What Can Double or Triple the Risk of DVT’s for Women?

July 19, 2011 by  
Filed under At Home, At Work, featured, Health, Natural Medicine, Travel

The risk of blood clots and DVT’s are well publicized in relation to air travel, but what you may not be aware of is that just prolonged sitting around at home or the office can also be potentially life threatening – particularly for women.

New research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) shows that although the greatest risk factor for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is surgery, most people associate it with long-haul flights and the Pill but they could be tragically mistaken. The amount of time spent sitting every day – wherever you are – means you could be putting yourself at risk of developing potentially life-threatening blood clots.

This study was done in the USA, and found that women who sat for a long time every day had double or even triple the risk of a dangerous blood clot in the lungs.
While the women most at risk had sat for more than 41 hours a week (on top of their work hours), the research is the first to prove a sedentary lifestyle increases the dangers.

DVT is caused when the wall of a blood vessel is damaged through injury, such as a broken bone or surgery, or if the blood clots more easily than normal as a result of medication or genetics. They fact here though is that it can also be triggered by the blood flow slowing down considerably — such as when you’re immobile for a long time through lying or sitting down.

What Can Help?
First of all realistically monitor how much time you do spend sitting down and reduce it in simple ways. First of all bin the TV remote and get up to change channels, if you work at a desk or on a computer get up every hour and just move around for five minutes. If you have the choice of stairs or a lift, use the stairs for at least part of the way.

When travelling try to drive no more than two hours without a break, even if you just pull into a car park and walk round it for a few minutes. By air, it is not now frowned on to get up and walk round the plane, though your way may not always be clear it is worth the effort to avoid the duty free carts or if stuck in your seat try tensing and releasing the muscles in your buttocks, legs and feet. By curling or pressing the toes down, which causes the muscles to contract and squeeze on the leg veins, helps to pump the blood along. Another way to help move blood to the heart is to wear compression stockings, which put gentle pressure on the leg muscles as studies in healthy people have shown that wearing compression stockings minimizes the risk of developing DVT after long flights. Avoid socks, or knee highs for women that have very tight elastic bands at the top and do not sit with your legs crossed for long periods of time, which constricts the veins.

Keep the fluid flowing:
Sorry, not alcohol but you need to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration as this causes blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken, increasing the risk for DVT. Reducing alcohol and coffee consumption, which both contribute to dehydration, is also recommended.

If water is not your thing there is also a new fruit juice which has been proven to benefit blood circulation. Sirco™contains a tasteless tomato extract, Fruitflow®, that has been scientifically proven to have heart and circulation health benefits because in several clinical trials it has been shown to help maintain a healthy blood circulation by preventing the “clumping” of blood platelets which can lead to blood clots. The blood platelet smoothing action of Sirco™ takes effect within 1 ½ to 3 hours from drinking it and lasts up to 18 hours and is suggested as a natural alternative to a daily aspirin that many people take for this action. It fits well into the healthy Mediterranean diet eithos and comes in two 100% pure fruit juices mixes; Pomegranate/Orange and Blueberry/Apple.

You should find it in your supermarket or local health store or go to www.sircoheart.com

A New Way to Tackle Snoring

July 6, 2011 by  
Filed under At Home, Health

I sometimes think that true love is the ability to sleep through the gentle whistle, or grinding gears of your partner’s snores, but if it gets too much for you there is a new solution that might help.

Asonor® is a new anti–snoring product that has already successfully helped 75% of snorers in Europe, and was recently ranked no.1 in an independent user test by a Scandinavian health magazine. I don’t know if Swedes are heavy duty snorers, but given that apparently 1 in 4 of us snore (yes, us too, ladies) and that a recent survey found that 1 in 5 couples sleep in separate bedrooms because of it any help is welcome! As it also seems that 57% of people think that snoring has caused arguments or tension in their relationship, and snoring has also been linked to health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disorders there is no reason to delay in tackling it.

Asonor® directly targets the primary cause of snoring, which of course is the throat. It works by delivering a gentle stream of solution via the nasal passage to lubricate the soft palate and lightly tighten the musculature of the throat. By targeting the primary cause of snoring, rather than staying in the nose like other spray snoring remedies, asonor® also significantly reduces interference with breathing.

