Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dealing With Withdrawal Symptoms While Quitting Smoking

Nowadays, there are a lot of stop smoking aids available to the smoking population. One of the most commonly used product is the prescription medication Zyban. Zyban was derived from an antidepressant medication which has been proven to reduce a person's craving to smoke. But because it doesn't make use of nicotine, smokers are likely to still experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms until the drug fully takes effect.

Smokers may experience common withdrawal symptoms such as headaches or nausea, or manifest cold-like symptoms while trying to ditch the habit. The problem with withdrawal symptoms is that they can be so discomforting that it can discourage a smoker from continuing to quit smoking. It is often because of this that they light up again to relieve themselves of the discomfort. Learning to deal with the withdrawal symptoms while in the process of quitting the habit may help smokers fulfill their goals of becoming smoke-free.

Coping techniques need not be so complicated, here are some examples of simple ways to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms:

  • If you feel the need to smoke, delay the urge. Cravings are only said to last for around three to five minutes and then they pass.
  • Drinking water when you feel a nicotine craving come on is said to help stave off the urge.
  • Look for a way to distract yourself from the craving. Ask a friend to accompany you to a walk in the park, anything to take your mind out of the strong urge to smoke.
  • Take a breather. Take a moment to close your eyes and take ten slow, deep breaths. Not only will you be able to pass off the craving, you'll also be feeling relaxed afterwards.
  • Talk it off. You don't have to avail of the service of a psychotherapist to let your feelings out. Call a friend or a loved one and tell them how you feel about what you're doing and what you're going through.

Understand that the withdrawal symptoms you're going through and the nicotine cravings you feel are all part of the quitting process. This is your body asking for the harmful substance in cigarettes that it has gotten used to. By knowing simple and easy ways to endure the withdrawal symptoms and the cravings, you strengthen your resolve in quitting your smoking habit and take one step closer to being completely smoke-free.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Role of Vitamin D

People with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of having breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain, and other illnesses. While studies do not prove that lack of vitamin D causes disease, or that vitamin D supplements would lower the risk, still, it pays to know its benefits in our over-all health and wellness.

Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). You also need vitamin D for other important body functions, such as to regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system.

According to The Vitamin D Council, a scientist-led group promoting vitamin D deficiency awareness, vitamin D might be found helpful in treating or preventing autism, autoimmune disease, cancer, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, heart disease, hyperparathyroidism, high blood pressure, flu, neuromuscular diseases, and osteoporosis. However, there have been no definitive clinical trials.

The role of vitamin D in the life cycle of human cells is so important that our body is able to produce it by itself. However, this is only possible after sufficient exposure to sunlight. Allowing five to 30 minutes of sun exposure to the face, legs, or back, minus the sunscreen, for at least twice a week should be enough to give you all the vitamin D that is necessary.

On the other hand, too much direct sun exposure can expose you to potentially dangerous levels of cancer-causing UV radiation. That is why experts recommend getting vitamin D from foods or from supplements.

Unfortunately, there are very few foods that contain vitamin D, which includes cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines canned in oil, milk (regardless of whether it’s whole, nonfat, or reduced fat), egg yolks, beef or calf liver, cheese.

Surprisingly, almost all milk brands in the U.S. are fortified with vitamin D. The same with many brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.

Vitamin D comes in different forms. Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight. Supplements are made from the fat of lambs’ wool. Other supplements contain vitamin D2 or calciferol, which is derived from irradiated fungus.

WebMD nutritionist Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, recommends using the D3 form for those taking vitamin D supplements.

Resource Box : Monch Bravante is a freelance writer and advertising practitioner with special interest in public health issues.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why Do People Get Holiday Blues?

Everybody is aware of the term holiday blues. In fact, it is quite a common experience, especially during the longest holiday of the year - the Christmas season - and is quite the contrary of what the holiday spirit's supposed to be.

Holiday blues come in different intensity. It can range from mild and short-term sadness, to serious clinical depression. Why do people get holiday blues, you might ask? Here are some of the common reasons:

1. Loneliness. This is commonly the case for people who are spending the holiday season away from family and friends. People who work overseas and cannot go home for the season often fall into deep thoughts of how their families and loved-ones are spending the holiday together while he's away.

2. Recollection of past holidays. For some people, memories of past holidays can greatly affect the mood of the current season. For people who are hitting a rough spot, a recollection of a past happy holiday can be very difficult to bear.

3. Failed tradition keeping. For people who are so used to spending their holidays the same way for as long as they could remember may feel a bit depressed if something changes in the way they celebrate the holidays.

4. Lost loved ones. We all know that holidays are best spent with families and friends. However, for people who have lost loved ones, the holidays can also serve as a reminder of the void the loss of their loved ones have made in their life.

5. Financial matters. The holidays are, undeniably, a time for gift-giving. Unfortunately there are people who cannot afford to spend money on such things. Worries of making enough to make ends meet or the ability (or inability) to give little tokens to loved ones can be saddening.

Although it is true that the holiday season is a time for fun and relaxation, parties and gatherings, you can't escape the reality that not all things can be forgotten - pain, responsibilities, bills, etc. But no matter how much worries of suffering you may be feeling, what matters is that you still keep your thoughts grounded and not go overboard to the point of developing clinical depression.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Boosting Your Energy Against Unexplained Fatigue

When you experience fatigue, that all-out energy-drain feeling that no matter how enticing the new blockbuster movie or how fabulous the on-going shoe sale is, nothing succeeds in psyching yourself up to go.

In some cases, there are no classic signs of exhaustion, say aching muscles or getting tired due to overwork, and yet, there is a lack of enthusiasm to get into the activities you used to love doing. There is lack of concentration, a growing impatience, and an increasing level of frustration when confronted with even the simplest of challenges that come your way.

When fatigue interferes with your desire to workout, something is definitely wrong. Check your eating habits. Eating small meals frequently throughout the day is much better than skipping a meal, say lunch, and then eat a big dinner. Starving yourself affects your brain and leads to fatigue. However, eating too much at once slows your metabolism and makes you feel sloppy. On the other hand, eating frequently keeps your blood sugar level constant and maintains your energy level up. High-protein and high-fiber foods such as nuts and fruit are a good snack to give yourself a boost.

When you still find yourself too sluggard to move, you could have a slight magnesium deficiency. According to New York University nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD, this mineral is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including breaking down glucose into energy. “So when levels are even a little low, energy can drop,” said Heller.

The Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, N.D. conducted a study on women with magnesium deficiencies and found that the participants had higher heart rates and required more oxygen to do physical tasks than they did after their magnesium levels were restored. Heller said that in essence, when the body is working harder, over time, it can leave you feeling depleted.

To make sure that you're getting the recommended daily intake of magnesium, 300 milligrams for women and 350 milligrams for men, Heller gave the following suggestions:

Add a handful of almonds, hazelnuts or cashews to your daily diet. Increase your intake of whole grains, particularly bran cereal. Eat more fish, especially halibut.

Resource Box: Monch Bravante is a freelance writer and advertising practitioner with special interest in public health issues.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Fishy Advisory

Fish and shellfish are important to a heart-healthy and over-all healthy diet. However, when it comes to pregnancy and young children, a safety concern arises due to the mercury content found in fish.

Because mercury in fish could put an unborn, newborn, or young child at risk, Robert Goyer, MD, professor emeritus and chairman of pathology at University of Western Ontario, advises women, especially those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, to be cautious “because their unborn fetus is very sensitive to toxicity from mercury.”

Goyer, who participated in a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study evaluating the credibility of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mercury studies, said that they came up with the same results the EPA did.
“We don’t know which stage of fetal development is more critical -- whether it’s the third trimester or the moment of conception, or if it’s continuous exposure to mercury during pregnancy. But all this has been factored together in the EPA/FDA advisory,” said Goyer.

Last year, EPA and FDA issued a joint statement citing the health benefits of fish:

“Fish and shellfish contain high quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to heart health and children's proper growth and development. Thus, women and young children in particular should include fish or shellfish in their diets due to the many nutritional benefits,” said the EPA/FDA.

However, since mercury may have damaging effects to an unborn child or a young child’s brain development, “it may be prudent to modify your diet if you are: planning to become pregnant; pregnant; nursing; or a young child,” added the EPA/FDA statement.

