Sunday, December 21, 2008

Getting Over Your Social Anxiety for the Holidays

The holiday season is the time where people set up a lot of parties and events to get together. Fun as it may seem for a lot of people, these kinds of gatherings can be very challenging for people suffering from social anxiety disorder.

Social anxiety disorder can be a very difficult condition to bear with, since feelings of anxiety can be triggered whenever they are in social gatherings. Their irrational fear of being judged and evaluated in such events can be too much that it causes them to withdraw.

Aside from taking anti-anxiety meds and psychotherapy, there are other ways to make managing social anxiety disorder easier, especially when family and social gatherings are afoot. Here are a few tips to help make social anxiety in holiday parties more bearable:

1.Choose the events you go to
You may feel that you're forced to attend holiday gatherings because everybody's going to be there, but you're not. Party organizers may not understand why you're refusing to attend the party, but know that forcing yourself to attend such parties unprepared can only exacerbate the anxiety you'll feel once you get there.
2.Check the attendance list
It may sound weird asking the organizer about the other people who are going to attend the party, but having a brief knowledge of who's coming and what they're interested in can make blending in during the party easier for you.
3.Arrive at the party early
Arriving at a party earlier that most guests saves you the trouble of having to receive a lot of weird stares for coming in late. For anxiety sufferers, receiving such stares can be discomforting to the point of inducing an attack.
4.Do not use alcohol to gain courage
A glass of wine or a sip of spiked eggnog may help you get over party jitters, but drinking too much can have a negative effect on your interacting skills.

The holidays may prove to be the most difficult time of the year for most social anxiety disorder suffers, but with the help of supportive friends and family, along with an effective anxiety coping technique, sufferers need not stay in one corner during parties.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Improving Sleep And Performance of Shift Workers

There are more than 22 million Americans who work at times other than the usual “9 to 5” business hours. They are called shift workers, those who work when most people are in bed, and who attempt to sleep when the rest of the world is starting to get up for work.

Shift workers are usually found in hospitals, on police forces, in the transportation and manufacturing industries. They perform critical functions as emergency personnel who meet the demand of global interaction “round-the-clock.”

Shift workers don't get enough sleep. Night shift workers have to fight against the natural wake-sleep pattern. Since it's difficult for them to stay alert at night, and equally hard to fall asleep and stay asleep during the day, night shift workers get less sleep, and even if they get sleep, it is usually less restful.

More than just a mere “beauty rest”, sleep is essential to the body to help restore and rejuvenate the brain and organ systems for normal function. Lack of sleep may lead to a chronic condition which can be harnful to a person's health, on-the-job safety, task performance, memory, and mood.

In a study at Rush University Medical Center, researchers found that participants who worked a simulated night shift and who were exposed during the wee hours to bright lights for five 15-minute periods became more alert, not immediately but later.

According to one of the researchers, Charmane Eastman, PhD, it wasn't just the lights that helped them. They were also given dark sunglasses to wear on their way home and they went straight to bed at 8:30am.

On the other hand, people in the “control” group who also worked simulated night shifts weren't exposed to bright lights, were given dim but not dark sunglasses, and were allowed unrestricted sleep and all the exposure they wanted to outdoor light.

The study, which involved 24 participants who worked from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. with two days off, was conducted by Eastman and colleague Mark Smith, a postdoctoral fellow, to try to make the participants' body clocks more normal. They discovered that the bright lights, the dark sunglasses, and enforced sleeping times helped the night workers become more alert and feel less abnormal.

Eastman said that the sunglasses cut out a lot of blue light, “that light in the morning is what keeps real shift workers from adjusting. You go outside, that light tells your body clock it's morning. So the real night shift worker never adjusts. We're tricking the body clock to think night is day and day is night.”
The study suggests that light therapy, sunglasses, and strict sleep schedules helped night shift workers create a “compromise circadian phase position,” which may result in increased performance and alertness during their night shift while still allowing adequate nighttime sleep on off days. Those in the study's experimental group had black plastic placed over windows.

One important finding is that night shift workers should wake up late on their off days, but no earlier than noon.

