Beware the Beauty Products

Chemicals in cosmetics and beauty products can wreak havoc on your hormones.

 

What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. Even if you buy your groceries at Whole Foods, get your pesticide-free produce at the local farmers market and have purged your kitchen cabinets of artificial flavors, you may still be exposing yourself to hazardous chemicals everyday. Many cosmetics and personal care products contain endocrine system disruptors, which may lead to health issues like allergies, infertility, and even cancer.

The endocrine system is made up of all the glands in the body that produce hormones. These hormones control our sexual function, reproduction, metabolism, growth, development, tissue function, sleep, and mood. Endocrine disruptors interfere with the normal functioning of hormones and can affect the reproductive, neurological and immune systems.

Although numerous government-funded studies have linked a variety of health problems to endocrine disruptors, the Food and Drug Administration still claims they are safe. These chemicals are widely used in cosmetics, fragrance, hair products, soaps, toothpaste and sunscreens. They probably show up as ingredients in many of the lotions and potions sitting in your medicine cabinet right now.

Even if you’ve unknowingly used products containing these hazardous chemicals for years, you can quickly reduce their levels in your body by cleaning up your medicine cabinet and detoxing from dangerous beauty products. A recent study shows that taking even a short break from using products with endocrine disruptors can lead to significant decreases in their levels in the body.

Researchers from University of California, Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas gave 100 teenage girls personal care products claiming to be free of endocrine system disruptors. Urine samples were analyzed before and after a three-day period in which the teens used the chemical-free products. After just three days, there were considerable reductions in the levels of the chemicals in the subjects’ bodies.

Metabolites of a phthalate used in fragrances dropped 27 percent after the 3-day period. Both triclosan and benzophenone-3 fell 36 percent. Methyl and propyl parabens decreased 44 and 45 percent respectively.

“Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, and make a difference,” said study co-author Maritza Cárdenas in a news release from UC Berkeley.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your exposure to endocrine disruptors in the personal care products you use.

1. Learn what to look for on labels, then read carefully.

Always examine the list of ingredients before buying. Look out for the following:

Phthalates: Sometimes referred to as “plasticizers”, phthalates are used in PVC plastics, solvents, and synthetic fragrances. They’ve been linked to reproductive system problems such as low sperm count, decreased sperm motility and genital abnormalities.

Parabens: Used as preservatives in makeup and beauty products, parabens have been detected in breast cancer tumors and are known to mimic estrogen in the body by binding to estrogen receptors. Be careful – if an ingredient has “ethyl,” “butyl,” “methyl,” and “propyl” in the name, it’s from the paraben family, even if “paraben” isn’t explicitly written out.

Triclosan: Commonly found in products labeled “antibacterial”, triclosan is added to many products to decrease the risk of bacterial contamination. It may contribute to liver toxicity and thyroid dysfunction. Also beware of triclocarban, a cousin of triclosan.

Oxybenzone: A chemical that is nearly ubiquitous in sunscreens, oxybenzone penetrates the skin and may cause allergic reactions. Like parabens, it is estrogenic and mimics estrogen in the body. Animal studies have shown that oxybenzone alters sperm production. It’s also associated with endometriosis in women.

2. Do your research before you buy.

Two helpful websites are the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Skin Deep and GoodGuide. Each site rates tens of thousands of beauty products according to the safety of their ingredients. They also list the ingredients in each product and indicate which may be harmful and why. The Good Guide ranks each product not just for health safety, but also its societal and environmental impact.

3. Skip the scent.

Synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates. If you absolutely must have scented products, opt for those made with essential oils only.

4. Avoid “antibacterial”.

Antibacterial products are a double whammy: they expose you to the dangers of triclosan and the FDA has warned consumers that they encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Basically, they’re a lose-lose.

5. Ditch big-name manufacturers and buy artisanal beauty brands.

Small-batch cosmetics and personal care products are often made by hand and use only natural, organic ingredients.

6. Discover how to DIY.

Become your own small-batch beauty products manufacturer! There’s no better way to know exactly what’s in the products you use than to make them with your own two hands. Do a little digging on the internet and you’ll find many recipes for homemade makeup, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, moisturizer and soap.

