Category: health

Keeping Bones Strong!

x-ray-bonesLiterally meaning “porous bone”, osteoporosis is a very common bone disease causing bones to be weak and brittle. Like other tissues in our body new bone cells are created to replace the old ones but in osteoporosis, the body loses too much bone, can’t keep up with replacing the old bone cells, or both. This can cause bones to break under normally benign situations like a low fall or coughing. Broken or fractured bones can be painful and lead to life-altering loss of mobility.

Osteoporosis is an increasingly common disease causing over 2 million broken bones every year in the United States. It is estimated that one in two women and about one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to this disease. Interestingly, many people – 84% – don’t test or get treated for osteoporosis after a bone fracture even though that is often the first indicator of the disease. Because of this missed connection to osteoporosis and its painless development, it is sometimes referred to as “the silent disease”. Fractured or broken bones especially in the hip, wrist, and spine, a decrease in height, and a curved spine can be indicators for osteoporosis.

Some factors may increase a person’s risk for developing the disease, including:

  • Family history
  • Aging
  • Postmenopausal women or those with low estrogen
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Low calcium and vitamin D intake
  • Underweight or obesity (excessive abdominal fat)
  • Some medications
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Smoking
  • Over-consumption of alcohol

Recognizing risk factors empowers people to take control of their situation and make active decisions about their health. While a common disease often associated with the elderly, osteoporosis is by no means a normal part of aging. Luckily, it is preventable and manageable. There are lots of resources available but a balanced diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight go a long way for prevention. As an added bonus it also helps prevent other conditions like heart disease and diabetes! Even if you don’t drink milk, there are alternatives for calcium and vitamin D (which helps the body absorb the calcium). Pay attention to how your medicine or other health conditions can affect your bone density. Speak to your healthcare provider about specific risk factors, prevention options, and screening as they apply to you.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation experts point out, “…that osteoporosis is often considered a pediatric disease with geriatric consequences…” because almost all of a person’s bone mass is developed by the ages of 18 for females and 20 for males. Lifestyle decisions throughout life can have an impact on later health so it’s never too early or late to start making conscious, healthy decisions. Conversations between the older and younger generations may help improve future health projections.

 

Springing Into A Healthier You!

Spring is coming and many of us feel the renewed energy that comes with it. This is a great time for people to let air in through open windows and clear out unwanted junk. Maybe you’ve been Marie Kondo-ing your life too since watching her Netflix show or reading her book. Like your home, your body needs attention to keep it a fit and tidy place for you. It’s always a good idea to assess what our body is trying to tell us and give it the best care possible. Let’s spring clean our health habits and get us in our best shape!

Diet

salmon and veggie plate

The dreaded diet talk. It’s not always the most fun to talk about but it’s an important topic. It’s number one in this case because eating is an everyday need that can have a very direct impact on a person’s health. An easy way to start for many will be to aim for a balanced diet while learning more about nutrition needs and then to make adjustments from there depending on independent nutrition goals. Some will do best doing a complete overhaul, while others may prefer a step-by-step approach but always tell your physician about any big diet changes to make sure they align with any health conditions.  

A good beginning point is to re-frame what a diet is: fad diets, quick fixes, and pills rarely work in the long-term and in some cases can have negative effects. Avoiding those potentially dangerous options can minimize disappointment, unnecessary money spending, and wasted efforts. Instead, focus on long-term sustainable eating habits that fuel the body healthfully. Complete elimination of certain foods isn’t always necessary, and in fact, some believe that it drives people to binge on unhealthy foods. The key is balance and being happy with what you’re eating.

A balanced diet includes eating from the 5 basic food groups: fruit, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. The serving size of each and amount of calories needed varies depending on age, activity level, and other factors. Substitutions are a great way to begin incorporating healthier options, like popcorn instead of chips or greek yogurt in lieu of sour cream. Along with that, minimizing processed foods in favor of whole foods is another way to improve one’s health through diet. Portion control is a powerful way to control diet because even too much of a good thing is still too much – 500 calories of organic kale chips is still 500 calories. Learning to read food labels and ingredient lists is also an important skill for awareness of what is going into your body and deciding what is important for your goals. Whatever factors influence your purchases, like if something is non-GMO or organic, those are personal decisions but it’s important to be an informed consumer to ensure you’re making the right choices for yourself. Many companies mask ingredients by using alternative names or use vague and misleading labeling. There are over 100 different ways to just write sugar!

