- NOT JUST FOR KIDS!
As a life insurance company, we have
a vested interest in our members' good health. Vaccines are
an important part of disease prevention, for children and
adults alike. National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)
is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance
of vaccination for people of all ages. NIAM was established
to encourage people to make sure they are up to date on the
vaccines recommended for them. Communities and health centers
have continued to use August of each year to raise awareness
about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious,
sometimes deadly, diseases. While immunizations have significantly
reduced the incidence of many infectious diseases, vaccination
rates for some diseases are not meeting national public health
goals. People need to be reminded that immunizations aren't
just for children. They are needed throughout our lifetime.
stresses three messages:
Vaccines are an important step in protecting
against serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases.
Vaccines are recommended throughout
our lives, not just for kids. Adults need to be informed about
the vaccinations they might need.
A doctor/provider recommendation is
one of the best ways to ensure patients get the vaccinations
they need when they need them.
ARE NOT JUST FOR KIDS!
As an adult
you may think you're done with immunizations, but you're not.
One of the more common ailments in adult patients is pertussis,
or whooping cough. You may think whooping cough is just for
kids, but the vaccine you may have gotten so many years ago
can wear off. When adults get pertussis it is called the 100-day
cough, aptly named because that's how long the sidesplitting,
spasmodic cough usually lasts. You'll want to avoid this if
you can. But there's another reason why it's important to
get a pertussis booster shot: The virus can be deadly if passed
on to infants who may not be immunized yet. Grandparents take
The vaccination called the TDAP is a combination
of a pertussis and tetanus shot. You'll only need the pertussis
booster once, but you'll need to get the tetanus booster by
itself every ten years (or sooner if you're attacked by a
rusty nail-if it's been more than five years since your shot
you'll need a booster right away).
The other highly recommended vaccine is the shingles
vaccine. It can be given at age 60 and over to anyone who
has had chicken pox, and one shot is enough. While it may
not completely prevent shingles, it can limit the severity
of an outbreak. You may wonder how chicken pox can later lead
to shingles. As it turns out, the chicken pox virus is sneaky.
It never entirely goes away, but hides in a nerve. Then one
day when you get good and stressed out or your immunity drops,
the virus comes out
of hibernation, so to speak, and you develop shingles (herpes
zoster)-a condition that results in painful, itchy sores.
The rash only appears on one side of the body in the distribution
of a particular nerve. It can be any nerve, so it can be located
anywhere on the body. If you have never had chicken pox, ask
your doctor to order a blood test to make sure if you are
or are not immune. Avoid this painful and horrible affliction.
We tend to gloss over this one, as flu and its symptoms are
usually bearable. But people as young as 40 die from the disease.
Complications from influenza kill, on average, 36,000 people
in the U.S. each year. Should you get an annual flu vaccine?
Yes! While it may not prevent contracting the flu, it will
greatly diminish the dangers and discomfort. For optimum effectiveness,
the shots are best administered in October or
November, at the start of the flu season. The vaccines above
are simply administered, with rare side affects, usually limited
to possible minor swelling at the point of injection. Many
national chain pharmacies offer this service on a walk-in
basis at a reasonable price. The shingles vaccine is the most
costly. Medicare covers some portion of most.
Pneumonia is another potentially preventable
disease. The pneumonia vaccine-which can help protect against
multiple strains of pneumococcal pneumonia - is recommended
for everyone 65 and older. One shot is all you need. Before
age 65 it may be given as a precautionary measure to asthma
and COPD patients as well as patients with compromised immune
systems, such as those with cancer, kidney disease, and liver
disease, to name a few.
For those who travel overseas and those in the medical profession
who work with people who may be ill, vaccines to protect against
hepatitis A and B, Meningicoccus and Hemophilus influenza
type b (Hib) are recommended. Travelers easily contract the
virus from poor sanitary conditions in cities and in rural
areas, sharing of personal items (nail clippers, razors, etc.),
not washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and polluted
water (even in luxury hotels). Viral hepatitis is especially
common in Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East,
the Amazon basin, and Asia. Tip: if you are travelling to
an area outside Western Europe, Japan or Canada, get vaccinated.
