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10 Smoothie Recipes Sure to Beat the NYC Heat

Fruit smoothies can be an easy way to nourish your body with essential nutrients. The best way to know the exact ingredients in your smoothie is to make them yourself. All you need is a blender, fruit and a base, such as water, milk or yogurt. Making your own smoothies can help prevent fruit from going to waste, while providing benefits that will keep you on the right track towards good health.

Check out these 10 hand-picked recipes that we’ve gathered for you to beat that NYC sun:dreamstime_m_59225596

1. Breakfast Fruit Smoothie

2. Kiwi Mango Lassi Smoothie

3. Mango Apricot Strawberry Smoothie

4. Banana Smoothie

5. Fat-Free Strawberry-Yogurt Smoothie

6. Spinach Mango Smoothie

7. Chocolate Peanut Butter Blast Smoothie

8. Blueberry Smoothie

9. Fruit Smoothie Twister

10. Tropical Smoothie

 

Content provided in partnership with AlphaCare

Top 8 Summer Fruits and Vegetables

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AlphaCare’s ‘Wellness and Resource’ Initiative Is Keeping Seniors Active In East New York

On Thursday, June 22nd, AlphaCare continued their Wellness and Resource Series of events with a Diabetes Awareness Health Fair for senior citizens at the Brooklyn Sports Club in East New York, Brooklyn. Joining forces with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, the purpose of the event was to bring various community resource partners onto one platform in order to increase the awareness of the services available to Seniors throughout Brooklyn. Some of the community partners that AlphaCare collaborated with were Access-A-Ride, Brookdale Hospital, Clear Caption, Department of the Aging, SNAP-Met Council, NYPD Community Affairs, New York for Seniors, New York Life, EPIC, and many others. From 10am to 3pm, the seniors in attendance enjoyed healthy refreshments, cooking demonstrations, Zumba, prize giveaways, live entertainment by the Dancers of BRC, and got a chance to play AlphaCare’s new Wheel of Health game.

“We love arranging these events for seniors in all areas of Brooklyn because it’s important that they are well informed about the right resources.  Not all seniors are digital savvy due to the generation that we live in at this current time,” said Cindy Lai, Director of Communications and Marketing. “We are promoting a healthier lifestyle for seniors so they can live longer for their families but they must remember everything they do affects them as a whole. ”

“I really had a good time at the fair; it was fantastic”, said fellow attendee Michele Brown. “I would like to call myself the dancing machine and the DJ was playing the jams. I had a good time for a great cause”.

To stay up to date with upcoming AlphaCare events throughout New York City, go to nyforseniors.com/things-to-do

Spring At The Farmers’ Market

By Susie R. Spodek

Finally, Spring is here! Enjoy the Season at a Greenmarket!

There are more than 50 GrowNYC Greenmarkets located throughout all five boroughs of New York City. At these farmers’ markets, farmers sell produce grown on their farms situated within a few hours of New York City. Some farms are even right here in the city itself!

As the days get longer, the ground thaws, leaves bud and flowers bloom. You can feel all of this happening in the Greenmarkets. Week by week, a greater variety of produce appears.  The first spring vegetables are leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and arugula.  Root vegetables like potatoes, beets, and carrots are also still available, and bring color to our plates.  Hardy herbs like parsley, rosemary, and cilantro add spring flavors.  And, of course, the increasing variety of beautiful potted and cut flowers signals that spring has arrived!

Greenmarkets are wonderful places to explore new tastes and flavors.  Try vegetables you’ve never eaten before– perhaps ramps, rhubarb or garlic scapes.  Or, maybe try a familiar vegetable that looks a little unusual, such as a pink potato or a purple carrot.  How about seasoning your food with an unusual herb, like tricolor sage? Or, you can flavor your water with fresh sprigs of spearmint or lemon balm.

If you see a vegetable you don’t recognize, ask the farmer all about it–especially how to prepare it.  Often, you can sample vegetables before making a purchase.  Don’t hesitate to ask!

Then, there are those favorites that taste especially delicious when picked fresh.  Who can resist red, juicy strawberries picked just before they are brought to market?  How about fresh spears of asparagus or sweet peas?

Also, take advantage of the newly expanded Health Bucks program, now year-round!  If you shop with EBT/SNAP, you will receive a $2 Health Bucks voucher for fruits and vegetables, free of charge, for every $5 you spend on food at the Greenmarket. Spend $10 and you’ll get $4 for free!

Did you know that EBT/SNAP can also be used to purchase plants that grow food?  You can use EBT/SNAP to buy tomato plants, potted herbs, and anything else that might grow food in your garden or home!

So, this spring, visit a Greenmarket– where the countryside meets the city, bringing fresh tastes of the farm to you.

Tai Chi vs Yoga: What’s The Difference?

Tai Chi

Tai chi first originated in China over 700 years ago. While there are many different forms of the exercise today, most focus on slow, gentle movements and deep breathing. The postures are ever changing, always keeping the person in a fluid movement. Because of its gentleness, tai chi is a great exercise for people with health issues, limited mobility, joint or muscle pain, or those suffering from depression, stress or anxiety. According to the Mayo Clinic, benefits of tai chi can include:

  • Decreased stress, anxiety and depression
  • Improved mood
  • Improved aerobic capacity
  • Increased energy and stamina
  • Improved flexibility, balance and agility
  • Improved muscle strength and definition

Many seniors love doing tai chi because of how easy it works around certain limitations. For example, those with joint pain can focus on slower, less impactful movements, while those struggling with balance can focus on increasing their balance. Tai chi is also readily available. Many senior and health centers give free tai chi classes for seniors, and many videos on tai chi are easily accessible online.

Yoga

Yoga predates tai chi by thousands of years, originating in India around the fifth century BCE. Both exercises share similar benefits. Like tai chi, yoga focuses on flexibility and strength, working the entire body while having a low impact on joints. Yoga has many different variations, from slower movements and poses to faster, more complex routines. Finding the right type of yoga all depends on your personal needs. Some good types of yoga to start out with are:

Hatha, which focuses on simple and slower movements. This type is perfect for beginners and those who are looking for a calmer workout with meditative practices.

Vinyasa, which has a faster pace with frequent changes in poses. Vinyasa is better for those with more flexibility and need for cardio.

Iyengar uses props like blocks, blankets and straps to help align the body into poses. The poses are held for longer periods of time, and is especially great for those recovering from injuries.

Yin Yoga is focused on slower movements that help restore elasticity in the body. It’s great for those who want to relax both their minds and bodies. Avoid if you suffer from any connective tissue disorders.

