How to Overcome the Factors that affect our health and wellbeing

Tag: factors affecting health

All you need to know about Insomnia

Insomnia comes from the Latin words “in” and “somnus” which translate to “no sleep”. It is a sleeping disorder defined by poor quality or quantity of sleep. A Reduced ability to perform daytime activities is one of the defining symptoms of insomnia and with as many as 30 to 35 percent adults complaining of insomnia, it is becoming an increasingly common sleep disorder. Treatment involves medical and non-medical therapies. It affects people of all ages, including children, but is mostly prevalent in adults and the elderly.

Types of Insomnia

• Temporary insomnia
• Persistent insomnia

Temporary Insomnia:

Most cases of insomnia are caused due to temporary or stress related issues, including:
• Jet lag
• Physical discomfort
• Working in different shifts (working late or early shifts can disrupt your circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock)
• Stressful life situations
• Recreational drug use
• Cigarette Smoking
• Caffeine intake prior to your bedtime
• Alcohol intoxication or withdrawal
• Eating too much food late in the evening

Persistent Insomnia:

Chronic medical or psychiatric conditions are often the underlying causes of persistent insomnia, and poor sleep habits are also known to significantly contribute to this disorder. An irregular sleep schedule, using the bedroom for other purposes, eating or exercising right before your bedtime, sleeping in a brightly light or noisy room and working in bed are all known to disrupt sleep, including:
• Breathing problems (e.g. asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
• Congestive heart failure
• Obesity
• Acid reflux
• Hyperthyroidism
• Urinary problems (e.g. urinary incontinence)
• Parkinson’s disease
• Dementia

Psychiatric conditions associated with insomnia, include:
• Depression
• Psychosis
• Mania
• Anxiety
• Post-traumatic stress disorder

Sleep related disorders than can cause insomnia, include:
• Sleep apnea
• Sleep walking
• Restless leg syndrome
• Circadian sleep disturbance

Symptoms:
Insomnia typically results in waking up feeling fatigued and lacking energy. It affects the ability to perform daily activities and it is the most obvious symptom of insomnia. Other symptoms include:
• Difficulty in falling asleep
• Waking up suddenly in night or early in the morning
• Not feeling well rested after a night’s sleep
• Daytime fatigue, sleepiness or tension headaches
• Poor attention and concentration
• Increasing errors and mistakes

Treatment for Insomnia
Improvements in lifestyle with regular exercise, good diet and sleep hygiene are essential to sleeping better.
Overcoming any habits negatively affecting your sleep is a must for a goodnight’s sleep.

Sleep Apnea: Incredible Facts about Sleep Disorder

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which an individual’s breathing is interrupted during his sleep. Sleep apnea diagnosis happens when a person unknowingly stops breathing several times during their sleep. When this happens, other vital organs of the body like the brain is not supplied with enough oxygen and this might turn out to be fatal. There are two types of this sleep disorder; the obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common one. It simply occurs when the air passage is blocked when the small mass of soft tissue that is found around the throat collapses when one is asleep.

The other type of this sleep disorder is known as central sleep apneas. This sleep disorder is characterized by the brain which fails to give the signal to the muscles to breath. Research shows that at least 80% of people who have sleep apnea symptoms do not know that they have it. Sleep apnea is mostly noticed by people who are around the person. Here are some amazing facts that you probably need to know about sleep apnea treatment, its diagnosis and symptoms.

SLEEP APNEA: INCREDIBLE FACTS ABOUT SLEEP DISORDER

Mobile Technology and it’s Significance During Emergencies

Six minutes or less without oxygen and the brain will start to die. Therefore, there is no other deadline as tight as those that professionals in emergency medicine have to deal with on a daily basis. With the limited scope of emergency facilities across the globe, many communities have become increasingly dependent on medicine’s dynamic shift towards mobility.

Quick Diagnostics:

The use of mobile devices can allow for instant, real-time communication with a doctor, helping patients and their families distinguish between emergency and non-emergency cases in an instant.

Patients need not travel long distances to receive crucial tests. They can simply go to a nearby telediagnostic clinic, which can give them instant access to a much-needed MRI, CT Scan or Ultrasound.