7. Look for the EWG VERIFIED™ mark on the label.

To carry this mark, the company that manufactures the product must provide EWG with additional information beyond what’s on the label. EWG’s strict vetting process ensures that the product is free of toxins and preserved properly, and that the company is transparent with customers about ingredients and manufacturing procedures.

 

Article sources:

Darbre, R. Journal of Applied Toxicology, January-February 2004; vol 24(1): pp 5-13.

EWG: “The Trouble with Sunscreen Chemicals”

FDA: “FDA Taking Closer Look at ‘Antibacterial’ Soap”

FDA: “Parabens”

NIH: “Endocrine Disruptors”

News release, University of California, Berkeley

 

 

 

 

Do You Have a Binge Eating Disorder?

Do you feel as though you lose control of yourself when you eat sometimes? Does it make you feel depressed? You may have a binge eating disorder.

About Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is a condition in which people eat large amounts of food quickly on a regular basis. Usually, they feel uncomfortable afterwards because they have overeaten.

Binge eating disorder is not like other eating disorders. There is no purging or vomiting after eating such as in the case of bulimia. Those with this condition do not do it to lose weight. They seek to satisfy a need other than their fueling their body.

With this disorder, individuals gain a lot of weight quickly. This is why 50% of people with binge eating disorder are obese or overweight.

Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder

It can be difficult to identify binge eating disorder because it’s much different from just overeating. Almost everyone eats more than intended at times. People who suffer from this condition do it often and suffer from mental and physical side effects.

The following are some of the symptoms of binge eating disorder:

  • They eat quicker than usual.
  • They eat until they cannot eat anymore.
  • They eat when they are not hungry.
  • They often eat alone because they are embarrassed by the quantity of food they are eating.
  • They feel depressed, disgusting and guilty when they are finished.

Approximately 2% of adults in the United States suffer from this disorder – that’s about 4 million Americans.

The Causes of the Condition

Research aren’t sure what causes binge eating, but they suspect it has to do with abnormal activity in many parts of the brain. From research on other eating disorders, they believe the causes may be similar to them.

Depression – Those who suffer from depression are often more susceptible to binge eating. They turn to food for comfort because they feel as though no one else is available to them, and food is always available.

Dieting – People who diet deprive themselves of foods, and then they overindulge themselves when they have the chance.

Genetics – There’s evidence binge eating disorder runs in families. Usually, more than one person in a family suffers from the condition. This could be because there are certain chemicals being produces in sufferers that cause them to seek large quantities of food.

Addiction – Many people who suffer from this disorder also have an addictive personality. They abuse alcohol, drugs, and gamble. They exhibit impulsive behavior, which is why they often can’t control how much they eat.

The Effects of This Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder leads to many mental and physical side effects.

  • They suffer from high stress levels because their eating is troublesome.
  • They have trouble sleeping at night because of anxiety and high levels of sugar and caffeine in what they eat.
  • They feel as though there is no hope for their uncontrollable eating and they dislike the way they look, so they contemplate suicide.
  • They don’t want to be seen by anyone, so they miss work and school.
  • They may prefer eating to going out with friends, or going to work or schools. This leads to depression and financial hardships.
  • Many people who suffer from this eating disorder end up with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gallbladder disease, heart disease, some types of cancer, anxiety disorder, depression, or personality disorders.

Many people do not realize their eating is the problem. They blame the circumstances of their life on eating too much. Some people will learn they are suffering from a medical or mental health issue and not realize it’s the binge eating that has caused it. This is why it’s important to speak to a medical professional honestly about your eating habits.

Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder

People do not have to live with this condition. Treatment is available from mental health professionals since a large part of the disorder has to do with how you think about food. Many people receive nutritional guidance and psychotherapy to combat their food habits. Those who suffer from depression or anxiety disorder may find help from antidepressants. Appetite suppressants are sometimes prescribed for those who really need it.

No one has to succumb to binge eating disorder. Help is available.

