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Showing posts from August, 2012

Care-giving: A Survival Guide

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You have a full-time job, a spouse, kids, two mortgages, a car in the shop and a seat on the board of your favorite charity. Let’s face it, you’re an amazing juggler and always find a way to keep all the balls in the air. But you also constantly live in fear that one more item will get thrown into the mix than you can handle. You assure yourself that if it does, you’ll politely decline, hoping the requestor will understand how busy you are. But what if someone you love falls ill and requires constant care and supervision?

How will you heap that responsibility on top of the rest of your to-dos? That may sound like a worst-case scenario, but for millions, it’s reality. “Within the United States, there are more than 50 million caregivers for everyone from special-needs kids to the elderly,” says Deborah Halpern, communications director of the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA). “And these caregivers provide over $375 billion annually in free services and provide more than 80 pe…

Excuses, Excuses: Experts Bust The Most Common Reasons People Give for Not Eating Right

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We have excuses for being late to work, for not visiting the in-laws and for downing fast-food burgers and fries instead of eating nutritious foods. But unlike the first two types of alibis, nutrition excuses can make us fatter, weaker and generally unhealthier. Here, experts bust the dietary cop-outs that may be undermining your health.

Wake Up Call: A Diagnosis of Prediabetes Doesn’t Have To Be All Bad News

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A heart attack. A car accident. A loved one’s life-threatening diagnosis. Sometimes it takes a dramatic event to make us notice our dangerous or unhealthy behaviors and commit to change. Fortunately for people on the track for diabetes, the wake-up call doesn’t have to be so severe.

Although learning you have prediabetes does not seem like good news, it can help you make lifestyle changes designed to slow the progression of the condition. Research shows that it all comes down to two familiar tactics: diet and exercise.

Clearing The Air: Lung Cancer Doesn't Just Happen To Smokers

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Peanut butter and jelly. Peas and carrots. Smoking and lung cancer. Some things just go together. In fact, 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer cases in the U.S. and Canada are directly attributed to smoking.
“What many people don’t realize is that you don’t have to be a smoker in the true sense of the word to be at greater risk for this disease,” says Claudia Henschke, Ph.D., M.D., co-author of Lung Cancer: Myths, Facts, Choices—and Hope. “If you live with a smoker, smoke occasionally to relieve stress or smoked in the past, you’re at higher risk.”

Here, our experts help you determine your risk on a scale of one to five (five being highest) based on your smoking, or nonsmoking, status, and offer tips for improving it.

Don't Be Robbed Of Your Health As You Age

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Older adults are right to want to protect themselves and their homes from harm. They invest in alarm systems, move to secure communities and buy fierce-sounding dogs (of course, behind the door, Fluffy is all bark and no bite). But what about protecting their bodies from the top health threats? Unfortunately, there’s no alarm system for that. Also unfortunate is that the number of health threats increases with age.

Here’s how you can identify and eliminate the top health threats to seniors.

30 Days to Better Sleep

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Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. There it is again. The dreaded sound of your alarm clock. Every morning, it disrupts your slumber—that is, on the days you aren’t awakened by a crying baby, construction noise or roaring engines. Regardless of what brings us out of Dreamland, many of us aren’t getting the quantity or the quality of sleep we need. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends seven to nine hours of sleep nightly for adults, but a 2011 poll found that about two-thirds of us say our sleep needs are not being met during the week.  People who are chronically sleep-deprived may see an impact on their metabolism and hormones. In fact, poor sleep habits have been connected with slowed glucose processing and weight gain.

If you’re tired of feeling tired, our 30-day plan is just what the doctor ordered. Take the time to examine your habits, reset your internal clock and get the sleep you need.

Virtual Health

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Late last year, gamers snagged health headlines. In a span of three weeks, players mapped the structure of a protein enzyme that plays a key role in how the AIDS virus reproduces. In comparison, researchers have been working on this project for more than a decade. How did the gamers do it? By playing Fold.it, an online game produced by the University of Washington that presents complex puzzles that attempt to unlock the protein structure of diseases and other substances. Because proteins are a part of so many diseases, knowing their structure can help develop drugs that target them better.

According to the game’s website, “Players can design brandnew proteins that could help prevent or treat important diseases.” It works. Four scientific peer-reviewed papers list Fold.it gamers as authors, and this may be just the beginning. A number of puzzles are left to be solved. Just think, your gaming abilities could create the next big health headline.

Life After Cancer. Now What?

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After kicking cancer to the curb, your No. 1 priority is staying healthy. “You have to understand what makes your body healthy and do away with things that cause it harm,” says Kimberly Hutcherson, M.D., a radiologist at Gwinnett Medical Center and a breast cancer survivor. 
Proper diet and frequent exercise are essential. Plus, both have the added ability of battling fatigue, a common long-term side effect of cancer, Dr. Hutcherson says. So load your plate with fruits and veggies and take that daily walk. And if you drink or smoke, minimize alcohol intake and throw out those cigarettes for good. “You have to take control of your wellness and change your lifestyle,” Dr. Hutcherson says. 

Take Aim: 7 Steps To Keep Your Health On Target After A Ministroke

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As with a stroke, time is of the essence in seeking medical treatment for a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ministroke. So knowing the symptoms before they happen is essential. “Most TIAs produce symptoms that are very similar to those of a stroke, but they typically go away in a few minutes or hours,” says Theresa Dorfling, cardiology manager at Gwinnett Medical Center. The most common symptoms include sudden onset of: Vertigo or dizzinessMuscle weakness of the face, arm or leg, usually on one sideNumbness or tingling on one side of the bodyLoss of vision or other vision disturbancesTrouble speaking, writing or readingConfusion or loss of memoryDifficulty recognizing objects or peopleChanges in senses such as hearing or touch Loss of bladder or bowel controlWant to reduce your risk for stroke, especially if you have had a TIA? Here are the key steps.