Five Surprising Things That Can Affect Your Physical Health

You already know many of the things that can have a big impact on your physical health. Experiencing a personal injury will definitely impact your long-term health, as will the food you eat. You probably know that sitting too much is dangerous to your health, while being exposed to germs from others will definitely increase your chances of getting sick.

Those are all important things to think about and pay attention to if you’re trying to take care of your health, but there’s a lot more to consider. There are a lot of things that can affect your physical health that you may not know about!

Stress

You know that stress can affect your mental health, but chronic stress can do much more than that. The most immediate effects of dealing with stress include headaches and upset stomach. You may also experience problems with sleep, which comes with a whole host of additional health problems. Those who experience stress often are more likely to experience high blood pressure and chest pain.

Stress can also lower your immune system, causing you to get sick more often. As your body is flooded with stress hormones that are only supposed to be released rarely when faced with serious threats, organs become chronically inflamed, which means your immune system can’t fight off germs.

Loneliness

Loneliness can cause some serious health problems, especially for older adults. Seniors with poor social relationships are 29 percent more likely to experience heart disease, while those who have experienced heart failure in the past are 68 percent more likely to find themselves in the hospital again in the near future.

For those who are socially isolated, health consequences are even more dire. Seniors are 50 percent more likely to experience dementia when socially isolated from others, and social isolation increases your risk of premature death from any cause. This finding is similar to other things that you already know affect your health, like smoking and inactivity.

Although much of the research has been done on seniors, you aren’t out of the woods if you’re a younger person experiencing loneliness. It can affect your mental health in many ways, ultimately affecting your overall health, and impacting your health as you age.

Exercising Too Much

You know that exercise can affect your health, but you’re probably thinking that the more you exercise, the healthier you will be. That’s definitely not the case. Did you know if you exercise too much you can experience negative health consequences? The obvious possible result of exercising too much is experiencing an injury, but it can affect you in other ways too.

When you exercise too much, certain chemicals are released in the body, depressing the immune system. If you push yourself too hard or you hit the gym a little too often, you could actually find that you get sick more frequently.

Negativity

Your brain is a powerful organ. What happens in your brain can greatly affect your health, and that includes how you see the world. Negative thinking can actually make you sick. Whether you are cynical, you regularly feel hostile and angry, or everything just seems to make you feel sad, negative feelings come with a whole host of possible health problems that include:

  • Higher chance of heart disease
  • Higher risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Greater chance of having a disability
  • Decreased immune function

The good news is that neural pathways change minute by minute throughout your entire life. Practice seeing the world through rosier lenses and you could greatly impact your physical health for the better.

Your Commute

One of the most surprising things that can have an effect on your physical health is your commute to and from work! Some of what makes commutes so dangerous to your health is the fact that they can create a lot of stress, but that’s not the whole story.

The longer your commute, the more time you spend sitting, which isn’t good for your health, and your commute itself could cause high blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease. Not to mention, when you’re always on the go, you’re more likely to go through the drive thru and eat heavily processed foods that aren’t good for your body either.There are a lot of things that can affect your physical health. By all means, eat better and sit a little less, but you can do even more to preserve your physical health when you follow the guidance on this list.

Health Benefits of Blackberries

While blueberries often steal the spotlight when it comes to talking about the benefits of adding berries to your diet, blackberries pack in a powerful punch of nutritional value as well. If you’re a blackberry fan, we’re sharing four reasons you should keep enjoying them! Plus, we’re sharing how to incorporate these delicious berries into your diet, so you can reap all of their amazing health benefits.

The Top 4 Health Benefits of Blackberries

1 Rich Source of Vitamin C

During the winter months, we need to make sure we are armoring our body with exactly what it needs to help keep germs at bay. Blackberries happen to be a great source of vitamin C, making it a great fruit to help keep us healthy all winter long.

2 Great Source of Dietary Fiber

One of the great things about berries is their fiber content, and blackberries are no exception here. Blackberries are a great fiber-rich fruit to add to your diet to help support digestive health, promote regularity, and help keep you full between meals.

