Save money on meds: 6 tips for finding the best prescription drug prices

This past summer when Debbie Diljak, 54, of Raleigh, N.C., went to pick up her pain medication from a nearby pharmacy, she was shocked when she says she found that the price had skyrocketed from $38 to almost $200 for a month’s supply. Diljak didn’t have insurance, so she simply didn’t fill the prescription for duloxetine (generic Cymbalta), an antidepressant that also is used to treat certain types of pain. Instead, she took another anti-inflammatory drug that cost less. What happened next wasn’t a big surprise: “I stiffened up and hobbled around a lot,” Diljak says. “But I just couldn’t afford the drug at that price.”

Like Diljak, millions of Americans have been hit with high drug costs within the last year. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports National Research Center poll of 1,037 adults showed that a third of those who currently take a drug said they experienced a spike in their prescription drug prices in the past 12 months—anywhere from just a few dollars to more than $100 per prescription.

According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, big price jumps can be due to anything from a product shortage to a change in your insurance coverage. And in rare instances, manufacturers may raise prices simply because they have no competitors also selling the medication. (Because this landscape can be so confusing, Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs evaluates medications for price as well as safety and efficacy; go to CRBestBuyDrugs.org to learn more.)

Frustrating as sudden price hikes can be, our poll shows that most people just fork over the money. Only 17 percent comparison-shopped to see whether they could get a better deal. If you have a standard insurance co-pay, it might not occur to you to shop around. But sometimes the price you’d pay out of pocket (what those without insurance are charged) might be less than your co-pay —a fact pharmacists may neglect to mention. Case in point: Metformin—used to treat type 2 diabetes—sells for just $4 for a month’s supply, or $10 for a three-month supply, at stores such as Target and Walmart, while a co-pay for a month’s worth averages about $11.

And if you do decide to pay out of pocket, the prices retailers charge can vary a lot. To find out what various retailers were charging, we had secret shoppers check prices for five common generic drugs at stores around the country, including chain drugstores, big-box retailers, supermarkets, and independent pharmacies.

What We Uncovered about prescription pricing

In our national price scan, secret shoppers made more than 300 phone calls in all, to more than 200 pharmacies in six cities and their surrounding areas across the U.S. They requested prices for five common generic drugs: Actos (pioglitazone), for type 2 diabetes; Cymbalta (duloxetine), an antidepressant also used to treat muscle and bone pain; Lipitor (atorvastatin), for high cholesterol; Plavix (clopidogrel), a blood thinner; and Singulair (montelukast), for asthma. What we found was startling. In short, prescription drug prices can vary widely from retailer to retailer, even within the same ZIP code.

Drugs could cost as much as 10 times more at one retailer vs. another. We’re not talking about regional differences; we found big variations at retailers in the same area. For example, where Debbie Diljak lives in Raleigh, N.C., the cost for a month’s worth of the generic Cymbalta she takes ranged from $249 at a Walgreens to $43 at Costco. (At Walgreens, the pharmacist did suggest using the store’s discount program to lower the price to $220, but it comes with a $20 annual fee.) See more examples in the map below.

Similar patterns emerged across the U.S. In Dallas, a shopper was quoted a price of $150 for generic Plavixat a centrally located CVS. But Preston Village Pharmacy, an independent just a 20-minute drive away, said it would sell the drug for just $23. In Denver, the grocery store Albertson’s Save-On said its price for genericActos was $330, but nearby Cherry Creek Pharmacy said it would sell it for just $15. For the variety of prices we found, see the chart below.

Map of medication prices in North Carolina

The price isn’t always set in stone. Shoppers sometimes found that they could get a discount, but only after they asked. At a supermarket pharmacy outside of Des Moines, a shopper was first quoted a price of $75 for generic Actos, but after asking whether there was a better deal, she was offered the drug for $21.

“It sounds crazy that you would need to approach buying prescription medications like you would a used car—by shopping around and haggling. But that’s the reality of today’s pharmaceutical marketplace,” says Stephen Schondelmeyer, Pharm.D., a pharmacoeconomics professor at the University of Minnesota.

Retail pharmacies don’t really expect anyone to pay those high prices, says Adam Fein, Ph.D., president of Pembroke Consulting. “The list price is just a fantasy number,” he adds. In fact, reps from both CVS and Rite Aid told us that they expect cash buyers to access discounts. “Pricing surveys fail to take into account the various value and discount programs available at most pharmacies for cashpaying customers,” according to the CVS representative. And Rite Aid directed us to its Rx Savings Program, which has no annual fee and offers a 30-day supply of certain generics for $9.99; a 90-day supply, for $15.99. But none of the newer generics we priced were on the posted list.

And many pharmacies don’t quote a bottom-line price until they have your prescription in hand, or in the computer. “At that point they basically have your business,” Schondelmeyer says. “They count on customers not wanting to hassle with transferring their prescription elsewhere.”

Why Prices Vary So Much

Retail pharmacy chains such as CVS and Rite Aid set high retail “list,” or usual and customary, prices because that helps determine what the insurance companies will pay for the drug, Schondelmeyer explains. Still, those huge discrepancies are puzzling. As with other consumer products, such as toothpaste and cereal, we’d expect prices to be more consistent among stores competing for your business. Though chains have their own contracts with drug suppliers, it’s unlikely, according to Schondelmeyer, that the wholesale price would vary that widely. So we reached out to a few retailers, but they would not comment on the wild swings we’ve seen.

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In a written statement, a Rite Aid representative told us that its pricing strategy was “proprietary” and that “we regularly evaluate our pricing strategy to make sure we remain competitive.” Similarly, a CVS rep wrote that the full list prices of drugs aren’t relevant because the majority of its customers are just charged their insurance co-pay. But our follow-up analysis suggests that many people do pay out of pocket. For example, in Raleigh last year, some 3,000 prescriptions for generic Cymbalta cost consumers an average of $242 each, or a total of $716,000.

That gets at the heart of the matter, Schondelmeyer says. Retail chains such as CVS and Rite Aid aren’t concerned about consumers who pay out of pocket, he says, because they typically make up less than 10 percent of their business. What does concern them is how much third parties, such as insurance companies, will pay, usually either a negotiated reimbursement fee or the list price —whichever is lower. So retailers intentionally set the list price very high so that there’s no chance it could undercut what they get paid by insurers. “If your pharmacy quotes a cash price of $40, then a third-party payer will balk if you turn around and charge them $75,” Schondelmeyer says.

Of course, as Fein explains, “very few consumers understand pharmacy economics well enough to negotiate with their pharmacist. That’s why retail pharmacies earn much higher profits on uninsured and underinsured individuals.”

We found one exception to that practice: Costco.“We just price products as low as we possibly can and still make a modest profit,” says Victor Curtis, R.Ph., senior vice president of pharmacy. Costco does that by scrupulously controlling expenses, so you can expect more of a no-frills experience: no 24-hour drive-thru or Sunday hours, for example. One big cost savings comes from filling prescriptions at a central facility and shipping them overnight to stores. So when you phone in a refill, you might be asked whether next-day pick up is okay. “That halves our labor cost,” Curtis says. (Customers can still opt for same-day service.) According to Curtis, Costco pharmacies have four times more cash customers than the national average.

Because retail pharmacy chains set the list price of drugs so much higher than places like Costco, we also wondered whether they are charging insurance companies more. “Unfortunately, the true costs are hidden,” Schondelmeyer says. For example, he notes that if you have insurance and see your doctor, you’ll receive an explanation of benefits, or EOB, which shows your costs and how much your insurance company paid. But when it comes to drugs, there’s no EOB, so it’s not clear how much pharmacies actually charge. “The sad part is even consumers who try to find the true cost in this crazy market just can’t do it,” Schondelmeyer adds.

The situation for consumers could worsen as new marketplace changes occur: CVS recently bought Target’s pharmacy business. And Walgreens has announced its intention to take over Rite Aid. “Having effective competition at all levels in the supply chain is critical for protecting consumer choice,” says George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. “That’s why it’s so important that antitrust enforcers examine these types of mergers carefully.”

Who Sells It for Less: Our Pricing Analysis

Earlier this year, we had secret shoppers make calls to the pharmacies of more than 200 stores across the country to price a market basket of five common generic prescription drugs. We followed up with half of them recently, and also checked one online pharmacy, to get the most up-to-date prices. The numbers in the chart below are averages of the price retailers quoted for a one-month supply. Retailers are listed from least to most expensive for the total price of our market basket.

chart of the averages price retailers quoted for a one-month supply.

Getting the Best Deal

With rising drug costs, people whose insurance company stops or reduces coverage of a drug—or those without coverage at all—will feel the pinch. Even those with insurance may still face higher out-of-pocket costs as co-pays and deductibles increase.

Not being able to afford medications has consequences: About 40 percent of people in our survey said they cut corners with their medication to make ends meet—they split pills without their doctor’s okay, for example, skipped doses, or like Debbie Diljak, simply didn’t fill their prescription. People hit with high drug costs were also twice as likely as others to avoid seeing their doctor or to forego a medical procedure. But as Diljak discovered, there may be other options that are better for you and your wallet.

Regardless of which drugstore or pharmacy you use, choosing generic over brand-name drugs can save you money—as much as 90 percent in some cases. Talk to your doctor, who may be able to prescribe lower-cost alternatives in the same class of drugs. For more ways to save money on your next prescription, see our list of tips, below.

Last, once you’ve done the work to find a pharmacy that you like and that offers a good price, our medical consultants advise filling all of your prescriptions there. Keeping all of the drugs you take in one system helps avoid duplications and dangerous interactions.

Smart Strategies for Savings on Prescriptions

  1. Skip chain drugstores. For all five drugs we priced, the big pharmacy chains consistently charged the most. Among all of the walk-in stores, Costco offered the lowest prices. You don’t need to be a member to use its pharmacy, though joining can net you more discounts.
  2. Support independents. Though you might think that mom and pop stores usually charge higher prices, we found that wasn’t always the case. In fact, we found some real bargains at local independent pharmacies, as well as some higher prices. We also found wide fluctuations at supermarkets, another place you might not expect to save. Another advantage of independent drugstores: We often had luck asking for a lower price, where pharmacists might have more flexibility to match or beat competitor’s prices.
  3. Don’t always use your health insurance. Many chain and big-box stores offer hundreds of common generics at prices as low as $4 for a 30-day supply and $10 for a 90-day supply for people who pay out of pocket. Sam’s Club even fills some prescriptions free for members. Check the fine print: There may be a small fee to sign up, and not all discount programs are open to people with Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare insurance. And keep in mind that when you bypass your insurance, money spent on your medication won’t count toward your deductible or out-of-pocket maximums.
  4. Always ask “Is this your lowest price?’ ” Victor Curtis of Costco told us that its contracts for Medicare Part D plans prohibit pharmacists from offering a better cash price to a customer unless a customer asks. And Rite Aid told us that their pharmacists process prescriptions through insurance unless customers tell them to do otherwise. Usually we found that asking can prompt the person on the phone to dig a bit for any available discount programs, cards, and coupons. Check back often, because prices and offers may change. And never assume that one pharmacy’s “discounted” price is lower than another’s regular price.
  5. Seek a 90-day prescription. For drugs you take long term, it can be more convenient and even cheaper. For example, if you use insurance, you’ll pay one co-pay rather than three. And for discount generic drug programs, paying $10 for a 90-day supply works out to less than $4 every 30 days.
  6. Use SuReceta!

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Editor’s Note: These materials were made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by a multistate settlement of consumer fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin (gabapentin). Furthermore, the 6th tip has been changed from the original copy to provide a specific example along with several headlines to improve SEO content.

Copy courtesy of Consumer reports*

Hurricane Season: 13 Safety Tips to Weather the Storm

Hurricane Irma, now down to a category one hurricane, has flooded streets and homes with it’s storm surge, ripped out trees, cut power to millions, and toppled massive construction cranes along Miami’s skyline as if they were children’s toys.

The storm, which has been recorded as one of the most powerful ever from the Atlantic in decades, made landfall on Sunday as a category four storm with 210kph winds in the Florida Keys off the state’s southern tip at 9:10am local time.  The record breaking storm continues to move north, up along Florida’s west coast towards Tampa.

It’s more important than ever for Hispanics in Florida to know the health risks they face in the wake of this natural disaster, and what flood safety tips will help them stay safe during Hurricane season.

13 Hurricane Safety Tips in Order to Avoid Illness, Injury, and Loss

Rising flood waters in these disasters surprise many people inland, especially in a major city like Houston after Harvey, who never expect to suffer injuries or see drownings from water rising several feet within hours. Water safety and risks are the most important factors you must understand in this type of disaster, so let’s go over a few hurricane safety tips.

  1. If you can before the storm, take photos of every room of your house, key documents you possess, every piece of electronics, and everything valuable, and upload the pictures to a web-based cloud, so you can have them for insurance purposes.
  2. Buy lots of duct tape and plastic bags. You can pick up from store or order online via amazon. Also a LED flash light for every member of the family will come in handy.
  3. Use dishwasher, washing, and dryer machines like safes, storing valuables in multiple plastic bags inside. Its a good place to store photos, for example.  As well, store items on top shelves on top floors of closets in plastic bags.
  4. Fill water in plastic bag and place in freezer to keep refrigerator cold for food supplies. Avoid opening the fridge as much as possible.
  5. If you have a car, think about where you are going to park it. High parking garages that are inland are ideal.
  6. Buy bug spray and/or mosquito repellant. Mosquitos thrive after a flood bringing diseases like Dengue, West Nile Virus, or Zika.
  7. Do not count on your cellphone for communication, though have it charged going into the storm and if possible use a charging block during the storm.
  8. Keep in mind flood waters affect our pets just as much as us, so do not let them drink the water either!
  9. Sanitation and personal hygiene are essential to avoid fecal contamination, so if you can, take a shower and wash clothes and dishes before the storm begins.
  10. If you go to top floors, bring an ax with you to break through the roof.
  11. Flood water is usually contaminated and toxic to your health, so do not drink it. Contaminated floodwater contains sewage, disease, agricultural runoff, and toxic chemicals. Contaminated flood Waters create wound infections, and also made you suseptible to cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis A.
  12. High winds usually means downed power lines in the streets, making water in the streets unsafe to wade through. You could get electrocuted.
  13. After the storm, remember storm surges create and leave toxic mold in homes, that must be evaluated afterwards.

If charged and service is still available, use your mobile phones to access emergency services and stay informed! Government sites like the CDC and the American Red Cross will provide bilingual access to lifesaving advice to get you through this. Share your questions and concerns on our Facebook page as well. We will be discussing how to deal with the mental and physical stress you are experiencing. We are here, as one community, to help.

Do You Have The Coffee Gene? Your caffeine cravings could be good for your heart.

Whether your body considers coffee to be poison or medicine could just hinge on your genetics.

There have been sound studies behind coffee consumption having the ability to decrease the risk of heart disease, but research has also showed how daily doses of caffeine could increase your risk of heart disease. So what’s the deal- is coffee heart healthy or not?

The link between caffeine and risk of heart disease seems to be dependent on the expression of one specific gene— called CYP1A2. Depending on what type of expression of this gene you have, caffeine can increase or decrease your risk of heart disease.

The two types of coffee gene expressions: Fast & Slow

By looking at the interaction of caffeine from coffee and genes, researchers at the University of Toronto  have identified humans have what’s called a CYP1A2 gene, which is in charge of metabolising caffeine in the body. This gene tells the liver to make one of two enzymes- CYP1A2 fast and CYP1A2 slow.

CYP1A2 fast—

If you have the fast expression of this gene, caffeine from coffee is processed, metabolized, and eliminated from the body quickly. Drinking 2-4 cups of coffee a day has been shown to decrease your chances of heart disease.

CYP1A2 slow—

But, the same study revealed that if you have the slow expression of this gene, 2-4 cups of caffeine from coffee a day lingers in your blood stream. This slow metabolism of caffeine is associated with an increased risk in heart disease.

The CYP1A2 gene expression also determines whether a coffee drinker will experience increased blood pressure, jitters, anxiety, depression, trouble breathing, vomiting, fever, disrupted sleep, PMS, adrenal exhaustion, stomach pains, and other well-documented unpleasantries sometimes accompanied by caffeine.

The slow expression of the gene means you’re more likely to experience the symptoms of caffeine overload drinking a small to moderate amount. 

The gene mapping company  FitnessGenes says that 40 percent of people are fast metabolizers, 45 percent have both a slow and a fast copy, and 15 percent carry two copies of the slow allele.

How do you know what expression of the coffee gene you have?

Technically, the only way to know which expression of the CYP1A2 gene you have is through gene mapping.

  • CaffeineGEN: Consumer Genetics Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., offers a test called CaffeineGEN to tell whether a person has a “slow” or “fast” caffeine-metabolizing gene. The cost of CaffeineGEN: $139 for a standard test, with results in seven business days, or $179 for “express” results in three days.
  • 23andme: If you have $199 to spare, and you’d like to learn what caffeine gene expression you have along with more about your genes and health in general, check out 23andme.com.

If you don’t want to spend the time or money on genetic testing, you could go the route of seeing how your body feels when you slowly ween yourself off of coffee and then re-introduce it.

If you opt for the ‘listen to your body’ approach, you do have to keep in mind there can be other factors effecting how your body feels and if you experience. As well, keep a look out for any of the negative symptoms associated with the slow expression of the gene I mentioned above.

Tips on how to drink coffee to maximize the health benefits

Chances are, if you drink coffee, you enjoy it, and you’ll probably keep drinking it.  After all, 83% of adults in the US drink an average of 3 cups of coffee a day. Whether or not you know you have the fast or slow expression of the CYP1A2 gene, here’s how you can maximize your morning-jo health benefits.

  • Drink it black:

The most important thing when trying to maximize your morning cup of jo is to not add anything unhealthy to your daily dose of coffee. So avoid putting any sugar, artificial sweeteners, or creamers in your mug. If you really find it unbearable to drink coffee black, try adding skim, almond, coconut, or soy milk instead of heavy cream or whole milk.

  • Avoid unfiltered coffee:

Unfiltered preparations of coffee such as Turkish or French press contains cafestol, a substance that can increase cholesterol levels. Instead you want to try and brew coffee with a paper filter.

  • Not too hot:

Drinking coffee, tea and other beverages at temperatures hotter than 149 degrees Fahrenheit may lead to cancer of the esophagus, according to research published in Lancet Oncology earlier this year.

Dr. Mosqueras Recommendations for Do’s and Dont’s

I don’t expect everyone to read this and immediately look into getting gene mapping done, so I asked Chief Medical Officer at Saludmóvil Dr. Mosquera what his recommendations on coffee are.

People who want to avoid coffee in general: “There are people who may not have the slow expression of the coffee gene that still definitely want to avoid or severely limit coffee consumption. Research has shown Pregnant women, people with anxiety issues, children, and people with high blood pressure or insomnia might also want to avoid or severely limit coffee.” Notes Dr. Mosquera.

If you already drink coffee: “If you’re sipping coffee daily like me and you enjoy it without the negative ‘jittery’ feelings, I’d say keep on sipping, but don’t go out of your way to drink more coffee. Even if you believe you have the fast gene expression, caffeine overdose can happen. If you beleive you have the slow expression but your body is benefiting from caffeine in other ways besides your heart health, try just lowering your amount of coffee or try decaf. The health benefits of sticking to a moderate 2-4 cups a day appear to far outweigh the negatives.” Says Dr. Mosquera

If you don’t already drink coffee: “I don’t think the health benefits are a compelling enough reason to start drinking coffee. There are downsides. I would say keep not drinking Coffee.” Recommends Dr. Mosquera.

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to nutrition

Coffee is a great example of how there’s truly no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to diet. While we all have a lot in common, we also have important differences: lifestyle, environment,  activity level, genes, gene expression, metabolic activity, and numerous other factors which differ from person to person. All of these will impact how our bodies will respond to a particular food or beverage.

 

What To Do If Someone You Love Is Addicted to Opioids

Opioids, which are drugs commonly prescribed by doctors to relieve pain, are highly addictive painkillers and dangerous substances. The United States is experiencing a tragic epidemic of drug usage and overdose deaths from opioids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that an average of 78 people die every single day from overdoses in the U.S.  And the problem with these medical painkillers only seems to be getting worse.

Just last week, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy penned a warning letter to 2.3 million healthcare providers urging them to fight the opioid epidemic.

“I am asking for your help to solve an urgent health crisis facing America: the opioid epidemic,” Murthy writes in his letter. “Everywhere I travel, I see communities devastated by opioid overdoses.”

So what can really be done by family members to help painkiller addicts get better?

I researched and spoke with saludmóvil’s™ integrative medicine expert, Dr. Joseph Mosquera, to find out what effective approaches a family member or friend can take at home or seek out in order to help an opioid addict.

Identifying and Eliminating Negative Enabling

The worst thing a loved one can do for a painkiller addict is to continue negative enabling, says Dr. mosquera.

What is negative enabling? Negative enabling is a term that refers to giving an active opiate addict some form of resource that allows the addict to progress in addiction, notes Dr. Jeffrey Foote, Co-founder and Clinical Director at Center for Motivation & Change.

Two common forms of negative enabling opioid addicts are giving them money or a place to live, says Dr. Mosquera. It also includes any form of resource, like a car, that allows an opiate addict to maintain their addictive lifestyle without repercussions.

“ If addicts act badly and nothing happens because a loved one intervenes, the negative behavior is encouraged and has no consequence.  Even if what a family member or friend is doing is “nice” it just perpetuates the negative action.” Says Dr. Mosquera.

“It’s important to identify what actions are negative enablers for your loved one, stopping them, and sticking to it.” Believes Dr.Mosquera.

Don’t hide the painkiller problem from other family members and friends

To stop the negative enabling people need to know someone has a dangerous addiction.

Some people feel ashamed talking about something like opiate addiction, but addiction affects families from all walks of life.

Even though there’s a good chance most of the family already knows someone is struggling, Dr. Mosquera says to be sure to inform other family members and friends about the situation.

“It’s important to explain what actions are negatively enabling to the addict.” says Dr. Mosquera.

With more family and friends on board, Dr. Mosquera says it will be increasingly difficult for an opiate addict to support active addiction or have any negative enablers.

“Choose transparency over secrecy”, encourages Dr. Mosquera. “It could save a life.”

Medication options out there for treating opioid addiction

“For an addicted person to just go cold turkey and never use opioids again is mentally and physically difficult,” says Dr.Mosquera. “Luckily, we now have medications available that can undo the damage, prevent relapse, and help people achieve permanent recovery.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Naltrexone (brand name Vivitrol®), is an antagonist medication widely available in emergency rooms that immediately stops opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. An antagonist medication is a drug that blocks opioids by attaching to the opioid receptors without activating them.  

It has become widely available for treating overdosed patients.

Dr. mosquera says to be sure to talk to your healthcare professional about Vivitrol first. “Just taking another medication isn’t going to stop the cycle of addiction.” notes Dr. Mosquera.

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Seek out an integrative recovery treatment plan with 12 steps

Dr. Mosquera also suggests an integrative 12-Step approach to treatment that considers the individual on a case by case basis. For example, treatment should take into account an addict’s cultural heritage, current lifestyle, socio economic status, and family dynamic.

“With the patient’s firm commitment to recovery, integrative 12-Step counseling, and a strong support system from family and friends, Vivitrol can be an effective way to treat addiction to opioids.”  Dr. Mosquera says.

This suggestion comes from Dr. Mosquera’s 30 years of experience with patients along with years of medical research that substantiates the 12-Step recovery plan’s effectiveness. It is also the only medically-proven method to bring about sustained, quality sobriety.

“You want to find a treatment plan that offers whole-body treatment that fits the individual,” adds Dr. Mosquera.

Not sure what treatment plan out there will work for your loved one?

Dr. Mosquera recommends checking out the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. It is a national provider of addiction treatment services with licensed drug rehabilitation centers in Minnesota, Oregon, California, Florida, Illinois and New York.

Remember, the sooner substance abuse is treated, the better. There is no better time to seek out help than the present.

Still brewing on this? Send comments, questions, and concerns to Elara@saludmovil.com.

 

Supercharge Your Day With Green Smoothies!

¡Más salud, más vida con los jugos verdes!

Así como este título no los presenta aprovechemos el mejor regalo que la naturaleza tiene para ofrecer en un vaso con una mezcla de ingredientes verdes suficientes para mejorar y traer increíbles beneficios a nuestro cuerpo. Y aunque no suene o no se vea apetitoso a simple vista, le podemos asegurar que con el tiempo eso puede cambiar y en cierta medida llegar a adquirir un buen gusto para nuestro paladar. 

Image result for celery¡Verde que te quiero verde!

Los licuados verdes son bebidas combinadas que mezclan verduras de hojas verdes con las frutas de su preferencia. La mejor noticia usted obtendrá un jugo o batido a su medida con las proporciones de las hortalizas y con ese balance de lo dulce que la fruta nos da. 

Generación verde: beneficios de que no te puedes perder

Además de ser una bebida espesa, cremosa, deliciosa e ideal para el desayuno tanto para adultos como para niños, los batidos verdes están llenos de fibra, lo que disminuye los niveles de colesterol y glucosa, regulan los procesos de limpieza de tu cuerpo y te hacen tener la sensación de llenura durante más tiempo. Además, es una manera sabrosa de obtener una fuerte dosis de frutas y verduras, que aportan nutrientes esenciales como vitamina A, vitamina C, ácido fólico y potasio. 

Estos maravillosos licuados verdes nos ayudan a la pérdida natural de peso, te ayuda a mantenerte lleno, constituye un buen hábito de consumir verduras y frutas, previene los cálculos renales, aumentan tu energía y te ayuda a calmar la indigestión ácida como el reflujo o la acidez.

Image result for green apples

Cada mañana celebra con la naturaleza

Suma salud a tu cuerpo con estos batidos simples y alcance de todos, en su mayoría contamos con estos ingredientes en nuestra nevera, así que no pierdas tiempo y empieza hoy mismo a consentir tu cuerpo para ganar salud.

Para este jugo utilicé: 

-Manzanas verdes 

-Espinacas 

-Celery 

-Pepino 

Image result for pepinos

Better Health and Better Life by Drinking Green Juices!

According to the title of this article, the best gift nature has to offer is a glass of mixed greens that provide enough ingredients to improve one’s health and bring incredible benefits to their body. The green juice may not look or even sound appetizing at first glance, yet we can assure you that over time your palate will come to enjoy the taste.

Green: How I Want To See You!

Green smoothies are drinks that are mixed with the fruit of your choice and a green leafy vegetable. The best news you will obtain from drinking the smoothie is that you will get a proportion of vegetables and that balance of sweet fruits in one drink.

Generation Green: Benefits That You Cannot Miss Out On

In addition to being a thick, creamy, delicious and ideal drink for breakfast, green smoothies are full of fiber. The fiber reduces cholesterol and glucose levels, regulates the processes of cleansing your body, and makes you have the feeling of fullness for longer. It is also a tasty way to get a strong dose of fruits and vegetables, which provides essential nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folic Acid, and Potassium.

The wonderful green smoothies help us to maintain weight loss. It helps keep a person full, initiates a good habit of consuming fruits and vegetables, prevents kidney stones, and increases one’s energy.

Celebrate Every Morning With Nature!

You can add a healthy snack to your body with these simple smoothies. You are able to use everyday ingredients in your fridge, so you do not have to waste time in buying certain items. Start this cleanse today to allow your body to gain health.

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Ingredients for this Smoothie:

  • -Green Apples
  • -Spinach
  • -Celery
  • -Cucumbers

Take Care Of Your Heart: It’s The Only One You Have!

Regálale vida a tu corazón con estos movimientos

Que sabroso es sentirse bien y es que la situación no sólo radica en el aspecto físico, ni mostrar tus abdominales y avances de tu cuerpo en las redes sociales, estos son valores agregados que nos satisfacen, sin embargo, aquí lo importante es que uno de los  beneficios fundamentales del ejercicio es lo que hace por nuestra salud y por la máquina más importante de nuestro cuerpo, nuestro corazón.

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Fortalece tu corazón con estos imperdibles ejercicios

  1. Caminar es una de las mejores opciones y si lo haces tres veces por semana le estarías regalando vida a tu corazón, porque eleva la frecuencia cardíaca, logrando utilizar el oxígeno como combustible y hace que el organismo lo aproveche de manera más eficiente. Caminar es para todas las edades, no tiene impacto, no lesiona las articulaciones y permite quemar calorías.
  2. ¡A mover el esqueleto bailando! el ejercicio aeróbico frecuente mejora la circulación, aumenta la capacidad pulmonar y mejora el tono muscular. Además, según estudios la actividad física reduce los sentimientos de depresión y ansiedad, y promueve el bienestar psicológico. Así que no pierdas tiempo y actívate con la música y a bailar…
  3. Trotar o correr es uno de los ejercicios más populares y según los estudios indican que cuanto más se corre, más se ayuda a la salud.
  4. La natación es una actividad por excelencia con dos horas y media por semana se disminuyen los riesgos de contraer enfermedades cardíacas.
  5. ¡Limpiar la casa y el jardín! así como lo escucha las actividades cotidianas nos ayudan a elevar más pulsaciones si se hacen con energía.
  6. Por último recuerde los pacientes que toman medicamentos o con problemas cardiovasculares tienen que consultar al médico sobre la actividad física a realizar. También los diabéticos, quienes sufren problemas en huesos o articulaciones o tienen presión alta. Los sedentarios mayores de 50 años, los fumadores o quienes tienen sobrepeso tienen que asesorarse.

English Translation Below

Give life to your heart with these excercises

It’s nice to know that your well being doesn’t just lie in the physical aspect, like having to show your abs or body’s progress on social media to prove you’re fit. These are perceived values that bring us temporary validation but not true satisfaction. The important part of fitness is that it makes our bodies strong, especially the heart muscle.

Keep your heart healthy with these mandatory exercises:

  1. Walking is one of your best options and if a person does it three times a week, you would be giving life to your heart. It elevates the heart rate, using the oxygen as fuel and makes the body more efficient. Walking is for all ages and has no harmful impact, completely safe for your joints. Walking will also allow you to burn  a lot of calories.
  2. Move the skeleton by dancing! Frequent aerobic exercise improves circulation, increases lung capacity, and improves muscle tone. According to studies, physical activity reduces feelings of depression and anxiety while also promoting psychological health. Don’t waste anymore time and start dancing!
  3. Jogging or running is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do. According to studies, the more one runs, the stronger the heart gets.
  4. Swimming is an activity that produces excellent results for your health. If one does it for two hours on average per week, it can diminish the risk of developing heart disease significantly.
  5. Clean the house and tend to your garden! These everyday activities can raise your pulse if they are done with high energy.
  6. Finally, patients who take prescription medications or have cardiovascular problems should consult with a doctor before physical activity is carried out.

The Kissing Disease

Be Careful, Kissing Can Cause Disease!   

Who doesn’t like to kiss and be kissed? (Sigh)… kissing is the language of two souls expressing their love. However, when it comes to kissing, one must bear in mind that there is the “kissing” or “mononucleosis” disease. Mononucleosis is a viral infection produced by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is a strain of the herpes virus that causes fever, sore throat, and inflammation of the lymph nodes. Most often it occurs among young people ranging from the ages 15 to 35 years old. However, this disease can develop at any age.

Symptoms that you can not neglect…

Symptoms of mononucleosis appear between 4 to 7 weeks after exposure to the virus. The known symptoms are fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle aches, and slight alterations of the liver and spleen. Other less frequent signs are: chest pain, cough, headache, skin rash, jaundice, and difficulty breathing.

Kissing risks:

  1. Viral infections like influenza and herpes simplex. 2. bacterial infections: tonsillitis. 3. Infections of the gums: gingivitis 4. Hepatitis B. These are some of the diseases that can arise at the moment of contact with an infected person.

Prevention is the way!

– Avoid sharing glasses or bottles – they operate as agents of contagions.

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It has been established that even if there is direct contact with many germs in a kiss, the immune system of each person is key to avoid these kinds of infections. As in this case, the important thing is prevention. It’s best to keep a regular sexual partner and maximize hygiene measures.

Childhood Diabetes: Parents Can Help Prevent It

¡Atención padres!

Entérate cómo prevenir y controlar la diabetes infantil en edad preescolar

Debemos tener en cuenta que ser cuidadosos y muy estrictos a la hora del control de la diabetes en niños y bebés es el primer paso fundamental para comenzar este camino. Ya que su crecimiento irá cambiando según las dosis requeridas de insulina que se tendrá que aplicar con el paso del tiempo. Los niños a diferencia de los adultos, dependerán de la inoculación de la insulina. Sin embargo, como padres no podemos decaer, la mayoría de los niños alcanzan excelentes niveles de vida.

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¡Consejos que no puedes perder de vista!

Comienza ya a controlar el azúcar en tus hijos

-El monitoreo de la glucemia es primordial en la atención a los pacientes pediátricos con diabetes.

-La alimentación saludable es la clave del éxito.

-Ayúdeles a mantener un peso saludable.

-El tratamiento debe estar combinado con dieta, ejercicios y la administración de insulina.

-Tenga en cuenta no todas las insulinas son aptas para niños menores de dos años. Recuerde (consultar siempre a su médico).

-Si el niño diabético tiene un buen control metabólico, la enfermedad no tendrá repercusiones en su desempeño escolar.

-La escuela debe fomentar hábitos de convivencia no discriminatorios.

-La actividad física: es importante que tu bebé o niño este en constante movimiento.

– No pierdas los controles médicos.

-En casos de los bebés es recomendable la lactancia materna desde su nacimiento ya que sus componentes son naturales y completamente sanos. La leche materna tiene cero azúcar (a diferencia de la fórmula) .

-Evita dulces. Opta por las frutas.

 

English Translation Below

 

Attention parents!

Learn how to prevent and manage preschool-age child diabetes

We must bear in mind to be very careful and strict when it comes to the control of diabetes in children and babies which is the first fundamental step to start this way. Since its growth will change according to the required dose of insulin that will have to be applied with the passage of time. Children, as opposed to adults, will depend on the injection of insulin. However, most children reach excellent standards of living.

Tips that you can keep track of:

Start to control the sugar in your kids

– Monitoring of blood glucose is essential care for pediatric patients with diabetes.

– Healthy eating is the key to success.

– Help them maintain a healthy weight.

– Treatment must be combined with diet, exercise, and insulin administration.

– Please note not all insulins are suitable for children less than two years old. Remember always consult your doctor.

– If the diabetic child has a good metabolic control, disease will have no impact on their school performance.

– Their school should promote non-discriminatory living habits.

– Physical activity is important. Make sure your baby or child is in constant motion.

– Don’t miss checkups.

– In cases of babies breastfeeding from birth, it is recommended since its components are natural and completely healthy. Breast milk has zero sugar (unlike the formula).

– Avoid sweets. Substitute them for fruits instead.

Diabetics Beware: Summertime Can Be Extremely Dangerous

¡CUIDADO! Que el verano no afecte tu diabetes

Se aproxima el calor  y aumentan las ganas de salir a pasear e ir a la playa para disfrutar en familia la llegada del verano. Sin embargo, el calor excesivo y la mayor exposición al sol puede representar riesgos de salud graves especialmente en personas que tienen diabetes.

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El calor y el clima húmedo limita la capacidad de una persona con diabetes para sudar, lo que significa que puede reducir peligrosamente los niveles de glucosa en la sangre y una deshidratación. Por eso debes de tomar tus precauciones para este verano. Aquí te decimos qué hacer.

¡Toma nota de estos consejos!

  1. Controle los niveles de glucosa constantemente. Recuerde que los cambios de actividad puede afectar los niveles de insulina en el cuerpo.
  2. Manténgase fresco: Tómese un respiro del calor y la humedad permaneciendo en áreas con aire acondicionado o en lugares frescos. Asegúrese de hacer ejercicios en horas de la mañana o finalizando la tarde.
  3. Use protector solar: Las quemaduras del sol pueden afectar su cuerpo y hacer que suban los niveles de glucosa en sangre.
  4. Protége sus medicamentos: Mantenga sus medicinas alejados de la luz solar directa. Las temperaturas extremas y la luz solar pueden tener un efecto perjudicial en los medicamentos como la insulina, puede hacer que esta pierda su eficacia.
  5. Tome mucha agua: La deshidratación sobrecarga el cuerpo y afecta los niveles de glucosa. Debe tomar  2 litros de agua aunque no tenga sed.
  6. Evite la cafeína y el alcohol: Estos dos componentes como la cafeína y el alcohol tienen efectos diuréticos que puede aumentar el riesgo de deshidratación.
  7. Precaución a los signos de insolación: Si presenta transpiración intensa, calambres musculares, palidez, cansancio, debilidad, mareos, dolores de cabeza, vómitos y desmayos.
  8. Los especialistas aconsejan que que busque atención médica de inmediato.

English translation below.

BEWARE! Make sure that Summertime doesn’t affect your diabetes

In the coming months, the heat is arriving. This in turn is going to increase the desire to go out to walk and go to the beach to enjoy the summer with family. However, excessive heat and greater exposure to the sun can represent serious health risks, particularly in people who have diabetes.

The heat and humid climate limits the ability of a person with diabetes to sweat, which means that it may dangerously reduce the levels of glucose in the blood, which will cause dehydrations. This is why you should take precautions for the summer.

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Take note of these tips:

  1. Check glucose levels continuously. Remember that changes in activity may affect the levels of insulin produced by your body.
  2. Keep Cool: Take a break from the heat and humidity by staying in areas with air conditioning or cool places. Be sure to exercise in the morning or at the end of the evening.
  3. Use Sunscreen: Burns from the sun can affect your body and lead to a rise in blood sugar levels.
  4. Protect Your Medications: Keep your medicine away from direct sunlight. Extreme temperatures and sunlight can have a detrimental effect on medications such as insulin, which will make it lose its effectiveness.
  5. Drinks Lots of Water: Dehydration can overload the body and affects glucose levels. Even if you are not thirsty, you should drink 2 liters of water.
  6. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol: These two components have diuretic effects which may increase the risk of dehydration
  7. Caution – The Signs of Heatstroke: If one presents intense sweating, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headaches, vomiting, and fainting. Specialists advise them to seek immediate medical attention.

 

Leche Materna: “Regalo de vida”

Leche materna

Cuando hablamos de leche materna, hablamos de vida…

Ninguna fórmula en el mercado llega a igualar los beneficios de la leche materna. Son muchos los estudios que así lo confirman. Es por eso, que hoy queremos entregarle una información para que hagamos un recorrido por los innumerables beneficios de este “tesoro divino” y que puede ser aprovechado por todas las futuras mamás que decidan amamantar a sus bebés.

La leche materna es el primer alimento natural de los niños, proporciona toda la energía y los nutrientes que necesitan durante el primer año de vida, además protege al bebé de enfermedades infecciosas y crónicas, contiene anticuerpos que ayudan a su desarrollo.

También para las madres resuelta muy beneficioso  e importante porque reduce el cáncer de mama y ovario. Ayuda a la madre a recuperar más rápido su peso.

Algunos beneficios de la lactancia materna en los bebés:

Personalidad: Más segura e independiente.

Cerebro: Ayuda a su desarrollo óptimo del mismo.

Sistema respiratorio: Protege contra el asma, bronquitis, influenza, neumonía etc.

Sistema inmunológico: Protege contra enfermedades crónicas.

Oído: Favorece la agudeza auditiva. Disminuye las infecciones.

Mejor desarrollo: Psicomotriz, emocional y social.

Estómago: Mejora la digestión. Evita infecciones. Reduce el riesgo de padecer cáncer, gastritis y enfermedad de Crohn.

Intestinos: Favorece la maduración intestinal.

Ojos: Menor incidencia de miopía.

Dientes: Disminuye el riesgo de caries.

Piel: Más suave.

 

Es así como la lactancia materna se convierte en un tesoro divino es irremplazable,  te brinda la mayor conexión con tu hijo favoreciendo el apego logrando con mayor estabilidad emocional el crecimiento del bebé. Así que no dudes en hacerlo.

“Sumergirse y conectarse es el más sublime acto de amor entre ella y sus hijos”.

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English Translation below.

Breast Milk –  “Gift of Life”

When we talk about breast milk, we talk about life…

No formula on the market can come close to being in equal benefits to breast milk. There are many studies confirming this finding. It is by that, that today we want to deliver you an information of the countless benefits of this “treasure divine,” so that it can exploited by all the future women that decide to breastfeed their babies.

 

Breast milk is the first natural food for children, provides all the energy and nutrients they need during the first year of life, also protects the baby from infectious and chronic diseases, and contains antibodies that help their development.

 

Also for mothers the results are very beneficial and important because it reduces breast and ovarian cancer. It helps the mother to lose their baby weight faster.

 

Some benefits of breastfeeding in babies:

 

Personality: Safer and more independent.

Brain: helps optimal development of the same.

Respiratory system: protects against asthma, bronchitis, influenza, pneumonia etc.

immune system: protects against chronic diseases.

Ear: favors auditory acuity. Decreases infections.

Best development: psychomotor, social and emotional.

Stomach: improves digestion. It prevents infections. It reduces the risk of cancer, gastritis, and Crohn’s disease.

Intestines: favors the ripening intestinal.

Eyes: lower incidence of myopia.

Teeth: reduces the risk of tooth decay.

Skin: smoother.

 

Breastfeeding is a divine treasure that is irreplaceable, it gives you greater connection with your son favoring the attachment achieved with greater emotional stability growth of the baby. So do not hesitate to do so.

 

“Plunge and connect is the most sublime Act of love between herself and her children.”

 

Alzaheimer: ¡Una enfermedad que roba los recuerdos!