Many young adults have
never received any vaccinations. This is a very scary notion,
especially when world travel makes it so easy for communicable
diseases to be brought into areas where they've never been
seen before. Measles, mumps, and whooping cough are on the
rise, and polio is still present in the world. If you or your
family, infants and children included, are missing any vaccinations,
please catch up on them. It goes without saying that you'll
need to have a discussion with your doctor regarding which
vaccines you may need. The bottom line: Vaccines are safe
for the vast majority of people - and can save lives.
the NIAM and the National Public Health Information Coalition
(NPHIC) website for further information:
SIX TIPS TO REDUCE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure
(or hypertension) is a blood pressure reading above 140/90 mmHg.
A high reading puts you at risk for a number of serious health conditions,
including stroke and heart disease. Long-term high blood pressure
has been shown to increase the likelihood of an individual developing
cardiovascular disease. Other complications of high blood pressure
damage to the heart muscle and tissue
risk of heart attack
risk of stroke
Many cases of high blood pressure cannot be traced to a direct cause.
However, the longer the blood pressure is high, the more dangerous
the side effects of the diagnosis can become. Fortunately, there
are proactive measures beyond simply taking medication that you
can take to lower your blood pressure. Making the right lifestyle
choices also helps control blood pressure.
Try these six tips to reduce your blood pressure and maybe
even lower your chance of developing heart disease.
1) Maintain a Healthy Weight
According to the Mayo Clinic, maintaining a healthy weight for your
body type helps keep your blood pressure in check. If you are overweight
or obese, losing excess weight is especially important for lowering
blood pressure. Hypertension, when coupled with obesity, is dangerous
to long-term health. Obesity can cause poor circulation, stress
on joints and bone structure, and stress to the heart. This can
make high blood pressure symptoms worse. Thats why, if youre
one the 35% of Americans who struggle with obesity, its important
to prioritize weight loss when treating your high blood pressure.
Weight loss can also make your blood pressure medication more effective.
Talk to your doctor about a target weight and a safe weight loss
2) Take BMI Measurements
If youre not sure if you need to lose weight, ask your doctor
to measure your body mass index (BMI) and your waistline. These
two readings help determine if your weight is related to your high
blood pressure. BMI is a measurement of your bodys height
in proportion to your weight. While knowing your BMI can help predict
your level of body fat, it may not be enough. Waist measurement
can indicate risk for developing high blood pressure.
3) Exercise Regularly
A great way to improve your BMI and decrease your blood pressure
is to get regular exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine
(ACSM) says that simple exercises like walking or doing chores around
the house can lower blood pressure. ACSM recommends a half hour
minimum of moderate physical activity five days a week. By incorporating
cardiovascular exercise into your routine, you will improve circulation,
increase your lung capacity, and improve your heart efficiency.
The combination of these benefits will reduce your blood pressure.
Its even better if youre able to exercise outside. The
exposure to Vitamin D in sunshine has been proven to increase happiness
and reduce stress just make sure to wear sunscreen. If youre
not ready for cardiovascular exercise, start with a simple routine
of stretching your muscles. Gentle yoga or Pilates programs are
a good place to start. By stretching your muscles regularly, you
will improve your circulation, alleviate pain in your muscles, improve
your posture, and ultimately be able to take steps toward reducing
4) Try the DASH Diet
A healthy diet is another key to improving and maintaining healthy
blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic recommends the DASH diet, otherwise
known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet.This diet
focuses on balanced nutrition and eating foods that are low in cholesterol
and saturated fat. Here are the key elements to a DASH diet:
DASH-approved foods include fruits and veggies, whole grains,
lean proteins, and low- or no-fat dairy products.
A typical day on the DASH diet involves three full meals
and two to three snacks. The center of each meal should be colorful,
fiber-rich vegetables, with a small portion of lean protein to finish
out the meal.
Nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits are the recommended snacks.
The DASH diet does not focus on food deprivation, but instead
encourages eating enough to keep you full while cutting out sodium
and artificial sugars.
DASH is effective and may cause your blood pressure
to plummet as much as 14 mmHg.
5) Reduce Sodium Intake
Salt and high blood pressure dont mix. According to the Mayo
Clinic, if you cut even a little bit of salt from your diet, it
can result in lowering your blood pressure by as much as 8 mmHg.
The majority of salt in the American diet comes from restaurant
food and prepared foods. The American Heart Association recommends
that you keep your sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg a day.
