Tuesday, November 30, 2010

10 Tips for Reducing Sugar Intake

The average American eats more sugar in one day than our ancestors did during an entire lifetime. They prized sugary foods for their abundant calories and quick energy spike. Thus, now we are wired to reach for the cookie jar over and over and over – even though we have no lions to outrun.

Sugar has a very high caloric content and virtually no nutritional value. Besides causing weight gain, it also encourages inflammation and infection, compromises the immune system and raises insulin levels. Insulin encourages the storage of fat, elevates triglyceride levels and promotes cardiovascular disease, asthma, mood swings, diabetes, gallstones, hypertension and arthritis. Still want that piece of cake?

We all know that sugar can cause health problems, however our eating culture revolves around sugary, salty, fatty, unhealthy foods. Even those without a raging sweet tooth will find that it's almost impossible to avoid eating refined sugar these days, as grocery manufacturers routinely add it to everything from bread and pizza dough to spaghetti sauce and salad dressing.

Eating less sugar is one of the best actions you can take to improve your current and future health, but saying "no" to sweets isn't as easy as it seems. If you can't cut out sugar completely (who can?), then try the following tips to quickly and painlessly reduce your sugar intake. It seems this becomes increasingly handy during the holiday season...

1. Cut down on processed and packaged foods. Salad dressings, spaghetti sauces, soups and even pizza crusts contain sugar. If you make your own soup, you will unlikely be adding a cup of sugar to the stew pot, however this is exactly what manufacturers do. Try to purchase groceries with the least amount of packaging as possible.

2. Indulge in the highest-quality sweets that you can afford. You will get more satisfaction from enjoying one divine chocolate truffle than you will from six crappy little sandwich cookies. Resolve to only eat sweets that you really, really like. Forget the rest, and then don't beat up on yourself when you have a sugary treat that you really enjoy.

3. Free sweets aren't free. Many work sites, businesses or offices always have on hand candy, doughnuts or other sweets to snack on. It is human nature to grab these cheap calories and ingest them, however you will pay for the free treats later with poor health and a belly roll.

4. Banish the candy jar. Do you have a candy jar on your desk at work, school, or some other handy and convenient place? Remove it, and you will reduce your sugar intake. Even just moving a candy dish from your desk to a table across the room will drastically decrease the amount that you eat.

5. Know your sugars. Fructose, glucose, lactose, maltodextrin and dextrose are all types of sugar masquerading under their scientific names. Read grocery labels so that you know what you are putting into your body.

6. Don't drink liquid candy. Soda is basically that – liquid candy. Most Americans think of soda as a beverage, and most Americans are overweight. Think of soda as a special treat rather than a daily occurrence, and you will enjoy it even more and avoid all those empty calories. Besides, we've got the Top 10 Reason to Banish Soda. 

7. Watch your breakfast. Deep-fried dough topped with icing and candy sprinkles isn't anywhere near healthy, but doughnuts are a tried-and-true American breakfast. Just say no. Also passing as breakfast: giant muffins (muffins = cake), frappuccinos and smoothies – these are basically milkshakes. Starting your morning off with a sugar overload like this will offset your energy and unbalance your system for the rest of the day.
8. Indulge your sweet tooth naturally. Fruits, honey, maple syrup and molasses all contain natural sugars. Although these foods are no health superstars, they are a better option when the sweet tooth strikes and you are craving some sugary action. An apple will give you a sweet burst of flavor along with beneficial vitamins and fiber. Check out our Guide to 10 Natural Sweeteners. 

9. Go black and never go back. Resolve to drink your coffee and tea without sugar and milk; this small change of mind can save you several sweet teaspoons every single day, and you will most likely find that you do not miss it. And besides, ordering a straight-up black coffee or espresso is infinitely cooler (and cheaper!) than ordering the triple-no-fat half-caramel grande Flufficino with whip and chocolate drizzle. Don't let your daily caffeine requirements become an excuse to load up on sugar.

10. If you just have to have something sweet at the end of every meal, keep a pile of your favorite gum on hand and enjoy a piece for dessert. This will give your brain the sweet sensation it desires and will keep your mouth occupied from chewing other more high-calorie dessert options. Of course, conventional gum isn't healthy either, but you can find natural and even organic gums at your local health food store.

The Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables

Nutritionists have long advised us to add color to our diet. In fact, they say the more colors we eat, the better balanced the meal. A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine supports this belief.

Carotenoids are yellow, orange and red pigments made by plants that come into our body through fruits and vegetables. They're found in yellow-orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes, and dark green vegetables, like green beans.

There are two types of carotenoids, alpha- and beta-carotene, which both produce vitamin A in our bodies. More is known about beta-carotene because of its possible role in preventing chronic disease.

Now, in a new study of over 15-thousand adults, researchers measured the concentration of alpha-carotene in the blood. Over a 14 year period they found that the risk of death was lower for people with elevated levels of alpha-carotene.

The investigators think that the benefits of high alpha-carotene eventually flattens out - it's not an elixir of eternal life. But they conclude that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may prevent premature death.

The science is still out on just how this works. But it further supports previous findings - and conventional wisdom - that fruit and vegetable consumption is beneficial to people's overall health.
For tips on how to boost fruits and vegetables in your diet...and to see the benefits each one provides, click on the American Heart Association website.

Source  http://www.wdio.com/article/stories/S1857838.shtml?cat=11803

Monday, November 29, 2010

The latest health tips on cell phone radiation

To date, I have written in this column thirteen (13) articles on health tips on the use of cell phones… as a public service to remind cell phone users of the harmful effects of the excessive use of cell phone because of radiation exposure.