It can all be really overwhelming and confusing but there are lots of resources on the internet to learn more about proper nutrition. It’s important to get information from reputable sources, however, because there are some out there with false information and often trying to push a product. Speaking with your doctor or finding a trained and certified dietitian are also really great ways to find a plan that is safely customized just for you.

Exercise

While eating healthy definitely gets you on the right track, using that energy is the next step. The average adult should be getting about 75 minutes of intense or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity spread out over a week. 30 minutes of moderate activity is a good place to start but if that’s too long, a couple 5 minute options like walking work too. The important part is to move! Most people should also opt for strength training twice a week that covers the major muscle groups. If you’re just starting on a work out routine, it’s OK to take it slow and ramp up as you gain strength. If it’s too difficult at the start it may feel like a chore to do, the soreness may be demotivating, and it could be dangerous if you and your body are not properly prepared for the task. Start off with a manageable regimen and build on it as you gain strength and ability. Working with a trainer to learn proper alignment and information is an option that may take some of the guesswork out. Changes in exercise habits is something to talk with your doctor as well to ensure it doesn’t conflict with any potential health conditions.

Sometimes meeting those activity goals can seem daunting. Joining a class or a club is a really great way to stay active and even meet new people. It might open doors to activities you never thought of too – an ultimate frisbee team, a martial arts club, a cycling group – there are many options out there or start your own! Finding ways to make being active exciting and fun is a great way to keep up with it while enjoying it. Just don’t forget your rest days, especially if you’re involved in an intense activity, they’re just as important! On top of meeting the physical activity goal, don’t forget to get up from time to time. Sitting for long stretches isn’t great for posture, blood circulation, and may even lead to metabolic issues. There are lots of options for staying active throughout the day and week, the trick is finding what’s right for you!

Screenings and Check Ups

Dr check upIt may be tempting to reschedule or cancel appointments because we feel fine but it is very important to have regular check-ups and not only coming in at critical times. Annual physicals are a great time to let your doctor know about your diet and exercise habits as well as for raising any concerns or asking questions. Screenings are an important part of a comprehensive health regimen as it allows physicians to catch conditions early, especially if you may be predisposed for something. This allows for treatment to start right away increasing chances for positive results. In fact, since regular screenings have been started, mortality rates for many conditions has dropped. Keeping on top of your health with regular checkups and screenings allows for early diagnosis which may offer more options for medicine and treatment and can potentially save you time and money in the long run.   

Mental Wellness

meditationOne of the many great benefits of our ever growing modern culture is the destigmatize of mental health issues. This has allowed people to get the help they need and for more research to be done to further help and understand those conditions. It’s a good idea to check in with yourself every now and then, even if you don’t think you need it. The good news is that the earlier topics covered can help improve mental health so if you’re following those you’re already a step in the right direction! Everyone’s needs are different but there are bountiful resources online to learn different ways for self-care.

Talking to someone can be a really great way to find relief, closure, or help in something you may be dealing with. There are also a number of new apps and online resources to connect you with a professional if the traditional methods are not available. Even starting with a journal can be a way to process emotions, thoughts, and questions. There are lots of different ways to center ourselves whether it’s going outside, cuddling in a fuzzy blanket, mediating, a hot bath, exercising, a certain smell or food; there are so many different things to try. Finding balance in ourselves is a journey we take during our lives, it may be chaotic or stressful at times, but it shapes us and we can learn to overcome our obstacles. There is never anything wrong with reaching out for help and always know there are options.

 

There’s no better time than now to take control of our lives and health. If all of this seems overwhelming, break down the steps and incorporate each bit slowly. We may prioritize parts differently but as long as there are consistent efforts to make better daily decisions, we’re in the right direction. Let’s open our metaphorical windows and air out our bad habits.

 

Sleep: The Foundation of Life

2019 is ramping up to be the “year of healthy” for many people. With modern science, a plethora of information at our fingertips, and a better understanding for the need to take care of ourselves people are buying up the latest gadgets, apps, and anything else they can get their hands on. But, the foundation of a healthy, happy lifestyle might be a lot easier than any of us expected: begin with sleep. Sleep is the baseline for a lot of aspects we want to improve on including our personal life, professional life, and our bodies. As the world becomes more connected and our lives more hectic, we are at a height of sleep deprivation as a society globally and it only seems like it’s going to get worse.

So, why is sleep so important?

