Alcoholism has a significant adverse impact on mental health. Alcohol dependence and abuse are among the most common mental disorders. In addition, although the biological mechanisms underpinning alcoholism are uncertain, some risk factors, including social environment, emotional health and genetic predisposition, have been identified. According to the American Psychiatric Association, 10 million adults and 3 million children are alcoholics. Psychiatric disorders are common in alcoholics, especially anxiety and depression disorders, with as many as 25% of alcoholics presenting with severe psychiatric disturbances. The recent National Co morbidity Survey says that 23.5% of Americans may become dependent or abuse alcohol sometime in their lives. Heavy drinking affects almost every system in the body including the nervous, digestive, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and endocrine systems. The first episode of alcohol intoxication usually occurs in the early to mid-teens and alcohol dependence usually peaks between the ages of 20 to mid-30s. Alcoholic dependence often follows family patterns. The risk is 3 to 4 times higher for someone to develop alcohol dependence if he or she has close relatives who are alcohol dependent.
For clinical and research purposes, formal diagnostic criteria for alcoholism also have been developed. Such criteria are included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association, as well as in the International Classification Diseases, published by the World Health Organization Chronic effects of alcohol consumption include effects of its metabolism in the liver, its effects on the brain, and effects of addiction (alcoholism).
An alcoholic will continue to drink despite serious family, health, or legal problems. Like many other diseases, alcoholism is chronic, meaning that it lasts a person’s lifetime; it usually follows a predictable course; and it has symptoms.
Ethyl alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that affects regions in the brain that control behavior, so naturally people feel more outgoing and talkative. But, if a person continues to drink, the alcohol will slow the responses of the brain and nervous system, which could lead to sleep or unconsciousness. Unlike other tablet-form drugs, alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Typically, a drink will reach the bloodstream within 15 minutes of consumption and peak in 30 minutes or so. The rate of alcohol consumption depends on how strong the drink is, if there is food in the stomach, and the persons’ weight, size, sex, age, race, and family history. Alcohol is a drug and it is addictive. If you drink too much, your body will build up tolerance, and you will have to drink more and more alcohol to get drunk or intoxicated. If a person suddenly stops drinking, he or she can suffer from withdrawal.
Alcoholism treatment programs use both counseling and medications to help a person stop drinking. Treatment has helped many people stop drinking and rebuild their lives. The treatment community for alcoholism typically supports an abstinence-based zero tolerance approach; however, there are some who promote a harm-reduction approach as well. Alcohol treatment programs are available for anyone who has a problem with binge drinking or alcoholism. There are several sites on the Internet with information about alcohol-related disorders and recovery programs for alcohol abusers. Any treatment program should include an Alcohol Support Group to facilitate recovery and relapse prevention.
Posted in Mental Well Being
No one can argue with the fact that people need to sleep. Studies have linked a lack of sleep to everything from disruptions in the immune system to cognitive deficits to loss of weight control. Psychiatric problems have also been linked to long-term sleep deprivation. There have been many researches which can prove that sleep deprivation and psychological disorders are closely connected.
Psychiatric disorders are the leading cause of insomnia, the medical condition when a person loses the ability to have a good night’s sleep. Studies have also proven that sleep and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression are closely related. Similarly, people with psychiatric disorders have other sleep problems, including sleepiness during the day, fatigue, and nightmares. Lack of sleep can also cause psychiatric problems such as paranoia and hallucinations. Difficulties with sleep can make psychiatric disorders worse by making the person confused or frustrated, as well as more sensitive to pain and other medical problems.
People who are depressed have a tendency to wake up early, and then, they find it hard to sleep again. This can make their depression worse, since the amount of sleep a person gets has an effect on his or her illness and disposition. People who don’t have a psychiatric illness but suffer from insomnia are more likely to develop a disorder like depression later in their life.
It’s no secret that the sleep-deprived are usually grumpy, miserable, and not much fun to be with. One of the functions of sleep is to reset and replenish the emotional capacity of our brain circuits so we can approach the day’s emotional challenges in appropriate ways. If one doesn’t get enough sleep, he or she will be making irrational choices.
