Monthly Archives: December 2011
|December 29, 2011||Posted by Elizabeth under Sleep|
A lack of sleep at night can really put a damper on your day. Being groggy or overtired could make you less productive and leave you feeling unwell. There are many factors that could be contributing to your restless night sleep, and maybe some that you have yet to consider. Here are 8 reasons from Health.com that you may be tossing and turning all night.
8 Reasons You May Be Awake All Night
Pain: If you are experiencing pain at night, it makes it much harder for you to sleep. Headaches, joint pain and backaches are commonly sited as reasons for not being able to sleep. Reach out to your doctor to be advised as to the proper steps to take to help ease your pain.
Mental illness and stress: Insomnia can be a vicious cycle. It can be both can symptom of and caused by, depression and anxiety. Since sleep and mood are controlled by the same part of the brain, your mood can greatly affect your sleeping patterns. Stresses in your everyday life can also affect your ability to sleep.
Snoring: Snoring could pose a problem for both you and your other half when it comes to getting a good night sleep. For some, snoring may not affect the rest you get, but for others, snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea. Check with your doctor to see if you have other symptoms of sleep apnea and how it can be treated.
Jet lag: For all of you travelers out there, jet lag may be the culprit in your tossing and turning filled nights. When crossing through time zones, your internal clock can be misguided and you may find yourself struggling to fall asleep. Sometimes it can take a few days or even longer to readjust.
Shift work: If you work a job that isn’t the typical nine to five, your body might have a hard time getting into a good sleep routine. Nurses, police officers or other shift workers tend to have lower levels of serotonin, a hormone that aids in regulating sleep.
Hormonal changes: You hear about it more in women, that they can’t seem to sleep because of hormonal changes. Pregnancy, menopause and menstruation are all common reasons for hormonal changes leading to sleep problems.
Medical illnesses: Different medical illnesses can contribute to sleeplessness. Asthma or lung disease can cause shortness of breath making sleeping more difficult. For those with heart disease or Parkinson’s disease, insomnia can be a common side affect.
Drugs: Medications can cause a change in sleep patterns. If you are taking certain medications close to bedtime or if you have changed your dosage, that could be a reason for your insomnia. Talk to your doctor about other options for medication or ways you can regain your good night sleep.
|December 28, 2011||Posted by Elizabeth under Dieting, Health|
Just because a product claims to be homeopathic and is sold over-the-counter, doesn’t mean that it can be trusted. The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission are coming down hard on companies that sell weight loss products containing the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG.
These over-the-counter products promise big weight loss results in short periods of time, leading consumers to believe that they are being given a miracle drug. According to the FDA, several products containing HCG have claimed to help reboot your metabolism and help with “abnormal eating patterns” despite failing to maintain FDA approval. (As shown on USAToday.com)
As consumers, it’s our job to be well educated on any products that we are looking to use. It is important to keep in mind that there is no miracle pill, and weight loss pills can be dangerous when not taken properly. What some may not realize is that pills containing HCG are typically recommended in conjunction with a very low calorie diet, even as low as 500 calories a day. Consult your doctor before taking any weight loss supplements and know that exercise and a healthy diet are always crucial when trying to lose weight. To date, there is no scientific evidence that products containing HCG actually aid in weight loss.
|December 27, 2011||Posted by Elizabeth under Recipes|
“Eat, drink and be merry.” But, with all of this eating and drinking, we may not be so merry, after all. We all know that you simply can’t have the holidays without the eggnog, but it’s so easy to sip down the calories and fat without even realizing that you’re doing it! So in order to keep tradition but without having to extend that belt on your Santa costume, we are going to share Cooking Light’s amazing healthy eggnog recipe! It has considerably less fat and calories, but makes up for it in taste.
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place milk and evaporated milk in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggs in a large bowl. Gradually add hot milk to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan; cook over medium-low heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly. Pour into a bowl; stir in brandy and vanilla. Press plastic wrap onto surface of eggnog, and chill 8 hours or overnight.
