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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Does Hope Have a Dark Side?

Imagine suffering from a chronic illness that challenges you every single day. You have aches and pains, difficulty getting around and sometimes suffer from surprising decreases in energy. You take fistfuls of medication for relief and endure countless medical procedures to keep the illness from progressing.

The illness might be physical, such as diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome or arthritis. Or it might be emotional or psychological, such as anxiety or depression.

Either way, might your life be better if you stopped hoping to cure your condition and simply accepted things as they are?

“Sometimes knowing the adversity you face is permanent makes it easier to face that adversity,” said Dr. Peter A. Ubel, a professor of medicine and psychology at the University of Michigan and director of the university’s Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine.

Ubel co-authored a study that found that people who’d had a colostomy surgery that creates an opening in the abdomen for stool to drain from the body but could have the procedure reversed in the future experienced no improvement in life satisfaction over time. But, people who had irreversible colostomies reported increased satisfaction with their quality of life.

It’s not a conclusion that’s been universally embraced, however. Dr. Ann Berger, chief of pain and palliative care at the U.S. National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., said she believes the finding from the colostomy study only scrapes the surface of what a patient needs to undergo to experience healing from a chronic illness.

“Acceptance is only a very small part of ultimately developing a sense of wholeness in healing from a chronic illness,” Berger said.

The study involved 71 colostomy patients, including 30 people with permanent procedures and 41 with reversible procedures. They were all quizzed about their quality of life one week after their release from the hospital and again one month and six months later.

Even though both groups of people had the same disability, those who knew their condition was permanent adapted better to their situation over time, Ubel found.

He believes a couple of factors are probably at work here. First, people who hope for a cure that may never come will grow frustrated over time when there is no improvement in their situation.

“Happiness is not just a matter of circumstances, but also how circumstances compare to your experiences,” Ubel said. “If you continue to hold out hope that things will get better, you will feel more frustrated.”

Also, Ubel explained, people holding out hope will experience a great deal of “Weltschmerz,” a German expression referring to the pain people feel when comparing how life is to how life should be.

“If I’m hoping for something better, then I continually compare my current lot in life to what it could be, and the contrast hurts,” Ubel said. “People who have a temporary condition think, ‘Why do I have to live with this? I want to be better.’ People with a permanent condition think, ‘Things aren’t perfect, but these are the cards I’ve been dealt.’”

Berger, on the other hand, thinks people should view the findings from the colostomy patients’ experiences “with a grain of salt,” in part because the results stem from a small group of study participants.

But in addition, a range of life factors can affect how people deal with a chronic illness, including their psychological state before the illness, their social networks and support systems, and their sense of spirituality, Berger said, and none of those factors were considered in the study.

“A lot of it has to do with people’s sense of: ‘I have a place and worth in the world. I’m safe and taken care of. I have plans and expectations for my life. I have control over things in my life. I have some kind of secure inner peace,’” she said. “These are things that go on in someone’s inner psyche and help in the healing process.”

If people have support and a sense of spirituality, she said, they may not be cured but they can be healed. “You need to look at curing versus healing,” Berger said. “Cure is cure of an illness. Healing is a feeling of wholeness of an individual.”

And the notion of “giving up hope” is flawed, she said.

“I don’t think that you necessarily give up hope,” Berger said. “When you are chronically ill, you may hope for other things. Hope just changes so that rather than hoping for a cure, you hope to get to somebody’s wedding or you hope to see the sunset the following day. You don’t hope for the same things as hoping for a cure. That’s not losing hope. It’s very different, and they can still feel healed.”

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Lupus disease

If you are a woman, chances are that you, someone in your family, or a friend is afflicted with lupus disease. This chronic autoimmune disease is prevalent, occurs mostly in women, and can make life painful and difficult for sufferers. What lupus disease does is cause the body’s immune system – usually used to fight off disease and dangerous bacteria – to instead attack itself. Lupus disease can cause this attack to affect any part of the body, and the attack generally results in painful inflammation of the afflicted body part and tissue damage.

Lupus disease occurs approximately 9 times as often in women as it occurs in men, and often attacks people between the ages of 15 and 50. Interestingly enough, people of non-European descent also seem to represent the brunt of lupus disease cases.

So what happens to sufferers of lupus disease? Well, studies of people with lupus disease have shown that the disease most often affects the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys and nervous system. If that sounds like almost all the major body systems, that’s because it unfortunately is. Luckily, the body’s central operating unit, the brain, is not among the list of body systems generally affected by lupus disease.