3 Rich in Anti-inflammatory Health Benefits

Berries are most well-known for their anti-inflammatory health benefits, and blackberries make a delicious addition to any anti-inflammatory diet. Keep in mind that reducing your total inflammatory load is one of the best preventative steps you can take for your health, as inflammation is at the root of nearly all disease seen today.

4 May Support Brain Health

Similarly to blueberries’ potential brain-boosting benefits, blackberries may also hold some brain health benefits. This all has to do with their antioxidant content, known to help ward off free radicals, which may help reduce brain inflammation, and in turn, support better cognitive function.

How to Enjoy Blackberries

Blackberries are easy to add to your diet. If you like berries in general, then you shouldn’t find it difficult to find ways to enjoy this fruit! Here are some healthy ways to include them in your diet.

  • Blend into a smoothie.
  • Add to your salads.
  • Enjoy with a bowl of oatmeal
  • Pair with some nuts and enjoy as a healthy snack.

Health Benefits Of Green Tea

Green tea has been a popular beverage choice over the last few years. More people are reaching for a mug of green tea or matcha green tea instead of their morning cup of coffee. This is because green tea has been found to offer some promising health benefits, and may make a healthy beverage choice, especially if you avoid adding any extra sugar to your cup. Here are four reasons why you may want to consider sipping on some green tea.

Four Health Benefits of Green Tea

1 Rich in Antioxidants

One of the most talked about health benefits of green tea happens to be the fact that it’s loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are essential for keeping free radicals at bay and keeping your inflammation low.

2 May Help Boost the Metabolism

Many people sip on green tea to help support a speedy metabolism. Green tea has been found to increase fat burning, so it might be a great beverage option to assist in weight loss efforts, just be sure to lay low on any added sugar.

3 Green Tea May Support Brain Health

Green tea has been found to help support brain function, and also protect your brain as you age. This is huge when it comes to protecting your brain from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

4 May Keep Your Immune System Strong

Another potential health benefit of green tea happens to be the fact that it’s rich in catechins that are thought to help fight off bacteria and reduce your risk of infection. These catechins may also help prevent dental health issues related to dental caries. (4) Consider sipping on a mug or two of green tea in place of that third cup of coffee each day.

How to Enjoy Green Tea

Green tea is easy to add to the diet. You can try swapping out your daily cup of coffee for a mug of green tea, or just add a mug to your daily routine for an added afternoon energy boost.

You can also make a green tea smoothie, by using chilled green tea as your beverage base and add in things like banana, ginger, and turmeric for a powerful anti-inflammatory beverage option.

Weekly Alcoholic Consumption Tied To Shortened Life Expectancy

When it comes to drinking alcohol, the consensus has long been that if consumed at a moderate amount, one can live a long healthy life. This is evident in that one of the hottest trends in the Mediterranean diet which encourages a daily glass of wine with lunch and dinner. Other ideas supporting this are scientific studies that suggest up to four drinks for a man and up to two drinks for a woman per can be helpful with heart health. It has previously been believed to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, strokes, and high blood pressure.

About the Study

In the April 14th, 2018 version of The Lancet, researchers published the startling findings of an internationally conducted study with almost 600,000 participants. Factors such as age, gender, history of diabetes, history of cardiovascular health, whether the individual was a smoker or not, and more were taken into account. Individuals also had to check in one year after their baseline was recorded.

They concluded if individuals drink more than one drink a day, they were more likely to die sooner than a similarly situated person who drank less. This certainly contrasts with recommendations set in the U.S., which can be twice this threshold, and also for much of Europe where guidelines are often 50 percent higher than this study’s standards.

The Specifics

To arrive at their results, the team’s study members recorded over 40,000 deaths among the participants and cross-referenced this with information that the participants self-reported concerning their drinking habits. The specific findings are as follows:To arrive at their results, the team’s study members recorded over 40,000 deaths among the participants and cross-referenced this with information that the participants self-reported concerning their drinking habits. The specific findings are as follows:

Alcohol Consumption per weekLife expectancy reduced by
100 -200 ml6 Months
200 – 350 ml1—2 years
More than 350 mlUp to 5 years
  • Those who drink between 100-200 ml of pure alcohol in a weekly period, can be expected to die six months sooner than those who drink less than 100 ml per week, less. (NOTE: 100 ml = 3.381 fluid ounces.) This implies that even one drink a day reduces life expectancy.
  • Drinking between 200-350 ml weekly reduces life expectancy by between one to two years.
  • Drinking more than 350 ml each week is predictive of a shorter life by up to five years.
  • Despite gender or body weight, the study found no correlation between the volume of consumption.
  • Any amount of alcohol consumption is related to a higher risk of stroke, coronary disease (excluding heart attack), heart failure, fatal hypertensive disease, and fatal aortic aneurysm.
  • Drinking alcohol is related to a decrease the risk of a heart attack.

