Saturday, April 1, 2017

5 Facts About Fatigue



Fatigue often indicates an underlying health problem.

Newborns can't rock themselves back to sleep at 3 a.m., and work deadlines don't make exceptions because you were glued to the TV the previous night to catch a special guest on the late, late, late show.
Due to life's challenges and pleasures, nearly everyone gets tired — even thoroughly exhausted — now and then. It's when symptoms become chronic that our health becomes compromised. 
Jennifer Earvolino, MD, a primary care physician at Rush University Medical Center, shares five things you should know about fatigue.

1. There's more to fatigue than just being tired. 

Most times, the cause of being tired is easily identifiable. Perhaps you just took an extra-long hike, or the wedding you attended included too much alcohol and surpassed your usual bed time. In these cases, symptoms will pass within a few days.
"Clinical fatigue lasts for an extended period, usually more than one month, and consists of three parts: lack of motivation, a reduced capacity to follow through with activities, and difficulty with concentration and memory," Earvolino says.
If that’s the case, a trip to your primary care physician can help get to the root of the problem.

2. Fatigue can impact more than just your energy level. 

Fatigue can have a negative impact on your daily quality of life.
"Some patients are unable to get themselves out of bed and go to work," Earvolino says. "They may be sleepy and have trouble getting through the day, and end up missing out on things."
If you can't concentrate, your ability to focus at work or school will be affected. Deadlines may be missed and grades may drop. If you have children, you may not be fully in the moment in your role as a caretaker, and that can impact their school or social lives. You may also find it harder to stick to your usual exercise routine, which could lead to weight gain.

3. History helps with diagnosis. 

Physicians look for telling patterns during patient visits.
"I can't stress enough how important it is for physicians to obtain a thorough patient history," Earvolino says. "That generally consists of asking patients open-ended questions to try and understand the situation better."
For example, did the symptoms come on suddenly? Have the symptoms been more gradual? Are symptoms getting better or worse?
In addition, a thorough physical examination, including a blood test to check for anemiadiabetes or inflammatory diseases, is important to make sure illness isn't the source of the problem.

Clinical fatigue lasts for an extended period, usually more than one month, and consists of three parts: lack of motivation, a reduced capacity to follow through with activities, and difficulty with concentration and memory.

4. There are many causes of fatigue. 

Sleep disorders or poor sleeping habits are big culprits. "People should generally get seven to eight hours of sleep every night," Earvolino says.
"But just because you're in bed for seven to eight hours doesn't mean you're getting quality sleep. A disorder such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome may keep you from really resting."
In addition, illnesses such as a cold or the flu can cause fatigue, as can more serious problems.
"Fatigue may indicate a more serious medical issue," Earvolino says. "Changes in appetite, unexplained weight loss or gain, enlarged lymph nodes, cough, pain, fever — these are things that may point to an infection or a more serious causes of fatigue."
Thyroid disorders, such as an underactive thyroid gland, can leave someone feeling tired. Anemia and other blood disorders can also sap energy. Even the buildup of day-to-day stress, from work responsibilities to picking the kids up from school, can interrupt sleep and rob people of energy if it isn’t managed properly.
Fatigue can stem from psychiatric disorders, particularly depression and anxiety. Often a psychiatric disorder is found to be the issue after all other potential causes are ruled out, and it's most likely to be the cause when fatigue lasts for six months or longer.

5. There is relief for the weary. 

Treatment for fatigue depends on the cause. But in the majority of cases, there's an effective way to help a patient regain their usual energy level.
If lack of quality sleep is the problem, Earvolino focuses on ways to help patients get seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night. "You should take the TV and other electronics like laptops and smart phones out of the bedroom," she says. "There are studies that suggest the light that comes from computer screens can interrupt your ability to wind down."
In addition, avoid exercise an hour prior to going to bed. Instead of rigorous exercises, try a relaxing yoga workout that includes meditation.
However, there are plenty of benefits to more heart-pumping exercises earlier in the day. Thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise such as running or biking three to four times a week can help you maintain normal sleep cycles. But in the case of a sleep disorder, Earvolino refers patients to a sleep specialist.
A healthy diet can also go a long way in helping your body function properly, meaning better sleep and less stress. "Eat a well-balanced diet, avoid excess alcohol and stay well-hydrated," Earvolino says.
"Also, avoid sugary and carbohydrate-heavy meals, which cause fatigue after your blood glucose level spikes and then plummets."
Exercise and diet can also help when depression or other psychiatric disorders are to blame. Cognitive behavioral therapy and medications are the main treatments, and your doctor can refer you to a specialist.
“There are effective treatments available, so people should seek the help of their primary physicians if they aren't feeling as peppy as usual, for a prolonged period of time," Earvolino says.

