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The Strongest Muscle in your Body

March 7th, 2017 paulr Posted in Health 1 Comment »

The Strongest Muscle in your BodyMany of us spend time looking at ourselves in the mirror admiring our muscles. We enjoy seeing a fit body and flexing our muscles for display. But the strongest muscle in your body is not one you can see. It is inside your chest and has many interesting features. It is your heart which beats 24 hours a day.

Every day you are alive, your heart creates enough energy to power a truck for 20 miles of driving.

For your whole lifetime, that would be enough to drive that truck to the moon and 
back.

Your heart pumps blood to almost all of your cells,quite a feat considering there are about 75 trillion of them.

Only our corneas receive no blood supply.

The Strongest Muscle in your Body

Of all your muscles, the heart does the most physical work.

During a normal life span, the heart will pump about 1.5 million barrels of blood – enough to fill about 200 train tank cars.

The first heart – a tiny group of cells, begins to beat as early as when the pregnancy is in its 4th week.The biggest heart on earth belongs to the blue whale, with a heart that weighs 1,500 pounds.

Studies show an interesting link between education and heart disease.  More education = less heart disease.

That said, heart disease is still the greatest threat to your health.

 It has even been found in mummies over 3,000 years old.

A few things that keep your heart healthy: Lack of stress, exercise, happiness and a healthy diet!

Of the days of the year, Christmas Day sees the most heart attacks, followed by December 26th, followed by New Year.

The time when the most heart attacks occur? Monday morning.

The size of a heart valve is roughly the size of a 50 cent coin.

The very first pacemakers had to be plugged into the wall. Suffice to say, those patients did not do too much walking.

The heart is amazingly resilient, and provided with oxygen,can continue beating even after separated from the body.
The first cardiac cauterization was performed in 1929, with the doctor, a German surgeon by the name Werner Forssmann, putting the catheter in his own arm vein, and examining his own heart.
The first successful heart transplant was performed in 1967 by Dr. Christian Barnard of South Africa.  The recipient only lived 18 days.  It was a huge medical breakthrough.

If you grab a tennis ball and squeeze it with all your might, you would roughly understand how hard the heart works to pump blood, every second of every day.

Typically, a woman’s heart will beat faster than a man’s.
Laughter has terrific benefits for your heart.
Laughter can actually send 20% more blood flowing through your entire body, relaxing the walls of your vessels.

Why has the heart become such a symbol of love? Maybe it is because the ancients believed 
the heart was the center of our soul and emotion? Some historians believe it began with the Greek culture, and not before.

People can actually die from a broken heart. After suffering a terrible loss or traumatic event,
the body releases stress hormones into your bloodstream that can temporarily mimic the symptoms of a heart attack, even causing heart failure.

A recent study in Sweden found that when a choir sings, an amazing thing happens.  Their heart rhythms actually synchronize
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Tips on How to Lose Weight

February 21st, 2017 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Tips on How to Lose WeightIf you are looking for tips on how to lose weight, this is the place to review. We routinely publish tips like this page in the hope that we can help people achieve their goals. You may find that some of the tips work for you while others do not. Select those that make sense and fit your lifestyle. Just remember that the ultimate goal is to lose weight and manage your weight. You have to be serious about losing weight, especially after the holiday season. This is the time to create new habits that will lead to better health and loss of those extra pounds you want to manage.  Review our list of tips on how to lose weight and start today towards achieving your objectives.

Tips on How to Lose Weight

  • Create new habits by focusing on positive eating situations.
  • Put weight management on auto pilot with new habits so that you do not even need to think about what you are eating to manage your weight
  • Only keep healthy foods in the house and avoid purchasing the high calorie, high salt content foods
  • Use smaller plates to control the amount of food you eat
  • Only keep fruit on the counter for snacking
  • Keep healthy food at the front in the fridge to avoid temptation
  • Avoid buying salty foods such as chips, salty nuts etc to control weight and hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Avoid buffets, everyone just eats too much even with the best of intentions
  • Brighter lighting while eating will actually cause you to eat less food
  • Eat at the table and not in front of the TV so that your focused on what and how much your consuming
  • Set realistic and measurable goals to avoid becoming discouraged
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Does Fidgeting Burn More Calories

January 21st, 2017 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Does Fidieting Burn More CaloriesThe answer to the question, Does fidgeting burn more calories, is definitely yes! All you have to do is look at the picture. Two people are relaxed and bored looking. One person is alert, working, tense even. Who do you think is burning more calories? This is in some office somewhere waiting for an appointment. Imagine at home. You have the standard couch potato person, relaxed, not moving and at an extremely low activity level. Then there is the person who cannot sit still and is working on a project, listening to music or outside playing. There is no doubt that fidgety people burn more calories just based on common sense.

Does Fidgeting Burn More Calories

For those of you who need scientific proof, this phenomenon was studied by many experts. They have confirmed that fidgety people will burn 300 to 400 more calories than folks who are more relaxed. Just the activity level and the higher heart rate etc are enough to burn more calories.

If you are a couch potato, it is time to get moving. Even if it is a walk around the block to get started, just do it. Stand while watching TV. Stand at the office, get up from your desk. Whatever it takes get moving and you will burn more calories!

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Reducing Carbs to lose Belly Fat

August 21st, 2016 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Reducing Carbs to lose Belly FatYour arms are muscular, your legs are muscular and yet there is that ring of belly fat around your waist that you just cannot get rid of. The best way to deal with this problem is reducing carbs to lose belly fat. Reducing carbs while maintaining your exercise routine will make short work of that belly fat ring around your waist. Note that you really have to monitor your intake of carbs and sugars if you want this to work. Use a food tracking guide to keep track of your food intake and in particular the amount of fat and carbs if you want to lost belly fat. Here are 6 ways to attack the problem.

Reducing Carbs to lose Belly Fat

Reduce your Sugar Consumption – there is sugar in everything and manufacturers add sugar to make things taste better. Read the labels and aim for reduced sugar intake. It is amazing just how much added sugar there is in cereals, breads and many other foods.

Increase your Protein Intake – Studies show that increasing protein intake causes cravings to decline,  digestion takes longer leaving you feeling satisfied longer and it provides more long term energy.

Reduce your Carb Intake – simply cut or at least reduce the amount of breads and pasta foods to decrease your weight. You will decrease the amount of sugar at the same time. If you increase your protein levels your craving for pasta and bread or carbs will decline.

Eat lots of Fiber – to keep you feeling full and help with digestion as well as bowel movements. Constipation can leave you feeling full and uncomfortable.

Continue with Aerobic Exercise – to burn calories, improve your cardio level for the lungs and heart.

Track your Food Intake – and monitor where the sugar and carbs are coming from. Focus on increasing protein and fiber while decreasing carbs, sugars and fat intake to directly focus on reducing the belly fat around your waist.

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Enjoy a Quality Retirement, Eat Less Food

December 21st, 2015 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Enjoy a Quality Retirement, Eat Less FoodStudies are showing that if you want to enjoy a quality retirement, eat less food. This does not mean you have to starve yourself. In the study a control group ate 12% fewer calories each day and lost 10% of their body weight.  A 12% decline in food is roughly the equivalent to eating one less muffin a day from Starbucks. The results demonstrated a number of findings. The main result being if you want to enjoy a quality retirement lifestyle, eat less food. There were a host of side effects that were positive in nature which would lead to a better long term lifestyle.