The following EPA/FDA advisory is addressed especially to pregnant women, young women who may become pregnant, or women who are nursing:

  • Do not eat fish that contain high levels of mercury, including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish.

  • Eat up to 12 ounces a week of fish and shellfish varieties that are lower in mercury, including shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. (An average can of tuna is 6 ounces.)

  • Buy canned tuna carefully. Light tuna has less mercury than albacore (“white”) tuna. However, up to 6 ounces equivalent to one average meal of albacore tuna per week is safe.

  • Check local fish advisories. In the absence of advice, eat up to 6 ounces per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don’t consume any other fish during that week.

  • Apply these guidelines to young children: They can eat these low-mercury fish and shellfish. However, feed children smaller portions.

  • Frozen fish sticks and fast-food fish sandwiches are commonly made from fish that are low in mercury.

  • Tuna steaks generally contain higher levels of mercury than canned light tuna.
Resource Box: Monch Bravante is a freelance writer and advertising practitioner with special interest in public health issues.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Are You Adding Stress to Your Life?

A lot of people complain about the stress caused by their career, family, and social life. But most do not realize that a lot, if not all, of the stress they experience are actually self-inflicted. So the next time you feel like venting your frustrations or complaining about the stresses in your life, take a step back and see if you are guilty of the following factors that contribute to self-inflicted stress:

Being a Type A person

People with Type A personalities are generally identified as being a perfectionist who is strict and rigid with other people, but most of all, with themselves. Being a Type A person means that you are extremely competitive and obsessed with work. But most of all, you are extremely conscious of time and are aggressive. You often get frustrated while waiting in line, interrupt others often, walk or talk at a rapid pace, and are always painfully aware of the time and how little of it you have to spare. You are also prone to impatience, rudeness, and being easily upset over small things. Aside from straining your relationships with the people you work and live with, all that rushing and competition are bound to add stress to your life.


More than seeing the glass as half-empty, pessimism refers to a wider world view or way of thinking that disables you to see things as they really are and attribute to them negative things. As such, you undermine your belief in yourself, suffer from poorer health outcomes, have fewer positive life events, and experience negative consequences. These repercussions of pessimism can cause and add more stress to your already stressful life.

Negative Self Talk

A lot of people resort to self talk for a number of things. Whether it is to talk themselves into doing or not doing something, work out a problem in their heads, or give themselves a boost, a lot of people find talking and listening to their inner voices useful. If you are one of these people who indulge in self talk, take a moment to listen to what your inner voice is saying. It might be telling you about things that are not really there in the first place like attributing malevolent intent to your boss's praise about your work or your cousin's willingness to house-sit for you in a pinch. Negative self-talk will cause you to miss out on opportunities and benefits while increasing your stress by driving you to worry about non-existent problems.

Poor Interpersonal Skills

Do you feel that other people are just hindrances to achieving your goal? Or do you find it difficult to relate to other people? Poor interpersonal skills can strain your relationship with your family, friends, and colleagues. This can cause additional emotional burden and stress.

If you find yourself guilty of these factors, it may be time to get your stress in check lest you risk suffering from the following effects of stress:

  • Excess weight or obesity. People who are stressed often seek comfort in food and are unmindful of the healthy choices. Even if you can easily buy weight loss drugs online, they will be of no use if you make unhealthy food choices and lack exercise.
  • Chronic diseases. A lot of chronic diseases and disorders like heart problems and depression are rooted in stress.

Resource Box:

Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical health care and sharing them through her writing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Handling Schizophrenic Episodes Smartly

Schizophrenia affects just a percent of the American population. But given how large the population is, the number of patients is quite significant. People who suffer from it are often branded as crazy or insane because they seem to live in a world where reality and perception are distorted. Movies that depict the condition shows the disorder in a funny and crazy light – but patients and their caregivers will attest, there is nothing fun about having the disorder.

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that causes imbalances in the brain chemicals. As a result, people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia may have difficulty in recognizing what is real from those that are make believe. Disembodied voices, nonexistent malevolent intents, and imagined plots are all part and parcel of a schizophrenic existence. As a result, people with schizophrenia often withdraw from society, feel extreme agitation, and are always afraid. It is a difficult situation to live with, but aside from the patients, there are other persons who suffer from schizophrenia like the caregivers.

If you are living with a schizophrenic, it is inevitable that you will find yourself on the receiving end of a schizophrenic episode. Aside from keep a stock of cheap Geodon and Abilify from an online pharmacy, here are some tips on handling schizophrenic episodes smartly:

1.Be aware of pre-episode symptoms and signs.

It is rare for a schizophrenic person to go suddenly ballistic. Often, the patient will exhibit some signs that there is an impending episode before the crisis actually occurs. Some signs to watch out for include sleeplessness, suspiciousness, ritualistic preoccupation with certain objects or situations, and unpredictable outbursts. If the patient has stopped taking medications, gently suggest a visit to the doctor.

2.Stay calm and do nothing to increase the patient's agitation.

Your objective is to keep the person as calm as possible and this will not be helped by screaming or shouting. Remember that during an episode, the patient is in an alternate reality where anything is possible. The light fixtures may be talking to him or there are snakes slithering on the floor. It is likely that the patient will act out his hallucination by stamping around or trying to shatter the light fixtures. Instead of panicking and attempting to stop him, talk to the patient in a calm voice and play along with his hallucination. For example, climb a desk if you have to “avoid the snakes.” If you are alone, call someone to stay with you until professional help arrives.

3.Forgo authoritative approaches.

Most often than not, patients feel that they cannot control what is going on when they are undergoing an episode. Instead of compounding this feeling by giving authoritative orders to calm down and go with the medical team, opt for a gentle approach. Talk in a calm and soothing voice and try to get the patient to go along voluntarily with the medical team. When necessary, play along with the hallucination (i.e. telling him that the medical team will get rid of the snakes and both of you need to stay somewhere safe).

As the patient's caregiver or companion, your goal is to help give him a semblance of control over the situation – a feeling he is often deprived of due to his paranoia and imagined fears. By being prepared and handling the situation calmly, you can help the patient get medical help without accident on his and your part.

Resource Box:
Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical health care and sharing them through her writing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How to Tell If Your Loved One Has Paranoid Personality Disorder

If you are in the position of being close to a person with Paranoid Personality Disorder, trying to understand his/her obnoxious and oftentimes repulsive behavior can be really challenging. Because of their self-centeredness, they are not liable to put themselves in other people's shoes. They have a one-track and one-sided mind that allows them to see and consider only their own point of view. It is this kind of attitude that makes others avoid them.

You might think that they are aware of what they are doing. But the truth is, because it is a disorder, they are oblivious to it. Pathetically, they are helpless to deal with their situation. It comes naturally to them. Being burdened with Paranoid Personality Disorder, makes them very suspicious to the point that they become self-centered and distrustful of almost everyone including their own loved ones. This condition is more common among men than in women, and it usually manifests itself during early adulthood. Thus, this period could be considered as akin to the age of anxiety for them. For you to tell if your loved one could be struck by Paranoid Personality Disorder, read on. Recognizing the symptoms early will allow a sufferer to seek help as soon as possible, giving him/her tools to cope with this distressing condition.

Ever Suspicious

A person with Paranoid Personality Disorder is unable to trust anyone. They are always on the defensive, feeling as if they are surrounded and overwhelmed by threats everywhere they go. To confirm their suspicions, they are always in search of proof, and whether or not this could be seen as one, they would only adhere to what they want to think and believe. They cannot shake off their fears regardless of evidence to disprove it. For married sufferers, this fear could develop into a senseless jealousy.

Overly Sensitive

Since people with Paranoid Personality Disorder are always on their guard, expect them to be too sensitive about things for fear of potential harm on their part. This makes them very defensive and belligerent. Even if they are the ones to blame, they could never ever accept that they are at fault. They would always react in this manner whether the flak hurled at them is big or small. On the contrary, they are overly critical of other people, and has a strong inclination to blow matters out of proportion.

Distant and Unemotional

Aside from being belligerent and staunch, sufferers are emotionally detached and distant from other people especially their loved ones. They shy away from any form of intimacy and are prone to putting up a cold, aloof front. Even if their point of view hardly makes sense, they still see themselves as correct because they uphold themselves to be logical and objective-minded individuals. Their naturally cold nature keeps them from admitting that they are in need of help. More often than not, these people are just regarded as eccentric personalities. The tendency for those who live with them is just to broaden their understanding and tolerate their annoying tendencies.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Defend Yourself Against the Effects of Second-Hand Smoke

No matter how health conscious you are, if you are exposed to the deadly fume that is second-hand smoke, then you are not exempted from its deadly effects. Smoking does not only threaten the health of smokers themselves, but also those people who inhale their smoke. For this reason, it is perfectly understandable why some non-smokers get miffed when people near them smoke.