Source: Rush University Medical Health Center

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Healthy Living: Enjoy holiday meals with less sodium

Some of us have waited an entire year for turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, but beware.

A holiday meal can have 2,000-plus milligrams of sodium — more than a day’s worth.
Too much sodium increases blood pressure, making it harder for the heart to pump.
For a family member with congestive heart failure, a high-sodium meal could cause acute symptoms and a trip to the hospital within 12-to-36 hours.
Here are some tips to help reduce the sodium for your holiday meals.
Skip the brine. Commercially brined turkey has 400 milligrams of sodium per serving — fully cooked birds have even more — so avoid turkey that lists broth, saline or sodium solution on the nutrition label.
Make traditional stuffing healthier. Select stuffing mix with less than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving, use low-sodium broth, unsalted butter and add layers of flavor with fresh produce, herbs and spices.
Keep it REAL with mashed potatoes. Instant potatoes are high in sodium and also contain unhealthy hydrogenated oils. To make flavorful, low-sodium potatoes in minutes, microwave whole potatoes until tender (6 to 8 minutes), mash with Greek yogurt and olive oil, then flavor with garlic and onion powder or roasted garlic and chives (instead of salt).
Make gravy from scratch. Skip the salt shaker and add flavor with herbs and spices such as black or white pepper, garlic, onion powder and thyme.
Be portion-size wise. Serve stuffing and mashed potatoes with an ice cream scoop to keep portion size right. If you want more stuffing, skip dinner rolls, mashed potatoes and other starchy side dishes that are also typically high in sodium.
Take the time to enjoy the meal. Wait about 15 minutes before going back for seconds because it takes time for stomach hormones to tell the brain that we are full.
Make it mini. A slice of commercial pumpkin pie can have up to 300 calories and 350 milligrams of sodium. Swap it for a tray of homemade mini desserts. An easy way to make a traditional pie mini is to bake it in a sheet pan and serve two-inch squares. Another option is to peruse the freezer isle in search of mini fillo shells — two shells have just 30 calories and 25 milligrams of sodium. Each holds about two tablespoons of pie filling so your guests can enjoy a few mini desserts without going overboard on calories and sodium.
By 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Surprising Reason Some Foods May Trigger Migraines

If the cause of your isn't a seasonal cold...it could be your food



People who suffer from migraines often say that eating certain foods triggers their headaches, but a new study suggests that it might not always be the food per se — rather, the bacteria in the mouth may be playing a role.
The study found that people with migraines harbored more bacteria in their mouths that had the ability to modify chemicals called nitrates, compared to people without migraines.
Some migraine-triggering foods contain nitrates, including processed meats and green leafy vegetables, as well as certain medications.
The researchers hypothesized that having greater amounts of bacteria in the mouth that modify nitrates could contribute to headaches in some people. These bacteria help convert nitrates into nitric oxide, a chemical that is thought to play a role in headaches.
“Bacteria in the oral cavity may contribute migraine-triggering levels of nitric oxide,” the researchers wrote in the Oct. 18 issue of the journal mSystems. [5 Ways Gut Bacteria Affect Your Health]
Still, the study found only an association between these bacteria and migraines, and cannot prove that the bacteria can cause migraines. The authors said they hope that their study spurs more research into how oral bacteria could be connected to migraines.
For now, if people suspect that nitrates are triggering their migraines, they should try to avoid nitrates in their diet, study co-author Antonio Gonzalez, a programmer analyst at the University of California, San Diego, said in a statement.
For the study, the researchers analyzed 172 oral samples and nearly 2,000 fecal samples from healthy people who participated in the American Gut Project, one of the largest crowd-sourced science projects in the U.S. Thousands of people in the general public contributed samples to the project to have their microbiomes analyzed.
Source: The Huffington Post


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Study: healthy lifestyle may prevent up to half of deaths from most common form of cancer





