Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle

What makes or breaks the best-laid “top ten goals for a healthier me”? Inertia, and it can’t wait to wreck all our plans. Counter-solution: stay focused on the positive stuff we will gain, right? To some, that is applicable and realistic, but to others, that sounds easier said than done.

Enter the concept of planning and aiming smart, not just planning to get tough. Read on to find out how gradual changes increase your chances for inner and outer success, more than just wishing for a shot-in-the-dark grand slam.    

1. Select a goal and aspire to achieve it.

Write down a healthy target, and make sure it is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. An example of a well-written SMART goal is: “I will (particular activity) to burn at least (X target) calories through (realistic: exercise?) in this (time frame).”

Here are some examples of some diet goals broken down into simpler targets:

Instead of the norm: a huge share devoted to carbs, then some protein, then a so-so bit of vegetables, try to set up in reverse order. Half your plate is for vegetables, then split up the remaining portion between a starch (consisting ideally of complex carbs) and a protein.

Another goal could be to drink a glass of water before eating.

Yet another is that for every hour spent sitting, step out and go for brisk five-minute walks. Sitting for most of the day is the hallmark of a sedentary lifestyle, and it is no help for your cardiac health. But remember what we said at the start: it may feel unrealistic to push yourself to exercise when you’re the activity go-getter, so scattering movement throughout your day might just be what suits you. Doing the above will help you achieve a total of a 40-minute walk.

2. Floss!

There are many reliable reports on how flossing daily is strikingly related to a longer life expectancy. Flossing helps you in two ways: it reduces the risk of gum disease, and may even prevent heart disease.

Now here’s something else to make you put that dental floss beside your toothbrush: there is some evidence linking bacteria found in a common type of gum disease to dementia. Just the same, many scientists, for now, can only say there’s enough of a connection to persuade everyone not to take chances. So, try to have healthier gums by incorporate flossing into your dental routine.

3. Get a healthy amount of sleep.

The stuff of nightmares for fitness lovers: getting a near-fatal stroke at a relatively young age. But similar news made the rounds of social media some weeks ago; a fitness instructor (who is also a family man, too) pointed to his stroke’s root cause in his 6 hours of sleep or less.

There is no way around your body’s request for 7 to 8 hours of sleep to repair cells. Try going to bed five minutes earlier each night (or just every few nights, if you find it tough). The point is to hit the seven to nine hours of sleep for adults, recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.

4. Make your social network (the actual real-life variety) add value to your lifestyle.

Tone down on TV and online gaming and devote it to developing better social connections. A good number of people nowadays describe social networking (allotting time for family and friends) as a time-consuming effort.

Nevertheless, these real-life investments are worth the effort when it comes to getting support to be able to face life-changing events (family issues, unemployment, a life-threatening disease, etc).  

Sometimes lifelong friendships start with mere effort to improve your communication with them (start with e-mail, phone or in person) by having a great story to share. What makes a great story? It builds connections, it’s a motive to collaborate, or that it simply implies concern and empathy.  

We could go on and on with great small steps you can take to start a healthy lifestyle. But remember, the lifestyle itself would be just a symptom of your success. The goal and target is a more meaningful time for people who matter to you, and this is possible because you are healthy, you can focus, or put effort into reciprocating them. But it’s easier for your brain to process a healthy lifestyle by breaking it down into SMART goals and aspiring to achieve them.

The Difference between a General Pediatrician and a Developmental Pediatrician

A mother and a boy walk hand in hand for a morning appointment. First, they stopped by the child’s favorite restaurant to have some breakfast. While the child roams around the restaurant with very high energy for a typical morning, his mother prepares his food on a plate. She calls the child and he comes rushing—bumping the table—and the glass of water spilled. After eating, they proceed to the second floor of the building and enter the clinic of the boy’s pediatrician for his regular check-up. The doctor performs his routine and asks many questions while the boy’s energy is still high. The doctor’s eyebrows slightly creased. After almost an hour of questioning and check-up, with a soft voice and calm manner, the pediatrician advised that they must see a developmental pediatrician.

