Ticks: Unwelcome Guests Who Pack More Than One Disease

Concept of healthy lifestyle with dog and man hiking outdoorRoughly 300,000 people may get Lyme disease annually in the U.S., but only about 30,000 even get reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year. The bug responsible? The black-legged (formerly deer) tick. These small, blood-sucking bugs that live outdoors in grass, leaf piles, trees, and shrubs like to hitch a ride on you, your dog, or your cat. Unlike other bugs, ticks like to stick around by remaining attached to your body after they bite. Most tick bites are harmless. But there are almost 60 different tick species known to bite and transmit illnesses to people. Diseases (like Lyme) or bacterial infections (like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and others) often cause symptoms within the first few days or weeks. Continue reading

Safety First at Amusement and Water Parks

Family in bumper carsAccording to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), about 370 million people ride 1.7 billion rides at 400 North American fixed-site (non-travelling) amusement parks annually. Accidents do happen.

The U.S. Product Safety Commission estimated that U.S. emergency rooms saw 30,900 amusement park injuries in 2016 alone (the most recent data available).

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Spring Ahead (Slowly) When Getting Back in Shape

Couple having fun together at the parkWith longer days comes a little more time, a bit more energy and, often, a lot more “oomph,” propelling you off of the couch and onto the workout bandwagon to get back in shape. No doubt about it: Starting a workout (after talking with your doctor first), along with cutting back on the foods you may have overindulged in over the winter months, can jump-start you back on the road to good health, both physically and mentally. In addition to building up your stamina and helping you burn calories to lose weight, exercise also elevates your mood and lowers blood pressure and stress, not to mention boosting your immune system to help prevent you from getting sick.

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The “Yuck” Factor: Getting Kids to Try (and Like) Healthy, New Foods

Focused loving father is using the blender to make smoothie while his son is holding ears while smiling in a bright kitchen. (Focused loving father is using the blender to make smoothie while his son is holding ears while smiling in a bright kitchen.,If you’re a parent, you may find yourself in a tug of war with your kids about food. That includes what you’d like them to try, and what they’ll actually eat. This battle of wills can be frustrating, especially when you’ve exhausted all methods of persuasion.

Bribing picky eaters with dessert isn’t the way to go, either. Treats are okay once in a while, but the idea is to get them used to eating healthier food overall. Having them try healthier choices (many made in a way that they’ve never had before, and might like) is the goal.

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Young Adults’ Rising Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Friends group drinking cappuccino at coffee bar restaurant - People talking and having fun together at fashion cafeteria - Friendship concept with happy men and women at cafe - Warm vintage filter (Friends group drinking cappuccino at coffee bar restaYou may already know that the American Cancer Society (ACS) changed its former colonoscopy screening guidelines from age 50 to age 45 for those of average risk and no family history. But you may not know why.

The disease has seen a marked increase among young adults in the U.S. under age 55 at a rate of two percent each year since the mid-1990s. A study by the American Cancer Society, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that millennials* born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer, compared to people born near 1950.

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Probiotics and Prebiotics: Listen to Your Gut!

Young woman eating yogurt, closeupThere’s been a lot of talk about probiotics those high-fiber foods or supplements that contain live microorganisms said to improve or maintain the body’s “good” garden of microflora (bacteria).

Research is ongoing, but studies have pointed to “gut health” as impacting not only the digestive system, but the immune system as well. A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that consuming different strains of probiotics over an eight-week period could reduce body weight and BMI, which are two caution areas related to diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Studies at Johns Hopkins have revealed an altering of blood pressure when different gut bacteria are produced in mice, rats, and people. Good gut bacteria have also been known to help reduce allergy symptoms, inflammation, and skin issues, like acne. Experts have been looking at the effects of probiotics on mood and stress, too.

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Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): Are You at Risk?

High Cropped shot of an unrecognizable man suffering with foot cramp in the roomcholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, and weight gain can all play significant roles when it comes to heart disease and stroke. PAD — also called Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) — is another concerning condition to be aware of and avoid, because it’s often overlooked and undiagnosed.

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Love Your Heart

Senior African American Couple Walking Through Fall WoodlandThere’s no sugar-coating it (even around Valentine’s Day).

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world, and the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing over 366,800 Americans a year (about one every 43 seconds). It’s the number one killer of women in the U.S., taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Heart issues in women can be more subtle. That’s dangerous, because women often misread the trouble signs while having an actual heart attack for things like acid reflux or flu. In fact, 64 percent of women who die from coronary heart disease (a narrowing of the arteries or blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart) had no previous symptoms. And heart disease is also the number one killer of men. (It doesn’t discriminate.)

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Say ‘Hi’ to Your BMI (Body Mass Index)

woman on a medical weight scale

Obesity brings with it a roster of related health conditions, from cancer, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, to gallbladder disease, mental illness, osteoarthritis, and type 2 diabetes — to name just a few. So it makes sense to try and maintain a healthy weight by eating right and exercising often. For adults, that means working up to working out five days a week for 30 minutes each; kids need 60 minutes of exercise daily.

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