Lifestyle, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

 

A panoramic concept shows the face of a man with schizophrenia.

 

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, debilitating mental illness characterized by disordered thoughts, abnormal behaviors, and anti-social behaviors. It is a psychotic disorder, meaning the person with schizophrenia does not identify with reality at times.

Who is Affected

Schizophrenia affects more than 2 million people in the U.S.

  • Schizophrenia affects about 1.1% of the world’s population
  • 3.5 million Americans have schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenia is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 16 to 25
  • Schizophrenia can be hereditary (runs in families)
  • It affects men 1.5 times more commonly than women
  • Schizophrenia and its treatment has an enormous effect on the economy, costing between $32.5-$65 billion each year

How Common Is Schizophrenia in Children?

 

Children may also be affected by schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia in young children is rare. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates only 1 in 40,000 children experience the onset of schizophrenia symptoms before the age of 13.

Types of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia health care check list.

There are five types of schizophrenia (discussed in the following slides). They are categorized by the types of symptoms the person exhibits when they are assessed:

  • Paranoid schizophrenia
  • Disorganized schizophrenia
  • Catatonic schizophrenia
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia
  • Residual schizophrenia

Paranoid Schizophrenia

A woman suffering from paranoid schizophrenia is distressed.

Paranoid-type schizophrenia is distinguished by paranoid behavior, including delusions and auditory hallucinations. Paranoid behavior is exhibited by feelings of persecution, of being watched, or sometimes this behavior is associated with a famous or noteworthy person a celebrity or politician, or an entity such as a corporation. People with paranoid-type schizophrenia may display anger, anxiety, and hostility. The person usually has relatively normal intellectual functioning and expression of affect.

Disorganized Schizophrenia

A young woman pours a pot of spaghetti on her head.

A person with disorganized-type schizophrenia will exhibit behaviors that are disorganized or speech that may be bizarre or difficult to understand. They may display inappropriate emotions or reactions that do not relate to the situation at-hand. Daily activities such as hygiene, eating, and working may be disrupted or neglected by their disorganized thought patterns.

Catatonic Schizophrenia

A man is in a catatonic state.

Disturbances of movement mark catatonic-type schizophrenia. People with this type of schizophrenia may vary between extremes: they may remain immobile or may move all over the place. They may say nothing for hours, or they may repeat everything you say or do. These behaviors put these people with catatonic-type schizophrenia at high risk because they are often unable to take care of themselves or complete daily activities.

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

A young man with undifferentiated schizophrenia wears a tinfoil hat while staring into a TV.

Undifferentiated-type schizophrenia is a classification used when a person exhibits behaviors which fit into two or more of the other types of schizophrenia, including symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, catatonic behavior.

Residual Schizophrenia

A schizophrenic girl's reflection shows her inner turmoil.

When a person has a past history of at least one episode of schizophrenia, but the currently has no symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior) they are considered to have residual-type schizophrenia. The person may be in complete remission, or may at some point resume symptoms.

What Are Causes of Schizophrenia?

Rate of gray matter loss: Composite MRI scan data showing areas of gray matter loss over 5 years, comparing 12 normal teens (left) and 12 teens with childhood-onset schizophrenia. Red and yellow denotes areas of greater loss. Front of brain is at left.

Schizophrenia has multiple, intermingled causes which may differ from person to person, including:

  • Genetics (runs in families)
  • Environment
  • Brain chemistry
  • History of abuse or neglect

Is Schizophrenia Hereditary?

Twin sisters look at each other.

Schizophrenia has a genetic component. While schizophrenia occurs in only 1% of the general population, it occurs in 10% of people with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling) with the disorder. The risk is highest if an identical twin has schizophrenia. It is also more common in people with a second-degree relative (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) with the disorder.

Schizophrenia Symptoms

Intense anxiety is a symptom of schizophrenia.

Many people with schizophrenia do not appear ill. However, many behavioral changes will cause the person to seem ‘off’ as the disease progresses. Symptoms include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoid feelings or feelings of persecution
  • Loss of appetite or neglecting to eat
  • Loss of hygiene

Symptoms may also be grouped into categories, discussed in the following slides.

Positive (More Overtly Psychotic) Symptoms

A person with schizophrenia may experience psychotic symptoms.

The “positive,” or overtly psychotic, symptoms are symptoms not seen in healthy people, include:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech or behavior
  • Dysfunctional thinking
  • Catatonia or other movement disorders

Negative (Deficit) Symptoms

A man sits by himself.

“Negative” symptoms disrupt normal emotions and behaviors and include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • “Flat affect,” dull or monotonous speech, and lack of facial expression
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Lack of self-care
  • Inability to feel pleasure (anhedonia)

Cognitive Symptoms

A schizophrenic may have difficulty remembering simple tasks.

Cognitive symptoms may be most difficult to detect and these include:

  • Inability to process information and make decisions
  • Difficulty focusing or paying attention
  • Problems with memory or learning new tasks

Affective (or Mood) Symptoms

A depressed woman.

Affective symptoms refer to those which affect mood. Patients with schizophrenia often have overlapping depression and may have suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?

Doctor with stethoscope.

The diagnosis of schizophrenia is made both by ruling out other medical disorders that can cause the behavioral symptoms (exclusion), and by observation of the presence of characteristic symptoms of the disorder. The doctor will look for the presence of delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, and/or negative symptoms, along with social withdrawal and/or dysfunction at work or in daily activities for at least six months.

The doctor may use physical examination, psychological evaluation, laboratory testing of blood, and imaging scans to produce a complete picture of the patient’s condition.