Although they could sometimes come across as offensive in their approach when they reprimand or tell smokers about their discomfort, non-smokers actually have every right to do so, for their health is also endangered. On the part of smokers who still persist with their deadly habit, regardless of having been informed of the bad effects of smoking, they should learn to be considerate of others. Since we all thrive in the same atmosphere and smoking is air-borne, it is impossible for others not to inhale the harmful fumes they inhale and puff out.

Smoking bans in certain public places and even cities are especially helpful. This works for the good of everyone concerned whether they are smokers or non-smokers. But since this is not implemented in some locations, there is a possibility that we still would inhale second-hand smoke in other places. So if the smokers (who are often inconsiderate in their actions) would not be deterred from their habit even at the expense of others, it is up to non-smokers to do some serious moves to defend themselves against the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

  • Impose a smoking ban within the premises of your own home. Do not provide ashtrays, so as not to encourage smoking. Aside from this, ask members of your family and visitors not to smoke while they are inside the house. Even if the windows are open, it does not provide enough ventilation to disperse or move the harmful fumes out of your home. Using your air conditioner would not do much either. It could clear the smoke, but it literally has no effect or whatsoever in obliterating the deadly particles or keep the from circulating in your home's atmosphere.

  • Push for the enforcement of a smoking ban in your office or any place of work. Inhaling second-hand smoke can cause cancer and a multitude of other illnesses. The best way to keep everybody protected is too make the entire area a smoke-free environment.

  • When it comes to visiting facilities, make sure they are smoke-free.

  • Support smoke-free establishments, and inform managers of how pleased you are for their concern to their customers and employees. Nowadays, there are a lot of restaurants and establishments that are smoke-free.

  • In the case that you are in the same place as a smoker and there is no way you could keep them from doing their deadly habit, just ascertain that you stay as far away from them as you possibly could.

  • Should your spouse or any of your relatives smoke, tell them to do it outside. Better yet, encourage them to kick the habit all together. Quit smoking.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Effects of Second-Hand Smoke

If you think you are safe from contracting smoking-related ailments because you are a non-smoker, think again. Environmental tobacco smoke or second-hand smoke poses health risks to those who are unfortunate enough to inhale it from smokers who often lead with their chins. Composed of smoke emitted from the lit end of a cigarette/cigar/pipe and that exhaled by the smokers themselves, non-smokers who are within their range are given no choice but to breathe it in since it is airborne. This repulsive smoke remains in the atmosphere for hours long after a cigarette has been put out and is likely to either generate or aggravate its perilous effects. Among these are asthma, respiratory infections, and cancer.

What makes second-smoke dangerous?

Undoubtedly, with a content of 400 chemicals, 50 of which induces cancer, second-hand smoke is toxic. In fact, inhaling it through the smoke given out by smokers is more potent than if you were the one smoking it directly. This is attributed to the fact that you are likely to inhale twice as more nicotine and five times more carbon monoxide than the smoker himself or herself.

Prolonged and frequent exposure to second-hand smoke results to an increased susceptibility to contracting lung cancer, nasal sinus cancer, heart disease, stroke, and breathing problems such as coughing, wheezing, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma. People who are always exposed to housemates who are smokers have a 30% higher chance of being struck with lung cancer an/or heart disease. In fact, it only takes anywhere between 8-20 minutes for physical manifestations to surface if a person inhales second-hand smoke.

During this time, he or she is likely to experience a faster heart rate, a decrease in the amount of oxygen supplied to the brain, and narrowed blood vessels; resulting to a rise in blood pressure, thus, prompting the heart to pump harder. As for pregnant women, it ups the risk of having miscarriages and delivering babies with low birth weight.

What dangers does second-hand smoke pose to children and infants?

Studies have shown that in one out of five homes, children and infants are exposed to secondhand-smoke on a daily basis. And because their lungs are still in the developing stages, exposure to this harmful fume weighs more heavily on them than it does to adults. Infants, in particular, are the most vulnerable since their breathing has greater speed than that of adults. Aside from this, they have an increased chance of dying due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS), more commonly known as crib death. Research has revealed that infant death due to second-hand smoke is three times greater than death related to child abuse or homicide.

Second-hand smoke is perilous particularly to children stricken with asthma. Even a slight exposure to it would be sufficient enough to set off an asthma attack. And as for those who are free of it, they would eventually contract it if they frequently breathe in second-hand smoke. Stop smoking

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stroke Prevention Tips

Before, suffering from stroke means a funeral after. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within a few minutes, brain cells begin to die – and so does the person. More than a disease, stroke is really a medical emergency, one that should be given attention promptly. Without prompt medical attention, there is a higher risk of severe brain damage and complication.

While fewer people have died because of stroke in the past 20 or so years, it is still a threat. Despite effective treatments, prevention is still the best recourse when it comes to stroke. If you want to prevent stroke or lower your risks of suffering from it, here are some tips:

1.Talk to your doctor about the risks of you suffering from stroke.

Knowing your risk factors and adopting a healthy lifestyle are the best steps you can take to prevent a stroke. Talk to your doctor and get yourself checked to identify your risk factors. Risk factors like fluctuating blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and high blood pressure can be controlled if you take the right steps. Doing so will make it easier for you to practice prevention measures.

2.Stop smoking and exposing yourself to second-hand smoke.

Quitting smoking reduces your risk of stroke. Several years after quitting, a former smoker's risk of stroke is the same as that of a nonsmoker. However, it is also wise to keep your exposure to second-hand smoke to a minimum – especially if you are a nonsmoker. Environmental Tobacco Smoke or ETS as second-hand smoke is more commonly known is just as dangerous as smoking itself due to the nicotine and chemicals present in it.

3.Keep a healthy weight.

Being overweight contributes to other risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Eating a balanced diet can limit your consumption of fats that can make your cholesterol levels soar. Exercising also helps you lose weight, control diabetes and reduce stress. Gradually work up to 30 minutes of activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, or bicycling on most, if not all, days of the week for a no-fail workout.

4.Reduce stress by practicing stress management techniques.

Stress can cause a temporary spike in your blood pressure, a risk factor for brain hemorrhage, or long-lasting hypertension. It can also increase your blood's tendency to clot, which may elevate your risk of stroke. Simplifying your life, exercising, and using relaxation techniques are all approaches that you can learn to reduce stress. Deep breathing, meditation, and sipping tea are just some of the most common stress reduction techniques.

5.Manage preexisting conditions.

Chronic illnesses like heart problems and diabetes increase your risks of stroke. Managing these conditions and keeping them under control can certainly help you lower stroke risks. Continue treatment for these conditions but be certain to ask your doctor if the prescription drugs you are using for these diseases are not increasing your risks for stroke.

Resource Box:
Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why Smoking Kills

Smoking is one habit that is far from easy to break. But no matter how great the difficulty is, it is imperative. You cannot continue ignoring all the warnings given to you because once you come down with an illness because of it, remember: you are not the only one who is going to be affected, but also the people closest to you.

The bad effects of smoking affects almost every organ in your body. All the possible illnesses it could generate automatically put the smokers health at high risk. Statistics have confirmed that the drawbacks of smoking to our health are accountable for an estimated 5,000,000 worldwide deaths annually.

Moreover, one out of every five deaths in the US is due to a smoking related illness. In fact, smoking is the leading cause of death in the world, outranking AIDS, drug abuse, murders, suicides, and vehicular accidents. Individuals who have been smoking throughout their entire lives have a 50% chance of dying from smoke-related illnesses, and these are likely to occur when they reach middle age. Also, it has been identified that tobacco smoking is the culprit behind an estimated 25 kinds of ailments.

Although most of us are already aware of how the effects of smoking can shorten the lifespan of an individual, not all of us are particularly aware of the nitty-gritty, morbid details surrounding these physical illnesses incurred from smoking. Here they are:

Ailments Affecting the Heart and Circulatory System

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm results from smoking.

  • A person who smokes cigarettes is twice more susceptible to having strokes.