When someone, usually a woman of non-European descent, finds herself suffering from lupus, she is prone to outbreaks commonly called “flares.” During these flares, the disease acts up, causing the body to attack itself and the woman to feel pain. When the flare is over, lupus disease is said to have gone into remission, meaning that it is no longer causing the body to attack itself. Unfortunately, it is generally just a matter of time before lupus disease strikes again.

Fortunately, lupus disease is treatable, but as with many autoimmune diseases, the primary treatment for lupus disease has to do with treating the symptoms instead of the underlying cause. To do this, doctors prescribe medicines such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants. Unfortunately, there is no cure for lupus disease, but fortunately the disease can be managed with proper treatment. For a long time, lupus disease was a fatal disease, but now that medical science has turned its attention to curing lupus disease, fatalities from this dangerous disease have become infrequent. For example, the survival rate among lupus victims in North American is 90% at 10 years and 78% at 20 years. With treatment, lupus suffers can live a productive life.

Wondering if you may have lupus? Let’s examine the signs and symptoms. First, it is important to note that lupus disease can be difficult to diagnose because it often mimics the signs and symptoms of other illnesses. For example, the common initial symptoms of lupus disease are fever, malaise, joint pains, fatigue and myalgias (muscle pain.) As you can see, these symptoms are fairly general, and for that reason, doctors often mistake lupus for another disease.

That’s why doctors often look to secondary symptoms such as dermatological symptoms. About 65% of lupus disease sufferers complain of skin symptoms, and one very telling skin symptom associated with lupus disease is called the “butterfly rash.” This rash appears on the face and is in the tell-tale butterfly shape. They can also suffer from thick, scaly red patches on the skin, ulcers in the mouth, nasal cavity, and vagina, and skin lesions. The joints can also be affected in lupus disease, though joint pain is often not debilitating. Further, anemia and heart problems can result from lupus disease.

If you think that you may be suffering from the signs and symptoms of lupus disease, contact your doctor immediately. Bring up your concern during your clinical visit, because lupus disease is often diagnosed as other conditions before it is discovered.

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Get the Healing Benefits of Tea

 

For centuries, tea has been seen in many cultures as not just a warm beverage but a medicine with distinct healing powers. Physicians and learned men would prescribe different kinds of teas for different ailments. And while that practice may seem so different in our own modern culture, the truth is that there are proven health benefits to tea.

Getting out the maximum healing powers of tea can sometimes be a little tricky. For example, green tea is known for its array of antioxidants that are healthful for your body. Studies have shown a real connection between drinking green tea and lowering your risk of cancer. When you digest green tea, though, you can lose some of those antioxidants. The secret is to counteract this loss by adding citrus juice. The vitamin C acts as a buffer. So adding lemon juice (the more the better) to a cup of green tea reaps a lot of health benefits!

Lowering your cancer risk isn’t the only healing benefit of tea. Scientists have shown that drinking tea regularly may also keep your heart healthy, boost your immune system, sharpen your ability to concentrate, keep your bones strong and even prevent cavities! That is a lot of a handful of leaves, isn’t it?

There is a difference between “real tea” made from the Camellia sinenis shrub (a tree native to Southeast Asia) and herbal tea. Herbal tea can have health benefits too, but at the moment I am talking about the former. Different kinds of tea are harvested from that same tree: black, green, oolong and white tea. It is all in the timing of when the leaves are picked and how they are processed.

Green tea seems to have slightly more antioxidants but, no matter which variety you choose, you will be getting health benefits from drinking tea. How much tea should you drink to unlock the healing powers of tea? Experts suggest at least two cups of tea a day.

For information about how to brew tea and store tea, check the Food Blog.

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Lose Weight Permanently

I think you have seen and what is now a great many suggestions about weight loss can be easily found on the Internet.

Although the look and do not need to – the proposals themselves will find you!

Every day we are faced with intrusive advertising banners that say that you drop, for example, 15 kilograms in just one week … and all that for this you will have to view the miracle of video, which can itself for you all to do … maybe It offers not only has some 2 product and a miracle will happen again by itself …

Of course we are quite sensible people, and such offers may only make us smile, and maybe even the thought that there are people who believe in fairy tales so.

But the problem is also the fact that there are also very common, but less obvious error.

These errors most often occur at the thought that it is easy to lose weight with the help of strict diets and exhausting exercise, but if so, why there are people who are constantly hungry and train like an athlete – all to no avail, or on time.

And besides, how could come from those who eat everything on svete- and hamburgers, and chips, and cakes, are not engaged in sports, is that they are playing on your computer football, and despite all this are beautiful, thin and slender?