Alzaheimer

Para esta enfermedad no hay cura, se desconoce la causa y el origen. Y tras décadas de investigación intentando hallar un tratamiento eficaz sin éxito, ahora la ciencia focaliza sus esfuerzos en intentar prevenirla. La cien

¿Qué es el Alzaheimer?

Es una alteración neurodegenerativa primaria que suele aparecer a los 65 años, aunque también puede presentarse entre personas más jóvenes. Cuando una persona padece esta enfermedad, experimenta cambios microscópicos en el tejido de ciertas partes de su cerebro y una pérdida, progresiva, pero constante, de una sustancia química, vital para el funcionamiento cerebral, llamada acetilcolina. Dicha sustancia permite que las células nerviosas se comuniquen entre ellas y está implicada en actividades vinculadas con el aprendizaje, memoria y pensamiento.

“Memorias robadas” la enfermedad que arranca los recuerdos de la memoria y arranca el corazón de sus familiares

¡Aunque ellos olviden, nosotros no podemos olvidarlos! Es por eso, que se necesitan tres cosas importantes para ir sobrellevando esta enfermedad, la primera es un fármaco eficaz, una red de ayuda y asesoramiento médico para los familiares y el apoyo incondicional para estas personas, predominando el amor, la  paciencia y rutinas de consejos básicos para cuidar a estar personas.  

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La tecnología da un paso adelante para ayudar a las personas que sufren de Alzaheimer

Un nuevo avance en la tecnología se ha introducido en el mercado de las personas que tienen esta enfermedad. Es un transmisor que emite señales de radiofrecuencia que se envían a la policía. Un número creciente de departamentos de policías de sur de la Florida tiene programas de alta tecnología para hacerle seguimiento al paciente y lograr encontrar a la persona desaparecida en treinta minutos.

Una persona que tiene esta enfermedad puede tener el riesgo de perderse, pero con esta nueva tecnología el cuidador puede actuar rápido llamando a la policía.  A su vez la policía recibe la señal desde su dispositivo y un equipo de sale al rescate. Un beneficio de esta nueva tecnología usable es que no se utilizan las señales de satélite, por lo que puede ser una herramienta incluso si la persona desaparecida en el mismo edificio, bajo el agua o en un bosque.

Este beneficio es necesario porque aproximadamente la mitad de pacientes cognitivos que vagan terminará herido o muerto si no se encuentra dentro de las primeras 24 horas del proceso de búsqueda. El precio actual de este dispositivo puede costar a los cuidadores cientos de dólares, pero algunos organismos policiales han recibido subsidios federales para la compra de este dispositivo para las familias que se encuentran en una clase económica más baja.

English Translation below.

Alzheimer’s disease: A disease that steals memories!

There is cure for this disease, the cause and origin is unknown. And after decades of research trying to find an effective treatment without success, now science focuses its efforts on trying to prevent it. The one hundred

What is Alzheimer’s?

It is an alteration of primary neurodegenerative that usually appears at the age of 65, although it may also occur among younger people. When a person suffers from this disease, experience microscopic changes in the tissue of some parts of his brain and a loss, progressive, but constant, a chemical substance vital for the functioning of the brain, called acetylcholine. The substance allows nerve cells to communicate among them and is involved in activities associated with learning, memory, and thought.

“Stolen memories” disease that takes the memory from the memories and takes the heart of their family members

But they forget, we must not forget them! It is that you need three important things to go to coping with this disease, the first is an effective drug, a network of aid and medical advice to the family and the unconditional support for these people, predominantly the love, patience, and routines from basic tips to care for to be people.

The technology takes a step forward to help people suffering from Alzheimer’s

A new advance in technology has been introduced in the market of people who have this disease. It is a transmitter that emits radio frequency signals that are sent to the police. A growing number of South Florida police departments has high-tech programs to track the patient and make finding the person disappeared in thirty minutes.

A person who has this disease may have the risk of being lost, but with this new technology the caregiver can act quickly by calling the police. At the same time the police receives the signal from your device and a team of comes to the rescue. A benefit of this new wearable technology is that satellite signals, do not use to so it can be a tool even if the missing person in the same building, under water, or in a forest.

This benefit is necessary because about half of cognitive patients wandering will end up wounded or dead if it is not within the first 24 hours of the search process. The current price of this device can cost hundreds of dollars to caregivers, but some law enforcement agencies have received federal subsidies for the purchase of this device for the families who are in a lower economic class.

A person who has this disease may have the risk of being lost, but with this new technology the caregiver can act quickly by calling the police. At the same time the police receives the signal from your device and a team of comes to the rescue. A benefit of this new wearable technology is that satellite signals, do not use to so it can be a tool even if the missing person in the same building, under water, or in a forest.

Disminuir El Sobrepeso Infantil

El consumo de agua en las escuelas podría disminuir el sobrepeso infantil

Disminuir El Sobrepeso Infantil: Estudios sobre el consumo del agua examinaron que la disponibilidad del agua reduciría el consumo de refrescos, las tasas de obesidad.

A lo largo de las cafeterías de todo el mundo en las escuelas primarias y secundarias, los niños han estado gravitando a las bebidas azucaradas y calóricas en los últimos años. Un descubrimiento reciente ha demostrado que la sustitución de estas bebidas puede disminuir la obesidad y ayudar a los niños a tomar decisiones más saludables en cuanto a dieta. El distrito escolar de la ciudad de Nueva York impulsó esta campaña mediante la instalación de dispensadores de agua en las cafeterías. Luego, los investigadores llevaron a cabo un estudio para determinar si el IMC de los niños disminuiría significativamente.

Entre los años 2008 a 2009 y 2012 a 2013, 1,227 escuelas de Nueva York participaron en un estudio cuasi-experimental. Más de 1 millón de estudiantes se observaron dentro del número total de escuelas. El IMC de los niños fueron calculados utilizando la iniciativa FITNESSGRAM de Nueva York y las tablas de crecimiento específicas edad / sexo de los CDC de Estados Unidos. Los estudiantes fueron evaluados antes y después de la instalación del dispensador de agua.

Disminuir El Sobrepeso Infantil

Disminuir El Sobrepeso Infantil

De la evaluación, las niñas mostraron una reducción de 0,022 por ciento en el IMC, mientras que los niños mostraron una reducción de 0,025 por ciento, ambos con intervalos de confianza del 95%. En cuanto a la reducción del peso de los estudiantes, los niños tuvieron una reducción del 0,9% en el exceso de peso, y las niñas tuvieron una reducción del exceso de peso del 0,6%. Además de las reducciones de peso, con la adición de chorros de agua, las compras de leche también se redujo en un 12,3 por ciento. Estos resultados son en comparación con las escuelas sin la instalación de dispensadores de agua.

Aunque los números son pequeños, Brian Elbel, un autor del estudio, dijo a MedPage hoy que los resultados del estudio de dispensador de agua de la escuela fueron significativas debido al hecho de que alrededor del 40% de los niños en edad escolar tienen sobrepeso. Algunos podrían decir que la disminución en el consumo de leche podría ser la fuerza impulsora detrás de la reducción de peso.

Disminuir El Sobrepeso Infantil: Este estudio puede respaldar una demanda por el Dr. Lindsey Turner y el Dr. Erin Hager, que hicieron la declaración para añadir agua a las cafeterías escolares. Estos dos investigadores realizaron una revisión sistemática en 2013 sobre los efectos de la adición de agua, pero se necesita más investigación para solidificar estas afirmaciones. Debido al costo exigente de mantenimiento en los dispensadores de agua, así como los materiales utilizados, algunos distritos escolares podrían no tener el dinero para colocar fuentes de nuevo en los comedores. Turner dijo que había un costo de $1,000 por unidad con los dispensadores, pero en comparación con la gestión de enfermedades de esta ruta podría ahorrar dinero en el largo plazo.

La práctica de las perlas:

  • La obesidad infantil aumenta el riesgo de desarrollar enfermedad cardiovascular.
  • Los niños obesos son más propensos a desarrollar prediabetes, que luego progresa a diabetes tipo 2.

SuReceta.com

Mejor Tratamiento Para La Diabetes

Puede que el mejor tratamiento para la diabetes, no se enfoque en la droga

Mejor Tratamiento Para La Diabetes: Una nueva investigación sugiere que un estilo de vida saludable es mejor que cualquier medicamento.

El American Journal of Cardiology hace unos años propuso que, dada la naturaleza tóxica de la comida que se sirve al público, todos los restaurantes de comida rápida deben proporcionar medicamentos reductores del colesterol leves con cada comida que se le da a un cliente. Esto plantea la pregunta: ¿es esta la base para la buena salud por las decisiones que tomamos en nuestro estilo de vida, o se trata de nuestros medicamentos?

Un nuevo estudio publicado por el Dr. Robert Kushner y asociados discutió una nueva disciplina llamada “Medicina de estilo de vida.” El concepto se puede definir como “el uso terapéutico de las intervenciones de estilo de vida basadas en la evidencia para tratar y prevenir las enfermedades relacionadas con el estilo de vida en un entorno clínico. Empodera a las personas con los conocimientos y habilidades de la vida para hacer cambios de conducta eficaces que aborden las causas subyacentes de la enfermedad. “Los resultados del estudio se centran en las cinco causas principales de muerte en 2010 y encontraron que el cáncer, enfermedades del corazón, enfermedades respiratorias inferiores crónicas , accidente cerebrovascular y lesiones no intencionales fueron centrales en la mayoría de los problemas de salud que enfrentan las personas hoy en día. Lo que finalmente fue establecido en lo que respecta a estas dolencias a las cuales se enfrenta una gran mayoría de la población era que la práctica de hábitos de vida saludable en general reducen el riesgo de contraer muchas de estas afecciones crónicas.

Mejor Tratamiento Para La Diabetes

Mejor Tratamiento Para La Diabetes

Un estilo de vida saludable, en lugar de la medicación, es crucial, ya que acaba con la fuente de la enfermedad en lugar de los síntomas del problema de salud. La mayoría de las enfermedades que pueden prevenirse, como la obesidad, enfermedades del corazón y diabetes, que afectan a toda la nación se derivan de un estilo de vida poco saludables, que podrían ser fácilmente prevenidas si hubiera más atención a la salud de las personas y realmente afilando la restricción dietética adecuada y ejercicio regular. Los médicos profesionales de todo el mundo estarían de acuerdo en que cuando se trata de enfermedades en las que los factores hereditarios entran en juego como el cáncer o la diabetes, lo que lleva un estilo de vida saludable y bien balanceada podría reducir significativamente la probabilidad de adquisición a un individuo. Con el fin de implementar este cambio, los investigadores han señalado que, “La buena comunicación entre el proveedor de salud y el paciente es de suma importancia en la obtención de un cambio de comportamiento. En lugar de simplemente educar e instruir a los pacientes acerca de qué hacer, el cambio de comportamiento debe ser un proceso de orientación y colaboración.

“Un factor que sin duda necesita ser más considerado es los determinantes sociales de la salud, que abarcaría la posición económica de un individuo, su raza, etnia y otros factores culturales que van a hacer un gran impacto en cómo una persona va a llevar a cabo su vida. Muchas personas toman la elección de vivir un estilo de vida poco saludable, pero es la única opción que tienen. Esto en sí mismo es un factor importante cuando se considera el modelo de “medicina de estilo de vida”, y aunque se hace referencia en la investigación, debe haber más información sobre la cantidad de opciones de estilo de vida que una persona tiene en realidad, ya que son decisiones que enfrentan a las condiciones en que viven o en la cultura que se han criado en.

Mejor Tratamiento Para La Diabetes: Los partidarios de la vida sana se pondrán a demostrar los beneficios fisiológicos y psicológicos de un estilo de vida activo y equilibrado, la energía y la satisfacción general con uno mismo. Con un régimen sano que juega un papel en mantener las enfermedades en la distancia y en mejorar nuestra salud mental y física, hay un caso sólido de por qué el estilo de vida es fundamental para una buena salud.

La práctica de las perlas:

  • El medicamento de estilo de vida es un nuevo enfoque para abordar la prevención de enfermedades comunes.
  • La comunicación apropiada entre un proveedor y el paciente es esencial en la obtención de cualquier cambio de comportamiento.
  • Las investigaciones futuras deberían tomar más en cuenta que la forma en la posición social y económica de un paciente contribuyen a su estilo de vida.

Aprender más en SuReceta.com

Los niños están comiendo un equivalente a cinco rosquillas al día en azúcares ocultas

Los niños están comiendo un equivalente a cinco rosquillas al día en azúcares ocultas

 

Azúcares ocultas: Los niños están comiendo el equivalente a cinco rosquillas al día en azúcares ocultas, una coalición de expertos en obesidad ha advertido.

Una nueva investigación de la Alianza para la Salud de obesidad muestra que el niño en promedio está comiendo la misma cantidad de azúcar que si estuviera consumiendo 20 galletas de chocolate o cinco trozos de tarta cada día.

El grupo de 39 organizaciones benéficas, colegios reales y expertos médicos pide cambios urgentes a “reformular” alimentos, para reducir la cantidad de azúcar contenida en los alimentos de conveniencia y refrescos.

El año pasado, la estrategia de la obesidad infantil del Gobierno se comprometió a reducir el contenido de azúcar en los alimentos en un 20 por ciento en 2020. Se agregara un impuesto sobre el azúcar en las bebidas, para alentar a los fabricantes a reducir los niveles de azúcar, y para persuadir a los consumidores para elegir opciones más saludables.

azúcares ocultas

Azúcares ocultas: Expertos en salud pública anoche pidieron con insistencia a la industria alimentaria para actuar con rapidez para reducir el contenido de azúcar de los alimentos comunes.

Consejeros del gobierno recomiendan que el azúcar no debe representar más del 5 por ciento de las calorías diarias.

Pero la investigación muestra el promedio de 11 a 18 años de edad, están consumiendo 73,2 g de azúcar al día – más del doble de la recomendada de 30 g al día.

La alianza dijo que los niños estaban consumiendo regularmente altas cantidades de azúcares ocultos en sopas, platos preparados, y los cereales para el desayuno, sin que sus padres se den cuenta de lo poco saludables que son estos alimentos.

Azúcares ocultas: Dr. Modi Mwatsama, de la Alianza para la Salud de la obesidad, dijo: “La mayoría de los padres nunca le entregaron 20 galletas de chocolate al día a sus hijos, pero con tanta azúcar oculta en nuestra comida y bebida a menudo puede ser difícil saber qué cantidad están consumiendo los niños.”

“Es por eso que llamamos la industria de alimentos y bebidas para que cumplan con urgencia con el programa de reformulación del Gobierno.

La alianza incluye el Real Colegio de Médicos, Cancer Research UK, el Foro Nacional de Obesidad y Diabetes del Reino Unido.

Las organizaciones benéficas dijeron que la presencia de azúcares ocultas están contribuyendo a niveles sin precedentes de la obesidad infantil, con uno de cada tres obesos o con sobrepeso en el momento en que salen de la escuela primaria.

Las recomendaciones del gobierno dicen que los adultos y los niños de 11 y más años de edad deben tener no más de 30 g de azúcar al día.

Azúcares ocultas: Los padres se sorprenden a menudo al descubrir que los alimentos salados – como la sopa de tomate, los frijoles, y comidas preparadas – contienen altos niveles de azúcar, junto con los cereales para el desayuno que sus hijos consumen diariamente.

Una lata de crema de sopa de tomate de Sainsbury contiene casi 24 g de azúcar, con más de 20 g de azúcar en una lata de Heinz Baked Beans, su investigación encontró, mientras que muchas comidas preparadas contienen casi 40 g de azúcar cada una.

azúcares ocultas

Sarah Toile, jefe de información de la salud en el Fondo Mundial para la Investigación del Cáncer, dijo: “A menudo puede ser difícil saber exactamente la cantidad de azúcar en los niños están teniendo ya que está escondido en gran parte de su comida y bebida.

“Los niños con sobrepeso u obesos tienen más probabilidades de ser tan adultos como los pone en riesgo de 11 tipos comunes de cáncer. De hecho, después de no fumar, mantener un peso saludable es lo mejor que la gente puede hacer para reducir su riesgo de cáncer.” Dijo Sarah Toile de el Fondo Mundial de la Investigación del Cáncer.

“La industria de alimentos y bebidas puede jugar un papel vital en ayudar a abordar las tasas de obesidad mediante la reducción del contenido de azúcar en sus productos y así hacer mas facil la decision de comer saludable.”  

Azúcares ocultas: Las cifras, calculadas a partir de la Encuesta Nacional de Nutrición y Dieta muestran que, en promedio, todos los grupos de edad están consumiendo más azúcar que las recomendaciones del Gobierno, que ascienden a siete terrones de azúcar al día – o 30 gramos de azúcares libres.  

La ingesta más alta se encuentra en 11 a 18 años de edad (73.2g / día), seguido de 19 a 64 años de edad (59.9g / día) y luego de 4 a 10 años (53,5 g / día). Las azúcares libres son las azúcares añadidos a los alimentos o bebidas, o que se encuentran naturalmente en la miel, jarabes y jugos de frutas sin azúcar.

Read more at SuReceta.com

7 Alimentos Saludables Que Usted Debería Empezar a Comer en el 2017

Alimentos Saludables – El mundo de los alimentos para la salud es enorme, y si no se ha aventurado más allá de las semillas de chía está seriamente perdiendo de algunos ingredientes inagotables en nutrición. En honor del nuevo año y un nuevo inicio, hemos hecho una lista de alimentos que realmente debería empezar a comer en 2017. No sólo estos ingredientes mantienen sus comidas interesantes, pero también van a ayudarle a mantenerse sano en el próximo año.

Aquí hay siete alimentos saludables que debe incorporar en su dieta en 2017:

 

  1. Algas – La algo parda es una fuente inagotable de nutrición. Está cargada con altas cantidades de yodo, potasio, magnesio, calcio y hierro, y también es una gran fuente de Omega-3. Una de las maneras más fáciles de agregar más algas en su dieta es añadir virutas de algas a las sopas caseras (puede encontrar estos alimentos  en sus tiendas locales).También puede agregarle pedacitos de alga a sus ensaladas o platos de arroz.
  1. Ghee – Ghee es esencialmente mantequilla clarificada, que se obtiene calentando la mantequilla para descremar de los sólidos de leche. Es más fácil para algunas personas digerir el ghee que mantequilla en estado natural, debido a su bajo contenido de lactosa – es rica en vitaminas liposolubles A, D, E y K. (Pero sigue siendo la mantequilla, así que no la coman a cucharadas .) Ghee es un alimento básico en la cocina india, su sabor a nuez natural, añade profundidad al curry y más allá.
  2. Verdes de Diente de León– Este verde agradablemente amargo es rico en vitamina C, así como vitaminas del complejo B, calcio, hierro y potasio. Es bueno para los huesos y los músculos, y también es alto en fibra – 3.5 onzas del verde satisfarán el 15 por ciento de su requerimiento diario. El diente de león se pueden encontrar en los mercados locales de granjeros durante la primavera, o incluso en tiendas especializadas como Whole Foods.
  1. Millet – Un grano entero, el mijo es rico en cobre, manganeso, fósforo y magnesio.También es naturalmente libre de gluten. El mijo se come a menudo como una papilla de desayuno, y se prepara mucho como avena cortada, a fuego lento en una olla de agua. Pero también puede ser añadido a la granola, magdalenas y otros productos horneados.
  2. Salmón enlatado – Todos sabemos que el salmón es una fuente increíble de Omega-3, pero a veces la etiqueta de precio puede hacer que este pescado graso se sienta fuera de su alcance. Considere la posibilidad de salmón enlatado. No sólo está lleno de los mismos nutrientes que el salmón fresco, pero es mucho más accesible al bolsillo. Puede añadirlo en la parte superior de verduras para una ensalada abundante, o puede utilizarlo como una manera para hacer una cena rápida con pasta.
  3. Bayas de Trigo (wheat berries) – Este es el grano que se utiliza para hacer la harina que utilizamos para básicamente todo. No se deje engañar, no es una fruta. Sólo es una baya en el sentido botánico. En realidad se ve y actúa como un grano de arroz integral o farro. Toda la valla está cargada con fibra y está llena de proteínas.También es una gran fuente de hierro. Puede usarlo en ensaladas de grano o en lugar de arroz al preparar la cena.
  4. Marmite o Vegemite – Estos diferenciales de polarización elaborados a partir de extracto de levadura son ricos en vitaminas del complejo B, especialmente B3. Niacina (como se conoce a B3) pueden ayudar a aumentar las defensas del cuerpo contra las bacterias. Por supuesto, cuando se trata de Marmite o Vegemite que querrá comer con moderación, ya que tienen un alto contenido de sal – sólo distribuya una capa fina sobre una tostada en lugar de mermelada. (a pesar de los diferenciales han de ser muy similares, hay que señalar que Marmite es británico y Vegemite es australiano.)

Alimentos Saludables: Ahora que aprendió esto, eche un vistazo a alimentos que debe comer másno menos – de en 2017.

alimentos saludables

 

Líderes Hispanos Contra Trump: Saving Obamacare

Presidente Trump va a dar su primer discurso ante una sesión conjunta del Congreso la próxima semana, los líderes políticos hispanos planean reunirse en Washington para elaborar una estrategia para contrarrestar su agenda, en particular su ofensiva contra la inmigración.

Líderes Hispanos Contra Trump
Stethoscope on American Flag

Líderes Hispanos Contra Trump: El Victory Fund Latino, un comité de acción política que trabaja para elegir a los líderes hispanos progresistas, se reunirá el martes, ya que el Sr. Trump hablará al Congreso, para iniciar la captación de candidatos a nivel federal, estatal y local que pueden empujar hacia atrás contra las políticas del presidente , incluso en ciudades y municipios en los que están teniendo un impacto inmediato.

Entre ellos se incluyen en las denominadas ciudades de santuario, que son las jurisdicciones que limitan su cooperación con las autoridades federales que tratan de detener a los inmigrantes no autorizados.

“A medida que el presidente está delineando sus planes para romper familias, hacer retroceder las protecciones de derechos civiles y el intestino del medio ambiente, vamos a ser la finalización de nuestra estrategia para derrotarlo”, dijo Cristóbal Alex, el presidente del Proyecto Victoria Latino, una grupo afiliado con el Fondo de la Victoria Latino.

Sr. Trump, agregó, “literalmente, comenzó su campaña en el Día 1 tocándonos, y sus políticas lo han reflejado, es por eso que necesitamos para construir nuestro poder y luchar.”

Líderes Hispanos Contra Trump: Los asistentes podrán incluir Xavier Becerra, el abogado de California en general; Thomas E. Pérez, secretario de Trabajo para el presidente Barack Obama; y Julián Castro, secretario de vivienda y desarrollo urbano de Obama, así como funcionarios latinos electos de todo el país, dijo que los organizadores.

Líderes Hispanos Contra Trump

Sr. Alex dijo que de los 13 millones a 14 millones de latinos que votaron en las elecciones de 2016, el 79 por ciento de ellos se opuso el señor Trump, y la proporción era aún mayor entre las mujeres, en un 86 por ciento. Ellos ayudaron a elegir un número récord de hispanos en el Congreso, incluyendo la primera latina en el Senado, Catherine Cortez Masto de Nevada.

“Este es el resquicio de esperanza en la victoria de Trump, y tenemos que seguir construyendo sobre ella”, dijo Alex.

Líderes Hispanos Contra Trump: Nuevas políticas de la administración Trump rechazan los esfuerzos que fueron más restringidos por el Sr. Obama y el presidente George W. Bush y sus predecesores, que trataba de equilibrar la protección de las fronteras del país con límites en el ejercicio de las leyes aprobadas por el Congreso. Pero las nuevas políticas son susceptibles de ser acogidas por algunos agentes de la ley que han pedido una represión más dura con la inmigración ilegal, y por algunos republicanos en el Congreso que han dicho que la aplicación laxa alienta la inmigración ilegal.

Original Article Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/health-care-news/articles/2017-02-21/in-house-v-price-gop-moves-to-delay-obamacare-undoing

Cancer And Latinos: Does One Size Fit All?

Cancer and Latinos: El cáncer no es “talla única” para los hispanos

Cancer and Latinos: MARTES, 21 de de febrero, 2017 – Según un nuevo estudio, las muertes de Cáncer varían ampliamente entre los diferentes grupos étnicos hispanos en los Estados Unidos.

“Las poblaciones hispanas son todas diferentes, lo que refleja su país de origen, experiencias culturales y el estatus socioeconómico”, dijo el autor del estudio, el Dr. Paulo Pinheiro, profesor asociado de epidemiología de la Universidad de Nevada, Las Vegas.

“Si podemos detectar las diferencias entre ellos, podemos identificar más fácilmente las estrategias de salud pública que podría disminuir su riesgo de cáncer y mejorar los resultados de salud”, explicó.

En el estudio, el equipo de Pinheiro analizó entre el 2008-2012 los datos de salud de la Florida. Los investigadores dijeron que este es el único estado con una representación estadísticamente significativa de todos los grupos étnicos hispanos: Cuba, Puerto Rico, México, Centroamérica, Dominicana y América del Sur.

Mientras que el cáncer es la causa principal de muerte entre los hispanos, el estudio encontró que los hispanos tienen 30 por ciento menos riesgo de morir de cáncer que los americanos blancos.

En comparación con los blancos, los hispanos tienen numeros más altos de muerte por cáncer de estómago y de próstata, pero numeros más bajos por cáncer de pulmón, páncreas y cáncer de mama.

Cancer and Latinos: Cuando los investigadores se centraron en las numeros de muerte por cáncer entre los grupos étnicos hispanos específicos, encontraron que:

  • Los cubanos tenían la tasa global más alta para ambos sexos: 174 muertes por cáncer por cada 100,000 hombres y 104 muertes por cáncer por cada 100,000 mujeres, en comparación con 158.5 muertes por cáncer por cada 100,000 entre todos los hombres hispanos y 99.6 muertes por cáncer por cada 100,000 mujeres hispanas.
  • Los Cubanos tienen números más altos de mortalidad por cáncer de pulmón más que todos los grupos étnicos hispanos, que es probablemente debido a el tabaquismo.
  • Los puertorriqueños tuvieron numeros más altos de cáncer de hígado de todos los grupos étnicos hispanos, y pueden beneficiarse de programas para aumentar el conocimiento de los factores de riesgo para el cáncer de hígado, tales como el virus de la hepatitis C.
  • Los Cubanos y puertorriqueños tenían tasas más altas de mortalidad por cáncer de colon y de endometrio, dos tipos que han sido vinculados a la obesidad.
  • La tasa de mortalidad por cáncer de próstata entre los dominicanos fue casi el doble que la de los blancos, que puede ser debido al hecho de que muchos dominicanos tienen ascendencia africana, dijo Pinheiro. Los hombres negros en general tienen un mayor riesgo de cáncer de próstata y la muerte que los blancos.

cancer and latinos

Cancer and Latinos: Los hallazgos, publicados el 21 de febrero en la revista Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, sugieren que los hispanos que se instalan en los Estados Unidos tienen que ser prudentes en la adopción de hábitos alimenticios estadounidenses, dijo Pinheiro.

“Harían bien en recordar las dietas de sus países de origen. Arroz y frijoles, granos y frutas y verduras frescas que son más beneficiosos que los alimentos a los que serán expuestos en Estados Unidos”, dijo en un comunicado de prensa de la revista.

Pinheiro también dijo que los médicos deben aconsejar a sus pacientes hispanos a seguir todas las recomendaciones de exámenes del cáncer.

“No es, sin duda, que aquí tienen mejor acceso a exámenes que en sus países de origen, por lo que debe tomar provecho de ello. Dependiendo de dónde viene, su médico podría tener una conversación más específica acerca de su riesgo de cáncer”, dijo.

La mayoría de los hispanos en la Florida son nacidos en el extranjero, dijo Pinheiro. Mientras que los resultados del estudio se aplicarían a los hispanos en la mayor parte de los Estados Unidos, no es el mismo caso en estados como California y Texas, donde muchas familias hispanas han vivido durante varias generaciones.

Cancer and latinos: Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades tienen más información sobre la salud de los hispanos.

 

Article Source: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/02/21/Cancer-isnt-one-size-fits-all-for-Hispanics/8481487713183/

Common Food Misconceptions

Hechos vs Mitos: Conceptos erróneos comunes sobre los alimentos

1. Calorías bajas en el embalaje son buenas por la dieta.

La mayoría de las etiquetas nutricionales son basados en una dieta de 2,000.00 calorías . Siempre tenga en cuenta las necesidades del cuerpo personal mientras que hacer decisiones calóricas.

2. “Sin grasa” significa que puedo comer más.

Una enorme idea equivocada es que la comida “sin grasa” lleva menos calorías o que tienen mas beneficios por la dieta, cuando en realidad, sí se come más sin tomar precauciones, “sin grasa” podría ser contraproducente.

3.  Comida envasada pequeña son la merienda perfecta.

La comida envasada pequeña se confunde fácilmente por ser solo una porción, cuando muchos de ellos indican claramente el numero de porciones en sus etiquetas nutricionales. Ademas, siempre preste atención a la cantidad de calorías en la etiqueta nutricional, por ejemplo, 500 calorías por poción son muchos y 100 calorías por poción es una cantidad sana. 

4. La comida “natural” es la opción mejor.

“FDA no ha desarrollado una definición por el uso del termino “natural” ni las palabras derivadas de ella” 
www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm214868.htm

En conclusion, “natural” lleva muy poca importancia. Haz los decisiones basado en los ingredientes y no con palabras de marketing como “natural” o “sin grasa.”

5. Si estás siguiendo una dieta sana, so se puede comer meriendas como empanadas.

Los hechos nutricionales de uno de sus meriendas preferida normalmente no es suficiente para ser desproporcionado a una dieta saludable, leyendo consistente, el entendimiento de ingredientes y haciendo decisiones en el bien saber. Disfruta de una empanada de vez en cuando!

Common Food Misconceptions

  1. Low calorie on packaging is good for diets.

Common Food Misconceptions: Most nutritional labels and facts are based on a 2,000 calorie count, always keep in mind personal bodily needs when making caloric decisions.

  1. Fat-free means I can eat more of it.

A huge misconception is that fat-free foods may carry less calories or be more beneficial for your diet, when in reality, if you eat more of it without proper intake considerations, Fat-Free may end up being counter-productive.

  1. Small packaged foods make the perfect snack.

Common Food Misconceptions: Small packaged foods are easily mistaken for one serving, when many of them clearly state serving sizes on their nutritional labels.  In addition, always pay attention to the calorie count on the nutritional label, 500 calories per serving  is high and 100 calories per serving is reasonable.

  1. “Natural” Food is a better choice.

Common Food Misconceptions: “FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives” found on www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm214868.htm

In short, “Natural” carries very little meaning. Make your decisions based on ingredients rather than Buzz words.

  1. If you’re following a healthy eating plan, can you eat an empanada ?
    The nutritional facts on one of your favorite snacks normally isn’t enough to be disproportionate to a overall healthy diet, consistent reading, understanding of ingredients and smart decision-making. Feel free to grab an empanada every now and then!

Common Food Misconceptions

See the newest health app that is helping latinos all over the U.S. at SuReceta.com

Latino Medication Adherence: What Are We Missing?

Latino Medication Adherence

Latino Medication Adherence: New studies have been established to see the link that language barriers between Latinos and physicians plays in their medication adherence. The studies’ main objectives were to understand why Latinos are least likely to seek medical attention and adhere to medication.

31,000 patients from the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health care system were observed for medication adherence. Factors such as race and language preference were taken into consideration to see if new medication compliments were affected. According to the researchers,  60 percent of Spanish speaking Latinos were non adherent while 51.7 percent of English speaking Latinos were non adherent.  When it came down to the white patients, only 37.5 percent were non adherent.

In conclusion, the study did not establish any direct effect of language barriers and language proficiency. Researchers are now diving deeper into socio-cultural factors that may be creating a barrier among patients, caretakers, and physicians.

Latino Medication Adherence 2

SuReceta

Se han establecido nuevos estudios para ver el enlace que las barreras lingüísticas entre los Latinos y los médicos en su cumplimiento con la medicación. Objetivos principales de los estudios eran entender por qué los Latinos son menos propensos a buscar atención médica y no se adhieren a la medicación.

Observaron 31.000 pacientes desde el sistema de salud de Kaiser Permanente Northern California para cumplimiento con la medicación. Factores como la raza y el idioma de preferencia se tomaron en consideración para ver si nuevos medicamentos cumplidos fueron afectados. Según los investigadores, el 60 porciento de los Latinos que hablan español no fueron adherente mientras que 51.7 porciento de los Latinos que hablan ingles no fueron adherente. Comparado a los pacientes blancos, sólo el 37.5 porciento no fueron adherente.

En conclusión, el estudio no estableció ningún efecto directo de las barreras del idioma y dominio del idioma. Los investigadores ahora investigan los factores socio-culturales que pueden estar creando una barrera entre los pacientes, cuidadores y médicos.

More information found at: SuReceta

Vitamin Supplements: How Long It Takes To Feel Effects & Why

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to feel the effects of a vitamin or supplement you swallow? It turns out, the length of time it will take for you to feel the effects of a supplement depends on a lot of factors.

The 3 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies

The three most common nutrients deficient in the U.S. diet are vitamin B-6, vitamin D and iron, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Vitamin D is important for bone health, while both vitamin B-6 and iron help create red blood cells.

If you are Vitamin B-6 and Iron deficient , chances are after a month’s time you’ll notice improvements from taking Vitamin B-6 and Iron in the form of increased energy and concentration.

Different Kinds of Vitamins: Fat vs. Water Soluble

The type of supplement you’re taking can determine how long it takes to feel an effect. For example If you’re taking a vitamin supplement, it will depend on whether the vitamin is fat soluble or water soluble.

Fat Soluble Vitamins

The fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. These vitamins dissolve in fat and are stored within the tissues of the body. Because they are stored in the body, levels can continue to increase as you take in more of the vitamin, but this also means that it will take more time for you to feel their effect.

For example, many of us are deficient in vitamin D, especially during the winter months when we don’t make as much of it by being exposed to sunlight. Those of us who are deficient and start on a vitamin D supplement usually take five to six weeks to reach the recommended level of vitamin D.

Water Soluble Vitamins

The B vitamins and vitamin C are all water soluble. This means that they dissolve in water and are not stored in the body, so it’s important to take these vitamins daily to replenish them. Water soluble vitamins are absorbed more rapidly, so you’ll feel an effect from them more quickly than fat-soluble supplements.

An example is the B vitamins. Being deficient in a B vitamin can result in tiredness and lethargy. After you start taking a vitamin B complex supplement, you may notice heightened energy in just a few weeks.

Your mineral or vitamin levels to start with

Your level of the vitamin or mineral before you start taking a supplement as mentioned before is also important. If you’re really deficient in a certain vitamin, and you start taking a supplement, you may feel an effect more quickly.

If your intake was not as low to start out but not quite where it should be, chances are it will take longer to notice the effects of the supplement. Your symptoms should gradually improve, but you won’t feel a big difference right away.

Supplements interacting with each other

Vitamins and minerals have complex roles in our bodies, and there are countless interactions that determine how they function.

For example, vitamin D and calcium work together to build strong teeth and bones. If you start taking a calcium supplement, it’ll be more effective if you also have adequate vitamin D levels – either through your diet or through supplements.

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Vitamins Aren’t Proven To Make You Healthier- But Food Choices Are

Ideally we should be able to get all the vitamins and minerals our bodies need by making smart nutritional choices. Unfortunately, all of us in the U.S. don’t eat as well as they should, according to a 2014 article published in the Nutrition Journal, and therefore there’s a good chance we may not be getting all the nutrients we need.

If you’re in doubt about your nutrition and what deficiencies you may have, it’s always best to making a point of talking about it with your general practitioner.

This blog post was written by Dr. Joseph Mosquera and copy edited by Elara Mosquera.

For any questions, comments, or concerns, please email elara@saludmovil.com

Ending The American Pill Epidemic

Earthquakes, tsunamis, and storms are all natural disasters we must live with, but unnecessarily taking more pills, tablets, over the counter drugs, and supplements is reaching catastrophic levels. In the US, we’ve stopped healing the ill. Our healthcare system is riddled with polypharmacy- and it’s killing us.

The simultaneous use of multiple drugs to treat a single ailment or condition- a staple treatment method in the US healthcare system- is commonly referred to as polypharmacy.

70% of Americans take at least one prescription pill regularly 

Since 2013, 70% of Americans take at least one prescription medication regularly, and more than half take at least two, according to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic. The 3 most common prescriptions being for antibiotics, antidepressants and opioid painkillers.

And people age 45 and older say they take up to four prescription medications daily on average, according to  the AARP (Formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons.)

According to the CDC’s 2016 annual list of most common cause of deaths, medical errors in healthcare are ranked third as the leading cause of death in our country. I believe our medical system has become more deadly due to the overprescription of drugs.

Overuse is creating resistance

Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections, according to the CDC. And to make matters worse, even more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.

Misdiagnosing illness

One in 10 Americans now takes an antidepressant medication regularly. And among women in their 40s and 50s, the figure is one in four. But this high number is largely due to the fact depression is being diagnosed incorrectly in the US- which means a lot of people are plagued with the deadly side effects of antidepressants without any added benefits.

A study published in April 2013 in the Journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, found that nearly two-thirds of a sample of more than 5,000 patients who had been given a diagnosis of depression within the previous 12 months did not meet the criteria for major depressive episode as described by the psychiatrists’ bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or D.S.M.).

Addiction and overdoses are a deadly problem

It’s undeniable that overdoses from prescription opioids are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. On average, 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the CDC.

Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled with more than a half a million deaths from drug overdoses, yet the CDC points out there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans reports.

The truth is from my experience, I often fail to see improvement in quality of life for my patients taking these 3 types of medications. And although we are living longer, the majority of elderly over age 65 struggle with chronic disease and conditions.

Holistic strategies to regain control over your healthcare

I believe it is possible to prevent cases of cancers, heart disease, and adult onset diabetes (obesity driven) with changes in our nutrition, exercise, environment, and mental health. If you are currently on prescription medications but would like to switch to a more holistic approach to healing, you may find these tips helpful:

  • Go over your meds (including over the counter and supplements) with your Doctor or Pharmacist-ask which you really need and which could be replaced with lifestyle changes
  • Get rid of expired meds and keep all meds from child access! Just be sure to dispose of meds in an environmentally safe fashion by dropping them off at a local hospital and pharmacy programs. Do not just flush them down your toilet.
  • Consider seeing an integrative physician, an expert in combining modern medicine with individualized lifestyle care.
  • Consider a health coach, nutritionist, or sports trainer for fitness and an individualized health plan.
  • Seek Mental Health Balance with meditation, breathing, and yoga.
  • Enjoy human interaction in your family and community and take breaks from news and social media.
  • Always think health Promotion and disease prevention first for you and your family.
  • Always ask pharmacist if an over the counter med is appropriate or have any interactions with your other meds.
  • Some supplements, vitamins, and botanicals are appropriate with certain deficiencies or conditions while others potentially can cause harm. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacists which are safe and effective, and be sure to buy them from a USP certified pharmacy.
  • Keep a current list of your meds and supplements and review your need from them every few months

Moving in the right direction isn’t throwing out medications altogether

There are instances where medications do have vital roles in emergencies, critically ill, and in other specifically targeted conditions. Treating pneumonia, a heart attack, an embolism, a cancer, or an infection are all examples we are familiar with. But as a society, we must push for our government agencies to promote lifestyle strategies as the first line of defense of health and wellness instead of treating our ailments by popping pills.

This blog post was written by Dr. Joseph Mosquera and copy edited by Elara Mosquera.

What To Expect From The Zika Virus In 2017

Zika virus made a grand entrance into many of our lives in 2016, going from an unknown medical condition to a public health concern in just a few weeks. But how much should we care about Zika this year?

People feared the global ramifications of the mosquito-borne illness largely because it not only spreads from mosquito to person, but vise versa too. And on top of that, Zika infections can also spread from person to person through sexual transmission.

Despite the large number of people who were unfortunately infected with the virus last year, conversations about Zika in the media and around dinner tables have largely diminished much like other viral epidemics including swine flu, bird flu and Ebola. So where did Zika go?

Why Zika and other viruses come and go

Mother nature gets a lot of the credit for viruses having the ability to seemingly vanish off the face of the earth.

Thanks to evolutionary survival strategies, viruses have an intelligence of their own with the uncanny ability to adapt and survive through mutations, but viruses also can go into hibernation periods.

Hibernation periods boost virus ability to live and spread

An example of a virus with an especially long hibernation periods is HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus).

The virus’s long hibernation, which can last decades in people with HIV, appears to boost its ability to live and spread within people, according to researchers published in Cell back in February, 2015.

New evidence suggests that inactivity during hibernation periods may be an evolutionary strategy to help the virus to survive and spread.

For the public, it may seem like the viruses have disappeared, but it’s only a matter of time before they surface again at a future date. And Zika, carried by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, has done just that!

Many people don’t know that the Zika virus has been around for over 60 years in humans. In that time, Zika has been causing small outbreaks around the world, but after making it’s mark from 2015-2016, the virus seems to be hibernating once again.

Does this mean I shouldn’t worry about Zika Virus this year?

We are very unlikely to see a zika epidemic in North America in the coming months, according to computer modelers who predicted last year’s outbreaks with precision.

During a recent interview with Science magazine, Andrew Monaghan, a modeler at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, says his team hasn’t updated the Zika forecast it did back in 2016.

However he suggests that later this spring the virus may transmit locally in U.S. areas that now have local dengue transmission.