  • Smoking cigarettes limits the arteries, which leads to a reduced circulation.

  • Individuals who smoke have a 10%percent higher chance of contracting peripheral vascular disease.


  • Individuals who smoke are more susceptible to develop cancer of the following organs: stomach, pancreas, kidney, cervix, lung, esophagus, pharynx, oral cavity, larynx, and the bladder.

  • Acute myeloid leukemia is caused by smoking.

  • It has been found out that cancers related to smoking ranks is more likely among adult African-American males than in any other race in the world.
  • 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and 80% in women all resulted from smoking.
  • Research has divulged that the danger of dying from lung cancer among smokers is 23 times higher with men and 13 times more with women. This is considerably higher in comparison to non-smokers.

Respiratory Ailments and Other Illnesses

  • Smokers have a 10% higher chance of contracting and dying from chronic obstructive lung disease than non-smokers. Cigarette smoking has been identified as responsible for 90% of deaths due to chronic obstructive lung disease.
  • The bone density of post-menopausal women who smoke is considerably lower than that of women who do not smoke. In addition, women smokers are more susceptible to suffering from hip fractures as compared to those who do not smoke.
  • Smoking cigarettes is known to result to a lot of negative reproductive and early childhood effects. These include: stillbirth, low birth weight, pre-term delivery, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Resource Box:
Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Great Skin for the Winter Season

Keeping your skin healthy during the cold winter months can be quite challenging. The steep drop in the temperature can take its toll on our skin too, causing it to lose moisture. Although there is a multitude of creams and lotions that would guarantee replenishment of lost moisture, it is still best if we try to prevent it from happening in the first place.

The changes in season would have a direct effect on the condition and eventually the appearance of our skin. If skin tends to become more oily during the summer season, the opposite occurs once the colder months step in. Dry skin is particularly common during winter. Having cracked, dry skin makes it more susceptible to contracting infections. These radical differences and their effects on our skin generate a need for us to also take note of specific measures in order to ensure that we maintain the good condition of our skin regardless of the season. For this reason, dermatologists urge us to alter our skin care regimen to accommodate the demands of our skin during the harsh, cold weather. This is not only to help keep our skin healthy, but also to encourage the natural defenses of our body.

Below are some all natural skin care tips to help you keep your skin in tip-top shape despite the freezing weather.

  • As soon as the humidity inside your home falls below 60 percent, which already means the air is dry, use a humidifier. Doing so would not only keep your skin from becoming chapped and dry, but it also prevents your nasal passages from drying out.

  • No matter how freezing the temperature gets, avoid hot showers. Hot water can sap moisture from your skin, and this combined with the freezing temperature would only dry out your skin even more. Instead opt for quick lukewarm showers. When you're done, pat the skin dry with a towel and then apply a moisturizing lotion to lock in moisture. It is best if the skin is moisturized within three minutes after stepping out of the shower.

  • Use creams and lotions containing any of the following ingredients: glycerin, dimethicone, petrolatum, linoleic acids, ceramides, or mineral oil. These ensure that your skin stays moisturized during the cold weather.

  • Don't forget your lips. They too need moisture. Use lip balms with sunscreen or lipsticks packed with moisturizers and sunscreen to prevent them from becoming dry and chapped.

  • Sunblock should be a year-round skin staple especially one that shields you from UVA and UVB rays. Research has confirmed that ultraviolet rays can be specifically strong on a calm winter day. Even if if the sun is hidden behind clouds, the UV rays can still permeate and wreak damage on exposed skin.

  • If your nails are brittle, keep them moisturized well and use nail polish containing nail protein. Also, it is better if you keep your nails short. This prevents fungus from getting in.

  • Change your wet clothes and shoes as soon as you can. Eczema can result from wet clothes and shoes that come in contact with skin.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Can Hypnosis Help You Quit Smoking?

After having failed at several attempts to ditch the nasty smoking habit once and for all, by now, you must have already reached the point in which you are on the verge of resigning yourself to the fact that you are doomed to have a pair of putrid lungs in the not so very distant future. Quitting smoking is never as easy as taking a walk in the park. Like many smokers before you, you have realized how frustrating it can be to keep on trying and always end up with no results. But don't lose hope. If all else fails, maybe it is high time for you to try hypnosis.

How Hypnosis Can Help

The first image that comes to mind upon mentioning the words “hypnosis” and “hypnotist” is that of someone lulling his or her subject to sleep by swinging a stopwatch hanging from a chain to and fro before the eyes of the latter. This has lent a somewhat bogus and fantastical connotation to the idea behind hypnotism. But in reality, the science behind hypnosis and its benefits are not based on quackery, magic, or sorcery. And although it is unconventional, it is still a long way off from being categorized as fantastic.
Hypnosis makes use of the advantageous effects of suggestion. Proven to be a powerful and most commonly used tool, one very good way of illustrating the method of suggestion is through advertising. Even if advertising does not directly make us of hypnosis per se, it still uses suggestion in promoting products and convincing target markets to patronize them. Hypnosis is also reliant on the same precept. But if you are to use hypnosis as a means of quitting smoking, then you have to open your mind to the fact that the power of suggestion can work on you.

Meeting Your Expectations

However, do not expect that once you undergo hypnosis, you would automatically have a radical change in your way of thinking. It has been reported that most people who have undergone hypnosis to help them kick the smoking habit occasionally experienced cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This only proves further how hard it is to stop smoking. It is a slow and tedious process requiring patience and perseverance on the part of the person involved. But this does not mean to say that hypnosis is defective. On the contrary, it could be as equally effective and at times even more effective than the other measures suggested for this particular problem. Like them, it is not an instant cure, moreover, a miracle cure that can automatically reverse a smoker's way of thinking. Nevertheless, if you are dead serious about junking this bad and lethal habit for good, then hypnosis could be one effective method that can work for you. But as with every suggested method or program, make sure that you enter armed with determination, perseverance, a willingness to change, and above all, a realistic perception that it is not perfect, thus, necessitating time and consistency to work efficiently.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bagging the Right Bag for Your Kids

Growing pains affect at least 15% of the children in the United States. While it is not a disease, it is real for the kids and may even cause them to lie awake at night. With the many pain medications sold today, there really isn't any reason for you to let your child ride the pain out. However, since many medicines can cause uncomfortable side effects in children, it is best to keep them from having these pains. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that your kids use the right bags for school.

School backpacks are useful and convenient in carrying books and stuff around. They can also serve as a fashion statement. However, they are also a prime cause of should strain and backache – two conditions that can seriously compound growing pains. To keep your child free of muscle pain but ready for school- especially now that September is just around the corner – here are some tips on bagging the right bag for your kids:

1.Opt for wide, padded shoulder straps.

Thin, unpadded straps have the unfortunate habit of digging onto your child's shoulders. Aside from causing welts, these straps contribute to uneven distribution of weight as they can easily slide off your child's shoulders. This is also true for one-strap bags. Wide, padded shoulder straps – and padded backs too, if possible – can prevent painful digging and uneven distribution of weight. This can reduce back strain. Opting for a backpack with a waist belt is also a good idea.

2.Look for multiple compartments.

Instead of going for backpacks with just one compartment, opt for one that has several smaller compartments. Multiple compartments for smaller items can better distribute weight within the backpack, as well as make it easy to find things that might otherwise be lost in the jumble. As such, choose backpacks with evenly distributed pockets as having them all on one side kind of defeats the purpose of balancing the weight.

3.Choose small backpacks.

In terms of size, go for small ones that pack a punch instead of big, hulking bags. Choose the smallest backpack that accommodates your child's books, notebooks, folders and other school supplies. As a general rule, the backpack shouldn't be wider than your child's torso nor should it come four inches below his waist. Smaller backpacks are also lighter and since the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children carry no more than 10 percent to 20 percent of their body weight in a backpack, smaller and lighter backpacks made of sturdy but lightweight materials are ideal.

Choosing the right backpack can very well save your child from growing pains, chronic back pain, and other bone and muscle disorders. Studies conducted by the American Occupational Therapy Association suggest that more than half of students from ages nine to 20 experience chronic back pain related to backpacks. If you're worried about the toll your child's backpack is taking on his back, consult your child's doctor for preventive measures and appropriate treatment methods.