Gentler Cancer Treatment is on the Horizon

 

Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen have made considerable inroads in the search for a treatment that attacks cancer cells on the cellular level. This new type of treatment would target and destroy cancer cells and leave healthy cells unharmed. It would provide a gentler alternative to the more invasive cancer treatments currently used.

Chemotherapy and radiation are the most common forms of cancer treatment today. Each of these treatments is effective at killing cancerous cells, but unfortunately harms and destroys healthy cells at the same time. This results in many side effects, some of which are debilitating. In addition, the efficacy of these treatments is limited in cases where cancer has spread from the primary tumor site to other parts of the body.

In response to these issues with current cancer treatments, the researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute have been working towards finding a treatment that specifically targets malignant cells. The scientists have attempted to deceive cancer cells into absorbing a cytotoxin that ultimately destroys them, while leaving healthy cells unaffected.

Physicist Murillo Longo Martins, a post-doc in X-Ray and Neutron Science at the Niels Bohr Institute, hypothesized that there must be a way to create a microscopic vehicle that could move through the bloodstream and carry the cytotoxin directly to the cancer cells. This vehicle would then incite the cell to allow the cytotoxin in, which would ultimately lead to the destruction of the cell by the cytotoxin.

Martins used tiny magnetic beads to act as the vehicle. After the beads were injected into the bloodstream, a magnet was placed at the site of the tumor. The tiny beads, attracted by the pull of the magnet, traveled towards the tumor.

Once the vehicle was created, the researchers moved on to creating the load that the vehicle would carry. They encased the cytotoxin surrounding the magnetic beads in a ring-shaped sac, essentially creating a cytotoxic parcel.

Now that they had the vehicle and the parcel, the next step was to figure out how to get the cell to accept the parcel. Every cell has a protective membrane that guards against harmful substances and allows helpful substances to enter through receptors, or doorways. Each of these helpful substances must have a key that fits a specific doorway in the cell membrane. The researchers needed to figure out a helpful substance that would provide the key to allow the vehicle and its cytotoxic load to enter the cancer cell.

“I thought, why do breast cancer, lung cancer and ovarian cancer so often spread to the bones? Bones are composed of minerals like calcium phosphates. Do cancer cells need these substances to grow? Can these substances be used as doorways to the cell? I decided to investigate this,” explained Martins in a news release from the Niels Bohr Institute. He ultimately decided to coat the cytotoxic parcel with calcium phosphate.

The researchers conducted experiments using breast, lung and colon cancer cells, as well as healthy cells. The results were just what Martins had imagined.

“We could see that the nanoparticles with the cytotoxin were absorbed by the cancer cells. This caused the metabolism of the cancer cells to change and the cells showed signs that they were about to die. The healthy cells, meanwhile, do not show any evidences of absorbing the packages with the cytotoxin. This suggests that the method can be used to send cytotoxin around the body with reduced toxicity and could therefore be potentially safer for healthy cells,” explains Heloisa Bordallo, Associate Professor in X-Ray and Neutron Science at the Niels Bohr Institute.

Findings from the study were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

 

Article sources:

News release, Niels Bohr Institute – University of Copenhagen

5 Easy Ways to Squeeze Exercise into Your Day

 

You already know you should exercise more. You’ve heard that it’s good for your heart, helps maintain a healthy weight, strengthens muscles and bones, improves mental health and mood, reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers and could increase your life span. Even knowing all this, it still can be tough to find the time to exercise when your day is jam-packed with work and family obligations.

The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise to improve cardiovascular health and decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. That works out to approximately 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.

Michael Jonesco, DO, a sports medicine physician at the Ohio State University (OSU) Wexner Medical Center, suggests that shorter spurts of intense exercise could be just as good for your health. “More intense activity is equally effective at preventing premature morbidity,” he says. “The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests 20 minutes of vigorous activity 3 days per week as a less time-intensive alternative.”

Jonesco goes on to say that, according to the ACSM, “duration matters little, meaning 10 minute bursts of activity several times a day are equivalent to one longer duration of exercise.”