6) Reduce and Manage Stress
Stress can increase blood pressure, at least temporarily. Youll
want to pay particular attention to lowering your stress if youre
at risk for high blood pressure due to being overweight. Many activities
can help you stay calm while dealing with daily stresses. Many of
the same healthy actions that are good for your blood pressure
like eating right and exercising can also counteract stress.
In addition to exercise, other forms of relaxation like meditation
or deep breathing are also helpful. A morning routine that focuses
more on calming rituals like a cup of a calming chamomile
tea and 10 minutes of thoughtful meditation will decrease
stress levels more than reaching for that double espresso.
7) How to Prevent High Blood Pressure in the First Place?
Maintaining a diet that is low in sodium, engaging in cardiovascular
exercise for over half an hour three or four times per week,
and being proactive about your stress levels are the most significant
ways you can prevent hypertension. Looking into your family history
to find out if heart disease and hypertension are part of your genetic
makeup is a way to find out if you are at high risk for developing
high blood pressure and is good information for you and your doctor
to have. Finally, taming your vices also makes a difference
in some cases. If you smoke, drink too much alcohol, or drink caffeine
daily, talk to your doctor to see if cutting back should be a part
of your blood pressure reduction plan. If you are at risk for or
already have high blood pressure, checking your blood pressure weekly
is a good idea, as is seeing your doctor regularly, in case a prescription
for blood pressure reducing medication might be required.
WAYS TO STAY HEALTHY THIS WINTER
1. Eliminate your sleep debt
Most people do not get enough sleep. Seven
to nine hours per night are recommended, but most Americans only
average six and a half hours. In the wintertime, when the days
are shorter and it gets dark sooner, your body will crave more
sleep, so this is the perfect time to eliminate your sleep debt.
Being well-rested will enhance your performance at work and will
boost your immune system, making you less susceptible to colds
2. Drink more milk
You are 80% more likely to get a cold in winter so making sure
your immune system is in tip-top condition is important. Milk
and dairy products such as a variety of cheeses, yoghurt, and
cottage cheese are great sources of protein and vitamins A and
B12. They're also an important source of calcium, which helps
keep our bones strong. Try to go for semi-skimmed or skimmed milk,
rather than whole, and low-fat yoghurts.
3. Eat more fruit and veggies
When its cold and dark outside it can be tempting to fill
up on unhealthy comfort food, but its important to ensure
that you still keep your diet healthy and include five portions
of fruit and vegetables a day. If you find yourself craving a
sugary treat, try a juicy clementine or banana instead, or sweet
dried fruits such as dates or raisins.
Winter vegetables such as
carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, squash, and turnips can be
roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal
for the whole family. Explore varieties of fruit and veggies that
you may not normally eat.
4. Try new activities for
the whole family
Dont use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay in
and lounge around. Instead, get out with the whole family to try
a new outdoor activity, like ice-skating or snow-shoeing or taking
a bracing winter walk on the beach. Regular exercise helps to
control your weight, boost your immune system, and is a good way
to break the tension that can build if the family is constantly
cooped up inside the house. Exercise is essential to your health
and well-being all year round, but in winter many people engage
in fewer activities outside, so it is important to find new and
fun ways to stay active.
5. Have a hearty breakfast
Winter is the perfect season for oatmeal. Eating a warm bowl on
a cold morning isnt just a delicious way to start your day,
it also helps you to boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre,
which give you energy and help you to feel full longer, stopping
the temptation to snack mid-morning. Oats also contain lots of
vital vitamins and minerals. Make your oatmeal with semi-skimmed
or skimmed milk or water, and dont add sugar or salt. Add
a few dried apricots, some raisins, a sliced banana, or other
fruit for extra flavor and sweetness to help you hit the five-a-day
6. Drink Plenty of Liquids
Staying well-hydrated in winter is as important as it is when
it is hot outside. Indoor heating dries nasal and breathing passages
as well as your skin. Drinking plenty of water and other fluids
is important to your immune system and cell health, so do not
reduce your fluids intake, even though it is cold outside and
you may not be as active and thirsty as you are in warmer weather.