Resource Box:

Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

The Elusive Treatments For Back Pain

Among the most common complaints that a person has would be back pain. In fact, back pain is such a prevalent problem that treatments for it have increased over the years, and it is the most likely cause for a person to visit a doctor’s office. However, while the available options have increased, this isn’t necessarily good news. Instead, many patients have found that sudden back pain only opens up to a veritable world of medical confusion.

There are numerous pharmaceutical and surgical remedies available for back pain, but the effectiveness of almost all of these has been put into question several times. There’s a large amount of money that goes into things such as doctor’s visits, medications like Tramadol to dull the pain, stays in the hospital, any procedures that need to be done, and perhaps even physical therapy. All of that, and there’s no concrete guarantee that any of them will actually improve things. According to data from the American Medical Association, spending on back treatments jumped by 65%, going up to nearly $86 billion from 1997 to 2005, after adjustments for inflation were made. During the same period, though, the proportion of people with back function having been reduced because of spinal problems increased. This is despite control measures implemented to factor out the aging population.

Lower back pain, according to experts, is a representation of more than just one condition. It can be caused by any number of conditions, and each one might need to be treated differently. For some, it could be a muscular problem that can be fixed by a muscle relaxant or pain killer, such as Tramadol. For many of the conditions that cause this pain, there is no known test that can confirm which is which. This usually causes attempts to relieve lower back pain to become a process of trial and error, attempting to find which condition fits the symptoms. As such, treatment can only actually begin once the condition has been identified, because what works for one is not likely to work for others.

Another problem with this is that, for about 85% of all patients, the cause of the pain is impossible to identify, and many doctors just prescribe Tramadol or some other pain medication. In essence, they treat the symptoms, but are aware that they are unable to do anything about the symptoms. Even magnetic resonance imaging technology is only rarely able to shed light on the problem, with most studies finding that the scans are able to pick up social abnormalities in people who have never experienced back pain, but are unable to find anything wrong with those who have.

Resource Box : Harvey Ong is currently working as a writer-researcher for an online pharmaceutical company. For more information on the topics he writes about, go to

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sensitive Skin Care that Works

Having sensitive skin is like a prison in itself. It restricts us from so many things, depriving us of our liberty to use just any product we choose or eat any food we please, unless we harbor a secret hatred towards ourselves. However, since we are surrounded by so much pollution these days, leaving our skin bare exposes it completely to these harmful elements, which is a similar form of skin suicide as directly using the wrong skin care product on it. So what are we to do?

The first step is by facing our problem: our problematic sensitive skin. Many factors have already been identified to contribute to skin sensitivity or its aggravation. From food to surroundings, down to the different emollients we slather on our skin; all these have a direct effect on the state and appearance of our skin. Taking particular notice of the current skin care product we are using, it may not be surprising to learn that many of the ingredients used for them could actually be the cause of or trigger of our particular condition. We have been using them blindly, not knowing that they do our skin more harm than good.

The next best thing for us to do to contend with our situation is by equipping ourselves with substantial knowledge regarding our problematic skin. Intelligent observation of the nature and inherent characteristics of our skin as well as its reaction to certain factors may well serve as the best sensitive skin care method that could actually work for us. Working from here onwards, it would no longer prove to be difficult for us to determine the next steps we should take in caring for our sensitive skin.

Let us put an end to our struggle, and get down to head-on observation and learning. Here are the procedures we should follow to get us started:

1.Let us first take a very good look at all the products we use on our skin(face and body). Which of these products recently came in contact with the affected skin area? If there are several affected areas, proceed to the next step.

2.Given that we use different products on these affected areas, we should carefully look over the ingredients used for each. What ingredients do they have in common? What ingredients are unique to each one?

3.Isolate the product or products from the others that you use. Should we choose to use a similar product in their place, we have to make sure that they have different ingredients used. Either that or we opt for all-natural or organic products to replace them. However, in purchasing organic products, we should review thoroughly the labels first. Sometimes they combine some chemicals that could also be harmful to your sensitive skin.

4.Avoid using the products you suspect to be the cause of our irritation for a period of three up to four months. Take note of the changes.

5.Make a thorough research regarding the products we use and the ingredients used therein. Ascertain that they are “safe” based on the safety standards of cosmetics.

6.Chart or jot down any change that may have occurred from the time we have started to use another product/s or from the time we have stopped using the suspected product/s.

Resource Box:
Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Migraine Management: It's More than a Bad Headache

Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, a leading drug manufacturer conducted a poll about migraines and how they affect employees and businesses. The report indicated that there are at least 15 million men and women in the United States who have gone to work with migraine or experienced an attack at work. In addition, an original investigation by the American Medical Association about the economic burden migraine poses to the U.S. business sector indicates a loss that amounts to as much as $13 billion per year due to missed work days and impaired work function. If you feel that migraine is negatively impacting your work, here are some tips on managing it in the workplace:

1. Let the office know about your condition.

It won't do to keep your migraine a secret from your boss, your colleagues, and the company doctor. Aside from it being a necessity when you apply for company-sponsored health insurance, informing them that you suffer from migraine lets you form a support network that can attend to you in case a migraine attack at work becomes an emergency. You also create understanding and awareness of the disorder which can help the company implement precautionary measures that can help prevent developing migraine in other employees.

2. Be proactive.

Being proactive is necessary in having a rewarding career but it is also important if you want to manage your migraine. Instead of seeking medical attention only when migraines attack, make it a point to talk to your doctor about the condition in general. You can ask your doctor for tips on managing migraines, about available new treatments for the disorder, and other measures you can take to keep the pain at bay especially at work. You have a better chance of managing your condition by taking a more active approach in its treatment.

3. Make your working environment as migraine-proof as possible.

Flickering bright office lights can trigger migraine in some people as do loud noises. Identify migraine triggers in the workplace and make your workstation as migraine-proof as possible. For example, if noises trigger your migraine, you can wear headphones that play nature sounds or soothing music while at work. If this is not permitted, you can ask your boss if you can be stationed far from the office lunchroom or the copier machine. If lights are the problem, talk to your boss about taking the lights out of your workstation and using a subdued lamp instead. You can also keep some anti-stress objects in your cube such as a mini Zen fountain or aromatherapy oils.

4. Come to work armed with your pain medications.

If your doctor has prescribed an anti-migraine or pain medication for you, keep some inside your desk drawer at work so you can be ready when you feel a migraine attack coming. Costs of double stocking shouldn't be a problem since there are many reputable online pharmacies that sell low cost pain relief drugs on the Net. A nasal spray or an orally disintegrating tablet that melts in the mouth might be a more suitable option at the office as they can be taken discreetly and without fluids.

5. Practice a healthy lifestyle.

Exercising regularly and observing a balanced diet can help keep migraines at bay. A healthy lifestyle is also key in treating migraine as some of its most common triggers include lack of sleep or rest, fatigue, sugars, carbohydrates, excessive caffeine, and nicotine. Avoiding or minimizing your exposure to these triggers can help treat and prevent migraine attacks.

Resource Box:

Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical health care and sharing them through her writing.

Using a Thermometer: Tips and Tricks

When your child complains of feeling unwell, your first instinct is to put your hand against his forehead to check his temperature. And when it feels quite hot, off you go to get a thermometer. This is a very sensible move compared to panicking and going to a doctor immediately since fever can be easily remedied at home. However, are you sure that you are using the thermometer correctly? Because if you aren't, you may botch up the reading and dismiss your child's complaint as a simple fever even if it isn't. Below are tips and tricks to help you fine-tune your thermometer skills:

1. Know your options.

While the mercury thermometer was the thermometer of choice years back, there are a lot of thermometers available today that you can use. There are even specialized thermometers that can be used in the rectum, mouth, and armpits respectively. Regular digital thermometers use electronic heat sensors to record body temperature, often in 30 seconds or less. Digital ear thermometers, also called tympanic thermometers, are even quicker than regular digital thermometers and can measure body temperature in just a few seconds. A digital pacifier thermometer is another option for young kids. If you are unsure of the type of thermometer to get, you can always consult your family doctor.

2. Consider your child's age.

The kind of thermometer you use matters but not so much as to where you stick it. For this, you need to consider your child's age to get the most accurate reading. For newborns, use a regular digital thermometer to take rectal temperature. Lubricate the tip of the digital thermometer with petroleum jelly then slide it an inch into your child's rectum. Do not force it in if there is any resistance. For toddlers aged four and below, it is best to use an ear thermometer. As your child grows older and more in control of his muscles, he can gradually move into using digital thermometers stuck under his tongue or in his armpits. If you have a number of kids in different ages, keeping a variety of thermometers at hand is advised.

