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Mental illness is a growing issue today. These are excerpts from a Mayo Clinic report about the stigma of it and ways to cope.

“The stigma of mental illness can lead to discrimination. Discrimination may be obvious and direct, such as someone making a negative remark about your mental illness or your treatment. Or it may be unintentional or subtle, such as someone avoiding you because the person assumes you could be unstable, violent or dangerous due to your mental health condition. You may even judge yourself.  No matter whether the stigma is from oneself or others, the consequences are serious: important treatments may be delayed, income potential can be greatly reduced, and further complications can arise from self-isolation.

Learning to accept your condition and recognize what you need to do to treat it, seeking support, and helping educate others can make a big difference.”

To learn more ways to overcome mental health stigmas read the full article here:  Mental Health: Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Illness


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The American Sociological Association has noted a study that reveals the expectations associated with traditional gender roles is detrimental to men’s well-being.

The study is, “Relative Income, Psychological Well-Being, and Health: Is Breadwinning Hazardous or Protective?” by Christin Munsch, an assistant professor of sociology at University of Connecticut (UConn) and her graduate assistants. From following a group of married men and women over a period of 15 years, they found as men took on more financial responsibility in their marriages, their psychological well-being and health declined.

Men’s psychological well-being and health were at their worst during years when they were their families’ sole breadwinner. In these years, they had psychological well-being scores that were 5 percent lower and health scores that were 3.5 percent lower, on average, than in years when their partners contributed equally.

“A lot of what we know about how gender plays out in marriage focuses on the ways in which women are disadvantaged,” says Munsch. “For example, women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, and they still perform the lion’s share of housework. Our study contributes to a growing body of research that demonstrates the ways in which gendered expectations are harmful for men too. Men are expected to be breadwinners, yet providing for one’s family with little or no help has negative repercussions.”

Read more here: Being the primary breadwinner is bad for men’s psychological well-being and health


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Over 80% of Americans desire to die at home, according to a New England Journal of Medicine article. They also want to determine the type of care received at the end of their life. JoNel Aleccia of Kaiser Health News reports on a news analysis of the outcomes resulting from the state of Oregon’s death-with-dignity law. And, its lessons for American healthcare consumers.

A New England Journal of Medicine article co-authored by Dr. Tolle and Dr. Teno, found nearly two-thirds of Oregonians who died did so at home, compared with fewer than 40 percent of people elsewhere in the U.S.

Oregon and twenty-two states have promoted ways to indicate end-of-life treatment preferences. They include advance directives, which provide guidance for future care, and medical directives such as Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.  “Obviously, if you’ve spent decades trying to improve your end-of-life care, it’s pretty rewarding to see that something changes,” said Dr. Susan Tolle, director of the Center for Ethics in Health Care at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

Dr. Scott Halpern, a medical ethics and health policy expert at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, is critical of the analysis. He contends there is insufficient evidence showing medical orders improve quality of life near death.  “Good end-of-life care involves physicians eliciting patients’ values, hopes and fears and making treatment decisions that align,” Halpern said.

Dr. Tolle and Dr. Teno acknowledge that medical orders do not take care of all the complex factors which determine the quality of end-of-life care.  For example, Dr. Tolle cautions that “the level of care you receive near the end of life depends more on the state you live in and the systems they have in place than your actual wishes.”

To learn more about this important topic read the full article here:
Where You Live May Determine How You Die. Oregon Leads The Way.


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Sandee LaMotte of CNN consulted experts about apple cider vinegar, a popular natural health product. Internet articles purport it offers a myriad of benefits, from serving as a powerful sanitizer to offering cardiovascular benefits.  But how much of its popular claims are based on hype?

According to the experts, here are some of the 10 top ways people use apple cider vinegar and what the science says:

Weight Loss – According to Dietician Carol Johnson — who has been active for 25-years in her profession — and Harvard-trained nutritionist and nutrition writer Lisa Drayer, the weight loss from apple cider vinegar was modest. Only 2 to 4 pounds were lost in three months vs. when taking a placebo.

Teeth Cleaning – Chicago dentist and American Dental Association spokeswoman Alice Boghosian warns that “a pH of 7 is neutral, anything less is acid … With many of today’s popular apple cider vinegars in the 2 to 3 range — about the same as stomach acid — this will wear out the tooth enamel, the protective coating, and that will cause cavities.”

Heart Disease – Freeman, who serves on the American College of Cardiology’s prevention board, says there could be some benefit due to its antioxidant properties, like other heart-healthy fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli and blueberries.

“The data is not particularly strong or overwhelming, but vascular health may be enhanced,” Freeman says.

To learn more, read: Apple cider vinegar: What the experts say


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John Batista Bocchino by John Batista Bocchino - 1y ago

Did you know that hospital-acquired infections are the nation’s eighth leading cause of death?