Doctors and sociologists agree that Americans are among the most sleep-deprived people in the world. According to a 2005 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, about 40 percent of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep at night and 75 percent reported having some sort of sleep disorder one or two nights a week.
According to the research, lack of sleep can lead to a loss of concentration and memory and it can make people more sluggish and exhibit slower and less coordinated motor skills. Lack of sleep also weakens the immune system while abnormally increasing activity in some parts of the brain — a factor that is related to a variety of psychiatric disorders. If one does not get enough sleep, chances of developing a psychiatric disorder are much greater, at least, based on research from Harvard Medical School and the University of California in Berkeley (UCLA). The said research indicated that brain scans taken from volunteers show that the sleep-deprived brain becomes tired and abnormally emotional. The Harvard and UCLA researchers had 35 volunteer-participants who did not sleep for 35 hours. They discovered enormous activity in parts of the brain when they looked at pictures aimed at making them sad or angry. The researchers, with the aid of fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), were able to examine the blood flow in the brains of the volunteers in real time, after and during sleep deprivation. The technology reveals which parts of the brain are experiencing the most activity.
After a long stretch without sleep the participants were asked to look at images that were designed to trigger an emotional response. The scientists further explained that the amygdala showed 60% higher reaction to the images compared to people who are not sleep-deprived. The amygdala is a part of the brain which is linked to emotional reactions.
But sleep experts are hopeful that more study could lead to refined options for treating not just sleep disorders but psychiatric problems such as depression and anxiety. This means that a sleepless night can cause them to overreact to emotional challenges that they would otherwise be able to tolerate with no trouble.
Posted in Mental Well Being
Research indicates that around 1 in 4 of us will experience some kind of a mental health problem at some point in our lives. We cannot predict who they will be and we cannot identify one single cause but instead it would appear that a combination of biochemical, psychological, environmental and even genetic factors can all play a role in triggering a mental health problem.
The most common types of mental health problems are anxiety related disorders and depression. Many very mild cases of anxiety and depression can be alleviated or even eliminated by learning some simple self help techniques and sometimes it can be a matter of just making some simple lifestyle adjustments. If you are feeling slightly stressed, a bit down in the dumps or a little anxious, then you could try the following to see if they make a difference.
Self help techniques
Identify any worries you have and speak about how you feel with friends and loved ones
Cut down on alcohol, smoking, tea, coffee and other stimulants
Eat a balanced and healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
Make sure you are getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet in the form of oily fish twice a week or fish oil supplements
Try to relax or even meditate and spend some time each day just for yourself
Make sure you are getting enough exercise
However, if you are feeling excessively anxious or panicky or worried or if the way you are feeling is affecting your ability to get on with your day to day routines then you should not try to deal with it on your own. In these cases it will not just go away so you should discuss how you feel with your doctor at the earliest opportunity who may decide to prescribe some medication if he or she feels it might help, or in certain cases you could also be offered some form of talking therapy or counselling or even a combination of treatments.
Anxiety and depression can also mask other potentially more serious mental problems so any indication of mental distress should be taken seriously. Without appropriate help and treatment, mental illness can continue for years and the individual concerned will suffer needlessly. So what are the main symptoms to look out for?
Recognising there is a problem
Most of the following symptoms can be experienced by any one of us at times and can be a perfectly normal part of life. It is when the symptoms are prolonged and persistent in that they have continued for more than a couple of weeks and when they interfere with normal routines and day to day living that some form of depressive disorder is indicated and you may need some sort of treatment or clinical intervention in order to help you get back to your old self.
