Sleep Apnea and Its Consequences

 

Sleep apnea description
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Get an hour or two less sleep than your normal routine and you may spend the rest of the day in a bad mood with an exhausted body. Consequently, it also affects your work performance, interaction with others and clouds your thought processes, not to mention that your driving ability can become severely impaired. Bottom line: Sleep disorders are detrimental to your health.

One experience’s these negative effects whenever he or she is subject to a reduction in the quality or quantity of their sleep.  The specific amount of mental and physical issues that a person will be affected would be the result of the amount of lost sleep, their diet, lifestyle and the individual’s own metabolism.

We all experience loss of sleep at one time or another; whether due to staying up late to study for final exams, going out till the wee hours of the morning or an anxiety-prone issue that keeps you awake at night. But there are also medical disorders that can keep us awake at night. Sleep apnea is one of them. This is where an affected individual experiences a disrupted breathing pattern while they are asleep. This pause in breathing is called apnea. On average, affected individuals experience around 30 apneas within an hour and most of us will not even be aware that we have it until we see a medical professional who needs to conduct specific apnea tests.

As per a report of the American Sleep Apnea Association, there are more than 22 million US citizens suffering from this illness. Among these cases, 80% of them go unnoticed.

Physicians and researchers classify sleep apnea into two categories.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the air passage within the respiratory system gets blocked. There are several reasons which results in a partial or full blockade of the airway:

  • Expanded and relaxed muscles of the tongue and throat
  • Enlarged tonsils as compared to the windpipe
  • Obesity is the other reason which blocks the air to lungs because overweight constricts the inner diameter of the windpipe

A blocked air passage means lungs are not able to oxygenate the blood. This anomaly activates a homeostatic response of the body which directs the brain to stir up the affected person from sleep in order to resurrect the air passage.

However, this awakening is very instantaneous and short. One doesn’t remember it in the morning. The resumption of breath is usually highlighted with a choking sound or a snort.

Central Sleep Apnea

This is a rare type of sleep apnea where the nervous system fails to communicate with the muscles responsible for breathing. Central sleep apnea can develop as a side effect of other health complications such as cardiovascular diseases, brain stem damage and Parkinson’s disease.

Very few patients suffer from both of these simultaneously. This rare condition is called mixed sleep apnea.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

During Sleeping Hours

There is a widespread misunderstanding that snoring is the main sign of sleep apnea. However, this is not the case. Snoring can be the result of other issues; however, sleep apnea should not be ruled out, especially if other symptoms materialize such as those listed below. Moreover, gasping and choking are also the signs of sleep apnea, aside from snoring. Frequently waking up during the night to urinate might be another sign of this sleep disorder; although this could be the result of other conditions, such as an enlarged prostate.

Post-Sleeping Hours

There are some other symptoms of sleep apnea as well that can be experienced throughout the day.

  • Severe headaches in the morning
  • Failing to concentrate on any given task
  • Feeling a sore throat and dry mouth after waking up

People who suffer from central sleep apnea suddenly wake up from the sleep with feeling short of breath.

Many times sleep apnea goes undiagnosed because its symptoms appear at the time when it’s difficult to notice them.

Professional diagnosis of the problem is possible through lab and home-based tests. If you are frequently encountering any of the aforementioned symptoms, then consult with a physician for better guidance.

Treatment is in Your Hands

If you are suffering from moderate levels of sleep apnea then you can have it sorted out by making some changes or rather improvements to your lifestyle. Let’s find out the self-help measures you can take to get rid of sleep apnea.

  • Maintaining a healthy BMI index is important for many reasons and protecting yourself from sleep apneas is one of them. Eating healthy food containing only good fats and carbs, lean proteins and regular physical activity prevents obesity to kick in.
  • Smoking affects the muscles responsible for breathing. By reducing and quitting this habit, one can experience a decrement in the severity of sleep apnea.
  • Sleeping on the side instead of the back also helps in preventing obstructive sleep apnea.

For severe cases of this disorder, a device is usually recommended by physicians called continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). It uses air pressure at the nose or mouth opening to maintain the airflow to the lungs during sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

Direct and Immediate Effects of Air Pollution on Human Health


”Smoke
Photo by Kuzmayayimages.com

Air pollution might appear to be a temporary inconvenience when you are outside and soon as you get inside your home or any other building, you forget about it. This has been our attitude towards these toxins for a long time and subsequently, due to our negligence, we are now witnessing a variety of world-wide effects not seen in our previous history. 

Air pollution has a direct and immediate impact on human health in multiple ways. Lethality of outdoor contaminants can be gauged by the fact that it causes approximately three million deaths annually around the world. In this article, we will discuss the different short and long-term implications of what some of these toxins can do to our bodies.  