3. Think of your priorities.

Regardless of the age of the child or person it is used for, a rectal thermometer gives the most accurate temperature reading. Whatever the method, make sure you know exactly how to use your thermometer. Read the instructions that came with your thermometer. After each use, clean the thermometer with rubbing alcohol or soap and lukewarm water. For safety and to make sure the thermometer stays in place, never leave your child unattended while you're taking his or her temperature.

4. Wait for the beep.

Most digital thermometers are equipped with an alarm that will beep to alert you that enough time has passed for the thermometer to do its job. Removing the thermometer before it is time to do so can render the reading inaccurate or useless. In case you still use a mercury thermometer, allow at least one to three minutes before removing it. Thermometers usually come with instructions so check the package about times and alarms.

5. Know when to seek medical advice.

Fevers are not illnesses. They are often symptoms of something else. As such it is important to know when to seek medical advice. When reporting a temperature to your child's doctor, give the actual reading and state how the temperature was taken. Don't add or subtract numbers from the reading depending on where the thermometer was placed. If you want to give your child fever medication, stick to acetaminophen or whatever it is that is prescribed by the doctor.

Resource Box:

Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

How Smoking Affects Women

Despite the repetitive warnings against the ill effects of smoking, there would always be new smokers joining the bandwagon annually, contributing further to our ever-worsening pollution and to the steadily increasing death rate of people directly and/or indirectly affected by this nasty habit. The common denominator between smoking and a natural calamity is their inherent trait to affect both genders regardless of age, location, and/or status. No one is spared. There is virtually no difference between the medical complications that could arise from smoking for both men and women. Both of them are equally susceptible to a melange of cancers, namely in the following areas; bladder, kidneys, pancreas, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, mouth, and the lungs. Apart from all these, they are also prone to varied respiratory diseases, which have become increasingly more common at present. But for women, the effects could have some forms of variations due to their biological difference in terms of structure from men. There are researches suggesting that women are more prone to nicotine addiction than men. Aside from this, they also have a slower metabolism of the said harmful substance. Thus, women who smoke are in danger of contracting illnesses borne of smoking. But of them all, post-menopausal women and those taking birth control pills have the highest risk of getting down with life-threatening ailments.

Below are the terrible effects smoking has on women's health:

* Women smokers who use oral contraceptives have a 10 percent higher risk of succumbing to heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. The risk is higher for those who are more than 35 years of age and is is even more potent for those who are 45.

* Smoking raises the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, prenatal and infant deaths, learning disorders, troublesome behavior, and attention disorders.

* For pregnant women, smoking not only endangers their lives, but also that of their unborn babies. It has been proven that women smoking during their pregnancy are more susceptible to preterm delivery, premature rupture of membranes, placenta previa, miscarriage, neonatal death, and low birth weight.

* Women smokers are more likely to be at risk of having decreased fertility.

* Secondary amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) and irregular menstruation are more common among women smokers. Aside from these, they are also more likely to suffer from peculiar vaginal discharge and bleeding.

* It has been found out that women who smoke do not only experience interruptions with their menstrual cycle, but they are also more likely to enter menopause earlier than those who do not smoke.

* It has been confirmed that smoking cigarettes among women increases their chances of contracting osteoporosis. Originally, smoking is considered as a contributory factor to the development of osteoporosis, which is a decrease in bone density that could strike both genders. However, it is more common among women since they are the ones who conceive babies.

* Breast cancer only comes in at second place in terms of the number one cause of death for women. Lung cancer takes the top spot, and its primary cause is smoking.

* Apart from the above-mentioned illnesses, smoking ups the chances of women in contracting periodontal diseases, teeth staining, bad breath, tooth loss, and pronounced facial wrinkling.

* Women smokers are at much higher risk of having vulvar and cervical cancers.

Resource Box:

Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Coping with ADHD Treatment

It can be difficult if your kid is suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The symptoms alone are enough to cause you, your child, and the rest of your family some difficulties.

Symptoms of ADHD in Children

Since symptoms of ADHD vary and their causes are not clear, doctors usually hold off diagnosing ADHD in children until they exhibit the following symptoms with greater intensity compared to what is normal for their age:

1. Inattention. Children with ADHD find it difficult to concentrate on one activity at a time or forget easily even when just told of something.

2. Hyperactivity. ADHD-affected children are often in constant motion even when they seem to be just sitting. Squirming, fidgeting, playing with things at reach, and running around are common manifestations.

3. Impulsiveness. When a child with ADHD is struck with an idea, he immediately acts on it without thinking of consequences. As a result, most ADHD children are accident-prone and susceptible to tantrums if they do not get their way.

If you suspect that your child has ADHD or has been knowingly diagnosed with the condition, do not be anxious. With your help and guidance, he is perfectly capable of living a full life. Medications that can help you and your kid manage his condition, ADHD can be a bearable situation.

Or is it?

The Problem

Insomnia, stomach problems, gastrointestinal disorders, and weight loss are common side effects often associated with ADHD medication use. Apart from his ADHD episodes, your kid may suffer from loss of sleep, decrease in appetite, and being underweight before he gets better. While switching medications is often a solution, this entails another adjustment periods as your kid’s body tries to get accustomed to a new set of drugs.

The Solution

Steven Parker, M.D. the director of behavioral and developmental pediatrics at the Boston Medical Center advises that if the benefits of the drug (i.e. better learning capability and mood control) outweigh the side effects, it is often better for kids and parents to tough it out. Here, we provide you tips on reducing or preventing the onset of side effects when using ADHD medications:

1. Implement changes in eating habits.

Unless otherwise indicated, taking ADHD medications with food is recommended as it can prevent the onset of stomachaches and gastrointestinal problems. Taking ADHD treatment medications with food also prevents headaches by preventing sudden changes in blood pressure. If possible, work mealtimes around his medication schedules or give him a snack before administering medicines.

2. Consider long-acting medications.

Short-acting medicines have the disadvantage of triggering headaches as an offshoot of their speedy reaction time. If your child suffers from headaches a lot especially after taking medications, work with his doctor to develop a medication schedule that offsets headaches during times when your kid is at school. If the headaches are too severe, switching to long-acting formulations is a viable option.

3. Develop a sleep routine.

Aside from keeping your kid’s bedroom as a strictly sleeping zone – no homework, no TV – you can also help him sleep better by prohibiting caffeinated drinks and developing a sleep routine. Consistently practicing a bedtime routine that is comfortable for both you and your child can help prevent insomnia caused by ADHD medications.

Resource Box:

Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Free Yourself From The Hassles of PMS – The Safer Way

Many women and adolescent girls suffer from cramps, lower back pain, and bloating every month during their menstrual period. However, there are also those who experience premenstrual syndrome or PMS, wherein some women and young girls feel varying degrees of discomfort before their periods. Aside from physical pain, there are those who also feel depressed and anxious that somehow affect their everyday activities at home, work, or school.

While there are still no studies that can determine the factors that can trigger PMS, this is often associated with the hormonal level changes that take place during the menstruation cycle of every woman. Health experts claim that PMS is not caused by psychological factors or stress, but these can, however, worsen PMS symptoms.

Treating PMS

Fortunately for women who suffer from PMS, there is a way for them to avoid the hassles PMS brings. Generally, doctors often prescribe medicines that can help the body get rid of extra fluid and sodium, thus, preventing breast pain, back pain, abdominal pain, bloating, as well as weight gain. As for psychological symptoms of PMS, doctors commonly prescribe antidepressants for depression, anxiety, as well as irritability that usually come with PMS.

Moreover, women suffering from PMS can also resort to a healthier and simpler diet as well as lifestyle changes. As for a healthier diet, women should start eating more carbohydrates such as cereals, whole grain breads, and pasta and foods that are rich in protein, fiber, and potassium. They can also try to avoid eating too much fat and sugar as well as cut back on alcohol and caffeine intake.

Alternative treatments to PMS

Sometimes it is best to avoid taking medications over PMS pain, for your body may adapt to the medicines you intake. Hence, most doctors recommended alternative pain relief treatments instead to those who suffer from PMS pain.