There are many more types of yoga, most of which can be altered for different needs and health conditions. Yoga can be done at home or in a class. While both have their benefits, doing yoga under the supervision of a trained professional is safer, especially with more complex or intermediate yoga poses, since yoga instructors can correct any imperfections in the poses. When doing yoga, the most important thing is to be safe. You should never feel any pain while in a position. If you do, release the position slowly so not to hurt yourself any further.

How To Treat Seasonal Allergies

With the arrival of spring, many of us are finding it hard to enjoy the warmer weather and blooming flowers because of runny noses, itchy eyes, and scratchy throats. Onset seasonal allergies are extremely common during this time of the year, with even those without diagnosed allergies suffering on the worst of days. And while there’s no magical cure, there are ways to treat and control your spring allergies.   

Why Do We Get Seasonal Allergies?

Allergies are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to non-dangerous substances, such as pollen, dust, and animal dander. In the spring, many people suffer from spring allergies, also known as hay fever, due to the high amounts of pollen in the air. Also called seasonal allergic rhinitis, symptoms most commonly include:

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy and/or runny nose
  • Itchy and/or watery eyes
  • Itchy or irritated skin or throat

Other less common symptoms can include:

  • Issues breathing (common in those suffering from Asthma)
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Frequent headaches
  • Hives

Allergy symptoms often coincide with the weather and the pollen count. A pollen count is a daily measurement of how much pollen is in the air. The higher the pollen count, the worse symptoms tend to become. Weather websites such as Accuweather.com and Pollen.com post the daily pollen counts, specifying which pollens, such as grass, tree, or ragweed, are higher than others. Warm, breezy days have the highest pollen counts while rainy, colder days have lower counts.

How To Control And Treat Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies cannot be prevented, but symptoms can be subdued. Over-the-counter medications can be used to lessen symptoms. The most common are:

Short-acting antihistamines, such as Benadryl, which relieve symptoms for a few hours. They cause drowsiness and should be used when home or before going to sleep.

Longer-acting antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine), only require one dose per day.  They cause less drowsiness and work best for mild symptoms.

Decongestants, such as nasal sprays, give short-term relief from nasal congestion.   

Before using an over-the-counter medication, always read the directions and warnings. Consult your doctor first before starting on a medication.

To help naturally decrease symptoms, be sure to:

  • Exercise regularly and maintain a well-balanced diet.
  • Sleep with your head elevated on a pillow to prevent nasal congestion.
  • Drink lots of fluids throughout the day (fluids help loosen mucus in the nose and throat).
  • Be aware of the daily pollen count. The highest counts are in the mornings, so going out later in the day when it’s cooler will have less of an effect on your allergies.

10 Delicious & Healthy Spring Dessert Recipes to Help You Cool Down

The New York for Seniors editorial staff has gathered 10 of the healthiest, most delicious desserts that are just as enticing as this Spring weather! From Strawberry Banana Bread, to Raspberry Coconut Popsicles, we’ve got you covered!

WHOLE GRAIN STRAWBERRY BANANA BREAD

Not all banana bread is created equal —— many recipes are loaded with white flour and sugar. And though this banana bread recipe does have some sugar, it's also got whole grains, yogurt, and tons of fresh fruit. 
Babble Food has the recipe 
Image: Brooklyn Supper 

GLUTEN-FREE COCONUT STRAWBERRY CRISP

This gluten-free crisp made with fresh strawberries features whole oats, coconut flakes, and just a hint of sugar. 
Babble Food has the recipe 
Image: Brooklyn Supper 

BLUEBERRY, SPINACH, AND AVOCADO SMOOTHIE

Fresh spinach gives a healthy boost to this creamy blueberry avocado smoothie. 
Babble Food has the recipe 
Image: Brooklyn Supper 

RASPBERRY COULIS

Pair this sweet homemade raspberry coulis with a scoop of frozen yogurt for a healthy spring treat. 
Babble Food has the recipe 
Image: Kelsey Banfield 

LIME BASIL SOFT SERVE SORBET

Banana, lemon, and lime juice make for a tangy delicious homemade sorbet —— no blender required! 
Babble Food has the recipe 
Image: Kathy Patalsky 

BLUEBERRY ACAI SMOOTHIE

Pile on the fruit when you make this thick and frosty acai smoothie with blueberries, banana, and strawberries. 
Babble Food has the recipe 
Image: Kathy Patalsky 

RASPBERRY COCONUT POPSICLES

These fruit juice-sweetened ice pops feature coconut milk, raspberries, and blueberries. Kids are sure to enjoy these lightly sweet, refreshing popsicles. 
Babble Food has the recipe 
Image: Brooklyn Supper 

LAYERED FRUIT AND YOGURT SALAD

This gorgeous approach to fruit salad is a great way to keep things fresh! 
Babble Food has the recipe 
Image: Angie McGowan 

BASIL STRAWBERRY LEMONADE GRANITAS

Give dessert an herbaceous twist with this basil-infused strawberry granita! 
Babble Food has the recipe 
Image: Shaina Olmanson 

RAW CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY PIE

Serve up a host of healthy almonds, cashews, coconut, and flax seeds in the form of a delicious raw strawberry pie! 
Babble Food has the recipe 
Image: Kathy Patalsky 

Aching After Exercising: Should You Be Worried?

As worrisome as it may seem, the soreness you feel after exercising is completely normal. So much so, that pretty much everyone who has ever worked out has felt the same soreness. This soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It occurs after the body goes through an unfamiliar strenuous workout, usually affecting the person the next day. While the exact cause has never been distinguished, the most agreed upon theory is that the muscle fiber experiences small rips and wounds that causes the affected muscles to feel sore. Once the muscle begins to mend, to the pain subsides.

While the idea of your muscles tearing is a scary one, it’s actually perfectly normal. The damage is microscopic, and it doesn’t cause your muscles any lasting damage. Once your body starts getting used to your new exercise routine, the soreness will quickly subside.         

Knowing the Difference Between Soreness and Pain

While understanding that soreness it completely natural, feeling pain during and after exercising is not. A few of the key differences between DOMS and pain is:

DOMS is Moderate. Muscle soreness will make your muscles feel sore, achy, and stiff, but should not cause you unbearable pain. If you do feel pain, especially if the pain is in the joints, then you should visit a doctor.

Pain Can Happen Immediately. If you feel pain during an exercise, then it’s not muscle soreness. DOMS is delayed, so it doesn’t occur while exercising. If you feel any pain while exercising, whether it be moderate or severe, stop immediately.

