Science Proves Coffee Slows Down Aging

 

Science Proves Coffee Slows  Aging

 

Coffee can slow down a widespread cause of human aging.

 

For those of us who need a jolt of Joe to get the day started, who might sneak in a cup or two in the afternoon and have even been known to brew some dark roast late in the evening, it may be time to shed some of the guilt. Coffee could have a big upside.

A Stanford University School of Medicine study in Nature Medicine is the latest to perk up the worried coffee drinker. It reported that caffeine consumption counters the chronic inflammation responsible for more than 90 percent of many cardiovascular and other age-related diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Put more simply, coffee can slow down a widespread cause of human aging.

Image above: Imagine Kona Coffee Beans

 

 

Coffee Reduces Inflammation

 

It’s been known that coffee drinkers live longer than abstainers, but it wasn’t altogether clear why.

“What excites me is that we now know that aging, or more specifically age-related diseases, can be avoided or delayed by behavioral means,” says the study’s lead author David Furman. “One mechanism associated with chronic inflammation can be easily inhibited simply by increasing caffeine intake.”

 

If we can control chronic inflammation, we could have a much longer lifespan and most importantly, health span.

— David Furman, Stanford researcher

 

Over eight years, Furman, a consulting associate professor at the Stanford Institute of Immunity, Transplantation and Infection, and his team tracked a group of adults age 60 to over 90.

“We’ve identified the triggers of this chronic inflammation and possibly a way to reverse it,” Furman says.

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Says Mark Davis, one of the senior authors of the study and director of the Stanford Institute: “I don’t think there’s another study in the world that has gone on as long as ours that has been focused on the immune system, which has thousands of different components.”

And as often happens in science, he said, the coffee connection came by accident. “We were studying inflammation and aging and David was looking at the data and had a hunch,” says Davis.

Furman said “a survey we conducted included estimates of caffeine intake” and he found something “quite novel:” a correlation between caffeine use and decreases in so-called “inflammasome gene expression,” the mechanism that triggers inflammation and leads to age-related disease. The researchers discovered that those who drank more coffee had low levels of inflammatory factors in their blood.

They compared subjects who had inflammatory gene clusters and those whose gene clusters weren’t highly activated. Those in the latter group were eight times as likely as those in the group with active gene clusters to have at least one family member who lived to age 90. Beyond that, those in the active group who were older than 85 in 2008 were “substantially more likely to have died by 2016” than the low group.

 

 

Longevity and Good Health

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“If we can control chronic inflammation, we could have a much longer lifespan and most importantly, health span,” Furman says. “Caffeine can block the effect of molecules that cause inflammation, so it may have a protective function on aging and the development of chronic illnesses.” Furman and his team plan to follow up on further studies looking at the immune systems of 1,000 people and addressing the link between caffeine, chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Albert Shaw, associate professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, says while the results of this study “show correlation between caffeine intake and decreases in inflammation — not causation — this is a well-done study by an outstanding group of investigators. It addresses an important question in aging research — the basis for increased levels of inflammation found in older adults — and provides new insights for further study.”

 

 

Coffee and Diabetes

 

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Coffee may help protect against type 2 diabetes. Researchers at UCLA identified that drinking coffee increases plasma levels of the protein sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG controls the biological activity of the body’s sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) which play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Simin Liu, one of the authors of the study, said that an “inverse association” exists between coffee consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes.

Increased coffee consumption may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes – the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers gathered data from three studies. In these studies, the diets of the participants were evaluated using questionnaires every 4 years, with participants who reported having type 2 diabetes filling out additional questionnaires. In total, 7,269 study participants had type 2 diabetes.

The researchers found that the participants who increased their coffee intake by more than one cup a day (on average, an increase of 1.69 cups per day) over a 4-year period had an 11% lower type 2 diabetes risk over the subsequent 4 years, compared with people who did not change their intake.

 

 

Coffee and Parkinson’s Disease

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Researchers in the U.S. carried out a study that assessed the link between coffee consumption and Parkinson’s disease risk. The authors of the study concluded that “higher coffee and caffeine intake is associated with a significantly lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease”.

In addition, caffeine in coffee may help control movement in people suffering from Parkinson’s, according to a study conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) that was published in the journal Neurology.

 

 

 

 

 

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Coffee and Liver Cancer

Italian researchers found that coffee consumption lowers the risk of liver cancer by about 40%. In addition, some of the results suggest that if you drink three cups a day, the risks are reduced by more than 50%.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Carlo La Vecchia, from Milan’s Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, said “our research confirms past claims that coffee is good for your health and particularly the liver.”

 

 

 

Coffee and Liver Disease

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Regular consumption of coffee is linked to a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a rare autoimmune disease of the bile ducts in the liver.

In addition, coffee consumption can lower the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver for alcohol drinkers by 22%, according to a study at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, California, USA.

The authors of the study concluded that the results “support the hypothesis that there is an ingredient in coffee that protects against cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis.”9

Research published in the journal Hepatology in April 2014, suggested that drinking coffee is linked to a decreased liver cirrhosis death risk. The researchers suggested that drinking two or more cups of coffee every day can reduce the risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%.

A study published in the journal Hepatology indicates that drinking decaf coffee also lowers liver enzyme levels, suggesting the benefits are not linked to caffeine content.

 

 

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Coffee and Your Heart

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard School of Public Health, concluded that drinking coffee in moderation protects against heart failure. They defined ‘in moderation’ as 2 European cups (equivalent to two 8-ounce American servings) per day.10

People who drank four European cups on a daily basis had an 11% lower risk of heart failure, compared to those who did not.

The authors stressed that their results “did show a possible benefit, but like with so many other things we consume, it really depends on how much coffee you drink.”

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee Obsession

Potentially More Benefits

 

Studies have also suggested that coffee may:

  • help prevent premature death
  • reduce mortality
  • protect against cirrhosis
  • reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis
  • protect against colorectal cancer

Some of these claims need to be confirmed by further research.

 

 

 

 

Coffee and Antioxidants

 

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Coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S., according to researchers at the University of Scranton.

Joe Vinson, Ph.D., lead author of the study, said that “Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source. Nothing else comes close.”

The authors of the study emphasize moderation, stating that only one or two cups a day appear to be beneficial.

Caffeinated and decaffeinated versions provided nearly the same levels of antioxidants.

Several studies have linked regular caffeine intake to extra heartbeats – a common occurrence that can nevertheless lead to heart problems, stroke and death in rare cases. However, a study

looking at long-term caffeine consumption found that regular caffeine consumption is not linked to extra heartbeats.

 

 

Optimum Dose of Coffee

Death Wish Coffee Co. … Oh, the irony!

If you’re drinking three or more cups of coffee per day, some experts say it’s probably a good thing.

study published in the BMJ, researchers from the Universities of Southampton and Edinburgh found drinking three or four cups of coffee per day was more likely to benefit your health than harm it. In fact, they suggest drinking this amount decreased your risk of death by 17 per cent.

And while there have been countless studies about the benefits and risks of drinking coffee, researchers note for some, more can be even better.

The study adds people who drank up to seven cups of coffee (yes, seven), cut their chances of death by 10 per cent.

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some inspiration to brew a pot of coffee;

I’m going to have some Almond Toffee coffee right now!

 

Door County Almond Toffee Coffee

 

 

 

 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

For a stunning selection of gourmet coffee of every variety, plus coffee makers from simple to professional, visit Amazon!

 

 

Discover how well you are aging

 

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Midlife Health Screening Women Need

Health Screenings Women Need in Their 50’s

 

 

Checkups and a few special tests can be one of the greatest gifts you give yourself.

 

 

What’s Different Now?

 

You’ll need to see your health care professional more frequently now that you are in your 50s, plus you’ll have to have some new preventive tests and screenings to keep your health in check.

If you are at high risk or have a family history of medical problems, or you have serious medical conditions, you’ll need specialized care and additional tests beyond the basic recommendations.

Checkups and a few special tests can be one of the greatest gifts you give yourself. Your doctor can tell a great deal about your health by talking to you, looking at you, and examining certain areas of your body.

Whether you are seeing a gynecologist and/or a family doctor for your routine check-ups it is important that you know exactly what you need — and what to expect. Young women tend to see a gynecologist for their regular check-ups as they have been “programmed” to get an annual Pap test and breast exam.

After childbearing, many women stop going to a gynecologist (too many women think that after childbearing they no longer need a Pap test or gynecologic exam) and rely on their family doctor to do all the routine exams — both general and gynecologic. Yet too many family doctors are already overwhelmed with “too much to do and too little time” that many important tests can get missed or fall under the radar screen.

Some women, on the other hand, see both a gynecologist for their gynecological exams and a family doctor or Internist for their general check up and screening for chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer. So for many women, no one doctor takes care of it all — so it is up to you to see that you get all the tests you need — at the right time and on time.

Add to that the fact that no one doctor today can keep up with all the latest information about everything — the importance of the new HPV test along with the Pap test is a case in point.

 

 

Have a Complete Physical

 

It can take a physician at least an hour or more to provide a thorough evaluation to a woman who needs both a comprehensive history and physical evaluation including a pelvic exam. When was the last time a doctor spent an hour or more with you?

Make sure that you tell the receptionist that you are coming for a complete physical so that they schedule enough time and come as prepared as possible so that you get all care and attention you need.

 

 

Guidelines For Preventive Health Screenings and Immunizations in Your 50’s

 

Here are guidelines for preventive health screenings and immunizations generally recommended for healthy women in their 50s:

 

General Physical Exam

This includes taking a detailed history to learn all about you and your family history and a head-to-toe physical exam including an exam of your skin, eye, ears, nose throat, lymph nodes, chest, breast, abdomen, rectum and extremities.  Make sure you get a breast exam and rectal exam and stool check for blood by your family doctor if you are not examined yearly by a gynecologist as well.

 

Weight

Obesity screening is now considered a preventive checkup. Ask your health care professional for more information on healthy weight guidelines or weight-management strategies.

 

Waist circumference (WC)

Women with increased WC are at increased risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and cancer of breast and uterus.

BMI (measure of height and weight): much less reliable estimate of future health risk than WC and body shape.

 

Blood Pressure

Test for hypertension: Have your blood pressure taken at least every two years if normal; more often if it is at or above 120/80.

 

Bone Mineral Density Exam/Bone Mass Measurement:

This is recommended for women who have sustained a fracture, are at increased risk due to certain medications or have diseases or conditions that are known to be associated with bone loss.

This test is an x-ray, also called the DXA scan, which measures your bone density. The lower your bone density, the greater your risk for bone fractures. (There is also a much less accurate heel ultrasound test that does NOT diagnose osteoporosis but merely tells your doctor whether you are at risk and should have the more complete x-ray DXA scan test.)

The DXA scan is considered the gold standard for the diagnosis of osteoporosis. The most important score or result to check is your T-score. The T-score tells you how your bones compare to that of a healthy 35 year old woman. If your T-score falls between -1 and -2.5 then you have mild bone loss called osteopenia. If your T score is -2.5 or lower, than you have osteoporosis and a significant increased risk of fractures.

 

Recommended: Younger: A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Genes and Reverse Aging by Sara Gottfried, M.D.

 

Breast Self-Exam

Some health care professionals suggest doing a breast self-examination each month. However, research has shown that BSE plays a small role in finding breast cancer compared with finding a breast lump by chance or simply knowing what is normal. If you choose to perform a monthly BSE, ask your health care professional to show you how to perform one.

 

Clinical Breast Exam

You should talk with your health care professional about getting this exam. Screening recommendations vary on whether this is beneficial in combination with a mammogram, so talk with your health care provider about whether it’s right for you. If so, your doctor or other health care professional will examine your breasts for any abnormalities, often as part of the annual gynecologic examination.

 

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Women 50 years and older should be screened for colorectal cancer using any of several screening methods. There are a number of tests that screen for colorectal cancer, and they are divided into two groups: tests that find both colorectal cancer and polyps, and those that mainly find cancer.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women at average risk of colorectal cancer have one of the following screening tests beginning at age 50:

 

Tests that find polyps and cancer:

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every five years
  • Double contrast barium enema every five years

(If any of the above tests are positive, a colonoscopy should be done.)

 

Tests that mainly find cancer:

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
  • Stool DNA (sDNA), interval uncertain

 

Discuss options and procedures with your health care professional to determine the best screening method for you.

 

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EKG 

A baseline EKG to assess your heart’s electrical activity should be done by age 50.  IF you are at increased risk for heart disease, ask for a special CT scan, stress test using a heart ultrasound or special dye to get more accurate pictures of your heart.