Loss of Bone Density

Bones with thin density are more prone to fractures. In medical terms, the condition is called osteoporosis and usually affects elderly people. But a recent study indicates that there might be a link between osteoporosis and air pollution.

Car Emissions can Reduce the Levels of Parathyroid Hormone

Researchers have noted that individuals (regardless of age), who are more exposed to automobile emissions, experience a drop in their parathyroid hormone levels. This hormone is responsible for the construction and protection of bone mass.

A direct measurement of bone density also indicates that people living in a heavily polluted neighborhood, such as in some communities in China and India, experience rapid drops in their bone densities as compared to the residents of less polluted areas. In the U.S., pollutants from vehicles are more controlled due to the high set of federal regulations placed on the automotive indstry.

Poor Quality of Sperm

According to a research published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine, air pollution is somehow linked to lower quality sperm. Scientists have found out that solid matter particles suspended in the outside air have adverse effects on the shape and size of human sperm. Low sperm quality can lead to infertility. It is worth mentioning that these toxins from the air can affect the male reproduction activity within the span of 90 days.  

Renal Issues

Air pollution also has an adverse impact on the physiology of kidney. According to a study conducted in the domain of Nephrology, kidneys are even sensitive to low levels of pollution which is often not classified as hazardous by Environmental Protection Agency.

The research also looked into the pollution level in the areas where the veterans had previously served to find the effects of increased level of pollution. The report concluded with a very alarming verdict that no level of air pollution can be called safe for kidneys health.

Risk of Stroke

According to CDC, strokes are one of the leading causes of deaths in the U.S. It also results in a large number of long-standing disabilities. Scientists have gone through a large medical record accounting more than six million deaths in different countries over the course of 66 years to find a correlation between air pollution and stroke.

They have discovered some loose and tight pointers regarding the association of pollution and its adverse results of strokes (deaths and disabilities).

Hypertension and High Blood Pressure

A study conducted in five European countries concludes that air pollution can be a reason behind more cases of hypertension and high blood pressure. All the 41,000 people who were part of the study were not suffering from any cardiovascular complication at the start of the study. But over a short time period, around 15 percent of the individuals who participated in the study had developed the issue of hypertension.

Complications of Pregnancy

A research study has been conducted on a mouse to find the impact of air pollution on pregnancy. Researchers have found out that particulates of burning fossil fuel can increase the risks of premature births and low birth weight. Even though the subject of the study was mice, it still provides another underlying reason for premature births in the human population.

Psychological Issues

A report indicates that air pollution also has its detrimental effects on our mental well-being. The study has taken a survey in different cities regarding mental health and matches it with respective air qualities. It indicates that, in the cities with increased levels of air pollution, more people have reported the instances of mental distress.

Air pollution is our collective problem and hence we can only tackle it through a joint effort. However, on an individual level, using air pollution masks while commuting through rush hours, having better air quality at home (through more vegetation around and different HVAC measures), a healthy diet and regular exercise might help in balancing out the toxic effects of these contaminants.

Perils of Chronic Inflammation

In general, inflammation is one of the human body’s first line of defense triggered by the immune system when it detects an anomaly in its physiology. From localized allergies to viral diseases to physical injuries, inflammation plays a crucial part in the healing processes. For that reason, this reaction is deemed healthy from a medical point of view, since it is considered a warning to the body. However, it is not considered healthy and beneficial anymore if it persists for an extended time period.  

The inflammation that we experience following an injury or disease, lasting for few days or a couple of weeks, is called acute inflammation. This physiological phenomenon is good or rather necessary for our well-being. On the other hand, the same bodily response is bad for your health if it lingers, which is termed as chronic inflammation.

Why is Chronic Stress Bad for Your Health?

Inflammation is the body’s high alert state where it’s trying to maintain the security and defense of the body by different physiological responses. But when this state continues to exist for months or years, then instead of doing any good it starts to act against one’s own body.  

Chronic inflammation can lead to different medical conditions. Arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s can commence due to persisting inflammatory state of the body. Chronic inflammation is not as evident as the acute type. Therefore, one should be aware of some of the signs that might indicate that you are suffering from chronic inflammation.  

Depression

Depression is one of the signs of chronic inflammation. Researchers have noted that cardiovascular patients, who are feeling depressed, show signs of higher and persisting inflammation as compared to the patients not having the same psychological turmoil.  

Disturbed Digestive System

Diseases related to the digestive system are one of the telltale signs of chronic inflammation. If you experience sporadic cramps and pain in your abdomen, suffering from constipation or diarrhea without any apparent reason, then it might be a sign of chronic inflammation. Intolerance for gluten-based food items and irritable bowel syndrome are also the subsequent health complications of chronic inflammation.

