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Health Promotion Tips

Healthiest State Rankings: Sadly Louisiana Ranks 48!!

Healthiest State Rankings: Hawaii Tops 2013 List
Where you live could say a lot about your health habits — and a new ranking reveals which states have it the best and worst.
On a whole, Americans are adopting healthier behaviors, such as stopping smoking and increasing physical activity, according to the report, published by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention.
The report also shows that the percentage of smokers has dropped to 19.6 percent in the U.S. from 21.2 percent in the last year. And physical inactivity has dropped on a whole to 22.9 percent in the last year, down from 26.2 percent.
The findings are based on multiple sources of data, including the FBI, the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Education and the Census Bureau. Rankings are based on a number of criteria, including premature death, infant mortality, preventable hospitalizations, high school graduation rate, violent crime, health insurance, child poverty, obesity, diabetes, physical activity and immunizations.
Among other general findings:
– While 27.6 percent of adults are obese in the U.S., the percentage has not increased from the last year (it was 27.8 percent in 2012). The report also showed that 9.7 percent of adults have diabetes. – The infant mortality rate has decreased 39 percent since 1990. – Fewer people are dying from heart-related disease; cardiovascular deaths decreased 36 percent since 1990. – Fewer people are also dying from cancer: Deaths from the disease decreased 3 percent since 1990.
Take a look at the list below to see the top 10 states and the bottom 10 states in the 2013 ranking:
Top 10: 1. Hawaii – Fewer people in Hawaii are lighting up, with […]

Eyes might be window into common heart disorder

Damage to the blood vessels of the eyes or kidneys might help identify people who are at raised risk for a common type of heart-rhythm disorder, a new study suggests.
The disorder, called atrial fibrillation, is common in older people and increases the risk of stroke. It also can trigger heart-related chest pain or heart failure in some patients, the researchers said.
In the new study, which is scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Dallas, researchers followed more than 10,000 middle-aged people for an average of almost 14 years.
Researchers led by Sunil Agarwal, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, found that microvascular changes — trouble in the smaller vessels of the eyes or kidneys — appeared to be linked to the presence of atrial fibrillation.
For example, while about six out of every 1,000 people with no microvascular disease developed the heart-rhythm disorder, that figure rose to about nine out of every 1,000 for people with micro-bleeds or micro-aneurysms in the smaller vessels of the eye’s retina, the researchers said.
That number rose to almost 17 per 1,000 people for those with signs of vessel damage in the kidneys. It increased to more than 24 per 1,000 in people who had vessel damage in both the eyes and kidneys, the study found.
Why this vessel damage appears to be tied to a higher risk for atrial fibrillation remains unclear, the researchers said.
One expert not connected to the study theorized that small-vessel damage might be an underlying cause of atrial fibrillation.
“This suggests that a potential trigger for developing atrial fibrillation may be worsening microvascular disease,” said Dr. Neil Sanghvi, an electrophysiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Therefore, treatments […]

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    Diabetics can still enjoy Thanksgiving … with a few precautions

Diabetics can still enjoy Thanksgiving … with a few precautions

‘Tis the season for overeating.
And the biggest threat for most at the eat-a-palooza called Thanksgiving is to our waistline with rolls, stuffing and mashed potatoes ready to derail our diets and permanently affix themselves to our bodies in the form of fat.
But for those with diabetes, carbs and excessive calories become landmines threatening to blow out their blood sugar, leading to potentially serious consequences to their health.
“Definitely if your blood sugar is high one time, it’s not going to be that big of a deal, but the idea is over a long time period if your sugar is high, then you can get into complications like heart disease, neuropathy, kidney disease,” said Shannon Weston, a registered dietician at the University of Texas Health Services in Houston.
David Jones, a hospice chaplain and father of teenage boys in Anniston, AL, was diagnosed with diabetes around nine years ago.
“My mom was diabetic and everybody in her family has been diabetic, so it was kind of like ‘When’s it going to happen?’ And it did,” Jones said.
From what they put on their plates at mealtimes to what they buy at the grocery store and keep the pantry and even where they go out to eat, “It affects the whole family and how you look at food.”
Jones says he’s eaten “a lot of salads” in the last month to get his blood sugar on track. But it’s also helped him develop a strategy to keep his health in check ahead of the holidays.
“I’ve got my mind set, going into the holidays, I’m probably going to eat things I shouldn’t, but I’m going to keep my portions under control,” he said.
“I’m looking at Thanksgiving as a day where I’ll eat […]

Does Cooking Strip Red Wine’s Benefits?