Conclusion

  • As with any data collected, there can be anomalies. For instance, we sometimes hear stories of people living past the age of 100 with the belief that a glass of wine a day was their secret. However, for the majority of subjects living in high-income countries, drinking more than 100g of alcohol per week can have unhealthy implications including a shortened lifespan. Researchers hope that this study will be cited to lower the limit of alcohol consumption from current guidelines.

The Benefits Of ASCs

How ambulatory surgery centers are saving money while providing increased access to procedures. For those seeking medical care, the prospects can be daunting. From expensive procedures to crowded schedules, finding the time and money to receive the care you need can be challenging. The stress of such a situation is only compounded by the fact that it is your health on the line. That’s a big deal.

This is especially true of surgeries, which are invasive and, to most people, frightening. Thankfully, modern medicine and infrastructure are addressing these challenges head-on to provide patients with a higher level of care in a more convenient and cost-effective manner.

Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are at the forefront of this trend. These specialized centers focus on bringing high-quality care at a lower price, giving people a compelling alternative to traditional full-service hospitals.

How exactly are ASCs changing the landscape of the surgical treatment world? Read on to find out.

Cost Savings

For those with Medicare, the copayment for surgery at a hospital outpatient department would be significantly higher than that at an ASC. For example, a cataract extraction procedure would see a copayment savings of over $200.

The same holds true for those with private insurance, meaning that patients across the spectrum can experience the cost savings associated with ASCs.

It’s not just patients that benefit from the quick, affordable treatment, either. Over the course of the approximately 22.5 million surgical procedures performed by ASCs each year, Medicare saves over $4 billion. That’s a significant amount of taxpayer dollars.

Private insurance companies will incur lower costs, too, incentivizing them to encourage ASC use. As they save money, those savings will likely be reflected in the costs you, as a patient, see.

Efficiency and Quality

Because ASCs are specialized centers, they can provide a level of care that meets or exceeds the standards set by hospitals while doing so in a more convenient and efficient manner. So, while you will likely see significant cost savings, you will also enjoy benefits more related to the overall surgical experience.

This improved convenience and efficiency allows ASCs to schedule and performs procedures on a quicker timeline, meaning less waiting for you. While this may not be exceptionally important for some elective procedures, it is vital to those who are in need of medically necessary surgery. ASCs can address your needs more quickly and put you on the road to recovery sooner.

ASCs are already an integral part of the healthcare system, and their importance will only continue to grow as the demand for quick, convenient access to critical diagnostic and surgical care increases. With a significant portion of out-patient procedures already being performed by ASCs, there is no doubt that these specialized centers will continue to account for a higher percentage of such procedures.

Both patients and providers benefit from the convenience and cost savings associated with ASCs, making these surgical centers a true win-win in the medical community!

Why 24-Hour Urgent Care Centers Are Important

Receiving prompt professional medical care is a necessity in today’s fast-paced world. After all, your health is one of the most important aspects of your life. That’s why so much of our lives revolve around staying healthy and addressing issues when they arrive. From street corners dotted with pharmacies to schedules that integrate sick days to daily supplementation, health is a focal point of modern society. Urgent care centers fit seamlessly into that world and the health conveniences we’ve come to expect. There is a myriad of reasons why 24-hour urgent care centers are exceptionally important, including those listed below!

Accessibility

Emergency rooms excel in providing treatment when the situation is dire, and offices deliver exceptional care when you schedule appointments. Urgent care centers fall somewhere in the middle of these two options, giving people quick access to the care they need without requiring emergency attention or needing to wait for an available appointment.

