Friday, December 2, 2016

Everything You Need to Know About Cervical Cancer

The words "cervical cancer" written across a pink banner.
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Ladies, if you’re behind in getting your Pap smear, you need to schedule an appointment ASAP. Cervical cancer is no joke, and can become fatal if left untreated. The good news is that cervical cancer is 100% treatable if detected early.

Did you know that at one point in history, cervical cancer was one of the leading causes of death for American women? Thanks to the Pap test, the cervical cancer fatality rate has decreased by more than 50%.
 
Womenshealth.gov recommends women ages 21-29 get a Pap test done every three years. Women ages 30-64 only need to get one done every five years. It’s a simple enough procedure that takes about 15 minutes or so, and it’s well worth it because it can save your life.

Now, according to the National Cancer Institute, the average age of women diagnosed with cervical cancer is 49. It takes about 10-15 years for the pre-cancerous cells to develop into full-blown cancer, which is why it’s so important to get tested while you’re young.

Should you get an abnormal Pap smear result, keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cancer. There are a variety of different reasons why you can get an abnormal test result. However, if you do get an abnormal result, your doctor will likely want you to come in for a colposcopy.

A colposcopy is a procedure in which your OBGYN examines your cervix underneath a microscope. Should your doctor see any abnormal tissue, she/he will take what’s known as a biopsy. A biopsy is a small sample of tissue that is removed from the cervix. The biopsy will then be sent to the lab where the tissue sample can be examined in more detail.

If you think you may already have cervical cancer, here are some common signs and symptoms to watch out for:
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Unusual vaginal discharge (a change in color or texture)
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding (such as after sex, after menopause, or between periods) 
If you have any of the above symptoms, please call your doctor immediately. And please help get the word out by sharing this post.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fight Wrinkles With Exercise

A photo of a woman jogging in a park.
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Research has shown that exercise can delay (and even reverse!) the signs of aging. A study conducted by McMaster University revealed that sedentary lifestyles contribute to balding, grey hair, saggy skin, and wrinkles.

Researchers used mice for the first portion of their experiment. The rodents were split into two groups: one group had an exercise wheel and the other did not. Results revealed that the sedentary mice quickly became frail and ill. Their fur also began to grey and fall out.

Meanwhile, the mice that exercised never got grey fur at all. Although their fur did fall out, it was in much smaller percentages than in the sedentary group. But most importantly, the active mice maintained healthy organs.

After examining the results of the study, the researchers decided to see if the same results would occur with people. Again, two groups: one group exercised for three sessions a week, the other didn’t exercise at all. Participants ranged in age from 20 to 84.

Researchers found that those who exercised had dramatically better skin. But researchers also acknowledge the fact that some of the differences could be attributed to diet, genes, environmental factors, and other lifestyle choices.

The only true way to examine the effect then, would be to take the sedentary group and have them start exercising. So that's what researchers did. After just three months, researchers found improvement in the tone, appearance, and texture of their skin.

Scientists still haven't pinpointed an exact reason as to why exercise makes for young-looking skin. Some researchers theorize it’s because of the increased blood circulation. Others believe it’s because exercise relieves stress, which can be a major contributor to skin problems. And yet others think it’s because exercise helps the body get rid of toxins. Either way, there’s substantial evidence that points to the fact that exercise gives people a more youthful, radiant glow.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Marijuana for Veterans


A prescription bottle with marijuana inside of it sits on top of an RX note.
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New research suggests that marijuana can help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD. The recent study was led by Zach Walshan associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. Walsh believes that the clinical side of marijuana should be taken more seriously.

“This is a substance that has potential use for mental health,” Walsh stated. “We should be looking at it in the same way [as other pharmaceuticals] and be holding it up to the same standard.”

But the idea that marijuana can be used to reduce the effects of PTSD is hardly new. For years now, users have been touting about how it can ease anxiety, irritability, and depression (all of which are symptoms associated with PTSD). But despite it being so widely talked about in a general sense, the scientific community hasn’t really studied these claims in much detail… until now.

"In reviewing the limited evidence on medical cannabis, it appears that patients and others who have advocated for cannabis as a tool for harm reduction and mental health have some valid points," Walsh asserted.

The study, which was published in the Clinical Psychology Review, is making headlines for its controversial findings. Walsh is hoping that the study can erase some of the stigma associated with cannabis use. The study was published yesterday, November 16, 2016, and several big-name media outlets have already written about it, including Time Magazine.

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, several states permit medical marijuana use for PTSD. However, don’t get too excited because the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs also warns that regular cannabis use can lead to chronic bronchitis, psychosis, and even addiction.

Veterans who want to try cannabis as a treatment option are advised to seek medical guidance beforehand. A complete list of states that allow medical marijuana use can be viewed here. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Before You Panic About ObamaCare Being Repealed, Read This


A close-up photo of the Affordable Care Act document.
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 First of all, everyone needs to know that it will take a very long time before ObamaCare is repealed. I know that Trump laid it out as one of his top priorities in his 100-day plan, but due to his lack of experience, he doesn’t understand just how long it takes for this type of legislation to go through.

Linda Blumberg, a health care policy analyst, says that if ObamaCare were to be repealed, the government would have to give Americans ample time to switch over to a new plan.

"If you with a stroke of a pen took the Affordable Care Act away and there was no transition period, there would essentially be havoc in the markets," Blumberg stated.

Several other health care policy experts echo Blumberg’s sentiments. Timothy Jost, a health care law pundit at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, believes that the consequences would be fatal.

"You would just have an awful lot of people be uninsured, and then that ripples back through the health care system. Basically, you would have a lot of people die because they couldn't get health care,” Jost stated.

