diabetic coma. That’s why it’s important to know what to do when illness strikes. Manage medicine When you’re sick, your blood sugar can be high even if you’re not eating much. S...
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 Map Out a Safe Vacation
How to Map Out a Safe Vacation If you're going on vacation—whether to cruise the Greek islands or visit your grandchildren in Maine—a little planning goes a long way. Although we all enjoy a bit of excitement on vacation, most of us don't like unexpected surprises. By thinking ahead and planning for your vacation before you go, the only surprises you'll encounter are the nice ones, such as finding a deserted beach or hearing your grandchild's first words. Health matters When getting ready to leave, you ...
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 ...
How to Take Part in Every Medical Decision
How to Take Part in Every Medical Decision In some medical situations, there’s a clear right answer regarding which treatment is best. In other cases, such as breast or prostate cancer, for example, there are several valid treatment choices. What is best for you can depend on your values, personal choices, the stage of your condition, cost considerations, and the risks and benefits that go along with each choice. Do your research People who are well-informed play an important role in deciding how they’r...
In Case of Emergency...Be Ready for Anything
In Case of Emergency...Be Ready for Anything You may not want to think about it, but wherever you live you could someday face the wrath of nature—or man. You shouldn't duck this subject until you're dealing with the threat or the aftermath of a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, fire, avalanche, or even a terrorist attack. In the hurried confusion, you're likely to miss important items as you prepare your home or leave to seek shelter. Experts at the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Mana...
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 ...
Insulin and Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin and Type 2 Diabetes If you have type 2 diabetes and your healthcare provider recently put you on insulin, you may feel disappointed that lifestyle changes and diabetes pills weren’t enough. Or, you may think that you should have tried harder to manage your diabetes. But you shouldn’t blame yourself. Many people with diabetes need to change their treatment plan at some point. There are advantages to this. For example, taking insulin can make it easier to manage your blood sugar and prevent compli...
Insulin Pump Use
Insulin Pump Use Can anyone with diabetes use an insulin pump? Insulin pumps are used most often by people with type 1 diabetes, but some people with type 2 diabetes also use them. Insulin pumps can be used instead of giving insulin by injection. These pager-sized pumps clip to your clothing or attach directly to your body. Through a tube attached to your skin, usually on the abdomen, thigh or buttock, the pump delivers a continuous (basal) dose of insulin 24 hours a day. Before a meal, you push a butto...
International Travel Quiz
How Much Do You Know About International Travel and Health? Test your knowledge of how to stay healthy when traveling abroad. 1. International travel may require prophylactic medicines and vaccines. How long before departure should you see your doctor? You didn't answer this question. You answered The correct answer is Some vaccines must be given in a series over several days or weeks. You should see your doctor as early as possible before your departure to find out what medications or vaccines are reco...
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 Bursitis Busting Up the Joint?
Is Bursitis Busting Up the Joint? Pity the poor bursa. We have about 150 of these simple, fluid-filled sacs. Most of us have never heard of them until they start hurting. Known all together as "bursae," they protect and lubricate joints, reducing rubbing as bones, tendons, muscles, and ligaments do their jobs. Bursae vary in size, but many (like those in the shoulder) are about the size of a silver dollar. What is bursitis and what causes it? Bursae can become swollen and painful, a condition called bur...
Is It a Virus or a Bacterium? Know the Difference
Is It a Virus or a Bacterium? Know the Difference In general, most colds and other respiratory infections are not serious for adults in good health. It's just the hassle of dealing with runny noses, coughing, sneezing, fever, headaches, aching muscles, and fitful sleeping. But knowing whether your infection is caused by a virus or a bacterium makes a difference in how it is treated. Which is it? Bacteria are one-celled organisms that multiply by simple division. They are linked to such respiratory infec...
Is It Time for a New Joint?
Is It Time for a New Joint? Millions of us struggle with pain and loss of motion because of joint damage caused by arthritis. If other treatments don’t offer relief, you may wonder about turning in your worn-out joints for new ones. Surgery may not be your first choice. But if you are a candidate for total joint replacement, know that more than 90% of people have good to excellent results, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. They get relief from pain a...
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 Child at Risk for Hepatitis B?
Is Your Child at Risk for Hepatitis B? The preteen years are a time when young people try out new things and begin to exercise their independence. For these reasons, it is very important for your child to be vaccinated against hepatitis B. The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is spread through having sex with an infected person without using a condom and by sharing infected needles. It also is spread through unplanned needle sticks or from an infected mother to her baby during birth. Even sharing a toothbrush or...
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 ...
It’s Snow Fun: Skiing and Snowboarding
It's Snow Fun: Skiing and Snowboarding Skiing and snowboarding are thrilling activities and great workouts. Both sports are excellent cardiovascular exercises that strengthen the heart. Because they are also weight-bearing exercises, they strengthen your bones as they tone your muscles. Cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercises also work to reduce your risk for chronic diseases, and lower blood pressure. They also help you maintain a healthy body weight. Through regular aerobic exercise like skiing and snow...
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 an Eye on Your Child's Vision
Keep an Eye on Your Child's Vision When it comes to vision, you are your child's first line of defense. You notice something, watch it for a while, and call your healthcare or eye care provider (ophthalmologist or optometrist) to find out if what you're seeing is a problem. That's how it should be, experts say. But many of America's kids do not even have a healthcare provider. About 20% of children have some type of visual problem. They can be far-sighted or near-sighted. They can have astigmatism. This...