Here are additional health tips on the use of cell phones that I got from the internet. Should you wish to confirm the information I am sharing with the readers of this column; or should you need further information to convince you of the health risks of cell phone radiation, please check the internet:-

• Do you know that different cell phones emit different amount of radiation? And do you know that cell phones are just complex two-way radios and that if one is talking on a cell phone, he/she is actually talking and listening to a two-way radio that is broadcasting a very, very high frequency signal right next to one’s head;
• Do you know that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a law requiring retailers of cell phones to post notices on how much dangerous radiation is reportedly being emitted by the cell phone units being sold - for consumers’ information;
• Do you know that one of the latest warning on cell phone radiation is to keep your cell phone at least one inch away from your body at all times while it’s on? A big problem for male cell phone users is that they put their cell phones in their pockets – without bothering to check whether their cell phones are on off or on mode;
• Do you know that many parents give their children cell phones as playthings and/or sometimes to soothe them to sleep and place the cell phone under the pillow – without realizing that the skulls of their children are thinner than the skulls of adults and that thinner skulls admits more radiation. There are research studies that show that a young brain is more vulnerable to brain damage/cancer than a mature brain;
• Do you know that in 2008, researchers in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that individuals who kept their cell phones against one side of their heads for several hours a day were fifty percent (50%) more likely to develop parotid tumors;
• Do you know that cordless phone chargers also emit radio frequency power even when not in use. This being so, Wi-Fi and cordless phone chargers should be removed in the bedrooms.
• Do you also know that pulsed digital signals are more damaging than the analog signals and they should not be anywhere near the head of the bed. Also, baby monitors should not be placed closer than 6 feet to the cribs.

(The above information was taken from Internet sites re the book Zapped; Why Your Cell Phone Shouldn’t be Your Alarm Clock and 1,268 Ways to Outsmart the Hazards of Electronic Pollution, by Ann Louise Gittleman, an award winning New York Times best-selling author of over 30 books on health and healing. In 2005, Ann Louise Gittleman was diagnosed with a benign tumor of the parotid, one of the salivary glands located just below the earlobe. It’s a very rare tumor. Ms. Gittleman is a heavy cell phone user for years.)
• Do you know that the French National Assembly passed a new environmental bill last June that included the following health protection directives against possible risk to electromagnetic fields (EMF). The radiation emitted by cell phone is known as electronic radiation.
– A prohibition on the use of mobile phones at school by students in kindergartens, elementary schools, and colleges.
– A prohibition on advertising and marketing mobile phones to children under 14 years of age.
– Every mobile phone sold in France must provide Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) along with a recommendation to use a hands-free kit. The details of how the information is to be presented are not yet finalized.

Let us reduce our cell phone radiation exposure by practicing health care measures on the use of cell phones.
Have a joyful day!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Health department offers food safety tips

Planning for holiday meals should include more than a delicious menu and invited guests. The McHenry County Department of Health wants residents to practice safe food handling, as well.
Keeping “hot things hot (more than 135 degrees) and cold things cold” can reduce your risk of a food-borne illness.

Other safety tips:

• Thaw frozen meats in the refrigerator (allow one day for each 5 pounds of weight plus an extra day or two).
• Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before and after handling foods.
• Clean all kitchen surfaces before you begin cooking.
• Scrub cutting boards with hot soapy water after preparing food to avoid cross contamination.
• Use a metal-stemmed food thermometer to ensure that food is cooked to the proper temperature. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria. Poultry, stuffed pasta and reheated foods should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Ground meats, pork and eggs should reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Beef roasts, steaks and fish should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
Insert the thermometer into the center of the thickest part (away from the bone) of the meat. When cooking casseroles and egg dishes, place the thermometer into the thickest portion, making sure that it does not touch the bottom of the pan. Metal-stemmed thermometers can be bought at grocery, hardware and department stores.
• It is recommended that leftovers be refrigerated within two hours of serving time.

Food-borne illness is preventable. If you suspect a food-borne illness, call the health department for an investigation.

The staff can be reached from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 815-334-4585. For after-hours emergencies, call 815-344-7421.

For more tips, visit www.foodsafety.gov.

Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The Kansas Department of Health and Environments  wants to remind  Kansans that as cold weather approaches the dangers associated with Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning increase.   

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is extremely poisonous and can kill within minutes. CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those made by automobiles,    portable generators, stoves, gas ranges and heating systems.  CO from these fumes can build up in places that do not have a good flow of fresh air and breathing high levels of CO can cause severe illness or death in a matter of minutes.

 KDHE reminds people to have their gas appliances inspected to insure they are not leaking and that they have the proper ventilation. 

For more information and tips about CO, visit www.kdheks.gov/beh/index.html or call the KDHE Bureau of Environmental Health, 785-296-5606.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tips on how to avoid overeating during your family’s holiday feast

Cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole — with Thanksgiving right around the corner, people watching their waistlines are hoping to keep them in check during the holidays.

Thomas Lemke, a registered dietitian and licensed with Intergris Bass Baptist Health Center, said stopping overeating begins in the morning.

“My basic recommendation is always start with breakfast,” he said. “I recommend you always eat breakfast on the day of a holiday. People who eat breakfast tend to be lighter overall because they don’t tend to overeat later in the day.”

Pamela Baggett, a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian with St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, added skipping breakfast can lead to loss of self-control.

“What we need to think about is not skipping breakfast because by lunch I will be so ravenous that I have no self-control,” she said.

With many people hitting the road to visit friends and family during the holiday season, several end up arriving famished, Lamke said.

“If you are traveling for a holiday, try to eat something before you show up for the festivities,” he said. “It can be something small like a salad or carrots. Having something on your stomach can lessen the desire to eat as much when the smell of the turkey cooking hits your nose.”

If people are participating in providing food for the festivities, they can bring a favorite food they safely can eat a lot of.