How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?

A mental-health professional diagnoses a patient.

Mental health screening and evaluation is an important part of the diagnosis process for schizophrenia. Many other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, anxiety disorders, severe depression, and substance abuse may mimic symptoms of schizophrenia. A doctor will perform an assessment to rule out these other conditions.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Medications

Zyprexa 10 mg vial, Abilify Discmelt 15 mg tablet, Risperdal M-Tab 1 mg ODT, Geodon 20 mg vial

Antipsychotic medications are the first-line treatment for many patients with schizophrenia. Medications are often used in combination with other types of drugs to decrease or control the symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Some antipsychotic medications include:

  • olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • risperidone (Risperdal)
  • quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • ziprasidone (Geodon)
  • aripiprazole (Abilify)
  • paliperidone (Invega)

Schizophrenia Treatment – Medications (Continued)

Lamictal XR 25 mg tablet, Depakote 125 mg sprinkle cap, Zoloft 100 mg tablet, Cymbalta 20 mg capsule

Mood swings and depression are common in patients with schizophrenia. In addition to antipsychotics, other types of medications are used.

Mood stabilizers include:

  • lithium (Lithobid)
  • divalproex (Depakote)
  • carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal)

Antidepressants include:

  • fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • sertraline (Zoloft)
  • paroxetine (Paxil)
  • citalopram (Celexa)
  • escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
  • duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • bupropion (Wellbutrin)

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions

Family psycho-education teaches family members problem-solving skills.

Family psycho-education: It is important to include psychosocial interventions in the treatment of schizophrenia. Including family members to support patients decreases the relapse rate of psychotic episodes and improves the person’s outcomes. Family relationships are improved when everyone knows how to support their loved one dealing with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A psychiatrist, nurse, case manager, employment counselor, and substance-abuse counselor often make up an ACT team.

Assertive community treatment (ACT): Another form of psychosocial intervention includes use of out-patient support groups. Support teams including psychiatrists, nurses, case managers, and other counselors, meet regularly with the schizophrenic patient to help reduce the need for hospitalization or a decline in their mental status.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

About 50% of individuals with schizophrenia suffer from some kind of substance abuse or dependence.

Substance abuse treatment: Many people with schizophrenia (up to 50%) also have substance abuse issues. These substance abuse issues worsen the behavioral symptoms of schizophrenia and need to be addressed for better outcomes.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A group socializes around a laptop computer.

Social skills training: Patients with schizophrenia may need to re-learn how to appropriately interact in social situations. This kind of psychosocial intervention involves rehearsing or role-playing real-life situations so the person is prepared when they occur. This type of training can reduce drug use, and improve relationships.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A woman helps a job applicant fill out forms.

Supported employment: Many people with schizophrenia have difficulty entering or re-entering the work force due to their condition. This type of psychosocial intervention helps people with schizophrenia to construct resumes, interview for jobs, and even connects them with employers willing to hire people with mental illness.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A doctor uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention with a patient.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of intervention can help patients with schizophrenia change disruptive or destructive thought patterns, and enable them to function more optimally. It can help patients “test” the reality of their thoughts to identify hallucinations or “voices” and ignore them. This type of therapy may not work in actively psychotic patients, but it can help others who may have residual symptoms that medication does not alleviate.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

Weight gain can be a side effect of some antipsychotic and other psychiatric medications.

Weight management: Many anti-psychotic and psychiatric drugs cause weight gain as a side effect. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly helps prevent or alleviate other medical issues.

What Is the Prognosis for Schizophrenia?

A family supports each other.

The prognosis for people with schizophrenia can vary depending on the amount of support and treatment the patients receives. Many people with schizophrenia are able to function well and lead normal lives. However, people with schizophrenia have a higher death rate and higher incidence of substance abuse. When medications are taken regularly and the family is supportive, patients can have better outcomes.

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard- 

Health and Wellness Associates
healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com
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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Red Meat Raises Bowel Problems for Men

Red Meat Raises Bowel Problems for Men

redmeatmen

Red Meat Raises Bowel Problems for Men

 

A new study suggests that men who eat lots of red meat are much more likely to have bowel problems, pain and nausea than their peers who stick mainly with chicken or fish.

 

Researchers examined more than two decades of data on more than 46,000 men and found frequent red meat eaters were 58 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diverticulitis, a common bowel condition that occurs when small pockets or bulges lining the intestines become inflamed.

 

“Previous studies have shown that a high fiber diet is associated with a lower risk of diverticulitis, however, the role of other dietary factors in influencing risk of diverticulitis was not well studied,” said senior study author Andrew Chan, a researcher at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“Our result show that diets high in red meat may be associated with a higher risk of diverticulitis,” Chan added by email.

 

Diverticulitis is common, resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations a year in the U.S. at a cost of more than $2 billion, Chan and colleagues note in the journal Gut.

 

New cases are on the rise, and the exact causes are unknown, although the condition has been linked to smoking, obesity and the use of certain nonprescription painkillers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

 

While diverticulitis can often be treated with a liquid or low-fiber diet, severe cases may require hospitalization and surgery to fix complications like perforations in the gut wall.

 

Researchers examined data collected on men who were aged 40 to 75 when they joined the study between 1986 and 2012. Every four years men were asked how often, on average, they ate red meat, poultry and fish over the preceding year.

 

 

They were given nine options, ranging from ‘never’ or ‘less than once a month,’ to ‘six or more times a day.’

 

During the study period, 764 men developed diverticulitis.

 

Men who ate the most red meat were also more likely to smoke, more likely to regularly take NSAIDs, and less likely to eat foods with fiber or get intense exercise.