“So, in addition to continued high risk for Zika virus transmission in Brownsville and metropolitan Miami[, Florida,] next year, there may be elevated risk in communities in central Florida, the Florida Keys, as well as border communities in the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas,” Monaghan says.

But he notes that he of course could be wrong with his predictions.

“It’s always difficult to forecast virus transmission due to the complex dynamics of these systems,” he notes.

It’s important to remember though, the peak of mosquito season is during the summer months, especially depending on where you live or travel.

As of now, Zika appears to be under full control across the states with fewer and smaller outbreaks, and an occasional travel related case being reported.

What does this mean for Zika virus prevention?

Zika’s greatest health concern is the increased risk in pregnant women. If infected, the virus can be passed from mother to baby. Here are some fast facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects
  • There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika.
  • We don’t know if there is a safe time to travel to an area with Zika during your pregnancy.
  • The likelihood that Zika infection will affect a pregnancy is still unclear.
  • The possibility a baby will have birth defects if infected at birth is also unknown.  

Pregnant women who have traveled or had sex with their partner within the boundaries of a Zika zone, as determined by the CDC, should still get tested and monitored whether they get sick or not. A simple blood test is available in all states.

For anyone, pregnant or not, Zika virus symptoms include feeling like you are coming down with the flu although only four out of five people infected come down with symptoms.  

How about other mosquito-borne illnesses?

For everyone, it’s important to protect yourself from the deadliest living creature on earth, (the mosquito) whenever possible. From Malaria to West Nile Virus, mosquitoes infect millions of people annually.

Despite a significant decline over the last fifteen years, more than 400 million people died from Malaria last year alone! Hundreds of thousands patients worldwide require hospitalizations and treatment, yet still one out of five patients in Africa fail to recover and die.

Avoidance of mosquito bites is the key and protection begins with prevention including having:

  • screened windows
  • mosquito nets
  • protective clothing with embedded repellant if necessary
  • using repellant containing more than 20% of Deet
  • Referring to the CDC to look up areas of active Zika virus transmission when traveling

We may be safer in 2017, but mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika will resurface when we least expect it. Keeping these dangerous viruses away from the areas where we live or travel to is vital.

Be informed, practice protection along with prevention to keep you and your family healthy this year and beyond.

This blog post was written by Dr. Joseph Mosquera and copy edited by Arlene Borenstein-Zuluaga and Elara Mosquera

For any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to email Elara@Saludmovil.com.

Natural Aphrodisiacs: What works, what doesn’t, and what’s safe

Many of us wonder- Is it possible to increase libido or desire for sex without turning to a prescription? Are myths of natural aphrodisiacs true, at all?

Research shows that nearly a third of women and 15% of men lack the desire to have sex on a regular basis. BUT there are things you can do to put the sizzle back into your sex life that are natural and also good for your overall wellbeing.

Similar to our search for “The Fountain of Youth”, there is also the ongoing hunt for any drug, food, remedy, or supplement to improve sexual desire.

Viagra or even pornography may be commercialized options people turn to, but natural aphrodisiacs (named after Aphrodite, the goddess of love) are out there too. How safe they are however, is questionable.

The myths and realities of boosting sexual desire, naturally

Herbs and supplements have been used as aphrodisiacs for centuries in many cultures with limited success and significant risk. The market is filled with thousands of these products available worldwide, promising everything from better sexual performance to super-sizing a man’s penis.

Some of these supplements, which are not regulated, have been found to illegally contain sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. It’s no wonder they work, but they could also be harmful to your health. 

Here are a few natural supplements you may see on store shelves that claim to help a low libido:

  • Damiana – A tree shrub extract native to Mexico and Central America, has an unproven reputation as a female aphrodisiac. It should not be used in woman nursing, pregnant, or with diabetes.
  • Ginseng and Asian Ginseng – These supplements have some promising research demonstrating better male erections by improving blood flow, however it should not be taken if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or take blood thinners like Warfarin.
  • L-Arginine – An amino acid with research showing mild effectiveness and promise for men with erectile dysfunction. It cannot be taken if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, with blood thinners, or prescription Viagra.
  • Maca – A starchy vegetable that looks like a radish and grows in the Andes. It’s used as a food and believed to help increase libido in both men and women as a result of a few small studies done with rats.
  • Yohimbine – An extract from the bark of an African tree. It was once touted and marketed for years as the best erectile dysfunction drug pre-Viagra. Serious side effects of stomach cramps, profuse sweating, arrhythmias, and even death have occurred with Yohimbine.

It’s important to keep in mind that many supplement companies often combine these botanicals into one product. A popular seller, ArginMax, does just that, but carries all the serious warnings and risks of each ingredient! With so many people suffering from conditions like high blood pressure and taking meds like blood thinners, I would recommend avoiding these supplements unless a physician reviews your medical history and clears you.

The truth about foods being aphrodisiacs

Many still believe that certain foods are aphrodisiacs, however, there is little or no science to support this theory. This is all mostly a placebo effect from our cultural belief in certain so-called aphrodisiac foods. For example:

  • Oysters contain Zinc which may be helpful to our immunity and prostate in men. 
  • Chocolate, especially with high concentrations of cocoa butter (more than 70%), is often associated with better sex, but essentially is a health food in moderation.
  • Fruits in the melon family or grapes are also part of sexual “folklore” with no valid scientific evidence.

The truth is, a very significant part of effectiveness in these supplements is ultimately placebo or psychological rather than physiological. Your mind, through projected thoughts, is the most powerful aphrodisiac!

Overall health goes a long way

It may be easy to turn to supplements for an attempt at a quick libido boost, but for lasting results, living a healthy lifestyle is still the best way to improve your sex life.

Here are my tips and recommendations:

  • Stop smoking! It’s the number one cause of impotence in men
  • Check your medications! Meds used to treat high blood pressure and depression are frequent culprits of impotence or diminished libido. In women, contraceptive pills often cause lower libido.
  • Get regular checkups, especially after 40. Screen for conditions which can affect sexuality like circulatory or heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disorders, prostate, colon, uterine, and ovarian cancers.
  • Take care of your mental health. Treat depression, stress, and anxiety. Consider relaxation therapies like Yoga and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Be aware of high cholesterol. If necessary, treat it with medication and a better diet. Also, keep your circulation fluid!
  • Stay in shape. Exercise regularly, 30 to 45 minutes daily

The lack of lust

If you feel your engine’s still stalled after making these lifestyle tweaks and trying out some natural aphrodisiacs, it may be time to visit your general practitioner.

It’s important to discuss and figure out what may be the root cause behind your lack of libido if you continue to have a prolonged lack of lust in your life. It may be a medical condition, something more mentally based, or a combination of the two. 

This blog post was written by Dr. Joseph Mosquera and copy edited by Arlene Borenstein-Zuluaga and Elara Mosquera

For any questions, comments, or suggestions, please email Elara@Saludmovil.com.

 

 

A Doctor’s Take On Mental Illness, Gun Violence, and Hispanics

Following the tragic and deadly shooting that recently took place inside Ft. Lauderdale InternationalAirport, it became clear that the gunman, Esteban Santiago, was struggling with mental illness.

Early reports disclosed he was able to carry a gun even after voluntarily seeking mental help in Alaska. Clearly, public safety needs better laws governing gun ownership with respect to mental disorders. And, from my perspective, psychiatric clearance or restrictions to ownership should be essential to this process.

A Closer Look at the Gunman’s Mental Health

According to his family, Santiago was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving in Iraq and dealing with his father’s death. In addition, he claimed to experience auditory hallucinations. This is what people describe as hearing voices which can be a sign of mental conditions such as psychosis or schizophrenia.

Despite the Florida tragedy, it’s important to know that only a very small fraction of gun deaths and violence occur as a result of mental illness. My point here is the importance of recognizing the symptoms and seeking proper treatment, before it’s too late.

How Mental Health Care Disparities Hurt Us All

In Santiago’s case and for many other hispanics, the availability and reliability of mental health care is another challenge that leaves me with continued skepticism of the access and affordability for people in Latino communities who need help.

In my practice, I’ve treated Hispanics with roots in all corners of Latin America for more than 30 years. I find increased cases of untreated depression and anxiety pervasive amongst adolescents and adults who feel marginalized and disenfranchised by society because they have limited resources.

Shame is another factor, particularly in young Hispanic women who don’t talk about the unique family and cultural pressures they are going through. Substance abuse, low high school graduation rates, and gang violence are other factors that create an environment where mental disorders can begin and progress in many young Latinos.

Mental Health Nationwide

One in six Americans needs mental health care to treat common conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disease. Many others would benefit from mental wellness care where discussions with professionals as well as sound mental health practices including breathing techniques, yoga, and meditation may help prevent serious illness.

Often during my career, patients with seemingly common complaints like a stomach ache, headache, palpitations, sweats, backaches, or lack of energy are really suffering from what are called somatization of an underlying mental illness. Recognizing this is essential and could be another way the mental health community can save lives.

How You Can Help Someone With a Mental Illness

It is time to bring this mental health care crisis into the spotlight and finally provide programs and access to effective treatment for Americans. We have the resources, but they simply are not accessible to those who truly need help and can benefit.

If you or someone you know needs some help, here are some common symptoms and signs of mental illness to look out for:

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
  • Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
  • Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
  • Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
  • Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
  • Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Sex drive changes
  • Excessive anger, hostility or violence
  • Suicidal thinking

Some sites I recommend to access mental health care information are psychiatry.org, apa.org, and nimh.nih.gov. It is up to all of us to help make our nation a safer place. Be well.

This blog post was written by Dr. Joseph Mosquera and copy edited by Arlene Borenstein-Zuluaga and Elara Mosquera

For any questions, comments, or suggestions, please email Elara@Saludmovil.com.

saludmóvil™ — America’s First Bilingual Medical Platform For Hispanics Available Now

It’s official. saludmóvil™, the nation’s first bilingual health and wellness platform for the latino community, has officially launched.

Backed by the prestigious Harvard Health Publications, and curated by Dr. Mosquera himself, the mobile-centric website offers original content in English and Spanish, featuring health news geared towards educating and delivering relevant medical information to the nation’s Hispanic communities.

Addressing Health Disparities Experienced by Hispanics

saludmóvil™ is designed by Hispanics for Hispanics, and it aspires to improve the health of the Latino population by providing easily accessible and trustworthy health news via its website and apps.

saludmóvil™ features unique advice on all areas of health and medicine, such as family medicine, natural remedies, medications, and even news regarding healthcare for pets.

Information on saludmóvil™ is provided in video, written, and audio format, allowing users to choose how they want to ingest health news.

Example of saludmóvil’s™ video content-What to expect in a general check-up:

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dDbil_WPD4[/embedyt]

The website also features a bilingual medical dictionary, a walk-in clinic finder, as well as the only free bilingual drug saving app of its kind- called Su Receta.

Save on prescriptions today with saludmóvil’s™ free drug saving app

Su Receta is saludmóvil’s™ free bilingual drug saving app. Available free on the Saludmovil.com website or for free download in Android and Iphone app stores, Su Receta collects and compares prices for FDA- approved prescription drugs at more than 66,000 US pharmacies.
Just enter the name of your drug prescription, your zip code,  and how far you will be willing to drive-then Su Receta takes care of the rest by compiling every prescription price from most affordable to expensive from all pharmacies in that given area- That way you get to compare them, and get the best possible deal. All you have to do is show our coupon code to a pharmacist displayed in our app.

Who is saludmóvil™

saludmóvil™’s team of medical experts, and award-winning journalists, understand your healthcare needs. It is a new concept in mobile health, designed specifically to meet the needs of the community, from English-speaking youth to Spanish-speaking seniors. saludmóvil™ is driven to improve the health and wellness of America’s Hispanic communities, where access to quality, affordable health care is a challenge.

https://saludmovil.com/

Facebook: saludmóvil, @SuReceta
Twitter: @misaludmovil, @SuReceta
Instagram: @misaludmovil
Pinterest: saludmóvil

Video – http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/PRNA/ENR/welcome-to-saludmovil.mp4

The Alkaline Diet: Evidence Behind The Celebrity Diet

It seems like more and more people are talking about ‘the alkaline diet’ these days.  And ever since Kelly Ripa publicly declared how much alkaline changed her life earlier this year, I wanted to know more.

So is taking control of your body’s acidity through food suddenly the way to boundless energy and health?

Those who swear by the diet believe that the standard American diet-full of meat, dairy, corn, wheat, and refined sugars (all acidifying foods)- is highly acid-forming and therefore overwhelming the body’s mechanisms for removing excess acid.

And the alkaline diet is believed to greatly reduce this acid load, helping to reduce the strain on the body’s acid-detoxification systems, such as the kidneys.

According to a 2012 review of the Alkaline Diet published in The Journal of Environmental and Public Health, there may be some value in considering an alkaline diet in reducing morbidity from chronic diseases–further studies are definitely warranted.

The Evidence Behind The Diet A-Listers Swear By

Those who prescribe to the diet believe the body includes a number of organ systems that are adept at neutralizing and eliminating excess acid, but there is a limit to how much acid even a healthy body can cope with effectively. The body is capable of maintaining an acid-alkaline balance provided that a well-balanced alkaline diet is being consumed, and that other acid-producing factors, such as tobacco use, are avoided.

And superfans like Ripa feel the alkaline diet can actually change their body’s biology for the better.

Its claimed benefits besides energy include weight loss and protection from diseases such as osteoporosis, kidney stones, gall stones, cancer, arthritis and diabetes.

And the diet has plenty of other healthy hollywood stars interested- For example Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham have reportedly embraced the pH nutritional regime for years.

pH Levels: Acidic vs. Alkaline

The ‘alkaline diet’ is based on the theory that certain foods can influence our body’s pH level.

“Consuming too much acidic food such as some citrus fruits has been proven to lead to stomach ulcers.” Points out Chief Medical Officer and founder of saludmovil.com Dr. Joseph  Mosquera.

You might remember learning about pH levels in high school chemistry.

Here’s an overview if you forgot:

Foods have a pH spectrum from 1 to 14 with acidic to alkaline measurements. (Note: alkaline means having a pH greater than 7) The human body has its own pH levels.

“The purpose of the alkaline diet isn’t about changing pH level, but rather about giving your body nutrient-dense foods high in alkaline minerals so that your body doesn’t have to rob its own resources and do all of the regulating.” Says Dr. Mosquera.

What You Can And Can’t Eat On The Alkaline Diet

“Most fruits and vegetables, such as soybeans and tofu, and some nuts, seeds, and legumes are alkaline-promoting foods.” Says Dr. Mosquera

“And when it comes to acidic foods to avoid- Dairy, eggs, meat, most grains, and processed foods, like canned and packaged snacks and convenience foods are no nos.” Notes Dr. Mosquera.

Books such as Victoria Beckham’s cookbook tout the alkaline diet means no alcohol or caffeine, either.

Disease Curing Properties of the Alkaline Diet?

One of the most far-reaching promises of this diet is its ability to fight off cancerous cells. The idea behind this is that cancer cells tend to live in an acidic environment within our body.

“There is simply very little compelling evidence that having a diet rich in alkaline foods will help improve your health If you are suffering from cancer. Especially in regards to curing cancer cells . But what we do know is that balance and moderation in food intake along with regular exercise has a beneficial impact on your overall health”, says Dr. Mosquera.

“As well, there has been no link has been found between bone fracture risk, osteoporosis and an ‘acid forming’ diet,” adds Dr. Mosquera.

Will I Lose Weight on The Alkaline diet?

If you have to cut out many foods that you normally eat, you may unintentionally cut calories and lose weight.

So the ‘science’ behind this diet doesn’t really add up, but there are potential benefits.

“While there’s no hard evidence from studies that this diet does any of these things celebrities claim, it does usually mean you’ll be eating less junk, which is good.” Says Dr. Mosquera.

What’s the Deal With Alkaline Water?

It’s important to keep in mind that water, especially bottled water, is a huge industry.

In 2013 alone, bottled water produced in the US was a dynamic part of the U.S. economy, accounting for about $102.3 billion in output, or just below 1 percent of GDP, according to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA)

“To make the pH in water more alkaline, you add more minerals. Having these minerals in the water does help somewhat indirectly your bones, but other claims like it helps absorb nutrients better, helps with aging process, and hydration have no direct medical evidence that it is beneficial,” says Dr. Mosquera.  

“I believe the emphasis on fruits and vegetables at the core of alkaline diets offers the promise of healthy weight loss, not alkaline water.” Notes Dr. Mosquera

Testing Body pH By Testing pH of Urine is Not Proof the Diet Works

The notion that you can test your body’s pH by testing the pH of your urine is incorrect.

Your urine pH is not a reflection of the pH of your blood, but simply an indication that your kidneys are doing their job.

“Whatever the number on the pH strip, if you are healthy and well you can be confident the pH of your blood is around 7.4.” Recommends Dr. Mosquera.

So what’s the bottom line?

Dr. Mosquera’s final words of advice?

“When in doubt, ingest less calories, mostly from a plant based diet and combine with exercise. all in moderation.” Says Dr. Mosquera.

How to Prevent Prediabetes From Becoming Type 2 Diabetes

Getting diagnosed with prediabetes can be scary. After all, prediabetes is an indication that you could develop type 2 diabetes, increasing your risk of heart disease or a stroke if you don’t make some serious lifestyle changes. But If your doctor or healthcare practitioner tells you that you have prediabetes, you should actually consider yourself lucky.

Here’s Why: Prediabetes is actually affecting a TON of people. 86 million people living in America today are prediabetic, but only a chilling 11% of people who have prediabetes actually know it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And research has shown about 70% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes over time.  Now that’s scary. But- don’t freak out.

There’s good news. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), prediabetes can be reversible if you focus on losing weight, make time for routine physical activity, and exercise nutritional control.

DIAGNOSING PREDIABETES: HIGH BLOOD SUGAR, BUT NOT TOO HIGH.

Prediabetes is a “pre-diagnosis” of diabetes, which usually expresses itself in middle age.

“Prediabetes is a precursor stage before type two diabetes in which not all of the symptoms to diagnose diabetes are present, but blood sugar is abnormally high.”According to Chief Medical Officer and founder of saludmovil.com Dr. Joseph  Mosquera.

Normal vs. Higher than Normal Blood Sugar Levels:

“It can be recognized by when fasting blood sugar level (blood glucose) is consistently in the range of being higher than 100 but no greater than 126.Its routinely high, but it’s not high enough to be considered diabetes mellitus.” Says Dr.Mosquera.

For someone without diabetes, a fasting blood sugar on awakening should be under 100 mg/dl. Before-meal normal blood sugar are 70–99 mg/dl. If you were to take a blood sugar test two hours after a meal and are not diabetic, For someone without diabetes, a fasting blood sugar on awakening should be under 100 mg/dl. Before-meal normal sugars are 70–99 mg/dl. If your blood sugar is measured two hours after meal and you are not diabetic, the reading should be less than 140 mg/dl, according to the American diabetes Association (ADA).

With prediabetes, your blood sugar is high because usually because you don’t have enough insulin.

And your blood sugar is high because you don’t have enough insulin.

WHAT EXACTLY CAUSES PREDIABETES?

Prediabetes develops when your body begins to have trouble using the hormone insulin.

“Insulin is necessary to transport glucose. Glucose is what your body uses for energy, and this travels to cells via the bloodstream. In pre-diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or it doesn’t use it well-aka insulin resistance.”Says Dr.Mosquera.

A consistently high blood sugar over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“In my opinion, the biggest driver of diabetes and prediabetes in the US is obesity. And now because of child obesity, we are seeing Prediabetes and type-2 diabetes at much earlier ages. I’ve seen it in 17 and 19 year olds.” Says Dr.Mosquera.

3 WAYS TO PREVENT PREDIABETES FROM BECOMING TYPE-TWO DIABETES

The American Diabetes Association says that serious lifestyle changes are effective in preventing type 2 diabetes after you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes. You should talk with your doctor about what you specifically should focus on, but Dr. Mosquera has 4 strategies he recommends prediabetics focus on:

LOSE WEIGHT:

If you’re overweight, you should get started on a weight loss management as soon as you’re diagnosed with prediabetes.

“The number one thing for combating prediabetes is do not gain weight, and if you are overweight you need to work towards getting down to your ideal weight.” Says Dr.Mosquera.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body weight relative to height. The BMI chart can help you find out whether you are normal weight, overweight, or obese. You can take a look here.

“In addition to weight, the location of excess fat on the body is important. For example a waist measurement of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women is linked to insulin resistance and increases a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, so  it may be good to focus on losing belly fat.” Notes Dr.Mosquera.

Losing just 5 to 10% of your weight can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The combination of eating well and exercising more is a great way to lose lbs and then maintain a healthy weight.

PRACTICE NUTRITIONAL CONTROL:

“The average american has gone from consuming 2200 calories a day in the 1980’s to devouring 3500 calories a day. The fact we are taking in over 50% more calories than 30 years ago shows the cases are largely created by obesity. We overall just need to be eating less, and fewer empty calories.” Believes Dr.Mosquera.

A primary care doctor, registered dietitian (RD) or certified diabetes educator (CDE) can help you create a meal plan good-for-your-blood-glucose-level food.

The goal of having a set meal plan is to control your blood glucose level and keep it in a consistently healthy, normal range.

“Your meal plan should be made just for you, taking into account your overall health, physical activity, and what you like to eat. It’s important to have one on one time with a healthcare professional so it is personalized.” Notes Dr.Mosquera.

EXERCISE:

When you exercise, your body uses more glucose, so exercising can lower your blood glucose level.

Also when you exercise, your body doesn’t need as much insulin to transport the glucose so naturally your body becomes less insulin resistant.

“Since your body isn’t using insulin well when you have prediabetes, a lower insulin resistance is a very, very good thing.” Says Dr.Mosquera.

The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, which is around 30 minutes 5 days of the week.

“Focus on getting in exercise in every other day of the week for about 30-40 minutes. You want to do physical activity that are aerobic such as brisk walking, bike riding, or swimming. New Research has shown it’s also especially beneficial to walk for ten minutes after a big meal.” Says Dr.Mosquera

Wonder what will probably happen if you are prediabetic and makes no changes?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Type 2 diabetes can develop within 10 years if you have prediabetes and don’t make lifestyle changes.

Discussing Medication options with your doctor:

“Many people with type 2 diabetes are on some form of medication which helps them control blood sugar levels, but using medication for prediabetes should be done with extreme caution and discussed with a physician.” says Dr.Mosquera.

But for people who have an especially very high risk of developing type 2 diabetes after being diagnosed with prediabetes due to lifestyle, genetics, and other factors, the doctor may sensibly recommend a medication.

The American Diabetes Association says that metformin should be the only medication used to prevent type 2. It works by keeping the liver from making more glucose when you don’t need it, thereby keeping your blood glucose level in a better range.

OTHER SYMPTOMS OF PREDIABETES

According to the Mayo Clinic, other symptoms for prediabetes besides a consistent fasting blood sugar of 100-126 include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

ROUTINELY CHECK YOUR FASTING BLOOD SUGAR TO AVOID PREDIABETES:

“The best way to combat prediabetes is to routinely check your fasting blood sugar levels.” Says Dr. Mosquera.

“You can go to one of the many thousand minic-clinics run by the big pharmacy chains such as CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart- walk in, and get your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure taken for all under $100 without any previous planning or appointment.”

You can also buy an effective $10-$200 device at a pharmacy or online to routinely check fasting blood sugar levels at home.

“Once the diagnosis of prediabetes is determined, I can confidently say I get most of my patients to stay under control using the 3 tactics I’ve mentioned. If you want to successfully rid yourself of prediabetes, just keep in mind it requires cooperation between patient and doctor. They must work together to implement an individualized plan.” Says Dr.Mosquera.

THINK YOU MAY BE PREDIABETIC?

Think you could be prediabetic? Dr. Mosquera recommends making a point of getting your blood sugar checked THIS week.

You may also find it helpful to take the CDC quiz provided online to find out if you are at risk. Click here- and then click on the widget on the right hand side of the page and answer the seven questions to get a prediabetes score.

Questions, Comments, or Concerns? Email Elara@saludmovil.com

 

7 Natural Ways to Get Rid Of Warts For Good

No – you can’t get warts from kissing toads, but you can get rid of them by using natural treatments.

Warts are small, fleshy, benign bumps on the skin that are caused by different strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, according to the U.S. Library of Medicine (NIH).

Turns out warts are a very common skin growth in the US population. In fact, more than one in ten people living in the US will have at least one wart at some time during their lifetime, according to Chief Medical Officer and founder of saludmovil.com Dr. Joseph  Mosquera.

Though they are not a serious health hazard, some people find warts a little embarrassing and would rather have them disappear sooner than later.

Many people use at home freezing methods and salicylic acids treatments you can pick up at your local pharmacy- and these methods do work- but this type of treatment can be very damaging and lead to scarring. That’s why I researched all things warts to find out what natural remedies work on warts.

Turns out there are natural wart removal treatments — and they are just as effective and fast as methods using liquid nitrogen or salicylic acid.

NATURAL TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT METHODS FOR WARTS

Whatever the type of wart or warts you may have, here are 7 natural ways to get rid of your warts.

Boost your immune system.

Warts are caused by a virus, so one of the best ways to get rid of them is to boost your body’s ability to fight them.

In fact, Dr. Mosquera says many of his patients notice warts showing up when they’re feeling lethargic, sick, or generally sluggish and overworked.

“Make sure you’re not smoking, you are getting enough sleep and exercising regularly, and look to get strong immune boosters in your diet by regularly eating lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables like Asiatic mushrooms such as Shiitakes or Maitakes.” recommends Dr. Mosquera.

Put some pineapple on it

Apply a fresh chunk pineapple or rub pineapple juice from a can (doesn’t need to be fresh) directly to the wart several times a day.

“The natural acids and enzymes will help break down the layers of skin in the wart and dry it out. I’d also recommend keeping the area treated covered with a band-aid or even a piece of duct-tape.” Says Dr.Mosquera

Get rid of it with garlic

“Garlic is a natural antibiotic, and eating it can help rid you of warts.” Says Dr. Mosquera

You can also apply it topically.

In one placebo-controlled trial in 2005, the application of chloroform extracts of garlic topically was reported to result in the complete resolution of cutaneous warts with no recurrence after 3–4 months.

“Mix some fresh garlic with water and apply the paste to the wart. Put a bandage or duct tape on top. You can reapply this every few hours and continue until the wart is gone.” Notes Dr. Mosquera

Rub aloe vera and lemon all over it.

Fresh juice from the actual aloe plant and lemon fruit is best. Aloe gel is also a good alternative if you don’t have fresh aloe available.

“Break off a leaf and rub aloe gel combined with fresh lemon juice directly onto the wart a few times per day. Aloe contains malic acid which helps remove warts and also heal the area fast too.And be sure to cover the area after each application. ” Says Dr. Mosquera.

Research has shown that topical aloe vera used in combination with citric acid is a option to treat warts.

Tea tree oil can do the trick.

“Apply the oil directly, massage it in, and then cover it with a bandage or duct tape. Repeat this daily.” Recommends Dr. Mosquera.

According to the Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory’s 2008 research that focused on apply tea tree oil on warts for a 12 day period, tea tree has been found to be an effective topical application for the treatment of skin infections due to a variety of aetiological microbial agents, including mainly bacterial infections

Heat it up with hot water.

Simple sequential treatment by immersion in hot water (113°F to 118°F) has been researched and shown to dramatically improve certain cases of cutaneous warts of the hands and feet.

“Hot water can also serve as a great relief for an itchy wart. Try running a wart on your finger under the sink. This method for wart removal never hurts to try because in most cases it is free.” Notes Dr. Mosquera.

Hocus Pocus….Hypnosis? Yup.

A fascinating area about warts that has yet to be fully explained by science is why hypnotherapy works incredible well for warts.

“I’ve used it in patients as a certified in hypnotherapy and I’ve found it’s very effective. Especially with pediatric patients. The successful repeated treatments support the mind body connection of diseases.” Says Dr. Mosquera.

And although the nature of why psychotherapeutic treatment isn’t fully understood, the successful repeated treatment of warts through hypnosis been well documented through studies supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH).

“Most patients I’ve encountered have used freeze-off you can pick up at the pharmacy and apply themselves at home. At home freeze treatments are effective, but can be extremely damaging and usually lead to scarring with excessive use. There are other ways. Natural ways that treat the cause- and not just the symptom of a virus.” says Dr. Mosquera.

Are some people more likely to get warts?

Some people are naturally resistant to the HPV virus and never get warts, others have the virus but don’t have warts as a symptom, while others seem to have the non-cancerous skin growths spread like wildfire.

Though anyone can develop warts, some people are more at risk, particularly children and teens, people with a weakened immune system, and also those with occupations that handle raw meat such as poultry processing, explains Dr. Mosquera.

Contagious Through Skin to Skin Contact

“And wart viruses are contagious. You can easily contract this virus if you cut or damage your skin in some way, and then touch someone else who has it.” Says Dr. Mosquera

Warts can be spread from one location on the body to another or from person to person by contact with the wart.

“You can also contract a wart causes virus by sharing towels, razors, other personal care items, or even by spooning your partner who may have warts on their back in bed.” notes Dr. mosquera

Avoiding getting warts altogether

Although there’s no way to prevent them, Dr. Mosquera says it’s always a good idea to wash your hands and skin often.

“If you have a cut or scratch, use soap and water to clean the area because open wounds are more likely to develop warts and other infections. If a wart develops, make sure not to scratch the area.”

“Remember that warts are self-diagnosable and there is often no need for lab testing or imaging, but If you have a wart, think you have a wart, or just want more information about natural ways to get rid of warts speak with your general physician to find a specialist that is a dermatologist or podiatrist.”

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Final words of warty wisdom 

While you’re trying to get rid of the warts, you shouldn’t scratch, pick, bite at them, or apply a ton of lotion and take a ridiculously long hot shower that makes your fingers prune.

Agitation and wetness makes them worse, more painful, and also spreads them to other parts of your body, notes Dr. Mosquera.

“It will take time to get rid of a wart if you aren’t looking to freeze off some chunks of skin along with it. You will have to use the treatment over and over; sometimes every day. Even then, it can take weeks, or sometimes, months. Be patient” Says Dr. Mosquera

5 Reasons You’ll Never Forget That Bag Of Spinach In The Fridge Again

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. The old forgotten bag of spinach in the fridge.

Maybe you travel out of town for work . Maybe you go out with coworkers for dinner. Maybe you get caught up snacking on saltines and sour skittles while you’re at home binge watching a show. And maybe you just like having pizza delivered- a lot.

For whatever reason you may have, I think I can guess how the story goes: You’re left with another gross bag of wasted yellow spinach and a funky smell in your fridge because you didn’t eat it.

 It stinks. (metaphorically and literally)

But don’t worry- your days of forgetting about spinach are over.

5 Health Benefits of Spinach

Full of nutrients and delicious taste, spinach is a winter superfood not to be forgotten. I’ve outlined five of my favorite health benefits that you can reap by adding spinach to your daily diet.

STAY SHARP MENTALLY

People who ate 1-2 servings of dark leafy greens a day had the mental abilities of those over a decade younger, according to research presented at the American Society for Nutrition conference in 2015.

Why? Researchers believe vitamin K plays a main role by helping create sphingolipids—special fats that are critical to brain function.

The lutein, folate and beta carotene in the greens may also help.

GET STRONGER BONES

I think for anyone who’s seen Popeye is familiar with the fact that the dairy aisle isn’t the only place to find calcium-rich foods; dark leafy greens such as spinach are also a great source.

Calcium is needed to build bones and teeth, as well as keep your muscles and nerves working.

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BLOOD PRESSURE

Spinach has a very high content of potassium and a low content of sodium, which makes its composition very beneficial for high blood pressure patients as potassium lowers and sodium raises the blood pressure.

The folate present in the veggie also contributes to the reduction of hypertension and relaxes blood vessels, while maintaining proper blood flow.

HAVE KILLER EYESIGHT

Spinach is a rich source of beta carotene, lutein and xanthene, all of which are beneficial for eyesight.

Beta carotene is supplied to the eyes by cooked spinach. It can prevent people from suffering from vitamin A deficiency, itching eyes, eye ulcers, and dry eyes.

This is also due to some of the anti-inflammatory properties of it, which can reduce the puffiness or irritation in the eyes.

COMBAT ARTHRITIS

According to the National Institutes of Health, arthritis, which is joint inflammation, affects about one in every five people in the United States.

Luckily research suggests eating vitamin K-rich veggies can dramatically reduce inflammation. In fact, spinach has more than a dozen anti-inflammatory compounds.

This makes spinach is one of the most powerful vegetables when it comes to reducing inflammation throughout the body.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends trying to get in nine or more servings daily of a colorful fruit or veggie like spinach daily to maximize benefits. One serving is 2 cups of raw greens or 1 cup of cooked.

4 EASY WAYS TO PREPARE THIS LEAFY GREEN SUPERFOOD

Dark leafy greens are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet that you can eat. They’re packed with fiber and vitamins A, C and K, and have countless benefits beyond the 5 I have outlined above.

Spinach is the one food that I eat almost every day because I find it easy to prepare, affordable, and satiating .

I have 4 favorite ways to prepare spinach that work well for breakfast, lunch, a snack, or dinner.

The first, which I have a lot for breakfast, is scrambled green eggs. I just throw some baby spinach leaves in a pan while I’m whipping up some scrambled eggs.

The second is simply sauteed. I will take a bag of the dark leafy greens and cook it down on the stove with a couple drops of water and a pinch of salt. I always find a pair of tongs to be my best utensil for this.

The third is what I like to call green nachos. I microwave spinach along with a little layer of cheese on top. This is a favorite of mine after working out.

The fourth is just a salad. It’s not too overwhelming to take a bag of the dark leafy greens raw and throw together a fresh salad with gorgonzola, cranberries, and some fresh nuts with a simple pre-packaged vinaigrette dressing.

RESPECT FOR POPEYE THE SAILOR

I’ll be the first to admit, even though I basically eat spinach everyday, I still have the occasional slip up.

Sure, I’ve forgotten a bag or two (or 10) of it in the fridge since making it my 2016 new year’s resolution to never let a bag go bad again. But that’s a lot less than I wasted last year. And I feel healthier and am happier for it.

Maybe you don’t see yourself eating it everyday like me, but I do hope reading this has at least given you a new-found appreciation for Popeye’s legendary love of spinach- and perhaps ignites your own love affair with my personal favorite green leafy vegetable.

5 Health Benefits of Being Bilingual

October is Bilingual Child Month. And these days, more of the world’s population is bilingual or multilingual than ever before. In fact, the Associated Press reports that up to 66% of the world’s children speak two languages these days. And being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter.

Multiple studies have shown that speaking another language besides your native tongue is a great way to condition your brain and keep it in tiptop shape- especially if you are consistently speaking different languages throughout your lifetime.

Here are 5 scientifically backed cognitive benefits that have been shown to come along with speaking more than one language.

YOU ARE SMARTER

A 2004 study focusing on preschoolers found that those who could speak two or more languages had higher levels of cognitive brain function, were better at solving problems, planning, and other “mentally demanding tasks.”

Wondering why? The researchers who conducted the study believe that bilinguals are often forced to shift between languages everyday, which is like an overall workout and conditioning for the brain.

Think of speaking multiple languages being brain conditioning like that of a professional physical athlete.

YOU HAVE A BETTER MEMORY

If you speak multiple languages, you know it requires lots and lots of remembering.

Studies have shown that bilinguals, when given tasks regarding memory, score higher than those who can only speak one language.

For example, in one reputable 2013 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, 125 children 5- or 7-year-olds performed a visuospatial span task that manipulated other executive function components through simultaneous or sequential presentation of items.

The study along with another published in 2013 found Bilinguals outperformed monolinguals overall.

YOU HAVE A MORE VIBRANT PERSONALITY

In 1968, sociolinguist Susan Ervin studied Japanese women living in the U.S. who were bilingual.

Ervin asked participants to complete a series of sentences in both languages, and found that not only was the wording different, but the intention behind the words was different, too. She believes this is because of the cultural differences with the languages.

In 2003, this was again confirmed by linguists Jean-Marc Dewaele and Aneta Pavlenko over a two-year study which involved thousands of bilinguals.

Of those who participated in the study, two-thirds reported that they really did “feel like a different person,” when speaking another language.

I guess this partly explains why I feel like Penelope Cruz’s character from Vicky Cristina Barcelona whenever I break out my spanish.

YOU ARE PROTECTING YOURSELF AGAINST DEMENTIA

In a recent 2012 study focusing on 44 elderly Spanish-English bilinguals, a team of researchers led at the University of California, San Diego, found that individuals with a higher degree of bilingualism were more resistant than others to the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

So according to the study’s findings, the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later the age of dementia onset.

Keep in mind though this isn’t to suggest that being bilingual is a cure for diseases like dementia. Rather think of it as the higher the language proficiency, the longer dementia onset can be curbed.

YOU ARE BETTER AT MULTITASKING

Researchers sponsored by the philanthropic organization The Dana Foundation have shown that the bilingual brain can have better attention and task-switching capacities than the monolingual brain, thanks to its developed ability to inhibit one language while using another.

In addition, the same 2012 study published in Cerebrum displayed that bilingualism has positive effects at at any age, so it’s never too late to start learning another language.

For example, the study showed that bilingual children as young as seven months can better adjust to environmental changes, while bilingual seniors can experience less cognitive decline.

BEING BILINGUAL IN THE U.S.

Did you know that with more than 37 million speakers, the U.S. Census Bureau says that Spanish is by far the most spoken non-English language in the U.S. today among people ages 5 and older?

About 62% of U.S. Hispanic adults are bilingual, according to an analysis of the Pew Research Center’s 2013 National Survey of Latinos. And the first generation latino adults who are children of immigrant parents are the most likely to be bilingual.

But only about 1 in 4 Americans speak a second language well enough to hold a conversation.

JUST START TALKING, I MEAN, EMPIEZA A HABLAR

So I ask- in honor of October being bilingual month-switch up your language when you can.

It can be as simple as counting from 1-10 in French while stretching, singing a Shakira song written in spanish, asking a friend who is multi-lingual to teach you new a new phrase everyday, tinkering around on duolingo every now and then, or giving a relative a call so you can brush up on your own native tongue you may have let fall to the wayside.

You have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone speaking another language in order to reap the benefits.

I’m going to enjoy daily calls with my grandmother who speaks Gallego, a mix of spanish and english.

Remember- Conditioning of any kind often takes discomfort.

Get out of your comfort zone this month global citizens!

Adiós
For any questions, comments, or concerns- email elara@saludmovil.com

Women’s Health: The Medical Screenings & Tests Every Woman Should Have

In honor of Women’s National Health and Fitness day, I’ve put together a list of all the health screenings women should have through the decades. After all, exercise isn’t the only preventive medicine to keep women healthy and happy.

Routine health screenings are important too. They make a woman’s ability to keep tabs on health a lot more simple. 

And a woman’s health is dependent upon a lot of different things.

Its important all women make healthy lifestyle habits. Making time for regular exercise, learning and practicing stress management techniques, choosing the right foods, and scheduling routine health screenings should should all be at the top of a woman’s priority list.

These routine visits to primary care doctors can help you avoid health problems, heartaches, and costly medical bills in the future.

Medical Screenings For Women By Age Group

Your height, weight, and BMI should be checked at EVERY annual exam with your general practitioner. This is because these numbers serve as precursor for further screenings.

Here are the guidelines to health maintenance visits when considering healthy lifestyle habits for women, based on their age group. This guidance is courtesy of the the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and are supported by the Office of Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Screening Tests For Women Women Ages 18–39 Women Ages 40–49 Women Ages 50–64 Women Ages 65 and older
Blood Pressure Test Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).
Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.
Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.
Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).
Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.
Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.
Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).
Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.
Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.
Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).
Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.
Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.
BONE MINERAL DENSITY TEST
Osteoporosis screening
Discuss with your doctor or nurse if you are at risk of osteoporosis. Get this test at least once at age 65 or older.
BREAST CANCER SCREENING
Mammogram
Discuss with your doctor or nurse. Discuss with your doctor or nurse. Starting at age 50, get screened every 2 years. Get screened every 2 years through age 74.

Age 75 and older, ask your doctor or nurse if you need to be screened.

PAP SMEAR TEST
Also known as Cervical cancer screening
Get a Pap test every 3 years if you are 21 or older and have a cervix.
But if you are 30 or older, you can get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years.
Get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years if you have a cervix. Get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years if you have a cervix. Ask your doctor or nurse if you need to get a Pap test.
CHLAMYDIA TEST Get tested for chlamydia yearly through age 24 if you are sexually active or pregnant.
Age 25 and older, get tested for chlamydia if you are at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant.
Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant. Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk. Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk.
CHOLESTEROL TEST Starting at age 20, get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.
Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.
Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.
Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.
Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.
Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.
Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.
Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.
COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENINGS
fecal occult blood testing
sigmoidoscopy
colonoscopy
Starting at age 50, get screened for colorectal cancer.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Get screened for colorectal cancer through age 75.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

DIABETES SCREENING Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.
GONORRHEA TEST Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant. Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant. Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk. Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk.
HIV TEST Get tested for HIV at least once.
Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests.  All pregnant women need to be tested for HIV.
Get tested for HIV at least once.
Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests.  All pregnant women need to be tested for HIV.
Get tested for HIV at least once.
Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests.
Get tested for HIV at least once if you are age 65 and have never been tested.
Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.
SYPHILIS TEST Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk or pregnant. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk or pregnant. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk.

Keep in mind that the information above is simply guidance about routine doctor appointments for women are guidelines only, and it does in fact vary in practice.

Whats the point of periodic trips to the doctor?

