Archive | HEALTH AND WELLNESS

6 Health Screenings That Could Save Your Life!

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Medical screenings or tests are examinations that are used by physicians in order to find illnesses and health conditions before any symptoms or signs appear. Such medical screenings or tests can become lifesavers in the event that they locate a serious health condition. Medical screenings or tests are gender or age specific because some ailments only attack certain groups of people. The following tips will help to lead people in the right direction.

A Pap smear is a test given to females in order to inspect cervical cells for abnormalities. These particular tests are important for women aged 21 and older. Abnormal cervical cells that are taken, being kept in a biorepository, might be found to be cervical cancer. Women that are between the ages of 21 and 29 should visit their gynecologist every three years in order to have a pap smear test done. For women that are aged 30 to 65, it is recommended that they have a pap smear test done every five years if the test is completed with a human papillomavirus test.

Mammograms are health screens that x-ray the breast of men and women in order to identify the presence of breast cancer. Individuals should begin this health screening by the age of 50. If an individual has a family history of breast cancer then it is recommended to start having the health screens done by the age of 40. Mammograms can help to save a life in the event that they catch images of cancerous cell. Early detection means that a patient can start early treatment, which helps to increase the chances of beating the disease and stop the cancer from spreading. Patients should receive mammogram screenings every other year or annually. The frequency of the screening will depend on the person’s family history and also if abnormalities were found in the health screening.

There are two important health screenings that can help to identify heart disease. A stress test monitors the heart while the patient is engaging in a number of exercises. A stress test can help to show the existence of blood flow problems. The more vigorous the exercise gets, the harder the heart will have to work. A hard-working heart is able to pump blood faster and if there are any abnormalities within the heart, the stress test will be able to reveal it. The second health screening that helps to monitor one’s heart is an electrocardiogram or EKG. This screening is different from the stress test because a patient does not have to engage in any exercises. The EKG has the ability to monitor the beats of the heart. An abnormal heartbeat can reveal dangerous heart conditions such as arrhythmia or a heart attack. EKGs and stress tests should be given to individuals that have a family history of heart disease, chest pains, shortness of breath, or a decrease in one’s ability to perform everyday activities.

A fifth health screen test is a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy can help to reveal colon cancer. Colon cancer is the third most dangerous cancer in the United States. In order to battle this deadly disease, physicians urge patients who are over the age of 50 years old to have the procedure done. Patients may want to have this procedure done earlier if there is a family history of colon cancer or if the patient has had inflammatory bowel disease for more than 8 years. Colonoscopy testing should be done every 10 years, as long as no abnormalities are found.

Finally, a prostate-specific antigen test or PSA test is a health screen that can help to reveal early signs of prostate cancer. This particular screening measures prostate-specific antigen, a protein created in the prostate gland. This particular test is recommended for men that are 50 or older. If a male has a family history of prostate cancer then it is recommended that the screening is done earlier. It should also be noted that African-American men are at a bigger risk of developing the disease so they should begin testing at the age of 45.

All of the above health screenings should be taken seriously due to the fact that they can help to save a life. These tests can help to identify health threats and help you to begin early treatment.

On the Go this Summer? Grab Stonyfield!

I don’t know about you, but for me, summertime is family time. We love going out together to walk the dogs, splashing in the pool, heading on a beach adventure, or simply riding our bikes down the Lake Trail. Biking is a big thing in our family, especially in summertime. We ride them everywhere – even to do our shopping!

Because we’re out and about so much, we need on-the-go snacks that are easy to transport, healthy, and (of course) delicious! Enter Stonyfield Organic Kids Pouches. Stonyfield’s pouches are lightweight, portable, and resealable. And, while I know it says “kids” on the pouch, I don’t mind telling you that I enjoy snacking on them from time to time, too!

Stonyfield’s are a great option for the whole family for many reasons:

  • they’re made with 25-35% less sugar than the leading kids yogurt
  • they have live active cultures to help keep your family *ahem* regular
  • you’ve got so many delicious flavors to choose from
  • and they’re USDA Organic certified, Non-GMO Project verified, made with milk from pasture-raised cows, Kosher certified, and gluten-free!