This suggestion might bother many caring mothers. Countless unsaid questions and worries about their children come to mind. Why see a developmental pediatrician? Is there something wrong with my child? Will my child be fine and normal as he or she grows? What do developmental pediatricians do? These are some of the many questions that run through a parent’s mind. Identifying the differences between a general pediatrician and a developmental pediatrician might answer some of these questions.

General Pediatrics vs Developmental Pediatrics

Care, diagnosis, and treatment of many medical conditions and concerns from infancy up to early adulthood are usually under the scope of general pediatricians. On the other hand, developmental-behavioral pediatricians or most commonly known as Developmental Pediatricians have advanced experiences and are well-trained in analyzing, determining, and providing treatment plans for numerous kinds of developmental problems and behavioral concerns of children. They are also trained to provide treatment sessions, document the progress and changes, and prescribe appropriate medication suitable to the child’s needs. They can also assist parents and families as the child goes through different levels of education.

Education

General Pediatricians and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians went to medical school and spent years acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for the field. Four years of study and a year of internship are the requirements in the United States. A medical student will have to choose whether he wants to further his studies by focusing on a subspecialty during the internship period. Medical students will, later on, be general pediatricians if they choose not to take up subspecialty; while medical students will, later on, be developmental-behavioral pediatricians if they choose otherwise and go through further three years of residency in the field of pediatrics in order to be equipped and skilled in diagnosing and treating any behavioral problems and concerns on the development of children. Both are medical doctors who graduated and passed a national licensure examination.

Functions

The general health and care of a child are under the scope of general pediatricians. They look into the child’s attributes such as social, mental, physical and behavioral, and they compare it to the attributes generally accepted as standard or norm. Should there be any differences, concerns, or delays, they refer it to developmental pediatricians. Specialists in the development and behavior of children are called developmental pediatricians. Some (but not limited to) examples of the conditions they diagnose and provide treatment plans for are: behavioral disorders like anxiety, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and depression; learning disorders such as dyslexia and writing problems; developmental incapacities like spina bifida, mental retardation, visual and hearing defects and cerebral palsy, habit disorders; developmental delays such as cognitive and speech; and regulatory problems such as sleep and feeding difficulties and toilet-training problems.

Knowing the difference between a general pediatrician and a developmental pediatrician can guide loving parents in choosing the appropriate medical practitioner that can properly address their child’s medical needs.

Eating Disorder—Types and Its Effect on Our Overall Health

Almost everyone loves to eat. How about you? We eat, not just because we want to, but because we have to. It is one of the basic human needs, other than clothing and shelter. However, eating and healthy eating, are two completely different things. After all, everyone has their very own “favorite foods.” Still, no matter how basic a topic eating may be, there is something that needs to be addressed about it. Have you ever heard about eating disorders? Let us cover the most common types of eating disorders and their corresponding effects on our well-being.

Anorexia Nervosa: This is a grave and life-threatening eating disorder marked by excessive starving of oneself and extreme weight loss. Signs include visibly notable low body weight for one’s physical health, age, or sex, fear of becoming fat and gaining weight, distorted view of body appearance and weight, restricting oneself to eat then binge afterward. Fasting and excessive exercise to avoid weight gain are also exhibited by the affected individual. 

This should never be taken lightly as studies have shown that this type of eating disorder is possibly associated with depression. If prolonged and left untreated, it further leads to suicidal instincts, heart failure, hormonal imbalance, menstrual irregularity in women, weakened heart muscle, and gastrointestinal complications. Aside from that, a person with anorexia nervosa may experience frequent stomach aches, bloating, sexual deprivation, insomnia, irritability, and social withdrawal.