Because of this, wait times are often shorter—typically less than 15 minutes—and the convenience is unmatched. Being able to walk into a clinic at any time on any day of the week is a game-changer for those who are seeking care but do not need emergency services.

Unfortunately, only 2% of such centers are open beyond normal business hours, highlighting an area where care can be improved.

Cost

Compared to emergency rooms and hospitals, the cost associated with visiting an urgent care center is significantly lower. This is true for several reasons, including the fact that the majority of insurance plans are accepted at urgent care centers, and no third-party bills will be included.

For those without insurance, urgent care centers are the best place to receive treatment, especially if the alternative is an emergency room or hospital. For those with insurance, urgent care centers can also save you money; just double-check to ensure they are an in-network provider!

Level of Care

You are bound to receive high-quality care at an urgent care center. The vast majority (around 95%) will have a minimum of one full-time medical provider on duty, ensuring that your treatment will match that of a primary care hospital. In other words, you can enjoy the convenience and cost savings of an urgent care center while being confident in the level of care you will receive.

A Fantastic Alternative

Urgent care centers provide great medical coverage around the clock, giving a massive portion of the population readily accessible medical treatment that is affordable and convenient. As a bonus, these 24-hour alternatives to other options, including emergency rooms, can act as a pressure relief for those more traditional services.

By giving people in need of medical treatment an alternative, urgent care centers allow emergency rooms to function as they are intended to function—providing assistance to those with dire medical needs.

Urgent care centers are a win-win for the medical community and for the people seeking treatment, making them exceptionally important to a world of fast-paced living and health consciousness!

Should Kids Wear Masks During The Pandemic?

One of the changes that Covid-19 brought to our way of life is the compulsory usage of face masks as a way to prevent the spread of the virus. No one is left out of these precautionary measures, including kids, whether they are at school or in public areas.

Should kids wear medical face masks?

The answer to this question is an emphatic “yes”. Understandably, kids do not always want to wear masks but they have to be helped to adapt to this new “normal”.

However, kids with conditions that make breathing difficult such as cystic fibrosis and cancer should only wear masks in consultation with a medical practitioner.

Also, kids below five years should not wear face masks due to suffocation risk according to the WHO and the UNICEF.

When should kids wear face masks?

Generally, it is expected that children wear masks when they are in school, childcare, or involved in any group activity. Kids are also expected to wear face masks when it is impossible for them to stay 6 feet away from others. For example, at the grocery store, at school, in a playground park, and in a bus, among others. Assuming that a mask shall be changed every 4 hours, it is advised to purchase 3 ply surgical mask in bulk and therefore, make sure that your lovely ones always have a spare mask to stay protected against the virus.

Also, it is important for a child who is physically close to an ill person to use a mask. It is expedient that children engaging in sports and other physical activities do not wear masks so that their breathing is not affected.

To achieve this, it is critical to ensure that all other essential public health measures are put in place, for example:

  1. Maintaining at least 1-meter distance.
  2. Limiting the number of kids playing at a time.
  3. Providing hand hygiene equipment
  4. Encouraging the kids to use them.

The importance of masks to kids

Like every other category of people, the use of masks by kids keeps them from getting infected with the virus. More importantly, it keeps them from spreading it.

Children are less likely to manifest symptoms of the virus: this means that they might not know whether they have it or not. Children need guidance and control and in the absence of this, they can go to any lengths to have fun. In the course of having fun, they can get infected or infect a bunch of people who react more severely to the virus.

Thus, they must make use of face masks. Also, the use of masks helps protect kids with underlying health conditions, especially when they visit health practitioners.

How to help your kids mask up?

For obvious reasons, it might be a challenge to get your child to put on a mask. Children like to be free and comfortable, and truth be told, even for adults, masks are not exactly comfortable. Also, they tend to be hyper and a lot of respiration takes place in the course of all their adventures. With masks on their faces, it won’t be comfortable for them to do all of that.

Nevertheless, safety tops the priority list and they need to be encouraged and made to understand why masks are important.

The following are some tips on how to help your kids mask up.

