Breathe for a Healthy Heart: Exercises to Increase Cardiovascular Health

Breathing is something everyone does everyday. However, most adults do not breathe correctly. As people move from child to adult, they subconsciously begin to breathe shallower. Deep breathing exercise increases oxygen intake, helping the blood to circulate better and carry more of that oxygen to other organs throughout the body.

It is all about the oxygen. Insufficient oxygen causes the body to become tired, tense, and more susceptible to illness. Organs that do not have enough oxygen will operate sluggishly and inadequately.

How Does Breathing Exercises Increase Heart Health?

  • Lowers Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is one of the main enemies of the heart.
  • Alleviates stress.
  • Increases physical energy that promotes heart healthy physical exercise.

How to do Breathing Exercises

The Relaxing Breath or 4-7-8 exercise is an ancient yogic breathing exercise that is practiced by the most famous of natural health promoters. Dr. Andrew Weil, a long standing natural health guru, has promoted this type of exercise for decades.

When doing this exercise, remember it is not how fast or slow it is done at first, it is the 4-7-8 ratio that counts. The count of each part of the exercise can be adjusted to how long an individual can hold their breath. Ideally, once a person gets the hang of the exercise, they will be able to do the counts: 4 inhales, 7 hold 8 exhale; relaxed and slowly.

How to do the 4-7-8 exercise:

  1. Place your tongue on the alveolar ridge of the mouth. That is the ridge between the front teeth and the roof of the mouth. Keep the tongue there during the exercise.
  2. Exhale completely through the mouth. This will make a whooshing sound.
  3. To begin the cycle: close the mouth; breathe in quietly through the nose for a count of 4.
  4. Hold the breath for a count of 7.
  5. Exhale through the mouth for a count of 8. This completes the cycle.
  6. Repeat for a total of four breath cycles. Do this exercise two times per day.

Deep breathing exercise will help retrain the body to breathe correctly. This naturally produces more energy and stamina. This is also called, abdominal or belly breathing.

How to do deep breathing exercise:

  1. Sit or stand straight, using good posture.
  2. Breathe in through the nose, making sure that the tummy, not the chest, extends out as if very full.
  3. Exhale completely through the mouth. This complete one breath cycle.
  4. Repeat the breath cycle 4 or 5 times, two times a day.

Doing these exercises twice a day for 21 days will form a habit of correct and healthy breathing. Individuals who change the way they breathe; deep verses shallow, will notice an increase in energy and a decrease in fatigue.

The increased oxygen will help all the vital organs, including the heart, to work smoothly and at optimal performance.

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The Benefits of Newborn Circumcision: Deciding Whether or Not to Circumcise Your Infant After Birth

The universal rate of circumcision is about 30%, with the highest levels of over 80% in the United States and some European and Asian cultures reporting the lowest. In recent years, there has been a gradual shift in the minds of health professionals who advocated for the parents’ right to choose circumcision or not. It is hard to argue with research that continues to show health benefits that seem to weigh heavily against some of the cons of newborn circumcision .

Reasons to Circumcise

A review of the current research shows numerous health benefits of newborn circumcision. Infant males can benefit from being circumcised since studies show that they have have significantly fewer UTIs. Circumcision affects sexually transmitted diseases in the following ways:

  • Circumcision decreases getting HIV by 50-60%.
  • Circumcision decreases the acquisition of herpes simplex type 2 by 30%.
  • Human papillomavirus in circumcised men is 30% less prevalent.
  • decrease in the incidence of syphilis

Though the incidence is rare, another health benefit from circumcision in later years includes a nearly complete elimination of penile cancer.

The circumcised male is not the only one who experiences health benefits. The female sexual partner of a circumcised male also benefits from her partner’s circumcision in the following ways:

  • Bacterial vaginosis was reduced by 40%.
  • Trichomonal vaginalis was reduced by nearly 50%.