Tip: Ask your doctor to reduce the size of your printout on a copy machine. Then carry it with you in your wallet along with your emergency health card. Also keep a copy in your binder or folder for future reference. If you need emergency care, a copy of your old EKG compared to a new one will help your doctors decide how best to treat you.

Make sure you understand the purpose of every exam or test your doctor orders for you. Because everyone is different you must be sure to talk with your doctor about your specific treatment goals.

In addition, keeping an ongoing log of any tests or procedures you’ve had and recording the information in your calendar will help remind you to schedule regular checkups such as mammograms and a cholesterol check.

 

Dental Exam

Visit the dentist regularly. Check-ups can detect early signs of oral health problems and bone loss. Professional tooth cleaning is also important for preventing oral problems and should be done every six to 12 months.

 

Diabetes Screening

You should be screened every three years; more often or earlier if you’re overweight or have other risks for diabetes.

 

Eye exam

The American Academy of Ophthalmology now recommends that starting at age 40, adults with no risk factors or signs of eye disease get a baseline screening. Then based on the results of that initial screening, an ophthalmologist will prescribe the necessary follow-up exams.

For people of any age with symptoms of eye disease or risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or family history of eye problems, the academy recommends they see an ophthalmologist to determine how often they should have their eyes examined.

 

Mammography

Beginning at age 40, you may be offered an annual mammography to screen for breast cancer . Guidelines on breast cancer screening vary, so talk to your health care professional about what’s right for you. Some doctors prefer to begin screening at age 50 or only offer it every two years.

A mammogram is an x-ray that can detect breast cancer early; often before a lump can be felt. It is best to schedule this test a week after your period, a time when your breasts will be least tender and glandular.

If you are taking Hormone therapy after menopause your breasts may appear more glandular or dense from the hormones. Ask your doctor about stopping the hormones a few weeks before the scheduled test. Women over 50 should have this test yearly. Women at high risk for breast cancer should ask about a digital mammogram and an MRI.

 

Pap Test and Pelvic Exam:

Get a Pap test every three years or both a Pap test and an HPV test every five years. The Pap test screens for abnormalities that could indicate pre- or early cervical cancer.

If you have risk factors such as previous abnormal screening results, multiple sex partners, a weakened immune system, DES exposure in utero or HIV infection, you should have a Pap test every year. Talk to your health care professional about what’s right for you.

If you have had a total hysterectomy (removal of both your uterus and cervix), you may stop having cervical cancer screenings, unless the surgery was done as a treatment for cervical cancer or precancer. If you had a hysterectomy without removal of your cervix, you should continue to follow the guidelines above.

Remember: Don’t confuse your annual or semiannual Pap test with a gynecologic examination. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all women your age have a gynecologic examination, including a pelvic exam, annually.

 

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

If you have a history of chlamydia or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or you or your partner have had multiple sex partners, ask your health care professional about whether you need to be screened for STDs, including gonorrhea and HIV.

 

Skin Exam for Skin Cancer

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you have your skin examined by a dermatologist every year. Recommendations include doing a monthly mole self-exam and practicing sun safety to reduce your risk of damaging your skin and developing skin cancer. If you have had skin cancer or have a relative with a history of melanoma, ask your health care professional for guidance.

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is reaching epidemic levels thanks to excessive sun exposure and loss of the protective ozone layer. It is important that you get a head-to-toe check of your skin on an annual basis.

 

Recommended: Menopause Confidential: A Doctor Reveals the Secrets to Thriving Through Midlife by Tara Allmen, MD

 

Blood Work 

 

An overnight fast or fasting sample is critical. Your blood contains a great deal of information about your health.  When your doctor orders the lab to run a complete series of tests, you can find out about the status of your liver, your thyroid, your blood cholesterol, your blood sugar and much more.

 

A Complete blood count (this is optional)

This is the most common blood test. Your doctor may order it as part of a complete physical examination. He’ll also order it before you have surgery and if you have unexplained and continuing symptoms. The complete blood count (CBC) measures the number, size and shape of the different types of cells in your blood.

Women at increased risk for metabolic syndrome and heart disease (women with waist circumference over 35 inches) should ask for a C-reactive protein test – and important test of blood inflammation and marker of future heart disease risk.

 

Blood Chemistry Tests

A single sample of your blood serum can be used to run a series of tests quickly and inexpensively.

The following explains the most commonly requested tests:

Glucose can indicate diabetes if your level is high or hypoglycemia if it’s low. A fasting glucose of less than 100 is normal, a level of 100 to 125 is abnormal and called “impaired glucose tolerance” and a level of 126 or greater means diabetes.

Blood Urea Nitrogen and Creatinine are tests of your kidney function.

Sodium, Potassium and Chloride are blood salts or electrolytes. These tests are especially important if you are on diuretics (“water pills”) for hypertension or heart disease.

Uric Acid is a waste product of all cells. An elevated level may mean kidney disease or gout.

Albumin is a blood protein produced by your liver. A low albumin count can be a sign of liver or kidney disease.

Globulin is a blood protein produced by your immune system. A high count can point to chronic inflammation, infection or blood disorders such as multiple myeloma.

Calcium is a component of your blood that helps all the cells in your body function normally. Your blood calcium level has nothing to do with how much calcium is in your bones. A high count can point to a disorder called hyperparathyroidism, which predisposes you to kidney stones and low bone density.

Serum Glutamine Pyruvic Transaminase (SGPT) and Serum Glutamate Oxaloacetate Transaminase (SGOT) are enzymes (proteins) produced primarily by the liver. SGOT is also produced by red blood cells.

Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) is an enzyme produced by many cells of the body. If this test is extremely high, your doctor will want to do additional tests, depending on your specific complaints to rule out a malignancy.

Bilirubin is the chemical in bile that gives it the yellow color. If the bile passages from the liver to the intestine are blocked, your bilirubin level will be high. Possible causes include gallstones and liver disease.

Gamma Glutamyl Transpeptidase (GGT) is an enzyme produced by the liver. Obesity and excessive alcohol use are the most common reasons it can be mildly increased. It will also be elevated when there is blockage of bile and with liver disease.

Alkaline Phosphatase is an enzyme produced by the liver and bones. If it is abnormal (elevated), looking at the GGT (see above) will help determine the source. If the GGT is elevated as well, the liver is the culprit.

Blood fats or blood lipidsAlso called lipids, these are often listed together in a separate “panel” on your blood chemistry report. Sometimes only the total cholesterol and perhaps the triglyceride level will be listed if your doctor didn’t specifically request results for the lipid panel. However, you need all your numbers in order to make the best evaluation for heart disease.

Total cholesterol is the sum of your LDL and HDL (see below). High total cholesterol levels are linked to heart disease. The lower your total cholesterol the better. A total below 200 is desirable.

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is your “good cholesterol”. Remember, “high density should be high.” The more of this type, the better. Ideally, your HDL cholesterol should be at least 30% of your total amount. In men, an HDL greater than 40 is normal; in women, an HDL greater than 50 is normal.

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is your “bad cholesterol”. Remember, “low density should be low”. A high LDL puts you at risk for heart disease; your doctor will suggest diet and often medication to get your LDL cholesterol below 130. If you have diabetes or heart disease already, your treatment goal for LDL cholesterol should be below 100.

Triglycerides are the other form of fat in your blood. The level will be much higher after a meal. If your level is out of range it should be repeated after an overnight fast. Elevated levels increase your risk of heart disease and could be a sign of early diabetes. Ideally they should be under 150.

 

Thyroid Test

Recommendations vary. The American Thyroid Association recommends having a TSH screening test at age 35 and then once every five years.

Note that mood changes (anxiety or depression) can indicate that your thyroid is out of whack.  Also, according to the Mayo Clinic,  an elevated blood cholesterol level can be a symptom of hypothyroidism. The American Thyroid Association explains that “When thyroid hormone levels are low and TSH levels are increased (hypothyroidism), cholesterol levels are increased.”  So treatment for hypothyroidism may also help to lower cholesterol levels.

 

Ask your health care professional for guidance.

 

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Immunizations:

 

Hepatitis A

This vaccine is recommended for adults who live, work or travel in areas where hepatitis A is endemic and periodic outbreaks occur, or users of injection or street drugs, military personnel, institutionalized persons and those working in those institutions.

 

Hepatitis B

The Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all adults at high risk for infection; high-risk individuals include injection drug users and their sexual partners; anyone with a history of multiple sexual partners in the previous six months or who has recently acquired a sexually transmitted disease; recipients of certain drug products; individuals with a health-related job with frequent exposure to blood or blood products; and travelers to countries where hepatitis B virus (HBV) is of high concern.

 

Influenza

Have a yearly influenza vaccination.

 

Pneumococcal

You need one to two doses if you smoke or if you have certain chronic medical conditions.

 

Tetanus

You should have tetanus-diphtheria booster shots every 10 years.

 

Shingles

An advisory panel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendes  that all adults 50 and older receive the new two-shot vaccine, Shingrix, which is 97 percent effective in preventing shingles in people 50 to 69 years old, and 91 percent effective in those 70 and older.  Check with your doctor to see if this vaccine is recommended for you.

 

New – The HPV Test Now For Women Over 30

Women over thirty and that means women 50 and over too, should ask for the human papilloma virus (HPV) test along with the Pap test, also called the DNAwithPap™ test or the HPV test with Pap test.

This combination of tests is now recommended for women over the age of thirty because a positive HPV test could mean you are a chronic carrier of the virus that is the sole cause of cervical cancer and therefore at increased risk of cervical cancer — and may require additional tests and treatment of any abnormal cells caused by the virus.  Women in their twenties commonly acquire the virus but it doesn’t persist because their immune system fights it off. 

Since cervical cancer is caused by the human papilloma virus, having a negative HPV test and a Pap test is very reassuring and virtually guarantees that you are not at risk for cervical cancer over the next few years. 

If both tests are negative which will be the case for 95% of women over 30, then you can safely get the HPV and Pap test every three years instead of annually.

 

 

Links of Interest:

 

  • Arrange your own discount medical lab tests (without a doctor’s order) at Walk-In-Lab.
  • Discover what your DNA says about how well you’re aging with TELOYEARS.
  • Get your appetite under control and lose weight comfortably with Phen375.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Women over 50 should maintain good relationships with their doctors and keep regular medical appointments. Early detection is key for the successful treatment and management of health concerns, so get screened and be proactive.

 

Recommended: DrFormulas Menopause Support: Supports Hormonal Balance With Black Cohosh, Red Clover, Flavonoids & Isoflavones

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful information.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

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An Overview of Popular Diets

An Overview of Popular Diets

(Which One Is Right For YOU?)

 

 

 

 

Let’s get right to it, shall we? …

 

 

The High Protein Diet

 

The high-protein diet belongs to the group of the most common diet choices for both bodybuilding and weight loss. Protein is one of three macronutrients, along with carbs and fat, that our body requires to stay healthy and maintain weight.

The body needs protein for many processes and it is the main component of muscles, bones, hair and skin.

 

Important Points:

 

Promotes Appetite Suppression And Fullness – Consumption of protein suppresses hunger and appetite for hours after eating, thus helping you prevent overeating which would eventually lead to weight gain.

It is also important to mention that protein increases production of hormones such as PYY and GLP-1, both of which make you feel full. Protein decreases levels of ghrelin, which is known as hunger hormone.

 

Increases Metabolism – High protein intake can also increase the number of calories you burn, thus further your weight loss. A study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition  found that protein digestion boosts metabolic rate by 20% to 35%, which is truly impressive.

 

Fat Loss And Body Composition – Fat that accumulates in our body is stubborn, especially in the abdominal area, and it is difficult to get rid of fat deposits. A high-protein diet is well-known for its ability to induce fat loss. A growing body of evidence confirms that increased protein intake promotes fat and weight loss.

For example, a six-month study that included 65 overweight and obese women revealed that high-protein group lost 43% more weight than the high-carb group. Also, 35% of women from high-protein group lost at least 22 lbs or 10kg.

Not only does high-protein diet promote weight loss, but it doesn’t lead to a loss of muscle mass, which is beneficial for body composition

The precise protein intake is a matter of many debates. Typically, consumption of 0.6 to 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight (1.2 – 1.6 grams per kilograms) promotes weight/fat loss while preventing loss of muscle mass.

Strive to include both animal- and plant-based sources of protein into your diet and focus on high-quality sources of the macronutrient. Don’t forget to meet your daily fiber intake (25-35 grams) to promote digestion and prevent constipation.

