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Archive for March 2009

Myths About Skin Cancer – Are You Really Safe?

Sara spends much of her summer near the beach. She lives in a mild climate and is very athletic. She loves to swim, bike and play games outdoors. Sara knows the dangers of the sun and so she opts for tanning salons to get her ‘golden glow’ while being sure to apply sunscreen every day before heading out.

Joseph lives in a cooler, northern climate. The summers can be very humid, but most of the year is mild or even below freezing during the harshest winter months. The beach has never been much of a draw for him and he spends most of his time doing indoor activities or at his job. Joseph doesn’t worry about sunscreen and only had one sunburn that he can remember and that was when he was a child.

——————–

Which of these examples do you most associate yourself with? Did you know that Sara and Joseph are both at risk of developing skin cancer? We have all heard the warnings about the dangers of sun exposure. We know all about the importance of wearing sunscreen and hats. But are YOU protected from skin cancer? Consider these myths and facts:

MYTH ONE: Tanning Beds are Safer than the Sun

20 minutes of exposure in a tanning bed is roughly equivalent to four hours in the sun. Although sun beds use UVA rather than UVB rays, ‘The Skin Cancer Answer’ states that “UV-A penetrates more deeply into the skin than UV-B, can cause skin cancer, and may suppress the immune system.”

MYTH TWO: Wearing Sunscreen at the Beach is Protection

85 percent of UV rays can even make it through on cloudy days. That means you are equally at risk in the car, walking the dog or letting your children out to play at any time of year – even when you’re not at the beach. Of course, you are usually less attired at the beach and so covering up is recommended even when wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen also wears off with sweat and water and should always be applied every two hours or after getting wet.

MYTH THREE: Taking Care Of Your Skin Now Will Protect You

Sadly, skin cancer can take 20 or more years to develop. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that most people receive about 80 percent of their lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18. Just one blistering sunburn in childhood is estimated to double the risk of melanoma later in life. Taking better care now will reduce the risk, but not eliminate the damage already done.

MYTH FOUR: Having a Tan Means You’re More Protected

Dark skinned individuals are less likely to develop cancer, but tanned skin is actually damaged skin. Repeated tanning injures the skin and increases the risk of skin cancer.

So how do you plan to protect your family this year? Some suggestions are to limit exposure to the sun – especially for infants. Examine your skin for early signs of damage. Use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and apply it at least 30 minutes before exposure and every two hours after that. Teach your children good safety habits and be sure you and they are covered up when outdoors. Have fun and be safe.

Signs of Toenail Fungus

Sometimes people have discolored toenails. This is not necessarily a fungal infection. It is necessary to differentiate the common signs of toenail fungus as early as possible because once toenail fungus has taken hold it can be difficult to eradicate. In general, the longer toenail fungus is left untreated the longer the treatment will have to be.

The most common signs of toenail fungus are a yellow or brown discoloration of the nail. This is followed by thickening of the nail, dryness of the nail, and accumulation of layers of material under and along the nail. The nail may become brittle and break or crumble. A health care expert or podiatrist can diagnose toenail fungus almost at a glance.

Your health care provider should be able to help you find the best treatment for your toenail fungus. Depending on how long the fungus has gone unchecked you may be in danger of losing your nail. The other risks of leaving nail fungus unchecked include the possibility of it spreading to other nails on the foot.

Signs of fungal infection usually occur first on the big toe. Many fungal infections are found exclusively in the big toe, and do not affect other toes on the foot. Your health care provider will be able to tell whether the fungus is actually toenail or if it is athletes foot (a common misdiagnosis). After feet and nails are examined your health care provider may trim away as much of the nail as possible to prevent the infection from spreading, and to prepare the nail for treatment.

Fungi can live undetected for many months lying on a nail bed, just waiting for the opportunity to strike, so taking some preventative measures before it actually occurs, including proper inspection of toes, feet and shoes, decrease the chance of developing this or any other fungal infection.