Weight loss

Sleep plays an important role in weight loss. First, proper sleep gives the energy needed during the day to be active. Often when people feel sluggish or tired they are less likely to work out or keep their routines. Insufficient sleep can also disrupt hormone production. In this case, specifically ghrelin and leptin which are both related to appetite. Simply put, ghrelin is linked to the feeling of hunger while leptin makes us feel satiated and poor sleep increases ghrelin levels while lowering leptin. This can be where midnight munchies kick in—staying up late can lead us to eating more and later than we normally would. It’s not too hard to see how those hormone level changes along with lack of exercise could inhibit weight loss goals, so save the snacks and get those 8 hours of sleep in.

The Brain

For the brain, sleep does a number of things. A person’s memory and processing may improve with proper sleep and it gives the brain a chance to clean itself. Reaction time, cognitive abilities, and mood are seriously affected by sleep deprivation. A person’s ability to handle stress diminishes without sleep and are at risk for increased likelihood of anxiety and depression. Traffic incidents increase around daylight savings time when drivers lose an hour of sleep so their alertness, reaction, and overall cognitive functions are impaired.

The Body

Sleep doesn’t just affect us mentally but also physically. After a really good workout, despite how energetic a person might have been during it, the body gets sore. Exercise creates micro-tears that lead to the forming of more muscle which leads to our soreness sometimes days after. While there’s a few ways to help with that delayed onset muscle soreness—stretching, ice baths, epsom salts, etc—sleep helps with that healing process. For any injury or sickness, rest is extremely important in the body’s recovery process. There’s a number of things going on for the body while you sleep but growth hormones and prolactin, an anti-inflammatory, is released during deep sleep. Research has also shown that a person’s sensitivity to pain and sleep have an inverse relationship, meaning the less sleep a person gets the more pain they may experience.

The Organs

This is a separate topic from the body because the organs deserve their own spotlight. Sleep’s reach and effect on all parts of a person is astounding. Insufficient sleep is associated with poor cholesterol and blood pressure levels thus increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease. Like bad accidents during daylight savings times, heart attacks and strokes increase during that time as well. Some research shows multi-organ injury through successive sleep deprivation, which is a common problem in society and may explain chronic disease increases. Cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, is regulated by the adrenal gland which can be disrupted by inadequate sleep. Cortisol controls a number of things in the body so when there’s too much of it problems can arise such as headaches, memory issues, trouble sleeping, weight gain, anxiety, depression, heart disease, and blood sugar issues. There’s also some research that suggests poor quality sleep could lead to an increased risk of certain cancers. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and may suppress tumor growth.

Skin and Hair

Beauty sleep isn’t just a saying. A restful night does wonders for the face and hair. Bags under the eyes is one of the more obvious signs of poor sleep but wrinkles and a dull complexion are also key indications. Collagen is produced while sleeping which can prevent wrinkles and even just 5 hours of sleep can make skin drier making fine lines more noticeable. Blood flow is increased during a long slumber giving a glowing complexion and stronger, fuller hair. Cortisol, the stress hormone mentioned earlier, can cause hair to fall out! A full night sleep is crucial for healthy skin, hair, and nails.

This only scratches the surface of the benefits of restful sleep and the pitfalls of sleep deprivation. It is critically important to everyone’s health to do their best to get enough sleep. It can be difficult in this ever-busy and connected world, and there’s no replacement for a full night of sleep, but a nap can offer some benefits as well. It’s also important to remember, there is no such thing as “catching up on sleep”; once it’s lost, it’s gone. Set a bedtime and get in those ZZZs.

We wish you all a good night’s sleep!

A Heart Healthy Diet

fruit, watermelon heart cutoutFebruary is American Heart Month. The heart is the pump that keeps the body going. It has physical and emotional meanings for us so it’s important to take care of it. There’s also reason to believe that preventing heart disease may help with preventing dementia. A great way to take care of the heart is to be conscious of what we’re eating. These are some tips for a heart-healthy diet.

Fiber. It’s not the most glamorous aspect of nutrition but it’s extremely important for everyone. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to make sure you’re getting enough daily. Not only does it help keep you regular but it also helps lower your LDL – the bad cholesterol. For adult women aim for about 28g and adult men should get about 34g of fiber. These amounts can vary with age.

