106 articles Articles posted in Health

Ways to Make an Elderly Relative Feel More Connected

One of the things that elderly people can really struggle with once they lose their mobility is feeling disconnected from the outside world, and this isolation can lead to mental health issues, on top of what they might already been dealing with. Unless they’re lucky to have family around them all the time, the loneliness can be awful, so finding ways for them to have interaction and enjoy things they once loved can really improve their mental state. Here are a few things that you can do to help.

Get Them Online

The internet is an amazing resource and if your relative is open to learning how to use technology, it can help them to keep in touch with people and do a whole load of things that they once enjoyed. If your relative enjoyed bingo or having a flutter every now and then, teaching them how to use websites to do this could give them a much needed source of fun and freedom – the least you can do is check it out!

Join a Club

There are loads of clubs all over the country which are set up for elderly people to give them a chance to socialise. Many of them have weekly entertainment or talks and in some areas the council will even provide transport, so we’d strongly advise you to have a look in your local area to see if there’s anything like that where you live.

Keep Them Young

It’s a well-known fact that when elderly people spend time with kids, it keeps their mind active and can have a real rejuvenating effect on them, so taking your kids to visit your elderly relatives can actually help them on an even deeper level. Also, happiness can lower blood pressure and stop the blood from thickening, so you’re helping them on a medical level, too!

Do you have any tips for helping to keep elderly relatives feeling young? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear them,

The Effects of Domestic Abuse and Why You’re Not Alone

The effects of domestic abuse vary from person to person depending on their circumstances. Abuse can come in many forms. Physical attributes, such as bruising, broken bones, scars and burns, can be very hard to deal with, and are the most obvious signs of abuse from a partner, friend, family member or anyone you have a relationship with. But what about the mental effects of domestic abuse? These are harder to spot, and worryingly, only around 40% of abuse survivors have the courage to speak to friends or family about their ordeal. If you know someone who has survived an abusive relationship, it’s important to understand that, although they can claim compensation for abuse, they will still need help moving on emotionally. Below are some common effects of domestic violence to look out for. You can learn how to spot them, offer help and be there for survivors.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is an anxiety disorder which occurs after a stressful or traumatic event. When you have PSTD, you tend to relive your experiences in the form of flashbacks and nightmares. If you suspect a loved one is suffering from PTSD, then speak to them. Some symptoms include avoidance, alcohol misuse and more. PTSD can be treated thanks to therapy. The earlier someone sees a therapist, the earlier their PSTD can be treated.

Suicidal Tendencies

People with suicidal tendencies will usually not openly show any signs of their turmoil. However, if you suspect someone is depressed or suicidal, ensure that they cannot harm themselves with household objects, such as knives. Another way to keep them safe is by hiding any pills that can cause harm in large amounts.

Emotionally Numb

If you have noticed that your loved one has become socially detached, excusing themselves from social events, acting strange or not emotionally responding to certain events, then they may be showing signs of emotional numbing. This is a typical symptom of PTSD, depression and anxiety. They may not even know they’re excluding themselves emotionally. In order to open up a dialogue, mention that you’re concerned for their mental health, and that you will be there for them if they need to speak to a professional.

Anger

Not everyone is the same, and many people may lash out as a response to their emotional trauma. If you’re experiencing this, it may be a good idea to sit your loved one and down, and explain that although you are here for them as a friend or partner, you will not tolerate anger in your direction. Usually, anger is used a reaction by someone who cannot emotionally understand their trauma. Many therapists can address this.

Guest post by Gina Kay Daniel

The True Cost of Staying in Shape

Eating healthily, exercising regularly, and staying in shape is something many of us aspire to. Unfortunately, the cost can soon add up. Gym memberships, healthy meals, personal trainers, apps, gadgets, clothing, and supplements are marketed as “essential”, and don’t always come cheap.

If a lack of will power doesn’t put a stop to your healthy lifestyle, the cost just might.

Why Is It So Expensive?

The fitness industry is worth billions and continues to grow at a phenomenal rate.

Marketers prey on our desire to look and feel great, encouraging us to dig deep and spend big on a whole host of health and well-being items. Protein shakes and pre-workout supplements used to be products for bodybuilders, but not anymore; they now line supermarket shelves and have earned a place in many ordinary homes.

While scientific studies do show benefits of many supplements, results can vary greatly and the cost can sometimes outweigh the rewards. If you’re buying cupboards’ full of the things, you might be wasting money.

How to Stay in Shape and Save Money

The cost of staying in shape should not be a barrier to leading a healthier life.

Luckily, it is entirely possible to keep fit without breaking the bank. Here are some tips on how to do it:

  1. When it comes to supplementation, stick to the basics: protein, creatine, omega-3 and multivitamins show the biggest rewards vs. cost. While other sports supplements work well, they largely depend on your fitness goals and budget.
  2. Set up a home gym: If you’re on a budget, you can grab stuff second-hand from places like Gumtree. With just a skipping rope, a cheap set of dumbbells and some comfortable workout clothes, you can achieve amazing results. This can be done for under £100. This also saves on travelling costs to get to the gym.
  3. Hire an online personal trainer: Registering with a local gym is not the only way to access the valuable knowledge of a personal trainer. In fact, online trainers can be hired to meet specific needs. The combination of a budget home gym and an online personal trainer will come in far cheaper than a standard gym membership.
  4. Compare prices before you spend your hard-earned cash: Some retailers, especially supermarkets, sell protein powders and other fitness items at full retail price. This can sometimes be more than double what you might pay elsewhere. To check the huge differences, you can compare prices at Fitness Savvy.

Final Words

Gym memberships, sports supplements, and gadgets can add up to hundreds per month in costs, yet are mostly unnecessary. By sticking to the basics, setting up a home gym, checking

Five Tips for the Novice Vaper

Just recently, Husband and I have both started vaping and although we’ve both found equipment and flavours that we like, it took a while to get it dialled in. We’ve learned a lot in the last few weeks, so I thought I’d share some tips for newbies so that you can learn from our experiences.

Try Before You Buy

If you have friends who vape, ask if you can use their machines before you take the plunge and buy one for yourself. There are various types of e-cigarettes, some with smaller coils, some which look slimline, some which are HUGE and will give off a huge plume of vapour and every person will like a different thing. Your e-cig will be your biggest investment so finding one you like before you spend is a good idea.

Sample Some Juice

As with the equipment, e-liquids are vastly varied and what you like will be totally personal to you. Many vape cafes offer you the chance to sample flavours before buying a whole bottle, so finding one locally could help you.

Start Low

Unless you’re a 60-a-day smoker, starting off on a lower dose of nicotine is probably a good idea. Husband and I haven’t actually smoked cigarettes regularly for over a decade, so we went for the 3mg of nicotine and that’s been more than enough for us. If you find yourself puffing on it all day long, maybe moving up to the next strength of liquid is for you.

Keep it Clean

You’ll need to perform a little bit of maintenance to your e-cig to keep it working at its best. Clean the tank between each refill, especially if you change flavours, and check your battery connections to make sure you don’t have a build-up of juice on them.

Don’t Burn 

If you let your e-liquid run low, there’s a risk of your coil overheating and burning, which will give a pretty acrid flavour if you continue to use it. Make sure you keep your tank topped up and if you do taste a burn, change your coil. Oh, and keep a stash of spare coils for moments like this!

Are you a seasoned vaper? Do you have any tips for the newbies out there? Please leave a comment below.

Alternative Medicines for the Naturally Sceptical

Alternative Medicines As someone who has a strong belief in science, there are a lot of things which make me massively sceptical. On an almost daily basis, I see people on social media discussing things like ear candling, amber teething bracelets, “detoxes” and other such stuff which I believe to be absolute hokum; pseudoscience which people parade as fact, which actually does absolutely nothing except separating you from your hard earned cash. It’s a massive bugbear of mine and I range from pure rage to absolute defeated apathy on the subject!

There are, however, lots of alternative medicines in which I do totally believe, things which should probably be prescribed by doctors as they’re so beneficial, and these are a few of them:

Medical Cannabis

I think we’re SO far behind the rest of the world in our attitudes towards medical cannabis and strongly believe in the many, many beneficial uses that it can have, from pain relief to reducing inflammation, stimulating appetite in chemo patients, treating autoimmune diseases – the list goes on and on. Sadly, it’s illegal for use here in the UK but I really hope we’ll start to follow the lead of the rest of the world soon.

Garlic

According to WebMD “Garlic is used for many conditions related to the heart and blood system. These conditions include high blood pressure, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, inherited high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, heart attack, reduced blood flow due to narrowed arteries, and “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis). Some people use garlic to prevent colon cancer, rectal cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, and lung cancer. It is also used to treat prostate cancer and bladder cancer.”

Beetroot

Beetroot has such a profound blood-pressure lowering effect that there were significant debates about banning it from the Olympic village before the games as it can give athletes such an advantage! Beetroot juice can lower blood pressure – in fact, when you consume the juice, you will find your blood pressure drop instantly and stay lowered for up to twenty-four hours. Researchers believe that this impact on blood pressure is due to naturally occurring nitrates found in beets.

Are there any alternative medicines that you swear by?

All Information Displayed In This Post Is For Educational Purposes Only, And Is Not To Be Construed As Medical Advice Or Treatment For Any Specific Person Or Condition. Cannabis Has Not Been Analyzed Or Approved By The FDA. Individual Results May Vary.

Why I Started Vaping After Years of Not Smoking

I had my first cigarette when I was waaaay too young to become a smoker, but it was the mid-Nineties and still in the era when smoking was cool. Obviously my Mum found out and slapped me all the way the the stairs to my room, but ultimately it didn’t stop me and I smoked all the way through my teen years, into my early twenties. Then, when I was 23, I woke up one day and even the smell of cigarettes made me want to vomit, so I quit, there and then.

It turned out that I was pregnant with Sausage and had hyperemesis, but it did me a favour of not needing to force myself to quit, as I gather that’s pretty hard. Over the years, I’ll be honest, I’ve missed smoking. I’d never start again, for various reasons, not least of all because I don’t even like my kids being around the smell of cigarettes, but I’ve missed the nicotine a lot over the years (if only I’d been more up to date with vape news!) When I smoked, my appetite was smaller, I loved the social aspect of it, the routine, the having something to occupy my hands.

A while ago, Husband announced that he’d tried a friend’s vape while he was out and that he’d really enjoyed it, so he bought a pen and let me try it too. The experience is basically like all the good parts of smoking and none o the bad parts – it’s cheaper, it doesn’t smell, it doesn’t have the damaging health ramifications (even the NHS agrees that vaping is a healthy alternative to smoking) and it doesn’t cause horrible ageing and wrinkles!

I have to admit, I’m a total convert. We started off using the slim pen style e-cigarettes but have both moved onto something with a more powerful coil, and we love it. It sounds really silly, but because we don’t vape around the girls (we’re happy that it’s not damaging like smoke, but we still don’t take ANY risks with the kids), we often take ourselves off for ten minutes here and there and it’s given us time to just spend together.

Something we’ve found really reassuring is that whenever any new vaping news has popped up, it’s always something positive, and now that the NHS is on board with vaping, it’s given us the confidence to enjoy our new vice without feeling worried about effects on our health.

Are you a vaper? Did you start again after years of not smoking? We’d love to hear from anyone who’s had a similar experience to us, so please leave us a comment below.

Making Life Easier with Mobility Issues

According to figures from disability charity Scope, there are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK who are living with some form of disability. This obviously covers a range of people, from those with mobility issues, right the way up to those who are profoundly disabled; the most commonly reported impairments by disabled people are:

  • Mobility (52%)
  • Stamina, breathing, fatigue (38%)
  • Dexterity (27%).

I have several friends who suffer with a range of mobility-effecting illnesses, so I thought I’d turn to them to give you some tips on how to make your day-to-day life easier if you struggle with mobility issues. My friend Jeni, who suffers with hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, offered a HUGE amount of tips:

Pace Yourself

Break tasks into smaller chunks, small enough that you stop before you get tired.

Perching stool in the kitchen

Essential for cooking meals and washing up.

Tassimo/hot water machine

Standing waiting for a kettle to boil is sooooo tiring by when you’re suffering with fatigued muscles from overdoing it. This makes life easier!

Cooking potatoes/pasta in a chip basket inside a saucepan

saves you lifting and moving with a hot pan of water as it drains as you lift the basket and you can leave the water to cool.

Having “green” activities spread through the day

Red activities are heavy duty, amber is tolerable, and green are restful-ish. e.g. Red would be hoovering, Amber would be cooking and green would be watching a film with the kids or knitting. By having green activities every so often in the day, you give yourself a break!

Also, take your time when deciding on a car; consider height, weight of steering, accessibility, as well as fuel consumption. Can you get a wheelchair in the boot?

Borrow a wheelchair

You can hire them from the red cross so you can get out and about if you need to. Mary from Keynko had one for 10 weeks for a donation of £30.

Listen to your body

It’s about learning what you can do accepting that. Rachel from Rachel in Real Life said “So it was my sister’s wedding day on Sunday. I usually work Mondays but obviously it was a bank holiday and I also suspected I wouldn’t be able to work today so I’m making up the hours on Thursday. I slept most of yesterday and today. I’m still in pain and tired now. Remember to take pain relief at the right times, don’t wait to feel the pain. I’d recommend pain management program. It was really quite helpful and enabled me to meet others who struggle with chronic pain and mobility issues.”

My friend Kerry says: “I have a walking stick for general daily use (I try not to use it sometimes so I don’t become completely dependant), I have a four wheeled walker for bad days so I can sit in-between walking to the school, and for very bad days I now have a mobility scooter that I bought myself as there are days my legs are agony and I cannot get round to the school. Hot baths with epsom salts for muscle relaxation. Magnesium spray for muscle cramps. I also take a multivitamin and several additional vitamins on top to try ensure I stay as healthy as possible.”

The Right Plant Milk to Drink for Your Health Goals

Both dairy milks and plant milks have a number of health benefits. In recent years, however, more and more people have been turning to dairy alternatives due to a number of reasons. These include health concerns like allergies and lactose intolerance, a shift toward a vegetarian or vegan diet, and ethical concerns about the treatment of animals.

If you are considering switching to plant-based milk products, you should also think about what you want to achieve, health-wise. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want a low-calorie, high-protein drink? You may certainly drink more than one kind of plant milk, but it may run in counter to your purpose. To help you decide, listed below are four common plant milks and how each can contribute to achieving your health goals.

Almond Milk: Healthy Skin and Hair, Healthy Immune System

Almond milk is arguably the most popular plant-based milk in the market today. It is rich in Vitamin E — about 49 percent of the daily RDI, in fact — which is a powerful antioxidant that helps keep the immune system in good shape and has been scientifically proven to slow down the aging of cells. Vitamin E also helps keep the skin smooth and supple, and the hair shiny and strong. Another big but not-so well-known benefit of almond milk is that it is low in phosphorus and potassium, which is good for those who are suffering from chronic kidney disease.

Try drinking cold-milled almond milk or adding it to your drinks and recipes. It has a creaminess that’s similar to cow’s milk, which is definitely a plus if you’re used to the texture of dairy.

Cashew Milk: Weight Loss

If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, cashew milk is your best bet. It only has 25 calories and 2 grams of fat per cup; these numbers may go even lower if you choose unsweetened variants. Cashew milk also has no naturally occurring sugars, making it an ideal choice for diabetics. Low-sugar or no-sugar diets are helpful in getting rid of belly fat, which is a big contributor to heart disease

One thing that may be considered a downside of cashew milk is its low protein content. If you need more protein in your diet, however, you have a big room to add more protein-rich foods or drinks to your diet due to cashew milk’s low calorie-count. If you like cashews better than almonds, you should try drinking cashew milk or using it for cooking.

Soy Milk: High-Protein, Low-Calorie Diet

Among all plant-based milks, soy milk has the highest amount of protein; in fact, it contains almost as much protein as cow’s milk (7 grams per cup, compared to 8 grams found in dairy) but with a much lower calorie count. If you’re looking for a healthier, low-calorie source of protein, soy milk can be one of your choices. It also contains almost no saturated fat, and it is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin B12, and isoflavones, phytochemicals that promote heart health.

However, it’s important to remember that soy is also one of the most common allergens. If you have soy allergies or are soy intolerant, you might want to skip soy milk and instead turn to other alternative protein sources.

Rice Milk: Hypoallergenic Diet

If you have allergies to nuts, soy, or dairy, or if you are lactose intolerant but still want to drink milk, your best option is to go for rice milk. It’s the most hypoallergenic among all kinds of milks, dairy or otherwise. It’s also a good source of selenium and manganese; the former is has anti-inflammatory properties and aids in better blood flow, while the latter supports bone health and respiratory health. Both selenium and manganese also have antioxidative capabilities, which helps keeps our cells healthier for longer.

One thing about rice milk is that is has a high amount of calories, about 120 per cup. These calories come from carbohydrates, which makes rice milk a good addition to pre-exercise drinks and foods. If you are an athlete or someone who has an active lifestyle, you may want to try drinking rice milk to give you a good supply of energy.

The bottomline is that because plant-based milks come from different kinds of nuts and grains, they also have different flavors and nutritional profiles. Study these milks carefully and pick one that aligns the best with your health goals and taste preferences.

8 Essential Items in a Natural Medicine Cabinet

Making the switch to holistic medicine is a change that can benefit both you and your family. Otherwise known as “complementary and alternative medicine,” holistic therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, and massage therapy among others. However, holistic practices also avoid pharmaceutical-grade chemicals in favor of natural healing remedies. If you’d like to learn more about all-natural medicine and which items can offer relief, keep reading—we’ve curated our top essential picks to have on hand when times are rough.

  • Immunity Boosters

At the first sign of a cold, having vitamins C and D on supply in order to boost your body’s immune system and ward off sickness can be a life saver. Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant, is helpful to many bodily functions, and can be found in citrusy fruits such as oranges. Vitamin D supplements are especially helpful during winter months when sun exposure is low—and germ contamination is high—because it enables your body to produce over 200 antimicrobial peptides, which are indispensable for fighting off a wide range of infections.

  • Flu Relief

If you do succumb to a flu or cold, have peppermint essential oil available to help with nausea. A few drops into tea have proven to alleviate upset stomachs, while inhaling the scent of peppermint oil can trigger a sense of fullness and suppress the appetite. Massaging several drops of oil into the inner wrists can sooth general nausea or motion sickness, and rubbing it into the soles of your feet may help break a fever. Eucalyptus—in either loose leaf or essential oil form—is great for soothing coughs and clearing lungs. When inhaled through steam, it can help clear out your sinuses and congestion.

  • Indigestion

The next time you experience digestion issues such as heartburn or acid reflex, try taking ginger capsules as an antidote; ginger root is one of the best natural remedies for treating acute stomach problems. You can also consume ginger in a number of recipes to add a delightful kick to food (which is also great for your health!).