“I tell my diabetics, ‘take something you can have a whole bunch of, a vegetable plate or a sugar-free Jell-O. Take something you can fill up on,’” Baggett said.

Lemke suggested bringing a healthy alternative to potluck holiday meals.

“If it is a potluck, bring a fruit tray or veggie tray, so if you have the munchies throughout the day, it is something you can default to throughout the day,” he said. “You can get some tomatoes and carrot sticks, maybe dipped them in some ranch, rather than keep going back to the dessert table.”

If you are participating in a strict diet and going to someone’s home to celebrate Thanksgiving, let the host know your restrictions beforehand, Baggett said.

“If I am on a strict diet for whatever reason and I am going to someone’s house, I need to let them know,” she said. “I can’t have salty dishes, I can’t have a lot of fat ... whatever my restrictions are.”

Portion control also is an important tool to help keep food consumption in check.

“My No. 1 recommendation for portion control when eating family-style is to go through the line once., Lemke said. “Don’t keep coming back all day long. If you want to pile your plate really high, that is fine, but limit it to what you can eat in one sitting. Once you eat that, you are done until the next meal.”

While eating, Baggett said slowing down can help your body realize when it truly is full, a process that can can take up to 20 minutes.

“Slow down. Eat slower. Put your fork down between bites,” she said.

She added limiting your eating to one plate only can help reduce overeating.

“Realize Thanksgiving is one meal, not a four-day holiday,” she said. “I am going to do one plate and pick what I like the best. Maybe I can do without the bread but love dressing, so I may just eat the dressing.”

Lemke also recommended choosing only one favorite dessert for the holiday.

“People tend to want to take a little bit of grandma’s cheesecake, Aunt Ethel’s pumpkin pie and Aunt Betty’s gingerbread cookies. Pick one dessert,” he said. “If your favorite dessert is Aunt Betty’s gingerbread cookies, eat them. When you are finished with the cookies, don’t go on to something else.

“Don’t eat everything just to make grandma happy. She will be just as unhappy with her grandchild suffering with obesity and health as you not eating her pumpkin pie.”

Baggett agreed.

“We have to realize Thanksgiving, Christmas, our birthday — they come every year,” she said. “If I feel I am feeling deprived, I may say, ‘what the heck’ and try everything. If Aunt Mabel makes the best whatever and it is here today and my wife makes the others every once in a while, I will choose Aunt Mabel’s dessert. If my favorite is, say apple pie, I will have one piece and eat it slowly and enjoy it so I don’t feel deprived.”

Baggett also suggested taking only half portions of dessert.

Lemke said moderation is key during the holiday when it comes to eating.

“It is individually based,” he said. “I know can’t keep myself away from my cousin’s fudge. My options are not start or take a handful and take it as far away from the tray as I can so I don’t keep eating them all afternoon. Know your habits and your limits.”

Once the food is put away and dishes are washed up, Baggett suggests getting active.

“One of the great things I do, once the dishes are done, is I go for a walk or work on Christmas lights or do an activity with the family,” she said. “I do something rather than plop down and take a nap.”

Hosts of the big family Thanksgiving day meal often can be stuck with the leftovers and feel obligated to eat them.

Lemke suggested trying to pawn off as many leftovers as you can to your guests.

“Some can take the pie and someone else can take the green bean casserole,” he said. Or, “if you get stuck with the leftovers, freeze them. You can pick at them over a longer time and it isn’t as overwhelming.

“If you are stuck with too much food and you can’t eat it all, throw it away. You gaining five or 10 pounds over the holidays isn’t going to help anyone.”

Lemke encourages his clients to enjoy the holidays, but not to go overboard.

“Holidays are a time for fun. Go ahead and indulge yourself a little bit,” he said. “Have a little bit of the pumpkin pie, but don’t also have the gingerbread cookies on top of that. It is about moderation.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Relieve the tension: Experts offer tips to battle holiday stress

Shopping, decorating, cooking, wrapping gifts, visiting with family and friends, traveling — while many find joy in the activities of the holiday season, others find themselves overwhelmed by the obligations.

Experts say the most important part of handling holiday stress is preparing for it. Understanding that the season will bring additional tasks and interrupt the normal daily flow helps curb stress levels.

“The first thing I tell people is that you have to be aware that the holidays are always stress inducing,” said Jim Sendelbach, a Conyers-based therapist.

“We have to be aware that our schedule and routines change frequently and radically.”

People should approach the holidays with realistic expectations, said Dr. Gretchen Collins, medical director for the Gwinnett, Rockdale and Newton Community Service Board, a public health agency which provides mental health, developmental disabilities and addictive diseases services.

Ignore the bombardment of perfect-looking, happy families at the holidays presented by media and advertisers, she said. Most families are average people, with both strengths and foibles.

“I let clients know that during the holiday season there are generally going to be increased stressors, and that is due to, No. 1, to increased expectations,” she said. “It can set us up for stress and disappointment.”

Another source of holiday stress is increased stimulation such as parties and family get-togethers. People struggle to have good relationships with those whom they haven’t interacted well with in the past, Collins said.

She recommended that those who feel stressed at the holidays follow their normal schedules, attending work regularly. When special events do occur, limit participation.

“What I tell them to do is try and keep life as routine as possible,” said Collins.

Collins also cautioned against excessive eating and drinking. Limit alcohol, get proper nutrition and get plenty of rest, she said.

Also, keep expectations reasonable.

“If you didn’t get along with grandma last year, you probably won’t get along with grandma this year,” Collins said.

Both Collins and Sendelbach said exercise reduces stress levels.

Take a 10-minute walk. Or stretch your hands over your head and take deep breaths. The goal is to increase circulation, which sends more oxygen to the brain, decreasing stress and allowing for clearer thinking.