(NEW YORK) — Adopting a healthy lifestyle could prevent a huge number of cancer cases and possibly save tens of thousands of lives in the U.S, according to a study published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School looked at 89,571 Caucasian women and 46,399 Caucasian men enrolled in two ongoing cohorts to see how much a healthy lifestyle could reduce cancer risk.
Of the people studied, 16,531 women and 11,731 men had a healthy lifestyle pattern and were determined to be low risk. These healthy patterns included moderate or no drinking, a BMI between 18.5 and 27.5, weekly physical activity that included at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity, and either never having smoked or currently not being a smoker.
The authors then studied cancer rates among the high- and low-risk groups. They found that overall, 20 percent to 40 percent of carcinoma cases and about half of carcinoma deaths can be potentially prevented through lifestyle modification. Carcinomas form in the lining of certain tissues or organs and is the most common form of cancer.
The authors clarify that more study needs to be done to ensure these findings translate to other ethnic groups.
“These findings reinforce the predominate importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk. Therefore, primary prevention should remain a priority for cancer control,” the authors concluded in the study.
Dr. Ehsan Malek, a hematologist and oncologist at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland, said this can help the medical community understand cancer risk and how to hopefully prevent future cases.
“We didn’t know what portion of cancer is caused by environmental cancer and opposed to the gene, this study highlights the importance of lifestyle change,” said Malek, who was not involved in this study. “We have a lot to do. We have the potential to change the prospect of cancer in the U.S.”
Studies like this can help health officials allocate resources to encourage healthier lifestyles and prevent future cancer cases, Malek said, noting that despite new advancements in treatment, these medications can incur a high cost.
“We have had a tremendously amount of success and prolonged survival of cancer patients,” Malek said. “However, the cost of cancer treatment stays very high. Cancer is the first reason for bankruptcy in this country.”
He pointed out that currently officials have estimated that every $1 spent on prevention may translate to $10 saved on treatment.
“We have no other option. We have to work on prevention more than treatment based on cost-benefit issues,” Malek said. “A slight change can translate to huge reduction of risk.”
Source: Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Five easy ways to improve your health

Five easy ways to improve your health


It’s the beginning of the year, and January seems to be the most popular month for health columnists to give advice on how to stick to your New Year’s resolution, offer tips for quick weight loss or highlight healthy living trends for the new year. Spoiler alert: I’m not going to do that this year. Instead, I’m sharing five of my favorite things that have made healthy living easier and cheaper over the years. They may not be trendy, but they work.

1. Dried beans.




Cooking a pound of beans once a week and using these twice a week for vegetarian meals can improve your health and save money. Dried beans typically are cheaper, more filling and healthier than ramen noodles, and lentils cook quickly and can improve anything hamburger can, including spaghetti sauce, taco filling, chili and even burgers when you add the right spices.

2. A muffin tin.


While I’ve saved plenty of money over the years making my own whole-grain muffins, I only recently discovered you can bake eggs in them. This is a time saver in the morning when you want a hot breakfast. Simply spray the tins with nonstick spray, crack the egg in each tin, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes while you shower or get the kids ready to go.

3. WhirleyPop Popcorn maker

Popcorn is higher in fiber than most whole-grain crackers. This little gismo fits on the stove and makes popcorn from kernels nearly as fast as the microwave. Purchasing whole kernels rather than the prepackaged microwave versions saves enough money over the year to pay for the Whirly Pop, and the popcorn tastes better because you can use whichever oil you’d like for flavor. My favorites include olive oil and occasionally coconut oil.

4. Refillable water bottles and coffee mugs.


While there are plenty of reasons to buy bottled water, I’ve always found using my own and refilling it to be better for the universe and better on my budget. The same goes for coffee mugs. I’ve made a habit of brewing my own coffee from home for decades. I never had the extra cash to make picking up coffee on the way to work a habit. So I still rarely stop at a drive through or get coffees “to go.” Besides, before Starbucks, Oregon had Boyd’s.

5. A pair of running shoes.


OK, I tend to prefer nice running shoes. But, even for the extra money, nice running shoes allow me to run or walk for a lot less than a gym membership. Not that I’m against memberships, it’s just there were times when I couldn’t afford the fees and my shoes allowed me to maintain my activity level and in turn my health.
Source: Jeanine Stice is a health columnist and can be reached by email at nutritionetcetera@gmail.com
Statesman Journal: Part of The USA Today Network

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Health Myths: The Truth About Winter Hazards

Holiday Health Myths: The Truth About Winter Hazards



Don’t believe everything your mother told you about holiday perils. Poinsettia plants are actually not poisonous and New Year’s Eve is not the most dangerous night to be out on the roads – July 4th actually claims that title. 

But New Year’s Eve is, in fact, the most dangerous time of the year to be a pedestrian. And there are some holiday-related health hazards you should know about.

Here’s a list of six of the top health myths — and facts — associated with the winter holidays, and the facts, courtesy of Dr. Ron Clark, associate medical director of Emergency Department at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain, Conn.

Poinsettias poisonous?


The myth about poinsettia plants started in 1919 when a 2-year-old child died, and a poinsettia plant was blamed. Actually, according to experts, a 50-pound child would have to eat 500 poinsettia leaves to ingest a toxic level.

And poinsettias don’t even taste very good, according to Dr. Clark. It is unlikely that any child would eat enough poinsettia leaves to make himself or herself sick, and there are other, more appropriate, things to worry about over the holidays.

Holiday-related depression.

Another common belief, that the holidays trigger depression and suicide attempts. There is some truth to the idea that holidays can be hard for some individuals to bear, studies show. Visits to the emergency can spike around the holidays, especially for people who are experiencing the loss of a loved one. 