 Are the health benefits of red wine still available if the wine is reduced by half through cooking and then consumed with the food?
The short answer is probably yes: You can drink your wine and cook it too.
Red wine essentially has two properties that make it good for health when consumed in moderation. One is its alcohol content, which is known to increase “good” HDL cholesterol and reduce levels of fibrinogen, a precursor of blood clots. The other is its abundance of polyphenols, natural compounds like resveratrol that, according to some studies, can protect blood vessels and help reduce inflammation.
Although it is widely assumed that alcohol in food burns off completely during cooking, that is not always the case. According to research by the Agriculture Department, the amount of alcohol that remains varies widely, depending on the cooking method. A sauce that is made with wine and simmered and stirred for 30 minutes, for example, can retain as much as a third of its alcohol content.
A red wine reduction requires a fairly lengthy cooking period, so it is likely that much of the alcohol evaporates along with water during the cooking process. But red wine without alcohol still appears to have some health benefits.
In a small randomized clinical trial published in the journal Circulation Research last year, Spanish researchers found that men who were assigned to drink 10 ounces of nonalcoholic red wine daily experienced a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure after four weeks. “There is growing evidence,” an accompanying editorial pointed out, “that chemical constituents present in red wine confer health benefits beyond alcohol and independent of potential confounding factors.”
In another study published in 2011 in The Journal of Cardiovascular […]

The Ultimate “Deskercise” Stretch Routine

Who Uses That Gym Membership, Anyway?
An analysis of job industry trends over the past fifty years revealed that at least 8 in 10 American workers are desk potatoes. Neck and shoulder pain are common pals of a sedentary job.
Not surprisingly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that about 8 in 10 Americans will experience significant lower back pain at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, ladies, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, women are more likely to experience lower back pain and neck pain than men.
Work out your computer screen kinks and paperwork pains with these deskercise gems. 

The Daydream
Gently pull each elbow to the opposite side overhead. Just pretend you’re under a Tahitian waterfall and need to scrub your shoulder blades. 

The Carpet Gazer
Remaining seated, extend your legs and reach toward your toes. Stare at the purplish-gray office carpet or search for lost bits of popcorn for 20 seconds. 

The Half-Bear Hug
Hug one knee at a time, pulling it toward your chest. Tell passers-by you need a mini childhood flashback, or that “this is how you roll.” 

The Olympic Diver
Clasp your hands in front of you and lower your head in line with your arms. Pretend you actually know how to dive correctly, and use this “proper technique” to impress your cubicle companions.

The Almost-Aerobics Reach
Extend each arm overhead and to the opposite side as you imagine Richard Simmons goading you toward a fabulous body. 

The “Who Cares if I’m at Work” Shrug
Raise both shoulders at once up toward the ears. Drop them and repeat as you explain to your boss that you are, indeed, listening with interest. 

The Freedom Search
Clasp hands behind your back, push the chest outward, and raise the chin. Count yourself […]

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    Owning a pet — particularly a dog — could help lower your risk of heart disease.

Owning a pet — particularly a dog — could help lower your risk of heart disease.

“Over the last decade or so there have been periodic reports on the association between pet ownership and cardiovascular risk,” said Dr. Glenn N. Levine, a cardiologist with the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Administration Medical Center in Houston and lead author of a new scientific statement by the AHA which looked at the influence of pets on heart health.
Owning pets is associated with reducing your risk of heart disease, and there are a variety of reasons that may be at work that influence this relationship. It may be that healthier people are more likely to be pet owners or that people with dogs tend to exercise more. Pets also play a role in providing social support to their owners, which is an important factor in helping you stick with a new habit or adopting a new healthy behavior.

Pets and Physical Activity
Most of the studies focused on dogs and heart disease. “Not surprisingly, dog owners who walk their dogs are more likely to achieve the recommended level of physical activity than dog owners who do not walk their dogs,” according to the study. “Unfortunately, a significant proportion of dog owners do not regularly walk their dogs.”

In one study, more than 5,200 Japanese adult dog owners engaged in significantly more walking and physical activity than non-dog owners, and were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity.
Several studies also looked at whether physical activity increased after someone adopted a pet.

“A prospective cohort study of people who adopted either a dog or a cat from an animal shelter found a marked and sustained increase in the number and duration of recreational walks among those who adopted a dog, but no or little change […]

Make Fast Food Friendlier

Feeding your children nutritious meals between all your daily activities can be a challenge. While you zoom back and forth between soccer practice, the dance recital, the PTA meeting and picking up the dry cleaning, you’re lucky to find time to grab a meal at the drive-thru. If you must eat on the go, here are some tips to make fast food healthier for you and your family members:
Pass on the “value-size.” When you supersize, the size of your fries isn’t the only thing that gets bigger.
Skip the sides. Eating a burger or sandwich by itself is often filling enough. If you do want a side, consider ordering a fruit cup or side salad. Most fast food restaurants now offer them.
Avoid double meat and bacon. A serving size of meat is 2-3 ounces — about the size of a deck of cards. You’re probably getting well over that with a single meat patty. Bacon is high in calories and fat with little nutrient content.
Try the grilled chicken sandwich. Poultry without skin is significantly leaner than the meats most fast-food companies use in their burgers.