Persistent feelings of sadness, loneliness or despair
Feeling tired or lethargic most of the time
Feeling unworthy and guilty and deserving of punishment or blame
Sleep disturbances which can either be sleeping too much or not sleeping at all
Changes in eating patterns and associated weight loss or weight gain
Loss of libido and lack of interest in sex
Feeling anxious and fearful most of the time for no apparent reason
Emotional outbursts or displaying anger and hostility to others without real cause
Unable to think clearly or have difficulty making decisions
Talking or thinking about death and suicide
Another more potentially serious type of depressive disorder is bipolar disorder (manic depression) which is believed to affect around 1 in every 100 people. Bipolar is a lifelong disorder characterised by extreme fluctuations in mood from manic episodes or “highs” to depressive episodes or “lows”. There is no set pattern and each individual will experience it differently. Some additional symptoms to look out for include the following:
An increase in energy and activity, feeling restless
Experiencing excessively high and euphoric moods
Racing thoughts, talking quickly, jumping from one idea to another
Experiencing hallucinations or delusions
Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers
Poor judgment, spending sprees, unrealistic ideas
A lasting period of behaviour that is markedly different from usual
Provocative or aggressive behaviour
Denial that anything is wrong
If you suspect that you or someone close to you is suffering from any kind of mental health problem then it is important to speak to a doctor. Untreated mental health problems can have a devastating effect on just about every area of life including family, relationships and work, not to mention quality of life in general.
Many people are afraid of admitting that they might have a mental health problem and see it is a sign of weakness. This is simply not the case. People with mental health problems cannot help how they feel and behave, but even in the most serious cases, the right treatment can dramatically improve the symptoms and the illness can be controlled. Mental health problems on the whole are treatable and the majority of people who seek help will find that they can regain control of their lives and go on to make a full recovery.
Posted in Mental Well Being
For parents, providing your kids with healthy, nutritional lunches that they find interesting can be quite a challenge. The “if it is good for you then it must be boring” mentality makes this particularly challenging and you have such favorites as lollies, sweets and fizzy drinks to compete with.
Don’t despair, it can be done and here are 13 alternatives to get you started. Instead of…
1. High fat savoury biscuits — why not try
* Plain dry crackers, rice cakes, corn thins or Scottish oatcakes.
* Raw carrots or celery cut into small pieces are also an excellent choice.
2. Pies, pastry or sausage rolls — why not try
* Meat or cheese sandwiches or pasta with mince beef sauces (you can buy wheat/gluten free bread and pasta if required).
* Tuna and sweetcorn.
* Brown rice (or white) with tuna and roasted vegetables.
* Falafel (Lebanese delicacy made from chick peas).
3. Processed meats such as frankfurters, salami or other — why not try
* Mince burger (home made), lentil burgers or bean burgers.
* Leftovers from main meals.
* Quality ham (e.g. Virginia) or cooked bacon, which has been grilled, and the fat/rind removed.
* Quality sausages that are mostly meat and not too fatty (gluten free sausages are a great alternative if you can find them).
4. Biscuits (cream filled or chocolate) — why not try
* Crackers or plain sweet biscuits, oatcakes, rice crackers or rice cakes.
You can make these interesting by having different topics like tuna and sweet corn or avocado (too much avocado may be regarded as fattening).
5. Chocolate / candy bars – why not try
* Cheese cubes or dried fruit or yoghurt with fresh fruit to add to it.
* Dairy products may make you feel bloated, so sheep’s or goat’s yogurt make a great alternative to cows yoghurt and have a different texture and taste. They are less bulky and easier to digest).
6. Muesli bars and breakfast bars (these are often full of sugar and preservatives) — why not try
* Fresh fruit such as grapes, melon cubes, oranges or mandarins/satsumas.
* Nut muesli bars (check the ingredients first though).
7. Cordial or fizzy drinks — why not try
* Water is the best option to add to any lunch box.
* Dairy, soy or rice milk are also good alternatives.
8. Chocolate spreads — why not try
* Sesame seed spread (tahini).
* Dip such as yoghurt, avocado or one that you make yourself, dipping for example, pitta bread or cut up vegetables.
9. Lollies / sweets — why not try
* Dried fruit, nuts and raisins.
* Make a nibbles bag with a variety of nuts and dried fruit and add sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
10. Chips / crisps or hot chips — why not try
* Hot homemade soups with the addition of sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds.
* Pecan nuts, almonds and flax seed are all great snacks as they are high in essential fatty acids and are best eaten raw (cooking them can destroy the essential fatty acid component).
The best way to encourage your children to eat these is to add them to soups as an alternative to croutons and to sprinkle them on yoghurt and cereal/muesli in the morning.