Exhaustion and Fatigue

Feeling tired after getting done with an entire workday is a regular phenomenon and every healthy individual experiences it. However, if you are feeling exhausted and fatigued all the time even after getting good sleep and a healthy diet then inflammation might be lingering within your body.  

Underlying Reasons of Chronic Inflammation

There are several reasons that might lead to the development of chronic inflammation.

Dietary Habits

Meals rich in processed oils, sugar and fats have become a staple diet in today’s lifestyle. However, the digestive system is not intrinsically designed to process this highly enriched food and has to work too hard to do its job. This increased burden on the stomach, the digestive tract, and metabolism provokes the immune system resulting in the onset of chronic inflammation.  

Physical and Psychological Stress

Stress is also body’s inherent tool that is there for its better survival. But persistent and heightened stress levels can be bad for health in many ways. Chronic inflammation is one of the detrimental byproducts of stress. Psychological stress is highlighted by the release of cortisol, a hormone which puts the body into flight or fight mode. The release of cortisol in blood circulation also put immune system on high alert.  

People with constant emotional stress inadvertently exhaust their immune system, which results in the development of chronic inflammations.

If you are skipping meals, not consuming sufficient nutrients then it moves your body into panic mode, internally causing an inflammatory response. But if you have developed a habit of neglecting your dietary needs and skipping meals, then a prolonged phase of physical stress can also bring about chronic inflammation.  

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal imbalance in the body for any reason could also lead to chronic inflammation. It has been often witnessed that menopausal women (imbalance of estrogen and progesterone) often develop the problems of obesity and acne due to chronic inflammation.  

Allergy to Synthetics and Chemicals

People working in an environment decked with different synthetic materials also experience inflammatory responses from their body. This is often caused due to a reaction to the synthetic materials. Moreover, cosmetic products and any airborne chemicals can also cause chronic inflammation.  

A good lifestyle adorned with a healthy diet, plenty of nutrients and stress-free functioning is very helpful in protecting yourself from a detrimental aspect of the immune system called chronic inflammation.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Its Sub-Types

Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, commonly known by as OCD, is classified under the family of anxiety disorders.  It has various sub-types that are prevalent across the world. In the US alone, OCD affects more than two million adults. It’s worth mentioning that this stat does not account for the majority of cases which remain unreported. Also the numbers of OCD cases in minors are also not included in this report.

Many people don’t consider OCD as a disease because its mild symptoms don’t affect the everyday routine of the affected individuals. But that doesn’t mean one should completely overlook the signs and symptoms of this problem.

If left untreated, although not prominent, it can transform into a full-scale mental issue where the affected individuals are unable to operate normally. To understand OCD in a better way, let’s break it down into its two parts i.e. obsession and compulsion.

Obsession

Obsession entails the recurrence of unwanted thoughts and ideas which the affected person is not in control. These undesirable, recurring thoughts can be very radical in nature and bring about distress and discomfort.

These obsessions might involve endlessly thinking about highly unlikely and/or horrible scenarios. For instance, constantly thinking that something very bad will happen to your loved ones without any reason or imagining scenarios where you are meeting a sudden, unexpected death.

This obsession can also be an acute order without any rationale. Having unreasonable distrust and disbelief can also be the elements of the obsession part of an OCD case. Religious reservations, doubts and inappropriate sexual scenarios can also impinge on the affected individual.

Compulsion

The second part of OCD entails certain actions where the affected person acts impulsively for his/her survival. Compulsions for affected individuals are more important than any sacred ritual. If they remain unable to carry out those tasks, they get extremely disturbed and can’t operate normally until getting done with their compulsive actions. Repetition is one of the primary motifs of this compulsive behavior.

Connection of Obsession and Compulsion

People who are suffering from OCD often experience a crossover between obsession and compulsion. With the help of a very frequent example, we can understand the connection of obsession with compulsion.

Let’s assume you are ‘obsessed’ with the thought that you will get infected by a serious disease, then subsequently you might develop a ‘compulsion’ to repeatedly wash your hands. This is one scenario that is fairly common, especially these days when all news media continuously reminds us that we are in the midst of a flu epidemic.

People who do continuously wash their hands may be considered a germaphobe, associated with condition called Germaphobia. Although not always in the OCD class, as it is a healthy routine. Some famous people who are known to be germaphobes are Howard Mandel and President Donald Trump. Howard Hughes and Sadam Huesin were also known to be part of the germaphobia category, but others who allow their routine to get to the point that their lifestyles are affected, then they would fall the category of OCD. When the ritual, whatever ritual that may be becomes so daunting that the individual must change their routine to the point that it interferes with their life is when they would fall into the class of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

And if the OCD gets worse, people may ultimately refuse to shake hands with others and get severely disturbed if they touch any object they consider contaminated.