Fats. Not all fats are created equal. There are three types: saturated, unsaturated (mono- and poly-), and trans fatty acids. Opt for unsaturated fats like canola, peanut, and olive. These types of fats are less likely to clog your arteries compared to butter and lard. Omega-3 fatty acids, notably found in fish, are thought to help in several ways like clearing plaque in arteries and lowering blood pressure. Avoid trans fats as best you can. These have been shown to have negative effects on the body especially in terms of cardiovascular health. It is not found much in natural food, presenting mostly in processed foods, which, many dieticians can agree aren’t very good for you anyway.

Speaking of processed foods. Here it is again: Reduce the amount of processed foods you consume. Not just for the trans fats but the amounts of salt and sugar can be problematic. Keep an eye on nutrition labels to keep within recommended levels.  When cooking, try using seasonings to flavor foods instead of adding salt. The case for sugar alternatives is long and complicated, so be mindful of how much you consume in general.

Manage portion sizes. How much you eat is just as important as what you’re eating. Excessive calorie intake can lead to weight gain which can lead to stresses on the heart. Actual serving sizes of foods may change depending on diet needs but it’s important to get the appropriate amount of sustenance. It may be a good idea to limit the consumption of red and processed meats while making sure to eat 3.5oz serving of fish twice a week. And be sure to get at least 5 cups of fruit and vegetables daily! Food diaries are popular for those looking to track their nutritional intake and it’s even easier with the growing number of apps available.

Don’t forget to exercise! Diet and exercise go hand in hand for living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Getting the blood pumping has many heart benefits like raising the “good” cholesterol, managing blood sugar, and keeping weight in check. 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise is a good starting point but always talk to your doctor before starting a new workout regime.

Quit smoking. There’s no way around it and you’ve probably seen it everywhere. All the hard work done through diet and exercise could be negated by smoking tobacco. Quitting may be even better than any heart drug on the market and it decreases your chance of dying from heart disease by 33%.

There are no shortcuts to health so it’s important to keep up with a healthy lifestyle. There is never a bad time to start but there may certainly be benefits to sooner rather than later. Let now be the time you take your health and your life in your hands.

Happy heart day!

Safety Awareness

 

wear a helmet

Every year National Safety Awareness is observed in June to minimize injury and death on the road, at home, and at work. Injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 40. The good news? Everyone can get involved to help prevent injuries. 

This June, we encourage you to learn more about important safety issues like preventing poisonings, transportation safety, and slips, trips, and falls.

  • Poisonings: Nine out of 10 poisonings happen right at home. You can be poisoned by many things, like cleaning products or another person’s medicine.
  • Transportation safety: Doing other activities while driving – like texting or eating – distracts you and increases your chance of crashing. Almost 1 in 6 crashes (15%) where someone is injured involves distracted driving.
  • Slips, trips, and falls: One in 4 older adults falls each year. Many falls lead to broken bones or a head injury.

Raising awareness about safety issues can reduce the risk of injuries by being better prepared. Check out some of these resources to learn more about safety preparedness:

Take some classes to learn skills like CPR and first aid

Get downloadable material about safety awareness

Stroke—You Have To Act FAST

Learning the signs and symptoms of a stroke and knowing how to act FAST can be life-saving. This month is marked by National Stroke Awareness month.

Here are the numbers:

  • About 800,000 people have a new or recurrent stroke every year.
  • That comes down to a person having a stroke about every 40 seconds.
  • It’s the 5th leading cause of death in the US.
  • Every 4 minutes someone dies from a stroke.
  • Up to 80% of strokes can be prevented.
  • It is the leading cause of adult disability in the US.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is either caused by a weakened vein leaking blood or a blocked artery. In either case, blood – and therefore oxygen – are not getting to the brain. These are called hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes, respectively. A temporary block of blood flow is called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) but is also referred to as a mini-stroke. That should not dampen the potential severity of what it is, attention should be sought immediately as a full stroke is likely to occur soon.

What is FAST?

FAST is a simple acronym for signs to be on the look-out for if you suspect a person is having a stroke.

Face drooping – Ask the person to smile and observe if the face droops.

Arms weak – See if the person is able to lift both arms overhead. Does an arm drift down or do they have trouble raising one?

Speech difficulty- Have the person repeat a person phrase. Pay attention to see if they slur or sound odd. They may have some confusion and trouble understanding you.

Time to call 9-1-1 (or your local emergency number) – Call 911 immediately if you observe any of these signs.

Other symptoms include:

  • trouble walking
  • a sudden and severe headache that may be joined with vomiting or dizziness
  • trouble seeing in one or both eyes

Why is it that so important?