 

Example: High Protein Diet: High Protein Everyday Meals for Metabolism Boos and Weight Loss

 

 

The Low Carb Diet

 

A low-carb diet is an eating pattern that limits intake of carbohydrates usually found in fruit, starchy vegetables, and grains. While reducing the consumption of carbs, this diet plan emphasizes intake of foods that are high in protein and healthy fat.

People usually opt for a low-carb diet in order to lose weight by restricting intake of certain foods (carbs) or they want to change their bad eating habits. Like high-protein, low-carb diet belongs to the group of flexible eating patterns and there’s no some specific meal plan you should follow other than adjusting intake of macronutrients.

Of course, it’s needless to mention you should avoid junk and sugary food, that’s implied. That being said, there some structured programs which are based on a low-carb approach to weight loss, such as the Atkins diet.

A study from the New England Journal of Medicine enrolled 62 participants who were randomized either to the low-carb or low-fat group. Scientists discovered that low-carb group lost more weight compared to the low-fat group with ratio 7.3% vs. 4.5% of the total body weight respectively.

The journal Nutrition and Metabolism published a study which found that participants from low-carb group lost more weight than their counterparts from the low-fat group, especially men.

What’s more, weight loss for persons from the low-carb group was significant despite the fact they consumed more calories than participants who adhered to a low-fat diet.

 

Example: Living Low Carb: Controlled-Carbohydrate Eating for Long-Term Weight Loss

 

 

The Biggest Loser Diet

 

You’ve probably watched the reality show Biggest Loser or at least you’ve heard of it. This diet was created to help you shed weight just like participants on the show. It belongs to the group of structured plans with specific meal programs and portion sizes.

The Biggest Loser Diet involves intake of small, but frequent meals which usually consist of protein, low-fat dairy or soy, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts. The diet also requires regular exercise.

The reason why this diet works is simple – it combines all factors that are essential for successful weight loss (portion control, healthy food choices, and regular physical activity). It is also important to mention that Biggest Loser Diet isn’t a food deprivation program, you’ll eat three meals and two snacks a day and it isn’t a temporary diet fad.

 

Example: The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You; Lose Weight and Get Healthy for Life!

 

 

The Mediterranean Diet

 

The Mediterranean Diet is considered one of the healthiest eating patterns in the world. It’s not a program that you follow for a specific time, but a way of life.

You see, the Mediterranean diet refers to the way people from Mediterranean area eat. This diet is known for the fact it doesn’t involve restrictions or eliminations of certain food groups and it is incredibly beneficial for heart health.

 

 

As mentioned above, there is no specific program that you follow here, just some simple guidelines. You should increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, herbs, spices, fish, and seafood.

Eat in moderation foods such as poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt. Red meat is allowed but reduce consumption to once a week. The only thing you should avoid is consumption of junk food, sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugar, and processed foods and meats.

Does Mediterranean diet help weight loss? Sure; this diet plan is beneficial for the entire health and your weight is not an exception. One study showed that low-carb and Mediterranean diets are effective and safe alternatives to the low-fat diet for successful weight loss.  One caveat, though:  you still have to watch your calories in order to lose weight.

 

The Mediterranean Diet Weight Loss Solution: The 28-Day Kickstart Plan for Lasting Weight Loss by [Stassou MS RD, Julene]
Example: The Mediterranean Diet Weight Loss Solution: The 28 Day Kick-Start Plan for Lasting Weight Loss

 

 

The Weight Watchers Diet

 

The goal of Weight Watchers Diet is to lose weight while living healthier and it promises you’ll drop two pounds per week. This diet plan uses a point system to encourage followers to opt for healthy, filling foods that will help you slim down without harming your health.

In this diet plan, no foods are forbidden. Basically, Weight Watchers assigns points to different foods. The healthy options carry more points while unhealthier options carry low points. You want to collect as many points as possible and while doing that, you are changing your eating habits and slimming down.

The program is designed to ease the process of changing your diet for long-term weight loss. Following this diet plan allows you to tweak bad habits and create new, healthy ones. At the same time, you learn how to shop for healthy food, cook, and dine out without undermining weight loss.

 

Example: Weight Watchers Freestyle Cookbook 2018: Over 100 Proven, Easy & Delicious Zero Point Recipes & Everything You Need to Know About the Weight Watchers Program

 

 

A Vegan Diet

 

Veganism isn’t just about celebrity trends and following a certain program for a while, it should be an important part of your lifestyle based on natural and healthy plant-based food sources.

The vegan diet promotes weight loss due to high fiber intake. As you already know, fiber is necessary for healthy digestion and it suppresses your appetite, thus making you full for longer. At the same time, vegan diet plans also deliver an abundance of much-needed nutrients that protect your health too.

While some people do follow this diet successfully, the truth is that this is a very restrictive diet, and it can be quite challenging.

 

Example: The Vegan Way: 21 Days to a Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet, and You

 

 

Weight Loss Supplements

 

Weight loss pills are some of the most popular supplements on the market. They usually contain a natural formula that speeds up metabolism suppress a user’s appetite, and supports a healthy weight loss. The question is, do they help?

Bearing in mind that most people struggle to reduce food intake, especially if they got used to overeating, yes, weight loss pills can help. Whichever diet plan you follow, appetite control is essential to long term weight loss. Meals should not be skipped, but they do need to be controlled, and that’s easier said than done.  

That being said, you should avoid a common pitfall for many dieters – relying on pills only.

It’s not uncommon for both men and women to take weight loss pills without making any changes in their diet or physical activity.

Weight loss pills and supplements are formulated to act as a complementary tool i.e. to support your weight loss endeavor.  They help you reach your target weight at a faster rate, but this also involves making some effort.

If you’re considering using weight loss pills, you should still combine them with diet plan of your choice and exercise routine.

When purchasing these products you should read the label to ensure ingredients actually provide benefits for weight loss.

Avoid buying items produced by unreliable manufacturers and always make sure there is a money back guarantee.  I  found the program products offered through HCG Triumph to really helped me conquer my ferocious appetite.  I particularly relied on the HCG Triumph 26.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Weight loss is a very common goal, and slimming down isn’t a mission impossible! The reason we tend to struggle is usually due to the wrong diet plan.

Ideally, you should go on the diet that you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle and follow even after you lose weight. With strong willpower and eyes set on the goal, you’ll slim down faster than you expected.

Remember that what works best for me (HCG Triumph), or your best friend, may not match your own goals and preferences.  Always use your own goals and preferences as your guideposts.

Now, get to work!

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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Detailed Review of the SoClean CPAP Cleaner

Midlife Medical Screening Tests That Women Over 50 Need

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

How to Choose a Diet Plan

How to Choose a Diet Plan

(So Many Diets, Just One YOU!)

 

 

Many of us want to get into a healthy lifestyle that will help us slim down. If you need to lose weight, then introducing some changes in your diet is going to be mandatory.

Unfortunately, this is where we tend to make mistakes because it becomes difficult to modify nutrition without a proper plan.

The diet plan you choose can make or break your weight loss efforts. To help you lose weight and improve your health, this guide explains how to choose a perfect diet plan without stressing yourself out.

 

 

The Plan You Choose Affects More Than Your Weight

 

According to the report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, more than two billion adults and children around the globe are overweight or obese and they suffer health problems due to their weight.

In other words, two-thirds of the world population carries excess weight due to urbanization, sedentary lifestyle, and unhealthy diets.

The same report showed that the US has the greatest prevalence of obese children and young adults at 13%.

The US also has the greatest number of obese adults with 79.4 million people or 35% of the population.

An unhealthy diet is one of the biggest culprits for weight gain, but it has many other effects too.

Dangers associated with poor food choices include:

 

  • Tooth decay
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoporosis
  • Some cancers
  • Nutrient deficiencies

 

It is also important to mention that being overweight or obese also increases the risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and many others. Now it’s easy to understand why successful and healthy weight loss depends on your diet plan choice.

 

 

What You Need Your Diet Plan to Do:

 

Boost energy levels to keep you active throughout the day.

Supply the body with much-needed nutrients essential for growth, repair, good health

Aid weight management

Suppress the appetite and keep you full for longer

Correct nutritional deficiencies

Prevent or manage chronic diseases and other health problems

Lower your cholesterol levels

Increase your productivity

Improve your mood

Speed up metabolism

Strengthen the immune system

 

 

The Process of Choosing The Right Diet Plan

 

The proper diet plan allows you to achieve your body goal and target weight without harming your health, but what is the ideal plan. Below is a process that helps you find the best diet plan for your needs and preferences.

 

Take An Individual Approach

Your friend, co-worker or family member slimmed down following a specific diet regimen and you want to do it, too. After all, if it worked for them, it will also work you. Not necessarily! You see, every person is different and we have a different body.

This also means that same eating patterns won’t work for all of us. When it comes to health (in general) and the nutrition, there is no one size fits all approach. Instead, you should take more time to think and find something that will truly work for you.

Interestingly, science also supports the role of personalization in healthy nutrition. An Israeli study published in the journal Cell found that healthy foods differ by individual. For the purpose of the study, scientists tracked blood sugar levels of 800 people.

They collected data through questionnaires, body measurements, glucose monitoring, blood tests, stool samples, and mobile app that participants used to report food intake and lifestyle.

Results of the research showed that blood glucose levels were strongly related to BMI and age, as expected. Interestingly, different people showed notably different responses to the same food, despite the fact their individual responses didn’t change from one day to another.

Why does this happen? Gut microbiota plays a big role in your weight management, diabetes, and other aspects of health. The composition of gut microbiota, balance of good and bad bacteria, is considered unique to every individual.

The above-mentioned study only confirms the importance of an individual approach to a diet plan, rather than following a program just because someone else does. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should follow just about every diet plan out there and see what works for you.

Too much dieting and following different patterns can wreak havoc on your health and metabolism and make it more difficult to lose weight.

What to do then? The first and most important step to choosing diet plan is to define your weight loss goals. Your goal should be specific and clarify how much weight you want to lose and a time frame you want to lose it.

Of course, your goal should be reasonable and achievable. Identifying the weight loss goal gives you a clearer idea of what you want the diet plan to look like. Get educated about different (and healthy) diet plans and opt for the one that will meet your criteria, weight goal, and other factors that will be discussed in other steps below.

Remember that what works best for me or your best friend, may not match your own goals and preferences.   I  found the program and products offered through HCG Triumph  really helped me conquer my ferocious appetite.  I particularly relied on the HCG Triumph 26.

Always use your own goals and preferences as your guideposts.

 

 

Think About Your Diet as a Way of Living

The modern society is obsessed with diets and it only intensified with social media. New diet programs emerge on social media platforms all the time and they take the internet by storm. The truth is that most of us misinterpret the word diet and firmly believe it refers to the “restricted eating for the purpose of successful weight loss”.

The reality is much different. What’s more, wrong interpretation of the term diet is one of the main reasons why people choose the wrong eating plan and don’t succeed in their weight loss endeavor.

The word diet comes from the Greek words dialtia and dialtan meaning a way of living. Basically, the word diet refers to the attitude of taking food or your typical nutrition pattern. It does NOT refer to some specific eating program as it is commonly believed.

If you go by the typical modern understanding of the word diet, chances are high you will look for some restrictive program that you follow for a certain period of time. Naturally, it is expected to achieve weight loss* during the course of the diet.

In many cases, these diet programs are way too limiting and deprive your body of certain foods and nutrients they carry. After the diet program is over, a person usually experiences yo-yo effect meaning he/she gains, even more, weight, unless you adopt some healthy changes in your nutrition pattern that will prevent that.

On the other hand, if you go by the real meaning of the word diet, you will look for well-balanced eating programs that promote intake of different food groups and aim to improve your overall health while aiding weight loss.

In these instances, it is not necessary to follow a program for a certain period of time and there are no structured meal recommendations. The point is to make a healthy diet a part of your lifestyle and go from there.

As you can see, the understanding of a simple word diet plays a significant role in the type of diet plan you will go for. What you can do here is to take a few moments to think what does the term diet mean to you? Use the answer to select the diet plan that fits perfectly into your own vision of nutrition.

 

 

Consider Your Personal Lifestyle and Preferences

When you’re choosing the best diet plan to slim down, it is crucial to consider your lifestyle. If a diet plan doesn’t match your lifestyle, then what’s the point? The reason is simple, that particular diet regimen becomes difficult to maintain and whenever you step on that scale it doesn’t show the number you expect.

As a result, your confidence suffers and it’s easy to believe that you’re the problem. Nope, you are not the problem here, but poor choice of a diet plan.