Keep Kids Safe During Yard Work
Keep Kids Safe During Yard Work Power tools make yard work easier, from mowing the lawn to trimming the bushes. These tools, however, also pose a threat to children if precautions aren't taken. Accidents involving lawnmowers send thousands of children age 18 or younger to emergency rooms each year. And several thousand more are hurt by other outdoor power tools. Lawnmower injuries include cuts, burns, and other injuries to arms and legs, loss of fingers and limbs, inhalational injuries from toxic fumes,...
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 Party Drinking Under Control
Keeping Party Drinking Under Control Drinking too much alcohol clouds your judgment and can lead to actions that put your health in danger. Those actions may include driving while drunk, going out in subfreezing temperatures without dressing properly, or falling off a curb or down stairs. A standard-sized drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 shot of hard liquor in a mixed drink. Make sure you are aware of this when considering how much you drink. Drinking alcohol responsibly If you choose ...
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' Headaches: The Diagnosis Is Difficult
Kids' Headaches: The Diagnosis Is Difficult Headaches aren't only for adults. Kids get them, too. By the time children reach high school age, most have experienced at least one headache, according to the National Headache Foundation. There are two basic types of headaches. Primary headaches have the headache as the only symptom and it will stop once treated. Secondary headaches are caused by another condition and don’t usually go away until the condition is treated. Primary headaches include tension-typ...
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...
Knees Are Casualties of Women's Sports
Knees Are Casualties of Women's Sports Active women are at least twice as likely to suffer serious knee injuries as men, but it's not just athletes who are at risk. Although female athletes at the high school and college level suffer serious knee injuries, women who play recreational volleyball or participate in step aerobics also can injure their knees, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). A mother who carries her child down a flight of steps and misses the last step also can injur...
Know Your Peak Flow
Know Your Peak Flow A peak-flow meter is a small device that measures how fast the air is moving out of your lungs when you exhale. You and your health care provider can use information from a peak-flow meter to help stop a flare-up in its tracks. When the airflow from your lungs is slower than your normal rate, this can be a sign of asthma problems. It can help alert you to problems hours or even days before you start to experience actual symptoms, such as an increase in cough or shortness of breath. E...
Label Lesson: Flavored Rice Mixes
Label Lesson: Flavored Rice Mixes Put plain rice on the menu, and your family make just turn up its nose. Instead, try one of the many flavored rice mixes now on the market. Although the mixes are relatively low in fat, they can be high in sodium. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for rice mixes: Some mixes contain more than 1,000 mg. of sodium per serving. Look for those that contain lower amounts. A surprise ingredient in some mixes is sugar. To avoid it, look on the nutritional and ...
Labor Pains: Reducing Your Desk-Job Ailments
Labor Pains: Reducing Your Desk-Job Ailments If your job requires you to sit for much of the day, sooner or later you may experience pain in your back, neck, shoulder, hands, or wrists. You can avoid such problems by practicing the following strategies. Comfort basics These tips can help you prevent stiff muscles: Take a five-minute stretch break every hour. Stand up and stretch your whole body. Gently shake your hands and wrists. Occasionally do tasks that you can do while standing, such as filing or r...
Laser Surgery Can Improve Vision Problems
Laser Surgery Can Improve Vision Problems Laser vision surgery is a popular treatment of vision problems. It reduces or eliminates the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Laser procedures can help correct refractive errors, or problems caused by an imperfectly shaped eyeball or cornea. The cornea is the front, transparent part of the eye that bends and focuses light. Refractive errors cause light from an object to be imprecisely focused on the retina of the eye. This causes a blurred image. Refractiv...
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 Wills Offer Peace of Mind
Living Wills Offer Peace of Mind A living will tells others how you want to be treated when it comes to life-sustaining measures. It is used when a person becomes terminally ill or unable to communicate or make decisions, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) says. Such a will doesn't always tell health care providers to withhold or end treatment. In fact, it can call for treatment to go on regardless of your medical condition. Having a living will protects your rights as a patient and means that your fam...
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...
Lower Your Cholesterol
Lower Your Cholesterol There's a lot of information about cholesterol in the news, and with good reason. High cholesterol contributes to heart disease. Heart disease kills more Americans than all cancers combined. What is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance that your body—mostly the liver—makes. Cholesterol is used to make some hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids. These help to digest fat. Cholesterol also is used to build healthy cell membranes (walls) in the brain, nerves, muscles, s...
Maintaining Your Personal Health Record
Maintaining Your Personal Health Record Every time you visit a health care provider, hospital, or other health care provider, a record of your visit is made. This information is then collected into your health record. But, in most cases, a complete record of all your personal health information can't be found in any single location or in the same format. Keeping your own personal health record (PHR) allows you to give health care providers valuable information that can help improve the quality of care y...
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 Advice
Making Sense of Medical Advice If seemingly conflicting health news has you confused, it's time to learn how to read between the lines. You can do so by keeping the following recommendations in mind the next time you hear or read about a new health tip in the media. Check it out Be suspicious of advice that sounds too good to be true — because it probably is too good to be true. Watch out for "experts" who say they can do what health care providers can't. Look into the advice before following it. Closel...
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...
Mental Health: Finding the Help You Need
Mental Health: Finding the Help You Need When your life spins out of control, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. The American Psychological Association recommends you seek the help of a trained mental health professional if: You constantly worry. You feel trapped. You aren't getting any better with self-help. You feel as if you can't handle things alone. Your feelings are affecting your job, relationships, or sleep or eating habits. Other reasons to seek help: Someone who knows you wel...