Consumer Reports provides guidelines for staying safe during a hospital stay, and somber information regarding why they are necessary.

“Hospitals are breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria, including those that cause C. diff and MRSA infections,” state their recent findings. “Some 650,000 people developed those and other infections after being admitted to U.S. hospitals in 2011, and 75,000 died, based on the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Their advice:

Check Up on Your Hospital

See how it compares with others on central line, C. diff, and MRSA infections, as well as other measures of patient safety. To compare hospitals in your area at preventing infections, use Consumer Reports’ hospital ratings.

Have a Friend or Family Member With You

The most important times to have a companion for preventing infections and other medical errors are on nights, weekends, and holidays, when staff is reduced, and when shifts change.

Keep a Record

Keep a pad and pen nearby so that you can note what doctors and nurses say, which drugs you get, and questions you have. If you spot something worrisome, such as a drug you don’t recognize, take a note or snap a picture on your phone.

Keep It Clean

Bring bleach wipes for bed rails, doorknobs, the phone, and the TV remote, all of which can harbor bacteria. And if your room looks dirty, ask that it be cleaned.

Ask About Antibiotics

For many surgeries, you should get an antibiotic 60 minutes before the operation. But research suggests that the type of antibiotic used or the timing of when it’s administered is wrong in up to half of cases.

Read the complete article: 15 Tips for Preventing Infections in the Hospital


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Are you aware of how much you are drinking, or whether your drinking pattern is risky?  If you aren’t sure, take this anonymous survey from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The Institute suggests these ways to start cutting down:

Keep track. Keep track of how much you drink. Find a way that works for you: Make check marks on a kitchen calendar, or enter notes in a mobile phone notepad or personal digital assistant. Making note of each drink before you drink it may help you slow down when needed.

Set goals. Decide how many days a week you want to drink and how many drinks you’ll have on those days. Have some days when you don’t drink.

Find alternatives. If drinking has occupied a lot of your time, then fill free time by developing new, healthy activities, hobbies, and relationships, or renewing ones you’ve missed.

Avoid “triggers.” If certain people or places make you drink even when you don’t want to, try to avoid them. If certain activities, times of day, or feelings trigger the urge, plan something else to do instead of drinking. If drinking at home is a problem, keep little or no alcohol there.

Plan to handle urges. When you cannot avoid a trigger and an urge hits, consider these options: Remind yourself of your reasons for changing (it can help to carry them in writing or store them in an electronic message you can access easily). Or talk things through with someone you trust. Or, instead of fighting the feeling, accept it and ride it out without giving in, knowing that it will soon crest like a wave and pass.

Read all of the Institute’s Tips to Try.


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John Batista Bocchino by John Batista Bocchino - 1y ago

The Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical center in Ohio, has observed that as men age, their health concerns begin to shift.

“Men in their 50s are more concerned about heart disease or ED (erectile dysfunction). Men in their 60s worry more about prostate cancer and their risk for dementia,” says preventive medicine expert Raul Seballos, MD.

He cites the following issues as men’s greatest health concerns:

Prostate cancer and enlargement

“While one out of six men will get prostate cancer during their lifetime, most men will not die from it.”

Heart disease (including high blood pressure and high cholesterol)

Your doctor will keep tabs on your cholesterol and blood pressure, and can order a cardiac stress test if concerns about heart disease arise.

Erectile dysfunction and testosterone levels

ED is very common, especially for men who have diabetes or have had their prostate removed.

Weight management with age

As your metabolism slows down, it’s more important than ever to eat smaller portions of healthier food. Exercise also becomes increasingly important.

Diabetes

Nearly 79 million Americans have prediabetes (elevated blood sugar), the precursor to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, vision loss and loss of limb.

Stroke

It’s important to learn the signs of a warning stroke, including weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg(s), confusion, difficulty with speech or comprehension, vision loss, dizziness, or problems with walking, balance or coordination.

Read his full interview: Men: How to Cope With Your 6 Worst Health Fears. It includes his advice for screening and preventing each affliction. Follow @ClevelandClinic on Twitter.


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This blog focuses on men’s health. However, the World Economic Forum has published a study showing that cancer rates in UK women are rising six times faster than men. That indicates a potential similar trend in other countries, including the U.S.

According to Sarah Allinson, Senior Lecturer, Lancaster University, “Cancer is currently more common in men than women, but due to changes in lifestyle women are catching up fast.” These are key findings from her article. Please share them with the women in your life.