Enjoy this healthy holiday treat with family and friends, but make sure the little ones don’t sneak any!
|December 22, 2011||Posted by Elizabeth under Arthritis, Caregiving, Health|
All year long you come across little things that remind you of your loved ones, but when crunch time hits around the holidays, all of a sudden you can’t think of a single thing to buy! Sometimes, narrowing your focus and thinking of gifts that could be helpful for the people in your life could make shopping easier for you.
If you have elder individuals in your life, chances are you know someone who is living with arthritis. For those people, sometimes routine tasks that we may take for granted become daily challenges. To make their lives a bit easier, we have some great gift ideas to add to your shopping list.
The morning can be one of the most painful times of the day for a person with arthritis. Their joints become stiff after a long night of rest, and getting up and starting the day may be difficult. Start their day on the right foot with a bed rail or bed cane to help them get out of bed or reposition themselves.
No one wants to lose their sense of independence because of arthritis, and that includes a sense of privacy. Renewing their independence with bathroom assisting products can help your loved one both mentally and physically. Grab bars in the shower or bath will help them maintain balance and pull themselves up from a sitting position. Also, anti-slip mats will make shower time safer. Standing for long periods of time, especially on a wet surface, can make showering more dangerous. A shower bench is a wonderful gift that will make bathing less painful and more pleasant.
Another struggle to maintain independence can be when dressing. Buy your loved one loose fitting clothes that are easy to pull over their head. Dressing aids will also come in handy. And bending to put on shoes or socks can be very uncomfortable, or for some, out of the question. Extended shoehorns are a great way to give your loved one that extra reach they may need.
Don’t let the stresses of the holidays take away from all the wonderful things that you can buy your loved one to help improve their quality of life.
|December 21, 2011||Posted by Elizabeth under Autism, Caregiving|
This time of year can be filled with joy and excitement, but also stresses as we try to trim trees, turkeys and waistlines, all while working and managing a family. But the chaos of the season can take an even bigger toll on children; especially those with autism.
For a child living with autism, the hectic shopping trips, holiday parties and swarms of people can be very upsetting and overwhelming. Being conscious of this possibility and taking the right steps to make the holidays less stressful will help both you and your child.
Stay on track: Making schedules and sticking to them will help keep a routine. Keep the same wake-up, eating and bedtimes.
Keep your child informed: One helpful thing that you can do for your child is to continually tell them what is going on. Preparing them for their surroundings will eliminate some of the stress that may be caused by the unknown. If you are going to a friend’s or family’s home, be sure to tell them who will be there, what they should do while they are there, and when you will be leaving. Make sure to have familiar things on hand, like different foods or drinks that you know your child will like.
Going out: During the holidays, you are probably out and about more than usual, which may mean your child is out as well. To help avoid meltdowns or confusion, try to arrive to places early to avoid large crowds. When shopping, have a list prepared and know they stores you will be going to so roaming around is limited. Don’t forget to continue to explain things to your child, like what you are doing there and the surroundings they may encounter. Every child is different. Keep in mind your child’s hot buttons or things that will be unsettling, and try to avoid them or guide them through certain situations.
Prepare others: Don’t be afraid to fill other people in on how to help make your child’s life less stressful. If you’re visiting family or friends, tell them the things that may make your child uncomfortable. Ask them to help explain things to your child or to help keep things calm around them.
|December 20, 2011||Posted by Elizabeth under Fitness, Wellness|
The holidays are in full swing and it’s almost time to make your New Years resolution. This time of year it’s easy to loose sight of healthy eating and fitness routines when there’s an ever-replenished supply of rich sweets and hearty meals at your disposal. And when are you supposed to find the time to hit the gym when you have to shop for family and friends and attend all the holiday parties – because let’s face it -without you there is no party!
We have a solution to help you find the right gifts for your loved ones, and to make your best threads fit like they used to!