Metabolic Syndrome and Soft Drink Consumption
Metabolic Syndrome and Soft Drink Consumption Regular soft drinks contain sugar, which adds calories to your diet. Sugary drinks also raise insulin levels. This causes you to put on more visceral fat—fat deep inside, around the stomach and other organs. Too much visceral fat can raise certain blood proteins, and that can lead to metabolic syndrome. When insulin is high after a sugary drink, it may increase hunger. That hunger may lead to overeating. You might even reach for another soda, thus continuing...
Metabolic Syndrome Worksheet
Metabolic Syndrome Worksheet To help manage your condition, fill in the dates on which you had or will have the following tests or checkups. Lipid profile I had a lipid profile on __________. A lipid profile is a lab test that measures the amount of certain fats and cholesterol in your blood. High lipid levels can lead to a heart attack or worsen heart disease. You should have a lipid profile at least once a year. Maintain healthy levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and HDL ("good") cholesterol. Healthy l...
Metabolic Syndrome: Lowering Your Heart Disease Risk
Metabolic Syndrome: Lowering Your Heart Disease Risk For people with metabolic syndrome, the risk of developing heart disease can be a concern. Here’s how you can help keep your heart healthy: Control high blood pressure. One characteristic of metabolic syndrome in adults is when one or both blood pressure numbers are higher than 130/85 mm Hg. Blood pressure numbers of 140/90 mm Hg or higher are considered high blood pressure, or hypertension. To keep your numbers down: Lose weight, if needed. Limit sat...
Metabolism's Weighty Role
Metabolism's Weighty Role You would give up just about anything to be the same weight you were when you were younger, right? Believe it or not, you need not give up too much. But you do need to make some changes, which may actually be easy to do. Other factors Although metabolism plays a large role in controlling weight, it can't take all the blame. Genetics play a role, too. But genetics are predetermined, and cannot be changed. Lifestyle is not predetermined and can be modified. Metabolism is the amou...
Migraine News: How’s the Weather?
Migraine News: How’s the Weather? More than half of migraine sufferers are affected by weather. The most common weather factors that affect migraines are: Humidity Major weather changes over one or two days Changes in barometric pressure Some migraines attributed to weather are not related to it at all. Many people tend to pin their headaches on weather patterns, when other triggers, such as excessive consumption of caffeine or changes in sleep patterns, may actually be the cause. If weather truly is a ...
Migraine: It’s Time to Call Your Healthcare Provider
Migraine: It's Time to Call Your Healthcare Provider Because you suffer from migraines, getting a bad headache is not new to you. If your migraine pattern changes or your headaches suddenly feel different, it could be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Call your healthcare provider right away if you experience any of the following: A severe headache that comes out of the blue, sometimes described as a "thunderclap." Migraine headaches can be severe at times, but if you have a headache that come...
Migraines and Auras
Migraines and Auras If you are among the one-third of migraine sufferers who experience aura before a migraine, you know how unsettling this can be. Auras may include: visual disturbances (jagged lines, called fortification spectra, with bright spots or flashes); temporary, partial vision loss; numbness; and tingling sensations. Scientists have tried to understand the migraine aura for years. But, until recently, they didn't have the tools to study brain activity during a migraine attack. Technology, su...
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: A Monthly Misery?
Migraines: A Monthly Misery? Women who experience migraines around the start of their period may be able to prevent them. Migraine headaches associated with menstrual periods are generally one of three types: Migraines that happen only during menstruation and at no other time Migraines that happen at other times, but are worse during menstruation Migraines that happen before menstruation begins, in the premenstrual phase Menstrual migraines are caused by changes in the female sex hormones that regulate ...
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...
Myths and Tips About Dressing for Winter
Myths and Tips About Dressing for Winter Do you know enough about the cold to keep warm? Poor planning of a winter outing can lead to frostbite and hypothermia. The following are some misconceptions about the cold and suggestions for staying toasty this winter. Myth: Dressing warmly avoids colds, viruses, and flu. Mom was wrong on this one — mostly. If you haven't been exposed to a virus, cold weather won't make any difference. There are over 200 viruses that can cause the common cold. Myth: You lose bo...
New Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease
New Hope for Alzheimer's Disease No magic spell can prevent the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease on thinking and memory. And scientists have yet to find a pill that can cure it. But positive news is out there: Research is shedding light on ways to cut risk, and treatments are making life easier and more comfortable after a diagnosis. Preventing dementia Age and certain other risk factors for Alzheimer's disease can't be controlled. But you can reduce your odds of developing the condition. The ...
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...
Old Makeup Can Cause Serious Eye Infections
Old Makeup Can Cause Serious Eye Infections That mascara wand can do more than just make your lashes longer. It can also give you an eye infection. Every year, many women end up with eye infections from cosmetics. In rare cases, women have been temporarily or permanently blinded by an eye cosmetic, according to the FDA. Eyelashes naturally have bacteria on them. As soon as you use a makeup brush on the eyelash or eyelid, the brush is contaminated, according to experts. Over time, the infected brush lead...
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...