  1. Explain to your child why masking up is important: Kids want to know why they are doing something before they do it, therefore, you must explain it to them in the simplest of terms. You do not need to complicate things for them, you can tell them that the masks are to keep them and other people from germs. You could also make things more interesting and imaginative by telling them that the masks are shields to protect people from the attacks of “bad guys” (Covid-19).
  2. Provide attractive mask options: Kids love attractive and colorful things and you have the responsibility of providing cute masks for them if you want them to mask up. You can get a collection of masks and let your kids make their choice. It is easier to make them mask up because they get to choose their masks.
  3. Ensure their masks are comfortable.
  4. Practice masking up with them.
  5. Be a good example.

Masks are important for kids as much as they are for others in preventing the spread of the virus. It may be challenging, but you have the responsibility to ensure your kids mask up for their safety and a safer world. Do not forget that not all kids should use face masks.

Six Self-Care Tips For Healthcare Workers In A Pandemic

Hospitals and medical institutions worldwide have been on the brink of collapsing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Healthcare workers have definitely felt the full force of the pandemic in a way that other, ordinary, civilians have not been able to. This is why it’s so important that we look out for our healthcare workers in the same way that they have looked out for us.

Here are six self-care tips for healthcare workers…

Plan Ahead to Give Yourself Some “Me Time” 

When you have a hectic schedule to adhere to, the best way to make time for yourself is by planning ahead. For example, if you have a few spare sets of EMT pants, you won’t have to worry about loading the washing machine every day. Similarly, meal planning can help save valuable time and avoid unhealthy eating habits.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Professional Help

This pandemic has probably been one of the most challenging chapters of your career as a health worker. It’s only normal that you feel stressed, over-worked, and frantic about the entire health crisis. Don’t be afraid to seek out professional help and put your own needs before your responsibilities.

Evaluate Your Coping Skills

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with anxiety and stress. Some people develop healthy coping skills, whilst others resort to more destructive behaviors, such as skipping meals, excessive drinking, lashing out at others, or bottling emotions up. Try to evaluate your coping skills and swap out the negative for more positive mechanisms, such as exercising, reading, or meditating.

Seek Out Social Support

It’s much easier to shut everyone out of your life when you are feeling down instead of trying to connect with friends and loved ones. Although they may not understand what you are going through, it’s important that you maintain the relationships in your personal life.

Treat Yourself to a Day of Relaxation

On your day off, you may find that this is your only moment to clean the house, visit the post office, or cross off any other activity on the to-do-list. Give yourself a real day off and book a trip to the spa or in order to truly pamper yourself, you deserve it!

Sleep is Sacred

A lack of sleep can seriously contribute to stress levels and it can even cause lasting mental health or physical issues. Understandably, developing healthy sleeping habits is difficult as a health worker with hectic shifts. Try your best to get a full six or seven hours of sleep. Try blackout curtains, earplugs, white noise apps, or an eye mask.

More often than not, medical staff will develop severe stress and anxiety from their current working conditions, especially if they don’t reach out to others for help during these troubling times. This past year has been one of the most challenging to date, so let’s do everything that we can to support each other during the health crisis.

What Form Of Exercise Is Best For Older Adults?

The health risks associated with obesity in older adults are numerous and profound, including frailty. However, losing weight may accelerate certain age-related health issues such as bone and muscle mass. This, in turn, may contribute to osteopenia and sarcopenia.

The question, then, is how older obese adults can safely improve their health through diet and exercise, and what form of exercise is best for said individuals. In an attempt to answer this question, a clinical trial was conducted to assess the effectiveness of various exercise methods.

The Study

Several exercise modes were tested in this trial that involved 160 obese older adults. The goal was to evaluate how effective each mode of exercise was in reversing age-related frailty while also preventing the bone and muscle mass loss that often accompanies weight loss in such individuals.

Each participant was assigned to both a weight-management program and an exercise program. There were three possible types of exercise programs—aerobic, resistance, or combined training. A control group was also included in the study. This group did not have an exercise or weight-management program.

Physical Performance Test scores after six months were used as the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes were also evaluated, including changes in bone mineral density, body composition, physical functions, and other measures of frailty.

What Form Of Exercise Is Best For Older Adults

Findings

Of the original 160 obese older adults that were included in the trial, 141 finished the study. Both the aerobic group and the resistance group saw a 14% increase in the Physical Performance Test score. The combination group, on the other hand, increased by 21%. All of these groups saw more improvement than the control group.