Enjoy a Quality Retirement, Eat Less Food

For example, cholesterol declined in a large percentage of people in the study. Weight loss also helped people who had joint problems. Self esteem improved and participants appeared to have more energy.

Diet also appears to trump exercise. Many people who exercise believe they burn more calories than they actually do. They tend to eat more as a result believing that they are ok because of the exercise. The control group in the study were specifically asked to continue with the same exercise regimen. This was closely monitored. As a result because they were actually eating fewer calories they actually lost weight.

One sure fire method of eating less is to use smaller plates. If you switch from 12 inch plates to 9 inch plates, you are automatically reducing your calories by approximately 25%. This assumes of course that you do not go back for seconds. They also suggest a balanced diet rather than cutting one food group in favor of another. For most people this approach seems to work and the benefits will carry right through to later lifestyle enjoyment. Who wants to go into retirement with all kinds of health issues brought on by overweight?

Eat less now and you will be able to enjoy your retirement that much more. For more health related suggestions and topics, click here.

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Stages of Sleep

November 21st, 2015 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Stages of SleepMost healthy adults need from 7.5 to 9.0 hours of sleep every night on average. Not only do they get enough sleep, but their stages of sleep are not out of sync and also make sure that they are getting good quality of sleep. The graph at the left shows the typical pattern of healthy stages of sleep which contribute to better health, alertness at work and in personal life. Someone who is not getting enough sleep will not be alert on the job, less productive on the job, possibly even dangerous to themselves and others when operating equipment as well as grumpy or difficult to get along with. All of these things can affect your health, even your career at work as well.

Humans tend to sleep lightly for a period of time and then go into deep sleep known as REM sleep. The longer you stay in REM, the better your going to feel the next day in addition to sleeping for 9 hours. You will cycle in and out of REM during the night which is part of the bodies natural rhythm.

Stages of Sleep – Myths

Loosing One Hour of Sleep – even for on day will leave you less alert and active. you may turn to energy food such as coffee and high sugar items which contributes to weight gain.

Adjusting Quickly to Schedule Changes – it can take up to a week to adjust to different time zones after traveling or a shift change. We all get though it but we are clearing a lot less effective and will fall asleep at odd times.

Quality of Sleep is Important – Someone with low REM sleep, tossing and turning or a health problem like sleep apnea is going to have poor quality of sleep. They seldom get into REM and they wake up tired even though they have been in bed for even 9 hours.

Sleeping More on the Weekend – helps to catch up with lost sleep but not all of it. In addition, your sleep cycle is thrown out of kilter which contributes to poor sleep the following week.

Focus on quality of sleep so that you go through the proper stages of sleep. Go to sleep at the same time every day, wake up at the same time, get at least 7.5 hours to 9 hours of sleep every day and practice good sleep preparation to ensure that you sleep well.

For more health related topics, click here.

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Increase your Life Expectancy – Get Active

November 7th, 2015 paulr Posted in Health 1 Comment »

Increase your Life ExpectancyRegardless of when you retire, your age today, your weight if you want to Increase your Life Expectancy – Get Active. That is the bottom line message in this post. There have been lots of studies suggesting that people who retire early, actually die early. Some would say that it comes down to not having a purpose, having less social connections and generally less activity. Studies like this are also open to interpretation. For example, maybe you retired early because you were in poor health, perhaps you needed to look after a family member.

Those that did not retire early, did they last until they were 65? If they retired at 65, how much longer did they live? these are all questions that many of these studies do not address. But one thing is for sure if you want to live longer, be active. Walk every day, participate in some kind of sport etc. Also manage your risk factors. Stop smoking, stick to moderate drinking, maintain a reasonable weight level and exercise every day.

Increase your Life Expectancy – Get Active

Getting active can also be interpreted in many ways. It certainly includes some form of exercise that gets you active at least 30 minutes a day, every day. More vigorous exercise for an hour three times a week is great. Swimming, walking, running and bicycling are all great sports.

Retirees also need to look after exercising the brain. This can include volunteering, a part time job, and improving your social game as well. All of these things give you something to look forward to, something besides your aches and pains to think about and fun as well. We all need to have a little fun in our lives. By getting active in a social setting, we are meeting new people and we are experiencing new experiences. These all contribute to increasing your life expectancy.

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Does Early Retirement Cause Early Death

October 21st, 2015 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Does Early Retirement Cause Early DeathSome studies apparently confirm that the answer is yes to the question, Does early retirement cause early death? However there are always caveats to studies. From what we have read, we conclude that people who retire early and experience early death were not that healthy in the first place. They may also decreased or did not continue with an active lifestyle. They may never have had an active life style in the first place. All of the studies seem to confirm that your level of activity pre retirement and post retirement play a large part on whether you are going to live a long healthy and high quality retired life.

Does Early Retirement Cause Early Death

Staying active means some form of exercise, whether it is walking, golf, biking, swimming etc. Get the heart rate up and keep your cardio vascular system exercised. This is one of the primary pillars of avoiding an early death.

Next you need to have interesting things to do. Spend time on your hobbies whatever they are. You need a reason to wake up in the morning and it may be one specific thing or you may have so many hobbies that there are not enough hours in the day. By the way when you are 65 or 70 and still working, you might just consider this a hobby as well unless you have to work to make ends meet.

The third pillar of an enjoyable retirement is social interaction. Friends and family are important to your life well being. Some people naturally have friends and family around them while others need to work at it. Some will get their social interaction from working or volunteering. Whatever it is get out and talk to people.

A friend once said to me that he gets up in the morning and watches the grass grow. Talk about a boring thing to do! He is doing better now that he is getting involved with his grand children and spending a lot of time with family. He still needs to work on the activity and hobby areas, but he is making progress! Give yourself time to adjust to retirement and focus on these three pillars to ensure an enjoyable healthy long retirement.

For more health and retirement related topics, click here.

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Growing Old and Getting Wiser

August 7th, 2015 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Growing Old and Getting WiserWe saw the following words circulating on an email chain. We thought that this was good advice for all of us as we age. Try to diet and focus on our health.  Growing old and getting wiser is something that many seniors believe in. The picture on the left is essentially saying that we must try things, succeed at some, fail at others and generally experience life in order to become wise in our old age.  But the main message here is to enjoy life and maintain a balance in life. Hope you enjoy !

Growing Old and Getting Wiser

As we grow old and hence wiser, we slowly realize that wearing a $300 or $30K watch, they both tell the same time…  

Whether we carry a $300 or $30K wallet/handbag, the amount of money inside is the same;  

If we drink a bottle of $30 or $3K wine, the vomiting is the same;

Whether the house we live in is 30 or 300 sq.m., the loneliness is the same.

Hopefully, one day you will realize, your true happiness does not come from the material things of this world.

Whether you fly first or economy class, if the plane goes down, you go down with it…

When you have mates, buddies and old friends, brothers and sisters, chat, laugh, talk, sing song, talk about north-south-east-west, heaven & earth, that`s true happiness!!  

Five undeniable Facts of Life :  

1. Don`t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be Happy. So, when they grow up they will know the value of things, not the price

2. “Eat your food as your medicine. Otherwise, you have to eat medicine as your food”

3. The one who loves you will never leave you because even if there are 100 reasons to give up, he/she will find one reason to hold on.

