Tag Archives: health

Food for Thought: Maintaining Brain Function as You Grow Older

Imagine if there were a magic pill that you could take that would improve your brain
function every time you took it! We’d all stand in line for that pill just so we could be
smarter, or at the very least have a better memory, right?

An elder couple is in a good health condition. - Shutterstock

The sad truth is that there is no such magic pill, and thus we’re stuck with a mind
that slowly degrades as we age. Mental function declines, your ability to remember
things is reduced, and your mind just isn’t as speedy as it once was.

But what if you could eat to get your brain back in shape?

Brain Foods

Check out the list of foods below – foods that can help to keep your brain
functioning properly as you age:

Turmeric — We all love turmeric in our curry, but did you know that it’s a food with
health benefits as well as great taste? Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant
that has been proven to improve our memory and recall, reduce the degrading of
our brain as a result of Alzheimer’s, and even help to create new cells. It can reduce
swelling in your brain cells, and reduce the amyloid plaques believed to be linked to
Alzheimer’s.

Blueberries –WebMD confirms that blueberries are more than just tasty little
bundles of antioxidants, but they’re actually brain foods as well. The antioxidants in
blueberries reduce oxidative stress in your brain, and can help to prevent
Alzheimer’s and other age-related brain disorders.

Celery — Who knew these crunchy veggies could be so awesome? Celery contains
luteolin, which helps to reduce inflammation in the brain cells. With inflammation
being linked to neurodegeneration, luteolin can stop your brain from degrading as
you age.

Salmon — Everyone knows that Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for your health,
and they’re now linked to improved brain function. The anti-inflammatory properties
of the Omega-3 acids will reduce brain decay, and the fatty acids will provide your
brain with the fuel that it needs to produce neurochemicals.

Crab –While crab may not be a “superfood”, it’s definitely a brain food. Crab
contains phenylalanine, which is the amino acid that is needed in order to produce
dopamine – a vital neurotransmitter. Phenylalanine is also vital for the production of
noradrenaline and adrenaline, as well as hormones in your thyroid. It’s a wonderful
source of Vitamin B12, and there’s less risk of the mercury poisoning common with
certain types of fish.

Avocadoes — These tasty veggies are often avoided due to their high fat content,
but the truth is that avocado has been given a bum rap. The fat in avocadoes is
very healthy, and it will help to improve circulation in your body – particularly to
your brain. These foods can lower blood pressure, considered a factor in declining
brain health.

Brewer’s Yeast — Yes, we may have hated it when our mothers sprinkled this
yeasty powder onto our yoghurt as children, but it did our brains a lot of good.
Brewer’s yeast contains thiamine and pyridoxine – also known as Vitamins B1 and
B6. Thiamine deficiency has been linked to one type of dementia, and pyridoxine is
necessary for your brain to produce new neurotransmitters. It can be hard to get
enough of both of these B vitamins, so adding Brewer’s yeast to your diet is the way
to go!

You’ve got private health insurance to cover your medical costs should you get sick,
but why not prevent illness and age-related disorders by eating healthy foods? Add
the foods listed above to your diet, and you’ll be so much healthier as a result.

Understanding Those Aches and Pains in Your Body

Pain is a part of life. You’ll find that pain comes and goes throughout your life, but it’s always there to some extent. Whether it’s the sharp pain from a recent injury, an ache in your head after a long and stressful day, that pain you get when your muscles are sore, or the cramping pain women experience each month, discomfort is inevitable and learning how to deal with it is necessary.

Understanding the various pains will help you to know how to cope with them, deal with the pain, and even prevent it.

Types of Pain

There are three basic types of pain:

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Acute Pain — This is the sort of pain that you experience when you get injured, and it is usually a short, sharp pain. Think about those times that you sprained your ankle, got punched, or received a cut – these are all forms of acute pain. Anything that involves a trauma or injury to your body can cause this type of pain, as can disease and inflammation. This type of pain usually disappears within a short amount of time as the body repairs the damage done.

Recurrent Pain — There are certain pains that come and go frequently, such as headaches, muscle pains, or joint pains. These types of pains are known as recurrent pains, and they are fairly sporadic. The pain is usually short-lived, but it will recur regularly until you address the problem causing the pain.

Chronic Pain — Chronic pain is any form of pain that lasts for a long time. Pain is considered “chronic” usually after 3 to 6 months of persisting, such as in the case of joint pain, back pain, or muscle pains. This type of pain often resistant to medication and treatments, and it can be debilitating. Chronic pain often manifests as a symptom of a disease or disorder, and both stress and environmental factors can make it worse.

How Pain Works

PMIR Medical Center explains pain in a very simple way:

Step 1: Pain is caused by a trauma, injury, surgery, disease, or inflammation.

Step 2: The nerve endings at the source of the pain pick up the signals, and transmits the signals through the nerves.