11. Fruit leather straps – why not try
* If you have your own fruit drier, then you can dry the fruit yourself.
* Fresh fruit, plain dried fruit e.g. sultanas, dried apricots, mixed nuts, 100% fruit bars.
12. Donuts — why not try
* Raisin bread (you can buy wheat free raisin bread if required).
* Scottish oatcakes with a banana.
* Tuna and sweetcorn.
13. Potato crisps, corn chips, or similar snack food – why not try
Rice crackers, or rice cakes with a homemade dip or spread, or a bought one as long as it has a low fat content.
Posted in Healthy Eating
The moment you see that two red lines, different emotions arise. It’s a mixture of happiness, excitement and of course, worries. You begin to become anxious about the last cups of sodas, wines and coffees you have recently taken in.
Pregnancy can be an overwhelming, thrilling and worrisome experience. The moment you have learned about your pregnancy, you become extra mindful about everything you do and what you take into your mouth. But can mindfulness affect the health of your unborn baby? CERTAINLY!
According to research, pregnant women who are mindful about their health as well as their baby’s health during pregnancy tend to produce healthier and fitter babies. Women who are less mindful about what they eat and what they do, tend to expose their babies to higher risk of suffering from birth defects and other undesirable consequences. So what are the things that you should be mindful about during pregnancy?
Consumption of large amount of alcohol imposes harm to you and your baby. Though the “safe amount” of alcohol consumption is still unknown, studies show that alcohol can cause physical and mental birth defects. Binge drinking can also cause damage to the baby’s nervous system and it can trigger the development of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).
Over consumption of caffeine is not good for the body. Intake of over 150 milligrams of caffeine increases a pregnant woman’s risk for miscarriage. Make sure to cut down your consumption of alcohol to give your baby the best possible health. Take note that caffeine does not just refer to coffee. Caffeine also includes green tea, cola, softdrinks and black tea. You can have chocolates but only in moderate amount.
There are certain medications which you should avoid. Make sure to ask your doctor about the OTC and prescription drugs which are safe and unsafe to use. Some medications impose negative impacts to the health of babies. The use of recreational drugs can actually trigger premature birth, learning and behavioural problems, poor growth and birth defects. If you have used any of drugs during your pregnancy, make sure to consult your doctor about it.
In whatever circumstances, cigarette smoking is never beneficial to the body. By smoking, you also allow your unborn baby to smoke. You in fact encourage him or her to obtain carbon monoxide and nicotine which are very harmful to the body. In effect, your baby is at a greater risk for low birth weight, premature birth, stillbirth, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners
Make sure to avoid artificial sweeteners. According to research, excessive consumption of artificial sweeteners can trigger the development of serious health conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, bladder cancer and birth defects.
Some low-impact exercises are beneficial for a pregnant woman’s body. However, high impact exercises such as bouncing, scuba diving, leaping, jarring, sit-ups, heavy lifting and weight training should be avoided. These exercises can exert too much pressure on the structures found within the uterus which can cause bleeding or premature labour. Instead of engaging in these exercises, perhaps you can do some yoga, swimming, walking and water aerobics.
Bug Spray and Household Chemicals
Avoidance from these chemicals is strongly recommended as they impose drastic impacts to the health of the babies. Frequent exposure to these chemicals can cause birth defects, premature delivery and miscarriage.
Make sure to avoid materials which contain lead. According to research, exposure to lead can cause premature delivery, developmental and learning delays, low birth weight and miscarriage.
In one study, it was found out that mindfulness can actually help in fighting off stress and anxiety. Also, it is proven to be effective in improving the overall health being of the baby as well as the mother. Women who have undergone mindfulness training during the early stages of their pregnancy earned greater satisfaction and higher self-esteem which results to less emotional distress. This creates positive impact on their delivery and to the health of newborns.
Pregnancy should not really be a worrisome journey. Too much worry and anxiety can just cause stress which can affect your baby’s health if left uncontrolled. Make your pregnancy an enjoyable and exciting experience and follow your doctor’s advices. By so doing, you get a higher probability of having a healthier and stronger baby.