Right now, we are loving the strawberry, but, no matter which one we toss in our backpacks, everyone is snack-satisfied!

If you’re heading out on a bike adventure this summer or just lounging at the pool or beach, pick up some Stonyfield’s for your journey. And don’t forget the sunscreen! I’m currently obsessed with Badger Balm’s Broad Spectrum SPF 30. It’s a mineral-based sunscreen that is safe, effective, and smells great, too. And, just like Stonyfield, it’s B-Corp Certified. That means they’ve been third party certified to meet rigorous environmental and sustainability standards, along with accountability and transparency. Hooray! 

If you’re looking for a product that’s both earth- and kid-friendly, look no further than Stonyfield’s. Your whole family will love them, and they’ll make any trip you take – be it by bike, boat, or car – so much more pleasant! Which flavor of Stonyfield’s is YOUR favorite?    

 

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield – all opinions expressed are my own.

How to Prevent Your Family From Getting Sick During the Transition to Spring

If you have a family, you probably know how important it is to make sure that everyone stays healthy throughout the year. When one person becomes sick in the family, things tend to spiral out of control. Your kids might have to miss school, you might have to miss work, or your whole family might have to miss out on major events.

The change from winter to spring can be rough on many people. Allergies are on the rise and sickness is in the air. To prevent your family from coming down with any illness this spring, there are many things that can be done.

Rose Medical Groups suggests making time for regular exercise. You might not like the idea of getting off the couch and heading to the gym, but exercise can really help maintain your health and prevent coming down with an illness.

Now, you don’t necessarily have to go to the gym in order to get your exercise in. If you have kids, take them to a trampoline park or rent a bounce house. A mere 10 minutes of jumping is a better cardiovascular workout than 30 minutes of running. It’s a really easy way to make getting out and getting active fun, without forcing your entire family through the doors of a health club.

Drinking plenty of water is another key to staying healthy during this time of year. Get your family in the habit of drinking eight to 10 eight-ounce glasses of water every day. The water can help get rid of your body’s bad toxins and can help prevent any cracks from developing on your skin. Children especially should be drinking plenty of water each day if they want to maintain their skin’s youthfulness.

Spring cleaning is one of the easiest things you can do to help prevent your family from getting sick when the seasons change. Go through your home and dust the corners that haven’t seen the light of day in about six months, get rid of any boxes you neglected to throw out after the holidays, and use steam to kill all germs and bacteria hiding in your carpets. Steam has been said to kill 99% of common household germs and bacteria like E.Coli, salmonella, and staph, as well as dust mites and bed bugs.

According to NBC 2, spring cleaning is also the perfect excuse to get rid of any expired or unwanted medication you have in your home, and to do so properly. You can even bring the medications to a take-back program to properly dispose of the unwanted pills. They also suggest using your spring cleaning time as a period of making sure your home’s first aid kit is up-to-date and that all of your emergency contacts are updated in your cell phone.

Taking any of the steps listed in this article can help prevent your family and household from coming down with any springtime illnesses.

3 Natural Ways To Treat The Symptoms Of Seasonal Affective Disorder

As winter rages on, many Americans from northern climates may be in the throes of SAD, or seasonal affective disorder — a form of clinical depression that typically worsens as the seasons change. If you’re like most people with the condition, your symptoms are at their worst during the months with the shortest days — December, January, and February.

Interestingly enough, experts say those affected by SAD first experience symptoms between the ages of 18 and 30. This means that millennials may be more likely to experience ongoing symptoms that any other age group. However, millennials are growing up and starting to take wellness seriously. One indicator of this is the fact that 56% of millennials have visited a spa within the last year, according to the International Spa Association. With a greater focus on mental health awareness and treatment options, younger generations can find natural treatments that boost mood and relaxation.

Here are just a few natural treatment options to explore if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms associated with seasonal affective disorder.

Light Therapy

Light therapy is proven to be one of the most effective forms of natural treatment for seasonal affective disorder. Since natural sunlight comes in very limited quantities during the winter months, supplementing the amount you’re exposed to using a light box can help you see significant improvements in mood. Many experts say that light therapy is the best treatment available.