If you’ve been skipping exercise altogether because it feels impossible to fit in long sessions at the gym, this is great news. Scattering short bouts of exercise throughout your day feels more manageable than carving out 30 minutes to hit the gym. Several mini workouts can add up to a huge impact on your health.

We asked health and fitness experts for simple ways to squeeze exercise into a busy day. Here are their suggestions.

  1. Walk to work

You have to get to the office somehow, so why not exercise on your way to work? Ditch the car, subway or bus, and lace up your walking shoes instead. Walking is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise that people of all shapes, sizes and ages can do.

What if it’s too far to walk the whole way? Brad Thomas, a fitness trainer, wellness expert and founder of Brad Thomas Mind Body in New York City, suggests you “stroll the final forty [city] street blocks. This distance is equivalent to 2 miles. The average man or woman would burn over 300 calories walking just one-way.” If you don’t live in the city, park your car a reasonable distance from your workplace and walk the rest of the way.

  1. Take the stairs

Once you’ve made it to work, “take the stairs instead of the elevator”, says Dan Inglis, director of Sports Performance at the OSU Wexner Medical Center. Climbing stairs has numerous benefits. It increases aerobic capacity, raises the amount of HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the blood, strengthens the legs, and improves bone density in post-menopausal women.

  1. Core work on the couch

You don’t have to be a couch potato when you’re lounging around watching TV after a long day. Exercise your core muscles while catching up on your favorite shows. Mindy Kim, a yoga instructor at TruFusion in Las Vegas, NV, suggests the following exercise: “Sit up and lean back, back long, belly button to spine. Lift legs onto the coffee table and do toe taps up and down with the option to alternate legs. You’ll start to feel the burn!”

  1. Cut loose with the kids

What could be better than spending quality time with your kids while reaping the health benefits of exercise at the same time? Activities that kids do all the time just for fun are also excellent workouts for adults. Playing hopscotch, jumping rope, running around the yard, riding bikes, doing jumping jacks, and splashing in the pool are all ways to increase your heart rate and burn calories.

From Dr. Jonesco: “I use my toddler as my own personal kettlebell.  I lift her overhead, let her ride my back as I do pushups, or add some knee bends when I’m rocking her to sleep.  She sleeps, I sweat. It’s a win-win.”

  1. Strengthen at the supermarket

While walking up and down the aisles of the supermarket, use your groceries to strengthen your arms. Cristina Osorio, a kettlebell instructor at TruFusion, suggests using baskets instead of a cart. Baskets full of food act as weights to challenge your arm muscles.

The trip home from the market is an opportunity for exercise too. “Pile up as much as you can carry and walk home (if you can) with bags in-hand,” says Osorio. “Two miles with about 10-15lbs of groceries in your hands leaves you sweaty by the time you get home.”

 

Article Sources:

Dan Inglis, director of Sports Performance at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Michael Jonesco, DO, sports medicine physician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Mindy Kim, yoga instructor, TruFusion

Cristina Osorio, kettlebell instructor, TruFusion

Brad Thomas, ACSM, MFA, MA, fitness trainer & wellness expert

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “The Benefits of Physical Activity”

American Heart Association: “Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults”

Duke University: “Benefits of Taking the Stairs”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons You Should Not Take Aspirin Daily

Research has found that aspirin can help people who are at risk for heart disease. People have started aspirin therapy on their own because of this research. If you’re one of these people, you need to know these five reasons you should not be taking it.

#1: It’s a Preventative for Low Risk Individuals

According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, one in 10 patients were found to be taking aspirin inappropriately. Aspirin therapy is recommended as a primary prevention, which reduces the risk of a first heart attack or stroke. Those who are at risk for heart attack or stroke because of previous one or other factors should not take aspirin, as it does not reduce the risk of dying from subsequent episodes.

#2: Users Need a Cardiovascular Risk Assessment

Anyone interested in starting aspirin therapy should seek an assessment from their doctor. When speaking to your doctor, be sure he is not using the Framingham Risk Score, as it is outdated. Your doctor should look at risk factor and perform a simple, safe, but effective test. Most experts believe the best way to assess heart attack risk is with a CT scan. This shows coronary calcium in the heart, or atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries. A calcium score should show how much you have inside the arteries, which then provides a reasonable prediction of a heart attack or stroke.