Types of OCD According to Symptoms

OCD can be classified in several sub-types according to the appearance of different symptoms. However, the primary elements of obsession and compulsion remain present in any of these sub-types.

OCD of Washing and Cleaning

We have discussed this sub-type in the previous section where people are obsessed with the fear of getting contaminated and therefore compulsively perform washing of the contaminated (supposed) body part.

OCD of Checking

In this type of OCD, the affected individuals become obsessed with unrealistic scenarios involving harm and destruction. To make sure that any such thing is not happening, they develop a compulsive ritual of checking. For instance, constantly thinking of a fire in somewhere in the house, then repeatedly checking the gas valves.

OCD of Inappropriate Thoughts

There are no visible symptoms of this type of OCD. It involves the obsession with unsuitable thoughts surrounding sexual, violent, and religious motifs. Affected people internally try to suppress these thoughts which results in a visible anxiety.

OCD of Maintaining an Order

It is one of the most common sub-types of OCD where people are obsessed with maintaining a symmetry which leads to the compulsion of arranging and ordering the things and objects around them without any reason. Many individuals consider this type of OCD a good thing because of the meticulousness associated with it.

Compulsive Hoarding

Hoarding is now also classified as a sub-type of OCD. It involves the collection of items and objects which don’t hold any importance in general. Collecting empty jars, cans and boxes, piling up old clothes which are not in use anymore are some of the examples of compulsive hoarding.

People with compulsive hoarding can cram their home spaces with unnecessary clutter. An unwarranted emotional attachment is often the reason behind compulsive holding.

In the next article, we will talk about ways to cope with different symptoms of OCD.

A Guide for Daily Water Consumption


Glass
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For years, there has been an ongoing debates regarding the amount of water our bodies should consume on a daily basis.  For an average person, it has only become more convoluted to identify the right amount of water to drink everyday in order to maintain a healthy regimen. ? There is no dispute on the vitality of water for human existence and survival and experts agree that the more water you drink, the better it is for you and yes, water is the healthiest nutrient you can consume, but how much is too much (if there is a too much constraint at all)? So let’s take a more detailed look at just how much water the average individual should consume each day.

Prevalence of the 8×8 Rule and Its Shortcomings

We all have heard the advice to drink eight glasses of water a day and it is good advice, especially if you are looking to lose weight.  If we delve into the details of this recommendation a bit more, a single glass of water should be eight ounces (around 230 millimeters), hence the term “8×8”. This suggestion roughly entails the consumption of around two liters of H20 every day.

Even though this recommendation is extensively boasted by drinking-water companies in their marketing and promotions, the truth of the matter is that there is no substantial evidence and research to validate this widespread advice.

In contrast, studies suggest that drinking this much water might not be healthy for the majority of the individuals. For instance, one of the major flaws with this claim is that it doesn’t account for the other ways to hydrate the body aside from directly drinking water from a glass or a bottle. We humans fulfill a significant amount of our daily water intake through foods and beverages.  

Water Intake Through Foods  

Like every hard organic item, the foods we eat also contain a proportion of water. Vegetables and fruits are particularly rich in H20, with some of them (strawberries, watermelons, etc) having more than 90 percent of their weight contributed to the presence of water.  

Even though every food item defers in its water content, all of our meal plans contain a considerable amount of water. As per the data furnished by The National Academies of Sciences (Health and Medicine Division), the average US citizen consumes around 20 percent of his/her daily healthy water need through chewable foods.

The “eight glasses of water a day” doesn’t take into consideration this one-fifth daily fulfillment of water consumption through meals.  

Water Consumption Through Beverages

The 8×8 formula is also flawed because our bodies get hydrated with various other liquids other than pure water. Even if alcoholic beverages are excluded, we get a lot of water in the form of juices, tea, coffee, carbonated drinks and milk. There is no truth to the belief that coffee induces dehydration in the body. Caffeine drinks certainly have other side effects on the human body, but dehydration is not one of them.

The Right Amount of Water Intake

It is quite clear that water should not be consumed through definite measured values because we continue to hydrate ourselves inadvertently through foods and other drinks throughout the day. Moreover, water needs of the body can be altered due to several factors:

  • Weather: Our body dehydrates profusely in hot and humid weather so we have to increase water intake in this type of environment.
  • Physical Activity: The intake of water varies with every individual depending on the levels of their physical activity.
  • Health Condition: Your health also dictates the amount of water you need to consume. There are some medical conditions (fevers, diarrhea, kidney stones and bladder infections) which require increased water intake.

Apart from these factors, age, weight and lifestyle also differentiate the need for water. Don’t look elsewhere for the ideal recommendation of your water needs. Your own body can guide you better in this regard instead of some arbitrary suggestion.  