Although the effects of light therapy don’t last too long, getting just 15 to 30 minutes of light therapy each morning can boost your mood for the rest of the day. Light boxes are available without a prescription, but if possible, it’s recommended to consult a health professional before use due to the fact that the treatment involves UV exposure.

Clean Eating

Eating healthy foods can be difficult when your body craves sweets and other junk food, but it’s important to do what you can to try to make healthy replacements whenever possible. Figure out which healthy foods you enjoy, and then incorporate them into as many meals as you can. And don’t be mistaken — contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about nutrition facts. During your next trip to the grocery store, take some time to look at ingredients. A bit of research into our food industry will provide insight regarding many ingredients that are incredibly common in today’s processed foods, yet come with some unsavory health effects that can even affect mood. A good rule of thumb is that the fewer ingredients something has, the cleaner and less processed it is. Again, making small replacements here and there can really help you develop a cleaner diet.

Better Sleep

If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep as a result of seasonal affective disorder, you may have already tried some natural remedies, like having a cup of tea at bedtime or turning off the television early. But if these methods aren’t doing the trick, using the elements of sound may help you ease into restful sleep. Even something as simple as a beating watch next to your pillow can help soothe your senses and lull you to sleep. The beat of a watch is the sound of it “ticking,” usually about 1/5 of a second — the escape wheel striking the pallets produces the sound. Of course, you can also invest in a sound machine for a wider variety of sounds, or take to YouTube for the virtually infinite white noise options.

Don’t Forget…

These options may help to provide temporary relief from the symptoms associated with seasonal affective disorder. However, they certainly do not replace the informed advice of a medical professional. While you might not be joining the approximately 110 million ER visits that occur annually, you have resources. There are plenty of medical professionals whose sole job is to help patients who are suffering from depression or other mental health issues. And of course, if you or someone you love is in immediate danger due to poor mental health, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day to provide confidential support through both cellular and online chat.

No matter how you look at it, the facts speak volumes: over 80% of depressed individuals do not seek out professional help. And regardless of the type or cause of your depression, understanding natural treatment options and knowing when to reach out to a professional is the key to improving your quality of life.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods To Try This Winter

While it can be easy to spend the summer grazing on healthy fruits and veggies, winter does not lend itself quite as nicely to a fresh foods diet. As the weather turns chilly, people often turn to high-carbohydrate and starchy foods. And without the necessary balance of nutrients, the body can be prone to more inflammation. For the 50 million people who have arthritis especially, this can be painful and can lead to further health conditions.

“There are times when inflammation actually helps us,” Dawna Stone writes in Mind Body Green. “For example, it can be the body’s natural response to eliminate or repair an injury or the body’s response to harmful bacteria. But when things get out of balance and inflammation becomes chronic, it can increase the risk of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis and cause symptoms like fatigue and joint pain.”

Fortunately, winter is not totally void of inflammation-fighting foods. The following are some seasonal ingredients that you can cook with to boost your health this season.

  1. Brussels Sprouts
    These bunches of green goodness are packed with both fiber and vitamin C. They are also rich in glucosinolate and folate, so they can fight inflammation while keeping you healthier overall. Roast them in the oven to eat as a side or toss them in a salad.
  2. Kale
    This superfood has earned its name, offering high doses of vitamins A, C, B6, and K. By munching on these leaves, you are also helping your body’s ability to eliminate free radicals. Try kale raw or cooked in any of your favorite winter dishes.
  3. Butternut Squash
    When it comes to eating the rainbow, butternut squash is one of the best ways to get the color orange. Full of fiber, as well as vitamins A and C, this sweet seasonal veggie can add antioxidants and fiber to your diet.
  4. Turnips
    While these root veggies may not frequent your dishes, turnips are a tasty way to maintain a low cholesterol diet. They also offer a boost of Vitamin C, which can help protect your immune system this season. Don’t just stop at the root though; turnip greens are tasty as well.
  5. Citrus
    Stock up on oranges this time of year. These juicy fruits are in season during the Winter, giving you all the more reason to get your full supply of vitamin C.

By combining anti-inflammatory foods with other care methods, you can control your join pain and other aspects of your health this winter. For example, about 89% of consumers cite massage as an effective pain-management technique. Remember that much of your own well being is in your hands, so try various methods out until you feel your best.