4. There is a lot of difference between human being and being human. Few understand it.

5. You are loved when you are born. You will be loved when you die. In between, you have to manage..!

If you want to Walk Fast, Walk Alone !
But if
you want to Walk Far, Walk Together !!

Six Best Doctors in the World  
1. Sunlight 
 
2. Rest 
 
3. Exercise 
 
4. Diet

  5. Self Confidence      
6.
Friends

For more health related information , click here.

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Healthy Fast Food Trends

April 7th, 2015 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Healthy Fast Food TrendsA 2014 report on healthy fast food trends and eating from research firm Technomic Inc. found that 58% of consumers think it is important to eat healthy food and pay attention to nutrition. This is an increase from earlier studies and reflects an ongoing trend among customers of fast food restaurants. They want to be able to enjoy their food without breaking the diet they have been working on for so long. They do not want to feel guilty for eating something that will be high in calories, cholesterol and salt.

The fast food companies are beginning to slowly respond by first all listing the calories against menu items (they actually have to do this by law in many states). They are introducing new menu items that are heart healthy and diet healthy. As these menu items increase, consumers can take advantage of these new items and still go with the family to a fast food outlet.

Healthy Fast Food Trends

Consumers can also cut back on regular fast food items in other ways while still enjoying their favorite fast food item. We have found that instead of super sizing items we down size instead. For example a small fry instead of medium or large fries. A small burger such as a slider is another example. In some cases you can also split meals or portions of meals. We always split fries to decrease the amount of salt and high cholesterol fats that we eat.

Other meals that are more easily split such as a Chipotle bowl can significantly reduce both calories and salt. There is a debate right now about how healthy Chipotle actually is and there are ways to control this as well.

Eliminate all of the sauces, the special sauce, the guacamole, the sour creams, mustard, catchup etc. There is lots of fat and salt in these items. Although you may miss some of your favorite taste enhancers, it is a great way to reduce the total mount of calories. Improve or reduce your salt and fat intake by decreasing your overall intake. Once you get used to these fast food items without the salt and sauces, these foods actually taste great.

For more health related ideas and information, click here.

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Diet Exercise and Late Life Health Care

December 7th, 2014 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Diet Exercise and Late Life Health CareWe all know that healthcare costs are very expensive and healthcare plans don’t always cover all of those expenses. As we age, the chances are that we will need more and more healthcare coverage to cover sickness as well as normal support that we might need during our old age. Most financial advisers will advise seniors that they need to set money aside it to deal with healthcare. Late life health care is a serious issue for many consumers. This is obviously good advice and we certainly encourage this. But there are other steps that middle-age people and seniors can take with regard to ensuring that they have a healthy retirement life.

Diet, Exercise and Late Life Health Care

For example, managing your diet and conducting daily exercise that is suitable for your age will go a long ways to maintaining your health in retirement. This is one of the best areas in terms of value for time spent that you can focus on to ensure a healthy life during retirement.

You may still need to say for healthcare during your old age, but it will be much less expensive if you’re healthy from exercising and eating a proper diet. Most seniors focus less and less and exercise as they become older due to joint problems, weight gain and other health related issues.

Often weight gain leads to more joint problems, diabetes, heart disease, and many other health issues. Focusing on your diet and reducing your way to the recommended level for your age as well as exercising can make a huge difference in your overall health, the amount of prescription drugs that you take, and the support that you will need during retirement. This is one of the best ways to ensure that the money you have will last you in retirement. Stay healthy and stay focused on the proper diet, the proper amount of exercise for your age, and ensuring that your savings will be sufficient to carry you through your retirement.

Another obvious area is smoking. It has been proven time and again that you will live longer and healthier if you do not smoke. if lung cancer does not get you then stroke or heart attack will and it will happen sooner than if you do not smoke. We can all point to people who have smoked and lived a long life. These are the exceptions. Most smokers will die 10 to fifteen years earlier than they would have if they had only stopped smoking.

For more health related topics, click here.

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Dental self insurance

January 21st, 2014 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Dental self insuranceAnyone who does not have dental insurance from work or where they’re employed, is effectively providing their own dental self insurance. Anytime that you have to pay for your own dental treatment for check ups, root canals, and other procedures then you are self insuring your dental coverage.

Many people have chosen this route because he feel that the dental insurance that they were paying is far too expensive however many others just don’t have dental coverage as a benefit from their place of employment.

What is the right decision – Dental self insurance?

If your family is pretty confident that all they will need is routine twice a year dental checkups, with x-rays every year or perhaps every two years, then you probably should be self funding your own dental coverage. If on the other hand you’re going to need a number of treatments for things like children’s braces, root canals, and other dental procedures you may want to consider dental insurance.

Before you take dental insurance verify what is covered in the dental plan that you were considering. Many dental plans will only cover 50% of root canals and 50% of children’s braces. Anything that would be considered cosmetic may not be covered at all. It is important to read the details of your coverage to ensure that you were actually being covered for the things that you will need in the future.

Save for your dental treatments!

If you know that you will have a number of dental procedures in the near future, or your family has a history of root canals etc. and you do not have dental coverage from your employer, then you may want to set aside some money for these treatments in the future. A separate savings account can be used and you could deposit the same payment that you would have made for dental insurance into this account. Overtime the amount of money in the account will be more than sufficient to pay for all of the dental treatment including checkups and regular procedures that you will ever need.

There may be some years when you’re in the negative, and you will have to pay out of your separate regular daily accounts, but your savings account where you’re making regular deposits for your dental coverage will catch up and provide all of the money will ever need to cover all of your dental treatments.

Something to think about in terms of providing-year-old self-insured dental program. For more information about health related issues and insurance, click here.

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Is dental insurance worth it?

January 7th, 2014 paulr Posted in Health 1 Comment »

Is dental insurance worth itSeveral years ago the writer of this post decided to cancel his dental insurance. Recently we saw an article on one of the news TV stations talking about whether it is worthwhile to have dental insurance or not. This is article triggered the following post about, “is dental insurance worth it?”.

The writers dental insurance was costing approximately $2100 per year for both him and his wife. It covered all of the normal dental procedures, with special procedures included but only at a rate of 50%. This seemed rather expensive to us and after looking at the past expenses that we had from a dental perspective we decided to become self funding insurers for our own dental expenses.

Is dental insurance worth it – Cost

The average cost of our dental expenses for the year was approximately $500. This included two cleanings per year for both people and also x-rays every two years. The insurance we were paying at the time was $2100 as previously mentioned. It seem like a no-brainer to stop paying for dental insurance, which is exactly what we did.

The following year wouldn’t you know it, we had a special dental expense, a root canal in addition to our normal dental checkups. The total cost of the root canal plus the dental checkups came to approximately $2500.

Fortunately we had the $2000 that we saved from not paying our dental insurance and this also coupled with the dental cleaning put us $500 in the hole. The following year we only had our dental checkups and cleaning for total of $500. at the end of the second year we were $1000 ahead at the end of the third year we were $2500 ahead!

During the first year we wondered if we’ve made the right decision, it turns out that from a purely cash flow perspective we in fact have made the right decision to self fund our own dental expenses. Even if we had still had dental insurance, they would only have paid 50% of the root canal cost so we where still having to pay a significant amount of money in addition to the regular annual premium for dental insurance.