In conclusion, the study suggests that light therapy, sunglasses, and strict sleep schedules helped night shift workers create a “compromise circadian phase position,” which may result in increased performance and alertness during night shifts while still allowing adequate nighttime sleep on off days.

Resource Box : Monch Bravante is a frelance writer and advertising practitioner with special interest in public health issues.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Aggressive Osteoporosis Approach To Curb Hip Fractures

Osteoporosis screening and treatment could cut U.S. hip fractures by 25% or more, according to a new study by researchers who work at Kaiser Southern California, a branch of the Kaiser Permanente health maintenance organization (HMO).

The new study shows that the aggressive three-pronged approach to osteoporosis can go a long way toward preventing hip fractures.

In the first step, bone scans using dual X-ray absorptiometry, which is the gold standard for bone density tests, were given to the following patients:

  • All patients over age 50 with a history of fragility fractures or fractures not due to trauma
  • All women over age 65
  • All men over age 70
  • All patients on high doses of corticosteroids and certain other drugs
The second step focuses on osteoporosis education and treatment. Those with poor bone density or previous fragility fractures were included in the osteoporosis education program. In addition to bone drugs, patients who needed osteoporosis treatment also got home safety checks to help prevent falls.

The third step is a fall-reduction program, including physical therapy, for at-risk patients.

From 2002 to 2006, more than 620,000 patients were included in those programs at 11 Kaiser Southern California centers. Based on statistics, hip fractures dropped by 37% overall, ranging from 23% to nearly 61% across the 11 centers during that time.

According to Kaiser researchers, who included Richard Dell, MD, the difference among the centers may be due to the fact that some centers had a longer history of treating osteoporosis aggressively.

Dell and his colleagues reported that achieving that result didn’t require experimental drugs or a radical change in screening. However, it did require a coordinated, aggressive approach.

In the November edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Dell’s team wrote that the first step must be a more active role by orthopedic surgeons in osteoporosis disease management.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lifestyle Changes Add Motivation To Weight Loss Program

It is not unusual to see some people engaging in physical fitness only once in a while. In fact, many Americans don't even exercise at all. However, there are those few who find time to go the gym and sweat it out to their heart's delight.
While it may be easy to start a weight loss regimen, being consistent is another story. There are people who show so much enthusiasm in the beginning, spending money to enroll in gym memberships or buy those weight loss equipments, only to quit as soon as they start. Either they are too busy that they couldn't find time to keep it going or they quickly lose their interest due to lack of motivation.

To keep yourself motivated, set some specific and realistic fitness goals. Write them down on paper to give them more weight than just saying things to yourself. Unrealistic goals will only lead to disappointment and frustration. While exercise can give you a healthier body and add a certain glow, don't expect that it will help you catch a lover or turn you into an overnight celebrity or supermodel.

Set aside a specific regular time for your weight loss program to keep your enthusiasm going. Most people, especially women, don't exercise because they're too busy doing things for other people: their spouse, their kids, their boss. Incorporate your time for exercise into your daily routine like biking to work or taking a walk to do errands. Be sure to follow it and stick to it to make a great deal in adding physical activity to your lifestyle.

Treat exercise as a social event by joining a group or being with a workout buddy. Camaraderie helps in keeping the spirits up. Make family time a lot of fun by playing catch or kick with your kids, or swimming together in a lake or pool.

Continue being faithful to your schedule and goals even if the changes may not be visible at once. While most of these bodily changes are invisible, they are actually happening and are important in laying the groundwork for a strong, healthy physique.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Birth Control Pills and Health Concerns

Back when the first birth control pill was introduced to the public in 1960, it was considered the most amazing medical discovery for women and contraception. Thanks to the invention of the oral contraceptive pill, women of that time had a safer and more convenient way to control their chances of getting pregnant.

Up to this day, the pill, as it is commonly called nowadays, remains one of the most commonly used female birth control products since the first time it was launched for sale. With more or less 100 million American women trusting the pill, more and more women are using it.

But over the years, a lot of health concerns have surfaced regarding oral contraceptives. There are the occasional side effects that a lot of women complain about. Such side effects as weight gain, nausea, headaches, and loss of libido have been reasons for concern. Also, back in the 70s, reported increased risks of blood clot formation and cardiac problems, among other diseases, have alarmed women wanting to use oral contraceptive pills.

