• Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Health Watch / Medical Alerts

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  • Health Watch / Medical Alerts
  • Don’t Crush Tablets
  • How to lose extra pounds
  • 12 Ways to Stay on Top of Stress
  • The Simple Way to Get in Shape
  • Have the Time of Your Life – No Matter What Time of Life You’re in
  • Tips For Better Sleep 

Crushing tablets can make them easier to swallow but it can have a serious, even potentially fatal, effect on your health. According to experts, over 80% of people have a habit of crushing tablets to help patients, especially children and the elderly, take their medicines.
However, doctors say the trend is alarming and dangerous. Not only does crushing pills alter the effect of the drug, but it can also impact the way the drug is released or absorbed, possibly causing serious side effects.
Several pills have a special protective coating that ensures the drug does not touch the inner walls of the stomach but directly passes into the intestine after being swallowed. Crushing these pills heightens the chances of gastric injury, leading to bleeding from the intestine.
Drug expert Dr. C M Gulati said, “A tablet isn’t just made of the drug. It contains both binding agents and other chemicals. The drug is also not uniformly spread across the tablet. Therefore, a patient would rarely know whether both halves have an equal amount of the drug. Also, most patients who crush the tablet mix it with juice or milk. This could result in interaction between the drug and liquid. There are several drugs that aren’t scored (lined from the center). These drugs should not be crushed at all. It’s a misconception that breaking a tablet into two lowers its strength.”
Former professor Dr. Anoop Mishra said: “Some drugs like the antibiotic Ampicillin, blood pressure drug Lisinopril and pain-killer Ibuprofen should just not be crushed. Also, crushing some pills known to be very bitter, like Ciprofloxacin and Chloroquine, could result in nausea and vomiting.”
It is estimated that 60% of older people have trouble swallowing medication. As a result, some of them crush pills. That’s why an estimated 75 million prescriptions a year are associated with adverse drug reactions.
Tamoxifen (used for treating breast cancer) must never be crushed. Whoever doing the crushing could be inhaling the drug. If that person is pregnant, this could be extremely harmful
Morphine. If this is crushed, the patient has a high risk of having an overdose — it will be released into the body too quickly
Nifedipine. If crushed, the patient is at a much higher risk of stroke or heart attack. Nifedipine is used to treat angina and hypertension
If Methotrexate (used to treat arthritis and cancer) is crushed, it could kill cells when it comes into contact with the skin
Take pills one at a time — with water or juice If you have trouble swallowing, try taking a deep breath before you take the pill; it can lessen the gag reflex If all else fails, some people put the pill inside desserts to make it go down easier

# How to lose extra pounds:: I hear so many tales about how people have lost weight and kept it off. One story that I found interesting tells of an active 5’6″, 210-pound, 33-year-old woman. For me what I found so intriguing about her story was the fact that she did work out regularly, but somehow was continuing to gain weight.
She figured that her entire family was built on the larger side, so that was just her destiny. I’ll give it to you that genetics does play a big part in the weight game, but I would hate for any of you to think that you can’t improve your reality, or set and reach particular health and weight goals.
Now, I am 6’3″ and weigh about 170 pounds, and I have long faced the reality that I am not built to be a size 2, 4, or 6 for that matter. With my build and bones, when I’m small I’m about an 8. If I’m lifting more and eating more calories, I can float up to about a size 12. Normally my weight variance is 2 to 3 pounds.
My point is that before you set goals, know who you are. I think at times people set themselves up by wanting something that is not a reflection of who they are or what reality they live in. The number one thing to remember before trying to jump into a lifestyle change is jumping into a lifestyle that you can live with.
OK, back to my story. How did this women lose the 54 pounds that she has now kept off for 5 years? 

  1. For starters, she kept the foods out of her house that she didn’t want to eat. When you go buy groceries leave the junk at the store. I find it very helpful to not shop while you are starving or depressed (I know the latter may not be as controllable). However, if your partner just broke up with you, or you just got fired, maybe it’s not a great idea to go food shopping right at that moment.
    Where you can, sub in a better choice (i.e. water for soda, vinegar dressing for creamy, salad with protein for a big fat sub). Oh, and if you are eating something you really enjoy and consider it a cheat, cut your portion in half. In other words, it’s not about not eating, it’s about controlling the amount. Go for the fries and hamburger, then cut the portion in half. Grabbing some chocolate? Grab less.