This is crucial as, in emergency situations, one’s survival often relies upon how fast the medical team zeroes in on the problem distinguishing between an ischemic stroke and a hemorrhagic stroke, for instance, can be the single factor that saves a person’s life.

Internet-linked diagnostic tools can be linked to analytic software, which can distinguish deviations from normal in the blink of an eye. What’s more, in cases where automated analysis is not possible, a specialist can immediately begin work on the diagnosis. The patient need not wait for the specialist to wake up in the middle of the night and drive to the hospital for this. The doctor doesn’t even need to have a picture archiving or communication system at home. All she needs is internet and access to a mobile device.

Monitoring At-Risk Patients:

Emergency admissions are far more common in patients who have known health conditions. One advantage of this is that, often, there will be hidden signs of the problem long before the patient actually experiences symptoms.

Mobile diagnostic tools can now be used to detect heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and temperature at regular intervals, ensuring that any changes will not go unnoticed. As well, modern pacemakers and even glucose monitoring tests can now stream data live to the doctor’s own mobile device. Any arrhythmias or glycemic problems will therefore send her device into alert. The doctor can, therefore, estimate which patients are likely to have an adverse event, and recommend intervention or a diagnostic check well before an emergency.

Accidents Happen:

But even in those who do not have a history of chronic illness, accidents can be a problem. Mobile services tailored for such emergencies can help trained bystanders give first aid, as well as keep the incoming paramedics updated on the patients’ status before they arrive at the scene. Because they already have a detailed initial assessment, they can prepare for an immediate medical intervention shortly upon arrival.

This could significantly reduce the number of fatalities in workplaces that contain hazards or in places where road accidents are common.

Developing Tech:

The contributions of mobility to the health care system, at present, is just barely scratching the surface of all the possibilities. As physicians and programmers alike continue to refine and develop Internet of Things technology, fast and quality will become increasingly

How to Stay Away From Irregular Rhythm After Open Heart Surgery?

Irregular heart rhythm after open heart surgery is a common occurrence. However, post surgical atrial fibrillation mostly does not last longer than few hours or probably few days. But, if you experience atrial fibrillation once, you are much at risk in the future to experience atrial fibrillation as a chronic problem.

What happens with Atrial Fibrillation?

Sometimes, stress or medication can lead to rapid beating of the heart. While normal heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute, pain, stress, medicines, trauma and inflammation can lead to irregular impulses in the heart, affecting the rate of contraction of the heart.

This situation is common post-surgery and is usually self-limiting. However, it is important to address the situation before it turns into a long-term illness.

Physical symptoms of atrial fibrillation include chest pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety, breathlessness and excessive sweating.

Can you prevent Atrial Fibrillation?

There is no established method to prevent atrial fibrillation. However, it is possible to control certain other factors that may help in preventing atrial fibrillation. If you have any medical issue such as high blood pressure or a thyroid issue, discuss it with your doctor before going under the knife. If you have time before surgery, chart a routine with your doctor to strengthen your heart and improve your health. Eating healthy and exercising will go a long way in improving the condition of your heart and minimising post-surgical complications.

Your doctor will also suggest blood tests prior to surgery to identify issues such as high blood sugar, anaemia, electrolyte imbalance or high blood pressure and may prescribe medicines to get these under control.

Another major factor leading to atrial fibrillation is post-surgical stress and it is important to discuss pain management with your doctor to avoid pain and trauma after surgery.

How can you treat Atrial Fibrillation?

Ideally, the heart rhythm should correct on its own after some time. However, in certain cases, medical treatment may be required. There are two ways to treat atrial fibrillation – medication and cardioversion.

Depending on your health and situation, often doctors recommend blood thinners to prevent the formation of clots, an associated risk of atrial fibrillation. Other medications may also be prescribed but most of these medicines have side effects and are not effective in the long run.

Cardioversion is the other option where the physician applies mild electric current to regulate the cardiac rhythm.

What to focus on after heart surgery?