There are 5 main purposes behind the approach of periodic doctor appointments, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

  • Assess your risk of future medical obstacles
  • Screenings for medical issues
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle
  • Staying up to date on vaccinations
  • Help you build a relationship with your health-care provider in the case of an illness.

Your primary care doctor or nurse practitioner will most likely personalize the timing of the screening tests you need based on many factors like a family history for breast cancer or a unhealthy lifestyle habit such as smoking.

And always feel comfortable to ask your doctor or nurse if you don’t understand why a certain test is recommended for you. It is also helpful to check with your insurance plan to find out which tests are covered, and what the most effective and affordable approach for preventive care will be for you.

Even if you are feeling healthy, it is still important to be evaluated by a doctor periodically.

If you haven’t already scheduled your annual trip to your primary doctor this year, today could be a great day!

Stay healthy 🙂

Have questions, comments, or concerns? Email Elara@saludmovil.com

3 Easy DIY Facial Mask Recipes For Perfect Skin

We’ve all heard doctors tell us to eat our fruits and veggies, but apparently we should be applying food to our skin too! The same fresh, natural ingredients you use to whip up cuisine can do wonders for your skin. In honor of September being self improvement month, I’ve rounded up 3 of my favorite homemade face mask treatments that require just 3 simple ingredients.

There are plenty of quick do-it-yourself (DIY) face care treatments that can be done at home that are affordable, take less time than a spa trip, and use all-natural ingredients you can find right in your fridge or kitchen cabinet.

But when it comes to your face, you don’t want to rely on just anyone to tell you what your skin needs to look and feel radiant. That’s why I spoke to  saludmóvil’s™ integrative medicine expert, Dr. Joseph Mosquera to make sure my picks are doctor approved.

THE AVOCADO MASK

A hydrating avocado base mask is a great choice for stressed-out dry skin after spending a lot of time in the sun.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 ripe avocado

1 teaspoon plain organic yogurt

1 teaspoon of honey

Optional: 1-2 teaspoons of virgin olive oil (Adds Extra Moisture Kick)

DIRECTIONS

Mash the avocado until it’s soft and then mix in the yogurt and honey until it forms a goopy, frosting-like paste. Apply to your face with fingers or a makeup brush and leave on for around 15-20 minutes. For a more intense dose of hydration, add one or two teaspoons of virgin olive oil, which instantly softens and smoothes skin.

THE EGG WHITE MASK

This pore-obliterating egg white mask is perfect for stressed out skin that suffering from breakouts or acne.

INGREDIENTS

1 egg whites

1 teaspoon of orange juice

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

DIRECTIONS

Egg white proteins work great on oily skin types because this ingredient tightens pores and zaps acne-causing bacteria. Whisk it with orange juice (a dose of vitamin C) and turmeric, an herb that has brightening properties, to help even out your skin tone—but wear an old T-shirt since the powder can stain. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes and wash off the mask with water and a wet face cloth once it’s dried.

THE HONEY MASK

This calming honey mask helps to heal any chafed or raw areas, making it perfect at dealing with acne flare-ups. You can use it twice or 3 times a week.

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons of pure honey

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 wedge of fresh lemon

DIRECTIONS

Warm the honey in the microwave for a few seconds, then combine it with the cinnamon and the juice of a lemon wedge into a small bowl. Cinnamon is known to reduce inflammation and redness—plus, it sops up excess oil when applied topically. Lemon acid not only helps exfoliate your skin, but can minimize the appearance of dark spots, too. Gently massage the mixture onto your face and leave on for about 15-20 minutes, then rinse off. Mask recipe courtesy of A Beautiful Day Blog.

Edible face masks are fun, simple, and easier on your wallet than lavish anti-aging treatments found at spas. Chances are you may have all the ingredients for one or all three of my go-to face masks in your kitchen.

And did I mention tastier? 😉

For any questions, comments, or concerns- email Elara@saludmovil.com

 

First Aid: Treating Minor Cuts and Scrapes at Home

Minor cuts and scrapes from everyday injuries can usually be treated at home and don’t require a costly trip to the ER. But with antibiotic-resistant infections on the rise, minor cuts could turn fatal.

In fact, antibacterial ointments may be one of the factors behind the spread of an especially lethal strain of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), according to a 2011 study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“People should understand that triple antibiotic [ointment] is not almighty, and avoid preventive or excessive use of this ointment,” study author and bacteriologist Masahiro Suzuki told Livescience writer Joe Brownstein.

First Aid For treating minor cuts and scrapes without topical antibiotics

There are proven steps for treating minor cuts and scrapes at home that don’t use topical antibiotics and won’t compromise your health in the future.

Here are guidelines for proper at-home wound care treatment accredited by the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (URAC) and supported by saludmóvil’s™ integrative medicine expert, Dr. Joseph Mosquera.

Step 1: Wash the wound with cool water

To treat a minor cut at home first wash your hands thoroughly with soap to avoid infection.

Then wash the cut with mild soap and cool water.

“You can hold the wound under running water or fill a tub with cool water and pour it from a cup over the wound.” writes the familydoctor.org editorial staff.

Even though your instinct may be to use a stronger cleansing solution (such as hydrogen peroxide or iodine), the AAFP writes these may irritate wounds and you should wait to apply these solutions until you speak with a healthcare professional. If you do not have access to clean water, however, Dr. Mosquera recommends using betadine antiseptic solution as soon as possible.

The AAFP recommends using hand soap and a soft hand towel to clean the skin around the wound, and if you use anything like tweezers to remove dirt, make sure they are sterile and cleaned.

Step 2: Apply direct pressure to stop the bleeding

Once the area is clean, you want to apply direct pressure to stop the bleeding.

Most minor cuts will usually stop bleeding on their own after a short period, but if bleeding persists, apply firm but gentle pressure on the cut with a clean cloth, paper towel, piece of clothing, tissue or piece of gauze. Raising the cut if it is on a arm or leg above your heart level (if possible) will also help slow the bleeding.

“If the blood soaks through the gauze or cloth you’re holding over the cut, don’t take it off. Just put more gauze or another cloth on top of what you already have in place and apply more pressure for 20 to 30 minutes.” writes the familydoctor.org editorial staff.

Step 3: Keep the wound clean and dry (& skip the antibiotic ointment!)

Once the wound has stopped bleeding, it’s time to consider a bandage.

“Once the wound is no longer bleeding, you could apply an antibacterial ointment to coat and protect the wound, but if you dab antibiotic cream on every little cut and scrape, this may help to contribute to antibiotic resistance down the line,” according to Dr. Mosquera.

Although the AAFP recommends antibiotic ointment, it notes bandages do pretty much the same thing as topical antibiotics and that most minor cuts and scrapes will heal just fine without antibiotic ointment.

The Mayo Clinic staff also writes that antibiotic ointments don’t make wounds heal faster.

“If it’s in an area that will get dirty (such as your hand) or be irritated by clothing (such as your knee), cover it with an adhesive strip (one brand: Band-Aid) or with sterile gauze and adhesive tape.” Writes the familydoctor.org editorial staff.

Change the bandage daily to keep the wound clean and dry.

If the wound isn’t in an area that will get dirty or be rubbed by clothing, you don’t have to cover it. Leaving a wound uncovered actually can help it stay dry and help it heal, according to the AAFP.

When the wound starts to heal

Small cuts and scrapes will form a scab and should heal within a couple days.

Although a scab will inevitably itch, Dr. Mosquera promises the scab will fall off on its own without your help.

“Its also a good idea to keep cuts and scrapes out of the sun while they are healing. Too much sun exposure on healing skin can lead to worse scarring.” says Dr.Mosquera.

When should I get medical care beyond at-home treatment?

You should call your family doctor or visit the emergency room as soon as possible if you begin to notice any of the following signs of infection of a wound, according to Dr. Mosquera.

  • Redness, swelling, and warmth
  • Pus or drainage
  • Fever
  • Increasing pain
  • Red streaks around the wound
  • Bleeding persists

Remember, larger scrapes or deeper wounds should be seen by a doctor or nurse.

Cuts that are more complicated, according to MedLinePlus, may require a repair with skin glue, stitches or staples.

Happy and healthy healing friends!
Still brewing on this? Send comments, questions, and concerns to Elara@saludmovil.com.

The Health Benefits of Honey: 8 Reasons Why Winnie-The-Pooh Is A Nutritional Guru

It’s time to take a page out of Winnie-the-Pooh’s book for nutritional advice and talk about honey.

Honey is indeed a sweet, tasty snack, but it is so much more than just a sweetener.

In fact, honey has been used by humans for countless health benefits for the past 2500 years, and was even referred to as the Nectar of the Gods in the times of ancient Greece.

Boasting health perks ranging from allergy relief to wound care, here is a roundup of the top 8 health benefits of honey that have the research to back them up.

Reduces cough and throat irritation

Honey helps with coughs and throat irritation and has been found to be just as effective as over the counter cough medicines. This is particularly true of buckwheat honey.

In a study of 110 children, a single dose of buckwheat nectar was just as effective as a single dose of dextromethorphan in relieving nocturnal cough and allowing proper sleep.

For cough, a 0.5 to 2 teaspoons of honey at bedtime is a studied and recommended dosage for anyone over the age of one year of age.

Heals burns, cuts, and other wounds

Honey has been used for centuries to treat wounds. The Egyptians are believed to have been the first people to apply honey to wounds.

What makes it so great for this? Honey offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and a high viscosity which helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection.

Various research in the last several decades has documented honey’s effectiveness in treating cuts, burns, insect bites, yeast infections, along with various skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and fungal infections ranging from  athlete’s foot all the way to ringworm.

For the treatment of burns and wounds, honey is typically applied directly to the problem area or in a dressing that is changed every 24 to 48 hours.

Gives you flawless skin

Countless studies have shown honey’s antibacterial qualities are particularly useful for the skin, and when used with the other ingredients such as milk, the nectar of the gods can be very moisturizing and nourishing.

Honey and beeswax are commonly used in the beauty industry as a skin moisturizer, softener and to heal the skin tissue.

Acts as a brain booster

Nature’s liquid gold is loaded in antioxidants that may help prevent cellular damage and loss within the brain.

A 2011 study published in Menopause found a daily spoonful of Malaysian honey may boost postmenopausal women’s memory, which can provide an alternative therapy for the hormone-related intellectual decline.

After four months of taking 20 grams of honey a day, the women were more likely to have better short-term memory than their counterparts who took hormone pills.

Provides Energy and Endurance

Honey is an excellent source of all natural energy. According to the USDA, honey contains about 64 calories per tablespoon.

A 2015 study showed that honey improves running performance and glucose metabolism compared to plain water in the heat.

Try a tablespoon of honey as a recovery aid during your next workout to go the extra mile.

It can combat cancer and heart disease

Honey contains flavonoids, antioxidants which multiple studies have found help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.

For example, a study published in 2012 found that daily consumption of honey reduces risk of chronic infections by microorganisms.

This is a big deal for honey because chronic infections have risk for cancer development.

Reduces ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders

A number of studies have also shown that honey treatment may help disorders such as ulcers and bacterial gastroenteritis.

For example, orally ingesting honey has been found to be effective at treating diarrhea and gastroenteritis.

Functions as a natural immune booster

Various studies have suggested that daily consumption of honey improves one’s immune system.

A 2013 study found that ingesting honey at a high dose (1 gram per kilogram of body weight of honey daily) can improve allergy symptoms over a period of eight weeks.

“Local honey is great for seasonal allergy relief. When a person eats local honey that is raw, they are essentially ingesting local pollen. So over time, a person may become less-sensitive to this pollen and experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms.” explains saludmóvil’s™ integrative medicine expert Dr. Joseph Mosquera.

What’s the healthiest type of honey?

There are more than 300 different types of honey just in the US, so I touched base with Dr. Mosquera for his recommendations on how to maximize honey’s health benefits.

“The benefits of honey that we get greatly depend on its quality. So if you want to get the goodness from your honey, make sure it is pure, raw, of the local variety, and at room temperature.” Recommends Dr. Mosquera.

“Ideally you want honey that is pure, unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed. Raw honey contains all the beneficial vitamins, minerals and enzymes not present in refined honey.” Says Dr. Mosquera.

Cautions to take with honey

Honey has many health benefits, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any drawbacks or risks to adding honey to your diet.

When it comes to being cautious about honey, Dr. Mosquera notes you should never give honey to a child less than 12 months old.

“This is because honey can have botulism spores or the child may have an allergy.” Says Dr.Mosquera.

And even though honey is one of the healthiest sweeteners, it still should certainly be used in moderation.

Mild honey intoxication side effects can include weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and nausea.

Where can I find healthy honey?

Raw honey might be available at your nearest grocery store, but it should be available at your local health food store, co-op, farmers market, or even better, via a local beekeeper. It’s also available online.

“If you have a sweet tooth, choosing honey over processed sugars is a good choice. Ditching refined sugar for pure raw honey instead has huge health benefits!” Says Dr. Mosquera

By understanding all of the healing powers that honey has to offer, I hope your teeming to lap up every bit of sweet nectar like Winnie-The-Poo when you crack open your next jar of honey.

Happy honey hunting friends!

How To Tackle Back To School Stress At Home

Even though it’s technically still summer, the transition back to school is here. The long days and relaxed schedules are already turning into anxious bedtimes and stressful homework sessions for those with school aged children. But don’t stress. I sat down with an integrative health coach to find out what parents can do at home to ensure a healthy beginning to a new school year. 

As a parent, you can’t always protect your kids from school stress, but research has shown you can help young students develop healthy strategies to cope with stress at home.

Data from the NICHD Study of Early Childcare and Youth Development has shown that children with positive parental involvement that provide continuity between home and school can have enhanced social functioning and fewer behavior problems.

5 ways parents can help their kids handle back to school stress at home

Integrative health coach Elaine Hernandez-Martins, a graduate of Duke University’s Integrative Health Coach Professional Training Program, has broken down 5 ways parents can help their kids handle back to school stress at home.

PLAN AHEAD

Try and establish routines both in the morning and evening, says Hernandez-Martins.

In the evening, enforce a bedtime. Setting a bedtime can improve sleep quality and quantity for kids, according to a growing body of research. Meanwhile not getting enough sleep affects children’s behavior, memory, attention, and emotional well-being, researchers said.

Use the evening to make the mornings less stressful.

“Put focus on planning for the next day. For example, help your child to lay out his or her clothes and pack their backpack the night before. This can help ease morning tensions.” says Hernandez-Martins.

If you are a working parents worried about getting yourself and kids out the door in time in the morning, Hernandez-Martins says to try setting out breakfast items and preparing school lunches and snacks after the kids have gone to bed.  If you know your child isn’t a morning person,  Hernandez-Martins says it can be better to have your child wake a few minutes early so things are less rushed heading out the door.

MAKE CHECKLISTS ROUTINE

Another idea Hernandez-Martins says can be great is creating a chart along with your child of all the things they need to complete after school, before bedtime, and in the morning.

“Little white boards with erasable markers work well,”says Hernandez-Martins.

Hernandez Martins tells me you should have kids be the ones to check off the completed items so they are able to better able understand the series of tasks and can feel a sense of accomplishment.

“Kids are never too young or old to learn organization and preparation. My son who is now 27 years old still has his “To Do” list written out each day with a check off box after each task,” says Hernandez Martins.

DESIGNATE A STUDY AREA AT HOME

Help your child set up a comfortable, quiet study area with supplies and proper lighting to ensure uninterrupted homework sessions, says Hernandez-Martins.

“Try heading out to the stores before classes start so your child has a chance to organize his or her area and perhaps finish up any back to school reading in his or her new space before school begins and assignments begin to pile up.” says Hernandez-Martins.

TAKE A POSITIVE SPIN ON THINGS

For some, the idea of making checklists and calendars, organizing and planning ahead sounds, well, stressful. People can instead reduce stress by reframing, which means thinking about things in a neutral or positive way, instead of negatively, explains Hernandez-Martins.

“We may not have control over all the things happening around us, but we have almost complete control over how we interpret them,” Hernandez-Martins says. If your child is feeling anxious with the thought of heading back to school, it’s important to acknowledge his or her concerns.

Let him or her know that It is absolutely normal to feel nervous heading into a new school year with many unknowns ahead. Then you can try focusing on  positive things such as meeting friends and learning lots of new  and exciting things in class, says Hernandez-Martins.

“If they are going to a new school, perhaps planning a drive by or walk through the week before school begins, can help ease the tension. Positive, Calm, encouragement is contagious!”

LISTEN

It seems straightforward, but listening carefully to your child can really help get to the root of the problem and help alleviate it, believes Hernandez-Martins.

Can it be a learning difficulty?  A bully in class? A new teacher without an understanding of your child’s head strong personality?  Or just some back to school jitters?

“ It can be a number of things stressing out your child, but you won’t really know until you ask and listen. Being a good listener for your child is one of the most effective stress-free strategies you can have. ” says Hernandez-Martins.

Still not sure where you should begin after reading these tips?

Remember that chronic stress at home has been shown to be damaging to a child’s health, so it’s important that you are a good role model as a parent.

“If you are stressed, chances are your child will also become stressed. The best thing you can do is deal with your stress in a healthy way and show your children how to move past it. Emotions can be contagious, so try and focus on the positives.” says Hernandez-Martins.

Try asking your child what they think would make this fall at school a little less stressful- just listen, be prepared to laugh, and go from there! 

 

Get Organized: How decluttering at home can improve your life

Just thinking about folding piles of laundry or cleaning out a cluttered closet can feel exhausting, but disorganization at home can really mess with your health. Clearing away the clutter and getting organized at home can make you happier, help you make healthier choices, get a better night’s sleep, improve your relationships, and even boost your drive to exercise and lose weight.

You’ll be less stressed or likely to be depressed when you feel organized at home.

In a University of California–Los Angeles study,  published in 2009, women who characterized their homes “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more depressed, fatigued, and reported higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than women who described their homes as “restful” and “restorative.”

Researchers tell us this is because a messy home can prevent a natural decline in cortisol that should occur during the course of the day. Blood levels of cortisol vary dramatically, but generally are higher in the morning when we wake up, and then fall throughout the day. This is called a diurnal rhythm.

Taking the time for tasks such as sorting through all those receipts or organizing your closet, won’t just clear away physical clutter. Researchers from UCLA say it can actually help you feel happier, and lower your cortisol levels too.

It can help you make healthier food choices and even lose weight.

Messy spaces can trigger unhealthy stress eating, which most of us want to try and avoid. A study published in the journal Psychological Science found people who worked in a neat space for 10 minutes were twice as likely to choose an apple over a chocolate bar than those who worked in a messy office for the same amount of time.

Cluttered and chaotic environments can cause stress, which can lead us to gravitate towards more unhealthy snacks–such as eating twice as many cookies, according to another study published in February earlier this year. The study showed that cluttered kitchens encourage eating more empty calories. When stressed out females were asked to wait for another person in a messy kitchen — with newspapers on the table, dishes in the sink, and the phone ringing – they ate twice as many cookies compared to women in the same kitchen when it was organized and the phone wasn’t ringing.

When you’re physically organized, you have more time to plan your meals, stock up on nutritious foods, and prep things like fruits and vegetables to make healthy eating easier day to day.

Staying organized can help you stay fit and make you want to workout.

Research has found people who are organized tend to be better about sticking to an exercise regimen. People who set short-term goals, have a set plan, and record their progress are more likely to stick with an exercise program than those who show up without a plan, found a study published in 2011 in the Journal of Obesity.

Researchers say that using organization skills such as writing down a to do list of various workout circuits or training regimens and checking it off makes you more consciously aware of your progress, which motivates you to keep going especially when you don’t feel like it. Each week, try writing out your exercise plan and then note what you do on each day. Having a goal and game plan to reach the goal can be very motivating and satisfying once accomplished

Making your bed in the morning may mean better sleep at night.

Research shows the less stressed out you are, the better sleep you tend to get. Sleep and mood are deeply intertwined. For example poor or inadequate sleep can trigger irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can actually enhance well-being.

People who make their beds every morning are 19% more likely to report regularly getting a good night’s’ rest, and 75% of people said they got a better night’s sleep when their sheets were fresh and clean because they were physically more comfortable, according to a 2010 survey by the National Sleep Foundation. A more organized life can help you make your bedroom a sanctuary for rest and not chaos.

A more organized home front can mean better relationships.

Happy relationships with your partner and friends are key to warding off depression and disease according to a hefty number of studies, but a disorganized life can take a toll on these social ties.

For couples, disorganization can create tension and conflict. The time spent looking for and shouting over a lost receipt can take away from time you could be spending together cuddling on the couch.

As well, clutter can lead to shame and embarrassment that stunts relationships emotionally and physically. A messy house may prevent you from inviting the boys over to watch a game or cooking a romantic meal for your significant other, whereas being more organized at home enables you to spend more time with loved ones and foster stronger relationships. It’s inexpensive and it requires no special equipment- just some extra time and effort.

Remember that staying organized is maintenance.

Personally, I am guilty of hoarding all things bath and beauty products. I tend to snag all the travel sized soaps from hotels and samples from stores that I can get my hands on. The cosmetic clutter really stresses out my partner, so I make a point of going through, tossing out, and organizing items in my bathroom cabinet monthly so he’s able to find the nail clipper or cue tips without it feeling like a game of I-Spy. I find it helpful to write a list of things I want to organize in my apartment and keep it in a spot I see daily so that whenever I have time, I can chip away at things like tossing out dry-cleaning hangers and plastic wrap that pile up in the closet . I’ve started in a few spaces and it feels really good to be getting rid of clutter.

Make your list today.

Have you written a “to-organize” list for your home? If not- grab a pen and get the ball rolling. Chances are, you’ll feel happier and healthier afterwards.

Happy home organizing!

IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY: How Repeating Words Boosts Recall Ability

Whoever said studying was best accomplished quietly sitting alone in the library?

Former US President Abraham Lincoln was famous for his impressive memory among many other qualities. Wonder what his good memory secret was? Reading out loud,  according to the Library of Congress.

In fact, reading and repeating words aloud provides timeless benefit, scientists say, especially when it comes to developing a good memory.

Repeat after me. A recent study published in the fall of 2015 found repeating words aloud can improve verbal memory, particularly if these words are repeated audibly to another person.

Past studies supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH)have shown benefits of reading aloud for memory and neuroplasticity  (aka the brain’s ability to physically change), but what these particular findings show is that repeating words out loud directly while facing another person, has greater effects in terms of information retention and recall than sitting silently and reading them.

Good memory study: Results

Participants in this study were asked to repeat the words written down on a sheet of paper in four different ways. First, just repeating the words in their head. Second, repeating the words silently. Then while moving their lips. Then, repeating the words aloud, while also looking at a screen. And finally repeating the words aloud, while directly facing another person.

In each situation, the subjects wore headphones that simply emitted white noise to mask their own voices and avoid auditory feedback.

People with the highest verbal memory recall were those that repeated the words out loud directly to another person, while those that simply repeated the words in their head, had the lowest memory recall.

Functionality of speech helps us all better remember

This study seems to imply that when humans are trying to remember something,  if we verbally use our function of speech and we act it out and we interact over the word with another human being, we seem to remember this experience imprint better.

This makes good sense and it’s a good way of practicing memory recall, according to SaludMovil’s Dr.Mosquera.

How we make memories in different ways

When reading, we use our visual pathways to form memory links. We remember the material because it was something we physically saw and looked at.

People who have photographic memory for example are extraordinarily good at making these kinds of memory connections. For the rest of us, relying only on visual memory may leave us with many gaps.

The most effective way to make a memory

When reading out loud, we not only form auditory links in our memory pathways along with visual links, but also we create a memory link to the actual production of the word.

According to a leading expert in memory research, if the word or content is different, it makes it easier to remember as a distinctive memory.

Repetition and recall aloud particularly useful in dementia cases

The memory boosting technique of repetition aloud can be effectively used with middle-aged or older people, especially those who may be struggling with focus and recall.

People with early onset dementia may benefit greatly from techniques like practicing words of a new language out loud. When we teach an old brain new tricks we know that it will help slow age-related mental decline. So exercise your body and exercise your mind!

When you should give it a try

So, next time you are at the dinner table with your family, perhaps talking about something you’ve read that day on the internet or even bringing your SAT word flash cards to the table, be sure to make eye contact and verbally express it.

The likelihood that it will be processed and recalled much better for everyone involved is much greater if you didn’t say anything at all.

 

Dehydration Safety Tips For Kids And Teens

Staying hydrated in the heat is important for everyone, but it is especially important for children.

If you think your little outdoor lover is staying hydrated, there’s a 50/50 chance they may not be. A study conducted at Harvard’s School of Public Health found that more than half of all kids ages 6 to 19 in the U.S. are not getting enough hydration, probably because they are simply not drinking enough water.

Kids and teenagers are at a higher risk of dehydration than most adults. Adolescents do not adapt to extremes of temperature as effectively as adults, according to the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP). Children generate more heat than adults, and sweat less, which makes them more susceptible to dehydration.

In high schools across the country, it is estimated that more than 9,000 athletes are treated for heat illness each year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

How do you know when you are dehydrated?

Dehydration occurs when your body does not have as much water and fluids as it should. It’s important to be aware of all the signs of dehydration, and know that it can cause life threatening health issues immediately and lead to health problems down the line.

Dehydration can cause seizures, permanent brain damage, and even death, according to the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Health (NIH). A 2015 study at Harvard found that lack of proper hydration can have significant repercussions on physical, cognitive, and emotional health for adolescents in the long run.

Signs of dehydration:

  • Thirsty.
  • Dry or sticky mouth. You are unable to spit
  • Not going to the bathroom as often as usual
  • Darker yellow urine
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps

More severe signs of dehydration:

  • Dry, shriveled skin
  • Not sweating
  • Not urinating, or very dark yellow or amber-colored urine
  • Irritability or confusion
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sunken eyes
  • Listlessness
  • Shock shivers (not enough blood flow through the body)
  • Unconsciousness or delirium

Prevent dehydration by drinking water

It’s important to encourage all kids to drink the right amount of water, and never wait for a child to tell you he or she is thirsty.

Girls should aim for 2.1 to 2.7 liters of water daily, while boys should aim to drink 2.4 to 3.7 liters of water, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). And these recommendations don’t factor in when kids increase their physical activity by perhaps playing outside.

Make sure kids and teens stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after play. The AAP recommends the following while working up a sweat:

  • 5 oz. for an 88-pound child every 20 minutes
  • 9 oz. for a 132-pound adolescent every 20 minutes
  • Make sure athletes drink fluids (water is the best option) 30 minutes before the activity begins and every 15-20 minutes during activity
  • To determine how much hydration is needed for a specific athlete in a given climate, weight the athlete (unclothed) before and after the sports activity. 1 pound lost is equal to losing 16 oz. of water. A loss of weight after a sports activity is a sign of dehydration.
  • Caution: Hourly fluid intake should not exceed 1.5 quarts. Daily intake should not exceed 12 quarts.

The AAP notes that sipping 4oz to 8oz. of water during every 15-20 minutes of sports activity is good for most school age children and adolescents.

Treating a teen or child suffering from dehydration

  • If an adolescent is experiencing any moderate to severe signs of dehydration, cease physical activity.
  • Immediately move the athlete from direct sunlight to shade.
  • Have the athlete drink cool water, remove any equipment and excess clothing and lie down.
  • Cool the their body with cold water. Use a cold wet cloth, spray them with  hose, or even use melted ice from a cooler to dump over their body.
  • Try raising his or her legs about 8-12 inches off the ground.
  • Try sucking on ice cubes if they do not feel like sipping water.
  • Try drinking water or a sports drinks that contain electrolytes such as gatorade or Powerade.
  • Do not take salt tablets. They can actually cause serious complications.
  • If an athlete is severely dehydrated or suffering from heat exhaustion, call 911 if his or her condition doesn’t improve or worsens.

Conditions that worsen heat-induced dehydration in children and adolescents

The AAP’s Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness points out these conditions that can make matters worse:

  • Excessive fluid loss, due to to febrile state, gastrointestinal infection, diabetes insipidus, or diabetes mellitus.
  • Suboptimal sweating, due to spina bifida, sweating insufficiency syndrome
  • Excessive sweating, due to selected cyanotic congenital heart defects
  • Diminished thirst, due to cystic fibrosis
  • Inadequate Drinking, due to special needs or young children who may not comprehend the importance of drinking.
  • Anorexia nervosa, advanced undernutrition, or a prior heat-related illness.
  • Obesity.

How to know when it’s too hot

The air temperature outside isn’t the only thing that determines conditions outside are too dangerous for kids. 70% of climate heat stress is due to humidity, 20% to radiation, and just 10% is determined by air temperature.

Wet Bulb Global Temperature (WBGT) takes these three heat stress factors into account. It indicates wet bulb globe temperature, an index of climatic heat stress measured with a psychrometer, composed of 3 thermometers that measure humidity, radiation, and air temperature.

Signs of proper hydration

Kids will know if they’re drinking enough water if their urine is clear or the color of lemonade. Check out the Mayo Clinic’s infographic on what urine color says about hydration.

Remember, dehydration is preventable. Parents and coaches need to be aware of the potential hazards of high-intensity exercise in hot or humid climates and to take measures to prevent heat-related illness in children and adolescents.

 

How to Manage Arthritis Pain Naturally

If you feel pain, stiffness, and swelling in your joints or have trouble moving around, you may suffer from arthritis. Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in America, affecting more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children, according to the Arthritis Foundation (AF).

Fortunately, people with arthritis can live active, productive lives. There are effective and proven self-management tactics that preserve joint function, mobility, and improve quality of life for arthritis sufferers that don’t involve medications or surgery.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is not a single disease, but an informal way of referring to general joint pain or joint disease. It can come in different forms and affect people in different ways. But the common thread through most forms of arthritis is found in the inflammation and stiffness of the joints.

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions, according to the AF.

The most common form of arthritis is Osteoarthritis. An estimated 27 million Americans age 25 and older have it, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). This condition usually comes with age, affecting over 33% of people over the age of 65, but can also be caused by an injury to a joint, according to the CDC.

Self-management tactics are essential to combating arthritis symptoms at any age.

Natural Ways to Self-Manage Mild to Moderate Arthritis

The AF and Department of Health and Human Services offer tips on how to manage mild to moderate degenerative arthritis. These can help control pain and improve joint function. Keep in mind these are preventative tips too!

  • Regular physical activity. Moving all of your joints will help you strengthen the muscles around the achy joint for added support. Healthcare professionals should help you pinpoint the right kind of activities , and avoid high-impact aerobics that involve jumping and running such as tennis. Going for a walk every day can potentially help, too. But make sure you speak to your doctor first.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise. Try to keep your weight down. Excess pounds can make your knees and hips hurt. Adding foods with anti-inflammatory properties that are rich in antioxidants can help control inflammation. It’s especially important for gout to eat a healthful diet that is low in sugar, alcohol, and purines, which are commonly found in smoked fishes.
  • Balancing activity with rest. Rest is important when your disease is active and your joints feel painful, swollen or stiff. Lighten your schedule and obligations and ask for help when you need to. Pace yourself throughout your day and take breaks to conserve energy.
  • Using hot and cold therapies. Heat relaxes muscles and increases circulation in specific areas, while cold reduces swelling and numbs the nerves that detect pain. Try taking a warm shower in the morning and using frozen veggies as an ice pack on an achy area after a workout. Research has shown cryotherapy might also be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Poor sleep habits can worsen arthritis pain and fatigue, but there are things you can do to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, according to the Mayo Clinic. Make your bedroom dark, cool and quiet, avoid caffeine or strenuous exercise in the evening.
  • Using assistive devices. This can include investing in a cane, walker, or even installing handles up the staircases in your home that ease pressure put on stressed and inflamed joints.
  • Massage. Studies show massage may improve pain and stiffness. Make sure your massage therapist knows you have arthritis and where. There are many different massage techniques to choose from depending on your type of arthritis. Read up on which one could be best for you according to the AF here.
  • Acupuncture. Some people experience pain relief through acupuncture treatments. This is when a trained acupuncturist inserts hair-thin needles at specific points on your body. According to a NIH review of trials in 2010, Acupuncture is considered a potentially useful treatment for osteoarthritis.
  • Avoid smoking. Toxins in smoke cause stress on connective tissue, which can lead to worse joint problems.

Have you tried some or all of these natural management methods and still find that the pain is too much to handle? Touch base with your doctor. Medication or surgery may be a management strategy to consider depending on what type of arthritis you suffer from.

Diagnosing Arthritis

No single test can diagnose arthritis, though doctors do use tests to help confirm a diagnosis or rule out other conditions that could be causing symptoms. Most doctors use a combination of testing that commonly include clinical history, physical examination, X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs), and even blood tests to rule out other causes of symptoms. Joint aspirations can also be used for diagnoses which involves drawing fluid from the joint through a needle and examining the fluid under a microscope, according to the NIAMS.

These tests can be given or scheduled by your general practitioner. It’s also important to note only a doctor can tell if you have arthritis or a related condition and what to do about it.

Finding a Doctor Who Specializes in Arthritis

Still have questions and not sure who to ask? Your general practitioner should be able to help, but you can also work with a doctor who specializes in arthritis to safely lessen the pain and stiffness, preventing more serious damage to your joints.

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has a database that offers anyone with an internet connection the ability to find a Rheumatologist based on where they live and how far they are willing to travel. And its free! Check out the ACR informational resource for patients and caregivers here.  The AF also offers a free local office directory by state.

3 Breast Cancer Screening Tests You Should Know About

Breast cancer screening means checking breast tissue for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease.

When you are looking for breast cancer screening tests, it’s important to know that there is more than just a mammogram. There are also non-harmful, non-radioactive, non-carcinogenic options, but the reality is insurance companies force you to go through a significant amount of checks and balances to get the type of testing best fit for you. It is important to have a physician who advocates for you.

The initial diagnosis of breast cancer may come from self-examination, or the physician’s clinical breast exam, but the following three screening methods help in the actual diagnosis and progression of cancer.

Breast cancer screening: 3 methods to detect cancer

Mammogram

This is an x-ray of the breast that uses a very low dose of radiation, allowing the physician to see tissues within the breast.

During this screening test, one breast at a time is briefly compressed or squeezed between two  plates attached to the mammogram machine.  Although often uncomfortable, mammograms only take a few minutes to complete.

Mammography is performed to screen women to detect early breast cancer when it is more likely to be cured, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) says that mass screening mammography will detect occult cancers in two to seven of every 1000 women screened. This simple procedure can reveal cancerous growths that are too small to feel or pick up during a self or clinical breast exam.

The NIH suggests that women ages 50 to 74 who are at average risk for getting the disease undergo a routine screening mammogram every two years, though It’s important to consult your doctor about the cumulative exposure over the years to radiations that turns into its own cancer risk over time.

Ultrasound or sonogram

A breast ultrasound, also known as a sonogram, utilizes inaudible sound waves to create images that show whether a breast lump is solid, filled with fluid (a cyst), or a mixture of both.  Cysts usually are not cancer.

This breast cancer screening test lasts approximately 30 minutes, is painless and does not expose patients to radiation.

When a handheld transducer is used, ultrasound is also dependent on the skill and experience of the person doing the scan.

The NIH has found breast density is an increasingly pertinent issue in breast cancer diagnosis. Breast density results in a decrease in the sensitivity of mammography for cancer detection, with a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer. Ultrasounds therefore can lead to the detection of unseen cancers in mammograms.

A new phase of the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP), focused on prevention, is expanding the study of risk factors such as breast density.

A study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information concluded that women with dense breasts may benefit from the use of ultrasound.

 

Magnet Resonance Imaging (MRI) 

An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio frequency coils. MRIs do not use x-ray or radiation.

Currently, an MRI is used to further assess a suspicious area, since this screening test is more than 10 times as expensive as a mammogram. Despite the higher costs, more and more women are questioning why it is not used as a routine screening procedure along with ultrasounds as a less-uncomfortable alternative to mammograms.   

NCCN guidelines state MRIs may be more accurate than mammography in the early detection of malignant breast tumors in women with a hereditary risk of developing breast cancer. It is also used for women who have implants that need to be checked for possible leakage.

Though painless, MRI scans can take a long time—often up to an hour. For a breast MRI, you have to lie inside a narrow tube, face down, completely motionless on a platform specially designed for the procedure, which for some causes anxiety.

The American Cancer Society also notes It also has a high false positive rate. This means that it may incorrectly identify breast lesions as being a cancer 20-50% of the time when they are not.

 

 

Family Meal Time: How Important is Eating Together?

How much time do you save for family meals? As it turns out, eating together with your loved ones may directly affect your health.

It is inevitable that as we grow older, we become creatures of habit. We get accustomed to a set routine and lifestyle, and sometimes let our hectic schedules and worries get in the way of taking care of one of the most important aspects of our life; our health and well-being.

As adults, work usually becomes our main priority, and eating healthy often takes a back seat to the many other things that consume our lives. Unfortunately, we then carry these habits into parenthood and our kids follow suit.  

Is family meal time becoming endangered?

Over the last 25 years, eating together at home with family and friends is less frequent every day. Gone are the days of the dining room table conversation, replaced by the television and take-out.

Today, less than two out of five people eat at home together with their families on a weekly basis, according to a poll done by Gallup.  

We are too busy and distracted with work, cell phones, fast food, and restaurants to enjoy the many health benefits of shopping healthy, preparing and cooking food together, and most importantly, sharing meals together as a family or with friends and community.  

Most alarming is that the majority of children today do not engage in regular family meals at home. Only about 30 to 40 percent of families in the U.S. eat together only two to three times a week, according to CBS News. With fewer family meals, children are less likely to eat the right kind of healthy foods like fruits, veggies and whole grains, required for a well-balanced meal.  

Why eating together as a family is a healthy habit

The lack of experience in sharing these foods at a nightly family dinner is preventing a valuable and healthy lifestyle lesson from being learned by children. It is important to let our kids know the value of communicating with your loved ones, and sharing your daily life at the dinner table, especially in this day and age.  Dinner with the family is a great way to decompress after a hectic day, reconnect, and recharge your batteries.  

Eating together as a family not only creates a sense of togetherness, but it also creates memories and values that will be passed on to the next generation.

Eating with your family and friends also forces you to slow down, become mindful, and brings a much needed disconnect from the outside world.   And, perhaps, author Michael Pollan said it best in his book Food Rules, “The shared meal elevates eating from a biological process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community.”

As a practicing physician for over 30 years, I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  I love what it has done to enhance our lives and make my work, as well as my personal daily life, so much easier in immeasurable ways.  I also love the role it plays in helping to educate and treat my patients in ways not otherwise possible.  However, with all of the wonderful life-enhancing features and benefits that it offers, I also feel that an aspect of human communication has been lost.  

With technology constantly at our fingertips, the “art of the conversation” is becoming a thing of the past.  Today you can have a whole conversation with someone (via text) without ever actually “talking” to them.  Parents juggling school, work, and home rely, more than ever, on communication and transportation technology to make their lives faster and more efficient.  But as a result, technology’s impact on our families is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that has held families together for centuries.  

As a Kaiser Foundation study showed in 2010, elementary school-aged children in the United States use, on average 7.5 hours per day of entertainment technology, and 75 percent of these children have TV’s in their bedrooms, and 50 percent of homes have the TV on all day.  It is evident that 21st century families are spending more time with their computers, tablets and smartphones than they are with their families.  It is essential to teach our kids healthy living, free of outside pressures and disconnected from technological world.

Facts on the importance of family time at the dining table

And if I haven’t convinced you already to start eating together as a family on a regular basis, as often as possible, then here is some tangible proof of why you should.  

A study published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that out of 4,746 children ages 11 to 18, frequent family meals were associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking, and using marijuana. The study also showed a lower rate of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts, and better academic performance among those who spent more family meal time.  

Another study done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reported in a survey of 12- to 17-year-olds, that adolescents who reported eating two or less dinners a week with their family were more than one-and-a-half times as likely to smoke, drink, or use illegal substances than were teenagers who had five to seven family dinners.

With that being said, I cannot emphasize enough the need to put an end to these unhealthy habits and go back to basics and tradition.  Start by shopping for healthier foods, shut down those cell phones and experience the smiles, thoughts, and relaxation of a family meal.  It’s essential to your and your family’s good health.

 

Neuroplasticity – How does brain training work?

Is it possible to improve capacity for creativity, memory and analysis through brain training? Do websites like Luminosity.com make a difference? Before the 20th century, most people believed they had to live with the brain they were born with- but they were wrong.

Brain training can teach an old brain new tricks

The human brain is a dynamically-powerful organ, but many are unaware of what unlocked potential the mind holds – and what effect deliberate training can have.

By exercising the brain at any age (yes, using repetition and habit like a regular body workout regimen), you can regenerate, rejuvenate, and reactivate old connections and create new ones by a process known as neuroplasticity.

Imagine your neural pathways are like roads or highways on which information travels to and from areas of the cerebral cortex for storage and recall.

Neural pathways allow you recall and stockpile knowledge on anything and everything, acting as a searchlight or GPS guide on an ever-changing map.  Neuroplasticity is what gives us the ability to create new, tangible roadways.

What is neuroplasticity?

Neuroplasticity- also known as Brain Plasticity- is defined as the ability of the brain to form new neural pathways or synapses, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH)

As we learn new skills and information, our brain structure (and road map) physically changes. These transformations are observable on MRIs.  

An example of neuroplasticity

One of the best examples of neuroplasticity at work can be found in a timeless study published in 2011 that compared MRIs of the brain of London taxi cab drivers to those of people with desk jobs.

Every black-cab driver in central London- in order to be an official london taxi cab- must memorize the map of the capital, including some 25,000 streets and thousands of landmarks. There’s an actual exam that usually takes 12 attempts to pass.