DOMS goes away. Muscle soreness should fade away within one to two days, and doesn’t leave any lasting issues. If pain felt after exercising doesn’t abate, then you should visit a doctor.

Some afflictions that may cause pain caused by exercising can include: pulled muscles, pinched nerves, and joint pain. Any pain, no matter how subtle, shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you feel it every time you work out. You should be extremely cautious of any pain felt in the head, neck, back, or ankles. The most important thing to remember when exercising is to know your limits. The majority of the time, pains are not only caused by exercise, but instead other pre-existing conditions. If you know you have joint issues, then participate in low-impact exercises like Tai Chi. If you have asthma or lung issues, be sure to pace yourself and take frequent breaks when doing strenuous exercise. Take an interest in learning about your body’s limitations, and always listen to your body when you feel like you have to pull back. When exercising, always start slow, and work yourself up at your own pace.

Learning About Anxiety: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Feeling anxious is a natural emotion. It’s a temporary feeling that is felt in times of distress, anticipation, and trouble. But, when anxiety goes from being temporary to being constant, then that might be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental disorders, affecting an estimated 40 million American adults. Here we break down the most common anxiety disorder among seniors.

What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

People with anxiety disorders experience extreme anxiety that lasts for a long period of time. This could be anywhere from weeks to months to years. Anxiety disorders can affect everything from daily activities to job performance, personal relationships, and everyday tasks.  

The most common type of anxiety among seniors is generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD. GAD is the experience of anxiety in everyday situations, even when there are no immediate reasons to be anxious. People with GAD always expect the worst to happen, whether it be with their finances, personal life, jobs, etc. These feelings can become critical, causing the person to find even simple tasks impossible to complete. Symptoms of GAD can include:

  • Inability to relax
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue or being easily fatigued
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Trembling, twitching, sweating and/or nausea

Around 3.1 percent, or about 6.8 million of the American adult population currently suffer from GAD, with women being twice as likely to be affected than men.

For a long time, experts believed that anxiety disorders were less common among older adults. But, recently, most experts have concluded that seniors do not suffer any less from anxiety than any other age group, seniors are only less likely to speak about their symptoms. Many seniors carry anxiety disorders that have been affecting them since they were young, and see their symptoms as normal. If your anxiety consumes you, or affects how you live your day-to-day life, then it is not normal.

Of the 40 million Americans who suffer from anxiety disorders, only about one-third receive proper treatment. If you do suffer from any of these symptoms, talk to your primary care doctor or a medical professional. For more information about anxiety, visit the links below:

www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders
www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/older-adults

Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments of Bronchitis

What is Bronchitis?

There are two types of bronchitis: Acute and chronic. Both happen when the bronchial tubes, or the tubes that transport air to the lungs, are inflamed. Symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Coughing
  • Overproduction of mucus
  • Mild fever
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing (Most common in people with asthma)

Acute bronchitis is the most common type of bronchitis, caused by a virus, and normally, lasts up to a week. Acute bronchitis mostly forms after having the flu or a cold or experiencing flu and cold like symptoms. Though uncomfortable, acute bronchitis is often harmless, and goes away on its own.

Chronic bronchitis includes the same exact symptoms, but lasts for three months or longer. Most often, chronic bronchitis is caused by air pollution, which often includes cigarette smoke.    

How to Treat and Prevent Bronchitis.

Acute bronchitis does not require much medication. Antibiotics do not work on bronchitis because it is a viral infection. For most people, getting better is just a matter of waiting it out. But, there are ways to help lessen the symptoms, including:

  • Drinking fluids and resting
  • Using over-the counter medications such as cough and mucus suppressants.
  • Using a humidifier
  • Using a prescribed inhaler (if you have asthma)
  • Taking aspirin (if you experience mild fever)  

When sick, it is important to avoid pollutants such as cigarette smoke. Smoking with acute bronchitis often leads to chronic bronchitis.

If you have a chronic illness (especially heart or lung diseases, including asthma), your cough lasts for over a week, or you are experiencing chest pain, high fever, a mild fever for up to three days, chills, or blood when you cough, contact or visit your doctor.

To avoid spreading and contracting bronchitis, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly throughout the day and avoid touching your face, especially around the mouth and eyes. Getting vaccinated against the flu also greatly diminishes the chances of contracting bronchitis.  

What to do When Your Cough Persist/ Other Coughing Illnesses

If your cough persists, then it may be a sign of chronic bronchitis. It is imperative that you visit a doctor if your cough continues for over a week. Often, self diagnoses are wrong, and bronchitis is often mistaken for allergies, asthma, or pneumonia. The main difference between bronchitis and pneumonia is that pneumonia has stronger symptoms and can become severe. To learn more about pneumonia, visit our article here.

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects bone health and density. Bones are constantly breaking down and replacing themselves like other living tissues do. When suffering from osteoporosis, bones can’t replace all of the tissue that breaks down, causing them to weaken significantly. At first, osteoporosis doesn’t have any symptoms. The only way to find out whether you’re showing early signs of the disease is to have your bone density measured by a medical professional. Later on in the disease, once the bones have been significantly weakened, symptoms can include:

  • Bone fractures, especially one caused by normally non-threatening actions, like a small fall or bending or twisting of the body.  
  • Fractured or collapsed vertebra (causes back pain)
  • A stooped or curved posture
  • Decrease in height

If you experience any of these symptoms, visit a doctor immediately. Even if you have no symptoms, it is extremely important to schedule an appointment to talk with your doctor about your chance of having osteoporosis and about having your bone density measured, since older adults are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis. Other high risk factors include:

  • Having a smaller body frame
  • Having a family history of the disease, especially if a parent or sibling suffers from it
  • Being of Caucasian or Asian descent
  • Being a women, since loss of estrogen after menopause causes bones to weaken
  • Having pre-existing thyroid or other gland problems
  • Suffering from dietary issues such as low calcium intake, an eating disorder, or having gastrointestinal surgery
  • Long-term usage of medications such as oral or injected corticosteroid medications, and certain medications that treat seizures, gastric reflux, cancer, or transplant rejection
  • Suffering from medical conditions such as cancer, kidney or liver disease, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and rheumatoid arthritis

Prevention

Osteoporosis prevention is all about eating well and keeping a healthy lifestyle. A few prevention tips are:

  • Incorporating extra protien, vitamin D and calcium into your diet, all of which aid bone health.
  • Maintaining an appropriate weight that is neither overweight nor underweight. While those with thinner frames are at a higher risk of osteoporosis, recent studies have linked wider frames to increased chances in arm and wrist fractures.
  • Engaging regularly in exercise that helps minimize bone loss and strengthen bone health. Strength exercise helps upper body bone health (e.g.: exercising with weights), weight bearing exercises for lower body bone health (e.g.: walking, jogging, etc.), and balance exercises help with preventing falls (e.g.: tai chi, yoga, etc.)