Another source for concern is the fact that certain conditions may be aggravated by the use of pills. Women with unexplained vagina bleeding, liver diseases, migraine, and have a history of cardiovascular or blood clotting diseases, or any form of cancer are strongly discouraged to use the pill to avoid health complications.

Since its original launch in the 60s, a lot of brands like Triphasil and Ortho Tri Cyclen have come up to give more freedom to choose which kind they want to take, and from which manufacturer. Also, a great thing about medicines is that they are continuously being improved to further help consumers. Health concerns like blood clot formations and cardiovascular complications have been resolved by making pill variants that contain lower doses.

Of course, there are still some unresolved health concerns to find solutions for, but for the meantime, it's good news for women to know that as time progresses, each concern is being addressed to come up with a better, safer, more effective oral contraceptive pill that will work to the benefit of women taking it.

Do not forget to consult your trusted physician before taking oral contraceptive pills. This is to ensure that you are cleared to use the birth control product. Again, keep in mind that the birth control pill is not for all women.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Carbon Monoxide Facts

It may be said that one of the greatest and most pathetically hilarious ironies of modern living would be the signs warning of the dangers of cigarette smoking printed right on the pack of cigarettes itself. It has become as commonplace as the cigarette's own brand that smokers and non-smokers alike already consider it as one of the trivialities of daily life. Flipping the top part of the pack to get a stick of cigarette, smokers would probably not even give it so much as a glance, let alone heed its warning.

However, current developments in modern scientific research combined with an all-out campaign against smoking has yielded favorable results, leading to an increase in the number of people working hard at kicking this very deadly habit. Said to have more than 4,000 chemical components, 69 of which are carcinogenic, tobacco or cigarettes poses very serious risks to our lives in general. Of the many deadly components found in a single cigarette stick, one of them is carbon monoxide. Primarily intended for producing gas, carbon monoxide is not responsible for the addictive effects. However, it greatly contributes to the dangers of smoking, adding to one of the many reasons why we should put an end to it once and for all.

What is carbon monoxide?

In chemistry, CO stands for carbon monoxide; a kind of gas that has neither smell, taste, nor color. It is made by means of the partial combustion of compounds with carbon components. It is the kind of gas that is more likely to be formed than carbon dioxide if there is less oxygen present during the combustion process. Although it is considered generally toxic, it bears a significant fuel value and is very useful in modern technology.

Along with nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanide, and ammonia; carbon monoxide is also contained in cigarette smoke. Usually, we already have some of it in our blood due to our surroundings. However, smoking tobacco or cigarette increases it. The amount varies in accordance to an individual's exposure to it combined with the rate at which he or she smokes per day. For a person who regularly smokes at least a pack daily, his or her CO level would be around 20 parts per million. If he or she smokes more than a pack, it only stands to reason that this figure would go up considerably. However, looking at the bright side, the amount of CO could be decreased, too. Given that the concerned individual would cease smoking for a day or two, his or her CO level would diminish to its normal level.

How does carbon monoxide affect our body?

Carbon monoxide makes its way to our bloodstream when we inhale it through the lungs. Once it mixes with our hemoglobin, it displaces the oxygen therein. Thus, it decreases the normal amount of the latter, which is necessitated by our heart. Being exposed to carbon monoxide could produce the following symptoms: fatigue, headache, discombobulation, nausea, vomiting, and increased heart rate. carbon monoxide is lethal, but it is reliant on the amount we are exposed to. If we have been exposed to low concentrations of it for a long period of time, we are likely to develop heart disease. For pregnant women, it could endanger their unborn fetus.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Do's and Don'ts in Handling Schizophrenic Episodes

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that causes imbalances in the brain chemicals. These imbalances can lend themselves into excessive paranoia and nonexistent fears which can make it difficult for a patient to determine what is real and not. While it is difficult for the patient to live with the disorder, it is also difficult for his caregivers. His family and friends constantly live with the dread that their loved one will end up dead or hurting another person under the influence of a schizophrenic episode.