After the surgery, patients are mostly kept on a heart monitor so that their heart rhythm can be monitored constantly. The monitoring staff can immediately pick up any irregularities. Constant monitoring is important; as several patients may not be able to identify symptoms of atrial fibrillation immediately post surgery. A post-operative pain management plan as well as proper medication depending on the patient’s age, medical condition and type of surgery must also be discussed with the physician.

Patients must discuss the occurrence, identification and prevention of atrial fibrillation with their doctors before and after the surgery. Treatment may be required in certain cases. If ignored, the condition can lead to the formation of blood clots that can cause a stroke. Remember, forewarned is forearmed.

Sleep Disorders: Lifestyle and Behavioral Treatments

Sleep disorders collectively refer to conditions that interfere with the normal sleep patterns of individuals on a regular basis. Sleep disorders are of various types and left untreated, can adversely affect the physical, mental and emotional health of the patient.

Sleep disorder treatment depends on the underlying cause but usually involves a combination of medical and behavioral treatments. In fact, lifestyle and behavioral treatments can alleviate the condition largely.

Lifestyle and behavioral treatments for sleep disorders include the following:

Cognitive Therapy – Cognitive therapy for insomnia aims to identify and treat thoughts and habits contributing to insomnia. This behavioral therapy involves educating patients about sleep so that the misconceptions regarding sleep can be busted. The therapists discuss sleep information with patients and help them dispel myths about sleeping that can alleviate the underlying cause of insomnia.

Stimulus Control (SC) – Stimulus control is a therapy that encourages the patient to associate their bedroom with only sleep and sex. The bedroom being associated with other stimulating factors can interfere with sleep. The therapist encourages the patients to go to bed at the same time every night and limit using the bed only for sleeping and sex.

Sleep Restriction Therapy (SRT) – SRT involves restricting the time you spend in bed by discouraging naps. The patient is asked to stay awake beyond bedtime and only allowed to hit the bed for sleeping. The aim is to minimize the idle time spent in bed. The therapy is especially effective because it helps the patient reconnect bed with sleep and not with lying awake.

Relaxation Training – Relaxation training, if practiced regularly, can help patients relax at night and prepare for a good night’s sleep. Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, muscle relaxation and deep breathing relieves anxiety and prepares the mind and body for sleep. Relaxation training is helpful for patients who find it difficult to fall asleep at night. It also includes techniques such as guided imagery and hypnotism.

Sleep HygieneSleep hygiene refers to the environment that is important for getting sleep. It also includes factors and habits that precede sleep. Patients are advised to maintain utmost sleep hygiene by limiting stimulating activities such as watching television, spending time on the computer or exposure to bright lights few hours before bedtime. The intake of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol must also be limited as these substances affect the quality of sleep. Patients must take up some relaxing activity before bedtime to break the connection between stress and sleep. Reading a light book, listening to calm music or taking a bath are all good practices to follow before falling asleep. Avoid using your mobile phone or iPad before falling asleep.

Sound sleep is important for the body to function properly. If you find yourself grappling with sleep issues, it is important to seek therapy to alleviate the issue. While the sleep disorder treatment may last long and make you feel frustrated at times, remember that the results will benefit you enormously in the long run.

Common Causes of Heart Palpitation Symptoms

It’s not uncommon to ‘skip a heartbeat’ sometimes, but if the reason behind the sensation in your heart is not an overly anxious moment, you must want to know what caused these heart palpitations?

Heart palpitations are sensations of either missing a heartbeat or adding an extra one. While most heart palpitations are harmless and subside on their own without any medical treatment, there may be rare instances of heart palpitations indicating some serious cardiac condition.

To deal better with heart palpitations, it is important to know the common causes triggering them:

Stress & Anxiety:

In most cases, stress and anxiety are the reasons behind heart palpitations. Persistently elevated stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol affect the heart. Taking occasional walks in the park, meditation, breathing exercises and yoga are some of the easiest ways to relieve stress.