Sendelbach said you can even take refuge in that most private of places — the restroom.

“Take a bathroom break, whether you need it or not,” he said.

To seek professional mental health services or for a referral, call the Gwinnett, Rockdale and Newton Community Service Board in Rockdale at 770-918-6677 or in Newton at 770-787-3977.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sound Sleep Tips For Good Health

Sleep is vital need of body and is essential for every individual. At least seven to nine hours of sound sleep will determine the mood for the whole day. If one doesn't get good sleep at night, he or she will feel sleepy all day long and might even lead to depression over a period of time.

In this fast-paced world where people run ahead of time to achieve their preset goals, it has become very difficult to have a sound sleep at night. Here are a few sound sleep tips that will help in getting a good sleep. Most of these bedtime tips or suggestions were tested and found to have helped the people in achieving the desired rest and sleep.

Sound Sleep Tips

1.Don't take a long nap during the day; this may make it more difficult to fall asleep at night.

2.Eat at regular intervals during the daytime. Avoid heavy meals at night.

3.Quit smoking, at least try not to smoke at least an hour before going to bed.

4.Take a warm bath before going to bed; or else listen to some soothing music or read books. You can also meditate for a few minutes to get good sleep.

5.Do not simply lie on bed when you don't get sleep. Get up from the bed, go to the living room and spend some time either watching TV or reading books until you feel sleepy.

6.Keep your bedroom dark and quiet.

7.If you are filled with worries, you may find it difficult to sleep. Ensure that these worries are set aside. What you can do is after having dinner, spend around 30 minutes to dwell your problems. Instead of just thinking over it, try to write down the problems in a sheet of paper and the possible solutions to tackle those problems. Set aside the paper and forget about that for the rest of the night.

8.Avoid thinking too much before bedtime. 80% of insomnia is due to a "mental" imbalance. Watching violent shows on TV or reading violent books might cause restless sleep.

9.Sleep to be slim; the women who slept only five hours a night were a third more likely to experience major weight gain, defined as an increase of 15 kilograms or more, and 15 per cent more likely to become obese, compared with women who slept seven hours.

10.Avoid excessive mental stimulation before bedtime. Caffeine, Nicotine are stimulants and should be avoided particularly during bedtime. Coffee, cola, tea, chocolate, and various medications may interfere with sleep and should be discontinued at least four hours before bedtime. Alcohol is a depressant and may help you fall asleep, but the subsequent metabolism that clears it from your body when you are sleeping causes a withdrawal syndrome. This withdrawal causes awakenings and is often associated with nightmares and sweats.

Try to practice these simple sound sleep tips to have a good and qualitative sleep which will help you wake up with fresh energy the next day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Eight Survival Tips if You’re Lost at Sea

One spring afternoon in 1943, Louie Zamperini came crashing out of the sky in his WWII-era bomber plane and landed in the Pacific Ocean. He remained there for 47 days, floating at sea in a life raft. Author Laura Hillenbrand traces Zamperini’s story in Unbroken, which follows his life through to his miraculous rescue (read our excerpt here.) Should you find yourself similarly inconvenienced at sea, we asked two survival experts for their tips on how to brave the odds. For best results, print this before you embark.

Remain Calm. Really.
“Fear is pretty disabling. If you’re afraid of something, your temptation is to turn away from it—to look away from it, whether it’s an emotional situation or a physical thing. Think about your own life. … As soon as you turn away from reality you become less competent. Survivors are people who are comfortable with reality and its uncertainties.” —Clint Willis, editor of Adrenaline Books, which has published 30 anthologies on rescue and survival.

Memorize the Fearsome Five
“The threats to survival are known by the pneumonic ‘Fearsome Five:’ food, fluids, fitness, Fahrenheit, and fatigue.” —Dr. Michael Jacobs, marine first aid expert and co -author of A Comprehensive Guide to Marine Medicine

Combat the Wind
“It’s super-important to get some wind shelter. Get something between you and the wind, whether it’s a jacket or a tree or a piece of tent.” —Willis

Assess Your Ailments
“It can be a triage situation, where you say, ‘What do I have to do right now?’ You check out your physical health. ‘Am I bleeding a lot? Am I cold? What do I do about that?’ It’s the same thing as first aid stuff. You deal with the most pressing stuff and then you move on. …[D]on’t try to do everything at once.” —Willis

Invest in Electronics
“If I found myself unexpectedly in a life raft, I would want to have an EPIRB, an electronic position indicator beacon. That works off a signal that’s picked up by satellite that’s transmitted to a rescue coordination center. If you ask me, what’s the signal most important device, I would want a rescue beacon.” —Jacobs

But If You Didn’t Buy the Beacon…
“There are about a hundred things you can do with duct tape. Having duct tape can help you repair a raft [or] a canopy, [or] you can create shelter—a whole host of things. And mirrors are very useful for signaling a boat or aircraft in the area.” —Jacobs

Don’t Be a Baby—Or a Control Freak
“The control freaks and the babies die. The ones who need to know what’s going on right now, or at least pretend they do, so they can control the situation—they probably die first. Then the babies die next, because they’re the ones saying, ‘I can’t deal with this! I’m going to wait for somebody to save me.’” —Willis

Be Glad It’s Not the ’60s
“The odds of being lost at sea for a sustained period of time now are really much more remote. Life rafts have very advanced signaling devices and portable water makers. You still need to have your wits about you and be prepared to survive on your own for a couple of days, but it probably won’t be a couple of weeks.”

Source  http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2010/11/eight-survival-tips-if-youre-lost-at-sea.html



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tips for Pregnant Women with Holiday Due Dates

In the rush of the holiday season, most people worry about on-time delivery of important gifts and packages for friends and loved ones. But for a pregnant woman due around the holidays, there’s an added worry about when her baby will arrive.