Conclusion

Paying for our own dental expenses, in other words self insuring ourselves has been the right decision for our family.

The savings that we capture year after year will more than pay for many of the expenses that we expect to have for dental cleaning, and other emergency dental requirements over the coming years. It is the right decision for our family.

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Less than 10% of North Americans have good heart health, do you?

January 1st, 2014 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

good heart healthDo you know what constitutes good heart health? Health professionals and dietitians indicate there are five indicators of Good heart health. It is so important to maintain your health especially as you get older. There will be less chance of having heart and other health related issues if you follow the suggestions listed below.

These indicators are the following:

  • Being a non-smoker or someone who is quit smoking for more than 12 months
  • Having a body mass index of less than 25
  • Doing the equivalent of thirty minutes of walking each day
  • Eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables everyday
  • No diabetes or high blood pressure.

A friend of ours was only 60 years old and just had a very serious stroke. She had high blood pressure, she was overweight, she had diabetes, she did not eat properly and she did not exercise. She actually was a nurse and should’ve known better based on all of the information that she is provided with and the patients that she sees. Unfortunately she did not follow the advice of her peers in the industry in general. Unfortunately she is also paying for this lack of personal health in a very serious way. No one wants to have to live in the manner that she is at the moment.

This is an extreme case considering all of the areas that she has bad heart health. However many of us baby boomers are succumbing to being overweight, being less active, and having high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol. This should be a wake up call for many people.

Good Heart Health

The fact that 10% or less of North Americans have bad heart health is an extreme health issue for the country. The amount of suffering, the cost of looking after people who have had strokes and heart attacks, and the many other health issues is staggering.

While the government is finding ways to try and provide healthcare to cover these extreme situations, much of the support has the cost born by the individual. Consumers would be far better if they look after their part and maintain good heart health to avoid the suffering and misery that goes along with having a stroke, or a heart attack. The lion share of support for individuals who succumb to some of these health issues, belongs to family, close friends and children.

As part of your New Year’s resolution for January 2014 take steps to increasing your activity and focusing on your health to avoid being part of the 90% group of North Americans who have bad heart health. For information about heart health and other health issues, click here.

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Retire Early – What About Health Care

December 7th, 2013 paulr Posted in Health 1 Comment »

Retire Early What About Health CareThere are lots of issues to consider when you retire early aside from the fact that you are leaving your job and career behind to pursue a new life. Retire early what about health care is one of the questions. Certainly there is the issue about what you will do with your time and then there is always whether you will have sufficient money or not. Many people retire when they are healthy and do not give their health issues a seconds though. But what happens if you retire and suddenly are faced with some sort of health issue. Will you have sufficient funds or health insurance coverage to pay all of the bills.

There are really two parts to this question. Do you have enough money or insurance to pay for the cost of medical bills for doctors, tests and hospitals? Secondly do you have enough savings that will allow you to continue paying your day to day living expenses? Many people pay attention to the medical side of things and not so much the cost of living while you are recovering from whatever medical issue you have.

Retire Early What About Health Care – Hospital Insurance

We have talked to several seniors that have quite good plans for their medical coverage. All of the potential significant events are covered along with the proper level of doctors care, testing and prescriptions are covered up to 80%. As long as the medical bills are small most people can absorb these costs from within their regular living expenses.

But what if you are hospitalized for 10 days and face a $200,000 medical hospital bill like a friend of ours and you coverage is only 80%? Suddenly you now owe $40,000 to the hospital because your insurance does not cover the last 20%. There are solutions to this problem. The first is get more coverage specifically for that 20%. The second solution if it is already too late, is to negotiate with the hospital and assess just how much you can reduce the overall expense. Some hospitals are open to negotiation and any money you can save is money in your pocket.

Living expenses

When ever someone needs prolonged medical care, expenses are going to go up and they may not be covered by your insurance. For example, house and yard work may not be able to be completed. You my have to pay someone to come in and clean for you and perform the odd chores around the home for you. You may also need to arrange for someone to pick up groceries or get you to physio. Maybe you can no longer drive and you need to take taxis’s to get to medical appointments. The list goes on and on.

Do you have sufficient funds to get through this type of medical costs which are usually not covered by your insurance plan? Set aside an emergency savings amount to cover you when you need it. This is really the only way to make sure that you have enough money to deal with whatever it is you must deal with. Retire early what about health care is a serious issue for many people.

Stay Healthy is the Best Insurance

The best health insurance is to do your best to stay healthy. We all know what these are, but many of us ignore these suggestions until it is too late. Here is our list to help staying healthy:

  • Exercise on a routine basis, at least 3 times per week
  • Drink alcohol on a moderate level
  • Do not smoke
  • Get enough sleep
  • Maintain the proper weight for your body type
  • Avoid fatty and high calorie foods
  • Make sure you have annual health checkups
  • Take action if something is amiss from a health perspective.

Sounds simple, but for most of us it is very difficult to follow for some reason. Even with all of these steps there is no guarantee that something will not occur that affects your overall health. That’s the reason the previous two areas were discussed and should be given some consideration. For more information on retire early what about health care and others, click here.

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Organize Your Doctors Visit

August 10th, 2013 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Organize Your Doctors VisitHow many times have you been to the doctor and felt rushed. Maybe you have forgotten something that you wanted to discuss with them. You may have been under stress yourself due to whatever health issue that you are dealing with. Perhaps you were not thinking as clearly as you should. At the same time the doctor is in a hurry. He or she has a lot of patients and they only make money if they are seeing patients. It is not about how long they spend, it is about how many they see every day that determines how much money they make. They are in a hurry and this also adds stress to your visit to the doctor. This is why you should organize your doctors visit.

Organize Your Doctors Visit

One way to deal with doctor’s visits is to be organized about what you want to do, have it written down and be prepared to take notes. If it is a complex health issue or if you do not feel up to it, you may want to bring someone else along to listen and to take notes. Most doctors are comfortable with this and if they do have concerns, all you need to say is that you are having trouble remembering everything they tell you and that is why you take notes.

How to Prepare for a Doctors visit

Set an agenda – list the items that you want to discuss with the doctor and let the receptionist know what will be discussed so she allocates sufficient time for your visit.

Identify your goals – set a goal for your visit. I.e. renew your prescriptions, make an appointment for a specialist, arrange for blood tests etc.

Follow good communication strategies – organize your thoughts and stick to your topics. Don’t go off on a tangent and do not raise topics that are not on your agenda. Focus on what you have to achieve for your visit.

Anticipate the doctor’s questions – there is a lot of information that can be discussed at your doctor’s visit. Patients can also do some research online to anticipate what questions the doctor is going to ask. Being prepared with answers will reduce the time needed and demonstrate to the doctor that you are preparing for the visit and being thoughtful of his time as well.

Schedule more time – by listing the topics and goals for your doctor visit and then communicating these to the receptionist who schedules visits, he or she can ensure that sufficient time is set aside for your visit. There is nothing worse than going to see the doctor, getting half way through your issues and then he says you will need to make another appointment. Schedule enough time ahead of time helps you, the doctor and the other patients. Everyone hates waiting for a doctor who is never on time.

