Cholesterol Levels can be Reduced Without Medications

Cholesterol, when excess in the body can lead to a myriad of health
ailments. It may cause plaque build-up and clog your arteries and
ultimately lead to cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, strokes and
more. Crazy, right? If you want to know how to best protect yourself
from plaque build-up, then make sure to check the tips below for ways to
lessen your body’s cholesterol deposits.

DefiningCholesterols

Usually a doctor will order a cholesterol test, and when the results are
out, the doctor will take a look at a few numbers.

LDL (low density lipoproteins). This is what is referred to as the
“bad” cholesterol and is well-linked to the development of heart
diseases also if left UN-treated for long periods of time. So, if you
happen to have high LDL levels, relax, you still have time to reverse
this process and lower your results. For healthy people, usually the
goal is to have LDL levels of less than 130.

HDL (high density lipoprotein). In contrast, this is the ‘good”
cholesterol. Exercising regularly and proper weight maintenance helps
increase this number. The goal here is to get an HDL level of more than 40.

Triglycerides. Another type of “bad” cholesterol and is typically seen
as elevated with people who consume a high carbs or high fat diet. The
therapeutic goal for healthy adults is less than 150.

Total cholesterol is the combination of both your good and bad
cholesterol levels.

Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol Levels Minus the Medications

Now that you’re familiar to the fact that high cholesterol levels need
your attention, then you might as well employ some strategies to lower
those numbers. There are of course medications that can help you achieve
your goal, but if you want to do it the natural way and without the use
of any maintenance pills, then please feel free to discuss the following
tips with your doctor before proceeding with your plan.

1. Limiting your total cholesterol.

Your daily cholesterol threshold should be no more than 100 mg. Make sure to keep count of your intake by reading the labels of the food you eat. If reading labels is not your forte, ask a dietician’s help for some explanation and basic know how.

2. Steer clear of trans fat. This kind of fat is mostly included in
processed and fried foods, and sweets. Your daily diet should
contain as little amount of trans fats as possible to get your
cholesterol levels lowered.

3. Limit your saturated fat intake. Your saturated fat intake should be
no more than 5% of your total caloric intake for the day. That’s
roughly 10 grams a day for most people.

4. Limit carbohydrates. Make sure to eat a complete and balanced diet.
Eat complex carbohydrates that are easier to metabolize by the body
like brown rice and whole wheat breads instead of white ones. Lesser
carbohydrate intake will help lower your cholesterol levels and can
aid in achieving your weight loss goals too.

5. Increase fiber intake. For adults, the daily recommended fiber
consumption is a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables
(around 25 grams fiber). Fiber can also be found in oats, barley,
fortified cereals and whole wheats.

6. Limit alcohol consumption. This is a big source of fats and
triglycerides, not to mention calories which can make you gain
weight. So make sure that you limit your drinking, and if you must
drink, op for red wine which is a much healthier alternative to beer.

7. Consume Non-fat dairy.

8. Eat plant-based proteins such as tofu, soy beans and more.

9. Shed excess weight.

10. Exercise and strive to lead an active and healthier lifestyle.

8 Signs You May Have a Thyroid Problem

The thyroid, is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, which produces
hormones that are important for metabolism and brain activity. Signs and
symptoms of a thyroid problem are often vague, but if you notice any of
the following signs persisting, or have more than one of the symptoms,
endocrinologists recommend consulting a doctor. This is to request a
simple blood test to determine your hormone levels.

When your thyroid is dysfunctional, it can cause vast array of health
issues. That is why it is important to determine if you have any of the
following common symptoms that might indicate a thyroid issue.

signs of thyroid problem

1. Changes in Bowel Movement

Frequent constipation could be a sign of an underactive thyroid. Thyroid
hormones participate in keeping your digestive track running. If you
produce too little, things get backed up.

While an overactive thyroid can create the opposite effect. You will
experience a regular bowel movement, this is not diarrhea, but the need
to go more frequently, because everything is sped up.

 

2. Changes in Menstrual Cycle

Both overactive and underactive thyroids can disrupt a women’s menstrual
cycles. The nature of the changes depend on whether an individual is
suffering from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Women with underactive thyroids may experience a lighter than normal
periods, and they may also miss periods altogether. While an overactive
thyroid can cause heavier than normal periods, or periods which usually
last several days longer than normal. The menstrual cycle itself may be
short, and spotting can occur.

3. Changes in Weight

If you have tried every low-carb, low-fat and low-calorie diet with
little weight loss success, then you might have hypothyroidism. An
underactive thyroid gland slows down your metabolism to the point of
ineffectiveness.

