Category Archives: Prevention

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder with the acronym S.A.D. affects sufferers primarily during the winter and spring seasons.  The winter season brings less sunlight, early darkness in the evening, colder temperatures, terrible weather, and change of the seasons.

It has been found that many with SAD found that one of the main symptoms is that it triggers depression.  It was discovered in the United States by Dr. Norman Rosenthal in 1984.  This condition is unfortunately commonly undiagnosed and this makes it difficult for people to get diagnosed and receive proper treatment.  It takes approximately two to three years for patients with SAD symptoms to be diagnosed by their physician.  Research by a UK organization called Mind, provides support to those with mental health issues, has found that approximately 10% of the general population in Europe has seasonal affective disorder.  The Cleveland Clinic has found that within the United States there about 500,000 people who suffer from SAD, and approximately 10%-20% of the US population battle with milder forms of seasonal affective disorder.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Sleep problems
  • Lack of libido
  • Lowered immune system
  • Relationship problems and lack of social interaction
  • Weight gain and overeating
  • Worrisome and guilt feelings
  • Unable to concentrate

There are no known causes of SAD but research has found that the change of seasons and the change in less light is a main trigger of the disorder. When there isn’t enough light, certain functions slow down and stop gradually in the body.  Add on lower serotonin levels which is known to appear in people who suffer with depression.

Treatments for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

There are several treatments that have had positive results for most sufferers such as antidepressant prescribed medications and bright light therapy (phototherapy).  The Social Affective Disorder Association (SADA) has found that bright light therapy is the most effective therapy option.  Over 85% diagnosed SAD sufferers have found that the bright light therapy worked for them.  Bright light therapy involves exposure to the light provided from the light therapy box for about 2 hours per day.  The light mimics outside sunlight and has an intense positive effect on SAD sufferers.  Researchers believe the artificial light works by helping the chemicals in the brain linked to the patient’s mood eases the SAD symptoms.

Additional options of SAD therapy include:

  • Counseling
  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Psychotherapy

The Social Affective Disorder Association (SADA) recommends that sufferers should avoid stress as much as possible, get as much exposure to daily light as they can, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

How to Relieve Constipation

ConstipationThere is nothing worse that not being able to go when you want to and sitting there hurting wishing that nature will take course.  It’s not a funny topic nor an embarrassing issue to discuss.  It’s a debilitating issue to deal with but the good news there are various remedies that will help to ease and prevent the situation from occurring in the future.

1.  Drink plenty of water each day of at least 20 ounces after you wake up in the morning.  Drinking approximately 10 to 12 glasses of water each day and it’s the best way to flush toxins out of the body.  Avoid drinking sugary drinks such juice and soda as they contain copious amounts of sugar that can worsen constipation symptoms.  Constipation occurs due to lack of adequate liquids in the body.
2. Try eating a ripe banana with a glass of warm milk.  Chew the banana thoroughly and drink the warm milk slowly instead of gulping it down.
3.  Consume several prunes or drink one to two glasses of prune juice.  Prunes are high in fiber they contain a substance called sorbitol which is stool-laxative that helps with relieving symptoms of constipation. The prunes contain more sorbitol than prune juice.  Skip eating foods that are high in sugar such as cookies and candy.  You can still have those foods but consume them in moderation.
4.  Exercise is an important part of life and it’s needed for increasing function in the body.  Exercise by keeping your body moving through going out for walks for at least 20-30 minutes to promote good bowel movements regularly.
5.  Finally this is a difficult option but it does work. Squat down to ease out the excrement by propping your feet on a child’s step stool and raise up your knees while sitting on the toilet.

Constipation is a continuous issue that many people including myself have experienced.  Unfortunately, I’m allergic to bananas but I do eat prunes and apples to keep things going and moving along in my system.  I drink several large bottles of room temperature water throughout the day and I exercise several times per week.

Facts About Omega-3 Fatty Acids

omegapills2Eating omega-3 fatty acids help the body in various ways of reducing inflammation in the body to lowering the risks of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats and are essential for cell function in the body.  Omega-3s are able to decrease blood pressure, triglyceride levels and keeps fatal heart arrhythmias from occurring.

Health conditions omega-3 foods help the body:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Joint pain
  • Neurological pain
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Problems with concentration
  • Dry and itchy skin

The body is unable to produce omega-3s so eating the right foods is the best bet.  Omega-3s are in many food sources such as beans, oils, proteins, and vegetables. Oils that have omega-3s in it are flaxseed oil, soybean oil and canola oil.   One primary food source has a heavy concentration of omega-3s such as seafood.  It is recommended to consume at least 8 ounces per week which is a combination of two main kinds of omega-3 acids – 250mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

Seafood options:

  • Salmon
  • Tilapia
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Bluefin tuna
  • Crab
  • Trout
  • Lobsters
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Cod

Additional essential sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Dietary supplements
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Winter squash

omega3My reasoning behind mentioning dietary supplements as I take fish oil gel supplements on a daily basis to assist with numerous health problems.  I eat seafood such as tilapia and salmon each week, and I eat raw baby spinach several times a week too which provides my body with iron too.  I believe taking dietary supplements are best if you’re not getting enough of that element especially if you have a higher risk of developing heart disease or already have heart disease.