Avoid walking barefoot in public facilities, particularly if they are places with moist conditions, such as showers, locker rooms or pools, and always be aware of the signs of toenail fungus. Always be sure to dry feet thoroughly after showering.

Contact your health care provider as soon as possible if you believe you may have a fungal infection in your toenail, or if you have any concerns about other complaints such as in growing toenails. It is always better to raise your concerns early to avoid prolonged and uncomfortable treatment later on.

Combo Screening Doesn't Spot Early Ovarian Cancer

Title: Combo Screening Doesn’t Spot Early Ovarian Cancer
Category: Health News
Created: 3/21/2009 2:00:00 AM
Last Editorial Review: 3/23/2009

Source:Combo Screening Doesn't Spot Early Ovarian Cancer

Gleevec Prevents Return of Intestinal Cancer, Study Confirms

Title: Gleevec Prevents Return of Intestinal Cancer, Study Confirms
Category: Health News
Created: 3/20/2009 2:00:00 AM
Last Editorial Review: 3/20/2009

Source:Gleevec Prevents Return of Intestinal Cancer, Study Confirms

Weight Loss and the Snowball Effect

We all know the familiar story; you go through your teenage years and are quite active, maybe you play a little sport on weekends. Because of your high activity level and age your metabolism is also high so your weight is not a problem. Unfortunately this makes you complacent and you develop a taste for fatty junk food. You develop a habit of unhealthy eating because your metabolism helps you burn off most of the calories from the junk food and so the negative effects remain unnoticed.

As you move into adulthood your priorities change and you give up sports and focus more on work and social activities such as parties and drinking. You notice that you have some extra body fat but by now you’ve programmed your lifestyle habits into your subconscious and weight loss is still not a major concern. As you get to your 30’s or 40’s however you have a considerable amount of body fat and you start to see the health problems associated with your unhealthy lifestyle.

What you have unwittingly done in your life to date is set the snowball effect in motion, accumulating all the little unhealthy lifestyle habits along the way until the snowball has not only gained speed but has also become bigger year after year, and so have you. Like a large snowball rolling down a mountain, your health and body fat appear to be out of control and unstoppable.

The Good News
The good news is that you can use the snowball effect in a way to achieve health and weight loss by making incremental improvements to your lifestyle across multiple areas. This will cause your new weight loss snowball to grow and gather speed and lead you back to health. The most important thing to realize is that while you may not see immediate results from the slight changes to your lifestyle, the combination of incremental improvements across multiple lifestyle areas over time will achieve the weight loss you’re looking for.

Here is a list of things you can do to start your new weight loss snowball rolling:

1. Get Active – To burn off some of the body fat and strengthen your heart you need to do some form of exercise. A good starting point is walking as it is a low impact, low risk activity. Start out with a short walk at first and aim to walk farther and for longer each time. Once you have improved your fitness a little incorporate some star jumps, perhaps stop half way through your walk and do some star jumps and then complete your walk.

2. Eat Healthier – Gradually replace high fat and high sugar foods with healthier alternatives. First start with perhaps one meal a day and progress from there. After a while you will be more accustomed to healthy food and will make better food choices.

3. Eat Smaller Meals
– It is better to have more frequent small meals than three large meals, so try cutting down your portion sizes and have a piece of fruit between meals.

4. Cut out Sugar Drinks
– Eliminate soda drinks from your diet as they wreak havoc with your blood sugar, add body fat, and interfere with your hormonal system.

5. Reduce Alcohol
– Alcohol has the same effects as soda drinks on your body so try to reduce your consumption as much as possible.

6. Drink lots of Water
– Water helps eliminate all the body’s byproducts and is needed to flush the body of the waste associated with weight loss. It also helps give you that full feeling so sip a glass of water when eating.

7. Get Plenty of Sleep
– It has been noted that a large proportion of the people who get inadequate sleep are overweight. This can be attributed in part to the effect that sleep deprivation has on the body’s hormonal system among other things.