Sadly, this is not a one off solution, to really tame the snore(r) asonor® should be taken consistently, in each nostril every night before bedtime until the desired effect is obtained, normally within two weeks.

If you can’t find it in your local chemist, go online to http://www.asonor.co.uk

How Dehydration Can Affect Allergies – 6 Simple Ways to Avoid It

If what summer means to you is stocking up on giant boxes of tissues and avoiding going out of doors, then there is a hidden factor that you may not be aware of. It seems that many allergy sufferers are also dehydrated, so that no matter how much water they drink they suffer from dry skin and a parched mouth.

Generally we are dehydrated as a nation, despite all those water bottles so ostentatiously displayed on desks and in gym bags. Studies estimate that 75% of us are prone to the ill health effects associated with chronic dehydration,. But what has that to do with your allergies? Well, allergies are caused by a histamine reaction in the bodyand histamine is an important neurotransmitter that primarily regulates thirst mechanism for increased water intake. It also establishes a system of water rationing for the available water in the drought-stricken body.”

When the body is dehydrated, histamine production increases significantly as its primary job is to make sure that the available water in the body is preserved for the most vital functions. It is the ‘drought mechanism’ if you like, and it creates a chain of events that affects numerous functions in the body, including the suppression of antibody production. This means that the body will simply not be as well equipped to deal with unhealthy invaders, such as pollen and other antigens.

That’s why during summer, when pollen season is in full swing, our eyes are invaded with the pollen agents, and the dehydrated body lacks the antibodies to adequately neutralize the pollen. So in response, the tear-producing glands of the eyes work overtime to wash the pollen away from the delicate membranes.

The histamine reaction and suppression of antibodies are just two of the many ways the body adapts to dehydration and although dehydration is not the only cause of allergies, it can be the primary cause. And the good news is that you can easily remedy it.

It can take time to fully rehydrate your body, but keep going as in the beginning a parched body – like dry ground – does not absorb all the water but it just runs out and away. It may seem like you are forever running to the loo in the early stages, but be persistent with your water intake and this will regulate as your starts to absorb and utilize the water better at the cellular level.

Top Water Retention Tips
1. Drink water – obvious but true – and plain, not carbonated. Not soft drinks or teas and coffees, but plain water.

2. Check the amount you drink, and the recommendation to rehydrate a dehydrated body, which is at least 1.5-2litres a day and during exercise or hot weather, you should increase your water intake significantly.

3. Don’t guess, but measure and record your water intake and that may be easier by setting out a number of bottles a day, or using a litre measuring jug and keeping track of how often you fill it. .

4. Filter your drinking water at source, at the tap, or in a filter jug or use reputable bottled water from a guaranteed source.

5. Little and often is best so make sure you drink regularly throughout the day as your body can only absorb about 12 to 16 ounces of water a time. The most important time to drink water is first thing in the morning so drink a large glass then, and add some fresh lemon juice to a detox start to the day. After breakfast have another large glass and try not to drink with meals, but in between so that you do not to dilute your digestive juices.

6. Unless you have high blood pressure, it can also help to add sea salt to drinking water because your more frequent urination means you are losing sodium. Not processed salt, and about a quarter teaspoon per litre will be plenty.. Salt itself is a natural antihistamine and if you add in a multimineral supplement then you will ensure proper electrolyte balance.

Why ‘Exercise’ May Not Be The Answer

As someone to whom the word exercise brings on a strong sense of faintness, unless it is dancing, walking or chasing the cat round the room, there is a case to be made apparently for reassessing what we think of as beneficial exercise.

The idea that exercise is good for us is constantly pummeled into our brains by the medical community, by health coaches and by the mass media – and indeed by my good self. Now it seems that while certain types of exercise can certainly be beneficial in context, placing too much emphasis on formal exercise may be highlighting the wrong issue and contributing to long term health problems–because it`s movement rather than exercise that has the most dramatic impact on our health.