With an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism on the other hand,
patients usually cannot gain weight no matter how much they eat. An
overly active thyroids push your metabolism to warp speed, which causes
your body to burn calories like rocket fuel. Many patients also
experience unexplained weight loss.

4. Dry Skin

If your skin is dry and itchy, it can be symptoms of hypothyroidism. The
change in the skin texture and appearance is probably due to slowed
metabolism, which is caused by too little thyroid hormone production.
This can also reduce sweating.

Skin without enough moisture can become flaky and dry. Likewise, your
nails can become brittle and may develop ridges.

5. Fatigue

Feeling tired and having no energy are problems linked with lots of
conditions, but they are strongly associated with hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a disorder that is the result of too little thyroid
hormone.

If you are still tired in the morning or all day even after a full
night’s sleep, that is a sign that your thyroid may be underactive. Too
little thyroid hormone that is coursing through your cells and
bloodstream means your muscles are not getting that get-going signal.

6. High Cholesterol

High levels of low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol that have not
responded to exercise, diet or medication have been associated with
hypothyroidism. Elevated levels of the bad cholesterol can due to an
underactive thyroid.

Left untreated hypothyroidism can lead to heart problems, including
heart failure or an enlarged heart.

7. Joint and Muscle Pain

Unexplained pains and aches in your muscles and joints, following no
period of physical exertion, can be symptomatic of a thyroid condition.
These pains can be intense, which might interfere with normal activities
and inhibit the patient’s ability to perform movements within their
normal ranges of motion.

These symptoms can also manifest as muscle weaknesses, which leads the
specific muscle groups unable to carry normal workloads. Some
individuals experience tremors in their hands, which can become severe.
Swelling, pain and stiffness can also occur in your muscles and joints.

8. Swollen Neck

A visibly enlarged thyroid or swelling in your neck that leads to neck
pain and a gravelly voice can indicate thyroid disease. This condition
is called “/neck goiter/,” and it presents as a localized enlargement at
the base of your neck, which affects the skin and surrounding tissues,
protecting the actual thyroid gland.

But, the presence of a neck goiter does not necessarily mean that there
is a problem with the thyroid itself. This type of swelling simply means
that there is some underlying condition which is affecting the size of
your thyroid and causing it to grow. If it occurs in isolation without
the presence of other symptoms, it may not require treatment.

 

 

Medical and Natural Treatments for Diabetic Neuropathy

Mindfulness May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Being overweight is stressful on the body, and stress can worsen obesity-related health issues and make it harder to shed pounds—throwing people into a vicious cycle that seems impossible to escape. Now, a new study published in the journal Obesity offers a strategy that may help. In a group of overweight women, mindfulness training reduced stress and fasting blood sugar levels better than traditional health-education classes.

To study the effects of mindfulness, researchers from Penn State University randomly assigned 86 overweight or obese women to receive eight weekly sessions of either mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), taught by a professional instructor, or general health education, taught by a registered dietitian.

The MBSR group learned how to use mindfulness techniques—like meditation and breath awareness—to respond to stress. The health education group learned about diet, exercise, obesity-related health issues and general stress management.

The goal of these sessions was not to help people lose weight, but to reduce stress and stress-related health problems. In that sense, mindfulness worked better: After eight weeks of training and eight more weeks of home practice, perceived stress scores for women in the MBSR group had decreased 3.6 points from the start of the study on a 10-point scale, compared to only 1.3 points for women in the health education group.

Both groups experienced improvements in mood, psychological distress and sleep-related problems. But only the MBSR group saw a decrease in fasting blood sugar levels—both right after training was completed and when the women were retested eight weeks later.

The researchers also tested the women for other health outcomes—including weight, body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting insulin, cholesterol, inflammatory markers and levels of stress hormones—but they saw no significant changes for these measurements, in either group.

Still, the decrease in blood sugar levels could be enough to have real health implications, say the study authors. While they did not ask the women to report what or how much they ate, they hypothesize that “increased mindfulness could have made it easier for the MBSR group to adhere to the diet and exercise guidelines we gave them,” they wrote in the paper.

Only 71% of the study participants completed the eight-week training sessions, and only 62% stuck with the research for all 16 weeks, which reduces the strength of the findings. But the authors wrote that most dropouts were in the health education group, which “is evidence that the current standard of care is ineffective and unappealing to patients.” The fact that more women completed the mindfulness training than the health education (83% versus 59%) “lends support to the feasibility and acceptability of MBSR in women with overweight or obesity,” they added.