Care givers must be diplomatic – if you are a care giver and helping your patient, your mother or father or a sibling get to the doctor, diplomacy is going to be very important. The relationship is between the doctor and the patient. As a care giver you need to be respectful of this relationship while at the same time make sure that the necessary issues are discussed and remembered. Sometimes notes can be taken which are helpful for everyone including family members that may not be able to attend the visit with the doctor.

Special Caregiver Instructions

As a care giver, you can also help to run the doctors meeting on behalf of your patient, friend or relative. Follow the above guidelines and making use of the time for each of your issues that need to be discussed. Everyone will appreciate your help if this is done in an organized and diplomatic way. It will help a lot if you organize your doctors visit. For more information about your health, and related issues, click here.

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Ontario Government Drug Benefit Program

December 20th, 2012 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

Ontario Government Drug Benefit ProgramA bunch of retired and semi-retired guys were having coffee the other day and there was a discussion about what drugs people pay for once they turn 65 in Ontario, Canada. One of our gang did some research and came up with the following answer which I posted on this blog. We would be interested in what other people pay in other provinces in Canada as well as what people pay in the US and around the world when they turn 65.

Here is the answer I received from one of the group of guys who did a little research and sent it to the rest of us.

Guys, upon further review, I can now confirm that at 65, we will have most of our prescribed drugs paid for by the Ontario government.  However since we will all exceed the ‘poverty test’, we will have to pay the first $100 annual deductible.  So when you are paying for your prescription, you tell the pharmacist that you are now in the ODB program and he/she will access the govt. database to confirm your age and coverage and then set up your account accordingly. They will then bill them the cost for the prescription less the cost of the deductible.

Ontario Government Drug Benefit Program – Personal Health Insurance

If you have your own health insurance, the pharmacy will then bill any deductible and the small dispensing fee to the insurance company as they do today (or you pay and forward the receipt to the insurance company yourself).

Once you have used up the annual deductible, the insurance company is only billed the dispensing fee…  I checked and my personal  health plan insurance does cover the deductible amount. Each person should evaluate their own insurance coverage to confirm what they will pay vs their personal health insurance.

Personally  I think this is a really good deal for anyone living in Ontario, Canada, especially if you are retired. Not all drugs are covered. Most of the common drugs that are on the generic list are covered and the generics are certainly covered. If you are taking a specific drug now and close to turning 65, you may want to check with your pharmacist to see if these same drugs will be covered or whether you will have to switch to a generic.

Even your personal drug plan that  you use prior to 65 will want you to use the generic drugs since they are much cheaper than the non generic drugs. sometimes they can be half the price or more which saves everyone a great deal of money. At 65, even if you have to pay for your own drugs always go for the generic drugs to save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Generic drugs are just as effective as the regular drugs and have been tested for all of the side effects that regular drugs go through. This is a pretty standard approach and can save consumers hundreds of dollars sometimes on a single prescription.

Drugs purchased in the states by Canadians while they are traveling are usually covered by their own health insurance plans. The receipts need to be submitted to the insurance company when you return to Canada. In addition if you need to see a doctor to obtain a prescription while traveling outside the country, most insurance companies want a call to them first before you go to the doctor. Failure to do so may cause the claim to be denied.

We also heard from several Americans that many businesses are limiting them to 29 hours a week so that they do not qualify for benefits. Previously before Obamacare the cut off was 39 hours. Now these people receive less hours and they still do not receive benefits. They now make less money and do not receive benefits. At least in Canada, once you are over 65, Ontario picks up the drugs with a $100 deductible. For more information about health related issues, click here.

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Why Should We Drink Water

August 21st, 2012 paulr Posted in Health 2 Comments »

Why Should We Drink WaterIs drinking lots of water good for you? We recently saw this following note in an email and decided to include it on this blog as a post. Turns out that drinking water is good for you, it is even better if you drink water a certain times of the day as well.  As with everything, do it in moderation, however you can obtain improved efficiency for your mind and body, by drinking water, in this case, at certain times of the day. We can optimize our performance by paying attention to these issues and make us more competitive too! This is one of the reasons, why should we drink water and regular amounts of it.

We do not know if it is true or not, however it does make a lot of sense. I like water even better than drinking a can of cold pop. It is far more refreshing and a lot less calories as well. Turns out it is much better for your body  as well.

Why Should We Drink Water

Here is his advice.

A doctor was asked why do we and other people urinate so much at night time.

Answer from this cardiac doctor was gravity holds water in the lower part of your body when you are upright. When you lie down and the lower body (legs and other things) seeks level with the kidneys it is then that the kidneys remove the water because it is easier. This then ties in with the last statement!

You need your minimum water to help flush the toxins out of your body!

Correct time to drink water… Very Important. From A Cardiac Specialist!

These are added reasons to answer the question, why should we drink water. Drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body:

2 glasses of water after waking up – helps activate internal organs

1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal – helps digestion

1 glass of water before taking a bath – helps lower blood pressure

1 glass of water before going to bed – avoids stroke or heart attack

The physician said that water at bed time will also help prevent night time leg cramps. Your leg muscles are seeking hydration when they cramp and wake you up with a Charlie Horse.

Well I am not sure about that last one. Drinking a glass of water before you go to bed, also means that you have to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night if your bladder is full as a result. For middle aged guys and older this can be a real problem since our bladders shrink and we have to get up a lot more often to go to the bathroom.  Which is worse, the leg cramps or getting up 2 or 3 times to go to the bathroom.  Just getting up might cause a heart attack!

Since I added this original post I came across another comment that suggested that we wake up for a variety of reasons during the night. It might be a bad dream, it might be something our partner did, it might be from snoring or a some other issue. Regardless as soon as the mind realizes that you are awake, it sends us the message that it is time to void and we get this full feeling in our bladders. Time to go to the bathroom regardless of what time it is. When I do not wake up in the middle of the night, I find I have a very full bladder. If you are getting up a lot during the night, it might be from some other related problem which you need to deal with.

For more information about general health issues, click here.

 

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Sitting can Kill You

July 21st, 2011 paulr Posted in Exercise, Health 1 Comment »

Sitting can Kill YouWell, it’s official, there is a study out now that concludes: Sitting all day is bad for you. This includes the people who sit in offices all day long, sit in the car or bus going to and home from work and sitting in front of the TV at night until bedtime! We all do it and even our kids are sitting more than they ever did. They are too busy plying video games instead of being outside playing with their friends and playing sports. We see this as an ever increasing epidemic of over weight people in our society and many do not realize that this inactivity literally can kill you.  There are many reasons for this and we will explore a few of them in this post. Read on and let us know what you think of our comments.  We enjoy hearing from readers. Why is this so?

  • You burn less calories, so you get fat
  • You do not use your muscles, so they get weak
  • You do not exercise your heart, so it gets weak
  • Your blood does not circulate as well, so all kinds of bad things happen
  • Your lung capacity decreases, so you cannot exert yourself as much

We did not really need a bunch of  “inactivity researchers” to figure this out, since it is pretty obvious when you compare active people to someone who sits much of the day, but now a study has been completed that proves it. Are we lazy or just get into a rut that causes us to avoid exertion?

Sitting can Kill You – Why is This So?

Basically, energy into your body is either burned off in exercise or converted to fat. People who sit all day will convert more food to fat than those people who are active, even if it just means going for a walk.