If you live with a schizophrenic person or are a family to one, here are some tips on handling schizophrenic episodes that can help you keep your loved one – as well as other persons – safe from harm:


1.Do watch out for signs of an impending episode.

Schizophrenic episodes do not happen instantly. They are usually the culmination of a long-standing, imagined affair or paranoia. Watch out for signs like sleeplessness, ritualistic obsessions, and increased suspiciousness. As much as possible, encourage the patient to take his medicines regularly which you can keep in stock by buying from a discount pharmacy.

2.Do contact the patient's doctor or the nearest hospital.

When under the influence of a full-blown episode, strong doses of medication and sedative are often needed to calm the patient. He may also seem to possess increased strength due to the adrenalin in his or her system that a medical team is necessary to subdue him. When necessary, you can also contact the police but request that they keep guns out of sight since this might provoke your loved one more.

3.Do play along with the hallucination when reasonable.

Understand that the patient is experiencing an altered reality; he may be hearing or seeing things that you couldn't. Stay calm throughout the ordeal and play along with whatever hallucination he is having as long as it is still within your reasonable abilities. If he asks you to climb a chair or desk because “the pipes burst and are flooding the whole house,” do so. It'll help him feel in control of the situation regardless if it is only imagined.


1.Don't scream and panic.

Screaming and panicking will only agitate the patient more and may result in untoward accidents. Try to stay calm and speak in a gentle soothing voice in order to reach into the turmoil inside the person's head. If you are afraid, call someone to stay with you but never let kids into the room.

2.Don't threaten and bait the patient.

Never patronize a schizophrenic person who is having an episode. Avoid threatening the patient as this can result in a renewed fear and assaultive behavior. It is also unwise to bait the patient into doing what he is threatening to do since this may result in irascible behavior on his part and push him into acting out his threat. It is also necessary that you don't appear to be a threat. If the patient is sitting, you should also take a seat as standing may give the impression that there is a power play going on.

3.Don't let the patient out of sight or out of the door.

As tempting as it is to just walk out and leave the patient alone, don't. He is not in control of his behavior which may result in him hurting himself or another person. To the best of your ability, keep the patient away from the door while keeping it open. Closing the door may give the patient the impression that you are locking him in which can result in violent behavior. But if push comes to shove, remember that you are also responsible for your personal safety. Flee and lock the door if you have to until the medical team and the authorities arrived.

Resource Box:
Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical health care and sharing them through her writing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Smoking: A Hard Habit to Break

The rising cost of health care in the United States today have made it difficult for average wage earners to get proper health care at a price that won’t make them go hungry for the next few days. Millions are also joining the ranks of the uninsured since many insurance providers are increasing the cost of their premiums. Smokers are especially at a bad position since they are considered as high-risk individuals. With 440,000 people dying from smoking-related diseases, no one can argue the insurers’ actions.

There is no easy way to quit smoking instantly but if you want to try, a method that helps you quit the habit gradually is more effective. A gradual quitting procedure reduces the severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms that may discourage a smoker from quitting. A gradual method also lessens the chances of a relapse because the smoker's body is given more time to get used to a nicotine-free system. Below is a guide that can help you start to quit smoking now: If you want to save up on medical bills and get more affordable health insurance, here are five steps that can help you quit smoking:

Call or consult your doctor about your plan to quit.

Your doctor has probably given you numerous warnings before about smoking. Give him some joy while in the office by calling him up and informing him of your plan to quit. You can also set up an appointment to discuss possible strategies that you can use to make quitting easier. Ask about smoking cessation programs or a non-nicotine prescription medicine that can help you quit the habit.

Keep a list of reasons you have to quit smoking.

Seeing a reminder of the reasons you have for quitting smoking is a source of motivation and encouragement. This list will also remind you of why you do not need smoking in your life. Reasons can range from bad breath, stained teeth, and bad odor from clothes and hair to more serious health reasons like high blood pressure and lung cancer. Make several copies of this list and post them in areas that you can easily see like the fridge, your dashboard, cabinet, and places where you used to keep your cigarettes.

Decide to quit smoking.