Posted in Enjoy Life
Spring is a good time to turn around your kitchen cupboards, pushing the stew-pot and soup-pot to the back, bringing grill gear and salad bowls to the front. Goodbye, hearty and heavy–hello, light and quick. One large-capacity appliance, however, should remain within reach all spring and summer long: your rice cooker/steamer.
A rice cooker/steam fits perfectly into healthy spring eating. Early vegetables and greens need only a brief steaming, emerging sweet, crunchy and delicious. Try your steamer for fresh asparagus, baby bok choy, tangy mustard greens, snap peas, broccolini and fingerling potatoes to make the most of early spring crops. Greet baby beets and turnips with a burst of steam and splash of citrus-based dressing for a novel warm spring salad.
Lighten your calories by steaming fish, shellfish or chicken breasts for a main course. Fat-free cooking doesn’t mean dull dishes–a spritz of lemon and herbs will turn these quickly-cooked proteins into family favorites.
Eating lots of rice doesn’t seem like the best way to qualify for this year’s swim suit sales, but whole grains play an important part in a healthy diet, and your rice cooker/steamer can add perfectly-cooked barley, wheat berries, bulger wheat and brown rice to your menus with the turn of a dial. Adding finely chopped vegetables and a bit of olive oil are the only tasks needed to create filling, family-friendly whole-grain salads and side dishes.
Flexibility capacity adds another dimension to using your rice cooker/steamer. Some pots work best when they contain a specific amount of food. Functioning consistently with quantities ranging from 4 cups to 20 cups, the cooker/steamer expands the range of quick dishes for every meal and saves valuable meal-planning and meal-prepping time. Use your cooker/steamer to cook once for two meals.
Flexible capacity also comes into play when food has the same characteristic. Cooking greens, wonderful sources of B vitamins and iron, need lots and lots of space in the cooking pot to yield a surprisingly small quantity of cooked greens. Popping greens into your rice cooker/steamer saves watching and reduces the need for excess cooking liquid.
Busy cooks tend to avoid greens because of the work and time they can take. Add these nutritional power sources easily to your diet with the cooker/steamer.
Asian cooks have long experience in vertical cooking–stacking pots atop each other to use a single heat-source, rather than spreading out over every burner on the stove. Your restaurant dinner may appear in bamboo baskets, woven carefully to fit into a steamer-stack. Long-steaming dumplings may be topped with fish filets and crunchy, crisp vegetables cut in paper-thin slices or slender match-sticks. You don’t need bamboo baskets to create the steam-stack experience at home. Accessories for your cooker/steamer let you prepare several foods at the same time, shortening meal preparation time even further.
Finally, busy families struggle to balance schedules so they can eat together. When the effort fails, pop leftovers on a heatproof plate and gently steam them warm for the late-comer. Put a good nourishing meal, rather than unhealthy snacks, in front of family members who are running hard with work, school, sports and end-of-the-school-year activities.
So kiss your dutch oven goodbye until the fall, but keep your rice cooker/steamer within easy reach. The sun’s out, the breeze is warm, and it’s going to be a long healthy summer!
Posted in Healthy Eating
Healthy eating is difficult to achieve because we have so many health factors to consider and food choices to make. We know antioxidants are good for us so we want to eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables because they contain phytochemicals like carotenoids and flavonoids which neutralize the free radicals that cause the age-related degenerative diseases. We know that we may not get all the antioxidants that we need in our food so we take supplements to ensure an adequate supply of antioxidants. But what about the actual food we eat. One of the major problems with our modern diet is that the food we eat is a tasty combination of saturated fats and highly processed and quickly digested carbohydrates. However in the last several years, people have become so concerned about fats in their diet that they have substituted carbohydrates and avoided even the good unsaturated fats in lean meat, olive oil and other plant oils. Now everybody seems to be eating a medium- to high-carbohydrate diet without giving proper attention to the type of carbs that they eat.