Lifestyle Choices:

Nicotine and caffeine are common lifestyle choices, long time addiction to which, not only cause heart palpitations, but also affect cause other physical complications. Abusive drugs like Cocaine, too, are responsible for causing heart palpitations. Sounds incredible, but strenuous exercise, too, can cause heart palpitations. While addiction to caffeine, tobacco, and illegal drugs harms the body in multiple ways, and should be abandoned at the earliest, physical exercise in moderation gradually makes the body strong and resilient to diseases.

Medication:

Various prescribed and OTC medicines can be the source of frequent heart palpitations. From asthma inhalers to antibiotics, and antidepressants to hypertension pills, researchers have found enough evidence to blame these medicines of causing heart palpitations. While caution may be taken in consuming these medicines if you are experiencing frequent heart palpitations, it is wise to consult your physician before stopping prescribed medicine altogether.

Hormonal Changes:

Hormonal changes, especially in women, can be the cause of heart palpitation. Hormonal changes related to menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause can be a cause of sudden sensation in the heart.

Medical Conditions:

Various medical conditions such as low blood sugar levels, anaemia, dehydration, and hyperthyroidism can also be accounted for heart palpitations. While the palpitations itself may not be harmful, they may indicate a far grave medical condition.

Heart Conditions:

Heart palpitations may not always be harmless and simply ignored. In certain cases they indicate serious heart conditions including irregular heart rhythm (or arrhythmia), abnormal heart valves, thickening of heart walls and muscles (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), and weakening or even failure of heart.

While you must not be overly worried about a visiting sensation that lasts for a few seconds, you must immediately consult your doctor if you experience heart palpitations persisting for a long time, may or may not be accompanied by symptoms like, breathlessness, unaccountable sweat, pain in arms and legs, chest pain, or fainting. You may also treat heart palpitations with caution if you have a history of heart conditions.

So, now that you know the various causes triggering it, you can take informed decisions to deal with heart palpitations.

Cardiac Patient Care: Challenges Faced by Caregivers

Statistics show that heart disease is the No. 1 cause for death in the world. It is ranked even higher than all types of cancers combined! In fact, a report by the American Heart Association indicated that it is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030. Also, direct and indirect costs accrued due to cardiovascular diseases add up to more than US $320.1 billion, this includes health expenditures and lost productivity.

Heart disease is often as difficult for the caregiver as it is for the patient to deal with. Caregivers need to constantly be on their toes as patients go through a range of emotions and display behavior that more often than not interferes with the healing process. Challenges that caregivers face include:

  • Lack of staff: Cardiac patients require a team with highly developed and constantly developing skills to provide immediate care when necessary and eventually help enable the patient towards self-management. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a shortage of almost 4.3 million nurses, physicians and other health human resources worldwide in the coming decade. With the world growing older and the numbers of cardiac patients increasing (According to ‘The Atlantic’ Between 2010 and 2030, the population of senior citizens in America alone will increase by 75% and by 2050, an estimated 88.5 million people will be aged 65 and older) hospitals are in for a serious challenge!
  • Managing Mental/Behavioral inconsistencies: Cardiac diseases can trigger a whole lot of other concerns—depression being one of the main problems. With a cardiac patient, while physical recovery is definitely an immediate concern, it is very important to monitor mental health too. Mental issues can make the recovery process difficult as patients refuse to cooperate. Sometimes, even identifying the concern can be a task. As the symptoms might not be obvious, till it is too late. According to Barry Jacobs, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist and director of Behavioral Sciences at the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program, upto 33% of heart attack patients end up developing some degree of depression.

challenges-faced-by-caregivers

However, quicker identification followed by counseling, consistent monitoring, on-time medication coupled with breathing exercises, meditation can be great stress relievers and help decrease behavioral problems.

  • Consistent Monitoring: The bigger the cardiac risk, the more important that the caregiver constantly be around the patient. Irregular heart rhythms and accompanying cardiac symptoms often come and go in an ephemeral manner and sometimes they can go completely undetected. Also, to understand the patient’s current vitals, give medication on time and also determine the cause of recurrent fainting, palpitations, unexplained stroke or atrial fibrillation, etc. if any, the caregiver needs to be around 24/7. This can be very challenging as fatigue can set in.
  • False alarms: Sometimes, fatigue can lead to a caregiver misinterpreting the patient’s behavior or vital stats, leading to unnecessary diagnostic or therapeutic procedures. On The flipside, a potential threat might get overlooked.