7. Wash your hands often
An important and easy way to stay healthy and flu-free this winter,
is to wash your hands often, especially after you have been in
public places like a store, bus, train, school, or doctors
office. Wash your hands after you get home, before eating, and
several times during the day. You do not need to use anti-bacterial
soap. Washing with warm water and regular soap for 60 seconds
will eliminate most germs and bacteria. Be mindful of not touching
your face with your hands too often. That is a primary way of
avoiding contamination keeping your hands clean and not
bringing them to your eyes, nose, or mouth.
8. Not too late for a flu
Even if you did not get a flu shot in the fall, there is still
time to get one in January or February. The flu season lasts until
March at least, and you will get immediate benefits from a flu
shot, even if taken late in the season.
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SEASON IS HERE
WHO SHOULD GET A FLU SHOT?
If you want a fighting chance
against the flu, doctors recommend that you get an annual flu
shot. The good news is that the flu shot side effects are minor
and shouldn't be a concern if you're looking to get a flu shot
vaccine. If you have no specific conditions or allergies to the
flu shot, anyone over the age of 6 months can receive the flu
vaccine. Because it takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to take
effect, it's best to get your flu shot early in the season.
While many people are scared that one of the flu shot vaccine
side effects is to get a bout of the flu, the truth is that the
flu shot will NOT give you the flu: the flu virus in that needle
going into your arm is dead, making it impossible for you to catch
the flu by getting a flu shot or getting near someone who just
had a flu shot vaccine. Because the flu shot side effects are
so few, if you are in an at-risk group, don't play Russian roulette
by not getting the flu shot vaccine -- for many, it becomes a
matter of life or death.
The Center for Disease Control urges the following at-risk groups
to be immunized:
50 and over
of nursing homes or other chronic-care facilities
children who have chronic lung or heart problems, including children
children who have chronic metabolic diseases (such as diabetes
mellitus), renal dysfunction, hemoglobinopathies, or immunosuppression
and teens who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
their second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu season.
You should also think seriously
about getting a flu shot if:
you are in
contact with at-risk people. This includes health care providers,
employees of nursing homes and chronic-care facilities, home-care
providers, emergency-response people, and household members
in an institutional setting, such as college students and members
of the armed services
What can you expect if you've
had the flu shot? Not much, as flu vaccines are tolerated by most
people. There may be some side effects:
a low grade fever for 8 to 24 hours after you receive the shot.
red, tender area around the vaccination spot.
And a few
people, especially children, may develop slight chills or a headache
within 24 hours, but the symptoms go away within a day or so.
NOTE: Always consult your
family doctor or health care professional before any vaccination
or medical procedure or treatment. The information in this article
is general in nature and not intended to be taken as medical advice.
Learn more about the flu and about flu shots at the CDC website
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TEN TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY THIS
In the warmer, longer, lazier days of summer,
the living may not always be that easy, but it does probably feel
less chaotic. Even adults tend to adopt a "school's out"
attitude in the summer. That's why this is a perfect time to improve
your health in a fashion so seasonally laid back that you'll barely
notice the effort. Ten tips to follow this summer -- or anytime!
1. Give Your Diet a Berry
If you do one thing this summer to improve your diet, have a cup
of mixed fresh berries -- blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries
-- every day. They'll help you load up on antioxidants, which
may help prevent damage to tissues and reduce the risks of age-related
illnesses. Blueberries and blackberries are especially antioxidant-rich.
2. Get Dirty and Stress Less
Toimprove your stress level, plant a small garden, cultivate a
flower box, or if space is really limited, plant a few flower
pots -- indoors or out. Just putting your hands in soil is "grounding."
And when life feels like you're moving so fast your feet are barely
touching the stuff, being mentally grounded can help relieve physical
and mental stress.
3. Floss Daily
You know you need to, now it's time to start: floss every single
day. Do it at the beach (in a secluded spot), while reading on
your patio, or when watching TV -- and the task will breeze by.
Flossing reduces oral bacteria, which improves overall body health.
4. Get Outside to Exercise
Pick one outdoor activity: going on a hike, taking a nature walk,
playing games such as tag with your kids, cycling, roller blading,
or swimming -- to shed that cooped-up feeling of gym workouts.
5. Be Good to Your Eyes
To protect your vision at work and at play, wear protective eyewear.
When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet
A and B rays. Sunglasses can help prevent cataracts, as well as
wrinkles around the eyes.