Step 3: The pain signals travel up the nerves to the spinal cord, where the nerves are all bundled up into the nervous system superhighway connected straight to the brain.

Step 4: The pain signals reach the brain, registering the sensation of “ouchie”.

In the case of chronic or consistently recurring pain, the nerves in the spinal cord and nerve endings at the injured spot can become very sensitive – picking up non-existent or mild pain signals and blowing them out of proportion in the sense receptor portion of the brain.

Dealing with Pain

shutterstock_136923536For acute pain, apply PRICE treatment (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) as needed, and visit your doctor to find out what is causing the pain. Burns, cuts, broken bones, and other forms of acute pain may need medical attention if they are very severe, or you can treat them at home yourself.

For chronic and recurring pain, visit your doctor to see what medications or treatments he will recommend. Some pains will require the use of strong narcotics, while nerve blockers will be used in other cases. Surgery may be needed to deal with whatever is causing the pain, or physical therapy will be recommended. Cognitive behavioral therapy and psychological counseling can often deal with chronic pains that are psychosomatic in nature, while alternative treatments like acupuncture, biofeedback, meditation, and special relaxation techniques may be recommended to help you deal with chronic pain.

Working Around Your Workout: How to Get Fit Despite a Disability

If you are facing a disability, you may find that staying healthy is a challenge. However, just because you are disabled, whether temporarily or permanently, does not mean that you cannot stay healthy and fit. You may have to be a little more creative, but there are many ways you can stay fit and healthy despite any disability that you may face. Try incorporating these ideas into your lifestyle to keep healthy even in the face of disability:

Eating the right foods

According to health experts, eating right is about 80 percent of fitness and health. If you eat the right kinds of food, and the right amount of foods, you will have a greater chance of maintaining a healthy weight without the need for exercise. Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for maintaining your entire physical and mental wellbeing. Eat a diet rich in a variety of protein sources, healthy carbohydrates, and many fruits and vegetables. Processed foods and diet foods can actually counteract healthy eating benefits. Avoid sugars, processed foods, and any chemical food sources for the greatest health. When possible, stick to natural sources of oils and fats and avoid highly processed oils, such as soybean and corn oils, for greatest benefit.

Drinking the right liquids

 

What you drink is as important as what you eat. If you drink a lot of sugary drinks, you will see weight gain, in most cases. You should drink plenty of water and liquids a day. Exact numbers are not important, but you should always drink to thirst. 6-8 glasses of water is plenty for most people. Avoid drinks that can conflict with medications, such as alcohol.

Exercise Ideas

Disabled persons may find that traditional exercises, such as running and lifting weights are impossible
in their current disabled state. However, there are many activities and exercises that a disabled person can do. One effective exercise that nearly all disabled persons can engage in is swimming. Even amputees can benefit from swimming on a regular basis. Some disabled persons may be able to still walk, lift weights, play tennis, or dance. Talk with your doctor about realistic exercise methods for your disability.

Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Your attitude toward life can also impact your entire physical and mental wellbeing. A poor attitude can actually lead to weight gain and other health problems. Try to maintain a positive outlook on life through therapy, doctor support, medications, and the companionship of friends and family. Engaging in good eating and exercise habits can also help you maintain a positive outlook on life.

If you have recently become disabled, there are many things to think about, such as getting your Beginners’ Guide to Social Security application. However, thinking about your physical health should always be a priority. You may be surprised at what you can do to stay healthy and well even while facing a disability. Whatever else you face, you can feel good knowing that you are making strides to improve your physical health along with your mental health.

Geriatrics at the Gym: Why Older People Need Regular Exercise Too

Giving health and exercise recommendations to older people can be a tricky task because, unlike other age groups, they tend to have massive differences in general health levels and physical ability. Some older people can run marathons, whilst others struggle to get out of bed in the morning.

Yet no matter your level of health or mobility, adding a little extra exercise to your weekly routine (even for the elderly) is almost always a good idea for your health. Here are just some of the reasons why, especially if you are an older person, you should be exercising regularly.

Something is better than nothing

It is a simple phrase, but “something is better than nothing” pretty much encompasses all you need to know about exercise for older people. Many older people avoid exercise altogether because they cannot run on treadmills or do an aerobics class, but that does not mean that they cannot do any form of exercise. The US government recommendations for exercise for older people recommend that they perform 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week or else they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow. You don’t need to be running like Usain Bolt on a treadmill: for example, a little moderate speed-walking (enough to get your heart-rate up) and perhaps playing with some light free weights while watching the TV can make all the difference. You may actually be surprised at what you can achieve. While you can start out gentle, you might find that soon you could work up to running, cycling, or even playing a sport.