Around the holidays, many pregnant women experience pressure from family or their healthcare providers to “schedule” their baby’s birthday around festivities and travel plans. Lamaze warns that scheduling a baby’s delivery without a compelling medical reason can put the baby at risk.

“Few doctors want to be pacing the halls on Thanksgiving or Christmas, waiting for a mother to deliver,” said Marilyn Curl, CNM, MSN, LCCE, FACCE and president of Lamaze International. “So it’s not uncommon to see a surge of women with normal pregnancies being told that there might be an issue and that they should consider scheduling the delivery, coincidentally, right before a holiday.”

Healthcare professionals aren’t the only ones who may try to rush the arrival of babies. Families often can feel stressed about the uncertainty of the baby’s arrival and feel it may compromise the celebration of holidays. Some women also fear that their preferred healthcare provider won’t be available and will agree to a scheduled early delivery to guarantee that their provider will be there for the birth.

“I really understand that pressure. You build a relationship with your care provider over the course of a pregnancy. Plus, you build up expectations about your holiday celebration. So it seems like ‘no big deal’ just to get the birth over with,” said Sue Galyen, RN, MSN, HCHI, LCCE, FACCE, a Lamaze childbirth educator from Brownsburg, IN. “But it’s so hard to think that a scheduled delivery, whether through induction or cesarean, was worth it when either the mother or baby experiences a complication as a result.”

One complication of scheduling the baby’s birthday is that often, the baby is delivered just a little too early. A growing body of research[1] shows that giving a baby those last few weeks or days inside the uterus can be crucial to the baby's health. Babies born even a “little” early face risks including breastfeeding difficulties, learning and behavioral problems, breathing problems, increased chance of time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and risk of death.

“I’ve had so many students with due dates around the holidays and it’s amazing how many of them ended up with more complications than they bargained for because of the medical intervention,” said Galyen.

Women can play a key part in driving down avoidable prematurity. ”Red flags” that might signal that a mother is being pressured into an unnecessarily early delivery include:

* The care provider suggests that the baby is too big and will be easier to deliver “a little early”
* The suggestion is made that the care provider won’t be available for a holiday delivery or will be “booked up”
* The timing of the delivery is centered on travel and celebration schedules
* Holiday stress is driving feelings of wanting to get the pregnancy “over with”

Avoiding unnecessary medical inductions is part of Lamaze International’s Six Healthy Birth Practices. Based on recommendations by the World Health Organization and backed by extensive research that supports a woman’s natural ability to give birth, these practices are:

· Let labor begin on its own

· Walk, move around and change positions throughout labor

· Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support

· Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary

· Avoid giving birth on your back and follow your body's urges to push

· Keep mother and baby together; it's best for mother, baby and breastfeeding

Inducing labor without a compelling medical reason is one of many routine interventions that has not proven a medical benefit to mothers and babies and can impose harm. Other common routine interventions include continuous fetal monitoring, coached pushing, being positioned on your back during labor, requiring repeat cesarean surgeries for women with a prior cesarean and separating mothers and babies after birth.

To learn more about the Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices, please enroll in a Lamaze childbirth education class and visit www.lamaze.org/healthybirthpractices.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

7 Tips for Picking a Medicare Part D Plan

Beginning next week, Medicare Part D beneficiaries will have the opportunity to switch to a new prescription plan. Choosing a plan that covers your medications for a lower cost could save you hundreds of dollars in 2011. About 2.6 million beneficiaries enrolled in prescription drug plans will see a premium increase of at least $10 per month if they stay in their current plan. Current beneficiaries can choose a new Medicare Part D plan between November 15 and December 31. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing among the Part D plans in your area:

Click here to find out more!
Compare premiums. The average monthly Part D premium will be $40.72 in 2011 if beneficiaries remain in their current plan, which is up 10 percent from $36.90 in 2010, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. Average premiums vary considerably by location, ranging from $29.01 per month in New Mexico to $46.51 per month in Idaho and Utah. "We have seen plans that have had pretty substantial increases in premiums over the years," says Jack Hoadley, a health policy analyst at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. "What may have been the cheapest plan for you three or four years ago when you first signed up may not be good for you now." For the first time, in 2011 there will additional premium increases for high-income retirees. Part D enrollees with annual incomes above $85,000 ($170,000 for couples) will have a monthly adjustment automatically deducted from their Social Security check. If that amount is more than the amount you receive from Social Security, you will get a bill from Medicare.

Evaluate cost-sharing provisions. Premiums aren't the only prices you need to evaluate when choosing a Part D plan. Include the deductible or amount you must pay before your coverage begins in your calculations. Also consider the copayments or coinsurance you will need to pay for covered drugs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has an online tool that allows potential and existing Medicare beneficiaries to enter the drugs they expect to take next year and compare expected out-of-pocket costs under various local plans.

Scrutinize the formulary. Each Part D plan has a list of covered drugs called the formulary. Most Medicare drug plans separate the covered medications into tiers, each of which has a different out-of-pocket cost. "Many plans are changing the amount they change for prescription drugs and adding and subtracting drugs from their formula," says Juliette Cubanski, a policy analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "Even if you are happy with the coverage you have, it's important to know that your coverage might be changing between 2010 and 2011." If you are considering changing medications in the coming year, make sure a plan covers the potential new prescriptions as well.

Find out what authorizations are required. Some prescription drug plans require you to jump through a few hoops before your medication will be covered. A Part D plan may require prior authorization before paying for a drug, which means you or your doctor must contact the drug plan before you can fill certain prescriptions. "It's really important to look at whether a plan imposes certain utilization restrictions such as prior authorization that can affect a beneficiary's access to the medicines that they take," says Cubanski. Some plans also limit how much of a medication you can buy at a time and may require you to try one or more similar lower-cost drugs before they will cover the prescribed drug.