Let me ask you a question: who is more sedentary, the person who exercises for one hour several times per week or the one who never exercises at all? You are all probably chorusing that of course it must be the second person, but it may not be the case at all when other factors are taken into account.

It is more important how much you move during your everyday life than how often you exercise. Why is that? Because how much time you spend sitting adversely affects your health far more than how much time you spend doing formal exercise. If you spend several hours a day sitting (in front of the tv, at a desk, commuting, at restaurants and so on), it can negatively impact your health–even if you exercise regularly. Basically, regular exercise is not enough to counteract an otherwise sedentary lifestyle.

5 Simple Changes To Help You Get Moving
There has been an enormous shift in how sedentary our lives are. We once had a lifestyle that included plenty of movement but the last 20-30 years has seen us shift so that the majority of our day is spent sitting down. Desk work is far more common than it used to be; commuting for at least an hour every day is not uncommon; and activities that used to require movement now require much less of it. Think how much bending and stretching was involved in washing clothes for instance which machines now have mostly taken away from us.

So instead of going to the gym, you just need to incorporate more daily movement and it is much easier than you think. Try some, or all, of these ideas:

1. Get a portable phone and walk round while you talk. If you have a fixed phone then stand up and talk and shift your weight from foot to foot.
2. At work make sure you take frequent breaks to just walk down the corridor, get some water, or walk up and down the stairs.
3. Watching TV all night? Don’t sit there during the commercial breaks and try to get up and walk around for about five minutes during each hour..
4. Wherever you can, don’t use a lift or elevator in a store or at a station but use the stairs instead. .
5. At the supermarket, don’t park as near to the door as you can, but aim for the very furthest spot away from the entrance. It’s a small thing, but can make a big difference to your overall movement.

What you are aiming for is to be unconsciously moving more instead of unconsciously sitting more–and you will both look and feel better as a result.

Keep Mobile Calls To A Minimum to minimise radiation risk

It is a rare person these days who does not have a mobile – if only for emergencies – and among the young they are practically an extended limb. The health risks of mobiles has been flagged up before, but a new study raises new concerns, particularly related to the length of time you are on the phone.

For several years, doctors, scientists and activists have been raising concerns about the possible connection between cell phones and brain cancer and recent research by scientists at NIH and the U.S. Department of Energy conclusively determined that a cell phone’s electromagnetic field can indeed cause changes in brain activity – and not in a good way.

Brain activity means that the cells are using glucose to create energy and a test group of 45 individuals who were on their mobile phones for 50 minutes had ‘significantly higher’ brain activity in the area closest to the telephone antenna. After this period the emitted radiation from the phone increases the activity in your brain cells and causes biological changes. The study has also raised the concern that if acute cell phone radiation is impacting glucose in the brain, an established marker of brain activity, might it also be impacting neurotransmitters and other brain biochemistry?

We know that increased glucose also occurs with infections and other inflammatory processes, and leads to the production of potentially damaging reactive oxygen radicals that can alter the ways that cells and genes work. The researchers called for a better understanding of how radiofrequency radiation might contribute to increased risk for brain tumours as well as other alterations in brain functions.

How to minimise radiation from your phone:
There are some very simple ways to reduce your exposure to cell phone radiation:

1 Use a wired headset instead of holding the phone to your ear or use the loudspeaker as both these will keep the antenna far away from your skull.

2 Get used to texting as also keeps the handset away from your brain, reducing the radiation risk.

3 Don’t use your cell phone as an alarm clock or ‘reminder’ as you will probably need to keep it close to your head and even when it’s not taking calls there’s still radiation being emitted.

4 Don’t carry your phone in your pocket as there’s preliminary research to indicate that men who carry a phone in their pocket all day could be putting their fertility at risk,

5 Use a radiation-blocking case

6 Use a radiation protector that can be fitted directly to your phone as a shield

If all these methods are employed you can reduce cell phone radiation by two-thirds.

The Benefits of Controlling Humidity to Control Viruses

February 7, 2011 by  
Filed under At Home, Health

This time of year I seem to be surrounded by people coughing and sneezing, to say nothing of the alerts over swine flu, so it seemed timely that I came across a new study by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health which shows that, by controlling humidity indoors, humidifiers have a potential positive impact in reducing the survival of influenza viruses in the home.