Not all carbohydrates behave the same in our bodies. We have been told for years to avoid simple carbs like honey and white bread and eat complex carbohydrates that our body doesn’t digest and turn to glucose as quickly. However determining whether a food containing carbohydrates is absorbed and raises our blood sugar quickly or slowly is not at all intuitive. Scientists have done a lot of rigorous testing over the past several years and have found that white bread and baked potatoes raise our blood sugar level much faster than honey, jams and chocolate bars. These scientists developed a numerical index called the Glycemic Index or GI to compare the ability of different carbohydrate containing foods to raise the body’s blood sugar levels or in other words the speed of conversion to glucose. GI values are determined by feeding human subjects who have fasted overnight a fixed amount of the food and then measuring their blood glucose levels at fixed intervals of time. Pure glucose is set at 100 and then other foods are compared to this profile. Testing is time consuming and the tests have to be averaged for a number of individuals. However these studies have yielded some surprising results such as the fact that the starches in rice, bread, potatoes and many types of cereals were absorbed and raised blood sugars very quickly but the sugars in fruit, candy, chocolate and ice cream did not result in prolonged rises in blood sugars. In other words many of the starchy foods had a much higher Glycemic Index than many of the sugary foods. Needless to say these results seem counter intuitive and have caused a lot of controversy in the food industry. The rate of absorption is very dependant on how the carbs are bound up with the food fiber and the particle size. For example less gelatinized products like al dente spaghetti and oatmeal have lower GI values and stone ground flours have lower GI values than finely ground flours. The fibrous coat surrounding beans and seeds stop enzymes from getting at the starchy carbs inside and will slow the digestion of grainy breads, legumes and barley. The acidity of foods also slows down digestion and vinegar, lemon juice, pickles and sourdough bread will result in lower GI meal values.
The Glycemic Index is important not only to diabetics but also to non-diabetics because we need to know what foods will keep our blood sugars on an even keel and not raise them too high and then have them plummet down again causing hunger. The slow digestion of low GI foods and the gradual rise and fall in blood-glucose response helps people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels and increase their sensitivity to insulin. Low GI foods will help healthy people delay hunger pangs and promote weight loss in overweight individuals. In addition low GI carbohydrates can reduce blood cholesterol levels and also reduce our risk of heart disease. High blood glucose spikes can result in oxidative stress leading to the formation of plaque that can cause atherosclerosis and even blood clots. So keeping our blood sugar levels fairly level and low seems like what we should be trying to achieve through healthy eating. How do we go about achieving this?
The first step is to look at what carbohydrates we are consuming and the GI levels of the meals that we are eating. Then we should try and ensure we have at least one low GI food in each meal to keep the overall meal GI close to 50. Most fats and proteins have no effect on the GI level of our meal because they don’t contain carbs. However watch out for saturated fats and too many calories. Let’s look at some meals and see what substitutions we could make. The GI values are shown in brackets.
Cut back on Corn Flakes (92), Rice Krispies (82) and substitute All-Bran (32) or switch to a cereal based on oats, barley or bran. Stop eating white bagels (72), white bread (70) or whole-wheat bread (77) and switch to pumpernickel (50) or sourdough (55). Fruits are mostly low GI foods and surprisingly orange juice (46) is very good.
Lunch and Dinner
Eat your colored vegetables and make your salad dressings with olive oil and vinegar. Avoid parsnips (97) and substitute pastas like al dente white spaghetti (38), linguini (46) or macaroni (47) for Instant white rice (87) and potatoes baked (85), red-skin peeled and boiled (88). Except for parsnips and potatoes most vegetables have a low GI value.
Additional information on GI values can be found at the University of Sydney website http://www.glycemicindex.com/ or in the The New Glucose Revolution: Shopper’s Guide to GI Values 2006.
Posted in Healthy Eating
Everybody looks forward to retiring, leaving the work behind us, and then just doing whatever we want. Unfortunately, retirement is not what we thought it would be. It’s hard not to do the 9-5 routine, especially after you’ve done it nearly everyday for 40 or more years. Suddenly, there’s no reason to get up in the morning and be somewhere.
Some retired people give up on their post-retirement plans. They settle down in their easy chairs and just let things slip away. The lack of purposeful activity drains away their energy and their mental acuity. Some become sick and many men die less than five years after they retire. All they had was their work and, with that gone, and they have nothing.