 

By contrast, men who ate more chicken and fish were less likely to smoke or take NSAIDs and more likely to get vigorous exercise.

 

After accounting for these other factors that can influence the risk of diverticulitis, red meat was still associated with higher odds of developing the bowel disorder.

 

Each daily serving of red meat was associated with an 18 percent increased risk, the study found.

 

Unprocessed meats like beef, pork and lamb were associated with a greater risk than processed meats like bacon or sausage.

 

It’s possible the higher cooking temperatures typically used to prepare unprocessed meats may influence the composition of bacteria in the gut or inflammatory activity, though the exact reason for the increased risk tied to these foods is unknown, the researchers note.

 

Swapping one daily serving of red meat for chicken or fish was associated with a 20 percent reduction in the risk of this bowel disorder, the study also found.

 

The study is observational, and doesn’t prove red meat causes diverticulitis.

 

Other limitations of the study include its reliance on men to accurately recall and report how much meat they ate and the possibility that the results may not apply to women, the authors point out.

 

Even so, the findings should offer yet another reason to consider cutting back on red meat, said Samantha Heller, a nutritionist at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study.

 

Diets high in red and processed meats have been linked with increased risks of inflammatory bowel diseases, so the link found in this study “is not surprising,” Heller said by email.

 

“Focusing on a more plant based, higher fiber diet that includes legumes, whole grains, nuts, vegetables and fruits, replete with appropriate fluid intake, may go a long way in helping reduce of inflammatory bowel diseases, diverticulitis, and other chronic diseases,” Heller added.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Dr P Carrothers

312-972-WELL

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

The Secret to a Harder Erection Is in Your Fridge

The Secret to a Harder Erection Is in Your Fridge

 

Something that you can do in your sleep would seem to be pretty simple, but getting an erection is actually a complicated business—a complex biomechanical process that requires your body to be firing on all cylinders, three to be exact. (Note: It’s best not to think of this as a “complicated business” when the moment presents itself.) First, testosterone, which fuels male arousal, should be pumping at healthy levels. Second, a strong immune system will scrub away free radicals, keeping arteries clear and free of inflammation. Third, blood vessels should dilate easily so that blood pressure is regulated and blood flows easily. This last mechanism relies on the production of one chemical, nitric oxide, which, not coincidentally, is the key target of all the major pharmaceutical treatments for erectile dysfunction (the accursed ED), from Cialis to Viagra.

Simply put, a healthy heart equals a healthy penis. “If your cardiovascular system is impaired, your penile health is impaired, and the reverse is true as well—it’s one system,” says Steven Lamm, M.D., a clinical assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine and the author of The Hardness Factor. “The endothelial cells that line your coronary arteries line all the arteries in your body, including the arteries that go to the penis.”

Your endothelial cells are crucial for releasing nitric oxide—and good nutrition is one of the central factors influencing its production, according to a study in the American Journal of Cardiology. Which is good news, since ED pills come with an ever-growing list of side effects: heartburn, chest pain, memory loss, vision loss, and hearing loss. “The right foods will help you stay well and reverse small vascular abnormalities before you have no choice but to use medications,” Lamm says.

 

15 Foods You Need For Your Penis to Perform

 

A crappy diet can do more than wreck your waistline—it can also sink your erection, too.

Think about it: Some of the smallest blood vessels and nerves in your body can be found in your penis, says Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D., a urologist at Orlando Health. So if you’re slamming down junk like pizza and fries every day, your blood vessels down under may be some of the first to get clogged up with fat and cholesterol.

This restricts blood flow to your penis, preventing you from getting hard when you’re ready for action and even putting your heart health at risk down the road, too.

 

It may sound wacky, but you should treat your penis like a luxury car, says Dr. Brahmbhatt. To keep your ride running smoothly, you need to fill it with the recommended fuel and keep up with the suggested maintenance. Well, your penis needs the same—like healthy foods and plenty of exercise—to keep it going strong, he says.

Filling up with the right foods can boost your testosterone, strengthen your sperm, and supercharge your erection. So, what would we recommend as premium fuel? These 15 foods are a good place to start.

COFFEE

foods help penis better

Your morning coffee may protect you from going limp later, according to a study of more than 3,700 men from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Those who downed the equivalent of 2 to 3 cups of a coffee a day—between 170 to 375 milligrams (mg) of caffeine—were less likely to report erectile dysfunction (ED) issues than men who skipped their cup of Joe.

Why? Caffeine triggers a series of effects in your body that help the arteries in your penis relax and blood flow to increase, producing an effect similar to ED drugs like Viagra, the study authors explain.

SALMON, EGG YOLKS, AND FORTIFIED MILK

foods help penis better

Your D needs vitamin D, suggests one Austrian study—and the foods above are great sources of it.

After researchers had men take either 3,332 IU of vitamin D or a placebo per day for a year, they found that free testosterone levels—the powerhouse behind your sex drive—significantly increased in guys loading up with vitamin D

Plus, insufficient D levels may also increase your risk for erectile dysfunction, Italian researchers found. When you don’t get enough vitamin D, you produce free radicals that decrease nitric oxide in your body, a compound that helps your blood vessels function, the researchers say.

Without it, your blood vessels can’t relax, hindering the flow of blood to your penis. That makes it difficult for you to get hard, says Men’s Health urology advisor Larry Lipshultz, M.D., chief of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. (Here’s another reason you should get your vitamin D levels checked.)