Maintaining indoor humidity at a level of 40 to 60 % actually reduces the risk of transmission of influenza viruses. Unfortunately, during winter, indoor air can have a humidity level as low as 10%, posing a risk factor particularly for the elderly and very young.

Humidifiers not only regulate the level of humidity in indoor air, but are also recommended by doctors when someone suffers a cold. They help loosen congestion and soothe a sore throat. This is especially important for children, since their smaller nostrils get bunged up more easily.

I can remember when central heating first became popular (don’t’ work out my age from that please) it was common to find bowls of water laid down in the hearth or dotted strategically round the room to put some more moisture into the air, but happily technology has caught up.

I was sent a humidifier to try that has been recommended by Vick’s, and that brings back other childhood memories of red flannel and very cold winters, but I digress again. It is a first resort for helping a bunged up nose and the VH5000 Cool Mist Mini-Ultrasonic Humidifier will help to reduce the survival of flu viruses and ease conditions such as a dry nose, throat, eyes and skin discomfort.

It is certainly small, quiet, and inconspicuous which is a big plus in its favour for me and runs for up to eight hours, so ideal in a bedroom. It gives out a cool mist, so is suitable to use around children and it can also be used with Vicks menthol scent VapoPads that also help relieve congestion and cold symptoms – and you needn’t wear the red flannel unless you want to. I didn’t have a cold, but I found that it helped me sleep better as the Vick menthol helped prevent a stuffy nose, which can sometimes keep me awake. The cat sleeping on my head probably doesn’t help either!

If you want to improve the air quality of your home, and have the best conditions for avoiding colds and flu then you will find the VH5000 Cool Mist Mini-Ultrasonic humidifier in pharmacies and stores such as Boots.

The Practical Benefits of Tai Chi for Health and Circulation

January 31, 2011 by  
Filed under At Home, At Work, Health

The latest guidelines for preventing falls in the elderly in the USA have urged health professionals to look at interventions including exercise such as Tai Chi for balance, gait and strength training. With NHS treatment costs for falls coming in at £4.6m a day it could certainly save precious resources, and you could improve your own health in a very enjoyable way. I have often mentioned various health benefits of Tai Chi, and these usually come from research sources, so I thought it would be more helpful to hear from a practitioner on what they see as the real gains.

Jon Wallwork had suffered a spinal injury and was left with painful sciatica. Regular, dedicated practice over several months saw the sciatica diminish and within a year the condition had normalised (much to the surprise of the orthopaedic surgeon). He teaches in London and for P&O on some of their cruises and he is convinced of the health gains that can come from Tai Chi – whatever your age.

“It’s a very common perception that the practice of Tai Chi will lead you through moving meditation to this state of nirvana, this freedom from suffering. Well, dependent on your intention, attitude and goals it may do but there are real, practical benefits that have a more immediate relevance for anyone interested in maintaining a degree of good health and fitness whatever their age.

• Good posture arises in the lower back and spreads downwards to the legs through the pelvis and upwards to the head, through the spine and shoulders. Good posture depends upon good muscle tone in the centre of your body and exercises in Tai Chi training will help you develop such muscle tone and improve your posture.

• Mobility is the measure of the range of motion in the joints and good mobility aids agility and reduces the risk of injury. The range of movement found in Tai Chi forms combined with stretching exercise will considerably improve mobility.

• Co-ordination and agility can be enhanced through activity involving closely focused movements, balance and interaction with other people or equipment. Both solo and partner work in Tai Chi provides this.

Natural Help for Poor Circulation:
Tai Chi is also very helpful for improving circulation, but if you feel you need some extra help then an excellent supplement is Kiwiherb’s Organic Ginger & Kawakawa Syrup. The stimulating combination of these two herbs literally warms the body from the inside out and helps to increase blood flow around the body and especially to the extremities, such as the fingers and toes, which often suffer most.