  • Recent reports that cancer rates in UK women are set to rise six times faster than in men over the next two decades will have alarmed many. It is likely to be a similar story across the western world. In the US, cancer rates have been steadily decreasing in men but not in women. And although it is still the case that more men than women get cancer, the gap is narrowing.
  • The World Health Organisation has estimated that two fifths of the 14m cases of cancer that are diagnosed every year are preventable. The main preventable causes of cancer are diet, smoking and infection. Of these, diet is likely to most disproportionately affect women over the coming years.
  • It has been estimated that over half a million cancers worldwide can be directly linked to obesity and inactivity every year.
  • Rising levels of obesity have been followed by a rapid increase in the number of these cancers diagnosed. The way that being overweight drives these particular types of cancers is complicated but one of the main factors seems to be the production of the hormone estrogen by fat cells in the body.
  • Most breast and womb cancers produce a protein called the estrogen receptor that causes cancer cells to uncontrollably divide when estrogen is present in high amounts. Studies have consistently shown that breast cancer is both more common and less readily treatable in overweight women.
  • Risk of breast cancer is also increased by alcohol – the more you drink, the more likely you are to get the disease. A study published last year showed that across the world women are now drinking almost as much as men.

Read her full report: Cancer rates in women are rising six times faster than men. Here’s what we can do. Follow the World Economic Forum on Twitter @wef.


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John Batista Bocchino by John Batista Bocchino - 1y ago

Prevention Magazine has published an important guide to identifying signs of prediabetes. Considering that 90% of people who have prediabetes don’t know it, that information is vital for many.

Here is what you need to know:

Prediabetes is a borderline condition in which your blood sugar is consistently high but not high enough to be considered diabetes. The easiest way to determine if you have it is to get a simple blood test. The most accurate one is the A1C test, which determines the percentage of glucose (sugar) that’s attached to the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin in your blood.

A score of 5.9 and below is considered normal. Anything between 5.7 and 6.4 is considered prediabetes, and 6.4 and above is full-blown diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that everyone age 45 and older get their blood sugar checked.

Although tests such as the A1C can certainly tell you if you’re headed for trouble, it’s also important to pay attention to other clues. Red flags like excessive thirst and frequent urination are worth taking seriously. Some other signs that warrant a call to your doctor, and probably a blood sugar test, include:

Shiny, scaly patches on your skin

If you’re prediabetic, you might experience patches of reddish, brownish, or yellowish skin called necrobiosis lipodica, according to Nebraska-based board-certified dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD.

Gout

It’s on the rise worldwide, and research has found that people who have it are more apt to develop diabetes, probably because both conditions often crop up in people who are obese.

Hair loss

Hair loss can be caused by many things, but it is also associated with insulin resistance, which is the hallmark of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Extreme fatigue

It’s not normal to constantly struggle to make it through the day. Insulin resistance could be to blame, because if sugar lingers in your bloodstream it’s not going into your cells where it’s used for energy.

A healthy diet and exercise can lower and stabilize your blood sugar. According to a 2013 study from Johns Hopkins University, people with prediabetes who lost just 10% of their body weight within six months of being diagnosed slashed their risk of developing diabetes within three years by 85%.

Read the full article: 6 Signs of Prediabetes You Need To Know. Follow Prevention Magazine on Twitter @PreventionMag.


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John Batista Bocchino by John Batista Bocchino - 1y ago

Matthew Solan, Executive Editor of Harvard Men’s Health Watch, has important advice about maintaining your brain health as you age. And it involves more than exercising. Most important is challenging it with new learning and continuous use of your social skills.

He quotes Dr. Ipsit Vahia, director of geriatric outpatient services for McLean Hospital, who advises patients to go back to school to pursue those goals.

“New brain cell growth can happen even late into adulthood,” says Dr. Vahia. “The process of learning and acquiring new information and experiences, like through structured classes, can stimulate that process.”

“Classes offer a complexity factor that have long-term benefits,” he adds. For instance, they engage cognitive skills, such as visual comprehension, short- and long-term memory, attention to detail, and even math and calculations.

“On a personal level, classes also keep your social skills sharp as well as boost self-confidence. “It is easy to become more socially isolated as people grow older,” says Dr. Vahia. “A class makes you interact and communicate with other people on a regular basis through group participation, conversations, and discussions.”

“According to Mr. Solan, “About 17% of adults older than age 35 are enrolled at a four-year college or university, or a community college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. And because more campuses now offer free or discounted tuition for seniors (with no earned credits), there are more opportunities for older adults to explore a variety of subjects and interests.”

“Many states offer tuition waivers for seniors at state-funded institutions. Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes are located on 119 college and university campuses and offer non-credit courses for those ages 50 and older. Local senior, community, and recreation centers offer many self-improvement classes in topics such as sculpting, pottery, and dance.”

Read the complete article: Back to school: Learning a new skill can slow cognitive aging. Follow @HarvardHealth on Twitter.


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