For instance, if you opt for a diet plan that recommends intake of two big meals and several small meals during the day and you don’t usually eat more than three times, then it will be difficult to keep up with this program, regardless of how healthy it is. That’s because the nutrition pattern doesn’t match the meal frequency you usually follow.

 

 

Ask yourself:

  • Can I stick to the timing and/or recommended number of meals or snacks?
  • Does this new plan require special preparation and cooking?
  • Do I have to increase consumption of foods I don’t really like?
  • Does the new diet plan have a family-friendly approach that I can easily introduce to my household?
  • Do I have enough time to prepare/cook meals this diet recommends?
  • Does my budget allow me to consume all foods suggested by this eating pattern?
  • Can this diet accommodate my travel and dining-out plans?
  • Is this diet suitable for my health condition?
  • Will this diet boost my energy levels and improve my athletic performance?

 

Remember, always go for the diet plan that you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle because it increases your chances of following it for long-term. Don’t forget your nutrition should support regular physical activity i.e. enhance your energy levels and help you train.

It’s not uncommon to come across eating plans that claim you’ll lose weight without exercise, but remember that combination of regular physical activity and healthy nutrition works best, according to the study from Obesity.

For example, it’s not a good idea to follow a diet plan that causes loss of muscle mass, not just fat. Exercise encourages muscle building which accelerates metabolism and burns more calories even when you’re done with the workout.

When considering any diet plan, you should ask yourself  “Is this diet something I would be willing to do every day for the rest of my life?”

It’s simple; you shouldn’t consider some diet plan a temporary solution, but an inseparable part of your lifestyle. That way, you won’t feel like it’s some sort of obligation, but a normal part of life.

At the end of the day, weight loss isn’t a temporary solution either, once you lose weight you have to keep it off. This is why the diet choice is important, it should be an eating plan you are willing to follow for many years to come, which only intensifies the need for a well-balanced program.

 

 

Acknowledge and Address Your Bad Habits

The ideal diet plan for weight loss is the one that makes you feel like you’re not on a diet at all. For many people, diet plan symbolizes limitations and they heighten desire or cravings for foods they are not supposed to eat. Bad eating habits only intensify in these instances.

 

 

All of us have bad eating habits, but they differ from one person to another. The most common bad habits include:

 

  • Using Plates Or Bowls That Are Too Big – This bad habit makes you overeat unknowingly.

 

  • Late-Night Snacks – Eating late at night is never a good idea if you want to lose weight. Late-night snacks, usually involve unhealthy options such as ordering a pizza.

 

  • Endless Snacking – Some people have a habit to snack all the time and they usually opt for high-calorie foods full of empty carbs.

 

  • Skipping Meals – A common mistake that people constantly repeat is to skip meals in order to lose weight. When you start skipping meals your metabolism starts slowing and the body doesn’t get enough energy.

 

  • Emotional Eating – Food serves as a coping mechanism to some persons. Both positive and negative emotions can cause people to eat more than they should.

 

  • Eating Too Fast – When you’re eating too quickly, your brain doesn’t have enough time to catch up with the stomach. The brain doesn’t signal that you’re full until 15-20 minutes after you started eating. So, when wolfing down your food, it’s easy to eat way more than the body really needs.

 

  • Eating Too Much Junk Food – People eat junk food because it’s convenient for them and they believe healthy meals require more money and time. Regardless of the reason, junk food doesn’t provide much-needed nutrients and it is leading dietary mistake that causes weight gain.

 

Take a few moments to identify your bad eating habit(s).  Sometimes we aren’t even aware of these bad habits. Look for a diet plan that helps you identify common mistakes in eating and helps you overcome them successfully.

Don’t look at these bad habits as something you’re giving up, but as obstacles that are preventing you from reaching target weight goal. Regardless of the plan you choose, focus on progress instead of perfection and strive to slowly improve* eating behaviors.

 

 

Structure or Flexibility

Different people need a different approach to a diet plan, we’ve already established that. This isn’t just about the selection of foods but also intensifies the need for select a nutrition program that suits you best.

Some people prefer structured plans which vary in length and usually come with lists of meals to eat every day, portion sizes, and snacks. These plans help them stay on the right track, particularly if the person can’t control his/her bad habits.

On the other hand, some individuals prefer flexible diet plans which allow them to make their own choices through the implementation of food groups recommended by that nutrition pattern.

For example, a vegan diet isn’t a structured, but a flexible plan and a person has the liberty to adjust their diet by implementing fruits and vegetables of their choice.

Whether you should go for a structured or a flexible diet plan depends on you and your needs. That being said, you should make sure the diet plan of your choice allows you to consume enough food and calories to combat hunger and keep you full for hours to avoid undermining your weight loss effort.

 

 

Your Appetite

Whichever diet plan you follow, appetite control is essential to long term weight loss. Meals should not be skipped, but they do need to be controlled, and that’s easier said than done.  

Skipping meals actually forces your body to go into a starvation mode. It slows down the metabolic rate to preserve itself and makes the fat burning process more difficult. However, you will  need to reduce calories.

I am a big believer in “success breeds success,” and I think it’s important to get your weight loss journey off on the right foot by losing weight without hunger, right from the start.  That initial easy weight loss is like a shot in the arm, lifting your mood and motivating you to get to your goals without second-guessing yourself (which often leads to “falling off the wagon”).

There are many weight loss supplements available, but make sure you read reviews to see how well it’s actually worked for others.  And of course, you need to make sure it has superior, effective ingredients, and it’s guaranteed.

 

 

If You Know You Need an Edge

If you need something to kill your appetite so you can get the pounds off, and are willing to dedicate yourself to changing your eating habits,  I recommend The HGC Triumph Program.  HCG Triumph is the official HCG diet company, and their diet and FDA-approved supplements are designed for rapid weight loss.  I lost weight (almost too well) on this diet, and for me, it was well worth the effort.

By following the HCG Triumph program and using their supplements, you will have success with your weight loss, and thus be motivated toward continued success (which is so important)  I believe this is program that can make this weight loss attempt your “best and final.”

 

 

Do Some Research

In order to slim down successfully and keep it off, you should get informed about different diet plans instead of focusing on one program only. We usually find some plan interesting and only learn a few things about it while completely overlooking all the others.

It’s better to get informed about different eating patterns and then opt for the one that best fits you and your goals, needs and preferences .

 

 

What’s Next?

 

For a rundown of the most common diet plans used for weight loss, read my post, “An Overview of Popular Diets – Which is Right For YOU“?

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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Guide to Medical Alert Bracelets

 Guide to Medical Alert Bracelets

(And Other Medical ID Jewelry)

More than 95 percent of emergency medical responders look for a medical ID; more than 75 percent check for a medical ID immediately upon assessing a patient.  Should you be wearing one?

 

A medical ID provides information that could save your life in an emergency. With medical conditions, drug and food allergies, prescribed medicines and emergency contacts engraved onto its surface, a medical ID bracelet or necklace guides paramedics and doctors in giving you appropriate, timely treatment when you are unable to communicate.  Image above:  VNOX Men’s Medical ID Bracelet with Free Engraving.

 

 

Why Wear a Medical ID?

 

In an emergency, when you might be unable to speak for yourself, a medical ID bracelet or necklace protects you by speaking for you.

Lack of information can be dangerous –

  • Symptoms of common ailments can be misdiagnosed easily.
  • Prompt diagnosis critical to effective treatment may be delayed.
  • Half of all medical errors occur because of mistakes made upon admission to or discharge from the hospital according to a study conducted in the US.

 

 

Paramedics Look for Medical ID

 

According to a recent U.S. survey of emergency medical professionals, including EMTs and paramedics –

  • More that 95 percent of repondents look for a medical ID during emergencies.
  • More that 75 percent look for a medical ID immediately upon assessing a patient.
  • 95 percent look at the patient’s wrist to find a medical ID and 68 percent look for an ID on the patient’s neck.

 

 This is what the paramedics will (and won’t do):

• First they feel around both wrists for a medical bracelet
• If no bracelet, they look around your neck
• Last place they look is around your ankles
• They’ll read all information on both sides of the tag
• They’re especially concerned about blood thinners
• They don’t have time to make phone calls
• They’re reluctant to go into wallets without police observers

 

 

Doctors and Healthcare Organizations Recommend Medical IDs

 

Doctors and healthcare organizations throughout the world recommend medical IDs.  The following organizations are only a few who have formally recommended the wearing of medical IDs.

 

  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
  • American Diabetes Association
  • American Heart Association
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Columbia University Medical Center
  • Epilepsy Foundation
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Mayo Clinic
  • National Institutes of Health
  • The Merck Manual
  • The National Association of EMS Educators
  • World Health Organization

 

 

Examples of Medical Conditions That Warrant Wearing a Medical ID:

 

  • Abnormal ECG/EKG
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Alchoholism
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Angina
  • Asthma
  • Bleeding disorder
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Cataracts
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes (insulin dependent)
  • Diabetes (non-insulin dependent)
  • Emphysema
  • Glaucoma
  • Hearing impairment
  • Heart valve replacement
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Hypertension
  • Laryngectomy
  • Leukemia
  • Lupus
  • Lymphoma
  • Malignant hyperthermia
  • Mental retardation
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Pacemaker or ICD implant
  • Renal failure
  • Seizure disorder
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Situs inversus
  • Stroke
  • Visual impairment

 

 

Listing Medication on Your Medical ID

 

As a rule and if space permits it is wise to list prescription medicines taken on a long-term or maintenance basis. This will give medical personnel better guidance for initiating treatment and will lessen the chance of a drug interaction.

 

Some classes of medicines that are appropriate for an ID are:

 

  • Analgesics: including many narcotics
  • Cardiac medicines: including ones for angina or atrial fibrillation
  • Anticoagulants: Blood Thinners
  • Anticonvulsants: for seizure disorders (Epilepsy)
  • Antihistamines, Decongestants: prescription or over-the-counter medicines for allergies
  • Antihypertensives: blood pressure medicines
  • Beta Blockers: drugs that can slow the heart rate
  • Chemotherapy agents: medicines for treating cancer or serious infectious diseases
  • Steroids

 

 

Listing Your Allergies

 

Allergic reactions to drugs, foods and insects can cause serious medical problems. A medical ID informs medics of an allergy, allowing for rapid response to a serious allergic reaction.

Allergens are numerous. Some common examples include:

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Analgesics: aspirin
  • Antibiotics: cephalosporins, erythromycins
  • Narcotics
  • Foods: nuts, wheat, dairy products, soy
  • Other: horse serum, insect stings, latex, x-ray dye

 

 

Other Information You Can Add on Your Medical ID

 

With space permitting, anything can be engraved on your medical ID,including:

 

  • Advance directive
  • Living will
  • DNR
  • Blood type
  • Contact lenses
  • Difficult intubation
  • Emergency contacts (next of kin, doctor, etc.)
  • Faith
  • Implant (e.g., pacemaker)
  • Organ donor
  • Transplanted organ
  • Stent
  • See wallet card

 

 

Tips For Engraving Your Medical ID

 

Start With Your Doctor

To begin with, ask your doctor to explain your illness so you understand what to say and how to abbreviate your conditions and medications, as well as what critical issues need to be listed, and in what order of importance.

List only medical conditions that should be known in an emergency. For example, a minor surgery that took place several years ago may no longer be relevant to your medical care.

 

Organize Your Medical Information

Each medical ID style allows a different amount of information to be engraved. If you know you will need a lot of information engraved, select a style that can accommodate this, such as our two-sided IDs. You can also engrave “See wallet card” and list more information there than can fit on your ID. You should list frequently changing medicines only on a wallet card.

Summarize your information with short, descriptive words. Any information that will not fit on your medical ID bracelet or necklace can be written on a wallet or handbag ID card.

Only medicines taken on a long-term basis should be engraved on a medical ID. You may wish to list the most important medicines first.

If you need help deciding what to engrave, you can always ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn Your Cellular Age

 

What to List on Your Medical ID (And How to List It)

 

Remember that first responders and doctors are trained to know the shorthand abbreviations.

 

Use “ON” and “NO”

Paramedics and doctors need to know quickly if you are taking meds, or can’t take them. That’s why “ON” tells them that you must take a medication that is critical to your health.  For example: ON COUMADIN.

On the other hand, the word “NO” tells them that you’re allergic to specific meds, foods or even anaphylactic. For example: NO MORPHINE or NO SHELLFISH.

Make sure you tell them if you’re taking or can’t take meds to avoid any confusion.

 

Blood thinners are usually best to be listed on the top since you could be bleeding internally due to trauma: ON XARELTO, ON PLAVIX, ON COUMADIN or ON BLOOD THINNER.