Unless you are really keen and decided on quitting, your chances of success are limited. Make it your choice to quit smoking since doing so eases the process of quitting a long-time habit. Set a time for your quit date and do not put it off. Better yet, you can start the quitting process even before your quit date arrives. Destroy all of your cigarettes by dousing them with water or shredding them to pieces before throwing them in the trash. By doing this, you eliminate any temptation that might make you hesitate to quit. Removing all ash trays, lighters, or anything that reminds you of smoking can help get you on the right track.

Inform your family, friends, doctor, and build a support group.

Quitting smoking is best done when you have allies on your side. Forming a support group with friends and family members can make quitting easier since they can motivate you to continue and distract you when nicotine cravings arise. Your doctor can also tell you what to expect during the withdrawal phase and help you prepare better. You can work with your doctor to develop a comprehensive quitting strategy that is gradual and realistic.

Keyword: quit smoking

Resource Box:
Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Helping Loved Ones with Paranoid Personality Disorder

Living with a loved one who is encumbered with Paranoid Personality Disorder is far from easy. Always suspicious of the actions or intentions of the people surrounding him/her, they see others and the world at large as a threat to themselves. As always, their distrustful nature causes friction in their relationships, hurting those who should have been closest to him/her. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if they are aware of the pain they are causing, for their minds are perpetually focused on themselves. They have a general distrust of other people, and are constantly suspecting that plots are being hatched against them. Due to this unfounded belief, they are always on their guard, acting very defensive, and striking at anyone who they might hurt them emotionally even if he/she had neither done nor intended to do anything to hurt him/her at all.

The highly suspicious nature of people with Paranoid Personality Disorder makes them whiners who are antagonistic and very defensive of themselves. Although they always have a rational and distant front, sufferers manifest an offensive, sarcastic, and tenacious behavior. And even if they can be very thorough in dealing with their work, it would be advisable if they work on their own, isolated from others instead of in a group. The only thing that distinguishes them from those riddled with paranoid schizophrenia and delusional states is that they do not experience delusions.

Although the origin of Paranoid Personality Disorder is unconfirmed, research suggests that it may stem from genetics. Such personality disorders are common among families with a history of delusional disorder and schizophrenia. Signs of this personality disorder often become obvious during childhood and the teenage years. Individuals with Paranoid Personality Disorder are likely to show the following traits during the aforementioned stages: self-isolation, inability to relate well to peers, inclination to interpret others' behavior, overly sensitive to others, and a strange way of thinking.

To be able to diagnose a patient with Paranoid Personality Disorder, doctors must be able to tell it apart from the symptoms of those who are suffering from substance abuse. A psychological evaluation of the patient would help a doctor arrive at this diagnosis. Among the characteristics that doctors can look out for in their patients are:

  • Belief in an impending catastrophe or disaster
  • Perception that there are enemies throughout the world
  • Belief that he/she is blameless regardless of circumstances
  • Does not believe in accidents, and instead, he/she views others' actions as the cause for misfortune or unlikely events
  • Everything that happens involves him/her in one way or another
  • Belief that he/she has a special way of seeing things and this sets him/her apart from the rest

There are several methods of treatment that could be employed to address the problem of people with Paranoid Personality Disorder:
  • Subjection to psychotherapy
  • Cooperation of family members to help or involvement in self-help groups

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mid-Summer Health Problems: How to Deal

Summer is almost ending – almost being the operative word. With a few weeks left before summer officially ends, some people are getting careless about sun protection and other what-not that can put them at risk of health problems that often occur during the season. Most have been dabbing on sunscreen like there is no tomorrow but more than sunburned and scaly skin, summer health problems can range from the fatal to the trivial. Below are just some of the common health problems people suffer from during the summer:

  • Heat stroke. When your body is unable to cool down on its own, you may suffer from symptoms like a high body temperature (106 F or higher), very hot and dry skin, rapid and strong pulse, delirium. When left unattended, heat stroke can be fatal. Spray your face and body with cold water to help lower the temperature. Putting ice packs under the armpits and the groin can also speed up cooling. Immediate medical attention is needed since the intense body heat can cause damage to the internal organs so contact medical aid as soon as possible.