Risks, Symptoms, and Signs of An Underactive Thyroid

What Are The Thyroid Glands?

The thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam’s Apple. The gland produces hormones that affect the metabolism. The thyroid is extremely important, maintaining the body’s heart, temperature, protein production, and usage of fats and carbohydrates. Problems with one’s thyroid can result in thyroid disease, which is an umbrella term for any complication caused by the thyroid.

Here, we go over one of the most common thyroid problems: underactive thyroids.

Symptoms

Also called Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid occurs when the thyroid produces less hormones than usual. This can be caused by a number of pre-existing conditions, like autoimmune disease, medications, treatments such as radiation therapy, and prior thyroid surgery.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Thinning hair
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory

Hypothyroidism symptoms can start slowly, and can go unnoticed at first. It is important to visit a doctor as soon as you start experiencing multiple symptoms. The longer an underactive thyroid goes untreated, the more severe the symptoms become. When left untreated, underactive thyroids can lead to: goiters, heart problems, depression,  peripheral neuropathy, and other life-threatening health issues. Underactive thyroids can only be diagnosed and treated by professionals.

People who are at the highest risk of developing hypothyroidism are women over 60, people with autoimmune disease, those with a family history of thyroid disease, those who received radiation therapy, and those who have received thyroid surgery.  

Glaucoma: The Different Causes, Types, and Signs

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an umbrella term for multiple eye conditions caused by damage to the optic nerve inside the eye. Although each condition varies in causes and symptoms, all can lead to permanent eye damage, including partial and complete blindness in one or both eyes. In fact, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the US, especially among seniors. Approximately 15% of people with untreated glaucoma become blind in one or both eyes. Knowing the types of glaucoma and the symptoms and signs are essential in catching the condition early on.

Causes & Symptoms

Elevated eye pressure is one of the leading causes of glaucoma. Eye pressure occurs when the fluid that is normally drained from the eye is overproduced, causing the fluid to build up, which causes pressure. But, while those with elevated eye pressure are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, not everyone with eye pressure will develop it. Additionally, you do not need to have elevated eye pressure in order to be affected by glaucoma. Those at the highest risk include:

  • People with a family history of glaucoma
  • People over 60
  • Those suffering from other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell, and high blood pressure
  • Those with other eye conditions such as eye pressure or far or nearsightedness
  • Those who have had prior eye injuries or surgeries.

Although different types of glaucoma cause varying symptoms in either one or both eyes, the most telling sign of glaucoma are patchy blind spots that happen to the side or central vision, and the loss of one peripheral (side) vision, also known as tunnel vision. These symptoms, generally, occur during the later stages of the disease.

Types

Different types of glaucoma include:

Open angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma, and is caused by building pressure in the eye, which gradually damages the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma begins with no symptoms, and can go unnoticed until eyesight begins to worsen.

Angle-closure glaucoma, or closed-angled glaucoma, happens when drainage in the eye is blocked, causing the fluid to build up and create pressure. Angle-closure can happen in two ways, either suddenly (known as acute angle-closure) or gradually (known as chronic angle-closure). Symptoms can include:

  • Eye pain
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Eye redness
  • Halos or flares around light

If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

Normal-tension glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged due to unknown causes, without the buildup in eye pressure.

Pigmentary glaucoma is caused by pigment from the iris draining and blocking other fluid from draining from the eye.

Glaucoma has no cure. Because it shows little to no symptoms during its earliest stages, it’s important to receive regular checkups with an eye doctor to catch any early detections of the disease. Early detection can help treat and prevent any further eye damage.  

 

Does Bad Weather Really Cause Joints To Ache?

Do you ever get back pain when it rains? Or headaches in the cold? Old wives’ tales have always blamed the weather for making the body ache, and now, science does too. After years of people swearing this phenomenon is true, there is now solid evidence that aches and pains worsen in certain weathers.

So, what causes this? Depending on the weather, the air pressure, or barometric pressure, shifts from high to low. When the pressure drops, as it does before and during bad weather, such as rain storms, the nerve endings in joint tissues swell, tighten and ache. People suffering from arthritis or bone diseases like osteoporosis tend to be the most affected, since it worsens their existing symptoms.

But, it’s not only the joints that are affected. Many scientists believe that changes in weather also affect migraines. Shifts in barometric pressure and temperature may cause the brain to feel pressure, making it harder for it to block out pain. Like with joint pain, many people who suffer from headaches and/or migraines have worse experiences during bad weather.

Does that mean weather is making bone or brain health worse?

It’s unlikely. The barometric pressure and temperature only have temporary effects on existing symptoms. This is why people with strong bones don’t feel aches during the change in weather. Once the bad weather passes, the aches and pains tend to go with it. If you suffer from severe pain during changes in weather, tell your doctor. Together, you can come up with a more flexible treatment that incorporates different shifts in weather.

These causes are not completely proven yet, but most scientists and doctors agree that these are the most likely causes. If you’re experiencing tightened joints due to the weather, apply heat to the affected area, using a heating pad or heating creams. Lightly stretching the affected joints also helps. If you are going to spend time outside in the cold, be sure to dress warmly and avoid any strenuous activities.

What You Need To Know About Overactive Thyroids

What Are The Thyroid Glands?

The thyroid is the butterfly shaped gland located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. The gland produces hormones that affect the metabolism. The thyroid is extremely important, maintaining the body’s heart, temperature, protein production, and usage of fats and carbohydrates. Problems with one’s thyroid can result in thyroid disease, which is an umbrella term for any complication caused by the thyroid.

Here, we go over one of the most common thyroid problems: Overactive thyroids.

Symptoms

Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is caused by the thyroid overproducing hormones. This causes the metabolism to work faster than it’s meant to. According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Sudden weight loss, even when your appetite and the amount and type of food you eat remain the same or even increase
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute — irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or pounding of your heart (palpitations)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
  • Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skin thinning
  • Fine, brittle hair

(Source: Mayo Clinic)

Symptoms can vary depending on the person. Older adults tend to experience less severe symptoms, sometimes showing little to no symptoms. Symptoms such as fatigue, increased heart rate, and higher body temperature can easily be mistaken for other health issues.