 

List all allergies to medications, foods and anything else that might cause an emergency, or what needs to be said to get you through a crisis such as NO NUTS, NO PCN, NO MORPHINE, NO BEES-USE EPIPEN.

 

Diabetes patients need to communicate DIABETIC 2-MEDS, DM1-INSULIN DEP, DM1-INSULIN PUMP, etc. Diabetes orgs. recommend using Arabic numbers and not Roman numerals to avoid confusion.

 

No MRI for most pacemakers, defibrillators and stimulators: NO MRI: PACEMAKER, NO MRI: ICD (implantable cardiac defibrillator). List ferrous metal implants such as plates, pins, cerebral & heart aneurysm clips, screws, stents and meshes: NO MRI: PIN L-LEG, NO MRI: PLATE-HEAD, NO MRI: BRAIN CLIP.

 

Alzheimer’s or Dementia can be described as FORGETFUL, MEMORY LOSS, or ALZ.

 

Artificial Knees, Hips & Spine Injuries—specify where located:  R-KNEE: TKR (total knee replacement), L-HIP: THR (total hip replacement), SPINE MESH-SCI (spinal cord injury).

 

Lymphedema patients cannot have blood pressure taken or needle punctures such as R-ARM: NO BP/IV, NO NEEDLES/LABS.

 

Artificial heart valves & heart conditions: List CHF (chronic heart failure) or CABG (coronary artery bypass graft). 

 

Bariatric Bypass Surgery: Tell not to insert a blind gastric tube to avoid stomach punctures such as: GASTRIC BYPASS, NO BLIND NGT. 

 

Transplant Patients need to specify the type of transplant and anti-rejection meds such as heart, kidney or lung transplants: KIDNEY TX, HEART TX, ON CELLCEPT, ON PROGRAF.

 

Allergies to Med Classes: NO OPIOIDS, NO SULFA, NO CILLINS, NO MYCINS.

 

Space is At A Premium on a Medical ID

Be sure to shorten the information. For example, instead of saying “TAKING PENICILLIN”, you can say ON PCN. And it’s too long to say “DIABETIC TYPE 2 TAKING INSULIN” when you could say DM2-INSULIN or DIABETIC 2-INSULIN.

And medical conditions don’t have to be long to be clear to medical people.
“KIDNEY TRANSPLANT” can be written as KIDNEY TX. “ATRIAL FIBRILLATION” is AFIB. “AORTIC VALVE REPLACEMENT” is AVR.

 

Listing Emergency Phone Numbers

Emergency phone numbers are stated as “ICE” which stands for “In Case of Emergency”. This would precede the number: ICE 888-234-5678.

It’s best to have a cell number of a family member or close friend who knows your medical issues.  However, don’t count on any phone number to be called by paramedics or doctors as they are usually too busy saving your life, so make sure all critical information is stated on your ID Tag.

   

Should You Engrave Your Name?

Engraving your name on your medical ID is a matter of personal preference. However, listing at least a first name is recommended. In an emergency, EMRs and doctors will say a person’s name in an effort to get his or her attention if the person is, for example, in a daze, a diabetic coma or unconscious.

Alzheimer’s patients should include his or her name and address or the address of a caregiver or family member.

 

Please visit Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Jewelry. It’s more than a piece of jewelry.  It’s peace of mind.

Lauren's Hope Medical ID

 

 

Why Other Medical Information Sources  Aren’t as Good as Medical ID’s

 

Your Wallet and Cell Phone

Lost wallets and broken phones may prevent retrieving your medical information in emergencies such as car accidents. Just because you have a medical card in your wallet does not guarantee that your wallet will be found or searched.
Even your cell phone may be broken or lost in the weeds.  That’s why you can only count on a medical ID that’s securely attached. 

 

Cellular Rescue Services 

Cellular Rescue Services with buttons or fall detection are great for people at severe risk, but may not be enough in every medical emergency.  Pressing a button and having your fall detected gets medical services to you quickly. However, once the emergency people get there, will they be completely informed about your pre-existing conditions? 
   
Paramedics are usually too busy to make phone calls if that’s required.  And, if the service can speak through the speaker, the information must be given quickly without delay otherwise they can’t wait.
   
What if you’re in a no-service cell zone—where is the information then?
     

Always having a medical ID bracelet is usually the quickest, surest way to convey your pre-existing conditions, your allergies, and what meds you are taking—right there on the spot—when every second counts!  It only makes common sense to protect yourself in every way possible—a cellular service and a bracelet!
    

Medical USB’s and QR Codes

98% of medical USB’s and QR Codes are useless in America. In a middle of an emergency, paramedics, hospitals and doctors have no time to access the equipment needed to read personal USB’s and QR Codes on medical bracelets.  As a matter of policy, most hospitals and first responders are forbidden to insert any private media into official computers for fear of viruses.

Also in emergencies, USB’s take too much time to load and read.  Most paramedics are not allowed to use their personal or hospital phones to read QR codes because of policy and HIPAA compliance. In most cases, there are “no universal standards” and scanners to permit reading these codes.

Also, be aware that most QR codes require a cellular connection to the internet to retrieve your medical information. Mountains, valleys and heavily forested areas can block this service. At this time, there is no nationwide Federal hospital standards to coordinate and read these devices. If you intend to use one of these devices or codes, make sure your area hospitals and EMT’s can read and accept your data before investing in this technology.

 

800-Number Medical Data Services    
    
Any service providing important medical information is helpful.  However, paramedics are usually too busy saving lives and unfortunately have no time to make calls to any phone service. Doctors in emergency rooms are also too busy to call. It’s only when an unconscious person comes out of the ER when nurses usually call for more information. Having a number for a medical data service on your ID tag can help—after the emergency is over!
  
It’s always better to have all “critical information” firmly attached to you.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Medical IDs are not just for emergencies. They can forestall problems eliminating trips to hospital, reducing unnecessary hospital admissions and preventing minor emergencies from becoming major ones. Medical IDs save time and trouble as well as lives!

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

Please visit Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Jewelry.

 

Lauren's Hope Medical ID Jewelry

 

 

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Is Your Indoor Air Making Your Allergies Worse?

Is Your Indoor Air Making Your Allergies Worse?

 

 

Your indoor air quality may be having as big of an effect on your runny nose as your outdoor environment.

 

Your indoor air quality is effected by factors both inside and outside of your home or business. Inside your home, indoor air quality culprits, like chemicals, volatile organic compounds, or molds can be fixed or controlled, but outdoor causes of poor indoor air quality – such as allergens – are something we’re often at the mercy of.

As we pass the first day of spring, indoor air quality is not something typically on our minds. The birds are chirping, trees are budding, and flowers are pushing up through the melting snow. It seems simple enough to open a window to freshen your home and improve your indoor air quality, but you might actually be inviting pollen and other allergens in as well.

If you’re one of the millions who suffers from seasonal allergies, your indoor air quality may be having as big of an effect on your runny nose as your outdoor environment. Seasonal allergies are your immune system’s response to an allergen – like a pollen particle drifting through the air – which often manifests as itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, or sneezing. If you’re trying to escape the cornucopia of pollen outdoors and find relief this spring, your indoor air quality can have a big effect on these escape plans.

 

Walk-In Lab Allergy Test

 

 

Check Your Air Ducts and Filters

 

To help keep your indoor air quality free of seasonal allergens, the first step is to have your ducts inspected and filters checked and replaced. Your indoor air quality is bound to be poor if this key part of your HVAC system is dirty or in need of repairs.

Allergens like pollen or dust can collect in your ducts or filters. Your system, doing its best to move air around your home, will actually help perpetuate poor indoor air quality by spreading that pollen to all rooms.

Inspecting your air filters, and replacing them if necessary, is also a key part of promoting good indoor air quality. Beyond providing a quick route to better indoor air quality, it also keeps your HVAC system running effectively which can prevent long-term problems from arising.

In regards to the HVAC, the low quality filters are porous and dion’t trap fine particulates of dust mites and pet dander, so using a high quality HVAC filters for allergies should be a priority.

The Micropartical Performance Rating or MPR is a rating scale created by Filtrete under the 3M company and it rates the filter’s ability to capture the smallest of airborne particles from the air (different companies use different scales).  These particles captured are microscopic, ranging in size from .3-1 micron in size.

The rating helps customers properly evaluate the ability of the Filtrete filtration.  The higher the MPR rating, the better the filter is at capturing the smallest particulates. The most common ratings for Filtrete filters are 300-2800 MPR.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has a slightly different scale for filters called the MERV rating.  This rating goes from 1-16, the higher the rating, the more effective the filter for .3-10 micrometers.

MERV 7 to 13 are almost as effective as true HEPA filters at removing allergens, with much lower associated system and operating costs.  This means that using high quality filters can actually help your HVAC system perform with more efficiency and keep the inside of equipment from accumulating dust.

If you are suffering with allergies, I recommend the Filtrete MPR 2800 Ultrafine Particle Reduction HVAC Filter.  It captures micro-particles  including: PM 2.5 air pollution, exhaust, soot, smoke, cough/sneeze debris, bacteria, viruses, and lint, dust, and pollen, and its electrostatic air filter has a Microparticle Performance Rating of 2800 (7 times better than non-electrostatic pleated filters).  It captures 0.3 to 1.0 micron particles, and will last for up to 3 months.

Filtrete MPR 2800 Ultrafine Particle Reduction HVAC Filter

 

 

Cleaning to Improve Indoor Air Quality

 

Vacuum With a HEPA Filter

Cleaning is an obvious choice for improving your indoor air quality. Vacuuming hard surfaces that pollens may collect on can help reduce the buildup of allergens, and using a vacuum with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (or HEPA) filter can also help improve your indoor air quality.

Consumer Reports recommends the Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150 as the best vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.  Strong airflow for tools and superb pet-hair pickup are top attractions of this Kenmore bagged upright. While you can get a fine performer for less, its price includes helpful features such as a brush on/off switch, which safeguards a bare floor’s finish and prevents scattering of debris; suction control (protects drapes); and manual carpet pile-height adjustment.

 

 

 

 

Use a HEPA Filter Air Purifier

HEPA filter air purifiers, either stand-alone units or professionally installed systems, can have a huge effect on your indoor air quality by offering a high grade of filtration and purification from more than just pollen.

Particle allergens such as mold, dander, and pollen are just a few of the antagonists found in the common household. Some of the best air purifiers will remove virtually all these airborne particles in a few hours or even less, ensuring you breathe pure air. While there may be some health benefits, these machines can be particularly life changing for people who suffer from allergies.

One of the most popular air purifiers currently is GermGuardian’s air cleaning system.  The GermGuardian AC4825 is a 22 inch tall, 3 speed tower with UV-C light and Titanium Dioxide technology. This will purge the air in rooms up to 400 square feet quite efficiently.  Judging by the rave reviews and some old fashioned comparison shopping, this unit is truly a great value.

 

 

It’s quiet, very lightweight and easy to move from room-to-room if you do so choose. The one two combo punch of a charcoal and HEPA filter kicks nasty particles to the curb. The Germguardian AC4825 also has its Energy Start qualification, meaning you are doing right by the environment and not sucking up an excessive amount of electrical energy to power it.

 

 

EnviroKlenz Natural Cleaning Products

 

 

Your Air Conditioner Can Help

Your air conditioner can actually be a key part of keeping pollen out and having good indoor air quality. Pollen is water soluble; since your air conditioner was made to remove water from the air, a well-functioning unit can improve your indoor air quality just by doing what it does best.

While you may not associate snow with mold, your indoor air quality can be affected by molds released from its winter cover as the snow melts. Mold spores are released into the air as rotting leaves and autumn’s debris are uncovered and heated up by warmer temperature. This can have a great effect on your indoor air quality, especially if your air intake is near to the ground or has been covered by organic matter.

 

Consider a portable air conditioner (even if you have central air).   Just because you have central air conditioning doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from a portable air conditioner. One of the leading causes of allergies is dust mites and mold spores. Sometimes central air conditioners can house these on their filters. Filters can be changed, but why not have back up.

Portable air conditioners offer removable and washable filters for easy cleaning. And this filter collects the allergens your central air conditioning unit doesn’t. In some cases – living in an apartment or dorm – you don’t maintenance the air conditioning system. If that’s the case, then having a portable air conditioner as back up is vital.

Portable air conditioners comfortably cool areas of your home that your central system doesn’t reach. Not only that but if you plan on entertaining and you need a little extra cooling, portable air conditioners are great options. They can pick up the slack when your system is not running. Your central air system can use all the help it can get.