All training groups saw a 9% decrease in body weight, while the control group saw no significant change. The aerobic and combination groups saw the highest increase in peak oxygen consumption. The combination and resistance groups experienced the largest increase in strength.

The combination and resistance groups also saw the least amount of lean mass decrease and bone mineral density decrease among the exercise groups.

Some musculoskeletal injuries were observed as adverse events related to exercise.

What it Means

The best method for losing weight in an effective, healthy manner in older adults that are obese is a combination of aerobic and resistance exercises, according to this study. This should provide individuals and their physicians valuable insight when addressing obesity-related health issues and how to mitigate them via weight loss.

Should Physical Therapy Be Part Of Your COVID-19 Recovery?

Los Angeles residents who experienced severe or long-lasting Covid-19 symptoms may feel overwhelmed with the countless treatments being touted as cure-alls for their struggles. Recently, physical therapy has emerged as a recommended tool for recovery – but can it really help?

How physical therapy can help

It is well-documented that Covid-19 can result in health issues long after a person has fought off the infection. For those who were severely ill, that risk is heightened – not only because of Covid-19, but because of the physical inactivity required to recover from the disease.

The longer muscles go unused, the more function they lose. Extended periods of immobility can also reduce stamina, which needs to be rebuilt slowly. People experiencing long Covid may have postexertional malaise (PEM), a condition that causes their symptoms to worsen with exercise. A physical therapist can guide someone with PEM to carefully pace themselves in rebuilding stamina.

When should physical therapy start?

Physical therapy can begin as early as hospital recovery, depending on a patient’s condition. Physical therapy this early in recovery looks different than therapy beginning later in recovery. This type of physical therapy aims to prevent muscle deterioration and increase the likelihood of returning to full mobility/function long term. Examples of what physical therapy in the hospital make look like includes:

  • Helping people change positions in bed
  • Passive joint motion, which means the therapist moves the patient’s body for them
  • Teaching stretches or motions that patients can perform in bed or at bedside
  • Practicing walking

A recent study indicated that hospital physical therapy can make a significant difference in long-term prognosis, leading to lower mortality rates. In this study, Covid-19 patients who received physical therapy had a 12% mortality rate, compared to a 25% mortality rate in those that did not. This is even more remarkable considering that those who received physical therapy were overall older, had more comorbidities (other chronic health issues), and were generally at lower levels of physical function than those who did not receive physical therapy.

The challenges of physical therapy during the pandemic

For those receiving physical therapy for Covid-related illness after being released from the hospital, receiving physical therapy has become more of a challenge. Efforts to reduce transmission have led many physical therapists to offer telehealth services through video chat. While effective for consultation sessions and those patients able to perform directives unassisted, this is insufficient for patients who need hands-on care.

For these patients, doctors have worked to bring services to patients in the form of house calls. Providers who offer these services will bring equipment to you, and conduct a physical therapy appointment on location.

Accessing Covid-19 testing at home

For many who have severe or long lasting symptoms, regular Covid-19 testing is necessary to determine when it’s safe to be around others. This can be a challenge for people who need physical assistance, but don’t want to infect others.

Onsite medical service providers    

The most accessible way to get rapid tests is through health care providers. Onsite medical service providers, like Concierge MD LA, Live Better Solutions, Becore will send a nurse with a Covid test to your house to administer Coronavirus tests to you and your household. In addition to convenience and risk of exposure, those recovering from severe Covid-19 symptoms may appreciate having the test administered by a professional who can ensure the test is administered correctly and with the least discomfort possible.

DIY Kits

The Covid-19 testing kits most easily accessible from retailers are PCR test kits. These tests require lab processing, meaning that you administer the test to yourself and mail it back to a laboratory in order to get results. The turnaround time for results can be anywhere from 3-14 days, depending on the lab and mail delivery times.

DIY rapid test kits were authorized for emergency use by the general public for the first time recently. These tests are designed to be administered at home and return results in 15 minutes. These kits are still in production, but are expected to debut in coming weeks. The tests are expected to cost roughly $30 once production is at full capacity, but will likely debut at a much higher price per test.

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