So how much D do you really need? That’s still up for debate: The National Institutes of Health recommend getting 600 IU daily, while the Endocrine Society notes that some people may need to go much higher with 1,500 to 2,000 IU a day. Talk to your doctor to find out what works best for you.

You can not take Vitamin D alone.  If you doctor does not know what to take with it, run!

PISTACHIOS, ALMONDS, AND WALNUTS

foods help penis better

Need a snack? Choose nuts, researchers from Turkey suggest. After 17 men with ED ate 100 grams of pistachios for three weeks, they all reported a significant improvement in their erectile function, ability to orgasm, libido, sexual satisfaction, and overall happiness in life. As a bonus, they all had higher HDL, or “good,” cholesterol and lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, too.

Pistachios contain a high amount of an amino acid that boosts nitric oxide in your body, the researchers say. And like almonds, walnuts, and most other nuts, they’re a great source of healthy fats, which are good for your heart and therefore your penis, says Dr. Brahmbhatt.

BLUEBERRIES AND ORANGES

foods help penis better

 

Only 13 percent of Americans eat enough fruit, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Big mistake: Eating enough of the right ones can work wonders below the belt.

In a 10-year study of more than 25,000 men, Harvard University researchers found that men who ate foods packed with certain flavonoids—anthocyanins, flavanones, and flavones—had a lower ED risk than guys who didn’t eat as much of them. The effect was particularly strong among those under 70 years old.

In fact, men who ate flavonoid-rich foods—like blueberries, strawberries, apples, and citrus fruits—a few times a week reduced their ED risk by 9 to 11 percent compared to those who ate them less frequently. The researchers speculate that flavonoids found in these foods may help improve the health of your blood vessels by relaxing your arteries.

Bonus points if you like to break a sweat: Men who were physically active (consider that 2 to 5 hours of brisk walking a week) and ate flavonoid-rich fruits reduced their ED risk by 21 percent.

So make sure you‘re fitting enough in your diet: The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming two cups of fruit every day.

LEGUMES, WHOLE GRAINS, AND OLIVE OIL

foods help penis better

Since the Mediterranean diet is good for your heart, it’s not exactly surprising that it may benefit your penis, too. Heart disease is actually one of the most common causes of ED. Once plaque starts to build up in your blood vessels, the ones in your penis are the first to get blocked up.

So to truly test the diet’s benefits, Italian researchers had 35 men with diagnosed with ED and metabolic syndrome—a group of factors linked to heart health problems—load up their plates with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and fish. Another 30 men with metabolic syndrome followed a control diet.

After 2 years, about one third of the men following the Mediterranean diet regained normal sexual functioning and saw lower levels of inflammation in their bodies.

Researchers aren’t exactly sure why the diet could help men with ED, but they believe the combination of eating more fiber-filled and antioxidant-rich foods may have anti-inflammatory properties, which helps promote healthy blood flow, the study authors say.

And you don’t have to be dealing with heart problems to notice the diet’s benefits in the bedroom. Men who eat lots of monounsaturated fats (a Mediterranean diet staple), like fish and nuts, also have the highest levels of testosterone, research suggests.

 PEPPERS, PEACHES, AND SPINACH

image

Vitamin C is key for healthy sperm, according to research from the University of Texas Medical Branch.

In the study, researchers divided 75 men—all heavy smokers with poor semen quality— into three groups. One group took 200 mg of vitamin C, another took 1,000 mg, and the last group took a placebo.

After four weeks, the 200-mg group improved their sperm quality by 15 percent, meaning they not only had a higher sperm count, but their sperm were able to swim more efficiently and survive longer, too.

What’s more, the 1000-mg group more than doubled that by 40 percent. Vitamin C seems to protect your sperm’s DNA from cell-damaging free radicals, the researchers say. That’s important, since damaged sperm might mess with your ability to conceive when you’re ready to have a kid.

Aim for a minimum of 90 mg and no more than 2,000 mg of vitamin C a day, suggests the National Institutes of Health. While the participants in the study popped a supplement, you can easily get your daily dose through vitamin-C rich foods, like yellow peppers, peaches, and spinach.

 

Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Poor Nutrition Hampers Sex Life

Poor Nutrition Hampers Sex Life

The last battle of the sexes is sleep...so who comes out worse?

You know that Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only about 10 percent of people get the recommended amounts: one and a half to two cups of fruit, and two to three cups of vegetables daily.

But did you know that, according to the latest General Social Survey from the National Opinion Research Center, Americans are having less sex than ever? Is there a connection?

Overall health depends on eating more produce, and a healthy sex life is influenced by overall health. So, that lack of broccoli — and an associated increase in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes — may be a big factor in the declining frequency of sexual relations.

According to the 2018 survey, the number of adults who went a year (2018) without sex was 23 percent, a record high.

And it’s not just among baby boomers. Eighteen percent of women and 28 percent of men ages 19 to 29 report having had no sex in the past year, more than double the number in 2008. (Maybe it’s because 35 percent of men age 18 to 34 are living at home, compared with 29 percent of women.)

Poor health, plus a lack of face-to-face interaction with potential mates, may be to blame. Research shows that sexual satisfaction and contentment within relationships is strongly associated with the quality of communication between partners.

So whatever your age, turn off Facebook, put down the phone, and ask someone to share veggie-loaded Thai or Vietnamese food with you. It may have the spice you need.

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

DR J Jaranson

 

Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Aerobic Exercise Helps Control PTSD

Aerobic Exercise Helps Control PTSD

 

After losing 29 Marine brothers in Iraq, infantryman Mike Ergo returned home to California with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Featured in NBC’s coverage of the 2017 Ironman competition in Kona, Hawaii, Mike shared how he successfully deals with his stress disorder: “When I started running again, I felt good,” he said. “I think endurance sports [are] almost the perfect prescription for PTSD.”