One way to ensure that the caregiver’s job is made easier is to employ technology such as workflow and training management tools, remote/mobile monitoring devices, etc. in all areas of care. It not only reduces the stress on caregivers, but also leads to effective monitoring and analysis of the collected data resulting in efficient diagnosis, care and quicker recovery.

3 Habits You Need To Drop for Better Health

Habits make a man and habits make your health!

Unconsciously, over the years, we have all slipped into routines that we never analyze to determine the impact on our health.

From the endless cups of java to taking off days from diet and exercise to midnight snacking and mindless eating, many of these habits have become ingrained in our routine and affect our health adversely, without us even realizing it.

Today, as most of us constantly battle priorities at work and home and strive towards achieving a better work life balance, working towards creating a healthy body and mind cannot be ignored.

Here are 3 habits you must drop right now to achieve your fitness goals as soon as possible.

Not thinking positive

Thinking negative thoughts can hinder you from achieving your health goals. Simply telling yourself that you can’t achieve that fab body, means your mind will not let your body work hard enough to achieve it.

Whether you want to lose weight, build strength or quit smoking, it all starts in the mind. Achieving fitness goals takes time and patience and it is easy to quit and accept failure. However, if you keep believing and think positively, it will help you to persevere and work harder towards your goals.

So starting today, replace impossible with possible and ‘I cannot’ with ‘I will’ and see the magic of positivity change your whole life for good.

Making too many excuses

Work, family, children and many other things get in the way of working towards a healthy lifestyle, or so we think. More often than not, too much work, children and social commitments are just excuses that keep you from hitting the gym or going for a jog or even eating healthy.

In order to stick to your fitness routine, think why you want to be fit in the first place. The benefits will outweigh every other thought in your mind and you would no longer find yourself making excuses that keep you from achieving optimal health.

Taking off days, or well, cheat days

We all love cheat days, don’t we? Those special days when you can binge as much as you like – be it super sugary or calorie laden food, it is okay to load up on cheat days.

Well, we don’t think so. Cheat days may sound good and feel good, but honestly, they aren’t doing you too much good. Cheat days train you to depend on a day of over-eating to eat healthy on remaining days of the week. This is not a very sustainable concept, as it can promote the craving for junk food and never let your taste buds or body adapt completely to whatever diet you are trying to follow.

Instead, be consistent with your diet and fitness regime. It is okay to have an extra slice of bread or a cup cake once in a while, but overloading on sugar and carbs every week in the name of sustaining your diet will do more harm than good in the long run.

Now that you have made the decision to get fit and stay fit, drop these 3 self-destroying habits of negative thinking, making excuses and following cheat days to work your way out to the best shape and health you can ever be.

HOW TO PREVENT SLEEP DISORDERS AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE?

Do you know that more than $15 billion are added to the National Health Care costs with more than 70% Americans suffering from some kind of sleep disorder?

If you look visibly tired on most days, have trouble waking up and cannot start the day without a pit stop at your nearest Starbucks, it is possible you are not getting enough sleep leading to low productivity and efficiency.

Tiredness, fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration, and even obesity are common symptoms as well as triggers for sleep disorders.

What is a Sleep Disorder?

Good sleep is necessary for good health. A sleep disorder is a medical condition affecting your sleep patterns and quality of sleep adversely. A large population suffers from chronic sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.

Do you know there are more than 84 kinds of sleep disorders known in the medical world?