  2. Find some way of moving that you actually enjoy. Let’s face it a lot of people don’t enjoy exercising, but moving our bodies is a key component to losing or maintaining weight. The only way to make this a consistent part of your life is if you actually don’t view exercise time as torture. Take a class (spinning, yoga, kickboxing, hip hop), walk, jog, do pilates, lift or swim, etc. Find some form of cardio and weight training that you can do at least twice a week, each.
    There is no way around exercising, and to be honest if you find something you enjoy you will feel invigorated by exercise and have an increase in energy to deal with everything else going on in your life.

  3. Minimize your stress, and get some good rest. Life is hectic, but it’s key to try and keep stress at bay to the best of your ability. When you start getting hit by daily stress try to ask yourself, “how much do I need to let this affect me?” See if you can be a little more proactive vs. reactive.
    Some circumstances can’t be helped, but in other situations, you have a shot at making a choice. You just have to practice discipline in the situations that you can control, and not worry about the things that really require a full-blown, emotional response. Traffic? Let it go.  Someone is sick or hurt? Let your heart take over.

  4. Try to force yourself to turn off the tube or computer and get to sleep. I realize a lot of people (especially you moms out there) get all the house things done after everyone goes to sleep but gets to bed! Your entire system will function better if you are getting some rest. Can it wait?  If I tell you that your metabolic system will work better when you are getting enough sleep, will you go to bed?

This woman in my story has stayed successful for all of these years because she has found a balance between all of the components that affect weight, weight loss, and weight management. I know we all want to gag on the word balance, but it really is always about working our diet, exercise, stress, and sleep life into some kind of harmony that works for us.
Good luck to all of you. Remember that it starts with making a decision, and then believing in that decision. You can do it.

# 12 Ways to Stay on Top of Stress:: You know how you have those weeks (or maybe months or years) that just seem to be loaded with stress?  I know it’s all relative — one person’s stress is another’s holiday. People with two children think having just one child is a piece of cake, and so on. I’ve had one of those weeks — I’ve been on the road a lot and dealing with an injury, work hasn’t been going my way, and my three-year-old has been possessed by an alien. And I’m not talking about a friendly alien that wants to know what this planet is all about — no, I am talking about someone who wants to launch a full-scale assault, but only in public places. To be honest, this stress has even made it more challenging to relate to my husband in a free-and-easy “girlie” way. I’ve had more tones of “wife” in my voice during this past week than I’ve had in my entire 11-year relationship.
It takes a million years for one gene to change in our bodies. One million years!  I’m bringing this up because, physiologically, we’re the same humans we were 300 years ago. But look at how things have changed in that short time. Some things make life easier now: washers and dryers, transportation, an abundance of food, electricity, etc. But some things make life today more insane: cell phones, traffic, increased population, fake food, TV, busy schedules. I heard a statistic from a doctor-friend that we make more decisions in one day than people used to make in a year. No wonder we’re stressed out and reaching for doughnuts or alcohol to cope.
All this craziness and high-speed living aren’t going away. Since we can’t change our genes, we have to create a map to navigate this crazy life. What can you do to try and stay on top of the stress so it doesn’t affect your health, happiness, or waistline?

  1. Exercise. Amen for endorphins. Believe me, they’ve helped me many days with my perspective. If you have to work out, then go take a brisk walk and get that blood flowing. It isn’t about working out to lose weight — it’s about being healthy and staying sane.

  2. Eat the real stuff. Crappy food (fast, processed, and loaded with sugar) doesn’t help your chemical brain and body handle stress. Living food, real food, helps support your mind and body while it’s trying to deal with the million things coming it’s way. Every time I reach for the chocolate, I’m looking to feel something from it. Don’t get me wrong — if it’s just a little here and there because I enjoy the taste of it, great. But if I’m using it the minute I feel overwhelmed, then that’s when that food is no longer OK to eat. It doesn’t make the problem go away, and then I just feel bad about eating the food to pacify myself. Grab green food instead. Put things in your mouth that are going to support your immune function and keep you levelheaded.