If you eat the same amount as someone who is active, the person who is inactive will gain weight! If you eat more calories than what you burn off even by sitting, you will also gain weight!  In addition your overall health is going to decline.

In the study, neither group exercised or participated in exercise programs. The active group just did not sit. They walked, they stood, and they took stairs instead of the elevator etc, while the other group sat all of the time and avoided any chance of exerting themselves. These people took the elevator, the escalator, even parked their car as close as they could to the entrance to the office or the mall.

They both ate the same amount of food. The inactive people gained weight, while the active folks did not or at least not as much! Being inactive doesn’t just make you fat. It makes you sick, too. The conditioning of the active people certainly did not put them in the status of being fit, but they could withstand more exertion for a longer period than those who were inactive.

Sitting can Kill You – What happens when you Sit:

  • Electrical activity in the muscles drops
  • Leg muscles begin to atrophy
  • Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges
  • Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day
  • The risk of being obese increases
  • Cholesterol increases, which could cause heart attacks

Over a lifetime, sitting really can kill you:

  • Men who sit 6 hours a day are 20% more likely to die that men who sit 3 hours a day
  • Women who sit 6 hours a day are 40% more likely to die

Another bummer: You can’t counter the harmful effects of sitting by exercising once in a while. You actually have to stop sitting.  Or at least start moving around more. Once muscles atrophy (get weak and reduce in size), it takes a long time to rebuild them with exercise and activity. The only way to avoid this occurring it to stay active!

So get off your ass!

Go for a walk on a regular basis, go to the gym a minimum of 3 times a week, walk around the block, park your car a long ways from the entrance and walk. Find ways that will help you become more active.

Comments are welcome, our readers will appreciate any constructive comments you have about what sitting can do to you.

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An Aspirin a Day – Cancer Reduction

May 21st, 2011 paulr Posted in Health No Comments »

An Aspirin a Day - Cancer ReductionAspirin Cuts Death Rate From Several Common Cancers. This is a re-post from WebMD, since it is so important a finding. An Aspirin a Day – Cancer Reduction. We felt that baby boomers should be aware of this possible cancer reduction. The more it is available the bigger the chance that more people will see it. We want to help people and spread the word so that many people are helped in this manner. Full attribution goes to WebMD. An Aspirin a Day – Cancer Reduction is something we all need to think about in addition to controlling heart attacks and also high blood pressure.

Low Doses of Aspirin Reduce Death Rates From a Range of Cancers, New Research Shows

An Aspirin a Day – Cancer Reduction

By Peter Russell – WebMD Health News – Reviewed by Roger Henderson, MD

Dec. 6, 2010 — Taking aspirin over a long period of time can substantially cut the risk of dying from a variety of cancers. This according to a study showing that the benefit is independent of dose, gender, or smoking.

It also found that the protective effect increases with age.

The study is by Peter Rothwell, MD, PhD, FRCP, of John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, and colleagues. It has been published online by the journal the Lancet.

A previous study by the same authors showed that low doses of aspirin (75-300 milligrams) reduced the number of cases of colorectal cancer by a quarter. Deaths caused by the disease reduced by more than a third. The latest study confirms the earlier results. It concludes that similar effects can be shown for other types of cancers.

A Visual Guide to Lung Cancer – New Aspirin-Cancer Findings

The study looked at eight trials examining the effects of a daily dose of aspirin on preventing heart attacks involving 25,570 patients. 674 of whom died from cancer. They showed a 21% reduction in the number of deaths caused by cancer among those who had taken aspirin, compared with people who had not.

The investigation also showed that the benefits of taking aspirin increased over time. After five years, death rates were shown to fall by 34% for all cancers and by 54% for gastrointestinal cancers.

Participants were also followed up after 20 years, by which point 1,634 of the original participants had died as a direct result of cancer. This 20-year follow-up established that the risk of cancer death remained 20% lower among those who had been allocated aspirin. Than those in the control group for all solid cancers, including lung, prostate, brain, bladder, and kidney cancers, and by 35% for gastrointestinal cancers.

The fall in the risk of death broke down according to individual types of cancer:

  • Esophageal cancer (60%)
  • Colorectal cancer (40%)
  • Lung cancer (30%)
  • Prostate cancer (10%)

Reductions in pancreatic, stomach, and brain cancers were difficult to quantify because of smaller numbers of deaths, the authors say.

Protective Effect Increases Over Time

The protective effect of taking low doses of aspirin varied according to the type of cancer and how long aspirin had been taken, the authors found. For instance, it only became apparent after about five years for esophageal, pancreatic, brain, and lung cancer; about 10 years for stomach and colorectal cancer; and about 15 years for prostate cancer.

Any benefit for lung and esophageal cancer was limited to adenocarcinomas, which are most commonly seen in nonsmokers.

Should Middle-Aged People Take Aspirin?

Previous research has linked aspirin with reductions in heart attacks and strokes, but doctors have been wary when recommending whether people should take daily doses of aspirin because of the risk of gastric bleeding. Rothwell says, “The size of the effect on cancer I think is such that it does more or less drown out those sorts of risks.”

However, he says the authors of the study do not make recommendations on taking aspirin based on this study.

Peter Elwood, MD, DSc, FRCP, an expert on aspirin from Cardiff University who was not involved in the study, says that doctors are often reluctant to recommend aspirin because “the risk of causing a bleed by what the doctor prescribes is going to be uppermost in a doctor’s mind.” A patient might interpret the risk differently, he says.

Rothwell and his colleagues say that more research is required, in particular for the effect on breast cancer and other cancers affecting women as well as the effect on patients beyond the 20-year period. The results of further trials are expected to be published in 2011.

‘Promising Results’

Ed Yong, head of health information and evidence at Cancer Research UK, says in an emailed statement: “These promising results build on a large body of evidence suggesting that aspirin could reduce the risk of developing or dying from many different types of cancer. While earlier studies suggested that you only get benefits from taking high doses of aspirin, this new study tells us that even small doses reduce the risk of dying from cancer provided it is taken for at least five years.

“In addition to the effect on cancer death, aspirin can affect our health in other ways, such as reducing the risk of stroke but increasing the chances of bleeding from the gut. We await trials results expected next year to learn more about these different effects. In the mean time, An Aspirin a Day – Cancer Reduction is the way to go for most adults.

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Diet and Cancer Symptoms

September 21st, 2010 paulr Posted in Health 1 Comment »

Diet and Cancer Symptoms - An Aspirin a Day - Cancer ReductionOften diet is linked to various cancers, however in many cases there are far less significant issues that may be causing your symptoms. There are a variety of diet and cancer symptoms that are related. Regardless you should have them checked out and assessed by a doctor. If they are disregarded by your doctor and still the symptoms continue or get worse you may even want to get a second assessment from another doctor. Don’t wait or delay following up on symptoms that could be the cause of future cancer.

We recently read an article about possible diet and cancer symptoms and we felt that it would be important to repeat them here in an abbreviated version. Like we said get a doctor’s opinion if you experience any of these symptoms. You may need a biopsy which the doctor will order to properly assess the situation.

Diet and Cancer Symptoms

Cancer Symptom . 1: Breast Mass

Any new mass in the breast area of a man needs to be checked out by a physician,”

Here are several other worrisome signs involving the breast that men as well as women should take note of. They include:

  • Skin dimpling or puckering
  • Nipple retraction
  • Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge

The doctor may order a mammogram, a biopsy, or other tests.