 

 

 

 

The Health Benefits of Laughter Therapy

laughingI have been using laughter therapy as a way of coping with all of my chronic disorders and diseases. While it has not been able to keep my mind completely off of the intense chronic pain and health problems I’m battling,  it still has in many ways relaxed my body. To laugh during such a difficult time in my life has helped me in more ways than I could ever imagine.  It would be hard for me to list them all.   I would say that it has saved my life.  I have been chronically ill with fibromyalgia for almost 15 years, depression disorders, and various other illnesses that completely ravaged my body making it impossible for me to control how my body reacts and functions.

I discovered that laughter has really helped me to keep my emotions in check to a degree and I feel a little better about myself.  Laughing has helped to keep my mind off of my fibromyalgia pain and side effects of my prescribed medications. There are times, such as now where my pain is incredibly high and I’m unable to find suitable assistance, I have found laughter therapy to still be a beneficial tool and a coping mechanism through all of the difficult battles I have dealt with over the years.  There are various well-documented medical research done on the effect of using laughter as a therapy tool.  The power of laughter is that it’s an antidote to relieving stress, problems and yes even pain.  Humor has the ability to bring much needed balance in the person’s life and lightens up their load too.

Benefits of laughter:

  • Reduces stress hormones such as endorphins, adrenaline and cortisol
  • Fights against respiratory infections and boosts the body’s immune system
  • Prevents heart disease
  • Expands the person’s views on situations reducing overwhelmed feelings
  • Improves the person’s overall mood
  • Add joy and excitement
  • Strengthens relationships with others
  • Defuses difficult situations
  • Attracts others to us and encourages unity amongst one another
  • Improves memory, alertness, and creativity
  • Increases memory and learning capabilities
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Gives the diaphragm, and abdominal region a good workout including respiratory, facial, back, and leg muscles

Ideas of where to find something funny to laugh at?

  • YouTube videos are a wonderful option as many videos are a few minutes long and can provide a much needed release.  My favorite type of videos to watch are primarily animal-based videos such as cats, dogs and wildlife getting themselves into the most interesting case of circumstances.
  • Reading online comic strips and cartoons.  Both of these can easily be found anywhere online, especially on Facebook.  I follow many online comics strips Facebook pages providing me exactly what I need each day.
  • Funny TV shows and movies are still the best options of watching something that appeals to you and will get you in the right frame of mind.
  • Search for comedians and people in general who will make you laugh. Attending a comedy club is the perfect way to get yourself in the laughing mood.
  • Do something silly and what that entails for me is making funny faces in the mirror.  Eventually I will laugh.  Sometimes it takes time for me to laugh but I will chuckle a little in due time.

 

So please keep in mind that laughter is truly the best medicine.

This Week in Diabetes Medical News

What-causes-diabetes Several recent studies have found various ways of lowering the risk of diabetes and improving the symptoms of diabetes too. A study that was conducted by the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Centre US found eating walnuts daily will assist in lowering the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. Another report through BBC News reports that exercise can be as good as medication as pills are for people with health conditions such as heart disease. The Times felt doctors should prescribe their patients to exercise instead of prescribing prescription drugs. Both headlines are based on studies researchers have completed but they are overstating some of the evidence, as it has been found that it’s better for physicians to prescribe both medications and exercise as a treatment plan. Both medications and exercise have their place in treating the body. Another study conducted in London by the International Diabetes Foundation has found that the diabetes battle is ‘being lost’ due to the high level of cases of people diagnosed with diabetes.  The record has now soared to 382 million people.  A majority of the people who have type 2 diabetes are living an unhealthy lifestyle.  This unhealthy lifestyle is linked to lack of exercise and obesity.  This epidemic has exploded in numbers due to more people in developing worlds have taken on Western and urban lifestyles.  It has been estimated by 2035 the number of diabetes diagnosis will be 55% and it will be 592 million people.

Symptoms of type-2 diabetes

Symptoms of type-2 diabetes

The primary problem is that many people will go undiagnosed for months to years and will be unaware that there is something wrong despite various symptoms.  Symptoms can include itchiness, yeast infections (thrush), numbing, and frequent urination especially at night, inadequate blood sugar, health complications, and damage to the kidneys, heart, eyes and other organs.  If it is left untreated for a long period, premature death can occur.  Many people with untreated diabetes are living in the low and middle class income levels with the inability to access proper health care. It’s important to get a proper checkup to make sure you’re completely healthy and if you’re diagnosed with diabetes then take on the right options of maintaining the symptoms.

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