In the case of many medical emergencies, stroke included, time is of the essence. Once a person starts having a stroke, it only takes a matter of minutes before brain damage can start to occur. Depending on where and the severity of the stroke, the type of damage can vary but often temporary or permanent disability can be expected. Two-thirds of survivors have some type of disability. These can include:

  • A difficulty with talking and swallowing: sometimes people can experience problems with swallowing, eating, and language due to trouble controlling muscles in your throat and nose. This can include difficulty communicating by talking, reading, and writing. Working with a therapist may help.
  • New sensations may occur in parts of the body affected by the stroke. This could be pain, tingling, or numbness. New sensitivities like to temperature changes could develop.
  • After a stroke, you may lose control of parts of your body or be paralyzed on one side like a side of your face or a leg. Physical therapy may help to return to activities like dressing, walking, and eating.
  • Some memory loss is common as well as changes to your cognitive ability like reasoning and judgment.
  • Emotional problems or depression could manifest after experiencing a stroke.
  • A person may experience behavior changes and their ability for self-care. They may become withdrawn and need help with chores, grooming, and dressing.

The success of treating these complications varies on the person and their situation.

Risk factors

Below are some risk factors that increase a person’s chance of having a stroke. While some of these are unavoidable, working on the ones that are changeable can help lower your risk level and possibly increase your quality of life.

  • Age – being over the age of 55 increases your risk of a stroke
  • Sex – men are more likely than women to have a stroke but women are older when they have one and are more likely to die of a stroke.
  • Race – African-Americans have a higher risk of stroke.
  • Hormones – estrogen-based therapies,  use of birth control, and the higher levels of estrogen during pregnancy and after childbirth increase the risk of stroke.
  • Physical inactivity
  • Heavy drinking
  • Obesity
  • Illicit drugs (cocaine, methamphetamines, etc)
  • Smoking and secondhand smoke
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease (abnormal heartbeat, heart failure, defects, and infection)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • A family history of stroke, TIA, or heart attack

 

Implementing simple lifestyle changes can help lower your risk but if you are concerned about your risk, speak to a healthcare professional. If you or someone know has been affected by stroke, therapy may be able to help increase one’s quality of life. Remember, if you suspect someone is having a stroke, act FAST. 

Connecting Your Heart With Your Brain

heart health = brain healthYou know what they say, ‘what’s good for the heart is good for the brain’. Ok, it might not actually be a saying but maybe it should be. There is increasing information that steps to prevent heart disease may also prevent or slow dementia.

A rising public epidemic is railing brain health. In a person’s 20s, the brain naturally starts showing signs of cognitive decline and an estimated 3 out of 5 Americans will, in their lifetime, have some type of brain disease. However, the rate of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and stroke cases seems to be increasing and by 2030, these conditions are expected to exceed 1 trillion dollars.

There have been a number of studies that show that factors that affect heart and vessel health also affect the brain. Considering the brain uses 20% of the body’s oxygen and is surrounded by hundreds of vessels, it makes sense that poor cardiovascular health would, in turn, affect the brain’s health.

There are overlapping risk factors for both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and dementia. A few include type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and especially high blood pressure. These can have some effect on the vessels in the brain, cause the brain to shrink at a faster rate, cause changes to white matter, or lead to a stroke. In fact, according to  Ralph Sacco, M.D., chief of neurology at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami and past president of the American Heart Association (also the first neurologist to be president of the AHA), high blood pressure is the “strongest predictor of brain health.” Some research indicates that the presence of these risk factors in middle age may have a greater effect on brain health than if they were in old age, however, specifics as to why are yet to be determined.

The American Heart Association has developed a system called Life’s Simple 7 as a means to keep a person’s health in check.

  • Blood Pressure Management
  • Cholesterol Control
  • Blood Sugar Regulation
  • Being Active
  • Eating Balanced
  • Weight Loss
  • Quit Smoking

Some studies have followed participants following this guideline for many years (30 years in some cases) to see how their health progressed. They awarded how well a person abided by each guideline with points between 0-2 and researchers found that every point missed seemed to correspond with about a year’s worth of age-related brain shrinkage. Similarly, other researchers found that with each increase of a point, the participant’s risk for heart failure was lowered by 23%. The research, however, does have some limitations and requires more data.