In a healthy individual, the body naturally starts to feel thirsty as its hydration levels drop. So drink whenever you feel thirsty. Furthermore, the color of your urine can also tell you about your water needs. Urine of darker yellow color indicates that you are dehydrated.

Sweating is another sign to hydrate yourself, even if you are not feeling thirsty. The crux of this discussion is not to exhaust yourself in counting the number of glasses of water you are imbibing every day. Follow your body and drink whenever you feel like it. You would be successful in hydrating your body.

In conclusion, even with the additonal sources of water contained in foods, the 8×8 recommendation is still a good reference for the average individual, but consulting with a medical professional on the amount of water needed for your specific body requirement is always the best course of action to take!

Daily Habits That Might Not Be Good for Your Well-Being – Part 1

 

 

Daily Sign
Photo by netsay.net – yayimages.com

Some of our daily habits and routines, which we think are harmless and possibly healthy, might possess hazards that we are just not cognizant of. Even though the health risks associated with these everyday routines are not of extreme proportion, since we, for the most part, are not often aware of them, they can potentially transform into full-blown health complications.  

In this article, we will shed light on some of these seemingly non-hazardous habits that might lead to some serious health concerns.  

Going Fully Gluten-Free

In recent times, adopting gluten-free diets have become a trend. For some people, avoiding gluten has become a part of their survival routine. However, that is not the case at all. Gluten-laden food does contain certain proteins which are essential for the human body and cannot be acquired from other foods.

So, if you are neither suffering from celiac disease or have a wheat allergy, then it is not prudent to cut off all the gluten-based foods. Even if you are wheat intolerant, eating the minor amount of gluten foods won’t significantly affect your digestive system.

If you are under medical supervision regarding associated with the consumption of gluten foods, speak with your medical professional before making any changes to your diet.

Taking Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin supplements are considered a healthy regimen by many and therefore we see over-the-counter vitamin products in great demand. The majority of the population consume vitamin supplements due to these reasons:

  • To compensate for the nutritional deficiency of daily diet
  • For the advance prevention of chronic diseases

A research study from a couple of years ago has concluded that taking micro-nutritional supplements won’t help in reducing the chances of getting chronic diseases. 27 clinical trials were conducted in this regard and it was found out that vitamin supplements didn’t have any significant effects on cognitive deterioration and other chronic issues such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

The FDA has even issued a warning regarding the use of biotin, a vitamin complex, popular for its beneficial effects for skin and hair because it can distort the results of the lab tests conducted for diagnosis purposes.

There is no harm in taking vitamins, but don’t rely on vitamins only as your daily supplement for nutriential health. Nothing beats eating the actual foods that contain these nutrients!

Sitting for Long Hours

An expression that is becoming common these days is Sitting is the New Cancer. Today, desk jobs are one of the leading places where many white-collar employees spend their time. The majority of our urban population have jobs that require several hours of sitting behind a desk. It is a well-known fact that desk jobs add up to the prevalence of obesity along with other unhealthy lifestyle habits. Type 2 diabetes also comes into play by sitting for too long.  

Some new research studies have further highlighted the dangers of sitting for too long, especially for women. According to a research report from two years ago, sitting for more than six hours a day can put women at more risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer.

Another study indicates that sitting for long hours results in the development of destructive and unhealthy behavior.  

To shed the negative effects of sitting for too long, get up about once every 15 – 30 minutes. Walk around the office and at lunchtime, take a long stroll. This is also recommended as a healthy routine for your eyes and when you return to your desk, try working while standing, at least for a while. Make that blood flow!

Excessive Use of the Smartphone

Let’s address the elephant in the room by discussing the unhealthy effects of excessive use of a smartphone. Now, it seems impossible to function without these handheld gadgets. Just ask your kids and cutting out their use entirely is not even doable because many daily life chores now depend on the connectivity provided by them.

It has been found out that people who regularly use their phones in their bed find it difficult to fall asleep. The use of phones before falling asleep also affects the quality of sleep.   It usually happens because the light emitting out of the screen represses the production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for good night sleep.  

Another study indicates that excessive use of a mobile phone also disrupts the neuronal chemical balance in young people. The production of GABA, a neurotransmitter, responsible for neuronal communication gets increased in teenagers with excessive use of the smartphone. Aside from sleep and neurological disorders, excessive use of smartphones is also linked to provisional vision loss.  

In next article of this series, we will further expand our discussion to some of the routine activities deemed harmless but contain a significant potential threat to the well-being of an individual.

Addressing the Misconceptions of Psoriasis

PsoriasisAny immunological reaction prompted against healthy cells, tissues and organs of the body are called autoimmune response. And any disease affiliated with this response is called an autoimmune disease. There are a wide range of these illnesses and psoriasis is one of the most prevalent ones.