Bulimia Nervosa: Similar to anorexia, this is also life-threatening if left untreated. However, contrary to anorexia, bulimia is characterized by binge eating—then to be followed by self-induced vomiting to compensate for binging. Signs include a series of binge eating with the patient subconsciously having the idea that he is losing control over his eating behavior. Just like anorexia, overly conscious weight monitoring and self-evaluating one’s body weight or shape may also be noticed. 

Associated features are also very close to that of anorexia: menstrual irregularity, poor dental health, high suicide risk, and gastrointestinal complications. In addition to that, there can be also ruptured blood vessels, cardiac arrhythmias, pancreatitis, and chronic dehydration.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED): This may sound similar to bulimia, which is true, but there is one significant difference—no compensation for weight-control is done to counter the binge eating. Signs include intake of large amounts of food regularly, then feeling guilty and ashamed afterward. Hoarding food in strange places, the disappearance of great quantities of food in just a short time, and eating very quickly even when not hungry are also telltale signs of this disorder. 

Complications associated with BED include: obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure (including abnormally high cholesterol levels), heart disease, gallbladder disease, and the overall quality of life is affected. 

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID): This type of eating disorder is similar to anorexia—it also ends up in extreme weight loss. However, this is linked to zero interest in appetite to food such that no response is manifested by the patient. If there is such a thing as poor appetite, then people suffering from this technically have ‘no appetite.’ This is not because of the lack of food sources. 

Signs and symptoms of this disorder are both physical and psychological. 

Similar to the previously stated disorders, these also include excessive weight loss, fear of gaining weight, restricting food intake which results in significant nutritional deficiency, and gastrointestinal complications. If left untreated, it can take too much toll on the body and disrupt the processes and normal functions taking place which will eventually result in death.

Hair Loss: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

No one is exempt from losing hair; you see the evidence during your morning shower, near a mirror in the house, and for sure under the sofa—but usually that’s normal. Human hair, on the average, goes through its cycle, with new ones ever ready to replace it.” But losing hair more than what is average may be a sign of a more serious issue that needs medical attention and advanced treatment. Here are some top causes of hair loss, with data on symptoms and recommendations.

Hereditary Hair Loss

Genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is a major cause of hair loss. It is possible to have it if both parents suffer from hair loss. Women undergoing this experience thinning at the hairline very near the forehead.

Nevertheless, a prudent solution is to use minoxidil, to be applied on the scalp twice a day. The medicine is useful for both men and women. Women ought not to use minoxidil during pregnancy.

Lupus

Lupus is a serious and long-term autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system goes after healthy tissues. The condition has around 1.5 million sufferers. Symptoms include headaches, oral ulcers, fatigue, and swollen joints. Some people report a butterfly-shaped irritation on the nose and heightened sensitivity to the sun. Many people also experience hair loss.

A rheumatologist could give more advice if the hair loss occurs together with joint fatigue, pain, plus other signs of lupus.

Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is a hormone heavily involved in a wide range of roles, from basal metabolic rates to the growth of your hair, nails, and skin. Thus having thyroid in unbalanced amounts may lead to serious changes in bodily functions.

Hypothyroidism (too low levels of hormone) may lead to symptoms such as constipation, depression, fatigue, unexplained weight gain, and difficulty in concentration. Hyperthyroidism (too high levels) may manifest in heart palpitations, nervousness, sudden weight loss, moist skin, irritability, diarrhea, muscle weakness, and a jumpy look in the eyes. Hyperthyroidism is more seldom in occurrence than hypothyroidism.

As a remedy, your doctor may recommend hormone medication to restore thyroid levels to within normal range.

Skin Conditions

Here are some various scalp issues that are connected to hair loss. Examples of skin conditions linked to hair loss are psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff), and even some fungal infections.