And where is justice ….?!

But anatomy and physiology – this is not mathematics, so weight loss can not simply be reduced to a simple counting calories.

Igor Tsalenchuk, has long studied the mechanism of accumulation of fat amazing, and I managed to lose 38 kg , in addition, I also have been able to help tens of thousands of people to become slim and happy forever.

I wish more people could use my holistic approach to weight loss.

Flexible Spending Account Check Up

Now is the time to address your health care flexible spending account (FSA) for a couple of reasons. You don’t want to wind up losing money or affecting your health.

What is a flexible spending account (FSA)?

A flexible spending account (FSA) is a financial account that has great tax benefits. Set up through your employer, the account offers a way to set aside a portion of your income, tax free. This money can be used throughout the coming year to pay for health related expenses that you might incur. It is a great way to pay for medical expenses without having to that income taxed.

After deciding on an amount of money to be set aside, you are given a card. This card can be used just as you would use a regular debit card. If the money placed in this account is not used by the end of the period (usually the calendar year) it is forfeited.

Now is the time to look at your flexible spending account for a number of reasons.

Open Enrollment

Most companies hold open enrollment for FSAs. This is when you sign up and declare the amount that you want set aside.

Changes to rules

Starting next year, there is a limit to what can be purchased with the account. This year, over the counter items, such as pain relievers and bandages are included. Next year, that won’t be the case. Keep this in mind when decided on how much to contribute to the account.

Left over funds

Since most account terms are over at the end of the year, you’ll want to find out how much money is left in your account now and use it up before it is forfeited. So, now is the time to order your contact lenses, schedule your dentist appointement or stock up on cold and flu supplies.

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Hawaii Medical Service Association, Hawaii Pacific Health at odds over contract

HMSA said it will continue working with Hawaii Pacific Health to reach a new agreement. However, if none is reached, Hawaii Pacific Health hospitals — Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, Straub Clinic & Hospital, Wilcox Memorial Hospital and Pali Momi Medical Center — may not participate in the HMSA network after Jan. 31.

In a statement, Hawaii Pacific Health’s president and CEO Chuck Sted expressed disappointment in the Hawaii Medical Service Association’s statements about hospital contract negotiations. “From our perspective, the negotiations have been progressing well and we were completely surprised by HMSA’s unexpected aggression to infringe on the physician-patient relationship.”

Contact the Editor Need Assistance? More Latest News

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Young Children and Sports Related Brain Injury

 

Last year, a friend of mine had a real concern. Her grandson, aged seven, was playing football at school and got injured. This was not just any injury, though. He suffered from a concussion that has left long lasting challenges both physical and mental. This one injury has changed his life completely. He can no longer attend school regularly nor play his beloved football.

Ironically, when the injury first occurred, it didn’t seem like a big deal. That is one of the issues with brain injury, things can become worse later.

You want to limit the risk factors for brain injury in children who play sports. There are precautions that you can take. Helmets are key for preventing sport related head and brain injuries. Make sure that the helmet fits correctly and is in good condition. Used helmets are not a good idea, unless you know for sure that the helmet is relatively new and has not been in an injury or suffered impact.

Typical sports that should require he use of a helmet include: hockey, football, biking, snowmobile, batting, skiing and skateboarding.

Whenever a child receives a head-related injury, you should seek medical attention. This could be a simple as a phone call to the doctor, as we did when our eldest son fell on the ice and bruised his cheek to a call to 911 if a child is unconscious or bleeding.

If a child is playing sports and suffers a head injury, he or she should be removed from the game immediately and evaluated.

Look for any neurological changes whether they occur immediately or are delayed. Symptoms of a mild brain injury include headaches, unconsciousness, blurred vision, dizziness, trouble remembering things, clumsiness and lack of coordination, vomiting and changes in behavior.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to brain injuries, and this issue is not one that should be taken lightly.

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Dolphins could help heal humans

Michael Zasloff, a professor at Georgetown University Medical Centre believes bottlenose dolphins may be the key to finding better ways to promote healing in humans. In a letter published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the professor claims he witnessed large wounds healing without infection, scarring or any visible signs of pain in a number of dolphins. Similar wounds in humans, he noted, would be fatal:

“Much about the dolphin’s healing process remains unreported and poorly documented. How does the dolphin not bleed to death after a shark bite? How is it that dolphins appear not to suffer significant pain? What prevents infection of a significant injury? And how can a deep gaping wound heal in such a way that the animal’s body contour is restored?”