Parents: Check Toys for Lead
Parents: Check Toys for Lead You may have heard lots of reports about lead paint causing recalls of children’s toys. While federal officials and health experts work to fix the problem, what can you do to keep your kids safe? First, you can check you child's toys against those listed as being recalled due to lead issues. You can find the list — back to 1973 — at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website. You can even sign up for email updates. If you have toys that have been recalled, don’t t...
Parents-to-Be Must Communicate
Parents-to-Be Must Communicate Being a parent may be the most important job you will ever have, and it's the one for which most of us are poorly prepared. You create a new human being, and it doesn't arrive with any instructions. Expectant couples need practical training and support to deal with the many issues that confront them during and after pregnancy. The best way to be a good parent to your child is to nurture fun, friendship, teamwork, and intimacy in your own relationship. This creates an envir...
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...
Pills: Make Them Go Down Easy
Pills: Make Them Go Down Easy Cricopharyngeus — that's a tough word to pronounce. It's even tougher when you have a pill stuck in your throat. Nonetheless, that's the name of the spot where the pill tends to get stuck. The cricopharyngeus is the ring-like muscle at the top of the esophagus. Some children and adults have difficulty swallowing pills even without having them get stuck in that uncomfortable location. When you swallow food, the epiglottis — the flexible cartilage at the root of your tongue —...
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 ...
Planning the Care of Your Aging Parents
Planning the Care of Your Aging Parents If your parents are in their golden years, keep in mind that even gold can lose some of its glow with the expected effects of old age. Sooner or later, older loved ones will need assistance. Advance planning Make sure legal documents have been drawn up. This includes an up-to-date will, a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a health-care proxy. Research the housing options and services available in your parents' community. Discuss with your loved ones ho...
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 ...
Potentially Harmful Remedies for Migraines
Potentially Harmful Remedies for Migraines If you’ve ever taken an herbal remedy, you should know that some herbs may interact dangerously with migraine medicines. Although researchers need to do more studies, they advise people to use caution. Triptans, a class of prescription medications used to treat migraine pain, and tricyclic antidepressants, used to prevent migraine, may interact with the following herbal remedies: Echinacea Garlic (in large doses) Ginkgo biloba Ginseng St. John’s wort Valerian r...
Preparing for Severe Winter Weather
Preparing for Severe Winter Weather Severe winter storms can be dangerous, even deadly. They can include blizzards, freezing rain, ice, sleet and dangerously low temperatures and wind-chill factors. Knowing how to prepare for a storm, and what to do during and after one, can help keep you and your family safe. Advance planning Take the following steps before a winter storm moves into your area: Make sure your home is properly insulated. Insulate walls and attics. Caulk and weather-strip doors and window...
Preparing for Your Best Year of Fitness
Preparing for Your Best Year of Fitness If you're getting ready to make New Year's fitness resolutions — don’t. Instead, design a yearlong fitness plan to make sure that you have effective lifestyle changes in place. Month-by-month plan Use this yearlong plan to improve your health each month: January. Set your goals. Take a look at your life. What's missing? What do you wish you could do? Invest in a few sessions with a personal trainer, who will point you in the right direction and help you get going....
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...
Preventing the Midafternoon Slump
Overcoming Your Midafternoon Energy Slump You may charge into the day full of energy. But by midafternoon a wave of sleepiness hits you. You find it hard to keep your eyes open, or you find yourself yawning. Many people experience these late-in-the-day energy lags, but you can take steps to prevent them. Here are suggestions for healthy ways to keep your energy flowing throughout the day. Don't miss breakfast The best way to keep your energy level at peak performance is to start the day with breakfast. ...
Primer: What You Need to Know About Ecstasy
Primer: What You Need to Know About Ecstasy Many young people abuse a so-called club drug known as Ecstasy. Learning about the drug can help you explain its dangers to your children and help them avoid the sometimes fatal consequences of taking it. What is Ecstasy? Ecstasy, or MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine)—called "Adam," "E," "Ecstasy," "X," or "XTC" on the street—is a synthetic, psychoactive (mind-altering) drug with hallucinogenic and amphetamine-like properties. It is chemically similar to...
Protect Your Child from Medical Errors
Protect Your Child from Medical Errors Medical errors are one of the leading causes of death and injury for American adults, according to a study by the Institute of Medicine. A medical error can happen when something that was planned for medical care doesn't work, or when the wrong plan was used in the first place, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Hospitals, health care providers, and government agencies are working to reduce errors. And there is a lot parents can do to prot...
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...
Protecting Yourself Against Medical Errors
Protect Yourself Against Medical Errors Each year, many Americans die from medical errors. Such errors can happen anywhere in the health care system. They can involve medicines, surgery, diagnosis, equipment, or lab reports. Other errors happen when health care providers and their patients have problems communicating. Hospitals, doctors, and government agencies are working on ways to make health care safer. But there are things you can do, too. These suggestions can help you protect yourself and your fa...
Put a Stop to Nerve Injuries Called Stingers
Put a Stop to Nerve Injuries Called Stingers Body-jarring moves are part of the game for football players, wrestlers, and others who play contact sports. They're also the most common cause of stingers, painful electrical sensations radiating through one of the arms. These painful injuries affect the nerves in the neck and shoulders, or those in the neck that branch off from the spinal cord. Stingers occur when the shoulder and head go in opposite directions, the head is moved quickly to one side, or the...
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 ...
Q and A: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Q and A: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) suffer from recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or repetitive behaviors (compulsions), which they feel they cannot control. Rituals such as hand-washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed in hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these rituals, however, provides only temporary relief. Not performing them markedly increases anxiety. Left untreated, obsessions an...