Seborrheic dermatitis results in the shedding of the skin on the scalp; those affected will notice skin flakes in the form of yellowish scales on their shoulders or the hair. Psoriasis, an autoimmune condition mainly about excessive skin cell turnover, is not just limited to red scaly patches on the body, but also white scales on the scalp. As for ringworm, red patches on your scalp comes soon after acquiring the fungus via contact with an infected person or animal.

Each skin condition requires unique treatment, whether it be a medicated shampoo, medications or light therapy, or oral antifungals, among other treatments.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is yet another autoimmune issue with still-unknown causes where the immune system sees hair follicles as a threat. The condition has three forms. One type causes smooth patches of baldness on the eyebrows, scalp or legs. Total hair loss on the head is another type, while the third known type is hair loss for the entire body.

The condition is usually remedied with corticosteroids, or sometimes with minoxidil (Rogaine). But it’s also good to just keep in check stress levels.

To end, the overall look of your hair doesn’t just sum up your looks. it may give clues about your inner being too! Stop hair loss, see a medical expert today. 

Tips on How to Get Rid of Ingrown Toenails

Toenails often grow and curve at the edge, thereby penetrating the surrounding skin. This can be painful and may cause some swelling and redness. Both men and women experience this condition and the big toe is often the most affected. Ingrown toenails are commonly caused by toenail trauma when you stub your toe, cut them too short or at an angle and wear very tight shoes. However, treating them as soon as they occur can help to prevent infection. For mild cases, minor treatment using home remedies can make the problem go aware but more severe cases may require surgery. Below are top tips to help you eliminate ingrown toenails.

Soak them in warm, soapy water. This can help to ease pain and reduce swelling. This can be done for 20 minutes up to three times daily. You may also soak them in apple cider vinegar, which has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and some pain-relieving abilities, although scientific evidence seems limited. You can mix 1/4 cup of this vinegar with a basin of warm water and then soak your feet in it for 20 minutes daily. Ensure you dry your feet properly thereafter.

Over-the-counter antibiotic ointment can also reduce the risk of toenail infection and promote healing. Applying the cream or ointment to your toenail according to the manufacturer’s instructions can help relieve the affected area of pain and related symptoms. Examples of such ointments include Polysporin, Bactroban, and Neosporin.

Ingrown toenails are also caused by tight or uncomfortable socks and shoes. This means you should avoid wearing socks and shoes that crowd your toes. Wearing comfortable socks and shoes can help to control the growth of ingrown toenails. Also, wearing sandals often can reduce the pressure applied to your toenails.

Consider using over-the-counter pain relievers for ingrown toenails such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help relieve the pain caused by ingrown toenails. They usually have mild or no side effects unless you take more than 3, 000 mg, which is the daily recommended dosage. Consuming them with alcohol may also cause you to experience some side effects. Ibuprofen (Advil) may also be used if you are experiencing pain and swelling. However, ibuprofen may cause some stomach upset, abdominal pain, and even diarrhea in some cases. Also, do note that over-the-counter pain relievers should be taken as directed by the drug manufacturer or your physician.

You can also try toe protectors to give you the cushioning barrier you need to avoid developing ingrown toenails. They are in the form of rings to fit around the painful area or to cover the entire toe. A few contain a medicated gel to soften the affected toenails to give you an easy time for trimming. Alternatively, you can use toe braces made of adhesive, composite material and are thin enough to be placed on your toenail for protection. They can help to protect you from sharp, ingrown toenails that can cause injury to your skin.

Some doctors recommend using oral antibiotics but they are not routinely prescribed by physicians for unaffected ingrown toenails. They are ideal for infected toenails or a weakened immune system. Common signs of infection may include throbbing pain, redness, swelling, foul odor, and pus. However, antibiotics for effective treatment may include amoxicillin, ampicillin, and vancomycin.

Ingrown toenails are common and tend to affect the big toe. They can cause excruciating pain and become unbearable. Getting rid of them requires a mix of strategies that may include dipping your feet in warm, soapy water and applying ointment or cream and following your doctor’s prescription.