#3: Gastrointestinal Bleeding Is Possible

A study in Heart finds the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding increases with age. Aspirin therapy can further increase the risk, especially in women. This means that the risk of aspirin therapy far outweigh the risks of it.

Usually, men are only prescribe a daily aspirin regimen when their calcium score is high and they have other risk factors for heart attack or stroke. It is taken with caution though, especially those over the age of 65.

#4: Risk of Cerebral Hemorrhage

Aspirin has been linked to cerebral hemorrhage. Even the smallest dose of 81 milligrams can increase the risk of this devastating medical condition. Knowing the symptoms of cerebral hemorrhage can save your life:

  • Severe headache
  • Seizures
  • Weakness in the extremities
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Decreased alertness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficult time swallowing
  • Loss of fine motor skills
  • Problems with coordination
  • Abnormal sense of taste
  • Unconscious
  • Falling or feeling unstable when standing

#5: Possible Drug Interactions

Aspirin should not be mixed with other drugs that treat certain medical conditions. For example, when aspirin is taken with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, the effects of the drugs may be reduced or eliminated. When aspirin is taken with anticoagulant therapies such as Heparin and Warfarin, the risk of bleeding is extremely high.

You should always speak to your doctor whenever you start taking a new medication while on aspirin therapy. It’s important you know the risks of taking both of them.

Other Important Information to Consider

If you’re generally healthy, but have a high risk of heart disease, aspirin therapy may be best for you. The only person who can tell you that you should start a daily aspirin regimen is your doctor, after he has given you a thorough examination and assessment for heart disease.

When you begin your aspirin therapy, be sure to let your doctor know of any side effects. This can help prevent any bleeding conditions that could result from taking the aspirin.

Never take more aspirin as recommended by your physician. If you suffer from another medical condition, such as a headache, check with your doctor before you increase your dose. It may be possible to take another pain reliever with the daily aspirin without increasing your risk of other medical conditions.

If you’re concerned about taking aspirin, there are many other ways to reduce your risk of heart disease. Healthy eating and exercise are the first steps. You should also work on your stress levels to keep them as low as possible. You may want to consider supplements such as Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 and fish oil. Garlic and green tea have been found to lower the risk of heart disease too.

Take care of yourself as best as you can each and every day, and follow the advice of your doctor. Heart disease is a risk, but you can reduce your risk.

Health Facts

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As humans we go about our day without really stopping to think about our health. Here are some health facts to really get you thinking about how to improve your health!

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Exercising every day does more than keep you in shape. Studies have proven that exercising just 30 minutes promotes the formation of new brain cells. Moderate exercise results in better sleep quality and makes you feel less sleepy during the day!

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Eating fruit can help with weight loss, lower blood pressure and provide additional energy for exercising. On top of all that fruits even help slow the aging process.

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Water is essential to life. Water composes 75% of our brains, makes up 83% of our blood, 22% of our bones, and 75% of our muscles. Drinking more water can give you more energy, healthier skin and promote weight loss. 2 glasses of water after waking up helps activate your internal organs. Yumm!

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New Hope in the Search for Ebola Vaccine

 

Hundreds of antibodies capable of fighting Ebola have been discovered by a team of scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, California. A sample of blood from a survivor of the 2014 Ebola outbreak revealed the largest group of antibodies yet found. This breakthrough could be instrumental in the search for an effective vaccine.

When the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history began in West Africa in March 2014, no vaccine or drug existed for the disease. Since then, 11,316 people worldwide have died from the virus. These latest findings are a huge step towards preventing such a large and fatal outbreak of the disease from ever happening again.

“Our Science paper describes the first in-depth view into the human antibody response to Ebola virus,” team leader Dr. Laura Walker said in a news release from TSRI.