If you have access to a pool, moving your workouts into the water is a great way to burn belly fat. Not only are swimming and water aerobics great cardio exercises, every move you make in the pool challenges your muscles since the water creates constant resistance.

We’re getting closer all the time to finding out why that is. A lab study from Texas A&M University examined how neurons in the brain that cause feelings of fear to get stirred up again (that’s called a fear relapse) are activated by everyday stress — and how such stress also dampens down brain areas that usually reduce fear.

It’s a dastardly duo, but one that finally provides a clearer explanation of how and why stress-relieving aerobic exercise helps control PTSD.

Although we’ve known for a long time that the prefrontal cortex regulates behavior, thought, and emotion, this enhanced understanding can lead to new treatments for PTSD — not just for soldiers, but for victims of various traumatic events, from car accidents to cancer diagnoses.

A man riding an exercise bike in the bedroom.

In the meantime, anyone contending with PTSD (more than 13 million Americans have the condition at any given time) should develop an aerobics regimen and use other emotion-soothing techniques such as meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, or even just breathing deeply to change their response to stressors.

These methods work by causing your body to produce soothing endorphins. They’re also a good complement to cortisol-dispelling aerobic exercise.

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

DR Anna Killarney

 

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

A Few Ways to Make New Friends

4 Ways to Make New Friends

Expand Your Circle

If you want to feel more connected to others, break out of your social comfort zone.

 

Many of us have a lot in common with the people in our inner circle — which makes sense. We’ve taken the same courses in school or worked under the same boss. We’ve bonded over the books we’ve read, the places we’ve been, and our shared interests and values. We’ve found our tribe.

These commonalities are important, and it’s normal to make friends through shared experiences. But it’s also good to burst our social bubbles now and then to meet people with whom we don’t have quite so much in common — on the surface, anyway, says economist and journalist Tim Harford, author of Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives.

Getting to know people whose backgrounds, values, and ways of being in the world are different from our own broadens our perspectives. “Our world gets bigger. We appreciate its variety a little more,” says Harford.

That’s not to say it’s easy. For all its diversity, our culture doesn’t always encourage engaging with people who are different from us — whether racially, politically, generationally, socioeconomically, religiously, or the many other ways in which we define ourselves as “other.”

But the effort is worth it, says Dacher Keltner, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of The Power Paradox. “Reaching out to people who aren’t in our comfort zones produces a lot of innovation and spurs creativity,” he explains, noting that connecting with people outside our familiar groups can boost professional success, longevity, overall well-being, and happiness.

The first step to diver-sifying our network of friends and acquaintances, says Keltner, is simply to pledge to do so. “Commit to expanding your social circle like you would commit to an exercise regimen, eating less meat, or driving less. Make that kind of commitment,” he says.

The following strategies can help you broaden your circle of friends and acquaintances.

1. Build Psychological Flexibility

San Francisco–based engineer Max Hawkins used an extreme method to broaden his social network: He created a computer program that randomly selected a public event promoted on Facebook and hired a car to deliver him there — and he didn’t learn the destination until he arrived.

His experiment took him to gatherings where he met people he’d never have encountered otherwise, and inspired him to travel the world for two years. “When you’re getting sent to a place at random, it makes it easier to be comfortable with unexpected outcomes,” Hawkins explains. “That brings about a certain psychological flexibility that is really beneficial.”

Fortunately, we don’t need to go to such extravagant ends to become more psychologically flexible. “The key to open-ing yourself up to these experiences is to let go of your own preferences,” Hawkins advises.

To train himself to move beyond his preferences, Hawkins often asks for the least popular item on the menu in restaurants, rather than the one that appeals to him in the moment. The point, he says, is to welcome possibilities, a principle that applies to meeting people as well.

Hawkins suggests venturing into different neighborhoods and going to different types of restaurants, concert venues, or places of worship.

2. Be of Service to Others

Helping others can create valuable connections that shift your understanding of the world, says Jenny Friedman, executive director of Doing Good Together, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that pairs families with volunteer opportunities.

Friedman cites a mother and her two young daughters who volunteered at a nursing home, where the girls developed strong intergenerational relationships. But the real benefit came when the woman’s father-in-law became ill. “He was confined to a wheelchair and bed, and eventually passed away,” Friedman says. “Her girls were the only grandchildren who weren’t afraid to be around him during that time of decline.”

A caveat: “One of the dangers with volunteering is that you can see yourself as the giver and this other group of people as receivers,” Friedman warns.

So she encourages parents to ask kids whom they helped that day — and who helped them. “It helps kids walk through the world thinking about how they can make a positive difference, and be grateful for all the ways they’re being helped.”

3. Let Wonder Guide You

Cultivate a sense of curiosity, advises Emma Seppälä, PhD, science director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and author of The Happiness Track.

“Ask about a person’s life, about their childhood, about their challenges,” Seppälä suggests. Taking a genuine interest can lead to deeper discussions about things that matter to us, increasing the possibility that we’ll discover what we have in common.

“We all experience the same kinds of emotions,” she says. “Finding out about a person’s life can really broaden your ability to see from another perspective.”

Keltner, who’s spent 20 years researching nonverbal behavior, says body language goes a long way toward establishing trust.

“Physical cues are a foundation for connecting to other people,” he says. “If you and I are talking and I really look into your eyes, listen carefully, and position my body in a way that is connecting to you, then it’s clear that I feel like you’re a fellow human being.”