6. Be Good to Your Skin
Be sure to use 30 SPF sun screen and apply every two hours when
out in the sun. Wearing a hat helps too, especially one that can
shade your face.
7. Vacation Time
Improve your heart health: take advantage of summer's slower schedule
by using your vacation time to relax and unwind, which will lower
your blood pressure and heart rate.
8. Alcohol - Go Lite
Summer's a great time to skip drinks with hard alcohol and choose
a light, chilled alcoholic beverage instead (unless you are pregnant
or should not drink for health or other reasons). Sangria, light
beer, or a wine spritzer are good, lighter choices for summer.
9. Food - Go Lite
Summer is the perfect time to increase your consumption of fresh
fruits and vegetables, Salads, smoothies, and grilled veggies
taste delicious if made from market-fresh ingredients. Visit your
local farmers market weekly!
10. Sleep Well
Resist the urge to stay up later during long summer days. Instead,
pay attention to good sleep hygiene by keeping the same bedtime
and wake-up schedule and not drinking alcohol within three hours
Learn more at http://women.webmd.com/features/8-summer-steps-for-healthy-living
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TO NIP SPRINGTIME ALLERGIES IN THE BUD
Everyone is excited that winter
is over and that spring is finally here. Flowers are blooming
and trees will soon start budding -- and producing pollen. For
too many people spring means that their allergies are back. Symptoms
of seasonal allergies, commonly referred to as hay fever, include
itchy eyes, nose and throat; sneezing; stuffy or runny nose; tearing
up; and dark circles under the eyes.
For allergy sufferers, identifying
the allergens is the first step to treatment. The test consists
of dozens small pricks on your skin. 42 allergens are tested against
the skin, including grasses, trees, and weeds, as well as molds,
cats, dogs, even horses and cattle. Then, the ones that flag are
tested for cross-reaction with foods.
Once the allergens have been
identified, some people may need allergy shots once a week for
three to six months to build up the allergic response to their
specific allergies. Not everyone needs shots though. Antihistamines
that are available over the counter can be taken daily, or a nasal
spray, help most sufferers. Also, a simple nasal saline wash can
rinse the pollen from your nasal cavity. But if all of that gives
too little relief, do see a doctor.
In addition to medications,
lifestyle changes can help relieve hay fever symptoms. These measures
* Limiting outdoor activities when pollen counts are high.
* Leaving windows closed at home or in the car to keep pollen
* Installing and using your air conditioner early, to filter the
outside air that
comes into your home.
* Washing your hair after being outside.
* Avoiding mowing lawns or raking leaves, both of which stir up
pollen and mold.
* Not hanging sheets or clothes outside to dry.
To learn more about seasonal
and other allergies and how to prevent and treat them, go to the
Mayo Clinic Health website at www.mayoclinic.com/health/allergies/DS01118
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WAYS TO BOOST WOMEN'S HEALTH
Women's health concerns are
a little different from those of men. If you're a woman, the tips
listed below will soon have you feeling fit and energetic. To
look and feel your best at every age, its important to make
smart lifestyle and health choices. Here are six simple things
that women can do every day (or with regularity) to ensure good
Health Tip #1: Eat a healthy diet.
You want to eat as close
to a natural foods diet as you can, says Donald Novey, MD,
an integrative medicine physician with the Advocate Medical Group
in Park Ridge, IL. That means a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
and fewer processed foods. Eat whole grains and high-fiber foods
and choose leaner cuts of meat, fish, and poultry. Include low-fat
dairy products in your diet as well depending on your age,
you need between 800 and 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily to
help avoid osteoporosis, Dr. Novey says. Avoid foods and beverages
that are high in calories, sugar, salt, and fat.
Healthy eating will help you
maintain a proper weight for your height, which is important because
being overweight can lead to a number of illnesses. Looking for
a healthy snack? Try some raw vegetables, such as celery, carrots,
broccoli, cucumbers, or zucchini with dip made from low-fat yogurt.
If youre not getting
enough vitamins and nutrients in your diet, you might want to
take a multivitamin and a calcium supplement to make sure youre
maintaining good health.
Health Tip #2: Exercise.