Get ready for more gap coverage. Most Medicare drug plans have a coverage gap called the "donut hole". The coverage gap begins after an enrollee incurs $2,840 in total drug spending and lasts until catastrophic coverage kicks in after an enrollee has spent $4,550 out-of-pocket. Beneficiaries who reach the coverage gap in 2011 will see lower costs this year as a result of changes made by the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Brand-name drugs purchased in the gap will be discounted by 50 percent in 2011 and plans will pay 7 percent of the cost for generic drugs in the gap. "If you are using brand-name drugs and reach the coverage gap, you are going to pay only about half the cost that you did last year for those same brand name drugs," says Hoadley. However, nearly three-quarters of plans will offer little or no gap coverage beyond what is now required by law, KFF found.

Some plans will be eliminated. New regulations aimed at getting rid of plans that are duplicative or with low enrollment have resulted in fewer Part D plans being offered next year. A record low of 1,109 prescription drug plans will be offered nationwide next year, down 30 percent from the 1,576 plans in 2010, KFF found. But you're still likely to have a wide variety of plans to choose from in your area. The average Medicare beneficiary will have a choice of 33 prescription drug plans in 2011. If your current plan will be eliminated in 2011, you will be automatically assigned to another plan with the same provider unless you choose a new one on your own.

Watch out for late enrollment penalties. It's best to sign up for Medicare Part D when you reach age 65 or lose your employer-sponsored prescription drug coverage. Those who delay their start date or go without prescription drug coverage for 63 days or more in a row will have to pay a late enrollment penalty. "It's an incentive so that people don't wait until they are really sick and then buy in," says Elizabeth Hargrave, a senior research scientist at the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center. "The longer you wait, the more your penalty will be once you are finally enrolled." The late enrollment penalty will be calculated in 2011 by multiplying 1 percent of the national base beneficiary premium ($32.34 in 2011) times the number of full months that you were eligible for but didn't join a Medicare drug plan. The final amount is added to your monthly premium for as long as your participate in any Medicare drug plan. For example, if you became eligible for Medicare Part D on May 15, 2006, but didn't sign up until 43 months later on Jan. 1, 2010, you will be charged a monthly penalty of $13.90 in 2011. The penalty amount could increase in future years as the national base beneficiary premium amount used in the calculation rises.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Snow Health offers sleep tips

The Wellness Center at Snow Health Center has displayed a large black panel advocating the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Posted on the panel are resource brochures and tips for a consistent night’s sleep.
One piece of information missing is learning how to balance sleep with the rollercoaster of being a college student.

Balancing sleep with school, work and friends is a decision some college students have to make on a daily basis. This can be seen as a problem with no solution, because each factor is interdependent on the other for success. Too often, students are forced to choose an activity at the expense of sleep.

Business management major Keith Blackwell admits to choosing fun and school over sleep too much, and it’s a habit he needs to break. Sleep in college, where he sleeps about seven to eight hours a day, is easier than sleep high school, when he woke up at 6 a.m.

“If I choose fun over sleep, I lose sleep, but that’s the sacrifice I have to make,” Blackwell, 22, said. “If I choose study over sleep, I’ll change the time I want to get up. If I do have to wake up early, I need to get my rest or I won’t function throughout the day.”

Few people are satisfied with less than six hours of sleep. According to the Wellness Center’s panel, consistency is as important as enough rest. If a person sleeps two hours earlier or two hours later than usual, it results in the same quality of sleep if they’ve slept less than six hours.

Some of the Wellness Center panel’s tips for consistent sleep are to expose oneself to bright light in the morning and to not take late afternoon or early evening naps. Another helpful tip is not to alter the weekend sleep schedule by more than two hours from the weekday sleep schedule.

“It depends on what time I have to wake up,” Blackwell said. ‘If I have to get up at 8 a.m., I won’t even go out because it’s pointless. It would be bad the next day. If I have to go to school at 9 a.m., I go to bed around 12 a.m.”
Consistent sleep for a college student can be further complicated by an unpredictable roommate. To control sleep with a roommate, the Wellness Center’s panel says to set ground rules with the roommate by understanding what factors impact the roommate’s sleep and to express your own thoughts. The ground rules should be based on friends visiting the room, lights out and quiet hours.

It took Blackwell about a week to get used to his roommate being awake while he was trying to sleep when he lived in Putnam Hall.

“Talk to your roommate in a friendly manner,” Blackwell said. “Tell him, like I did, to stay as quiet as possible. Come to an agreement, and you should be fine. Or buy some earplugs.”

One student, electronic media and film major Joseph Ratke, has had hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), which has set off insomnia since he was 8-years-old. He gets about 3-6 hours of sleep at night.

“I’ve been staying up until 3-4 a.m. in the morning and getting up for school since I was 8-years-old, so it’s old habits for me,” Ratke, 18, said. “I am a night person anyway, and I try to take later classes.”

According to the Wellness Center’s panel, if sleep does not occur within 10-15 minutes, do something relaxing, like reading, drawing or studying.

“I never fall asleep within 15 minutes,” Ratke said. “It takes me 45 minutes to an hour to fall asleep. I just lie in my bed and think about things. I have done stuff that’s relaxing, but it’s still the same thing, so I don’t even waste my time.”

Many of the panel’s tips would not be helpful to people unless they know their own limits or usual sleep times. One of the tips for consistent sleep is to go to bed and wake up every day within one hour of the person’s usual sleep and wake-up time.

“It’s different for different people,” Ratke said. “It depends on your body clock. It depends on how much sleep you need to regenerate yourself.”