Reasons to Avoid Circumcision

Those who support avoidance of circumcision cite several disadvantages of this procedure:

  • pain and elevated levels of cortisol during the procedure
  • surgical risk during the procedure
  • risk of complications after the circumcision
  • possible long-term psychological or behavioral effects

While it is true that there is pain from circumcision, local anesthetics and nerve blocks can and should be utilized. Risks do occur with circumcision; however, they are very rare and tend to be minor.

According to research studies, the rate of complications from circumcision is approximately .2% or about one in every 476 circumcisions. Research has not shown any newborn deaths from circumcision in developed countries. Most of the evidence that shows psychological effects from circumcisions have been anecdotal in nature.

Proponents of keeping newborn males in tact also cite that circumcision is a human rights violation since the baby cannot provide consent. This is a tough argument since so much of healthy newborn well care could fit this category including doing routine blood work and performing vaccinations.

Pending CDC Guidelines on Circumcision

Because of the renewed interest in the issue of circumcision, the CDC is currently reviewing its position on providing specific guidelines and recommendations for circumcision. There is reason to believe that the CDC guidelines may likely include a universal recommendation for newborn circumcision in the United States in order to reduce the spread of HIV.

The CDC estimated that about 56,000 people were newly infected with HIV and over 50% of these new cases occurred in gay and bisexual men. So the new guidelines represent an effort to curb the spread of HIV in this population, rather than in male-to-female transmission.

Newborn circumcision continues to stir up an emotional debate. Perhaps looking at the evidence, rather than feelings, will help us become aware of the best and safest practices for all.

The Dangers of Preeclampsia and Eclampsia: How Medical Science Copes With Pre-term Births

It is a fact that experiencing new motherhood is a supreme bliss. Every mother would like to welcome her offspring into the world safely, with utmost care and protection. A high-risk pregnancy due to hypertensive diseases like preeclampsia, eclampsia, toxemia, PIH (pregnancy-induced hypertension) highly endangers the life of the new mother and her baby.

The repercussions are varied and dangerous: pre-term delivery/premature births, under-nourishment for the baby due to Intra-uterine Growth Restriction (reduced blood flow to the placenta), devastating infant deaths as well as maternal deaths. For the past few decades, preeclampsia and eclampsia have occurred in a number of pregnant women globally, affecting both the pregnancy and the post-partum period, resulting either in maternal deaths or in high-risk pre-term deliveries.

Alarming Ratio of Maternal Mortality and High-risk Pre-term deliveries

A close study into the debilitating disorders of preeclampsia and eclampsia brings out some startling facts and statistics related to the diseases. Among recent findings, the rising ratio of maternal mortality due to the severe medical conditions of preeclampsia and eclampsia is the most alarming.

  • Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure induced by pregnancy, affects 7 to 10 percent of pregnancies in the United States and is the second-leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide. It is the leading cause of pre-term delivery and contributes significantly to stillbirths and death in newborns.
  • Eclampsia conditions in the third trimester of pregnancy have been found out to be responsible for about 80% of eclampsia seizures occurring intrapartum (while giving birth) or within the first 48 hours following delivery.
  • According to a recent data recorded by Preeclampsia.org, (a foundation and support center for mothers suffering from preeclampsia and for mothers who have outlived the trauma and loss caused by preeclampsia), preeclampsia, eclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of illness and mortality in mothers and infants. Only by conservative estimates, these disorders are responsible for 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year.
  • Research over the years has linked the increased risk of preeclampsia with increased maternal age, a genetic tendency towards high blood pressure, diabetes as well as high body fat.
  • Research also shows that more women die from preeclampsia than eclampsia.
  • Members of Preeclampsia.org have reported the loss of at least one baby or miscarriage in as many as 20% of their members globally. Additionally, these mothers having high-risk pre-term deliveries have also had the risk of having learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, blindness and deafness.