  3. Notice. Try not to let the stress overtake you. Recognize the situations that cause them stress and notice them coming your way. You have a better shot at fending off the full effects of the stress when you can anticipate it.

  4. Get it off your chest. Talk to a friend or partner about the stress. Sometimes just getting it off your chest can help unload some of the burdens. 

  5. Keep your sense of humor. If you do have the chance to talk about it, try to see the irony and humor in the wacky bits. I think someone is dead in the water once they lose their sense of humor.

  6. Stay grateful. My daughter has large lungs and verbal skills she likes to display. Just when I start to wishfully think about her being quiet, I remind myself to be grateful that she can talk to me at all. In almost all of our problems are boatloads of blessings. “Oh, I don’t feel like going to the gym.”  Well, Amen that you have the means and the health to even be able to wrestle with the idea of going to work out. Make a habit of saying thank you. You will notice the sunny spots a lot more often, and not just the gray skies and storms.

  7. Ask, “What’s the hurry?”  Have some fun. We’re always so busy going somewhere, we miss just enjoying the moment. If an opportunity comes your way to do something fun, take it.

  8. Take a deep breath. When you feel the stress getting to you, take a moment. Getaway, even if it’s just for an hour, to be with yourself and your thoughts. Some people like to take a walk, meditate, lock themselves away in a beautiful bath, or go to church. Find the peace and the silence.

  9. Keep it simple. Simplify where you can. Does Junior really need to be in 78 activities at the age of 5?  Do you have to go to every little party or gathering you’re invited to?

  10. Turn of the TV. A lot of it is bad news anyway, and it robs us of hours that we could use to be getting other things done. Since everyone complains that they have no time, get some by unplugging from the tube.

  11. Sleep. If you’re rested, you have a better shot at handling things. Not to mention, you may not stress out as easily if you have a chance to recover at night.

  12. Drink water. I have said it before: Americans consume 21 percent of their calories through liquid consumption. Hydrate with water. Help your entire system function better just by drinking enough water. Oh, and by the way, if you don’t think that weight loss and proper hydration have a relationship, think again. Shift the paradigm on its side — don’t think about exercise and nutritional eating just as something you have to suffer through to get into those jeans. Instead, think of them as armor that will protect you in this crazy world, with all of the bazillion details you deal with every day.

# The Simple Way to Get in Shape:: Writing about health and fitness, I admit I can get a little overly philosophical. This was put in perspective for me the other day when I was in the gym and saw a woman I see there only every three or four months. I looked over at her running on the treadmill and saw someone who’d made a small transformation to her body. She never needed to lose tons of weight, but she’d obviously been doing something different. I went over to talk to her and tell her how great she looked, and she said she’d never worked so hard in her life.
Jamie is a 41-year-old woman, with three sons ranging from about 10 to 15, who has worked since she was about 14. She’s still married to her first husband and always seems upbeat whenever I run into her.
So how did she transform her body? And why did she do it? She already looked good before and seems to have a secure situation at home. Why the change?
Jamie said she decided she wanted to feel different and maybe make a few physical changes to her body. How did she make it happen? When I asked her, she said she should write a long book, and then on page 500 she’d finally get to the bottom line and say, “You have to work out and watch what you eat.” And on a certain level, it really is that simple.
Need a little help getting there? Here are some tips:

  1. Decide. It takes that moment where you can honestly say to yourself, “This is it, I want to make a change.”
  2. Commit. Once you connect with the fact that you want to change, you have to commit to the process. You may miss a day of training here and there, or shove a stress donut in your mouth, but the only way for you to get back on track is to recommit. This won’t be fun, so you’ll have to dig deeper within yourself to create the change you want.

  3. Believe in yourself. Just know that you can do this with good eating and consistent exercise. Results are not just for members of a special club — they can happen for everyone.

  4. Move. You’re going to have to move your body at least 4 to 5 days a week, but not for hours and hours at a time. Just get moving, even if you start out with 15 to 30 minutes a day. As time goes on and you want to see more changes in your body, you’ll have to move harder and longer.