8. Eat Slower – Most westerners eat way too fast, which leads to poor digestion and overeating. Eat slower and savor your food and you will feel fuller on less food.

There is no quick fix when it comes to weight loss, but if you make gradual improvements across a number of areas, the combined effect will put the brakes on the obesity snowball and have your weight loss snowball rolling before you know it.

Nightmares and Night Terrors

Most people who haven’t themselves been plagued with nightmares, or watched a loved one suffer with nightmares, are probably under the impression that a person having any form of a bad dream during the night is having a nightmare. This is not strictly true; there are in fact nightmares and night terrors which occur at different stages of sleep.

Nightmares

Nightmares are disturbing, visual dream sequences that occur in your mind and wake you up from your sleep, are very common and can begin at any age. Nightmares are an indication of a fear that needs to be acknowledged and confronted and are a normal response to unacceptable levels of fear and stress. They are emotionally disturbing dreams that occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and provoke feelings of fear, terror, distress or extreme anxiety.

Night Terrors

Night terrors are fearsome waking experiences that can terrify even the strongest person; the word “nightmare” is often inadequately used to describe the suffocating, paralyzed state of a night terror which may leave the unfortunate sufferer with a conviction of suffocation, choking or entrapment. Night terrors, or sleep terrors, occur during deep, non-REM sleep, where the brain’s waveforms are long and slow, and it is also when sleepwalking, sleep talking and sleep screaming can occur. Often the person doesn’t completely wake up during a night terror which happens during the first half of the night, often about 1 to 2 hours after the person goes to sleep; sometimes it can occur almost immediately after a person goes to sleep if they are particularly disturbed at the time.

Health

In general, trauma, stress, fears, health problems, insecurities, feelings of inadequacy, marital problems, grief etc may all be reasons for having nightmares. In persistent cases, patients may be referred to a physician or mental health professional for further evaluation. It generally helps to deal with these bad problems in a healthy way to try and find some form of closure within ourselves and a healthy lifestyle, particularly some form of exercise such as walking regularly for around 30 minutes every day, does seem to help. However, if parents have any concerns about their children’s nightmares, especially if children are having other problems, it is best to consult their children’s health care provider.

Disorder

Panic attacks may occur during sleep in patients with panic disorder, anxiety, or depression and are experienced as nightmares. Sleep disorders are common among children of all ages and are hard on the children and their parents. When nightmares occur in the context of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they tend to involve the original threatening or horrifying set of circumstances that was involved during the traumatic event. Nightmare disorder is characterized by repeated episodes of a frightening or unpleasant dream that disrupts the person’s sleep. Dream disorders may respond to medication, but behavioral treatment approaches have shown excellent results, particularly in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and recurrent nightmares.

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What Way To Quit Smoking Will Work For You?

There are probably as many ways to quit smoking, as there are smokers in the world. Many smokers have good intentions to quit smoking, but just cannot seem to succeed. Those non-smokers, who look at smokers as failures, when they are unable to quit, do not understand the situation. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug found in cigarettes, which the smoker needs and craves constantly. Quitting an addiction is not even in the same class as, say, quitting biting your nails or popping your gum. It is difficult to quit smoking, and there are several main ways that most people seem to try.

The first way to quit smoking is to quit cold turkey. It is not known what a turkey has to do with it. To quit smoking cold turkey means to abruptly quit smoking cigarettes. Once the smoker quits smoking cold turkey, the goal is to never smoke another cigarette again. No drugs or medical aids are used when a person quits smoking cigarettes cold turkey. Fierce willpower, and maybe someone the smoker can call when the urge gets too strong, is required to do this.

Some smokers use nicotine gums and patches to help them quit smoking. These nicotine patches replace the nicotine the smoker normally gets from the cigarette. The idea is to wean the smoker off of cigarettes by gradually using patches containing less nicotine. This technique to quit smoking sounds like a perfectly reasonable approach. However, critics claim that nicotine patches merely prolong the painful nicotine withdrawal period. Each smoker and his doctor will have to decide for him or herself whether the nicotine patch is right for him.