Overactive thyroids can be caused by preexisting conditions, including graves’ disease, toxic adenoma, Plummer disease (toxic multinodular goiter) and thyroiditis(x). The disease is more common in women and in people with a family history of thyroid disease.

Hyperthyroidism can only be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. If you start experiencing any symptoms, consult with your doctor immediately. If untreated, overactive thyroid can result in heart disease, osteoporosis, eye problems, red, swollen skin and thyrotoxic crisis.

What You Need to Know About Depression

Among seniors, depression is the most common mood disorder. It often goes undiagnosed and untreated due to the stigma that it is not a real disorder. Depression is very real, and should never be ignored. Here, we go over the types, symptoms, causes, and effects of depression.

Depression is the feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and apatheticness. The difference between feeling sad and feeling depressed, is that depression lasts for long periods of time, from anywhere between a few weeks to several years. It inevitably will affect a person’s life, including their personal relationships and job performance. The main types of depression are:

Major Depression, which is the most common depressive disorder. It lasts for two weeks or longer, and can cause a person to experiences four or more of the following symptoms:

  • Ongoing feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness
  • Insomnia / difficulty sleeping
  • Feelings of fatigue or tiredness
  • Feelings of irritability
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Thoughts of death and/or suicide
  • Suicide attempts
  • Physical symptoms that do not respond to normal treatments, such as headaches, digestive issues, aches, cramps, or pain.

Persistent Depressive Disorder or PDD, is a form of depression that lasts for over two years. PDD shares the same symptoms as major depression, and can include episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder (formerly manic depression) is not as common as major depression or PDD, and is the experience of extreme mood cycles that go from intense highs (manic) to severe lows (depression).

Depression has several underlying causes, including genetic, environmental, and physiological factors. Depression can be genetic, with people with a history of depression in their family having higher risks of suffering from depression. But, this is not always the case. Depression can also be caused by trauma or stress (e.g. the recent death of a loved one, financial issues, etc.), or depression can occur with no obvious causes or triggers.

In the same way one would go to the doctor when sick, people with depression should seek help from a professional. If you are experiencing any symptoms of depression, talk to your doctor. They can help you find a certified psychiatrist. Many clinics and senior centers also have attending psychiatrists and therapists on site who are willing to help those in need. If you or someone you know is showing signs of suicidal behavior (talking about death, planning their own death, etc.) contact the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or visit Suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

How to Help Someone with Hearing Loss Understand and Participate in a Conversation

For many individuals, aging is a mixed bag of everyday annoyances, extreme challenges, and wonderful new experiences. While minor and major problems, such as compromised mobility, a change in sleep cycles, or chronic ailments can diminish quality of life for many older individuals, the opportunities afforded by retirement can offset other problems to make this time in life one of great joy. Spending more time with partners and loved ones, watching grandchildren grow up, the opportunity for deeper immersion in hobbies, and the leisure to travel, read, and slow down and enjoy the little things in life can be an absolute delight. In order to enjoy life as much as possible, it’s imperative for seniors to be able to mitigate the not-so-good aspects of aging in order to focus on the good ones.

One of the most common problems experienced by seniors is hearing loss. In fact, everyone begins to lose at least some of their hearing from a very early age. Even people in their twenties hear less acutely than they did as teens! High pitched noises, in particular, become harder for the human ear to detect relatively early on. Most of the time, this isn’t a problem. But after the age of 75, almost half of Americans will have hearing loss that is significant enough to pose a problem in everyday life.

For someone with hearing loss, it can be difficult to understand speech, and thus to follow the flow of a conversation, particularly in places with lots of background noise. This can be extremely discouraging, and, in some cases, lead to social withdrawal due to the frustration of being unable to participate in everyday interactions. For the caregivers, family and loved ones of people with hearing loss, this can be frustrating also. In order to help someone with hearing loss understand and participate in conversation. reducing background noise can be a great way to help. Background noise is a major obstacle to comprehension for people with hearing loss, especially when it comes to picking out consonants. Any time you want to engage in meaningful conversation, or when you want to make someone with hearing loss feel included in a social event, make sure to choose a quiet setting with a low level of ambient noise.

Find the original article here. 

Content provided by Edison Home Health Care. Their team of trusted advisors is happy to assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care for Parkinson problems. Have questions? Give them a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form.

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Everything You Need To Know About Psoriasis

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a non-contagious chronic disease that causes rough, raised patches on the skin. It is an autoimmune disease, which means it is caused by the immune system. People suffering from psoriasis develop an overabundance of skin cells, which causes build-up. Symptoms can include:

  • Itching, burning, or stinging
  • Red patches of skin
  • Cracked or scaly skin
  • Stiff or swollen joints
  • Abnormal nail growth (including pitted, ridged, thick, or discolored nails)

Psoriasis can appear on any part of the body, but most commonly appears on the scalp, elbows and knees. If you are experiencing any symptoms of psoriasis, visit your primary doctor or a dermatologist. Over-the-counter products will not cause psoriasis symptoms to disappear, so it is important to speak with your physician.  

Types of Psoriasis

There are several different types of psoriasis.

Plaque Psoriasis, which is the most common type, is distinguished by the swollen red patches that appear on the skin. The patches are often covered with dead skin cells, causing it to have a white, scaly appearance. It most often appears on the outside of the knees and elbows, the scalp, face, lower back, palms, and feet soles.

Guttate Psoriasis is most common in kids and young adults, but it can still flair up later on in life. It causes small, red dots to appear on the skin that can appear by the hundreds. It flairs up most often on the torso, arms and legs, but can also appear on the scalp, face, and ears. Guttate can be triggered by infections, certain drugs, skin injuries, or stress, and can occur simultaneously to other forms of psoriasis.  

Inverse (or Intertriginous) Psoriasis symptoms can also occur at the same time as other psoriasis symptoms. Unlike other forms of psoriasis, inverse psoriasis symptoms include red patches on the skin that are smooth and shiny. They appear in body folds, like in the armpits, the groin, below breasts, and skin folds. Because of the constant rubbing and sweating, the patches tend to be extremely sensitive and irritated.

Pustular Psoriasis causes small, white, pus-filled blisters to appear surrounded by red skin. It can be triggered by a number of causes, including  medications, UV light, outside irritants, infections, and stress.

Erythrodermic psoriasis is the most uncommon form of psoriasis. Symptoms include widespread redness and shedding on the body, skin appearing burned, severe pain and itching, increases and decreases in body temperature. Erythrodermic psoriasis can be fatal, and can be triggered by sun burn, medications, infections, steroid usage, alcoholism, and stress. If you or someone you know are showing any symptoms get medical help immediately.