Source  http://www.easternecho.com/index.php/article/2010/11/snow_health_offers_sleep_tips

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quit Smoking Tips: Sure-shot Suggestions

Smoking is injurious to health. This is the statutory tag which anyone can find on the cigarette packet. It is not clearly described what kinds of injury are caused when anyone smokes. Even a school student can find how smoking affects the human lungs. Everyone knows that the physicians advise the patients to give up smoking. The patients suffering from diabetic, blood pressure, nervous, digestive and cardiac ailment should not touch a single cigarette. Smoking of cigarettes, it is now established, can turn one into a patient with ailment of cancer.

Injuries caused by smoking are much more. The smokers do not know how their near and dear ones become serious victims as they are forced to inhale the smokes of burnt tobacco passively. It is said that effect on the passive smokers is more harmful. Millions of smokers have been attacking the environment with unfathomable volume of smokes everyday, and the environment gets polluted more and more.

One important thing is that, despite all that have been stated above, none of the governments have the guts to order the cigarette companies to stop producing cigarettes. Quit smoking tips are to be followed against this spectrum.

Most of the smokers do not believe that they can quit smoking. Some of them hold the view that they will quit this habit gradually. This will not produce any effective result as these smokers do not want to distant them from regular contact of the effect of nicotine. Some others want to tell that they know the ill-effects of smoking cigarettes and that they will quit smoking very soon. This is a promise left to be considered sometime in the uncertain future. Promises of this kind are hardly kept.

The best way to address this problem is motivation. The smokers can be motivated externally and internally. It is possible to organize and run serious and continuous campaign against smoking cigarettes. Campaign against smoking must be turned into a tremendous social movement with active participation and patronage of governments, non-government organizations, offline and online printing media and general health workers. This campaign can create constant pressure on the people who hesitate to take final decision in favor of giving up this bad habit.

Lastly, the smokers can motivate them in this respect and quit smoking immediately. This is definitely the best way to quit smoking.

For more information, visit: http://www.quitsmokingpillcoupons.com/

1931 diet tips still relevant today

“The science of nutrition travels so rapidly that it is almost impossible to keep up with it,” wrote Lenna Frances Cooper in her textbook, “Nutrition in Health and Disease.”

Wow, is she right! Nutrition research findings hit the headlines daily. It’s a lot of information to digest. But, get this: She made that observation in 1931.

Cooper, a nurse and dietitian, was a dean at the Battle Creek Health Care Institution in Battle Creek, Mich. She was one of the co-founders of the American Dietetic Association and was appointed to the staff of the U.S. surgeon general.

You know how most folks think of healthy foods as the ones that don’t taste very good? Well, Cooper was even on the case when she wrote in the foreword of her cookbook, “The New Cookery”: “Many food faddists have attempted to prepare wholesome foods but have neglected the almost equally important requirement — palatability.”

In honor of Cooper’s pioneering diet advice from 1931, here are a few tips to dine out more healthfully today.

● Celebrate the season with a variety of salad greens.

Today: So-called “winter greens,” rich in anti-oxidants and disease-fighting beta carotene and abundant in autumn, include Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, collards and escarole. Chef Joe Schafer at Parish pairs sweet potato ravioli with the pleasingly bitter notes of Swiss chard.

1931 advice: “The quality of lettuce, which can be obtained all the year round in almost all sections of the country, has improved enormously.”

● Choose the whole-grain version.

Today: You can find whole-grain versions of everything from tortilla chips to doughnuts. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee tells us to eat fewer refined grains. Choose brown rice over white and whole-wheat bread over white. Discover the taste of “ancient” whole grains such as quinoa, spelt and amaranth that are showing up on restaurant menus.

1931 advice: “As a class, the whole cereals are rich in minerals, but these are found particularly in the germ and outer layer, which are usually discarded in the milling process.”

● Break the whole egg for breakfast.

Today: Rethink that egg white omelet. The nutrient choline, found in yolks, helps support the brain’s neurotransmitters and is linked to new memory cell production.
1931 advice: “The egg yolk is of much greater value than the white, as it contains the majority of the minerals and vitamins.”

● Eat like a vegetarian.

Today: Eat more plant-based foods such as vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Check out the vegetarian entrees on menus when dining out, even if you’re not a vegetarian, to increase intake of valuable nutrients including fiber and anti-oxidants.

1931 advice: “Where an overindulgence of meat has been the habit, a recourse to a vegetarian diet often brings excellent results.”

● Dine out healthfully when there’s no time to cook.

Today: Whether it’s lower-fat fast-food favorites at Evos or chef Jeffrey Wall’s perfectly tossed orange and fennel salad with orange basil dressing at La Fourchette, restaurants are offering a greater selection of well-prepared healthful options.

1931 advice: “For cookery, lay wood shavings over the bottom of the firebox. When the wood is burning well, fill the firebox with coal. When the coal is burning without blue flames, close the oven dampers and the front door, but leave open the sliding draft in door.”

O’Neil’s advice: Get back in the time machine, use a smart phone to book dinner reservations, check the online menu for seasonal specialties, reapply lipstick and follow car’s GPS to the restaurant. Meet you there, Lenna!

Carolyn O’Neil is a
registered dietitian and
co-author of “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!” E-mail her at
carolyn@carolynoneil.com.


Tips for good sleep as we approach daylight-saving time

Daylight-Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 7 and board-certified sleep physician, Anthony Masi, M.D., with the Sleep Center Institute at St. Mary’s Health Center, offers the following tips for getting a good night’s sleep. He also offers questions to determine if you have a bigger sleep issue that requires medical diagnosis and treatment.