It’s not easy to get off the couch when it’s cold outside and you have so much to do. Getting fit doesn’t have to be so challenging. There are simple things you can do to bring the gym home and make getting fit easier. Always start your workout by loosening up your muscles and stretching. Foam rollers are a good way to start a workout and they often come with instructions on how to use them properly. Buy a yoga or fun fitness DVD set that you can just pop in and do in between work and cooking dinner. It’s nice to have a high quality exercise mat so you aren’t sitting on an uncomfortable floor.
Small hand weights are another excellent option to help you gain muscle. They are easy to use and great for any strength level. An exercise ball is a popular method for fitness at home. You can also use it as a desk chair at work to help strengthen your core while answering emails. If you run out of ways to switch things up on the ball, look for a fitness ball DVD that can walk you through some new routines. Resistance bands are an excellent way to build strength and lean muscle, and can be stored very easily.
Walking and jogging are excellent ways to keep the heart pumping and the weight off! Maybe a treadmill is the best way to go for you if you live in somewhere where the weather stops you from exercising outside for a good chunk of the year. Whether you walk inside or out, try wrist weight cuffs or ankle weights to add some resistance and build muscle. To take some pressure off of your joints, a stationary bike might be a better option for you.
No matter your fitness goals, exercise is an incredibly important factor in the road to a healthy life! Make the holidays a little bit healthier this year with gifts that make fitness easier.
|December 19, 2011||Posted by Elizabeth under Caregiving, Parkinson's Disease|
A few weeks ago, I talked about identifying where there could be risks in the home for a person with Parkinson’s, and ways to help reduce those risks. The home should always be a safe place for your loved one, and sometimes making that happen requires some research and some work. But, besides just safe proofing the home, there are different tips that could help your loved one with Parkinson’s lessen their chance of injury by learning the best ways to maintain balance. Here are some suggestions that may help. (As shown on ClevelandClinic.com)
- Always keep one hand free. Use a backpack or something that will allow you to keep your hands available when out and about.
- Swinging your arms front to back while walking will help you to maintain balance. This may be a challenge, but try to think about it while walking.
- If you shuffle or drag your feet when you walk, your risk of falling or tripping is much higher. Make an effort to lift your feet as you walk.
- Don’t pivot sharply to chance directions. Take the “U-turn” approach by taking wider turns.
- Don’t stand with your feet right next to one another. Make your base a little wider by standing with your feet shoulder width distance apart.
- Don’t multitask while walking. Focus on getting to point b, and then worry about the next thing you have to do.
- Don’t wear shoes that are too “grippy” because they could catch on the floor and cause you to trip.
- Move slowly when changing direction or positions. Focus on what you are doing and use railing or grab bars when available.
- If “freezing” occurs when you are trying to move, visualize the movement you want to make.
- Don’t underestimate the benefit of a walking aid. Using a cane or walker for a period of time may help you to regain strength and confidence!
|December 16, 2011||Posted by Elizabeth under Medications, Stroke|
If you or a loved one experienced a stroke, you may be scared and in search of answers. Every person recovers differently from a stroke, and there is never a cut-and-dry answer in regards to the road to healing. In order to better understand exactly what happened, why, and what to do next, it’s necessary to be well informed with help from your doctor.
As a caregiver, you should help your loved one to ask the right questions to ensure that they are taking proper care of themselves after a stroke. Here and some questions to ask a health care professional as shown on FoxNews.com via WebMD.
- What caused my stroke? – It’s important to know what kind of stroke you had and what caused it.
- Am I at risk for another stroke? – After one stroke, you are a higher risk to have a second stroke. Make sure to ask your doctor about your risks so that you can take the best possible preventative measures and plan accordingly.
- What can I do to lower my risk of future strokes? – If your doctor determines that you could be at risk for another stroke, ask specifically what preventative measures your should be taking to try and prevent this. Perhaps lifestyle changes are in order, like quitting smoking or eating healthier.
- What is the recovery process? – Every person reacts differently after having a stroke. Work with your doctor to tailor the best recovery plan for you based on your needs.
- Who will I be working with throughout this process? – It’s best to know ahead of time who will be on your path to recovery. Meeting with physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists are all common aids in your recovery.