 

What are the Early Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive degenerative disorder of the nervous system, caused by gradual loss of function in the parts of the brain that control movement. Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremor of the hands, face, or limbs, stiffness in the arms, legs, and torso, and difficulty initiating voluntary movement. Other early symptoms may include smaller handwriting, stooping or poor posture, and a shuffling walk, and a consistently “serious,” “sad, or angry” facial expression, regardless of the person’s actual mood.

Parkinson’s usually affects people over the age of 50. For most people who develop Parkinson’s, early symptoms are subtle, appear gradually over time, and progress in stages. In some people, however, symptoms progress much more quickly, leading to a more sudden loss of ability.

As the primary symptoms of Parkinson’s become more pronounced, affected individuals often have more difficulty walking, talking, and completing everyday tasks. Walking often becomes problematic as balance, posture, and coordination are compromised, and a characteristic shuffling gait develops, making falls more likely. Talking sometimes becomes difficult for people with Parkinson’s as the disease progresses; many Parkinson’s sufferers speak in a very soft voice, have trouble modulating their tone, and may struggle to find the right words to express themselves. Bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living become more difficult as coordination deteriorates and voluntary movement gets harder. People with Parkinson’s may experience trouble eating, as a lack of control over the muscles that govern chewing and swallowing make mealtimes more of a challenge.

Because of the progressive nature of Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to stay vigilant at the first onset of symptoms. Although it’s impossible to predict how quickly symptoms will get worse, since disease progress varies from person to person, it’s vital to pursue treatment and coordinate assistance for affected individuals as soon as possible.

Content provided by Edison Home Health Care. Their team of trusted advisors is happy to assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care for Parkinson problems. Have questions? Give them a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form.

Find the original article here.

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Crohn’s Disease: Types, Signs, and Symptoms

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s Disease is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or an IBD. Affecting around 780,000 Americans, the disease causes inflammation in the bowel tissue of the digestive tract. Symptoms can vary, but generally include:

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Persistent need to use the bathroom
  • Constipation
  • Feeling of incomplete bowel removal

Less common symptoms can also include:

  • Fever and fatigue
  • Mouth sores
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Night Sweats
  • Inflammation of skin, eyes, joints, liver or bile ducts

The causes of Crohn’s Disease are still unknown. People with a family history of the disease are more likely to suffer from it. Those with parents, siblings, or children affected by the disease are at highest risk.

The types of Crohn’s Disease are dependant on which part of the tract is affected. The different types include:

Ileocolitis, which affects the ends of both the small and large intestines. Commonly, people experience cramping, diarrhea and pain in the abdomen, and can experience weight loss.

Ileitis, which affects only the small intestines, shares the same symptoms as Ileocolitis.

Jejunoileitis causes inflammation in random parts of the upper half of the small intestine. It can cause diarrhea, abdominal pains, and cramps, especially after eating.

Gastroduodenal affects the small intestine and the stomach, and can cause nausea, vomiting, loss and appetite and weight loss.

Crohn’s (Granulomatous) Colitis causes rectal bleeding and diarrhea, and affects the colon.

Those who have Crohn’s Disease can experience symptoms irregularly. The disease is chronic, and has no cure. It cannot be self-diagnosed, and can only be diagnosed by a professional. If you have experienced any of the major symptoms listed above, visit your doctor immediately.

Ways to Deal With Hearing Loss

For some, aging is a process that allows them to slow down, contemplate the subtleties of life, and enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of hard work. Retirement may bring opportunities for travel, spending time with family and cultivating new hobbies or returning to old ones. For others, aging can bring cause stress and worry, as health problems appear, money becomes tight, and a loss of independence looms. For many people, it’s a combination of the two. There is one thing that is extremely common as all people age, however: hearing loss. Over time, the delicate mechanisms of the inner ear deteriorate, decreasing sensitivity to sound. This process is so universal that up to a third of people experience hearing loss after the age of 65, and almost half will lose some of their hearing after the age of 75.

For people who experience hearing impairment at an early age, there is plenty of time to adapt. Infants, children, and young people with hearing difficulties often become fluent in sign language and adept at lip-reading and the interpretation of body language. For older adults, however, the loss of a sense that has always been a fundamental part of how they experience the world can be devastating. Individuals with hearing loss may struggle to follow conversations, and have difficulty hearing music or listening over the phone. They may become easily increasingly prone to social withdrawal because of the frustration of being unable to understand others. Over time, hearing loss can lead to depression and relationship problems.

For the friends and loved ones of someone with hearing loss, it can be very difficult to witness these changes. Someone who was formerly lively and vivacious can become solitary and withdrawn. In these situations, it can be very helpful to adjust your communication style, so as to help the person with hearing loss understand and feel included in conversation. Try talking in well-lit areas, and make ample use of facial expressions and gestures to convey your meaning. Even someone who has been able to hear for most of their life will still be able to pick up on the non-verbal aspects of language, and may even develop the ability to lip-read if given the opportunity.

Content provided by Edison Home Health Care. Their team of trusted advisors is happy to assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care for Parkinson problems. Have questions? Give them a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form.

Find the original article here. 

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Diabetic Retinopathy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Diabetic retinopathy is a vision complication caused by diabetes that, if left untreated, can lead to eventual blindness. Here, we go over the causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Symptoms

Diabetic retinopathy can happen in different stages.

Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) occurs during the earlier stages when the blood vessels inside the retina (the tissue lining the back of the eye) begin to leak. The fluids excreted from the blood vessels seep into the retina, causing it to thicken and swell, damaging the tissue. This can cause:

  • Cloudy and blurred vision
  • Spots or floaters in vision
  • Seeing a dark or empty spot in center of vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night and in the dark

In many cases, diabetic retinopathy shows little to no symptoms during its earliest stages, so it is always important for those with diabetes to get a comprehensive dilated eye examination yearly.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) occurs during the later stages of the disease. New deformed blood vessels begin to grow in the eye, causing serious damage to the tissue surrounding it. The damage causes fluid to pool in the back of the eyes and blood to leak out of the vessels. This can cause the symptoms above to become more severe and can cause blindness, if left untreated.

Diabetic Retinopathy can happen in both eyes. Those with high blood sugar can experience fluid filling in their eyes, blurring their vision. This can be controlled by keeping track of one’s blood sugar.

Who’s at risk?

Those with Type A and Type B diabetes and long-time diabetes sufferers are at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, especially if not maintained and treated correctly. Those with high cholesterol and high blood pressure are also at risk.