Raising Kids with Self-Esteem
Raising Kids with Self-Esteem It's a powerful weapon in the war against teenage drug and alcohol abuse. And it doesn’t cost parents a penny. It's called the “self-esteem shield.” It’s simple. Research shows that adolescents who grow up with high self-esteem are far less likely to abuse drugs or drink compared with kids who grow up without a sense of self-worth. Here are several steps you can take to help your children develop self-esteem: Remember that the road to self-esteem begins in infancy. It is nu...
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development Research shows that reading regularly to young children is very important to their overall growth and development. The benefits of reading include the following: Provides time for special attention between parents and children Encourages children's later reading success Improves language and speech development Pick what you both enjoy Look for books you both love. Ask friends, teachers or librarians. Look for award-winning books. Check book reviews. Have your chil...
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...
Scoping Out Sunglasses
Scoping Out Sunglasses You may think we wear sunglasses for comfort and fashion. But here's another important reason to wear sunglasses—to protect the health of your eyes. If you spend long hours in the sun without protection, you increase your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV is an invisible form of radiation from sunlight. Overexposure to UV-A and UV-B radiation causes damage to the skin and eyes. You can damage the surface of your eyes in the same way you can get sunburned—with just 1 exposure t...
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...
Smoking Hurts Your Back
Smoking Hurts Your Back Numerous studies show a link between cigarette smoking and back pain. Smoking damages your arteries, and it’s thought that the damaged arteries in the discs and joints in your back may lead to pain and injury. Smoking increases your risk for osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease that can lead to back pain. Smoking also increases your risk of hip fracture as you get older. Fractures can take longer to heal due to nicotine's harmful effects on bone-forming cells. Quitting smoking t...
Someone's in the Kitchen with Grandma
Someone's in the Kitchen with Grandma Are you famous for your homemade mac-n-cheese, chocolate cake, or barbecued ribs? Can you whip up a tasty meal from odds and ends in your pantry? Now is the time to share your tried-and-true recipes and kitchen sense with those who will appreciate them the most: your grandchildren. With families today living a busier, faster-paced life, we have lost some of that special time spent cooking with children. Too often, many kids mainly eat prepackaged, processed food, or...
Special Caution on Concussions
Special Caution on Concussions Concussions often occur in athletes, but experts still know little about this sports injury. That's because of the brain's complexity, and because of the lack of research into concussions. Concussions are often hard to recognize. A forceful hit to the head or any part of the body that cause a rapid movement of the head may result in a concussion. Most concussions do not involve loss of consciousness. You don't even have to be hit on the head. A blow to the shoulder that vi...
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, ...
Sports and Music: Both Good for Kids
Sports and Music: Both Good for Kids Both sports and music programs offer many benefits and help to prepare children for future success. The benefits of sports Participating in a sports program gets your child more active and healthier! The activity helps reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Think about these other important benefits: Improving physical skills like coordination and balance Learning teamwork Learning discipline Learning to focus on a goal Experiencing the rewar...
Sprained Ankles Need Attention
Sprained Ankles Need Attention Sprained ankles are among the most common injuries seen in healthcare provider's offices and emergency departments every day. When you sprain an ankle, 1 or more ligaments of your ankle become stretched or torn. Ankle sprains most often happen when your toes are on the ground, but your heel is up and you are walking on an uneven surface. Your ankle can turn inward, damaging the ligaments. Ligaments of the ankle provide mechanical stability, allow motion of the joint, and p...
Sprains, Strains, Breaks: What’s the Difference?
Sprains, Strains, Breaks: What’s the Difference? If you've sprained your ankle, you know what severe pain is. But maybe that "sprain" was a "strain" or possibly even a "break." The amount of pain in each case can be virtually equal. So, oftentimes the only way to find out what you have is to see a healthcare provider. Just the facts Here are some facts on musculoskeletal injuries: Sprains are a stretch and/or tear of a ligament, the tissue connecting 2 bones. Ligaments stabilize and support the body's j...
Stay Awake Behind the Wheel
Stay Awake Behind the Wheel You may believe that you can stop yourself from falling asleep when you are driving drowsy, but you can’t. You may not even know you’ve dozed off. This is more likely to happen if you are sleep-deprived, driving long distances without rest breaks, traveling at night, driving alone, riding long rural highways, taking medicine that causes sleepiness, or drinking alcohol. How to stay alert Try these tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Never drink and dr...
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 ...
Staying Fit the Old-fashioned Way
Staying Fit the Old-fashioned Way Stroll down the aisles of any department store these days, and your eye will be drawn to an appealing collection of labor-saving gadgets. These can include everything from snow blowers and electric hedge trimmers to remote controls for the TV and DVD player. It's enough to alarm every health and exercise expert in the land and for good reason. These labor-savers are associated with America's slide toward laziness. A large part of the American public isn't getting enough...
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...
Street Hockey: Good Surface, Gear Are Critical
Street Hockey: Good Surface, Gear Are Critical In an era when many children play little but video games, experts are glad to see street hockey is on a roll. Boys and girls across the country ages 6 and up get regular workouts on organized teams. Others join informal matches on driveways and playgrounds from Boston to Big Sur. What attracts a lot of youngsters is that it's less expensive than regular hockey, and that kids can play it anywhere they can find the space. In-line hockey is usually safer than ...