Heart disease is the leading
cause of death among women in America, but plenty of exercise
can help keep your heart-healthy. You want to exercise at least
30 minutes a day, five days a week, if not every day. Aerobic
exercises (walking, swimming, jogging, bicycling, dancing) are
good for womens health in general and especially for your
heart, says Sabrena Merrill, MS, of Lawrence, KS, a certified
personal trainer and group fitness instructor and a spokeswoman
for the American Council on Exercise.
Health Tip #3: Avoid risky habits.
Stay away from cigarettes
and people who smoke. Dont use drugs. If you drink alcohol,
do so in moderation. Most womens health studies show that
women can safely consume one drink a day. A drink is considered
to be about 12 to 14 grams of alcohol, which is equal to 12 ounces
of beer (4.5 percent alcohol); 5 ounces of wine (12.9 percent
alcohol); or 1.5 ounces of spirits (hard liquor such as gin or
Health Tip #4: Manage stress.
No matter what stage of her
life daughter, mother, grandmother a woman often
wears many hats and deals with a lot of pressure and stress. Take
a few minutes every day just to relax and get your perspective
back again, Novey says. It doesnt take long,
and mental health is important to your physical well-being.
You also can manage stress with exercise, relaxation techniques,
Health Tip #5: Sun safely.
Excessive exposure to the
suns harmful rays can cause skin cancer, which can be deadly.
To protect against skin cancer, wear sunscreen with a sun protection
factor (SPF) of at least 15 if you are going to be outdoors for
more than a few minutes. Even if you wear sunscreen faithfully,
you should check regularly for signs of skin cancer. Warning signs
include any changes in the size, shape, color, or feel of birthmarks,
moles, or freckles, or new, enlarging, pigmented, or red skin
areas. If you spot any changes or you find you have sores that
are not healing, consult your doctor.
Health Tip #6: Check for breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society
no longer recommends monthly breast self-exams for women. However,
it still suggests them as an option for women, starting
in their 20s. You should be on the lookout for any changes in
your breasts and report any concerns to your doctor. All women
40 and older should get a yearly mammogram as a mammogram is the
most effective way of detecting cancer in its earliest stages,
when it is most treatable.
A womans health needs change as she ages, but the basics
of womens health remain the same. If you follow these six
simple healthy living tips, you will improve your quality of life
for years to come.
Read more on the Everyday Health website:
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THINGS YOU CAN DO
TO LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure (hypertension)
is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease and strokes.
Blood pressure tends to increase with age, so it is important
to monitor it carefully. Medicine is often prescribed for this
condition, but there are other things you can do to help lower
blood pressure or to keep it low in the first place.
If you've been diagnosed with
high blood pressure, which is a systolic pressure (the top number)
of 140 or above, or a diastolic pressure (the bottom number) of
90 or above, you might be worried about taking medication to bring
your numbers down. Lifestyle plays an important role in treating
high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure
with a healthy lifestyle, you may be able to avoid, delay, or
reduce the need for medication. These 10 tips for lifestyle changes
you can make to lower your blood pressure, and keep it down, are
taken from the Mayo Clinic Health website.
1. Lose extra pounds and watch
your waistline - Blood pressure often increases as weight increases.
Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure. In
general, the more weight you lose, the lower your blood pressure.
2. Exercise regularly - Regular
physical activity, at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the
week, can lower your blood pressure and it doesn't take long to
see a difference.
3. Eat a healthy diet - Eating
a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat
dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can
lower your blood pressure.
4. Reduce sodium in your diet
- Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet will help
reduce blood pressure.
5. Limit the amount of alcohol
you drink - Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health.
In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure,
but that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol.
6. Avoid tobacco products
and secondhand smoke - On top of all the other dangers of smoking,
the nicotine in tobacco products raises your blood pressure.
7. Cut back on caffeine -
Drinking caffeinated beverages can temporarily cause a spike in
your blood pressure.
8. Reduce your stress - Stress
or anxiety can temporarily increase blood pressure. Take some
time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as
work, family, finances, or illness. Once you know what's causing
your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.
9. Monitor your blood pressure
at home and make regular
10. Get support from family and friends - Supportive family and
friends can help improve your health. They may encourage you to
take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor's office, or embark
on an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low.