The Difference Between the Symptoms of Preeclampsia and Eclampsia

Preeclampsia and eclampsia are in reality, two different forms of the same disorder in pregnancy, with eclampsia being the more fatal and serious form of the disorder. Both entail a drastic increase in the mother’s blood pressure which results in abnormal swelling in different body parts of the mother.

While preeclampsia emerges in a mother-to-be, putting her at risk of pre-term labor, C-section delivery and a number of other medical interventions during childbirth, the proper diagnosis of preeclampsia is vital to prevent the more serious and fatal condition of eclampsia.

Various studies in the recent years involving preeclampsia and eclampsia are trying to understand the nature of these two severe medical conditions as they have been proved to be fatal to quite a number of mothers and babies. Surprisingly, no research has been able to prevent these two high risk ailments.

Expert gynecologists around the world agree upon a single remedy in case of preeclampsia, which is an early detection of the condition. Despite extensive research in all these years, no reliable test or symptom so far has been able to predict and also prevent the condition of eclampsia, the more severe form, leaving mothers and pre-term newborns in high risk zones of mortality.

To add to the complications, studies have indicated that there is no evidence of a single symptom profile that is unique to preeclampsia, and that the symptoms largely vary from person to person. Experts over the years have said that there are only certain factors that can change the way preeclampsia shows itself. Those include, but are not restricted to: the patient’s medical history, pregnancy history, diet and overall activity level.

The best and the only available remedy for babies born to preeclamptic mothers who are not diagnosed of the disease at an early stage: early delivery of the baby. This, naturally results in strict vigilance of the both the mother’s and the premature infant’s health in NICU facilities. In case of early diagnosis of preeclampsia, effective screening measures and an extremely efficient prenatal care, prompt treatment and consultation can save the lives of the mother and the baby.

The Standard Treatment Used in Preeclampsia Patients

Over all these years, doctors have prescribed a simple, life-saving salt named magnesium sulfate for mothers diagnosed with preeclampsia with quite satisfactory results, a significantly lower risk of eclampsia seizures, lower risk of maternal deaths, lower risk of the baby developing pneumonia and staying in intensive care. Nevertheless, this drug needs to be administered with utmost care and efficiency.

The fact remains that more research in this sphere is needed to provide a proper insight into the causes and also find a permanent remedy to these high-risk pregnancy conditions. Although in developed countries like the United States, incidences of these deaths are apparently low, it is not so when you look into maternal and infant deaths due to preeclampsia, eclampsia and pre-term births internationally. That surely is not to be taken lightly.

Health Information Technology: One of the Fastest Growing Career Options

When patients see a health care provider such as physician, dentist, chiropractor, or nurse practitioner, a written document is filed detailing the purpose and outcomes.

This documentation is placed in the patient’s chart and is available for the practitioner to review at the next visit. This provides for continuity of care in the event that another health professional in that office sees the patient as well as refreshes the same practitioner’s memory about the care he/she has provided for the patient.

Results from laboratory tests, X-rays, other diagnostic tests as well as a list of medications or treatments prescribed are also contained in the chart. In addition to this information, the chart will also contain any paperwork the patient completes, such as a family medical history, insurance information and consents for treatment, authorization to share information, and so on.

New Office New Chart

If the patient sees another health care provider, such as a specialist recommended by the primary care practitioner, a new chart is created and most often there is no integration of the information with the other physician’s chart. If the patient is hospitalized, another chart is created. Each health professional creates a new chart or file for the patient and often has to reinvent the wheel to get a complete picture of the patient’s health history.

If the patient obtains medications from several different pharmacies, there is not a complete profile available at any of them. This sometimes results in medication errors from issues such as duplication of medications, or unknown medication interactions.

Oversight Not a Reality

Patients who have primary care providers who are willing and able to oversee the total care of a patient will have records sent from all sources of care each time they see another provider and review them. This is cumbersome, time consuming, and not reimbursable. In reality it does not happen often.