There are other alternative methods people use to quit smoking cigarettes. Hypnotism is a popular method with varied effectiveness. The hypnotist places the smoker into a highly suggestive state, and convinces the smoker that he or she no longer needs cigarettes. The effectiveness of hypnotism in quitting smoking is questionable, however. The results are almost impossible to reproduce in a laboratory setting, and the effectiveness varies with the skill of each hypnotist.

It is far more difficult to quit smoking than non-smokers think. For reasons only they understand (and sometimes even they don’t), smokers have become addicted to the potent and dangerous drug nicotine. Some experts suggest that nicotine is as addictive, or more addictive, than many illegal drugs. The effort to quit smoking is a healthy one, whichever method is chosen. Once the body is free of cigarettes for a while, it begins repairing the damage of years or even decades of smoking. That’s why people who want to quit smoking should keep trying as many times as it takes to succeed.

Skin Care Basics

Before you can begin an optimal skin care regimen, you need to understand what your skin is composed of and what functions it performs. The skin is the largest organ in the body. It totals 1/6 of your body weight. It breathes, excretes, absorbs and protects. Imagine it as a huge waterproof, leak proof but permeable, super stretchable sack that keeps your insides in and the environment and germs out. It is subjected to heat, cold, rain, bacteria, sun and chemical and environmental pollution. Is it fun to be skin, or what?

One of the main functions of the skin is protection. It contains secretions that can kill bacteria and the pigment melanin provides a chemical pigment defense against ultraviolet light that can damage skin cells. Another important function of the skin is body temperature regulation. When it’s exposed to cold temperature, the blood vessels in the dermis constrict. This allows the blood, which is warm, to bypass the skin. The skin then becomes the temperature of the cold that it is exposed to. Body heat is conserved since the blood vessels are not diverting heat to the skin anymore.

Our skin is a complex engineered covering, composed of cells, sweat pores and sebaceous (oil producing) glands. The skin is continually renewing and repairing itself. The surface layer of the skin is covered with a thin sheath of dead cells. These are continuously being pushed up to the surface from below. If the dead cells are not removed, they can reduce and even block the skin’s effort to breathe and eliminate waste. Exfoliation removes these dead cells. The skin has a slightly acidic coating of oil at the surface. This coating protects the skin against some forms of bacteria.

Below the surface is a complex of sweat and oil glands, hair follicles, blood vessels, nerves and muscle tissue. These are held together by a tough connective tissue called collagen. Collagen is very important in determining the health of the skin. The relative health of the collagen determines the contour of the skin and how wrinkled and lined it is. Healthy collagen is often called soluble collagen because it can absorb and hold moisture. Below the collagen is a layer of fat and muscle, which provides some contour and acts as a cushion and as insulation.

The skin has three layers. The inner most layer is known as the lower dermis, the middle layer is called the dermis and the outer layer is known as the epidermis. All in all, the skin is truly one of the most amazing parts of the body.

Motivation’s Effect on Mental and Physical Health

Many studies have been done to research the effects of motivation and mental health. As the implications of helping those with negative self-esteem, depression and anxiety are immense this is certainly an area of research that deserves a great deal of attention.

Psychology Online reports on a study investigating the differences between INTERNAL and EXTERNAL MOTIVATION. The report states that “Although our society is largely extrinsically-motivated by external rewards such as money, fame and power, research has indicated those who are intrinsically-motivated by inner desires for creativity, fulfillment and inner satisfaction are psychologically healthier and happier.”

How can this help you?

The study of health psychology seeks to understand how our ability to cope with stress can help us to prevent illness and promote health. Some of these coping mechanisms are naturally inborn but may be taught to those who lack them. Motivation is one of the tools that researchers are trying to use as a combatant of negative stress reactions.