Talk to your family and friends about the dangers of high blood
Read the entire article on
the Mayo Clinic Health website:
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IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP TO STAYING HEALTHY AND LIVING WELL
Sleep is one of those
things that we often take for granted. Many of us sacrifice sleep
for other activities that we consider more important. Sometimes
bad habits acquired through the years prevent us from getting
as much sleep as we really need. Sleep is so important that nature
has designed our bodies in such a way that we spend about one-third
of our lives sleeping in order to function well and stay healthy!
Most experts agree that
adults need at least seven or eight hours of sleep every night,
and there are several reasons why having a consistent sleep schedule
and getting enough deep sleep is important. Some of the more obvious
reasons are for better efficiency (having enough energy during
the day to do what we need to do), a happier outlook, less stress,
and more clarity in our thinking. Some of the less obvious benefits
of sleep and its influence on healthy living are for our minds
to be able to dream and process what has happened during the day,
and to provide us with information and inspiration. We all have
had the experience of waking up in the morning with a solution
to a problem that had seemed intractable the day before clear
in our minds. A well-rested brain continues to work during sleep!
Sound sleep can also
help our immune systems to function properly. Being in homeostasis,
or a balance, helps our bodies to be more resistant to outside
attack by producing hormones needed for good health. And it is
well-known that we are better able to make decisions, do challenging
work, assimilate information, and process what is happening in
our environment when our minds are rested and sharp.
It has been found that
those who get even one or two hours of sleep fewer than recommended,
are more prone to weight gain, infections, and attention deficit.
In extreme cases of sleep deprivation, a personality shift can
take place, resulting in clinical depression and other mental
disorders, and even in death, if the pattern is not altered.
Good sleep gives our
bodies the opportunities to recalibrate and regenerate. Our chemistry
is balanced in a healthy sleep state, and endorphins are released,
helping with ailments from chronic pain to depression. Although
not all of the benefits of sleep can be scientifically measured,
we do know that it is a necessary part of a healthy life -- and
an area that most people can easily improve and achieve immediate
results when they do so.
Here are some tips for
healthy living as it relates to sleep:
to bed and early to rise! Besides being more alert, youll
have more energy to get things done.
Dont eat before going to bed this can put
a lot of stress on your digestive system and your liver.
Melatonin, kava, and chamomile tea have been reported to
alleviate experience restlessness or insomnia. Avoid caffeine
and excessive alcohol consumption; both have negative effects
Keep room lighting in your bedroom to a minimum; even an
alarm clock LCD display can affect your melatonin levels, and
thus your sleep.
Make sure you have a good mattress and natural-fibre bedding.
Fresh air also helps, so leave the window open, at least a crack.
Before you go
to sleep, try writing in a journal, reading, meditating, or praying
to get your mind ready for sleep. Soft music set on a timer can
also be a soothing way to fall asleep. Try to avoid stimulating
and disturbing activities before going to sleep (like watching
the news). Take a slow walk or a luxurious bath instead.
Good sleeping habits start in childhood, so make sure your
children have a regular and peaceful bedtime routine every night.
Avoiding television and video games before sleep and reading bedtime
stories are the two best ways to get your children to sleep happily.
SECRETS FOR A LONGER AND HEALTHIER LIFE
We all know that proper diet
and regular exercise will improve our health and extend our lives.
These two rules, along with getting plenty of sleep, drinking
plenty of water, not smoking, not drinking excessively, and getting
an annual check-up have been accepted by most of us as the rules
to follow for good health. But there are other things we can do
to live longer, healthier, and happier lives. "There's good
evidence that emotional, spiritual, and social factors are all
important for longevity," says Gary Small, M.D., director
of the Center on Aging at UCLA. Research has shown that there
are four strategies that help the most.
1. The power of positive thinking
Research has established that people who have a positive outlook
on life when they are young end up living longer. There is even
a study that shows that people who were smiling happily in their
high school yearbook photos live longer than those who were not.
Negative emotions like hostility and bitterness are bad for overall
health, especially for the heart. But changing your outlook on
life, even at age 50 or later, can be an effective tool for living
longer. Smile, reach out to people, join a club or volunteer organization,
forgive and forget hurts or slights
all of these practices
have proved to be successful in adding years to our lives.
2. The power of spiritual
Research has shown that people who go to church regularly live
longer than people who go sporadically or not at all. People who
meditate or pray at home also achieve better longevity results
than people who never slow down in their busy lives. The best
practice is to combine public worship with private spiritual practice.