Ginger helps energise the senses, boost vitality and increase overall circulation, and also possesses antiviral, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Kawakawa is one of the most widely used herbs in traditional Maori medicine to improve circulatory problems and the syrup also contains antibacterial Manuka Honey

Especially useful if you suffer from chilblains or Raynaud’s disease and, as an added bonus, this organic herbal syrup also helps improve circulation to the brain, which in turn helps awaken the mind if feeling lacklustre and mentally weary.

Passive Smoking – Still A Real Danger to Children says W.H.O.

December 7, 2010 by  
Filed under At Home, Childrens Health, Health

Smoking is now so restricted, you would think the issue of passive smoking had gone away – but it certainly has not. It causes 1% of all deaths globally – 603,000 a year – of which about 165,000 are in children, according to a study, from the World Health Organization’s Tobacco-Free Initiative in Geneva.

This is the first assessment made of passive smoking’s impact worldwide and is based on data analyses from 192 countries. They found that worldwide, 40% of children, 33% of male non-smokers and 35% of female non-smokers were subjected to passive smoking and the deaths related to that are not insignificant. They estimated that that one year this caused:

• 379,000 deaths from ischemic heart disease
• 165,000 deaths from lower respiratory infections
• 36,900 deaths from asthma
• 21,400 deaths from lung cancer

Almost half (48%) of all passive smoking deaths were in women and more than a quarter (28%) in children, with only 26% in men because research showed that men are more likely to be active smokers themselves.

Most deaths in children caused by passive smoking occurred in low- or middle-income but adult deaths from passive smoking were fairly evenly spread across all countries, irrespective of income. Children suffer heavier exposure to second-hand smoke than any other age-group, and are also the group for which there is strongest evidence of harm from passive smoking.

Although much has been done to cut smoking in public places such as bars and restaurants there is still the problem of smoking in the home, or around children outdoors. There are currently estimated to be around 1.2 billion smokers in the world and they are exposing billions of non-smokers to second-hand smoke. I know giving up can be hard, but if you are spending time around children, please do think about it.

Why Men Are At Greater Risk of Gum Disease – And What To Do About It

November 8, 2010 by  
Filed under At Home, Health, Mens Health

Though possibly not the sort of sex that immediately springs to mind, it seems that men’s sex hormones may be the biological reason why they are at greater risk than women for a particular kind of gum disease.

Researchers at the University of Maryland Dental School have found that destructive periodontitis, an infection of the gums, is more common in men than women and their gum disease tends to be worse. Periodontitis is a condition in which the gums, deeper supporting tissue, and potentially the bone surrounding teeth become infected and inflamed.

Gum disease starts with plaque, a sticky white substance that coats teeth and which is formed when bacteria in the mouth mixes with saliva and residues from starchy foods and sugar in your diet. If plaque isn’t properly removed by brushing and flossing, it accumulates and hardens underneath the gum line into tartar. Once tartar builds up, it’s much more difficult to remove than plaque and, over time, it can lead to inflamed gums, or gingivitis. This is a mild form of gum disease and one of the most common symptoms is darker red gums that bleed with brushing or flossing.

Until now it has not been certain why men are more susceptible to gum disease, but this research has revealed that it is down to the male sex steroids. These affect the immune system regulation of inflammation, which when not working well leads to the development of infection.

Another competing hypothesis in the dental world for the fact that men are known to suffer more gum disease is the environmental one. Just as men visit doctors less frequently than women, they also don’t go to the dentist as often and apparently are more likely to have worse oral hygiene and compliance with treatment and aftercare than women.

Natural Remedies for Gum Disease:
Apart from good oral hygiene, regular flossing and visits to the dentist, there are some simple things a man can do to guard against future gum disease. Natural helpers are:

1) Vitamin C
Scurvy is something we associate with 18th century sailors, and they got it because their diet was so poor in vitamin C and they had bleeding gums as a result. Today, research indicates that people with low intakes of vitamin C have higher rates of periodontal disease (ie less than 60mg a day). It also helps to prevent gum disease because vitamin C is an antioxidant which is needed to repair connective tissue and accelerate bone regeneration.

Vitamin C rich foods include grapefruit, oranges, kiwi fruit, mango, papaya, strawberry, red pepper, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe melon.