Prevention and treatment

When diagnosed, diabetic retinopathy can be treated with laser eye surgery, injections, or surgery procedures, depending on how far along the disease is.

For those at risk of diabetic retinopathy, it is important you:

  • Take your prescribed medication
  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly
  • Control high blood pressure
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking

How Does Medication Take Effect on Parkinson’s Patients?

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic condition that is caused by deterioration in regions of the brain that control movement.

Neurons, the densely clustered bundles of nerve cells that send and receive signals in the brain, lose the ability to produce dopamine, a chemical crucial to transmitting messages about movement. Although the exact cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, there are commonalities in the brains of Parkinson’s sufferers that point to the origins of the disease. Abnormal accumulations of protein, known as Lewy bodies, are found on dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra, the brain stem, and other regions of the brain responsible for movement.

Parkinson’s symptoms are typically mild in the beginning, and become worse over time, progressing in stages. Early signs of Parkinson’s include body tremors, which are often initially mild and confined to once side of the body, stiffness, difficulty moving, slow movement, stooped posture, small, cramped handwriting, and a rigid, mask-like facial expression. As the disease progresses, these symptoms become more pronounced, and others develop. In later stages, Parkinson’s symptoms may include psychiatric, digestive, and urinary problems. Every person’s experience of Parkinson’s is unique; some people may struggle with severe tremors, while others may have more trouble with stiffness or slowness of movement.

There is at present no cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, there are treatments available to address its symptoms. A combination of the drugs levodopa and carbidopa is often effective in the treatment of stiffness and slowness of movement. However, these drugs are not especially successful in treating tremors, and may not have any effect on balance or other symptoms. A class of drugs called anticholinergics inhibit the action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is responsible for involuntary movement. These drugs can help to alleviate rigidity and tremors. Ropinirole, bromocriptine, and pramipexole are drugs that mimic dopamine, and stimulate neurons to regulate movement.

Content provided by Edison Home Health Care. Their team of trusted advisors is happy to assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care for Parkinson problems. Have questions? Give them a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form.

Find the original article here.

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Tips On Dealing With Eczema

What is Eczema

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes red itchy patches to appear on the skin. It is a chronic condition that can vary from mild to severe. Eczema has no cure, but it can be treated. Symptoms of Eczema include:

  • Irritated red or grayish brown patches on the body
  • Itching
  • Small skin bumps
  • Crusting or fluid-filled bumps
  • Dry, cracked, swollen, and sensitive skin

Many factors can flare or aggravate symptoms of eczema, including cold weather. During the winter, to the cold air mixed with the heat of the indoors and wearing extra layers make it harder for the skin to maintain moisture. This aggravates the skin.  Of course, eczema can worsen based on many different factors. Here are a few to keep in mind this season: 

Hot baths and long hot showers

Some bath products claim to help eczema with special bath salts or mixtures that should be used in the tub. But, often, people tend to use these products in hot water. This is counter-intuitive, because spending long periods of time submerged in hot water dries out the skin, worsening eczema symptoms. Try using warm water instead of hot water, and limiting the amount of time you spend in the shower or bath.

Clothes, towels, and sheets

At almost all times, fabrics are rubbing up against our skins. So, it is important to keep in mind that certain fabrics can be causing your skin more harm than good. When dealing with eczema, softer fabrics like silk or cotton are better for the skin. Certain materials, like wool, should not be in direct contact with the skin. In the case of wool coats, the inside material should always be softer and more delicate than the outside.

When it comes to towels, they should be gentle on the skin, not rough. Avoid stiff or older towels. When using a towel, always pat the skin dry. Rubbing, especially on dry patches, can cause further damage.

Sheets should also be soft. Cotton and silk sheets (if you want to splurge) work best when dealing with eczema.

Scratching

Scratching or picking at skin with dry patches or raised bumps causes aggravation,crusting, and swelling. Scratching can also cause fluids to develop under the skin and the spread of bacteria. Instead, skin should be properly treated to diminish irritation. Gentle, unscented soaps without dyes or alcohol should be used when bathing. Use thick moisturizers everyday. When dealing with flare-ups, use specialized ointments recommended to you by your doctor. These ointments may contain hydrocortisone or hydrocortisone acetate, which help with itching.  

Is Organic Food Healthier Than Regular Food?

Is Organic Food Better For You?

Overall studies have found that organic foods are no more healthy than regularly grown and raised food.   

Organic food is food that is grown or raised without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics or hormones. Traditional foods are foods that include all of these additives. Studies have found that there is little to no nutritional difference between organically grown and non-organically grown food. In a 2012 study showed that there was little to no vitamin or nutrient difference between organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables. The biggest difference was pesticides. Organic food had little to no pesticides while non-organic food almost always used pesticides. But, all of the food passed the pesticide safety limits. Even meats showed little difference, both organic and traditional meat having similar risks of e coli virus.

But, Aren’t Pesticides bad?

A lot of people don’t trust pesticides, and they’re not without their reasons. Pesticides are used to keep harmful pests like insects from contaminating foods. They are made up of different compounds and chemicals that are generally safe for people to consume in limits, which is why pesticides that are over the safety limit cannot be consumed. So, why are so many people against them? Well, pesticides are man-made, and though there is no direct proof if pesticides cause any problems or illnesses, some chemicals used in pesticides are dangerous in larger amounts. A lot of people also like to point out that past synthetic chemicals that were thought safe at one point where proven to be harmful overtime.

So, why do we use pesticide? Pesticides make it possible to grow a lot of food with a much lower risk of contamination. But, not all pesticides are the same. Natural pesticides do not use any synthetic chemicals. And, as said before, a lot of organic foods are grown with natural or no pesticides.

At the end of the day, there is little danger in consuming foods made with pesticides. Whether or not you choose to eat organic or non-organic raised foods is entirely up to you. The main goal is to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Unhealthy “Healthy” Foods

Margarine

Originally, margarine was created to be a healthier alternative to butter. But, over the years, the spread has become so processed, that it’s hardly any better than butter. While significantly lower in cholesterol and fat when compared to butter, margarine is still not much better. It’s high in saturated fat, contains trans fat, and has very little nutritional value. But, margarine’s nutritional value varies, depending on the brand and type. One popular brand of margarine that many people don’t realize is margarine is I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Some margarines contain less trans fat and low salt, so always check the nutritional information before buying.

For an alternative, try using vegetable oils or olive oils on different foods and breads instead.   