Motivation is something that we use every day. It’s what enables us to survive – to get food because we’re hungry, to go to work to pay the bills or to educate ourselves in order to pursue a higher goal in life.

How we respond to life’s demands can affect our overall health. How are you classified?

The same report on Psychology Online identified those who respond to life with negativity or anxiety as most likely to deal with the physical affects of anger, guilt, nervousness, frustration and fear. These emotions can cause hypertension and high blood pressure which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Other complications include ulcers, arthritis, asthma and kidney disease.

Some therapists suggest that by using positive self-talk and trying to restructure the WAY we look at events can offset the physical and mental effects of dealing with negative or stressful events in life.

Interestingly, people who tend to focus on themselves as the controller of their fate – in fact ‘self-motivated’ – are more likely to feel a sense of control when stressors affect them. Instead of blaming something or someone else they have the motivation to deal with a problem and look for a reasonable solution. This positive behavior helps them to achieve goals and find personal contentment.

Therapists try to teach patients how to emulate this positive reaction to stress and use their motivation as a source of empowerment. Learning to manage stress and using motivation to set goals, work through a problem or fix it can in turn promote better mental and physical health.

Are You In A Relationship With Someone Who Has a Sex Addiction?

Are you in a relationship with someone who has a sex addiction? If you are reading this, chances are that you have a suspicion that this type of addiction is playing a role in your relationship. Surprisingly, you are not alone. Yet, you probably feel as if you are. That is a common misconception when it comes to victims of a partner who has a sexual addiction. While sexual addiction is more or less a taboo subject, more individuals suffer from the effects of this type of relationship than you know. You are not alone. Here is some information regarding this type of addiction so that you may have a better understanding of it.

What is Sexual Addiction?

Sexual addiction encompasses many different thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. Individuals who suffer from this type of condition often have relatively unusually high levels of interest in sex, various acts of sex, and beliefs on how one should perform while engaging in sexual acts. Their libido is exceptionally high, and their obsession with sex, sexual acts, and sexual pleasure is normally exceptionally high. This may have always been present with the individual, or it may simply come up out of nowhere. In many cases, the individual will appear to have a low sex drive and not exhibit any signs and then, suddenly, may seem to jump from that extreme to this extreme.

Common Behaviors

There are many common behaviors that may become evident in the individual who experiences sex addiction. If you are the “partner” in the relationship, these behaviors may lead to anxiety, depression, devastation, and similar emotions and states of the mind. This is especially true if you are “forced” in one way or another to indulge in the acts that stem from the behaviors that your partner has. These behaviors include:

? You may find that your partner has a higher desire to indulge in self-stimulation than that which is considered to be within the “norm”. In many cases, this is accompanied by observing pornographic materials such as DVDs, magazines, websites, and other means of visual enticement.

? Many that develop an addiction to sex will likely pursue physical affairs outside of the relationship that they are part of.

? Many may persist in having sexual intercourse in which “friends” are involved. This could be as simple as just one other person or as severe as several people at once.

? Many with the addiction may encourage their partners to engage in sexual acts with another person so that they may watch from a distance.

? If a partner is hesitant about becoming involved with the acts in which the addict wants performed, the addict by try to manipulate through the means of “sweet talking”, stating that they are in the leadership role of the relationship, or becoming physically abusive. In a number of cases, if a physical fight is initiated so that the partner may protect themselves, they may be forced into the act.

? Sexual crimes may be committed by the individual with this type of addiction.

Get Help

If you are in a relationship with a sex addict, you may try talking the issues over and trying to resolve them. However, this depends largely on the severity of the addiction and the ways in which you have suffered. For example, if you are consistently forced to engage in the fantasies that your partner has, or are subjected to violence in any way, you should seek help and bypass talking things out. However, if the sexual addict has simply started vocalizing their desires, talking may be appropriate. Are you in a relationship with someone that has a sexual addiction? If so, there is hope. There is a way out. It is simply up to you to find it?.

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