One alternative option to treat PMS is to eat healthy and breathe fresh air. These simple steps can definitely lead to a healthy and well-balanced body, thus, lessening a woman's chances in experiencing PMS symptoms. Some health practitioners also advise women suffering from PMS to try practicing breathing exercises, aromatherapy, yoga, as well as meditation. These exercises are known to lessen one's stress and promote relaxation. Also, it might be best to set aside personal time for a vacation to unwind and focus on life factors that can truly revive one's spirit.

Furthermore, women who frequently suffer from PMS may also opt to try using primrose oil, which is a plant oil that has gamma-linolenic fatty acid. This fatty acid is known to regulate inflammation and pain in the body. There are also other natural remedies used for PMS such as vitamin E, ginkgo, wild yam, progesterone cream, and St. John's Wort.

With these alternative treatments expounded, women who frequently suffer from PMS can try these no-medication methods of alleviating and preventing PMS symptoms. Not only are these alternative treatments effective, but these are also safer and quite easy to do.

Resource Box:

Rcon Franchesca V. Pascua is a web content writer and researcher who specializes in health and fitness topics. She enjoys reading health-related features and articles and sharing what she learns by providing tips and guidelines on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Childhood Safety: Preventing Falls

Children, with their excess energy and natural curiosity, have plenty of opportunities to fall down. It can be as simple as trying to reach that cookie jar while using an unstable object as footstool or running down the stairs in their socks. Balancing on curbs is also a popular accident. As it is, accidents involving falls can seem as much part of childhood as a PB and J sandwich and morning cartoons. Even so, there are some things you can do to prevent the worst accidents from happening and minimizing the risks of those you cannot stop. Below are some tips on preventing falls:

1. Beware of heights.

Not to encourage a fear of heights but it would be sensible of you to teach your children not to play in places that are too high off the ground. Fire escapes, high porches, and balconies are certainly not places to play tag or jump around. If you have small children around, it is better to keep these places off-limits or accessible only to adults by means of locks placed on the higher parts of the entrances. Having a rule that clearly expresses your dislike of having young children play in these areas is also a good idea. Windows should also be locked if no adult is supervising playtime since children can easily climb and fell from one.

2. Keep stairs free from clutter.

As convenient as it is, the stairs is hardly a good place to keep shoes. Clutter on the stairs increases the risk of tripping and falling. Keep your stairs free from clutter such as books, magazines, toys, or other home ornaments. In fact, the less cluttered your stairs are, the safer it will be. It is also a good idea to keep yourself from polishing stair steps as waxes can make them slippery. Spills on the stairs should be wiped and dried as soon as possible to avoid possible mishaps.

3. Install safety gates and handrails.

If you have a toddler who has just learned to walk and is itching to try his newfound skills, installing safety gates along entrances to rooms and handrails along short steps is a good idea. Safety gates can prevent your kid from wandering from room to room – particularly rooms that lead to stairs or have low windows. Just make sure that there are no objects around that he can use to climb over the safety gates as those will sadly defeat the purpose of installing the gates in the first place. If you have short flights of stairs or steps around in your house, it will help if you install handrails just in case your toddler finds an opportunity to climb these without your supervision.

4. Keep floors free of debris and clutter.

There are a number of floor-based objects that can contribute to falls in children. Loose area rugs, carpeting, mats, and cords can slid and trip you and your child. Secure rugs and carpets by using a double-sided adhesive or by sliding under them a rubber mat. Cords should be put tied with plastic binders that keep excess lengths out of the way. It is also a good idea to keep appliances near the power outlets to avoid using extension cords that can cause trips and short circuits.

5. Equip your home and child against falls.

For those accidents you cannot avoid, it is best to keep your home and child with materials that can minimize the pain and injury. At home, it is best if you keep a medicine cabinet or first aid kit filled with discount drugs like antiseptics for possible wounds and painkillers for sprains and fractures. If your child bikes to school or engages in sports, it is best if you invest in protective gear like helmets and elbow pads.

Resource Box:

Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Traveling with Medications

Keeping a medication schedule is hard enough when you have to do it at home but during travel, it’s an absolute nightmare. If you are like most people, you probably have had to travel at least once while on medication and you know how difficult it can be. Aside from remembering your travel itinerary, you also have to squeeze in your medications. If you need to take several medications at different points during the day, here are some tips that can help you manage your medication schedule easier:

1.Make a medication calendar.

A medication calendar is really helpful especially if you will be away from home for a week or so. Just print out or make a personal calendar inclusive of your travel dates. Aside from your daily agenda, also jot down your medication schedules on the calendar. This way, instead of a being a hassle, your medications become a part of your daily schedule. If you find the task of writing or penciling in your medication routine into your daily itinerary, invest in pillboxes and label each with a date corresponding to your travel schedule.

2.Get prescription refills before setting out.

Visit your local pharmacy or your doctor to get a refill of your prescription medications prior to traveling. This way, you prevent missing out on your medications just because the amount you brought with you isn’t enough. This is especially important if you are using a medication that is not common or popular. If this is not possible, obtain a duplicate prescription from your doctor so you can get your medications from another place. One thing that might prove to be useful during traveling is a note from your doctor explaining why you need certain medications. This is especially true if you need or use medications such as strong narcotics or antidepressants which can raise questions in airports.

3.Make a list of your medications and what are they for.

While uncommon, there have been cases of overdoses and others that are related to medicating while on the road. Just to be sure, make a list of all medications you are using and their purposes. Make several copies and put these in your bag, your glove compartment, and your hotel end table. This way, it’ll be easy for medical personnel to help you even if you are indisposed. They can easily give you an antidote or the necessary first aid to counteract the effects of the medication you took in excess.

4.Bring an extra set of medications.

Bring extra medication just in case. If you are traveling for three days, for example, you may want to bring six days of medication. Keep your extra medication in a separate bag, if possible. This way, if one bag does get lost, you will have back-up medication. Keeping medications in separate bags can also help you prevent intake mistakes. Keeping them separate keeps you from making the mistake of taking something in excess. In addition, if you happen to drop a pill or lose one, you won't be a pill short during your travels.

Following the tips listed above can help save you from the stress and anxiety of finding yourself short of the necessary medications while you are away from home. Being prepared can also save you from impractical expenses which you will undoubtedly incur in case you find yourself sick with no cost-effective medical solution available.

Resource Box:

Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Choosing the Right Over the Counter Sleeping Aid

Millions of Americans suffer from insomnia. For this kind of sleeping problem, most sufferers prefer to use over-the-counter sleeping aids as a form of treatment.

However, there are many over-the-counter sleeping aids that consumers can choose from. With this, some consumers are clueless which drugs to trust and take. Some even waste thousands of dollars each year in buying different kinds of brands to see which ones give better results, are safer, and are less expensive.

So, if you are among the crowd of insomniacs who are finding it hard to decide which over-the-counter sleeping medication to take, read on below for some tips on choosing the right over-the-counter sleeping aid:

1. Consult with your physician to know if sleeping aid medications can affect pre-existing health conditions.

Before buying any over-the-counter sleeping aid, it is best to consult with your physician first to know if over-the-counter sleeping pills can possibly affect your pre-existing health conditions. See, it is dangerous to take over-the-counter medications without knowing and understanding their effects to your body.

2. Double check with your physician how over-the-counter medications can interact with the medications you are already already prescribed to take.

This way, you can be assured that there will be no possible interaction between the over-the-counter drugs you are about to purchase and the medications you are already taking. It is also recommended that you check if you are allergic to any of the over-the-counter drug you are about to take.

3. Know the symptoms that you are okay with as well as those that you find intolerable.

See, not only are over-the-counter sleeping aids appear in different kinds of brand, but they also give different kinds of side effects. For instance, you can either opt to take herbal or antihistamines. These two are known to be effective types of sleeping medications. However, they differ in symptoms or side effects. While herbal sleeping aids can help you get to sleep, these do not really give a very one though. Antihistamines, on the other hand, are also very effective in helping you get to sleep, but these can cause problems by the time you wake up.

4. Decide which type of over-the-counter sleeping aid will work best for you.

Upon knowing that sleeping aids come in two types, it is best for you to determine if a herbal or a antihistamine will best suit you. To know which sleeping aid suits you, try to do a research on the products' ingredients and other information via the Internet. You can also ask friends and family members for recommendations as to which type of sleeping aid is better.