Eat your sandwich open-faced. By eating only half the bun, you can eliminate unnecessary calories.
Ask for a wheat bun. Some places offer a wheat alternative, some don’t. It never hurts to ask.
Skip the mayo and other sauces. These dressings and sauces add unnecessary calories.
Drink water, diet soda or low-fat milk. Sodas are loaded with sugars, which have calories you don’t need.
American Heart Association

Want Whiter Teeth? Use a banana peel.

Don’t throw your banana peels away, use them to whiten your teeth.
The versatility of banana itself and its peel goes a long way. Aside from the fact that banana is full of vitamins and minerals, and is used in beauty regimen, its peel is also utilized in so many ways; from skin care regimen, to fertilizer and now to whiten teeth. Using banana peel as  teeth whitening is considered extremely safe and healthy because it is not only the flesh of the banana that contains vitamins and minerals but the peel as well. Banana peel has no coarseness that other natural whiteners have and most of all they are not costly.
Tip #1: Unpeel the Banana from Bottom End

Brush your teeth that way you do regularly with natural toothpaste or you can utilize the banana peel initially and subsequently brush your teeth again using your regular toothpaste.
It is important that you utilize ripe banana because it has the most potassium content.
Unpeel the banana from the bottom end just like the way the monkey do it so that it will save you from having all those slack threads.
Tip #2: Tenderly Massage Banana Peel on Teeth
Get a piece of the interior part of the banana peel and tenderly massage all aroun your teeth for approximately two minutes. The remarkable minerals within the peel such as potassium, magnesium and manganese will be soaked up into your teeth and whiten them.
Tip #3: Whiten Teeth with Banana Peel
Do the similar process again at night or before going to bed to whiten your teeth. Letting the banana peel remain longer is not obligatory, but if you have discolorations that require a more thorough way of treatment, you can try leaving the banana […]

Eating Fast Food

Fast food can be heart-healthy food if you know what to look for and order, and have the will power to follow through.  With a little bit of effort, you can ensure that the fast-food meals you choose fall within a healthy dietary pattern.

Follow these fat-sensible tips when making your fast-food choices:

Find out the nutritional content of fast-food items by visiting the chain’s Web site to help identify the healthiest choices.  Some restaurants post this information near the counter or provide it in pamphlet form.

Pass on “value-size” servings that enable you to choose greater portions of food for a slightly greater price.  “Super-sizing” a food item inevitably increases the amount of fat, added sugars, sodium and calories you consume.

Skip the sides, which are usually deep-fried.  For a healthier side dish, order a side salad or fruit cup.

Choose a baked potato over French fries, but have it with vegetables or fat-free or low-fat sour cream or margarine instead of butter, full-fat sour cream or cheese.

Choose grilled chicken sandwiches often – they’re a much healthier option than breaded, fried-chicken sandwiches and usually significantly leaner than the meats used in most burgers.

Avoid ordering sandwiches with double meat.  A single serving of meat is 2–3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards) and a single meat patty is usually well over a single serving.

Avoid adding bacon to sandwiches, because it’s high in fat and calories and has very few nutrients.  Order pickles, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, mustard and ketchup instead to add flavor without fat.

Steer clear of fried fish sandwiches.  Choose fish sandwiches where the fish is baked, broiled or grilled.

Try asking for a wheat or whole-grain bun, as some places do offer them.

Hold the mayonnaise and other calorie-laden […]

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    Boxers verse Brief—Can your underwear lower your sperm count?

Boxers verse Brief—Can your underwear lower your sperm count?

The wish to establish a family is a primal desire; however for 10-15 percent of couples in the United States this may not be possible. Every year over 1.2 million patients seek help in the arena of conception, often frustrated and confused.
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive following 12 months of regular intercourse without the use of contraception. This period of time is shortened to 6 months for women 35 and older, as fertility gradually declines with age. Although, most assume that fertility is a female health problem, 50% of couples are actually affected by male factor infertility.
Male infertility is most commonly due to problems with sperm; either quantity, motility, or size and shape can impacts one’s ability to conceive. One of the most common cause of male infertility is a varicocele, which is found in 40% of infertile men. A varicocele is a group of dilated veins in the scrotum. For most men they don’t cause any issues and thus require no intervention. Some, however, can experience pain or impaired fertility. The dilated vessels increase the temperature of the scrotum, resulting in testicular damage and impaired sperm production. For that reason, when a couple is having difficulty conceiving and all other causes of an abnormal sperm analysis have been ruled out repair of the varicocele is recommended.
Many chronic conditions can also impact ones fertility. For instances, diabetes, which affects over 25 million Americans, can result in abnormal ejaculation. Poor sugar regulation can result in nerve damage including those which are responsible for coordinating ejaculation. Liver cirrhosis can also impact fertility, as the condition is often associated with hormonal imbalances that can interfere with sperm production.
Additionally, drugs and environmental exposures can interfere […]