A portable air conditioner doesn’t cost a lot to run; it can help cut your energy costs. You can use it to cool exclusive areas without running your central unit.

 

 

This bestselling BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner With Remote Control has excellent reviews on Amazon.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Testing Your Indoor Air Quality

 

You can test your home’s indoor air quality quite easily on your own with a testing kit.  If a specific problem is found, you can then assess whether you can handle the issue or need to call the appropriate professional to take care of it.

My husband and I did this testing in our home, and it was a simple process, which saved us from paying a professional for a service call to do the testing for us (using a similar testing device).

There is a good variety of indoor air testing kits available to consumers these days, so there is really no reason to feel you have to call someone if you suspect your home’s air is causing health problems.

We used the Home Air Check, and were very satisfied with it.  Their testing device  provides a comprehensive picture of chemical levels that you are breathing when in the home. It also indicates a level of actively growing mold present in the home. Since these chemicals are tested simultaneously, this sophisticated analysis becomes less expensive than arranging for a professional to come out charge you for their time and several separate tests.

Also, the samples are collected without the use of toxic chemicals, so there are no health risks using Home Air Check. We were happy with the level of completeness, sophistication, prediction, and value of Home Air Check.

The Home Air Check Indoor Air Test measures VOC’s, formaldehyde and mold.

 

 

This is how the testing process works:

You use a small sampling device to collect an air sample in your home. The sampling time takes about 2 hours.  Full instructions are included in the kit (and it is very straightforward).

After the sample is collected,  you return the complete kit to the Home Air Check laboratory, where they analyze the air sample using sophisticated state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation for hundreds of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can be found in home air. In addition, they look for 21 specific mold compounds that can be generated when mold is actively growing in a home.

A detailed report is then generated. In this report will be a Total VOC concentration level – a total of all the VOCs found in your home. The US Green Building Council recommends a TVOC level of less than 500 ng/L to be considered a healthy environment. (The median US home is about 1,200 ng/L.) A total concentration of Mold VOCs is also listed. Generally, this number should be less than 8 ng/L or you have active mold growth you need to find.

The report also includes a Contamination Index, which gives you a prediction of which sources or materials in your home may be responsible for these contaminating chemicals, such as gasoline, paint, adhesives, odorants, personal care products, etc. Home Air Check emails you the report within 5 business days of receipt of your air sample. You can then use their phone or chat line support to answer any questions you have and to help you improve your air quality.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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The Solution to Dementia Wandering

The Solution to Dementia Wandering

 

 

 

Are You Worried About Someone You Care About Getting Lost?

 

The most important part of a caregiver’s job is to keep an elderly loved one safe. Some caregivers have elderly loved ones who are prone to wandering, especially those with dementia or other diseases. For example, a diabetic’s low blood sugars may cause episodes of confusion causing the person to wander. Whatever the cause, wandering is dangerous for the elderly and worrisome for caregivers.

 

 

There’s a New, Unobtrusive Option (Finally!)

Now there is finally a new option for monitoring loved ones’ locations, even from a any distance.  This system works really well for caregivers of seniors who could benefit from monitoring but who do not want or need round-the-clock supervision.  I am really excited about what I think is the ideal solution to relieve the stress of worrying about someone wandering off and getting lost or hurt:   Smartsole, a GPS tracking system, includes all the necessary equipment to provide state-of-the-art monitoring for caregivers.

 

 

New Monitoring Device

For some caregivers, being present round-the-clock simply is not possible. In addition to this, even caregivers who are present 24/7 cannot be by the side of a wander-prone senior at all times; it’s just impossible.

Electronic monitoring systems can help prevent wandering and also immediately locate seniors who meander off the beaten track.

You’ve probably already seen the most familiar types of consumers would be a wrist watch-type device and one that looks similar to a mobile phone, or the ankle strap devices that some wanderers wear; but these can be obtrusive and even embarrassing, and someone has to remember to put them on each day (which can obviously be a problem with dementia).

The newest and most unique device is the GPS “SmartSole,” which is placed inside a shoe insert and carried with the person being tracked (so they’ll always be wearing it when they have shoes on).  

 

With SmartSole, as long as your loved one is wearing their shoes, you won’t have to worry about them getting lost.
The SmartSoles have a battery that lasts for three days before needing a charge – so it’s ideal for caregivers who cannot visit every day.

 

 

Using Technology to Enhance Freedom and Safety of Dementia Sufferers

Smartsole is designed to provide caregivers with a safe way to monitor their loved ones in case of an emergency. As caregivers of seniors with dementia often know firsthand, the dangers of a loved one wandering and becoming lost are real. The consequences can be deadly.

Smartsole responds to this need with technology that pairs with smartphones and global positioning system (GPS) technology to find those who might have wandered.

With SmartSoles, caregivers also can set up “invisible” fences that notify them if an elderly loved one leaves the house or ventures beyond a certain distance.

Such a notification can prompt the caregiver to check on the person. All might be well. The elderly person may just be making a trip to the corner and back for exercise. Yet Smartsole keeps caregivers informed, in case a trip to the corner results in a missing person.

 

With SmartSoles, caregivers also can set up “invisible” fences that notify them if an elderly loved one leaves the house or ventures beyond a certain distance.

 

Voice connections are available too, which can help establish where the elderly loved one is and whether or not the person is safe. There is no need to guess at a location or purpose for going out. Certain triggers in the technology will also notify emergency personnel. 

You can  find more details on the SmartSole website.

The GPS SmartSole Hidden Wearable Tracker is also available at Amazon.

 

 

Getting Started With a Monitoring Device – Some Considerations

The first step toward establishing successful and safe caregiving practices is meeting with the patient and his or her doctor(s). Asking for safety recommendations, taking diligent notes, and then discussing, at length, what the elderly loved one needs and prefers all lay the groundwork for safety.

Some seniors value their privacy and would like electronic monitoring because it allows them to be safe but also alone. Others might want an additional level of security even if they live in a facility. Yet others might not enjoy the physical presence of an electronic monitoring device. The latter is an important consideration, as people have privacy rights when it comes to being monitored.

Overall, it is all about what works for the elderly loved one and his or her caregivers, taking into account all health risks assessments by physicians.

After everyone agrees with the idea of an electronic monitoring system, it pays to do research. Not every system, despite great gadgets or a high price, is the right one. Price, longevity, and reviews, both online and through word-of-mouth, are important considerations.

Company representatives should be able to provide research and proof of their products’ track records. They should also provide information on customer support or warranties in case device breaks. The Better Business Bureau or equivalent organization is a good guide to a company’s viability. Knowing the facts before investing in a product can help keep an elderly loved one safer and happier for longer.

 

 

Re-Evaluate Monitoring Requirements Periodically

Some electronic monitoring systems come with monthly or yearly fees for use. Periodic re-evaluation may show that there is no reason to continue paying for a system that is unsatisfactory or not useful. Upgrades to more intense monitoring or a more precise device is one solution, as is overtime for paid caregivers. There are many options.

Monitoring an elderly patient is a process rather than a one-off product purchase. Peace of mind for caregivers as well as the patient’s safety and happiness are the most important commodities such devices offer.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

 

If someone you love might potentially wander off and get lost, I highly recommend looking into the patented GPS enabled “Smart” insoles.  They fit easily into most adult shoes and let you monitor the whereabouts of loved ones in an unobtrusive way;  no need for them to remember to carry a separate tracking device they just slip on their shoes and go – like they normally would.

This Smart Sole system capitalizes on procedural memory, which means even those with advanced memory disorders typically remember to wear shoes!

This is a wearable technology that not only provides peace of mind, but can also save lives, while preserving the privacy and dignity of the wearer.

You can find full details and FAQ’s at the GPS SmartSole website

The SmartSole is also available at Amazon.

 

 

 

Suggested Reading:

Surviving Alzheimer’s: Practical tips and soul-saving wisdom for caregivers by Paula Spencer Scott

 

 

Please Visit Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Jewelry.  It’s more than a piece of jewelry.  It’s peace of mind.

Rose Gold Tone Medical ID Jewelry

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

Gardening Safety Tips for Seniors

Gardening Safety Tips for Seniors

 

 

Both Experienced and Beginner Gardeners Should Keep These Tips in Mind

 

Gardening can be a fun activity for seniors to spend time with their family, relax for themselves, spend time outdoors, care for something other than themselves and even provide their own fruits and vegetables. Spring is the perfect time to start making plans for the garden and the weather is perfect for spending time outside. (Image above: Haws Design Traditional Peter Rabbit Design Metal Watering Can created by John Haws in 1886. Made in England.)

Physical, mental and age-related conditions must be considered, however, when older people work in the garden, but they should not prevent people from enjoying the garden.

These include:

Skin – fragile, thinning skin makes older people susceptible to bumps, bruises and sunburn.

Vision – changes in the eye lens structure, loss of peripheral vision and generally poorer eyesight can restrict activities.

Mental abilities – mental health, thinking and memory abilities may be affected by dementia and similar conditions.

Body temperature – susceptibility to temperature changes and a tendency to dehydrate or suffer from heat exhaustion, are common concerns with outdoor physical activity for older people.

Skeletal – falls are more common because balance is often not as good. Osteoporosis and arthritis may restrict movement and flexibility.

 

So whether you are an experienced gardener, or just beginning, you should keep these tips in mind:

 

 

Dress to Protect

Gear up to protect yourself from lawn and garden pests, harmful chemicals, sharp or motorized equipment, insects, and harmful rays of too much sun.

Wear safety goggles, sturdy shoes, and long pants to prevent injury when using power tools and equipment.

Protect your hearing when using machinery. If you have to raise your voice to talk to someone who is an arm’s length away, the noise can be potentially harmful to your hearing.

Wear gardening gloves to lower the risk for skin irritations, cuts, and certain contaminants.

Use insect repellent containing DEET. Protect yourself from diseases caused by mosquitoes and ticks. Wear long-sleeved shirts, and pants tucked in your socks. You may also want to wear high rubber boots since ticks are usually located close to the ground.

 

 

UV Rays Can Cause Sunburn and Skin Cancer

Lower your risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Gardening in the sun can be harsh on seniors’ skin which is more sensitive to light.  Wear long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, sun shades, and sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 30 or higher

 

Example:  These Sloggers wide brimmed hats for women and men are great for gardeners!

 

 

Use Ergonomic Tools

Gardening can be very hard on seniors’ backs, hands and wrists. However, with the right tools, gardening can be made more comfortable and enjoyable. Bottom line:  these items really make a difference in the gardening experience.

 

Things to Try:

ergonomic gardening hand tools

a rolling seat garden cart

a cushioned kneeler

knee pads

 

Examples:

This Radius Ergonomic Gardening Tool Set includes an ergonomic trowel, transplanter, weeder, and cultivator. These tools are ultra lightweight, and have a patented ergonomic grip.

 

This Best Choice Garden Cart Rolling Work Seat has sturdy 10″ wheels, a utility basket, and a weight capacity of 300 lbs.

 

 

This Ohuhu Garden Seat Kneeler With 2 Bonus Tool Pouches comes assembled, and opens and closes with a quick snap. There are some terrific reviews for this kneeler!

 

 

These Viahart Comfortable Soft Ultra Light Foam Knee Pads also come in blue, and have excellent reviews.

 

 

This KI Store Super thick and shock-absorbing 2.36” high density memory foam kneeling pad with EVA foam protects knees comfortably from hard and uneven ground.

Its double water-resistant layer protection and easy clean exterior and removable and washable, quick-drying neoprene covered means it effectively block the water. The water-resistant interior layer prevents foam swelling if water seeps through seam.

This pad is portable, easy to clean and light weight (just as the size of briefcases when folded).

 

 

Switch up your Routine

Gardening can be more strenuous than you may realize. If you haven’t been outside in a while and haven’t been getting regular exercise, your best bet is to pace yourself and do a little at a time.

Consider changing both your position and activity every 20 to 30 minutes and take a 10-minute break between switching. Tending to your garden can involve a lot of bending, lifting, and pulling which can leave you sore the following day if you overdo it, so it is important to listen to your body and slow down whenever you feel you need to.

To get a more well-rounded exercise and rest your back, rotate your daily gardening routine. Work on ground plants one day and then on stand and work on vines and trees the next. Switching things up will work out various muscle groups while giving the other group a rest on alternate days.

 

 

Begin Early

Gardening in the morning when temperatures are lower can reduce chance of heat exhaustion or any other sun-exposure related issues. Start your morning in a relaxing way by working in the garden. 