Strength Training and Heart Disease
Strength Training and Heart Disease If you think that you can't begin a strength-training program because you have heart disease, think again. Heart patients who do a strength-training program 3 times a week build up their aerobic capacity in addition to building strength and flexibility. Strength training has many benefits. It can help you lose weight and help reduce the symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, back pain, and depression. It might even help you sleep better. Here are some tips on ...
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 ...
Stretches for Your Lower Legs
Stretches for Your Lower Legs Stretching can keep your lower legs limber and your joints pain free. The following stretches involve the ankles and knee joints. Keep these guidelines in mind when doing them: Check with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program, especially if you have had knee surgery. Begin each stretching session with 5 to 7 minutes of gentle aerobic exercise, such as walking or riding a stationary bicycle, to warm up your muscles. Start out slowly and build repetit...
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 Cuts and Scrapes
Taking Care of Cuts and Scrapes Cuts and scrapes are everyday occurrences, and most can be safely treated at home. Knowing how to clean and care for a cut yourself and when to seek a doctor’s care can help reduce infection and speed healing. Home care for minor cuts According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, minor cuts can be safely treated at home. Here's how to tell if a cut needs medical attention: It is deep enough that you can see fat, muscle, or bone. The wound has jagged edges or edg...
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 Good Care of Your Eyes
Taking Good Care of Your Eyes It's important to see your eye healthcare professional regularly to help avoid or reduce vision problems. Common eye problems include blurred vision, halos, blind spots, and floaters. Blurred vision refers to the loss of sharpness of vision and not being able to see small details. Blind spots, called scotomas, are dark "holes" in the visual field in which nothing can be seen. Floaters are small bits of protein or other material that drift in the clear gel-like part of the e...
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 Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth
The Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth If you are what you eat, that's particularly true for your teeth and gums. When you drink and munch starchy or sugary foods, you're not only feeding yourself, you're feeding the bacteria that can cause plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a thin, invisible film of sticky bacteria and other materials that covers all the surfaces of all your teeth. When sugars or starches in your mouth come in contact with plaque, the acids that result can attack teeth for 20 minutes or ...
The Best Ways to Treat, Prevent Tendonitis
The Best Ways to Treat, Prevent Tendonitis Tennis elbow, quarterback shoulder, and jumper's knee are forms of tendonitis, a painful but preventable injury. Tendonitis is your body's way of telling you, "Enough! You're putting too much stress on this muscle and joint." Tendons are connective tissues that hold muscles to your bones. When muscles contract, tendons react, causing bones to move. Too much stress on joints can tear and inflame tendons, says the American College of Rheumatology. The tissue will...
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 Metabolic Syndrome: At Risk for Depression
The Metabolic Syndrome: A Risk for Depression Everyone feels a little down now and then. When you have the metabolic syndrome, it’s also common to feel blue about your health concerns once in a while. But when the mood lingers, it could be a sign of depression. If left untreated, depression can make it hard to function at home, work, or school. Fortunately, treatment is available. The link between the metabolic syndrome and depression goes both ways. Managing various health problems can cause stress, an...
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 'Soft Teeth' Myth
The ‘Soft Teeth’ Myth You Can’t Blame Genes for Tooth Decay in Kids If you think that "soft teeth" are the reason that cavities tend to run in families, you'll be surprised to know the real reason: an infection. The infection is usually transmitted from mothers to babies during the first year of life. "Women of childbearing age who have cavities or have had a lot of fillings are at the greatest risk to infect their newborns with cavity producing bacteria," says Dr. Peter Domoto, chair of the Department ...
The Trouble with Bullies
The Trouble with Bullies Physical or emotional differences make children targets for bullies. Being a bully or a victim of a bully puts children at risk for engaging in violent behaviors, such as frequent fighting and carrying a weapon, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Bullying comes in different forms. It is commonly thought of as an actual or threatened act of physical violence. But name calling, spreading rumors, unrelenting teasing, and deliberately excludin...
The Truth About Lying
The Truth about Lying For your birthday, your aunt knits you a sweater that is, well, downright hideous. You tell her, 1) “I'd go out in an army blanket before wearing that;” 2) “It would look better on a peacock;” or 3) “It's beautiful, Aunt Sylvia! I really need a sweater.” If you chose the third response, well, you’re a liar. Don’t feel bad, however. If the truth be told, most of us lie to some degree, especially when faced with an alternative like hurting the feelings of poor, good-hearted Aunt Sylv...
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 Value of a Second Opinion
The Value of a Second Opinion When your health care provider recommends surgery or a major procedure or treatment, it's smart to get a second opinion from another expert. But, how do you know a second opinion is in order? And how do you go about getting one? Here are some answers to these and other important questions. When should you get a second opinion? Don't waste time checking out choices if you need emergency treatment. But if your health care provider suggests nonemergency surgery or a major medi...
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...
Time to Fertilize? Wait a Minute!
Time to Fertilize? Wait a Minute! Springtime means gardening and lawn chores—mowing, mulching, planting, weeding. For many weekend gardeners, this is also the time when chemicals make their annual debut—as fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. In pursuit of a greener lawn or a pest-free garden, homeowners often become chemists of sorts. Recent studies, however, have raised a red flag on chemical use, pointing out a possible link between herbicides and pesticides and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate canc...