- How long will recovery take? – The recovery process is different for each individual and is sometimes unpredictable. A mild stroke recovery process and timeline will typically differ greatly from that of a severe stroke patient. It can be a very challenging process for both the person who experienced the stroke and the caregiver, and requires patience and perseverance.
- Am I at risk for depression after a stroke? – Depression is common after a stroke. Be sure to know the symptoms of depression and talk with you doctor about being prepared and knowing the best possible treatments.
- What medications will I have to take and what are the side effects? – Blood thinners are often prescribed to help prevent future strokes. Make sure your doctor is aware of your health history and what medications will work for you. In addition, make sure you know what medications are prescribed, how they work and their side effects.
- When should I call my doctor? – Ask your doctor when you should contact them about symptoms or everyday questions you may have. But, be sure to contact 911 immediately if you are experiencing stroke like symptoms.
- Where can I get stroke support? – You are not alone in your recovery process. The American Stroke Association or National Stroke Association can help you find support in your area.
|December 15, 2011||Posted by Elizabeth under Alzheimer's Disease, Caregiving|
The holidays are here and you want the best for your loved one! But shopping for the right gifts for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia is not an easy task. There is so much out there, how are you supposed to choose? And if you don’t fully understand the disease, maybe you won’t know the best things to get. Let us help you put together a Christmas list for your loved one so your life can get a little bit easier.
Get nostalgic: At any stage of Alzheimer’s, it’s important to try and bring your loved one back to a place of comfort and nostalgia. Buy them things that will bring them back to their childhood or favorite memories. Put together a photo album of their family and friends, make them a CD of all of their favorite songs from their generation, or buy them a collection of movies from their era.
Make for EasierLiving: Remember that as those with Alzheimer’s advance, everyday tasks become increasingly more difficult. Be sure to buy loose fitting clothes to make dressing a bit easier. And to allow for independent dressing, look into purchasing dressing aids for your loved one. To reduce the risk of falls, make the house safer with non-slip mats and grab bars. Make sure that taking medication is easy with medication aids. And help your loved one to feel comfortable with a soft, warm blanket that they can use.
Engage their minds: Just because they are showing signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia, doesn’t mean that your loved one can’t connect with you or the things that they enjoy. Buy them a subscription to a magazine that focuses on their favorite interests. Memory aids are always an excellent option. Picture phones, message magnets, and voice cues are all great ways to help jog a person with Alzheimer’s memory. Never under estimate the power of human interaction. Games that involve more than one person, or that encourage thinking, are a fun way to keep their minds going and keep them entertained.
And don’t forget to treat yourself to something make your life easier as a caregiver with aids to help you care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s.
|December 14, 2011||Posted by Elizabeth under Autism, Medications|
One of the more common traits in those with autism is their obsessive or repetitive behavior used as a calming mechanism to a stressful situation. This reaction can make life with autism more challenging, as it is harder to focus on everyday tasks or blend in with the rest of society.
As a caregiver, it’s can be difficult to work with your loved one with autism to help overcome these symptoms. Recently, the antidepressant drug, Prozac, has been recycled to treat a new category of people; adults with autism.
Prozac has been a controversial antidepressant on the market, as it has been known to increase suicidal thoughts or ideas in people with depression. In a new research study looking to help treat the symptoms of autism, Prozac has been found to significantly reduce the obsessive or repetitive behaviors in adults with the condition. The study worked with 37 high functioning autistic adults over the course of 12 weeks. The half of the participants that were treated with Prozac showed significant reductions in their obsessive behaviors. (As shown on TIME.com).
Patients taking the drug said they experienced less discomfort in situations that would typically lead them to their behaviors used to manage their stress. It was also acknowledged that those who participated did not have heightened thoughts of suicide or harming themselves.
Prozac has many known side effects. Some are mild, such as dry mouth, fatigue, or nausea. Other side effects have been known to be more severe, such as seizures, muscle stiffness, or heightened depression or suicidal thoughts.