Pray or meditate each morning, read a spiritual book each day,
tune out and stay quiet a few times a day, if you can. The benefit
comes from slowing down, tuning out the world, and connecting with your inner life.
3. The power of helping others
Did you know that people who volunteer at two or more organizations
have a 44% lower death rate than those who do no charitable work
at all (according to a study at the Buck Institute for Aging)?
Compassion has been shown to boost the functions of the immune
system, brain, and hormones. So join a volunteer organization
(preferably two) and be sure to go to your next PWA Group or Council
meeting and see how you can organize volunteer work with your
fellow PWA members. This will not only help the community where
you live-it will let you live a longer and healthier life.
4. The power of staying connected
Countless studies have shown that people with strong social connections
live longer. The important thing to remember is that the quality
of the relationships is more powerful than the quantity. So spend
more time with people who are good for you and avoid difficult
or toxic relationships. Feeling needed and connected in a positive
way extends lives of both men and women.
of Longevity" By Dr. Gary Small, UCLA
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LOSS: SIX STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS
Hundreds of fad diets, weight-loss
programs, and outright scams promise quick and easy weight loss.
However, the foundation of every successful weight-loss program
remains a healthy, calorie-controlled diet combined with exercise.
For successful, long-term weight loss, you must make permanent
changes in your lifestyle and health habits. How do you make those
permanent changes? Consider following these six strategies for
1. Make a commitment
Permanent weight loss takes time and effort - and a lifelong commitment.
Make sure that you're ready to make permanent changes and that
you do so for the right reasons. To stay committed to your weight
loss, you need to be focused. It takes a lot of mental and physical
energy to change your habits. So as you're planning new weight-loss-related
lifestyle changes, make a plan to address other stresses in your
life first, such as financial problems or relationship conflicts.
While these stresses may never go away completely, managing them
better should improve your ability to focus on achieving a healthier
lifestyle. Then, once you're ready to launch your weight-loss
plan, set a start date and then - start.
2. Find your inner motivation
No one else can make you lose weight. You must undertake diet
and exercise changes to please yourself. What's going to give
you the burning drive to stick to your weight-loss plan? Make
a list of what's important to you to help stay motivated and focused,
whether it's an upcoming beach vacation or better overall health.
Then find a way to make sure that you can call on your motivational
factors during moments of temptation. Perhaps you want to post
an encouraging note to yourself on the pantry or refrigerator
door, for example.
3. Set realistic goals
When you're setting goals, think about both process and outcome
goals. "Exercise regularly" is an example of a process
goal, while "Lose 30 pounds" is an example of an outcome
goal. It isn't essential that you have an outcome goal, but you
should set process goals because changing your processes - your
habits - is a key to weight loss. Also make sure that your goals
are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited.
An example of a SMART goal is aiming to walk for 30 minutes a
day, five days a week, for the next three months, and logging
4. Enjoy healthier foods
Adopting a new eating style that promotes weight loss must include
lowering your total calorie intake. But decreasing calories need
not mean giving up taste, satisfaction, or even ease of meal preparation.
One way you can lower your calorie intake is by eating more plant-based
foods - fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Strive for variety
to help you achieve your goals without giving up taste or nutrition.
5. Get active, stay active
The key to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume.
While you can lose weight without exercise, exercise plus calorie
restriction can help give you the weight-loss edge. Exercise can
help burn off the excess calories you can't cut through diet alone.
Exercise also offers numerous health benefits, including boosting
your mood, strengthening your cardiovascular system, and reducing
your blood pressure. Exercise can also help in maintaining weight
loss. Studies show that people who maintain their weight loss
over the long term get regular physical activity.
6. Change your perspective
It's not enough to eat healthy foods and exercise for only a few
weeks or even months if you want long-term, successful weight
loss. These habits must become a way of life. Lifestyle changes
start with taking an honest look at your eating patterns and daily
routine. After assessing your personal challenges to weight loss,
try working out a strategy to gradually change habits and attitudes
that have sabotaged your past efforts. And you have to move beyond
simply recognizing your challenges - you have to plan for how
you'll deal with them if you're going to succeed in losing weight
once and for all.
From the Mayo Clinic website.
Read the full article here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss
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