Life does not have to be that way. When you were working, you stayed sharp and took advantage of your experiences to help you through new challenges. You don’t have to give that up when you retire. The key is feeling that you are important and that what you do can make a difference.
You have accomplished much during your working years and now it’s time to pass on what you learned. You can be a mentor to young people by visiting their schools and teaching them the ropes. No matter what you did, you know something they need to know if they want to succeed in your line of work. You can help them overcome obstacles, advise them on how to apply for work, and how to keep a job once you have one.
Many companies let their senior workers retire and take their skills and experience with them. Employers are finding this to be a mistake. What you have learned needs to be passed on. Some retired workers come back as consultants or part-time employees. They can provide solutions to problems or serve as additional manpower on a project. They can also provide younger workers with the motivation to hang on and keep trying when things seem bleak.
You don’t have to work at enjoying your retirement years. Retirement can be a time to resume old hobbies and start new ones. If your fingers aren’t nimble enough to build small scale model airplanes, you can build larger scales where less agility is required. You’ve already learned the basics, now you have time to hone your skills. Grandma Moses did not start painting until well into her years. You can do the same. Most communities offer low cost or free classes for adult education. Find something you like and go for it.
Active seniors can help their less active colleagues. They can organize trips, exercise classes, computer classes (it’s surprising the number of senior who are interested in this), reading groups, hobby classes, and on and on. The list is endless.
Scientists have found that a senior who has an active mind and body lives longer than one who doesn’t. It is believed that the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s can be delayed when the mind stays active and alert. Seniors who exercise, even moderately, have more enthusiasm for life, including a greater interest in sex.
Having arthritis does not have to be a major deterrent in a senior’s life. Home Jacuzzis and community pools are available to help seniors exercise, reduce strain on joints, and build up muscles. Seniors can visit other seniors at home, in the nursing home or in the hospital. They can help revitalize them by taking an interest in them and encouraging them to get back into life.
How you can see, life begins at 65. Do what you said you were going to do when you retired. Stay active and alert to be able to enjoy your twilight years.
Posted in Enjoy Life
People who are suffering from depression or anxiety often have trouble sleeping. Indeed, one of the first signs of depression is insomnia, although lack of sleep by itself is not thought to cause depression.
Regardless of the cause, sleeping problems of any kind are not pleasant and can significantly lower quality of life whether or not depression is present. Some of the more common types of sleep problems include insomnia, sleep apnoea and snoring.
Insomnia is a condition whereby a person has difficulty in getting to sleep, or has no problem in getting to sleep but awakens often during the night, or who wakes up too early in the morning. Another type of insomnia is sleep state misperception where a person has managed to sleep during the night but believes that they didn’t.
It’s important to note that not everyone requires the same amount of sleep but a standard 8 hours a night give or take an hour or so, is probably the ideal for most people to feel alert and energetic throughout the day.
There are different types of insomnia too. Sleeplessness that occurs for only a few nights is known as transient insomnia, or if it goes on for a couple of weeks, short term insomnia, or when it persists for over a month with difficulties experienced most nights it is classed as chronic insomnia. Some factors which could influence an individual’s ability to get a good night’s sleep include:
– Too much caffeine during the day
– Some types of medication
– Anxiety, stress and worry
– Physical pain
– Changes in temperature
– Jet lag
– Underlying physical or mental illness
– Too much alcohol before bed
Obviously, any treatment for insomnia will ultimately depend upon its underlying cause. For example, if the insomnia is caused by medication, the problems may cease if the medication is stopped or changed. Similarly, dealing with any underlying anxiety, stress or worry may resolve the problem. Sometimes it’s not possible to identify the cause of insomnia and in some severe cases sleeping pills on a temporary basis may help, however, these should only be taken under medical supervision as there are potential side effects and contraindications to be considered.
Sleep apnoea can be a potentially serious sleeping disorder which is characterised by short periods during the night where breathing stops. Symptoms associated with sleep apnoea include loud snoring, morning headaches, night sweats, insomnia, jerking or twitching during the night, waking up gasping for breath and getting up to go to the toilet frequently during the night. These symptoms can vary from mild to severe.