4. Confront Your Biases

Even well-intentioned people make assumptions and judgments about others — often based on stereotypes, and often without realizing they’re doing it.

“Biases are the stories we make up about people before we know who they actually are,” explains Vern¯a Myers, JD, in her 2014 TED Talk. To expand our networks, we need to move beyond denial.

Myers, author of Moving Diversity Forward: How to Go From Well-Meaning to Well-Doing, suggests looking at our own inner circles and asking ourselves, Whom do I gravitate toward? Whom do I tend to avoid? Then we have to do the hard work of overcoming our biases.

“Walk toward your discomfort,” Myers says. Simply saying hello once in a while isn’t enough. Go deeper. Develop real relationships. “You’re not going to get comfortable before you get uncomfortable.”

When you push through discomfort and start to build friendships, “something really powerful and beautiful happens. You start to realize that they are you . . . that they are in your family. And then we cease to become bystanders, and we become actors, we become advocates, and we become allies.”

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth
Dr Mark Williams

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Soap Nuts? What are they?

5 Reasons To Use Soap Nuts For Laundry, Cleaning & More

 

5 Reasons To Use Soap Nuts For Laundry, Cleaning & More

 

Most of us are still using traditional laundry soap to make our clothes smell fresh and clean, and while they’re obviously effective, they come at a big price, and not just what you see on the sticker at the store. Conventional laundry soaps often contain toxic chemicals with a wide range of negative effects including everything from skin irritation to carcinogenicity. And, frighteningly, in 2011, researchers from the University of Washington found that dryer vents can emit over 25 volatile organic compounds when scented laundry soap and dryer sheets are used, including seven that are classified as hazardous air pollutants.

The average family does about 8 loads of wash every week, or over 400 loads every year, which means around 17.5 billion cups of laundry detergent are being used each year in the U.S. alone. That’s a lot of chemicals to come in contact with – not only can you come in contact with these toxic chemicals by wearing your clothing that’s been laundered with them, you’re probably breathing them into your lungs when they become airborne while you’re doing your laundry. Some of the worst offenders when it comes to laundry chemicals includes:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)/sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
  • 1,4-dioxane
  • NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate)
  • Phosphates

 

These chemicals aren’t just potentially damaging to your health, but they are also harming the health of our environment and contaminating our waterways The Journal of Oleo Science reported that a laundry detergent concentration of only 2 ppm can cause fish to absorb double the amount of chemicals they would ordinarily absorb. The accumulation of these compounds in our waterways and groundwater is having a significant negative effect on our wildlife.

According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews, research studies on laundry detergent chemicals like SLS have shown an association with everything from minor to major health issues, like skin and eye irritation, organ toxicity, developmental or reproductive toxicity, possible mutations, cancer, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, and biochemical or cellular changes.

How To Replace Your Laundry Detergent With Soap Nuts

Thankfully, there are soap nuts. Soap nuts, which may also be referred to as soap berries, are an all natural alternative to potentially harmful laundry detergents, and they have a number of other uses too.

This berry-like fruit grows on the Sapindus Mukorossi tree, native to India and the Himalayas. The berries produce a soap called saponin, which operates as a natural surfactant. The soap nut shell absorbs water and releases the saponins which circulate in the wash water, freeing dirt, grime, and oils from clothing.

Soap nuts can also be used to clean dishes, as a shampoo to wash your hair, or for surface cleaning. They’re 100 percent natural and biodegradable and don’t contain any pesticides, as insects are naturally repulsed by saponin so there is no need to use them in cultivation. They are completely safe for septic systems, gentle for use on sensitive skin, including baby clothes, and are also antimicrobial.

Where To Buy Soap Nuts

Soap nuts are rapidly gaining in popularity as more and more consumers realize what a great natural laundry detergent alternative they are. You may now find soap nuts in your local natural grocery store, but they are also abundant online, particularly Amazon.

Cocoboo offer the best reviewed and most affordable soap nuts from  Amazon. They sell a variety of bag sizes here – the bigger the bag you buy, the cheaper it is.

Soap Nuts On Amazon

How To Use Soap Nuts For Laundry

To use them as a laundry soap, place 5 to 6 soap nuts in a muslin bag – you can buy wash bags designed for soap nuts . Alternatively, many of the soap nuts you buy on Amazoncome with a wash bag.

You can wash in any temperature, although higher temperatures tend to be more effective as the heat aids in releasing the saponins. After washing, remove the bag or sock and allow it to dry. They can be used several times, until the shells become soft and gray, or test them by squeezing when wet. If you can squeeze out a foamy, honey-like liquid they can be used again. It’s best to use new soap nuts for heavy and/or, especially dirty loads.

How Much Cheaper Is It?

On Amazon , Tide PODS Liquid Laundry Detergent Pacs are selling at a price that yields a cost per load of $0.23.

In comparison, purchasing a one pound bag of soap nuts from Cocoboo on Amazon, yields a cost per load of less than $0.08. Buying a two pound bag yields a cost per load of just over $0.06 and buying a four pound bag yields a cost of less than $0.05.

Consider teaming up with a friend, family member or neighbor and buying soap nuts in bulk to enjoy the significant savings, the brilliant environmental benefits and the other brilliant uses for soap nuts we share below.

Soap Nut Dish Soap

Just like laundry detergent and many other cleaning as well as personal care products, dishwashing soap has been found to contain numerous toxic chemicals; in fact, liquid dish soap is said to be the leading cause of poisonings in the home for children under the age of 6.