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 Driving After Age 60
Tips for Driving After Age 60 Although we can get around by bike, bus, train, or sidewalk, most Americans rely on their car when it comes to getting from one place to another. Driving is a key to independence. As you get older, you should be able to continue to drive. A person's ability to drive isn't based on age alone. Age or disease-related changes in vision, physical fitness, problem-solving abilities, and reflexes, however, may be reasons to reevaluate your abilities behind the wheel. If any of the...
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...
Tracking Symptoms of Heart Failure
Tracking Symptoms of Heart Failure If you have heart failure (HF), becoming aware of even small changes in your body can help you manage your condition. Here are common symptoms of heart failure: Fluid retention. You may notice swelling in the lower half of your body, especially the feet and ankles. This can lead to sudden weight gain. Weight gain. Weigh yourself every morning after waking and urinating. Tell your healthcare provider if you suddenly gain 2 or more pounds in 1 day, or more than 5 pounds ...
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...
Twins and Premature Birth
Twins and Premature Birth Most births of single babies happen at 39 weeks. But the average length of a twin pregnancy is 35 weeks. Babies that are low birth weight tend to weigh less than 5 pounds. This increases their risk for many major health problems. Some problems are brief, such as: Jaundice Anemia Trouble breathing Others have lasting effects, such as: Constant respiratory problems Intellectual disability Cerebral palsy Vision and hearing loss To lower the chance of early births, women who are pr...
Type 2 Diabetes and Food Choices
Type 2 Diabetes and Food Choices You make food choices every day. Whole wheat or white bread? A side of french fries or fresh fruit? Eat now or later? Choices about what, when, and how much you eat affect your blood glucose. Understanding how food affects blood glucose is the first step in managing diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, following a diabetes meal plan can help you keep your blood glucose levels on track. Prevent problems Having type 2 diabetes means that your body does...
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 Atherosclerosis
Understanding Atherosclerosis When the walls of blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body become thickened due to plaque buildup and inflammation, it is called atherosclerosis. This can lead to stiffening and narrowing of the arteries. The condition can start as early as childhood. It can lead to many health problems, including heart disease and stroke. How does it happen? Atherosclerosis is a disease that develops slowly over time. Excess cholesterol and other matter in the ...
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 Eating Disorders
Understanding Eating Disorders An eating disorder is an unhealthy obsession with food and weight. People with eating disorders eat—or avoid eating—in extreme ways. At least 8 million people in the U.S. are living with an eating disorder. The overwhelming majority—about 90%—are female. These are the three main types of eating disorders: Anorexia nervosa. People with anorexia severely restrict calories to the point of starvation. They are obsessed with being thin and have an unhealthy and distorted body i...
Understanding Joint Pain
Understanding Joint Pain Sprained ankles and wrists, arthritic knees and hips, and torn rotator cuffs all have one thing in common: they result in joint pain. The usual causes of joint pain are over use, sprains, fractures, and arthritis. Becoming familiar with the usual causes and symptoms of joint pain can help you seek appropriate treatment and ongoing care, if necessary. Here are several medical conditions that can cause joint pain. Arthritis Persistent joint pain, swelling, and limited range of mot...
Understanding Long-Term Care
Understanding Long-Term Care When people of any age need others to help them with medical, physical, or emotional needs over an extended period of time, they need long-term care. If a person needs ongoing medical care or is unable to perform everyday self-care activities like bathing, dressing, or grocery shopping, long-term care may be needed. Experts estimate that approximately 10 million Americans need long-term care in any given year. Long-term-care services may be given in the home of the person wh...
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...
Understanding Repeated Pregnancy Loss
Understanding Repeated Pregnancy Loss If you are pregnant and you lose the baby before 20 weeks, it is called a miscarriage. Most miscarriages happen before 12 weeks. This is the end of the first trimester. Many happen before you even know you are pregnant. In the past, a woman who miscarried many times might never know why it happened. Today, more and more women are finding out the causes of their recurrent (repeated) pregnancy loss. Repeated pregnancy loss is when you have three or more miscarriages i...
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 Sports Psychology to Improve Your Fitness
Using Sports Psychology to Improve Your Fitness Fitness has a mental side to it, in addition to physical challenges. Even if you're in great shape, you can come across intellectual obstacles that can reduce your motivation and stifle your performance. When professional athletes start experiencing these obstacles, they usually seek help from sports psychologists to get a mental edge. However, it does not matter what your skill level may be. Everyone can benefit from mental health training. Here are ways ...
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...
Water-Safety 101: Basic Guidelines
Water-Safety 101: Basic Guidelines Every year, thousands of Americans are injured or killed in boating and swimming accidents. You can protect yourself and your family from such accidents by following these guidelines. Boating safety Check weather and water conditions before leaving shore. Do not drink and boat. Alcohol is a factor in many boating accidents. Choose a designated boat driver who will not drink. Insist that everyone wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device or life jacket while...
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 Know About Birth Defects?
What Do You Know About Birth Defects? According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, birth defects are structural or functional abnormalities present at birth that cause physical or mental disability. Some may be fatal. Several thousand different birth defects have been identified. Birth defects are the leading cause of death in the first year of life. 1. What percentage of U.S. infants are born with birth defects annually? a. 1 percent b. 3 percent c. 5 percent d. 10 percent...
What Do You Know About Prostate Health?
What Do You Know About Prostate Health? Prostate cancer and other diseases of the prostate are common. Learning about these diseases can help you recognize problems and seek medical treatment early. Mark each statement true or false. 1. The prostate is located beneath the bladder and consists of glands and ducts embedded in muscle fibers. True False 2. Prostate cancer is always fatal. True False 3. Most prostate cancers cause symptoms such as a weak stream of urine; pain while urinating; frequent urinat...