2) Vitamin D
Vitamin D has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects and may reduce susceptibility to gum disease. Vitamin D comes from sunlight, so sensible and limited exposure will boost your levels and if you want to take a supplement as part of a multivitamin you would be looking for at least 200 IU.
3) Stress levels
Keeping your stress levels low is healthy for everyone, but particularly here as stress increases plaque accumulation. Vitamins C and B complex are the stress vitamins to boost, so increase your intake and find something that helps you stay relaxed and cut down on stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol.
4) Coenzyme Q10
Low levels have been linked to gum disease and it is essential as coenzyme Q10 is needed to properly repair gum tissue. It is produced naturally in the body and also found in meat and fish.
5) Tea tree oil
Tea tree has so many uses I believe every medicine cabinet should have a bottle but in this particular instance tea tree toothpaste will do the job. It has proven antibiotic properties and a study on people with severe chronic gingivitis who used the toothpaste for 4-8 weeks were found to have a significant reduction in the degree of gingivitis and bleeding.
6) Change your toothbrush
A Dutch study found that the use of electric toothbrushes with oscillating, rotating heads for 3 months reduced gingivitis compared to manual brushing with a regular toothbrush. There was also some reduction in plaque, although it was not statistically significant.

Acupressure for your – and your pet’s – health

October 27, 2010 by  
Filed under At Home, Health

When most people think about acupressure they tend to think only about the benefits it can have for people. However, acupressure can also provide great benefits for dogs and other pets, particularly as they become elderly. Dogs, for example, love to be touched, petted and massaged, and they respond very well to this type of therapy. Used alone or in conjunction with alternative remedies, acupressure may result in significant improvement in your pet’s health.

Acupressure is acupuncture without the needles and many people find it very beneficial. Based on the same principles of acupuncture, it is the application of pressure on certain energy points of the body. In a gentle and non-invasive way, this pressure balances and releases the flow of blocked energy, enhancing health and mental stability.

Acupressure helps to improve the quality of life in elderly dogs suffering from hip dysplasia, arthritis, as well as every day aches and pains. At the same time, it can calm a new puppy and help ease the transition period when the puppy is brought into a new home.

Although acupressure is most commonly used to relieve pain and discomfort, it has many more benefits including strengthening the immune system, strengthening, muscles, tendons, joints, and bones, alleviates inflammation and swelling and releasing endorphins which calm and relieve pain as well as helping with behavioural issues.

Once you hve learned the necessary points, which you can do by first having a session with an therapist so they can show you where they are. Applying acupressure to your pet is actually a very simple technique. The most important thing to remember is that there must be a loving, calming, and trusting atmosphere. Acupressure is not a difficult process. It can be applied in the position that your pet likes best: standing, sitting, or lying down.

You can of course do this yourself, but you need to know where those points are so I would suggest an initial consultation with an accupressure therapist and say why you want the session to make sure they do work with animals or there is a website that will give you an idea of what you need to be looking for which I think is equally applicable to other household pets. You will see a tab at the top of the page to click on at at www.luckydoghealth.com.

Always begin a session by slowly petting and massaging your pet and then when they are in a relaxed state, you can move to the pressure points that you need to focus on. Once you have located the point, apply steady gentle pressure with your thumb or index finger. As you do this, visualize an even flow of energy going through that point into the body. The purpose of this visualization technique is to help you focus and not make any sudden movements that may distract the pet.

With a steady and gentle hand, increase the pressure and release it after five to fifteen seconds, always paying close attention to your pet’s body language. If they feel uncomfortable, release the pressure. However, please note that the maximum amount of time to hold the pressure is fifteen seconds. If you come across a tender spot, simply massage the tender area and as the pet relaxes, then slowly apply pressure to that point.

I have personal experience of using it when one of my cats had what seemed to be a stroke in the middle of the night. I did what we most naturally do for an animal in distress, I held and stroked and soothed and used my hands to relieve her discomfort by using the pressure points I knew. The following day she was lethargic but alert and has continued to improve, of course I checked with the vet as well but it seemed that simple contact and pressure did have a beneficial effect. The key is to make these sessions an enjoyable activity and many pets look forward to this activity while experiencing improvement in health

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