To use soap nuts as an alternative to standard dish soap, all you have to do is boil them in water for about 10 minutes, which creates a thin liquid. The general formula calls for about 12 soap nuts boiled in 2 cups of water. Adding a few drops of distilled lemon essential oil will provide a fresh, pleasant scent, though it’s completely optional. (Make sure the lemon oil is distilled to avoid photosensitivity after contact with your skin). You can use also use the liquid to clean countertops and other surfaces.

Soap Nuts Shampoo

A 2013 study conducted by the Center For Environmental Health, found cancer-causing chemicals in 98 shampoos, soaps and other personal care products sold across the nation by major retailers. One of the most common was cocamide DEA (cocamide diethanolamine), which is a chemically-modified form of coconut oil used as a thickener or foaming agent and listed by the state of California as a known carcinogen in 2012. If you buy conventional shampoo, there’s a good chance it’s there.

Even if you’ve tried natural shampoo alternatives, and didn’t find any that worked for you, soap nuts is well-worth a try as many find it to be ideal. To make it using soap nuts, you’ll need the following:

  • 5 soap nuts
  • A small muslin bag
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil

Directions:

Boil the soap nuts in the small muslin bag by placing it into 2 cups of boiling water. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add one more cup of water, and the 5 drops of lavender essential oil. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, and then remove the liquid from the heat. Squeeze out the bag until it begins to produce a foamy liquid; rinse with cool water and squeeze it into the pan again. To use, massage a small amount into your hair and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Rinse well. The shampoo can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it again.

You can use this shampoo for a liquid body wash or face wash too. Just add a little to your washcloth and wash as usual.

 

Soap Nuts Bug Repellent

You probably know how nasty it feels, and smells, to put DEET sprays on your body to repel mosquitoes and other insects. And this chemical that was developed during the Second World War, used by the U.S. Army in jungle warfare, not only feels and smells that way, but it truly is. Studies have found that it can result in all sorts of negative health effects, like rashes, skin irritation, numb or burning lips, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. From 1961 to 2002, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reported eight deaths related to DEET exposure. While three of the fatalities resulted from deliberate ingestion, five occurred following DEET exposure to the skin in both adults and children. It’s not good for your pets either, who can lick it off and ingest it, and, on top of that, it’s becoming a lot less effective too. A landmark study recently demonstrated that while the insects are initially repelled by it, they ignore it if they’re exposed to it again.

Instead of using DEET, use soap nuts! It’s not only safe for you but for infants, children and even pets as it’s entirely natural. Soap nuts contain saponin, and the smell naturally repels insects, including mosquitoes.

Follow the same formula as you would for dish soap, boiling 12 soap nuts in 2 cups of water – instead of adding lemon essential oil, add a few drops of lavender or tea tree oil for extra bug-fighting power.

Ready To Try Soap Nuts?

You can purchase soap nuts from many local grocery stores as the popularity of these powerful little berries increases.

Alternatively, Amazon have a number of suppliers selling soap nuts. This brand of Cocoboo soap nuts is the best reviewed and at the most affordable price and they also have a number of different sizes available.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

healthwellnessassociates@gmail.com

 

Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Household Chemicals Harm Sperm in Both Men and Dogs

Common Household Chemicals Harm Sperm in Both Men and Dogs

News Picture: Common Household Chemicals Harm Sperm in Both Men and Dogs

Two chemicals found in household products and food could harm male fertility in both dogs and people, U.K. researchers say.

The chemicals are the plasticizer DEHP — used in products such as carpets, flooring, upholstery, clothes, wires and toys — and the industrial chemical polychlorinated biphenyl 153 (PCB153). Even though it is banned worldwide, PCB153 is still widely present in the environment, including food.

For this study, researchers from the University of Nottingham conducted laboratory tests with sperm from men and dogs. Their tests revealed that levels of the two chemicals consistent with environmental exposure had the same damaging effects on sperm in both species — reduced sperm motility and increased fragmentation of DNA.

Previous studies have reported a 50 percent decline in human sperm quality worldwide in the past 80 years. Another study by the same U.K. team found a similar decline in domestic dogs, pointing to the possibility that chemicals present in the home could be a factor.

“This new study supports our theory that the domestic dog is indeed a ‘sentinel’ or mirror for human male reproductive decline, and our findings suggest that man-made chemicals that have been widely used in the home and working environment may be responsible for the fall in sperm quality reported in both man and dog that share the same environment,” study leader Richard Lea said in a university news release.

Lea is an associate professor and reader in reproductive biology at Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science.

“Our previous study in dogs showed that the chemical pollutants found in the sperm of adult dogs, and in some pet foods, had a detrimental effect on sperm function at the concentrations previously found in the male reproductive tract,” he said.

Lea added that the new study is the first to test the effect of DEHP and PCB153 on both dog and human sperm in the lab, in the same concentrations found in real life.

Gary England is dean of the university’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science.

“Since environmental pollutants largely reflect a Western way of life such as the effects of industry, the chemicals present in the environment are likely to depend on the location,” he said in the news release. “An important area of future study is to determine how the region in which we live may effect sperm quality in both man and dog.”

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard- 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth
Dr Robert Preidt
Journal of Scientific Reports

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

 

Diets and Weight Loss, Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Abdominal Fat

 

Excess Abdominal Fat is Not Only Ugly, but Extremely Dangerous to Your Health – This is More Than a Vanity Issue!

 

The difference between subcutaneous fat and the more deadly “visceral fat”… Plus the simple steps to REMOVE this fat permanently.

 

big stomach, visceral fat

 

Although this picture depicts an overweight man, this article applies to dangerous types of fat inside the bodies of both men and women … and this discussion also applies even if you only have a slight amount of excess stomach fat.