  5. Eat right. Watch your portions, eat real food (not out of a bag, can, jar, or microwave), drink lots of water, go easy on the sugar, avoid fast food, and don’t eat too much dairy, pasta, bread, white rice, red meat, foods made with flour, or foods with lots of chemicals and preservatives. Easy, right? I know it’s tricky, but this is part is really key. What you put in your mouth affects your butt, brain, and mood.
  6. Decompress. Try to manage your stress and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. And take a deep breath now and then — aaaah.

# Have the Time of Your Life – No Matter What Time of Life You’re in :: I recently overheard a very attractive, healthy, smart, successful (you get my point) woman is in her late 30s talking about how she knew she was going to look back in 20 years and laugh at how much she obsessed over her physical flaws.
For some reason that hit such a chord with me. So much of the time I forget to take in all the wonders of now. I have a three-year-old and one on the way, and I always have to kick myself to just enjoy and take it all in. That’s not to say sometimes I don’t need to go into the bathroom just to steal a quiet minute, but even the craziness of life is the color and the magic. I’m sure you’ve heard some more mature adults talk about how they miss all the noise and chaos and that the quiet can be lonely.
A very wise man in his mid-60s told me about going to a gathering with people his same age recently. They were all talking about “X being the time of their lives.” “When I was in my 20s, 30s, high school, those were the days.” Then someone turned to him and said “Hey, what about you? When was the best time of your life?” to which he replied, “Now, and if it’s not, someone kill me.” There is the essence. Now!
How about us girls? In our teens, we look under a microscope at our flaws. Our skin, hair, butts. We dread getting our periods, and oh yeah, our breasts never seem to grow fast enough. Then we move into our 20s and struggle to figure out how to stay looking like we did in our teens. We hit our 30s and zone in on our weight and wrinkles. “If my skin just looked like it did when I was in my early 20s….” In our 40s we begin to fantasize about smooth taut skin and latch onto anything that claims to fight gravity. In our 50s we’re upset because we think it’s over for us; we actually dream of the day we had our periods and dread that young boys call us “ma’am.” In our 60s we just wish we could move around the way we did in our 50s – “oh, my bones hurt.” In our 70s we start to just look back…and so on and so on and sp what?
Hey, it’s about being all that you are at whatever phase of life you’re living. Hot is hot. You don’t have to have a number to define you or make you dynamic and alive. Perfectly smooth skin doesn’t make you happy, and if it did, what do you call all those hormonal teenagers running around? Of course, I look back upon the past with fondness – after all, it’s what brought me to the place I’m standing. However, I don’t want to go back there, I want to focus on what I’m trying to create now.
Okay, so now is my time to get superficial with you. Our bodies. Why are we torturing ourselves about our bodies? How about taking in where you are, and if you want to make some improvements (lose some weight, take up a new exercise class, start getting outside more often, eat better, change your hair) then go for it. Yes, I do believe you can get better with age, feel better, look better, but it’s not going to happen by wishing you were at another time in your life. It’s only going to happen by embracing where you are now and being the best you can be. Right now.
I know a 74-year-old man who has the eyes and smile of a kid. He is healthy, loves his family, has fun, takes care of himself – and he lives with the living. That’s what I want. I want to be whatever age I am, but maintain my youthful spirit and attitude and have some fun. So here is to all the beautiful males and females from 0 to 100 – may we all be having the time of our lives.

Tips for better daytime habits

  • Do not nap during the day. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, try not to nap during the day – you will throw off your body clock and make it even more difficult to sleep at night. If you are feeling especially tired, and feel as if you absolutely must nap, be sure to sleep for less than 30 minutes, early in the day.

  • Limit caffeine and alcohol. Avoid drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages for several hours before bedtime. Although alcohol may initially act as a sedative, it can interrupt normal sleep patterns.

  • Don’t smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant and can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs disrupt sleep.

  • Expose yourself to bright light/sunlight soon after awakening. This will help to regulate your body’s natural biological clock. Likewise, try to keep your bedroom dark while you are sleeping so that the light will not interfere with your rest.

  • Exercise early in the day. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise every day can help you sleep, but be sure to exercise in the morning or afternoon. Exercise stimulates the body and aerobic activity before bedtime may make falling asleep more difficult.

  • Check your iron level. Iron deficient women tend to have more problems sleeping, so if your blood is iron poor, a supplement might help your health and your ability to sleep.