 

 

Know Your Limits and Stay Hydrated

Even being out for short periods of time in high temperatures can cause serious health problems. Monitor your activities and time in the sun to lower your risk for heat-related illness.

If you’re outside in hot weather for most of the day you’ll need to make an effort to drink more fluids.

Avoid drinking liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar, especially in the heat.

Take breaks often. Try to rest in shaded areas so that your body’s thermostat will have a chance to recover. Stop working if you experience breathlessness or muscle soreness.

Pay attention to signs of heat-related illness, including extremely high body temperature, headache, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or unconsciousness.

Eat healthy foods to help keep you energized.

It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re gardening, especially for seniors. Be sure to bring a large bottle of water and maybe even a light snack to stay hydrated on sunny days and prevent dehydration.

 

You can garden all day with this “Coldest Water Bottle,” which keeps liquids seriously cold up to 36 hours or more!

 

 

Work at the Right Pace

As a senior, you may not be able to work at the same pace or rate that you used to, so don’t be hard on your self. Work at a comfortable pace that is safe for your physical condition, take breaks when you need to and don’t push yourself! Progress is progress no matter what!

 

 

Bring your Cellphone

Bring your cellphone in case of unexpected falls or accidents so that you can easily call for help.

If you’re looking for a new cell phone, I highly recommend the GreatCall Jitterbug Smart Phone for Seniors.  This is the phone my Dad uses, and he has been so pleased with both the way it functions and the customer service.

 

 

 

Make it a Social Activity

Try inviting a family member, neighbor or friend to garden with you. You can exchange tips and knowledge about gardening and both benefit from the finished product of their work. You can even share lunch afterword! 

 

 

Safety Proof your Garden

Outdoor spaces have major potential for accidents. Before you begin working in your garden, make sure there aren’t any rocks or roots in your path that could lead to falls. Also, be sure to look out for slick spots or forgotten tools that could cause you to trip or slip.

 

 

Attend to Injuries

If an elderly gardener has pre-existing injuries or develops injuries while gardening, tend to them immediately and take a break from gardening if necessary. Whether a cut, bruise, or bite, take care of it before you begin to work again. Gardening with open wounds can easily lead to infection, especially in seniors with weakened immune systems.  Have an all purpose household first aid kit available, as well as some insect repellent and insect bite cream.

 

Example: 299 Piece First Aid Essentials Kit

 

After Bite Soothing Gel

 

 

 

Consider These Gardening Styles

 

Raised Gardening Beds

A raised bed is a good way to alleviate some of the strain that can come along with plants that are lower and close to the ground. With a rectangular shaped planting bed, you can find a chair or board so that you can sit and garden from a more comfortable, less strenuous position. Ideally, the width should be about arms length so that you can access the plants without risking losing your balance as you reach across.

Example:  This CedarCraft Elevated Garden Planter is available in a variety of sizes, and allows you to garden at a comfortable height.  It assembles easily, with no tools required.

 

 

 

Vertical Gardening

Vertical gardens are also more convenient for seniors who may be less agile and have a harder time bending and moving around as much. This type of gardening is ideal for vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, zucchini as well as different kinds of melons. You can tend to these gardens from your feet without needing to crouch all the way down to the ground. Some other added benefits of a vertical garden are the fact that they take up very little space and also get more sunshine than regular beds.

 

Example:  This YardCraft Vertical Planter is made from heavy duty natural cedar.

 

 

Create a Garden that You Can Maintain

Certain types of plants can require a lot of time and maintenance. Some will need a lot of water and you may not be equipped to carry a hose or a heavy watering can around. Before you decide what you will have in your garden, be sure to research what the upkeep will consist of and determine whether or not you’re physically capable of handling it yourself.

For research and inspiration, I recommend Better Homes Gardening Made Simple:  The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Gardening.

This is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to creating beautiful gardens, including all the basics of planting, growing, and caring for trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, lawns and other greenery. This book has plenty of clear and explanatory full-color photographs, and it gives beginners the inspiration and simple guidance they need.

 

Better Homes and Gardens Gardening Made Simple

 

Just In Case

If you are going out to the garden alone, you should have access to either a cell phone or a medical alert system. Doing so will ensure that you can get the necessary assistance if you fall or feel like you may be suffering from any ailment caused by the heat.

Example: This Senior Help Dialer system has no contract or monthly fees, and comes with a panic button unit for your wrist and neck. If you get into trouble, it instantly calls up to 3 phone numbers and plays your personalized emergency message. It’s water proof and pacemaker safe.

 

Final Thoughts

Gardening provides many mental and physical benefits for seniors. Not only is it a great way to stay active and get outside, but gardening can improve overall mobility, dexterity and reduce stress.

Creating a garden can turn into one of your favorite hobbies and can even improve the way you eat if you can grow fresh fruits and vegetables of your own. You will feel motivated and encouraged by the progress of your plants and will also feel better physically.

Sticking to good safety habits in the process will help to ensure that you can enjoy your garden for many years.  Follow these simple tips to ensure that you or your elderly loved one can garden safely and enjoy their time.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some inspiration to get out in the dirt.  I welcome your comments below.

 

-Laurie

 

P.S.  For an excellent selection of anything and everything you need to get gardening (and things you didn’t know you needed!), check out  Amazon’s Gardening Products!

 

 

 

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Get Gardening to Lose Weight and Gain Health

Get Gardening to Lose Weight And Gain Health!

 

 

 

The Garden is a Great Place to Achieve an Effective Mind/Body Workout and Help You Drop Some Pounds.

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, gardening is compared to “moderate cardiovascular exercise.” Gardening 30 to 45 minutes a day can burn 150 to 300 calories. This isn’t just standing there watering the flowers, but weeding, digging, hoeing, raking and planting. And there’s nothing like being at one with nature to help create a calming, relaxed state of mind while you let go of the pressures and anxiety of everyday life.

A recent South Korean study, published in the journal HortTechnology, found that some gardening tasks qualify as moderate-to high-intensity physical activity.

The researchers asked 15 college-aged students to complete 10 gardening tasks on two separate occasions. They did five tasks on each occasion for five minutes each, with five-minute breaks in between each one. The tasks included digging, raking, weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing, harvesting, watering, mixing growing medium, and planting transplants. The researchers also asked participants to wear devices that tracked their heart rate, calorie burn, and oxygen consumption.

When the researchers measured the results, they found that all of the tasks were considered moderate- to high-intensity physical activity for the volunteers. (One word: Yay!)

Some of the activities were more intense than others: Digging was the highest-intensity job. Next up was raking, followed by weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing, harvesting, watering, and mixing growing medium. Planting transplants was the lowest-intensity job.

There are some extenuating circumstances that can make these results vary from person to person, such as differences in the type of garden tools, gardening methods, gardening conditions, and garden size can all impact the results. However, the point remains: Gardening is, in fact, a legitimate physical activity that can help you lose weight!

…But you didn’t need a study to tell you that, did you?  So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty  of how you lose weight with gardening.

 

How Gardening Helps You With Weight Loss

 

According to the University of Virginia, gardening rates up there with other moderate to strenuous forms of exercise, like walking and bicycling. It all depends on what gardening task you are doing and for how long. Like any other form of exercise, you have to be active for at least 30 minutes for there to be a benefit.

 

 

Gardening = Exertion

 

 

While enjoying yourself in the garden, you are also working all the major muscle groups: legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, neck, back and abdomen. Gardening tasks that use these muscles build strength and burn calories.

Besides the exertion involved, gardening has other pluses that make it a good form of exercise and calorie burning. There can be a great deal of stretching involved with gardening, like reaching for weeds or tall branches, bending to plant and extending a rake. Lifting bags of mulch, pushing wheelbarrows and shoveling all provide resistance training similar to weight lifting, which leads to healthier bones and joints. Yet while doing all this, there is minimal jarring and stress on the body, unlike aerobics or jogging.

 

 

Burning Calories Without Thinking About It

 

Losing weight requires you to burn more calories than you consume and so the amount of weight you’ll lose gardening depends on several factors including your size and the task you are performing.

 

Some general examples from Iowa State University, below, show how some of the more strenuous gardening tasks can really burn calories.

  • Digging Holes – Men: 197 calories, Women: 150 calories
  • Planting – Men: 177 calories, Women: 135 calories
  • Weeding – Men: 157 calories, Women: 156 calories

The National Institute of Health lists gardening for 30 – 45 minutes in its recommended activities for moderate levels of exercise to combat obesity, along with biking 5 miles in 30 minutes and walking 2 miles at the same time.

 

 

But Wait – There’s More!

 

 

Research is showing that gardening for just 30 minutes daily will help:

  • Increase flexibility
  • Strengthen joints
  • Decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Lower your risk for diabetes
  • Slow osteoporosis

 

 

Getting The Most Out of Your Gardening Session

 

It takes at least 30 minutes of exercise several days a week, to really receive any health benefits from gardening. However, researchers are now saying that you can break that 30 minutes up into shorter active periods throughout the day. As long as each activity lasts at least 8 minutes and is of moderate intensity when you total them up to 30 minutes per day, you’ll reap the same rewards as if you had been gardening for a half hour straight. So you can do a little weeding in the cool of the morning and go back out to the garden in the evening to prune and trim.

Start slowly, if you’re not used to the exertion. Lift properly, by using your legs. Vary your tasks and your movements and make use of the major muscle groups, to get the most benefit. Aches and pains aren’t necessarily a sign of a good workout. Your muscles may feel tired, but they shouldn’t hurt unless you’re using muscles you haven’t worked in a while or you’re using them wrong.

Gardening isn’t usually enough exercise to forsake your daily walk or swim, but it’s nice to know those tired muscles you feel after turning the compost are actually something good you did for your body and your health. As with any other form of exercise, check with your doctor first, if you’re not used to strenuous exercise. Make sure you incorporate a little stretching before and after gardening and take things slowly in extreme heat. We do a garden for the pleasure, after all. Getting in shape and losing weight are just the icing on the cake.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Gardening gets you moving in an enjoyable way is a great strategy for staying healthy, especially for those who are attached to their desks most of the week. Gardening also forces you to get outside and dig around in the dirt, which will do wonders for your body.  It’s an excellent form of functional exercise, incorporating many of the elements of a moderate to intense fitness routine. Stretching, pushing, pulling and lifting incorporate multiple muscles at one time and improve the quality of your overall fitness level.

Gardening also helps improve balance, flexibility and sharpen your senses. The movements, the sights and smells are all part of the healthy benefits while you tend your green space. 

The fresh air, focusing on tending your garden and unplugging from technology all open the door for more creativity, too. Gardening helps you connect with the earth, your body, mind and spirit, which allows space for relaxation, stress-reduction and creative thoughts.  Immersing yourself in nature is a natural relaxer and helps boost those endorphins, which help you feel better, help you become more grounded, centered and relaxed.

By the way, if you don’t have access to a garden, you can volunteer at a local park in the neighborhood; it’s a good way to give back to the community, and benefit physically and mentally at the same time!

So what’s stopping you?

By the way, if you or someone you know is new to gardening, you’ll love this Beginner’s Illustrated Guide to Gardening: Techniques to Help You Get Started by Katie Elzer-Peters.  It’s a one-stop, easy to understand, beautifully designed book with step-by-step instructions and photographs for every important gardening and landscaping technique.

 

Beginner's Illustrated Guide to Gardening: Techniques to Help You Get Started by [Elzer-Peters, Katie]
Beginner’s Illustrated Guide to Gardening: Techniques to Help You Get Started

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some inspiration to get out in the dirt.  I welcome your comments below.

For an excellent selection of anything and everything you need to get gardening (and things you didn’t know you needed!), check out  Amazon’s Gardening Products!

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Practical Gardening Safety Tips for Seniors

Smart Shopping Tips For Your Spring Planting

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The Best Elliptical Machines Reviewed

 

 

Signs You Need to Test Your Indoor Air Quality

Signs That You Need to Test Your Indoor Air Quality

(And How to Do It)

 

 

 

 

Physical symptoms caused by poor indoor air quality could be ambiguous and wide ranging, including everything from allergies, to sinus conditions, to headaches, to respiratory irritation. But when symptoms do persist, checking a home’s air quality and air circulation might have great benefit.

 

The indoor air quality of your home is a key part of you and your family’s overall health, because indoor air quality health effects can be wide ranging and have a long-term cumulative effect.

Indoor air quality isn’t always easy to spot the way that a burst pipe or a broken refrigerator is – unlike those household appliances, there’s no switch you flip only to find out your indoor air quality is broken. In the busyness of modern life, it’s often easier to think that smell is coming from the neighbors or the headaches you experience are from your stressful job. But indoor air quality plays a key role in our long-term health, and as we spend up to 90% of our lives indoors, having good indoor air quality is important.