Sleep apnoea is caused by some sort of obstruction in the airways, the throat or nasal passages which could be a blocked nose and too much tissue being present, the tongue slipping back into the throat, enlarged tonsils, or even the angle of the jaw. One of the most significant factors though is being overweight.
If you suspect that you or your partner suffers from sleep apnoea it’s important to speak to a doctor for a proper diagnosis and advice. If the problem is mild then it might just be a case of losing weight, sleeping on your side, and not drinking alcohol in the evening, however, if it is severe then there are other options available including the wearing of a special mask. People who suffer from sleep apnoea have a shortage of oxygen reaching the brain and may also have an increased risk of strokes and heart disease as well as other health problems.
Snoring is extremely common and is caused by vibration of the palate and the uvula whilst breathing during sleep. If the snoring is regular, rhythmic and not very loud and you wake up feeling alert and refreshed, then there is probably very little to worry about other than possibly disturbing others who are trying to get to sleep.
If on the other hand the snoring is loud, accompanied by snorts and gasps and periods of interrupted breathing, then you should speak to your doctor as it would indicate sleep apnoea.
Ways to improve sleep
– Talking therapies can be useful in highlighting ways to cope with any anxiety and/or depression, which in turn will improve sleep
– Learn some relaxation and breathing techniques, take up yoga or meditation, These may help you to relax and unwind and make falling asleep and staying asleep much easier
– Increasing the amount of physical exercise not only improves health in general it helps the blood flow to the brain, relieves stress and anxiety, makes you feel good, and facilitates a better night’s sleep
– Avoid the temptation to lie in bed watching television and if you do awake during the night and cannot get back to sleep, try getting up for a while
– Avoid drinking too much tea and coffee in the evening or drinking alcohol just before going to bed
– Remove any computers or television sets from the bedroom and make your bed a place that is only used for sleeping and for sex
Posted in Mental Well Being
Diets for diabetics aims to maintain the ideal body weight by providing adequate nutrition to the body so that the blood glucose levels remain normal. Diets for diabetics alone may not be able to control diabetes; regular exercise is also necessary and should form part of the daily routine. In some cases, in addition to diets for diabetics, the patient might need medication to control the blood glucose levels. While devising diets for diabetics plan, the dietician will take into account various factors such as the height, weight, sex, the nature of the diabetes and the level of physical activity of the patient. While planning diets for diabetics, other health complications like heart disease or high cholesterol levels or hypertension if present will (and should) be taken into account.
Healthy Diets for diabetics play a significant role in managing and controlling the disease. Dealing with diabetes can be difficult, especially if the diet plan is unappetizing. But in the case of diabetics, it is critical to maintain the diet if you wish to manage the condition.
Considering all the above factors, the dietician will formulate diets for diabetics in a planned manner which might involve limiting the amount of proteins, deciding on the type of carbohydrates to be taken, the amount of fiber that should ideally be taken by the patient and so on. Each person responds differently so there is no common diets for diabetics plan that works for everyone. Again, any diets for diabetics planned once may not work well over a long period of time. There may be changes in the health condition or the blood sugar may have normalized over a period of time. Accordingly, the diets for diabetics must be modified in accordance with the changes.
However, when I devise diets for diabetics plan, I advise all my patients to follow certain rules. Instead of taking three heavy meals each day, they should have four or five small meals at regular intervals. Although the diets for diabetes includes vegetables and fresh fruit, I ask them to increase the portion of vegetables and fruit to half the plate and divide the other half between proteins and complex carbohydrates.
In my experience, even if the patient sticks to the diets for diabetics and exercises regularly, it will not show any results if the meal timings are not maintained. Many people have the habit of skipping breakfast. If you are following a diets for diabetics, don’t skip breakfast and make sure that you have your meals at regular intervals.
So, the key to the success of diets for diabetics is to eat in moderation, include fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet, adhere to mealtimes and follow up the diet plan with regular exercise.
Check out for Symptoms of high blood sugar and How to control blood sugar levels
Posted in Healthy Eating