You have the time (and the discounts)

If you are retired, then you may no longer have the age-old excuse of “I don’t have time to exercise.” There is no reason why you should not be using your newly acquired free time to stay fit and ensure you can get the most out of your old age. Much like being a student, perhaps the best part about being an older person is the discounts. Gyms are often sponsored by local governments to encourage older people to join their gyms, and therefore memberships for older people tend to be a lot cheaper than for younger adults. If you are not incredibly mobile, then you also have the option of buying some home fitness equipment like gentle free weights or exercises bikes to enable yourself to stay fit even if you can’t easily get outdoors.

Exercise is the best way to combat diseases of old age

Several conditions and diseases, from Type 2 Diabetes to hip problems, occur more in the older generation than they do in the younger generation. However, exercise (combined with a healthy diet) is actually one of the primary ways to fight these conditions and remain healthy. Active elders generally outlive their inactive counterparts, and a little activity everyday is essential to combating illness as well as generic losses of balance, strength, muscle tone, bone density and reflexes that occur naturally as you age.

Just because you are old does not mean you need to feel old

There is a large difference between being old and feeling old: the former you cannot fight but the latter is easily defeated. It can be easy especially for retirees to view your twilight years as a time for rest and relaxation, and it is a rest that many retirees deserve. But too much inactivity can leave you unable to actually enjoy all the things you told yourself you would enjoy in your retirement, whether that be a round of golf or playing with your grandchildren. Even if exercise itself is boring to you, the way to makes you feel simply put is younger.

Maintain your independence

As you become older, things generally become more difficult. Everything from climbing the stairs to carrying your groceries can become an insurmountable task. But it does not have to be this way: if you maintain your strength via exercise, then there is no reason why you should not maintain your independence and remain a functioning and contributing member of society. An incredibly amount of old people fear becoming useless or becoming a burden to their families, and exercise is just one way in which you can ensure you stay independent for as long as possible.

All in all, exercise has an exponential amount of benefits for people of all ages but it is especially great for older people as it really can make a huge difference to their health and their ability to maintain free and independent lives. Always consult a medical professional before undertaking any great change in your exercise routine, but otherwise, get out there and get fit!

Which Injection Will Ease Your Pain?

 

The crutch of back pain will affect the majority of us at one point or another and when it does, it can transform even the smallest of activities, into a painful ordeal especially when we get older.

Whether symptoms are minor or severe, shooting or aching, back pain comes in many forms. And while there is no instant cure, facet block injections can help to provide you with some therapeutic relief.

 

What are facet block injections?

Facet block injections are administered to provide neck/back pain sufferers with some relief as they work through the long and often painful, rehabilitation process. These injections release medication (local anesthesia to numb pain and steroids to reduce inflammation) straight to the source, which is in or around the spine.

 

In order to treat patients as effectively as possible, there are a number of different facet block injections available and the injection received will of course depend on the patients particular needs.

1)      Epidural Injection

This form of facet block injection is inserted in the space that surrounds the spinal cord and has been used to ease lower back pain and sciatica since 1952.

The primary aim of an epidural injection is simply to provide pain relief. At times, simply the injection is enough to ease a patients suffering, but an epidural is often administered in conjunction with a prescribed physical therapy regime.

Like all facet block injections, the effects of an epidural are only temporary and patients can expect to experience anywhere from a week to a year of pain relief.

Often used when a patient suffers an acute episode of back or leg pain, up to three epidurals can be given in one year.

 

2)      Nerve root block injection

A nerve root block, also known as a transforminal epidural injection, will target an individual nerve in the spine. Back/leg pain can occur when a nerve root becomes compressed and then inflamed.

Used for diagnostic purposes when an MRI fails to clearly identify which nerve is responsible for the pain, a nerve root block injection will be inserted to help locate the nerve in question.

Nerve root blocks can also be given to provide pain relief or to treat far lateral disc herniation, which occurs when a disc bursts outside of the spine.

 

3)      Intra-articular facet or sacroiliac joint injection

The sacroiliac joints are found next to the spine and connect he sacrum with the hip bones on either side.

Intra-articular facets or sacroiliac joint injections are administered to diagnose or treat lower back pain and sciatica symptoms associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Targeting the joints that connect the bones in the spine, this type of injection can be given to diagnose pain or to treat pain separately, or as a single injection.

 

4)      Medial branch block injection

Last on the list is the medial branch block injection that is used to diagnose back pain by targeting the nerve supply to your facet joints.

The medial branch nerves are the tiny nerves that come out from the facet joints in the spine. These nerves are responsible for transferring the pain signals from the facet joints and a medial branch block injection will work to block the pain signal from a specific joint in the spine.

 

Which injection is right for you?

If you are experiencing lower back pain or sciatica and the pain is affecting your daily life, meet with you physician as soon as possible to learn more about facet block injections and to discover which type of injection may help to ease your pain.