 

Related image

 

 

Know What Your Indoor Air Quality Is

 

In most homes, both urban and rural, people have become much more environmentally conscious than ever before. And while much is made of the air quality outdoors and around the world, we often overlook the air quality inside our living space. It really shouldn’t be that way, especially since we spend so much of our waking hours indoors. The bigger question is how to ensure that indoor air quality is at an acceptable standard. The best way to start is with an air quality test.

Most every home could use an air quality test, including those that seem to be just fine. The truth is, a homeowner doesn’t have to wait for physical symptoms to arise before exploring the indoor air environment. For that matter, symptoms could be ambiguous and wide ranging, including everything from allergies, to sinus conditions, to headaches, to respiratory irritation. But when symptoms do persist, checking a home’s air quality and air circulation might have great benefit.

In the majority of homes, dust and debris is commonplace. And this could be anything from plain dirt, to plant materials, to skin particles, to home cleaning off-gases. For those with respiratory issues, polluted indoor air may be playing a part, especially when irritation is exacerbated. Even furnace filters have their limits – and poor maintenance can easily contribute to poor air quality. In cases where furnace filters clog up quite quickly, an air quality test might diagnose a problem.

Knowing what your indoor air quality is and why it’s important is the first step to having a healthier, safer home. Indoor air quality refers to the condition of the air inside of and around the building, especially as it relates to the comfort and health of the occupants within. Indoor air quality health effects appear when parts of the systems that support a high level of indoor air quality are faulty or broken. Some of these systems include your Heating, Ventilation and Cooling systems (HVAC), fans, HEPA filters, windows, doors, and moisture barriers.

Indoor air quality is more than just clean smelling air, it’s also about keeping allergens and pollutants out, while constantly refreshing and renewing the air within. When indoor air quality health effects appear, it can be the first symptom of a larger problem within your home.

 

 

 

High Off-Gas Levels in Your Home Can Make You Sick

 

Off-gassing is the release of chemicals from the things we bring into our homes, or that our homes are actually made of. In drafty old houses with lots of air changes it wasn’t much of a problem, but as we build our houses tighter for energy efficiency, these chemicals can build up inside. The craziest part of it all is that we go out and buy them without knowing what’s in them, and often stockpile them in the bathroom, the tiniest room of the house with the worst ventilation.

Poor indoor air quality can affect your health in a number of ways, and research has shown that certain toxins or chemicals can build up in people’s systems and cause trouble years down the road. Children, elders, or people who suffer from chronic illness or weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to poor indoor air quality which can worsen symptoms or complicate existing illnesses.

While the symptoms of poor indoor air quality health effects are broad, there are a number of them that can be mistaken for other illnesses such as colds, influenza, or allergies. They are:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • itchy, watery eyes
  • tiredness
  • headaches
  • dizziness

 

The key sign that your trouble may be with indoor air quality health effects is that they often completely disappear as soon as you leave the room or building.Indoor air quality health effects can be experienced at any time, by any person. But when indoor air quality is a problem in your own home, these effects can become serious. Air pollution can affect asthma, COPD, or allergies, but also heart conditions like angina; it can even be a contributing factor to heart attacks or strokes. Air pollution from some pollutants like asbestos or bacteria like legionella (which causes Legionnaires’ disease) can be fatal.

Some indoor air quality health effects may show up after one exposure, while others take repeated exposure to cause symptoms, which often makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.

 

Walk-In Lab Allergy Test

 

These small chemical compounds are common in many household items like wood, perfumes, paint, cleaners, glues, and solvents. They may be stable as a liquid or solid, but when exposed to air, they rapidly become gaseous and can become problematic for your indoor air quality.

 

 

Here are some of the worst offenders of off-gas and volatile organic compounds in the home:

 

Particle Board and Plywood

Judging by words of the American Chemistry Council, Formaldehyde is positively benign, a natural part of our world. And it is, in small doses. Unfortunately, it is part of the glue that holds particle board together, the stuff our houses and furniture is made of. It is a recognized carcinogen and causes eye and nose irritation. But hey, it’s a natural part of our world.

The best way to avoid formaldehyde is to buy used, whether it is an older home where it has had the time to off-gas, or furniture that has stood the test of time. Or, buy solid wood furniture instead of particle board.

 

 

Dryer Sheets

Here is a completely useless product that does nothing but add VOCs to your clothing. Chemicals include chloroform and pentanes, which the Material Safety Data Sheet suggests can cause eye and skin irritation. Ultimately, anything that is designed to make your clothes smell nice is releasing compounds you don’t want in your house.  To reduce wrinkles, static and drying time, use dryer balls instead.

Example: These Handy Laundry Sheep Wool Dryer Balls are a great alternative to liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets.

 

 

Air Fresheners

There really are few products stupider than air fresheners, which are actually designed to pump chemicals into your home. The NRDC notes that 75% of houses now use them. Most of them are pumping out phthalates, the gender bender hormone disruptor that is the main villain in vinyl. The NRDC says:

Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that can be particularly dangerous for young children and unborn babies. Exposure to phthalates can affect testosterone levels and lead to reproductive abnormalities, including abnormal genitalia and reduced sperm production. The State of California notes that five types of phthalates—including one that we found in air freshener products—are “known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.” Young children and pregnant women should be especially careful to avoid contact with these chemicals.

 To enhance the scent in your home, you can use essential oils and a diffuser instead of chemical sprays.  They’re safe and natural, and smell much better, anyways.

Example: These Lagunamoon Essential Oils are premium grade, natural and 100% pure. The set includes lemongrass, peppermint, orange, lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree.

 

 

URPOWER Real Bamboo Essential Oil Diffuser Ultrasonic Aromotherapy Diffusers Cool Mist Aroma Diffuser with Adjustable Mist Modes, Waterless Auto Shut-off, 7 Color LED Lights for Home Office
Example: This Urpower Real Bamboo Essential Oil Diffuser has adjustable mist modes, 7 colored LED lights for ambience, and auto shut-off.

 

 

Nail Polish Remover With Acetone

Breathing moderate-to-high levels of acetone for short periods of time can cause nose, throat, lung, and eye irritation.  It can also cause intoxication, light-headedness, dizziness, confusion increased pulse rate, nausea, vomiting, and shortening of the menstrual cycle in women.

Use an acetone free nail polish remover instead.  A good quality remover without acetone can get the job done!

 

Example: I use this Pure Vitality Beauty polish remover, and it has never let me down. It’s free from acetone, acetate, ethyl lactate & petroleum chemicals (and it’s cruelty free).

 

 

Electronics

Many products have the flame retardant triphenyl phosphate in the insulation on their wiring; it is an endocrine disruptor that off-gases when the device heats up.

 

Non-Stick Pans

It is suspected that overheating a teflon pan can lead to the release of Perfluorinated chemicals that cause “teflon flu.”

 

Laser Printers and Copiers

The printing process releases ozone, which causes irritation to nose, throat and lungs.

Individuals who have preexisting lung problems, such as emphysema, bronchitis, or asthma, are even more at risk for the effects of ozone (O3). Children are also more susceptible to the effects of ozone (O3) and can increase their sensitivity to allergens.

 

 

Example: Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegar is an effective natural cleaner, with a pleasant fresh lime mint scent.

Household Cleaners

It is hard to know where to start with this one, so many of them are full of VOCs. That’s why people get “spring cleaning headache” from inhaling them all.

The US Department of Health and Human Services maintains a household products database where you can look up the ingredients of almost every product sold in the country. It is disturbing reading.

The EPA has noted that levels of organic pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes rather than outside. Most of the cleaners we use are not needed;  vinegar and baking sodas are good substitutes.

If, like me, you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, try one of the many natural cleaners on the market.  They are pleasant to use, and most are very effective. 

I have used several of Aunt Fannie’s products, as well as Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products, and have been satisfied with all of them so far.  There are many options, so get rid of your toxic cleaners and replace them with natural choices – it’s an easy change.

 

Getting Rid of VOCs

There really are two ways to deal with the buildup of VOCs:

* Don’t use products that have them in the first place, and

* Provide lots of fresh air to get rid of them.

That’s why every new house should have a heat recovery ventilator, every stove should have a real exhaust fan that vents to the exterior (not those silly recirculating noisemakers) and every bathroom should have a high quality exhaust fan that actually gets used, (not the ten buck noisy ones that most builders put in and people hate using).

 

EnviroKlenz Mobile HEPA Air Purifier

 

 

Moisture Build-up and Mold

 

Sometimes you see it, but sometimes you don’t: mold is often not visible to the naked eye, but it has a recognizably musty smell and it’s important to have it promptly -and professionally- removed.

 

Interestingly, most homeowners aren’t aware enough of the negative effects of moisture build up in various parts of the house. Moisture is simply a stepping-stone for mold or mildew to develop, even in a small sized washroom space. And while mold may look unsightly, an infiltration could be the first sign of a health risk. In any home, it’s wise to watch for the beginnings of mold, but for extra measure a high quality air test will be able to pinpoint the exact source and extent.

Found worldwide, mold is an important type of fungus. But when it grows indoors, toxic strains can proliferate and cause serious indoor air quality health effects that can make people seriously ill. Mold is often found after a water leak or flood, and can destroy construction materials and objects as well as cause health trouble.

Mold is often not visible to the naked eye, but it has a recognizably musty smell and it’s important to have it promptly -and professionally- removed. 

If you suspect that your home has a mold problem, you can pick up a mold testing kit to see if you need to  call a professional for mold removal.  Keep in mind that a mold testing kit is for mold only, and does not test for any other volatile organic compounds or off-gas.  For that, you will need a comprehensive test.

 

Example: This DIY Mold Test tests for mold and pollen.

 

 

 

 

 

Example: First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarm

 

 

Carbon Monoxide

This odorless, invisible gas is produced by appliances that use fossil fuels, such as your furnace or gas stove. Carbon monoxide can build up in your home and it prevents your body from using oxygen efficiently – resulting in tiredness, dizziness and headaches. If the concentration is high enough, you can die. While plug-in and battery powered testers are available, have your heating and cooling systems checked by a professional yearly, and ensure appliances are correctly vented.

Every home should have a carbon monoxide detection device on every level of the home. If the home has an attached garage a CO detector should be installed in the room that shares a door with the garage. In the case of CO, monitoring is better than testing.

 

 

Here’s How You Can Be Proactive About Your Indoor Air

 

You can test your home’s indoor air quality quite easily on your own with a testing kit.  If a specific problem is found, you can then assess whether you can handle the issue or need to call the appropriate professional to take care of it.

My husband and I did this testing in our home, and it was a simple process, which saved us from paying a professional for a service call to do the testing for us (using a similar testing device).

There is a good variety of indoor air testing kits available to consumers these days, so there is really no reason to feel you have to call someone if you suspect your home’s air is causing health problems.

We used the Home Air Check, and were very satisfied with it.  Their testing device  provides a comprehensive picture of chemical levels that you are breathing when in the home. It also indicates a level of actively growing mold present in the home. Since these chemicals are tested simultaneously, this sophisticated analysis becomes less expensive than arranging for a professional to come out charge you for their time and several separate tests.

Also, the samples are collected without the use of toxic chemicals, so there are no health risks using Home Air Check. We were happy with the level of completeness, sophistication, prediction, and value of Home Air Check.

The Home Air Check Indoor Air Test measures VOC’s, formaldehyde and mold.

 

This is how the testing process works:

You use a small sampling device to collect an air sample in your home. The sampling time takes about 2 hours.  Full instructions are included in the kit (and it is very straightforward).

After the sample is collected,  you return the complete kit to the Home Air Check laboratory, where they analyze the air sample using sophisticated state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation for hundreds of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can be found in home air. In addition, they look for 21 specific mold compounds that can be generated when mold is actively growing in a home.

A detailed report is then generated. In this report will be a Total VOC concentration level – a total of all the VOCs found in your home. The US Green Building Council recommends a TVOC level of less than 500 ng/L to be considered a healthy environment. (The median US home is about 1,200 ng/L.) A total concentration of Mold VOCs is also listed. Generally, this number should be less than 8 ng/L or you have active mold growth you need to find.

The report also includes a Contamination Index, which gives you a prediction of which sources or materials in your home may be responsible for these contaminating chemicals, such as gasoline, paint, adhesives, odorants, personal care products, etc. Home Air Check emails you the report within 5 business days of receipt of your air sample. You can then use their phone or chat line support to answer any questions you have and to help you improve your air quality.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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