According to the report, successfully packing this detailed roadmap to memory causes actual structural changes in the brain, affects memory and creates a greater volume of nerve cells in the brain’s hippocampus.

How to train the brain

Effective ways to train the brain and increase neuroplasticity include:

  • Online brain training games
  • an eight-week mindfulness based stress reduction course (MBSR)
  • meditation
  • learning something such as a new language
  • physically exercising regularly
  • performing a new task or action repeatedly such as dance or Tai-Chi
  • spending quality time with loved ones

Research backed by the National Institute of Health (NIH) suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, insomnia, and the incidence, duration, and severity of acute respiratory illnesses (such as influenza).

Results of a randomized clinical trial by the NIH, published in January 2014, showed training gains for aspects of cognition involved in the ability to think and learn, but memory training did not have an effect after 10 years, so it’s important to train the brain routinely.

In addition to exposure and ingestion of toxins, and physical injuries, it’s important to keep in mind that stress is the greatest enemy of the brain.

Prolonged stress results in increased levels of Cortisol and Adrenaline, causing a variety of defects across the human system.

Studies have shown stress can actually cause brain damage, and MBSR addresses this common habit we can all fall into of ‘overthinking’ and stressing out.

MBSR has been reported to produce positive effects on psychological well-being and to ameliorate symptoms of a number of disorders.

Brain training will mean less embarrassing situations (never forget what-his-face’s name again), make you a speeder learner in all things, and help you avoid diseases as you get older.  Remember, no one is ever too old to learn and teach your brain new tricks!

Signs You Need an “Emotional Wellness” Check-Up

When I talk about wellness, I am not just referring to how healthy or physically fit  your body is.  I am talking about your mind and emotions, as well.  

We all sometimes need a check-up on our “emotional wellness,” in order to make sure we are healthy in all aspects of our life.  So what exactly is emotional wellness?  How do we achieve it,  and what are the benefits of it?  These are very important questions to ask in order to live a long and healthy life.  

Why emotional wellness is an essential aspect of overall wellness

Emotional wellness, is a combination of the mind, body and spirit.  It is the way you view your life, and the type of legacy you want your kids and future generations to follow.  

By tending to our emotional wellness, in the same way we take care of our physical wellness, we can create an aura of positivity and enlightenment, thus welcoming sincerity and open-mindedness in our lives.

On a daily basis, our bodies go through a roller coaster of emotions. From happiness to anger, we all experience a variety of feelings that can sometimes be hard to express and talk about.  Being in tune with your feelings can help you channel them in a healthy and appropriate manner.  

Achieving emotional balance lays the foundation for total body well-being.  How we handle daily stress and conflict is often guided by our state of emotional wellness.  

A positive self-esteem and attitude, combined with mental resilience for coping with daily challenges, can all contribute to a high-level of emotional wellness.  We all, at some point in life, have hardships and tough decisions to face, which often makes us stronger and happier after tackling them.  

All of our experiences help us to grow and mature, and in turn, hopefully become better humans who can contribute positively in the community.  

Living and experiencing each moment non-judgmentally is another way to achieve a sense of well-being emotionally.  Judging others creates negative emotions and a negative environment.  It teaches our children, and family, an unhealthy habit of talking about and criticizing others, instead of preserving our energy and focusing on our own problems and issues.  

One day, while driving in my car, I passed a sign on someone’s lawn that read:  “Be kind.  Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”  And it’s so true.  Instead of criticizing, encourage.  There is too much time spent on the negative in today’s world.  

To become a healthier human being, we must apply this thought to our own lives and become more tolerant of one another.  We should invest on what matters most, helping each other and supporting our friends and family and those who need help in our community.  

And, here’s another reason to pay attention to your emotional wellness.  Medical studies have shown that patients with high levels of emotional wellness are healthier than those with low levels, due to their toughness and ability to tackle stressful and important issues with confidence and high self-esteem.

An emotional healthy patient will most likely live longer and create meaningful memories without the unnecessary stress caused by resentment, judgement and regret.  

A study published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, where researchers followed 4,888 people over the course of 20 years, found that those with low amounts of distress have a 34 percent less risk of dying prematurely compared to those with higher levels.  

We should also take into account how exercise goes hand-in-hand with emotional wellness. Physical activity not only clears your head, but also de-stresses your body.  Including exercise in your daily schedule can bring more benefits than expected.

The same study concluded that people who exercise regularly and rigorously had a 46 percent less likely to die prematurely than those with a low fitness level.

How to achieve emotional wellness

With that being said, I advise you to tap into your spiritual core and continue to develop your emotional wellness with these helpful tips:

— Contemplate each experience in your life, trying to focus on the positive instead of the negative.  

— Be mindful of your emotions and the emotions of those around you.

— Rely on your family and friends by speaking to them on a regular basis about issues you might be having.  Sometimes we all need a helping hand to get through the day.

Learning how to live a well-balanced life, full of confidence, strength, and high self-esteem is a key to a happy and fulfilling life.  Since we only have one life to live, take full advantage of it, and appreciate each and every day no matter what comes your way.
Source::  The American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Planned C-section vs. Natural Childbirth: Pros and Cons

Today, a growing number of women are asking doctors for c-sections when there is no actual medical need for this type of delivery. It’s important to know the pros and cons of a C-section birth vs. natural childbirth if you or a loved one is pregnant and expecting a child.

On average, one out of every three newborn babies in the U.S. is delivered via Caesarean section instead of naturally. It’s important to know the majority of the low-risk pregnancies that are planned deliveries involve elevated risks of maternal complications and death compared to a natural vaginal childbirth.

Despite this elevated risk associated to elective C-sections, first-time mothers with low-risk pregnancies are more likely than ever to give birth to their baby this way in the city of Miami, Florida compared to anywhere else in the nation- and most of these pregnant women opting for C-sections are Hispanic, according to a new study released by Consumer Reports.

How expectant Hispanic mothers fit in with global trends

Although C-section rates are dropping overall across the nation, records of recent C-section deliveries in the United States show a trend among Hispanic women, who are getting more C-sections compared to their non-Hispanic white counterparts, according to the CDC.

Dr. Joseph Mosquera, saludmóvil’s chief medical expert, says answers to these trends partly lie in unrealistic cultural pressures along with financial incentives for doctors and health institutions.

“There is a thought that once a child is delivered vaginally, the women’s sexual function could be affected negatively,” Dr. Mosquera notes. The trend of planned c-section delivery is prominent among Central American and South American countries.

In Mexico, for example, nearly one in two women give birth by C-section today in public and private hospitals. In private Mexican hospitals alone, the rate is 70 percent.

Benefits of planned C-section versus natural childbirth

Though your body is naturally equipped to give birth vaginally without medical intervention, fear of childbirth can cause anxiety and emotional turmoil, and also add weighed cultural pressures for expectant first time mothers.

Planned cesarean sections can be more convenient for women, with the baby’s delivery date scheduled ahead of time and the family being able to plan around the birth.

Other benefits of planned C-sections include

• Reduced risk of postpartum hemorrhaging
• Slightly lower risks of complications, including infection, accidental injury to abdominal organs, lacerations to the baby, and anesthesia-related problems
• If you have an STD or infection (such as herpes, HIV, hepatitis, and HPV), your risk of infecting your baby is greatly reduced with a cesarean section
• Less likelihood of urinary incontinence in the weeks after giving birth.
• Much lower risk of vaginal birth trauma such as swelling, bruising, or vagina tearing
Risks of Cesarean sections compared to vaginal delivery
An elective cesarean is much more expensive than a vaginal birth, and not all insurance carriers cover planned c-sections. It also almost always means a longer hospital stay and bill.

If you plan on having a larger family, you may want to think twice about a planned cesarean section. After one or more c-sections, in future pregnancies, you have an increased risk for developing placenta previa, causing severe bleeding and putting yourself and baby in serious danger.

Other cons of a planned C-sections include

• Deadly postpartum infections
• You lose more blood in a cesarean section than a vaginal delivery, and could potentially require a blood transfusion. Bleeding may be so bad that it may require a surgical removal of the uterus
• Anesthesia side effects may include severe headache, nausea, and vomiting. Anesthesia may also affect the baby, causing him or her to be sluggish or inactive when born
• Heart attacks, blood clots in the veins
• Opening of the wound and/or numbness or pain in the area around the scar
• In a planned cesarean delivery, you even face possible pre-term delivery if your estimated due date was not originally correct.


Be cautious using the C-section risk calculator

By visiting a website that offers a C-section risk calculator, expectant mothers are promised to be able, based on age, weight, ethnicity and city of residence, to determine their likelihood to have a preterm or low birth weight infant ,or to have a cesarean birth. However, these calculations, are all based off of current statistic and trends. So, for example, if you’re pregnant, you live in Miami, you’re 28 and Hispanic, you have a 48% likelihood of a C-section.

This risk calculator may encourage many women to plan a C-section when in actuality it may not be the most cost-effective or healthiest choice for a first time expectant mother.

If it’s a low-risk pregnancy, natural birth is the ideal option

If you are lucky enough to be able to choose your childbirth method, it’s important to note that women have an especially strong sense of empowerment and accomplishment after a natural, vaginal birth versus a c-section. When you are directly involved, pushing your baby through the birth canal out into the world after carrying them for 9 months is unfathomably rewarding.

Natural birth also means an average of  1 to 2 days of hospital stay, less postpartum pain, and overall a much more affordable experience. If you are looking to have a big family, labor may be shorter and move along quicker in pregnancies to follow the first natural birth.

Given the health risks associated with cesarean section procedures, the World Health Organization (WHO) has suggested that the target rate internationally should be half of the current c-section rate in the US which is 32.2% as of 2014.

The U.S. is actively trying to lower its current c-section birthrate among low-risk women to 22.2% by 2020, according to the HealthyPeople.gov initiative.

When choosing a method of childbirth, Dr. Mosquera urges expectant mothers to inform themselves on the pros and cons of of a natural birth versus a cesarean section, and to always speak with their doctor or healthcare professional before making a final decision.

How To Pack The Ultimate Travel Abroad Health Kit

Traveling abroad is very exciting, but sometimes preparing for international travel may be stressful, especially when considering your health. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be. It can be easy to pack a travel abroad health kit in order to stay safe and healthy abroad. Here’s how.

Learn About The Country You Are Traveling To

It’s important to learn about your destination when outlining what will go into your travel health kit. The State Department’s Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS) provides a comprehensive list of country specific health information for every country in the world.

The ACS’s Consular Information Program is also great because it informs the public of conditions abroad that may affect their safety and security. This is a great resource to learn the do’s and don’ts of your travel health kit depending on your destination.

Go Through The Travel Medical Kit Checklist

We’ve compiled tips courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs to help you know what medications and supplies to pack, where and when to get it, and how to pack it. Keep in mind some countries do not allow visitors to bring certain medications into the country.

Traveling With Prescription Medications

Pack your prescription medications in your carry on luggage, along with a copy of all prescriptions including the generic names of the medication. Be sure to bring a note while traveling from your prescribing physician for any controlled substances and injectable medications you may be prescribed. You can always check the ACS’s information or with the American Embassy or Consulate in the country you are traveling to to find out what may or may not be allowed.

Special Prescriptions For Your Trip

In certain countries, we are aware of possible exposure to illness and diseases that have preventive medications.

  • Malaria:  In countries where malaria is a problem, various medicines can be taken in different timeframes and doses. The CDC provides a country-specific table of antimalarial drug as well as a page on various considerations to take into account when choosing your malaria medication.
  • Traveler’s Diarrhea:  It can be helpful to have antibiotics for diarrhea, prescribed by your doctor before you leave, for self-treatment. In India, for example, the risk for traveler’s’ diarrhea is moderate to high for travelers, with an estimated 30%–50% chance of developing diarrhea during a 2-week journey.

Required Vaccinations and Recommendations

Some countries require foreign visitors to carry an International Certificate of Vaccination (aka a Yellow Card) or other proof that they’ve had certain vaccinations or medical tests before entering or leaving their country.

Before you travel, read up on the country specific information on the ACS website for required vaccinations.

Furthermore, the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for traveling abroad to certain countries.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Here is a list of several medications that don’t require a prescription that can help keep you healthier when traveling abroad, according to the CDC.

  • Antidiarrheal medication (for example, bismuth subsalicylate, loperamide)
  • Antihistamines and decongestants for allergies
  • Anti-motion sickness medication
  • Medicine for pain or fever (such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen)
  • Mild laxative
  • Cough suppressant/expectorant
  • Cough drops
  • Antacid
  • Antifungal and antibacterial ointments or creams
  • 1% hydrocortisone cream

Preventative Supplies for Illness or Injury

  • Insect repellent containing DEET (30%-50%) or picaridin (up to 15%)
  • Sunscreen (preferably SPF 15 or greater) that has both UVA and UVB protection
  • Antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Water purification tablets
  • Latex Condoms
  • Medicine to prevent altitude sickness
  • First aid quick reference card
  • Basic first-aid items (bandages, gauze, ace bandage, antiseptic, tweezers, scissors, cotton-tipped applicators)
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Aloe gel for sunburns
  • Digital thermometer
  • Oral rehydration solution packets

Health Insurance Abroad

Before you go abroad, learn what medical services your health insurance will cover overseas.

If your health insurance policy provides coverage outside the United States, it’s very important to remember to bring both your insurance policy identity card as proof of such insurance AND a claim form.

Covered by Medicare? The Social Security Medicare program has no coverage for hospital or medical costs outside the U.S.

Don’t assume you’re health insurance can fly you back to a U.S. hospital for help. Though many health insurance companies will pay “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad, few will pay for medical evacuation to the United States. Be sure to check in with your health insurance companies policies.

Traveling With Disabilities and Service Animals

Each country has its own standards of accessibility for persons with disabilities. Many countries do not legally require accommodations for persons with disabilities. Laws such as the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 have no pull overseas. This means not all countries are legally bound to have public transportation and public grounds that accommodate persons with disabilities.

If you have a service animal, be sure to contact the U.S. embassy or consulate of your destination country for information on possible restrictions and cultural norms about service animals. Find out about any quarantine, vaccination, and documentation requirements and be sure to check in with your vet about your travel plans.

Medical Emergency Abroad Preparation

In the case of a medical emergency abroad, leave emergency contact information and a copy of your passport biographic data page, which is the page of your passport with your picture on it, with family and trusted friends, and carry emergency contact information with you when you travel.The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Before you leave, be sure to see if there are any travel warnings or alerts for your destination. 

If you can, try and think about what you will be doing and whether you will have access to health items and supplies where you are traveling. It can be helpful to write down a list before you pack. When you are prepared and pack a health kit, you’ll worry a lot less about your health being compromised by your travels, giving you more time to focus on enjoying your experience abroad. Safe travels!

Fireworks Safety Tips You Need This Holiday Weekend

With 4th of July weekend right around the corner, more people are thinking about skipping the fireworks show and putting on their own display.

Forty-seven of the fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow legal “consumer” fireworks for Independence Day, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA). But, before your family celebrates with do-it-yourself fireworks this year, it’s important to make sure everyone is lighting up safely.

All fireworks, legal and illegal, can cause injury if they’re not used properly. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that just in the year 2014, around 10,500 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries from incidents associated with fireworks. And 67% of firework injuries in 2014 occurred between June 20th and July 20th, 2014.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fireworks often result in death and serious injuries including burns, contusions, lacerations, and foreign objects in the eye.

SAFETY TIPS FOR SETTING OFF BACKYARD FIREWORKS

If you are thinking about purchasing and setting off fireworks that obey local laws, employ these safety tips in order to keep your family safe celebrating this summer. Remember they should be used only with extreme caution. Here are some tips courtesy of the CPSC 2015 firework safety sheet and the National Council of Fireworks Safety (NCFS).

  • Always have a sober adult in charge & never give a firework to a young child. Not even sparklers! Don’t allow anyone to run with a firework or take part in horseplay.
  • Only buy legal. Buy your illuminations from a licensed store, stand, or tent. Consumer fireworks, also called DOT 1.4G fireworks, are legal according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In order to be classified as a “consumer firework”, the firework must be tested by the CPSC and meet various requirements.
  • Only set them off outdoors. Ignite them away from buildings on flat, level, hard, fireproof surfaces that don’t have any debris that could catch fire. A large concrete-paved driveway is a good example vs. a dry meadow with long grasses is a very bad place.
  • Never carry a firework (lit or unlit) in your pocket.
  • Never shoot a firework from a metal or glass container.
  • Determine safety zone for spectators: The CPSC does not specify a specific distance that the spectator and/or lighter should retreat to for all consumer fire flowers. Handle fountains and sparklers, for example, are held after you light the fuse and pointed away from yourself or anybody else. However according to UK standards, most consumer fireworks that are not hand-held require spectators be 15-24 feet of distance. If you are watching larger display illuminations set up by professionals, then you want to be at least 75 feet away.
  • Always wear protective eye wear when igniting fireworks.
  • Never aim a firework at another person.
  • Have water at the ready. Have a working garden hose or bucket of water handy.
  • Only light one firework at a time. Don’t approach to reignite a firework that doesn’t light the first time. Wait 20 minutes.
  • Read directions. Read and follow the directions on a given firework label.
  • Dispose of the fireworks correctly when finished. When finished, allows fireworks to stand for at least 20 minutes, then submerge them in water and place in a plastic bag and dispose outside in a covered trash can.
  • Make sure all pets are put away.

Injuries by Firework Type

Fireworks come in all shapes and sizes. Wondering what specific types are the safer options for this weekend? The CPSC has statistics on injuries by firework type.

An in depth one month investigation by the CPSC between June 21st, 2013 and July 21st, 2013  found that ½ of all injuries occur from misusing fireworks and the other half are due to a malfunctioning firework. Though often seen as a harmless novelty, sparklers accounted for 31% of all injuries treated in emergency departments in the 1-month report from 2013.

  • Firecrackers: 20%
  • Sparklers: 19%
  • Novelties: 6%
  • Roman Candles:4%
  • Bottle Rockets: 2%
  • Fountains: 1%
  • Public Display: 4%
  • Unspecified: 31%

Want more specific safety tips based on the type of firework device you may be using this summer? Take a look at the CPSC’s list of all legal firework devices and the manner in which to use them.

Local Regulations 

Not sure if setting off any illuminations yourself is legal where you live? Only Delaware, New Jersey, and Massachusetts maintain a complete ban on all consumer fireworks. The definition of consumer fireworks varies from state to state, but can include everything from cone fountains to roman candles to sparklers. To determine what is legal in your State, click here.

 

Changing The Way We Experience A Migraine Through Yoga

If you’ve ever had one, you know getting a migraine is the worst. On the outside, a person looks and seems perfectly fine, but on the inside, it can feel like a screw, slowly searing its way through your skull.

As graphic as that might sound, migraines are considered the world’s 7th most disabling illness in the world and sufferers usually describe pain so bad, it’s crippling.

They can last from 2 hours to 3 days, and are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Warning symptoms known as aura may occur before or with the headache, according to the Mayo Clinic.

I suffered from migraines with auras since I was 12-years-old. I have tried every onset medication, which is what you take when you start to feel a migraine coming on, but I still suffered from migraines multiple times a week, every month, for over a decade. Even as a competitive athlete who regularly weight trained and consistently ran, nothing truly worked.

It wasn’t until I turned 24-years-old that I was able to change the way I experience my migraines through yoga. I only started, routinely, a year ago, but I already feel the difference. My migraines don’t last as long and aren’t nearly as painful.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND YOGA AND MIGRAINES

Deep breathing techniques, like those used in Yoga, have been proven to regulate blood pressure and be effective at managing chronic headaches.

Also, a 2011 study conducted in Sweden found that 40 minutes of exercising, at least three times a week over just a three month period, can be a preventative treatment for migraines in patients who do not benefit from or do not want to take daily medication.

DOWNWARD DOGGING MY WAY THROUGH EXTREME HEAD PAIN

I started routinely attending Yoga classes after I graduated college and was no longer competing in a high impact sport. The more yoga I practiced, the less frequent and prolonged my head pain became.

Turns out, I’m not the only one to find Yoga to be good at helping me manage my migraines. A consistent yoga practice 5 days a week for six weeks has proven to be effective in decreasing the frequency and severity of migraines as well as dependency on medications.

I was always fighting the migraine. Trying to squeeze the pain right out of my pores. But then I stopped. My yoga practice taught me to breath into the spaces where I have pain.

YOGA POSES DURING A MIGRAINE

There are currently no studies mapping exact yoga poses that are beneficial while you are experiencing a migraine, only that routine yoga practice may have therapeutic benefits for neurological conditions like migraines. I do, however, have 5 favorite poses that help provide head pain relief while I’m having a migraine. They also help me focus on breathing.

  • Viparita Karani (aka legs-up-the-wall pose): Lay down flat on your back on the floor with your butt up against a wall. Allow the bottom of your legs to press flat against the wall, as if the wall was the floor and you are sitting in an L position.  
  • Balasana (aka child’s pose): Kneeling down, body bent over your knees, with hands on the ground in front of you. Palms down.
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (aka downward dog pose): Hands and balls of feet firmly planted on the ground with hips pressed up into the air. Hand and feet distance slightly closer than that of a plank position. With Arms fully extended, work on pressing shoulder blades and chest towards the floor. Your view should be between your feet.
  • Setu Bandha (aka bridge pose): Back on the ground with hips lifted and feet planted on ground with knees bent.
  • Savasana (aka corpse pose): Allow full body including your head to rest on the floor. Allow arms and legs to be comfortably extended into a relaxed x. If uncomfortable for lower back, try placing a pillow underneath knees.

Not familiar with these poses? Don’t worry. You can search all poses from A to Z on the Yoga journal’s website here.

MY VISUALIZING BREATHING TECHNIQUE DURING A MIGRAINE

When I’m experiencing a migraine, I use the 4-7-8 breathing technique, and focus on visualizing my breaths going into where my head pain is. When my mind wanders and focuses on the pain and then I lose count, I just start again. And again. And again.

Routine yoga practice is proven to improve cardiorespiratory performance, making the 4-7-8 technique easier to master.

I don’t necessarily always go into yoga poses or stick to the 4-7-8 technique during my migraines, but I am constantly focused on taking deep breaths and visualizing my breath moving and relaxing the crux of my head tension. This would be the spot where I used to imagine a screw moving through my head, but now I imagine just a tight ball of stringy tangled muscles.  

YOGA ESPECIALLY BENEFICIAL TO WOMEN WHO SUFFER FROM MIGRAINES

A study published earlier this year looked at more than 100,000 US women who reported suffering from migraine headaches. The study showed that 50% higher risk of cardiovascular disease and possibly dying from a heart attack or stroke.  

Yoga has been shown to have several beneficial effects on cardiovascular systems, making it especially good for women who are migraine sufferers.

YOUR MEDICATIONS MAY BE MAKING YOUR MIGRAINES WORSE

I’ve tried every medication under the sun, and most of them just made my migraines even worse and more frequent. Unfortunately there is currently no cure for migraines, and the medications we do have, are actually giving a lot more people even more headaches.

Research has shown that up to 50% of chronic migraine sufferers in the U.S. overuse headache medications, which means 2 million people are getting more frequent and severe head pain from their migraine medications.

The best part about a routine Yoga practice is that it is a side-effect free method for curbing migraine pains that has been shown to have countless benefits for body and mind, according to the NIH.

MIGRAINES AND MY PRACTICE HAVE MADE ME MORE GRATEFUL

There is no other way for me to say this, migraines are the worst. You never know how long they’ll last, when they’ll hit, and what exactly causes them, but I have found a silver lining.

It’s taken me over a decade of suffering through chronic migraines, but I now take some comfort in the humanizing effect they have on me. It makes me immensely grateful for my health outside of my now occasional episodes of vascular head pain.

YOU CAN FIND FREE YOGA ONLINE

Want to try yoga but you are intimidated by group workout classes or are trying to budget? There are websites that offer free streaming yoga videos that you can view on a smartphone, tablet, or computer. I personally love Do Yoga With Me’s  selection of classes.

It might seem simple, but give yoga a try. And remember to focus on the breath.

 

Summer is Popping with Papaya

Are you terrified of the indigestion you will feel after eating at this summer’s cookouts? Papaya may be able to help you. Although we know very little about where the fruit came from, papayas are now widely produced throughout Africa, the Caribbean, Florida, India and the Pacific. In Latin America, the biggest producers of papayas are Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico. Papayas are pear-shaped and contain an enzyme named papain, which helps to break down protein in food and eases digestion.

Papayas are known as pawpaws in some places and contain minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and sodium. The fruit is considered a berry and is full of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and D. Because of its nutritional value, papayas have been known to help with more than just indigestion. There have also been claims that papayas help with swelling and back pain.

Although doctors still need to do more research about the effects of papaya, a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food from May 2007 found that papayas fight parasites in the intestines without many allergic reactions. In 2009, another study in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that papayas may help people with stomach ulcers.

With all these benefits in mind, why not try to include papayas in your diet regularly? The tasty fruit can be cut up and placed in salads, blended into a smoothie or used to tenderize meat. It can even be used to top off your yogurt or cottage cheese. Ease your indigestion symptoms with some papaya. Here are a couple of recipes you might enjoy:

1. PAPAYA CHICKEN

Courtesy of Cooking Channel

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons grated fresh garlic

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1 teaspoon paprika

2 pound chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup yogurt

1 cup papaya chunks

Serving suggestion: Serve with rice or rotis.

DIRECTIONS:

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger and saute until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, coriander, fenugreek seeds, and paprika and toast for 10 seconds and then add the chicken pieces and cook until it is nearly done, about 8 minutes. Add the yogurt and finish cooking the chicken, about 2 more minutes and then stir in the papaya chunks.

2. GREEN PAPAYA SALAD

Courtesy of The Kitchn

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4 as a side):

For the dressing:

1 to 2 tablespoons small dried shrimp

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

2 medium limes, juiced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce

1 red Thai chili pepper, sliced thinly (adjust amounts to the spice level you desire)

For the salad:

1 small green papaya (1 to 1 1/2 pounds) peeled, seeded, and grated (or 3 cups pre-shredded green papaya)

1 cup bean sprouts

3 medium scallions, sliced thin

1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped 

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 to 2 small tomatoes, cut into strips (optional)

1/2 cup raw peanuts, crushed

DIRECTIONS:
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and crush with a pestle or the back of a spoon to release the flavors. Taste, and adjust the fish sauce to your liking. Add the chiles bit by bit until you get the spice level you can handle. Add the other salad ingredients and toss well. Taste and adjust the lime juice or fish sauce if needed.

Cryotherapy: The Health Benefits Behind Freezing Pain Management

Find out the health benefits behind why so many people (including countless celebrities and pro-athletes) are literally freezing their butts off in whole-body cryotherapy.

Cryotherapy is a process of body cooling for therapeutic purposes, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Chilling exposure of the whole body to sub-zero temperatures in the form of liquid nitrogen chambers found in spas, has increasingly become a popular health craze for muscle soreness and weight-loss promotion in the U.S.

With Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) the body is exposed to ultra-low temperatures (-200 to -240 F).

For around $60 a session, the client is placed in a cryogenic sauna/chamber for a short duration of 1.5-3 minutes which lowers the client’s skin surface temperature significantly and stimulates receptors, according to CryoHealth.

It’s important to note applying cold temperatures to a given area of the body for chronic pain management and alleviating muscle soreness has been around for decades.

Where did cryotherapy come from?

The term “cryotherapy” comes from the Greek cryo (κρυο) meaning cold, and therapy (θεραπεια) meaning cure.

In sports and exercise medicine, this cold body therapy has traditionally been applied using ice packs or cold-water immersion (CWI) baths before and after workouts in order to shorten recovery time from strenuous exercise.

Whole-Body cryotherapy has been around for decades, starting in Japan in 1978 to treat rheumatoid arthritis and then making its way over to Eastern Europe. Poland is where most experts agree freezing therapy in the form of ice was developed to help mostly athletes with injury recovery, according to a study presented in Sports Medicine in 2010.

Why are extremely cold temperatures beneficial for your health?

The application of these subzero temperatures to the body or body parts causes the release of endorphins and helps the body’s natural pain inhibitors. Thereby, decreasing local or general inflammation.

Can it make me feel thinner, sexier, and give me perfect skin?

Maybe. Cryotherapy is no longer promoted solely for the relief of muscle soreness. It is also offered as a spa treatment for toning the skin as well as for invigorating the mind, improving sleep, helping reduce cellulite, managing chronic pain, reducing stress and anxiety, preventing osteoporosis, treating asthma and boosting libido.

It is important though to note there is no large-scale evidence to date that cryotherapy provides these benefits.

Like most therapies, it seems to have a cumulative effect after several treatments on the management of chronic pain, inflammation and some stress related conditions.

What makes this treatment worth it?

Saludmóvil’s Dr. Joseph Mosquera finds cryotherapy can be a useful complementary therapy, in the chronic management of pain and inflammation and recovery of our musculoskeletal system. Also whole-body therapy gives the promise of enhancing our mood and level of energy.

Although there are no large, randomized, controlled trials there are enough small trial results that show whole-body cryotherapy, has a place for certain individuals.

Who is the ideal candidate?

In particular, people who lead healthy lifestyles are fit, are on few medications and follow healthy habits are, in general, the best candidates for this therapy.

Professional athletes or physically elite individuals in really good shape are likely to benefit from occasional ice baths or cryotherapy, says Dr.Mosquera.  

“If you’re not part of this crowd, I urge you to be a bit more wary of either practice until we have more evidence and oversight on whole body cryotherapy.”

Using this chilling therapy along with exercising immediately after or before, which Dr. Mosquera recommends for ten to twenty minutes on a cycle elliptical trainer or rowing, will enhance the therapeutic benefit.

Is whole-body cryotherapy dangerous?

It is a therapy with risks. Dr. Mosquera would advise getting a clearance from your healthcare professional before trying it out- be it your general doctor or health coach.

Remember- U.S. cryotherapy centers are unregulated at both the state and federal level.

The widely publicized death of Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, age 24, in a cryotherapy chamber in Henderson, NV shows how It’s dangerous to stay in much longer than 3 minutes, with temperatures that can go as low as minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit. There are also strict contraindications such as pregnancy, asthma, raynaud’s phenomenon, circulatory problems, poorly controlled blood pressure, poorly controlled diabetes and some severe skin conditions that triggers extra-caution.

Is this a passing fad?

Dr. Mosquera believes with more evidence and regulation, cryotherapy in all its forms will become increasingly popular, not only with celebrities and athletes but with the public, at large.
The majority may gain some complementary benefit in their health, with these therapies, notes Dr.Mosquera

Guide To Routine Medical Screenings That All Men Need

Most men need to pay more attention to their health and when they need routine medical screenings. They are more likely than women to smoke, drink alcohol, make risky life choices, and put off regular checkups and medical care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Yet, many of the major health risks men face can be prevented and treated with early diagnosis through medical screenings and living a healthy lifestyle.

Here’s the issue for some men. Medical Screenings and exams cost time and money. Plus, how often are tests needed? Many of us have heard stories about  people coming down with a life-threatening illness out of the blue when they felt fine otherwise. If they knew the consequence, they likely wouldn’t have put off that doctor’s visit.

It’s important not to let fear or confusion deter you or your loved one from living a long and healthy life. Here are the most important medical screenings when considering health habits for men, based on their age:

MANAGING MEN’S HEALTH: 18 TO 39 YEARS OLD

It’s especially important to build routine workout habits early on, as research shows this will promote healthier behaviors later in life as well.  A lot of men in their 20s and 30s are focused on gaining more muscle mass and bulking up, which is great because, with age, it is harder to gain back muscle mass.

As men progress into their 30’s, they may feel fine, but having a family and a career can lead to added stress that can only be detected through routine screening. For example, the only way to find out if you suffer from high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. High blood sugar and high cholesterol levels also may not have any symptoms in the early stages.

Don’t have a general practitioner yet? Now is the time to get one.  Below are what medical screenings are appropriate for men ages 18-39 years old, according to the U.S National Library of Medicine.

MEDICAL SCREENINGS

Your height, weight, and BMI should be checked at every annual exam with your general practitioner. These numbers serve as precursor for further testing.

BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING

Blood pressure in men should be checked every 2 years from 18-39 years old. If the top number (systolic number) is between 120 and 139 or the bottom number (diastolic number) is between 80 and 89 mm Hg or higher, then have it checked every year.

DENTAL EXAMS

Men should go to the dentist once or twice every year for an exam and cleaning. Your dentist will evaluate if you have a need for more frequent visits.

EYE EXAMS

If men have any vision problems, they should have an eye exam every 2 years or more often if recommended by their provider.

If they do not have any eye irregularities, every 5-10 years is good.

CHOLESTEROL SCREENING AND HEART DISEASE PREVENTION

Men over age 35 and older should be checked every 5 years, but if you have risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, start getting screened earlier, at age 20.

DIABETES SCREENING

If a man has a blood pressure that is above 135/80 mmHg, his provider may test him for blood sugar level for diabetes, according to the NIH.

If men have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 and have other risk factors for diabetes, they should be screened more routinely as determined by their general practitioner. Having a BMI over 25 means a person is overweight.

IMMUNIZATIONS

Men should get the Flu shot annually.

After age 19, men should have a tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine once as part of their tetanus-diphtheria vaccines, and a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years.

Men should get the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine series if you have not already had it.

Men should receive 2 doses of varicella vaccine if you were born after 1980 and never had chickenpox or the varicella vaccine

Your doctor may recommend other immunizations if you have certain medical conditions, according to the CDC.

INFECTIOUS DISEASE SCREENING

Depending on your lifestyle and medical history, you may need to be screened for infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV, as well as other infections.

MANAGING MEN’S HEALTH: 40 TO 64 YEARS OLD

Once men enter their 40’s, their risk for prostate problems increase after age 40 and their risk for heart problems goes up after 45. Consulting your doctor to help determine the appropriate medical screenings may help to catch any problems early and before they become more serious health concerns. New screenings introduced during these years for men tend to be colon cancer screenings, prostate cancer screenings, lung cancer screenings, and osteoporosis screenings.

Men Need Fewer Calories In Their 50s

As you age, you lose muscle, especially if you’re not physically active. Loss of muscle mass decreases the rate at which your body uses calories. This makes it especially hard to maintain a healthy weight.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men in their 50s need about 200 fewer calories daily than they do in their 30s due to this muscle loss.

MEDICAL SCREENINGS

Remember men’s height, weight, and BMI should still be checked at every annual exam with your general practitioner.

PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING

Most men age 50 or older should discuss screening for prostate cancer with a healthcare professional. Men with a family history of prostate cancer in a close relative younger than age 65 should discuss screening at age 40.

The potential benefits of PSA testing as a routine screening test have not been shown to outweigh the harms of testing and treatment. If a man chooses to be tested, the PSA blood test is most often done every year.

Digital Rectal Exam. A digital rectal exam is an examination of the lower rectum. The doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to to look for abnormal bumps or other changes of the prostate gland. This is commonly performed annually by a general health care provider.

LUNG CANCER SCREENING

Male smoker? The U.S. Protected services Task Force recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

Not a smoker? Don’t worry. For those who have never been smokers, the test is not deemed necessary.

CHOLESTEROL SCREENING AND HEART DISEASE PREVENTION

Same risk factors may increase frequency as mentioned in previous age bracket.

If a man is 35 or older, they should be checked every 5 years.

Some men should consider taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks. Ask your medical provider before you start aspirin because aspirin may increase your risk for bleeding.

DIABETES SCREENING

If a man is 45 or older, they should be screened every 3 years.

OSTEOPOROSIS SCREENING

A bone mineral density (BMD) test measures how much calcium and other types of minerals are in an area of your bone, which is a way to detect osteoporosis. This is done through two types of x-ray screenings.

If a man between ages 50 to 70 has long-term steroid use, low body weight, smoking, heavy alcohol use, having a fracture after age 50, or a family history of osteoporosis, they should discuss screening with your doctor.

COLON CANCER SCREENING

If a man is under 50, they should be screened if they have a strong family history of colon cancer or polyps. Screening may also be considered if they have risk factors such as a history of inflammatory bowel disease or polyps.

Men between the ages 50 to 75 should be screened for colorectal cancer. There are several screening tests available. Some common screening tests include:

  • A stool occult blood test done every year
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
  • Stool occult blood test every 3 years
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years- But you may need a colonoscopy more often if you have Ulcerative colitis, a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, or a history of colorectal adenomas

EYE EXAMS

Men should have an eye exam every 2 to 4 years ages 40 to 54 and every 1 to 3 years ages 55 to 64. Your provider may recommend more frequent eye exams if you have vision problems or glaucoma risk.

Other than Men possibly being recommended by their doctors to get a shingles or herpes zoster vaccination once they hit 60, most dental examinations, frequency of blood pressure tests, and immunization shots remain consistent with the preventative medical screenings from the 18-39 age bracket.

MANAGING MEN’S HEALTH: 65 OR OLDER

In addition to maintaining some level of physical activity, focusing on mental adjustments to life for men that are 65 and older can be helpful, according to the American Psychological Association.

As well, contrary to common belief, men do not have to slow down when you hit retirement age. Tai Chi, Yoga, and other fitness programs that focus on stretching can provide many health benefits. Remember to hydrate before, during, and after workouts to help prevent injuries. Unfortunately Vision and hearing often deteriorates as we age, which increases the chance of taking a spill.

Falling Risk Over 65 Years Old

Men in their later years should take extra care to keep the home environment safe. More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year. And the risk of falling and fall-related problem rises with age, according to the NIH. The removal of loose rugs, sharp edges, and other health and safety hazards can be helpful. Also one could consider adding safety handles in the bathroom and signing up for medical monitoring services.

MEDICAL SCREENINGS

Remember it’s always important for men to check their height, weight, at every annual exam with your general practitioner. Continue to routinely have blood pressure checked, cholesterol, diabetes, lung cancer (if smoker) screenings, dental and eye exams consistent with the 40-64 age bracket unless recommended otherwise by your general practitioner.

ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM SCREENING

If a man is between ages 65 and 75 and has smoked, they should have an ultrasound to screen for abdominal aortic aneurysms.The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs when an area of the aorta becomes very large or balloons out. Even if a man isn’t a smoker, it’s worth discussing this screening with their provider.

HEARING TEST

Men should have their hearing tested if  they suffer symptoms of hearing loss.

IMMUNIZATIONS

If a man is 65 or older, they should get a pneumococcal vaccine if you have never had one, or if it has been more than 5 years since you had the vaccine.

If a man is in good health, they should stick to the same screening frequency as previous age bracket recommendations, according to the CDC.

Men’s Health Is Important To Address At All Ages

At any age, men should never feel embarrassed to talk about their health. It’s really important! If it’s too intimidating to head to a doctor’s office right away, try to start by talking to family members to find out which diseases run in your family. You can use the U.S Department of Health and Human services family health history tool to keep tabs on what you learn and know going forward.

When it comes to men’s health, there are life long health tips that are beneficial no matter a man’s age, ethnicity, or income. Some men may not be able to have all of the preventative medical screenings that are recommended getting over the decades, but they can greatly improve the odds of living a long and healthy life by focusing on these tips: Make time for routine exercise. Be mindful of eating healthy and portion sizes in order to maintain a healthy weight. Smoking? Stop smoking. Remember to drink alcohol in moderation. Manage Stress in healthy ways, and always remember to annual check ups with general practitioners.

THE BEST WAYS TO AVOID BEACH BLOATING

Some people can drink a gallon of soda and maintain a perfectly flat stomach. My digestive system, on the on the other hand, is extremely sensitive and almost anything I eat or drink can cause bloating.

If you’re among the 16 to 30% of the population that have trouble with bloating on a regular basis like me, you’re probably all too familiar with the symptoms and wish you didn’t have them, especially in the summer. It’s just not fun to squeeze into a teeny bikini with a gut that just won’t quit!

Here’s the good news. You don’t have to pass up fun in the sun just because you feel self-conscious in a bathing suit. Here are some simple tips to ease your bloating issues. Keep in mind, for best results, it’s more beneficial to start these healthy habits at least 24 hours before baring your belly.

THE DO’S & DON’TS TO AVOID BELLY BLOATING

 

AVOID CARBONATED DRINKS

Consuming bubbly beverages tends to make you bloat as they release carbon dioxide gas in your digestive tract.

AVOID ALCOHOL (ESPECIALLY CHAMPAGNE & BEER)

They all contain carbon dioxide, as well as fermentable carbohydrates, both of which are known to cause gas and bloating. So bubbly booze makes you especially bloated. People have different tolerances, but research has shown that binge drinking any alcohol causes most people to bloat. So be sure to keep a tab on how many cold ones you consume. Even moderate drinking which is considered one drink for women a day and two for men has been linked to bloating.

ADD PEPPERMINT OR CHAMOMILE TO ICED FLAT WATER OR GREEN TEA

Peppermint  has been proven to help alleviate bloating and benefit people who have especially sensitive stomachs including irritable bowel syndrome sufferers.  Chamomile tea, which has more relaxing qualities,  is a great choice for sunbathers. It can also be great at combating bloating and gas, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Green tea is also a natural diuretic, energizer, and appetite suppressant. It’s an ideal beach beverage, and it’s especially good at keeping things moving in the digestive tract. Just be careful not to drink too much green tea, as it has been shown to induce bloating in large quantities.

AVOID EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF SALT/SODIUM

Ever notice you can feel more puffy when you have a lot of salty food? Too much salt causes your body to retain water, according to the National Institutes of Health. The Food And Drug Administration recommends that healthy adults consume no more than 2,300mg a day. That’s equivalent to one teaspoon of salt a day.