More research—in larger and more varied groups of people—is needed to determine the mechanisms through which mindfulness-based stress reduction may lower blood sugar, and to see whether sustained increases in mindfulness over longer periods of time would result in even greater and lasting benefits, the authors wrote. “If, as our study suggests, MBSR lowers glucose in people with overweight or obesity, then it could be an effective tool for preventing or treating type 2 diabetes,” they wrote.

Here’s How to Get Over a Breakup-science proven.

This article originally appeared on Time.com.

Moving on from an ex can be tough, especially if you were the one let go. But according to a new study in the Journal of Neuroscience, the secret to feeling better is simple: Just do something, anything, that you think will help—because it probably will.

Psychologists from the University of Colorado Boulder recruited 40 volunteers who had been broken up with in the past six months and asked them each to bring two photos to a brain-imaging lab: one of their ex, and one of a platonic friend. Everyone was given a functional MRI while being shown one photo after the other.

Young man covering face with hand

Between photos, researchers applied heat  to everyone’s arm with a temperature-controlled device to stimulate mild-to-moderate pain. Throughout the scan, they were asked to rate how they felt on a scale of 1 to 5.

Similar brain regions were activated when people felt the painful heat and saw photos of their exes—validating the idea of emotional pain. It’s real, the study authors say, and has a measurable effect on chemicals in the brain.

Then, the people in the study were given a nasal spray. Half were told it was a “powerful analgesic effective in reducing emotional pain,” while the other half were told the truth—that it was a simple saline spray

In subsequent MRI scans, those who thought they’d inhaled a pain-relief spray reported less physical and emotional pain during the experiments. Their brains also responded differently when shown photos of their exes: Activity increased sharply in brain regions involved in controlling emotion, and decreased in areas associated with rejection.

Brain activity also increased in a region called the periaqueductal gray, or PAG, which helps control painkilling and mood-boosting neurochemicals like opioids and dopamine.

The authors say this is the first study to measure a placebo drug’s impact on emotional pain from romantic rejection, and it suggests that positive expectations may be enough to influence areas of the brain normally triggered by feel-good chemicals.

People may be able to use the power of expectation to their advantage, they add. “Beliefs and expectations matter, in the sense that they influence our brain function and physiology as well as our feelings and decisions,” says co-author Tor Wager, professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Boulder.

In other words, if people believe that a certain remedy will help mend their broken heart, there’s a good chance it will. “It might open your mind to noticing more positive aspects of your experience and give you a more optimistic outlook,” he says.

That’s important, because breakups can be some of the most emotionally negative experiences a person endures. This type of social pain has even been associated with a 20-fold higher risk of developing depression in the coming year, the study notes.

Steven Meyers, professor and associate chair at Roosevelt University, says one important feature of the study was that the participants had all been dumped—meaning they weren’t just grieving the loss of their partner, but also a loss of control over their relationship.

“Helplessness is one of the main feelings that worsen anxiety and depression,” says Meyers, who was not involved in the research. The placebo nasal-spray treatments likely helped the participants feel they were taking steps to feel better, he adds. “A powerful antidote to worry or sadness is to take charge in your life in some way.”

Meyers suggests a few ways to take charge of your emotions after heartbreak. Friends and family can be a source of support and distraction, he says, and seeking out connections can help you avoid isolation. He also recommends keeping a journal for several days. “Writing out feelings and thoughts allows people to purge distress from their system, and has been shown to be a powerful intervention,” he says.

Finally, challenge negative thoughts with reason and evidence, Meyers says. “People can become more upset when they magnify their situation by thinking something like, ‘I’m going to be alone forever,’” he says. “Although it can be hard to do, writing out reasons why these thoughts may or may not be true can put things in perspective.”

Being intentional about these actions makes them even more effective, says Meyers. And if this new research holds true, simply trusting that they’ll work will make them more powerful, too.

 

What Type of Exercise Is Best for the Brain?

This article originally appeared on Time.com. 

Exercise is just as good for the brain as it is for the body, a growing body of research is showing. And one kind in particular—aerobic exercise—appears to be king.

“Back in the day, the majority of exercise studies focused on the parts of the body from the neck down, like the heart and lungs,” says Ozioma Okonkwo, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “But now we are finding that we need to go north, to the brain, to show the true benefits of a physically active lifestyle on an individual.”

Exercise might be a simple way for people to cut down their risk for memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, even for those who are genetically at risk for the disease. In a June study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Okonkwo followed 93 adults who had at least one parent with Alzheimer’s disease, at least one gene linked to Alzheimer’s, or both. People in the study who spent at least 68 minutes a day doing moderate physical activity had better glucose metabolism—which signals a healthy brain—compared to people who did less.