Most patients are not versed in medical terminology. Often they barely understand a diagnosis or treatment. Some things may seem totally insignificant and are forgotten, such as a visit to the Urgent Care for a virus or to the ER for a sprained ankle, and the information doesn’t get passed on to the primary care professional. A complication that could stem back to this illness or injury may never be connected.

Quality Improvement

In the interest of improving medical care, the establishment of electronic medical records (EMR) has become a hot issue and part of the health care reform debate. In order to create and maintain effective records, there has to be standardization procedures. Codes need to be applied to diagnoses and other information so that the records can be meshed.

The software in the physician’s office has to be able to communicate with the software the dentist uses, the eye doctor uses, the surgeon uses, the oncologist uses and the cardiologist uses or it is useless. It also has to be secure so that the patient’s information isn’t accidentally broadcast to those who have no need to know.

Health IT Growing Rapidly

This has opened up and broadened the scope of information technology in the health field. Health care IT (HIT) is one of the most rapidly growing career fields. HIT offers many diverse opportunities from medical records coding and management in a small medical office to a huge hospital or medical corporation.

Another opportunity involves data collection and management of diseases such as for tumor registries. Teaching physicians and other health care professionals how to use their system to record and retrieve data is a related option, as is maintenance of the hardware and software systems.

Banking Umbilical Cord Blood: Description and Composition of Umbilical Cord Blood

Umbilical cord blood contains stem cells that can be used to treat blood related disorders later in the child’s life.

The pregnancy is coming to an end and there are a plethora of decisions to be made about the labor and delivery. An option that is available to moms today that was not available to previous generations is banking of the umbilical cord blood.

Umbilical Cord Blood Composition

Umbilical cord blood of a newborn is full of stem cells which are cells in the body that can be used to produce all parts of the blood. Stem cells can produce platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells. Stem cells are found in bone marrow as well as blood. Research has shown that stem cells can be used to treat certain genetic disorders. Proponents of cord blood banking promote the fact that new uses for stem cells are being developed in laboratories every year.

Stem Cell Treatments

Because stem cells can reproduce into any kind of blood cell in the body, they can be used to treat blood disorders. Stem cells can be injected into the body’s bloodstream to treat leukemia, sickle cell anemia and lymphoma. Patients who have bone marrow that has been damaged from cancer treatments such as chemo and radiation may also be able to benefit from the injection of stem cells. Once the stem cells are in the patient’s bloodstream, it is believed that they will create new, healthy cells that can ultimately cure the patient’s blood related disorder. Studies have shown that frozen cord blood can be viable for up to 15 years.

Banking Cord Blood

In order to bank an infant’s cord blood, parents must contact a cord blood bank early in the third trimester of the pregnancy. There are several private umbilical cord blood banking services available that all charge similar fees for their service. There is generally a collection fee as well as an annual fee. When the baby is delivered, the doctor or nursing staff will ensure that the umbilical cord blood is collected for storage at the umbilical cord blood bank.

Choosing to bank a baby’s umbilical cord blood is a personal decision. The storage fees over time can be very expensive but can also prove to be priceless if the investment later treats an illness in the child that saves his life. Parents should discuss the option with the obstetrician as well as the pediatrician to decide the best route for their individual situation.

Pediculosis Explained: Having Critters in Your Hair

If you have children, you probably know that from time to time something occurs that is an all out and complete nightmare. Among these things is head lice or pediculosis.

Kids tend to be the most prone to acquiring pediculosis, particularly when they are still attending elementary school.

The most obvious culprit? Other children! You may observe that grownups very rarely ever contract pediculosis, but kids frequently do. As a matter of fact, it’s probably rare that you know one adult individual that did not get pediculosis as a child or has a kid who has already experienced something of this nature.

The Dangers of Pediculosis

Head pediculosis isn’t life-threatening and they do not spread diseases, but they’re contractible and can be quite bothersome for your youngster. Their stings may cause a youngster’s scalp to turn nail-bitingly excruciating and reddened, and long-term itching may lead to skin irritation and possibly infection!