  • Heat exhaustion. It occurs when your body loses water and salts through perspiration and does not replenish them. Symptoms include pale, clammy skin, fatigue, excessive sweating, and cramping despite normal body temperature. The techniques given for treating heat exhaustion are similar to those that are used for heat stroke. But since heat exhaustion is primarily caused by dehydration, drinking lot of water and electrolyte-loaded drinks like Gatorade can help lessen the seriousness of the condition. Even so, medical attention is still needed.

  • Bug and insect attacks. Insect stings can cause allergic reactions in many people. There are also instances when bugs can fly into a person's ear and cause severe pain. Bug bites such as that of ants and mosquitoes are easily treated tea tree oil. For attacks that leave stingers such as those of bees you can use a tweezer or a credit card to remove the stinger. Wash the affected area with soap and water then apply a calamine lotion. .

  • Animal bites. Domesticated animals like dogs and cats and wild ones like raccoons and squirrels can leave bite marks that wound. They may even be infected with rabies. Wash the wound with soap and water or cleanse it with an antiseptic swab immediately. Dry the wound gently then apply an antibiotic cream to prevent the spread of bacteria and a possible infection. Cover the bite with a clean bandage to avoid infection from insects that might land on it. When done, seek medical attention immediately especially if the wound looks infected and deep.

  • Burns. Whether it caused by fire or overexposure to the sun, burns reveal a delicate layer of skin which is shiny, raw, and red. Burned areas are often painful and sensitive. Without proper treatment permanent scarring might occur. Hold the burned area under cold running water or compress for at least five minutes, or until the pain subsides. However, avoid putting ice directly on the burn as this can cause more damage. Wrap a gauze loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin to keep air off the burned skin, reduce pain, and protects blistered area. You can take an OTC painkiller to reduce the pain. Wear loose clothing made of breathable materials to let your skin breathe.

  • Fungal infection. The humid temperature and the possibility of excessive sweating during the summer are the perfect conditions required to speed up fungal infections. Athlete's foot, jock itch, ringworm, and nail fungus are some of the most common fungal infections. While these infections look differently, they are mostly itchy and can cause swelling. Unsightly and rough patches in red and discolored patches are often visible. Applying ketoconazole on affected areas can soothe the irritated skin and kill fungi.

While uncomfortable and possibly dangerous, the health problems described above can be easily remedied if you keep your medicine cabinet and first aid kid stocked with basic supplies. You can order medicine online and pick up other supplies from the local drugstore.

Resource Box:
Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Natural Methods to Help You Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of those habits that is difficult to stop once you become addicted to it. Although it does not make sense why people would become addicted to a stick of weed that really tastes and smells like one, we have to respect their personal reasons regardless of what they may be. However, all of us know by now how harmful smoking can be not only to the smoker, but also to the unfortunate people who would happen to inhale the smoke coming from his cigarette or cigar. And since smoke is air borne, we can conclude that smoking endangers everyone whether he/she is a smoker or not.

Regardless of the confirmed facts of the harmfulness of smoking, there are still some people who insist on continuing with this dangerous habit. But then again there are also those individuals who are attempting to make that vital change, which could literally prolong their life and create wonderful changes to their health. But as mentioned previously, trying to quit smoking could be 10 or more times more difficult than learning how to get started with it. Then again, if an individual is really serious, there is no way he/she could ever not succeed. There are a variety of natural methods a person can use in order to help him/her quit smoking. Here are some of them:

Try Using St. John's Wort

Medical and scientific breakthroughs are beginning to see the other wondrous benefits of the herbal supplement St. John's Wort, which is originally used as an anti-depressant. Current studies reveal, that this decreases the cravings of smokers. This is made possible because St. John's Wort raises the level of dopamine in the brain. This, in turn, helps combat the depression that usually accompanies attempts to quit smoking. St. John's wort, which is available in powder or pill form, is one natural way to help people ditch their smoking habit.


Another alternative is hypnotherapy. It is an external means of helping people kick the habit without chemical side effects. The manner in which hypnotherapy addresses the problem of smoking is through targeting the source: the person's cravings. Attacking the problem from the source gives you a better chance of dealing with it.