“Within weeks of receiving a blood sample from a survivor of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, we were able to isolate and characterize over 300 monoclonal antibodies that reacted with the Ebola virus surface glycoprotein,” added Walker, a senior scientist at Adimab, LLC and graduate of TSRI’s doctoral program.

The researchers also discovered a weak spot in the structure of the virus. Prior studies at TSRI and other research institutes had revealed similar vulnerabilities. Antibodies have the potential to attack and annihilate the virus at these weak points. However, because it takes a while for the human immune system to produce the correct antibodies to fit each susceptible area, researchers have thus far been working with a very small number of Ebola antibodies.

This recent discovery of such a large number of antibodies will change that. 77 percent of the antibodies isolated could potentially have the ability to attack the virus at one of its vulnerable sites and neutralize the virus. In addition, several antibodies provided protection against Ebola in mouse models.

“These types of antibodies could be developed into different types of antibody cocktails or therapeutics, in addition to advancing vaccine design,” said Dr. Andrew Ward, a study co-author and Associate Professor at TSRI.

If researchers do create an effective Ebola treatment that becomes widely used, the virus could mutate and become resistant to the treatment. With the findings from this study, researchers now have the tools to potentially devise secondary treatments to combat this kind of resistance.

The research team has chosen to reveal the antibodies’ genetic sequences to the scientific community to encourage further investigation and study. There is also hope that the techniques used to reveal the Ebola antibodies will be effective in discovering treatments for other viruses, such as Zika.

Findings from the study were published in the February 18, 2016 edition of Science.

 

Article sources:

News release, The Scripps Research Institute.

CDC: “2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa”.

Unexpected Blood Clot Threats Most Women Don’t Know About

Women often take on the world. They are successful at being a wife, mother, and/or business professional. As they take care of anything and everything, they often forget to take care of one thing – themselves. This can be devastating because as much as they want to continue to help everyone, they end up not being able to because of health issues.

One of the most serious health concerns for women is blood clots. One in four people die of blood clots each year. While blood clots can’t always be avoided, it is possible to prevent them in some situations. The following are some of the threats that can lead to serious blood clots.

What Are Blood Clots?

Blood clots can lead to:

  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Venous Thromboembolism

Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) is a medical condition in the veins that causes blood to stop moving. In a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the clot moves towards the lungs and becomes stuck there. This can be fatal.

The good news is you can prevent some blood clots and reduce the risk of them.

Estrogen Medication

Medications such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy that contain estrogen put women at an elevated risk for blood clots. Women’s risk of getting a blood clot is five times higher than those who don’t take medication with estrogen in it.

Women who have a family history of blood clots are at more of a risk of suffering from them. Being overweight and smoking can also increase your chances.

Pregnancy and Birth

Pregnant women are at an outstanding risk of blood clots. During pregnancy, blood gets thicker, which makes clots more likely. Actually, pregnant women are 10 times more likely to suffer from them. This lasts until six to eight weeks after giving birth.

Those who have suffered blood clots in the past are more at risk for reoccurrence of them when pregnant or after giving birth, so it’s important to speak to your doctor about it. It’s also important to move around often when you’re pregnant to prevent blood clots. Walking around once every hour or more can reduce your risk for them.

Older Women

As you age, your risk for blood clots increases. When older women take estrogen-based hormone replacement therapy, they increase their risk of blood clots by two or three times.

It’s important to avoid hormone replacement therapy with estrogen if you have a history of blood clots. If you must, speak to your doctor about it. Many doctors will keep an eye on it and recommend at least 30 minutes of walking a day and avoiding sitting for long periods of times. There are also medications that can be prescribed, which will thin the blood to reduce the risk of blood clotting.

Getting an Assessment for Blood Clots

Doctors have an assessment they can give you to figure out your risk for blood clots. You will need to answer all of the questions truthfully, so you can have all of the information possible to reduce your risk.

Preventative treatment is available. Blood thinners can be prescribed and there are all compression stockings that can be worn to decrease your risk of blood clotting. These preventative steps only decreases your chances of blood clots, they don’t eliminate the risks.

You should know the symptoms of a blood clot, in case you ever suffer from one.