EAT MORE HIGH POTASSIUM FOODS

Try high potassium foods like avocado, papaya, mango, banana and cantaloupe. Potassium is a natural diuretic, so it helps flush out surplus sodium and fluid, helping to de-bloat your body. Potassium is one of the three most commonly used natural diuretics used to make water pills, which people also take to help rid their bodies of excess salt and water, according to the Mayo Clinic.

AVOID GASSY VEGETABLES AND FRUITS

While they’re incredibly healthy, the NIH recommends avoiding some produce including: broccoli, cabbage cauliflower, cucumbers, mushrooms, onions, brussels sprouts, artichokes, asparagus, celery, apples, beans, pears, and peaches. Most foods that contain carbohydrates cause gas due to the process your body goes through breaking it down into energy. Each of naturally produces gas, triggering an expansion of your midsection.

DO TAKE YOUR TIME EATING AND CHEW YOUR FOOD WELL

Chewing food well and eating slowly can also be incredibly helpful; not only does it slow you down and increase the satiation factor on a beach day, it lightens the workload for your stomach.

AVOID DAIRY PRODUCTS (THIS SADLY INCLUDES ICE CREAM)

Lactase deficiency and lactose malabsorption may lead to lactose intolerance, which means our bodies can’t naturally break down the lactose in dairy products like ice cream, cheese, and milk-leaving us gassy and bloated. Studies have found about 70% of African Americans, 90% of Asian Americans, 53% of Mexican Americans, and 74% of Native Americans are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is also common in Native American, Arab, Jewish, Hispanic, Italian, and people of Greek descent.

ADD GOOD ALTERNATIVES TO GASSY FOODS

Carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, cantaloupe, grapes, berries, and unsweetened, preservative free dried fruits are not listed as likely to give you bloating, according to the NIH. When you’re out in the sun, it’s important to still be eating and fuel your body. If you keep portions small (a half cup to a cup at a time), these are the types of fruits and veggies that take up less space in your stomach. You’ll get a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, without all the belly distention.

AVOID EXCESS AMOUNTS OF SUGAR/CARBS

Your body has the ability to store about 500-700 grams of carbohydrate as glycogen, which you can think of as emergency energy kits your body stockpiles for fuel. Some glycogen is stored in your liver, but most is stowed in muscle, and for every gram your body stores, you also store 3 grams of water. When you eat more carbs and sugar, you retain more glycogen and fluid, which leads to more water weight and an overall bloated feeling, according to the NIH.

EAT SOME FRESH PINEAPPLE OR DRINK PINEAPPLE JUICE

Pineapple is a naturally sweet and delicious alternative to other sugars. It also contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that can help with inflammation and is used as a supplement for poor digestion. The NIH notes that though there have been many studies focused on bromelain being good at combating inflammation and swelling, though there has been little done on the other uses of bromelain.

AVOID CHEWING GUM

Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol that occurs naturally in fruits like pears but is also added into things like chewing gum. Since sorbitol is absorbed more slowly into the small intestine, it can pass into your colon, which is when things get really gassy. Unfortunately, there’s no way to reduce the effects of this sugar alcohol other than to avoid it.

Other Everyday Habits That May Be Secretly Making You Bloated

So I also figured out that my food and beverage choices weren’t the only thing causing my abdominal bloating. Other habits can cause us to swallow more air without even realizing it, according to the NIH.

  • SUCKING ON HARD CANDIES/MINTS
  • DRINKING THROUGH A STRAW
  • EATING TOO FAST
  • SMOKING

Sticking To These Anti-Bloating Tips

If you couldn’t help but indulge in some bloat-inducing foods or beverages, it’s understandable! Another trick is, breaking a sweat. Exercise can help move excess gas through your body and reduce bloating.

If you try these proven methods and they don’t reduce your bloating, it’s important to pay close attention to what’s going on with your body. In most situations, occasional gas and abdominal discomfort does not require medical attention. However, it’s important to be aware of more serious disorders that may cause bloating. If you experience bloating along with abdominal pain, blood in the stools or dark, tarry looking stools, diarrhea, heartburn that is getting worse, vomiting, and/or weight loss, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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How To Burn More Calories When You Walk

Want to know how you can burn more calories while walking? Scientists say, vary your speed when you walk.

A recent study in 2015 by Ohio State University shows changing your walking pace burns up to 20% more energy than traveling at the same pace.

Researchers at Ohio measured the cost of changing walking speeds by having people switch up their walking pace on a treadmill while its speed remained steady. Participants changed between walking quickly to move to the front of the treadmill belt, or slowly to move to the back of the treadmill.

Prior experiments by other researchers changed the treadmill speed directly, which doesn’t reflect a natural stride. When the treadmill speed is changing, the treadmill itself is doing some of the work, instead of the person walking.

You can watch a video of people taking part in the study here.

Walk in a way that is unnatural and goofy: Red Light, Green Light!

To burn even more calories from strolling, the researchers advised people should try to walk in a way that feels unnatural to them- that is fast and slow to get the best walking workout possible.

For example:

  • Walking in a wavy pattern down the street
  • Stopping and starting suddenly
  • Swinging your arms while you walk
  • Taking a stroll with weights attached to legs
  • Listening to music on headphone and dancing your way to work

Previous studies assumed humans move at the same, constant pace all day

The study published in the journal Biology Letter notes that the metabolic cost of alternating walking speeds is very important to take into account due to the fact people don’t actually live their lives walking at the same, constant pace.

In fact, researched concluded that the cost of changing speeds makes up 4–8% of daily walking energy budget that isn’t allocated for in current daily calorie guidelines.

How much should you vary your speed for maximum calorie burn?

If you want to stick as close as possible to the results found in the study for maximum calorie burn, the researchers recommend walking for three seconds,  stop, walk for a few more seconds, then stop again, and so on — thereby constantly starting and stopping kinetic energy.  

Walking a dog on a leash that pulls and then suddenly stops to smell something would have this effect.

Does this change how much I should be walking?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends walking 30 minutes a day 5 times a week for adults to stay healthy.  For more health benefits and to control your weight, you may aim to walk more. Aim for 300 minutes each week, or about 1 hour a day for 5 days, recommends the NIH.

Remember, the health benefits of physical activity depend on three elements according to Harvard Health: the intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise. By alternating your pace during the course of your walk, the intensity of the workout and calories burned increases.

Walking: Steps to health

Yes- You can spend less time walking and burn more calories if you vary your speed, but in the end the more you walk, the more health benefits you seek to gain!

Walking offers great benefits such as lowering your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes, strengthening your bones and muscles, burning more calories, and putting you in a much better mood, according to the NIH.

Varied walking speed and physical therapy potential

The study also revealed people tend to walk more slowly when covering short distances, but they increase their pace when they know they’ll be covering a large distance.

As  patients’ progress is usually measured by the amount of time it takes them to walk a certain distance, these new study findings may prove to be helpful for physical therapy program planning.

So take a walk, and add some extra funky steps and stops along the way

Walking is the most popular, inexpensive physical activity among adults. You can walk alone, with friends, or be on the phone with someone as you take a stroll. You can walk indoors, outdoors, on a treadmill,  on a hiking trail outside a city, on vacation, at home or away.

You can get all the benefits of moderate exercise with a very low risk of injury, and just by changing up your pace, you can squeeze out even more!

Looking for more information on walking? Check out https://www.jenreviews.com/walking/

It’s a detailed, up-to-date 7,000 word guide on 50 amazing health benefits of walking daily, according to science.

Happy walking!
For comments or questions, email elara@saludmovil.com

 

Flying Somewhere? Jet Lag Cures Proven to Actually Work

If you’ve ever jumped on a plane to go across the country, or perhaps across the world, you’ve likely suffered from jet lag. The condition is actually one of the most common sleep disorders, affecting millions of people every year, according the National Sleep Foundation.

For some of us, it’s an exotic getaway to a faraway beach, interrupted by sleepiness and exhaustion.  You find yourself passed out in a hotel room missing the best part of the day.  For others, it’s a work-related trip that results in dozing off during meetings before you bounce back to normal.

Jet lag symptoms can include serious headaches, diarrhea, constipation, sleepiness and even confusion. Some people say it feels a lot like a hangover, which no one enjoys.

Research has shown frequent jet travel has long term health risks, so it’s important to use the strategies below to curb the negative risks associated with frequent trips across multiple time zones.

What Exactly is Jet Lag?

It is a temporary disorder that causes fatigue, insomnia, and other symptoms as a result of air travel across time zones. Jet lag occurs when your body’s biological clock is not properly aligned with the time zone you are in, according to the National Institute of Health.  It is considered a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, and is also sometimes called flight fatigue or jet syndrome. A more formal scientific name for it is desynchronosis.

A common misconception is that any flight, regardless of the miles flown, can cause jet lag. That is not the case. For example, travelers in the same time zone heading from north to south are much less susceptible than those on shorter flights going across time zones, according to the American Sleep Association (ASA).

How Long Does the Sleep Disorder Last?

The body can take about one day per time zone that is crossed to fully recover and adjust to the changes, according to the ASA.

The world is divided into 24 time zones. The more time zones you pass through flying, the worse your jet lag can be. For example, if you are traveling east from New York to Greece, the time difference is 7 hours, you’re most likely to be affected by  jet lag symptoms for about a week, which could be most of your precious vacation time. From California to New York, you may only experience symptoms for 3 days because of the shorter trip. Less time zones.

Also, research has shown traveling east has worse jet lag than when you fly West. Why is not fully understood, but researchers believe the reason may be because people are better at processing the idea of having more hours in a travel day then when feels like time has vanished in thin air while flying. I think a lot of us have wished at some point that there were more hours in a day- especially on vacation.

What Can Make Jet Lag Symptoms Worse?

Caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol dehydrates the body, which exacerbates jet lag symptoms.

Stressing out or being too excited: Traveling to a work conference? Just relax! Being too stressed or excited about a trip can hamper your ability to sleep properly.  The inability to sleep well due to anxiety or excitement is common when you are sleeping in a new or unfamiliar environment.

Does Jet Lag Affect Everyone?

The answer is yes, everyone. The extent of which the sleep disorder affects a person can vary. For example, adults who can adjust to changes of routine seem less susceptible to jet lag. Those who are ritualistic about keeping a routine are usually hit the hardest. Research suggests the ability to sleep at abnormal times decreases with age, especially with older people that are over 60. Also, many studies done on jet lag show that women are at a higher risk than men due to estrogen, according to the American Sleep Association.

There are some things you can do before, during, and after your flight to help minimize the impact of jet lag. Here is the breakdown:

WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOU FLY

  • When booking flights going abroad, a planned stopover can help you gradually adjust to a new time zone.
  • Change your sleep routine based on where you are traveling. Going west? Go to bed later a couple days before. Going east? Start going to bed earlier for a few days before.
  • Be a travel rockstar and wear sunglasses. Our circadian rhythm is affected by our eyes detecting light. Wearing shades earlier in the afternoon if you’re heading east can help make it easier to fall asleep earlier. Wearing sunglasses in the bright hours of the morning can help your body adjust if you’re heading west.
  • Make the day of travel seamless. For example, check into your flight early, online. Be packed the day before you travel. Be sure you have all the necessary documents to travel with, and have a sound plan on how to get to the airport.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol for four hours before bedtime the day before your flight.
  • There is also such thing as an anti-jet lag diet that asks you to alternate days of feasting with days of very light eating, four days before your trip. A 2002 study found those who used the diet were 7.5x less likely to feel jet lagged after flying from the US to Korea. In more recent years, a team at Harvard has said a anti-jet lag fast, in which you simply avoid eating the 12-16 hours before traveling internationally, is just as effective.
  • Bring along an object from home to help with sleeping. It helps us be at ease when being in a new environment.

WHAT TO DO WHILE YOU ARE FLYING

  • Avoid Alcohol during the flight. The impact of alcohol on the body is 2-3X stronger when you’re flying. So one cocktail = 3 on the ground.
  • Try to sleep on the flight based on a normal time to sleep at the local destination you are heading to.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals on the flight. According to the World Health Organization, 50% of international travellers experience stomach problems, so dietary care is a top priority while flying.
  • Drink water! The air in airplanes is very dry. To people who normally live in more humid conditions the change can be especially striking. The dryness can cause headaches, dry skin and dry nasal and throat membranes, creating the perfect conditions for catching colds, coughs, sore throats or even the flu.
  • Get up and walk around. Sitting crunched can be taxing on the body. Even try simply lifting your feet off the ground and engaging in core exercises while sitting.
  • Get comfortable. Taking off your shoes eases pressure. Bring along earplugs and wear an eye mask. Never be afraid to bring along a sleeping pillow and always fly in comfortable clothing.
  • Use sleeping pills with caution. They only mask problems and don’t help your body clock adjust to the time zone shift.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARRIVE

  • You should still avoid heavy meals, alcohol, and caffeine right when you arrive. They exacerbate jet lag symptoms.
  • Going west? Get the morning light when you arrive and avoid afternoon light. Going east? Seek afternoon light and avoid light in the mornings. The most important cue when adjusting your body clock to a new time zone is light.
  • Have a workout routine? Aim for light exercise during the day the first day, and then ease into your normal regimen. Avoid heavy exercise right before bed. It can actually make falling asleep more difficult.
  • Keep your bedroom at a consistent temperature: Generally, temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit and below 54 degrees will awaken people.
  • Short business trip? Stay closer or completely on ‘home time’ for trips shorter than 4 days. Try to time sleeping and eating when it occurs at home.
  • Naps are not the enemy, especially if you have trouble sleeping soundly through the night after international travel. It’s good to aim for a nap between 20 minutes to an hour and a half. More than that and it can make you feel more sluggish.
  • Take a warm shower or bath before bedtime. The drop in body temperature can make you sleepy and help you fall asleep faster.
  • At night try to get a minimum of 4 hard hours of sleep during the local night time.

Although there are no guarantees to a fast and sound sleep when traveling by air, these simple adjustments in your travel planning could help you get the quality of rest needed to be at 100% the next time you travel.

FAMILY FITNESS: FUN WAYS TO WORKOUT WITH YOUR KIDS

Making time for working out when you have kids at home can be tough.  Many of us already have a hard time making it a priority to hit the gym ourselves. So how do we encourage our kids to be active with us? Two words: Family fitness.

Kids attitudes and actions towards exercise are shaped by what we do as parents. It’s no surprise kids model their behaviors after our behavior. If we want our kids to be active, we need to be good role models and get off our butts and show them that we exercise.

Kids who have families that are more active and encourage working out are more likely to be fit as an adult.

The Benefits of Family Fitness for Kids 

Parents should encourage their kids to get at least 60 minutes of exercise daily. They should do a variety of activities so that they can work on, and improve, all elements of fitness: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

But remember, the motivation behind getting your children fit isn’t about them competing in the next Olympics or getting recruited to college. Being fit is about being able to take on whatever the world may throw at you. Oh, did I mention research shows that kids might actually get smarter just from exercising?

Working out with your kids can help them take on daily living activities safely and effectively. Family fitness doesn’t have to be time-consuming, costly, or complex if you are strategic about your clan’s approach to fitness conditioning.

Strategies for working out as a family

New to family sweat sessions? First try taking family walks.  Walking after any meal is good for digestion, weight loss, and sound sleep. Just taking a walk  for thirty minutes after a dinner, or walking the dog with your kids, is a good way for children to not be intimidated with physical activity. It’s good to ease into working out as a family by choosing activities that don’t have parameters for performance.

No gym? No problem – get outside.  When it comes to family workouts,  you don’t need a trainer, gym, pool, or massive backyard – especially in the summertime.  If you have a driveway or sidewalk, or access to a small playground, park, or public pool, you are good to go. Let’s Move! is a great resource to find out where to go and what to do for outdoor family workouts.

Make it  a family activity.  A family that plays together, stays together. Approach family workouts as more of a family activity than hour-long  boot camp session.  Find activities that everyone in the family would enjoy participating in. Need a little inspiration? Read up on ideas for family fitness available in both Spanish and English.

Make it routine.  When it comes to building healthy fitness habits, everyone responds well to routine and structure. In order to see improvements in strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility, it’s important to make working out routine. Work with your kids to develop a schedule that blocks out a chunk of time for physical activity each day. Designate certain days to try out one of the activities they suggested.

Ask for input and mix it up. During a family meal, ask your children which physical family activities they would like to do. Studies show that children who believe they are competent and have the knowledge to be physically active are more likely to be active. You may be impressed with fun and creative workout out ideas your kids come up with for breaking a sweat!

Invite friends to family fitness. Family workouts don’t need to be limited to just yourself and your kids. While younger kids may be satisfied to hang out with their parents, teens may enjoy physical activity more if they’re doing it with their friends. As well, working out with friends and family helps teens deal with stress.  Encourage your kids to invite their friends to a family yoga session, game of horse, or hike. This also allows for more activities and games that require more people, like a game of pickup basketball or soccer.

Blend screentime with workouts by Exergaming. Many game consoles these days offer the chance to move along with friends and family. Exergaming is a term used for video games that are also a form of exercise. You can even make it a friendly competition – be it dancing, boxing, bowling. The winner gets to decide what the next family workout will be!

Make household chores a fun game. You can turn your household chores into an active family game. Throwing on some music and trying to complete tasks like folding laundry or cleaning dishes by the end of a song or CD can make the time fly by. Find a way to keep score with sticky notes or a chore chart if your children respond well to competitive motivation.

The Takeaway: Family Fitness Builds Trust

I cannot stress enough how essential it is to instill the desire to be active in your kids. But its not just about teaching them to live active and healthy lifestyles when they grow up. Planned family fitness is a great way to build trust and respect between yourself and your kids. Cultivating positive memories and habits through workouts will make them more likely  to seek out advice from you in the future.

The Most Effective Ways to Protect Yourself From Zika

A lot of people are worried about the Zika Virus this summer. No matter where they live. Here in Connecticut, I can’t help but wonder, if or when a Zika mosquito will make its home in my backyard. How much I am going to spend on bug spray repellants over the next couple months? Are cargo pants and fly fishing gear going to be all the rage this summer season? Before you go out and buy the first bug spray you see at the supermarket or pharmacy, you’ll want to read up on the most effective ways to protect yourself and children.

The Zika virus has so far affected people mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean, but we are starting to see more and more cases popping up in the United States. Not because the mosquitos that carry the virus are breeding here, but because people traveling outside of the US contract the virus and bring it into the states. Just yesterday, the second known case of a baby with Zika-related birth defects was born in New Jersey. The mother, who does not wish to be identified, was traveling from Honduras.

Mosquito and disease experts at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have forecasted the Zika virus will likely be carried by mosquitos across much of the southern and eastern United States as the weather warms up during the summer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers guidance using these maps which represent where mosquitoes that are more likely to carry illnesses such as Zika, have been previously found. This however does not represent any clear-cut prediction of where the disease will spread.

MLB Detroit Tigers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, a 34-year-old native of Caracas, Venezuela, contracted the virus this past offseason and learned just how serious the illness can be. He was laid up for two weeks with severe body aches, headaches, and joint pain among other symptoms.

His advice? Know how to protect yourself and your family!

Did you know a mosquito can get Zika from biting someone with the virus?

Travelers returning to the US from an area with Zika should always take steps to prevent mosquito bites for 3 weeks so they do not spread the Zika virus to other mosquitoes that could then spread the virus to other people back home, according to the CDC.

What Else We Know For Sure About the Zika Virus and Protection:

  • The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites. It’s carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which are mostly out during the daytime, according to the CDC.
  • Zika virus can be sexually transmitted.
  • There is no vaccine for the virus.
  • Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future zika infections.
  • You can prevent Zika by avoiding mosquito bites and practicing safe sex or being abstinent.

How To Prevent Getting Bit by Mosquitos:

  • Wear Protective Clothing: Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. As well, you can purchase pre-treated clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items which deter mosquitos like a spray repellant, according to the EPA.  Be sure to read product information to learn how long the protection will last.
  • Stay Inside: Stay inside with air conditioning. Make sure windows and door screens are closed in order to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Get rid of standing water around home: Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home, by removing any items that collect standing water.  Mosquitoes lay their eggs near water!
  • Mosquito net for the bed: Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites while inside.
  • Use bug spray: But don’t just start spraying any bug spray all over yourself. Use EPA- registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Consumer Reports tested out the popular repellants effectiveness. Check out the results here. Apply the insect repellent as directed, and avoid spraying directly on the skin. If you are using sunscreen, be sure to apply that first and then bug spray afterwards.

How to Prevent Children from Being Bitten by Mosquitos:

  • Be careful with using bug spray on young children and infants: Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old. You also want to avoid sprays containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.
  • Don’t apply bug spray directly to child: Always spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face. You want to avoid applying insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin, according to the CDC.
  • Bring Mosquito nets everywhere: Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting when out and about or just at home.

The summer months make it hard to stay indoors. No one wants to be worrying about mosquito breeding grounds, especially if you are a nature enthusiast, travel junkie, pregnant, or already have children. One weekend you’re out at the beach, swimming in the ocean and the next you are BBQing by a lake. To ensure your outdoor activities this summer are Zika-free, keep this article handy and remember to employ these easy and effective measures.

3D Pill Printing: Your Prescription Drug is Ready to Be Printed

“Come get your print out!” has taken on a whole new meaning for the pharmaceutical industry over the past year. The FDA has officially given the green light to Aprecia Pharmaceuticals Co. to start “printing” a new epilepsy medication using 3D printing technology. This is the first drug of its kind: The first 3D printed prescription pill ever- and it holds particular promise for Hispanics.

The drug is called SPRITAM (levetiracetan), and is now available for children and adults suffering from epilepsy.

Why SPRITAM pills are easy medication for anyone to take

It is built layer-by-layer using a porous formulation trademarked method called ZipDose Technology. This makes it possible for the pills to disintegrate in the patient’s mouth much easier and with just a sip of water, even in high doses, according to Aprecia’s website.

The rapid dissolve method, aka ZipDose, makes the pills easier to consume, and can be particularly helpful for certain groups including seniors and kids who may have difficulty taking medications.

“Patients and caregivers often have difficulty following a treatment regimen. Whether they are dealing with a swallowing disorder or the daily struggle of getting a child to take his or her medication, adherence can be a challenge,” explains Dr. Marvin H. Rorick III, in one of Aprecia’s press release.

Check out a video showing the ZipDose dissolving method in action here.

Why Hispanics may particularly benefit from 3D printed pills

Another group that may also particularly benefit from the 3D printing of an epilepsy medication, is Hispanics.  

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, seizure disorders are almost twice as common among Hispanics than in non-Hispanics. This is due to the higher number of strokes among Latinos nationwide, as well as a larger number of traumatic brain injuries in Hispanics linked to high-risk occupations such as construction work, according to the foundation.

No more one-size fits all approach for medication

Another benefit of the 3D printing method will be the customization of drugs for specific users- no more one-size-fits all approach. With 3D printing, each dosage can be individually measured.

Down the line, 3D printed drugs could even hold the potential to completely alter the way patients and doctors think about medication. In a 2012 TED Talk, Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow describes a new approach to 3D printing that could potentially enable patients the ability to print prescriptions at home.

3D pill printing could save everyone more time and money

So what does this all mean for the pharmaceutical industry? 3D printing might reduce the overall cost of research and development by lowering the risk of trial failure in coming years.

Despite its reported benefits, there are some groups that question the dangers of 3D pill printing, should the technology make its way into the wrong hands.

The potential dark side of 3D pill printing of illegal drugs

3Dprint.com recently published an article that touches on illegal drug manufacturers potentially using 3D printing to customize pills in all different shapes, sizes and colors, making illegal drugs more marketable to both adults and children.

When is Spritam available to prescribe?

According to their website, Aprecia says this is just the first of many products they plan to introduce using this technology. 3D printing is already used in other areas of healthcare to manufacture such things as dental implants, hip replacements and prosthetics.  Scientists are even working to one day create 3D printed bones, skin and organs such as kidneys.

Outdoor Food Safety Tips: Avoid Food Poisoning This Summer

Cookouts, barbecues and picnics. Summer doesn’t just welcome in warmer weather. It’s also time to lay out the red, checkered tablecloth and enjoy some great meals in the outdoors with friends and family. It’s also time to refresh yourself on outdoor food safety.

Under the glare of a bright golden sun and a clear sky, everyone has to keep in mind that higher temperatures also mean a higher risk of food poisoning.

Food Safety in the Summertime

In warm weather, food-borne bacteria thrives. Leaving items out such as potato salad or deviled eggs too long could cause someone to become seriously sick and suffer the symptoms of food poisoning. It’s important to know how to store food safely and correctly to keep everyone healthy and happy. Here’s a list of hot weather food safety tips, using guidelines from sources like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Clean Your Hands: The first step to a safe and healthy meal is clean hands. Always wash your hands before and after you handle any food. When you’re eating outdoors you may not be able to use soap and water. Buy a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if you don’t have access to a sink or hose.

Keep Cold Food at 40˚F or Colder: Have lots of ice or gel packs on hand. Cold food should be kept at a temperature of 40˚F or colder and should be refrigerated until serving time. Bacteria on food meant to be chilled can multiply quickly at temperatures higher than 40˚ F. Try putting bowls like potato salad on ice if they will be out for more than two hours.

Keep Hot food at 140˚F or Warmer: Hot food needs to be kept at an internal temperature of 140° F or warmer, according to the FDA.  You can always check the product label to check the correct temperature needed for grilling. Bacteria can multiply quickly on hot food that is not held at this temperature. After grilling, keep hot food warm by moving it to the side of the grill, in the heat, but away from the flames.  At home, you can keep the cooked meat hot by using a 200° F oven, chafing dish, slow cooker, or warming tray.

Have a Thermometer handy: If  you’re cooking food on the grill, use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to its proper temperature.  You can even download the Is My Food Safe? mobile app for a complete list of cooking temperatures for outdoor gatherings.

Don’t add food to dishes, put out new ones: Bacteria spreads from people eating and sharing food buffet style, especially outside in warm temperatures. You want to avoid adding more food to serving dishes that people have already been helping themselves to. Instead, replace nearly-empty serving dishes with freshly-filled plates and bowls of food that haven’t been sitting out in the sun. Also, wash the serving tools as a precaution. This also accommodates guests arriving and/or eating at different times throughout the day.

Don’t put cooked food on a plate that had raw food: Never put cooked food on an unwashed plate  or surface, that previously held raw food. Use separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables, and wash the boards thoroughly after each use. And the same goes for grill tongs. If you are using them to grill raw meat or fish, be sure to switch to new grill tongs to remove the food once it’s cooked.

Remember the 2-Hour Rule:  Any perishable food left out at room temperature for more than two hours needs to be thrown out. Examples of food that must be kept refrigerated for safety include meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and all cooked leftovers. If the room or area temperature is over 90°F, the safe-holding time for food left out is reduced to just one hour.

Drowning Dangers: How to Keep Kids Safe Swimming this Summer

There’s nothing more refreshing than spending a hot summer day cooling off at a pool, taking a trip to the beach, jumping into a lake, or getting adventurous at a water park. For many of us, that means the school year is over and summertime has officially arrived! These moments are thrilling, but unless you’re prepared, they could turn dangerous or even worse, deadly. Even the strongest swimmers can drown, so it’s important to know how to avoid drowning and you and your family safe,  in and around all water conditions.

Unintentional drowning and the importance of water safety for kids

Drowning is a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 4, and the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages. For every child killed by unintentional drowning, another 10 end up in the hospital for near drowning incidents, reports the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These children are at risk of suffering from brain damage that can result in learning disabilities, memory issues and permanent loss of basic functions.

Unintentional drowning can happen in the blink of an eye. In less than 2 minutes after a child’s head goes under the water they could lose consciousness.

How does someone drown?

When water enters the lungs, the lungs can’t pump oxygen to the brain or the rest of your body. There’s usually very little time for someone to help and avoid any long term brain trauma once water gets into their lungs and stops oxygen circulation. Preventing a scenario where too much water get into a child’s lungs is the priority and most effective way to avoid drowning.

Many drownings and near-drownings happen when a kid accidentally falls into a swimming pool. But accidents can happen anywhere at any time — at someone’s home during a birthday party or even at your own house during a quiet Sunday.  For toddlers (kids age 1- 4), swimming pools pose the greatest risk of submersion injury, according to the CDC. You must know how to be safe around any body of water to avoid unintentional drownings. Here are other ways you can practice kids’ water safety:

  • Learn how to swim properly: It’s important for everyone in the family to be a strong swimmer. And you are never too old to learn! Children 6-months-old to adults can enroll in an age-appropriate Red Cross water course to learn how to swim or reach out to your local YMCA or community recreation center (with a pool) to see if there are free courses offered.
  • Always swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards: When swimming at public pools or at the beach, it is important to tell kids to stick to designated areas. The beach can be especially dangerous with large crowds, riptides, undercurrents, and waves breaking.
  • Permission and patience is needed to be near water: Teach young kids to ALWAYS ask their parents or guardians permission to simply be near a body of water. Also, always walk near a body of water. Never run. Remember that a pool’s sides and bottoms are built with concrete.
  • Test the water temperature before you dive in: Cold water can shock your body’s system and make your blood pressure and heart rate go up. You might open your mouth to yell and accidentally breathe in some water. Being submerged in cold water can also slow your muscles, making it more difficult to swim.
  • As a parent of a toddler, maintain constant supervision: Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but always keep an eye on your kids. Always keep a close on what’s going on and do not be distracted by a phone, a conversation, or drinking alcohol. At beaches it’s especially important there be a designated parent or responsible adult acting as a lifeguard at all times. Even if there is a  certified lifeguard, beaches can be crowded and crazy places in the summertime.
  • Never swim alone: Always swim with a buddy and teach your kids to swim with buddies. Never alone. It’s important to lead by example in this way. If no one sees someone slip and fall hard into the pool, no one will be able to help.
  • Avoid roughhousing or bullying in water: Always swim at a depth that is comfortable for you and your level. If you’re just learning how to swim, it may be best to stay in the shallow end. Don’t push or jump on others or flip off the diving board. You could accidentally hurt yourself or land on someone else without realizing it.
  • If you have a pool, make sure appropriate barriers are in place: Many children who drown at private pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time. If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • Have appropriate lifeguard equipment at home: Pools at private homes should be equipped with a ring or floatation device that can easily be tossed out into the pool. A couple of life jackets and a first aid kit are important.
  • At family pool parties or events, avoid distractions: Avoid loud music, large crowds, and excessive drinking near a pool’s edge. If a child does go missing, always check the water first.
  • Have access to a phone to call 911: In case of a drowning emergency time is critical, so it’s important to know how to alert emergency responders to the scene. Don’t hesitate to use a friends phone or ask a stranger to call. Pay phones also allow a 911 dials without payment.
  • Drink plenty of water: Even though when you swim you are surrounded by water, swimmers experience dehydration. This is especially true for ocean or lakes that have a heavy amount of salt. Even if you or your child is not thirsty, drink water and avoid heavily caffeinated drinks. As an adult, avoid alcohol.
  • Don’t let your children bake in the sun; apply sunblock: Being out in the sun tires you out and sunburn causes fatigue and dehydration. It’s important to curb the amount of direct sunlight kids get during peak hours. Peak sun hours are usually between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Be sure to wear sunblock with at least SPF 30 and reapply even if it is waterproof.
  • Learn and become certified in CPR: Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses so you can save precious seconds and respond quickly and correctly before emergency responders arrive.  

Remember, even though your child may know how to swim, it’s doesn’t mean they can’t tread into trouble while in the water. The best child drowning prevention is always to supervise your child closely when they are in or around any water.

SPRING ALLERGIES: 9 WAYS TO MANAGE SYMPTOMS WITHOUT MEDICATION

If you’ve had them, you know spring allergies are the worst. You are sitting inside with itchy red eyes and a headache. Not to mention coughing and sneezing your head off rather than basking in the beautiful sunny weather. It just doesn’t seem fair, but you are definitely not alone. Recent studies found that nasal allergies affect about 50 million people in the United States, and that the number of seasonal allergy sufferers is continuing to grow.  

What Causes Allergies?

In many areas of the United States, spring allergies begin in early February and last late into the summer. Grass, pollen, and mold are the most common triggers of seasonal allergies, and unfortunately, rainy spring and summer seasons mean more pollen and much more sneezing to come. But don’t think moving across the country will solve your problems.

Ways to Manage Allergy Symptoms

Allergens are virtually everywhere.  The good news is there are ways to manage your seasonal allergies without taking medication. Here is what you can do.

  • Be vigilant about monitoring pollen and mold counts: Pollen levels tend to peak in the morning hours, but this may vary depending on the weather. When the day is windy and warm, pollen counts surge. Weather reports on the radio or television often include this information during allergy seasons, and counts can also be easily found online. Stay inside during peak pollen periods (early mornings) and if possible avoid outdoor exercise activities at these peak times.
  • Allergy proof your living space: Windows closed and shoes off! Allergy proof your living space by keeping windows and doors shut at home ( and in the car!) in the spring. Wind carries allergens inside and the tiny particles will stick to surfaces. As well, having yourself and guests leave shoes at the door really helps with tracking less allergens into your home.
  • Shower and change! Every time you leave your home for work or play, you are being exposed to allergens. These tiny particles will stick to your hair, skin, and clothes, so rinsing off in the shower, changing into a new outfit, and washer-drying clothes instead line-drying clothing outside can really help wash away allergens.
  • Keep it dry! Dry is better, especially in your bathroom.  Humidity breads mold, and mold is one of the biggest allergy triggers, according to government health website MedlinePlus. Using a dehumidifier can keep air drier. Be aware of not leaving damp towels in the hamper, running faucets, or moldy shower curtains. Having a fan in your bathroom during a shower or bathe can also be helpful.
  • Wear a mask! When you do outdoor chores, wear protective masks . If you can’t avoid raking, gardening, or mowing the grass, try to wear a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask that will block 95% of small pollen particles. These are available at many drugstores and pharmacies. If you can, stay clear of barns, wood piles, hay, and stagnant water.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies! An apple a day keeps the allergies away? A 2011 study found children who eat a lot of fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts have fewer allergy symptoms. Try adding more grapes, apples, tomatoes, and oranges to your child’s diet- they were found to be particularly effective!
  • Drink more water! Constant sneezing and nose blowing can make you dehydrated and give you headaches. Getting hydrated is an important and easy way to help combat seasonal allergies.
  • Use a nasal rinse over the sink: A nasal rinse can help relieve nasal allergy symptoms. You can buy a nasal rinse kit or just making one yourself using a neti pot or bulb. Mix roughly 1/2 teaspoon salt with a pinch of baking soda in 1 cup of warm distilled or sterilized water.
  • Stop stressing! Stress compromises your body’s ability to cope with allergies. Making time for yourself can help with the management of your allergies.

TODAY’S HIV/AIDS CRISIS: WHY WE NEED A VACCINE

Some people discuss the HIV/AIDS crisis nowadays as a problem of the past, but it is important to know there is still no vaccine that will prevent infection or cure those who carry the virus today. But that all is possibly about to change. A breakthrough discovery on the virus by a team of US researchers earlier this month holds potential for a vaccine.

Despite current AIDS/HIV crisis awareness efforts, the number of people infected by the virus every year continues to climb. There are now 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, and last year that number grew by more than 50,000.

Vaccines historically have been the most effective means to prevent and completely eradicating infectious diseases. They teach your body’s immune system to recognize and defend against harmful viruses, allowing your body to set up defenses against those dangers ahead of time. Vaccines, also known as shots or immunizations, safely and cost-effectively prevent illness, physical and mental disability, and death, so why haven’t we developed a HIV vaccine in the last 30 years?

Like the smallpox or polio vaccine, a preventive vaccine could help save millions of lives, but HIV vaccine development has faced a unique set of challenges. To put it simply, no one has ever naturally recovered from the HIV virus, so therefore it’s very difficult to model of natural immunity to base a vaccine off of- but recent US developments in a search for a vaccine reveal it’s not impossible.

There was huge news in regards to a potential HIV vaccine announced last week by a team of scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They discovered a new vulnerable site on HIV for a vaccine to target, a broadly neutralizing antibody that binds to that target site, and how the antibody stops the virus from infecting a human cell.

The researchers are now working to create a vaccine designed to draw out antibodies that can bind to the virus and keep it from infecting human cells.The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative maintains a database of current and past AIDS vaccine trials, sorted by status, trial phase, and strategy.

How does today’s HIV/AIDS crisis management look compared to the 1980s and 1990s?

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, people infected faced certain death just a few years after infection. Today the lives of those infected with the virus (HIV positive) have much better quality of life, as well as longer and productive lives. A 2013 study found that Gay men with the virus can expect to live to an average age of 77, while hispanics and other minorities are diagnosed much later and are less likely to receive proper treatment.

Daily preventive pills called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, have been around the last ten years. They allow HIV-negative individuals at risk to take an antiviral every day to prevent infection. Some people complain about nausea, vomiting,fatigue, and dizziness, with these minor symptoms eventually resolving themselves over time. Unfortunately, these preventative treatment PrEP pills costs between $8,000 and $14,000 per year and are very costly for middle to lower income families. Before these daily medications, there was absolutely no preventative option for the virus. It’s cost is likely to restrict its use to only the highest-risk individuals in a population, therefore these pill make a minor impact on overall HIV incidence.

The course of action to make testing for HIV accessible and distributing current medications is huge. Before heavy research was done to understand the nature of the virus, touching or treating a patient that was HIV positive or had developed AIDS was considered risky and unsafe.Now programs and centers who aim to implement widespread HIV testing with immediate treatment are lowering the overall spread of the infection in affected communities. A 2013 NIH supported study found that testing accounts for a 13.8% reduction in HIV infections over the course of 10 years. The study concluded that HIV testing would be more effective at curbing incidence of the virus if testing was more convenient and results were more immediate.

How HIV/AIDS is adversely affecting the Hispanic/Latino community

The spread of HIV and AIDS is far from over and is having a particularly alarming impact on the hispanic/latino community. In 2005, HIV/AIDS was the fourth leading cause of death among Hispanic/Latino men and women aged 35 to 44. As of the end of 2006, AIDS claimed the lives of an estimated 80,690 Hispanics/Latinos in the United States.

A recent study by the CDC predicts that ¼ of all latino gay men living in the United States will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes.

While hispanics and latinos represent just 13% of the total U.S. population, they account for approximately 23% of new infections annually, according to the CDC.

Why is there a higher risk of viral infections in latinos and hispanics? Studies have found that Hispanics/latinos are less likely to be tested for HIV early on, and by the time they do get tested for the virus, they are more likely to be diagnosed with AIDS.

It’s important to also consider that, for hispanics, language, cultural barriers, higher rates of poverty, substance abuse, limited access and knowledge of the US health care system can delay treatment.

Wait, what exactly is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

To clarify the difference between AIDS and HIV, HIV is a virus that has the potential to cause an infection and weaken the immune system while AIDS is an actual condition or a syndrome. Left without treatment, the majority of people infected with the virus will develop signs of HIV-related illness within 5–10 years, although this can be shorter.

5 Things that you can do

  • Stay informed on vaccine awareness- just by reading this article you are helping!
  • If sexually active, get yourself tested.
  • Let others know you support vaccine research by having conversations or posting on social media.
  • Support vaccine volunteers financially if you can or volunteer at a center that offers testing and treatment.
  • Get involved by joining a community advisory board and make a point of putting vaccine awareness on the agenda.

PrEP daily drug regimens along with behavioral modifications are highly effective for those who can access and afford them and maintain their vigilance, but vaccines remain the most equitable and promising route to ending the deadly viral epidemic worldwide.

When anxiety attacks: 7 ways to keep cool without medication

We are all human and inevitably worry, but what do we do when our worry grows into a feeling that could be damaging to our health and happiness?

Stop. Take a deep breath and exhale. Research shows there are simple anxiety-reducing habits that can improve emotional and physical wellbeing. You may be able to cure yourself, not with medication, but by practicing positive lifestyle changes.

By definition, anxiety is the feeling of uneasiness over an upcoming event. We sometimes try to anticipate the future with negative predictions that, in turn, make us feel powerless and helpless. In day-to-day life, anxiety’s physical manifestation and emotional cues can be seen in a racing heartbeat, trouble focusing on tasks at work or at home, problems sleeping, dizziness, nail biting, negative and obsessive thoughts, and a short emotional fuse.

Depression and anxiety among hispanics and latinos is not uncommon. In a 2014 study, researchers found that 27% of the Hispanic population suffer from symptoms of anxiety and depression, and only 5% of the study sample took low usage of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications.

It is completely normal to experience ups and downs, but if you find yourself experiencing anxiety attacks frequently, being mindful of the 7 strategies below can help you to cope.