According to a recent report, more than two percent of the US population is suffering from this autoimmune skin disease. Since many people, particularly the ones not suffering from it, don’t consider it as a serious health concern, several misconceptions have spread about psoriasis.

It is important to address these notions regarding psoriasis because 60 percent of people suffering from this skin disorder do consider it a major everyday nuisance.

Psoriasis is Infectious    

Due to a misconception that psoriasis is contagious and a healthy individual can catch it from an affected person, this skin issue has been transformed into a social stigma. It should be firmly understood that psoriasis is not contagious at all.

This autoimmune system has genetic roots. It can’t be transmitted through air or contact. It is important to spread awareness for dispelling this false fact about psoriasis because many psoriasis patients avoid social situations because of that.  

Psoriasis is Incurable

The majority of psoriasis patients persist with the agony of this condition because of the preconceived notion that it is incurable. Even though the disease is a complicated one due to its genetic roots, that doesn’t mean it’s untreatable. Psoriasis of any degree can be treated through in-home and professional care.

Over-the-counter Psoriasis Treatments

For mild to moderate psoriasis conditions, several OTC topical products can come in handy. Topical corticosteroid, vitamin D ointments, emollients and tazarotene are some of the easily available products used for the treatment of light psoriasis.  

Prescription Drugs for Psoriasis Treatment

If you are suffering from severe skin rashes and inflammation due to psoriasis, then it is better to get a consultation with a skincare specialist. There are several prescription drugs used to treat severe instances of psoriasis including retinoids, acitretin and some other pharmaceutical physiological response modifiers. UV light therapy can also be recommended to the people with severe psoriasis symptoms.

The crux of all this discussion is: psoriasis can be treated and one should not overlook the symptoms of psoriasis just for this reason.

Sunlight Aggravates Skin Condition

This is another unsubstantiated fact widely spread about the disease. But in reality, there is no truth to it, even when it has been observed that exposure of the sun improves the skin. Formation of Vitamin D due to sunlight is the reason behind improved skin condition of psoriasis patients.   

Psoriasis Always Transmits Genetically

There is another widespread misconception that psoriasis is always inherited by the children of affected parents. This is a myth. Even in the people with the affected gene, only two to three percent will actually develop the disease. Therefore, it is important to not get unnecessarily worried if your parents or one of them have ever suffered from this disease.

Bathing Worsen the Skin Condition

There is a widely spread myth that water can amplify the degree of psoriasis, hence affected individuals should avoid bathing as much as possible. This is also complete rubbish because oils and salts present in bathing soaps and lotions might help in reducing the psoriasis-related irritation. However, using very hot water can result in severe irritation.  Moreover, swimming in chlorinated pools is not advised because chlorine is a known skin irritant.

There is More than Only One Type of Psoriasis

Not all psoriasis conditions are the same and hence their treatments and symptoms can vary. Some of the common psoriasis types are:

  • Erythrodermic
  • Guttate
  • Pustular
  • Plaque

The most prevalent psoriasis type is plaque. Symptoms of plaque are red skin patches and flares of dead skin.

Signs and Symptoms of Psoriasis are Superficial

It is important to note that psoriasis is not just an aesthetically unpleasing disease. There are several physical and physiological repercussions associated with it. Psoriasis can be painful and severe patches of it can lead to bleeding, making the affected individual more vulnerable to other bodily infections.

Similarly, people suffering from this autoimmune skin condition can develop major depressive orders and anxiety due to the stigma associated with it, so it is important to take care of this disease with the necessary diligence and knowledge available in the medical field.

Addressing the Misconceptions of Psoriasis

Any immunological reaction prompted against healthy cells, tissues and organs of the body is called autoimmune response. And any disease affiliated with this response is called an autoimmune disease. There are a wide range of these diseases and psoriasis is one of the most prevalent ones in the US.

According to a recent report, more than two percent of the US population is suffering from this autoimmune skin disease. Since many people, particularly the ones not suffering from it, don’t consider it as a serious health concern, several misconceptions have spread about psoriasis.

It is important to address these notions regarding psoriasis because 60 percent of people suffering from this skin issue consider it a major everyday nuisance.

Psoriasis is Infectious    

Due to a misconception that psoriasis is contagious and a healthy individual can catch it from an affected person, this skin issue has been transformed into a social stigma. It should be firmly understood that psoriasis is not contagious at all.

This autoimmune system has genetic roots. It can’t be transmitted through air or contact. It is important to spread awareness for dispelling this false fact about psoriasis because many psoriasis patients avoid social situations because of that.  

Psoriasis is Incurable

Majority of the psoriasis patients persist with the agony of this condition because of the preconceived notion that it is incurable. Even though, the disease is a complicated one due to its genetic roots but that doesn’t mean it’s untreatable. Psoriasis of any degree can be treated through in-home and professional treatments.