But while tragedies in life can exacerbate depression during the holidays, research shows that there is not an increase in the numbers of suicides. For reasons scientists don’t entirely understand, federal health statistics indicate spring is the season when the highest number of suicides occur.

Toasting too much.

Excessive drinking tops Dr. Clark’s list as a potential hazard at this time of year. And drinking combined with driving and other holiday-related activities increase the odds of injuries that emergency room doctors treat this time of year.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about three dozen traffic fatalities occur daily on average in the United States as a result of crashes involving a drunk driver. During the Christmas season, that figure rises to an average of 45 fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver each day and soars to 54 per day over the New Year’s holiday. 

But accident statistics show Independence Day is, by far, the most dangerous time to be on the road, with the July Fourth holiday the deadliest day of the year, with 144 driving-related fatalities on average (teens account for nearly 10 percent of deaths).


Household accidents.


Climbing ladders to put up holiday decorations in bad weather, stringing lights on the roof of the house — and taking them down afterward — are among the many risky winter activities that result in many emergency department visits.
“There are a lot of falls and traumatic injuries over the holidays,” Dr. Clark tells Newsmax Health. “People fall when they are trying to put lights on the outside of the house, or the star on the top of the Christmas tree. Being stupid on the roof and trying to out-do the neighbors is very risky.”

Most of the time people are making poor choices on ladders or with scissors, Dr. Clark adds. “It may be one foolish mistake that leaves you with a dislocated shoulder or a cut finger,” he says.

“One woman who was holding a Christmas ornament in her mouth while she secured another on the tree, took a breath and swallowed the ornament. An endoscopic procedure was necessary to retrieve the pointy sharp ornament.”

Household fires.


Those holiday candles and Christmas tree lights bring a cheer to families that celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and other winter holidays. But they can also pose a hazard.
Christmas-tree lights alone cause about 510 fires each year, by some estimates. And candles, particularly those left unattended, can cause house fires.


Overeating.


Although drinking and careless accidents prompt many emergency department visits, overeating is another major problem at this time of the year — particularly for individuals with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic health problems.
Someone with congestive heart failure, for instance, might eat too much salt causing fluid overload.

“The heart is a pump, and when it’s not working properly, and you eat too much salt, you end up retaining water. The fluid goes into the lungs, and people show up in the ER a few days later, short of breath,” Dr. Clark says.

Many people gain weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day — although the often-cited average of seven pounds gained over the holidays is also a myth — this is a bigger problem for diabetics who may snack on high-calorie hors d’oeuvres and sweets. 
They end up with hyperglycemia from eating things they would normally stay away from.
For most of us, it isn’t so much what we eat during the holiday season but what and how we eat throughout the entire year that is so important. Lots of people may experience holiday weight gain, but overall healthy eating habits make it less of an issue.

So, now that you don’t have to worry about poinsettias, driving on New Year’s Eve, or moderate consumption of food and alcohol, here are some common sense strategies for a happy healthy holiday season:


  • Take care on ladders and slippery roofs. It only takes a fraction of a second to lose your balance. Thousands of people each year have injuries related to lights, decorations, and Christmas trees.
  • Check tree lights for frayed wires, broken bulbs, and loose connections that may be fire hazards.
  • Holiday candles look awesome, but they should never be left unattended and should be set away from draperies, decorations, and young children.
  • Be mindful of what you are eating. If you have an underlying health condition, take extra caution with salty and sweet foods, and consider not only the impact of alcohol on your functioning, but also take into account the high sugar content.

  • Source: © 2015 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


    Thursday, November 26, 2015

    How To Tell If You Ate Too Much On Thanksgiving, In One Chart

    The short answer: You didn't.

    The Super Bowl of holiday meals has once again arrived, which means mouthwatering side dishes, desserts and wine. Oh, and turkey. Lots of turkey.
    Of course, one of the side effects of such a large (and delicious) meal is the post-consumption guilt that often leaves you wondering, "Did I eat too much?"
    But fear not: We've created this handy essential guide that breaks down whether or not you ate too much at the Thanksgiving table and provides a simple solution. Check it out below:
    Let us repeat that: Going a little overboard on Thanksgiving isn't going to make your weight skyrocket or damage your health. 
    There are 364 other days' worth of meals to be mindful of, don't let one dinner bring you guilt.
    "Even if you ate more this Thanksgiving than you ever have in a single day in your entire life, the likelihood of you gaining more than a pound -- or even that -- would be unlikely," Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness, previously told HuffPost. "Worst case scenario, you really haven't done much damage when it comes down to it. You haven't ruined your whole health and weight path." 
    So go on and pass the mashed potatoes. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Source: HuffPost Healthy Living: