Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Signs Of A Stroke & The Best Ways To Prevent It

If you think a stroke only targets seniors, think again. I knew a woman, in her early forties, who had a massive stroke, which took her years to recover from. It can occur at any age, but increases substantially after the age of 55, and more than doubles after the age of 65. It is the 3rd leading cause of death and a major source of disability.

As with most things concerning our health... an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A healthy lifestyle is by far the best way to ensure you maintain good health, and it applies to stroke prevention, as well. They say 80% of all strokes are preventable.

High Blood pressure or hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol are major contributing factors in stroke potential, so it would behoove you to make sure you keep those things under control by:

1. EXERCISING: Get out there and get your heart pumping. It not only reduces high blood pressure it also helps keep your cholesterol in check and can decrease your risk of diabetes.
Exercise helps make the heart stronger. And the stronger the heart, the less effort it takes to pump blood around the body—so the lower the blood pressure.


2. CONTROLLING YOUR WEIGHT: The heavier you are the greater the risk. Exercising will, obviously, help with this issue.

3. EAT HEALTHILY: Add more fruits, veggies and whole grains to your diet, and lower the saturated fat content.

4. STOP SMOKING: Besides the obvious reasons to stop, smoking increases the risk of hypertension.
Stroke risk decreases significantly two years after quitting and is at the level of nonsmokers by five years, research shows. In fact, recent data from the Women’s Health Study showed that women who smoke a pack a day are at increased risk of hypertension. What’s more, the nicotine and carbon monoxide damage the cardiovascular system, leading to a higher risk of stroke.


5. LIMIT YOUR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION: The more you drink the greater the risk of stroke. Limit your daily intake to one a day. Remember, moderation is best.
Experts aren’t clear on why alcohol raises blood pressure and increases stroke risk, but research from the University of Cincinnati has shown that having more than two drinks a day is associated with subarachnoid hemorrhage, a particularly deadly type of stroke caused by the rupture of a blood vessel on the surface of the brain; it tends to strike premenopausal women.


6. CHECK YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE: There are often no symptoms for high blood pressure, so have your doctor check it periodically. If you do, increasing exercise and lowering your intake of salt/sodium might be necessary.

7. GET TESTED FOR CHOLESTEROL AND DIABETES.

8. DEAL WITH STRESS IN A HEALTHY WAY: Meditate, try Yoga or Tai Chi, write in a journal, anything that can help lower your stress levels.


SIGNS OF A STROKE

It is said that if a stroke victim is diagnosed and treated within the first 3 hours, the effects can be reversed completely, so it's imperative to know the signs.


There are many different symptoms and signs and a victim can have 2 or more:

The most common signs are:

Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg (mainly on one side of the body)
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance
Sudden confusion or trouble talking or understanding speech
Sudden bad headache with no known cause

Women may have unique symptoms:

Sudden face and arm or leg pain
Sudden hiccups
Sudden nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
Sudden tiredness
Sudden chest pain
Sudden shortness of breath (feeling like you can’t get enough air)
Sudden pounding or racing heartbeat



If you suspect someone might have had a stroke remember the 3 different steps to determine the possibility: STR (the first 3 letters of the name)

It's as simple as asking the person 3 questions:

S * Ask the individual to SMILE.

T * Ask them to TALK and repeat a simple sentence.

R * Ask them to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

and have them STICK OUT THEIR TONGUE

If they have difficulty with any of the above tasks, or the tongue is crooked or lopsided, call 911 immediately and describe the individual's symptoms.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Getting Your Pearly Whites Whiter- The Natural Way To Whiter Teeth

So you look in the mirror and notice your teeth are as stained as the inside of you're favourite old coffee cup, not very attractive, but what do you do? You can take some bleach or ajax and scrub that old cup white, but your teeth, how do you get them back to the pre-coffee-cigarette-wine-blueberry-stained days? My teeth aren't as pearly white as I'd like, but after years of tetracycline use as a child, and cigarette smoking, until I quit in my late 20s, it's no wonder they're what they are. I'm not sure much can be done regarding the yellowing from tetracycline use, but as for other common stains, what safe options are there?

You could go to a dentist and have them whitened, but that's expensive, and as with most hydrogen peroxide based whiteners (even over-the-counter) there is the potential for tooth and gum sensitivity. In fact, they say up to 2/3 of patients will encounter some form of sensitivity. I'll pass, thank you. My teeth are too precious to experiment with that.

You'll be happy to know that there are some natural alternatives, some of which are rather surprising.

1. Strawberries: Yes, believe it or not, these red berries can actually whiten your teeth. Mash and rub or brush on teeth. BUT, remember because of the acid and sugar in the berries, you should immediately floss and then brush with your regular toothpaste. Actually, brushing after eating will help prevent staining.

2. Baking Soda: Although it won't bleach the teeth, it will remove stains and make them shine. You can either add to your toothpaste or wet your toothbrush and pour some on, brush and then rinse. This should only be used twice a month as Baking Soda is abrasive and can remove the enamel from the teeth.

3. Baking Soda and Peroxide: Apparently, this is the best combination.



Prevention:

1. Pass on the coffee, red wine, dark syrupy sodas and blueberries. Or if you do partake, immediately rinse with water.

2. Give up smoking, your lungs, teeth and your friends will thank you.

3. Use a straw when drinking stainworthy liquids.

4. Eat more raw, crunchy veggies. They can remove surface stains.

5. Chew sugarless gum, it stimulates the salivary glands which cleans the surface of your teeth. There are several sugarless gum brands you can buy in the health food store that don't have preservatives, artificial sweeteners and other icky chemicals. ECODENT, Xylitol and Peelu.

DO NOT USE LEMON JUICE. Although, it is often recommended, lemon juice is not a good alternative. Yes it will brighten your teeth, but the citric acid will also strip the calcium from your tooth enamel, leaving you much more susceptible to tooth decay. You'll have lovely white teeth and tons of decay. Not worth the trade off, in my opinion.

For more interesting dentifrices check out Dr. Paul H. Keyes. He has some interesting natural solutions for good dental health.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Relieve Bee Stings And Other Nasties The Natural Way

Thankfully, I have never been stung by a bee! With my phobia, I'd probably die from a heart attack before I ever had to figure out how to deal with it. But for those who might, some day, encounter the stinger of a wasp, bee or hornet, rest assured there are natural ways to alleviate the ensuing pain and itching.

You better hope the wasp, hornet or yellow jacket decides to leave you alone after the initial attack because their stingers, unlike the honey bee's, remain firmly intact. This means, if they are so inclined, they can continue to sting you for as long as they deem you worthy. The honeybee leaves his stinger attached to your body, so you should remove the stinger immediately. Then proceed as follows:

Wash the site with soapy water: "Do not squeeze, rub, or pick at the sting as it may cause an infection. If you have multiples stings or a severe allergic reaction visit the emergency room of the nearest hospital."

Apply the following to the sting site:

1. A paste of baking soda and vinegar

2. Mix a little water with Meat Tenderizer that has papaya extract, and apply paste immediately to sting.

3. Place a slice of onion or potato for 20 minutes.

4. Clay or mud has also been known to help. Apply wet and allow to dry on skin.

5. Crush the stems and leaves of the Impatiens (a plant most everyone has in their garden). When it becomes watery, place on the bite.


These remedies also apply to fire-ants, and most other stinging creatures.

Hopefully you will never have to use any of these, but if you do, good luck!

People's Pharmacy
Natural Awakenings

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bloggers Unite For Human Rights: The Junta and The Dying People of Burma

What is happening in Burma is unconscionable! Cyclone Nargis made landfall on May 2, carving a path of destruction throughout the country, and yet here we are 13 days later, and little has been done. The Burmese people are starving, disease is now setting in, the world is trying desperately to help, and yet a corrupt government, that failed to warn its people of the impending disaster, is refusing most help. With tens of thousands dead, as many missing, and over a million displaced persons (which could result in even more deaths), the perverse Myanmar regime, continues to thwart the global communities efforts to bring desperately needed aid to the people. Why? Politics, greed and paranoia.

Horror stories abound. The little aid that is being allowed into the country is being confiscated by the military, more than likely for their own use. The food that is being distributed is usually rotten, and most are not receiving anything at all. People are being forced to leave the monasteries, where they have sought refuge and received help, even though they have no place to go. Foreign aid food, rather than being given to the people free of charge, is being sold at commercial prices, as are zinc sheets for roofing. Supplies are being given in return for "yes" votes in the national referendum. Child traffickers are targeting children in the refugee camps.

The useless U.N. keeps begging, but getting no results, because countries like China refuse to meddle in what they believe to be internal domestic affairs.

This week, Beijing blocked a proposal to have the U.N. humanitarian chief brief the Security Council on Myanmar, saying governments should not politicize the issue.


I wouldn't expect any other response from China. They don't want other countries meddling in their affairs, considering their blemished record on human rights, so why would they deign to interfere with Burma?

So, we sit in the comfort of our living rooms, watching a group of people die before our very eyes; the result of a sick government's gross negligence. A people whose rights were violated prior to the tropical cyclone, and whose lives are being threatened now. We sit silent and mute, doing nothing, perhaps reaching for our checkbooks knowing full well that what we donate will probably wind up filling the coffers of the military generals rather than aiding those in need.

And there are many who feel the same way as the Chinese government. But I ask you this:

If your neighbour was abusing his wife and children, would you call the police or allow the abuse to continue because you refuse to meddle in their domestic affairs?

Failure to act, on a global level, has led to much unnecessary death in the past few centuries. WWII, Darfur, Rwanda. And the sad and pathetic thing about Burma is that much of the death was and is avoidable. What harm is there in allowing the world to help your country? Any reasonable nation would have welcomed the help, and Burma would be well on its way to recovery. But, government officials are far too preoccupied with profiting from this disaster than helping their citizens. In fact, there is another storm on its way, and the populace has not been warned, yet. More devastation and more inaction.

We are all brothers and sisters. We are each other's caretakers.

Why don't we act as if!


Burmese Bloggers with out Borders.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bloggers Unite For Human Rights!


Bloggers Unite


When I witness the many horrors perpetrated against innocents in far off lands, I am filled with a tragic sense of impotence, knowing there is absolutely nothing I can do, as an individual, to prevent such injustices.

However, there are things we can do to help. We can donate to charities, we can educate others, we can continue pressuring groups like the U.N. to make a difference, and as bloggers we can make our collective voices heard above the lazy, politically correct, apathetic fray, by bringing those injustices to light, by blogging about them.

Tomorrow, May 15th, blogcatalog is sponsoring Bloggers Unite For Human Rights. Take a moment to write something. Anything.

And May 21st is Cuba Solidarity Day.

Let us speak out for those less fortunate, who have no choice!

Blessed Be,
Democracy!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Keys to happiness- Mother Teresa on Joy

"Joy is a net of love by which you catch souls"
Mother Teresa
It's the simple things that bring joy to one's life. And those who are joy-filled always seem to attract others. Joy can uplift both the giver and the receiver.
Make a list of the things that give you joy, and take time to participate in whatever those things happen to be. You will find how that can transform your life and affect those that surround you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Computers Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

I love my computer! I think most people who have them do. But those of us who spend a great deal of time tapping away at our keyboards would be horrified to discover what evil lurks inside our computers. I'm not talking about the viruses and trojans that nasty hackers like to foist on unsuspecting computer users, causing agonizingly endless hours of hassle, I'm talking about the hazards from simply using your computer!

Let's start with your keyboard:

ICKY BACTERIA: You have a greater chance of getting sick touching your keyboard than sitting on a public toilet seat! According to a consumer group in London, keyboards have 5 times as much harmful bacteria as toilet seats. That's comforting to know, considering the amount of time we use our computers versus the amount of time we frequent public restrooms. And who sits on those seats, anyway? I know I don't.


While food can be found in the keys, much more lies beneath. Swabs of more than 30 keyboards discovered bugs related to staph infection and e-coli. "If you sneeze or blow your nose you’ll put viruses on there, which can spread colds. And, even worse, if you go to the toilet and don't wash your hands afterward, you'll put coliforms on there,” explained Dr. Peter Wilson of London’s University College Hospital. “All of these can cause disease in other people.”

Lovely!

REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURY: Spending long hours at your keyboard can also cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Repetitive Strain Injury. Although experts at Harvard Medical School seem to think that even 7 hours of computing isn't likely to cause the syndrome, others think there is a definite risk. This University of Nebraska website has some interesting information on how to determine whether you have it, and some handy recommendations for how to prevent it. Prevention is always the key to better health!

BLOOD CLOTS: Another hazard of spending too much time attached to our computers is the possibility of Deep Vein Thrombosis, the same thing that can occur when you spend extended periods of time confined to one space, like long airplane flights, or long drives. A New Zealand study of office workers found that they had a higher risk of developing these potentially fatal blood clots.

Then you have eye strain, gases from the plastic in the computers, radiation, toner from laser printers.

It's enough to convince you to give it all up. But I know I won't. So, rather than chuck your computer check out some of the solutions for safer computing.

SOLUTIONS:

Clean, clean, clean: Wipe your computer keyboard (and or laptop surface) with alcohol wipes or some kind of disinfectant. Spray on a cloth or paper towel and wipe down. Make sure it is safe for the computer, though. And clean out the keyboard with compressed air. While you're at it, clean that mouse, as well! Another major harborer of bacteria.

Break, break, break: Take breaks. Get up and walk around. Do some exercises. Give your eyes a break by not focusing intently on the screen for long periods of time. Shift focus from the screen to distance and back.

Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate: Make sure the room where your computer is located, is well ventilated. Go outside every once in a while and breathe some fresh air, that is, if you don't live in a smog-filled city like Los Angeles.

Have fun, but be safe!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Natural Remedy For Your Kid's Cough

So, you're little Joey is hacking away, do you grab that nasty bottle of Robitussin or head to your kitchen cabinet for something natural? Is there even anything natural that will help, you wonder? As a matter of fact there is, and it's as close as your kitchen cabinet! Honey. If you're vegan, of course, this won't be of help to you, but for those who aren't, honey is a far better alternative to over-the-counter cough medicines.

We're often less inclined to try natural or home remedies on our kids because of their youth, but in many cases those holistic methods are safer and more effective than the allopathic alternative. In fact, experts at the FDA recommended banning non-prescription cough/cold medicines for children under 6 (and particularly for children under 2) after there were reported deaths associated with those meds. Although most of those deaths were attributed to incorrect dosage, many manufacturers voluntarily withdrew their cold and cough medicines for kids, and the FDA, rather than outright ban anything, has issued an advisory instead. The FDA also issued an alert, recently, regarding Tussionex- a prescription cough medicine that has also caused death in adults, due to overdose, and was being prescribed for children under 6.


Although honey should not be given to children under the age of 2 (because it sometimes contains a bacteria that causes botulism) , it is a great remedy for older children. According to a recent study, conducted on children ranging in age from 2 to 18, buckwheat honey worked better for relieving coughs than dextromethorphan (common in most over-the-counter cough meds), or nothing at all.



"(Honey) is a cheap and effective treatment," said Dr. Ian Paul, lead investigator for the study. "Consider using this as a treatment before going to the pharmacy to pick up an over-the-counter cough and cold
medicine."


The honey not only helped with the cough, it actually helped the children sleep better. Then again, honey relaxes muscles and the nervous system, which helps with insomnia, so it would make sense that it would also help induce a more restful sleep, in addition to relieving the cough.

DOSAGE:


Half an hour before bed give your child:

1/2 teaspoon for children aged 2-5,
1 teaspoon for children aged 6-11
2 teaspoons for children aged 12-18.

Wouldn't you prefer to give your child something sweet and tasty that nature created, rather than a nasty tasting drug some pharmaceutical company manufactured?

Seems like a no brainer to me.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

National Day Of Prayer- May 1st

Today was National Day of Prayer:


The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It
was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose it is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America's leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.


I'm actually surprised the whole idea hasn't been assailed by the likes of the ACLU, but I'm sure some day that will happen.

Although there has been some criticism, and rightfully so, that the day has been hijacked by evangelical Christians, I would invite those of all religions to take some time to pray for this great country, our leaders, our troops.