Just Quit

Some smokers curtailed their smoking habit simply by making the decision to stop and stuck with it. Although this can be very challenging for most, it is not far from achievable. After all, our will plays an integral role in the things that we do. Gathering substantial will power and persistence is what some smokers utilized to aid them in kicking the nasty habit once and for all.

Be a Busy Bee

Sometimes, trying to substitute certain activities to replace smoking can help smokers quit. Keeping the mind preoccupied is one very effective way of diverting one's thoughts from the need to smoke. Try a new hobby or engage in a sports activity. These do not only keep your thoughts away from putting a cigarette in your mouth, but they also benefit your physical and mental well-being.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Treating and Preventing Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are twisted and enlarged veins that commonly occur in the lower legs. This terms is oftentimes associated to the veins seen on the leg, but varicose veins occur in various parts of the body.

Varicose veins are most of the time painful, most especially when walking or just merely standing. Aside from the fact that varicose vein is considered one of the most unwanted cosmetic problems, this often itch and scratching it can even cause ulcers.

Today, varicose vein is now treatable since serious complications are rare in this kind of condition. Non-surgical and pain relief treatments include elastic stockings, sclerotherapy, exercise, as well as by elevating the legs. The traditional surgical treatment for varicose veins is called the vein stripping, wherein it involves the removal of the affected veins. On the other hand, less invasive and newer treatments like endovenous laser treatment and radiofrequency ablation are now replacing the said traditional treatment for varicose veins.

Moreover, there are a number of factors involved in the development or occurrence of varicose veins. These factors include gender, hereditary, age, as well as pregnancy. Although most people, particularly the women, prefer to have their varicose vein outbreak treated immediately by a specialized doctor, those who cannot afford costly treatments make do of natural and non-costly methods to treat and prevent the said condition.

Below are some of the recommended lifestyle changes that can best prevent and treat varicose veins:

1.Practice having a good posture.

Always standing up straight can lead to a good posture. This can also lessen the pressure on the veins.

2.Maintain a healthy and ideal body weight.

If one is overweight, it causes the circulatory system to function harder, thus, increasing the inside pressure in the leg veins.

3.Exercise regularly.

Simple exercise routines such as cycling, swimming, walking, and jogging are enough to improve the overall circulation of the body without adding pressure to the veins.

4.Avoid standing for a long time.

Standing for a long period of time can lead to the development of varicose veins. Wearing mild compression hose is recommended to women who have jobs that require them to stand for a long period of time. This hose will help blood pump efficiently back to the heart.

5.Choose your clothing well.

Wearing clothes that do not constrict the legs, waist, and groin is a must in preventing varicose veins in the legs.

6.Stretch your legs when sitting for a long time.

To prevent developing varicose veins, stretching the legs is a must if one is to sit for a long period of time.

7.Avoid taking birth control pills containing high estrogen.

As for women who want to prevent varicose veins, most doctors prohibit them to take birth control pills that contain high level of estrogen. High-level estrogen can lessen the valves ability to close.

8.Raise the legs for a couple of minutes when lying down.

When lying down, women should raise their legs a few inches above their heart for a couple of minutes. This way, the blood in the lower legs will flow easily back to the heart and lessen the work of the valves.

Resource Box:

Rcon Franchesca V. Pascua is a web content writer and researcher who specializes in health and fitness topics. She enjoys reading health-related features and articles and sharing what she learns by providing tips and guidelines on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Five (Radical)Ways to Say Goodbye to Smoking

We know all too well that at one time or another, that familiar hooded man always carrying a long-handled scythe would eventually find his way to our door. However, letting him proceed with his own schedule and willingly inviting him over to dinner are two very different things. If we persist with our smoking habit, we have already given him the invitation. So if we value our life and the people we care so deeply for, then don't you think it's about time we say goodbye and split up with our habit for good? We know it is never easy. A cigarette is a paramour to us. To quit smoking cigarettes would mean losing a valuable piece of ourselves. Nevertheless, it is what needs to be done. It should not be too hard when you think about it, really. Below are a five radical suggestions that might just work.

  • Use the power of imagination. Before we pop that cigarette into our mouth, pause. Then, let us close our eyes and take a deep breath. Once we decide to open our eyes, we would no longer see that all too familiar slim white stick nestled in between our thumb and forefinger(A cigarette, what else?). In its place, what we see is a mottled piece of dried up excrement, filthy and putrid as can be. How would we react?