The brain benefits of exercise go beyond disease prevention. Okonkwo has also shown that people who exercise have greater brain volume in areas of the brain associated with reasoning and executive function. “We’ve done a series of studies showing that increased aerobic capacity boosts brain structure, function and cognition,” he says, “Other people have found exercise can improve mood.” Okonkwo’s research has also shown that exercise can diminish the impact of brain changes on cognition, not just prevent it. “Exercise is the full package,” he says.

Exercise likely improves brain health through a variety of ways. It makes the heart beat faster, which increases blood flow to the brain. This blood delivers oxygen—a good thing, since the brain is the biggest consumer of oxygen in the body. Physical activity also increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is known to help repair and protect brain cells from degeneration as well as help grow new brain cells and neurons, says Okonkwo.

In one study. Joe Northey, a PhD candidate at the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise in Australia, showed that when people ride a stationary bike, they experience increased blood flow to the brain, and within that blood are a range of growth factors that are responsible for cell growth and associated with improved brain function. “Considering exercise can also reduce the risks associated with common lifestyle diseases that impact the brain, such as high blood sugar and hypertension, it is further motivation to try to incorporate exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle,” says Northey.

Aerobic exercise, like running and swimming, appears to be best for brain health. That’s because it increases a person’s heart rate, “which means the body pumps more blood to the brain,” says Okonkwo. But strength training, like weight-lifting, may also bring benefits to the brain by increasing heart rate. The link between resistance training and better brain health is not as established, but research in the area is growing.

For now, Northey recommends a combination of the two. “Combining both is ideal,” he says, for all of the other benefits exercise bestows on the body. “In addition to improving your brain function, you should expect to see improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength, as well as reducing the risk of obesity, diabetes and hypertension amongst other diseases.”

 

 

your building could be the cause of your illness-SBS

Pat B., a web designer in upstate New York, didn’t think much of it when she got a sinus infection the first week at her new job. Two months later, she got another one. Then the muscle cramping began. “I would try to walk at lunch time and my hips would cramp so bad I had to go back,” she recalls. “As soon as I entered the building, it felt like the breath was sucked out of me.”

After batteries of tests, she went on a leave of absence and the symptoms leveled off. When she returned, her throat started burning the minute she stepped into the building.

“The ceiling tiles were moldy, everything was wet,” she says. “I could smell formaldehyde and so could one other person.” Eventually, Pat was diagnosed with interstitial lung disease, an ailment that had already killed a young, athletic male co-worker. She is convinced the building she worked in caused her illnesses. culled from WebMD

INTRODUCTION

The sick building syndrome (SBS) is used to describe a situation in which the occupants of a building experience acute health- or comfort-related effects that seem to be linked directly to the time spent in the building. No specific illness or cause can be identified. The complainants may be localized in a particular room or zone or may be widespread throughout the building

Signs and Symptoms include:

Dizziness, nausea, headache, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry cough, dry or itching skin, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, sensitivity to odors, hoarseness of voice, allergies, cold, flu-like symptoms, increased incidence of asthma attacks and personality changes.

The cause of the symptoms is not known, Most of the complainants report relief soon after leaving the building.

what are the causes of sick building syndrome

  • Synthetic insulation
  • Poor circulation and lack of fresh air
  • Smoke
  • Paint fumes
  • Dust mites
  • Synthetic carpet outgassing
  • Pet dander
  • Toxic household cleaners
  • Fabric outgassing
  • Natural gas and carbon dioxide
  • Construction materials
  • Bacteria from toilet bowl
  • Mold and mildew
  • Lead or toxic paint
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Oil and gas fumes

What Can I Do About Sick Building Syndrome?

Scattering houseplants like this one throughout a building can help improve air quality and other environmental factors.

If you think your home or office may be causing sick building syndrome, you need to improve the quality within. Once the building stops giving off toxins, your symptoms should go away. Sometimes this is easier said than done, and, depending on the scale of the problem, might require a massive renovation and replacement of toxic building materials with non-toxic replacements.

In some situations, an air purification system or even quick and simple methods may work. Nature has very powerful tools to clean the air. The natural negative ionization and UV waves from sunlight work wonders and opening the blinds to let in some rays is an easy way to reap those benefits. Additionally, open the windows and doors and let the ozone and negative ions help remove toxins from the air.

Avoid toxic room sprays and deodorizers. There are natural alternatives for air fresheners, cleansers and other chemical toxins used to cleanse the home. Live plants can absorb toxins right from the air! Good choices of plants are peace lilies, golden pothos, and dracaenas.

Have you dealt with sick building syndrome? How did you solve the problem? Leave a comment below and share your experience with us.