Did you know that the vast majority of people in this day and age have excess abdominal fat?  It’s true — as much as 70% of the population in some “westernized” countries such as the US and Australia are now considered either overweight or obese.  The first thing that most people think of is that their extra abdominal fat is simply ugly, is covering up their abs from being visible, and makes them self conscious about showing off their body.

However, what most people don’t realize is that excess abdominal fat in particular, is not only ugly, but is also a dangerous risk factor to your health. Scientific research has clearly determined that although it is unhealthy in general to have excess body fat throughout your body, it is also particularly dangerous to have excess abdominal fat.

There are two types of fat that you have in your abdominal area The first type that covers up your abs from being visible is called subcutaneous fat and lies directly beneath the skin and on top of the abdominal muscles.

The second type of fat that you have in your abdominal area is called visceral fat , and that lies deeper in the abdomen beneath your muscle and surrounding your organs. Visceral fat also plays a role in giving certain men that “beer belly” appearance where their abdomen protrudes excessively but at the same time, also feels sort of hard if you push on it.

Both subcutaneous fat and visceral fat in the abdominal area are serious health risk factors, but science has shown that having excessive visceral fat is even more dangerous than subcutaneous fat .  Both types of fat greatly increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, various forms of cancer, and other degenerative diseases.

Part of the reason visceral fat is particularly dangerous is that studies show that it releases more inflammatory molecules into your system on a consistent basis.

One of the major reasons that some people accumulate more visceral fat than others can be from a high carbohydrate diet that leads to insulin resistance over time (years of bombarding your system with too much sugars and starches for your pancreas to properly handle the constant excess blood sugar) … and studies show that high fructose intake particularly from high-fructose corn syrup can be a major contributor to excess visceral fat.

So what gets rid of extra abdominal fat, including visceral fat? 

Both your food intake as well as your training program are important if you are to get this right and the good news is that I’ve spent over a decade researching this topic, analyzing the science, and applying it “in the trenches” with myself as well as thousands of my clients from all over the world to see what works to really stimulate abdominal fat loss.

I’ve actually even seen a particular study that divided thousands of participants into a diet-only group and an exercise & diet combined group. While both groups in this study made good progress, the diet-only group lost significantly LESS abdominal fat than the diet & exercise combined group .

From my research, two of the most important aspects to getting rid of visceral fat are:

1. The use of high intensity forms of exercise and full-body resistance training.  Low intensity cardio exercise simply isn’t as effective for removing visceral fat in particular.  High intensity exercise such as interval training, sprints (bike sprints or running sprints), AND full-body weight training are very effective at helping to improve your body’s ability to manage glucose and increases insulin sensitivity, a crucial step in removing visceral fat.


These types of high intensity exercise routines are also very effective at increasing your fat-burning hormones and creating a hormonal environment conducive to burning off abdominal fat, including visceral fat.

2.   In addition, it’s vitally important to get blood sugar under control to help restore insulin sensitivity through the right nutrition.  This means greatly reducing sugars and refined starches in your diet (including fully eliminating any use of harmful high fructose corn syrup!), and focusing more of your diet on healthy fats (such as avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut fat, olive oil, grass-fed butter, free-range eggs, fatty fish and fish oils, etc), as well as increasing protein and fiber intake.  The standard diet recommended by the government, which contains an unnaturally high grain intake is NOT conducive to controlling blood sugar and reducing visceral fat!

Reducing grain-based foods in your diet and getting more of your carbs from veggies and high fiber fruits such as berries can go a long way to helping to solve this problem.

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard- 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth
Mike  Geary

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Poor Diet = Poor Mental Health

Poor Diet = Poor Mental Health

In this groundbreaking talk, Dr. Weil illuminates the worst trends in American nutrition, and the toll they are taking on our health.

Researchers at Loma Linda University in California have found that adults in the state whose diets are poor are more likely to have poor mental health regardless of their gender, age, education, marital status or income level than those with healthy diets. The team reported that increased consumption of sugar was associated with bipolar disorder and that fried foods, or those that contain a lot of sugar and processed grains, were linked with depression.

To reach these conclusions the researchers reviewed data from more than 240,000 telephone surveys conducted with California residents over a 10-year period. The team found that nearly 17 percent of adults were likely to suffer from mental illness – 13.2 percent with “moderate psychological distress and 3.7 percent with severe psychological distress. Those whose diets were poor (they ate more French fries, fast food, soda and sugar) were more likely to be among those with mental illness than people whose diets were deemed healthy Study leader Jim E. Banta, Ph.D., M.P.H., said the results are similar to those from earlier studies conducted in other countries that found links between mental illness and unhealthy diets. While the new findings don’t prove that unhealthy diets contribute to mental illness, Dr. Banta said evidence seems to be pointing in that direction.

May take? These findings are disheartening but not surprising. The evidence from previous investigations conducted in Europe that Dr. Banta referred to suggests that the trans-fats and saturated fats in some junk foods increase the risk of depression. In 2010 researchers from Spain who followed the diet and lifestyle of more than 12,000 men and women for 6 years reported that at the outset, none of the participants had been diagnosed with depression, but at the study’s end, 657 were found to be depressed. They noted that the risk of depression increased among participants who consumed junk foods. In 2009, British researchers reported that among nearly 3,500 midlife men and women participating in a 5-year study those whose diets were high in processed meat, chocolates, sweet desserts, fried foods, refined cereals and high-fat dairy products were 58 percent more likely to be depressed that those whose diets were composed mainly of fruit, vegetables and fish.Contact us and we can get you started on the right track.

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard- 

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/