  • Search the net for a picture of what was once a living smoker's lungs, all blackened and rotten. Produce a print out of the latter as big as we can make it. Now, go to a doctor and ask for an x-ray procedure to be done on our lungs. Get the results and run back home with them. Go to our room and on the wall right at the foot of our bed or on the ceiling right above it, paste the print out alongside the x-ray of our own lungs. This final step is the easiest: upon waking up and before dozing off, look at these for as long as we can without thinking of anything else. The outcome of this would just flow naturally.
  • Record our own voice as we say this:”I would never ever smoke again.” Do this for an hour or so. We could also make another record of the terrible effects and data about smoking. Program our player to play these recordings non-stop as we sleep. Leave the rest to our subconscious mind.

  • Let us go vegetarian. Instead of popping cigarettes into our mouths we can pop carrot or celery sticks instead. This would do us more good than we could possibly imagine. We do not only stave off the bad habit, but we also improve our overall health.

  • Now, this last suggestion is very easy. Before we start smoking, we should mention these two words repeatedly( more than 12 times at least) to ourselves: 'bad breath' and 'cancer'.
These suggestions are humorous takes on the possibilities of putting an end to our deadly smoking habit. As funny, disgusting, or ridiculously ludicrous as they can be; we know that the effects of smoking is never a laughing matter. Just think: precious minutes of our life are at stake with each stick we smoke.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Using Self Hypnosis to Quit Smoking

Similar to meditation, hypnosis makes use of the right side of the brain—the part of the brain in charge of introspective awareness, calm perceptions, passiveness, and that floating feeling. Hypnotherapy, therefore, is the practice of using hypnosis as a therapy for alleviating certain conditions through the power of suggestion. If a person were to undergo hypnotherapy by himself/herself, this is referred to as self-hypnosis. Using self-hypnosis to quit smoking is one suggested method that can help an individual forgo the habit of smoking permanently. However, it is important that we keep in mind that we have to willfully allow ourselves to believe that this method could work. As with every other method, doubt could deter our success at any cost.

One effective way of self-hypnosis is using the “swish” technique, which was created in 1985 by Bandler. It utilizes “imagery” in helping an individual fend off the effects of any past. This does so through the process of mixing up messages our subconscious has received about what we really desire for ourselves and the habit we want to cut off. Here are the steps for this method:

1.Relax yourself gradually, closing your eyes as you do so.

2.Picture yourself in a theater as you are seated in front of a gigantic screen. Visualize an image of your worst fear regarding smoking. Focus on the worst effect possible and try to conjure an image of it as vividly as you can. Allow yourself to feel the negative feelings stirred up by this image as you fixate your attention to it.

3.Take away this image, leaving the screen blank. Then, replace it with an image of what you would want to be or what you want to happen to yourself. Make it as positive as you can and just as vivid as you did with the negative image. Again, allow yourself to experience the positive feeling that comes with looking at this specific image. Then remove it, leaving the screen blank again.

4.Replace the negative picture on the screen. Afterwards, put the positive picture on its lower right corner. The superimposition of the small positive image over the big negative image would make the aforementioned look like a stamp.

5.Do these things at the same time: say “swish” and as you do this, visualize the small positive image getting bigger and brighter until it supersedes that of the negative image. The latter eventually diminishes until it is gone from the screen.

6.The second the “swish” has transpired, leave the screen blank, or open your eyes abruptly.

7.Repeat the process for at least five times, ascertaining that each “swish” procedure is quicker than the previous one before it.

8.Prior to finishing this method, visualize one more time the negative image you came up with. If the “swish” procedure has been successful, it should be harder for you to get the same image you have visualized originally(it could either become less accurate or blurry).

9.Visualize the positive image again, and take note of how much easier it is for you to conjure this image more vividly than the negative one. Allow this positive image to prevail in your mind. In the event that you haven't achieved the desired results, repeat and think of ways to make your imagery more effective or exact.

Resource Box: Maricel Modesto is a writer and editor who writes for various health and lifestyle magazines.