Working with marine biologists at the Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort near Brisbane in Australia, Zasloff identified several mechanisms the dolphins could use to aid healing.

One theory proposed was that dolphins use their diving mechanism to cut off the blood supply to wounds preventing excessive blood loss. When dolphins dive to depths, blood is diverted from surface blood vessels. As result, the blood in the injured dolphin’s wound can clot quickly.

Based on previous research undertaken on frogs and dogfish, the professor suggested that dolphins could also have anti-microbial compounds in their skin and blubber that fight infection. The dolphins seemed to be oblivious to pain too, continuing to eat and act normally after suffering even severe wounds, leading the professor to believe there might be some analgesic compounds at work.

When it came to healing, even large sections of missing tissue were replaced in weeks without significant scarring, possibly as a result of special regenerating stem cells within the tissue.

“The dolphin’s healing is similar to how mammalian foetuses are able to heal in the womb,” the professor said.

Since dolphins are structurally similar to humans, understanding the processes behind these processes could be the key to knowing more about healing in humans. Professor Zasloff believes further study could lead to new anti-bacterial and analgesic treatments for use in hospitals and medical centres.

 

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Lessons In Health From Our Youth


eschipul

I have been thinking about this a lot recently, how different things were when we were children. You just need to have a look at a young kids relationship with food and movement to notice fundamental differences from that of most grownups.

Think of how a Child treats the day of eating. They will get up go grab some food, maybe some cereal, an apple and start eating slowly. Until he is no longer hungry, probably waiting until there is a slight “fullness” in his stomach and the desire for food turns into desire to get away from food. If he gets hungry later on in the day or needs something before playing around he’ll go grab a snack before heading out. At dinner time he will eat to appetite, sometimes putting his fork down half way through a meal and other times finishing everything and asking for seconds…..

There is no notion of calories, what is “good” or “bad” food a child really knows how to just eat the food. Of course this may not always be the most healthy stuff, but children’s tastes are heavily influenced by what they have grown up eating and their parents influence.

The beauty of the way a child eats is they really listen to their bodies, they eat to appetite and never do grownup things like binge or deprive themselves. They have found balance, or maybe they just haven’t lost theirs……

Think of how a Child treats a day of play. Again they will probably not even think about exercise, going to “workout” like us adults do. A child will head to school, meet-up with friends and have fun in their break time’s sometimes this may mean just running round looking for stuff, other times it maybe a game of some kind. They will also know how to say “I’m tired” and take it easy that day. There is no scheduled exercise and they don’t care about missing a session as there will always be another opportunity….

Again there is no sign of forcing themselves to do something they don’t want to do or don’t “feel” like doing. They exercise because it is fun, some adults keep this mindset but too many others get caught up in the notion of a strict schedule of weight routines and cardio, freaking out if they miss a days training.

So What Can We Learn?

Well the first step is to think back to the young version of yourself who had plenty of energy, didn’t over think stuff and ate solid food to appetite. But what are the take home lessons?

  • Learn to slow down your eating just a tad, appreciate and taste your food properly.
  • Eat to Appetite, what does that mean? well its usually when you start feeling fullness in your stomach. If you are still hungry after one serving, it is cool to grab some more.
  • Don’t be afraid to have healthy snacks between meals. It is not good to arrive at a mealtime ravenous.
  • Food is Fuel, Food gives life, yet it is comforting and relaxing…. So eat it
  • Exercise when you feel like it, if you are exhausted, slept badly, or are totally unmotivated your body does not need extra stress via exercise.
  • Find something you actually enjoy doing, whether it is running, going to yoga or lifting weights doesn’t matter.
  • Exercise because it is fun and good for you, rather than to burn off calories or compensate for a certain lifestyle.
  • Exercise should be fun and playful, never draining. It is important to leave a workout feeling energised….
  • Exercise communally when you can, playing sports with friends or attending classes in the gym.

Those are a few of the points I could think of, but the list goes on. The most important point though is to appreciate food and exercise for what they are sources of fun, bonding time and they give life.

If we could all pickup a few of these lessons our lives would change for the better, stress would decrease and truth be told we would all probably end up eating less, eating healthier, exercising on a more natural but less routine/scheduled basis and improving our bodies.

If you liked this post, please Share it on Twitter by using the box below.

And also checkout my e-book ‘A Simple Guide to Eating Well‘. Thanks for reading.


1 comment so far


  1. Comment by Dave
    7 October 2010

    Great set of lessons. I think a lot more people would be in good shape if they followed these simple childhood tips.

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