Seven lifestyle strategies to help manage symptoms of anxiety

  1. Accept that you cannot control everything- and laugh about it: First off, put your anxiety in perspective: is throwing a tantrum going to help magically charge your phone that you forgot to plug in the night before? Probably not. And is that really what’s bothering you? Probably not. And that’s okay. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get, and try to laugh off your freak-outs.
  2. Do something that keeps you in the moment, like exercising: Do you have an activity or something you like to do that keeps you in the moment? Going for a walk, practicing yoga, listening to music, playing a game of chess, doodling, going for a run, meditating, or getting a quick 10 minute back massage can go a long way.  The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes exercise is proven to be very effective at maintaining mental fitness and combating anxiety.
  3. What and when you eat is important: Skipping meals is way too common these days. Skipping meals causes a drop in the body’s blood sugar levels. If prolonged, this drop may lead to increased feelings of anxiety and irritability. It’s also important not eat junk that will put you right back into a funk. Eggs, berries, green tea and chamomile tea have been shown to curb anxiety.
  4. Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption. You may often use alcohol or caffeine to reduce anxiety because it seemingly dulls anxious feelings, but in reality it makes anxiety worse because it replaces your mind’s ability to cope with stress. Both of these substances amplify anxious feelings you may be experiencing, further aggravating your anxiety and possibly triggering a panic attack.
  5. Get enough rest. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest. If you are an adult, aim for 7.5- 9 hours a night. Don’t have time for 9 hours a night? 20 minute power naps can be great. Meditation can also be restorative. Most adults have had some trouble sleeping because they feel worried or nervous, but some do experience insomnia due to poor lifestyle habits.
  6. Talk to someone…or something!  Instead of throwing something over the remote being lost in the couch, let friends and family know you’re feeling overwhelmed. Live alone? Just processing out loud can help put a problem in perspective. Pets also make great listeners too- and for the most part- they never voice judgement!
  7. There is no ‘perfect’ time to beat anxiety, just now: It’s important to acknowledge your anxiety won’t go away if you are waiting for the ‘perfect’ time to overcome it.  You do not need to feel especially attractive, healthy, positive, energetic, or confident in any other way to begin. You can’t simply wait for something  or someone else to make things better. Beating anxiety comes through building a positive routine and letting go of old destructive habits. The time is now!

If you try these tips, but still feel like you are unable to avoid destructive habits, please seek out a medical professional to talk to and discuss possible plans of action.

EXPOSURE TO PESTICIDES: Know the serious health effects

Pesticides are inherently toxic substances to humans– they are developed and used to destroy or prevent growth or infestations of unwanted insects, plants, and other pests in agricultural, commercial, industrial, and household settings.

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1.1 billion pounds of pesticide are used annually in the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 10,000-20,000 physician-diagnosed pesticide poisonings occur each year among the approximately 2 million agricultural workers on U.S. soil.

Agricultural workers, groundskeepers, pet groomers, fumigators, and a variety of other occupations are at risk for exposure to pesticides in the form of fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, and sanitizers.

Findings in a recent EPA report show pesticides pose risks of short- and long- term illness to farmworkers and their families.

Immediate health effects of pesticide exposure include rash, eye irritation, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, and headaches. More serious acute effects include difficulty breathing, seizures, loss of consciousness and death.

Chronic (long-term) health effects can result in cancer, neurological disorders, hormonal and reproductive health problems, birth defects and infertility. Even low levels of pesticide exposure over time can result in chronic health effects.

The exact number of workers injured each year by pesticides is unknown, because there is no national surveillance system for acute pesticide illness reporting and no surveillance system for tracking chronic illness related to pesticide exposure.

This year, the EPA released updated rules intended to keep farmworkers from being poisoned by pesticides. The previous “worker protection standard” for farms was employed since 1992.

The new rules, which go into effect fall 2016, require farms to make a host of changes. Employers will have to train workers on the risks of pesticides every year, rather than every five years. Workers will have to stay farther away from contaminated fields. Farmers will have to keep more records on exactly when and where they used specific pesticides. And no children under the age of 18 will be allowed to handle the chemicals.

If you are a farmer, a migrant farmer, or a migrant agricultural worker it’s important that you }know that your employer or the place of employment observe the National Institute of Occupational Safety (NIOSH) and Health guidelines.

These guidelines are readily available on the CDC site for disease control and prevention under pesticide, illness, and injury surveillance.

Bullied Kids Face Serious and Surprising Health Risks

In one way or another, we all have experienced, directly or indirectly, the effects of bullying. In fact, bullying affects a person’s well-being, both physically and mentally – especially children.

Many adults still see bullying as just part of being a kid or a normal part of childhood. This is far from the truth.  The effects of bullying are detrimental to a child’s physical, mental, and emotional health.

Bullying is not only affecting kids and teens here in the United States, but it is also an issue of epidemic proportions in many other countries, including Great Britain. It is well-known in the psychiatric community that some of the effects of bullying in children include a loss of self-esteem and self-confidence, poor performance in school, but most startling, an increase in the risk of suicide.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among young people in the United States. There are about 4,000 to 5,000 suicides per year among young people, and victims of bullying are five to seven-times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims of bullying, according to a Yale University study.

Furthermore, an anti-bullying charity in the UK found that at least half of all suicides in young people ages 10-14 are related to being a victim of bullying. The charity’s research was independently verified by Dr. Benjamin Richardson of Warwick University.

Young girls ages 10-14 years old, and especially young Latino girls, seem to be at an even a higher risk for bullying-related suicide, according to research published in The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

As awareness of the effects of bullying on children grows, more statistics are being reported, and the incidents of bullying and its consequences are alarming.

As a result, homeschooling is, in fact, on the rise in the United States, as parents look for ways to protect their children.  An eye-opening statistic, reported by ABC News, revealed that up to 160,000 school-aged children stay home from school each and every day because of bullying fears.

How can I prevent bullying?

While many states are implementing laws against bullying, and some have even filed lawsuits against certain schools, it’s essential for parents to get involved.

Parents are their children’s best advocate for their health and well-being.  It is vital for parents to get involved by talking to school authorities if they sense that something is not right with their child.

As a doctor of internal medicine and a family physician for over 30 years, I have treated everyone “in the family,” including children of all ages.

And as a specialist of integrative medicine, I not only attend to and address their physical ailments, but emotional and mental ones, as well.

More importantly, I am also a dad myself.  To help prevent bullying before it even starts, I highly recommend:

  1. Being aware of your children’s surroundings, and insist on knowing all of their friends and social networking interactions. It gives us the ability to see social media exchanges between our kids, their friends, and classmates, and be aware if someone is posting inappropriate messages online or via text. We can use technology to our advantage to keep a healthy control on our children and prevent bullying.
  2. Being present encourages children and teens to interact with their parents, giving us a chance to open up a routine dialogue about school and their lives, in general, according to a 2014 study published  in JAMA Pediatrics. And by spending more time at the dinner table and at home together as a family it will help promote regular discussions as a family.
  3. It is also crucial to listen to your kids and talk to them about bullying.  As parents, we need to reassure our kids that bullying is completely unacceptable. Making sure your children or child understand(s) bullying, and knowing how to get help if they feel threatened, is a key to stopping it in its tracks.

Sometimes even with proper education and awareness though, it is not always enough.

We cannot make decisions for our children. All we can do is offer guidance and help as much as we possibly can.

As a measure of precaution, I always recommend to parents to keep weapons and medications away from all school-aged children.  Any talk or threats of suicide should also always be taken seriously. Seek professional help immediately for a full mental health evaluation of your child if the issue of suicide or harming his or herself ever arises.

It is our job to spread the word and keep our kids safe.  Be part of the change and help create a bully-free world.

How OTC painkillers put your heart, kidneys at risk

Some of the over the counter pain relief medications commonly taken for mild to moderate pain, particularly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), could be putting you at a much higher risk for serious health problems.

NSAIDs are widely used as a easily accessible remedy for treating everyday ailments such a s headaches, fevers, menstrual cramps, sport-related injuries, and arthritis.

Doctors and pharmacists have long known that non-aspirin, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs called NSAIDS (stands for Non-Steroid, Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) may increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Painkillers and anti-inflammatories that put you at risk

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is strengthening the existing “Drug Facts” label warning of some pain killing drugs for both prescription strength and over-the-counter varieties, which are purchased by millions of people, usually at pharmacies, many retail stores and even gas stations.

Some NSAIDS include ibuprofen (for example, Motrin or Advil), naproxen, and diclofenac.

Serious side effects of taking these painkillers can occur as early as the first few weeks of using these drugs, and the risk can rise if the pain relievers are used habitually over time to mask chronic pain.

NSAIDs are not good for blood pressure either. People who have cardiovascular disease, particularly those who recently had a heart attack or cardiac bypass surgery, are at the greatest risk associated with taking NSAIDs, according to the FDA.

NSAIDs are bad for your kidneys and heart, especially over long term use

NSAIDs painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications can also cause substantial kidney damage when used for long periods of time. Long-term use of NSAIDs causes your body to hold onto fluid. This can make the symptoms such as swollen ankles, and a rapid or irregular heartbeat, a lot worse.

Latinos are at higher risk when taking NSAIDs

One group who should be especially careful about taking painkillers and other NSAIDs, is Latinos. One of the reasons is cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death among Hispanic men and women in the U.S., as the American Heart Association (AHA) reports.

A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than a quarter (26.1 percent) of Hispanics in the U.S. reported having high blood pressure.

Projections show that by 2030, an additional 3.4 million people aged 18 years or older will have a stroke, a 20.5% increase in prevalence from 2012. The highest increase (29%) is projected to be in Hispanic men, according to the AHA.

The CDC recently reported nearly a third (30.4 percent) of Hispanics with high blood pressure in the U.S. aren’t taking any medication that could reduce their risk for a heart attack and/or stroke.

Language and cultural barriers make it difficult for Hispanics to understand their condition, but it’s important to seek out this advice.

So what’s the best choice for relieving pain if you are at higher risk?

saludmóvil’s Dr. Joseph Mosquera believes over-the-counter Tylenol (generic acetaminophen) can be a good choice for people with high blood pressure, heart failure, or kidney problems.

Dr. Mosquera also recommends people talk to their pharmacist or doctor before considering taking NSAID medications, both prescription or over-the-counter. It’s especially important to regularly check in with your doctor if you are taking painkillers for chronic pain.

Ask if acetaminophen is an approved alternative for your pain.

Also, always read labels carefully. If they contain NSAIDS and you have risk factors for heart disease, stroke, or heart failure, please discuss this with your physician or pharmacist.

There is clear scientific risk when taking them, and the healthiest patient is the well-informed patient.  

You can also go to the FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which offers the latest information on all FDA-regulated products.

Managing pain without taking drugs

Non-drug treatments, such as yoga or massage, can often reduce or even replace the need for drugs. Overall, getting regular exercise that is impact-appropriate to the nature of your pain can reduce discomfort and give you more energy.

Hospitals in the US are killing us: Avoid getting sick

Most of us assume that hospitals are the safest healing environments to get healthy, not sick. Sadly, hospitals are actually responsible for making us sick. In fact, recent research points to preventable hospital errors as the third leading cause of deaths in the U.S.

Did you know on average of one out of every five patients who leave US hospitals are readmitted within a month after being discharged?

Our supposed sterile ‘health havens’ have an annual average of 648,000 patients who develop infections during a hospital stay. In fact, there are 75,000 inpatient hospital deaths annually from these infections, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

With over 200 people dying in hospitals in the US daily, healthcare acquired infections are responsible for killing twice the amount of people who die each year from car crashes.

Overprescription of antibiotics is killing us

The same antibiotic medications that work to fight infections are responsible for making hospitals the hotspots of infection.

An antibiotic will kill the bacteria susceptible to the drug, but also leaves microbes behind that are resistant to that distinct antibiotic. So, the more antibiotics a person takes, the more microbes build up in the body.

The CDC now estimates that on any given day one in 25 patients in the U.S. has at least one healthcare-acquired infection (HAI).

As many as 11.4 million antibiotic prescriptions written each year for children and teens may be unnecessary, according to a study published online in 2015. In fact, the CDC estimates that up to half of all antibiotics used in the country are prescribed unnecessarily or used inappropriately.

What are superbugs and super germs and how are they making us sick?

Super germs or superbugs, which are are drug-resistant, human-killing microbes are the leading cause of the deadly infections due to inappropriate overuse of antibiotics.

Super Germs cause 1 out of 7 infections caught in general U.S. hospitals, and 1 in 4 in specialized long-term hospitals, according to new research by the CDC.

The most common superbug in hospitals that you may be familiar with is MRSA (MUR’-suh aka a staff infection).

Who’s paying for these medical mistakes and sickness from superbugs?

Right now, extra healthcare costs that are directly a result of inpatient hospital care are put on patients and their families.

Saludmovil’s Dr. Mosquera feels hospitals should be held financially responsible, covering all costs for treating infections patients pick up during their stay and even costs incurred after discharge.

Smaller is better for healthcare facilities

It was found that small regional hospitals and smaller community hospitals earned the best ratings. Only 105 out of the 3,000 hospitals surveyed achieved good ratings.

What you should look for in hospitals to stay healthy

In summary, Dr. Mosquera notes good hospitals often focus on the basics:

  • Using antibiotics wisely and not overprescribing
  • Keeping facilities clean
  • Hospital Employees consistently follow established protocols and records
  • Smaller clinics and hospitals tends to be better

Consumer Report’s most recent ratings of more than 3,000 U.S hospitals show which ones are failing to protect their patients from these deadly infections. The report shows that only a small fraction of the hospitals surveyed received high ratings.

Many health institutions that are nationally ranked and well known did not get good ratings when it comes to these super bacteria and hospital acquired infections.

To view the complete list of Consumer Reports’ hospital ratings click here.

What else can I do to stay safe during a hospital stay?

“To patients, my recommendations are to always question the use of antibiotics, insist in a clean hospital room and ask what their rates of resistant infections are in the last 12 to 18 months. Including, how many infections, what types and how many deaths. It is also useful to look at the bilingual Consumer Reports’ rating center as part of the Slam Superbugs campaign,” advises Integrative Medicine expert, Dr. Joseph Mosquera.

Preventative protections you can take as an inpatient

Don’t hesitate as a patient to take steps to protect yourself by asking doctors, visitors and anyone who enters their room to washing their hands before saying hello and wiping down all high-touch surfaces, including bed rails, bed tables, call buttons, and the TV remote control with bleach wipes.

How can we reduce hospital error and save lives?

Dr. Mosquera notes that in order to lower these scary statistics, hospitals need to accurately report how many infections patients get in that given facility.

The government could validate these reports. Prompt reporting to patients as well as the state federal authorities should also be the norm from hospitals when disclosing resistant infections.

It’s important  as a patient to understand the complex problem of antibiotic resistance today in order to see the potentially catastrophic consequences of inaction.

Dr. Mosquera on steps to create startup saludmóvil – Tweet chat recap

Missed Dr. Joseph Mosquera’s Twitter chat with PRNewswire about saludmóvil® earlier this week? No worries! You can read all of the questions and answers on creating a startup from inception to launch here and learn more about what this #Connectchat was about.

In sum, Latinos in the U.S. are more likely than any cultural counterparts to delay access to health care for an illness or to stop a given treatment when symptoms disappear, but Dr. Mosquera believes his startup saludmóvil® will provide them with the needed health care information.

Learn more about the need to reduce the health care gap for Hispanics, Dr. Mosquera’s online publication saludmóvil®  and how he went from conceiving the idea of this unique startup to being a step away from launching it this spring.

#ConnectChat Q&A on saludmóvil® and how to create a startup

Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

I have over 30 years of experience caring for the Latino community in the US. I strongly believe that every individual has within them their own innate abilities to heal. And I am dedicated to helping and empowering every individual to tap into those abilities.

How did you come up with the concept for saludmóvil and what is it about?

I came up with saludmóvil during my 30 years treating patients in my practice. They lack good and affordable medical care and the information needed to make the right choices concerning their health. Hispanics have to face a language barrier and many don’t trust the medical system.

I took all these into account when coming up with saludmóvil. I want to make sure that our model is very easy navigate.

What was the first step in making saludmóvil a real company?

We needed to come up with a business model that fit the vision I had in mind and make sure that legally we were cleared. There is a lot of research in the process – you need to make sure that you are on the right track. That you are trademarked.

What other steps did you take to make it a reality?

From the very beginning I started searching for the right staff with experience in traditional and digital media. I also needed a great technology officer to lead the way!

Were you dedicated 100% of the time to your project or you were still working at the beginning?

Yes, I still see my patients, and fortunately, I am also able to stay very much involved with saludmóvil.

Do you have a group of investors and how did you persuade them to help?

I was fortunate that a single investor saw the potential in saludmóvil, understood my vision and let me to run with it.

Do they also make decisions regarding saludmóvil or is it strictly for capital?

Our investor is involved in capital but not in content. We keep him updated in all of our progress. I have his full cooperation on where we are headed.

In your experience, what do you need to create a successful startup?

You need a vision for a product or service that meets the needs in an underserved group. Hispanics need reliable health and wellness information. You need a plan to fill that void and most importantly you need the right team to take on the project – a team that can wear multiple hats.

What has been the most difficult aspect of creating saludmóvil?

Identifying a staff that understands the market, that is bilingual and that will take on a project of this magnitude. A staff that is sensitive to the needs of bilingual consumer. I stress bilingual since all the work is done in two languages.

How did you do the research regarding competitors, potential customers and finding a place for saludmóvil in the marketplace?

It started with key staff members. We researched apps, web, traditional media, and found that there was a void that needed to be filled. During our discovery process we found that there are great opportunities out there for health, lifestyle and wellness information targeting the U.S. Hispanic. We have now brought on board a marketing company that is multicultural to guide us in our efforts going forward.

How many people are on the staff?

We have 10 on the staff and outside contributors. This includes writers, reporters, tech, editors and even a translator. We also have outside marketing, development, designers, photographers and content creators. A company that has the experience to help us create our multiple platforms. Mobile, desktop etc.

How did you assemble your team?

I first brought on an individual that ran one of the most successful newsrooms in Spanish language TV. I had worked with her and knew that her experience would be crucial in this. She has the knowledge and the connections to make a project like this successful. She then started to assemble the team knowing exactly what we needed taking into account what our competition looked like as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

When does saludmóvil go live?

We expect to go live second quarter of this year! We are very excited! This is a moving target so I am sure that we will have to adjust along the way. We also have a plan for future offerings.

How are you currently promoting saludmóvil ?

One of the things we have done is hire a great marketing team. I think it is important to know where to promote. We are gathering data from focus groups so that we can pinpoint where our ad dollars should go. Social media will play an important factor but traditional media is also a possibility. A startup needs to know exactly where their customer base is.

What is the URL for saludmóvil?

saludmovil.com

Check it out!

Are you on social media?

Of course we are! Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. We plan on being everywhere our audience is.     @misaludmovil, Facebook.

Join Dr. Mosquera and saludmóvil in #ConnectChat with PR Newswire

Are you a Latino who dreads going to the doctor or seeking out health care in the US?

Make sure you are following @DrMosqueraMD on Twitter and tune in tomorrow Tuesday March 22, 3 to 4 p.m. EDT, to learn more about why you should be excited about the upcoming saludmóvil® launch this fall

saludmóvil’s founder and chief medical expert Dr. Joseph Mosquera is teaming up with news agency PRNewswire  for a Twitter chat, giving users the inside scoop on how one doctor’s passionate idea to improve bilingual health care in the United States will soon become a cost-free reality for any Latino who has access to internet.

saludmóvil® is an online bicultural publication providing quality digital health information in both Spanish and English in the form of well-written and researched articles, immaculately produced video, and easy to follow audio.

Latinos are the ethnic group least likely to visit the doctor, according to the latest report from United States Census Bureau.  Dr. Mosquera believes saludmóvil can provide Hispanics in the US with quality health care information that shrinks the disparities found in America’s Latino health care access.

Dr. Mosquera believes the Hispanic health oriented website will provide the growing Hispanic community in the U.S. with concerned and engaging medical and health information in a culturally relevant manner.

Tuesday’s Twitter question and answer session hosted by PR Newswire can be followed by the hashtag #ConnectChat, “saludmóvil: Creating a Startup from Inception to Launch.” Just by searching the hashtag #connectchat, you can learn how Dr. Mosquera is taking an idea that has the potential to help so many people and is making it a reality.

Dr. Mosquera will be discussing the start-up step by step, describing the moment the idea for saludmóvil first popped into his head all the way  down to the timing of the upcoming launch date this spring. Twitter chat participants will find out in the doctor’s own words why he believes saludmóvil possesses the potential to benefit millions of lives, and what makes this a passionate project for everyone involved.  

To submit questions for Dr. Mosquera in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @DrMosqueraMD, @ProfNet or @ProfNetMedia. We’ll try to get to as many questions as we can, so the sooner you submit the better!

You can also ask your question live during the Twitter chat or get involved in the conversation.

To help keep track of the whole conversation, the #connectchat hashtag will be used. Please remember to use that hashtag if you are tweeting a question or any comments.

If you can’t make it on Twitter for the chat, don’t worry. You can follow the doctor’s Twitter feed live on the blog or a transcript can be found on ProfNet Connect the following day.

Tune in to the #connectchat between 3-4pm Tuesday March 22 and be inspired by Dr. Mosquera’s perseverance of supporting an idea that can radically reduce the current Latino health care disparity.

6 Ways to Prevent Childhood Obesity in your family and why it matters

One of the biggest health issues facing children in the U.S. today continues to be childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height.

How do I  know if my child is obese and their weight is a health concern?

You may not know the answer to this question just by looking at your child and will need to seek out the help of a healthcare professional for further testing.

Not all children carrying extra pounds are overweight or obese. Some children have larger than average body frames and it depends on their growth cycle. Some children normally carry different amounts of body fat at the various stages of development, which is commonly referred to as “baby fat.”

Almost a quarter of all Hispanic kids in the U.S are obese

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 17 percent of children ages 2 to 19 are obese. That’s about 12.7 million kids. And the statistics for Hispanic children are even worse. Almost 23 percent of all Hispanic kids are obese, according to a recent Jama Study.

Why are Latino and Hispanic children more obese?

There are hereditary factors that contribute to obesity, but for the most part, it is a lifestyle and cultural issue.  

Immigrant parents and families who are not informed about healthy eating, who lack access to healthy food choices in their neighborhoods or simply feed their children fast or processed foods because they are less expensive, are all reasons why Latino children may be more obese than their non-Latino counterparts.

Also, a 2006 study by the University of Delaware found a strong association between childhood obesity and a lack of adequate food in low-income households.  

Here are 6 easy and affordable tips to prevent childhood obesity

  1. Public ProgramsMyplate.gov, for example, is a government website that teaches individuals and families how to make healthier food choices.
  2. Calculate your child’s BMI– If you are not sure whether or not your child is obese, the CDC suggests calculating their BMI (Body Mass Index) to figure it out. The agency has a helpful and quick guide on how to do that here.
  3. Ask a healthcare professional’s opinion– Your doctor or pediatrician should also be able to provide advice on how to improve your family’s diet and prevent or alleviate childhood obesity. If your child is overweight, it is worthwhile to take him or her to a doctor for an evaluation.  Sometimes this could be due to issues such as thyroid illnesses, diabetes or other hereditary illnesses. It is important to have a thorough checkup before beginning a nutrition and exercise plan.
  4. Getting hands on with food education at farmer’s markets- Going to a farmer’s market where you can meet your local farmers and learn more about the produce that is in season can also help. And if you have the misconception that healthier eating means spending more money, think about it as a cost-saving move that, in the long term, can be a life-saving move as well.
  5. Parents exercise by example- If possible, families should exercise together, making it a part of a healthy lifestyle plan. Most often than not, parents truly are the best role models for their children’s eating and exercise habits.  Parents who eat healthy and exercise regularly are more likely to have children that do so too.

A healthier diet means a longer, happier life

Working towards healthier eating and a more active lifestyle doesn’t just eliminate obesity. It will also eliminate the risk of many other major diseases in the future, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

How to Self‐Examine Your Breasts Properly

self breast exam

The importance of breast cancer awareness cannot be expressed enough.

Being knowledgeable about cancer’s early symptoms and screenings available is essential for beating the deadly disease. Being proactive and learning how to you should perform a breast self-examination can save your life.

Awareness has the potential to cure breast cancer

Awareness creates a global platform in which we can express the impact breast cancer has on your well-being and the way it shapes your community. It’s vital to share your knowledge about breast self-exams with everyone in your life.

With more than 30 years of practice, SaludMovil’s Dr.Mosquera can name countless patients that have discovered a breast lesion during a self-examination at home-on their own and early enough- leading to a treatable and often curable diagnosis.

In fact, 40% of all diagnosed breast cancers in the U.S. are detected by women who feel a lump at home, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important, according to John’s Hopkins Medical Center.

Monitoring through breast self-exams is a simple and a very helpful practice to detect lesions early and treat them effectively.

What exactly is Breast Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control,  and Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of breast tissue. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too.

How to properly do the breast self-exam

In regards to the timing, place, and frequency of breast self-exams, here are 3 helpful tips:

  • Begin Breast Self-Exam (BSE) in your 20s.
  • The best time to do a breast self-exam is often while showering, 5-7 days after menstruation or just at night while relaxing in bed.
  • Get accustomed to your own “feel” of breast tissue so if something new grows, you’ll probably notice the difference.

Here is a quick and easy summary of 4 steps to the self-breast exam:

  1. Lie down on your back and place your right arm behind your head.
  2. Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast.
  3. Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue.
  4. Move around the breast in an up and down pattern

For a complete guide to self breast exams, I recommend the following site: American Cancer Society

Why are regular breast self-exams so important?

By regularly checking your body, you will learn the the benefits of self-examination such as knowing the size, shape, and feel of your breasts in order to detect any sort of abnormalities around the area.

What do I do when I find something has changed with my breast tissue?

If you notice any abnormal changes in your breasts, seek medical help as soon as possible. It is always best to alert your healthcare professional in order for he or she to diagnose you. Knowing your body and taking charge can make all the difference.

Remember, self-monitoring does not replace mammograms or other breast cancer screenings

On a final note, it is important to always remember that self-monitoring is a complement to normal cancer screening with a mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI. Self-monitoring does not replace these tests.

The cancer screenings that must be coordinated with a healthcare professional are very important for detection and knowing the severity and nature of your lump(s).

Never forget that with healthcare knowledge is power. When you educate and prepare yourself, you become the best kind of patient: one with utility and agency.

How to Sleep Better: 10 popular myths debunked

There is nothing better than a good night’s sleep. You wake up refreshed and ready to conquer the world and you certainly don’t need a cup of coffee to keep you from nodding away during the day.

If you are like most people, you think that you need at least eight hours of sleep to avoid the doldrums. Not so! According to the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, requiring eight hours of shuteye is only one of 10 myths about how to sleep better.

How to sleep better – reality versus myth

Myth 1: To sleep better, we should sleep at least eight hours every night.

Reality

Actually, our personal sleep needs can vary from person to person. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, when healthy adults are given unlimited opportunity to snooze, they on average get between 8 and 8.5 hours a night. Most adults seem to need about 7 hours to avoid sleepiness, while others need 9 or more. Newborns doze off between 16 and 18 hours a day, and children in preschool sleep between 11 and 12 hours a day. School-aged children and adolescents need at least 10 hours of sleep each night.

Myth 2: It’s ideal for everyone to always sleep non-stop through the night.

Reality

No, occasional awakenings are in fact normal for some. According to the National Health Institute (NIH), a healthy 70-year-old may wake up several times during the night without it being due to disease.

Myth 3: I can and must make myself sleep.

Reality:

No, we simply can’t control the process of falling asleep, but you can train yourself to associate certain restful activities with sleep and make them part of your bedtime ritual.

Myth 4: To eventually sleep better, I should stay in bed and rest if I can’t sleep.

Reality:

No, according to the NIH, if you can’t get to sleep, don’t just lie in bed. Try something else, such as reading, watching television, take a bath, or listening to music, until you feel tired. The anxiety of being unable to fall asleep can actually contribute to insomnia.

Myth 5: I’ll have a terrible day if I don’t sleep.

Reality:

No, not necessarily. We are very resilient and can adapt. For example, the Center for Sleep Research, University of South Australia, conducted a study in 2008 which looked at alertness and vigilance of coastal pilots, and with work periods way beyond 24 hours with just some occasional naps, their  performance remained sustainable.

Myth 6: Good sleepers fall asleep quickly.

Reality:

It’s actually normal to take up to 10-20 minutes to fall asleep, as an average. As well, falling asleep in less than 5 minutes may indicate that a person could be suffering from a sleep disorder, according to the FDA.

Myth 7: Good sleepers don’t dream.

Reality:

Dreaming nightly is an essential part of good slumber. We also dream mostly during REM sleep and which is when we have the deepest, most restorative sleep, according to the National Institute on Aging.

Myth 8: It’s best to get up and be productive if I can’t sleep.

Reality:

No, being productive at night typically disrupts sleep.

Do this instead: Find something that occupies your time but gives your brain a break, such as a soothing bath, a boring book or TV. Taking care of your taxes, on the other hand, may keep your mind working and alert worrying. Also, light disrupts the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates sleep in your brain.

Myth 9: It’s normal to sleep less as we age.

Reality:

Well, it’s common but not inevitable or healthy or normal. Older adults need about the same amount as young adults—7 to 9 hours each night. But seniors tend to go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier they they did in their youth. As well, Older people may nap more during the day, making it harder for some to fall asleep at night.

Myth 10: It’s comforting to check the time when we are sleepless.

Reality:

Actually, clock watching makes it harder to go back to sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, many people who have a sleepless night can relate to the obsession with staring at the clock and watching the sleepless hours go by. For someone with insomnia, watching the clock can become a routine. Move your clock to somewhere like under your bed so it’s not in view, because if the alarm is set, there’s no need to know what time it is.

6 tips to keep kids healthy during the school year

One of the most common questions I get asked by patients is, “how can I keep my son or daughter healthy during the school year?”

Kids are inside the classroom for most of the day interacting with many other classmates –  germs can spread fast and easily. Pre-teens and teens are also often stressed with packed schedules outside of school, filled with homework and extracurricular activities. 

Tips for healthy kids during school year

Here are my tips to keep your kids healthy and happy so the school year doesn’t mean frequent trips to the doctor’s office.

1) A good night’s sleep

Children need to be regular with bed and wake up times. 

The younger the child, the more sleep they need.  Preschoolers should get between 11 and 13 hours each day (including naps).  Kids ages 6 to 13 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep.  And for teens, I recommend a minimum of 8 hours of rest per night. 

This allows proper time for the brain to recover and function optimally and stay energized at school the next day. Getting the right amount of good quality sleep also is vital for fighting off all of those germs.

A 2011 study by the University of Tübingen in Germany found that the more and better sleep you get, the better the immune system functions and the less likely you are to get sick.

2) Healthy meals, especially breakfast

For everyone, and children in particular, I do believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets the tone and function for the entire day. The National Institute of Health (NIH) also notes eating healthy is a hallmark of healthy back to school habits.

Kids who eat a nutritious breakfast do better in school overall.

I recommend a breakfast high in healthy whole-grain carbohydrates (such as steel cut or rolled oatmeal) and fruit, combined with a protein source such as eggs. 

Kids should not be drinking caffeinated beverages at this, or any time, during the day. Water is always the best option. 

Lunch and dinner should be light meals consisting of whole, organic, preferably plant-based foods, that are low in salt and sugar. 

Soda should never be a beverage option. Again, always stick to water.

I advise that snacking between meals be done carefully and thoughtfully. Always consider whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and nut butters (if no allergy), low-fat cheeses and whole-grain sources. 

If your child or teen is very active and/or and plays sports, a protein bar low in sugar and minimally-processed may also be a good choice.

A healthy balanced nutrition means healthy kids during school year – and all year round.

3)  Time for running, jumping and playing

Along with sleeping and eating healthy, physical activity is vital to keeping your children healthy. It is also an important tool for fending off childhood obesity.

Children of all ages need to get at least 60 minutes of physical exercise according to the US National library of Medicine- whether in school or outside of school. It doesn’t necessarily need to be with an organized team, sport or activity either. An hour of running around outdoors or on a playground with their friends will do wonders for not only their physical, but mental health, as well.

4) Wash hands

I can’t say it enough. Before, after, and during school, as well as always before you eat hands should be washed. Washing your hands frequently and following the six steps below will greatly reduce your and your children’s chances of getting sick.

  1. Wet your hands
  2. Add soap
  3. Lather and scrub for 15-30 seconds (focus between fingers, under nails, and on top of nails!)
  4. Rinse off soap for ten seconds
  5. Dry off hands
  6. If possible, use a towel or your elbow to turn off the faucet.
If you aren’t near a sink, wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Good hygiene, especially hand-washing when done properly, can be the single best defense against germs and common diseases during school year.

5) Talk to your pediatrician

Before and during school year, you may have the chance to visit your pediatrician to evaluate your child’s health. This is the time when you should discuss any health concerns you have about your child. 

Ask your doctor if your child is up-to-date on vaccinations, depending upon his or her age, and if a flu shot is recommended. 

Also talk about backpack safety. Carrying backpacks that are too large and/or too heavy can put a big strain on your child’s muscles, back and neck. A backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.

6) Connect and spend time with family

As a doctor of integrative medicine, I take into account the whole person (mind, body and spirit) when treating patients. This approach should also be used when addressing the health of your family. 

Unfortunately in today’s world, mental and spiritual needs sometimes get put on the back burner in order to keep up with the demands of juggling hectic schedules.

 I think it is very important for families to eat dinner together at the end of the day whenever, and as often, as possible. A family that talks, spends time together, prepares food and eats together in the evenings and weekends, and also observes their spiritual and/or religious beliefs together, are much healthier in the long run than those who don’t.

By following these suggestions, I hope the school year continues to be a healthy one for you and your family.

Suicide Prevention: Why Latinos Face Unique Challenges

Suicide is a serious public health issue that continues to claim thousands of lives each year.  According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), an estimated 1 million suicide attempts occur each year, many requiring medical attention.

The AFSP reported that 41,149 Americans took their lives in 2013, the most recent year for which full data is available.

“When it comes to the high risks of suicide prevention, depression, anxiety and substance abuse, it is important to understand that Latinos face very unique challenges”, says expert in Integrative Medicine, Dr. Joseph Mosquera, M.D.

“Among these challenges is the lack of access to mental health services combined with a cultural tendency to hide these symptoms due to a sense of embarrassment.”

Research done in 2008 by the Washington University in St. Louis found that Latinas are particularly affected, with one in every three high school Latino females seriously thinking about committing suicide. This is an especially alarming statistic.

According to a survey by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Hispanics born in the United States have higher rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts than Hispanic immigrants.

“This may be due to the higher amount of family and social pressures placed upon these men and women”, says Dr. Mosquera.

Men often suffer from anxiety, depression and substance abuse that is related to their levels of both, education and socioeconomic status.

“We need a much better system that provides access to proper healthcare. Only one to two percent of all psychiatrists/psychologists in the U.S. are Latino, despite one in five U.S. residents being Latino. As a result, many turn to their primary care doctor for help and often don’t receive it due to lack of access, health insurance and communications issues”, Dr. Mosquera added.

It is important for families and communities to have frank conversations regularly with young Latinos, particularly young Latinas, to discuss anxiety and especially depression, which if not treated, can lead to higher rates of suicide attempts.

Signs of Suicidal Thoughts

People who take their own lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. The more warning signs, the greater the risk. Three key factors to watch are behavior, talk and mood, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

Talk

If a person talks about: Uses ultimatums in regards to killing themselves, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, feeling trapped, and/or unbearable pain.

Behavior

A person’s suicide risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased, especially if it’s related to a painful event, loss, or change. This could be in the form of increased use of alcohol or drugs, acting recklessly, withdrawing from activities, isolating from family and friends, sleeping too much or too little, visiting or calling people to say goodbye, and/or even giving away prized possessions.

Mood

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods: Depression, loss of interest, rage, irritability, humiliation, and/or anxiety.

Suicide Prevention Starts With Awareness

People thinking about suicide often show warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. Here are some to look out for:

  • Poor grades
  • Sleeping excessively
  • Not grooming properly
  • Family history of mental illness

The best way to access help is to call a local medical center that is affiliated to an outpatient mental health clinic. Medical schools around the country often have clinics that have bilingual staff that will be able to provide help for mental illnesses.

5 Ways to Help Lower the Cost of Your Prescription Drugs

Patients across the country are digging deeper into their pockets as the prices of prescription drugs, particularly generic drugs, are rising at alarmingly high rates.

Many patients are no longer able to afford the steep prices for over-the-counter medications and pills at their local drugstores or pharmacies, but need to know about the safe resources to pursue when looking for ways to cut the cost of their prescriptions.

The rising prices of generic prescription pills

Prescription generics make up over 60% of all prescription medications sold. Many people find these to be a more affordable option to expensive branded products. However, in the last 12 months, a survey conducted by Consumer Reports Health found that some prices have skyrocketed by as much as 50% and 10% of generic medications have doubled in price.

Why Hispanics are particularly affected by increases in prescription costs

According to government statistics, about one third of Hispanics in the country still do not have health insurance.  And, in fact, one third of Hispanics participating in the Consumer Reports survey said they were paying for their medications out-of-pocket. The result is that many of them are never able get their prescriptions filled and some can only get them partially filled.

5 Tips of how you can cut the cost of your prescription pills

So where can consumers struggling with the cost of prescription medications turn to for help? Is there a way to lower the cost of your medications?  There are several steps you can take to fight back these skyrocketing prices and still get the prescription drugs you need:

  1. Shop around. The prices of medications vary greatly from pharmacy to pharmacy. (Remember, your prescription is your property – hold on to it)
  2. Look beyond big retail pharmacies. Many times “mom and pop shops” offer better prices on some medications and are willing to work with you.
  3. Some larger chain retailers such as Costco, Sam’s Club, and Target offer discount drug programs that you can enroll in. Get information from various ones to compare and see if you qualify.
  4. Use technology to help you. There are emerging sites such as LowestMed that are free, where you can type in your zip code and compare prices between various drug stores.
  5. Talk to your doctor. He or she may know the best option for you to help you lower the cost of your medications. Also, the doctor to prescribe lower-cost generic drugs if they are available.

More people are taking medications than ever before

More than 109 million people take medications in the United States according to a Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs Tracking Poll. That’s one out of three patients in the country, and an average of 4.7 medications per person.  

The poll also found that patients ages 18 to 39 are now taking medications more than ever. One out of four patients in this group takes a prescription medication. With such staggering costs for some generic brand drugs, affordability has become a major concern, especially for minorities.

The legally innocent and painfully obvious pattern of rising drug costs

The trend of the rising cost of prescriptions feels like a slow moving tsunami to those taking medications in the US, yet it’s hardly a crime. Lack of third party prince control, limited competition, lengthy patents, small markers, production costs, and fewer and fewer generic options round out the top reasons drug prices are rising. The hallmark example of hiked up drug prices is found in the prescription Daraprim. Martin Shkreli , founder of Turing pharmaceuticals, famously bought the HIV fighting medication from impax laboratories and immediately hiked the price by 500%- from $13.50 per pill to $750.  

But Remember, you medication is important

Your medications are prescribed by your doctor(s) for important, perhaps life-saving reasons. It is vital to take these prescription medicines and use the 5 tips offered above, otherwise you may suffer the consequences of your disease down the road and help avoid further complications.

The Ebola Vaccine: A Miracle in the Making

Two years ago, a rare and deadly disease ravaged the poorest countries of Western Africa killing over 11,000 people. This disease was Ebola, otherwise known as hemorrhagic fever, which is fatal in more than half of the people it infects.  

This Ebola outbreak presented an unprecedented global health crisis, and an epidemic for the nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.  

It is unbelievable that a spectacular turnaround in public health has occurred as a result of aggressive and cooperative scientific research.  An Ebola vaccine, as reported by the esteemed British Journal The Lancet, has proved 100% effective in over 7,000 human subjects it was tested on.  This means that this vaccine, in all likelihood, will be highly effective in preventing the spread of this disease in future outbreaks.  

The Ebola vaccine is called VSV-EBOV, and trials began in March 2015 in Guinea.  It was given to over 4,000 close contacts of about 100 Ebola patients including family members, neighbors and co-workers who voluntarily participated, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).  

How the VSV-EBOV vaccine tricks the body

Despite its complicated name, the World Health Organization (WHO) describes VSV-EBOV as an essentially a “good” microorganism that has borrowed the guise of the Ebola virus but does not actually contain the deadly virus. This “good” microorganism tricks the body of the vaccinated individual into thinking it is the ebola virus and then in response catalyzes an immune defence against the virus.

If the vaccine is effective and if a person who has been vaccinated comes into contact with the real Ebola virus, their defences are ready and they will be able to combat the virus without getting sick, according to WHO.

The ring vaccination method

By giving the vaccination to all people who have come into contact with an infected person, a protective ring is created to stop the virus from spreading further.

This “ring method,” which was adopted for this trial, is based upon the strategy that was used to eradicate smallpox.  

Trials are now continuing on frontline workers, and will also include 13-17 year olds as well as possibly 6 to 12 year old children, based on new vaccine safety evidence, reports WHO.

The first person to receive the Ebola vaccine

Twenty-seven year old Mohamed Soumah was the first person in the world to receive the Ebola VSV-EBOV vaccine, according to WHO. “It wasn’t easy. People in the village said that the injection was to kill me. I was afraid. I was the first one to be injected, the very first, here in my village on March 23rd, 2015  I’ve been monitored for 3 months and I’ve had no problems. The last follow-up, 84 days after the vaccination, was all clear”.

The speed of this vaccine is a miracle of collaboration

The story of Ebola, although initially tragic, has ended up being an unprecedented success, worthy of Nobel Prize recognition. The efficiency and collaboration of so many world organizations to fight, and hopefully eradicate, this deadly illness is truly groundbreaking in the last 50 years.  

A vaccine normally takes more than a decade to make, and in this case, these researchers and scientists got it done in only 12 months.  Record-breaking and amazing.

The Ebola vaccine is a modern miracle on so many levels, and I hope this great example sets a precedence for developing more vaccines to wipe out other global deadly diseases such as malaria, Dengue fever and chagas disease in the future.

Further testing is still to be done

While the vaccine up to now shows 100% efficacy in individuals, more hard evidence is needed on its capacity to protect populations through what is called “herd immunity.” Herd immunity only works if most people in the population are vaccinated.

Important questions such as how soon the Ebola vaccine’s protection kicks in after vaccination and how long protection lasts still must be answered, but results so far suggest a promising breakthrough in eradicating the disease.