Worst-case scenario, the earliest ObamaCare would be repealed is January 2018. But before you panic, just know that there are several roadblocks in the way.

First of all, 60 U.S. senators would have to vote for a full repeal before it could ever be enacted. According to Forbes, this would be next to impossible since there aren’t 60 Senators who would support such a repeal. In 2017, Republicans will either have 51 or 52 seats, depending on the outcome of a Louisiana runoff. That’s not enough to garner enough votes.

So although the thought of ObamaCare being repealed is scary, please don’t panic. Republicans are going to have to jump through a lot of hoops before any major change to the health care system can be made.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Flash Cards to Combat Anxiety Attacks

Woman with anxiety shown with a bunch of random scribbly symbols coming out of her head.
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We normally think of flash cards in regards to children’s learning. But there’s a reason why they’re so popular... it’s because they work. Flash cards help you remember information through the use of visual cues. In this case, these flash cards will help you remember the steps you need to go through to combat an anxiety attack. You can either create physical flash cards or electronic ones that you can carry with you wherever you go.
Card #1: Breathe
Breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds, hold it for 5 seconds, then breathe out through your mouth for 5 seconds. Repeat this process at least five times.
Card #2: Identify the Problem
What is on your mind?
Card #3: Analyze the Problem
Why is it on your mind?
Card #4: Allow Yourself to Feel
What emotions are you experiencing right now? Accept your emotions and allow yourself to experience them, even if they’re unpleasant.
Card #5: Find a Solution
Is there anything you can do about this problem right now, in this moment? If so, get started on it right away! If not, come up with a plan of action! If there’s nothing you can do about it at all, take a moment to remind yourself that it’s completely out of your hands.
Card #6: Talk to Someone
Talk to a trusted source about your problem, whether that’s a friend, a family member, significant other, or a counselor. You’ll be surprised at how much relief you’ll feel by getting it off your chest. If you don’t have time to do this step right this second, make a commitment to do so in the near future.
Card 7: Return to the Present Moment
Anxiety happens when you’re living in the future instead of the present. In order to bring yourself back to the present moment, focus on your senses. What do you see, touch, hear, smell, and feel in this moment? This is really one of those steps that you need to practice day-by-day, minute-by-minute.
Reviewing these cards whenever you have an anxiety attack will get you into the habit of dealing with stress in a healthy and constructive way. For more tips on how to combat anxiety, click here.

Friday, October 28, 2016

How to Trick Your Mind into Eating Less



A young attractive woman holds a small plate full of fresh veggies.
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If you’re struggling with portion control, the following tips can help limit your food intake.

Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal

Brushing your teeth after every meal is a huge pain in the neck. And yet, that’s precisely the point. You’ll think twice about snacking throughout the day if you know you have to brush your teeth every single time. This tip is designed to limit you to eating only three meals a day.

Drink Water Before Each Meal

Believe it or not, often times when we feel hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Drinking water before a meal automatically makes us feel fuller and prevents the bloated feeling we get when we overeat. Plus, drinking water before a meal helps your body digest food more easily.


Use Smaller Plates

By nature, we can’t help but want to fill empty spaces. That’s why we pile way too much food onto large plates. Using smaller plates tricks our mind into thinking there’s more food on the plate than there actually is.

Wait 20 Minutes Before Going Back for Seconds

Most of the time when we overeat, it’s because we didn’t give our body enough time to let us know that it’s full. It takes time for the body to process food and if we’re not patient, we’ll end up overstuffing ourselves. Waiting 20 minutes before grabbing seconds will help give your body the time it needs to digest what it’s been given.

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating means focusing on the taste, texture, and smell of our food. It means taking the time to fully savor each bite. When we eat in front of the TV, it diverts our attention away from our food to whatever is happening on screen. It mutes the full signal that our body sends to us. A quick easy fix to this problem is to limit distractions while eating.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Fast Food Health Food

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Ever wonder why there hasn’t been a fast food restaurant that serves healthy and nutritious meals? I guess the closest thing we have to that would be Chipotle. But if you’re like most Americans, you can’t afford to spend upwards of $8 on lunch everyday. That’s why I’ve come up with a list of what I call, “fast food health food.”

All of the items that I list can be found at your local grocery store. They’re cheap, healthy, and require little to no effort to prepare.

Salad Kits

It’s not your fault that between work and your personal life, you don’t have a whole lot of time to spend on prepping salads. You have to buy all the veggies, wash them, slice them up, mix them together, and then put it all in a container to keep it fresh. This process dirties up a lot of dishes. Fortunately, the pre-packaged salad kits in your local supermarket do all the work for you. It’s cheaper than going out to eat and all you have to do is grab and go.

Frozen Organic Meals

People can talk about how unhealthy frozen food is all day. But you know what? Frozen organic meals are still a whole lot healthier than pizza, burgers, and fries (which is what people normally resort to when they’re feeling too lazy to cook). If you’re looking for some low-calorie, organic, non-GMO frozen meals, check out Amy’s.

Smoothies

Smoothies are a breakfast favorite of mine because of how fast they are to make. Additionally, they’re incredibly easy to consume and don’t dirty up a bunch of dishes. I use fresh bananas, frozen strawberries, and almond milk to make my smoothies. If I had to estimate how long it takes me to make, I’d say five minutes max.

Pre-Made Sandwich Wraps

Most grocery stores have a deli section that sells pre-made sandwiches and wraps. I can tell you right now that they’re a whole heck of a lot cheaper than going to Subway or Jimmy John’s. It’s nice too because you don’t have to buy all the ingredients individually. Much like the salad kits, all you have to do is grab and go.
What do you think of my idea of “fast food health food”? Do you think it’s helpful? Feel free to share any tips or tricks you have on convenient healthy eating.
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