Over-the-counter Psoriasis Treatments

For mild to moderate psoriasis condition, several OTC topical products can come handy. Topical corticosteroid, vitamin D ointments, emollients and tazarotene are some of the easily available products used for the treatment of light psoriasis.  

Prescription Drugs for Psoriasis Treatment

If you are suffering from severe skin rashes and inflammation due to psoriasis, then it is better to get a consultation from a skincare specialist. There are several prescription drug used to treat severe instances of psoriasis including retinoids, acitretin and some other pharmaceutical physiological response modifiers. UV light therapy can also be recommended to the people suffering from severe psoriasis symptoms.

The crux of all this discussion is: psoriasis can be treated and one should not overlook the symptoms of psoriasis just for this reason.

Sunlight Aggravates Skin Condition

It is another unsubstantiated fact widely spread about the disease. But in real, there is no truth to it. Even it has been observed that exposure of the sun improves the skin. Formation of Vitamin D due to sunlight exposure is the reason behind improved skin condition of psoriasis patients.   

Psoriasis Always Transmits Genetically

There is another widespread misconception that psoriasis is always inherited by the children of affected parents. It is also just a mere myth and nothing more. Even in the people with the affected gene, merely two to three percent will actually develop the disease. Therefore, it is important to not get unnecessarily worried if your parents or one of them have ever suffered from the disease.

Bathing Worsen the Skin Condition

There is a myth widely spread that water can amplify the degree of psoriasis, hence affected individuals should avoid bathing as much as possible. This is also complete rubbish because oils and salts present in bathing soaps and lotions might help in reducing the psoriasis-related irritation. However, using very hot water can result in severe irritation.  Moreover, swimming in chlorinated pools is not advised because chlorine is a known skin irritant.  

There is More than Only One Type of Psoriasis

Not all psoriasis conditions are the same and hence their treatments and symptoms can vary. Some of the common psoriasis types are:

  • Erythrodermic
  • Guttate
  • Pustular
  • Plaque

The most prevalent psoriasis type is plaque. Symptoms of plaque are red skin patches and flares of dead skin.

Signs and Symptoms of Psoriasis are Superficial

It is important to note that psoriasis is not just an esthetically unpleasing disease. There are several physical and physiological repercussions associated with it. Psoriasis can be painful and severe patches of it can lead to bleeding making the affected individual more vulnerable to other bodily infections.

Similarly, people suffering from this autoimmune skin condition can develop major depressive order and anxiety due to the stigma associated with it. So, it is important to take care of this disease with all the necessary diligence.

Caregiving Made Easier with Technology


”caregiving”

Photo by ronstikyayimages.com

Technology has radically advanced in the 21st century and subsequently, we all have benefited from it in one way or another.  From using smartphones to sitting in self-parking cars to admiring an F-35 stealth fighter fly in the sky, we cannot help but be fascinated by these technological advancements.

And there is one area of advancement that has surprised the expectations of even the best experts. Indeed, the medical field has progressed to the point that people are expected to live to 100. For sure, there are apps and devices available today that can help even the oldest in society and that’s where you come in. By helping your senior citizens learn how to use these devices, they can live a more convenient and comfortable life.  

Advanced devices can make your life as a caregiver much easier. They can also offer greater independence and safety to the people you love.

Most of the technology available in healthcare is user-friendly and setting it up is quite simple. Discuss with the physician of your loved ones or ask other caregivers for help and suggestions. Some doctors have occupational social workers or therapists who can assist in finding the right resources. 

This article entails several ways you can use today’s technology to make caregiving easier. 

Independent Life

Begin with the basic things. For instance, if the person to whom you’re providing care has any physical disability, search for low-tech devices that can provide assistance, like a simple reacher to grab things easily. Even plain tools like a tin opener with easy-to-hold, thick handles can provide a lot of help to a disabled person. These low-tech tools can allow someone to carry out routine tasks which they are not able to do normally without assistance.

Purchase a location tracking system for finding things that can get misplaced. Place a small tag on whatever mostly disappears, like the wallet, glass case, keys or phone of your loved one. They can then use an application or press a button and the tag that you placed on the item will start to beep or ring.

For people who suffer from conditions like Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, apps on tablets and smartphones can make communication easier. There exists special hardware and software that can also be controlled simply with eye movements.

Setting Reminders

Caregivers mostly use digital watches or egg timers to remind their loved ones about taking their medicine or getting ready for their appointment with a doctor.

An app can provide you greater flexibility in scheduling routine tasks. There are many services that allow you to set automatic text messages, phone calls or emails to alert your loved ones when it’s time to take medicine, exercise or check their glucose levels. You can also add personal messages with the reminder to show them how much you care about them.