Vaccinations: Are they really necessary – and safe – for my kids?

Is your child up to date on his or her vaccinations? It’s one of the most important questions to answer, especially during school year.

If you are questioning if you should vaccinate your children, consider this: Vaccines help prevent diseases such as the flu, the measles and meningitis. In many cases, vaccines combat historically deadly diseases.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccinations prevented 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years.

That’s 42,000 deaths prevented every year in the U.S because of vaccinations.

The measles, for example, was declared eradicated from the United States in 2000, but in early 2014 it reemerged with the highest number of cases the country had seen in about 20 years, according to the CDC.  Nearly all the measle cases were associated with international travel by unvaccinated US residents, the agency reports.

In the CDC’s overview of the 2015 spike of U.S. measles cases found in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 131 of the 159 measle cases reported between January 4th and April 2nd of 2015 were either unvaccinated or were not even aware of their vaccination status.

Are vaccinations unsafe for my child?

Despite the many examples, some people are still afraid to get vaccinations or have their child vaccinated. Hispanics, for example, are 15% more likely than non-Hispanic whites to say childhood vaccinations are unsafe, according to the Pew Center Fact Tank.

Vaccinations being unsafe for children is far from true.

“It is very important to understand that these vaccines are both safe and the most effective way to prevent children and students from getting sick from these illnesses,” says Integrative Medicine expert, Dr. Joseph Mosquera.

Having big picture perspective with vaccinations

It’s important to recognize that no vaccine or medicine is perfect, and some kids who are immunized will undoubtedly experience reactions. Fortunately, when these reactions happen, most of the time they are mild and very short lived.

When vaccinating your child, they may experience redness, pain, or swelling at the site of a vaccination injection. Kids can even develop a slight fever, but after a couple days, these minor symptoms will disappear without leaving any lasting effects.

Before a vaccine is ever approved and licensed, it goes through years of testing for safety and effectiveness. Government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control would not recommend a vaccine that had not passed the tests for safety and effectiveness, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

When do I need to vaccinate my children?

When it comes to child vaccinations, every state has its own rules. Pew published an article detailing the 46 states that allow religious exemptions.

There are a few states however looking to eliminate this legislation. California recently implemented a law that disregards both personal and religious exemptions for childhood vaccines.

In general though, it’s important after six months of age for a child to be vaccinated against the flu.

School age kids should be up to date with their measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines,  as well as their TDAP vaccine that protects against tetanus and whooping cough.

Children 11 years and older, should also have the HPV vaccine to reduce risk of HPV related venereal disease.

Teenagers will require a meningitis vaccine, which helps prevent two out of three types of meningitis, an aggressive infection that can lead to death if not treated promptly.

And of course, people may be familiar with the tetanus vaccine that should be given as a booster every 10 years.

For more detailed information on child vaccination requirements by state per the CDC click here.

Vaccines are safe; they are effective, and they are scientifically proven to prevent diseases that can be deadly to our children and their surrounding communities.

Legionnaires’ Disease: Think Twice About That Hot Tub

Did you know that hot tubs are one of the more common sources of Legionnaires’ disease?

About 1 out of every 10 cases of Legionnaires’ disease is fatal, according to the CDC.

Recently this March, Michigan health officials have found a 10th fatal case of Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area amid an outbreak some experts have linked to the Flint city’s water crisis. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced recently the 88 cases of the respiratory disease between June 2014 and November 2015 alone- and 10 of those were fatal, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Legionnaire’s disease comes from areas where there is water mist, water droplets, or vapor, such as that found in cooling towers (air-conditioning units for large buildings), hot tubs, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, and decorative fountains, according to the CDC.

What exactly is Legionnaire’s disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of bacterial pneumonia that was first identified after an outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976. Since then, up to 18,000 cases have been documented annually in the United States, according to the CDC.

Potential sources of Legionnaires’ disease you should be aware of

Hot tubs, steam rooms, cooling towers, fountains and plumbing systems that are not cleaned and disinfected properly can easily become contaminated with Legionella bacteria. It can even be found in the misters at grocery store produce departments.

Is Legionnaire’s disease contagious?

No, but although it can’t spread from one person to another, an individual can get infected by simply breathing the steam or mist from a contaminated source.

When can I tell I’ve been infected with Legionnaire’s disease?

Legionnaires’ disease develops 2-10 days after exposure to the bacteria.

Early symptoms include

  • muscle aches
  • lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headaches

Other symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease

As the disease progresses, a dry, hacking cough develops and may produce mucus and phlegm.

In about a third of Legionnaires’ disease cases, there will be blood coughed up in the phlegm and found in saliva. Half of the people who develop Legionnaires’ disease suffer a shortness of breath. A third of cases commonly experience chest aches.

Severe Symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease

The fevers can reach 104 °F (40 °C) in many cases, and may be accompanied by a dangerously decreased heart rate.

Pneumonia

Although the pneumonia affects the lungs, Legionnaires’ disease is accompanied by symptoms that affect other areas of the body.

About half the victims experience diarrhea and a quarter have nausea and vomiting and abdominal pain.

In about 10% of cases, acute renal failure and scanty urine production accompany the disease. Changes in mental status, such as disorientation, confusion, and hallucinations, also occur in about a quarter of cases.

Treatment

Most cases show improvement within 12 hours to 2 days of your medical practitioner starting you on antibiotics. In severe cases with added complications, antibiotic therapy may be joined by respiratory support. If renal failure occurs, dialysis is required until renal function is recovered, according to the CDC.

Talk to your doctor the minute to suspect the disease

Because the symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are similar to those of other types of pneumonia it is of the utmost importance to be tested by your doctor.

“If you experience respiratory symptoms after being exposed to mist or vapor, especially in a public area, it is important to notify your physician and consider being examined for Legionella bacteria. If you do this promptly chances are you will recover successfully”, advises saludmóvil’s Dr. Joseph Mosquera.

Who is at higher risk for legionnaire’s disease?

People at high risk of infection include those who are middle-aged or older, those who smoke, people with chronic lung disease such as emphysema or bronchitis and also people with weakened immune systems, according to the NIH.

If you are regularly exposed to sources at risk for Legionella, make sure you take the right steps to protect you and your family and contact your physician.

You might want to think twice about that public hot tub; hot water systems make it particularly hard to maintain the disinfectant levels needed to kill germs.

Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent Legionnaires Disease.

Stress management: A breathing relaxation exercise away

We’ve all been there – we have been stressed to the point we don’t feel we have the tools to manage all of the demands in our lives.  Stress management is a must.

Stress can occur short-term or long-term, and some relaxation techniques allow us to manage this stress –  something necessary for our health’s sake.

Stress symptoms: Damage is physical, mental and emotional

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to both good and bad experiences that can be beneficial to your health and safety. The body responds to being stressed out by releasing stress hormones.

These hormones make blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels go up.

In the short term, stress is your ‘fight or flight’ trigger that aims to helps you cope with tough situations, but it can manifest itself in the form of trouble sleeping to headaches, stomach aches, loss of libido, an achy back, increased susceptibility to getting sick, irregular menstrual cycles, erectile dysfunction, and heartburn.

Long-term or chronic stress can lead to a variety of even more severe health problems, according to the National Institute of Health.

When stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period, it becomes even more dangerous. According the American Psychological Association, the longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body. You might feel fatigued, unable to concentrate or irritable for no good reason, for example.

Numerous studies have shown that emotional stress brought on from something such as finding out a spouse has been unfaithful or a loved one’s death can trigger heart attacks, arrhythmias and even in rare cases lead to sudden death. Anger is an especially toxic emotion.

Most effective relaxation exercise: Breathing

The most simple and useful tool to manage your stress, that I have taught, is a relaxation technique called the 4-7-8 Breath Relaxation Exercise. It’s simple, quick, no equipment needed, inexpensive – and in fact free – and you can use this stress relief technique anywhere and anytime!

6 part breathing relaxation exercise for stress management

This exercise will help you manage daily stress and its effects on your mind and body. It can also calm the nervous system and increase focus.

To prevent the negative effects stress can have on your health and happiness, practice this easy 6 part relaxation exercise step by step.

  1. Sit down with your back straight (or you can do this standing as well if you’re comfortable).
  2. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of the tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keep it there throughout the entire exercise. Be mindful of this.
  3. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. (keep your tongue in the position at the gum line above your 2 front teeth)
  4. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven, filling your belly.
  5. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound, to a count of eight. This is one breath.
  6. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Effect of this relaxation technique

When eliciting the relaxation response, you reach a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress, according to the American Institute of Stress (AIS).

  • Your metabolism slows down
  • Your breathing gradually slows, becoming relaxed
  • Your heart beats at a lower rate and your muscles lose tension, relaxing
  • Your blood pressure decreases
  • Your levels of nitric oxide are increased, helping cells communicate

This relaxation exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system, unlike drugs, which are often effective when you first take them, but ineffective over time and with significant side effects and habitual possibilities.

You can use this relaxation technique through breathing whenever anything upsetting happens, even before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension or it can very useful in helping with trouble sleeping.

You should do this at least twice a day but you can do this up to four times a day. Initially, you may feel lightheaded and that is why you should be seated. But this is once again, an excellent relaxation exercise to manage stress.

Peanuts: An Easy and Affordable Superfood

For years we’ve heard about the health benefits of tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and cashews.  Now there is beneficial health news for peanut lovers everywhere.  Peanuts are healthy nuts that cut health risks and are considered a superfood.

As a superfood, peanuts are a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.

Benefits of peanuts for your health

A recent study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology analyzed more than 120,000 men and women in the Netherlands over 30 years, and discovered that eating 15 grams of nuts, including peanuts, reduced the risk of death from respiratory and neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and cancer. Participants were between the ages of 55 and 59, and consumed a handful of nuts daily.

The researchers from Maastricht University found that in order to reap the health benefits though, tree nuts and peanuts (which are actually a legume because they grow in pods), must be eaten raw, unsalted, unseasoned and without any added oils.

Is Peanut butter a superfood too?

Unfortunately your peanut butter sandwich won’t be much of a health boost. The health benefits found by eating raw peanuts were not found to be present when eating peanut butter.

Your heart is nuts for antioxidants found in peanuts

A recent study conducted on the health benefits of nuts found that nuts lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of both blood clots and heart arrhythmia, mainly due to their high antioxidant content.

In the spring of 2015, JAMA Internal Medicine published a report on how eating peanuts can reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and other diseases by a fifth.

How to get the best superfood benefits from peanuts

saludmovil’s Dr. Joseph Mosquera, one of the the nation’s leading Integrative Medicine specialists and multicultural contributor to Univision, Telemundo, as well as CNN and  NBC’s the “Today Show,” believes that many so-called superfoods are good for your heart and your overall health when integrated into a heart-healthy diet.

Such diet should be balanced in lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, along with nuts, seeds and legumes, fish and liquid vegetable oils.

The NIH notes that superfoods are a component of the Balanced Choices program and will highlight foods that promote health benefits above and beyond the basic nutrients.

Tips for making peanuts part of a healthy eating plan:

  • Limit consumption to no more than 10 to 15 grams a day, which is equal to a small handful. Eating too many nuts can lead to a high intake of fat and calories.
  • Consider a handful of peanuts when feeling hungry between meals. They are packed with protein, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids and will help keep your appetite under control.
  • Choose raw nuts. As mentioned, nuts with added oil, salt or sugar do not offer the same health benefits.
  • Be aware of the calorie count. See list below:
100 Grams       ( 1 & ½ cups) Calories Protein Fat Carbohydrate
Chestnuts 213 4% 10% 4%
Cashews 553 12% 67% 12%
Pistachios 557 15% 72% 15%
Peanuts 567 18% 76% 18%
Almonds 575 15% 78% 15%
Hazelnuts 628 9% 86% 9%
Walnuts 654 9% 87% 9%
Brazil nuts 656 8% 89% 8%
Pine nuts 673 8% 87% 8%
Pecans 691 5% 93% 5%
Macadamia 718 4% 93% 4%

You can find all this data on the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, a great source for nutrition information.

Here in the U.S., peanuts are the most affordable and widely consumed of all nuts, and now that they have been given “superfood status.” It’s easy to integrate peanuts into a healthy lifestyle- at a low cost!

Talk to Siri about your sex life? Apple’s Health App asks you to

Did you know that Apple now offers users the option of tracking sexual health and activity? That’s right- iphone users everywhere can tell Siri about their sex life with Apple’s health app. 

The new sex-tracker feature, called ‘Sexual Activity’, allows you to log the date and time you had sex and whether you used any contraception.

Apple claims it will keep all the data from the bedroom entered via the health app private, by default, but users can choose to send it to physicians or anonymously provide information to third parties such as universities and physicians for research studies.

This phone health app may have troubling implications, specifically the risk of not knowing how personal sexual health data is really being used, if and when an individual elects to release it for research.

Talking sex with Siri in hopes of addressing women’s health

The update, which went live last fall, was introduced by Apple’s Senior Vice President of software engineering, Craig Federighi at the company’s 26th Annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference in San Francisco earlier this year. It can be viewed as an attempt to address women’s health issues after the release of the original Apple Health app at the end of 2014.

The health phone app is a core part of Apple’s iWatch, allowing users to track everything from calories to electrodermal activity to heart rate to blood alcohol content to respiratory rate and even to daily intake of chromium.

Why the IOS 9 iphone app got a sexy make-over

One feature, or lack thereof, in the original health app was met with some controversy. Apple Health doesn’t track menstruation, an omission that was quickly scrutinized on social media.

Documents sent to developers say the health metrics tracked include: basal body temperature, cervical mucus quality, menstruation, ovulation test results, sexual activity and spotting.

This information is displayed as a graph or chart depending on preference, and can be shared with other apps.

Using Apple’s health app to help you have a baby

According to an article on appleinsider.com, Apple is expanding its pre-installed HealthKit app to include a category called “Reproductive Health.” Features include ovulation tracking and sexual activity tracking.

Having tools to track ovulation and body temperature is important and useful when used in cadence with a doctor’s professional advice. The fertility monitoring feature is something positive and could help many who are trying to conceive, but it’s important to keep in mind there are already other user-rated phone apps out there catering specifically to this sexual health service.

Advice best served in the form of a professional with personal experience

Tracking sexual activity should preferably be done with the guidance and confidentiality of your gynecologist or fertility doctor; not on an health smartphone app where very personal information could become vulnerable to others. The sexual activity app could intrude and negatively affect a given doctor/patient relationship.

Cell technology proven to be a mood killer in the bedroom

A Durham University study this year found that people are reporting having sex three times a month, down from four times a month in 2000 and five times a month in 1990. That’s a huge decline within a single generation.

Is it a coincidence that this gigantic loss of interest in sex happens to coincide with the meteoric rise of entertainment and communication options? In the same Durham University survey, 40 percent of adults admitted to delaying sex to send a text, check email or just browse the Web.

The tangibly tepid response on social media after announcing the new sex app feature may be fair warning and proof that Apple’s sex app isn’t going to spice up anyone’s bedroom anytime soon, nor do we want it to.

What is Listeria? And Why is it Ruining Queso Fresco for Hispanics?

Listeria, is one of the deadliest forms of food poisoning- and Hispanics are at a particularly high risk.

Listeria is the name of a bacteria found in soil and water and some animals, including poultry and cattle. It can be present in raw milk and foods made from raw milk such as Queso Fresco, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can also live in food processing plants and contaminate a variety of processed meats

Why is Listera such a deadly bacteria?

Listeria may not be the most common type of food borne illness, but it is definitely one of the most serious, killing one out of every five people that it infects, according to the CDC.

Listeria is unlike many other germs because it grows in cold temperatures found in refrigerators. Listeria is also particularly dangerous because symptoms are subtle and therefore prove to be difficult to identify. For example, Listeria rarely causes gastrointestinal problems, and it takes a week or two for symptoms to manifest. 

What foods are most susceptible to Listeria?

You can get listeriosis by eating foods contaminated with Listeria bacterium. The highest-risk foods are deli meats, hot dogs, smoked seafood, various soft cheeses, meat spreads/pates, and sometimes fresh fruits and vegetables that have been infected by soil or fertilizer, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

In recent years, there have been Listeria outbreaks involving cantaloupe, cheese, bean sprouts, and even ice cream- when Blue Bell Ice Cream products were  linked to the death of three people in Kansas in the spring of 2015.

Furthermore, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, an award-winning artisanal ice cream company,  had to toss out more than 535,000 pounds of its dairy delight last year after its products tested positive for listeria.

Why Queso Fresco is particularly susceptible to Listeria

Queso fresco is sometimes homemade and often uses unpasteurized or raw milk, two factors that make it especially susceptible to Listeria contamination, according to the CDC.  

What are symptoms of a Listeria Infection?

Fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms are telltale symptoms of Listeria.

Almost everyone who is diagnosed with listeriosis has what is called an “invasive” infection, in which the bacteria spreads beyond the usual gastrointestinal tract. It’s important to note symptoms vary with the infected person, per the CDC.

Who is at an increased risk for Listeria?

  • Hispanics: Hispanics are at an increased risk due to the prevalence of “queso fresco” or soft cheeses in their diets and its use in many traditional hispanic foods.
  • Pregnant women: Expectant mothers are approximately 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis and make up ⅓ of all reported cases, according to the FDA. Dr. Mosquera warns, “In pregnant women it can cause miscarriage, premature labor, stillbirth and even meningitis. Pregnant women should take extreme caution and eliminate foods most likely to carry listeria, especially queso fresco and any foods made from or with unpasteurized milk.”
  • Older adults: Natural changes in their organs and body systems are expected as they grow older. These changes often make them more susceptible to contracting a foodborne illness such as Listeriosis.
  • People with compromised immune systems: this includes people that have weakened immune systems due to diseases such as HIV, Diabetes, and Alcoholism.
  • Organ transplant patients: Patients who are receiving drugs to prevent the body from rejecting the organ also have weakened immune systems due to the medication.

What do you do if you develop a Listeria infection?

The CDC notes Listeriosis is usually treated with an antibiotic for people in a higher-risk category noted above.

4 Tips on how to prevent Listeria

To keep yourself safe and prevent Listeria, Consumer Reports  as well as Doctor Mosquera recommends the following:

  1. Keeping your fridge at 37 F: Also keep your  freezer no higher than 0° F. Use a thermometer in the refrigerator to check those temperatures regularly. Even small increases in temperature cause any listeria bacteria present to multiply much more quickly, according to Ben Chapman, associate professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University.
  2. Limiting storage time for refrigerated food: This is particularly the case for unsealed ready-to-eat foods like deli-salads and cut produce. Eat deli-sliced meats, or packaged-luncheon meats that have been opened, before 5 days pass. Hot dogs, once unsealed,, should be consumed within a week.
  3. Storing leftovers no longer than three or four days: Try and choose re-usable containers that are shallow to promote rapid, even cooling. Reheat to 165 degrees and remember to try and bring soups or sauces to a boil before eating.
  4. Washing your hands before and after handling food

How you can keep a tab on Listeria recalls

Although the odds of getting listeriosis are not very high, the health risks it poses are so serious that it’s worth keeping tabs on the latest Listeria-related recalls on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.

You can also sign up on the site to get safety alerts when recalls are announced—an especially good idea for anyone in high-risk groups. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced nearly two dozen recalls due to possible listeria contamination since 2012, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

To get even more detailed information from Consumer Reports on how to keep your home food-poisoning safe, click here

FOOD POISONING 101: IDENTIFYING COMMON CULPRITS AND TIPS ON PREVENTION

Do you know how to identify and prevent food poisoning? Because there’s a good chance you, a family member, or friend had food poisoning this year- and most likely do not want to get it again!
About 48 million people suffer from food poisoning annually in the United States. That’s an average of 1 in every 6 people every year, according to the recent food borne disease report by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Food poisoning symptoms include upset stomach, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Food poisoning causes around 128,000 hospitalizations, and about 3,000 deaths nationally, according to the CDC.

Bacteria and viruses are the most common source of food poisoning.

The Norovirus, also known as the Norwalk virus, causes over 19 million cases of food poisoning each year, and in rare cases, it can be fatal, according to the CDC.
Sometimes cases of food poisoning are linked to either natural toxins such as mold or other contaminants. Furthermore, food poisoning can be caused by parasites such as tapeworm.
Knowing about food poisoning symptoms as well as prevention tips could save your life or a loved one’s in the future.

Prevent food poisoning incidents at home with these 13 tips

Despite the scary statistics on food poisoning, you don’t need to completely abandon desserts or the barbeque!  

There are some simple steps you can take, and important facts to know, in order to keep both your indoor and outdoor dining experiences healthy and safe all year-round, according to saludmóvil’s Dr. Joseph Mosquera.

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and running water before and after handling food.
  • Wash utensils and surfaces after each use.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables, but NOT poultry, meat or eggs.
  • Keep meat, poultry, fish and eggs separate from other foods in the fridge or cooler, and also during preparation.
  • Keep your fridge below 40°F or about 4°C (most experts actually recommend below 37°F or about 3°C).
  • Keep your freezer temperature no higher than 0°F or about -18°C.
  • Limit the storage time for refrigerated foods, especially ready- to- eat  foods, such as deli meats, salads and cut produce.
  • Store leftovers no longer than 3 to 4 days in shallow covered containers.
  • Reheat leftovers to an internal temperature of 165°F or 73°C before eating.
  • Use a food thermometer and know the correct cooking temperatures for different types of  foods.
  • Never thaw or marinate foods on the counter.
  • Clean up all food spills in the fridge immediately.
  • Know the risky foods.  Foods such as raw milk and raw milk cheeses, soft cheeses (specifically Mexican queso fresco), sprouts, smoked seafood, deli meats and hot dogs are foods that are more likely to carry listeria and cause foodborne  illness.

When in doubt, throw it out

And, if you are ever unsure about whether or not a food is still good to eat, always remember this simple rule: “When in doubt, throw it out!”

Following these easy tips you can greatly reduce your risk of food poisoning!

Who Is at risk for food poisoning?

Statistically speaking, nearly everyone will come down with food poisoning at least once in their lives, but pay extra attention when handling and preparing food if you are pregnant, over 65 years old or have a weakened immune system.  
These groups, along with babies and young children, can develop food poisoning easier and with elevated risk of infection and complications from it.

Be familiar with the most common sources of food poisoning

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer advocacy group that tracks food safety issues, has compiled a list of 10 common foods responsible for a large number of outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.

The list only focuses on foods overseen by the Food and Drug Administration, so it doesn’t include meats, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Here are the top 10 riskiest foods with food-born illnesses on CSPI’s list:

1. Leafy greens

2. Eggs

3. Tuna

4. Oysters

5. Potatoes

6. Cheese

7. Ice cream

8. Tomatoes

9. Sprouts

10. Berries

For more information on food safety in both English and Spanish, please visit:  www.fsis.usda.gov or www.foodsafety.gov.
While food poisoning symptoms usually go away in 24 to 48 hours, symptoms can last for up to 10 days. Immediately contact a healthcare provider if you experience high fever, bloody stools, dehydration, and diarrhea lasting over 72 hours.

If you don’t know them yet, learn more about all the food poisoning symptoms here.

The Rise of Superbugs: Are We at Risk?

Leading health organizations are keeping a close eye on the rise of “superbugs” or “super bacteria”, a public health crisis that impacts two million people in the U.S each year.

Dr. Joseph Mosquera,  bilingual health expert for Consumer Reports was recently joined by Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) and other health professionals, in a live Twitter chat, discussing what causes superbugs and how to stop them.

What are superbugs?

The makings of superbugs lie in their resistance to antibiotics. The drugs have been widely used for so long, the infectious organisms they are made to kill have instead adapted to them. Meaning, the drugs are less effective, according to the CDC.

The overuse of antibiotics by doctors, dentists and hospitals also contributes to the creation of superbugs, Dr. Mosquera explained.

What we’re eating could also be part of the problem.

“Eighty percent of all antibiotics are used in our food supply to treat agriculture and livestock. Many health professionals are concerned we are acquiring a resistance to bacteria by ingesting these treated foods,” says Dr. Mosquera. He suggests reading your food labels for warnings along with cooking and storing your food appropriately.

Hospitals are also not safe from superbugs and, in fact, can harbor them.

In 2013, the CDC published a report outlining the top 18 drug-resistant threats to the United States.

One of the most concerning for the agency was carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE, which is on the rise among patients in medical facilities and almost half of patients who get bloodstream infections from the superbug die from the infection, according to the CDC.

In total, 37,000 people die from superbugs each year. It’s an issue even the White House is turning its attention to.

Stopping superbugs, however, it’s also ultimately up to us.

“Bacteria and antibiotics, both can heal or harm a person. It’s important to know the differences,” explains Dr. Mosquera.  

8 Tips to Protect Yourself and Family from Superbugs

Here is a list of 8 tips to help protect your family and your community from superbugs.

1. Don’t Panic

Everyone may be at risk, but the chances of catching a drug-resistant bug outside of the hospital or clinic are very small. Stress is not healthy,so don’t panic.

2. Know What to Look For

How do you know if you have a superbug? The infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria do not cause different symptoms than infections caused by antibiotic-susceptible infections. If you are worried about such an infection, contact your primary-care doctor first.

3. Wash Your Hands With Soap. Seriously!

Doctors say they cannot recommend this enough. 15 seconds washing your hands will do the trick. And make sure to turn off the faucet using a paper towel. Alcohol-based hand-sanitizers are handy too, but remember that one bug, C.Diff, is resistant to that, unlike just soap and water.

4. Proceed carefully with Antibacterial Soap

The FDA has made no formal decision on whether antibacterial soaps are more effective than regular soap, and some doctors don’t recommend using them.

5. Ask Your Doctors to Wash Their Hands

Just do it!

6. Get A Flu Shot Annually

When people come down with the flu, they increase their risk as they recover, complicating bacterial infections  because their weakened immune system is more vulnerable to other bugs.

7. Ask If You Really Need that Antibiotic

Antibiotic overprescribing is a particular problem in primary care, where viruses cause most infections. About 90% of all antibiotic prescriptions are issued by general practitioners, and respiratory tract infections are the leading reason for prescribing, according to a 2014 report by Cardiff University supported by the NIH.

8. Speak Out for Your Loved Ones in the Hospital

One of the ways drug-resistant bacteria spreads in hospital is through tubes inserted in the body, such as catheters. Never be afraid to address nurses or physicians on whether the possible bacteria-carrying equipment is necessary, and when the tubes can come out, and how often it is sanitized.

To learn more on how to protect yourself, take a look at Dr. Mosquera’s Twitter chat on superbugs by clicking here.

Should I be Worried About the Bird Flu?

The U.S has been on heightened vigilance for the bird flu – also known as H5N1 avian flu – following recent poultry outbreaks of the virus in the midwest this past year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed on January 15th, 21016 that a turkey flock in Dubois County, Indiana, was infected with the the virus, making it the first case of bird flu symptoms in U.S. poultry flocks since June 2015.

Federal officials considered last year’s outbreak in Iowa the worst animal health emergency in all of U.S. history – more than 31.5 million poultry died from the disease or were destroyed as their flocks were infected, according to Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association.

Experts, farmers, and government officials are all concerned about a possible worldwide outbreak, or “pandemic,” of this contagious disease, looking cautiously ahead. Does this all mean you should be worried about developing symptoms of the bird flu? Saludmóvil’s medical expert Dr. Joseph Mosquera says there really is no simple answer, but it definitely means you should be mindful of the bird flu.

What are bird flu symptoms for humans?

The reported symptoms of the H5N1 avian flu in humans has a wide range of symptoms, according to the CDC, which include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • muscle aches
  • lower respiratory disease (pneumonia, or viral pneumonia)
  • shortness of breath
  • acute respiratory distress
  • respiratory failure,
  • multi-organ disease,
  • nausea
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • neurologic changes (such as altered mental status or seizures)

Can I be infected with the bird flu?

The good news is, when it comes to people living in the United States the risk of infection is limited to birds and there have been very few human cases, and none in the U.S. so far, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Most human cases around the world have been of those in direct contact with dead or sick poultry.

Human infection with H5N1 is rare and there is no evidence that this virus can spread easily between people, according to the CDC.

Almost all cases of H5N1 infection in people have been associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1- contaminated environments, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO also notes that there is no evidence that the disease can spread to people through properly cooked food.

Bird flu symptoms for chickens, turkeys, and other poultry

  • sudden death without any signs
  • nasal discharge/crust
  • sneezing/coughing
  • lack of coordination
  • lower egg production by females
  • soft-shelled and/or contorted eggs
  • purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs
  • Overall lethargy and lack of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles and hocks

What is the current risk of Avian Flu in the U.S. for poultry?

Unfortunately for our poultry, wild waterfowl are carriers of avian influenza, making the potential for exposure extremely difficult to eliminate. Unlike domestic birds like chickens and turkey where the virus has a high mortality rate, wild birds such as geese, duck, and swan that are simply hosts of the virus and are seemingly unaffected by the disease.

Farms are working to minimize contact of their birds with wild birds, but it’s difficult to keep out all the birds that migrates come springtime. Avian influenza A virus infection cannot be diagnosed by clinical signs and symptoms alone; laboratory testing is required, according to the CDC.

Detecting the bird flu virus in humans

Avian influenza A virus infection is usually diagnosed by collecting a swab from the nose or throat of the sick person during the first few days of illness and results come within the day, but for some patients who are no longer very sick or recovered, its more difficult and requires further testing.

This requires identifying specific antibodies the body has produced in response to the virus. It requires two blood specimens-one taken during the first week of illness and another taken 3-4 weeks later. Results often can take weeks to verify, and testing must be performed in a special laboratory.

Where did the bird flu come from?

The bird flu is considered a highly pathogenic virus that has caused serious outbreaks in domestic poultry in parts of Asia and the Middle East, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

This infectious, viral disease of birds, has been around since 1997 but came to the forefront of medical news globally back in 2013 when the H5N1 strain was transmitted to a handful of humans who had close contact with poultry in Shanghai, China.  

According to a publication by Harvard Medical School, if the the virus manages to mutate in just the right way, we will all need to worry a lot more about the avian flu. However, this takes a very particular set of circumstances and therefore statistically is highly unlikely to be an immediate danger.

Tips on how you can prevent the bird flu

Controlling the disease in animals is the first step in decreasing risks to humans. So yes, it is safe to eat properly prepared and cooked poultry and game birds by using these tips, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling any raw poultry or eggs.
  • The virus is sensitive to heart. Use a food thermometer to make sure you cook poultry to a temperature of at least 165o F or 75oC
  • Clean cutting boards and other utensils with soap and water to keep raw poultry from contaminating other foods.
  • Cook eggs until whites and yolks are firm, unlike when eggs are prepared sunny side up or over easy.

The CDC also notes due to the possibility that avian influenza A viruses have potential to rapidly alter and change, monitoring for human infection and person-to-person transmission is extremely important for public health.

As with all viruses, this situation can change for better or worse, and it’s just important to stay informed and aware of the risks and how to curb them. Hopefully, like most epidemics, it will slowly subside on its own, through a natural process.

Are Latinos less likely to develop skin cancer? Facts and myths

Cases of melanoma and other skin cancer types among Hispanics in the U.S. are on the rise, according to Integrative Medicine expert, Dr. Joseph Mosquera.  

According to a 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the rate of new melanoma cases has doubled from 1982 to 2011.  The CDC reports more than 9,000 people in the U.S. die of melanoma each year, and Hispanics unfortunately are no exception to these statistics.

Are Hispanics Immune to Skin Cancer?

Hispanics, in particular, are one subgroup that carries the misconception that they are immune to the detrimental effects of the sun rays.

Hispanics are not defiant to skin cancer and some studies have established an increase in melanoma among them in the U.S., according to a 2010 study conducted by the Department of Dermatology, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.

A 2008 study  also found that the incidence of melanoma in the Hispanic community has gone up by 19% from 1992 to 2008.

Every Sunburn Can Increase the Risk of Skin Cancer in Latinos

According to the CDC, a third of Hispanics have suffered a sunburn in the last year. It’s no dispute that sunburns are definitely a risk factor for melanoma for Hispanics.

Part of the problem could stem from the myth that “darker skin offers greater sun protection.” This is not true.

“Despite their skin being of brown shades, this does not excuse Hispanics from having skin cancer risks, especially with repeated sun exposure,” says Dr. Mosquera.  

Hazardous Indoor Tanning is Popular Among Hispanic Youth

A 2011 survey found in Journal of The American Board of Family Medicine noted 7.6% of Hispanic high school students (9.6% female and 5.7% male) reported they went to tanning salons, which has been associated with multiple forms of skin cancer, per the CDC.

Melanoma is Deadly for Hispanics

The incident rate of melanoma in the US is far more deadly than non-melanoma skin cancers. According to a 2013 study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology, the rate of Melanoma has risen 19% among Hispanics over the past two decades.

A 2012 study done by the CDC showed among men, white men were more likely to die of melanoma of the skin than any other group, followed by Hispanic, and black and Asian/Pacific Islander men (tied). Among women, Hispanics are also the second most common race/ethnicity to die of skin cancer.

Another common problem that may lead to skin cancer is not knowing when to apply sunscreen.  The answer is:  every single day!

Dr. Mosquera advises that, “anybody outside can be exposed to UVA or UVB rays and should avoid being close to the water, sand or snow for long periods of time without sunscreen.  Most people don’t reapply it after coming out of the water and most sunscreens, unless you apply it in lotion form, do not offer sufficient coverage.”  

What is a Good Protective SPF Sunscreen

People are not using sunscreen to their full potential of protection,  which is most likely due to the fact they forget to apply it enough or often, Dr. Mosquera finds.

When purchasing a sunscreen, look for “Broad Spectrum” protection on the label, meaning it protects from both UVA and UVB rays, and the SPF should not be over 30.  

Contrary to popular belief, a higher number does not mean greater protection. Products claiming to have SPF of 45 or 50 should be checked on Consumer Reports.  These are extremely important tips for keeping skin safe from cancer and other conditions.

Like everyone, Hispanics are advised to apply and reapply sunscreen often, and educate their children about the risks of skin cancer starting at a very young age.

Telemedicine: Click here and the doctor will see you now

(Dr. Mosquera and Ariel Coro, tech expert’s appearance on CNN’s morning “Cafe” show commenting about the advancement of Telemedicine)

Have you ever wished that seeking out medical care or checking in with your doctor wasn’t so stressful and time consuming? An up and coming strategy integrating new technology is proving this anxiety is unnecessary, and it’s called Telemedicine!

Simply put, Telemedicine is the use of computers, tablets and smartphones to access medical care. It helps eliminate distance barriers and can promote access to medical services that would often not be consistently available in distant rural communities.

Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services for patients, using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunication technology.

According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), this technology started over 40 years ago as a way for hospitals to extend care to people in remote areas. Today, telemedicine is used in doctors’ offices, home health agencies and even workplaces, and provides patients with the convenience of getting medical care from the comfort of their home or workplace without having to take time out of their busy schedules.

The ATA hosted their 20th Annual Conference, the largest telemedicine trade show in the world, earlier this year. The country’s leading medical and technology experts gathered to discuss various topics such as how to deliver great care using telemedicine and also the challenges and limitations that come without face-to-face contact with a doctor. The latest telemedicine technology was also on display.

Dr.Joseph Mosquera, one of the the nation’s leading Integrative Medicine specialists and founder of saludmóvil, attended this year’s conference. “The use of distant robotics technology and advanced optics seen at the conference are very exciting ways to help patients.” notes Dr. Mosquera. “However, compassion, the human touch and that essential doctor-patient relationship remain very important needs in healthcare, and is something that can never be replaced by technology.  These essential parts of patient care will continue to require traditional consultations and evaluations.”

Telemedicine is sometimes seen as being the same thing as health information technology (HIT), but it’s important to keep in mind HIT more commonly refers to electronic medical records and related information systems. Telemedicine refers to the actual service of receiving remote clinical care via technology.

Telemedicine is gaining traction in the US and abroad as a way to make healthcare less time-consuming and more cost-effective. For example, stroke patients in Singapore are using iPads for remote rehabilitation and therefore removing the need to physically visit hospitals or clinics. The new treatment is part of a tele-rehabilitation program currently being trialled by the National University of Singapore (NUS) to get patients back to their normal lives and on their feet sooner.

Another example can be found in Massachusetts, where telemedicine is being used at Mass General Hospital for Parents of children staying in the intensive care unit to keep them informed on the well-being of their children.

In MGH’s Children Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, mobile computer stations allow parents access via an iPad provided by the hospital. When a parent is unable to be physically sitting next to their child’s bedside, a physician has the authorization to allow access using the tools, according to Phoebe Yager, M.D, the hospital’s director for pediatric telemedicine. The services are HIPAA complaint and have a very reliable connection, Yager adds.

More and more hospitals are integrating telemedicine with intensive care units to improve safety and make them less dehumanizing. Telemedicine provide avenue for a new focus on engaging families and patients in decisions in healthcare.

Thanks to Telemedicine, healthcare is getting a lot more friendly.

The Ebola Outbreak: Tips to Prevent Future Health Epidemics

Tips to prevent health epidemics and protect your community

How does a  disease go from being a dormant threat to a serious and deadly health epidemic? The disease is highly contagious and is likely to spread seamlessly through contact or indirect contact from person to person.

It’s important to look back on what health epidemics have occurred and come up with what healthy habits you can employ daily to thwart deadly outbreaks in the future.

What exactly classifies as a health epidemic, pandemic or endemic?

A health epidemic, by definition, is  the widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a given place, spreading rapidly among individuals in a given area or population at the same time.

Diseases that can be transmitted through the air by coughing and breathing are especially concerning because they spread quickly and easily.

This happens with influenza, also known as the flu, annually. Influenza in fact has led to pandemics, which are global health epidemics.

An endemic is  an infection within a geographic location that exists perpetually, such as dengue fever.

The 2014 Ebola epidemic

The most widespread epidemic of the Ebola virus disease occurred in 2014 in West Africa. There were more than 28,600 total cases of Ebola, 11,300 of which were deadly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At the national level, the Ebola virus dominated news headlines popped up across the country after four cases were identified, striking fear into just about anyone boarding a plane.

Ebola is undeniably contagious between persons, but it is just one of many highly contagious deadly diseases that you should be aware has led to a health epidemic.

The Spanish Flu of 1918

The Influenza pandemic occurred in three waves in the United States throughout 1918 and 1919, leading to an estimated 50 million deaths. Approximately 20% to 40% of the worldwide population became ill, and nearly 675,000 people died in the U.S. alone.

Illness from the 1918 flu pandemic, came on quickly. Some people felt fine in the morning but passed away by nightfall.

Influenza is a leading cause of death in Hispanics

There have been four major flu pandemics since the Spanish Flu of 1918, and in 2009 and 2010, the flu was one of the top 10 leading causes of death for Hispanics, according to the CDC.

While most flu activity occurs from October to May in the United States, flu viruses are detected globally year-round.

Groups including older people and young children are high risk for serious complications from the flu and other health epidemics.

Why you should get the Flu Shot

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. This recommendation for everyone to get the flu shot has been in place since February 24, 2010 when CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for “universal” flu vaccination in the U.S. to broaden the scope of protection against the flu to more people.

Here are 7 healthy habits to prevent future health epidemics

Learn, practice, and teach healthy habits that keep infectious diseases like the flu or Ebola from spreading, according to the CDC.

  • Handle and prepare food safely
  • Avoid sharing personal items
  • Avoid touching wild animals
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces
  • Cough and  sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve
  1. Stay home when sick

“We may, at some point, have a flu epidemic that is especially severe and cause high mortality and morbidity which means many hospitalizations.  We haven’t had such an epidemic since the Spanish flu at the turn of the 20th century, however most experts agree this is one of their biggest fears,” says saludmóvil® founder Dr. Joseph Mosquera.

Watch Dr. Mosquera talk about the Ebola virus in the summer of 2014 in Spanish on Telemundo 47’s morning show here.

CDC is the leading resource for all things infectious disease

It may be comforting to know the CDC is constantly working to protect people living in the US from infectious diseases via different platforms.

CDC uses multiple platforms and partnerships to protect Americans from diseases that begin overseas. Examples include Global Disease Detection Centers (GDD), Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETP) and other disease-specific programs.

These standards in public health have been met with positive response and have been adopted by other nations.

The CDC is working by broadening the health security net by developing technical skills, increasing laboratories, and connecting information systems to improve decision-making and prevent, detect, and responding to diseases as efficiently as possible. Infectious disease outbreaks are constantly updated and published on the CDC website.

For any further questions on Ebola, please visit the CDC Ebola Virus page for the most up to date information.

Here are 2 other useful resources that offer real-time, quality information on health epidemics

  1. WHO:The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information via their Department of Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases (PED) develops strategies, initiatives, and mechanisms to address priority emerging and re-emerging epidemic diseases, thereby reducing their impact on affected populations and limiting their international spread.
  2. Health Map: As well, Health map has a very use-friendly interface that allows you to visually see on a map based on your current location infectious disease outbreaks near you.

“It’s very important to know there are many highly contagious and infectious diseases in the world today, not just Ebola. One of the best ways to protect yourself and prevent these diseases from ever becoming health epidemics in this country is learning how to keep them from spreading,” explains Dr. Mosquera.

Just this month, Sierra Leone officially marked the end of its recent flare-up of Ebola. Since March 17th, 42 days have  passed since the last person confirmed to have Ebola tested negative for a second time, according to the World Health Organization.

With the help of the Centers for Disease Control and state health departments, it is unlikely an epidemic in the U.S. will happen in the near future, but it is important to always be vigilant.