5. Properly take over-the-counter sleeping aid as directed in the products' administration instructions.

Once you have chosen the type of sleeping aid that suit you, you must take it only as directed in the product's administration instructions. If for instance that the one you have chosen does not work for you, never risk increasing its dosage. This might only lead to serious health complications.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sexual Health Traps Condoms Can't Save You From

A condom is a handy birth control option that is easily accessible and used. They are popular forms of birth control since they also provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Probably the most accessible form of birth control today, condoms are available in drugstores, groceries, and even convenience stores. Community clinics, hospitals, and Planned Parenthood offices sometimes even provide free condoms. Condoms, or rubbers as they are popularly known, are also considered as the only method of contraception that provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

However, STDs are not the only threats to male sexual health around. And there are threats that even the mightiest condom cannot prevent or stop. These are:

* Priapism

Priapism is often termed as the opposite of erectile dysfunction. In this case, a man experiences a painful erection which often lasts for four hours or even longer. Priapism occurs when blood flows into the penis but is not drained sufficiently. Since priapism is not an effect of sexual activity, it cannot be relieved by masturbation and orgasm.

Some of the most common causes of priapism include blood pressure medications and antidepressants, drug use and alcohol, anesthesia, blood diseases, and penile injection therapy.

Treatment for priapism usually come in the form of medical emergencies. Blood is drained out of the penis by using a needle to relieve the erection and restore normal organ function. Medications for priapism are designed to shrink penile blood vessels to minimize blood flow. However, treatment of underlying conditions is preferred to prevent priapism or its recurrence.

* Balanitis and Balanoposthitis

Balanitis refers to the inflammation of the glans or penis's head. On the other hand, balanoposthitis is the inflammation of both the glans and the foreskin. Both disorders exhibit similar symptoms like rash, pain, swelling, foul discharge, and itching in the penile area. These disorders are common in men and boys who have poor personal hygiene and are uncircumcised.

Irritants the cause balantis and balanoposthitis include dead skin cells, tight foreskins, infections, dermatitis, and diabetes.

Circumcision and the practice of proper hygiene can prevent and alleviate both disorders. However, the best way to treat these disorders is by treatment of underlying conditions especially if the irritations are caused by infections, dermatitis, and diabetes.

* Phimosis

Although it is not really a disease, phimosis is a condition that can cause one. Phimosis occurs when the foreskin is too tight that it cannot be retracted to reveal the head of the penis. This condition can cause extreme discomfort when it comes to sexual activity, urination, and personal hygiene.

Common causes of phimosis include birth defects, scar tissues, infection, and balanitis. Treatment for this condition usually includes gentle manual stretching of the foreskin to increase its elasticity. Circumcision and medication to loosen the skin are also popular options in treating phimosis. For a less traumatic treatment than circumcision, some opt for preputioplasty or separating the glans from the foreskin.

* Penile Cancer

A rare form of cancer, penile cancer occurs when abnormal cell growth in the penis increase and grow. Non-cancerous or benign penile tumors can also develop into cancer over time. Symptoms of penile cancer often take the form of penile sores, bleeding, and abnormal discharge. The cause of penile cancer is not definite but there are certain risk factors that increase a man's chances of developing this disease.

Some of these risks include being uncircumcised, smoking, smegma, age, human papilloma virus, phimosis, and psoriasis treatment.

Resource Box:

Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

Causes of Narcolepsy

For some sleep disorders, prescription sleeping aids are used to control certain symptoms as in the case of insomnia. However, for narcolepsy, a different kind of treatment is necessitated altogether. Usually the symptoms identifying narcolepsy surface at any time during the patient's life until he or she reaches the age of 50. In most cases, on the other hand, these are known to more commonly manifest during the adolescent years.

Since this particular sleep disorder is persistent, the symptoms are most liable to vary in terms of their frequency and severity. Nevertheless, narcolepsy has no known cure, thus, whatever symptom may arise should not be expected to disappear totally.

What makes narcoleptic sleeping pattern different?

The usual sleeping pattern entails entering a phase referred to as “Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep (NREM)” prior to the “Rapid Eye Movement sleep(REM),” which is considered as the deepest part of sleep. The transition between these two phases takes up at least a couple of hours in which the brain waves gradually slow down as it enters REM sleep where dreams ought to take place. However, in the case of narcoleptics, they do not undergo the NREM phase anymore. Instead, they move straight to the REM phase. They do this even during uncommon times for sleeping which is during the day. Because theyproceed to REM right away, they also have the same syndromes associated with this stage; just as abruptly as they experience REM, they have these in the same way, too.

The Brain Connection

Hypocretin, a brain chemical, plays a significant role in maintaining our state of wakefulness and in assuring that we experience and stay in the REM stage at the right time during our sleep. However, for narcoleptics, the brain cells responsible for activating these chemicals are in a very damaged condition. This leads to a very low production of hypocretin, which explains the abnormality behind narcolepsy. However, the reason behind the damage to the brain cells responsible for producing hypocretin remains indeterminable. Some theories point out to infection and abnormal immune response as the culprits for the damage. Apart from the above-mentioned explanation, narcolepsy is also believed to be hereditary. As of present, research determining the details of these explanations are still being conducted.

The Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Factor

Human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) are considered to make up a part of our body's defense mechanism. They are genetically identified proteins located on the surface of our white blood cells. The discovery that determined the high concentration of these HLAs in narcoleptics led to the assumption that narcolepsy is an autoimmune disorder. This makes it synonymous to other autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis and ankylosing spondylitis, which are both associated with having high levels of HLAs. Theory has it that this autoimmune disorder led to the loss of necessary brain cells in the case of narcoleptics. Environmental factors such as infection or trauma are held responsible for triggering the autoimmune system to attack normal brain cells. Consequently, this resulted to the damage and eventual destruction of neurons as well as the disappearance of neurotransmitter chemicals.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Manage Chronic Pain Caused by Narrowing Disc Disease

Back pain can be difficult to deal with, especially if its primary cause is the narrowing of the spinal discs. Narrowing disc disease refers to the gradual loss of the gel-like substance in the center of every vertebra that facilitates movement. Pain in the lower back is the most common symptom of narrowing disc disease. But since there are other diseases that have back pain as a primary symptom, here are some signs to watch out for to determine whether you have the disease:

Continuous, mild, tolerable pain with occasional flare ups for a few days. Pain in the lower back are often dismissed by most people as fatigue or stress. But continuous pain, even without an apparent cause, that intensifies over a few days is a cause of alarm.

Amplified pain when sitting down. People with the disease experience an amplified sense of pain when they sit due to the fact that the discs carry a heavier load when a person is in this particular position.

Exacerbated pain due to movements centered on the lower back. Movements that are centered on the discs or the lower back like bending, lifting, or twisting can make the pain worse.

If you are suffering from narrowing disc disease, here are some tips that can help alleviate the pain and speed up recovery:

1.Rest a lot.

Sitting can cause extreme stress in the spine, especially if you happen to be overweight. The excess weight can cause your lower back muscles and your lumbar spine to seize up and hurt. Rest or lie down on your back and support your back muscles with a firm mattress or cushion. Doing so alleviates the stress and tension on the spine and reduces risks of injuries to the discs. If you have a hurting back, resting for a couple of days can make the pain go away.

2.Take medications.

If you can afford it, you can take supplements with chondroitin, a substance that is known to increase the size of the discs. However, if your back and spine cause chronic pain, it is important that you consult a doctor for possible use of pain medications. There are lot of pain medications available in online pharmacies and local drugstores so you can be sure to find one that is suitable for your condition.

3.Consider spinal manipulation.

You might want to consider undergoing a spine alignment program to ensure that your vertebra are back in good working order. Physical therapists can perform major spine alignment procedures and teach you simple exercises that can help you manage your spine.

4.Go for regular exercises.

Exercising to restore motion and strength to a painful lumbar spine can be very helpful in relieving pain. Some of the most effective spine exercises are aerobic and specific to the spine. Some exercises include walking, jogging, swimming, and bicycling. Aside from strengthening your muscles, these exercises can also improve your flexibility; making spinal movements easier.

5.Practice proper posture.

Often, improper posture is the leading culprit of many spinal injuries and disorders. Practicing proper posture, especially when lifting objects, can reduce your risks of developing narrowing disc disorder. Improperly bending over to lift can cause a large increase in strain on the low back. Proper lifting keeps the back straight while you bend with the knees.

Resource Box:
Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.