Types of Sleep Disorders

Insomnia – One of every three people in US suffers from insomnia or sleeplessness at some point in their life. The main culprits leading to this condition are stress, anxiety, too much caffeine or liquor and other lifestyle factors. The patient may not get restful sleep or find it difficult to sleep at night and feel sleepy at odd hours. Following tips can help prevent insomnia:

  • Maintain a routine
  • Exercise regularly
  • Cut down on caffeine
  • Avoid heavy meals at night
  • Relax your mind before sleeping with light music, light reading or deep breathing

Restless Legs Syndrome – This disorder is characterized by uncomfortable sensations felt in the limbs while sleeping. Most patients constantly move their legs while sleeping and may also wake up during night to move around as movement soothes the tingly, prickly or painful sensations they feel while sleeping. About 10% Americans suffer from this sleep disorder that may be alleviated with the following remedies:

  • Drink water and having bananas to keep your potassium level in check
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid too much sugar or starch in your meals before bedtime as it can cause blood-sugar fluctuations
  • It can also be a good idea to maintain a diary of triggers so that you can identify and avoid them

Sleep Apnea – Sleep apnea is found in all age groups but more than half the cases are reported in patients 40 years or above in age. The patient feels obstruction in breathing that disrupts the sleep. The pause can last up to few seconds and normal breathing usually resumes with a gasp. As the airway becomes choked during sleeping, the condition can be serious if left undiagnosed. Over 10 million Americans suffer from this disorder and many cases remain undiagnosed. Here are some tips that can prevent or help with mild cases of sleep apnea:

  • Lose weight
  • Treat congestion and other breathing problems promptly
  • Stop smoking and limit the intake of alcohol
  • Consult a physician who can recommend a CPAP mask and other effective treatments

Conclusion:

Minimum 7-8 hours of restful sleep is essential for our bodies to function optimally. If you are not getting adequate sleep, have problem falling asleep or do not feel refreshed after a night’s sleep, it is time to analyze your sleep habits. It is probable you are suffering from a sleep disorder and small lifestyle changes can help in alleviating the symptoms. For chronic cases, your physician may refer you to a sleep center, where specialists can design effective treatments based on your sleep patterns.

CENTRAL AND OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA – A RISK FACTOR FOR PATIENTS WITH CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE

Congestive-Heart-Failure

Central and Obstructive Sleep Apnea are very commonly underdiagnosed in the Congestive Heart Failure patients. Men are especially at a higher risk for Central Sleep Apnea as they have a less stable sleep architecture than women as well as a greater number of sleep–wake transitions and shorter slow-wave sleep, which makes them more susceptible to respiratory control system instability and central apneas. Patients with Congestive Heart Failure and Central Sleep Apnea are at a higher risk for death and cardiac transplantation.

Treatments specifically aimed at Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea in patients with Congestive Heart Failure have shown to improve cardiovascular function and clinical status. For example, continuous positive airway pressurehas been shown to alleviate both Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea along with improvements in left ventricular ejection fraction, decrease in urinary and plasma norepinephrine concentrations, and improved symptoms of heart failure. Oxygen also alleviates Central Sleep Apnea and reduces nocturnal urinary norepinephrine concentration.

The clinical characteristics of patients with Central Sleep Apnea appear to differ from those with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, probably reflecting important differences in the underlying pathophysiologies of these two breathing disorders. In a study of men with Congestive Heart Failure, it was found that those with Obstructive Sleep Apnea were heavier and were more prone to snoring than those with Central Sleep Apnea or no sleep apnea. Patients with Central Sleep Apnea, on the other hand, had a lower left ventricular ejection fraction. Hypocapnia has been found to be a chief risk factor for Central Sleep Apnea in both men and women. Increasing age is also an additional independent risk factor for Central Sleep Apnea along with atrial fibrillation which is a risk factor for sleep-disordered breathing in general but not for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Hypocapnia in Congestive Heart Failure appears to be related to the presence of high left ventricular filling pressures and pulmonary congestion which provoke hyperventilation through stimulation of pulmonary vagal irritant receptors. Atrial fibrillation is a marker for loss of atrial contraction and poorer cardiac pumping function and it can lead to a higher left ventricular filling pressure. Increasing age may play a role in increasing the risk for Central Sleep Apnea through similar mechanisms. Compared with younger Congestive Heart Failure patients, those who are older tend to have less compliant left ventricles with higher left ventricular filling pressures, as well as an increased prevalence of pulmonary venous hypertension. This may place them at a higher risk for nocturnal hyperventilation and Central Sleep Apnea.

These results are presented as reported by the Sleep Research Laboratory of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the Departments of Medicine, The Toronto Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.