Cancer Symptom  No. 2: Pain

Persistent pain should be checked out by your physician.  If it’s not cancer, you will still benefit from the visit to the office.

Cancer Symptom  No. 3: Changes in the Testicles

Testicular cancer occurs most often in men aged 20 to 39. Men should get a testicular exam by a doctor as part of a routine cancer-related checkup and everyone should learn how to do a monthly self-exam.

Cancer Symptom No. 3: Changes in the Testicles continued…

Change in the size of the testicles, such as growth or shrinkage, swelling or a lump should be checked out. A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum should also be addressed. Early detection is especially crucial to ensure your continued good health.

Cancer Symptom  No. 4: Changes in the Lymph Nodes

If you notice a lump or swelling in the lymph nodes under your armpit or in your neck — or anywhere else –have it checked out by a doctor. There are lymph nodes all over your body and any that become swollen and painful need to be assessed.

Cancer Symptom  No. 5: Fever

An unexplained fever, could also be a sign of pneumonia or some other illness that needs treatment or it can also indicate cancer. Infections will cause a fever as will some cancers.

Cancer Symptom  No. 6: Weight Loss Without Trying

Most of us would like to lose weight, however id you lose weight without trying, over a short period, you may want to have a physical. It is unusual for any man or women to lose weight that fast without trying.

Cancer Symptom  No. 7: Gnawing Abdominal Pain and Depression

Any time you have a pain in the abdomen and are feeling depressed you needs to have a checkup. Experts have found a link between depression and pancreatic cancer. Other symptoms can include jaundice or a change in the stool color, often a gray color.

Cancer Symptom  No. 8: Fatigue

Fatigue is another vague symptom that could point to cancer in men or  a host of other problems could cause it as well. Fatigue may occur early in cancers such as leukemia or with some colon or stomach cancers.

If you often feel extremely tired and it doesn’t get better with rest, check with your doctor.

Cancer Symptom  No. 9: Persistent Cough

Coughs are expected, of course, with colds, the flu, and allergies or even sometimes as a side effect of a medication. A very prolonged cough — defined as lasting more than three or four weeks — should not be ignored, and warrants a visit to the doctor. It could be a symptom of cancer, or it could indicate some other problem such as chronic bronchitis or acid reflux.

Cancer Symptom  No. 10: Difficulty Swallowing

Any time you have trouble swallowing it could be a sign of a GI cancer, such as cancer of the esophagus. If this continues over several weeks visit your doctor.

Cancer Symptom No. 11: Changes in the Skin

Changes in moles — a well-known sign of potential skin cancer — changes in skin pigmentation,  or suddenly developing bleeding on your skin or excessive scaling are reasons to check with your doctor after  several weeks.

Cancer Symptom  No. 12: Blood Where It Shouldn’t Be

Anytime you see blood coming from a body part where you’ve never seen it before, such as coughing or spitting up blood, have blood in the bowel, or blood in the urine, it’s time for a doctor visit.”

Cancer Symptom  No. 13: Mouth Changes

You need to be especially alert for any white patches inside your mouth or white spots on your tongue may indicate leukoplakia, a precancerous area that can occur with ongoing irritation. The condition can progress to oral cancer.

Cancer Symptom  No. 14: Urinary Problems

As men age, urinary problems become more frequent, the urge to urinate more often, a sense of urgency, and a feeling of not completely emptying the bladder.  If this condition persists, have it checked out.

Cancer Symptom No. 15: Indigestion

Persistent indigestion could point to cancer of the esophagus, throat, or stomach and should be reported to your doctor.

Please feel free to leave your comments. Spam comments will be deleted.

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Diet, Heavy Drinkers Outliving Non Drinkers

September 7th, 2010 paulr Posted in Health 1 Comment »

Heavy Drinkers Outliving Non DrinkersThe following article was published on the internet, author unknown, and I felt that it should be included on this blog since it is such an interesting topic. We all drink or at least many of us drink, and this study is pointing out that moderate drinkers benefit by enjoying life longer. We have heard about the benefits of red wine for your heart, and now this article seems to point out that any alcohol in moderation will also help your overall health.

The bottom line and key word in all of this is to remember the word ” moderate”! Too much drinking can damage the liver, cause family problems and even land you in jail.

We hope you enjoy the following article and don’t forget to post your comments on our blog. Spam comments will be deleted. If you know the author of this article, please send us a link to the original post and we will be happy to attribute this article to you.

Heavy Drinkers Outliving Non Drinkers

One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don’t drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.

But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that — for reasons that aren’t entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one’s risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers’ mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.

Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don’t have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.

But why would abstaining from alcohol lead to a shorter life? It’s true that those who abstain from alcohol tend to be from lower socioeconomic classes, since drinking can be expensive. And people of lower socioeconomic status have more life stressors — job and child-care worries that might not only keep them from the bottle but also cause stress-related illnesses over long periods. (They also don’t get the stress-reducing benefits of a drink or two after work.)

But even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables — socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on — the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.

The sample of those who were studied included individuals between ages 55 and 65 who had any kind of outpatient care in the previous three years. The 1,824 participants were followed for 20 years. One drawback of the sample: a disproportionate number, 63%, were men. Just over 69% of the never-drinkers died during the 20 years, 60% of the heavy drinkers died and only 41% of moderate drinkers died.

These are remarkable statistics. Even though heavy drinking is associated with higher risk for cirrhosis and several types of cancer (particularly cancers in the mouth and esophagus), heavy drinkers are less likely to die than people who have never drunk. One important reason is that alcohol lubricates so many social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health. As I pointed out last year, nondrinkers show greater signs of depression than those who allow themselves to join the party.

The authors of the new paper are careful to note that even if drinking is associated with longer life, it can be dangerous. It can impair your memory severely and it can lead to nonlethal falls. Also other mishaps (like, say, cheating on your spouse in a drunken haze) that can screw up your life. There’s also the dependency issue: if you become addicted to alcohol, you may spend a long time trying to get off the bottle.

That said, the new study provides the strongest evidence yet that moderate drinking is not only fun but good for you. So make mine a double.

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Nebulisers

July 21st, 2010 paulr Posted in Health 4 Comments »

nebulisersYou might be wondering what the subject of “Nebulisers? would have to do with diets or diet information. Well it turns out they can have a lot to do with diet, especially if you are not following one. I had the privilege of needing to use one in the past 6 months and yes it was a life saver, but if I had been a little more careful I would not have needed it at all. This is why I decided to write about this subject so that I could help other people avoid not being able to breath properly.

Why Did I need a Nebuliser?

First of all for those of you who may not know what a nebuliser is, it is a machine that pumps air through a tube to a mask that you place over your mouth and nose. When you add medicine to the reservoir in the mask the blowing air picks up some of the medicine as you breath in and out through the mask. This is on one of  the best ways for someone who has shallow breathing to get some of the medicine into their lungs and into their bronchial tubes for relief.

I was having a severe bronchitis attack, and could not breathe sufficient air into my lungs and also could not use an inhaler since I could not get enough of the medicine into my lungs to obtain some relief. With the nebulizer, I was able to obtain some relief and breathe much easier as a result. In fact my oxygen level in my blood was down to 95% which is not very good. Once I finished several of these treatments with the nebuliser, I felt much better and also was able to breathe much easier. A neubliser should only be used under a doctor’s advice and also when your inhaler is not providing the relief you need.