The majority of parents realize what it’s like to have to experience something with your child and not be capable of dealing with it so when it comes to pediculosis capitis or body pediculosis you might not even find out your kid has it till you genuinely pay attention to a few key signs and symptoms.

There are a few things you can be watching out for in order to ascertain if your child has Pediculosis

Pediculosis eggs (also known as nits) seem like tiny brown, purplish, or yellow dots prior to them hatching. After hatching, the leftover shell looks light yellow or white. Pediculosis is when nits are deposited on hair follicles located at the skin’s surface, where the heat is ideal for keeping the eggs warm until they hatch.

Nits look much like dandruff, but they cannot be terminated by shaking or brushing them off. Unless the problem is utterly serious, it is more commonplace to see nits in a kid’s hair than it is to observe live pediculosis crawling on the scalp. The eggs hatch approximately 7 to 14 days after they are deposited.

Itching and Pediculosis

Scratching is a natural response to itching, but if your youngster is continuously scratching his scalp, it’s a good idea to have a look and see if you are able to notice anything! In addition, if they notify you about “little things” running around and tickling their foreheads this is a very dependable “sign” that they may be carrying pediculosis!

It is recommended that if your child does notify you of scratching or “tickling” you can take a fine-toothed comb and “sweep” his hair from side to side, look at his hair follicles and scalp. If you do discover something, it’s crucial that you call a physician who can recommend a effective shampoo or conditioner for your kid to eliminate the pediculosis. This is unquestionably not something you would like to delay!

These might be nonprescription or prescription drugs, contingent on what treatments have already been administered. Medicated pediculosis treatments normally wipe out the pediculosis and nits, but it could take a few weeks for the itching to cease.

Many people say that pediculosis is like varicella: once they contract it, they will most likely never get it again. This just isn’t the case regrettably!

Be on the lookout for pediculosis on your children and once you do come across its signs, be sure they see a physician right away. No one should accept this for a longer length of time than necessary.

What Are the Causes of Diabetes?: The Main Causes and Symptoms of Three Types of Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that appears to be increasing each year. Its main characteristic is an inability to process sugars in the body, leading to high blood sugar levels and illness. Despite the growing number of people who have this condition, not everyone is aware of the causes of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

There are three types of diabetes. The first is called simple type 1 diabetes. It can also be called “juvenile diabetes” and “insulin-dependent diabetes.” This is the least common type of diabetes, usually striking during childhood. Considered an autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes is caused by the body attacking the cells of the pancreas. This organ produces the hormone insulin, which is needed to break down sugars in the blood. As the amount of insulin decreases, sugar levels increase can cause serious damage.

Type 2 Diabetes

The most common type of diabetes today is type 2 diabetes. This condition occurs when external factors cause the pancreas to create less insulin, or the body becomes resistant to it’s effects. This condition can strike at any time and is most often linked to obesity and a poor diet. Though type 1 diabetes is incurable, for some losing weight and changing their diet can stop and reverse type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes strikes women during pregnancy and generally ends as soon as they give birth. Women who face gestational diabetes, however, are at higher risks for type 2 diabetes later in life. For some women, pregnancy hormones can cause a temporary decrease in insulin product or change how the body uses insulin. Blood sugar levels will increase if not treated, causing complications with fetal development and birth.

Symptoms of Diabetes

People who are suffering from diabetes all face similar symptoms to varying degrees. Understanding what the symptoms are can make early diagnosis easier to that treatment can be had sooner. With early treatment, diabetics can reduce the among of damage their bodies suffer.

Increased hunger and thirst, frequent urination, and unexplained weight loss are the most common early signs of diabetes. Fatigue, headaches, and blurred vision are also symptoms of diabetes that many sufferers face. Rarely for some, a loss of consciousness can indicate undiagnosed diabetes.

The causes of diabetes can range from genetic traits passed down to outside factors, such as diet and lifestyle. Understanding the causes can help people make smarter choices to prevent potential diabetes in their lives.