Good sleep tips:
  • Don't eat a heavy meal before bedtime
  • Don't drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol before bedtime
  • Don't nap during the day, or at least keep it brief -- 10 to 15 minutes
  • Stop working on any task an hour before bedtime to calm down
  • Don't discuss emotional issues at bedtime
  • Make sure your sleep environment is comfortable
  • Don't turn lights on at night - use a small night-light instead
  • Don’t fall asleep with the television still on
  • Set a regular bedtime and wake up at the same time every day
  • Fight after–dinner drowsiness by doing something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep too early
Some questions to ask your doctor if you think you might have a sleep disorder:
  • If I snore, does that mean I definitely have a sleep disorder?
  • Is dry mouth a symptom of a sleep disorder?
  • How can I tell if I have insomnia?
  • Should I be concerned if I have trouble falling to sleep at night, lying awake for up to an hour before falling asleep?
  • How do I know if my mattress or another environmental factor is causing my sleep problems?
  • I am always tired despite adequate sleep time. Can this be a sign of sleep apnea?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fennel tips to good health

Apart from it culinary use, fennel is a resourceful, aromatic herb that acts as a breath freshener, relieves dry coughs, relaxes the bloating of the stomach and intestine walls, controls hypertension, clears cloudy eyes, and also aids in slimming down that stomach!! Here are a few tips of fennel to good health.

Tip 1- Drink Fennel Tea
 
To de-puff your stomach before a big event, drink fennel tea, which helps ease digestive woes, says Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, author of The Fat Flush Plan. Start sipping a few nights ahead of time.

Tip 2 – Munch Fennel
 
Munching on 5 to 10 fennel seeds sweetens your breath naturally. In addition to increasing the production of saliva (which washes out bacteria), the herb's essential oil boasts antibacterial properties that may help fight bad-breath germs, says Andrew Gaeddert, an herbalist and the author of Healing Digestive Disorders. Fennel seeds can be carried in a small container and consumed post-meals.

Tip-3 – Chew Fennel to Relax
 
Fennel replenishes your body from a prolonged, strenuous workout. It controls muscle contractions, regulates fluid levels, as it is an excellent source of electrolytes and potassium.  Pair it with an apple (which contains healthy carbs essential for replenishing muscle energy) and pistachios (for muscle-repairing protein) in a salad, suggests Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, author of The Flexitarian Diet.

Tip-4- Fennel for an Itchy Scalp
 
Suffering from an itchy scalp? Fennel seed oil may be the solution—it's a gentle anti-inflammatory that is ideal for treating an itchy scalp, nutritionist Paula Simpson says. Can't stop coughing? Make some fennel tea, says Nancy Arrowsmith, author of Essential Herbal Wisdom. The aromatic and medicinal herb, reduces chest congestion, as well as soothes a sore throat and eases out contractions due to recurring cough. Putting into practice the uses of this herb can facilitate god health, naturally.

Source  http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/20101101/3188/fennel-tips-to-good-health.htm

Monday, November 1, 2010

Five easy tips to rest and refresh for a healthier lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle encompasses a plethora of things - it goes well beyond diet and exercise. Working to alleviate stress and getting enough sleep are two major factors to a healthier you.

These five simple lifestyle tips can help improve your overall health and well-being throughout each day.

Establish everyday healthy tips habits: Diet and exercise are essential for a good night sleep. Regular exercise in the morning or during the day, for just 30 minutes, will help you fall into a deeper sleep and wake up with more energy. Avoiding caffeine, nicotine or other stimulants will increase your quality of sleep as well. Also, staying away from heavy, fatty foods at dinnertime will promote a healthier digestive system. By eating at least two hours before bed, your body will be able to digest food more easily, which will help to keep you from tossing and turning.

Just relax: After a long day, it is crucial to get some rest and relaxation to stay healthy. Reducing stress is important for mental stability and ultimately being a happier, healthier person. Performing daily relaxing rituals, like yoga or mediation, will help calm your mind and body from a stressful, busy day. If you don't have the time to spend stretching out in a yoga pose, try reading a book, catching up with your family around the living room, or sipping chamomile tea before bed. Making small changes like these are bound to keep you more relaxed, with plenty of peace of mind and primed for a restful night of sleep. 

Tossing and turning?: If you are having trouble relaxing and falling into a deep sleep, try logging a sleep diary for one week and list the time you went to bed, fell asleep, any night-time awakening, and the time you wake up. Calculate your average hours of sleep and look for patterns throughout the week. By observing what your body is telling you, you can make adjustments to get a deeper rest. Sleep is how the body rejuvenates so it is essential that you get at least eight hours per night. If you are regularly getting more than eight hours of sleep a day and still feel tired, you should consider seeing a physician to determine what your body is trying to say. Keep in mind that staying on a regular sleep schedule will keep you feeling more energized in the morning.

Set the mood: The quality of sleep is as just as important as the number of hours you are sleeping. Without the proper sleep environment, your body becomes more vulnerable to diseases and your immune function decreases. Making simple changes to your sleep environment will help you sleep better; try avoiding bright lights, TV, texting, loud music and computers. Leave your busy day at the bedroom door and reserve your bed for sleep and downtime only, that way your body will prepare itself for sleep mode once your head hits the pillow.

Catch some zzz's: One way to ensure you maximize the sleep you are getting is to determine whether you need a new mattress. If you are waking up with body aches and pains or even some types of unwanted allergies, a new mattress may be the solution to your problems. The new Embody by Sealy mattress is tailored to provide simplicity from the inside out without any extra layers to ensure a better night's sleep. The line provides a choice of clean, breathable products for a healthy sleep environment. In fact, the new Embody by Sealy incorporates Polartec Body Climate fabrics. The Polartec fabric allows air to circulate in and around the mattress to help regulate temperature all night long and wick away moisture to ensure a dry, healthy sleep.

For more information on how to get a simple, healthy rest visit www.facebook.com/EmbodyBySealy.