  • Pain Meds

Arnica montana is an all-natural homeopathic healer that has been used for centuries to treat bruising, swelling, and pain associated with soft tissue injury. Arnica pills are essential for when you need relief for painful strains or sore muscles. The plant can also be applied topically to treat insect bites, arthritis, muscle or cartilage pain, chapped lips and acne.

  • First Aid

There are a number of natural medicines to use for first aid treatment. Cayenne is a powerhouse that should be stored in tincture or powder form. It can be rubbed into wounds to stop bleeding (beware of burn!) and, when consumed, rapidly dilate blood vessels through increased circulation. Aloe Vera is a plant most people are familiar with for its effectiveness at treating burns. Look for gels that are free of added chemicals and preservatives for when you need cooling relief.

  • Acne Infections

When your skin is infected with the P. acnes bacteria strains that lead to break outs and blemishes, turn to your trusted tea tree oil. This miracle worker has strong antimicrobial properties that can kill bacteria long after it’s applied, offering a natural skincare solution. Be sure to dilute the oil with water before swabbing it onto your skin, however, or you could risk irritation.

  • Anti-Stress Support

Located in the pantry instead of the medicine cabinet, chamomile is your go-to herb when you need to lower your stress levels. Its flavor is great to cook with, and has a calming and relaxing effect. When drank in a warm tea, chamomile can sooth anxiety and sleep difficulties, too. Lavender is another flower great at promoting relaxation; sprinkle some into a soothing bath for an aromatic soak.

  • Multi-Vitamins and Minerals

You should always have an ample amount of multi-vitamin and mineral supplements in supply. Look for a comprehensive formula that can help improve your health and vitality all year long. Depending on your current condition, look for labels that promote:

  • Nutrient absorption
  • Sustained energy levels
  • Bone strength and support
  • Collagen production
  • Detoxification
  • Cellular growth

Nature offers a solution for the most common ailments in our day to day lives. If you’ve decided to forego the chemicals found in pharmaceutical products, give these holistic treatments a try! As always, refer to your doctor for the best advice regarding your health.

5 Health Benefits of CBD Oil

Benefits of CBD oilWhen you suffer with several chronic illnesses, the constant daily stream of tablets can get really tiring, especially when a new symptom arises and with it, the possibility of needing more medication. Recently, I discovered CBD oil and the many health benefits of using it, and I use it daily to deal with several different things, so I thought I’d share with you a few of the health benefits of using CBD oil.

Pain Management

One of the conditions I have, endometriosis, can be really painful at times, and while there’s the option of taking strong painkillers, it’s not something I really want to do on a daily basis as it can damage other organs in the long run. Taking a daily dose of CBD seems to keep my pain to a minimum or at a manageable level even on bad days, and means that my painkiller intake has reduced by about 90%.

Anxiety

I’ve suffered with anxiety on and off for years but refuse to take anti-anxiety medications because of the horrible list of side effects that can go with them, as well as not want to feel like a zombie on a daily basis. CBD really quietens my anxiety down and on the odd day that I forget to take it, I can really feel the difference in my symptoms.

Skin Issues

As well as suffering with psoriasis, I also have issues with hormone-related spots because of my gynae problems, but since using CBD my skin has been SO much better. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD work wonders on a whole load of skin conditions and using it via vape pen as an e-liquid means that you can take a metered does every day and avoid the slightly unpleasant taste that is associated with taking it other ways.

Nausea

Nausea is something that I deal with on a semi-regular basis because of some of the medications that I have to take, and I’ve found that vaping CBD is a massive relief when the nausea gets too bad.

Blood Sugar Levels

I take daily medication for my diabetes, and my blood sugar is usually well controlled, but since I’ve been using CBD on a daily basis, my blood sugars have been the best they’ve been in ages. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend using it as an alternative to regular diabetes medication, but supplementing with CBD certainly can’t hurt!

Do you use CBD oil? What do you use it for? Leave me a comment below.