Tips for a better sleep environment

  • Make sure your bed is large enough and comfortable. If you are disturbed by a restless bedmate, switch to a queen- or king-size bed. Test different types of mattresses. Try therapeutic-shaped foam pillows that cradle your neck or extra pillows that help you sleep on your side. Get comfortable cotton sheets.

  • Make your bedroom primarily a place for sleeping. It is not a good idea to use your bed for paying bills, doing work, etc. Help your body recognize that this is a place for rest or intimacy.

  • Keep your bedroom peaceful and comfortable. Make sure your room is well ventilated and the temperature consistent. And try to keep it quiet. You could use a fan or a “white noise” machine to help block outside noises.

  • Hide your clock. A big, illuminated digital clock may cause you to focus on the time and make you feel stressed and anxious. Place your clock so you can’t see the time when you are in bed.

Tips for a better pre-sleep ritual

  • Keep a regular schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Keeping a regular schedule will help your body expect sleep at the same time each day. Don’t oversleep to make up for a poor night’s sleep – doing that for even a couple of days can reset your body clock and make it hard for you to get to sleep at night.

  • Incorporate bedtime rituals. Listening to soft music, sipping a cup of herbal tea, etc., cues your body that it’s time to slow down and begin to prepare for sleep.

  • Relax for a while before going to bed. Spending quiet time can make falling asleep easier. This may include meditation, relaxation and/or breathing exercises, or taking a warm bath. Try listening to recorded relaxation or guided imagery programs.

  • Don’t eat a large, heavy meal before bed. This can cause indigestion and interfere with your normal sleep cycle. Drinking too much fluid before bed can cause you to get up to urinate. Try to eat your dinner at least two hours before bedtime.

  • Bedtime snacks can help. An amino acid called tryptophan, found in milk, turkey, and peanuts, helps the brain produce serotonin, a chemical that helps you relax. Try drinking warm milk or eating a slice of toast with peanut butter or a bowl of cereal before bedtime. Plus, the warmth of the food may temporarily increase your body temperature and the subsequent drop may hasten sleep.

  • Jot down all of your concerns and worries. Anxiety excites the nervous system, so your brain sends messages to the adrenal glands, making you more alert. Write down your worries and possible solutions before you go to bed, so you don’t need to ruminate in the middle of the night. A journal or “to do” list may be very helpful in letting you put away these concerns until the next day when you are fresh.

  • Go to sleep when you are sleepy. When you feel tired, go to bed.

  • Avoid “over-the-counter” sleep aids, and make sure that your prescribed medications do not cause insomnia. There is little evidence that supplements and other over-the-counter “sleep aids” are effective. In some cases, there are safety concerns. Antihistamine sleep aids, in particular, have a long duration of action and can cause daytime drowsiness. Always talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner about your concerns!

Tips for getting back to sleep

  • Try visualization. Focus all your attention on your toes or visualize walking down an endless stairwell. Thinking about repetitive or mindless things will help your brain to shut down and adjust to sleep.

  • Get out of bed if unable to sleep. Don’t lie in bed awake. Go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy. Worrying about falling asleep actually keeps many people awake.

  • Don’t do anything stimulating. Don’t read anything job-related or watch a stimulating TV program (commercials and news shows tend to be alerting). Don’t expose yourself to bright light. The light gives cues to your brain that it is time to wake up.

  • Get up and eat some turkey. Turkey contains tryptophan, a major building block for making serotonin, a neurotransmitter, which sends messages between nerve cells and causes feelings of sleepiness. Note that L-tryptophan doesn’t act on the brain unless you eat it on an empty stomach with no protein present, so keep some turkey in the refrigerator for 3 am.

  • Consider changing your bedtime. If you are experiencing sleeplessness or insomnia consistently, think about going to bed later so that the time you spend in bed is spent sleeping. If you are only getting five hours of sleep at night, figure out what time you need to get up and subtract five hours (for example, if you want to get up at 6:00 am, go to bed at 1:00 am). This may seem counterproductive and, at first, you may be depriving yourself of some sleep, but it can help train your body to sleep consistently while in bed. When you are spending all of your time in bed sleeping, you can gradually sleep more, by adding 15 minutes at a time.