Low-Fat Products

Many food products use catchy words to make them sound healthy; low-fat, fat-free, reduced-fat, light, etc. These words appeal to people who are trying to cut fat out of their diet. But, in order to make up for the lack of fat and lack of taste, these foods tend to stock up on sugar, salt,  and all other type of ingredients that drive up the calories. This is also why it’s important to always check the nutritional value before eating.

But, do these food descriptions all mean the same thing? Negative. In fact, each has a completely separate meaning:

Low-fat means a serving size of food has three or less grams of fat.

Fat-free means a serving size of food contains less than 0.5 grams of fat.

Reduced-fat means a food product has 24% less fat than the regular food product.

Light foods either have one-third less fat than the original food or half the fat of the original food.

Salad toppings

Salad is seen as the ultimate healthy meal. But, when all those greens are covered in thick dressing, croutons and strips of meat, then it’s no longer as healthy as it once was. Beware of pre-made salads bought at restaurants and fast food places, where the salads can be over one third of your daily calorie intake. When making or buying a salad, be careful of what goes in it. These can include:

Dressings, especially thick, creamy dressings like ranch or russian; Instead, try oil or vinegar based dressings.  

Toppings, such as croutons, cheese, fried meats, fish, salted/roasted nuts, etc; Instead, opt for crunchy fruits and vegetables, grilled or baked meats-fish, and regular nuts and seeds.

Nutrition Labels Explained

The best way to know to whether a food is healthy or not is to check its nutritional label. But, what exactly should you be looking for when reading one?

Serving Size & Serving Per Container: Serving sizes are important because the nutritional label is based on the serving size. This can become confusing when you see something has only 100 calories but has 4 servings. This means that the entire package of food is actually 400 calories. Often times, people tend to eat well over the serving size, ignoring it all together. It is extremely important to check the serving size, since it could be the difference between 100 calories and 400 calories.

Calories: Calories counts help you keep track of how many calories you’re consuming as part of your daily intake. According to the FDA, anything with 40 calories or less is considered a low calorie food, 100 calories, a moderate calorie food, and 400 or more calories, a high calorie food.

Calories from fat: exactly as it says, these are the amount of calories that come from fat.

Fat: Generally, too much fat is a bad thing, especially saturated fats and trans fats, so you should always avoid eating foods high in those fats. But, not all fats are bad. Fats like polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are healthy, and can be found in healthy foods such as oils, nuts, seeds, and avocados.

Cholesterol & sodium: Just like fats, foods high in cholesterol and sodium should be either avoided or eaten in moderation.

Total carbohydrates: Popular to contrary belief, carbohydrates are not bad for you. Both dietary fiber and sugar are carbs. Dietary fiber is essential for good health, and helps maintain healthy bowel movements, as well as making you feel fuller faster. Sugar, on the other hand, can be either good or bad, believe it or not. Natural sugars that come naturally from fruits, vegetables or milk is fine, while processed and added sugars are the sugars you should avoid.   

Protein, vitamin and minerals: These are important since they are essential for a healthy lifestyle.

DV%: DV% stands for daily value percentage, and is listed next to the nutrition facts. These percentages list how much of that nutrient you are receiving based on the daily recommended amount. These percentages are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, which may be either above or below your personal recommended calorie intake. When reading the DV%, remember that 5% or lower is low and 20% or higher is high. For healthy nutrients like dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, you want to look for high DV%. And for unhealthy nutrients like saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and cholesterol, you want to aim for low DV%.    

Everything You Need To Know About Adult-Onset Asthma

What Is Asthma ?

Asthma is a chronic illness that affects the lung’s airways. The lung’s airways carry air in and out of the lungs. In people suffering with asthma, the muscles in their airways can become constricted and swollen, allowing less air to pass through. Symptoms of asthma can include:

  • Wheezing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Chronic coughing

Symptoms of asthma most commonly occur in reaction to various allergens, irritants, activities, and surroundings. These triggers can cause a flare-up of symptoms, also called asthma attacks. These triggers can include:

  • Allergens, such as animal dander, dust, mold, pollen, or cockroaches
  • Irritants, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, or sprays (hairspray, disinfectant spray, etc.)
  • Certain medications
  • Physical activity
  • Sulfites in foods or drinks
  • Changes in weather

Adult-onset asthma can be triggered by allergies. Other triggers include:

  • Extended exposure to irritants, such as cigarette smoke or work materials
  • Hormonal fluctuations in women, which can happen during and after pregnancy or menopause
  • Certain illnesses (such as a cold or the flu)

Asthma can re-appear if you suffered with asthma as a child. In fact, people who suffered from asthma when they were younger experience more severe symptoms when developing adult-onset asthma.   

The exact cause of asthma is unknown, and there is no cure. But, when properly treated, asthma can be maintained.  

Asthma Treatments

Doctors who specialize in asthma work with patients to help control their symptoms. Since everyone experiences asthma differently, doctors will prescribe different medications and create different plans to fit each individual’s symptoms and triggers. Prescription asthma medications come in two types: long-term control and short-term control. Long-term control medications help prevent asthma symptoms while short-term medications give instant relief from symptoms.

New York’s New Breast Cancer Screening Program

Receiving screenings for breast cancer has never been easier in New York. New legislation has changed the way New York handles breast cancer, which is the leading cancer-related death amongst New York women. Here, we go over the biggest changes, and how you can take advantage of them.

Different Hospitals and Clinics Will Provide Extended Screening Hours

While not every hospital in New York has them, 210 hospitals and hospital extension clinics will now have extended screening hours, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday or Sunday.

To find a screening near you, call 1-866-442-CANCER (2262), text “Get Screened “to 81336.

Eliminates Either All or Added Screening Costs  

In eligible hospitals, annual deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance payments are eliminated. For women with no insurance, free screenings are available if they’re:

  • 40 years old or over
  • Under 40 years old at a high risk for breast cancer.

For uninsured women, the NYS Cancer Service Program offers free diagnostic testing and case management services. (find more information here)

Gives Yearly Four-hour Leave for Public Employees

Public employees in cities with populations exceeding one million are allowed 4 hours of leave per year for breast cancer screenings. All public employers are required to give this time by law.

Private employers are being encouraged to also give four-hour leaves. To see the list of current private employers who have adopted the leave, visit here.

No More Cost-Sharing For Diagnostic Tests

Women who require tests beyond regular mammograms, such as diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and breast MRI’s, will no longer have to pay out-of-pocket costs.

To learn more about New York State’s breast cancer services, visit here. To learn more about additional resources, visit here.