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 Is Spinal Stenosis?
What Is Spinal Stenosis? Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows and pinches the nerves. This results in back and leg pain. In adults 50 years of age and older, the risk of developing spinal stenosis increases. Younger people who are born with a small spinal canal may also develop symptoms. Aging can cause the ligaments (tissues that connect the spine and bones) to become thicker and calcified. The disks between vertebrae break down. Growths called bone spurs may happen on bones...
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 to Do If You Have to Evacuate Your Home
What to Do If You Have to Evacuate Your Home Taking the following steps can help you protect your family and home if you have to leave because of a natural or manmade disaster, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Advance plan Consider in advance what kinds of disasters might strike your area. Do you live in an earthquake zone? Is flooding a possibility? Then think about what you’ll do in an emergency. Think about the places your family spends time like school and work. Learn what sort...
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 in the Food You Eat?
What's in the Food You Eat? Take a look at the ingredients of the packaged foods you eat. You'll quickly move from foods you know, such as tomato puree or wheat flour, into the strange world of food additives. Names like calcium propionate (used to control mold) or ascorbic acid (an antioxidant and color stabilizer) abound on labels. Most additives are safe and beneficial, experts say. What's more, they're everywhere. It's tough to find an additive-free processed food, although natural food stores offer...
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 Rest Doesn't Relieve Fatigue
When Rest Doesn't Relieve Fatigue Fatigue is often described as being "bone tired" – a feeling of overwhelming weariness and lack of motivation or energy. Everyone feels this way now and then, but this kind of fatigue is usually short-lived and can be eased by getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and making changes to your eating and exercise habits. Sometimes, though, those common cures just won't work, or you have other symptoms in addition to fatigue. That's when you need to talk with your health c...
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. ...
Where to Get Medical Care
Where to Get Medical Care If you have a deep cut, need minor surgery, or have the flu, where do you go for care? Traditionally, you'd go to the local emergency department, be admitted to the hospital, or make an appointment at your health care provider's office. Now you have more choices. Where you are treated makes a difference in terms of convenience and the cost of care. Keep in mind, if you have a true emergency, like signs of a heart attack or stroke, or a serious cut or injury, don't hesitate to g...
Where to Turn for Mental Health
Where to Turn for Mental Health It's normal to feel stressed or anxious now and then. But it's time to call for help if emotional issues persist for a significant period of time and interfere with your life, your job, or your personal relationships. With all the mental health resources and effective treatments available these days, you don't need to suffer and wonder what's wrong. Education and awareness have done much to erase the stigma once attached to mental illness. Still, many people don't seek he...
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...
Why the Healthcare Provider Presses Your Belly
Why the Healthcare Provider Presses Your Belly Your healthcare provider is trained to look at the human body to help find problems. When your provider presses on your belly, he or she may get major clues to possible problems. This exam with the hands gives healthcare providers information about important parts of the body. These are the liver, spleen, kidneys, intestines, pancreas, bladder, gallbladder, appendix, and the abdominal aorta. This aorta is the main blood vessel from your heart to your legs. ...
Why You Should Try Yoga
Why You Should Try Yoga What is yoga, and why is it so popular? Yoga is a series of stretches and poses that you do with breathing techniques. It offers the powerful benefits of exercise. And since yoga is gentle, almost anyone can do it, regardless of your age or fitness level. Yoga is a 5,000-year-old discipline from India. It was developed as a practice to unite the mind and body. There are many branches of yoga. All yoga styles can help balance your body, mind, and spirit, but they achieve it in var...
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...
Work Out on the Water
Work Out on the Water Instead of getting in the water this summer, try getting on it. With a sailboat, canoe, kayak, windsurfing outfit, or pair of water skis, you can explore a whole new world of activities. Once you've embraced proper training and safety, you'll get a fine, fun workout. Canoeing Benefit. Canoeing can offer intense exercise. Even your legs can get a workout by helping you steer. You can push them against the sides and throw your hips 1 way or the other to nudge the canoe in the right d...
Working Out in the Cold
Working Out in the Cold Cold weather doesn't have to put a freeze on your outdoor exercise program. If you take precautions, you can still work out when the weather turns chilly. Wear the right clothing Clothing is critical, says the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Although a double-thick cotton sweatshirt may seem like a good choice, it doesn't insulate nearly as well as synthetic fabrics like lightweight polyester or polypropylene. Don't overdress. You can overheat even in below-freezing t...
You Can Choose to Have a Healthy Life
You Can Choose a Healthy Life Each year, two out of every three deaths in the United States are caused by cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or stroke. That figure could be significantly reduced if Americans made healthier food choices, got more exercise, and stopped smoking, according to the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and American Heart Association. In fact, these organizations feel so strongly about the importance of everyday choices that they have sponsored a joint initiati...
You Can Head Off Stress Fractures
You Can Head Off Stress Fractures Whether you're an avid basketball player or a weekend hiker, you may be at risk for a stress fracture if you overdo it. A stress fracture occurs when you increase the length or intensity of your workout too quickly. Your muscles become so tired by the extra work that they transfer the stress to the bones — most often in the lower leg — and a tiny crack appears. A stress fracture can also happen when you workout on a different surface or use the wrong equipment for you, ...
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...