How does Diet and the need for a Neubliser go hand in hand?

As you gain weight, there is more pressure on your lungs in terms of the amount of oxygen you need to live as well as the fact that the excess weight compresses your lungs and you are unable to take deep breaths or clear your lungs of pollutants or moisture. Many heavy people will also become susceptible to pollution and pollen causing chronic bronchitis attacks.

Your doctor may prescribe an inhaler since you are wheezing or perhaps are experiencing difficulty breathing. While you might get some relief , it is really time to take stock and make a decision about your weight and your overall health. Many people have seen the show “The Biggest Loser” and also seen how many of these overweight people are on various medicines including inhalers. Once they begin to exercise and eat healthy food, the pounds begin to fall off and also the amount of medication they need also decreases or in some cases is eliminated. This includes anyone who needed a nebuliser because their inhaler was not working for them!

What you can do for your diet?

Let’s admit that not everyone can take 5 months off their jobs to go to the biggest loser ranch and they cannot afford to just spend their entire day exercising. What you can do is cut down on your food intake and start exercising, creating an energy deficit and losing weight as a result. Take stock of the amount of food you are eating and make a decision that  you are going to eat less and exercise more.

Make a decision and start dieting, exercising and take control of your life! Although I am not significantly over weight, even the extra weight I am carrying around impacts my breathing and hence the need for a nebulizer when I was having a severe bronchitis attack. Once you make a decision, sticking to it is the hard part. You may be motivated by a health scare, which is actually a good thing. You survived the health scare and know you have to get serious about losing weight if you want to live.

You may be also motivated by wanting to feel better, to look better and to be better accepted by society. Unfortunately we are an image based society and if you do not fit the mold, many people will reject you, make fun of you and not accept you into their idea of what a person should look like.

Some people need a rigid plan to keep them on the diet program, while others just need a bit of motivation and they can lose pounds easily. Basically you need to create an energy deficiency. i.e. the energy you take in minus the energy you burn is negative. If it is you will lose weight and the speed of losing weight will depend on how big your energy deficit is.

Go for walks, park the car further away from the door, always use a small plate, avoid sauces of all kinds, avoid deserts, avoid foods with lots of calories, walk up a flight of stairs whenever you get the chance. add these sorts of guidelines to your daily life and you will see the pounds disappear.

Try not to fool yourself. If you are now using a smaller plate, which means you cannot pile as much food on to it, but fill up your plate 3 times, you are just kidding yourself. You need to get serious and really focus on losing weight and that means eating less.

If writing things down in a diary or log book helps, do that. Record how far you walk each day, how much you eat and whatever else you are doing that contributes to losing weight. Include also the number of pounds you are losing. If you do not lose weight one week, don’t get discouraged. Just redouble your efforts to lose weight. Focus on more exercise as well as cutting down on the quantity you eat every day.

Good luck and if this blog post helped you, please let us know your feedback!

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Healthy Work Habits at Home

March 21st, 2010 paulr Posted in Health 1 Comment »

Healthy Work Habits at HomeThe recent storms that have crisscrossed the United States this year are usually reserved for Canada. Inclement weather on the East Coast and elsewhere in the country has many workers snowed in at home. That doesn’t mean they’re not working, which we know that they are. But the question is are they following healthy work habits while working at home. Do they have Healthy Work Habits at Home?

There are two elements to Healthy Work Habits at Home. One is from a corporate basis and is the company getting its money’s worth and are you protecting your companies information and assets?  The other is more focused on personal health and making sure that you get the proper amount of exercise, eat properly and take appropriate breaks etc.

We would love to hear your comments on our thoughts on this topic.

Healthy Work Habits at Home – the Person

Many people tend to work harder at home than they do at the office. Hard to believe, but when you stop to think about it is obvious. There are less interruptions and impromptu meetings to go to, you can respond to emails and text messages on your schedule without the interruption of a face to face meeting. There is a great deal of time lost when we meet people in the office and chit chat for a few minutes before getting down to business. When working at home, a phone call is automatically more business like and much less prone to chit chat.

There are many reasons why people work more concentrated hours and longer hours at home. A simple one is that the computer is simply there and we cannot resist the temptation to check our email.

So what should we do to manage our health and to make sure we practice healthy work habits at home.

We identified a number of steps that works for us. We have been working from home for almost 10 years and have developed a number of habits which helps to keep us healthy.

  • Establish a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Start time, breaks, lunch, and quitting time that meets your needs as well as the company.
  • Treat your day as if you were going to the office. Get up at the same time, have a shower, prepare for work in the same manner you would if you actually went into the office.
  • Set your office in a separate place in the home that has some sort of physical separation from the rest of the home.
  • Use a timer to keep track of time. Every hour get up and stretch your legs and arms. Go for a short walk if you can just to get your circulation going.
  • Take and actual break for coffee and also for lunch. If you can , leave the house and go for a walk, go to the mall, go to the coffee shop to get a separation from your work. This is good for your mind and your body.
  • Establish the discipline you need to avoid snacking. It is so easy to snack when you are at home. If you must snack find some food that is low on salt and low on calories.
  • Make sure you have an ergonomic chair and desk. You will spend a lot of time there and you should be at least comfortable

Healthy Work Habits at Home – the Office

“If people aren’t working, they’re not generating revenue. If people are working from home, it’s business as usual,” said Chuck Wilsker, president and chief executive of The Telework Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit education and advocacy organization for people who work remotely with the help of technology.

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If you travel for work, your company likely already has telecommuting policies in place, you’re aware of them, and you have the required hardware and software to work from home.

But if you’re almost always in the office, consider these five tips for working from home safely and efficiently.

1. Know your company’s policies

If you don’t know your company’s telecommuting policies, you could be putting information at risk — and your job, too.

“If they lose information… if they’re going outside policy or not following standard common-sense standards for data security, that could mean their job,” said Jeremy Miller, director of operations at Kroll Fraud Solutions.

2. Secure your systems

Does your work require use of a company-issued computer to access its system? If so, you have a responsibility to keep that laptop or other device — and all the information contained within it — secure, Miller said.

If you’re using your personal computer, make sure to take precautions as well, including disabling peer-to-peer applications so that files are not visible to others on the Web. And you might not think anything of it if your neighbor or roommate logs on to your computer, but if there is work information on the machine, you could be in violation of company policy, Miller said.

3. Protect your computer

Enable your wireless network’s password protection and use a good password so that outsiders can’t hack into the network, according to a tip sheet from Best Buy’s Geek Squad, a technology assistance service.

And before you use a home computer to access office files or databases, make sure your operating system has the latest security updates. Also, check to ensure your antivirus program is reputable and current, the Geek Squad said.

4. Back up files

Regardless of where you’re working, make sure you back up your data — especially when there are severe winds or several feet of snow, according to the Geek Squad. Large files can be stored to a USB drive or an online storage spot.

5. Create a comfortable working environment

Minimize distractions at home by setting up your desk in a place where you can concentrate — and a place that is reasonably quiet. Call center employees who work from home often are prohibited from having such things as barking dogs or chirping birds in the background, Wilsker said. But it’s not a bad idea for any employee working at home to limit background noise for when work calls need to be taken.

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