There are electronic pillboxes available now that’ll get the medicine out automatically through a timer. If your loved one has taken the medicine the advanced electronic pillbox will alert you and you can remotely monitor adherence behavior so that you have added peace of mind.

With prescription management services, custom medications can be delivered in special shipments. Pills are enclosed together according to specific doses that the person may be required to take, like all the pills that are to be taken after a meal will be packaged together while those that are to be taken at night will be enclosed in another separate package. Your loved one will only have to open the package and take the medicine without worrying about specific dose.  

Emergencies

Medical emergency systems have a pendant or a bracelet with an alarm push button. If your loved one falls or is in trouble, on pushing the button, a call will be made to an emergency service operator. The company will then notify you or send an emergency care provider to help your loved one. Some gadgets can also detect the fall and automatically alert the emergency services.

You can also place buttons in your home in case they ever forget to wear the device. You’ll be charged for the services, but compared to your loved one’s health, the expense is of no value.

Looking After the Person You Care About

You can install motion detectors on doors for added safety. When they are opened, an alarm will sound and you’ll be alerted when someone enters or leave. If you don’t live with your loved one, you can just check these sensors through an online monitoring system.

You can also use pressure sensors to track your loved ones. For example, placing a pressure sensor under the mattress will alert you when the person gets up so that you can check on them.  

Some medical systems are equipped with GPS tracking and you can use this service to find your loved ones in case they ever leave the house without you knowing it.  

The Final Word

If you really care about your loved ones and want to give them the best, you should really consider adopting the latest gadgets. These technological devices will not only make your life as a caregiver easier but will also provide more comfort to your loved ones and make their life easier and safer.

What to Do About Cyberbullying

Individual set aside because of bullying
More needs to be done against bullying, especially within the high-speed Internet environment

As soon as someone is perceived as ‘different’, there lies an opportunity for unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of that person. Maybe it makes them feel superior. Maybe it gives them a natural ‘high’ by showing off to their peers or maybe these instigators just have evil intentions. Whatever the reason, this phenomenon has been around for countless centuries, only to be brought into the mainstream via the Internet and social networking – and maybe that is a good thing.

But how can cyberbullying be controlled and how can preventing it be enforced?


Cyber Aware: Stop Cyberbullying – Infographic from Sano Works on Vimeo.

Sending disturbing emails and texts are part of the problem and are hard to monitor or control; however, preventative procedures can help towards diminishing the amount of bullying that perpetuates the Internet.

Free speech should not be controlled within the social media environment; however, that doesn’t mean to say that it should not be monitored and proper action taken against those individuals whose posts are interrupted as threatening, intimidating or abusive.

Facebook and the other social media should take some responsibility towards keeping a ‘clean’ environment among their members. They all provide policies against bullying and other forms of abuse, but they can’t enforce these policies alone and they depend on others to report these cases of abuse to them. Quite frankly, this procedure has all but failed, as we continue to hear about people (mostly young people) who take their lives due to some malicious posts that were written against them.

That being the case, more has to be done. Starting with the schools, they must take cyberbullying seriously and provide preventative measures to decrease and/or terminate this abuse during school hours AND after school hours as well (when most of the cyberbullying takes place), if it is determined that the abusers are enrolled in the school.

Sometimes, cyberbullying can arise outside of school jurisdiction, as the aggressors might not even be a student; therefore, there needs to be community action as well.

Girl covering her fact
The mental anguish of victims of bullying can be substantial

Overall, some suggestions for controlling cyberbullying are listed below:

 

  • The abusers should be reported to the social media establishment with a request to remove their account(s), but not before copies or screenshots are taken of the abusive posts (for later use if necessary).
  • Schools should provide special classes each semester, using ‘scared straight’ tactics about the dangers of bullying others. Including in this class would be a description of the consequences that could result, depending upon the seriousness of the abuse (suspension, arrest and even the possibility of being sued by the victim’s parents). Case histories would be presented.
  • Establish a support group in the school that would consist of teachers and students where victims of bullying can go to for help.
  • Establish a community support group that would consist of counselors, therapists, law enforcement officers and school officials (preferably those that are part of the school support group) to discuss the victim’s concerns and the possibility of action taken against the aggressors.
  • Parents should be vigilant to cyberbullying and taught what to look out for among their children, whether that be that their child is the abuser or victim. They should also be advised about the local laws that could potentially hold them responsible if it is determined that their son/daughter is cyberbullying another teenager.

As far as maintaining anonymity on the Internet is concerned, most social media networks do not allow a user to remain anonymous. Using anonymous email and in cases where it is allowed and cases where websites are anonymously created, that would be difficult to stop; however, a cyberbully can’t run and hide in the cloud forever. Considering today’s software technology and machine language algorithms, it would only be a matter of time before the abuser is discovered and brought to justice.