  • Swelling is typical with a blood clot and will usually only occur in the extremity where the blood clot is such as in one leg or arm.
  • Pain and tenderness are common. Some people describe it as having a Charley horse.
  • Skin will turn red or blue, as if it is inflamed or losing circulation.
  • The extremity is unusually warm.

Many people suffering from a blood clot say it feels as though there is a pulled muscle or Charley horse in the arm or leg. The difference with blood clots is that it swells, discolors, and becomes warm to the touch.

Be sure to keep these risks and symptoms in mind. You may not be at risk now, but you may later in life. Knowing about it can save your life. Share it with friends and other loved ones to ensure they can also prevent life-threatened blood clots.

Ulcerative Colitis – 7 Ways to Deal with It Effectively

It’s not fun to suffer from ulcerative colitis. It can hit you out of nowhere, and make you double over in pain. Those cramps and pain in your abdominal are nothing to scoff at because flare ups are excruciatingly painful. The good news is that if you’ve been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, you can prevent and treat flare ups, so you don’t deal with the effects for as long and often.

About Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a disorder that affects the large intestines. The lining of the intestines becomes inflamed and tender. Many tiny sores develop, which can sometimes produce pus and mucous.

Due to the painfulness of the sores, many people suffering with ulcerative colitis end up with abdominal pain. They can come in waves since stool is still moving through the intestines passing over the sores.

Since the intestines are aggravated, it will move whatever is inside out quickly. It’s the body’s natural way of protecting itself. This can cause diarrhea.

The cause of ulcerative colitis seems to be the body’s immune system’s efforts in protecting your body from infection. The problem is that sometimes the immune system becomes confused and thinks that food, good bacteria and other materials are foreign bodies that could lead to infection, which is why it starts to overreact causing inflammation and the sores.

To help the immune system calm down and learn that food and bacteria are okay, you should implement the following ways to prevent and treat the disorder.

#1: Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is extremely important in managing ulcerative colitis. According to research, women who sleep less than six hours or more than nine hours are more likely to suffer from flare ups. As you can see, it’s not just not sleeping enough, it’s sleeping too much that can also cause problems.

Be sure to get 7 hours of sleep, as recommended by the National Sleep Foundation. This way your body can recuperate after a long day of hard work.

#2: Speak to Relatives

Ulcerative colitis is inherited. Find out who in your family suffers from this disorder to learn what they do to prevent flare ups. If they are older than you, they probably have some useful advice for you.

You can also ask about their symptoms. This can help you identify some of the symptoms of flare-ups that you have not recognized yet. This can help you implement what you need to for effective flare up management.

#3: Relaxation

Stress can make ulcerative colitis worse. Don’t allow your life to interfere with it. Each day, you should practice some relaxation. You can meditate, pray, do yoga, or some other activity that lowers your stress levels. Try to avoid stressful situations as much as possible. When you can’t avoid it, deal with effectively and then take care of your elevated stress levels as soon as possible.

#4: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

It may seem as though therapy wouldn’t affect your intestines, but it does. Your immune system has everything to do with your ulcerative colitis. This means you can use your mind to control what goes on with your body. Yes, you can help your immune system relearn what a foreign body is and what isn’t with the help of a cognitive behavioral therapist.

#5: Probiotics

You’ve likely heard of probiotics before – it’s healthy bacteria for your colon. It helps your digestive system function properly. Since ulcerative colitis has a tendency to mess up your digestive track, probiotics can come in and heal it.

Probiotics are best for prevention. It keeps inflammation at bay.

#6: Acupuncture

Moxibustin, an acupuncture technique, can help treat people with ulcerative colitis. The technique uses needles with burning herbs on the ends of them. In a study, those who had this type of acupuncture ended up with fewer symptoms than those who didn’t.

#7: Fish Oil

Inflammation in the colon can be treated with fish oil. The oil will not only calm the inflammation, but it will coat the intestines to protect any further flare ups. That’s why it’s perfect for prevention and treatment.

Ulcerative colitis is difficult to deal with, but you can prevent and treat it if you’re proactive about it. Use these tips, or comment below with some of your own.