The earlier a person takes their health seriously the better, but starting now is better than never starting at all. Take steps and actions to take control of your health. Assess your health and speak with a physician if you have any questions or concerns. Simple actions can go a long way such as taking daily walks, incorporating more vegetables, or cutting out something high in sugar. A healthy heart can lead to a healthy brain, which could lead to a multitude of other positive life and body changes. Take charge of your health today!

 

Drink Your Milk For Strong Bones and Joints

We remember being told as children to drink milk to have strong bones. The ‘Got Milk?’ campaign centered around milk being essential to healthy bones. As we get older we may replace milk with soft drinks and forget to be mindful of our bones, that is until we notice our joints aching and the looming possibility of osteoporosis.

Around the age of 25, our bones and joints are at the height of their strength. Bone mass decreases and cartilage wears down as time goes on becoming fragile. Joints protect the bones from rubbing against each other but when cartilage is worn away too much it can lead to arthritis. At some point after the age of 50, half of all women and a fourth of men will fracture a bone due to osteoporosis. This condition, that affects women more aggressively than men especially after menopause, continually weakens the bones causing the break very easily.

milk for bones

Good bone and joint health start in childhood often with a tall glass of milk and an active lifestyle. Proper nutrition is imperative to strengthening and later maintaining bones and joints. Calcium and vitamin D are essential. Many kinds of cereal and milk come fortified, making a bowl in the morning, not a bad option (just watch the sugar levels). Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, bok choy, and collard greens are packed with calcium — so are edamame and yogurts. For the dairy-sensitive, enriched soy and almond milk can make up your calcium needs.

While there are foods fortified with vitamin D, your body will naturally produce when exposed to sunlight making for an excellent opportunity to get up and go on an afternoon walk. Just 15 minutes a few times a week should produce enough vitamin D for your body to properly absorb calcium.

But don’t let those 15-minute walks be your only source of exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight is imperative to the body’s health. Extra weight can put unnecessary strain on your bones and joints. Research shows that for every extra pound, there’s four times more stress on the knees. Bones become stronger through activity and benefit from muscle building exercises (muscles and ligaments protect the bones and joints too — bonus!), dancing and brisk walking. Change up the types of exercises, though, since weight-bearing exercises can wear out joints. Mix in some aerobic workouts like running or for low-impact options try swimming and cycling. Speak with your doctor before starting any new exercise programs and find a trainer if you need help learning proper form to avoid injury.

Somethings aren’t so helpful to keeping bones and joints strong. Soft drinks and caffeine may not be so bone-friendly so try to limit the intake of these. Alcohol can also hinder bone and joint health so women should have no more than one drink a day, up to seven a week, and men two drinks a day but no more than 10 a week. Not only is it bad for your lungs, but smoking is also bad for the bones. Healthy lifestyle choices can help improve quality of life in later years.

It’s important to understand what effects medications may have outside of its main purpose as some may have adverse side effects. Prednisone, a corticosteroid used to help arthritis inflammation, decreases the amount of calcium absorbed causing bones to weaken.

Supplements could be an option for maintaining the nutrition needed for bone and joint health. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about any deficiencies in your diet and if supplements are a good fit. There are new medicines on the market in recent years to help with osteoporosis and more to come. They’re all a little different but increase bone mass either by encouraging new bone growth or slowing the breakdown of the bones.

In a person’s younger years, it’s vital to build up strong bones and joints to set the foundation for their later years. Nutrition and exercise are the pillars of building and maintaining all aspects of a person’s health. So remember, drink your milk.

The Lowdown on Myasthenia Gravis

 

What is Myasthenia Gravis (MG)?

Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in skeletal muscles. The name translates from Latin and Greek origins to “grave, or serious, muscle weakness”. This disease targets muscles that are responsible for breathing and moving body parts, like arms and legs, and is worse after active periods but improves with rest. Often, muscles that control talking, chewing, swallowing, facial expressions, the eyes, breathing, limb movement, and the neck are affected.

Over half of MG cases, eye problems were the first sign. These include ptosis, which is the drooping of one or both eyelids, and diplopia, double vision that improves if one eye is shut. Throat and face muscle symptoms are the first sign in about 15% of those who develop myasthenia gravis. These are the most common symptoms seen in myasthenia gravis patients.

Other symptoms include weakness of the neck, arms, and legs. These don’t usually present themselves without the above symptoms. Legs are less often affected than arms but may cause patients to waddle. More seriously, breathing can be affected and can be a critical issue. Continue reading “The Lowdown on Myasthenia Gravis”